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Veteran Car Guy to Steer Google's Driverless Cars to Market
September 14, 2015
Google on Sunday named auto industry veteran John Krafcik to head up its autonomous vehicle division. Krafcik, former CEO of Hyundai's U.S. operations, will be the first CEO of Google's 6-year-old self-driving car project. "This is a great opportunity to help Google develop the enormous potential of self-driving cars," said Krafcik, who most recently ran the auto shopper site TrueCar.
NASA May Move Microsatellites Magnetically
September 14, 2015
NASA earlier this month entered an agreement with Arx Pax to use its Magnetic Field Architecture technology in hardware that will let astronauts move tiny satellites without touching them. Arx Pax CEO Greg Henderson and his wife, Jill Henderson, last year launched a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund development of a functional hoverboard based on the technology.
Gadget Ogling: All About Apple
September 12, 2015
Apple's latest iPhones -- the 6s and 6s Plus -- are faster, stronger and smarter than the previous models. A zippier processor and faster Touch ID, LTE, and WiFi feature among the incremental upgrades. There are a couple of interesting new features with this generation, primarily 3D Touch. This makes the screen receptive to pressure beyond lightly tapping or holding one's finger on an icon.
There's a New Google Wallet in Town
September 11, 2015
Google on Wednesday released a revamped version of Google Wallet to keep the app alive following its imminent transformation into Android Pay. Google Wallet (New) also has a few capabilities that aren't available in the about-to-be-promoted version. Google began rolling out Android Pay on Thursday. The original Google Wallet has been around since 2011.
Nissan's 2016 Leaf Goes the Distance
September 11, 2015
Nissan has introduced the 2016 Leaf with an available 30 kWh battery, which provides the all-electric car with an EPA-estimated "best-in-class" range of 107 miles -- a range increase of 27 percent over the previous model. The new battery is standard for Leaf SV and Leaf SL models. In addition to the improved battery, this year's Leaf blows in with an enhanced IT system that is more user-friendly.
Samsung Gear S2 Scores Points for Looking Like a Watch
September 10, 2015
Samsung last week announced the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic smartwatches at the IFA trade show in Berlin. The product specs of the Gear S2 and Gear S2 Classic are the same. The main difference between the two is in the design of their faces -- the Gear S2 Classic looks more like a regular watch, while it's obvious the Gear S2 is a smartwatch with apps.
Samsung's IoT Products Make Themselves at Home
September 9, 2015
Samsung last week plunged into the Internet of Things for the home market, unveiling a new hub to control connected gadgets, home and sleep monitors, and a smart washing machine. The company made the announcements at IFA 2015. The SmartThings Hub for home devices is built around a powerful processor that enables video monitoring, and it includes a battery backup that lasts up to 10 hours.
Apple TV Should Take a Hint From Nvidia's Shield
September 7, 2015
Apple will be launching some interesting products on Wednesday. The timing is nearly right for its Intel Skylake laptops and PCs. The iPhone 6S is also due, and typically the smart Apple customers wait for the S, because S models have fixes to the earlier model's problems that most annoyed users. At the very least, the iPhone 6S is expected to avoid its predecessors' bending issues.
Intel's Big, Bold Skylake Family Bows
September 3, 2015
Intel on Tuesday introduced its long-awaited 6th Generation Core family, which will include 48 processors. The launch coincides with the migration to Windows 10, which became generally available at the end of July. With Moore's Law in question, Intel finally made a breakthrough in transitioning from 22nm dies down to 14nm. It took the company about four years to do it.
Qualcomm Sics Fire-Breathing Snapdragon on Android Hackers
September 1, 2015
Qualcomm on Monday announced Snapdragon Smart Protect, a hardware-software product that could make the world a safer place for Android smartphone users. Snapdragon Smart Protect, which will become available with Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 820 processor, will provide real-time, on-device machine learning designed to support accurate and effective detection of zero-day malware threats.
Gadget Ogling: Smart Bikes, Contactless Cards, and Roll-Up Keyboards
August 29, 2015
I never had much interest in riding a bicycle as a child, and although I now live in a tremendously bike-friendly city, I haven't found a way to learn without feeling like a total chump in public. Yet I am more interested than ever in leading a life on two wheels after discovering SmartHalo. This is a tool that attaches permanently to one's ride and turns it into a smart vehicle.
Weaponized Drones May Fly the Friendly Skies of North Dakota
August 28, 2015
Police in North Dakota can use drones armed with what are optimistically called "nonlethal weapons," thanks to the passage of House Bill 1328, which Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed into law this spring. The new law gives police the authority in a roundabout way: Section 5 states a law enforcement agency may not authorize the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle armed with lethal weapons.
No Joke, MultiFab Prints 10 Materials at Once
August 26, 2015
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, or CSAIL, this week presented a new MultiFab printer at SIGGRAPH, an annual computer graphics conference. For all of the promise 3D printing has offered, additive manufacturing techniques generally have been limited to one material at a time -- until now.
Intel: Putting Innovation Back in the Hands of the Innovators
August 24, 2015
We are living in an amazing time, but many of us seem to take it for granted. We have private spaceships. Self-driving cars are on the road, even though we can't buy them yet, and there are plans for a 12-mile-high inflatable building. Granted, a number of us are convinced it will end up looking like a giant version of the inflatable fan blown stick man often seen outside of car dealerships.
Mum Robot Goes Darwinian on Her Kids
August 21, 2015
A "mother" robot has demonstrated natural selection and the process of evolution in action, according to researchers from the University of Cambridge. Scientists typically have to go back in time to study evolution -- it's rarely observable over the course of a human lifetime. However, for robots and artificial intelligence, it's a different story.
Sony's SmartBand 2 Takes the Plunge
August 21, 2015
Sony on Thursday unveiled its SmartBand 2 fitness tracker. It has an advanced heart rate sensor and a variety of communications capabilities. It informs wearers when they get calls, messages, emails or notifications on social media sites. It sports interchangeable silicone rubber bands in black, white, pink and indigo. The SmartBand 2 is compatible with many Android and iOS devices.
Razer Can't Wait to Intro Its Unnamed VR Camera Baby
August 20, 2015
Razer has introduced a camera that incorporates Intel's RealSense technology, suggesting use cases as a depth-sensing accessory in PC gaming and beyond. The company described its camera concept at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, which was chock-full of big announcements. Intel updated developers on its efforts in the wearables market, and it introduced its solution for IoT security.
Apple Car May Have a Smart, Sensor-Equipped Windshield
August 19, 2015
Apple might be working on a heads-up display for windshields, Trip Chowdhry, managing director of equity research at Global Equities Research, said last week in a research note. It will have built-in sensor technology, and the entire surface will function as a HUD. It may be a "completely new device," he wrote. The display measures between 27 inches and 50 inches and might be gesture controlled.
Fork Release Intensifies Bitcoin Community Bitterness
August 18, 2015
A full release of Bitcoin XT just became available, heaping fuel on the fire spreading throughout the community. One site went so far as to ban XT-related posts, resulting in allegations that a small cabal had taken control and was suppressing discussion and dissent. The cause of all the furor is a dispute over how to ensure that the Bitcoin system's capacity keeps up with its rapid growth.
Gadget Ogling: Smart Rings, Breathalyzing Bike Locks, and Laptop-Sized Transports
August 15, 2015
Please, whatever you do, don't decide with your loved one it would be a good idea to get rings that vibrate only when you're trying to get in touch with one another. Omate and Emanuel Ungaro are offering schmucks the Ungaro ring, which does just that. It buzzes when one designated person, whoever that may be, sends a text message or calls you. It will retail for up to $2,000.
The Pichai Era: Google's New Age of Innocence?
August 13, 2015
"A" is for new Google parent company "Alphabet," for Sundar Pichai's "ascension" to CEO, and for a slimmed-down search engine company that seeks to become more "agile." Consumers may wonder if that "A" also stands for "altruism." Pichai's work ethic and congeniality helped drive his ascension to the top, and he'll need both to redirect the mounting mistrust of Google -- his greatest challenge yet.
Qualcomm Ups the Ante With Next-Gen Processor Innovations
August 12, 2015
Qualcomm on Wednesday unveiled its Adreno 5xx GPU architecture next-generation visual processing technology and its 14-bit Spectra image signal processing unit at SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles. The first two GPUs to use the new architecture, the Adreno 530 and 510, will be integrated in Qualcomm's forthcoming Snapdragon 820 and 620/618 processors. The Snapdragon 820 also will feature the 14-bit ISP.
Now Google Knows Its ABCs
August 11, 2015
Google on Monday announced a restructuring that will make it a wholly owned subsidiary of a new umbrella company called "Alphabet." Product Chief Sundar Pichai will take over as CEO of Google, while Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergei Brin will be CEO and president, respectively, of Alphabet. Pichai "is ... the right person to lead the core Google search effort," said Covestor's Barry Randall.
IBM to Buy Watson a Pair of Eyes
August 10, 2015
IBM last week announced a $1 billion deal to acquire Merge Health, a provider of enterprise imaging and clinical system, with the goal of giving the supercomputer "eyes." There are compelling synergies in the marriage of Merge's medical imaging and IBM's notable resources in analytics, cloud and cognitive computing, noted Jon Peddie Research's Kathleen Maher.
Lexus' Fancy Board Really Hovers, but It's Just for Show
August 6, 2015
Lexus on Tuesday presented the final video reveal of its Hoverboard as part of its Amazing in Motion campaign. Set to the sounds of Rudimental, pro skater Ross McGouran cruises around a Barcelona skate park on the Lexus Hoverboard. "I've spent 20 years skateboarding, but without friction it feels like I've had to learn a whole new skill," McGouran said.
Gadget Ogling: Useful Smartwatches, Orbital Cameras, and an Un-Procrastinator
August 1, 2015
Dot is a smartwatch that may have life-changing implications. Rather than trying to convey information through tiny text on a small screen, Dot intends to provide visually impaired wearers with notifications through Braille. Four sets of the six dots that signify characters in the Braille system raise and lower as quickly as 100 times per second to denote four characters simultaneously.
AI, Robotics Wonks Urge Autonomous Weapons Ban
July 28, 2015
Leading artificial intelligence and robotics experts have issued an open letter arguing against the development of autonomous weapons. Its publication coincides with the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, which ends Friday in Buenos Aires. If any major military power pushes ahead with AI weapon development, a global arms race is "virtually inevitable," the letter says.
Nintendo's Sleep Monitor Is More Than a Dream
July 28, 2015
A patent application published last week has revealed more information about Nintendo's plans to build out its hardware ecosystem with contactless sleep monitoring technology. The device will assess individuals' emotions by using array of microphones and cameras to keep track of the noises and movements they make while getting some shuteye, according to the description in the patent application.
Gadget Ogling: Gritty Tablets, Wireless Storage Sticks, and Swapped-Out Speakers
July 25, 2015
Dell's Latitude 12 Rugged Tablet is designed for people who work in the field, for the military and explorers, for industrial work and first responders. This system can handle some harsh conditions, including temperatures between -20 and 145 degrees and drops from more than four feet, as well as spills, mud, dirt and sand. It boasts an 11.6-inch screen and fifth-generation Intel Core CPUs.
Tech Giants Boost Open Source Container Collaboration
July 25, 2015
The Linux Foundation this week announced the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, a consortium dedicated to the development and adoption of common container technologies. CNCF aims to make it easier for businesses to deploy containerized cloud applications oriented to microservices. Open source container-packaged applications are easier to create, manage and deploy, said tech analyst Rob Enderle.
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I plan to do my holiday shopping…
Online only -- I like the convenience and comfort.
Online only -- I'd shop in stores if their stock weren't so limited.
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