Thursday, September 29, 2011

Amazon Kindle Fire: First Impressions [VIDEO]

Amazon Kindle Fire: First Impressions [VIDEO]

Amazon just schooled the tablet market. The Fire, a $199, 7-inch color touch-screen tablet may be the first blockbuster Android tablet, though no one will care that it’s running the Android OS.

On the outside (and I do mean “outside” — Amazon wouldn’t let journalists touch or test drive the Fire), the all black device looks exactly like RIM’s PlayBook, which should not be surprising since it was reportedly built by the same manufacturer that built the PlayBook for RIM. It has a single button on one side of the device, stereo speakers on the other. It’s roughly 11.5 millimeters thick and does not include a camera. It’s also Wi-Fi only. No media slots and just 8GB of internal memory. You only have access to six of them, but Amazon reps stressed that you have unlimited storage in the cloud

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

3rd Generation Kindles Get A New Name, Discounted Prices | TechCrunch

3rd Generation Kindles Get A New Name, Discounted Prices | TechCrunch

f Amazon’s new slew of keyboard-less Kindles leaves you feeling frightened and confused, you’ve still got time to pick up one of their soon-to-be classic models. The 3rd generation Kindle (which has been retroactively renamed the “Kindle Keyboard”) is enjoying a bit of a price drop on Amazon.com as we speak.

The Kindle Keyboard with Special Offers has dipped from its usual price down to $99, while the spiffy 3G version is currently selling for $139. Given that the newly-announced Kindle with Special Offers is already available for a remarkable $79, only hardcore keyboard fanatics need apply.


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Monday, September 26, 2011

Controversy as Spotify requires new users to be on Facebook first | TechCrunch

Controversy as Spotify requires new users to be on Facebook first | TechCrunch


It seems premium streaming music service Spotify just inexorably linked its future to Facebook. Fresh from integrating so deeply with Facebook’s OpenGraph that users’ Ticker stream are teaming with their friends’ listening tastes, it is now requiring new users to have a Facebook account first in order to sign-up for the service.

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No Space In This Human Race

No Space In This Human Race

Drifting Ill At Ease With A Pleasure Disease...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Study: patent trolls have cost innovators half a trillion dollars

Study: patent trolls have cost innovators half a trillion dollars

By now, the story of patent trolls has become well-known: a small company with no products of its own threatens lawsuits against larger companies who inadvertently infringe its portfolio of broad patents. The scenario has become so common that we don't even try to cover all the cases here at Ars. If we did, we'd have little time to write about much else.

But anecdotal evidence is one thing. Data is another. Three Boston University researchers have produced a rigorous empirical estimate of the cost of patent trolling. And the number is breath-taking: patent trolls ("non-practicing entity" is the clinical term) have cost publicly traded defendants $500 billion since 1990. And the problem has become most severe in recent years. In the last four years, the costs have averaged $83 billion per year. The study says this is more than a quarter of US industrial research and development spending during those years.


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Friday, September 23, 2011

William Shatner on why Star Trek is better than Star Wars | TechRepublic

William Shatner on why Star Trek is better than Star Wars | TechRepublic

Takeaway: The geek debate Star Trek v. Star Wars is discussed by none other than the original Captain James Tiberius Kirk in this three-minute video.

In a humorous and heavily tongue-in-cheek interview, William Shatner shares his thoughts about how Star Trek differs from Star Wars and which one is better. Much of the commentary Shatner makes is pro-Star Trek, which is no surprise because of his association with the franchise and because of his desire to be in the next reboot movie. Several of his arguments are valid, some points are obvious jokes, and other statements are incorrect in my opinion. One example is his statement that Star Wars is a derivative of Star Trek, which is not true, as their respective sub-genres are completely different. Star Wars is very action-adventure whereas Star Trek is more about the human equation. Babylon 5 is a better example of being derivative of Star Trek.


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Talking computer will change the world; promises not to kill you | TechRepublic

Talking computer will change the world; promises not to kill you | TechRepublic


For as long as there has been science fiction to dream up the possibility of computers and robots that could one day rival or even surpass human beings in brain power, there have been people who have worried that these machines will eventually usurp control of the planet from humans and subjugate them.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Life in liquid carbon dioxide

Life in liquid carbon dioxide

Well, ok, perhaps it’s not life really in liquid carbon dioxide, but as you’ll see it’s pretty close. The study of extreme environments on Earth plays a big role in our expanding knowledge about places that support life but are radically different from the sunny, temperate, beer swilling, tea drinking surroundings we find ourselves in. As such these may represent good analogs to certain spots on worlds like Mars, Europa, Enceladus, or even further afield. Some of the most remarkable and provocative discoveries of extreme conditions have been those around deep ocean hydrothermal vent systems. Often located on or near to the planet-straddling mid-ocean volcanic ridges these are places where water has been siphoned into the sub-seafloor, superheated and enriched with all manner of soluble compounds (like metal sulphides, which are very bad for our delicate constitutions but just the stuff for chemoautotrophic organisms) before being squirted back out into the chill marine environment at depths of over a kilometer. Down here the ambient temperature is about 3 Celsius, and pressures can be hundreds of times that at the Earth’s surface. As the chemically rich water, often at temperatures of over several hundred degrees, sprays out into this dark cold environment it not only quickly deposits minerals but it provides oases for some of the most bizarre and unexpected ecosystems we have discovered. From extremophilic archaea and bacteria, to their symbiotic relationship with creatures like tube-worms, these locations flourish in the abyssal gloom.

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Free Will and Quantum Clones: How Your Choices Today Affect the Universe at its Origin

Free Will and Quantum Clones: How Your Choices Today Affect the Universe at its Origin


The late philosopher Robert Nozick, talking about the deep question of why there is something rather than nothing, quipped: “Someone who proposes a non-strange answer shows he didn’t understand the question.” So, when Scott Aaronson began a talk three weeks ago by saying it would be “the looniest talk I’ve ever given,” it was a good start. At a conference on the nature of time—a question so deep it’s hard even to formulate as a question—“loony” is high praise indeed. And indeed his talk was rich in ambition and vision. It left physics ├╝berblogger Sabine Hossenfelder uncharacteristically lost for words.

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Solar System Likely Once Had Another Gas-Giant Planet: Scientific American Podcast

Solar System Likely Once Had Another Gas-Giant Planet: Scientific American Podcast

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Those are the gas giants, the four heavyweights of the solar system. But was there once a fifth?

Maybe so, says a new study by David Nesvorny of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. He used computer simulations to explore what the solar system may have looked like some four billion years ago.

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How Dark Matter Messes with Our Galaxy [Video]: Scientific American

How Dark Matter Messes with Our Galaxy [Video]: Scientific American

This video shows the spiral shape of our galaxy and two of its small satellite galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (to the left). The satellites orbit the main galaxy and, in the process, trigger slow-motion waves in it. On a human time scale, those waves look like a static warp in the galactic outskirts. The strange thing is that the satellites are too lightweight to have such a dramatic effect. Astronomers recently demonstrated that their gravity is greatly amplified by dark matter (which this video does not show -- it is, after all, dark).

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Netflix Releases Revised Subscriber Estimate, Stock Takes A Nosedive | TechCrunch

Netflix Releases Revised Subscriber Estimate, Stock Takes A Nosedive | TechCrunch

Netflix is crashing and burning in pre-trading as the company just released a statement to shareholders that cut forecasted subscribers by 1 million users. This comes after Netflix started rolling out new plans that effectively jacked prices up 60% for the most popular plan. As of this post’s writing, Netflix is down 15% [update below] and falling, almost erasing the company’s stellar 19% growth over the last year.

Monday, September 12, 2011

AT&T Reveals New Windows Phones, Outlines Mango Update Plans | TechCrunch

AT&T Reveals New Windows Phones, Outlines Mango Update Plans | TechCrunch

If their latest press release is any indication, AT&T really loves their Windows Phones. Their current lineup consists of four WP devices, with three of them having launched alongside the OS last November and the other being a network-swapped variant of an existing device.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Spotify And Ford Team Together To Showcase The Music Service’s First In-Car Integration | TechCrunch

Spotify And Ford Team Together To Showcase The Music Service’s First In-Car Integration | TechCrunch

Today at the TechCrunch Hackathon, Ford, the second largest automaker in the U.S., teamed with Spotify, the fast-growing Swedish music service that recently arrived in the states, to demonstrate the current opportunities for in-car app innovation as well as the new voice-activated Ford SYNC system. Just to clarify: This isn’t an “official partnership”, it’s just a cool hack meant to demonstrate how easy it is to integrate with SYNC. For those unfamiliar, Ford SYNC is the in-vehicle communications and entertainment system that allows drivers to make hands-free phone calls, as well as control music and other in-car entertainment with their very own vocal chords. SYNC recently added integration with AppLink (in 2011 Ford Fiestas for now) to allow hands-free use of smartphone apps in the car.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

8 Star Trek Gadgets That Are No Longer Fiction

8 Star Trek Gadgets That Are No Longer Fiction


Forty-five years ago, the first episode of Star Trek aired on NBC. It was five years after the Soviet Union launched the first human into space, and the franchise explored a fictional 23rd century “United Federation of Planets” through a crew based on the starship Enterprise.

Six television series and 11 movies later, some aspects of Star Trek no longer seem futuristic (people still don’t live in space, but they are working on vacationing there).


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Thursday, September 8, 2011

New iPad Rental Service Targets Travelers

New iPad Rental Service Targets Travelers

The Internet makes it easy to rent books, movies, high fashion, kid stuff and pretty much anything. But most iPad rental services don’t rent to individuals. Unless you own a business, it’s still easier to rent a speedboat than an iPad.

Flying Connected, an electronics rental site that launched in New York City last month, aims to make it easy for individuals to rent electronic companions for their trips.


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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Google Voice Users Can Now Export Texts, Voicemails & Phone Numbers

Google Voice Users Can Now Export Texts, Voicemails & Phone Numbers

An update to Google Takeout, the search giant’s data export service, now allows Google Voice users to retrieve all of their account data.

“We believe that our users should be able to export any data that they create in (or import into) one of our many products,” Google engineer Anthony Jawad writes in a post on the news.


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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Four industries about to be transformed by the Internet | TechRepublic

Four industries about to be transformed by the Internet | TechRepublic

It’s been 15 years since the Internet became a mainstream phenomenon and began revolutionizing modern life in so many different ways — from how we find information to how we communicate with other people to how we consume news to to how we buy books and music to how we find a compatible life partner. Along the way, the Internet has completely upended entire industries, killing off or reducing many of the existing power brokers, removing the middle men, and ushering in new leaders — the digital powerhouses of the 21st century.

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Quantum minds: Why we think like quarks - life - 05 September 2011 - New Scientist

Quantum minds: Why we think like quarks - life - 05 September 2011 - New Scientist

The fuzziness and weird logic of the way particles behave applies surprisingly well to how humans think

THE quantum world defies the rules of ordinary logic. Particles routinely occupy two or more places at the same time and don't even have well-defined properties until they are measured. It's all strange, yet true - quantum theory is the most accurate scientific theory ever tested and its mathematics is perfectly suited to the weirdness of the atomic world.


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10 Great Google Accessories Offer Eclectic Mix of Coolness

10 Great Google Accessories Offer Eclectic Mix of Coolness

To mark the 13th anniversary of Google’s inception, we’ve pulled together our top 10 G-themed accessories from all around the web.

From lighting to clothing via art, we think these fantastic bits and bobs are perfect for fans of the Mountain View-based business behemoth.


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Sunday, September 4, 2011

TV In The Cloud | TechCrunch

TV In The Cloud | TechCrunch

TV is moving to the cloud. It is inevitable, just as other kinds of media from books to music are increasingly delivered over the Internet. Netflix, Hulu, and even Apple TV are making inroads when it comes to distributing traditional TV shows and movies to Internet-connected screens. YouTube keeps grabbing more of our attention, accounting for 7 percent of total time spent on the Internet in the U.S., according to comScore.

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Amazon Is Only Launching A 7″ Tablet? Genius. (Plus A Mockup!) | TechCrunch

Amazon Is Only Launching A 7″ Tablet? Genius. (Plus A Mockup!) | TechCrunch

The Amazon Kindle tablet is real. Very much real. As in, MG has held it in his very own hands. I threw together the mockup above based on what he shared with me.

As MG explained, we now know that the Kindle tablet won’t initially ship in both 7-inch and 10-inch variants, contrary to previous rumors. After a change in plans earlier this summer, Amazon only intends to launch with a 7-inch model.

That decision might just be the best one that Amazon could have possibly made — and it ought to have Samsung and all of the other Android tablet manufacturers shaking in their boots.


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Intel Forms ‘Federal’ Business Unit To Sell Supercomputing Services To The U.S. Government | TechCrunch

Intel Forms ‘Federal’ Business Unit To Sell Supercomputing Services To The U.S. Government | TechCrunch

Intel is forming a brand new business unit today, called Intel Federal, to ‘better address new opportunities in working with the U.S. government.’ The new subsidiary will focus exclusively on selling and advising on computing services in the government.

Initially, Intel says Intel Federal will focus on the High Performance Computing segment, including work on exascale computing with the U.S. Department of Energy and other agencies. Over time, the subsidiary will work with all branches of the government.


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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pogoplug Debuts New Hardware For Streaming To Mobile Devices | TechCrunch

Pogoplug Debuts New Hardware For Streaming To Mobile Devices | TechCrunch

Cloud Engines, Inc., makers of the Pogoplug line of devices and accompanying software, are launching a new hardware product today called Pogoplug Mobile. The device works like the company’s current Pogoplug product – you attach your hard drive or drives, plug it into your router and instantly have your own personal cloud. In short, it’s like a NAS (network-attached storage) box for your home.

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Listen Carefully: The Evolutionary Secret To Making a Hit Record

Listen Carefully: The Evolutionary Secret To Making a Hit Record

Laid bare on a stark piece of paper, removed entirely from their imposing instrumentals, strong emotions, and intimidating vocal talent, most song lyrics have all the literary force of a puff of flatulence. Once they’re quarantined like this in atonal print—and when you actually bother to read them in a quiet room—some of the most popular song lyrics read like half-dried beads of sweat fallen from a hallucinating eighth-grader’s forehead.

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