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Showing posts from July, 2014

Vision-correcting display nixes your need for eyeglasses

Vision-correcting display nixes your need for eyeglasses Your reading glasses will be so yesterday with UC Berkeley's new technology
By Sharon Gaudin July 31, 2014 06:43 AM ET
Computerworld - What would it be like if you didn't need your eyeglasses to clearly see your laptop screen or a text message on your smartphone?
Scientists at the University of California Berkeley are working on computer screens that would adjust their images to accommodate individual user's visual needs. Think of it as a display that wears the glasses so users don't have to.
"For people with just near sightedness or far sightedness, life isn't so bad," said Fu-Chung Huang, the lead author of the research paper on the display project at Berkeley. "But as you get older, your lenses lose elasticity and you cannot read things close to you, like a cell phone or tablet. You need another pair of reading glasses, which can be quite inconvenient.
"With this technology, in the fut…

CIA Admits to Hacking Senate Computers

CIA Admits to Hacking Senate Computers
In a sharp and sudden reversal, the CIA is acknowledging it improperly tapped into the computers of Senate staffers who were reviewing the intelligence agency’s Bush-era torture practices.
BY DUSTIN VOLZ  July 31, 2014
The Senate Intelligence Committee leader accused the CIA of interfering with its investigation into the agency's old interrogation programs.
The Central Intelligence Agency improperly and covertly hacked into computers used by Senate staffers to investigate the spy agency's Bush-era interrogation practices, according to an internal investigation.
CIA Director John Brennan has determined that employees "acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding" brokered between the CIA and its Senate overseers, according to agency spokesman Dean Boyd.
The stunning admission follows a scathing, 40-minute speech by Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein on the Senate floor back in March, in which she acc…

Google asks judge to keep Gmail privacy case docs secret, because only Google is entitled to privacy

Google asks judge to keep Gmail privacy case docs secret, because only Google is entitled to privacy
BY PAUL CARR ON JULY 29, 2014
Back in May, Google settled a giant class action suit over its mining of Gmail user data. Now it faces another fight: Major media outlets fighting to convince the judge to keep public the documents generated during the case.
Google’s attorneys argue that there is no reason to make the documents public, given that the court refused to certify the class and the case didn’t proceed. Meanwhile representatives for a ragtag band of media companies — referred to in court docs as “The Media Intervenors,” which is a great name for a band —  argue that the public has a right to know details of the case: “Under the First Amendment and the federal common law, the press and the public have a presumptive right of access to court proceedings and documents.”
In a case management conference scheduled for tomorrow, Judge Lucy Koh (who Pando readers will remember as the ju…
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Boeing's 777X plans: Big windows, lots of air, and robot manufacturing
The company is copying passenger-friendly details from its 787 Dreamliner into its upcoming 777X wide-body passenger jet, the company announces at the Farnborough airshow. by Stephen Shankland July 15, 2014 4:00 AM PDT
FARNBOROUGH, UK -- Passenger-friendly interior details like big windows, clean air, and comfortably high cabin pressure that Boeing introduced with its 787 Dreamliner will also come to its larger long-haul sibling, the 777X passenger jet due in 2020.
Boeing announced the details for the 777 successor here at the Farnborough International Airshow, a premier event for the aviation industry where aircraft manufacturers try to win over the world's airlines. In addition, the company said it's bringing robotic manufacturing to some parts of fuselage assembly for both the 777 and 777X, a move that should increase production rates and quality.
The 787 Dreamliner family -- including the existing…

10 awesome Google features you're not using

July 29, 2014
10 awesome Google features you're not using
Google has made a name for itself as the top search engine on the Web because its algorithms are the best at finding exactly what you're looking for. But, it's so much more than that.
The company has always encouraged innovation and that shows through many of its lesser-known features. It even made virtual reality available to anyone with an Android phone.
Anyone who has played around with Google's site knows there are plenty of other great things you can do there. From custom search functions to fun games, Google is loaded with awesome content that makes it a lot more than just a search engine. You just have to know where to look.
That's why I've made a list of the best Google features you probably don't know about yet and how you can find them. Some of these cool tools will make your life easier and others will just blow your mind.
GOOGLE FLIGHT SEARCH
The Internet is full of helpful flight search…

Scientists create 'world's darkest material' Improves Optical Imaging in Telescopes

Scientists create 'world's darkest material': Vantablack The Dark Side has some catching up to do. A new nanotech material claims the crown for being the darkest material ever created.
by Amanda Kooser  @akooser July 14, 2014 9:15 AM PDT
Black is an important color. It helps Batman disappear against the night. It keeps Goth kids looking stylish. It's the cover look for Spinal Tap's infamous "Smell the Glove" album. Just when you thought black couldn't get any darker, scientists from Surrey Nanosystems in the UK have announced the creation of a super black material.
The breakthrough isn't geared toward fashion, however. It was developed for use in electro-optical imaging and target-acquisition systems in order to improve those devices' sensitivity. One example of a use for the material is in telescopes to increase the instruments' ability to see very faint stars.
Called Vantablack, Surrey says the new material "is revolutionary in it…

Driverless cars heading onto British roads in 2015

Driverless cars heading onto British roads in 2015
Government desire to change the rules to allow companies to start running trials of cars that do not need human driver will require change to Highway Code, industry sources say
By  Peter Dominiczak
10:15PM BST 29 Jul 2014
Driverless cars will start appearing on British roads next year, ministers will announce on Wednesday.
The Government wants to change the rules to allow companies to start running trials of cars that do not need a human driver on UK streets, industry sources said.
It means the first computer-controlled vehicles will be seen on quiet British streets by January next year.
Ministers will update the law to ensure that driverless cars can take to the streets – a move which will require a change in the Highway Code.
The new generation of vehicles work by using GPS technology to locate the vehicle’s position on an electronic map.
Google earlier this year unveiled its first computerised self-driving car, which has no s…
Google's Android Has a Fake-ID Problem By Dune Lawrence July 29, 2014 Google’s Android operating system has a security flaw that could allow hackers to impersonate trusted applications and potentially hijack your phone or tablet, according to research released today.
The basic issue is the way in which Android checks—or rather, does not check—that certain applications are what they say they are, according to Bluebox Security, the company that identified the vulnerability. Hence the catchy name, “Fake ID.”
Verifying identity is one of the most fundamental issues online. Is someone logging into a bank account the owner of that account? Is an application what it claims to be? San Francisco-based Bluebox helps companies secure their data on mobile devices, and its staff members work to research and understand the architecture of the mobile operating systems that Bluebox builds onto, says Jeff Forristal, chief technology officer.
Each Android application has its own digital signature—…

Stanford researchers show off blueprint for self-healing lithium battery

Stanford researchers show off blueprint for self-healing lithium battery
By Jon Gold  Follow NetworkWorld | Jul 28, 2014 12:43 PM
A paper published today by Stanford University researchers outlines a way to make lithium batteries a lot safer, opening the door to a host of new applications in everything from smartphones to electric cars.
The paper, which ran in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, details the use of a carbon nanotube layer to isolate a lithium battery’s anode, protecting it from the rigors of heavy use.
Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most efficient ways to pack a lot of power into a small space, and they’re consequently in heavy use – one of them is probably powering your smartphone as you read this. The Tesla Model S also uses a lithium ion cell for power. But lithium-ion batteries use several other materials as anodes, even though a lithium anode would be substantially more efficient.
MORE ON NETWORK WORLD: The most magnificent high-tech flying machines The reas…

5 reasons the phablet is fabulous

5 reasons my phablet is fabulous
Crave's Michael Franco has been living with an awfully big phone for just over four months. His conclusion? Size really does matter.
by Michael Franco  @writermfranco July 23, 2014 9:48 AM PDT
Not long ago, I wrote about some trepidation I was having about giving up my iPhone and switching to an Android device for the first time. That hesitation largely disintegrated once I held my new phone in my hand. It was the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and it felt big, but good.
After having gotten to know the Note 3 for a few months, I'm back to say: iPhone? What iPhone?
This big new slab of tech has been much more satisfying to use than my iPhone ever was. Sure I miss some of the ease with which my old phone integrated with iTunes, but beyond that, I can't really think of a reason I'd rather go back to Mac than forward with the Note.
Now before you accuse CNET or me of being a shill for Samsung, please know this is a personal piece about a personal d…

Layoffs cool Microsoft employees' opinion of CEO Satya Nadella

Layoffs cool Microsoft employees' opinion of CEO Satya Nadella
By Gregg Keizer  Computerworld | Jul 28, 2014 3:56 AM
Although Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's approval rating before the company's biggest-ever layoff was high enough to place him in the top 30 of U.S. chief executives, the percentage of employees, both current and former, who say they approve of him as the firm's leader has dropped since the job cuts.
Nadella announced the layoffs on July 17, when he said that the Redmond, Wash. technology giant would shed 18,000 jobs in the next year, two-thirds of the cuts coming from the Nokia mobile phone division that Microsoft acquired this year for $7.2 billion.
About 5,500 of the proposed job cuts, however, are to come from non-Nokia personnel, with at least 1,400 of those from the Seattle area and elsewhere in the state.
Glassdoor, a Sausalito, Calif.-based online jobs and careers website, had pegged Nadella's approval rating at 88% for the five months since h…

How a Zillow-Trulia Merger Could Finally Change the Business of Real Estate

How a Zillow-Trulia Merger Could Finally Change the Business of Real Estate By Brad Stone July 28, 2014 Despite the multitude of online real estate websites, buying a home today remains stubbornly anachronistic, with dual real estate agents, proliferating fees, and reams of old-fashioned paper documents.
Now two of the leading real estate websites are merging—Zillow, the Seattle-based site known for assigning a “Zestimate” to home values, is buying San Francisco’s Trulia for $3.5 billion in stock, the companies said today. Together they may finally get big enough to try to streamline the way homes are bought and sold.
The companies, which rely on advertising from real estate agents for the bulk of their revenues, are being careful about how they discuss the future of their combined efforts. Spencer Rascoff, the chief executive of Zillow, pitched it to the New York Times primarily as an effort to save money, estimating that the combined company can cut about $100 million in expenses b…

New Bluetooth-Enabled Smart Shoes Vibrate to Give You Directions

New Bluetooth-Enabled Smart Shoes Vibrate to Give You Directions Nifty! By Jordyn Taylor 7/25 11:41am
We can’t tell if these are better or worse than those godforsaken Vibram toe shoes.
Indian startup Ducere Technologies is about to bestow a new form of high-tech footwear unto the world, the Wall Street Journal reports. Called Lechal shoes, the Bluetooth-enabled smart footwear will sync up with an app on the user’s phone, which is connected to Google Maps. Once a user inputs their destination, the app will command the left and right shoes to vibrate, telling the user which way to turn to reach their destination.
“The shoes are a natural extension of the human body,” Ducere Technologies cofounder and CEO Krispian Lawrence told the WSJ. “You will leave your house without your watch or wristband, but you will never leave your house without your shoes.”
If you’re not a fan of the shoes’ look — can we all admit they resemble dorky water shoes? — users can remove the shoes’ Bluetooth-enabl…

House passes cellphone unlocking bill that now only needs Obama's signature

House passes cellphone unlocking bill that now only needs Obama's signature
NetworkWorld |Jul 25, 2014 11:05 AM
The U.S. House of Representatives has just passed a bill that will once again give consumers the right to unlock their cellphones, meaning the legislation is only a presidential signature away from becoming law.
The Senate’s cellphone unlocking bill, S517, just passed unanimously in the House of Representatives.
Now it just requires the President’s signature to become law. It took 19 months of activism and advocacy, but we’re finally very close to consumers regaining the right to unlock the phones they’ve legally bought. I’m looking forward to seeing this bill finally become law - it’s been a long road against powerful, entrenched interests - but it’s great to see citizen advocacy work.
It’s important to note that the unlocking exemption that is being reinstated will only last until the Librarian of Congress’s next rulemaking, scheduled to happen in 2015. With such a st…

Google's New Moonshot Project: the Human Body

Google's New Moonshot Project: the Human Body Baseline Study to Try to Create Picture From the Project's Findings
By ALISTAIR BARR CONNECT July 24, 2014 7:56 p.m. ET
Google Inc. has embarked on what may be its most ambitious and difficult science project ever: a quest inside the human body.
Called Baseline Study, the project will collect anonymous genetic and molecular information from 175 people—and later thousands more—to create what the company hopes will be the fullest picture of what a healthy human being should be.
The early-stage project is run by Andrew Conrad, a 50-year-old molecular biologist who pioneered cheap, high-volume tests for HIV in blood-plasma donations.
Dr. Conrad joined Google X—the company's research arm—in March 2013, and he has built a team of about 70-to-100 experts from fields including physiology, biochemistry, optics, imaging and molecular biology.
Other mass medical and genomics studies exist. But Baseline will amass a much larger and broade…