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"I guess they are starting to catch on... ;-)" Read more
by Jason Flowers on TN bans password shares for Netflix, sites

"This is really incredible technology to experience. If you haven't had a chance yet, take a test drive." Read more
by Jason Flowers on Microsoft Sets Guinness Sales Record with Kinect

"I remember discussing this as a general idea 7 or 8 years ago with Mark and Jeff... Are we there yet?" Read more
by Jason Flowers on Exotic nanodevice could let computers ditch slowpoke electrons and run thousands of times faster

"Can I get one that looks like Anakin Skywalker's?" Read more
by Jason Flowers on Human Trials Next for Darpa’s Mind-Controlled Artificial Arm

"Flying Car Gets FAA Approval The Federal Aviation Administration has just removed a major hurdle from the path of a vehicle that may well be the first commercially viable flying car. The agency has agreed to classify the Terrafugia Transition as a Light Sport Aircraft, even though the vehicle is 120 pounds too heavy to qualify for that class. " Read more
by Jason Flowers on The reality of flying cars

"All of this, a 256GB SSD, and a backlit keyboard... hard to resist!" Read more
by Jason Flowers on Alienware M11x gets overseas Core i3 / i5 / i7 and NVIDIA Optimus update, US version due tomorrow?

"Don't buy this hypothesis... They would very likely not have a lack for energy resources since they're traveling the stars. They solved that problem. Being that advanced, they'd also likely be able to synthesize any other resource at a molecular level. So I don't see resources as a motivation, unless humans are the resource (slaves). I could see them being nomads as he imagines, but not looking for resources. More likely just a habitual environment to live, in which case, the Hawking outcome might be the same." Read more
by Jeff Gentes on Don't talk to aliens, warns Stephen Hawking

"Cool, but creepy…" Read more
by Mark Hodson on New tech sees dead people

"Does this mean we should keep searching for Bigfoot? I mean, how can you not know there is a 6 foot lizard running around!" Read more
by Jason Flowers on Giant lizard discovered in the Philippines

"Cool, but I still want a flying car!" Read more
by Jason Flowers on It's 2010 - finally my jet pack is here!

"Interesting the technologies used considering that Microsoft is a big investor in Facebook." Read more
by Jeff Gentes on Technology Explained: How Does Facebook Work? The Nuts and Bolts

"iTunes is great, but pricey; Netflix is better, but only offers 12K streaming downloads (I know… ‘only’); Perhaps Wal-Mart’s entry into this space will both lower the prices & provide more streaming content." Read more
by Mark Hodson on Walmart Jumps Into Online Movie Rentals, Buys Vudu

"I’ve often found InfoWorld’s commentaries to be anti-Microsoft and often unfounded. " Read more
by Mark Hodson on Fake Windows Expert Unmasked

"They say Spring 2010.. should be good. :-)" Read more
by Jeff Gentes on New at Disney: It's a Data Center World After All

"I wonder when the Wizarding World will be opening??" Read more
by Jason Flowers on New at Disney: It's a Data Center World After All

"Bertie Bott's every scented flower!!!" Read more
by Mark Hodson on Custom-scented flowers may be on the way

"I agree. I notice that they do not dispute the actual findings (that it runs VERY hot), but instead complain about the inferences. Those inferences are nothing more than the viewer’s commonsense and reasoning kicking in..." Read more
by Anonymous on QLogic sues Emulex over video of chip frying egg

"Sounds like QLogic has weak case to me. It's conventional wisdom that excessive heat is bad for electronics. The industry spends billions on cooling. Making a case that reduced heat increases reliability is logical." Read more
by Jeff Gentes on QLogic sues Emulex over video of chip frying egg

"That's just wrong..." Read more
by Jeff Gentes on Microsoft Refused to Sell Xbox 360s to the Military for Training

"Cool, I want to play!" Read more
by Jeff Gentes on Keep your 20-sided dice, I have D&D on the Surface

Featured Posts
Fireside Logic News
Posted by: Jeff Gentes on 5/5/2011 | 0 Comments

The New York Times reports Intel has developed a technology called Finfet (or fin field-effect transistor) that will allow Intel to manufacture three-dimensional CPUs.

Until now, the conductive area of the transistors used in CPUs has been two-dimensional, which means that in order to pack a higher number of transistors within the same space, the transistors had to shrink to smaller sizes. Over the years, manufacturing tolerances have traditionally been the limiting factor in how small a transistor can get, but these CPU building blocks are now approaching a size where physics itself becomes a barrier to making them any smaller.

Intel's Finfet aims to work around this problem by building "fins" into the transistor structure, making the transistor's conductive area three-dimensional. Intel expects chips using this design to be 37 percent faster than current low-voltage chips while consuming half the power.

Not all chipmakers are convinced that going 3D is the right solution, and a few of them are taking a "wait and see" approach to Intel's Finfet technology. Intel plans to start producing chips using Finfet later this year.

Posted by: Jeff Gentes on 12/22/2010 | 0 Comments

IBM and America’s Favorite Quiz show Jeopardy! today announced that an IBM computing system named “Watson” will compete on Jeopardy! against the show’s two most successful and celebrated contestants — Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

The first-ever man vs. machine Jeopardy! competition will air on February 14, 15 and 16, 2011, with two matches being played over three consecutive days.

Watson, named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, was built by a team of IBM scientists who set out to accomplish a grand challenge – build a computing system that rivals a human’s ability to answer questions posed in natural language with speed, accuracy and confidence. The Jeopardy! format provides the ultimate challenge because the game’s clues involve analyzing subtle meaning, irony, riddles, and other complexities in which humans excel and computers traditionally do not.

Posted by: Jeff Gentes on 10/6/2010 | 0 Comments

apple datacenter

It seems we've been discussing Apple's upcoming, massive North Carolina datacenter for a long, long time -- since around May 2009, actually. Word is that the $1 billion facility is nearing completion, meaning we'll hopefully see the fruits of Apple's labor very soon.

While many people speculate that the new datacenter will support Apple's initiatives into streaming media, it's just as likely that it will be used for technologies that Apple hasn't really dipped its toe into quite yet. Social media could be one area, as we've seen the company testing those waters with Ping (with questionable results). More >>>

Posted by: Jeff Gentes on 9/24/2010 | 0 Comments

There is a presentation on the Mozilla Labs blog about what they call Seabird, "a community-driven mobile phone concept." It's an imagining of what future phone tech could look like, using dual pico projectors and a Bluetooth/IR dongle to more easily interact with apps and web interfaces. "With mobile phone companies such as Samsung, LG and Motorola moving towards display applications for projectors, the technology remains open for expanding user interaction and input at the same time. The Seabird, on just a flat surface, enables netbook-quality interaction by working with the projector’s angular distortion to deliver interface, rather than content. With the benefit of a dock, each projector works independently and delivers laptop levels of efficiency." More >>>

Posted by: Jeff Gentes on 9/17/2010 | 0 Comments
Sure, Apple calls its fancy screens Retina Displays, but that name is far more fitting for a device like the AiRScouter. It's a head-mounted display that projects images directly onto your retina.The makers of the AiRScouter explain that the gadget gives you the impression that there's a transparent 16-inch screen floating one meter in front of your eyes. They also claim that the whole setup is perfectly safe and comfortable. [DigInfo via JapanProbe] More »

Posted by: Jeff Gentes on 9/17/2010 | 0 Comments

What if cellphones knew what sort of moods we were in? What if they could anticipate to whom we'd crave to talk? What if they knew which calls we're waiting for? If Intel has its way, they soon will.

How is this possible? PC Magazine explains:

All this creating a cognitive framework for managing context. It centers on a context engine that unites information from extensible analyzers, inference algorithms, data stores, and sensors, and then distributes them to the appropriate applications. The framework protects context information by putting the user in complete control of it: The user may specify what context is released, when it's released, and to whom it's released.

More »

Posted by: Jeff Gentes on 9/15/2010 | 0 Comments

Microsoft will deliver an animated consumer touchscreen tablet that is “no thicker than a sheet of glass [at] “really cost effective prices”within the next three years — the next generation of Microsoft’s Surface technology — its principal researcher, Bill Buxton, told The Globe And Mail.

“Right now [Surface] has five cameras in it and a projector and a bunch of other stuff…. What will happen is that Surface will become no thicker than a sheet of glass…. It’s not going to have any cameras or projectors because the cameras will be embedded in the device itself.

“We’ve been making screens so they can not only emit light but also be like flatbed scanners. So if you put something against them they can see it at the pixel level.

“The best way to think about it is like a big LCD where there’s a fourth pixel in every triad. So there’s red, green, and blue pixels giving you light, and a fourth pixel which is a sensor that will capture stuff.”.

Posted by: Jeff Gentes on 8/21/2010 | 0 Comments

The news of Intel's very expensive McAfee purchase raises one obvious question: why is security software worth over $7 billion to a chip maker? Intel has been short on specifics, but it's becoming clear that virus-killing silicon is coming.

More »

Posted by: Jeff Gentes on 8/20/2010 | 0 Comments

Google has launched a service that could bring machine learning to many more apps. Google Prediction API provides a simple way for developers to create software that learns how to handle incoming data.

For example, the Google-hosted algorithms could be trained to sort e-mails into categories for “complaints” and “praise” using a dataset that provides many examples of both kinds. Future e-mails could then be screened by software using that API, and handled accordingly.

Google’s service provides a kind of machine-learning black box– data goes in one end, and predictions come out the other. There are three basic commands: one to upload a collection of data, another telling the service to learn what it can from it, and a third to submit new data for the system to react to based on what it learned.  More >>>

Posted by: Jeff Gentes on 8/18/2010 | 0 Comments

Lyric Semiconductor has unveiled a “probability processor” computer chip that performs calculations using probabilities, instead of binary logic. It could accelerate everything from online banking systems to the flash memory in smart phones and other gadgets.

More >>>

Posted by: Jeff Gentes on 8/14/2010 | 0 Comments

As Ronald Reagan said, "Trust, but Verify".

Call it LoJack for your loved ones. Multiple smart phone developers have hit upon the same idea: use the GPS in phones to allow worried parents to track their kids. ATT, Verizon, and Sprint all have their versions of this service, and there are dedicated iPhone Apps like Whereoscope and LogSat’s Family Tracker that do the same. You can get notices when your child enters areas you define like school, work, or the mall -all without them having to do anything. No check-ins needed, updates occur automatically, letting you surreptitiously know where your kids are every second. And should they turn the service off on their phones, you’ll get notified so you can call and harass them for doing so. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough control, you can do the exact same for your significant other. Is she really working late at the office? Did he really go to the movies? Whether you view this technology as added security or added invasion of privacy, it’s already here and it’s getting more powerful.  More >>>

Posted by: Jeff Gentes on 8/14/2010 | 0 Comments

The science fiction of melding man and machine has played out for decades onscreen, from The Six Million Dollar Man to The Terminator.

But the bionic hybrid age may well be flickering to life – real life – in the Calgary lab where scientists who made history fusing snail brain cells to a computer microchip six years ago are poised to try the same feat with human cells.

Researchers at the University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute are to announce Tuesday that they have made a key advance in connecting brain cells to a newly designed silicon chip, crafted with the National Research Council of Canada, that allows them to “hear” the conversation between living tissue and an electronic device as never before.

“It used to be like seeing two people talking at a distance. … You didn’t know what they were saying or even what language they were speaking. But now it’s like putting a microphone beside them,” said Professor Naweed Syed, head of the university’s department of cell biology and anatomy, who has led the work on the so-called neurochip. more>>>

Posted by: Jeff Gentes on 8/14/2010 | 0 Comments

ThinkContacts + NeuroSky = Hands Free

And you thought having a touch screen was cool. ThinkContacts is a new smart phone app under development that uses your brainwaves to choose between callers and dial them up. The system uses a NeuroSky headset – basically a crude EEG sensor – to pick up on electrical signals from your cortex. The signals are then sent from the headset to your phone via Bluetooth, where they control the phone depending on your state of mind.

A GUI for the system lets you scroll horizontally among your contacts list (N.B. your friends are Woody, Cartman, and Darth). Two bars indicate your current level of “meditation” or “attention” in real time as your brainwaves are measured from the headset. If attention peaks above 70%, you scroll to the next caller; if it drops below 30%, you scroll to the previous. To call someone, empty your mind completely… or at least to 80% on the meditation meter.  More >>>

Posted by: Jeff Gentes on 8/14/2010 | 0 Comments

Dubbed Blue Brain, the simulation shows some strange behavior. The artificial “cells” respond to stimuli and suddenly pulse and flash in spooky unison, a pattern that isn’t programmed but emerges spontaneously.

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