Sep 30, 2011

Kodak Is on the Verge of Being Worth Zero Dollars

Have you taken a look at Kodak's stock today? Get a good look while you can, because it's shitting the bed worse than a disemboweled E. coli patient-already down 60%, to less than a dollar. This is how it ends.

We've known the company's in dire financial shape, but this looks like the beginning of the crew abandoning ship. You can't even order off the Dollar Menu with a share of Eastman Kodak. At a certain point that I doubt is too far off, there's not going to be any value left. Their lawyers might soon be charging up their camera phones for bankruptcy court.

Symbian. Today, Officially Passed the Torch

After placing all bets on Windows Phone, Stephen Elop announced that Nokia would slowly phase out its OG operating system, Symbian. Today, it's officially passed the torch, handing over all Symbian-related duties to Accenture, a consulting and outsourcing firm. 2,300 former Nokia employees will also be repurposed, getting a new name on their paycheck as they tend to the ill-fated OS. The Finnish mainstay says the arrangement will last until at least 2016, and plans to continually roll out updates during this time. Not everyone is hanging on another five years though, as it seems that at least 500 employees have jumped ship or found new gigs within the company since the original announcement predicting 2,800 reassignments. 

Samsung Unveils Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, Packing 1.2GHz Dual-core CPU and Coated in Honeycomb

Samsung has just unveiled a rather unexpected addition to its fleet of tablets, with the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus. Available in both 16GB and 32GB varieties, this new slate is fueled by a 1.2GHz dual-core CPU, runs Android 3.2 Honeycomb and features a seven-inch LCD with 1024 x 600 resolution. It also packs a two megapixel front-facing camera, along with a three megapixel shooter that supports 720p video, boasts 1GB of RAM and ships with Sammy's TouchWiz UI baked-in. 

In terms of connectivity, you'll find support for quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, 3G with 21Mbps HSPA and the usual smattering of Bluetooth 3.0 and GPS capabilities. In addition, this little guy offers WiFi 802.11, along with support for channel bonding and apt-X Codec for Bluetooth. Pricing has yet to be announced, but the 7.0 Plus is slated to hit Indonesia and Austria by the end of October, before rolling out internationally. 

Sep 29, 2011

Chrome’s About to Knock Firefox to Third Place

Internet Explorer, the old, fat, mad king of the online kingdom still reigns uncontested. But beneath him, a power struggle between Chrome and Firefox, the latter of which has clung to the number two spot. But that's about to change.

According to internet stats firm StatCounter, Chrome's grown in use by 50%—and is on track to take the silver medal by December. StatCounter is just one company among many that do the exact same thing, so these figures aren't ironclad. But the trend definitely is—IE languishes, and Firefox hasn't done much to excite us in a while. Chrome, on the other hand, at least has Google beating its drum; a luxury afforded by, you know, being owned by megarich Google. The long term trend here—emphasis on long—is the gradual decline of IE. Eventually, I'd expect Firefox and Chrome to take the number one and two spots. It's just a matter of when, and who'll be the new king.

The Panasonic Lumix Phone 101P Might Not Suck at Being a Camera or a Phone

Oh Japan, why do you always get the coolest stuff first? This phone looks amazing. It's like a Panasonic Lumix camera and an Android phone had a baby. And it's waterproof?

This thing is going to pack a 13.2MP CMOS Lumix sensor. In case you don't know, the image sensors in Lumix cameras are pretty great. It's also going to have a 4-inch QHD LCD screen with 960×540 resolution and a 1Ghz TI OMAP4430 dual-core processor. It's waterproof, like all gadgets should be, it runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)

Traditionally, the cameras on phones have been not so great, and it's no wonder; trying to smash a camera into something as thin as a phone creates a ton of challenges and severely limits the size of the image sensor and the lens. No camera phone will ever replace your SLR, but if Panasonic gets this right, they might just be able to replace your point-and-shoot. As someone who hates having several large items in his pockets, I'm really rooting for them to knock this one out of the park.

No mention of pricing or if this will be available stateside (or anywhere outside of Japan).

Another Dead Satellite Is Blindly Plummeting to Earth

So apparently dead satellites blithely falling from the sky is a thing now. After last week's UARS debacle, the now-defunct German Roentgen Satellite (ROSAT) is scheduled tocrash to Earth in late October or early November.

The ROSAT was originally an X-Ray observatory developed by Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom and launched in 1990. Its design life was 18 months, but it functioned fully through 1994, and was only shut down for good in 1999. And now it's coming to kill us all.

For its part, the German Aerospace Agency promises to provide frequent updates, similar to NASA during the UARS scare. Though apparently the ROSAT's orbit means it could land anywhere from Canada to South America, which sounds totally reasonable and not at all incredibly horrifying. And the odds of its debris crushing a human being are a less optimistic 1-in-2000, compared to UARS's 1-in-3200.

The danger period is still a pretty wide window, so you certainly have time to get your affairs in order before you're crushed to death but a 2.4-ton molten German satellite.

Sep 28, 2011

Twitter Is Ready for iOS 5

We know Twitter will be integrated into the core of iOS 5. That's a big deal. So what is the SF startup doing to prepare for the onslaught of traffic they're sure to face? Well, nothing.

According to Twitter's VP of Engineering Michael Abbot, they're already pretty comfortable with the state of their current infrastructure, and feel like the upgrades and improvements they've made to their servers over the past year is built to handle any extra action iOS 5 will throw at it.
"During the last nine months, there's been more infrastructure changes at Twitter than there had been in the previous five years at the company," said Abbott, who joined Twitter in May 2010. "So that whether it be the death of bin Laden, or someone announces a pregnancy, we can handle those issues and you're not seeing a fail whale."

ASUS TOUGH 7-inch Wwater and Dust Resistant Honeycomb Tablet Lands in Japan

ASUS has revealed a new seven-inch tablet that's water and dust resistant -- perfect for a spot of bath-time browsing or... desert rallying. The ASUS TOUGH-ETBW11AA has rubberized bezel and strips across the back, contributing to the substantial 22.2mm profile, but that hefty frame can survive drops from the heady height of 76cm. Aside from its tough-guy credentials, there's a 1280 x 800 screen, five megapixel camera, Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz processor, WiMAX connection and the staple WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS medley. It comes with 16GB of well-protected storage, but there's room for more via microSD. For those seeking a slate that'll survive the bumps and scrapes of the business world -- and not look ridiculous -- it'll be available to enterprise customers of Japanese carrier KDDI this November.

Ferroelectric Transistor Memory Could run on 99 Percent Less Power Than Flash

We've been keeping an optimistic eye on the progress of Ferroelectric Random Access Memory (FeRAM) for a few years now, not least because it offers the tantalizing promise of 1.6GB/s read and write speeds and crazy data densities. But researchers at Purdue University reckon we've been looking in the wrong place this whole time: the real action is with their development of FeTRAM, which adds an all-important 'T' for 'Transistor'. Made by combining silicon nanowires with a ferroelectric polymer, Purdue's material holds onto its 0 or 1 polarity even after being read, whereas readouts from capacitor-based FeRAM are destructive. Although still at the experimental stage, this new type of memory could boost speeds while also reducing power consumption by 99 percent. Quick, somebody file a patent. Oh, they already did.

Sep 27, 2011

YouTube to Launch ‘Channels’ That Are Like TV Channels

Our favorite Internet place for watching the stars of tomorrow and the stars of yesterday is reportedly preparing to launch at least a dozen new channels in 2012. Unlike Vevo and other existing "channels" that offer whatever unscheduled clips, these new channels will be just like TV channels, with scheduled programs and, one hopes, seemingly endless commercial breaks. Apparently Google, which owns YouTube, wants to pull folks away from their televisions and toward their computer screens? As long as people are staring at some kind of screen, everything will be okay.

Where Were You When Google Was Born 13 Years Ago Today?

Anyone notice the party that is going on at Google's website today? In case you forgot, September 27th is the date Google chose for their birthday.

It's an arbitrary date selected in 2005 to celebrate Google's September milestones. Google first registered on September 15, 1997 and the company was incorporated on September 7, 1998. Instead of either one of those two dates, Google selected the 27th because they're Google and they can.

It's hard to believe the search engine is now officially entering the troubled teens.

The iPhone 5 Event Is Officially October 4th

Well, we pretty much knew it already, but now it's Super Apple Official: the next iPhone will show up on Tuesday, October 4th at Apple HQ.

It's a nice looking invitation, ain't it? The icons are perfect: the date is the date, of course, the Maps icon is where to show up (Apple's campus), the clock icon provides the time, (10 AM PST), and the phone icon? That, paired with "Let's talkiPhone" might be a clue that Assistant—Apple's rumored talk-control iOS feature—is going to take a big chunk of the spotlight. We'll see! Start saving your pennies—it could be on shelves only a couple weeks later.

Sep 26, 2011

T-Mobile reveals HTC Amaze 4G

Europe may be enjoying the Sensation XE, but today at Mobilize, T-Mobile's announced that it's getting the exclusive on HTC's Amaze 4G ($259.99 on a two-year contract), while also confirming the hardware whispers. With its 4.3-inch qHD screen and 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, it's one of the first smartphones able to connect to T-Mobile's upgraded 4G (HSPA+ 42Mbps) network and is the first HTC phone featuring an NFC chip.

Pushing its photography credentials, the Amaze 4G's eight megapixel shooter can record 1080p video, with a dedicated camera button (and even a direct-to-camcorder button) to make the most of the handset's promised "zero shutter lag." Its also got that backlit sensor found in its sibling, the myTouch 4G Slide. On the software side, it's running Android 2.3.4, coated in the inevitable Sense veneer and supporting the likes of HTC Watch and T-Mobile TV. Will it be enough to steal the network's king of Android crown away from the Galaxy S II when it ships October 12th? 

Fujitsu-Toshiba Unveils Waterproof Phone With 13 Megapixel CMOS Sensor

Toshiba may be bowing out of its mobile joint venture with Fujitsu, but not without bestowing this Gingerbread-munching flamingo upon the Japanese market. The Wimax-enabled Arrows Z ISW11F, unveiled today by Japan's KDDI au, is juiced by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, sports a 4.3-inch 1280 x 720 LCD and, most notably, rocks a 13 megapixel CMOS sensor. It also features a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera and supports 1080p video, along with your standard suite of 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities. Oh, and to top it all off, it's waterproof, too. No word yet on pricing, but KDDI plans to bring this bubblegum to the Japanese market sometime in November.

Samsung's Omnia W: Mango, 3.7-inch Super AMOLED, 1.4GHZ processor

Samsung just took the wraps off its Omnia W, which looks like a non-US variant of the Focus Flash. The handset will debut in Italy and start spreading across the Old World and Latin America from next month. It'll sport Windows Phone 7.5 out of the box, a 3.7-inch 800x480 Super AMOLED display, 1.4GHz processor, VGA webcam on the front and rear 5MP shooter with 720p video recording. Iit'll go head-to-head with HTC's 3.8-inch Radar when the War of the Mangoes finally kicks off.

Sep 25, 2011

Facebook Cookie Tracks Users Even When They’re Logged Out

It's no secret that Facebook and privacy have had some issues. Take today, for example. Thanks to a modified cookie, Facebook knows where you are online—even when you're not logged into Facebook.

So says hacker Nik Cubrilovic anyway, after he discovered during a series of tests that Facebook alters its tracking cookie code the moment you log out, instead of deleting them. Then, when a user being tracked in this manner heads to a web site that contains a Facebook button or widget, the browser continues to send "personally identifiable information" back to Facebook.

"With my browser logged out of Facebook, whenever I visit any page with a Facebook like button, or share button, or any other widget, the information, including my account ID, is still being sent to Facebook," Cubrilovic wrote in a blog post describing the find today. More here.

eT-shirt From Spain Looks After Your Heart

Spain -- the land of pasión, jamón ibérico and flamenco is throwing a stylish solución towards themedical community's way. Researchers at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid have created an intelligent eT-shirt (looks more like a tank top to us) for biomonitoring of hospital patients. The wearable, washable chaleco is embedded with electrodes that monitor its wearer's vitals, and a removable thermometer and accelerometer for the collection of temperature and positioning data. A separate in-pocket GPS dongle is also used to locate individuals "within a two-meter margin of error," but the team plans to incorporate this localizer directly into the shirt in future iterations. Tested at the Cardiology unit of Madrid's Hospital Universitario La Paz, the collaborative LOBIN (Locating & Biomonitoring by means of Wireless Networks in Hospitals) project prototype could help reduce in-patient stays, delivering SMS alerts to off-site, connected medical staffs. No word on whether this'll be offered in S, M, L or XL, but hey, at least that black is slimming. ¿Hablas español?

DNA Proves Your Fancy Suit Isn’t a Fake

Wool from Yorkshire in Northern England is so fabulous that bad guys want to counterfeit it. So wool merchants are shooting it up with proprietary DNA to prove it's the real thing. Applied DNA Sciences provides the anti-counterfeiting service, which involves a proprietary method of injecting the fabric with a unique botanical DNA during manufacturing.

The Huddersfield, UK Textile Centre of Excellence is coordinating the effort to get wool merchants on board with the anti-counterfeiting effort. It's incumbent upon individual wool-purveyors to insert the DNA into their wool. The Center of Excellence has installed a forensic lab to analyze company's woolens and give its stamp of approval. So far participating companies include Dormeuil, Taylor and Lodge, and Holland and Sherry, among others, which supply fabric to some of the fanciest designers around the world including Duncan Quinn and Tom Ford, who made Daniel Craig's suits for Quantum of Solace .

Applied DNA Sciences has sold similar programs to Supima cotton, the wine industry, electronics manufacturers and law enforcement.

Sep 24, 2011

How Steve Jobs Ruined Comics

Before the iPhone, "This image would clearly be understood without the voice balloon, or the character's open mouth," says cartoonist Tom Pappalardo, who jokes that Steve Jobs ruined comics.

It's kind of cool to read comics on the iPad, but Apple's shiny gadgets have wreaked havoc on how the people who create those comics tell their stories. After the cartoonist realized that drawing newfangled devices presented new problems for explaining what was happening in comics panels, he grabbed a sketchpad and started to collect his thoughts. What resulted was a series of panels he put in a blog post titled "Cartooning vs. Technology: How Steve Jobs Ruined Comics."

It's a smart and funny read, but the 37-year-old graphic designer and author of weekly web comic The Optimist said he hopes it's understood he meant no disrespect to Jobs himself, or Apple's products.

"As devices get smaller and feature less exterior detail, more overt context and visual cues need to be provided by the artist/writer to explain what the device is," Pappalardo said in an e-mail to "I think Steve Jobs is responsible for the creation of beautiful, wonderfully refined objects (the title of my blog post is hopefully read with tongue firmly in cheek)."

Pappalardo's panels don't target just Apple devices - Bluetooth headsets and giant flat-screen TVs are also up for discussion. Throughout, he addresses an interesting problem. In a medium built entirely around flat visuals, it is pretty hard to figure out how one square slab (an iPhone) can be differentiated from another (an electric shaver). More here.

Microsoft Patents Modular Windows Phone with Swappable Batteries, Keyboard, and Gamepad

We've seen slider phones with speakers, gamepads, and of course, the standard keypad -- but what if you want to swap out your slider accessory for something new? A new patent from Microsoft is exploring the possibility, showing off a concept smartphone with a sliding modular bay. Tired of that keyboard? Replace it with a gamepad, or a life-giving battery pack. According to the patent claims, some of the modular components would even function wirelessly, citing a touchscreen module which doubles as a wireless handset or a media remote.

NASA’s Satellite Crashes In the Pacific Ocean

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite that has been befuddling NASA scientists with its unpredictable reentry path has finally fallen back to Earth. We... just don't know where yet exactly. But you're safe to look up now.

According to NASA, the satellite penetrated the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean between 11:23 p.m. and 1:09 a.m. last night, making it likely that it's floating out in open water somewhere. As expected, most of the 20-year-old, 12,500 pound satellite probably burned up upon reentry. It's a wonderful the send off, too. The UARS was launched in September 1991 as part of a mission with the just-decommissioned Space Shuttle Discovery. It measured ozone and chemical levels in our atmosphere until 2005, when the Bush administration pulled the plug on it.

And now it's home. It must have been quite the light show. The Christian Science Monitor reports that debris fell over Okotoks, Canada late last night. No one was hurt. Also, people from Maui all the way out to Florida report having seen the metal debris burn up in the night sky.

Sep 23, 2011

Scientists Design A Magnetic Cloaking Device

Scientists from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona designed a magnetic cloak that'll both shield an object from an outside magnetic field and prevent an internal one from leaking out. It's an antimagnet and it'll have various military and medical applications.

The antimagnet uses a superconducting material that blocks the internal magnetic field of an object and several dampening layers to block the effect of the superconductor on the external magnetic field. Sounds complicated, and it is, but it could save your life some day.

Take, for example, a person with a pacemaker who needs an MRI. The magnetic field of the MRI would damage the pacemaker and potentially harm the patient. Likewise, the pacemaker's metal would interfere with the MRI's magnetic field and throw off the machine's results. A magnetic cloak could potentially negate these effects and let patients with a pacemaker receive a successful MRI scan.

It would also work to protect military ships from mines that detonate when they detect a magnetic field. If the magnetic field is cloaked, then the mines can't detect it and there's no devastating explosion.

The cloaking technology is in the design stage and will move into production so it can be tested in the real world.

Heads up! Space Junk Falling to Earth

There's no need to get too worked up about it, but you may want to keep an eye on the sky for the next day or so, just in case. NASA says the odds of a person getting hit by a piece of space debris is 1 in 3,200.

A U.S. research satellite is expected to plummet back to Earth sometime tomorrow and although much of the bus-sized satellite will burn up upon re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, about 26 significant-sized chunks are expected to remain.

"There is a lot of space junk out there and continually there are satellites and other pieces of space junk that are entering Earth's atmosphere," she says, adding that a piece of this size returns to Earth about once a year.

NASA's website states there have been no confirmed reports of injury or significant property damage due to falling satellites thus far. An Oklahoma woman was apparently hit on the shoulder by a small piece of a rocket in 1997, but was not hurt.

NASA says there are about 21,000 pieces of "orbital debris" - man-made objects in orbit which serve no useful purpose - that are larger than 10 centimetres (four inches). It estimates there are about 500,000 pieces of space junk sized between one and 10 centimetres (0.4 and four inches) and probably tens of millions that are smaller than one centimetre (0.4 inches).

Since the space program started, about one piece of space junk falls to Earth each day. NASA predicts the 26 pieces of space junk expected to hit the Earth from this satellite will have a combined weight of 532 kilograms (1,173 pounds), the largest of which is expected to weigh 158 kilograms (348 pounds).

"You might expect there to be some damage if (a piece) fell on some property. It would probably damage it significantly,"

Given that, it would be nice to know if one should stay inside tomorrow or not, but not only is it difficult to predict the time the satellite debris will land, it's pretty well impossible to pinpoint with any accuracy where it will land.

"If there was a trajectory that this hunk of metal was travelling through and it was unimpeded, then we would be able to predict very well (where it will land), but there are all sorts of influences it may experience," Edwards says, including wind.

NASA expects the chunks will all land within 800 kilometres (500 miles) of each other - it's just not quite sure where that 800-kilometre stretch will be. Even within about two hours of the expected re-entry time, the best it will be able to do is predict within about 12,000 kilometres (7,500 miles) of the landing point.

In other words, if you happen to get hit by a piece of the landing satellite, you are very, very unlucky indeed. This particular satellite was launched in 1991, but was decommissioned in 2005.

In-app Purchasing Fail on iTunes is Starting to Bug Developers

In-app purchases via iTunes have apparently been failing in a big way for the last ten hours and app creators who depend on this heavily taxed income are getting antsy. The problem may be connected to fake purchase receipts getting into the system. Whatever the cause, developers are "losing lots of sales" for apps that use receipt verification and is "threatening to more-or-less take down the entire IAP ecosystem." Seeing as Apple insists on this being the only route for in-app purchasing, they'd better fix it pretty darned quick.

Sep 22, 2011

UK Gets First Hydrogen Refueling Station

UK-based treehuggers can bust out the internet high fives now. Merry ol' Swindon just got the British isles' first ever commercial hydrogen refueling station. Part of a collaborative effort between industrial gas company BOC (which built and maintains the pumps), the Forward Swindon economic initiative and Honda, owners can roll their clean energy machines into the automaker's manufacturing lot for a fill-up.

BOC's hoping the experience, which reportedly looks and functions much like a traditional gas station, will serve as an example of the private - public partnerships required to rollout infrastructure for alternative energy adoption. So, it's good news for the fuel cell-equipped handful of you cruising about Swindon town, or just passing through on a 'round the world tour.

You Can Test Drive a Bionic Hand Without Actually Losing Your Hand

Bionics are an amazing technology that most of us will hopefully never have to use. But being able to move a robot hand with your brain is incredibly cool, and Touch Bionics' new Virtu-LIMB lets you try a bionic hand without "installing" it.

Virtu-limb works with either the i-LIMB Ultra—the update to the really awesome i-LIMB—or with some custom software that renders the hand's actions in real time. It works by gathering the same myoelectric signals that the bionic limb would normally gather from a patient, but routing it through a computer instead of a surgically attached limb.

The test drive feature has a few uses beyond just being a cool toy for nerdboys playing Terminator. It's good for helping determine which muscles are best suited to sending the prostheses myoelectric signals and helping to train patients to control muscle signals. And it can also be used by prospective patients before having the limb added. It's absolutely a really great technology, but I'm just wondering how long until some intrepid nerd tries it out and decides to replace a fully functional hand. More here.

Two Megapixel Mini-Camera Measures in at Under a Cubic Inch

Remember that one-inch Chobi Cam One spotted in Japan earlier this year? Well, its tiny self has now reappeared on US shores, ready to be lost in a sofa or coat pocket near you. Unimaginatively titled "The World's Smallest Camera," it's priced at $99.95 and packs a petite, two megapixel autofocus sensor capable of recording VGA video. Resembling a Lego Man's DSLR, storage is done on a microSD card, though you're more likely to run out of battery juice than space -- the battery will give a maximum of 30 minutes use from one hour's charge. "The world's smallest" are words we hear a lot at Engadget, and we're inclined to agree with CNET that JTT's previous camera, the Chobi Cam, is actually smaller by volume. The Chobi Cam One arrived with extra detachable lenses, but there's no word yet on whether these add-ons will appear in Hammacher Sclemmer's online store -- not that we really want to be lugging around a whole bunch of tiny lenses with us. Get it here.

Sep 21, 2011

Facebook May Let You Listen To Music With Your Friends

A Facebook employee accidentally spilled the beans on an upcoming "Listen With Your Friend" feature that could launch as part of Facebook's new Music service.

According to the now deleted tweet, when a friend is listening to a track, you'll be able to join them and listen to the same song at the same time. It'll be like sharing headphones over the Internet, but only better since it's on Facebook.

Windows 8 ditches '80s BIOS boot for streamline UEFI

Every time we reboot our computers, that scrolling code takes us right back to the days of War Gamesand Tab. Bringing us into the 21st century, Microsoft has decided to ditch the old boot by beautifying the whole experience with a graphical menu. Windows 8 will replace the standard fugly BIOS system with a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) -- giving users a high resolution logo and a graphical menu to gaze upon while powering up their PC. Besides just looking better, the menu lets you boot to a different disc, OS or USB drive using pretty pictures and words as prompts. If you're into a little self-inflicted eye torture, you can always pull up the command prompt menu from nightmares past.

Everything You Need to Know About the Facebook Update

You might have noticed that Facebook changed last night. Inline photos are a little bigger, the top bar a little blockier, and a news ticker now rests in the upper-righthand corner for real-time updates.

This latest flurry of updates caps off a steady flow of tweaks over the past few weeks. You now subscribe to your friends' updates as you would an RSS feeds. You can subscribe to people you're not even friends with. You can organize friend groups by type (in Google+ fashion), not just for chat purposes. And you also have more on-the-fly control over who does and doesn't see your wall posts. All of these features come together to make Facebook feel different, even if it's fundamentally unchanged at its core.

Apple to Hold Media Event on October 4th, Tim Cook to Unveil iPhone 5

Apple's next big media event will be held on October 4th, where freshly minted CEO Tim Cook is expected to unveil the iPhone 5. Sources close to the situation say Cook will be the main presenter at the event, with execs Phil Schiller, Scott Forstall and Eddy Cue playing supporting roles. 

This would mark the first time that Cook has actually led an Apple event, adding an extra wrinkle of significance to an already highly anticipated occasion. The site's sources went on to say that the next-gen iPhone will be available for purchase "within a few weeks" of the announcement, though All Things Digital acknowledges that the exact date of its unveiling is still subject to change.

Sep 20, 2011

Researchers Convert Soundwaves Into Electromagnetic Rnergy

Researchers in Japan and Germany have converted energy from soundwaves into electromagnetic energy, trapping a magnetic "spin current" between metal layers. In the experiment, when sound waves are directed at an interface between the thin metal layer and magnetic material, electrical signals are generated at a pair of electrodes attached above. When the soundwaves reach the magnetic material, this creates a spin current that gets picked up by three layers of metal. This is where the exercise class-sounding reverse spin Hall effect kicks in, transforming it into an electrical voltage.

At the moment, the project is looking into materials that are able to eke out more voltage from the process -- perhaps a few years later screaming at our phones will give their batteries a boost?

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play 4G ready at AT&T for $50

Just over four months after the unique device hit Verizon stores, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play 4G has now made it past AT&T's front door and onto shelves nationwide. The unique factor on this particular version of the "PlayStation Phone" is the inclusion of 14.4Mbps HSPA+ -- with enhanced backhaul, naturally -- and will be the first PlayStation-Certified smartphone on AT&T's network. At $50, the pricing is certainly competitive since it ships with Android 2.3.3, a 1GHz single-core CPU, Adreno 205 GPU, 4-inch 854 x 480 display, and seven pre-loaded games.

Sep 19, 2011

Can Bird Poop Really Crack Your Car’s Windshield?

It's one of life's great mysteries: how much damage can bird poop falling at terminal velocity really do? Rhett Allain, Wired's resident physics guy, did us all a kindness and set his equations on this serious and pressing matter, originally raised by a Car Talk caller.

The answer? Maaaaybe, if it was an especially large avian dump and had some debris in it. But I'm nowhere near smart enough to know if he's right or not. Click through for the math and headache and general feeling of insignificance. More here.

Facebook Photo Library Dwarfs Everything Else on the Planet

Check out the gigantic volume of photos now stored in Facebook compared to Flickr, the Library of Congress and Instagram. I knew they were big, but I never imagined the difference could be so huge. 140 billion photos! It defies belief.

It's 10,000 times larger than the photo catalog in the Library of Congress! And Flickr, which I erroneously thought would be larger than anything else, is just a tiny fraction of Facebook.

Digital cameras are now ubiquitous – it is estimated that 2.5 billion people in the world today have a digital camera. If the average person snaps 150 photos this year that would be a staggering 375 billion photos. That might sound implausible but this year people will upload over 70 billion photos to Facebook, suggesting around 20% of all photos this year will end up there. Already Facebook's photo collection has a staggering 140 billion photos, that's over 10,000 times larger than the Library of Congress.

According to 1000memories, so far humanity has taken 3.5 trillion. Right now, "every 2 minutes today we snap as many photos as the whole of humanity took in the 1800s."

Maybe someday someone would do something incredibly useful with them, like monitoring the state of mind of the whole planet by analyzing the expressions and landscapes of all these photos.

Researchers Use Wireless Network to Monitor Breathing, Could Save Lives

When Neal Patwari and his team of researchers developed a wireless network capable of seeing through walls, everybody assumed they were simply looking to cultivate their Alastor Moody-like superpowers. Turns out, they had far more important things on their minds. Patwari and his colleagues at the University of Utah have now penned a new study in which they demonstrate how their motion detecting technology could be used to monitor breathing patterns, as well, potentially enabling doctors to keep closer track of patients with sleep apnea or babies susceptible to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). To do this, he reclined on a hospital bed and surrounded himself with 20 wireless transceivers operating at a frequency of 2.4GHz, as pictured above. He then timed his breathing at about 15 breaths per minute (the average rate for a resting adult), which he measured with his array of nodes and a carbon dioxide monitor. The engineer ultimately found that his system's algorithm could accurately measure respiration within 0.4 to 0.2 breaths per minute -- a relatively low error rate, since most monitors round off to the nearest full breath. He says this development could offer a non-invasive and low-cost alternative to the devices used in most hospitals, and hopes to implement his technology into at-home baby monitors, as well. He acknowledges, however, that it will likely take at least five years before any of that happens -- so don't hold your breath.

Sep 18, 2011

Facebook Music Will Incorporate Rhapsody, Deezer, and SoundCloud

Three new names appear to have been confirmed for Facebook's upcoming music launch: Rhapsody, Deezer, and SoundCloud. All the evidence was floating around in each of the service's HTML. I suppose we're officially counting iTunes out, then?

Did a White iPhone 4S Just Pop up in AT&T's System?

Judging from the clandestine screenshot you see above, it most certainly seems like that's the case. From AT&T's internal system, listing the "iPhone 4s White" beneath a handful of already familiar Apple handsets. Could it be? Is Cupertino actually planning on bringing a white version of its next iPhone out at launch? Only time will tell.

Sep 17, 2011

Does Google’s Own CEO Even Use Google+ Anymore?

Here you see Larry Page's public Google+ page. And that he hasn't updated it in a month. Now, granted, he could very well be having a Plus Party for his Circles in there, but given the recent drop in public activity... Not a good look.

Targus to Rrelease new WiFi PAN-equipped Laser Mouse this September

Back in 2008, Ozmo Devices paired up with Intel to get its WiFi PAN (WiFi Personal Area Network) tech into low-power devices. Fast-forward to a few years later, tack on a new partnership with Targus and get ready for the first of those Bluetooth-less peripherals to hit the market. The company's new accessory teammate is planning to rollout a line of WiFi Laser mice that incorporate the OZMO2000 chip, with the first mouse to hit sometime this September. The unreleased AMW58US model will connect directly to your computer's WiFi receiver and packs a four-way scroll wheel, laser sensor and compatibility for Windows 7 -- batteries included. There's no pre-order page available at the moment, so you'll just have to sit tight and wait it out.

Sep 16, 2011

Skype Now Lets You Chat With Facebook Friends and See Your Wall

The latest version of Skype for Mac allows you to chat directly with your Facebook friends, hopefully bringing you a better user experience than other chat system. It also allows you to see your wall and your friends.

I wish this happened more often, because I'm tired of having to deal with so many ways to communicate with my friends and family. Imagine a world in which every single instant messaging, voice and visual communication system operated between each other, regardless of the company who owns the system. Or imagine the same in reverse: a world where you couldn't call someone's cellphone because they were in a different network. This is stupid.

This Shape-Shifting Sofa

love sofas. I love them for siestas, for reading, for playing games, for eating breakfast by the window, for cunnilingus and other fun activities. Sofas are one of my favorite things. And the Cay Sofa looks like a dream.

Created by Alexander Rehn by dividing surfaces and linking them through ingeniously placed hinges, the sofa adapts to the different positions of your body, embracing it. That's what I like about it, because I like to change positions for all the things above. No motors, no buttons. Just simply clever design. More here.

Why Do We Use The Term Cellular Phone Instead of Mobile Phone?

If I asked you about your phone, would you call it a cell phone or a mobile phone? Does it really matter what you say or is one term more appropriate than the other?

The world cellular, as it describes phone technology, was used by engineers Douglas H. Ring and W. Rae Young at Bell Labs. They diagrammed a network of wireless towers into what they called a cellular layout. Cellular was the chosen term because each tower and its coverage map looked like a biological cell. Eventually, phones that operated on this type of wireless network were called cellular phones.

The term mobile phone predates its cellular counterpart. The first mobile phone call was placed in 1946 over Bell System's Mobile telephone service, a closed radiotelephone system. And the first commercial mobile phones were installed cars in the 1970s.

Eventually, the two names, mobile phone and cellular phone, became synonymous, especially here in the US. But some people disagree with that usage. They consider the term "cellular phone" to be a misnomer because the phone is not cellular, the network is. The phone is a mobile phone and it operates on a cellular network. So what do you think, is this just splitting hairs or do we need to be more careful about what we call our phones?

Sep 15, 2011

Is This the Best New Look at the iPhone 5?

There's been prior evidence—and this might be more: a leaked screen protector and possibly-revealing case.

BGR spied the leaked case accessory, which briefly made an appearance on Case-Mate before they yanked it down. Oh, and is that an aluminum back I spy? I hope so.

In addition to the case, an allegedly-real iPhone 5 screen protector appeared in the wild. Unearthed by Hong Kong tech site, the screen film also backs up the expectedly-widened home button. The dimensional difference looks to be the same illustrated by the leaked case from earlier in the month. We'll find out for sure soon! Very, very soon.

Google Loads up on IP Again, buys 1,000 More Patents From IBM

Seems like we've heard this story before -- Google buys a bunch of patents to protect its cute little green baby from all the big, bad patent lawsuits. Only this time, instead of buying a hardware manufacturer to expand its patent warchest, team Mountain View merely purchased 1,023 bits of IP from IBM. 

Covering everything from a method for filling holes in printed wiring boards to a method for file system management, Google seems to have grabbed quite the eclectic collection -- one we're sure Big G will put to work for itself and its buddies in no time. Those looking to see the full results of this latest patent shopping spree can see more here.

Windows Phones Aaren't Selling Very Well

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer was his usual frank self when he met financial analysts yesterday, admitting that the world isn't yet as keen on Windows Phone as he'd hoped. To be precise, 

Steve Ballmer: "We haven't sold quite as many as I would have liked in the first year." His cunning plan? Well, that's easy: make it all Nokia's problem. Or, as he put it: "With Nokia we have a dedicated hardware partner that is all-in on Windows Phones." Indeed, the Finnish manufacturer has now staked far more than Microsoft on the success of this "third ecosystem" and, if its imminent Mango handsets fail to turn things around, we may eventually see Stephen Elop standing behind that silent cash register.

Sep 14, 2011

Exercise Headphones Designed to Stay Put

When it comes to headphones built to stay put when you're exercising there's plenty of products that look hardcore but are just annoying. Polk's new UltraFit3000 headphones might just be the the most thoughtfully designed I've seen.

Like other old school speaker companies Polk has decided to make the jump from wooden boxes to headphones. I like that idea, because Polk's awesome sound shouldn't be confined to home theaters and stereos. Detailed specs aren't yet available, but I'd expect these to sound amazing. What is really going to set these apart for exercise addicts is the attention to function. The over-ear hook is pliable and made of a moldable rubbery material so that they will sit securely on your ear. Get them here.

Windows 8’s Blue Screen of Death Is Like a Sad Girl Texting You

If you decided to install the Developer Preview of Windows 8 last night, you may have run into this little screen. It's good to see Microsoft making even the worst of user experiences... friendlier? But now I'm laughing AND kind of depressed.

It's ok, Windows 8 tablet. Shh shh. It's gonna be ok.

SanDisk's Memory Vault Will Store Your Photos Longer Than Anyone Cares

According to a survey commissioned by SanDisk, family photos are the first thing people would save in a house fire, after relatives and pets. This ruggedized flash drive contains proprietary Chronolock memory management technology that has been subjected to "accelerated temperature cycling tests" to prove it can preserve data uncorrupted for up to 100 years. Maybe the product is a boon to future generations, or maybe it's just a way of convincing people to spend $90 on 16GB of storage instead of picking up a Corsair Flash Survivor for $35. 

Sep 13, 2011

Logitech’s Wireless Touchpad Is a Magic Trackpad for Windows

You might be one of those people who find the old mouse and keyboard standbys inadequate. Quaint, even! Maybe you embrace touch as the future of computer interfaces. You might envy the Magic Trackpad, but lack a mac. Envy not!

The Logitech Wireless Touchpad doesn't quite have the same pizazz in form or name, but looks like it could at least replicate someof the functionality of OS X's stroke-able pad. At 5 inches across, it's got pretty much the same surface area as its magic Apple brother and supports up to four fingers at a time, though lacks the Bluetooth beaming and, very frustratingly, OS X support. Why not throw it in there and give Apple some competition? Logitech's mice are a hell of a lot better than anything Apple makes—it could very well be the same for this desk swiper too. Get it here.