Author Archives: Kevin Fubar


Toshiba Resistive Multi-touch from Embedded World

Toshiba Resistive Multi-touch from Embedded World

By now we're all used to multi touch capacitive displays where the slightest brush of our fingers can zoom and pan the application. At Embedded World in Nuremburg, Toshiba showed off their prototype of a Resistive Multi-touch display using an ARM Cortex-M3 micro-controller. Most people don't have any problems with just using a capacitive screen, but in industrial and medical applications it's often necessary for the users to wear gloves, negating the benefit of capacitive screens. Resistive screens are also much less expensive than their same-sized capacitive counterparts, and are often more durable. Toshiba will have the ability to market this technology to touchscreen markets from ATM's to Point of Sale registers and beyond.

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Netflix and Linux Don’t Play Well Together

Netflix and Linux Don’t Play Well Together

I just signed up for Netflix for the first time. I know, I'm way past the freshmeat boat on that one, but I never wanted it for anything until last week. Much to my chagrin, I went to instant-play and found that Linux wasn't a supported operating system. Most of the time these days, when a website says such a thing it's not really that big of a deal. There's often some kind of "do it anyway" link to click on. After spending a couple of minutes looking for such an option, I didn't find it. I turned to the interweb to see if anyone else had run into this issue and to see if there were some workarounds available. I started doing a little digging and found out about this sordid story involving Microsoft's Silverlight, Novell's open source Moonlight, and Digital Rights Management.

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Ancient Astronomical Calculator Reconstructed

Ancient Astronomical Calculator Reconstructed

Michael T. Wright, a former curator at the Science Museum in London, reconstructed a model of an ancient astronomical calculator named the Antikythera Mechanism. It gets it's name from the Greek island where it was found. For fifty years after it was recovered by a sponge diver in 1902, researchers had no clue as to it's possible function. By that time the ravages of two thousand years of being at the bottom of the ocean took it's toll through the effects of corrosion and mineral deposits. It wasn't until HP took reflectance imaging scans of the device there became clear enough picture to construct a working model. Wright's reconstructed model has the capability to predict the yearly motion of the sun, moon, and five planets, and is also a calendar.

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Intel Executive Anand Chandrasekher Resigns

Intel Executive Anand Chandrasekher Resigns

Anand Chandrasekher, the senior vice president and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group (UMG), was the driving force behind the Atom and Centrino Atom low power CPU's. He will be replaced by VP's Mike Bell and Dave Whalen, who will be co-leading the group in Chandrasekher's absence. Intel's site says about the UMG,"This group is responsible for low power Intel® Architecture products, ultra-mobile PC's, mobile internet devices, smart mobile and hand-held market segments." Intel's announcement noted that Chandrasekher would be leaving the company to pursue other opportunities after a long run at the company. He's been with Intel since 1988.

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eVolo 2011 Skyscraper Competition

eVolo 2011 Skyscraper Competition

Moving forward into the 21st century is going to take some significant changes in the way we build our cities, both here in the US, and worldwide. eVolo is an architecture and design journal focused on the sustainable designs that are going to drive this whole century. They've been running a skyscraper design competition since 2006. They recently released the results of this year's competition. French architects took home the first and second place prizes. Atelier CMJN's team Julien Combes and Gaël Brulé took home the first place prize for their LO2P. This huge circular structure features biogas producing greenhouses, massive air filtration, and will be built-from-recycled-cars. Yoann Mescam, Paul-Eric Schirr-Bonnans, and Xavier Schirr-Bonnans won the second place for their ingenious Flat Tower dome design. Yheu-Shen Chua from the United Kingdom took home the bronze for his re-imagined Hoover Dam.

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Supermoon Tonight

Supermoon Tonight

Tonight it's a Saturday night. It's going to be beautiful tonight. Huge moons everywhere. I mean, sometimes the moon might seem big because it's low on the horizon and there's a tree in the way or something, but that just doesn't even hold a candle to what's going on tonight. It's what's called the perigee of the moon's elliptical orbit. That's an antonym of apogee. But I digress, the perigee is the point in the moon's orbit where it's closest to the earth. That's tonight, and it's pretty much going to be a full moon. Technically, it's not going to quite be a full moon here in the Northern Hemisphere, but what are ya gonna do?

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Larry Page, Google’s “New” CEO

Larry Page, Google’s “New” CEO

Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded the company in 2000 as a hot startup, but Google isn't a startup anymore. It's a company with more than 24,000 employees and billions of dollars in revenue. Page and Brin founded the company after their project search engine named BackRub ended up being better than anything else out there. With the core product renamed Google Search Engine, they began to build the company we think of today. After ten years of working with Eric Schmitt, formerly Novell CEO, Page is ready to take the lead spot.

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Microsoft Research: Medical Imaging Search Engine

Microsoft Research: Medical Imaging Search Engine

Right now, we're living in a world where we look at more computer generated imagery than anything else. Doctors are reaching a critical point where the amount of medical imagery generated during something like a routine CT scan is daunting to navigate. Kenju Suzuki at the University of Chicago says, "As medical imaging has advanced, so many images are produced that there is a kind of information overload. The workload has grown a lot." Antonio Criminisi leads a group at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, U.K. working on a system that will make it easier for doctors to work with databases of medical imagery. The system indexes the images generated during the scans. It automatically recognizes organs, and they are working to train the system to detect certain kinds of brain tumors.

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Google almost tapped Jobs as CEO in 2000

Google almost tapped Jobs as CEO in 2000

Back before Google owned almost everything on the internet, in 2000, they were building the base of their Mountain View operation. Their venture capitalist backers decided that they needed "adult supervision". John Doerr came in and arranged a number of meetings for Google's co-founders Larry Page and Serge Brin. The goal? Google's new CEO. The pair met with Intel's Andry Grove, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, and others. Page and Brin turned all of these guys down. Why? Because they had one person they wanted to lead their new company, Steve Jobs.

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Corning – A Day Made of Glass

Corning – A Day Made of Glass

Gorilla Glass is a common component in today's smartphones and tablets. If you have an iPhone 4 or one of Samsung's Galaxy S you're already enjoying the benefits of Corning's scratch and impact resistant glass. Corning has been working in glass and ceramics materials since 1851. They recently released this short video showcasing dozens of conceptual future uses for various types of electronically integrated glass panels. Corning's vision for the future of these multifunction panels features everything from hand-held touch reactive displays (modeled after the iPhone) to built in architectural display panels in everything from the bathroom mirror to kitchen counters to the entire dash of your car.

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iPad 1 Price Drops at AT&T

iPad 1 Price Drops at AT&T

The iPad was already one of the most compelling tablets available. AT&T just sweetened the pot by dropping the price of their 3G capable models by another hundred bucks beyond what they already discounted. The company is offering the 64GB model with Wi-Fi and 3G support for $529, that's more than 30% off of the price at launch. The $529 price was being used for the 32GB model, but apparently AT&T doesn't mind losing a little off of their bottom line. The 16GB model is being offered for a $429. How long are these deals going to last? Not long, with the release of the successor, the supplies of the original are dwindling at best. If you were looking for an iPad with AT&T, now is the time to buy.

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Kinect bringing sight to the blind, sorta.

Kinect bringing sight to the blind, sorta.

Some graduate students at Universität Konstanz in Germany put together a project based on Microsoft's popular Kinect system. Instead of using the system as a gaming controller, they take the Infrared camera's visual data from a helmet mounted Kinect and uses it to relay audio instructions through a wireless headset. This could possibly give the blind warnings about obstructions and directions at a larger distance than the current white cane and/or seeing eye dog system in popular use today. They call it the NAVI, Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired.

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