Archive for March, 2011

Google. Bitten by Apple?

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

“Playtime is over in Android Land. Over the last couple of months Google has reached out to the major carriers and device makers backing its mobile operating system with a message: There will be no more willy-nilly tweaks to the software. No more partnerships formed outside of Google’s purview.

From now on, companies hoping to receive early access to Google’s most up-to-date software will need approval of their plans. And they will seek that approval from Andy Rubin, the head of Google’s Android group.

This is the new reality described by about a dozen executives working at key companies in the Android ecosystem. Some of those affected include LG, Toshiba, Samsung, and even Facebook, which has been trying to develop an Android device.

There have been enough run-ins to trigger complaints with the Justice Dept., according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Google that once welcomed all comers to help get its mobile software off the ground has become far more discriminating—especially for companies that want to include Google services such as search and maps on their hardware.”

Plan for a Crash. Have a Happy World Backup Day!

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

“More and more, the fragments of your life exist as particles on a disk mounted inside your computer—disks susceptible to temperature changes, power surges, fire, theft, static, and just plain wear and tear. Hard drives fail. It’s a fact of computing life. It’s not a matter of whether your computer’s disk will stop working; it’s a matter of when. The question is how much it will disrupt your life—and it won’t, if you have a backup copy.

Backing up your data is the dullest but most indispensable thing you do on your computer. Here’s how to automate regular backups for your computer, both on-site (to an external hard drive or another computer), and off-site (to the internet). This system can even email you if something goes wrong, so it’s the ultimate set-it-and-forget-it situation. After you get this up and running, you’ll never have to worry about losing data again.”

Hack You iPad to get Wireless HD Video Mirroring

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

“Teachers and corporate presenters alike begged Apple for video mirroring capabilities for the iPad, and the company delivered the feature in the iPad 2. Apple’s solution still leaves users tied to a cord, however, so two employees at networking service provider Straight Up Technologies developed a simple hack to give their client wireless HDMI output and freedom of movement while sharing the iPad’s screen.

The iPad 2 can mirror its display in 1080p HDMI video over the new Digital AV Adapter, which plugs into a Dock connector and has an HDMI port on the other side. For some presenters, being chained to a cable isn’t much of an issue, but teachers in particular have told Ars that one important advantage of using iPads in the classroom over laptops is the ability to walk around the classroom and interact more directly with all the students in the room.”

The Best Apps for Android, iPhone, iPad and WP7

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Gizmodo’s Casey Chan has come up with a list of his choice of best apps of all four popular mobile platforms. Just take your pick…

Making Automobiles from Bananas

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

“Researchers are going bananas in the quest to build cleaner, greener cars.

Brazilian scientists have developed a way of using fibers from bananas, pineapples and other plants to create plastic that is stronger and lighter than the petroleum-based stuff. So-called nanocellulose fibers rival Kevlar in strength but are renewable, and the researchers believe they could be widely used within a couple of years.

“The properties of these plastics are incredible,” Alcides Leão, a researcher at Sao Paulo State University, said in a statement. “They are light, but very strong — 30 percent lighter and three to four times stronger.”

That could reduce the weight of new vehicles, which would increase fuel economy. Several automakers are cutting weight in their campaigns to maximize mpg. Ford, for example, hopes to trim 250 to 750 pounds from its vehicles and is exploring nanotechnology to do so.

Beyond being lighter and stronger, Leão says nanocellulosic plastic is more resistant to heat, gasoline and water. He sees it being used for dashboards, bumpers and some body panels.”

First Photo of Mercury from it’s Orbit

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

“NASA on Tuesday released an image of Mercury captured by its Messenger spacecraft – the first ever obtained from the planet’s orbit.

The first image came in at 5:20am Eastern yesterday, and over the next six hours, Messenger captured an additional 363 images, which are still being transmitted to the Messenger team on Earth. In the next three days, the spacecraft will capture another 1,185 images, with the goal of snapping 75,000 over the next year.

The bottom of the image, meanwhile, is near Mercury’s south pole and includes a region not previously seen by spacecraft, NASA said.

Messenger successfully achieved orbit around Mercury at 9pm Eastern on March 17, the first time a spacecraft has accomplished this feat. The spacecraft’s instruments were activated on March 23 and the primary science phase will begin on April 4.”

Dousing Flames with Electricity

March 30, 2011 Leave a comment

“It’s certainly an established fact that electricity can cause fires, but today a group of Harvard scientists presented their research on the use of electricity for fighting fires.

In a presentation at the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, Dr. Ludovico Cademartiri told of how they used a unique device to shoot beams of electricity at an open flame over one foot tall.

Almost immediately, he said, the flame was extinguished.

On a larger scale, such a system would minimize the amount of water that needed to be sprayed into burning buildings, both saving water and limiting water damage to those buildings.”