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Fun facts about manufacturing files

October 4, 2013 6:56 pm | by Screaming Circuits | Comments

Circuit boards live and die by their manufacturing files. Without complete and accurate information, the board fab house can't fab the boards, the assembly house can't assemble your boards and nobody can buy the parts. Our old standard, the Gerber file, has been around since about the time King Arthur pulled the inductor out of the solder pot. It's old.

This dating website caters to ghosts

October 4, 2013 10:08 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

Who says being dead has to kill your love life? Yes, a dating website actually caters to ghosts, because of course it does....and no, this isn’t a joke (at least in the sense that the website actually exists). The Internet’s limitless potential for putting the sum total of humanity’s accumulated knowledge at a keystroke has the incidental effect of uniting lonely singles who prefer niche preferences, but ethereal spirits? That’s a new one.

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Can software save Moore's Law?

October 3, 2013 4:49 pm | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Comments

I came across this short video, Can Software Save Moore's Law?, when looking for videos on programming. I like the presenter's take on the next frontier in computing. Efficient software. Back in the early days of computing, software engineers needed to understand computers well because the computing resources were so limited that you had to know the hardware well to make the best use of it.

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Why the iPhone 5s makes me nauseous

October 3, 2013 4:43 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

For a girl who loves her Apple products, I’ve generally been pretty un-opinionated about the iOS 7. I’ve heard some complaints about the size of the app icons and other curmudgeonly complaints as everyone slowly updates. My favorite—and most frequently heard—complaint is actually that they changed the color of some of the app icons and now no one can find anything.

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Top 10 must-see stories for September

October 3, 2013 3:30 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

Here’s a rundown of the most read, most popular, most awesome articles on the web. Take a look at what you missed the first time around or check up on an old favorite to see the conversation in the comments. Keep checking out the Lead at www.ecnmag.com and follow us on Twitter @ecnonline for our most up-to-date articles.

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The Dangers of ESD

October 3, 2013 9:51 am | by Screaming Circuits | Comments

Question: What do a conductive floor, foot grounding straps, conductive work smocks, wrist ground straps, foot grounding testers, ESD training, bench-top grounding monitors, anti-static bags, anti-static boxes, grounded carts, anti-static attitudes, conductive desk mats and grounded tools have in common?...

This office-training parody will make you nostalgic for the '80s

October 1, 2013 2:50 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

Ah, the ‘80s ... the Cold War was winding down, Arnold Schwarzenegger was terminating box office receipts, and hokey office-training videos were at their peak. Grasshopper – a company that provides entrepreneurs with virtual phone systems – captured all that and more in their parody/viral marketing campaign, the “Epic 80s Entrepreneur Training Video.”

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California Internet “erase” button for teens faces not-so-minor hurdles

September 30, 2013 10:26 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Comments

On September 23, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law requiring all web sites to have an “eraser” button for users under 18 to delete their posts (SB 658). I couldn’t agree more that teens (and adults) posting damaging information about themselves and others is a

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PCB Assembly Parts Kit

September 27, 2013 7:07 pm | by Screaming Circuits | Comments

Watch and see what's important when putting together your parts kit Duane Benson Who's on first? I don't know. PCB Assembly

This drone will make sure you’re never lost again

September 27, 2013 12:10 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

You know that moment when you’re walking around say, a college campus, and suddenly realize you’re horribly lost and all the buildings of ivy-covered bricks look exactly the same? Yeah, me neither, but apparently it happens a lot at MIT because they’ve developed a drone to make sure you’re always on the right path.

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Watch a sniper rifle obliterate an iPhone 5S

September 26, 2013 1:41 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

Some people have waaaaaaaay too much money to burn. Take, for example, this guy, who likes to film himself destroying popular consumer devices with high-powered rifles. His latest victim: a Gold iPhone 5S, which he annihilates with a Barrett M82A1 .50 sniper rifle.

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Check out dogs frolicking in "Bullet Time"

September 25, 2013 12:07 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

If this doesn’t warm your heart, then I’d check your pulse. Remember that cool “Bullet Time” visual effect from The Matrix (and about a dozen other movies and video games since)? A handful of amateur filmmakers used the technique to film dogs at play, and it’s every bit as delightful as it sounds.

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Surrender your smartphone, save 10% off your bill

September 24, 2013 3:02 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Comments

In this week’s episode of 'Getting People to Stop Acting Like Jerks and Start Acting Like Human Beings', a restaurant in Beirut has decided they’re going to start bribing customers to put down the smartphone and interact with actual people at the actual table.

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How-to guide to hosting your own website

September 23, 2013 1:54 pm | by Tom Gordon, Contributor | Comments

There’s nothing like setting up your own web server and staking out your own little piece of the internet.  When I decided it was time to stop paying for somebody else to host our neighborhood website, a friend suggested looking into the Pogoplug personal cloud server as a possible hardware platform. 

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Photos of the Day: Senator concerned about Apple's fingerprint tech

September 23, 2013 8:53 am | by BREE FOWLER, AP Technology Writer | Comments

Sen. Al Franken is asking Apple for more clarity on privacy and security concerns he has with its use of fingerprint recognition technology in the new iPhone 5S. The iPhone 5S, which went on sale Friday, includes a fingerprint sensor that lets users tap the phone's home button to unlock their phone, rather than enter a four-digit passcode.

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