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Karma’s a you-know-what: Feds disinvited to hacker conference

July 11, 2013 4:49 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The marriage of convenience (some might say a temporary truce) between Feds and hackers – organized at the annual DEF CON conference – simply couldn’t survive in our current geopolitical environment. And the hackers want a divorce – the Feds will not be at DEF CON this year.

Accurate clocking

July 11, 2013 2:55 pm | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

I'm interested in time and frequency. In order to generate accurate time ticks you need accurate clocks. Cell phones are a major user of accurate clocks. And vibrating quartz has been the standard for such clocks for a very long time. But there is a new kid on the block. Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) oscillators made by Silicon Labs.

Self-healing circuits: A living immune system for ICs

July 10, 2013 4:08 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

One of the challenges of working with integrated circuits is as designers try to make ICs faster, the transistors become smaller and can’t handle as much voltage and the amount of variation grows. Plus, a single fault in the IC could mean a useless chip, bringing projects and products to sudden jarring halt.

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Secret courts enable electronic surveillance

July 10, 2013 1:57 pm | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

We now know - due to some intrepid leakers - that Big Brother is watching just about everything that can be electronically monitored. It is commonly accepted that this watching is a result of the Patriot Act. But there is something that predates the Patriot Act that is the real enabler - Secret courts.

Princess or engineer: What will your daughter be?

July 10, 2013 11:41 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Though we might not agree on the reasons why there is such a discrepancy between the percentage of women in the population and the percent who become engineers, we can all agree it’s not a good thing. At the end of the day whether it’s an issue of nature, nurture or a combination of the two, that can’t be the end of the discussion. The conversation needs to evolve to a place focused on addressing the issue.

Does voice-activated technology betray our sense of safety while driving?

July 9, 2013 2:39 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

There’s no end in sight to the tug of war between proponents of the connected car and those who want to curtail use of electronic devices for fear of distracted driving. The latest salvo from the safety side came in from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which in June released a study....

No girls allowed: "Nerd” stereotype means fewer female engineers

July 8, 2013 9:29 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

The Big Bang Theory — a television show that features four male scientists and engineers and an attractive blond waitress — is one of the top shows on TV. But a recent study has raised an interesting question: Does this show’s — and others like it's — depiction of what scientists and engineers look like actively discourage women from pursuing STEM degrees? According to the study, it might.

Connectors designed for SSD, wireless cards, ultraportable devices

July 2, 2013 2:54 pm | Product Releases | Comments

TE Connectivity (TE) launched a line of M.2 next-generation form factor (NGFF) connectors, which are designed using the new interface standard for a smaller form factor in both size and volume. Engineered for a wide range of applications, including SSDs (solid state drives) and wireless cards of all types for use in notebooks, ultraportable devices, tablets, desktops and servers, TE’s M.2 (NGFF) products meet both current and future market needs for slim solutions

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Big Brother is watching you ... and your car

July 2, 2013 12:13 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Do red-light traffic cameras reduce accidents? Save lives? Are they a boon to resource-strapped law enforcement agencies? A boondoggle? An invasion of privacy? With government surveillance – and the citizenry’s awareness thereof – at a fever pitch, this issue will only become more relevant ... and divisive.

Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #5 – “LEDs color-shift with time”

July 2, 2013 8:31 am | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

In the early days of white-emitting LEDs, the available chip packaging materials were ones developed decades earlier for use with red- and green-emitting devices. Unfortunately, when using those materials for blue-based white LEDs (blue LED + phosphors), unexpected problems arose.

Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #6 – “LEDs can't run hot”

July 1, 2013 12:03 pm | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

Standard incandescent lamps convert almost all the power they consume into radiation (basically, heat). Unfortunately, only about 5% of this emission is in the visible spectrum, making them very inefficient light sources. On the other hand, since almost all the power is radiated away, there is little need for thermal management.

Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #7 – “LEDs have high glare”

June 28, 2013 9:04 am | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

I’m standing in the taxi queue at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, having to squint ahead to gauge my wait. The cause of my discomfort: a horrible, blue-LED array-based outdoor luminaire ahead of me and above, spilling light in all directions and casting a putrid smear of yellow-green color against a nearby wall of the terminal, and directly into my eyes.

The technology (and driver) inside a winning Indy 500 car

June 27, 2013 4:28 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

When it comes to the racing world, electronics suppliers and distributors are often behind the scenes—or under the hood, as it were—rock stars. Sure, they’re the reason the engine runs or making sure the driver and crew are safe, but they’re very rarely front and center in the racing world. Unless, of course, you’re talking about Mouser’s sponsorship of Indy car driver Tony Kanaan ... then it’s all about being in front (literally.)

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The kill decision shouldn't belong to a robot

June 27, 2013 10:25 am | by Daniel Suarez, TED Talk | Videos | Comments

As a novelist, Daniel Suarez spins dystopian tales of the future. But on the TEDGlobal stage, he talks us through a real-life scenario we all need to know more about: the rise of autonomous robotic weapons of war. Advanced drones, automated weapons and AI-powered intelligence-gathering tools, he suggests, could take the decision to make war out of the hands of humans.

Drones: The new Cold War

June 27, 2013 9:03 am | by Chris Fox, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

I am a fan of not sending soldiers into battle, but I understand that wars still need to be fought (sometimes). Drones are a solution to that conundrum, firepower without the high risk for lives (on our side at least). Putting any ethics aside about drones killing civilians and the lack of a weight of responsibility...

This smoke-detecting phone dock could save your life

June 26, 2013 4:17 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

House fires are a serious, deadly problem. Death from fires and burns are the third leading cause of fatal home injury, according to the CDC. Every 169 minutes, someone dies in a fire and every 30 minutes, someone is injured. 

The most plausible Hollywood fictional gadgets

June 26, 2013 2:06 pm | by Darren Douglas, Contributor | Blogs | Comments

If we want our opinions to be easily influenced by something, watching movies is the solution. Movies are a form of art that is globally used for entertainment purposes. Science fiction films that exhibit unusual and odd actions and gadgets are the ones doing big businesses on the box office.

Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #8 – “LEDs are best left to China”

June 26, 2013 8:49 am | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

I have been in the LED business for almost twenty years, and each year I hear a comment along the lines of “LEDs are a commodity product”. What’s the definition of a commodity product? It’s one that is very cheap, undifferentiated, anybody can make it, and margins are low.

Inserts prevent accidental disconnection of plugs

June 24, 2013 1:22 pm | Tripp Lite | Product Releases | Comments

Tripp Lite has introduced PDU Plug-lock Inserts, a simple-to-use solution for preventing accidental disconnection of C20 and C14 plugs. IEC plugs are frequently loose-fitting and can be accidentally disconnected by even the slightest nudge or vibration, a likely event during routine network maintenance.

Tesla & the ethics of publicity

June 24, 2013 12:47 pm | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Blogs | Comments

A few weeks ago I mentioned that an eminently qualified historian of technology has written a biography of Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), the inventor of the eponymous Tesla coil, the induction motor, and numerous other ingenious contraptions. While Tesla has been the subject of numerous popular biographies and even a film or two...

1-pole matrices include 2Amp current rating, up to 60W hot switch power

June 24, 2013 10:11 am | Pickering Interfaces | Product Releases | Comments

Pickering Interfaces has expanded its range of 2Amp 1-Pole matrices with releases that include the highest density solutions available in PXI large matrix (BRIC) format. The 40-596, 40-597, and 40-598 are all BRIC 1-pole matrices with 2Amp current rating, up to 60W hot switch power and 100VDC/70VAC voltage rating – depending on the configuration....

Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #9 – “LEDs are expensive”

June 24, 2013 9:00 am | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

“Ten bucks for a light bulb?!”, exclaims my daughter in response to my estimate of the ‘tipping point’ price for LED-based lighting products for the residential consumer. She, like many consumers, has yet to internalize that the real cost of ‘inexpensive’ conventional light bulbs is energy consumption, and that LEDs pay back on this aspect right away.

Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #10 – “LEDs are dangerous”

June 21, 2013 2:06 pm | by Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa | Blogs | Comments

Any time a new, disruptive technology enters the public sphere, concern is raised about almost every conceivable aspect. This is especially the case for lighting wherein each and every one of us has a base of experience and, likely, some opinions. While it is certainly prudent to scrutinize any new technology from a health and use perspective...

Would you help fund a space telescope?

June 21, 2013 1:08 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

For most people, thinking about space isn’t a daily activity. Sure, there are random bursts of excitement like the Mars Rover landing or Canadian superstar astronaut Chris Hadfield and of course there are people—both amateur and professional—who make space their life, but in general, it’s not something we think about too much.  

Wire, vertical jumpers aim to extend functionality of select terminal blocks

June 21, 2013 10:29 am | Wago Corporation | Product Releases | Comments

New jumpers provide horizontal and vertical potential commoning for WAGO Corporation's Double-Deck TOPJOB S 2000 Series and X-COM S MINI 2020 Series DIN-rail terminal blocks. Users can vertically common both levels of a double-deck terminal block or multiply potential over several adjacent DIN-rail

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