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Antenna selection and implementation

July 25, 2012 4:20 pm | by Chris Anderson – Chief Solutions Technologist, Spectrum Design Solutions, www.spectrumdsi.com | Blogs | Comments

The antenna has the single largest impact on the performance of any Telit radio implementation, whether it‘s cellular, GPS or short range. It can be very difficult for developers without the proper tools and experience to select and implement an antenna properly. Antenna performance is influenced by conductive and absorptive system elements like

What’s the deal with Apple’s environmental policy?

July 16, 2012 8:44 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

You may have heard that Apple recently asked environmental watchdog EPEAT to remove 39 of its products from its registry and informed the organization it will no longer submit its computers for testing. It seems like an odd request, considering Apple helped create EPEAT in 2006 along with the government and several other big computer players.

Private subway cars: The personal luxury of today

July 13, 2012 10:05 am | by Clara Ennist, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Pininfarina, the Italian automaker, has come up with a solution to long commutes and rude passengers on the subway with its Personal Rapid Transit Vehicle.

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Who is minding the Fourth Amendment gate?

July 13, 2012 9:33 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

For all the cool and exciting features that our smart phones provide, it’s easy to forget that these pocket-sized computers/entertainment centers aren’t always as liberating as they seem – and I’m not just talking about the burdens that come with the data plans. Recently, Rep. Edward J. Markey, co-chairman of the Bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, requested the 2011 surveillance records from the nation’s cellular carriers.

The future of mobile computers is rugged

July 12, 2012 9:12 am | by Jerker Hellström, CEO, Handheld Group | Blogs | Comments

We are going through a radical shift in the way people work and use computers. Increasing availability and affordability of wireless broadband is giving the global workforce true mobility, for the first time in history. Many of them will use smartly designed mobile rugged computers for their everyday computing and communication needs, instead of traditional laptops.

I put my finger on it

July 12, 2012 8:52 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

Way back in the Dark Ages (the late '70s) I was troubleshooting a military radio that had a phase locked loop (PLL) BFO. I couldn't get it to lock properly. The previous version of the loop worked fine, but the new layout was noisy. I was called in as a consultant because the regulars at the company had worked for six months on the problem and were unable to resolve it.

A plea from the trenches: Common sense in the supply chain

July 10, 2012 9:54 am | by George "Jr" Thompson, Strategic Supply Chain Manager | Blogs | Comments

I recently read a report that the Department of Defense received over 80,000 counterfeit components from a now-defunct Shenzhen-based broker named "Hong Dark Electronics." After reading this, I felt two things: amusement and terror. I felt amusement that the DoD has been authorizing purchases from a Shenzhen-based broker (and in turn receiving various types of counterfeit components)...

Multicore will, multicore will, ROCK YOU!

July 9, 2012 4:36 pm | by Juergen Mathes, Texas Instruments | Blogs | Comments

We all know why we use multicore processors. And we all know there are a multitude of ideas out there on the best way to make use of multicore architectures. Some will succeed, while others might not. That's not hard to predict, right? So let's have a look into the crystal ball. Will we have multicore powered coffee machines? How about multicore powered vacuum cleaners?

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The Norton Report: Addressing ergonomics and repetitive motion injuries in manufacturing

July 5, 2012 11:39 am | by Jim Norton, President, Custom Products & Services, Inc., www.customproducts.com | Blogs | Comments

In today’s manufacturing environment, ergonomics and repetitive motion injuries are major issues that every business must address to insure production levels remain at expected levels and employee injuries remain as infrequent as possible.  Although many of the hand assembly processes have been replaced with automated equipment over the past 20 years, there is still a surprising number of

The first “Code of Conduct” for UAVs

July 3, 2012 11:50 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

A trade group has written the first "Code of Conduct" related to unmanned aerial vehicles. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), which boasts more than 7,000 members across 60 countries, released its treatise in response to growing privacy concerns toward domestic UAV usage.

Mobile payment apps: Good for the seller, good for the buyer

July 2, 2012 4:35 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

A few months ago, I was buying a large photograph for my dad at a Christmas market in Bethlehem, PA. When it came time to pay, the vendor gave me the “cash or credit” option.  Intrigued by the lack of a credit card machine and rarity of having the credit option at a craft show, I went for my card. The vendor whipped out his iPad, swiped the card through a Square card reader attachment...

What happened to transflective displays?

June 29, 2012 9:40 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

The most notable feature of this year’s SID Display Week was what wasn’t there: transflective displays. Sure, they were somewhere, tucked away in a corner or hidden in plain sight. But no one was talking about them anymore. Their conspicuous absence was underscored by their ubiquitous presence at the last two Display Weeks. So why did transflective displays abruptly disappear?

Why Canon should kill its mixed reality glasses product

June 27, 2012 8:48 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Canon is debuting their Mixed Reality Glasses—just in case you suddenly have the desire to totally throw off your entire vestibular system and sense of reality. You know, like at a fun weekend party. The goggles fall somewhere between Google Glass and RED Classic ViewMaster 3D Viewer and Collector Reel. If you’re still not experiencing a vivid mental image, they look awful, heavy, and awkward...

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How many moving companies do I need for my multicore performance?

June 26, 2012 8:41 am | by Atul Verma, Texas Instruments | Blogs | Comments

Suppose you are moving out of your house and you call a moving company to help. The moving company then sends a truck and couple of strong guys to do the heavy lifting. Let’s say it takes eight hours for this set of movers to pack all of the contents of your house into boxes and load the truck. The question is – if you were to call eight moving companies (cores), would they together be able to complete the move in one hour?

Fitness monitors: Moving beyond glorified pedometers to maximize performance

June 25, 2012 4:28 pm | by Clara Ennist, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Most people overestimate the calories they burn during workouts and underestimate the calories they consume. Even as a longtime ballet dancer and avid devotee of Bikram yoga and Pilates, I too have been guilty of the occasional post-workout overindulgence. Online information, while helpful for a rough estimate of calories burned, is often incorrect or misleading.

6 must-have apps for a stress-free summer

June 22, 2012 8:51 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Between the heat, the busy weekends, and the school-free kids, summer can be more stressful than stress-free. Don’t worry, like every problem these days, there’s an app for that. For the sake of sanity, we’ve compiled a list of the best apps to keep your summer from feeling like a punishment. Nothing kills a day at the beach like an unexpected, hostile Facebook message from your mom...

Why I won’t trade my iPad for a Windows tablet

June 21, 2012 9:13 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

When Microsoft announced their not-so-secret news that they were releasing a tablet on Monday, it didn’t really take anyone by surprise. It was only a matter of time before the big-name competitor delivered a platform for Windows 8. For the sake of full disclosure, I am an Apple fan(atic). I haven’t owned a non-mac computer in years—after watching every single Dell laptop crash in college...

Getting kitted up

June 19, 2012 10:48 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

If you are interested in going into the kit business, Jameco has a service for you. The process for getting your kit made is simple. You submit your kit idea to their forum and if it gets enough votes Jameco will go into production with your design. Kind of like Kickstarter. They are partial to parts in the Jameco catalog of course, but it is not a requirement.

Kickstarter: Helpful website or project killer?

June 18, 2012 10:46 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

It seems innovative technology often gets stuck in the dark chasm that exists between a great idea and a final product. Between skyrocketing production costs, the difficulties of marketing on a limited budget, and unexpected hiccups, some projects never get off the ground. Kickstarter, a crowd-sourced funding website where inventors raise enough to manufacture their product, seems like the perfect solution to technological limbo.

Rugbeer: Tackling technology in advertising

June 15, 2012 8:45 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Have you ever had a vending machine eat your dollar while you stand, helpless, as it destroys your dream of a tasty afternoon snack? Honestly, who hasn’t wanted to tackle a vending machine at least once? Here’s your chance. Following in the footsteps of Coca-Cola’s Hug Machine, Ogilvy+Mather public relations has taken creative advertising to an entirely different level.

Does advertising kill technology?

June 13, 2012 8:48 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

It’s something we hear a lot: “The [xyz] technology sounds amazing; too bad the advertisers are going  to ruin it.” For example, Google Glass. A seemingly exciting and ambitious piece of technology -- until you realize it means having involuntary, interactive advertising experiences one inch from your eye all day.

Few uses for iPhone battery life extender Third Rail

June 12, 2012 1:06 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

iPhone road-warriors have several power options: They can moderate their usage (yeah, right), carry a charger, or tote a back-up battery system. Third Rail Mobility has an elegant product that, while limited in application, serves as a great back-up power source.

Hacking space

June 12, 2012 9:22 am | by M. Simon | Blogs | Comments

Brent at Talk-Polywell (a nuclear fusion board) left a link there to a list of Maker/Hacker spaces involved in developing equipment for use in space. Here is the list: Hackers In Space. Let me add that it is not just an American phenomenon. One of the spaces on the list is in China. They are focusing on food production in limited spaces.

Alternatives to fan-cooled power supplies

June 7, 2012 10:57 am | by David Norton, TDK-Lambda Americas | Blogs | Comments

The majority of power supplies in the mid to high power range require forced air-cooling when operated within a defined ambient air temperature range. Forced air-cooling is achieved either by fans that come as part of the power supply or by fans provided within the system or end-product.

The seven deadly counterfeit cable sins

June 7, 2012 10:32 am | by David Fallon & David Gallagher, L-com | Blogs | Comments

Counterfeit cables are bulk cables or cable assemblies sold under false pretenses to undercut legitimate manufacturers. Unscrupulous sellers have found many ways to cut costs, but at a price. If you get a low bid for your next cable buy, check these factors to make sure you are getting what you are paying for.

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