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Digital or handwritten? The note-taking debate

February 3, 2014 3:42 pm | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

I was always that kid in school— the biggest nerd; the one whose notes were color-coded in shorthand only I could read. In college, everyone said taking notes on a laptop was superior. Recently, Princeton University teamed up with UCLA to test this scientifically, and the results are puzzling.

Is the iPod's end in sight?

January 31, 2014 2:48 pm | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

It used to be weird to meet someone who didn’t have an iPod. Now it’s weird to meet someone who does. Is this a sign? Apple’s iconic music player has been on the scene for thirteen years now, and it has seen at least as many makeovers. iPods were extremely popular when first released. Sales climbed steadily for much of their life, but various sources report the iPod’s imminent demise, now more than ever.

Just how bad are America’s infrastructure problems?

January 31, 2014 12:55 pm | by Mike Collins | Blogs | Comments

Ever since the financial industry pushed the economy over the cliff and into the Great Recession, there has been a debate about investing in rebuilding our infrastructure to create new jobs. But just what is infrastructure and how much of it needs to be repaired or replaced?

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The symbiotic relationship between editors and public relations

January 31, 2014 10:00 am | by Mark Shapiro, President, SRS Tech PR | Blogs | Comments

This kind of public relations is very different than the typical public relations strategies and campaigns used to promote restaurants, politicians, movies, appliances, or even high-tech consumer products like video games, phones, and apps. How do you promote the kinds of embedded electronic and industrial products and software that are never on sale at Frys or Home Depot?

The electronics industry does not stop in place, so let’s celebrate engineering excellence

January 31, 2014 9:50 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

The electronics industry does not stop in place. While changing times have affected industry awards and the nation is slowly shaking off its economic malaise, make no mistake that remarkable and innovative products and technology have been and continue to be unveiled all the time.

Single-cable solution offers cable lengths of up to 100 m

January 29, 2014 1:42 pm | Heidenhain Corp. | Product Releases | Comments

All motors normally need two separate cables: one for the motor speed encoder and the other for the motor power supply. With the Hybrid Motor Cable Project called HMC 6 from Heidenhain (Schaumburg, IL), the company has integrated the encoder lines into the power cable so now only one cable is needed between a synchronous motor and electrical cabinet.

Google makes strides toward true artificial intelligence

January 29, 2014 11:32 am | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

We all ask: Is the whole business of artificial intelligence indubitably creepy or sensationally cool? Google recently endorsed the “sensationally cool” side when they purchased a London startup called DeepMind, a company that strives to produce the best in artificial intelligence.

Would Edison approve of this monumental shift to LEDs?

January 29, 2014 10:45 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

According to NJ.com, the 118-foot tall tower in Edison, New Jersey, where Thomas Edison revolutionized the incandescent light bulb, which is topped by a 14-foot glass replica light bulb, will no longer be lit by an array of incandescent bulbs. Instead, when renovations are completed, the replica bulb will be lit by LEDs.

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Circular connector delivers 10 Gb ethernet performance in lightweight package

January 28, 2014 9:48 am | Product Releases | Comments

TE Connectivity announces its new CeeLok FAS-T nano circular connector, a nano-miniature, rugged I/O connector capable of meeting 10 gigabit Ethernet performance. The proven, noise-cancelling contact configuration minimizes crosstalk, making it ideal for a variety of markets and applications....

Apple responding to customer demands, or what on earth is a “Phablet"?

January 27, 2014 5:00 pm | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Where iPhones are concerned, Apple doesn’t have a history of listening to consumers. They have also ignored advances made by their competitors, like Samsung. Despite updates, customers are unhappy with iPhones, themselves. But that’s about to change.

The Simpsons skewers Google Glass

January 27, 2014 4:05 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

You know you’ve hit the big time when the Simpsons — the longest-running sitcom in American history — crack wise at your expense. Their latest target: Google Glass, *ahem*, “Oogle Goggles”. And the satire — of Google Glass, augmented reality, and the ironic disconnection from reality that being connected 24-7 brings — is spot-on.

Coin cell holders rise only 2mm above the PCB surface

January 27, 2014 1:26 pm | Keystone Electronics Corp. | Product Releases | Comments

When circuit board height is a critical design parameter, Keystone offers a solution with an ultra-low profile holder for the #2032 Lithium Coin Cells. These new holders rise only 2mm above the PCB surface and are ideal for retaining cells securely under shock and vibration in high-density applications for PCB requirements.

Death of the author or digital rebirth of reading?

January 27, 2014 1:13 pm | by Daniele DeAngelis Walker, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

How do we get kids of the digital age to read and write? As the proud holder of a degree in English, wide-eyed in my freshly graduated optimism, the thing that most irks me about this rapidly changing world is the fact that no one seems to want to read anymore.

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Robotic gas pumps mean more pleasant winters

January 24, 2014 3:54 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

For myself, and other residents of New Jersey, this isn’t really a big deal. I briefly flirted with the power of filling up my own tank (I actually thought it was kind of fun!) during my college years in upstate New York. However, New Yorkers are quick to remind us folks across the border of the luxury that is a full-service gas station. Well, here’s some good news for them and residents of the other 48 states that allow self-service....

Watch Steve Jobs introduce the very first Mac

January 24, 2014 2:08 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

I would like to personally wish a happy 30th birthday to the greatest computer of all time: the Mac. It was 30 years ago today (January 24th) that Steve Jobs revealed the first model. Though the design has changed a bit and the unit has slimmed down about 300 pounds, it’s important to remember the day the world changed.

Insulation displacement terminal blocks reduce connection time by 70%

January 24, 2014 1:20 pm | Automation Systems Interconnect (Asi) | Product Releases | Comments

Automation Systems Interconnect Inc. (ASI) is pleased to announce the release of DIN rail-mounted terminal blocks that use an extrusion technique to remove insulation on wires before connecting them to a control panel or manufacturing equipment. This is an excellent solution for a quick and safe connection of conductors....

This smartwatch predicts your death

January 24, 2014 1:15 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

That doesn’t sound morbid at all. At least it saves me the trouble of driving all the way to a psychic, right? The weird thing is that a lot of people can say these things without an ounce of sarcasm. The Tikker death-countdown watch hits the market this April, and thousands of people have already pre-ordered. People spending money on unnecessary tech items doesn’t surprise me anymore, but I think Tikker crosses a line.

NASA: 2013 sustains global warming trend (since 1880)

January 22, 2014 4:53 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Because I love the smell of controversy in the morning... NASA has once again stoked the climate change debate, calling 2013 the seventh warmest year on record since 1880. According to a report from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), 2013 tied 2009 and 2006 for that dubious honor....

Top flops from CES 2014

January 22, 2014 10:00 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

What’s the only thing dorkier than a Segway? That’s right — Google Glass. They look like the drunken lovechild of the Borg and Jean Claude Van Damme from Universal Soldier. So naturally, they littered the CES show floor like weeds, belying the user’s fashion sense, professionalism, and any semblance of self-respect.

Embedded Tech Trends update: Five reasons to choose MicroTCA over VPX for mil-aero apps

January 22, 2014 8:59 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

When you think of bus architectures that accommodate switched fabrics for military applications, VPX usually comes to mind. However, VPX isn’t necessarily the only choice for mil-aero. During one of today’s presentations at Embedded Tech Trends, Justin Moll, director of marketing for Las Vegas-based VadaTech which specializes in industrial and rugged computing products...

iPotty rots your child’s brain while he potty trains

January 21, 2014 10:13 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Or how to get your child to forever associate Apple with poop... No one likes using a toilet — especially not tykes. So why not add a little incentive? A reason to keep little Jane or Johnny firmly rooted on their keester. But a miniature version of something you’d find in a man cave? Not so much.

Embedded Tech Trends update: Three things to know about SMARC

January 21, 2014 8:59 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

I am attending the Embedded Tech Trends (ETT) conference this week in Phoenix, Arizona. It’s a chance for component, board and system level vendors to present the media with the latest technology, discuss industry trends, and to spend some one-on-one time with each member of the media.

How Boeing converted F-16s into unmanned aerial targets

January 17, 2014 4:45 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

Boeing test pilot Jason Clements goes through final flight checks in the cockpit of an F-16. He makes sure all his switches are set, the throttle is free and clear, and the lights are on. Clements does a final radio check, and the jet is ready for takeoff. He then steps out of the cockpit and closes the canopy via remote switch. The F-16 takes off with no human occupant. What in the world just happened?

3D-printed chocolate as a midnight snack

January 17, 2014 4:08 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

I’ve always wanted to turn my desk into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, and now I’m one step closer. A recent partnership between 3D systems and Hershey will make it easier to satisfy your strongest candy cravings. You don’t even need to leave the house. Hershey’s new chocolate 3D printer is a pretty sweet project (pun very much intended).

Wireless SCADA systems keep the trains rolling

January 17, 2014 10:06 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

Today’s commuter rail systems are still highly reliable, and on-time trains are the most visible evidence of that reliability. Yet, there’s a huge interconnected system of switches, substation and other equipment operating like clockwork to make...

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