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Stores are tracking your every move

February 14, 2013 2:11 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

When you walk into a store, you basically expect that you’re going to be recorded on a security video and surreptitiously watched by sales associates lest you decide to steal anything. But did you ever stop to think what information the store is gleaning from your cell?

Iranian clown car flies ... with the help of Photoshop

February 14, 2013 11:06 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Take that, free world! For all you naysayers out there who thought Iran’s clown car, er ... stealth fighter ... smelled a bit fishy, the Islamic Republic has the ultimate retort: a badly-Photoshopped image of the Qaher-313 set against stock photo #3.

Large-scale free WiFi is still a dream worth pursuing

February 13, 2013 3:34 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

Sometimes, it seems our nation no longer aspires to great things. These days our astronauts hitch rides to the International Space Station on Soviet spacecraft, and just recently, the U.S. Postal Service — once the envy of the world — announced its intention to eliminate Saturday mail service.

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What Walter Cronkite thought 2001 would look like

February 12, 2013 3:41 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

Predictions about future technology are always interesting. Sometimes, the prediction is pretty mainstream, like a mobile phone. Other times they’re a little more ambitious. I’m still waiting for my flying car. But one thing is always guaranteed: Predictions about the future are always fun to watch decades later — particularly if they star Mr. Walter Cronkite.

America's growing minerals deficit

February 11, 2013 5:10 pm | by Daniel McGroarty | Blogs | Comments

After every election, there's a mad scramble in Washington over the must-make-it-happen agenda for the newly inaugurated president and Congress. There are welcome signs from the White House's own Material Genome Initiative that securing America's access to critical metals and minerals will be high on the list.

This device punishes you for skipping a workout

February 11, 2013 2:50 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

We’ve all done it. You come home from a long day at the office. Sit down on the couch to watch a little Walking Dead. You feel a little guilty that you haven’t hit the gym or gone for a run, but you figure no one will know. But then your television set turns itself off, then your phone goes down, then your iPad, and then your reading lamp switches off and leaves you in the dark.

Preserving Holocaust stories through 3D technology

February 8, 2013 1:06 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

It seems that a few groups consistently struggle with how to incorporate and use new technology in a manner that is both appropriate and effective for their brand. They often fall short and take advantage of the “next big thing” only to find it doesn’t work or hasn’t been adopted by enough of the public to make a difference. 

Power: Less is more for 2013

February 7, 2013 3:10 pm | by Bryon Moyer, Mouser Electronics | Mouser Electronics | Blogs | Comments

Power has come of age as a defining parameter in electronic systems. Whether maximizing battery life, keeping an enclosure cool, or passing large currents more efficiently, projects now start with power in mind. In 2013, we will see the continued migration of power technologies from research to commercial availability.

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Automotive electronics in 2013 and beyond: Batteries bear a burden

February 7, 2013 2:58 pm | by David Carey, Mouser Electronics | Mouser Electronics | Blogs | Comments

This year will see automotive electronics designers approach power management (PM) more like their mobile industry counterparts. While it may seem a fringe concern, the burgeoning security, convenience, connectivity, safety, and infotainment features of tomorrow’s vehicles will drive design and component choices that address standby power consumption.

Why your car is a better driver than you

February 7, 2013 2:06 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

It came to my attention while working on an article about intelligent systems in cars that people might be a tad touchy when it comes to talking about letting cars do the work when driving.  I’m not talking about infotainment systems or fancy doodads, I’m talking about systems that could greatly improve the safety of cars....

Is the atmosphere a giant steam engine?

February 7, 2013 11:40 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Blogs | Comments

As a former Naval Nuke, I was intrigued by a recent paper on climate. It looks at atmospheric circulation in terms of water vapor condensation. A steam engine if you will. The paper claims that winds are driven by the condensation of water vapor, and the resultant variations in local atmospheric pressure that the condensation causes.

Iranian "stealth fighter" looks like a clown car

February 7, 2013 11:09 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

So it turns out that the new Iranian stealth fighter may be as genuine as the Islamic Republic’s concern for human rights. The regime unveiled the jet, 'Qaher 313', on Saturday, and the blogosphere immediately went to work debunking what could be one of the laziest forgeries of all time.

Health care reform: Will the medical device tax harm the industry?

February 6, 2013 3:57 pm | by Sean Fenske, Editor-in-Chief, Medical Design Technology | Blogs | Comments

Obviously, the overwhelming majority of the industry is not in favor of the medical device tax associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare). There are the remote pockets of support within the industry where people say that the tax, as part of the whole picture, will be a positive.

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A new U.S. war: Restoring our competitiveness

February 6, 2013 3:26 pm | by Gordon Zuckerman | Blogs | Comments

If the United States economy is to restore itself to earlier levels of full employment, prosperity and financial soundness, the American manufacturing community must engage in a national effort to resurrect its global competitiveness.

FTC wanders down the wrong path

February 6, 2013 3:01 pm | by Andrew Berg, Senior Editor, Wireless Week | Blogs | Comments

Friday’s announcement of Path's settlement is illustrative of the way regulation works when you're trying to safeguard consumers from technology that the regulators themselves don't understand. It's also the way regulation works when you're trying to drum up press that illustrates how you catch the bad guys and make them pay.

SSLs see bright future in automotive platforms

February 6, 2013 2:43 pm | by Chris A. Ciufo, Mouser Electronics | Mouser Electronics | Blogs | Comments

The world is positively aglow with rapidly changing technology trends in solid state lighting (SSL) LEDs. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), costs dropped by a third in 2011 to about $12 per thousand lumens and will be on their way down to $2 per thousand lumens by 2015 (Strategies Unlimited, August 2012).

Automobile EDR data collection by the Government must include safeguards

February 6, 2013 10:34 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

In December, The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a proposal that would require automakers to equip all light vehicles with event data recorders (EDRs) that capture information in the moments before and after a wreck similar to the way they are used to study airline crash.

Telepresence robots: Always on call

February 6, 2013 9:26 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

These words from a medical-alert pendant commercial became a humorous catchphrase in pop culture during the 1990s, but Mrs. Fletcher’s plea carries a lot of weight to those who are worried about the elderly or others in need of medical care but without a means of communicating to medical professionals or caregivers.

Will 12V solar disappear in 2013?

February 5, 2013 3:08 pm | by Jon Gabay, Mouser Electronics | Mouser Electronics | Blogs | Comments

The established solar architecture based on 12V photovoltaic panels, batteries, charge controllers, and inverters will continue to give way to grid-tied inverter architectures. This approach to harvesting solar energy brings with it a lot of key benefits.

Online sales tax is immoral, runs contrary to the free markets

February 5, 2013 2:54 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The central fallacy with crony capitalism is that it ignores the invisible hand of the free marketplace. This is precisely what the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) is doing with their support for "e-fairness" legislation (i.e., an Internet sales tax).

Mars or bust

February 5, 2013 9:10 am | by David Mantey, Executive Editor, PD&D | Blogs | Comments

Could you go to Mars? Sacrifice everything; friends, family, and (possibly) future in order to be one of the first colonists on the red planet? Maybe if you were the first to plant a boot print in the dusty red sand, you would have some sort of historical notoriety....

Wireless networking in 2013

February 4, 2013 4:57 pm | by Jack Shandle, Mouser Electronics | Mouser Electronics | Blogs | Comments

The outlook for wireless networking keeps getting brighter as more devices — some as large as automobiles — become connected. Megatrends also drive wireless growth with the single most important being the conversion of electricity grids into Smart Grids, which in turn creates markets for smart meters and smart homes.

Top 10 posts for January

February 1, 2013 12:41 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Blogs | Comments

We had a record-breaking January here at ECN online with our most trafficked month in the history of the website. So, without further delay, 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.

Enfeebled F-35 could impede military readiness

January 31, 2013 3:15 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Picture a Swiss Army Knife with a blunted knife, rusty screwdriver, and a broken can opener. That’s what the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has become — a jack of all trades and master of none. The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) has — over the course of a highly tumultuous development period that personifies the phrase "requirements creep" — become the poster child for bloated government programs.

Boeing’s 787 battery eggs: All in one lithium basket

January 31, 2013 11:13 am | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Blogs | Comments

Excuse the tortured metaphor, but the old advice about not putting all your eggs in one basket applies to engineering as well as to other fields.  The implication is that if the basket with all your eggs slips and falls, you’ve lost everything.  Boeing hasn’t lost everything, but the battery troubles besetting its new 787 Dreamliner could not have come at a worse time.

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