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Internet sales tax could foster anti-business climate

August 14, 2012 10:44 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

The prospect of an Internet sales tax has hung over the head of e-commerce like the Sword of Damocles. It’s the boogeyman that threatens to pull the World Wide Web into the stone age of brick-and-mortar. But the ugly rumors may finally be true. A bill under consideration in the Senate would impose an Internet sales tax and amend any “competitive” disparity. Prepare to spend a lot more for your online purchases.

NI deploys LabVIEW and CompactRIO in wake of Fukushima nuclear disaster

August 8, 2012 10:19 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

One of the more unique applications of National Instruments’ LabVIEW design platform was its recent deployment during the Fukushima nuclear disaster. In conjunction with Kyoto University, NI created the Kyoto University RAdiation MApping (KURAMA) system, which measured gamma rays in the Fukushima Prefecture. At NI Week 2012, I learned more about this intriguing development.

Not for green technology, but for country

August 3, 2012 3:16 pm | by Clara Ennist, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

When building better weapons, a focus on green technology is untenable; rather, weapons need to be accurate, cost effective, and pose the least harm to US soldiers. How “green” a weapon is can be an unintended, positive consequence. Enter the Navy’s Electromagnetic Rail Gun (EMRG) with guided munitions.

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Enough with the Twitter Olympics

July 31, 2012 3:38 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

It’s official, people: Twitter has taken over the Olympics. Yes, we all know about Ryan Loche and Michael Phelps. Even the Queen’s granddaughter (a silver medalist) is popping up in the Olympic news, but let’s focus on what’s important during this competition: Twitter. It seems for every story you read about the craziness of antiquated gymnastic rules and disappointing defeats, there is a story about Twitter.

Full steam ahead for the Navy’s controversial “Great Green Fleet”

July 30, 2012 4:43 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

The Navy has embarked on an ambitious green energy program, which could cost upwards of $2 billion per year. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus must convince a skeptical Congress, Senate, and public that investing in pricey alternative fuels — in the midst of the worst recession in decades — will reap dividends. 

Why YouTube should remain anonymous

July 27, 2012 9:45 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Anyone who has ever spent any time on YouTube reading the comments is familiar with—as Slate calls it-- the “abandon all hope ye who enter here” atmosphere of the community. When you dare scroll down past the episode of Hogan’s Heroes you’ve been watching, you’ll find all manner of misogynistic, racist, homophobic, anti-liberal, anti-conservative, anti-religion...

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.

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.

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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...

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.

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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...

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.

Less time commuting, less time polluting

June 6, 2012 4:20 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

If you’ve ever commuted, at some point you’ve probably felt like you’re spending more time stuck in traffic than at your desk. A team of students in Germany is trying to shorten your commute, and limit the amount of emissions released into the atmosphere by your car while you’re stuck in traffic. The project, called Greenway, is a GPS with the ability to access a cloud containing real-time traffic information.

When life gives you lemons, make a touchpad

June 4, 2012 10:33 am | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

The MaKey MaKey, designed by  MIT Media Lab PhD students Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, is a circuit board that turns everyday objects into touchpads which can interact with your computer.  The idea was to create an easy-to-use inventor’s kit that would let from a creative child to savvy grandma be an inventor. First, pick two objects that you want to use as the touchpad.

Elimination of handset subsidies would represent tectonic shift

June 1, 2012 4:36 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

Mobile-phone subsidies may go the way of the rotary dial if an audacious plan by Telefonica and Vodafone bears fruit. The telecom giants are using Spain as the testing grounds for an experiment that could irrevocably change the relationship between consumers and mobile-service providers.

Is Google Glass too ambitious?

May 31, 2012 3:00 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

Google recently announced a new product called “Project Glass” out of super-secret Google[x] Lab. The idea behind the project is creating light-weight augmented—reality glasses that allow the user to access apps, information, messages, texts and basically anything else available on a smart phone without the bulky interface.

Technology for technology’s sake

May 29, 2012 12:33 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

It has been done a thousand times, in museums, government buildings and schools: ancient, lumbering institutions using technology in an attempt to become cutting-edge—and falling flat in the process. We’re not talking about the smart-grid, which shows great potential for consumers and governments alike, or even smart boards, which take education to a different level.

A look inside The Idea Factory

May 18, 2012 4:44 pm | Articles | Comments

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work in an environment where new ideas are allowed to develop and flow freely — not just as some empty policy or even a company with a “20 percent time” program as made famous by Google — but a real wellspring where ideas and innovation is the raison d'être?

The ZigBee impact

May 16, 2012 3:44 pm | by Janine E. Mooney, Editor | Articles | Comments

Your home and office contain a host of technologies working to improve the way you live. From monitoring energy intake and usage, to controlling your appliances and lighting, ZigBee is a protocol that is changing the way we live – and in some cases, we don’t even realize it.

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