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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 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...

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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.

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...

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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.

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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.

Losing the space race ex post facto

April 26, 2012 11:27 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The United States is conceding the space race...43 years after winning it. The Space Shuttle's ignominious retirement closes the door on an engineering marvel and an American institution. And the public didn’t bat an eyelash. How did we get to this point? How did space travel become blasé? When Neil Armstrong took one small step for (a) man, half a billion people tuned in around the world.  

The human price point for electronics

April 16, 2012 9:51 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

“Americans will buy American products when they’re willing to pay for American work.” Those words came from one of my PR contacts a couple of years ago as we discussed bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. While a return to those standards seems light years away, a more pertinent question we should ask ourselves is “what price are we willing to pay to reclaim our humanity?”

New rumors of smaller Apple tablet continue to surface

April 5, 2012 5:42 am | by Ron M. Seidel, Editorial Intern | Articles | Comments

Stories about an “iPad mini” started receiving attention March 13 when 9to5Mac posted a link to a Korea Times report in which an unnamed Samsung official told the newspaper that Apple will be building a 7.85-inch version of the iPad utilizing Samsung displays.

Design with your eyes on the road

March 21, 2012 6:57 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

The other day, I received a press release from a company that announced plans to apply its technology to the automotive space. The memo cited research from Strategic Analytics which predicts a 10 percent compound annual growth rate in the market for the next five years.

It’s been fun

February 17, 2012 9:49 am | by Alix Paultre | Articles | Comments

This is the last column I’ll write as an editor and journalist...at least for now, as I’m moving on to another job where I will continue to serve the electronic design industry. Since joining this publishing group five years ago, I have had a fantastic time working with a great team...

CES 2012: Microsoft goes out with a whimper

January 16, 2012 8:29 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor, Special thanks to ECN's photographer, Andrew Maiman | Articles | Comments

For a company that changed the world with its PC operating systems and dominated CES for over a decade, Microsoft left a mute impression in its swan song at the world’s largest consumer electronics show. Even the star power of American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest

Deconstruct to Construct

January 5, 2012 3:58 am | by Alix Paultre, Editor in Chief | Articles | Comments

Reverse-engineering something may be used mostly to copy someone else’s work, but it can also be used as a thought exercise to aid original design. The exercise of taking a system apart to see how it works also applies to the creative process to better serve application areas, improve subsystem design, and create new processes.

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