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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.

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....

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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?

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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...

3D printer can make a house in one day

January 16, 2014 4:09 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

It sounds like an April Fool’s Day prank, but 3D printers have come a long way since the first models starting churning out little tchotchkes.  Nowadays we’re seeing 3D-printed (and functional) hearts, hands, and now houses. Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis at the University of Southern California wants to “scale up 3D-printing to building-scale” with the project “Contour Crafting.” We’re not talking about dollhouses, here.

CES 2014: The weird, strange, and unique

January 15, 2014 2:19 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor, photography by Melissa Spivak | Blogs | Comments

Every trade show has these — the oddball products, tech demos, and general weirdness that accompanies any large gathering of people vying for your attention. Sometimes, the exhibits exude innovation and leave a positive lasting impression on all who beheld its splendor. And ... sometimes they become the butt of jokes for years to come. The following is the weirdest, strangest, and otherwise unique products I saw at CES 2014.

WakaWaka isn’t just for Fozzie Bear anymore

January 8, 2014 4:19 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

The phrase “WakaWaka” is being thrown around at this year’s CES and there isn’t a muppet in sight. WakaWaka is a business venture that aims to provide high-tech and low-cost solar technology to developing countries and areas affected by natural (or manmade, they won’t ask!) disaster. The company hopes to end the global problem of “energy-poverty” as well as provide a way for people to charge their electronics during power outages.

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Why I’m A-OK with Disney tracking me "NSA-style"

January 8, 2014 3:39 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

I recently spent a few days down in Disney World in Orlando—you might have noticed my two week writing hiatus—and like everyone else I was pretty curious about Disney's most recent billion dollar investment: Magic Bands. The wristbands, which utilize RFID and Bluetooth technology, were recently rolled out on a larger scale as part of the MyMagic+ program

Wearable tech with an eye for fashion

January 7, 2014 3:57 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Wearable technology can be a tough sell. It seems like most of the technology is forever fated to be hideously ugly and bulky. Most smartwatches look like a calculator strapped to your arm as if wearers just popped out of an old sci-fi flick. In order to deal with all the features necessary for the consumer market, the technology has grown large and awkward. 

This is what a backwards keyboard looks like

January 6, 2014 4:41 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

The TrewGrip backwards keyboard looks like a toy, but it’s a lot more expensive than your average LeapFrog. The Mobile QWERTY keyboard from TrewGrip will set you back anywhere from $250 to $350 when they hit the market later this year. This keyboard seems one of those advancements that’s just “technology for the sake of new technology” instead of something that will actually be useful and popular. At least it looks kind of cool.

Top 10 must-see posts of 2013

December 30, 2013 11:44 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Here’s the top 10 most popular, compelling, controversial, and highly-trafficked stories from 2013. These were the posts that led the most discussions, excited the most readers (for better or worse), and caught your collective eyeballs. So check out some old favorites, or catch up on a post you may have missed — and find out what all the fuss was about!

As kids plug in, parents should not tune out

December 27, 2013 4:40 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Nowadays Santa gets scorned when he leaves a cheap gift or, even worse, a book! Children have been getting gifts that are increasingly expensive and inappropriate, and experts in child-development are concerned. Tablets and smartphones were usually reserved for adults and older kids in the past, but some as young as three have been unwrapping electronics.

Finding the pathway to a career in power technology

December 24, 2013 9:41 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

There’s a lot to be said about how being around great people can have a positive, nurturing influence on a career. When you talk to Bob White, who has been very instrumental in creating and advancing the PMBus standard and who continues to be a very prolific speaker at power-related events, he’s quick to praise the people he met along the way....

Your smartphone will now self-destruct

December 23, 2013 4:53 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

It may sound like a line out of a spy movie, but this is a real advancement in the quest for security in electronic devices. Thefts of smartphones have risen over the last few years, and politicians are scrambling to find a solution. A new measure might render the stolen devices useless.

From General to CEO: One man’s journey from the battlefield to the boardroom

December 23, 2013 12:47 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

I’m proud to work in an industry with such a disproportionately high number of military veterans. Many of our colleagues previously served the nation with honor and distinction, trading ACUs for business suits and M4s for fountain pens. Case in point: Steve Sargeant, CEO of Marvin Test Solutions, formerly a Major General with the United States Air Force.

Need something? Print it: 3D printing in engineering

December 23, 2013 10:46 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

It sometimes seems as if it’s impossible to even go one day without reading or hearing about a story involving 3D printing. It’s the byproduct of a technology that has current applications in most industries and potential applications in almost all of them. Some of the more controversial application areas, like 3D printed firearms, receive a lot of coverage....

Hacking through your computer’s noises

December 20, 2013 1:22 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Every development in the world of hacking prompts a collective sigh and a defeated “Aww, really?” as we proceed to create complex four-mile long passwords that we’ll never remember in order to protect ourselves. Well, there’s a new threat in town. Surprise! We’re all aware of the hums and whirrs our computers make, and they’re usually pretty annoying. But guess what — it’s music to a hacker’s ears.

SALT advances African science and economy

December 18, 2013 3:47 pm | by Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

We’re not talking about the seasoning, though I’d think more than just African economy would benefit if salt was still used as currency. SALT is an acronym for the South African Large Telescope — not the most creative name, but very simple and direct. Advancements in the field of astronomy are being seen in several different countries on the vast continent....

The pushback against the NSA we’ve been waiting for

December 16, 2013 3:57 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Politics often makes for strange bedfellows. So when you see the logos of Facebook, Google and Yahoo along with Microsoft and tech companies side-by-side and consider the vast amount of users they serve, there’s a good chance it pertains to a matter of importance to both Washington and just about everyone in our connected world.

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