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How far should the 1st Amendment protect domestic drones?

February 14, 2014 9:27 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Does the “right to know” trump privacy rights? Should journalists exercise restraint in coverage of sensitive topics? At what point does a slavish devotion to the 1st Amendment absolve the press of any moral responsibility? These are very old questions, but they’ve become particularly relevant in the age of 24/7 citizen journalism....

GaN-based transistors take to the sky to capture the action

February 12, 2014 11:25 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

When Ray Breslin and Emil Rottmayer attempted a highly daring escape from a super-high security prison in this fall’s thriller Escape Plan, audiences got up close to see (spoiler alert!) our two heroes — played by Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, respectively — engage in a gunfight with the prison’s “crew”....

Is your employer tracking your every move?

February 11, 2014 4:20 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Your employer probably isn’t tracking your every move just yet, but with new technology from Hitachi, it might not be that far down the road. Obviously there are ways for employers to track your productivity now whether it’s cameras or looking at your internet logs, but it’s really time consuming and not very informative for most employees.

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Crony capitalism vs. online gambling

February 11, 2014 2:25 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The 10th amendment is back in style, apparently. Back in 2011, the Justice Department issued a legal opinion on the Federal Wire Act of 1961, essentially reversing its longstanding ban on internet gambling. “Interstate transmissions of wire communications that do not relate to a 'sporting event or contest' fall outside the reach of the Wire Act,” it read.

Obtaining low power for industrial devices: Energy harvesting, batteries or hybrids?

February 11, 2014 8:03 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

The concept of energy harvesting has been around for as long as windmills and waterwheels were used to harness energy. In the last decade, the possibilities of using low-power harvested energy have greatly expanded in the industrial market as devices became smaller, autonomous and required less power.

Why has the U.S. surrendered its global lead in engineering?

February 10, 2014 12:08 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

President Obama’s State of the Union address focused heavily on the domestic tech sector, and now we know why — a recent report by the National Science Board (NSB) charted America’s eroding share of the “global scientific landscape,” and its conclusions are troubling. Since 2001, the global R&D performed by Asian countries has overtaken the U.S.

Watch this fish drive his own tank around

February 10, 2014 11:34 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Do you ever feel like your fish is jealous of the cat and dog who can walk freely about the house just because they have the ability to “breathe oxygen”? Have you caught your fish eyeing the parrot and his high flying, free-wheeling ways? Is he jealous of the hamster in the ball who gets to roll around the house?

Net Neutrality is back in our court

February 10, 2014 8:53 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Last month, a federal judge dealt Net Neutrality proponents a devastating blow in Verizon’s challenge to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Open Internet Order of 2011 (Verizon v FCC). The FCC’s Open Internet Order essentially forbid Internet service providers (ISPs) from

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Engineering is for boys. Pink is for girls.

February 7, 2014 8:02 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

We’ve talked about GoldieBlox a few times on the site before both about what a cool toy it is and then again when the company released a video of all the cool things you could do with the kit. I recently stumbled across a Tedx done by the CEO and Creator of GoldieBlox, Debbie Sterling. Sterling, who has engineering degree from Stanford...

This is what it’s like to fly a fighter jet

February 4, 2014 3:27 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Flying in a fighter jet isn’t an experience most of us will ever have. Personally, I’ve never had the urge, but for some, not being able to soar like Maverick is heartbreaking. Luckily for any wannabe pilots, Metropolis Entertainment — who make footage for simulators for places like this one which will show at London’s Science Museum — are more than willing to share the wealth.

The F-35 is "a failure waiting to happen"

February 4, 2014 1:19 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Here’s an oldie but goodie. Last year, Four Corners — an Australian current affairs program — did an expose on the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, and their conclusions were ... none-too complimentary. Like their American counterparts, Australia is pursuing a one-size-fits all solution....

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.

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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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.

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.

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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