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Meet the voice behind Siri

October 9, 2013 2:44 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Internet, meet Siri. Siri, meet the internet. Surprise! It’s not really Siri. Obviously, Siri is a computer program on the iPhone, but Susan Bennett is the voice behind the virtual assistant. Bennett says the sassy, somewhat martyred, voice was a product of some July 2005 recording sessions for GM Voices.

Watch dead batteries power smartphones

October 8, 2013 2:02 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

When we speak of “reanimating the dead”, we usually don’t mean dead batteries. And we certainly don’t harness these used electrochemical cells – Frankenstein-style – into a giant, mutated power station. Yet that’s exactly what Thailand’s Vitamilk did by resurrecting a battalion of dead batteries and channeling their energy to power small electronics....

Why IKEA's solar panels are a great idea

October 8, 2013 12:31 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Though Americans can already buy solar panels at Home Depot and Lowes, customers in the UK are just getting the opportunity as IKEA, the Swedish flat-pack furniture store, will start stocking the panels.This is such a great step towards mainstreaming the renewable energy market.

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This dating website caters to ghosts

October 4, 2013 10:08 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Who says being dead has to kill your love life? Yes, a dating website actually caters to ghosts, because of course it does....and no, this isn’t a joke (at least in the sense that the website actually exists). The Internet’s limitless potential for putting the sum total of humanity’s accumulated knowledge at a keystroke has the incidental effect of uniting lonely singles who prefer niche preferences, but ethereal spirits? That’s a new one.

Why the iPhone 5s makes me nauseous

October 3, 2013 4:43 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

For a girl who loves her Apple products, I’ve generally been pretty un-opinionated about the iOS 7. I’ve heard some complaints about the size of the app icons and other curmudgeonly complaints as everyone slowly updates. My favorite—and most frequently heard—complaint is actually that they changed the color of some of the app icons and now no one can find anything.

Top 10 must-see stories for September

October 3, 2013 3:30 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

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. Keep checking out the Lead at www.ecnmag.com and follow us on Twitter @ecnonline for our most up-to-date articles.

How the DEA gets its cell phone data fix

October 3, 2013 9:55 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

In the early 1980s, the old, pre-Cingular AT&T came out with an ad campaign urging us to "reach out and touch someone” to market its long distance products. It seems that today’s AT&T has been helping the government access its enormous database of phone records – dating back 26 years with 4 billion call records being added everyday....

This office-training parody will make you nostalgic for the '80s

October 1, 2013 2:50 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Ah, the ‘80s ... the Cold War was winding down, Arnold Schwarzenegger was terminating box office receipts, and hokey office-training videos were at their peak. Grasshopper – a company that provides entrepreneurs with virtual phone systems – captured all that and more in their parody/viral marketing campaign, the “Epic 80s Entrepreneur Training Video.”

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California Internet “erase” button for teens faces not-so-minor hurdles

September 30, 2013 10:26 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

On September 23, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law requiring all web sites to have an “eraser” button for users under 18 to delete their posts (SB 658). I couldn’t agree more that teens (and adults) posting damaging information about themselves and others is a

This drone will make sure you’re never lost again

September 27, 2013 12:10 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

You know that moment when you’re walking around say, a college campus, and suddenly realize you’re horribly lost and all the buildings of ivy-covered bricks look exactly the same? Yeah, me neither, but apparently it happens a lot at MIT because they’ve developed a drone to make sure you’re always on the right path.

E-Meters turn to smart relay drivers for remote grid management

September 26, 2013 4:20 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

Smart meters have been touted to consumers as being integral in helping them lower their utility bills. Armed with accurate information – such as consumption pertaining to specific times of day – consumers can then adjust their behaviors to shrink their bills and their carbon emissions and, if regulations allow, even select from different pricing structures....

Watch a sniper rifle obliterate an iPhone 5S

September 26, 2013 1:41 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Some people have waaaaaaaay too much money to burn. Take, for example, this guy, who likes to film himself destroying popular consumer devices with high-powered rifles. His latest victim: a Gold iPhone 5S, which he annihilates with a Barrett M82A1 .50 sniper rifle.

Check out dogs frolicking in "Bullet Time"

September 25, 2013 12:07 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

If this doesn’t warm your heart, then I’d check your pulse. Remember that cool “Bullet Time” visual effect from The Matrix (and about a dozen other movies and video games since)? A handful of amateur filmmakers used the technique to film dogs at play, and it’s every bit as delightful as it sounds.

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Surrender your smartphone, save 10% off your bill

September 24, 2013 3:02 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

In this week’s episode of 'Getting People to Stop Acting Like Jerks and Start Acting Like Human Beings', a restaurant in Beirut has decided they’re going to start bribing customers to put down the smartphone and interact with actual people at the actual table.

Feeling angry? Blame your social network

September 20, 2013 4:10 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

The internet has often been described as a very large town square. In fact, one such comparison has been attributed to Bill Gates. Unfortunately, not everything that goes on in the town square is civilized. Stocks, tar and feathers, and angry mobs come to mind. It’s not surprising, then, that much of what we communicate online among our social networks isn’t the most cheerful subject matter.

This is what the world’s largest walking robot looks like

September 19, 2013 3:20 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Meet Tradinno, the world’s largest, walking robot who also happens to be a fire-breathing, blood-spewing dragon of death and destruction. Okay, the death and destruction part is hear-say, but the rest is true. Tradinno is 51-feet long and almost 30-feet high with a 40-foot wingspan.

Lego releases female in STEM career ... and she’s no “Lady Scientist”

September 16, 2013 2:23 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

It seems the Danish toy brick conglomerate has finally accepted the fact that womenfolk inhabit the STEM fields. Earlier this month, Lego released the company’s first female scientist, Professor C. Bodin – and she’s not clad in "girly" clothing or given the patronizing title of "Lady Scientist."

Ohio tries to put a good face on its unsettling new surveillance practice

September 13, 2013 12:38 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

If you expect and enjoy a fair amount of anonymity in public, the state of Ohio and perhaps the state you live in have a program that will fly in the face of that increasingly antiquated notion. According to a report in the Cincinnati Enquirer, police in Ohio are able to use facial recognition technology to match a person’s photo....

Why Apple's iPhone 5s fingerprint scanner is the dumbest feature

September 12, 2013 11:28 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

It came to my attention at a dinner last night that I am not fully supportive of the new iPhone. As you might have noticed from previous posts, I am an Apple FanGirl. I have a MacBook Pro, a Macbook Air, an iPad, an iPhone 5, an Apple TV, and various generations of the iPod (iPod Mini anyone?).

Fighting an invisible enemy: How UV robots are clearing the way for germ-free hospitals

September 11, 2013 2:17 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

Though medical devices are always moving towards less invasive, more effective technology, they face a constant, persistent and ever-evolving enemy in deadly bacteria and infections. Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) can be caused by any infectious agent and result in 99,0000 deaths per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Has global cooling begun? Arctic ice caps grow by 60% in a year

September 11, 2013 11:21 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The arctic will be "ice-free by 2013." This was typical of the breathless pronouncements made by scientists, climatologists, and even NASA over the last decade or so. All the while, the summers were getting colder and the ice caps more voluminous — quite a bit more, apparently. According to a report in the Daily Mail, the Arctic ice cap grew by nearly a million square miles from 2012-2013, an increase of 60% year over year.

Widespread license plate scanning presents an open road for abuse

September 9, 2013 5:09 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

“If you didn’t do anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” Well that’s good. But for those of us who are only human and occasionally make mistakes or sometimes do things that are nobody’s business but our own, please keep reading.

Women in the workplace: The 1940s guide to gender stereotypes

September 9, 2013 2:11 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Watch out for women in the workplace. They’re jealous of each other, more sensitive than men, and SCARY! At least that’s according to this hilariously outdated instructional video from 1944 which probably did more to perpetuate gender stereotypes than shore them up.

This is how you prepare an observatory for space

September 5, 2013 4:27 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

When you think about testing, you’re probably picturing a bench with the component and a few related tools. However, when you work for NASA and you’re testing an observatory for space, it’s a little bit of a different situation. This is NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE, to its friends), which is being prepared for its launch on September 6.

"Internet addiction" is a real disease ... according to new inpatient facility

September 4, 2013 4:57 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Waste lots of time on the Internet looking at cat pictures and playing Minecraft? You should immediately fork over $14K to an inpatient facility in Pennsylvania — the first of its kind in the US – to treat your chronic internet addiction. Don’t believe that Internet addiction is a real disease? Shows your ignorance — you obviously don’t have a “Dr.” in front of your name.

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