Technology

Intel Is Reportedly Going To Destroy The Cable Model By Offering People The Ability To Subscribe To Individual Channels

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Intel is reportedly on the cusp of delivering something that consumers around the world have been wanting for a long, long time.

Kelly Clay at Forbes reports Intel is going to blow up the cable industry with its own set-top box and an unbundled cable service.

Clay says Intel is planning to deliver cable content to any device with an Internet connection. And instead of having to pay $80 a month for two hundred channels you don’t want, you’ll be able to subscribe to specific channels of your choosing.

Here’s the key paragraph:

This set-top box, said by industry insiders to be available to a limited beta of customers in March, will offer cable channels delivered “over the top” to televisions anywhere there is an Internet connection regardless of provider. (Microsoft Mediaroom, for example, requires AT&T’s service, and Xbox has limited offerings for Comcast and FiOS customers). For the first time, consumers will be able to subscribe to content per channel, unlike bundled cable services, and you may also be able to subscribe per show as well. Intel’s set-top box will also have access to Intel’s already existing app marketplace for apps, casual games, and video on demand. Leveraging the speed of current broadband, and the vast shared resources of the cloud, Intel plans to give customers the ability to use “Cloud DVR”, a feature intended to allow users to watch any past TV show at any time, without the need to record it ahead of time, pause live tv, and rewind shows in progress.

This is a holy-grail of sorts for people that subscribe to cable.

We’ve been skeptical of Intel’s ability to make a dent in the TV market. If it somehow manages to deliver this unbundled channel option, we’re more optimistic Intel could have success.

Before anyone gets too excited, Janko Roettgers at GigaOm is skeptical it happens. Roettgers knows the TV business very well.

The reason its unlikely to happen is that content companies don’t really want to see cable blown up. It’s been very good to them.

Last summer, Peter Kafka at All Things D poured cold water on the idea of Intel unbundling. Not only is going to be hard to make it happen, it’s unclear if it would even save money for cable subscribers:

Those bundles are core to today’s TV ecosystem. And the TV guys insist that consumers really don’t want “a la carte” programming, because if they do, the channels/shows they like today will end up costing much, much more.

Disney, for instance, charges TV distributors about $5 for every subscriber that gets ESPN. And, by some estimates, only about 25 percent of cable customers actually watch ESPN on a regular basis. So if you unbundled ESPN, the per-subscriber cost might shoot up to $20 or more, to account for the 75 percent drop in its customer base.

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Taiwan Engineers Defeat Limits of Flash Memory

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(Phys.org)—Taiwan-based Macronix has found a solution for a weakness in flash memory fadeout. A limitation of flash memory is simply that eventually it cannot be used; the more cells in the memory chips are erased, the less useful to store data. The write-erase cycles degrade insulation; eventually the cell fails. “Flash wears out after being programmed and erased about 10,000 times,” said the IEEE Spectrum. Engineers at Macronix have a solution that moves flash memory over to a new life. They propose a “self-healing” NAND flash memory solution that can survive over 100 million cycles. Ads by Google Roark Management – Computer Support & Repair Small Business Technology Solutions – www.RoarkInc.com News of their findings appears in the IEEE Spectrum, discussing flash memory’s limitations and the Taiwan company’s solution. Macronix is a manufacturer in the Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) market, with a NOR Flash, NAND Flash, and ROM products. Before their solution announcement, though, many engineers inside and outside of Macronix were aware of a life-giving workaround: heat. The snag is that applying heat was not found to be practical. As the Macronix team put it, the “long baking time is impractical for real time operation.” Although subjecting the cells to high heat could return memory, the process was problematic; the entire memory chip would need heating for hours at around 250 °C.
 They redesigned a flash memory chip to include onboard heaters to anneal small groups of memory cells. Applying a brief jolt of heat to a very restricted area within the chip (800 degrees C) returns the cell to a “good” state. They said that the process does not have to be run all that often. According to project member Hang‑Ting Lue, the annealing can be done infrequently and on one sector at a time while the device is inactive but still connected to the power source. It would not drain a cellphone battery, he added.
 Macronix estimates that the flash memory cells could beat the 10,000 cycle limit by lasting for as much as for 100 million cycles but a commercial product is not imminent. Instead, Macronix will present their approach—very high temperature in a very short time— this month at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) from December 10 to 12 in San Francisco. This is the forum for presenting breakthroughs in semiconductor and electronic device technology. Lue observed that in coming up with the approach, his team would not be able to lay claim to any new physics principle. “We could have done this ten years ago.” He said it took merely a leap of imagination into a different “regime.” For their upcoming IEEE presentation, they said they propose and demonstrate a novel self-healing flash, where a high temperature (>800°C), and short time annealing are generated by a built-in heater. “We discover that a BE-SONOS charge-trapping NAND Flash device can be quickly annealed within a few milliseconds,” they said. Their presentation is titled “Radically Extending the Cycling Endurance of Flash Memory (to > 100M Cycles) by Using Built-in Thermal Annealing to Self-heal the Stress-Induced Damage.” The authors are H.-T. Lue, P.-Y. Du, C.-P. Chen, W.-C. Chen, C.-C. Hsieh, Y.-H. Hsiao, Y.-H. Shih, and C.-Y. Lu.

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popSLATE – Second Screen Smart Case for Your iPhone 5

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The Second Screen Experience for your iPhone 5

popSLATE is an E-Ink screen in an iPhone 5 case. That means it’s low-power, always-on, super-readable in direct sunlight, and totally customizable. It’s a blank slate you can populate with the images you love. Now you can express yourself to the world, share cool stuff with friends, and always have your favorite app functionality at a glance.

Express Yourself

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Camera to Pop

You can Pop just about anything to the back of your phone. Snap a picture. Grab images on the Web. Take iPhone screenshots. Plug in to your other photo sharing platforms, like Instagram. Receive pictures from friends. You can Pop ‘em one by one, or quickly set up a slideshow.

Always-On Productivity

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Don’t you hate it when your iPhone screen keeps turning off when you need to view something every few moments? Or, you’re in a meeting and need something important from your iPhone, but you just can’t get away with looking at it on the sly?

Since the popSLATE screen is ultra-low-power, it is always on. This opens up a bunch of possibilities. Urgent notifications, sports scores, maps, notes, calendar, talking points—you name it—will now be available at a glance.

Micro E-Reader

Kindle? iPhone? Who wants to carry both? Get a popSLATE instead. The E Ink screen is readable even in the brightest sunlight. Try doing that with your glossy LCD screen.

Open API

We will be developing an API to let you build always-on applications. With popSLATE you will be able to create entirely new ways for people to interact with the phone.

Share With Friends
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With the Popslate app, you can manage your digital image library, pass along cool things for your friends to Pop, and plug in to your other photo sharing platforms, like Instagram.

How It All Works

The popSLATE case includes the latest, ruggedized, E-Ink screen, so it protects your iPhone just like any ‘dumb’ case. In fact the screen is nearly indestructible.

The screen only uses power when the image changes so it sips negligible power from the phone. We use the lightning connector for both power and data exchange. For shortcut navigation, we’re also integrating a tactile interface based upon the phone’s accelerometer. Double tap the back of your phone to cycle through images or accept Pops from your friends.

Then there’s popSLATE app on the iPhone side. You can take pictures with the camera, browse the image gallery, manage your library, connect with other users, send/receive images and messages, and Pop what you want, when you want it.

Specs

Screen: Ruggedized, 4” diagonal E-Ink screen

Case dimensions: 5.35” x 2.56” x 0.54”

Weight: <75 grams Case Color: Black or White Compatibility: iPhone 5



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IPad Rocking Chair

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The iPad Rocking Chair has a built-in generator that transforms each rock into power, and charges the iPad or iPhone via its dock. Supposedly, one hour of rocking will get an iPad up to 35% of a full charge. It also equipped with a pair of 25-watt speakers built into the back of the chair. The iRock is available now for $1,300 in white, with other colors to be added soon.
“The iRock is a product that explores how furniture can interact with technology and actually support the power for this technology. Movement is energy and to collect as much of this energy as possible is one of our future challenges. The laws of physics dictate how movement and friction constantly creates a vast amount of energy that in most cases is lost. iRock is a attempt to collect some of this energy and put it to real use. If you use iRock for 60 minutes you can recharge an iPad 3 to 35%.”



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Belkin WeMo Home Automation Switch

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Belkin’s WeMo Switch($50) is an app-controlled device works with your home’s wi-fi to give your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch the ability to turn on or off anything that plugs in. And the app also allows for you to schedule devices on or off time. Operates over Wi-Fi and mobile internet, at home and away. Cool

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Amazing Mind Reader Reveals His ‘Gift’

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Brass Knuckle iPhone Case

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Tiny Pod Car Runs on Air

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India’s Tata Motors is working on a revolutionary new concept car, Airpod concept car. It’s small and futuristic looking like many other models, but unlike those vehicles, this one runs on compressed air. It’s a tiny little three-seater designed for urban driving. The small size also helps the power generated from the engine better propel the car. It holds about 175 liters of air that will take you about 125 miles; Tata reports top speeds of around 50 mph.
Writing in The Atlantic Cities, John Metcalfe explains how the Airpod works:
“Sadly, these vehicles do not function by farting out a loud stream of gas that propels them forth. They instead are built with pneumatic motors that use pressurized air to drive pistons. In the case of Tata, a company that’s developing a line of “nano” cars (including this bulletproof dwarf tank), the engines come from Luxembourg firm MDI, which has been tooling around with air automation for more than two decades.
Tata bought the rights to sell MDI’s creations in India five years ago, but the project’s proven difficult to get popping. But in May, the motor giant announced that it had completed the “first phase” of the Airpod, successfully testing out the engines in two vehicles. The Airpod team presumably is now in Phase 2, polishing up on the hardware in advance of a commercial launch.
So what does this auto of the future look like? Following the smartcar trend, it resembles something that stumbled out of Pixar’s Cars. The mid-sized model fits three passengers, although one must face backward like he’s being punished for something, and is streamlined almost to the point of becoming a sphere. Its tank can hold 175 liters of air, which a driver gets either at a specialized fueling station or by activating an onboard electric motor to suck it in. Its makers say that filling er’ up will cost a paltry €1, and that a full tank of air can last for roughly 125 miles. ”

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Revolutionary Soft-body Physics in CryEngine3

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Credit-Card Sized Stylus

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It’s a credit-card sized and shaped piece of plastic with a capacitive area. This turns it into a stylus which you can use with any touch-sensitive device. The traditional stylus is hard to carry. But you can carry this in your wallet with all your cards. We’re not sure when or if it’ll ever come out of the Quirky labs, but if it does, its projected price is $4.

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The Magnetic Hammer

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The Magnetic Hammer by JP design.
“By attaching magnets on the handle of the hammer, the user no longer needs to carry nails in an uncomfortable fashion: simply bring the hammer to a pile of nails.’

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What Instagram Did with the 1 Billion

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Blackberry Actually Made Something Cool

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Project Glass – Google Begins Testing Its Augmented Reality Glasses

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If you venture into a coffee shop in the coming months and see someone with a pair of futuristic glasses that look like a prop from “Star Trek,” don’t worry. It’s most likely just a Google employee testing the company’s new augmented reality glasses.

On Wednesday, Google gave people 20/20 vision about a secret augmented-reality project called Project Glass. The glasses are the company’s first foray into wearable computing.

The glasses are not yet ready for sale. Google will, however, be testing them in public.

In a post shared on Google Plus, employees from Google X, including Babak Parviz, Steve Lee and Sebastian Thrun, asked people for input about the prototype of Project Glass. Mr. Lee, a Google engineer and creator of the Google mapping software Latitude, is helping build the location-based aspects of the glasses.

“We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input,” the three employees wrote. “Please follow along as we share some of our ideas and stories. We’d love to hear yours, too. What would you like to see from Project Glass?”

The prototype version Google showed off on Wednesday looked like a very polished and well-designed pair of wrap-around glasses with a clear display that sits above the eye. The glasses can stream information to the lenses and allow the wearer to send and receive messages through voice commands. There is also a built-in camera to record video and take pictures.

The New York Times first wrote about the glasses in late February, describing an augmented reality display that would sit over the eye and run on the Android mobile platform.

A video released by Google on Wednesday, which can be seen below, showed potential uses for Project Glass. A man wanders around the streets of New York City, communicating with friends, seeing maps and information, and snapping pictures. It concludes with him video-chatting with a girlfriend as the sun sets over the city. All of this is seen through the augmented-reality glasses.

University of Washington
Babak Parviz, who is working on Project Glass, developed contact lenses with pixels embedded in the display.
Project Glass could hypothetically become Project Contact Lens. Mr. Parviz, who is also an associate professor at the University of Washington, specializes in bionanotechnology, which is the fusion of tiny technologies and biology. He most recently built a tiny contact lens that has embedded electronics and can display pixels to a person’s eye.

Early reports of the glasses said prototypes could look like a pair of Oakley Thumps — which are clunky and obtrusive sunglasses — but the version Google unveiled Wednesday looks more graceful. There are reportedly dozens of other shapes and variations of the glasses in the works, some of which can sit over a person’s normal eyeglasses.

People I have spoken with who have have seen Project Glass said there is a misconception that the glasses will interfere with people’s daily life too much, constantly streaming information to them and distracting from the real world. But these people say the glasses actually free people up from technology.

One person who had used the glasses said: “They let technology get out of your way. If I want to take a picture I don’t have to reach into my pocket and take out my phone; I just press a button at the top of the glasses and that’s it.”

Project Glass is one of many projects currently being built inside the Google X offices, a secretive laboratory near Google’s main Mountain View, Calif., campus where engineers and scientists are also working on robots and space elevators.

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