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Lenovo: IBM Strike's Not Our Problem
March 11, 2014
Chinese PC maker Lenovo is washing its hands of a wildcat strike at an IBM factory in Shenzhen, China. In January, Lenovo purchased one of IBM's server businesses, and the striking workers -- more than 1,000 of them -- are among those who will be absorbed by Lenovo. The $2.3 billion deal is not yet final, and Lenovo doesn't want to get stuck with any of IBM's headaches until the ink is dry.
China to Test Drone's Smog-Clearing Powers
March 07, 2014
China is taking its chemical war with smog to another level. Government agencies in China hope a newly designed drone can help mitigate air pollution. The airborne vehicle will spray chemicals that freeze pollutants, thereby knocking them to the ground. This tack begs whether it is advisable to have pollution snowing on people from above -- but hey, at least the sky won't be so unsightly.
The Road to Immersive Smell Tech Could Be Paved With Bacon
March 07, 2014
Kraft wants you to wake up and smell the Oscar Mayer bacon, and its latest marketing campaign could point to smell-related technology finally getting a whiff of success. The company has debuted a new smartphone application designed to help users wake up to the sound of crackling bacon. Oscar Mayer also is giving away thousands of iPhone attachments that produce the bacon-frying smell.
Brian Cox's Wonders of Life Brings the Universe-Tromping Physicist Back to Earth
March 05, 2014
There are three elements that bring a great nature documentary to life: first, you need great video footage; second, you need to infuse the content with a sense of time, scope, and wonder; and third, you need a cool narrator. Brian Cox's Wonders of Life app delivers all three. I stumbled upon the app after Apple highlighted it as an Editor's Choice.
Moov Brings Smarts to Fitness Tech
February 28, 2014
There is a new wearable fitness device on the horizon that may take this emerging technology niche to an entirely new level. Moov, developed by former tech specialists from Apple and Microsoft, promises not only to capture data about users' activities, but also to give them performance-improvement tips. A crowdfunding campaign launched Thursday seeks to raise $40,000 for a July release.
Cool Running: Gear and Gadgets for Runners
February 27, 2014
You don't need much to become a serious runner. There's no big investment in gear or apparel required. "Running is definitely a low-cost sport, which is why it is so attractive," said certified strength and conditioning specialist Scott Greenberg. "I think it can remain that way," he said. "However, some new tools can and will definitely have an impact on those looking to maximize performance."
Apple Gets Litigious in China
February 26, 2014
Apple is suing China's State Intellectual Property Office and domestic company Zhizhen Network Technology over patent issues related to Siri, Apple's voice recognition software. The State Intellectual Property Office is responsible for patents rights protection in China, while Zhizhen developed software similar to Siri. Zhizhen patented its own voice recognition software, "Xiao i Robot," in 2004.
Spanish Woman's Twitter Musings Lead to Terror-Related Conviction
February 24, 2014
Twenty-one-year-old Spaniard Alba González Camacho was convicted of inciting terrorism thanks to some ill-conceived tweets about a far-left terrorist organization. She became the first person in Spain to be convicted of such charges for Twitter posts. González Camacho implored the terror group "Grapo" to murder politicians. Grapo was responsible for 80-some killings, mostly in the 1970s and 80s.
Europe's PLATO to Hunt for Earth Look-Alikes
February 21, 2014
A new space observatory expected to launch by 2024 will seek out Earth-sized planets and super-Earths orbiting distant stars, the European Space Agency announced Wednesday. Dubbed "PLATO," for "PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars," it will use 34 small telescopes and cameras to search for planets around as many as a million stars spread over half the sky.
Google's Project Tango Struts Into the Spotlight
February 21, 2014
Google is making an increased push into the 3D imaging sphere with the announcement of its Project Tango technology. The project is aimed at helping mobile devices fully map a 3D space to give them the same type of understanding of space and motion that humans have, through a blend of robotics and computer vision tools. The prototype smartphone Google unveiled has myriad sensors.
Google Data Powers Real-Time Deforestation Alarm System
February 20, 2014
The World Resources Institute has launched Global Forest Watch, a dynamic online forest monitoring and alert system to help fight the massive deforestation of the planet. GFW will let governments monitor where forest clearing is occurring in near-real-time and track illegal forest logging almost immediately. Farmers can upload calls to action from mobile phones if their communities are endangered.
WhatsApp Gives BlackBerry a Bounce
February 20, 2014
Facebook's $19 billion purchase of mobile-messaging service WhatsApp appears to have buoyed the value of BlackBerry Messenger -- and by extension, BlackBerry. BlackBerry shares went up nearly 10 percent in after-hours trading because, in the words of Reuters, Facebook's purchase "put a rough valuation metric around the smartphone maker's own BlackBerry Messaging service," also known as "BBM."
Distro Astro Is a Stunning Star Voyager
February 13, 2014
The Linux desktop offers distributions for many diverse interests and specialties. Distro Astro is for astronomy enthusiasts. The latest version, Distro Astro 2.0, is dubbed "Pallas." It was released Nov. 20, 2013, at the South East Asian Young Astronomers Collaboration conference in Bandung, Indonesia. It is a major upgrade focusing on refinements for professional astronomers.
Jade Rabbit Lunar Rover Sputters Back to Life
February 13, 2014
Despite having been declared dead, China's moon rover is showing signs of life. After two weeks of gloomy silence, the Jade Rabbit appears to be up and running again. The country's first lunar rover had lost communication with mission control following technical malfunctions, according to state media, but the rover reportedly is now "fully awake" and receiving signals as normal.
New Technique Hikes Printed-Cell Survival Rate
February 12, 2014
Researchers have developed a new technique for printing live cells by drawing inspiration from ancient Chinese woodblock printing. Scientists have been experimenting with different methods of printing cells, including using inkjet printers to build 3D cell layers. The method has been successful in several instances, including a recent study in which researchers printed adult eye cells.
US, France Team Up for Mars Mission
February 12, 2014
While the U.S. and France haven't exactly been chums when it comes to tech, the two countries are teaming up for a new mission to Mars. The plan is to send an unmanned lander to Mars to study the interior of the planet. The mission will launch in 2016, with the lander touching down six months later. At least that's the plan. France and the U.S. have had plenty of digital disagreements of late.
Unable to Dent Wallet, France Attacks Google's Pride
February 10, 2014
France's top administrative court ruled that Google must display a notice on its French search page saying that the company was fined by a local privacy watchdog. Google plans to fight the fine, but will have to adorn its Google.fr page with the humiliating message in the meantime. In January, French privacy regulators followed through on previous threats by fining Google roughly $200,000.
Bionic Hand Gives Amputee Touchy-Feely Sensations
February 06, 2014
An amputee was able to feel sensations in a prosthetic hand temporarily wired to nerves in his upper arm. Silvestro Micera, Ph.D., led a team of researchers in testing the bionic hand prototype last year. Dennis Aabo Sorensen, a Danish man who lost his hand in an accident nine years ago, was able to differentiate between the shape and consistency of six different objects.
Google's Long European Antitrust Nightmare May Be Over
February 06, 2014
It looks like Google and European regulators have, at long last, reached a settlement to allay antitrust concerns. Google has struck a deal with EC competition regulators, which now awaits formal approval. Under the terms laid out, Google would have to swallow its stiffest-ever antitrust penalties, but it would nonetheless avoid a finding of wrongdoing and a potentially massive fine.
Talking Cars Coming Down the Pike
February 04, 2014
The U.S. Department of Transportation on Monday announced it would move forward with a plan that would make car-to-car communication mandatory among light vehicles, a measure that could lead to safer roads. Vehicle-to-vehicle, or V2V, communication allows cars to share data including speeds and brake applications with nearby cars. That data can then help warn drivers about possible collisions.
Internet Domain Names Get More Character
February 04, 2014
Tuesday ushered in a series of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) that for the first time in Web history, include Arabic, Chinese and Russian characters. The new gTLDs -- which are the suffixes to Web addresses, such as ".com" and ".net" -- were approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. ICANN invited applications for new domain names in 2012, at a cost of $185,000 a pop.
Nintendo Makes Health the New Name of the Game
January 31, 2014
Nintendo is planning a new product offering that will take the company beyond traditional gaming and into the world of health, it announced on Thursday. Coming hard on the heels of a grim earnings report that prompted a pay cut for President and CEO Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's announcement was described with only the barest of details at a briefing for investors and media.
Here Comes the Sun-Powered MacBook?
January 30, 2014
Apple wants to use natural energy sources to keep MacBooks powered while on the move. The company has won a patent for a laptop with a lid that features a second display, touch inputs and solar cells. The latter could help users keep their MacBooks' batteries topped up without having to plug in an external charger. Apple filed its application in 2010, and USPTO granted it this week.
Snowden in the Running for Nobel Peace Prize
January 30, 2014
A group of Norwegian lawmakers nominated former NSA contactor Edward Snowden for the Nobel Peace Prize. Saying that his bottomless pit of surveillance revelations contributes to stability and transparency, the lawmakers submitted the nomination to the Nobel Foundation. President Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, meaning Obama and his secret-leaking foil could soon have something in common.

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