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Apple Lays Down Law on Toxic Chemical Use
August 14, 2014
Apple on Thursday reiterated its commitment to safe working conditions in its supply chain, and announced stricter rules for the use of benzene and n-hexane, two toxic chemicals. It also published its Regulated Substances Specification, pointing out that it sets occupational exposure limits for the two toxic chemicals that follow standards bodies' recommendations.
Freedom Act Leaves IT Sector at Risk for Spy Program Costs
August 14, 2014
A recent U.S. Senate proposal to curb the impact of electronic surveillance conducted by the NSA could enhance privacy for citizens and benefit businesses as well. However, major information technology companies that help the government collect telecom and Internet data still will be vulnerable to the substantial costs of working with the NSA, even if the proposed bill becomes law.
The Pain of an Apple Enthusiast: When Will I Be Wowed?
August 14, 2014
Apple is firing on all cylinders. The company is excelling in so many ways, it's hard to keep track of it all. It's building an amazing new "spaceship" headquarters. It's building solar farms to power its data centers. It's cleaning up its supply chain, both environmentally and through better labor practices. Apple produces the best-selling MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina display.
Microsoft Gets the Jitters Out of Time-Lapse Video
August 13, 2014
Microsoft has some good news for action-cam fans who like to capture their outdoor adventures in video. It's found a way to bring time-lapse photography to first-person video footage. Hyperlapse can shrink hours of video into minutes without the jitter, shake and artifacts previously associated with the time-lapse process. That can be very useful to first-person camcorder enthusiasts.
Siri Creators Have a Much Smarter Bun in the Oven
August 13, 2014
The inventors of Apple's Siri personal assistant have launched an independent effort that could make their first offspring look kind of dumb. Billed as "the global brain," Viv aims to provide an intelligent interface to everything. "They are trying to abstract Siri's [natural-language processing] interface so you could apply it into other applications and domains," said Tempo AI CEO Raj Singh.
The Connected Car, Part 2: Wired For Wireless - It's All Business
August 12, 2014
The connected car is a battlefield among technology purveyors fighting to get their hardware plugged into the vehicle's network bus. Open source technology is becoming a key contender. OEMs are sorting through a garage full of options from versions of embedded Linux to the Automotive Grade Linux distro and the Android car platform. The connected car concept is picking up speed.
Smartphone Kill Switch Law Reaches California Governor's Desk
August 12, 2014
California is poised to enact a consumer-friendly law requiring smartphone manufacturers to install "kill switches" -- that is, antitheft technology that would be activated by the carrier when a consumer alerts it that a device has been stolen or lost. The technology not only wipes the device of personal data but also renders it inoperable. The state legislature passed the bill on Monday.
The Cavalry Rides Into Auto Industry With Security Proposal
August 12, 2014
A grassroots group calling itself "I Am The Cavalry" has published an open letter to the automotive industry offering its services in ensuring security and safety. "Modern vehicles are computers on wheels and are increasingly connected and controlled by software and embedded devices," the letter reads. New technology "introduces new classes of accidents and adversaries," the group pointed out.
Stepping Up the Search for ET
August 11, 2014
Atmospheric pollution may not be among mankind's proudest achievements, but it's an incontrovertible sign that we are here. Could something similar help us find civilizations on other planets? That's the premise behind one of several recently announced new approaches to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. One involves detecting pollutants like Earth's in the atmospheres of other worlds.
Desk.com Support: Video Is the New Manual
August 11, 2014
Salesforce.com has debuted a new feature for its Salesforce Desk.com Support Center: video support for knowledge-based self-service offerings. Desk.com Video Support Center allows users to embed video content from any of the major video platforms in their online customer service offerings. There is also analytics support that allows companies to assess which videos are working well.
Intel's Broadwell: What Happens When the MacBook Air Is Thinner Than the iPad Air?
August 11, 2014
Intel on Monday introduced its Broadwell processor platform to the world, and it is an impressive piece of technology. Stepping outside of its normal two-step process of first releasing the processor and then updating the platform, Intel is doing both this cycle, and the end result is a massive step forward in terms of size and power efficiency Intel is stepping solidly into ARM turf.
Feds Struggle to Corral Data
August 11, 2014
U.S. government agencies are struggling to manage the huge amount of data they generate or process, despite the goals of a program designed to operate thousands of data centers more efficiently. The idea behind the FDCCI was to save space, energy and IT costs by consolidating woefully underutilized electronic data storage centers into fewer sites and servers.
I Think, Therefore IBM
August 08, 2014
IBM has announced the latest version of its neurosynaptic processor -- that is, a processor whose workings are inspired by the human brain. It has 5.4 billion transistors and an on-chip network of 4,096 neurosynaptic cores. IBM claims it is the first neurosynaptic chip to achieve 1 million programmable neurons, 256 million programmable synapses, and 46 billion synaptic operations per second.
Beacons Hit the Retail Spotlight
August 07, 2014
It was just six months ago that we saw what beacon technology could do on a wide scale. For Super Bowl XLVIII, the National Football League installed wireless transmitters in Times Square and at MetLife Stadium to send simple yet specific messages to smartphones: "bathrooms to the right," "snacks to the left," and so on. The deployment was considered a bold test for the nascent technology.
The iPad Keyboard: When Will Apple Get Real?
August 07, 2014
I keep wondering when Apple is going to hear the alarm and respond to the real iPad keyboard wakeup call. Apple can point to touch-based apps all it wants -- even going so far as to partner with IBM to help the company deliver better enterprise mobile apps -- but the fact remains: Some people just want to type on their damn iPad, and Apple's touchscreen solutions suck.
Sales Forecast Dynamics
August 06, 2014
Take a look at almost any sales software on the market, and you'll find the vendor's claim that the product accelerates the sales process. It's a given. For years, we've been trying to achieve this acceleration, and we've been succeeding. The only problem with this approach is that it can't go on forever. It's a form of expecting infinite growth based on limited resources.
Wikimedia Blasts Europe's 'Right to Be Forgotten'
August 06, 2014
The Wikimedia Foundation has released its first-ever transparency report -- and along with it a protest against Europe's "right to be forgotten" law. Wikimedia is the nonprofit owner of Wikipedia and other sites. "Denying people access to relevant and neutral information runs counter to the ethos and values of the Wikimedia movement," wrote Wikimedia attorneys Geoff Brigham and Michelle Paulson.
Researchers Finagle Sound From Silent Video
August 06, 2014
Researchers from MIT, Microsoft and Adobe have developed an algorithm to extract audio information from video footage. They recovered intelligible speech from a video of a potato chip bag that was shot at a distance of 15 feet behind soundproof glass. The team also obtained useful audio signals from videos of aluminum foil, the surface of a glass of water, and the leaves of a potted plant.
DoT May Rule Out In-Flight Cellphone Talking
August 06, 2014
The U.S. Department of Transportation is drafting a notice of proposed rulemaking that could restrict consumers' ability to talk on their cellphones during airplane flights. The DoT earlier this year issued an invitation for comment as to whether it should adopt a rule to restrict voice communications on passengers' mobile wireless devices on scheduled flights within, to and from the U.S.
Navdy May Drive Into the Sunset
August 06, 2014
Navdy has announced an aftermarket car heads-up display console that lets drivers access their iOS or Android smartphone's apps without taking their eyes off the road. It projects a 6-inch transparent image within the driver's field of vision showing simplified versions of the user's smartphone apps. The device also will have its own apps.
The Connected Car, Part 1: The Future Starts Now - Will Linux Drive It?
August 05, 2014
The Age of the Connected Car is dawning. The Linux Foundation is positioning an open source Linux OS to take the front seat in steering carmakers to adopting Automotive Grade Linux, or AGL, as the engine driving all in-car electronics. Today's automobile has from 60 to 100 sensors to control everything from climate to airbags and dozens of vehicle components.
Panasonic to Help Make Tesla's Gigafactory Materialize
August 05, 2014
Tesla and Panasonic last week signed what is effectively a memorandum of understanding regarding their collaboration on Tesla's Gigafactory -- a large-scale battery manufacturing facility. The agreement sets out the responsibilities of both partners, but there will be further discussions over the details. The Gigafactory will let Tesla produce 500,000 vehicles a year.

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