Like millions of other people, I'm on Twitter. I'm not glued to it all day, but I try to check in at least once or twice daily to catch up on what others are saying and tell anyone who cares to "follow" me what's on my mind at the moment. Unlike some, I don't use it to signal my every move. But my "tweets" have ranged in significance from my thoughts on a major issue of the day to "going to bed now," all in 140 characters or less as … Read more
From the week gone by on the directed-energy weapons front: defense contractor Northrop Grumman reported that it got a solid-state laser to fire a beam with a potency of 105.5 kilowatts.
For the ray-gun wing of the military-industrial complex, the 100-kilowatt threshold is a major milestone, marking the entry point to weapons-grade laser weapons. Adding to the appeal is that solid-state lasers are much more compact, and less noxious, than chemical laser systems such as the one in the works for the 747-centric Airborne Laser.
The technical details of Northrop's achievement break down this way, starting with a … Read more
Cisco Systems' acquisition of Pure Digital Technologies, maker of the Flip camcorder, has sparked a lot of discussion about the networking giant's intentions. One theory is that Cisco is looking to compete with Apple--especially in the digital living room.
Ben Worthen at The Wall Street Journal surmises:
It isn't a big leap to see Cisco developing a home-media hub that cobbles these pieces together--some sort of device that allows people to upload and watch videos and listen to music throughout their homes. In fact, it looks like a next logical step. Apple has a similar device called Apple … Read more
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated Cisco's yearly earnings.
If you haven't noticed, Cisco Systems, whose products have been used to build the Internet for 20 years, has spent the past 6 years becoming a big player in the consumer electronics market.
While Cisco still generates the bulk of its nearly $40 billion in yearly revenue from selling routers and switches to large companies and Internet service providers, the company has also been pushing into new markets, such as consumer electronics, over the past several years.
Still, most consumers probably have no idea who Cisco is or what it does. Sure, they may have seen those cute "human network" commercials on TV. But other than that, I'd guess the average Joe has no clue what Cisco does.
Some might be familiar with the Linksys brand, which has traditionally sold home networking gear. But Cisco executives say they are on a mission to make Cisco a household name. Not only is the company making a bigger effort to brand its products as Cisco, but it's also busy developing a slew of new products for the consumer market.
And on Thursday the company announced its most aggressive play in the consumer market to date with the $590 million acquisition of Pure Digital Technologies, the maker of the popular Flip Video mini camcorders.
But Pure is by no means the only major acquisition Cisco has made in the consumer market. In fact, the company so far has pretty much built this part of its business through acquisitions. In 2003, it got its start in the competitive CE market with the $500 million acquisition of the home-networking equipment maker Linksys. Then in 2005, it bought Scientific Atlanta, a quasi-consumer electronics company, for $7 billion. Scientific Atlanta makes set-top boxes that Cisco sells to subscription TV providers.… Read more
A lot of companies have torn down the PC Berlin Wall and now allow employees to use Macintosh computers as well as PCs. Apparently, this creates some interesting dynamics for PC support people.
From what I've heard, most organizations settle in at approximately 95 percent PCs, and 5 percent Macs. Seems like a small and manageable percentage, but here's the rub. According to some services vendors and PC administrators I've talked to, a large portion of the Mac users are executives--CEOs, COOs, chief legal counsel, etc. These folks get top priority and can be very demanding, so … Read more
Cell phone taxes emerged yet again in Congress this week when Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) introduced the Cell Phone Tax Fairness Act of 2009 (HR 1521).
The bill, which has 20 additional cosponsors, would ban state or local jurisdictions from imposing "a new discriminatory tax on or with respect to mobile services, mobile service providers, or mobile service property, during the five-year period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act."
The legislation would not affect current state and local taxes, nor would it affect federal taxes, like the FCC Universal Charge. … Read more
ATI graphics drivers will now be delivered in one tidy package for both Windows Vista and Windows 7.
Advanced Micro Devices said Wednesday that it has released Catalyst 9.3, a set of new graphics drivers that constitute a "unified" driver installation package, with support for both Windows Vista and Windows 7.
One of the biggest changes for Windows 7 is support for the Windows Display Driver Model 1.1, an update from WDDM 1.0 used in Vista, according to Andrew Dodd, a software product manager at ATI. "(Catalyst 9.3) is one single binary and … Read more
Hoodie. Check. Headphones. Check. Soldering iron, wire cutters, conductive thread. Check, check, and check. Now if I can just figure out how to wield those last three items, I'd have me a handmade headphone hoodie. As the title suggests, that's a jacket with the speakers built in to the hood--and wearing one would be extra cool if I could say I made it myself.
After reading a transcript of the interview, I have to question whether the 140 character format makes any sense as an interview technique, especially when dealing with life and death questions such as "What worries you more: Pakistan or Iran?" to which Senator McCain responded, "Both. The challenges are different but both significant.&… Read more
It won't grab headlines like the newest version of the iPhone operating system, but a Palo Alto, Calif., nonprofit today announced a suite of open-source applications that aids in communications and collaboration for humanitarian workers dealing with diseases and disasters.
InSTEDD (Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters) has released three applications to empower aid workers to use inexpensive, off-the-shelf mobile phones to better detect and respond to disasters, diseases, and economic catastrophes.
The organization currently runs projects in Southeast Asia, including the Mekong Basin Disease Surveillance project and the Phnom Penh Innovation Lab.
One of the new programs, … Read more