Too busy to keep up with the tech news? Here are some of the more interesting stories from CNET for Monday, May 23:
We're not quite sure what the Joy Factory was thinking when it named its waterproof case the RainBallet, but if you get past the silly name, you're looking at a rugged case that can apparently withstand a drop in the toilet or even the pool.
The promo materials for the RainBallet say something about dancing in the rain with your iPhone 4, but we suspect more people will be interested in using it around the pool, beach, or a construction site. The case has something called front and back Sharpvue lenses, which allegedly enable you to take "… Read more
You've rooted your Android device, flashed a custom ROM, and reaped the benefits of better power management, extra features, and the radiant glow that comes from treating that phone like you own it. Because you do own it, right? Now it's time to get a new phone. How can you make your old Android-powered hardware resalable?
We've got a way for you to restore the stock version of Android, thanks to the rescue guides at DroidForums.net. The procedure requires caution, because just like when you rooted your phone and installed a custom ROM, there's a … Read more
Panasonic is slowly but surely getting its operations in Japan back on track.
The company's manufacturing efforts were hit hard by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that spawned a devastating tsunami in northern Japan three weeks ago.
Japan-based Panasonic provided an update today on the status of its production efforts. A few days after the quake, the company had reported some "minor injuries" among employees. Today, the company noted that all of its employees have been accounted for and that all are safe.
On the production side, Panasonic said that as of late March, it had fully … Read more
Solar panel maker SoloPower has secured financing to build a manufacturing plant in Oregon, a step toward ramping up production of its thin-film solar technology.
As part of a deal carved out with the state of Oregon, SoloPower said yesterday, it will receive a $20 million loan toward the initial construction phase, which will consist of a 75-megawatt manufacturing line employing 170 people. SoloPower, which is seeking a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy, intends to eventually expand the plant to turn out 300 megawatts worth of panels per year.
San Jose, Calif.-based SoloPower makes thin-film flexible solar … Read more
Global Gaming Factory X, a Swedish company that operates Internet cafes but became far more noteworthy for attempting to acquire The Pirate Bay last year, is facing possible bankruptcy. In addition, the company is the subject of a police investigation in Sweden.
Two of GGF's creditors claim the company owes them the combined equivalent of $220,000 and want authorities to put the company into bankruptcy, according to reports in numerous Swedish newspapers. A bankruptcy isn't very exciting, but GGF's owner-operator, the mercurial Hans Pandeya, has a long track record of generating controversy--so things may perk up. … Read more
Tesla Motors will officially open the doors today on what may be the only automotive factory left in California.
The Fremont, Calif., plant was formerly a New United Motor Manufacturing (NUMMI) facility that had been opened in 1984, but closed in 2010. Tesla bought the plant and has plans to renovate it to accommodate assembling its Model S electric cars.
The Model S is the Tesla Roadster luxury sports car's practical sibling. The all-electric sedan will have a range of 160, 230, or 300 miles on a single charge depending on which Model S Tesla battery pack option is … Read more
It's one thing to buy a CD or a toaster oven online, but what about audio components? Wouldn't it be great to compare one speaker with another? With receivers it's impossible to gauge the touch and feel of the controls online. Sure, professionally written reviews can steer you in the right direction, but in the final analysis buying a hi-fi or home theater is mostly about personal taste. Buying "the best" at the cheapest price isn't always the ideal option; I think it should be more about getting the product that's right for you.
Sadly, expert advice isn't so easy to find, now that more and more independent brick-and-mortar audio shops have closed. That's no concern for buyers who happily forgo the advantages offered by the shops in favor of the lowest possible price. The online retailer can easily afford to give greater discounts; they don't have to pay high rent for a showroom, have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in demonstration units, provide on-site service technicians, and pay sales commissions. They can pass some of their savings onto their customers. Everybody wins, or do they?
I don't think so; it's the buyer who is losing out. Yes, the online discounters and factory-direct companies can always undercut the independent brick-and-mortar guys, but how do their customers know they're buying the speaker, amplifier, or turntable that best suits their needs? Have they listened for themselves and heard three or four competing speakers with their own ears? And if they wind up with a malfunctioning piece of brand new gear, they'll have to deal with it on their own. They won't get a "loaner" to use while they wait for the repair or replacement unit. Hookup questions will be answered by an anonymous person on an 800 line, not by the sales person at the local shop who knows you by name. … Read more
Your kid dropped the remote in the toilet, or it smashed to pieces after you dropped it on your marble floor one too many times. Or it just disappeared from plain sight. Sure, you could buy a programmable or universal remote, but they can be a hassle to set up, and it's hard to get used to a completely different button layout.
A replacement remote is just so much easier to use, but getting one from the original manufacturer can be a challenge in its own right. If you're stuck try New Remote Control, they stock original factory … Read more
The operators of The Pirate Bay have denied claims that the Swedish BitTorrent search engine has been sold.
The Pirate Bay was responding to claims made Tuesday by Swedish businessman Hans Pandeya, who announced he had paid $10 million to acquire The Pirate Bay.
"We have no deal with them," said a note that was posted to The Pirate Bay's blog on Wednesday. "We have not even talked to them. Since this is quite heavy fraud and we don't want our users to buy shares or anything like that in a company that is claiming … Read more