Is it really possible to build an iPod recharger with a couple of standard AA batteries and an Altoids gum tin? This post gives step-by-step instructions to assemble what it says is a "very powerful USB charger for your MP3 player, camera, cell phone, and any other gadget you can plug into a USB port to charge." And if you have more spare tins lying around, you can try your hand at some other homemade gadgets.
As the specter of a robotic society looms, it's about time that someone start thinking about some rules to keep things from getting out of control. The Japanese government has apparently been thinking along these lines, according to this LiveScience.com article, which reports that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is drafting "safety guidelines for next-generation robots."
At the Wall Street Journal's D: All Things Digital Conference in Carlsbad, Calif., Nicholas Negroponte showed off the latest prototypes of the fabled $100 PC for developing nations. It's no longer a $100 PC, however.
The ruggedized, 2-pound Linux desktop (Fedora) system with mesh networking will sell for about $130 to $140 (sans shipping) to governments starting in April 2007. As he has previously stated, Negroponte expects to reach the $100 price point by the end of 2008. The colorful system can turn into a tablet, and Negroponte said it "will run like a bat out of … Read more
No matter what they do, a lot of people seem to think an alternative to the universal JPEG format is a good idea. They just wish it wasn't coming from Microsoft.
Knee-jerk criticism, and even downright hatred, of Microsoft has softened in the last couple of years thanks to Google's ascension toward world domination. But bloggers and News.com readers indicate that some things--namely skepticism toward anything Microsoft does--may never change.
Blog community response:
"This … Read more
Google's deal to distribute its software on Dell PCs has renewed complaints about "crapware"--the less-than-flattering term for the free,
One can hardly blame Dell, of course, for accepting a huge sum of money for the arrangement at a time when it's resorting to fire-sale prices to battle unprecedented competition in the PC market. But if price cuts are forcing a race to the bottom, is it possible that the industry will resurrect the concept of free PCs?
TechEBlog has come up with a list of the "top 10 strangest gadgets of the future." Strangest of all, in our opinion, is the transparent toaster. The reason: It doesn't get hot enough to toast the bread. (By the way, we already knew about the self-cooling beer can.)
Video devices that attach to eyeglasses have been developed for years, but they generally have been either too clunky or too expensive--or both--for mass consumption. Mirage Innovations claims to have changed all that, touting an "affordable" lightweight pair of glasses embedded with tiny screens that it says provides an experience equivalent to watching a high-quality 42-inch screen from 7 feet.
Few computer projects have generated as much controversy as the $100 laptop initiative for developing nations. PledgeBank has weighed in on the debate, with an online petition signed by thousands of people willing to pay $300 for the machine to help finance the project, even though the computers are not for sale to the public.
Dell and Google plan to announce later on Thursday an agreement to preinstall Google software on new PCs, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal report (paid registration required) would confirm earlier reports that the companies were considering such an arrangement. Assuming the Journal report is accurate, Google would pay Dell a fee for installing the Google Toolbar and Google Desktop software on new Dell PCs, and Dell would also preset Internet Explorer to default to Google's search engine, not Microsoft's.
Representatives from both companies did not immediately return calls seeking comment. The partnership … Read more
Fujitsu is putting a high performance digital microphone from Akustica a Carnegie Mellon spin-off, into its Q2010 notebook, the first design win for Akustica.
Microphones in laptops, cell phones and MP3 players/voice recorders are largely Electret Condenser Microphones. ECMs are analog devices, which mean they capture real-world sound waves with a membrane and transmit them to an analog-to-digital converter. To prevent signal interference or noise, ECMs have to be insulated from wires and components.
The membrane in Akustica's AKU2000 is a chip made on standard silicon processes. Ultimately, the chip could lead to better voice quality on Skype … Read more