Earplugs are the best way to protect your hearing in loud environments, but sometimes they do their job too well. They muddle the sound, so music sounds dull, or you can't understand people talking around you. I've used earplugs for decades; my first set was custom-molded to my ears, and while they were highly effective, the hard plastic plugs were uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time. So I moved onto inexpensive, but comfy foam plugs that quelled the noise almost as well, but they totally muffled the sound. Foam earplugs can be frustrating to use at … Read more
Redfield describes its Face Control plug-in for Adobe Photoshop as a precision tool for facial expression synthesis. It applies highly controlled distortions to images, especially faces, to achieve subtle or dramatic effects. It can alter the Mona Lisa's famously enigmatic smile or turn the most charming movie star into a leering, sneering villain. It's optimized for facial close-ups, but it works on any image in Photoshop. It's freeware that downloads with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
Installing Face Control isn't quite like installing an ordinary app since you must browse to Photoshop's plug-in folder. Not … Read more
As part of its OS X Mavericks release, Apple has included version 7 of its Safari Web browser, which not only offers compatibility with the new operating system, but also brings some enhanced features. One of these is a new plug-in manager that allows you to enable or disable plug-ins, either globally or on a per-site basis.
While the technologies built into Apple's Safari browser are relatively safe and constantly updated, some of the notable security breaches have come from the use of third-party plug-ins such as Java and Flash, among others. Since a good portion of Web content … Read more
AMSTERDAM -- Electrical wires hardly have the glamor of 4G mobile networks or invisibly small microchip transistors. But Qualcomm hopes a faster new version of technology called HomePlug will breathe new high-tech life into homes' old wiring.
Qualcomm's Atheros division makes processors that let devices such as set-top boxes and wireless network range extenders communicate over power lines using HomePlug. A new chip, the QCA7500 announced here this week at the Broadband World Forum, can take advantage of a HomePlug AV2 feature called MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) to boost data-transfer speeds up to 1 gigabit per second.
The HomePlug … Read more
Google has added a new feature to Chrome to help programmers who relied on soon-to-be-banished browser plug-ins to call upon the services of a third-party program.
The Native Messaging interface will let programmers do things like trigger a password management program, said Google programmer Sergey Ulanov in a blog post Tuesday.
The interface arrived with Chrome 29, Ulanov said, for Windows, Linux, and OS X.
Starting in January, Google is phasing out support for the Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI), which lets third-party software augment a browser's built-in abilities.
Google will permit several top plug-ins that use NPAPI … Read more
Last month I wrote a preview of the Prong PocketPlug, an iPhone case that can plug right into a wall socket. In other words, no more carrying around an AC adapter and charge cable.
I liked the idea, but had a few concerns. Now that I've had a few days to test-plug the PocketPlug, I can safely say that my concerns were justified. In my opinion this is not a good product.
Make no mistake, it works as advertised. Once you've docked your iPhone inside the two-piece plastic housing (which does provide a lot of protection), you simply … Read more
The public infrastructure for electric vehicle charging is a mess. Some stations are free, while some require payment. Of the latter, you may have to be preregistered with the charging station network or need a chipped credit card to pay at the station. Recargo, the maker of the PlugShare charging station locator app, attempts to standardize payments for charging with its new Pay with PlugShare feature.
PlugShare both a Web site and an app for iPhone and Android that shows the locations of public EV charging stations. Along with each station entry, users can add notes, most importantly explicit directions … Read more
Mozilla has dealt another blow to those who want to use plug-ins to extend the browser's capabilities. It's keeping all but Flash Player deactivated by default in a version of Firefox now under development.
With the click-to-run plug-in feature, announced in January, plug-ins such as Silverlight and QuickTime won't run unless the user authorizes it when a Web page using them loads. That feature now is built into the Aurora version of Firefox that will grow into the final release in coming weeks. The plug-in hurdle doesn't apply to Adobe Systems' Flash Player, by far the … Read more
In case it wasn't clear before, a Google decision has shown the writing is on the wall for plug-ins such as Java and Silverlight that for years have been used to extend what browsers can do.
Starting in January 2014, Google will ban all but the most widely used browser plug-ins in favor of programming methods that use standards built directly into the Web, Chrome security engineer Justin Schuh announced in a blog post Monday. And those plug-ins will be barred "over the coming year," he said.
Most Chrome plug-ins (not to be confused with the lighter-weight … Read more
California's HOV lane sticker program -- which is meant to give drivers incentive to adopt more efficient, but more expensive, electrified vehicles -- was scheduled to come to a close at the end of 2015, but a bill approved by the state legislature has extended the program until 2019.
Drivers of fully electric vehicles (such as the Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf, or Fiat 500e) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (such as the Toyota Prius Plug-in or Chevrolet Volt) can receive white or green stickers, respectively, that will allow them full access to high-occupancy vehicle carpool lanes, even if they'… Read more