Good news for anyone who doesn’t want to talk on their cellphone in the car, but lacks the actual resolve to not pick up the phone while driving: Canadian software company Aegis Mobile has announced new software that will hold your calls for you while you drive.
The software, called DriveAssistT, will be able to detect when a cell phone is moving at automobile speeds and block incoming calls. Callers are redirected to a message saying that the person being called is driving, and can opt to leave a voice mail if it’s an emergency. Whether car passengers using the software will be able to recieve calls isn't known. Some states have laws requiring drivers to use a hands-free set in the car, but studies have shown that the greatest risk comes from the very act of talking, not from holding the phone, lending credence to the idea behind DriveAssistT.
The software is launching in partnership with auto insurance provider Nationwide. The insurance company plans to offer a discount of 3 to 10 percent for drivers who use DriveAssistT.
Would you use DriveAssistT if it were offered on your phone? Tell us after the jump.
Yahoo just can’t seem to catch a break. The search site’s prospects are looking dimmer and dimmer as Yahoo and Google negotiate with the Justice department to try and head off a potential antitrust lawsuit stemming from their proposed advertising partnership. Several compromises are being discussed which would lessen the strategic value of the partnership for Yahoo.
The currently proposed concessions, according to the Wall Street Journal, “include capping the volume of Google ads Yahoo would use, assurances that Yahoo would continue to compete in search ads, and a reporting mechanism to ensure compliance… U.S. officials hope to impose measures that will ensure the prices advertisers must pay don’t rise significantly after the deal.”
According to Silicon Valley Insider, these compromises would leave the already down-in-the-mouth Yahoo in an even weaker position, cutting out much of the benefit they had hoped to gain from the ad partnership. They also suggest that Microsoft’s lobbyists are responsible for the Justice Department’s scrutiny of the deal, writing that “even if [Microsoft] doesn’t buy Yahoo, it gets the quiet pleasure of poking another stick at the carcass of a company that spurned it’s now extraordinarily generous buyout offer.”
Having apparently run out of actual people to talk to, New Scientist has posted an interview with Elbot, the chatbot that won this year’s Loebner Prize for artificial intelligence. Structured after the Turing Test, the prize is awarded to whichever bot can fool the most of the 12 judges into thinking that it’s a real person.
Elbot successfully convinced three judges that it was not a chatbot, but rather a human being pretending to be a robot.
Confused? Check out this excerpt from the interview: New Scientist: You and your creator won $3000 of prize money. How do you plan to use the money?
Elbot: As I always say, it’s hard to keep a 600-pound robot down, unless you use gravity.
With natural, sensible dialogue like that, I don’t know how any of the judges could have not been fooled. On that note, if anyone is in need of a quick buck, we suggest entering a chatbot next year that pretends to be a man banging his head against the keyboard.
Anyone who wants to can chat with Elbot; give it a try and tell us what you think after the break.
Here's a formula to help boost sales: Take something popular - for example, The Dark Knight - and then apply it to something completely unrelated, like videocards. Of course, copyright concerns could come into play, so be sure and design a character or logo that resembles nothing from which it was borrowed (in this case, steer clear of Batman).
Perhaps we're being too cynical and maybe Asus isn't a fan of DC's comic hero gone big screen. In any event, Asus' new Dark Knight series of videocards will inevitably conjure up thoughts of Christian Bale in his most recent role as Batman, but the new GPUs have no association to arguably the best super hero movie to date. Instead, the "self-designed" Dark Knight branded cards will come with a special heatsink the company claims ups the cooling performance ante while keeping noise levels down.
"The ASUS designed EAH4870 DK and EN9800GTX+ DK Series come equipped with the specially designed Dark Knight Fansink," Asus wrote in a press release. "This innovative fansink is equipped with 4 heatpipes and a large heatsink surface area; and is made of aluminum alloy to deliver extreme cooling while retaining operating levels at only 32dB—almost imperceptible in a quiet room—catering to users who require maximum cooling without excessive fan rotation noise."
The new cards also come with a handful of technologies and buzzwords aimed at attracting the overclocking crowd. These include an EMI shield, DIP spring chokes, LF PAK MOS, and all-solid Japanese capacitors. Put together, Asus claims end users can expect a 9 percent performance improvement while gaming. Utility belt not included.
If there's one surefire way to piss off Maximum PC readers, its by mixing politics with technology news. But despite the ire that will inevitably ensue (don't worry, we're not telling you who we think you should vote for), sometimes the two sections overlap to where we must risk the torches and pitchforks in order to report what's going on.
In this case, the real subject matter is in-game advertising. Love it or hate it, in-game ads are here to stay and they might even help decide who our next president is. At the very least, it could become a growing trend. We're talking about political ads preceding an election, and helping to set what could become a precedent, Barack Obama's reaching out to Xbox 360 gamers through virtual billboards. The ads have been spotted in Burnout Paradise, which apparently have been purchased for an undisclosed sum.
"I can confirm that the Obama campaign has paid for in-game advertising in Burnout," Holly Rockwood, directory of corporate communications at Electronic Arts, told Gigaom.com in an email. "Like most television, radio, and print outlets, we accept advertising from credible political candidates."
EA went on to clarify that the ads' subject matter "do not reflect the political policies of EA or the opinions of its development team." But that might not matter if gamers feel that mixing politics with videogames is taking advertising too far.
Do you have a problem with political billboards appearing in games? Hit the jump and give us your take.
When it comes time to shop for a videocard, most people are concerned about the pixel pushing power and how well a new GPU can handle Crysis. Yet others are more concerned with a videocard's ability to fit into a home theater PC setup, both physically and functionally. Some GPUs are even sought after for their ability to fold proteins, but apparently there's another use emerging, one with malicious intent.
According to Global Secure Systems, a Russian firm used Nvidia GPUs to break through WPA and WPA2 encryption. Assuming the report is accurate, the implications are nothing less than frightening, as GSS claims the brute force attack managed to accelerate WiFi 'password recovery' times by up to 10,000 percent.
"This breakthrough in brute force decryption of WiFi signals by Elcomsoft confirms our observations that firms can no longer rely on standards-based security to protect their data," noted David Hobson, managing director of GSS. "As a result, we now advise clients using WiFi in their offices to move on up to a VPM encryption system as well."
But even moving to a VPN may not be enough, as many VPNs use AES encryption just like WPA2. And by throwing videocards into the mix (it remains unclear which specific Nvidia GPUs were utilized), accessibility quickly becomes a growing concern.
Does this latest attack concern you? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
That's right. I'm at Apple's campus to see the new MacBooks and whatever else that Apple's going to roll out today. We'll be casually liveblogging and stealing images from our sister site, MacLife. We'll be counterprogramming, looking at things from a more hardware focused end, while MacLife will corner the market on news from the Mac fan perspective. Read on for more info and refresh frequently, we'll be updating til the end of the event. (Protip: Logged in users see updates as they happen, while folks who don't log in only see updates every ten minutes or so.)
Acer's making a bid for your living room with its new AX3200 desktop PC. Sporting dimensions of just 10x4x14 inches, it should have no problem wiggling into an HTPC environment. Nor will it have much trouble mingling, as Acer's new desktop comes with a Blu-ray drive, an HDMI-out port, and support for Dolby Home Theater 5.1 surround sound.
Other components include a triple-core AMD Phenom 8450 processor clocked at 2.1GHz, a 640GB hard drive, 4GB of memory, a multi-card reader, and a bevy of ports including no less than nine of the USB 2.0 variety and an eSATA port.
"Offering 64-bit Windows, a Blu-ray drive, and significant memory, the Acer AX3200 packs plenty of power for tackling the demans of multitasking and the latest digital entertainment," said Stephanie Eggert, senior manager for Acer America's Retail Desktop Product Planning.
With all that the $680 PC comes with, a cut had to made somewhere and that happens to be in the graphics department. Gamers will find little to lust over with the integrated Nvidia GeForce 8200 GPU.
The AX3200 is available now through Fry's, though it's currently priced $70 over Acer's MSRP.
Come November 19th, Microsoft will kick off its new 'Xbox Experience,' and with it some tantalizing changes to your console's dashboard. One of the more anticipated features includes the ability for Netflix subscribers to stream the online rental service's downloadable catalog straight to the Xbox 360 console for easy viewing on that living room television set. Customized avatars and a party chat feature are just some of the other enhancements that will flesh out the revamped dashboard.
That's great for 360 owners who have the requisite storage space (128MB minimum) to accommodate the update, but Microsoft has unveiled a new memory upgrade program that will keep Core and Arcade owners from being left out in the cold. Impressively, Microsoft is handing out free 512MB memory units to Core owners with the option of picking up a refurbished 20GB hard drive for $20. For $10 more, Arcade owners get the same 20GB hard drive plus a three-month membership to Xbox Live. Not a bad deal for either party.
To check if you're eligible, you'll need your console's 12-digit serial number and 12-digit ID handy, both of which can be found in the Dashboard's System Information area.
Perhaps consumers remain skittish at the presence of malware that cropped up on frames sold from popular retailers like Sam's Club, Target, and Costco. Or maybe everyone's saving up for Kodak's 7.6" OLED display. Whatever the reason, so far it's turned out to be a disappointing year for digital photo frame suppliers, who watched as demand failed to keep up with expectations.
Despite sagging sales, suppliers are hoping for a strong finish in the fourth quarter and continue to launch new products in anticipation of the holiday shopping season when demand tends to peak. But don't be surprised to find bigger frames this year. Price competition for the 7-inch frame market is cutthroat with the Free On Board (FOB) price hovering at just $30, causing some manufacturers to not even take orders for the smaller frames. Instead, look for a sales push in the 10.4-inch and 12-inch segments, which in addition to costing more also typically come with some multimedia functionality.
Have a digital picture frame recommendation? Hit the jump and let us know!