Sony suffered through its worst year ever in 2011, and not just because of the high-profile hacker attacks that compromised millions of user accounts and resulted in extended downtime to the PlayStation Network. The real reason Sony can lament 2011 is because of the fact that it posted a net loss of $5.7 billion, the company's largest loss ever in its 66-year history, and the fourth straight year of sitting in the red.
Another Foxconn factory worker in China nearly committed suicide before being talked out of lunging himself off a building rooftop to almost certain death. He is one of about 300 Foxconn workers who reportedly organized a mass suicide as part of a pay raise protest at a factory that makes Xbox parts for Microsoft.
When electronic components bite the dust, there's very little you can do. Unlike a leaky pipe or broken piece of plastic, it's not like you can tear off a piece of duct tape and fix a cracked or failed microchip. Best case scenario is you replace it, but if it's an integrated part or a discontinued chip, you might have to replace the whole device. Bummer. But what if a chip could heal itself?
Once you’ve conquered your fear of static electricity and successfully built a kick ass custom PC from the ground up, making the jump to custom electronics isn’t all that intimidating. The open-source Arduino microcontroller breaks down the entry barrier even further. Flexible, powerful, easy-to-use and licensed-to-alter (under Creative Commons Share-Alike), the Arduino is the linchpin behind scads and scads of nifty DIY electronics projects. And hey! It just so happens that we’ve gathered 25 of the coolest, craziest, and most useful Arduino-powered projects in this gallery for your viewing – and building – pleasure. Mind-controlled Nerf guns, anybody? No, it’s not black magic. It’s the magic of Arduino!
A company called BeagleBoard invites you to meet BeagleBone, an $89 open source hardware platform about the size of a credit card. It's intended for electronic enthusiasts looking for a fast, easy, and affordable way to build things like wireless networked autonomous robots, self-teaching electronics education kits, intelligent digital signage, retro gaming devices, home automation, and the list goes on.
A high ranking official at the Department of Homeland Security admitted to Congress that foreign made hardware and software sold in the U.S. are sometimes laced with spyware, malware, and other foul components that can compromise security. The revelation came from Greg Schaffer, acting deputy undersecretary of the DHS National Protection and Programs Directorate, who testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Stop us if you've heard the one about Best Buy terminating workers for not getting all in your face trying to get you to fill out a Best Buy credit card application. No? Now you have, so the next time you visit the brick and mortar electronics store to pick up some PC parts you just can't wait for, keep what you're about to read in mind should you encounter a pushy employee -- he might just be desperate to keep his job.
Don't throw away your Sharper Image gift card just yet. In the coming weeks, you may be able to use it. Not for merchandise, mind you, but in exchange for cold, hard cash. Sharper Image, which is now called TSIC, wants to reimburse gift card holders almost three years after the company closed up shop. It's now up to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware whether or not the company formerly known as Sharper Image will be allowed to pay that money back.
We can reminisce all we want about those simpler times before luggage fees became so strict, but it won't do us any good. What might, however, is Balanzza's new digital baggage scale.
"Balanzza helps travelers avoid unexpected overweight charges at the airline ticket counter as well as the inconvenience and embarrassment or having to repack on the airport floor," Balanzza says. "The patented design makes it easy to use; simply secure the scale to the luggage handle by using the strap, lift with one or two hands, wait for the beep, and check the weight in pounds or kilograms."
The Mini Luggage Scale is Balanzza's smallest version yet, though it still features an oversized LCD screen. It also weighs less than one-third of a pound and can weight bags up to 100 pounds.
Think you're obsessed with technology? Try living in Britain and having a look around. A new study of 3,000 men and women reveals that our British brethren spend a whopping nine hours playing with gadgets.
"We all know that modern technology plays an important part in everyday life, but it is incredible to think that so many hours are spent using gadgets," said Stephen Ebbet from www.protectyourbubble.com, which commissioned the research.
"The average person probably isn't even awake for much longer than 16 hours a day, and more than half of that time is completely dominated by gizmos.
"The fact is that many of the electrical appliances used regularly - such as the computer, washing machine and microwave - are both necessary and time saving. So we might spend a few minutes fiddling with them, but they continue to work and carry out tasks for us even when we're busy doing something else."
Nevertheless, only a fourth of respondents said they are totally obsessed with gadgets, while 61 percent admitted to being surprised at how much time they spend with with technology.