With some news that is sure to surprise absolutely nobody, the Department of Homeland Security is currently in the process of developing a new way to spy on you. The new technology, called “Future Attribute Screening Technology,” or FAST (catchy, huh?) will use crowd-monitoring body sensors that detect individuals’ pulses, body language, breathing rates and facial temperatures to determine threats.
FAST is said to have had accurate results, identifying suspicious behavior in four out of five scenarios. One such scenario, run at a ranch in Maryland involved roughly 140 participants. They were told to walk through FAST’s sensors, with a small group of them instructed to act suspicious or hostile. The effective accuracy rate of FAST was 78% on mal-intent detection, and 80% on deception.
The Department of Homeland Security is said to still be relatively early in their research, but say it looks very promising.
Criticism comes in the form of John Verdi of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. He states that FAST is “substantially more invasive in airports,” referring to it as a medical exam that the government has no right to conduct. There’s also concern that FAST could improperly identify physical conditions heart murmurs, breathing problems, and high stress levels as threats.
Should FAST be implemented, it might be a common sight at concerts, sporting events and other public gatherings, right alongside the mobile toilets or catering trucks.
Holy high core-count Batman, just imagine how many Chrome tabs you could have open with a 36-core Nehalem! But before you get too excited, this isn't some secret project Intel has been working on. The feat comes courtesy of Tilera, a small start-up from 2004 and self-proclaimed "industry leader in highly scalable multi-core embedded processor design." And with a 36-core chip, who's to argue?
This isn't even Tilera's highest cored processor, as the company introduced a 64-core CPU last year. This time around, the scaled down TilePro36 is being marketed as a midrange part suitable for devices like high-end video conferencing, according to Bob Doud, Tilera's director of marketing.
Intel and AMD needn't be worried though, as the Tilera doesn't target servers and home PCs, as the architecture would get summarily thumped by today's fastest chips. But for its targeted applications, the tiled RISC processing core puts out a bit of pep when configured in a distributed network, and the new 36-core version only sips between 10 to 16 watts.
There seems to be no other device more inane than a pocket-sized projector. But then again, the only thing that could save a swanky cocktail party from total failure is whipping out that compact projector and flaunting last Wednesday’s financial report you so diligently put together. Everyone in attendance will be so impressed by your Powerpoint skills (look at the way that text swivels!). And fortunately for you and the rest of those lackluster cocktail parties you’re sure to attend, Toshiba plans on releasing an ultra compact projector the size of an iPod, so it’ll be easier to take your presentations with you on the go.
The prototype was on display earlier this month at Berlin’s IFA 2008, one of the biggest consumer electronics trade shows. The projector is small enough to fit comfortably inside any pants pocket and runs solely on battery. The device radiates a luminance of about 7lm and can display images as big as 50 inches.
Toshiba hopes that it will be successful at introducing the product in 2009. Afterwards, the company can focus on increasing the specs of the projector, gearing it up with more power and more capabilities. The projector may cost an upwards of $400 USD. Specifications may change before the device’s official release.
More price cuts are on the horizon from Intel, with some processors soon to reach their end of life (EOL), say motherboard makers. As DigiTimes reports it, Intel will announce product discontinuance notices (PDNs) for the Core 2 Extreme QX9770 and QX9650 in the first quarter of 2009. PDNs will also be sent out for four quad-core chips, one of which is the Q9450 and ten dual-core CPUs, including the E8300.
Specific numbers haven't been released, but come October 19, Intel is expected to cut the price of the Core 2 Quad Q8200 and Q6600, Core 2 Duo 7300, and Pentium E2220 and E2220 CPUs. Around the same time the chip maker will launch its Core 2 Duo E7400.
In November, look for Intel to release a Core 2 Quad Q8300 clocked at 2.5GHz, Pentium E5300 clocked at 2.6GHz, and a dual-core Celeron E1500 at 2.2GHz. Prices in thousand-unit quantities will sit at $224, $86, and $53 respectively.
And finally, on January 18, 2009, Intel plans to launch the Core 2 Duo E7500 (2.93GHz, $133) and will make the following price cuts:
Core 2 Quad Q8200 from $193 to $183
Core 2 Duo E7400 from $133 to $113
Pentium E5200 from $84 to $76
Pentium E2200 from $84 to $64
Celeron E1400 from $54 to $43
Keep in mind that none of this is official, with Intel declining to comment on the price cuts and product launches.
Buffalo Technology, makers of high-end storage and networking peripherals (their products are apparently very popular in Japan), today announced several new products which they hope will bolster their market share in the US. One of the more exciting products they showed us is the Mini-Station portable hard drive, which is easily the smallest hard drive we’ve seen, period. The 60GB storage device is a mere 5 millimeters thick (.2 inches), and measures 3.4 by 2.2 inches. Inside the tiny frame is the smallest external spinning hard drive on the market, a single platter 1.8” drive.
Samsung Electronics vindicated rumors about its interest in acquiring SanDisk by publicly making a takeover bid on Tuesday. But SanDisk quickly rejected the takeover bid, which valued it at $5.85 billion - $26 per share, citing its 52-week high of $55/share.
He called their attention to the fact that the offer is a “premium of 80% over your closing share price on September 15, 2008, and a 66% and 164% premium to your 30-day weighted average price and enterprise value as of September 4, 2008, respectively.”
This is going to be a game of cat and mouse just like the drama that played itself out between Microsoft and Yahoo; and EA and Take 2.
It seems everyone is getting bitten by the high-performance SSD bug, and that now includes Dell. The dudes at Dell have started selling its 2.2-pound Latitude E4200 with the only storage option being solid-state drives. But that doesn't mean you don't get a choice. Customers picking up the E4200 can opt for either a standard SSD or "Ultra."
As you might have surmised, the Ultra bumps up the performance specs a notch with a rated 100 MB/s read speed and 80 MB/s write speed. According to Samsung, these numbers represent a 60 percent performance hike over SATA I drives, and Dell's own testing claims a boost over its 5400RPM drives.
"Our labs benchmarked this drive in a Latitude notebook and saw a 35 percent overall system performance increase a over a standard 2.5-inch 5400RPM notebook hard drive using SYSmark '07," Dell said."That's even more impressive when you realize that the difference between standard 5400RPM and performance 7200RPM drives (in the same generation) is 10 percent on average."
There's been plenty of coverage surrounding Nvidia's admitted "abnormal failure rate" among what remains an unknown number of GPUs, but in case you missed it, here's the Cliff Notes version: Earlier this summer, Nvidia announced it would take a one time hit of $150-$200 million to cover warrany and repair costs associated with a bad batch of mobile GPUs. The chip maker insisted (and still does) that the failures were an isolated incident, but that's come into question. News and rumor site The Inquirer has been particularly vocal in its questioning of how widespread the problem really is, bringing up the possibility that the defective parts could be affecting both mobile and desktop parts, including G92 and G94 based GPUs.
Now that you're caught up, it's TGDaily who's bringing more speculation to the table. Referencing industry sources, the news site claims that Nvidia's future 45nm GPUs that have recently entered the qualification stage are being built with high-lead solder bumps. Earlier speculation pointed to Nvidia having made the switch to eutecic solders in reaction to the GPU failures, and if that's the case, the switch to solder bumps raises more questions than answers as to what's going on, and whether or not the problem has been solved or is ongoing.
Nvidia isn't commenting on the latest news, and it's a pretty safe bet that this won't be the last you'll hear on the matter.
Since netbooks deploy quaint technology as compared to their full-blown cousins, it can be difficult to believe that they are actually aimed at the future. But that is exactly what Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle group, thinks. His reasoning is that netbooks would be more practical and fun when WiMax becomes ubiquitous in the near future. A netbook quickly transforms into a worthless, nondescript device once you have no internet access to breathe life into it. Rob Enderle’s point about netbooks being useless without internet might appear to be a mere reiteration of the obvious, but it is actually a very insightful observation.
The second-generation Slacker personal radio player is smaller, slimmer, and even better than the first. There may be no better way to listen to free music. Slacker announced a new version of its portable radio today, and we’re happy to say the Slacker G2 kicks just as much ass as the original product we reviewed last April.
Here’s Slacker in a nutshell, if you don’t want to re-read our previous review: Slacker radio is much like Pandora or Last.FM in that you can listen to music on the Internet for free (along with an occasional advertisement) while the service analyzes your expressed taste in music and recommends new artists it thinks you’ll enjoy.
The trade-offs are that you can't always choose which songs you want to hear, and you can skip only a limited number of tracks. Slacker also a subscription plan ($7.50 per month if you pay for a year at a time) that eliminates the ads, enables you to call up saved tracks at will (as long as you maintain your subscription), and allows you skip an unlimited number of tracks.
The second-generation Slacker personal radio player is smaller, slimmer, and even better than the first. There may be no better way to listen to free music. Read on for our full review.