More than just the light of the future, LEDs are emerging in the here and now, and not just small markets either. New York City's Department of Transportation has contracted with the Office for Visual Interaction (OVI), a lighting design group, to test pilot LED street lighting. If the test goes well, it could lead to all 300,000 of NYC's street lamps being replaced with LED versions.
But it's not just the lamps that are getting overhauled, but the pole design as well. The OVI contract calls for a complete redesign, one which will like take on a sleek look with dedicated channels to hang various decorations.
The $1.175 million contract is expected to result in a payback period of two to three years for each pole replaced, along with a 25 to 30 percent power reduction. But the real savings will only come if the test proves successful. The initial demonstration will replace just six street lamps, with the testing period lasting until fall of next year.
It's not often that a technology comes along that significantly changes the way we do things, but we're on the verge of such a transition if Intel succeeds in its latest endeavor, and it has nothing to do with Nehalem. Instead, the chip maker has made progress in a technology that could pave the way for the wireless recharging of electronics.
Intel claims it has found a way to increase the efficiency of a technique for wirelessly powering consumer gadgets and computers, potentially allowing a person to place a device on a computer desk to power it. In short, the technology could do for powering gadgets what Wifi has done for internet access.
"Something like this technology could be embedded in tables and work surfaces, "said Justin Rattner, Intel's CTO, "so as soon as you put down an appropriately equipped device it would immediately begin drawing power.
The technology uses a magnetic field to broadcast up to 60 watts of power two to three feet, while only losing about 25 percent of the power in transmission. And while some start ups have also announced similar wireless charging technologies, those demonstrations have required that the consumer gadgets touch the charging station.
3DFX changed the gaming landscape forever when it brought 3D graphics to the masses, and in a similar fashion, ray tracing technology looks to be the next big revolution on the horizon. The promise of photo realistic scenery has provoked both developers and gamers, but is real-time ray tracing in games anywhere close to being a reality?
In an interview with Tom's Hardware, Intel's Daniel Pohl talked about the API Intel is using to showcase ray tracing demos and what he thinks needs to happen before the technology will be ready for commercial development.
"Creating higher image quality even faster. That requires smart anti-aliasing algorithms, a level of detail mechanism without switching artifacts, particle systems that also work in reflections, a fast soft shadowing algorithm, adoption to upcoming hardware architectures. We have some topics to keep us busy," said Pohl.
In the case of ray tracing, it's a matter of the hardware needing to catch up with the software. Pohl and his team of ray tracing researchers have been "targeting future architectures that consists out of tens, hundreds, and even thousands of cores," noting an almost linear scaling of frame rates with the number of processor cores.
Intel isn't the only one looking to push ray tracing technology into the mainstream, with Nvidia putting on demonstrations of its own. Here's hoping the race to the finish line ends up resembling more of a sprint than a marathon.
DreamWorks Animation and Intel announced at IDF that, beginning next year, films under the DreamWorks banner will all be in next-gen 3D. Last month, the studio had announced that it was going to replace its AMD hardware with Intel’s future chips with multi-processing cores. Now it has been confirmed that Intel’s upcoming Larrabee (codename) graphics chip will form the crux of the partnership. The two partners even unveiled a 3-D movie image brand called InTru 3D. The technology is also targeted at the video games industry and the internet. AMD has also been touting its Cinema 2.0 tech that it claims will pulverize the wall between movies and games.
CRN recently reported on a research from internet security vendor Marshal that found out of the 622 users polled 29.1% admitted to having purchased items through spam emails.
I seriously hope this was just a particularly ignorant group of Internet users. Okay, now hear this; Buying stock through spam email amounts to lighting a match to your hard-earned cash. There is no magic pill to make your penis bigger or make you better in bed. Buying crap through spam encourages spammers to spam more. In other words, don’t do it! Those of us with a clue will thank you, if we don’t cuff you first.
Mozilla's Firefox browser's biggest strength has always been customization. When Mozilla created Firefox 3, the huge improvements in its underlying architecture made Firefox 2 plugins obsolete. To help encourage a new generation of add-ons, Mozilla Labs launched the Extend Firefox 3 contest in March to create a new generation of plugins.
Entries wrapped up on July 4th, and after spending the rest of the summer judging over 100 entries, Mozilla Labs has finally announced the winners of Extend Firefox 3.
"The Envelope, Please"
Extend Firefox 3 presented grand prizes in three categories:
Best New Add-on
Best Updated Add-on
Best Music Add-on
And, now, the winners (drum roll, please):
Best New Add-on
Pencil - a GUI prototyping and diagramming application
Microsoft Live Labs, where Microsoft is helping to create the future of online information, released its Photosynth 3D imaging service yesterday, CNet reports.
Photosynth enables you to create a freely-navigable and zoomable 3D space by combining hundreds of photos with overlapping data, but unlike panorama-stitching programs, you get better results if you shoot your photos from a variety of different angles and zoom settings (or different focal-length prime lenses).Photosynth isn't for photography snobs, either. It works with all types of digital camera images, even from camera phones.
To sign up for Photosynth, you need a Windows Live ID (a free Hotmail account will work). After you sign up for Photosynth, you download free software for viewing synths (Microsoft's term for the 3D images you create with Photosynth) and for creating them. For best "synthiness," you'll need to shoot at least 100 pictures, and many of the examples you can view on the Photosynth website include 200 or more images. If you ever wondered why you need a 4GB or larger flash memory card for your camera, wonder no longer. A thorough Photosynth session can use up every bit of space on your largest memory card.
To learn more about Photosynth, and to give us your comments on this new imaging tool, catch us after the jump.
"Mwahahaha," I cackled gleefully as I skewered a yet another hapless Storm Trooper in the recent Star Wars: The Force Unleashed demo. "Help!" the poor soldier's cry echoed off the walls. But I didn't care. With a flick of my character's wrist, my foe's armor was put to its final test: a steel reinforced ceiling. My grin only widened when gravity yanked the Storm Trooper out of his skyward flight, planting him on the cold floor with a satisfying crack.
I'm a maniacal jerk.
Or at least I was -- in the game. Actually, "irl," I'd say I'm a fairly mild-mannered person. But unless you consider cheaply-constructed, mass-produced action figures to be an artistic medium, videogames are the only medium that allows us to act out our (seemingly sick) fantasies. Gaming's greatest detractors fault our hobby for being violent, and I'm not inclined to disagree with them. But hey, over-the-top violence goes hand-in-hand with interactivity. With the aforementioned action figures, many of us staged tumultuous battles, with swords, guns, fists -- everything -- in an almost primal manner. And it was fun.
Fact is, people are inclined towards violence. We wolf down popcorn while watching actors pretend to put bullets in each others' brains; we slow down traffic for a gander at a car accident. Our media expresses this -- caters to it, even. But society goes on. Few of our sane population are lugging around shotguns or holding up convenience stores with trusty stabbin' knives. Sure, circumstances cause people to do some pretty awful things, but generally out of necessity -- not for fun. And really, that's why videogame violence is great. It's catharsis -- a harmless arena in which we can live out our horrific, Trooper-smashing fantasies.
So, what's the most sadistic, cringe-worthy thing you've ever done in a game? To take things a notch further, think about the gamess you typically play. How many of them aren't in some way violent?
Today's Roundup features games that are, as you'd expect, violent, but one in particular uses its controversial brand of destruction to further a greater cause. In addition, you'll find Clive Barker's pie-in-the-sky dreams for the horror genre, hardware manufacturers' dirty little piracy-related secret, and more. It's all after the break.
Do you subscribe to Maximum PC magazine? If so, turn to page 11 in the recently released October issue (everyone else scroll down to the 2-free trial issuesl order form, or jump straight to the subscription page). In the sidebar, Tom Halfhill discusses how AMD isn't too big to fail, and should they fall, it would leave Intel as the sole provider of x86 chips to the high end consumer market. Even staunch Intel fans can recognize this to be a bad thing, and as Halfhill points out, "AMD's demise would [overnight] create a monopoly that's almost impossible for another company to break." Or would it?
According to one of the hotter rumors making the rounds on the web, Nvidia might be doing more than just looking to get into the x86 market, they might already be working on it. Preposterous? Maybe not. Few would consider Intel's and Nvidia's relationship to be a warm and fuzzy one, and as the divide between GPUs and CPUs look to close, it's at least within the realm of possibility that Nvidia could be hashing out a x86 chip.
One of the biggest sacrifices power users must make when picking out a notebook inevitably comes down to battery life. Lugging around a desktop replacement isn't just heavy, it also means portability becomes a PITA, as you better have a power outlet nearby when the battery loses its juice. But what if enthusiasts could have their portable cake and eat it too?
Intel looks to serve up such a dish as part of its Centrino 2 platform with switchable graphics. From within the OS, gamers and other power users will have the option of switching between discrete graphics during intense fragfests and internal graphics when hashing out that less demanding TPS report.
The power savings, according to Intel, will be as much as one-third, which in some cases could add up to an hour (or more) of battery life. More than just lip service, Intel held an onstage demonstration showing a laptop consume about 25 watts of power while using discrete graphics. Switching to integrated graphics dropped the consumption down to 15-16 watts.
Is this the feature power users have been waiting for?