Lock manufacturer Schlage is about to roll out Schlage Link, an assortment of web-controlled locks, lights and thermostats. The package allows a person to control these devices using an internet-enabled cellphone or computer. Schlage Link is designed to operate in concert with Webcams. However, the product elicits a bit of skepticism as such attempts in recent times have met with little success.
There are three ways to open the lock, using a key, by entering a four-digit code, or through a web interface. It constantly relays information to the owners and alerts them if it suspects something fishy. Schlage Link’s price is not what people might be willing to pay with a smile. It carries a price tag of $299 besides a monthly fee of $12.99.
“WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.”
WARNING: The above label could soon take top billing on all of your favorite game packages – that is, if Congressman Joe Baca has his way. Last week, he introduced the “Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009.” His reasoning? A masterpiece of misinformation.
“The videogame industry has a responsibility to parents, families and to consumers – to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products,” Baca said in a statement.
“They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility. Meanwhile research continues to show a proven link between playing violent games and increased aggression in young people. American families deserve to know the truth about these potentially dangerous products.”
Of course, Baca fails to mention the other, equally valid studies that kind of, you know, “prove” that gamers are, by and large, normal people. We think one of them might’ve been titled “Real Life.”
So yeah, odds are, this bill won’t be sitting on Capitol Hill for long. Sorry, Baca. Same time next week?
Blighted electronic retail chain Circuit City is in discussions with several interested buyers, the company’s CEO Jim Marcum revealed to its employees in a letter. He also informed them about the likely course of action for Circuit City, which has filed a motion with the Bankruptcy Court seeking permission “for a process that formally puts the company up for sale.”
Marcum wrote that parleys with interested buyers have been focused on a “going concern” transaction, whereby the buyer will not dismantle Circuit City’s business, but just reorganize it. If the company fails to secure a sales agreement by the 16th, it will have to be liquidated. He asked employees to stay focused on the job at hand and work hard.
Microsoft has released a free iPhone app called TagReader. It happens to be the software bellwether’s second iPhone app after SeaDragon Mobile. Using TagReader, iPhone users can photograph a tag (Microsoft’s vivid version of barcodes) to search for information related to that particular tag without having to type in anything.
If you snap a tag on a person’s visiting card using the TagReader iPhone app, then your search will, in all likelihood, yield results related to that person. The app sounds fun from the off, but its usefulness is contingent upon the success of Microsoft Tag, which is currently in beta. You can create your own tags here and eventually test the usefulness of TagReader by snapping them.
According to Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson, the International Revenue Service should start taxing the economies of Second Life, World of Warcraft and other virtual worlds. In an annual report posted on the IRS website, Olsen has stated that there are a number of issues that the IRS should address before they get out of control.
"Economic activities associated with virtual worlds may present an emerging area of noncompliance, in part, because the IRS has not issued guidance about whether and how taxpayers should report such activities," Olson writes in her report. Alongside that, she identifies that almost all income is subject to taxation, even prizes and winnings.
This isn’t the first time this issue has been mentioned, though. Since 2003 people both on and offline have looked ad the taxation of virtual economies and Dan Miller, a senior economist for the congressional Joint Economic Committee, has started playing with the idea of taxing MMORPGs after he’d taken a step into online gaming.
With any luck, this won’t come full circle. It would be a huge burden on taxpayers, having to report their every move in World of Warcraft to Uncle Sam, but who would really want to get caught up in paperwork just to play a video game?
Marvell’s ambitions have gotten pretty substantial as of late, as they’re currently placing claim on the ability to pack a 1GHz processor into a cell phone. Using their Sheeva Technology, their PXA168 is looking to change the way that consumer electronics operate.
"Marvell prides itself on being at the forefront of innovation, and developing products that give consumers what they want before they even know it can exist," stated Roawen Chen, vice president and general manager of Communications and Computing Business Group at Marvell. "For the first time, consumers can utilize the processing power of Marvell's Sheeva technology in their low-power digital devices. With the Marvell PXA168 they get gigahertz plus processor speeds, coupled with a WMMX2 SIMD co-processor, creating the opportunity for whole new markets such as low-cost mobile computing devices."
While the first device that this seems it would impact would be Apple’s iPhone, the PXA168 currently only supports Linux and Windows CE (as well as all standard audio and video codecs and Adobe Flash). It hasn’t been mentioned when we can expect to see the chip in consumer devices, but it is said that Marvell is already working with third-party developers to port their applications.
Nvidia stands at a crossroads, with two closed, proprietary APIs that have mainstream potential: the general-purpose computing CUDA API, and the PhysX physics-acceleration API, which sits on top of CUDA. These are both promising technologies, but only owners of Nvidia hardware can harness their power. Meanwhile, there are two emerging open standards that mirror what Nvidia is doing with its proprietary development. One is OpenCL 1.0, and the other is a general-purpose GPU computing API, which Microsoft will include in DirectX 11. There are a relatively small number of consumer applications that use CUDA, PhysX, or OpenCL right now, but the possible applications for the tech are endless—grossly simplified, these APIs let graphics chips perform CPU-like functions.
The question Nvidia needs to be asking is simple: Will developers write their general-purpose GPU computing apps using a proprietary API that works on only a subset of PCs—those stuffed with Nvidia hardware—or will they use an open API that will work on every PC on the market?
QNAP is a company that hasn’t had a release in some time, but it’s clear they weren’t up to nothing. Their latest release, the TS-639 Pro Turbo NAS has had plenty of time spent on it, evident by just how much has been packed under the hood.
What is the TS-639 Pro Turbo NAS, you ask? Well, in short, it’s network storage that packs six bays, a 1.6GHZ Intel CPU, 1GB of DDR RAM, gigabit Ethernet and support for just about every type of RAID under the sun (0/1/5/6/5+spare). Match all that up with built-in iSCSI target service with Thin Provisioning, and you’ve got one heck of a NAS.
Still, there’s no mention yet on pricing or availability.
Look out AMD, you're not the only one with an eye on ultra-thin notebooks. AMD last week officially launched its Athlon Neo chip, which the company says will fulfill "a significant market opportunity that lies between the less-capable mininotebook and higher-priced ultraportable notebook segment." That strategy could work in AMD's favor if Intel would be contend to ride the success its Atom processor in the netbook market, but Intel has no such plans to lie dormant.
Citing Intel sources at CES, CNet says the chip maker plans to release new processors based on the Core architecture for lower cost ultraportables sometime this year. These chips won't compete with the Atom line, and like AMD's Neo, will target ultra-thin laptops in the $700 to $900 range. The new CPUs will essentially be tweaks of Intel's existing ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) processors, CNet reports, such as the SU9300 and SU9400, both with a TDP of just 10 watts.
Could ultra-thin laptops be the next 'big' thin in mobile computing? Hit the jump and sound off.