Here’s one more reason to be glad that there’s not a big overlap between the “computer scientists” and “burglars” demographics: UC San Diego scientists have developed a program that can duplicate a key from a single photograph.
The software’s more powerful than you might think, too. It can copy keys seen from almost any angle, not just those seen in profile, and it can copy keys from a source as low-res as a cell phone camera picture. With a telephoto lens, the group was able to copy a whole ring of keys sitting on a table from a rooftop 195 feet away.
The group is not releasing the program to the public, but they are hoping the exposure will help raise awareness of the shortcomings of traditional keys. Stefan Savage, the program leader said "We argue that the threat has turned a corner--cheap image sensors have made digital cameras pervasive and basic computer vision techniques can automatically extract a key's information without requiring any expertise.”
In what's sure to show up on several holiday geek gift guides, Ardica has come up with a gadget every traveling technophile will want to tote around, assuming those travels include chilly locales. Ardica describes it as "the world's first fully functional, lightweight, portable personal power and heating system," which is essentially a power pack meant to be worn.
Once suited up, a proprietary lithium-ion pack with 39-watt hours of stored energy provides up to 100F degrees of heat for 3 hours when set to high, or just shy of 9 hours on low. And if keeping your bosom toasty while stranded on a snow covered mountain weren't enough, the portable power source is also good for 11 cell phone charges to call all your loved ones for that final goodbye, 20 iPod charges for the longest loop of Taps ever, or power a GPS, PDA, or any other gadget you may have on hand before going into full McGyver mode and constructing a life saving teleportation device.
PC enthusiasts used to selecting the right combination of computer components will feel right at home, as you'll need to pick out an Ardica enabled garment to ensure compatibility, with Mountain Hardware, Sitka, Redwing, and a handful of others already on board. Ardica says garments made to be compatible will add $35 to $50 onto the retail price. The personal power component will sell separately through Ardica's website for $145.
Asus company president Jerry Shen expects his company's notebook growth in 2009 to outpace the industry's average of 10 to 20 percent, while also grabbing nearly a third of the netbook market next year with shipments in the 6 to 7.5 million unit range.
According to DigiTimes, part of Asus' growth in the netbook sector will hinge on a new $200 Eee PC that Shen plans to introduce sometime in 2009. Not much is known about the proposed low-cost PC and whether or not it will be on par with the $300 Eee PC 900A Best Buy began selling earlier this month.
Notebooks have become Asus' bread and butter, with mobile PCs now account for 47 percent of the company's revenues. On the growing netbook side, the company's Eee PC line contributes 22 percent, while motherboards and graphics cards accounting for 19 percent, handheld devices 2 percent, and all other products contributing 10 percent of revenue.
It seems there's always a notebook battery recall taking place, and the latest round comes from a handful of PC manufacturers using Sony-manufactured batteries. Potentially affected units stands at 100,000 worldwide, with 35,000 of those in the U.S.
The affected lithium-ion batteries were manufactured by Sony Energy Devices Corporation of Japan. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says the batteries could overheat and pose a fire hazard, a likely result given the complaints that have trickled in so far. According to the CPSC, there have already been 19 reports of overheating batteries, and all but 2 of those reports also indicated flames or fire. Two consumers report suffering minor burns, and 10 have complained of property damage.
No OEM has been more affected by the latest recall than HP. Out of the 35,000 batteries recalled in the U.S., 32,000 are being used in HP systems. These include the HP Pavilion dv1000, dv8000, and zd8000 sold from December 2004 to June 2006.
Other popular vendors include Toshiba and it's Satellite A70/75, P30/35, M30X/M35X, and M50/55 notebooks, as well as Tecra A3, A5, and S2 systems sold from April 2005 to October 2005 (3000 in all), and about 150 Dell Latitude 110L, Inspiron 1100, 1150, 5100, 5150, and 5160 notebooks sold between November 2004 to November 2005.
Notebook owners sporting one of the potentially affected units are advised to remove the battery and head over to CPSC's website for more information on how to contact the manufacturer to obtain a free replacement.
Edited 10/31/08 for clarification on the number of units affected and to include CPSC information.
Leaked screenshots of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 OS are nothing new, and we expect even more frequent peeks with beta releases floating around the web. That's the case with GottaBeMobile.com, who is currently participating in the Windows 7 beta and is showing off several screenies of the new OS running on a Tablet PC.
As would be expected, much of the focus remains on the Tablet Input Panel (TIP) and how the TIP tab operates. This includes how-to animations that display when clicked and show how to correct a word, how to delete, split a word, how to join, and an option to hide the videos. And in a departure from Vista, handwriting to the TIP is auto recognized inline instead of displaying the recognition results in a bubble below the word.
GottaBeMobile promises that there are more screenshots to come, so if this is your bag of tea, consider adding the site to your favorites.
Dell this week has launched a new line of OptiPlex desktop rigs, starting with the company's new flagship OptiPlex 960. The 960 comes wrapped in three different chassis designs -- mini-tower, desktop, and SFF -- with a configurable interior that lets consumers choose from both Intel's Core 2 Duo and quad-processor lineup, onboard or add-in graphics, and up to 8GB of DDR2 RAM. The new OptiPlex also looks to go green with what Dell claims is a 43 percent reduction in power consumption compared to previous OptiPlex models. Other improvements include a sturdier frame, significant noise reduction (up to 60 percent), and beefed up security through full drive encryption.
Among the OptiFlex refresh also sits Dell's FX160. The FX160 is Dell's first ever thin client, and can be configured to support either a Virtual Remote Desktop thin client environment or an On-Demand Desktop Streaming environment. Underneath the hood is an Intel Atom processor.
The new OptiPlex rigs are available now with starting prices ranging from $399 (FX160) on up to $863 (960).
Back before broadband, it was common to find retailers selling pre-built computers for hefty discounts, provided you agreed to sign up for a multi-year dial-up plan. By and large, the concept of discounted hardware in exchange for an ISP commitment has largely went by the wayside, but it may be making a comeback, with a twist.
Don't worry, no one is asking you to commit to three years of AOL on a 56K connection. Instead, HP is considering selling netbooks for a significant discount when bundled with a wireless service contract. While a new concept in the U.S., cellular service providers are already doing this in Asia and Europe. One such example is Taiwanese carrier Far EasTone Communications Ltd., who sells an Asus Eee PC for a scant $29 with a two-year commitment.
"The big picture for these netbooks is that kind of model," Kevin Frost, who runs HP's consumer notebook business unit, said in an interview. "That's the longer-term model."
Frost didn't mention which U.S. wireless providers are being actively pursued, but did say that Verizon and AT&T could be potential candidates. Whether or not either of those companies would be interested remains to be seen, but if it's going to happen, expect it sooner than later while the netbook market is red hot.
Would you be interested in a discounted netbook with a wireless service plan? Hit the jump and tell us what you think.
He heavily extolled Blu-ray, which he believes is a huge asset for media editing professionals and enterprises - a demographic that Psystar can now serve.
Psystar is certainly trying its best to get under the skin of Apple whose patience must be wearing thin. Around a fortnight ago, Apple and Psystar agreed to an “Alternative Dispute Resolution”. Prior to that, in July, Apple had slapped a lawsuit against Psystar. The latter soon returned the favor by filing a lawsuit of its own against Apple.
How cool would it be if you could tidy up your long-to-the-point-of-swaying-in-the-breeze toe nails and save $50 million? Because that's essentially what EA did today in the process of announcing its quarterly earnings.
Everyone's favorite 37.5% of the industry laid-off 600 employees -- a mere 6% of its workforce. Apparently, that'll save the company a whopping $50 million.
"These are challenging economic times around the world, and it's impossible for any business leaders to predict the future," said spokesperson Mariam Sughayer. "However, EA has made good progress in improving product quality, building a holiday lineup of titles that is extremely strong, filling our new IP pipeline, and expanding our Direct-To-Consumer and online businesses. As well, our talent remains the best in the industry."
If nothing else, Spore was a major success -- serving 2 million marginally happy customers over the course of three weeks.
Check out the full press release on EA's investors' site, if you'd like to overwrite your childhood memories with numbers. So many numbers.
Taiwanese company Silicon Integrated Systems has dismissed rumors that it is going to shut down its PC chipset business. It is now going to concentrate its resources on developing southbridges. SiS will persist with its PC chipset business and satisfy whatever demand there is for its products until 2011. It is currently concentrating on providing notebook chipsets. SiS supplies notebook chipsets to around 20 notebook manufacturers. Cut-throat competition and the precarious state of the global economy have made life difficult for SiS.