Researchers around the globe are trying to make solar panels more efficient and inexpensive. Now, a semiconductor material discovered in the 1990’s might come to their aid.
SIOnyx, a startup stationed in Massachusetts, is leading efforts to commercialize black silicon, which is being tipped to supplant silicon in future solar panels as it’s 100 to 500 times more photosensitive than silicon.
Black silicon is being incorporated into sensor-based chips that will in turn be used in night vision equipment. It will inevitably be integrated in future digital cameras and video cameras.
The notebook is available in various configurations with the base version featuring a 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB DDR2 memory, 6-cell battery, a DVD drive and 160 GB 5400 RPM hard drive. The Nox A14 includes a Nvidia Geforce 9600M GT graphics card with 512 MB of GDDR3 memory, which can be easily upgraded later as it utilizes the Nvidia MXM platform.
The top-end variant of the Nox A14 is outfitted with a 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 8 GB of DDR2 memory, 128 GB SSD, Blu-ray and 9-cell battery. The “fastest 14-inch notebook in the world” is only available in Europe at the moment with prices beginning at $1450.
The first beta of Firefox 3.1 has arrived after being delayed by about a month. This beta release introduces the ability to switch between tabs using the Ctrl-Tab combination (3d tab switching). The tab-switching feature has been available in form of an extension till now.
Users can also drag and drop tabs between different Firefox windows. The beta release also has geolocation capability – currently available as an add-on - built into it. Geolocation allows users to interact with the web based on their geographic location.
The inbuilt geolocation feature in Firefox 3.1 and Geode – the geolocation extension - are slightly dissimilar. The difference lies in the fact that the former offers users a choice between GPS-based tracking and WiFi-based tracking, whereas Geode only counts on WiFi for tracking the location of a user.
"Where Do You Want to Go Today?" Maybe that old Microsoft slogan was inspired by the codenames for Windows versions past. You could travel the Midwest with a trip to "Chicago" (Windows 95), "Detroit" (Windows 95 OSR2) and "Memphis" (Windows 98) [corrected 10-15-2008, hat tip to reader damicatz]. Is "Cairo" in Egypt or Southern Illinois? Either way, it's the codename for Windows NT 4.0. More recently, Microsoft's been hitting the slopes in British Columbia, with "Whistler" (Windows XP) and hitting an apres-ski bar in Whistler called "Longhorn" (Windows Vista) for a little liquid refreshment.
Well, you can put away your roadmaps: the Windows version codenamed "Windows 7" is officially called....(wait for it....) Windows 7! Ironically, the official Windows Vista blog confirmed the name for Vista's successor in a post on Columbus Day. Thus, Windows 7 will be the first version of in many years Windows not to have a codename or at least a nickname (Windows 2000 was informally known as "NT5" before it was released).
Wondering why Microsoft went for simplicity in the name of the new OS? Wondering about Microsoft counts Windows generations? Join us after the jump to learn more - and get your chance to sound off.
The chips will not only prevent WiFi signals from loosing their strength while traversing walls but also reign in on any interference from other devices operating in the 2.4 or 5GHz bands. The chipsets are expected to cost between $20 and $40 each. These chips are expected to make their maiden commercial appearance sometime in 2009.
Good news for anyone who doesn’t want to talk on their cellphone in the car, but lacks the actual resolve to not pick up the phone while driving: Canadian software company Aegis Mobile has announced new software that will hold your calls for you while you drive.
The software, called DriveAssistT, will be able to detect when a cell phone is moving at automobile speeds and block incoming calls. Callers are redirected to a message saying that the person being called is driving, and can opt to leave a voice mail if it’s an emergency. Whether car passengers using the software will be able to recieve calls isn't known. Some states have laws requiring drivers to use a hands-free set in the car, but studies have shown that the greatest risk comes from the very act of talking, not from holding the phone, lending credence to the idea behind DriveAssistT.
The software is launching in partnership with auto insurance provider Nationwide. The insurance company plans to offer a discount of 3 to 10 percent for drivers who use DriveAssistT.
Would you use DriveAssistT if it were offered on your phone? Tell us after the jump.
Yahoo just can’t seem to catch a break. The search site’s prospects are looking dimmer and dimmer as Yahoo and Google negotiate with the Justice department to try and head off a potential antitrust lawsuit stemming from their proposed advertising partnership. Several compromises are being discussed which would lessen the strategic value of the partnership for Yahoo.
The currently proposed concessions, according to the Wall Street Journal, “include capping the volume of Google ads Yahoo would use, assurances that Yahoo would continue to compete in search ads, and a reporting mechanism to ensure compliance… U.S. officials hope to impose measures that will ensure the prices advertisers must pay don’t rise significantly after the deal.”
According to Silicon Valley Insider, these compromises would leave the already down-in-the-mouth Yahoo in an even weaker position, cutting out much of the benefit they had hoped to gain from the ad partnership. They also suggest that Microsoft’s lobbyists are responsible for the Justice Department’s scrutiny of the deal, writing that “even if [Microsoft] doesn’t buy Yahoo, it gets the quiet pleasure of poking another stick at the carcass of a company that spurned it’s now extraordinarily generous buyout offer.”
Having apparently run out of actual people to talk to, New Scientist has posted an interview with Elbot, the chatbot that won this year’s Loebner Prize for artificial intelligence. Structured after the Turing Test, the prize is awarded to whichever bot can fool the most of the 12 judges into thinking that it’s a real person.
Elbot successfully convinced three judges that it was not a chatbot, but rather a human being pretending to be a robot.
Confused? Check out this excerpt from the interview: New Scientist: You and your creator won $3000 of prize money. How do you plan to use the money?
Elbot: As I always say, it’s hard to keep a 600-pound robot down, unless you use gravity.
With natural, sensible dialogue like that, I don’t know how any of the judges could have not been fooled. On that note, if anyone is in need of a quick buck, we suggest entering a chatbot next year that pretends to be a man banging his head against the keyboard.
Anyone who wants to can chat with Elbot; give it a try and tell us what you think after the break.
Here's a formula to help boost sales: Take something popular - for example, The Dark Knight - and then apply it to something completely unrelated, like videocards. Of course, copyright concerns could come into play, so be sure and design a character or logo that resembles nothing from which it was borrowed (in this case, steer clear of Batman).
Perhaps we're being too cynical and maybe Asus isn't a fan of DC's comic hero gone big screen. In any event, Asus' new Dark Knight series of videocards will inevitably conjure up thoughts of Christian Bale in his most recent role as Batman, but the new GPUs have no association to arguably the best super hero movie to date. Instead, the "self-designed" Dark Knight branded cards will come with a special heatsink the company claims ups the cooling performance ante while keeping noise levels down.
"The ASUS designed EAH4870 DK and EN9800GTX+ DK Series come equipped with the specially designed Dark Knight Fansink," Asus wrote in a press release. "This innovative fansink is equipped with 4 heatpipes and a large heatsink surface area; and is made of aluminum alloy to deliver extreme cooling while retaining operating levels at only 32dB—almost imperceptible in a quiet room—catering to users who require maximum cooling without excessive fan rotation noise."
The new cards also come with a handful of technologies and buzzwords aimed at attracting the overclocking crowd. These include an EMI shield, DIP spring chokes, LF PAK MOS, and all-solid Japanese capacitors. Put together, Asus claims end users can expect a 9 percent performance improvement while gaming. Utility belt not included.
If there's one surefire way to piss off Maximum PC readers, its by mixing politics with technology news. But despite the ire that will inevitably ensue (don't worry, we're not telling you who we think you should vote for), sometimes the two sections overlap to where we must risk the torches and pitchforks in order to report what's going on.
In this case, the real subject matter is in-game advertising. Love it or hate it, in-game ads are here to stay and they might even help decide who our next president is. At the very least, it could become a growing trend. We're talking about political ads preceding an election, and helping to set what could become a precedent, Barack Obama's reaching out to Xbox 360 gamers through virtual billboards. The ads have been spotted in Burnout Paradise, which apparently have been purchased for an undisclosed sum.
"I can confirm that the Obama campaign has paid for in-game advertising in Burnout," Holly Rockwood, directory of corporate communications at Electronic Arts, told Gigaom.com in an email. "Like most television, radio, and print outlets, we accept advertising from credible political candidates."
EA went on to clarify that the ads' subject matter "do not reflect the political policies of EA or the opinions of its development team." But that might not matter if gamers feel that mixing politics with videogames is taking advertising too far.
Do you have a problem with political billboards appearing in games? Hit the jump and give us your take.