California proposes ‘kill switches’ on mobile phones

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California could be the first state to mandate a way for consumers to disable lost or stolen mobile phones.

Legislators in California are expected to outline a proposal requiring mobile devices sold in the state to come equipped with “kill switches” that would disable them if stolen or lost, beginning Jan. 1, 2015.

 

 

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Light-Emitting Technology Affecting Americans’ Sleep

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95% of the people surveyed reported using some type of electronic device within an hour of bedtime at least a few nights a week.

Americans aren’t getting enough sleep, and technology may be the culprit.

In the National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 Sleep in America poll, out today, 95% of the 1,508 people surveyed reported using some type of electronic device — such as a TV, computer, video game or cellphone — within an hour of bedtime at least a few nights a week.

 

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Sharp Unveils World’s First 3D HD Camera Module For Mobile Devices

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The Next Evolution of 3D?

Sharp really believes in 3D, it seems. In the past weeks the company presented a new 3D touchscreen for mobile devices, then the world’s first four-primary 3D display, followed by a 3D e-book reader. And today Sharp in Japan unveiled [press release in English] the world’s first 3D camera module that can be used in mobile devices such as cell phones, digital cameras or portable gaming systems…

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Ford SYNC Hits 2 Million Mark

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Ford SYNC is the popular device manager for your car built on a Microsoft platform

The popular Ford SYNC voice-controlled communications and infotainment system has been winning over buyers at its fastest pace ever, with Ford announcing SYNC has now been installed on more than 2 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.
“The success of SYNC proves that customers want to be connected,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “The speed with which we’ve hit the  2 million mark, the premium SYNC adds at auction, and the improvements in purchase consideration show that it is a true differentiator for us, adding real value for the customer.”
SYNC, built on the Microsoft Windows Embedded Automotive software platform, hit 2 million units only 10 months after Ford delivered its 1-millionth SYNC-equipped vehicle, a 2010 Fusion Hybrid, to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The first SYNC systems were delivered in fall 2007.
“Microsoft and Ford share a common vision when it comes to connecting drivers and passengers to their digital lifestyles,” said Kevin Dallas, general manager of Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Business. “The beauty of building on the Windows Embedded Automotive software platform is that its flexibility has enabled Ford to create new, engaging in-vehicle experiences over the past three years for their consumers to enjoy behind the wheel. We’re excited to see what new roads SYNC explores in the future.”
SYNC boosts resale values
In addition to providing customers with voice control of most entertainment and communications systems in the vehicle, SYNC also pays dividends at resale time.
Ford data analysis shows that SYNC-equipped models of the 2008 Focus are worth more than those without SYNC. After one year in service, the SYNC-equipped models sell for a $240 premium on average. With another year in service added, the SYNC premium is still a significant $200. Ford’s ability to isolate SYNC and attach a resale value to the optional system is based on a company-exclusive statistical VIN-decoding vehicle option residual impact modeling strategy.
The increased transaction price for pre-owned vehicles equipped with SYNC reflects market demand for the feature. In a recent study of Ford SYNC-equipped vehicle owners, one-third of respondents indicated that SYNC played an important role in their purchase decision.
Another reason for the added value is likely due to Ford continuously improving SYNC, year after year, without raising the option price of $395. First launched on 2008 models, including the Focus, Ford has added valuable new capabilities each model year since. For 2009 models, Ford added the 911 Assist™ and Vehicle Health Report applications, at no added cost for the life of the vehicle.
•               911 Assist can place a call directly to a local 911 emergency operator in the event of an accident involving the activation of an air bag or, on certain vehicles, the emergency fuel pump shutoff. If an occupant cannot respond, SYNC can deliver a recorded message to the 911 service to alert an operator that a crash has occurred.
•               Vehicle Health Report gives customers the ability to monitor and manage their vehicle’s health in a single, easy-to-read report and receive important notifications. The report includes diagnostic systems’ statuses, scheduled maintenance, needed repairs from the last dealership visit, and will even alert owners of any open recalls.
In fact, those first 2008 models can be upgraded with these applications with a quick visit to their local dealers, thus adding unexpected value to the vehicle.
For 2010 models, Ford improved SYNC even further with the addition of a GPS receiver integrated into the vehicle, thus creating the opportunity to offer location-based services through the Traffic, Directions & Information (TDI) app. TDI can deliver personalized traffic reports, precise turn-by-turn driving directions and up-to-date information including business listings, news, sports and weather – without the need for a built-in or aftermarket navigation system.
SYNC Traffic, Directions & Information services are free for the first three years of vehicle ownership, and only $60 per year after that, delivering capabilities, features and affordability that rival competitors’ embedded telematics and navigation systems.
SYNC satisfaction remains high
Among Ford customers who have SYNC on their vehicles – and use its voice command features – 87 percent are satisfied with how the system operates, and 88 percent would recommend the purchase of a vehicle with SYNC to others.
So what do SYNC users take advantage of most? Hands-free calling is used daily by two-thirds of study respondents, with 89 percent using the feature at least once a week. More than half use the voice-activated dialing features available through SYNC, helping drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel.
Use of the Traffic, Directions & Information application is also on the increase. Among users aware of the feature, up to 39 percent are taking advantage of the turn-by-turn directions, local business search and real-time traffic services.

The popular Ford SYNC voice-controlled communications and infotainment system has been winning over buyers at its fastest pace ever, with Ford announcing SYNC has now been installed on more than 2 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. And studies now show it boosts the resale value of a vehicle by over $200.

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3DS: Nintendo Announces Portable 3D Gaming Device

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BIG NEWS in the gaming world!

Big news from the Japanese video game world today: Nintendo announced they will launch a successor to the DS/DSi for the next fiscal year (which begins next month in Japan and ends in March 2011). And what sounds particularly cool so far about the Nintendo 3DS is that the new portable device won’t require any special glasses for users to see the 3D images, according to Nintendo.

Details are scarce at the moment (no price, no specs, no pics), but what’s confirmed so far is that “3DS” is just the tentative name of the device. It will be backwards compatible to conventional DS/DSi games (meaning it will have 2 cameras again) and is sure to hit Japanese stores first.

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Apple Granted Patent On Capacitive Multitouch Displays

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It’s not the mythical pinch-to-zoom patent, but the USPTO just granted a fairly broad Apple patent on capacitive multitouch displays. US Patent #7,663,607 describes a “transparent capacitive sensing medium configured to detect multiple touches” by way of two sandwiched layers of conductive lines hooked up to an appropriate circuit, and also covers a specific type of multitouch display with a similar two-layer capacitive sensor made of glass.
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Another Tool To Help You Spy On Your Neighbors and Children

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We don’t know who will purchase this eavesdropping device and this kit is good as its claim. The Next Room Eavesdropping Device($62) looks a bit like the business end of a stethoscope, but uses an electronic internal sound amplifier to boost the noises coming through a wall, door, window and even steel plates. It includes a set of a set of headphones, built-in rechargeable battery charge via USB, ON/OFF Switch Button with volume Dial.

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The Battery Powered EniCycle

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAojeqJCzvo&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

The EniCycle is an a prototype self-stabilizing unicycle from Slovenian inventor Aleksander Polutnik. Featuring a three-hour battery, gyroscope and a spring damper, Polutnik claims a 30 minute learning curve. The video shows UK “The Gadget Show” Ortiz Deley learning to ride the device. Within a few minutes he’s not falling off and actually steering.

 

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First Wi-Fi Pacemaker In US Allows Doctors To Monitor Health Over The Internet

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Two of St. Jude Medical’s latest devices, a pacemaker and an AICD, that feature company’s wireless reporting technology.

After relying on a pacemaker for 20 years, Carol Kasyjanski has become the first American recipient of a wireless pacemaker that allows her doctor to monitor her health from afar — over the Internet.

 

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‘Why Cry Baby Analyzer’ Analyzes Why Baby Is Crying

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Why Cry Baby Analyzer

When a new born baby arrives in to the world, the baby’s parents soon learn that they cry for various reasons that often you might not be aware of. This “Why Cry Baby Analyzer” is a monitoring device that sits next to your baby at night and analyizes why the baby is crying.

 

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Beanzawave: The USB-Powered Beans Microwave

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Would office beans smell be better than office donuts?

Sometimes, when you’re sitting at your desk, all you want are some piping-hot baked beans. Hey, we all know it, why not admit it? That’s why Heinz is working on a USB beans microwave.

No, this isn’t a joke. The Beanzawave-yes, Beanzawave-is billed as the world’s smallest microwave, measuring just 7.4 inches tall by 2.6 inches wide and 5.9 inches deep. It’s perfect for desktop bean cookery, and Heinz is even dabbling in Lithium Ion batteries for on the go beans heating….

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Soviet Nuclear Control Devices

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Mark Pitcher’s posted a set of Soviet nuclear controls that look exactly as I pictured high-tech equipment looking when I was a kid (shown here is a nuclear detonator panel (!) that bristles with high-tech menace): “Equipment built during the 1940’s to 1970’s for use in the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site (the ‘Polygon’). All are hand-made and most are one-offs. Photos from a museum in Kurchatov Kazakhstan.”

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