Tuesday, July 31, 2012

China's new liquid oxygen and kerosene-fueled rocket engine lights up for testing

China's new liquid oxygen and kerosenefueld rocket engine lights up for testing

Liquid oxygen and kerosene, that's what fuels China's new -- and freshly tested -- rocket engine. When fired up on Sunday, it withstood temperatures as high as 5,432 degrees Fahrenheit (3,000 degrees Celsius) for 200 seconds and powered through almost 20,000 revolutions per minute in a rotational test. "The successful tests confirm the reliability of China's LOX / kerosene engine," test commander Lai Daichu told China Daily. According to China Central Television, the engine is non-toxic, pollution-free and the first of its kind for which China holds proprietary intellectual property rights -- though similar engines have been used by other space agencies. The engine is on track to lend the upcoming Long March 5 rocket a total of 118 tons of thrust, giving it enough oomph to launch a 25-ton payload into low-earth orbit or 14-ton cargo into geostationary orbit. Its expected to haul additional portions of the country's space station and aid lunar exploration, but the first voyage isn't slated until 2014.

[Image Credit: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation]

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China's new liquid oxygen and kerosene-fueled rocket engine lights up for testing originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 19:57:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/31/chinas-new-liquid-oxygen-and-kerosene-fueled-rocket-engine-ligh/

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Lenovo unveils toughened ThinkPad X131e for education, hikes price to $499

Lenovo unveils toughened ThinkPad X131e for education, hikes price to $499

Lenovo must have struck a chord with schools looking for some rough-and-tumble ThinkPads, as it's bringing out the ThinkPad X131e even while teachers are still drafting their course plans for the fall semester. The new model keeps that better-than-military ruggedness in an 11.6-inch laptop while freshening the choices of AMD E-series chips or their Intel-made Celeron and Core i3 challengers. Dolby Advanced Audio even gives the speakers boost when it's not a matter of all work and no play. Educators, in turn, get the usual options for extended support or customizing the laptops with a little school pride. There's a premium to pay for putting classrooms on the cutting edge, however: at $499, the new systems are $70 more costly than the launch price of the X130e portables they replace, which leaves quite a bit less money for notebooks of the paper variety.

Continue reading Lenovo unveils toughened ThinkPad X131e for education, hikes price to $499

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Lenovo unveils toughened ThinkPad X131e for education, hikes price to $499 originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 15:50:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/31/lenovo-unveils-toughened-thinkpad-x131e-for-education/

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OUYA partners with Square Enix, names Final Fantasy III as launch title

OUYA partners with Square Enix, names Final Fantasy III as launch title

We've been saying for a while now that a large deal of the success of Kickstarter blockbuster OUYA will hinge on the console's game selection. News just got a fair bit brighter on that front -- particularly for RPG fans. The company announced via its Kickstarter page (as per usual) that it has partnered with Square Enix. The first fruits of that burgeoning relationship will be Final Fantasy III, making the game a launch title for the console. The company is promising that the title will be "updated to exploit OUYA's high-definition resolution in glorious graphic detail" -- and, as is OUYA's M.O., players will be getting a free demo of the game. Oh, and for those keeping track, the product's Kickstarter page is currently at a mind-boggling $5,820,345 with eight days to go.

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OUYA partners with Square Enix, names Final Fantasy III as launch title originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 09:06:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/31/ouya-partners-with-square-enix-names-final-fantasy-iii-as-launc/

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Technology Is Making the Olympics Worse [Rant]

Technology has improved the way the world watches the Olympics. Super slow-mo replay. The magical yellow world-record line. These are good things. The best part is how technology has made the information immediate, with live streams and instant updates. But the network responsible for delivering the games to America is broadcasting a tangled, discordant mess—and it's ruining the 2012 Olympic experience. More »


Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/y1m-QGZ8jr0/technology-is-making-the-olympics-worse

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Hulu Plus app live on Apple TV

Hulu Plus app live on Apple TV

We haven't seen any official information yet, but tipsters report and we've confirmed on our own that Hulu Plus is quietly rolling out to Apple TV set-top boxes this morning. It was on our hockey pucks when we turned them on, while reports on Twitter indicate losing the connection before the icon appeared once the box came back online. We're checking it out now, and like Netflix, it allows users to pay for the service via iTunes if they choose. The menus and UI are all appropriately Apple TV styled, if you're not seeing it yet on your box then it should probably be there after a reboot. Otherwise it's the same old Hulu Plus, just (finally) on Apple TV without any hacks or redirects needed, any new users can snag a 1 week free trial by signing up on the website or through the device itself.

Update: We have official confirmation now, check the Hulu Blog for more information, or after the break for two quick demo videos.



[Thanks, Rune]

Continue reading Hulu Plus app live on Apple TV

Hulu Plus app live on Apple TV originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 09:10:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/07/31/hulu-plus-app-live-on-apple-tv/

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Evernote Hires CNET’s Rafe Needleman As Its New Platform Advocate For Third-Party Apps

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Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/oHD1OnO24H4/

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Add playback hotkeys to Amazon Cloud Player with a Chrome extension

Sure, Amazon's Cloud Player works -- as long as you're in the U.S. or willing to do some tinkering -- but it's fairly simplistic at the moment. There are plenty of features missing which we'd like to see added -- but since Cloud Player is a Web app we don't have to wait for Amazon!

Google Chrome users, for example, can add playback hotkeys with an extension called keyMazony. Once installed, you'll have keyboard control of your Amazon Cloud Player queue. keyMazony commands will work as long as you're in the same Chrome window as Cloud Player, even if its tab doesn't have focus. The key combinations are customizable as well -- just make sure you don't set up a combo that conflicts with another extension or Chrome's built-in keyboard shortcuts.

Add playback hotkeys to Amazon Cloud Player with a Chrome extension originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 31 Mar 2011 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/03/31/add-playback-hotkeys-to-amazon-cloud-player-with-a-chrome-extens/

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New Firefox Nightly and Aurora logos unearthed, and how to enable channel switching

Firefox Nightly and Aurora logos
Later today, Firefox will undergo its biggest developmental upheaval ever. Mozilla-central, the source of nightly builds, will be renumbered to version 5 -- and at long last, after years of wallowing around version 1, Mozilla's rendering and layout engine, Gecko, will also have its version number updated to match Firefox.

Shortly thereafter, Firefox's new channel system will be implemented. Firefox 5a2 will be introduced as the first Aurora build, and we should also see a Firefox 6 Nightly build. While we we're not sure where they came from, one Sören Hentzschel seems to have unearthed the new Nightly and Aurora logos (see above), along with new About Firefox dialogs (after the break).

In other news, if you want to take a sneak peek at the new 'channel changing' technology that will be introduced in upcoming Firefox builds, head to about:config and create a new string called app.update.desiredChannel -- the value doesn't matter. Then open Help > About Firefox and you'll be able to switch channel, but it doesn't do anything just yet (image after the break). Here's hoping that Firefox channel switching is smoother than Chrome.

Continue reading New Firefox Nightly and Aurora logos unearthed, and how to enable channel switching

New Firefox Nightly and Aurora logos unearthed, and how to enable channel switching originally appeared on Download Squad on Mon, 11 Apr 2011 07:35:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/04/11/new-firefox-nightly-and-aurora-logos-unearthed-and-how-to-enabl/

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A List of Every Country That Can Watch Free, Unlimited Olympics on YouTube (Guess Who's Missing?) [Olympics]

The good news: Each of the following 64 countries has free, unlimited access (broadband notwithstanding) to the greatest celebration of mankind's athletic achievements the world has ever known, thanks to YouTube and the IOC. The bad news: Chances are, you don't live in one. More »


Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/X3_FzkZUdLk/a-list-of-every-country-that-can-watch-free-unlimited-olympics-on-youtube-guess-whos-missing

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Audyssey Audio Dock Air Speaker Review

A while back, I reviewed the Audyssey South of Market speaker/dock, which Audyssey has recently renamed the Audyssey Audio Dock. I felt – and still feel – that the addition of Apple’s AirPlay wireless streaming technology would have made that Audio Dock practically perfect. It has only Bluetooth for wireless, and I’m just not a fan of Bluetooth for audio streaming. A few months after that review, Audyssey released the Lower East Side Audio Dock Air, also recently renamed as the Audio Dock Air. Audyssey has wisely dropped the confusing urban neighborhood naming scheme.

The newly named Audyssey Audio Dock Air includes – you guessed it –  AirPlay. However, instead of adding AirPlay to the original Bluetooth-equipped Audio Dock, Audyssey has created a completely new speaker/dock.

And what a stunner this dock is. Its minimalist sophistication and the smallish box shape will enhance just about any decor. When placed side-by-side with the original Audio Dock, the older, Bluetooth-only speaker looks, well … unusual. However, looks aren’t everything.

When I received the Audio Dock Air, I was eager to see how it stacked up against its Bluetooth brethren, especially since the AirPlay version costs $100 more. I needed to see if the higher price was justified.

Right off, I noticed what I consider a glaring omission: The Audio Dock Air has no physical dock, and so it will not charge your iDevice. Excuse me?

Now, the extra $100 does get you AirPlay, a premium for which Apple gets a hefty licensing fee. And as I have said many times, AirPlay technology blows the doors off Bluetooth. It streams CD quality sound with a range that is much, much wider than Bluetooth.

A note: In this review, when I refer to the original Bluetooth-equipped Audio Dock, my comments deal only with an iPod/iPhone physically connected to the speaker. Bluetooth was not used for this review because it is not quality audio, so why bother? Also, while I don’t like to do comparison reviews, in this case it’s hard to resist since both speakers are from Audyssey. However, I will try to keep the comparisons to a minimum.

The original Audio Dock blew me away with its sound, bass, power, just about everything (except Bluetooth, of course). It quickly became my second-favorite speaker dock, bested only by the much more expensive Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air. I still use this Audio Dock daily. It’s that good.

Which is why I am somewhat disappointed with the Audio Dock Air. To be honest, if I hadn’t heard the original Audio Dock, I would have fallen in love with the Audio Dock Air. The sound is rich, with punchy bass (thanks to Audyssey’s own killer BassXT technology) and smooth treble, although the mids can be a bit recessed. The Air Dock has two woofers coupled with passive bass ports (basically holes in the cabinet). The Bluetooth Audio Dock has two larger woofers with four dedicated amplifiers and its own equalizer iPhone app. This difference may account for the weaker overall sound from the Air speaker.

The Audio Dock Air will fill a bedroom or small living room nicely. There’s hardly any stereo imaging, but hey, that’s true of any speaker dock, no matter the audio quality nor how expensive. They simply cannot compete with two separate speakers and a receiver/amp. But the Audio Dock Air was designed for convenience, and that’s where it shines.

Pairing the Audio Dock Air was a breeze. My iPhone and iPad found it immediately during the initial setup, which was far easier than any other AirPlay speaker I’ve setup and used. The range is simply incredible. As an example, I have a studio building about 100 ft. from my house. Recently, I was playing an Ultravox album in the studio from my iPhone using Airplay with the Audio Dock Air a few inches away. However, because AirPlay depends on WiFi to work, the signal had to route wirelessly to the house (where the router is) and then back to the AirPlay speaker in the studio building. Only once did I get a 2-3 second dropout. Other than that, it worked flawlessly. There is an annoying lag after you press play, but that’s the fault of AirPlay technology and not the speaker.

The Audio Dock Air comes with a 3.5mm audio AUX port for connecting to any audio source, and unlike the Bluetooth Audio Dock, a headphone port is included. This is a nice addition. The Audio Dock Air has a power brick attached to the power cord, which allows the speaker to be a bit lighter than it would otherwise be. Should you have the desire (and money), you can pair up to three Audio Dock Airs to iTunes simultaneously for room-to-room streaming. This is not possible with Bluetooth.

The only knobs on the Audio Dock Air is a volume wheel on top and a small pairing button. That’s it. A hidden USB port on the bottom of the speaker is for any future firmware updates. I checked with Audyssey and to date, there have been no updates released.

Even though I prefer the (wired) audio of the original Audio Dock, the Audio Dock Air is no slouch. It was almost impossible to tell whether I was listening through AirPlay or wired through the AUX port. Unfortunately, the Audio Dock Air will not let you take a call and use the speaker as a speaker-phone as many Bluetooth speakers do. Again, the fault lies with AirPlay and not the Audio Dock Air.

As I auditioned different genres of music, I was impressed how the Audio Dock Air handled most of it. As I said before, the mids are a bit recessed, but not too much. Both modern and classic rock sound better than more vocal music does. Due to its extreme emphasis on bass, hip-hop sounds okay on the Audio Dock Air, but not great. I would look elsewhere if rap is your style.

Chrysta Bell’s smoky voice backed by David Lynch’s murky production suit the Audio Dock Air’s sound. There are some very low notes throughout her album, “This Train”, and while the Audio Dock Air may not rumble like I would prefer, there was no buzzing or distortion at tolerable volume levels.

“First of May” from the underrated (pre-disco) Bee Gees album, “Odessa,” has lower cello playing mixed with brighter piano and triangle notes over a slightly reverbed Barry Gibb vocal. The Audio Dock Air creates a unified mix from this haunting melody while letting the individual instruments have their own space. This song could easily be used to demonstrate the sound quality.

Since the Audio Dock Air handles classic rock quite well, I decided to go way back to 1969: Ten Years After live at Woodstock performing “I’m Going Home,” arguably the best performance at this seminal music festival. Alvin Lee’s blistering guitar is pushed front and center as it should be, and here the Audio Dock Air doesn’t disappoint. When Lee hits the high notes, you can headbang to the attack even if it doesn’t quite rattle the windows.

I’m conflicted about the Audyssey Audio Dock Air. While I prefer the more powerful sound of the original Bluetooth Audio Dock speaker, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this speaker. If you’re looking for an accurate sounding speaker with AirPlay and you can live without a physical dock, then you can’t go wrong with the Audio Dock Air. But if you don’t need AirPlay, would like a charging dock and more powerful audio with a speaker, then save $100 and get the Bluetooth Audio Dock. Either way, it’s a win-win solution.

Product Information

Price:$399.99 US
Manufacturer:Audyssey
Retailer:Audyssey
Requirements:
  • AirPlay (for streaming music)
  • Audio source
Pros:
  • AirPlay worked right away – pairing easiest of any AirPlay speaker reviewed so far
  • Punchy bass
  • Beautiful in a minimalist way
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Audio not as good as older Audyssey speaker dock
  • No physical dock

Filed in categories: Audio, Video, TV Gear, iPhone, iPad, iPod related, Reviews

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Audyssey Audio Dock Air Speaker Review originally appeared on The Gadgeteer on July 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm.

Source: http://the-gadgeteer.com/2012/07/28/audyssey-audio-dock-air-speaker-review/

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Apple v. Samsung: 5 Surprising Reveals in Latest Court Documents

An early prototype of the iPad featuring iPod labeling was revealed in court documents Thursday.

The lawyers behind the upcoming Apple v. Samsung trial have been hard at work filing docket after docket as their court battle looms closer, and many of those dockets have just been released to the public. We’re now seeing a lot of previously secret information about the early days of iPhone and iPad R&D, and what’s happened behind closed doors at both Apple and Samsung.

A circa 2002-2004 prototype of what would end up being the iPad.

Apple and Samsung have been embroiled in a heated war over patent infringement for over a year now. Each tech powerhouse is accusing the other of intellectual property infringement, and the litigation has played out in countries across the globe, including the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia. At stake is billions of dollars in damages, potential import bans on flagship smartphones and tablets, and even Samsung’s ability to maintain its position as one of the world’s top smartphone producers.

Some of the evidence that’s been unearthed over the past few days seems incredibly damning to Samsung. Other bits of evidence provide telling peeks into Apple’s creative process. Here’s a look at five of the most interesting discoveries to come out of Apple and Samsung’s litigation drama since new documents were released on Thursday.

Early iPad Prototypes

What would the world be like if Apple had decided to include a kickstand on the iPad?

Apple’s early vision for the iPad was a far cry from the sleek, black slate that so many people have come to know and love. In fact, the earliest versions of the iPad, like the one above right from the early 2000s, were extraordinarily chunky.

According to additional unearthed images of early iPad prototypes, Apple also toyed with the idea of a kickstand, as well as iPod branding. Apple tried out a few different styles of kickstands, as evidenced by the images included in court documents. We have to say, we’re relieved Apple decided its kickstand implementations were all design duds. Just look at the grotesque monstrosity above.

Samsung Was Warned it Was Copying Apple

Google told Samsung that its “P1” and “P3” Android tablets — the devices that would become the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Tab 10.1 — looked “too similar” to Apple’s iPad. Google demanded “distinguishable design vis-à-vis the iPad for the P3.” This information was included in an unredacted trial brief.

Samsung’s own employees thought their product designs were doppelgangers for Apple products, such as the iPhone. Regarding the Galaxy S smartphone, Samsung’s Product Design Group noted in 2011 that it was “regrettable” that it “looks similar” to older iPhones.

“As part of a formal, Samsung sponsored evaluation, famous designers warned Samsung that the Galaxy S ‘looked like it copied the iPhone too much,’ and that ‘innovation is needed,’” Apple said in the document. A Samsung-sponsored study also found that Samsung’s app container icons were “too iPhone-like.”

Apple Profit Margins

Apple’s earnings and profits are an object of attention for both fans and critics of the Cupertino company. Indeed, over the holiday quarter that ended Dec. 31, 2011, it came to light that Apple was squirreling away close to $100 billion in the bank. This raised a question: Just how much is Apple really making on its products? Apple doesn’t normally disclose its margins on individual product lines.

Turns out, for iPads sold between April 2010 and March 2012, Apple made 23 to 32 percent on gross margins — the equivalent of $13 billion. But that’s nothing compared to its iPhone margins. From April 2010 to March 2012, Apple made $33 billion off iPhone sales.

The iPhone Design Was Inspired by Sony

A mockup of the design described by Sony for a button-less phone.

Think Apple’s iconic iPhone design was born deep within the catacombs of Apple’s Cupertino campus? Think again.

According to Samsung’s unredacted trial brief (.pdf), the inspiration for the look of Apple’s original iPhone actually came from an idea for a Sony smartphone.

“In February 2006, before the claimed iPhone design was conceived, Apple executive Tony Fadell circulated a news article to Steve Jobs, Jonathan Ive and others. In the article, a Sony designer discussed Sony designs for portable electronic devices that lacked buttons and other ‘excessive ornamentation,’ fit in the hand, were ‘square with a screen’ and had ‘corners [which] have been rounded out,’” the document explains. An Apple industrial designer, Shin Nishibori, then mocked up the design, even using Sony’s logo on the back of the CAD drawing.

According to Nishibori’s testimony, his design changed the course of the iPhone project, and pointed it toward the iPhone of today.

Apple Actually Cares About What its Customers Think

Apple is famous for eschewing market research and focus groups during the creation of new products. However, it turns out the company does research consumer sentiment on existing products in order to optimize future designs.

Apple conducts detailed, quarterly iPhone buyer surveys, according to a joint motion regarding the sealing of trial exhibits. “The surveys reveal, country-by-country, the factors driving customers to buy Apple products versus competitive products such as Android,” court documents state. The results break down which demographics are most satisfied with Apple’s products, and how different demographics respond to different features. The results also show how consumer preferences differ country to country.

Apple is asking the results of these surveys only be shown to the jury when proceedings begin next week. Language in the joint motion states, “Knowing what Apple thinks about its customer base preferences is extremely valuable to Apple competitors because it would allow them to infer what product features Apple is likely to offer next, when, and in what markets.”

One such report that was included in court documents, “Apple Market Research & Analysis, May 2011” did provide some insight into those details. For instance in most areas, “Trust Apple Brand” is the top reason they chose to buy the product, and physical appearance and design also ranked highly in most countries surveyed.

So there are your five surprising reveals — and we’re counting on more revelations as litigation continues. This coming Monday, Wired will be the San Jose federal court when the Apple v. Samsung trial begins.

Source: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/07/apple-reveals-for-monday-trial/

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Will Social Media Spoil the Olympics?

The Summer Olympics officially open Friday, but as the games are taking place in London, which is six hours ahead of the East Coast of the United States and nine hours ahead of the West Coast, it will be very much a "tape delayed" affair. This isn't unusual in the world of international sporting events, but it's relatively easy to escape news on the recently concluded European Cup or the Tour de France. Trying to avoid Olympic game outcomes, though, is turning into a challenge worthy of an Olympic event itself, thanks to social media.


Source: http://ectnews.com.feedsportal.com/c/34520/f/632000/s/21c94493/l/0L0Stechnewsworld0N0Crsstory0C757630Bhtml/story01.htm

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