The Federal Airline Administration's quixotic prohobition on the use of gadgets during takeoff and landing is to come to an end, reports Jad Mouawad at The New York Times. But they're digging their heels in on using internet connections, i.e. radios.
But the panel said that restrictions should remain on sending text messages, browsing the Web or checking e-mail after the plane’s doors have been closed. Passengers can do that only when the aircraft’s Wi-Fi network is turned on, typically above 10,000 feet. The use of cellphones to make voice calls, which was not part of the review, will still be prohibited throughout the flight.
Robert McMillan on Bitcoin "maverick" Jed McCaleb, who started Mt. Gox and now offers Ripple, an alternative to the digital currency. [Wired]
After selling Mt. Gox, McCaleb started thinking more deeply about Bitcoin. He was a huge fan, but he thought he could so some things better. First, he wanted to do away with Bitcoin mining — the process by which computers on the network verify transactions in exchange for Bitcoins. Because miners are rewarded in proportion to the processing power they add to the network, Bitcoin mining has become a bit of an arms race, with very specialized and powerful computers now doing the bulk of the work. McCaleb, a 38-year-old surfer and Berkeley dropout from Little Rock, Arkansas, sees this as excessive. By his reckoning, there’s $160 million spent annually on mining the Bitcoin network, “which is insane,” he says. “And this isn’t something that’s going to go away. It just gets worse and worse.”
After 13 years at Microsoft's helm, CEO Steve Ballmer is to retire within 12 months. The search for a successor is on.
"There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time," Ballmer said in a press release. "... We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction."
A committee at Microsoft will begin the hunt for a new leader. Ballmer's tenure was marked by consistent profits but weak growth, the software giant failing to keep pace with industry developments—particularly in mobile computing.
Ballmer's statement follows. Read the rest
Read the rest
A mystery man patched into a camera-equipped wireless baby monitor, watching and yelling abuse at a child--and its parents, when they came to see what was going on. ABC's Alana Abramson reports from the intersection of ill will and appallingly insecure technology. Read the rest
Read the rest
With a new trailer out to promote Kutcher-starring biopic Jobs, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has new thoughts on the movie—not all of them negative. [Jesus Diaz / Kinja]
The core Digg experience is one of discovery: It constantly has to be showing you something new to work. ... This is where it gets neat: If Digg had its own news reader, it could immediately identify which stories people were actually reading—not just what they click on.
Stanford researchers developed a retinal prosthesis that wirelessly transmits images from a video camera in a pair of glasses directly to a chip implanted inside the retina tissue. The innovations of lead scientist Daniel Palanker and his colleagues is that their system does away with any cable between the implant and the video eyeglasses, and buries the chip in the sub-retinal layers of the eye instead of on its surface to eliminate a kind of interference. They published their latest breakthroughs in the science journal Nature Communications. From Medical Daily:
In this study, Palanker's team from the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory placed these second-generation implants into the retinas of rats with or without macular degeneration. The researchers found that the new bionic retinas could transmit images into the minds of rats, which was observed by measuring brain activity in the visual centers of the rodents' brains."Solar-Powered Bionic Eye Developed By Stanford Scientist" (Medical Daily)
Restoration of Sight to the Blind: Optoelectronic Retinal Prosthesis (Daniel Palanker)
When Star Trek debuted in the mid-60s, everybody geeked out about the food synthesizers. Even my mom, a reluctant but compulsory Trek viewer, recognized the utility of this amazing gadget, particularly with two ravenous boys around the house. My brother and I knew, of course, that the real magic food box was the refrigerator.
Years later, I wasn’t the only one craving the replicators of Star Trek:The Next Generation for my home workshop. TNG’s follow-on concept of a ‘universal build-box’ upped the ante way beyond a hot cup of Earl Grey. The list of things we would have made at home was endless: for the kids, replacement baseball bats, balls and window panes, game controllers and handheld electronic devices. I would have gone in for replacement car parts, repairs for broken appliances and furniture, and an endless supply of consumables like gasoline, toilet paper, kitty litter, and inevitably, a couple of cold—strictly non-syntheholic—beers for afterwards. I note in passing that Starfleet protocol prohibits civilians from replicating weapons.
With the recent rise of the Maker movement and the advent of cheaper, easier-to-use 3D-printing technology, the sci-fi concept of a household device that can manufacture functional objects seems to be gaining reality. But for those who witnessed the technology’s birth and growth, it has been a surprisingly long and winding road—one that has recently reached a significant but mostly unnoticed milestone. For me, it all began with Star Trek and the Silver Surfer. Read the rest
Read the rest
Yahoo announced today that it is buying blogging site Tumblr for $1.1bn, mostly in cash. In the posting, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made clear that the cooler, younger company would not be smothered by her firm's notorious corporate culture, under which many other purchases have withered and died.
I’m delighted to announce that we’ve reached an agreement to acquire Tumblr! We promise not to screw it up. Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently. David Karp will remain CEO. The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve. Yahoo! will help Tumblr get even better, faster.
Read the rest
Britt Faulstick reports on Drexel professor Frank Lee's 29-storey game of Pong:
On April 19 and April 24 Philadelphians young and old will have the chance to grab the arcade-style joystick one more time and engage in that timeless quest to spin the bouncing ball past the opponent’s paddle – writ large on the 401-foot north wall of one of the iconic buildings of Philadelphia’s skyline. More than 500 of the 1,514 LEDs affixed to Cira Centre’s shadowbox spandrels will recreate the game’s classic pixilation as competitors will go elbow-to-elbow from a vantage point across the Schuylkill River on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
At The Verge, Tim Carmody reports on Apple's seeming inability to get to grips with account security.
"The conventional wisdom is that this was a run-of-the-mill software security issue. ... No. It isn’t. It’s a troubling symptom that suggests Apple’s self-admittedly bumpy transition from a maker of beautiful devices to a fully-fledged cloud services provider still isn’t going smoothly. Meanwhile, your Apple ID password has come a long way from the short string of characters you tap to update apps on your iPhone. It now offers access to Apple’s entire ecosystem of devices, stores, software, and services."