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18,324 articles from Sci-Tech Today
- THURSDAY 23. MAY, 2013
23:14 Google Buys Company that Makes Wind-Power DronesThe company that started in 1995 with a small search engine called BackRub and is now one of the world's leading tech giants is branching out into a technology few people spend much time thinking about, though it could one day have huge implications: harvesting energy from the sky through floating drones packing wind turbines.
Google is in the process of acquiring the start-up Makani Power, based in Alameda, Calif.,which was founded in 2006 by Corwin Hardham, Don Montague and Saul Griffith. Initial funding came from Google as part of its Renewable Energy is Cheaper Than Coal program, which Google started in 2007 but gave up on in 2011, while continuing to advocate for greener power in other ways.
Makani announced the Google deal on its Web site Thursday, shortly after the story broke via Bloomberg News. The amount of the deal was not disclosed as of Thursday afternoon.
"This formalizes a long and productive relationship between our two companies and will provide Makani with the resources to accelerate our work to make wind energy cost-competitive with fossil fuels," the company told Web visitors. "The timing couldn't be better, as we completed the first ever autonomous all-modes flight with our Wing 7 prototype last week."
Makani hopes the power generated from its flying turbines will eventually travel down tethers and contribute to the nation's electric grid without any greenhouse gas emission byproducts.
The unmanned aircraft hover between 800 and 1,950 feet, where the wind is stronger and more consistent, according to Makani, and the company is developng a 600-kilowatt airborne wind turbine (AWT) which it says will produce power more cheaply than conventional wind or solar sources. The work has been supported by the federal government.
"Makani could not have reached this point without the support of the US Department of Energy's...
21:26 Kim Dotcom Claims Patent for Two-Factor AuthenticationTwo-factor authentication has become a popular way to heighten log-on security, used by many Internet companies and financial institutions. Now, controversial Megaupload Web site owner Kim Dotcom says he owns the patent for the process.
In a tweet on Thursday, Dotcom wrote that "Google, Facebook, Twitter, Citibank, etc., offer Two-Step-Authentication. Massive IP infringement by U.S. companies. My innovation. My patent."
About a half-hour after the "massive IP infringement" message, Dotcom tweeted: "Google, Facebook, Twitter, I ask you for help. We are all in the same DMCA boat. Use my patent for free. But please help funding my defense." None of the named companies have commented on his tweets. DMCA refers to the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which Megaupload has been accused of violating.
Dotcom's legal issues stem from his arrest by U.S. federal agencies in January at his New Zealand mansion for illegally serving copyright-protected material through his Megaupload Web site. Eighteen luxury cars and what were reportedly millions of dollars in artwork and electronics were seized by authorities. When arrested, police said, he was inside one of six safe rooms in the mansion, holding a weapon that appeared to be a sawed-off shotgun.
He contends that the legal costs of fighting copyright infringement charges will be more than $50 million. A hearing is set for late summer on a request from U.S. authorities for his extradition. In early March, the New Zealand Court of Appeal ruled that the U.S. did not have to show all of its evidence against Dotcom in order to obtain his extradition, but could simply present a summary.
The patent Dotcom referred to, US6078908, was filed in 1998 and published in June 2000. Entitled "Method for authorizing in data transmission systems," it lists the inventor as Kim Schmitz, the original name of the German native, who...
20:53 Newest HP PCs Aim for Flexibility, MobilityHewlett-Packard is hoping its latest all-in-one PC innovations will make its competitors envious. The new HP Envy Rove20 is the company's first mobile all-in-one PC, complete with a built in battery and touch technology.
HP also announced new consumer notebooks, all-in-one PCs and printers that promise consumers more flexibility in how they access and share information. In two words, it's all about mobility and flexibility in a modern world of work.
"Customers are looking for mobility and flexibility in their computing devices to give families new ways to bring generations together," said Ron Coughlin, senior vice president and general manager of Consumer PCs and Consumer Solutions at HP. Coughlin went on to say that "HP is evolving to meet our customers' needs" with its latest offerings.
Inspiring a New Market
The HP Envy Rove20 transforms from an upright to a horizontal machine that works for tabletop entertainment. Multi-touch technology allows multiple users to interact with games, including Electronic Arts' Monopoly, Fingertapps JigsWar Puzzle and Fingertapps Musical Instruments, at the same time.
Users can also view multimedia content on the 20-inch, 1,600x900 IPS LED panel. That translates to wide viewing angles. The device also boasts built-in Beats Audio and a fourth-generation Intel Core processor, Intel HD graphics and 10-point touch. The HP Envy Rove20 will be available in July, with pricing to be determined.
"HP is going after or trying to inspire a new market for large, touch-enabled systems," Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told us. "The target markets include family gaming and entertainment, and other group experiences such as business presentations that would profit from a bigger format. HP isn't the first vendor to try this -- Dell launched its XPS18 early this year."
Catering to Mobile Consumers
To that end, HP also announced the Pavilion 20 TouchSmart All-in-One PC and the HP Pavilion...
19:38 Report: More PE, Activity Programs Needed in SchoolsReading, writing, arithmetic -- and PE? The prestigious Institute of Medicine is recommending that schools provide opportunities for at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day for students and that PE become a core subject.
The report, released Thursday, says only about half of the nation's youngsters are getting at least an hour of vigorous or moderate-intensity physical activity every day.
Another concern, the report says, is that 44 percent of school administrators report slashing big chunks of time from physical education, arts and recess since the passage of the No Child Left Behind law in 2001 in order to boost classroom time for reading and math.
With childhood obesity on the rise -- about 17 percent of children ages 2 through 19 are obese -- and kids spending much of the day in the classroom, the chairman of the committee that wrote the report said schools are the best place to help shape up the nation's children.
"Schools for years have been responsible for various health programs such as nutrition, breakfast and lunch, immunizations, screenings," Harold W. Kohl III, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health, said in an interview with The Associated Press.
"Physical activity should be placed alongside those programs to make it a priority for us as a society," he said.
The report calls on the Education Department to recommend that PE be adopted as a core subject.
It says physical education in school is the "only sure opportunity" for youngsters to have access to activity that will help keep them healthy.
The majority of states, about 75 percent, mandate PE, according to the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. But most do not require a specific amount of time for PE in school, and more than half allow exemptions or substitutions, such as...
19:38 How a 3D Printer Helped a Child Breathe AgainIn a medical first, doctors used plastic particles and a 3-D laser printer to create an airway splint to save the life of a baby boy who used to stop breathing nearly every day.
It's the latest advance from the booming field of regenerative medicine, making body parts in the lab.
In the case of Kaiba (KEYE'-buh) Gionfriddo, doctors didn't have a moment to spare. Because of a birth defect, the little Ohio boy's airway kept collapsing, causing his breathing to stop and often his heart, too. Doctors in Michigan had been researching artificial airway splints but had not implanted one in a patient yet.
In a single day, they "printed out" 100 tiny tubes, using computer-guided lasers to stack and fuse thin layers of plastic instead of paper and ink to form various shapes and sizes. The next day, with special permission from the Food and Drug Administration, they implanted one of these tubes in Kaiba, the first time this has been done.
Suddenly, a baby that doctors had said would probably not leave the hospital alive could breathe normally for the first time. He was 3 months old when the operation was done last year and is nearly 19 months old now. He is about to have his tracheotomy tube removed; it was placed when he was a couple months old and needed a breathing machine. And he has not had a single breathing crisis since coming home a year ago.
"He's a pretty healthy kid right now," said Dr. Glenn Green, a pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where the operation was done. It's described in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine.
Independent experts praised the work and the potential for 3-D printing to create more body parts to solve...
19:37 Submerged Structure Stumps Israeli ArchaeologistsThe massive circular structure appears to be an archaeologist's dream: a recently discovered antiquity that could reveal secrets of ancient life in the Middle East and is just waiting to be excavated.
It's thousands of years old -- a conical, manmade behemoth weighing hundreds of tons, practically begging to be explored.
The problem is -- it's at the bottom of the biblical Sea of Galilee. For now, at least, Israeli researchers are left stranded on dry land, wondering what finds lurk below.
The monumental structure, made of boulders and stones with a diameter of 70 meters (230 feet), emerged from a routine sonar scan in 2003. Now archaeologists are trying to raise money to allow them access to the submerged stones.
"It's very enigmatic, it's very interesting, but the bottom line is we don't know when it's from, we don't know what it's connected to, we don't know its function," said Dani Nadel, an archaeologist at the University of Haifa who is one of several researchers studying the discovery. "We only know it is there, it is huge and it is unusual."
Archaeologists said the only way they can properly assess the structure is through an underwater excavation, a painstakingly slow process that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. And if an excavation were to take place, archaeologists said they believed it would be the first in the Sea of Galilee, an ancient lake that boasts historical remnants spanning thousands of years and is the setting of many Bible scenes.
In contrast, Israeli researchers have carried out many excavations in the Mediterranean and Red Seas.
Much of the researchers' limited knowledge about this structure comes from the sonar scan a decade ago.
Initial dives shortly after that revealed a few details. In an article in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology published earlier this year, Nadel and...
19:27 Twitter Fights Off Hackers With New Authentication ProcessTwitter has been a weak link in one too many high-profile hack attacks. Now, the micro-blogging service is finally doing something about it. Twitter is beefing up its security with a voluntary, opt-in two-step authentication system in hopes of putting an end to much of the drama.
"Every day, a growing number of people log in to Twitter. Usually these login attempts come from the genuine account owners, but we occasionally hear from people whose accounts have been compromised by email phishing schemes or a breach of password data elsewhere on the web," says Jim O'Leary of the product security team at Twitter. "Today we're introducing a new security feature to better protect your Twitter account: login verification."
O'Leary stressed that even with this new security option turned on, it's still important for Twitter users to select a strong password and follow the rest of the micro-blogging service's advice for keeping accounts secure.
A Painful Process?
Twitter is responding to recent attacks against news agencies by the Syrian Electronic Army, a "hacktivist" group that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Financial Times was the latest victim. Twelve posts entitled "Hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army" appeared on the FT's tech blog between 12:38 p.m. and 12:42 p.m. London time last Friday, May 17th, with the company's Twitter accounts also disrupted, the Financial Times said. The Guardian, a UK news site, as well as the Associated Press and others have also been attacked.
"With login verification enabled, your existing applications will continue to work without disruption," O'Leary said. "If you need to sign in to your Twitter account on other devices or apps, visit your applications page to generate a temporary password to log in and authorize that application."
O'Leary goes on to describe the login verification as a two-form factor authentication. Here's how it works:...
18:17 Viva Movil! Buy a Phone from J.LoLatina pop sensation and entrepreneur Jennifer Lopez is trying to do something her ex-boyfriend P. Diddy couldn't -- launch a successful Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). She is teaming with Verizon Wireless on a new 4G LTE network and wireless service dubbed Viva Movil by Jennifer Lopez.
Verizon and Lopez announced the new venture at the CTIA Wireless Conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday afternoon. Lopez built the brand in partnership with Brightstar Corp. and Moorehead Communications.
The retail stores aren't targeting Latin America. Stores will open in U.S areas with high Latino populations, though, like Miami, New York and Los Angeles, in the weeks ahead. J.Lo will begin with a strong lineup, including the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S IV and BlackBerry devices. Retail stores -- and a Facebook app featuring the star -- will be bilingual.
"As modern Latinos we do things differently, including how we shop for mobile devices," Lopez said in a CTIA press conference announcing the partnership. "Latinos love social networks and we're super active online."
No Rock-Star Guarantees
Roger Entner, a wireless analyst at Recon Analytics, told us succeeding with an MVNO is a tough business proposition.
"Even being a rock star doesn't ensure certain success. But she has picked good business partners in Verizon and Brightstar and in Moorehead Communications -- and she put money behind it," Entner said, noting Lopez's equity stake in the project. "She won't be able to change the pricing structure."
That means whether consumers go to a Verizon store or a Viva Movil store, success comes down to service. Whether or not consumers will flock to J.Lo's stores simply because she's "Jenny from the 'hood," Entner said, remains to be seen.
Will J.Lo's Risk Pay Off?
Many companies have launched MVNOs. Most have failed. Some have succeeded. Entner points to Tracphone, the leading prepaid...
17:35 Samsung Sells 10 Million Galaxy S IVs -- Four Every SecondSamsung's new Galaxy S IV smartphone is off to a strong start. On Thursday, the South Korean manufacturer announced that global sales for the device have exceeded 10 million units in one month, making it the best selling Android device yet. The company noted that the S IV, which went on sale in late April, is now selling at a rate of four units per second.
By comparison, the Galaxy S III took 50 days after its 2012 launch to hit 10 million, which made it the fastest selling Android phone at the time. The S II needed five months and the Galaxy S seven months to achieve the same milestone. One catch: the sales figures announced Thursday are to retailers and wireless operators, not directly to consumers, meaning that it's not yet clear how many are left unsold in inventory.
Also by comparison, Apple's iPhone 5 sold more than 5 million units in its first weekend of sales, to consumers.
Samsung said it will be offering color versions of the S IV, which currently is only available in black and white. Blue and red versions will be available by this summer, purple and brown in the fall. The S IV is currently being sold in 100 countries, which the company will be increasing to 154.
Some analysts have suggested that the current pace of sales for the S IV is the right one for Samsung, since component shortages may affect supply if demand increases much more. The launch of HTC's One was recently hampered by supply issues caused by a lack of sufficient component availability.
IDC's Ramon Llamas said that the numbers "were not unexpected." He described 10 million as "a good milestone for them," for which the company should be congratulated, but noted that it's "more important to see how they...
17:17 Thunderstorms Slow Oklahoma Tornado CleanupA band of thunderstorms battered the Oklahoma City area Thursday, slowing cleanup operations in the suburb where a tornado killed 24 people and destroyed thousands of homes this week.
The first of the funerals, for a 9-year-old girl killed at a Moore elementary school that took a direct hit in Monday's storm, was scheduled for Thursday morning. A family photo showed the girl, Antonia Candelaria, beaming with a big smile and wearing a white sun hat.
Early estimates indicate the tornado caused more than $2 billion of damage in Moore. Whole subdivisions in the fast-growing community of 56,000 people were destroyed. Authorities estimated that as many as 13,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and 33,000 people were affected -- an especially traumatic toll for a city that had already suffered three other tornadoes since 1998.
Two elementary schools were hit -- one was leveled -- by Monday's tornado. Candelaria was one of seven children who perished at the Plaza Towers Elementary School, a one story building with barely a wall left standing. Altogether, 10 children were killed in the storm, including two infants.
The medical examiner reported that six of the children who died at Plaza Towers suffocated after being buried under a mass of bricks, steel and other materials as the building collapsed. A seventh child who died there, 8-year-old Kyle Davis, was killed instantly by an object -- perhaps a large piece of stone or a beam -- that fell on the back of his neck.
Thursday's thunderstorms produced hail, heavy rain and high winds in the morning. A flash flood warning was also in effect. The National Weather Service said more severe storms were forecast for late afternoon and at night, and that more tornadoes were a possibility.
The weather was hampering cleanup and recovery efforts that had just begun to accelerate now...
16:53 Poll: More U.S. Teens Turn to Twitter; Facebook OldTwitter is booming as a social media destination for U.S. teenagers who complain about too many adults and too much drama on Facebook, according to a new study about online behavior. It said teens are sharing more personal information about themselves even as they try to protect their online reputations.
"The key is that there are fewer adults, fewer parents and just simply less complexity," said Amanda Lenhart of the Pew Research Center, one of the study's authors. "They still have their Facebook profiles, but they spend less time on them and move to places like Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr."
The study was released Tuesday. In the poll, 94 percent of teens who are social media users have a profile on Facebook -- flat from the previous year. Twenty-six percent of teen social media users were on Twitter. That's more than double the figure in 2011 of 12 percent.
"Facebook just really seems to have more drama," said 16-year-old Jaime Esquivel in an interview.
Esquivel said he still checks his Facebook account daily but isn't using it as regularly. He sees teens complaining on Twitter, too, so Esquivel has been using the photo-sharing service Instagram more often, posting a couple of pictures each day and communicating with friends. Facebook purchased Instagram last year.
In what may be a concern to parents, more than 60 percent of the teens with Twitter accounts said their tweets were public, meaning anyone on Twitter -- friend, foe or stranger -- can see what they write and publish. About one-quarter of kids said their tweets were private, and 12 percent said they did not know whether their tweets were public or private.
Teens are also sharing much more than in the past.
More than 90 percent of teen social media users said they have posted a picture of themselves -- up...
16:51 Hirai Mulls Hedge Fund's Sell-Off Idea for SonySony's CEO Kazuo Hirai says the electronics giant's board will discuss a proposal by U.S. hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb to spin off up to 20 percent of its movie, TV and music division.
Hirai was asked about the proposal at a corporate strategy presentation Wednesday. He did not give a timetable for a decision, and would not give his own opinion about the suggestion raised by Loeb, who is CEO of hedge fund Third Point LLC.
"This will be deliberated by the board and we will come up with a response," Hirai told reporters. "We have only just begun to study this."
Loeb said money from the sale could be used to shore up Sony's ailing electronics manufacturing unit.
Hirai said Sony Corp. did not believe Loeb was proposing that Sony make its entertainment business a separate entity, but wants to make that part of the company public.
"It is an important proposal from our shareholder," Hirai said. "We want a constructive dialogue at all times with our shareholders."
Sony initially responded to Loeb by saying its entertainment business was not for sale, though some analysts said the strategy might help Sony unlock value from its wealth of audio and video content. Sony has fallen behind powerful rivals such as Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. in profitability and innovation.
Hirai, who took over as Sony's president a year ago, outlined various plans for revitalizing Sony's electronics business, focusing on mobile devices, imaging and games. The company intends to return its TV business to profitability by promoting more expensive large-screen TVs. It will focus on cameras and other imaging products that have "value-added" technology such as image sensors and higher-powered zooms.
Sony reported its first net profit in five years for the fiscal year that ended in March. Hirai has sought to reinvigorate the once dominant...
16:47 CEO Perks Help the Rich Get RicherWynn Resorts kept a suite open all year at its tony Las Vegas hotel and casino for founder and CEO Steve Wynn, at a cost of nearly $452,000.
Former IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano was guaranteed an administrative assistant and furnished office for life as a retirement gift -- plus a $1 million office renovation.
Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices bought the house CEO Rory Read struggled to sell for $790,000 -- and gave him another $180,000 to cover his underwater mortgage.
These are not uncommon extravagances in the exclusive world of CEO perks, replete with bodyguards, chauffeurs and private jets. Last year, the median value of perks received by CEOs of big public companies was nearly $162,000, an increase of more than 9 percent, according to executive pay research firm Equilar. Perks declined in 2009, but have risen for three straight years.
Perks are just a small part of CEO compensation -- the median pay for CEOs of S&P 500 companies last year was $9.7 million. And some companies are cutting back on perks, or at least getting rid of the ones that shareholders find most offensive. Still, they're a reminder of how CEOs' lifestyles are far removed from those of their shareholders, customers and employees.
Last year, companies paid for their CEOs' country club memberships, let them use corporate planes for personal travel and gave them health care plans better than their employees, among other perks.
Some corporate governance experts say giving perks to executives already making millions just exacerbates the public perception -- fair or not -- that they're more interested in lining their pockets than helping the company.
"They might do without a plane," says Brandon Rees, acting director at the investment office of the AFL-CIO union group, referring to CEOs' use of company planes for personal travel. "And instead invest it in (research and...
- WEDNESDAY 22. MAY, 2013
20:42 Attention GIFers, It's Pronounced 'Jif'Many of us have apparently been saying it wrong for years. This week, the inventor of the GIF image format revealed that the correct pronunciation of the popular image format is "Jif."
Anyone who has been involved in interactive media production has encountered meetings where both the hard "g" and soft "g" pronunciation of the term were bandied about to describe the image format. The name itself can describe a single image or a GIF animation sequence of separate images. Its original innovation was supporting 8 bits per pixel to indicate up to 256 colors, from a 24-bit color space, thus presenting a lot of color choices in a small file size.
At the Webby Awards on Tuesday night in New York City, the creator of the Graphics Interchange Format, Steve Wilhite, accepted a lifetime achievement award. Award winners at the Webbies are limited to acceptance speeches of no more than five words.
Accompanied by the dramatic set-up music from the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey, otherwise known as Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra, five words were displayed on the screen over the podium where Wilhite was standing to accept his award: "It's pronounced 'JIF' not 'GIF.' "
Internet historians have pointed out that the pioneering CompuServe network had an early graphics display program called CompuShow. That software included the Graphics Interchange Format, or GIF, which the documentation said was officially spec'd in 1987 and was "pronounced 'JIF'." Additionally, in 1997 a brief e-mail answer from CompuShow creator Bob Berry was published in the Internet news group alt.ascii-art. Answering a query from someone who wanted the matter settled once and for all, Berry replied that "GIF has always been pronounced 'jif,' since it was first released in 1987."
Some observers have noted that, for some unknown reason, Mac users have preferred to use the...
20:39 Tornado Alley: It Could Be AnywhereThe twister that smashed the city of Moore, Okla., gave the nation a vivid glimpse of life in Tornado Alley, a vaguely defined region between the Rockies and the Mississippi that claims grim pride in being "the severe weather capital of the world."
But where once most Americans could watch the danger and drama of a big, killer twister with a certain detachment, changes in weather, demographics and culture have all but obliterated such a comfortable remove.
Literally and figuratively, Tornado Alley now could be almost anywhere; the alley is more like a field that seems to spread by the year.
That funnel cloud in The Wizard of Oz (actually a 35-foot tapered stocking) was remote and exotic. But the Oklahoma disaster is a reminder that Tornado Alley is less a geographic description than a state of mind, as twisters seem to range farther afield and extreme weather in general turns up in unexpected places -- a deadly tornado in western Massachusetts (June 2011), an earthquake in central Virginia (August 2011), storm surge on Wall Street (October 2012).
The number of recorded tornadoes has shot up over the years, but Tom Jeffrey, a hazard scientist with CoreLogic, a Santa Ana, Calif., analytics firm, says it's not clear if that's because there are more tornadoes or more people reporting them.
He gives several explanations for our increased concern about tornadoes and all kinds of bad weather. Climate change seems to portend meteorological extremes; cable TV news and social media focus national attention; meteorologists are better able to detect, track and measure tornadoes; and the population is larger and more dispersed -- a larger target.
Conversely, when twisters set down in western Oklahoma or parts of the Texas Panhandle, Richard Mize noted last year in The Oklahoman of Oklahoma City, "chances are all they'll scare is a bunch...
20:38 Power of Moore Tornado Dwarfs Hiroshima BombEverything had to come together just perfectly to create the killer tornado in Moore, Oklahoma: wind speed, moisture in the air, temperature and timing. And when they did, the awesome energy released over that city dwarfed the power of the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima.
On Tuesday, the National Weather Service gave it the top-of-the-scale rating of EF5 for wind speed and breadth, and severity of damage. Wind speeds were estimated at between 200 and 210 mph. The death count is 24 so far, including at least nine children. The United States averages about one EF5 a year, but this was the first in nearly two years.
To get such an uncommon storm to form is "a bit of a Goldilocks problem," said Pennsylvania State University meteorology professor Paul Markowski. "Everything has to be just right."
For example, there must be humidity for a tornado to form, but too much can cut the storm off. The same goes with the cold air in a downdraft: Too much can be a storm-killer.
But when the ideal conditions do occur, watch out. The power of nature beats out anything man can create.
"Everything was ready for explosive development yesterday," said Colorado State University meteorology professor Russ Schumacher, who was in Oklahoma launching airborne devices that measured the energy, moisture and wind speeds on Monday. "It all just unleashed on that one area."
Several meteorologists contacted by The Associated Press used real time measurements, some made by Schumacher, to calculate the energy released during the storm's 40-minute life span. Their estimates ranged from 8 times to more than 600 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb, with more experts at the high end. Their calculations were based on energy measured in the air and then multiplied over the size and duration of the storm.
An EF5 tornado has the most...
20:38 Kids Who Survived Tornado Face Emotional After-EffectsThe emotional after-effects of living through a traumatic event like the Oklahoma tornado could last weeks or longer, especially for kids.
They may experience increased anxiety, nightmares and difficulty sleeping, says Mary Alvord, a psychologist in Rockville, Md. They may also have increased irritability, headaches, stomachaches and panic symptoms such as a racing heart or sweating, says Alvord, author of Resilience Builder Program for Children and Adolescents.
Children may cry and not want to be far from their parents; they may also start fearing things that they weren't afraid of in the past. Older kids may feel guilty that they survived but friends did not, she adds.
All of these are natural reactions for kids who survive disasters, but children are resilient, Alvord says. Parents and others can help them work through these emotions by offering empathy and comfort.
Children need lots of empathy for what they've been through, says psychologist David Palmiter, a professor at Marywood University in Scranton, Pa., and author of Working Parents, Thriving Families. "You want to acknowledge how bad they feel."
Most kids are not going to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, he says. "They are going to have more transient reactions that will settle down after a passage of some time.
"If after a two-week period, the child is not bouncing back, it might be time to seek out care," he says.
Some children are in a state of shock and really haven't absorbed what is going on yet, Alvord says. She says parents and others shouldn't pepper children with questions but take their cue about when they want to talk. When the kids are ready, that's a good time to ask how they survived. Some may want to express themselves through drawings.
She suggests not overexposing kids to TV news images of the tornado, which may re-traumatize them.
Preschoolers might think that each...
19:24 Security Alert: Beware of Tiffany Trojan on the AttackMalware writers are using a luxury name to hack into your computer. Security watchdog Sophos is reporting that e-mails coming from a Tiffany.com address and carrying the attachment copy.zip are looking to install a malicious Trojan horse on your PC.
"This may be a deliberate ploy on the part of the criminals behind the attack to tempt more people into opening the attachment," Graham Cluley, senior security analyst at Sophos, wrote in a blog post. "Of course, it's child's play to forge e-mail header information, and there is no suggestion that the messages were really sent by Tiffany's," the high-end jeweler known for its little blue gift boxes tied smartly with white ribbon.
"If anything," Cluley said, the folks at Tiffany's "are also victims of this campaign."
Check Your Zipper
We asked Richard Westmoreland, a security analyst at security-as-a-service provider SilverSky, to chime in on the latest Trojan to make headlines. He explained that most successful e-mail Trojans now hide their malicious payload within zip files and depend on social engineering to get the end user to execute it.
"Companies can't block zip file attachments because it would impact legitimate business, however, e-mail filtering with virus scanning should still be able to inspect the contents of unencrypted zip files," Westmoreland said.
"It is important to scan for viruses both at the e-mail gateway and on the users' workstations, but equally important to remind employees not to open files they were not already expecting. In situations where antivirus does not yet have signatures for the payload and an employee still mistakenly opens the file, the workstation will likely start exhibiting suspicious behavior and the compromise could be detected by a SOC that is monitoring that network."
Copy Cat Social Engineers
Westmoreland's colleague Evan Keiser, also a security analyst with SilverSky, told us the Tiffany & Co. Trojan is...
13:42 Yahoo's Tumblr Purchase Fraught with ChallengesYahoo CEO Marissa Mayer says her company's $1.1 billion acquisition of Tumblr could be a game changer. But some question whether Yahoo is game for the hip upstart.
"This is incredibly important," Mayer said in a phone interview before a press conference in New York Monday. "Our (mergers and acquisitions were) around acquiring talent. This is as much strategic, enhancing growth and getting amazing content."
Tumblr, an image-intensive blog platform popular among a younger audience, could be the crown jewel in Mayer's major reclamation project of Yahoo, which is competing with Google and Facebook for billions in ad revenue.
At the press conference in New York later, Yahoo unfurled a revamped version of photo-sharing site Flickr, featuring big, bolder photos and an Android app.
"It feels like people are rooting for Yahoo," Mayer said, pointing to the return of former employees, or "boomerangs" to the company and a bump in online audience figures. "There is more energy on campus than before. Something is happening at Yahoo, and we feel it."
But in scooping up an online service that skews to a younger, more mobile audience, Yahoo -- whose demographic is older -- faces several hurdles. Key among them is integrating a vastly different core of users, keeping them happy and monetizing them.
Mayer admitted as much in a blog post, where she promised "not to screw it up."
The pledge tacitly acknowledges the Internet giant's spotty acquisition record. And this one could be tricky, analysts and investors say.
Technology analyst Jonathan Yarmis says that in the best of circumstances, acquisitions are hard and that Yahoo has never been in the best of circumstances, "whether it was a dysfunctional board trying to prove it's smarter than the last dysfunctional board, a viper's nest of competing fiefdoms, or a lack of a clear, consistent strategic vision," he said.
"Add all these...
13:40 Walter De Brouwer's Magical Medical TricorderIn a warren of cluttered old offices rooted in the past, Walter De Brouwer is working feverishly to conjure the future. Founded in 1939 to explore the limits of propeller aircraft, today, NASA's scaled-back Ames Research Center near San Francisco "is a mysterious and iconic place with lots of memories of the big brains who came through here," De Brouwer says.
Count his brain in that mix. Operating in a two-story complex whose bathrooms date to the Cold War, De Brouwer, 55, and about a dozen engineers are hammering away on a gadget that promises to revolutionize the way we monitor our health.
Named Scanadu after De Brouwer's affinity for Samuel Taylor Coleridge's Xanadu-invoking poem, Kubla Khan (this Belgian entrepreneur's facile mind is as apt to drop literary references as pop culture ones), the company's handheld device takes vital signs, aggregates the data on an app and signals deviations from the norm. Scanadu is accepting early reservations for its device for $199 as of Wednesday at Scanadu.com.
In two decades as a tech guru, De Brouwer has used his semiotics Ph.D for an eclectic array of pursuits, from publishing a punk magazine to delving into brain-computer interaction. But this time, it's personal.
De Brouwer and his wife, Sam, 42, co-founded Scanadu a year ago after a private nightmare. Eight years ago, their son Nelson, now 13, jumped out of a window thinking he could fly. He landed on his head. The couple, who also have another son, Lamara, 20, spent months in hospitals struggling to understand technical information.
"You think you're smart, and then you realize you're not a doctor, and you understand nothing," says Sam, an elegant Frenchwoman who says that despite a brain injury, Nelson is thriving in a special-ed program. "It was a traumatic experience that left us thinking it would be...
13:39 High-Tech Guns Can Be Disabled RemotelyA high-tech startup is wading into the gun control debate with a wireless controller that would allow gun owners to know when their weapon is being moved -- and disable it remotely.
The technology, but not an actual gun, was slated to be demonstrated Tuesday at a wireless technology conference in Las Vegas and was shown to The Associated Press in advance. It comes at a time when lawmakers around the U.S. are considering contentious smart gun laws that would require new guns to include high-tech devices that limit who can fire them.
The new Yardarm Technologies LLC system would trigger an alarm on an owner's cellphone if a gun is moved, and the owner could then hit a button to activate the safety and disable the weapon. New guns would come with a microchip on the body and antennas winding around the grip. It would add about $50 to the cost of a gun, and about $12 a year for the service.
"The idea is to connect gun owners more directly with their guns, no matter what the circumstance," said Yardarm CEO Robert Stewart.
The Yardarm system is one of several recently introduced high-tech offerings: the iGun only fires if it recognizes a ring on a finger, the Intelligun uses a fingerprint locking system and TriggerSmart uses radio frequency identification.
The first smart guns were proposed more than 20 years ago, but they failed to take off for several reasons: questionable technology, added costs and concerns from some gun rights about limitations on Second Amendment rights.
Recent high-profile shootings, combined with new technologies, have revived interest. Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit created by Newtown, Conn., community members, is offering venture capital for new gun safety technologies, and President Barack Obama included smart guns as part of his plan to reduce gun violence.
Stewart said his company...
13:38 Backing Up Is Hard To Do, But Do It AnywayFor many people, backing up their computers is like getting exercise or eating more vegetables: They know it's the right thing to do, but they just can't seem to get around to it.
I know, because I'm like that.
After buying a new computer last year, I never backed it up. I knew the dangers, of course. Hard drives fail all the time for all kinds of reasons. A power surge could fry the machine. Or a disaster of some kind could destroy it.
But I kept putting it off -- until it was too late. In December, my computer was stolen. Among the data I won't ever recover are the raw videos I had stored there of my daughter riding a bike for the first time and some stop-motion animated movies my son made.
Things could have been much worse. I use the Google (GOOG) Drive cloud service to store my documents, so I didn't lose them. Because I'm a subscriber to iTunes Match, which keeps a copy of users' music files on Apple's (AAPL) servers, I didn't lose my music collection. And I had copies of most of my pictures spread across a variety of places, including an old external hard drive, my Dad's computer and the memory card in my camera.
But I'm still kicking myself for what I lost. And I've been trying ever since to figure out the best solution for archiving my data.
I've long thought that an online backup service would make the most sense when compared with other options, such as an external hard drive or a network-attached storage unit.
Because your data is stored outside of your home, you're protected against disaster -- and theft. You don't have to worry about keeping an external drive plugged in or fret about it failing. And many still offer bargains. CrashPlan,...
00:06 Consumer Satisfaction for iPhone Drops as Rivals GainEven as senators gripe about Apple's elaborate scheme to avoid paying taxes here on its overseas income, the company is taking another public hit this week courtesy of the American Consumer Satisfaction Index.
No Boost from iPhone 5
The annual survey of 70,000 consumers, which measures their opinions about 230 companies, 43 industries and 10 economic sectors, found that Apple dipped slightly in its most profitable market, smartphones, down two percentage points from 83 percent last year to 81 percent. That's despite introducing its most radically improved iPhone ever last year, with a larger screen, faster processors and 4G long-term evolution high-speed data.
The company's biggest rival, Samsung, however, saw the biggest jump in consumer nods, from 71 percent to 76 percent, while Motorola Mobility got a vote of confidence since its acquisition by Google, rising from 73 percent to 77 percent.
Among other major platforms, BlackBerry, formerly Research In Motion, stayed the same in satisfaction at 69 percent approval.
Overall satisfaction with cellular telephones among Americans rose slightly, just 2.7 percent, despite the wide range of faster, bigger and more capable devices flooding into the market.
"Despite slipping two percent, Apple stays ahead of all competition," says the report. "While the iPhone 5 had strong sales, it has not bolstered Apple's overall customer satisfaction." The company did far better with its computers and tablets, which won an 86 percent satisfaction rating last year, the report noted.
Meanwhile, South Korean technology giant Samsung did see a sharp rise in overall satisfaction from the release of its flagship Galaxy S III smartphone, released last year (the Galaxy S IV is rolling out now.) The S III boosted the company's ACSI score by the largest margin of any cell phone manufacturer and even with the industry average.
"Customers still love Apple best, but Apple needs to be worried about slipping...
- TUESDAY 21. MAY, 2013
21:28 Dell Kills Its Public Cloud Effort, Will Offer Partner MarketplacePutting the kibosh on its efforts to build out a public cloud, Dell has announced a new program to market a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service through partners. The company will deliver the Dell Cloud Partner Program through an ecosystem of as many as 20 partners.
Dell will act as a single-source supplier to offer customers a choice of vendors and technology that won't lock them into a single platform or pricing model. Dell will also offer central point-of-solution integration and control.
And with that, sales of Dell's current in-house multi-tenant public cloud IaaS will be discontinued in the U.S. Dell is initially partnering with Joyent, ScaleMatrix and ZeroLag as part of its new initiative.
"Many Dell customers plan to expand their use of public cloud, but in order to truly reap the benefits, they want a choice of providers, flexibility and interoperability across platforms and models, the ability to compare cloud economics and workload performance, and a cohesive way to manage all of it," said Nnamdi Orakwue, vice president, Dell Cloud. "The partner approach offers increased value to Dell's customers, channel partners and shareholders, as part of our comprehensive cloud strategy to deliver market-leading, end-to-end cloud solutions."
One partner, Joyent, describes itself as a high-performance cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service provider for real-time Web and mobile applications. Joyent offers a Cloud IaaS with its open-technology platform. Joyent is positioned as a Challenger in the 2012 Gartner IaaS Magic Quadrant and has out-of-the-box compatibility with Enstratius' multi-cloud management.
ScaleMatrix offers the TruCore Performance Cloud hosting platform. ScaleMatrix offers users control over functionality and performance. From its proprietary data centers, ScaleMatrix offers services that leverage enterprise hardware, storage and security and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) mitigation services.
Finally, ZeroLag combines VMware-powered on-demand cloud infrastructure with professional services and custom-designed solutions.
Short- and Long-Term Bets
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK...
20:36 After 360, There Comes the Xbox OneIn Microsoft-land, One comes after 360. That's the Xbox One, the next-generation entertainment console successor to the Xbox 360.
The new machine, unveiled Tuesday at a press event at the company's headquarters in Redmond, Wash., goes all-out to become a competitor to cable's set-top box and assume its place as the central hub of household entertainment. In his introduction, for instance, Interactive Entertainment Business Division President Don Mattrick described the Xbox One as "where all of your entertainment comes alive in one place."
The machine, which will launch worldwide by the end of the year, turns on by voice command, and a voice brings up a user's profile and settings, or allows activities to be called up. Via voice command, a user can switch between gaming, watching live TV or a movie, listening to music, browsing the Net, or bringing up TV schedules, all while running apps. Snap Mode enables two activities to run side-by-side on the screen, such as watching a movie and a live activity like Net surfing.
New Version of Kinect
The device includes a Blu-ray DVD drive, Skype communications, and a new version of the Kinect gesture-based controller. The Kinect's enhanced capability to detect user movements includes the ability, according to the company, to read a person's heartbeat during exercise, or detect the turn of a wrist. Kinect can also recognize users by their faces and recommend content.
Other specs include an eight-core central processing unit, 8 GB of memory, native 64-bit architecture, a half-terabyte hard drive, HDMI, 802.11n Wi-Fi, 1080p video for Kinect, and USB 3.0.
For online play, the company has increased the number of dedicated servers to 300,000 from 15,000 in order to increase performance, and users can use the Xbox One to take and share in-game videos and photos. There's also the ability to search for possible...