Silicon Valley’s fabled invention machine shows its latest tech
By Sean CaptainPosted 04.29.2008 at 1:11 pm 7 Comments
If technology were a religion, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center would be one of the holiest shrines on any pilgrimage. So much of our modern computer world was invented at this freewheeling innovation lab (and largely given away). Prefer your mouse and point-and-click graphical interface to a UNIX-style command line? Thanks PARC. Think laser prints look better than dot-matrix scrawl? Thanks again.
Some say the glory days have passed. PARC today is a more-focused operation that has to turn quick profits (no more open funding from its owner Xerox). But its still a well-staffed corporate research lab in an era with ever-fewer of those creatures. On Monday, its staff opened the doors to the press to show off the latest gizmos.
That's what a new online interface we've stumbled upon seems to suggest
By Sean CaptainPosted 04.23.2008 at 1:56 pm 2 Comments
Hmmm...What's this? Looks like a Web-based remote control for your TV. We happened upon this randomly today, and it raises lots of interesting questions. The URL sonyathome.com brings up a Web page that sure looks like it belongs to Pioneer Electronics -- what with the big "Pioneer" badge in the corner and an email function that sends a message from "email@example.com" ("Elite" is Pioneer's premium brand of A/V gear).
Is Pioneer developing software for Sony? Is Pioneer merging with Sony? Seems unlikely, since Pioneer just formally announced a joint venture to get plasma panels from Panasonic, and already have a deal to get LCDs from Sharp. But then again, Sony also gets LCDs from Sharp. Hmmm.
Nikon and Olympus reinvent autofocus so you can grab better action shots
By Sean CaptainPosted 04.18.2008 at 1:59 pm 0 Comments
Digital SLRs shoot as fast as machine guns, but all those pictures are useless if they come out blurry. Autofocus often fails in low light and with quick-moving subjects such as athletes or toddlers. We pitted two cameras that promise faster, more accurate autofocus technologies against both each other and top competitors from Canon.
Video processors do more to boost speed than main processors, says nVidia
By Sean CaptainPosted 04.10.2008 at 12:09 pm 3 Comments
digg_url = 'http://digg.com/hardware/CPU_Vs_Graphics_Card';
OK, they are not the most objective source, but graphics processor manufacturer nVidia does make a pretty convincing argument for spending more money on a computers graphics card and less on the main processor—in certain conditions.
"Be there and be square." That's the apt motto of Nerd Nite—a monthly barroom science and history lecture series in New York City and Boston. PopSci grabbed a beer for last week's gathering at Angels and Kingsin New York's East Village to learn about dinosaurs, the history of drunkenness in Gotham and more.
Live digital television broadcasts come to handhelds and highways
By Sean CaptainPosted 04.02.2008 at 5:57 pm 0 Comments
For all of todays in-car entertainment options, live, local digital TV still isnt one of them. Even at home, digital television signals can break up if you wiggle the antenna, and you cant get a picture at all in a moving vehicle. But soon, you may see flawless video even if your set is barreling down the road at more than 100 mph.
Details of how we pushed the latest SLRs from Nikon and Olympus
By Sean CaptainPosted 04.01.2008 at 9:06 pm 0 Comments
There is no single measure of autofocus ability, so we did two main tests to judge the cameras chops. The first was to see how well each camera performed in difficult situations: low light and subjects with very little detail. In the second, we picked subjects that are easy to get in focus and simply measured how fast each camera could do it.
This was our setup:
By Sean CaptainPosted 04.01.2008 at 8:15 pm 2 Comments
Remember Surface, the magic coffee table and massively multi-touch screen that we awarded a Best of Whats New award in December? Well it looks like its finally set to debut, as a shopping kiosk debuting at six AT&T cellular phone stores on April 17.
This HD camcorder packs 12 lenses in a barrel the size of your thumb for vivid, jitter-free video in a pocket-friendly package
By Sean CaptainPosted 03.13.2008 at 4:47 pm 1 Comment
John B. Carnett
As cameras continue to shrink in size and weight, an often overlooked side effect is their lack of image stability. Naturally, the heavier the camera, the less your shaky hands move its lens. Via optical image stabilization, the Panasonic HDC-SD5 keeps footage rock solid while maintaining a pocket-size form factor.
By Sean CaptainPosted 03.08.2008 at 11:13 am 0 Comments
We had a quick phone call with Russ Johnson of Pioneer yesterday evening to find out what the decision to stop making plasma modules means. While Russ didnt have answers to all our questions, we got a much clearer picture, so to speak.
He confirmed that Panasonic will provide the plasma modules—essentially the basic screen, without most of the electronics and the color filter. And though he didnt say explicitly, we got the impression that Pioneer will be taking what Panasonic is giving, rather than dictating a design based on Pioneers plasma technology. This has to be a disappointment to Pioneer fanboys and girls, but it may not be a complete tragedy.