Blog Posts by Tori Floyd

  • In what looks like something out of a spy movie, university researchers have come up with electronic devices that self-destruct.

    No, you’re not going to see any Mission: Impossible-style explosions here. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, they’re working on electronics that dissolve in water.

    While this may seem like a really, really bad idea if you’ve ever dropped your phone into a body of water, the idea is that these dissolving electronic parts will actually be better for the environment, and better for the health of humans in the long run.

    John Rogers, a professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the university, is one of the researchers behind the ‘born to die’ program, and says that the technology isn’t there yet, but the proof-of-concept certainly  is there.

    “You don’t need your cell phone to last for 25 or 50 years,” Rogers said to The Associated Press. “Nobody wants to keep it for that long anyway.”

    [ Related: Motorola proposes pills, tattoos as future of

    Read More »from Self-destructing electronics have potential to help the planet
  • (Image by jmv on Flickr)When it comes to the most recognized or most powerful superhero, Aquaman is often overlooked. Without a blockbuster film in the last several years (this TV short with Lou Diamond Philips doesn’t count), he doesn’t have the same sort of visibility as Batman, Spider-Man or Superman. He does, however, apparently prove to be quite the threat in cyberspace.

    According to a recently compiled list by McAfee, known for its virus detection and removal software, Aquaman is the superhero name that results in the greatest number of risky websites returned in search engine results. In a recent blog post, McAfee says that when partnering a superhero’s name with search terms like “free torrent download,” “watch,” “online” and “free trailer,” these superheroes were found to deliver the most search results that tested positively for malicious content links, including spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware:

    1. Aquaman 18.60%
    2. Mr. Fantastic 18.22%
    3. The Hulk 17.30%
    4. Wonder Woman 16.77%
    5. Daredevil
    Read More »from ‘Aquaman’ dubbed most dubious superhero by virus removal software company
  • 'Animal Crossing: New Leaf'

    This week, PBS’s Idea Channel on YouTube posited an interesting notion: the recently released game Animal Crossing: New Leaf from Nintendo may promote "otaku citizenship." And for many people, that just causes more questions, like, what’s an otaku? What’s otaku citizenship? And for some out there, what's Animal Crossing and why are so many adults playing what looks like a game for children?

    Starting with the basics, Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the latest installment in the popular Animal Crossing series, and the second handheld offering (this one is for the Nintendo 3DS). The premise is simple: your human character moves to a brand new town, and through a mix-up, you become the mayor. It is your responsibility to lead the town populated by anthropomorphized animals to prosperity and success while raising funds to build improvements and pay off your home.

    As for why people are playing it, there's a much simpler answer: it’s an incredibly well-made game. The concepts are basic, are well

    Read More »from ‘Animal Crossing: New Leaf’ and the kind of people it teaches its players to be
  • How rice could one day power your smartphone

    Ah, rice: food staple enjoyed by billions of people around the world every day. And according to a recent report, it could soon be used to help power your cell phone.

    Not the edible part of the rice, mind you: about 20 per cent of the total weight of all rice is its inedible husk, Wired reports. Researchers have found a way to recycle those husks and use them to make silicon for batteries.

    In a study published with the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, researchers say they believe there is a way to convert the silica layers found in rice husks and convert it to silicon, which can then be used in high-capacity lithium battery anodes. The researchers say that the structure of the rice husks gives it “excellent electrochemical performance as a lithium battery anode,” the study’s abstract states. By applying heat and acid to the husks, the silica can be extracted, and then converted into silicon.

    Up until now, the waste husks have largely been

    Read More »from How rice could one day power your smartphone
  • Guests at Nokia's unveiling of its new Lumia 1020 smartphone use the new phone's 41-megapixel camera.
    There’s no question: many of us have given up lugging around a separate camera in favour of snapping photos with our smartphones. Yet for many photo purists, the quality of a phone camera just can’t compare to using a proper point-and-shoot. Nokia attempted to bridge that gap today by unveiling the Nokia Lumia 1020, its first 41-megapixel phone on the Windows 8 operating system.

    Following in the steps of the Nokia 808 PureView, the newly-unveiled Lumia 1020 has a 41-megapixel camera sensor, which allows the user to take 5MP photos using ‘oversampling:’ seven pixels are combined into one super-accurate pixel, Mobile Syrup explains. It also has a Xenon flash built in, for point-and-shoot quality lighting, and six Zeiss lenses in wide-angle for sharp images.

    Along with all the other bells and whistles on the new camera phone, like ‘floating lens’ technology that helps reduce image shake, 1080p video shooting and high-resolution 3x zoom, the Lumia 1020 also comes with an impressive price

    Read More »from Nokia Lumia 1020’s impressive camera may not be enough to justify hefty price tag
  • (Image from thetileapp.com)I’ll admit it: I’m a little forgetful. I’m notoriously bad about leaving my keys somewhere in my home, only to have no idea where it is when I’m running out the door. The number of times I’ve said to my significant other “it would be so much easier if I could just call my keys,” like I do when I lose my cell phone, is embarrassing.

    It seems like someone else had the same idea, and has come up with Tile, a small device you can attach to just about anything to keep track of your belongings.

    The small white square can be hung from a key ring, or stuck to just about any surface with a double-sided adhesive that comes with the device.

    Each Tile pairs with the app on your iOS device (the only OS it’s currently available for), then when an object you have a Tile attached to goes missing, you can use the app to track it down, as it shows you how close you are to the object. You can also trigger an audio alert on Tile, helping you find your missing belongings even faster.

    [ More Right Click: The

    Read More »from Tile app connects you to the world’s biggest lost and found
  • Facebook Graph Search was unveiled back in January, immediately rubbing those who prize their privacy on the social network the wrong way. Now, as Facebook begins rolling out the feature to certain users, many are left wondering how exactly to protect their privacy on Facebook and take themselves out of Graph Search.

    [ Related: Facebook shadow profiles: you probably have one and don’t even know it ]

    Before you don the tinfoil hat or shut down your Facebook account, Facebook Graph Search is actually quite a cool feature that you might find useful. Graph Search will let you search through information available on Facebook, and allows you to search some very specific parameters. It's focused on searching through four main broad categories, People, Photos, Places and Interests. When you perform a search, it will show you results personalized to you, including information from your friends. For example, if you search "Photos of Vancouver," any images that your friends have uploaded of the

    Read More »from How you can protect your privacy now that Facebook Graph Search is here
  • (Photo from Hot Hardware)If you’ve never stopped to consider how gross your smartphone can get, think about it for a second: we use our smartphones while we’re eating, on public transit, and a few brave ones may even admit to taking it into the bathroom. Chances are, though, that not all smartphone users are fastidious about making sure they keep their device germ free, however.

    Gorilla Glass, the company that makes the glass screens for many smartphones, is working on a product that will make the glass antibacterial. At a recent MIT Mobile Technology Summit talk, Dr. Jeffrey Evenson discussed the widespread use and popularity of Gorilla glass and demonstrated the next generation product we could all soon be using.

    [ Related: The future of landlines: is the time of traditional phones over? ]

    According to Hot Hardware, Gorilla Glass 4 will feature antimicrobial coating. The example presented by Evenson showed a >106 reduction in bacteria over a two hour period, compared to a phone without the protective coating.

    Read More »from Next generation phone screens could destroy bacteria and be viewable in sunlight
  • There’s no question about it: the use of phones has changed dramatically over the last 20 years. Instead of only reaching us when we’re at home, people can now call, text and email us just about anywhere.

    But that doesn’t mean the landline’s time has come and gone. While some older styles of communication, like cursive writing, seem to be nearing the end of their time, there are still reasons for people to hold onto their landlines. They just might not be good enough reasons for most of us.

    The question of how valid landlines are came into the spotlight recently when many residents in the northeastern U.S. found themselves without a telephone line after Hurricane Sandy rolled through in 2012. Residents like Ken MacPherson of Fire Island, New Jersey, lost the use of their home phones because the infrastructure around the telephone network had been knocked out. The copper wire connection was damaged, and MacPherson found himself without a phone – until the phone company put a wireless

    Read More »from The future of landlines: is the time of traditional phones over?
  • Ads vibrate directly into heads of train riders


    A new advertising idea could be coming to a commuter train near you, and if you use your commute time to nap, then you probably won’t like this very much.

    Advertising agency BBDO has come up with a unique way to transmit audio ads to individuals on trains: by making the window send out a message and talk in their heads.

    It sounds strange, but the technology being used to do it isn’t new. The window has a transmitter attached, which makes the window vibrate. When someone leans (or sleeps) against a window, the vibrations play the message so only the person in contact with the window can hear it through bone conduction. Everyone else in the train doesn’t hear a thing.

    Bone conduction is the same science that makes certain hearing aids and headphones work, as well as being used in the military. The sound waves vibrate the tiny bones in your inner ear, bypassing the eardrum so you can still hear ambient sound, too.

    [ More Right Click: Ubisoft warns users to reset passwords following security

    Read More »from Ads vibrate directly into heads of train riders

Pagination

(783 Stories)