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IBM 5 for 5: Computing Needs Senses Too

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IBM 5 for 5: Computing Needs Senses Too

Vibrating touchscreens, impossibly sharp-eyed equipment, digital taste buds-- these are just three predictions from the 2012 edition of The 5 in 5, the yearly IBM list of future tech predictions for the next 5 years.

The theme for this year is the senses, with 5 forecast categories covering all human senses. Will the computers of the near future lend us superhuman senses? IBM believes so!

Touch: Touchscreens will provide a far more tactile experience than a sheet of glass, IBM predicts. Through infrared and haptic technologies, touchscreens will simulate the physical sensation of touch, such as "feeling" the texture of cloth through an on-screen catalog.

Sight: Image recognition systems will be far more capable, thanks to more advanced pattern analysis systems. Such technologies should find a wide variety of applications, from the recognition of subtle MRI patterns in healthcare to that of customer preferences on Pinterest-style image boards in retail.

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A Challenger to Silicon Emerges

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A Challenger to Silicon Emerges

The MIT Microsystems Technology Laboratories may have developed a potential replacement to silicon transistors-- a transistor just 22nm in length made out of indium gallium arsenide (InGaAS).

The material, a compound semiconductor made out indium, gallium and arsenic, already has use in high-power and high-frequency electronics as well as a detector material in optical fibre communications.

What makes the MIT development significant is size-- at 22nm (the size of 9 strands of human DNA), the InGaAS Continue reading...

Update: John McAfee in Guatemala, Pleads Asylum

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Update: John McAfee in Guatemala, Pleads Asylum

John McAfee-- antivirus company founder, alleged fraudster, murder suspect, man on the run-- now lies in police custody due to illegal entry in Guatemala after Vice Magazine revealed his location by accident.

"Now that I'm here I can speak freely. I can speak openly," McAfee tells reporters in Guatemala City before claiming he will expose corruption within Belize's government.

Belize president Dean Barrow however does not mince his words, saying "I don't want to be unkind to the gentleman, but I believe he is extremely paranoid, even bonkers."

Just when you thought the John McAfee saga could not get any stranger, guess what? It just did.

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Where on Earth is John McAfee?

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Where on Earth is John McAfee?

John McAfee-- antivirus company founder, alleged fraudster, murder suspect. Man on the run. After the shooting of his neighbour on the Belizean island of Ambergis Caye, McAfee ran for it, even leaving the country for supposedly safer shores.

But did the metadata on a very recent photo just reveal his current location?

On 3 December 2012, after a length of radio silence, McAfee posted a blog post saying "I am currently safe... We are not in Belize, but not quite in out of the woods yet."

Joining McAfee was Vice Magazine, with an announcement claiming "We Are With John McAfee Right Now, Suckers." The magazine says it is making an "absolutely epic" documentary on the stranger-than-fiction story. But that is not the interesting part! No, what is interesting is the photo the story includes, one of McAfee and Vice editor-in-chief Rocco Castoro.

The metadata embedded in the photo reveals not only how it was taken with an iPhone 4S, but also where it was taken-- Guatemala, at Parque Nacional Rio Dulce. Near Ranchon Mary restaurant. By the pool.

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Wanted: McAfee Founder

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Wanted: McAfee Founder

John McAfee is more than the founder of an antivirus maker-- now he is also a man on the run after the Belize police marked him as a "person of interest" in connection to the murder of a neighbour.

The victim, Gregory Faull, was an American expatriate who lived close to McAfee on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize. According to the police, on 11 November Faull was found dead in a pool of blood on his hallway by his housekeeper. The cause of death? A gunshot wound on the back of his head.

At the murder scene authorities found a single expended shell from a 9mm Luger.

Following the murder (and the appearance of the police), McAfee decided to run for it-- even if he denies all involvement with the shooting. In an interview with Wired, McAfee tells a tale straight out of the movies, claiming he buried himself in the sand with a cardboard box over his head while the police searched through his properity.

“It was extraordinarily uncomfortable,” McAfee says. “But they will kill me if they find me... Under no circumstances am I going to willingly talk to the police in this country."

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Billion Dollar Ghost City is Tech Lab

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Billion Dollar Ghost City is Tech Lab

Smart grid, smart cities, smart homes, smart roads…how do you research these mega-projects?

You build a $1 billion city in the desert. You model the fake town after a real city (Rock Hill, South Carolina in USA, population 66,000) and build it complete with highways, houses and commercial buildings—even some old buildings mixed in with new ones just like in the real city. No one will live there, but each and every house will include appliances, plumbing, and other necessities.

This built-to-order town lets researchers test new infrastructure without interfering in anyone’s everyday life…because there isn’t anyone.

It’s a research facility but it’s also an empty city, a veritable ghost town. They call this CITE project “a first-of-its kind” smart city but given its cost and mission, it may just be “a one-of-a kind.”

Thankfully it’s not taxpayer money but a private firm building this city-as-a lab, the CITE (Center for Innovation, Technology and Evaluation).

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A Top 11 for 2011

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A Top 11 for 2011

There are no doubts-- it has been quite a full year. From natural disasters to protests and ousted dictators, there was truly something for everyone on the headlines. And as for our business, well, we're about to take a look at what went on during past 12 months, with a Top 11 for 2011...

1. Farewell, Steve Jobs: The biggest story this year was certainly the untimely demise of Steve Jobs at age 56, following a 7 year struggle with cancer. During those years, Apple brought us the iPhone and the iPad. Jobs had already stepped down as Apple CEO on Aug. 24th 2011... and most of us knew the only only reason he would walk away from the company would be his ultimate demise.

One cannot understimate Jobs' effect on the industry-- his return to Apple in 1997 turned a company Jobs himself described as weeks away from bankruptcy into one of the the biggest in the world (and the biggest for a few weeks), fuelling customers' lusts for technology in the process.

2. Bye bye, Best Buy: The biggest retail headline this year was definitely Best Buy leaving the UK, closing its 11 big box stores in the country, following £62 million worth of losses last fiscal year. Not that Best Buy is completely out of Europe-- it still keeps its joint venture with Carphone Warhouse.

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The Peanut Butter Manifesto

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The Peanut Butter Manifesto

What's Wrong with Yahoo and Why It Matters to You...For most of us in the IT channel, Yahoo doesn't bring us money and its ups and downs mean little to our business. So why do we want you to read this, The Peanut Butter Manifesto?

Garlinghouse is a SVP at Yahoo who risked his job to publicly dissect Yahoo's ills with a knife-like accuracy. He complains Yahoo is like peanut butter, an investment spread too thin across too wide a range of opportunities. Decide who we  are, what we can do well, and f Continue reading...

Ten Times the Capacity from Li Ion Batteries?

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Ten Times the Capacity from Li Ion Batteries?

Researchers at the Northwestern University claim they managed to increase both charging capacity and speed of lithium ion batteries by 10x-- potentially pointing to the future of mobile power.

Li ion batteries are not only found in most mobile devices-- from mobile phones to laptops-- but also in electric cars and even "exoskeleton" robots.

Current Li ion batteries create charge by moving lithium from one end of the battery to the other (from anode to cathode), and recharge through the sending Continue reading...

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