Later this month a SpaceX cargo ship will take off and head towards the ISS to restock the orbiting platform with food and other gear. Among the other gear that will be aboard the spacecraft is the NASA Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science platform also known as OPALS.
OPALS is a laser system that is intended to significantly increase the speed of communications between the Earth and the ISS. The system is said to be an upgrade for the ISS sort of like replacing your dial-up internet connection at home with DSL. Basically, this laser is giving the ISS broadband.
Last week our own Chris Ramseyer and Paul Alcorn, our storage editors, joined SanDisk to host a live SSD webinar to the advantages to running a solid state drive.
The webinar is embedded above. We hope you enjoyed the webinar, and if you're watching it for the first time, please enjoy it.
Part of having kids is letting them become independent enough to go palces on their own. That is tough for a parent because they need to know where kids are at all times for safety reasons. Sprint has announced a new device that is specifically made to let parents keep up with kids and help kids feel safe.
The device is called the Sprint WeGo and it is a small handheld mobile phone that supports texting and talk. WeGo offers kids limited SMS texting options to keep them from talking to people the parent doesn't know without permission. The device will alert parents via text or email if the phone exceeds a pre-set speed, if the panic alarm is pulled, or when SMS messages are received.
BMW has announced a new concept car that will go on display at the New York International Auto show. The car is called the BMW Concept X5 eDrive. This car is notable because it is the first vehicle from BMW to combine its xDrive all wheel drive system with its eDrive hybrid technology.
The result is an SUV that promises performance, fuel efficiency, and low emissions. The X5 concept can drive for up to 20 miles on battery power alone. While on battery power, the car can reach speeds of 75mph. BMW says that on the EU test cycle, the SUV achieved 74.3mph.
The Netherlands is testing out a new technology on a 500m, or 0.3 miles, stretch of highway - using light-absorbing glow-in-the-dark road markings. These markings have replaced streetlights on the stretch of highway.
Rewinding back to 2012, Studio Roosegaarde proposed the design, and after much jumping through the usual government hoops, the finished product is shaping up incredibly well. The studios founder and lead designer, Daan Roosegaarde, said: "One day I was sitting in my car in the Netherlands, and I was amazed by these roads we spend millions on but no one seems to care what they look like and how they behave. I started imagining this Route 66 of the future where technology jumps out of the computer screen and becomes part of us".
The future of this new roll out will include weather markings, where snowdrops would appear when the temperature would hit a certain level. The glow-in-the-dark stretch of highway at the moment uses a photo-luminescent powder that is integrated into the road paint, something that was developed in conjunction with Heijmans, a road construction company.
If a prediction from KGI Securities analyst, Ming Chi Kuo is anything to go by, we should expect Apple to begin its new product roll out starting toward the second half of Q3 2014.
From this, we should expect quite the slew of new devices, including upgrades to iPad mini and iPad Air, two new iWatch smartwatches, two 'all-new design' iPhones - in 4.7- and 5.5-inch sizes, an upgrade to Apple TV, an all-new design ultra-slim MacBook coming in at 12 inches, and a new Retina-capable MacBook Pro.
As for the much-rumored iTV from Apple, this has reportedly been pushed back into 2015. The analyst also says that the previous rumors of the bigger, 'iPad Pro' 12.9-inch slate arriving, will not happen. Instead ,the new iPads will see Apple's A8 processor baked in, as well as the Touch ID fingerprint sensors.
We've heard so many rumors that Apple would release a new iPhone this year, while other rumors point to two new iPhones to be released from the company. Well, now we have KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo predicting that the company will release two 'all-new design' iPhones, coming in 4.7- and 5.5-inch variants.
The 4.7-inch iPhone would be released sometime in Q3, where we should see it unveiled toward the end of September - but then there's the case of the second iPhone. This iPhone would be much bigger, sitting at 5.5 inches, and would be released toward the end of this year. There's not much known about this 'all-new design', but I'm expecting a big departure from what we're used to from the iPhone - and it's about damn time.
Considering we already had a "newly designed" from the ground up with the iPhone 5, what was all of that about when Apple did that? After five years of no changes to the iPhone, we had a big change. But now that Samsung has become an almost unstoppable threat for the company, Apple has been forced to go back to the drawing board it seems. Gone are the days of marketing videos pushing that you can use the iPhone with just one hand, and that any other phone that makes you do this is inferior.
Batteries feel like one of the least upgraded devices, but are featured in virtually all electronic devices. NASA, as advanced as the US space agency may be, needs some help designing and making new batteries for its travels into the dark beyond.
NASA is now asking public institutions and companies to submit their proposals for battery alternatives, where it will want to see a new low-level energy cell design. This will include chemistry and packaging, as well as advanced devices that would really outperform the current lithium cell-based batteries.
The US space agency will hand out cash awards to the four most promising candidates, from the first phase of its selection process. NASA might not even find the new power source it is looking for, and if that's the case, maybe it should look at working with Tesla, failing that - Tony Stark?
Google isn't seeing massive adoption rates no Android 4.4 KitKat, even though the updated mobile OS is capable of working on more devices than the OS it succeeded on. KitKat's adoption rate is sitting at a lower point than Jelly Bean was when it first launched.
Chitika's number crunching abilities see that Android 4.4 KitKat is on around 10% of devices, six months after it was launched. After six months of Jelly Bean being available, it was on 14% of devices. Chitika explains: "[L]ooking beyond the device type breakdown, on a wider scale, KitKat has not progressed quite as quickly as Jelly Bean in North America from an adoption perspective. We previously observed Jelly Bean users generating 13.6% of North American Android Web traffic approximately 24 weeks following its debut on the Nexus 7. This overall number is 10.1% for KitKat as of this study, close to 22 weeks following its release on the Nexus 5".
Chitika has analyzed just North American numbers here, with its ad impressions blasting onto tens of millions of US and Canadian Android-based devices between March 31, and April 6, 2014. When it comes to the US, around 61.8% of devices are running a version of Jelly Bean. 20.3% of traffic is coming from Gingerbread-based devices, while Ice Cream Sandwich sits on 21.3% devices.
Samsung may have just launched its new Galaxy S5 in over 125 countries around the world, but if you want to use a Galaxy S5 from one country in another - region locking has been stamped into the new flagship smartphone.
Samsung now requires a user to make a five-minute phone call on the Galaxy S5 with a local SIM card before the device can be used with SIM cards from other regions. A warning message on the European version of the Galaxy S5 reads: "This product should be activated with a SIM card issued from a mobile operator within Europe. (as defined EU/EEA, Switzerland and the following Non-EEA countries Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (F.Y.R.O.M), Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, Serbia and Vatican City.)"
The South Korean electronics giant adds: "To use SIM cards from other regions, a cumulative call over five minutes must first be made with the SIM card from European operators". This isn't something that Samsung is doing to hurt its consumers, but it is trying to stop "grey" imports of its products, which will stop it from bleeding unnecessary lost profits around the world.