A state-of-the-art propulsion system, one that uses plasma thrusters with no moving parts, could provide power for micro and nano unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV.)This class of airplane can measure anywhere from a foot to less than 6 inches long.
According to a release on Wednesday from the State Department, law enforcement officials and private parties may soon be able to request personal passport details. Currently, only State Department staffers who have undergone "background security investigation" handle such requests. The change to the State Department's system of records notice, or SORN, affects records dating as far back to 1925 and addresses amendments introduced in 2007 to the Privacy and Security Act of 1974.
I've written here before about emergency locators, those gizmos that can help rescuers find you if you become lost in the wilderness.
The tragic death of CNET's own James Kim and the disappearances of Microsoft's Jim Gray and famed adventurer Steve Fossett have convinced me that anyone who travels outside populated areas ought to carry one of these devices.
Following that earlier post, I was contacted by SPOT Inc., makers of the SPOT Satellite Messenger, which began shipping through major outdoor retailers this fall. They offered me a SPOT messenger for review, and I happily accepted. It … Read more
Intel is making a "small" change to its lineup of solid-state drives.
The chipmaker announced late Friday that it is making a solid-state drive for handheld devices that is smaller than a penny and weighs less than a drop of water. The Z-P140 drives will be available in 2GB and 4GB sizes, and are intended for low-power, rugged devices, presumably gadgets like Internet tablets, smartphones, portable video players, and handheld computers. Intel says it is 400 times smaller than a 1.8-inch hard drive.
The drives use flash memory to store data, and have a PATA (parallel ATA) … Read more
Solid-state drives are still going to be somewhat hard to find and expensive in 2008, but mass production, cheaper flash, and tech advances will start to change that in 2009 and 2010.
Micron Technology, the Boise, Idaho-based maker of DRAM and flash memory, this week unveiled plans to come out with solid-state drives. The drives function like regular hard drives. But instead of storing data on spinning disks, solid-state drives store it on NAND memory chips--the kind found in cameras and MP3 players.
Micron will start mass-producing solid-state drives in the first quarter of 2008. The first drives will hold … Read more
In two consecutive days, The Wall Street Journal presented two different answers. The first is not surprising: Intellectual Ventures, the brainchild of ex-Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold. It's now out "to raise as much as $1 billion to help develop and patent inventions, many of them from universities in Asia." I know I will sleep so much more comfortably knowing that IVL will be out plundering Asia so that it can turn around and plunder the rest of the planet.
The second might surprise you: the University of California. The University of California may be especially pernicious because it can sue for patent infringement but has sovereign immunity:… Read more
In the old days, you'd buy a RAID adapter card to let your computer attach to multiple hard drives that provided data capacity and protection. Nowadays, with flash memory, the storage fits right on the card.
Addonics Technologies announced a $50 PCI card Tuesday that's got four CompactFlash card slots. The cards can be configured as four individual drives, a single large volume, or set up with RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks) 0, 1 or 10 to stripe data across multiple cards or mirror data from one onto another.
Note that there's no support for RAID … Read more
For a start-up, Mascoma certainly has a lot of refineries in the works.
The cellulosic ethanol specialist already has plans for a demonstration plant in upstate New York capable of churning out 500,000 gallons a year, plus a plant in Michigan capable of 5 million gallons annually.
Just last week, it announced a deal with the University of Tennessee to open another 5-million-gallon plant in that state. Construction will begin in 2007 and become operational in 2009. (The New York and Michigan plants are supposed to go live in late 2007/early 2008 and 2008, respectively.)
That's three … Read more
Much has been made of an El Paso Times interview last week in which Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell acknowledged the "private sector" has assisted in the president's so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program. Some opponents of the phone-call-and-email-snooping regime promptly pounced on the remarks, suggesting they implicate telephone companies like AT&T and Verizon, which have been accused in numerous lawsuits of consumer privacy violations and illicit cooperation with the Bush administration.
"Now if you play out the suits at the value they're claimed, it would bankrupt these companies," McConnell told the paper, … Read more
Cost savings are nice - and open source delivers them in spades - but price is just one benefit of open source. According to Bill Welty, CIO of California's Air Resource Board, price isn't even the most important factor.
"Increased agility, responsiveness to internal clients, and team-building" are the real value drivers of open source, Welty insists:… Read more