DailyTech – Google Teases at Android 4.4 “KitKat”, Device Giveaway

Google says too few people knew how Key Lime Pie tasted to name it thatfp__Android_KitKat_Thumb

After being stuck on “Jelly Bean” (Android 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3) for over a year, people were starting to wonder when the next major name change might land for the world’s most used mobile operating system.

I. Android 4.4 is Android “KitKat”

Well the wait is over, with Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android chief Sundar Pichai posting a picture on Twitter that confirms that the next version of Android will be dubbed “KitKat” and will have the version number Android 4.4.
KitKats are popular chocolate bars with a crunchy biscuit inside stick shaped pieces. The confection is made by Swiss candy and beverage company Nestle SA (VTX:NESN). The announcement took many by surprise as the rumor was that Google was going to adopt the more brand agnostic dessert “Key Lime Pie“.  Google was also rumored to bump the version number to 5.0.


II. No Key Lime Pie For You

John Lagerling — Google’s director of Android global partnerships — told BBC News in an interview today that the branding was indeed a corporate tieup, but that Google was not paid to use the name.  He says that the decision was meant to be “fun and unexpected”, remarking, “This is not a money-changing-hands kind of deal.”
Source: DailyTech.

The ultimate driving EV? BMW launches all-electric i3 | The Verge

This is the automaker’s first genuine, built-from-the-ground-up electric vehicle. As you’d guess, the car introduces a number of other firsts for the German company.

BMW i3 hero

This is the automaker’s first genuine, built-from-the-ground-up electric vehicle. As you’d guess, the car introduces a number of other firsts for the German company. Chief among them is a passenger compartment made from carbon fiber-reinforced plastic — a breakthrough design element that results in a weight of only 2,600 pounds. Today, at simultaneous events held in New York City, London, and Beijing, the company finally took the wraps off its production model i3. BMW says the EV is capable of maximum distances ranging between 80 to 100 miles, powered by a 170-horsepower electric motor. The i3 will arrive in the US in the second quarter of next year priced at $41,350 to start, but European drivers will begin seeing it this November.

  • On the eve of its public unveiling, the production BMW i3 remains hidden beneath a white cover. (Image credit: BMW Group)

  • BMW’s reveal of the i3 EV draws near as press begin to assemble for the company’s New York City event.

  • BMW held a live simulcast connecting New York, London, and Beijing to showcase the production model i3.

  • The cover finally comes off BMW’s i3 electric car, providing the first glimpse at a production model of the hatchback. (Image credit: BMW Group)

  • BMW’s senior executives were joined by a future driver for the i3 unveiling.

  • One of the BMW i3’s most unique features isn’t visible from the outside. Its passenger compartment is made entirely of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, leading to a much lighter vehicle that doesn’t sacrifice on safety.

  • BMW’s iconic logo is surrounded by the chrome wheels of the new i3 hatchback EV.

  • As soon as the white cover was pulled away, members of the press began snapping photos of the BMW i3.

  • On the roof of its New York City venue, BMW showed off another of the i3’s available finish options.

  • Backed by a 170-horsepower electric motor, the BMW i3 can take you from zero to 60 in seven seconds.

  • Unfortunately for journalists eager to sample the BMW i3’s interior, the car was locked.

  • BMW executive Peter Schwarzenbauer fields one of many press questions about the production i3 and its $41,350 price tag.

  • Back downstairs, BMW continues to showcase its brand new i3 EV as a special guest arrives.

  • Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on hand to praise the BMW i3’s environment-friendly engineering.

  • Bloomberg revealed that he once owned a BMW — before the private car that came with his current job.

  • Bloomberg, a major proponent of green initiatives, congratulated BMW on the i3’s unveiling.

  • BMW’s designers will tell you that the i3 is a vehicle built for the future, but blue accents are an immediate reminder of the automaker’s legacy.

  • From a performance standpoint, BMW’s i3 ranks similarly to the electric competition.

  • BMW finally opens the doors on the i3, granting onlookers a tour of the new EV’s interior.

  • There’s no shortage of electronics mixed in with the i3’s wood paneling and other refinements, but by designing an EV from the ground up, BMW has afforded the car a spacious interior.

  • When it comes to navigation, automakers still prefer building their own software rather than integrating a native Google Maps experience.

  • A touch display near the i3’s steering column offers quick access to gear selections and keyless ignition.

  • It’s not exactly a sports coupe, but the BMW i3’s hatchback design offers plenty of storage space.

  • BMW’s executive team and Mayor Bloomberg after B

Source: The Verge.

A New Kind of Microchip Mimics the Human Brian in Real Time

A team of scientists in Switzerland has managed to cram 11,011 electrodes onto a single two-millimeter-by-two-millimeter piece of silicon to create a microchip that works just like an actual brain. The best part about this so-called neuromorphic chips? They can feel.

Don’t over interpret the word “feel” though. The brain-like microchips built by scientists at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich are not a sentient beings, but they can carry out complex sensorimotor tasks that show off the network’s cognitive abilities. And what’s more impressive is that all of this happens in real time. Previous brain-like computer systems have been slower and larger, whereas the Swiss system is comparable to an actual brain in both speed and size. That’s exactly what the team was trying to do. “Our goal is to emulate the properties of biological neurons and synapses directly on microchips,” says University of Zurich professor Giacomo Indiveri.

The next step for these neuromorphic chips is to take on more and more complex tasks. In a paper published this week by the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers who built the chips suggest that they could connect the neuromorphic chips to sensory systems like an artificial retina. This is somewhat of a fascination for the community of scientists trying to build a brain-like computer. Stanford professor Kwabena Boahen rose to prominence after developing a silicon retina that behaved like a biological retina, and since then, he’s been working on ways to mimic the brain using artificial circuits.

A New Kind of Microchip Mimics the Human Brian in Real Time.

Leap Motion controllers now shipping

Would you look at that? Seems Leap Motion’s eagerly awaited motion controller has started shipping a few days early — well, a few days before its delayed July 22nd date, but we’ll take it. We’ve received a couple of confirmations from future Leapers that their devices are on the way. Until they actually arrive, however, why not take a look at some of the apps developers have been working on for the system?
Source: Engadget.

Microsoft pushes HomeOS further with Lab of Things, but where’s the mobile angle? — Tech News and Analysis

Microsoft has launched what it calls its Lab of Things, a cloud-based framework that links to the company’s HomeOS, which monitors and controls connected devices inside home environments. The Lab of Things arrived Monday at the Microsoft Research event, and apparently HomeOS has been around for a while. A quick trip through the Microsoft research page shows examples of the HomeOS efforts going as far back as 2010 and a big media push from last spring.
But in digging into HomeOS and the Lab of Things news today, I’m struck by how odd Microsoft’s vision seems to be with regard to the connected home. For example, Microsoft’s HomeOS vision centers around a home PC (it can be a netbook or a laptop) that the devices talk to — something that seems more at home in 2003 than in 2013. However, Lab of Things looks like part of an evolution to that disparity, by tying the HomeOS to Microsoft’s Azure cloud.
From the documentation around the Lab of Things:

Lab of Things is a shared infrastructure designed to help researchers develop and evaluate technologies in the home environment. Lab of Things provides a common framework to write applications and has a set of capabilities beneficial to field deployments including logging application data from houses in cloud storage, remote monitoring of system health, and remote updating of applications if needed (e.g. to change to a new phase of the study by enabling new software, or to fix bugs).

Microsoft’s HomeOS supports Z-wave devices as well as sensors built using Microsoft’s Gadgeteer hardware. Since this is a research-oriented project, the idea is pitched to academics who want to try to set up connected home environments. They use the HomeOS and Lab of Things to set up the connected devices on a home network (in this case the laptop running HomeOS is akin to any number of hubs out there on the market) and then tell the devices what they want them to do.
Read more @ GigaOm.

Google reportedly wants to launch its own online pay TV service — paidContent

Google is talking to media companies about licensing live TV programming and streaming it on the internet, the WSJ reported Tuesday afternoon, citing unidentified sources.
The article doesn’t say how far the discussions have gotten or which networks Google is talking with, but “in at least one case, Google has provided a demonstration of the product.”
Google already has Google TV, a product that provides access to apps like Pandora and Redbox Instant and is powering certain smart TVs as well as a separate set-top boxes. But Google TV is largely meant to be complementary to an existing pay TV subscription, whereas this new offering would compete directly with subscriptions offered by cable and satellite TV companies.
Other companies also want to compete with cable providers and transmit TV over the internet. Intel plans to launch its own service, OnCue, this yearSony, Apple andFanhattan are also working on such services, but have had difficulty getting them off the ground. Apple, for instance, has pursued a piecemeal strategy to get networks to stream their content through apps on Apple TV, but is also reportedly working on a live TV product that would allow ad-skipping.
Google reportedly wants to launch its own online pay TV service — paidContent.

New MashModo theme – unofficial pre release

This is the MashModo theme. The MashModo theme is a tribute to Mashable and Gizmodo web designs. I was really intrigued by Mashables menu bar and how much it frees up the head of a website. I also found Gizmodo’s excerpt post design very useful. This theme is not to take away from these two great implementations of web design but to tribute to it. The theme does not fully replicate either of the designs in look, feel and/or functionallity and was not intended to do so but rather build on the idea.
The theme was carved out of Automattics Twentythirteen theme which is also a great piece of work by Automattic and I appreciate all the great work by the Automattic team.

I am fairly new to web development and web design and this is my first, so far unofficial, release for a wordpress theme. I will continue to work on this and hope to be able to have it ready soon for an official release with wordpress.

I would appreciate any and all feedback for the theme as it would greatly help to improve whatever needs to be improved.

Get it here: MashModo

MashModo Theme Download

The MashModo theme is a tribute to Mashable and Gizmodo web designs. The theme does not fully replicate either of the designs in look, feel and/or functionallity and was not intended to do so but rather build on the idea. The theme was carved out of Automattics Twentythirteen theme which is also a great piece of work by Automattic and I appreciate all the great work by the Automattic team.

Noctua creates world’s first CPU cooler with active noise cancellation | Chips | Geek.com


Unless you opt for one of the very low-power CPUs on the market today, chances are the processor inside your desktop PC has a fan attached to keep it cool. The higher performance the chip and the more you overclock, the more cooling required. And more cooling inevitably means more noise unless you go with a water cooling solution.

Specialist cooling company Noctua has teamed up with RotoSub to come up with a low noise solution that allows you to stick with air cooling, but removes the noise. They’ve done this by adding active noise cancellation to one of their CPU coolers for the very first time. A project that’s been ongoing for over a year.

The cooler is still in prototype form, but was on display at Computex 2013. It could actually be referred to as a cooling cube looking at the design, but is based on Noctua’s NH-D14 cooler using a twin-tower heatsink, which consists of two heatsink blocks and a fan mounted between them.

The noise cancellation is achieved through a combination of mic and speakers. The mic listens to the sound created by the cooler, then the speakers output the same sound with a phase difference. In so doing, destructive interference is created and the level of noise is cut significantly.


According to those able to listen to the prototype CPU cooler, there was actually no noise heard when the system was active. If you watch the demonstration video above you can clearly hear the difference the noise cancellation makes.

Such a system is sure to be popular and no doubt expensive. Based on the design, it should be possible to develop versions that work with all motherboards and CPUs, meaning Noctua could certainly have a hit on its hands here.

Source: Geek.com.