Keep your seat belt fastened for Tuesday's tech news roundup:
Airline passengers may soon be able to use their smartphones and tablets during flights with fewer interruptions.
The Federal Aviation Administration has formed a committee to reconsider its policy on when electronic devices can be turned on during a flight.
"With so many different types of devices available, we recognize that this is an issue of consumer interest," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement released today. "Safety is our highest priority, and we must set appropriate standards as we help the industry consider when passengers can use the latest technologies safely during a flight." … Read more
You'd never know it from looking at her, but my sister Rachel has pressure settings.
They're regulated by a surgically implanted valve in her head, part of a system called a ventriculoperitoneal shunt that makes her one of a growing number of humans medically augmented with implantable and attachable devices.
The shunt drains excess cerebrospinal fluid that would otherwise over-accumulate inside her skull due to a congenital condition called hydrocephalus, or "water on the brain," that can damage brain tissue if left untreated. The apparatus directs the fluid from the magnetized pressure valve in her head down through a tube that leads to her abdomen, where it's re-absorbed by her body.
Yes, my sister has a magnet in her head, and to answer a few questions commonly asked since her latest surgery a few months ago, yes, she'll be able to go through airport security scanners and metal detectors and stand near microwaves. But she'll need to be cautious of some kinds of audio headphones, and after she gets magnetic resonance imaging scans, a doctor will have to hold a special handheld device to her head to recalibrate her pressure settings.
Think of hydrocephalus as a plumbing problem. She needs tubes and valves to do what most of our bodies do naturally. … Read more
If you're an iPad sitting in an Apple Store, you probably cringe each time the customer with 3-year-old triplets walks over to check you out.
Now we also know there are certain stores, and even entire states, you don't want to end up in either, thanks to new data from device warranty outfit SquareTrade that details which states seem to have the clumsiest iPad and iPhone users.
Looking at its own internal claim data for iPhone and iPad breakage and damage, SquareTrade found Mississippi and South Carolina seem to have particularly high rates of iOS device abuse -- both states made the top five when it comes to claims for both iPhones and iPads, with Mississippi racking up the most collective damage to iPhones and South Carolina taking title as the most dangerous state for iPads.… Read more
Microsoft is sprucing up its Touch Mouse to give upcoming Windows 8 users a helping hand.
Both the Touch Mouse and the Explorer Touch Mouse already support horizontal as well as vertical scrolling. So users who upgrade to Windows 8 can continue to use both devices just as they are.
But Microsoft is unveiling a new set of gestures designed specifically to help you navigate your way around Windows 8. Tapping into the new gestures will be a matter of downloading Microsoft's new Device Center, a program that can take full advantage of your mouse and keyboard in the … Read more
The latest AMD chip engineer to pop up at Apple is a graphics and system-on-a-chip expert.
John Bruno is now a system architect at Apple, as of July.
Over the last decade or so at AMD, he has held positions such as senior ASIC design manager and, most recently, system architect.
He started as an ASIC (application specific integrated circuit) designer at ATI in 1996. That company was later acquired by AMD.
His AMD job description on LinkedIn states that he "completed hardware specification for the APU (CPU + GPU SoC) including cost, target die size, power budget and low-power … Read more
Advanced Micro Devices, the world's second largest PC processor supplier, had some sobering things to say about the PC market when the company reported earnings Thursday.
"For the first time since 2001, client PC shipments have declined sequentially for three consecutive quarters-and have been below historical averages for the last seven quarters," AMD CEO Rory Read said during the chip supplier's second quarter earnings conference call.
"We also believe the PC industry may be resetting to a new [lower] baseline," he said.
Revenue declined 10 percent to $1.41 billion for the the Sunnyvale, … Read more
Amazing Alex (99 cents) for iPhone or Android is a physics game where you're challenged to create chain reactions with objects to complete objectives. Our hero, Amazing Alex, is a kid who's stuck cleaning his room and tries to get creative with organizing his belongings by building Rube Goldburg-like devices.… Read more
Advanced Micro Devices said today that revenue for the quarter ending June 30 is expected to be off 11 percent sequentially.
That's a very different outlook from what AMD forecast previously when it said that second-quarter 2012 revenue was expected to increase 3 percent sequentially, plus or minus 3 percent.
"The lower preliminary revenue results are primarily due to business conditions that materialized late in the second quarter, specifically softer-than-expected channel sales in China and Europe," the company said.
But AMD also attributed the worse-than-expected result to "a weaker consumer buying environment impacting the company's … Read more
U.S. Army, welcome to the future.
If you happen to be in Farnborough, London, this week, you'll be able to see a demo of an Army pilot geared in the latest in wearable military technology -- a portable computing device that fits in a pocket and a display panel that can be strapped to a soldier's wrist.
The entire Aviation Warrior (yes, that's what it is called) system -- which includes a helmet equipped with a flip-down viewing monocle and taps into the cockpit's digital display -- may seem like something that belongs in Battlestar … Read more