Not profits, not marketshare: 'to put technology in the hands of the people'
[Update: added "behind the scenes" video] It is hard to imagine anymore, but for a long time prior to the twin developments of the home computer and the modern Internet, technology that allowed creative professionals to thrive was rare, expensive and in the hands of a very few. As part of its ongoing celebration of the Mac's 30th anniversary, Apple has now posted a 90-second movie shot entirely with iPhones, spanning five continents and illustrating the reach of creative and professional technology today.
Black Friday sales on tablets, laptops, desktops and more from OfficeMax
Officemax, a office supply retailer, currently has its own Black Friday sale promoting a variety of office-related products, but with a focus on technology. Tablets, laptops, desktops, monitors, printers, scanners, and portable file storage systems are included in the promotion.
RingMeMaybe app's disposable phone numbers ideal for dating, Craigslist
Mobile developers yourVirtualSIM has announced the release of its app RingMeMaybe, a program able to generate disposable US phone numbers for iOS devices. Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, users can access unlimited numbers for anonymous communication, removing the need to publicly reveal primary phone numbers. Utilizing VoIP technology, anyone requiring temporary numbers -- such as those who may be casually dating, or buying and selling on Craigslist -- can do so for a flat rate of 99 cents per virtual number (the equivalent of '10 credits'). Each number can be generated within seconds, and remains attached to your primary number for one week, but can be extended with the addition of more credits. RingMeMaybe's VoIP feature also provides unlimited calling service for no additional fee. Users receive 20 free credits with their download, equating to two virtual phone numbers. RingMeMaybe is available from the App Store as a free download.
Jean-François Mulé now Engineering Director, hired in September
On Tuesday, cable industry veteran and technology development architect Jean-François Mulé revealed on his LinkedIn biography that he had been hired by Apple in September, and was the Engineering Director for a unnamed project, and described his role as "challenged, inspired and part of something big." The disclosure has re-fueled speculation that Apple may indeed produce a branded HDTV set of some kind, or at least be working on a serious revamping of the Apple TV set-top box.
Could indicate an interest in solar power or super-thin conducive materials
Apple has posted a job listing on its website for a "thin films" engineer with experience in the solar industry to join the company's Mobile Devices group and "assist in the development and refinement of thin films technologies applicable to electronics systems." While many outlets have assumed that the listing may hint at the company's use of solar power in future products, it is also possible that Apple seeks to apply the thin-film technology used in solar panels to be applied in other areas, including display and touch technologies.
Passcode still required as fallback, used if finger not ID'd within 48 hours
More details have emerged about Apple's Touch ID system, built into the home button of the forthcoming iPhone 5s. The company has confirmed that the devices doesn't store an actual image of the user's fingerprints, for example, and further revealed that a basic passcode is required to be set up as a fallback before users can set up one or more fingerprints that can be used to unlock the iPhone 5s or make iTunes Store purchases. The ID data, as the company said on Tuesday, remains locally-stored and encrypted.
Mechanical engineer listing requires skill associated with glass alloy
A job listing from Apple describing the need for a mechanical engineer with a wide knowledge of materials and manufacturing processes -- and some specific experience in skills required for dealing with the bulk-metallic glass alloy known as Liquidmetal -- has fuelled speculation that Apple's investment in the technology may be finally bearing more fruit. The technology is already used for specialized parts such as the SIM card ejector pin in older iPhone models, but very little has been seen of it thus far.
Voice recognition first to benefit
Google will be using a neural network to work in its products. After creating software that can learn without the need for human guidance, Technology Review reports that the company will put its virtual brain "to work making Google's products smarter," with speech recognition to be the first to use it.
Younger people getting entertainment online
A small survey interviewing 158 students across eight colleges and universities has concluded that students are spending less on technology compared to last year, and bringing their electronic arsenal with them to school -- but leaving TVs at home, in a dramatic drop from last year. Computer sales were up slightly with the student group, with Apple's share of the purchases in the last three months jumping up sharply from last year, reports Fortune.
Tech improves efficiency of microbial fuel cells
Researchers at the University of East Anglia in England have reportedly made a significant breakthrough in microbial fuel-cell technology. A team of scientists have discovered the molecular structure which allow bacteria to transfer electrical charge. The findings are said to open the door for further research that will likely improve the efficiency of the fuel cells referred to as biological batteries.
Sony hybrid fuel cell
Sony showed off a tiny fuel cell at the Smart Fuel Cells 2008 exhibition that ends today, which combines a fuel cell, Li-polymer battery and control circuit for the first time. In testing conducted in Japan, Sony found a 1Seg video broadcast can play for 14 hours on 10mL of methanol. Use of a refined technology using the fuel cell could significantly boost the run times of today's consumer electronics, specifically laptop and cellphone batteries.