Blog Posts by Tecca

  • Future craft could use 3D printers to assemble themselves once in orbit

    Considering the difficulties of getting even relatively small spacecraft like the SpaceX Dragon into orbit, the idea of launching larger interplanetary craft from Earth's surface seems especially daunting. To address this, NASA thinks that future spacefaring vehicles could actually construct themselves after they've launched using onboard 3D printers, eventually transforming into ships much larger and more complex than anything that could ever be built on the planet.

    The space agency recently awarded $100,000 to a project called SpiderFab that aims to study this concept and ultimately produce designs for such a craft. In theory, a small vehicle could launch in a rocket carrying the raw materials needed by an onboard 3D printer. Unlike fully-assembled craft, it wouldn't need to be designed to fold up or built to withstand the extreme forces involved in liftoff and ascent into space.

    NASA thinks the concept could also be expanded to create a spaceship that would find its own raw

    Read More »from NASA funds research into self-building spaceships
  • Proposed privacy bill hopes to set new standards for mobile devices

    Straight out of the Why-Wasn't-This-A-Thing-Before file comes the announcement today that the Mobile Device Privacy Act actually is a thing now. Back in January, we first told you about the piece of proposed legislation from Congressman Edward Markey (D-MA) who was concerned about the privacy of mobile device customers after the introduction of Carrier IQ.

    If you recall, Carrier IQ is the software company that flared up a bit of controversy when it was discovered that its software tools may be used to track everything from the keystrokes to the visited URLs of unsuspecting customers. The company denied these claims, but Congressman Markey quickly got the ball rolling to propose a law against it ever happening. This is especially important since Carrier IQ was already under federal investigation for wiretapping violations.

    So with this new bill in place, anyone who sells a mobile service, device, or app must inform customers if that product contains any type of monitoring software.

    Read More »from Mobile Device Privacy Act is on its way to becoming a law
  • Says the Apple co-founder, "I don’t agree with [the verdict]"

    It's hard not to be happy over winning $1 billion dollars, even if the windfall came from a controversial court case. But not everyone at the world's largest company is happy about the verdict that Samsung copied Apple's design: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak went on record today with Bloomberg saying, "I don't think the decision of California will hold," adding that he doesn't believe Samsung deserved to lose its case.

    Recently, smartphone patent wars between Apple and Samsung have gone nuclear, with companies filing numerous suits and court requests that phones be banned from sale. But while former Apple CEO Steve Jobs may have had a bloodlust for taking down Google, his former partner Steve Wozniak doesn't. "I hate it," says Woz of the constant patent fights. "I wish everybody would just agree to exchange all the patents and everybody can build the best forms they want to use everybody's technologies."

    [Image credit: Featureflash /]
    [via The Next Web]

    This article

    Read More »from Steve Wozniak breaks with Apple over the $1B Samsung verdict
  • Oldest color film footage dates back to 1899

    As we debate the obvious visual difference between 1080p and 4K video, we can't help but notice that it wasn't that long ago in the scope of time that color motion film wasn't even a thing.

    In 1899, British photographer and inventor Edward Raymond Turner patented the first color moving picture process, but it was so complicated that it was never replicated. Following Turner's blueprints and instructions for the process, researchers at the National Media Museum digitally copied three frames of film taken from two rolls that were discovered in 2009. The three frames were reconstructed in Photoshop with red, green, and blue filters, similar to how they would have been using Turner's original equipment through the use of colored gels.

    As explained in the National Media Museum's video, each frame of the original film had to be re-photographed three times with each colored filter (RGB) and compiled into the final product, which took about three years, thanks to federal and private funding.

    Read More »from Oldest color film footage dates back to 1899
  • You do still have to pay for your data use, though — and that can be a killer

    If you're a fan of Apple's FaceTime video chat, you're no doubt aware of its restricted wifi-only use on the current iPhone. That's changing with the upcoming release of the iPhone 5 (and iOS 6 specifically), but each wireless carrier is handling how their networks will let you use the chat service. And today, Verizon announced that their customers will be allowed free use of FaceTime over 4G LTE if they're not connected to a wifi network.

    Independent estimates put FaceTime's current data usage somewhere in the neighborhood of 3MB per minute. That's not a lot of data if you're a pretty infrequent user of the software, but remember the quality of the front-facing camera is being improved to 720p, and that means more data use. So if you regularly video chat with friends and family, you'll want to keep a close eye on your data plan. After all, those data overage charges can be a killer.

    Verizon's competitor Sprint has likewise announced customers will be able to use FaceTime over mobile

    Read More »from Verizon to allow FaceTime connections over its 4G LTE network at no added charge
  • Robots aren't just chunky, clunky machines of steel. They can have a soft side, too. This video shows a new, tentacle-like bot developed by the Whitesides Research Group at Harvard University that has a more delicate, human touch. It even has the finesse to hold a piece of paper shaped like a horseshoe. It's kind of cute, but as you can see, it's also kind of creepy.

    The wiggly arm is made from flexible plastic and its movements are triggered by changes in air pressure. The team members precisely control the three different air flow channels inside the tentacle so it can entwine itself tenderly around the horseshoe. The researchers say that the technology could be applied to work done in small, hard-to-reach spaces, although the air channels mean the tentacle will likely not be slimmer than a few centimeters.

    [via Mashable]

    This article was written by Anna Washenko and originally appeared on Tecca

    More from Tecca:

    Read More »from New robot proves that mechanical arms can have finesse and tenderness
  • Time to crunch some numbers

    All the excitement about the iPhone 5 can come to a screeching halt when you look at the price tag. It's the same price as the iPhone 4S when it debuted: $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32 GB, and $399 for 64GB. But you'll also need to buy a new 2-year agreement with your phone carrier. If you're in the middle of a contract, that's usually not cheap. Check out our Early Termination Fee calculator to see how big the financial hit would be.

    But with the advent of the iPhone 5, Apple has also cut the price of its iPhone 4S down to $99. That's a more-than-reasonable cost for an Apple smartphone, especially one that has many of the same features as its new counterpart.

    The poor 4S didn't generate too much love among the tech scene when it launched last year, mostly out of disappointment that it wasn't the iPhone 5. However, it still offered customers noticeable improvements in usability over the iPhone 4, and its camera was the best of the day. And if there was no iPhone 5 to compare with, it'd

    Read More »from Is the iPhone 4S the best deal on a new smartphone?
  • Texting in public and oversharing personal info are among Americans' top pet peeves

    Remember back in the old days when you didn't know what the person sitting next to you in the coffee shop thought of her aunt Rita? Or when you didn't know the name of the wife of the guy one stall over? With all of the glorious benefits of new technology, loud-talking cell phone users with no regard for personal info boundaries are probably somewhere toward the bottom of the list.

    As it turns out, most people aren't too fond of this decline in etiquette, either. According to the Mobile Etiquette and Digital Sharing survey commissioned by Intel, 60% of Americans polled think that talking loudly on your cell phone, watching inappropriate videos, and texting while driving are some of the rudest things you can do in public.

    As another interesting part of this survey, 90% of U.S. adults believe others divulge too much personal info online. That's quite a staggering number, considering the fact that sharing pictures of your baby's first runny nose is what some of these social media outlets

    Read More »from Survey says: Americans don’t want to know every detail of your life
  • Hands-on with the new iPhone 5

    Taller, thinner, lighter, faster ... better. That was the anthem and outcome of today's highly anticipated iPhone 5 reveal. I was among the first to get my hands on Apple's flagship smartphone. My first thought as fingers met sleek aluminum and glass form? Apple has done it again. Love 'em or love to hate 'em — Apple has crafted a device that will command record sales and a serious scramble by the competition to play catch-up.

    Smaller size matters
    The new iPhone 5 has a roomier 4-inch display. It's a half inch taller, but no wider, than its predecessor, the iPhone 4S. The device is also thinner and lighter, at 112 grams — it weighs about the same amount as a stick of butter. Apple executives said today that it's the world's thinnest smartphone.

    iPhone 5 and iPhone 4SIt feels like a piece of jewelry. The iPhone's width is just right for navigating with your thumb, which is what Apple was going for, to make it easy to send text messages, swipe through pages and browse the internet. It fits well in the palm

    Read More »from Hands-on with the new iPhone 5
  • Should you buy the new iPhone 5?

    You'll probably want the newest and hottest Apple device, but does it really stack up?

    Apple has dominated the smartphone market since 2007 with its widely sought-after iPhones. Today, in Cupertino, Calif., Apple unveiled the next entry in the iPhone family, the iPhone 5. Simply put, it's a device that's leaps and bounds better than any other Apple phone to date.

    But is it right for you? Consider the following features of the new phone:

    A thinner, lighter phone with a larger, 4-inch screen
    A major new feature of the phone is its new, larger 4-inch size. That's enough to fit a fifth row of icons on every screen. The iPhone 5 boasts a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, with 1136 x 640 Retina display resolution. And that's not all — the new display offers 44% more color saturation than previous iPhone models, with a touch sensor wired directly into the screen to keep the phone thin and reduce glare. Apps that have been designed for the new, larger iPhone will fill up the whole screen; those that have yet to be updated will use black borders on the top and bottom to prevent

    Read More »from Should you buy the new iPhone 5?


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