MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--The Web has come a long way. The aesthetic of a site can oftentimes determine whether or not a wary user will dig deeper and explore your site. The four companies below offer some of the most beautiful products shown off Tuesday at the Under the Radar social media and entertainment conference, but are they really useful? For the most part, yes. Read more about them below.Animoto, one of my colleague Elinor Mills' favorite slideshow tools and as CEO Brad Jefferson calls it "The end of the slideshow" (in the boring, stodgy sense, of … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--The inner workings of Google just became a little less secret.
The search colossus has shed only occasional light on its data center operations, but on Wednesday, Google fellow Jeff Dean turned a spotlight on some parts of the operation. Speaking to an overflowing crowd at the Google I/O conference here on Wednesday, Dean managed simultaneously to demystify Google a little while also showing just how exotic the company's infrastructure really is.
On the one hand, Google uses more-or-less ordinary servers. Processors, hard drives, memory--you know the drill.
On the other hand, Dean seemingly thinks clusters of … Read more
When it comes to solar these days, it's go big or go home.
Utilities are being pushed to use more renewable energy, heating up the business of large-scale solar power. (Click here for related photo gallery.)
There are competing designs for utility-scale solar farms. By concentrating light to make steam, some designs use heat to generate electricity. In parallel, other companies concentrate light onto photovoltaic cells to generate electricity.
The latter, known as concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems, may make more sense in a broader set of geographies, compared with concentrating solar thermal. Both forms of concentrating solar power are … Read more
IBM has developed technology that will let solar cells withstand the heat of more than a 1,000 suns.
At a technical conference on Thursday, representatives from IBM Research's photovoltaics research will present a method for cooling concentrating photovoltaics, a solar design where light is magnified onto high-performance solar cells.
Heat is a serious issue when it comes to concentrating photovoltaics, or CPV. The efficiency of cells degrades at high heat and can damage, and conceivably destroy, equipment at extremely high temperatures.
IBM said that its liquid-metal cooling technique, adapted from high-powered computers' chips, can remove roughly three-quarters of … Read more
No one can argue with the fact that last year's BioShock was a milestone in interactive storytelling as far as a video game is concerned. 2K Games was able to create such a unique setting and mood all while engaging us in a thrilling narrative like nothing we've seen before. Naturally, an experience such as this seemed ultimately destined for the big screen, and now Variety is reporting that Universal Studios will be the company bringing the underwater city of Rapture to a theater near you.
But perhaps the biggest news to come out of all this is whom Universal has lined up to direct the dystopian drama. Gore Verbinski, famed director of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, has signed on while accomplished screenwriter John Logan (Sweeny Todd, The Aviator) is in talks to write the script.
It would appear that all the pieces are in place for BioShock to break the curse of disappointing movies adapted from video games. Even more encouraging, Verbinski says that BioShock has the strongest narrative of any game he's played, which is why he wants to bring it to the silver screen. Just promise us there won't be any CG Big Daddies and you're already headed in the right direction.… Read more
LOS ANGELES--A Paramount Pictures executive added to the chorus of positive reviews for Big Stage's face-mapping technology during the Digital Hollywood conference on Tuesday.
Derek Broes, Paramount Pictures executive vice president of worldwide business development, was asked during a panel discussion about what interesting new technologies he's seen.
Broes said he was impressed by Big Stage and the start-up's system for manipulating digital recreations of a person's face. The company snaps three photographs of someone's face and processes the photos on its servers to create a digital model of the face. It can then make … Read more
It's family day for me at Webware. After posting about the Gmail-as-baby-book tip, I got a pitch about BigScreenLive, a new online environment for older adults who are frustrated by the Web and e-mail.
My default position on products targeted at the elder demographic is not charitable. I've seen too many services that are patronizing or exploitive (see "Presto puts digital photos in the hands of your grandma"). Old doesn't mean dumb. And simply pumping up the type size of e-mail doesn't make an app worth subscribing to or buying.
BigScreenLive has its faults, … Read more
In a sign of "green" going mainstream, an IBM survey of CEOs finds that socially oriented customers are wielding more power, aided by social networking on the Web.
The survey, published Tuesday, drew on face-to-face interviews with 1,130 CEOs around the world. It found that CEOs feel less prepared as they would like to deal with the pace of change.
CEOs identified two types of customers that are the primary sources of that change.
The first is the information omnivore, the type of consumer who is comfortable making his or her opinion known through Web-based tools like … Read more
The obvious solution, encryption, is not enough. Non-Americans have no right to enter the U.S. Don't want to hand over your encryption keys? No problem--but you will be put on the next airplane back to your home country (… Read more
BigString just released "Self Destructing Instant Messaging," a plug-in for AIM that lets you convert an ordinary IM discussion into one where the messages literally vanish from the screen moments after they are sent.
To initiate a self-destructing thread, you have to start from AOL's IM client and install the BigString software add-on. Then, from within AIM, you get an option to "Go BigString," which if the company were not so enamored of its branding, would say instead something useful, like "launch secret IM window." At any rate, once you select this option, … Read more