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Spectrum, IEEE

Issue 7 • Date July 2006

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Displaying Results 1 - 20 of 20
  • Who pays for E-waste? [electronic waste recycling]

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 14 - 15
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    The state of Washington has enacted a bill that would require manufacturers to pay for the costs of recycling old electronics equipment. The bill covers the collection, transportation, and recycling of computers, monitors, and TVs from consumers, small businesses, schools, small government entities, and charities. While environmentalists and consumer advocates are happy with the bill's enactment, a vast majority of the US consumer electronics industry prefer the ARF (advance recovery fee) model which passes the costs to consumers. Instead they are pushing for the US government to pass national legislation governing electronics recycling. View full abstract»

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  • Stalked by satellite - an alarming rise in GPS-enabled harassment

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 15 - 16
    Cited by:  Papers (5)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (795 KB)  

    This paper reports on the growing number of incidents when GPS devices have been used to track and torment former loved ones. Originally developed by the US Department of Defense, GPS technology has been widely adapted for civilian uses. While there are laws against stalking or harassment in many US states, few specifically address GPS tracking, mobile phones, Internet spyware, and other recent developments in consumer technology. The paper also provides some useful tips for anyone suspecting that he/she is a victim of GPS stalking. View full abstract»

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  • Microsoft and Google vie for virtual world domination

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 16 - 18
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    Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. have both recently made acquisitions that would help them in their quest to dominate what is called in the jargon of the trade "local search" - electronic versions of the kind of information found in local telephone directories. Microsoft's Virtual Earth and Google's Google Earth already give computer users the ability to enter the name of a city or a street address and watch as a photo giving a bird's-eye view of the desired location appears on the screen. With Microsoft's acquisition of Vexcel Corp. and Google's of @Last Software, the two competitors want to provide photos and highly realistic computer-generated simulations to give a sense of where a certain spot is located, not just from above but from the ground as well. These acquisitions bring the rivals closer to achieving their ambitions of creating virtual worlds resembling the ones in video games but depending entirely on accurate topographical data generated from cameras and satellites. View full abstract»

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  • Wu-Fi nodes to talk amongst themselves [mesh technology standard that lowers cost of wireless networks]

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 55 - 56
    Cited by:  Patents (1)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1420 KB)  

    Addressing the need for a new standard for mesh technologies, the IEEE recently approved the new mesh capability known formally as 802.11s. Once products conform to 802.11s, mesh networks can be built up using equipment from any of the Wi-Fi and wireless equipment makers, lowering costs and improving reliability. For the meantime, manufacturers will have to find ways to test their equipment for compatibility and interoperability in addition to securing final approval of the standard. However, some companies are expected to gamble on their ability to produce early products that come so close to meeting the final standard that any differences can be fixed with software updates. That would mean that mesh-capable access points may be available in stores sooner than expected. View full abstract»

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  • Metcalfe's law is wrong - communications networks increase in value as they add members-but by how much?

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 34 - 39
    Cited by:  Papers (10)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (4805 KB)  

    This paper argues that Metcalfe's law, which states that the value of a communications network is proportional to the square of the number of its users, is incorrect. By seeming to assure that the value of a network would increase quadratically - proportionately to the square of the number of its participants - while costs would, at most, grow linearly, Metcalfe's law gave an air of credibility to the mad rush for growth and the neglect of profitability. The paper discusses the fundamental flaw of Metcalfe's law and describes how Zipf's law can be used as basis to justify the n log(n) rule-of-thumb valuation of a general communications network of size n. View full abstract»

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  • Heart of a new machine [robot that can express different moods]

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 48 - 51
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    Graduate students at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center has designed a robot that features five different "moods." Called Quasi, the 76-centimeter tall robot is a captivating character that goes beyond the standard animatronic amusement park figures. Quasi can express happiness, sadness, anger, confusion, and embarassment. These moods are conveyed most obviously by the color of its light-emitting-diode eyes and antennae. The moods are controlled by a finite state machine, a software-based behavioral model that triggers certain actions when specific conditions are met. View full abstract»

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  • Forum

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 8
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  • Ring of steel II - New York City gets set to replicate London's high-security zone

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 12 - 13
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    Using London's ring of steel as a model, New York City has announced its plan to install more than 500 cameras around the city and pushing for its own sophisticated security system to protect lower Manhattan. Originally designed to monitor traffic entering the city and stop suspicious vehicles, the ring of steel has become a major deterrent for certain types of crime, especially with advances in pattern recognition technologies and the availability of more powerful computers. View full abstract»

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  • Traveling light - micro fuel cells could give soldiers less weight to carry

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 20 - 21
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    Millennium Cell Inc. is working with Protonex Technology Corp. to develop micro fuel cells for the US military. The micro fuel cells would weigh half as much as the current batteries used by the military but can be recharged. Micro fuel cells run on hydrogen and the hydrogen sources being considered for them, chemical hydrides and methanol, have at least 30 times as much energy density as non-rechargeable lithium batteries. The US Department of Defense is also investing in portable power systems based on different fuel cell technologies that offer weight and cost savings similar to the Protonex system. View full abstract»

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  • Tools & Toys: Tech TV

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 54 - 55
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  • Waiting for gravity [gravitational wave detection]

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 40 - 46
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    Astronomers believe that if we could detect gravitational waves in space, they would illuminate much about the universe that is now obscured. Detecting gravitational waves would also give physicists a definitive new test of gravitational relativity. For this purpose, two of the world's largest gravitational wave detectors began their first full-scale run of observations. They are the twin L-shaped instruments of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO). This paper provides a detailed description of the observatory's two sites, LIGO-Livingston and LIGO-Hanford. If gravity waves are to be detected anytime soon, these are probably the machines that will do it. View full abstract»

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  • The Back Story: Catching a Really Big Wave

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 7
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  • Spectral Lines: Robots Can Ape Us, But Will They Ever Get Real?

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 10
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  • Careers [salary increase]

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 52 - 54
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (4571 KB)  

    Many engineers are beginning to realize the importance of job security since the dot-com bubble burst a few years ago. Instead of expecting to hit the jackpot, engineers are simply looking for interesting jobs that won't disappear. This benefits many established companies that found it difficult to compete with the extravagant compensation many start-ups were offering during the boom. Today, we're seeing salary increases of about three to five percent, with the possible exception of select areas such as nanotechnology and medical devices. Companies are also starting to recruit directly from colleges whose wages aren't moving upward rapidly. Salaries for engineers are increasing much faster in low-wage countries such as India and China. Although still a third to a quarter what we see in the US, it has become a factor the career planning of US engineers, many of whom are looking at roles that can't be outsourced easily, such as that of field application engineers. View full abstract»

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  • Old world, new grid [grid computing]

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 28 - 33
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (4725 KB)  

    The European Union has launched the EGEE (enabling grids for e-science) initiative which aims to build a massive global grid infrastructure that serves as a tool capable of solving a great variety of problems in science, engineering and industry. The EGEE grid combines the processing power of more than 20,000 CPUs, a storage capacity of about 5 million GB and a global network connecting some 200 sites in various places around the globe. The EGEE grid builds on the experience of the LHC grid which was built by CERN researchers to handle the vast amount of data generated by the operation of the large Hadron collider in an underground complex in Switzerland. The EGEE grid is already crunching test data for the LHC experiments and also for dozens of applications in such areas as astrophysics, medical imaging, bioinformatics, climate studies, oil and gas exploration, pharmaceutical research, and financial forecasting. View full abstract»

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  • A touch of money [biometric authentication systems]

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 22 - 27
    Cited by:  Papers (8)  |  Patents (1)
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (5625 KB)  

    This paper suggests the use of a new authentication system for credit cards based on biometric sensors that could dramatically curtail identity theft. The proposed system uses fingerprint sensors, though other biometric technologies, either alone or in combination, could be incorporated. It could be economical, protect privacy, and guarantee the validity of all kinds of credit card transactions, including ones that take place at a store, over the telephone, or with an Internet-based retailer. By preventing identity thieves from entering the transaction loop, credit card companies could quickly recoup their infrastructure investments and save businesses, consumers, and themselves billions of dollars every year. View full abstract»

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  • Sci-tech: the movie - fifteen films that try to cross-pollinate art and science

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 57 - 58
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    The Sloan Foundation and the Museum of the Moving Image have teamed up to showcase the work of several moviemakers who have intelligently incorporated science and technology into their productions. With the goal of reaching a far wider audience, they maintain a Web site that focuses on science in film. Called Sloan Cinematheque, it is intended for users who have broadband Internet connections, hosts short movies, trailers for full-length movies, interviews, and articles on related topics. The site not just opens the door to substantive dialogue between the worlds of science, technology, and film, but also for making the fruits of that dialogue easily accessible. View full abstract»

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  • IEEE Spectrum - July 2006

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 01
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Table of contents - Vol 43, No 7

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 2 - 5
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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • Famous people [Reflections]

    Publication Year: 2006 , Page(s): 68
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    Freely Available from IEEE

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IEEE Spectrum Magazine, the flagship publication of the IEEE, explores the development, applications and implications of new technologies.

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Editor-in-Chief
Susan Hassler
IEEE Spectrum Magazine