Posts Tagged ‘agent’
Meet Agent, A Smartwatch With A Second Processor For Minimizing Power Consumption And Wireless Charging
Smartwatches are all the rage, and judging by the turnout and level of enthusiasm at the recent year one meetup for Pebble Kickstarter backers in San Francisco, there’s at least a passionate niche audience for the things. So it isn’t surprising to see them continue to pop up on Kickstarter. A new one called Agent has a few unique tricks, however, which its creators believe set it above the competition.
What the Agent has that others don’t is a combination of power management features and wireless charging. It has not one but two processors, for instance, one with higher performance capabilities and one extremely low-power variant to handle simple background tasks. There’s a new Sharp Memory Display that combines the advantages of both a traditional LCD and e-ink black and white, which is very power conscious, as well as wireless Qi induction charging with an included pad. Since it’s based on the widely-accepted Qi standard, however, it should work with charging pads from a variety of manufacturers.
The Agent is a refreshing change from other Kickstarter smartwatches in that it actually offers something new in terms of technical aspirations. The watch should get up to 7 days of battery life with its smart functions activated, or up to 30 days of standby in ‘watchface-only” mode. Even if that misses the mark by a bit, it should still beat the stated and actual battery life of existing devices like the Pebble. The gadget also features a 120HMz ARM Cortex-M4 processor, a 1.28-inch display, Bluetooth 4.0 (aka “Low Energy”), onboard motion and light sensors and an OS that allows developers to write apps for it using C# and Microsoft Visual Studio. It uses a Microsoft .NET runtime environment that Agent’s creators say will maximize memory and power efficiency, unlike with other smartwatches. The team says you’ll be able to start writing and emulating apps on the desktop as soon as the funding campaign is complete, which would be faster than the staged rollout of the Pebble SDK.
The creators of the Agent are Secret Labs, a team of engineers that has been building open-source products under the brand name Netduino since 2010, as well as smart home technologies, and House of Horology, a custom timepiece manufacturer that brings some real watch cred to the game. Early bird pledges get a pre-order for $ 129, where the final price is expected to come in at around $ 249 when the product ships late this year.
The capture of alleged diplomat-turned-CIA spy Ryan Fogle in Russia this week has to stand as one of the more bizarre moments in recent memory. Reportedly attempting to hire a Russian intelligence agent as a US spy, Fogle was wearing an ill-fitting blonde wig when arrested in Moscow on Monday, in a scene that many have likened to a Hollywood spy movie. The Russian secret service released video of the arrest, along with images showing a “spy kit” of sorts, with wigs, a collection of sunglasses, a hunting knife, a compass, a map, and other tools.
[No SS video recording for today, since I do not have any sort of recorded D:] This flaw is the reason I can’t beat this game. God damn you people !!
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Samsung pulled off a sort of miracle last month by announcing the Samsung Galaxy S III prior to it leaking. Admittedly, the specs leaked, but the final design was kept a secret until the official reveal — a feat even more impressive considering the sheer amount of leaked images claiming to be the phone. So how did Samsung do it? Well, as the company explains on its blog, it wasn’t easy. It seems Samsung turned the secrecy dial to the Apple level.
“I got so many questions about the GALAXY S III from friends and family”, Senior Engineer YoungDoo Jin (S/W R&D) revealed to Samsung Tomorrow. “But I’d say ‘don’t ask me or you’ll get me fired.’ I told them to check it out after it was officially made public.”
“My eldest son is in 6th grade,” said Principal Engineer Byung Joon Lee. “He knew that I had worked on the GALAXY S and S II. So I guess he assumed that I’d do S III also. Every time he saw an article on the Internet about the GALAXY S III he’d ask ‘Dad! You’re making the S III, right?’ But all I could say was ‘I don’t really know.’ It was really awkward.”
But it was more than swearing engineers to secrecy.
Samsung developed three different prototypes that made it to the final stage. This apparently caused many repetitive tasks as engineers had to design, and then redesign, nearly every part of the product several times. Likewise, prototypes where closely guarded secrets even within the office. “Prototypes were put in security boxes to be moved, even just across the hallway, to prevent passers-by from catching a glimpse,” explains the Samsung blog. Of course, pictures were not permitted.
In the cutthroat world of blogging, things can get a bit wild and crazy when it comes to photos of unreleased hardware and software. Many of the times, the so-called Mr. Blurrycam photos, are actually intentionally leaked, designed to drum up a bit of hype for an unannounced product. Sometimes, when the stars are aligned just right, the gods smile down upon us and deliver a legitimate leaked photo. But the gods were on vacation for the Samsung Galaxy S III. Even though there were a boatload of so-called leaks, none of them turned out to be the real thing.
Samsung’s Epic 4G just recently got Froyo, but it might not be too long before the handset bites into another toothsome treat — a user agent profile at Sprint’s own website lists a newer software based on Android 2.3. We can’t say definitively whether this ED12 build will actually make it to retail phones anytime soon, mind you — our own Epic 4G is presently on EC05 right now — but it seems very likely that Europeans won’t be the only Galaxy S owners to snarf down gumdrop buttons this year.
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Continue reading Kompott ‘robotic agent’ helps the elderly stay connected, enjoys a nap
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Props to Engadget
Happy Comics Release Day!
I was inspired to put together this spotlight when my children started asking me about good Iron Man comic stories. They’re fans of both the movies and the television show, Iron Man: Armored Adventures, which features a teenage Tony Stark. .
I admit, while there are some truly great Iron Man stories in print, it is hard to match the energy of Robert Downey Jr.’s performance. Downey makes all the seemingly self-centered choices by Tony Stark understandable and almost tragic. It’s one case in which real life outdoes artwork.
But, that said, there are plenty of Iron Man stories that kids and adults will enjoy.
The movies didn’t tinker much with the basic character of Tony Stark.
As in the movies, Tony is a brilliant inventor who runs a large corporation that produces weapons. Originally, the setting for Tony’s transformation into Iron Man was the Vietnam War,Â a topical setting in 1963.Â According to a published statement by co-creator Stan Lee, Howard Hughes was used as an inspiration for Tony Stark.
Stark is severely wounded when he’s kidnapped by the enemy and creates the original Iron Man armor both to save his life and escape. But he comes through the ordeal a changed man, dedicated to becoming a hero and transforming his company.He’s also dependent on the armor to run his heart and save his life.
And this is where the movies and comics begin to part company.
The movies pulled the best bits of Iron Man history together in a far different order than they were in the comics. Obidiah Stane was a later villain, not part of Iron Man’s first appearance. The comics delve more deeply into Tony’s troubles with alcoholism, going all the way back to the Demon in a Bottle storyline in 1979. James Rhodes does indeed put on the armor and become the hero known as War Machine because of Tony’s personal issues but not quite as fast. In the comics, Rhodey became the title character for a time.
Tony and Pepper indeed had a long-time will they/won’t they relationship as in the movies. However, in the comics, Pepper eventually married Happy Hogan and they were a solid couple until fairly recently.
What is missing from the movies are three of my favorite characters. That would be SHIELD Agent Jasper Sitwell, a gee-whix idealistic young agent who nevertheless has courage and skill, Bethany Cabe, Tony’s bodyguard and eventual lover, and, most of all, the acid-tongued Mrs. Arbogast, Tony’s executive assistant. Think Betty White.
I suspect that the prominence of Pepper Potts in the movies resulted in poor Mrs. Arbogast being superfluous, and no doubt, Bethany Cabe was deemed too close in personality and job description to the Black Widow.
But there was no reason to leave out the bow-tie-wearing Sitwell, given that Tony is assigned a SHIELD liaison. I hold out hope that he might show up later.
Trade Collections Kids Might Like:
Iron Man has had a long publication history so fortunately a number of his best stories are available in trade. I first started reading right around issue #100 of the original series. Seeing all these covers really brought those stories back. However, I think kids might be better of starting with theÂ Marvel Adventures digests. This is Marvel’s kid-friendly line and, I think, also contains some of the best superhero stories being published today.
Trade Collections That Adults Might Like:
If you want to start at the beginning, there are the Essential Iron Man editions. My favorite arc jumps ahead some years, to Iron Man: Demon In a Bottle by David Micheline and artistsÂ Bob Layton and John Romita Jr. It collects issues #120-128 of the original series. For more recent trades, there’s Warren Ellis revamp, Iron Man, Vol 1: Extremis.Â The latest Iron Man stories by Matt Fraction are also collected starting with Invincible Iron Man Omnibus, Volume 1. Be warned, the new stories do feature events from the rest of the Marvel Universe. I think it’s still possible to read and enjoy these stories without knowing all the background of the big Marvel events but there are definitely many references to them in Fraction’s Iron Man.
The cover I included in this post is the most recognizable and considered a classic. But my personal favorite is Iron Man #150 in which Iron Man and Dr. Doom battle it out in the distant past of Camelot.
About the Creators:
Iron Man was co-created by Stan Lee but also by Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack (King) Kirby, a virtual who’s who of Marvel comics greats. David Micheline is my favorite Iron Man writer, with my favorite artist split between Bob Layton and John Romita, Jr. Of the more recent Iron Man writers, I have to admit fondness for Mike Grell, who turned the title into a Shakespearean-style tragedy in which Tony’s technology both saves someone and dooms them. Grell is most famous for his Longbow Hunters series starring DC’s Green Arrow. Many didn’t like his work on Iron Man. I did.
The current on-going is being written by Matt Fraction, who also writes the new Iron Fist series, which is a wild combination of martial arts, pulp action, and Asian myths and legends.
The rest is here:
Comics Spotlight On: Iron Man