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     Volume 5 Issue 90 | April 14, 2006 |

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Seagate Snips Its Cord
At the rate they're going, the folks at Seagate will overrun the planet with hard drives by the end of 2007. The company recently announced a whole slew of new drives, including this 2.5-inch wireless USB number that will eventually work with the up-and-coming breed of wireless USB chipsets. That doesn't mean a whole lot right now, but within the next couple of years, it could be a really big deal. In addition to the wireless drive, Seagate introduced six other new drives, including the world's first 2.5-inch 7200-rpm notebook drive with 100GB of capacity, the Seagate Momentus 7200.1 SATA.

Latest on DVD Players
An employee of Japan's electronics giant Matsushita Electric Industrial displays the new portable DVD player "DVD-LX97", at the company's showroom in Tokyo. Priced 775 USD, this little gizmo is equipped with the world's first digital broadcasting tuner and a 9-inch wide LCD display and it enables a user to manually adjust it to a variety of different angles.

Your computer tells if you are annoying
A handheld computer that can pick up on people's emotions is being developed to help people with autism relate to those around them. If the wearer fails to generate the listeners interest in his conversation, the computer vibrates. This would alert the autistic user, as the person they are conversing starts showing signs of getting bored or annoyed. An autistic person lacks the ability to pick up on social cues. Rana El Kaliouby of the Media Lab at the MIT says that these type of people fail to notice that they are boring and confusing, their listeners which could turnout to be very damaging. "It's sad because people then avoid having conversations with them," he said. The device consists of a camera small enough to be pinned to the side of a pair of glasses, connected to a hand-held computer running image recognition software plus software that can read the emotions these images show. If the wearer seems to be failing to engage his or her listener, the software makes the hand-held computer vibrate. The software picks out movements of the eyebrows, lips and nose, and tracks head movements such as tilting, nodding and shaking, which it then associates with the emotion the actor was showing. Timothy Bickmore of Northeastern University in Boston, who studies ways in which computers can be made to engage with people's emotions, says the device would be a great teaching aid. "I would love it if you could have a computer looking at each student in the room to tell me when 20 per cent of them were bored or confused," he said.

Lazy Drinker
There are few better examples of technology serving mankind than The Lazy Drinker. It looks like your average ice chest, but it's actually a computerised cocktail maker. The unit has a capacity for 16 ingredients and ice; you supply the CO2 and a PC or Mac (in beta). The accompanying software has a database of 5,000 drinks and extra large onscreen buttons.

Self-Charging Smoke Alarm
On a list of household hassles, changing the smoke alarm battery falls somewhere between taking out the trash and cleaning the gutters. Of course, it should be a much higher priority, and Dupont's self-charging smoke alarm makes it easier to stay safe. You just screw it into a light socket, then screw a lightbulb into the alarm. Whenever the light is on, the unit charges, and it'll operate for 30 days at full-power. No need to haul out a ladder when you need to test it either just flip the light switch twice to make sure it's still juiced.

Handheld Retinal Scans in Iraq
In an effort to tell friend from foe and weed out enemies in their ranks, the Iraqi army is submitting to handheld retinal scans courtesy of the United States Marine Corps. Using a Biometric Automated Toolset System, the marines are able to get a positive I.D. on members of the Iraqi army, helping to eliminate the threat of Al Qaeda operatives inside the military. The handheld scanners are accurate enough to produce only one false acceptance in 1.2 million scans, and they're small enough to add negligible weight to a soldier's pack.

Language Lessons for iPod Travellers
Next time you're overseas and want to mix with the locals, instead of anxiously thumbing through a well-worn language dictionary, you can just consult your iPod. Each of CyraKnow's iPod-ready Rambler Audio Language Phrase Books contains 900 words and phrases recorded by native speakers for accurate pronunciation. You merely call up a category on you iPod menu, select the word or phrase you're looking for and listen. The books are available in French, German, Italian and Spanish.


Compiled by IMRAN H. KHAN


Source: AFP, Wired and Webindia123


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