Monday, August 31, 2015

New Solid-State Batteries From Samsung/MIT Could "Last A Lifetime"

Batteries. We need them for almost everything we use. They're in our laptops, our smartphones, our video game controllers, our remotes, and anything we use that is now wireless. But the one thing wrong with batteries in today's world is that they are finite. Eventually, they will run out of power and there's not a whole lot we can do about that. Or is there?

Researchers have recently developed a new material for a basic battery component that, according to them, will allow almost any battery indefinite power storage. This new material, known as a solid electrolyte, could increase battery life as well as battery storage capacity and safety as liquid electrolytes are the leading cause of battery fires.

The standard lithium-ion batteries that we use today use a liquid electrolyte. This liquid electrolyte is an organic solvent that has been known to overheat and cause fires in things like cars, commercial airliners and even smartphones. With a solid electrolyte, there is absolutely no safety problem whatsoever.

According to Gerbrand Ceder, a professor of materials science and engineering at MIT and one of the main researchers on the project, "You could throw it against the wall, drive a nail through it - there's nothing there to burn." In addition to that, a solid-state electrolyte will have virtually no degradation, which means that such batteries could last through "hundreds of thousands of cycles," Ceder continued.

Organic electrolytes also have limited electrochemical stability, which means that they lose their ability to produce an electrical charge over time. In addition to MIT, scientists from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, the University of California at San Diego and the University of Maryland also conducted research on the project.

The findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Materials and the researchers described the solid-state electrolytes as an improvement over the current lithium-ion batteries we are using today. Electrolytes are one of three main components in a battery along with anode and cathode terminals.

The electrolyte component of the battery separates the battery's positive cathode and negative anode terminals while allowing the flow of ions between terminals. A chemical reaction then takes place between the two terminals, producing an electric current.

Previous problems with solid electrolytes are that they were incapable of conducting ions fast enough to be efficient energy, producers. The team of researchers from MIT and Samsung say that they have overcome that problem. Another advantage of a solid-state lithium-ion battery is that it can perform under very cold temperatures with Ceder calling this breakthrough "a real game-changer" that creates an "almost perfect battery".

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Acer's Aspire Z3-710 All-In-One Gets Windows 10

On Monday, Acer announced that its 23.8-inch Aspire Z3-710 Series of all-in-one desktop PCs are saving you some time by shipping with Windows 10. so you won't have to do the free upgrade from Windows 8.1.

The Z3-710-UR55 at $750 and Z3-710-UR54 at $900 will be the two models that ship with Windows 10. The Z3-710-UR55 comes with an Intell Core i3-4170T dual-core processor clocked at 3.2GHz with 3MB of cache, 6GB of DDR3L RAM, 1TB hard drive, DVD writer, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 + LE, 1080p webcam, three USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, GbE LAN, and stereo speakers.

The Z3-710-UR53 has a Core i5-4590T quad-core processor clocked at 2GHz with 6MB of cache and 8GB of RAM. If you're just using general purpose computing chores, it might not be worth the additional $150 as you only get 2GB of additional RAM. Even with the processor being an upgrade in cores and cache, it really is a downgrade in clock speed.

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Acer says that both systems come with a slim 1.4-inch chassis with a display that can tilt from 5 to 25 degrees using only two fingers. If these don't sound as appealing to you, Acer still offers the Z3-710-UR59, which is a Windows 8.1 model, only at $700. It has an Intel Pentium G3260T dual-core clocked at 2.9GHz, 4GB of RAM, and 1TB HDD. All of the systems sound pretty cool and the fact that they are All-in-Ones is a definite bonus. You just need to find which one bests suits your needs.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Most Popular Programming Languages State by State

When it comes to programming languages, most people probably can't name more than 2. Popular answers to this question typically include languages like C++ or JavaScript, but there is a whole host of other languages out there for people to use. And just because you've never heard of one doesn't mean that it isn't the most popular programming language on the other side of the country.

Silicon Valley may be the hotbed of new and exciting tech, but most programmers and developers are working hard in other industries, like big business. A recent programmer Q&A from the site Experts Exchange delved deep into its own data to determine what exactly the most popular programming languages are in the United States.

The survey took a look at who was asking questions about which programming languages, which was one of the factors in determining which states used which programming languages. In addition to that, users who were qualified "Experts" on the site seemed to favor PHP heavily.

If you look at the data and simply go off of the number of questions asked then it's clear to see that Microsoft's .NET programming language is seeing increased use. However, most people in the business are not surprised by these results.

PHP is a script language that is pretty much the standard with web developers, despite the fact that a lot of programmers don't seem to like all that much. Going along with that, .NET is a Microsoft standard that isn't exactly the most talked about but it is a good entrance for coders who are just getting started with learning to build apps around Microsoft platforms, platforms which are widely used in the business world.

What this data also does is show those in the Silicon Valley that the popularity of the newest programming languages is insignificant when compared to the driving force of existing options. Some of the more trendy languages, like Ruby on Rails and Swift, don't even appear on the list.

So what are the most popular programming languages in the country? Here's the list:

  • ASP
  • Cold Fusion
  • C++
  • C#
  • Delphi
  • Java
  • JavaJ2EE
  • JavaScript
  • .NET
  • PHP
  • Powershell
  • Python
  • Shell
  • SQL
  • VisualBasic

Just to note, West Virginia and North Dakota didn't return any significant data....coders must not exist there.

Content originally published here

Friday, July 10, 2015

Google Looking For Redemption With Google Glass For Enterprise

I guess the Science Fiction-esque future that Google Glass suggested in its ads is a little bit further ahead of us than Google realized. Google Glasses were all but a huge consumer flop. The general public just wasn't ready for goofy-looking, augmented reality glasses.

But that doesn't mean this product is dead, at least not yet. According to a recent FCC filing discovery, 9to5Google revealed the next version of Google Glass. This edition will be geared towards applications that are used in the enterprise space, leaving out the novelty consumer-oriented functions that were featured in the first "Explorer Edition".

The "Enterprise Edition" Google Glass is said to sport a larger prism display for a better augmented experience. This serves as an attempt to minimize eye strain many early glass users complained about.

Additionally the Enterprise Edition will drop the Texas Instruments processor for an Intel Atom processor which will be faster and have better battery life than existing Android Wear smartwatches.

While the Explorer Edition often overheated or ran out of batteries, Enterprise Edition promises to run cooler, even with the additional external battery pack Google is experimenting with.

The last thing cited in the report was a super-fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi with dual-band support for 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless channels, meaning even faster video streaming.

Google's decision to shift their Glass strategy towards enterprise customers is a huge, but intelligent shift. Yes, Google, assisting with specialized medical, law enforcement, or even business applications seems more important than letting consumers play virtual reality games.

Content originally published here

Monday, June 29, 2015

Crytek's CryEngine Embraces Linux

Linux gaming is starting to catch on and build up some momentum. Following in the footsteps of Valve’s Source engine, Epic’s Unreal Engine 4, and Unity 5, Crytek's CryEngine supports Linux. This also means that it will have support for SteamOS. This also means that it will be way easier for developers who are currently making games on these engines to add support for Linux.

Even with this, developers will still have to go a little out of their way and do some work in order to add Linux support to their Steam games, so every game that comes out won't have it. So don't get your hopes up on that. But either way, there will be a lot of titles coming out in the future and the technology will become more widely adopted. It reduces the effort needed by a lot.

This might not be huge news to all of the indie game players out there. Smaller companies might not want to invest the extra time into adding support for Linux, but for the huge, new AAA games the cost of porting them to Linux goes way down, and because SteamOS is a really promising, big new platform, it's starting to look like a much better idea to these big gaming companies. When the core engine of the game already supports that platform, everything else is pretty simple because all the hard work is already done.

On top of all that, engines that already support Linux should get a huge improvement in the quality of ports. Some of the Linux games currently on Steam use a lot of Windows coding and Direct3D, which makes performance a little bit problematic for Linux users. This new change will mean that developers can do away with whatever tricks they were using to make Windows code run (badly) on top of Linux.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Avago Acquiring Broadcom for $37 Billion

According to Avango Technologies, they are ready to buy out Broadcom for a whopping $37 billion. That is a huge amount of money that you could probably buy anything you ever wanted with, and Bloomberg says it is the biggest tech deal to ever be made. Avango said that after the deal is done, the combined worth of the companies will be $77 billion.

The new company is going to be called Broadcom LTd, and it will be headed by Hock Tan, the CEO of Avango. Right behind companies like Intel, Samsung, TSMC, Qualcomm, and Micron, Broadcom would be the 6th largest semiconductor company in the world.

Many people don't really know about Avango, but they started out as a division of Hewlett-Packard before they split off into their own company years later. And everyone is pretty familiar with HP. Avango specializes in offering products for wireless communications, wired infrastructure, enterprise storage, and industrial applications. Broadcom is mainly known for their chips for communications devices and for their video solutions. They also make the chips for the popular Raspberry Pi computers.

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The chip industry has already been privy to big moves like this. Just a couple of months ago NXP announced that it was planning on acquiring Freescale for just under $17 billion. It's too soon to see how the chip industry will be affected or what's to come from this new acquisition but as soon as details drop you'll find them here on A Computer Blog.

Content originally published here

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Google Holding Ubiquitous Computing Summit This Fall

The Google I/O developers conference is what most people look forward to from Google every year. Even though that event has already come and gone, that doesn't mean there isn't anything left to look forward to from the company for the rest of the year. Google just announced that it will be holding a Ubiquitous Computing Summit this fall in San Francisco, California.

Just basing an idea off the name of the event won't get you anywhere as it isn't very descriptive. But the event will focus on the idea of making it easier to use software across a lot of different devices and form factors. The idea is that software should be universal across different things like smartphones, tablets, TVs, smartwatches, a car, etc....

On the developers end of the idea, they are trying to make all of these devices run the same universal software without having to change any of the code. A Google developer has also said that the summit will also focus on working on context-aware apps that will know which device is running them, where it is running them, how it is using them, and all kinds of other stuff. It is pretty interesting. They are now working on setting up guidelines for developing the software as well.

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The idea isn't so new. Google has been talking about doing this type of thing for years now. All of the different versions of Android, like Lollipop and Jelly Bean, were all said to be steps toward unifying the Android experience across all of the different devices. Over the past year, Google has brought together all of their Android development kits for all of the different form factors. Even Microsoft is jumping on the bandwagon, and they are making Windows 10 to run not only on PCs, but on all of their smartphones and tablets, and even on the Xbox One.

The Ubiquitous Computing Summit doesn't have an exact date yet, just that the summit will be held this Fall in San Francisco. But as there is more information surfacing, you will be sure to find it here.

Content originally published here