12/7/2010

Google takes wraps off first Chrome PCs

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The first crop of computers powered by Google Inc’s Chrome system will start selling in mid-2011 and come with free Verizon Wireless connections for two years, opening another front in its rivalry with Microsoft Corp and Apple Inc.

The new Chrome-based notebooks will come with 100 megabytes of free wireless data transfers per month for two years courtesy of Verizon, executives told reporters on Tuesday.

They are designed to promote Web-centric computing, in which consumers use online applications instead of downloading software to their PCs. To support that, the company started up on Tuesday a Web store selling some 500 games, news and other software applications, carving out a bigger role in the next generation of Internet media and entertainment.

Google opens e-book store in challenge to Amazon

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google Inc. is making the leap from digital librarian to merchant in a challenge to Amazon.com Inc. and its Kindle electronic reader.

The long-awaited Internet book store, which opened Monday in the U.S., draws upon a portion of the 15 million printed books that Google has scanned into its computers during the past six years.

About 4,000 publishers, including CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster Inc., Random House Inc. and Pearson PLC’s Penguin Group, are also allowing Google to carry many of their recently released books in the new store.

Those publishing deals will ensure that most of the current best sellers are among the 3 million e-books initially available in Google’s store, said Amanda Edmonds, who oversaw the company’s partnerships. Millions more out-of-print titles will appear in Google’s store, called eBooks, if the company can gain federal court approval of a proposed class-action settlement with U.S. publishers and authors.

12/5/2010

AVG 2011 Update Crashes 64-bit Windows 7 PCs; Here’s a Quick Fix

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

If you use the popular AVG Free as your anti-malware app of choice, an update to the 2011 version of the application has bricked 64-bit Windows 7 machines. If you’re running Windows 7 64-bit and use AVG, you might want to hold off on the update; if you’ve already updated and are experiencing this problem, AVG offers this quick fix.

12/3/2010

Google admits trespassing in Pa., pays couple $1

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google Inc. has acknowledged that it trespassed when it took a photo of a Pittsburgh-area house for its Street View service, but will pay only $1 in damages to a couple who sued.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Cathy Bissoon on Thursday signed off on a consent judgment, a mutually agreed-upon verdict, between the Mountain View, Calif. company and Aaron and Christine Boring, of Franklin Park.

A Google spokeswoman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which first reported the parties had agreed to the judgment, that the settlement is limited to the Borings.

“We are pleased that this lawsuit has finally ended with plaintiffs’ acknowledgment that they are entitled to only $1,” Google said in a statement to The Associated Press, adding that its ability to continue the Street View feature is unaffected.

Israeli device lets paralyzed people stand, walk

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

When Israeli entrepreneur Amit Goffer was paralyzed in a car crash in 1997, he went on a quest to help other victims walk again.

He started wondering why the wheelchair is the only way for the paralyzed to get around, short of being carried.

So he invented an alternative: robotic “pants” that use sensors and motors to allow paralyzed patients to stand, walk and even climb stairs. He founded a company, Argo Medical Technologies Ltd., to commercialize it.

After several years of clinical trials in Israel and the United States, units will go on sale in January to rehabilitation centers around the world.

Argo joins several companies that have developed robotics and exoskeletons in medicine.

Called “ReWalk,” the latest device can help paraplegics to stand and walk - using crutches for stability - when they lean forward and move their upper body in different ways.

The 35-pound (16-kilogram) device, worn outside of clothing, consists of leg braces outfitted with motion sensors and motorized joints that respond to subtle changes in upper-body movement and shifts in balance. A harness around the patient’s waist and shoulders keeps the suit in place, and a backpack holds the computer and rechargeable 3 1/2-hour battery.

When operated, it makes clanging robotic sounds, like the hero of the 1980s cult movie “Robocop.”

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