Sharon Fisher

The science behind Qualcomm's 'mirasol' color e-book displays

It sounds like a cleaning product and looks like butterfly wings. It's "mirasol" (yes, lowercase m, isn't that cute?) and it uses a reflective technology, called interferometric modulation (IMOD). The technology uses microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology to imitate the way butterfly wings shimmer -- a process called biomimetics, or imitating things found in nature.

That's a mouthful. The question is, is it an eyeful?

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How close is 3D to a TV near you, really?

If this is CES, there must be 3D. Lots and lots of 3D. 3D televisions. 3D movies. 3D sporting events. Leave the exhibit hall and you expect the paintings on the wall to leap out at you. Never mind going to the bathroom.

And this year, they swear, will be the year you can have that thrilling experience at home, too.

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The hurdles facing Intel's 'AppUp' app store for Moblin and Windows netbooks

The phrase, "There's an app for that," has helped the Apple iPhone become one of the most popular smart phones in the world by making it easier for consumers to download applications, widgets, and gadgets. "The number of apps users can download, free or for a fee, has become a major selling point for mobile devices," said The Wall Street Journal. "Companies that lack an app marketplace, such as Palm Inc., have suffered for it."

"The opening of Apple Inc.'s App Store in 2007 was the catalyst that had the greatest effect on smartphone sales," said Money Morning. "Instead of just a phone with a few widgets like a Web browser and a music player, phones became remote controls, compasses, newspapers and cookbooks."

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Windows Mobile 7 damage report: Mixed assessments on the CES no-show

So what did you think of the Windows Mobile 7 sneak preview that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer slipped into his CES keynote last night?

Oh. That's right. There wasn't one.

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Netflix makes more inroads in digital delivery; Will Blockbuster ever catch up?

In another blow to embattled video store retailer Blockbuster, Netflix announced at CES this week agreements with five global consumer electronics devices to introduce Netflix-ready devices later this year. The partners include Funai -- which distributes the Philips, Magnavox, Sylvania and Emerson brands in the United States -- Panasonic, Sanyo, Sharp and Toshiba. Each company will introduce Blu-ray disc players or digital televisions that can stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix to the home.

For $8.99 a month, consumers can watch unlimited Netflix content delivered to Netflix-ready devices -- and both the amount of content and the number of devices are increasing.

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Is the Internet full? AT&T's dire warnings sound a too-familiar theme

In public policy, there's a concept known as the "Statue of Liberty ploy" (not to be confused with the Statue of Liberty play): Faced with any sort of budget cuts in a given area, officials say sorrowfully that they will be forced to shut down the Statue of Liberty, counting on the huge public outcry that ensues to restore funding.

We're seeing that now from AT&T, in its efforts to influence public policy.
First was its performance with the FCC at the end of the year, saying that in order to provide broadband access to everyone in the US, it would be forced to shut down the landline telephone network, regardless of the fact that millions of people still use it. We saw something similar in early December, where AT&T said that, due to its pesky iPhone users being so greedy, it would be forced to implement usage-based pricing if they didn't pace themselves.

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CES 2010: Haier demos 'completely' wireless HD video

We've seen prototype wireless HDTV at both CES 2008 and CES 2009, but this year's upped the ante: It uses wireless power as well.

Haier America Digital Products Group demonstrated what it said was the first completely wireless television: a 32-inch LCD powered wirelessly from up to six or seven feet (according to the NBC Today Show's Al Roker, who got a demo of the device on this morning's program), and which received content via a wireless link from a Haier prototype Blu-ray player.

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Virtual subdomain patent struck down

One of the more obvious, though still practical, permutations of domain name usage is now no one's intellectual property in particular.

Ever use an Internet site that automatically gave you your own Google's blogspot, which automatically gives you "your blog title" "" or LiveJournal, which gives you "your journal title"

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Supreme Court lets online porn filtration law expire

There's a saying that goes, I may not agree with what you say, but I'll fight to the death for the right to keep folks from hearing it. Or something like that. No, the Supreme Court said today, that's not how it goes.

Unconvinced by the argument that begins, "The children, the children!..." the US Supreme Court this morning refused to hear an appeal brought forth by the Bush Justice Dept., of a decision that effectively bars the government from punishing individuals for failing to protect minors from Internet-based pornography.

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What lessons can we learn from the Heartland credit card breach?

The company's response is raising troubling questions about the security of such processing centers and laws ostensibly intended to protect consumers in general.

Millions of credit cards per month, primarily used in restaurants, could have been exposed to hackers who broke into the Heartland Payment Systems processing center network, in an incident the company said Tuesday took place the previous week.

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They talked over Obama's speech in China, too

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions...To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

If you live in China and read only Chinese, you didn't see those lines from President Barack Obama's inauguration speech yesterday, and if you were watching the inauguration live on television, you didn't hear them, either.

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Seagate confronts an overflow of bricked hard drives

Faced with a firmware bug fix that is making many of its hard disk drives even harder -- to read, that is -- Seagate is offering a firmware upgrade and free data recovery services if users still cannot read their data.

The scope of the problem is so massive, with so many users complaining in so many places online and attributing any drive failure to this problem, that it's difficult to determine what exactly happened. But it appears that the majority of those posting originally had a 1 TB drive using SD15, which with no warning became not detectable by BIOS after about three months of use. Some users felt that the problem was more likely to occur with drives made from Thailand.

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Please leave the DTV deadline at February 17, begs Qualcomm

Qualcomm may now be a key industry holdout against a proposal to extend the digital television switchover deadline from February 17, potentially to June 12.

While Verizon and AT&T have each indicated that they would not object to a proposed extension to June 12, Qualcomm reportedly wrote a letter to Congressional representatives asking them not to delay the switchover because of how it would affect the company's rollout plans.

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Behind the first live 3D bowl game at CES

Some CES attendees who had the opportunity to watch the Oklahoma Sooners get creamed during a BCS game Thursday -- always a glorious experience (though not for Scott) -- were also the first to watch a live 3D college football game.

But live 3D sports has been promised since 2004, and has been trickling in since then.

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Analyst: Consumers don't want widgets on their TVs

Amidst all the announcements about widgets this week was one ominous note: a survey from Strategy Analytics saying that consumers it surveyed weren't all that hot on widgets.

Well, they're right -- and wrong. As Disraeli (or Mark Twain, depending on your preference) used to say, there's three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics. And the way you design a survey can make a big difference in the sorts of answers you get.

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