The UpStream

The FCC Investigates Wireless

posted Saturday Aug 29, 2009 by Scott Ertz

The FCC Investigates Wireless

The FCC believes that there might be a problem in the wireless industry. There are 4 wireless companies (Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile) that own over 90% of the market. Handset manufacturers setup exclusive deals with those carriers (such as the Palm Pre with Sprint or the iPhone with AT&T). The FCC feels that these setups might be inhibiting both innovation and consumer choice.

There are two sides to every story. The Media Access Project believes,

This investigation is long overdue... The country's four major wireless providers have enjoyed the fruits of market power for too many years, at the expense of the public's ability to gain widespread access to low-cost mobile broadband services.

On the other hand, the wireless trade group, CTIA, believes,

PS3 Slim - Not Like the Original

posted Saturday Aug 29, 2009 by Scott Ertz

PS3 Slim - Not Like the Original

Our good friends over at Engadget just can't leave anything alone. They love numbers more than we do, so they test things. Lot of things. This week ,they tested the difference between the Blu-ray drive on the original PS3 and the PS3Slim. Guess what they found - the Slim's Blu-ray drive is slower than the original. Yucks.

We're actually a bit surprised by the results here, so we checked over these a few times. It seems that the PS3 Slim's Blu-ray player is actually a tiny bit slower than our 60GB PS3 classic from 2006, albeit not by much. The time between inserting the disc (listening for that last little 'click' sound) and having it register in the menu was pretty much the same ten seconds each time, but once you click on the disc and actually launch into the movie, the time it takes to get to a non-loading screen was seconds quicker on the classic. Not a drastic difference, but after so many years to improve theBD technology, you think they'd bother to add something with a little more pep here, and certainly not deliver something with less.

France Concerned About Exploding iPhones

posted Saturday Aug 29, 2009 by Scott Ertz

France Concerned About Exploding iPhones

There is something happening in France that is causing their iPhones to explode. Let me give you a minute to let that sink in. Now that you have the image of a guy in a beret whose iPhone just exploded, let me continue. The problem is so big, apparently, that the French government has met with Apple about the problem. iLounge reported:

Obama to Shut Down Internet

posted Saturday Aug 29, 2009 by Scott Ertz

Obama to Shut Down Internet

Wait, what? Let me explain. Congress is looking at a Bill that was introduced in April that gives the government powers in the event of a cyber-attack. And I'm talking a real attack, not 4chan DDos playtime. The part of the Bill that has the same crazy people who are afraid of Obama's death panels concerned is the provision that allows for the president to take over the Internet if he were to "declare a cybersecurity emergency."

Electronic Frontier Foundation representative Lee Tien said,

It's a Wheelchair! It's a Scooter! No Wait, It's a Universal Vehicle!

posted Saturday Aug 29, 2009 by Jon Wurm

It's a Wheelchair! It's a Scooter!  No Wait, It's a Universal Vehicle!

The term "next gen" is synonymous with certain things like gaming consoles, graphics cards and wheelchairs... wait, what? Yes, you read it right, wheelchairs. Veda International Robot R&D Center, located in Japan (big surprise) has completely blown away all normal conventions of the wheelchair, if you can even call it that anymore. With its slick and innovative design not only does it look cool (yes I said the wheelchair looks "cool") but the design also improves upon its functionality and ease of use on both the rider and any caregivers as well.

Nurse Teddy RoboBear

posted Friday Aug 28, 2009 by Nicholas DiMeo

Nurse Teddy RoboBear

Now here's something you don't hear about too often! Imagine a robot that can lift you in and out of bed when you're in the hospital, help you use the restroom, and assist with your wheelchair. Sounds unrealistic right? Well researchers at Japan's Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, also known as RIKEN, and Tokai Rubber Industries, Ltd. teamed up to create just that. This 400 lb robot was created to assist nurses primarily in lifting patients up to 135 lbs. This may sound unsafe, but sources assure us it operates with human like characteristics. This machine resembles a teddy bear and possesses long, multi-jointed arms that are equipped with tactile sensors allowing the robot to lift and carry humans with ease. RIBA (Robot for Interactive Body Assistance) is completely covered in lightweight urethane foam, developed by TRI, to make it more comfortable and safe.

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