Green Plug's 'smart' power supply to finally plug in

Start-up Green Plug is making progress, albeit in small steps, to commercialize technology that would enable you to cut the cord on the tangle of wires attached to the electronic gadgets you own.

Green Plug launched at the Demo conference in 2008 with a bold idea of enabling multiple electronic devices to use a shared power supply, which efficiently draws power from the grid.

The San Ramon, Calif.-based company hasn't met its target of having products available within one year of launch. But one partner and investor, U.K.-based Imagination Technologies, plans to release a power adapter … Read more

HomePlug now certifies IEEE 1901-based power-line products

It is a good idea to buy Wi-Fi products certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance if you want to ensure the interoperability between products of different vendors.

Similarly, you want to look for HomePlug-certified products when shopping for power-line network devices.

Power-line devices are those that enable the electrical wiring of your home to transmit data signals, hence allowing for extending the network to different parts of the property without running network cables.

Most of these devices are based on the HomePlug AV standard, but products from different vendors are not guaranteed to work with one another until they are tested … Read more

Automakers push ahead on plug-ins despite unknowns

DETROIT--People in the auto industry are opening up a new chapter in its history by transitioning to electric vehicles but they're writing the book as they go along.

The technology to make fun-to-drive, well connected plug-in vehicles is already here. Now, auto and utility companies are grappling with how to make these electric vehicles a commercial success, speakers at the Business of Plugging In conference said here today.

Rather than see predictable and steady demand in the next few years, automakers should expect sales to spike and dip with the cost of gasoline and government incentives, said auto industry … Read more

Auto industry pros counter electric-car hype

DETROIT--The future of autos is electric. Or is it?

Even though the new big thing in the auto industry is electric cars, there is not a clear consensus on how big of a role electric vehicles will play in the coming years.

Auto and utility industry executives at the Business of Plugging In conference here today took pains to point out the significant hurdles to adoption that plug-in vehicles face in becoming mainstream.

In addition to the higher cost of components, such as batteries, there is also the question of building a charging infrastructure in public places and the customers' … Read more

Adobe updates Flash; fixes critical vulnerabilities

The new version Adobe Flash Player addresses recently uncovered critical vulnerability in the software that could result in a crash and allow an attacker to take control of the affected system.

The bug was present in Adobe Flash Player for all supported platforms in the versions before (version for Android), and has also been found in Adobe Reader and Acrobat versions 9.3.4 and earlier on the Mac.

If you have version or earlier installed, Adobe recommends you update to the latest player (currently 10.1.85.… Read more

Adobe begins 64-bit Flash Player test

Adobe Systems released a preview version of its widely used Flash Player plug-in that catches up to newer trends in Web browser development: 64-bit designs and support for the newly Internet Explorer 9 beta.

The new Flash beta, code-named Square, is available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux, siad Adobe's Paul Betlem in a blog post today. The download is on Adobe Labs; note that if you install Square, you'll have to manually update it on your own.

The move isn't a big surprise--in June, the Adobe said 64-bit Flash is a "top priority"Read more

Do-it-yourself solar panel kit aims to slow meter

In the world of solar power, there are panels small enough to charge a cell phone and bigger panels installed on a roof by professionals, but not much in between. Clarian Technologies is shooting for that space in the middle.

The Seattle-area start-up is developing a kit that lets you dip your toe into solar-generated electricity without having to pay the hefty cost of a full array.

Called the Sunfish, the product package is designed to let a homeowner install up to three solar panels and get them generating juice in about an hour. The cost: about $800, said company … Read more

Advanced plug-in blocking appears in Chrome dev

A new method for blocking approved plug-ins from third-party sources appeared in the developer's version of Google's Chrome browser. Available on Friday for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Google Chrome dev 6.0.490.1 includes numerous bug fixes and introduces the Click-to-Play feature for more finely tuned plug-in control.

Click-to-Play adds a small but useful level of functionality to Chrome's native plug-in blocking. It allows Chrome users to activate a plug-in on a per-page basis. Without it, users can only toggle plug-in activation on a per-site basis.

To see how it works, first, you're required to … Read more

Flash update brings hardware accelerated video decoding to Macs

Adobe's beta version of Flash 10.1 player let you test out hardware accelerated video decoding on your Mac. Despite a few bugs, the beta version provided a notable decrease in CPU use when watching Flash videos. With its latest security update, Adobe adds hardware accelerated video decoding to the release version of Flash 10.1 player.

While Adobe usually reserves major feature additions for a full version update, the company must have felt it was too good of a feature to keep from users. Despite Flash now supporting hardware accelerated video decoding, it only works on recent Macs … Read more

GM invests in electric vehicle start-up Bright

General Motors has invested in electric vehicle company Bright Automotive, marking the first investment by the auto giant's venture-capital arm.

The companies said Tuesday that the investment by recently created GM Ventures for an undisclosed amount will give GM a minority stake in Anderson, Ind.-based Bright and accelerate Bright's plans to manufacture a plug-in hybrid van that can get up to 100 miles per gallon.

Bright designed the hybrid gas-electric utility van, called the Idea, specifically for fleet vehicle operators. The company was spun out of the Rocky Mountain Institute think tank and co-founded by John Waters, … Read more