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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 10.1.82.76 (version 10.1.92.10 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 10.1.82.76 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

Safari still crashing after update?

A number of people have complained about Safari often crashing on their systems. While Apple's latest Safari update (5.0.1) is supposed to address some stability issues with the program,  a number of people are complaining of crashes. Here are some things you can try to hopefully clear these problems.

General maintenanceThere are some general maintenance routines you can run both on Safari and on the system to help clear problems. In Safari, try clearing cookies and caches, among other items in the "Reset Safari" option in the Safari menu. You can also run general … Read more

Crave 11: Intergalactic House of Robot Pancakes (podcast)

This week on Crave, Donald and Jasmine attempt to make due in the absence of Eric Franklin, who should be awakening from his NyQuil-induced haze any moment now. The big news of the day is Apple's latest gadgets, which include an iMac attack and the undeniably unique Apple Magic Trackpad. Of course, no Crave podcast would be complete without talk of robots and food...specifically one that makes food (sort of). Also, Japan develops some freaky-smart billboards, the military gets some super-spectacular smart earplugs, and the police find a new non-fatal weapon. Finally, we soothe your eyes with some lovely 3D street art--no funky glasses required.

Subscribe in iTunes SD VideoSubscribe in RSS SD VideoRead more

Lightroom plug-in helps avoid overlarge JPEGs

It's a fair question for photography enthusiasts uploading their latest shots to the Web or backing up an archive: where do you set the JPEG quality slider?

Sure, a higher setting means more quality but bigger files, but beyond that vagueness, it's a question without easy answers. Happily, at least for those using Adobe Systems' Lightroom software for photo editing and cataloging, there's an answer coming.

That's because Lightroom plug-in programmer Jeffrey Friedl is adding some quality automation tools to his image export software. Earlier this month he posted an analysis of Lightroom's JPEG photo qualityRead more