Hardware

MakerBot wants to put a 3D printer in every US public school

NEW YORK -- MakerBot wants to put a 3D printer in every school in the United States, and it's drumming up support from the industry and general public to make it happen.

While 3D printing, for now, remains a gimmick to many, it garnered enough attention for President Barack Obama to mention the emerging technology in his recent State of the Union Address. He described 3D printing as having the potential to "revolutionize the way we make almost everything."

That sparked an idea in MakerBot founder and Chief Executive Bre Pettis. A former teacher, Pettis said MakerBot … Read more

My life with a treadmill desk -- e-mail and browsing at 2 mph

About a year ago, a friend of mine was raving about his standing desk. "Sitting is death," he proclaimed. Me, I couldn't see that I'd want to stand all day working. But now I've gone to the other extreme. Not only am I standing while I work, but I also walk -- and I'm loving it.

I've been using a treadmill desk for about two months now. I'm writing this even as I walk at 2 miles per hour. In a typical day, I'll walk anywhere from 4 to 7 hours, burning an estimated 500 to 1,000 calories. For the step-counters, I usually do around 15,000 to 25,000 steps per day.

I've been using a LifeSpan desk, specifically the TR1200-DT7, which the company loaned to me when it suggested this test. I'll talk about what this particular model is like, but my main goal is to share what the transition from a sitting desk to a walking one has been like. … Read more

PiePal orders pizza with the push of a button

Let's examine the evolution of pizza ordering. In the olden days, you went to a pizza parlor to order. Then, phone ordering and delivery popped up. More recently, online ordering willed itself into existence, meaning you didn't have to talk to a person anymore.

The next step of the evolution has just happened. With PiePal from iStrategyLabs, you dial in your number of pizzas, push a button, and your pizza is magically delivered.… Read more

GPS Cookie tracks your trail of digital breadcrumbs

Sometimes, you just want to wander and not worry about maps or staring at a GPS screen. That's where a GPS data logger comes in handy. You let it handle the chore of remembering where you've been.

The GPS Cookie runs on two AAA batteries and records data onto a microSD card you supply. It records data, time, and location to track your routes, letting you build up a history of your movements. That data can then be imported into Google Earth so you can visualize your travels.… Read more

Woz: If I were at Apple, we'd be partners with Google

Parallel universes are always fun to contemplate.

So please mount the No. 42 bus with me to a world in which Tim Cook is still COO of Apple and Steve Wozniak is calling the shots.

Here's what would be happening: Apple and Google would be deep and loving partners and would share all their knowledge in one vast openfest.

The iPhone would have all the finest parts of Android, and Android phones would finally enjoy a little magical, revolutionary taste.

How do I know this would be? Well, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak gave an interview to the BBC, in … Read more

Sony reveals the nitty-gritty about PS4

Consumers who have questions about Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4 should find most of them answered in a hefty FAQ posted by the company.

Dubbed "PS4: The Ultimate FAQ - North America," the page breaks down its information into categories, such as System Details, Game Lineup, Used Games, Peripherals & Accessories, and Digital Entertainment. Each category offers answers to numerous questions in an attempt by Sony to clear up any lingering mysteries.

The FAQ discusses which games will be available for the PS4, how the console will support used games, how you can tap into online multiplayer gaming, … Read more

Pissed-off Dell laptop owners seek answer to cat-pee odors

You know that new-computer smell, the scent of Styrofoam packing materials, ink on instruction books, and fresh plastic. Buyers of Dell's Latitude 6430u ultrabook have been complaining for months about a more odoriferous issue with their new machines, along the lines of eau de cat piss.

The hub for complaints is a Dell tech support discussion titled "New 6430u smells awful." It contains a veritable bouquet of descriptive missives, including, "The machine is great, but it smells as if it was assembled near a tomcat's litter box."… Read more

Microsoft shows off Xbox One in action in new promo

Microsoft is touting the Xbox One's dashboard, app switching, and voice control all in a new video spot.

Playing on the Meet Xbox One Web page, the spot opens with someone activating the console by voice. The user, Archie Earnest, then manuevers around the dashboard, launches the Pacific Rim game, segues to the Activity Feed, revs up the Titanfall game, records and shares the gameplay, watches TV, snaps Internet Explorer to the screen, and finally answers a Skype call before turning off the Xbox by voice.

The voice commands are all perfectly understood, the responses are quick, and the … Read more

Petulant and passionate: New play imagines Bill Gates at 20

There's Bill Gates the inventor, Bill Gates the philanthropist, Bill Gates the business magnate.

Then there's the 20-year-old Bill Gates who argues with his mom via pay phone and can't stop yelling about people stealing his software. That's the Bill Gates at the center of "First," a fictional retelling of the people and events that launched the PC revolution.

The play by Evelyn Jean Pine -- now having its world premiere at Stage Werx Theatre in San Francisco -- takes place on March 26, 1976, on the eve of the first Altair computer conference in Albuquerque, N.M.

Gates is poised to speak to major players in the computer industry -- including Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and the late Ed Roberts, a pioneering engineer who built the first widely available home computer -- and he knows he has to give the speech of his life.

The young Gates is passionate, idealistic, a little cocky, and a lot stressed out. … Read more

35% of Americans now own a tablet, Pew says

Thirty-five percent of Americans own a tablet and 24 percent own an e-reader, according to the latest study from Pew Internet Research.

Pew documented a big jump in tablet ownership. In November 2012, 25 percent of Americans owned a tablet. The findings illustrate the democratization of tablet computing and the impact on lower-cost models beyond the larger version of the iPad.

This chart sums up the tablet and e-reader ownership breakdown for Americans 16 years old and up. It's also worth noting that previous Pew studies on tablet ownership in the US started at age 18 and up.

As … Read more