Don’t mind letting Google watch your every click while browsing the web? Awesome, because the folks in Mountain View want to pay you for letting them do just that. The company is recruiting panelists for a project it’s calling Screenwise, a program that will give the internet behemoth more insight into how the general public uses the interwebs day in and day out. Once you opt in, you’ll receive a $5 gift card code to Amazon and for up to a year, you’ll get additional spending money every three months. But how will The Goog track your mouse clicks? Just before getting paid, you’ll have to download a browser extension that will keep an eye on things and send your data back to the mothership. If you’re looking to make a little more dough, Ars Technica reports that you’ll be able to opt for a more lucrative hardware monitoring option. Here, you’ll have to install the Screenwise Data Collector (pictured above) on your home network; however, the pay out is an initial Benjamin and $20 for every month you participate. Sound like something you’d want in on? Hit the source link below to be notified when registration opens.
Update: Google has passed along the following statement on the Screenwise project with a reminder that participation in the panel is 100% voluntary.
Like many other web and media companies, we do panel research to help better serve our users by learning more about people’s media use, on the web and elsewhere. This panel is one such small project that started near the beginning of the year. Of course, this is completely optional to join. People can choose to participate if it’s of interest (or if the gift appeals) and everyone who does participate has complete transparency and control over what Internet use is being included in the panel. People can stay on the panel as long as they’d like, or leave at any time.
Boston Dynamics’ LS3, better known ’round these parts as AlphaDog, has already wowed us with a display of its stability, power and mobility. Thing is, that little clip we caught back in October took place entirely within the safe and purposefully laid out confines of a laboratory. So, the question is, what happens when you take the rather noisy quadruped outside and strap a bunch of weight to it? Well, pretty much the same thing that happened while it was nice and cozy inside — the beast powered through the reasonably rugged terrain with nary a hitch. By the end of the tests DARPA hopes to have a mighty robotic porter capable of carrying 400 pounds of gear up to 20 miles without refueling. Though, the trek is expected to be slow and arduous as a full 24 hours is target time frame for such a journey. For full PR and to see the bot in action head on after the break.
The dev folk over at Tapbots have just unleashed a major overhaul to their famed Twitter client. Tweetbot 2.0 not only sees the addition of a few new traits and a design refresh, but it’s also on the receiving end of some welcomed iPad compatibility (iOS 5 only). Though, it’s worth mentioning the app isn’t universal — so you’ll have to cough up three bucks for the slate variant, even if you’ve already got the iPhone edition. Amongst the new goodies is a renovated timeline view with pic thumbnails, an optional New Tweets bar, auto-refresh, and a one-tap system for links. If you’re still rockin’ the official birdie app, but are looking for something a bit different, then hit up the source link below to scan through the rest of the features and see if it’s enough to make you fly the coop.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen HTML5 used in conjunction with a Kinect hack, but George MacKerron’s so-called Depthcam takes things to some interesting new levels. It’s a live webcam that you can interact with in your web browser (Chrome only, for now). As you might expect, the ability to explore is a bit limited, but you are able to pan and zoom around the scene — which is certainly impressive enough on its on. You can try it our yourself a the source link below (resources permitting), or get an idea of what it’s like in the video after the break.
You may remember that during the TouchPad fire sale, a few slates slipped out with a rather primitive Froyo build on them. Well, HP doesn’t seem to know how the tablets hit shelves with Android on board, but its decided to release the source code for the OS nonetheless. Devs had previously called on the company to hand over the code, but the request was refused since HP had never intended for TouchPads to ship with Android, and thus were not obligated to abide by the open-source requirements. As a gesture of goodwill to the community (and under a certain amount of pressure from it) the former purveyor of all things webOS has reversed course though, and let the TouchPad-specific kernel loose on the internet for others to repurpose as they see fit. Hit up the source link to download it now.
It took awhile, and the price tag is quite a bit steeper than previously thought (shocking, right?), but the FAA is finally getting the funding it needs to bring the nation’s air traffic control system up to date. Congress just passed the bill to make it happen, allotting $11 billion to the FAA to upgrade the nation’s 35 busiest airports air traffic controls from radar to GPS. The deadline for the conversion is June 2015, and when complete, it’ll allow for more precise positioning of aircraft — GPS pings for the planes’ locations every second, while radar updates their locations every 6 to 12 seconds. With such technology enabled, airplanes will be able to take-off and land more closely together while utilizing steeper descents than is currently possible to conserve fuel. So, now that we’ve got the new traffic control system to improve airline punctuality, we just need the FAA and the FCC to team up and eliminate the “Terrible 10,000 feet” and flying might actually be fun.
It looks like Verizon’s about to double up on double data. According to the Los Angeles Times, Big Red is about to reintroduce the double data promotion that first rolled out in November, and came to a close at year’s end. Under the offer, customers signing up for a 4G plan will receive double the amount of monthly data (at no extra charge) for the duration of their contracts, as long as they sign up for two-year deals. Unfortunately, though, the promotion only applies to first time 4G subscribers (or those looking to upgrade from a non-4G plan), and is restricted to smartphones, leaving tablet owners in the dark. As with its original campaign, the redux will only be available for a limited time, though Verizon has yet to announce a closing date. It all kicks off this Friday, when, not coincidentally, the carrier will officially welcome the Droid 4 to the fold, as well.
How do you fancy a 20 percent boost to your processor’s performance? Research from the North Carolina State University claims to offer just that. Despite the emergence of fused architechture SoCs, the CPU and GPU cores typically still work independently. The University hoped that by assigning tasks based on each processor’s abilities, performance efficiency would be increased. As the CPU and GPU can fetch data at comparable speeds, the researchers set the GPUs to execute the computational functions, while the CPUs did the prefetching. With that data ready in advance, the graphics processor unit has more resources free, yielding an average performance boost of 21.4 percent though it’s unclear what metrics the researchers were using. Incidentally, the research was funded by AMD, so no prizes for guessing which chips we might see using the technique first.
Two US startups are breaking solar efficiency records in their quest to bring clean, cost-effective, eco-friendly energy to a power grid near you. Alta Devices, based in Santa Clara, CA, has achieved a 23.5 percent efficiency rating with its standard solar panel, while Semprius, a Durham, NC company, has achieved a rating of 33.9 percent with its concentrated photovoltaic offering — besting the previous records of 22.9 percent and 33 percent, respectively. Interestingly enough, both outfits chose to utilize a new material to construct their sun-sopping cells: gallium arsenide. The material, while more expensive, is better suited for absorbing the sun’s energy, especially when compared to silicon, the cheaper element typically used. Alta and Semprius are looking to proliferate solar power by further refining the technology, making its price per kilowatt equivalent to that of fossil fuels without the use of government subsides. Here comes the sun…
Looking to save some coin on those international calls to your mates in Brussels? Vonage has just rolled out new Android and iOS apps that do just that. The Vonage Mobile app offers free talk and text for corresponding with fellow app users worldwide by way of WiFi or data connection. Need to update app-less Auntie Em while backpacking through the Swiss Alps? The outfit says it’ll save you 70% over major carriers and costs 30% less than Skype. For calls to folks without the app, users can add calling credit in either $4.99 or $9.99 increments right from the iTunes store or Android Market. The software also makes use of your existing number and extensive list of contacts without the need to create another username. Right now, calls to any phone in the US of A, Canada or Puerto Rico are free from the app for a limited time — so long as you stay under 3000 minutes per month, of course. Hit the source link or PR below for more information before heading to your app repository to snag the free download.