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Mid Day Report

Daily news and top headlines for IT professionals

Can This $400K Beer-Fetching Robot Work In An Office?

August 24, 2011 9:40 am | Videos | Comments

Willow Garage is a company working diligently to create a personal robot people will use in their everyday lives. Some of the things it can do: play pool, bake cookies, make pancakes, and fetch a beer from the refrigerator. Do you think this $400,000 robot can be trained to conduct tasks in a business setting? If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

Google CEO's 'Identity Crisis'

August 24, 2011 9:37 am | Videos | Comments

At a recent Q&A session, Google CEO Schmidt was asked what his biggest mistake has been thus far during his decade-long tenure at the helm for the tech giant. Schmidt's answer then, and in this CNN interview, relates to Facebook and the idea of a "web identity." If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.

The Cadillac Goes Hybrid

August 24, 2011 9:36 am | Videos | Comments

General Motors confirmed last week that it plans to build a luxury version of its Chevrolet Volt hybrid. The company said it is moving forward with the Cadillac ELR, which will run on electricity and carry a four-cylinder gasoline engine to generate power when the batteries run out of juice. If you're having trouble watching this video, try downloading the latest version of Flash Player or contacting your IT department.


Digital Projectors Merge Real, Virtual Worlds

August 24, 2011 9:35 am | Videos | Comments

Move over virtual reality, researchers at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute are taking spatially augmented reality to the next level with ''dynamic projection surfaces.'' The system moves projected images out into the real world, enabling multiple users to interact with their physical and virtual environments simultaneously.

Report: The iPhone Is Coming To Sprint

August 24, 2011 4:46 am | News | Comments

NEW YORK (AP) — Sprint Nextel Corp., the country's third-largest cellphone company, will start selling the iPhone in mid-October, The Wall Street Journal said Tuesday. Citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said the wireless company will get to sell both the new iPhone 5 and the current model, the iPhone 4.

U.S. Is No Longer Biggest Consumer Of PCs

August 24, 2011 4:45 am | by Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — China has passed an important technological milestone: It became the world's biggest consumer of PCs in the second quarter, according to new market research by IDC. Computer makers shipped about 18.5 million PCs in China in the second quarter, compared with 17.7 million in the U.

Hertz, GE To Expand Offerings Of Electric Vehicles In China

August 24, 2011 4:44 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

SHANGHAI (AP) — Rental car company Hertz Global Holdings says it plans to partner with General Electric in offering electric vehicles in China and expanding the charging networks needed to run them. An agreement to be signed in Shanghai's "Auto City" of Anting on Wednesday calls for building 770 charging stations in major Chinese cities including Shanghai and Beijing, said Richard Broome, Hertz's senior vice president for corporate affairs.

China To Appeal WTO Rejection Of Curbs On Industrial Materials

August 24, 2011 4:42 am | News | Comments

BEIJING (AP) — China will appeal a World Trade Organization rejection of its curbs on exports of industrial raw materials, the government said Wednesday, in a case that Washington and Europe hope will lead to an easing of its restrictions on rare earths sales. "We still consider that China practice and China's policies do not violate WTO rules," Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang at a regular news briefing.


RIM Announces New BlackBerry Curve Phones

August 24, 2011 4:41 am | News | Comments

NEW YORK (AP) -- Research In Motion Ltd. on Tuesday announced three new models in its popular low-end BlackBerry Curve range, featuring its new BlackBerry 7 operating system. The Waterloo, Ontario, company showed off high-end models updated with the new software three weeks ago. The new Curve models -- 9350, 9360 and 9370 -- will go on sale in Canada this month and in the rest of the world in September.

Chrysler May Invest $72 Million In Ohio Factory

August 24, 2011 4:38 am | News | Comments

PERRYSBURG, Ohio (AP) — Chrysler Group LLC plans to invest $72 million in a northwest Ohio plant, and the state's governor said Tuesday there might be bigger things to come from the automaker. Chrysler wants to install new equipment and modernize its Toledo Machining Plant near Perrysburg, which will allow it to retain 640 hourly and salaried jobs, the company said.

Find And Unload Your Dead Weight

August 23, 2011 8:13 am | by Alan Nichol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions, LLC | Articles | Comments

Make the effort to identify and shed the dead weight, and you might just be the hero of the day for finding the lost profits your business needs. A lesson I learned from one of the Six Sigma masters is to dig into the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system of a business and plot out the sales versus inventory numbers of the various products.

Using CMMS To Manage Fixed Assets

August 23, 2011 6:50 am | Articles | Comments

A distributor implements a CMMS (computerized maintenance management software) to track repair history, mileage, and idle time of its delivery fleet. What would you do if you had to manage maintenance for all the accumulating assets of an industry giant that thrived on acquisitions?  That question befell the fixed asset management team and Jane Sears, fixed asset manager for the Commercial Fuels Division of Parkland Fuel Corporation, Canada’s largest independent distributor of fuel products.

Presenting The Airship Of The Future

August 23, 2011 6:48 am | Videos | Comments

Inflatable aircrafts have been around since the Montgolfier brothers developed the first untethered hot-air balloon in 1782, but 200 years later, they are making a high-tech resurgence for both civilian and military use. U.S. aerospace company Lockheed Martin's version is called the P-791 airship, which it hopes is about to take off.

Telecom Firms To Share $103 Million To Expand Broadband Access

August 23, 2011 5:04 am | by Michael Felberbaum, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Telecommunications companies in 16 states will share more than $103 million in federal funding to help expand broadband Internet access to those areas of rural America that haven't been reached by the high-speed service or are underserved, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday.

Ford, Toyota Team Up On Hybrid Engine Project

August 23, 2011 5:02 am | News | Comments

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) -- Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. have decided to work together on a gas-electric hybrid engine to power pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles. The companies signed a deal Monday to share development costs, saying they want to make the technology more affordable for customers and bring it to market faster.

Halliburton Exec Causes Stir By Taking Swig Of Fracking Fluid

August 23, 2011 5:01 am | by Catherine Tsai, Associated Press | News | Comments

DENVER (AP) — An energy company executive's sip of fracking fluid at an industry conference this month has been called a demonstration by some and a stunt by others, but it's bringing attention to new recipes for hydraulic fracturing fluids that in the past have contained chemicals commonly used for antifreeze or bleaching hair.

AP Survey: Recession Is Not Imminent

August 23, 2011 4:59 am | by Paul Wiseman, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Another recession isn't likely over the next 12 months. Neither is any meaningful improvement in the economy. That's the picture that emerges from an Associated Press survey of leading economists who have grown more pessimistic in recent weeks. They say high unemployment and weak consumer spending will hold back the U.

Toyota To Unveil First Redesign Of Camry In Five Years

August 23, 2011 4:56 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Toyota plans to unveil its first redesign of the Camry in five years on Tuesday. While it promises new technology and other upgrades, America's best-selling car faces a fight to stay on top. Toyota has released few details about the new car, which will be shown at simultaneous events in California, Michigan and at the Georgetown, Ky.

Illinois Manufacturer Plans NW Indiana Move

August 23, 2011 4:54 am | News | Comments

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Officials say an Illinois manufacturer will open a factory in northwestern Indiana, where it plans to potentially hire hundreds of workers. Merrillville Town Councilman Richard Hardaway tells The Times of Munster ( ) that Modern Drop Forge will be coming the town following the council's approval of a 10-year tax abatement for the company in May.

A Look At IBM's Brain-Like Computer Chips

August 22, 2011 10:27 am | Videos | Comments

IBM announced last week that it has built two prototype chips that it says process data more like how humans digest information than the chips that now power PCs and supercomputers. The prototypes offer further evidence of the growing importance of "parallel processing," or computers doing multiple tasks simultaneously.


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