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How Much Is Your Computer Really Worth?

Economists try to put a value on PCs in America

(Newser) - You can scope out the price tag of a Mac or PC at any given electronics hawker, but how much are computers really worth to us? Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta actually tried tackling that question, and they came up with $500 billion—or, on average about... More »

Watson's Win a Victory ... for Humans

Jeopardy ! king discusses his epic battle with the computer

(Newser) - Going into his Jeopardy! match against IBM’s Watson supercomputer, champ Ken Jennings saw himself as humanity’s representative, "the Great Carbon-Based Hope against a new generation of thinking machines," he writes for Slate . But victory wasn’t to be: Watson played Jeopardy much like a top-ranked human.... More »

Why Watson Will (or Won't) Beat Jeopardy's Kings

Face-off airs tonight with Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter

(Newser) - Tonight, IBM’s Watson computer will go head-to-head with Jeopardy legends Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter in the first of three matches. Do they stand a chance against the machine? Definitely, writes Greg Lindsay for Fast Company . He’s an actual human who’s beaten the computer three times, thanks... More »

Computer Squashes Men in Jeopardy Test Match

Not surprisingly, a few Terminator jokes were made

(Newser) - First, computers took all the fun out of Sudoku —could Jeopardy be next? Watson, a computer designed by IBM specifically to compete on the game show, beat two legendary champs yesterday in its first public test: Ken Jennings, who won a record number of games, and Brad Rutter, who... More »

24 States Now Ban Tossing Electronics

Those old TVs and computers have to be recycled instead

(Newser) - Nearly half the states in the US now have laws requiring that most electronic equipment be recycled instead of dumped in the trash, the AP reports. Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina are the most recent states to ban simply tossing out old TVs, computers, video game consoles, stereo... More »

Guys, Beware Laptops' 'Scrotal Hyperthermia'

If it's on your lap, it's heating things up

(Newser) - This study involves the phrases "scrotal temperature elevation" and "scrotal hyperthermia," so you know it can't end well. SUNY researchers found that using a laptop on the lap for only 10 or 15 minutes heats up men's testicles—figure about 1-degree Celsius in 15 minutes if sitting... More »

'Weapon Worm' Infects Iran Nuke Plant

But out-of-control malware is exacting 'collateral damage' in digital battle

(Newser) - What may be the world's first major "weapon worm" has already infected workers' personal computers at Iran's Bushehr nuclear facility just weeks before the power station is set to go online, officials have confirmed. Experts believe the damaging Stuxnet worm is the work of engineers so organized and well-funded... More »

Your Computer Is Spying on You—a Lot

It's now a booming Internet business

(Newser) - Maybe Mark Zuckerberg is right about this end-of-privacy business. A Wall Street Journal investigation (stories here and here ) makes clear that whatever you do online, you can rest assured that some advertiser somewhere knows about it. It's not that tracking cookies exist that's so troubling, it's that there's so ... More »

Hackers Launch Highway Hate

Digital road signs altered in Florida

(Newser) - Hackers added their bit to mounting US tensions over immigrant rights by switching a digital highway sign in Florida to flash "no Latinos" and "no tacos." The flashing messages greeted drivers on the Palmetto Expressway near Miami until police and a highway crew turned the signs around... More »

Web-Worthy Computers Coming to Your Dashboard

Some block web surfing in motion, but some don't

(Newser) - Advances in computer chip technology have finally made web-connected dashboard computers possible in cars, to the delight of automakers and the horror of safety advocates. Chips used to draw too much power to make state-of-the-art car setups viable, but that’s changed, and this year’s CES has seen a... More »

Dell's Tweets Bring $6.5M in Sales

Company now has 1.5M followers on Twitter

(Newser) - Twitter has proved to be a bit of a gold mine for Dell—the computer maker said promotions over the social-networking site directly resulted in more than $6.5 million in sales this year. The number of subscribers to Dell's Tweets has risen 23% over the last three months, to... More »

Ultrathin Laptops Solid Performers

Walt Mossberg reviews 3 cutting-edge laptops

(Newser) - Cheap netbooks aren't profitable for PC makers, so it’s logical they're trying to lure consumers toward laptops that are just as thin, but have bigger screens, more features—and a heftier price tag. Walt Mossberg reviews three such models for the Wall Street Journal, and finds pros and cons... More »

Virus 'Scareware' Scams Millions

Alarming virus warnings part of major rip off

(Newser) - Alarming warnings that internet surfers' computers are being invaded by a devastating virus are almost always scams used to either hack into computers or rip off consumers for phony protective software. More than 40 million people have fallen victim to the "scareware" scam in the past year. Experts have... More »

Pick an OS: Uncool Robots or Snooty Evangelists?

New Microsoft ads go for Mac-esque buzz—and fail laughably

(Newser) - Anyone who wants a computer faces an unpleasant choice: Mac OS or Windows. Now, Windows is “awful”— buggy, at times barely functional. But one expert would rather assign himself to Microsoft purgatory than join the club of snooty, self-satisfied cooler-than-thou Mac users. “Stop showing me your iPhone,... More »

Computer Whiz Records Life as 'E-Memory'

Microsoft researcher saves audio, video experiences on hard drive

(Newser) - Philip K. Dick, eat your heart out. Microsoft researcher Gordon Bell is recording his entire life with video and audio equipment and storing it on a hard drive to keep it safe, CNN reports. The 350 gigabytes of data—which include scans of receipts and PDFs of every Web site... More »

Microsoft Pinching Apple Employees to Staff Stores

Managers enticed with higher salaries and sent back to poach sales people

(Newser) - Microsoft’s planned expansion into the brick-and-mortar retail sector will be staffed at least in part by…Apple Store employees, reports the Loop. The software giant is hiring away Apple managers with higher salaries, sources tell the tech blog. Those managers in turn are trying to bring aboard Apple's top... More »

Gizmos' Energy Draw Alarms Experts

Electronic gadgets consume 15% of household energy

(Newser) - All around the house, electronic gadgets are blinking, buzzing, computing—and drawing on an immense amount of energy, the New York Times reports. Worldwide, they take up 15% of household power, and will likely consume three times as much by 2029, making it harder to combat global warming. Two hundred... More »

Goodbye, iPod; Hello, Portable Computer

Single-purpose devices' days are numbered: Manjoo

(Newser) - After yesterday's announcement that the iPod Nano now has a video camera, Apple's future direction is clear, writes Farhad Manjoo for Slate. Eventually, every iPod will be what Steve Jobs calls a “general-purpose device,” aka a small computer—a music player/phone/camera/web browser/GPS. Sure, Apple still sells dedicated music... More »

Web Monitoring Firm Sells Kids' Chatter

Company also notifies parents when kids go astray online

(Newser) - A company that polices children's Internet chatter is also selling it to companies that want marketing data on the quick, CNET reports. Sentry Parental Control Software, which monitors kids online—and triggers a phone call to parents when kids go astray—is amassing their chatter about products and selling it.... More »

Fla. Man Nabbed for Child Porn: My Cat Did It

(Newser) - A Florida man has been arrested on charges of possessing child pornography, but he claims the cat did it, reports WPBF-TV. Keith Griffin told police that his feline companion would habitually mash the keys on his keyboard while he was away from his computer, causing strange things to appear. More... More »

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