The Consumer Electronics Show – 2014

– By Yogesh Chellappa (Tech Team)

The pretty, curvaceous Korean model smiled and cocked her head. Her merry eyes twinkled amidst a storm of blinding camera flashes from professionals and shutterbugs alike. A heady mix of glamour and glitz, mixed with raw excitement and a warm cacophony of conversation soaked into the atmosphere.

This was the Las Vegas after all.  

She pushed herself to make an effort to hold the smile and slightly shuffled her feet. The cameras barely paid noticed. Their attention was focused on the curves tonight, all right. She sighed inwardly but there was no escaping it. She could still make out the gargantuan monster from the corner of her eye.

Samsung had just unveiled the world’s first 105 inch curved Ultra HD television.

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What if the mightiest tech titans decided to converge from all over the globe bearing the greatest and latest crammed to the brim with cutting edge technology? What if the world needed to be shocked out of it’s warm Christmas stupor and make them go slack-jawed and wide-eyed with wonder like children again?

          Welcome to the Consumer Electronics Show, 2014!

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Ever built a truck out of Lego bricks and felt like it was the coolest thing you had ever done as a toddler? Why not make an actual, functioning computer that way. Pull and plug in parts at your whim. Need an upgrade? Easy peasy. Toss that musty old RAM away and slam a new one home into its slot. That’s what the good folks over at Razer had in mind when they conceived Project Christine, a prototype capable of doing that.

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Nary a worry now, be it processor cores or memory.

Incidently, speaking of processor cores, what’s the largest number of possible cores you thought could be crammed into a chip? 6? 12? Nvidia boardroom’s hearty laughter had to be still ringing in their ears when they smugly announced a chip with a mind blowing 192 cores packed into a single chip. Yes, you read that right.

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All your gaming worries have just been taken care for the foreseeable future. Assuming you can afford it, of course.

For those of you who can’t seem to get enough of Linux and its distros, Valve has managed to convince several firms to hop overboard and support it’s Steam OS and gaming console, designed exclusively for gaming on Linux.

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Electric cars seems to be the quite the fad. All silent and environment friendly. Not macho enough for you, maybe? Think again.

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Spark Racing Technologies made sure they left their mark at Vegas, so to speak, on the tarmac by designing an electric car capable of clocking at over 150 mph.

Internet of Things. An utterly confusing misnomer if ever there was one. The name actually refers to a not-so-distant future where everything you do ends up being analysed by  computers capable of chomping through massive amounts of data and help improve your decision making. Or so they claim while secretly collecting data about you.

How better to manifest itself rather than wearable computers. From smart-watches to baby heart rate monitors, those ubiquitous paraphernalia you  hardly spared a second thought to, assumes new roles, almost as though viewed through a new pair of eyes.

No, Google Glass. I’m not talking about you. Will you please pipe down!

Given constant (ab)use of the Glass, it’s invariably going to attain much higher significance than you thought possible.

Care to guess what Urban Dictionary defines as:

A person who constantly talks to their Google Glass, ignoring the outside world.

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No, really.

Be it at cars, televisions or augmented reality, CES 2014 sure delivered in spades and kept the world mesmerised for a week. Here’s hoping to an even better CES, 2015! 

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Build your own LED Cube

– By Suraj Srinivas & Namratha K (Tech Team)

So you’re bored of spending holidays the same old way. You want to build something flashy and dazzle everyone around you. Also, you’re quite good with your hands. You like soldering and drilling and all that stuff. If so, then you might consider building an LED cube. It is guaranteed to entertain people of all ages and literally light up any party. Also, it would take only about a day or so to build it. Here we provide the basic instructions to motivate you to build your own LED cube.

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Getting started with CATIA

– By Pavan Bhat & Varun Kumar B (Tech Team)

CATIA (/kəˈtiə/)  ( Computer Aided Three-dimensional Interactive Application)  is a multi-platform CAD/CAM/CAE commercial software suite developed by the French company DassaultSystemes. Written in the C++ programming language, CATIA is the cornerstone of the Dassault Systemes product life-cycle management software suite.

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How to Build a Website

– By Anurag Lingam & Pramodh K P (Tech Team)

Do you have a crazy desire to have your own website up on the internet, but don’t know how to build one? Don’t worry, you’re in my shoes. I have never made one before. Let’s see how to start!

The first step is to get yourself a domain.

“Get a what?”

A domain. This is what identifies your website correctly. A domain name is the URL that you enter in order to visit the website, e.g., “google.com” is the domain for Google.

Let’s say, I want to register my website “The Lethargic Dog”, I’d go for the domain “thelethargicdog.com”. The “.com” suggests that this domain is for a commercial website.

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The Boon that is Open Source

– By Abishek Shenoy (Editorial Board)

Open Source is a term coined relatively recently, in 1998, when Netscape released the source code for Navigator. A soon to be massive community had its foundation set that year.

The Idea – Any common man can obtain the source code for the software he uses. Armed with this all-access card, one can tweak the code or append some features to improve it. An open source community would encourage sharing and collective advancement. Supporters would release the tweaked code in this spirit. This circle of improvement and re-release would evolve the code into a holistic and refined piece of software.

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Spark Your Mind This Winter

– By Yogesh Chellappa and Deborah Digges (Tech Team)

There are myriad educational workshops and fests for anyone who pursues engineering with a real passion. Here are a few:

1. Shaastra – IIT Madras TechFest

With its vision “Breaking Boundaries”, IIT Madras seems resolved to make this technical fest a grand success. With myriad events including aerobotics, design, coding, quizzes and not to mention workshops and conferences, it would be a real shame to miss it! To top it all off, the Lunar Rover Challenge gives participants a shot at sending their own rover to the moon and writing their names in the pages of history!

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Tech Tips: Save Time Online

– By Namratha K (Tech Team)

We all spend large amounts of time on our gadgets, be it laptops or cell phones. And the time spent by an average adult in using technology is increasing by the year. Using a few simple tips and tricks, you can save a few minutes, which in the long run, can definitely make your work efficient. Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. These two shortcuts have probably saved us (especially students) hundreds of hours in our lifetime. Don’t you agree?
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