Saturday, December 24, 2011

Engadget Primed: ports, connectors and the future of your TV's backside

Primed goes in-depth on the technobabble you hear on Engadget every day -- we dig deep into each topic's history and how it benefits our lives. You can follow the series here. Looking to suggest a piece of technology for us to break down? Drop us a line at primed *at* engadget *dawt* com.
For many among us, what goes on behind and along the sides of a high-definition television is almost as compelling as what's displayed on that big, beautiful flat screen. Of course, we're talking connectors, with their attendant chaos of cords. A high-def TV is only as good as its connection to a high-def signal. The same holds true for the array of disc players, game consoles and other peripherals we cluster around our sets. So it may seem quaint, then, that we still often confront more analog ports than digital ones on our high-end TVs. You'd think with advances in wireless technology, we'd have done away with the spider web of wires entirely. Alas, like flying cars and fembots, we're just not there yet.

In this installment of Primed, we'll examine the best and the bogus when it comes to TV connectors, and spend some time tracing the arc of how we got to where we are in this particular moment of television evolution. The narrative on television and home entertainment remains a work in progress. But we'll endeavor to get you caught up to date, and as an added bonus offer a glimpse of what the future of your TV's backside will likely look like.

Continue reading Engadget Primed: ports, connectors and the future of your TV's backside

Engadget Primed: ports, connectors and the future of your TV's backside originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 23 Dec 2011 15:30:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Deal reached to extend payroll tax cut

Ventre: Penn St. ugliness dominated 2011 headlines

Ventre: 2011 was one big surprise party in sports. There were enough astounding developments ? both positive and negative ? to keep mouths agape, eyes agog and Twitter atwitter. Unfortunately, the one that stands out the most is the ugliest story possible.


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Friday, December 23, 2011

Mitt and Chuck (TIME)

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Woman charged with sending money to Pakistan group

A woman was indicted Wednesday on charges she sent money to Pakistan to help fund terrorist attacks against U.S. military personnel, authorities said.

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Oytun Ayse Mihalik, 39, faces three counts of providing material support to terrorists and one count of making a false statement. If convicted of all counts, Mihalik could face up to 53 years in prison.

Mihalik funneled about $2,000 to a person in Pakistan over a three-week period beginning late last year, knowing the money would be used to prepare for and carry out attacks against the U.S. military and others overseas, federal prosecutors said.

An email message left with her attorney, Alan Eisner, was not immediately returned.

Mihalik, who worked as a pharmacist, has been in federal custody since she was arrested in August after she attempted to board a flight to Turkey, her native country.

She previously pleaded not guilty to the false statement charge.

Mihalik lied to federal agents during an interview at Los Angeles International Airport following a six-month trip to Turkey by telling them she never used an alias to wire money overseas and she had only sent funds once, authorities said.

She told investigators the money was meant for a family friend who was having financial problems, according to an affidavit.

Authorities wouldn't elaborate on why they believe the money Mihalik wired overseas was going to be used for terrorist attacks.

However, court documents reveal Mihalik's arrest is "related to national security investigations in other areas of the United States." As of August, Mihalik had been cooperating with investigators, records show.

"The charges are based on the defendant's intent to cause harm to U.S. military personnel," said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. "We have not alleged any attacks that may have resulted from the funding because the legal issue is the defendant's intent as to what the money would be used for."

A trial on the false statement charge was set for February. Mihalik will be arraigned on the new charges at a later date.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Thursday, December 22, 2011

BOJ keeps policy steady, offers bleaker view on economy (Reuters)

TOKYO (Reuters) ? The Bank of Japan kept monetary settings unchanged on Wednesday but offered a bleaker view on the economy than last month on mounting evidence of the pain Europe's debt crisis is inflicting on global growth and Japan's recovery prospects.

Slowing exports, worsening business sentiment and soft capital spending are challenging the central bank's view that the world's third-largest economy will recover early next year.

In a sign of the growing damage from the global slowdown, Japan's exports fell at their fastest annual pace in six months in November with shipments to Asia declining on weak demand for semiconductor chips and digital cameras.

The BOJ held off on offering additional monetary stimulus, as widely expected, but cut its economic assessment to say that the pickup in economic activity was pausing due to the effect of slowing overseas growth and the yen's strength.

It also revised down its view on export and output growth to say it is flattening, and sounded slightly more gloomy on the outlook, warning that the economy will resume recovery only after a brief period of stagnation.

"Japan's economy will remain more or less flat for the time being" before resuming a moderate recovery, the central bank said in a statement announcing the policy decision.


Global interest rates

BOJ, Fed balance sheets



Japan's economy rebounded from a recession triggered by the March earthquake and tsunami, but is expected to slow sharply this quarter as the initial spurt driven by companies restoring supply chains and production facilities tails off.

Many in the bank are counting on support for growth from fiscal spending for reconstruction from the March disaster, but that may not be enough to offset weakening overseas demand.

"The bleaker economic assessment is no surprise given slumping exports that show weakness not only in Europe but Asia as well. The BOJ's longer-term forecast of a moderate recovery is subject to skepticism," said Masamichi Adachi, senior economist at JPMorgan Securities Japan.

Analysts say the BOJ may ease policy again by March next year with the most likely trigger a renewed spike in the yen or market turmoil caused by Europe's crisis.

"We expect the BOJ to implement additional easing steps in January-March as there is a chance the yen will appreciate further during that period," said Takahide Kiuchi, chief economist at Nomura Securities.

"Another trigger could be a credit rating downgrade for European sovereign debt. If that happens and causes financial market turmoil, coordinated monetary easing with U.S. and European central banks could be a possibility."

Central banks are flooding markets with liquidity as markets remain on edge about Europe's ability to put a floor under a bond market selloff that is pushing borrowing costs for countries such as Italy and Spain towards unsustainable levels.

The Fed has pledged to keep interest rates near zero until mid-2013 and the ECB cut its main interest rate to a record low this month, as the fallout from Europe's debt crisis stoked fears of a global economic slump.

The BOJ, too, has kept rates virtually at zero and eased policy in October by topping up its asset buying scheme to ease the pain from sharp yen rises on the export-reliant economy.

It stood pat since then but has expressed its readiness to inject huge amounts of liquidity in market operations and loosen monetary policy to fend off any contagion from Europe as it sees a global credit crunch as a real potential risk.

(Additional reporting by Rie Ishiguro, Kaori Kaneko and Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Joseph Radford and Chris Gallagher)


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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mugger beaten up by self-identified ?ultimate fighter champion?

Mugger beaten up by self-identified ?ultimate fighter champion?A mugger in Chicago found out the hard way that he should do a better job picking his victims. He approached a man sitting in a parked car, but ended up with that a face covered in bruises and a bullet in his ankle.

With a gun pulled, Anthony Miranda demanded money from the unnamed victim. He handed it over, but Miranda ordered him out of the car. The victim wrestled with Miranda, causing Miranda to shoot his own ankle, and then pinned Miranda down until police arrived.

And here's why this is being written up in a mixed martial arts blog. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The victim, who told police he's a martial arts expert and ultimate fighting champion was able to pin Miranda down until police arrived. Police arrived to find Miranda with a face full of cuts and two black eyes. He was taken to Holy Cross Hospital for treatment, police said.

Judging by Miranda's face, the victim knew how to throw a punch or 20. It's understandable that the police didn't release the name of the victim. It's good practice to protect a victim's privacy.

No, the question is who describes himself as an "ultimate fighting champion," unless he is actually carrying around a belt? Though several UFC fighters call Chicago home, none are champions. What's more likely is that when describing his training, the victim had to invoke the name of the UFC, and this is what the police heard.

So if you are this man, give us a yell. Tell us your story. Also, kudos in not getting shot and staying alive.


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Italy PM Monti raises taxes, reforms pensions in austerity drive (Reuters)

ROME (Reuters) ? Prime Minister Mario Monti unveiled a 30-billion-euro package of austerity measures on Sunday -- increasing value added tax, reintroducing a property tax, and raising the pension age -- in a drive to gain control of Italy's strained public finances.

The measures, intended to reassure financial markets which have sent Italy's borrowing costs to untenable levels, come ahead of a vital week of meetings in which European leaders race to prevent the euro zone debt crisis from sliding out of control.

Monti said the package, divided between 20 billion euros of budget measures over 2012-14 and a further 10 billion euros in measures to boost growth, contained big sacrifices, but the government had sought to spread the burden as fairly as possible.

(Reporting By James Mackenzie, Catherine Hornby and Steve Scherer)


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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lynch carries Seahawks to 31-14 win over Eagles

Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch runs in for a touchdown past Philadelphia Eagles' Nate Allen in the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch runs in for a touchdown past Philadelphia Eagles' Nate Allen in the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch celebrates his touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles in the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Seattle Seahawks' Kam Chancellor (31) intercepts a pass intended for Philadelphia Eagles' DeSean Jackson in the first quarter of an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Philadelphia Eagles' Trent Cole goes in for the sack of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson in the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

(AP) ? Marshawn Lynch loves the prime-time stage, even if he's rarely given such a spotlight.

But he wasn't about to accept any praise on a night when he certainly deserved it.

"It was all about the offensive line. We managed the game, we came out victorious, everybody's happy, and now we're on to our break," Lynch said during a very brief locker room appearance. "Thank you."

Seattle's hard-charging running back bulled through Philadelphia for 148 yards and a pair of first-half touchdowns, David Hawthorne returned the third of Vince Young's four interceptions 77 yards for a score, and the Seahawks rolled to a 31-14 victory Thursday that only added to the Eagles' miserable season.

Lynch ran into and escaped from a massive pileup for a 15-yard TD run in the first quarter, then made a quick cut and went back against the flow for a 40-yard scoring dash on the first play of the second quarter to give the Seahawks (5-7) a 14-0 lead.

It was the second-best performance of Lynch's career and a capper to what has been his finest stretch as a pro. Lynch never had consecutive 100-yard rushing games until a few weeks ago. Now he's done it in four of Seattle's past five, and the only time he didn't, Lynch had 88 yards in a victory over St. Louis.

His first-quarter, escape-act touchdown against Philadelphia (4-8) gave Lynch eight straight games with at least one score and added a highlight reminiscent of his famous tackle-breaking, 67-yard TD run in last year's NFC playoffs against New Orleans.

It's all adding up to more dollars likely coming Lynch's way. He's a free agent after the season.

"He fights for every yard, every carry he gets," Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson said. "It's like every carry is his last carry."

Lynch had 90 yards by halftime, the most first-half yards rushing in his career. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry and almost immediately provided a spark the Seahawks needed on a short week.

And he did it while battling an upset stomach that occasionally forced him to the sideline.

"The guy blows my mind every time we step on the field," Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said.

Golden Tate's 11-yard, toe-tapping touchdown grab along the back edge of the end zone in the third quarter pushed Seattle's cushion to 17. Jackson finished 13 of 16 for 190 yards and the one TD pass.

But the Seahawks' third victory in their last four games wasn't secured until Hawthorne stepped in front of a swing pass intended for LeSean McCoy and raced untouched in the other direction with 4:24 left. It was Hawthorne's third interception of the season, but he was getting plenty of grief from his teammates for the length of time it took him to get to the end zone.

And of course, the first guy to greet Hawthorne in the end zone was Lynch running off the sideline without his helmet.

"There is no grief in touchdowns. The slowest touchdown, the fastest touchdown equals seven," Hawthorne said while teammates yelled "slow" in the background.

Making his third straight start in place of Michael Vick and his two broken ribs, Young couldn't find the same magic he did in the 2006 Rose Bowl when he led Texas to an upset of Pete Carroll and USC.

Young's first pass of the night was an awful interception thrown right to Seattle safety Kam Chancellor and nowhere near an Eagles receiver. Young was intercepted in the third quarter as well when a perfect pass deflected off the hands of Riley Cooper and into the hands of cornerback Brandon Browner. Both turnovers led to Seattle touchdowns.

Then came a pass for McCoy when Young clearly didn't see Hawthorne, ruining the Eagles' last chance to rally. Seattle safety Earl Thomas jumped Young's primary target and by the time he came back to McCoy, Hawthorne was ready for the pass.

"He was expecting him to be open and he wasn't," Hawthorne said.

Young added one more interception in the final moments, another one grabbed by Browner that left the quarterback with a career-high four picks.

Young finished 17 of 29 for 208 yards. McCoy got more chances than he did last Sunday against New England when he touched the ball just 14 times, a number that drew criticism from Eagles fans believing the leading rusher in the NFL deserved more opportunities.

McCoy finished with 84 yards on 17 carries and added another four catches for 49 yards. But he was upstaged by Lynch.

"He was the key today to their offense," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "And we didn't do a very good job of stopping him."

On first-and-goal at the 15, Lynch ran into a massive crowd near the 10. He got lost in the pile, wiggled out of the arms of linebacker Jamar Chaney and suddenly burst into the end zone.

Lynch's second touchdown was an opportunity for him to show off his open-field speed. As the flow of the play went to Lynch's left, he immediately cut back right and found open field, beating the Eagles defense to the corner and going 40 yards untouched.

The quick bounce-back by the Seahawks only magnified their missed chance last Sunday when they blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead and lost 23-17 to Washington. Even with the win over Philadelphia and another home game coming up against St. Louis, any hopes the Seahawks have of jumping into the playoff race are likely gone.

"We felt like we let one go last week and that was all we could think about," Hawthorne said. "So to come on a fast week and get it out this fast, it's a positive."

Notes: Carroll thinks LT Russell Okung may have a serious pectoral injury sustained in the closing seconds. ... Lynch's career high was 153 yards rushing against Cincinnati with Buffalo in 2007. ... Philadelphia CB Nnamdi Asomugha left in the first half with a head/neck injury and did not return. ... Philadelphia fell to 5-2 in Thursday night games. ... Jackson's 137.0 QB rating was the best of his career. ... Browner had the first two-interception game of his career.


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Associated Press


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Friday, December 2, 2011

Sleigh Bells To Return With Reign Of Terror

Brooklyn band unveils new album with a thoroughly badass teaser trailer.
By James Montgomery

Derek E. Miller and Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells
Photo: Getty Images

When it comes time to reveal a thoroughly badass album title, there's really no other way to do it than with a thoroughly badass teaser trailer. And that's exactly what Brooklyn bashers Sleigh Bells just did, premiering an ominous, thundering clip for their new album ... which is called Reign of Terror.

The teaser opens with a scene of the Bells' Alexis Krauss sitting at a vanity mirror, very seriously combing her hair (while wearing a Marine Dress Uniform), then quickly switches to series of hectic, seizure-inducing live clips, interspersed with various shots of life-on-the-road ephemera (they apparently attended at least one LSU football game) and in-the-studio hijinks (Bud Light! Guns! A mirrored skeleton mask!) It's all backed by a churning, chunky guitar track, which seems to hint that Reign of Terror is most definitely going to be a loud — if not slightly terrifying — listen.

And while there's plenty of visceral gristle in the teaser trailer, it doesn't actually include a release date for the new album, the follow-up to Sleigh Bells' 2010 breakout Treats (one could reasonably assume it's due in 2012, however).The dynamic duo rode that disc hard, including a thunderous performance at the 2011 mtvU Woodie Awards, and a collaboration with none other than Beyoncé, one that was reportedly supposed to appear on her 4 album. That track (or tracks) never materialized. Instead, the Bells focused on writing and recording Terror.

And, judging by what we've now seen ... that was probably the right decision. Their Reign is set to commence next year.

Sound off on the Bells' Reign of Terror teaser trailer in the comments below!

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