All posts by John Skrhak

John Skrhak | Gadgets, Sports and Toys Fanatic | Read about them all here.

Much work to do after Mavs’ defensive dud

DALLAS — Preseason or not, there’s nothing easier to predict than Rick Carlisle being perturbed after a poor defensive performance.

Suffice to say, Carlisle was cranky after the Mavericks’ 100-94 loss to the Suns on Wednesday night.

The box score doesn’t really tell the story about how bad the remodeled, Dirkless Mavs were on defense. The Suns’ starters opened both halves with 8-of-10 shooting spurts. Phoenix scored 32 points on 12-of-16 shooting in the third quarter, the frame that the Suns gave their starters the most run.

What in particular do the Mavs need to clean up defensively?

“Lots of things,” Carlisle said.

It’s not exactly surprising to see the Mavs have a defensive stinker. Dallas’ five starters against the Suns played for five different teams last season, with defensive stopper Shawn Marion the only Mavs holdover of the bunch.

“Everybody still doesn’t have a feel for each other,” Marion said. “It’s a learning curve for everybody. We’ve got to keep communicating and help each other.

“At the same time, this is preseason. I can’t even sit here and get excited right now. I mean, real talk.”

Real talk: The Mavs only have four more games that don’t matter. They’ve got less than two weeks before they’ll be trying to keep Kobe Bryant and his All-Star cast from lighting it up in L.A.

Big man Chris Kaman cited two major problems with Dallas’ defense against the Suns.

The first was a technical issue: The pick-and-roll coverages were “pretty suspect.” As Elton Brand pointed out, that’s caused in part by guys not being in sync, used to playing the coverages used by their former teams instead of the Mavs’ schemes.

The second is the most basic concept in basketball.

“At times, I think our effort isn’t what it needs to be,” said Kaman, who led the Mavs with 16 points but had only two rebounds and no blocks in 23 minutes. “That’s myself included.”

At least the Mavs are on the same page about needing to get on the same page. That phrase was uttered throughout the locker room when questions were posed about the defense.

“I just really think we need longer sessions on the defensive end,” O.J. Mayo said. “At the end of the day, I’m telling you that’s what it is. It’s all about five guys pulling on a string, knowing what we’re going to do and sticking to that, living and dying with those coverages. We’ve just got to get after it.”

Another easy prediction: Thursday’s practice will be defense-intensive.

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4692073/much-work-to-do-after-mavs-defensive-dud

Aereo opens its streaming TV to Mac and Windows web browsers

Aereo starts streaming TV to Mac and Windows web browsers

If you’d wanted to watch Aereo’s unique antenna-to-internet TV streaming until today, you had to tune in from an iOS device or Roku box. That’s not a lot of choice for placeshifting, is it? A fresh update to the company’s streaming service has widened the choices considerably for New Yorkers to include all the major browsers on Macs and Windows PCs. As long as you’re using a recent version of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera or Safari, you can catch up on Ion or Telemundo while you’re checking email. About the only restrictions left are the continued lack of Android support and occasional lawsuits from traditionalist broadcasters.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/10/17/aereo-opens-its-streaming-tv-to-mac-and-windows-web-browsers/

Aereo opens its streaming TV to Mac and Windows web browsers

Aereo starts streaming TV to Mac and Windows web browsers

If you’d wanted to watch Aereo’s unique antenna-to-internet TV streaming until today, you had to tune in from an iOS device or Roku box. That’s not a lot of choice for placeshifting, is it? A fresh update to the company’s streaming service has widened the choices considerably for New Yorkers to include all the major browsers on Macs and Windows PCs. As long as you’re using a recent version of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera or Safari, you can catch up on Ion or Telemundo while you’re checking email. About the only restrictions left are the continued lack of Android support and occasional lawsuits from traditionalist broadcasters.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/10/17/aereo-opens-its-streaming-tv-to-mac-and-windows-web-browsers/

Buzzworthy: Houseflies can now tweet

David Bowen

Life inside the flies’ tweetdome.


(Credit:
Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET
)

Anyone out there speak fly? Because I’d really like to know what these houseflies were saying when they tweeted the following last week:

“F`CZHGF`CZHGF`XZHGFDS`XZHFDS`XZHFDS`ZFD`ZFD`ZHGFD`HGFD`HGFD`HGF` HGF`HGF`HF`HF`HF“““““““““““““““““““““““““““““

The flies have joined the social-networking masses thanks to artist David Bowen, who created fly tweet, a device that sends tweets based on the activities of a colony of houseflies with too much hands on their wings. The flies live and tweet inside an acrylic sphere that also contains a computer keyboard.

As the insects fly over the keyboard keys, their subtle movements trigger not-so-subtle tweets (really, flies, tweeting in all caps? Not cool). When the little buggers hit 140 characters or trigger the “Enter” key, the message is tweeted to the account @flycolony, which as of this writing has sent more than 71,700 tweets.

“These constantly accumulating messages appear as records of random activity within the larger sphere of social media and networking,” Bowen, a creator of kinetic, robotic, and interactive sculptures, says on his site.

The tweets aren’t quite as revealing as I would hope (where else am I going to go for my insect gossip?), but that doesn’t make them any less enlightening.

The latest tweet, for example, a lone number 5, is clearly a nuanced analysis of the five-point plan referenced by Mitt Romney in last night’s presidential debate. My CNET colleague Eric Mack noted the repetition of the characters S, W, and 2 in a number of the flies’ tweets and thinks our many-eyed friends might be conveying secrets of the Mayan 2012 end-of-world prophecy.


Crave previously wrote about Bowen’s “Tele-present Water” installation, which is basically a marionette system with a mesh of tubes that move like a wave while suspended in mid-air. The “puppeteer,” as it were, is an overhead control system that pulls cables up or lets them fall to mimic the ocean.

We’ve contacted the artist for more on how fly tweet works and will add to this post when we hear back. Bowen will display Flytweet next month at the KIBLA Multimedia Centre in Maribor, Slovenia, where the flies will presumably be polite enough to tweet in the local tongue.

fly tweet from david bowen on Vimeo.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/SdCwpimMhyE/

Government-funded battery maker A123 files for bankruptcy

A123 makes batteries for electric cars and other products.


(Credit:
A123
)

A123 Systems, a lithium-ion battery maker that has received hundreds of millions in government support, filed for bankruptcy protection today.

The move makes A123 the latest government-backed energy company to file for Chapter 11. Many of these companies have struggled to make money as demand slows for their products. A123 received more than $250 million in state and federal funding to help it run its operations providing batteries for electric
cars and other products. But it has also faced many problems, including defective products.

A123 today said Johnson Controls will help finance the filing by buying A123’s automotive business assets for $125 million. As part of the transaction, A123 will receive $72.5 million from Johnson Controls to continue operating during the process.

A123 also said it’s engaged in “active discussions regarding strategic alternatives” for its grid, commercial, government, and other operations. The company said it’s “encouraged” by the interest it has received from multiple parties. Johnson Controls has agreed to license back to A123 certain technology related to those businesses.

A123, like many others in the battery sector, has struggled with competition and soft demand. It has posted financial losses since it founding over a decade ago, and it also has been hurt by faulty products and an investment in electric-car maker Fisker Automotive. The company in March said it would need to replace defective batteries, and A123 in May hired an advisory firm to examine its strategic options.

A123 received a grant for $249.1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy in late 2009 to expand its lithium-ion battery manufacturing facilities in Michigan, and it also has received funding from the State of Michigan and other entities. The company also raised more than $400 million in a 2009 IPO. Its shares plunged 75 percent to six cents on the news of its filing.

The Waltham, Mass., company said in August that it had worked out a deal for funding from Chinese auto-parts maker Wanxiang.

But A123 today said it decided not to move forward with the deal with Wanxiang, which would have given the Chinese company majority ownership. The company said there were “unanticipated and significant challenges” to the deal.

“We believe the asset purchase agreement with Johnson Controls, coupled with a Chapter 11 filing, is in the best interests of A123 and its stakeholders at this time,” A123 Chief Executive David Vieau said in a press release. “Since disclosing the Wanxiang agreement, we have simultaneously been evaluating contingencies, and we are pleased that Johnson Controls recognizes the inherent value of our automotive technology and automotive business assets.”

A123 is not the first government-funded alternative energy company to file for bankruptcy. Ener1, another battery company, filed for Chapter 11 in January. At that time, it cited slower demand for its products due to lower-than-expcted adoption of electric vehicles. And energy-storage company Beacon Power and solar power manufacturer Solyndra filed for bankruptcy last year.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/mHpI/~3/_wUwIb5Fw1A/

Rick Carlisle strongly recommends ‘King of Anything’

DALLAS – Coach Rick Carlisle, aka Uncle Ricky, didn’t want to share details of the “outstanding issue” that led to Delonte West’s one-game suspension.

When pressed on the subject, talented musician Carlisle recommended one of his favorite songs, “King of Anything,” by Sara Bareilles.

“It’s a song about people who should mind their own [expletive] business,” Carlisle said, as politely as possible.

Carlisle even kindly offered to pay the $1.29 to download the song on iTunes.

The chorus of that catchy tune:

Who cares if you disagree?
You are not me
Who made you king of anything?
You dare tell me who to be
Who died and made you king of anything?

Article source: http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/mavericks/post/_/id/4692059/rick-carlisle-strongly-recommends-king-of-anything