December 17 – 23, 2012

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This week’s headline story: Holiday Deliveries Overtax Shippers

Holiday shopping online is expected to have risen 17 percent this holiday season to a record $43.4 billion, according to comScore. The convenience of shopping online and special deals offered by online merchants, including FREE SHIPPING make a compelling argument for shoppers to stay home and shop, rather than fighting the traffic and crowds at the mall. With the big increase in delivery orders, shipping companies are straining under the demand, and some promises to get gifts delivered by Christmas have gone unfulfilled. A snow storm over much of the Midwest has further complicated holiday deliveries. Online merchants are getting an earful from frustrated shoppers who were forced to tell family and friends that their gifts are “in the mail.” After waiting and waiting, some shoppers headed to the mall after all, planning to return those shipped items when ever they arrive.

All We Want for Christmas Is Our Gifts on Time! [NewsFactor]

and elsewhere in Tech News.

  • A research team from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has developed technologies that have empowered a paralyzed woman to operate a robotic arm directly through thought with a level of agility and control approaching that of a human limb.
    Mind-controlled robotic arm has skill and speed of human limb [Reuters]
  • Researchers at Intel labs are developing a “touchpad steering” wheel. Touch-sensitive areas of a vehicle’s steering wheel allow a driver to call up a head-up display on the windshield, to control every device in the vehicle including turn signals, wipers, headlights, cruise control, entertainment, and GPS. The interface is intended to do away with all of the dials, buttons, and levers on the dash and steering column, and allow drivers to keep their eyes on the road.
    Touchpad steering wheel keeps eyes on the road [NewScientist]
  • 3D printers are in the news a lot these days, as this amazing technology has become more affordable. Now a group called Defense Distributed is illuminating the more controversial aspects of 3D printing. The group claims to have created downloadable weapon parts that can be built on the latest generation of 3D printers. Owners of these printers can simply downloading a gun’s design plans, print it, assemble it, and fire it minutes later. No background checks, no questions asked.
    Scary But True: Click, Print, Shoot Downloadable Guns [NewsFactor]
  • Twice as many Americans own tablets today as a year ago. Roughly 19 percent of all Americans over the age of 18 now own at least one tablet. Forrester Research says that many people purchase tablets because of the “simplified computing experience” and affordable price. Purchases of traditional e-readers like the Kindle are dropping, as increasing amounts of shoppers are choosing more advanced tablets like the Kindle Fire.
    U.S. Tablet Ownership Doubled this Year [NewsFactor]

and in Tech Industry news…

and finally….

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