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from the L.A. Times

Category: Tiffany Hsu

Steve Jobs profiteering takes off on Etsy, EBay [Updated]

Jobs

It was only a matter of time: The commercialization of Steve Jobs’ death has begun.

Merchants are banking on the devotion of the Apple co-founder’s many fans.

At Etsy.com, sellers are offering iRemember buttons, iSad screen-printed T-shirts and iMiss Steve baby onesies. Shoppers can also pick up tribute earrings, memorial iPhone covers, and even pillows imprinted with the dates of Jobs’ birth and passing.

The vendors on Ebay have autographed photos and newspapers with Jobs’ obituary. One poster for sale sets a photo of the tech pioneer beside images of Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein.

A high school yearbook featuring a photo of Jobs in 1971 -- highlighted in pink -- is going for $749. A domain name -- www.sjobsforever.com -- is up for $8,000.

[Updated at 3:07 p.m.: Bluewater Productions said it will publish a special-edition, 32-page comic book biography of Jobs as an e-book for the Nook and Kindle this week and eventually in print form to be sold in bookstores and comic shops. A portion of the proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society.]

The luxury retailer St. Croix, which makes the turtleneck that Jobs made iconic, normally sells about 10 such shirts a day. Since Jobs’ death, nearly all orders through the company have been for the turtleneck -- about 60 on Thursday so far, a spokesman said.

“We always appreciated his support of us,” said Bruce Amster, St. Croix’s director of stores. The company said it plans to donate part of the proceeds for the turtleneck to the American Cancer Society in Jobs’ honor.

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-- Tiffany Hsu

Image: A screen shot showing results of a search for "Steve Jobs" on Etsy.

Rupert Murdoch on Steve Jobs: 'Greatest CEO of his generation'

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Rupert Murdoch, the head of News Corp., weighed in on Steve Jobs’ death in a statement:

"Today, we lost one of the most influential thinkers, creators and entrepreneurs of all time. Steve Jobs was simply the greatest CEO of his generation. While I am deeply saddened by his passing, I'm reminded of the stunning impact he had in revolutionizing the way people consume media and entertainment. My heart goes out to his family and to everyone who had the opportunity to work beside him in bringing his many visions to life."

Murdoch created a stir this year when he launched his iPad newspaper The Daily

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-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Apple CEO Steve Jobs demonstrates Facetime video chat on an iPhone with Apple's Senior Vice President for Industrial Design Jonathan Ive at the unveiling of the iPhone 4 in San Francisco on June 7, 2010. Credit: Robert Galbraith/Reuters

Entertainment industry on Steve Jobs: Pixar, George Lucas, more

Steve Jobs

George Lucas, director: "The magic of Steve was that while others simply accepted the status quo, he saw the true potential in everything he touched and never compromised on that vision."

Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner chief executive: "The stories our company tells have been made richer by the products he created. He was a dynamic and fearless competitor, collaborator and friend. In a society that has seen incredible technological innovation during our lifetimes, Steve may be the one true icon whose legacy will be remembered for a thousand years."

Cary Sherman, chief executive of Recording Industry Assn. of America: "Steve was a larger-than-life personality -- passionate about music and one of its biggest fans and advocates. He was a true visionary who forever transformed how fans access and enjoy music. With the introduction of the iTunes software and other platforms, Steve and Apple made it once again easy and accepted to pay for music."

John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, chief creative officer and president, respectively, of Pixar Animation Studios: "Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of making computer animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply 'make it great.' He is why Pixar turned out the way we did, and his strength, integrity and love of life has made us all better people. He will forever be a part of Pixar’s DNA."

Robert Santelli, executive director of the Grammy Museum: "Jobs was a behind-the-scenes guy, the one who made music far more accessible than it’s ever been, more personal than it’s ever been and more portable. He allowed a brand new generation to become intimately connected to music in a way that previous generations had not. His innovations forever changed the course of popular music. …What he's done with the iPod and the iPad rank on the same level of importance and significance as the invention of the Walkman, the cassette, even the LP and the phonograph in general. … We counted on him as a world to show us how we listen to music and how we consume it."

Redfoo (Stefan Gordy) of the band LMFAO: "He dramatically changed the world by empowering us with the greatest creative tool ever known to mankind, Apple. Most everything I do in business is modeled after what he has accomplished. There won't be a day in my life where I don't ask myself, 'What would Steve do?'"

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-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Apple co-founder Steve Jobs attends the 82nd Academy Awards with the team from the best picture nominated film "Up" on March 7, 2010. Credit: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Pizza in 90 seconds -- from a vending machine

Need a pizza, stat? A new vending machine in testing stages can bake a white, cheese or pepperoni pie in 90 seconds.

With a formula that makes fast food sound slow, the mechanical pizza producer can dispense a pie -– complete with vented box, disposable pizza cutter, napkin and spices -- in 3.5 minutes from order to pick-up.

Developed by immigrant-turned-jeweler Puzant Katchadourian, the five Pizzametry machines in market testing each hold enough ingredients for 150 pizzas, according to the New York Daily News.

The machine allows customers to watch through a window as it presses a dough ball into an 8-inch round, squeezes out pizza sauce from a nozzle and then distributes cheese and sauce. Or buyers can stare at an attached flat-screen television.

As some traditional quick service chains such as Domino’s go gourmet with Artisan Pizzas, other forms of fast food are becoming increasingly automated, with some laboratories now able to produce fine cuisine using printers.

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-- Tiffany Hsu

twitter.com/tiffhsulatimes

Video: A prototype from Pizzametry.com

Paper airplanes with MIT solar technology can make electricity

Paper-solar1

Solar panels come in many forms: Crystalline silicon, thin film, even sprays and transparent plastic. 
Time to add paper to the list.

A research team from the MIT has developed a flexible and extremely thin solar technology that, when printed, looks like an ordinary document ready to be stapled and turned in as homework.

But when wires are clipped to one end of a floppy sheet and set in the sun, it can power an LCD clock display and other small “gizmos,” researchers said. The technology may help push the solar industry away from hulking, expensive installations and toward options that can easily generate renewable electricity anywhere.

Using vaporous “inks” made from common elements rather than pricey, toxic components like tellurium, solar cells are deposited onto plain, untreated paper -- including tissue, tracing paper and even newsprint.

The process, which is similar to the one used to make the shiny interior of potato chip bags, is nearly as simple as ink-jet printing -- just with a vacuum chamber thrown in.

The pages can be molded into paper airplanes and still generate electricity when unfolded. They’re also long-lasting, according to researchers, who tested cells produced last year.

The technology, according to MIT engineers, is cheaper and more adaptable than current commercial solar options that use glass and require heavy support structures. Paper solar cells, they said, could be taped to a wall, attached to laptops or made into window shades and clothing, even laminated to protect against harsh weather.

It’ll be a while before commercialization, since researchers are still working on improving the device’s efficiency from its current 1%. But maybe Apple Inc., which has studied how to create a solar-powered touch screen for its smartphones, should call them up.

The MIT team reported the findings in the Advanced Materials journal this month. Watch the cell being folded below:

 
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Photo: Graduate student Miles Barr hold a flexible and foldable array of solar cells that have been printed on a sheet of paper. Credit: Patrick Gillooly / MIT

Solar panels come in many forms: Crystalline silicon, thin film, even sprays and transparent plastic. 
Time to add paper to the list.
A research team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a flexible and extremely thin solar technology that, when printed, looks like an ordinary document ready to be stapled and turned in as homework.
But when wires are clipped to one end of a floppy sheet and set in the sun, it can power an LCD clock display and other small “gizmos,” researchers said. The technology may help push the solar industry away from hulking, expensive installations and toward options that can easily generate renewable electricity anywhere.
Using vaporous “inks” made from common elements rather than pricey, toxic compenents like tellurium, solar cells are deposited onto plain, untreated paper – including tissue, tracing paper and even newsprint.
The process, which is similar to the one used to make the shiny interior of potato chip bags, is nearly as simple as inkjet printing – just with a vacuum chamber thrown in.
The pages can be molded into paper airplanes and still generate electricity when unfolded. They’re also long-lasting, according to researchers, who tested cells produced last year.
The technology, according to MIT engineers, is both cheaper and more adaptable than current commercial solar options that use glass and require heavy support structures. Paper solar cells, they said, could be taped to a wall, attached to laptops or made into window shades and clothing, even laminated to protect against harsh outdoor weather.
It’ll be a while though before commercialization, since researchers are still working on improving the device’s efficiency from its current 1%. But maybe Apple Inc., which has studied how to create a solar-powered touch screen for its smart phones, should call them up.
The MIT team reported the findings in the Advanced Materials journal earlier this month.

Madison, Wis., snags Guinness record for longest hybrid parade

Photo: An aerial view of the parade. Credit: Smart Motors Last weekend, a line of 208 hybrid cars snaked through city streets, but not in tree-hugging Berkeley or the technology hotbed of New York.

This was the cheese-loving lake community of Madison, Wis., which scored a Guinness world record on Sunday for the longest hybrid parade.

Apparently, having the highest percentage of people with PhD's wasn’t a good enough record. Bet it feels good beating Belgium, which held the previous title with a measly 140-car event last year.

Starting and ending at the Smart Motors dealership, the 2.1-mile route was crammed with Toyota Priuses, Ford Escape hybrids, Honda Insight hybrids and more, with drivers from 10 states and Canada.

The vehicles, according to organizers, stuck mostly to their electric modes, making it one of the quieter parades in memory.

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Photo: An aerial view of the parade. Credit: Smart Motors

Toyota's 'Window to the World' concept makes car windows interactive

 Automakers these days are all abuzz about interactivity, integrating voice-activated calling functions, personalized Internet radio access and a slew of other fancy telematics into the dashboards of their vehicles.

Meanwhile, Toyota’s busy gazing out the window.

In a concept project, Toyota Motor Europe and the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design envision car windows as touchscreens that allow passengers to interact with the passing scenery.

Dubbed the “Window to the World,” the glass would be used like an Etch-a-Sketch toy, where riders can trace objects they see outside to create a drawing. They would also be able to see a zoomed view of distant objects or gauge their distance from the vehicle.

Take a look above.

But car windows are leaping to life in other ways too.

Last month, digital marketing agency Fusion92 debuted a prototype of an interactive window sticker as part of an experiment for Cadillac. The sticker -- displaying the standard information about price, fuel economy and more -– becomes a touchscreen kiosk in the presence of customers.

The sticker would provide customized details, such as updated prices, loan payments and informative videos. See it in action below.


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-- Tiffany Hsu [follow]

OnStar rear-view mirror: On sale Sunday for non-General Motors cars

Onstar
Starting this weekend, drivers can replace their rear-view mirrors with an OnStar communication system, even if they don't drive General Motors cars.

Once the OnStar FMV goes on sale at Best Buy stores Sunday, the celebrated OnStar service will no longer be exclusive to GM cars and trucks with built-in OnStar devices.

The FMV -- the name stands for "for my vehicle" -- is an aftermarket rear-view mirror that can be installed in 90 million vehicles from automakers such as Toyota, Ford, Honda and Nissan.

First announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the $299.99 device will cost $75 to install. Service plans start at $18.95 a month or $199 a year. The product soon will be available at Fry’s Electronics and other retailers as well.

The system has the same core features as OnStar systems built into GM vehicles. For example, using hands-free, voice-activated calling, drivers can ask dispatchers at GM's OnStar unit for directions, which are then downloaded to the vehicle and read aloud in the car. If a built-in accelerometer detects the sudden shock of a crash, the system will automatically call OnStar to send emergency help.

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Photo: The new OnStar FMV system. Credit: OnStar

Toyota Prius Plug-in, electric RAV4 showcased at Little Tokyo Design Week

Prius
Toyota’s eco-friendly autos are center stage at a Little Tokyo event this weekend showcasing new technologies and designs from Japan.

Visitors to the Little Tokyo Design Week area can peek inside the Prius Plug-in hybrid, the RAV4 EV battery-electric vehicle and the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrid vehicle that are sitting in the plaza beside the Japanese American National Museum.

The Prius Plug-in will be able to run for 13 miles on power from its Lithium-ion battery, according to Toyota. More than 160 of the vehicles are already being driven in the U.S. as a demonstration program before sales start in earnest next year.

Toyota is working with Tesla on the electric RAV4, which is also expected to become available to buyers in 2012. Meanwhile, the automaker plans to spread more than 100 of its advanced fuel-cell vehicles around the country by 2013 through another demonstration program, with hopes of bringing the technology to market by 2015. 

The rest of the event, which lasts through Sunday, involves more than 15 steel storage containers acting as temporary exhibit space.

The Giant Robot retail chain has a makeshift gallery featuring products such as a “crunching dog” USB stick with a model canine doing sit-ups on the end. There’s a “Robot Box,” with various automatons and other machines. Representatives from USC, UCLA and SCI-Arc have their own boxes too.

Near the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, there’s an extended garden set up on stilts with tomatoes, carrots and beans.

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-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: A Toyota Prius Plug-In on display at the Frankfurt Auto Show in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2009. The model is being exhibited this weekend as part of Little Tokyo Design Week. Credit: Ferdinand Ostrop / Associated Press

Lufthansa launches first daily commercial flights to run partially on biofuel

Lufthansa
Travelers can now make it from Hamburg to Frankfurt in Germany and back using animal fat and plants, as the Lufthansa airline on Friday launched the first daily commercial passenger flights to run on biofuel.

The first flight took off from Hamburg at 11:15 a.m. Central European Time. Aircraft biofuel has been in demonstration phase for years, showing up in test flights by large jets, helicopters and even the Air Force Thunderbirds.

But now the blends are being worked into much heavier rotations. For four daily flights between the cities, Lufthansa will use a 50% biofuel blend in one of the engines of an Airbus A321.

The mixture of jatropha and camelina crops and animal fats was approved for use in jet engines earlier this month by the American Society for Testing and Materials, the reigning decision making body on fuels standards.

The fuel doesn’t require upgrades to existing engines and was sustainably sourced and produced so that no food crops or rainforests were impacted, the airline said. Lufthansa has spent about $9.3 million on biofuel projects so far, it said.

The roughly 250-mile flights will continue for six months as Lufthansa studies the effect of the biofuel blend on aircraft performance. But the company expects the trial run to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 1,500 tons.

Britain’s Thomson Airways has said it plans to operate a flight to Spain this summer using a biofuel mix involving cooking oil. Dutch airline KLM plans to use a similar blend for flights to and from France.

Biofuel will also play a major role in a hypersonic aircraft revealed by EADS last month at the Paris Air Show, which will be able to hop from Tokyo to Los Angeles in 2 1/2 hours.

Around the same time, the Air Transport Assn. of America said that several of its member airlines are gearing up to use fuel made from urban and agricultural waste in the next few years.

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-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Lufthansa planes parked at an airport in Munich, Germany. Credit: Joerg Koch/Associated Press

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