Buffalo Claims Victory in Race to Bring 802.11ac Gear to Retail

Buffalo AirStation WZR-D1800H 802.11ac Wi-Fi router
Buffalo AirStation WZR-D1800H 802.11ac Wi-Fi router
Buffalo Technology says its first 802.11ac AirStation products--a router and a wireless media bridge--are on sale now at Fry's, Frys.com and Newegg.com, making Buffalo the first to market with next-generation gigabit Wi-Fi gear.

At this writing, I was not able to verify the claim (this blog entry was written based on an embargoed news release). But if true, Buffalo will have snuck past Netgear, which last month said its R6300 router would be the first based on the new standard. Netgear said the R6300 would go on sale in May, but as of Sunday night it did not turn up in a Google Shopping search, or in searches of a couple of Netgear's major retail partners. (I'll update these results as needed.) Update: I've since found the Buffalo router and media bridge on Newegg.com.

Buffalo's initial 802.11ac offerings are the AirStation AC1300 / N900 Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Router (WZR-D1800H) and the AirStation AC1300 / N450 4-Port Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Ethernet Bridge (WLI-H4-D1300), each priced at $180.

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Mozilla Cracks Down on Memory Leaks in Firefox Add-Ons

It was only a few short months ago that Mozilla put its Firefox browser on a memory “diet,” and this week it announced that it's doing much the same thing for Firefox add-ons as well.

“Leaky add-ons are a big problem,” began the blog post on Monday from Mozilla developer Nicholas Nethercote.

Accordingly, Nethercote's post outlines a summary of Mozilla's strategy to deal with such problems as well as requesting help from testers of its current Nightly versions.

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Lenovo to Add New Windows 8 Tablet-Laptop Hybrids to its ThinkPad Line

Lenovo plans to extend its ThinkPad line with business-friendly Windows 8 hybrid laptops similar to the convertible, flippable IdeaPad Yoga.

Making tablet PCs is nothing new to Lenovo. The company currently offers a convertible model of the ThinkPad X220. Instead of the screen swiveling and folding like typical tablet PCs, however, the new Windows 8 ThinkPad hybrids will likely flip back on its hinge, just as the IdeaPad Yoga does, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

This fold-over design would enable users to make use of the touchscreen in a few different positions for the laptop. The fresh, unusual design might also help these convertible laptops stand out--an important task, as many more hybrid Windows 8 laptops are expected this year.

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CloudOn Adds Android, Google Drive Support for Its Virtual Office Service

CloudOn logo
CloudOn, my favorite of three web services I recently reviewed that let you run cloud-hosted versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint on an iPad, now supports Android tablets as well.

CloudOn also announced integration with Google Drive, meaning you can save documents to accounts on Google's new cloud storage service (the service already supports Dropbox and Box accounts).

CloudOn, along with competitors such as OnLive Desktop and Nivio, let you create and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on an iPad by running the actual apps on remote servers and streaming only the user interface (subtly tweaked to address the needs of touchscreen users) to the device. Because you're working in the actual application, these services don't suffer from formatting and other compatibility issues that often arise with apps that support Office formats.

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Logitech Introduces Indoor Security Camera with Night Vision

Logitech's Alert cameras can be viewed from any Internet-connected PC or smartphone.
Logitech is expanding its lineup of Alert high-definition security cameras with an indoor model equipped with night-vision capabilities. The company already offers an outdoor model equipped with this feature.

The Alert line utilizes the HomePlug AV networking standard, so that power and data run over common electrical cables. But if the user needs to install the cameras in a location without a nearby AC outlet, Logitech also offers SKUs that use Power over Ethernet (PoE). With these models, all the user needs to do is run CAT5 cable to each camera and install an inline power injector at the router. Logitech’s announcement didn’t mention a PoE configuration for the new indoor night-vision model, but we’ve asked them about it and will update this story when we get the information.

Unlike the typical IP (Internet Protocol) security camera, Logitech’s Alert line delivers high-resolution video (720p, where most other security cameras top out at 480p). Video streams from multiple cameras can be viewed simultaneously on a local networked PC running Logitech’s Alert Commander software. Each camera is equipped with a 16-zone motion detector that can trigger the camera to record a video clip when objects move in front of them. The camera can then send an email or text-message alert to the owner with the video clip attached. Recordings are stored on the cameras themselves on a 2GB MicroSD card (capacity sufficient for a week’s worth of recordings, according to Logitech), so that the local PC doesn’t need to be running all the time (clips are automatically downloaded to the host PC when it is running). Dropbox subscribers can elect to copy the recordings to their storage in the cloud.

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Evernote Acquires Penultimate: Two Great Notetaking Apps Come Together

The popular note-taking service Evernote has announced today that it has acquired popular iPad note- taking app Penultimate. Penultimate will remain a separate app, but will gain many features including closer sync integration with Evernote and search capabilities. The creator of Penultimate, Ben Zotto will be joining the Evernote team.

These two note-taking apps have very complimentary features. Penultimate is one of the best handwriting apps for the iPad, offering smooth inking and great palm rejection. Evernote has expanded from a desktop application for taking, storing, and searching notes, onto most major mobile platforms, giving you searchable access to all of your notes nearly everywhere.

Penultimate already has the ability to sync notes to Evernote, which brings a host of features -- Evernote runs Optical Character Recognition (OCR) on your handwritten notes in the background, making them searchable. However, each note must be uploaded individually, and changes cannot be made to the note uploaded to Evernote, only the original in Penultimate.

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New V8 Tech Gives Chrome an Extra Shot of Speed

Google's Chrome browser already enjoys something of a reputation for speed, and the most recent stable version to debut--Chrome 18--extended that further by improving graphics performance on both new and older hardware.

Now, however, it looks like upcoming versions of the software could be even speedier thanks to new technology in its V8 JavaScript engine.

“As of current dev and beta channel releases, V8 uses a new algorithm based on counters to decide which functions to optimize,” wrote Google software engineer Jakob Kummerow in a blog post on Tuesday. “This greatly increases performance for small JavaScript programs.”

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