Google’s Top Secret Lab of the Future Run by Robots

By Chris Fleming –

Google X is the secret lab where 100 futuristic ideas are brewing.

Unimaginable inventions are being played around with by Google employees.

Google has their own workshop where certain employees and other well-qualified people they specifically chose have the chance to work on wild new inventions.

According to the New York Times, Google is being so secretive about what information is released that some of their own employees do not even know what projects are in progress. Also, even though most of the projects being worked on are far from actual development and use, one is supposedly going to be released by the end of this year.

Rodney Brooks, a professor at MIT’s computer science and artificial intelligence lab and founder of Heartland Robotics said,”Google is collecting the world’s data, so now it could be collecting the solar system’s data,” referring to Google’s fantasy of space elevators. According to the New York Times, in theory, they aim for rocket-less space travel along a cable anchored to Earth with these space elevators.

Crazy, huh?

An anonymous person dealing with the projects said that Google’s project of a car without a driver may be more than just an exotic idea. Google is thinking about making a business out of it and producing those cars here in the States. This project will take time and, if it does develop, will be years down the road.

Photo courtesy to

Robots seem to be the main ingredient in many of Google’s wishful ideas. These types of robots are trying to be set up to take care of humans or even go to work for us. People familiar with this type of robotics have been hired by Google from well known places such as Microsoft, Nokia Labs, MIT and New York University.

According to, Google X is also working on programs for the Android phone so users could possibly turn on a light bulb or coffee maker on at the touch of a button from their phone. Imagine just laying in your nice warm bed and when your alarm goes off, you grab your phone and start making a hot cup of joe without barely moving a muscle.

Google X has the potential to change Google, or life as we know it. But it sounds like they are being very careful with how they provide money for these outrageous projects.

“There are a few small, speculative projects happening at any one time, but we are very careful stewards of shareholders’ money,” said Mr. Page, with Google.

A couple of cost worthy errors could severely hurt Google, financially.

Photo courtesy of

Students at Penn Manor seem pretty excited about the new projects and have a few suggestions for Google X labs.

“I would want Google to make a time machine, I think that would be pretty sweet,” said Alex Sorce.

“Google should make a cat translator, I’m always very curious on why my cat is ‘meowing’,” said senior Brian Le.

“A machine that would make using the TV a lot easier, like a computer,” said Troy Diffenderfer.

“A time machine would be awesome,” said Ryland Overly.

“I’d probably invent something that would organize things like an app that would, like, make everything in my life easy to remember and like give me time lines and stuff, ” said senior Abby Buckwalter.

Abby, uh, it’s called the iPhone.  Just saying.

“An idea generator would be fun,” said Junior Suarez.

“I would want something that makes any food you want whenever you want it,” said Devin Sanchez.

“A flying car would be sweet,” said senior Em Sisson.

“Hmm, I don’t know, a solar powered car or something like that would be cool,” said senior Ashley Richards.

“I would like for a robot that looks exactly like me an does 100 percent everything for me so I could lay in my bed and sleep all day, to be invented,” said senior Brad Kruger.

Google X and its technological advances will be on our radar in the years to come.

iCloud Brings Ease to Sharing Technology

 By Frank Herr-

On very few occasions does the the advancement of technology lead to strides in simplicity. But along with apple’s 200+ updates and features, which comprise the new iOS 5 format, iCloud is light years beyond its time.

Cloud storage is essentially an online network that stores information on virtual pools of storage and are usually hosted by third person parties, such as Apple. Apple’s version, aptly dubbed ‘iCloud,’ has been anticipated for its months of development, leading up to its recent introduction.

Photo Courtesy of

This feature allows information such as data, photos, contacts and apps to be shared between all iOS devices. For instance, when a picture is taken with an iPhone, iCloud allows this photo to be stored on all similar devices, running with iOS 5 simultaneously. With virtually no effort, it is now possible to store all Apple content on all Apple devices.

“I think that it is a great innovation that apple has made for its products. It’s easy to use and allows you to basically share allow of your files between any of your apple devices whether it be an iPhone, iPad or iMac,” said Matt Noll, pleased with the capabilities of the new program.

Although there are various ‘cloud’ formats which rival apple’s take on the concept, none offer the effectiveness and simplicity associated with iCloud.

Apple has hyped their cloud service up for almost a year now and after boasting its capabilities while still in development, only 10.96 percent of users believe it to be what they had anticipated. The majority of folks are still blown away with the smooth, clean operation of the addition to apple’s futuristic arsenal.

As always, Apple has continued to delight its audience with its array of features. From apps such as ‘Rate a Fart’ to ‘iCloud,’ never before has it been more appropriate to say “there’s an app for that.”

Battlefield 3 Review

By Jacob Harvey –

The attempt at a realistic full-scale war video game has been attempted in the past but with its October 25 (27 in UK) release, Battlefield 3 seems to have outdone itself.

Battlefield 3 is a first person single-player shooter and action video game made by Electronic Arts with system link and online multiplayer capabilities allowing up to 24 players to play at once via Xbox live  or the PSNetwork on the console’s (PS3 and Xbox 360) and 64 players on the PC.

With full vehicle warfare with playable tanks, humvees, jets, boats, ATV’s,  and helicopters, Battlefield is the first video game released this year of it’s kind.

Battlefield is run on a new engine called Frostbite 2 which allowed the developers to program in better physics in the explosions and it allowed the developers to increase the amount of detail in the game.

image courtesy of

Of course Battlefield’s multiplayer features full scale combined arm’s battles. It is possible to go from a boat to a jet to a tank.

Depending on the vehicle under the players control there are three sets of controls which are classified under infantry controls. There are ground vehicle controls, which consists of tanks and boats and other vehicles that don’t leave the ground. Then there are the aerial controls.

With all the great graphics and advances in the games physics there is a sense of loneliness on the larger maps where enemy players are in short supply and hard to find. With only 24 players on the console playing in a full map meant for 64 players on the PC the scale of the map is off putting at first but on the smaller map game modes like squad deathmatch and team deathmatch the sense of scale is similar to Call of Duty 4.

Console systems simply couldn’t handle a full 64 player battle though so the producers were forced to lower the amount of players allowed on a map to cut down on lag and bandwidth issues. Which has already been a problem on the Xbox because the server’s were down yesterday because of a bandwidth issue. If EA doesn’t fix its servers it could be a serious issue that could make or break a game.

Another new addition is it’s co-op mode. This is mode features multiple scenarios that force you and one other team mate to work together to complete the map’s mission objective. Don’t be fooled though just because it says co-op there is no split-screen multiplayer in order to play with your friends you must play over the internet or system link (LAN connection) the two devices.

image courtesy of

Battlefield 3 was released with nine maps, 55 weapons, 27 weapon attachments that are awarded separately for each gun. There are 22 playable vehicles, 28 vehicle specializations, and 14 soldier specializations according to the GameInformer Battlefield 3 preview.

Also there are five playable online game modes which are.

Conquest: The objective of this game mode is to capture and hold control points placed throughout the map and to decrease the opposing teams ticket (respawn) count to zero before your teams reaches zero.

Rush: There are two sides to this conflict, an attacker and a defender. Attackers are charged with destroying multiple sets of 2 M-Com stations at a time before their ticket count reaches zero. Defenders are supposed to make sure that the M-Com stations aren’t destroyed and to make the attackers ticket count reach zero.

Team Deathmatch: A new game mode to Battlefield the object of this game is for 2 teams to battle and kill the opposing team 100 combined times. The first team to reach a combined kill count of 100 wins.
Squad Deathmatch: Another new game mode to Battlefield. Features four squads of four players each fighting each other to get the highest combined squad kill count.

Squad Rush: In squad rush there are two teams with four players each one attacking one defending with similar qualities to rush just not as many people and thus more complicated and tactical than its larger game mode counterpart.

In all, Battlefield 3 is one of the most anticipated game’s of 2011 and with awards like Game of the Year from E3 it is a good way to spend your money and makes a great holiday gift for all FPS fans.

Wii Are Penn Manor – Gamers Critique New System

By Kevin Holton –

Will YOU be buying the new Wii U?

Nintendo’s all new, sleek design has made some Penn Manor students quiver with excitement while others couldn’t care less.

“Its not worth the money because there’s not much of a difference between the Wii and the Wii U,” said Brady Charles, a Penn Manor junior.

Nintendo has unveiled information about their new game console that will be released sometime in 2012.  The new system introduces an all new controller with a 6.2” built in touch screen.  The Wii U is unlike any other game system.

“I’m excited to try the touch screen,” said Penn Manor junior Jaun Cubano.

The all new Wii U will completely change the way video games are played. Photo courtesy of

According to Nintendo, the controller shares some of the features of the Nintendo 3ds and can show exactly what is on the tv screen along with different views that cant be seen on the TV screen.  The controller also has motion sensors so you can move your hands or your whole body to change your view on the screen.

While the controller is the most significant new feature of the Wii U, its not the only one.

“I think it will be a lot better then the first Wii,” said Penn Manor senior Alex Cummins.

The Wii U will also be able to produce full 1080p HD quality which will be a giant step forward.  The console will still be able to support original Wii games and controls but original games will not deliver the High-Definition quality.

The Wii U will allow players to save there game progress or anything from the console onto a flash drive or an SD memory card.  The disks will also be smaller in size then a normal DVD.

While the new system is still in production, Nintendo feels it will be a success although some Penn Manor students are still not sure..

“I’m anxious to see how it turns out, so well see,” said Penn Manor Senior Matt Noll.



Steve Jobs Leaves Behind Legacy, Questions

By Sarah Schaeffer –

Last Wednesday, a visionary passed away, leaving behind not only a legacy, but questions regarding its future.

Co-founder and CEO of Apple Steve Jobs’ struggle with pancreatic cancer was no secret, however the loss still left many in shock, wondering where the future of Apple may lie.

“[Jobs] looked at design and development as a poet and as an artist,” said Shawn Canady, technology integration coordinator at Penn Manor.

Steve Jobs speaks about one of his iPhone products. Photo courtesy of

“Apple and Steve Jobs were so entwined,” said Charlie Reisinger, Penn Manor’s head of technology, “Apple might lose that edge.”

“The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented,” said President Barack Obama in a statement commemorating the life and loss of Jobs.

Jobs made modern technology more accessible to the public as it began to grown and change, said Canady. This being one of the reasons Jobs left behind a major legacy.

Jobs began his work with Apple in the 1970s, walking with the developing technology to its future. Jobs can be credited for his work on revolutionary devices such as the Apple II (a large, word-processing macintosh computer) and, more recently, the iPod, iPad and iPhone 4s, revealed one day before his death.

The loss of Jobs may be synonymous with the loss of such outstanding creativity, according to Reisinger, but Reisinger still sees success in Apple’s future.

“Apple will definitely move on,” said Reisinger. “Steve Jobs set Apple up so they wouldn’t suffer without him.”

An iSad logo, celebrating Steve Jobs. Photo courtesy of gadget.featster.

“I don’t think it will change,” said senior Becca Hess. “[Jobs] set up such an expectation. Just because [Jobs died] doesn’t mean Macs won’t have the same high standard to live up to.”

“It’s amazing how many people depend on [Jobs’] products in everyday life,” said senior Aaron Alleman. “[Apple] won’t change, they just don’t have the same image now that they don’t have Steve Jobs as a figurehead.”

Reisinger also mentioned a “deep pipeline of undisclosed products” which Apple may have in store from Jobs’ work before his illness.

Even in the short time that has passed, many icons and logos have been popping up around the web in memory of Jobs, including the Mac apple with a tear, an inverted apple with Jobs’ silhouette on the side and a frowning “Finder” face. These “iSad” tributes are only a small sample of the world’s reactions to this unfortunate loss.

“Very few people in this world are game-changing visionaries. [Jobs] was one of those people,” said Canady.

AT&T Broadband Customers Obtain New Data Cap

By Ryan Krause –

Is 150GB enough data to last you a month?

Well, whether or not you like it, AT&T users will have to comply.

On May 2, 2011 AT&T applied a new data cap to their broadband users of 150GB per month. And every 50GB over that costs an additional $10.

Now, should you be worried? Or will that only affect the data-consuming Torrent users?

Actually yes, you should be worried.

With today’s ability to stream movies over sites like Hulu and YouTube it is very easy to hit the limit if you’re a media user.

An average HD video being streamed consumes about 2GB per hour and a standard video anywhere from 0.3GB to 1GB per hour.

The AT&T logo. Image copyrighted by AT&T.

That could eat one’s data up to the cap pretty quickly if there’s multiple users on that one network. AT&T claims that only two percent of their customers are expected to breach that cap.

According to, AT&T said that an average user uses about 18GB per month.

But what about enthusiasts who game daily online? Or have daily updates from programs?

One may be thinking, “Hey, this program will provide me with this information! It can’t hurt to slap on top of the other ones I have running in the background.”

But, it all adds up. Especially with weekly updates from online games that can be a couple GB.

And how about iTunes and other media distributors online that focus on downloading their products? Steam, a digital distributor for games, has everything focused around downloading all their games. And a majority of them can be anywhere from 50MB to 12GB.

Luckily for the AT&T “U-verse” members, (ones who pay extra to have internet, TV and phone access) they are capped at 250GB per month. That’s the same amount of a cap as Comcast’s.


What Microsoft May Do with Skype

By Ryan Krause –

They spent 8.5 billion dollars on it, but now what?

On May 10, 2011 Microsoft bought Skype for 8.5 billion dollars in cash. According to MaximumPC, both Google and Facebook were also interested in this service.

But Microsoft won and it may be a great move by them.

Microsoft could license parts of Skype to Facebook and earn money that way. Plus buying Skype before Google keeps them from owning every big thing on the web.

Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer gave a speech on the acquisition of Skype when they released the information.

Miscosoft and Skype together. Image owned by

According to CNN the following five possibilities of Skype were discussed in his speech:

1. Integration with Xbox Live.

According to CNN, about 10 million users have a camera connected to their Xbox 360. Having Skype added to Xbox Live would open the possibility of video and voice chat support.

2. Application to Windows Phones.

Having a solid application with the Windows based phones would boost their popularity. Let’s be honest, the iOS and Droid based phones overshadow the Windows devices.

3. Addition to Facebook.

It would be great for both Facebook and it’s users to have video chat integrated into the regular Facebook chat. With Microsoft owning rights to Skype, they could easily license it to Facebook and earn a lot of money from it.

4. Beef up Hotmail.

Hotmail may have tons of users world wide, but how many are actually excited about it? Skype’s technology would allow more attractive additions to Hotmail and could potentially boost its popularity.

5. Be at a meeting without actually being there.

Cisco is known as the largest corporation for telecommunication according to CNN. And with Microsoft owning rights to Skype, Microsoft’s big name could boost the popularity of itself. Maybe even over Cisco. It’s rumored that there will be integration with Microsoft Office with this newly acquired technology.

Can Microsoft successfully pull all this off without losing money?

Is there a chance that additional fees will be introduced?

PlayStation Network Hacked, Credit Card Information Possibly Stolen

By Ryan Krause –

Just because it’s free, doesn’t always mean it’s reliable.

Picture this: You come home after a long day at school, sit down to relax and play some “Portal 2” in co-operative mode with a friend via the PlayStation Network (PSN) and you find out that the network isn’t up. You think, “Oh, must just need some maintenance  and it’ll be up fairly soon.” So you continue on through your daily routine without your Play Station 3.

Well, this isn’t the case.

At the time of this article being written, we’re dragging on to three weeks that the network has been down.  And people are, well, they’re pretty upset about it.

The Sony PlayStation 3. Image owned by Sony.

Penn Manor senior Trevor Troop said, “I feel that whoever is responsible for this should pay.”

Troop is a PlayStation 3 owner and enjoys his free online experience.

The PlayStation Network is the online hub for PS3 gamers to access online multi-player and other applications for download. The PSN is largely popular because of the fact that it’s free, and Xbox Live is not.

What caused the PSN to be down?

There’s speculation that because Sony sued George Hotz, the creator of the PS3 firmware hack aptly titled “GeoHot” for infringing copyrighted material, the online group titled “Anonymous” is the source of the cause. The GeoHot mod is a gateway for allowing pirated games to be downloaded and played on a modded PS3 console, of course Sony did not approve of this publicly released program.

Troop said, “I blame whoever did it, not Sony.”

But who is this “Anonymous?”

Wikipedia defines the group “Anonymous” as, “An Internet meme originating 2003 on the imageboard 4chan, representing the concept of many online community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic, digitized global brain.”

Rumors point towards them because two things.

One: it’s assumed that they want to get back at Sony for suing a fellow hacker.

Two: They’ve “claimed” that they did it.

Since the group is made up of thousands of people connected via the Internet, there will probably never be a legit answer. But many from that community have claimed to have done it. Sony has said otherwise.

MaximumPC writes, “Sony’s PlayStation Twitter account, however, claims the service is undergoing ‘sporadic maintenance.'”

Members from the online community have come up with their own “solution” titled “Codename: Rebug.” It was a workaround that allowed users who had a modded PS3 to connect to the PSN even though it was blocked from the regular users. But don’t buy into it; the mod actually stole information from the user. The trouble began when users found out that stolen credit card information from others could be used to download applications from PSN.

Now, Sony “believes” there is a possibility that subscribers to the PSN could possibly have vital personal information stolen.

“Although we are still investigating the details of this incident, we believe that an unauthorized person has obtained the following information that you provided: name, address (city, state, zip), country, email address, birthdate, PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login, and handle/PSN online ID. It is also possible that your profile data, including purchase history and billing address (city, state, zip), and your PlayStation Network/Qriocity password security answers may have been obtained,” Sony stated in a recent Play Station Blog post.

Will Sony be able to recover from this downfall?

Troop thinks so, “Oh yeah, they’re a good company with loyal customers.”

The War on Stink Bugs Entering a new Phase

By Kira Hess –

What’s eating Gilbert’s grapes?

The brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) has been affecting us all. They are outside, in our homes, and their stink goes up our nose. To most of us, they are just an annoying pest.  However, the damage they do to our farmers crops is devastating. Local farmers are gearing up to fight the stink bug as the bugs are planning a fresh attack on what our county is known for – fresh produce.

First found in Allentown, Pa. in 1998, the stink bug is now in 33 states in the United States. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the stink bug damaged 20 to 100 percent of the fruit crops in some areas last year.

The stink bug feeds on all fruits and vegetables.

The annoying stink bug is damaging local crops. Photo by Kira Hess

“Damage can be seen by observing a sunken appearance in the surface of fruit. Evidence of feeding is left under the skin in the flesh and shows as a dark spot,” said Tom Haas, owner of Cherry Hill Orchards which is located in New Danville.

The insects can be controlled by direct insecticide applications. “You can spray for them, and it will only kill what’s there so more can come in. You have to spray continuously,” said Haas. “Prevention from BMSB feeding is difficult.”

“It’s a very timely and costly thing,” said Robert Bachman, a farmer in Washington Boro.

Adult stink bugs come out in April and May, and can produce 4-6 generations. One female can lay about 25 eggs, and can continue to do so until about September or October.

“Based on the last several seasons, it would be safe to assume that we will sustain damage again this season,” said Haas. While Bachman agreed and presumes that this year will be much worse.

The USDA is currently studying an Asian parasitic wasp, which preys on stink bug eggs. It lays its own eggs in the stink bug eggs, and when the wasp larva hatches it feeds on the developing stink bugs.

“It will be several years before this can be released, if at all. If decided that it will not cause a problem it could be released.  However, it will take years for the population to build up to be able to help with control,” said Haas.

According to USA Today, researchers with the USDA are “conducting trials on four species of Trissolcus wasps to see how well they target the brown marmorated stink bug egg masses in a quarantined, lab setting. If all goes well, federal officials could one day approve the tiny wasps as a natural control for brown marmorated stink bugs.”

Bachman said, “As long as they don’t kill other beneficial bugs, don’t hurt people and they don’t turn out to be a problem, I don’t mind (the use of wasps).”

Do you call 911 or Poke Them?

By Alexander Sanchez-Cruz –

Now instead of calling 911 to report a criminal or suspicious activity, you can just poke law enforcement or message them for help on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Social websites like Facebook, Twitter and Myspace try to help out police departments by creating pages devoted to wanted criminals and the apprehension of them.

Police officers use these pages and even post on social media to help apprehend criminals but sometimes they go too far.

Some police officers can’t post videos, crime photos or another kind of police information. Police departments across the country are struggling with setting appropriate boundaries for their officers concerning social networking..

Officer Trey Economindy of Albuquerque is on desk duty for posting on Facebook that the purpose of his job is to be a “human waste disposal.”  Now he is saying that “[it was] extremely inappropriate and a lapse in judgment on my part.”

Multiple cases like this have been happening since social networks were created and are still happening.

Economindy may get off lucky and keep his job.

In a New york case, an officer had a weapons change on him for listing his mood on Myspace as “devious”  and wrote on Facebook  that he was in the movie “Training Day” to “brush up on proper police procedure.”

The advice to police officers is the same given to teens: be careful what you post on the internet. You can get in trouble before someone is even a police officer.