Antivirus Trouble, Emergency Power and Hacking Kinect

My good friend, Keith, who describes himself as "a recovering physicist", just posted an interesting item to his blog titled "Did Sophos Free A-V for Mac kill my Time Machine backups?" If you use Apple's Time Machine and you're thinking of running Sophos antivirus product, or for that matter, any antivirus product, this is worth a read because it looks like Keith has uncovered a nettlesome problem.

First up this week, Duracell has added a new device to its myGrid line which I discussed a few weeks ago: The myGrid USB Charger, a rechargeable battery pack with a built-in myGrid interface.

Duracell's existing line of reserve battery packs are really useful if your cell phone starts to run out of juice, particularly when you're travelling. These products come in several configurations, including the Powerhouse USB charger, which has a 3.7V/2000 mAh capacity and can charge two devices at once.

The Powerhouse has a built-in swinging mini-USB arm you plug into devices to be recharged and a mini-USB port for recharging from any computer USB port or adapter. I've used this with several cell phones (BlackBerries for example), but for phones such as the my favorite, the HTC Incredible, which has a micro USB port, you'll need a mini USB to micro USB adapter.

The new product, the myGrid USB Charger ($34.99), adds a myGrid interface to a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery pack making it pretty mindless to keep it fully charged -- you just drop it on a myGrid pad and it sucks up juice.

Duracell claims the device, at 3.7V/1800mAh, can provide at least four hours of power for smartphones such as the iPhone and latest BlackBerry models, at least 100 hours of reading on e-readers such as the Kindle, at least 30 hours on MP3 players and at least 10 hours on Bluetooth headsets.

The myGrid USB Charger doesn't have a USB swing arm but instead comes with a short cable that ends in a micro USB connector, but also comes with a micro USB to mini USB adapter. This is definitely Road Warrior weaponry -- just don't try to boost the run time of your iPad (it's got a huge 3.7V, 6400mAh battery, which will suck down the charger in next to no time). I'll give the Duracell myGrid USB Charger a rating of 5 out of 5.

(Talking of being on the road, check out this blog about going through security at San Francisco airport. Written by John Tyner, it shows that just when you thought air travel couldn't get any worse, you find your security choices are either too much radiation or getting groped by the TSA.)

And finally, remember the computer display Tom Cruise used in the movie "Minority Report"? Wouldn't you like to have that as your computer interface? The recently released Kinect controller for Microsoft's Xbox 360 may make this a reality. The Kinect consists of microphones with voice recognition software and a camera with face recognition software that also tracks your body movements. All of that data is used as input to games.

A company by the name of Adafruit Industries offered a $3,000 bounty for the first person to develop open source drivers for Kinect, and within just a few days demos were being shown online -- the most intriguing being a Minority Report-style multi-touch interface.

The Adafruit prize was won by Hector Martin. Awesome! Can you imagine driving your PC or Linux system with this interface?

And a favor: In preparation for some future Gearhead columns, I want to know your thoughts about Apple's iPad. How does it fit into your life and your company? What apps do you love and which ones are to be avoided? What add-ons do you use? Have you tried jail-breaking your iPad? And, most importantly, what's missing?

Tell Gibbs (who is in Ventura, Calif.) everything. Confession, which is good for the soul, to gearhead@gibbs.com.

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For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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