Get the latest news alerts: at Twitter.
A roundup of the latest high-tech news “Hot off the Wire” from The Associated Press and Local Tech Wire:
• Kodak’s new kiosks create photo collage in seconds
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Eastman Kodak Co. has a new trick for its retailer kiosks: a hassle-free way to create photo collages that fit various frames with precut cardboard mats.
The picture-taking pioneer has been scrambling to counter eroding profits from photo processing over the last decade by reeling in custom-photo customers via retail channels. In typical fashion, its PYNK Smart Print system will try to catch the eye of the hustling masses.
"We’re opening up a whole new print-to-fit category," said Rowan Lawson, a marketing director in Kodak’s consumer digital group. "It goes back to Kodak’s DNA: ‘You press the button, we do the rest.’
"With the advent of digital photography, nobody has properly solved putting multiple photos together at the press of one button. If you don’t make it that simple, it’s not going to happen."
Kodak unveiled the new kiosk software Monday on the eve of Photokina, the world’s largest photo-products trade show held annually in Cologne, Germany. The company has installed 100,000 self-service kiosks at retail businesses worldwide since 1993 and will roll out the collage option beginning Dec. 1 at 5,000 CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide.
The patented technology automatically enlarges, shrinks, crops, aligns and arranges as many as 13 images on one print.
The catch? The system is packaged to pull in a tidy profit. Aside from the collage, customers must also purchase a mat with anywhere from two to 13 slots for photos of various sizes, or a frame with a mat. A 6-by-8-inch print plus an 8-by-10 frame will retail for $17; an 8-by-10-inch print and mat will cost $11.
• Yahoo opens data center in NY, will employ 100
LOCKPORT, N.Y. — Yahoo Inc. picked a cool and breezy spot in upstate New York to build the new data center it opened Monday and put the elements to work to keep it cool.
The long and narrow "chicken coop" design of three server buildings and their placement downwind of Lake Ontario will let California-based Yahoo save on energy costs by using outdoor air, prevailing winds and low-cost hydropower to remove heat.
"It doesn’t get that hot in New York so we’re always bringing in outside air and re-circulating it," Scott Noteboom, vice president of data center operations, said in advance of the opening in Lockport, 30 miles north of Buffalo.
The "Yahoo Computing Coop" design earned a $9.9 million sustainability grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. An average of less than 1 cent of every dollar spent on electricity will go toward cooling, Yahoo officials said as they formally opened the Niagara County site.
A fourth building in the complex houses an operations center which will monitor the network around the world and a customer care center to field calls, said Yahoo executives, who see the efficiency-driven, multifunction project as the future of Internet data centers.
"The data center really does have to transition from being this niche facility into a real efficient factory, just like any other manufacturing facility," Noteboom said. "We’re manufacturing bits versus other industries that may manufacture cars or electricity."
Overall, the center uses at least 40 percent less energy and 95 percent less water than conventional data centers, Yahoo said.
The 155,000-square-foot center will employ 100 people at first, with the potential for expansion and more hires later, the company said.
Based in Sunnyvale, Calif., Yahoo has been expanding its number of data centers around the country.
• Germany seeks Internet data protection code
BERLIN — Germany’s government urged the Internet industry on Monday to produce a voluntary data protection code to cover services like Google Inc.’s "Street View" mapping service.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere met with representatives of Google and Apple Inc. among others after Google’s plans to introduce "Street View" in Germany ignited concerns in the privacy-conscious country over the extent to which people’s personal data are accessible on the Internet.
De Maiziere said he proposed that the industry draw up a data protection code by Dec. 7, and "this met with approval."
The industry should commit to "data protection-friendly basic settings" and give information "in a user-friendly way" about the gathering and intended use of data, the minister said.
A voluntary code could "make special legislative regulations unnecessary, at least in part," de Maiziere said, although he conceded that Germany’s Cabinet has yet to reach a final agreement on the extent to which regulation is needed.
The justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, said she could envision a mixture of a voluntary code and legislation.
In an e-mailed statement, Google said: "The legislator must make sure that in addition to the requirements of data protection, the development of innovative business opportunities and modern technology are allowed to flourish."