Friday, October 12, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 10/11/2012

Dish backs off from making Blockbuster a Netflix competitor
Dish CEO Charlie Ergen announced that he is backing off from positioning Blockbuster as a Netflix competitor. Interestingly, it was because Dish hasn't been approved to use it's satellite spectrum for terrestrial usage which undermines a part of Dish's business model for selling hardware for streaming video.

Spotify loses $61 million
Internet golden boy Spotify is gaining users and doubling sales, but it's bleeding cash. It lost $61 million on sales of $244 million.

Second screen examples
If you're curious about what second screen apps are, this article give several great examples. My favorite is feeding Cookie Monster cookies and he counts them.

Connected devices to out number people 6 to 1 by 2020
The International Telecommunications Union's latest “State of Broadband” report states by 2020 connected devices will out number people 6 to 1. In my house, they out-number us 6 to 1 already.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 10/10/2012

Oyster to be the Spotify of books
First there was Netflix with all-you-can-watch DVDs. Then Spotify gave us all-you-can-listen to music. Now Oyster is looking to give you all-you-can-read ebooks for a monthly fee. It just got funding so lets see where it goes. 

New standard for wireless speakers
To push forward wireless speakers, Wireless Speaker and Audio (WiSA) Association was formed. Now they've released a compliance test specification to improve inter-operability. How will Monster Cable over-charge for wireless speaker wires? 

Google Cultural Institute releases 42 web exhibits
On the Internet that is known more for rule 34 and pictures of kittens, Google is trying to do some good with the Google Cultural Institute. Starting today it will host 42 web exhibits ranging from Queen Elizabeth's coronation to the fight against apartheid. 

The Tesla Link of the Day
As most geeks, I have a little hero worship for the great and wonderful Tesla. If you don't, here's a link to seven videos about Tesla to turn you. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 10/09/2012

Google brings movies to GoogleTV
Google updated Google Play for GoogleTV to support buying and renting movies. This closes one of the big holes for GoogleTV. Content plus $99 devices could be the kickstart GoogleTV needs.

Boxee rumored to release a cord cutters dream box
The Verge got their hands on a beta Boxee TV box that could be the ultimate cord cutters box. It supports over-the-air HD channels, DVR functionality and the laundry list of web video services like Netflix, YouTube and Vudu.

California passes bill to support open source college text books
California governor Jerry Brown signed two bills that will fund the creation of college level textbooks that will be under the Creative Common Attribution License. This will allow anyone to print or modify the textbooks for use in class. When will someone do this for elementary and high school textbooks?

Stewart/O'Reilly debate breaks on-line streaming
The only thing that will kill on-line video is it's own success coming too soon. For example, Rumble 2012 was a debate between Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly at George Washington University. You could watch it on-line for $4.95, unless the servers crashed and you didn't get to see it. That's what happened to many of the viewers.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 10/03/2012

Neil Young jumps into audio formats
Neil Young showed up on The Late Show and showed a prototype of the Pono music player. The Pono will use a high resolution audio format whose quality will greatly exceed the quality of MP3.

Half of all Americans have a smartphone or tablet
A recent survey shows that 50% of U.S. adults own a smartphone or a tablet. Just remember the iPhone was introduced in 2007 and now smartphones are out selling PCs.

MoviePass is Netflix for theaters
MoviePass is an innovative way to try to get people back to theaters  It is a Netflix-like monthly subscription for as many movies as you want to go see.

iPad Mini Rumors Flying
With pictures of the rumored iPad mini showing up all over, the release date is now rumored to be October 17th, unless of course it's delayed.

Condon Link of the Day: Google Wallet for Web Content
Here's an innovative project from Google, micropayments for web content. For more information on it, check this article on CNET. I think it's really cool because my son worked on it.


Monday, October 1, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 09/29/2012

Google releases Field Trip app for Android
Google has released an android app, Field Trip. Field Trip is a location based app that sends you notifications whenever you're near items of interest. I have to give Google credit, with apps like this, Google Goggles, and Gesture Search, they have put out some of the most innovative apps on smartphones.

Zeebox launches in the US
UK based Zeebox is one of the most successful second screen apps and now it's available in the US. Zeebox is a mix of a social app and TV guide, showing you what your friends are watching. It's touted as the future of the program guide.

Rumor of the Day: $99 Nexus 7
With the release of the new Amazon tablets and the rumored iPad mini, the rumor mill has Google raising the playing field with a new HD nexus at $199 and the original nexus 7 at $99. I don't know if it's true, but I want it to be.

NFC business cards
Moo.com is looking to bring business cards to the 21st century by adding NFC. With these cards, your NFC reader on your phone can import the information using it's built in NFC hardware, unless of course you have an iPhone 5.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 09/26/2012

TI pulling out of the mobile market
TI, who produces the chipsets behind the Amazon Fire, has decided to pull out of the mobile market. One of the reasons cited is top sellers Apple and Samsung both decided to produce their own chip rather than go with a 3rd party chip manufacturer. This limits the upside of the mobile market. TI said they will re-focus on the embedded markets like automotive, vision and robotics.

Apple A6 Teardown
iFixit has an in-depth teardown of Apple's new A6 processor. Interestingly, Apple laid out the ARM cores in the processor by hand rather than use computer automation. This should make the A6 fast, but makes Apple the first chip manufacturer in years to do this.

Operation Unlike unleashed
Facebook has started Operation Unlike. Facebook is deleting fake accounts and the associated likes for each. This has cause several pages to lose thousands of users. For example, Zynga's Texas HoldEm Poker lost 96,000 fans today.

We're watching more web video on TV than PCs
While cord cutting isn't taking off as advertised, connected TVs are making an impact on how we watch web video. NPD announced that for the first time, consumers are watching more web video on their TVs (33%) than on their PCs (31%).

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 09/25/2012

Will your next computer be a mirror? 
MIT is doing work on a bathroom mirror that contains a computer, touch screen and camera. Why? The first application is medical. MIT has already demonstrated the ability to check your pulse, and this article has videos demonstrating it's usage as a hub for medical information.

California approves driver-less cars
California has joined Arizona in approving driver-less cars. Of course, Sergey Brin from Google was there wearing his Google Glass eyewear.

Rumor of the Day: Intel states Windows 8 will release before it's ready
In a private Intel event, Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel, was rumored to say that Microsoft's Windows 8 is going to be released before it's fully ready, and will push out an update to fix issues. This same strategy backfired with Vista, giving Vista a reputation for being buggy and unstable.

An Android tablet for $59.99
If you are looking for the cheapest tablet available, the Matrix One is leading pack at $59.99. It's not the fastest with a single core 1.5Ghz processor, 512 MB of memory, and 4GB of storage, vs. the Nexus 7 having a quad core processor, 1GB of memory and 8GB of storage for $199. However, it does run a fairly recent Android release, Ice Cream Sandwich, and comes with the Google Play Store. Not bad for less than $60.

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 09/24/2012

Nissan Leafs having battery problems
Reports are coming in that the Nissan Leaf's batteries are quickly losing battery life. In mostly hot areas, the Nissan's batteries are reported to be dropping from 73 miles per charge to 59 miles. Nissan is claiming this is because people are driving too much? This could be a large problem for electric cars, especially since Nissan is stating this kind of deterioration is expected after 5 years of usage.

Intel Smartphones don't support LTE
When will we see Intel based Smart Phones in the USA? Evidently when Intel supports LTE, coming in the beginning of 2013. Expect a number of announcements at CES.

Do you need 4K? 
Here's one of the few articles that start to explain the need for 4K in a reasonable manner. I don't know if I agree, but it is interesting that there are studies saying the immersive effect of an 84" display adds to the realism of TV.

Interview with the "Queen of the Internet"
Mary Meeker provides some of the most insightful talks on the state of the internet to the point where she is known as "The Queen of the Internet". Here's a great interview with her at Wired.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 09/20/2012

Apple's new Map App having hiccups
With the release of iOS 6, Apple introduced a new map app. It replaced Google supplied Maps with a Nokia based Map Engine. So far, the reviews are less than stellar. Don't worry, Apple says it will get better.

Roku's Streaming Stick to be released
The darling of CES last year was the Roku Streaming Stick. It's a Roku box the size of a USB thumb drive. It plugs into a MHL compatible HDMI port on your TV, and with no power supply or remote, turns your TV into a Roku streaming device. It's going to start shipping in October and it's only $99, but you will need a TV with MHL which just started to be introduced late last year.

Netgear announces Miracast compatible streaming boxes
Netgear unveiled three streaming video NeoTV boxes. Besides playing back streaming internet video, they are also WiDi and Miracast compatible, allowing for Airplay-like screen mirroring from Intel Laptops and other Miracast compatible devices.

TDK announces a speaker that will wirelessly charge your phone
TDK's Wireless Charging Cube uses the Qi wireless charging standard to charge your phone while acting as a bluetooth speaker for playing back music from your phone. Plus, it's splash proof for use in the kitchen. Of course, your phone might not be.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 09/19/2012

Nintendo announce TVii
TVii is an application for Nintendo's Wii U tablet controller that allows you to use your Wii U gamepad to select and playback videos on your TV. It also integrates to your TiVo, or cable box to control Live TV or DVR recorded shows.

Motorola introduces new Intel based Android phone
The Motorola RAZR i is the first Motorola phone using the Intel Medfield processor. This is a result of a partnership that started before Motorola was purchased by Google. The phone will be shipped in European and South American markets. Maybe the US will have to wait for the new Clover Trail processor from Intel before we get hold of an Intel based phone.

WiFi Alliance announces Miracast certification program
Miracast is the open standard from WiFi Alliance that enables Airplay like screen mirroring. The WiFi Alliance has announced a certification program to ensure compatibility between devices, which includes Intel's WiDi enabled devices. Companies like Sony, LG, and Samsung have signed up to support Miracast.

Makerbot announces 100 micron resolution 3d printer
The Replicator 2 is the new 3d printer from Makerbot. The Replicator 2 has a print resolution of a 100 micron making it one of the most accurate and smooth 3d printers on the market. 100 microns is about the thickness of a piece of paper.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 09/17/2012

iPhone 5 Announced
Apple announced the new iPhone 5. Although it's a big improvement over the iPhone 4S, including a faster processor, a bigger display, thinner and LTE support, it was missing the NFC and wireless charging it was rumored to have.

Google buys Nix
In a me-too type move, Google purchased Nix, an Instagram like photo app for iOS. Maybe Google's trying to figure out how to deflate it's stock price.

The Cloud Hiccups
In the past week, iCloud, Github and GoDaddy all had service outages. While the cloud seems to be gaining momentum, outages like this will set back adoption.

Google+ hits a 100 million active users
Google announced that Google+ hit 100 million active users. Unfortunately, Google didn't breakdown how many users were posting versus using Google Hangouts and chat, which are now integrated into Google+.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 09/11/2012

Amazon announces new Kindle Fires
Amazon had a press release announcing a larger 8.9 inch Kindle Fire HD that comes in at 200 dollars less than the equivalent iPad. Although it has built in ads (that can be turned off for $15), it will be interesting to see if it impacts iPad sales.

Apple planning to roll out Pandora competitor
Apples is rumored to be looking at releasing an ad based streaming service similar to Pandora. Pandora's stock dropped 17 percent on this news.

California looking to block usage based car insurance
Usage based insurance is a big topic for car insurance. You may have heard of Progressives' Snapshot, a policy which puts a device in your car and discounts your insurance based on how you drive. California is looking to limit how personal information is used to calculate insurance rates, based on keeping the rates stable for a customer.

Email turns 30
The program that first used the term "EMAIL" was copyrighted on August 30, 1982, making email 30 years old. Unfortunately, since 2009, more people are using social networks than email. I guess people don't trust any app over 30.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 08/31/2012

Atari and Microsoft bring Centipede to the web
Atari and Microsoft have worked together to bring classic Atari 2600 games to the web with a touch interface. There is also an SDK and store for developers to make and sell their own games.

The rumors of Apple patenting pinch to zoom exaggerated
One on the patents Samsung was ruled to have infringed on is 7,884,915 or '915 pinch to zoom, as it's now known. However it's a specific manner on implementing it that Google has now worked around in Android 4.1, so Android users can keep on pinching.

HBO Go supporting streaming-only subscription
HBO Go announced it will support streaming-only subscriptions, but only in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark. This came hours after Netflix announced it was bringing it's service to the same countries. Unfortunately, HBO is stating this does not mean it's bringing this service to North America.

Is Samsung benefiting from the Apple's victory?
In the days following the verdict in the Apple/Samsung lawsuit, Samsung Galaxy S3 phone sales have been reported to be outselling iPhones. Granted it's a limited data set but it goes along with this G+ article in which  people in a Starbucks now believe Samsung's products are just as good as Apple's at a lower cost.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 08/30/2012

Google to announce Intel Motorola Android phone
Google and Intel are planning an announcement on September 18th. This is reported to be the Medfield based Android phone Intel and Google were working on earlier this year.

Google plans to sell Motorola Home Group
It's rumored that Google is hiring Barclays to sell the Motorola Home division of Motorola Mobility. Motorola Home is the set top box group of Mobility. This could imply that Google is going to focus on GoogleTV OTT boxes like the ones from Sony, Vizio and HiSense, versus trying to push it into service provider boxes for people like Comcast or Cablevision.

Here comes the Android based cameras
We've seen the smart phone OS Android extended to support tablets and SmartTV platforms. Now the next  class of Android devices are Android based cameras or "smartphamera". Nikon, Samsung and Polaroid are all releasing Android based cameras. Will people buy a smartphamera for a better camera if it's a poorer Android device than their phones?

Intel demos wireless phone charging
Intel and IDT demoed wireless charging of a smartphone from an Intel Ultrabook. While not available today, in the next year or two, you may be able to charge your cell phone by sitting it next to your laptop.

Researchers steal PIN numbers by reading brainwaves
In a bonus link, researchers used a brainwave headset to steal PIN numbers from users by showing numbers to them, and detecting brainwave spikes when they were shown numbers in their PIN. They were successful 30% of the time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 08/29/2012

Java exploit in the wild
Java 1.7 has a security hole allowing attackers to install exploits in computers whose browsers are using it. To find out if you have Java 1.7 installed, go to java.com, and click on "Do I have Java?". If you do have Java 1.7, here's a link that shows you how to disable it.

Qualcomm releases a quad-core Snapdragon processor
While nVidia beat Qualcomm to the punch by releasing a quad-core processor for cell phones and tablets, Qualcomm's announced S4 comes to market on the LG Optimus G with some impressive features. First, Qualcomm's cores can all run at different speeds, allowing for better battery life if you don't need all that processing power. In addition, it is the only processor with LTE support built in.

Apple announces AirPlay Direct
Apple is preparing to launch AirPlay Direct. This is an update to their AirPlay technology that allows for streaming video and audio between devices to work without the devices having to be on a WiFi network.

RIP: Neil Armstrong
Neil Armstrong passed away last Saturday. A sad moment for one of the original people that made everyone want to grow up to be an astronaut.
It suddenly struck me that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- Neil Armstrong

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 08/24/2012

Apple wins lawsuit with Samsung
Apple won it's lawsuit against Samsung, and was awarded more than $1 billion dollars. Unfortunately, with all the issues with the jury's verdict, it is fairly reasonable to think that it won't hold up on appeal. The jury awarded money on devices that they ruled didn't infringe on patents, stated they didn't consider prior art due to it "bogging" them down, and finally stated that they wanted the award to punish Samsung even while the judge instructed them to not base the award on punishment. Of course, this didn't stop Apple from trying to stop imports of 8 different Samsung devices.

Samsung announces a transparent display
In a little innovation of it's own, Samsung announced a transparent display at IFA. The main market is digital signage, since it will allow advertising on the window in front of the merchandise.

4K devices to start hitting the market
LG announced a 4K TV in the Korean market, and coming to the US in September. What will you hook up to that display? How about your Sony PS4 which is rumored to support 4K output. Of course, Sony will sell you a 4K TV also. Not to be out done, ITU has announced it approved the standard for 8K UHDTV.

Who inherits your iTunes library? 
Marketwatch has an interesting article on the inheritance issues with digital media. Since Apple and Amazon content is tied to an account, it can't be divided between heirs. This is soon going to start causing a lot of litigation in probate court.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 08/19/2012

Apple TV mini iPad rumors
The much rumored iPad mini and iTV are supposedly in production. I guess I'll believe it when I see it. Until that time, here's a timeline of every iPod, iPhone and iPad produced.

Robots in the news
Robotics have been taking off in the press, and it's a little of the good, the lame, and really I don't know. Sandia labs have come up with a robot hand to help disable bombs and it comes with detachable fingers. That's good. The lame is this camouflage robot that looks like they just inject ink in to plastic. Really? The "I don't really know" is this iPad with wheels. It allows you to control it from another iPad allowing you to move around in remote places. Sounds neat, but watch the video. Is this the natural evolution of social networking where we'll sit in our rooms and never meet face to face? I hope not.

NASA patch successful
Earlier, I mentioned that NASA was going to try to do a software update on Curiosity. Give those space nerd props. They did it and it went off without a hitch.

Google sues Apple
In on-going lawsuit news, Google is now suing Apple for patent infringement. This time it's over email and location notifications. I don't think you're allowed to sell cell phones without suing someone anymore.




Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 08/15/2012

More Info on Apple's TV Vision
More information is coming out on what Apple wants to do with cable providers. It sounds like Apple wants to create a cloud based DVR which would allow you to watch any show once it has been broadcast. Now that seems cool, an infinite, always on DVR.

Disney Research creates texture on anything
Disney Research has created a device called REVEL that can create a tactile sensation on any object. By using an electrostatic charge, it can simulate any texture on an object. I'm a little iffy on the use cases but it's pretty neat.

Police can use your friends to get information from your Facebook page
A federal judge ruled that information gained from an informant from your Facebook page is admissible in court. I don't know if this is a good or bad thing, but I do know that if you post on your Facebook page that you committed a crime, you're an idiot and deserve to go to jail.

Help build a Tesla museum
The Oatmeal is helping raise money to build a museum to honor Nikola Telsa. The Oatmeal, you may remember, is the author of the awesome comic: "Why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek who ever lived." The museum would be on the site where Telsa tried to create wireless power distribution. They are half-way there.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 08/14/2012

Youtube is the new MTV
The Nielsen released a study showing that two thirds of teens under the age of 18 are using YouTube as their primary way of listening to music, over Radio, iTunes, or CDs.

3D House printing
In this TED talk, a USC professor talks about his goal of creating a 3D printer for houses. This could revolutionize home building if it can be done in the goal of 20 hours. One of the uses would be to create housing for victims of natural disasters.

Apple looking to provide live TV
Apple is reportedly reaching out to cable providers to use an Apple device as a set top box for live television. While none of the providers are supporting this, it's not too far of a reach since Apple doesn't seem to be trying to become a cable provider like Intel is rumored to be doing, but just streaming a cable providers content though an Apple TV, like Xbox is planning to do with Comcast.

What has NASA done for you? 
In the light of the Curiosity landing on Mars, I thought I'd highlight this website that shows some of the real world solutions NASA's engineers have come up with beyond Velcro. Close to my heart? Satellite TV. An actually important one? How about the fact that they applied a Hubble space telescope image process technique to detect breast cancer.




Monday, August 13, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 08/13/2012

Kinect 2 improved imaging leaked
A twitter user posted an image from the Kinect 2 rumored to be coming out on the next gen Xbox 720. The Kinect 2 brings higher accuracy, stereo imaging and support for tracking up to 4 people.

Half of all cell phone users own a smart phone
If you wonder about the impact of the iPhone, go no further than the latest stats showing that over 50 percent of all cell phone users have a smart phone.

MIT demos a worm-like robot
MIT researchers have come up with a robot that crawls similar to a worm. It can also take a beating from a hammer or a boot. It is really cool until you realize that one application is to replace endoscopes.

360 degree panoramic view of Mars
Curiosity has been sending pictures back from Mars and now photographer Andrew Bodrov has created an 360 degree image from them. It's pretty incredible especially when you make it full screen.



The Four Tech Links of the Day for 08/12/2012

Legit book lending site shutdown
One of great features of ebooks is the ability to lend them just like a real book. Lendink was a website that facilitated lending between users. Some mis-informed people took down the site claiming they were pirating books. This is the problem when people don't understand the technology they use. Lendink is still down, but according to the website not due to the pirating issue. 

Low end tablets prices going down
With the sales of the Nexus Tablet, more low-end tablets are coming out, including a MIPS based tablet for $129. In addition, Barnes and Noble has announced that it's dropping the price on the Nook Color, and Nook Tablet.

A compelling Smart TV demo from 1989
Andy Hertzfeild, from Apple fame, demos a home entertainment system with applications, media playback and a Wii-like remote in 1989. It's amazing how far we haven't come, although we've made it much prettier.

NASA to update Curiosity on Mars
If you're like me, everytime you update your smart phone or tablet, you are half afraid you'll brick your device by messing up. Now imagine your phone is on Mars. That's what NASA is planning to do to Curiosity. If it goes wrong, we may never hear from Curiosity again. Good Luck, NASA.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 08/08/2012

Cord cutting is growing. Oops, no it's not? 
The Wall Street Journal put out an article on how cord cutting (or getting rid of Pay TV) is taking off due to the loss of 200,000 subscribers in the last quarter. Looks bad, however, FierceVideoOnline points out the second quarter of the year is always bad due to students moving out and vacations starting. Last year's lost was more than offset by the upswing in the third quarter when students move back.

Leap Motion motion gesture
Leap Motion is a motion gesture input device for your computer. It brings Minority Report control to the PC. The Technology Review calls it the most important new technology since the smart phone. In the article, the video is a great demo of the technology.

Nuance tries to leap frog Siri
Nuance is the technology behind Apple's Siri. Now Nuance is releasing Nina, a Siri competitor. Nina adds the additional feature of being able to control all of your apps at once, so you can have Nina pay your cable bill by checking your Comcast balance and paying from your on-line banking app.

NYPD unveils surveillance system
The NYPD going to roll out a surveillance system that combines the network of 3,000 closed circuit TVs in NYC to the NYPD's criminal databases. This will help speed response to crime in the city. Will it be used to find people drinking 32 oz soft drinks?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 08/07/2012

Google's Self-Driving Cars start commuting
Google's self-driving cars have logged 300,000 miles without a computer controlled accident. So now Google is going to allow some team members to use the cars to commute to work. We may not get flying cars, but maybe we'll get self-driving cars soon.

MIT technology can detect your emotions
Affectiva, a company out of MIT, can detect your emotions from camera inputs. While the technology was developed to help children with autism, it has found a market in determining audience response to shows, movie trailers and ads. Because of this, they've just raised $12 million in funding. In the future, your TV might be watching you to see if you really like the show you're watching.

The Internet Archive teams with BitTorrent
Masked in the noise of being used by sites that pirate content is the fact that BitTorrent is a very useful and valuable technology. The Internet Archive has teamed up with BitTorrent to enable P2P downloading of content from the site. This will improve performance and help the Internet Archive save on bandwidth costs.

Which streaming box is best for you? 
C|Net did a review of streaming video boxes which gives a good overview of several solutions. They don't go over any GoogleTV solutions like the Vizio Co-Star which is a nice solution for Android people like myself and comes in at a competitive $99. They do provide good advice in that you should buy a TV for picture quality, not it's streaming capability since it's so cheap to add it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 08/06/2012

Back to Mars
NASA's Curiosity landed on Mars last night, starting a two year mission to explore the planet. Initial tests show that Curiosity's instruments all survived the landing.

Updated 3D APIs for mobile phones
The primary 3D graphics library used in mobile phones is call OpenGL ES. Khronos, the group behind defining OpenGL ES, announced a new version (3.0). The new version should help bring higher 3D performance while enabling better battery life.

Apple/Samsung Update: iPhone caused "Crisis of Design" at Samsung
In today's update from the Apple/Samsung lawsuit, an email was admitted into evidence from Samsung's head of mobile communication stating that comparing the iPhone to Samsung designs was the difference between Heaven and Earth. It also included comments like "I hear things like this: Let’s make something like the iPhone", which doesn't bode well for Samsung.

YouTube kicked out of iOS6
In a on-going Google purge, Apple is removing the YouTube app from iOS6. You'll still be able to use Safari to access all the cat videos you want. In addition, Google has announced they will support iOS with a standalone version.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 08/05/2012

The Apple/Samsung lawsuit update
This was the first week of the Apple/Samsung lawsuit. Here's a recap of the week. It seems like all the news is a glorified history lesson about Apple designing the iPhone, including the fact that Apple spent 1.1 billion dollars on marketing the original iPhone. One interesting rumor is that Apple is afraid that it will have to expose all of it's marketing information on why people like the iPhone more.

Handhacking
At Siggraph, researchers from Tokyo will demonstrate PossessedHand. PossessedHand is a set of electrodes that when connected to your arm, lets an attached PC control your hand. I'm sure there are really great medical applications for this, but it still seems really freaky.

Ebay announces same day shipping 
A week after Amazon announced a 96% cut in profits, partially due to same day delivery support, Ebay announced Ebay Now. Ebay Now is a San Francisco only same day shipping service from selected Ebay stores.  At what point are we going to stop going to stores?

Skype for your TV
Logitech is introducing TV Cam HD, Skype for your TV. The TV Cam HD is $199 box that attaches to any TV with HDMI input and allows you to video chat with any one on Skype.


Bonus Link of the Day: The Furby is coming back
Nostalgia buffs, rejoice! The Furby is coming back and this time it has capacitive touch senors, LCD eyes, and an iPhone app to interact with it. Now on pre-order from Walmart.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 08/02/2012

Cable losing subscribers but making more money
Cable and satellite providers lost 400,000 subscribers this year, but Time Warner and DirecTV both increased profits while losing subscribers. This adds subsistence to the belief that cord cutters are low profit margin customers and not valuable to cable and satellite providers. 

IBM looking at Big Data to help prevent crime
IBM's VP of Emerging Technologies discusses in an interview with the Verge website how using data and statistics, police can focus on areas of high crime to prevent or act as a deterrent to crime. While's it's not the Minority Report, these techniques have been shown to reduce crime rates. 

The DOE funds battery research
With the adoption of electric cars, battery technology has jumped to the fore front of research. The Department of Energy has issued $43 million in grants to 19 different companies to fund R&D in this area. 

Android's Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean gaining adoption
Google is playing up the adoption of Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean at 16.7% of Android devices.  While this is good, over 75% of devices are still running Gingerbread and earlier versions. 

Where are they now: Cirrus Logic
Videon has worked with many companies over it's history. Cirrus Logic was back in the news this week. In financial reports, Cirrus Logic shows how it's tied to Apple, with over half of it's sales based on Apple products. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 08/01/2012

Google Wallet now supports multiple credit cards
One of the limitations of Google Wallet was the requirement to use a specific Mastercard credit card. Google has removed this limitation by allowing you to attach any Visa, Mastercard, or American Express card to it. It addition, your information will be stored in a secure server and "virtual" credit card numbers will be used for all transactions. This means your actual card information will not be transmitted over the internet when you make a purchase.

Roku to begin shipping Streaming Stick
Roku announced it will begin to ship the Streaming Stick they unveiled at CES. The Streaming Stick is a device a little larger than a USB thumb drive. It uses a MHL ports on new TVs which combines HDMI input and power to provide the same function as a Roku set top box without the big box and the need to plug it into a outlet.


Facebook App Center
Facebook released the Facebook App Center worldwide last night. The Facebook App Center gives developers another store for distributing apps. In addition, it probably means you'll have to block more game notifications from your facebook page.


HBO ignores the internet and makes more money
One of the bright spots of the Time Warner quarterly report was the gain of subscribers by HBO/Cinemax. HBO is flying in the face of internet wisdom by refusing to offer a streaming-only subscription. It seems to be working.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 07/31/2012

Nexus 7 getting good reviews
Both Consumer Reports and Linus Torvalds (of Linux fame) positively review the Nexus 7. Linus said he loves it, but Consumer Reports was a little more guarded saying it was a good tablet for those who didn't want to pay for an iPad.

Google Nexus Q delayed
Google announced that it is delaying the launch of the Nexus Q to improve the device. If you pre-ordered it, you will get the current Nexus Q, now referred to as a "preview device" for free. Pretty sweet. Of course this could mean only about 5 people pre-ordered it.

The Digital Public Library of America gets 1 million dollars
The Digital Public Library is a project to create a national digital public library for the United States, following in the footsteps of similar projects in the Netherlands, Norway and South Korea. The project was given $1 million by the National Endowment for the Humanities, which should help towards making the content available to anyone with access to the internet.

Educational Link of the Day: MPEG audio codecs
Confused on what MP3, AAC, AAC-LC and HE-AAC are? This article from Electronic Design should help clear it up for you.


Monday, July 30, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 07/30/2012

Weird Apple News of the Day
Apple had several stories in the news lately, and unfortunately mostly bad or just weird. The new Mag Safe2 connector has been poorly reviewed, along with Apple's new commercials. In addition, their chief designer was quoted saying Apple's chief goal is design, not to make money. The oddest news is that they announced profits up %21 percent from last year and their stock went down for missing the forecast. I guess $8.8 billion  just isn't enough for some people.

Netflix tries crowd-sourcing closed captions
Netflix is asking subscribers to help with close captioning movies. Netflix is looking for volunteers for the  video captioning service Amara, to close caption a popular 80s cartoon and other classic TV programming. Maybe this is one way they are trying to cover losing over 90% of their profit last quarter.

LG announces remote control microwave
Have you ever been at work and thought "Gee I wish I could microwave something at home"? Me neither. But if you ever do in the future, LG has you covered with the  LG Lightwave Oven that you can control from your smartphone.

Google+ leapfrogs MySpace
Google+'s unique visitors went up 66% in June. This placed Google+ above MySpace for the first time. Some believe it is Google I/O based since it took place in June. Don't worry, it's still dwarfed by Facebook and still mostly white male techies.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 07/29/2012

Google Fiber hits gigabit speeds
If you're lucky enough to live in Kansas City, you'll soon have the opportunity to get GoogleFiber+TV. For $120 a month, you can get a 1GB fiber internet connection, TV service, a Nexus 7 tablet (which acts like a remote control), and 1 terabyte of storage on GDrive. Seems pretty awesome, can't wait until it comes to the ridge.

Vizio gets the price right for GoogleTV
Vizio announced that it's GoogleTV based Vizio Co-Star Stream Player sold out in 12 hours. This is an affirmation that Vizio got the price right at $99.99. This reflects the sales that Logitech saw when they dropped the Revue to below $100. With the success of AppleTV and Roku vs. previous GoogleTV products priced at over $100, it seems to show people will try a sub $100 product but shy away from anything above that price.

NVidia announces support for Miracast on the Tegra3
Miracast is the WiFi alliance's standard for screen sharing, similar to Apple's Airplay. Nvidia has announced that they will support it on the Tegra3 chipset that's inside of the Nexus 7 tablet. TI has also announced support for Miracast. With broad industry support, this could be great way to support Airplay-like features across multiple devices from separate vendors

HBO rejects Netflix
The CEO of Netflix, Reed Hasting, in a letter to stock holders, said that Netflix could work with HBO to provide their content on Netflix. Evidently, he didn't discuss this with HBO who immediately responded stating that they are not working or planning to work with Netflix. Ouch.

Google brings handwriting to search
Google released a handwriting feature for Mobile and Tablet search. On the Google website, you can now enable handwriting for search input. It's very similar to Google's Gesture Search for Android, one of the coolest Android apps.




Monday, July 23, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 07/23/2012

Surprise, Netflix and YouTube are the top apps for smart TV
Netflix and YouTube are the top two apps for smart TVs, and rounding out the top five are Facebook, Amazon Instant Video, and Pandora. This reinforces thoughts that apps for smart TV are just another way to watch content on the TV.

Amazon looking to release new Kindle Fire models
Staples President of US retail told Reuters that Amazon is bringing out five or six new Kindle Fire models. They are most likely different memory configurations of 7" and 10" models.

Qualcomm shuts down color e-reader technology
Qualcomm announced that it will no longer manufacture it's Mirasol reflective color screen technology. Between this and Plastic Logic's similar announcement, it seems that e-readers are banished to being black and white for the near future.

Your smartphone replaced a lot of stuff
The Technology Review made a list of everything your smartphone replaces. It's makes that data plan seem like a good deal. Of course, it probably bums out GPS manufacturers.

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 07/22/2012

NFC Gumball Machine
Since you read the previous article on NFC (you did, didn't you?),  you're probably pretty curious on how it can be used. Here's a prototype of a Gumball machine, you put in a quarter, and you get music, video or books to your phone using NFC. Pretty cool, check it out.

Lowe's is bringing out home monitoring system
Lowe's is partnering with U.K. based AlertMe to bring out a home monitoring system, Iris. Iris will allow you check in on your house from PC, phone or tablet and start at $179.

Qantas bringing iPads to passengers
Qantas will be using iPads for the in-flight entertainment for their 767s, with their new QStreaming technology. The iPads will be provided to all classes of customers for free. This continues the trend in in-flight entertainment of replacing custom displays with off the shelf tablets.

Confused on how to use WatchESPN?
ESPN put together a demo on how to use WatchESPN, including how to sign no with your cable company to prove you can use it. Sorry cordcutters.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 07/19/2012

Nokia missed the boat
A former Nokia designer pointed out in an interview, that Nokia demonstrated a touch screen phone with one button that located restaurants, played games, and did on-line shopping. To add salt to the wound, they also developed a tablet computer with a wireless connection. Instead of bringing them to market, Nokia decided to focus on basic phones instead of smart phones. Would Nokia have announced a 1.74 billion dollar loss last quarter if they brought either of these to market?

Tell your house what to do
iSpeech is developing a Siri like speech interface for your house, to control everything from your TVs to your security systems. The marketing video reminds me of the computer on Star Trek.

Telsa to develop electric truck
Electric car manufacturer Tesla is looking to make an electric truck in the future. The perfect gift for that red neck eco-warrior in your family. 


Jackson Link of the Day: Geeky baby gifts
In honor of the birth of my grandson Jackson, here's a list of 15 geeky baby gifts. Not all of them seem that geeky to me, but I do like the nom nom nom bib, the infant troubleshooting magnetic flow chart and the periodic table building blocks.

Educational Link of the Day: Digital Audio Basics
I just discovered Engadget's Primed series which goes over technologies referenced in Engadget articles. Today's topic is Digital Audio. Look through some of the old ones for articles on HDTV, solid state drives and more.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 07/15/2012

Bad news for RIM could be bad news for smartphones
RIM, makers of Blackberry Phones, lost a patent dispute with Mformation Technologies this week. Mformation was awarded an $8 per unit royalty for one patent. Considering there are estimates of 250,000 patents in a smartphone, decisions like this could really up the price of your next phone. But seriously, decisions like this make you wonder if anyone looks at the economics before making these types of decisions.

Jelly Bean ported to the Kindle Fire
Google released Jelly Bean source code to open source just last week and already XDA has it ported to the Kindle Fire. While it's not ready for prime time, it's amazing how fast it was ported.

NBC releases a streaming Olympics app
NBC released the NBC Olympics Live Extra app, which will provide live streaming of every competition of every sport in the Olympics. It does require you to verify you have a cable subscription. Sorry cord cutters.

The Nexus 7 costs Google $152
The Nexus 7 amazed people by providing a high performance tablet at $199. What may be more impressive is that it is estimated to cost $152 to produce. This means that Google isn't subsiding it to win market share, and others can follow in it's footsteps using the nVidia Kia reference design.

Educational Link of the Day: How it Works: NFC
If you're curious about NFC, the technology behind using cell phones to pay for things like credit cards, read this overview from the Android Authority.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 07/06/2012

Apple and Olympus working on wearable computing
Last week, Google announced pre-orders for development versions of it's Project Glass. Now it appears that both Olympus and Apple are working on similar projects. Olympus did a press release on it's MEG 4.0 wearable display that hooks to your smartphone via bluetooth. Apple has filed patents on displays that are built in to goggles and glasses. With all of these heavy hitters working on it, hopefully production versions will follow.

Apple rumored to bring out 7" iPad
Wanting a 7" tablet like the Kindle Fire or Google's Nexus 7, but tied to the Apple mothership? Maybe Apple is coming to the rescue. Both Bloomberg and the WSJ have reported that Apple will be releasing a 7-8 inch tablet into production this September.

Netflix has more subscribers than Comcast
If Netflix was a cable company, it would be the largest with 26.5 million subscribers, compared to 22.3 million of Comcast. In addition, Netflix viewers watched 1 billion hours of video last month for the first time ever. My question is what are they watching?

Amazon rumored to launch a smart phone
Foxconn is rumored to be working on a smart phone for Amazon. Amazon is reportedly trying to create a wider range of low cost hardware for selling it's music, movies and books.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 07/02/2012

Augmented Reality comes to the rescue of shoppers
Evidently, shopping is very difficult and requires high tech support. Both Amazon and IBM are working on augmented reality apps to help shoppers. Amazon released it's Flow app for Android. Flow lets you take a picture of a product and get a wealth of information about it, including how to buy it on Amazon. IBM's app lets you scan a grocery store shopping aisle and points out information on the products, including sugar content and allergens. How did we ever shop before smart phones? 


World's Thinnest Display
As we race to thinner and thinner TVs, Japanese researchers have leap frogged everyone with a display on a thin film similar to a soap bubble. Take that OLED, and think how easy it will be to replace the screen when your kids throw a Wii controller through it.

The Weather Channel buys Weather Underground
The popular weather site Weather Underground was purchased by the Weather Channel Companies. The purchase will give the Weather Underground better funding for growth.

Mozilla's mobile OS in the news
Lost in the mobile OS news, Mozilla's Boot to Gecko hasn't gotten a lot of press, being drown out by updates to iOS and Android, the upcoming release of Windows 8 Phone, and even Samsung and Intel's Tizen. Well that may change soon. Mozilla rebranded it Firefox OS and has support from Sprint, Deutsche Telekom and ZTE. In addition, it is rumored to be launched on a handset in Brazil by early 2013.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 07/01/2012

The iPhone turns five
On Friday, the iPhone turned five. Can you believe only five years ago we didn't have the iPhone, the iPad, android, apps, checkins, and everything else the iPhone helped create?

The Web has problems with the leapsecond
On Saturday, a leapsecond was added to the atomic clock. Did you notice? Well the web did, with Reddit and Foursquare being among the sites that crashed when it was added. Everyone is back up and  running, but it's  amazing what a second will do.

Will Tablets replace small TVs?
The CTO of Vizio, one of the largest TV manufacturers, believes tablets will start replacing small TVs. With $199 7" tablets with Netflix or HBOGo on it, I tend to agree. Which would you buy?

Hulu gets HBO content in Japan
While in the US, you have to have a cable subscription and HBOGo to get HBO content online, in Japan you just need Hulu. It seems odd that HBO's no-streaming subscription is only for America. Yes, it's limited content, but it goes against everything HBO is saying in the US.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 06/29/2012

Google Products announced for iOS
On day 2 of Google IO, Google announced two product releases for the iPhone and iPad,  Chrome and Google Drive. Chrome is now the number #1 product in the Apple's App Store.

Google announces Google Compute Engine
As rumored before Google IO, Google announced the Google Compute Engine which enables you to run Linux VMs on the same infrastructure that powers Google. This creates a competitor for Amazon in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) arena. 

RIM had a bad day
RIM, makers of Blackberry phones, released it's first quarter earnings report on Thursday. It was not good. They had the first net loss in company history, announced a delay for their next generation software, and 5000 layoffs.

Weather Alerts coming to your smartphone
The National Weather Service is going to start broadcasting emergency weather alerts to smartphones. Users will be alerted to weather events in their area. Your carrier will need to support this feature. So far, all carriers have agreed to support this, but only Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile support it nationwide. AT&T only offers it in New York City, Washington D.C. and Portland OR.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 06/28/2012

The Google IO Key Edition
As expected with the keynote for Google IO, several announcement came out of the GooglePlex. 

Nexus 7 Tablet
The Google Nexus 7 Tablet was announced, coming out with the specs most people expected. Built by Asus and running the new Android version 4.1 (Jelly Bean), the Nexus 7 features  a quad-core Tegra 3, 1.2-megapixel front camera, NFC and 1280 x 800, IPS-based LCD. It's priced at $199 for the 8GB model and $249 for the 16GB version. It's available for pre-order today, with delivery in July. 

Jelly Bean
The SDK for the next version of Android, code named Jelly Bean, was released, along with pre-release  versions for the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, and Motorola Xoom. The big improvement is Project Butter which is an update to the UI to make it "buttery smooth". They have also added Google Now, a predictive search based on what's in your calendar, and other apps. It will help by automatically supplying you with driving directions to meetings and pointing out nearby restaurants at dinner. The one major improvement I like is that now voice to text doesn't require  going off to Google servers, so it always works regardless of coverage. 

Project Glass is coming
Google's Project Glass is releasing prototype hardware in 2013. Unfortunately, only Google IO attendees can order one for $1500. 

The Q? 
The most interesting/confusing announcement was the Nexus Q. It's a sphere shaped streaming music player that is controlled from your android phone. You can use Google Music to queue music to be played back on it. If you have multiple Q's, they can play the music in sync. It might be interesting, however the $299 price might kill it, when you compare it with the $99 AppleTV. 

The Swag
One thing Google IO is known for are the giveaways, which causes Google IO to sell out in minutes. This  year is no different. Attendees are coming home with a Nexus 7 tablet, a Nexus Q and a Galaxy Nexus phone with Jelly Bean installed. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 06/25/2012

Google IO excitement continues
With Google IO opening on wednesday, the rumor mill continues to churn. According to the rumors, GoogleTV will get a big update including an EPG that blends Live TV, Netflix, and your DVR content. Pinterest is releasing an Android app. The Nexus 7" tablet will be $199 for a the 8GB version and $249 for the 16GB. And finally Google is releasing an Android home entertainment device for streaming music in your house. Someone should start a scorecard for all the rumor mongers.

Box releases OneCloud for Android
In non-rumor related news, Box, a cloud storage provider, is releasing OneCloud for Android. OneCloud allows Android apps to open files directly from the Box cloud server. Over 50 apps are integrated.

DirecTV cuts back on 3D programming
DirectTV is cutting it's 3D Channel n3D from 24 hours a day to an evening programming block. DirecTV is blaming a lack of content. If DirecTV can't fill one channel, this can't bode well for 3D TV as a format.

Patents could hold back the next generation video format
H.265 is the follow on to H.264, the video compression format used in Blu-ray, iTunes, Satellite TV and almost anywhere else you like watching high definition video. H.265 gives better compression rates to enable higher resolution TV formats like 4K and 8K that are currently being worked on to supersede 1080P. Unfortunately, patent disputes may limit the adoption of H.265. Over five hundred companies have claimed patent rights to parts of H.265, and some will not join a patent pool. Patent pools simplify the collection of royalties by creating a one-stop place to pay royalties and creating a fixed price for the royalties. Until this is settled, people won't starting releasing products due to the unknown royalty costs.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 06/24/2012

Google IO is coming this week
Google's developer conference, Google IO, is happening this week. The rumors are they will announce a virtual server cloud service to compete with Amazon. As always remember to take the keynote announcements with a grain of salt. Where are you Android@Home and Tungsten?

The Tesla Model S rolls out of the Factory
The Silicon Valley based Tesla Motors rolled the first Model S off the factory floor. The all electric Model S gets 89 equivalent miles to the gallon, and a 265 mile range. The price is a bit salty at $105,400 for the first 1200, but eventually dropping to between $57,400 and $77,400. I'll hold on to my Dodge for a while.

Chip manufacturer MediaTek buys Mstar
While you might be more familiar with chip manufacturers Intel, Samsung, Broadcom or Qualcomm, Taiwanese manufactures MediaTek and Mstar are the number one supplier of processors for digital TVs, Blu-ray players and optical disk drives between the two of them. Now MediaTek is buying Mstar.

e-Books causing problems for libraries
While e-Books are doing well for publishers, they are starting to place a strain on libraries. The libraries are fighting with the increased need to supply technical support for patrons, the limitations of the standard OverDrive website for lending books, and publishers not making enough books available.

Review of the Nest thermostat
Nest, a "smart" thermostat for your home was reviewed by GigaOM. Nest learns how and when you adjust your temperature and makes it so you don't have to. The review makes me want to buy one.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 06/21/2012

LCD Sales drop for the first time ever
TV sales dropped 8% last quarter, with the first ever drop in LCD TV sales. The TVs being purchased are now averaging over 35" and Samsung remains the top selling TV manufacturer.

Looking for a Second Screen App? 
If you're looking for app to help ease your TV watching, this article from "Thoughts on the Digital Video Space" blog should help out. It calls out the 10 second screen apps to check out in 2012.

DIY Cellphone
Tired of trying to find the coolest cellphone? Can't decide between Apple and Android? Throw it all away and build your own. The MIT Media Lab has instructions for a DIY cellphone. Unfortunately, all it does now is make voice calls. Who needs text messaging, email, or web browsing?

The Technology of Minority Report
Engadget has a cool overview of the technology out of Minority Report. Everyone remembers the gesture based display Tom Cruise uses and the driverless cars, but what about the spider robots used to hunt down suspects?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 06/20/2012

Microsoft announces Windows Phone 8
Following on the heels of the Microsoft Surface announcement, Microsoft announced today Windows Phone 8. The big change for developers is that it's based on the Windows 8 desktop OS. This makes it easier for Windows programmers to develop for it, creating more apps. From a user stand point, it uses the Metro UI, supports new dual and quad core processors for faster performance, and has the buzzword list of features like NFC, Nokia Maps, and Skype Integration.

XBox 720 rumors
The next rumor mill has started with rumors flying on the next generation Xbox, the Xbox 720. It's rumored to have multiple CPUs, an improved Kinect and Kinect Glasses, Microsoft's version of Google's Project Glass. The starting price is $299.

TV Everywhere getting Live TV
TV Everywhere is getting Live TV on the iPad with apps from Cartoon Network, Disney and ESPN. Disney and ESPN are only available for Comcast subscribers, while Cartoon Network's app works with several cable and satellite providers. As opposed to the video on demand, these apps will stream the live tv channels on your iPad.

IFTTT integrates with Belkin home automation
IFTTT (or IF This Then That) is a website to setup simple actions based on web events. For example, if you are tagged in a facebook photo, you can get a text message. IFTTT has now added integration with Belkin's WeMo home automation devices. Now you can send a text message to turn on your lights. While that might not seem that cool, I'm sure you can figure out something cooler to do with this.

Educational Link of the Day: HDTV Terms
If you're shopping for a TV and confused by the terms, this article from the Tech Hive has a quick overview of terms and pointers to other helpful articles.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 06/19/2012

Google Nexus Tablet rumors run wild
With Google I/O coming up next week, the Google Nexus 7" Tablet rumors are running amok. The tablet is rumored to be given away at Google I/O and on sale in July for $199. It will run a 1.3Ghz quad-core processor and have 1GB of RAM. The OS will be a new version of Android, code name Jelly Bean. The only drawback so far is the removal of the back-facing camera, but it will have a forward-facing camera for video conferencing. 

FAA putting regulations to space flight
Now that commercial flight is a reality with the SpaceX launch last month, NASA and the FAA have agreed to  standardization of the procedure for future flights. I wonder if the astronauts will have to turn off their iPhones during launch. 

Does Smart TV need standardization? 
Portuguese cable operator ZON Multimedia is complaining about supporting the multitude of the Smart TV formats including multiple LG TVs and Samsung's SmartTV. Add in iOS and Android for companion devices, they say they have an unsupportable model. Add this to the reported low widget usage, something needs to change. 

LG moving away from tablets
On the heels of Microsoft's entry in the tablet market, LG is taking the opposite tact and moving away from tablets to focus on the smart phone market. Given the lack of success LG has had in tablets, this isn't really surprising. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 06/18/2012

Microsoft announces 10" tablet
Last week, Microsoft invited the press to an announcement without giving out what was being announced. Of course, this caused a flurry of rumors from a Nook tablet to an Xbox music service. Well now we know, Microsoft announced the Surface, their 10" tablet. It comes in two versions, the Surface and the Surface Pro. The Surface is ARM based running Windows RT, and the Pro has an Intel Ivy Bridge chip inside and running Windows 8 Pro. Both are 10" tablets, with the Pro being slightly larger. The one cool feature is the Touch Cover. The Touch Cover is similar to the iPad Smart Cover but with a build in touch keyboard that only adds 3mm to the thickness of the tablet. With the Touch Cover, the Surface Pro could also act as a laptop replacement. Release date and price were not announced.

eBooks revenues beat Hardcovers
As opposed to streaming video revenue which is dismal in comparison to disc sales, eBook are generating revenue to replace the loss in physical sales. Between eBooks and audio books, overall revenue from book sales are up 2%, which is impressive considering paperback sales are down 30%. eBook are now outselling hardcover books and only second to trade paperbacks in overall revenue.

Roku CEO predicts the end of Blu-ray in four years
Roku's CEO Anthony Wood predicts that people won't be using Blu-ray in four years, due to streaming services. He goes on to state that Blu-ray streaming performance can't compare with a dedicated set top box like the Roku box. I find this interesting since most Blu-ray players have better chipsets inside them than the Roku box, and nothing that limits the performance. He goes on to say that people don't stream video on gaming systems. Hmm, don't tell Microsoft that. Over all, let's just say I disagree with Mr. Wood. For Blu-ray and DVD sales to collapse in the next 4 years would be one of the most amazing collapses of a market in  the history of consumer electronics.

Sharp announces a 90" LED TV
For everyone waiting for a 4K television set, Sharp announced a TV that might tempt you in the meantime. It's a 90" 240Hz 1080P 3D LED TV. This makes it the largest LED TV on the market, and it can be yours for the paltry amount of $10,999.99.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Four Tech Links of the Day for 06/11/2012

WWDC Update
The biggest news of the day came out of Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference, where Apple traditionally makes it's big product announcements every year. This year was no different. What did we hear about: An updated faster Macbook Air with a 720P FaceTime camera, a super sleek and improved MacBook Pro with a Retina Display that's almost as thin as the MacBook Air, a new version of Mac OS X with better iCloud integration, iOS 6 with improved Siri support, Facebook and twitter integration and much more. To get all the highlights, check out the live blog at the Verge website. What we didn't get was the rumored Apple TV SDK. That makes me sad. :(

Sony's SmartWatch shows up at Verizon
Sony's Android based SmartWatch is at Verizon Wireless. While the UI has been reviewed as cumbersome, it is one of the first on the market. I've reported a couple of times on SmartWatches and have my own Wimm One and you may wonder why I care. I think the SmartWatch is the first economical step in producing a device similar to what you see in Project Glass. While unable to do some of the cool augmented reality like overlays, a simple display for notifications and input give us the first step in wearable computers.

Author Neal Stephenson starts a Kickstarter project
Neal Stephenson, author of Cryptonomicon, and many other science fiction books, has started a Kickstarter project to develop a PC based sword dueling game, like "Guitar Hero with Swords". While this sounds awesomely cool, I don't know how I like a person who most likely could fund the $500K (or easily find the funding) using Kickstarter. I see Kickstarter as the hope for the garage developer, not funding for the successful and wealthy. Will people like Mr. Stephenson create so much noise that projects like Sensordrone get lost?

Who is Devicescape?
In the last few weeks, both Intel and Bouygues Telecom from France have announced partnerships with Devicescape to provide free WiFi hotspot support. Devicescape is a crowdsourced free WiFi hotspot solution. This means it uses a database of open public WiFi hotspots to allow users to get on the internet, and some super secret algorithms to find the best one. It's a pretty cool idea.

Bonus Link of the Day: Pay TV Economics
Do you ever wonder why Pay TV costs so much and there isn't a cheap alternative? This interview with Craig Moffett, a cable and satellite TV analyst will educate you on the business of Pay TV and why Over-The-Top companies are going to have a rough time getting established. The short answer is that there is a lot of money in the Pay TV world and no one wants to rock the boat.