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.