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, 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.

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.