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    April 18, 2014
    Nike Cuts The FuelBand

    As smartphones get better and better, the need to have so-called wearables gets less and less.  Your iPod isn’t considered a wearable, but things like pedometers and fitness calculators are considered wearable devices, and now one company has decided that you’ve got enough on your plate (and wrist) for the moment.  Nike has decided to end its FuelBand product line, meaning an end to dozens of jobs around the world as the company transitions into a more software-focused direction.

    “As a fast-paced, global business we continually align resources with business priorities,” said Nike spokesman Brian Strong. “As our Digital Sport priorities evolve, we expect to make changes within the team, and there will be a small number of layoffs.  We do not comment on individual employment matters.”

    As for its remaining FuelBands, Nike isn’t going to throw them in the trash.  Indeed, their Nike+ ecosystem will continue to support FuelBands, but future roll-outs have been called off.  Nike will focus more on developing apps and programs for smartphones and other bodily-worn fitness items like the FitBit.

    Image:  Time

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    April 17, 2014
    Facebook Launches Location Sharing Service

    It happened to me tonight.  Out at a restaurant, post a picture on Instagram or Twitter, and you get a message from a friend:  ”Hey, I just walked by there!”  Even the biggest city can feel like a small town sometimes, and Facebook seems determined to make that town even smaller by putting you and your friends in touch with one another.  Facebook is rolling out a new location-finder service called Nearby Friends that allows your friends to track you down when you’re nearby.  Facebook seems to be in no hurry to roll the service out, probably due to the many privacy concerns something like that would have.

    The service uses the GPS system in your smartphone to share your location with the world via Facebook, so that means there are two layers of security that can keep things private.  You have to turn the GPS on in your phone and you have to turn on the Nearby Friends service on Facebook itself.  However, it doesn’t give an exact location, just a general area within a half-mile of your current location.  You’ll be close enough to your friends to reach out, but not so close that your friends will know you’re at Bed Bath and Beyond or Starbucks specifically.

    The first users who will get access are users who tend to use location-finding services, like restaurant check-ins and the like.  It will be rolled out to other users in the weeks and months to come.

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    April 16, 2014
    Google’s Project Ara: What You Need To Know

    Google seems to be a company bound and determined to shake up the cellular phone industry.  From the Android operating system that took the world by storm to buying (and selling) Motorola, Google has been very actively trying to get into your pocket, and for the most part it’s been successful.  However, now it’s going to try to supplant your smart phone and try to change the way smart phones work by transitioning the business to a more computer-like model.  Google’s Project Ara is a modular smart phone, meaning it’s a smartphone you can take apart and upgrade piece by piece.  If you want a faster processor or more memory or whatever, odds are Project Ara can provide you with that, either as something you can do yourself or something your provider will do for you.

    Google is looking at it as “Android for hardware” and is pitching the phone as being infinitely customizable, with the basic model costing only $50 and the most expensive being… well, however much you want to spend, I’d assume.  Everything from the case inward is completely customizable, and it’s for those that want bleeding edge technology.  Indeed, some of the phone’s components are going to be 3D printed, which means that you can have a phone like what you’re wanting in a matter of hours.  Here’s 12 things you’ll need to know about Project Ara; you’ll have a little time before you have to make a decision about your next phone, but this is definitely something to consider once it becomes available in the United States.

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    April 16, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: The Eternal NES

    Image via 1nflatable-hammers.

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    April 14, 2014
    Google Glass Gets One-Day-Only Public Sale

    In order to get your hands on Google Glass, it’s that classic story.  You gotta know someone.  However, that’s changing, if only for one single day.  Google Glass is getting a one-day-0nly public sale tomorrow, April 15th.  Starting at 9 AM Pacific time, Google will put Glass on sale to the general public for the low, low price of $1500.

    Of course, your guess is as good as mine when it comes to how many pairs of Google Glass glasses will be available for public sale, but considering the estimates of something like 10,000 pairs of Glass in the wild, I imagine it won’t be a whole lot of them.  If you’re interested, and you’ve got $1500 to spare, you’ll want to find the website and get in line, finger poised over the refresh button.

    I don’t know the official sale website, but I’m sure it’ll be linked on the Google Glass homepage.  If Google Glass is anything like the Paul McCartney tickets I bought today, you’re going to be spending a lot of time waiting in a queue.

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    April 9, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Walking Away From XP

    Image via CNN Money.

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    April 7, 2014
    Surviving Windows XP’s Retirement

    Tomorrow, Microsoft will officially retire its 12-year-old operating system, Windows XP, after a long reign as the most popular and useful operating system in the history of operating systems.  No OS has had a run quite as long, or a run that has covered so many tens of millions of computers around the world.  Just because Windows XP is going by the wayside, that doesn’t mean your computer has reached the end of its life.  Here are some tips and tricks for upgrading and protecting your XP computer for the foreseeable future.

    Honestly, if you’re using XP, you’re probably doing a lot of these things.  Being careful about running attachments, updating your software regularly,  making sure to avoid sketchy online stuff… this is all pretty basic stuff, and since most antivirus programs are going to continue for the near future to support XP, you’re probably going to be okay milking the last of that laptop or desktop’s functional life.  Still, it might pay to be extra cautious from now on, just in case.

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    April 4, 2014
    Amazon Launches Fire TV Streaming Media Device

    You can never have enough boxes hooked to your television.  Or rather, you have TOO many boxes hooked to your television and lots of companies are trying to help you simplify your life and pare down your HDMI cable collection by offering superior services for a low price.  Hence, Amazon has entered the fray for home theater domination with a low-cost media player.  Amazon has announced the Fire TV, a streaming media player that hooks your TV to your Amazon Prime, Showtime Anytime, and dozens of other streaming services.

    Amazon helpfully provides a comparison guide for the various streaming media servers right there on the purchase page, probably because it’s looking like it’s the superior product.  Unlike the Roku 3 it doesn’t have HBO Go, but it does have superior sound, a faster processor, more memory, and voice search, which seems like the killer app for this streaming media player, according to none other than Gary Busey.  After all, while the other boxes can always hold more space and get faster and maybe even offer games and voice (Apple, I’m looking at you), only Amazon has Gary Busey yelling at furniture.

    YouTube Preview Image

    Will you, like Gary Busey, gravitate to the streaming media player with voice control, akin to how you can talk to your iPhone and your Xbox and whatnot?  Or will the Roku’s HBO Go make the difference and tip the balance away from Amazon (which offers Bloomberg TV for you business types rather than HBO).  Will the fact that the Amazon Fire plays video games as well help tip the choice?  Or will you be holding out or just hooking an older, streaming-capable tablet to your television?

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    April 2, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Bliss

    Read the story behind Windows XP’s “Bliss” At CNet.

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    April 1, 2014
    The Five Best April Fools Jokes Online

    Every year, people try to do something, anything, to get a little attention online while having a little fun for April Fools Day.  We all expect it at this point, but sometimes it works out and ends up being really funny, really clever, or just really interesting.  Nobody does April 1 quite like the Internet, and there’s a gag reel to prove it.  Here are five of the best April Fools Day gags ever played on the Internet.

    Of these pranks, I think my favorite was the upside-down YouTube interface.  That was really clever of them, but not so clever people got mad that they might be stuck with some horrible new YouTube  look to get used to.  It’s pretty obviously a goof, without being too intrusive.  Some of the other online jokes just go too far and that’s more sad than entertaining.  Some of the other ones are too realistic, while other pranks I’ve loved (mostly from ThinkGeek) ended up becoming actual products available for sale.

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