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    February 3, 2016
    Wordless Wednesday: Contrast

    Via Reddit.

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    February 1, 2016
    Run Windows 95 In Your Browser

    There’s always a market for old technology.  People still play and purchase the original Nintendo Entertainment System.  I still own an Atari somewhere.  I have multiple video game consoles, all of which are old, but there are reasons to have this love of retro technology.  Sometimes, games don’t function well on new technology, so you need emulators to make it work.  You can run Windows 95 in your browser!

    I have a newer laptop and I can’t play some games on it, because it runs incompatible operating systems.  Sometimes you can buy old games and make them work, and sometimes you have to work at it with software stuff.  The more people play with the old systems, the more people can get them to play nicely with modern systems.  I have some patches to various games, I’ve bought some older games that have been refreshed for new operating systems, and there are always less than legal ways to get video game software to play in the absence of older technology.

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    February 1, 2016
    Facebook Working On Ride Sharing Platform

    In a world where Uber and Lyft are available at the jingle of a phone call or the touching of a text message, it’s not surprising that these services are popular.  They’re cheaper than taxi cabs and the rider and driver experience is a lot more democratic.  When you hail a cab, you’re just rolling the dice, but a lot of ride-sharing platforms offer users a chance to look at their driver’s ratings and see if they’re worthy riders; the same thing applies to passengers, who are also rated by drivers.  Facebook might be looking to get in on the ride-sharing game.

    Facebook already has an arrangement with Uber, in which Facebook Message can be used to arrange an Uber pick-up.  Now it looks as though Facebook is going to allow users to sidestep Uber and just arrange rides directly.  If the technical offerings are to be believed, there are options for “going and driving” and “going but not driving” along with ways to select how many passengers you can take and what kind of financial compensation is expected for being able to ride along to events.

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    January 28, 2016
    Peak iPhone

    There’s always a time when a technology stops being the hot new thing and becomes just something most people have in their house.  For example, the television.  For awhile, HD TVs were big business, and now most people have them.  Sure, they can make them bigger or give them better, higher definition, but at a certain point a TV is just a thing you watch The Bachelor on.  There’s not a must-have new TV on the market.  For Apple, there’s a very real fear that the company is struggling with:  Has Apple reached ‘peak iPhone’?

    Here’s the issue.  The first quarter of 2016 showed a huge decline in iPhone sales from 2015′s first quarter, which for Apple isn’t necessarily a good thing.  After all, there’s an enormous user base, and most of them rush out to upgrade phones whenever they can to get the latest and greatest.  What that means is they might do great business when the next iPhone comes out, but for the moment, they have a huge business that depends on selling iPhones to people, with the iPhone accounting for two-thirds of $234 billion dollars in revenues.

    That’s a mighty big bite of the apple if that number starts going down.  Still, I think a lot of companies would kill to be in Apple’s position.  If they need a revenue boost, they just need to push out a slight upgrade on the iPhone, or some sort of new color scheme.

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    January 27, 2016
    Wordless Wednesday: Uno Internet

    Via Imgur

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    January 24, 2016
    Google Maps Will Start Predicting Your Journey

    Google Maps is really handy.  I’m generally okay at knowing my way around, getting to places where I need to go, and not forgetting directions, but that’s because I write everything down.  I used to have notebooks full of directions of places I would go multiple times, but not enough to learn the route by heart.  That lasted entirely too long, because I took forever to get a smartphone.  Now that I’ve joined the rest of the world in the 21st Century, I love Google Maps and how it helps me get around town.  Now Google’s taking a great product and making it even better by making your map smarter than some drivers.

    Google’s new map feature is going to tell you where you’re going automatically.  It’s called Driving Mode, and it uses a combination of features to try and figure out where you’re going without you telling it.  It takes into account time of day, traffic patterns, search history, set locations you have programmed into your phone, and other notable features pulled from both your personal history and Google Maps.  Most importantly, you’ll no longer have to tell your phone where you want to go, which is always a pain in mid-drive.

    The ETAs Google Maps promises to provide with Driving Mode only helps make things work a little better for those of us who like to wait until the last minute to try and get somewhere.

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    January 23, 2016
    25 Very Hidden iPhone Features

    The iPhone is a phone with many secrets.  For something as user-friendly as most Apple products are, it’s kind of remarkable to consider the fact that the iPhone still has a lot of features that most people will never uncover.  Some of these tricks are solutions to common problems, like with the fingerprint identification feature or with the phone’s apparent inability to redial.  Others are a bit less common, like the ability to do math without opening the calculator in Spotlight.  Here are 25 hidden features in the iPhone.

    Sometimes it’s hard to believe just how many things the average smartphone can do.  Other times, it’s hard to believe what things the average smartphone won’t do.  This list, and lists like it, help to solve a lot of the problems that surround smartphones and make the user experience a little better.  How handy would it be to be able to shut down multiple apps with the swipe of your fingers?  Very, that’s how.

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    January 21, 2016
    Xbox 360 Emulation Via Xbox One: Some Better, Some Worse

    One of the things I’ve come to realize is that I don’t like a lot of clutter in my entertainment center.  There’s a big difference between some stray wires and having dozens of video game systems sitting in my living room.  That’s why, if I end up getting an Xbox One, I’m going to try to retire my original Xbox 360 and give the emulation a try.  Turns out that might be a mixed bag.  Some Xbox 360 games run better on the XBone, but some run worse and others don’t run at all.

    Of course, the emulator powering the backwards compatibility is changing every time Microsoft issues an update, and new games are being added all the time while older games are being improved, but Digital Foundry has a great line-up of games that they’ve been tinkering with to see how they’ll work on the new system.  The results are really interesting, especially when you see what games play better versus worse, and what games have improved cut scenes but degraded play.  A lot of it probably has to do with how video is processed, but the more they work on the emulators, the better they will become.

    Fingers crossed for perfect emulation in the future.

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    January 20, 2016
    Google Perks Up Chrome Speeds

    I love Google Chrome.  It’s the browser of choice for people who want to get things done, safely and quickly.  There’s no memory leak, and it’s more secure when it comes to viruses compared to the competition, and Google is only going to make it better.  Google is planning on making Chrome even faster with some tweaks to the software powering it.  By compressing the data before it reaches your web browser, it makes things move even faster, no matter your connection speed.

    Brotli promises to boost speeds by 26 percent over Chrome’s current processing system, which is good news because the fastest web browser on the market is about to get even faster.  Who complains about getting things faster?  Well, no one, that I know of, but if you need more evidence that it’s good, it also promises to lower battery drain and data usage.  Brotli is coming in the next update for Chrome, and Firefox is also on board, adopting Brotli as their algorithm of choice.

    I can only hope that the next edition of Chrome comes out pretty quickly, so I can experience the speed boost for myself.

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    January 15, 2016
    Smart Thermostats Hit By Bugs

    When I got a new furnace put in my house in November, I had to decide just what kind of thermostat I wanted to use.  Did I want to install a smart thermostat, a programmable thermostat, a normal thermostat?  And did I want a very smart thermostat or just a regular type smart thermostat?  I ended up getting a pretty simple programmable thermostat, with settings for the working week, Saturday, and Sunday, with options for the heat before work, during the day, after work, and overnight.  It’s not smart, but it’s pretty close, and it doesn’t need fancy software to function.  Good thing, too.

    A bug in the software is leaving Nest users in the cold, literally.  A bug in the code previously disabled some Nest services in September, and now that we’re officially in winter’s embrace, those outages are very troublesome.  Nest users were sleeping at night and waking up to cold houses and drained batteries, leaving them in the cold quite literally.  Fortunately, there’s a fix:  you plug your thermostat into the USB port or press a few buttons to reset things, and Nest go back to normal.

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