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    March 1, 2015
    Meet The Samsung Galaxy S6

    I never really got the excitement around smartphone launches.  Sure, I’d talk about them, read up on the phones, and all that stuff, but I’d never actually get just why people were so excited about a slight variation on their older phone.  Until I got one.  Now I get it.  Having something this fast and powerful in your pocket makes your life a whole lot easier, and when you’re someone like me who needs regular access to the Internet, it only makes things better.  No more forgetting to download podcasts; stream them from the cloud!

    Needless to say, people were very excited about the announcement of the new Samsung Galaxy S6.  More powerful, faster, lighter… all the usual smartphone improvements are there, but they come at a cost.  No more user replacement of the battery and no more Micro-SD card slot.  If you care about expanding memory and having better battery power, then this might not be the kind of development you’re looking for, but for everyone else–and most normal users–the S6 is an improvement over the old favorite, even if some of the design wrinkles haven’t been worked out.

    Image via Green Dot.

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    February 25, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Designer Cat

    Via Reddit

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    February 24, 2015
    Apple Is Adding Diverse Emoji

    Emojis are apparently a big thing, and people really have opinions about emojis.  Apparently they’re a big deal, and apparently people aren’t terribly happy with the options that are out there.  People want more diversity, and it’s not a surprise that Apple and the Unicode Consortium are willing to make that happen. Apple is making emojis more diverse, with a variety of racial and ethnic options.

    When you tap and hold on a face, hand, or person, another six skin tones pop up, provided it’s appropriate for the character.  There’s no way to change the color of the space invader or the skull or whatever, but the people can all change colors at will.  They’re also adding a host of new flag options, making the smartphone into an iPhone 6, AND changing the watch into a smart watch.  I’m sure there are some other changes being made, but these are the big ones, and they’re the ones people seem to want the most.

     

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    February 23, 2015
    Google Wallet Comes Standard

    If you’ve ever purchased a smartphone, then you know that your phone comes loaded down with all sorts of proprietary apps that you may or may not use.   There are apps from the carrier, and apps from the operating system manufacturer.  No matter your phone or provider, that’s just something that happens.  In the case of Google, they’re joining the remote payment trend.  Google Wallet will soon come standard on all new smartphones from Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

    “This is great for customers and for mobile payments and we’re looking forward to working with Google to help more customers experience the benefits of tap to pay on their Verizon Wireless smartphone,” reads an email from a Verizon spokesperson.

    Google Wallet, like Apple Pay, is basically a third party payment manager.  Instead of carrying around cards, you enter the information into your payment app of choice and use it to check out online or at places where NFC scanners are available (assuming you have an NFC-enabled smartphone).  Of course, just because you have it that doesn’t mean you will use it, but increased exposure makes it more likely to be adopted by the consumer at large.

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    February 22, 2015
    YouTube Develops Kid-Friendly App

    It’s a wild world out there, and it seems that the addition of technology is only making the job more difficult for parents.  Everywhere I go, I see little kids with tablets, on phones, or with some sort of electronic device streaming entertainment into their faces so that the parents can get a little breather and the kids can get a little entertainment at the grocery store (or wherever).  Fortunately, media companies are working hard to make sure that your child’s screen time won’t be unsupervised.  A few years ago, Netflix launched a kid-friendly version to filter out the stuff inappropriate for little eyes, and now it looks like another company is joining them.  YouTube has launched a kid-friendly app to keep children from being exposed to the darker side of the Internet.

    In addition to helping cut down on salacious content, the kid-safe app will also help keep little ones safe from their own inappropriate searches.  Doubling down on the parental support, the app will also have built-in timers to allow parents to decide just how much time little ones can spend on YouTube.  There will be some ads, but they are promised to be as kid-friendly as the content.

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    February 20, 2015
    Fun Friday: 25 Years Of Photoshop
    YouTube Preview Image

    Video via CNET.

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    February 19, 2015
    Apple Aiming To Launch Electric Car By 2020

    The future is here.  Apple’s aim isn’t the dashboard or the stereo or the television anymore; instead, it’s the whole shebang.  Apple is reportedly aiming to launch an electric car by 2020.  The company has been hiring up experts in batteries and robotics and has previously attempted to purchase Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, to no avail.  They’ve also been trying to hire Tesla workers in an attempt to jumpstart their rumored electric car business, with little success.

    So would Apple choose to launch in a field that’s already getting pretty full between Tesla and traditional car powers increasing electric offerings?  It seems a little strange for Apple, but there were other MP3 players, other tablets, other smartphones, other streaming media servers, and other computers when Apple got involved with those things, and yet they still made a mint.  They have the name, and they have the style at the forefront of all their designs, plus they intentionally engineer devices that are impossible to fix yourself without custom equipment.  Maybe they’ve been planning to be a car company all along!

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    February 16, 2015
    AT&T Will Charge $29 Extra Not To Be Tracked

    With Google launching gigabit Internet service throughout the country a city at a time, it only makes sense that the other competitors in the filed, particularly AT&T, would step their games up and join in.  Hence, Uverse with GigaPower, AT&T’s competitor to Google Fiber, will be launching shortly in Kansas City, Missouri.  However, it’s not without a catch.  AT&T will charge customers an extra $29 per month to opt out of having their habits monitored.

    “We’re proud to launch in these cities as the first locations where we will offer ultra-high speeds to local consumers and employers in the Kansas City area,” said AT&T Kansas president Mike Scott.  ”The AT&T GigaPower network will help encourage economic development in the area by facilitating a new wave of innovation through enhanced opportunities for education, health, research and small business growth.”

    Of course, if you’re willing to be tracked, the cost for Internet only will be a smooth $70.  Internet and television service will run $120 per month.  That matches Google’s prices, but Google’s offer doesn’t come with targeted advertising for every user, just those that use Gmail and YouTube.

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    February 14, 2015
    Google And Mattel Turn The View Master Into The Virtual Master

    In 1939, the View Master made its debut.  It was used to help fighters in World War II and it was used to prep doctors for delicate surgeries.  Now the toy is getting a new lease on life thanks to a great partnership between Mattel and Google.  The View Master is coming into the virtual reality age, thanks to a little help from Google.

    The 3D View Master is a partnership between Mattel and Google, using Google’s Cardboard VR viewer.  It’s pretty cool technology, all things considered.  Not only do you get the cool 3D view, you’re now able to enter the world.  The new View Master is an app that works with smartphones and uses reels to activate the various programs.  You slide your phone into the location, you point the View Master at the circle, and then the program starts up.  At certain points, you can click on a button on the phone to explore the world you’re looking at in more depth.

    All in all, it’s a very fun way to revitalize an old technology, and I really hope it takes off, because my ViewiMaster is still gathering dust at my parents house in its carrying case with its discs.  If there was a good way to bring that to life again, I’m a happy kid.

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    February 11, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Colors

    Via Time Life.

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