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    April 28, 2012
    Summer Grilling: The iPad Edition

    It’s getting warmer outside, and that means barbecue season is starting up!  That seemed to give an idea to the guys at Pork Barrel BBQ in Alexandria, Virginia.  Being tech-savvy and barbecue hungry, the gentlemen got themselves a grill and have decided to replicate the success of “Will It Blend?” by asking the important question, “Can You Grill It?

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    I remember hot fruit being a big thing a few years ago; little did I know that there’d be nothing quite as fun as a freshly-grilled Apple!

    Admittedly, this is not a healthy thing to do.  Burning computer parts–even just the plastic outer shell and glass display of an iPad–is really toxic.  Fortunately, it looks as though no one is around the grill as it hits the fire, and there doesn’t seem to be too much human exposure to it.  As a publicity stunt, it’s a pretty fun thing, even if the Apple fans and environmentalists seem to be making a huge deal out of it and downvoting the video on YouTube.

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    April 25, 2012
    Feast Your Eyes Upon Crysis 3

    When you want a cutting-edge gaming experience, you can’t depend on your home video game console to provide that.  While it may be in HD and it may be great, there’s nothing quite as impressive or beautiful as a cutting-edge computer with state-of-the-art graphics cards, processors, RAM, and all the bells and whistles that turn an ordinary gray box into a power-sucking monster capable of eating any video game console’s lunch.  When you want max power, you want a PC.  When you want a max power game, you want Crysis.

    The original Crysis became a benchmark; the phrase “Can it run Crysis?” became a meme just about overnight, and Crysis 2 only upped the ante of PC gaming beauty.  Well, prepare to update your graphics cards, ladies and gentlemen.  Crysis 3 is here, and it’s got a trailer.  Feast your eyes below, and make sure you watch it in full 1080p HD for maximum effect if you can.

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    April 24, 2012
    Has Instagram Jumped The Shark?

    Last month, Instagram launched an Android version, and the user base went up exponentially.  Shortly after that, Facebook picked up Instagram for a staggering $1 billion dollars and everything went crazy.  Instagram exploded (not literally) and suddenly everyone is Tweeting images of their dinner, plants, their pets, whatever with a crazy old-school filter.  People seem to love Instagram, but not Apple marketing head Phil Schiller.  The iPhone marketer-in-chief says Instagram has jumped the shark.

    “One of the things I really liked about Instagram was that it was a small community of early adopters sharing their photographs.  Now that it has grow [sic] much larger the signal to noise ratio is different,” wrote Schiller.  ”That isn’t necessarily good or bad, it’s just not what I originally had fun with.”

    Saying something has jumped the shark has a definite meaning.  In this case, it means it stopped being elite and started to be democratic, and when normal people flock to a service, some early adopters flee.  Including, apparently, hipster guru Phil Schiller.  I don’t get the need to firebomb a service on the way out like this.  If you like it, you like it.  Enjoy it!  If you don’t like it, or stop liking it, just quit.  No need to gripe publicly that you liked Instagram before it was cool.

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    April 23, 2012
    The Internet Hall of Fame

    What’s the one thing every cultural institution has?  A hall of fame, of course.  Movies and television have the Hollywood Walk of Fame; music has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; and every professional sports league in the world has a hall of fame somewhere in the world.  If they don’t, they’re in the process of building one.  Until recently, the Internet did not have a hall of fame.  That’s changed with the announcement of the inaugural class of the Internet Hall of Fame.

    So who made the cut?  The Internet Hall of Fame has three different categories:  Innovators, Pioneers Circle, and Global Connectors.  Among the inductees for each section are the above-pictured Vint Cerf (a designer of the TCP/IP protocols that power the Internet) for the Pioneers Circle, Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of the World Wide Web) for the Innovators, and amusingly, Al Gore for the Global Connectors (he was one of the primary sponsors of several bills dedicated to funding and developing the Internet as an education tool).

    You can read all about the Internet Hall of Fame’s first class at the official website.

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    April 21, 2012
    You May Lose Your Internet By July 1

    In the United States, there are millions of computers that are infected with a virus known as the DNS Changer.  Basically, DNS Changer affects how your computer access the internet.  In the olden days, the hackers who ran this ring would take your Internet traffic and point it to the sites they wanted and the ads they wanted you to see.  This allowed them to make millions of dollars of unearned money for their various ads until the US government busted the ring in late 2011.  That leads to a second problem.

    Now that the ring is busted, millions of infected computers depended on these servers to access the Internet and the government, unwilling to cut off that many innocent people, kept the servers running until the bills got too high.  After all, running a server farm can be expensive, and the government isn’t in that business.  So, those computers infected with DNS Changer will be cut off from online access coming July 1 and that could knock millions of people offline.  So, you’d best investigate whether or not you have DNS Changer now before you can’t.

    Go to DCWG.org and see if you’re infected with DNS Changer before it is too late.  The test both detects the computer infection and provides a variety of ways to remove it, so the sooner the better to get your computer clean and functioning.

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    April 20, 2012
    The Draw Something Art Gallery

    Draw Something is the tablet computer game that’s sweeping the world.  From coast to coast and all around the world, everyone’s drawing something on Draw Something, though some people are better than others.  For some incredible achievements in Draw Something drawings, The Daily Telegraph has put together a great gallery of 16 incredible drawings.  As Words With Friends is to Scrabble, Draw Something is to Pictionary!

    It’s amazing what people can do in Draw Something, isn’t it?  It’s basically digital finger painting, but apparently some people are REALLY good at finger painting while others (me) never got past the stick figure stage.  There’s an amazing amount of detail for a lot of these drawings, and the amount of planning and skill it took to create some of these images is mind-blowing.  It makes me wonder what people could do with a pen and paper, or at least a good set of meatspace finger paints.

    I wonder:  do games like Draw Something encourage creative outlets for people who normally wouldn’t draw, or does it just give people who draw an extra outlet for their skills?  Or maybe, just maybe… it’s a lot of fun!


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    April 18, 2012
    Bargain-Basement Gadgets For Money-Conscious Technophiles

    Here’s a fact of life:  gadgets cost money.  I know, it’s a shame we can’t all load up on the newest in iDevices, Android things, desktops, netbooks, notebooks, televisions, and all the other great stuff that makes modern life so much better than scratching a stick figure into a cave wall with a burnt stick.  What do you do when you’re low on funds, but need something new?  Be it a new television, a new MP3 player, or even a set of steak knives, Wired has 9 great cheap gadgets.

    The Eclipse CL2BLK MP3 player is only $11 dollars.  Not only is it less than the price of a pizza, it’s also significantly useful versus an iPod, thanks to working with both OSX and Windows, as well as having a drag-and-drop file interface for significantly easy loading and unloading purposes.  It has MP3 and WMA support, but no M4A ability (sorry iTunes fans).  It may not be the best MP3 player, or even a good one, but once upon a time a 2GB MP3 player would run you in the hundreds of dollars, not in the tens.  That alone is pretty amazing.

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    April 13, 2012
    Testing Your iPhone Coverage

    Two carriers, one iPhone.  Who is best?  Well, that depends.  Your iPhone is only as good as your iPhone’s carrier, reception, signal strength, data stream, and all the other stuff that turns your phone into something other than a pocket weight.  That’s where CarrierCompare comes into play.  Basically, it’s an app that allows you to compare AT&T to Verizon no matter where you might be.  You activate the app, touch the button, and there’s your data.  This knowledge is power according to the company behind the app.

    “There is an imbalance of information out there,” said Amos Epstein, founder of SwayMarkets.  ”Each carrier knows its own network and hires people to drive around in trucks to measure its rivals’ service as well. But they haven’t gone as far to release data that’s tangible and useful to the consumer.”

    The app measures three points of data:  signal, response, and speed.  Signal is what you think it is, signal strength.  Response is the phone equivalent of ping; basically, it is measuring how long it takes for the network to react to what you want it to do.  Speed is the speed at which things download to your phone.  Phone companies have all this data on themselves and everyone else, but they don’t share it with you.  Here’s hoping an app like this might allow consumers to make more appropriate choices in their cellular search.

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    April 12, 2012
    Intel And Partners To Bring 75 Ultrabook Designs To Consumers

    Do you know what that is?  Ostensibly, it’s the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga that was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show this year.  But that’s not what it really is.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is the future.

    Intel calls it an Ultrabook.  Basically, it’s the Windows 8 competitor to the iPad, but with a little more usefulness.  Falling somewhere between a tablet and a full-sized laptop, the Ultrabook concept is a sub-$800 hybrid device.  Intel hopes that Ultrabooks will have the quick turn-on time and responsiveness of tablets, long battery life, but all the power and potency of a laptop.  The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga is impressive because in one form factor, it’s a laptop, but in the other form factor, it is a tablet.

    That’s the flexibility provided by Windows 8.  It functions like a standard computer, and it also has touchscreen capability (as I saw when playing with one at HP’s skunkworks.  Windows 8 features a tablet-like touch interface (that is also useful with a standard mouse), but it’s obviously laid out for hands-on use.  I look forward to these new layouts; if I can type and tablet (and play tablet-style games like Angry Birds and Words With Friends!), then I’ll have the best of both worlds.

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    April 11, 2012
    Wordless Wednesday: Prototypes

    A prototype Apple Macintosh 128k with the Twiggy 5.25 floppy disk drive, currently up for auction with a starting price of $99,995.

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