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    May 20, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Gatwick Vs Windows

    Via Cory Doctorow on Twitter

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    May 13, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Tool Many Bars

    Via Reddit, of course.

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    March 28, 2015
    What Is USB-C And Why Is It Good?

    There are a lot of different cables and connection devices out there.  USB, mini-USB, micro-USB, Mag-safe, Lightning, and a whole forest of power connectors.  Wouldn’t it be great if there was just one connector that could do everything?  Well, it looks like there might be something like that just might be found on the back of the latest version of the Apple MacBook.  The future of all connections just might end up being USB-C.  Apple’s getting it first, but it’s going to become the industry standard sooner than later, since it’s the product of the USB consortium and available for use by pretty much anyone.

    So what makes USB-C so good?  Well, we’re talking about one port for all services.  It’s faster than USB 3.0, for one thing.  It’s also able to carry more of a charge, so it will replace your battery connector.  Most importantly, there’ll be no more struggling to figure out which way to plug in the cord, because USB-C has an omnidirectional cord end; and there’s no male or female connectors, so it won’t even matter what side plugs in where!   Pretty cool stuff, right?

    Perhaps the best thing about USB-C is that it’ll be completely open.  If you have a laptop and your friend has a USB-C phone, well… it’ll charge both of your devices, without crossing things up.

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    March 26, 2015
    The End Of The Tablet

    I have a tablet, as I’ve written about many times. It’s not the newest and shiniest tablet on the block, but it’s been dropped and survived, it plays games as well as you please, and it’s a top-notch streaming video device thanks to a great HD screen and Amazon Prime compatibility.  I love my tablet, I’m glad I have a tablet, and I finally talked my parents into getting a tablet too (they’re also very happy).  However, until the battery becomes worthless or I finally drop it once too often, I’m not going to replace it.  First of all, I don’t have the money.  Second of all, my tablet is doing the things I want it to do just fine.  Apparently I’m not alone in that thinking.

    Tablet sales are down, and experts are suggesting we’re hitting a tablet dead end.  After all, there’s no need to upgrade a tablet like you do a computer to run faster/more complex program.  Apps are apps.  Unless you’re Apple and you force older devices into obsolescence, why would you need a new tablet?  Granted, you might want some of the upgrades, but there’s no need to buy a new tablet like you rush out to buy a new smartphone.  The improvements just aren’t usually worth the price, assuming an HD screen.  And if you are considering a new tablet, there are a lot of touch screen options that are just as easy to use and significantly more powerful (ultrabooks, netbooks, convertible computers with touch screens).

    If you’re a tablet owner, what would make you buy a new tablet?  Is there some feature that would make a new tablet a must-have?  I can’t think of one that isn’t created by the manufacturer.

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    March 20, 2015
    Your Chevy Is Watching You Drive

    I’m sure it’s scary for parents to have to deal with a new driver in the family.  I’m sure my parents weren’t crazy about my driving either, when I first started driving.  Then again, I didn’t rush out onto the road at sixteen to roar down to the mall at top speed and with top volume on the stereo.  I can imagine for a lot of parents, monitoring their child’s driving might be something they’re interested in.  GM has your hook-up.  The 2016 Chevy Malibu will offer a Teen Driver suite that allows parents to control and monitor teenage driving.

    “We developed this system so parents could use it as a teaching tool with their kids—they can discuss and reinforce safe driving habits,” said General Motors safety engineer MaryAnn Beebe.  ”As a mother of two, I know anything that has the potential of keeping one’s family safer is of great value to parents.”

    Among the tools is one that sets a maximum volume for the radio (great idea), mutes the radio if seat belts aren’t worn (okay, still good), a governor setting a top speed between 40 and 75 miles an hour, and a bunch of other goodies to encourage safe driving and inform the parents when safe driving isn’t being done.  In theory, it seems okay, except for the fact that if parents can do this to kids, they can do it to each other, and I’m sure there’s some way for law enforcement to access this information, either legally or illegally, and that’s not something I’m okay with.  Car crashes are terrible, but the last thing I want is my car turning into a narc because I went 76 miles an hour on the freeway.

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    March 11, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Sad Mac

    Via Register.

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    March 3, 2015
    Sony’s Virtual Reality Headset Is Coming

    For a long time in the early 90′s, the talk was virtual reality.  Of course, back in those days, virtual reality was goggles and a jumpsuit while strapped into some weird spinning gyroscope thing.  Some things never change.  Gone are the jumpsuits and gyroscope, but the goggles remain, and they remain mostly unchanged.  Sony has debuted its Project Morpheus, a new virtual reality headset expected to debut in 2016.

    Calling it “close to the final consumer product,” Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida said, “This looks like last year’s model, but under the hood we’ve put a lot of improvements.”

    Faster reaction times, an improved 5.7 inch screen, and an experience that is rumored to be hard to differentiate from the real world.  Sony, being one of the world’s largest manufacturers of video games, looks to turn its VR headset into some sort of immersive-world game (though they did get rid of their online gaming arm not too long ago).  However, they’re not totally removing the user from reality; the redesigned headset allows users to push the device to the right to return to the real world without taking the system off completely.

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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 9, 2015
    Your Smart TV Is Listening In

    There’s always a catch, isn’t there?  Sure, you can voice control your television, but that voice data has to be processed somewhere, and it’s generally not within the confines of the television itself.  Your Samsung Smart TV is listening to you talk and transmitting your voice data to a third party company for processing.  So when you give your credit card number to order something off of home shopping or you discuss intimate medical problems while sitting around watching the tube, then someone’s listening and potentially writing down every word.  Don’t believe me?  Read the contract.

    Says Samsung’s fine print:  ”Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.”

    So what does that mean for Samsung?  Well, the company says that you have to activate the voice recognition, for one thing.  They also say they do not keep the information or sell your voice content.  There’s also an on-screen microphone that shows when the voice recording system is activated, so if that’s no on, you should be okay.  Still, maybe you might want to be careful around your appliances from now on.

    Image: BBC

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    January 14, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: iPhone Smuggler

    Via Chris Buckley on Twitter.

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