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    January 26, 2015
    An Anti-Hacker Keyboard

    There are a lot of great ways to protect yourself in the online world, but things like passwords have vulnerabilities and right now there’s not enough fingerprint technology to make it work.  Still, there are ways to keep things safe, and there are some interesting ways in which companies are doing that.  For example, there’s technology out there that learns how you type–both pressure and speed–and uses that to protect you.  It’s a hacker-foiling, grime resistant, energy-conserving keyboard.  It also records keystrokes when the keyboard thinks that someone not you is using your computer, just to make sure your information is protected adequately.

    The keyboard is a joint combination of Georgia Tech, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the University of California Riverside.  It’s a big combination of people, and a bigger combination of features.  Now some of them aren’t as useful as others, but it’s a beginning, and it’s an interesting combination of features that may one day become commonplace.  After all, on this keyboard, you have to type 100 words per minute to generate enough juice to recharge your smartphone, and for most people that’s not happening, but hey… maybe one day?

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    January 22, 2015
    Microsoft’s Project HoloLens

    Wearables are the hot new market for technology companies.  Apple’s got a watch, there are a ton of fitness bands, and Google tried its hand at Glass without too much success.  However, none of those projects can match up to the scope of Microsoft’s Project Baraboo.  Rather than just Internet-connected glasses with some displays inside, Microsoft is going for the full experience.  Microsoft is developing holographic glasses for a full virtual reality experience.

    “Ultimately, you know, you perceive the world because of light,” said Alex Kipman, the project’s lead innovator, on how his product tricks the human brain. ”If I could magically turn the debugger on, we’d see photons bouncing throughout this world.  Eventually they hit the back of your eyes, and through that, you reason about what the world is.  You essentially hallucinate the world, or you see what your mind wants you to see.”

    The product is not ready for the market quite yet, but the potential is unimaginable.  In one of Microsoft’s tests, the eyewear is used to virtually guide users on how to wire a light switch thanks to the help of a holograph electrician and holographic directions right there on the screen.  If they can do that sort of thing for cooking, car repair, and all the other little things that are currently best served by YouTube videos, it will really help the struggling wannabe do-it-yourselfers (like myself) get stuff done while the helping hands are paid by the hour without having to actually get dirty in the process.

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    January 21, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Amazon’s Million-Dollar 13-Foot Robot Exoskeleton

    Via Daily Mail.

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    January 12, 2015
    The Six Wackiest Gadgets Of CES 2015

    Every year, the Consumer Electronics Show comes to Las Vegas and every company with something to sell shows up.  Maybe they’re selling products,.  Maybe they’re selling themselves.  Maybe they’re selling concepts or ideas.  Maybe they’re selling some kind of crazy thing.  There are a lot of crazy things at CES.  Here are six of the wackiest gadgets at CES 2015.

    There are rings that allow you to run your smartphone by pointing and gesturing like a wizard.  There are brain-relaxing machines that replicate EEGs and then use that technology to compose soothing music, a smart baby bottle, and a gaming smartphone.  However the above picture might be the strangest device of the show.  It’s a floating bluetooth speaker.

    The Axxess CE Air2 floats above a base, or, if you want, can be removed from the base and attach to the refrigerator or (presumably) some other large metal object.  It also has five hours of battery life, which is pretty robust I assume.  It also has a range of about 10 meters for broadcast connectivity, which is pretty good for a bluetooth system.  Still, it’s not the range or sound quality, it’s the floating that sells it.

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    January 9, 2015
    The Mind-Saving Smartphone

    It’s been a minute or two since I updated the site, and that’s for a good reason.  On Saturday morning, I went on the injured list with back problems.  I’ve had them for years, ever since I got hurt at work 8 years ago, and they flared up again on Saturday.  Thankfully, with time and chiropractic care, I’m able to get back up and around, albeit gingerly.  So, having spent the better part of three or four days in bed, I’ve learned something about myself:  I am a smartphone junkie.

    For days now, the only real entertainment I’ve had is my smartphone.  My tablet was out of battery life and my laptop was too far away and too difficult to plug into the wall.  So my phone (and my TV) were it.  Given the difficulty I was having sleeping, I watched a lot of bad movies and spent a lot of time poking around with games on my phone.

    Having rediscovered my love of Sim City, I’m not sure I could have been quite as relaxed and calm without my phone.  Is that what it’s like for the rest of the smartphone world?  Is this what I’ve been missing out on all this time?  Because, I have to say, I’m kicking myself for not taking the plunge earlier.

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    December 26, 2014
    Tricking Out That New Android Phone

    Shortly before Christmas, I finally bit the bullet.  On a rainy, cold December evening, I drove out to a wireless telephone store and upgraded to a smartphone.  After years plural of avoiding smartphones to avoid the fees that come along with them, I’ve finally succumbed to the allure of having a pocket computer and here I am, poking away at a touchscreen with an index finger like the rest of the world, playing games, reading email, browsing the web, and doing all that fun stuff that people do.  But with every new phone, you have to figure out what to do with said phone, and that means apps for maximum usefulness.  Here’s 10 apps that Android Central recommend for the new smartphone owner.

    Interestingly enough, most of the Google-centric apps, like Google Music, came pre-loaded on my phone.  All I needed to do was update them to the latest versions.  Other apps, like Evernote and ES File Explorer, are already on my tablet and a natural add-on to my phone.  To me, the winner is Zedge, because I’m not a huge fan of the default tones, and having cooler tones at my disposal would be awesome.  The Game of Thrones theme as an alarm tone is just the thing I need to wake myself up in the morning.

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    December 12, 2014
    Fun Friday: MacBook Axe

    There’s a phrase for a tough person who hangs out on the Internet talking about how tough they are and how good they are at fighting or whatever.  They’re called keyboard warriors, and they’re the toughest nerds to ever huddle behind a keyboard.  However, there’s always the chance that the combat is going to spill beyond the web and enter meatspace.  If that happens, you’ll need protection, like this MacBook Axe.

    The image was created by Arlen Abraham and posted on Twitter.  I have to admit, it’s really funny, and it kind of makes me want to etch an apple on the side of an axe and join in on the fun.  Of course, I wouldn’t do it with a real MacBook, unless it was a broken MacBook.  Then, all bets are off.  As funny images go, I got a real kick out of this one, if only because it’s such a crazy idea and such a distinctive look (as well as a goof on Kickstarter).

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    December 8, 2014
    Samsung Brings $200 Oculus VR Headset To Market

    If you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, I have no doubt you can accomplish a lot with your little phone.  Indeed, smart phones are smarter than ever, and the Galaxy Note 4 is very smart indeed.  So smart it may just take you from reality into virtual reality.  Samsung is selling a $200 virtual reality headset for the Galaxy Note 4. Among the launch features are a virtual cinema, a music visualizer, and several games.  The VR headset is sold along an optional $80 bluetooth headset and a $50 controller bundle.

    The virtual reality headset is the Samsung Gear VR.  It’s a co-branded project between Samsung and Oculus, the virtual reality headset mavens who have been knocking at the doors of the mainstream for some time now.  The headset, which hooks into the Note 4 and uses it as a view screen, is only $200 and is dubbed an Innovator Edition, emphasizing that the connection between phone and headset is cutting-edge technology being offered to the public as an inexpensive beta edition.  Oculus will provide the store front, at least until Samsung’s “Milk VR” app store goes live.

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    November 19, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Lansbury

    Via Mike Sacco on Twitter.

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    November 7, 2014
    Fun Friday Videos: Eye Of The Printer

    There’s any number of good reasons why the dot matrix printer has gone the way of dodo.  Sure, modern printers are faster, easier to maintain, less noisy, use higher-quality paper, and don’t tear when you try to pull the pages off the printer or remove the guiding strips on the sides (because it’s standard paper, and it doesn’t have those little wheel strips on the side).  But there’s one thing modern printers can’t do that the good old dot matrix printer can.  For example:  can your printer sing?  More importantly, can it perform Survivor’s classic 80′s hit “Eye Of The Tiger”?

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    Here’s a dot matrix printer playing “Eye of the Tiger,” like the perfect blend of everything 80′s that it is.  A dot matrix printer, a song from a Rocky movie… all we need are some VHS tapes and a Commodore 64 and we’re in business!

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