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    February 10, 2016
    Wordless Wednesday: 2MB

    newton-flash-memoryVia Reddit.

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    February 6, 2016
    Apple’s Error 53

    If you’ve had your phone worked on by a third party, then you’re not alone.  Lots of other people have turned to places other than the Apple Store to get issues fixed, like with the home button where the fingerprint ID is.  Apparently, iOS9 doesn’t like third-party repairs, and while the fix itself isn’t a huge issue to normal people, it is to Apple.  Users who upgrade to iOS9 are finding themselves the victim of Apple’s Error 53, which completely kills their phones.

    The company is so vindictive that they’re willing to brick phones over a simple repair, and it’s not like that can be undone.  Once Apple triggers Error 53, the phone is completely dead.  All pictures, all contact information, all everything on the phone is immediately trashed and cannot be restored.  Essentially, for the unprepared, upgrading your iPhone is a device death sentence if you’ve ever had it worked on by someone not an authorized Apple retailer, and it appears that third parties repairing the phones and those getting phones repaired weren’t ever aware that this might become an issue.

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    January 11, 2016
    Getting The Most Out Of Your Fitbit

    One of the most popular presents of the year has to be the Fitbit.  Even I got a Fitbit for Christmas this year, and I’m trying to make sense of it, how to use it, all that good stuff.  I’ve also seen a lot of other people wearing Fitbits (now that I know what to look for on the wrist).  With every new device there’s a bit of a learning curve; I’ve got a lot of questions about my Fitbit that I don’t really have answers for, but there’s help out there.  PC World has put together a list of tips for getting the most out of your Fitbit.

    I’ve been using my Fitbit to track my steps and the like, and I had no idea that I had to actually set a stride in order to get a proper measurement of just how far I’ve walked and how many steps I’ve actually taken.  Likewise, I had no idea that the Fitbit would count calories for me, or work in common with MyFitnessPal.  That’s all very helpful stuff to know, and if it would work with, say, my Daily Plate account, that’d be great.  As it is, I have a lot of exploring to do with my new Fitbit.

     

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    December 18, 2015
    Sony’s “Super Battery”

    I’ve done a lot of complaining about smart phone battery life lately, and it seems like everyone’s working to improve that sort of thing.  For example, Thursday, I was at a Star Wars movie marathon.  It started at 3 AM, and I got there at 1:30 AM to make sure I got the seat I wanted and to be prepared for a staggering 18 hours or so of Star Wars movie.  In order to make it through the whole thing, I had to turn my phone off between movies (and I wasn’t the only one, all of the neighbors we had around us did the same thing).

    Sony has a battery with 40% more capacity coming to market in 2020.  Unlike other cases, Sony is actually changing what goes inside batteries, adding sulfur into the mix to increase battery capacity without increasing battery size.  Magnesium and sulfur is what’s in one battery; the other battery is lithium and sulfur.  The sulfur apparently helps increase capacity by taking over for the positive terminal.  Fittingly, the first devices that will be fitted with the new batteries will be smartphones, which should surprise no one at this point.

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    December 11, 2015
    Google’s Giving Away Star Wars Cardboard Headsets!

    I’m not quite sure what Google Cardboard is, but apparently it’s kind of a big deal.  One thing that I can say is definitely a big deal is Star Wars.  Star Wars has a new movie coming out called The Force Awakens, and it promises to mash up our old friends from the original films with a new cast and crew of younger folks to bring the adventure to a whole new generation.  In honor of that, Google is getting in on the collectibles action with some limited edition headsets.  Google is giving out free Star Wars Google Cardboard headsets!

    The Cardboard designs come in four choices:  R2D2, First Order Storm Trooper, Kylo Ren, and of course everyone’s new favorite, BB-8.  Best of all, they’re absolutely free! That’s right, no charge, and no shipping charge, either.  It’s completely free, from soup to nuts.  You’ll just need to act really, really fast to get your hands on one before they’re all snapped up by fans.

    For more information on the offer, head over to the Google Play store.

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    December 2, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: A Helping Hand

    Via CNet

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    November 19, 2015
    Write And Pitch To Amazon Studios

    Amazon has become one of the biggest players in the entertainment industry over the years.  First they worked as the best way to sell stuff online.  Now, they’re not just selling the movies and TV shows made by others and are just making themselves.  Every six months or so Amazon does what they call a pilot season, when new shows are trotted out for the public to vote on.  Now, to expand the pipeline and get content even more efficiently, Amazon is going into the writing business.  Amazon has free scriptwriting software that submits your ideas directly to Amazon Studios!

    The program is called Amazon Storywriter, and it’s basically your standard screenwriting program, but with the added carrot of being able to turn your script in for submission when you’re done.  There are categories; TV Comedy, TV Drama, Feature Film, and while there’s a lot of legalese to protect both sides from any bright ideas occurring for multiple people at the same time, it’s also a pretty fun idea to get your script out there in the world.  There’s even a Chrome extension for Storywriter for writing on the go and writing in offline mode.

    Will anyone ever wade through the slush pile?  Who knows!  But that’s part of the fun, right?

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    October 28, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday

    Via USA Today

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    October 20, 2015
    New York Times Is Going Virtual Reality

    Subscribers to the New York Times are still around, but they’re becoming more and more rare.  News media in general is struggling, because print is slowing down and they’re not well placed to take on the Internet while still making money.  However, when you’re a company with hundreds of thousands of subscribers and millions of dollars at your disposal, you can afford to try something different.  The New York Times is going to give Google Cardboard to every subscriber.

    If you’re one of the million or so people who gets the Times delivered to your home, you’ve got Google Cardboard coming!  Google Cardboard is coming for a reason.  That reason is The Displaced, an immersive film experience from the New York Times and Vrse, a virtual reality from Chris Milk.  It offers a full-spectrum view of the current problems in Sudan, Ukraine, and Syria through the eyes of three children struggling in the conflicts.  It’s all part of Google and the New York Times’ new project, NYT VR.

    If you don’t have a smartphone to use with Google Cardboard, don’t worry.  The Displaced and its content will be on the New York Times’ website in 2D.  NYT VR will be available to download on Google Play and Apple iTunes store.

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    October 17, 2015
    Not OK: Voice Stripped From Desktop Chrome

    One of the big features of Chrome is the ability to control it with your voice.  You see this most often with your smartphone.  You hold your Android up and you say “OK Google” and your browser springs to life to search for whatever’s on your mind.  It’s really handy when it comes to settling family arguments about who that guy is in that thing and the like.  The feature has also been found in Google Chrome’s desktop version, but I’m sure you didn’t know that because I’m not sure anyone ever used it.  Unsurprisingly, Google is going to remove voice commands from the desktop version of Chrome.

    I would assume, perhaps wrongly, but probably not, that it takes a lot of resources to have your browser constantly listening for a voice cue.  The fact that a lot of people play on the computer in front of the television means that every “OK Google” commercial might just wake up your browser and have you surfing.  Ditto friends cueing smartphones with the same command.  The technology is nice, and I’m sure it can be useful, but maybe it’s something that should be installed as an option, not as a feature.


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