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    August 26, 2015
    Amazon Goes Underground

    Back in December, Amazon’s app disappeared from Google’s servers.  The Google Play Store has rules, and the most important rule they have is not to use your app to sell other apps.  Google wants to control where your apps come from, and allowing others to sell apps back-handedly is very much against the rule.  Rather than pout, Amazon did something about their trouble with Google Play.  Amazon has taken its popular app and taken it underground, literally.  Amazon has an app called Amazon Underground that can only be gotten via Amazon.

    Of course, to make Amazon Underground work, you have to first allow your phone to download third-party apps.  For most instances, that’s a horrible idea, but this is Amazon, and if you get the app from their servers, it’s pretty safe.  You turn on to allow third party stuff, then you turn it off until you need to install or update the apps you load covertly through Amazon’s app store.  That will give you flexibility and the apps you crave for your addiction.

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    August 20, 2015
    Remember These Fossils?

    Laptops used to be expensive.  They still are, but they used to be very, very costly, well out of the range of most people’s budgets.  Smartphones were a completely foreign idea, the realm of science fiction.  Sure, there were things like the Newton, but that was rare and quickly forgotten about until the technology caught up with the idea.  There were a lot of gadgets like that when the Internet became a thing in the 90′s; interesting ideas that flared up but were never quite able to catch on for a variety of reasons.  PC World has a fun round-up of weird gadgets from the early days of the Internet.

    I love looking at old galleries like these, but I never knew anyone who had any of these devices, like the above-pictured 3Com Ergo Audrey.  I never knew anyone that had one, but I was always fascinated by the idea of them, and I remember checking lots of these out at the store when possible.  Kind of like how I was always fascinated by the idea of WebTV, but never knew anyone who had anything to do with them.  I don’t see a lot of them having sold well, but I love the ideas and I love how many of the features these devices had (wireless keyboards, touchscreens, wireless online connectivity) are pretty much standard these days.

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    August 18, 2015
    Intel’s Crazy Gadgets

    Robot spiders.  Bar code gloves and a wrist-and-belt system to monitor lifting posture.  A mirror that changes your shirt for you to test out different colors.  There are a lot of fun things you can do with technology that may or may not be useful.  Some of them, like the Neiman-Marcus mirror, are already slowly being pushed out to store locations.  Others are toys for the super-rich, like a killer race car simulator.  All of them have Intel inside and made their appearance at the Intel developer’s conference this week.  Here are some of the crazy highlights of Intel’s developer conference.

    I love things like this.  Most of these things aren’t practical, and they won’t see any kind of large-scale production for the consumer market, but the only way you know a product might work is that someone creates, tests it, and there’s enough attention.  Google Glass might have been a failure, but it was a neat experiment that’s going to yield results in the future via other products using parts of Glass to create some real virtual reality.

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    August 13, 2015
    iRobot’s Lawn Mower Roomba Is Coming

    Do you enjoy cutting the grass?  I sure don’t.  In fact, my lawn needs to be cut as we speak, but it’s just too hot and I’m too tired to bother with it right now.  It’ll wait until cooler times this weekend.  I wish I didn’t have to go out and do the chore manually.  I wish I had, say… a Roomba vacuum.  One of the longest-awaited ideas has finally come to fruition.  iRobot has been approved to develop a Roomba-style lawn mower!

    This is an amazing idea.  The Roomba operates by moving between radio-emitting stakes in the ground (or I guess running into the fence will make it turn around, too) which controls just where the Roomba cuts and where it doesn’t cut, so your neighbors will have to get their own or move the stakes after you put the Roomba to work and go back inside to enjoy a cool ice tea.  The FCC has approved the use of radio waves to control the device, so no need to do a remote-control version, the stakes and the Roomba will do all the work.

    Man, we’re finally starting to actually live in the future.  Robots doing our vacuuming and our yard work!

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    August 5, 2015
    Puzzle Over Song Lyrics No Longer

    I dearly love my father, but he has an awful habit of singing songs with incorrect lyrics.  They may just only be slightly off, but… they’re off enough to bother me.  I do it to.  Everyone does it, truthfully.  You sing what you hear, even if that’s not what’s actually being sung at the time in the song.  That’s where the Genius family of websites come into play. T hey’re a crowd-sourced lyrics and explanations site and they have been slowly expanding their reach through app-based services.  The Genius app has made its debut on Android, with redesigns across iPhone and web versions to boot.

    Now I’ve only used the Genius stuff via the web, but I’m excited about the idea of it, because I’m tired of looking up song snippets via Google when I can turn to something with some serious source and the knowledge of the globe at large to get songs right.  If it works for Wikipedia, it could definitely work for “Rocky Mountain Way.”

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    August 3, 2015
    The Two-Faced Luxury Watch

    You’d think that these days you wouldn’t have a big audience for people wanting watches, but apparently that’s not the case.  I guess taking the phone out of the pocket is taking too much effort, at least as far as just looking down at your wrist.  But suppose you want luxury and the latest technology in one?  Well, there’s a solution, and it will only cost you several thousand dollars and months of wait time.  Luxury watchmaker Nico Gerard is making a two-faced luxury watch with an Apple Watch built in.

    The Sunrise Pinnacle watch is a bargain.  Only 88 of them will be made, and they’ll run about $154,000 per watch.  If that’s too rich for your pleb blood, then there are lower-priced options available from $12780 or $13000, depending on which watch you’re most interested in.  It’s an elegant watch, but an inelegant solution to the desire to have a great watch that’s also a smart watch.  Maybe next time just pop the Apple Watch out of its case and try to install it in a normal watch face?  Or just have your smartwatch on your opposite hand and wear two watches at once for maximum awesomeness!

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    July 29, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Portable

    Via Reddit.

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    July 15, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Turnstile

    Via Reddit

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    July 3, 2015
    The Nintendo PlayStation?

    Way back in the 90′s, there were only two video game companies that mattered.  On one hand, you had Nintendo, who rolled out the Super Nintendo and stuck with the plastic cartridge format long after others went to video discs.  On the other hand, you have Sega, which boosted its Genesis with a 32-bit plug-in, a CD attachment, and who knows what else to try and extend their console life beyond Nintendo’s.  It didn’t work very well for Sega, but that doesn’t mean Nintendo didn’t nearly try the same thing.  Back in the day, Nintendo and Sony were working together on a video game system that would play both DVDs and cartridges.  This is rumored to be a prototype Nintendo PlayStation.

    That’s right, Nintendo PlayStation.  Nintendo would provide the SNES component, and Sony would provide the disc-playing game component.  Sony and Nintendo would both get to sell the systems; Nintendo would get a CD add-on, and Sony would get the SNES port.  This SuperDisc, if it is indeed real, is one of only 200 consoles of the type ever made.  Even if it didn’t work–and it might work–it’s going to be worth a fortune, assuming it’s authenticated by experts as real.  Otherwise, it’s a really good forgery.

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    June 30, 2015
    Siri Is Getting Sassy

    What is 0 divided by 0?  Simple question, right?  Well, yes and no.  If you’re an iPhone user, and you ask Siri to do a little math for you, you’re probably used to getting good answers, but Siri can be pretty sassy sometimes, and a recent Apple update has made Siri even sassier.  People asking Siri to divide 0 by 0 are getting some shockingly sassy answers.

    In particular, the zero divided by zero answer is getting some serious traction for being a sick burn.  If you don’t have an iPhone, allow me to tell you what Siri’s currently shredding curious Apple fans with:  ”Imagine that you have zero cookies and you split them evenly among zero friends. How many cookies does each person get?  See?  It doesn’t make sense.  And Cookie Monster is sad that there are no cookies, and you are sad that you have no friends.”

    That’s pretty hilarious, and when you hear Siri deliver it with her robot voice, it’s even funnier.  Who even knows what other crazy answers she has up her digital sleeves, aside from the engineers at Apple?  I guess we’ll just have to bombard Siri with dumb questions and find out!

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