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    October 30, 2014
    MPAA And NATO Ban Google Glass

    Google Glass is the enemy of movie theaters, if certain industry groups are to be believed.  Just like once upon a time concert taping was going to kill live music, and VCRs were going to kill television, and the Internet was going to kill everything, Google Glass is now going to run your local multiplex conglomerate out of business.  At least, according to the Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theater Owners.  The MPAA and NATO have teamed up to ban Google Glass and other wearables from your local theater.  If you refuse to doff your Google Glass (or you need it to see), they can throw you out of the theater or even call the cops.

    “If theater managers have indications that illegal recording activity is taking place, they will alert law enforcement authorities when appropriate, who will determine what further action should be taken,” says the joint statement.

    Given the proliferation of devices capable of recording movies at DVD quality, including most cell phones, it seems a bit silly to ban something as obvious as a wearable pair of computer eyeglasses or a smartwatch.  There are lots of other ways to make recordings that can actually be hidden, rather than worn openly.

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    October 24, 2014
    Securing Your New Phone

    I think if you’re going to update your phone, you will have done it by now.  Lots of folks rushed out to get new iPhones and new Android devices in recent months, so it’s not surprising that you’re going to have to get your new phones secure and locked down in proper modern defensive postures.  That’s where apps come in.  When I got my Kindle so many years ago, the first thing I did was go out and get a security app for it off Amazon’s store.  If you’re an iPhone or Android user, then there are lots of great ways to take the extra step of security you need in this day and age of smartphones.  Here are some great security apps for your iOS and Android devices.

    It’s pretty strange that we live in a world where you have to make sure viruses don’t get on your phone of all things.  Especially considering that 15 years ago, or even less, a portable phone was a phone that could barely make telephone calls.  Now they can’t make phone calls, but they can do pretty much everything else that you’d want online.  Anything involving the Internet means anti-virus software, and anything involving your phone means lock-down and remote-wiping capabilities, so make sure you keep both of those on your phone.

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    September 22, 2014
    Apple Sells 10 Million iPhones In One Weekend

    The launch of the iPhone 5 was big, but somehow Apple has managed to top itself yet again.  This weekend was the first weekend of sales for the iPhone 6, and unsurprisingly, it was another huge sales event for the Cupertino gadget merchants.  Just how big was the sales event?  Apple has sold 10 million iPhone 6 units in the first weekend of sales.

    Of course, that was for both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, but still, that’s a lot of units moved.  I suppose a lot of that can be attributed to the new iPhone model, which features a much larger phablet-type form factor, as well as the chance to buy a new iPhone to go with your traditional accessories.  I suppose in this day and age it is amazing to sell 10 million of anything, let alone a phone, but considering Apple’s appeal and strong marketing, I’m a little surprised sales numbers weren’t higher.

    Estimates for the first weekend were between 6.5 and low-teens in millions of sales, so this weekend is still nothing to sneeze at.

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    September 3, 2014
    Samsung’s Bold New Edge In Smartphones

    The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is boldly going where no phone has gone before, thanks to a new little wrinkle.  Or, rather, a new curve in the road.  Taking advantage of Samsung’s curved display technology, the Galaxy Note Edge’s screen wraps around the phone, turning the edge of the phone into another display for information and a brand new way for apps to work with the native touchscreen interface.  Here’s how Samsung is plotting to use this extra real estate.

    First of all, this extra edge is going to be a display for time and weather information, so the phone can be on its side and still be useful (like for checking the time when you wake up in the middle of the night.  When you hold the phone horizontally, it turns the smartphone into a point-and-shoot camera, with the shutter button and other camera buttons appearing on the side screen.  You can also tap on the screen to access the flashlight, stopwatch, and other functions normally only on the home screen.

    You can check out The Verge for more great pictures like the one above, plus a full hands-on report concerning Samsung’s phone offering.

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    August 22, 2014
    Five Helpful Back To School Apps

    Going back to school is always a major disruption in routine.  No matter your age, your life will be interrupted.  Kids know the pain all too well, and that pain doesn’t go away when elementary school becomes college and uniforms become pajamas to class.  Fortunately, college students these days have many more advantages than I did when I went to college back in the early 00′s, and that advantage is in their pocket.  Smart phones make life worlds easier, and apps make that process even more painless.  Here are NBC’s picks for five helpful back-to-school apps.

    Of these, the one that seems like it might be the most helpful to pretty much anyone is Sleepbot.  If I had a smart phone, I’d probably be downloading it as we speak to help monitor my sleeping patterns and see if there’s any rhyme to the reason I get wake up three times a night lately.  Keeping track of my sleep debt also seems like it might be helpful information, if only because I know I owe the Sandman a lot of ZZZs.

    Image:  Little Big Details

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    August 14, 2014
    Tom Hanks Brings The Typewriter To The iPad

    Tom Hanks is a fan of typewriters.  In fact, the movie star once had over 200 typewriters in his collection.  That’s a real fan!  In fact, Hanks is such a fan that modern modes of typing just don’t do it for him, so he made an app for that.  Tom Hanks has released the Hanx Writer app for the iStore, which turns your iPad into an old-school typewriter.  The look is the same, but the sound effects and typewriter fonts will run $2.99.

    “What’s pleasing to my sensibilities is when you have the report of the key being struck, it allows for clear thinking,” Hanks told USA TODAY.  ”I suppose some people who get the app may just be looking for a different sound, but really it’s for people searching for a more personalized experience when writing on an iPad.  There’s also the opportunity here to take your iPad to a coffee house and be really obnoxious with all the clickety-clacking.”

    As someone who types a lot, I love the sound and feel of an old typewriter (or failing that, a mechanical keyboard).  That’s not always something you can manage with a tablet experience, but Hanx Writer works with bluetooth keyboards and iPads, so you can get as close to authentic as you can.  Kudos, T.Hanks.

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    August 5, 2014
    The Swiss Army Hair Clip

    You never know when you’ll need a scoring knife, a candle holder, a screwdriver, a ruler, or a wrench.  But it’s really inconvenient to carry all of those things around at one time without some sort of satchel or basket.  Enter the all-in-one device that hides in your hair.  The Leatherdos is a multi-tool hidden in your hair.  Created by an Israeli inventor, it was originally used to keep mens’ yarmulkes in place in their hair, but can be used for pretty much any hair-based usage, presumably.

    “For years I dreamed of an ‘upgraded’ kippa clip and I always saw my religious friends using their kippa clip for all sorts of things,” said inventor Yaacov Goldberg.  ”I decided to take the idea one step forward and prove that one can truly use a kippa clip for any use.”

    The best part of the Leatherdos is that it’s only $9 for a pretty handy little device.  It’s the kind of thing you’d forget about until you need it, then you remember you have it and that’ll help you out quite a bit.

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    July 26, 2014
    Verizon To Slow Down Heavy Data Users

    Once upon a time, Verizon offered high-speed cellphone data service to everyone.  For a low monthly price,  you got all the bandwidth you could use.  That plan was discontinued in 2012, but some folks who subscribed to the service continue on as legacy users.  That plan is about to change once again.  Verizon will now have data caps on heavy unlimited users starting in October.  Their service won’t stop completely, but it will be throttled until the next billing cycle.

    The top five percent of users in data-heavy markets on 4G plans will be affected; once they top 4.7GB of data in a month, they’ll find their service slowed down until the next month, at which point it will presumably continue on as normal again.  It’s all part of Verizon’s plan to move everyone to tiered data plans; tiered data customers won’t be affected, as per usual.  Customers using 3G data plans are already under the terms of the throttling plan.

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    July 18, 2014
    Cat Feeder With Feline Facial Recognition

    My parents have four cats, and that means that feeding time for the kitties quickly becomes chaos.  The calico wants to eat everyone’s food.  The gray one needs special food because she’s diabetic.  The brown and white one is an adult cat who eats normal adult cat food.  The calico and the orange one are still kittens and need kitten food.  Everyone wants to eat everyone else’s food.  Believe me, it’s a mess, especially when I have to go over there and feed for them.  That’s what makes the idea of the Bistro smart cat feeder so genius.  Taiwan design team 42ARK have created the Bistro, which monitors cat eating habits and uses facial recognition to keep cats from misbehaving around the food bowl.

    Perhaps more interestingly, it can also be used to track the food intake of the cats to figure out who needs to go on a diet, who needs to eat a little more, and which cat is the one that eats everyone else’s food.  There are also weight sensors in the food bowl to make doubly sure that the right cat has the right food.

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    July 10, 2014
    LG’s Kid-Tracking Kizon Smart

    So you’re wondering just where your child is, and while you can probably just call them on their phone, that won’t tell you if your child is actually somewhere safe or if they were out somewhere doing something dangerous.  That’s where technology comes in.  There are probably some tracking apps out there, but good luck getting the kid to use said app, or not disable said app.  That’s where the Kizon comes in; it’s a cool-looking wearable device that keeps a parent app updated with location information.  LG has announced the Kizon, a child-tracking smartband that pairs allows parents to keep tabs on their child.

    It’s not just a band, though.  The Kizon is also a phone, and parents can control just who calls, who the child can talk to, and so on.  If the child doesn’t answer the phone, the Kizon automatically activates its microphone so you can hear what’s going on.  And if your child happens to need you, you can preprogram a phone number into the device that the child can call with the push of a button.  Privacy concerns aside, that’s a really cool way to keep tabs on your little ones, should they need that.

    If you’d like more information, check out LG’s Kizon website.

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