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    March 25, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Eclipse

    Via Reddit

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    February 14, 2015
    Google And Mattel Turn The View Master Into The Virtual Master

    In 1939, the View Master made its debut.  It was used to help fighters in World War II and it was used to prep doctors for delicate surgeries.  Now the toy is getting a new lease on life thanks to a great partnership between Mattel and Google.  The View Master is coming into the virtual reality age, thanks to a little help from Google.

    The 3D View Master is a partnership between Mattel and Google, using Google’s Cardboard VR viewer.  It’s pretty cool technology, all things considered.  Not only do you get the cool 3D view, you’re now able to enter the world.  The new View Master is an app that works with smartphones and uses reels to activate the various programs.  You slide your phone into the location, you point the View Master at the circle, and then the program starts up.  At certain points, you can click on a button on the phone to explore the world you’re looking at in more depth.

    All in all, it’s a very fun way to revitalize an old technology, and I really hope it takes off, because my ViewiMaster is still gathering dust at my parents house in its carrying case with its discs.  If there was a good way to bring that to life again, I’m a happy kid.

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    February 11, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Colors

    Via Time Life.

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    February 6, 2015
    A Radio Shack Catalog From 1981

    It’s looking dark for Radio Shack.  Yesterday, the company announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and that it would be giving over the bulk of its stores to Sprint in some sort of real-estate sharing technique in which Sprint will claim the signage and Sprint employees will sell Sprint products (like Sprint, Boost, and Virgin Mobile) from within the old Radio Shack locations while another 2400 stores will be closed.  However, once upon a time, Radio Shack was living the dream, and that year was 1981.

    Here are some great images from a 1981 Radio Shack catalog, detailing the company’s incredible line of TRS computers.  Pretty much whatever you wanted, you could get, from printers to desks to memory expansions.  Indeed, there are even ads for CompuServe, particularly a vintage system called VideoTex.  Pretty amazing that 1981 offered an Internet-lite service for your brand new Tandy computer.  It’s amazing how many of these modern products were available even back then.

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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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