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    February 20, 2015
    Fun Friday: 25 Years Of Photoshop
    YouTube Preview Image

    Video via CNET.

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    February 19, 2015
    Apple Aiming To Launch Electric Car By 2020

    The future is here.  Apple’s aim isn’t the dashboard or the stereo or the television anymore; instead, it’s the whole shebang.  Apple is reportedly aiming to launch an electric car by 2020.  The company has been hiring up experts in batteries and robotics and has previously attempted to purchase Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, to no avail.  They’ve also been trying to hire Tesla workers in an attempt to jumpstart their rumored electric car business, with little success.

    So would Apple choose to launch in a field that’s already getting pretty full between Tesla and traditional car powers increasing electric offerings?  It seems a little strange for Apple, but there were other MP3 players, other tablets, other smartphones, other streaming media servers, and other computers when Apple got involved with those things, and yet they still made a mint.  They have the name, and they have the style at the forefront of all their designs, plus they intentionally engineer devices that are impossible to fix yourself without custom equipment.  Maybe they’ve been planning to be a car company all along!

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    February 16, 2015
    AT&T Will Charge $29 Extra Not To Be Tracked

    With Google launching gigabit Internet service throughout the country a city at a time, it only makes sense that the other competitors in the filed, particularly AT&T, would step their games up and join in.  Hence, Uverse with GigaPower, AT&T’s competitor to Google Fiber, will be launching shortly in Kansas City, Missouri.  However, it’s not without a catch.  AT&T will charge customers an extra $29 per month to opt out of having their habits monitored.

    “We’re proud to launch in these cities as the first locations where we will offer ultra-high speeds to local consumers and employers in the Kansas City area,” said AT&T Kansas president Mike Scott.  ”The AT&T GigaPower network will help encourage economic development in the area by facilitating a new wave of innovation through enhanced opportunities for education, health, research and small business growth.”

    Of course, if you’re willing to be tracked, the cost for Internet only will be a smooth $70.  Internet and television service will run $120 per month.  That matches Google’s prices, but Google’s offer doesn’t come with targeted advertising for every user, just those that use Gmail and YouTube.

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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 11, 2015
    Pop-Up Ads On Your New Smart TV

    Just when you thought it was safe to buy a new television, along comes Samsung.  It’s not that the company’s televisions are bad; I have a Samsung TV and it’s got a great picture and decent sound for a flat panel.  It’s the advanced features that are giving some people trouble.  It’s not just your television listening in on your conversations, either.  Some Samsung Smart TVs have been displaying pop-up ads for Pepsi.  The trouble is when users use their smart televisions to stream video.  That’s when the Pepsi ads pop up.

    “I have recently upgraded my Plex Media Server to version 0.9.1101 and every 10-15 minutes whilst watching content on my Samsung TV I get a Pepsi advertisement showing!” user Mike wrote on the Samsung support forums.  ”At first I thought I was seeing things but no it repeats. Sometimes I can get out of it and go back to my media, others it hangs the app and the TV restarts.”

    Well, unwanted pop-up ads are bad, but when they interfere with the act of watching television–the sole purpose for that big flat thing in the living room that makes the noises and shows the pictures–that’s crossing a line.  I’m glad I have a dumb TV, and I don’t think I want a TV where I’d have to install pop-up blockers just to enjoy my Netflix.

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    February 9, 2015
    Your Smart TV Is Listening In

    There’s always a catch, isn’t there?  Sure, you can voice control your television, but that voice data has to be processed somewhere, and it’s generally not within the confines of the television itself.  Your Samsung Smart TV is listening to you talk and transmitting your voice data to a third party company for processing.  So when you give your credit card number to order something off of home shopping or you discuss intimate medical problems while sitting around watching the tube, then someone’s listening and potentially writing down every word.  Don’t believe me?  Read the contract.

    Says Samsung’s fine print:  ”Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party.”

    So what does that mean for Samsung?  Well, the company says that you have to activate the voice recognition, for one thing.  They also say they do not keep the information or sell your voice content.  There’s also an on-screen microphone that shows when the voice recording system is activated, so if that’s no on, you should be okay.  Still, maybe you might want to be careful around your appliances from now on.

    Image: BBC

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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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    February 4, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Channel F

    Via Fast Company

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    February 2, 2015
    Sony Sells Online Gaming Arm

    One of the most venerable names in online gaming is Sony.  Oddly enough, Sony’s the company behind one of the most enduring online games ever:  Everquest.  It’s been an enduring cash cow for Sony, but eventually all cows go dry.  Or, in this case, all cows get sold.  Sony has sold Sony Online Entertainment.  Now, Sony’s online games are no longer Sony’s; the new owner of SOE is an investment firm called Columbus Nova, who has renamed the game studio Daybreak Game Company.  Apparently, the only changes the company plans to make are positive ones.

    “This name embodies who we are as an organization, and is a nod to the passion and dedication of our employees and players.  It is also representative of our vision to approach each new day as an opportunity to move gaming forward,” reads a post.  ”It will be business as usual and all SOE games will continue on their current path of development and operation.  In fact, we expect to have even more resources available to us as a result of this acquisition.”

    So,  not only will Sony’s properties continue to function without change, the company plans on expanding its reach.  That’s right, the former SOE is now going to also be developing games for Microsoft’s XBox One console!

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