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    April 3, 2015
    Bringing The Game Boy Into The Touch Screen World

    It started out as something between an April Fool’s joke and a product interest test, but like a lot of April Fool’s jokes these days, it soon became a real thing.  Or, at least, the company behind it is trying to make it a thing.  Hyperkin, a gaming peripherals company, floated out the above product design for an iPhone-friendly device to bring new life to old Nintendo Game Boy games.  Turns out, everyone loved the idea, and now Hyperkin is going to bring the Smart Boy iPhone case to life, or at least try to.

    Now, I’m sure Nintendo can shut this down at any time, since it requires using actual Game Boy carts to power the gaming portion of the device, but I kind of hope they don’t.  I have a bunch of old first-generation Game Boy games, and I’d love to play them again now that my original Game Boy has kind of given up the ghost.  I know there are a lot of ways to play old games, both legal, illegal, and quasi-legal, but I would really love to see something revive the old video game market, and to turn a touchscreen phone into a legitimate, button-mashing game rather than something with mediocre touchscreen buttons.

    Still, as cool of an idea as it is, I get the feeling that Apple and Nintendo won’t be so keen on letting this happen.  Apple is notoriously tight with their approvals, and Nintendo is launching a line of touchscreen phone games in the near future, so they might not want to compete with themselves.  Then again, maybe all three parties can come together and really make us all happy.

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    April 2, 2015
    Samsung Prices New Curved TVs

    If you listen to Samsung’s marketers and designers, the future is all curves and no straight lines.  Curved televisions have been talked about for awhile, but for Samsung, the future is curves and the future is now.  Samsung has announced a line of curved SUHD TVs–no one knows what SUHD stands for, but the UHD is for Ultra High Definition–in size ranges from 40 inches to an impressive 78 inches.  So what’s a new curved SUHD TV going to run you?  Well, the prices for Samsung’s SUHD TVs starts at $949.99 for the 40-inch model.  (The 78-inch model runs an impressive $9,999.99.)

    Samsung boasts that the curved TVs have improved brightness, a good color range, and the deepest blacks of any LED display.  The televisions are powered by Samsung’s in-house Tizen operating system and come with a built in 8-core processor for extra zip.  If you have a Galaxy smartphone, you can use it as a smart remote.   But it’s not the only curved thing in Samsung’s lineup:  Samsung is also rolling out a line of curved speaker bars to go along with the curved television, and some interesting-looking round omnidirectional speakers.

    Apparently, Samsung is taking this obsession with curved home theater equipment to the next level.

     

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    April 1, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Time Capsule

    Image via Reddit

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    March 31, 2015
    Chromebit: A Computer On A Stick

    It seems like everyone wants to make a stick.  It’s probably the hottest form factor for consumer electronics since the tablet, and it’s becoming increasingly omnipresent to find some device to plug into  your television to make it do something impressive.  I personally have an Amazon Fire Stick for my upstairs television, and everyone I know has some sort of stick, be it a Cromecast, an Apple TV stick, or something else of that type.  Basically, right now, most stick devices are used to help connect to the internet and stream video in some way.  However, there’s a lot more you can do with that form factor, and Google is going to be pushing those limits.  Google is putting a whole computer on a plug-in HDMI stick.

    The stick has been dubbed the Google ASUS Chromebit, and it packs a LOT of punch for a small form factor.  It’s got 2GB of RAM and 16 GB of onboard storage, and it is powered by the same kind of ARM processors that currently power smartphones.  So it’s small, powerful, and shouldn’t have heat concerns.  It will also be powered by Google’s Chrome OS operating system, so it will be very light and very potent, provided app makers jump on board.  The Chromebit will also support Bluetooth devices, so it’s useful as a real computer should you want to run Microsoft Office 365 or search for a movie on Netflix.

    The key point, though, is the price.  It’s going to be under $100, cheaper than Intel’s $149 Compute stick, and it doesn’t require any other special features or additional devices.  That’s a really impressive deal!

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    March 30, 2015
    Project Spartan Is Now Available

    The time of the Internet Explorer is coming to an end.  Microsoft’s venerable browser has held off all challengers, even down to modern strugglers like Firefox and Google Chrome, but it’s got a lot of baggage to the name, some good, but mostly bad.  It’s that bad noise that comes along with the name that is causing Microsoft to scrap one of it’s best-known products.  It’s a new world out there, and with a new world comes new requirements and a new centerpiece web browser.  Microsoft’s new browser, Project Spartan, is now ready for testing.

    Of course, if you want to test spartan, you need to also test Windows 10, but since it’s free, why not?  If you’re already testing an experimental build of an OS, go ahead and add onto it with an experimental browser.  It’s Microsoft’s next-gen replacement for Internet Explorer, after all, so may as well get your hands dirty.  It’s all designed to be faster, run cleaner, and make sharing that much easier, as well as to allow people to write notes directly onto websites.  So yeah, it sounds pretty cool.

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    March 28, 2015
    What Is USB-C And Why Is It Good?

    There are a lot of different cables and connection devices out there.  USB, mini-USB, micro-USB, Mag-safe, Lightning, and a whole forest of power connectors.  Wouldn’t it be great if there was just one connector that could do everything?  Well, it looks like there might be something like that just might be found on the back of the latest version of the Apple MacBook.  The future of all connections just might end up being USB-C.  Apple’s getting it first, but it’s going to become the industry standard sooner than later, since it’s the product of the USB consortium and available for use by pretty much anyone.

    So what makes USB-C so good?  Well, we’re talking about one port for all services.  It’s faster than USB 3.0, for one thing.  It’s also able to carry more of a charge, so it will replace your battery connector.  Most importantly, there’ll be no more struggling to figure out which way to plug in the cord, because USB-C has an omnidirectional cord end; and there’s no male or female connectors, so it won’t even matter what side plugs in where!   Pretty cool stuff, right?

    Perhaps the best thing about USB-C is that it’ll be completely open.  If you have a laptop and your friend has a USB-C phone, well… it’ll charge both of your devices, without crossing things up.

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    March 26, 2015
    The End Of The Tablet

    I have a tablet, as I’ve written about many times. It’s not the newest and shiniest tablet on the block, but it’s been dropped and survived, it plays games as well as you please, and it’s a top-notch streaming video device thanks to a great HD screen and Amazon Prime compatibility.  I love my tablet, I’m glad I have a tablet, and I finally talked my parents into getting a tablet too (they’re also very happy).  However, until the battery becomes worthless or I finally drop it once too often, I’m not going to replace it.  First of all, I don’t have the money.  Second of all, my tablet is doing the things I want it to do just fine.  Apparently I’m not alone in that thinking.

    Tablet sales are down, and experts are suggesting we’re hitting a tablet dead end.  After all, there’s no need to upgrade a tablet like you do a computer to run faster/more complex program.  Apps are apps.  Unless you’re Apple and you force older devices into obsolescence, why would you need a new tablet?  Granted, you might want some of the upgrades, but there’s no need to buy a new tablet like you rush out to buy a new smartphone.  The improvements just aren’t usually worth the price, assuming an HD screen.  And if you are considering a new tablet, there are a lot of touch screen options that are just as easy to use and significantly more powerful (ultrabooks, netbooks, convertible computers with touch screens).

    If you’re a tablet owner, what would make you buy a new tablet?  Is there some feature that would make a new tablet a must-have?  I can’t think of one that isn’t created by the manufacturer.

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    March 25, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Eclipse

    Via Reddit

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    March 20, 2015
    Your Chevy Is Watching You Drive

    I’m sure it’s scary for parents to have to deal with a new driver in the family.  I’m sure my parents weren’t crazy about my driving either, when I first started driving.  Then again, I didn’t rush out onto the road at sixteen to roar down to the mall at top speed and with top volume on the stereo.  I can imagine for a lot of parents, monitoring their child’s driving might be something they’re interested in.  GM has your hook-up.  The 2016 Chevy Malibu will offer a Teen Driver suite that allows parents to control and monitor teenage driving.

    “We developed this system so parents could use it as a teaching tool with their kids—they can discuss and reinforce safe driving habits,” said General Motors safety engineer MaryAnn Beebe.  ”As a mother of two, I know anything that has the potential of keeping one’s family safer is of great value to parents.”

    Among the tools is one that sets a maximum volume for the radio (great idea), mutes the radio if seat belts aren’t worn (okay, still good), a governor setting a top speed between 40 and 75 miles an hour, and a bunch of other goodies to encourage safe driving and inform the parents when safe driving isn’t being done.  In theory, it seems okay, except for the fact that if parents can do this to kids, they can do it to each other, and I’m sure there’s some way for law enforcement to access this information, either legally or illegally, and that’s not something I’m okay with.  Car crashes are terrible, but the last thing I want is my car turning into a narc because I went 76 miles an hour on the freeway.

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    March 18, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: The Legend

    Via Reddit.

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