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    May 8, 2015
    Google Can Help You Order Dinner

    Some days it’s just too hot, or too cold, or too rainy to bother going out to the store, bringing home food, and cooking it yourself.  That’s what delivery is for, and delivery food remains incredibly popular.  Indeed, ordering food was one of the earliest things you could do online, and it remains one of the biggest things for online restaurant websites.  But what if you didn’t have to go to the trouble of finding a delivery service to bring your food to you?  What if you could just search for a restaurant and Google would tell you how you could order from them?  That’d be cutting out the middle man, to be sure.  Well, that’s what’s happening.  If you search for a restaurant on your mobile phone, Google will be providing an instant ordering option.

    “When you search for a nearby restaurant on your phone, you’ll see an option to ‘Place an order’ in the search results.  Just tap that, choose the delivery service and you’ll be taken to their website to complete the order,” explains Google’s blog post on the subject.

    The service kicks off with six different providers here in the United States:  Seamless, Grubhub, Eat24, Delivery.com, BeyondMenu, and MyPizza.com.  Google is going to expand the offerings eventually, though it might take awhile and they’ve already landed the major providers.  Sadly, it only seems to work through mobile phones, but maybe it’ll be added to the normal Google service soon enough.

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    May 7, 2015
    Nintendo Is Heading To Universal Theme Parks

    The Super Mario Brothers were the first video game I remember playing.  Shortly after that I went backwards to things like Atari and those little hand-held Tiger games that never really worked, but Mario was my first.  I spent hours playing Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt with my dad in my room or on the family television.  Mario’s an important part of my life and if there was a Nintendo theme park, I would have already gone.  Now it might be happening.  Nintendo will be licensing its characters to Universal.

    That means Mario, Peach, Luigi, Link, and all your favorite Nintendo characters will be coming to Universal Parks & Resorts properties.  It’s actually kind of amazing that it hasn’t happened before now.  Then again, Nintendo is trying to expand its brand and help its characters get farther out into the world and penetrate even more into pop culture.

    All I can say is that if that means we get a Mario Kart ride, I don’t care who they license to, because that’s going to be phenomenal.  So long as I get the blue shell.

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    May 6, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Keyball

    Image: Saartj1e on Deviant Art

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    May 5, 2015
    Get Your Apple Watch Gold Plated

    So you really want to look like you have $10,000 to waste on a gold watch from a technology company, not a watch maker with a history of crafting great watches, but you don’t actually have the money (or if you do, you’re smart enough not to spend it).  Well, there are a lot of options out there for the thrifty Apple Watch fan, and most of them are available at your local jewelry store.  As it turns out, people are taking their Apple Watch and having it gold plated to save several thousand dollars.

    In fact, certain clever companies are selling Apple Watches that have already been gold plated, as you can see in the article above.  Either way, it’s only another $400 or so to have an Apple Watch gold plated, but don’t try it with the Sport Watch; the coating on the Apple Watch Sport model will repel attempts at gold plating due to its coating.  Still, I guess if you’re getting a watch gold plated, it may as well be the standard model.  No sense in throwing (more) money away.

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    May 4, 2015
    Microsoft’s New IE-Killing Browser

    Has there ever been a bigger announcement than the idea that Microsoft–who worked very hard and spent much harder–to win the original browser war versus Netscape decades ago,  Since then, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and dozens of other browsers have popped up and nipped away at Microsoft’s browser supremacy over the years, and they’re everything IE isn’t:  fast, light, clean, secure, etc.  Well, rather than giving up, Microsoft is giving in and rolling out a fast, light, modern browser of their own.  The rumored Project Spartan is now Microsoft Edge, and it’s shaping up to be an in-house IE killer.  Here are five ways Microsoft Edge will be a huge improvement over Internet Explorer.

    Honestly, anything is an improvement over IE at this stage.  Firefox might be sluggish, but it’s faster than IE.  Chrome might be very light, but it also doesn’t have all the security issues that routinely crop up on IE.  I can only hope that it lives up to the hype and that there’s pretty prompt corporate adoption, because I’m tired of being handcuffed by regular IE and not being able to use Google Chrome due to work requirements.  Then again, if Microsoft’s new browser won’t support a bunch of the necessary stuff in the background to run corporate software, this might be a big mistake.

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    May 1, 2015
    Sprint Unveils Free Airport WiFi

    One of the perils of traveling is the inability to find reliable connectivity.  During a trip to London a couple of years ago, the only place I could really get solid WiFi in the city was, guess where?  Heathrow Airport.  It made things a lot easier for me while waiting for boarding and all that fun stuff, but when I got stuck at O’Hare Airport in Chicago for seven hours?  Nothing.  Nothing but books to read and no real way to get online.  Thankfully, Sprint customers won’t face the dilemma of having to pay for what so many places give away for free.  Sprint is teaming up with airport WiFi controllers Boingo to give free access to its customers.

    “By enabling customers to move more smoothly between trusted Wi-Fi and cellular, our customers will have a better mobile experience in more locations, all while lowering their cost of data usage,” said Sprint’s CTO Stephen Bye.

    Of course, this isn’t at every airport, just at 35 specific airports mentioned in a Sprint blog post.  Still, that’s a start.  Maybe Verizon can pick up the bill at some other airports, or AT&T can provide WiFi at truck stops?  The important thing is that free WiFi is starting to really take root in the public sector.  Here’s hoping it continues to advance; if I can get free WiFi at the world’s busiest airport, surely they can roll out WiFi coverage at other major airports.

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    April 29, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Panorama

    Via Twisted Sifter

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    April 28, 2015
    A Power-Free Washing Machine

    Sometimes you just have to wash some clothes, but you don’t have the ability to do so.  Maybe your washing machine is broken.  Maybe the power is out.  Maybe you’re traveling and you’re not wanting to pay for the price of a trip to the laundromat for just a few things.  Either way, a company called Yirego has come up with a $129 solution to the problem.  The Drumi is a power-free washing machine powered by the foot, not the cord.

    Of course, the machine isn’t going to replace your full-sized washing machine, but if you have access to soap and clean water and some time to dedicate to stepping on a foot pedal for awhile, then you’ll have six or seven pieces of clean laundry once you hand the stuff out to dry.  But the Drumi functions as both a washer and a spin-cycle to drain excess water out of the clothes.  If you’re a traveler, this seems like a really interesting investment that would fit pretty well in the back of a car or in a trunk for traveling purposes.

    If you’re interested, the Yirego Drumi is available for preorder at yirego.com.

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    April 27, 2015
    Best Buy Will Now Take Apple Pay

    The wave of the future is the payment app.  I have a payment app for a local coffee chain, and it’s making things a lot easier for me.  Not that I get to buy that much coffee, but to swipe a thing and have it be my payment method, loyalty card, and order tracker all in one, it’s pretty convenient rather than handing over multiple plastic cards.  The future, I guess, is Apple Pay and Apple Pay-like products, and Best Buy is no longer willing to wait for the future.  Best Buy is going to begin taking Apple Pay immediately, having updated their iOS app to reflect the chance in corporate policy.

    Best Buy is one of the companies involved closely in the Merchant Customer Exchange, which is developing Apple Pay rival CurrentC.  I guess this is a sign of a lack of support for CurrentC on Best Buy’s part, which makes sense because CurrentC is far behind schedule in terms of development when compared to Apple Pay.  No sense fighting the current when your own product isn’t ready.

    “Today’s consumers have many different ways to spend their money and we want to give our customers as many options as possible in how they pay for goods and services at Best Buy,” reads a Best Buy statement.  ”The acceptance of Apple Pay in the Best Buy app is the latest enhancement for our mobile platform.”

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    April 23, 2015
    The Apple Watch App Store Is Live

    The Apple Watch has been spectacularly popular, selling out preorders and creating a whole lot of interest in a little wrist-sized product that promises to become the first in a long line of wearables.  But a smart watch is nothing without a way to put cool stuff onto said smart watch.  That’s where the apps come in.  The Apple Watch App Store is now available.

    Of course, nobody really has an Apple Watch quite yet, but still, it’s nice to know that they’ve already got a lineup of apps ready at launch.  Indeed, there are 3000 waiting, not including the ones built into the Apple Watch.  The Apple Watch app store was first introduced in iOS 8.2, but now if you’re looking to poke around, persistence will get you a reward.  Most users are reporting that it takes multiple presses of the button to get into the store, but if you’re willing to keep clicking, eight or ten clicks should be enough to get you in.

    Unless, of course, Apple clamps down on the store and takes it offline again.

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