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The Incredible Shrinking Technology
April 24, 2014
We are constantly moving. From a morning meeting to a lunch date to an afternoon conference call, we are always on the go and so are our technology devices. They are with us every step of the way, acting as our personal assistants, communicators and life-savers. We are shifting from using static, desktop devices to portable devices in order to accommodate our lightspeed lifestyle.
Lytro's New Shoot Now, Focus Later Camera Targets Prosumers
April 23, 2014
The folks who introduced the masses to ex post facto focusing upped their game Tuesday with the introduction of a new camera aimed at shooters who take their photography seriously. The Illum, by Lytro, contains an updated version of the company's innovative Light Field engine, which allows the focus in a photo to be manipulated after it's shot.
Wearables Just Don't Do It for Nike
April 22, 2014
Nike appears to be retreating from its vanguard position in the computer wearables market. The company reportedly has begun slashing the engineering team working on its FuelBand product, a fitness computer that can be worn on a wrist, laying off as many as 55 of the 70-person team working on FuelBand. However, Nike subsequently insisted the FuelBand was still an important part of its business.
Transcendence and Analytics: What If the End of Mankind as We Know It Were a Good Thing?
April 21, 2014
I saw the movie Transcendence last week, and it was an impressive telling of what might happen were we to achieve singularity. Given this is likely where AI research is taking us and that analytics is a major component to getting there, I not only recommend the movie as entertainment but also as a means to wrapping your head around what we must correct before we take that next big step.
Americans Find Future Tech Both Fascinating and Frightening
April 17, 2014
The pace of technological change is getting faster, and many Americans are optimistic about the results, although a sizable minority are concerned, Pew Research has found. Nearly 60 percent think technological and scientific advances will make life in the future better, but 30 percent fear they will make life worse than it is today. Designer babies and robot caregivers sparked major anxiety.
Chinese Company Creates 3D-Printed Houses
April 17, 2014
Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering, a Shanghai-based company, has created 10 3D-printed houses. Each house reportedly cost less than $5,000 and took less than 24 hours to construct. The printer used to create the homes was about 100 feet long, 33 feet wide and more than 20 feet tall. The "ink" was made from high-grade cement and glass fiber.
Samsung Strikes Deal With Fellow Apple Patent Foe
April 16, 2014
Samsung, longtime patent foe of Apple, will partner with Swiss Federal Railways, another -- unlikely -- Apple patent foe. While the deal itself may not be groundbreaking -- Samsung will supply the state-owned rail company with 30,000 mobile devices -- it is interesting given both parties' litigious background with Apple. Samsung's court battles with Apple have been documented ad nauseum.
FBI May Pick Out Your Face in a Crowd
April 16, 2014
The FBI is planning to have a fully operational facial recognition system in place by this summer and may be well on its way to reaching that goal. The system will be able to query a database of photos to identify individuals based on their appearance even if they do not have a criminal record, reported Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Fun and Angst With Google Glass
April 15, 2014
Google Glass, which has been the focus of considerable controversy, went on sale Tuesday -- for one day only -- at $1,500, with Android KitKat and new features that include improved battery life, photo bundles, photo replies and voice command sorting. However, one feature -- video calling -- has been eliminated because fewer than 10 percent of Explorer beta users employed it.
Drone Wars: Google Snatches Titan From Facebook's Grasp
April 15, 2014
Google has acquired Titan Aerospace, a drone maker that could help its efforts to improve Internet access worldwide. Facebook reportedly was interested in buying the company itself. Titan makes high altitude drones that Google could use in a variety of ways as it works to increase Internet connectivity. Titan's technology has plenty of room for growth, Titan said.
Printing From the Palm of Your Hand
April 15, 2014
While the tech world has gone mobile, there's one key tool that hasn't changed in years: the printer. Most printers are still big, bulky and boring. They do a job, and they stay put. Right where you left them -- at home or in the office. If a new Kickstarter project gets the funding it needs, mobile workers will be able to print most anywhere -- even coffee shops. The tool? A robot printer.
Why Is It So Hard to Think Different?
April 14, 2014
I've been having an interesting week -- first, with AMD, which has returned to profitability and stopped chasing Intel's butt to do some rather interesting different things, like merging x86 and ARM technologies. Then, with IBM, which also realized that chasing Intel wasn't doing it any good. It chose an even more unusual path for its processors, making them "open."
Amazon to Investors: The Sky's the Limit
April 11, 2014
Amazon has released its annual letter to shareholders, revealing a smattering of tidbits about what's happening in the company now and what's in store for the future. The running theme throughout the letter is innovation. The entire company innovates with the customer in mind, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote, touching on its ethos of failing early while inventing and iterating to perfect a project.
France Bans Mobile Phones During Cabinet Sessions
April 10, 2014
French President Francois Hollande has imposed a ban on mobile phones during cabinet sessions, forcing ministers to leave their devices at the door. The move is designed to help "focus on what we must do," a spokesperson said, and will ensure that government folk "talk and listen to what is said and will no longer be able to tap away at this magnificent tool."
Micro Brings 3D Printing to the Mainstream
April 09, 2014
The Micro is the latest consumer-targeted 3D printer to generate buzz after flying past its $50,000 Kickstarter goal. It took only 11 minutes for the printer to reach its goal. As of mid-day Wednesday, the Micro had brought in more than $1.8 million from more than 6,400 backers. The Micro is the world's "first truly consumer 3D printer," its makers claim, in part because of its affordable price.
Google Sees Glass in Businesses' Future
April 09, 2014
Google's smart eyeware, Glass, largely has been considered a diversion for gadget fans, but the company just announced a new program to encourage its use in the workplace. "Today, there are thousands of consumers out there enjoying Glass in ways that are both practical and inspirational," said a Google spokesperson. "We've also seen many in the enterprise world ... begin experimenting with Glass."
Stanford Controller Could Get Video Gamers' Blood Racing
April 09, 2014
Stanford researchers have created a new game controller that can measure a player's emotions. Eventually, developers may be able to use this information to adjust video gameplay, depending on a player's level of engagement. The prototype consists of an Xbox 360 controller with the back panel removed. Researchers replaced it with a 3-D printed plastic module that is packed with sensors.
Courtroom Drama: Hollywood Sues Megaupload
April 08, 2014
Six Hollywood studios have banded together in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Megaupload, the wildly popular though now shuttered site that, in its heyday, was ground zero for file-sharing. The suit doesn't specify an amount of damages, but does say that the studios should be entitled to $150,000 per copyright infringement, as well as profits earned by Megaupload.
Speed of Technology Confounds Wall St. Regulators
April 08, 2014
Michael Lewis did not do the securities industry any favors with the publication of his new book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt. His portrayal of how investment banks use high-frequency trading to leverage the few additional milliseconds this technology provides to grab stocks at optimal prices appears to have been a factor behind federal agency decisions to investigate this activity.
The Earth Is Moving Under the Smartphone Market
April 07, 2014
One thing that Apple made clear when it took the smartphone market away from then-dominant players Palm, BlackBerry and Microsoft is that to win you need to make big bets and change the battle. The market is now dominated by Apple and Google technology -- much of which Google doesn't control -- and Microsoft just swapped CEOs because the old CEO couldn't pull the needed rabbit out of his hat.

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