Google Glass in public bathrooms

Nick Bilton writing at the The New York Times:

Yet when it was finally my turn to approach the rows of white urinals, my world came screeching to a halt. There they were, a handful of people wearing Google Glass, now standing next to me at their own urinals, peering their head from side to side, blinking or winking, as they relieved themselves.

A privacy nightmare is upon us.

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3D Printing: All hype?

Nick Allen writing at Gizmodo:

They’ve seen a 3D printed violin; a crazy shoe, and a wrench (yawn) which actually works, straight out of a printer. A very, very expensive, high-end printer which uses lasers or resins. These people think that they can create objects as well without much input or training, on a machine which costs $800 or less. Imagine you’d lived on a planet that had never seen a car before, and all of a sudden the newspapers start reporting about the car, a vehicle which can do up to 250mph, carrying up to 10 people, and cost as little as $300. All true, but as we know, that’s not the full story.

3D printing is great, but it’s not for the masses. It’s not going to be in everyone’s home. However cheap 3D printers may get, eventually there will be businesses (Like Staples) that will be able to do it cheaper and better. Same reason we can get our photos printed out for eight cents each at Costco or do them at home for $1 a piece.


Star Trek’s biggest science mistakes

Via Slate:

My beef is usually when the plot relies on some error in science, or when the tech is used inconsistently. If you discover, say, a Fountain of Youth in one episode, you’d better establish why everyone in the Federation isn’t young after that.


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The cash register is dead, replaced by iPad & Square

Via The Verge:

Jack Dorsey, Square’s co-founder and CEO, said the stand marked an improvement on clunky point-of-sale systems that have dominated sales counters for decades. Merchants are fed up with existing solutions, he said.

“They have to deal with these ugly systems that they don’t know how to use,” Dorsey said. “Nothing works together, nothing is seamless, nothing feels like it fits. It really takes away from their aesthetic. We thought we could do a lot better.”

Pics and video at The Verge.

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Nobody wants your stupid Facebook phone, Facebook

Via BGR:

BGR has learned from a trusted source that sales of the HTC First have been shockingly bad. So bad, in fact, that AT&T has already decided to discontinue the phone.

I installed Facebook Home on my Android device when it launched, and it lasted 10 minutes before I uninstalled it. Being bombarded by dumb photos and posts, and the burying of my important apps was just too much. When I decided to give Home another shot a couple of weeks later, history repeated itself.

Face it, Facebook: We tolerate you, but we don’t love you.


Apple’s photo problem

Peter Nixey writing at Gizmodo:

Then you gave me a beautiful iPad which would looked so perfect for curating my iPhoto library. I couldn’t wait to edit and organise photos from the comfort of my sofa except that you didn’t give me any way to save things back to the library. So I couldn’t. So things just kept piling up on my camera roll.

Apple needs to do a better job at the cloud, and especially when it comes to photos.

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If you’re going to buy a smartphone, read this article

Brian S Hall writing at Tech.pinions:

You’re saying the HTC One is better than the Samsung Galaxy S4?

No. I think the S4 is slightly better. But if you buy the S4 all your friends will think you did so only because of all those Samsung commercials.

Hall goes through the questions I get all the time, and nails the answers. If you’re getting your first smartphone or upgrading an older model, you owe it to yourself to read the whole thing.

SMALL ADDENDUM: The iPhone 5’s LTE capability is perhaps overlooked by Hall. I think the speed it offers outweighs any other compromises. His arguments are all valid nonetheless.

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How the Syrian Electronic Army Hacked The Onion

Via The Onion Inc.’s Tech Blog:

All of the hacks so far have been a result of simple phishing, or possibly dictionary attacks—all of which are preventable with a few simple security measures.

The blog post recounts in great detail how they got hacked. Kudos to The Onion for being so transparent about what happened.

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iTunes app ain’t coming to Windows 8 anytime soon

Via CNN Money:

“You shouldn’t expect an iTunes app on Windows 8 any time soon,” said Tami Reller, chief financial officer of Microsoft’s Windows division. “ITunes is in high demand. The welcome mat has been laid out. It’s not for lack of trying.”

Here’s the deal, Microsoft: You release Office for iOS, and then Apple will release iTunes for Windows 8. Sounds like a fair trade, no?

Unfortunately, Microsoft is scared to death of what Office for iOS would do to Windows 8 sales. Instead of playing offense, they’re playing defence – a lack of risk-taking that will cost them dearly in the end.

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Message to Google Glassholes: Stay away

Via The New York Times:

Google’s wearable computer, the most anticipated piece of electronic wizardry since the iPad and iPhone, will not go on sale for many months.

But the resistance is already under way.

If you think you’re going to be able to wear Google Glass in public unfettered, you’re in for a tough time.

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Nintendo wants smartphone games on Wii U

Via  The Japan Times:

Nintendo is trying to modify its game consoles so customers can use smartphone applications on them as it searches for a way to return to profitability, company sources said.

The game console and software maker has offered professional-use conversion software to application developers so they can produce smartphone games that can be played on Wii U…

There’s a problem with that, something I noticed when I reviewed the Wii U last year: Nintendo cheaped out on the console’s GamePad, giving it a resistive screen (smartphone screens are capacitive) that does not have multi-touch. So if smartphone apps do make it to the Wii U, don’t expect them to offer the same type of game play as an iPhone app.

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A two-horse race: Apple and Samsung take in 100% of smartphone profits


According to Cannacord, Apple generated 57 percent of the handset industry’s profits during the first quarter, leaving 43 percent to Samsung.

Samsung’s stranglehold of non-iOS smartphone profits makes it tough to be an Android manufacturer in 2013. It’ll be very interesting to see if HTC’s new focus can bring in profit along with market share this year.


Hacked Google Glass can record video without any notification

Via ZDNet:

But that can be changed once a Glass headset is rooted. Because Glass is an Android device, runs an ARM-based Linux kernel, and can run Android user space programs and custom libraries, any savvy developer can create code that modifies the default behavior in such a way that recording can occur with no display activity showing in the eye prism whatsoever.

The more information about Google Glass that comes out, the less I look forward to it. ZDNet article is a must-read.

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Samsung’s 16GB Galaxy S4 comes with just 8.8GB of free space

Via ExtremeTech:

Samsung’s entry-level superphone, despite being labeled as a 16GB device, comes with just 8.8GB of free storage — or about 55% of the listed 16GB. Other smartphones, such as the 16GB iPhone 5 or 32GB Lumia 920, have almost 90% of their listed storage available for consumer use.

ExtremeTech rips Samsung and other manufacturers that fudge their capacity numbers a new one. The list is longer than it should be.

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Latest Windows Phone ad touts Apple and Google’s smartphone dominance

Are Microsoft’s advertising firms trying to sabotage the company? This ad only reiterates that there’s only two smartphones platforms of importance: iOS and Android.

Nokia makes terrific hardware. Shame it’s being hampered by the too-simplistic and poorly supported Windows Phone OS.

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Outside major markets, MLB to stream games on YouTube for free

Via GigaOM:

Major League Baseball is now streaming two games per day live on YouTube, for free – but most of our readers likely won’t be able to tune in: MLB’s live streams will be restricted to users outside of the US, Canada, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

Major League Baseball’s leadership in bringing its sport online continues. Baseball’s relentless, non-stop season, with games every day for eight months out of the year including pre and post-seasons, is a terrific advantage in the internet age. Content is king, and MLB definitely has a lot of it.

Now if they could only bring the Montreal Expos back.

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HTC One Review

The Android phone market is a forrest. An Android forrest that is so dense, it’s very difficult for a phone to stand out from the rest. It is possible though – Samsung has shown that with the success of its Galaxy line. But Samsung’s success has come mainly from manufactured buzz – by building a very good product and then spending money like there’s no tomorrow to promote it. Free rock shows, Super Bowl Ads, and astro-turfing social media are just a few of the ways Samsung has become the brute leader in smartphone sales.

For HTC, a similar strategy was not going to be good enough. They needed to deliver a phone that looked and felt as good as an Apple device and outflanked Samsung’s Android dominance. With the One, they’ve done both.

The One is beautiful – its aluminium back is the nicest side of any phone on the market. The flash and camera are perfectly placed. Only thing I’d change are the buttons and ports, which I would have preferred to have a more uniform look. The volume rocker, power button, SIM card slot – all have different colours and textures. HTC should have chosen a single type an stuck with it.

When you’re done looking at the back of this gorgeous phone, you’ll end up gazing at the front speaker grills which perfectly frame the screen. The stereo speakers are a revelation. Not because they are louder than other phones (They’re not) but because the sound quality is noticeably better than any mono-speaker device on the market. Watching the first few minutes of Prometheus (using the Netflix app) on the One was an auditory gem.

Unfortunately, there’s an annoying LED notification flash that blinks incessantly on the front of the phone, because in today’s age, you’re always getting an email, Facebook message, text, or app alert. It’s easy to turn off in settings, but it still takes away from the One’s classy design aesthetics when it’s on.

Apple’s Tim Cook recently said that larger screen sizes make for too many other compromises in screen quality. The One makes those comments sound like bunk. The One’s screen is incredibly sharp (468ppi!) and it’s 4.7-inch size makes YouTube and other video watching a joy. Thanks to the curved aluminum back, the One feels good in your hands despite the large screen size.

When it comes to horsepower, there’s no need to bore you with tech specs. Whatever’s under the hood of the One, it works fast and smooth. It is the most fluid Android phone I’ve ever used. HTC Sense, the special flavour of Android you get on the One, works well without getting in the way too much.

A few other things:

  • The camera on the One is very good, but not exceptional. What HTC calls UltraPixels produces great colours, especially in daylight, but photos look a little muddy when you zoom in even a bit. 
  • As a Logitech Harmony remote lover, I’m really impressed by HTC Sense TV, which lets you control your TV, sound system, and set-top box using the One.
  • Expect your One to be saddled with apps and content from whatever carrier you buy it from. Even my Stocks app had Bell’s (my loaner’s carrier) stock quote pre-loaded. For such a classy phone, it’s quite tactless.
  • Battery life is good enough. Expect to charge every night.

My one continuing worry about recommending the One without any hesitation is customer service. How will HTC support its customers a few months after purchase? What about after a year? If HTC aspires to be the world’s best smartphone brand, they need the world’s best customer service. What happens if while under warranty, your micro-USB port stops working? Will HTC provide robust and ongoing upgrades to newer versions of Android? These are questions that need answers.

Look, this phone isn’t going to get iPhone users to ditch their devices – Apple buyers are proving to be more loyal than ever. But if I’m Samsung, I’m worried about the HTC One. Because quite frankly, it is the best Android phone available, by a long shot.

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YouTube’s fake views

The  DailyDot exposes an ongoing YouTube fraud:

I bought those views from a guy named Kenzo, who owns YTView, a site that promises “real views,” “higher retention” between 60 and 100 percent,” and claims to have delivered more than 400 million views. There are all sorts of sites like Kenzo’s: YouTube Boost, 500 Views, YTPros, and Social Fans Geek—where you can purchase a surplus of pretty much any YouTube-related analytical figure: likes, dislikes, phony comments. You name it.

Numbers on social media are becoming increasingly useless. Look at any political campaign or the profile of a social marketer. Let’s hope that YouTube, Twitter, and others decide to take the fight against juking stats seriously.


Apple’s latest TV ad

This is the best commercial Apple has done since the Yeah Yeah Yeahs-soundtracked “What is iPad” ad. Interesting timing with HTC’s just-launched and Samsung’s impending flagship phone making waves.


Apple found guilty of copyright infringement… in China

Via China Daily:

Electronics giant Apple Inc was ordered to compensate three Chinese writers a total in excess of 730,000 yuan ($118,000) for infringing their copyright, Beijing No 2 Intermediate People’s Court ruled on Tuesday.

The irony… it burns.


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