The gadgets and gimmicks changing the future of live sport

Australia's love of sport appears to be more from in front of a TV screen than actually attending any event live, and that could be on the increase given some of the new technology heading our way.


Winter Is Coming For Wearables

wintertundra


Shares of Microsoft slip; company earns 71 cents a share – USA TODAY

Fast Company
Shares of Microsoft slip; company earns 71 cents a share
USA TODAY
SAN MATEO, Calif. -- Microsoft shares dipped slightly Monday after the software juggernaut reported a spike in revenue and profits in line with analyst estimates. The company rang up $26.5 billion in second-quarter revenue, compared with $24.5 billion a


Microsoft Faces Stiff Mobile Challenge

Lumia 1520


Microsoft finds foothold in hardware as Surface, Lumia sales soar – CNET

CNET
Microsoft finds foothold in hardware as Surface, Lumia sales soar
CNET
In its latest financial snapshot, the software giant is demonstrating that its hardware business is not just a sideshow after all. by Nick Statt


Dr. Oz Is Still Full of Shit

Dr. Oz Is Still Full of Shit

Time and again, we've seen that Dr. Oz peddles garbage cures . So it's no surprise that the government has gone after the company that makes one of his favorite supplements. Today the FTC announced that the people who promoted green coffee extract on his show are being fined $9 million.

Read more...




Mass Surveillance Threatens Digital Security And Human Rights, Says European Report

edward-snowden-nova-1024x575


Cablevision Tips ‘Freewheel’ Wi-Fi Phone Service – PC Magazine

PCWorld
Cablevision Tips 'Freewheel' Wi-Fi Phone Service
PC Magazine
Cablevision is getting into the wireless business, but the company's new "Freewheel" phone service will only be available via Wi-Fi networks. The low-cost Internet phone service promises unlimited data downloads on any Wi-Fi connection. Launching on


Facebook Is Testing A Simple App For Low-End Android Phones – TechCrunch

TechCrunch
Facebook Is Testing A Simple App For Low-End Android Phones
TechCrunch
TechCrunch understands that the app was quietly launched in a handful of countries in Asia and Africa over the weekend — Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zimbabwe to be precise — where it is being testing with a


Facebook Is Testing A Simple App For Low-End Android Phones – TechCrunch

TechCrunch
Facebook Is Testing A Simple App For Low-End Android Phones
TechCrunch
TechCrunch understands that the app was quietly launched in a handful of countries in Asia and Africa over the weekend — Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zimbabwe to be precise — where it is being testing with a


Microsoft Slips 2% After Reporting $26.5B In FQ2 Revenue, $1.1B In Surface Revenue

microsoft-earnings


This Is Why Glowing Jellyfish Proteins Have Revolutionized Medicine

In his new book Illuminating Disease, chemist Marc Zimmer explains how fluorescent proteins have changed science. Taken from glowing jellyfish, these proteins are now one of the most important tools in medicine, used in everything from brain mapping to disease research. And yes, that is a GMO glowing chicken.

Read more...




The Forgotten Story of NYC’s First Power Grid

The Forgotten Story of NYC's First Power Grid

Lower Manhattan of the 1880s was a wonderland of futuristic technology and engineering: The city's first cable car arced over the harbor. A spindly new steel bridge was forming to connect Williamsburg to the city. And on the Lower East Side, Edison was tearing up the streets to build the first permanent power station in the world.

Read more...




7 Reasons why Android 5.0 Lollipop is better than iOS 8!

Android and iOS will forever be a battle in the mobile industry. As long as Apple keeps making devices and Google maintains Android, there will be battle to have. But there are some key features that Android 5.0 Lollipop has that iOS wishes it had. Welcome to our 7 Reasons why Android 5.0 Lollipop is better than iOS 8! 

 



Good News: Replicas of 16th-Century Sculptures Are Not Off-Limits …

Slate Magazine - Found 1 hour ago
Only a few days after posting a downloadable file of Michelangelo’s Moses on the 3-D printing website Thingiverse in the fall of 2014...


These 4 Genius Hacks Let You Use An iPhone With Gloves On

It’s 20 degrees out and your smartphone rings. If you want to answer it but don't want to take off your toasty warm gloves, we have a few hacks to help.

The reason your gloves prevent you from using your touchscreen is that they block the electric charge transmitted via the moisture in your fingertips, explains Jacob Wobbrock, a professor at the University of Washington's Information School. The capacitive touchscreen -- the lingo for this charge-sensitive feature -- needs that moisture so it can detect exactly where your finger is on the screen.

But when you have gloves on, Wobbrock told The Huffington Post, you can trick your phone into thinking it's being touched by fingertips. All you need is a bit of moisture and some contact.

Here's what to do:

1. Use your nose.

With this method, your nose acts just as your finger would. Wobbrock, who's also the co-founder and CEO of Seattle tech company AnswerDash, calls this trick a “good everyday way” to answer your smartphone without removing your gloves.

Downsides: It can be a little tricky and requires a somewhat dexterous nose, as well as the ability to go cross-eyed. You might get a few weird looks, too. Plus, there's a high chance for smearing snot on your phone. Ew.

Watch HuffPost Sports Editor Maxwell Strachan effortlessly demonstrate this technique here:


“DAMON

(Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post)


Yes, we are aware that he's not wearing gloves. He's testing a high-tech prototype for invisible mittens. Look for them at CES 2016. ;)

2. Breathe on your phone or lick your gloves.

This technique uses your saliva or the condensation from your breath to provide the moisture that would normally come from your fingertips but gets blocked when you wear gloves. The user simply licks a gloved fingertip before swiping, or breathes on the phone and swipes the screen as soon as possible. Wobbrock said a knit glove is ideal for the latter because “water molecules from [your] breath on the screen kind of find their way into those little gaps and crevices and create a bridge from your finger to the screen.”

Downsides: The breathing technique, as attempted by HuffPost, was inconsistent, especially in very cold or windy conditions. Licking the glove is more reliable, but it will leave the aftertaste of glove in your mouth and, well, it's kinda gross.

Here’s the author successfully using this technique:


“DAMON

(Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post)



3. Use a meat stick.

We'll admit that we were pretty skeptical when we first stumbled across this technique, which apparently became popular in South Korea. But it it works like a charm. The grease in the meat stick provides the conductivity needed for the screen to recognize it, even in sub-zero temperatures.

Downsides: In order for this to work reliably, you have to have a meat stick with you at all times. Then you become known as the person who has a meat stick with them at all times. While delicious, frequent consumption of meat sticks could also cause health problems.

Here’s Associate Business Editor Alexander Kaufman demonstrating how casual this technique is when done right:


“DAMON

(Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post)



4. Buy smartphone gloves.

Smartphone gloves don’t need the moisture described in the previous techniques because conductive thread is sewn into the fingertips, allowing your smartphone to recognize when it’s being touched, Wobbrock said.

Downsides: You have to buy special gloves (or make your own). And for some reason you'll never seem to have them on when your phone rings.

Tech Editor Alexis Kleinman shows how easy it is to answer your phone when you do remember to wear your smartphone gloves:


“DAMON

(Damon Dahlen/Huffington Post)




It should be noted, however, that Apple does not recommend using your iPhone in temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold temperatures are also known to negatively affect other brands of phone as well.

But Wobbrock says manufacturers and developers are looking into ways to improve the experience of using phones in extreme temperatures.

Progress is already being made to allow users to answer their phones via voice commands or pre-approved gestures. Wobbrock says more advanced gestures will provide a way for users to get around “situational impairments” -- cold weather, heat or physical disabilities -- that hinder smartphone use. iPhones, for example, already allow users to shake their phones in order to undo actions.

For now, though, keep your meat stick handy.


Apple Shares Ahead Of Earnings Fail To Reflect Possible iPhone Sales Jump – Forbes

Telegraph.co.uk
Apple Shares Ahead Of Earnings Fail To Reflect Possible iPhone Sales Jump
Forbes
The weekend headlines suggested that iPhone sales for the past quarter may have been much stronger than expected, but Monday's price action shows that investors are taking such news with a grain of salt. Shares of Apple Apple (AAPL) normally move at a


Apple Shares Ahead Of Earnings Fail To Reflect Possible iPhone Sales Jump – Forbes

Telegraph.co.uk
Apple Shares Ahead Of Earnings Fail To Reflect Possible iPhone Sales Jump
Forbes
The weekend headlines suggested that iPhone sales for the past quarter may have been much stronger than expected, but Monday's price action shows that investors are taking such news with a grain of salt. Shares of Apple Apple (AAPL) normally move at a


8 Musical Instruments That Are So Much Fun They’re Practically Toys

8 Musical Instruments That Are So Much Fun They're Practically Toys

Playing music is supposed to be fun! Remember? Sometimes electronic instruments we choose to play are so complicated that using them is a chore, or at least requires a ton of practice. It doesn't have to be that way.

Read more...




The Ultimate Gamer Way To Announce A Pregnancy

When avid gamers Travis and Rachel Vocino found out they were expecting their first child, they decided to parlay their shared interest into a very creative pregnancy announcement.

announcement

Travis told The Huffington Post that his wife calls their gaming adventures "family bonding time." He added, "Working together to conquer objectives has been a great way to interact and relieve stress." The dad-to-be runs a gaming community called Strats.co, where he posted the announcement, much to the delight of his fellow gamers and gaming parents.

When the baby's July due date rolls around, Travis and Rachel won't have as much time for gaming, but they'll certainly have many other opportunities for family bonding.

H/T Reddit

@media only screen and (min-width : 500px) {.ethanmobile { display: none; }}

Like Us On Facebook |
Follow Us On Twitter |
Contact HuffPost Parents




Apple Adds Free Section to iTunes Store – PC Magazine

Cult of Mac
Apple Adds Free Section to iTunes Store
PC Magazine
Heads up, iOS users. Apple today added a new section to the iTunes Store with some free goodies you might want. The new "Free on iTunes" section includes a selection of on-the-house songs and full-length TV episodes. The new promotion comes after


Lo, The Incredible Visual FX Of Exodus Revealed In Before And After Pics

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Uber, Lyft, And Sidecar Win Latest Regulation Battle Against California

Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar have won the latest battle over government regulation after the California Department of Motor Vehicles retracted a controversial memo telling the companies' drivers they needed to register their cars as commercial vehicles.

"We jumped the gun, and we shouldn’t have," California DMV Director Jean Shiomoto said in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post on Saturday.

The DMV's reversal came shortly after all three companies spoke out against a memo the department released earlier this month reminding drivers that "any passenger vehicle used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation or profit is a commercial vehicle," and that "even occasional use of a vehicle in this manner requires the vehicle to be registered commercially.” The notice did not introduce a new law, DMV spokesman Artemio Armenta told HuffPost, but instead referenced a code that has been in place since 1935.

Typically, rideshare drivers -- whom passengers hail exclusively through smartphone apps -- use their own personal vehicles, setting their own hours and working as much or as little as they like.

The rule would likely have been a major headache for rideshare companies. Obtaining commercial plates, the San Francisco Chronicle explains, requires a DMV appointment, involves hefty paperwork and demands higher fees than personal registration -– all of which could deter new drivers from signing on with rideshare companies.

In statements Lyft, Uber and Sidecar sent to HuffPost, all three companies spoke out against the DMV’s original memo, citing agreements with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the department that oversees these transportation network companies, or TNCs.

"The [CPUC] allows TNC drivers to use personal vehicles with personal registration on the uberX platform,” Eva Behrend, an Uber spokeswoman, told HuffPost, adding that Governor Jerry Brown (D) and the California legislature "agreed with the CPUC when they passed a TNC bill that affirms that TNC drivers may use personal vehicles."

Behrend was citing AB 2293, a bill passed last year that requires parent companies to cover drivers' insurance when they are working, and referencing a line in the bill's text defining cars driven in TNCs as "personal vehicles."

Before the DMV backtracked on its memo, Armenta told HuffPost that AB 2293 only relates to insurance and that the matter of registration is a separate issue determined by the DMV. CPUC Director of News and Information Terrie Prosper backed up the DMV's right to regulate, saying that they require TNC drivers to drive private vehicles but do not specify a type of registration.

Now, in addition to retracting the memo, the DMV says it will explore the confusion it raised over the scope of AB 2293 before enforcing any regulations.

"The matter requires further review and analysis which the department is undertaking immediately,” Shiomoto's statement read.

The DMV's reversal is a win for rideshare companies pushing an image of their drivers as carpoolers who shouldn't face the same regulations as taxi drivers.

“Over 80 percent of Sidecar drivers are part-time or occasional drivers, giving rides on their way to work or to supplement their income," wrote Sidecar spokeswoman Margaret Ryan. "Everyday Californians using their car in this capacity shouldn't be required to hold a commercial license."

Requiring commercial plates "would essentially treat peer-to-peer transportation the same as a taxi,” said Lyft spokeswoman Chelsea Wilson.

This debate is only the latest disagreement over whether rideshare companies should be regulated the same way as traditional taxis, whose drivers have been some of the most outspoken opponents of TNCs. Last month, district attorneys in San Francisco and Los Angeles sued Uber for conducting faulty background checks on its drivers and for a number of other violations, including illegally operating at airports and charging fraudulent airport fees.



The world’s in-flight Wi-Fi offerings, ranked – Quartz

Quartz
The world's in-flight Wi-Fi offerings, ranked
Quartz
Wi-Fi has become one of the most sought-after things on a flight, even more important to passengers than a reclining seat or extra legroom. The latest report from Routehappy, a website that compares airlines by in-flight amenities, finds that its availability is


T-Mobile planning 700MHz support updates for devices like Nexus 6, Xperia Z3

Google Nexus 6 hands on

T-Mobile recently said that it plans to roll its 700MHz spectrum out to 350 metro areas in 2015, and now we know that Magenta will be updating some of its smartphones to take advantage of that spectrum.

Google Nexus 6Sony Xperia Z3Samsung Galaxy AvantT-Mobile


Have You Ever Been Catfished or Impersonated Online? 

Have You Ever Been Catfished or Impersonated Online?       </div>
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Networking Tips From Davos: Look At Someone’s Name Tag Then Immediately Google Their Name

The 2015 World Economic Forum, which concluded on Saturday, felt somewhat like an exclusive club where if someone looked important, he or she most likely is.

But the likelihood of knowing all about said him or her was slim, so "the move was to look at the name tag and then immediately Google who the hell it was," Huffington Post Executive Editor Greg Veis told HuffPost Live's Alyona Minkovski.

"And then you're like, 'Oh, that's the richest man in Africa. I had no idea,'" Veis joked.

Watch the full segment on the key takeaways from Davos here.


Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live's new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!


Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 review



‘MythBusters’ tackles ‘Doom’ and the lore of first-person shooters

Have you ever wondered if a regular human could carry the health packs, guns, chainsaw and all the other stuff from Doom? Well, it looks like we're about to find out. The disproving duo of Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman tackle scenarios from that titl...


Malaysia Airlines Hit by Lizard Squad Hack Attack – ABC News

ABC News
Malaysia Airlines Hit by Lizard Squad Hack Attack
ABC News
The hacker group Lizard Squad has claimed responsibility for attacking Malaysia Airlines' website on Sunday. Users who logged onto the Malaysia Airlines website were greeted with the image of a lizard in a top hat and the message: "404 -- plane not found.".
Malaysia Air site hacked, some customer data appears onlineThe Seattle Times
How was Malaysia Airlines 'hacked'?BBC News
'Cyber Caliphate' hacks Malaysia Airlines websiteUSA TODAY
Wall Street Journal


Oops, you downloaded malware on your Android phone

If you’re suddenly seeing spammy notifications for apps you’ve never downloaded, your Android device could be infected with malware. While there’s technically no such thing as an Android "virus", there's plenty of harmful malware can be just as frustrating—it spams you with notifications, uses up data and battery life, and slows down your phone, all while trying not to get caught. Of course, the ...


You’ll Buy a VR Headset For the Movies, Not the Games

You'll Buy a VR Headset For the Movies, Not the Games

Smart people think that movies—not games—will be the first killer app for virtual reality. Maybe that's why Oculus is poaching Pixar veterans for its very own virtual reality film studio, and showing off its very first film at Sundance this week.

Read more...




Research and Markets: Additive Manufacturing & Material Market by …

Yahoo! Finance - Found 2 hours ago
- ARCAM AB - Envisiontec - Eos - Exone - MCOR Technologies Ltd - Makerbot Industries, Llc - Materialise Nv - Optomec - Stratasys Ltd. For more...
- Morningstar.com
- Reuters
- CNBC
- Minyanville
Explore All


Nexus 6 would have had a fingerprint reader, but Apple RUINED IT ALL – The Register

The Register
Nexus 6 would have had a fingerprint reader, but Apple RUINED IT ALL
The Register
'Linus Torvalds is UNFIT for the WORKPLACE!' And you've given the world what, exactly? Nope. That's not our FAKE BOMB say Oz spooks and cops


Internet Users, Businesses Awaiting FCC Open Internet Rules After Congress, President’s Attention

President Obama may not have hit the record number of mentions of the word "innovation" compared to his 2014 State of the Union, but he highlighted pro-innovation priorities like trade and open Internet access and fast networks. These will grow innovation with the platforms and markets innovators need.

Open access to a fast Internet is an economic and innovation issue. This point was made clear at Congressional hearings this week in Congress. For companies like Etsy, Dwolla and thousands of others who rely on open connectivity, its a prerequisite for conducting business -- and even for raising capital at the outset. When start-up companies approach investors they have to list potential liabilities. No investor wants to lend money to a company that could fail if an Internet access provider could easily offer a special deal to their competitor but not to them.

Clear predictable rules from the FCC will be welcomed by businesses, and that is why so many have urged the FCC to stand up to narrow special interest politics and move forward with strong open Internet rules that protect consumers' and businesses' Internet access.

Etsy mentioned at the hearings that 30,000 of the micro-businesses it represents have asked the FCC to use its Title II telecommunications authority for its Open Internet rules.

With some in Congress are trying to preempt an FCC decision, we are concerned about the role of partisan politics and misinformation that is proliferating.

Several times at the Senate and House hearings, and in the weeks leading up to them, members of Congress ranted against the FCC regulating the Internet -- when that is clearly not under consideration at all. The FCC is proposing only to adopt basic safeguards to protect access to the Internet, but is not considering regulating the Internet itself.

This is an important point. The Internet is comprised of a vast backbone and transit networks that are highly competitive, millions of content providers, end-users and their contributions. Internet access is controlled by a small subset of dominant Internet access providers. The FCC is seeking to prevent Internet access providers from abusing their power. And it seems poised to take this light touch regulatory measure to protect consumers access to communications as it has been asked to do by millions of Internet users and businesses.

It is not surprising that the biggest Internet access providers in the cable and telecom industries oppose Open Internet rules. They want the freedom to use their power to erect "toll booths" to collect new access charges.

Many of us believe that charging access tolls when actual customers are already paying for two way connectivity would be abusive. Few would even try to argue that next generation innovators would not be at risk from larger competitors who have paid for faster delivery while the innovator's customers would face delays in accessing their new services. Likewise, without a ban on paid prioritization, IAPs would be able to favor their own affiliated and competing video or cloud services.

So from an economic standpoint what Congress and all of us need to remember is that weak, unenforceable, or loophole riddled Open Internet rules might benefit a few legacy companies -- but would limit our economic future. It is unwise to allow barriers to be erected blocking the next generation of companies that can be the economic driver of jobs. Preventing the FCC from requiring Internet access providers to follow basic nondiscrimination rules that benefit small businesses would enable those barriers to flourish.

An interesting poll from Morning Consult conducted this week revealed that more than twice as many Republican voters trusted the FCC more than Congress to determine net neutrality rules. See the graph below from reporter Fritz Burgher's story:

2015-01-23-MorningConsultchart.jpg

The FCC was the institution Congress created years ago to look out for the public interest in communications network access. They were wise to minimize politics and charge the agency with developing the technical expertise to protect universal access to communications services. Congress would be wise now to let the FCC carry out its mission.


What’s the Best Humidifier?

What's the Best Humidifier?

Your homes are warm and toasty after treating yourselves to the great recommendations in last week's Best Space Heater vote , but now your air is dry, and we need to balance that out with a humidifier. But which one? Head for the comments and nominate your favorite.

Read more...




Facebook Lite uses less data for developing areas, low-end phones

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been hard at work connecting the world with not only his social network, but with basic internet access, too. In another step towards doing so in developing areas, the folks in Menlo Park are rolling out Facebook Lite...


Pitch Your Startup On TC Radio On Sirius XM Indie 102

techcrunch-radio1


Favado’s New App Helps You Find The Best Grocery Deals

Image of grocery cart full of products in supermarket


A Real-Life Nine-Inch Nail Gun Puts Puny Nerf to Shame

A Real-Life Nine-Inch Nail Gun Puts Puny Nerf to Shame

Played Quake recently? Or listened to any Trent Reznor? This man's insane, semi-automatic nine-inch nail gun will make you want to do both. That and also eat some melons.

Read more...




My BRCA Journey: Why Fear of Information Imperils Genetic Testing

2015-01-26-07a0584.jpg
The world breaks down into two camps, my genetic counselor said: people who want information, and people who don't. I've been writing about gene testing and genomics for a long time, but as I navigated my own recent journey in genetic testing, I learned why that divide will probably remain the biggest hurdle to achieving the promise of genomics.

In the past several months, it became clear there is likely a hereditary susceptibility to cancer in my family. The vast majority of cancer--estimated at 90 percent or more--is caused by sporadic changes that have nothing to do with family history. But in the other cases, cancer is linked to inherited genetic mutations. Based on advances in genomics in the past decade, it is now possible to check someone's DNA for known variants associated with all sorts of hereditary cancer, from breast to colon to prostate and more.

That's an amazing thing for families like mine, where the only alternative to testing would be anxiously watching relatives fall ill and wondering who's next. So when a fairly rare and aggressive form of cancer known as triple-negative breast cancer began galloping through my family, I had an option that was available to no previous generation. I could find out if I had a genetic mutation that increased my risk. So I jumped to do it. Or tried to, anyway.

Despite the enthusiasm I hear regularly from genomics experts I talk to about the clinical power of genetic tests, getting my own medical professionals to order the genetic test for BRCA, the mutation linked to breast cancer, was a challenge. Most doctors I spoke to were hesitant to order a test when it wasn't absolutely certain that the results would lead to a clear medical action. If the cancer in my family turned out not to be hereditary, they reasoned, the test's information would not be useful anyway. But without getting tested, how would we find out if the cancer was hereditary? I reached out to a company that developed one of these tests to buy it directly, but for liability reasons the company requires an order from an external physician or genetic counselor. Eventually, I located a genetic counselor willing to order the test for me, though even she wasn't convinced this was the best avenue. (She worried I might not learn as much as I wanted.)

Meanwhile, other family members were considering getting tested as well. One relative was deterred by doctors who seemed to suggest there was nothing she could do with the results if she did get tested, so why bother?

As I see it, those doctors come from the "Information? No, thanks" camp. It's absurd that people who actively avoid information are the same ones who decide whether we can get access to our own information. There are people who don't want to know what's hidden in their genes, and that's OK. But people should never be steered away from learning that information just because the medical establishment doesn't know what to do with it. If I want the information, it should be my right to have it, and my own decision whether I can handle it. There's a big difference between "I don't want" and "you can't have."

I got my test result: no known cancer mutations found. But in my case, as the first member of my family to be tested, a negative result was actually inconclusive. It might mean that I was in the clear, but it might also mean that whatever my family's mutation is hasn't yet been discovered so it wouldn't have shown up in a test anyway. My lone data point didn't mean much. I needed context.

Genetic tests are now available for more than 4,000 diseases and disorders. That number will continue to grow rapidly in the next few years. But those tests cannot be implemented as widely as they should be with a medical community reluctant to order them. (That conclusion is supported by extensive surveys, not just by my own experience.) And patients who get inconclusive results like mine will be less likely to recommend genetic tests to their family and friends, tamping down consumer enthusiasm for this kind of information.

If medical professionals embraced DNA information as a tool to empower patients, we would see far more genetic testing. As a result, people would be more likely to go into the test with their context already in place: Aunt Sheryl and Cousin Sabrina both had a cancer mutation, so I should see if I have it too. Patients could always opt out if they felt that the information would be more burdensome than useful to them.

In the genomics community, we're already there. Scientists have publicly called for screening all women for the genetic variants associated with breast cancer. That's a sea change in how we think of genetic testing. But if other women have experiences like mine, encountering serious resistance from doctors, it's a change that may never amount to anything.

In the months since I got my test result, a few of my relatives have gotten theirs too. It turns out that a known BRCA1 mutation has been lurking in our gene pool. The increased risk for some of my family members has been sobering, while my own negative result, suddenly made meaningful in context, was a relief. Contrary to doctors' insistence that there was nothing we could do with this information, even my young cousins have begun getting mammograms, giving them the opportunity for years of aggressive screening that would never have been possible under traditional medical protocols.  I don't know whether any of my relatives will choose to have a prophylactic mastectomy (like Angelina Jolie did) but at least they will be able to make the decision for themselves. Since the same genetic mutation also increases risk for ovarian and uterine cancer, they can be proactive about screening or even deciding to remove those organs if they choose. This knowledge has literally changed our lives.

The world breaks down into two camps: people who want information, and people who don't. As genetic testing goes forward, it seems that the two camps will be pitted against each other. I don't think that is acceptable. People who see value in their DNA data should be free to get it without having to resort to cajoling or badgering. That's the only way all of us can realize the power of genetic testing.


My BRCA Journey: Why Fear of Information Imperils Genetic Testing

2015-01-26-07a0584.jpg
The world breaks down into two camps, my genetic counselor said: people who want information, and people who don't. I've been writing about gene testing and genomics for a long time, but as I navigated my own recent journey in genetic testing, I learned why that divide will probably remain the biggest hurdle to achieving the promise of genomics.

In the past several months, it became clear there is likely a hereditary susceptibility to cancer in my family. The vast majority of cancer--estimated at 90 percent or more--is caused by sporadic changes that have nothing to do with family history. But in the other cases, cancer is linked to inherited genetic mutations. Based on advances in genomics in the past decade, it is now possible to check someone's DNA for known variants associated with all sorts of hereditary cancer, from breast to colon to prostate and more.

That's an amazing thing for families like mine, where the only alternative to testing would be anxiously watching relatives fall ill and wondering who's next. So when a fairly rare and aggressive form of cancer known as triple-negative breast cancer began galloping through my family, I had an option that was available to no previous generation. I could find out if I had a genetic mutation that increased my risk. So I jumped to do it. Or tried to, anyway.

Despite the enthusiasm I hear regularly from genomics experts I talk to about the clinical power of genetic tests, getting my own medical professionals to order the genetic test for BRCA, the mutation linked to breast cancer, was a challenge. Most doctors I spoke to were hesitant to order a test when it wasn't absolutely certain that the results would lead to a clear medical action. If the cancer in my family turned out not to be hereditary, they reasoned, the test's information would not be useful anyway. But without getting tested, how would we find out if the cancer was hereditary? I reached out to a company that developed one of these tests to buy it directly, but for liability reasons the company requires an order from an external physician or genetic counselor. Eventually, I located a genetic counselor willing to order the test for me, though even she wasn't convinced this was the best avenue. (She worried I might not learn as much as I wanted.)

Meanwhile, other family members were considering getting tested as well. One relative was deterred by doctors who seemed to suggest there was nothing she could do with the results if she did get tested, so why bother?

As I see it, those doctors come from the "Information? No, thanks" camp. It's absurd that people who actively avoid information are the same ones who decide whether we can get access to our own information. There are people who don't want to know what's hidden in their genes, and that's OK. But people should never be steered away from learning that information just because the medical establishment doesn't know what to do with it. If I want the information, it should be my right to have it, and my own decision whether I can handle it. There's a big difference between "I don't want" and "you can't have."

I got my test result: no known cancer mutations found. But in my case, as the first member of my family to be tested, a negative result was actually inconclusive. It might mean that I was in the clear, but it might also mean that whatever my family's mutation is hasn't yet been discovered so it wouldn't have shown up in a test anyway. My lone data point didn't mean much. I needed context.

Genetic tests are now available for more than 4,000 diseases and disorders. That number will continue to grow rapidly in the next few years. But those tests cannot be implemented as widely as they should be with a medical community reluctant to order them. (That conclusion is supported by extensive surveys, not just by my own experience.) And patients who get inconclusive results like mine will be less likely to recommend genetic tests to their family and friends, tamping down consumer enthusiasm for this kind of information.

If medical professionals embraced DNA information as a tool to empower patients, we would see far more genetic testing. As a result, people would be more likely to go into the test with their context already in place: Aunt Sheryl and Cousin Sabrina both had a cancer mutation, so I should see if I have it too. Patients could always opt out if they felt that the information would be more burdensome than useful to them.

In the genomics community, we're already there. Scientists have publicly called for screening all women for the genetic variants associated with breast cancer. That's a sea change in how we think of genetic testing. But if other women have experiences like mine, encountering serious resistance from doctors, it's a change that may never amount to anything.

In the months since I got my test result, a few of my relatives have gotten theirs too. It turns out that a known BRCA1 mutation has been lurking in our gene pool. The increased risk for some of my family members has been sobering, while my own negative result, suddenly made meaningful in context, was a relief. Contrary to doctors' insistence that there was nothing we could do with this information, even my young cousins have begun getting mammograms, giving them the opportunity for years of aggressive screening that would never have been possible under traditional medical protocols.  I don't know whether any of my relatives will choose to have a prophylactic mastectomy (like Angelina Jolie did) but at least they will be able to make the decision for themselves. Since the same genetic mutation also increases risk for ovarian and uterine cancer, they can be proactive about screening or even deciding to remove those organs if they choose. This knowledge has literally changed our lives.

The world breaks down into two camps: people who want information, and people who don't. As genetic testing goes forward, it seems that the two camps will be pitted against each other. I don't think that is acceptable. People who see value in their DNA data should be free to get it without having to resort to cajoling or badgering. That's the only way all of us can realize the power of genetic testing.


Apple Pay won’t add to Apple’s profit – CNNMoney

Wall Street Journal
Apple Pay won't add to Apple's profit
CNNMoney
Apple is expected to announce that it had a quarter for the history books during the last three months of 2014. But Apple Pay will most likely be little more than a footnote. The payments system is taking off -- but it's not that widely used yet. "Apple Pay is not


You Can Now Attend a Protest in Virtual Reality

You Can Now Attend a Protest in Virtual Reality

Sundance 2015 is the year of VR, marking a metaphorical starting gun for an entire new film industry. Presumably timed to the festival, Oculus VR took the opportunity to launch its own film-focused studio alongside a spate of other cinematic VR projects.

Read more...




You Can Thank Computers If You’re Trading Stocks During Blizzard

Back when the business of buying and selling stocks depended on human traders gathering in the same physical location -- the New York Stock Exchange in lower Manhattan , for instance -- a major snow storm could snarl commutes so badly that exchanges had to shut.


If You’re an Innovator, You Should Be Using Microsoft Windows



The 2nd Gen Moto X is my new favorite phone

Over the last week or so, I decided to set aside the iPhone 6 and give something else a try. There isn't anything on the market that I haven't tried in some way or another already, but this was meant to give me some extra time with it. Before the iPhone 6 launched I was wholly invested in the iPhone 5s, and there wasn't a phone out in the wild that could have swayed me from it. I think the iPhone 6 is a great device, but I'm not entirely sure I'm sold on it just yet. (Which probably means I never will be.)

Motorola Moto X (2nd Gen.) BlackGoogle Nexus 6Motorola


7 Workplace Chat Apps to Keep Your Team In Sync

2015-01-26-shutterstock_230250223.jpg
By Jack Flanagan

In office communication is key. However, these conversations can take many different forms: people talk in person, over email or text, or online through AIM or Facebook. What's an office to do to keep all these conversations all in one place?


Enter the office chat app, aka the "enterprise social network". These apps allow teams to both collaborate in open forums or just casually talk or catch up in private messages, taking away the need for time-killing 'catch-up' meetings. These apps are also great at keeping global teams in touch.


Here are the best chat apps to keep your office in sync.


Facebook at work


Amid much fanfare, the Facebook for Work app was released at the beginning of this year for both iOS and Android devices. It is hoped to combat the pandemic of people using Facebook at work. It's still early days for the app, which has not set a firm policy on either pricing or privacy, yet. What it does do which a lot of other apps don't is give you detailed profiles for each employee with the idea being that a manager can use the app to find the right person for the job; or they can post about it on what amounts to a business' personal Facebook feed. The apps also provides a simple messaging feature as well à la the usual Facebook.


Slack


Slack claims to be changing the way teams communicate, and looking at  testimonials, it appears to do just that.  The desktop and mobile allows teams to chat in channels with conversations divided by subjects, and you can chat and share photos, videos and music. So it's a bit like having an ongoing meeting which you can dip in and out of. Slack is free to download, with Standard, Plus and Enterprise ($49-99/month) options with enhanced features, like Google apps integration and usage stats.


Voxer


Arguably one of the best features of chat champion Whatsapp is that it allows you to conduct conversations using your voice - in easy-to-make recordings - rather than just texting. The mobile app Voxer brings that feature to the office. It describes this as a "push-to-talk" feature, which is then stored in delivered and stored in the cloud. It allows you call colleagues with a tap of their icon on the app, as well as selling walkie-talkies (I know, remember those?) for when you need it hands-free. It syncs across devices and is available in all apps stores. Some users have flagged up possible issues, like being a battery killer.


Instantbird


Although not pretty or pumped full of features, Instantbird is easy-to-use and customizable. It works as an add-on to Mozilla's firefox. The real beauty of Instantbird is its customizability, like themes, emoticons, plus those on the Add-on website, with which you can set the app in just the way you like it. This might be a little more work than you intended, and positive reviews of the app have been skewed toward the technophile side. This app therefore could be a dream come true for a team or developers; less so one for, say, artisanal coffee makers.


Yammer


Microsoft-owned Yammer has more of the feel of a social network than a chat app. You can post - ideally work-related things - and colleagues can like or reply to a post. It fact, it looks quite a bit like the newly released Facebook at Work app. Prices for the Yammer start at $3/month, and features include mobile sync and language support in 25 languages, which goes some way toward separating it from the crowd of similar apps.


Pie


Pie is a web and mobile app which uses your work email as a login. Once a businesses sign up, teams can login whenever they like. Chats are divided by categories, and the app is available free on browser and mobile. In terms of looks, it's a bit like Whatapp's more colorful siblings Line or WeChat, which is handy if you're talking about something as banal as accounts or bug fixes.


Google Apps


Here, as in many other places, Google benefits from its ubiquity. Gmail (email), Drive (cloud) and Hangouts (conferencing) all have chat functionality, and allows you to collaborate directly on tasks, like writing documents or setting up spreadsheets. Pricing begins at $5 per user per year. Other google apps in the package include Slides, Google+ and Calendar. In other words, the offer is more extensive but, perhaps as a result, not as targeted as apps like Slack.


Is email dead? Inside the office it could be. So, what are you waiting for? Get collaborating.


7 Workplace Chat Apps to Keep Your Team in Sync

2015-01-26-shutterstock_230250223.jpg
By Jack Flanagan

In office communication is key. However, these conversations can take many different forms: people talk in person, over email or text, or online through AIM or Facebook. What's an office to do to keep all these conversations in one place?


Enter the office chat app, aka the "enterprise social network". These apps allow teams to both collaborate in open forums or just casually talk or catch up in private messages, taking away the need for time-killing 'catch-up' meetings. These apps are also great at keeping global teams in touch.


Here are the best chat apps to keep your office in sync.


Facebook at work


Amid much fanfare, the Facebook for Work app was released at the beginning of this year for both iOS and Android devices. It is hoped to combat the pandemic of people using Facebook at work. It's still early days for the app, which has not set a firm policy on either pricing or privacy, yet. What it does do which a lot of other apps don't is give you detailed profiles for each employee with the idea being that a manager can use the app to find the right person for the job; or they can post about it on what amounts to a business' personal Facebook feed. The apps also provides a simple messaging feature as well à la the usual Facebook.


Slack


Slack claims to be changing the way teams communicate, and looking at  testimonials, it appears to do just that.  The desktop and mobile allows teams to chat in channels with conversations divided by subjects, and you can chat and share photos, videos and music. So it's a bit like having an ongoing meeting which you can dip in and out of. Slack is free to download, with Standard, Plus and Enterprise ($49-99/month) options with enhanced features, like Google apps integration and usage stats.


Voxer


Arguably one of the best features of chat champion Whatsapp is that it allows you to conduct conversations using your voice - in easy-to-make recordings - rather than just texting. The mobile app Voxer brings that feature to the office. It describes this as a "push-to-talk" feature, which is then stored in delivered and stored in the cloud. It allows you call colleagues with a tap of their icon on the app, as well as selling walkie-talkies (I know, remember those?) for when you need it hands-free. It syncs across devices and is available in all apps stores. Some users have flagged up possible issues, like being a battery killer.


Instantbird


Although not pretty or pumped full of features, Instantbird is easy-to-use and customizable. It works as an add-on to Mozilla's firefox. The real beauty of Instantbird is its customizability, like themes, emoticons, plus those on the Add-on website, with which you can set the app in just the way you like it. This might be a little more work than you intended, and positive reviews of the app have been skewed toward the technophile side. This app therefore could be a dream come true for a team or developers; less so one for, say, artisanal coffee makers.


Yammer


Microsoft-owned Yammer has more of the feel of a social network than a chat app. You can post - ideally work-related things - and colleagues can like or reply to a post. It fact, it looks quite a bit like the newly released Facebook at Work app. Prices for the Yammer start at $3/month, and features include mobile sync and language support in 25 languages, which goes some way toward separating it from the crowd of similar apps.


Pie


Pie is a web and mobile app which uses your work email as a login. Once a businesses sign up, teams can login whenever they like. Chats are divided by categories, and the app is available free on browser and mobile. In terms of looks, it's a bit like Whatapp's more colorful siblings Line or WeChat, which is handy if you're talking about something as banal as accounts or bug fixes.


Google Apps


Here, as in many other places, Google benefits from its ubiquity. Gmail (email), Drive (cloud) and Hangouts (conferencing) all have chat functionality, and allows you to collaborate directly on tasks, like writing documents or setting up spreadsheets. Pricing begins at $5 per user per year. Other google apps in the package include Slides, Google+ and Calendar. In other words, the offer is more extensive but, perhaps as a result, not as targeted as apps like Slack.


Is email dead? Inside the office it could be. So, what are you waiting for? Get collaborating.


Apple giving away TV shows and music with ‘Free on iTunes’

Free stuff is always great, especially if people actually want what's on offer. Apple now has a special section called "Free on iTunes" where you can find TV shows and music freebies if you've already blown through your monthly entertainment budget. ...


OftenType’s iOS 8 Keyboard App Wants To Save You Some Taps

OftenType


David Tennant Is Your New Marvel Villain In Netflix’s ‘Jessica Jones’

Doctor Who is your new Marvel villain.

David Tennant, who played the 10th incarnation of the titular British doctor and starred in the original "Broadchurch," has been cast in Netflix's upcoming "A.K.A. Jessica Jones" series. Tennant will play Zebediah Killgrave, also known as the Purple Man, a supervillain who has the ability to control others verbally by producing pheromones.

The 13-episode series will follow retired superhero Jessica Jones, played by Krysten Ritter, as she attempts to refocus on her personal and professional life as a New York City detective. Killgrave, an enemy from her past, will return and "send shockwaves through the former superhero’s world.” Tennant and Ritter will also be joined by Mike Colter, who will play Luke Cage. "A.K.A. Jessica Jones" will debut on Netflix later this year following Marvel's "Daredevil" series.

For more, head to Marvel.


(VIDEO) Google’s 2015 Priority Is Securing Ads From Malware

FORT LAUDERDALE - The digital ad industry may be starting to get to grips with the problems of fraud and viewability, but next up is the creeping threat from nefarious code.

"The big priority for us is switching everything over to Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)," Google's head of media platform sales, Jay VanDerZee, tells Beet.TV in this video interview, referring to the protocol which secures internet transmissions.

"A nefarious actor who's put a piece of spyware, malware etc that leads to bots and non-human traffic could come in through that door.

"The impressions on a publisher site, the actual ad calls in the world of RTB have to also be wrapped in this layer; and also the creative - the actual creative file has to be wrapped.

"This is all about protecting the user. It is a Herculean task because we've got to get the entire market to focus on this. We're going to be talking about it at a lot of events this year."

VanDerZee was interviewed at Beet.TV's Beet Retreat annual get-together in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Beet Retreat '15 was sponsored by AOL and Videology. Please find additional videos from the event here.

You can find this post on Beet.TV.




Data And Commerce Elope, Birth Unicorns

rings


How To Protect Your Information From The Internet

How To Protect Your Information From The Internet

Do you know how much of your personal information is floating around? It's more than you think and very easy to find. Phone numbers, home addresses, email accounts. As my recent story about gamers who got swatted showed , anybody can become a target. You don't have to be someone with a million followers. Social networks have encouraged us share everything, including where we're hanging out. We've signed up for a million different accounts, and we need to be more careful.

Read more...




What To Look For In Microsoft’s Earnings Today

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.15.03 AM


Weed App Companies Want Apple to Change App Store Policies

It seems that tech companies which develop marijuana-related apps are having difficulties obtaining authorization from Apple in order to release their creation to consumers via their App Store.

Said companies are reportedly dealing with a vague set of rules when attempting to comprehend Apple's App Store policies.

Now, as a form of retaliation toward Apple's less than weed-friendly conduct, a petition has been initiated requesting that the company relax and correct its unpredictable policies.

The types of marijuana-related apps that are catching all the grief range from social apps and digital publications to ad networks and investment funds. And despite the fact that the majority of these companies are located in Colorado where marijuana is legal for both medicinal and recreational use, Apple is still giving them a rough way to go in relation to having their app approved.

God forbid someone else have a little slice of the proverbial commerce pie. Right, Apple?

Apple reportedly has a nasty reputation for being subjective as to which companies they will honor with acceptance into its infamous digital store. And unfortunately said store has command of a chief share of the mobile marketplace with the capability of making or breaking companies at will.

MassRoots, a marijuana-related Instagram-esque social network, claim that they've been prohibited from the App Store due to the fact that Apple doesn't seem to tolerate digital applications that are designed to connect concurring lovers of the marijuana plant.

Once MassRoots was given the digital boot from Apple's precious store, they decided to write the company a letter and also started the abovementioned online petition.

"We're a social network for cannabis that enables people to talk about the plant in ways most people don't feel comfortable on other social networks," explained Isaac Dietrich, CEO of MassRoots. "I don't want grandma to see me taking bong rips on Facebook."

It's the Apple that apparently only certain companies can take a bite out of, eh?

Get on the bus, Apple! Legal weed is here to stay!


Weed App Companies Want Apple to Change App Store Policies

It seems that tech companies which develop marijuana-related apps are having difficulties obtaining authorization from Apple in order to release their creation to consumers via their App Store.

Said companies are reportedly dealing with a vague set of rules when attempting to comprehend Apple's App Store policies.

Now, as a form of retaliation toward Apple's less than weed-friendly conduct, a petition has been initiated requesting that the company relax and correct its unpredictable policies.

The types of marijuana-related apps that are catching all the grief range from social apps and digital publications to ad networks and investment funds. And despite the fact that the majority of these companies are located in Colorado where marijuana is legal for both medicinal and recreational use, Apple is still giving them a rough way to go in relation to having their app approved.

God forbid someone else have a little slice of the proverbial commerce pie. Right, Apple?

Apple reportedly has a nasty reputation for being subjective as to which companies they will honor with acceptance into its infamous digital store. And unfortunately said store has command of a chief share of the mobile marketplace with the capability of making or breaking companies at will.

MassRoots, a marijuana-related Instagram-esque social network, claim that they've been prohibited from the App Store due to the fact that Apple doesn't seem to tolerate digital applications that are designed to connect concurring lovers of the marijuana plant.

Once MassRoots was given the digital boot from Apple's precious store, they decided to write the company a letter and also started the abovementioned online petition.

"We're a social network for cannabis that enables people to talk about the plant in ways most people don't feel comfortable on other social networks," explained Isaac Dietrich, CEO of MassRoots. "I don't want grandma to see me taking bong rips on Facebook."

It's the Apple that apparently only certain companies can take a bite out of, eh?

Get on the bus, Apple! Legal weed is here to stay!


Here’s A Science-Backed Guide To De-Icing Your Driveway

You already know salt is a good tool for melting ice on snowy roads, driveways, and sidewalks. But have you ever wondered how something that's not hot can cause ice to melt?

Actually, salt isn't about melting. As explained in a new video from the American Chemical Society (above), it's about lowering water's freezing point below the usual 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 Celsius)--a phenomenon chemists call freezing point depression.

Here's how it works: when ordinary table salt (sodium chloride) hits ice, it splits into two ions--sodium and chloride. These charged particles slip into the spaces between water molecules, keeping them apart and making it hard for tightly structured ice crystals to form.

Of course, this only works if there's some liquid water. Luckily for motorists and homeowners, ice is typically coated with a thin film of liquid water--and that's all it takes for the melting magic to happen.

Sodium chloride does a good job at melting ice when temperatures are above 16 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 9 Celsius), according to the video. At lower temperatures, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, or other salts may be better choices.

But while salt prevents accidents on the road and around buildings, it comes at an environmental cost. Chloride ions can kill microorganisms, cause plants to become dehydrated, and damage buildings, among other things.

If you need to get rid of ice around your house or driveway, Consumer Reports offers several tips for using salt safely and effectively. These include:

Start by getting rid of accumulated snow with a shovel or snow blower.

Apply a thin, even layer. Wear gloves to protect your hands.

Avoid spreading salt on plants or your lawn.

Keep your pets away from ice melt. Wipe off your dog's paws after it walks outside on snowy days.

Never use ice melt on concrete that's less than one year old. That can damage the surface.

And as you already know, use de-icing products as directed!


Here’s A Science-Backed Guide To De-Icing Your Driveway

You already know salt is a good tool for melting ice on snowy roads, driveways, and sidewalks. But have you ever wondered how something that's not hot can cause ice to melt?

Actually, salt isn't about melting. As explained in a new video from the American Chemical Society (above), it's about lowering water's freezing point below the usual 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 Celsius)--a phenomenon chemists call freezing point depression.

Here's how it works: when ordinary table salt (sodium chloride) hits ice, it splits into two ions--sodium and chloride. These charged particles slip into the spaces between water molecules, keeping them apart and making it hard for tightly structured ice crystals to form.

Of course, this only works if there's some liquid water. Luckily for motorists and homeowners, ice is typically coated with a thin film of liquid water--and that's all it takes for the melting magic to happen.

Sodium chloride does a good job at melting ice when temperatures are above 16 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 9 Celsius), according to the video. At lower temperatures, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, or other salts may be better choices.

But while salt prevents accidents on the road and around buildings, it comes at an environmental cost. Chloride ions can kill microorganisms, cause plants to become dehydrated, and damage buildings, among other things.

If you need to get rid of ice around your house or driveway, Consumer Reports offers several tips for using salt safely and effectively. These include:

Start by getting rid of accumulated snow with a shovel or snow blower.

Apply a thin, even layer. Wear gloves to protect your hands.

Avoid spreading salt on plants or your lawn.

Keep your pets away from ice melt. Wipe off your dog's paws after it walks outside on snowy days.

Never use ice melt on concrete that's less than one year old. That can damage the surface.

And as you already know, use de-icing products as directed!


Unlocked LG G2 now available for just $209.99

Is there a better way to start the week than with a nice smartphone deal? We’re about to find out, because I’ve got an offer to tell you about.

mJs3lES8BccLG G2LG


Colleges Stalk Your Facebook To See How They Should Hit You Up for Money

Colleges Stalk Your Facebook To See How They Should Hit You Up for Money

On the scale of "irritating" to "soul-boiling" telemarketers, college alumni fundraisers aren't the worst. The way that school alumni relations offices decide which former students to contact, however, is a liiittle creepy. Colleges are scouring former students' Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to figure out who to hit up for cash, and using targets' interests to make pitches as manipulative and persuasive as possible.

Read more...




Turkish court will ban Facebook if it doesn’t censor blasphemous content

Every six months, Facebook reveals how many times a nation requests that the site block content that's considered illegal. In the first half of 2014, for instance, India lobbied for nearly 5,000 deletions, putting it well ahead of second-placed Turke...


​How To Build A Snow Shelter

​How To Build A Snow Shelter

Want something fun and productive to do during this whole giant blizzard thing? Why not learn how to build a snow shelter? It could save your life one day but, more importantly, they're just a ton of fun to make. Here's how.

Read more...




Google Lunar Xprize Awards $5.25 Million In Competitive Race To The Moon

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Magnetic Buckyballs In a Blender Create One Terrifying Light Show

Magnetic Buckyballs In a Blender Create One Terrifying Light Show

It didn't take long for those "Will it Blend?" videos to get long in the tooth. You can only watch so many smartphones being torn to shreds before the novelty wears off. But to celebrate the birth of his 40th grandkid, Tom Dickson tosses a mountain of magnetic Buckyballs into the blades and the results are as spectacular as they are incredibly dangerous to try at home. Seriously, don't try this at home.

Read more...




How <i>Star Trek</i> Deepend My Support for Women in Tech

I started as a hardcore nerd whose wish for fairness and equality was deepened by watching Star Trek.



I started Sunday school, Jewish version, very young, and I think that's where I started hearing about the Golden Rule, treating people like you want to be treated. That was reinforced in later grades.

By the time Star Trek started, I was ready for the (imperfect) lessons of equality that the show displayed. The message in a number of episodes is that racism is wrong and stupid.

startrek



The show was a product of its time and halfheartedly treated women as equals; that's the imperfection.


How <i>Star Trek</i> Deepend My Support for Women in Tech

I started as a hardcore nerd whose wish for fairness and equality was deepened by watching Star Trek.



I started Sunday school, Jewish version, very young, and I think that's where I started hearing about the Golden Rule, treating people like you want to be treated. That was reinforced in later grades.

By the time Star Trek started, I was ready for the (imperfect) lessons of equality that the show displayed. The message in a number of episodes is that racism is wrong and stupid.

startrek



The show was a product of its time and halfheartedly treated women as equals; that's the imperfection.


Cyanogen CEO says he wants to ‘take Android away from Google’

Cyanogen is one of the most popular open source Android variants, running on the OnePlus One and and available for all to tinker with on their own phone. But CEO Kirt McMaster has bigger plans. He hopes to build it into a full-fledged Android rival with its own app store and a more “open” structure that recalls the early days of Android. He made the comments during The Information’s The Next ...


Air-gapped computers are no longer secure

To insure security, the thought was to pull the computer off of the network. That is not always the case according to three Georgia Tech researchers who exploit side-channel signals.


Someone Stop Me From Buying This Incredible and Useless Telescoping Cane

Someone Stop Me From Buying This Incredible and Useless Telescoping Cane

Yesterday I did not know what an "appearing cane" was. Today I just have to have one. Someone please stop me.

Read more...




If You’re an Innovator, You Should Be Using Microsoft Windows

In 2012, Microsoft released the most radical innovation in personal computing in over 40 years.

Not Apple. Not Google.

Microsoft.

Windows 8, released by Microsoft in 2012, is the first new user interface since Xerox PARC created the mouse-and-windows desktop visual metaphor in the 1970s. That was long before we had smartphones and touch screens and the cloud. For Windows 8, instead of incremental innovation, Microsoft chose the path of radical innovation. They asked: What would a user interface look like if we started from scratch? If we designed for touch screens and smartphones and tablets and cloud connected devices, instead of big chunky office computers?

Of course, the icons would be bigger, making them easier to touch. (Those tiny icons are designed to be clicked by a mouse, not touched by a finger.)

That means you'd have to ditch the desktop background, but that's just wasted space anyway.

Now that the icons are bigger, you can display useful information on the icons.

You'd make everything big enough to touch with your finger, and you wouldn't need a mouse or a touchpad anymore.

Everything would automatically sync between devices through the cloud.

This is exactly what Microsoft did with Windows 8 in 2012, and after two years using these devices, I'm convinced the user experience is far superior. In 2013, my Windows XP devices were old, I was moving to a new job, and I was ready for a completely new set of hardware. I considered going all in with new Apple devices; I had an iPhone and I loved it. And then, I considered Windows 8, and I realized pretty quickly that it's a better design for today's computer devices--especially mobile devices.

Surface Pro

I purchased a Windows 8 phone, two Windows 8 desktop computers (one for home and one for the office), a Windows Pro Surface tablet, and a Lenovo Yoga. From day one, everything worked seamlessly and I've never looked back. I especially love using the tablets (Surface and Yoga) and the smartphone. (Often when I flip over my Lenovo Yoga, someone in the meeting will give it a look of fascination, and ask "Is that an Apple?") Across all five devices, everything syncs automatically: my Outlook contacts and calendar and email, my documents. Oh, and I can access all of this information, and even edit Microsoft Office files, in a web browser anywhere (even on an Apple computer). Across all these devices, I have one seamless user experience. (Try touching your finger on the screen on your Apple computer.)

Who knows why Apple and Google (with Android) didn't use good design thinking and take the path of radical innovation? I generally respect those companies and they've generated some awesome innovations. But with computing devices, Apple and Google have chosen the path of incremental innovation. Let's all thank Microsoft for breaking out of the industry's groupthink.

Like many innovators, Microsoft got a lot of hate for breaking the conventional mold. A lot of people were used to holding their mouses all day long, and they got confused. Developers often don't release their apps for Windows phones (only 3 percent of smartphone sales). Many tech reporters call Windows 8 an "international calamity" or much worse. They should know better.

People were used to a simple formula: Apple equals innovation, Microsoft equals boring and corporate. Face it, tech reporters: the formula isn't true anymore.

Owning an Apple laptop used to mean you were cool. It symbolized sleek design and individuality. It made you feel a bit more creative. But now using an Apple just shows that you're like everyone else. Designers, innovators, and creatives should know better. It's time to switch to a user interface experience that's designed for the 21st century.

If you believe in good design, if you're an innovator, if you're committed to well-designed user experience, you should be using Windows devices.

When Windows 10 comes out, check this blog again for my review.


New Google MVNO details leak, including ability to hunt through different signals

Google logo Samsung Galaxy Nexus rear

Following a rumor from last week that claimed that Google may be working with Sprint and T-Mobile on an MVNO service, new details on how that service might work have surfaced.

Google


Drone landing drags White House security into the modern era (update: details)

The US government just got a real-world lesson about the security risks posed by easily accessible drones. Officials report that they recovered a quadcopter on the White House's grounds in the early morning on January 26th, with no clear indication a...


The Writers Workbench: CES 2015 Wrap-up

Yes, it's that season again. What I refer to as The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. That can only mean one thing - the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Disneyland for adults.

It's odd, I dislike crowds. But I love CES, even with its nearly 200,000 visitors. Some of the fun is knowing that much of this is going to become a significant part of our lives eventually. Whatever the reason, it's a pleasure.

How numbing can CES get? Each year among the most popular booths are ones like this from Panasonic oh-so cleverly sucking in visitors by showing its multi-functional relaxing chairs.

2015-01-19-Panasonicchair.jpg

That said, CES goes through different stages over time. My experience is that every few years there will be some major development in the tech industry that sets things off on a high level. But it usually then takes several years for the industry to adjust. This was one of those years. I found there to be a "sameness" to much of the show. The technology was seriously impressive, but you just have a large ocean of waves washing over you. Speakers, cameras, headphones, tablets on and on and on, much of it great, but it was a challenge to stand out from the pack.

Also, there are several fields I tend to ignore. Not because they're not interesting -- quite the contrary -- but because the level of quality is SO high that differentiating between things is a challenge. A company like LG, for instance, probably has 20 different lines of TV sets -- and I don't have a clue why one is all that different from another. The most mediocre camera is still impressive. And while there are topnotch and lesser Smartphones -- they all make calls and run all the apps you want. As for phone cases. it's like trying to find the best grain of sand.

What I always say in these particular fields is that when it comes time for you to get one -- read a few articles, go to a store, stare at them all, and buy the one that looks good to you and costs the least. It'll be really nice. Or ask friends what they have, and get that...

To be clear, a few products in these fields did manage to leap out of the pack, and I'll mention them as we go along on our wild ride.

And another thing to keep in mind. Every year, I'm asked the Eternal Question -- "What really cool things did you see at CES?!!" To me, the "really good things" are not those that are whiz-bang -- rather, it's something that takes something you need to use every day but improves it in such a clever way that it makes your life easier. Like (if you have animals) the PetNet. This is nothing more than a device for feeding pets -however it lets you set a time with an app on your Smartphone from wherever you are to feed your pet and how much food. At the pre-determined time, a drawer opens with the amount of food you decided on. (It does more, like it can make a determination on the proper amount of food your pet needs depending on information you input.) It's in beta now, but expects to be for sale in perhaps three months, for $250.

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One last thing before diving in. Each year at CES, I tend to notice a "theme" that pushes itself to the forefront, showing a direction that the world of technology is going in the coming year. What leapt out -it was hard to miss - were two related phrases: "Connected Home" and "Smart."

It was bizarre how many companies not only promoted themselves as being part of the Connected Home - but to what lengths. The camera company, Canon, for instance, had a big "Connected Home" display at their booth - I stood staring at it for a full minute and for the life of me I still have no idea what was connected about it.

And so it's time to put on your protective gear and go. Our annual word of caution: this is going to be long. Very long. To do CES justice, technology covers a lot of ground - figuratively and literally. Two separate convention centers and five halls. And separate showcases, hotel suites and more. So, if you don't like long articles, stop now and don't complain. And if you plan to come along, you might want to get a sandwich first for your strength, and perhaps make a bathroom stop.

Here we go.

At the core of this, what many people think of in terms of a Connected Home, are services like Nest or Honeywell's Lyric eco system, which embed themselves into your house to control it from anywhere. Swann One is another where (like the others) you can set your temperature adjust your lighting or control appliances from your Smartphone, set a motion detector, check locks and have alerts sent to you 24/7. Slightly different, the lesser-known DigitalSTROM controls your electrical appliances through existing power lines. (Note that for all the benefits of Connected Homes, there are downsides to this, as well. A database of all your personal habits is being stored, and anything that uses the Internet is vulnerable to viruses and hacks.)

Happily, another one of the Cool Products addresses one of these problems, the BitDefender Box from the company well-known for its anti-virus software. The Box protects all your Smart products running on your home network - whether your SmartTV, Nest thermostat or connected lighting. (And yes, this is a potential problem. Not long ago there was a case of a Smart Refrigerator actually sending out viruses!) What makes the Box so cool is its simplicity. What you do is plug it into your home router and...well, that's basically it. Yes, there's a bit more, but anything "Smart" that is running through that router is now protected. It costs $199 with the first year subscription included. Subsequent years are $99. Why the subscription? This is an anti-virus product, so - like all AV services - the database of viruses is ever-changing and has to continually be updated.

By the way, in this connected world, the outside of your home is not ignored, as with Blossom, a Smart Watering System, where you can schedule you sprinklers from anywhere. So, yes, even your flowers are connected.

As I said, so much at CES was promoted as being connected. Indeed, it's hard to make clear how much of near-everything at the show was "Connected" or "Smart." Seriously.

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Not all Connected Homes are these extensive, fully-wired systems, but instead provide more low-key options, like Philips' home control remotes, or Panasonic's Home Monitoring system that does motion and door sensors and baby monitoring. But I particularly liked the Panasonic Smart Hubs. It handles the situation so easily. Simply plug a hub into an electrical outlet, and then plug your appliance into the hub. From there, any of your standard devices have instantly become Smart, allowing you to control them through your Smartphone.

Of course, the reality is that anything that ties you to devices in your home fits the Connected Home field and got its designation at CES. Being able to turn on your Smart coffee maker from your Smart car, for instance. (This had to be the most educated CES I've ever been at.) Ultimately, what seems to make a product Smart is its ability to connect you in some way with something in your home.

So, we might as well start at the front door. Last year I wrote about a product called DoorBot, now rebranded as Ring. This is a doorbell and camera that connects via an app that lets you see on your Smartphone who's at your door. There's a wide-angle fish-eye lens, which you can control, and it also now includes motion-sensor technology. The big advantage of the Ring over traditional like-devices is that you can access the camera from wherever you are in the world. Not just from a monitor in your home.

And the well-known lockmaker Schlage, has gotten Smart and Connected, too. One of their new devices is a voice-activated lock, no key necessary. (It does comes with a key in case the battery runs out, though the screen display warns when the battery is low.) A related product by a start-up company Everykey is moving in this direction, too. More on them later, since they do something slightly different.

Even toothbrushes have gotten Smart. No, really. The Oral-B SmartSeries , and Kolibree ,both offer electric toothbrushes with Bluetooth connectivity. (And both claim to be the first-ever...) These are "interactive" toothbrushes that connect to your Smartphone app to check on how you brushing your teeth, if areas are being missed, the strength, and so on. While I don't think most people will care that much about such things (unless you just love teeth), I actually found Kolibree's more interesting, in large part because they do what I saw Philips do at IFA Berlin with their like-product - they've developed games for kids to earn points on an adventure when they brush, helping get over that eternal hurdle of parents: convincing their children to brush their teeth. Also, they've partnered with companies that will give "prizes" if you score enough points with good brushing, like discounts for cleaning at participating dentists.

Over the past few years, I've found that, oddly, home appliances have developed some of the more interesting advances in technology and are becoming deeply Smart and Connected. From Smart refrigerators to Smart ovens and Smart iron, Smart cappuccino machines and more. In fact, I even give LG's Twin Tub washing machine one of my Cool Products designation. This is a small unit that sits underneath your standard LG washing machine, piggyback style, and connects with it, allowing you to do two separate loads at once, from the same water source. Equally intriguing are its wide range of cycles that are expanded on your Smartphone via an app, letting you control all your Washing Needs from afar.

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And Smart TV's, of course. Oh, heavens are there Smart TVs. And the very Smartest of them all, we're told, are 4K curved sets.

As I mentioned above, the world of TVs is too massive to single out anything from the field. Besides which companies use their own inner-jargon to make things seems special, but which mean nothing to mortal humans. TCL has a Quantum Dot TV. It looked great - but I have no idea what "Quantum Dots" are. LG have sets "created with crystals from Swarovski" (which I suppose is nice if you're planning to wear your TV like a bracelet). Their 4K TV was Perfect Black with Color Prime and Nono Spectrum. But they all looked wonderful.

What I'll also say though is that 4K sets, smart as they are, aren't smart enough to have almost any native content to broadcast on them. So, you're largely just getting regular HD. And 4K, spectacular as the resolution is, is most noticeable when you're sitting close - which isn't where most people watch. This is one of the reasons "curved screens" were developed. When you go to an electronics department, the 4K sets don't look all that different from afar, especially when showing regularly HD content - but - ahhh, if you make the set curved, that will stand out. And a curved screen does have some advantages...but mainly if the screen is massive, like in a movie theater. Much less so in a living room. Besides, if you sit off to the side of a curved screen, you risk a blurry image. Personally, I find curved screens a pointless gimmick. 4K screens less so - after all, they're amazing IF you find any native 4K content (more on that later), and apparently showing Blu-Ray movies has advantages. But they're mostly very expensive now. If you do find a great price, though, they're worth considering. Just be aware you won't be getting much amazing 4K content.

By the way, if the concept of 4K resolution (and no content) is bewildering to you, you might want to avert your eyes a moment, because...well - Panasonic is beginning to offer...well -

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(For those trying to keep score, 8K will offer super resolution, higher definition, a higher frame rate, wider viewing angles and great confusion for those still adjusting to HD.)

But I did say I'd mention what did stand out in the world of TVs. And I liked an enhanced TV service that Samsung has developed, Sports Live. While watching a game, the screen displayed a vast range of statistics, like scoring leaders, a shot chart, game stats, and more. (You can see it in action by clicking to this video .)

Related to this, and even more elaborate is Panasonic's Info Bar which they introduced in beta form at last year's show, and is now available. Six people can register on a set's Info Bar, and a built-in camera uses Face Recognition to see if you're one of the six. The bar pops up and then provides useful information for that viewer which you've configured for yourself. Email, weather, news and "My Stream" - which provides links to video-on-demand, favorite Internet sites, and such.

And as readers of these pages know, I'm an adherent of 3D-TV without glasses. Not everyone feels the same, but I've seen working sets that use the Ultra-D technology being licensed from StreamTV Networks. And it's seriously impressive. Not only does their glassless 3D resolution pop out amazingly, but - a) you can adjust the remote for greater pop or less, but more clarity depending on your preference, b) you can even turn 3D off completely and just watch your TV normally, c) there is no issue with 3D content, since Ultra-D technology can convert regular live TV to glassless 3D in real-time, and d) it eliminates the lack-of-content problem for 4K sets, too, since it can even convert HD resolution to 4K-compatible resolution in real time. Since last year, the company has made huge leaps with partnerships (some very major) now coming to fruition. Several of these companies have announced product releases with their glassless 3D TV sets as early as Q1. The StreamTV Networks booth was fascinating this year. They showed real-time conversion running on TVs, so you could switch to any live channel and watch everything in glassless 3D. They also had ESPN send a reel of sports footage and then showed the converted results - all terrific, though basketball came off best. In addition, they are expanding in several other areas and now have partnerships with video game manufacturers, some games of which looked quite amazing.

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StreamTV Networks also displayed a mini-TV studio that show how networks and TV stations can easily convert content to glassless at the production end. And even had a beta version of a glassless 3D tablet that showed huge promise. Right now, most of the TVs coming to market in Q1 are from smaller companies and most are in China, but they all distribute in the U.S., and deals with mega-companies are pending, including Toshiba (the only mega-one that can be announced). The future remains to be seen if the promise meets reality, but there appeared significant moves towards that.

The field has even started to expand and had a far-bigger presence at CES than in the past. Another company, Changhong had a big display of glassless 3D TV sets, as well. It's China-based, and right now that's their focus. The sets were very good quality, though I thought the 3D technology was just fair and didn't come close to what StreamTV Network's Ultra-D provides.

Of course, if you really want to get "scared," Samsung was showing a glassless TV, too - but using...8K. Yes, you read that right. Don't go looking for it on the market for...oh, a really long while, or find much content for it. ("Much" will be herein defined as about as close to nothing as you can get without being sucked through the rabbit hole.) But still, for doubters of glassless TV, the viability is there and growing.

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There were actually quite a bit of glassless 3D-related products at the show, far more than I expected. Among them, the company Super D was presenting glassless 3D, as well, though their system is for tablets and Smartphones, not TV sets. The quality, however, was extremely impressive, with strong "pop" and crispness. There are a few limiting caveats: it requires a built-in camera to adjust to the viewer's eyes. This not only means just one person can view at a time, but there's a slight period of re-adjustment when a new viewer takes over.

Toshiba had a glasses-free 3D display, too, that was remarkable, though it was exceedingly high-end and only designed for medical applications. And a small company called EStar was even showing its Take 1
Holographic Smartphone which had a glassless 3D screen.

It all showed a new direction that screens are moving, whether it's glassless 3D (still an open question) and higher resolution (even if not here yet). But that brings up the growing field I was referring to earlier which is one of the few things that gives immediate value to 4K televisions.

That's 4K camcorders. There are starting to be quite a few of them, and being able to play back footage on a 4K TV would be a step towards bringing content to them, even if that's only a small part of the need. But Panasonic's Lumix 4K Ultra Camcorder ,
with a Leica lens and using Qualcomm's Snapdragon chip (which also has a partnership with the Ultra-D glassless 3D technology) is impressive.

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As I said earlier, the world of cameras is so massive and the quality so high that you can get lost in it. But certain devices did stand out.

For instance, the Ricoh Theta 360 takes spherical pictures, with a fish-eye lens on both sides of the camera. You upload the results where they can be viewed in a browser. The images are then swiped to see the full panorama.

The Casio Exilim FR10 is a camera that can separate into two parts - one with the lens, and the other for control, allowing great flexibility for remote shots. It's not sold in the U.S. though, as Casio has dropped out of that market.

And the oddest area of camera growth was in the surprising increase of personal drones, from companies ranging from the Parrot Bebop drones, the Techtoys aeroglade and this airforce below of the AEE Toruk fleet The smallest of them look simply like remote-controlled toys, but with camera attached they become another product entirely.

Similarly, the world of mobile phones comes rolling over you in unending waves. It's not that they're indistinguishable from one another - there are good and less-so - but rather that all Smartphones do the basics and have access to the same apps within their operating platform. So, it's notable when one is able to stand out from the crowd. And the fascinating Yota Phone 2 surely does that. (And it's another of my Cool Product designees.) This is an Android phone that has two faces - front and back. The front is a normal Android interface. Turn the phone around, and the other side uses E-ink, like that found on eReaders. It's not the same interface, but you can pretty-fully configure it to show the apps and features you want. The advantage of using the E-ink side is that it uses seven times less battery - and the face can be always displayed on. Depending on your settings, you can get up to six days of battery life from your phone (!), not eight hours. The downside is that, as you likely know from eReaders, there's a very short lag time when you swipe. Still, it's very intriguing. The Yota Phone 2 is brand new, and has only been available in London and parts of Europe for just a few weeks. The company is currently meeting with carriers in the U.S. for coverage here.

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At the other end of the spectrum are Smartwatches, which made a huge leap in their presence this year - yet remain a huge question mark in my mind. I think there's a potential future for them, but I don't see it there yet, nor even in the near-future. The concept is great, it's the practicality that I question. You still need a Smartphone for them to work - yet a Smartphone does everything a Smartwatch does and better. And though Smartwatches are far better designed today, some extremely nice-looking like those from Cogito, Burg Wearables, Ezio and Ornate, they remain quite large. (I've seen some women using them, but not many. No matter how nice their design, cutting out half your market is a real hurdle.) I'm sure they can eventually be made smaller...but then that makes the screen smaller, which is a big problem. Yes, Dick Tracy used one - but Dick Tracy didn't have Smartphones and tablets.

As one small example of the issue I see right now with Smartphones is the LG Watch R. It's very nice with many functions, but a big feature it was promoting was having music playback through a Bluetooth headset, and I have no idea why that's better than your Smartphone having the same music playback. Also, they were hyping that your camera can show its image on the watchface - so, too, though, does the camera!

To be clear, there are functions on Smartphones that people do use, most notably health-related features, but those are well-handled by the growing market for "wearables." And so that's a separate matter. It's a niche market, but a very good one.

This would be a good time to pause and let you take a break. The first act intermission, as if were. Get a sandwich, wash up, do some stretching exercises, perhaps. We're a bit over halfway through. Okay, ready? Great, let's get back to wearables...

One of the most popular wearables is the Fitbit activity tracker, and Griffin Technology has come up with a clever line of products to make the pedestrian health band look fashionable, by providing a range of covers so you can wear the Fitbit wristband (or other activity trackers like the Jawbone Up Move, Sony SmartBand or Misfit Flash) as a nicely-designed pin, clip, or ribbon, even something attached to your shoe.

The Narrative Clip 2 is the kind of wearable that shows promise, and although it has sizable limitations, gives an idea of the direction of the field. It sort of takes it cue from the GoPro, though isn't video, and more for "lifelogging." It's a tiny device, about 1.5" on each side, that you pin to your clothing to document your day as it automatically snaps pictures every 30 seconds and uploads them to the cloud via WiFi when connected to a power source. Good in concept, but randomly taking unframed pictures would seem to provide deeply-mixed results. You can manually take a picture with it, though you can do that with your Smartphone, too.

To show you how wearable - and small - the wearable market has gotten, MOTA will be releasing its SmartRing. (Yes, at CES, rings are smart, too.) It provides a running line of text, though is more for providing alerts by vibrating for calls, text and social media. While I didn't find it all that valuable, sometimes it's great when tech experiments. Hey, as Gandalf explained, one ring to rule them, one ring to bind them...

Like the Smartwatch, another wearable technology trying to break through while facing resistance is the Google Glass, and now there's the Toshiba Glass. These work somewhat well, displaying on the glass "virtual images" of data in your vision. But right now there just isn't a perceived need and enough applications. A bigger issue, I think, is that "breakthrough" products tend to become that way for being perceived as cool. And wearing glasses just isn't there yet. Worse, these glasses not only do the equivalent of flashing a big arrow that says, "GEEK," but also make one look a bit like a Star Trek evil alien borg - and even for models, it just isn't a good look.

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More "carryable" than wearable is the Defender 24/7, an interesting product I came across at the Eureka Park area for start-up entrepreneurs. The device is for personal protection, and has a camera, flashlight, pepper spray, siren, medic alert and location GPS, with 24/7 monitoring. It will be available mid-year for $99, plus a $15/month subscription for the monitoring. You can't buy it without the subscription. I think there could be an interesting market for those who just want the standalone product, with no monitoring, though that's currently not part of the company's plans. It could change later, though. And to be clear, the 24/7 monitoring is a strong feature.

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Being connected to your life 24/7, yet wirelessly, has long been a significant direction of technology, and it's getting far more pronounced.

One of the more interesting is Glide which gets a Cool Product nod. It's basically like sending texts, but rather than typing words sends video streaming to another person. And if the person isn't available on the other end, the stream will be recorded and saved for viewing later. This isn't video chatting, which requires both people present in real time. That's why I say it's closer to sending texts - just with videos, not words. At the moment, the apps are available for iOS and Android. (If you use Windows, you're out of luck - an oversight, I think - but at least you can still receive Glide videos that can be sent and attached via email.)

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Another indication of the extent to which wireless is developing is the aforementioned Everykey. This isn't available yet - I saw it demonstrated at the Showstoppers Launch-It event for companies trying to find investors - but it's an interesting concept that replaces the need to carry around keys and remember passwords. You wear a Bluetooth wristband that enables passwords when you're within range of the target, and you're then automatically logged in. When you go out of range, you're logged out. It works with compatible devices and websites being developed by partners. (I'm not sure what the safeguards are if you lose the device.)

Indeed, being able to log into accounts or control your systems without typing is another growing field, generally referred to as biometrics, that made its presence known at CES.

AGNITIO uses Voice ID to access accounts, including making automatic payments and for using voice-controlled devices. The company has been around for a while, in the security field, and its software is high-end. The company says that the software has anti-spoofing features than can even recognize if the voice is real and live, or has been recorded, in which case it would be blocked.

EyeTribe is an eye-tracker product that lets you read text on your device's monitor and scroll through pages, and even highlight items simply by looking at them. An eye scanner recognizes the user, who then has control of the system, even playing games. I must admit I wasn't bowled over by the technology, since it requires tactile input and I couldn't quite see the huge advantage of it. (It's supposed faster to operate devices this way, but didn't seem so at this stage.) However, I can easily see applications for it, and also see improvements as it develops.

So, from voice and eye contact we move to ultrasound, and that's where Ultrahaptics comes in. Using ultrasound, the products creates tactile sensations. Waving your hand or fingers in mid-air, without any gloves or attachments, you're able to control images on the screen. It's not gesture control (though does that), but you are able to have a real sense of touch with the technology and handle virtual devices. This is still in the very early stages, but some of the future uses include tuning volume controls, playing games, or adjusting controls in a car.

Good news, by the way. The end is in sight. It's still not here, and there's a ways to go. But if you stand on a chair, you'll be able to see the horizon. Onward...

Manipulating technology in a different way is what's behind Lenovo's Yoga Tablet 2 AnyPen application, an intriguing twist on its own 7-inch Windows tablet. This only adds $20 to its standard tablet and seems very well-worth it. It eliminates the need to have a special digital pointer to carry around for writing on the touch screen. Instead, any utensil that's either metal or graphite will work - a regular pen or pencil, for instance. Or even a fork! (Yes, they had one there to demonstrate.) I like Lenovo products and have written positively about their Android and Windows tablets. The downside here, though, is their Windows line is on the higher end, and this 8" AnyPen version with 32 GB of storage costs $299 (though, also, includes a free year's subscription for Office365, a $70 value).

Another small tablet worth paying attention to for being a stunning deal is the HP Stream 7

HP Stream 7. This is a Windows 8.1 device with a 7" screen and 32 GB that only costs $99 - and also includes that year's subscription to Office365. This in essence makes the price of the tablet a bizarre $29. More than that, it also includes 1 terabyte of OneDrive cloud storage - which can cost several hundreds of dollars on other services, and 60 minutes a month of Skype minutes for the life of the device. (These features are also available on the aforementioned Lenovo.) I've used one very briefly, and my first impression was quite positive, though it's probably best with a folio that has a built-in keyboard.

As long as you're now taking your small, portable tablet with you on the road, you might then want to expand your road office. If so, the portable Primera Trio is intriguing. This is the smallest all-in-one printer-copier-scanner I've come across. It only weighs 2.6 pounds, and comes with a 10-sheet feeder. The device isn't available yet but should be on the market in March for $399.

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Of course, if you're taking your office on the road - or any devices, these days - you're likely going to need to charge them. And what would a long tech column by me be without writing about portable chargers. As I've long noted, I love portable chargers for their functional design, being able to build a wide variety of clever features into such small packages. Yes, this love is irrational, but then what love isn't? Though "just chargers," however, some did stand out, enough to perhaps impress even the skeptics of the world.

The Weego Jump Starter looks like any basic portable charger. Except that it can jump your car's dead battery with the included cables. (And larger models can jump start a truck.) I've reviewed similar products in the past, but what appears great about the Weego is that it has several protections built in. At the moment, the cables include fuse protectors that will blow out before anything can give you a shock, and coming later in the year the battery clamps will be protected so that you won't be able connect them incorrectly.

Hyper will soon be selling an elegant, small ladies compact and mirror, the Pearl - with one small addition: the bottom is a portable charger with a USB port.

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Energous WattUp is not a prevalent wireless technology today and may never become a standard. But if it does, it's remarkable. It's not just wireless charging, but uses WiFi, so you don't even have to be connected to literally anything. A WattUp-enabled device only has to come within 20 feet or so of a WattUp transmitting pod, and your device will charge via WiFi.

One of the big challenges for high capacity portable chargers is that they can be quite heavy. It's great getting that 12,000 mAh (enough for maybe eight full phone charges), but you wouldn't want to carry it in your pocket. However, myCharge - one of my fave portable charger companies - will soon release the Hub Ultra. It's 12,000 mAh, but the charging port can separate from the charger, making the thing surprisingly light yet still very high capacity. Besides which, charging cables are built in, and it charges at twice the normal speed.

Though not precisely "portable chargers", two products- Zolt and the FINsix Dart, will each be releasing similar products that resolve a major problem for portable laptops. They eliminate the need for those annoying, heavy charging "bricks" laptops all have. Instead, the Zolt and Dart are very small devices that come with adapter tips to fit different models of laptops - and each have USB ports, as well, so you can charge other devices at the same time. At first, quick glance, I was a touch more partial to the Zolt (pictured here) for having a foldable plug and one extra USB port, though some people might prefer the extra length of non-folding plugs.

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There also was a particular interesting portable solar charger, another of those technologies I particularly like, which addresses the one notable hurdle that such devices have a hard time overcoming.

The critical issue with solar charging is that it's the surface size of the solar panels that makes the difference, and no matter how valuable portable solar chargers are, they simply are limited in how much surface space is available to take in the sun. So, it takes a long time to charge them. SolPro addresses that with its Helios . It comes almost like in a folio, and so you simply fold out its panels to provide a much greater footprint.

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The portable world is massive today, and portable speakers are a field which seemed to take over much of the CES show space. But for the fields and fields of speakers and headphones - which I expect to hone in on during the year and write about later - oddly, the one sound-related device that intrigued me came from that aforementioned Showstopper's Launch-It event.

Vocal Zoom is still looking for funding to go to the next level, but its demonstration was impressive. It's a sound sensor technology that eliminates background noise, most particularly beneficial for voice recognition, but also as something to be licensed for use in mobile phones.

And that brings us closer to the final stretch. We're nearing the final hurdles. Bear with me, we're almost at the end, but there are still a few fun, offbeat things to go.


And that can only mean the world of peripherals and accessories. Like the Seagate Seven. Among many things, the company is known for making disk drives, and the Seven is the most remarkably thin (and therefore portable) I've seen. It holds a huge 500 GB, but is only 7mm thin. (Hence the name, "Seven.") It retails for $100.

FŪZ Designs has a product to be released soon that almost made the "oddest" category, but didn't quite get there, since there are some interesting applications. It's the Noke,
basically a Bluetooth-enabled Smart padlock. No combination. It certainly makes picking difficult, though I'm not quite sure what happens if you've lost your WiFi or cellular connection, or if the battery has run out. What I do like is that you can share the code through an app, if you want to give access to someone else.

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For those of you interested in home brewing, the Pico Brew is an elaborate Internet-connected (of course!) appliance. It's not cheap ($1,800), but for serious home brewers it seems to offer a lot of high quality features. (It's self-cleaning, has sensors to keep you apprised of the current brewing status wherever you are, and other whizbang.)

[Insert Pico Brew.jpg]
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There also is a growing field of new ways to e-pay, outside the more prominent entrants like Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Microsoft Wallet, so it's an uphill run. Each of them were sort of based on the same principal. With the soon-to-market Plastc plastic card and Pocket Smart Wallet, you enter information for all of your credit cards onto the one Smart credit card, and when you swipe it, an LED option on the card lets you select which card you want to use. There's also Loop Pay , a device you carry around that displays all your credit card info (which you've entered into it) on its screen for you to choose. You then tap it against any magnetic swiper. It has a compartment where you can store a credit card, for an emergency, and attaches to a Smartphone, like a protective case. It too is a nice idea in theory, though I suspect people will tend to choose a phone case more for design, thinness or other features.

And finally, you've made it. Congratulations. We've reach the last entry. And that is - CES goes odd.

For all the mass of material at the Consumer Electronics Show (think the final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, but even that endless warehouse doesn't do it justice), there are of course many offbeat products. But some do stand out. Oh, my do they. And from all that I saw, two of them are our final winners of The Oddest.

The first is the Sensoria Fitness Socks . This is (okay, say it all together...) a Smart sock. Yes, a Smart sock, that has pressure sensors to provide data on your foot landing, running form, cadence, step counting and pace. It's odd, to be sure, but for some seriously dedicated runners, who knows, maybe they'd find an application for it.

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So the winner goes to the Emiota Belty. This is a - yes, yes... -- Smart belt. It adjusts to the wearer and communicates to the person by tactile feedback. There's a built-in pedometer, inactivity monitoring, waistline trend analysis, Bluetooth capabilities, and a phone app. It's not without its features, and I suspect that some people might...or, well, they might not, or...oh, who knows. If it's for you, godspeed.

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And with that, we have come to the end of CES 2015 - surviving the show and reading about it. If you need any recharging...well, try some fresh fruit. It would be smart.

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"The Writers Workbench" appears monthly on the website for the Writers Guild of America. To see this entire column, with complete product graphics, please click here

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To read more from Robert J. Elisberg about this or many other matters both large and tidbit small, see Elisberg Industries.


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