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Our Bodies, Our Security: Biometrics vs. Passwords
May 4, 2015
Text-based usernames and password pairs should be replaced with biometric credentialing, such as vein recognition and ingestible security tokens, suggests Johnathan LeBlanc, PayPal's global head of developer evangelism. Celebrities have been mortified, Sony Pictures Entertainment brought to its knees, and Home Depot sent scrambling to EuroPay Mastercard Visa's chip and pin earlier than mandated.
Holy Crap: Microsoft Is Building Tomorrowland!
May 4, 2015
One of the movies I'm really looking forward to this month is Disney's Tomorrowland. My first real job was at Disneyland, and I was so in love with the place I often would come back and work a second shift for free. Epcot, the city of tomorrow, was supposed to be Walt's final legacy but his untimely death ended that vision. That city of tomorrow never came to be.
Gadget Ogling: Wine in a Dash, Connected Bicycles, and a Wearable for Behinds
May 2, 2015
I'll admit I'm not the planet's most refined wine connoisseur, but I do enjoy a glass or two of red with my dinner. At the minute, the few bottles I have are vacuuming up space around my kitchen, so I could use a wall-mounted wine rack -- but what's the use of having a rack with no bottles once they're finished? Poppy Reserve could solve the problem of a barren wine rack.
Faulty Taptic Engine Could Make Apple Watch Rollout Sputter
May 1, 2015
A production snag in making the component that provides tactile feedback in the Apple Watch could impact its availability in coming weeks. Quality control problems with the Chinese maker of the component reportedly have forced Apple to move nearly all manufacturing of the unit to a Japanese company. Delays in the availability of the watch could occur as it ramps up production.
Elon Musk Unveils Tesla's World-Changing Powerwall
May 1, 2015
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk on Thursday announced the company's plan to develop residential and business battery systems, including the Powerwall Home Battery and business-oriented Powerpack. These systems are being developed to work in conjunction with solar panels to store energy for use at a later time. They also can draw power from the grid when demand for electricity is low.
Patent Holders: Google Wants Your IP!
April 28, 2015
Google on Monday announced it will open an experimental portal to purchase patents from their holders between May 8 and May 22. The move is widely seen as an attempt to shut off patent trolls. Patent holders have to set the price at which they're willing to sell their IP, and they will be told by June 26 whether Google wants to buy. Payments will be made through ACH by late August.
Gadget Ogling: Pretty 3D Printing, an Eye-Catching Engagement Ring Box and a Sturdy Smartphone
April 28, 2015
3D printing is fascinating. It still seems wild to me that you can download schematics for anything and have a plastic version of a physical object in your home a short while later. However, not many printers can switch up the color or the types of filaments you use in your creation. The Pallette could change that, with a peripheral to brighten up that mono-colored trinket you're ready to print.
We'll Soon Live in an Imaginary World
April 20, 2015
Virtual and augmented reality and holographic image technologies are coming at us with the speed of a freight train, and it won't be long until we'll no longer be able to distinguish between what is real and what isn't. There are some initiatives going on behind the scenes, as well as some breakthroughs, that shortly will make our experience of the world very different from what it is now.
Riding in Driverless Cars Could Be Sickening
April 17, 2015
Self-driving vehicles could increase the likelihood of motion sickness in some riders, suggests a UMTRI study released last week. Motion sickness, also known as "kinetosis," is a condition marked by symptoms of nausea, dizziness and other physical discomfort. Some factors that contribute to motion sickness could be elevated in self-driving vehicles, the researchers noted.
New Smart Drone Breaks $1K Barrier
April 14, 2015
A new aerial drone from 3D Robotics packs two computers and an array of powerful features for $999. The computers -- one on the craft and one in the controller -- have enabled it to make some radical breakthroughs in autonomous flight and camera control, according to 3DR. Built on 1-GHz Cortex A9 ARM chips running Linux, the computers allow operators to preprogram the drone's flight path.
Analysts Puzzle Over Apple Watch Preorder Figures
April 13, 2015
A million Apple Watch preorders in one day sounds good, but few industry observers are willing to go out on a limb and predict it will be a smash success -- especially with looming supply constraints. Fulfillment times for online preorders reportedly range from four to six weeks after it officially goes on sale. That could be a tactic to keep demand high -- or a hedge against demand falling off.
Apple's Storm Clouds
April 13, 2015
An Apple shop recently dumped Apple for Dell following a surprising revelation. Over most of the last two decades, the only time I've seen a move like this was when some change in IT forced it, and a lot of staffers subsequently would quit. This move was largely user-driven. Then, last week, one of Apple's biggest fans actually panned an Apple product, effectively calling it pretty but stupid.
Gadget Ogling: Capacious Cases, Dumb Domestic Drones, Smarty-Pants Cups
April 11, 2015
When it comes to adding extending your smartphone or tablet battery life during the day, Mophie's been trying to make life easier a little longer than most, with time to iterate on its battery pack cases. The company's going a little further now, as it expands its Space line of cases that house not only batteries, but external storage for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad mini.
Devs Rev Up for a Weekend of Galactic Problem-Solving
April 9, 2015
More than 10,000 software and hardware developers, scientists and space fans will spend this weekend huddling in rooms in 136 cities around the world to participate in NASA's International Space Apps Challenge -- a hackathon for space wonks. Using IBM's Bluemix, they will develop apps, software, hardware, data visualization and platform solutions to help explore space and to improve life on Earth.
Early Reviews Give Apple Watch One and a Half Thumbs Up
April 8, 2015
The prelaunch reviews of the Apple Watch are out, and though they're generally favorable, they include a few niggling complaints. A select group of reviewers were loaned an Apple Watch for a week. Overall, their consensus is that it's a fine device for tracking health and fitness, it's great for making digital payments, and it has excellent battery life.
Flexible Aluminum-Ion Battery Recharges in 60 Seconds
April 8, 2015
Researchers have been attempting to develop an aluminum-ion battery for decades -- and a Stanford team on Tuesday revealed its breakthrough that could lead to the adoption of fast-charging, long-lasting batteries in the near future. The turning point occurred when the researchers were trying out materials to serve as a cathode, and they began experimenting with graphite.
Gadget Ogling: Dashing Buttons, a Plug-In PC and a Smart Teakettle
April 7, 2015
Amazon Dash is a series of WiFi connected buttons you dot around your home for various products. Once you run out, hit the button, and Amazon will ship out more of what you need. Run out of things like trash bags, razors, detergent, diapers, paper towels, dog food or toilet paper, and Amazon can ship you more at the touch of a button. It's wonderfully simple.
Apple TV Won't Go Out on 4K Limb
April 6, 2015
The fourth generation of the Apple TV set-top box won't support 4K video when it arrives later this year, according to a Monday report on Buzzfeed News, which cited unnamed sources in a position to know. This is a bit of a surprise, given that the third-generation Apple TV incorporated the higher-resolution 1080p video standard and included HDMI-video outputs.
YouTube Fiddles With 4K
March 30, 2015
YouTube on Friday announced that it would begin supporting Ultra High Definition 4K video content. YouTube officially unveiled the news via TestTube, an incubator for new features concocted by its so-called mad scientists. YouTube developers have posted six experimental videos that can be streamed at up to 2160p -- essentially a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160.
Gadget Ogling: Shooting Flames, Flowing Time, and Locked-Up Temptation
March 28, 2015
Someway, somehow, it's apparently legal to own the XM42 flamethrower in the United States, unless you happen to live in California or Maryland. I can't fathom any circumstance under which a weapon -- let's not mince words here -- capable of shooting flames 25 feet should be available for anyone to pick up if they have $700 lying around to back Ion Productions' crowdfunding campaign.
Ford Tech Could Put an End to Speeding Tickets
March 26, 2015
Ford Motors on Tuesday unveiled a new technology that can scan traffic signs and automatically adjust a vehicle's speed accordingly. The Intelligent Speed Limiter was demonstrated in Germany, but it will be available worldwide in the newest edition of Ford's S-Max cars. The technology features a camera mounted on the windshield that works with a recognition system that can read roadside signs.
FAA's Sluggish Pace Frustrates Amazon's Drone Ambitions
March 25, 2015
For one brief shining moment, it appeared that Amazon and the FAA were in concert on outdoor drone testing in the U.S., but in testimony before a Senate subcommittee hearing held Tuesday, Amazon put paid to that notion. Although the FAA last week granted Amazon permission to conduct outdoor tests, the unmanned aircraft system covered by the authorization is no longer in use.
Over-the-Air Tinkering Keeps Tesla's Model S New
March 25, 2015
Tesla CEO Elon Musk last week said that the company's line of high-end electric cars will get some autonomous driving capabilities via an over-the-air software update this summer. The new features will let drivers give their vehicles control of certain tasks on major roads, possibly even highways. Other software updates for the Tesla S already are rolling out.
Magic Leap Allows a Peek Into Its Crazy-Cool AR World
March 24, 2015
Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz was scheduled to present last week at a TED talk in Vancouver, where he was expected to reveal the augmented reality tech his company has up its sleeve. Magic Leap pulled out a few days ahead of the presentation, but it left the tech world with a teaser trailer showing an AR game being played on a working prototype of its headset.

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Is Microsoft starting to get cool again?
Yes - thanks to Satya Nadella's vision.
Yes - but only in certain areas, like AI and VR.
Maybe - it doesn't seem as stodgy as before.
No - it never was.