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Apple Teases Consumers, Doubles Down With Devs
June 03, 2014
Apple managed to pull off a mean feat on Monday at its WorldWide Developers Conference. Without announcing a single hardware device, it teased consumers with dozens of updated features in iOS 8 and the next version of Mac OS X -- dubbed "Yosemite" -- then doubled-down with app developers by offering tons of new APIs, along with elements of deep integration between apps and devices.
Can Apple Do for Smart Homes What It Did for Smartphones?
June 02, 2014
Apple is rumored to be launching a smart home platform at its developer conference this week. The smart home market is actually in a place that's rather similar to where MP3 players were when Apple launched the iPod, and the iPhone is basically an iPod with phone capability. The smart home effort is in part about music and video distribution, and iPhones are commonly used as remote controls.
Microsoft Circles Back to Halo
May 17, 2014
Microsoft is returning to one of its biggest franchises with the announcement of a new Halo game, set to debut next year for the Xbox One. Accompanying the release of the title is a new TV show based on the series. The release of Microsoft's latest console, the Xbox One, provided the opportunity to rethink how to move the franchise forward while highlighting the console's assets.
Brave New IoT World
May 14, 2014
Wearable technology and other devices, objects and systems connected to the Internet will be fully pervasive in our society by 2025, according to a new report. The Internet of Things references the many objects in our everyday lives that share data over the Internet. While the trend already is taking effect, it will have a much more widespread impact on our lives in a decade's time.
Precision Cooking Fires Up the Crowd
May 14, 2014
A new crowdsourced Kickstarter project has blasted out of the gate and racked up more than $1,000,000 in funding -- its goal was a modest $100,000 -- with 34 days to go. The project? The Anova Precision Cooker. At first glance, the Anova Precision Cooker looks like a massive electronic thermometer with a plug-in cord. It's used for the sous-vide style of cooking.
The Role of the UI in Video Discovery
April 28, 2014
As the competition around video services has increased across all global markets, a common theme has arisen among the various players in the market: The interface matters. For video services, particularly those offered online, the user interface is the face of the service to the consumer. For this reason, the focus on the user interface for video services is higher than at any time in the past.
Microsoft's Makeover: Nadella Confirmed, Ballmer Vindicated
April 28, 2014
Last week, Microsoft delivered its quarterly report, and it was a big deal. It was CEO Satya Nadella's first real quarter and the Nokia merger was completed. This is just the beginning of the Microsoft makeover, but two things indicate that in the end, Ballmer finally did what was right for Microsoft in prepping the company for Nadella -- and that Nadella was the right choice to lead the firm.
Micro Brings 3D Printing to the Mainstream
April 09, 2014
The Micro is the latest consumer-targeted 3D printer to generate buzz after flying past its $50,000 Kickstarter goal. It took only 11 minutes for the printer to reach its goal. As of mid-day Wednesday, the Micro had brought in more than $1.8 million from more than 6,400 backers. The Micro is the world's "first truly consumer 3D printer," its makers claim, in part because of its affordable price.
Amazon Sets TV on Fire
April 02, 2014
Amazon on Wednesday put paid to the buzz circulating around its plans for a set-top box, announcing Amazon Fire TV at a New York event. The size of a CD box and just over half an inch thick, Fire TV takes on set-top boxes, the iPod, Apple TV and game consoles. It plugs into users' HDTVs to provide instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, Showtime and Amazon videos.
LG Sheds Light on Internet of Things
March 25, 2014
LG Electronics on Monday unveiled a light bulb designed to illuminate consumers lives in a more intelligent way. The Smart Lamp can be controlled by an iOS or Android device over Bluetooth or WiFi. The 10W LED bulb is 80 percent more energy-efficient than other incandescent bulbs, LG claimed, and will last for up to 10 years when used for around five hours per day.
Super Joey Makes Dish Hopper a TV Junkie's Delight
March 14, 2014
How do you make Dish Network's Hopper HD-DVR system even better? Easy -- you supersize it. Introduced earlier this year at CES, Super Joey has officially arrived, and for TV fans it more than lives up to its "super" moniker. Utilizing the same Hopper and Sling technology as previous versions, it now increases the recording power. The Joey units are basically room extenders to the Dish set-top box.
Qplay Puts a Personal Spin on Internet TV
February 26, 2014
TiVo cofounders Mike Ramsay and James Barton on Tuesday launched Qplay, a brand-new company that aims to bring a new level of personalization to Internet TV. Comprised of an iPad app, a TV adapter and a dedicated cloud service, Qplay is designed to let users curate Internet video from across the Web and create "Qs," the company's name for personalized and shareable streams of content.
Recognizing and Defending Against Creeping Violence
February 17, 2014
I spoke last week with a woman who built a house in Belize. Apparently it was burglarized several times. After she moved away, her husband mysteriously died there -- he had stayed to protect the house before they sold it. Then I got a visit from a friend who'd retired to Brazil but badly wants to come home. He recently had his gold chain ripped from his neck while he was on a private beach.
Intel Deal Could Help Verizon Expand Its TV Horizons
January 21, 2014
Verizon will be acquiring the assets of Intel Media, the developer of the OnCue Cloud TV platform, the companies announced Monday. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Verizon noted it hopes to keep in house most of the unit's 350-strong workforce and management team. These assets will allow Verizon to provide enhanced next-generation video services for its clients.
Google Buys Nest to Burrow Into Homes
January 14, 2014
Google on Monday announced that it has acquired Nest for $3.2 billion. The deal could help Google make significant inroads into the smart home market. Since its 2010 inception, Nest has been developing a line of smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as thermostats that adjust to household activity in order to increase energy efficiency.
Retiring in Sanctuary Belize: Renewed Hope
January 13, 2014
After my Belize retirement update appeared last week, a number of things happened. Most initially were rather painful, but eventually I was placed on the phone with Rod Kazazi, the project CFO who is based in the United States. Since we both had a financial background, he was able to address most of my concerns by informing me of solid programs that ensure the project will be completed.
More to See, Less to Hear at CES 2014
January 10, 2014
CES may have begun as the Consumer Electronics Show back in the late 1960s, but since then its producer, the Consumer Electronics Association, has changed the show's official name to International CES, in part to reflect its expansion beyond TVs, stereos and appliances. At 2014 International CES, now under way in Las Vegas, that shift couldn't be more clear.
Sony Banks On Life Space UX to Regain Faded Glory
January 08, 2014
"A more robust entertainment delivery system will be a hallmark of Sony as we move into the future," Sony CEO Kaz Hirai said Tuesday in a keynote at CES. "We will be offering customers a single source of entertainment that is less complicated, more cost-effective and more accessible than ever before." Sony will be taking bold steps with its future consumer electronics products, Hirai pledged.
With Graphite Electrodes, Heatworks Gets Water to Heat Itself
January 08, 2014
Traditional water heating equipment uses fuel as an energy source to heat a rod-like element in the water tank. The element then warms the water. If you've ever reheated a hot beverage by placing it in the microwave, you'll have an idea as to the alternatives. Microwave ovens heat liquids by moving molecules so that the molecules hit each other. This action creates heat.
Canon's PowerShot N100 Puts the Photographer in the Picture
January 06, 2014
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. That seems to be what Canon is saying with its announcement Monday of a new PowerShot camera model, the N100, which includes several features popular on smartphones. For example, the shooter has front and rear cameras. A picture-in-picture effect can be created with the image from the rear-facing camera being incorporated automatically into the main image.
LG Bets on WebOS for New Smart TV Line
January 06, 2014
LG Electronics has revived the webOS operating system for its latest line of smart TVs, the company announced on Monday. In fact, LG will use webOS on more than 70 percent of its smart TV lineup this year, the company said. "The beauty of webOS is that it provides so much freedom and is so simple to use," said In-kyu Lee, senior vice president and head of the company's TV division.
Plasma's Fade to Black
December 20, 2013
As the 2013 International CES approached a year ago, it was clear that a showdown between OLED and 4K -- or UltraHD -- was brewing in the TV display market. A year later, that showdown is fully under way, but with a notable twist. Specifically, Panasonic's announcement in late October that it would exit the plasma display panel market in the coming months took many by surprise.
myLifter Turns Smartphone Brains Into Bulk-Hoisting Brawn
December 17, 2013
Having been asked by a neighbor to help haul her kayak onto her SUV one weekend morning last summer and finding it quite difficult -- that's with two of us doing the lifting -- I saw myLifter as an obvious choice for this week's Crowdfunding Spotlight. myLifter is a smartphone-controlled mini-winch now looking for funding through a Kickstarter campaign.
The Maddeningly Painful, Pathetic Apple TV Experience
December 12, 2013
It's damn near 2014, and what's the most baffling computing experience we have? The Apple TV television experience. It's so disappointing. We get new so-called TV channels -- or little Applets -- that give us a kaleidoscopic glimpse into the content available from a particular broadcast network, but it's also locked down so we have to be a cable television subscriber to view it.

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