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When Computers Get a Right Brain
October 13, 2014
IBM is massively increasing its commitment to Watson, which was evident at last week's IBM Think Forum. IBM recognizes that if it can get a product that thinks first, then it can again take absolute control over the technology market, and every other company will be chasing it again. It is making some impressive headway, and the firm that succeeds at this will change the world.
Gadget Ogling: Strange Cameras, Fast Charges, Racing Robots
October 10, 2014
HTC is stepping so far out of the box with the RE Camera, it's almost as if there was never a box to begin with. Instead of making us stare through a viewfinder, this minimalist device almost demands a return to older forms of photography, while still taking advantage of modern technology. It looks like a cross between a periscope and an asthma inhaler, neither of which scream style.
HTC Breaks From Pack With Selfie Phone, Blind Cam
October 10, 2014
HTC on Thursday debuted two new products for photography fans. One offering, the RE, is an L-shaped camera that doesn't have a viewfinder. The other is a new smartphone, the Desire Eye, which boasts a 13-megapixel front-facing camera for high-resolution selfies. With RE, HTC appears to be targeting the action set that has created a lucrative market for point-of-view camera makers like GoPro.
Don't Look Now, but Ads Are Coming to Snapchat
October 09, 2014
Ads soon will arrive on Snapchat. However, they will not target individual users. Rather, they'll appear in a more generalized fashion within the service's Snapchat Stories feature among shared photos and videos, CEO Evan Spiegel said Wednesday. A new service for disappearing content and ads, called "Snapchat Discovery," reportedly also is in the works for launch this year.
Apple's 'Way Too Long' Invite Lands With a Thud
October 09, 2014
Apple's pretty much annual October new product media event usually is preceded by a cute invitation sent to journalists. The invitation typically includes a phrase or graphic element that provides a vague clue to the secret agenda of the event. Presumably, this is to drum up excitement and speculation, in addition to creating an ah-ha moment.
Look, Ma! No Hands... Crunch!
October 08, 2014
Those wonderful hands-free communications capabilities now available in automobiles may carry the promise of making driving safer, but they're not fulfilling it, according to two studies conducted jointly by the University of Utah and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. And forget about using your iPhone's Siri in the car, even hands-free -- it might endanger your life.
Highfive Offers Easy, Breezy Videoconferencing Handoffs
October 08, 2014
Highfive on Tuesday released a product priced to put high-quality videoconferencing in any room in any company. The product, also named "Highfive," is a $799 device that connects to a TV and the Internet and can create video conferences in HD with high-fidelity sound. What separates Highfive from other videoconferencing products is the seamless way it integrates mobile devices with conferences.
Bezos to Set The Washington Post on Fire
October 07, 2014
Jeff Bezos is planning to bring together two separate but equally important projects under his control: the Amazon Kindle Fire and The Washington Post. The Amazon CEO bought the paper slightly more than a year ago as a personal investment. Now the twain shall meet in Project Rainbow, a pilot project that has been under way at the Post for the past few months, according to reports.
GT Files for Chap 11 After Apple's Sapphire Interest Wanes
October 07, 2014
GT Advanced Technologies and seven of its direct and indirect subsidiaries on Monday announced they had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. GT, which makes sapphire components used in the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, expects the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Hampshire to authorize the company to conduct business as usual while it attempts to resolve its current financial issues.
Dell OEM: The Magic Is in the Mystery
October 06, 2014
I had a chance last week to talk with the most secretive group inside Dell. They are kind of like the Q Division in the James Bond movies. These folks are pretty much unique in the industry, in that they build PCs and servers that are highly customized for firms that then place them into unusual solutions. This is the kind of machine that might go into a unique military vehicle.
Next Fashion Trend: Phabulous Phony Pockets?
October 04, 2014
"Is that a phablet in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" That may be the modern-day equivalent of the famous quip, thanks to the arrival of Apple's 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. With its increased size and flexibility, the device not only has kicked off the "Bendgate" scandal, but also may be helping to start a new fashion trend. Several major brands have admitted they're rethinking pockets.
Evernote Aims to Bring All the Loose Bits Together
October 03, 2014
Evernote CEO Phil Libin on Thursday announced major expansions of the company's note-taking application. The new features are designed to build Evernote's business presence and keep users connected to its services. Some of the best business-oriented and social media features will roll out as premium buy-ins. Other product tweaks will give users more efficient note-taking and organizational tools.
Gadget Ogling: Jump Starts, Wearable Drones, Smarter Yoga and Safer Food
October 03, 2014
Welcome, dear readers, to a new installment of Gadget Dreams and Nightmares. On the docket this time around are a motivational wearable device, a smart yoga mat, a golfer-focused smartwatch, a drone with a difference, and a way to stop food from going bad. As always, these aren't reviews -- the ratings denote only my interest in actually using them.
The One Apple Watch Thing That Really Matters
October 03, 2014
While the cellphone nearly killed the wristwatch, the Apple Watch gizmo actually will revive it. In fact, I think the attention that the Apple Watch will bring to our wrists will spark sales of traditional watches. Why? I believe there is a latent desire to have a wristwatch -- to have the convenience of the time on your wrist without the need to pull out your smartphone.
How Gamification Will Rise From the Trough of Disillusionment
October 02, 2014
Gartner's Hype Cycle Report, which looks at new technologies as they make their way through the inevitable gauntlet of media hype, is now in its 20th year. The various stages are aptly named, and many tech observers are painfully familiar with the early ones. The hype cycle starts with innovation, rapidly moves into the peak of inflated expectation, and then sinks in the trough of disillusionment.
Apple Shrinks Market for Stolen iPhones
October 02, 2014
Apple on Thursday closed a gap in its efforts to combat mobile device theft with the announcement of a service for checking the Activation Lock status of its iPhone, iPad and iPod product lines. The Find My iPhone Activation Lock requires that an owner's Apple ID and passcode be entered into an iOS device before Find My iPhone can be turned off or the device can be erased or reactivated.
BYOD Privacy: Do Employees Have Rights?
October 02, 2014
Using personal devices to conduct business has become commonplace, whether employers require it or employees voluntary do so. The use of personal devices creates a privacy challenge. Employers want access to the devices, and employees want to protect their personal data contained on them. The term "devices" itself is deceiving. Many consider employee-owned devices to be smartphones and tablets.
Microsoft Earns Forgiveness With Windows 10
October 01, 2014
Microsoft on Tuesday pulled back the veil on the successor to Windows 8 -- Windows 10. Windows 10 is a combination of the best elements of the popular Windows 7 OS, along with some of the touchscreen-friendly features and functionality of Windows 8. Microsoft also kicked off its largest-ever open collaborative development effort with the new Windows Insider Program.
Google's Augmented Reality 'Ingress' Gives Players New Creative Outlets
October 01, 2014
Google's Niantic Labs last week announced a new Missions feature that can incorporate user-generated content in its Ingress augmented reality game. Now available to Android users, Missions challenges players to visit a series of places, complete a game action such as hacking or capturing a portal, or use clues to solve a puzzle in order to advance, said Niantic Labs head John Hanke.
Tech Advances Will Give Aging Baby Boomers More Independence
October 01, 2014
The U.S. is facing a retirement wave; 76 million Baby Boomers are beginning to hit the 65-year-old mark. By 2025, the number of people between 65 and 85 will account for 16.6 percent of the population. In the U.S., the elderly prefer aging in their own home, but it can be risky. Connectivity and technology advances are enabling more sophisticated devices and tools to help consumers and caretakers.
How to Bring Out the Best of iOS 8's Photography and Sharing Tricks
October 01, 2014
If you haven't yet taken the iOS 8 plunge, you may not know what you're missing. True, iOS 8 has the familiar iOS 7 look and feel, but it's chock full of both new and improved features and functionality. And it's free. Some of the new features evoke a sigh of relief -- we've been waiting for these, Apple. Others are downright pleasantly surprising and altogether cool.
How to Turbocharge Your iOS 8 Web-Surfing Experience
September 30, 2014
Think iOS 8 is just an expanded version of iOS 7? Take a closer look, and you might think again. For owners of iPhone models from the 4s to the 6 Plus, Apple has introduced not only improvements to familiar features but some altogether new -- and cool -- functionality. Here's your guide to the most useful and welcome iOS 8 changes for accessing the mobile Web.
Facebook Launches Atlas to Shoulder the Whole Digital-Advertising World
September 29, 2014
Facebook on Monday announced Atlas, a rebuilt ad platform that gives marketers access to its vast troves of user data and helps them direct highly targeted ads across the Web. "Atlas delivers people-based marketing, helping marketers reach real people across devices, platforms and publishers," explained Erik Johnson, head of the new Facebook service.
How to Tap Into iOS 8's Best New Communication Features
September 29, 2014
Apple's iOS 8 is a free upgrade for iPhone owners who have an iPhone 4s up to the new behemoth iPhone 6 Plus. iOS 8 looks a lot like iOS 7, but when you begin tapping down into it, there are dozens of new features and tweaks. Most everyone can find a few new features to make their iPhones better than ever. Some are handy, some have "finally" arrived, and some are just plain cool.

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