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Digital Clone: You Won't Be Able to Live Without One
September 01, 2014
A very interesting book just hit the market. Written by Martine Rothblatt -- apparently she is America's top paid female CEO -- its title is Virtually Human: The Promise -- and the Peril -- of Digital Immortality. The subject is digital clones, and Rothblatt goes into depth about what they are, when they are coming, and the likelihood they eventually will have equal human rights.
How to Make a Drone Delivery: Google's Winging It
August 29, 2014
Google on Thursday introduced Project Wing, a drone-based delivery project it has been working on quietly for the past two years. Members of the Google[x] team - aka "Moonshots" -- recently held field tests of the technology in Australia. They were able use drones to deliver a first aid kit, candy bars, dog treats and water to a couple of Australian farmers.
Gadget Ogling: Sapphire Phones, Waterproof Reads, Connected Hats and a Runner's Salvation
August 29, 2014
A current trend among smartphone makers is to thrust a sapphire screen onto the face. Among the 17 million rumors regarding the next iPhone is that it will feature such a display -- the camera and Touch ID components already feature sapphire. Until Apple reveals the truth about its next smartphone, other manufacturers, like Huawei, are jostling for sapphire-embossed market share.
Apple's About to Kick Mobile Payments Into High Gear
August 29, 2014
Rumor has it that when Apple reveals its much-hyped iPhone 6 on Sept. 9, one of the features it will be trumpeting -- finally -- is near field communication. The NFC tech will enable mobile payments, Wired reported, citing sources "familiar with the matter." Wow. If this is true, it could be the catalyst that propels mobile payments into the mainstream.
Samsung, LG Unveil Smartwatches With Sex Appeal
August 28, 2014
Samsung and LG both announced brand-new smartwatches on Wednesday in the run-up to next week's IFA 2014 consumer electronics trade show in Berlin. Featuring a sleek, curved Super AMOLED display along with 3G, Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, the Samsung Gear S runs Tizen and allows users to make and receive phone calls. It has customizable screen options and changeable straps.
Ralph Lauren Takes a Swing at Fitness Tech
August 28, 2014
Ralph Lauren this week merged the tech and fashion worlds with a new smart Polo shirt. Knitted into the Polo Tech shirt's core are sensors that read biological and physiological information. The company partnered with Msignal to develop a "black box" that includes an accelerometer and gyroscope, which capture movement and direction. Data is captured and sent to the cloud for analysis.
Hacker Attacks on Healthcare Providers Jump 600 Percent
August 28, 2014
The recent data breach at Community Health Systems, in which Chinese hackers stole the personal information of 4.3 million patients, was another sign of a disturbing trend: Healthcare providers are coming under cyberattack at an alarming rate. "We've seen a 600 percent increase in attacks on the healthcare sector in the last 10 months," said Carl Leonard, senior manager at Websense Security Labs.
Robo Brain Teaches a Robot to Fish
August 28, 2014
Researchers are building Robo Brain, a large-scale computational system that collates information from the Internet, from computer simulations, and from real-life robot trials -- and learns from it. That knowledge base will be used to drive prototypes for robotics research, household robots and self-driving cars. The researchers have begun downloading an assortment of images and documents.
Kano's Alejandro Simon: If This, Then Do That
August 27, 2014
Imagine a world where playing Pong and Minecraft gives people the power to program their computers. That world is Kano. A crowdfunded startup, it took the idea behind Lego to teach computer programming by playing first-generation computer games. Kano launched on Kickstarter in November 2013. More than 13,000 people from some 50 countries raised $1.5 million in 30 days.
A Big Honking iPad Could Roll Right Over Apple's Speed Bump
August 27, 2014
While the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is working to establish itself as the perfect tweener device between tablet and laptop, one hot rumor suggests that Apple's answer for more working space on an iPad will come in the form of a bigger screen -- 12.9 inches of touch-sensitive glory. The rumor comes from Bloomberg, which vaguely cited "people with knowledge of the matter."
Instagram Hyperlapse Sparks Time-Lapse Video Craze
August 27, 2014
Instagram has released Hyperlapse, a free iOS app that takes the jitters out of time-lapse video. Just two weeks ago, Microsoft demonstrated a similar technology that bears the same name. The Instagram app "is the most impressive effect to hit smartphone video in recent memory," said Ross Rubin, principal analyst with Reticle Research. An Android version is not yet available.
California Lays Down the Kill-Switch Law
August 27, 2014
Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed into law a bill requiring that anti-theft measures be incorporated into all smartphones sold within California. It doesn't specify the particular technologies used to enable that capability, but it does require that the feature, also known as a "kill switch," give smartphone users the ability to remotely disable their devices in the event they're lost or stolen.
Scientists Zap Diamond With Laser to Record Quantum Behavior
August 27, 2014
Researchers recently developed a technique to record the quantum mechanical behavior of one electron in a nanoscale defect in diamond. The team used ultra-fast pulses of laser light both to control the defect's entire quantum state and to observe how the state of one electron in the defect changes over time. "This experiment uses a 'trapped' electron," said team leader David Awschalom.
Google Gives Glass a Good Polish
August 26, 2014
An update to the software that runs Glass gives users of Google's wearable computing device more control over their interactions with contacts. The latest version of the software -- also known as version XE20.1 -- adds the flexibility to choose how to reach out to a contact after selecting the person from the contacts list. Users now can swipe between Hangouts, email or SMS.
Gadget Ogling: A New Nook, a Good (M8), a Lock With No Key - and Music, Music, Music
August 26, 2014
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook conflates lots of different things: It's an Android tablet designed for reading, made by Samsung for Barnes & Noble. That might seem confusing, and I'd agree. It's essentially a branded version of the Galaxy Tab 4 with an e-commerce focus. Specifically, there's a Barnes & Noble Newsstand app, with games, movies and books on offer.
NSA Shares Its Data Wealth
August 26, 2014
The United States National Security Agency secretly shares the communications data it has amassed over the years with nearly 24 U.S. government agencies using a search engine resembling Google Search, according to documents released by Edward Snowden. That's more than 850 billion records of phone calls, emails, cellphone locations and Internet chats.
Amazon Pulls a Twitch on Google
August 25, 2014
Amazon has inked a deal to acquire Twitch Interactive, a real-time video platform for gamers. Prior to the disclosure, rumors had been building that it was on track to snatch Twitch from Google, which reportedly had been very close to buying it. The pending acquisition was rumored to be for upwards of $1 billion. However, Amazon said it was buying the company for $970 million cash.
Google Autocomplete's Brushes With Libel
August 25, 2014
Can an automated Google feature that ostensibly helps users with a search be a basis for libel? Courts in Germany, Italy and Hong Kong have had to field that question. Google's position is that there is no human intervention, and that its algorithm is based merely on what others have searched for, or strings of words in indexed pages. Autocomplete predictions are just possible search terms.
Comcast Really Does Hate Its Customers
August 25, 2014
We were treated to the customer support call from hell earlier this month when a couple of well-connected bloggers taped their call to Comcast attempting to disconnect from the service and posted it online. Apparently there has been a sequel. The clear lesson -- particularly from the second call -- is that if you talk to Comcast support you need to record the call if you don't want to get screwed.
'iWatch' Could Be Late for a Very Important Date
August 22, 2014
Apple may be forced to postpone the launch of the hotly anticipated "iWatch" or health band, perhaps pushing it back to 2015. It apparently is facing wide-ranging production issues involving components, system design, manufacturing, and integration between hardware and software. Holy macaroni. Of course, it should be noted that Apple has never said that it would deliver anything of the sort.
Hack Day Produces Oculix, a Mind-Blowing Trip Through the Netflix Catalog
August 21, 2014
A team of Netflix programmers merged the company's videos with the virtual reality capability offered by the Oculus Rift headset as a fun project on Netflix Hack Day. The Oculix media app lets users browse a floating 3D Netflix video catalog using head turning movements and hand gestures. Once a selection is made, the user can watch the video in a VR theater setting.
Close Your Eyes and Rest Easy - Blink Is Watching the House
August 21, 2014
One of the most troubling issues with home security and remote-monitoring products is the complexity and cost to set them up. Blink, a new Kickstarter project, is different. It promises to be astoundingly easy, and it's inexpensive, too. Backers can get a simple remote motion detection and video camera unit for just $69 -- or two for $119. Better yet, no subscription service is required.

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