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GADGET DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES
Gadget Ogling: Same Old Apple
Friday - October 6, 2017
iphone-8-and-8-plus
Watching Apple's product announcement showcase is a bit like celebrating New Year's. People from all over the world are drawn to this annual event with the promise of something new and exciting, a vision of tomorrow and untold promise. Yet the more it comes around, the more disappointed we are. That promised kiss from a stranger at midnight is a dud. Our best intentions fall by the wayside. [More...]

Thursday - October 5, 2017
made-by-google
Google on Wednesday launched a bevy of new products into its growing hardware and software ecosystem at its Made by Google event. Many of the new devices are infused with artificial intelligence capabilities. "Since last year and since Google I/O, we've been working hard, continuing our shift from a mobile-first to an AI-first world," Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the gathering. [More...]

Wednesday - October 4, 2017
roku-ultra
Roku has introduced five new streaming media players designed to provide viewers with new and improved ways to connect to content. The five players range in price from $29.99 to $99.99, and offer a variety of features and functionality. The introductory-level Roku Express targets new cord cutters who want to stream TV content, or those who want to extend their Roku experience throughout the house. [More...]

Tuesday - October 3, 2017
A refresh of Google's critically acclaimed Pixel smartphones is expected Wednesday when the company holds its annual product launch event at the SFJAZZ center in San Francisco. Although their features won't be known officially until Google raises the curtain on the phones at the event, leaks -- including photos -- have given the public a good idea of what's to come. [More...]

Tuesday - October 3, 2017
ios-11
Blowback over Apple's iOS 11 upgrade has been increasing, despite an update that was supposed to solve battery drainage issues and a large number of other glitches but apparently has not done the job. Apple officially launched iOS 11 on September 19, but problems quickly became apparent, prompting the company to roll out iOS 11.0.1 just a week later. [More...]

Monday - October 2, 2017
Nvidia went to China last week and made a series of interesting announcements having to do with smart cities and autonomous cars. IBM made an announcement on advancements in tying the Weather Channel to its Watson artificial intelligence engine, and improvements in targeted marketing. We also found out about Oculus' Fall in Love VR project which is kind of like the The Bachelor. [More...]

Friday - September 29, 2017
nvidia-shield-tv
Nvidia on Thursday announced that its Shield TV now includes Google Assistant as part of its Shield Experience Upgrade 6.0 update. The update also lets the Shield device work as a SmartThings Hub when paired with a SmartThinks Link. The SmartThings Link, which can be used to connect Shield TV as a SmartThings Hub, will be released in the coming months with a promotional launch price of $14.99. [More...]

Thursday - September 28, 2017
twitter-tweets
Twitter has announced a limited test to double the maximum tweet size to 280 characters. Twitter has been struggling to boost user engagement, and its tweet character limitation has been the subject of a longstanding debate among customers and company insiders. One reason for the possible change is to correct for the information imbalance between Asian and western language characters. [More...]

Wednesday - September 27, 2017
quantum-computing
Microsoft has been working on a language for a computer that doesn't exist. The company unveiled the language -- as yet unnamed -- at its Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida. Part of its Visual Studio product, it will run on a quantum simulator and quantum computer. "Quantum computing is the next phase in computing," said Jack E. Gold, principal analyst at J.Gold Associates. [More...]

Monday - September 25, 2017
xbox-one-x
Microsoft has learned a lot of very hard lessons over the last couple of decades, and it continues to surprise and annoy me that other firms seem to have the suicidal tendency to learn the same lessons the hard way. It is far better and cheaper to avoid the mistakes of others, but firms like Apple, Google and, most recently, Sony seem to want to experience past Microsoft disasters first hand. [More...]

Saturday - September 23, 2017
marea-transatlantic-internet-cable
Microsoft on Friday announced completion of the Marea undersea cable, which stretches 4,400 miles between Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Bilbao, Spain. A joint project of Microsoft, Facebook and global telecommunication infrastructure company Telxius, the cable lies more than 17,000 feet below the ocean's surface. It is the first cable to link Virginia and Spain. [More...]

Thursday - September 21, 2017
ford-hololens
Ford Motor Company on Thursday unveiled details about its use of Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality technology in the automotive design process. Ford's design teams have swapped out their clay-sculpting tools -- a staple of the automotive world since the 1930s, when Harley Earl introduced them at General Motors -- for mixed reality headsets and visualization software. [More...]

Wednesday - September 20, 2017
iphone-8-plus-iphone-8
Reviews of Apple's new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have been laudatory. However, the reviewers can't seem to get their minds off the jewel of the Apple universe, the iPhone X. Both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are "awesome" and better than last year's models -- but iPhone shoppers who want to be part of the future will save their money and buy an iPhone X later in the year, suggested reviewer David Pierce. [More...]

Tuesday - September 19, 2017
dvd-blu-ray-discs
As home video viewing patterns continue to evolve, one common prediction is that packaged media is on its last legs. Streaming services have been gaining market share. In fact, streaming media sales eclipsed sales of DVDs and Blu-ray discs for the first time in Q4 2016 -- with discs accounting for $5.4 billion in annual U.S. sales compared to the $6.2 billion haul for SVOD providers. [More...]

Monday - September 18, 2017
iphone8-plus-x
It fascinates me that succession from a successful CEO to the chosen successor almost always goes badly. This phenomenon isn't limited to the CEO level -- I've seen highly successful CMOs followed by handpicked successors who also seem to have no clue as to why their predecessor did so well. I think it comes down to a lack of mentoring combined with misconceptions. [More...]

Saturday - September 16, 2017
remarkable-paper-tablet
reMarkable on Monday will begin shipping what might best be described as an "untablet" -- a device that is, essentially, an electronic piece of paper. The company is proud of its paper tablet's simplicity, boasting that no other tablet has fewer functionalities. reMarkable users cannot install apps, watch videos or take photos. What they can do is read, write and sketch on a paper-like surface. [More...]

Thursday - September 14, 2017
iphone-x-face-id
When Apple unveiled its iPhone X on Tuesday, officials highlighted the device's advanced functionality, including what truly could be a game changing feature, its facial recognition technology. The new handset allows users to unlock it simply by looking at it. The 10th anniversary edition of Apple's flagship mobile device is the first Apple handset to utilize Face ID. [More...]

Wednesday - September 13, 2017
iphone-x
Apple on Tuesday raised the curtain on its next-generation iPhone X, and it so far has been greeted with praise -- though tentative -- from early hands-on reviewers. For the most part, they gave the X kudos for design and build, but reserved their unequivocal endorsements until they could spend more time with the phone. A sore point with many reviewers was the mobile's price. [More...]

Tuesday - September 12, 2017
iPhone X
Apple has made its long-awaited iPhone splash, accompanied by announcements of major upgrades to Apple Watch and Apple TV. The company launched two new generations of mobile phones -- iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and iPhone X -- with enhancements in photography and device security in all models. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are built for durability with a new glass back design. [More...]

Tuesday - September 12, 2017
Russian President Vladimir Putin last week poked the nest of anxieties over the use of artificial intelligence to gain power in a video address to students at 16,000 selected schools. "Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia but for all humankind," he said. "Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world." [More...]

Monday - September 11, 2017
fake-news
Back when the Internet first came to be, there was the belief that the result would be more facts, less censorship, more intelligent discourse and less successful manipulation. Being able to converse with each other would lead people to be more honest, and our world increasingly would resemble a utopian ideal of peace and prosperity. Now, decades later, "fake news" has proliferated. [More...]

Saturday - September 9, 2017
samsung-galaxy-note8
In 2016, Samsung's smartphone division wasn't so much on the rocks as dangling by a single fingernail, millimeters from plunging into a deep, dark chasm. The Galaxy Note7 had a terrible habit of exploding or catching fire. Not exactly the best look considering people prefer not to be injured while checking Instagram. The Galaxy Note8 is free of those combustible foibles, we've been assured. [More...]

Friday - September 8, 2017
Consumer credit reporting agency Equifax suffered a major criminal data breach that exposed personal information of as many as 143 million consumers in the U.S. between mid-May and July of this year. The attack exposed a range of sensitive personal data, including names, addresses, Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, and in some cases driver's license numbers, Equifax said. [More...]

Thursday - September 7, 2017
cyberattack
The hacker group known as "Dragonfly" is behind sophisticated wave of recent cyberattacks on the energy sectors of Europe and North America, Symantec reported. The attacks could provide the group with the means to severely disrupt energy operations on both continents. Dragonfly launched a simililar campaign from 2011 to 2014, but it entered a quiet period in 2014 after its activities were exposed. [More...]

Wednesday - September 6, 2017
pixelmator-pro-whirlwind
Pixelmator on Tuesday unveiled Pixelmator Pro 1.0 Whirlwind, a high-powered version of its popular photo editing application for macOS. Whirlwind will be available this fall. The app's interface has gotten an overhaul -- it's now in a single window with no floating toolbars -- and it boasts new nondestructive, GPU-powered image editing tools and enhanced machine-learning features. [More...]

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