SiliconANGLE Extracting the signal from the noise. Fri, 19 Dec 2014 03:51:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Uber suspends Portland operations as it tries to play nice with city lawmakers Fri, 19 Dec 2014 03:49:08 +0000 Continue reading ]]> uberUber Inc. has suspended its service in Portland, Oregon for three months as part of a deal with city lawmakers to eventually make the service legal.

Portland sued Uber December 8th after the ridesharing operator launched in the city the week before. In the suit the city claimed that Uber was operating in violation of the City of Portland’s Private for Hire Transportation Regulations and Administrative Rule.

As part of the deal regulators have promised to work to revise rules around taxis that currently prohibit ridesharing apps. Of note is that Uber has stated that they would resume operations after three months whether or not new regulations have been passed.

The city council plans to launch a task January 14th with policy recommendations to be delivered April 9th, some three weeks after the deal with Uber ends.

“I believe that we should find a way for Uber to operate legally here,” Mayor Charlie Hales told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s a valid part of the new sharing economy that Portland embraces.”

Uber said in a statement that the company “is dedicated to curating and continuing a valuable and constructive relationship with Portland’s lawmakers, working to create a regulatory framework that works for everyone, not just us. Not just the taxi cabs. Not just the city officials. Everyone.”

“We’re eager to work with City and State leaders to bring the impact of the Uber platform to Portland and cut down on drunk driving, serve underserved communities, increase transit to small business and help drive the local economy.”

Uber claims that more than 10,000 rides have been booked in Portland since the service launched in the city, with some 500 new drivers signing up to provide service.

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Last Minute Bitcoin Enthusiast Gift Guide for 2014 Thu, 18 Dec 2014 19:01:37 +0000 Continue reading ]]> bitcoin-christmas-presentIt’s been a banner year for bitcoin when it comes to new merchants adopting it as a digital currency, so it’s not difficult to figure out what to buy someone with bitcoins for the holiday, but what do you buy someone who is into Bitcoin for the holiday?

Here’s a list of products that are bitcoin-related or fit well into the community. Some of them are practical (but expensive), some of them are impractical (and very expensive), and others are cheap but impractical but hit that particular note in the lives of many Bitcoiners.

Trezor Bitcoin hardware wallet

Coming in at $119 USD, the TREZOR: The Bitcoin Safe is an interesting product that has been getting a lot of traction in the Bitcoin community. Currently there are two primary ways for people to store bitcoins: either locally in an encrypted volume (or perhaps on a USB stick) or keep them in a web wallet such as, Coinbase, or Circle.

TREZOR operations on a third notion: a specialized piece of hardware designed to securely store the private keys for bitcoins so that they may be transacted safely with less risk of them being pilfered.

The device is Windows, OS X, and Linux friendly, which means no matter what operating system your gift receiver is using she will be able to connect it up and protect her bitcoins.

Bitcoin books

Bitcoin has been around since 2009, but it only recently pierced the public consciousness and has started seeing a staggering amount of merchant adoption. The result: 2014 is the year of the Bitcoin book. Everyone has been rushing to the presses to talk about the new phenomenon and give their opinion. Does your gift receiver like to read?

Mastering Bitcoin from O’Reilly written by Andreas M. Antonopoulos—this one is from a preeminent publisher for computer science books and is written by someone who could be called one of the de facto Bitcoin luminaries and educators. Any Bitcoin enthusiast would enjoy owning this book.

The Book of Satoshi: The Collected Writings of Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto by Phil Champagne—being the mysterious Batman of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto is a sort of cryptocelebrity because of his (or her, or their) involvement in the early days of Bitcoin.

The NetNinja

Recently discovered by SiliconAnglebitcoin-ninja-logo, this little device that connects to TOR or a private VPN (Virtual Private Networking) service to anonymize or encrypt traffic could be an excellent gift for a Bitcoin enthusiast.

Many Bitcoiners have approached the concept of digital money not just because it’s an interesting way to pay for services, but because it provides a particular sense of security. As a result, a number of Bitcoin enthusiasts are also aware of their own personal privacy and try to stay ahead of it when logging onto the net.

For a while now, there has not been many good products on the market that enhance the ease of use of connecting to a VPN. NetNinja aims to do exactly that by providing a small device that plugs directly into the network and then takes the rest from there.

At a price of $198.96, though, it’s one of those heftier Yule gifts—but it would certainly fit in one of those oversized stockings.

Gyft that keeps on giving

Sometimes you just can’t figure out what to get someone and that’s what gift cards are for. When Bitcoin is involved: that’s what Gyft is for.

Gyft is a service that essentially digitizes gift cards, allowing you to buy, send, and redeem digital gift cards with virtually any smartphone or mobile device. The bonus: they also take bitcoins.

If you’re struggling to come up with the proper book, electronics device or latte with a bitcoin symbol on it to give to your bitcoin enthusiast giftee, then a gift card from Gyft might just do the trick. Just point out that you used bitcoins to buy it and that’ll most likely make their day.

Bitcoin mining with BitCrane or Block Erupter

The early years of Bitcoin were filled with interest in Bitcoin mining—the process of verifying transactions on the network that produces rewards for participants in the form of BTC—but now much of the mining circuit is in the hands of the strongly enthusiastic. Mining is still a bit mystifying, so it’s not a good gift for someone just getting into Bitcoin and equipment devalues fast, but it’s still an idea.

Normally, nobody should be buying mining equipment as a gift. These are included here either because of their sheer novelty or (in the case of the Erupters) potentially future nostalgia.

If you’ve got a significant amount of money to burn on a gift for a Bitcoin enthusiast there’s always BitCrane. Electronics retailer Newegg ran a gift guide in October about this product that is a one-stop-shop for Bitcoin mining.

The BitCrane T-110 Bitcoin Mining System runs at $648.00 USD on Newegg and features 1.1 TH/s with 1100W power consumption. It’s about the size of a standard PC tower, has liquid cooling, and runs quietly. It also has a fairly simple-to-use UI designed to get the mining software and running portion out of the way.

Erupter USB 330MH/s Sapphire Miner on

Erupter USB 330MH/s Sapphire Miner on

If what you’re looking for, however, is the novelty of providing someone with mining equipment you could go with buying them a Block Erupter. These tiny, USB-based Bitcoin miners can be hooked into any computer that can support mining software and run for a tiny 300 MH/s. They’re not going to net anyone a great deal of bitcoins as rewards, but then again for Christmas often it’s the thought that counts.

Due to the low mining power making these almost obsolete, you can buy a set for $18.85 on

Etsy: Need a shirt or a mug?

It’s hard to go wrong with the small stuff. Bitcoin, just like every other modern meme, has a logo, a theme, and an aesthetic framework—anyone into Bitcoin will instantly recognize the B with the prongs sticking off it, or the orange field with the tilted BTC symbol. So there’s always looking down the list of Bitcoin-branded products made by smaller distributors.

For these needs there’s

It’s hard to go wrong with the standard Bitcoin T-shirt in white with orange or in black with a white emblem. Want to display Bitcoin love on a wall, or store window? There’s this awesome Bitcoin logo wooden sign. Bitcoin sew-on patch for that favorite vest; and Bitcoin cufflinks for the shirt.

How about Bitcoin emblazoned six-sided dice?

Sleepy? Get a Bitcoin pillow.

When in doubt: Give them bitcoins

bitcoin-hand-dropSure, giving someone money as a Yule gift is considered something of a faux pas but this article is about gift giving to someone who enjoys the entire idea of virtual currency. So giving them some as a gift could make for a brilliant sort of validation of their enthusiasm.

Plus, there are some really interesting ways to gift bitcoins, including via paper wallets.

Giving a gift of bitcoins using a paper wallet sends the message that you spent time and care to deliver the bitcoins, and for the crafty gift-giver, it allows you to put that personal touch on the gift that may not be present for something simply bought online.

That also means purchasing some bitcoins yourself. To do this you’ll want to brush up with Getting Started With Bitcoin. Depending on your level of tech savvy you will then likely end up at a wallet service that sells BTC such as Coinbase or Circle.

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Report: Big Data only now heading toward inflection point Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:26:44 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Stock-Market-ChartBusiness and technology leaders have never been more keen to exploit new sources of information, but most organizations are not yet backing that up with action, according to a recent survey of nearly 400 decision-makers published by Dell. The report sheds new light on the adoption of analytics highlighting that the trend is still very in its early stages.

Only half of mid-market companies and large enterprises have invested in a modern data processing solutions such as predictive modeling software or statistical applications, with fewer still making active use of the technology today. The study found that just a fifth of organizations with advanced analytics commitments are tapping into new information streams, a percentage that shrinks even further compared to the entire respondent pool.

Lack of awareness and general inertia stand among the the biggest obstacles to the adoption of data services. Barely more than half of the participants in the survey said that analytics is not a fad, while a meager 41 percent disagreed with the statement that the technology doesn’t generate enough return on investment to merit attention, a sentiment that Wikibon has discovered is not entirely unjustified.

But although organizations are cautious in jumping on the analytics bandwagon, decision-makers have grown much more aware of the benefits in recent years. Dell highlights in its report that practically all of the respondents said they believe the trend is of strategic importance to their organizations, while 23 percent went as far as calling it the “essence” of their long-term vision.

Slightly more, 28 percent, said their organizations have made substantial investments in analytics relative to company size while the majority of participants indicated at least some level of commitment. Specifically, the survey found that two-thirds of mid-market firms have set aside over $100,000 for data crunching initiatives and a similar proportion of enterprises are spending more than $500,000 on theirs. But despite the large sums committed to analytics, most projects have not yet taken off.

Only five percent of respondents believe that their companies are already making the most out of their data, although that figure varies greatly by segment. Banks topped the chart, with 46 percent of the respondents from the industry rating the maturity of their initiatives high or highest, while financial departments were found to play a similarity leading role in driving analytics adoption. Nearly half of all the organizations surveyed in the study are applying the technology to gain a better understanding of the bottom line.

For all the buzz surrounding Big Data, it’s apparent that the industry has only reached the tip of the information iceberg, which leaves an opening for Dell to secure a seat in the game of musical chairs shaping tomorrow’s vendor landscape. The best is clearly yet to come in enterprise analytics.

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2014 coffee holiday gift guide: 5 high-tech gadgets for coffee lovers Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:00:12 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Welcome to the eleventh installment of SiliconANGLE Media’s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide series. In this series of gift guides, we’ve suggested some of the best high-tech gift ideas for your friends and loved ones this holiday season. So far we’ve given you techie gift ideas for golfers, tennis players, dog lovers, new parents, runners, better sleep, skiers, the geeks in your life, the frequent travelers, and the campers. In this gift guide, we give you five techie gadgets without which coffee lovers couldn’t make it through the day.2014 SiliconANGLE Holiday Gift Guide for Coffee Lovers graphic









See our golfers gift guide here.

See our tennis gift guide here.

See our dog lovers gift guide here.

See our new parents/new baby gift guide here.

See our runners gift guide here.

See our better sleep gift guide here.

See our skiers gift guide here.

See our gift guide for the geeks in your life here.

See our frequent travelers gift guide here.

See our campers gift guide here.


1. Mr. Coffee Smart Coffeemaker enabled by WeMo

Belkin International, Inc.

Belkin International, Inc.

Product Name: Mr. Coffee Smart Coffeemaker enabled by WeMo

Manufacturer: Belkin International, Inc.

Product Description: The Mr. Coffee Smart Coffeemaker enabled by WeMo lets you schedule, monitor and modify your brew from anywhere. Use your smart device and the free WeMo app to configure many weeks’ worth of brew times at once. You can remotely adjust brew times or turn off the coffeemaker. The app alerts you when you need to change the filter or empty the carafe. The double-wall, vacuum-insulated, stainless-steel thermal carafe keeps the flavor fresh and the coffee hot for hours. The coffeemaker is compatible with Apple (iOS 7.0 and higher) and Android (4.0 and higher) devices.

MSRP: $149.99

Available Colors: Black/Chrome

Purchase at: Amazon, Belkin, Kohls, Mr. Coffee

Watch product ad here (0:46):




2. Impress Coffee Brewer

Image Source: Gamila Company

Image Source: Gamila Company
















Product Name: Impress Coffee Brewer

Manufacturer: Gamily Company

Product Description: The Impress Coffee Brewer was introduced on Kickstarter and successfully reached its goal within the first week of the campaign. It is a one-cup-at-a-time gourmet coffee maker and to-go cup that brews full-bodied coffee and stays hot forever without getting bitter. You can make a cup of French press in three minutes. The travel mug has an integrated plunger and reverse-flow filter that keeps the grind separated from the coffee after you press it down. Brewing 13 ounces, the stainless steel, double-walled outer cup stays cool to the touch, insulated by the air between itself and the inner cup that doubles as the filter.

MSRP: $29.95

Available Colors: Chrome

Purchase at: Amazon, Designbox

Watch product ad here (1:01):




3. BUNN trifecta MB coffee maker

Image Source: BUNN

Image Source: BUNN
















Product Name: BUNN trifecta MB coffee maker

Manufacturer: BUNN

Product Description: BUNN is a manufacturer of commercial coffee makers but the company is bringing high-tech coffee making into the home with the BUNN trifecta MB coffee maker. It features 25 individualized settings to give you control over your coffee brewing. Its exclusive Air Infusion Technology gives you five infusion times and five turbulence cycles to extract flavors at the best brewing temperatures. Brightness and sweet and savory flavors can be adjusted to personal taste. It stands at 18 inches with the latch above the brew chamber open.

MSRP: $549.99

Available Colors: Metallic Gray

Purchase at: BUNN

Watch product ad here (4:19):



4. Phillips Xelsis Digital ID Super-Automatic Espresso Machine

Image Source: The Phillips Group

Image Source: The Phillips Group

Product Name: Phillips Xelsis Digital ID Super-Automatic Espresso Machine

Manufacturer: The Phillips Group

Product Description: The Phillips Xelsis Digital ID Super-Automatic Espresso Machine is a luxury item for the coffee addict in your life. It is a multi-beverage, multi-user coffee maker with a fully automated, dual-cleaning milk carafe. Using fingerprint-recognition technology, the Xelsis Digital ID will program, store and recall up to six unique, personalized user profiles that remember how each person prefers their coffee. Simply touch the fingerprint at the top of the machine to load your custom drink profile.

This machine is equipped with 100% ceramic grinders which ensure a consistent grind without overheating the bean, and the grind granularity can be adjusted in 8 settings from the finest to coarsest. It also contains two separate heating systems to let you prepare as many lattes and cappuccinos as you wish, one after the other without waiting. Finally, this machine will prompt you when descaling is needed and guide you with on-screen messages when you have to intervene.

MSRP: $4,000.00

Available Colors: Black/Chrome

Purchase at: Amazon, Houzz, Philips

Watch product ad here: N/A




5. Scanomat TopBrewer

Image Source: Scanomat

Image Source: Scanomat

Product Name: Scanomat TopBrewer

Manufacturer: Scanomat

Product Description: The Scanomat TopBrewer is another luxury gift idea for those serious about giving their loved one (or themselves!) something that will last long after the holidays are over. The Scanomat TopBrewer is a coffee tap that is built directly into any countertop surface for a seamless finish. The stainless steel Scanomat TopBrewer’s free app lets you peruse and choose beverage options visually from an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, then further customize each coffee to your liking (for example, more milk, less milk, etc.). The TopBrewer then automatically rinses itself after it makes a coffee.

MSRP: Approximately $9,500.00 (Contact St. Charles of New York or nuHaus kitchens for exact pricing)

Available Colors: Chrome

Purchase at: St. Charles of New York or nuHaus kitchens

Watch product ad here (4:57):




2014 Holiday Gift Guide graphic courtesy of SiliconANGLE
All product ads/videos courtesy of their respective manufacturers via YouTube
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‘Tis the season for home automation: Smart decor and holiday security tips Thu, 18 Dec 2014 17:08:43 +0000 Continue reading ]]> With Christmas right around the corner, it’s not too late for some last-minute decorations or a few tips to keep your home secure while away on a fun-filled holiday vacation. And with nifty Internet of Things (IoT) products, like smart plugs and motion sensors, you don’t even need to worry about absurdly high electric bills. Check out these tricks from home automation experts.

cyber monday holiday online shopping etailer christmas tree store


Use Wi-Fi Smart Plugs


D-Link Corporation recently gave away to lucky contest winners Wi-Fi Smart Plugs (DSP-W215), which help automate lights and decorations and offer the ability to keep an eye on energy usage over the holidays.

And if you plan to travel during the holidays, D-Link suggests keeping your vacation time to yourself; you don’t need to announce to the whole neighborhood that no one will be at home for a few days. Using a Wi-Fi Smart Plug can also help you keep home invaders at bay by making it look like someone is at home when they’re not. The Wi-Fi Smart Plug allows you to control anything plugged into it via a smartphone or tablet, a convenient way to turn lights and decorations on or off while on vacation or stuck at the mall doing some last-minute shopping.

“While the holiday season is filled with magical moments for the little ones and plenty of good cheer, it also marks a time of year for increased crime and burglaries, leaving unattended homes vulnerable,” said Daniel Kelley, vice president of marketing, D-Link Systems, Inc. “Whether you’re planning holiday travel or are headed to the mall for holiday shopping, there are several ways to ‘tech the halls’ this season in order to keep your home protected and safe while you’re away.”

Hook Up Motion Sensors


What’s the sense of putting up fancy decorations if no one’s there to see them, right? But leaving lights and animated decorations on can be such a huge waste of money, so Control4 Corp. suggests using motion sensors with your decorations.

Motion sensors are like trip wires; they only get activated when someone’s there. By using motion sensors with your holiday displays, you can lower the cost of your electricity bill as it will only light up or move when someone’s there to appreciate the display.

Coordinate Electronics


Gabriel Industries, Inc., an electrical controls, machine automation and commercial fire alarm systems company, suggests coordinating your entertainment electronics, including your television, MP3 player, computer, smartphone or tablet, during a holiday party. This allows you to stream the same music in every room available for the party utilizing the various electronics available for each room.

This way, you can play endless Christmas songs or the latest popular tunes from your favorite artist that you want to share with your guests so there will be no dull moments.

photo credit: mccun934 via photopin cc
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Agricultural analytics startup FarmLogs harvests $10M to expand field operations Thu, 18 Dec 2014 17:05:30 +0000 Continue reading ]]> farm tractorFarmLogs Inc. has raised $10 million in a second round of funding to expand its cloud-based analytics service aimed at everyday ranchers. The startup is one of the newest in the crop of new players to take on the mission of bringing analytics to farming in recent years.

More established names are also entering the the field, including enterprise technology stalwarts such as IBM and Intel Corp., which made headlines in June after pulling the curtains back on a collaboration with UC Davis to tap water management data for more efficient irrigation. That’s also one of the priorities that FarmLogs focuses on with its service, which aggregates weather information to save farmers the hassle of driving to their properties after every rainfall and check their gauges.

Additionally, the Y Combinator-backed startup harvests sensory data to provide soil maps that it says can help yield more informed decisions on crop management and cultivate conservation. FarmLogs also offers to help users to put that insight to use with built-in administrative functionality that encompasses everything from planning seed budgets based on price fluctuations to optimizing inventory. Rounding out the package is a set of collaboration features that makes it easier to share data within co-ops as well as update other relevant parties such as service providers and landlords.

One of the main appeals behind the service, which is accessible from both the web and mobile devices, is that it’s available for free. That has enabled FarmLog to gain a lot of ground since hitting the scene in 2012, attracting 15 percent of US farmers with over 100 acres, a staggering figure that adds up to billions of dollars worth of crops falling directly under its management. And it’s showing no sign of stopping.

The new funding is meant to accelerate that momentum and help the team monetize its success. FarmLog is planning to use the new capital to double its staff of 20 in the first half of next year as it prepares to add commercial features, a roadmap suggesting that many of the new hires will be developers. The investment saw the participation of SV Angel and Y Combinator president Sam Altma along with existing backers Drive Capital, Huron River Ventures and Hyde Park Venture Partners, which led a $4 million round in the startup earlier this year.

Photo via Pixabay
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PanTerra released analytics tools for internal communications Thu, 18 Dec 2014 16:37:35 +0000 Continue reading ]]> telescopeWhile a lot of recent new product activity has been focused on deriving meaning from public conversations in social media, PanTerra Networks Inc. is turning the lens back on internal communications with a new platform that the company says provide a complete view of employee and customer interactions across the corporate network for use in operational improvement.

Unified Business Analytics, as the new solution is called, comes with a pre-assembled collection of more than 100 metrics that the Sunnyvale-based software maker said enables decision makers to break down communication streams into business indicators and usage patterns. The platform allows users to isolate key factors such as call length, file sharing events and team collaboration activities to gain visibility into specific parts of their operations.

That can include a particular employee, group or department, a certain sensitive file with access limitations or even a contact center’s message queue. PanTerra says its platform also makes it possible to filter data by specific time periods, which is useful for dissecting issues after the launch of a new product or even just drilling down into a particularly busy week to try and make out any patterns that may explain the spike.

To spare users the hassle of periodically digging through their metrics for items of note, Unified Business Analytics also includes a reporting system that makes it possible to schedule automated reports on important metrics for regular time intervals, according to PanTerra. The feature has the added bonus of taking some of the hassle out of communicating findings to relevant parties within the organization.

Rounding out the package is a companion app for iOS and Android that the company says provides full access to key metrics along with report notifications, which are also available via email and instant messaging services. PanTerra is a positioning the offering as an alternative to HP’s Qfiniti software for organizations that may not necessarily have the budget or need to implement a solution as exhaustive to make sense of company communications.

Photo credit: Pierre Metivier via photopin cc
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Can this hat replace your Fitbit? Thu, 18 Dec 2014 16:10:00 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Screen shot 2014-12-18 at 10.04.16 AMThis week’s Smart Health roundup features a hat that could replace your current activity tracker, a smart thermometer raising funds, and a luxurious partnership for wearable tech.

LifeBEAM smart hat


If you’re tired of wearing a bracelet to track your activities or you’re just more comfortable wearing a hat when you run or workout, then LifeBEAM’s smart hat may just be the right wearable gadget for you. The hat has an optical heart-rate sensor and a 3-axis accelerometer, and is weather-safe. For connectivity, this wearable gadget has ANT+ and Bluetooth low energy (BLE) for communication, a rechargeable 100mAh lithium polymer battery. As far as sizing goes, the LifeBEAM smart hat is equipped with an adjustable strap so one size fits all.

The LifeBEAM smart hat measures heart rate, cadence, steps, calories burned and send the data to your smartphone and be used by your favorite fitness app, plus it also works well with other fitness bands.

The hat costs $99 and it ships free in the U.S.

Kinsa smart thermometer raises $9.6M in funding


Kinsa, Inc., makers of the smart thermometer that connects to your smartphone, announced that it has raised $9.6 million in Series A funding funding from investors including the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers.

Inder Singh, founder and chief executive of Kinsa someday envision monetizing the data gathered by its smart thermometer by making that data available for brands that sell cold and flu medicine. The round of funding will be used to invest in marketing and brand awareness to scale the company.

Kinsa is a $29.99 smart thermometer that gives you fast and accurate temperature readings, plus the materials used for the device is toddler-approved so parents need not worry about the device causing any harm. It comes with a smartphone app that shows an animated clip to distract kids while taking their temperature. Kinsa is available on, Apple Stores, and CVS.

Luxottica and Inter partners for future of wearable tech


Luxottica Group, the mother company of luxury eyewear brands Burberry, Bulgari, Chanel, Coach, Armani, Miu Miu, Polo Ralph Lauren and Dolce & Gabbana, has announced an open-ended partnership with Intel, Corp. for the research and development of technologies that can be applied to different glasses produced by the brands mentioned above. As new technologies are developed, the contract will be negotiated iron out the details of each company’s ownership and investment.

Intel and Luxottica both have outstanding partnerships with Google, Intel makes the chips for Google Glass and Luxottica partnered with the search giant to design, develop, and distribute a new breed of Google Glass, but the two stated that this new partnership will not in any way compete with Google Glass.

“Google Glass is a specific product we are working on,” Luxottica chief executive Massimo Vian said. “With Intel, we are researching new possibilities that can be applied or offered to many brands.”

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Microsoft blushes after senior employee goes on Google Apps ‘knucklehead’ rant Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:30:46 +0000 Continue reading ]]> shush“We’re sorry, but we can’t find the page you are looking for” is all that remains of a rather contentious and highly amusing Microsoft Office Blogs post in which a senior product manager for Office 365 writing under the name of Tim Carroll waxes lyrical on why he is opposed to Google Apps. The cached version is still available, and while it’s arguably far from fair in its criticism, for the sake of a good chuckle it’s worth a read.

In the post, which is ironically titled ‘Google Apps Brings Families Together’, the provocateur likens Google Apps to his ‘Knucklehead Son’, a young man who seemingly wants a life of ease without having to spend much effort in claiming his state of luxury. The comparison being that Google Apps might be easy to use, but that the best things in life ask us to engage our brains more.

“My Knucklehead Son doesn’t want to go to college,” the author writes, “No, instead he wants to wander around the country in a Volkswagen camper van, posting his adventures on YouTube for legions of adoring fans, pausing just long enough to cup his hands under a gushing spigot of money piped in by grateful advertisers. I tell him he sounds like Google.”

Later in the metaphorically charged missive, the writer humorously talks about a camping trip in which the son is asked if he would rather survive with only a fork and spoon and a corkscrew (Google Apps), or have at his disposal a Swiss Army Knife (Office 365). Partial collection of random components with extra bits you can pay for, he says in his allusion to his nemesis, or “one complete assembly of high-grade tools” in support of Microsoft’s product.

The highly critical blog, reminiscent of Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign, isn’t all put-downs; the writer admits that on the whole he quite likes Google. Still, someone at Microsoft had it taken down pretty quickly. The reason for this is likely its rant-like style that doesn’t really embody what we might call a fair analysis of the two products. It’s sure amusing though, and is already making its way around the global share space.

Microsoft are obviously somewhat embarrassed, telling Business Insider that, “The blog post was not properly vetted and has been removed. It was not a reflection of Microsoft views nor in keeping with the tone of how we communicate with our customers.”

Photo credit: towardsthesunset via photopin cc

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Could the next Nintendo handheld be “doughnut-shaped?” Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:00:57 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Sharp Free Form ScreenNintendo Co., Ltd. is rumored to be producing a new handheld to replace the 3DS with an unusual screen shape.

According to an Osakan reporter with Japan Times, Nintendo has entered a deal with Japanese electronics company Sharp Corporation to produce “free-form” LCD screens that can be manufactured in a variety of unusual shapes.

Other industries targeted by Sharp’s new free-form displays include auto companies, who could use the displays for vehicle dashboards, as well as wearable device manufacturers.

The Japan Times points to an unnamed source who claims that Nintendo is “considering creating a hole at the center of the display, making it doughnut-shaped.” The Japanese news organization made no guesses on the purposes behind such an unusual shape.

Nintendo has recently entered deals with other companies to drive seemingly unusual hardware innovations. Earlier this year, Nintendo partnered with medical technology company ResMed to develop a sleep monitor designed to help fight sleep apnea.


Taking risks


Unusual for a company of its size and age — the company itself is 125 years old — Nintendo is known for taking risks in trying out innovative technologies.

The Nintendo 64 was the first game console to popularize controller vibration, which is now a staple of console gaming. Likewise, the Nintendo Wii popularized motion controls, which was one of the key selling points behind the console’s success.

But other innovations by the company have not been as well received. In 1995, Nintendo released the headache inducing Nintendo Virtual Boy, which used a stereoscopic goggle display to play early 3D games. Though it later became a collector’s item, the Virtual Boy was a commercial failure, largely due to a lack of playable games and portability, as well as the discomfort of use. The Virtual Boy sold less than half of its projected 3 million units and was quickly discontinued less than a year after its release.

But the failure of the Virtual Boy did little to discourage the company from taking chances in the future, and the spirit of the device was later reborn with the 2011 release of the Nintendo 3DS, a handheld game console that plays 3D games without uncomfortable goggles.

Nintendo is still the dominant handheld game company, but with the rise of smartphone gaming, maybe some innovation will help the company stay on top.

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