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Pope Blesses Instagram, McDonald’s Happy Meal VR Box #yourlifeintech week 12

Today was a big day in tech for Apple enthusiasts, but as an Apple fanboy, Apple’s “Loop You in” event honestly felt a little flat. Maybe too many rumors are getting out, or maybe the announcements just don’t have the same innovative bang as they once did. A smaller iPad, smaller iPhone, new OS, watch bands, price cuts and AppleTV: lather rinse repeat.

So in a quick glance, Apple announced a new smaller iPad Pro starting at $599 (32GB) running iOS 9.3. Maybe it’s just me, but until that amazing 9.7 inch tablet runs either OSX or a more powerful iPad edition of iOS, I won’t be trading in my MacBook anytime soon. They dropped the Apple Watch price to $299 (from $349) and introduced a new line of nylon bands ($49) and also a black Milanese Loop ($149). iOS 9.3 will be heading to your device soon and adds the color-temperature changing Night Shift, Notes with Touch ID and password support. They also mentioned a few new updates for AppleTV including folder support, Siri support for the AppStore, as well as CarPlay and updates to CareKit. Wait, what is CareKit? Anyhow, they also revealed the iPhone SE, a smaller 4-inch iPhone starting at $399 which includes many of the bells and whistles of the iPhone 6s. Unfortunately, both the new smaller iPad and smaller iPhone are missing a few features I still hope for in the iPhone 7: inductive, wireless power, or even magnetic charging like on the Apple Watch and a microSD card. It may just be me, but Apple’s events the past few years have felt a little routine and predictable, reminiscent of the Palm V/Claudia Schiffer days from 2002.

For all the hype the technology world generates, there are few truly revolutionary products anymore. But someone came very close today: Get ready for the first handheld computer [Palm Computing’s Palm V] named for a supermodel. –cNet, January 2, 2002

On another #yourlifeintech note, the Pope joins and blesses Instagram, if you live in Sweeden you can turn your McDonald’s Happy Meal box into a VR headset. Oh, and Microsoft’s new edge web browser finally supports extensions.

Also, because of Easter weekend, and I’m going on a short vacation, there is a strong possibility that there will not be a #yourlifeintech week 13 update.

Top headlines from Week 12 of 2016

As Apple vs. FBI looms, WhatsApp and others look to increase encryption
Skype for Web upgraded, now supports dialing mobile phones, landlines and more
Now an F-16 can launch a swarm of 3D-printed carbon fiber drones
Instagram is switching its feed from chronological to best posts first
Chevy’s new Malibu keeps teens safe from themselves
Waze helps you plan future trips based on expected traffic
Nixon’s Android Wear smartwatch is water resistant up to 100 meters and Michael Kors’ Android Wear smartwatches can change faces
A Clever New Strap Brings EKG Readings to the Apple Watch
Western Digital’s 314GB drive offers RPi a low-power solution
10 Apple signs deal to power part of iCloud with Google Cloud Platform
11 Google Is Reportedly Selling Its Crazy Robotics Lab, Boston Dynamics

Our favorite article for week 12

1 On the outside, this gizmo looks identical to a regular book of matches, but tucked inside you’ll find eight tiny, waterproof and magnetic flashlights the size of matches.

Apple Event, GoT S6 Teaser and Bezo’s Blue Origin Reusable Rocket #yourlifeintech week 11

Up in the sky, look! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, wait … no, it’s just a U.S. military drone flying over your house but the Pentagon maintains all of them obeyed laws restricting the use of these drones at home, and yeah, if you let us have a master key to your iPhone’s encryption we promise we won’t abuse it. Meanwhile, also flying the friendly skies will be 20 recently leased Boeing 767s for Amazon.Com that will be used to ship packages to customers in North America and save Amazon lots of money, but will not necessarily get your packages to you any faster if you’re not a Prime customer. Also, did you know that half all Americans believe the Zika virus is fatal (spoiler alert: it’s not). Facebook recently acquired Masquerade, an app that allows to easily swap your face with a monkey, zombie or maybe Leonardo DiCaprio and post it to all your friends which is way more interesting to share then a potentially deadly-plague-like virus spread by Mosquitos (we’re kidding). Just don’t forget the bug spray this summer.

Oh, and winter is coming, Game of Thrones releases Season 6 teaser.

Top headlines from Week 11 of 2016

1 Jeff Bezos and his space company Blue Origin plan to launch manned space missions by 2017, tourists trips by 2018 as the competition with Virgin Galactic and SpaceX heats up. In fact, Blue Orgin’s New Sheperd rocket quietly and successfully became the first rocket to fly above the Karman line and return to Earth with a vertical landing and repeat, beating Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

2 Twitter offers stock and cash bonuses to keep disheartened workers. However, I’m confused, wasn’t it back in October 2015 when Jack Dorsey returned to Twitter and  laid off 8% of its staff and now it’s trying to hold on current talent by offering stock and cash bonuses. This poor bird keeps keeps flying into windows.

3 Apple sends out invites for March 21 event. We aren’t popular enough to get one of ourselves (yet) but there seems to be a lot of exciting rumors for upcoming Apple releases, such as the iPhone 6c, iPad Air 3 and the next-generation Apple Watch. The new Apple Watch is rumored to include a front-facing camera with FaceTime support and a better Wi-Fi chip so it could be less dependent on the iPhone. It still be rectangular though, with no rumors of a round edition.

4 A recent Department of Defense report revealed that the Pentagon admits to deploying military drones over US cities. Although it was “less than 20 missions” between 2006 and 2015, the documents don’t state their purpose or what happened despite a current policy which forbids spying on U.S. Residents. And, the government wonders why Apple doesn’t want to build a back-door for them.

5 Whole Foods will add rooftop solar farms to more stores, 100 more stores to be exact and, it would be nice to think this is part of a sincere sustainability move for the organic food giant, but as more organic food markets are moving in on Whole Foods market with lower prices, it appears it’s more of a cost-cutting move.

6 After buying the fitness trackable company Misfit, Fossil announces $95 Q Motion activity tracker that also tracks sleep and looks a lot like Misfits latest trackable, which being a Q Reveler owner, is a serious disappointment that Fossil would even consider putting it’s brand on that device’s design.

7 New MIT code makes web pages load 34% faster in any browser by creating a dependency graph. The software, which is titled Polaris, is written in JavaScript making simple to implement, however, in order for a web site to benefit from the system, the site’s servers must run Polaris’ dependency-tracking measurement platform. Read the white paper by James Mickens to learn more about the technical details. This is exciting news for web development  community, but unfortunately we couldn’t find any software to download to try Polaris or the dependency tracking measurment platform for ourselves.

8 Facebook pays out $15,000 bounty to close but that allowed access to any users account, and targets 25% of the web with new WordPress plugin for Instant Articles. On April 12th at Facebook’s F8 conference, we will open up the Instant Articles program to all publishers—of any size, anywhere in the world.

9 A new bionic fingertip allows amputees to feel rough and smooth by using a series of sensors to detect undulations in the surface beneath them, converting the physical feel into electric signals. These signals can then be injected into the nerves of a patient. We wonder at what point will cyborgenetic technologies like this will become an enhancement to the human body providing us with additional capabilities, perhaps even for a job or just for the fun of doing it.

10 Microsoft’s SQL database now runs on Linux. Honestly I never thought I would be writing anything with the words Microsoft, open source and Linux in the same sentence, but since the departure of Gates and then Ballmer, the Redmond based company with CEO Satya Nadella’s leadership is making a new Microsoft.  The company is even working with the creators of key Linux distribution, Red Hat and Ubuntu to get the program running smoothly. SQL Server for Linux won’t officially ship until mid-2017, but there’s already a preview for corporations that want a peek.

11 Google’s Go-playing artificial intelligence has claimed victory in a historic match against Korean grandmaster Lee Sedol winning a three straight games in this best-of-five series, but computers have been beating humans in games like checkers and chess for the last 25 years, so I guess humans kind of suck at board games anyhow.

Our favorite reviews & articles for week 11

1 Amazon’s latest series will be based on the cyborg short-film, True Skin. It may be a little too Fifth Element for some, but the 6 minute short-film is worth watching and with a good plot line it has great potential.

2 I bet you didn’t know the Macbook power-block has an obvious design flaw and Ten One Design has a genius fix for just $20

3 Review: Hoverdock for Apple Watch @thegadgeteer

SnapChat Hacked, Google Car Crashes and Apple Joins Twitter #yourlifeintech week 10

“Hound .. how smart is water?” If water wasn’t already smart, it’s just gotten a little smarter thanks to Brita’s smart Wi-Fi Infinity Pitcher that automatically orders new filters when you need them through Amazon’s Dash and you might already be wondering why I started off by saying “Hound“? Siri, Google and Alexa have a new frenemy and his name is Hound, an incredibly fast and accurate speech recognition and language understanding assistant for more than your iPhone or Android phone. Hound also works with the Raspberry Pi which has recently been upgraded with a 64-bit chip and embedded Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for not much more than what you probably spend at Starbucks in a week.

Also, this past week, a French student has created an open source smartwatch OS based on Linux, which could become a competitor for Android Wear and Tizen, Amazon quietly removes encryption for Fire devices, the Popslate indiegogo project puts a second, e-reader style screen on the back of your iPhone and yet another teacher is busted when a student finds nude pics on her phone – a lesson to be learned the hard way on why you should passcode (and encrypt) your phone.

Oh, and SkyWall announces the first drone capturing bazooka, protecting your backyard from the impending drone takeover, clouds are possibly seen on dwarf-planet Pluto, astronaut Scott Kelly returns from space after a year.

Here is a quick glance-summary
from Week 10 (Feb29-Mar5), 2016

  1. Snapchat gets phished and exposed 700 employees personal information
    Source: Slashgear
  2. Google says it bears some responsibility for first accident caused by self-driving car
    Source: Mashable
  3. Indonesia tells Google and other Internet firms to pay tax or risk getting blocked
    Source: Mashable
  4. Microsoft Band 2 Price Drops Even Further, Now $175 at Best Buy and Microsoft Store
    Source: SmartwatchMe
  5. Six Flags launches new Virtual Reality Roller Coaster
    Source: digitaltrends
  6. Amazon removes encryption support in latest Fire OS update
    Source: Washington Post
  7. Apple creates a general support channel on Twitter @AppleSupport
    Source: TechCrunch
  8. Samsung releases 16TB SSD, officially making it the world’s largest drive
    Source: slashgear
  9. McDonald’s Is Transforming Happy Meal Boxes Into VR Headsets
    Source: Wired
  10.  Amazon’s Kindle gets a big update including a personalized home screen, new MyReadingList  and sharing made easier
    Source: Amazon

The Apple Stand-off: Justice Vs. Privacy
Apple and FBI testify to Congress while Apple supporters: Google, Twitter Facebook Airbnb, eBay, GitHub, Kickstarter, LinkedIn, Reddit, Square and Squarespace, among others (except former CEO Bill Gates) file a brief urging the U.S. District Court in California to deny the motion to compel Apple to comply with the FBI’s request.

  1. Apple scores iPhone legal victory that may help in FBI fight
  2. Read Apple’s opening statement to Congress over its FBI fight
  3. San Bernardino Survivor’s Husband Writes Powerful Letter To Judge Supporting Apple
  4. F.B.I. Error Locked San Bernardino Attacker’s iPhone
  5. Twitter, Reddit and more file brief to support Apple vs the FBI
  6. San Bernardino DA says seized iPhone may hold “dormant cyber pathogen”

Our favorite reviews for week 10

  1. Fitbit Blaze reviewed at wareable
  2. The Tin Mill Tipe, Natural Titanium Pen review at the-gadgeteer

Facebooks Lets You React &Like, #MWC2016 and Google AMP #yourlifeintech week 9

To like or not to like has always been the burning question on Facebook and now they’ve made it a little easier to answer by adding some love, haha, wow, sad and angry “reactions”. My reaction to this week in tech is probably “wow” and “sad”. And, despite the Mobile World Congress in Spain was going on with lots of great announcements from the Samsung S7, Oral-B Genius, Garmin Vivoactive HR and Meizu PRO 5, an Ubuntu powered smartphone, it was heavily over shadowed by the ongoing standoff between Apple and the FBI.

Then there was Time, Inc. considering to buy Yahoo! core business and Google plans to speed up the the mobile web with their new AMP project.

Oh, and Spotify moves itself onto Google’s cloud.

Here is a quick glance-summary of a few top headlines from Week 9 (Feb22-Feb28), 2016.

1 Mobile World Congress in Spain
Companies including Garmin, LG, Oral-B, Samsung, Zuckerberg, Google, Lenovo, HP and other big brands in tech made some big announcements this past week in Spain for smartphones and wearables.
Source: Pocket-Lint

2 Amazon raises minimum order for free shipping to $49
If you’re not an Amazon Prime member, shopping at the online retailer just got a little more expensive, unless you order $25 of books, then, it’s still free.
Source: Mashable

3 Sony making phones again in the US announcing the Xperia X at Mobile World Congress in Spain.
Source: CNet

4 Western Digital buys San Disk despite China investor backing out and a top shareholder in London urging Western Digital to abandon the planned buyout by arguing that the deal was too expensive, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Source: Arstechnica/WSJ

5 Siri is coming to Mac OS X 10.12 According to a new report from 9to5Mac, Siri is slated to debut as one of the flagship features on OS X 10.12 later this year. Hardly a feature Apple has ignored, the report notes that Apple has been testing Siri on the Mac for three years in order to get the functionality and implementation just right.
Source: Yahoo/9to5Mac

ad_week9Stance is an amazingly versatile, compact tripod that mounts directly into your iPhone’s charging port. Watching your favorite videos, using FaceTime®, and positioning your phone’s camera to capture amazing photos and videos. [advertisement]

Russia wants to fly spy planes with new high res cameras over U.S. to test their new advanced digital cameras. So, How does Washington respond at a time when Moscow and Washington are at odds over Syria and Ukraine and senior U.S. defense officials have identified Russia as the No. 1 existential threat to America?
Source: Washington Post

Japan considers treating bitcoin like real money and consumers will be able to swap out virtual coins for physical legal tender. However, once it becomes more regulated by country, wouldn’t that defeat the initial goals of an independent currency?
Source: engadget

Boston Dynamics upgrades Atlas with a smaller body, lighter frame and is also now battery powered. Watch the video to better understand why once the robots take over the world they’re mean to humans.
Source: engadget

Google Fiber comes to SF; AT&T sues Louisville to stop Google Fiber from using poles. The AMP project must be Google’s “plan B” in making the Internet faster because Google Fiber seems to be running into quite a few roadblocks on the Information Super Highway.
Source: Fortune

10 The battle for Net Neutrality turns 1 and many of us don’t even know what that means. Well, imagine if Comcast decides to limit your Internet connection speed to sites that aren’t owned by them or potentially even blocking them. The Net Neutrality fight is about keeping the Internet equal for everybody regards who services they purchase. Companies like Time Warner, Comcast and AT&T don’t want the Net to be like this.
Source: CNet

ad_week9Stance is an amazingly versatile, compact tripod that mounts directly into your iPhone’s charging port. Watching your favorite videos, using FaceTime®, and positioning your phone’s camera to capture amazing photos and videos. [advertisement]

The Apple Stand-off: Justice Vs. Privacy
More tech CEOs, like Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and Sundar Pichai have stepped up to support Apple, but Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates has sort-of, maybe not, offered his support, as Apple and the FBI get ready to testify at a Congressional encryption hearing on Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

1 In an interview with Bloomberg TV this morning, Bill Gates said he was “blindsided” by and “disappointed” with reports that he sides with the FBI.
Source: FastCompany

2 Why The FBI Chose To Try The Apple Encryption Case In The Media. Cases like this are usually tried under seal as a national security matter, but the FBI sought a very public showdown.
Source: FastCompany

3 FBI Has Asked Apple To Unlock As Many As 17 iPhones In Last 4 Months. Newly unsealed court documents show that the FBI’s request of Apple in the San Bernardino case is probably not a one-off.
Source: FastCompany

4 NYPD wants access to ALL iPhones (with a warrant). The New York City Police Department says they’d like Apple to unlock every iPhone currently subject to a court-ordered search.
Source: Slashgear

5 Apple and FBI to testify at Congressional encryption hearing. FBI director James Comey and Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell are set to testify.

ad_week9Stance is an amazingly versatile, compact tripod that mounts directly into your iPhone’s charging port. Watching your favorite videos, using FaceTime®, and positioning your phone’s camera to capture amazing photos and videos. [advertisement]

Our favorite reviews for week 8

1 Eve Energy with Siri
http://the-gadgeteer.com/2016/02/22/control-and-monitor-any-device-plugged-into-the-eve-energy-using-siri/

2 RAVPower 20100mAh External Battery Review: Large and in Charge

RAVPower 20100mAh External Battery Review: Large and in Charge

3 Razer Blade Stealth Review: a true MacBook alternative at last
http://www.slashgear.com/razer-blade-stealth-review-a-true-macbook-alternative-at-last-26429207/

4 The SanDisk Ultra USB Type-C Flash Drive Is Ready for the Revolution!

The SanDisk Ultra USB Type-C Flash Drive Is Ready for the Revolution!

Our upcoming reviews &articles

1 Making fitness wearables and food tracking work for you
2 Skinomi® TechSkin screen protector for Apple Watch
3 Kenu Stance for iPhone