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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