Items tagged with Misc

Don’t freak out, but Facebook is testing a new feature that would put “Buy” buttons on ads within the social network. Simply, users would see an ad, and the ad would have a button that you could click to purchase the item you see, all without leaving Facebook. This is an obvious evolution of having ads on Facebook, and it actually makes a lot sense for businesses looking to build their brands on the platform. It seems like this capability would rely on users to impulse buy; a click (or two or three?) and you’ve purchased what you want, all without that built-in second guessing... Read more...
Google is always tweaking its products, and Chrome OS has one substantial change coming regarding the look and features of its windows management. (That’s “windows” not “Windows”, mind you.) Google “Happiness Evangelist” François Beaufort posted a screenshot that shows a stacked set of open windows with a search bar and bookmarks along an area at the bottom. The new look doesn’t quite appear ready for primetime (it’s admittedly a first draft), but a more powerful tool to manage open windows in Chrome OS would be a welcome innovation.... Read more...
The evolution to gigabit Internet speeds continues with the news that Time Warner Cable will be trying to bring what it calls the “Gigasphere” to L.A. in 2016. The city is soliciting requests for information (RFIs) for gigabit-level Internet service, and TWC is in the mix. “Over the last four years, Time Warner Cable has invested more than $1.5 billion to enhance our infrastructure and services in Los Angeles,” said executive VP and chief strategy Peter Stern in a press release. “This significant investment coupled with new ‘Gigasphere’ technology positions... Read more...
Well here’s one: MIT researchers are developing a way to harvest energy from, off all things, water droplets. They discovered that when water droplets spontaneously “jump” away from a superhydrophobic surface, they generate a tiny electric charge. Condensation is the real mechanism for the movement of the water, and the team figured out that by using interleaved metal plates--particularly when adjacent plates have opposite charges--they could gather that energy and send it through an external circuit, thus powering small electronic devices. This machine harvests energy from water... Read more...
The race to develop a driverless car is on, driven in large part by the efforts of Google, although plenty of other companies such as Intel and Ford are investing heavily into developing such technology as well. You can count Nissan as one major car maker that’s in the fray, as CEO Carlos Ghosn revealed the company’s plans to reporters in Tokyo. Nissan has a roadmap for a nearly autonomous car by 2020. By 2016, Nissan will have vehicles that can self-park; by 2018, they’ll be able to change lanes without driver intervention, and by 2020 they’ll be able to navigate intersections... Read more...
Elon Musk’s vision for fleets of all-electric vehicles seems to be going well for the most part, some litigious miscellany notwithstanding, but the cars are rather expensive. However, that’s all going to change in 2017, when Tesla releases the Model 3 that will cost just $35,000. Granted, a $35,000 car is not what you’d call cheap, but it’s far more affordable than the nearly-$70,000 Tesla Model S sedan. Tesla Model S Based on an all-new platform, the Model 3 should have a range of over 200 miles on a single charge, and of course it will make use of Tesla’s growing... Read more...
In case you hadn’t heard, data breaches are a problem--a huge problem--and to quantify that somewhat, New York AG Eric Schneiderman released a report detailing his state’s data breach information including the costs involved. There’s a lot of meaty data in the report, but one part that stands out is that there were 900 data breaches in New York in 2013 exposing the personal details of 7.3 million people at a cost of $1.37 billion. Woof. Those numbers were driven in large part by the massive Target breach as well as those of Sony and Living Social, and they point to the fact that... Read more...
In dribbles and drips, we’re (allegedly) learning more about the next Microsoft OS, Windows 9 “Threshold”. The latest bit to leak out is a screenshot that purports to show the new desktop environment, including a remade Start screen. The screen grab comes from My Digital Life forum user DUF_, and you can see that the Start menu is back in force in Windows 9. In addition to having something resembling the traditional look of the Start menu, Microsoft has also added Metro apps to it, which is a reasonable way of unifying the two environments in a much more sensible way than in Windows... Read more...
As the war over net neutrality rages on, the Internet Association fired off the latest volley by supplicating the FCC with concerns and a mandate to take decisive action on the issue. The IA’s voice is bolstered by a chorus of major tech companies, including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Yahoo!, and more. “Segregation of the Internet into fast lanes and slow lanes will distort the market, discourage innovation and harm Internet users. The FCC must act to create strong, enforceable net neutrality rules and apply them equally to both wireless and wireline providers,” said Michael... Read more...
New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has his work cut out for him. Although Microsoft is still one of the most important tech companies in the world, the company’s dominance is slipping as technology evolves rapidly. The company’s old product paradigms simply don’t work anymore, and Microsoft has appeared out of touch and confused at times when it comes to key areas such as mobile and the not-quite-right and relatively unpopular Windows 8 operating system. Nadella sent a lengthy (really, really lengthy) memo to all Microsoft employees espousing his values for the company moving forward,... Read more...
We were critical of Google’s recent decision to choose a high-end fashion retailer to sell Glass through a third party for the first time (which included a $300 markup), but Google is doing some good work with Glass through its “Giving Through Glass” program. The company awarded five nonprofits with a pair of Google Glass spectacles, $25,000 in the form of a grant, and--possibly most importantly--access to Glass devs and on-location help at Google. Classroom Champions The winners include Classroom Champions, which lets students see paralympic athletes train in POV; Women’s... Read more...
Three Uber riders experienced one of the worst-case scenarios skeptics of the rideshare service--a high-speed car chase and a (brief) de facto kidnapping--during a visit to the Washington, D.C. area. The Washington Post reports that Ryan Simonetti, co-founder of a company called Convene, and two colleagues hailed an Uber car after a meeting, and despite noting that a D.C. taxi inspector was talking to the driver, they hopped in. It appears that the driver decided at that time, with his documents in the hands of the inspector, to make a break for it with the three passengers on board. The inspector... Read more...
In a Microsoft post announcing a mostly uninteresting list of products and their respective dates for when Microsoft will terminate support for them is a notable standout: Windows 7. Within the next six months, all versions of Windows 7 will enter the Extended Support phase, which lasts for 5 years and includes free security updates and paid hotfix support, but Mainstream Support for the popular OS will cease as of January 13, 2015. What that means in practice is that although you can rest easy knowing that Windows 7 will remain secure until 2020, it won’t be getting any new features. This... Read more...
The Internet of Things promises big things, but to get past the theoretical stage, companies need to develop practical solutions to major obstacles, not the least of which is finding a way for devices running on different platforms to communicate effectively. Microsoft and 50 other companies have teamed up on the AllSeen Alliance to develop open source solutions for IoT interoperability, but that’s not the only group doing that sort of work; major industry players have created the Open Interconnect Consortium, as well. The OIC currently consists of Dell, Intel, and Samsung as well as Atmel,... Read more...
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