So like many of you I signed up maybe a year ago to be one of the lucky ones to get one of the first Pebble “Smart Watches”.
After many months of NADA over the last week I have received communication from Pebble that my Arctic White watch was one its way. It arrived yesterday and rather than being thrilled, I’ve have a nasty case of pouty face for the last 48 hours.
First there was the wait. You’ve got to think that any company could have brought this to market faster than Pebble Technology was able to. They had working prototypes at launch… Why then did it take another 12 months to deliver those same watches to their customers? Once I got my watch I was dismayed to learn that it actually works better when paired to and Android phone than an iOS device.
iOS puts it apps into a sandbox that limits the app’s ability to run in the background. This causes serious problems for the Pebble watch. Once the Blue Tooth link is broken or when iOS decides to put the rudimentary Pebble app to sleep as it runs in the background then all your notifications to the watch stop. They stop dead. They stay stopped until you go into the iOS notification settings and change them from either banner to alert or vice versa. This is totally arbitrary. It’s disruptive and it’s highly annoying. To the point where after it happens 3 or 4 times you want to rip the watch off your arm, throw it into a draw and wait for the iWatch from Apple.
I haven’t been this disappointed in a gadget in many, many years.
I sure the people at Pebble are working hard to overcome these issues, but I can only speak about my experience with the current product. Functionality on Android phones may be better but I only have access to an iOS phone. As iOS has at least half of the smartphone market depending on who you listen to then Pebble would have been well advised to have ensured that iPhone users had a great experience out of the box. This one has not had that…
So our favorite corporate software bully announced this week that they were going to shutter the incredibly popular TechNet service. For those of you who don’t know, TechNet is a way for system admins and other like minded peeps to get their paws on license restricted versions of MSFT products to help them plan deployments, test integration and compatibility. Well it seems that MSFT isn’t too interested in helping people actually deploy their products in a sane and well tested way because they’ve decided to stop selling TechNet subscriptions as of the end of August this year.
They claim instead that the industry has moved on to free trials programs. Well who are we to argue. However they then state that in their oxygen deprived minds that means that trails should only last 30-180 days. For a hobbyist that might suffice, but tell that to the desktop OS manager at GE. INSANE.
So I guess the real take away for most of us is that Redmond is so far in denial about their tumbling market share and their rapidly fading relevance that they are taking their toys and going home.
Cover shot for Hearts and Knives – Copyright Peter Ashworth
Visage, the band that changed 80s youth culture forever by leading the New Romantics out of their clique as night club posers and into the mainstream are breaking their 30 year hiatus and are back with a BANG!
Their first single, Shameless Fashion, from the forthcoming album Hearts and Knives is available on iTunes now and is out as an extended EP on CD May 6th.
The first of the remixes is in and it’s a very HOT MIX! The product of genius producer Greg Nouveau, we’re happy to share it with you here.
As the horror of yesterday’s attack was folding, many turned to social media not only for news but also to take action. Matt Butter published a great story on Forbes that explains how it all cam together. All our thoughts are with the people of Boston and the athletes who were running that race yesterday.
WOW. I think I just had my faith in humanity restored a little. It seems that some local governments actually have a clue. Three major US metros are making information about the current state of their transit systems freely available for use by App developers. One even going as far as offering a $15K prize!
It’s nice to see government encouraging the free use of public information for a change instead of putting up endless obstacles to anyone who wants access.
Gizmodo is running an article on the latest TSA nonsense. How long before we demand a bill of rights? Giving this much power to an organization that has time again proved it’s not mature enough to handle it is just dangerous.
How ridiculous is this? The HDMI Group who oversees the definition of, well, HDMI, is slapping C&D notices on the sale of cables that have an HDMI connector at one end and anything else at the other. Their argument goes – HDMI standards specify that both ends of the cable must be terminated by an HDMI connector – Any that don’t can’t be an HDMI cable. Stupid!
If they want to enforce use of their connector to that degree then maybe they should have thought about all the devices out there that want to connect to HDMI enabled devices and designed a connector that doesn’t have a nasty habit of FALLING OUT of such things as adaptors.
To quote Ripley “Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?”
Seems that high-tech just can’t get a break with the legal system these days. If you don’t hold a patent for something you develop, you can someone else does and will slap you with a law suit. If you go buy a bunch of patents that relate to your business to protect yourself from the trolls then you get investigated by govt antitrust regulators. It’s enough to make a guy give up!
I think I might have found an online backup service that works for me.
After several failed and frustrating attempts getting Mozy to deliver on its promises I finally gave up and went searching for alternatives.
OnlineBackupDeals has a good comparison page of currently available online backup services. It was here I found BackBlaze. Written primarily for the Mac user but with a Windows port, it gives me all I need. Most importantly, unlimited backup capacity for $5/mo and the ability to effortlessly backup external drives. This last feature was Mozy’s final undoing. Despite claiming that they support the backup of “Mounted” drives (including permanently attached USB, FireWire, etc) I’ve been unable to get the data on my My Book secured by their service. BackBlaze didn’t hesitate. It scanned the drives on the Mac and immediately started backing up all 2TB of the data it found.
There are some limitations. By default it doesn’t backup System files or Applications. Files over 4GB in size are passed over too. However these settings and the ones that exclude specific file types like virtual images are all customizable in the preference pane, making it easy to craft the protection you need.
Stay tuned for the restore test after the first backup completes.
Decades of Artificial Intelligence sitting on the bench might to be coming to an end. Two recent articles detail renewed research into neuron-based cognitive modeling which could lead to information processing technology that more closely mimics the way our brains function. This approach is not new, neural networks have been around since the 60s but research seemed to hit a brick wall, only offering limited benefits based on mathematical computation.
Why do we want computers that work like the brain? Well, one of the big advantages wetware has over its current binary counterpart is its ability to do complex pattern matching with relative ease. This ability is the foundation for vision, hearing, and some think understanding iteself, all areas where today’s computational techniques fall woefully short.
It’s good to know that big commercial organizations like IBM still have the commitment to invest in fundamental research. No doubt they’re looking to patent whatever methods come out of this work but at least they are contributing to the science. Others should follow their lead.
For me Artificial Intelligence is both a fascination and a huge disappointment. Frustration with the lack of progress in this field is probably born out of the lofty expectations set back the 60s but even accounting for that decade’s heady optimism, we’re making slow progress.
Bina48 is a strange duck in the AI pond. Not the progeny of MIT or some Government funding Japanese lab, she springs from private funding at the Terasem Movement Foundation in Vermont. The group dedicated to the development and promotion of AI is developing Bina48 as a type of analog of one of its founders.
The Engadet article linked here has an interesting video shot by a reporter. As such the depth of exploration into the technologies in use is lightweight but it does give a glimpse of the amazing progress they are making.
Most other smart-phones look like a student design project when compared tot he iPhone. Here’s a student design project that could be a iPhone killer. Taking gorgeous to the next level it wins on looks alone but as we all know a pretty face does not a winner make.
Blatant link-bait aside…. This is amazing.. Not likely to show up at an airport security post near you any time but the ability to look into the atoms of the world without destroying them in the process opens up whole new avenues for science.
Just not sure I’m thrilled that it’s in my back yard. Still black holes are unlikely according to sources well informed.
Tiny concept cars are 2 a penny these days but this one comes with an extra injection of credibility as its creator has been wowing the racing world for decades building some of the fastest road and track vehicles ever to grace asphalt .
Gordon Murray has been creating jaw dropping rides for the racing world for almost 40 years. Now he’s turning his expertise to a tiny 3 seater that sips gas, reduces emissions and heralds a new manufacturing process that cuts waste.
Round 10 of the F1 season was a thriller. Nine of the finishers received a post-race 5 sec penalty for a scrum to the pits as the safety car came out in response to Mark Webber taking his RBR Renault for a sky diving lesson..
Alonso came in a tardy eighth and of course blamed everybody else for his failure (surprise).
I know we’re not all technocrats but sheesh you’d think that the US patent office would at least be able to turn a fax right-side up! How can they be expected to make informed determinations on the merits of technology patents if they can’t master a 180 degree rotation…. No, wait…. What am I thinking?…….
Wired has a nice little piece on the current turbine research going on at Jaguar (of all places). Funded in part by the UK tax payer, Jaguar is looking at using a small axial flow turbine to power the car’s generator. The power train is all electric. This approach makes a lot more sense than Chevy’s Volt as these engines are lighter and a lot more efficient and reliable than traditional reciprocating engines of the type proposed for the Volt.
Not Jaguar’s first dance with jet technology but hopefully this one will see a longer life span than the engineering test bed shown above from Rover’s earlier attempt at turbine power.
When your price collapses this quickly you know you’re not an iPhone killer. A few short months after their well accepted launch, the Palm Pre family of smartphones are hitting the bargain bin with a thud.
Verizon is n a price cutting spree for sure but now the Pre is up on a buy 1 get 1 free deal. Not the ld Pre, but the new Plus models. Given the buzz at launch you’d have thought that these puppies would have held their price longer.
In the spirit of fairness, after chastising the Brits for arresting someone based on a tweet (and a tweet alone) it’s the Americans turn to rush head-long into the over-reaction department.
A San Diego 11 year old gets humiliated in front of his entire school, has his home searched by the bomb squad and is told to seek counseling by his hysterical vice principle for what? Threatening to blow his classmates to hell? Burn his school to the ground? To bring down the government? No. All this for showing how a gatorade bottle can explode as part of a school science fare…! What? Has this veepee lost his mind? Haven’t kids been doing just this kind of thing at science fares for decades? Isn’t this the kind of thing that the Myth Busters do on TV every week?
We need laws to protect the innocent from overzealous tin-pot dictators who are hell bent of stretching their pathetically small amounts of authority to ridiculous proportions. I hope this kid’s parents sue the shit of the veepee and the school district.
What is going on in the UK? The place is turning into a police state but its citizens don’t seem to care.
The latest Orwellian nonsense to come from my home country is the arrest and imprisonment of a frustrated airline passenger who no doubt like the rest of the country was going a bit stir crazy due to the relentless snow that’s brought life to a standstill in the UK for the past 2-3 weeks.
So this guy sends a tweet saying that if the airport isn’t reopened he’s going to blow it up. Rather than do any actual police work, the cops just lock him up and confiscate his computers. No evidence of any real threat, just a dumb tweet. I know we’ve got to be careful about terrorist threats. I grew up in the UK when the whole country was at the hands of the IRA so I get it, but come on people, at least search his house to see if he actually has or has handled any explosives before you run his life into the ground.
I’ve been collecting and listening to Numan’s music for 30 years. I had never even heard of this until recently. I’m guessing it’s going to come as news to most other Numan fans also. Well worth a listen.