Archive for December, 2013

Tim Cook gets 10% pay cut… but still takes home over $40 million

Tim Cook 2013 Compensation
Apple’s CEO has docked himself a hefty $4 million in pay, as a direct result from Apple’s underperforming stock price earlier this year, according to a proxy statement filed on Sunday (via CNN). Expressing a “strong desire to set a leadership example in the area of CEO compensation and governance,” Tim Cook insisted on putting half of his own stock grants at risk if Apple's shares underperformed the S&P 500 index this year.

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Chris Smith

December 31st

Apple

How to Order Fresh Food Online

How to Order Fresh Food Online

Services like Seamless, Grub Hub, and Eat 24 are lifesavers when you're hungry and don't feel like cooking, but they only serve prepared fare. So what do you do when you want to make your own meal but can't bother going to the supermarket yourself? Place your order with one of these helpful online grocers and get your goods delivered right to your door.

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Andrew Tarantola

December 31st

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This clear purple sea creature is proof the ocean is where aliens hide

This clear purple sea creature is proof the ocean is where aliens hide

Say hi to the Portuguese man o' war. It's purple, it's clear, it looks like a balloon, it's painfully venomous, but it's not a jellyfish and you wouldn't have to convince me too hard that it's from an alien world. This Portuguese man o' war, which other than being a fantastic name, washed up on a beach to freak people out (and to expose the alien hideout that is the ocean).

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Casey Chan on Sploid, shared by Casey Chan to Gizmodo

December 31st

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Is the Internet More Vulnerable To Physical Attacks Than To Hacking?

Is the Internet More Vulnerable To Physical Attacks Than To Hacking?

The Obama administration has been stoking the fires of fear about a cyberattack on America's infrastructure for well over a year now, but a little-discussed physical attack on a power plant earlier this year suggests we shouldn't ignore more traditional threats.

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Adam Clark Estes

December 31st

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8 Urban Stories You Might Have Missed in 2013

8 Urban Stories You Might Have Missed in 2013

Rob Ford, CitiBike, Bay Area tech woes, China's crippling smog: You've seen all the big headlines for cities this year. But here are a few of the urbanism stories that might have flown under your radar.

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Alissa Walker

December 31st

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Happiness is seeing happy dogs happily stick their heads out of cars

Happiness is seeing happy dogs happily stick their heads out of cars

Let's end the year on a happy note. And happiness is this photo series by photographer Lara Jo Regan. Called Dogs in Cars, it's photo after photo of well, dogs sticking their heads out of moving cars. Is there anything in the world more joyful than seeing that? I don't think so.

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Casey Chan on Sploid, shared by Casey Chan to Gizmodo

December 31st

Uncategorized

Survey: What’s next after Windows XP?

Windows XP support is ending in April, and Tech Pro Research is conducting a survey to find out what companies are planning to do next.

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Teena Hammond

December 31st

Windows

The Best And Worst Gadgets Of 2013

year-gadget-wrap-feature

2013 was a heady year: a time of hope; a time for sadness; a time for twerking; and a time for doge.

But it was also a time for gadgets. As we wait for 2013 to come to a close and hope for brighter things for the year to come, here’s a look at the gadgets we loved, the ones we hated, and the ones that we found aesthetically offensive.


The Good

fitbit-force

The Fitbit Force

Fitness trackers are many and varied, but Fitbit consistently delivers top-notch hardware. The Fitbit Force is the latest. It takes the successful formula of the wrist-borne Fitbit Flex and adds a basic screen so you can get information right from your wrist, instead of having to open an app on your phone every time you want to check your progress (in more detail than via a few lighted dots).

pebble-outdoors

The Pebble

Many tried to make a smartwatch people wanted to wear and use this year, and many failed. Pebble succeeded. Success for a smartwatch still doesn’t look like massive millions of units sold, but it looks better than when the Pebble team tried this a few years ago with the inPulse smartwatch for BlackBerry. “The what?” you say. Exactly.

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iPad mini with Retina Display

The iPad mini with Retina display takes the winning form factor of the original iPad mini and slaps a super high-res screen in there. It’s essentially a no-compromise machine, in that it’s cheaper than the iPad Air, and has the same processor, computing power and battery life. Plus if you have big pockets, it’s pocketable.

raspberry pi CC

Raspberry Pi

Kids need coding skills if they want to survive in our dystopian future. The ability to hack a circuit board could be the difference between eternal servitude and mastery over a private robot army by 2050 and we all know it. This educational tool is the perfect, cheap apocalypse survival kit. It’s technically from last year, but we contend it had more impact this year when production really spooled up.

kindle-paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon knows when it’s got a good thing going. Last year’s Kindle Paperwhite was a good thing, and this year’s update keeps all the good and adds some better stuff. Like faster page refresh, greater text/page contrast and more even lighting.

The Bad

gearhandson4

Samsung Galaxy Gear

Pebble made a good smartwatch, and Samsung made a dumb one. They made weird ads to try to promote their dumb smartwatch, too, which helped nothing and creeped out the entire world. Plus it only works with a small pool of Galaxy devices, and it has terrible battery life and looks awful. Go home Samsung, you’re drunk.

gamestick

Gamestick

“Android-based game console” is a phrase we wrote so many times this year. So. Many. Times. And it turns out, they mostly blow. Atop the pile of those that miss is the Gamestick, a crowdfunded disaster that no one loves.

ouya

Ouya

The Ouya is like the Gamestick, in that it was a disappointing “Android-based game console,” but to its credit, it isn’t the Gamestick. It’s still not great by any stretch of the imagination, but huge hype didn’t help, and it has decent niche appeal for anyone who really likes emulation and would rather have something permanent instead of plugging their phone into their TV repeatedly.

leap motion

Leap Motion

Speaking of startup gadgets that really blew it in 2013, the Leap Motion Controller doesn’t live up to its massive hype at all. Sure, if you’re a billionaire inventor like Tony Stark or Elon Musk it’s great for designing space ships or giant death airships, but for regular people, trying to, say, browse the web, you’re going to try this once, hate it and stick it in a drawer.

The Ugly

digitalpotty

CTA Digital iPotty

Kids need to learn to use the toilet, and they should learn early that they also need to use iPads while they’re doing their business. So why not combine potty training and tablet use into a single device? The answer is that you shouldn’t do this because God will never forgive you if you do.

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Google Glass

Maybe face-based computing is going to work eventually, but as-is, Google Glass looks like garbage. It makes your face look bad. Don’t try denying it. Google has released plenty of images of models wearing it and none of them look any good, so you with your normal-person face will look plain ol’ stupid.

lg-g2

LG G2

The LG G2 is a great phone, as it is essentially a slightly improved version of the excellent Nexus 5, albeit with some LG bloatware crud. But LG went out of its mind and put the wake/sleep and volume rocker button on the back, just to infuriate me to the point where I would like to do murder. You couldn’t choose a less ergonomic place to put that button, LG. Not if you ran a thousand focus groups to figure out more inconvenient positioning.

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Nintendo 2DS

I ain’t mad at you for dropping one of the ‘D’s Nintendo – you never needed three to begin with. And this device is actually pretty great, and I’d buy this instead of a 3DS if I didn’t already have one. Still, it’s not good-looking. It is, in fact, ugly. Good looks cost money, though, so uglification for a budget device may be strategy, not a stupid mistake.


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Darrell Etherington

December 31st

Gadgets

Sony Rumored To Be Considering A Windows Phone Handset In 2014

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 10.17.48 AM

According to The Information, Sony could release a Windows Phone device, diversifying its mobile device lineup, bolstering Microsoft, and perhaps demonstrating a growing wish among hardware firms to hedge against an Android-dominated future.

Sony appears to be strongly interested in the project. The Verge wrote this morning that the company has continued the project despite Microsoft’s plan to purchase Nokia’s handset business. Its willingness to consider building a Windows Phone device despite the platform having a firm home-advantage tilt towards Microsoft’s own hardware is indicative.

For Sony the move would diversify its mobile line away from Android, a platform now generally associated with Samsung hardware. The irony to that is the simple fact that Nokia is the de facto Windows Phone OEM, so Sony would be entering into a second realm where it would be a second-place player.

The winner in Sony’s potential entrance is Microsoft, even if the release of a Vaio-branded Windows Phone handset could potentially slow sales growth of its — soon to be owned — Lumia phones. Microsoft would collect a per-unit fee, perhaps enjoy faster overall platform sales growth, and, of course, there has ever been an implied connection between the Windows Phone and Xbox product lines. We have yet to see hard evidence in my estimation that one leads to greater use of the other, but the shared Xbox platform experience must have some impact on consumer activity.

Therefore, Sony building a Windows Phone would have some positive impact on Xbox. And that would, presumably, come at the cost of Playstation momentum.

According to the latest public data, Nokia’s control of usage share in the Windows Phone hardware ecosystem is now more than 92 percent. That’s dangerous for Microsoft as betting your mobile platform on a single device stack could lead to platform risks (a poor hardware update cycle could slow growth for a year, etc.), meaning that Sony’s joining the Windows Phone cadre could better moor Windows Phone.

When Windows Phone launched, it did so with OEM partners as diverse as Dell. There has been a winnowing. If Microsoft can flip that trend, it will have gone a ways to proving that the progress it made in 2013 was no fluke.

Top Image Credit: Flickr


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Alex Wilhelm

December 31st

Gadgets

LG May Be Taking Another Stab At The Wearable Activity Tracking Formula

lifebandtouch

CES 2014 is just around the corner, along with enough new gadgetry to fill several lifetimes. Last year we saw a glut of activity trackers pop up in the wake of notable hits like the Fitbit and Jawbone’s UP, and now it looks like LG is taking yet another stab at the wearable fitness formula with its newly leaked (thanks to @evleaks) Lifeband Touch.

Wait, hold on, another stab? Let’s not forget that LG showed off an awfully familiar looking quantified self contraption at last year’s CES, a device that never found its way to store shelves. That earlier unit was capable of connecting to certain compatible LG smart TVs in addition to just tracking your movement, which has to be one of the savvier approaches to building a wearable I’ve seen yet.

After all, if you’re going to insist that people wear your wrist-worn doodad for days on end, what better way to go than to connect it to more things you’re likely to interact with often anyway. Sadly, there are precious few details to go on at this point so the Lifeband is

If we’re being honest, the Lifeband’s existence doesn’t come as much of a surprise — LG has already confirmed that it’s continuing to work on wearable devices, and some recent rumors pointed to a health-conscious angle. The real question, though, is whether or not these things will ever actually see the light of day.

The quantified self market is still a relatively young one, but it’s already got its fair share of big-name incumbents that seem to get the lion’s share of attention from the press and consumers alike. Then again, the Galaxy Gear seemed like one of those kooky vaporware projects for a while before Samsung (for better or worse) decided to push it out the door — maybe LG will throw caution to the wind and release this thing after all.


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Chris Velazco

December 31st

Gadgets
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