Author's Archive

Form meets Function: What Google’s Nest acquisition says about our technological future

Google Nest Acquisition
Nest. Outside of the hardcore tech following, and maybe one level beyond that, no one on Earth had heard of this company prior to January 2014. It matters not. Google just agreed to pay $3.2 billion in order to bring Nest Labs over to Mountain View, and for those paying attention, the general consensus is significantly more positive than when Google decided to spend around four times that tally to buy Motorola Mobility. As in, a company that everyone on Earth has heard of.

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Darren Murph

January 14th

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REVIEW: Ona Bags Lima and Presidio camera straps are a photographer’s dream

Ona Bags Lima Presidio Review
For those who’ve been following my reviews over the years, you’ll likely be well aware of how fond I am of Ona Bags. It’s a small, service-focused outfit that has expanded from building some of the world’s greatest camera bags to building some of the world’s greatest accessories, too. The outfit’s DSLR bags, backpacks, and shoulder bags are constructed from some of the most durable, stately materials found anywhere, and I’ve long since sworn by them. Sure, they’re more expensive than anything mass-produced with ho-hum threads, but put simply, Ona’s stuff is unequivocally worth it for those willing to splurge.

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Darren Murph

December 27th

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FEATURE — Email, Twitter and the always-on lifestyle: Today’s double-edged sword

Always-on Lifestyle

What happens when "Out Of Office" becomes meaningless?


Today, I made a choice. I made a choice to carve out a chunk of time to write this article, but I did so at the expense of communication. I very intentionally decided to cast my eyes in the other direction by ignoring a deluge of inbound inquiries, and to be honest, I’m still unsure as to whether it was the right decision. Five years ago, I might have suggested that those employed in the digital industry would understand where I was coming from, but today, I’m more inclined to believe that everyone in a developed country would get the gist. This is the era where personal time becomes a relic, silence is the new distraction, and 24/7 expectations bleed from petrol stations into every possible aspect of your life. Consider this: how many requests are you presently ignoring by taking the time to read these words?

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Darren Murph

December 2nd

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Automatic Link review: An elegant, data-driven way to track your rides

Automatic Link Review

Taking the sting out of not owning a self-driving car


Automatic’s Link is perhaps most impressive not due to what it can accomplish out of the box, but what it could do in the future.


OBD-II. At a glance, you’re probably assuming that this is a little-known member of the Wu-Tang Clan who somehow escaped the 36 Chambers. Close, but no cigar. What it actually is is a specification embedded into practically every gasoline-powered automobile built since 1996, and if you’ve ever bothered to look above your gas pedal, you’ll probably see a rectangular port just waiting to be loved. Traditionally, that port has been used by mechanics with custom diagnostic readers in order to better describe what that warning light on your dash was about. Today, it’s empowering you — the all-important motorist. While OBD-II devices (and accompanying apps) have been around for years, Automatic’s Link is different. It’s beautiful. It’s elegant. And, perhaps most importantly, it just works. From my perspective, the automobile is the next great mainstream frontier for technology to truly pervade. Comically long lead times — often reaching 7 years or longer — have prevented even high-end motorcars from embracing the newest of technologies, but tools like Automatic help to circumvent the issue. In a nutshell, the Link is a small, white nub that plugs into your car’s OBD-II port. It’s fairly useless without the accompanying app, which runs quietly in the background of your phone and speaks to the Link via Bluetooth. For now, the app is iOS-only, but a beta build is expected to hit next month for the Android faithful. What’s it do? Monitors your acceleration and braking to give you tips on better a more fuel-efficient driver, alerts people of your choosing should you end up in a crash, gives you instant information on any warning lights, and keeps a beautiful record of your trips without any effort on your part. To me, however, the real potential of the $99 Link has yet to be tapped. Head on past the break to hear why.

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Darren Murph

November 19th

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Apple 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro review (late 2013)

Apple 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro Review

The ideal laptop for the road warrior


If you’ve been clinging tightly to your 15-inch notebook, fearing that a move to a 13-inch Retina display wouldn’t sustain your workflows, I’m here to tell you that your fretting is in vain.


It happened: the MacBook Air has officially been trumped as my recommended road warrior machine. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s another Apple product that’s doing the trumping. Released last month alongside the iPad Air and revised iPad mini with Retina display, the Haswell-infused 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has been my sole computer for the past four weeks. For those who slept right through the announcement, here’s a bit of a refresher: it’s dramatically faster than last year’s model, it’s cheaper, and most impressive of all, it’s thinner. How thin? At its rear, the 13-inch MacBook Air measures 0.68-inches, whereas the new 13-inch rMBP measures 0.71-inches. (Save your effort reaching for the calculator — this new rig is just 0.03-inches thicker than the MBA’s thickest point.) To boot, Apple dropped the entry price for its smallest pro-grade machine to just $1,299, placing it just $200 north of the baseline 13-inch MacBook Air. For those who spend an embarrassing amount of time in airline seats, Town Cars, and/or questionable-designed hotel rooms, there’s a new champion in town. Read on for my take on Apple’s most fit-for-travel workhorse yet.

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Darren Murph

November 18th

Apple

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean review: a look at what’s changed in Google’s mobile OS

Android 41 Jelly Bean review a look at what's changed in Google's mobile OS

Google's next iteration of Android wasn't quite the full-point release jump that many of you were perhaps anticipating. Rather than using Google I/O 2012 as the launching pad for Android 5.0, we're being formally introduced to v4.1 -- a mere 0.1 ahead of where Ice Cream Sandwich placed us around six months ago. Aside from grabbing a name change, the minor numerical bump also provides Jelly Bean the opportunity to usher in a few new features for Nexus owners to enjoy.

If you missed yesterday's keynote, Google revealed that Android 4.1 would arrive on Nexus devices in "mid-July," but there's no clear word on when partner companies will begin pushing it to their products. Moreover, pundits are quick to point out the legions of Android products that still haven't made the leap to 4.0, leaving us to wonder if those Froyo and Gingerbread laggards will simply take the fast track to 4.1 now that it's (almost) available. Care to see if the latest and greatest will live up to your expectations once it lands in a few weeks? Head on past the break as we discuss some of the larger changes that Jelly Bean has to offer.

Continue reading Android 4.1 Jelly Bean review: a look at what's changed in Google's mobile OS

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean review: a look at what's changed in Google's mobile OS originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 28 Jun 2012 10:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Darren Murph

June 28th

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Google includes Jelly Bean easter egg in Android 4.1: yes, it’s cute (video)

Google includes Jelly Bean easter egg in Android 41 yes, it's cute video

In Gingerbread, those tapping repeatedly on the version number with Android's "Settings" menu were greeted with a picture of "zombie art" by Jack Larson. In Honeycomb, a bee found its buzz. In Ice Cream Sandwich, we saw an image of the Android robot dressed up in an Ice Cream Sandwich, which grows in size when you long-press it until it transforms into a Nyan Cat-style animation. Today, we grabbed hold of a Galaxy Nexus equipped with Jelly Bean (Android 4.1), and sure enough, the tradition continues. This time, we're graced with a cutesy bean, and when long-pressed, you're presented with a game that encourages you to flick candy around a gravity-less location... for eternity. Care to see for yourself? There's a video just past the break.

[Thanks, Jarrett]

Continue reading Google includes Jelly Bean easter egg in Android 4.1: yes, it's cute (video)

Google includes Jelly Bean easter egg in Android 4.1: yes, it's cute (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 27 Jun 2012 21:36:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Darren Murph

June 28th

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More Google Glass details: experimenting with connectivity options, control possible via voice

More Google Glass details experimenting with connectivity options, control possible via voice

While Vic Gundotra wasn't willing to talk Glass in our run-in here at Google I/O, a few others were. In speaking with folks from Google, we learned a few new details about the project, while confirming some whispers that we'd heard floated in the past. Here's a quick rundown:

  • Engineers are currently 'experimenting' with connectivity options. Existing prototypes -- including those worn in the skydiving stunt this morning -- do not have any sort of built-in WWAN connectivity.
  • While it's possible that a 3G / 4G module could end up in production devices, the general idea is that latching onto nearby WiFi hotspots or relying on a wireless tether with your smartphone will be the primary way that Glass gets its data to the web.
  • Controlling Glass will eventually rely on a mixture of inputs: it'll recognize voice commands, while also taking cues from the right sidebar. There's a touch-sensitive pad on there that'll understand gestures.
  • It's entirely probable that Glass will also be able to be controlled via one's smartphone, but physical inputs will be the preferred ones.
  • Glass has an accelerometer and a gyroscope, enabling wearers to tell Glass what to do by nodding, shaking one's head, etc. (For what it's worth, we've seen similar demoed by NTT DoCoMo.)
  • The internal battery sits just behind the ear on the right side; the capacity and longevity weren't confirmed, though.
  • Glass will be able to record locally, but the idea is to have 'most everything' streamed live to the web; it's the "live, right now!" nature of Glass that Google intends to push as one of its differentiating factors.
  • In an area where wireless data isn't available (like a remote National Park or a hospital room that forbids phone usage), storing video locally would be possible for uploading later.

We also confirmed that the team is playing around with various colors, with orange, white, black and blue editions being sported here at I/O. Whether or not all of those hues make it to market remains to be seen, of course, but we're adequately jazzed about the possibilities.

More Google Glass details: experimenting with connectivity options, control possible via voice originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 27 Jun 2012 16:08:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Darren Murph

June 27th

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Photos of Google’s Vic Gundotra wearing the latest, blue-hued Glass prototype

Photos of Google's Vic Gundotra wearing the latest, bluehued Glass prototype

Sergey Brin briefly pulled out a light blue prototype of Google Glass whilst on stage at Google I/O, and as it turns out, those are evidently the latest and greatest models that the company is willing to wear around. We ran into social exec Vic Gundotra after this morning's keynote, only to find him donning precisely the same set that was teased on stage. We asked if the blue was just part of Google's experimentation with coloring Glass, and he chuckled while confessing that he wasn't authorized to speak further about the project or its ambitions. Still, the man looks good in blue. And something tells us you would, too.

Photos of Google's Vic Gundotra wearing the latest, blue-hued Glass prototype originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 27 Jun 2012 15:24:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Darren Murph

June 27th

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University researchers develop AWARE-2 camera, hope it hits the mainstream in five years

University researchers develop 50 gigapixel camera, hope it hits the mainstream in five yearsGigapixel cameras aren't exactly hot-off-the-presses, but a few wizards at Duke and the University of Arizona may be close to getting that sort of technology into your future point-and-shoot. Reportedly, electrical engineers with gobs of free time and an imagination the size of Coach K's ego have managed to synchronize 98 minuscule cameras -- each with a 14-megapixel sensor -- "grouped around a shared spherical lens". The real kicker here is the hope for the future: these same researchers feel that "within five years, as the electronic components of the cameras become miniaturized and more efficient, the next generation of gigapixel cameras should be available to the general public." The prototype itself measures a whopping 2.5-feet square and 20 inches deep, but only around 3 percent of it is made of optical elements; the vast majority is circuitry needed to calculate the stupefying amount of information captured with such a device.

University researchers develop AWARE-2 camera, hope it hits the mainstream in five years originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 21 Jun 2012 15:51:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Nature, TG Daily  |  sourceDuke  | Email this | Comments

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Darren Murph

June 21st

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