Wearable technology products are increasing at a rapid pace, with manufacturers catering to a niche consumer market that is going mainstream - and will reach more than 250 million on the market in the next three years, analysts predict.
There are a number of different casual fitness wearables for consumers to choose from, including the Zackeers Turn Signal Gloves, Garmin Vivofit activity tracker, Sensoria Smart Shirt, FitBit, Scosche, and others crowding into the market.
Just a few years ago, GPS and heart-rate monitors were designed for sports enthusiasts, but now just walking around the block with your dog can be easily tracked and cataloged.
To show his displeasure over continued revelations of organized spying from the National Security Agency (NSA), Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently called President Obama to discuss the matter.
This was the first time that Zuckerberg expressed his concerns directly with Obama, while Facebook, Google and other companies improve encryption and security efforts.
"The US government should be the champion for the Internet, not a threat," Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook blog post. "They need to be much more transparent about what they're doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst. I've called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future. Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform."
At some point, I am sure that most of us have fantasized about being the stereotypical mad scientist who spends his days in a lab filled with chemical experiments and electricity arcing from one source to the other. While most of us will never make it to this point in our scientific endeavors, we can have a cool device that sends arcs of electricity shooting from one electrode to another, and have it play music at the same time.
A new Kickstarter campaign from ExcelPhysics is offering kits that let backers build their own speakers that emanate sound by using nothing but the plasma generated when electricity arcs from one electrode to another. "A plasma speaker plays music just like your normal speaker but it uses an arc of electrical plasma running at 30,000 volts," the company said on its Kickstarter page. "Most people aren't aware that plasma arcs can be modulated to generate sounds so your friends will be in for a surprise when you explain to them that the plasma arc IS the speaker! Your typical speaker uses an electromagnet to vibrate small drums, but a plasma speaker uses an electrical arc to ionize and compress the air around it to play music, all with no moving parts!"
Today Plex made good on its promise to open up its Plex for Chromecast app to everyone, including those who are not PlexPass subscribers. Plex has been available for the Chromecast since the end of 2013, but has been limited to those who subscribe to the companies premium subscription called PlexPass. Today's announcement means that anyone can cast media straight from the Plex for Android or Plex for iOS applications as well as from their Mac or PC using the Plex web app.
Plex also added support for a new Camera Upload feature that will allow users to back up their smartphone's photos straight to their Plex Media Server. This positions the service to move into the personal cloud storage arena as well, making Plex Media Server a multi-position home storage solution the entire family can utilize. At the moment, the photo upload feature is limited only to the iOS app, but Android support wil come in the near future.
Of all the spying programs revealed by former IT contractor Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency (NSA) was quick to deny exploiting users by impersonating Facebook.
Shortly after reports surfaced accusing the NSA of mimicking a Facebook server to help infect user PCs, users were upset - and the NSA wanted to offer a public statement.
"Recent media reports that allege NSA has infected millions of computers around the world with malware, and that NSA is impersonating U.S. social media or other websites, are inaccurate," the NSA said via its Public Affairs Office. "NSA uses its technical capabilities only to support lawful and appropriate foreign intelligence operations, all of which must be carried out in strict accordance with its authorities."
Google has just finished rolling out its new online marketplace for third-party applications designed to enhance Google Drive. Google says that the marketplace is available from within Google Docs and Sheets, and can easily be accessed by clicking on the add-on tab at the top of a documents page. There have been chrome extensions that integrate into Docs before, but this is the first time that Google has released an official marketplace for apps that directly integrate.
Called Add-On's the apps are created by third-party developers and enhance the service by adding handy features such as the ability to sign documents, create custom templates, add images with annotations, and quickly generate macros for spreadsheets. Other apps allow users to quickly and easily cite sources, write footnotes, and build bibliographies by simply searching the web for the desired sources.
Traditionally coins minted in the US have a very distinctive round and flat shape, but a new release from the US Mint has all but shattered that pattern. A new commemorative design will soon roll out that honors the National Baseball Hall of Fame's 75th birthday in the form of the country's first curved coin. The round coin takes the profile of a baseball and is featured in both gold and silver mintings.
The coins profile and design are loosely based on the curved shape of the International Year of Astronomy coins minted by France back in 2009, as well as Australia's Southern Cross coins. Designed by California Artist, Cassie McFarland, the coins feature a baseball on the front and a catchers mitt on the reverse. Her winning "Hand full of Gold" design was chosen from a pool of 178 entries and was based off of a baseball glove she used as a kid.
Electronic education kits were one of the highlights of my youth, and I spent many hours attaching resistors, wires and other components together via those little shiny springs. Today with microcontroller boards such as the Arduino being as cheap as they are, educational electronic kits have taken on a whole new look, and ease of use. The Portable Dual Arduino Micro XPlorerBoard is one of those new easy to use educational electronic boards.
Featuring support for two Arduino Micro boards, the XPlorerBoard makes life easy by eliminating loose parts, and adding in very handy features such as a 3V and 5V logic level converter, on-board power supply, and a full compliment of analog and digital sensors. Since the XPlorerBoard was designed for education, the entire board is coated in an anti-static coating and all of the leads on the bottom are protected as well.
The entire board along with accessories fits neatly into a standard binder as well, making the board portable and easy to carry to class or your favorite MakerSpace. The XPlorerBoard is being offered through a KickStarter campaign right now and appears to be one of the best value educational development kits on the market at the moment. Best of all, the XPlorerBoard is a product of Savanna, Georgia, and not too far from my home town!
Microsoft has been offering its online version of Office called Office 365 for a while. Microsoft first envisioned this as a way to get people to pay for constantly updated productivity programs rather than buying a copy of Office once and never upgrading.
Microsoft announced this week that it was cutting the price of Office 365 for individual users. That subscription is called Office 365 Personal. Currently Microsoft Office 365 Premium for households sells for $9.99 monthly and lets users access the service on up to five computers.
Some people don't have that many computers or that money people needing access. Office 365 Personal will cost a bit less at $6.99 per month or $69.99 annually for one user. Office 365 Home Premium is getting a name change to Office 365 Home.
Almost everyone with a smartphone has taken a selfie at some point and Apple is looking to make the process even easier with the creation of a new section in the iTunes App Store geared specifically towards selfie apps. The section will be filled with apps such as Snapchat, Justin Bieber's Shots, and much more.
I had no idea that there were even apps in existance that were geared toward selfie image generation except for Snapchat, and I consider that more of a photo messaging app than anything else. This past year, the word Selfie gained notoriety when it was officially added to the Oxford Dictionary which had the following to say on the words addition. "If it is good enough for the Obamas or the pope, then it is good enough for Word of the Year."