Google Glass Available for the Public

To date, there are about 10,000 Glass devices in the wild, the vast majority of which include hand selected journalists, developers, and celebrities.

I respect what Google is doing with their Explorer program.  While it’s Glass is now publicly available Google is still trying to abstain from it being touted as a consumer product.  The overall public acceptance of glass is tepid and it’s uses not fully realized.

The fact that they can limit the release of them without ‘flopping’ shows a keen awareness of the Technology adoption life cycle.

Amazon’s Dash

I believe Amazon is more interested in seeing SKUs people have in their home that Amazon doesn’t carry.  Essentially giving them a window into what people are buying not online.

Now kids can hack before they can read

His parents were curious about just how their son was accessing games on Dad’s password-protected Xbox One profile. Well, as KGTV in California reports, it was as easy as spamming the space key on the password verification screen.

 

Microsoft unifies all app platforms

Announced by David Treadwell from the Build stage, the principle is simple. The bulk of a developer’s code will be the same for every Windows platform they target (primarily phone, tablet, desktop, and Xbox 360), and can be made available as a single entry in the Windows App Store.

The biggest software developer in the world has just announced the unification of app publishing across their platforms.  Microsoft’s battle to retain developer interest has been hard-fought and unification appears to be their great hope.  The Windows phone may already be in its death throes but other Microsoft platforms such as the xbox and desktops are still performing well and this could fix the phone’s situation indirectly.

Even if it doesn’t revive the Windows Phone it this unification will wear away the definitions even further between devices, possibly leading to fully responsive apps.  T

Do Google and Apple think this is the way to go? Google’s Chrome OS and Android are very different products, but Google will always be a web platform first and a native app system second.  Apple’s experiment with Launch Pad appears to be a step toward unification but their lack of responsive design patterns and purposeful crippling of iPads and iPhones says they are not moving in unification’s direction.

From a technology idealism perspective this is a great step forward as it means developers can build apps that are almost form factor agnostic.  While Microsoft’s market share of tablets and phones is slim, this is something that could impact the industry greatly.

 

 

 

Why there won’t be 3D printing in every home

James Robinson of Pando:

You’re not taking up against the future by talking realistically about 3D printing. By better understanding its weaknesses, more people would be better equipped to play more directly to its strengths.

When you consider 3D printers  as functional as computer, ubiquity is expected.  When you consider 3D might be more like bread makers there is not necessarily the same expectation.

 

 

 

Dropbox using hash recognition to detect shared copyright files

Greg Kumparak:

The system is neither new, nor sketchy. It’s been in place for years, and it’s about as unsketchy as an anti-copyright infringement system can get. It allows Dropbox to block pre-selected files from being shared from person-to-person (thus keeping Dropbox from getting raided by the Feds), without their anti-infringement system having any idea what most of your files actually are.

I’ve always been a big fan of dropbox and this is another great example of them standing up for their users.

“UK GOVT: DVD AND CD RIPPING WILL BE LEGALIZED THIS SUMMER”

TF Article:

The UK Government has published a guide informing consumers about an upcoming revision of copyright law which will legalize CD and DVD copying for personal use. The changes go into effect in June, and will also broaden other forms of fair use, including parody and quotation rights.

While the era of disc media is mainly behind us this is still a progressive move that needed to happen.  The UK has always had rather strict copyright laws, Google founders once stated they would have never been possible to start their company their British regulations.

While physically copying for personal use will be legal, the act of breaking proprietary DRM protections is another matter.

Slashdot Commenter Writes:

The new law actually takes this into account. If you buy something in a format with ‘digital locks’ that prevent format shifting, you may write to the Secretary of State for permission to break the locks. This will be granted, unless the same item is available in a format without digital locks. The upshot of this is that if you sell DRM-free media in the UK, then you can force people to buy a second copy to format shift (but only once), but if you don’t then they can format shift whatever encumbered format they want.

This means that breaking DRM is explicitly legal in the UK, unless the same media is available without DRM (in which case there’s little reason to bother breaking the DRM – you could just buy it in a more friendly format). I’m really looking forward to the Secretary of State receiving thousands of letters a day from people asking to rip their DVDs. Don’t forget: you can send one letter per DVD you own…

The paradigm of the knowledge based computer language approaches

Stephen Wolfram:

So what’s the idea? It’s really to make a language that’s knowledge based. A language where built right into the language is huge amounts of knowledge about computation and about the world. You see, most computer languages kind of stay close to the basic operations of the machine. They give you lots of good ways to manage code you build. And maybe they have add-on libraries to do specific things.

But our idea with the Wolfram Language is kind of the opposite. It’s to make a language that has as much built in as possible. Where the language itself does as much as possible. To make everything as automated as possible for the programmer.

I’ve been following the release of the Wolfram Language because it marks a seismic shift that will make programming both more accessible and wholly more productive.  Features like natural language processing and an incredible array of built-in APIs means creating productive applications and performing computation will be borderline intuitive.

Even the cross platform game engine Unity will integrate in with the Wolfram language

Wolfram Alpha Executive Director Luc Barthelet:

“Most languages — take Java or Python or anything — people like to define them in a minimalist way. “They want the language to have the minimum best set of instructions. It’s like games — the language needs to do just what it needs to do, and nothing else. The Wolfram Language is very different, because the goal is that every time you need to do something, it’s only going to be a line or two of code.”

Anyone who codes knows that library mining, which is the searching for pre-existing  code that does what you need takes up a fair bit of time.  These libraries  have to be critiqued and integrated; a process that can lead to further frustrations and ultimately cause the programmer to decide to do it from scratch.  With Wolfram the goal is to have many of these exist below the surface of the language.

My friend Matt Johnson suggested that the Wolfram Language is encroaching on the Stark Trek computer’s functionality. In Star Trek the crew member dictates a command naturally and the  ’computer’ presumably creates a program on the fly to execute said command.  This colloquial interface is the holy grail of computer programming and it appears the Wolfram Language is brining it closer.

The down sides of the Wolfram Language is the licensing and performance speed.  While Wolfram will be very useful it will cost money to use, it will not have it’s source available and because of it’s incredibly high-level nature it will require extra cycles (and bandwidth) to run.  These details are still not ironed out but they do indicate that knowledge based computing has a long way to go before it’s widely used.

Space on mobile home screens is now worth $1 billion a square inch

Bessemer Venture Partners Report:

Entire markets exist in the space between the amount of people who look at their phone to do something specific and the people who look at their phone just to look at it: 23 percent of people have a specific task in mind, but almost double that (42 percent) just want to be distracted.

James Robinson

But reading between the lines of this research, the opportunity more realistically centers on understanding the tic behind society’s collective boredom and propensity to reach for the phone as a result. One out of three people will pick their phone up when they get a notification, no matter what, research shows. A little under half of us don’t want to be disturbed, but the rest are open season for push notifications.

Smart watches have the potential to dissuade us from the ‘tic’ to entertain us during idle seconds.  If I get a notification on a smart watch I check it easily, the limited functionality means I will not revert to the home screen to find additional distractions, I’ll simply stop looking at the device.  Phones are brought out more for specific reasons such as to  jump into a social stream or play a round of Threes.

‘Bitcoin to be taxed in U.S. as property, not currency’

For investors, bitcoins will be treated like other commodities, the IRS said. If they increase in value, you have to pay capital gains taxes after you sell them. If they lose value, you can recognize a capital loss.