Technology Archive


Facebook Home And Privacy

Om Malik:

So if your phone doesn’t move from a single location between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. for say a week or so, Facebook can quickly deduce the location of your home. Facebook will be able to pinpoint on a map where your home is, whether you share your personal address with the site or not. It can start to build a bigger and better profile of you on its servers. It can start to correlate all of your relationships, all of the places you shop, all of the restaurants you dine in and other such data. The data from accelerometer inside your phone could tell it if you are walking, running or driving. As Zuckerberg said — unlike the iPhone and iOS, Android allows Facebook to do whatever it wants on the platform, and that means accessing the hardware as well.

While I don’t think Facebook would be able to get away with this Orwelllian future that Om paints, I do think it’s a valid concern. Do we really want this level of personal data exposed to a company whose business model rests on targeted advertisers?

via Why Facebook Home bothers me: It destroys any notion of privacy — Tech News and Analysis.


The New Frontier Of Realism In PC Gaming

Through painstaking collaboration between software developers at AMD and Crystal Dynamics, Tomb Raider proudly features the world’s first real-time hair rendering technology in a playable game: TressFX Hair.

Well, guys, it’s come to this.



The New Google Glass Video Promo

Ok, so Google’s made a pretty neat demonstration video that’s gotten almost everyone on my social media feeds to go, “OMG SO COOL!”

But when you think about it – is it really?

Most of the video shows people doing some really cool, adventurous stuff, like skydiving or shredding the gnar. Being able to capture that in handsfree video is a pretty neat feature, but honestly, don’t GoPro cameras already do that at a fraction of the cost of Glass? Sure, it’s not as sleek or elegant looking to wear, but if I had paid $1500 for a nifty piece of wearable technology, I’d probably be a more than a little wary about it falling off in the air or breaking if I yard sale into a tree while snowboarding.

What else does Glass really do other than be a really cool wearable camera? I think to myself about how rarely I use Siri in my day to day life and can’t help but think of a similar usage pattern for the voice activated features for Glass. If I want to take a picture, I really don’t want to be saying out in public “Take a picture, Glass!” Plus, while the location aware stuff is neat, it’s really nothing that’s not available on smartphones today. Same goes with the video conferencing and messaging features. While having those features in a handsfree setting is nice, are they worth $1500 to most people? Or even $999? Not for me.

I do think augmented reality is a feature that has the potential to really revolutionize the way we interact with the world, but I’m a little wary of Glass fully realizing that, especially on its first iteration. That being said, I’d love to play with one of these and have it blow me away. Get the price down to something in the $200-$300s, and have it work seamlessly with, say, my existing eyeglasses, and we’ll have a much more interesting conversation. I just doubt we’ll be having it in 2014.

Via Google Glass – What It Does.


Mailbox For iOS

Anthony Wing Kosner for Forbes:

Email is a constant stream of triggers, and the means to act upon these triggers can be present in the tool through which you receive it. This is why Mailbox’s mobile first approach is so important. Increasingly we get our mail messages on our mobile devices without the time, attention or full-size keyboard to make a complete response. These half-read, half-considered messages become work to take care of later—but that later never comes. By being able to structure your responses even if you don’t have time to make a full response you reduce the residue and mental overhead associated with your inbox. So when you do sit down at your desk or laptop or iPad, your work is cut out for you and ready to engage with the actual content you have to consider.

It took me a week to decide to take the plunge with Mailbox and allow it to archive all of my email on Gmail. All of my mail has been in my inbox basically since I signed up for the service years ago, a situation I imagine most people have been in as well. I can say it’s been a pretty good experience so far, my inbox is pretty clear, but I’m still getting used to the workflow of sorting my mail.

It’s a shame that there’s no Exchange support for the app, because for me, that would be the true test for Mailbox’s workflow – work emails. Nevertheless, I’ve definitely cut down on the bulk email lists I’ve subscribed to on my personal account. When you see the emails streaming in on an empty inbox, it’s pretty easy to see what’s necessary and what isn’t. Having 100,000 emails in the same place over the last 9 years or so just ended up being a big pile of eh.

via Mailbox App Revolutionizes Gmail Productivity, Will Google Or Apple Buy It? – Forbes.


Marvel’s Push Into Digital Comics

Rob Salkowitz for Fast Company:

Augmented reality might be the most overblown trend on the digital radar right now, and that’s saying a lot. Do we really need to wave our smartphones and tablets over every object in the physical world to find some gimmicky Easter egg or unlock some cheesy video clip? Does it add anything to the story to strip a page down to its pencils or see Iron Man come flying off the page onto the screen of your iPad? How soon till that gets old, even for a teenage male? Five times? Ten?

Bingo. I’ve been reading “Avengers vs X-Men” with the Marvel AR app and it gets old pretty fast. There’s only about 4-5 times you can use the AR functionality and even then, about 80% of the “content” is just panels stripped to pencils. Yes, it’s hard work producing a comic, but *yawn*.

It is nice that Marvel is thinking of ways to add value to their content, but AR is probably a novelty at best, especially considering that you have to hold your phone over the comic, which is kinda like attending a live concert and watching it through your phone camera. How about we work on making a Spotify equivalent for comics, first? Now, that would be something truly valuable.

Marvel Announces Big Digital Comics Push, But Will It Fly? | Fast Company.


Steve Ballmer Sells Windows1.0

Presented without comment.


New Apple iOS Maps App Is Something You Will Want

Sources describe the new Maps app as a forthcoming tentpole feature of iOS that will, in the words of one, “blow your head off.” I’m not quite sure what that means, and the source in question declined to elaborate, but it’s likely a reference to the photorealistic 3-D mapping tech Apple acquired when it purchased C3 Technologies. C3 did use missile-targeting technology to develop its gorgeous 3-D models of major cities, so …

“Missile-targeting technology”? Well, it’s a good thing Google’s not the company with that tech. With all of the personal data they’re collecting on us, “blow your head off” might have a more literal meaning. *rimshot*

But seriously, the Maps iOS app is something that needs to be overhauled, given that no truly significant functionality has been added to it since the launch of the original iPhone. I’m not sure 3D mapping is something that’ll be practically useful on a day to day basis, but I would love some more turn-by-turn navigation and localized search capabilities at the very least.

via AllThingsD.


Google’s Project Glass

This might wow those more easily hypnotized by “ZOMG THIS IS LIKE LIVING IN THE FUTURE” prototype gadgets, but the likelihood of Glass shipping as an actual product (much less be widely adopted) is very small. On top of that, who the hell wants to be “that guy” walking around a city looking like a cyborg cosplayer who talks to himself? I feel silly enough using Siri in public and that’s even with the option to appear like I’m talking on the phone.

That being said, there is something inherently neat about a hands-free, portable display device. Stuff like the HUD navigation on foot and being able to share a video feed of what you’re seeing is pretty cool stuff.

In other words, I’m just waiting for the cybernetic implant version of Glass before I get excited.

Project Glass – Google+.


The Oatmeal Tried To Watch Game Of Thrones

It continues to baffle me why content providers are still giving people reasons to pirate their content. They should be making piracy the least appealing option.

I tried to watch Game of Thrones and this is what happened – The Oatmeal.


The David Choe Stern Interview

This interview is very long, but once you start listening to it, you won’t even notice the time going by. Plus, it’s the weekend, so you’ve got the time.

You’ll be absolutely enthralled by David Choe because he’s the honey badger of artists. He doesn’t give a shit about “normal” conventions or the decisions that normal people would make. He plays by his own rules and is completely candid with Howard. He tells stories about his time incarcerated in a Japanese prison where he had to bash his head in to cause a visible injury so the warden would take him to a hospital for internal bleeding treatment. He’ll tell you how he came to paint the walls of the original Facebook offices and how he came to the decision to choose shares in the company as payment rather than hard cash. There are some vulgar moments where he talks about sex and masturbation, but it’s all part of his profile.

It’s the most fascinating interview I’ve heard or read in a very long time.