Weekly tech news roundup for August 14

edge_note_MainSamsung unpacks lots of new tech
At Samsung’s Unpacked media event this week, they announced all kinds of new devices and functionality. They’re going all-in on big smartphones, releasing not one but two. The first is the Galaxy S6 edge+ and the Galaxy Note5. They didn’t stop there, they also announced the launch of Samsung Pay. It’ll come to the U.S. on September 28. Another piece of their new tech that go a lot of buzz was the Keyboard Cover that will retail for $80. Engadget called it “clever” and said they were impressed when they got their hands on it. If you really want a full run-down of Unpacked in less than six minutes, check out this recap video.

alphabetAlphabet: Google’s new holding company
The cofounder and CEO of Google, Larry Page, took the Internet by surprise this week by announcing the creation of a holding company called Alphabet. Page is to be CEO of this new company, which is now a collection of companies, which will include Google but will also include separate groups he says, “are pretty far afield from our main Internet products.” So, Google is slimming down, but those other business and research “arms” will now be separate businesses (Page specifically mentioned X Lab, Life Sciences, and Calico as examples), but exact details weren’t offered. Sundar Pichai will be taking over as Google CEO.

First space-grown veggies also eaten in space
Red romaine lettuce became the first vegetable to be both grown and consumed on the International Space Station. To complete longer space missions, astronauts are going to need more than just meal replacements—they’re going to need to grow their own food. So, this is one big step for humankind. The video of the astronauts eating was a huge hit in the tech rags this week, and I have to admit, it’s a pretty fun. It may not be Neil Armstrong, but was still a landmark space moment!

What it’s like to ride the Lexus hoverboard
The Verge’s Sam Sheffer got the chance to actually ride the hoverboard. If you’ve been following the story, you might enjoy his first-person account of what it’s really like. I myself was wowed to learn the skate park Lexus built is actually wood, painted to look like concrete, with carefully disguised embedded magnetic track. TV trickery! And, apparently the board will only stay “charged” with liquid nitrogen for about 20 minutes (it evaporates) before needed a new batch. But, he still says it was fun. Check out the story.

snapchatSnapchat’s new travel mode will save your data
If you or someone in your family chews up a lot of data with Snapchat, be sure to update your mobile device. The latest release offers a new feature called Travel Mode. When it’s on, the app won’t automatically download Discover, Live Stories, and updates—instead you have to tap to load. And, the release also brings Sticker Picker, feature that lets you stick as many emoji as you want on your snaps.

Indiegogo of the week: MicFlip, the world’s first reversible micro USB cable
All users of micro USB cables, rejoice! No longer will it take at least one try to get your device plugged in properly (because who gets it right the first time??). Behold the MicFlip. It has no “wrong” side so you can stop fumbling. For $15 you can still score early bird pricing.

MicFlip

The worst Windows 10 bugs and how to fix them
If you’ve taken the plunge and switched to Microsoft’s latest-and-greatest operating system, you may have noticed a few…glitches. Field Guide has a piece you might find helpful: The worst bugs in Windows 10 and how to fix them.

cat memeNew exhibit explains how cats won the Internet
New York Museum of the Moving Image’s new How Cats Took Over the Internet exhibit features early examples of cat memes through to the present. And it’s not just all about cuteness—the curator started the project with a single question: If cats only make up a tiny percent of all online content, and are second to dogs in terms of online meme exposure in the U.S., how can you explain how much attention they receive? The answer he found is it’s because of pluralistic ignorance—basically, dog people have dog parks, but cat people don’t have the same space. So, they bond on the Internet because now they know they’re not alone in their crazy cat person-ness. It’s an interesting cultural tail (get it?). Wired has the story.
 
 

About Missy Kellor

Missy works on the Corporate Communications team and reports stories to TDS employees and customers. This is right up her alley because she’s an extrovert and also a big fan of research (really, she’ll look up just about anything that strikes her interest). Missy is a native of Madison, Wis. with an undergraduate in Anthropology and a master’s degree in Life Sciences Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest in the Internet as a mass media shaped her work towards a PhD in Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s also worked as an editorial assistant, copywriter, and production artist. In her off hours, Missy is a crafter, Pinterest addict, reader, wife, and mom of two kids. You can find Missy on G+ and on Twitter.

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