This week: Chromecast, car hacking (no crowbar required), tablets taking the world by storm, the cause of horrible handwriting, Netflix profiles, and an interview with the creator of xkcd.
Chromecast: Google’s new streaming device
If you were on the tech blogs this week, you couldn’t get around the announcement of Google’s Chromecast (like this review from Engadget). It’s a two-inch $35 device that connects to your TV’s HDMI port and gives you access to streamable content. You can stream videos from apps such as Google Play, Netflix, or YouTube, or display content from any tab you’ve got open in Google’s Chrome browser using tab casting. Want to know how it compares to Roku or Apple TV? The Huffington Post has the story.
Tablets sales will outpace PC sales by 2014
Data is showing that based on current trends, by April of next year tablets will outsell PCs (and it could even happen sooner. So, if you’ve got a tablet on your holiday shopping list, you’re not alone. Tech Crunch has all the numbers.
Hacking into cars (and I don’t mean with a crowbar)
You might think that “car hacking” means you’re breaking and entering. Alas, in today’s world it means that just like your laptop, today’s smart cars are vulnerable to having their internal computer hacked with technology. Two guys—Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller—got a grant to research the problem and discovered just how dangerous car hacking could be. They were able to accelerate or engage the breaks (or kill the brake), beep the horn, set off the crash preparation system, and more. Eeek. Let’s hope their research encourages some security protocols (soon). NPR has the full story in their All Tech Considered article.
Is technology killing handwriting?
In a word, yes. Texting and typing are taking their toll and studies are showing our handwriting is more illegible than ever. And, of course it doesn’t help that because of technology, cursive requirements are going the way of the Dodo (and already have any many school districts). But just because we’re tossing the pens, doesn’t mean we should toss our writing skills. Experts say while texting requires a more casual style, to achieve in the world people still need to be able to use standard English. CNN reported the story.
Netflix introduces individual profile settings…finally
If you got on Netflix last night you might have noticed the new profile feature (it’s live at my house, anyway, but Netflix is rolling it out over the coming weeks). You can now have up to 5 individual profiles for their service (of course, TDS TV has let you create customized channel favorite lists for some time). This means that each profile can have its own settings, viewing history, and queue (where available). All members of your household can access the other profiles, so don’t think your 9-year-old won’t still spot any rated R movies in your queue. For a video and some screen shots, head to Endgadget.
Xkcd creator interview
If you’re a fan of the comic xkcd, you probably watched the Time comic evolve over the last few months. Wired sat down with the creator who revealed the secret backstory behind the 3, 990-panel comic. From developing the unique language (“Beanish”) used in the comic, to what the night sky might look like the future, the details included in his epic comic are amazing. You can read the interview here.