Google’s huge developer conference hit is…cardboard??
At Google’s annual developer conference (known as I/O), they’ve given away lots of freebies. This year though, it seems they outdid themselves because the news was all over the tech blogs—Google gave away cardboard. Really. They gave developers a cardboard virtual reality headset (some assembly required). It works with seven different apps for an Android phone to give the user an Oculus-like experience (one blogger called it “Mockulus Thrift” –ha!). Attendees could watch YouTube on a theater-like screen, flyover a city in Google Earth, look around pictures in full 360 degrees, etc. Here are more details, if you’re curious. If you didn’t get to go to I/O you’re out of luck—it doesn’t sound like they’re going to be spreading these cardboard wonders around. But, they sure sound cool!
More than 300,000 servers still vulnerable to Heartbleed
Just a friendly reminder that Heartbleed isn’t a thing of the past. Security researcher Robert Graham reported this week that at least 309,197 servers are still vulnerable to the bug. Be careful out there, and keep your passwords updated and strong.
Nest Labs buys Dropcam for $555 million
Dropcam, if you’re not familiar, makes cameras so owners can keep an eye on their homes when they’re not around. Nest Labs, of course, makes the popular and learning thermostat and smoke detectors. The founder of Nest said that Dropcam will be fully incorporated into Nest including, “how we handle everything from customer support to customer privacy.” Combining the products and skill sets from the two companies could bring some interesting synergies to the idea of a smart home. And speaking of smart homes…
Wink takes hard aim at smart home business
One of the tricky parts about creating a smart home is getting manufacturers to make products that all speak the same language. Enter Wink. Wink, newly created company, has created what amounts to open-source software that home tech companies can use to create products that will work with Wink’s $79 hub. The idea is that products will become “Wink enabled” and work on the platform, allowing customers to purchase items from a variety of companies (such a GE, Honeywell, Philips and more have already signed up) to work on the system. Home Depot is a major backer and they expect to carry a Wink-compatible devices by July 7, 2014 when the Wink app goes live in the App Store and at Google Play. But, there’s some serious competition coming…
“Works with Nest” developer program released
Google wants to compete against Wink for the smart home market. Just this week they announced a “Works with Nest” program to give home gadget makers the tools to create devices that will play nice with Nest. After the announcement was made on Monday, a number of companies announced they were going to participate including: Logitech, Mercedes-Benz, Jawbone, Chamberlain (garage door opener, and Whirlpool. As my one friend said, now he’s in the position of wanting to spend money on new devices in order to save money. It’s a quandary, but the idea of having your washer and dryer stop or start because they “know” you’re home, or have your house heat or cool in anticipation of when you will wake up thanks to a Jawbone, etc.? It’s kind of the future they promised back the newsreels days and I like it!
Microsoft will give you $650 for your Macbook Air
All you have to do is trade it on a new Surface Pro 3. Microsoft, who released the computer in May, apparently is pretty serious about wanting to get people to try their latest and greatest. The Pro 3 weighs just 1.76 pounds and is only 0.36 inches thick, so it sure looks sexy. The offer is good until July 31, and the Air must power on to be considered in working condition (no cracked screens and no water-damaged computer will be accepted). Head to your local Microsoft store to cash in.
Bigger iPhones coming in September…probably
Bloomberg reported that Apple is ramping up production on two new, and bigger, iPhones that will hit retail stores in September. One will have a 4.7-inch display (larger than the current 4-inch 5S), and the other will have a 5.5-inch screen. There is still some question whether the 5.5-inch version will be available in September, or if it will be delayed until a month or two later, but Bloomberg thinks both phones might hit at the same time. If you’ve put off upgrading to a 5S like I have, September might be the time to make the leap to a newer phone since you’ll have more choices.
Aereo TV service gets a Supreme Court smackdown
Aereo is/was a streaming service that claimed they were an equipment provider, not a cable company. Here’s a good description from TechCrunch: Aereo is a service built up of two products: one is a remote mini-antenna that is stored in one of Aereo’s server farms and rented by users, and the second is a DVR/cloud storage service to hold recorded shows. Aereo transcodes all of this content for use over the internet, meaning that Aereo users can receive around 30 channels (with plenty of DVR space) in near live format for around $12 month on any device. To be clear, the service never actually offers real live television, but users can record and transcode instantly to watch in nearly real-time. Aereo felt that wasn’t violating any kind of copyright laws because it would fall under “private use” vs “public.” Alas, not so much. The case went to the Supreme Court who said, in a 6-3 vote, that Aereo was essentially a content provider thus couldn’t skirt around copyright. The company has said previously that if they lost their case they would shut their doors.
Get a new iPod Touch up to $100 cheaper
Not only are the new iPods cheaper, they’re also more colorful than ever. The 16GB Touch is now $199, instead of $220, the 32GB is $249 (previously $299), and the 64GB is $299 (previously $399). All have a 5 megapixel iSight camera, 1080p HD video capabilities, and they come in either red, pink, blue, gray, silver, or yellow (with coordinating wrist strap). It’s been two years since Apple announced new iPods, so the refresh was due.
And just for fun…
Jerry Seinfeld video about tech etiquette that’s kind of cute
I think his bit about recording a concert is pretty dead-on: