They'll start playing automatically, under the social network's current plan, but mercifully without sound. As always, the questions with any ad-based revenue model are: Will you watch the ad, or scan past it? And more importantly, will you buy something because it's advertised in your Facebook news feed?Full Story
It'll be a while before you can buy one of these to help you around the house, but it's still pretty cool. A Defense Department competition at Homestead Miami Speedway will welcome 17 humanoid robots that will try to climb into vehicles, drive them, open doors — all things a person can do easily, but might not want to have to do in a disaster zone.
These aren't truly autonomous robots. They don't act on their own, instead being piloted remotely by human beings. For the sake of the competition, though, those people will be unable to watch what their robots are up to. They'll be behind a curtain, able to see only what the machine relays to them.
I know it's the geek in me speaking, but it'd be pretty cool to watch these things go through their paces. The practice runs don't exactly sound gripping, with the robots opening a door or attaching a hose to a faucet.
Still, it sounds more exciting that watching a Roomba.Full Story
A salesperson pulls out a phone for a customer during the opening day of sales of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5C in Hialeah. The phone's camera is among the best for everyday shots, and improvements in the 5S make it better for low-light shots, too. For $100 less, you can get an iPhone 5C without the fingerprint sensor or improved camera.
If you're surprising someone a new smartphone for Christmas … well, first of all, I'm pretty jealous of whomever they are.
But in all seriousness, those are treacherous waters to swim in. It's like giving someone a puppy as a gift: You'd better know them well, and know what you're doing, because you're making a choice they'll have to live with for years.
That being said, the Associated Press moved a pretty good outline yesterday sketching out the phones, carriers and plans you should familiarize yourself with. Anick Jesdanun makes a good call, for instance, that you're best off avoiding that tempting, cheap iPhone 4S a few carriers are offering. I love mine but it's nearly two years old now, and "it will be 4 years old by the next upgrade," the guide points out. …Full Story
The GlassesOff app comprises two components â "game-like challenges" undertaken about three times a week, over a period of three months, and maintenance sessions every few weeks.
See what you think of this:
"Practically anyone can use GlassesOff to improve near vision sharpness by improving the image processing function of the brain," says the app's description in Apple's App Store. "some people will be able to completely eliminate their dependency on reading glasses by enhancing their brain's image processing function. … Just 12-15 minutes a day, 3 times a week over a period of about 3 months — that's all it takes to improve your near vision sharpness."
I'm not sure what it means if you're still reading. I'm pretty much conditioned to move on after hearing even the start of a pitch that seems too good to be true. And even if I sat tight, $59 price tag for four months' "training" (after a three-week free trial) is at least $58 more than I'd need to hear to keep reading. …Full Story
Macworld posted what seems like another pretty good guide to troubleshooting it today.Full Story
Remember just yesterday, when I was going on about what was being said about getting the fingerprint sensor working on your fancy new iPhone 5s (or five-esses)? It turns out there's more talk on the Interwebs today from blogger "Dr. Drang," described by 5by5 as "a consulting engineer well known amongst nerds on the Internet," and Daring Fireball's John Gruber. (Tip o' the hat to Boy Genius Report.)
Apparently some are saying they feel like TouchID works great when first set up, but the accuracy seems to fade over time. Setting it up again makes it work perfectly again for a while, but they say the accuracy still degrades as time passes. Other folks report seeing no such thing.
If you fall into the first category, stay tuned.Full Story
Having trouble setting up TouchID? You might be holding your phone the wrong way.
Visiting family over Thanksgiving, I saw my sister was carrying a brand-spankin'-new iPhone 5s. She and her husband had changed carriers and got the new phones as part of the deal.
("iPhone 5s" still looks to me like the plural of "iPhone 5." What are the plurals of those supposed to be? "iPhone5ses" and "iPhone 5ives"? But I digress.)
We were talking about how she liked it, and I asked her about the fingerprint sensor on the home button. She said, a little sheepishly, that she hadn't set it up. It turns out the two of them had upgraded before changing carriers, and the iPhone 5s (the new one, singular) she'd been given by her old carrier didn't unlock when she touched the sensor. She'd almost always end up making multiple attempts and then being prompted to enter her passcode, so eventually she just turned TouchID off and used the passcode. When they changed carriers and they got their new phones, she'd just adopted the same setup. …Full Story
I don't know about you, but over the past 10 or 15 years my family has accumulated a ton of Christmas music. I'm pretty sure we could start playing it around the time the fake trees show up at Lowe's and never repeat a single track all the way through Valentine's Day.
Not that we would ever, ever do that.
But with all that music, it would be nice to actually be able to listen to it. And having it play on the iMac in the corner of our bedroom isn't really what I have in mind. What's the easiest way to get all that music from the computer to the stereo in the family room?
In our case, I've plugged an old Apple Airport Express into a power strip under the shelving unit in the living room, run an audio cable to the Audio In jack on our little bookcase stereo system and I can stream anything I want using AirPlay. Our house is small, and our network simple, so that does the trick. You can hear Deck the Halls from pretty much anywhere you'd want to hear it.
But maybe your house is bigger. Your budget might be bigger, too (or, though it feels unlikely, smaller). What if you want to stream traditional carols to the living room, but mix Weezer's and Relient K's holiday albums in the kitchen? …Full Story
How many Americans would you guess will be traveling next week, either heading to the airport or taking to America's safe highways for a get-together with friends and family for Thanksgiving?
Well, I don't know. But I bet it's a lot.
And if you're one of them, there's a good chance that at one time or another you'll be looking for a way to get online while you're on the road.
Pretty everyone knows they can find free wi-fi at a Starbucks. They're usually pretty good about providing power outlets near their tables and chairs, too, if you need to top off the battery on your phone or laptop.
But our photographers have learned that most McDonald's restaurants — 11,000 of the 14,000 across the nation — offer free wi-fi these days, too. That's proved pretty useful when we're covering tropical storms, since those hotspots are usually left powered and broadcasting even during evacuations. To send their photos from the field, our photogs can pull up in the parking lot and get online without getting out of their car. (A Miss Manners wi-fi etiquette tip: If you're using a business's free wi-fi, it's good manners to buy something. I'd suggest a cup of coffee or an apple pie — but something.) …Full Story
The Coin card has a screen on it that displays only the last four digits of your card number, the expiration date and the CVV (that three-digit code on the back of your plastic card). Pressing the round button on it -- which they say is hard to do accidentally -- switches among up to eight cards stored on the device. An unlimited number of cards can be swapped on and off the device from a smartphone app via a gadget that plugs into the phone's headphone jack.
Let's start by making this assumption clear: Cool ideas are only cool if they work. And when your idea has to do with electronic payments, "working" has a whole lot to do with keeping your personal information safe and secure.
But if these guys at Coin have worked that out, they have an incredibly cool idea.
Coin is a plain, grey gizmo that's exactly the dimensions of a credit card, with the magnetic strip on the back and everything. But Coin can act like any of the swipe-able cards in your wallet.
You can store the details for up to eight of your credit cards, or gas station cards, or ATM cards, or gym membership cards or whatever on the Coin itself, with an unlimited number in an app on your smartphone. And when you need that card, Coin will do a perfect impersonation. You can stick it in an ATM. A cashier can swipe it through their reader. If you try to lose it, the smartphone app warns you that you've left it behind. If your smartphone is out of range for too long, the Coin card deactivates itself. You can read more about Coin's form, function and security in their FAQ. …Full Story
Apple's first iPod, which went on sale 12 years ago today.
Think 12 years seems like a long time? It was Nov. 11, 2001, that Apple released its first iPod.
"Hardly anyone on Wall Street or in the tech press believed the iPod would be a success," Michael Grothaus notes for The Unofficial Apple Weblog. In fact, he dug up this gem of a prediction from The Street:
Don't buy Apple's (AAPL) stock. And if you own it, sell it. I know the company has a core following that is loyal, even cultlike, but the broader base of believers has been steadily eroding for years.
To wager on this company is to bet that the exodus of users can be staunched and then, implausibly, reversed. It's hard to imagine such a scenario, given Apple's shrinking girth. With less than 5% of the market, the company is no longer an afterthought in PCs — it's irrelevant.
(I don't own any Apple stock. But if I'd bought a share on Nov. 9, 2001, the last trading day before the iPod first went on sale, it would have cost me $18.71 — an investment that would be worth about $1,045.70 today. Keep that in mind the next time a financial analyst assures you they know what's going on.) …Full Story
The Seagate Satellite holds 500GB of your music and movies, streaming it to up to eight phones and tablets at the same time.
My family is taking a long-distance road trip later this month, and these things always take some careful planning and packing. I'm not talking about the useful things, like pet supplies, snacks and, y'know, clothes. My responsibility is usually figuring out what entertainment we want to bring for the car and how we should bring it.
Between the kids' iPod touches and the iPhones my wife and I carry, there's just not enough space to bring what you'd want to ride out 16 hours in the car. (Did I mention this was a long road trip?) You can load up more stuff on a laptop, but then you'd worry about the dog stomping it to smithereens as she barks at cows on the side of the road. (It's a long road trip.)
There's been an answer available for a while now: External hard drives that create their own wi-fi hotspot. You load up the hard drive with all the music, video, etc., that you can't fit on your handheld gadget, plug it into the cigarette lighter in your car, switch it on and suddenly everyone in the car can stream whatever's on it to their own personal screens. …Full Story
Pebble Technology Corp.
New Pebble software will support any notifications your iPhone can display in its Notification Center.
You can watch recorded video of the smartwatchmaker's announcement at getpebble.com, or read a detailed rundown on Engadget or MacRumors — but those are the highlights.
The improved notifications are probably the biggest deal, in my eyes. If all works as advertised, you'll be able to get notifications on your wrist for any app that gives you notifications on your phone. The app partnerships sound pretty nifty, too. It's been a while since I cared much about Foursquare (although I used to play with it a lot), but if I can check in somewhere without taking out my phone, I might take another look.
The new Pebble app should be coming to Apple's App Store early next week.Full Story
Pebble's invitation, emailed to the backers of the company's original Kickstarter project.
The smartwatch designers at Pebble sent an invitation to their Kickstarter backers yesterday apologizing for the radio silence the last couple months and promising "big news is brewing."
"This Wednesday, November 6th, we'll be sharing the details," the email reads. A live video stream of the announcement is scheduled for 1 p.m. Eastern time. (Visit www.getpebble.com after noon for a link.)
The invitation makes a special mention that the news will be of interest to those developing third-party software for Pebble smartwatches.
The announcement will be posted to getpebble.com after the event, and the company's developer support team will take questions in a Reddit AMA at 3 p.m. Eastern time.Full Story
We're used to thinking about video games these days the way we think about movies. We critique plot lines, characters, visuals, special effects — you can still find the line that separates their audiences, but it's getting fuzzier every day.
So the way Sony decided on a game to highlight in the launch of its PlayStation 4 console seems a little different. Instead of starting out with a story idea, then planning the game around that, designers started with a character they thought would feature the new console's graphics capabilities.
"The developers brain-stormed for more than a year on the best character to utilize the graphic prowess of the PlayStation 4," Yuri Kageyama writes for AP. "Other ideas were considered, such as a character composed entirely of dots or one made of sand. The team finally settled on the idea of multiple parts, called "relics" in the game, a reference to archaeological finds."
So on the one hand, that feels like a cheesy sellout, designing a game that'll help sell a Sony console instead of designing a good game that sells well because it's a good game. …Full Story