Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features the success of Netflix, office gadgets that make life easier, and NASA’s innovative tech projects. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.
New Gadgets Help Make Work Days Less Stressful
Working in an office can be stressful for a number of reasons. Maybe there’s too much work and too little time; or a boss that’s a pain in the neck. Alice Truong of USA Today writes about some new, innovative tools that could make your work day a little easier. Lumoback (pictured above) is worn like a belt and it helps the user track his or her posture by connecting to a smartphone and sending an alert when posture can be improved. Another comfort item for the office is Trigger Point Performance’s Grid Mini, a small foam roller that can be kept in desk drawers. Simply roll it over your muscles and massage away the tension. Other tech items discussed include a clean air device, a drive for extra storage, and a speaker clock to help keep to a schedule.
Redesigned Google Maps Now Available to Public
For two months Google was only allowing a select few to check out their new Maps application via invitation only. However, according to Steven Musil of CNET, the new site is now available to everyone, and it comes with some pretty cool changes. The new Google Maps Web interface offers photo tours of locations and public transportation options. Google has switched from using graphical tiles to vector data, which allows the maps to load faster. Perhaps the most spectacular of the new features is the “zoom out” that now allows users to zoom out as far as outer space.
NASA Funds 12 High-Tech Space Projects
Hoping to come up with some breakthroughs in the area of space exploration and science, NASA has announced the funding of 12 projects that will use technology to create innovative projects related to space. Mike Wall of Mashable writes that the projects were selected under Phase 1 of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. All 12 offer a variety of different possibilities. For example, one will attempt to use a 3D printer to build biomaterials. A second would study how to induce deep-sleep torpor states in astronauts traveling to Mars. Phase 1 awards are in the range of $100,000 and will be used for nine-month initial analysis studies. After that, each of the project’s managers can apply for Phase 2 funding, which would be about $500,000 for two more years of concept development.
Netflix Earnings Quadruple with Arrested Development Release
Is Netflix the new HBO? Many critics seem to think so, and if the company’s earnings are any indication, things are going quite well. The Huffington Post reports that second quarter earnings for Netflix have quadrupled, and 630,000 new subscribers have been added. One of the main reasons for the success is that Netflix decided to offer exclusive television shows, the most popular being the hit comedy “Arrested Development”, which had been canceled on Network television much to the dismay of hardcore fans. There are also original shows now available on Netflix as well, including “Orange is the New Black,” from the creator of the smash Showtime series “Weeds.” Netflix is a monthly service that streams video to Internet-connected devices.