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Technically Speaking: Stories of the Week – June 4

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features a mask with super powers, the start of 5G technology, and a flying car. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

Travel Like the Jetsons: Flying Cars Are Only a Few Years Away

Flying Car

In about eight years, sitting in traffic on the roadway could be a thing of the past. That’s because a thing of the future, flying cars, is looking like a reality, according to Chris Taylor of Mashable. The Massachusetts company Terrafugia is working on a full-on futuristic flying car, the TF-X, which it expects to start selling in the early 2020s. It’s being called a cross between a helicopter, plane, and self-driving car. For the most part,the TF-X will be a self-driving vehicle, using a system like autopilot works on a plane. The company predicts that learning to operate one will take as little as five hours of training.Right now no cost has been announced, but Terrafugia has hinted that it will pre-sell models to a select few customers in 2015 for $270,000. Is it worth that much to beat the traffic?

Does Facebook Make It Harder to Move on From Past Relationships?

Breaking up is hard to do–but with Facebook it’s even harder. Changing a Facebook status from “in a relationship” to “single” is an extremely painful process for manybroken-hearted people, says Chris Matyszczyk of CNET. A University of California Santa Cruz study found that Facebook users had difficulty deleting their digital memories. Half of those surveyed for the study said they immediately get rid of all signs of their exes (photos, posts, etc.), but they end up regretting it later. A third of those surveyed said they can’t bring themselves to delete the photos at all–hoping to cling to any memories they have.

Samsung’s New 5G Technology Would Be Several-Hundred Times Faster than 4G

Samsung announced this week that it has developed the blueprint for 5G mobile communications technology. Dave Thier of Forbes says that the company is saying that 5G would be so fast that movies could be downloaded in mere seconds. According to Samsung’s announcement, the new technology ”will allow users to transmit massive data files including high quality digital movies practically without limitation. As a result, subscribers will be able to enjoy a wide range of services such as 3D movies and games, real-time streaming of ultra high-definition (UHD) content, and remote medical services.” If this 5G technology materializes, it could be powerful enough to take over all wireless Internet connections, causing some concern for cable companies and Internet service providers alike.

High-Tech Mask and Helmet System Allows You to Adjust Your Senses

Edios Mask

It’s users may look a lot like Bane from the latest Batman movie, but a new mask and helmet combo created by the group Eidos offers up some really unique features. James Plafke of Extreme Tech reports that the device allows its users to manually adjust their sight and hearing on the fly, changing the two senses based on specific environments and circumstances. At a sporting event a user could turn the volume up or down; change the view to closer up or farther away. At a convention it could be used to hear a presenter from the back of a crowd. The device is put on by placing it over each ear, and wrapping across the lower half of the face, including the mouth and nose.

 

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Links of Interest – October 1

Samsung Confirms Galaxy Note II for All Major U.S. Carriers

Samsung has confirmed that the much-anticipated Galaxy Note II smartphone will be available on Verizon Wireless, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular in the U.S. by the middle of November.

Smartphone aficionados know the current Galaxy Note smartphone for its 5.3-inch display. Not be be outdone, the new one is even larger, and features a 5.5-inch HD Super AMOLED touch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, according to PCMag.com.

The Galaxy Note II will also come with a 1.6-GHz, quad-core Samsung Exynos processor that’s optimized for LTE, plus 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. Each Galaxy Note II has a microSD card slot that allows for expandable storage of up to 64GB.

The Galaxy Note II will arrive on each carrier preloaded with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, making it the first Samsung smartphone to run Google’s most advanced version of Android out of the gate.

Photos, Videos Bigger in Twitter Redesign

Mozy on TwitterA redesign of Twitter’s Website and mobile apps could generate new revenue streams by placing greater emphasis on photos and videos.

In other words, a picture is now worth 140 characters, writes the San Francisco Chronicle’s Benny Evangelista.

Twitter’s CEO, Dick Costolo, appearing on NBC’s “Today” show, announced that the  company has completely overhauled its iPad app, updated its website and revamped its iPhone and Android apps to make visual elements such as photos and videos more prominent.

Costolo told the show hosts — including Ryan Seacrest and his nearly 8 million Twitter followers — that the microblogging service was responding to Twitter users who wanted better ways to express themselves.

“What we’ve heard over and over again from our users is they want to bring more of their personality to their profile pages,” he said.

But the redesign also signals new advertising opportunities for Twitter, which has reported success with ad products like its text-based Promoted Tweets. Could there be a Promoted Photos in the works?

Snow on Mars: NASA spacecraft spots ‘dry ice’ snowflakes

A spacecraft orbiting Mars has detected carbon dioxide snow falling on the Red Planet, making Mars the only body in the solar system known to host this weird weather phenomenon, according to Space.com.

The snow on Mars fell from clouds around the planet’s south pole during the Martian winter spanning 2006 and 2007, with scientists discovering it only after sifting through observations by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). The Martian south pole hosts a frozen carbon dioxide — or “dry ice” — cap year-round, and the new discovery may help explain how it formed and persists, researchers said.

“These are the first definitive detections of carbon-dioxide snow clouds,” lead author Paul Hayne, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement. “We firmly establish the clouds are composed of carbon dioxide — flakes of Martian air — and they are thick enough to result in snowfall accumulation at the surface.”

 

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Cloud roundup and links of interest – August 15

Google Street View Offers Tour of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

Visitors from almost anywhere on Earth can “see” and explore NASA’s Kennedy Space Center through a collaboration with NASA that allowed Google’s Street View equipment to capture 360 degree color images and place them online for a new generation of spaceflight fans

The panoramic images include such iconic vessels as the Apollo 14 command module capsule that returned three astronauts from America’s fourth mission to the moon in February 1971 and the Space Shuttle Atlantis which flew on its maiden voyage in October 1985.

Virtual visitors can browse the collection by clicking on the images and then “steering” through the exhibits using a control wheel on the top left of each image. Using the controls, visitors can roam around the KSC displays to learn more about its contents and history, according to an article on eWEEK.com.

The new KSC images are the latest in the Google Street View collection, which also includes panoramic views of notable places around the globe, including Historic Italy, California National Parks, and highlights of must-see sites in the United States, Poland, Israel, Russia and the magnificent Swiss Alps, says eWEEK.

Tired of Facebook Friends’ Endless Photos of Their Kids? Unbaby.me Can Help

Too many baby pictures on Facebook?Too many of your friends’ baby pictures cropping up on Facebook? There’s now a sure-fire (if slightly off-beat) way to fight back: Unbaby.me.

The photo-replacing plug-in is the brainchild of three New Yorkers — Yvonne Cheng, Chris Baker and Pete Marquis — who work together at the advertising agency BBDO. They are, unsurprisingly, in their late 20s and early 30s, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“We were having drinks one night after work and were joking around about how Facebook is just lousy with babies, and wouldn’t it be funny if you could replace all those photos with cats,” Cheng said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

The plug-in will scan your Facebook feed for key words such as “cute,” “adorable” and “first birthday” — trigger words that indicate a baby photo may be attached. You can also add your own key words. Then it replaces the offending baby photo with a different photo from an RSS feed of pictures. The current default feed is cat photos.

“Personally, I don’t hate babies. I love babies. But I do get tired of looking at babies,” Cheng said.

Nokia Windows Phone 8 Reveal in Early September Tips Insider

Nokia’s first Windows Phone 8 smartphones could be revealed as early as September, as the Finnish company attempts to beat Apple to the next-generation handset unveil, according to an article on Slashgear.com.

New phones running Microsoft’s latest smartphone OS are set to be announced next month, though availability is only said to be in time for the holiday shopping season.

Apple isn’t expected to confirm the iPhone 5 until midway through September. However, the company is likely to have the much-anticipated handset up for grabs within a month of that.

Exactly what the new Nokia devices will look like is unclear, but the company will probably stick to a style similar to the Lumia 800 and Lumia 900, Slashgear reports.

 

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Cloud Roundup and Links of Interest – May 18

How to Buy a Single Share of Facebook Stock

Facebook’s upcoming initial public offering is attracting more than your typical stock traders, and some of them just want a single share, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.

The newspaper said websites that sell single shares of stock have been receiving a lot of inquiries about Facebook stock recently from users who are not usually attracted to IPOs.

“People who are buying one share typically never sell it,” OneShare Chief Executive Lance Lee told CNNMoney. “For the underlying company, it shows true brand loyalty.”

Buying a single share of stock typically costs nearly $40 more than the current trading price due to service fees. Like or dislike?

Cloud Adoption Approaching a Crucial Point

There’s a “tipping point” for cloud adoption, according to the CIO at Google, and it’s fast approaching.

Once that point arrives and companies enter the world of cloud computing, there’s no going back–it will become the standard for IT, according to Ben Fried, the search giant’s chief information officer.

An article in Midsize Insider takes a look at this issue and explores how midsize businesses and their IT fit into this new world of cloud computing. Is cloud adoption only meant for large-scale customers, or will it benefit “mom and pop” organizations? Have a look here.

Multitasking Too Much? Strap This on Your Head

Researchers are tapping into the brain’s signals to ease the downsides of multitasking and information overload, a growing problem in digital lifestyles, according to CNET.

Researchers unveiled the Brainput computer interface device at the recent Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2012), which explores new human-machine interface designs.

A prototype of the device uses functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to sense changes in brain patterns that indicate a person is multitasking, and a brain sensor is strapped around the user’s forehead in order to more accurately record when a user is multitasking.

An interesting idea, but the sensor looks like a headband straight out of the ’70s American Basketball Association.