What Is New In the Technology World (Continued)

Well all that excitement I had about warmer weather didn’t do me much good. If you were hoping for warmer weather like I was and believing that Puxatony Phil was correct in predicting a short Winter, you are probably as bummed out as me about all the snow we’ve gotten this month. Who knows, you might even be one of those people who have posted a picture of the, not so beloved this year, groundhog on your Facebook wall with some funny quip about how he got it wrong (It seems to be the cool thing to post as of late). As much as I am displeased with the rodent and the snow, I have yet to post an anecdotal picture of him on my wall yet. Anyhow, all you winter lovers can stop praying for snow any time now. All of us warm weather loving people would really like to see more sun than snow and are hoping Spring is really here to stay. On that note, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Easter and continue where my last post left off; updating you all on the latest greatest new stuff in the technology world.

indigo-app-banner-1Indigo – Jealous of your friends who have Siri? You know, the computer voice on iOS devices like the iPad and iPhone that you talk to and it looks stuff up for you.  The other day, my friend Erik, was on his iPad talking to it. Asking it things like, “Siri, what will the weather be like here today?” and “Siri, where is the nearest Taco Bell?” and I was all like, man I wish I could do that but I don’t want to have to spend all that money on an Apple product just so I can talk to it. I did however remember that my phone has voice commands and I can use Google Voice Search which is like Siri I guess but I wasn’t impressed. I was still a bit jealous. Well if you have ever felt the same way, don’t fret.  Soon we will all be able to have a Siri like experience thanks to Artificial Solution’s Indigo service. This free service does pretty much the same things as Siri and works on Android, Windows Phone 8 and your Web browser. It also lets you use one account to sync across them all. Indigo works in much the same way as Siri, in that the program will use various means such as Web searches, a built-in catalog of commands and Wolfram Alpha information to do whatever it is you are asking of it. Indigo is capable of creating appointments, opening apps and dictating and sending e-mails or post statuses to your social networks of choice. So, it looks like with Indigo, I won’t have to be Jealous of my friend Erik and his girlfriend Siri anymore.

NanolightNanolightKickstarter, a huge fundraising platform for innovative ideas and creativity recently released one of their “brightest” ideas yet. Their latest project, the Nanolight, is an odd, geometrically shaped light bulb that uses only 12 watts of energy, which is just about half of what other LED bulbs use. Based on this, Kickstarter is claiming their Nanolight is the most energy efficient LED bulb in the world. So not only does it look really cool, it also saves those who use it lots of money. So how soon can you get yourself one and how much will it cost you? Their plan is to have the light bulbs available for delivery by July and early backers will be granted a special rate of $45. How much it will cost people like us… well we are still in the dark on that.

ChromeGoogle Chrome – Attention grammar and spelling Nazis! You are all going to love the new Google Chrome, version twenty six, update. Not only does it have a spell checking feature but it also does some grammar checking. Add to that the ability to add your own words to the new personal dictionary feature and it is a dream come true for any bad speller or person struggling with proper grammar.

Chrome AppsThe people at Google are also in the testing phase of making using their Chrome apps more convenient for desktop users. Their Chrome app launcher, as it is called, allows desktop users to start up their apps by opening up the new app launcher from their taskbar instead of having to first open the Google Chrome browser on their desktop PCs. The launcher runs on Chrome OS, Google’s operating system, so users don’t have to start up the browser every time they want to use the apps they have downloaded to their computers. The new app launcher appears on the computer’s taskbar where a computer user need only click on it to see the collection of apps they can access directly from their desktop; removing the need for all their apps to be fully loaded on their desktops. The app launcher is a convenience way for Windows’ PC users to quickly access their favorite apps without hogging up valuable resources and space on their desktops while also giving Google a rather creative and unique way into the PC market.

VengoVendingVengo Vending Machines – Have you ever been riding in a taxi and thought to yourself, “Shoot, I forgot…” whatever it might be and then wondered if it was worth having the driver stop somewhere so you could buy whatever it was you forgot? Maybe you were hungry or thirsty and wished you had eaten something before getting in the cab and now you don’t have time to stop. Well pretty soon this may not be a problem for you thanks to Brian Shimmerlik, a New York University MBA candidate, who was awarded a $17,500 grant for his Vengo Vending Machine idea in 2012 by the New York City Economic Development Council. So what is it you ask and how will this help me? Well, it is a mini, hi-tech vending machine that is designed to dispense all sorts of things like headache pills and ant-acids to chips and energy drinks all from inside of a taxi cab or limo. How cool is that? They may even start showing up in Dr’s offices, bars and office buildings. Too cool if you ask me; long live the vending machine!

spideysenseSpider Sense – “If Peter Parker’s spider-sense ranks high on your list of coveted superpowers, you may experience a strange tingling sensation at news of a suit that alerts the wearer to the presence of nearby objects. Victor Mateevitsi, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Illinois’ Electronic Visualization Laboratory in Chicago, is the main man behind SpiderSense, a ‘wearable device that projects the wearer’s near environment on the skin and allows for directional awareness of objects around him’ in much the same way Spider-Man can detect danger without the benefit of sight. “ – Cnet.com
Ok so this “suit” looks nothing like the awesome Spider Man one and it doesn’t shoot webs and stuff but it can give you that cool spider sense via its 11 sensor modules that all house an ultrasonic range finder and a servo motor. How it works is the sensor modules, all combined, are able to do a 360 degree scan of the suit wearer’s environment, with the range finders, and if an obstacle is detected the servo motor’s arm then alerts the suit wearer of them by exerting pressure on their skin. How cool is that? It is still in the developmental stage but the results thus far are really promising.

papertabPaper tab – I am not sure what to make of this paper thin tablet with multiple displays or what they are calling “PaperTabs”. All I know is as I watched the VIDEO I was thinking to myself, “How cool is that?”. Queen’s University in collaboration with Plastic Logic and Intel Labs are developing a revolutionary tablet that has ten or more interactive displays or “PaperTabs” that are as flexible as a piece of paper and about the same size (high-resolution 10.7” plastic display). They are all powered by the second generation Intel® CoreTM i5 Processor and interact with each other by bending corners, touching them together, turning them and what not to produce many of the same features as computer windows. I am anxious to see how this one develops.

mini desktopMini Computer – How would you like a portable desktop computer that is about the size of a grapefruit but uses very little energy (only 20 watts) while being just as useful as a full size desktop (which uses 100-400 watts)? Add to that, it is easy to work on and upgrade. Xi3 Technologies has developed just that; a mini PC that is a 4” cube with three separate, easily replaceable components and they claim it lasts twice as long as the average PC (about 10 years). These mini computers still need to be plugged into the wall and require a keyboard and mouse. They are also about double the cost of their larger counter parts ($850). It will be interesting to see if these catch on. Weather they do or not, I imagine that the future of desktops will be much smaller and portable ones; like these.

Asus-PhonepadASUS Fonepad – Ever since the Galaxy Note came on the market, “phablets” as some call them have become rather popular. Now “fonepads” are trying to be just as popular. Basically they are a tablet that makes phone calls (yes a really big cell phone). Samsung announced their Galaxy Tab 8.0 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain this year and then Asus announced their 7” Android “fonepad”. It looks like we may just be repeating the 80’s boombox fad except instead of a giant plastic box on our shoulder playing music it will be an oversized cellphone that we are talking on. I wonder if the gold chains and baggy paints will make a comeback at the same time?

xperia zSony’s Xperia Z – Ok so maybe a giant tablet cellphone isn’t your thing and you just want a rugged yet elegant phone with an average sized HD display. Well Sony’s new Xperia Z may be just the phone you are looking for. This hardy cellphone is built with premium materials, not cheap plastic. It has a 1080p 5-inch screen and iPhone 4-like glass backing to it. The best part is the phone is water and dust proof.

hadoopHadoop – It looks like a little-known open source software platform that got its start at Yahoo, known as  Hadoop, and built to process all the data collected from numerous servers, fathered a software program that may just revolutionize the database world. Pivotal HD, a new Hadoop platform that is believed by many will leave the traditional database behind, can store massive amounts of information and then query that data significantly faster than any other open source platform. Is this the future of databases?

Do you know of any technology news happening here in Vermont? Be sure to let me know so I can share it here with everyone else. Also, in my next post I will be discussing ways to clean your computer so if you have any techniques you’d like to share with everyone, please let me know about them too.

About Shawn Lane

Shawn Lane is the owner of Lane’s Computer Repair located in Johnson, VT. He is also an Information Technology Specialist with the Vermont Army National Guard. He has an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from the Community College of Vermont where he took many electives in Information Technology and he has a Professional Certificate in Digital and Computer Forensics from Champlain College.  He lives in Wolcott, VT with his wife Kelly and can be reached at Email: shawninvt73@google.com or slane@lcrvermont.com Website: www.LCRVermont.com | Facebook: /LanesComputerRepair/

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