Nov
20th

TV Is Not Dead – But Second Screens Abound!

I watch with my computer or tablet nearby to check IMDB, or some fact, or background, to the story… yep. I guess I am not alone!

Watching shows online is more common now, Flurry says, but TV’s hardly dead yet

PC World – By: Ian Paul – We’re all spending more time with smartphones and tablets. So much so that the “second screen” may now be the “first screen,” depending on the data you read.

Mobile analytics and advertising firm Flurry released a report on Tuesday that says Americans spend close to 10 minutes more per day on mobile devices than sitting in front of a television. The report is a mash-up of mobile device usage from Flurry’s own analytics as well as comScore’s, and average TV usage from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Flurry says Americans spend two hours and forty-eight minutes watching TV, while mobile device usage is now at two hours and fifty-seven minutes.

Flurry’s latest report was inspired by a recent presentation by Benedict Evans, a partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

The story behind the story: Flurry’s report, while interesting, works only if you buy into the BLS data, which is from a self-reported study called the American Time Use Survey. Numbers from metrics firm Nielsen tell a different story. In September, Nielsen issued its cross-platform report for Q2 2014, which says American adults spent an average of four hours and thirty-six minutes watching live TV (on a television set) every day between April and June.

Many of us use both simultaneously

One notable thing Flurry said it couldn’t measure was how much overlap there was between TV watching and mobile device usage on an average day. However the company guesses it’s a lot, which is probably right.

Thinking about my own TV watching, I know I spend all kinds of time on my smartphone. I could be checking an actor’s name on IMDb, quickly responding to email, texting with friends, or browsing Twitter and the news if I lose interest with the bigger screen. Whatever it is I’m watching, my smartphone is always close at hand.

Even if you put more stock in Nielsen’s numbers than the BLS stats, it seems inevitable that smartphones and tablets will replace the television in terms of time spent. Many metrics firms, including Nielsen, report on the rapid increase of mobile device usage—especially when it comes to apps.

It also just makes sense. ‘As more consumers use mobile devices for almost every daily task, it seemed only logical that they would turn to their phones more often than their TV sets,’ Flurry said in its report.

If you need further convincing about the coming (or present) dominance of mobile devices, check out this data from a British survey published in April: Adults in the U.K. were asked which device they would miss most if they had to give it up. The older the respondents, the more likely they were to choose television as their most missed media activity, the survey said. For people between the ages of 16-34, however, the top choice was their smartphone.

As Evans said in his presentation, ‘mobile is eating the world.’

But even as mobile devices replace the television at the top of the attention heap, the content is following. TV titans are redefining themselves as entertainment producers for all platforms: For example, CBS and HBO recently rolled out standalone online streaming packages, pitching a tent for their products in a mobile-dominated media future.”

Nov
8th

Big Hero Six is Out!

Big Hero SixThis weekend is the premiere of Big Hero Six, a science fiction, cartoon, 3-D animation, kids film, for adults, that looks like a lot of fun! It’s based on the Marvel comic book… very loosely, because they have made it more kid friendly, and therefore, more Dr. Bill friendly! The Marvel comic upon which it’s based is somewhat dark and depicts a dystopian future. The movie, in short, does not! It looks like this will be fun from beginning to end, and I’m looking forward to seeing it.

Reviews that I’ve seen are calling it the science fiction movie of the year, which I’m sure a lot of people would not think of before going to see this movie; because it looks like it’s just a kids movie. However, from what I’ve read, the science in the movie is interesting, well thought out, but not an in-your-face “this is science you have to like it” kind of message. In fact, what I have seen in the trailers for the movie just looks like a lot of action and fun!

So, I think we should all go see Big Hero Six! After all, what else are you going to be doing this weekend?

Nov
8th

Print Me a Pizza, Please!

Printed FoodOK, would YOU eat printed food? I am not so sure.

Natural Machines’ 3D printer Foodini promises to whip up delicious meals in a jiffy

Tech Times – By: Nicole Arce – “The newest kitchen appliance is one that is designed to allow people who are simply too busy to prepare their food to create delicious, healthy meals without the messy, lengthy preparations. That is, if the idea of printing food sounds appealing to you.

A Barcelona-based company called Natural Machines is debuting the Foodini; a 3D food printer that it says can churn out all sorts of meals, from pizzas to salads and gourmet chocolates. At the Web Summit in Dublin, Natural Machines has a display showing off its food printers, which the company says, is the only machine of its kind that can whip up food in no time.

The Foodini works pretty much like regular 3D printers. However, instead of plastics, it prints out food using the raw ingredients deployed from stainless steel capsules and placed layer by layer until the food is formed.

‘It’s the same technology,’ Natural Machines co-founder Lynette Kucsma tells CNN. ‘But with plastics there’s just one melting point, whereas with food it’s different temperatures, consistencies and textures. Also, gravity works a little bit against us, as food doesn’t hold the shape as well as plastic.’

Although the Foodini sounds like the perfect kitchen appliance to encourage laziness, the machine for now can only take care of the time-consuming preparation processes. The cooking is still left to the person using it. For instance, it can lay out the pizza dough and cover it with a generous dollop of tomato sauce and a pile of ingredients, but the person will still have to place the pizza in the oven for it to cook. Kucksma, however, says Natural Machines is working on a new model that will solve the solution of different cooking temperatures so that it can print and cook the food all in one go.

‘In essence, this is a mini food manufacturing plant shrunk down to the size of an oven,’ she says.

The $1,000 machine is targeted toward chefs, restaurant owners and kitchen professionals, with a consumer version to follow afterwards, she says. Kucsma envisions the Foodini as the ultimate kitchen helper in doing complex tasks such as making detailed cake decorations but also in simpler kitchen activities such as kneading pizza dough.

But some food professionals are already shaking their heads at the idea, saying food is made best when prepared the old-fashioned way.

‘Those two things shouldn’t be together. ‘Printed food’ for a magazine, yes. But to eat? Nah, nah,’ says Tony Tantillo, food editor for CBS. ‘They have to feel it. They knead the dough, they have to smell the tomatoes. It’s all part, it’s all passion with food. If something’s doing that for you, where’s the fun?’

Kucksma says purists can continue getting their hands in the food, but other people will see the usefulness of the Foodini, as evidenced by the aisles and aisles of pre-packaged foods lining up the grocery stores.”

Oct
11th

Top Dollar for Old Comics!

Action Comics #1Wow! I gotta go through my comic book collection and sell some stuff!

The Most Expensive Stuff You Can Buy At New York Comic Con

The Daily Digg – “While comics may have started as disposable entertainment, it’s no secret that many books can fetch a hefty sum based on their rarity, CGC grade*, illustrator, and/or characters that may have first appeared in them.

We talked to the people working every collectibles booth at this year’s New York Comic Con and asked them what their most expensive item is, and what made these items so astonishingly valuable.

$17,000
Original Palitoy Star Wars figures, complete set
from the 1970s

$20,000
Gobbledygook #1 and Gobbledygook #2
(Only 50 copies made)

$35,000
Pep Comics #22 [Restored**, CGC Grade 8.0]
(Introduction of Archie)

$45,000
Strange Tales #110 [CGC Grade 9.4]
(Introduction of Dr. Strange)

$65,000
Robert Crumb complete four-page story

$75,000
Original art from Spider-Man #32

$250,000
Cover of Spider-Man #300

$550,000
Detective Comics #27 [Restored, CGC Grade 9.4]
(Introduction of Batman – 1939)

and, finally…

$3,200,000+
Action Comics #1 [CGC Grade 9.0]
(Introduction of Superman!)

*CGC, or Comics Guaranty, is in independent grading service that launched in 2000 whose purpose is to determine how well preserved a book is. The scores are given out of 10, and the color of the label implies its state: blues are unadulterated books, purples are restored, greens have a significant defect and yellows are books that have been signed in the presence of a CGC employee.

**Restoration can be accomplished in a number of ways including conservation (removal of dirt, debris, or stains) leaf casting (which fills in missing paper that may have rotted away) and color touch (recoloring worn pages). The process can be quite expensive, and restored comics are usually worth less than a blue labelled version of the same book.”

Oct
11th

A Hawk Attacks a Quadcopter!


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Christopher Schmidt – YouTube

On Oct 8th, I was flying my quadcopter at Magazine Beach Park in Cambridge, when a hawk decided he wasn’t too happy with my invasion of his airspace…

Oct
4th

British Phone Boxes Turn Green to Charge Phones

SolarboxNow, if they were just blue! Grin!

Phone boxes turn green to charge mobiles

BBC News – Technology – “Disused phone boxes in London are being put to a novel use – as solar-powered charging stations for mobile phones.

The first of six boxes was unveiled on Tottenham Court Road this week.

The service is free to use although users will be shown adverts as they wait for their phone to charge.

Many of the UK’s red telephone boxes have largely fallen into disuse although some are being revived as libraries or being fitted with medical equipment.

The boxes have had a makeover for the project – painted green and fitted with a roof-mounted 86cm solar panel.

Inside there are a variety of charging stations for different models of phone and a screen which shows adverts.

Battery life
The advertising screen is reinforced to deter vandals and the boxes are maintained daily and locked overnight.

The project was the brainchild of two geography students turned entrepreneurs Harold Craston and Kirsty Kenny.

Both studied at the London School of Economics (LSE) and were interested in finding new ways to use public spaces.

‘I lived next to a phone box in my second year at uni and walked past it every day. I thought, ‘There are 8,000 of these lying unused in London and we must be able to find a use for them,’ explained Mr Craston.

The solarbox can charge up to 100 phones a day, offering a 20% battery boost in 10 minutes.

Since launch, about six people per hour use the booth, according to the founder.

Running out of battery is a perennial problem for smartphone users as they become ever more powerful without an equivalent technology leap in battery life.

‘On launch day, my phone ran out of battery and I genuinely had to use the box,’ said Mr Craston.

Sep
30th

The MyBook Story: Tech Hype at it’s Best!


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Watch until the end, or get caught in the hype!

Sep
20th

Oops! I Dropped my New iPhone 6!


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Apple fan buys iPhone 6, promptly drops it

cNet – By: Don Reisinger – “For Apple fans who wait in line for hours, if not days, to buy a new iPhone, there’s no greater fear than dropping the prized possession they waited so long for. But that’s exactly what happened to one man in Australia.

Early on Friday, Jack Cooksey was first in line at an Apple store in Perth, Western Australia. After the doors opened and he purchased an iPhone 6, he ecstatically showed it off to a local news channel. During the interview, Cooksey appeared to have some trouble opening the iPhone 6 box. As he popped off the top — perhaps getting a little too excited to see Apple’s latest iPhone — the brand new iPhone 6 fell to the pavement below.

For a moment, there was a gasp (and laughter) in the crowd surrounding Cooksey. Quick on his feet, he bent down, picked up the handset and discovered, much to his relief, that it survived the scary fall.

The entire event, which was caught on live television, was likely one of the first iPhone 6 drops in the world. Thanks to Australia’s time zone, Apple fans in the country are some of the first in the world able to get their hands on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

The comedic drop was set against the backdrop of what could be one of the biggest iPhone launches in Apple’s history. Apple announced the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus at an event on September 9. Last Friday, the company kicked off preorders of the two iPhones and sold 4 million units in the first 24 hours, setting a new preorder record.

Apple stores opened at 8 a.m. local time around the world on Friday. Other retailers and carrier stores are also carrying the devices. It’s expected that stock will be tight.”

Sep
20th

Comic TV Shows Are Exploding On the Scene!

There’s a lot of comic book heroes and adventures being developed in the TV shows that will air over the next two years. We already have “Arrow,” which is based on DC Comics “Green Arrow,” and this year they’re adding “The Flash,” produced by the same creators and developers of Arrow.

Other companies are developing properties such as Luke Cage, Daredevil, the Defenders, and another comic book “hero,” and yes, I put that in quotes, because he isn’t exactly a clean-cut superhero, and that is Constantine. It’s a little harder core that most of the other comic book adventures will be, after all, a hero that has demon’s blood in his veins and uses dark magic to pursue those that he goes after, can’t be considered exactly a “good guy.”

PowersAnd, based on all the interest in zombies in recent years, the CW is bringing “i-Zombie” out which will be about a med student turned zombie who takes a job in the coroner’s office to gain access to the brains she must reluctantly eat to “live.” And I used “live” in the broadest sense!

There is also a project called “Powers” where we have two police detectives living in a world where there are superheroes and super villains. Needless to say this is one I’m going to have to check out before I commit to watch it!

Also, they are working on a “Supergirl” one hour TV show. I am looking forward to that one!

So, we’re going from only a few comic book-based stories to quite a few, however, that’s usually the way it works as things become successful they start having imitators of that success. At least that’s what they hope!

Sep
20th

Hamster Wheel Standing Desk


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Hamster Wheel Standing Desk

Now you can build your own hamster wheel standing desk. Yeah. And the psychology of reminding yourself that you are “on a treadmill” while at work. Priceless.


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