Tech Stories For Your Weekend Reading Pleasure: Week of 11/17 – 11/21/2014

Hi everyone, the library is closed tomorrow, Friday, November 21, 2014 for a combo Staff Development and Library Rug Cleaning day; thus my list of personal technology related stories you might have missed this week is coming to you a bit early!

Here is a list of seven interesting personal technology related articles you might have missed during the week of 11/17 – 11/21/2014.

Article 1. The Creation of Artificial Retinas: In a collaborative effort researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’ Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and Newcastle University in Britain are have created and are testing artificial retina films. This technology when perfected should allow persons who have lost their sight due to macular degeneration to regain vision!

Here’s a link to a Business Standard article on the subject:

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/artificial-retina-could-help-restore-vision-of-elderly-114111300902_1.html

Artificial retina could help restore vision of elderly. (2014, November 13). Business Standard. Online.

Article 2. The Right To Be Forgotten Vs. Google: In Europe there has been a major league, and ongoing flap and court case, over the amount of information Google, and other online companies, compile and keep versus the rights of persons to have their personal information deleted from Internet – basically for them to be forgotten as far as the online records goes.

The Guardian offers and interesting story that sheds light on this complicated and controversial subject – here’s the link:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/nov/11/right-to-be-forgotten-more-questions-than-answers-google

Floridi, Luciano. (11 November, 2014). Right to be forgotten poses more questions than answers. The Guardian. Online. Accessed November 17, 2014.

Article 3. The Bullying Of Women Online: NPR offered an article this week on the problem of women being bullied in online forums – here’s the link:

http://www.npr.org/2014/11/16/364479377/why-women-get-the-worst-of-internet-bullying

Why Women Get The Worst Of Internet Bullying. (16 November, 2014). NPR. Online. Accessed November 17, 2014.

Article 4. iCloud Guide: Re/Code offered a neat how-to use Apple’s iCloud feature to store photos this week – here’s the link:

http://recode.net/2014/11/19/apples-icloud-photo-library-a-quick-how-to-guide/

Boehret, Katherine. (19 November, 2014). Apple’s iCloud Library: A Quick-To Guide. re/code.Online. Accessed November 19, 2014.

Article 5. Libraries In The Digital Age: The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle featured a cool article this week on just how public libraries have changed in our modern high tech age – and they are right! As some who started working in the public library field in 1984; I concur with the assessment that public libraries today offer books and a great deal more– with a large slice of that great deal more being personal technology related materials and services.

Here’s a link to the RD&C article:

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2014/10/25/libraries-competing-digital-age/17897503/

McDermott, Meaghan. (25 October, 2014). How libraries are competing in the digital age. Democrat & Chronicle. Onlie. Accessed November 19, 2014.

Article 6. Samsung Launches New Milk Video Service For Galaxy Phone Users: Samsung launched a new video service this week for Galaxy phone users. This new service is free and helps Galaxy phone users more easily find popular online videos.

Here’s a link to a CNET story on the subject:

http://www.cnet.com/news/samsung-dives-into-video-with-milk-video-but-only-for-galaxy-phone-users/

Tibken, Shara., & Solsman, Joan. (19 November, 2014).Samsung aims for a splash with Milk Video — but only for Galaxy phone users

Article 7. Texting Can Be Dangerous To Your Spine: NPR also offered a story this week on the amount of pressure your spine endures when you lean forward to read, send and type text messages. And I think we better all hold our heads up higher when we text!

Here’s a link to the article:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/11/20/365473750/keep-your-head-up-text-neck-can-take-a-toll-on-the-spine

Sullivan, Laura. (20 November, 2014). Keep Your Head Up: ‘Text Neck’ Takes A Toll On The Spine. NPR. Online. Accessed November 20, 2014.

And in case anyone is wondering — the library will indeed be open our normal hours of operation on Saturday, November 22, 2014 of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — come and see us!

Have a great weekend!

Linda, SSCL

The New Media Streaming Player — The Amazon Fire TV

Hi everyone, as anyone has read this blog over a long period of time knows I am a big fan of media streaming players.

And if you’re new to this blog and also new to the term media streaming player; let me briefly explain what that fancy personal tech speak means! It simply means a small device, about the size of a sandwich or smaller, that connects to your TV and the Internet service you have at home and allows you to easily send content from the Internet to your TV so you can watch Internet accessed videos on that big HDTV you have in your living room. The sending of video content from the Internet to a TV or a mobile device is called streaming hence the term media streaming player that collectively describes these small Internet connecting devices.

There have been three major types of media streaming players for a while and they are: The Apple TV (which despite the name isn’t a TV), Roku players and the relatively new Google Chromecast. In addition to these media streaming players you can also stream videos through many gaming consoles like the XBOX but as those are device more expensive and really are devices that are intended to be used by major league gaming fans I’m not going to go into detail about those right now!

So we’ve had three major streaming players for a while Apple TV which costs $99, Roku which offers several models that range in price from $49.99 to $99.99 and Google’s Chromecast which actually looks like a thumb drive and which you plug into an HDMI port on your TV.  The Chromecast costs $35 and now we’ve got a new entry – a fourth major streaming device has walked on stage – Amazon’s new Fire TV which like the Apple TV isn’t a TV at all but instead a small device about the size of a CD case.

And now I’m going to tell you why as an owner of three of these four media streaming players, The Apple TV, The Roku 3 (the high end Roku model that costs $99) and the new Amazon Fire TV – I’m really impressed by the Fire TV!

But first let’s just take a quick look at what all four media streaming players offer in the way of channels (aka apps) just so we can compare the similarities and occasionally differences between the media streamers.

And if you’d like to cut to the proverbial chase and skip all the detail about the Apple TV, Roku player and Chromecast please skip the next four paragraphs!

The Apple TV is a great device for those persons who dwell in the Apple/iTunes universe. With the Apple TV you can send iTunes purchased video and photos from your iPad, iPod Touch or iPhone to your TV, you can access any videos or songs/albums you’ve previously purchased from iTunes, you can buy more TV shows, movies and music from iTunes and you can access a number of apps/channels including: Netflix, Hulu Plus, Watch ABC, PBS, Bloomberg, YouTube, Crackle, HBO Go (HBO subscription required), The Weather Channel, Bloomberg, iTunes Radio and more.

The Roku streaming media players are also great devices for those who wish to stream TV shows, movies and music from the Internet to their TVs. Roku offers more channels than any of the three other media streaming players, over a thousand of them, including a number of niche channels and some major channels like Netflix, Hulu Plus, PBS, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora Internet Radio, TuneIn Radio, Acorn TV (for those who love British TV shows like the ones shown on PBS!), Crackle, HBO Go, Vudu, Blockbuster on Demand, ESPN Now and more.

And on a unique note, the Roku player is the only media streaming player that currently has a universal search function and what that means is that you can search for movies or TV shows and you will be searching across all Roku channels so if you do a search for the TV show Mad Men or a specific actor like Jimmy Stewart you’ll get results that tell you all the Roku channels you can find the TV series Mad Men on or Jimmy Stewart movies on – so if Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Vudu all have Jimmy Stewart movies you’ll see that in the search results which means if you have a Netflix subscription and the Jimmy Stewart movie you want to watch is available through Netflix then you will know that you don’t have to rent or buy access to it through Amazon Instant video or Vudu!

Google’s Chromecast’s streamer, which as you’ll have noted cost the least at $35, offers the fewest channels – 15 of them as of today and they include: Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, YouTube, Crackle Rdio, Google Play Movies & TV (that’s Google’s store for video content), Google Play Music (Google’s music store), Songza, Red Bull TV, Plex, Post TV and Viki.

And now a fourth major entry in this category has arrived — Amazon’s brand new streaming player the Fire TV; the Fire TV like the Apple TV really isn’t a TV but instead a small streaming media player, this player is about the size of CD case and offers channels that will sound familiar to you if you’ve read this far because they are channels also offered by some of the other three media streamers. Fire TV channels currently include: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, HuffPost Live, Bloomberg TV, Crackle, TuneIn Radio, Pandora, Watch ESPN and more.

And you might well be thinking at this point why is it that since the media steaming players are so similar in the content they offer… just why I am I so impressed with the Fire TV?

And I have a three part answer to that question which basically boils down to three new things that the Fire TV does that the other three media streaming players don’t do!

  1. Voice Searching: And this is a biggie! There have been other widely available voice activated options on mainstream personal tech devices, most notably on smartphones and tablets – personal assistants like Apple’s Siri, but this is the first time a main stream media streaming player has come with the capability for you to talk to the device, via a small microphone built into the remote and say John Wayne, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, Stephen Spielberg, Jon Hamm or Kathryn Hepburn and lo and behold all the movies and/or TV shows that are available to watch that feature those actors pop and you can then easily select the movie or TV show you want to watch that features the actor or actress you are searching for without having to enter a search via the streaming player remote; and without having the use the previously tedious hunt and peck on the TV screen with the remote to search for titles. You can also vocally search for specific titles like: The Hobbit, Gravity, Inspector Lewis or The Vikings and those programs too will display.

So…no more searching by the cumbersome process of typing via a key-the-letters-in-one-at-a-time on the remote! Very cool! Granted, right now this voice searching only works with the Amazon Instant Video channel, or app if you prefer that term, but it is still cool as no other media streaming player has this feature; and it is expected that Amazon will expand this voice activated feature to work with other channels and apps as time goes on.

  1. Apps: And this too is a biggie! We tend to use the term “apps” and “channels” almost interchangeably today when talking about media streaming players; however, until the Fire TV was released the other major media streaming players really only featured, with a few minor excpetions, what we can think of as video and music access channels like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Pandora and Blockbuster – because the channels or apps were all about allowing you to access video and music content and thus the channels really weren’t apps in the sense that you can get a wide variety of apps in many categories for your smartphone or tablet from the Apple app store or the Google Playstore. And with the Fire TV this is changing! There are actually Android apps that have been available in the Amazon & Android App stores that you can now access through your Fire TV and they truly are apps – apps like Minecraft, Sev Zero, Solitaire, Badland, The Bard’s Tale, Tetris, Atlantis Sky Patrol, Prince of Persia, Cannabolt, Snyder Arcade, Mystery Castle and more! And again granted there are only a few dozen of these apps at the moment but that number is sure to grow and the fact that you can really access apps on your TV through the Fire TV streamer is cool because it offers you even more bang for your entertainment buck!
  1. Game Apps: And yet another biggie! And this third point is obviously linked to the availability of appson the Fire TV; because, all of the apps I mentioned in the last paragraph are game apps! And the game apps are like the same titled editions that you can get from your app store and are available at the same or a similar price. And the pricing is a big deal too becausefor the first time main stream consumers can easily access and play games via apps on the big TV in their living rooms without having to buy a pricey gaming console like the Xbox or PlayStation and the pricey gaming cartridges for that gaming console! The game apps are priced in the same range as the titles you can access in your app store and download to your smartphone or tablet; most of the Fire TV game apps are $1.99 to $2.99 and some are free – so this is a big deal! The availability of game appsis also a big deal for a second reason; because it is a step further down the path that will eventually allow us to access all apps on all our devices and pick up where we left off in reading an e-book, watching a movie or TV show, listening to an album, playing a game or indeed doing any activity via an app on another device. For example, say you’re standing in line at the grocery store waiting you turn to pay for your groceries, you’ll be able to bring up your favorite game app and start playing your favorite game and then stop playing the game when you pay for your groceries, leave the store and go home and later pick up playing that same game in the same place you left off on the large screen TV in your living room! And that is cool!

Now just as an FYI For anyone who doesn’t know this – you can do some of that pick up where you left off thing via mobile devices right now. If you’re watching a video through Netflix or Amazon Instant Video on your smartphone or tablet you can stop the video and later pick up where you left watching the video via the Netflix or Amazon Instant Video app on your media streaming player. However, we can’t yet pick up where we left off on all apps and with all formats on all our Internet connecting devices – but we’re getting closer to that point and the Fire TV is another few steps down that exciting path if Internet connecting devices integration.

Have a great weekend!

Linda R.

 

References:

Amazon Fire TV review: Impressive debut, but room to grow. CNET. Online. Accessed April 19, 2014, http://www.cnet.com/products/amazon-fire-tv/

Amazon Fire TV Apps & Games. Amazon. Online. Accessed April 17, 2014, http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=7031433011

Best media streamers. (2014, March 4). CNET. Online. Accessed April 18, 2014, http://www.cnet.com/topics/media-streamers/best-media-streamers/

Browse. Roku. Online. Accessed April 17, 2014, http://www.roku.com/channels/#!browse/movies-and-tv/by-popular

Mossberg, Walt. (2014, April 15). Amazon’s Fire TV Lets You Search for Videos by Voice. Re/code. Online. Accessed April 18, 2014,http://recode.net/2014/04/15/amazons-fire-tv-lets-you-search-for-videos-by-voice/

Now Casting. Google. Online. Accessed April 17, 2014, http://www.google.com/intl/en-US/chrome/devices/chromecast/apps.html

What’s On. Apple. Online. Accessed April 17, 2014, https://www.apple.com/appletv/whats-on/

 

Google’s New TV Chromecast Dongle & Speculation That A Less Expensive iPhone Is On The Way

Google’s New Chromecast TV Dongle:  Google announced today that starting today they will begin selling a $35 “Chromecast Dongle” in the U.S. This small device will connect to an HDMI plug on a television and allow users to use it  to stream video content from laptops and tablets to their television sets. You can of course already do this if you plug your computer into your television via a cable but this new Dongle will allow you to do sans cables via Wi-Fi and for only $35 so this just may be the hit streaming video product Google has been looking for!

Here’s a link to a BBC article on the subject titled ). Google launches Chromecast low-cost TV dongle

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23437476

Speculation That A Less Expensive iPhone Is On The Way: There has been quite a bit of speculation via the tech rumor mill recently that Apple is working on a less expensive iPhone and an interesting Guardian article on the subject throws out some suggestions as to what the iPhone would be like and what corners Apple would have to cut in order to produces a cheaper iPhone.

Here’s a link to a Guardian article on the subject titled “A cheaper iPhone: what it would cost, and what it would leave out (and in):”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jul/24/cheap-iphone-price-lte-plastic-apps

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Lee, Dave. (2013, July 24). Google launches Chromecast low-cost TV dongle. BBC News. Online. Accessed July 24, 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23437476

Arthur, Charles. (2013, July 24). A cheaper iPhone: what it would cost, and what it would leave out (and in)The Guardian. Online. Accessed July 24, 2013.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jul/24/cheap-iphone-price-lte-plastic-apps

High Tech Ways To Find Your Lost Keys, Why Apple Should Leader The Way To DRM Free E-Books, Amazon King of Audios & Google To Add Cable TV Content

So many tech stories so little time! And of course Thursdays in the summertime are super busy in library land so this will be a short posting that links to four interesting articles regarding personal technology – in other word I promise not to get up on my soap box and go on about any personal tech issues!

Article 1. “Locate Lost Keys With These 10 Handy Gadgets” – this article is from the tech site Mashable and offers a slideshow of 10 gadgets that will benefit tech fans who frequently lose their keys! If you’re like me and that occasionally happens to you check it out!

Here’s the link:

http://mashable.com/2013/07/18/find-keys-apps/

Article 2. “Apple should lead the move to DRM-free ebooks” – this article is from Macworld and offers examples as to why Apple is the ideal company to lead the publishing world into a customer friendly DRM free e-book era!

Here’s the link:

http://www.macworld.com/article/2044161/apple-should-lead-the-move-to-drm-free-ebooks.html

Article 3. “How Amazon Became the King of Audiobooks: Recorded books are now a billion-dollar business, which Amazon dominates perhaps like none other” – wow what a long title! The basic gist of this story is an enlightening one for most of us – and that is that Amazon which is known as the King of E-Books is also the King of Audiobooks! Amazon’s Audible company sells more digital (aka downloadable) audio books than any other audio book seller right now.

Here’s a link to the article: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/07/how-amazon-became-the-king-of-audiobooks/277836/

Article 4. “Google Pitches Online TV Service to Media Companies: Streaming of Traditional TV Programming Is Also Planned by Others” – I keep talking about how streaming of movies and TV shows via the Internet is the next phase in the Internet Revolution and this article discusses how Google is working towards that end by trying to obtain traditional TV content – i.e. cable content that right now is initially offered to television fans only via traditional cable company TV packages – for its Google TV Media streaming player.

Here’s the link:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324348504578610050212447028.html

Have a great day!
Linda R.

 

References

Elliott, Amy-Mae. (2013, July 18). Locate Lost Keys With These 10 Handy Gadgets. Mashable. Online. Accessed Jly 18, 2013. http://mashable.com/2013/07/18/find-keys-apps/

McElhearn, Kirk. (2013, July 17). Apple should lead the move to DRM-free ebooks. Macworld. Online. Accessed July 17, 2013. http://www.macworld.com/article/2044161/apple-should-lead-the-move-to-drm-free-ebooks.html

Osnos, Peter. (2013, July 16). How Amazon Became the King of Audiobooks: Recorded books are now a billion-dollar business, which Amazon dominates perhaps like none other. The Atlantic. Online. Accessed July 17, 2013.  http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/07/how-amazon-became-the-king-of-audiobooks/277836/

Stewart, Christopher., & Ramachandran, Shalini. (2013, July 16). Google Pitches Online TV Service to Media Companies: Streaming of Traditional TV Programming Is Also Planned by Others. The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal. Online. Accessed July 17, 2013. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324348504578610050212447028.html

Google Chromebooks Coming To A Store Near You & DreamWorks Animation Signs A Deal With Netflix

Google Chromebooks Coming To A Store Near You: Google has announced that is now selling its inexpensive cloud-based Chromebook laptops at Walmart and Staples. Walmart is carrying the Acer C7 Chromebook that costs $199 and Staples will sell the Acer Chromebook along with the slightly more expensive Chromebooks from Samsung and HP at its stores.

And just on an FYI note the library owns a Google Samsung Chromebook that patrons are welcome to come in and sit down and try out!

And Chromebooks – if you’re not familiar with them – are light weight, cloud based laptops running the Google Chrome operating system. These laptops are meant to be used with an Internet connection and you are pretty much locked into the Google ecosystem – meaning that you can use the online Google Docs service to create word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentations but you can’t install software on a Chromebook the way you can install Microsoft Office on a Windows PC. However, for the price – and the Chromebook that I’ve seen that has the best reviews is the Samsung Chromebook which costs $249 (and that the model the library owns) – the Chromebook is a reasonable choice for an inexpensive laptop for one to do light word processing, email and/or web related tasks upon. And if you simply need a second laptop for light weight tasks or even perhaps for your cottage at the lake (provided you have Internet service there) a Google Chromebook might just fit the proverbial bill.

Here’s a link to a CNET article that relays more information on the fact that the Chromebooks are coming to a store near you titled “”Google’s low-cost Chromebooks coming to 6,600 more stores:”

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57589721-93/googles-low-cost-chromebooks-coming-to-6600-more-stores/

And a second link to a CNET review of the Samsung Chromebook:

http://www.cnet.com/laptops/samsung-chromebook-series-3/4505-3121_7-35500150-2.html

DreamWorks Animation Signs A Deal With Netflix: DreamWorks Animation has signed a deal with Netflix to offer new programming. DreamWorks is known for its visually stunning videos and is working on expanding its offerings by sidestepping traditional cable companies and instead offering new shows for Netflix subscribers to stream. The new deal was announced on Monday and this new partnership will translate into 300 new hours of episodic television being created. The deal can also be seen as another battle in the Internet TV vs. Traditional Cable Television because the new shows will not able available to TV fans through traditional cable companies like Time Warner and Comcast but will be available for Netflix subscribers stream. The details regarding the new shows have yet to be released but DreamWorks did say that the new shows would be inspired by their back catalog which features a number of notable franchise videos including: Shrek, Mr. Magoo, Lassie and Casper the Friendly Ghost. The first of the new programs is tentatively slated to be aired in 2014.

Here’s a link to a New York Times article on the subject titled “DreamWorks and Netflix in Deal for New TV Shows:”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/18/business/media/dreamworks-and-netflix-in-deal-for-new-tv-programs.html

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Barnes, Brooks. (2013, June 17). DreamWorks and Netflix in Deal for New TV Shows. New York Times. Online. Accessed June 19, 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/18/business/media/dreamworks-and-netflix-in-deal-for-new-tv-programs.html

Kerr, Dara. Google’s low-cost Chromebooks coming to 6, 600 more stores. CNET. Online. Accessed June 19, 2013. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57589721-93/googles-low-cost-chromebooks-coming-to-6600-more-stores/

Portnoy, Sean. (2013, June 19). Acer’s $199 C710-2865 Chromebook laptop includes SSD, will be sold at Walmart. ZDNET. Online. Accessed June 19, 2013. http://www.zdnet.com/acers-199-c710-2856-chromebook-laptop-includes-ssd-will-be-sold-at-walmart-7000017015/

Samsung Chromebook review: The one we’ve been waiting for (at least in price). Accessed June 19, 2013.

 

 

News From Google’s Developer’s Conference & iTunes Gets An Update

News From Google’s Developer’s Conference: Google is hosting its annual developer’s conference this week and PC Magazine has a slide show of what it describes as “The 10 most exciting things Google announced at I/O.” Those new and exciting things include hands free Google search, a new subscription music service (like Pandora) called “All Access,” the ability to send people money by Gmail and an updated Google Hangout app (it has more of the proverbial bells and whistles).

Here’s a link to the PC Magazine article and slideshow:

http://www.pcmag.com/slideshow/story/311550/the-10-most-exciting-things-google-announced-at-i-o

And the New York Times offers an article today that relays the fact that more apps are now available for the Internet connecting Google Glass glasses. The new apps are: CNN, Elle, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Evernote. Here’s a link to the Times’ article which is titled “New Apps Arrive on Google Glass:”

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/16/new-apps-arrive-on-google-glass/?ref=technology

iTunes Gets An Update: Apple rolled out an iTunes update today – not a major revamp of the software like the one we saw last fall but instead an update with incremental improvements including a new and jazzy mini player and a fix for the multi-disc album issue – and by that I simply mean that if, for example, you import your two disc version of Billy Joel’s Great Hits into iTunes by putting the disc themselves into your computer – iTunes will no longer treat each disc as a separate disc but instead will put all the songs together where they belong – under the album title. Here’s a link to a Digital Trends article on the iTunes upgraded titled “iTunes 11.3 Arrives With New Miniplayer And Improved Multi-Disc Support:”

http://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/itunes-11-03-arrives-with-new-miniplayer-and-improved-multi-disc-support/

Have a great day!

Linda R.

P.S. And don’t forget if you just bought, or received as a gift a new tablet, e-reader, PC or other tech item and would like to know more about how to use it — you can make an appointment at the library for a free On-On-One tech session and a member of our tech team will show you the digital ropes! Call the Reference Desk at: 607-936-3713 to make an appointment! Did I mention it is a free service the library offers? It is! 

References

Albanesius, Chloe. (2013, May 16). The 10 Most Exciting Things Google Announced at I/O. PC Magazine. Online.

Miller, Claire Cain. (2013, May 16). New Apps Arrive on Google Glass. New York Times. Online. 

Google Chromebook Practical CNET Review & 15 Ways Technology Is Transforming Society

Google Chromebook Practical CNET Review (And FYI THe Library Has A Chromebook Too!): CNET tech columnist Daniel Ackerman is doing a review series on the Google Chromebook. As you may recall from previous postings on this blog the Google Chromebook comes in a few varieties the entry level Asus Chromebook costs $199 and the Samsung Chromebook costs $249 – and these are cloud based laptops that are suitable, in my opinion, as a second laptop you might use in your house or cottage or as an entry level or light weight laptop you might use with Wi-Fi. The laptops really are made to be used with Wi-Fi but if you just want a laptop to use to connect to the Internet watch YouTube videos and read and reply to emails than the Samsung Chromebook might be a good chose for you! And if you’d like to try out a Samsung Chromebook before you buy it – you can! The library owns a Samsung Chromebook and we’ll be happy to show you the Chromebook ropes!

And here is a link to the second part of the CNET review series of articles on the Chromebook titled Living with Chromebook: Can you use it to actually get work done?:
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-3121_7-57581488-220/living-with-chromebook-can-you-use-it-to-actually-get-work-done/

15 Ways Technology Is Transforming Society: The Business Insider site offers a cool article on 15 technologies that are transforming, or at they put it “reinventing” society.  Those 15 technologies include Google Glass (those Internet connecting glasses made by Google), self-driving cars (we’re on the verge of a transportation revolution), wearable fitness monitors like the Jawbone Up wrist band (The monitors relay information via apps to smartphones and tablets so you can track how many steps you take in a day, how intense your workout was and how well you sleep etc.), the growing economic inter-connectivity brought about by the evolving communication technologies, robotic assistants, the growing use of smartphones and tablets, 3D printing (make your own clothes, iPhone cases etc., gesture controlled computers (no more mouse!) and more!

Check out the Business Insider slideshow article, titled 15 Ways Technology I Reinventing Our Society, for the details on all 15 cool ways technology is transforming outlives – here’s the link:

http://www.businessinsider.com/15-ways-tech-is-reinventing-society-2013-4

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Ackerman, Daniel. (2013, April 29). Living with Chromebook: Can you use it to actually get work done? The Chromebook challenge continues with productivity and workplace tests in Part 2 of our series. CNET. Online.

Dickey, Megan Rose. (2013, April 28). 15 Ways Technology Is Reinventing Society. Business Insider. Online.

Google’s Eric Schmidt On The Benefits of Internet Privacy, Google Glass Glasses Will Allow Us To Send Commands To Household Appliances, Tiny Self-Driving Cars & Saying Goodbye To GUI

Google’s Eric Schmidt On The Benefits of Internet Privacy: Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt gave an interview with The Guardian today and in the interview he discusses both the benefits of personal and business Internet privacy and the dangers of the lack thereof. He specifically discusses China and other like-minded countries that want to both censor the Internet and block their citizen’s access to it. Additionally, Schmidt highlights the dangers to personal safety dissenters in Internet censoring countries face and the reasons why the attempts of China to hack into American computer networks, as they did recently with the New York Times computer system, are also dangerous.

You can read part of the interview, found in an article, titled Google’s Eric Schmidt warns on China’s attempts to control the internet, on the Guardian website. Here’s the link:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/mar/21/google-eric-schmidt-china-warning

And look for Eric Schmidt’s new book on how technology is changing and will change our lives. It is called The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business and is being published on April 23 – the library will have a copy!

Google Glass Glasses Will Allow Us To Send Commands To Household Appliances: Google is working on an aspect of Google Glass glasses that could one day let you control smart appliances by simply using the Google glasses. The idea is that in the future you’ll be able to communicate with your smart Internet connecting appliances by using the smart Internet connecting Google Glass glasses. So you might tell your refrigerator to turn down the temperature in the refrigerator, tell your thermostat to turn up the temperature so your heat comes on just before you get home or tell your garage door opener to open or close your garage door so you can get in or out of your garage when you want to you! This is cool upcoming technology that we’ll be seeing in all our homes eventually; however, as smart Internet connecting appliances are still rather pricey it will probably be a few years before smart appliances start being bought in earnest by consumers. But even so – this is cool technology! Here’s a link to a CNET article on the subject, titled Google Glass could one day let you control objects around you, on the subject:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57575596-93/google-glass-could-one-day-let-you-control-objects-around-you/

Tiny Self Driving Cars: Popular Science published an article yesterday about a very small one-person self-driving car that can drive on pedestrian walkways. The car was introduced in Japan this week by Hitachi and is called the “Robot for Personal Intelligent Transport System” or “Ropits” for short; and it uses sensors and GPS to navigate sidewalks and offer its rider a smooth ride. This too is cool upcoming technology and should eventually open doors to many people who cannot drive cars themselves. And of course, it may also be a cheaper form of alternative transportation for some of us who live and work in the same town. And I know I wouldn’t mind being able to sip coffee and read the news on my iPad as my self-driving car drives me to work in the morning!

Here’s a link to the article which is titled This Tiny Car Drives Itself:

http://www.popsci.com/cars/article/2013-03/tiny-car-drives-itself

Saying Goodbye To GUI: GUI stands for Graphical User Interface and that fancy computer speak really just means the way you use traditional computers – that is how you use your mouse and/or touchpad and keyboard to open and close programs and documents on a computer and just basically take care of any computer tasks you have to get done.

I found an interesting article on the Wired site today that puts forth the idea that the traditional Graphical User Interface is not keeping up with the demands of our quickly evolving technology and should be replaced with a Conversational User Interface. The term Conversational User Interface, or CUI, is another fancy computerese term that simply means that if you use a computer with this type of interface you instruct the computer do what you want it to do via voice command instead of by using a keyboard and mouse. The example of a CUI the author Robert Kaplan gives is one that anyone who has ever seen many episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation will be familiar with – when Captain Picard walks to the replicator station and gives the computer his order for “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot;” and presto a cup of hot Earl Grey tea materializes in front of him.

Voice activated computers and computing systems using CUI will be easier to use than the traditional point, click and keyboard GUIs we are currently using – we’ll just have to wait and see how long it takes for this technology to become ubiquitous and my bet is not more than 10 years.

Here’s a link to the Wired article titled Forget the GUI: It’s Time for a Conversational User Interface:

http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/03/conversational-user-interface/

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Halliday, Josh., O’Carroll, Lisa. (2013, March 21). Google’s Eric Schmidt warns on China’s attempts to control the internet. The Guardian. Online.

Kaplan, Robert. (2013, March 21). Forget the GUI: It’s Time for a Conversational User Interface. Wired. Online.

Lecher, Colin. (2013, March 21). This Tiny Car Drives Itself. POPSCI. Online.

Whitney, Lance. Google Glass could one day let you control objects around you. CNET. Online

YouTube App Disappearing From iPad And iPhone

Hi everyone, just a quick afternoon update for all the iPad and iPhone users out there!

When we all upgrade to Apple’s iOS 6 in the fall – the YouTube app, which has come pre-installed on all three generations of the iPad to date, will disappear from our iPads and iPhones. Apple and Google, the owner of YouTube, are experiencing some friction with each other as both try and dominate portions of the tech market Google with its Nexus 7 Tablet and Apple with its iPad and iPhone.

Apple has stated of this change that YouTube will still be accessible through the Safari web browser and that Google is working on a YouTube app to place in Apple’s App Store.

Here’s a link to an Apple Insider article titled Apple removes YouTube app from iOS with beta 4 release of iOS 6:

http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/12/08/06/apple_re_releases_4th_beta_of_ios_6_to_developers_after_mislabeling.html

Linda R.

Google Pulls The Nexus Q Media Player, Amazon Instant Video iPad App Now Available & Is Craigslist Stuck In The 1990s?

Google Pulls The Nexus Q Media Player: Google has pulled the Nexus Q media streaming player from the market before it has even gone on sale! Google has done this due to the great many negative reviews the device has received from Tech reviewers. The Nexus Q is another media streaming device, like the Apple TV and Roku players that allows users to stream content from the Internet to their television sets. Apparently, Google decided, based upon the overwhelming negative reviews of the device; that is isn’t ready from prime time yet. And for those lucky persons who pre-ordered the device – they will actually receive a free version of the media streaming player.

Here’s a link to a New York Times Bits blog article on the subject tilted Google Delays The Nexus Q After Poor Reviews:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/31/google-delays-the-nexus-q-after-poor-reviews/

Amazon Instant Video iPad App Now Available: Amazon has just released an iPad app for their video store. So now you can rent or purchase videos from Amazon and watch them on your iPad. You can also access any TV shows or movies you have previously purchased from Amazon. And on a related note, you can also watch any movies or TV shows you purchase from Amazon on your TV via a media streaming player like the Roku Player.

The tech site Mashable offers an article on this subject today it is the aptly titled Amazon Instant Video iPad App, here’s the link:

http://mashable.com/2012/08/01/amazon-instant-video-ipad-app/

Is Craigslist Stuck In The 1990s?: The New York Times Bits blog also offers an article today detailing how the very popular Craigslist site, that allows users to sell their goods online, has not kept up with the times and has also tried to stamp out innovative ways users have come up with to more easily search the site. The article is titled Disruptions: Innovations Snuffed Out by Craigslist – here’s the link:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/when-craigslist-blocks-innovations-disruptions/?ref=technology

Linda R.