Archive | February, 2013

The CAT B15 is a tougher smartphone

28 Feb

Most of us have seen the commercials for jam where they use the line “With a name like Smuckers it has to be good”. The new CAT B15 smartphone, the first smartphone branded by Caterpillar, could come with a similar tag line “With a name like Caterpillar is has to be tough”. A tag line that the CAT B15 lives upto with its aluminum and rubber shells that can withstand much of the punishment that can come from working around heavy equipment.

The CAT B15 isn’t just the tough smartphone on the block as it also comes with some pretty decent features inside and outside. The smartphone feature a 4-inch screen constructed of second generation gorilla glass and boosting a 800×480 resolution, a front-facing VGA camera for video conferencing and a rear-facing 5 MP camera. The CAT B15 runs the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) operating system, has the Cortex A9 dual core processor running at 1 GHz, comes with 512 Mb of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage. These may not be the most impressive stats for a smartphone but when you are working you are working in an area where high impact and water resistance are needed a slight decrease in feature should be a fair trade off.

If the rugged CAT B15 will be making it debut over in Germany in mid March and sell for 300 euros. It won’t be hitting the United States until some time in April and sell for $392. So, if the CAT B15 sounds like the rugged smartphone you have been waiting to get your hands on then you will still have to wait for awhile to get your hands on it.

For more on the CAT B15 you might try the following articles:

 

Last night’s Oscars generated 8.9 million tweets and they are still going

25 Feb

Yesterday was the big night in Hollywood as most of America tuned in to see the glitz, glamor and of course that little golden man we all know simply as Oscar. Many of us built our entire day around the big event as we had our own parties while watching the celebrity interviews, the red carpet fashion show and of course the handing of the Academy Awards. Even though the presentations are over those twitter birds are still chirping up a storm over the spectacle.

It is human nature that we like to see little things go bad for those that we usually only see in the best light. So, it is only natural some of the most tweeted about moments of the Academy Awards last night were those little flubs, trips and embarrassing moments that let us know that celebrities are just as prone to those little mishaps as the rest of us.

One of those little missteps that was big on twitter was actually a step as Jennifer Lawrence tripped on the steps as she was walking up to the stage to accept her Best Actress award. What create so much buzz though wasn’t the fall itself but that the beautiful 22-year-old wasn’t seriously hurt and the way that she was able to recover quickly and find humor in what was an embarrassing moment on one the biggest nights of her young life. Ms. Lawrence didn’t miss a beat as she dusted herself off and received her award. Later in an interview when she was asked about the fall she joked about how it was planned and even offered to show off the mark on her leg. One of the best tweets about the classiness of how the young actress handled the incident and the later interview was the following:

Alice Greczyn@alicefood

Kudos to Jennifer Lawrence for treating stupid press questions like stupid press questions!

One other event of last nights award ceremony was when the First Lady of the United States made an appearance as one of the presenters. As the big show was winding down and there was one last award to be presented Jack Nicholson took the stage. Shortly after starting his presentation he turned to the big screen behind him and introduced Michelle Obama where the First Lady was handed the envelop and announce that “Argo” won the Best Picture.

For more on the topic of twitter’s Oscar buzz you might try the following:

 

 

WordPress makes your classroom more social

23 Feb

On Wednesday the popular blog site WordPress announce a new feature that will help teachers keep in touch with students and their families. The new feature is called classroom and can be used for classroom assignments, newsletters about field trips, give parents and students a place to leave comments.

For over a decade there has been a growing number of schools that have offered an online presence where teachers could post lesson plans, post a class syllabus and announcements. Most of those have been on sites that have set up for the schools and are limited on what can be posted, the design is usually pretty rigid forcing each class to have the same features and theme as every other class and the interaction between teachers and students is sometimes lacking.

With the introduction of WordPress classroom teachers will now have the power to customized their own classroom page, allow only those that should have access or shut off the comments altogether to make announcements. If you are setting up a page for a history class and a math class you will be able to give them different themes and features so that they better represent the class. In all there are 12 different academic themes to choose from to make your classroom page standout from just another school web site.

“Maybe your English Grammar class needs a formal, college-ruled look — Runo Lite should do the trick,” says Caroline Moore on the WordPress.com blog. “Or perhaps your kindergarten website needs a whimsical touch-up — enter our newest theme, Chalkboard.”

For more on this topic you might try the following articles:

 

After 15 Hotmail is sent to the showers giving way to Outlook

22 Feb

In the early day of the web the choices were pretty slim so most people used AOL (America online) meaning we had to use their e-mail. The constant “ You’ve got mail” did get on our nerves but the email service worked fine since most of the people sending us mail would be using AOL as well. Then when AOL start make changes, raised their price and more choices became available we started to migrate away.

When we started to migrate to all these new ISPs (Internet service provider) we found a new start up e-mail server named Hotmail. Hotmail was a nice upgrade and work fine until high speed became more of a standard. Then when Yahoo started their e-mail we moved to it because it was more compatible with DSL and cable connections. Soon though Yahoo started making changes and they quality of the service went down. So we moved on to Google’s new e-mail service that many of us use today.

Now, after 15 years Redmond-based Microsoft is replacing Hotmail with Outlook e-mail. For those us that been die-hard Hotmail users we have known this day was coming for quite some time. We had advance notice from the Hotmail staff and some of us have even been part of a beta test for the new service for the last 6 months. The question is will this new service add enough to bring people back to let Microsoft be their e-mail provider?

One of the new features of Outlook is that is more social friendly letting you connect both your Facebook, LinkedIn and twitter accounts. If you use this option you will be able to see the tweets, updates and newsfeed of your contacts while you are reading the latest piece of e-mail from them. Using this feature will also add all of your connections from those social media sites to your messenger allowing you the ability to chat with all of your friends as you check you mail.

If you are a Windows 8 user you will notice that Outlook can be accessed from four live tiles on your start page. The mail tile will let you know how many new pieces of mail you have in your inbox and who sent them to you. That way you will know if that important piece of e-mail you have been waiting for has come in. Then you can simply click on the tile and go straight to your inbox. The other three tiles are the people, calender and sky drive giving you one click access to your contacts, appoints and Microsoft’s cloud storage.

4 apps to make your Academy award experience better

21 Feb

This Sunday is the big day that the Academy of Arts and Sciences recognize their peers by handing out that grand old man known as Oscar. The Oscars have lost a little of their luster since the first awards were given out in 1929. Lately it has become more about what the attendees are wearing and the entertainment. Whether you watch the Oscars for the awards or for the glitz and glamor there are a few apps that will help you catch every moment when you can’t be in front of a television.

  • Oscars is the official app for the Academy that will allow you to catch everything Oscars on your iOS, android and Kindle Fire mobile devices. With this you will be able to not only keep track of what you are missing when you can’t be in front the television but you also have the trailers of nominated movies, background on the actors & actresses, fashion specials and more. The app is free for all of these formats.

  • E! live from the red carpet is an app that puts you right there at the grand entrance as you hear interviews with celebrities, see pictures from the red carpet events and discussions of the fashions. You will want to keep this app even after the Academy awards as it will give you the same access for all the award shows. The app is free for iOS, android, Kindle Fire and Windows mobile devices.

  • Award heroes Oscars edition is an app for your iOS mobile devices that gives you the power to act as though you are a member of the Academy and vote all the nominees and then share your vote with your Facebook friends and see if they would vote the same. With this free app you will also be able to watch the trailers of the nominated movies.

  • Oscars quiz is a free app for your android mobile devices that will test your knowledge of the Academy awards going back to 1929.

 

 

Did MTV go too far with their fake hacking stunt?

20 Feb

Only two days into the week and there has already been four accounts hacked. Atleast that the way it seemed earlier today. As it turned out only two of the attacks were legitimate when it was revealed that MTV and BET were pulling a prank just making it look like they were victims.

On Monday Burger King’s twitter account was hacked. Their logo was replaced with McDonalds’ Golden Arches and a message saying that they had been bought by McDonalds. It wasn’t long before a group connected with the Anonymous hackers group. Burger King took down their account until they could get the entire matter cleared up so they could put up a more secure account.

This it was the Jeep Corporation falling victims as their twitter was hacked. .Their logo was replaced by that of the Cadillac corporation with a message saying that the Chrysler corporation had sold them to the luxury car maker. Once the hacking was discovered it didn’t take to long for the Chrysler corporation to get the account back to normal.

“We first became aware of it when the first tweet came through,” Chrysler spokeswoman Eileen Wunderlich told the Tribune. “We worked very fast with Twitter folks to disable the account as soon as possible and then worked to get it back up as soon as possible.”

It wasn’t long after the Jeep hacking that Viacom’s MTV and BET seemed to be victims of the same hackers. Quite a few blogs and news agencies reported the hacks but some of them, such as ABC, were suspicious that these two might be a prank. It wasn’t long before those suspicions were confirmed when the logo went back to normal and a tweet appeared on MTV’s account announcing it was all a joke.

The revelation that these last two were pranks begs the question: are there subjects that just shouldn’t be used to make jokes?

For more on this topic you might try:

 

 

New research bring promise to soldiers suffering traumatic brain injuries

18 Feb

TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) has been a growing concern in the military. There have been some new advances to prevent the injuries but very little progress in treatment. With the help of a device that was developed by NeuroHabilitation Corporation to help people that have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis there could be more options for those suffering from TBI.

Clinical studies for the PoNS (portable neuromodulartion stimulator) device are being conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where they have been having some positive results. One of the people that has participated in these clinical trials is Kim Kozelichki. After Kim was diagnosed with MS and referred to the study where Rifaat Bashir, M.D.; Rana Zabaad, M.D. And nurse practitioner Kathi Healey, Ph. D. took over her treatment as she went through the trial. A video of Kim’s remarkable progress can be seen on YouTube by clicking here.

“We want to tell researchers and clinicians- thank you for hope and not forgetting about the people who have these diseases.” said Kim and Todd Kozelichki.

The most famous of these participants was former Marine and talk show host Montell Williams. Mr. Williams contacted the University after reading a magazine article on the device and study. He soon joined in the study where the results he was getting made such an impression that he recommended it for military use.

“The third day there I said we need this in the mouths of our soldiers,” Williams told the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick, Md.

The PoNS device has a battery jpack on one end and a mouth piece on the other end. The paddle shaped piece that goes into your mouth is covered in sensors that pick up the neurotransmissions from your brain as you are put through a series of test to assess your abilities. The repeated use of the device will help to rewire you brain to accomplish task more like you were capable before the damage by the disease or brain trauma.

“Developed by the Tactile Communication & Neurorehabilitation Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison the PoNS (portable neuromodulation stimulator) unit delivers millions of pulses of energy to the tongue that then stimulates the brain stem,” said Max Kurz, Ph.D. Study leader at the UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute. He then went on “The preliminary results show large improvements in the standing and walking balance of the participants”.

 

 

What is behind the Surface pro shortage?

18 Feb

A week ago the more powerful big bother of Microsoft surface tablet, the Surface pro, made its debut at Microsoft’s online store and selected brick and mortar outlets. The tablet was a hit and sold out fast prompting Microsoft to announce that there is a shortage and that some of the customers will just have to wait. This of course didn’t go over with too many customers who were looking forward to getting their hands on one.

Then when the Surface pro started popping up on online sites at highly inflated prices it started some people to wonder about the shortage. They wanted to know is there really a shortage? Did Microsoft hold back to drive the market? Are retailers hold back supplies? Did the people that re-sell items on auction sites snap up supplies to make money? Or Did Microsoft just misjudge based on previous sales of Windows-based mobile devices?

Anytime that there is a shortage of a product the obvious thought is that the manufacturer has just held back on supplies to create more demand. In many case, mainly in the non-technology realm, this has been the case. In this case though, give the low market share and mediocre sales of the Surface RT, it isn’t very likely that Microsoft would use that tactic.

It has been common practice at time for retailers to simply holdback on stocking too much of one item. Usually though this practice is used when items are moving rather slowly in hopes that if they only put small amounts out people will buy them think that item is more popular than it is.

That online re-sellers are hoarding the Surface pro is a popular theory given that it has become common practice with other technology products. Over the last few years it has been common that when a new mobile device comes out it appears on mass at sites like eBay and other auction sites.

With new products or products with low expectations companies want to be on the conservative side and put out just a small amount to test the market. This could simply be the case here since Windows-based tablets have never done well in the market place.

For more on this topic you might try the following articles:

 

Videos uploaded to the web give us a view of meteoriod exploding over Russia

15 Feb

Most of us have at one time or another watched a meteor shower or seen a “shooting star” and thought “what a spectacular sight”. Sometimes we will here about the damage these falling objects can cause but unless we actually see it we don’t think anything about it. People around the city of Chelyabinsk in Russia found out first hand just how dangerous these meteoroids can actually be when one exploded today over the Ural mountains spreading destruction and injures for miles.
“I was driving to work, it was quite dark, but it suddenly became as bright as if it were day,” said Viktor Prokofiev, 36, a resident of Yekaterinburg in the Urals Mountains.
The reports started coming in this morning shortly after 9:00 a.m. PST about witness that saw a meteoroid streaking across the sky and then exploding. The explosion sent out fireballs and shock waves shattering windows and twisting frames in some 3.000 buildings, breaking windshields and injuring over 1,000 people. Along with all of the destruction, cellular service was disrupted leaving those that caught in the middle of the event unable to get in touch with emergency services, work, friends or family.
“I was standing at a bus stop, seeing off my girlfriend,” said Andrei, a local resident who did not give his second name. “Then there was a flash and I saw a trail of smoke across the sky and felt a shock wave that smashed windows.”
Meteoroids are a common occurrence as pebble or smaller ones are constantly entering our atmosphere. To have one in the 10 ton weight range is quite a rarity. The last time a meteoroid exploded was in the fall of last year when a meteoroid weighing approximately 154,300 pounds exploded scattering small meteorites across the south-west region of the United States. The last one to happen over Russia was a huge meteoroid that leveled millions of trees over 830 square miles of Siberia.
For more on this topic you might try the following articles:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/15/us-russia-meteorite-idUSBRE91E05Z20130215
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324162304578305163574597722.html
http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/15/world/europe/russia-meteor-shower/index.html
http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/02/15/injuries-reported-after-meteorite-falls-in-russia-ural-mountains/

Vertu offers their first android smartphone

14 Feb

Luxury smartphone manufacture Vertu has come out with their first android smartphone called the TI. The TI isn’t a smartphone for the masses and you won’t be seeing it in the display case at your corner electronics store or at even at the local branch of your cellular provider. Vertu’s smartphones are directed more to an exclusive crowd that want something to make them stand out in a crowd and can afford top quality.

Talking about the strategy, CEO Oosting says, “We don’t make massive numbers of phones and the price point is reflective of that”.

Vertu, formerly owned by Nokia, is a high end smartphone manufacturer located in Crook Ham, Hampshire in England. They use only the top quality materials, such as, sapphire glass for the screen and titanium cases in their handcrafted mobile devices. As with anything else that is handcrafted with top-of-the-line materials the IT smartphone will come at a high price. The 7,900 Euros (£6,994 or $10,623.92) price tag for the IT isn’t in everyone’s budget.

Designer Mr. Hutch Hutchison said that the company never had an intension of being a tech pioneer. Hutchison said, “Vertu will never be at the bleeding edge of technology. It has to be about relevant technology and craftsmanship – it’s not a disposable product.”

If you are one of the people that can afford the IT smartphone you will also get Vertu’s concierge service that at the touch of a button will put you into direct contact with their worldwide team of professionals that will give you advice, help you with reservations at restaurants and events.

The IT is one of the heavyweights of the smartphone world coming in at 180g (6oz. ) compared to some of the top selling smartphones that weigh right around 4.5 ounces. Since you are getting a titanium body you have to expect that it will weigh more then aluminum.

Some of the other features of the handcrafted IT smartphone include:

  • A 3.7” sapphire display with WVGA high resolution

  • An 8 MP rear facing camera and a 1.3 MP front facing camera

  • 64 GB of internal memory giving you plenty of storage for videos and apps

  • Up to 72 hours of talk time or 200 hours of standby

  • Android 4.0 (ice cream sandwich)

For more on this topic you might try the following articles: