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Amazon unveils its future, Fire Phone

Posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2014 at 9:56 pm

Amazon's Fire PhoneEarlier today, the long expected Amazon phone was unveiled to the world by Jeff Bezos. There isn't much a company entering the smartphone market can do to shine strictly from hardware. So, Amazon, being as smart as they are, mostly let software design and unique functionality do most of the grunt work.

You can check out the list of hardware and software specs, but at the end of the day, it's what the Fire Phone does that no other phone does today. Dynamic Perspective, Firefly technology, and Mayday.

Dynamic Perspective utilizes the phone's sensors to provide abilities like "peek" where you reveal bits of information on the screen only as you need it, keeping things uncluttered and out of the way. You can also tilt and swivel your phone for shortcuts and actions like attaching photos, revealing menus, toggling the flashlight, and even calling for live help when you're stuck. More after the jump...

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Posted In: In the News, Technology

Why Twitter needs Account Types

Posted on Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 at 6:41 pm

Twitter LogoTwitter has grown into a massive communication platform, and businesses are heavily utilizing its powers of customer engagement and reach. There is, however, a problem.

As a web developer/designer, most of the accounts I follow are of my peers in the industry, professionals I look up to, and a huge number of companies providing products and services that interest me. The problem here is that everything mashed into a single timeline. All updates from individuals, companies, products, and services, in one big scrollable page... is unmanageable.

Sure, Twitter has lists, but it's not accessible. It's hidden under the 'settings' menu. When you do get to it, you're presented with a list of your lists. I have a bunch of lists that I've created, but I never go to them because nothing pulls me towards it. There's no UX to easily filter between individual, company, product, and service accounts. What's the solution?

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Posted In: On the Web, Technology

Initial Thoughts: WWDC 2014, iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite

Posted on Monday, June 2nd, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Apple LogoToday's WWDC event was the biggest since the original iPhone. Not only did Apple play an incredible round of catch up with the announcement of iOS 8, but their execution, from what I could tell from the presentation, is superb. On top of the elements added to iOS that have been years overdue, the new features/functionality slingshots iOS into the lead. Now, let the real mobile wars begin.

The massive undertaking (that was evidently rushed) when redesigning iOS from scratch with version 7, now reveals to everyone how deep its roots actually go. The design language of iOS 7 was not only enhanced and improved on in itself, but it now encompasses the "platform" aspect through things like extensibility, and large amount of "kits" they have available, haha. So many kits.... (this is a dev thing, btw).

The other thing that most people don't seem to realize is how dependent the iOS and OS X integration has become to the cloud. Several years ago, Apple invested billions of dollars to construct its multi-million square foot datacenter. With iOS 6 through iOS 7, we saw it utilized decently, but only today was its true power and reach revealed. No more guessing games as to what purpose a multi-billion dollar datacenter serves.

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Posted In: Technology

Future: Virtual Assistants? Siri approves

Posted on Sunday, October 30th, 2011 at 7:06 am

Siri Personal Assistant
Mobile phones are still on a growth spurt throughout world. With our phones by our sides at all times, virtual assistants can gain traction and become a critical part of how we function and utilize technology. The point of technology is to make things easier and more efficient for us, right?

With the introduction of Siri, Apple's new virtual assistant platform for iPhones, the bet for the future is on! If you're thinking "Why does this matter? Speech recognition and task dictation is nothing new," you're absolutely right. However, there is one great differentiating factor in that Siri is the first to actually understand what you mean. Rather than passing blunt commands, you talk to it and hold a conversation. More after the jump...

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Posted In: Productivity, Technology

Nest: Thermostat reinvented, the Apple way

Posted on Friday, October 28th, 2011 at 4:08 am

Nest Learning ThermostatLet's face it, thermostats suck, and the guys at Nest saw a brilliant opportunity to create the perfect solution. "The Learning Thermostat" is functional, useful, time saving, green, economical, super cool, and last but not least, beautiful! There isn't a single sane person who would refuse to install this in their home.

Nest is led by two former members of the iPod division at Apple; Tony Fadell, who served as SVP, and Matt Rogers who served as lead engineer . The influence of the rich "click wheel" history of the iPod is comfortably evident. The elegance and minimalism of both the hardware and the interface makes it desirable to use, while saving money!

Yes, it looks gorgeous and easy to use, but what makes Nest THAT much cooler? Read more after the jump...

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Posted In: Green & Environment, Technology

iPhone 4S/5, announcement imminent

Posted on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 at 11:16 am

This post a response to The Next iPhone on

First of all, you've got it all wrong. The upgrade from 3G to 3GS was significant. The processor speed and graphic performance were improved to the point where iPhone 2G/3G were practically (with the older hardware) were slow as hell, and a gigantic pain in the ass to use!

Processor is 600MHz up from 412MHz, with a dramatically improved GPU, and double the RAM, 256MB up from 128MB. Digital compass for directional uses, dramatically improved 3.2MP camera with tap-to-focus, video capability, improved battery life, etc. The list just goes on! So don't even go blabbering that 3G to 3GS was a "minor" upgrade.

Now, speaking of the iPhone 4, and if Apple released an iPhone 4S, it wouldn't be a "minor" update. After all, the A5 processor that the iPad 2 sports is about 2.5x more powerful than the Samsung Galaxy S II, which currently has the one of the most powerful guts of all available phones, and if that's not pretty damn good to you, I don't know what is.

Overall performance wise (software AND hardware), the iPhone 4 to this day even outperforms MOST new phones that come out, and that says something about what putting a simple little A5 inside an iPhone would do, whether or not Apple redesigns the external hardware. We'll all just have to wait and see!

Update: Click here to follow the liveblog on Engadget!

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Posted In: Technology

Apple + Gaming beyond iOS devices

Posted on Thursday, June 30th, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Game Console Logos + Apple
Apple touts its iPod Touch as "the most popular game player in the world," but today, some are wondering if Apple would ever consider going beyond. Back in 1995, Apple and Bandai jointly released the "Pippin" console in Japan, and quickly drowned in the competition from PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and Sega Saturn. This was during the dark ages of Apple, before Steve Jobs made his comeback in 1997 and turned the company around.

16 years later, we have a completely different Apple. The new Apple has since dominated markets, moved industries, and achieved things no one else has. If Apple went ahead and decided to challenge the big 3 (Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony) in the game console wars, would it even stand a chance? Let's take a look...

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Posted In: Technology

Nintendo, do we need another console that half-delivers its promise?

Posted on Thursday, June 16th, 2011 at 3:17 am

Nintendo Wii U - Console and Controller
I'll start off by saying that I have been a huge Nintendo fan for as long as I can remember. I like innovation, new ideas, companies trying new things, but I am also a realist. These things need to be fool proof, need to work properly, and most importantly, they need to DELIVER! This applies to any company out there, trying to sell any product. While the Nintendo Wii has been immensely popular with the general public due to its "mass playability," but the same feeling hasn't been shared by all of the game developers.

Brian Ashcraft of Kotaku stated the following about how the Wii fell behind on their promise:

"Wii games were never as interactive as that initial trailer promised—we never jumped behind sofas. The console ended up with a heavy casual game focus, and there was poor third party support—both of which Nintendo hopes to rectify with the Wii U."

The challenge Nintendo still faces with the Wii U

A Wii-owning friend of mine stated the following regarding Super Mario Galaxy:

"You shake the remote to spin. In a few levels you move by tilting the remote. That's it."

I couldn't have summed up my thoughts any better about the state of Nintendo's "motion" approach to gaming. Nintendo themselves never attempted anything TRULY UNIQUE with their games, and neither did developers. In result, the Wii has lost support from some major developers throughout the years. Continue reading for more thoughts...

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Posted In: In the News, Technology

WWDC 2011 thoughts and reactions

Posted on Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 at 12:09 am

Apply iOS 5Today, Apple played a lot of catch up with iOS 5. Features were unveiled that people have been wishing for since the iPhone's incarnation in 2007. For instance, how long have we been whining for a Notifications revamp? Over-The-Air updates and synching? An improved lock-screen?

Mac OS X LionI am happy about the direction Mac OS X is taking. Mission Control is one of my favorite features because I am already huge a fan of Expose, and making application windows with Expose and Spaces on crack puts a smile on my face. One other game changer is Resume/Auto Save in combination with Versions. With this trio, you technically never have to save or worry about going back to where you left off. Versions allows you to get a taste of Time Machine, meaning that you can access to previous versions of your document since you started working on it, just in case you made a booboo and need to revert.

Apple iCloudBack when Apple bought the $1bn dollar datacenter in North Carolina, speculations of the grand agenda began. Everyone knew that it was obviously going to be cloud-based, such as a huge revamp to MobileMe, but now we know exactly what Apple has been planning, and oh boy is it huge!

iCloud, combined with all of the developer APIs that will be offered, certainly gives Google and Amazon a run for their money. Yes, Amazon has a concrete set of cloud-based offerings, but most of them are in a completely separate class, such as S3 (simple storage service) for application developers of all levels. We don't currently have a master list of all the APIs developers will be able to utilize with iCloud just yet, but, as Apple said deliberately that they're taking this very seriously, we are sure to find out its limits very soon. More after the jump...

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Posted In: In the News, Technology

Nokia and Microsoft, sitting in a tree…

Posted on Friday, April 15th, 2011 at 12:03 am

Nokia and Microsoft PhoneIt was only a matter of time until Nokia threw in the towel, but nobody guessed it was going to happen this way. Nokia almost completely abandoned the platform they've invested billions into, and sided with Microsoft, who will also end up dumping billions into the platform (simply because they can, easily).

In many ways, I see this as a match made in heaven. Microsoft, very late in the mobile OS game, but still with a pretty decent chance at gaining a healthy user base. Nokia, a phone maker virtually non-existant in the modern-day smartphone era, and in desperate need of a 360° overhaul. These two behemoths are... *ahem* ... a match made in heaven. More after the jump...

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Posted In: In the News, Technology