Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Check-In CES: Rise of Curved Glass

January 6, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Read More

Check-In CES: The Virtual Reality Flood

January 3, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Read More

Qualcomm’s Toq Smartwatch Needs More Time

December 26, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

As a kid, you might have dreamed of the day where you could own a smartwatch like the ones you used to see in old Dick Tracy comics, or on “The Jetsons.” Well, that day is here: Wearable wrist computers are finally a reality. But they’re not quite ready for primetime yet. Qualcomm is the latest company to join the likes of Samsung, Sony and Pebble in releasing a smartwatch this year. Qualcomm’s entry is called the Toq (pronounced “tock”), and it serves as a companion to an Android smartphone. It displays any notifications you might receive on your phone, provides access to weather and stock information, and allows you to perform a limited number of tasks, such as controlling your phone’s music player. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Gear , however, it does not have a built-in microphone, so you can’t use it to make phone calls, and there’s no integrated camera. I’ve been testing the Toq with the Nexus 5 Android phone for the past week, and it performed its functions well. It also showcases some cool technology from Qualcomm (the company is best known for making the chips that go inside smartphones and tablets) that could be useful in future smartwatches, the most notable feature being the always-on display that’s readable even in sunlight, and doesn’t drain battery life.

Read More

Verizon’s LTE Map Is Nearly Complete, but All Four Major Carriers Are Starting to Fill in the Dots

December 24, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

At the beginning of 2013, Verizon Wireless had the clear lead when it came to LTE coverage, so much so that it launched an ad campaign comparing rivals’ coverage maps to modern art. But over the course of 2013, the picture has started to change. Verizon still has the most areas covered, with the high-speed service in 500 U.S. markets, covering 303 million people. But the others are catching up. AT&T is Verizon’s nearest competitor, with LTE service currently in 488 markets, covering more than 250 million people. AT&T expects to end the year with its LTE rollout 90 percent completed, covering 270 million people, with the remaining work to be done by next summer. Sprint launched LTE service in 70 cities last week, bringing its total to 300 markets, while T-Mobile’s most recent public number was that it has LTE in 254 metro areas, covering 203 million people. In all, it’s a much different picture than the one painted by Verizon’s ad, which depicts coverage maps as they stood much earlier this year. As we’ve noted, with so much of the nation now covered by LTE on all four major networks, much of the attention is starting to shift to the ways in which carriers are improving LTE speeds and capacity . On that front, T-Mobile recently launched improved service in North Dallas, where the company is taking advantage of increased spectrum acquired via MetroPCS. Sprint is using its Clearwire spectrum to build out its next-generation service, dubbed Spark, while Verizon Wireless is using its spectrum holdings in the AWS range to boost its coverage in major cities. Verizon started that effort this quarter, and aims to end the year with 5,000 cell sites using the technology by year’s end, primarily in high-demand areas in cities including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and Atlanta.

Read More

Talk of an RSA Boycott Grows After Reports It Colluded With the NSA

December 24, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

A boycott may be brewing against security company RSA’s annual conference, in the wake of reports that the company used encryption technology that had been created by the U.S. National Security Agency in its products in order to create a “back door” in them. A well-known security researcher has announced that he is boycotting RSA’s annual security industry conference in San Francisco early next year, and will no longer deliver a scheduled talk at that event. In an open letter addressed to Joe Tucci, the CEO of EMC, of which RSA is a unit, and Art Coviello, the head of RSA, Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, said he is “withdrawing his support for the event.” (See the full text of the letter below.) In a story on Friday, Reuters reported that RSA had accepted a $10 million payment from the NSA to use a random-number generator created by that agency in a widely used security product called BSafe. After being developed by NSA, the technology, known as Dual EC DRBG, which stands for Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator , was recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Time (NIST) as an algorithm to create random numbers, a key part of the process of encrypting and securing data communications. RSA has issued a carefully worded denial of what Reuters described as a “secret contract” with the NSA. The company said that it has long worked with the NSA openly for what it described as an “effort to strengthen, not weaken” security products. RSA’s annual conference, scheduled Feb. 24-28, 2014, at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, is a significant event for large and small companies in the computer security industry, and is also widely attended by independent researchers. The conference boasts attendance of about 15,000 people. Hypponen has worked for F-Secure, based in Helsinki, since 1991. He’s a sought-out speaker on security topics, and is frequently quoted in the media (such as this example from AllThingsD in 2011 ), and has spoken at the influential TED conference. He has also has worked with law-enforcement agencies around the world. His research into the SoBig virus was the subject of a lengthy 2004 feature in Vanity Fair magazine. The name of the talk that he won’t be giving: “ Governments as Malware Authors .” Others in the security industry are talking about boycotting the RSA event, too.

Read More

Atheer and Meta Want You to Touch Your Apps in Midair

December 19, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Touchscreens have become so 2007, the wearable computing crowd chants. The next big thing for how we interact with our technology, they say, might be touching nothing at all. Consider two new wearable projects clamoring for attention this week, the Atheer One and Meta Pro. Both are augmented-reality-focused smart glasses that project their interfaces in front of users’ faces. Cameras and sensors on the glasses can determine how far away real-world objects are, including hands and fingers, so someone who from the outside seems to be poking at air may actually be tapping a holographic display. With tactile touchscreen-based phones and tablets still selling like crazy , the specifics of how many consumers want this sort of interaction isn’t part of the discussion, at least not yet. But: Future! Iron Man! Minority Report! Shh! For whatever it’s worth, though, Meta was interesting enough to Kickstarter backers earlier this year to raise $194,444 , nearly double its original goal, for a developer version called the Meta One and a consumer version, the Meta Pro. Pre-orders for the $3,000 Pro, planned for a June/July 2014 launch, opened on Tuesday at SpaceGlasses.com . Now Atheer is trying to pull off the same trick. This morning, it launched an Indiegogo campaign (an eleventh-hour switch after getting bogged down in Kickstarter’s project approval process, I’m told), also asking for $100,000 to finance a developer version, to arrive April-June 2014, and then the consumer model, the Atheer One, for December 2014. Atheer was originally only in the UI business, and debuted its wearables platform at the D11 conference in May of this year. “We are not a hardware play,” CEO Soulaiman Itani said in an interview. “We are software, but there was nothing out there for us to put the software on.” So, the company brokered manufacturing partnerships for the dev kit, which costs $850, and the later consumer version, which costs $350. While the dev kit packs a processor, battery and so on into the glasses themselves, the Atheer One will outsource most of its processing to a tethered Android phone

Read More

Obama to Meet With Tech Giants Over Surveillance, Obamacare

December 16, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

President Barack Obama, facing growing pressure from Silicon Valley, will meet Tuesday with executives from Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and other technology and telecommunications giants to discuss their concerns about America’s surveillance operations. According to the White House, Mr. Obama will also meet with the executives to talk about progress with the troubled online federal marketplace, HealthCare.gov, and ways the government and technology industry can partner to boost economic growth. Read the rest of this post on the original site »

Read More

Space Monkey Peer-to-Peer Digital Storage System Offers Better Backup

December 10, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

People who back up their digital photos, videos and documents usually do so in one of two places—a giant hard drive in their home, or a giant remote storage facility in the cloud. If one of these storage solutions goes kaput, so can the data. Isn’t there a better way? For the past week, I have been testing Space Monkey, a storage solution that promises to save your data both locally and remotely. The best of both worlds doesn’t come cheap, at least not at first glance: For $199 you get a one-terabyte drive that looks like a large capsule, plugs into your wireless router and stores any files you copy to it. But what sets Space Monkey apart is its peer-to-peer backup system, ensuring that your files are also stored remotely on multiple devices. This service is free for the first year and $49 a year after that. I like the way Space Monkey works, doubling up on backups and giving me fast access to my data. Saved files were easy to access remotely using login credentials. But its interface is a little sparse, and on the computer it’s missing a one-click feature that would automatically move all files over to Space Monkey. The $199 Space Monkey storage solution offers two ways to store files: Remote storage, which uses a peer-to-peer system, and local storage, which uses this one-terabyte hard drive, above, that plugs into a wireless router. Peer-to-peer backup technology can be tough to understand. In short, every Space Monkey drive comes with one terabyte of storage that you can use for storing your own files plus a second, hidden terabyte of storage that the company uses for storing bits of other people’s files. Any time anyone saves a file in Space Monkey, it’s encrypted, chopped into tiny pieces and stored in up to 40 different drives belonging to other users. This means that anyone trying to get to your files would need to access each of these devices and decrypt the files

Read More

2013 U.S. Agency of the Year: 72andSunny

December 9, 2013  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The long wood table that 72andSunny partners John Boiler, Glenn Cole, Robert Nakata and Matt Jarvis share as a desk inside their Playa Vista, Calif., office says a lot about the agency and its recent success. You see, the desk is made of slats from the old floor of Pauley Pavilion, home court of UCLA’s basketball team, another perennial Southern California winner. This desk doesn’t symbolize winning, though—but rather, how you play the game. “One of our big inspirations is John Wooden,” explains Jarvis, the agency’s chief strategy officer, referring to UCLA’s legendary head coach. “He never talked about winning or losing—he talked about performing at the highest level you’re capable of. And so, that has been a huge influence on how we look at channeling our competitive spirit in a way that’s productive, long term and sustainable.” And though Wooden didn’t fixate on winning, he still won more than 80 percent of the games he coached—a fact that makes him an extraordinary and appropriate role model for an agency completing its most successful year ever. In 2013, 72andSunny not only expanded relationships with core clients Samsung and Target, but it also landed coveted slots on the creative rosters of world-class brands ESPN, Google and Starbucks. In addition, the shop dethroned JWT as lead global agency on Smirnoff , the biggest selling spirits brand in the world. In the process, U.S. revenue soared 81 percent to an estimated $85 million. Creatively, the MDC Partners shop with the quirky name took big swings, particularly with Samsung and Activision Publishing, producing high-profile ads that blended celebrities with brands in unexpected ways. One long-form Samsung ad captured Jay-Z in the studio with producer Rick Rubin working on Jay-Z’s latest release, Magna Carta Holy Grail —of which 1 million Galaxy owners got an exclusive early download. Another Samsung ad made great use of LeBron James in a warm family setting, with his wife using a Galaxy phone to film father and son at play. Finally, for Activision’s Call of Duty: Ghosts, 72andSunny partnered with Eminem , who supplied music for the game and a video that teased the November launch.

Read More

Weekend Reading — The Latest Open Government Plan (Post-Edward Snowden)

December 8, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

On Friday, the Obama administration released another document outlining its efforts at making government more accessible to its citizens and to increase transparency. Titled “The Open Government Partnership: Second Open Government National Action Plan for the United States of America,” I cannot say the 13-page document is a page-turner, but you should read it anyway. That’s especially in light of all the revelations that the government is perhaps not as open and accountable as was thought when the first plan was released in September of 2011. The White House report said most of the more than two dozen promises in that report had been either fulfilled or were being addressed. This was, of course, all before the revelations of government surveillance of everyone and their mother (not my mother, unless you are interested in Words With Friends and her excessive enjoyment of the New York Post online). Still, the feds press on with the idea that was at the heart of the Obama administration’s appeal to techies, with “23 new or expanded open-government commitments …” By way of background, from the report: In September 2010, President Obama challenged members of the United Nations General Assembly to work together to make all governments more open and accountable to their people

Read More