Tag Archives: Technology

Tabled Discussion: Could New Table PC from Lenovo Bring Families Back Together?

7 Jan

The mantra from many marketers is the world is more connected now than ever before. In theory, sure people can now find out what is going on around the world and communicate with those people more than ever before. The idea of being isolated from current events, no matter how trivial is something one has to work to do instead of it being the default action in life.

However this “connected” world we live in now comes at a cost. People are not near as engaged with each other on a personal level than previously. Could technology actually help in bringing people back together in real life? Lenovo thinks it just might have an answer.

The company is set to release the IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC. Lenovo is calling it the “interpersonal computer”, a twist on the personal computer label many people are familiar with. The idea of the device harkens back to when a Microsoft Surface device was previewed as a big table and not the recent tablet. The idea and concept was intriguing at the time, and still is to an extent today.

Think of this Table PC as an massive upgrade to the old coffee table. Now instead of boardgames being taken down, setup, played and put away (a somewhat time consuming and arguably annoying process), they can be installed and run on the table. According to the AP article [1], the Table PC is said to be “big enough to fit four people around it, and the screen can respond to ten fingers touching it at the same time.”  Monopoly anyone? No. How about Pictionary instead? The possibilities are pretty much endless.

And with the ability to upgrade the software, even more functionality is possible. So what is limited to ten fingers today could be 20 by the end of the year, or sooner. Now think of using a device like this in an educational setting. The idea of dissecting animals just got an upgrade. Multiple students could be a one table and take turns doing the process multiple times in varying ways. How about looking at the stars but up-close and personal as a group? Again, the possibilities are pretty much endless.

Having some realistic idea of what one could do with device at home and else where currently should temper the grand ideas of its potential use. As most people do with any first generation device. Another possibility is it being a “second screen” to a media program being viewed on a TV.

The cost of the Table PC isn’t as “cheap” as a tablet. This summer when Lenovo says the table will go on sale, the retail cost will be $1699. If successful (which is anyones guess what defines success for a device like this) it is not out of the range of possibility for furniture manufacturers (big-box to mom-and-pop) to beign creating table shells which fit devices such as this. I’m generally not a first generation device purchaser but if I had an extra $1700 lying around, I could see giving this device a try.

Some specs on the device [2]:

  • Up to 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor
  • Up to Windows 8 Pro
  • 27″ backlit full HD (1920×1080) multi-touch display; 16:9 widescreen
  • Up to 2 hours battery life
  • Up to 1TB HDD
  • Up to 8GB DDR3

 

See it “in action” here:

 

References –

  1. Lenovo to release giant 27-inch ‘coffee table PC’ – AP
  2. IdeaCentre Horizon Product Page – Lenovo
Advertisements

Wide Load: Reliant Stadium Getting Upgraded, Bigger Displays

20 Dec

In Texas everything is bigger or so they say. Currently the Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones can boast about having the largest stadium display in the NFL (180 by 72 feet), and at one time held the record for largest HD display according to the Guiness Book of World Records [1]. Insert compensation joke here. However, that title will soon go to their state rivals the Houston Texans [2].

The Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation has approved an upgrade to the home of the Texans, Reliant Stadium. The upgrade will give the Texans a new, very large display (277.17 by 52.49 feet) [3].

“Our game experience is consistently rated as one of the finest in the world and these spectacular video boards will help us elevate to an even higher level of performance for our fans,” said Houston Texans President Jamey Rootes. “Starting next season, the energy, excitement and entertainment we deliver for each home game at Reliant Stadium will be matched with exclusive video content, real-time information and event enhancements to provide an even better experience for our large and loyal fan base.”

So is bigger always better? Not always but in this case it very well could be. The upgraded displays are hoped to increase Houston’s chance of hosting the 2017 Super Bowl. Let’s just hope everyone keeps their clothes over this exciting announcement.

“An integral component is the Super Bowl bid,” Rootes said. “Their question is, ‘What is the experience going to be like? The game experience for the fans when they’re there for the Super Bowl?’ When you show that picture and it is the largest stadium installation, 25 percent larger than what they’ve seen before, you can’t help but think that will be exciting for the fans.”

The improvements not only benefit the Texans but other events held at Reliant Stadium, like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The HLSR is helping with the new displays and CEO Leroy Shafer commented on the coming upgrades:

“It’s a big deal because it keeps Reliant state of the art,” he said. “When we built Reliant Stadium everybody looked at it and said, ‘Wow, there’s nothing like this in professional football.’ We came to the end of the life of this board and we looked at it and said ‘OK, we can just replace that up there but let’s see what we can do to make it the best, let’s see what we can do to make it the biggest out there in the NFL, for the Rodeo, or whatever we may bring into Reliant Stadium.’”

Construction for the new displays will begin after the current football season is completed at Reliant Stadium and is scheduled to be finished by August of 2013.

Source –

  1. Cowboys Stadium: Video Board – Wikipedia
  2. Reliant Stadium to have widest video displays in pro sports – Houston Texans
  3. Reliant Stadium Video Boards

Numbers Game: New Report Puts Andriod Ahead of iOS in US.

4 Dec

Another day, another round of statistics from someone looking to fan the flames of the mobile OS war. According to a report by comScore [1]:

“The study surveyed more than 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers and found Samsung to be the top handset manufacturer overall with 26.3 percent market share. Google Android continued to lead among smartphone platforms, accounting for 53.6 percent of smartphone subscribers, while Apple secured 34.3 percent.”

What makes this report interesting regarding mobile OSes is these statistics include the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 (which is available for the iPhone 4 and 4s as well). Not surprisingly RIM and Microsoft saw declines in usage. At this point the mobile OS field is still a two horse race.

For all the touting of apps on smartphones, the overwhelming majority of people use their phones for a different reason. Almost 76% of smartphone and non-smartphone users cite sending texts to another smart phone as their main function. This feature is also available on most “feature phones” which cost considerably less in terms of the actual phone and service plans. This could explain the large percentage of the feature. Second on the list of used phone features was apps followed by (in order of usage) using the browser, accessing social network sites or blogs, playing games and  listening to music.

Samsung at 26.3% edged out Apple at 17.8%  in OEM usage for smartphone and non-smartphone users. With the vast array of phones made by Samsung, Apple coming in second is very respectable. It would be interesting to see the statistics of Samsung smartphones vs. Apple smartphones only. But the waters would get muddied by the fact some parts of the iPhone are made by Samsung. So would Samsung get a percentage of those iPhones? All depends on how one decides to slice up the survey number pie. LG, Motorola and HTC rounded out the top five in that order. Most of which have smartphones based on the Android OS.

Over all then numbers clearly indicate mobile is not only here to stay, but growing every day. It continues to feed the addiction people have for being “connected” [2] with no end in sight.

Reference –

  1. comScore Reports October 2012 U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share – comScore
  2. Hung Up: Addiction to Mobile Phones Ruining People’s Relationships

Hung Up: Addiction to Mobile Phones Ruining People’s Relationships

3 Dec

This news comes as no surprise to many people. Constantly having to check for new messages is an addiction and can ruin relationships. Did someone see Captain Obvious fly by?

More and more people are on their phone on a constant basis. Whether they are at home or at work, their phone has become another apendage of their body. We all should have seen this coming though. For years people have been telling each other, “I feel naked without my phone,” if they left it somewhere and could not immediately get a hold of it. From the article in the Telegraph[1]:

“Nomophobia is the term created by British researchers in 2008 to identify people who experience anxiety when they have no access to mobile technology.”

These little pieces of technology have made slaves of people and feed the narcissism of people in nations world wide. One only has to look away from their own phone to the people around them. They will see the eyes of almost everyone fixated with the 3 1/2″ plus screen in their hands.

The need to feed their addiction of being “connected” is coming at a cost of creating real relationships. Its no wonder people are choosing to take vacations where there is no cellular service. The idea of unplugging is being embraced by adults but not as much by the younger generations.

Children today are growing up in a world where there has always been an Internet and everyone has always been “connected”. They can communicate instantly with someone across the globe as easily as they could with someone across the table. However, they and most other people are not looking away from their mobile devices enough to know someone is sitting across the table or right next to them.

Interestingly enough, one of the “hit” shows today is about what would happen if suddenly all the power in the world went out. Revolution takes a journey to possible future without the conveniences of electricity and the hyper-connected society we are currently involved. On one had society needs electricity for things like medicine and food. On the other, unplugging from technology isn’t such a bad thing.

As noted in article on Mark Cuban’s thought on Facebook [2]:

“Baratunde Thurston, recounted an event following hurricane Sandy. He was in New York and a woman stopped him and told him to listen. She noted it was the sound of people actually talking to each other instead of being on their phones.”

Approval addiction is on a whole new level when people have feelings similar to “the “phantom limb” syndrome suffered by amputees.” It’s time people start letting go of their digital masters and reclaim their lives.

Source –

  1. Mobile phone addiction ruining relationships – Telegraph
  2. Mark Cuban Gives His Insight on Facebook

Pop a Top: popSLATE Creates iPhone 5 Case with Second Screen on Back

30 Nov

While not an iPhone users, I can say having an extra screen on my phone would come in very handy. A screen which uses very, very little battery would be amazing. For iPhone users, say hello to popSLATE.

This ingenious little device is as combination of a protective case with an e-ink second screen on the back. How does it all work?

“The popSLATE case includes the latest, ruggedized, E-Ink screen, so it protects your iPhone just like any ‘dumb’ case. In fact the screen is nearly indestructible.

The screen only uses power when the image changes so it sips negligible power from the phone. We use the lightning connector for both power and data exchange.  For shortcut navigation, we’re also integrating a tactile interface based upon the phone’s accelerometer. Double tap the back of your phone to cycle through images or accept Pops from your friends.

Then there’s popSLATE app on the iPhone side.  You can take pictures with the camera, browse the image gallery, manage your library, connect with other users, send/receive images and messages, and Pop what you want, when you want it.”

Currently the screen is only in black and white, but the company is looking at new color screen technologies and will hopefully have the option in 2014.

Source –
popSLATE

Name Game: Google Play Forces Reviewers to Use Real Names

30 Nov

I can’t stand internet trolls. To say they suck is an understatement. I did take some delight reading about one, Violentacrez, who got taken down and had to face responsibility for his trolling. The keyboard commandos on the internet are definitely a problem for many people and need to be dealt with.

The Google Play store has its fair share of trolls and people tire of hearing them post garbage comments on the site. Apparently Google has had enough and has chosen to “unmask” people who make comments on the site [1]. While on the surface this sounds like a good idea, in the end the results probably won’t be to Google’s liking.

Let’s face it, Google wants to know everything it can about all of the people using its products and services. The more they know the more they can tailor their real money maker (advertising) towards the users of those services. I always recommend people give as little information about themselves as possible either online or offline.

Going forward, if someone wants to comment on an Andriod application they must agree to use their Google+ account full name. Personally I am not a fan of this. I prefer, for better or worse, the anonymity the Internet provides. There is a great benefit to being just a screen name and not a “real” name. Google has floated the full name only idea before, through YouTube (which Google owns) [2].

Comments on YouTube have been for worse than has ever been seen on Google Play. So in an effort to curb the hostile posts, Google has implemented a request to people posting comments to use their real names. It is pulling the information from their Google+ accounts. So far the request is being denied by most people who continue to use their “avatar” name. I can’t say I blame them, though I have never made a trolling or vile comment to anyone there.

Trolls are really nothing more than digital bullies. In real life people know who the bullies are. They usually stay away from them or ignore them. That is the best course of action for the most part in real life. Digitally it can be a bit harder. The best action to take against a troll is to ignore them or, if necessary, stand up to them, preferably with a group of people.

Google’s theory of “unmasking” bullies on-line will only drive them to find other ways to circumvent that system. It will end up being a cat and mouse game which will cost Google more than their current system. Does there need to be action taken to curb the trolls on-line? Sure. Is “unmasking” them in this manner the best way? I would say no.

 

Source –

  1. Google Play Ends Anonymous App Reviews – Information Week
  2. YouTube Asks Users to Post Real Names in Bid to Clean Up Comments – PC World

 

Net Affect: Internet Traffic Shut Down in Syria

29 Nov

Syria as pulled the “nuclear” option on the Internet and shutdown communications to anything outside of its borders. According to the Renesys Blog:

“Starting at 10:26 UTC (12:26pm in Damascus), Syria’s international Internet connectivity shut down. In the global routing table, all 84 of Syria’s IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet.”

Globally Reachable Syran Networks - Renesys

Basically the Syrian government went into digital darkness and silenced the voices of support or dissent from outside its borders. Taking measures this drastic are not very good signs for the people in Syria. It is also why people outside the country must keep a close and watchful eye on what happens there.

When a single person or group is in charge of any country, their will can be forcefully imposed on the people and freedom can be destroyed. How this situation plays out not only in the digital world but in real life should be watched carefully and cautiously.

Source –
Renesys Blog