Gadgets

The Time Keeping Cycle

As I sit here today checking the time on my Moto 360 Android Wear smartwatch, I'm amused by a concept I'm calling "The Time Keeping Cycle."  When I was in high school college I wore watches all of the time (usually a Casio calculator watch, yes I was "that guy"), and pretty much everyone I knew wore wrist watches at the time as well.  They were simple and useful. I've always been one to prefer function over form and even back then I longed for a watch that did more than just tell time.  That said though at some point in the early 2000s I stopped wearing watches (and so did most people).  The few people who still wear watches tend to wear them more as a fashion statement rather than as a utility device to tell time. Why did everyone stop wearing watches?  Because pretty much everyone started carrying a cell phone around with them wherever they went, and in addition to keeping you in contact with the world around you, cell phones could also tell you the time (and be used as a calculator).  Now over the last couple of years, companies have been trying to get people back into wearing watches again with smart watches.  Thanks to Android Wear, they've finally convinced me. It is interesting though that timepieces have moved from inside the pocket, to the wrist, back into the pocket, and now back to the wrist again.  For the enjoyment of anyone who cares, I'm including a brief history of the watch, ending with my personal history with watches after the break. (more…)

Glass

Wearing a computer at MIT, a 2 decade dream realized

When I was young (somewhere in the early/mid '90s), I saw some program (I don't know which) on PBS and they were talking about some guy (I can't find the program, and don't remember names, but I presume it was either Thad Starner or Steve Mann) at MIT who is wearing a computer with a Head Mounted Display and a single hand keyboard, and a computer kept in some sort of backpack.  At that point I knew 2 things. (more…)

Events

Looking at Life from the Other Side of the Glass

It is hard to believe that it was just 1 year and 1 week ago, Google uploaded to its YouTube channel, a teaser video for a project they had been working out of from their top-secret "moonshot" [x] Labs called Project Glass. The project was ambitious, an augmented reality layer over your very life, answering questions before you even asked, and all around simplifying your life. 2 Months later at Google I/O 2012, Google staged a "demonstration" involving a blimp, skydivers, BMX Trick bikers and more to show off the device as what seemed like little more than a network connected GoPro camera.  They then asked Developers who are interested in getting an early look at the technology if they would be willing to fork over $1,500 for the chance to be one of the first non-Google employees with this whole new class of Technology. I and 2,000 other attendees happily stood in a long line to put down our commitment to try it out.  Then, months of agonizing waiting began.  Waiting for a future that was so close we could taste it. (more…)

Events

Google I/O 2012 starts tomorrow morning

The next version of Android is officially Jelly BeansGoogle I/O is almost here, and the Google Developers have created a nifty widget for enabling the live stream of the video on your blog, as well as embedding my own Google+ stream as a Live Blog of sorts, so head on after the break for my live blog where I will post about the stream while it happens. In preparation for I/O, on the Google Developers Plus page, the Development team has now officially confirmed the name of the next version of Android will be "Jelly Beans."  The confirmation comes with a new statue on the Googleplex Lawn. (more…)

Apple

Getting full resolution on a Macbook Pro Retina Display

UPDATE 2012-06-18: My Justia colleague, Dan Vu Quoc, has let me know that the 3rd party shareware Screen Resolution utility for Mac SwitchResX is capable of pushing the Macbook Pro with Retina Display's resolution up to the full 2880 by 1600 resolution even when not plugged in to an external monitor.  I have tried this out myself, and can confirm it is true! I've used a 28" monitor plugged into a 17" Macbook Pro for a long time now, and it's great to have all that screen real estate when coding for putting my editor window side by side with a browser window for testing, or a terminal window for running server side commands.  I would get so used to having such a high resolution display that when I would unplug to go into a meeting (or take a flight) going down to the 1920 x 1200 resolution that the 17" Macbook supported (max) was hard for me, there just wasn't enough screen real estate to get work done effectively.  Add to that just how heavy the 17" Macbook Pro was and the fact that I am so fat that I can't actually use the laptop on my lap on the plane, and it was just darn near unusable. Because of this, I was understandably excited at the announcement of the new Macbook Pro with Retina Display which according to the tech specs supports an astounding 2880 by 1800 resolution, higher resolution than even the 2560 x 1440 resolution of the 28" Display I use at work. Unfortunately, as many others have pointed out, you can't actually set your Macbook Pro to the full 2880 x 1800 resolution.  The screen does support 2880 x 1800 resolution, but Apple's "Retina Display" technique is to use the extra pixels to make things sharper, not to display more on the screen. (more…)

Gadgets

Fitbit Tracking

FitbitSeveral months ago I got a Fitbit tracker as a prize for a contest.  While I generally dislike exercise (as much as I know I should), I love gadgets, and this thing is as geeky as a pedometer can get (note, the @fitbit folks are very adamant that this is not a pedometer, but it accomplishes the same goals). I find myself constantly looking at it to see how many steps I've made during the day and checking the flower to see if it is healthy or wilted. My favorite feature is the activity mode.  When I do actual exercise and I hit the treadmill, I can switch it to activity mode and get down to the minute statistics of how well I did.  I love this tracker and highly recommend it for people who want to track their daily activity. (more…)