January 10, 2012
Eric Swierczek, Hardin Staff, Technology
With a quick glance around the web (or if you follow technology to any extent), it’s quite apparent that the ability to capture visuals continues to become more incredible; whether it’s 3D, HD, gigapixel stills, or panoramic video.
My first thought on this note is the View-Master (from the 60s!). This allowed you to view single images through a private viewing device, which has grown to now allowing private video viewing through transparent glasses (article and video)! On that note, similar glasses are able to record 720p video (article and video) while remaining incredibly discreet. Now that mobile devices can support 720p or 3D video recording, where else to go besides the full 1080p? Well, 360 degrees. On display at CES, there is an adapter for the iPhone for $80 that allows you to view and record video 360 degrees around (which puts to shame this
lousy awesome, panoramic ball camera). Another amazing improvement, which has actually been around for a year or so now, is a light field camera that captures a photograph that can be focused later (there’s a fun example to play with at that link).
I hope that the interesting uses of these have yet to be discovered, and are not actually the technology itself, but instead come via the popularity of the devices and creativity of their users. Just imagine (not sure if it will ever actually be possible) what you could do with a light field of HD, 360-degree, 3D video. Mind. Blown.
December 24, 2011
Denis Zdanovsky, Eric Swierczek, Hardin Staff, Jon Hardin, Kyle Crossman, Matt Togstad, Neil Goodman, Random, Scott Resnick
We hope you have a fun and relaxing holiday season, perhaps without a tree that’s quite as nerdy as ours.
December 9, 2011
Eric Swierczek, Mobile Devices, Quick News
(Full story here)
Congratulations is in order to the Android market which just hit its 10 billionth download earlier this week. It took 2 years for this market to reach the milestone, while it took Apple 2.5 years.
To celebrate, Google is releasing selected apps for 10¢ for 10 days (starting 3 days ago). You can view today’s deals here.
There is also a neat infographic on Technolog’s post showing breakdown of top 10 countries (page 2), top 10 categories of apps (page 3), and a few other fun facts (page 4).
October 28, 2011
Eric Swierczek, Software Development, Technology
The term ‘augmented reality’ has been around for at least 2 decades, and the promise of a more virtual, interactive world is becoming more and more realistic. Just this week alone I found two new articles about adding graphical layovers to our normal view of the world. The first is an interactive app using iPads that allows users to place virtual objects in the real world and view them via the iPad’s camera (video here). The other is a video that was just released from Microsoft looking at the possibility of complete virtual overlays on things from street curbs to refrigerators (overkill, but interesting to look at the possibilities).
I think part of the excitement about augmented reality is the imagining of what could be, such as the representation of 2010 back in the 1970s. There are many different apps out there already (Layar for Android is a do-all browser, while the iPhone apps can be found here) that have these abilities. I think mobile devices are the perfect way to introduce this technology, with as many people carrying smart phones as there are (especially with the iPhone 4S release). The truly exciting days to wait for are when normal eye glasses are able to represent this kind of information. Now we just need to hope that augmented reality data becomes more useful to our lives than extravagant or just plain annoying.
October 14, 2011
Eric Swierczek, Mobile Devices, Technology
Apple’s Siri is a new, interactive, digital assistant, if you will. You can give it text/voice commands, and it will interpret and execute a seemingly unlimited amount of commands: search the web, get directions, text, set reminders, etc. This has come a long way from AOL Instant Messenger’s and Windows Live Messenger’s SmarterChild and seems a lot more similar to Flubber’s Weebo:
One big advantage Siri seems to have over other text interpretation models is its ability to recognize very informal language. An example is “any good burger joints around here?” converts to “find a burger restaurant nearby”. This seems like kind of a big step for the company (especially compared to damnyouautocorrect.com). These “conversations” with Siri can take place by typing or by speaking, which means it not only has the language interpretation, but also speech recognition. I’m interested in the accuracy of it compared to how Apple claims it works.
(On a fun side note, Apple also programmed in some easter egg snarky responses from Siri when you ask things related to drugs, jokes, philosophy, etc.)
October 11, 2011
Eric Swierczek, Technology
I know that touchscreen desktops have been around for awhile, but I don’t think any of them have really blown up, nor do I know anybody who actually owns one (possibly because I’m still a college student and am married to my laptops). I found it interesting that Dell just released an all-in-one Inspire One 2320 touchscreen, which is essentially just a really big tablet (23 inches!) that connects wirelessly to a keyboard and mouse. Its specs are right up there with its competition: Intel Core i5 processor, 6 GB DDR3 RAM, 1080p resolution, and a TV tuner for only $1k.
Maybe it’s because I only really use a laptop, or maybe its because of things I’ve learned about user interfaces from experience and/or classes, but I still find the concept of touchscreen desktops odd. It may be slightly faster to be able to touch things on your screen as opposed to using a keyboard/mouse, but I think tablets (and phones) are the only technologies that hold the right to have touchscreens. If the item you’re using is too big to comfortably hold like a book or to set down on a desk and not be obnoxious to everybody around your personal bubble, it’s probably easier just to use those “old school” input devices to control it.
October 4, 2011
Eric Swierczek, Technology
With the release of iPhone 5 in less than an hour, I thought a quick blurb from Sony Ericcson and Sprint about their view on iPhones would be more than fitting.
While Sony Ericsson has been committed to Android since 2007 and couldn’t be happier, CEO Bert Nordberg notes that they “should have taken the iPhone more seriously” 4 years ago. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20 so essentially every company should be developing and working hardcore with Apple’s iPhone. The success of the iPhone (1-4) is unarguable, iPhone 5 is expected to keep up this Apple craze. Fortunately for Sony Ericsson, they have “nothing but praise for the company’s commitment to Android.”
On the other hand, Sprint seems overwhelmingly committed and hopeful of iPhones for the future. Just yesterday (2 days before iPhone 5), Sprint has arranged to purchase 30+ million iPhones in the next four years. AT&T (99 million subscribers) obviously found success with Apple’s top-of-the-line iPhone, and then Verizon (106 million subscribers) got in on that deal. Sprint (52 million subscribers) is betting on the iPhone to boost the company, though, in order to sell “at the low prices consumers expect” they will need to sell each iPhone for hundreds of dollars less than they are paying themselves.
It’s always been an interesting race with Apple products leading the way and different carriers dying to get them on their networks, so with the #3 carrier also trying to benefit from the iPhone we’ll see where this leads them: to the ground or skyrocketing to fortune with the others.