If you were instructed to visit an electronics store and purchase a smartphone that didn’t have the ability to shoot HD video, you would have a tough time. This feature was only found on select high-end phones a few years ago, but now it’s nearly universal. The same rule now applies to digital cameras and built-in Wi-Fi. If you’re a manufacturer and you’re releasing a new camera in 2014 that doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi, you’re taking a big risk.
On April 22nd, 2014, a small technology company called Aereo goes head-to-head against the might of the major TV networks in the Supreme Court. If you’re not familiar, Aereo provides a service where you can rent a physical TV antenna, located in a remote area of your city. The antenna acts like any TV antenna should: it enables you to watch local broadcasts of over-the-air TV. The networks are suing Aereo because they consider this a retransmission of their content, which requires hefty licensing fees. My issue is that Aereo solves a fundamental problem that many Americans face: over-the-air digital TV simply doesn’t work.
In our post-2007, post-iPhone world, it can be misleading to define oneself as a “gadget geek.” When you consider that the majority of people in the United States now own a smartphone, this particular term becomes distinctly trite. To truly be a gadget geek, you need to do better than being a smartphone or tablet nerd. You need to embrace bleeding-edge gadgetry in unusual product categories. You need to be a true dork.
As a former long-term iPhone user, I was always a bit perplexed why Apple didn’t configure the device to automatically upload every picture you take to iCloud. As a recent user of Android, the reason seems embarrassingly obvious: it can devour the average person’s allotted data plan in a matter of hours.
I did it. After five years of nonstop iPhone, waking up with the iPhone, sleeping beside the iPhone, keeping the iPhone with me at all times… all the time, I finally switched to an Android phone. I’ve had the Nexus 5 for an entire month. Would I recommend other iPhone users make the switch? The answer is no. Kind of.
Did you know that making a vague reference to “hacking” on the internet gives the federal government the authority to raid your home? An Idaho court ruled this week to invade the home of Corey Thuen, confiscate his computer, and duplicate its data for investigative purposes, all on the grounds that he loosely referred to himself as a hacker on his website. Continue reading
Last week, a forward-thinking company announced their latest innovation: a smart smoke alarm that talks, and shuts up—without requiring you to run around the house in a frenzy. The Nest Protect is a new kind of smoke and carbon monoxide detector that leverages the power of microprocessors for the goal of being less annoying. Simply put, if you burn a corn dog, the Nest Protect will immediately alert you, however, its calm (yet loud) electronic voice will be much less jarring.
When the iPhone 4 was announced way back in 2010, the most perplexing thing about it was the choice of glass for its back panel. For a device that you carry around in your pocket all day, it seemed unnecessarily precarious. Some people theorized that it aided signal reception, others thought it would shatter more easily, necessitating a costly replacement. I had my own theory: I thought Apple would eventually add a second screen to the rear, so you could take better selfies, have nicer looking video chats, and see notifications when the phone was face down. The glass back of the iPhone 4 was just there to get users accustomed to the feel. Continue reading
As much as I love my Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens, I wish it was even smaller. This is the story of modern photo gear: we’ve got amazing cameras built into our mobile phones, now we just need amazing lenses that are somehow miraculously compact. Recently, the Olympus BCL-1580 came to my attention. It’s compatible with my trusty (and discontinued) Panasonic GH2, and it’s only $50. Plus, it’s drastically smaller than my 20mm f/1.7. Game on! I needed to try this thing. Pancake schmancake. I’ve been wanting a “crêpe” lens, and it seemed like it was finally here. Continue reading
When the news first broke that Maxwell’s was closing, it didn’t immediately strike me as upsetting. It was more of a “woah” moment. Shortly afterward, I read the following tweet from The Awl and chuckled:
No More Reason To Go To Jersey – http://t.co/g8KC4Yj1lM
— The Awl (@Awl) June 3, 2013
However, in the days that followed, I realized more and more that Maxwell’s played a pretty significant role in my life, compared to all of the other rock venues in New Jersey, anyhow. Continue reading