I’ve got mosquito bites all over and I’m not really enjoying it. Keep that in mind while I grump my way through the news.
Sure, it’s not “Metro” but it looks like it. ಠ_ಠ 25 years after birth, Microsoft has decided that it needs a new logo. According to the Seattle Times, the new logo design is supposed to “signal the heritage but also signal the future — a newness and freshness.” In fact, all of the major business units within Microsoft have undergone a similar rebranding, as seen in this video. I think they look pretty good, but I am unsure how they’ll translate to grayscale.
Windows Phone 8, the Windows 8 kernel-based mobile OS, has me pretty excited. It seems that ol’ Microsoft has been paying attention to what people want in a phone, and tying that in with the desktop and Xbox experiences. Nokia, maker of such world-destroying phones as the Nokia 3360, is set to unveil two new phones, Phi and Arrow. Some rumors suggest that one might look very similar to the Lumia line, but I home one of them is a bit different. Can’t rest on our laurels, can we? In related news, Microsoft has added new phones to T-Mobile’s lineup as well.
Everyone’s heard of kids climbing shelves, only to have it fall and smoosh little Timmy into a book-covered paste. Well, that’s not the only threat to you child’s safety. Flatscreen TVs tend to have awkward centers of gravity, and while this is combated with a fairly large base, it’s still better to invest in some straps for the TV, if you don’t have it mounted to the wall. I use these at my house, and they hold my 50″ plasma (yeah, the heavy one) very steady on top of the entertainment center.
Thanks to Neal Darringer for this story. Denise Barton is the kind of person I don’t like. She is demanding $1.7 billion up front and $1.7 million every month afterwards because new “smart” parking meters are interfering with her health. Apparently, the wireless functionality of the meters, which allows them to call home or verify credit cards, has been causing her major headaches since they were installed. Nevermind the fact that they use a very low power signal similar to the thousands of cell phones and wireless hotspots found throughout the city, or that they only broadcast when being used to verify credit card information or otherwise in use. Another
idiot fear monger has been quoted as saying “No one would dream of lighting up a cigarette in the line at a grocery store.”
The government scans each and every license plate that passes through its border checkpoints, and that’s fine. It’s a good way to search for wanted plates, or track a certain vehicle if it’s suspected of being used to smuggle druggles. But a recent Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request shows that our dear leaders share the database with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which is made up of insurance companies. The given reason is to track stolen vehicles, but many are wondering if the people who decide how much we shell out for coverage (that usually ends up being a hassle to use) are using the information to annotate who travels more, and charge them extra. As David says in the comments “Don’t share all license plates. Create an interface that compares lists of stolen vehicles with the scanned plates, and just report the matches.”
And for good reason! Apple’s ‘Genius’ ads, which ran during the 2012 Olympic miscarriage on NBC, showed Apple users as needy, whiny and rather dumb when it came to using their devices – in one instance, a man rings the Genius’ door at night when his wife is going into labor to discuss photo printing apps. Apple took note, possibly by watching the ads for the first time, and has marked them as ‘private’ on YouTube. Ars Technica writer Chris Foresman notes that Apple has kept other ads up after retiring the campaign, so perhaps they were embarrassed by this particular run. I mean, Windows ads show people doing things for themselves, which is a little more empowering.
Zynga, the game cloning warehouse who made their millions off the hard work and ideas of others, is having a little trouble in the stock market. In 5 months, their stock has plummeted from almost $15 a share to less than $3 per share. That probably ruined their plans of retaining employees by throwing stock at them. Recently, Alan Patmore, general manager for Zynga was hired by Kixeye, a newer social gaming company. Can’t blame him, though. He’s probably got a boatload of money from his time at Zynga, and doesn’t want to be on that ship when it sinks.
Okay, that’s not exactly what they’re saying, but the effect is the same. The DVD is dead, or should be. The HDTV is in, and we’re still issuing most of our media on DVD? BluRay can only take us so far, brosephs, we need digital! Hollywood, in their latest effort to blame the world for their mistakes and idiocy, has all but refused to accept that streaming media is the way to go. With Netflix finally in the black again and the fight going on over your digital living room between Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play (to name a few) it’s obvious that there’s money to be made. People have been begging HBO to allow them to get HBO Go without a cable subscription. Oh, and there’s this issue: “Worse, some movies never become available. Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, A Beautiful Mind, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Saving Private Ryan, Meet the Fockers, and so on, are not available to rent from the major online distributors.” Because ensuring they can’t pay to watch it will keep them from pirating it.
Boost Mobile is a pay-as-you-go service, offering decent prices and – now – a waterproof phone. For those of you who are rough on phones, and don’t want a contract, you’re in luck. The Kyocera Hydra (aptly named) runs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and can survive a dunk or two in the pool. For $129.99, you won’t get tons of speed; the review says it’s a bit slow, both in data and processor speed.
They’re not just for Matthew Inman anymore. Google+ engineers have started rolling out custom URLs for verified accounts and pages, meaning you no longer have to wade through the 20+ characters that define the profile, or use a shortener like gplus.to. Our dear friend Rosa is out of luck, due to the shortness of her requested name, but other businesses and people have been reporting that the service works well, if not a little scary due to the fact that Google can revoke your custom URL at any time.
You’ve been listening to lawyers babble about IP theft for three weeks, and now you have to follow a 109 page instruction manual on how to fill out a 20 page, 700 question form to let the judge know exactly how guilty/innocent Samsung is, and whether or not these patents are worth a damn in the first place. Then you have to assign a specific dollar amount to the damages done by the guilt/innocence of the parties, all while being cooped up with strangers. This is going to take a long time, and won’t be pretty.