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Posts tagged tech

Nintendo updates the 3DS

This morning Nintendo updated the 3DS and the 3DS XL. The key updates are an additional second thumbstick on the right side (above the ABXY buttons) and ZR and ZL shoulder buttons.

The new 3DS launches on October 11 in Japan with no word on release for Europe or the United States.

It’s interesting to me that the regular 3DS got larger in every dimension and heavier and the 3DS XL got slightly thinner and slightly lighter. As much as I want to say “I’m still cool with my launch 3DS” and “I don’t need to upgrade, even though I’d like better battery life” I know that all it’s going to take is a Zelda game that needs a Z button and I’ll be ordering one.

[via Joystiq]

Ok, enough links. Take a look at these Truth Facts!

[TruthFacts via LikeCool]

Dropbox slashes pricing and boosts storage as competition intensifies 

AHHHHHHH! I knew this was coming. With One Drive, Google Drive, and the pending iCloud Drive offering far less expensive solutions, I knew Dropbox would be cutting it’s prices. 

Today Dropbox announced a revamped version of its paid offering for individuals, called Dropbox Pro, that costs $9.99 a month for 1 terabyte of storage. Previously, $9.99 got you just 100 gigabytes; storage maxed out at 500GB, which cost a whopping $500 a year. Along with the new price come features aimed mostly at freelancers, consultants, and solo entrepreneurs: the ability to share links with password protection, to share links that expire on a certain date, and to share some files in “read-only” mode. (It works best with software that has a native read-only mode, like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.) Pro users also get the ability to remotely wipe a lost or missing device.

And according to the official drop box release, people already paying for 100 GB (like me) will be automatically transitioned to the 1TB plan since it’s the exact same price.

This makes me very, VERY excited.

No. I’m not flipping you off.

Dan Seifert points out that “Chromebooks will never be successful until they have bigger screens" since 81% of laptop sales are computers with 15 or 17 inch screens.

As a 15 inch MBP owner, I’m honestly very surprised. I can’t think of another person I know with a 15 inch machine. And even now, as I look around the coffee shop I’m sitting in, and all I see are 13-14 inch laptops.

This is really interesting data.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is exclusive to Xbox 

I’m shocked. I loved last years Tomb Raider. It was widely considered one of the best games of last year, selling about 6 Million copies on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, something that Square considered to be underperforming.

I don’t know what Microsoft did to keep this exclusive to the Xbox One, but I bet it cost them quite a bit of money.

I’m into “second place” Microsoft (Sony is widely outselling them). They’re making me feel great about my Xbox One purchase.

UPDATE: Geoff Keighley is saying on twitter that “Official line is that the game is ‘exclusive on Xbox for holiday 2015’”

Meanwhile Joystiq updated their original article to include part of a post from Darrell Gallagher, the Head of Product Development at Crystal Dynamics. He says this:

Our friends at Microsoft have always seen huge potential in Tomb Raider and have believed in our vision since our first unveil with them on their stage at E3 2011. We know they will get behind this game more than any support we have had from them in the past - we believe this will be a step to really forging the Tomb Raider brand as one of the biggest in gaming, with the help, belief and backing of a major partner like Microsoft.

This doesn’t mean that we’re walking away from our fans who only play on PlayStation or on PC. Those are great systems, with great partners, and amazing communities. We have Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris coming to those platforms this December, and Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition is available on PS4.

I’m really not sure what’s happening, but it certainly sounds less like this is a platform exclusive and more like an “exclusive-ish”… which is very similar to a conversation I was having on twitter.

UPDATE 2: Eurogamer has confirmed that the Tomb Raider deal “has a duration” and is a timed exclusive.

That Disastrous Car Homer Simpson Designed Was Actually Ahead of Its Time

I’ll admit that I’m not a Simpsons “fan,” in that I don’t go out of my way to watch the show. However, I have seen the 1991 episode “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” in which Homer discovers his long lost brother is an auto exec and then designs a car.

It’s the story of love, of loss, and, ultimately, Homer designs a car so terrible that the company goes bankrupt. Now, 23 years later, Wired investigates those designs. Were they bad ideas, or just ahead of their time?

It’s a great look at a very memorable Simpsons episode (even to me). Here are some of my favorite points from the article:

  • Multiples horns, all of which play “La Cucaracha” - Automakers have stuck with standard noises (good choice), but today’s steering wheels do have multiple spots to hit for the horn. As Homer says, “You can never find a horn when you’re mad.”
  • A separate soundproof bubble dome for kids, with optional restraints and muzzles - The auto industry has gotten more and more careful about putting kids as old as 12 in child and booster seats, but the focus there is safety, not keeping them quiet.
  • An engine that will make people think “the world is coming to an end” - The roaring V-12s of which Homer spoke came in the 90s with Dodge Vipers and Lamborghini Diablos. Growing concern for avoiding actual Armageddon has brought us fuel-saving systems that disengage cylinders at lower speeds, turn of the engine at idle, or go silent altogether

Check out the whole list at Wired.

[via Wired]

20yearsof1994:

June 26th 1994 - Aerosmith releases “Head First” on the internet

Aerosmith is first major band to premiere a new song on the Internet. "Head First"  was downloaded to over 10,000 CompuServe subscribers within its first eight days of availability.

I wasn’t able to find the file size that was uploaded but Given that the average user had a 28.8 kbps modem it’s likely that the song took 20-30 minutes to download.

Here’s what’s weird “Head First” is not a popular song. Actually, the song is so obscure that it doesn’t even have it’s own wikipedia page (though it is sometimes incorrectly mentioned as a “Cryin’” b-side). Nice to see that even in the early days of the internet, no one was able to manufacture popularity. Internet users are a mysterious bunch and you’ll never know what’s going to blow up, and what’s going to flop. Even when Aerosmith, one of the biggest bands in the world, released a new song on the internet it didn’t gain any traction. At least the internet is consistent. 

Remember when it took 20-30 minutes to download a song? Now I download an album in about a minute. I love living in the future.

Streaming Music Revisited: 3 years later, here’s what’s changed for Spotify and Rdio

Three years ago streaming music was just starting to take off and I wrote a lengthily article comparing the two most popular services, Rdio and Spotify. Last time I was on a journey to find out which service was better for me.

I know this is a cop out but I don’t actually know which service is better for me.  Spotify’s use of my tracks and playlists gives it more functionality but Rdio’s desktop and mobile applications are more user friendly.

At the end of the day, using iTunes and my iPod app is better than Rdio or Spotify.  I don’t have access to everything but it’s easier to use the things I want to listen to or already have. I know I spend more than 120 dollars a year on music but not much more, so the it’s more beneficial for me to spend the money on the music I want.

I drilled Spotify’s mobile offering for being ugly and useless without internet connection. While both music collections were lacking, Spotify earned points for incorporating my existing library. So what now? As the streaming landscape has changed I felt it was time to give you an update.

It obviously doesn’t matter what is better for me. It’s very obvious that people like using streaming services and that Spotify is the winner right now, at least in mindshare. They plugged themselves into Facebook and if you want, every single song you play can be sent to your Facebook feed. They’ve also plugged themselves into Tumblr, so if you want to make a music post you search and stream every track in their library (even if it’s just a glorified remote control for the Spotify desktop application).

Whenever i see someone sharing music on Twitter it’s always a Spotify link. I don’t recall the last time I saw Rdio, and I’ve never seen Google Play, or Beats music links. I think this has been aided by Spotify moving to an ad model as well as a paid subscription model. But just because it’s “winning” doesn’t mean it’s the best service.

[click on images to see higher res images in their own window]

MUSIC

I searched the services far and wide, for deep cuts, and mainstream hits. Overall I’d say that Rdio and Spotify are equally matched. I spot checked them both and I was hard pressed to find something that was missing. And the stuff that was missing, was missing from both services, like the Beatles, but this just highlights Spotify’s greatest strength – the ability to seamlessly incorporate music you’ve already purchased. 

As someone who has been curating a digital music library since 2002 it’s hard to just leap into a service that ignores everything I already own. Especially bands like the Beatles (where I keep 3 copies of each album stored locally on my computer).

Both kind of trail on some high profile new releases. The recent Black Keys album for example, was released on May 9th and doesn’t appear in Spotify or Rdio’s library at the time of this writing. 

DESKTOP

Spotify has made tremendous leaps in design and functionality since I wrote about them last. Their desktop app looks better, and functions better since they recently rolled out a “Your Music” section. Now you can add music to your own collection so when you’re browsing, you can just look at the music you’d like to call your own, rather than the entirety of Spotify’s enormous library.

Rdio always had a “Collection” view. It was their biggest differentiator three years ago (and actually, biggest differentiator until a couple of months ago). It’s hard to put my finger on exactly why, but their implementation of collection just feels better. It has a little to do with layout. Spotify has some insane obsession with lists that seam to go on forever. They’re happy to show you what you want, but it’s almost like, it must be in list form.

imageimage

Both allow you to “follow artists”. It’s a weird functionality that notifies you if an artist you follow releases new music. Rdio’s desktop gives it you a very quick and easy way to send music to be stored locally on your phone. It’s super helpful to enable that right from the desktop.

A pretty big downside is that there’s neither desktop application has a mini player. Especially since Apple recently made the iTunes mini player so much more useful by adding search, “add to queue,” and “play next.” When I use iTunes it’s almost always in that mini player.

Read more

The future that everyone forgot — Tech Talk — Medium 

Here’s a great look back at Danger and the Sidekick (or Hiptop as it was called outside the United States).

I think there’s a little too much looking to the past with rose colored glasses, and a little too much ‘we did this first’ (including ‘pivoting’…), reading Chris DeSalvo’s words with such enthusiasm is very enjoyable.

The Apple Keynote just finished and there were a TON of announcements. Basically anything that’s been on people’s iOS wish list including updated Messages, and replying from the lock screen which I didn’t think they were going to go anywhere near.

Let’s start from the start. OS X:

OS X looks great. They’ve definitely added a ton of power user stuff. 

iOS has been completely blown out. 

And Continuity. Continuity is inter-OS communication between iOS and OS X. This is the biggest news. It means if you start an email on your computer then pick up your phone you’ll get a little icon in the bottom left (similar to the camera icon in the bottom right). Swipe up and you’ll see the email you started writing. That will work across many of Apple’s applications, but no word yet if will be open to developers.

What is clear is that it’s going to change the way we use our computers. It’s certainly going to make me switch to Safari and Mail.

Apple also introduced a new programming language for developers, home automation kit, camera kit, cloud kit. and Quick Type. They just kept blowing it out of the water. Developers were cheering.

With these moves iOS is going to take on a drastically different look and feel. One where your thumb print can turn on the lights in your house, and you use a Swift Key keyboard to reply to messages from the lock screen. And I like it.

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