Living in Tech

The latest gadgets, games and toys, not to mention the generally cool stuff we do outside of work.

Billion-Dollar Startup? Boring.

Once upon a time, a startup valued at more than $1 billion was a rare thing indeed. Now, according to data from the Wall Street Journal, it seems increasingly commonplace, with some 73 venture-backed startups currently valued at more than $1 billion. Those companies include Uber ($41.2 billion), Palantir ($15 billion), SpaceX ($12 billion), Airbnb ($10 billion), and Snapchat ($10 billion). More than 20 of them are headquartered in San Francisco; five are in New York; and four take up… continue…

Want to Test iOS 9? You Might Get Your Chance

Posted In Living in Tech, Mobile
iOS on iPad
Apple isn’t exactly a company known for its openness, so the rumors that it’ll offer a public beta program for the upcoming iOS 9 comes as a bit of a surprise. According to 9to5Mac and TechCrunch, Apple would use the program to avoid at least some of the unpleasant surprises that sometimes accompany a software release’s first days in the wild. Apple has caught some flak in recent months from users disappointed in what many perceive as the software’s increasing… continue…

Getting Rid of Lenovo’s Superfish Vulnerability

Posted In Data, Living in Tech
As you may have heard by this point, Lenovo loaded an adware package called Superfish Visual Discovery onto many of its devices. Annoying? Absolutely: Nobody likes an add-on that inserts sponsored links into your search results. But Superfish became downright dangerous when security researchers realized it could easily double as a handy tool for a man-in-the-middle attack, thanks to its ability to always appear as a “Trusted Party” to websites. The revelations have left Lenovo scrambling to repair the damage.… continue…

In Space, a Laptop Doubles as a VR Headset

Posted In Fun, Living in Tech
Astronaut VR
On Earth, the engineers and developers in charge of building the Oculus Rift and other virtual-reality headsets are concerned about weight: Who wants to strap on something so heavy it cricks their neck? But in space, weight isn’t an issue, which is why an astronaut can strap a laptop to his head via a heavy and complicated-looking rig and use it as a virtual-reality device. NASA astronaut Terry Virts recently did just that to train himself in the use of… continue…

IBM Thinks Data Can Improve Football Stadiums

Posted In Data, Living in Tech
IBM Atlanta Stadium
IBM has spent years highlighting its data-analytics capabilities in the context of professional sports. At the U.S. Open tennis tournament, for example, it sets up “digital walls” that display players’ chances of winning, among other data points. But now Big Blue plans on taking its sports relationship to a whole new level. According to Bloomberg, IBM is weaving its products into the infrastructure of an under-construction stadium in Atlanta. Not only will IBM technology manage essential services such as security… continue…

Is Apple Working on an ‘iCar’?

Posted In Fun, Living in Tech
tesla drive train
Last week, a flurry of articles and blog postings—sparked in large part by a report in the Wall Street Journal—suggested that Apple is hard at work on an electric car that will compete with Tesla’s luxury models. According to the original Journal article, the Apple project—codenamed Titan—has been underway for more than a year and involves hundreds of employees. A separate report from Reuters, which cited an anonymous source in the auto industry, suggested that Apple is scoping out production… continue…

Vint Cerf: Dark Ages of Digital Media Await

Posted In Data, Living in Tech
shutterstock_Huguette Roe
Vint Cerf is widely considered one of the “founders of the Internet,” so when he makes a pronouncement about the online world, people tend to listen. And right now, he’s claiming we’re at risk of losing several decades’ worth of documents and images. At last week’s meeting in San Jose of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Cerf suggested that the inevitable obsolescence of hardware and software puts years’ worth of data at risk. Check out the latest… continue…

Facebook Offering a Way to Manage Accounts After Death

Posted In Fun, Living in Tech
Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 2.10.01 PM
Facebook now allows its users to choose “legacy contacts” to manage their accounts after they die. Legacy contacts will have the ability to post messages atop the deceased user’s timeline, respond to new friend requests, and update profile pictures and cover photos. In other words, if you opt to choose a legacy contact, make sure it’s someone you really trust, otherwise your digital afterlife could get hilarious and/or messy. Check out the latest social media-related jobs. “If someone chooses, they… continue…

Has Android Wear Failed Already?

Posted In Living in Tech, Mobile
Android Wear
Roughly 720,000 smartwatches loaded with the Android Wear OS shipped in 2014, according to new data from research firm Canalys. (Hat tip to the Wall Street Journal for the original link.) Does that make Android Wear successful, or an outright failure? In the context of the nascent-but-growing “smartwatch” industry, things don’t look so good: Canalys also reported that some 4.6 million “smart wearable bands” shipped last year, meaning that Android Wear holds a relatively small portion of the overall market.… continue…

Creating a Drone ‘No Fly’ Zone Over Your House

Posted In Fun, Living in Tech
shutterstock_Piotr Debowski
Have you ever wondered whether a drone will crash-land into your house? Does the idea of unmanned aerial vehicles buzzing over your yard make you nervous? NoFlyZone wants to calm those fears by creating an online database of addresses that drones are forbidden to fly over. “Private property location information will be included in NoFlyZone’s comprehensive airspace database provided to participating drone companies,” reads the explanatory text on the initiative’s website. “This database includes civil and military airspace, airports, hospitals,… continue…