Living in Tech

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

Google Maps: Now With Pac-Man

Posted In Fun, Living in Tech
Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 1.27.53 PM
It’s April 1, and you know what that means: Time for Google’s annual prank. This year, Google has a good one. Head over to Google Maps, find a map with a lot of roads (the more oddly shaped, the better), and click on the Pac-Man icon in the lower-left portion of the screen. The map will transform into a classic Pac-Man level. If you want to give your ghost-fleeing skills a real workout, find a map with a lot of… continue…

Microsoft Still Trying to Get Surface Right

Posted In Living in Tech, Mobile
Microsoft Surface
Microsoft’s first attempt at Surface, its tablet-laptop hybrid, was an unmitigated disaster that forced the company to take a $900 million write-down on unsold inventory. Rather than abandon the concept, Microsoft has continued to release updated versions of Surface over the past two-and-a-half years. You could argue that the company has no other choice: The future belongs to mobile devices, and Microsoft needs to demonstrate that it can successfully play in that arena if it wants to survive. Check out… continue…

Company Housing: Perk or Gilded Cage?

Posted In Fun, Living in Tech
facebook headquarters
Back in the 19th century, some of America’s pioneering super-capitalists decided to build whole towns to house their workers. George Pullman, for example, built an eponymous village for the employees who built his railcars; anyone living in those small houses needed to conform to bylaws and pay rent, even when the company wasn’t doing well. While the formal concept of “company towns” gradually faded away in the United States—it’s far more difficult these days for one entity to buy up… continue…

Are Periscope and Meerkat the Next Big Thing?

Posted In Fun, Living in Tech
Periscope Twitter
The ability to live-stream something isn’t new; many a person has used Google Hangouts or YouTube to share in real-time with his or her followers. Last year, Amazon spent nearly a billion dollars on Twitch.tv, a forum where people can watch gamers play live. Innumerable tech conferences allow remote viewing. Although live-streaming wasn’t exactly difficult before, there were also opportunities to make it far easier for anyone to do, which is why Twitter and Meerkat (the latter a startup) have… continue…

Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground in U.S.

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Millennial tech workers are entering the U.S. workforce at a comparable disadvantage to other tech workers throughout the industrialized world, according to study from Educational Testing Services (ETS), a nonprofit skills assessment service. Despite higher spending than any other developed nation on education and a world-class collegiate system, America’s young workers are reportedly lagging further and further behind in core skills. “A relatively large percentage of our young adults cannot perform literacy tasks that ask them to ‘identify, interpret, or… continue…

Amazon: FAA Slowing Drone Development

Posted In Fun, Living in Tech
Amazon Drone
Amazon might be a few steps closer to filling the skies overhead with delivery drones, but it couldn’t resist taking a few swipes at the FAA’s slowness in approving the machines for commercial use. Paul Misener, Amazon’s vice president of global public policy, told a Senate subcommittee this week that other countries’ regulatory agencies move much faster in approving drones for testing, placing the U.S. at risk of falling behind in this technology segment. Check out the latest UAV jobs.… continue…

VR Presents Potential UX Issues for Designers

Posted In Fun, Living in Tech
CCP Games
Over the years, software UX has evolved in ways instantly familiar to anyone who’s ever used a PC or tablet. A great many applications and operating systems feature bars along the top or bottom, loaded with icons or interactive menus. Lots of software also features dynamic left and right rails, similarly thick with clickable elements. The point of this design is to leave the center of the screen free for whatever actions the user wants to take, and it’s worked… continue…

A Bechdel Test for Tech?

shutterstock_Dragon Images
In order for a movie or television show to pass the Bechdel Test (named after cartoonist and MacArthur genius Alison Bechdel), it must do three things: Feature two female characters Have those two characters talk to one another Have those characters talk to one another about something other than a man A lot of movies and shows don’t pass. How would programming culture fare if subjected to a similar test? One tech firm, 18F, decided to find out after seeing… continue…

See How Google, ‘Minecraft,’ Others Got Their Start

Posted In Fun, Living in Tech
Notch Minecraft Launch
Everybody had to start somewhere—even tech luminaries whose websites and platforms have radically altered how we live and work. Carlcheo.com dug up some early postings by Google CEO Larry Page, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and Linux creator Linus Torvalds, all asking for help on their respective projects. Those tiny undertakings eventually snowballed into gargantuan efforts, something that none of the three could have predicted at the time. (The possible exception is Bezos, who refers to his nascent startup as having… continue…

Microsoft: Pirates Still Get Free Windows 10

Posted In Living in Tech, Mobile
Microsoft Windows 10
Did you pirate your copy of Windows? (It’s okay, you can tell us.) If so, Microsoft will still give you a free upgrade to the upcoming Windows 10, due sometime this summer. “We’re upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10,” Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s executive vice president of operating systems, told Reuters in a phone interview. Microsoft likely hopes the move will increase Windows 10 adoption in China, where a large percentage of PCs run pirated versions of… continue…