Living in Tech

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

Oculus Rift’s New Use: Curbing Car Crashes

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Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 7.34.23 AM
Ask people about Oculus Rift, and those who know about the virtual-reality headset will probably tell you that it’s meant for playing video games. A few companies and governments have tested out more practical apps for the platform: the Norwegian Armed Forces, for example, experimented with using Oculus Rift to control real-life tanks. Now Toyota wants to use Oculus Rift to reduce car crashes. At the Detroit Auto Show this week, the carmaker unveiled the TeenDrive365 simulator, which is meant… continue…

The iPhone at Eight: A Brief Look Back

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Apple iPhone Steve Jobs Presentation
Eight years ago this month, Steve Jobs stepped onto a stage in California to unveil the first-generation iPhone. The device didn’t come as a total surprise: for months, rumors had circulated that Apple was working on a telecommunications device of some sort. The big surprises would come later, when the iPhone changed how we interact with our devices, with our computing lives centering more and more around smartphones as opposed to the PC. That change wasn’t instantaneous. The mainstream press… continue…

Americans Using More Social Networks

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shutterstock_Twin Design
With more than a billion users, Facebook is widely regarded as the social network to beat. But new data from the Pew Internet Research Project suggests that other social networks such as Twitter and Instagram are making strong gains among users, with the potential to challenge Facebook’s crown in future years. For more social media jobs, click here. Although Facebook remains the largest social network, its growth among Americans has slowed to a virtual standstill over the past year, except… continue…

A BlackBerry Smartwatch?

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BBM Smartwatch App
Once a king of the mobile-device scene, BlackBerry in recent years has watched helplessly as Apple’s iPhone and a growing collection of Google Android devices devastated its market-share. For many of those years, BlackBerry tried fighting fire with fire: all the popular smartphones had touch-screens, so it started releasing phones with touch-screens; other companies released tablets, so it released a tablet; and so on. Under CEO John Chen, BlackBerry has switched back to pursuing its own course, focusing on security… continue…

CES 2015: Virtual Reality Tries for Buzz

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Oculus Rift CES Booth
Many of the tech companies present at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas are pushing devices meant to take advantage of the nascent Internet of Things. But connected appliances and wearable electronics aren’t the only story at the show: A handful of firms are also showing off virtual-reality gear they hope will seize the popular imagination over the next few years. Take Oculus VR, the virtual-reality firm, which is using its massive booth at CES to show… continue…

Internet Archive Revives Classic MS-DOS Games

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Dune II Westwood Studios
Thanks to the Internet Archive, a nonprofit tasked with archiving the Web’s history, you can now play 2,306 classic games originally released for MS-DOS. That means anyone who grew up on “Dune 2” (seen in the screenshot above), the original “Wolfenstein 3D,” “Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego” and other PC hits of yesteryear can take a very long trip down memory lane. The EM-DOSBOX emulator that allows these games to run in your browser is still in beta,… continue…

CES 2015: Intel Wants the Wearable-Tech Crown

Intel Curie
For years, Microsoft dominated the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. It hosted a booth the size and brightness of a sci-fi spaceship on the conference floor; its successive CEOs (Bill Gates and, later, Steve Ballmer) gave the opening keynote; its hardware partners devoted the majority of their respective booths to pushing Windows-loaded laptops. But Microsoft pulled out of CES in 2012, and now it seems that Intel—which also hosts a massive booth at the show—is rushing to… continue…

Apple’s Next MacBook Air: How Slim Is Too Slim?

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Apple MacBook Air
Apple’s known for its minimalism, but the company’s next MacBook might take that to a new extreme. According to Apple-centric blog 9to5Mac, the next MacBook Air will strip out all ports except for a headphone jack and a small USB Type-C port. That’s right: no standard USB port or SD card slot, no MagSafe charger slot. The device will reportedly boast a 12-inch screen, a redesigned keyboard that squeezes the keys even more tightly together, and speaker-holes that double as… continue…

2014 Was a Very Good Year for Crowdfunding

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Kickstarter Graph
Got a project to fund? If year-end data from Kickstarter is any indication, crowdfunding remains a solid—although not always surefire—way of ensuring you meet those funding goals. According to Kickstarter, 773,824 individuals poured nearly $500 million (that’s roughly $1,000 per minute) into 22,252 successfully-funded projects on the Website. Music dominated the categories, with 4,009 projects funded; running a close second was film & video, with 3,846 projects funded; journalism came in fourth with 2,064 projects funded, and games just behind… continue…

See Bill Gates Drink Water Made From Sewer Sludge

Bill Gates poop water
Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates is evidently ready to place his mouth where his (Foundation’s) money is—by drinking a glass of water filtered from raw sewage. The Gates Foundation funded development of the Janicki Omniprocessor, which (as the above video demonstrates) takes in sewage and converts it into ash (good for fertilizer), electricity, and clean drinking water. Via a conveyor belt, the sewage enters the Omniprocessor, where it’s boiled dry. The dry sewage enters a furnace, which produces steam, which… continue…