Entries in Technology (28)


Toddler Reviews Google Glass

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- We’ve seen Michele Bachmann and a half-naked blogger wear Google Glass over the last couple of weeks.

But those images don’t warm your heart like a two-year-old with the connected glasses on. The toddler's review of the hot new tech device might be one of the cutest things you'll see on the Internet this week.

Chris Angelini, a writer and editor at tech site Tom’s Hardware, decided to put the glasses on his two-year-old son, Lucas. The result is an adorable video of Lucas telling people to “Look at my cool glasses!” Lucas only wears the glasses for 2 minutes and 42 seconds in the video, but that’s long enough for him to document the experience of getting some watered-down apple juice, show off his Lego collection and play catch with his dad.

It’s long enough for him to point out some of the bad things about Glass too. The video, shot in a low-light room, is hard to see at times, and at the end he adds, “They’re hot!” It’s true, the glasses do get fairly warm on the right side after shooting more than a minute of video or providing GPS navigation.

The video is extremely cute, but it has also inspired some thoughtful comments from its 100,000-plus viewers, many of whom point out that Lucas’s generation will grow up with this new wearable technology. Google, however, does say that the glasses shouldn’t be worn by anyone younger than 13 since it could harm developing vision. Angelini, 33, said he doesn’t plan on allowing his son to wear the glasses at length and that when they were on, he made sure the boy was looking around and not at the small display.

But Angelini himself plans to wear them a lot and take lots of footage of his son. “As a dad, you don’t have to be passive in the child-rearing process. It allows you to be so much more active,” Angelini told ABC News. “People are trying to record every minute but they aren’t in the moment, that’s the killer app for Glass — being able to participate more in what he is doing.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Tech Firms Dominate 2012 List of Best Multinational Workplaces

KIMIHIRO HOSHINO/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Some of the best multinational workplaces are tech companies right here in the U.S., according to a new list compiled by Great Place to Work.

The research and consulting firm, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary and is headquartered in San Francisco, narrowed down a list of 5,700 companies that applied to participate in its Best Workplaces contest to a final list of 25 firms.

For this list, the companies were judged from employee surveys.  They also had to appear on at least five national Best Workplaces lists, and have at least 5,000 employees worldwide with at least 40 percent of the workforce outside their home country.

This year, the tech company SAS Institute grabbed the top honors, taking the crown from Microsoft, which won last year.  Google inched its way up to the second highest spot, after placing fourth last year.

New to the 2012 top 25 list were: W.L. Gore Associates (8th), Autodesk (10th), PepsiCo (11th), Ernst & Young (12th), Monsanto (14th), General Mills (17th) and Accor (19th).

Great Place to Work said each company in its list is creating a work culture based on "trust, pride and camaraderie."

Voluntary turnover at 15 of the 25 companies was 8 percent per annum, compared to an all industry average in the U.S. of 9.1 percent, according to CompData Service.

Here is a list of the 2012 top 15 global workplaces:

1. SAS Institute - Headquarters: Cary, N.C.
2. Google - Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.
3. NetApp - Headquarters: Sunnyvale, Calif.
4. Kimberly-Clark - Headquarters: Irving, Texas
5. Microsoft - Headquarters: Redmond, Wash.
6. Marriott - Headquarters: Bethesda, Md.
7. FedEx - Headquarters: Bethesda, Md.
8. W.L. Gore & Associates - Headquarters: Newark, Del.
9. Diageo - Headquarters: London
10. Autodesk - Headquarters: San Rafael, Calif.
11. PepsiCo - Headquarters: Purchase, N.Y.
12. Ernst & Young - Headquarters: London
13. Telefónica - Headquarters: Madrid
14. Monsanto - Headquarters: Creve Coeur, Mo.
15. Intel - Headquarters: Santa Clara, Calif.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Original Apple Computer Doesn't Find Buyer at Auction

SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images(LONDON) -- Apple surely doesn’t have a problem selling products these days, but apparently $80,000 was a bit too much for one of the company’s first computers.

Christie’s in London auctioned off one of the original Apple 1 computers Tuesday afternoon. Bidding began at $80,000 (50,000 British pounds), but the computer didn’t find a buyer at the auction, Christie’s confirmed to ABC News. The top bid was for 32,000 pounds (around $51,155).

“The future of the computer is in the hands of the consignor,” a Christie’s spokesperson told ABC News.

The computer was being auctioned off from the estate of Joe Copson, a former Apple employee, and according to the Christie’s overview and lot notes, this particular Apple 1 motherboard is numbered 01-0022 — indicating that it was the 22nd model ever made. Printed on the circuit board is Apple Computer 1, Palo Alto, CA 1976.

Computer history buffs know that the Apple 1 was the first computer ever made by Apple and was hand-built by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in Steve Jobs’ garage. It was priced at $666.66.

By 1977, the year it was discontinued, the price of the computer had dropped to $475. It’s surely worth a lot more than that today, but apparently not quite 120 times its original price.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Google Chrome Browser Coming to iPhone and iPad

Google/Apple(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Google announced today that its popular Chrome browser, which has been available for Macs, PCs, and Android, is coming to Apple’s iPad and iPhone.

“Some of you have been very persistently asking about something. I’m very happy to say the team has really pulled something great off,” Google’s VP for Chrome, Brian Rakowski, said on stage at the Google I/O conference.

Similar to the Chrome app for Android, the iOS app will support multiple tabs and syncing. The syncing requires you to be logged into your Google account. It’s simple to use: if you have a Chrome tab open on your desktop computer — say, to this very website — you can then easily sync it so this site also opens on your mobile phone.

Apple demonstrated a number of forthcoming features in its iOS 6 operating system at its Worldwide Developer’s Conference a few weeks ago. One of those features is the new Safari, which includes iCloud tab syncing, which will sync the tabs you have open on your Mac’s Safari browser with the Safari on your phone.

The Chrome browser app will be available in the Apple App Store today.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


World’s Largest Television? Sharp Releases Giant Flat Screen TV

Sharp Electronics Corporation(NEW YORK) -- Don’t you just hate not being able to see your TV from half a mile away?  Don’t worry.  Sharp has your back.

The company has just released what is said to be the world’s largest LED flat screen television. It is four feet tall and 6 feet 8 inches long, with a 90-inch screen measured diagonally.  The television, named the Sharp Aquos LC-90LE745U, is as long as NBA star Lebron James is tall.

Despite its size, the TV weighs in at comparatively light 114 pounds, largely because it is only five inches thick.

Consumer Reports has yet to examine the television in depth, but said, “Sharp has definitely take the lead in larger TV screen sizes.” It said the company’s televisions had traditionally done well in past reviews, despite a history of “relatively narrow viewing angles.”

The television is also loaded with extra features. According to Consumer Reports, “The LC-90LE745U is a full-featured, 3D-capable 1080p LCD set that includes an edge LED backlight, 240Hz anti-blur technology, built-in Wi-Fi, and Sharp’s SmartCentral Internet platform with access to apps, YouTube videos, and CinemaNow, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Vudu streaming movies and TV shows. The LC-90LE745U also has a full Web browser and can make Skype video calls when used with an optional webcam. The TV uses active-3D technology and comes with two sets of active-3D glasses.”

But make sure to check your bank account before lining up to buy this wall-sized set. The Aquos is priced at a whopping $10,999.99.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


ICANN Releases New Web Domain Name Options

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images (LONDON) -- By 2013 we could be typing domain names that end in .app, .blog, or .apple into our web browsers.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on Wednesday released the list of companies that have applied for new generic Top Level Domains (or gTLDs).

A gTLD, as ICANN explained on its website, “is an Internet domain name extension such as the familiar .com, .net, or .org.”  To date, there have only been 22 gTLDs, including .com, .edu, .gov, etc. But that’s about to change.

Instead of the .com or .net suffixes attached to website addresses, ICANN has taken applications from companies that have applied for new gTLDs. Many companies want their own — Microsoft has applied for .microsoft, Apple for .apple, and Netflix for .netflix. (The entire list can be found here.) Google, which is listed as the Charleston Road Registry, applied for the most gTLDs, including, .lol, .blog, .baby and .boo.

Not all of the domains will be approved. ICANN is currently going over them, and according to its CEO, Rod Beckstrom, as many as a thousand gTLDs could be approved by next year. At an event today in London, Beckstrom said, “The Internet is about to change forever.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Cell Phone for Seniors Released

The Clarity Pal. Image credit: Clarity(NEW YORK) -- A cell phone for seniors: it’s not a brand new concept, but there’s a new one hitting the market very soon.

Clarity, which is a division of Plantronics, has just announced its new Pal phone for seniors. The device is a very basic phone, but has features specifically tailored for senior citizens.

“We are seeing more seniors using cellphones. Over 75 percent of them use cell phones, though they use them for more security and peace of mind,” Jamie van den Berg, VP at Clarity, told ABC News.

The phone is lightweight and has a rubberized keyboard, making it easier for users suffering from arthritis. It also has a tone control and higher amplification so those who are hard of hearing can adjust the audio profiles to a higher range. A talking keyboard and talking caller ID are built-in for the visually impaired. Lastly, the menus are very simple to navigate, van den Berg said.

However, the one thing that might stand in the way of the Pal and its users might be the distribution model. The Pal will be available only online at first, through Clarity’s website. The $99 phone is also sold unlocked, meaning you’d need to sign up for service at a carrier, like T-Mobile and AT&T, and pop the SIM card in. Van Den Berg did say that Clarity has partnered with PureTalk USA for some offerings and that he assumes some younger customers will help set up the phone for their older parents.

The Jitterbug, a competing cell phone for seniors, is available through brick and mortar retailers like Best Buy and WalMart.

And while Van den Berg said he is very interested in teaming up with carriers, he is finding it hard to do so. “We’re finding carriers are focused so much on 3G and data. This population doesn’t use as much data as others — it’s not the focus for them.”

The Pal will be available at the end of the month through

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Smart' Homes Prevent Illness, Run The Dryer

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PULLMAN, Wash.) -- Might your house someday become too smart? It's one thing to have a sensor-and-computer-equipped home telling you the best time to run the dryer—when, say, energy costs are low. But do you want it telling doctors that you're suffering from dementia? Do you want it diagnosing autism in your child?

Smarty-pants, tattle-tale homes may be just around the corner, predicts Diane Cook, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. Her recent article in Science, "How Smart is Your Home?" envisions a future where sensor-laden domiciles not only save their owners' money (on, say, energy costs) but also keep tabs on their physical and mental well-being.

Today, says Cook, "constructing a smart home is not difficult or expensive. There are test-beds all over the world. The infrastructure is available now."

Sensors already can detect, for example, the motions of home occupants. Changes in those motions can indicate illnesses, including the onset of dementia or autism. Sensors also can record when lights are turned on and off, when utilities are used. In the future, they may even be able to monitor occupants' emotions, by reading facial expressions.

What makes all this possible, says Cook, is "ambient intelligence," an advancement that comes from the embedding of microprocessors in familiar objects, such as home appliances. "It is gradually pervading almost every level of society," she writes.

"In the home, the idea is that computer software, playing the role of an intelligent agent, perceives the state of the physical environment, reasons about this state using artificial intelligence, and then takes actions to achieve specified goals, such as maximizing comfort of the residents and maintaining health and safety," Cook writes.

Present home-management systems must be pre-programmed by home owners: You need to tell your system when to turn your heat on or off. Tomorrow's systems, however, will observe occupant behavior, draw their own intelligent conclusions, and then make autonomous decisions "without explicit human control," Cook writes.

So far, in fact, may autonomous intelligence advance that tomorrow's homes may need to incorporate software that provides for occupants "to retain ultimate authority to resent the system and to impose restraints that prevent the home from taking undesired or harmful actions."

The upside to making homes more intelligent could be substantial, says Cook, especially where seniors are concerned. Outfitting a 2,000 square foot home or apartment with sensors costs only about $2,000. But the cost of institutional care for a senior suffering from dementia can be tens of thousands of dollars a year.

If information gleaned from home sensors could give doctors advance notice of dementia, and if by their intervention the senior could remain at home for even one additional year, then they smart home would have paid for itself.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Flying Car, Cadillac CUE Are Tech Hits at New York Auto Show

General Motors(NEW YORK) -- There sure are a lot of cars at the New York Auto Show this week. The Javits Center in New York City looks like the world's largest car showroom. But in the sea of four-wheelers, there's also a whole lot of technology floating around. Below are some of those technology highlights:

Cadillac CUE:  The 2013 Cadillac SRX's dashboard has a lot in common with your smartphone. It has an 8-inch touch screen with haptic feedback, which means you feel a slight vibration when you touch the virtual buttons on it. It also has a 12.3-inch LCD gauge cluster, which can be completely customized. There are four layouts, all of which let you show a range of information. There are options for the very tech-savvy and the basic user. CUE is an acronym, short for Cadillac User Experience. Cadillac wouldn't talk pricing, but the 2012 SRX starts at $36,860.

Ford Escape's Hands-Free Lift Gate: 
Kick under the new 2013 Ford Escape's rear while the key is in your pocket and the trunk will open. Using capacitive sensing and two sensors on the car's bumper, the feature is meant to help assist you when you have your hands full with groceries or kids. And don't worry, the technology can understand the difference between your foot and, say, a cat or dog. The feature will be standard on the 2013 Ford Escape, which will be out this spring.

Terrafugia Transition:  Sure, the technology in other cars may make your life easier while you're fighting traffic jams right now, but one day in the not-too-distant future you may just be able to avoid that traffic jam by flying over it. The highlight of the auto show has been Terrafugia's Transition flying car. The two-seat vehicle can drive on regular roads, but its folding wings can also launch it into the sky. It should be on sale by the end of the year. Terrafugia says the Transition, which would use conventional gasoline as you drive it, wings folded, to the nearest airstrip, is not just a flight of fancy. The list price is $279,000, and the company says 100 of the vehicles have been reserved.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


SXSW 2012: ‘Spring Break For Geeks’ Kicks Off in Austin

Hemera/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) -- The annual South by Southwest Interactive festival kicks off Friday in Austin and, like in years past, the city is expected to be swarming with a mix of technology, social media and creative types.

“It’s spring break for geeks,” says Robert Scoble, who is notorious in the technology industry for knowing about all the next big apps and start-ups. “So many people are here from around the world and most of them are tech passionate. It’s become one of the most important events for networking and accelerating the growth of companies.”

More than 20,000 people are expected to attend the interactive portion of the show. The music and movie events begin later in the week.

“It ends up being one big networking event where everyone is in a relaxed mood,” Michael Dodd, a partner at Austin Ventures, explains. "You’ll find everyone from Valley Venture Capitalists to CEOs of major start-ups in a T-shirt and jeans with a beer and BBQ in hand listening to live music.”

In years past, the show has served as a major launching pad for particular tech apps and services that then went on to gain a widespread user base. Back in 2009, FourSquare debuted at the show; the service now has 15 million users. In 2007, Twitter put some major publicity at the show.

The tech community is already suggesting apps like Highlight, which lets you see friends who are physically near you, might be this year’s halo app.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio