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Archive for June, 2013

Google wants you to map the world

Posted by Alan at 2:41 PM on June 28, 2013

Google Maps and its Street View program have traveled across much of the world, beginning with streets and then venturing out to trails, museums and even under the waves at the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Now the search giant wishes to enlist the aid of users to go further that ever.

The company is enlisting volunteers to strap on its cameras and head off around the world. The first example of this was carried out in Hawaii and information and images can be found on the Google Maps blog.

“We’re working to build the very best map of the world, and we’d love your help to do it. Today we’re kicking off a pilot program that enables third party organizations to borrow the Street View Trekkerand contribute imagery to Google Maps. For the first time ever, this program will enable organizations to use our camera equipment to collect 360-degree photos of the places they know best — helping us make Google Maps more comprehensive and useful for all. This program is part of our ongoing effort to make it possible for anyone to contribute to Google Maps”.

The first partner, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB), has already begun using the Trekker to take photos of the most popular, well-trafficked sites on the Hawaiian islands for future inclusion on Google Maps.

If you wish to be next, then this is the time to register. Got a big trip planned? Want to contribute to what has widely been considered the best map service in the world? Pack your bags!

GNC-2013-06-28 #870 Homestead

Posted by geeknews at 7:45 AM on June 28, 2013

I have had a great week part business part pleasure here on the homestead. I am recording on a Friday as things here just to nuts to do a show last nite enjoy.

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Reeder Won’t be Ready on July 1st

Posted by JenThorpe at 5:17 PM on June 27, 2013

Reeder logoThe clock is ticking! Google Reader will die on July 1, 2013. If you are still using it, you have very little time left to find an alternative RSS reader. You can find a lot of suggestions, all across the internet, about which of the remaining RSS readers you might consider switching to.

Those of you that were planning on using Reeder are in for some disappointment. It has been announced that Reeder is not going to be ready on July 1, 2013. Instead, the development of Reeder will continue after that date.

There are currently 3 versions of Reeder. None of them will be getting major updates.

Reeder for iPhone (version 3.2) is currently being offered for free. It will support Feedbin, Feedly, and Fever. It will also support Feed Wranger (but has no support for smart streams in Reeder – yet). It will also allow you to use standalone or local RSS without syncing.

Reeder for Mac and iPad will not be updated. They will both be removed from the App Store on July 1, 2013, because they still require Google Reader in order to function. Don’t expect to see these apps return until after they have been modified to work without using Google Reader.

Welcome to The Gadget Professor Show #112 hosted by Don Baine.

We’ve Got Technology Covered! The Gadget Professor Show – a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network!

After my review of the zBooost YX510 – zBoost contacted The Gadget Professor and informed me that that YX510 was discontinued in 2010 – essentially I reviewed a discontinued model! The new replacement is the YX545. We are in the process of evaluating it. Zboost has kindly offered to have one of their technical experts join us on a new show so we can set the record straight! I commend the folks at zBoost for offering to come on my show – the sign of a good company that cares about it’s products and customers! Stay tuned for the announcement about the upcoming show!

zBoost SOHO cell signal booster extends a Cell Zone™ for multiple users and all devices operating on 800 and 1900 MHz frequency bands. zBoost SOHO boosts signal up to 3000 square feet, making it perfect for your home or office.

Benefits Include:

  • Increases indoor signal coverage-up to 3000 sq ft
  • Supports multiple users simultaneously
  • Compatible with all U.S. carriers and mobile devices using 800 & 1900 MHz (except Nextel/iDEN or 4G, 2100MHz phones)
  • Increases voice and data transmission
  • Decreases dropped or missed calls
  • Easy to set up – comes complete with everything you need
  • No cradle or connections to your phone
  • Extends phone battery life (uses less power when signal is stronger)
  • Protects the carrier network using patented technology

Plus our weekly free apps and software recommendations.

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Robot Underpants: 06.27.13 (107)

Posted by Langley at 12:14 AM on June 27, 2013

Mat “Langley” Luschek, Eric Rice, and “Starman” Michael Gaines are here with the important news you already know! Including, Same-sex marriages, Snowden updates, Texas abortion laws! Also this week, Star Wars news, Rick Moranis music, Top Ten Lists, Iron Sheik documentary funding, and someone just give Val Kilmer a job already!

* Iron Sheik Indiegogo

* Three-year-old-brain robot

* Top Ten Lists

* ‘The Zero Theorem’ Trailer

* Implanted Headphones

* Rick Moranis Music

* Val Kilmer Needs Work

Arr Matey! The Torch browser turns one

Posted by Alan at 12:20 PM on June 26, 2013

To be fair, Torch is an excellent browser that is based on Google’s Chrome platform. With that said, the web browser does come with built-in BitTorrent client, though that is far from its only feature. There are excellent media features included with the software, allowing the user to explore the latest music.

Now Torch Media announces the celebration of its one year anniversary. “Torch just celebrated its first birthday. We did a lot over the last year to make sure our users are getting the most out of the web and are looking forward to the future with our new improvements”.

The software maker tells us that is has accumulated 10 million users over its short life, plus touts other milestones and plans, as it is “hard at work making sure everyone can use this awesome browser, it is now available for Mac.  When you make the switch to Torch you don’t have to lose any of the add-ons you are used to, now that all Chrome add-ons are compatible with Torch Browser”.

torch birthday

“Torch recently released an update to help users download faster. So you have to wait less time to watch that movie you have been dying to see and you don’t have to compromise on the quality, because your browser can handle the larger HD files”. Nope…no piracy here. Move along, nothing to see.

As I said earlier, the browser is excellent. It is fast and brings many features to the table. Unfortunately, there is that whole stigma that continues to hang over it.

Ouya Review

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 6:08 AM on June 26, 2013

Ouya My Ouya finally came late yesterday afternoon. First a little background from me, I am not a gamer, I have no hand to eye coordination so I am not very good, but I enjoy playing them. I have been without a gaming console for a couple of years now and I miss not having one. I had thought about buying a Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3 but I couldn’t bring my self to pay $400 to $500 on a console that I knew was going to be replaced in a short time. When I heard all the noise about the new gaming console that was a Kickstarter project called Ouya I became intrigued. So, at the beginning of April after the Kickstarter project had become successful I preordered one. The email I received from Ouya stated that I would not receive the console until June, which was fine with me. I was aware how Kickstarter worked. However I have to admit when yesterday rolled around and I started seeing articles that the Ouya would be available for purchase at places like Amazon, Best Buy, Target and more I was a little upset that I hadn’t received mine yet. I was therefor very happy when my husband came in with it, saying it had been thrown in the bushes.

The Ouya comes in a small box about the size of a shoe box but slightly narrower. In the box you get the console, one controller, a power cable, a HDMI cable and a brief instruction book. The Ouya console itself is quite small. It is only three inches by three inches by three inches and is square with a rounded front. The console is made of plastic, but feels fairly solid and heavy for it size. There is a fan on one end and the power button on the other end. On the back there is a HDMI port, a power input, an ethernet input and a USB input. I was actually pleasantly surprised that a HDMI cable came with the console, although it is fairly short. The controller, which is bigger then the console does feels cheap. You can tell that it was made from a mold. The buttons on the controller are placed similar to how the Xbox controller is set up. Because it is so large and I have small hands (although normal I think for a women) it does feel a little awkward to me.

The setup went fairly smoothly after and initial hiccup. Because the Ouya is black I didn’t see the power button on the front, so when I first plugged the Ouya in and connected it to my monitor and nothing happened I was quite upset. I even tried a different outlet and still nothing. I was getting ready to send it back, when I took a closer look at it and noticed the indentation on the front face and when I pushed it the power came on. A simple red line around it to indicate power would have been appreciated. That problem solved the rest of the set up went fairly quickly and without a hitch. It does take some time since it has to be updated with the latest firmware. During the setup process you do have to provide a credit card number so you will need to have one available. Once setup is done you have to pair the controller. I had no problem with that once I figured out that the batteries went into the wings of the controllers. I have noticed also that the controller loses its pairing with the console occasionally. Not when playing a game but when I restart the console I will sometimes will have to reconnect the controller to it. Once you fire the Ouya up the first screen you will see is the management screen on it there is an option to play the games you have already chosen, discover new games, make a new games (if you are a developer) and manage your account, and the system.


Most of the games you will find on the Ouya are not ones you will recognize, unless you play a lot of independent games. However there are some that will feel familiar to you even if the names are different. There is one called Polarity which is a lot like Portal and another one called Puddle which reminds me of World of Goo my iPad. There were a some games I did recognize like Final Fantasy III, You Don’t Know Jack and Canabalt. I played a little bit of a couple of games, including Polarity and Puddle and everything seemed to work fine. The reaction time between when I pushed the button on the controller and the movement on the screen was a little slow, but not terrible. If this had been a $500 machine I would have said it was pretty bad, but for $99.00 it is fine. That is the one thing I would tell anyone who buys a Ouya  to remember is that this console only cost you $99.00 and if you compare it to an Xbox 360 or a Playstation 3 you will be highly disappointed. However if you remember that it is a $99.00 console I think you will have a lot of fun playing the games that are available on it. You may even find some independent games that you really like. Overall despite the few problems, so far I am happy I purchased the Ouya. If you are looking for a gaming console you can play on your TV and it will not break the bank, then the Ouya is worth a look.

GNC-2013-06-24 #869 Gadget Professor

Posted by geeknews at 7:07 PM on June 25, 2013

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Nook Moves to Partnership Model

Posted by JenThorpe at 5:23 PM on June 25, 2013

Barnes & Noble logoBarnes & Noble has announced that it is not going to continue to produce new Nook tablet devices. Instead, it is going to transition to what it is calling a “partnership model”. The announcement from Barnes & Noble did not say what company it will be partnering with.

I believe a lot of us saw something like this coming. Barnes & Noble has been doing sale after sale on the Nook for quite some time now. It knocked down the price and suggested that it would make a great Mother’s Day gift. It ran the same sale for Father’s Day. There were other sales as well.

Barnes & Noble is planning to “adjust” its strategy when it comes to the Nook. Previous to this announcement, Barnes & Noble was building the Nook in-house. Now, it wants to have a co-branded program where some other company will build the Nook.

Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch said:

Our aim is to sell tablets, but to do so without the up front risk.

Barnes & Noble believes its unsold inventory of Nooks was the biggest reason for its loss of about $155 million in the most recent fiscal year. The company is going to continue to make black and white eReader devices. It will sell the color-screen Nook HD and the Nook HD+ at a discount through the holiday season.

Apple Offers iTunes Credits to Parents after Litigation

Posted by JenThorpe at 5:01 PM on June 24, 2013

Apple LogoThere are so many apps out there that are intended to attract children. It is easy to see why parents are hesitant to let their children go ahead and buy whatever apps they like – especially if those apps allow for in-game purchases (using real money). What if your child does it without your permission?

A class-action lawsuit was filed in 2011 against Apple by 5 parents. The parents were upset because their children were able to purchase and download apps from Apple’s online store on the parent’s accounts without the parent’s knowledge or permission.

Earlier this year, Apple agreed to a settlement of this class-action lawsuit. It will end up costing Apple around $100 million. Apple has agreed to provide around 23 million affected customers with a $5.00 iTunes store credit.

Have your kids been downloading things from Apple that you didn’t give them permission to? You might want to read over the details of the settlement to see if you are eligible.

The settlement is specifically about apps or in-app purchases of game currency that were purchased by a minor without the parent’s knowledge or permission in the 45 days prior to May 2, 2013. If you qualify, you must file an online claim by January 13, 2014.

The settlement is only including qualified apps This means all apps from the App Store in the games category with an age rating of 4+, 9+, or 12+ that offer in-app purchases of consumable game currency.