Things aren't perfect, but they're getting better, faster

Technology on the Cusp

It's all about the games, games, games

Microsoft’s big Xbox E3 presentation was big, but familiar

 

It turns out the internet is good for a lot

#SaveMarketBasket – the hashtag that brought revolution to a regional Supermarket chain




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The internet has done a lot for the world – it has revolutionized the way we consume information, its revolutionized the way we express ourselves, and even revolutionized the way we communicate with one another. But this week, it’s helped bring about yet another revolution – one for the heart and soul of a regional supermarket chain.

If that sounds even a little crazy, then you absolutely won’t believe the specifics. First, the Board of Directors at Market Basket – a family operated supermarket chain located throughout the North East of the company – voted to oust beloved CEO Arthur T. DeMoulas from the company following a long running family dispute with Arthur S. DeMoulas, who control of Market Basket’s Board of Directors recently. Then, the company employees (all of which aren’t unionized, by the way) decided to take matters into their own hands. Using social media, supporters of Arthur T. DeMoulas, known also as “Artie T.”, decided to encourage like-minded fellow employees and customers alike to boycott the company, refusing to work and encouraged patrons to shop at other supermarkets until Arthur T. is reinstated as CEO.

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“This is a movement to stop the avarice of Arthur S. and his board of directors who have stopped caring about the company, the associates, and the customers.” said Sean Brown, an employee at Market Basket Store #09 in Haverhill, MA regarding the protestors’ motives. Joseph Medici, another longtime Market Basket employee in Haverhill, believes that former CEO Arthur T. DeMoulas was key to the success of the once growing chain, saying that Mr. DeMoulas “kept the prices low” while “still [having] one of the largest profit margins in the grocery industry.”

The movement has been historic; supporters of the movement have flocked to various groups on Facebook to get the word out; one such group, “SAVE ARTIE T. & SAVE MARKET BASKET” has amassed 17,918 members as of this writing; another, “Save Market Basket”, a whopping 62,760 members.

Likewise on Twitter, hundreds of people have been expressing their support by tweeting with the hashtag #SaveMarketBasket, getting their message out to a total of over 85,000 Twitter users in all. Protestors are even using Instagram to get the word out, posting around a thousand images in all with similar hashtags.

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On top of the now countless social media posts, protestors are also making their voices heard – and helping touch lives – using some of the web’s most popular crowdsourcing applications. A petition regarding the Market Basket on Care2 has grown to become one of the largest ones active on the site, reaching 23,824 signatures with many leaving messages of support: “I fully support all these hard working people in their pursuit of what is right and true.” GoFundMe is also being used to help support truck drivers and warehouse workers involved in the strike, who have stopped receiving pay from the company. That’s managed to raise an impressive (and growing) $3,520.

So for all of this excitement, all of this talk, and all of this effort on the behalf of the employees, how effective has the strike been thus far? Incredibly, an absolutely massive one. According to unconfirmed reports, Market Basket suffered a 90% profit loss on July 22nd, and an even greater 91% loss on July 23rd. Market Basket parking lots are virtually empty – aisles are deserted, and food is seldom longer being restocked; even the back rooms are empty, as you can see in the photo above. And how about those nearby competitor supermarkets? Well, let’s just say that bread is flying off the shelves.

What does Market Basket’s new management have to say about all this? Why, “no comment”, of course; hardly any surprise for the likes of new co-CEOs James Gooch of Radio Shack and Felicia Thornton, formerly of Albertsons, who Sean pointed out to us has a “terrible track records where they have destroyed their previous companies and lined their own pockets.” Of course, I’ll be sure to update you on how the Market Basket saga plays out once all is said and done. The Board of Directors is scheduled to have a meeting regarding the issues tomorrow, the same day that the protestors are planning their biggest demonstration yet. Stay tuned as this continues to develop.

Photographs provided for use courtesy of Katie Langlois, Johanni Manon.

More steps in the right direction

Pictures of Threshold leak, shows off new Start menu




Windows-8-Logo1For the 100% of Windows users who still use a keyboard and mouse comes good news. One interesting bit of news from //BUILD/ earlier this year was that the Start Menu would be making a return in Windows 8.1 Update 2., which is due sometime in August. Unfortunately, the Start Menu was delayed and won’t be present in that update, but fear not – it’s coming in Windows Threshold (aka Windows 9) and we now have some pictures showing it off.

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The pictures show a version of Windows bearing the version 6.4, build 9795 and the usual set of confidential notice, but what’s more important is that the Start Menu is clearly visible and looks exactly how it did during //BUILD/ earlier this year – that is, a hybrid between the Windows 7 Start Menu and the Modern UI.

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Another screenshot shows off the windowed Modern apps, though the source says that this is quite buggy and laggy at the moment. While they say that these screenshots should be taken with a grain of salt, I feel confident in saying that these are likely legitimate as they match up with the rumors we’ve heard and even what Microsoft themselves showed off at //BUILD/. Regardless, it’s still more steps in the right direction to re-instate sanity in the Windows world.

Source: Myce
Via: The Verge

Hath Hell frozen over?

Apple teams up with IBM to transform mobile enterprise




apple-logo-wwdc13Steve Jobs didn’t quite care for IBM back in the 1980s, but that means nothing today as both Apple and IBM have announced a new global partnership to “transform enterprise mobility”. According to a joint press release published just a few minutes ago, the companies claims that the new partnership aims to “redefine” the way businesses get work done, as well as address key challenges in the mobile enterprise category.

The centerpiece of the deal appears to be a new lineup of enterprise mobility applications powered by IBM’s “big data and analytics capabilities” coming soon to the iPhone and the iPad, as well as bringing IBM’s cloud services to the platform allowing for device management and security. Apple will also be beefing up their AppleCare service and support to meet “the needs of the enterprise.”

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook had the following to say about the news, “iPhone and iPad are the best mobile devices in the world and have transformed the way people work with over 98 percent of the Fortune 500 and over 92 percent of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today… for the first time ever we’re putting IBM’s renowned big data analytics at iOS users’ fingertips, which opens up a large market opportunity for Apple. This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”

The two companies are calling all of this IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions, and it will “totally transform how businesses and employees work using iPhone and iPad, allowing companies to achieve new levels of efficiency, effectiveness, and consumer satisfaction” – all according to the press release, of course.

No word yet when we’ll see all of this in action, however Apple does note in the press release that iOS 8 will improve enterprise support over previous releases of the software by “improving of the way users are informed of how their devices are configured, managed, or restricted, with expanded security management and productivity features.” iOS 8 was, of course, announced at Apple’s WWDC conference in San Francisco just a few short weeks ago.

We have published to Apple and IBM’s full press release after the break.

Source: Apple

Well, there goes one defining feature

Microsoft has apparently abandoned plans to make every Xbox One a developer kit




Xbox One_Console and ControllerIt was almost a year ago that Microsoft announced that every Xbox One would double as a developer kit for inexpensive game development for independent game developers and hardcore professionals alike, but it seems as though today that dream – or, promise, rather – has died. Microsoft’s Xbox Advanced Technology Group’s Martin Fuller has, unfortunately, confirmed to popular UK technology magazine DigitalSpy that “there are no plans” at the moment to implement the promised functionality.

Fuller continued, “We were in the early stages of Xbox One looking at the idea of a retail kit that could be turned into a development kit, and vice versa… in the end, although that was a very admirable goal, it hasn’t happened unfortunately. Can’t tell you the specifics of exactly why not.”

So there you have it, one stand out feature of the Xbox One dead before it even got off the ground. We should have known there was trouble in paradise when there hadn’t been a single word on the functionality for almost a year, but there were some of us who had held out hope. As developer Steven Troughton-Smith put it on Twitter this afternoon, “…that settles the ‘will I get an Xbox One?’ question.”

We can only guess the decision has just been made for more than just a couple of people, Steven.

Via: EuroGamer
Source: DigitalSpy

Yes, we said earholes, and that's kind of funny

Normals are earbuds designed specifically for your earholes




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I’ve got a small problem with earbuds – though I love their small size and the convenience that goes along with them, they just don’t seem to fit my ears all that well. I usually throw out the pair that comes with every smartphone or MP3 player, even the EarPods that came with my iPhone 5s – because, well, they just don’t fit my earholes. I’ve taken to buying in-ear earbuds to circumvent the problem and continue my love of music listening on the go, but to be honest, in-ear earbuds aren’t perfect. Luckily for me and anyone else who shares in my earhole frustration, Nikki Kaufman of the awesome online store Quirky has come up with a potential solution – a new line of earbuds called Normal, earbuds that are specifically designed for your – yes, your – earholes.

How can that be? Through the magic of 3D printing, of course. To begin, download the new Normal app on your iPhone or Android smartphone and take a photo of your earhole next to a quarter. That way, Normals knows exactly what shape – and, thanks to the quarter, what size – your earholes are, the dimensions of which will be used to custom design and 3D print earbuds that are literally perfect fits for your earholes.

Normals will begin shipping soon, and each pair will sell for $199. While that may seem pricy for earbuds from what essentially amounts to a no-name company, Kaufman promises that these earbuds will be worth the price – not only will they be a perfect fit for your earholes, they’ll also be awesome sounding. Kaufman revealed to The Verge that the team behind Normals has worked with contractors and engineers behind some of Sonos, Harman, Skullcandy, Bose, Beats, and Shure’s earbuds, all of which are known for their high quality sound.

Sound good? Head to Normal’s website to download the app and get started. Oh, and, one last thing. Earholes.

Via: The Verge
Source: Normals

A great, sanely sized Android phone

Sony is bringing the excellent Xperia Z1 Compact to the US, but why don’t carriers care?




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Good news, fellow fans of sanely sized Android smartphones – Sony is bringing the already excellent Xperia Z1 Compact smartphone, which was announced in international markets over half a year ago now, to the United States. With its 4.3 inch screen size, starting now you’ll be able to wonder over to Sony’s online store and order your very own for the not-too-awful price of $550 for an unlocked GSM model. That way you’ll be able to run it on your carrier of choice – as long as that carrier is called either T-Mobile or AT&T, of course.

The real question is why aren’t any of America’s carriers actually embracing the Xperia Z1? That might have something to do with market trends, as it turns out. If the likes of the Moto X and other “mini” versions of popular smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and the HTC One mini, are any indication – American consumers just aren’t that into smartphones will screens smaller than ~5 inches anymore.

Though accurate specific sales numbers are difficult to come by, we can use the likes of WhistleOut to determine which smartphones on each US carrier are most popular. On Verizon, only one of the top 5 most popular non-Apple smartphones has a screen size smaller than 5 inches – and that’s the Samsung Galaxy S3, with its still large 4.8 inch display – which was actually on the larger size of large at the time of its release back in 2012.

A similar story unfolds when you take a look at the nation’s other three top carriers. Four out of the top 5 non-Apple smartphones on AT&T have screen sizes larger than 5 inches, as well as four out of five on Sprint. All of the top 5 smartphones on T-Mobile have screen sizes larger than 5 inches. Basically, what this tells is is this – carriers will offer smaller Android smartphones to consumers when consumers show a desire to own one. At the moment, that desire just doesn’t seem to be there… unless you’re buying from a certain manufacturer named Apple, that is.

Via: Engadget
Source: Sony

Things aren't perfect, but they're getting better, faster

Technology on the Cusp




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For centuries now, mankind has been using technology to benefit nearly every corner of civilization. Since the early days of applied sciences, we have been using technology to grow more crops, faster, with less waste and more product. Technology has been used to extend the human lifespan far beyond what human kind has ever seen before; modern medicine and increasingly advanced surgical procedures saves countless lives every year. Horse drawn carriages, roads, and boats stretch the possibilities of human migration and transport – trains, cars, and planes shatter any preconceived notions of limitations in their entirety. The abacus made number crunching easier – the calculator made it faster, the computer so powerful, it was nigh magic.

Read more after the break.

Not Facebook's baby yet

Oculus starts selling second Rift virtual reality prototype




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Good news, developers and fans of virtual reality alike! Oculus has just announced that they’ve just started shipping their second Oculus Rift virtual reality prototype intended for developers, officially named the Oculus Rift Development Kit 2. Oculus expects packages to start arriving on developers’ and enthusiasts doorsteps on July 14th – though later orders probably won’t arrive until closer to the middle to the end of August.

If you’ve yet to pick up your copy, the privilege of owning your very own prototype headset will cost you $350 right now – and of course, that doesn’t automatically give you access to the final product, whenever that arrives – or, well, – if that ever arrives.

Source: Oculus

Well its about time

Microsoft to finally fix bug blocking upgrade to Windows 8.1




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If your computer is one of the many affected by the bug that blocks its copy of Windows 8 from being upgraded to Windows 8.1, there’s good news on the horizon. Microsoft is finally taking pity on your computer’s soul and has decided to fix that, allowing previously (and randomly) un-upgradeable copies of Windows 8 from being upgraded to Windows 8.1.

The bug, which affected computers and tablets running both Windows 8 as well as the original version of Windows RT, affects only a small number of computers – so chances are, if you haven’t upgraded yet, you’ll be able to do that now just fine. But if not, keep an eye out for the fix due any day now.

Via: Engadget
Source: WinSuperSite

Nice, but doesn't tell the whole story

Samsung announces the Galaxy S5 mini




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Samsung has announced the latest in their attempt to sanely-size their increasingly oversized phablet flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S. And as per usual, the Samsung Galaxy S5 mini has the looks of its larger sibling, but not exactly the specifications to back those looks up. Inside the familiar body we’ve got a still-not-small 4.5-inch display, 1.5GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and a 8-megapixel camera.

There’s also a 1.4GHz processor running the show under the hood, which is pretty puny compared to the flagship Galaxy S5′s 2.5 GHz processor. The good news, however, is that its running the latest version of Android to date – Android 4.4 – and it comes complete with the fingerprint sensor as well as the heart rate monitor.

As for availability, the phone will be on sale in early July in Russia and will presumably be hitting other markets later this year. Like its full sized sibling, the phone comes in Charcoal Black, Shimmery White, Electric Blue and Copper Gold colors.

Source: Samsung

"Tell lawmakers how disappointed you are"

Aereo wants congress to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision




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Aereo may have suspended its regularly scheduled programming, but that doesn’t mean it is giving up without a fight. Today, the online television streaming service has sent a letter to customers begging them to tell Congress to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that has stopped Aereo’s broadcasting in its tracks.

In the email, Aereo tells customers to “tell [their] lawmakers how disappointed [they] are that the nation’s highest court issued a decision that could deny you the right to use the antenna of your choice to access live over-the-air broadcast television.” Aereo, and many of Aereo’s supporters, believe the Supreme Court’s decision to be based on a faulty and archaic set of laws and failed to accurately understand what exactly Aereo is and what it does.

Congress would effectively need to revamp a significant portion of copyright law to undermine the Supreme Court’s earlier decision, a process that – even if it were to happen – would likely takes years, even if we weren’t stuck with the lame duck Congress that we are. But hey, there’s no better time to look into supporting a third party candidate for this November’s midterm elections, right?

Via: The Verge
Source: National Journal

Will make you feel bad about that Cola

Vessyl is the smart cup of the future and it’s coming soon




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In the future, your spork will tell you how fast you’re chowing down on that Chicken Alfredo, warning you when you’re overeating – a wristband will tell you just about exactly how many steps you’ve taken in a day – and your cup will be able determine when you’ve had one too many caloric almost-juice drinks. That was the dream (ok, it was a dream), but no longer. The food sensing silverware is here, and those wrist bands made their debut some time ago. It’s taken a little bit longer, but now one startup thinks they’ve finally gotten the final piece of the puzzle just right with a new smart cup (yes, I just said smart cup) called Vessyl, and it’s absolutely amazing.

Vessyl may look like any other cup, but if it does even half of what the team behind it claims its will, it’s something closer to magic than your average cup. Brought to you by the folks at Mark One, Vessyl will “automatically know and track what you’re drinking in real time.” Having a glass of water? How many glasses of water have you had today? Vessyl knows, and it’ll keep track of it for you, syncing with the associated smartphone application over Bluetooth.

What’s even more amazing than its tracking capabilities is its ability to recognize and analyze exactly what’s in the cup. Mark One promises the recognition technology is good enough to recognize that Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino you’re drinkingand tell you how much sugar, protein, caffeine, and more are in it. That could be absolutely huge for people with specific dietary needs. Sensitive to caffeine? Vessyl will let you know when you’ve gone over your daily limit.

A feature called “Pryme” lets you know when you’ve had just the right amount of your daily needs, while the associated iOS or Android application allows you to keep track of individualized goals. Better yet, it automatically works with various existing fitness trackers already on the market.

If that didn’t wow you, well, I’m honestly not quite sure if anything will. Vessyl is slated to go on sale in “early 2015″ for a regular price of $199, though if you pre-order now you can pick it up for $99. If Mark One can deliver on Vessyl’s lofty promises, the future was once written only in fiction, but now that it’s here. And I couldn’t be any more excited.

Source: Vessyl