Apple hopes sufficiently advanced technology looks like magic

22 October 2013 by Steve Blum
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Solid upgrades and clean roadmap without disruption.

Tim Cook uses videos to communicate Apple’s brand message, and quotes from pop stars and bloggers to validate it.
All Steve Jobs needed to do was walk on stage.
The magic might be gone, but Apple’s clarity of purpose and starkness of design remains. Mobile devices and desktop computers remain on separate development tracks, with integration focused on creating similar user experiences for particular apps and content, rather than trying to converge into a unified operating system.… More

Santa Cruz culture gives tech start ups a competitive edge

Santa Cruz inspires Tomfoolery.

“The culture of community is Santa Cruz’s greatest export,” said Sol Lipman, one of three local entrepreneurs speaking at an event Thursday evening celebrating the growth and innovation of the local tech scene.
Sol is the founder of Tomfoolery, a start up that’s targeting the corporate sector with mobile apps that grow social networks within companies organically. He pointed out that the top three social networking platforms used for business are actually well known consumer market apps: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, in that order.… More

Bell Labs bridges a gigabit over a copper gap

6 July 2013 by Steve Blum
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The case for copper. Source: Alcatel-Lucent.

AT&T and Verizon should think twice about running away from older copper networks. Bell Labs has prototype technology that can already move half a gigabit through legacy wiring. Testing by parent company Alcatel-Lucent and Telekom Austria succeeded in pushing more half a gigabit over multiple legacy copper POTS pairs, using elements of the emerging standard and mixing in advanced vectoring technology – dubbed Vectoring 2.0 – developed by Bell Labs.… More

Supreme Court considering whether it's a good idea to open up a new feeding ground for patent trolls

26 June 2013 by Steve Blum
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Looks like one of those divided infringements. Let’s eat it.

The U.S. Supreme Court finished its current session this week with a flurry of action, momentous and otherwise. Lost in the fireworks generated by rulings on gay rights, racial preferences and voting rules though, was its decision to take a look at an intellectual property case that, depending on where it eventually goes, could create a vast new opportunity for patent trolls and trial lawyers to line their pockets.… More

Santa Cruz's innovative Open Counter platform going national with Knight grant

Cowell’s Beach is a great place to start.

Santa Cruz is proving itself to be a leading center for twenty-first century e-government. The latest endorsement came from the Knight Foundation today, which announced it was giving a $450,000 award to the Open Counter project. It was one of only eight winners, out of 860 applicants, of the Knight News Challenge on Open Gov.

Led by Peter Koht, an economic development staffer with the City of Santa Cruz, the Open Counter initiative was originally backed by Code for America, a private foundation that bills itself as a Peace Corps for geeks.… More

The only loony thing about Google's Project Loon might be the name

17 June 2013 by Steve Blum
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Driven by computing power, not Newton or newtons.

New Zealand’s Canterbury Plain is hosting Google’s latest idea-that’s-so-goofy-it-might-work, appropriately named Project Loon. Thirty high altitude balloons carrying data relay equipment were released to drift over Christchurch, generally heading east towards the telecoms starved Chatham Islands. The concept Google is testing is to put enough balloons into the air to create a fleet of atmospheric satellites that can talk to each other and to the ground, and relay Internet service to hard to reach places.… More

M2M standards will unleash innovation

14 June 2013 by Steve Blum
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Bringing down the vertical market.

Machine-to-machine communication protocols are propriety, frequently established by low volume vertical applications that are bolted onto existing mobile networks. There’s no established way to make M2M equipment that can roam across a large ecosystem of different networks. But similar to the GSM and CDMA standards that were originally developed for voice, carriers are starting to group together, with four European carriers – Telecom Italia, Deutsche Telekom, Orange and TeliaSonera – forming the Global M2M Association (GMA) and a larger group – which includes NTT Docomo, SingTel, Telefonica, O2 and Optus – coalescing around a proprietary platform developed by Jasper Wireless.… More

Apple plays market leader again with Hotspot 2.0

13 June 2013 by Steve Blum
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Seamless offloading of cellular data traffic onto WiFi networks is a big step closer. Apple announced that version 7 of iOS and the next generation of iPhones will support the Hotspot 2.0 standard. The new capability should start appearing this fall.

The idea is to allow users to automatically authenticate on a WiFi hotspot blessed by their carrier when it’s available. Data traffic would then be routed via WiFi until the user moves out of range.… More

Toys are serious fun

9 June 2013 by Steve Blum
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Boys prefer helicopters?

What might be the most revolutionary technology poking its nose into the market right now is just a toy. NeuroSky makes a headset that controls devices by reading your brainwaves. Their first shot at a product was a tiara with cat ears that reacted to the wearer’s mood. A big hit with girls. A helicopter for the boys followed.

There’s a long and proud tradition of breakthrough technology getting its first consumer foothold in toy stores.… More

An invisible hand for wireless broadband

6 June 2013 by Steve Blum
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What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Shortages are often – some would say always – the result of a market failure. Supply and demand are functions of both the physical availability of a good or service and the price deemed acceptable by both parties in the transaction. If the balancing mechanisms don’t exist, suppliers are left with unsold inventory and buyers do without.

Wireless bandwidth is a classic example. Who hasn’t tried to connect a smart phone and found no mobile carrier signal and only locked down WiFi?… More