Monthly Archives: March 2015

R.I.P. Internet Explorer

R.I.P. Internet Explorer

R.I.P. Internet Explorer

It’s the end of an era for Microsoft as the software giant is set to replace Internet Explorer with a new web browser.

Currently known only by its code name, Project Spartan, the browser will accompany the Windows 10 launch later this year.

Chris Capossela, chief marketing officer for Microsoft, made the revelation at the Microsoft Convergence conference this past week, according to tech news site The Verge.

“We’re now researching what the new brand, or the new name, for our browser should be in Windows 10,” said Capossela. “We’ll continue to have Internet Explorer, but we’ll also have a new browser . . . code-named Project Spartan. We have to name the thing.”

But in a market dominated by Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox users, few are likely to shed tears over the loss of Internet Explorer.

Internet Explorer has had a mixed history over the past 20 years. If nothing else, it’s very polarizing topic. Some people still say they love it, most people say they dislike it or hate it.

As an IT Service provider we were always concerned about the underlying security issues when using Internet Explorer as your primary browser. I think it’s a smart move completely reinventing Windows and reinventing their web browser to go along with that.

Less than a decade ago Internet Explorer was the most popular browser by far, whose dominance inspired antitrust lawsuits by the U.S. federal government and the European Union. However, IE became unpopular for a number of reasons, including security flaws and user unfriendliness.

While Microsoft has not officially announced plans to kill off Internet Explorer, it’s likely the end goal once the new browser and Windows 10 takes off later this year.

Move Over Siri – Jibo’s Coming

I’ve always imagined that when robots became readily available and every home had one, they’d be of the Rosie variety from “The Jetsons.” Kind of a helpful servant that could do the dishes, walk the dog, and always have a snappy comeback.
Even though there have been great strides in Robotics these past few years, It’s looking like my idea of in-home bots might be a little far from reality yet.

Last July, Jibo showed up touting itself as the “world’s first family robot.” But it won’t whip up dinner, dust the furniture, or take the kids to school. In fact, it doesn’t even move. Instead, it sits on one of several charging pads you place around your home and does things like take your picture, remind you of appointments, and deliver messages.

Why is it called a “family robot”? Because Jibo has the ability to learn the faces of every person in the house and provide them with tailored messages and information. For kids, it can read stories complete with swiveling movements. It also uses a variety of algorithms to learn and adapt to the needs of different family members.

Jibo

Jibo has a large black glass “face” that lights up with a circular icon that’s part eye, part mouth, and is really very cute. The body of the robot has sensors that can pick up your touch too, letting it react accordingly, like displaying a big heart on its screen when you caress it.

Jibo’s creator, Cynthia Breazeal says: “Jibo is the first in a new class of family robotics that will humanize information, apps, and services, and ultimately will help people and families affordably address fundamental human needs that require high-touch engagement for the best human outcomes like education, independent aging and health management in the convenience of their home.”

Breazeal has spent much of her career researching ways to make computers more responsive to humans and their emotions. Jibo is the result of that work. “We’ve achieved greatness in the computing and social-media revolutions,” she said. “The next wave, emotive computing, is upon us, and Jibo is a transformative social and emotive robot that will help people thrive as part of the family.” Breazeal will also be making a toolkit available to developers who can come up with even more fun and useful stuff for the 11-inch-high Jibo to do.

Currently, you’ll have to wait a few months to add another member to your family. Pre-orders have been closed for Jibo with the Home Edition going for $599. Currently the expected ship date is September 2015.

Visit the Jibo Website for additional information and to sign up for updates:
http://www.Jibo.com

Jibo video:

The Apple SmartWatch Has Arrived – Are You Buying?

Apple showed off its much-anticipated SmartWatch during a special launch event yesterday, highlighting the new product’s look and features.

They started the event by announcing that HBO’s new streaming video service, HBO Now, will launch exclusively on Apple TV when the service starts next month. HBO Now, which will begin in time for the new season of “Game of Thrones” on April 12, and will cost $14.99 a month. Apple also announced plans to cut the price of its Apple TV product to $69 from $99.

The company also unveiled a new 12-inch MacBook that Apple calls it’s thinnest ever with a battery that can last all day. The device weighs just 2 pounds and will be available in gold. Prices start at $1,299, and it will begin shipping April 10.

The Apple Watch, the first new product in 4 years, is a big bet for the company, offering a potential new growth avenue that could ease Apple’s dependence on smartphones. For Chief Executive Tim Cook , it is a chance to prove that Apple can still produce the types of breakthrough products that defined the company under his predecessor, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

On Monday, Mr. Cook said the watch was the company’s “most personal device.” Yet, the watch faces significant challenges. The device needs to be close to an iPhone to have wireless connectivity or gather global-positioning-system location information. This makes the watch an accessory to a device that already performs most tasks well. So what does that mean in practice? If you want to access global positioning GPS data while on a run, you’ll have to run with both your SmartWatch AND your iPhone.

The watch also straddles the line between jewelry and consumer electronics, creating different types of expectations from consumers about quality, obsolescence and the overall buying experience. Many of today’s Apple consumers don’t even wear a watch instead relying on their smartphones for the time of day. That might make this pricey piece of jewelry a difficult sell.
Apple plans a range of watches at different price points, starting at $349. The company will also sell a stainless steel Apple Watch with a 38-millimeter case, beginning at $549. A watch with a 42-millimeter case begins at $50 more. A solid gold edition will start at $10,000 and be available in select stores only.

Apple said Monday that the watch will have 18 hours of battery life and will be able to conduct phone calls. The company also showed how the watch could be used to receive notifications, open hotel rooms and garage doors, and get song lyrics. The watch will also work with Apple Pay allowing wearers to wave their watch at checkout to make small purchases.
Preorders begin April 10, and the Apple Watch will be available in nine countries on April 24.

Marketing the Apple Watch, meanwhile, won’t be as simple as marketing past Apple products. The iPod was a way to carry a music collection in your pocket. The iPhone was a mobile phone plus Internet device, with a revolutionary touch screen. Apple sold the iPad as a simpler way to browse the Web, view photos and watch videos. Still, analysts expect Apple’s brand appeal and the company’s loyal customers to make Apple Watch the most successful wearable device on the market.

Apple is gearing up for a strong start, asking suppliers in Asia to make five to six million Apple Watches in the first quarter. Half of the first-quarters output would be for the entry-level Apple Watch Sports and one-third for the mid-tier model, which has stainless-steel casing and a watch face covered by sapphire crystal.

The total would be on par with Apple’s last major all-new product release. You may recall that Apple sold 7.5 million iPads in the six months after they went on sale in April 2010. Industry analysts estimate that Apple will sell 11.8 million Apple Watches in 2015, accounting for nearly half of all wearable devices, including fitness trackers and non-Android SmartWatches.

Additional information direct from the horses mouth:
http://www.apple.com/watch/?cid=wwa-us-kwg-watch-com

See what others are saying:
http://www.techradar.com/us/news/wearables/apple-iwatch-release-date-news-and-rumours-1131043

 

Net Neutrality – What Does It Mean?


Last week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted stricter net neutrality rules that will basically treat the internet like a public utility.

What’s in the new regulations? There are three major principles that internet service providers—like Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon—have to follow when sending data from their networks to your computer:

No blocking Internet service providers can’t prevent you from accessing “legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices” when you’re on the internet. This is intended to prevent censorship and discrimination of specific sites or services. Some open internet advocates worry the phrase “legal content” will create a loophole that might let internet providers block stuff they see as questionable on copyright grounds without a fair hearing.

No throttling Internet service providers can’t deliberately slow down data from applications or sites on the internet. That means, for instance, that a broadband company has to let all traffic flow equally, regardless of whether it’s coming from a competitor or a streaming video service like Netflix that uses a lot of data bandwidth.

No paid prioritization Internet service providers can’t charge content providers extra to bring their data to you faster. That means no internet “fast lanes,” because regulators fear they will lead to degraded service for anyone not willing to pay more.

If content providers or the networks that make up the internet complain about internet providers acting as gatekeepers for their users, the FCC says it will have the authority “to hear complaints and take appropriate enforcement action if necessary, if they determine the interconnection activities of ISPs are not just and reasonable.” It’s not clear yet what that will mean in practice.

Of course, this ruling could (and probably will) be challenged in the courts by the big broadband companies. But many internet advocates and stock investors are already shifting their focus to looming consolidation in America’s communications markets that could change the way Americans access the internet and consume video.

What Net Neutrality Means For Consumers?  Has anything really changed?
1: It won’t make your home broadband connection faster
2: It won’t eliminate your Wireless data usage cap
3: It won’t stop your wireless carrier from throttling your service when you reached your data threshold
4: It won’t create competition
5: It won’t improve your Friday night Netflix viewing experience
6: It won’t stop the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger

So what will change as a result of these stricter regulations?
Nothing…. That’s the whole point. The Internet has always operated on this basic principle of openness, or Net neutrality. The decade long debate over how to implement Net Neutrality has really been a battle to make certain a level of openness is preserved. And the way to preserve it is by establishing rules of the road that let ISPs, consumers and innovators know what’s allowed and what’s not allowed on the Net.

The only things that do change are that the government now has its fingers in the pie and innovation will take a backseat to profit. The 2 worst possible outcomes for the internet and everyone involved.

See below what our local ISP’s have to say about this:

Verizon is not happy with the Title II regulations announcing their dissent on their blog with the heading “FCC’s Throwback Thursday Move Imposes 1930’s Rules on the Internet”. The remainder of the post was initially written and released in “Morse Code”: http://publicpolicy.verizon.com/blog/entry/fccs-throwback-thursday-move-imposes-1930s-rules-on-the-internet

Comcast’s public stand on Net Neutrality: http://corporate.comcast.com/openinternet?utm_source=google&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign=TWCMerger_NB_Natl_Exact&utm_term=net%20neutrality-73498182-VQ16-c&iq_id=73498182-VQ16-c

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