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Earth Globe with mobile phoneIt’s a good time to be a gadget geek. Smartphones have come along way since the original iPhone and Blackberry struggled for dominance. Apple’s touch-screen innovation has largely eliminated the old Qwerty keyboard, and smartphones are packed with processors that could run computers.

The smartphone boon has opened the doors for competition. Apple remains a top player in the market, but in 2012, Samsung’s Galaxy S3 outsold Apple’s iPhone 4s, according to cbsnews.com. Familiar tech companies are making a mobile splash, as well. Search-giant Google purchased Motorola Mobility in 2012, adding a hardware wing to their well-documented software mobile division. Facebook recently released its latest mobile innovation, an integrated app collaboration dubbed Facebook Home.

Smartphone innovation is in full swing. Which device will you choose as your digital companion?

Samsung

Less than a year ago, Samsung introduced iPhone’s biggest competitor yet, the Galaxy S3. It was big, fast and sleek, and consumers noticed. Samsung isn’t resting on the S3’s success, though. In March, the Korean manufacturer introduced the Galaxy S4. Predictably, it’s even bigger, even faster and even more impressive. A mammoth 5-inch 1080p screen connects users with the device, and new eye-tracking technology delivers a “wow” factor. Samsung is riding a wave of momentum, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

Apple

Cupertino-based Apple found a release cycle that launched them to the top of the smartphone market. Introduce a redesigned phone every two years, and upgrade under-the-hood hardware and software on off years. Apple’s grip on the mobile crown might be slipping, but the “Think Different” brand isn’t afraid to innovate. According to Ibtimes.com, Apple could release a less expensive iPhone this fall. If critics had to criticize Apple’s current mobile products, most would point their high price tags. A less expensive iPhone could reestablish Apple as the clear leader in the smartphone industry.

Google

If we’ve learned anything about Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, it’s that they think big. It’s no surprise, then, that when Google officially purchased Motorola Mobility last year, it sent shock waves through the mobile industry. Google could make its next big mobile announcement as early as next month, when it hosts the Google I/O conference in San Francisco. Rumors indicate the coming of an “X Phone,” Google’s first release since acquiring Motorola. Based on Google’s apparent commitment to mobile development, an X-Phone and subsequent smartphones from Google could take the mobile market by storm.

Facebook/HTC

Mark Zuckerberg and company stirred speculation of a Facebook Phone when they announced a mobile event in April. Rumors proved partially accurate. Facebook didn’t release its own hardware, but it did announce a collaboration with Taiwanese manufacturer HTC. The HTC First features Facebook Home, the social network’s expanded mobile application. Facebook Home delivers a comprehensive Facebook experience in any application. Facebook messages pop up like text messages, and the user’s newsfeed updates on the home screen. Social media enthusiasts will appreciate this collaboration.

Blackberry

Blackberry may not be the mobile superstar it once was, but it’s not going away without a fight. Formerly known as RIM (Research in Motion), Blackberry ditched its signature Qwerty keyboard and joined the touch-screen market with the Z10. Computerworld.com noted that Blackberry fans should appreciate the new Blackberry 10 phones, but tech-obsessed consumers may still look elsewhere. Still, the release indicates that Blackberry isn’t afraid to adapt to the times.

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You watch as the butterfly lights upon a flower, its wings vivid in the fading sunlight. You can see as its proboscis extends down to drink, and watch as it then flutters to another flower. The warmth in the air is obvious from the haze and the shimmers in the distance, and you can almost feel what it’s like to be there. Of course, your air conditioning ruins some of the effect, but your new 4K TV is proving to be quite immersive.

image by Digitas Photo

4K television, or Ultra HD, is set to be the new standard of high quality viewing in the home. Manufacturers are hoping that the increased resolution and incredible detail provided by the sets will be enough to motivate buyers, even as many have only just made the transition to standard HD.

The Technology

Television manufacturers will essentially double your resolution with 4K models. 4K refers to around 4,000 pixels wide with a height of around 2,000 pixels, according to CNET, but there are several different standards that are grouped under the Ultra HD title. In comparison, the high definition standard for HD is 1,920 pixels wide by 1,080 pixels high.

The resolution of 4K is worthy of movie theaters. The technology makes sense, as most shows are now shot on 4K- capable cameras. What you view in the near future at home may be exactly as the creators of the show intended, in all the glorious detail.

The Cost

There have been some doubts as to whether consumers would be willing to shell out large amounts of money for yet another new technology. TV manufacturers have been doing what they can to answer such questions by producing 4K TVs at multiple price points.

For those who want the best, there is the 84-inch model offered by Sony for $25,000, says CNN.com. For those on more of a budget, Sony is also releasing a 55-inch and a 65-inch, at $4,999 and $6,999 respectively. Another company, Seiki, is offering a 50-inch 4K TV for $1,500.

Prices like these indicate companies are getting serious about putting 4K into as many homes as possible. It should also be noted that this is just the beginning — technology always drops in price after a few years on the market. Ultra HD should become affordable for the majority of buyers in the future.

At Wimbledon

Sony is teaming up with the BBC to film this year’s Wimbledon Championships in 4K, according to TechRadar. Sony appears to be all in for the future of the technology, and apparently wants to get it out there to as many as possible. The extreme detail offered by 4K seems to be a perfect match for sports enthusiasts, where every detail is noted and measured.

4K and 3D

3D television failed to take off like manufacturers hoped it would, but 4K may make the technology more appealing. Because of the increased resolution of 4K, 3D movies are said to look much better on the new televisions, especially those using passive 3D. This is good for viewers who prefer the lighter, more comfortable passive 3D glasses.

According to www.GetDirectTV.org, DirecTV already offers 3D sports and movie packages. Sony is also attempting to get DirecTV and DISH to offer 4K broadcasts in regular programming, which will give Ultra HD TV owners plenty to view on their new sets.

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Is your head in the clouds?teminator32

How about your data? Worse yet, is it in his?—>

Software as a Service (SaaS), sometimes referred to as “Cloud Computing”, was the topic of a recent meeting I attended.   Ian Duffield, COO of Decipher, Inc. Survey Reporting and Data Collection lead a discussion revolving around the implications of SaaS as well as current applications in the Fresno, CA area. From what I gathered, SaaS is here to stay and is a real success in local industry.

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So what is this all about anyway? Many of us are using “web based” email from Yahoo or Gmail and more and more of us are watching TV on hulu. These are SaaS.145px-hulu_logosvg2

To Rent or to Buy

Beyond the “geeky” technical difference between having your own tech team or having someone else solve all of those problems, there lies two distinct (and competing) business models: To rent or to buy? To illustrate these models in terms of mass market personal use, let’s talk about Rhapsody’s subscription model and Itunes‘ purchasing model. Rhapsody is a service that allows you (for about $14 a month) to listen to all the music you want on a few devices. You can fill up, empty and refill your MP3 player as often as you like. Conversely, with Itunes, you buy one song then another etc.. Although Itunes is far more profitable than Rhapsody at the moment, this “Subscription” model is most likely the wave of the future.

This brings us back to “Skynet” the evil fictional monster in the machine that made the Terminator films such big hits. If we are to embrace “Cloud Computing” more fully, we are going to have to let go of the notion that holding information is safer than allowing others (often machines) to hold it for us.

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This sensationalized account of TheAnthroGeek’s St. Patrick’s Day in San Fransisco and is photo-fictionalized.

…Although I do not remember much, I found these photos on my iphone. With them, I’ve stived to piece together TheAnthorGeek’s day in San Fransisco. Select “slide show” for full effect.

PS. In truth, there is a tech angle here: Tech Tip 38: I’m playing around with ways to tell a story (of something like a trip to San Fransisco for a holiday) via media other than words. I could not load a bunch of photos in this blog so I used the flikr titling of images as a cluncky means to tell that tail.

With the help of the very cool mapjack software, I’ve been able to map out some of my steps as well.
TheAnthroGeek started here and entered China Town here.

Seesmic is a way that one can use little video clips to tell a story as well. I think you have to sign up (for free) to see them but here are clips: before the trip , then during the trip (sorry for the low light) and after the trip

Although Facebook could do much of this, I don’t want to work with a closed platform like that anymore so here I am.

I saw something called StoryBlender at the TechCrunch40 site that also looks promising.

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http://www.seesmic.com/

http://www.mapjack.com/

http://www.storyblender.com

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