4 Signs You Love Your Tech Too Much

Tech

We all love tech here – we did make a website devoted to it, after all. But there’s a fine line between loving your tech and loving your tech too much.

After much consideration, I’ve realized that I fall on the wrong side of the line between tech sanity and tech obsession. I definitely love tech too much. Do you? Here are four warning signs to look out for.

You check your phone in bed

Like most people, when I first wake up in the morning I stretch a bit, get out of bed, brush my teeth, and turn on my coffee maker. Of course, before I do any of that, I use my smartphone. Priorities. And I’m not the only one who does it either: A recent ten-city survey of mobile phone users found that 84% of Americans check a smartphone app first thing in the morning when…

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Santa Claus Recruited to Improve NSA’s Public Image & Head Intelligence Operations

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Lately, Brave New World has become one of the hottest selling novels, and many of us have become even more suspicious of that white panel van that passes our homes daily. Sure it has ice-cream and plays tinkly music, but that cover is so thin Stevie Wonder could see right through it.

After the whole Edward Snowden whistle-blowing debacle earlier this year, the Obama Administration and the Intelligence community have been up to their ears in hot water and bad press. Spying on regular citizens with no cause or warrant? Invading privacy and throwing the 4th Amendment out the window? Reading our e-mails? Monitoring our Internet? Those activities are just the sort that create an image problem.

Thus, sources tell me (sources being the voices in my head) that, in order to get back in the good graces of the American public, the current administration has decided to appoint Santa…

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Smart bike lock Lock8 clears Kickstarter goal and picks up extra funding

Gigaom

With car-sharing becoming so popular that it’s attracting patent trolls, it’s a logical extension to the concept to have app-enabled bike-sharing schemes, too. And wouldn’t you know it? Here come two at once.

BitlockA couple of a weeks ago, a San Francisco outfit called Mesh Motion hit its $120,000 Kickstarter goal for its Bitlock product. And on Tuesday, British-German outfit VeloLock said it had passed its own £50,000 ($81,000) Lock8 Kickstarter goal ahead of schedule, and also picked up additional funding from Horizon Ventures and Otto Capital.

Both Bitlock and Lock8 are bicycle locks that rely on smartphones rather than physical keys to unlock them. And both smartphone apps allow the sharing of the bike with friends and, in theory, through commercial bike-sharing schemes.

However, there are significant differences – in a nutshell, Lock8 ($149, shipping in July 2014) is a more advanced device than Bitlock ($129, shipping…

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iBuyPower reveals a Steam Machine prototype that won’t break the bank

Gigaom

The challenge of manufacturing a PC/console hybrid is a really stiff one: How do you develop a console with enough power to push high-end PC graphics without running the cost of the device above consumer’s expectations? While Steam Machine creator Valve has detailed a prototype with impressive guts — including an Nvidia(s nvda) Titan graphics card — that has the potential to cost more than $1000 retail.

But, according to the Verge, third-party hardware developer iBuyPower has revealed a Steam Box prototype to be released sometime in 2014 that strikes that balance, offering a good-quality system for the price of $499 — the same cost as the Xbox One(s msft).

The system, which is said to be roughly between the sizes of the PlayStation 4(s sne) and the Xbox One, has an AMD(s amd) CPU and an AMD Radeon  R9 270 graphics card,  which will be able to…

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Docker goes broader — supporting more Linux distros out of the box

Gigaom

Docker, the popular container technology that, in theory, lets developers encapsulate their apps and run them on bare metal, virtualized and private or public cloud environments, now supports nearly all the major Linux distributions right out of the box.

Before now, the Docker 0.7 release supported Debian and Ubuntu Linux,  but now Red Hat(s rhat), Suse and Gentoo are added to the mix, the company said. To be clear, developers could run Docker on the other Linux distros before, but that required them  to do some contortions using AnotherUnionFS or AUFS and then recompile their kernel which, let’s face it, could be complicated and not all that invigorating. And, by doing so, they could endanger their RHEL support contract coverage.

The beauty of Docker is that it lets developers keep using the languages and frameworks of their choosing but then deploy their application widely. In that regard, many view it as…

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Role of fiber operators in NSA surveillance scandal falls under greater scrutiny

Gigaom

The New York Times has published further details of an NSA operation that involves spying on the fiberoptic cables running between the data centers of companies such as Google(s goog) and Yahoo(s yhoo). The piece highlights the role played by Level 3, the company that runs such cables for Google and Yahoo. Level 3 has already been identified as one of the telecommunications firms working with the UK’s NSA partner, GCHQ. These fiber connections are crucial to the affair, as they may provide a way for the NSA and GCHQ to effectively tap into major web firms’ systems without their cooperation.

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How OpenTable competes with the telephone

Gigaom

Studies show that consumers are more impatient than ever when it comes to application performance. According to the New York Times, a subsecond difference in response time is enough to send a prospective customer to your competitor’s website. But what if your competitor is the phone? OpenTable finds that performance is even more important when the frame of reference is the speed and reliability of a landline. Convincing millions of people to make their restaurant reservations online or on a mobile app instead of over the phone required OpenTable to build an application that was unsurpassed both in user experience and in performance.

Watch the interview with OpenTable’s Performance Lead, Alan Novitskiy, to find out how OpenTable keeps its end users choosing apps over phones with application performance management (APM).

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Google confirms major camera improvements are coming to Android

Gigaom

Code uncovered last week suggested that Google was at work on a new Android camera API. It looks like that code was correct, as Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano confirmed the forthcoming update to CNet on Monday.

“Android’s latest camera HAL (hardware abstraction layer) and framework supports raw and burst-mode photography… We will expose a developer API [application programming interface] in a future release to expose more of the HAL functionality,” Scigliano said.

This means that support for features like burst-mode and capturing in RAW file formats is already built into Android. An update to the camera API will make these functions available to makers of camera apps.

The code uncovered last week also showed support for face detection and “removable” cameras. Scigliano didn’t touch on those features, but it looks like burst-mode will be a major focus. According to Scigliano:

The core concept of the new HAL and future API…

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Xbox One Sales ‘More than One Million’ in Less than 24 Hours

Tech

Not to be upstaged by its record-breaking rival, Microsoft says it, too, sold some one million units of its Xbox One console worldwide during the new console’s preliminary 24 hours on sale. In other words, scorekeepers, it’s game on.

Microsoft called its 13-market Xbox One launch “the biggest in Xbox history,” but not — take note here — the biggest in history period. I guess we’ll have to turn it over to the judges to figure that one out, and hope it doesn’t end with a recount and someone suing all the crazy way up to the Supreme Court.

In any case, it’s a new record for Microsoft, “surpassing day one Xbox 360 sales.” The company claims its Xbox One is sold out at most places and that it’s “working to replenish stock as fast as possible.”

“We are humbled and grateful for the excitement of Xbox fans around…

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JFK Conspiracy theories

Anderson Cooper 360

It is simply too hard for many people to imagine a lone individual can kill a towering global figure like President John F. Kennedy. Even Secretary of State John Kerry recently said he has doubts that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Ed Lavandera takes a look at some of the conspiracy theories enduring 50 years after the assassination.

[cnn-video url=http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2013/11/23/ac-panel-conspiracies.cnn.html]

Anderson discussed these conspiracy theories with forensic pathologist and medical-legal expert Cyril Wecht and investigative reporter Gerald Posner.

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The JFK assassination 50 years later

Anderson Cooper 360

A half century has passed since the death of President John F. Kennedy. There is no way to know how the world would be a different place had JFK been able to serve out his term and maybe even a second. Anderson discussed the tragic events of the assassination along with JFK’s legacy with John King, Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley and Senior Political Analyst David Gergen.

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What happened to Lee Harvey Oswald’s wife?

Anderson Cooper 360

It’s hard to imagine what life has been like for Lee Harvey Oswald’s widow for the past 50 years. Marina Oswald Porter started a new life, with a new husband, but understandably she has become somewhat reclusive as the decades have gone by. Anderson spoke to Priscilla Johnson McMillan, one of the few people alive who met both President Kennedy and his killer. She was a researcher for JFK when she was in her 20s, and later met Oswald while working as a reporter in the Soviet Union.

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Get Your Chocolate Fix Without the Guilt: Electronic ‘Lollipop’ Can Simulate Any Taste

NewsFeed

There are plenty of ways to experience great food without actually going through the trouble of making it. We can read recipe books. We can drool over food blogs. We can even watch food-themed shows on our HD TVs. Unfortunately, no matter how good the picture, nothing can allow us to literally taste what Anthony Bourdain is eating. That is, until now.

New Scientist reports that a team of researchers at the National University of Singapore have developed a digital simulator that can synthesize four of the five basic tastes: salty, sweet, sour, and bitter (umani has not yet been added). The team, lead by Nimesha Ranasinghe, hopes their invention will one day allow viewers to taste the food they see on television, or provide video games with new taste-based reward systems (a sweet taste for completing a level, a sour taste for failing).

The taste synthesizer, which consists of two thin metal…

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Android this week: Chrome gets faster; Google Play tablet apps; Moto X gets KitKat

Gigaom

If you don’t mind using a beta browser, you can surf the web a wee bit faster on Android(s goog). Google announced its Chrome 32 Beta for Android this week and among the features is more speed. How Google did that though may not go over well with all Android users:

“Starting this release, responsive mobile websites will get a performance boost in Chrome for Android because we’ve disabled double-tap zoom. Previously, to support double-tap zoom, Chrome had to delay every touch event sent to the webpage by 300ms to allow the user to tap a second time. Now mobile-friendly sites that are already formatted to automatically fit in the page width will receive click events instantly and can respond to user input more quickly. “

The removal of double-tap zoom appears to be only for responsive websites, i.e.: those that dynamically adjust their layout based on the device…

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Prove You’re The World’s Biggest Lady Gaga Fan By Wearing Perfume Made From Her Pee

NewsFeed

Think you’re a big fan of Mother Monster? Then we dare you to try this on for size–or scent. Because, yes, perfume made from the pop star’s urine indeed exists. But you can’t actually buy it. At least not yet.

On Late Night this week, Andy Cohen, host of Watch What Happens Liverevealed that when Gaga paid a visit to his show earlier this month, she relieved herself in a trash can in her dressing room. Rather than be grossed out, Cohen turned to his PAs and said, “That’s a pop culture artifact. We could bottle that up and put it somewhere in the clubhouse.”

One of the show’s PAs went online, found a recipe for homemade perfume, and through some kind of sorcery, bottled up the final product. Mother Monster knew this was happening before this week’s reveal, as she had tweeted the news, saying, “U HAVE BEEN WARNED…

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Enterprise Snapchat and other tools to keep data locked down

Gigaom

“What!?!” That was the general recent reaction to the news that one of the most popular apps on the market, Snapchat, was offered — and turned down! — Facebook’s more than $3 billion cash buyout offer. Whether Snapchat made the right move to hold out remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: we’re creating and sharing more data than ever before.

Thanks to all the gadgets we have access to, any event can now be chronicled online; photos and documents can be sent from person-to-person (even to the wrong people) on mobile devices in an instant. Since there’s no geographic limit to the access of files, what happens to that photo or document once you’ve sent it out into the Ether?

Part of the appeal of Snapchat is the finite length of time that data exists — offering the sender a semblance of control over…

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