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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