Happy St. Patrick’s Day! If you are celebrating in the United States, this day involves viewing a parade and drinking copious amounts of alcohol. If that doesn’t interest you, then perhaps the Google Doodle for today will.
Google has created an adorable troop of Irish dancers for today’s Doodle, who appear to be preforming a traditional Irish dance, (complete with costume and poofy hair). Each dancer is wearing one letter from the word Google on his or her outfit. This is not the first time Google has celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with a Doodle, but it is the first one that has been animated.
The first St. Patrick’s Day Google Doodle was created in 2000, and was very minimalist. The letters appear in different shades of green, and a green hat with a black band and a shamrock was placed on top of it. Since then, the St. Patrick’s Day Doodles have gotten more complex. In 2013, the word Google appeared as though it had been part of The Book of Kells. This year’s animated, dancing, St. Patrick’s Day Doodle may be the only thing Google has done lately that will make people smile.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 5:08 AM on March 17, 2013
While all of us will lose thanks to Google’s inexplicable decision last week to shut down a service which seems to have been much more popular than the search giant would have you believe, one company is certainly not unhappy about the move. Feedly has been in a whirlwind since that announcement.
Within hours of the Google announcement Feedly had already posted detailed instructions on how disenfranchised users could export their RSS feeds from Reader and import them into the Feedly service.
Now the company has announced that it has received an influx of more than 500,000 new users in the first 48 hours after the Google announcement. “More than 500,000 Google Reader users have joined the feedly community over the last 48 hours. We love passionate readers. Welcome on board”.
Feedly says it has added ten times its previous bandwidth to handle the load and that new servers are being brought online to help with the new found popularity. The company also plans on adding new features weekly.
Its nice to see a company that still understands the need that many of us have for a good RSS reader and wants to support the users of it, as opposed to simply ignoring its customers as Google has shown it is willing to do. Feedly is available for iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 9:08 AM on March 15, 2013
While GNC doesn’t get political — in fact we avoid it as if it were toxic — sometimes a subject in the political arena touches the tech world. While we have all been fixated recently on the Google Reader shutdown and what it means to us as writers about tech, who use this tool to follow the latest news, and you the readers who use it to follow us, there is larger and much more ominous part to all of this.
That part was revealed today as we learned just how detrimental this shutdown is — not just to us in our cozy homes, but to those living under the thumb of totalitarian regimes that systematically block large portions of internet traffic.
Today Zachary M Seward reports that the Google decision has been taken especially hard by the citizens of Iran who used the RSS service to get around the country-wide firewall that trapped them from outside news. “The real tragedy is likely to be felt in countries like Iran, where Google Reader is used to evade government censorship”, Seward wrote. He continues “many RSS readers, including Google’s, serve as anti-censorship tools for people living under oppressive regimes”.
In order to stop citizens from accessing Google Reader, the country would have to undertake a rather large amount of work, as it is difficult to block the entire Mountain View-based company and all of its services.
There is potential good news here — “Google also hasn’t said what it might do with the Google Feed API, which is a service for programmers to access RSS feeds, usually for display on other websites. If it sticks around, the Google Feed API would potentially allow someone to build a service that replicates some of Google Reader’s core features and still rely on Google’s domain to do it” Seward explained.
For now Google has said nothing more about its decision, despite the growing outcry and the number of people signing online petitions to stop this shutdown from happening. Perhaps the plight of the Iranian citizens can warm their cold heart.
Those that know how I produce and get ready for my Podcast are asking me tonight what I am going to do now that Google has announced the Death of Google Reader. My first reaction was laden with swear words. The ability for me to put Geek News Central together, and be organized in 90 minutes was largely the way Google Reader feed the news to me.
A lot of folks are scrambling tonight, and frankly I don’t have the heart to start looking for a new solution yet. It’s like my dog just died
Some are saying switch to Flipboard, my reaction to that is pretty simple NOT! Great for casual usage but not for a tech geek needing to organize for a podcast/ I need something for the desktop that is lean and mean. Some are saying Feedly.com, in the initial round they are high on the contention list. They have to get themselves dis-engaged from the Google Reader API though and the time clock is ticking.
I care about RSS a great deal, it is how the podcasting community distributes podcasts. Without RSS we would be no better off than we where in 2004. Google simply hates RSS, they have never embraced it. Hell they have let Feedburner fall into a state of dis-repair, for those that where stupid enough to use it in the first place I would be scared to death. But I hope they all learn their lessons, and start controlling their own feed instead of letting some third-party man-handle it. For goodness sakes run from services like feedblitz, who in my opinion is preying on folks scared Feedburner is gonna get whacked.
The internet is freaking out today after hearing the news that Google has decided to kill off the extremely popular Google Reader. The reaction is understandable. Many of us rely on Google Reader as an quick way to keep up to date with the news and to easily discover when the blogs we follow have updated with new content. There are a lot of people right now who are scrambling to find a replacement for Google Reader before it disappears, forever.
Google mentioned the impending demise of Google Reader in their blog today. I’m not certain that their explanation for the reasoning behind doing away with the popular feature will be accepted by everyone. They said:
We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.
In any case, we are all going to have to find an alternative RSS aggregator soon. As for me, I have decided to use an app called FeedWizard (which I found in the iTunes app store). FeedWizard is made by a company called Wunderkopf. It does not connect with, or require, Google Reader in order to function.
The app costs $0.99 to download, which is a nice price. It requires OS X 10.7 or later. I took a few minutes to manually load a few of the RSS feed that I had subscribed to through Google Reader into FeedWizard to make sure it worked. Everything was running smoothly, so I did as Google suggested and used Google Takeout to export my RSS subscriptions into FeedWizard. Simple!
FeedWizard does not have the ability to sync across platforms, and I realize that may be “deal breaker” for some users. Personally, though, I work from home and don’t have a need to check out the RSS feeds I’ve subscribed to unless I am sitting in front of my home computer, so this is not a problem for me.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 5:31 AM on March 10, 2013
By now most of you have likely seen the viral video titled “How guys will use Google Glass”, and if not, I have inserted it below. Now it seems that one public location has actually taken that seriously. A cafe in Seattle, Washington has announced a ban of Google Glass in advance of the device even being released.
In successive posts to its Facebook page, the 5 Point Cafe first let it be known that “For the record, The 5 Point is the first Seattle business to ban in advance Google Glasses. And ass kickings will be encouraged for violators”. The restaurant then followed that up with “We’ve had a lot of questions about Google ‘Glasses’. Well don’t buy into Googles ‘sexy’ imaging promotion of their new Google Glasses. They are really just the new fashion accessory for the fanny pack & never removed Bluetooth headset wearing set”.
This is almost certainly a publicity stunt, in which case I suppose it has worked. However, it does raise some real privacy concerns about how people will react when encountering an individual who is wearing Google Glass. I personally am not worried about it — I think devices like this could be the future, but I do understand safety implications, especially for women. At the very least, this begins a discussion that could be productive.
Today’s smartphones and tablets are all expensive devices, whether they come from Apple or Samsung, and no-one wants to drop theirs on the floor with butterfingers. Mobio have a neat approach that should keep tablets and phones in the hand. Andy and Scott find out more from Darek Spring at Mobio.
The Mobio Grip is two part set, with a magnetic ring that sticks to the tablet or smartphone, and a handle which then connects into the ring. Holding the handle keeps the tablet easily in hand without blocking any part of the screen and the magnetic handle can be taken off to put the tablet into a case or bag.
Other variants such as the Mobio Pivot and Mobio Go use the same magnetic connector in a stand configuration or for in-car use. The Mobio Grip is $34.95 and is available through Mobio’s store.
Although the name might be new, Evutec have been around for over fifteen years, producing luxury cases for smartphones and tablets from leather and wood. Andy and Scott find out more about the cases and the creative process from David, one of Evutec’s designers.
Evutec have a wide range of cases for smartphones and tablets, including Apple, Samsung, Blackberry and Motorola devices. Offered in a luxury range of materials, particularly fine wood veneers and DuPont’s Aramid (aka Kevlar), these are high-end cases beautifully made. Prices seem to be in the $20-$50 range depending on material and size. Definitely a little bit more expensive, but this isn’t plastic pretending to be something it’s not.
GNC first saw Sphero at CES last year and it’s a really cool toy: a rugged waterproof ball controlled from a smartphone or tablet. So what has Sphero been up to in the past year…Todd and Don find out from Ian Bernstein, CTO Founder.
While the hardware is unchanged from last year, Sphero has grown the number and type of companion apps from around 5 apps to over 20 with several produced by third parties. New on the scene is a mixed reality app which uses the tablet or smartphone’s camera to track Sphero and overlay Sharky the Beaver on the device’s screen. It’s particularly fun as the real-world interaction with Sphero creates a relationship with the cartoon character which makes it that bit more believable.
Sphero works with both iOS and Android devices, and retails for around $130. Lots of fun and there’s an SDK if you feel like rolling your own (sorry!)
Remote control vehicles are fun and remote control aircraft doubly so. Imagine then how much fun a remote control quadricopter is, especially when it’s controlled by wifi from your smartphone. Todd takes flying lessons from Parrot’s Julian.
The Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 is an update of the original AR.Drone, with the main difference being an HD camera on the drone which streams video footage of the flight back to the device so the operator can see what the Drone is seeing. The AR.Drone 2.0 is controlled via wifi from either an Apple or Android tablet/smartphone.
There’s some pretty sophisticated technology in the AR.Drone. For example, it has a downward-facing camera that the Drone uses to track motion over the ground. On a windy day, the Drone can hold position over a spot by using this camera to detect wind-blown motion and then compensate for it. Very clever and cool.
The AR.Drone is pricey enough but not unaffordable at $299. Available now from good retailers worldwide.