The Clash did not start the Punk music movement, but the band helped define it in conjunction with others such as The Jam, Sex Pistols and The Damned. More than 30 years later, much of this music has survived the test of time and today Google Play is commemorating one of the most popular bands of the era.
As Google points out, “from the reggae-inspired social commentary of tracks like “White Man in Hammersmith Palais,” to hip-hop infused cuts like “Magnificent Seven” and even Top 40 hits such as “Rock the Casbah,” their songs gave a generation a lifelong connection not just to the Clash, but to music in general”.
In celebration of the re-release of some of The Clash’s most popular work, Google Play has teamed with the surviving members (Joe Strummer passed away in 2002) to produce a series titled Audio Ammunition and featuring unseen footage of the late Joe Strummer discussing the arc of the band’s career.
Part one of this five-part series can been seen on Google Play, and you can check out the other four parts on Play YouTube channel at youtube.com/googleplay. Digging out your London Calling album is optional.
The upcoming version of Android (4.4) will be called KitKat. Yes, it really is named after the popular candy bar that is made by Nestle. This is the first time a version of Android was named after a particular brand. Typically, they have used names that were more generalized.
We all know that the different versions of Android have been named after sweet foods that most people would consider to be a dessert. Android 1.5 was called Cupcake. This was followed by Donut (1.6), Eclair (2.0), Froyo (2.2), and Gingerbread (2.3).
Honeycomb (3.0) refers to the type of Honeycomb that is created by bees (and not Honeycomb cereal). It was followed by Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), Jelly Bean (4.1), and now, KitKat.
It turns out that Google and Nestle are in a partnership. The Google Android announcement starts with a cute Android figure that has been made out of a KitKat bar.
The announcement notes that KitKat is giving people the chance to win a Nexis 7 or Google Play Credit. Next time you want a snack, visit a store and look for a package of KitKat that has an image of the iconic green Android figure who is trying to eat a KitKat bar. Somewhere inside the package, the label may say that you have won.
When I went to L.A. in July, I used Uber to travel back to the Airport. Of course, that was during rush hour, which is not a smart move. But the driver – an L.A. native – knew the shortcuts to get me from Venice Beach to LAX in a faster time.
So how would a driverless car do it?
Local independent transportation company Uber announced today they want to invest up to $375 million for 2,500 driverless cars from Google when they become available toward the end of the year. Their investment also included a commitment to share data with Google for the trips.
Google – who has been developing driverless cars since 2008 – just showed the GX3200 earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show. The GX3200 is a four-person, 3 suitcase car with built-in Wifi and a charge that can get up to 750 miles.
For Uber, this could mean faster rollouts in cities they never planned to be a part of. Having 1-2 cars in towns with populations less than 10,000 is a reality. You don’t even a dispatcher living there, since the app takes care of the process.
Uber is in 24 cities in the U.S. – Just adding Honolulu last week – and 18 worldwide locations. Of course, major hurdles in some areas as labor unions petition this service and new regulations trying to shut down the Uber Taxi service.
Still, the question begs – do you want a driverless car? I would be more happy to have a car show up for me to get in and drive to my desired location. Having some control at this stage in the autonomous car period will make me feel safer.
With newer Google Maps – including the recently purchased and implemented Waze software (predictive software that finds alternate routes) – I could see a driverless car act just like my Uber driver from July.
Would you get into a driverless car?
If you like to follow the ever-growing integration between computers and home theater, then the recent innovations have been a welcome, and quickly, growing surprise. Boxes like Roku, Apple TV, Google TV and others have made life much easier than the days when I built my first HTPC and looked for the best ways to stream my home media to it.
Then Google unveiled Chromecast, a surprise, as it came at an event where everyone expected only the new Nexus 7 to be unveiled. The tiny stick plugs into a spare HDMI port and allows customers to “cast” media to their TV from compatible web sites, as well as Android tablets and phones.
But what about your home media — all of those ripped DVD’s and music that you have stored on your home network. That too is easy enough, though you need to be using the Chrome web browser.
- Open a new tab
- Press Ctrl + O
- Open a file (video or audio) that Chrome can play
- Click the cast button
That is all there is to it to get your own media up and playing on your big screen.
Have you found the TARDIS yet on Google Maps? You’ll have to go to England, first!.
The Google maps easter egg is on Earl’s Court Rd in London, England. If you look at the directions, you will see a double arrow pointing to the police box sitting next to the kiosk. When you select that arrow, you enter in the TARDIS to explore.
The TARDIS is an iconic ship on the popular TV show Dr. Who. TARDIS stands for “Time and Relative Dimension in Space”. The story of the TARDIS is has a chameleon-cloaking device that can blend in with the environment, but this feature is broken and can only project a police box. The TARDIS also is bigger on the inside than the out.
Unfortunately, we can only explore the main room of the TARDIS. You can move around that main room – climb the stairs and see the console from multiple angles. You can also belly up to the main navigation console and get a first-hand look at the gadgets and gizmos of the TARDIS.
When done, make sure the door is closed and head back down Earl’s Court Rd.
Just a quickie….Samsung UK have an offer on at the moment that if you buy one of their Chromebooks during August, you can claim a free smartphone. Don’t get too excited as the phone is only a Galaxy Mini but it’s better than nothing and you can always flog it on ebay. There are further goodies if you buy a 3G Chromebook.
Pay attention to the small print as you have to wait 14 days from the date of purchase before you can apply for the phone.
Great news for people who love to hang out in Starbucks, or who are using the local Starbucks as their “office”! Google has teamed up with Starbucks in order to bring a faster WiFi connection to all 7,000 company owned Starbucks stores that are located in the United States. Best of all, you will be able to use the newer, faster, WiFi at Starbucks for free!
According to Google, soon you will be able to visit Starbucks and surf the web at speeds that are up to 10 times faster than before. Do you live in a Google Fiber city? If so, Google is hoping to be able to make the WiFi connection at your local Starbucks to be up to 100 times faster than it used to be.
Of course, there is a bigger, more altruistic reason for offering faster, free, WiFi at Starbucks than to make things a bit easier for freelancers who use the coffee shop as an “office”. In times of trouble, such as in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, people went to a Starbucks so they could use the store’s WiFi and connect to their loved ones. The upgrades to the WiFi will make that easier.
Google says that they will start rolling out the new, faster, WiFi starting this month. You will be able to tell when your local Starbucks has had the WiFi upgraded when you visit the store and notice you can log into the “Google Starbucks” SSID.
Today at Breakfast with Sundar, Google announced ChromeCast. This is a single dongle with a slimmed down version of Google Chrome browser. You can connect with any mobile device and push music, TV shows or movies. Android or iOS – PC or Mac with Chrome installed.
From Netflix to YouTube. Pandora to your library on your mobile phone. Even pictures and video you created on your mobile device or computer will send to ChromeCast and play on your TV through the HDMI port.
“It Just Works,” states Rishi Chandra, director of product management at Google.
ChromeCast allows you to watch on the TV while you still surf on your device. It does not take power from the device to run (depending on what you push) so your phone can go into sleep mode. GoogleCast turns your device into a remote control.
ChromeCast also comes with Google Cast SDK for developers, which will launch later today.
Chromecast will cost $35 and comes with 3 months of Netflix. You will be able to get ChromeCast at Best Buy, Google Play or Amazon.
How This Changes the Set Top Box Wars
In the last few years, we saw the fight for the HDMI port. Apple TV, Boxee, Roku and Google TV have been fighting for Over the Top Television options. However, with ChromeCast, you basically removed the set top box and turned whatever device in your hand as the remote.
It also turns the TV into a smartTV for $35. All you need is your remote and your controlling device.
Being an ex-Palm afficionado, I’m a massive fan of wireless charging. The convenience of simply placing a Pre onto a Touchstone to charge is unparalleled and I still use wireless charging with my Cyanogen-modded Touchpad.
Today, the Pre series is history thanks to HP, but wireless charging is still around with Samsung, LG and Nokia all supporting the Qi standard. My current phone is a Nexus 4 but the official orb charger is a small fortune here in the UK, so it was with interest that I saw that the prices of the Nokia DT-900 charging pad were gradually falling. Last week, I finally succumbed and bought one.
First impressions are mixed. The DT-900 seems reasonably well-made with a single white LED at the front to indicate the status of the charging. Unfortunately, the DT-900 comes with a somewhat chunky power supply which connects via a cable with DC jacks at each end. It would be far more sensible and useful if it used micro-USB connectors. And who thought that a white PSU with a black pad was good idea?
But on to the wireless charging….
Reports from elsewhere on the web suggest that the Nexus 4 and the DT-900 should work together but my experience was somewhat mixed. The main issue is that positioning the Nexus on the plate is crucial for the charging to ‘lock on’. Incorrect alignment causes the plate’s LED to flash and the phone will continually stop and start charging.
I tried a wide variety of positions, but even when I managed to get everything lined up, charging was poor, as you can see from the attached screenshots from Battery+.
Best results were from putting the Nexus 4 on the pad such that about a quarter to a half inch of the pad is visible at the bottom, but even then the battery charge level seemed to hit a plateau at around 80%
Overall, it was disappointing and the DT-900 will going on ebay very shortly. One might have though that in the four years since the Palm Pre came out that wireless charging would have been perfected. Regrettably, if the DT-900 is anything to go by, it has a long way to go to even match what Palm offered. YMMV.