r/Technology no longer a default on Reddit

reddit bannerI covered some of the turmoil recently, that moderators of the Technology section of social news site Reddit were blocking specific topics, and that the community of people subscribed and submitting stories to the subReddit were unaware of the ban on certain words and terms. This came to a head when it was discovered (via a snarky moderator message) that all posts related to Tesla Motors had secretly been banned.

Late yesterday it was leaked that r/Technology would no longer be a default subReddit. It’s an important distinction for the community. Default status means that every person who signs up a new account automatically gets subscribed to a number of communities. It pretty much guarantees that the community will remain popular as all new members are more likely to encounter it. At the time of this writing, r/Technology had over 5 million subscribers.

Popularity might actually be the kiss of death for some of these subs. As Reddit’s work force is largely volunteer, communities which get too large can be difficult to manage, and there is always the fear that a few people at the top of the moderator list could be co-opted by an outside party looking to profit off of a community. r/Technology now joins r/Politics and r/Atheism on the list of former defaults which crumbled.

Reddit user Doctor_McKay  posted a timeline on the r/Technology scandal. What remains to be seen is if another technology community will rise to take their place on the list of defaults.

Project Ara Modular Phone Will Arrive January of 2015 for $50

ara1blogpostThis is maybe the phone I’m most looking forward to. Project Ara is a modular phone, allowing users to swap out specific pieces when they wear out or want upgrades. You’ll no longer have to toss your whole phone for a better camera, faster processor, or new battery.

Originally developed by Motorola, Project Ara will remain at Google after Moto is sold to Lenovo. While we’ve seen teasers and rumors have been pointing to release dates, we haven’t had any concrete info on pricing and availability until now. Project Ara will arrive in January of 2015 at a starting price of $50.

Now that’s a bit of a misnomer as that $50 is basically an unusable “motherboard” and you’ll have to buy other components to piece it together into a working device. We still don’t know what hardware will be available at launch, but the first color will be a “boring grey” to encourage customers to customize their phones.

It’s a fairly aggressive timetable. Only two years from concept to delivery. Ara will run Android, but that means adding driver support to the OS so it can recognize different hardware components, something our phones are very poor at doing outside of SD cards and mass storage. Carrier certification is expected by November.

Are you looking forward to Ara? At $50 will you take the plunge on a modular phone? Leave us a comment below!

Product Advisory Issued for European Nokia Lumia 2520 Chargers

nokia lumia 2520 ac 300 chargerReleased this morning, apparently there might be some design issues with the European and travel charger variations on the Lumia 2520 charger. Nokia has released a safety advisory, though details are slim on what the problem might actually be.

 “While there have been no confirmed consumer incidents related to this potential quality issue, product quality and safety are top priorities at Nokia,” said Jo Harlow, EVP Smart Devices. “We apologize to the owners of the Lumia 2520, and we are working with urgency to minimize the inconvenience.”

Thankfully the 2520 uses a very unique charger, so this shouldn’t affect any other Nokia devices out there.

You can read the full press release below.

Continue reading

My Week Without a Smartwatch…

qualcomm toq activity tracker update smartwatchI’ve been super critical of the smartwatch. I make no effort to hide the fact that I hope people will move directly to heads up displays soon. I think they’re an evolutionary midpoint, a convenient way to continue the conversation on wearable computing started by Bluetooth headsets. Having worn watches like the Toq, Martian, and Pebble for a couple months now though, my opinion on smartwatches has changed a bit, and lately I’ve been more positive on the experience.

During my recent trip to Vancouver, I opted for a Windows Phone instead of an Android. It provided me a better camera and the ability to store maps for offline use, handy as data was something of a premium on my pre-pay SIM. Unfortunately this meant no smartwatch support. I was surprised by how much I missed wearing one… Continue reading

Chrome Remote Desktop App: Control Your Computer Remotely with Android!

Nexus 7 Chrome Remote Desktop Windows 8 SomeGadgetGuyThere are probably few things more horrific to the Android faithful out there than seeing their precious Nexus devices running Windows 8 Live Tiles…

I kid. I kid. For you folks looking for a free way to remote control your computer while you’re away from home, the Chrome Remote App might be just the ticket. Having just left BETA, Google is releasing it for free, for any device running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher.

Running a small Chrome app on your desktop or laptop communicates with a web service, and that links up with an app on your phone or tablet. This allows you to see what’s on your computer screen and control the action remotely. Depending on your data connection there will be some lag, but I haven’t found it to be any worse than some of the paid services available for Android.

Google claims this app is designed for phone use, but it seemed to function just fine on my Nexus 7. You have keyboard support for text entry (mouse is controlled via screen touch), and a dedicated Ctrl+Alt+Del macro for those of you controlling Windows PC’s.

Give it a whirl, and drop us a comment below if it works for you!

For Android: Chrome Remote Desktop App (Google Play)
For Windows/Mac/Linux: Chrome remote Desktop (Chrome Web Store)

 

Youtube Android App Update Supports Chromecast Live Video Streaming

youtube app for android update lg g2 somegadgetguySweet little update for the YouTube app on Android. Now there’s support for captions, for those who like/need to read what’s being said on screen.

Also a handy little feature for Chromecast users, you can now cast live video from your phone to a TV using Chromecast. Perfect for live hangouts and events. Hopefully Google also lands some kind of deal for live sporting events for all the cable cutters out there.

Hit the update, and let us know what your think!

Youtube (Google Play)

Burger King partners with AT&T to provide in-restaurant WiFi

burger-king-kingHave it your way! Even online!

The home of the Whopper is turning to AT&T to upgrade all of their restaurants with faster hi-speed data and WiFi in all of their locations. The biggest upgrade for the platform is a streamlined set up and connection process for faster data consumption during customer’s fast food consumption.

Full PR below.  Continue reading

Anyone Can Buy Google Glass on April 15th, but Should You?

google glass cameraOn April 15th at 6am PDT Google will open up the Explorer program to anyone interested in owning their own heads up display.

Here’s the deal though, it’s still a BETA product, and it’s still fairly expensive. While it’s currently our best hope for a consumer, wearable, eye-level computing solution, you’ll have to pony up $1500 + Tax to grab one of your own.

I’m very positive on Glass, but it’s fairly apparent that Google hasn’t handled the launch of this project well. The general public is still fairly ignorant as to what Glass can and can not do, resulting in dramatic interpretations of privacy abuses. People have been written tickets for wearing them while driving, restaurants have asked customers to leave for wearing them, and an Explorer was even physically assaulted by a mob of people.

Google should be praised for pushing the envelope, but the Explorer experiment was flawed from the beginning. When it’s an invite only program for geeks, and the cost of entry is north of $1500, you have to expect that a statistically significant number of participants wont be the kind of people that you’d want as ambassadors for something so new. This has resulted in the coining of the term “Glasshole” to represent people who use Glass in a rude fashion. Unfortunately that term is starting to generically describe anyone with Glass, as it only takes one bad apple to taint the whole bushel. Continue reading

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