Bionic Vision Australia performs 1st successful implant of prototype artificial eye.

bionic-eye_0SCIENCE!

I hate to say it, but someday, probably within my lifetime, this will be an elective surgery and I’m TOTALLY on board.

Researchers at Bionic Vision Australia have implanted a prototype “Pre-Bionic” in a patient who suffered severe vision loss due to retinitis pigmentosa. Using a device implanted behind the retina connected to a series of 24 electrodes, this first unit is capable of generating pulses of light. This is a crucial first step in understanding how our “wetware” might interface with our current hardware.

Future bionic eyes will incorporate more electrodes which should result in higher quality information being fed to the brain. We’re cresting that push into true cyborg territory, and I love it!

(via Scientific Wizard)

Video samples from the Nokia Lumia 1020 – The best camera on a phone today.

nokia lumia 1020 pureview camera test video samples somegadgetguyNo joke. Nokia nailed it.

The Lumia 1020’s monster 41 megapixel PureView sensor is an absolute beast. Even when the output is scaled down to 1080p video, you just wont find a phone camera as capable of delivering the kinds of photographic output you’ll receive from this Lumia. Plus it has the first digital zoom which is actually worth using! It’s a whole new tier above what we would normally consider “premier” smartphone optics.

Yet with all of the accolades I can throw at this phone, no camera is perfect. Let’s go hands on with some video samples!

Watch my first impressions of the Lumia 1020.

Breaking Bad fans sue Apple over Season Pass Shenanigans

better call saul breaking bad apple lawsuit news itunes season pass somegadgetguyUh-oh! Apple better call Saul!

So what happens when seasons are sold on services like iTunes, but show runners divide seasons halfway through the year. AMC has recently exploded with a number of very successful shows like The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. In order to spread content out throughout the year, and keep production costs in check, both shows have employed split seasons, airing half of a season before taking a mid season break and returning to finish the season arc.

That division is whats at argument with services like iTunes. Apple see each “half season” sold as its own unique DVD box set, and they want in on the action. For Breaking Bad “Season 5” Apple sold the first eight episode arc under their Season Pass service for $22 with the promise “this season pass includes all current and future episodes of Breaking Bad season 5”. A different season pass is required for the back eight episodes, and they’re treating it as if it’s a separate season. Of course this conflicts somewhat from AMC’s marketing which has billed Season 5 as having a 16 episode arc.

Now Noam Lazebnik of Ohio is filing a class action suit against Apple to get Apple to honor the Season Pass arc based on AMC’s definition of what constitutes a season of television, mid-season break or otherwise.

“When a consumer buys a ticket to a football game, he does not have to leave at halftime. When a consumer buys an opera ticket, he does not get kicked out at intermission…”

Hit the jump for the full filing (via Scribd)

Continue reading “Breaking Bad fans sue Apple over Season Pass Shenanigans”

Open source audio editor Audacity updated with new reverb, bug fixes & improvements.

Audacity-logo-r-450wide-whitebgIf you like to record audio, music, podcasts on the cheap, chances are you’ve heard of Audacity. This program actually stands as one of my favorites, and has a feature set which rivals many paid audio editors. Plus if once you learn how to use it, it doesn’t matter what computer you use it on. Mac, PC, Linux it’s all the same.  You can even run it from a USB flash drive.

Well Audacity has received a nice little update. Focusing mostly on stability and bug fixes, there are a couple neat little new features included in 2.0.4. First a new reverb plug in will help you add all the echo you might want. Also, for Windows users, you can now record your computer’s playback by choosing the WASAPI host.

Grab the newest version from SourceForge, and check out the Audacity Wiki for the full list of fixes and improvements.

HTC profits down 45% from a year ago. What does recovery look like?

Man. HTC just can’t catch a break here.

Last week, shares fell almost 5% on the news that HTC only pulled in $443 million this August, which is down 45% from a year ago. It seems that the critically acclaimed One and One Mini handsets aren’t quite motivating consumers to part with their cash. Investor confidence is also a little shaken by news of high level executives leaving the company. Some of those execs under investigation for allegedly leaking company secrets. In all, not a great position for the phone maker to be in given how competitive the phone landscape is.

The one resource HTC most likely needs to turn around its market image is likely the one most difficult to come by: Time. HTC’s recent moves have largely been celebrated by tech pundits. The HTC One marks the first handset by the company which isn’t hamstrung by carrier branding. Even the older One X was billed as the “Evo 4G LTE” on Sprint, diluting HTC’s presence. Future HTC phones will likely not be plagued by this consumer confusion.

HTC heres to changeAlso, we recently saw the first fruits from HTC’s $1 billion ad campaign featuring Robert Downey Jr. and “Hipster Troll Carwashes”. This is a long term brand identity move, which should net positive results, but HTC is also in need of some short term sales to help boost confidence internally and with potential customers. They need evangelists and fans who will tout the company line, and be a grassroots first line of attack when new handsets are released.

Recent moves have been smart, HTC is trying to build a presence on sites like Reddit, and they’ve been more active on social media sites. It’s a tough road to build that kind of loyalty however. Their 716,000 Twitter followers are nothing to sneeze at, but pale in comparison to Samsung’s 4.4 million, and comparing recent tweets, actual engagement with likes and retweet action mirrors those follower numbers.

So while their long term strategies look sound, this isn’t a market known for patience, and that magical recipe for pairing good products and actual sales has been eluding numerous companies of late.

See my hands on reviews for the HTC One and the HTC One Mini.

(via WSJ)

Just for fun: Mike Tyson plays Punch Out for the first time.

How meta is it watching Mike Tyson play Punch Out? One of my all time favorite NES games, though I was never able to beat it. It does make me feel a little better about myself that one of the most ferocious boxers in history, who was the subject of this very game, was unable to get past the very first opponent. Come on Mike! It’s Glass Joe!

Microsoft XBox Music coming to iOS and Android devices.

xbox music streaming online radio launch ios android browser somegadgetguyOnline music streaming radio is a really competitive arena at the moment. You’ve got Slacker, Pandora, Rdio, Spotify, Last.FM, even streaming  terrestrial radio. Recently Google entered this market with Play Music All Access, and we’re pretty confident Apple will eventually arrive with iTunes Radio. Not entirely sure what the hold up with them is, as they kind of created the online music scene, but I digress.

Microsoft certainly doesn’t want to be left out of this market and they’re jumping in now with XBox Music.

The service sounds fairly familiar if you’ve used any other online music streaming solution. Microsoft has a library of around 18 million songs, and you can listen to unlimited music either with ads or ad-free for $10 a month (or $100 a year). After the first six months with the ad supported service however, you will be capped at 10 hours of music per day.

XBox Music Pass allows you to sync your music across all of your gadgets, from your XBox, to phones, tablets, and computers. That might be the smart play here by Microsoft, their music streaming will also come in iOS and Android app flavors. They have to know a large chunk of their XBox live subscriber base probably have phones or tablets from their competitors, but still might consider using the Music app built into their game console.

There’s also  a music discovery service called Smart DJ which should function like Pandora, and an update to Windows 8 will allow users to catalog music they find on other sites like Pitchfork to listen to later in their library.

This is good timing on Microsoft’s part. Sure they’re late to this party, but as they’re trying to move forward with their phone and tablet solutions, filling out the media purchasing options for their ecosystem means customers will be more likely to shop in their stores. As we’re getting set for the release of the XBox One, Microsoft is making a compelling argument for their console to be the front end of the entire living room. Plus iOS and Android users wont be excluded.

And, I did mention they were beating Apple to the punch here right? I mean… That’s just weird…

XBox Music

Pics of the Nokia Lumia 1520 Phablet leak again – Now with more specs.

lumia1520photos5_1020_verge_super_wideThis is becoming a contender for my “worst kept secret in tech” award, but another round of leaked pics featuring the Lumia 1520 have SURFACEd on the Verge. It looks a lot like previous leaked renders, and it’s looking like we might have a legit contender for the first Windows Phone phablet.

Also leaked/confirmed are the specs powering this giant slab. According to the leaker, the 1520 will sport a 6″ 1080p screen powered by a Qualcomm 800 series chipset. 32GB of storage will be on board with the ability to add more via SD card, and 2 GB of RAM should keep all your apps happy. The bulge on the back is rumored to house a 20MP camera which looks similar to the camera bump on the Lumia 925. No 1020 PureView action here, but it should still be a fantastic performer. nokialumia1520leaknew9_1020_verge_super_wideThis would be an exciting development for WP fans, as it would bring Microsoft’s platform screaming up to the cutting edge of the smartphone hardware heap.

Seeing how tightly MS controls what goes into Windows Phone, this could also be a clue that we’re due a refresh soon, and I personally wouldn’t be surprised to see the 1520 released around the time that Windows 8.1 is announced. This would make a great flagship phone to show off a new OS update, while also reinforcing Microsoft’s commitment to improving the WP8 ecosystem. I’m looking forward to more news surrounding the GDR3 update.

(via The Verge)