Google Stock Price Breaks Records and $1000 a Share

google stock price 1000 dollars somegadgetguy investingWell I suppose we all know who the “Big Bad” is now…

Google announced a pretty strong quarter during their earnings call yesterday. Even with somewhat weak performance from Motorola, Goog generated $14.9 Billion in revenue which represented a 12% increase over Q3 2012. This amounts to $2.97 Billion net income for the quarter (also an increase over last year), and Google announced they’re currently sitting on about $56 Billion in cash.

Investors seemed to appreciate this news, and in after hours trading, Google’s stock broke 1000 points for the first time in the company’s history. At the time of this writing, they’re currently up 120 points from before the earnings call, trading around 1010. Remarkable stock performance, leaping 13% over a period of less than a day.

Their current strategy, moving ads to mobile devices, incorporating more ads on mobile services, would appear to be paying off. It would also appear that some of Google other services like Google Apps (designed to compete against Microsoft’s business offerings) might be showing signs of life.

Now Google stands as one of the few companies which will cost you over $1000 to buy a single share of their stock. I totally should’ve bought in earlier… Sigh…

(via Google Investor Relations)

Quick Tip: Boot Directly to the Traditional Desktop in Windows 8.1 – Super Easy!

Screenshot (91)I’ve been a fan of Windows 8 from the first release. I think it’s elegant, and it’s very interesting that Microsoft (of all companies) will be the first to offer up a unified UI across all of their various products.

However, I also totally get that for people on non-touch screen devices, the traditional desktop might be a better fit for getting work done. With the Windows 8.1 update, Microsoft has now included an option to boot directly to the traditional desktop, so let’s walk you through setting that option up!

Our Reluctance to Embrace Change In a World of Constant Change…

We could be looking at the beginnings of an internet-wide burnout and backlash…

Ok, maybe that first sentence is a touch dramatic, but something’s in the air. Consumers tend to be fairly conservative with technology in general. They don’t like taking risks, especially on priority services like communication. Lately however, thanks to internet-echo-chambering, nearly every new update, product, announcement, or release has been met with a viscerally negative reaction.

yahoo emailWe can look at the response to Microsoft changing the UI of Windows 8. iOS users seem to be a little cranky with iOS7 when I talk to them face to face. Most recently, petitions and forums are buzzing about Yahoo changing the interface for YMail. At some core, fundamental level consumers don’t like actual “New” things.

To a degree this makes sense. We count on products like email or our operating system to get things done. However, we’re also witnessing the immediacy of internet communications coloring the perception of a change before anyone has a chance to try out that new thing. That cycle happens far faster than any developer or manufacturer’s PR can handle the discussion. People who have never handled a Windows 8 product for example, still love to tell me how much it sucks and why I’m wrong for liking it, because “so-n-so at such-n-such blog eight months ago said it was confusing to blah blah blah…

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Windows 8.1 Update Starts Rolling out Today

LB_8705Here it comes folks!

Microsoft’s refresh to the operating everyone hated (until they started using it). Be on the lookout for the update to trickle out to your Windows Store app. Windows 8.1 fixes some bugs and improves the ModernUI, allowing for smaller live tiles and easier gestures to slide up to your app drawer. There also improvements under the hood to things like multi-monitor support. Nice little clean up job on  top of Windows 8’s better file management and resource management and quick boot up time.

Those of you looking to upgrade a Windows 7 machine can buy a license directly to 8.1, but while boxes are on the shelves, it’s cheaper to buy a Windows 8 upgrade instead of a Windows 8.1 full license.

Those of you already on Win8, go hit the update and enjoy all of the new live-tile-y goodness!

Lenovo Announces Most Affordable Windows 8.1 Tablet – 8″ Miix 2 starting at $299

Lenovo-Miix-2-Windows-8.1-8-inch-tabletIt’s official. Windows Netbook-y machines are dead. Long live Tablets and Hybrids!

It looks like people are starting to get Windows 8, and no company has showcased the benefits of Microsoft’s newest operating system than Lenovo. Even during the worst of the PC sales slump, Lenovo was floating almost zero loss in sales. Any change as drastic as this you would expect consumers to react negatively (just ask Apple about their painful transition to OSX), but Lenovo floated steady. Buoyed by a line up of flex-y and twisty computers which wonderfully showed off Windows 8’s strengths.

Now with Windows 8.1 on the horizon, Microsoft’s strategy is incredibly clear. They aren’t trying to walk into the traditional Tablet market. They aren’t trying to “save” the PC market. They’re trying to redefine both and combine those markets. Why have a slate for fun little apps and a laptop for work when you could have both?

Lenovo’s playing into this round with one of the most affordable tablets to hit Microsoft’s ecosystem. The Miix 2 is an 8″ slate powered by an Intel “Baytrail” quad-core Atom processor and 2GB of RAM. Miix2 will feature front and rear cameras, and like previous 8″ Windows tablets it includes the Home & Student edition of Office. Prices start at $299 for a 32GB model, and there are also some great accessories announced alongside. Users can pick up an optional keyboard cover and stylus to further improve their productivity.

So there you have it folks. High-end netbook guts in an almost pocket-able mini slate which runs a proper version of Windows and arrives at a price point which competes against consumer Android mini tablets. It even undercuts the iPad Mini by $50 while offering up twice as much storage. It’s a pretty solid play by Lenovo, and it should be available later this month.

Full specs and PR after the jump.

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f.lux Update Helps Your Tired Eyes While Looking at Computer Monitors at Night

flux update health somegadgetguy screen clor brightness temperature (1)f.lux is one of my favorite “lifehack-y” finds, and it gets installed on every computer I use. Basically it changes the color temperature of your display based on time of day. At night, instead of pure bright white light hitting your face, it’s softened to a warmer orange-y glow. It’s really nice, and it’s helped me tremendously with late night eye strain. It also helps take some of the edge off my internal clock as it gets closer to bedtime. My eyes aren’t being bombarded with sunlight grade light right before I shut off the light and try to sleep.

Well this little body science piece of software is getting a pretty robust update. Users can now customize an even wide range of color temperatures, and new hot keys allow for quick adjustments. Old f.lux would only disable color adjustments for an hour. Now you can manually engage or disable changes, or program in time periods to disable if you’re doing work on color sensitive things like photos and videos.

Best of all this is still a free software tool. It’s jarring the first couple times your screen colors change, but if you stare at glowing rectangles late into the evening like I do, your eyes will thank you for it.

Grab it now at, or hit the jump for more info.

flux update health somegadgetguy screen clor brightness temperature (2)

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Google Fiber now explicitly allows home and home-based business servers

Google-Fiber1A nice little clarification for those folks lucky bastards  who get to use Google Fiber. There was a touch of confusion recently as Google has pushed the talking points surrounding the improvement of residential internet offerings, and there aren’t any publicly discussed plans to offer up business grade solutions.

This caused a bit of a ruffle as many indie and start up folks headed out to Kansas City to utilize these incredibly affordable (and stupid fast) internet plans. After making a transition like that, it would be understandably frustrating to find out that utilizing Google Fiber in a commercial building would be a violation of the TOS.

Of course many of us utilize home solutions for doing business on the internet, and now Google has clarified that running servers out of a home office is A-OK, so those looking to incorporate fiber can do so without fear of Goog pulling the plug.

Still no word on business solutions for commercial spaces. Who knows, maybe traditional ISP’s might be motivated to improve their corporate offerings. It could happen.

More info on the Google Fiber Blog.

Sony Unleashes Details on A7 & A7R Mirrorless Full Frame Cameras – What that means, and why it’s cool!

A7Damn Sony.

So this could shake up the semi-pro and pro photo markets a little. Sony took the wraps off of their two newest mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras, and they’re sporting some incredible image sensors. Specifically these are the first mirrorless cams to sport full frame image sensors. The A7 has a 24.3 megapixel sensor, and the A7R has a shocking 36 megapixel sensor which is likely a close cousin to the sensor found in Nikon’s D80o Digital SLR.

This is all neat and techie sounding, but why is this impressive? Normally bigger numbers like this are taken with a bit of skepticism. Like when your phone has a ton of megapickles in its camera, we make a squinty face and then explain why that might not mean better photos. Moving into this new breed of interchangeable lens cameras, Sony’s making a couple of exciting plays.

It’s not the megapickles, it’s the sensor size.

Sensor_sizes_overlaid_inside_-_updated.svgThis more than anything else is what gets us wannabe photogs lit up. The larger the sensor, the more surface area you have. This means the sensor has an easier time soaking up light, it’s just a bigger sponge. The A7 and A7R sensors are twice the size of most entry and mid-range SLR’s like my Canon 7D. It’s almost three times bigger than the sensor found in most mirrorless cameras like those made by Olympus and Panasonic.

This makes high resolution more attractive. Look at that chart to the right. That smallest box is what often comes on entry level point and shoot cameras, and it’s a little bigger than the sensor found on most nice phone cameras. Packing 16 MILLION dots on that square is a far more cramped experience than placing 36 million pixels on a full frame sensor. That same comparison holds true, though is less severe obviously, when comparing these new Sony’s to other interchangeable lens cameras which might use Micro 4/3rds or APS-C sensors. Each of those pixels can be larger, and each has an easier time soaking up more light, which results in better detail and less noise.

Larger sensor = Wider field of view

Sony-A7The other aspect of smaller sensor cameras to consider is crop. All lenses being equal, the smaller the sensor, the less of the lens is used. We call this crop. It’s not like digital crop where you remove pixels from the borders to “zoom” into the middle, with sensor crop the camera is only able to use the middle of the lens instead of all the glass. This starts to resemble zoom to a degree, and it really taxes the clarity found at the center of the lens.

Crop_FactorPhotography gear is all built around the original 35mm frames we shot on film, so if you have a crop camera, your frame will be different than it is on a full frame sensor. My Canon 7D sensor is half the size of a 35mm frame, so all of my adjustments are roughly 1.5X. This is good for reach as it gives my zoom a little bit of a bump, but it’s awful for wide angle photography. A 24mm lens on a full frame camera is decently wide, on a crop sensor it starts to resemble a 36mm lens which is a bit more “normal”. A 50mm lens very closely resembles the field of view we humans have on full frame cameras, on APS-C that 50mm starts to look a bit more like an 80mm zoom.

The A7 and A7R employing full frame sensors will mean you won’t have to do that mental mathematic trick of understanding how wide or how zoomed in you might be.

Slim and Sexy + Market Disrupting Price

Sony-A7-sideLastly, these cameras represent a “legitimizing” influence over the semi-pro and pro markets for smaller and compact interchangeable lens systems. SLR’s have their name because a mirror in the camera is responsible for feeding light from the lens into your eye piece. Hit the shutter button and that mirror flips up exposing the sensor, and light from the lens now generates an image on the digital guts of your camera. This has been the way photogs work since the film days, and it’s generally accepted as the “professional” way a camera should work.

Experimenting with slimmer camera bodies has meant doing away with the mirror box, and instead permanently operating the camera in a “live view” mode, where light from the lens hits the image sensor directly, and then an electronic screen shows you what the lens sees. With cameras which can swap lenses, this is often relegated as “entry-level” or “consumer” grade photography, especially as previous solution incorporated smaller crop sensors.

Now Sony is offering up their top of the line sensors in smaller and compact camera bodies. Not only that, but we’re seeing pricing aimed at shaking up the full frame market. The A7R will retail for $2300, a decent chunk of change for sure, but it uses a very similar sensor to the one found in the Nikon D800 which has a street price of $2800. Canon’s 5D mark III uses a 22MP sensor and has a street price of $3100 against Sony’s A7 which should perform similarly at the sensor level and only costs $1700 MSRP.

The rest is just gravy…

a7_4Hardware controls, highspeed 60fps video in full HD, WiFi, NFC. That’s all just great, and are often features you’d have to pay more for with SLR’s, or add via accessories. They’re creating a formidable package.

Of course there will be pros and cons still to using mirrorless cameras, and pros will probably still gravitate towards optical viewfinders over electronic screens for the near future, but Sony has fired a clear shot at this market. Just like Mac vs PC, the photography market is largely divided between Canon vs Nikon, so it’s really exciting when a third player does anything to shake that duopoly up.

Full details, press release, and camera specs after the jump.

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