Embrace augmented reality eyewear even if it looks funny right now

A lot of people couldn’t imagine life without their iPhones, Blackberries or Android smartphones. Just a few years ago Blackberries were the domain of of guys in crisp suits and power ties, plucking away on a tiny keyboard that would somehow lead to the downfall of some poor schlep’s bank account.

Taxis don't care that you're texting

Taxis don't care that you're texting

Now, whether it’s on the streets of New York City or down the aisle of a local Walmart, its commonplace to see someone paying more attention to the tiny screen of their phone than to to the sights and sounds around them.

There has been, finally, a lot of forward progress in the world of augmented reality, and more importantly, the futuristic hardware that will drive it. Up to this point, virtual reality has required goofy looking eye-gear to perform its duties. Usually the viewer would be given an image made from small LCD screens that would “project” an image of 45-90 inches in front of them. Nothing behind these images were visible and because of the close actual proximity of the screens a eyestrain-induced headache was sure to follow.

Few people would be caught dead wearing such a contraption. In a society where bluetooth headsets have a certain amount of douchiness associated with them (at least according to The Daily Show), a Geordi LaForge piece of eyewear would be sure to cause one’s chase from town from an angry torch-wielding mob. The thing about those bluetooth headsets though is that there weren’t really necessary. In fact, they were often more trouble than convenience. The batteries on them had to be charged, they had to be readily accessible (or permanently attached to your ear), and you had to have already figured out how to pair it with your phone – usually not an obvious task. It’s was just easier to hold the phone up to your head when the phone rang, phone radiation be damned.

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A Very Small Contribution to LastPass

image Woot! We got to make a small – very small – contribution to the latest version of the LastPass plug-in. A couple of the new icons were made by me including the Safari-themed ones to match the look and feel of Apple’s Safari web browser.

If you don’t know what LastPass is, well, you should. It’s a hugely helpful password manager that has all sorts of plug-ins for different web browsers and mobile platforms. If you still use “PASSWORD123” for every login you have then you should probably consider getting this plug-in and making your life a little less hackable. I’ve used competing products and I have found LastPass to be the most feature-complete and easiest solution.

AT&T and Others Announcing Rival To Apple App Store

Image representing App Store as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

This coming in from Mashable:

Twelve of the world’s biggest phone networks – including AT&T, Orange and Telefonica – will announce their rival technology tomorrow to Apple’s App Store. The combined audience for the app platform will be 2 billion customers. Phone manufacturers Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson are also part of the alliance.

The announcement is expected to take place at tomorrow’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, writes the Times, and will be good news for consumers. With the fragmentation of app stores from Apple, Android and others, many handsets and operators will now support a single standard of apps that work across multiple devices.

There’s no word if there will be a single app store, but a single standard for apps on devices from multiple networks is expected. It’s also unclear if the technology itself will be unveiled tomorrow — we may simply see a statement of intent.

Apple and Google just tag teamed the U.S. carriers

Google PhoneGoogle’s event today was supposed to be about one device, the Nexus One. Instead, we heard a lot of: “more devices,” more manufacturers,” “more carriers,” “this is just the beginning.” Today was not about one device, it was about Google’s first step in helping to reshape the mobile landscape in the U.S. And thanks to the groundwork laid by Apple, it just might work.

Think about your cellphone and cellular service five years ago. Both were likely horrible. But you were content in your misery, because you didn’t know any better. Then came the iPhone. It was a mobile device that was so good, people were willing to ditch their existing service providers en masse (I did) to go to the only one that had it: AT&T. And while you might think that would be a big plus for AT&T, it actually shifted a massive amount of industry power to Apple. They had the device that everyone wanted. And they used that leverage to renegotiate their exclusive deal with AT&T to pay out a huge amount of money for each device sold.

Sure, there were hot selling mobile devices before it — the Motorola RAZR, for example, was the best selling phone for many years in a row — but the iPhone had two advantages: 1) Thanks to Apple’s complete control over the device, including, maybe most importantly, its software, they created a user experience that the RAZR never could.  2) Thanks to the App Store, there is some amount of lock-in to the device because users are spending a ton of money on apps and if they switch phones, those all go away.

With the iPhone, Apple has created a device that all the other U.S. carriers lust after. And that, in turn, has allowed Google to come along with Android. When the G1 launched a little over a year ago, it was the first of many devices to be heralded as a “iPhone killer.” It wasn’t. But Google didn’t care about that. All that mattered to them at the time was getting their foot in the door of an industry that they, like Apple, had not at all been a part of leading up to that first device. It worked. The carriers were so desperate for an “iPhone killer” that they seemed willing and ready to negotiate with Google to get as many devices out there as possible to ride the Internet-enabled smartphone tsunami that the iPhone earthquake started. (more…)

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak on the new season of Dancing with the Stars

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will be among the 13 competitors on the new season of Dancing with the Stars, US television network ABC has announced.

The Strictly Come Dancing-style show will feature a range of entertainment and sport figures and former competitors from the show.

The roster includes singers Jewel and Belinda Carlisle, rapper Lil’ Kim, and 17-year-old Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Shawn Johnson.

The new season will start 9 March.  [ed]Oh no! Please, please don’t let him incorporate any kind of technology into a dance routine![/ed]

See the full article at BBC News.