There’s much to be said about Google Glass, from the advances in wearable computing technology to the inherent privacy concerns of having a camera mounted on your face.
Believe me; I’m excited about it, and I’m betting you probably are too. But hype aside, I’d like to present you with this video titled “Google Glass & Basketball Practice,” shared by Noble Ackerson.
If you loved Cloverfield, you’re in luck: now that the first few hundred people are gaining access to Glass, first-person shaky cam will soon take over the Internet.
This clip shows off an interesting and uncommon perspective that can only come from wearing a camera on your head. It has a novel appeal, and is pretty entertaining to watch at first. But then, shortly after the first 10 seconds, it becomes a dizzying experience.
Get ready, folks. You’re about to see videos like this everywhere.
Remember PLAiR? About nine months ago, the startup raised $2.1 million from Roger McNamee and Mike Maples’ Floodgate Fund, but wouldn’t say what for. (Spoiler alert: We found out anyway.) Never mind that. The company is finally ready to release product! And, well, here the product is.
As we expected, PLAiR is a sub-$100, dolphin-shaped dongle for streaming online video to your TV screen, either from a computer or any mobile device. The idea is to enable anyone to experience AirPlay-like functionality, even if they don’t have an Apple TV — or an iPhone or an iPad. The product debuted at CES and is finally ready to ship to consumers.
With a 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, and Wi-Fi capability, PLAiR allows users to stream all the content they care about, without having to buy a connected TV or worry about whether or not it has a certain app.
Viewers can plug it in to an open HDMI port on a TV and connecting to PCs through a Chrome plug-in or mobile and tablet devices via native Android and iOS apps. Once connected, viewers can watch any available online content or locally stored media in full, 1080p video resolution and Dolby 5.1 surround sound.
I got a demo of the device a few weeks ago, and it works more or less as advertised. On the web/PC side of things, PLAiR provides a landing page where users can find basically all their favorite TV shows through a single interface. Once they’re launched from a laptop or desktop, users can leave the page and surf the web, checking out other pages. And the mobile apps have a wide selection of freely available video content that can be streamed from smartphones or tablets.
Anyway, the device is for sale at www.PLAiR.com/store for $99. Oh and it’s available in three colors.
Backlift, a Y Combinator-backed startup that’s launching today, describes itself as a back-end service for front-end developers. The service takes all of the work of setting up a server environment out of the equation and just lets front-end developers focus on their work. All a user needs is a Dropbox account – Backlift uses Dropbox as a file syncing service – and a text editor. With Backlift, a developer doesn’t need to know how to set up Rails, Django or node.js to get started.
As Backlift founder Cole Krumbholz told me last week, the idea behind the service is to allow developers to jump right into working on their front-end code. For many people, he said, front-end tools can be a bit daunting and he wants Backlift to be a great learning tool, but he also aims to make it a platform for prototyping and, soon, a platform for hosting applications.
To get started, users simply sign in with their Dropbox account, create a new app from based on a number of templates, including numerous backbone.js sample apps, a Google Maps API-based site, and basic Bootstrap-based sites. You can also use other popular technologies like AngularJS, CoffeeScript and Handlebars. Backlift then creates a new folder in your Dropbox account (and hence on your desktop, too) and you can start editing it with your favorite text editor. Every time you save an edit, Dropbox will sync with Backlift and you can immediately see the changes on your site (syncing starts less than a second after your changes are uploaded to Dropbox).
Given that most applications need to work with at least some data, Backlift also offers a basic API for working with data, as well as an admin dashboard for adding users and browsing, importing and exporting the data in your database.
One of the companies that has been using Backlift extensively during the beta phase is Automatic.com – the YC-backed company that recently launched its hardware for turning any car into a connected car. “We have our own Amazon S3 servers, however Backlift is a much easier, faster, and secure way of working on the site as we got it ready for launch and showed investors,” Automatic.com’s visual and interactive designer Gabriel Valdivia told me.
The service, Krumbholz told me, will evolve constantly and the team plans to launch quite a few new features in the near future – though he wasn’t quite ready to share the team’s plans just yet.
For now, Backlift is completely free to use. The team will likely add some premium features, though the details are still up in the air.
Krumbholz, by the way, is one of the few solo founders who have made it into Y Combinator. After he left the Navy, he previously worked on air traffic control interfaces and then started making mobile games for iOS.
Google has quietly rolled out an update to its Google Search app for iOS, and before you get your hopes up, I’ll go ahead and tell you that there’s no “Google Now” anywhere to be seen.
The update does, however, bring with it some minor bug fixes. Other than that, the update isn’t all that exciting. In fact, it’s downright disappointing.
Rumors had been swirling for a while that Google has plans to bring Google Now over to iOS. A video even leaked in mid-March showing an alleged promotion for Google Now on iOS, saying it was built right into Google Search for iOS.
There was some back and forth after that, with Google Chairman Eric Schmidt saying the ball is in Apple’s court with regard to when we might actually see Google Now on Apple’s platform. He played a similar game with Google Maps months ago, when we were all ready and waiting for Google to swoop in after Apple’s Maps product on iOS 6 was a flop.
Apple then responded saying that Google had not submitted any Google Now application to the App Store. Of course, that didn’t exclude the possibility that Google would push out Google Now through an update to Google Search.
Alas, Google Search has been updated and there’s no Google Now to show for it.
Of course, Google could still push out Google Now through the Search app, and probably will if this video (which looks pretty legit) is to be believed. Unfortunately, today just isn’t the day.
Seagate will be shipping a 4TB hard drive that has the distinction of being the world’s first to include a 1TB per platter design. This basically means that each spinning disk in the hard drive has a capacity of 1TB, and that there are four of them.
It’s not everyday that you can claim to that have something that’s the “world’s first”, so don’t be too hard on Seagate.
This certainly isn’t the first hard drive to have a 4TB capacity, but apparently the new 1TB per platter design significantly increases the hard drive’s performance over the competition. It consumes 35 percent less power than comparable drives on the market with 4TB capacities, and at 145MB/s, it has the highest average data rate as well.
But most importantly, the new design will also bring down costs. A hard drive in an external casing can be had for $212, while just the bare drive will cost around $190.
Bring on the terabytes, Seagate. My body and my illegally downloaded movies are ready.