Technology Viewer

By Keith A. Seiffert | The view from the eyes of a technology professional and amateur pundit. TechnologyViewer.com

Plume’s plug-in WiFi pods are now available

The home WiFi network extender space sure got real crowded, real fast. Startups Eero and Luma have been battling it out for some time before Google elbowed its way in, earlier this fall. All of the devices offer different somewhat different solutions to the problem of spotty home wireless …

Wi-Fi

FCC says AT&T and Verizon ‘harm consumers’ with free data schemes

In two letters sent to AT&T and Verizon yesterday, the FCC writes that sponsored data plans from the telecom giants are a threat to net neutrality.<p>Both companies have recently instituted similar plans. Under the programs, customers can use select services without having them contribute to a data …

AT&T

Mouse scroll wheel 'inventor' basically says we're all using it wrong

If you use a mouse with your computer, you probably use a scroll wheel.<p>Except, you’re probably using it wrong.<p>At least, that’s what possible scroll wheel ‘inventor’ and Oculus Co-Founder Jack McCauley says in an interview with IGN:<p>It’s not used in the way that I intended it to be used…. I intended …

Amazon isn’t playing nice with Plex’s new cloud service

Media server software Plex, which helps you organize your own library of movies, TV shows, photos, and music, is now making it easier to access the content you’ve saved on other cloud storage services with an expansion of its Plex Cloud service. The company has added support for online services …

Amazon

Tesla officially acquires SolarCity

Tesla’s acquisition of SolarCity officially closed Monday morning, bringing together Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company with the solar energy company founded by his cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive. The deal was approved by Tesla and SolarCity shareholders last week, after first being proposed …

Energy

Don’t bother making beats, Google’s ‘Infinite Drum Machine’ has got you covered

The beautiful thing about artificial intelligence is that due to its relatively back-end nature its applications seem to be virtually endless.<p>Today is music’s lucky day, as sound is the latest area which has undergone Google‘s AI surgery in its recent wave of “experiments”…<p>With a little help from …

Google

Oculus is giving its mesmerizing VR painting tool Quill away for free

VR has quite a bit to offer creative types in terms of building worlds and images that would be impossible otherwise. Oculus Story Studio is looking to redefine the concept of a digital art with their latest effort, Quill.<p>Oculus will be releasing the application for free on Dec. 6 in time for the …

Virtual Reality

Coke invents the 'selfie bottle'

Coca-Cola's latest attempt to appeal to "the kids" is a "selfie bottle" that has an integrated camera that automatically takes snaps when you take a drink.<p>A camera is positioned in the base of the Coke bottle and activates when you tip the bottle 70 degrees, ad industry site The Drum reports. You …

Selfies

Facebook’s new Community Help tool lets users offer and find help during emergency crises

Safety Checks will now be community-triggered only<p>At its Social Good Forum in New York today, Facebook announced Community Help, a tool for its users to offer help during natural disasters or terror attacks. When such an event happens, users in the affected areas will receive a prompt to turn on …

Facebook

Apple will reportedly cut App Store fees in half for video services

So long as they integrate with its TV app<p>Apple plans to cut its 30 percent App Store fee down to 15 percent for video services, according to a report from <i>Bloomberg</i><i>.</i> The move follows a drastic shift, announced back in June, that altered how Apple collects revenue from third-party subscription …

App Store

Keep the Windows 10 Taskbar Visible While Using the On-Screen Keyboard

If you use Windows 10 on a touchscreen-enabled device like the Surface, you might notice that the on-screen keyboard covers up the taskbar when it’s …

Microsoft Windows

B.S. Detector Lets You Know When You're Reading a Fake News Source

Chrome: Facebook has a very real fake news problem. To help combat this, B.S. Detector will show a little red warning when you’re about to click a …

Cool Stuff

This Startup Built a Bot That Will Fight to Lower Your Comcast Bill

Finally, technology tackling real problems.<p>At long last, a Silicon Valley startup has built something truly useful: a bot that will fight with Comcast reps <i>for</i> you.<p>Trim, a San Francisco startup whose service cancels recurring subscriptions you don’t want, has built a bot that logs into your Comcast …

Startups

Budget Android phones are secretly sending users’ text messages to China

Software installed on some Android phones secretly monitored users, and even sent keyword-searchable, full text message archives to a Chinese server every 72 hours, according to research from security firm Kryptowire.<p>The software, which also tracked users’ location data and call logs, was written …

China

John Hancock insurance is subsidizing the cost of the new Apple Watch

How does a health insurance company go about trying to help address health problems before they arise? Getting people moving is a start. After all, there are plenty of long issues that can be avoided or lessened by living a more active lifestyle, a motivation that becomes all the more apparently as …

Insurance

Microsoft is bringing Visual Studio to the Mac

Not a sign of the apocalypse, just that Microsoft is changing<p>Microsoft has announced it’s launching its primary coding interface, Visual Studio, on Mac computers. The news may sound uninteresting, but it’s been a long time coming, and is a big shakeup for the company, which has previously preferred …

Microsoft Windows

Collect and Display All Kinds of Weather Data With This Simple Raspberry Pi Powered Weather Station

Using a Raspberry Pi to power a weather station is one of the most popular projects out there, but Make tossed in a few extra details, including a …

Weather

Use a Raspberry Pi Zero to Power a Pixel Art Frame

A low resolution digital frame might not sound like something anyone would want, but DIYer Frederick Vandenbosch proves otherwise with his elegant …

Pixel Art

Tech tips to help stay safe in Trump’s America

Tech is as much a liability as it is an opportunity, as this election demonstrated. The next few years will be scary for many reasons, and to some more than others, and part of that will be the continued and likely expanded exploitation of the technologies and services we’ve come to rely on. …

Security

The Microsoft Surface Book is still the best Windows laptop you can buy

It isn’t easy to review Microsoft’s least interesting product release of the fall.<p>A few weeks ago, Microsoft pulled another October surprise, unveiling the big-screen, all-in-one Surface Studio. It’s a stunner few of us can wait to get our hands on.<p>In the interim, Microsoft handed us the minimally …

Microsoft Windows

With Trump’s win Silicon Valley investors start losing their damn minds

We’re only hours into what is a now Donald J. Trump’s ascendancy to the Presidency and already Silicon Valley’s investor class is losing its collective damn mind.<p>TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington had it just about right when he retweeted the Drudge Report.<p>A Trump win is antithetical to a Silicon …

Silicon Valley

Lenovo is ditching its own brand name to make way for 'Moto'

Campaign Asia reports that gadget maker Lenovo will stop marketing smartphones with its own brand name and adopt the Moto label from here on out.<p>The company acquired Motorola from Google for $2.91 billion in 2014. It previously announced plans to phase out the ‘Motorola’ name for handsets at the …

Motorola

laughingsquid: Airblock, A Modular Starter Drone That’s Easy to Assemble, Program, and Fly WANT! I mean it would be an amazing learning tool for my daughters. (via laughingsquid)

laughingsquid:<p>Airblock, A Modular Starter Drone That’s Easy to Assemble, Program, and Fly<p>WANT! I mean it would be an amazing learning tool for my …

Learning

Test out the new MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar on any Mac with this handy app

Some have been pretty skeptical concerning the new MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar, worried that it will complicate things for users who are accustomed to the physical function row of keys. If you’re in the camp of wondering exactly how the new Touch Bar will work, a new tool brings the capability to all …

Apple News

Android apps will soon be able to offer cheaper, introductory subscription prices

All in hopes you won't cancel when the normal rate kicks in<p>At its Playtime event for Android developers today, Google announced that apps on the Play Store will soon gain a new option that could have huge implications for subscriptions: temporary promotional pricing. "Coming soon, you'll be able to …

Google

The Mate 9 is Huawei's latest behemoth flagship and it's coming to the US

A capable beast of a phone, with a 5.9-inch screen and 4,000 mAh battery<p>Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has unveiled its latest flagship device — the Mate 9. The handset is the company's new top-of-the-line product, positioned above the P9 family and pitched to customers who want to get the very …

Huawei

Minecraft: Education Edition launches today for $5 per user

The blockbuster game Minecraft is heading to a school near you.<p>Microsoft on Tuesday launched <i>Minecraft: Education Edition</i> to more than 50 countries around the world. This version of the game costs $5 per user.<p>While Minecraft started out as a simple world-building game employing the digital …

Education

You can finally buy Lenovo's 3D-sensing Project Tango Phone

Google is finally realizing its vision for 3D-sensing smartphones.<p>Lenovo's Phab2 Pro, the first smartphone to be equipped with Google's Project Tango technology, is now on sale. The phone's unique combination of cameras and sensors allow it to take advantage of augmented reality applications that …

Phones

Google launches Tango AR smartphone system

After more than two years of tinkering and finessing, today Google finally officially launched its Tango smartphone augmented reality system to the masses.<p>Right now, it’s only available on Lenovo’s $499 Phab2 Pro, which arrives in stores in the US today, but you can expect to see this in a bunch of …