Saturday, February 6, 2016

POSTED: Thursday, February 4, 2016, 11:25 AM

Health tracking innovations to wear or work on a smart phone loom large among the technologies to earn a boost in the just-announced second class of the University City Science Center’s Digital Health Accelerator.

Another growing - and expensive - health concern, prolonging life and wellness for our four-legged friends, is also earning recognition and support in the new class of six startups, selected by the UC Science Center from a pool of 69 applicants.

Graphwear Technologies is developing the first graphene patch which tastes the wearer’s sweat to measure dehydration, glucose and lactic acid.

POSTED: Tuesday, February 2, 2016, 1:14 PM

Have a really good response to the question “How could your business use technology to help enhance your business?”

Put it down in a 250 word essay and ship it off to the Comcast Business Community web site (cbcommunity.comcast.com).  That could be your ticket to a significant cash award and a lovely day trip to . . . .Philadelphia. The latter for  mentoring with business experts who’ll  advise on implementing your smart strategy.

All is part and parcel of the 3d annual Comcast Business-sponsored Innovations 4 Entrepreneurs competition, now open (through March 12) for entries and awards in each of the 15 regions where Comcast operates.  Applications will be judged  in both startup and entrepreneur categories, depending on whether  you’ve been operating for less or more than two years.

POSTED: Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 1:05 PM
File: Thomas "Tom" Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), listens during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Can you hear the teeth gnashing at Comcast, Verizon FiOS and Time Warner Cable headquarters today? At Dish and DirecTV too?

Set-top cable box rentals – a major profit center for cable and satellite TV companies – may finally be going  the way of “Ma Bell’s” compulsory phone rentals  (remember them?) if Federal Communications Commissioner Thomas Wheeler’s proposal to “unlock the box” wins favor from his fellow commissioners.

Wheeler is circulating a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” that would tear down anti-competitive barriers, pave the way for software, devices and other innovative solutions to compete with the set top boxes that a majority of consumers now lease.

POSTED: Thursday, December 10, 2015, 3:59 PM
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Brock Weatherup and his pal Boulder are taking on a new cause.

It’s time for serial entrepreneur Brock Weatherup to both “pay back and pay it forward,” he says.

 So he’s taking on the title and responsibilities of president for Philly Startup Leaders, seasoned hands who “facilitate the growth of the startup eco system in Philadelphia,” Weatherup detailed.

 Formal announcement of his two year, volunteer gig  was to happen Thursday afternoon at  Founder Factory, a multi-faceted PSL meet-up for CEOs, entrepreneurs and investors. Also “galvanizing” the crowd, he said, would be guest speakers/CEOs Anthony Bucci of RevZilla,  the motorcycle gear mega-merchandiser, and Justin Goldman of Zoomer, “the Uber for restaurant delivery.” Both operations are headquartered at the Navy Yard.

POSTED: Thursday, December 10, 2015, 11:50 AM

Theater history is being made tonight – and it’s yours to share, for free  – as a performance of the intimate off-Broadway musical “Daddy Long Legs”  is live streamed to the world at no cost to the viewers.  Tapping into the entertainment should be easy, too, just by visiting daddylonglegsmusical.com. You can even download a PDF of the program book for free, too!

First admired in Jean Webster’s 1912 novel form,  later an appealing film starring Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron, this new treatment by composer Paul Gordon and librettist John Caird re-tells the tale of an orphan girl supported by a mysterious benefactor, who agrees to send her to college with the condition that she write him a letter once a month. Through  correspondence they share literature, adventure and personal stuff and eventually, surprise, fall in love.

Critics have been quite supportive of the show, which opened in New York on Sept. 28. The New York Times called it “a great treat. Sweet and beautifully sung.” Time Out New York wrote “This Cinderella-style story has some serious Legs.” The Huffington Post suggested it offers similar appeal as “Wicked”  - likely to be “deeply adored and cherished by women of all ages.”  

POSTED: Thursday, December 3, 2015, 2:50 PM
The Nintendo game action is fast, furious and free at "pop-up" mall experiences. (Jonathan Takiff / Staff)

While their fortunes have been fading, of late,  Nintendo still knows how to make and market a good strategy game. 

Take, please, the  pop-up Nintendo Experience they’ve dropped into the King of  Prussia Mall for the holiday season  (through December 20.).  Resembling a mini-arcade, but with no coins or bills demanded,  the fun zone offers gamers the chance to try before buying (or asking Santa to get ‘em) all the hot new games  available for Nintendo’s  current portable and console systems.  

 And how about all the media buzz that new president Tatsumi Kimishima and the usual gang of “reliable manufacturing sources” have been creating this week with hints about the next big thing on Nintendo’s planning table  - a product code named NX. Here, they’re  seemingly playing  a different kind of game – hoping  to get on-the-fence consumers to put off holiday purchases of rival systems (Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One) – because Nintendo’s next big thing is just around the corner,  going into production in Q2 2016 then having a big coming-out party at the E3 convention in June, reports DigiTimes.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 2:32 PM
Display of "Star Wars"-themed Google Cardboard viewers at Verizon store at 1430 Walnut Street. (Jonathan Takiff / Staff)

Heavy into “Star Wars” collectibles? Panting with anticipation for “The Force Awakens” (opening Dec. 18)?  If you’re currently a Verizon Wireless customer, or willing to convert (instantly), you should be paying a visit to one of the mobile phone company’s local stores today (Wednesday) or tomorrow to snatch up a free limited-edition  “Star Wars” commemorative – specially decorated Google Cardboard  VR glasses - that will help you unlock movie previews with three-dimensional and wrap-around charms.

So far, Disney’s flogging of the film and franchise with TV commercials (and toys, and partner sponsors) has been relentless but not all that satisfying.  And the first bit of “The Force Awakens” posted this morning in VR ain’t giving much away either, just the “Star Wars” plot crawl. You’ll find it by downloading the official “Star Wars” app for Android and IOS, then tapping on the section called “Jakku Spy” that’s decorated with a Google Glasses icon.

 But better VR stuff is reportedly coming - eight more  teaser segments, leading up to “The Force Awakens” official  landing in theaters (and mauling of most every other holiday movie out there.)

POSTED: Friday, November 20, 2015, 1:22 PM
While the rivals are delivered by a public internet, Stream TV is delivered as a “managed service over the Comcast IP gateway” in a fashion similarly to the way it brings you cable TV. ((Joe Raedle/Getty Images))

Aggravated by the newly bumped-up prices for Comcast TV service? Help may be on the way from, surprisingly, Comcast, with its bargain over-the-top streaming TV service called, um, “Stream."

First released in the Boston area this summer, just launched in Chicago and planned for national rollout in 2016, “Stream” is  aimed at  the “cord cutter” crowd  which takes Xfinity Internet service but passes on the company's video packages.

 “Stream” offers  local channels, HBO, thousands of on-demand movies and “cloud DVR” recording of shows you can’t catch live, for a mere $15 a month (including taxes and fees.)

About this blog
Jonathan Takiff covers all manner of high tech gadgets – and the entertaining stuff you play on them.. Reach Jonathan at takiffj@phillynews.com.

Jonathan Takiff Inquirer Columnist
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