Tuesday, May 26, 2015

POSTED: Tuesday, May 26, 2015, 12:17 PM

There’s a new Uber-ride cruising Pittsburgh, a Ford sedan crammed with roof-mounted cameras and radar sensors, reported the Pittsburgh Business Times, first with an alarming “self-driving” headline.

Actually, somebody is behind the wheel, assured  a company spokeswoman in a subsequent “update.” For the moment, at least, the car’s being used to map city streets, as Google did for Street View and Apple has recently been undertaking in San Francisco.

Still, with a sign “Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center” glued to the side of the ride, and Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick making  bullish remarks about automating his “ride share” service to cut costs, we may soon see a day when the pronouncement “No one came to pick me up” is considered a good thing.

Jonathan Takiff @ 12:17 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, May 21, 2015, 10:29 AM
Blog Image
See the movie, you'll want the pin.

The messaging gets muddy, the “gotcha” moments of “Tomorrowland” might seem illogical, even to Mr. Spock (who’s been there, done that.)

But if you’re a “next big thing” tech watcher like me and maybe remember without irony a “future so bright you gotta wear shades,” you owe to yourself to hop aboard this 2-hour Disney action-adventure ride.

After consulting the Magic 8 Ball, it seems “very likely” that “Tomorrowland” will be the big hit flick this holiday weekend. And true to its time-warping nature, the film is being sneak-peaked at a few local theaters tonight (Thursday) - 7:40 p.m. at the Narberth Stadium 2, then at midnight (ok, 12:01 am.) at Rave Cinemas University City 6 and AMC Deptford 8.

Jonathan Takiff @ 10:29 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 1:25 PM
Daniel Ek, CEO and Founder of Spotify, speaks at a media event announcing updates to the music streaming application Spotify on May 20, 2015 in New York City. The latest updates include the ability to stream video content, podcasts and radio programs as well as original songs for the application. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

There’s more to life than music, Spotify has decided. So the world’s  leading (but not yet profitable) streaming service is taking “a massive leap forward”  hailed CEO Daniel Ek this morning, adding podcasts and videos, plus original audio/video content  and customizable playlists  suited to the time of day and your activities.

 A special focus, Spotify Running, will calculate the tempo of your run and listening history to serve up music “with seamless transitions between songs to ensure you never miss a beat.”

First phase of the Spotify evolution into a “24 hour entertainment destination” is rolling out today, first to iPhone users.

Jonathan Takiff @ 1:25 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 11:37 AM
Apple Sport Watch in pink (c/o Apple)

Wear a free, pink-banded Apple Sport Watch, participate in breast cancer research.  That’s an option the Wayne based Polaris Health Directions and  Camden’s MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper will offer by fall to some breast cancer patients undergoing treatment  at the hospital, shared representatives  announcing a “memorandum of understanding”  to develop an “integrated medical-behavioral health pilot project.”

 “Our integrated BHOM (behavioral  health outcomes management)  platform Polestar has been helping to improve overall outcomes in patients through the U.S. via browsers and iPads,” said Tina Harralson, Ph.D., science director, Polaris Labs.  “Through this breast cancer pilot, we hope to see even better patient outcomes with the addition of the Apple Watch.”

Information captured by  the wearable  – tracking treatment side effects, sleep information, physical activity levels and patient mood  - will combine with medical data from the patients’ electronic health records within the Cooper health system plus  population health data.  Working the data and nurturing “a positive frame of mind can help a patient through all phases of diagnosis and treatment” said  Dr.Generosa Grana, director of the Cancer Center at Cooper and head of hematology/medical oncology at Cooper University Hospital.

Jonathan Takiff @ 11:37 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, May 14, 2015, 11:38 AM

Think inventors and entrepreneurs are the new rock stars?  Did you scream with joy last Friday when those perky Philly femmes touting Zoom Interiors  (“The Uber of Interior Design”)  earned  $100.000 in funding  on ABC’s “Shark Tank”?

If so, you might enjoy watching (if not participating) in two inventor-celebrating events coming to town.

Tonight (Thursday) at 6:30 p.m. , the marketing guru behind the “Everyday Edisons” TV series (“as seen on PBS”) and its for-profit  product licensing/marketing wing Edison Nation  will talk about what  makes a great invention, in a presentation at the Free Library of Philadelphia,  1901 Vine Street.   Finds on past “EE” seasons (most watchable on Hulu) include Bethlehem, PA-resident Phil Avery’s Foldable Baking Pans, the Energy Cat jungle gym for kitties (gotta love that claw-buffing sandpaper scratching post),  a wacky mold to make edible bowls out of bacon strips and (our fave), a  Speed Bandage Dispenser.  But CEO Louis Foreman’s biggest score was the famous  Edison name. Truthfully, his companies have NOTHING to do with the inventor of electrici lighting and the phonograph. By contrast, the  high-gloss, invention-touting CBS-TV (and web-streamable)  show named “The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation TV Show”  actually owes its existence to a Ford endowment.

Jonathan Takiff @ 11:38 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 11:49 AM

Patrick J. MurphyVerified account‏@PatrickMurphyPA

Im on @Amtrak train that just crashed. Im ok. Helping others. Pray for those injured.

Jonathan Takiff @ 11:49 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 3:17 PM

 Comcast will plant a flag in Ultra High Definition TV land later this year, with the first X1 set-top box cable, Xi4, capable of streaming “4K linear channels” to the Ultra HD TV of your choice. An even better box is on the drawing boards for release next year.

Until now, early adopters of the new ultra high resolution video format – offering 4 times the pixel count of high definition TV – have had to settle for the slim content pickings provided through apps on their smart TVs (Samsung, LG, Vizio) by streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Live, M-Go and Vudu. Or, if they have a Sony-made model, could also choose from a few hundred UHD  movies and TV shows for rental/purchase, either pre-loaded or  downloadable to a dedicated hard drive.

 Also of late,  DirecTV customers with a  Genie box  have had the option to pull out (download) then playback a sprinkling of films in the super res format, but only if they also own a special DirecTV UHD ready-TV made by Samsung.  A Comcast UHD app is another Samsung TV exclusive. 

Jonathan Takiff @ 3:17 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, May 4, 2015, 12:03 PM

The DIY streaming-video apps Meerkat and Periscope have generated lots of buzz in tech and entertainment land the last few weeks, for reasons good and bad.

Jimmy Fallon and Ellen DeGeneres have invited fans to watch backstage shenanigans using those services, all sent and received on mobile phones.

On Monday, Comcast joined these game-changers with a make-'n'-send-your-own video variation called Share, announced at the INTX 2015 Internet and cable-trade expo in Chicago.

Jonathan Takiff @ 12:03 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
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.

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