Microsoft bought ‘Minecraft’ after a single tweet by its creator 

According to this Engadget article, looks like all my MS hating, Minecraft loving friends are grieving today! What could go wrong? microsoftminecraft_0_oMaybe Minecraft will get easier to install. Or maybe it will cost more money? Will the Mac version still be supported and will pocket Minecraft still work on iOS, Androids, and Fire?

I really can feel for the founder/owner of Minecraft. He apparently became so overwhelmed by the massive work it takes to manage a gaming business with such a vocal community. It took over his life. I started a small local web design company and it has nearly killed me. I get it. Not everyone wants to be a slave to their job and their creations. This is the tweet that caused Microsoft and Blizzard (EA) to bid out Persson’s shares. But Microsoft? Wow! Or should I say WoW. I wonder. I understand that the XBOX has changed all views towards Microsoft as the Windows/Office conquer the world with bad software king. But I still know so many hardcore MS haters that wont ever touch a XBOX. I wonder what the reaction will be.

Mincraft Sale TweetI don’t dislike Microsoft. In fact with out Microsoft, I wouldn’t have the IT career I do. So the kids and I own a XBOX and we also own Minecraft for XBOX. I play the game with my 11 yr old son and 6yr old daughter and their friends. I have created a secure server for them to play remotely in their worlds. Other than the animal killing and noises that are made by these block characters during distress, I love the game and think it is an excellent creative learning tool for my children. We mostly play the game in the house on our Macs, unless we have no Wifi and then we play the pocket version on our 4G tablets or phones. But we play the game on a variety of devices and OS other than XBOX. They include iOS (iPads and Macs), Android (Samsung Galaxy Note tablets and phones, and Amazon-Fire), and Windows (HP, DELL, VIAO laptops & convertibles). Will Microsoft limit that freedom?

Again I do respect Persson’s choice to move on with his life. As explained in a Forbes interview “… FORBES represent Persson’s only interview about the Minecraft deal and his life after. It turns out that the most certain thing this windfall bought him was some heavy soul-searching. The only thing he has learned for sure: He was right to walk away from Minecraft. In explaining his recent decisions, he quotes Leonardo da Vinci: “Art is never finished, only abandoned.””

I just hope that the new owners continue to nurture such a strong and open community and keep the cost down. One of the upsides maybe that there will be more Minecraft merchandise for our kids birthday parties :)

watching Apple Watch

watch-dmI am fascinated by wearable, but I want them to completely replace the smartphones and tablet, but not be so clunky and weird to wear like Google glass.

This is a repost from TechCrunch by 

Apple’s first wearable is right around the corner, and the Apple Watch will likely debut along a very healthy selection of third-party apps. It might be hard to envision just how those apps will work, however, especially for potential buyers who don’t have the luxury of being able to wander over to an Apple Store and check one out in person.

WatchAware, a new site from the AppAdvice team focusing on providing Apple Watch media coverage, has created interactive previews of upcoming Watch Apps to let users see form themselves in a browser how they might work on the wrist.

There are currently 27 previews in total, including apps like Run 5k, Todoist, Deliveries and Infinitweet that have worked directly with WatchAware, and prominent Apple and partner apps like Facebook, Twitter, Maps, Pinterest and more. For each, you can see either the app, a glance (a focused display of your app’s most relevant information) or a notification, or a combination of the views listed if a developer has chosen to provide more than one.

The previews offer limited interactivity, showing some aspects of the Watch App’s functionality as a brief video demo, while letting users actually tap on other elements (both scrolling and tapping the digital crown to return home work on notifications, for instance) to load up preview clips of other features at the same time. Each interactive app demo is embedded in an Apple Watch hardware mockup so you can see what it would look like in the stainless Apple Watch version of the forthcoming iOS wearable. A brief description is included to give a general overview of the app’s functionality.

The AppAdvice team decided to build this site in part to help readers understand what the upcoming Apple Watch might be useful for in their own personal lives. There’s a lot of uncertainty around this new category, according to Mahmoud Hafez, AppAdvice founder.

“It was hard to start a new site from scratch since we have a strong user base at AppAdvice,” he explained to TechCrunch. “When the iPad launched we never considered making an iPad specific site, because the apps were so similar –  we saw it as more of a convenience form factor. With Apple Watch we see a true paradigm shift. We’re going to have radically different experiences and apps than we have on the phone. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about if this device deserves to exist and how it will change computing.”

WatchAware hopes to eventually make it possible for developers to use their technology to display their own apps, and will be working with anyone who contacts in the meantime to build a preview for use on the site together. They’re also looking to add additional interactive preview for detailed looks inside each app, over and above what they currently offer.

At this point, most people can imagine how a mobile app will work based on simple screens or a video demo, but that’s not the case for Apple Watch software. Providing some kind of mechanism that shows what users can expect from apps before they even own a wearable is indeed a useful service, and may help pave the way for more widespread adoption of the tech to come.

Future of Mobile Phone Carriers?

mobile WiFi everywhere, get on the bus

I heard this article on NPR yesterday and it reminded me of how temporary some of our staple technologies are. Disruptive technology is a beautiful but scary thing. Especially if you work in an industry whose major customers are the mobile phone networks. Free voice over IP is a future that is great for immediate timely human communication. Now Net Neutrality may be more of a juggernaut. If WiFi is free where ever you move thru a town.


Board any city bus in Portugal’s second-largest municipality, Porto, and you’ve got free Wi-Fi. More than 600 city buses and taxis have been fitted with wireless routers, creating what’s touted as the biggest Wi-Fi-in-motion network in the world.

The service not only provides commuters with free Internet connections but it also helps collect data that makes the municipality run more efficiently.

The tech startup behind this new service is called Veniam, based in Porto and Mountain View, Calif. It calls its project the “Internet of Moving Things.”

Porto is the first test market, but the company hopes to expand to several U.S. cities later this year.

In my crystal ball I saw the mobile network operators going out of business as Wifi calling, skype, hangout taking its place. Smart phone will all be unlocked and OTA a thing of the past. Sad face. I hope the companies I have been working for start adapting now…

The test of a robust Wi-Fi connection is if you can keep a Skype call up and running, with video, while moving around. So that’s what we try — while careening through different neighborhoods of Porto.

Over Skype, we reach André Cardote, Veniam’s engineering manager. From his office, he’s able to track our bus in real time, watching its Wi-Fi router connect to RSUs — roadside units — or fiber access points scattered across the city, through which it connects to the Internet.

This gaming accessory could be the future of virtual reality fitness from Mashable by Adario Strange


The latest virtual reality systems are promising us new immersive experiences for gaming. But look beyond the stunning imagery for a moment: how can we avoid creating another generation of out-of-shape, couch-ridden joystick jockeys?

The people behind the Realm System believe they have the answer in the form of a resistance accessory designed work seamlessly with the Oculus Rift.

SEE ALSO: Through the Looking Glass: Virtual Reality gets real at CES

Attached to the user’s waist and hands, the Realm system works with the Kinect camera to track your movements, and the Oculus Rift to let you see the corresponding actions in VR.

The key aspect of the Realm is that it actually forces you to exert energy when you’re swinging an axe to defeat virtual ogres, or makes you feel the tension of a resistant steering wheel while driving a VR racing car.

In the company’s demonstration video, users are shown wearing the Oculus Rift to lay out zombies with a sword. But in another video, we get to see a boxer using the device without a VR helmet while engaging in an onscreen boxing match.

So if you only have a Kinect, and aren’t a fan of VR, you can still benefit from the Realm system.

We’ve talked about how touch is the primary missing element to virtual reality systems like the Oculus Rift, but Realm’s resistance component adds yet another physical dimension in much the same way as the Virtuix Omni treadmill.

But where the Virtuix Omni merely adds a walking component, the Realm appears to be a tool that could really give you a workout — something many fitness-friendly gamers have been waiting for.

As a product idea the Realm sounds fun, and the presentation is convincing. But the rougher demo video, above, which shows first-time users gleefully swinging at virtual objects, really hints at the Realm’s potential.

The Realm is currently taking early orders on Kickstarter for about $200, with delivery of the product coming in September — assuming

The Weirdest Hybrid Gadgets of the Last 40 Years


The Microsoft Surface arrives today. It’s been touted as the perfect compromise between laptop and tablet. (From what we can tell, that’s not quite the case.)

But hybrid gadgets have a checkered past. Most seem to fail at first, and yet some find success later. So all hope might not be lost for this quirky device. And maybe, one day, we’ll see the Surface as a pioneer, like some of these 12 other examples—all greeted as mixed-up weirdos in their time.

IBM 5120


The Mac was not the first all-in-one computer. That honor goes to the HP 9810. In 1971, it combined a computer, a keyboard, and a very rudimentary LED display capable of showing calculator-grade characters. Actually, it was a glorified calculator. Later, in 1980, the IBM 5120 was the first to combine a traditional CRT display with the guts of a PC. As for Apple, the Lisa—the company’s first all-in-one offering—arrived in 1983.


Scanntronic Scanner-E


Companies like HP may be synonymous with today’s multifunction machines that print, scan, copy and fax. But the Scanntronic, a little box that could attach to any dot matrix printer, was a single tool that could accomplish all that in the 1980s. It could scan and digitize a document with the help of a Commodore 64.


Photo: MOS6502

Boombox TV

The 12 Weirdest Hybrid Gadgets of the Last 40 YearsCombining a boombox and a TV seems like the ultimate ’80s gadget for teenagers, and certainly had to be novel for the time, but one could only imagine how bad the picture and reception had to be on that thing.

Photo: Flowizm

TV/VCR Combo


The TV/VCR combo has it’s earliest roots in the 1970s, when a ancestral technology known as cartrivision popped up in the market place. Sony would later produce a combo unit that played Betamax tapes. But it wasn’t until the mid-1980s that the TV/VCR combo would become a trend, popularized by companies like Sharp. The thing a lot people failed to realize was, when the VCR failed and had to be taken to the shop for repairs, you lost the use of the television in the process.


Photo: Brian Derksen



In the 1990s, computers were those small beige boxes you kept hidden in a home office. So a former Apple engineer had a bright idea: A device that could connect to a home TV to access the web from the comfort of a couch. Unfortunately, between a clunky remote and keyboard, the low resolution of standard-definition television, and the fact that mail was the “killer app,” it was a frustrating user experience. But, at least, it was bought by Microsoft. And, for its encryption powers, classified as a weapon by the US government.


Photo: Web Reference

Sharp J Phone


Developed in conjunction with Philippe Kahn, who happens to be the first person to ever send an image taken with a cellphone, Sharp’s J Phone was the first to reach any consumer market when it hit Japan in 2000. Capable of shooting images with 256 colors and a resolution well below VGA (110,000 pixels in all), the J Phone camera was hardly a powerhouse. But for the time, it was probably amazing. More importantly, it paved the way for the excellent camera modules we have in phones today.


Nokia NGage

The 12 Weirdest Hybrid Gadgets of the Last 40 YearsBefore Apple and Google convinced game devs there was money to be made in the smartphone market, Nokia was trying to do the same with its dumbphones. Its most aggressive attempt to takeover the portable gaming space came in 2003, the form of the NGage, a device meant as much for play as it was for communications. Unfortunately, the NGage lacked the A+ titles needed to attract buyers, and the hardware wasn’t quite good enough to dethrone the Game Boy Advance. It wouldn’t be until the iPhone arrived that gaming on the phone would be taken (almost) as seriously as gaming on a portable console.

Iomega NAS 100D


The world had already seen Network Attached Storage in 2004, but the Iomega NAS 100D was among the the first to tack wi-fi onto a 160 gigabyte drive. It allowed people to access content from a home network, sans wires and without the need of additional networking gear. Of course, devices such as Apple’s Time Capsule would go on to capitalize on this concept.


Playstation 2


Devices like the Sega CD and PS1 could play audio CDs, true. But the real hybridization of the video game console came with the PS2 and its ability to play DVD movies. Nintendo and Sega both shied away from this functionality, with Nintendo claiming it wanted to focus on being a gaming machine. But Sony fully embraced the future destiny of gaming consoles as all-around home entertainment devices. Today, the Xbox 360 is the ideal iteration of this hybrid concept.


Livescribe Pentop

The 12 Weirdest Hybrid Gadgets of the Last 40 YearsThe Livescribe is among the strangest of the hybrid beasts. It’s a pen with the power to digitize your handwritten notes. But it’s also a voice recorder capable of synchronizing audio recordings to the written word. Oh, and it has the ability to perform relatively simple calculations, such as mathematical operations and language translations. Before the rise of tablets and ultrabooks, this was coveted by copious note takers. These days, maybe less so, but surely there’s still some student, lawyer—or reporter—who prefers taking notes by hand.

Photo: Livescribe/AP

Canon 5D MK II


The Canon 5D was hardly the first device to capture photo and video. But it was the first DSLR to accomplish the feat at a level approaching professional grade. Equipped with a 21 megapixel sensor, the camera captured 1080p video at industry standards such as 24p and 30p. If you dropped the res to 720p, it could go all the way up to 60 frames per second. And because the video feature could take advantage of the powerful sensor and interchangable lenses, the camera found a role shooting several television and movie productions. Not too shabby.


Nikon CoolPix S800c

The 12 Weirdest Hybrid Gadgets of the Last 40 YearsThere have been wi-fi enabled cameras, cameras with select apps for uploading photos, and cameras with embedded software for photo fun. But none have ever come packaged with a full mobile OS like theNikon CoolPix S800c. Running a version of Android, the camera can use any photo editing app or photo upload service available on the platform without first having to connect to a computer. It’s one of the few ways the point-and-shoot camera can hope to stay relevant in the golden era of the cameraphone.