Futurist’s Cheat Sheet: Internet of Things

Futurist’s Cheat Sheet: Internet of Things

Through the Internet, humans have connected the world. People are closer to each other than ever while still remaining apart. The next phase of the the Internet will be about connecting things. The Internet of Things will be central to the infrastructure that we build. (The “Futurist’s Cheatsheet” series surveys technologies on the horizon…

Futurist’s Cheat Sheet: Holographic Displays

Futurist’s Cheat Sheet: Holographic Displays

Movies are filled with big, bright 3D holographic images. Whether it is Tom Cruise manipulating items out of thin air in Minority Report or Robert Downey Jr. going all mad scientist in Iron Man, 3D images have little real-world equivalent. We can dream though. Holographic and more advanced volumetric displays are just but a twinkle in scientists…

Futurist’s Cheat Sheet: Quantum Computing

Futurist’s Cheat Sheet: Quantum Computing

Moore’s Law describes the phenomenon that makes this year’s computer more capable and less expensive than last year’s. But it won’t go on forever. While engineers have come up with various schemes to keep it rolling, quantum computing is the best hope for extending it indefinitely. The concept has been proven in the lab, but working quantum…

Futurist’s Cheat Sheet: Biometric Authentication

Futurist’s Cheat Sheet: Biometric Authentication

The problem is not new. One way or another, people have to validate their identities. I am trying to enter a building or a Web service that only Joe Smith should have access to, I need to offer evidence that I am, indeed, Joe Smith. For decades, authentication has required cards and passwords. In the near future, you might just use a part of your…

Futurist’s Cheat Sheet: Human Augmentation

Futurist’s Cheat Sheet: Human Augmentation

As long as there have been humans, there have been dreams of super humans. Eyeglasses started sharpening vision in the 1200s, pacemakers have been implanted to extend lifespans since the late 1950s, and the first strength-amplifying robotic exoskeletons shipped earlier this year. But those innovations are only the beginning. With advances in…

4 Cool Things You Can Do With Wappwolf and ifttt

4 Cool Things You Can Do With Wappwolf and ifttt

Wappwolf and ifttt are a bit like the chocolate and peanut butter in Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Separate, they’re pretty good. Together, though, is when the magic happens.

For folks new to the services, Wappwolf is an application that performs actions when you drop a file into your Dropbox. ifttt, on the other hand, can interact with websites…

Top 10 Windows 8 Features #9: File History

Top 10 Windows 8 Features #9: File History

The disk maintenance tools that Microsoft ships with Windows have always been, at best, tolerable. Now that there’s an entire industry centered around archival storage systems and services, it’s about time Microsoft gave its consumer versions of Windows a file archiving system appropriate for the 21st century.
Replacing Windows Backup, Windows 8…

Top 10 Windows 8 Features No. 10: Refresh and Reset

Top 10 Windows 8 Features No. 10: Refresh and Reset

Yes, there really are 10 important and beneficial changes you’ll find in Microsoft Windows 8, beginning with Refresh. Let’s just say it’s closer to perfect than Windows Backup. Refresh is Microsoft’s first real attempt to address Windows’ most touchy consumer pain point: Reinstallation as a solution to problems that no one can diagnose or…

An Insider’s Guide to Technology Analysts

An Insider’s Guide to Technology Analysts

Gartner. Forrester. IDC. And lots of smaller fish, too. You can’t read a tech-industy news story, attend a conference or listen to a sales pitch without someone quoting an industry analyst. For tech companies, analysts are big news and big business, promising to help with transformation, monetization and a slew of other things ending in…

Using SPDY on Your Web Server

Using SPDY on Your Web Server

Google’s SPDY protocol offers several advantages over serving traffic via HTTP/HTTPS. But, if you want to use SPDY, you’re going to have to take a few additional steps to set it up. The good thing is that if you happen to be using Apache on recent Debian or RPM-based systems, installing and using SPDY is a simple matter.

A Requiem For RIM

A Requiem For RIM

Since Research In Motion made BlackBerry synonymous with smartphones in the early aughts, the company has taken a pounding for mis-steps, delays, intentional blindness, equivocations and most tellingly, mediocre products.

Those brickbats have often been well-deserved, but RIM should also have earned some respect, if not love, for the important…

8 Things Instagram Did Right

8 Things Instagram Did Right

With its billion-dollar sale to Facebook, Instagram instantly became the latest poster child for startup success. In just 551 days, the photo-sharing mobile app zoomed from zero to 30 million-odd users, and 10 million U.S. visits by March 2012, up 1000% since December 2011. Its valuation outstrips that of the 116-year-old New York Times.

An…

[Poll] Do Developers Think Consumers Like Push Notifications?

[Poll] Do Developers Think Consumers Like Push Notifications?

Easy, instant push notifications are a phenomenon of modern mobile technology. They deliver news, app updates, requests and prompts to users to complete an action. Mobile developers, marketers and advertisers all see push notifications as a key way to reach an audience at the most personal level: straight into their pockets.

This level of personal…

Squashing Bugs: The Many Layered Approach to Mobile App Testing

Squashing Bugs: The Many Layered Approach to Mobile App Testing

You are almost there. The finish line is so close you can taste the champagne toast that comes with victory and a job well done. But … but, it is just not working. There is a bug in the app and the development team cannot figure out where it is and how it has tossed a wrench in the entire process. Progress has come to a complete stop and the…

Trello: Online Collaboration Software at Its Finest

Trello: Online Collaboration Software at Its Finest

If you’ve seen one Web-based collaboration tool, you’ve seen ’em all, right? That was my thinking, until I started seriously looking at Trello a few weeks ago. Trello takes the drudgery out of collaboration software. It gives users a Web-based workspace that’s as easy to use as a whiteboard and Post-It notes, but full-featured enough for…

Autodesk CEO Pushes “Democratization” of Technology

Autodesk CEO Pushes “Democratization” of Technology

Most people think of Autodesk as the maker of AutoCAD, the design software of choice for architects, engineers and other design professionals – typically running on high-powered workstations. So why is Autodesk CEO Carl Bass so hung up on the “democratization” of technology – spreading technology to the cloud computing platforms and mobile…

jPlayer: A HTML5 Audio and Video Player for jQuery

jPlayer: A HTML5 Audio and Video Player for jQuery

Don’t know whether your visitors are going to be able to use Flash or HTML5 for video and audio playback? Don’t guess, take a look at the jPlayer project. jPlayer is an HTML5 audio/video library for jQuery that supports real cross platform audio and video.

Me? I’m a fan of HTML5 solutions, not so much the Adobe Flash solutions – especially…

From Gmail to FastMail: Moving Away from Google

From Gmail to FastMail: Moving Away from Google

One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 is to move away from depending on Google services for my business. Last year’s Gmail redesign, and the pseudonym battles have convinced me that Google is not quite the right home for services I depend on professionally. The first service to go is Gmail. I spent part of my weekend moving email for my…

Accidental Time Capsule: Moments from Computing in 1994

Accidental Time Capsule: Moments from Computing in 1994

If you ever have your friends and/or relatives help you relocate, be sure to keep the security cameras rolling. There will be packing and unpacking decisions that are made for you, some of which you will never be aware of unless there’s evidence in front of you. Sometime during the late summer of 1994, I lost a small briefcase.

It had no…