Tech East and More of Day 1 at CES

I wrapped up at Tech West (previous posts here and here), and in the afternoon I ventured over to Tech East at the Las Vegas Convention Center where many of the larger tech firms have their exhibits. A big theme this year was obviously the Internet of Things (IoT) — connected everything, with a focus on connected home devices. There seems to be a lot of innovation here, and many companies seem to be pushing their products closer to the point at which the benefits of some of these devices justify the (falling) costs, but I don’t think we’re there yet. Zigbee had a big home automation demo, showing everything from connected lights, speakers, flood monitors, motion sensors, and more: New connected

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First Day at CES

I spent my first full day at CES, and most of the descriptions I’ve read are spot on. It’s a complete zoo, it’s exhausting, and it’s awesome. I started the day at Tech West, spending most of my time in the Sands Expo. I first worked my way through more fitness/health trackers than I previously could have imagined existed. There were obviously dozens of Fitbit-like step counters and sleep trackers, which seemed increasingly irrelevant as much of this functionality, at least the step counter part, is a feature on most new smartphones. I found a “Smart Basketball”, 94fifty, that sends real time data on your shot speed, backspin, arc, and dribbling to your phone: There was Skulpt, which initially sounded ridiculous to

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First Impressions of the iPhone 6 Camera: Callahan State Park

I’ve had my iPhone 6 for almost a month now, but hadn’t really tested out the camera in a meaningful way until today. With all the warm weather we’ve had this week, Laura and I decided to head out to Framingham to meet up with my Mom and take Bella for a walk in Callahan State Park. In rained for the first part of the walk, but the sun broke out right around the time we got to Eagle Pond. The light was perfect. I’d read the camera was a big step up from my previous iPhone 5, and after looking at a handful of shots on a big screen, I’m very impressed. The hardware is great, but I also

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UberBoat Boston

This could be interesting. Starting this week, Uber began offering boat rides around Boston Harbor for $10/person: “June 4 through June 15, you can use the Uber app to request a water taxi, powered byBoston Harbor Cruises. Make waves as you ride to your favorite Seaport restaurant. Sail over to the ICA for First Friday. Add a splash of fun to your morning commute – or even a quick cruise to or from Logan. Catching a flight has never been so easy!” It actually seems like a reasonable deal to the airport from the Seaport, especially during rush hour. Or potentially as a quick way to get to Charlestown. Here’s a list of the pickup docks and destinations.

Lasers for Space Broadband

Speeds of 622 Mbps from the moon: Wireless broadband service went cosmic in a demo conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory and NASA, in which a laser-based communication uplink between the moon and earth beat the previous record transmission speed by a factor of 4,800. … The team’s Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) transmitted data over the 384,633 kilometers between the moon and earth at a download rate of 622 Mbps. In addition, data was transmitted from the earth to the moon at 19.44 Mbps, a factor 4,800 times faster than the best radio-frequency uplink ever used, MIT said. Other moon-laser applications here:

Google Just Bought Some Scary Robots

From the NYT: “Google confirmed on Friday that it had completed the acquisition of Boston Dynamics, an engineering company that has designed mobile research robots for the Pentagon. The company, based in Waltham, Mass., has gained an international reputation for machines that walk with an uncanny sense of balance and even — cheetahlike — run faster than the fastest humans.” But they’ll probably do less scary things with these guys then the Pentagon would have. Check them out below. Bigdog: Wildcat: Petman: Petman in Camo:

Learning to Code (Kind of)

Aside from playing around with visual basic over the years (I coded a configurable metronome in 1997 and a number of other simple windows-based apps), and learning just enough HTML and CSS to know which questions to Google to run a few websites, I can’t by any reasonable definition code. A colleague recently suggested that we take the One Month Rails class in our free time (of which I seem to have less and less), to learn some Ruby on Rails basics. It’s essentially a video and exercise online class. I like the idea. I don’t have any far fetched illusions that I’ll become a competent coder in the near future (or likely ever). But as coding becomes increasingly important

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