Today I recieved a new 4G wi-fi hotspot with an interesting twist from the folks at Karma Mobility. Karma has an interesting business model. You buy the hotspot for $79US, and the first time you connect you get 100MB free data, which can be linked using your Facebook account. From then on, you can buy pay-as-you-go bandwidth for $14US/GB.
The twist is that you cannot secure your hotspot. Anyone within range can connect, and when they do THEY get 100MB of free data, and you get 100MB of additional data added to your account for providing their access. Karma is banking on the fact that people will start to recognize the Karma brand, and buy additional bandwidth when they need it and are connected to Karma hotspots in airports and at public gatherings. I'm guessing it will work. A hotspot with a familiar branding is more likely to get connections than one that is broadcasting a name like "ID10T B0X" or "D-Link". And knowing that if they connect they will get 100MB of free data to check email or download a new book on their Kindle Fire before catching that flight makes it a no brainer for the consumer.
I averaged 8.17Mbps download and 1.29Mbps upload in my testing. Not stellar speeds but certainly usable for checking email and small downloads. And that is what the Karma is for, not streaming TV shows from Netflix or downloading torrents. For free bandwidth, that isn't bad at all.
My good friend at Oregon City Computers asked a question and I checked to verify regarding security. His concern was that the owner of the hotspot would be on the hook if someone who connected to it was doing something illegal using the connection. I checked, and because the Radius server at Karma handles authentication, the IP address is assigned there rather than using Network Address Translation (NAT) in the device itself. In other words, unlike your home Wi-Fi, Karma assigns the IP adress to your device, not the local hotspot that I own.
Today the Xbox team from Microsoft took the stage to set the timeline for the next generation of living-room entertainment.
Their solution - XBOX ONE
Leveraging their work with Kinect, the system recognizes you and your voice, removing the need for logging in to your gamer tag.
Fast voice control using what they call "Instant Switching", demo looking very cool. It will also interact with WindowsPhone 8 devices and use them as remote controls using their SmartGlass system.
Leveraging Skype for video calls, which can be used at the same time as the other apps in what they are calling "Snap Mode". Simply saying "Xbox, snap "application name" which will bring it up along side whatever you are doing.
x86 architecture, 8GB RAM, USB 3.0, Blue-Ray drive, Wi-Fi Direct, 64-Bit, variable power states
Kinect leveraging USB 3.0 to stream 3Gb/sec of audio visual data to speed response. Sensors are sensitive enough to read heart rate while using exercise applications.
3 operating systems:
1. Xbox OS
2. Windows Kernel
3. Custom switching OS to bridge the two kernels
New Xbox Live system will include personal DVR to record all game play, and allow you to save and share the recordings including a built-in video editing suite.
EA announcing new strategic partnership, more details coming soon (probably at E3). New "Ignite" game engine for sports titles. 10x animation depth and detail, dubbed "True Player Motion". Video demo from EA looks insanely realistic.
Microsoft studios was up next, showing off Forza Motosports 5. Again the graphics look great. Will be available at launch. Huge emphasis on gaming experience and multi-player.
Trailers for other games were shown as well, concluding with the trailer for "Modern Warfare: Ghosts", which looked amazing.
Microsoft promises more details at E3 in 20 days, so stay tuned, this looks like it could knock Sony's PS4 announcement out of the water.
Yesterday Google opened their I/O developers conference with some big announcements. From a montly music subscription to a new all-in-one chat application called Google HangOuts, Google is taking technology, especially on their Android platform to new highs. They also began the push for new smaller image and video formats to make sharing special events with family and customers more cost effective, reducing file sizes more than 25% with BETTER quality.
Only time will tell how impacting these announcements will be, but the folks at Google sure made a splash. Follow the link below for more details from the folks at Gizmodo.
Google I/O: What's New in Android, Chrome, and Beyond
This is one of the most promising crowd-funded projects I've seen in a while. The concept is a rugged e-ink based tablet, which is able to charge fully in 5 hours of sunlight. The e-ink will keep power usage low, extending runtime to an awesome 20 hours between charges. This thing is loaded with features and is almost ready for production, they just need some pre-orders to get them there. With a backer price of $249, this could be a huge hit for those who love the outdoors. Check it out at the link below:
Meet Earl, a revolutionary tablet engineered for the most extreme of outdoor situations. Built for survival, Earl works where today's smart phones and tablets cannot. Style meets efficiency with Earl's intuitive design, fusing Android 4.1 together with an energy sipping E-Ink screen and the latest in GPS, weather sensor, and radio communication technology. With Earl at your side, stay in control of your journey no matter where it takes you.
This arrived today, and I had to smile. A 3.5v power screwdriver in the shape of a handgun. It works fairly well, but doesn't have much power. It will be fine fora home screws, but won't have enough power to drive into hard woods.