Makerbot and models (Makerbot)

The Sad State of Consumer 3D Printing

CES this year had a huge area given over to 3D printing. Sadly, I found it about the most depressing area of the show. True, there were some interesting high-end machines and some very cool samples of work from commercial …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   January 27th, 2014
happy-mac

Mac at 30: The Shadow of a Smile

Ben Bajarin points out that a key characteristic of Apple for the past 30 years has to make things as simple as possible for users and the same spirit that motivated the Mac in 1984 drives the iPad today. I’ll …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   January 24th, 2014
netflix-button-568x411

Netflix and Neutrality

When the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s network neutrality rules, many commentators cited Netflix as the poster child for the horrors that await. Left free to discriminate, internet service providers would either throttle Netflix …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   January 23rd, 2014
HP web page

Windows 8 is Worse Than Vista (for Microsoft)

Hewlett-Packard created a bit of a stir this week it promoted its PCs by announcing that it was bringing back Windows 7, the operating system that Microsoft replaced nearly a year and a half ago. Despite claims such as “HP …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   January 22nd, 2014
Steve Ballmer at CES 2012

CES: The Company That Wasn’t There

 

Steve Ballmer in happier times, at CES 2012

For many years, Microsoft set the tone for CES with a keynote the evening before the annual consumer electronics extravaganza opened. It was always heavily attended and heavily covered, and there was …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   January 15th, 2014
FCC Seal (FCC)

The Net Neutrality Slap Down: Time to Move On

The decision from the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia was hardly unexpected, but it was sharp and unequivocal. Writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, Judge David Tatel told the Federal Communications Commission that its Open Internet Order, …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   January 14th, 2014
HP ProOne AiO_left w keyboard

CES: Android’s Big Business Bid

Android is turning up in the strangest places. The Google mobile operating system, alresady the numerically dominant platform for smartphones and tablets worldwide, is making a move to desktops and laptops.

It’s not clear that this is something Google envisioned or …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   January 8th, 2014
Tegra K1 (Nvidia)

When is a Core Not a Core?

Nvida generated some pre-CES excitement by announcing its Tegra K1 processor, which looks to be the most powerful graphics engine ever designed for mobile use.  But the company also spread a lot of confusion by describing it as a “192-core …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   January 6th, 2014
Comments Off
toq

CES: Wearables Yes; Watches, Not So Sure

As the CES pre-announcements pour in, it’s clear that a leading feature of this year’s electronics extravaganza will be wearable devices of all types. Smart watches will make the biggest splash, but I have grave doubts about this category’s chances …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   January 6th, 2014
Washington Post, 1/3/2014

Quantum Computing, the NSA, and Reality

The Washington Post led today’s front page with a very curious choice: An article, by Steven rich and Barton Gellman, that said the National Security Agency is sponsoring research into quantum computing that, if successful, would break public key encryption. The …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   January 3rd, 2014
Apple ][+

Eight Innovators That Shook the World

Note: This article was updated to correct the omission of Google.

There’s no more tedious subject on the internet than an endless discussion of which companies are or are not innovative. If you doubt it, pick a random Tech.pinions comment thread; …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   January 3rd, 2014
Copy of NSA document from Der Spiegel

Apple, iPhone, and the NSA: A Tale of Sorry Journalism

Watching CNN on New Year’s Eve, I learned that the National Security Agency was able to snoop on everything I did or said on my iPhone. Actually, I had been reading this for a couple of days on an assortment …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   December 31st, 2013
Photo of Acer Chromebook C710 (Acer)

Most Read Columns of 2013: Learning to Love Chromebooks and Succeeding

I have been a skeptic about Chromebooks since Google announced them. What could you really do on a pseudo-laptop whose only native application was the Chrome browser and which depended on an internet connection for most of its functionality. …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   December 27th, 2013
so_long_farewell

Hail and Farewell, All Things Digital

Next Tuesday, New Year’s Eve, will mark the end of one of the most important journalistic tech industry web sites, Dow-Jones’ All Things Digital. Those of you who have been following this drama in recent months know that its disappearance …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   December 26th, 2013
Screen shot from commercial (Apple via YouTube)

A Tale of Two Ads: “Misunderstood” vs. “Scroogled”

If you want to know why Apple keeps winning  in consumer markets and Microsoft keeps losing, you can find much of the answer in the ads the two companies use to present themselves to the world. This week, Apple …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   December 18th, 2013

Follow up: Adobe, Apple, and Bad Error Messages

In a Tech.pinions Insiders article yesterday, I wrote that one reason for the success of tablets is that they do not regularly befuddle users with error messages. No sooner had I written it than I got a lesson in the …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   December 12th, 2013
Building Digital Tablets Horizontal

Hits, No Errors: The Secret of Mobile Success

 

When Jeff Hawkins was designing the original Palm Pilot, he had a simple rule for his team. If a feature was generating error messages, it either got fixed fast or it was removed.  The Palm user experience was designed to …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   December 11th, 2013
sugarsync

The Freemium Model May Be Going Away

SugarSync, one of the pioneers of freemium cloud storage, announced today it was ending its free service. From now on,the minimum account will be 60 gigabytes of storage for $7.49 a month or $75 a year. SugarSync had offered a …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   December 10th, 2013
Photo of Amazon drone (Amazon.com)

The Pitfalls of Techno-optimism (and the Ambition of Amazon)

Jeff Bezos’ interview with Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes accomplished three things. It told the world that Amazon is a true technology company, not just a giant retailer.  It took attention away from unpleasant subjects, such as working conditions in Amazon’s fulfillment …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   December 4th, 2013
FCC Seal (FCC)

Wheeler’s FCC: Ring Out the Old Fights, Bring in the New

The list of recent of accomplishments at the Federal Communications Commission is pretty short. Although President Obama and his FCC chief, Julius Genachowski, took office with a lot of bold talk, very little has happened in the past five years. …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   November 27th, 2013

X-ray Glasses Are for Real

Evena Eyes-On Glasses (Evena Medical) Readers of a certain age remember comic book ads for mail-order glasses that would let you see through people’s (read: girls’) clothing. They were, of course, a pure rip-off, but their real world counterpart is …...

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by Steve Wildstrom   |   November 20th, 2013
Photo of empty lecture hall (© SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com)

Education and the Future of MOOCs

Maybe online course aren’t going to remake the face of higher education after all.

After a fast start, reality seems to be closing in on the world of the massive, open, online courses that were supposed to replace traditional lectures and …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   November 20th, 2013
Silhouette of a man athlete running on wave background. EPS 10.

UnderArmour Deal Shows Fitness Tech Going Mainstream

If there was any doubt that fitness measurement, whether using wearable devices or sensor-equipped smartphones, is going mainstream it should have been settled Nov. 14  by UnderArmour’s purchase of startup Map My Fitness for $150 million.

Of course, devices such as the …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   November 15th, 2013

Apple Support: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

See update below

Apple is a company that inspires both delight and dismay in its customers, sometimes both in the same person and on the same day.

First the good news. My 27″ iMac had been acting weird since I installed Mavericks. …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   November 7th, 2013
© Sergey Nivens - Fotolia.com

Tablets, Desktops, Laptops: How the Tools Fit My Life

With the endless arguments about tablets’ productivity or lack thereof, I decided to take a close look at the computing tools in my life. The result is a seemingly contradictory conclusion: We truly live in a post-PC era in which …

by Steve Wildstrom   |   November 6th, 2013