Shared posts

20 Nov 05:10

A few portraits from Earl & Jessica’s Wedding Reception

by Ms. Jen
Dan and Ryan Callis at Earl and Jessica Buck's Wedding

Sat 10.18.14 – Here are a few of the portraits / photos that I took of friends at Earl and Jessica Buck’s wedding reception. Photos by Jenifer Hanen, aka Ms. Jen, with her Nikon D800 and a Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens.

19 Nov 18:16

New Search Strategy for Firefox: Promoting Choice & Innovation

by Chris Beard
Ten years ago, we built Firefox to keep the Internet in each of our hands — to create choice and put people in control of their lives online. Our focus has been on building products that drive the competition, energy … Continue reading
20 Nov 07:04

Yahoo! and Mozilla – Face not wallet

by windsorr

RFM AvatarSmall






The loss of Firefox hurts image and more than revenues.

  • Yahoo! and Mozilla have announced that Yahoo! will replace Google as the default search engine within the Firefox Internet browser.
  • This change marks the end of the 10 year deal in which Google was the default search provider for Mozilla.
  • Mozilla and Yahoo! have signed a 5 year deal where no details were disclosed.
  • Through the Firefox browser Mozilla was acquiring traffic on Google’s behalf and its share of those revenues made up the vast majority of Mozilla’s revenues.
  • In 2012A (last available figures) Mozilla had $311 in revenues where I think Google was probably responsible for around 85%.
  • Google typically pays away 20% of its gross search revenues to those that source traffic on its behalf implying that something in the region of $1.3bn of its gross search revenues was coming from traffic sourced from Firefox.
  • In 2012A Google’s gross search revenues were $37.6bn meaning that being the default search provider to Firefox represented only 3.5% of revenues.
  • Consequently, I suspect that this means that the loss of Mozilla is unlikely to have much impact on Google’s ability to earn revenues from search.
  • This is especially the case as since 2012A, Firefox’s desktop browser share has declined from 22.5% to 14.2% while Chrome’s share has risen from 17.6% to 21.1% (see here).
  • Add this to the fact that Yahoo! is desperately trying to gain share in search, and it is not difficult to see how Yahoo! was willing to pay more to be the default search provider than Google was.
  • Furthermore, I suspect that Mozilla was keen to get away from Google given that it is actively trying to lure users away from Firefox to its own Chrome browser.  
  • As a result Yahoo! clearly makes a better match for Firefox than Google does and both parties had an incentive to see a deal done.
  • Hence, Yahoo! is probably paying much less than some commentators may think, but probably more than the 20% gross search revenue share that Google was paying.
  • Whether, this transaction meaningfully lifts Yahoo!’s search revenues has yet to be seen as one must not forget that Google is better at monetising traffic that comes in than Yahoo! is.
  • Net net this is a good deal for Yahoo! and it should have some top line impact but the loss to Google is probably more face than wallet.
  • I would still pick Google over Yahoo! in the short term, given Yahoo!’s inability to execute on the assets it has already acquired.
20 Nov 08:32

Bug Triage Day

by Petruta Rasa

Hello everyone!

Monday, November 24th we will be holding our weekly Bug Triage Day. In case you missed our latest posts, we’ll be holding this event via the #qa IRC channel from now on! Please join us there and get involved!

You don’t need to have any previous experience in working with bugs. Ask for help on #qa and someone there will offer you assistance. Details are also available in this event’s wiki page.

If you aren’t able to attend this event but still want to get involved, you can triage bugs on your own time.

Remember to add the [bugday-20141124] tag to the whiteboard or a comment for every bug you work on, so we know you participated in this event.

Join us on Monday and help make Firefox better!

When: November 24, 2014.

20 Nov 08:35

Bug Verification Day

by Petruta Rasa

Greetings Firefox friends!

Wednesday, November 26th, we will be holding our weekly Bug Verification Day. In case you missed our latest posts, we’ll be holding this event via the #qa IRC channel from now on!

You don’t need to have any previous experience in working with bugs. Ask for help on the #qa channel and someone there will give you assistance. More details are available in the wiki page we set up for you.

If you’re unable to attend these meetings and still want to get involved, you can verify bugs on your own time. Just add the [bugday-20141126] tag to the whiteboard or a comment for every bug you work on, so we know you participated to this event.

Join us on Wednesday and let’s make Firefox better together!

When: November 26, 2014.

20 Nov 14:49

Stuck in the middle

The latest Uber "scandal" makes a few things clear, to me at least.

  1. The tech industry needs to change, to adjust to the reality that it's no longer a startup industry. Our products are used everywhere. They are infrastructure, culture, part of our work and family lives, our intellectual, financial and emotional lives.

  2. Tech products are utilities, not miracles.

  3. The people who develop the products are creative people, some of them, and some are engineers. We are not gods. Never were. But we used to like to hear that we were.

  4. The press obliged. They love the money. Not because they get the money, they don't. But it's easier to follow the money than it is to understand the technology. So they report the mystique of the genius that creates our gee-whiz tech. That might have made sense in the 70s and 80s, but not now. Tech is the fabric of our civilization. It's not a mystery.

  5. Sources now have the power of the press. There is nothing surprising or wrong with the idea of a tech company investigating reporters. The idea that only reporters have the ability to publish is a 20th century idea. Now anyone who wants to speak can start a blog or a podcast and get up and speak.

  6. What do the reporters fear will be discovered about them? The biggest most obvious truth is that most of them are lazy and report the same story everyone else does. They wait for the press release. How can you tell? Just watch the river. It's amazing how a story "breaks" across all the different tech pubs at the same time. There are only a handful of publications that do real reporting. Most of what we get are repurposed press releases.

  7. So where the tech industry has to grow up, the tech press has to earn its keep. There are plenty of stories that never get covered. Why is Chrome such a buggy slow browser? Maybe the web would do better if someone in tech loved it. Why will Google go to such lengths to smear a blogger (me) who reports on it? The press cares when they get slimed (or potentially get slimed, it was just an idea that the Uber exec uttered, not a plan, or any kind of disclosure). The users know that Google is letting us down with Chrome. Don't the tech reporters use this product? Don't they notice that the quality is slipping? Why not write about it? That's a really good question. If the answer is they fear upsetting people at Google, then it's a much bigger deal than an Uber exec expressing frustration with some very awful reporting they've had to endure.

  8. Yes, Uber is right. Sorry. They have every right to be upset about the "coverage" that Pando is doing. What an embarrassment for the industry. That the tech press is willing to go to war over Pando, just shows how ridiculous the whole thing has gotten. How would you feel if an editorial series blasted you for being an "asshole," literally -- that's the word they used to describe Uber management. Not just in passing, as the key idea in a campaign. If we want the industry to grow up, the press has to grow up too. Name-calling is not something anyone should defend.

  9. We need to be thinking and deciding, and not just for the short-term. Our work is important for the future of our civilization. Let's get serious about what we're doing. It's important. We should have fun, but let's behave like what we do matters, because it does.

Stuck in the middle with you

The title of this piece comes from a Stealers Wheel song from the 1970s.

Clowns to the left, jokers to the right, etc etc.

I'm trying to think but nothing happens!

20 Nov 15:21

Chrome is dying, day 3

I have been using Chrome 39 on my Mac for a couple of days. At first it looked like the problems with the clipboard had been solved, but it's pretty clear that it's still pretty badly broken. I no longer think there's any chance that it's "just me" -- for a few reasons.

  1. After writing about it publicly, I've heard from lots of other people saying they've been experiencing clipboard errors too.

  2. I got a new computer last week, installed a fresh copy of Chrome, and the problem came with all that change. So if it were my doing, it would have to have survived a lot of changes in environment, including a new version of the operating system.

I have been working on server apps for the last few days so I haven't had a chance yet to try the debugger in the new version, so I have no info to add there.

Google's appalling behavior

I just want to add a note that I totally object to the smearing campaign Google is running against me. I'm a user, blogger and developer, not your enemy. I really only want Google to keep this browser working, so I can get my work done, as well as others, and for the health of the web. I have a lot of experience with big companies, including Google, smearing critics. I think most other people are clued-in too. Please call off your flamers. Thanks.

20 Nov 14:58

Sony Updates the A7 Camera

bythom sony a7ii back

Sony today announced the Mark II version of the A7 camera. 

What’s new? Not a lot in terms of features, but most are substantive changes:

  • The sensor gets five-axis sensor-shift image stabilization, ala the Olympus E-M1. …
20 Nov 18:12

The Bruntletts in Auckland: A Dozen Ways to Right

by pricetags

From Chris Bruntlett – in Spacing:

We at Modacity recently spent five days in the beautiful city of Auckland, New Zealand, having been invited by Auckland Council to share some lessons from Vancouver.

While Auckland has much work to do in order to become a cycling city, we left thoroughly impressed at how pleasant, comfortable, and even delightful they had made the act of moving by foot. … Auckland is truly practicing the transport hierarchy they preach: 12 simple ways Auckland gets walking right.

Here’s No. 1:


Auck 2

1. WIDE SIDEWALK SPACES – The very first thing we noticed when stepping out of our Airbnb apartment and onto Auckland’s major thoroughfare – Queen Street – was the incredibly generous width of the walking space provided.

But it wasn’t just Queen Street. Every single shopping district we visited, including Karangahape and Ponsonby Roads, featured ample room for walking two, three, or even four abreast in both directions, with space left over for a small sidewalk patio. It was for good reason, we later learned that Queen Street moves upwards of 60,000 people on foot per day (versus 20,000 cars) – demonstrating walking is clearly the most prevalent transport mode in the city centre.

(And isn’t that man-about-Auckland and transport planner Darren Davis at one of the tables?  No doubt making notes.)

All 12 ways Auckland gets walking right here.

20 Nov 18:51

New Report: Chasing Customer Expectations in Retail

by Pablo Kenney

What's the underlying shift that's fueling the growth of mobile devices and business apps?  Will businesses outside of music and media be affected by digital disruption and the new expectations of their customers?

To answer these questions and more, the Apigee Institute surveyed 1,000 smartphone owners in the United States and United Kingdom for the second annual Digital Impact Survey. The results of the research are detailed in our new report, “Run, Don’t Walk: Chasing Customer Expectations in Retail." 

We expected to find that customers are interacting with traditional businesses in new ways, but some of the statistics we uncovered in this research were surprising:

  • 17% of smartphone owners (across the U.K. and U.S.) have started shopping at a new store “because of its app”
  • More than 1 in 3 smartphone owners prefer to shop for clothing via an app
  • 61% of smartphone owners use shopping apps monthly or more frequently, with 14% using apps daily or more frequently

All this means that customers with smartphones are going to play a critical part in the success—and failure—of traditional businesses. Just yesterday, shares of U.S. retailer Target climbed 7.39% in its stock price after exceeding earnings expectations, thanks in large part to more than 30% growth in digital sales.

Unfortunately, not all retailers have enjoyed this kind of success. Only 27% of smartphone owners have downloaded and expressed satisfaction with chain retail apps, below the 45% of smartphone owners who have downloaded and been satisfied by banking apps, and far below the 56% who were satisfied with apps from large internet companies.

Read our report to learn more about current customer expectations, projections of mobile spending for the upcoming holidays, and smartphone owners' views toward the next wave of consumer technology. 

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20 Nov 19:00

Civia Twin City

by Freewheel

Civia Twin City 7-speed. Credit: Civia
Civia Cycles' Twin City models range from $450 for a single speed to $800-1,000 for a 7-speed with an internal gear hub.

QBP (the Minnesota-based company that owns Civia, Surly, Salsa, and All-City, among other brands) has revamped Civia so that it now offers affordable steel bikes with racks, chainguards, fenders, wide tires, and internal gear hubs.  The biggest change at Civia is the new affordability.  Civia previously stood out with its thoughtfully designed, lightweight all-purpose bikes such as the Loring and Hyland. While I'm sad to see the retirement of those high-end models (as well as Civia's really cool cycletruck, the Halsted) it's nice to see QBP's commitment to offering useful, affordable steel bikes.  QBP describes Civia as "devoted to creating bicycle designs for everyday living."  That's what we call "bikes for the rest of us."

Photo credit: Civia Cycles.

Here are specs for the Twin City 7-speed Step-Through:

Frame: 4130 CroMoly steel with hi-tensile top tubes and welded rack
Fork: CroMoly 1" steerer
Brakes: Tektro linear pull, BR-530
Chainguard: Civia Twin City for 38 tooth
Cog: Shimano 21T
Fenders: Civia alloy, 35mm max tire width
Handlebar: 24.5 diameter, 560 mm width
Hub (rear): 7-speed Nexus SG-7R50, 32H
Kickstand: 2-legged stand
Rack (front): Civia Market
Saddle: Civia sprung with steel rails
Shifter: Nexus Revo shifter
Tires: Kenda Kwest 700 x 35mm
20 Nov 18:45

Open Badges Community Project Call, November 19, 2014

Open Badges Community Project Call, November 19, 2014:



This week Sheryl Grant joined the community call to discuss findings from initial research into the 30 winners of the 2011 Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition administered by HASTAC in partnership with Mozilla (funded by MacArthur Foundation).

These 30 project teams won funding for one year, to develop their proposed badging projects, many of which were built starting in fall 2012. Sheryl and her team asked each project group a series of questions at various stages in the projects’ development to find common lessons learned and stumbling blocks to badge system development in the early days of the open badging ecosystem. She was particularly interested to see whether the projects that were designed to be more ‘functional’ (meaning they were sustainable in the long term) had particular lessons to share, compared to projects designed to be pilots.

Here were some core lessons learned:

  • People: Partnerships between project teams and other organizations lead to relationship building, but can sometimes prevent progress; many of the badge systems that didn’t make it to ‘functional’ were hindered by issues related to mismatched collaborations
  • Stakeholders: Stakeholders will define the boundaries of a badge system and need to be identified early in the system development, as each stakeholder represents a boundary to be navigated
  • Teachers are stakeholders: The quality of the user experience for teachers will affect their approach to badge systems in educational spaces. It’s important to engage faculty and teachers as co-creators and co-designers of badge systems; initiating early and ongoing training for teachers first is crucial to ensuring their support.
  • Finding a common language: Identifying badge-specific terminology is key to effectively communicating ideas within the project team and to outside contractors and consultants. In response to similar concerns from others in the community, the Badge Alliance Messaging Working Group initiated work on an Open Badges Glossary during Cycle 1
  • Explain badges early: The concept of badges is not always easy for those being introduced to the idea - providing information early and often is key, as well as developing strong user stories about how badges will work
  • Design for relevance: Relevance was a key word that kept reappearing during the project Q+As. Asking learners and stakeholders what they value will help avoid assumptions in the badge system design process and ensure the system is valuable to all involved
  • Build external partnerships: What gives badges weight for stakeholders — Sharing learning pathways? Motivating learners? Or badges holding currency outside of the issuing environment? Identify badges’ value and relevance for stakeholders early in the badge system design process
  • Trust networks: Fostering a collective belief in the value of the badges within and beyond the issuing community is an important part of ecosystem- and trust network-building. Define your trust network of stakeholders and external partners early to ensure the development of a valuable badge system
  • Fail fast: The ‘golden rule’ to badge system design is frequent iteration: testing with real users early and often allows for fixes. Releasing smaller pieces before larger ones also helps build a stronger badge system from the beginning stages of development
  • Learning Pathways: Designing learning pathways is more complex than developing curricula and course requirements; allow enough time for the design and development of badge criteria and pathways. Creating shared assessment criteria might help badges have value and be connected across different programs; so will aligning badges to existing standards, and using tags to make badges more discoverable (for example, by using the badge directory app on Achievery:
  • User experience (UX): A “clunky” badge system will make badge understanding, earning and sharing more difficult; many project teams said it would be worth the money to get someone who can make the UX intuitive
  • Visual Design: Project teams also said visual design elements should not be underestimated. Overall, simpler designs are better; it’s also important to think about different screen sizes (computers, tablets, mobile)
  • Badge Types: There are different levels and types of badges to be created; careful consideration of learning outcomes and values will guide the badge types each system needs. Experimenting early and keeping things simple will ensure the development of a strong badge system foundation, at which point other features can be developed.
  • Technology: Focus on the technical side of badge system design early; pre-empting technical issues early will allow for agility in re-design. Many projects needed an engineer (and didn’t have one); hiring the best a project team can afford will help if (but usually when) the project comes up against complex technical challenges, particularly when integrating with existing legacy systems

For more detail, check out the full report here:

20 Nov 20:04

Study suggests Canadians aren’t ready to pay with their phones

by Jane McEntegart

Not long after Apple Pay was announced, PayPal released a study that said that 45% of Canadians were ready to embrace new forms of payment, such as through wearable devices. This study said that nearly a quarter of Canadians (23%) were already using their phone to pay and looked at how many people would be likely to take the next step and pay with their watch. However, a new study reveals that Canadians are actually among the least interested in mobile payments.

The Edmonton Journal reports that a study carried out by GfK across 17 countries showed Canadians to be apprehensive about mobile payments in general. The number of people paying with their phones more or less matches across both studies. PayPal said 23% of Canadians had paid with their phone in a store, while GfK’s study showed that about 21% of Canadians polled had made a mobile payment in the last six months.

The issue is that this figure is lower than the 16 other countries included in the study and 40% of Canadian respondents called mobile payments ‘clunky.’ Apparently, concerns about security and the fact that current methods of payment aren’t exactly inconvenient means Canadians are more than happy to stick with the status quo.

“The ATM infrastructure is huge and profound in Canada, even when compared with the United States, so the mobile technology itself is partly a solution for a problem that’s not as big of an issue here,” the Edmonton Journal quotes Stephen Popiel, vice-president of consulting for GfK Canada, as saying. “We have a seamless ATM and debit card structure here and now the tap technology makes it fast and easy to make a lot of small purchases,” he continued.

The “clunky” aspect of mobile payments is likely a reference to the fact that we don’t yet have one system to rule them all. Different banks are working with different carriers and credit card companies on multiple different systems. Then you have to factor in the model of smartphone, which isn’t consistent either. Only Scotiabank supports the BlackBerry Q5, for example.

Interestingly, though Canadians aren’t quite ready to tap-to-pay with their phones, an increasing number of people are making purchases online using their phone. Recent figures from Visa report that 26% of people have made online purchases via mobile in the last 90 days. That said, they’re still stunted by the same problems: security and convenience.

When you look at the statistics from Visa’s study, security and convenience factor into people’s online shopping habits and there seems to be a lack of trust among mobile shoppers compared to PC shoppers. While 65% of people shopping on their PC trust their device’s security, that number falls to 55% when you ask those shopping online on their phone. What’s more, of those surveyed 76% said they prefer to shop online on their computer because its easy to make purchases. The same can only be said for 58% of smartphone purchasers.

It’s certainly true that it is often much easier to shop online using a mouse and keyboard. However, the trust issue is far more detrimental to mobile ecommerce because it’s not something that can be remedied with mobile-friendly websites or one-click purchase processes.

It’s likely the users surveyed by Visa are visiting the same websites, entering the same information, and using the same credit card they would on a PC. Yet still the level of trust is lower. Though it’s possible these people are worried about insecure connections, packet sniffing, and an increasing amount of smartphone malware (and good for them if they are), it’s more likely that the general public still doesn’t really understand mobile ecommerce and therefore are less likely to trust it, which is something that will have an effect on the adoption of NFC payments via smartphones.


20 Nov 19:34

Wine Crate Bike Basket, A DIY Bike Project

by (VeloOrange)
A free wooden wine box makes a cool bike basket.
Today is the third Thursday of November and thus the official release day of Beaujolais Nouveau. It's a date that we at VO celebrate every year. And since you'll probably also be headed to the wine store this afternoon, may we suggest asking the nice folks there for a wooden wine box. Many shops will give these away if you buy a few bottles. Wine boxes make neat carriers when mounted to a porteur rack.
Wine box on a VO Polyvalent.
After much  testing, the VO staff recommends the 2014 Pascal Chatelus (about $11, rooster label). 
Try to get a sturdy wine box; some are a bit flimsy. And try to select a good vintage if the box has a logo printed on the side. Some wine boxes even have lids, which might be useful.

You'll also need four 3/8" p-clamps and four bolts, washers and nuts. For tools you'll need a drill and bit and whatever is necessary to tighten the nuts and bolts. Remove you porteur rack's rail and secure the wine box as shown in the photos below.
While a beard is not strictly necessary, Mark feels that it establishes a proper artisanal gravitas.
Drill the holes and secure the wine box to the rack; there's not really much to it.
This is the p-clamp placement Mark used to prevent the box from shifting. 
Great for a trip to the orchard.
Also great for carrying wine.
20 Nov 18:21

Top 10 best gifts for the lifelogger

by Priscilla Choo

Have you noticed that we’re more than 85% into the year 2014? Yet this also means that we’re about to usher in Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as consumers and merchants all around the world prepare for the season of giving and gifting. Amazon, for one, has already begun rolling out deals as it counts down to Black Friday itself. And if you haven’t attained all that you wanted to in your new year’s resolutions or are losing track of them in the midst of your busyness, our suggestion is this: give lifelogging a try and you might just be surprised at how it can help you achieve your goals! And for those willing to give it a shot or are already in the habit of lifelogging, here are some of the best lifelogging tools that you can gift yourself or others with this festive season.

Read more: 5 Facts About Cutthroat, Deal-Seeking Black Friday Shoppers

1. Jawbone UP3

jawbone UP

Image credited to Jawbone UP

If you’re into fitness tracking, here’s one stylish gadget you can’t miss! Jawbone UP is one of the leaders in the field of wearable tech and fitness trackers. The Jawbone UP3, in particular, is dubbed to be the most advanced tracker right now. Besides the usual features offered by its counterparts, the UPmove and UP24, the Jawbone UP3 also offers heart health monitoring, auto activity classification and advanced sleep tracking. Get yours here now!

Read more: Jawbone’s new Up3 is its most advanced fitness tracker ever

2. Fitbit Flex


Image credited to Fitbit

Fitbit is also one of the wearable tech/fitness tracker makers that has carved out a reputation for itself. The Fitbit Flex is a wireless activity and sleep wristband that has indicator lights to see how you stack up against your personal goal. It’s the motivation you need to get out and be more active. You can be sure to shed off the festive weight gain with this!

3. Withings Activité


Image credited to Withings

The Withings Activité is more than meets the eye. Crafted in Le Locle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Switzerland that is famous for watchmaking, the Withings Activité is probably the fitness tracker that wins “Best Design” hands-down. And that’s perhaps why it comes with a higher price tag of $450. Not only does it come with Swiss Made details such as a scratch-proof domed sapphire glass, 5 ATM water-resistant case, as well as Barenia leather from Haas Tanneries (the supplier of the finest French Haute Couture houses), the Withings Activité is also an activity tracker and sleep monitoring device. Although they are currently out of stock, you could request for a notification when it’s stocked up again – remember, beautiful things are worth the wait.

4. Moto 360

moto 360

Image credited to Moto 360

And if you’re looking for a slightly less expensive smart watch option that is also well-designed, consider looking to the Moto 360. Moto 360 not only displays timely updates based on your location, it also responds to your voice, has various fitness tracking metrics and is continuously expanding in terms of functions simply because it is powered by Android Wear. All these and more, at a very attractive price of $249.99

5. Samsung Gear Fit

Image credited to Samsung

With major smart phone makers all heading in the direction of lifelogging and self-tracking, Samsung is definitely building up its reputation in the Quantified Self scene as well. The Samsung Gear Fit is your all-in-one fitness tracker that is closely compatible with Android™ version 4.3, Jelly Bean or higher, which has a WVGA or higher screen resolution and a 1.0GB or higher memory. It functions as a pedometer, exercise, sleep and heart rate monitor, providing you with notifications and acts also as a media controller, timer, stopwatch and has the added “Find My Device” function. Moreover, rumour has it that the Samsung Gear Fit will be priced at $99.99 this Black Friday, instead of its usual $149.99 price tag. So keep a lookout for that this Black Friday!

Read more: Samsung Black Friday 2014 deals include $99.99 Gear Fit, cheap Galaxy Tabs

6. Pebble Steel

pebble steel

Image credited to Pebble Smartwatch

With an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $10,000,000 out of its original $100,000 goal in 2012, Pebble can be said to have gained an almost first-mover advantage in pushing smart watches into the mainstream market. Since then, Pebble has grown to be a renowned brand in the wearables market, and has now launched the Pebble Steel, a new and improved smart watch that is available in stainless and matte black. With a 5-7 day battery, the Pebble Steel allows users to gain access to thousands of apps, notifications, a tricolor status LED, customizable watchfaces, music control, fitness tracking and alarms. Have they done enough to steal your heart again?

7. Misfit Shine

Misfit Shine

Image credited to Misfit Shine

Now moving on to something that you can actually not wear on your wrist, here’s introducing to you the Misfit Shine, a fitness and sleep monitor in which you can use to set goals, track your progress or have a friendly competition with your friend! Weighing only 9.4g and taking up less than 3cm in diameter, the Misfit Shine is certainly not going to make you live up to its name of being a misfit. In fact, it remains versatile for you to clip it to anywhere you would like to accessorize. The best part of all? It’s yours at only $99.99!

8. Microsoft Band

microsoft band

Image credited to Microsoft Band

“Leave your phone in your pocket and miss nothing” is what Microsoft Band aims to do. In addition to pushing important notifications from your phone to your smart band, Microsoft Band also wants to be your personal trainer, as it guides you towards improved wellness by constantly learning about you, your current fitness level, and your future needs. With a personal digital assistant called Cortana that looks out for you and makes life easier, Microsoft Band hopes that you can live more efficiently to focus on the other things you’ve to accomplish. Love how it sounds already? Buy it now for $199.99!

9. Garmin Vívosmart


Image credited to Garmin

If you’ve been a fan of Garmin since their early days of advanced sports watches, then you’ll definitely be in love with the Garmin Vívosmart too! Although significantly falling behind its earlier predecessor, the Vivofit, in terms of battery life, the Garmin Vívosmart boasts of added features like auto sync, smart notifications, vibration alerts, touchscreen and OLED display. Get yours today at $169.99!

10. Narrative Clip

Narrative Clip

Sorry, we just couldn’t help but add this last one in. What’s lifelogging without the Narrative Clip – a tiny, automatic camera and app that gives you a searchable and shareable photographic memory? Get yours today at!

We hope that this list has made your Black Friday shopping a little easier (also consolidated on Pinterest for your easy viewing). For more wearable tech products, do check out this comprehensive wearable tech list – from cradle to grave, from wrists to flights.

If you enjoyed this post, you can also subscribe to our monthly newsletter!

19 Nov 18:39

Samsung to launch device with flexible display in 2015

by Jane McEntegart

Samsung might be cutting 30% of its smartphone portfolio next year, but we’re also looking forward to some totally new handsets from the company.

We’ve already heard that the Galaxy S6 will be totally new, designed to look unlike any previous Galaxy. Now, Samsung itself has confirmed plans to produce as many as 40,000 flexible displays per month by the end of next year.

ZDNet cites Lee Chang-hoon, VP of the business strategic team at Samsung Display, as saying the company planned to provide consumers with a product that has a flexible display by the end of the year. Lee said his company will secure production capacity of 30,000 to 40,000 flexible displays each month by the end of next year.

Though Lee said that “nothing has been decided on the finished product,” the Galaxy S6 is rumoured to utilize the flexible display we saw in the Note Edge to create a similar ‘second screen’ effect on either side of the display panel. It’s also thought to incorporate some of the metal construction we’ve seen on more recent Samsung phones (like the Galaxy Alpha, Note 4, and Galaxys A3 and A5).

Samsung isn’t the only company working on flexible displays; the company appears to be in a race with LG. Last month, an LG roadmap revealed that the company was planning flexible devices, including tablets and smartphones, next year. Foldable, rollable displays, something Samsung has also been experimenting with, are set to arrive in LG products in 2017.

19 Nov 16:27

Web Summit 2014 Exceeds 20,000 Attendees in the Heart of Dublin

Last year I missed Web Summit, what has become Europe's number one technology event, amusingly labeled as the Davos For Geeks. I went the first two years and this year's event is a far cry from my year one experience when they only had 500 attendees.

Now in its fourth year, 20,000 people flew into Dublin early this week for the premier 3 day event. Founder, Paddy Cosgrave opened the Summit in the morning, emphasizing the importance of the social element to the Summit where deals can – and have been – done. That said, there was still a lot of activity around the main stage, where they had a host of high level discussions and speakers on the hour all day.

The center stage had Brendan Iribe, the founder of Oculus Rift who spoke about the rise of virtual reality and its applications in everyday life. Skip Rizzo the Director for Medical Virtual Reality and early stage developer of Oculus Rift gave a demonstration of the technology's uses for post-traumatic stress disorder for returning veterans.

From being shot at to street explosions, the virtual reality exposure therapy has assisted veterans in dealing with their PSD, explained Rizzo, outlining how in one recent study, of 23 completers of the therapy, 16 showed gains and benefits resulting from it. Next stage development will be treating civilians who have experienced stressful situations in their lives. Index Ventures partner Saul Klein talked about how entrepreneurialism is becoming mainstream.

From money and venture hype to an emotional topic around healthcare.  Jorge Soto described how from a personal family diagnosis of cancer, a way to decode disease and identify cancerous cells in their earliest stages may have been found.

Then, John Collins of Stripe spoke of the rise of his online payment company and how it has disrupted the existing online payments ecosystem."

Gary Marcus, scientist, best-selling author and NYU professor took on the topic of artificial intelligence,  Amazon's Werner Vogels chatted with Ben Rooney, Stewart Baker, Matthew Prince and James Ball took on privacy rights, and Dropbox CEO Drew Houston chatted with Laurie Segall from CNN on the main stage. Below Paddy talking to a speaker.

Evernote's CEO Phil Libin spoke about his company being an 'anti-social network' and that 'you should be able to say less and do more.'

From a geek app to acting,  actress, businesswoman and philantropist Eva Longoria spoke to Jemima Khan about the importance of women in business.  "Women start businesses at three times the average yet can't get funding," she said issuing a challenge to the women in the audience. "

Later in the afternoon, former CEO of Apple John Sculley took questions after his main stage appearance with David Carr.

One thing about a conference growing to 20,000 attendees so quickly, is that rather than it feeling like a conference, it felt more like a university campus, or even a small town if you will. Within the web summit, there were micro-summits that addressed various topic sectors. 

For example, they had a Builders, Enterprise, Machine, and Marketing Summit, and at each of them, there were a host of start-ups demoing their latest.

Town Square and Village Green also had their own selection of start-ups and then there were "alpha company booths" in the main exhibit hall dedicated to early start-ups, which was about a 10-15 minute walk from the main stage. Here I was able to see demos from lifestyle vendors, specifically digital health -- Kolibree, the connected electric toothbrush (disclosure, I'm an advisor), Gudpod, who hopes to revolutionize the way people take vitamins & supplements with a ‘Keurig like’ internet connected appliance & pod system and Bluetens, who is bringing medical grade mobile electro-stimulation device to the masses to help relax your muscles.

Food Summit was a great addition to the event this year. I wrote about their initial announcement back in November of 2013.

The Food Summit portion has also grown quickly and there were countless vendors touting their latest in fresh ingredients and farm-to-table practices. Gluten and GMO-free were buzz words throughout and I saw everything from a fresh apple stand surrounded by pumpkins (t'is the season) to homemade yoghurt, ice cream, jams, jellies, honey and olive oils.

I absolutely loved tasting the oh so many samples from Crossogue Preserves. Imagine these flavors on your toast in the morning: grapefruit, Irish whiskey, orange and ginger, lime and brandy, plum and port, gooseberry and elderberry, hedgerow, fig and apple and more. Yum!!

Other favorites were the Irish sea salt and Harnett's Oils, such as hemp, grapeseed, orange and rosemary and basil oils.  I was in heaven. It was a great way to spend an hour or so away from the tech and the noise.

To get to the Food Summit, you had to pass by Herbert Park, which was on the grounds of the main event, which was held this year at the well known Royal Dublin Society on Merrion Road in Dublin. It was a perfect fall day with plenty of ducks on the pond and vibrant colors exploding from the trees.

Photo credits: Stage photos from the Web Summit sportsfile Flickr stream. Photo of Kolibree & Bluetens, Herbert Park and all Food Summit Photos: Renee Blodgett.    


19 Nov 17:27

"Rich people, in my experience, don’t want to change the world. The world as it is suits them nicely."

“Rich people, in my experience, don’t want to change the world. The world as it is suits them nicely.”


Michael Lewis, Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust

19 Nov 19:29

The Bicycle in Popular Culture

by pricetags

From The Guardian:

The age of the hipster may be drawing to a close, but in the wedding industry its key motifs are still strong. Cocktails in jam jars? Typewriters as decoration? Instagram-filtered snaps of tattooed brides standing in front of graffitied walls? All are standard. So how to do a vaguely edgy wedding in 2014 without resorting to cliche? This weekend’s Solange Knowles–Alan Ferguson bash offers a few ideas.


Musician Solange Knowles and her fiance, music video director Alan Ferguson, rode bicycles in the French Quarter of New Orleans en route to their wedding.Photograph: Josh Brasted/WireImage

Plan your entrance

Like vintage suitcases and handmade bunting, bicycles have become a hipster wedding trope. But the Knowles-Ferguson wedding reclaims them by using them as an actual mode of transport. The bride’s handlebars were resplendent with cream flowers; she wore a practical(ish) jumpsuit for the task.

Thanks to Penny Coupland.

19 Nov 19:22

You've been invited to add this photo to the group Nokia Lumia 1020

by Antti Tassberg
You've been invited to add this photo to the group Nokia Lumia 1020. By group admin Antti Tassberg.

ever watch a bus speeding by in the blazing sun and wonder who's taking your picture? Blazing sun Gotham

19 Nov 19:52

Default Motordom: The Way it Works

by pricetags

This announcement came out in The Sun on election day, November 15:

Representatives from all three governments met in a North Vancouver traffic loop this week to unveil plans for a new interchange on Highway 1 at Mountain Highway.


Interchange 1


… a $ 50- million project aimed at undoing the traffic quagmire

In the big scheme of things, this is just one intersection in the freeway network within Metro Vancouver – $50 million for one part of a $140 million project.

The province will put up $23.5 million, with $12.5 million coming from the federal government and $14 million from the district, including $5 million spent buying the shuttered Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary from the North Vancouver school board. The school site sits where the new overpass will go.

The purpose?  Congestion relief.

“We think it will be significant,” Joyce said. “It’s not going to solve all of the problems, but we believe 30 per cent of the traffic that is coming down the Cut is actually local traffic and it’s trying to get through. If we can get it off ( the highway sooner), it’s going to make a great deal of impact.”

The talking point for the local MLA is indicative of the thinking:

“When we think about all the things that are important to us, time is probably one of the most important things. This will save people time,” North Vancouver MLA Naomi Yamamoto said.

There’s more to come:

Redoing the Mountain Highway interchange is the first step in a three- part project that will see the Mount Seymour Parkway and Main Street- Dollarton interchanges redesigned. The total cost is estimated at $ 140 million.


Three points:

(1) The Big Assumption:  Any new road improvement will benefit the existing traffic - so long as there is no significant increase in new traffic.

(2) The Logical Outcome: In a growing region, there will be new traffic.  Attracted by ‘congestion relief,’ it will fill up the expanded capacity and create the next point of congestion. Which will lead to the demand for more road infrastructure.  Which, in the end, is the point: Motordom Must be Fed.

(3) The Unnoticed Reality: You will not vote on this.  Citizens on the North Shore did not vote on this.  Road and bridge infrastructure is not the kind of thing put up for a public vote; it is announced – just like the Massey Crossing.

This is another example of Default Motordom: No matter what happens to the transit referendum, big road projects will get negotiated, funded and announced.
Prediction: Even if the referendum fails, the Pattullo Bridge (a part of the mayors’ package) will still go ahead.  It will be negotiated as a side deal, funded by the Province – and one day, just announced.

19 Nov 00:00

Why podcasts are suddenly “back”

Marco Arment,, Nov 20, 2014

Today's big story is the  podcast renaissance (making me feel like a genius for devoting a recent keynote to Ed Radio (though I'd feel like more of a genius if it was working properly, and not cutting off audio files before they've finished playing)). But of course, it's  not really a renaissance; podcasting has been growing steadily over the years. Indeed, as I've tried to explain to people, this is a  golden age of audio. I've never seen so many or such diverse new musical acts. As Tom Hjelm from New York Public Radio exoplains, “ Our backbones, our radio stations, are still going strong, but we’ re seeing this tremendous growth in the on-demand part of the business.” Me, I'm a habitual listener of Old Time Radio. But modern radio drama has made a comeback with something like five million people downloading Serial. Links via the American Press Institute.

[Link] [Comment]
19 Nov 20:10

The Bicycle in Popular Culture – 2

by pricetags

This week’s New Yorker cover:


New Yorker


Notice what the artist chooses to include in contemporary New York, as opposed to, say, 1968 or 1620.

19 Nov 18:35

Saying what you mean, meaning what you say

by Marek Pawlowski
Apple sent me an email today, along with presumably several million other customers. The message I took away from it: I should buy someone an Apple product to enable them to unleash their creativity. It’s the sort of thing you get from every company in the run-up to Christmas as they vie for a spot at each of our personal altars to consumerism. However, Apple’s was notable for one thing: it didn’t make a single mention of a specification or even the features of its products. It concentrated entirely on what those products would mean to those who received them. Instead of selling me the pixel density of the screen or the speed of the processor like every other manufacturer, it implored me to buy an iPad for my loved ones to: ‘Let them choreograph the school play. Explore the North Pole. Organise a Christmas fayre. And play their favourite carols wherever they go.’ Paying lip service to this importance of experiences over features has become almost cliche in the technology industry. In the years we’ve been running the MEX initiative, there has certainly been a transformation in the number of companies which acknowledge the importance of experience-led design. However, the competitive differentiator remains the ability to extend this thinking through every aspect of an organisation, from the way it conceives products to the way it communicates with customers. Apple, of course, is by no means perfect in this regard, but this kind of advertising hints at the degree to which it both says what it means and means what it says. This is what makes it stand out from other technology companies and why more of its products have been consistently successful. It is a belief which necessarily comes from the senior management. Speaking at the London Design Museum on 12th November, Apple’s head of design Sir Jonathan Ive said: “We’ve tried very hard to be very clear, and this is absolutely sincere, that our goal at Apple isn’t to make money. That isn’t our goal…Our goal is to desperately try to make the best products we can.” He qualified that, of course, Apple’s management was not naive and that making good products and being operationally effective should lead to good financial returns, but he went on to further emphasise why it is the belief in manifesting a set of values in a product which makes the difference between good and bad design. “Those are very easy words to say. The practice is what I think makes good design. That’s what you really do and you really believe. There are many decisions that we make that might not appear to make fiscal sense, which is why the motivation that I’ve just described is so important. You can look at something we’ve done and it costs a lot more to make it the way that we want to make it. I can’t justify that extraordinary additional amount of money to make it other than it’s the right thing to do....
19 Nov 20:21

Ohrn Words: Disruption on the Rooftop

by pricetags

One of several articles, this one recommended by Ohrn, on the impact of solar, now that the price has descended to truly competitive levels.


From Computerworld:

Rooftop solar electricity on pace to beat coal, oil


The cost of rooftop solar-powered electricity will be on par with prices for common coal or oil-powered generation in just two years — and the technology to produce it will only get cheaper.

The prediction, made by Deutsche Bank’s leading solar industry analyst, Vishal Shah, is part of a report on Vivint Solar, the nation’s second-biggest solar panel installer. Shah believes Vivint Solar is doing so well that it will double its sales each year for the next two years. …

The U.S. has lagged behind some other countries in progressive solar energy policies that have been successful in lowering soft costs of solar installations.

Germany, for example, instituted a generous feed-in tariff policy that guaranteed if a residence or business installed solar all the power produced would be purchased at a fixed rate for 20 years. This assurance facilitated a huge increase in installations which lead to massive price drops in solar energy costs.

“Germany decided to make a massive investment in solar even though they have relatively poor solar resources,” Ronen said, referring to the lack of sunny days in Northern Europe. “For example, Seattle is the worst place in the continental U.S. for solar. Germany’s worse than Seattle.” …

“The German experience shows that with motivated leaders and the right policies, even a country with relatively poor solar resources and a large industrial base can reliably and affordably integrate high levels of solar energy into their electricity mix,” Ronen said.

Deutsche said solar system prices in the U.S. are expected to decline from just under $3 per watts today, to under $2.50 per watt over the next 18 months, leading to a further decline in the price per kilowatt-hour of solar to 9-14 cents, “driving further acceleration in solar shipments.”

19 Nov 21:10

Indiegogo users fund Jolla’s newest tablet in two hours

by Jane McEntegart

It’s been a while since we heard from Jolla, the Finnish company founded by former members of Nokia’s MeeGo team. The company spent last year making the Jolla phone available in markets outside of its homeland and is now asking for help to fund a new tablet project.

Jolla is calling this ‘the first people-powered tablet’ and says it will run Sailfish 2.0, the latest version of Jolla’s custom open source OS. The device will feature a 7.85-inch 2048 x 1536 IPS display, a 64-bit quad-core CPU from Intel, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage (and room for expansion via SD), a 5MP camera in the back, a 2MP camera up front, WiFi, and a 4300mAh battery.

Most importantly, it will run the Sailfish OS, which is based on Meego and is capable of running Android applications. With Sailfish 2.0, Jolla is pushing multitasking, privacy, and performance. It’s also added two new features, called Ambience and Events, that will show users to customize their tablets with profiles for different types of apps and notifications on the home screen.

Jolla launched its campaign earlier today and was looking to raise a total of $380,000. This goal was reached after only a couple of hours, and Indiegogo backers have since pushed the amount raised well past half a million dollars.

Pricing for the Jolla Tablet is set at $199, though early contributors will have snagged a special early bird price of $189. Right now, the tablet will ship to the EU, Norway, Switzerland, United States, India, China, Hong Kong, and Russia when it rolls out in May, but Jolla seems open to adding additional regions based on demand.

There’s a list of suggested countries here, and Jolla is encouraging interested parties to upvote theirs. Canada is on the list and can be found on page 2 of the ‘Answers’ section. The company says it will look into bringing the Jolla Tablet to the most popular countries.

19 Nov 18:15

5 ways technology has redefined traveling in style

by Priscilla Choo

As the year draws to an end, countless families are running around to get their holiday plans in place. Bookings, reservations, mode of transport, where to go, how long to go for and what to bring are amongst some of the many things that one has to consider before actually fully immersing and enjoying the vacation. Today, we would like to introduce some ways that technology has enabled us to have a new definition of traveling in style.

1. Windowless jets

Image credited to The Star Online

According to The Telegraph, a UK aerospace firm has released images of its windowless plane concept in which screens that show passengers the view outside replace the traditional windows that reveal a constricted view of the sky outside. Although still currently a preliminary conceptualisation of this idea, experts have noted that some of the technology that is involved in these displays are already available, such as the flexible displays required to make this possible. Imagine flying through the Aurora Borealis and having a full view of the display of dancing lights and the milky way!

Read more: Windowless planes: is this the future of flying?

2. Levitating trains at super high speeds

Image credited to Mashable

Apart from flying cars and airplanes, one other mode of transport that has officially lifted off the ground at record speeds are the trains in Japan. Although these maglev (magnetic levitation) trains have been used by many countries as a method to move vehicles with magnets instead of wheels, axles and bearings, these new Japanese trains have once again done the world proud. This new train can travel at 300mph and will be tested for a further 8 months after its first run with passengers this week. When completed, they are said to be able to halve the time taken to travel between Tokyo and Nagoya.

Read more: Japan’s levitating train travels 300 mph and just carried its first passengers

3. A suitcase that weighs itself

Image credited to Bluesmart

Known as the world’s first smart and connected carry-on luggage, Bluesmart is definitely something that tech-savvy and stylish travel consumers should have. Bluesmart not only allows you to lock, unlock and track the suitcase using an app, but also features a built-in scale that weighs your suitcase, while charging your devices using its built-in battery. Sounds like something you absolutely need? Head over to their Indiegogo campaign to pledge for one before their campaign closes in just a week!

4. Wearable boarding passes

Image credited to Iberia

Iberia, a Spanish airline, has collaborated with Samsung to allow passengers to store their boarding passes in wearable devices such as Samsung Gear 2 and Gear Neosmart. This will allow passengers to simply tap their wristwatch on the scanner when passing through security and boarding the airplane. This partnership aims to move consumers towards a more seamless and hassle-free travel experience, which includes providing real-time updates and information about flight statuses.

Read more: Wearable boarding pass now available for smartwatch owners

5. Seamless booking experiences

Image credited to Trip Tremelo

Magically known as Dobby, this web service sure has some wizardry tricks up its sleeves as it infuses artificial intelligence with travel bookings. To use Dobby, one simply has to email him stating where and when you would like to travel and he would return with three best options according to your needs. What this means is you could forward to him your email correspondences and he will pick out keywords and return you with results in a few minutes. Dobby could also manage group travels by taking the preferences of each traveller into consideration, if you send Dobby an email and cc the list of travellers in it. On the other hand, if you’re looking for smarter ways to book your boutique hotel, a new online hotel bidding company called Stayful has launched its service where Twitter users can start a request simply by tweeting at @Stayful with the hashtag #tweetstay and their destination city, travel dates, as well as the desired hotel level they want. Stayful will then tweet back, usually with an offer that is at a better rate than what is usually available online. Don’t you simply love technology?

Read more: Have This Artificially Intelligent Travel Agent Book Your Next Vacation and Now you can book boutique hotels on Twitter

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19 Nov 22:32

Lollipop’s Smart Lock gets support for ‘Trusted Places’ with new Play Services update

by Jane McEntegart

Google is beefing up the just-released Smart Lock feature on Lollipop with new options.

The latest version of Android offers quite a few extra security features including Guest Mode, the ability to pin certain apps to the foreground (with further access to the device protected by lock code), and encryption enabled right out of the box.

Another feature meant to bolster security while also adding convenience is Smart Lock, which makes accessing your phone less of a chore by using trusted devices or faces to temporarily disable passwords. Now, perhaps most convenient of all, Android Police reports that Google will let you include geographic locations. In other words, if you want, you can choose to never have to enter in your passcode while you’re home. Pretty nifty.

Released yesterday, Google Play Services 6.5 also brings improvements to Maps, Fit, Drive, and Wallet, as well as tools to help with third-party app integration.

Read More: Google Nexus 6 review

19 Nov 20:24

In Which Omni Is Compared to Taylor Swift

19 Nov 23:44

Nexus 6 factory image now available to download

by Daniel Bader

The Nexus 6 now has a factory image to call its very own. While it took longer to arrive than the Nexus 4 and 5, Google’s latest smartphone can now be restored to factory settings with Android 5.0 build LRX21O. The build is newer than the LRX21l floating around on most Nexus 6 units, so presumably the code fixes some launch bugs.

While Canadians may have to wait 3-4 weeks for their devices to arrive, at least a factory image will be waiting when they do.