Made In USA & X Box One’s Killer Feature?

More tech companies are bringing manufacturing back from Asia. Google is building the X Phone stateside, and Apple will build the new Mac Pro here. A survey from Boston Consulting Group reveals part of the reason for the sudden patriotism. The BCG survey shows that 80% of people will pay more for tech built in the USA. It’s ALWAYS about the cash!

Microsoft has gotten a lot of heat for the upcoming X Box One, but they may have something of a killer feature….developers can self publish their own games, and skirt going through a publisher. Microsoft will release more on this at the Gamescom conference next month. They have a big hill to climb with the X Box One, but this may be something of a lifeline.

Google Maps has been the gold standard, but City Maps may be the up and coming better choice. Think of City Maps as Google Maps with Yelp, Foursquare, and Instagram baked in. 15 million businesses are available. Tapping each business pulls up relevant information like directions, Instagram photos, popular Foursquare tips, menus and the ability to add them to a particular map you’ve created.You choose which of your friends can get access to your maps. Of course it also has the usual driving directions, walking maps and public transit information in addition to the sharing and business features.

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Google Cloud Printing…and a Space Coffee Mug

Google is making some upgrades to their cloud service, including bringing cloud printing to Windows desktops. The computer will have to have their Chrome browser installed, but this should make printer sharing easier if you use Google cloud services. Speaking of Google, Samsung is cutting loose from them and doing their own developers’ conference. It will be in San Francisco in October. Since word has slipped out that Google will be keeping some unique features and a sleeker look for Android on their own Motorola phones, expect Samsung to pull away even more as time goes on.

Drinking coffee from a straw sucks, so scientists at Portland State have figured out a cup astronauts can sip coffee from in space. One sharp corner uses capillary force to get every drop of java into the space traveler’s mouth. The scientists just got a patent for the Zero Gravity Coffee cup.


Remote Cam Trigger for Selfies & Rejected GoogleGlass Commands

There’s probably not much more popular when it comes to cameras in smartphones, than taking selfies…or so it seems. Have trouble taking that great selfie? Help may be on the way. There’s a Kickstarter project called Shuttr. It’s a little bluetooth keyfob with a button that fires your phone’s camera…it should make for much easier selfies to post on social media. Because you can never have enough great selfies.

If you think people walking around wearing GoogleGlass, prefacing everything with ‘OK Glass’ seems a little silly, consider this: before Google settled on ‘OK Glass’ to activate GoogleGlass, they actually considered ‘Go Go Glass’ and…are you ready….’Pew, Pew, Pew.’ Seriously…you just can’t make this up.


Your Location Value, Tablets for Education & Real $ Games on Facebook

You’ve heard how your personal information is being sold on the web for pennies…but some things about you are worth more (that may or may not make you feel better.) Your car’s location can bring up to 10 bucks, thanks to those cameras that shoot your license plate.

Education, like the medical market, is embracing tablets in a big way, but the iPad’s biggest rival in schools is not another tablet, it’s google’s Chromebook. Some schools can pick them up for $99. Since the education market for years has been an Apple stronghold, they are no doubt not amused.

Facebook is getting real money gambling games in Britain, thanks to Zynga. It may not be limited to the Brits for all that long, either. Zynga has big plans to bring games like ZyngaPlusPoker and ZyngaPlusCasino to the US, starting by getting a gaming license in Nevada.


Zooming Maps & Florida Bans Computers-Oops!

Most people have GPS and mapping software on their phones, but now tech invades the venerable paper map. A Brit has developed a paper map that zooms in as you unfold it! It’s a Kickstarter campaign that will allow you to see more than the 4-5 inches on your phone’s screen…you can view a city on your 8 inch square map. As Apple continues to tweak the new mobile operating system, here’s something cool in the new iOS 7- although it may not be a feature you’ll use right away. Apple has baked in Airplay for cars. You could leave your phone in your pocket or purse in your next car and it will connect to the car via wifi for phone, music, navigation, and more. Honda, Mercedes, Nissan, Ferrari, Hyundai, Kia, and Infiniti will have cars that utilize Airplay, some as soon as next model year. A story not ripped from the Onion, but it sure seems that way…a law was passed in Florida to kill gambling at internet cafes…but the wording inadvertently bans computers and smartphones. Oops. Next time people complain about lawyers in government, keep in mind that it helps to have them when you need to write a law that does what the legislators intend!


Euro Anger at NSA, & Apple Wants More In-Store iPhone Sales

It’s not just people here in the US that are upset over the scope of NSA spying…the Europeans are getting madder and madder. They are angry enough, they may freeze American cloud providers out, setting up their own European cloud services. It’s a bit of pot meets kettle, since word has gotten out that the British, Germans, & French are also spying on their citizens to one extent or another.

Apple’s Tim Cook is starting to crack the whip…he plans sweeping changes for Apple Stores to get staffers to sell more iPhones…will that kill the buzz over genius bars? Employees say one of the thing adding to 80% of iPhones selling elsewhere is…according to customers…the lack of one with a bigger screen! Will that be one of the ‘special projects’ the former CEO of Yves St Laurent, Paule Deneve, who Apple just hired as a VP?


Stand Back- Science is Marching On!

A team at UC San Diego has come up with a telescopic contact lens for people with macular degeneration. It will allow patients to switch between normal and magnified vision with up to a 3 power zoom without bulky, thick glasses.

Your luggage tag is about to go high tech…British Airways & Designworks will start testing a reusable, e-ink luggage tag that talks to your smartphone. The flight info and barcode can be read by airport scanners.

The Japanese space agency is readying to launch two little white helmeted robots into space. An astronaut at the international Space Station will try to converse with one of them. Kubrick’s 2001 will come true…’I can’t let you do that Dave.’