WillCall’s New Bluetooth “BarTab” Feature Lets You Buy Drinks At Concerts By Saying Your Name

WillCall’s New Bluetooth “BarTab” Feature Lets You Buy Drinks At Concerts By Saying Your Name Posted 5 seconds ago by Josh Constine (@joshconstine)   WillCall‘s plot to reimagine nighlife goes way beyond its concert ticketing app. So it’s tackling the annoyance of buying drinks, from long bar lines to fumbling for cash to forgetting your credit card. Today it launches BarTab, a feature within its app that lets you buy drinks at participating venues by saying your name. But how does the bartender know who you are? Through WillCall’s secret weapon: Bluetooth Low Energy. Here’s how BarTab works. You install WillCall and go to a concert venue running BarTab. It doesn’t matter if you bought your tickets through WillCall or not. As you approach the bar, its BarTab-equipped iPad pings your WillCall app over Bluetooth Low Energy, and you confirm the prompt that you want to open a tab. In case Bluetooth LE fails or you don’t have it running on your phone, you can show the bartender your ID and they can find you in their BarTab app to start you tab. Bartenders select your name from the BarTab list to charge you for drinks Then you order drinks from the bartender as normal but when it’s time to pay, you just say your name. They pull you up from the list of nearby BarTab users, and charge your WillCall-connected credit card. You get a push notification that you’ve been charged, and you get back to partying. Your tab is automatically closed when the show ends and you get emailed an itemized receipt. I got to try out a...

MakerBot Is Changing The World

MakerBot Is Changing The World Posted 2 hours ago by John Biggs (@johnbiggs)   It was an inauspicious beginning. At the MakerBot event last night at CES 2014 the intro music tended towards soft hard rock. On the plate was a lilting guitar anthem by the Foo Fighters and then a song by Incubus, Pardon Me. So pardon me while I burst into flames. Luckily, nothing did. Instead, as I sat in the audience last night, I was struck just how exciting the proceedings were. Bre Pettis, CEO and a former school teacher, came out coughing, saying “Cool,” dressed in black like a nerdy Johnny Cash. He had a lot to say and his presentation was, in some strange way, a near-perfect facsimile of an Apple keynote: the amazing stuff the company is doing (3D-printed hands, soccer balls that students in the third world kick around and then use to light their homes at night), the retail spaces they’ve opened throughout the Northeast. The sales, the total employees, the dross that borders on self promotion but is a necessary part of the CE dance. Then there was some information on their MakerBot Academy, an effort to push MakerBots into every classroom. “My parents bought me an Apple II+,” said Pettis, comparing his plans to another major hardware player that pushed their product into classrooms before the business world knew what was happening. Arguably, the home PC market and the home 3D printer markets are, in a way, opposed. Home computers can do anything while 3D printers can only make anything. However, 3D printers allow for the imagination to run...

Estonian Farm Management Startup VitalFields Raises Further €500K

Estonian Farm Management Startup VitalFields Raises Further €500K Posted 1 hour ago by Steve O’Hear (@sohear)   Estonian startup, VitalFields, which offers web and mobile apps to put farm management into the cloud and harness otherwise untapped farm-related data, has raised €500,000 in follow-on funding. The round was led by original backer SmartCap, the venture capital arm of the Estonian Development Fund, with participation from new investor TMT Investments. Previous backers Wiser Financial Advisors, and Arvi Tavast, also participated, along with Ahti Heinla (one of the first Skype engineers) and Andres Kull. This brings total funding to €750,000, after VitalFields raised €250,000 in late 2012. Founded in 2011 at the Garage48 hackathon, and also an alumni of accelerator Startup Wise Guys, we first described VitalFields as an agricultural early warning system. Its cloud-based wares help farmers do things like plant disease and growth phase modelling, tracking climatic patterns, and other farm management-related activity such as farm planning, stock management and P&L reports. In other words, it’s another classic SaaS play, replacing old, largely, paper-based ways of doing things, or using legacy and expensive software, or tools that were never really designed to do the job. To that end, VitalFields also provides a degree of automation, consolidating various data, including hyperlocal weather reports and plant disease-related information, that would be otherwise difficult for a human to track manually. VitalFields says it counts 1,500 farms as customers worldwide, and that today’s new capital will enable it to customise its solution for several new countries in Europe this year. It will also invest in R&D, specifically around analytics so that farmers can...

Sony Goes All-In On Cloud Content With “PlayStation Now” And A Cloud-Based VOD TV Service

Sony Goes All-In On Cloud Content With “PlayStation Now” And A Cloud-Based VOD TV Service Posted 1 hour ago by Ingrid Lunden (@ingridlunden) The cloud has covered Sony in a big way: at CES today the company announced a pair of new services that will bring a new wave of cloud-based content to use across its range of devices. PlayStation Now will be a new network for cloud-based games, and a new video service will deliver both live and on-demand video. The move points to how Sony is focusing on a more consolidated and converged product and services vision. PlayStation Now is the new name that Sony is giving to a service based on Gaikai, the cloud-based gaming service that it acquired in 2012 for $380 million. Andrew House, the president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, says that it will effectively be a route for bringing legacy PS3 and PS2 games to Vita, smartphones, tablets and Bravia TV sets. “Playing your favorite PS3 game on your television will become a reality,” he said. The service will be starting in beta at the end of January with a full rollout coming this summer. The second cloud-based entertainment service House announced today is Sony’s move into a new cloud-based TV service. House says that this will bring both live and VOD content — a long-rumored product, now finally appearing a reality. He provided very little detail on the specifics of the service — we are reaching out to Sony to find out more. For now, we know that it will be live later this year. Sony’s move into cloud-based...

AOL reportedly sells Winamp, Shoutcast to online radio aggregator Radionomy

AOL reportedly sells Winamp, Shoutcast to online radio aggregator Radionomy By Shawn Knight On January 1, 2014, 5:00 PM Iconic media player Winamp and streaming media service Shoutcast will indeed live to see another day. AOL has sold the two properties to Radionomy, an international aggregator of online radio stations based in Brussels, Belgium, according to sources as reported by TechCrunch. The two properties were scheduled to be discontinued on December 21 but when that date came and went without any change, people began to suspect something was going on behind the scenes. Eddy Richman from the Winamp team said he couldn’t comment on the matter at the time but said something was obviously going on. Initial rumors from a month earlier suggested Microsoft was interested in purchasing the IP but that never came to pass. Winamp’s nameservers have already been transferred to the new owner. The nameservers for Shoutcast are still in the possession of AOL as of writing. That could indicate that Radionomy only purchased Winamp or that the Shoutcast transition simply hasn’t happened yet but considering the TechCrunch report, the latter scenario seems most likely. Radionomy is a free platform that can be used to create, discover and listen to radio stations over the Internet. The company, which boasts more than 6,000 online stations, helps producers create, broadcast and monetize their stations for free. The deal is expected to be finalized by Friday at the latest, we’re told. We’ll keep an eye open for anything official from AOL or Radionomy in the interim. Article From :...

Alleged Original iPhone Prototype Bought on eBay for $1,500

Alleged Original iPhone Prototype Bought on eBay for $1,500 By Jacob Kleinman | December 30, 2013 While you were busy enjoying your weekend, one Apple fan shelled out $1,499 for an alleged copy of the original iPhone prototype on eBay. The device appears to be in good condition, and features the model number and signal measurements engraved on the back while a second photo posted by the seller shows the device running an internal diagnostics test. According to the seller, the operating system shown is a “special test software” installed to try out the device’s features, and is apparently still “running on the device perfectly” more than six years later. There’s no explanation for how the seller acquired this device, which they claim is only one of five copies ever manufactured. While Apple prototypes often surface on eBay, they are usually quickly pulled from the site. In this case the sale appears to have been completed after two days at auction through a “Buy It Now” purchase. The buyer shared the news on Reddit yesterday, but won’t be able to confirm anything about the device until it gets delivered. Source eBay, Reddit Via MacRumors Article From:...

3D Printers, 4K TV, Wearable Tech: What to Expect in 2014

3D Printers, 4K TV, Wearable Tech: What to Expect in 2014 By Todd Haselton | December 30, 2013 From 3D printers to 4K displays (TVs and smartphones) and wearable tech (Google Glass, Apple iWatch) 2014 is sure to be an exciting year as expensive tech products become more affordable for consumers, and rumors come to fruition. 2013 was a crazy year, and it’s still not over yet, but it’s time to think about what we can look forward to next year. We’re lucky in that we get to follow technology every day. It’s a roller coaster of leaks, rumors, new products and advancements, and it’s always amazing to sit back and see what we already have at our fingertips. We may take a lot of technology for granted, but it’s amazing to think that, today, we can control our smartphones with our voice, read our text messages in the shower on our smartwatches and order almost anything under the sun from a small slate we carry in our pocket. That’s today. But what about tomorrow? What about next year? What kinds of tech trends can we expect to see continue to take off in 2014? We have a few ideas, though this is just a sample of what’s to come, because we’re lucky that technology moves at such a rapid pace that we’re often greeted with surprises. From sharper screens to smarter gadgets, we have a lot of tech trends to look forward to in 2014. 1. Wearables The wearable tech industry is already hot. This year we saw new entries in the industry, particularly in the fitness arena, from Jawbone,...

Samsung Reportedly Sold 40 Million Tablets in 2013

Samsung Reportedly Sold 40 Million Tablets in 2013 By Sean P. Aune | December 29, 2013 New sales numbers have been rolling in for the global sales numbers of Samsung tablets in 2013, and it appears that the Korean company hit its self-imposed goal of 40 million units. At an analyst’s meeting this past Nov., Samsung told those gathered to hear projections that it hoped to hit a sales number of 40 million tablets this year. According to company insiders speaking with FNNEWS in Korea, a total of 12 million slates were sold in the fourth quarter of the year, and when added with the previous quarters – 9.1 million, 8.4 million and 10.5 million respectively – the company did indeed hit its goal. While 40 million is a fantastic number, it seems Samsung has even bigger goals for 2014 and is aiming to hit 100 million tablets sold by the end of the year. With all of the rumors right now about the number of new tablets the company will introduce in the first few weeks of the year, and one of them even already passing through FCC approval, it appears it won’t be wasting any time in getting that ball rolling. Is the market big enough to sustain this many tablets? That remains to be seen as sales grew by 49 percent this year, but can the market absorb 60 million more units from one company let alone all of the other contenders? We’ll find out around this time next year. Source FNNEWS Via SamMobile Article From :...

SD Cards Aren’t As Secure As We Think

SD Cards Aren’t As Secure As We Think Posted 1 hour ago by John Biggs (@johnbiggs) The hardware hacker Bunnie Huang gave a talk at the Chaos Compute Club Congress where he offered some good news and some bad news. The good news? SD cards contain powerful, handy micro controllers that are useful to hackers and hobbyists. The bad news? SD cards are woefully insecure. In a detailed and readable post, Huang describes the exact problems with Flash memory. In order to reduce the price and increase the storage space, engineers have to fight a never-ending form of internal entropy that slowly but surely scrambles the data on every Flash drive. Huang writes: Flash memory is really cheap. So cheap, in fact, that it’s too good to be true. In reality, all flash memory is riddled with defects — without exception. The illusion of a contiguous, reliable storage media is crafted through sophisticated error correction and bad block management functions. This is the result of a constant arms race between the engineers and mother nature; with every fabrication process shrink, memory becomes cheaper but more unreliable. Likewise, with every generation, the engineers come up with more sophisticated and complicated algorithms to compensate for mother nature’s propensity for entropy and randomness at the atomic scale. To take up arms against these errors, SD cards are essentially over-engineered to ensure an acceptable level of data retention. They also contain firmware that can, for example, change the visible available space on the card without changing the actual available space. This means you could sell a 2GB card as a 4GB card –...

Sharks Now Tweeting Their Presence Near Australian Beaches

Sharks Now Tweeting Their Presence Near Australian Beaches By Sean P. Aune | December 29, 2013 Swimmers in Australia are going to have a little less to worry about when in the ocean thanks to a new program that will see sharks tweeting their proximity to beaches. In an effort to curb shark attacks off the coast of Australia, a new program has tagged around 320 sharks with transmitters that will send out alerts when the animals approach popular beaches. According to a report from the Business Standard, there have been six shark related deaths off Australian beaches in the past two years and that has prompted authorities to look into new ways to keep tabs on the animals besides using helicopters and boats. The system is set up to send a signal to a computer when the shark comes within a kilometer of the beach, and that is then turned into a tweet on the Surf Life Saving Western Australia’s (@SLSWA) Twitter feed. As of the drafting of this post, and we can’t be sure it’s the same tiger shark, alerts had been going off for 90 minutes on the Twitter feed to let people know it was in the area. Considering it was after 2 a.m. there, we assume the beach was clear, but it’s good to see the system does indeed work. While the system will of course never be able to track every shark that could potentially wander near a beach, every little thing that helps keep swimmers safe is a victory in our book. Source Business Standard Article From :...