The Sky Is (not) Falling!


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It’s Friday, but it’s not just any Friday. Today is the day the world ended… again.

Once again, we seem to have survived what so many thought would be the end of the world and it was based on the end of the Mayan calendar yet again. While we didn’t see anyone going completely off the deep end (not that I’ve heard, anyway), there was still an obscene amount of stupid reactions to this possible once in a lifetime event.

This time around, we saw schools closing early and score of news outlets asking people what they would do if the world was ending tomorrow. With answers like “I’d rob a bank”, it’s hard to not be cynical about the mindset of people in today’s society. The movie http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1307068/ does a great job of capturing this cynicism, and the video below says what a lot of us are thinking.

The video actually sums things up very nicely with a mention of NASA’s blog post that points out that we have achieved and discovered so much as with modern science and the Mayans couldn’t predict their own downfall. Either way, we’re here for the foreseeable future, so we can give the Mayans and their calendar a rest.

Google I/O 2012 Introduces Glass, Nexus 7 and Nexus Q


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Like Apple’s WWDC event, Google I/O is always an event filled with announcements that they hope will keep us on the edge of our seats. While they’ve had some exciting announcements in the past, they’ve really brought their game this year. With announcements about the latest version of Android named Jelly Bean, new features for Google+, and the unveiling of their Nexus 7 tablet and Nexus Q social media player, the grand finale was really Sergey Brin’s special project, Google Glass skydiving in.

Google Glass

The presentation that really stole the show was Google Glass, but it was more for the presentation itself than the device’s current abilities. During a presentation on Google+ features, Google founder, Sergey Brin interrupts, wearing a Google Glass headset. He announces that he’s got a Glass device out on loan that’s being delivered and cuts to a Google+ Hangout with a bunch of skydivers in a plane, each also wearing a Google Glass headset. They skydive in, showing us their viewpoint from Glass’ embedded camera. This carries on to the package being then biked across a rooftop, scaled down the side of the building and then biked up to the stage. It was a new first for one of these events.

The video above shows Google Glass from the wearer’s point of view, using the device to get all kinds of information about things they see, in real time. When I first saw the promo video, I wondered if it was a spoof like the see-through iPhone 5 concept or just another example of Google’s sense of humor, but this thing is real. One thing I noticed during the real demonstration at I/O is that they gave a lot of attention to taking photos and participating in Google+ Hangouts with Glass, but didn’t once demonstrate any of the cooler augmented reality features we saw in the promo video. Google opened up a preview model for purchase to US attendees of the conference who would like to experiment and develop on it, so we’ll hopefully see more features before it’s handed over to the public. No word on when that might be.

Nexus 7 : Small In Size And Price

Tablets worth buying are often also priced around $400 and up. Google’s Nexus 7 tablet breaks the price mold coming in at $199. With that price, they decided to throw in a $25 Google Play marketplace credit to get started with some movies, TV, books, or magazines as well as a free copy of the latest Transformers movie. Not too bad for $200. The Nexus 7 will come with Android Jelly Bean and all the hackable possibilities it offers and it all runs on a quad core processor with a 12 core GPU. It looks incredibly fast and responsive, but it’s also pretty small. Easy to hold in one hand, it’s definitely big enough to not be compared to a phone, but still noticeably smaller than an iPad. Either way, it looks like a lot of fun.

Here’s Google’s introduction to the tablet:

Nexus Q : A Social Glowing Ball

Another product people got pretty excited about this year was the new Nexus Q, which seems a lot like the darker side of Apple’s Air Play. It’s a small, black, spherical computer that you connect up to your TV. The Q connects to Google’s cloud to sync up all your music and movies and your family and friends can even control it when they’re over. Google demonstrated at I/O 2012 how to tell it (via an interface on your phone or Nexus 7) to play your media in the living room or maybe in a bedroom. I assume that you’d need a device in each room for this to work. It looks like something from Star Wars and many have compared it to a bowling ball already on Twitter, but is it worth the $299 price tag? That’s yet to be seen. Below is Google’s promo video for Nexus Q.

Google presented some great hardware today, along with some pretty cool announcements about their software, including Events and new photo stream features for Google+ and Android Jelly Bean and it’s new smart “cards” that learn about the information that you want. It’ll be exciting to see what else they have in store for tomorrow and the year to come.