This week I came across some news that was not shocking but still disturbing. The National Sleep Foundation came out of hibernation this week to let us know that there was a culprit sneaking into our bedrooms and stealing our precious sleep. My suspect list consisted of the NFS, since they seemed to be well rested, the underpants gnomes and perhaps the most disturbing of all, your cell phone. My research indicates that underpants gnomes are in-fact not real and while still suspicious, the NFC doesn't seem to be responsible either. This leaves only one plausible suspect, the one you would most likely suspect, since it knows all your secrets and wakes you up repeatedly at night... your cell phone.
Protect yourself by hitting the break for more details.
In one of the strangest moves that Twitter has ever made, Twitter has decided that third-party apps are a bad idea and damage the user experience of their service. They claim that "the top five ways that people access Twitter are official Twitter apps" but also that "consumers continue to be confused by the different ways that a fractured landscape of third-party Twitter clients display tweets and let users interact with core Twitter functions."
Here is Twitter's response to the perceived threat,
We need to ensure that tweets, and tweet actions, are rendered in a consistent way so that people have the same experience with tweets no matter where they are.
Now, that seems counter-intuitive for a couple of reasons. To find out why and to see how this might affect you, hit the break.
The ongoing battle between WebM and H.264 high definition video formats continues as this week we received some interesting stats in favor of Apple and Microsoft's side, H.264. If you remember back in January, we discussed
that Chrome decided to discontinue the use of H.264 in their Chrome browser in order to defend the side of "open source" and their WebM format. Mozilla also stood by the side of Google and supported their decision. This led Apple and Microsoft, who are in the patent membership for H.264, to do something they never usually do, agree on a topic and help each other out.
Let's quickly recap the importance of this war between the two video formats. The browsers are going to decide which format they choose to go with and developers, like us, are going to have to create their videos in both formats to allow all users to see our content. HTML5 and the H.264 HD video codec will become the standard and Google is going to try to make WebM the more widely used format by forcing Chrome to not read H.264. Then, Google will turn their formerly open source codec into a closed internal project, further proving that they are really trying to control the Internet instead of trying to empower the people with options.
However, I did mention that H.264 stats have been released by video-sharing site MeFeedia that may help swing things back to the good side. For those stats, click the break.
We all knew that one day the zombie apocalypse would be upon us but we all thought it would be a virus that would infect people and take over their minds and alter their desires. Apparently we were wrong - the true cause will be a fungus from the Brazilian rainforest. It will not be a quick or painless death, either. Hint: it ends with a mushroom growing out of your head.
Here's the situation - a condition originally thought to be caused by a single type of fungus has been discovered to be caused by a variety. The condition is a type of zombie mindset. These fungus can infect a creature, most notably the ant, and take over the creature's mind and change its behaviors. The desired behavior is for the creature to wander to a place which is conducive for the fungus to grow and then stop and wait for the fungus to kill the creature and grow until it can sprout spores to then take over other creatures.
I am a little scared by this concept and want to stay as far away as possible. David Hughes, the study leader, has other ideas. Hit the break to find out what they are or to see a video of these things.
South by SouthWest (SxSW) has become a major event. Originally it was a place for musicians and filmmakers to get together and show off their skills. Now, it has become one of the world's largest interactive media festivals, with everyone from RadioShack to GM in attendance. To ensure that it is all that it can be this year, Microsoft has decided to use this event to launch its next generation web browser, Internet Explorer 9.
IE9 is the first Microsoft browser to support the upcoming HTML5 standard, which has been
causing some controversy from Google. It also includes hardware acceleration, which allows the browser to render video better than any current browser. If you want to experience the magic now, you can head over to Internet Explorer Test Drive and get the Release Candidate, or wait until it launches fully next week and then check it out.
For some of the best features of the new browser, hit the break.
Samsung displayed an interesting prototype product at CeBit in Germany this week - a transparent LCD screen. As if that wasn't enough, the device can run entirely independent of the power grid. It is capable of running entirely off of the power generated from its internal solar panels.
Now, these features sound cool but not terribly useful, right? Well, here is why it is a big deal. First, let's talk about the fact that the screen is transparent. This particular product will probably never serve a huge role in an average home, but it does open up some cool capabilities outside. First, imagine if part of the windshield of your car was an LCD-based heads-up display. You could see reverse cameras, speed, direction and other vehicle information right in your windshield - no need to look away. It also gives us the ability to write obscene messages to the moron driver in front of you.
The screen could also be used in stores or banks as part of the display security. Imagine if, while looking at a display of expensive watches you could see information about the product right in front of them. Or the ability to display a bank's promotions next to the teller while waiting for your money. There are so many possibilities here.
For details about the power possibilities and to see a short video, hit the break.