Apple (Yawn) Launched a New iPhone and a Watch Yesterday

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I find it difficult to get excited about new consumer technology these days. It may be a sign that I’m getting older or cheaper, or perhaps a bit more jaded about how much easier things need to be. I already blame my iPhone for my waning ability to remember things, and I hold Netflix responsible for how much time I spend sitting in one place on weekends: Binge sessions of House of Cards have become a priority in my home.

I also find it difficult to get excited about big Apple releases (like yesterday’s) because I’m not quite sure that Apple is at the forefront anymore.

When I heard about the iPhone 6 release, I wasn’t all that excited. In truth, I haven’t really been excited about Apple since Steve Jobs died in 2011. I’ve had the 4s for as long as its been out and it suits me just fine. I watched the release announcement yesterday, not because I wanted the phone, but because everyone else was — I thought perhaps I missed something.

What was missed yesterday was an opportunity, at least from a branding perspective.

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All the Details on Apple’s Crazy New iWatch

Image via Apple

The watches of the future. | Image via Apple

You may have heard most definitely have heard about yesterday’s Apple announcement: the unveiling of the Apple Watch, the latest and greatest in wearable technology. But is it something we really need? I’m skeptical. Even when I wear a watch, it’s a fashion accessory at best and I still instinctively grab for my phone to check the time. But in that same vein, I’m a sucker for my iPhone. Perhaps I should instill my trust in Apple?

To help determine how essential this watch really is, I read a handy breakdown on Business of Fashion entitled “6 Core Beliefs Behind the New ‘Apple Watch.'” Author Imran Amed navigated the ins and outs of Apple’s newest product. Here, I tease out the need-to-know info about the much-hyped accessory. And most importantly: will I be forking over the bucks for it?

Keep reading for the scoop.

The War on Household Germs Goes Nuclear

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Last weekend I was at the Shore with my relations, as I am every August at this time of year. We’d just finished supper, and as some of us got up to clear the table, I began putting the leftovers away. I packed some rice into a bowl, covered it with plastic wrap, and went to put it in the fridge. “You’re not going to put that in there now, are you?” my cousin Joan asked in horror.

“Why not?”

“If you put leftovers covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator before they cool down, they’ll give you cancer,” she said.

“What?” I said. “I never heard of such a thing.”

“It’s true,” my cousin Pam said, in a rare instance of backing up Joanie. “Some kind of chemical collects on the underside of the plastic wrap.”

“Did you ever hear of this?” I asked a nearby sibling.

My sister Nan shook her head.

“I think the fridge uses up more energy if you don’t let them cool down first,” my daughter Marcy said tentatively. “But I never heard of the cancer thing.”

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Brigitte Daniel’s Got a Plan to Get Young Women of Color Into Technology

Photo | Twitter

Brigitte Daniel |  photo via  Twitter

Like the Trayvon Martin story before it, what happened in Ferguson two weeks ago has had a continued news presence in part because of social media. In the moments that followed the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Mike Brown, users took to Twitter to report on and discuss what happened. They have started and maintained a nationwide online conversation.

Much has been written about the democratizing power of Twitter and the influential power of so-called Black Twitter; according to a Pew study, 22 percent of African Americans who are online are on Twitter despite representing a dismal 2 percent of its workforce, as indicated by a diversity report released by Twitter last month.

This imbalance does not go unnoticed by those in the field.

“If we are the highest consumers [of these technologies], why aren’t we creating them?” asks Brigitte Daniel, executive vice president of Fort Washington-based Wilco Electronic Systems, Inc., a minority-owned, family-based cable operator serving the greater Philadelphia area for over 30 years.

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2014 Philadelphia Geek Awards

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Excitement reigned on the sidewalk outside The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University on Saturday night as the 4th Annual Philadelphia Geek Awards got underway. Guests, nominees, and presenters walked the red carpet and posed for photographers before heading into the museum to enjoy the the 90-minute cocktail reception held among the many fascinating exhibits in the museum including full sized dinosaurs, fossils, live butterflies and animal dioramas. Some 400 guests were dressed in “Geek Chic” and ready to party.

The Academy staff was also circulating with live snakes, owls, lizards, and bugs, and many people — including yours truly — took #Selfies to share with the world on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (#PhillyGeekAwards). Then the moment arrived when Geekadelphia co-founder Eric Smith and editor Mikey Ilagan opened up the ceremony with witty banter and gracious appreciation of the sold-out crowd.

Throughout the 90-minute ceremony, awards were given and the audience was entertained by the humor of the presenters and winners. Those geeks are smart and funny. The after-party was held at North Bowl, and was well attended. Many of the ladies told me they were excited to take off the heels and slip into some comfortable bowling shoes.

More photos and full list of winners from the 2014 Philly Geek Awards after the jump »

PPA Hopes to Let You Pay for Parking With Your Cell Phone

The Philadelphia Parking Authority is hoping to allow you to pay for parking with your cell phone by next summer. Well, “hopefully,” a spokesperson says.

The technology is already in place in cities near Philadelphia, including Allentown and Camden. The PPA actually posted a request for information (RFI) about pay-by-cell parking, but has since said the RFI “will be revised and re-posted at later date.”

Fortunately, the the actual RFI is still on the PPA’s site (PDF). It’s pretty standard stuff. The PPA is (was?) simply looking to “explore available options with currently marketed services utilized by various government entities for Pay-by-Cell solutions.”

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Local Architect Publishes Adorable Children’s eBook Series

Winthrop Little, star of Wayne, New Jersey's Jeffrey Martin's children's eBook series, "The Memoirs of Winthrop Little."

Winthrop Little, star of Wayne, Pennsylvania’s Jeffrey Martin’s children’s eBook series, “The Memoirs of Winthrop Little.”

The Memoirs of Winthrop Little is an interactive children’ book series app dreamt up by Wayne resident and architect Jeffrey Martin.

The story is written by an adorable teddy bear named Winthrop Little, and it just so happens to serve as a valuable learning tool for tots. It teaches young readers common life values (sharing, kindness, teamwork) while showing them a good time with a slew of interactive features, like moving photos, sidebars with additional facts about Winthrop’s life and personality and more.

“I love to read and I noticed over the past several years how the whole demeanor of books has changed,” Martin says. “I thought, ‘gee, if the future of books is going to be electronic, we’re really missing out on something.’”

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