Category Archives: Gadget News, Reviews, And Features

Samsung’s new TV remote for 2014 is 80 percent smaller, has touch, voice and gesture control

Samsung couldn’t wait for CES to start leaking information about its new HDTVs, starting with the remote. After rolling out larger and larger contraptions over the years with more buttons (on both sides, even), this year’s “Smart Control” model is 80 percent smaller than the 2013 version. It has a touchpad in the middle which, combined with a new button layout and gesture control — similar to LG’s Magic Remote, among others — promises to make controlling apps and content even easier. We’ve heard these claims before, and its pebble shape is very similar to the Panasonic Viera Touch remote introduced a couple of years ago, but we’re for anything that’s simpler than Samsung’s previous remotes.



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Google goes disco for New Year’s doodle

Farewell, 2013.

Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

On an Internet landscape blighted by the spying of governments, corporations, and ex-lovers, Google’s doodles have been an apogee of delight in 2013.

So, to celebrate the passing of 2013 — and good riddance, you unlucky year, say many — Google’s perhaps tipsy doodlers have decided to do the hustle, the shuffle, or the oh-dear-lord-my-head-is-spinning-so-I-must-keep-moving-cha-cha.

The New Year’s doodle seems to be at an oldie disco, complete with mirrorball.

Each number of 2013 is dancing to a unknown tune, but it looks like Disco-Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes “I Wanna Dance Wit’ Choo” to me.

As they are doing their thing, trying to look as if they’re enjoying themselves, the number 4 is waiting to join the danceathon and relieve the number 3.

The look on number 4’s face suggests that he is a touch uncertain. I’m not sure if he’s worried about whether he can bring positive change to this dancing crowd, or whether he is merely appalled at the other number’s dance moves.

Still, let’s look at it as a beacon of hope. If your 2013 wasn’t the best, I wish for your 2014 to surprise, most of all, you.

May your stock options kick in like a horse ready to flee. May your heart’s desire actually realize this is the case and do what’s necessary to bring fruition down upon the current frustration.

And may your adoration for technology never blind you to the small truths of humanity: we all just wanna dance wit’ each other, really. Don’t we?

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TiVo co-founders joining forces for yet another set-top box

How on earth are you supposed to fill your days after leaving the successful set-top box company you created? Well, if you’re TiVo co-founders Mike Ramsay and Jim Barton, the answer is to start all over again. You see, after Barton resigned from TiVo in early 2012, he and long-gone chum Ramsay set up InVisioneer, which has the pair “gearing up to do it again.” Domain registrations, online polls and a barebones Twitter account serving up YouTube links are among the footprints Zatz Not Funny has been following to see what the new company is up to. Job listings say the outfit’s crafting “a product that sits at the nexus of exciting trends in video, mobile, and social.” It seems to have already passed through the FCC in the form of Qplay, a small TV adapter with HDMI-out and an iPad app for controlling it (according to the user manual).

Most recently, a little more info popped up on InVisioneer’s site, but has subsequently been taken down. This included word that Qplay will provide “new ways to discover, play and share video content,” as well as imagery of an iPad app with YouTube and Vine among the tabs. With so many ways to get content from the web to your TV already, we’d hope for Ramsay and Barton’s sake that Qplay has an innovative hook. They probably don’t need reminding, though — they’re partly responsible for how saturated the market is in the first place.

[Image credit: Zatz Not Funny]



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Security camera captures video of massive blazing fireball

There’s nothing quite like seeing a massive fireball burn through the night’s sky. Much bigger and brighter than a shooting star, these dramatic meteors tend to catch onlookers’ attention.

One recent fireball that blazed over Iowa and surrounding states, caused hundreds of wowed residents to call in the sighting to the American Meteor Society. The meteor appeared on December 26 around 5:45 p.m. local time. More than 1,200 people reported the sighting, making it the third most reported fireball in the history of the society’s online reporting system.

Some witnesses said the fireball was as bright as the sun, while others noted sonic effects and delayed booms. A few said the meteor’s color ranged from yellow to orange to blue.

The fireball was caught on tape by a security camera at the public works facility in North Liberty, Iowa. In the black-and-white video, the meteor can be seen from several different angles as it shines through the sky and at times illuminates the houses and roads below.

Earlier this month marked the annual Geminid meteor shower, which is the most vivid of all showers. The Geminid light show is typically full of fireballs, along with more than 100 meteors per hour. This year, the shower kicked off on December 4 and peaked on December 13 and 14.

Here is a heat map that shows where people were when they reported seeing the most recent fireball over Iowa:

American Meteor Society)

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Must See HDTV for the week of December 30th: Community, Dragonball Z and Downton Abbey

COMMUNITY -- Season: 5 -- Pictured:

As we say goodbye to 2013 the week is filled with New Year’s Eve celebrations (Ryan Seacrest vs. Carson Daly) and a different kind of competition with college bowl games and the opening round of the NFL playoffs. Looking for more than sportsball and holiday cheer? This week also features the debut of Dragonball Z Season One Uncut on Blu-ray, remastered in widescreen and 1080p. Showtime is also airing its House of Lies Live special New Years Eve, although the impatient can watch it right here or embedded below. Once all the celebration is over we’ll be starting the year off with October 19th, as Community returns for season five once again under the direction of writer Dan Harmon. Downton Abbey season four gets started this weekend on PBS, while ABC kicks off its Cold War-era miniseries The Assets on Thursday night. Check after the break for our weekly listing of what to look out for in TV, Blu-ray and gaming.

Blu-ray Games

  • Don Jon
  • Nightmare City (1981)
  • Elektra Luxx
  • Dragonball Z (S1)
  • Hell Baby
  • Ninja II


  • WWE Raw, USA, 8PM
  • Major Crimes, TNT, 9PM
  • Holiday Bowl: Arizona State/Texas Tech ESPN, 10:15PM


  • Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest, ABC, 10PM
  • NBC New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly, NBC, 10PM
  • New Year’s Eve Special, Fox, 11PM
  • Independence Bowl: Arizona/Boston College, ESPN, 12:30PM
  • Sun Bowl: Viriginia Tech/UCLA, CBS, 2PM
  • Liberty Bowl: Rice/Mississippi State, ESPN, 4PM
  • Peach Bowl: Duke/Texas AM, ESPN, 8PM
  • House of Lies Live, Showtime, 10PM


  • Gator Bowl: Nebraska/Georgia, ESPN2, 12PM
  • Heart of Dallas Bowl: UNLV/North Texas, ESPNU, 12PM
  • Capital One Bowl: South Carolina/Wisconsin, ABC, 1PM
  • Outback Bowl: Iowa/LSU, ESPN, 1PM
  • Rose Bowl: Michigan State/Stanford, ESPN, 5PM
  • Fiesta Bowl: Baylor/UCF, 8:30PM
  • Maple Leafs/Red Wings NHL Winter Classic, NBC, 1PM
  • Inside the NFL, Showtime, 9PM
  • NFL Turning Point, NBC Sports Network, 11PM


  • The Assets (series premiere), ABC, 10PM
  • Sugar Bowl: Alabama/Oklahoma, ESPN, 8:30PM
  • Community (season premiere), NBC, 8 8:30PM
  • The Taste (season premiere), ABC, 8PM
  • The Big Bang Theory (winter premiere), CBS, 8PM
  • Nets/Thunder, NBA TV, 8PM
  • The Millers (winter premiere), CBS, 8:30PM
  • Sean Saves the World (winter premiere), NBC, 9PM
  • The Crazy Ones (winter premiere), CBS, 9PM
  • The Michael J Fox Show (winter premiere), NBC, 9:30PM
  • Two and a Half Men (winter premiere), CBS, 9:30PM
  • Parenthood (winter premiere), NBC, 10PM
  • Ground Floor, TBS, 10PM
  • Elementary (winter premiere), CBS, 10PM


  • Betas, Amazon Prime Instant Video
  • Alpha House, Amazon Prime Instant Video
  • Cotton Bowl: Missouri/Oklahoma State, Fox, 8PM
  • Orange Bowl: Clemson/Ohio State, ESPN, 8:30PM
  • The Carrie Diaries, CW, 8PM
  • WWE SmackDown, Syfy, 8PM
  • Grimm (winter premiere), NBC, 9PM
  • Dracula (winter premiere), NBC, 10PM


  • Compass Bowl: Houston/Vanderbilt, ESPN, 1PM
  • D1-AA college football championship game: North Dakota State/Towson, ESPN2, 2PM
  • AFC Wild Card Playoff Game: Chiefs/Colts, NBC, 4:35PM
  • NFC Wild Card Playoff Game: Saints/Eagles, NBC, 8PM
  • Atlantis, BBC America, 9PM
  • 24/7: Red Wings/Maple Leafs Road to the NHL Winter Classic (season finale), HBO, 10PM
  • Saturday Night Live: Best of This Season, NBC, 11:30PM


  • AFC Wild Card Playoff Game: Chargers/Bengals, CBS, 1PM
  • NFC Wild Card Playoff Game: 49ers/Packers, Fox, 4:40PM
  • Go Daddy Bowl: Arkansas State/Ball State, ESPN, 9PM
  • 60 Minutes, CBS, 7PM
  • Downton Abbey (season premiere), PBS, 9PM
  • The Simpsons (winter premiere), Fox, 8PM
  • Bob’s Burgers (winter premiere), Fox, 8:30PM
  • Family Guy (winter premiere), Fox, 9PM
  • The Good Wife (winter premiere), CBS, 9PM
  • Revenge (winter premiere), ABC, 9PM
  • Best of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, NBC, 9PM
  • American Dad (winter premiere), Fox, 9:30PM
  • The Mentalist (winter premiere), CBS, 10PM
  • Betrayal (winter premiere), ABC, 10PM



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IBM’s 5 in 5: The five ideas that will change your life


Imagine doctors using your own DNA in diagnosing and treating you for everything from cancer to heart disease to stroke. According to researchers at IBM, that technology, now in use in just a handful of cases, will become common practice in the next five years.

IBM researchers included DNA sequencing and other ideas on their annual “5 in 5” list this year. It’s a list of what they call the five “innovations that will change the way we live” in the five years to come.

The theme of this year’s list (below) is “in the future everything will learn.”

1. Buying local will beat online

Bernie Meyerson, vice president of innovation at IBM, told the co-hosts of “CBS This Morning” that “bottom line, you walk in, you want to buy a camera for $1,000, you would really like to have a feel for this.”


That does not mean we will revert to how we used to shop. Meyerson said the future of shopping is a convergence of online and brick-and-mortar shopping, where a retailer knows your preferences and is prepared to tailor to your needs.

“Imagine walking into a store that knew your persona,” Meyerson said. “It knows what you like. It actually directs you to the place where those cameras are located, and somebody meets you there. And if you like it, you press a button. It identifies you maybe from a fingerprint, and you go out the door and they hand you the camera.”

2. Doctors will use your DNA to keep you well

“Right now the best you can do is law of averages. You try to get it right,” Meyerson said. “Imagine being able to specifically look at someone’s DNA and say, ‘Wait a minute, I know you have leukemia, but in fact, the defect in your DNA is more similar to people who have, for instance, kidney cancer.’ So instead of treating you with the classic drugs for leukemia, they treat you with the kidney cancer drugs. And you go into remission.”

Meyerson said that is a real case, and is a sign of things to come. “That kind of customization, because of the understanding of your basic makeup from your DNA — that will happen.” In the last few years, IBM has gotten into electronic automation technology that will give people and their doctors individual genetic records for less than $1,000.

3. The emergence of the “digital guardian”

“The digital guardian is basically something that runs around incessantly, on your behalf, making sure your data remains private, and the people using it are only those who are authorized,” Meyerson told the co-hosts of “CBS This Morning.”

4. The classroom will learn you

The idea here, Meyerson said, is allowing teachers to know in advance which children might have challenges or specific ways that they learn best. “Do you really want to lose half a year to some poor child who has a mild case of dyslexia because you didn’t know?”

The classroom of the future, according to IBM, will use data from testing, attendance, and in-class behavior, and will equip teachers with tools to understand each student, and offer customized a curriculum.

5. Smarter cities and no more traffic jams

Smartphones, social media, and other mobile and online engagement will continue to grow, giving everyday citizens more access to city leaders, and giving those leaders more of a direct connection with citizens. This will allow cities to better allocate resources, and could, according to Meyerson, help in addressing everyday problems, like traffic jams.

“My traffic report isn’t, hey you are going to be stuck,” Meyerson said. “My traffic report is, we fixed it, you won’t be stuck.”

This story originally appeared on “CBS This Morning.”

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