Sacramento Kings to Wear Google Glass This Week

A few Sacramento Kings players will be wearing Google Glass on January 24, 2014 when the team takes on the Indiana Pacers. No, players will not be wearing Google Glass on the court. Instead, they’ll be donning Google’s wearable computers while they’re on the bench (likely sobbing from getting trounced by the team with the best record in the NBA). Fans will be able to get a first-person view of what it’s like to be an NBA player (that’s getting trounced by the team with the best record in the NBA). Here’s from from PC Magazine:

Some Kings players will don Google Glass and use technology from CrowdOptic to broadcast exactly what they’re seeing as part of the NBA game experience to the Jumbotron of the Sleep Train Arena, as well as those viewing on smartphones or televisions. Also included in the broadcasting mix are the game’s announcers, the Kings’ mascot, and the team’s dancers.

Some of you are probably wondering, “Why the hell would Google and CrowdOptic use one of the crappiest teams in the league to promote Google Glass applications?” That’s a fair question. Just keep in mind that the Sacramento Kings are owned by a group that’s headed up by Vivek Ranadive. The man has made millions in Silicon Valley, most recently at TIBCO Software in Palo Alto. Google is based in nearby Mountain View, while CrowdOptic is just a bit north in San Francisco. I’m pretty sure it’s a case of awesome nerds banding together to do awesomely nerdy things. That or they just want to make the jocks look silly by forcing them to wear Google Glass.

Anyway, check out the trailer below to see what the Google Glass Sacramento Kings experience will be like. After that, let me know what you think of this nerdy sports experiment. Are there any athletes or sports teams you’d like to see wearing Google Glass?

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Coffee Talk #611: Five Things I Liked From CES 2014

The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2014) is wrapping up and tech nerds are still recovering from being inundated by awesome announcements. Looking through the retroscope, I wish I had gone to this year’s show. It had the expected technology and gaming announcements I expected. What surprised me was the amount of vaping goods on display. Gah! Before I plan for CES 2015, let’s take a look back at five announcements I liked from CES 2014…continued

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, the fraudulent NY Knicks giving fans false hope with their fluke win over the Miami Heat, the Broadway musical based on the lyrics of Tupac Shakur, or the unfortunate news of Emma Watson dating some fool rugby player, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

The 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2014) is wrapping up and tech nerds are still recovering from being inundated by awesome announcements. Looking through the retroscope, I wish I had gone to this year’s show. It had the expected technology and gaming announcements I expected. What surprised me was the amount of vaping goods on display. Gah! Before I plan for CES 2015, let’s take a look back at five announcements I liked from CES 2014.

  1. WWE Network: I wrote about the CES 2014 WWE Network announcement yesterday and I’m still jazzed about the news. This streaming-video service is a dream come true for marks, smarts, and smarks. For $10 a month you get all 12 live WWE pay-per-view events, some original programming, and on-demand access to classic pro-wrestling matches. Hell, I’d pay $10 a month just to watch Ric Flair’s vast library of five-star matches.
  2. First-Gen Steam Machines: Valve-powered Steam Machines are potentially disruptive for the entire videogame universe. Steam Machines could dratically change things for gamers, game developers, and game publishers. I was thrilled to see that first-gen Steam Machines will be coming from top hardware vendors at a broad range of prices. Steam Machines are on the way from Alienware, CyberPowerPC, Digital Storm, Falcon NW ,GigaByte, iBuyPower, Origin PC, and others.
  3. T-Mobile Pays For ETFs: T-Mobile USA’s John Legere is easily the most entertaining CEO in technology today. I love his bold moves and juvenile antics. Some of the things he does aren’t exactly professional, but damn they’re funny. It was hilarious that he crashed AT&T’s CES 2014 party…and promptly got kicked out. In a serious move, I dig the latest step in T-Mobile’s “Uncarrier” initiative: paying early-termination fees (ETFs) for customers moving from AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon to T-Mobile. It’s just the latest in a number of aggressive moves from carrier.
  4. Razer Project Christine: Speaking of bold and aggressive, I’m absolutely smitten with Razer’s Project Christine concept design that was unveiled at CES 2014. This modular PC chassis looks amazingly cool and is extremely practical. It makes upgrading and expanding a PC’s capabilities a snap. Even though I’m mostly a Mac guy these days, I’d love to get a Project Christine PC for when I’m working on PC games.
  5. PlayStation Now: The Gaikai streaming-videogame service will be reborn as PlayStation Now. In addition to streaming older PlayStation games to PlayStation consoles, the service will be built into select Bravia televisions. This is a fantastic value-added feature for casual gamers that want to play videogames every now and then, but aren’t into it enough to buy a dedicated machine. It could even serve as a gateway service and create born-again gamers. It’s a very cool and very smart move from Sony.

How about you guys and dolls? What CES 2014 product or service announcements did you enjoy?

Let’s Play Heroes of Dragon Age!

For the last few months, I’ve been playing a ton of Let’s Play Heroes of Dragon Age. For professional reasons, I can’t review the game, but I’d love for you RPadholics to give it a shot. It’s available on iTunes for iOS devices and Google Play for Android devices. So please, please, please give it a download and give the game some time. When you’re done with that, kindly share your (completely unfiltered) thoughts on the game in the comments section.

For those of you that need more information, Heroes of Dragon Age is a strategy game of sorts. You take a team of characters and (kind of) battle your way through different parts of the Dragon Age universe. Different periods of history are explored. There’s a huge collectible aspect to the game as well. You’ll be able to earn or buy some really cool characters — including heroes and villains from the videogames.

Here’s an excerpt from the official description:

Collect the heroes. Become a legend! Build a party of famous warriors and epic monsters from Dragon Age lore. Battle other players in strategic, CCG-inspired 3D combat. Fight bosses on engaging quests from the award-winning, dark fantasy RPG games.

Like I said, I’ve been playing a ton of Heroes of Dragon Age. Part of it is due to habits developed from work and part of it is that I’m addicted to collecting the characters (it’s the Pokemon nerd in me). I love the Dragon Age role-playing games and while I can’t say that I love Heroes of Dragon Age, I admit that I’m addicted to it — worts and all.

But I’ve probably said too much. Ha! That’s where you come in. Let’s do this as a fun group activity. I’d super appreciate it if you gave the game a whirl. Please note that the early going is slow and you’ll probably need to spend a couple of hours with it before things get interesting. At that point, I’m sure you guys and gals will have lots of interesting things to say about the game. Fire away (please)!

Heroes of Dragon Age Interview

My buddy Paul Semel of PaulSemel.com has an excellent interview with Heroes of Dragon Age producer Tim Lander. For those of you not familiar with the game, Heroes of Dragon Age (Android, iOS) mixes strategy and collectible-card gameplay. It uses several characters, races, and locations from the Dragon Age universe, expanding on some of the rich history that was merely touched on in the games.

I urge you to check out the interview…for several reasons. As many of you know, I’m a mark for the Dragon Age series, but I also have a professional interest in this particular title. In fact, I’m going to ask several of you RPadholics to play it for a completely informal focus group of sorts. I really, really want your opinions on this game.

Oh yeah, here’s a snippet from the interview (please read the whole thing when you have a chance!):

Capital Games have a history of making deeply strategic experiences, and since fans of Dragon Age are also looking for a deeply strategic experience, it was a natural fit. Our focus then simply became creating an experience that was easy to play but hard to master, with accessible gameplay, visually stunning graphics, and an experience made for phones and tablets.

I’m most excited about making Heroes Of Dragon Age continue to be an incredible experience for our players. These games have long life spans, and we’re dedicated to providing additional content, both in terms of new features and additional characters after launch. We want to give them lots of reasons to come back to the game and keep playing for years to come.

I’ll start another story shortly for your assorted thoughts on Heroes of Dragon Age. Now I’m going to bug Paul about why he didn’t lead with the obvious introductory statement: “Tim Lander. I think I know your brother, Zoo!”

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FAA Removes Head From Ass: Electronics Use Allowed For Entire Flight

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has finally allowed the use of consumer electronics during the takeoff and landing of airplanes. Travelers will be free to use their smartphones, tablets, and portable videogame consoles for the entirety of a flight. “Implementation guidance” has been given to airlines and the current restrictions should be lifted by the end of the year. It certainly took the organization long enough to get rid of this stupid restriction, but…

…the FAA still found a way to look silly. It refers to consumer electronics as PEDs. The group says that the acronym stands for “portable electronic devices,” but many people know PEDs as performance-enhancing drugs. Taking a clip from the FAA press release out of context, I found it terribly amusing that FAA administrator Michael Huerta said, “Passengers can use PEDs on airplanes.” I bet Alex Rodriguez got all kinds of excited about flying after he read that (yes, I know he has his own Gulfstream, but just go with it).

Here’s a straight-up clip from the press release:

The FAA based its decision on input from a group of experts that included representatives from the airlines, aviation manufacturers, passengers, pilots, flight attendants, and the mobile technology industry.

Passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions. Electronic items, books and magazines, must be held or put in the seat back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing roll. Cell phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled – i.e., no signal bars displayed—and cannot be used for voice communications based on FCC regulations that prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones.    If your air carrier provides Wi-Fi service during flight, you may use those services.  You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.

If you want the full skinny, including all the FAA’s definitions and the group’s top-10 list of “Things Passengers Should Know about Expanded Use of PEDs on Airplanes” then be sure to hit up the source link below. For now, (please) tell me how you feel about the FAA finally getting rid of its stupid rules on consumer-electronics use during takeoff and landing). Are you excited about the prospect of playing games, watching movies, and listening to music for an entire when you visit your loved ones this holiday season?

Source

Coffee Talk #604: Do You Care About Curved Smartphones?

With the iPad Air, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nexus 5, there are some great products for tech nerds to buy this month. One curious trend — that I don’t get…at all — is curved smartphones. LG and Samsung believe that consumers want curved smartphones, respectively pushing the G Flex and Galaxy Round. While there have been curved smartphones in the past, the G Flex and Galaxy Round feature more aggressive curves. The idea is that curved smartphones offer better ergonomics for making calls and add new functionality with tilt functions. There’s a big chance that I’m missing something, but I don’t see…continued

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, the glorious start of the NBA season, those damn Red Sox going from worst to first, or Google Glass version two, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

With the iPad Air, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nexus 5, there are some great products for tech nerds to buy this month. One curious trend — that I don’t get…at all — is curved smartphones. LG and Samsung believe that consumers want curved smartphones, respectively pushing the G Flex and Galaxy Round. While there have been curved smartphones in the past, the G Flex and Galaxy Round feature more aggressive curves. The idea is that curved smartphones offer better ergonomics for making calls and add new features with tilt functionality. There’s a big chance that I’m missing something, but I don’t see tech geeks clamoring for curved smartphones. How about you?

While I understand the ergonomic aspect of curved smartphones, I don’t think it’s a feature users are demanding — particularly for the high-end market. The people that buy the latest and greatest smartphones generally use them more as mobile computers rather than mobile telephones. Looking at my mobile-phone usage, I spend dozens of hours using my phone as a computer and maybe 100 minutes a month as a telephone.

As for the tilt functionality, it seems gimmicky — at least as explained in Galaxy Round previews and hands-on reports. There’s some potential there, but right now the tilt features are cute novelties rather than convenient or useful additions.

So what do you think about curved smartphones? Is this where smartphones are headed? Or will the G Flex and Galaxy Round end up as cautionary tales? Do any of you want curved smartphones? Will they join the iPad Air, Nexus 5, PS4, and XBone as your November tech-nerd purchases? Kindly leave a comment and let me know.

Coffee Talk #602: First-World Nerd Problems

I’ve read several stories about people that have dropped their mobile phones in the toilet. A few of my friends have suffered this calamity. As mobile phones have become more powerful and apps have become more compelling, this epidemic seems to be spreading. It’s very much a case of a first-world nerd problem. While I don’t use my phone in the bathroom, several of you RPadholic revealed that you do (remember this poll?). Still, it puzzles me. Is it really that difficult to…continued

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, being baffled by politicians supporting A-Rod, excited by your first potential Internet vaping stalker (and hoping that she’s a vampire), or Amazon’s rumored Prime mobile phone by HTC, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

I’ve read several stories about people that have dropped their mobile phones in the toilet. A few of my friends have suffered this calamity. As mobile phones have become more powerful and apps have become more compelling, this epidemic seems to be spreading. It’s very much a case of a first-world nerd problem. While I don’t use my phone in the bathroom, several of you RPadholics revealed that you do (remember this poll?). Still, it puzzles me. Is it really that difficult to avoid dropping your Android phone or iPhone in the toilet?!?

Then again, I shouldn’t judge. I’m guilty of another first-world nerd problem — one that involves tablets. I’ve always enjoyed reading in bed. Until recently, it was a fairly safe thing for me to do. Dozing off with a comic book or paperback in my hands was easy to deal with. Even hardcover books were relatively manageable. Then, the iPad (and Comixology) arrived. That’s when reading in bed became hazardous to my head. Over the last few years, there have been dozens of instances when I wanted to keep reading, but my eyes and brain were telling me to go the hell to sleep. I’d doze off and — boom! — my iPad would smack me in the face.

This first-world nerd problem is certainly embarrassing — I’d briefly wake up, feel stupid, and quickly fall back asleep — but at least I can own up to it. How about you guys and gals? Have dropped your iPhone in the toilet or smacked yourself in the face with your iPad? Are you guilty of any first-world nerd problems? Please share your stories in the comments section.