Eric Knight Inventor. Entrepreneur. Author. Futurist. Business & Internet Pioneer.
Browsing all posts in: Internet

At a recent aerospace event, astronaut legend — Buzz Aldrin — and I exchanged signed copies of our books. But that’s just for starters…

July 27

Eric_Knight_with_Buzz_Aldrin_400x239_copyright_Eric_KnightBuzz and I are part of a growing team of advisors, astronauts, aerospace companies, universities, and energized students of the Time Capsule To Mars project that is designed to send your “selfies” to Mars for 99 cents each. (Yes, you read that right!)

To be working with Buzz Aldrin — one of my childhood heroes — is a tremendous experience. The student-led Time Capsule To Mars project combines my passion for student enterprise and new frontiers in aerospace. If you’d like more info, check out www.TimeCapsuleToMars.com

Watch Stunning First Simulation of Universe’s 13-Billion-Year Evolution (from National Geographic)

May 8

(National Geographic) “Until now, no single simulation was able to reproduce the universe on both large and small scales simultaneously,” Mark Vogelsberger of MIT and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who led the simulation team, says in a statement. Using a computer program, the team grew the virtual galaxies in simulated time, starting from 12 million years after the big bang (which kicked off about 13.8 billion years ago), they report in a study released this week by the journal Nature.

For the complete article, please visit here.

Solved! Bluetooth calls with PIN locked screen || Bluetooth voice dialing with screen lock

March 1

samsung-galaxy-s4-plus-motorola-H730-headsetHere’s a RELIABLE solution to Bluetooth voice dialing even with a PIN locked screen.  I’ve tested it with two Samsung Galaxy S4 phones — one running Android 4.3 and the other running Android 4.4.2.

The magic combination is Motorola’s MY MOTOSPEAK version 3.0.57 (a free download from the Google Play Store, updated January 13, 2014) and the Motorola H730 headset.

Bluetooth voice dialing with a locked screen has been a major topic on Android forums.  A reliable solution has been elusive.  The latest release of MY MOTOSPEAK + the Motorola H730 headset seems to do the trick.

A great fringe benefit is that MY MOTOSPEAK also does voice to text messages.  I’ve been really impressed with the translation accuracy.  It also supports dozens of punctuation symbols and many popular emoticons.

Of course, I can’t absolutely guarantee that this combination will work for you.  But after eight months of trying various headsets and software options, this combination works reliably for me.

Hope this helps.  Feel free to spread the word!

Would you like to fly to Mars? Here’s the next best thing…

January 19

time_capsule_to_mars_spacecraft_rendering_for_online_distributionMy company is a proud supporter of the international student team that’s planning to build and fly a small spacecraft to Mars. On board would be a two-inch-diameter titanium “time capsule of humanity” containing perhaps millions of digital photos, videos, audio files, and text messages from people all over the world — including you.

Your digital creations would be stored on new “quartz” media that, by some estimates, will survive on the surface of Mars for up to 300 million years.

This would be the world’s first interplanetary space mission led by a non-government team. Other key mission supporters include MIT and Explore Mars, Inc. Details of the mission can be viewed at this link.

While the students are working on the essential science, they are also looking for creative names for both the spacecraft and the Mars “time capsule” lander. The goal is to unleash the world’s creativity in every aspect of the program. The individuals who submit the chosen names will get special digital allocations in the time capsule’s quartz memory, as well as other unique tributes. To submit your name ideas, visit www.TimeCapuleToMars.com.

How to stop Google from using your identity in ads. How to opt out of Google’s Shared Endorsements in ads.

October 11

google-personal-endorsement-in-adsStarting November 11th, your reviews of restaurants, hotels, shops, songs, and products — and your image — could show up in ads when searched on Google.  It’s called Google’s Shared Endorsements.  The image in this post is an example.

If you are uncomfortable with this exposure, there’s an easy way to opt out of Google’s Shared Endorsements:

Log into your Google account (for most people, your Gmail account).  Then come back to this post and click on http://plus.google.com/settings/endorsements.  In the page that comes up, scroll to the bottom and UNCHECK the box next to the phrase:  “Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads.”   Then press the SAVE button.  That’s it!

For more information regarding Google’s Shared Endorsements in ads, click here for some more information from ABC News / The Associated Press.

Google acquires smartwatch maker WIMM — to compete with Apple and Samsung

August 30

smartwatch-google(Bloomberg)  Google Inc., which develops the Android software used on mobile devices, has purchased smartwatch designer WIMM Labs, stepping up efforts against competitors in the wearable-computing market.

Google, which didn’t provide details on the acquisition, completed the deal in 2012, the company said in an e-mailed statement. WIMM Labs, based in Los Altos, California, had unveiled a smartwatch design in 2011 that included a full-color touch screen, Internet access and sensors for tracking the owner’s motions, the company said.

Google, owner of the world’s largest search engine, is ramping up in wearable computing to woo consumers in the emerging industry. The purchase comes as new smartwatch devices are on tap from rivals Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, a wristwatch-like device with features of a smartphone, will be introduced Sept. 4, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

For the complete article, click here.

Google speeds up Chrome for iOS with new data compression feature

July 17

(PC World) Google’s Chrome Web browser for iOS devices has been updated to include several enhanced features, including data compression designed to speed up page loading. The update also builds in interoperability with other Google apps, giving users the option to open links for YouTube, Maps, Google+ and Google Drive in the app instead of in the browser. In the update, there are also voice search enhancements to provide text-to-speech for all variations of English, Spanish, German and several other languages. Users can also now access their full browser history to view a list of websites the person has visited while using Chrome in standard mode. For the complete article, click here.

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Fires First Salvo at iPhone Dominance

March 15

(Bloomberg)  Samsung Electronics Co. fired the first of three smartphone salvos this year aimed at hurting Apple Inc in its home market, releasing a bigger and faster Galaxy S4 that reviewers said may only glance its target.  The device announced yesterday at New York’s Radio City Music Hall is lighter than predecessor S3 and has software to track movement of the eyes and waves of the hands. The Galaxy S4 will be able to take photos in two directions, monitor sleeping habits and translate commands into different languages as the South Korean company tries to lure customers in a slowing global smartphone market.  The handset, with a 5-inch screen and 13-megapixel camera, goes on sale in the U.S. on April 26 with carriers including AT&T Inc (T)., Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA Inc. The Galaxy S4 is among three high-end smartphones Samsung is releasing this year after being overtaken in the U.S. by the iPhone 5 in the fourth quarter.  For the complete article, click here.   Image courtesy of Bloomberg

TECH BREAKTHROUGH: High-tech marriage combines 3-D printers with 3-D scanners — lets anyone print in 3-D without design software

March 8

(CNN)  “MakerBot [has] unveiled a desktop device that can scan small three-dimensional objects. Called a MakerBot Digitizer, it’s meant to complement the company’s Replicator printer by letting customers scan objects, then feed the resulting digital files to the Replicator to be printed. The Digitizer uses two lasers and a webcam to scan objects up to about 8 inches in diameter…. The process takes less than three minutes.  Once the digital scan is completed, an object can be printed right away. It’s easier and faster than using software to design a digital printing model from scratch.”  For the complete report, visit this linkImage courtesy MakerBot

Google Glasses to be released soon; more details unveiled

February 3

google glasses augmented reality vision brain memoryAccording to DigitalTrends.com:  “The Google Glass Explorer Edition has successfully passed through the FCC, revealing more details about the device and increasing the possibility that it will soon be in the hands of the limited number of folks who dropped $1,500 for it. The fancy, futuristic eyewear was announced and demonstrated during the Google I/O even in 2012, and attendees were given the chance to reserve a unit for themselves. ”  For the complete article, click here.

So, what would you lose by switching to BlackBerry 10 from Apple, Android, and Windows phones? [InformationWeek]

February 2

 BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OSThe BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 won’t reach store shelves in the U.S. until March or April. That leaves plenty of time to weigh the pros and cons of the smartphone platform before taking that crucial leap to adopt it. Here’s a look at some of the strengths and weaknesses of the new platform from the company formerly known as RIM, as compared to rival operating systems from Apple, Google, and Microsoft.

If you’re coming from Android, you’re going to lose device choice. True, the Z10 and Q10 offer a small selection, but Android wins hands-down when it comes to the variety of form factors. Android devices are big and small, cheap and expensive, rugged and high class. You’re going to lose access to apps.

You’re also going to lose access to Google’s services. Yes, BB10 supports Gmail and Google Contacts and Calendar, but that’s it. No Google+, no Google Maps, no Google Drive, no Google Docs, no Google Voice, no Google Search / Google Now. Some Google services, such as Talk and YouTube, have been ported thanks to BlackBerry, but the vast majority aren’t there. If your business has “gone Google,” switching to BB10 simply doesn’t make sense.

If you’re coming from iOS, you’re losing access to 800,000 apps. BlackBerry World has about 70,000, many of which are ported Android apps. The selection just isn’t there, yet. You’re also losing access to many of the same Google services that are available to Android. You’re losing access to an incredible array of accessories. Devices such as the iPhone have more accessories available than any other device on the market. Being so new, BB10 does not yet have such accessories, and there’s no telling if, or when, it will catch up.

If you’re coming from Windows Phone, you’ll lose some device choice and access to apps, too. Windows Phone 8, which launched during the fourth quarter of 2012, is available from many U.S. carriers in a wide variety of devices, colors and price points. You’ll lose tight integration with other Windows equipment and services, including XBox gaming. The app story isn’t as severe as it is with Apple and Google, but there are plenty of marquee apps missing from BlackBerry World that are available in the Windows Phone Store (Amazon, CNN and eBay, to name a few).

For the full article, click here.

Steve Case: Entrepreneurs are American heroes | VentureBeat

September 14

Steve Case: Entrepreneurs are American heroes | VentureBeatSteve Case, founder of AOL, venture capitalist, and current chairman of Startup America Partnership, says entrepreneurs are the true American heroes.

“Entrepreneurship is how America became great,” Case said.  “The good news is that we’re still the most entrepreneurial nation in the world. The bad news is that all the other countries are trying to catch us.”

Case was speaking in Detroit at Techonomy on Entrepreneurship and American Relevance.There are two types of founders, Case said:  those who create an interesting product or service but have modest ambitions…and those who are trying to change the world, who are swinging for the fences.

Those who are swinging for the fences are continuing the grand American tradition of entrepreneurship, he suggested, continuing the legacy of legendary Detroit founders and leaders such as Henry Ford.

Case sees what’s happening now as the next revolution in technology. After the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, and the initial stages of the digital revolution, we’re now seeing perhaps the most important part of the digital revolution: the impact of digital technology on all aspects of the economy.

Even heroes, of course, need loyal sidekicks. That’s why Case accepted the role of chairman of the Startup America Partnership, which is focused on building up all the regions of the U.S.

Not just social media companies — not just Facebooks and Instagrams — but also companies that use technology intelligently in transportation, in manufacturing, in all aspects of the economy.

“In some ways, every company is now a technology company,” Case said. The most important thing for entrepreneurial heroes, according to Case?“They really have to have passion.”

Image credits: Blastr, John Koetsier

via Steve Case: Entrepreneurs are American heroes | VentureBeat.

With the rise of texting and chat apps, voice-mail use is waning. – USATODAY.com

September 4

In data prepared for USA TODAY, Vonage, an Internet phone company, says the number of voice-mail messages left on user accounts was down 8% in July from a year ago.

Checking one’s voice mail seems to be considered an even a bigger chore than leaving a voice message. Retrieved voice mail fell 14% among Vonage users in the same period.

“They hate the whole voice-mail introduction, prompts, having to listen to them in chronological order,” says Michael Tempora, senior vice president of product management at Vonage. One response by the company to the trend is a new voice-mail transcription service that converts voice messages for delivery as e-mail or text.

The service also e-mails a direct link to the voice-mail audio file, letting users bypass several steps to listen to it. “Voice transcription isn’t perfect,” Tempora says. “But they understand who called and what the message is about.”

The transcription tools make skimming through messages easier for on-the-go users such as Dmitri Leonov, an executive at SaneBox, a maker of e-mail inbox management software. “E-mail (etiquette) says to respect your friends’ time,” says Leonov, who rarely listens to messages. “And I should stop leaving voice mail, as well. Practice what you preach.”

via With the rise of texting and chat apps, voice-mail use is waning. – USATODAY.com.

Protect Your Dropbox Data with Two-Factor Authentication | PCWorld

August 27

Dropbox is rolling out stronger security to protect data stored in the cloud. Following in Google’s footsteps, Dropbox is enhancing account security with optional two-factor authentication.

Dropbox is a popular cloud storage service used by millions of users. Dropbox has had some issues regarding data security, though, and passwords alone have also proven to be an Achilles heel when it comes to protecting online data.

Phishing attacks and many malware variants are designed to trick users into sharing sensitive information like passwords, or surreptitiously capturing them without the user’s knowledge. You should have a cross-device security platform in place to detect and block such attacks, but two-factor authentication provides even stronger security that can be so easily compromised.

via Protect Your Dropbox Data with Two-Factor Authentication | PCWorld.

iPhone 5 targeted for Fall 2012

February 26

The rumor mill is buzzing with the possibility of the iPhone 5 launching in September or October of this year.  As most of my readers know, I’m partial to the Android platform.  But the iPhone does have some intriguing features, including Siri.

If you’d like to get the latest scoop on the iPhone 5, check out the article at Touch Reviews here.

Image courtesy of Touch Reviews

10 great — but lesser-known — Android apps. Check ‘em out!

February 25

InformationWeek wrote an excellent review of 10 lesser-known Android apps — like Glympse and Car Locator — that are both fun and helpful.   Check out the list of 10 great apps at http://bit.ly/wIRUIT.   Enjoy!

Image courtesy of InformationWeek.

 

 

Death of the Internet? Run-amok legislation could kill the Web.

January 2

Washington legislators may have finally lost their minds. Two bills winding their way through Congress — the House’s “Stop Online Piracy Act” (aka, SOPA) and the Senate’s “Protect IP Act of 2011″ (aka, Protect IP) — could gut the very foundation of the Internet.

But don’t just take my word for it. The same conclusion is represented by three distinguished law professors from Stanford, Elon, and Temple universities in their jointly published essay, “Don’t Break the Internet.”

Here are a couple of snippets from the authors’ essay:

“The procedures outlined in both bills fail [a] fundamental constitutional test. Websites can be ‘completely removed from circulation’ — rendered unreachable by, and invisible to, Internet users in the United States and abroad — immediately upon application by the government, without any reasonable opportunity for the owner or operator of the website in question to be heard or to present evidence on his or her own behalf. This falls far short of what the Constitution requires before speech can be eliminated from public circulation.”

“As serious as these infirmities are, SOPA, the House’s bill, builds upon them, enlarges them, and makes them worse. Under SOPA, IP rights holders can proceed vigilante-style against allegedly offending sites, without any court hearing or any judicial intervention or oversight whatsoever.”

In the noise of all of the other political gyrations in Washington, legislation that could undermine the foundation of the Internet could squeak through. I urge you to review the entire legal analysis at this link.  If you’re equally concerned, you may want to consider contacting your Congressional representatives.

Image courtesy Stanford Law Review.

Raise up to $2 million for your business (BIG NEWS for entrepreneurs)

December 12

How would you like to raise up to $2 million for your startup business?  And do it by letting investors “point-n-click” the cash your way via the Web?  It may soon be nearly that simple, thanks to the “Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act” (more commonly known as the “Crowdfunding Act”) that passed the House in an overwhelming (and bi-partisan!) 407 to 17 vote.  President Obama is another driving force behind the legislation, which is designed to dramatically streamline fund-raising for entrepreneurs.

After the bill passes the Senate (and all indications are that it will), and President Obama signs the legislation into law, entrepreneurs will be able to turn on a grassroots method to raise capital — equity sales online — with greatly reduced SEC restrictions.  The freer flow of money would be rocket fuel for startups, which are an essential engine for a robust economy and job creation.

“Crowdfunding” — a way for masses of people (“the crowd”) to feed ventures with capital via the Web — has blossomed in recent years thanks to sites like Kickstarter.com.  But SEC “red tape” (primarily the Securities Act of 1933) has prohibited these sites from directly offering investment shares in the enterprises.  The new Crowdfunding Act will remove this barrier.  No longer will equity sales be restricted to accredited investors.  And the power of public-supported funding will be unleashed.

Entrepreneurial endeavors will be able to sell up to $2 million in ownership shares to an unlimited number of investors.  And individuals will be able to invest up to $10,000 or up to 10% of his or her annual income, whichever is less.

If a company seeks the maximum $2 million in funding, it must supply “the crowd” with audited financial statements.  A company can choose to bypass the audited-financial-statement requirement — but then the maximum capital it can raise is $1 million.  (That’s nothing to sneeze at!)

When the President signs the legislation into law, it will be a great day for all entrepreneurs.  Just as important for America, the ensuing new businesses will provide a shot of adrenaline for the economy and help rev up the job-creation engine.  Everyone will win.

The 50 funniest “autocorrect” text messages of 2011

December 11

Has your cell phone’s autocorrect feature ever made a really screwy suggestion for the word you intended to type?  Worse, have you accidentally sent the text with the nutty word, only to then have an OMG moment — wishing you could take it back?

The editors of “Damn You Auto Correct” have compiled what they believe are the 50 funniest messed-up text messages, as determined by Facebook shares, tweets, comments, and pageviews.  Check out the LOL selection of text messages here:   http://bit.ly/vxU90b

Carrier IQ: Your cell phone’s secret recording device (CNNMoney)

December 3

“Carrier IQ is a piece of software installed on millions of mobile phones that logs everything their users do, from what websites they browse to what their text messages say.

“No, it’s not part of some great Orwellian plot; it’s a diagnostic tool that carriers say plays a crucial role in helping them assess and troubleshoot their networks. But the recording app, which flew under the radar for years until security researchers drew attention to it recently, is setting off red-alert privacy and security alarms.

“It’s also spotlighting how little customers — and, sometimes, the carriers and manufacturers themselves — know about what goes on under the hood of their data-stuffed mobile devices.”

For the full article, including a link to an insightful YouTube video, visit http://cnnmon.ie/ruPxSh

Image courtesy John F. Coughlin / CNNMoney

Political (and technology) prediction

November 28

I’m not big on politics.  But I am on technology.  And I’ve spotted an emerging technology platform that has a legitimate potential to profoundly impact the U.S. presidential election less than a year from now.

It’s called Americans Elect www.AmericansElect.com.  Its goal:  Allow the public to select its own President / Vice President candidate ticket — and put the pair on the election ballot in all 50 states.

What distinguishes this endeavor from a symbolic gesture is that Americans Elect is collecting signatures nationwide to place the selected candidates on the ballot in all 50 states.  So, in theory, the Americans Elect ticket could become President and Vice President of the United States.

As stated by Americans Elect“We’re using the Internet to break the gridlock in Washington, open up the political process and give every single voter — Democrat, Republican or independent — the power to nominate a presidential ticket in 2012. Your voice matters. You decide the issues. You choose the candidates. And in a secure, online convention next June, you will make history by putting the Americans Elect ticket on the ballot in every state.”

Could this actually happen?  Given the volatile political climate, and now the technology infrastructure, it’s not impossible.  Check out the Web site www.AmericansElect.com and keep an eye on things.  And if Americans Elect blossoms into a real political force, remember where you heard it first.

Cha-ching! Chime.in — new social media site — pays you to post.

October 23

Chime.in, a just-launched social-media site, claims it will pay all content posters 50% of the advertising revenue generated on their profile pages.  This in stark contrast to Facebook, which has built a $65 billion empire by leveraging members’ content to attract advertisers and amass revenue.

To provide a first-hand report, I created Chime.in account (very simple to do), and explored the site.  Although the site is still in beta, I must say the user interface is well thought out.  Since the site has just turned on, you probably have a good shot to get your personal name as your user name.  Hey, it’s free.  Go for it.  www.Chime.in

The following is a snippet of a Huffington Post article about Chime.In:

“While Facebook has earned billions of dollars selling ads next to the content uploaded by their 800 million members, users haven’t seen a dime from their posts.

Share with Chime.in and Chime.in will share with you. The site, which allows individuals to post photos, links, videos and text in two thousand character ‘chimes,’ will give users 50 percent of the revenue it earns from selling advertising on their profile pages.

‘This is a firing shot in social media,’ [Bill Gross, the founder] told The Huffington Post. ‘Finally, the interests of the content creators are aligned with the interests of the publisher because they get something for their hard work.”

For the complete article, visit http://huff.to/ogyFGi

Image courtesy The Huffington Post and Getty Images.

The secret to revitalizing America’s business? You. And your creativity. (Watch this inspiring two-minute video — and share.)

October 19

I came across this inspiring two-minute video on YouTube about entrepreneurs.  They formed the fabric of our country — and could (and should) be our engine to the future.  Start your day off with this video.  It will lift your spirits.  Then take that rush of adrenaline and dose free spirit — and go for it.  Change the world.

How to fix Facebook’s News Feed — and put it back the way it was. Easy as 1-2-3.

October 18

Facebook has really messed up its News Feed.  Overwhelmingly, people want the Facebook News Feed to function the way it was.  Here’s a simple 1-2-3 to do just that:

(1)  In the left-hand column, click on LISTS.

(2)  Click on the “Create a List” button and type “Most Recent” as the name.

(3)  Select all of the friends you’d like to follow by clicking on their pictures.

That’s it!  Now when you want to see a “normal” most-recent list of the activities of your friends, just click on the “Most Recent” link in the left-hand column.

Bonus option #1:  If you’d like the “Most Recent” link to conveniently appear in your “Favorites” at top of the left-hand column, simply mouse-over the “Most Recent” list name, click on the pencil icon that pops up, and then click on “Add to Favorites.”

Bonus option #2:  If you’d really like to tweak the position of the “Most Recent” link, say to put it at the very top of your “Favorites,” that’s easy too.  All you have to do (once it is in your “Favorites”) is mouse over the “Most Recent” link again, click on the pencil icon again, and select the “Rearrange” option.  Now click and drag the “Most Recent” link to the position you’d like.

TECH NEWS: Facebook to unveil “Facebook Music” — a music service that will allow you to listen to live streams of music with friends.

September 22

Facebook creative director, Ji Lee, spilled the beans about Facebook’s upcoming Facebook Music service when he tweeted:  “The ‘Listen with your friend’ feature in ticker is blowing my mind. Listen to what your friends are listening. LIVE.”

The “ticker” Lee referred to is the live scrolling updates of your friends, as implemented in the recent interface update of Facebook.

The graphic associated with this post is a snippet of a screenshot by quick-fingered Twitter users — before Lee and Facebook removed Lee’s tweet from public view.

What the Facebook Music feature will look like, and how it will actually function, is still a secret.  Keep an eye on both the ticker and the general Facebook user interface over the next couple of days.

You’re essentially looking over my shoulder as I write, think, create, invent, and — in general — ponder the world around us.  Feel free to peruse my writings and chime in as you’re so inspired.  I encourage spirited debate.

This is a specially crafted multi-pronged conduit.  Everything I type feeds parallel simultaneous streams to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and my e-mail broadcast system.  It’s a global tightrope without a net.  Oh, my.

No topic is off limits.  If you’re looking for a site that is “politically correct,” you’ve come to the wrong place.  Hit the back button on your browser now.

Lots and lots of new features are coming online.  They’re all in various stages of development.  You’ll soon see innovative things I’m working on — such as a live, streaming, two-way “TV channel” of sorts where you’ll be able to interact with me (audio, video, text) in real time as I type here in front of my computer.

This is my platform to push the boundaries of technology in every dimension.

Hang on tight.  We may achieve orbit.  Or we may sail off a cliff.  But the ride will be exhilarating.

– Eric

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