Upgrade Your Life
  • Apple did something unusual: they announced 2 iPhones at once. There’s a budget model, the iPhone 5C, and a mid-cycle upgrade, the iPhone 5S.  My initial take is that the 5C will be a nice fit for many, but the iPhone 5S may have limited appeal, in part because of a rumor about the next iPhone.

    5C Specs

    ·     Plastic shell
    ·     5 colors – white, pink, yellow, blue, green
    ·     4-inch retina screen (same as the iPhone 5)
    ·     A6 chip (same as the iPhone 5)
    ·     Rear- and front-facing cameras (same as the iPhone 5)
    ·     16GB $99, 32GB $199
    ·     Available September 20th
    ·     Battery – basically the same as the iPhone 5, with a little added talk time
    ·     Siri enabled

    Finally a Cheap (well… cheaper) iPhone

    The 5C feels young: be it the glow-in-the-dark colors that match the new IOS 7 or the “unibody polycarbonate shell” (aka, it’s made from a single piece of plastic). It has much of the same hardware that was in the iPhone 5 – which has been discontinued. This 5C is a way to offer the previous

    Read More »from The New iPhones: Should You Upgrade?
  • I have a confession: I’m a tech reporter, with a master’s degree in educational technology – and I don’t often let my kids use an iPad. I’d rather let them watch TV than play with digital devices.

    I’m not going to tell you how you should raise your kids – that’s up to you – but I will offer one perspective you may not have heard.

    Early Successes… and Early Battles

    I have twins – a boy and a girl. When they were toddlers, I searched the iTunes and Google Play stores using the keywords “educational” and “toddler.” Thousands of apps appeared. Virtual jigsaw puzzles for "spatial awareness," letter recognition, games promising “help your child learn to read!” and number of games that “teach your child to count to 100.” I downloaded many because, like most parents, I have moments when I wanted my children to be calm and still – like after dinner in a restaurant, on a plane, or when I just needed to take a shower in peace and quiet.

    Boy did the apps work! The kids were quiet, zombies really.They

    Read More »from Why TV Could Be Better for Kids Than iPads
  • At the IFA tradeshow in Berlin, Samsung announced Galaxy Gear:  a smartwatch that can’t make calls on its own, but connects wirelessly with the owner’s nearby smartphone. Samsung may have beaten Apple to the punch, but is this watch doomed to be a forgotten accessory, or is it the start of a trend that’s been coming ever since Dick Tracy first flicked his wrist to make a call?

    Galaxy Gear Features

    ·     1.63 inch AMOLED screen

    ·       6 colors: Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, and Lime Green

    ·     800 MHz processor

    ·     Bluetooth 4.0

    ·     1.9 megapixel still and video camera built into the watchband

    ·     Battery: Samsung says it will last 25+ hours (real world test: TBD)

    ·     Microphone and speaker for voice-activated calling

    ·     Notifications from calendar, text messaging, apps, and incoming calls

    ·     70 apps preloaded, including: Evernote, Path, RunKeeper, Find my Phone, Weather

    ·     Currently works only with Note 3 & Note 10.1, but Samsung promises more

    Read More »from Samsung’s Smartwatch – Trendsetter or Follower?

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  • Early Glance: Gold companies

    Shares of some top gold companies are mixed at 10 a.m.: Barrick Gold Corp. fell $.15 or .8 percent, to $18.95. Gold Fields Ltd ADS fell $.03 or .8 percent, to $3.92. GoldCorp. fell $.24 or .9 percent, ...

  • Netflix, Chipotle results show consumer strength
    Netflix, Chipotle results show consumer strength

    Netflix and Chipotle report big earnings but what does it mean for investors and consumers?

  • BRICS shake up global economic architecture
    BRICS shake up global economic architecture

    By creating their own multilateral financial institutions, the BRICS emerging-market powers are shaking up global economic governance but remain far from dismantling the post-war system dominated by the West. For the past 70 years, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been the pillars of the world's economic system, coming to the rescue of countries in trouble and supporting development projects, respectively. "Broader global governance reforms have become stalled, despite the many commitments made by advanced economies to emerging markets to give them a more prominent role in international financial institutions and other international forums," said Eswar Prasad, a trade policy professor at Cornell University and a former IMF expert. In this context, the launch Tuesday of a development bank and an emergency reserve fund by the BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- appears to be a concrete attempt to address those inequities.

  • Batman will not appear in Fox's 'Gotham' series
    Batman will not appear in Fox's 'Gotham' series

    BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Yes, the new Fox series "Gotham" will feature a young Bruce Wayne, but don't expect him to turn into the caped crusader.

  • Perry sending National Guard troops to border
    Perry sending National Guard troops to border

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Gov. Rick Perry is deploying up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border over the next month to combat what he said Monday were criminals exploiting a surge of children pouring into the U.S. illegally.

  • In NYC, Front Doors Are for the One Percent
    In NYC, Front Doors Are for the One Percent

    Income inequality has dominated Democrats’ political rhetoric across the country, with politicians in Washington and on the campaign trail introducing plans to narrow the growing gulf between the rich and the poor.  Yet, in the country’s largest city, which recently elected a mayor who ran on a platform that derided income inequality, the issue is getting more and more visible - especially for some of New York’s low-income residents living in buildings that segregate them from their rich neighbors.  Last week, the New York Department of Housing Preservation and Development approved a request by a swanky new condo on the Upper West Side to have a separate entrance in a back alley for its lower income residents (in New York City that means people with an annual income of $51,540 or less). 

  • I no longer talk to Obama: Turkey's Erdogan
    I no longer talk to Obama: Turkey's Erdogan

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he has stopped talking to US President Barack Obama on the phone, amid growing strains between Ankara and Washington over Syria and the Gaza conflict. Turkey, a fierce opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and an open supporter of armed rebel fighters, felt betrayed when the United States backed away from military action against Damascus in September. "In the past, I was calling him (Obama) directly. Because I can't get the expected results on Syria, our foreign ministers are now talking to each other," Erdogan said in a live interview on pro-government ATV channel late Monday.

  • Defying allies, France to deliver first warship to Russia

    By Yann Le Guernigou and Guillaume Frouin PARIS/ST NAZAIRE (Reuters) - President Francois Hollande won broad domestic applause on Tuesday for defying allies Britain and the United States by confirming plans to deliver a helicopter carrier to Russia, with one backer dismissing the objections as hypocritical. Speaking on the eve of an EU meeting to discuss sanctions on Moscow over the downing of a civilian airliner over Ukraine, Hollande said late on Monday that a first Mistral warship would be handed over on schedule in October but a decision on a second would depend on Russia's attitude. It was the clearest signal yet that Paris will go through with the controversial deal despite the Ukraine crisis and came only hours after British Prime Minister David Cameron said it would be "unthinkable" for his country to fulfil such an order. The United States has also said it opposes the sale, which has exposed France to criticism that it is putting its own interests ahead of Western solidarity over Ukraine.

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