Techzone 360 Week in Review

By Tony Rizzo March 09, 2013

Steve Wozniak - historical, futuristic, transcendent...and now, Keynote Speaker at ITEXPO Las Vegas 2013 - At ITEXPO Miami last month, we were graced with insightful words by John Sculley, former CEO at Apple. Today, we look ahead with excitement to the presence of yet another tech and Apple veteran, at ITEXPO Las Vegas set for this August - Steve Wozniak. This is great news for those of you - and there will be quite of few of you - who will be attending our ITEXPO Las Vegas trade show in August. Woz is very interested in hearing about what you would like to know. Tell us and we'll pass it on. And we'll see you at the show.

Some interesting new things have popped up this week. First on our list is "yet another Facebook facelift" - with Facebook unveiling a new design for its news feed. The news feed is made up of three aspects: rich stories, choice of feeds and a mobile consistent UI. Some of us believe the updates are pretty much spot on with predictions and speculation prior to the event. But are we seeing multiple feeds…and a clean and rich redesign? That is a good question.

Did you know that the typical Facebook post is seen by one third of friends when it's posted? If you use Facebook for your business, you may wonder how many of your customers are regularly encountering your posts. After all, it’s hard to understand whether customers are seeing posts and simply not responding (which may mean you need to make your posts a bit more compelling), or missing posts entirely (which may mean you need to make yourself a bit more visible).

Enough about Facebook though. How about some Pandora news? If you use the service more than 40 hours a week, you may soon be out of luck. The company has just re-introduced its old policy of limiting the amount of free access to no more than 40 hours a week. Bummer. As the company ponders what Apple may do on the streaming radio front Pandora's CEO Joe Kennedy has decided to step down after 10 years at the helm. The stock jumped 20 percent on the news.

Here's an entirely different new thing: How about a battery adapter that turns your smartphone into an "ultra-remote" control? It's based on Bluetooth is a technology that not only has a lot of possibilities by itself, but it also has a lot of possibilities that are undiscovered. Tetherboard may have hit one major new use, with the concept of Tethercell. Tethercell is a battery adapter that allows a smartphone - in conjunction with an app of course - take control of just about any device that runs on AA batteries. It's a pretty cool idea in fact.

How about something that sounds like a scene out of a James Bond movie? Or maybe an old McGiver TV episode? It turns out that it may be actually be possible to circumvent a smartphone's encryption system and retrieve its confidential information simply by putting it in a freezer! How's that for security? The discovery was recently released by German researchers at Erlangen's Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU). They froze a smartphone for an hour. The researchers – Tilo Muller, Michael Spreitzenbarth and Felix Freiling – were able to get the device’s temperature down to -10C. Data was later analyzed on a separate computer. Read on.

If that freezer/security issue is suddenly stressing you out and you happen to be an Android user, you may be a perfect candidate for a new "neurofeedback" mobile app - Transcend. Personal Neuro Devices has launched Transcend. This new smartphone app aims to ease stress and guide users through meditation by monitoring brain waves that change as people become more relaxed. Through the collaboration of a team of neuroscientists, software developers, gamification experts, biomedical device researchers and graphic artists, the company has applied advances in neuro-imaging and psychology to create new brain-computer interface programs and technologies. Try it on for size…relax.

We're certain that no amount of neurofeedback will help Michael Dell however. His attempt to steal back - we mean buy back - Dell from its shareholders for $13.65 a share continues to hit all sorts of speed bumps. In fact the real world's Gordon Gekko - none other than Carl Icahn himself, has now stepped fully into the Dell leveraged buyout arena and has quickly made his presence known with exactly the sorts of demands you might expect. It's game on now for certain - and this time around we're rooting for Icahn to win the fight - Dell's shareholders will absolutely benefit and Michael Dell won't be walking away with a steal.

Finally, we'll leave you with this bit of important financial information. Last week we noted that alternative reality currency BitCoin had reached a record-breaking exchange rate of $32 per Bitcoin. Well, that record no longer stands. It's now reached $40! Who knew there was an investment to be had here?

Don't forget that this weekend our clocks jump ahead to daylight savings time. Enjoy your shortened weekend!

TechZone360 Senior Editor

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