Google to turn “Messages” into “Chat” on Android to compete with iMessage

So, FINALLY, rather than just making yet ANOTHER messaging app for Android (like Talk, Voice, Wave, Google+ Messenger, Hangouts, Allo, Duo, etc.), Google is aiming to make another push for its mobile messaging app. According to a report from The Verge , the Mountain View-based company’s next effort, simply called Chat. I know what you’re thinking: “GOOGLE’S MAKING ANOTHER MESSAGING APP?!? C’MON NOW!!” The kicker is that Chat isn’t just another new app; it’s a brand name for Universal Profile features in RCS, a standard set to replace old-school SMS texting we know and (sometimes) love with features similar to Apple’s iMessage (sans end-to-end encryption, unfortunately) for the masses. Continue reading “Google to turn “Messages” into “Chat” on Android to compete with iMessage”

What We Know About the New Google Glass Sunglasses Patent

Image result for google glass

Nowadays, it feels that elements of science-fiction are becoming real in respect of wearable technology like smartwatches, smart lights, smart patches and other great and strange wearable devices. Smart glasses once seemed to be joining the fray, but they’ve become pretty absent after the disappearance of both the Snapchat Glasses and Google Glass (the consumer version, anyway). Now with other companies aiming to get into the market (i.e., Apple is rumored to be looking into it), it seems that Google is looking to get back into the game — at least based on a new patent — and here’s what interesting about them so far… Continue reading “What We Know About the New Google Glass Sunglasses Patent”

Meanwhile in China, Ford & Alibaba Will Have a Vending Machine to Dispensing Cars

Ford Motor China news, China auto aftermarket service, Alibaba super test drive center

As someone who’s recently experienced the (streamlined and painless) process of purchasing a new car via a vending machine — what up, Carvana? –, it looks like Ford will be getting into the car dispensing game too. Well, at least in China; pronounced “chyyyyyn-nahh”. In fact, the American automaker is partnering with Alibaba to build a vending machine for cars that you can try before you buy with the sales agent constantly selling (or badgering; you be the judge) you about the car. The Super Test-Drive Center in Guangzhou was actually announced at the end of 2017, and the vending machine — which has a capacity of 42 cars — will disperse out vehicles for prospective buyers. Well, potential buyers can test the cars after they’ve paid the required fees using Alibaba’s Tmall app and supplying a good-old selfie for identification purposes. Continue reading “Meanwhile in China, Ford & Alibaba Will Have a Vending Machine to Dispensing Cars”

The Wave, A Wearable MIDI Music/Sound Controller In The Form of a Ring

Genki Instruments is attempting to create one wearable sound controller ring to rule them all (sorry; had to do it).  The Wave is a MIDI controller housed in a wearable ring that controls sound, allowing you to play and modify sounds in thin air as it’s being made.  Essentially, it allows you to create and perform music in multiple, varied ways and is designed to work with keyboards, guitars, and even multiple music apps, such as Logic. Continue reading “The Wave, A Wearable MIDI Music/Sound Controller In The Form of a Ring”

Harvard University Develops Robot That Crawls Like a Snake; You Won’t Want These in Your Boots…

Scientists at Harvard University have created a soft, tube-like robot with silicone rubber acting as its artificial skin. The laser-cut rubber used is a thin, stretchable plastic sheet, with the cuts, shaped like triangles or circles, look similar to the scales on the skin of snakes. The robot is able to move as air is pumped into the tube, which allows the robot to expand and contract, resulting in the scales to pop up and anchor against the ground, pulling the robot in a forward motion. As for moving backwards; the researchers are still trying to figure that out. Continue reading “Harvard University Develops Robot That Crawls Like a Snake; You Won’t Want These in Your Boots…”

Reminder: The IRS IS NOT Calling You…

Image result for irs scammer

Happy Tax Season everyone! It’s the time of year to go through all of your records, receipts, W-2’s, statements, donation documents and more to try to get some of that cash you overpaid to ol’ Uncle Sam. Unfortunately, it’s also that time of year where scammers will contact you via phone, email, and (in some cases) social media accounts (fo’ real, tho?), claim that they’re from the IRS and threaten that they’ll contact the authorities if you don’t pay up. SPOILER ALERT: the IRS is NOT calling you, they WILL NOT threaten you with police action, and they WILL NOT demand that you pay them money at that exact moment. File this warning under “a representative from Microsoft” and/or “a representative from Windows” will NEVER contact you about a computer issue you’re having; I had to educate THREE people at my church of that AGAIN this past week in UNDER a 24-HOUR PERIOD.
Continue reading “Reminder: The IRS IS NOT Calling You…”

Two Ex-Google Engineers Create Driverless Delivery Car Service

Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, who formerly worked as Lead Engineers at Google, have founded Nuro. The focus of their new company isn’t on reinventing public and large-cargo transportation, but on low-speed, local & last-mile deliveries or groceries, take-out orders (via Seamless) and laundry. Nuro’s goal is to automate these services to shoulder the quick increase in last-minute deliveries, while giving local businesses a boost to compete with Amazon (mainly their Prime Now service).

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BMW buys parking app Parkmobile to in tackling urban traffic woes

Between the rise of hybrid, electric and self-driving autonomous vehicles (among other automobile advancements), automakers around the world are seeing the next great frontier in the driving experience, which includes FINDING A DARN, AVAILABLE PARKING SPOT! It appears that the German car-maker BMW was thinking the same thing, as they have gone from being a minority stakeholder in Parkmobile — described as the largest mobile parking services provider in North America with a footprint over 1 million+ parking spaces — back in 2004 to going all-in by outright buying the app completely. It looks like BMW isn’t just content on profiting from car sales; they was to solve issues with, again, FINDING A DARN, AVAILABLE PARKING SPOT!

Continue reading “BMW buys parking app Parkmobile to in tackling urban traffic woes”

At #CES2018, ‘Retron’-maker Hyperkin showed off its Game Boy Clone System

With the influx of cloned retro systems (standard-sized and micro-sized), this has become a great way to experience — for the first time ever or in a while — older games on newer hardware.  Via a report from Gizmodo, Hyperkin, the makers of the Retron 5, unveiled their clone system to the popular Nintendo Game Boy, temporarily called the “Ultra Game Boy”; that will DEFINITELY be renamed for trademark and copyright reasons (because DUH). However, that codename is a great description of Hyperkin’s hardware, which aims to improve on Nintendo’s original Game Boy in many ways that won’t impede on the system’s classic gameplay. In yet, they DID release their take on the original Xbox’s “Duke” controller because REASONS…
Continue reading “At #CES2018, ‘Retron’-maker Hyperkin showed off its Game Boy Clone System”

Next Month, A Japanese Hospital will use Robots to help during the Night Shift

A robot travels automatically inside Nagoya University Hospital carrying a load of drugs and test samples. (Ayako Tsukidate)

Nagoya, Japan once had a whole museum dedicated to robotics, so it comes to no surprise (at leas to us here at The PractitioNERD) that a local hospital will add robots developed by Toyota Industries — a subsidiary of the automaker that produces auto parts and electronics — to its medical staff. While these bots won’t be conducting surgeries (yet, anyway), come this February, four robots will be deployed at Nagoya University Hospital will transport medicine and test samples from floor-to-floor for a one-year trial period during its 5PM to 8AM night shift. Should the trial succeed in assisting the staff during times when fewer people are walking the floors, the hospital may elect to deploy more units. Continue reading “Next Month, A Japanese Hospital will use Robots to help during the Night Shift”