The Week: Most Recent Tech Posts recent posts.en-usWed, 30 Jul 2014 08:45:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Tech Posts from THE WEEKWed, 30 Jul 2014 08:45:00 -04003 ridiculous myths about how technology is destroying your mind<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-24dd003a-15f1-7f35-ca02-2d68cb44bb64">Did you know that technology is terrible and is destroying our minds? It's true. It must be true, because people keep saying it. In the 1960's, television ("the boob tube") was the "</span>vast wasteland" turning our brains into mush. In the 1980's, video games were the culprit du jour. More recently, Google has been making us stupid and social media is destroying our real-world relationships.</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-24dd003a-15f1-7f35-ca02-2d68cb44bb64">And now, a recent headline tells us that a "</span>Shocking study shows why technology is not really making us smarter," reporting that smart phones have made us so addicted to mindless stimulation that we would rather...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Greg StevensWed, 30 Jul 2014 08:45:00 -0400The 6 best low-cost smartphones<img src="" /></P><p class="Default">When I pulled the new One phone, made by Chinese manufacturer OnePlus, out of its box, I was stunned by its fit and finish. I was also stunned by its retail price: $299 with 16 gigabytes of storage, and $349 for 64GB. Compare that to an iPhone 5S ($649) or a Galaxy S5 ($599), which are standard retail prices, and you have to wonder whether the One's competitors are worth the extra price.</p><p class="Default">The OnePlus One isn't the only solid piece of hardware going for a more affordable price. It's part of a broader trend toward low-cost smartphones. Here are some options on the market:</p><p class="Default"><strong>OnePlus One<br /></strong>The One has...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/tyler-hayes" ><span class="byline">Tyler Hayes</span></a>Tue, 29 Jul 2014 13:15:00 -0400Innovation of the week: A robotic mule<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">At a recent military event, the U.S. Marine Corps showed off its new "robotic mule" &mdash; officially called the Legged Squat Support System (LS3) but nicknamed Cujo &mdash; that is "capable of carrying up to 400 pounds of cargo for 20 miles without refueling," said Jack Linshi at <em>Time</em>. The machine, which has been under development since 2007 and cost $2 million, can even "traverse rocky terrain with its lifelike gallop." Cujo does, however, "make loud noises while moving," which limits its usefulness to resupply missions and cargo movement, not tactical operations.</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 25 Jul 2014 14:05:00 -0400The case for making computer science a high school requirement<img src="" /></P><p>After an entire weekend spent reading up on for loops and while loops, I sat frustrated, literally wanting to bang my head against a wall. I was 19 years old, a week in to my first computer science class ever, and I had no idea how I would be able to successfully finish the project my class had been assigned.</p><p>We were told to build a "Gumball Machine" in Python &mdash; the professor's way of putting a cutesy spin on us learning to code a series of arbitrary requirements. The program we had to build would randomly choose numbers that were assigned to colors of gumballs. There was to be a specific...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/hayley-munguia" ><span class="byline">Hayley Munguia</span></a>Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:29:00 -0400This amazing phone lets you text smells to your friends<img src="" /></P><p>Your smartphone beeps. You have a text. But it's not an emoji-sprinkled flirt from the person you're dating. It's the smell of a fresh bouquet of roses.</p><p>That may sound crazy, but Harvard professor David Edwards and his former student Rachel Field are already testing out a device that does just that. Edwards, founder of the Paris-based art and science lab Le Laboratoire, and Field created the oPhone, a device that transmits scents via an iPhone application.</p><p>"Smell triggers a more direct cerebral response than visual and auditory signals," Edwards said recently at the American Museum of Natural...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/amy-kraft" ><span class="byline">Amy Kraft</span></a>Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:06:00 -0400What these custom, 3D-printed earphones say about the future of consumer technology<img src="" /></P><p class="Default">Last Friday, I visited a nondescript building in the middle of San Diego's Little Italy, where the future was being printed out on a machine smaller than a microwave oven.</p><p class="Default">Through a door labeled "Design" was a messy space filled with lots of stuff; nothing particularly noticeable, just stuff. But in the back corner was a gadget that was producing custom-fitted earbuds.</p><p class="Default">Ownphones is in the midst of a crowd-funded campaign to become one of the first companies to mass-produce a custom 3D-printed consumer product. Each pair of earbuds is Bluetooth-enabled, and is molded according to the shape of...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/tyler-hayes" ><span class="byline">Tyler Hayes</span></a>Tue, 22 Jul 2014 06:14:00 -0400Genetic modification could lead to inequality like we've never seen<img src="" /></P><p>If you could have the outlandish strength and agility of <em>Halo</em>'s Master Chief, how much would you spend?</p><p>For the uninitiated, Master Chief is the hero of the <em>Halo</em> video game series. A heavily genetically enhanced supersoldier, he can run faster, jump higher, see further, think faster, and endure longer than regular humans. So powerful is Master Chief that his alien adversaries think of him as a "demon" because of his ability to destroy hundreds or sometimes thousands of alien soldiers.</p><p>And a genetically engineered human isn't a wild fantasy. Researchers have recently made impressive advances in...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/john-aziz" ><span class="byline">John Aziz</span></a>Tue, 22 Jul 2014 06:09:00 -0400Innovation of the week: Smart luggage<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><span class="s1">Airbus is developing a new "smart luggage" product that will help link travelers with their bags, said James O'Toole at <em></em>. Working with luggage-maker Rimowa, the jet manufacturer has developed a device called Bag2Go, which features a radio-frequency identification chip and GPS technology to help owners track their luggage in transit. While Bag2Go is still in the prototype stage, Airbus plans to license the technology to airlines, allowing the bags to integrate directly with the carriers' IT systems, speeding recovery when luggage is lost. </span></p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffFri, 18 Jul 2014 14:15:00 -0400How social media changed our definition of 'social'<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p dir="ltr">This week, just over two centuries ago, Phineas T. Barnum was born. Barnum, founder of Barnum &amp; Bailey Circus and a sly showman, delighted in attention-grabbing hoaxes. In one of his infamous tricks, he duped the media into printing a story of a mermaid specimen, actually a young monkey's head and torso tied to a fish tail. Unsurprisingly, the saying "there's no such thing as bad publicity" is generally attributed to him.</p><p dir="ltr">Contemporary marketers would describe Barnum's stunts as going viral. Online, to "go viral" means to break away from the noise and capture the collective attention of the...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Jaime WooFri, 18 Jul 2014 09:16:00 -0400Meet Cone, the wireless speaker that tries to make sense of 25 million songs<img src="" /></P><p class="Default">The embattled music recording industry is praying that subscription streaming services are the antidote to declining music sales. Consumers now get unlimited access to a vast catalog of songs for a recurring monthly fee. Instead of buying each and every song, you rent all the songs for around $10 a month.</p><p class="Default">It's a decent solution, but it's still hard for casual fans to discover new music. And these services are largely buoyed by passionate users who consider the monthly fee a deal.</p><p class="Default">One of the newest attempts to expand the appeal of streaming music comes from the company Aether, which recently released...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/tyler-hayes" ><span class="byline">Tyler Hayes</span></a>Wed, 16 Jul 2014 13:50:00 -0400