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Amazon opened a 3D printing store last week that lets shoppers customize items ranging from cell phone cases to toys. Apple and IBM are teaming up to develop business apps that are as user-friendly as consumer apps. And a security expert warns that USB devices are the latest way hackers may be targeting your machines. The Computer Guys and Gal are here to explain.
Thyme If you are a word famous chef like me, ya got five burners going! This timer should help you out. -John Gilroy
Air Stylus for iPad
If you have an iPad 3 or newer (and ideally a full size model) and a stylus (precise, pressure-sensitive model recommended) you can use this $20 app to turn your iPad into a pen display for your Mac. Photoshop, SketchBook Pro and Painter users may want to give it a serious look.-Bill Harlow
Gain Fitness This free iPhone app comes loaded with workout exercises- it costs a bit to add Yoga to it, but it can be done and helped by this app. Gives you a warm-up and exercise strengthening. Fun!-Allison Druin
Other big news this month:
Apple and IBM's seemingly unlikely partnership: Apple and IBM are partnering to sell iOS hardware and custom apps to enterprise customers.
Microsoft to lay off a Verizon Center's worth of employees: The majority are redundancies due to Microsoft's purchase of Nokia. It's the largest number of layoffs in Microsoft's history.
OS X Yosemite is now in public beta. Anyone using it yet?
AOL's Ryan Block recorded the very strange interaction he had when attempting to cancel his Comcast broadband internet: This isn't "customer retention". This is psychological warfare.
Decoupling ... software:
Google and Facebook are now making their products less dependent on other products.
1. You can now use Google Hangouts (similar to Skype) without having a Google+ account (Google’s answer to Facebook/twitter). You just need to have a Google Apps account.
2. Facebook is decoupling it’s messaging feature from the rest of Facebook so the company can expand the features and make it a better free-standing product.
3. The “Messaging App” will now have to be downloaded separately from the Facebook app— this will not be the case for the desktop versions, but for mobile versions.
So why are they doing this? Google and Facebook see dollar signs. They want to expand their customer base and to do this they need to expand their product lines and this is one way to do it.
Hacking For A Cause
It used to be when people thought about volunteering to help people in need or to help a cause— they would do it by building houses, serving food in soup kitchens, running races to collect money. But now it’s become common place to “hack” or code software for a cause. For example, this weekend, the hacking and scientific community are coming together for a weekend on the Chesapeake Bay to create software that can help the public learn more about the Bay or change their behavior towards helping the environment around the Bay.
The Maryland Department of the Environment, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Hack Baltimore and the Future of Information Alliance have come together to award prizes for the best software created by teams. DISCLAIMER- FIA is one of the organizers, so technically WAMU is involved, but not really.
Another example, is Code4Africa- a non-profit group that is developing an African technical community by teaching them the latest professional tools and given them infrastructure (server space) to code on. On Aug. 9 they will be hosting an African Coders Conference (Free Coders) in DC to show the variety of tech that Africans have been developing in new tech hubs in African countries.
Coming in a few months the 2014 #WIThack, a series of hackathons across the country that is looking for women entrepreneurs to lead teams of women and men in developing new tech. This will come Oct. 10 to the DC area as a Mobile App Hackathon for Women in Technology Other locations will be in Palo Alto, Seattle, Atlanta, Portland, and more.