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Computer Guys and Gal

Amazon bets on video gaming as spectator sport, paying $1 billion for Twitch, a company that lets gamers live-stream the action on their screen and their commentary to fans who follow them. Apple reportedly plans to announce its next-generation phone and a debut smart watch this month. And students heading back to school have cool new tech gadgets to choose from: hologram keyboard, anyone? The Computer Guys and Gal are here.

Apps of The Month

Somebody, an app by filmmaker and artist Miranda July that allows you to send a message to someone and have it personally delivered by a stranger. It's less a traditional app and more a social experiment. If you're in a valid hotspot, I imagine it can be pretty exciting. - Bill Harlow

iTunes U and a TED talks app: On the theme of back to school, two educational resources. The former bills itself as "the world’s largest digital catalog of free education content — right on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.” With the latter, you can see the world’s great teachers! -Allison Druin

"Clink," a happy hour finder. -John Gilroy

Tech In The News

Bill Harlow

On Twitch

Amazon, not Google, bought gameplay streaming service Twitch for $970 million. Yup, gaming is a popular "spectator sport." 

Just what is Twitch? This video offers an overview

More gaming news

Goodwill targets retro gamers. North Carolina has this Grid concept store. It's 6,000 ft2 of retro and modern gaming goodness in a clean, bright, and welcoming location. 

"An awful week to care about video games". This article covers a lot of the reprehensible behavior from gamers defending "their" medium, which included graphic threats targeting women, bomb scares and bogus 911 calls. 

I'm inclined to agree with Leigh Alexander: Why target so-called "gamers" when the medium has gotten so mainstream?. "Gaming culture" has become irrelevant. It's just a medium and it can, and should, be for everyone. 

Tropes vs Women in Video Games: The latest video was at the center of a lot of the "gamer" backlash, and it's worth watching, as is the whole series. It's quite graphic, but through sheer volume really illustrates a lot of what's wrong with "core" video games and their depiction of women.

John Gilroy

Allison Druin

Amazon is the latest tech company to try to promote their school products with scholarships to the best and brightest. These scholarships are not very much, but it could at least help with expenses for a semester. Kids have to apply by November; scholarships will be awarded for the 2015-2016 school year.

When we think about what to bring on that first day of school here’s a couple things I think that are new and happening.

  • CLASS I, a hologram keyboard. It’s pricey at $120, but it connects to both iOs and Android smartphones and tablets and can project on a flat opaque surface.

  • The tablet wars are heating up. There’s the iPad Mini, Galaxy Tablet
    Or the Google Nexus 7, which are all getting good reviews by professionals, college kids and K-12 schools.

  • New watches. There are lots of rumors around special screens that are resistant to scratches. One of them: the rumored Apple iWatch safire screen. Another: Google’s Android Wear, which could have gesture control. Everything should unfold in September.

  • For those students having a killer time trying to wake up early again: For a pricey $100,this very cool wakeup light from Philips can play tracks from your iPhone while the light gets brighter and brighter.

School is not just about what we read, write, and add. It’s also about physical fitness as well. And the coolest new thing to hit the basketball court is the Nike LED Basketball court. NBA player Kobe Bryant hosted 30 players from China to train on a full-sized LED basketball court, which boasted projected graphics and motion tracking to help players learn with reactive graphics and drills.

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