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Has your writing got rhythm? Find out with Typedrummer
May 14, 2015 | 12:25 pm

logoWriters: concerned about the rhythms and cadences in your sentences? Try plugging them into Typedrummer, an unique online wheeze that's basically a drum machine for text. Each letter is apparently keyed to a particular sound or beat, meaning that you can produce the most mind-destroying monotony by simply holding your finger on the same key. On the other hand, actual sentences yield more complex and actually attractive sounds. Created by Kyle Stetz, Typedrummer feels like one of the most insanely addictive ways to test your writing mettle. The resulting beat can be shared online from the site. And I can confirm...

Grim Fandango brings back one of gaming’s greatest stories
May 12, 2015 | 10:25 am

hallway  I realize that Teleread isn't a gaming site, but this once, it's worth making an exception for one of the greatest stories in computer gaming history. Set in the world of Mexican funerary traditions, Grim Fandango tells of Manny Calavera, travel agent at the Department of Death, who embarks on a noir-flavored adventure through the Land of the Dead for the sake of the lovely and virtuous Mercedes Colomar. And courtesy of Double Fine Productions, the whole tale has now been remastered for desktop and mobile OSs, resurrecting the story for a new generation, and is now available for both iOS...

The $9 computer is a thing with CHIP
May 11, 2015 | 4:25 pm

As a Scot, I'm periodically going to celebrate my parsimonious tendencies - and a new Kickstarter campaign has given me the chance to do just that. The CHIP project aims to put a full computer on a chip costing just $9. According to Next Thing Co., the creators, "at 1Ghz and with 512MB of DDR3 RAM, CHIP is powerful enough to run real software, and handle the demands of a full GUI just as well as it handles attached hardware. Best of all, CHIP runs mainline Linux, which means it’s easier than ever to keep teaching it new tricks without inheriting...

Universal Stylus Initiative pushes new standard for onscreen writing
April 27, 2015 | 12:25 pm

The Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) has been launched by a consortium of tech players "to develop and promote an industry specification for an active stylus." This seeks to establish "industry-wide standards for interoperable communication between an active stylus and touch-enabled devices such as phones, tablets, computing and entertainment platforms." Founding members include Dell, Intel, Lenovo, Sharp, Synaptics, and Wacom. For anyone skeptical about the appeal of onscreen writing, and particularly with active digitization, the USI has put some numbers against its plan. Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie Research, said in the announcement: "To date the market has been limited by proprietary touch controller-stylus solutions, which...

Android Wear update offers Wi-fi, new capabilities
April 22, 2015 | 4:25 pm

An announcement on the Google Official Blog has signaled the arrival of an update to Google's Android Wear smartwatch platform, which addresses some notable shortcomings of the series, particularly Wi-Fi support. "Now Android Wear supports watches with built-in Wi-Fi," states the blog. "As long as your watch is connected to a Wi-Fi network, and your phone has a data connection (wherever it is), you’ll be able to get notifications, send messages, and use all your favorite apps." Other improvements in the update include always-on screen apps, gesture control (wrist flicks to scroll through alerts), and emojis. The Wi-Fi update means that for...

Your new literary competitor: IBM Watson
April 21, 2015 | 12:25 pm

As if competition from the giant online slushpile wasn't enough, seriously writerly folk now have an even more alarming threat: computer-generated works. And if you're a cookery writer, this is now a genuine and serious prospect. Because IBM's artificial intelligence/cognitive computing system IBM Skynet ... oops, I mean IBM Watson ... has now been set to work on human gastronomy, in partnership with the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), and has whipped up "a new book...introduced on April 14, 2015 – Cognitive Cooking with Chef Watson. It features more than 65 original recipes exploding with irresistible new flavors developed by Watson...

Templates on way for Google Docs editing
April 21, 2015 | 10:25 am

Google Docs may not be the first choice of writing and editing software for all authors, especially compared to venerable Microsoft Word, but Google's free text productivity solution has a lot going for it - not least integration with Google Drive for cloud-based backups, and its privileged position on the ever-more-popular Chrome OS devices. Now thanks to a scoop on Android Police, it looks like we could have a headsup on template solutions in the offing for Google Docs. These speculations are based on teardowns - essentially forensic decompiling of a particular piece of software - of the APK packages for...

PC sales decline means what for Windows?
April 15, 2015 | 2:25 pm

Two more or less simultaneous research polls just released show sales of traditional PCs in significant decline, although actually surpassing the even more pessimistic expectations of analysts. As recorded in the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, "worldwide PC shipments totaled 68.5 million units in the first quarter of 2015 (1Q15), a year-on-year decline of -6.7 percent, and slightly ahead of previous projections." Gartner, meanwhile, recorded a 5.2 percent year-on-year quarterly decline in global PC shipments for 1Q15. With PC sales continuing to fall, ebook enthusiasts should be looking hard at their choice of reading platform for the future...

Cyanogen announces $80 million funding round
March 24, 2015 | 2:25 pm

Cyanogen, creators of (almost) everybody's favorite alternative iteration of the basic Android mobile OS, has announced "the completion of an $80 million round of Series C financing," led by Premji Invest and including existing investors Benchmark, Andreessen Horowitz, Redpoint Ventures, and Tencent Holdings Ltd. More interesting, perhaps, is the list of "new strategic investors" now participating in the round, including " Twitter Ventures, Qualcomm Incorporated, Telefónica Ventures, Smartfren Telecom, Index Ventures, Access Industries (the US-based industrial group headed by Len Blavatnik), Rupert Murdoch, Vivi Nevo, and several yet to be announced partners." A Series C financing round for a venture capital-backed company...

Elliptic Labs announces the mother of all screen swipes
March 23, 2015 | 2:25 pm

Elliptic Labs, who I covered last year about their Touchless Gesture Recognition Engine, has just announced the latest step forward in its technology: "‘Ultra-fast Ultra-far Interaction’; split-second speed and a remarkably large field of response for touchless gesturing." According to the announcement, Elliptic Labs' "ultrasonic gesture technology has been made exponentially faster, allowing devices to precisely respond a fraction of a second after gesture commands are given." Elliptic now claims to offer technology that works up to 2 meters (7 ft) away from and 180 degrees around a device screen. According to Elliptic Labs CEO Laila Danielsen, "This technology first is an excellent...

The Battle Over Digital Assets
February 13, 2015 | 10:25 am

digital assetsGigaOM has a great write-up about Facebook's new 'legacy contact' feature, a new settings preference for American users which lets you designate a person who can access your account to perform certain functions in the event of your death. It seems like a benign thing, but as the article points out, it may be a more devious new feature than it first appears. Law-makers in several states are in the process of creating 'digital assets' legislation to specifically address not just a Facebook account, but other digital accounts a person may have. Could Facebook be trying to exempt themselves from compliance...

Corning’s Project Phire ready to phire up your screen?
February 9, 2015 | 6:25 pm

Broken_glass_300Corning, whose Gorilla Glass is the default standard for many touchscreen tablet and smartphone devices, has been seeding the media with hints about its new Project Phire lately, which apparently approaches the scratch resistance of pure sapphire when used for screens. As yet, there's no confirmation on the Corning website, but the original report on CNET quotes a speech at an investor presentation by James Clappin, president of Corning Glass Technologies, stating that the new project will combine the shatterproof and drop resistance durability of its existing Gorilla Glass with sapphire's scratch resistance. Exactly why Corning is so eager to follow in...