Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show
iPhone OS 3.0

Apple today unveiled OS 3.0 for the iPhone and iPod touch, which is set for release this summer (that's June-August for those of you south of the equator). It's far from the revolution some were expecting, and strikes us as more of a defensive play to bring the iPhone further in line with its hardware capabilities, users' desires, and the increasingly heated competition from Android, BlackBerry and Palm's imminent release of the Pre. Read on for the full details.  Read More

Barbie turns 50

Barbie turned 50 this month but she doesn’t look a day older than at her debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. Sure, she’s copped some flak along the way for being empty-headed and ‘tarty’, and reinventing herself to conform to current fashions, but essentially she’s still as glamorous as ever, not to mention technologically savvy.  Read More

New study demonstrates the pervasive influence of children on parent purchases

"Most parents seem to be completely unaware of how much their little ones make them buy“, said Claus Ebster, one of the researchers from the University of Vienna that unobtrusively monitored 178 parents shopping with their child in Austrian supermarkets, after which they were interviewed. When asked how many products their children had made them buy, on average parents only reported half the number of purchases that had been secretly observed. "Considering that the majority of purchase decisions in a supermarket are made in the store, neither retailers nor parents should underestimate the importance of child-induced purchase decisions", said Udo Wagner, professor of business administration of the University of Vienna.  Read More

iPhone 3.0 firmware update due March 17

Apple is set to preview the iPhone software version 3.0 at an invitation only event on March 17th and, as is traditional in the lead up to any Apple event, the rumormongers have been busy with predictions of what will and won’t be added to the device. So we thought it would be timely to do a bit of a rumor roundup in readiness for the imminent announcement.  Read More

Anton Grimes' Link scooter system

With an ever increasing load on the public transport system we need to look for smarter and more environmentally friendly ways of getting from A to B in built up areas. The public bike systems that have been successful in several European cities (Paris, Barcelona, Stockholm and soon London) are one way of achieving this, but the Link scooter system, designed by Anton Grimes of University of New South Wales in Australia, may provide an alternative to bikes that is a little easier for the less energetic. The Link is basically a modular transport solution concept, which allows users to hire an electric lightweight scooter from a hub. When the user has reached their destination, they simply return the scooter to another hub for recharging.  Read More

As far as a I got in my quest to join

Groucho Marx famously said he wouldn’t want to be a member of any club that would have him as a member. That means he probably wouldn’t have been rushing to join Affluence.org, even though he’s one of the select few with would’ve had enough cash to meet the entry requirements. Described as, “Facebook for the filthy rich”, by its founder, Scott Mitchell, Affluence.org requires members to have a verified net worth of at least USD$3 million or an annual household income of USD$300,000.  Read More

Kogan Agora Netbook

Kogan Technologies today launched the Agora netbook series, featuring the Agora and the Agora Pro. The 1.6GHz Atom based netbooks are the cheapest available in Australia, starting at AUD$499. Both models come preloaded with the gOS operating system, a variant of Ubuntu Linux, but in an interesting move, Kogan's support team is offering to guide customers through the process of installing other supported operating systems including Windows XP and Windows 7.  Read More

Music does indeed improve the mind

A number of studies over the years have reported positive associations between music experience and increased abilities in non-musical (e.g., linguistic, mathematical, and spatial) domains in children. Now a new study, published this week in the Journal Psychology of Music, report that children exposed to a multi-year programme of music tuition involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers.  Read More

Google's Android will be rolled out on handsets by a number of major manufacturers in 2009...

While Apple's iPhone has enjoyed enormous success using a highly controlled, locked-down handset, operating system and application store, Google's touchscreen smartphone platform takes the opposite approach. Android is a completely open-source operating system, meaning that developers can write whatever abilities they want into it - and Google doesn't make or recommend any particular handsets. The HTC Dream (AKA the T-Mobile G1) gave Android a start in the market - but several big-name competitors are working on Android smartphones to be released sometime this year. The battle for Android handset supremacy is about to begin - let's take a look at the challengers.  Read More

Pocket Yoga in tablet mode

Lenovo has posted a number of images of a new netbook they call Pocket Yoga on their photo feed, sans press release, tech specs, or...anything. What we can tell you is that it's a tiny, leather-bound touchscreen PC with an odd, ultra-wide aspect ratio that can be folded over to create a tablet. And it might just fit in your pocket.  Read More

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