This week, technology steals our dreams, fungus turns us into zombies and Scandinavian design FTW.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.
With over ten years of audio engineering experience, Nick's addition to PLuGHiTz Corporation is best served when he is behind the mixing board every Sunday night to produce the audio side of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Piltch Point and PLuGHiTz Live Night Cap. While mixing live every week, his previous radio show hosting experience gives him the ability to co-host as well, giving each show a unique flare with his slightly off-center, yet still realistic take on all things tech. An integral part of the show, you can find Nick always enveloped in coming up with new (and sometimes crazy) ideas and content for the show and you can always expect the most direct opinion on the stories that he feels need to be shared with the world. During the few hours where Nick isn't sleeping or working on ways to improve the company, he spends his free time going to hockey and football games and playing the latest titles on Xbox 360. Email him for his gamertag and add him today for a fun escape from the normal monotony and annoyance that the Xbox LIVE gaming community can sometimes be!
Jon is a F5 Live co-host and UpStream contributor as well as the Chief Cash Officer of PLuGHiTz Corporation. We don't know how he wears so many hats so well or how he still finds time to feed his need for all things tech but some questions are best left unanswered. If you're up for a challenge go find him on Xbox Live @shinobiJon and if you figure him out...let us know.
If you were able to catch our CES 2011 coverage, you saw that we were very excited about a Swedish computer case company that was looking to emerge themselves into the American market, Fractal Design. We were able to talk to many of the important people of the company, including the founder, Hannes Wallin, who was even willing to talk on camera about his products, goals and projections for the company in 2011 (video after the break). One of those goals was to make Fractal Design products available to the US without having to order them from Canada.
South by SouthWest (SxSW) has become a major event. Originally it was a place for musicians and filmmakers to get together and show off their skills. Now, it has become one of the world's largest interactive media festivals, with everyone from RadioShack to GM in attendance. To ensure that it is all that it can be this year, Microsoft has decided to use this event to launch its next generation web browser, Internet Explorer 9.
The ongoing battle between WebM and H.264 high definition video formats continues as this week we received some interesting stats in favor of Apple and Microsoft's side, H.264. If you remember back in January, we discussed that Chrome decided to discontinue the use of H.264 in their Chrome browser in order to defend the side of "open source" and their WebM format. Mozilla also stood by the side of Google and supported their decision. This led Apple and Microsoft, who are in the patent membership for H.264, to do something they never usually do, agree on a topic and help each other out.
In the two short years Foursquare has been around they have managed to attain almost 7.5 million users that have made over 500 million check-ins at an estimated 10 million venues worldwide. That puts the average number of check-ins at 50 per venue which Foursquare thinks is enough to justify moving forward with real-world recommendations. The technology is far from perfect and will present some interesting engineering challenges for them to overcome. These types of recommendations go far beyond what services like Netflix use in their recommendation process and have a much larger application which has prompted big boys like Facebook and Google to also look into perfecting this technology that bears high risks but also great rewards.
We all knew that one day the zombie apocalypse would be upon us but we all thought it would be a virus that would infect people and take over their minds and alter their desires. Apparently we were wrong - the true cause will be a fungus from the Brazilian rainforest. It will not be a quick or painless death, either. Hint: it ends with a mushroom growing out of your head.
This week I came across some news that was not shocking but still disturbing. The National Sleep Foundation came out of hibernation this week to let us know that there was a culprit sneaking into our bedrooms and stealing our precious sleep. My suspect list consisted of the NFS, since they seemed to be well rested, the underpants gnomes and perhaps the most disturbing of all, your cell phone. My research indicates that underpants gnomes are in-fact not real and while still suspicious, the NFC doesn't seem to be responsible either. This leaves only one plausible suspect, the one you would most likely suspect, since it knows all your secrets and wakes you up repeatedly at night... your cell phone.
Samsung displayed an interesting prototype product at CeBit in Germany this week - a transparent LCD screen. As if that wasn't enough, the device can run entirely independent of the power grid. It is capable of running entirely off of the power generated from its internal solar panels.
In one of the strangest moves that Twitter has ever made, Twitter has decided that third-party apps are a bad idea and damage the user experience of their service. They claim that "the top five ways that people access Twitter are official Twitter apps" but also that "consumers continue to be confused by the different ways that a fractured landscape of third-party Twitter clients display tweets and let users interact with core Twitter functions."
If you've been following us for a while, you know that we cover most of the topics and events that involve the widely-known and feared hacker group Anonymous, referred to as Anon. When we last talked about them, the group was engaging cyber war with Operation: Payback and more recently involved in the takedown of security firm HBGary Federal, including the hacking, distribution and documentation of 50,000 emails of their top-level executives.
Remember the 90s? Those were good times of MC Hammer pants, cassettes, real mixtapes, hightops, Surge, the third-coming of the McRib and of course, kick ass programming on Nickelodeon.
Here is some quick follow up news on the fate of Blockbuster which was attempting to gain federal court approval to be auctioned off instead of liquidated. Judge Burton R. Lifland with the Manhattan U.S. Bankruptcy Court signed off on an auction that will have a starting bid of $290 million by Monarch Alternative Capital for all the company's assets.