This week’s latest tech trends and innovations capture a touch of Hollywood, some insights in what apps are burning up your mobile phone’s battery, Google’s bid for your kids, the ice bucket craze and a bike you want to do more with then just ride it.
Google wants your kids
Looking to extend the life time value of its customer base, Google has created plenty of online buzz with its apparent intentions of rolling out YouTube and email accounts specifically for kids under 13yo.
Services will also apparently come with an online dashboard that allows parents to keep tabs on what their kids are up to.
While getting regulatory compliance to deliver to this age group is considered quite an onerous task, it’s also been speculated that it opens doors for Google to get into the education game in a big way via Chromebooks as a low cost challenger to the iPad.
Pedal power meets design panache
The Oregon based Bike Design Project partners high-level design firms with American bicycle craftsmen to collaboratively develop the next-wave of urban
The objective is to design bikes that allow people to lead healthier, more sustainable lives with the winning design taken into production and on sale in the US next year.
The winning design was called Denny whose features included handlebars that can be pulled apart and used to secure the cycle in place of a separate lock, and an arcing rubber brush to flick the water off as the wheel spins so you don’t get the spray all down your back.
Run Forrest Run
Movie star Tom Hanks has shot to the top of the iTunes App Store with his app that turns your iPad into a classic type writer.
The Hanx Writer offers the choice of three old school typewriters to use and comes with an on-screen keyboard or pairs with a Bluetooth keyboard. The experience is complete with those classic sounds when you hit the keys or the return carriage.
Hanks recently explained his motivation for the app, “I wanted to have the sensation of an old manual typewriter – I wanted the sound of typing if nothing else… ‘cause I find it’s like music that spurs along the creative urge. Bang bang clack-clack-clack puckapuckapuckapucka… I wanted the ‘report’ of each letter, each line.”
Anonymous services that allow you to share things without giving your identity are attracting strong interest from angel investors in the US.
The latest is Truth that allows you to send anonymous texts to those in your phone’s contacts list.
Messages begin with “the truth is…” as a bridge into those awkward conversations or hard truths.
Cooking sous style
This is one for all those foodies out there looking for a bit of stretch. The crowd funding project to catch our eye this week is the new Nomiku on Kickstarter. Nearly 3,500 backers have pledged more than $US477,000 for a wi-fi device heats water faster and attaches to the front of just about any pot.
The art of sous vide is about cooking food slowly through a low temperature water bath and is usually the realm of sophisticated chefs.
This is the second generation of Nomiku, the first raising more than $US600,000 with the product line shipping earlier this year.
Which apps are eating your battery?
A couple of whizzes with Ph.Ds in computer science from Stanford University have turned some post doctoral research into a nifty app called Normal that
helps identify what apps are chewing up your battery.
Normal tracks and compares your app usage to other iOS device owners analysing if there is anything you can do to save battery life.
Check the TechCrunch review.
Best of – the ice bucket challenge
The ice bucket challenge continues to sweep the internet raising funds for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Sports stars, actors, CEOs and ordinary Joes have taken part with the ALS Association in the US confirming it had received $US22.9 million in donations from July 29 to August 19.
The LA Times posted the ‘best in tech’ featuring Apple’s Tim Cook and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, while Mashable has posted its top celebrity challenges. Even former presidents have been getting involved.
Good fun, good viewing.
Selling stuff to dudes
Feature of the week goes to Wired and its piece on Thrillist, a newsletter that three 30 somethings have grown into a $US100m business selling ‘stuff to dudes.’
Thrillist is really cool hunting for the digital age, a hub of aggregated contacts that tells you what the latest fashions and cool stuff is and where you can get it.
It started in the mid 2000s as a traditional online media company selling ads. But in 2010 they bought a startup called JackThreads, a flash-sale site for men and from that point growth was turbo charged.