Here’s a quick look at everything that tickled my fancy this past week:
Facebook Upgrades: One area where Twitter routinely outperforms Facebook is in regards to live sporting events and all of the chatter that they generate among fans who are all enjoying the game at the same time. Essentially, live tweeting an event is socially accepetable. Live Facebooking it isn’t. Facebook wants to change that and become the go to place for live event commenting so they rolled out Sports Stadium, a new portal designed to give sports fans the ultimate second screen experience.
As Re/Code reports:
“The company announced Facebook Sports Stadium late Wednesday night, a section of Facebook where users can go and follow major sporting events with things like player stats and videos and Facebook content from other people following along.
The feature looks a lot like what you’d find inside of ESPN’s or CBS’s mobile app, although the Stadium feature relies almost entirely on Facebook content. One tab has things your Facebook friends are saying about the game; a separate tab is for things that “experts” (verified Facebook users) are saying.”
But that wasn’t the only upgrade Facebook unveiled this week. They also rolled out a new feature to all U.S. iPhone users giving them the ability to live stream video directly within the app. Best of all, unlike Periscope, these videos aren’t here for just a limited time. Rather there is no time limit for how long the content can be viewed.
At first this feature was only available to certain celebrities but it’s being opened up for everyone to enjoy.
As Engadget puts it:
“Livestreaming has been around for several years now, but it wasn’t until the arrival of mobile apps like Meerkat and Periscope that it caught on. Now Facebook has jumped in on the trend too. Yesterday, the Zuckerberg-owned empire expanded its Live Video feature beyond just celebs and verified pages so that everyone on the social network can get in on the bandwagon. It’s only available on iOS for now, though an Android version should soon be on its way.”
Periscope meanwhile upgraded as well as they announced a partnership with GoPro.
As The Verge reports:
“Periscope just took its first steps away from the smartphone. The Twitter-owned live-streaming app announced an integration with GoPro that will let users broadcast to their followers from an action camera for the first time. The integration, which currently works on iOS with the GoPro Hero 4 Black and Hero 4 Silver, allows Periscope to recognize a GoPro whenever one is connected to an iPhone. Once connected, the app gives users the option of broadcasting from the camera.”
Considering the state of both companies teaming up is a smart move that could help both stave off the competition.
Toy Upgrades: From the “Well It Took Them Long Enough Department” comes two upgrades to iconic toys as Barbie dolls now come in more that just one standard size and LEGO adds a wheelchair accessory to its sets.
As Wired puts it in regards to Barbie:
“Barbie just got a redesign. The iconic doll now comes in four different sizes: petite, tall, curvy, and original. You know the original size—it’s the one that, if Barbie were a life-size human woman, would leave her with a 16-inch waist and an inability to walk on her own two feet. It’s also the size that’s outraged critiques for years, prompting Mattel to make a radical design move. That move was unveiled this morning, in a TIME magazine cover story.”
Meanwhile not everyone was happy with LEGO’s decision to market the new wheelchair accessory with an elderly character.
The Huffington Post explains:
“In the photo on Lego’s site, an elderly figure is featured in the wheelchair. Rebecca Atkinson, co-founder of the Toy Like Me campaign, worries about the message the toy sends to children.
‘We applaud Lego for producing a wheelchair using Duplo figure,’ Atkinson said in a press release. ‘But it’s so disappointing that the only wheelchair using figure across all Lego products is an elderly person being pushed along by a younger figure. What does this say to children about disability?'”
Controversy aside I think these toy upgrades are a step in the right direction and long overdue. Kind of makes you wonder if there are any other toys out there that are in need of a makeover…
Life Upgrades: News of the DeLorean going back into production can only be classified one way: as a life upgrade! At least that is if you’re one of the 300 people lucky enough to get in on the first wave of new cars that will be produced starting in 2017.
According to USA Today:
“DeLorean Motor is resurrecting the past with plans to build replicas of the famed car from the Back to the Future movies of the 1980s.
News reports out of Humble, Texas, say the automaker plans to make about 300 replicas of the 1982 DeLorean that has not been in production for 34 years. The company has remained in business by refurbishing old DeLoreans — about 9,000 were originally sold — for enthusiasts.”
To buy one all you’ll need is about $100,000. But don’t worry. It’ll be worth it as it’ll come fully equipped with all of today’s modern electronics and amenities. No word yet though if it’ll come equipped with a Flux Capacitor.
Robot Upgrades: Some people eagerly await the day that we all have robotic personal assistants that cook and clean for us like Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons. Others irrationally fear the day that the robots rise up and become our Overlords.
Regardless of how you feel about them it’s clear that robots are here to stay. So we better start thinking about what’s going to happen to them after they outlive their usefulness. In other words it’s time to start making more environmentally friendly robot parts.
Popular Science explains:
“Most robots are made of plastic and metal, which are non-biodegradable. But researchers at the the IIT’s Smart Materials Group have developed a way to create a bioplastic out of food waste. This material could eventually be used to make an entirely biodegradable robot. Athanassia Athanassiou, who leads the Smart Materials Lab at the IIT, says that the bioplastic can be flexible or tough, so it could be used for both robot ‘skin’ and interior robot parts.”
Sadly when it comes to plastic the damage to our environment may have already been done with scientists recently saying that it’s likely that the hardy material will show up in future fossil records. So the less of it we can leave behind going forward the better.
Are any of these upgrades the Greatest Idea Ever?