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Every gadget has a story. A new publication from Medium about consumer technology.

In the future of the past, cyborgs were different. In the The Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors played Steve Austin, a test pilot who suffers severe injuries after crashing an experimental plane. He loses both legs and an arm, and is blinded in one eye. Austin then becomes an experiment, himself — he is rebuilt as a cyborg (at the cost of $6 million). As a cyborg, Austin has bionic arms and legs as well as a sophisticated camera for an eye. With his new superhuman limbs, strength, and speed, Austin is dispatched to fight crime around the world.


The European Commission certainly took its time, but it’s now forcing all manufacturers to use a common standard for portable device charging. That standard is, of course, USB-C. (Image: Marcus Urbenz, Unsplash)

It’s been a long time coming — probably way too long — but it’s now official: the European Union intends to force tech product manufacturers into using a common USB-C charging port for all of their devices. This was announced today as one of the measures the European Commission is taking in order to cut down on electronic waste, encouraging people to re-use existing chargers and cables when they buy new products such as smartphones, tablets headphones, portable speakers, video and photo cameras, even videogame systems and controllers.

In the same proposal to be put on vote soon, tech product…


Apple iPad mini and the Apple Pencil (Credit: Lance Ulanoff)

Apple’s new iPad mini is less a redesign of the classic iPad mini than a full-scale reboot.

The 8.3-inch device discards virtually everything (including the 3.5mm headphone jack) you know about the tiny tablet first introduced in 2012 and replaces it with design elements and technology ideas from the iPad Pro and much more recent iPad Air.


Women Holding Wine Glasses and laughing. They’re at a candlelit dinner party.
Photo: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Ten years ago, it was hard to date. You just had to meet a friend of a friend at a party, date someone from school, or walk up to a stranger at a bar.

Then Grindr happened, then Tinder and Bumble and Hinge and all the rest. At first, there was a lot of backlash from society. Meeting your long-term partner via a dating app was a little embarrassing. Today, I know two married couples and five other long-term couples who met on Tinder and its variants.

So the romantic market was fulfilled. Then Bumble capitalized on the crippling loneliness…


Are these the iPhones you’ve been looking for? (Credit: Lance Ulanoff)

No one expected something vastly different than what we got last year and yet there was an almost imperceptible, collective sigh of disappointment that the Apple iPhone 13 lineup didn’t feature more extensive changes.

This being a tock year in the tick-tock design cadence, though, we should not have anticipated anything otherwise. A welcome return in 2020 to the sharp-edged, almost classic iPhone 5s-design language was not something Apple would walk back after just 12 months. In fact, it set the stage for at least the next one or two generations of Apple iPhones.


My first photo taken with Google Glass in June 2013 — from “The Physicality of Glass

The other day tech writer Clive Thompson wrote an excellent piece for this platform entitled “Wearable Computers Should Never Have Cameras.” Thompson’s piece was prompted by news of Facebook’s collab with Ray-Bans — surely an effort to create wearables that finally attain the cool factor. And I agree with every point he makes there about the privacy issues inherent with embedding cameras in wearable devices.

As he concluded, quite fairly, “Big tech firms have no interest in building technology that actually helps you think, which was the original vision of wearable computers. …


screenshot of the ‘start menu’ on a Chromebook
image courtesy of the author

The desktop on a Chromebook is as barren as the Sahara Desert. Save for a wallpaper you’ll rarely see, it has no function whatsoever. I still cannot understand why Google have kept things this way rather than allow shortcuts and widgets to be displayed on the Desktop, but hey ho, what do I know? I’m only a user.

Cue my discovery of the Taskbar app. Designed for Android phones, maybe this little app could fulfill a need most of us Chromebook users yearn for?

Let’s take a look.

Installing Taskbar

Installation is straightforward. Head to the Google Play Store and download the…


Photo by Apple, Stock Footage by Stockland | Animated GIF by Author

Okay, let me guess: what would be the improvement of the next iPhone? Slightly bigger screen? Slightly smaller bezel? One more storage option? Better camera? Truth be told, I’m tired of Apple’s incremental improvement for the recent iPhones.

Understandably, mobile phone innovation has already peaked, and it is very difficult to beat Steve Jobs’ 2007 iPhone reveal. The original iPhone was groundbreaking because Apple was way ahead of its competitors.

Overly Obsessed with Camera Features


Apple iPhone 13 (Credit: Apple)

Apple didn’t reinvent the wheel or the iPhone. From a distance, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between an iPhone 12 lineup and the iPhone 13 devices Apple unveiled on Tuesday.

They share the same sharp-edged design as the 12. The camera arrays are still surrounded by that box and could resemble a stovetop. The only visible difference is the iPhone 13 cameras are now offset diagonally to each other. Apple didn’t even trade-in the lightning port for USB-C (which it’s already using on its iPad Pros, iPad Airs, and the spiffy, new iPad mini).

And yet, I still…


Behold Facebook’s new Ray-Ban “smart” glasses — with two cameras, so you can feed pix to their feed all day long

Over a decade ago, I began reporting on “wearable computing”. Back in the 90s and 00s, this meant interviewing DIY hardware hackers who’d built their own rigs.

They discovered some pretty cool uses for a head-mounted computer. Often they used their wearable as a form of “extended memory” — they’d jot down notes on the fly and retrieve them when needed, even years later, peering into their tiny eye-level screens. They also liked to engage in ambient, floating text-chat with friends. Wearables, they all told me, could amplify your cognition.

But the one thing nearly everyone told me?

If you…

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