tech

Tech Retrospect: Virtual reality for the PS4 and two new smartwatches for Android

There was a time when virtual reality was widely regarded as the next big thing. That time, sadly, was about 20 years ago and very few have taken the immersive technology seriously since then. Now, it's making a comeback -- in a very big way. That's largely thanks to Oculus VR, the company behind the Oculus Rift. This week that company unveiled a new version of its endlessly improving headset, called Dev Kit 2. It's $350, has a 1080p display, and using a camera can very accurately track your head movements in full 3D-space, including leaning left … Read more

Sprint lays off 330 techs, shutters 55 stores as part of broader cuts

Sprint recently cut a significant chunk of its staff dedicated to repairing and refurbishing phones and shut down its slower-performing stores, part of a broader effort to reduce the company's costs in the face of continued financial struggles.

The Overland Park, Kan., wireless carrier laid off 330 technical consultants, closing 150 service and repair centers across the country, a Sprint representative confirmed to CNET. It also shut down 55 of its worst-performing retail stores. The moves were part of a larger plan for layoffs and cuts that was announced in January.

Sprint is attempting to streamline itself and return … Read more

37 years later, world's first Apple reseller to close its doors

Although Apple has a group of stores all its own, the company has a chain of resellers that are also authorized to sell and fix its products. And now, its oldest reseller is shuttering its doors.

FirstTech, a company once known as Team Electronics, will close its doors next week, the company confirmed to TwinCities.com.

• See also: Selling the Apple II: Three true stories

After nearly 37 years selling Apple's products as an authorized reseller, the company has decided that it can't keep profits high enough to justify keeping its doors open. The main culprit, the company … Read more

Crave Ep. 151: Neil Young's Pono dreams soon to come true

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Neil Young's PonoMusic service blew past its Kickstarter fundraising goal in one day. Are FLAC files the next wave in music? We also hear some jams from a cyborg drummer on Earth, and wake up to the sweet smells and sounds of the Bacon Alarm. Read more

10 must-see videos of the week

It's Friddday! Which means it's time to roundup the best of the week in CNET video.

In our latest installment of our new How-To, DIY-tech series, The Fix, our resident how-to guru's offer up expert advice on building the ultimate home theater. They'll show you how to easily and affordably install a TV, give you tips on choosing the right screen size, as well as our top three ways to add audio to your home theater. You'll be your own home theater specialist by episode's end.

Earlier this week, Amazon revealed that it would … Read more

Tech Retrospect: Amazon Prime gets pricier as the Web turns 25

There's been talk of Amazon raising the cost of its Prime service since January, when the company posted some less than enticing earnings. Back then, the word was a $40 price hike, a huge jump from $79 to $119. Your reactions, and indeed my own, were overwhelmingly negative back then.

Now, the increase has come to pass -- but only $20, up to $99 for a year. It's possible that Amazon listened to consumers and decided that a $40 increase was simply too much. However, it's just as likely that the company threw out that initial figure … Read more

How Moov plans to deliver nearly $1M worth of wearables by July

It took only 90 minutes for Moov, makers of a watch-like fitness wearable, to hit its crowdfunding goal of $40,000. Two weeks have passed since then, and Moov is already to date the most successful crowdfunding fitness campaign -- of which there are many, on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, attempting to serve up a better Jawnone or Fitbit or Nike FuelBand that tells us how to fix ourselves and not just what's wrong.

Preorder sales now near $1 million, equating to more than 16,000 devices the startup says it will deliver by July. A second, even larger batch … Read more

Apple patent application hints at future health-related plans

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has published a new patent application from Apple focused on fitness.

Dubbed "Wrist Pedometer Step Detection," the patent application describes "optimizations for detecting steps" for when a pedometer is worn on the wrist. AppleInsider earlier reported on the patent.

Although pedometers are nothing new, Apple's method for detecting steps is actually somewhat sophisticated. The technology analyzes "peak-to-peak threshold" to determine when a person takes a step. Based on the time elapsed between those thresholds, it can infer when another step was taken, according to the patent … Read more

Robotic arm gives amputee drummer better beats

When drummer Jason Barnes lost his lower right arm to electrocution two years ago, his future as a musician didn't look too promising. But thanks to a new robotic arm invented by Professor Gil Weinberg, founding director of the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, he may soon be the envy of the drumming world.

That's because the new mechanical arm effectively gives Barnes the ability to use three different drumsticks while playing his kit. He holds the first in his left hand, as always. The other two are held by the robotic arm attached to Barnes' right bicep. One of those sticks is controlled by the up-and-down motion of Barnes' arm, as well as electrical impulses from his body measured by electromyography muscle sensors.

The other stick however, analyzes the rhythm being played and uses a built-in motor to improvise on its own, adding a dimension to drumming that's heretofore not seen on any stage we know of. … Read more