The Mis-Adventures in Technology of an Old Dog Learning New Tricks…

TechCrunch

When the power goes out, it’s terrible. Nothing works, and for some reason it’s impossible to remember that: I always find myself doing things like “well if I can’t watch TV I can at least read this book, I’ll just turn on the light…” and then nada of course. With SmartCharge, a new Kickstarter project, that might actually work, since it’s an LED bulb with a built-in power reserve that remains on uninterrupted when the rest of your power goes off.

The LED bulb component of SmartCharge fits standard light fixtures and cuts power usage by up to 90 percent vs. incandescents, and should last 25 years under normal usage conditions, if everything goes as predicted. When the power goes out, the SmartCharge bulb has a reserve battery built-in that’s good for up to four hours of lighting, which should be enough to weather most storms and brownouts.

The…

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TechCrunch

Paul Bragiel, the batshit crazy awesome VC who has been training for months in the Arctic Circle to compete in the Sochi Winter Olympics, has a side charity project up his sleeve.

After seeing dozens of other younger Olympic contenders struggle to raise funds for training, he felt he needed to do something to help out. Some friends over at Belarusian and Lithuanian gaming studio On5 offered their talents pro bono to develop a game called Team Paul Skiing.

It’s a beautiful, little side-scroller that takes a player through Bragiel’s training as he skis in Finland, which is where he’s done the bulk of his preparation. Then it shifts to Colombia, the country that gave Bragiel citizenship to compete on behalf of its Olympic team. And finally it ends in Sochi, Russia, where the Olympics will be held next year.

They set a low goal of raising $10,000 in…

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TechCrunch

Happy pre-fat day, Super Troopers. Today Microsoft brought Xbox Video to the web, meaning that if you use the service on your Xbox or Windows 8.1 device, you can access your content on other machines.

The downside? There is no HD playback, which will disappoint many. The easy rebuttal to that is that people who use Xbox Video likely have an Xbox console, which is probably linked to the largest screen in their house. So, where they need HD content the most, they have it. Still a bit of a bummer to not have it on the web, but perhaps it will come in time.

As The Verge’s Tom Warren notes, Microsoft is “planning to release a Windows Phone version of Xbox Video shortly,” but notes that that version will also lack HD playback. This is more excusable, as you can only imagine the bandwidth cost of such…

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TechCrunch

Nokia’s shareholders have approved the sale of its devices & services unit to Microsoft at an EGM held today in Helsinki, the FT reports. The transaction is still expected to close in the first quarter of next year (subject to regulatory approvals), with Nokia in a caretaker role of its own mobile making division until early 2014.

Update: Nokia has now confirmed the outcome of the shareholders’ vote in a press release, which notes that: “More than 99 % of the votes cast at the EGM were in favor of this proposal.”

It’s the end of an era for Nokia. And also closes a recent chapter for the business which started when it appointed its first non-Finnish CEO, and also former Microsoft executive, Stephen Elop to the top job back in September 2010. Elop went on to forge a partnership with Microsoft over its Windows Phone OS, and ultimate…

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TechCrunch

The PS4 is a lovely gaming kit. It’s sleek. Monolithic. And relatively small in comparison to the Xbox One. Sony did its 4th generation console right. iFixit found in its teardown that the gaming system is nearly as beautiful on the inside as it is on the out. But that shouldn’t be a big surprise. It’s a Sony product and Sony knows how to build things. However, iFixit did find something somewhat shocking: The latest PlayStation is very user serviceable. On iFixit’s scale of 1 to 10, the PS4 scored an 8 meaning most users can expect to rip the system open and tinker away. Most importantly, the hard drive is very easy to access, giving owners options to upgrade to a larger or faster option. The hardest thing to service, per iFixit, is apparently the fan which is buried deep the system’s innards. iFixit and others have yet to…

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