6 Cool Things in #Tech This Week


TGIF everyone!  It was a big week for innovation and the future of tech.  Here’s a recap of some cool things announced in the last week:

1. SalesForce Puts $6 Million in San Francisco Schools & Computer Science Education!, one of the most visibly involved tech companies in San Francisco local politics and community, said it’s gifting $5 million to the city’s public schools and $1 million to for computer science education.

This is pretty cool indeed!  And on top of this, yesterday it was announced that:

Since its creation,‘s mission has been to get coding into curriculums for students as schools nationwide. Today, the nonprofit group is launching Code Studio, a combined set of tools and curriculum to get students in kindergarten through high school interested in the underlying concepts behind coding through guided lesson plans.

What to expect from Code Studio?

  • Instead of teaching straight-Java or Python, children will be given puzzles and conceptual projects that help them understand the fundamentals of code.  This reminds me of learning latin to understand the meaning and structure of words.
  • Video segments will starpopular games (i.e. Angry Birds) and popular tech figures (i.e. Mark Zuckerberg).
  • A management interface (like a report card meets progression-tracker) is available for teachers to easily follow students and manage classes (as well as coordinate lessons or projects).
  • Easy-to-share tools that allow students to showcase their games across various social platforms.

2. A device that will help me test my food for the things I’m allergic to? YES!

food-allergy-button-iiI am, unfortunately, allergic to a great number of things in this beautiful world — none more disappointing than citrus. And, if you weren’t aware, like gluten (which, I am not allergic to, thank goodness), it’s in just about everything – but more covertly.  It’s the ninja ingredient.

If you have an allergy to food, my sympathies.  But also, never fear!  6SensorLabs is not only developing a device to help test food, but they also just received $4million in funding from seeding investors.  Here’s a bit more about the product:

There are a number of food allergies 6SensorLabs could help detect, but it’s starting with gluten. The company hopes to bring to market its low-cost, portable Canary sensor early next year to help users with Celiac Disease, as well as those who have decided to move to a gluten-free diet for other reasons.

Along with the sensor, which will cost less than $150, users will need to buy disposable, one-time use units that they put their food in for testing. The price of the disposable units has not yet been determined.

Finally, the company will have a mobile app to pair their sensor with a user’s mobile phone. That app could also be used to share the results of tests for various foods with other users so they, too, can know if food is safe to eat without doing the testing themselves.

3. Super Evil Megacorp, and Tommy “The Scarf Guy” Krul’s Apple Live Impact

1410292223946_wps_83_Screen_Shot_2014_09_09_atNot going to lie – I didn’t even notice Tommy’s scarf during the Apple Live event on Tuesday. I was too busy GEEKING OUT – because I have a good portion of personal friends and long lost co-workers at Super Evil Mega Corp.
Sure, in the aftermath of the event the focus wasn’t necessarily on the awesome graphics in VainGlory (btdubs, it’s a brilliant game – and beautiful to boot, super impressive), but it did shine an endearing tongue-in-cheek spotlight on the company, and that scarf.  From my point of view, the nerd culture and gamer culture seemed to embrace Scarf-gate, laughingly, than outlets like The Today Show (which was a bit more cruel in their assessment).

imgresRegardless, keep your eye on Super Evil Megacorp (and the rise of the purple infinity scarf) — great things happen to great people and great products.

Speaking of the Apple Live Event:

4. Bigger choices for your next iPhone upgrade!

I have experienced some size-jealousy of my Droid friends of late.  That bigger screen does make things seem impressive.  Here’s some actually helpful information in understanding this change in size:

Let’s get the most obvious out of the way first: screen size. At 4.7-inches, the iPhone 6 is a significant increase over its 4-inch predecessor, but it’s still smaller than many other flagships, including Samsung’s Galaxy S5 (5.1″), the HTC One M8 (5″), and the new Moto X (5.2″).

But at 5.5-inches, the iPhone 6 Plus falls squarely into phablet territory currently occupied by the 5.7-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and 5.5-inch LG G 3.

In addition, the phones will have an upgrade in:

  • Resolution: “The iPhone 6 Plus comes in at resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 with a pixel density of 401 ppi (pixels per inch) while the iPhone 6 has a slightly lower 1,334 x 750 resolution with 326 ppi.”
  • Camera (upgraded rear-facing camera? FINALLY!)
  • Weight: There seems to be only slight difference in weight from previous versions, so this shouldn’t be too much of an issue on your pocket or purse.
  • Upgraded battery (again, FINALLY, but I’ve been burned by this claim before):
    • iPhone 6 Plus: 16 days of standby, 80 hours of audio playback, 14 hours of video playback and 12 hours of Internet use
    • iPhone 6 (um, regular?): 10 days of standby time, 50 hours of audio playback, 11 hours of video playback and 10 to11 hours of Internet use (depending on the type of connection).

I’m in MASSIVE need of a iPhone update — as I’m exhausted with complaining about the current iPhone 5 battery debacle (and the idea of scheduling an appointment to schedule an appointment to fix a faulty product is beyond my tolerance level).  Fingers crossed for true improvements!

5. One word: AppleWatch

Apple Watch review (3)-580-90It’s not like the idea of a smart watch is revolutionary.  Aside from Gadget & Dick Tracy, there’s been a few examples on the market for a handful of years now (<- article has a great comparison guide of smart watches available).  For as incredibly excited as I am by the launch of AppleWatch (I may complain, but the seemless transition between products really has cemented my relationship to Apple products, for now), my concern CONTINUES to be battery life.  I’m also quietly worried about building yet another tether from me to the internet (will I ever escape?).

At the end of the day, I do like the idea of keeping my phone in my pocket or bag, and having a watch that shows me texts, emails, and – dare I say it – shows me the time.

Here are some other great articles to help keep you informed about this upcoming gadget:

6. Sarah Evans’ recommendation for a mobile home desk-o-topia!

I adore Sarah so much – her site is brilliant.  And, although this article is a week old, I have it on my browser because I’m determined invest in some of her recommendations.  She’s got a great system set up – and if you work from home, or work in our industry, these might benefit you too!

During my five years as an entrepreneur, digital nomad and home office aficionado, I’ve revamped (and vamped some more) my office set up. From a 10′ open workstation desk to with multiple screen set up (which I still use), to what I believe, now, is my most product workstation–the mobile, standing desk.

I researched hundreds of standing desks and workstations, and ultimately chose one that would not take up a lot of room and could accommodate both my mobile and home office equipment. It’s the Studio Designs 24″ Computer Workstation and it holds my iMac, MacBook Pro, lots of cables and gadgets and has a bottom shelf for storage. The biggest perk is that it’s on wheels, so I can take it wherever I need to in my home office.

Have a great weekend!  And if you have some recommendations of articles, apps, or other cool tech items, please — share in the comments, or on twitter (@metav3rse).

Izzy Neis
Director of Engagement & Strategy