Digital Tech Trends

  • November 5, 2020

    Emojis for Life😀

    With Apple, Inc. adding 117 new emojis for iOS 14.2 update, I thought it might be interesting to look at some cool emoji facts for a change:🎉 Fact 1: World Emoji Day is Saturday July 17, 2021🌎 Fact 2: Emojis were created in 1998👍🏻 Fact 3: Emojis originated in Japan🇯🇵 Fact 4: Over 48% of adults use emojis👫 Fact 5: Most tweeted emoji is Tears of Joy (14.5 billion mentions)😂 Fact 6: Number of emojis sent by brands – 145 million messages📱 Fact 7: Number of people/smiley emojis – >2000😎 Fact 8: Number of animals & nature emojis – 212🐕 Fact 9: Average number of emojis sent on Facebook each day – >60 million🦄 Fact 10: Amount of money earned at the box office for The Emoji Movie ‐ $217 million😐 Fact 11: Apple’s iOS 14.2 update now supports 3,292 emojis, including one with a medical mask (appropriate in this time of the Global COVID-19 Pandemic)😷 Fact 12: Emoji 13.0 is the set of emojis approved for release in 2020 (3,304 emojis supported all or in part on iOS 14.2, Android 11, Samsung, and soon Windows)👏 Fact 13: There is an entire website dedicated to tracking and cataloguing everything there is to know about emojis: The Emojipedia📔 Now we just need an emoji of 2020 and Satan, that’d be great way to convey via text how everyone feels right now!😱
  • June 14, 2020

    Going Pro!

    I’m sure that you’ve all seen those crazy videos on YouTube of dogs being left alone in their homes with a GoPro camera attached to them. They invariably end up getting into all kinds of mischief while their owners are away. And of course, the dog gives a, “I didn’t do it…” look that always melts their humans’ hearts. GoPro, Inc. themselves is one of those hugely successful companies that were borne out of a simple idea from a completely unrelated event. A guy by the name of Nick Woodman (hmm, Digital Batman’s alter ego’s name is Nick) back in 2002 was out surfing one day in Australia. He was hoping to capture some awesome action photos while riding the waves but was unable to because no amateur photographer had neither the affordable equipment nor the experience to get close enough for the really good shots. So was borne the idea of a high resolution, incredibly compact, and easy‐to‐use camera that could go anywhere and take any kind of action shot—and eventually action video. Not only have GoPro’s have been put on mischievous dogs but they’ve been everywhere from attached to flying drones getting impossible aerial shots (now used in motion picture productions), to spelunking and sky diving, and even into space—as one little girl did a few years ago onboard a Hello Kitty‐crewed rocket (see the Best of them All vid to the right)! This company has grown incredibly fast since 2002 and sports a huge line of products that have literally transformed the digital photography and videography landscapes! We’re building solutions that enable people to capture and share life experiences…and as a result GoPro is growing virally via content creation and sharing. ~ Nick Woodman, CEO of GoPro, inc. GoPro, Inc. received the Technology Emmy for 2013 from...
  • May 5, 2020

    Keep on Trucking!

    Ah, the Cybertruck! Elon Musk’s newest offering in the vast untapped market of electric vehicles. Someday, not too long from now, we will all be driving EV cars. Telsa, Inc. is a true market disruptor when they introduced their first fully electric vehicle on the automotive market the Tesla Roadster in 2008, soon followed by their Model S, Model X, Model 3, and there more recent Model Y—with prices ranging from a whopping $135K+ for an original Roadster, down to a more affordable $35K for the Model 3. Tesla delivered a whopping ~500K units in 2020 according to Statista. It may have taken a little over a decade but now a good deal of the major automobile manufacturers are either rolling out or planning to roll out their own EVs. However, it is the $39K+ Cybertruck that we’re looking at here. Telsa is trying to disrupt the market again with the Cybertruck, as it did with the Roadster. This is an all electric battery-powered light commercial vehicle with an estimated range of 250-500 miles on a single charge, and a purportedly 300K lb towing capacity. It will come in rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive variants. The Cybertruck’s most notable feature is its unique oddly-shaped unibody design made from the same stainless steel material as Musk’s SpaceX is using for its interplanetry vehicle, Starship. However, what’s really got the media buzzing is the spectacle that Musk put on last month announcing the Cybertruck. It included a demonstration of its armor-plated body withstanding blows from a sledgehammer. However, Tesla had a little mishap when they tested how “bulletproof” the Cybertruck’s windows were. However, the Cybertruck’s unveiling was still a huge success with Tesla taking over 200,000 initial pre-orders! And now on to the real challenge for the Cybertruck… The Cybertruck’s chief competitor is...
  • Recently, Jim Heppelmann (President and CEO of PTC, the company I currently work for) was featured in an article in the Boston Globe talking about PTC’s exciting move to the Boston Seaport, A.K.A. The Innovation District. The article also featured the story of how Boston’s Mayor, Marty Walsh, came to PTC for a visit and spoke to the employees at one of our famous socials. He praised the company and the employees for making the move to Boston’s newest up and coming hub for business and cultural innovation! And the seaport is pretty much an amazing new innovation district at that—especially with all the incredible simultaneous construction projects going on down there. However, it might be interesting to take quick walk down memory lane to reminisce about Boston’s other innovation districts, of the past. Let’s go all the way back to Colonial times. Over by where North Street meets Moon Street is Paul Revere’s House. This historical landmark is located in Boston’s North End district, now synonymous with the Italian-American community. However, back in the late 17th Century, this area was well known for it’s silversmiths (like Paul Revere, an innovator of his time), blacksmiths, artisans, journeymen, and laborers. For a city that was founded in 1630, this part of Boston became its innovation district of that time. Fast forward through the Industrial Age which affected the entire world, Boston included, and you will see that another innovation district presented itself. This time on the Boston waterfront known as Boston Harbor—part of which is where today’s Boston Seaport Innovation District now resides. For over two hundred years, Boston Harbor, which compromises all the famous Boston wharves such as Long Wharf, Rowes Wharf, Fish Pier, Commonwealth Pier, and Union Wharf to name a few, were the gateways to shipping, railroads, international commerce, jobs, markets, construction, and of course innovation. Without the wharves of the 18th and 19th Centuries, Boston could not have grown...
  • February 10, 2020

    Every Vote Counts and Counting

    Counting every precious vote accurately in a Democratic society has been a challenge that goes as far back to ancient times. Since The Tenth Sphere covers the latest trends happening in Digital Tech & Industry (among many other trendy topics), I thought it would be interesting to give my readers a brief history and discussion of voting machines, voting apps, and voting tech in general. Let’s begin with the earliest of voting machines, paper ballots, which existed as far back as the Roman Empire, ca. 139 BCE. The first use of paper ballots in the United States was in 1629, and was used in selecting a pastor for the Salem Church during the founding days of the Salem Massachusetts community. Fast forward to 1838 England. The Chartists (a working-class suffrage movement) demanded responsible election reforms. And in so doing, Benjamin Jolly of Bath invented arguably the very first voting machine. It worked like this: each voter was to cast his vote by dropping a brass ball into the appropriate hole in the top of the machine by the candidate’s name. Each voter could only vote once because they were given just one brass ball. The ball advanced a clockwork counter for the corresponding candidate as it passed through the machine. And then the ball fell out the front where it could be given to the next voter. Then came Henry Spratt (a British national) who in 1875 received the first US patent for a voting machine. It presented to the voter an array of push-button ballots. Next came American inventor Anthony Beranek of Chicago in 1881. His voting machine was specifically designed to meet the requirements of the United States general election cycle. It was another push-button style voting machine but with a twist: Interlocks behind each row prevented voting for more than one candidate per race, and an interlock with the door of the voting booth reset the machine for the...
  • January 24, 2020

    Long Live the Browser Wars!

    Google recently announced that it was going to strip cookies from its Chrome web-browser. This is a big deal for a lot of people, namely advertisers. In case you weren’t aware of what a cookie is (not the yummy kind you eat), let Digital Batman tell you. A cookie is a bit of third-party data that gets stored on your system when you access a website. This data is used to track your online activities such as product browsing history, location, etc. Advertisers can then use this data to target ads specifically to what they think you’re interested in. And furthermore, advertisers can “retarget” ads after you as you browse around the Internet from site to site. Ever wonder how a random website you visit seems to know that you were looking at plushy chairs on Amazon? Well, that’s retargeting and that’s powered by cookies. Which leads to a lot of privacy issues that have been debated for as long as the Internet has been around. Therefore, Google is trying to assuage users’ concerns about privacy by eliminating cookies. What will advertisers do? Well, they’ll probably have to come up with more transparent ways to gather your information, with your permission. Now I mention this because it reminds me about how things have both changed and remained the same over the last 25+ years of browsing the Internet. Back in the heyday of the World Wide Web (mid-to-late 1990s), we had a whole battlefield of web browsers all vying for dominance in The Browser Wars! It all started with Netscape Navigator (technically Mosaic in its initial form), invented by Marc Andreessen founder of Netscape. [Digital Batman had done a previous Progressive Pioneers profile on Andreessen back in July.] Navigator was initially released in December of 1994. It sported a simple interface with a few oversized navigation buttons (like Back, Home, and...
  • January 7th through January 10th were the dates that the epic annual Consumer Electronics Show (A.K.A. CES) in Las Vegas happened recently. Even though Digital Batman was unable to get to this massive tech conference—due to prior commitments chasing after tech villains such as RISC-Riddler—I have managed to compile a list of some of the most bizarre tech shown off at this year’s CES. Toilet Paper Anyone? Leaving the flashy super-advanced 8K TVs aside, this year’s CES was marked by what has to be the most inventive, if not quirky, technological invention of the year: a toilet paper-delivering robot! Yep! You heard that right. The Charmin RollBot is by far the most unique invention yet. And surprisingly useful! How can you argue the merits of a machine that brings you toilet paper in your most dire of needs?! Olive You! Need a delicious helping of fresh olive oil for your salad or sandwich? Well, you’re in luck. The Fresco Eva Mini olive oil dispenser will serve up this ancient delicacy in a Keurig K-cup-like experience. And there’s an added benefit of the final elixir being so fresh that you’d swear you had pressed the olives yourself! Easy on the Eyes! So you like to experience social media on your phone but have trouble with the small screen? Wouldn’t it be great if you could just view the app on a TV? Oh, but then it would still be relatively small, right? Wrong! The new Samsung Sero remedies all of that! It is a large-screen TV that flips into a vertical position (like you’d see at mall kiosks) to display your entire Instagram feed in mega eye-candy glory! Though, no one really asked for this, I’m sure people will try the Sero anyway because who can’t get enough of large-format social media, right? Getting Around in Style… You...
  • January 3, 2020

    Top Five Must-Haves of 2019!

    Now that we have said, “Goodbye,” to 2019, we should take a moment to look back on the top must-haves for the decade-ending year. Since this list is completely arbitrary, Digital Batman will weigh in on what I found to be the most popular gadget, item, digital something, and whatever. Oh, and this list does not put items in any particular order of importance. Enjoy! 1. Disney+ – Yep! The highly anticipated, hugely successful, and most extensive streaming video service from the “House of the Mouse” easily makes this list. Not only does Disney+ have hundreds of movies and thousands of hours of television series, it is now home to the most popular sci-fi show on the small screen, The Mandalorian. This new live-action genre show set in the Star Wars universe is arguably better than the recently released final chapter of the Star Wars/Skywalker saga, The Rise of Skywalker. And there’s more to come with a limited Obi Wan Kenobi series and potential Darth Maul or Darth Vader series. And let’s not forget the new Marvel superhero shows like Falcon and Winter Soldier and WandaVision. Plus, a whole host of kids programming that is way too extensive to go into here. With over 20M (that’s million) subscribers on its launch day, this is definitely a must- have in 2019 (and now)! 2. The Impossible Burger – Why is this on the list? Well, Digital Batman could cite a bunch of health- related reasons why you should give this burger a try. However, the biggest reason is that this new type of plant-based food that mimicks real animal meat (including it protein content) actually made it to market! Giant restaurant chains like Burger King and Dunkin are now sporting Impossible Burger variants on their menus. You can also purchase this...
  • When you think of what $52,000 can buy, you probably think of things like a high-end luxury car (like a Tesla), a boat, or maybe a 5-star trip around the world. Regardless, the last thing you’d probably want to spend $52K on is a computer! Well, Apple Inc. is back in the news with it newest—and most expensive—product yet. The all new Mac Pro is set to be available for pre-order starting next Tuesday. However, this machine might not enjoy the same “early adopter” success that say a new iPhone does. Don’t get me wrong, the specs on this machine are astounding*: Up to a 28-Core Intel Xeon W processors Up to 1.5TB (that’s TERABYTES!) of DIMM RAM, running at 2933MHz AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo graphic cards (configurable with up to four GPUs) Up to 8TB of SSD storage Tons of the latest, most powerful PCI expansion slots and others Tons of USB 3, Thunderbolt, and Ethernet ports And the most powerful WiFi (A/C) and Bluetooth (5.0) available *Note: These specs are based on the most expensive configuration options. This machine is a monster! But that’s not all… If you want THE most powerful monitor to go with this Macintosh behemoth, you’ll be looking at the Pro Display XDR. And it too is a monster! It’s a 32-inch Retina 6K display capable of presenting over a billion (that’s BILLION with a B) colors! Now given the fact that human beings can only perceive an estimated 10 million colors, what would the remaining 990,000,000 colors be used for? Oh, and let’s not forget the $1000 dollar monitor stand that caused quite a stir at the WWDC (i.e. World Wide Developers Conference where Apple announces all its new products) earlier this year. All told, this system (and we haven’t even...
  • So the other day, I attended the PTC Benefits Fair down on the 3rd floor at the Seaport HQ. I actually found the event quite helpful because I had a lot of questions about my various benefits that were answered. In fact, the WageWorks rep was truly helpful telling me about a commuter parking pass debit card that would make my life a lot easier because I wouldn’t have to file a reimbursement claim for parking expenses, and also have to upload a bunch of receipts. This is the obscure yet imporant kind of information that new employees really need to know about. One of the vendors, Burnalong, was particularly interesting as I am a fitness enthusiast and try to get over to the Fitness Center (also on the 3rd floor) as often as I can—gotta stay in shape to catch all of those digital criminals! The interesting thing about my visit to their table was that, like a plethora of other fitness apps (some of which I pay for), they too had an app, and it is free! So, I signed up for it and downloaded the app.Which got me thinking about a few other apps that we use here at PTC. First, and arguably to most important app, is Benefitfocus. This little app holds a lot of power for PTC employees. Here you can check or modify your company benefits, receive reminders and tasks concerning your benefits, shop for products related to your benefits, and set up a well‐being checklist (e.g. get a flu shot), and more all in one convenient place. When Digital Batman joined PTC, the first thing I did was download this app, which has proven itself quite handy at times—especially on vacation believe it or not Next up is the aforementioned Burnalong app. This...