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Christopher Mims

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Even Barack Obama May Get Rid of His BlackBerry

March 21, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The White House is testing alternatives to the long-time favorite smartphone of President Barack Obama, reports the Wall Street Journal. If Obama does switch to an Android-based phone, from BlackBerry, it would be a major blow for the ailing Waterloo, Ontario-based company. Two models reportedly being tested by the White ...

Twelve Reasons Robots Could Be the Next Trillion-dollar Business

March 20, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Recently I sat down with Dmitry Grishin, the billionaire co-founder of mail.ru and head of the world’s largest venture capital fund devoted solely to robots, Grishin Robotics. As you might expect from someone who has put $25 million into robotics startups, he’s bullish on the potential of robots (as he ...

We Already Live in the Age of Robots—We Just Don’t Call Them That

March 19, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The head of the world’s biggest pool of venture capital devoted solely to robots is sitting on the edge of his seat, speaking so quickly I can hardly take notes, his boyish enthusiasm reaching a fever pitch. “People usually call something ‘robots’ when they don’t know what they are doing,” ...

Here Comes the First “App Store” for Hardware

March 17, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The most successful technologies are those aimed at what Steve Jobs called “things people want to do.” That is, they answer a human need that has remained constant throughout history, rather than cater a particular “market.” I’m convinced that Mighty Cast’s NEX band—or something like it—is one of these technologies, ...

The Internet of Trash Bins Is Here and It’s More Awesome Than It Sounds

February 28, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In an unnamed city in Asia, AGT, a Swiss security firm, has teamed up with Cisco to install internet-connected sensors in trash bins. The idea is simple: the city knows when bins are full or empty, so it can plan more efficient routes for trash collectors and their trucks. Save ...

Your Power Is About to Go Out—Here’s How to Make Your Cell Phone Last Until it Comes Back on

February 13, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Grid-killing natural disasters are attacking the US east coast often enough that, as a semi-regular reader service, we republish our tips for how our US readers can make their cell phones last until the danger has passed. The new addition this time around? Next time, buy yourself a solar charger. ...

It’s Official: Apple Sells More Computers Than All Windows PCs Combined

February 13, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Apple’s Mac desktops and laptops may still count for a fraction of the global market for PCs, but when you tally up all the computers (iPhones, iPads, etc.) on which people actually get things done, the number of computers sold by Apple exceeds the number of Windows-based PCs shipped worldwide ...

Bitcoin Company Offers Stock Denominated in Bitcoin

February 7, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Startup Bitcoin Kinetics, which aims to create hardware that can allow vending machines to accept bitcoin, is offering 10 billion shares of common stock on the website Cryptostocks. This isn’t your typical IPO—Cryptostocks, where Bitcoin Kinetics will be “listed,” describes itself as both a crowd funding platform and a place ...

Why the Only Thing Better Than Big Data Is Bigger Data

February 3, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow For many businesses, big data is superfluous. Except, a recently-published paper on the mathematics of big data reveals, when it isn’t. It turns out there is a kind of data that, like black holes or evil wizards of Middle Earth, only becomes more powerful the larger it grows. What’s more, ...

Why Volcanoes Are the Energy Source of the Future

January 31, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow In Iceland, scientists have just completed a successful experiment in harnessing energy directly from a volcano. But first, a little background: In early 2009, I wrote about an audacious project. Scientists in Iceland were going to attempt to drill into a reservoir of water so much hotter than anything tapped ...