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Home Automation System Seed Labs Launches Silvair Control To Make Your Lightbulbs Smart

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

As our homes becoming increasingly wired (or unwired) it’s important for our teakettles to talk to our fridges and, potentially, for both to gang up on our vacuums. But how? They can now use something called the Silvair Control from Seed Labs.

We last met up with Seed Labs last November when they showed me a working system to control electronics in the home using an open and very usable chip interface. That interface is now commercially ready and we can expect to see the product inside of appliances before too long. The Control, however, is something else entirely. Shaped like the Nest thermostat, the Control is actually a removable button/dial that you can carry from room to room to control lighting and appliances.

“Silvair Control is the world’s first fully configurable, gesture­-driven, wireless controller that lets customers manage their everyday appliances whether that be lamps, shades, and garage doors…

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Apple releases iOS 8.3, including new emojis with diversity, new Siri languages, more

Originally posted on 9to5Mac:

iOS 8.3

Following the release of OS X 10.10.3 to the public, Apple has also released iOS 8.3 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The update, which has been in beta for several months, brings over 300 new emojis (including diversity options) as well as a new keyboard for inputting the symbols. The new keyboard features a scrolling UI, rather than the old page metaphor, to better accommodate the wider range of emojis available in the update.

iOS 8.3 also includes a whole host of new Siri languages, so more international users can benefit from Apple’s virtual personal assistant. The update adds Siri in Russian, Danish, Dutch, Thai, Swedish, Turkish and Portuguese. Siri’s voice has also been tweaked in this update.

Full change list included after the break:

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Cordova calendar plugin for Windows Phone 8

If you worked with Cordova/Phonegap and came across calendar plugin for Windows Phone 8 you must be knowing that Windows Phone 8 does not support calendar plugin officially and there is no plugin in Cordova plugin registry. As a workaround I wrote native plugin to add appointments to device calendar and thought to share it with my readers in quickie blog. :)

Create a new cs file in plugins directory named AddCalendarEvents.cs and add following code-

using Microsoft.Phone.Tasks;
using Microsoft.Phone.UserData;
using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using System.Windows;
using WPCordovaClassLib.Cordova;
using WPCordovaClassLib.Cordova.Commands;
using WPCordovaClassLib.Cordova.JSON;

namespace Cordova.Extension.Commands {
	public class AddCalendarEvents: BaseCommand {
		public void addCalendarEvents(String str) {
			string[] calendarValues = str.Split('|');

			SaveAppointmentTask saveAppointmentTask = new SaveAppointmentTask();

			int appointmentYear = Int32.Parse(calendarValues[3]);
			int appointmentMonth = Int32.Parse(calendarValues[4]);
			int appointmentDate = Int32.Parse(calendarValues[5]);
			float appointmentTime = float.Parse(calendarValues[6]);

			DateTime scheduleApptDateStart = (new DateTime(appointmentYear, appointmentMonth, appointmentDate, 7, 0, 0)).AddHours(appointmentTime);
			DateTime scheduleApptDateEnd = (new DateTime(appointmentYear, appointmentMonth, appointmentDate, 7, 30, 0)).AddHours(appointmentTime);
			saveAppointmentTask.StartTime = scheduleApptDateStart;
			saveAppointmentTask.EndTime = scheduleApptDateEnd;
			saveAppointmentTask.Subject = calendarValues[1];
			saveAppointmentTask.Location = calendarValues[2];
			saveAppointmentTask.Details = "";
			saveAppointmentTask.IsAllDayEvent = false;
			saveAppointmentTask.Reminder = Reminder.FifteenMinutes;
			saveAppointmentTask.AppointmentStatus = Microsoft.Phone.UserData.AppointmentStatus.Busy;

		public void getCalendarEventData(String str) {

		private void ButtonAppointments_Click() {
			Appointments appts = new Appointments();

			//Identify the method that runs after the asynchronous search completes.
			appts.SearchCompleted += new EventHandler < AppointmentsSearchEventArgs > (Appointments_SearchCompleted);

			DateTime start = DateTime.Now;
			DateTime end = start.AddDays(7);
			int max = 20;

			//Start the asynchronous search.
			appts.SearchAsync(start, end, max, "Appointments Test #1");

		void Appointments_SearchCompleted(object sender, AppointmentsSearchEventArgs e) {
			//Do something with the results.
			try {
			} catch (System.Exception) {}


Refer plugin in config.xml-

<feature name="AddCalendarEvents">
        <param name="wp-package" value="AddCalendarEvents" />
        <param name="onload" value="true" />


If you have basic knowledge of Cordova it should not be tough.

You can call it using

var inputCalendarString = notes + '|' + title + '|' + location + '|' + appointmentDate.getFullYear() + '|' + (appointmentDate.getMonth() + 1) + '|' + appointmentDate.getDate() + '|' + '1.0' + '|' + ' ';
cordova.exec(null, null, "AddCalendarEvents", "addCalendarEvents", inputCalendarString);

It works for one event but if you have loop of events it will not work. To support multiple events, you can maintain Localstorage flag & data with current index of events data. Use resume callback to add rest of the events using custom appointment plugin that you wrote. Each time your app resumes you increment index and add events data from next index.

document.addEventListener('resume', this.resumeApp, false)
resumeApp: function () {
if (localStorage.getItem('updatecalendar') == 'false') {

Happy Coding!

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Smartphones Are Helping This Nonprofit Keep A Generation Of Memories Alive

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Each day, we talk to lots of people: meetings with coworkers, dinnertime chats with family or friends, messages on social media. When was the last time, however, you had a long conversation with someone about the things that really matter to both of you?

Since 2003, Brooklyn-based non-profit organization StoryCorps has encouraged people to ask each other meaningful questions. As an oral history project, it has been very successful–so far, StoryCorps has archived 65,000 interviews, which it claims is the largest single collection of human voices ever gathered. The recordings, conducted in StoryCorps’ booths across the U.S., are stored in American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress, with excerpts broadcast on NPR.

With the recent release of its first app for iOS and Android, StoryCorps has dramatically expanded its reach. The app is still in beta, but in just two weeks it has already gained 50,000 registered users…

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AgTech Is The New Queen Of Green

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Editors Note: Rob Leclerc is the CEO, and Melissa Tilney is head of communications at AgFunder, an investment marketplace for agriculture and AgTech investing.

Before Monsanto acquired Climate Corporation in late 2013 for nearly $1 billion, few investors gave much thought to technological innovation in our agriculture system. What a difference a year can make. In what can be described as the Netscape moment for agriculture technology, the sector had a breakout year in 2014, receiving over $2.36 billion of investment across 264 deals spanning the agriculture value chain, according to data we pulled from CrunchBase as well as press releases and SEC filings for last year. Surprisingly, this $2.36 billion figure has now surpassed well-known sectors like fintech ($2.1 billion) and the former queen of green, cleantech ($2 billion).

Why now?

According to data from the CleanTech Group, investment in AgTech was relatively flat before 2013…

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Lessons In Designing Great Enterprise Software


hub-and-spoke model

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Editor’s note: Etan Lightstone is the director of UX design at New Relic.

As people are bringing new expectations of a quality user experience into the workplace, delivering a consumer-grade experience is becoming critical for all business software and is a fundamental way for software makers to compete in the market. While most software makers are increasingly aware of this truth, the challenge today is how to effectively make the transition to building consumer quality software for the enterprise.

A designer without an engineer is an art gallery, and an engineer without a designer is a parking lot 

Balancing designer and engineer perspectives and even designer and product manager perspectives is critical. Instead of having designers slap on a design at the beginning or end of a project, they need to work closely with engineers along the way to properly align design and engineering capabilities.

Lead designers sharing the…

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Olio Creates A Homebrew Smartwatch With Some Amazing Features

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

It’s not every day I’m impressed by a smartwatch. Plenty of Android Wear and Pebble devices have come and gone and aside from a brief “Huh” I haven’t really let any of them capture my attention. Olio is different.

The brainchild of former Apple and HP product designer Steven Jacobs, he wanted a watch that was rugged, usable, and easy to read. While he was aware of the competition, he used his hardware chops to put together something truly unique: a smartwatch design to combat immediate obsolescence.

Here’s what’s up: Olio has made a smartwatch with the same care and concern as the manufacturer of a mechanical watch. Gone are the cheap materials and chintzy bands and the attention to detail – from the beautifully polished bracelet to the unique interface – speaks more to a universality that is missing in Android Wear and an attention to detail missing in…

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