Friday Grab Bag: FIFA World Cup Tiff and will Loon Fly?

Microsoft is looking at educational institutions in an effort to jump start sales, or at least adoption, of its Surface RT tablets. According to the company has started a policy of steep discounts to schools in an effort to push that platform’s acceptance.

How steep you ask? The tablet is available to schools and universities from now until August 31st starting at $199 for the 32GB model. Or you can go to the Microsoft store and buy the same model for $499. Such a deal.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 cheap in bundle deal
If you are in the market for both the LTE-capable version of the tablet and a smartphone then Samsung might have just what you need. It has teamed with AT&T to bundle its Galaxy Note 8 tablet for $199 when coupled with a new activation of select Samsung smartphones.

The tablet, normally $399, has Samsung technology designed to ensure its safe adoption in the business as well as the more traditional consumer friendly apps that are more commonly associated with tablets.

It is World Cup disqualifier time
At this time of year nations are putting their best foot forward in an attempt to qualify for next year’s World Cup, which will be held in Brazil. Along the qualifying route there are always a few feel good stories about nations that qualify — this is not one of them.

FIFA has just launched an investigation into player eligibility regarding athletes on both the Ethiopian and Tunisian teams, both of which had just advanced to the final round of the African World Cup according to the BBC. Sanctions will be forfeiting the match that the players participated in, if found guilty.

Google up in the air with Loon
Google is seeking to deliver Wi-Fi connectivity to the large portion of the world that is currently without by using a series of high altitude balloons that will have the ability to bounce Internet signals to each other and support users on the ground.

The company will be releasing 30 balloons in all, all over New Zealand’s South Island in an effort called Project Loon. Each balloon will rise to the stratosphere and be controlled to stay in the same spot. The initial effort will only provide Internet access with speeds that approximate 3G to roughly 60 people.

Sony Xperia Z finds a home
Sony released the Xperia Z a few months ago but if you rushed down to the local consumer electronics store to sign up for the smartphone and start enjoying all that it has to give you would have come home upset because it was not initially supported by any of the carriers. Well that has all changed.

According to Slashgear, you will now be able to get your hands on one courtesy of your friends at T-Mobile. However before you head on down, no delivery date has yet been announced.

FCC provides peek at next-gen Nexus 7
The FCC, via TechRadar, has published what looks like the features of the next generation Google Nexus 7 tablet, which appears to be manufactured by Asus, with a 1080p display.

Other features will include 2GB of memory, a switch from an Nvidia processor to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro as well as a move to a 5 megapixel camera rather than the 1.5MP in the older edition. Also included will be NFC, LTE and wireless charging.

U.S. Soccer Federation Delivers App and Digital Magazine


If you are interested in tonight’s opening match of the Final Round of 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying that will have the U.S. team playing Honduras the U.S. Soccer Federation has just made it easier for you to stay abreast of the news.

The Federation has again expanded its digital presence, this time with a Facebook app as well as a new digital magazine called ‘Anthem’, with the first issue of the free publication now available online. The magazine is currently only available for iPad and iPhone users but an Android version is expected soon.

The interactive Facebook app, called Supporters XI, provides a different experience for users. They can select virtual lineups from Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s roster of 24 players, putting them in one of 10 different formations, and can share their lineups with their friends.

There are also other methods to follow the team including the ability to watch matches online, including today’s versus Honduras by heading to on’s MatchTracker, or you can follow the conversation on Twitter at @ussoccer. If you are interested in images from the match, and ones from the past you can check out the team’s Instagram page.

Tonight’s US/Honduras match is one of three CONCACAF regional qualifying matches being played today, the others being Jamaica at Mexico and Costa Rica at Panama. The second set of group games is scheduled for March 22, when the U.S. Soccer team will host Costa Rica.

For this qualifying round, which will run through October, each team will play 10 matches with the top three earning automatic advances to next year’s World Cup and the fourth place team going to a home and away qualifier against the first place team from the Oceania Football Confederation with the winner advancing to the World Cup.