Items tagged with Misc

As the war over net neutrality rages on, the Internet Association fired off the latest volley by supplicating the FCC with concerns and a mandate to take decisive action on the issue. The IA’s voice is bolstered by a chorus of major tech companies, including Amazon, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Yahoo!, and more. “Segregation of the Internet into fast lanes and slow lanes will distort the market, discourage innovation and harm Internet users. The FCC must act to create strong, enforceable net neutrality rules and apply them equally to both wireless and wireline providers,” said Michael Beckerman, President and CEO of The Internet Association, in a blog post. The IA posits three... Read more...
New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has his work cut out for him. Although Microsoft is still one of the most important tech companies in the world, the company’s dominance is slipping as technology evolves rapidly. The company’s old product paradigms simply don’t work anymore, and Microsoft has appeared out of touch and confused at times when it comes to key areas such as mobile and the not-quite-right and relatively unpopular Windows 8 operating system. Nadella sent a lengthy (really, really lengthy) memo to all Microsoft employees espousing his values for the company moving forward, and he has a grand vision. For starters, he’s throwing out any affection for tradition and... Read more...
We were critical of Google’s recent decision to choose a high-end fashion retailer to sell Glass through a third party for the first time (which included a $300 markup), but Google is doing some good work with Glass through its “Giving Through Glass” program. The company awarded five nonprofits with a pair of Google Glass spectacles, $25,000 in the form of a grant, and--possibly most importantly--access to Glass devs and on-location help at Google. Classroom Champions The winners include Classroom Champions, which lets students see paralympic athletes train in POV; Women’s Audio Mission, a STEM training program; a group called the Hearing and Speech Agency that’s... Read more...
Three Uber riders experienced one of the worst-case scenarios skeptics of the rideshare service--a high-speed car chase and a (brief) de facto kidnapping--during a visit to the Washington, D.C. area. The Washington Post reports that Ryan Simonetti, co-founder of a company called Convene, and two colleagues hailed an Uber car after a meeting, and despite noting that a D.C. taxi inspector was talking to the driver, they hopped in. It appears that the driver decided at that time, with his documents in the hands of the inspector, to make a break for it with the three passengers on board. The inspector turned on his siren and followed, and the Uber driver led him on an 8-10-minute chase that... Read more...
In a Microsoft post announcing a mostly uninteresting list of products and their respective dates for when Microsoft will terminate support for them is a notable standout: Windows 7. Within the next six months, all versions of Windows 7 will enter the Extended Support phase, which lasts for 5 years and includes free security updates and paid hotfix support, but Mainstream Support for the popular OS will cease as of January 13, 2015. What that means in practice is that although you can rest easy knowing that Windows 7 will remain secure until 2020, it won’t be getting any new features. This is standard procedure for Microsoft, and indeed the company spells out these policies fairly clearly... Read more...
The Internet of Things promises big things, but to get past the theoretical stage, companies need to develop practical solutions to major obstacles, not the least of which is finding a way for devices running on different platforms to communicate effectively. Microsoft and 50 other companies have teamed up on the AllSeen Alliance to develop open source solutions for IoT interoperability, but that’s not the only group doing that sort of work; major industry players have created the Open Interconnect Consortium, as well. The OIC currently consists of Dell, Intel, and Samsung as well as Atmel, Broadcom, and Wind River, and the group’s stated goal is to connect the next 25 billion devices... Read more...
Rideshare service Uber is already established in New York, but competitor Lyft is about to launch its service in the city as well, beginning with Queens and Brooklyn. From Lyft’s perspective, this isn’t just about edging into a market to keep pace with a competitor--it’s about bringing a much-needed service to areas that need it. “Brooklyn and Queens are vastly underserved by public transit options compared to the rest of New York City,” reads a Lyft blog post. “In fact, just one of New York’s 23 subway lines passes solely between boroughs, and 95% of taxi pickups happen in Manhattan or a local airport.” If Lyft can grab a chunk of this apparently... Read more...
Gearbox Software, maker of the popular Borderlands series, is back with a new title that promises some of that exciting genre-bending fun the company has made successful. In tandem with 2K, Gearbox announced a futuristic shooter called Battleborn. “If Borderlands 2 is a shooter-looter, Battleborn is a hero-shooter,” said Gearbox president Randy Pitchford in a press release. “As a genre-fused, hobby-grade, co-operative and competitive FPS exploding with eye-popping style and an imaginative universe, Battleborn is the most ambitious video game that Gearbox has ever created.” Battleborn is set up in a multiplayer battle arena where you can be any number of clever and interesting... Read more...
There’s a complicated battle that persists between prolific copyright violators, ISPs, and rights holders who want to take the violators down. The Internet has been the ideal place to pirate and distribute digital wares, and thus managing the issue has been problematic. However, according to TorrentFreak, a privacy monitoring firm called Rightscorp has been aggressively encouraging ISPs to disconnect those subscribers who are repeat (and presumably, particularly egregious) offenders. The company identifies certain offenders and contacts them via the ISP, and it asks the ISP to send along settlement demands. In the most severe cases, Rightscorp asks the ISP to disconnect the pirate. How... Read more...
Microsoft’s Kinect for Windows v2 sensor has a release date; you can get yours starting on July 15th. It’s been available for preorder for a month, and you can still claim one early if you like for $199. This iteration of the Kinect for Windows has a new look that differentiates it from the first version, but Microsoft hopes devs see much more in v2. “The Kinect for Windows v2 sensor gives developers more of the precision, responsiveness, and intuitive capabilities they need to develop interactive voice- and gesture-based applications for the Windows desktop and Windows Store,” reads the product page. The Kinect for Windows blog is a fountain of optimism and excitement... Read more...
Here’s an unsurprising factoid: Billionaires don’t understand what it’s like to not have enough money, especially when they’ve been rich virtually their entire adult lives. Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page sat down for a “fireside chat” at the Khosla Ventures CEO Summit, and they shared their thoughts on, among other thing, the present and future of the human workforce. The conversation flowed that way naturally, and host Vinod Khosla asked an interesting question about the “machine-learning revolution” and how human jobs are being replaced. “But I do wonder if the vast majority of jobs that we know today, more than 50-percent... Read more...
Here’s the setup: Someone stole a Tesla Model S in L.A. and went for a joyride that turned into a police chase and resulted in a horrific multi-car crash. The Model S itself ended up ripping in two, with the front part of the car and the rear completely separated. It looks as if the rear of the vehicle embedded into the side of a building. Worse, the smashed car burst into flames, apparently due to the battery being compromised. Tesla’s battery catching fire after a trauma has been a problem before, and the company re-engineered the housing this spring to better protect the battery in the event of crashes. Granted, this particular crash was a true anomaly; there’s a huge difference... Read more...
After Netflix posted a message on broken video streams stating that Verizon’s congested network was to blame, the former went ballistic, going as far as sending Netflix a cease and desist letter. The FCC has now stepped in to investigate (and possibly mediate) the spat. However, it’s not just Netflix that’s taking swipes at ISPs; YouTube is joining the fray. Quartz spotted a new message on YouTube videos that are performing slowly. There’s a blue bar beneath the video that asks “Experiencing interruptions?” with a button you can click that says “Find Out Why”. The link takes you to Google’s new Video Quality Report website.   Credit:... Read more...
Now here’s a use for drones that we can surely all get behind: Filming a fireworks display from inside the beautiful, explosive mayhem. One Jos Stiglingh sent up a DJI Phantom 2 drone with a GoPro Hero 3 silver strapped to it and filmed a fireworks show, and the resulting video is approximately as marvelous as you’d expect it to be. We see different aerial shells exploding mid-air with a variety of colors and effects, and the camera manages to get shots from below, above, and right in the middle. The best shots are when the camera pans around a firework in mid-burst. The soundtrack really enhances the experience, incidentally--a juxtaposition of powerful explosions and smooth, pretty... Read more...
We’re sure there’s a mathematical formula somewhere that demonstrates that if you give a nerd enough time plus sufficient gadgetry and the proper amount of nostalgia, you’ll get hilarious, amazing results. Case is point is a t-shirt on which you can play Tetris. “I always wanted a playable Tshirt, well now I made one myself,” wrote Marc Kerger on the description of a YouTube video he made demonstrating the shirt. He said he was inspired to do so in celebration of Tetris’ 30th anniversary. He created the wearable game using an Arduino Uno, a pair of Adafruit Matrix controllers, 128 LEDs, a battery pack consisting of 4AAs, and 3D-printed soft buttons and hard... Read more...
In the immortal words of The Simpsons, July 4th is a time to celebrate the independence of our nation by blowing up a small part of it. Despite the fact that fireworks are insanely dangerous, they’re also a lot of fun--and there’s a lot of chemistry behind the dazzling displays we here in States will enjoy all day and night. Professor John A. Conkling wrote a textbook called the Chemistry Of Pyrotechnics: Basic Principles And Theory (we’ll wait here for a moment while you go buy that online), and he posted a video discussing and demonstrating how it all works. In a nutshell, you need at least one chemical that’s oxygen-rich (an oxidizer), and you need fuel (such as sulfur,... Read more...
After warning that it was doing so back in March, Google has changed its AdWords policies to ban sexually explicit advertisements, meaning that we’ll no longer see any porn ads in search results or anywhere on the AdWords network. “Google AdWords doesn't allow the promotion of some types of sexual content on the Google Network. You may not do the following: promote graphic depictions of sexual acts, promote content with underage or non-consensual sexual themes, including child sexual abuse content, promote services that may be interpreted as providing sexual acts in exchange for compensation,” reads the policy. Although some of the above is also illegal, Google made a point... Read more...
The good news, if you can call it that, is that after polling hundreds of technology experts, the Pew Research Internet Project found that they don’t believe that cybercrime or hacking are the chief problems facing the Internet by 2025. Unfortunately, that’s because they believe there are other problems that will be worse. Those problems center around government and business interference with access and security as well as the curious issue of having too much information available. To be clear, this isn’t a study per se; Pew polled thousands of individuals in the tech field that it identified as experts with the following prompt: By 2025, will there be significant changes... Read more...
Video game broadcaster and community-builder Twitch is poised for big things. The company is rumored to be working a billion-dollar acquisition by YouTube, making it a Google-owned entity, and in the meantime it’s building a studio in San Francisco to take its enterprise to new level. According to Reuters, Twitch COO Kevin Lin said that the company wants to find better ways to help “everyday streamers” develop greater quantity and quality of content. Twitch on Xbox The purpose of the studio is manifold. It will give Twitch’s partners a top-notch space in which they can produce the highest-quality content while at the same time offering an incubator of sorts for budding... Read more...
As the Internet of Things trend continues to evolve, there are several questions that the industry must answer, not the least of which is “How will everything talk to everything else?” The AllSeen Alliance is looking to answer that question by developing an open source consortium of partners companies, and it just landed a big fish as Microsoft has now joined the ranks as a Premier Member. Microsoft HQ The AllSeen Alliance is a nonprofit entity that wants to see open source IoT solutions across “all major platforms and operating systems”, so says its website. The members of the group are developing a universal software framework based on AllJoy open source code which would... Read more...
So it’s not just us then. While we seethe over NSA spying allegations here in the U.S., ISPs across the pond who believe they were spied upon by the UK’s intelligence agency GCHQ in the wake of Edward Snowden’s leaks are taking action. According to BBC News, seven Internet providers, in conjunction with Privacy International, have filed a lawsuit against GCHQ. "These widespread attacks on providers and collectives undermine the trust we all place on the internet and greatly endangers the world's most powerful tool for democracy and free expression," Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, told the outlet. GCHQ The allegations are severe and include assertions that... Read more...
Perhaps Facebook is conducting a meta-experiment. The first part of it was the emotional contagion experiment we covered yesterday, wherein Facebook manipulated close to 700,000 users’ emotions via their Newsfeeds without any apparent knowledge, consent, or reasonable ethical oversight. The real experiment, though, might just be that Facebook wants to know how far it can push users before they actually quit using the social network. I’m being facetious here, but in all seriousness, after the outrage so many felt after yesterdays’ news, how many people actually quit Facebook because of it? I’m guessing almost none, and that highlights something extremely interesting about... Read more...
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