Items tagged with Misc

We take a short break from all the frenetic and amazing happenings at Computex to bring you a hilarious/not-so-hilarious story of a Scottish fellow who spoofed the Google Street View car and got himself a visit from the local authorities. Back in August of 2012, Dan Thompson, owner of Tomson Motor, saw the Google Street View car coming down the street and--thinking quickly--laid down on the ground and had a buddy stand over him wielding a pickaxe handle. It looked like a murder, and a couple of years later when a random web user spotted it, that person reported it to the police. We’re pretty sure the Google Street View folks would have A) noticed a murder taking place feet from the car... Read more...
It was the stuff of gaming lore, but after being unceremoniously buried in an Alamogordo, NM landfill in 1983 after selling poorly, a multitude of Atari cartridges were dug up this spring. It was a lark for anyone remotely keyed into the story, but then--what exactly is supposed to happen with 1,377 unsold Atari game cartridges from over thirty years ago? You sell them, that’s what. (And give some away.) The city of Alamogordo has decided to distribute the cartridges to film companies and museums, as well as the general public, according to the Alamogordo News. Diggers found some 60 different titles in the hole, including E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (171), Centipede (190), Defender (116),... Read more...
Earlier this month we covered a great project called MotionSavvy that seeks to help deaf people communicate better with the hearing using Leap Motion technology that converts sign language into audible speech. Another company working to deliver essentially the same service--also with Leap Motion--reached out to let us know what they’re up to. The company is called BabyTaxi, and founder Tarik Sayeed told us that they’re six months ahead of MotionSavvy in terms of a product release. “We actually have 30 transactional sentences completed”, he said. “Happy to report that we have recently partnered with University of British Columbia to turn this subject into a academic... Read more...
That was fast. About a year after Google’s Motorola started manufacturing the Moto X domestically at a plant in Texas, the factory is shutting down; it will cease operations at some point later this year. The Texas plant was an exciting experiment; never before had a smartphone been actually manufactured in the U.S., yet here we were, with an intriguing new handset being made by an American company and providing jobs for people in an economy desperate for them. And then the Moto X (our review here) didn’t sell as well as Google thought it would. And then Google sold off its Motorola unit to Lenovo--a Chinese company. And now all those jobs are disappearing; the Moto X will continue... Read more...
Is the FCC trolling ISPs (on our behalf)? The agency is considering raising the standard minimum speed for what is considered “high-speed Internet”, which would potentially force ISPs to work faster to roll out better service to more areas. Currently, broadband Internet speed is defined as 4Mbps, but according to an anonymous FCC official that spoke to the Washington Post, the FCC might bump that number up to 10Mbps or even 25Mbps. 4Mbps is nothing; you can’t even stream Netflix in HD at that speed, and forget about having a second user gobbling up bandwidth. The new definitions would also set a higher limit on upload speeds, which would jump to 2.9Mbps from the current 1Mbps.... Read more...
Back in December, we caught wind that Japan’s Softbank was looking to snag T-Mobile, and now that deal is closer to becoming reality, according to new reports. Deutsche Telekom AG currently owns a majority stake in T-Mobile, but it’s apparently willing to sell that majority to Softbank while keeping a minority stake for itself. The news was originally leaked by Kyoto News Agency, but Reuter’s sources confirmed it while noting that there have been complications, not the least of which is overcoming regulatory concerns in the U.S. Softbank/Sprint's Son (Credit: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg) The issue here is primarily is that Softbank also owns most of Sprint, and if it acquires... Read more...
We use a number of Futuremark’s benchmarks when we test systems around here, and there’s a new one coming called 3DMark “Sky Diver”, a DX11 bench aimed at gaming laptops and midrange PCs. “Sky Diver is the ideal test for benchmarking systems with mainstream DirectX 11 graphics cards, mobile GPUs, or integrated graphics,” reads an announcement from Futuremark. “The scene is brought to life with tessellation, particles and advanced post-processing effects.” You can see that Sky Diver entails a wingsuited person flying through a gorgeous, mountainous environment. Considering how much time we spend with benchmark runs, the prettier the bench, the better.... Read more...
ASUS announced its latest 4K monitor, and it’s a 28-inch 4K panel that starts at $649. ASUS touts the PB287Q’s color reproduction, saturation, and smooth color gradations. The monitor also boasts a zippy 1ms response and 60Hz refresh rate. Ports include DisplayPort 1.2 and two HDMI ports, the second of which supports MHL, and the panel can tilt, swivel, and pivot and offers 170-degree viewing angles. The contrast ratio is listed as 100,000,000:1. ASUS baked in Picture-in-Picture (PiP) and Picture-by-Picture (PbP) support, and thus you can view 1080p HD content in a second source down in the corner. There are also several ASUS proprietary technologies including QuickFit Virtual Scale,... Read more...
A company called New Matter has developed an inexpensive 3D printer called the MOD-t that aims to bring 3D printing into the average home. It will cost just $249--although if you snag an Indiegogo bundle you could pay as little as $149 or $199--and it’s designed so that you have to do essentially zero calibration on your own. However, New Matter has bigger aims than simply a cheap 3D printer; the company is trying to build an end-to-end vertical integration ecosystem around its MOD-t. The paradigm it’s using looks very much like what Apple did with the iPhone and App Store years ago. There will be a curated library of apps, and designers and artists can add their work and make money... Read more...
There are data breaches and then there are data breaches. The Target breach, for example, was (and continues to be) a total disaster for the company with millions affected. Other hacks are made better or worse by a given company’s attitude and response. Spotify has apparently experienced some sort of breach of its own, but if you’re going to get hacked, this is a best case scenario. A total of one user has been affected according to a post by Spotify CTO Oskar Stål, but even so, the company is hitting the big red button just to be safe. “We’ve become aware of some unauthorized access to our systems and internal company data and we wanted to let you know the steps... Read more...
Although Microsoft has stopped supporting Windows XP, many people haven’t bothered to update from the legendary and now terribly aged operating system (you guys, seriously, just do it already). However, in what is the most perfect XP-related real-life joke ever, someone discovered that there’s a hacky workaround that lets you continue to receive security updates through April 2019. “The workaround makes use of updates for Windows Embedded Industry (formerly known as Windows Embedded POSReady),” wrote Wayne Williams of Betanews. “This is based on Windows XP Service Pack 3, and the security updates which are being released for it are essentially the same ones Microsoft... Read more...
EVGA took the wraps off of its hot TORQ X10 gaming mouse at CES this January, and now the device is up for preorder at Newegg. For now, the two iterations of the TORQ X10 are deeply discounted; the original is available for $49.99 (down from $99.99) while the Carbon version is $69.99 (down from $129.99). The mouse features a max DPI of 8200 with an Avago 9800 laser sensor, Omron switches, and 9 programmable buttons with support for five profiles. It features seven different LED colors and a carbon fiber surface, too. It features adjustable heights and weights, and the mouse is designed to suit either left- or right-handed gamers. Whenever you order the TORQ X10 gaming mouse, it will be available... Read more...
No matter how advanced tools like Google Maps have gotten, this is the question we all still have whenever we map a route: How long will it take me to get there--no, really? Maps always give you an estimate, and they try to take into account factors such as traffic, but they’re not ideal. Further, if you want to see multiple options for getting around a crowded city and want to compare routes, it’s slow and arduous to do so. Enter Isoscope, a new mapping that can tell you how long it will take you to get anywhere in a city; at any time of day; on any day of the week; given 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 minutes. New York City (Credit: Fast Company) “We wanted our project to shed light on... Read more...
You’re not the only one who’s a little concerned about the hypnotic effect of screen time on your kids. A pair of former Googlers, Pramod Sharma and Jérôme Scholler, felt the same way, and so they developed a gaming platform called Osmo that connects the physical and digital worlds. The idea is that not only are kids engaged with that beloved screen, they’re engaged in physical activity as well, and the two merge to make the experience even better. The Osmo device is a small, red, plastic device that snaps over your iPad’s camera that uses artificial intelligence and a built-in mirror to recognize your gestures and other inputs and responds accordingly. There’s... Read more...
Back in 2011, the FCC put forth a plan that would convert some of the subsidies that bring telephone service to rural areas to Internet access. The idea is simple: Years ago, it was decided that rural areas needed the same access to current communications technology that more populated areas enjoy. Back then it was telephone service, and now it’s Internet access. A court has approved the FCC’s plan, which had been challenged extensively by various phone companies who were concerned about losing subsidies, reports the NYT. However, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the challenges as unpersuasive (or “barred from judicial review”). “After years of good... Read more...
To the surprise of few, Samsung is reportedly working on a VR headset that would compete with the Oculus Rift (now a Facebook joint) and Sony’s Project Morpheus. (And, for that matter, dark horses like GameFace Labs.) According to Engadget, this isn’t just a vaporware project; Samsung already has early units in developers’ hands, and a project launch is expected by the end of the year. The device will act as a peripheral paired with Samsung’s high-end smartphones and tablets. Oculus Rift There’s not much information about the guts of the VR headset, but it should have an OLED screen and run Android games, and it does not use the Tizen OS. Samsung is reportedly looking... Read more...
Google’s push for gigabit Internet service has, directly or indirectly, created pressure on ISPs to explore the same, and Cox is the latest company to dip its toe in the gigabit waters and plans to get the service out to its first residential customers as early as Q4 this year. According to the Wall Street Journal, Cox president Pat Esser said that the company was investing hundreds of millions of dollars in gigabit service implementation, and the first locales to get the blazing fast pipe upgrades will be Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Omaha. This follows Esser’s comments earlier this month. Omaha, Nebraska skyline Esser did not reveal pricing, but he told the WSJ that it would be competitive;... Read more...
Whuh-oh. In the quest to conquer the Internet of Things (IoT), Google’s Nest just had a hiccup; Nest Protect Smoke + CO Alarms are being “recalled” by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission due to an alert failure problem. The issue is that the Nest Wave feature, in which a user can wave his or her arms near a unit to cancel a manual test or silence an alarm, can accidentally cancel a real alarm during an emergency. We put “recalled” in quotes because users don’t actually have to send the units back; they’re not faulty, they just need a software update to turn off the Wave feature. All you have to do, according to the CPSC post, is connect your Nest... Read more...
Get ready to see a lot of people talking to their computers. Google has officially rolled out a new feature in Chrome that lets you conduct a voice search on a desktop or notebook using just your voice. From a Google page, you can simply say, “OK Google” and say whatever you want to hunt for. This was a feature that Google had in beta back in late February, but now it’s here. It’s not clear if some of the other functions that Google teased in a blog post are available yet. These include telling Google to, for example, set a timer for 30 minutes or create a Google Now reminder for yourself. The above is surely coming, and although the environment for using the new voice... Read more...
Usually, technological advances substantially outpace legislation to manage them, but give a tip ‘o the cap to the California DMV for drawing up regulations for autonomous cars before the vehicles become widespread. In two separate “packages”, the DMV has rules both for testing autonomous vehicles by manufacturers and deployment for the public operation of vehicles on roads. A vehicle that has driver assistance or automatic safety features but not the ability to actually drive the vehicle without human control is not considered “autonomous”. Manufacturers must do their own testing and run driver training programs, and drivers must be employees of the manufacturer.... Read more...
Spotify has proven to be quite a popular streaming service since its launch in 2008, as the company announced today that it has reached 10 million paying subscribers. That’s 10 million people across 56 markets paying for the Premium level of the music streaming service that lets you find and play virtually any song on any connected device at any time; download tracks for offline listening; and enjoy it all with no ads and no contracts. In the U.S., you’ll pay $9.99 per month for the privilege, although of course Spotify still offers a free option for plenty of users. There are 40 million active users total, in fact, that enjoy Spotify. “We’ve had an amazing year, growing... Read more...
With apologies in advance for the amount of time you (we) will waste today on Google’s homepage, the current Google Doodle is a virtual Rubik’s Cube. As in, you can actually click the image and then try (and fail) to solve it. The occasion is the fact that today is the 40th anniversary of the enigmatic cube, which has now confounded kids and adults alike for four decades. There’s also a group of people called speedcubers who try and set world records for solving a Rubik’s Cube, a dedicated World Cube Association, and even published methods for solving a cube. Google also has a cube-related pet project called Chrome Cube Lab that uses various web technologies to create... Read more...
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