Items tagged with Misc

Twitch is a popular platform for watching and sharing video game footage, seeing top-notch players broadcasting their thing, enjoying special events, and more--and now it’s the property of Google, via YouTube. According to Variety, YouTube acquired Twitch for a cool billion dollars. The deal is reportedly an all-cash offer and will be announced shortly. Twitch says that it has over 45 million visitors per month. It was just in February that Microsoft announced that it would finally add Twitch livestreaming to the Xbox One, which we pontificated would bring about new features. We were partially right, insofar as things are shifting, but seeing Twitch go to YouTube is a surprise. The question... Read more...
Perhaps it’s stating the obvious, but deaf people can have a difficult time communicating with hearing people. The easiest method of interaction is sign language, but unless you or a loved one regularly use it, you probably don’t know how to communicate in ASL (American Sign Language). Thus, deaf people often must resort to a time-consuming back-and-forth with hearing people using pen and paper. The below video paints the picture well: MotionSavvy is working on a much better solution using Leap Motion technology. In a nutshell, with a leap motion controller attached to a tablet, a user can sign above the device, and the tablet will convert the hand movements into audible speech. It’s... Read more...
Perhaps you’re a truly robust cyclist, thoroughly unafraid of hills of any size, but many of us are not. (Especially those who frequently schlep one or more children in a tow-behind.) Thus, having a sense of the elevation of your chosen bike route is quite a helpful tool. Google Maps has added just such a feature to its bike routes, and although the team didn’t bother announcing it, TechCrunch sussed out that the new feature exists and confirmed it with Google. Credit: TechCrunch Employing the elevations profiles is simple. When you map a route and hit the bike icon, it’s right there underneath the directions. The little card shows you a graphical representation of the elevation... Read more...
From Apple to Yahoo, tech companies have a great deal of our data in their hands, and thanks to whistleblower Edward Snowden, we know that the government wants as much of it as possible--and has been too successful in that regard. In some cases, there’s just nothing much a company can do when the NSA comes knocking with a warrant, but there is a spectrum of cooperation, protection, and advocacy that various companies employ. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has created a list of many tech companies and charted out a star rating system with six categories: -Requires a warrant for content -Tells users about government data requests -Publishes transparency reports -Publishes law enforcement... Read more...
In what is an incredibly pleasant surprise, Apple and Google released a joint statement stating that the two companies have agreed to drop all of the ongoing patent litigation between them pertaining to smartphones. "Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform," said the statement, according to Reuters. The companies asked a federal appeals court to dismiss all of the pertinent cases. Credit: Elwood_j_blues via Wikipedia There was no indication that other lawsuits would go away, though; Apple’s intense battle against Samsung is still on, for example, and we wonder if Apple will pursue any further litigation related to contested Motorola Mobility patents... Read more...
It turns out the scuttlebutt from back in March is true: Ubisoft announced that Far Cry 4 is coming this November for consoles and PCs. It will be out on November 18th in the U.S. and November 20th in EMEA, and it will be available on the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. “Pack away your tropical gear, because Far Cry 4 is heading to the Himalayas,” wrote Ubisoft’s Gary Steinman in a blog post. “Taking a sharp turn away from the lush island jungles of the top-rated Far Cry 3, Far Cry 4 is set in Kyrat, an untamed region currently ruled by a despotic self-appointed king. But don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by the achingly beautiful views;... Read more...
No one can accuse Tesla’s founder Elon Musk of thinking too small, and his latest vision is for a monstrous “gigafactory” to make batteries (at a reduction in cost of about 30%) that will not only power electric Tesla cars but would also serve any number of other applications in various industries. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Musk told a crowd this week that Panasonic among other companies will partner with Tesla on the gigafactory, which is expected to cost $5 billion and cover some 10 million square feet of space. It will also employ about 6,500 workers, which should be plenty of incentive for states to encourage Tesla to bring the gigafactory within their borders.... Read more...
More or less as expected, the FCC voted to advance the new net neutrality rules that would allow ISPs to charge certain web companies more for “fast lanes” for content. It’s a decision that net neutrality advocates are unhappy with because they see it as an unhealthy compromise, while net neutrality opponents are annoyed at the open provisions these rules leave open. The vote went 3-2 along party lines, with FCC chairman Tom Wheeler apparently doing enough to convince the other two democrats on the committee to vote along with him. Tom Wheeler This is by no means the end of political wrangling, though. This vote opens up four months of commentary and reviews, a subsequent second... Read more...
To paraphrase David Letterman, we wouldn’t give Nintendo’s troubles to a monkey on a rock. Amid a terrible sales performance that only got worse over the first quarter of this year (Nintendo president Satoru Iwata took a 50% pay cut over the the Wii U’s awful sales back in January) and a mini-scandal when word emerged that users couldn’t be same-sex couples in the 3DS handheld console game Tomodachi Life (an oversight for which Nintendo has apologized), the company has a lawsuit on its hands. Philips is suing Nintendo over two potential patent infringements. The first concerns a “virtual body control device”, which pertains to essentially all the Wii controllers.... Read more...
Today is a momentous occasion in the life of one the tech world’s greatest wunderkinds: Mark Zuckerberg turns 30. It’s an even more notable birthday for the Facebook founder than the average joe because of an off-the-cuff comment he made about younger people being smarter than older people back in 2007 when he was, most definitely, a young man. “I want to stress the importance of being young and technical,” Zuckerberg told a crowd at Y Combinator back in 2007, according to VentureBeat. “Young people are just smarter,” he continued. “Why are most chess masters under 30? I don’t know.” Age 30, it seemed to 22-year-old Zuck, is a year in which... Read more...
AOC’s new 24-inch monitor looks nice enough at first blush, with a relatively thin silver bezel and what is no doubt a crisp, bright image, but underneath is where the good stuff is located. The company built a pair of 7W Onkyo speakers into the base. AOC is billing this display (the i2473Pwm) as “ideal entertainment hub” because of it. The 24-inch LED-backlit IPS monitor also features full HD resolution as well as one VGA and two HDMI inputs. It offers 5ms response time, the ability to tilt -5 degrees to 20 degrees, and it comes with a 75x75mm VESA mount. But obviously, the company is most exciting about the speakers. “This provides higher quality audio than other monitor... Read more...
If there was any doubt about Netflix’s huge popularity in North America, consider that according to a new report from Sandvine, the streaming video service accounts for more than one-third of all Internet traffic. Netflix was responsible for 31.6% of traffic, but with a bump to Super HD (4K) content for users, it’s already boosted that number to 34.2%. Perhaps of even greater significance is the fact that “cord cutter” types who rely on services like Netflix as opposed to traditional pay TV are responsible for a whopping 54% of all monthly network traffic. These folks consume an average of 212GB of data every month and watch the equivalent of 100 hours of content every... Read more...
Microsoft keeps pushing out updates by and by to improve the overall Windows 8.1 experience, and the latest update concerns the Windows Store. Microsoft announced that it has gussied up the look of the store and has made it easier to navigate and find the apps you’re looking for. The old store There is now a persistent navigation bar on top of the store that includes Home, Top charts, Categories, Collections, and Account links. This is a nice change, as it de-clutters the scrolling experience by putting several of those sections up in the menu bar, and it also gives users a quick way to access those areas. The new store Microsoft also put Collections on the store’s landing page so... Read more...
There are killer chassis and then there are killer chassis, and Thermaltake’s special edition Level 10 Gaming Station is a thing to behold. The unique construction coupled with the fact that it’s made from titanium makes this case a jaw-dropper, but if you want one, you’ll have to be quick--Thermaltake is only making 500 of these babies. The black and silver look is stunning, and Thermaltake says that the titanium construction “not only expresses the quality of durability, light weight, dent- and corrosion resistance, it is also the perfect representation of being able to deliver the passion for visual aesthetics that derived from demanding immersive game play and multimedia... Read more...
Okay, you feel strongly about net neutrality rules, but you roll your eyes at the prospect of a bunch of aging rockstars advocating for it. What do cats like Eddie Vedder, Tom Morello, Michael Stipe, Fugazi, and more have to do with any of the issues at hand? Actually, they have a really good point to bring to the fore. "The open Internet's impact on the creative community cannot be overstated," reads a letter they (and many others) signed and sent to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler. "The Internet has enabled artists to connect directly with each other and with audiences. It has eliminated the barriers of geography and taken collaborations to new levels. And it has allowed people—not corporations—to... Read more...
Another day, another exploit/attack/hack/breach/phishing scam to worry about. This one concerns Valve’s Steam Guard Protection and a new phishing scheme that, if successful, allows a cybercriminal to steal a file that will bypass the Steam Guard Protection and allow the thief to log in to the victim’s account from any computer. The above is a fake--a phishing attempt Malwarebytes detailed how the scam works. When you attempt to log into Steam on a different machine and Steam Guard asks you to submit a verification code it will let you in. However, if the phisher gets you to fall for a fake message that looks just like the Steam Guard pop-up, he can acquire your SSFN file, which, when... Read more...
Intel’s latest chipset is Z97, and along with a growing mountain of motherboards sporting the new tech, HyperX (a division of Kingston) is releasing memory kits that support the chipset, too. All three of its FURY, Genesis, and Predator memory lines are getting a 9-series refresh, and the company said that it worked closely with motherboard manufacturers “to guarantee compatibility and the highest performance”. The dual-channel RAM kits are available in two or four DIMMs with capacities ranging from 8GB to 32GB with frequencies ranging from 1333MHz to 2800MHz. For a complete list with prices and options on HyperX’s site, hit up this link. HyperX offers a lifetime warranty... Read more...
You surely know about Parrot and its drone quadricopters, but the company is releasing a new version called the Bebop that comes loaded with impressive features, including the ability to experience POV flight via the drone’s HD camera and an Oculus Rift headset. (Incidentally, we sort of did the same thing with a Nokia Lumia 1020 and a different Parrot drone. Fun stuff.) The Bebop comes equipped with a 14MP Full HD fisheye lens camera with 3-axis image stabilization and horizontal curve correction, and if you connect an Oculus Rift headset to the optional Skycontroller that controls the Bebop, you can see what the drone’s camera sees. You can even pan the camera by moving your head.... Read more...
Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway, lead a DEKA Research and Development team that built an amazing prosthetic arm that they affectionately call “Luke” (after the handless hero of Star Wars), and that arm has now been approved for sale in the U.S. by the FDA. What makes the Luke DEKA Arm System so compelling is that it uses electrodes attached to a user’s muscles--be they shoulder, arm, leg, or whatever muscles a given patient can use--to control a five-fingered robotic hand that has movement in all five digits as well as the wrist. Source: DARPA According to Bloomberg, it can perform six grip patterns and detect up to ten movements from the user’s brain. Users can... Read more...
Google is kind of involved in everything, and the company is tackling clean energy with gusto, too. In conjunction with a White House push for renewable energy and agreements from some 300 organizations to pursue clean energy options that includes 1 billion square feet of buildings in the U.S. (and a $2 billion investment in making federal buildings more energy efficient), Google announced that it’s created the Little Box Challenge to foster clean energy innovation. Specifically, the company will pony up $1 million for whoever comes up with the best (that is, smallest, cheapest, and most effective) power inverter. Shrinking the size and cost of power inverters will mean that solar installations... Read more...
Tesla has had an interesting week. First, the company talked about a political move in Missouri that would effectively prevent the company from selling its electric cars in the state, then in a quarterly filing, Tesla revealed that it will no longer supply batteries to Toyota for the latter’s RAV4 EVs. To the first issue, the Tesla team penned a blog post describing the political theater that’s going on around sales in Missouri. “We have just become aware of a last-minute attempt by the auto dealers lobby, via pressure on legislators, to bar Tesla from selling its vehicles direct to consumers in the state,” reads the post. Tesla Model S This is an issue the company has... Read more...
Is Google trying to gussy up the image of Glass, which for some odd reason many people find upsetting, with a touching video? Yes? Is Google exploiting Mother’s Day to do so? Yes. Do we care? No, and that’s partially because director Aneesh Chaganty shot the whole thing with Google Glass, and the result is an engaging bit of film called “Seeds”. In a short video posted on the official Google Glass YouTube account, we see a young man pack his bags, say goodbye to a lovely young lady, and head off halfway across the world to visit his mother via a variety of planes, trains, and automobiles. (Also, at least one boat.) Clearly, it was a surprise visit, and his mom is predictably... Read more...
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