Items tagged with Misc

Oracle sued Google over its use of Java to build the Android operating system a few years ago, but Google won the case. However, an appeals court has overturned that ruling, finding that “the declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the API packages are entitled to copyright protection”. This ruling is a big deal because it could severely limit what software makers can safely do without getting sued and could hamper innovation. Google is of course displeased with the ruling, but others in the industry are none too happy either. Image credit: orangesparrow/Flickr Bryan Cantrill, CTO of Joyent, told Wired that the notion that you can copyright APIs is a perverted... Read more...
The latest edition of the Opera browser, Opera 21, is now available for Windows and Mac. Chief among the many changes, tweaks, and updates is hardware acceleration via Aura technology. Aura “allows us to hardware-accelerate the entire browser, including the user interface,” wrote the Opera Desktop team in a blog post. Aura acceleration promises smoother and more responsive animations. The Opera folks spent a great deal of effort simply making Aura work correctly with the browser, and as such they say they’ve just scratched the surface of what the technology can do. Interestingly, they didn’t use Aura on the Mac version of Opera 21, instead leveraging Apple Core Animation... Read more...
Epic has confirmed what it teased earlier this week, which is that they’re making a new “Unreal Tournament”. “The coolest thing is not just that we’re making a new ‘Unreal Tournament’”, said senior project programmer Steve Polge in a video. “We’re planning on doing it in close collaboration with you, with the community.” Epic is seeking input from developers and gamers alike. “From the very first line of code, the very first art created and design decision made, development will happen in the open, as a collaboration between Epic, UT fans and UE4 developers,” wrote Polge in a blog post. You can create a free account... Read more...
This morning Netflix confirmed that it will be raising its rates for monthly streaming subscribers to $8.99 per month, which is a $1 increase over the current price. However, current customers can keep the old rate in place for two years if they don’t change their plan. Netflix said it was upping rates “in order to continue adding more movies and TV shows” and extended the two-year grace period to current Netflix users as a thank you. According to multiple reports, the $1 increase is in effect in Canada and the UK, too. Surely some users will be upset by the rate hike, but they shouldn’t; it’s still an incredible deal, and--seriously folks--it’s a dollar per... Read more...
Netflix is staying ahead of the curve by offering a small amount of content in 4K, readying a near future where the streaming TV and movies service can take advantage of the slew of Ultra HD 4K TVs that will be hitting the market from the likes of Samsung, Sony, LG, and Vizio. “Breaking Bad” is one program that Netflix said would be available in 4K, and now the company has confirmed that indeed, the series will be streaming in 4K as of June. The second season of Netflix’s own “House of Cards” as well as several Louie Schwarztberg nature films are already available in 4K. Netflix has also said that it will be shooting and streaming its other original programs in 4K,... Read more...
A new twist on 3D printing could let users print their own cosmetics at home. That’s the angle inventor Grace Choi is taking with her sub-$200 Mink 3D printer, anyway, and she hopes that young ladies age 13-21 will be the ones buying up the machines. Perhaps it seems unbelievable impractical to own a 3D printer whose sole purpose is to print makeup, but if you break down the costs, it’s actually not all that crazy. First of all, you can spend a lot of money on makeup--hundreds of dollars every year. (The range is huge. Cheap stuff costs a few bucks and the elite products are marked way, way up.) Inventor Grace Choi (Credit: TechCrunch) Secondly, Choi asserts that the selection in... Read more...
Symantec, which has been making antivirus products for decades (including Norton, the first piece of software most people would try to remove from a new PC), is getting out of the antivirus game, sort of. Brian Dye, Symantec's senior vice president for information security, told the Wall Street Journal that in Synamtec’s view, antivirus is dead. "We don't think of antivirus as a moneymaker in any way," he stated. That doesn't mean the company is completely abandoning Norton, but it is heading in a new direction. Basically, instead of primarily focusing on keeping the walls secure, Symantec is more interested in what to do when (not if) cybercriminals break through. In a year, this will... Read more...
You can count Intel among the companies getting behind the self-driving car trend. The company’s investment wing announced that it’s putting money into ZMP Inc., a Japan-based company that’s developing autonomous driving technologies. Intel Capital did not disclose the amount it’s putting forth, but the money is coming from the Intel Capital Connected Car Fund and will be used to help ZMP push forward with its R&D. ZMP’s portfolio includes car robotics platforms, sensor systems, field testing, connected car informatics, as well as aspects of the autonomous driving experience that include entertainment. “Its RoboCar Series helps customers develop autonomous... Read more...
After a lengthy U.S.-only rollout, Google Play Music streaming is now available in Canada, and the timing comes on the verge of Canadian Music Week. "Canada you have spoken and we have heard you loud and clear,” said Google's director of global music partnerships Zahavah Levine on Monday. “I could not be more thrilled to announce Google Play Music is launching in Canada this afternoon.” $9.99 per month (with a $7.99 per month introductory rate) gets Canucks unlimited listening to Google’s 25 million or so tracks and radio channels; up to 20,000 tracks from your own music collection stored in the cloud; and track sharing via Google+. Apparently, Google has sorted out the... Read more...
John Carmack’s former employer, Zenimax, went after the industry veteran last week claiming that important code that he used in helping to build the Oculus Rift VR headset is actually IP owned by Zenimax. The company also stated that it provided VR technology to Oculus VR’s Palmer Luckey and others over the past couple of years in support of the Oculus Rift’s development. Carmack fired back on Twitter and Oculus VR denied the claims at the outset, but the company now has an official response. We present it in bulleted form because that’s how Oculus VR sent it to us. -There is not a line of Zenimax code or any of its technology in any Oculus products. -John Carmack did... Read more...
Now that Nokia’s Mobile Devices unit has been assimilated into Microsoft (to the point that Redmond is dropping Nokia’s branding), the company has an identity problem. What is Nokia now? What does it do? New Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri dropped some clues in Nokia’s Q1 financial report, including that Nokia is a large software company with a strong IP portfolio that includes its HERE Maps and networking technology, but we didn’t have to wait long to get a sense of what that means exactly: Bloomberg reports that Nokia is investing in companies that are working on driverless cars, such as Tesla and Google. “We’re seeing innovation that’s happening across the auto... Read more...
Apple snapped up a small stealthy display maker called LuxVue. Apple buys up smaller companies all the time, so you never can tell just how important a given acquisition may eventually be to Apple’s product line, but this is intriguing because it may allow Apple to manufacture its own displays. Sourcing displays from outside companies can be a difficult and time-consuming process, and having its own display tech in-house could help Apple speed time-to-market on some of its products while also avoiding having to play nicely with other companies such as Samsung. (In case you forgot, there’s some bad blood between the two.) Image Source: concept-phones.com LuxVue makes micro-LED screen... Read more...
When you push the tech giants, they push back, and that’s exactly what’s currently happening with Google, Microsoft, and Apple in the case of customer data requests by the government. While the companies are forced to comply with the requests, they’ve decided to notify users whose data has been subpoenaed. According to the Washington Post, the three aforementioned companies will make it routine to notify users of data requests unless there’s a specific gag order or other legal restriction. For example, items requested by the FISA shadow court as well as National security letters (which are sent by the FBI in cases of national security) come with gag orders. Edward Snowden... Read more...
3D Systems is as enmeshed with Google’s Project Ara team as possible; there’s even a 3D Systems employee camping out with the team and developing 3D printing technology for the project right there in-house, and some of the fruit of that labor is the news that 3D Systems is experimenting with printing using conductive ink. That would enable the team to print items such as antennas, which is something the Project Ara team is doing in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University and X5 Systems. X5 Systems Project Ara antenna prototypes X5 Systems has intriguing technology called AntSyn (short for “antenna synthesis”) that uses AI software to automatically design an antenna... Read more...
Microsoft has been trying to get users to move on from its iconic and hugely popular Windows XP operating system for a long time, and after years--years!--of warnings, the company finally ceased official support for the OS last month. That means, as we’ve said before, that Windows XP gets no tech support and no security patches, which leaves those systems woefully unprotected. So everyone took the hint and finally upgraded to one of the three major operating system generations Microsoft has rolled out since XP was born, right? Nope. Source: NetMarketShare If you look at NetMarketShare’s numbers from the month of April, you can see that Windows XP is still being used by 26.29% of Internet-connected... Read more...
Sprint is forging ahead with plans to bid for a takeover of T-Mobile, according to a new report. Sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg that Sprint has lined up financing with at least six banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Bank of America Corp. and Deutsche Bank AG. It’s unclear how much capital will be needed, as the deal would require covering T-Mobile’s $8.7 billion in debt. Whatever the number, Softbank (which owns 80% of Sprint) and Deutsche Telekom AG (which owns 67% of T-Mobile) are talking. Part of those discussions center on who would helm the newly-merged company, and the report... Read more...
After taking heavy fire in a California court from plaintiffs who contend its Gmail data mining practices within Google Apps for Education are illegal, Google is changing its practices so that it’s not possible to scan those users’ emails for advertising purposes. Further, “We’ve permanently removed the “enable/disable” toggle for ads in the Apps for Education Administrator console,” wrote Google for Education’s Bram Bout. “This means ads in Apps for Education services are turned off and administrators no longer have the option or ability to turn ads in these services on.” In the post, Bout also defended Google for Education, noting... Read more...
AOL has experienced a nasty security breach that exposed a great deal of user information, and the company says that it was the work of criminal hackers, as opposed to some kind of glitch or oversight. “AOL is investigating a security incident that involved unauthorized access to AOL's network and systems. AOL is working with best-in-class external forensic experts and federal authorities to investigate this serious criminal activity,” wrote the AOL Mail Team in a blog post. AOL first noticed that there was a problem when users began seeing an increase in spam in the form of spoofed emails. The mail team has determined that email and postal addresses, contacts, and encrypted passwords... Read more...
Google isn’t the only company out there field testing self-driving cars. A day after Google provided a long-overdue update on its autonomous auto project, Volvo stated that it, too, is cruising city streets with robot drivers. Volvo’s driverless cars are navigating the streets of Gothenburg, Sweden, and Volvo says that its Autopilot technology is meeting performance expectations. “The test cars are now able to handle lane following, speed adaption, and merging traffic all by themselves. This is an important step towards our aim that the final ‘Drive Me’ cars will be able to drive the whole test route in highly autonomous mode,” said Erik Coelingh, Technical... Read more...
For as potentially exciting (or terrifying, depending on your point of view) as Google’s self-driving car project is, the company has been strangely mum on its development. A new Google blog post sheds some light on what they’ve been working on, and much of it has to do with figuring out how to safely navigate busy city streets as opposed to the highway. “A mile of city driving is much more complex than a mile of freeway driving, with hundreds of different objects moving according to different rules of the road in a small area,” wrote Chris Urmson, the project’s director. He stated that the team has improved their software to be able to detect all manner and a great... Read more...
You know how Microsoft has gradually started pre-loading Windows 8 with a glut of apps? Sure, it’s kind of convenient--emphasis on the “kind of”--and having certain apps such as Skype ready to roll as soon as you install the OS is indeed rather handy, but a lot of it just feels like bloatware. (Cough, Bing, cough.) There’s an app for that (sorry, couldn’t resist) called Windows 8 App Remover. According to Betanews, it’s a portable program that’s designed for fresh installs of Windows 8, and it’s actually just a GUI front end for a tool called dism.EXE. Credit: Betanews You pick your version of Windows within the tool, click List Apps, and when the... Read more...
Back in 1983, Atari had a flop on their hands with “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial”. Officially, no one knew what happened to the scads of unsold cartridges, but the legend was that Atari secretly just dumped them all into a New Mexico landfill and covered them up with concrete. (Um, yeah, it was a different time.) After more than three decades, a company called Fuel Entertainment managed to get the rights to excavate the Alamogordo site and invited Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studios to film the whole shebang. The result? Al Capone’s vault it was not. The excavators hit pay dirt. “The findings started out very promising, with an old, dusty Atari 2600 joystick buried... Read more...
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