Archive for July, 2012
Liquid oxygen and kerosene, that’s what fuels China’s new — and freshly tested — rocket engine. When fired up on Sunday, it withstood temperatures as high as 5,432 degrees Fahrenheit (3,000 degrees Celsius) for 200 seconds and powered through almost 20,000 revolutions per minute in a rotational test. “The successful tests confirm the reliability of China’s LOX / kerosene engine,” test commander Lai Daichu told China Daily . According to China Central Television, the engine is non-toxic, pollution-free and the first of its kind for which China holds proprietary intellectual property rights — though similar engines have been used by other space agencies. The engine is on track to lend the upcoming Long March 5 rocket a total of 118 tons of thrust, giving it enough oomph to launch a 25-ton payload into low-earth orbit or 14-ton cargo into geostationary orbit.
Many photographers will tell you that their least favorite shooting situation involves a portrait with the sun to the subject’s back: there’s a good chance the shot ends up an unintentional silhouette study unless the shooter meters just perfectly from that grinning face. Apple has just been granted a patent for the metering technique that takes all the guesswork out of those human-focused shots on an iOS 5 device like the iPhone 4S or new iPad . As it’s designed, the invention finds faces in the scene and adjusts the camera exposure to keep them all well-lit, even if they’re fidgety enough to move at the last second. Group shots are just as much of a breeze, with the software using head proximity and other factors to pick either a main face as the metering target (such as a person standing in front of a crowd) or an average if there’s enough people posing for a close-up. You can explore the full details at the source
So, interesting story: Sony and NBC fire Dan Harmon from the show he created. Harmon then sells an animated pilot to Adult Swim. Then Harmon got a deal to write a multi-camera sitcom pilot for Fox. And now, Harmon has another deal to write another sitcom for CBS
At CES 2012 we were promised that Yahoo would integrate IntoNow’s SoundPrint technology with its backend to pull up useful extra content about whatever TV program was being watched and now it’s delivered that and more. IntoNow 3.0 for iOS (no upgrade yet for the Android version) enhances the app’s TV companion experience in three key ways: TV / Music Sync, “CapIt” screengrabbing and finally Group Chat. The TV and music sync brings not only the associated info we’d heard about before, but also brings Shazam-style information about any music that might be playing. CapIt can pull screenshots from the cloud of any of the TV shows IntoNow’s backend is monitoring, which adds up to about 13 million frames a day, then pops them up ready for meme creation and sharing. Group Chat does exactly what it sounds like, and lets you talk to friends or set up circles of fans around particular shows.
Yesterday, Xeni told you that the deadly virus Ebola has reemerged in Uganda. The disease has actually been infecting and killing people in the western part of the country for three weeks. We’re hearing about it now, in big font, because some sources have reported that the disease has reached Kampala, the country’s capital. (Other
Ebola in Uganda
TomTom is busting out a pair of new smartphone cradles to ensure your handset sits snugly on the windshield of your whip. The Hands Free Car Kit is available in both iPhone or microUSB (for all other smartphones ) versions and comes with a built-in two watt speaker, extendable microphone and fast charging. Both editions are available for £80 ($125), while an iPhone-specific bundle that comes with the company’s navigation app will set you back £130 ($204). Continue reading TomTom launches new hands-free dashboard mount for smartphones (video) Filed under: Cellphones , GPS TomTom launches new hands-free dashboard mount for smartphones (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 18:57:00 EDT.
Infineon Technologies’ Lim Saw Sing discovered a colony of microscopic nudists having an orgy on the surface of an integrated circuit. Of course, there is some chance, albeit small, that they aren’t nudists but rather just the polyimide surface itself after being exposed to etching by reactive ions. In any case, the image took a
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Nudists on a semiconductor
Fanhattan’s often been praised for offering a one-stop hub where folks can keep track of all their cherished entertainment shows, which has led it to become a crowd favorite amongst iOS users. Well, today the application’s expanding its TV guide services a little more, announcing it’s now showing content from 10 new providers, including HBO, Cinemax, NBC and, better yet, The CW — you know, because we just can’t miss out on the latest Gossip Girl episodes. In addition to these channel inclusions, Fanhattan’s also introduced a novel, Amazon-esque WatchList feature that pushes out alerts as soon as added shows (movies, too) are ready to be watched. If you’ve yet to give the handy application a try, you can do so now by grabbing it at no cost from Cupertino’s well-known app mart. Filed under: Cellphones , Tablet PCs , Software Fanhattan updates iOS app with WatchList feature, content from Cinemax, HBO and NBC originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 18:38:00 EDT
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Fanhattan updates iOS app with WatchList feature, content from Cinemax, HBO and NBC
Sony backpedals on Android 4.1 upgrade statement, is now ‘actively investigating’ all Xperia updates
Let’s chalk this one up to something being lost in corporate translation. After a UK company rep issued a statement just days ago confirming the lack of an Android 4.1 upgrade path for certain 2011 Xperia handsets , Sony’s delicately backtracking and claiming that public info was made “in error.” While this official retraction may soothe previously irate owners’ concerns, it’s still not an outright commitment to Jelly Bean , as the company’s only now pledging to “actively [investigate]… upgrades for all devices” — a carefully worded PR promise par excellence .
Savov. Bohn. Ziegler. To some, they’re just three seemingly random surnames. But we know better: together, they form an unbreakable and unstoppable force — a veritable firehose of knowledge, opinion, and expert analysis on the mobile industry the likes of which this mortal world has never known
If you’re one of the few who has yet to be upgraded to Facebook’s Timeline view, you’ll be forced to make the change by the end of this year, the social network has confirmed. Users who still have the previous design will be notified of the change sometime before the end of this fall, at which point they’ll have a week to curate and publish their Timeline before it automatically goes live. According to TechCrunch , the decision is due to Facebook’s recently launched mosaic photo view , which incorporates Timeline functionality. Facebook has slowly been rolling out Timeline to users since the feature launched in late 2011 , and earlier this year added support for Pages as well as users.
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Facebook switching all users to Timeline this fall, with no exceptions
Low-cost tablets are a dime a dozen in the Android world, what with no name offerings from Ainovo to budget stalwarts like Archos . But there’s always room for more competition and Energy Sistem seems intent on elbowing its way to a prominent place at the bottom. A mild update to its existing slate lineup, the Energy Tablet i8 keeps the same 8-inch LCD display and 1,024 x 768 resolution (in 4:3 aspect ratio) of its Gingerbread-baked predecessors , but this time packages it with Ice Cream Sandwich onboard. The tab also comes equipped with an Arm Cortex A8 processor clocked at 1GHz, VGA front-facing / 2-megapixel rear camera setup, 8GB of storage (expandable to 64GB via microSD), 1GB RAM, HDMI-out, a 3,800mAh battery and support for WiFi b/g/n. It’s up for pre-order now on the company’s site, with an official release slated for this August 23rd.
Apple presented its opening statement in the company’s trial against Samsung this morning, painting Samsung as an aesthetic thief that took inspiration from Apple rather than innovate on its own — but not before the second day of the trial got off to a rocky start. The 10 jurors for the case were selected just yesterday , but the morning began with one juror already asking to be removed. Stating that her employer wouldn’t be paying her while she served, she said she’s already suffered panic attacks due to the related stress; she was dismissed moments later. Things appeared to be going off the rails when the remaining jurors were brought in thereafter — only for the court to discover that it was short yet another juror
Google has already spent some $200 million on premium YouTube channels in order to attract premium content and advertisers, and today the Wall Street Journal reports that Google will invest another $200 million into the program. Channel partners have thus far had mixed success creating content for YouTube, but they’re rapidly learning how to deliver effective premium content on the platform. MyISH director Larry Aidem told the Journal that “the audience wasn’t big on talking heads,” so he hired a familiar YouTube personality to deliver more mainstream news. As it happens our sister site SBNation operates a premium YouTube channel , and Chad Mumm, Executive Director at Vox Studios, had similar comments about the challenges and successes of… Continue reading…
Amazon updates Cloud Player with scan and match audio upgrades, splits service into free and premium tiers
Those licensing deals Amazon signed with major record labels just paid off: the company has today updated its Cloud Player service with a scan and match feature that will automatically upgrade eligible songs in your iTunes or Windows Media collection to 256kbps audio files in the cloud. The new format will replace prior tracks you’ve uploaded (which will remain available in an archived folder) the next time users sign in, and Amazon says the entire process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. From there, all music you import in the future will automatically be matched in the same fashion so long as Amazon has the necessary rights to do so. If a particular track or album can’t be matched, it will need to be uploaded manually. To..
Pandora’s music-sharing channel on Roku has been spruced up with a new station screen design and a few minor (but welcome) new features. Version 3.0 adds genre station functionality within a new grid interface, while the whole family (or at least up to five of them) can now connect their Pandora accounts to the same Roku hardware . For extended play, a new screen saver will display track details alongside album art and the renovated search will also display those album covers in results.
Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s senior VP of industrial design, recently spoke at the British Embassy’s Creative Summit and had some notable comments on the iPhone design process. The Independent reports that Ive said Apple “nearly shelved the [iPhone] because we thought there were fundamental problems that we can’t solve.” One example Ive gave of a fatal problem was that users would accidentally press buttons with their ear when holding up the phone to talk into it — a problem that Apple solved with its proximity sensor that locks the screen while talking on the iPhone. He also noted that talking too loudly about the virtues of a product is a sure sign that it isn’t ready for the market, saying that “if I’m trying to talk a little too loud… Continue reading…
Guy Adams, the Independent journalist whose Twitter account was suspended after he posted an NBC executive’s email, is back on the service. Adams recently posted a tweet saying that his account had been reinstated after NBC retracted the complaint. Continue reading…
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Banned #NBCFail journalist back on Twitter after NBC withdraws complaint
And you thought that Nintendo World Championships gold cartridge would make a nice start to the retirement fund. An eBay auction from tjcurtin1 is offering a prototype NES cartridge for the US release of The Legend of Zelda at a Buy It Now price of $150,000, or roughly ten times more than the typical final bid that Price Charting quotes for a typical NWC cart. While it looks like an unassuming yellow chunk of plastic, it’s actually a Nintendo of America copy from February 23, 1987 — half a year before the definitive action adventure reached the US market. The game still plays and can even save its game on the still functional, industry-first battery backup. Just remember that it’s not necessarily going to reveal any design secrets from Shigeru Miyamoto or Takashi Tezuka: the seller warns that he can’t see any practical differences between the early copy and the (also included) shipping version.
If you’re switching on your Apple TV this morning you might be in for a pleasant surprise — Hulu Plus has been added to the growing list of services Apple’s “hobby” hooks in to. Just like the Netflix app on Apple TV, you can sign up for a Hulu Plus subscription and pay with your iTunes account. Surprisingly, neither Hulu nor Apple have made an official announcement yet, but we’ve seen it on a number of Apple TV devices and also received reports from a number of tipsters. We’ve reached out to find out more about this new partnership and will update with any new information right here. Thanks, Rune! Continue reading…
Hulu Plus quietly comes to Apple TV
We haven’t seen any official information yet, but tipsters report and we’ve confirmed on our own that Hulu Plus is quietly rolling out to Apple TV set-top boxes this morning. It was on our hockey pucks when we turned them on, while reports on Twitter indicate losing the connection before the icon appeared once the box came back online. We’re checking it out now, and like Netflix , it allows users to pay for the service via iTunes if they choose.
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Hulu Plus app live on Apple TV
We’ve been saying for a while now that a large deal of the success of Kickstarter blockbuster OUYA will hinge on the console’s game selection. News just got a fair bit brighter on that front — particularly for RPG fans. The company announced via its Kickstarter page (as per usual) that it has partnered with Square Enix . The first fruits of that burgeoning relationship will be Final Fantasy III , making the game a launch title for the console. The company is promising that the title will be “updated to exploit OUYA’s high-definition resolution in glorious graphic detail” — and, as is OUYA’s M.O., players will be getting a free demo of the game.
Having announced its iPhone-compatible sleeve earlier in the year, Sprint MVNO FreedomPop is now circling back for a second version that’s compatible with the iPod touch. Aftermarket cases that graft cellular radios to the iPod touch are nothing new — Sprint launched ZTE’s Peel in 2010 , for instance — but what makes FreedomPop unique is its business model: everyone starts with half a gigabyte of monthly WiMAX service for free and can earn up to 5GB through a combination of friend referrals (10MB each) and participation in “partner offers and promotions.” As with similar devices, the iPod 4G Sleeve works through a Wi-Fi connection and can also function as a mobile hotspot that allows up to eight devices to connect to it (though with… Continue reading…
vN, Madeline Ashby’s debut novel, drops today. I’m an immense fan of Ashby’s work (I actually published her first story) and vN did not disappoint. The novel is set in a medium-term future where a race of self-replicating robots (“von Neumanns” or vNs for short) have been engineered to act as servile helpmeets by an