Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category
Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On , a column about consumer technology. The announcement of the Acer Aspire R7 was the best example of the company’s assertion that it was moving from computers designed with touch to computers designed for touch. But if having a fancy, even unprecedented, hinge is what defines a touch-optimized notebook, Acer is a bit late to the party.
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Switched On: Hinging on success
Laurene Powell Jobs’ first interview after the death of her husband Steve Jobs was an interview on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams , where she pledged her support for the DREAM act and immigration reform. Now, an in-depth profile in the Wall Street Journal explains why this particular issue caused Powell Jobs to break her silence and step out into the public eye. It seems that it all began in 1995, when she started tutoring low-income students, only to find that those who were in the US illegally were unable to secure financial aid to go to college.
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Why Laurene Powell Jobs broke her silence to support immigration reform
Sometimes the simplest games are the most difficult. That’s certainly the case in Rebound , a game in which the only goal is to get a pole as far to the right as possible, but where actually getting very far is incredibly challenging. The trick is that the pole’s only means of propulsion is bouncing off of the ground, and your only way to control it is by rotating it left or right. Grappling with the physics is hard enough, but then the game throws barriers in your way and slowly the ground will literally disappear beneath you. It only takes a few seconds to play, but actually making progress in Rebound will take a whole lot longer — check out the Windows, Mac, and web versions at the source link below.
‘Rebound’ is a maddeningly simple physics game
Last September, Google expanded its Street View service to include locations under the ocean , and if you’re curious about just how the company managed, TechCrunch has a great rundown of what goes into capturing all of those cute little sea turtles. As you’d imagine, it all starts with camera-equipped divers, and an average dive covers around two kilometers and captures up to 4,000 images — so far Google has captured more than 150,000 underwater snapshots. That’s all done using a specialized camera that includes a wider-angle lens compared to the typical Street View camera, and it’s outfitted with a tablet to control all of the underwater photo capturing. Currently the service only covers six locations, but expect that to change over… Continue reading…
If you’re both a gamer and a self-professed football fan, odds are you’ll be buying Madden this year — just like any other. For those who’ve already committed to purchasing the $99.99 Anniversary Edition of Madden 25 , Amazon is undoubtedly the best spot to place a pre-order. Because in addition to providing bonus in-game content, the online retailer has also partnered up with DirecTV for some exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket offers. Amazon’s edition of Madden will grant new DirecTV customers $10 off their monthly bill for a year, tossing in the NFL Sunday Ticket Max package at no additional cost. Alongside the RedZone channel, Max also gives you full access to live season games on your computer, tablet, or smartphone
Sometimes it pays to wait before spending your hard-earned cash on the year’s best games. If you haven’t yet played through BioShock Infinite , for example, Amazon just eliminated “price” as a valid reason for your willful ignorance. The heralded first-person shooter from Irrational Games is Amazon’s Deal of the Day across all platforms — though the cost isn’t uniform. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners can grab the title for $39.99. The asking price for either a physical or digital Windows version is $34.99.
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Good Deal: ‘BioShock Infinite’ on sale at Amazon for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC
Today is YouTube’s eighth birthday, and to mark the occasion Google is revealing new statistics that underline what a cultural sensation its video site has become. Most staggeringly, over 100 hours of video are now uploaded to YouTube each and every minute. One year ago on this day, that figure stood at 72 hours per minute (it was 48 hours in 2011). So aside from record-breaking viewership — over one billion people now visit YouTube monthly — more and more users are continuing to upload their own clips to the site in hopes of creating the next viral phenomenon
We all know the feeling. You’re sleepless in the sad hours of the night or stumbling around early on a hazy weekend morning in need of something to read, and that pile of unread books just isn’t cutting it. Why not take a break from the fire hose of Twitter and RSS and check out our weekly roundup of essential writing from around the web about technology, culture, media, and the future?
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The best writing of the week, May 19
Twice a month in California’s Mojave desert, anyone can spend half a day in a war zone. The Fort Irwin National Training Center is meant to give soldiers a crash course in realistic combat before they deploy. The thousand-square-mile base contains everything from fake towns to caves for “insurgents” drawn from a regiment whose role is to provide an opposing force, no matter who the US is fighting.
Earlier this year, Verizon announced some new 3G prepaid plans for $60 and $70 dollars that offered 500MB and 2GB of data, respectively. Now, it looks like the company has silently bumped those allotments up to 2GB and 4GB without touching the price. Android Central reports that the changes go into effect immediately for those with existing plans, but new customers won’t get hold of the new rates until June 6th. It’s a nice bump, but you can probably find lower prices and higher caps elsewhere , although your best option will depend on the coverage in your area
Google and other tech companies have come under fire for exploiting a common tax loophole to book revenues through their Irish subsidiaries, but today The Sunday Times is reporting that a former Google UK executive has evidence of further tax avoidance by his one-time employer. Barney Jones worked for Google between 2002 and 2006 and says that during his time at the company, Google relied almost exclusively on its UK sales staff to secure advertising deals in London, effectively closing deals there rather than in Dublin, where it booked the revenues. Google VP Matt Brittin had previously testified to the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that “nobody” at Google’s UK office was selling Google advertising, last week revising his… Continue reading…
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Former Google UK exec alleges company misrepresented sales to avoid paying taxes
Valve is pushing out another update to Team Fortress 2, its 356th since it first shipped the game as part of The Orange Box in 2007. But there’s something special this time around — the new content, titled Robotic Boogaloo, is the first to be created entirely by fans. Polygon reports that the update will have 57 virtual items, mostly hats (naturally), and include a comic that connects it with the game’s expansive backstory. In a blog post announcing the release, Valve said that just because it’s pushing out community-developed updates doesn’t mean that it will stop producing its own content for the game. “As far as we’re concerned, there’s plenty of room for both to happily co-exist,” says the company.
With the PlayStation 4, Sony is trying to lower the friction in buying games from PSN by letting you start playing games while they’re still downloading . Now it looks like the new feature will actually make it to the PlayStation 3 in time for the PSN release of Naughty Dog’s anticipated The Last of Us on June 14th. Speaking with Naughty Dog creative director Neil Druckmann and game director Bruce Straley, Game Informer reports that the game will be playable once 50 percent of the content has been downloaded, cutting wait time in half. Onstage at its big PlayStation 4 announcement in February, PS4 lead system architect Mark Cerny said that players would only have to download “just a fraction” of a game’s content before starting to… Continue reading…
An update to the Google Music app broke compatibility with the ill-fated Nexus Q — but it appears Google may have a new media streamer waiting in the wings to replace it. A recent FCC filing provides some sparse details on a mysterious product referenced as the “H840 Device.” Google is mentioned as the product’s manufacturer, and it’s described as a “fixed base station” with 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. What’s most intriguing, however, is the product’s purpose: one of the documents states plainly that “The device functions as a media player.” Douglas Adams fans are also likely to get a kick out of the device’s model number, as well. It’s listed as the H2G2-42, no doubt a sly wink towards The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy . The Nexus Q had..
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Google’s potential Nexus Q successor revealed in FCC filing
The battle of the bands, featuring acts from Ireland to Israel, is underway as we speak. Embedded above is Cezar Ouatu’s particularly excellent It’s my life, this year’s Transylvanian entry. Our Europe Correspondent Leigh Alexander will be filing a report, but not until she’s had a bit of a lie down.
Chinese telecommunications giants ZTE and Huawei are set to face an EU investigation for anti-competitive behavior. Although the pair have both seen moderate success marketing their consumer devices in the region, the investigation is regarding the companies’ infrastructure equipment, which provides the backbone for the industry. In recent years Chinese companies have taken around a quarter of of the EU market, with sales of around €1 billion (roughly $1.3 billion). But according to European Union Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, the success has been due to anti-competitive predatory pricing.
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ZTE and Huawei face EU investigation over predatory pricing
About this video, which shows a Pygmy Marmoset noshing on a macaroni, Meredith Yayanos says: “The tinier the primate, the deeper the Uncanny Valley.” I don’t know anything about the conditions under which this video was shot, but obviously monkeys belong in their natural habitat, not in someone’s home eating macaroni. Still, wow: how amazing
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World’s tiniest monkey eats a noodle
When Cards Against Humanity saw its $4,000 Kickstarter campaign successfully raise almost four times its original goal, its makers were ecstatic. Two years later, the cards-based party game, which is available as a free PDF download or for $25 as a ready-made package, has generated an estimated $12 million in revenue, and in the past year alone was downloaded 1.5 million times from its website. It’s also spawned a reseller culture, with frequent stock shortages leading opportunists to sell the game for as much as $100 on sites like eBay. Despite that, its makers have stayed true to their cause, and have refused several investment and merchandising offers, preferring to go it alone.
Welcome to The Verge: Weekender edition. Each week, we’ll bring you important articles from the previous weeks’ original reports, features, and reviews on The Verge. Think of it as a collection of a few of our favorite pieces from the week gone by, which you may have missed, or which you might want to read again. Continue reading…
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The Weekender: a new ‘Star Trek’, Google’s big event, and government and science as games
To call something “propaganda” is to connote a laughably unsubtle attempt at mind control, from the kind of nasty stereotypes mocked in BioShock Infinite to a hilariously redubbed North Korean propaganda video that many thought was real — precisely because we expect such attempts to be ham-fisted and idiotic. At The Guardian , Eliane Glaser argues that we should be looking instead at how behavioral science, advertising, and even memes can nudge us in certain directions. “The notion that propaganda is always a state-run, top-down affair provides a cloak for our complicity,” she writes. “Social media’s veneer of openness and people-power exemplifies western propaganda’s habit of masquerading as its opposite.” Continue reading…
Every time a reality TV star’s mouth is pixelated to obscure a curse, the producers are using a technique pioneered for Yul Brynner’s killer robot in Westworld . John Whitney Jr., who created the effect for director and writer Michael Crichton, wanted to simulate how an android might see the world. To do so, he divided the screen into tiny squares, calculating the average color of each one, and filling them with that color, creating a shifting low-resolution version of normal vision.
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How ‘Westworld’s’ killer android created movie pixelation
Stitcher just announced a new car mode for the iPhone version of its radio and podcasting app, bringing a simplified interface that works in both portrait and landscape positions. Accessible by tapping the Stitcher logo at the top of the screen, car mode offers a pared-down version of the app’s standard UI, with bigger buttons and only the essential audio controls. It’s nowhere near as flashy as Stitcher’s BMW integration , mind you, but the point is to keep your eyes on the road and off your iPhone’s screen. The app gets a few other updates this time around: a front page with top headlines, one-tap access to shows and podcasts you’re searching for and improved playback when you’re picking up in the middle of a show.
It appears that Canada will become the latest country to look into the business practices of search giant Google. The Financial Post reports that Canada’s Competition Bureau — a law-enforcement agency focused on ensuring competitive conditions in the marketplace — has notified Google that it will be investigating the company’s Canadian operations. It’s not clear at this time what the scope of the investigation will be, or what specific Google products and services will be targeted. The investigation will follow a series of other Google investigations, including ones launched by the Federal Trade Commission and EU regulators. Google reached a settlement with the FTC earlier this year; the company offered to make changes to address EU..
A group of cybersecurity experts has come out in opposition to a White House-backed proposal that would dramatically expand the FBI’s wiretapping capabilities for internet communication services. In a new research paper , the group argues against new regulations under what’s being called CALEA II, an extension to the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act , which mandated law enforcement backdoor access for telephone networks. The new regulation would do something similar for internet communications, threatening heavy fines on companies that do not comply with wiretapping orders.
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Security experts warn FBI wiretap bill would make apps less secure