Archive for the ‘Geek’ Category
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.
Every week, a new and interesting human being tackles our decidedly geeky take on the Proustian Q&A. This is the Engadget Questionnaire . This week’s edition of our regular session on inquiry chats with the nation’s first Chief Digital Officer, Rachel Haot .
Matthew says: “Using backhoes and bulldozers to extract crushed rock for a road-building project, a construction company in Belize has destroyed a Mayan pyramid built over 2300 years ago.”
A reboot of astrophysicist Carl Sagan’s groundbreaking documentary series Cosmos: A Personal Journey hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson is finally on its way to television. On Monday, Fox made an official announcement during its advertising upfront presentation at New York’s Beacon Theatre, reports The Los Angeles Times . The series has been in the works for years , and will be making its long-awaited premiere sometime in 2014. Continue reading…
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Neil deGrasse Tyson’s remake of Carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos’ headed to Fox in 2014
Shane Todd’s parents, Rick and Mary Todd, arriving at the coroner’s public inquest. Photo: Belmont Lay Investigators and friends testified today that Shane Todd, the American engineer who was found hanging in his bathroom in Singapore last year , was depressed and even visited suicide-related websites in the months before his death. It was the first day of testimony in the highly sensitive 12-day coroner’s inquest, which was commissioned after Todd’s parents raised questions about their son’s death. The Todds believe that Shane was murdered , possibly because he facilitated an illegal transfer of military-grade technology from the US to China through his work at the Singaporean research agency Institute of Microelectronics.
Google has been extending the functionality of Google+ with a steady stream of feature rollouts , and today the company has announced the latest addition: the ability to add content recommendations to mobile websites. The feature — launching today on the Forbes mobile site — appears as a small bar at the bottom of a given article. Tapping it brings up suggested articles for that site, keying off the author, the topics discussed, or what is being shared on Google+ to generate the suggestions. Users don’t need to be signed into their Google+ account to see the recommendations, but if they are they’ll also see suggestions based upon what those in their Google+ Circles have been sharing. While Forbes is the immediate launch partner, any..
Members of the Avengers may not be hitting the small screen, but the peacekeeping and espionage agency that stands behind them, S.H.I.E.L.D., will be coming to ABC with its own set of heroes. The first trailer for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. aired last night, after being teased on Vine earlier in the day, and the all-too-quick 30-second spot paints the show as a mixture of spy thriller and superpower-studded action. ABC is yet to reveal a release date for the series, but as the network only recently announced that it had ordered a full season based off of the Joss Whedon-directed pilot, development of the show may only just be getting underway
Amazon has just debuted its own virtual currency , Amazon Coins, allowing customers to pay for apps on its Amazon Appstore for Android, as well as some in-app items. Kindle Fire customers in the US are the first to get their hands on Amazon Coins, as the company is giving all of them $5-worth of the currency, or 500 coins. But anyone can head to the Amazon Coins page and purchase Coins for themselves. Continue reading…
Amazon launches virtual currency Coins
Aereo has just announced that it is cutting back on the number of plans it offers by eliminating its $1 per day plan it introduced last summer as well as the option to have a cheaper annual subscription. Now, Aereo will only offer its its $8 monthly plan (which includes 20 hours of DVR storage) or a $12 monthly plan that triples DVR storage to 60 hours. Unfortunately for those who knew they were in for the long haul with Aereo, the $80 annual subscription will no longer be an option, which means customers will definitely be paying more over the course of a year, regardless of how much storage they need. Aereo says that its data showed that customers wanted a “simple” approach to pricing, but it’s a shame that simple approach eliminates… Continue reading…
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Aereo streamlines its plans, eliminates daily and annual subscription options
The charitable work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was the focus of the Microsoft founder’s recent 60 Minutes interview with Charlie Rose, but the longtime richest man in the world got emotional recounting what it was like to “practically grow up” with friend and rival Steve Jobs. Opening up a little about the pair’s final meeting in May of 2011. When asked what he and the late founder of Apple talked about during their meeting at the Jobs’s home, Gates welled up, saying, “what we’d learned, families… anything.” Continue reading…
A decision from Pakistan’s highest court in Peshawar has ruled that US drone strikes on tribal lands have taken place illegally and in violation of human rights. The court found that the strikes constitute war crimes, and occur without the consent of the Pakistani government, leaving a secret deal forged by the CIA and Pakistani military as the only possible hint of cooperation between the two nations. The decision cites recent estimates that the strikes have caused “at least 400″ civilian casualties since 2004, a number supported by previous reporting from public interest groups such as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the New America Foundation . The case was originally filed by a charity representing the families of 17..
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US drone strikes condemned as illegal by Pakistan’s highest court
The hour is nigh — the first trailer from the resurrected fourth season of Arrested Development is now online, and it doesn’t disappoint. The clip was posted by The Hollywood Reporter , and features the entire Bluth clan, including Buster, whose prosthetic hook has been festooned with sparkling jewels. The Final Countdown until the series’ Netflix-exclusive premiere on May 26th has just begun. Continue reading…
Alex sez, “Algoraves are parties where people come together to dance to algorithms. It generally involves some live coding but any producers making music “wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive conditionals’ are welcome. Generally some aspect of the algorithmic processes are visible, but the focus is actually on the
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Algoraves: dancing to algorithms
Etsy maker CthulhuWakeUp made this stonking chestburster necklace pendant, and granted an interview to the Girl Gone Geek blog about his art: Practicing digital sculpture in my own time, I came up with the Cthulhu pendant and I really wanted to do something with it. I put it up in kickstarter and raised money to
Attention HTML5 virtuosos: Mozilla is thirsty for your talents. So much, in fact, that the outfit is baiting developers with a free smartphone in the hopes they’ll return the favor with fresh Firefox OS apps. In order to qualify for a device, you’ll need to submit a proposal to Mozilla outlining the app you wish to build or port to its new mobile platform. If your pitch is accepted, the company will hook you up with a free Geeksphone Keon to thank you for your labor
Google, Renesys, and others point to an internet blackout in Syria, the latest blow in an ongoing and increasingly bloody civil war. Analytics group Renesys confirmed about an hour ago that internet has apparently gone dark, something that was echoed in Google’s real-time transparency report. Umbrella Security Labs has also corroborated this . The apparent outage comes days after the Israeli military conducted airstrikes near Syria’s capital, apparently destroying a scientific research facility .
Israel has asked Google to reconsider its decision to list Palestine among its selection of localized search pages, accusing the company of implicitly recognizing a Palestinian state. In a letter to Google CEO Larry Page, deputy foreign minister Ze’ev Elkin said the search giant’s move could undermine efforts for peace in the region. The company’s Google.ps search page had previously been labeled “Palestinian territories,” but was changed to read “Palestine” on May 1st. Israel’s foreign ministry had expressed concerns over the nomenclature, saying it “raises questions” about Google’s intent
The European Commission has accused Motorola Mobility of abusing its standard-essential patents against Apple in Germany. The Commission has sent a Statement of Objections to the company over a misuse of its GPRS patents, which has seen Motorola pursue injunctions against Apple products instead of properly licensing the technology. Continue reading…
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Motorola warned by EU over patent abuse against Apple
Iron Man 3 performed heroically at the box office over the weekend, posting the second-highest domestic opening of all time, and already surpassing Iron Man 2 in gross global revenue. As the Wall Street Journal reports , the third installment of the Tony Stark saga pulled in an estimated $175.3 million in ticket sales across Canada and the US last weekend, second only to The Avengers , which saw a $207.4 million opening last year. Analysts say the film likely won’t overtake the $1.5 billion that The Avengers totaled worldwide, though it is on track to gross more than $1 billion, after taking in $680.1 million in global ticket sales after 12 days. Iron Man 2 , by comparison, grossed a total of $624 million in worldwide box office sales
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‘Iron Man 3′ blows away the box office with $175 million opening weekend
Google is set to introduce new paid subscriptions for specialist video channels on YouTube, as it looks to move beyond its main advertising revenue stream and deliver a wider range of content. According to the Financial Times , Google could launch the new service as early as this week, with up to 50 YouTube channels offering subscriptions to video content from $1.99 a month. Continue reading…
It’s that time of year again: the Eta Aquarid meteor shower is scheduled to peak tonight through tomorrow morning, and NASA will be live streaming the annual celestial spectacle beginning at 9PM. Astronomer Bill Cooke will be on hand taking questions from webcast viewers. For those who prefer to catch a glimpse in person, the space agency says (as usual) that your best bet is traveling someplace far removed from bright city lights. The shower will continue through dawn, with NASA expecting between 40 and 60 meteors per hour “under ideal conditions.” The Eta Aquarid meteor shower occurs each year as the Earth passes through the debris of Halley’s Comet, often resulting in fireballs and other mesmerizing visuals.
If you thought House of Cardinals was a spot-on spoof of Netflix’s political drama House of Cards , just wait until you see what aired Saturday at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, DC. The spoof, titled House of Nerds , brings together an ensemble cast of power players from the nation’s political and cultural power centers; “Washington and Hollywood,” Spacey says, reprising his role as the Machiavellian Frank Underwood. “Some new faces, some old faces, some new faces on old faces.” Unlike Underwood, some of those faces include Washington’s actual leaders from both sides of the aisle, including Senator John McCain, a cursing Rep.
Short of putting a magnet in your finger , humans aren’t able to directly sense magnetic fields — but we can see some of the effects that they have on the world around us. Artist Carsten Nicolai has built an installation with an effect that anyone who’s owned a CRT display may be familiar with: as a magnet passes near its surface, the electrons that build the display’s picture are pushed around, warping the image into a psychedelic spectacle. Nicolai has made this effect easy to see, so that observers can visualize how magnetic fields interact with the world. On a pair of CRT TV screens, the artist displays a series of straight white lines that viewers can watch morph as a magnet mounted to a pendulum is swung across them. “I like to..
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Artist visualizes the effects of invisible magnetic fields
J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot has quickly become known for series like Lost and Super 8 that are rooted in smart, sci-fi concepts — and the company is now teaming up with pop-culture exhibitor Gallery 1988 to show off independent artists’ interpretations of its own properties. The gallery opened Friday and will have work from over 100 artists on display through May 18th, but SlashFilm has gathered 46 pieces from the exhibit and is displaying them online for those who can’t make it to the Los Angeles exhibit.
As if alcohol weren’t enough of a social lubricant already, Budweiser has figured out a way to help it add to your Facebook friends list. The Buddy Cup, unveiled by the company’s Brazilian arm, contains “high-tech chip technology integrated with Facebook” that makes two people friends on Facebook when they clink their glasses together in a toast. The cup is paired with a Facebook account by using a QR code printed on the bottom, and a red LED serves as confirmation that you have a new friend.
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Budweiser cup makes toasting drinkers instant friends on Facebook