Posts Tagged ‘podcast’
Last Friday, Verizon filed a proposal with New York state that would allow it to abandon traditional copper telephone lines in favor of wireless service in select areas. Companies like Verizon and AT&T have been trying to leave these old and costly copper networks behind them, but FCC protections around telecom services have largely prohibited it from happening. Now, Verizon wants New York to approve a measure by May 18th that would allow it and other carriers to offer only wireless phone service under either of two circumstances: if their facilities become substantially damaged, or if wireless service were determined to better serve customers in a specific region. Perhaps opportunistically, Verizon is focusing on network damage caused… Continue reading…
Late last year, the struggling Japanese electronics company Pioneer announced a strange new product: a “compact” full-color printer for making 3D holographic images. About the size of a large briefcase, the printer now offers a new function — turning flat ultrasound images of unborn babies into 3D holograms. The capability, which takes two hours, was demonstrated last month at the Optics and Photonics exhibition in Yokohama, Japan, and captured on video by DigInfo TV : Continue reading…
Thinglist isn’t like most iPhone apps. Its promo video includes no glockenspiels , acoustic guitar strums , or coffee-sipping cafe dwellers . Instead, a man appears from of the darkness and says, “You know, I don’t have the best memory” as a piano drones ominously in the background. If you weren’t keenly aware that this was a trailer for a to-do app, you might think you were watching the first few moments of a bloody film noir
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Never forget with Thinglist, a fun way to organize and remember things
Electronic Arts this week said it will no longer pay gun manufacturers for the right to use branded weapons in video games, following a controversial decision to promote assault weapons dealers in one of its flagship products. EA confirmed the decision to Reuters Tuesday, while claiming that it retains the right to depict guns without a license. The game company came under fire last year, after it included links to certain gun sellers on the website for Medal of Honor: Warfighter . At the time, EA said the promotion was part of an effort to raise money for military veterans, though it soon removed the links due to sharp public outcry. Continue reading…
A new Chrome extension lets Spotify users permanently download any song currently available from the streaming music service, a massive slip-up that could quickly upset record labels and music publishers. The Downloadify tool appears to take advantage of weak (or nonexistent) encryption in Spotify’s web player , which the company launched in beta back in November. By simply installing the extension — freely available in the Chrome Web Store — and starting to play a song, users will download a full, DRM-free MP3 file of the track. Spotify allows its premium users to “store” music files locally so long as they keep their monthly subscription active, in turn providing royalties to artists and industry groups
Ray Harryhausen, a special effect guru who created some of the most memorable visual effects sequences in early Hollywood films like Jason and the Argonauts, died today at the age of 92, reports The New York Times . Harryhausen was perhaps best known for his pioneering use of stop-motion animation, something that became his calling after seeing King Kong, one of the first films to use the technique in 1933. For decades, Harryhausen’s work was a defining part of epic films such as Mighty Joe Young, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, and the aforementioned Argonauts. As filmmakers moved away from his Dynamotion stop-motion technique and started utilizing more and more optical and digital special effects, his… Continue reading…
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Stop-motion and visual effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen dies at the age of 92
“I’m a lot more comfortable doing instrumental music,” explains Jim Guthrie. “I feel like I can say more without words.” After getting his start in the Canadian indie rock scene, Guthrie has spent the last few years intimately tied to the worlds of film and gaming creating music for games like Sword & Sworcery and Sound Shapes and documentaries including Indie Game: The Movie and more recently The Manor . But a decade after his last solo record came out, he’s returning to his roots with a new album appropriately dubbed Takes Time .
Changing the format of interactive games, Loveshack Entertainment’s new Mac, PC, and mobile game puts the player in charge by asking them to move a series of panels to help tell a story. Framed — which will go on sale in the coming months — sets each scene using panels you’d normally associate with a comic book, providing the player with the tools to arrange and rearrange the storyboard to progress their character through the story. Polygon takes an in-depth look at the development of Framed , describing how it went from concept to reality, and why its makers hope that by giving players more freedom it can “nail interactive storytelling.” Continue reading…
Valve has begun testing new biofeedback technologies based on a player’s sweat levels and eye movements, as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to incorporate user emotions into gameplay. As VentureBeat reports , Mike Ambinder, Valve’s resident experimental psychologist, discussed the developments at last week’s NeuroGaming Conference and Expo, held in San Francisco. Continue reading…
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Valve looks to sweat levels and eye controls for future game design
Sony’s low-end laptops are getting a makeover today: the company has introduced the new VAIO Fit line of entry-level notebooks, though calling them “entry-level” seems to be something of a disservice. The Fit E starts at $549, but it offers Intel’s Core processors, discrete Nvidia graphics, hybrid hard drives, and a roomy keyboard and trackpad. In person, the notebook feels much more premium than its price tag, and the $649 Fit (no E) does even better thanks to a handsome aluminum chassis — the Fit models are thick enough to fit an optical drive, and they’re certainly not light enough to be considered ultrabooks, but they’re certainly slimmer than most budget laptops.
After passing 60 million license sales in early January, Microsoft says it has now sold over 100 million Windows 8 licenses. The company has been rather quiet about its risky product bet recently, choosing to stay silent on numbers during its recent quarter and six month anniversary , but that radio silence has finally ended. The figures are almost identical to Windows 7′s early sales performance, with the company originally announcing its 100 million goal for that particular OS on April 27th, 2010. Recent figures from IDC and Gartner confirm that the traditional PC industry is in decline, and Microsoft’s flat Windows revenue during Q3 supports that somewhat, but the company is still managing to shift licenses.
The US Senate has approved a bill that could one day spell the end of sales tax-free online purchases. The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, which the Senate symbolically supported earlier this year and has now passed by a margin of 69 to 27, will give states the authority to collect sales tax from online storefronts, regardless of whether the sellers have a physical presence in the state. Technically, citizens are supposed to estimate and pay internet sales tax on their annual returns, but this is rarely done, leading states to eye Amazon or other sellers as a prime source of uncollected tax revenue. This bill is a centralized effort to address something states have been working on for years, coming at a time when the online market is… Continue reading…
It’s not quite a quantum internet — yet. But researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico have developed a new, ultra-secure computer network that is capable of transmitting data that has been encrypted by quantum physics, including video files. The network, which currently consists of a main server and three client machines, has been running continuously in Los Alamos for the past two and a half years , the researchers reported in a paper released earlier this month . During that time, they have also successfully tested sending critical information used by power companies on the status of the electrical grid. Eventually they hope to use it to test offline quantum communication capabilities on smartphones and tablets.
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Quantum network can transmit secure video in real-time, been active for 2.5 years
After months of rumors that smaller, cheaper Windows 8 tablets are on the way, Asus will reportedly release such a tablet later this year. Jerry Shen, Asus’ CEO, also told the Wall Street Journal that he believes prices for Windows 8 tablets will drop to an average of $300 before the year’s end. Currently, most Windows 8 tablets are priced around $400 to $500, with displays of about 10-inches, so a cheaper option would give Windows a chance to compete more directly with the likes of Apple’s iPad Mini and Google’s Nexus 7. Microsoft knows all this, and knows that it needs to get into the mini tablet game.
Some Android users swear by task-killing apps, but most feel that the OS has matured to a point where you can let it manage itself without the need to meticulously close every open app on your phone. That hasn’t stopped German automaker Audi, of all companies, from releasing its own task-killer app called Audi Start-Stop . Just like dozens of apps before it, Start-Stop notifies you when it detects open apps that aren’t actively being used — once you tap the notification, the Start-Stop gives you a whole list of apps you can kill at your discretion.
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Audi ‘Start-Stop’ is a task-killing app that doubles as a promo for its gas-saving tech
Of all the issues facing the world right now that the US government is concerned about, the sun may seem to be an odd one. But the White House is taking the threat of a massive solar eruption seriously. Late last month, it released a new, largely overlooked report outlining the risks of solar eruptions that strike the Earth — including the potential to cause massive, months-long power outages affecting upwards of 130 million people in the US alone, in one worst-case scenario. Still more troubling, the report — prepared by space weather experts from multiple government agencies — found that while the US is currently equipped with some of the best machinery for monitoring and forecasting such events, budget cuts over the next decade..
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
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
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.
After years of focusing on its own content stores, Barnes & Noble has added Google Play support to its Nook tablet line — turning the Nook HD and Nook HD+ into fairly capable cheap Android tablets. Now, Barnes & Noble has knocked down the in-store and online price of both substantially for Mother’s Day. From today until May 12th, the 8GB 7-inch Nook HD is selling for $149, down from its usual $199, and a 16GB version (normally $229) is $179. The 9-inch Nook HD+, meanwhile, is $179 for a 16GB version and $209 for a 32GB one, compared to $269 and $299
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Good Deal: Nook HD for $149, Nook HD+ for $179
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? Sure, it’s one more thing you can feel guilty about sitting in your Instapaper queue, but it’s better than pulling in vain on your Twitter list again. Grab this all as a Readlist
The best writing of the week, May 5
After nearly a year of selling ebooks free of DRM copy protection , Macmillan subsidiary Tor Books UK said that it has seen no increase in piracy on any of its properties. The company’s editorial director elaborated in an extensive reflection on the decision earlier this week, writing, “The move has been a hugely positive one for us, we’re still pleased that we took this step.” The science fiction and fantasy publisher officially made the change last July alongside its American sister company, noting that their audiences were too technically savvy to be forced to deal with the limitations of DRM. Though Tor Books UK’s editorial director noted that the decision was met with significant support by its authors and customers, it… Continue reading…
Earlier this week we reported that users had been complaining about a certain feature from the app Path: namely, that its default behavior was to automatically send text messages out to people a user may know when they first signed up with the app. The Path app has now received an update that removes the ability to find Facebook friends altogether, and TechCrunch reports that it’s due to Facebook restricting Path’s access to its API. Users can still share any items they post to Facebook, but any friend-associated activity has disappeared. The spamming behavior first went into effect with a March 6th update to the app. It gained traction when a digital marketer named Stephen Kenwright signed up with the app, and discovered that multiple..
Acer is clearly and closely aligned with Windows, but there’s one part of Microsoft’s strategy it’s not buying into just yet. At an event on Friday in New York — in the middle of a sea of newly-announced Windows products — company President Jim Wong told PCWorld that Acer won’t build a Windows RT tablet until Windows RT 8.1 comes out. “To be honest, there’s no value doing the current version of RT,” he said.