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massive attack album stored in dna
massive attack’s album mezzanine is 20 years old. to celebrate, the band is working with scientists to store the album on dna. once coded, the band’s classic album could last for at least hundreds of years, maybe thousands of years or longer. the technology that allows this was developed at eth zurich, and that’s where the band went to get their business done. “while the information stored on a cd or hard disk is a sequence of zeros and ones, biology stores genetic information in a sequence of the four building blocks of dna: a, c, g and t,” said robert grass, professor at eth zurich’s functional materials laboratory. “this method allows us to archive the music for hundreds to thousands of years.” carve your name the wall of a cave – etch your music in the code of a little dna.the image you see below comes from eth zurich and robert grass. it represents one twenty-seven-thousandth of the code required to represent the entirety of mezzanine. all of the songs, all encoded into a, c, g, and t. the team suggested they’d need to create approximately 5,000 glass spheres each with a diameter of 160 nanometers to represent the whole album.each beat has a thin, bright layer (as indicated by the arrow in the image near this paragraph). that layer contains the dna with the audio information of the album mezzanine. grass’ team first converted each music file to opus format. according to eth zurich, an unnamed usa-based company is converting the music files into appr...
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netflix and obamas pen multi-year deal for original content
netflix has penned a new multi-year agreement with president barack obama and michelle obama, the company has announced. the deal allows the obamas to produce “a diverse mix of content” for the streaming company, possibly including documentaries, scripted and unscripted shows, feature pieces, and more. netflix announced the news today, explaining that the obamas will produce a variety of content that’ll be made available cross the 190 countries where the streaming service is available. the projects will be made under the higher ground productions firm established by the obamas.in a statement, president obama said:one of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience. that’s why michelle and i are so excited to partner with netflix – we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world.unfortunately, no planned shows have been revealed at this time, so it’s unclear what the obamas have in mind. however, in her own statement, michelle obama said, “netflix’s unparalleled service is a natural fit for the kinds of stories we want to share, and we look forward to starting this exciting new partnership.”source: netflix
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google voice adds voicemail greeting control on mobile
google has released an update for google voice, the maker’s free voice and texting service, that adds voicemail greeting support on mobile. this is one of the biggest additions since the major update google released last year, enabling users to easily set up a custom voicemail greeting in the same way they’d create one for their smartphone or home voicemail system.read: google voice gets first significant update in 5 yearsgoogle voice has been available for years; despite its popularity, the company largely ignored it for years, only finally pushing out a big update in early 2017. the update had brought a new user interface, including tabs for each type of message, plus voicemail transcriptions in spanish and more.earlier this month, google pushed out another update for google voice with a changelog specifying “manage voicemail greetings” as the big update. users can now access the voicemail greetings menu from their handset, where there’s an option to tap the “record a greeting” feature to create their own custom greeting. anyone who calls the number then hears that message.users can create and save multiple custom greetings, making it easier to toggle between them. the key part here is that you can do all of this from your smartphone; previously, users were forced to manage greetings from a desktop. though that was arguably practical a half-decade ago, smartphones are now the main item in most users’ gadget inventories.greetings aside, the update also fixes ...
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lg q7 tempts the mid-range with quad dac and qlens
while most people might have eyes on the incoming launch of the lg g7 thinq, today the company is also bolstering its mid-range q line. lg has announced the q7, which claims to further blur the line behind mid-range and high-end devices. in fact, there are three different models being announced today: the standard q7, q7α, and the q7+.lg spends much of today’s announcement focusing on what’s new instead of what’s under the hood. it starts off my positioning this as a solid phone for the selfie-obsessed, noting the q7’s front-facing 5mp camera and its 100-degree wide angle lens. we’ll also see the phone get a portrait mode, which is a feature that’s currently all the rage on flagship phones.lg is also bringing qlens to the q7 line up, granting users access to ai image recognition technology that can help with online shopping and general image searching. on the audio side of things, we can look forward to a hi-fi quad dac on the q7+, which is a common sight among lg’s flagship devices but more of a rare treat in its mid-range phones. that quad dac will be paired with drs:x capabilities for virtual surround sound as well, so if you’ve got a good pair of headphones, the q7 might be worth your consideration.lg has also placed a fingerprint sensor on the backside of the device, which can also be used as a shutter button for taking selfies. finally, on the list of new features we have ip68 water and dust resistance, so the q7 and its brothers in the range will be ab...
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$100m fortnite prize fund sees epic open esports wallet
fortnite, like most big games with a competitive aspect these days, has big esports aspirations. epic confirmed that today by announcing that it’s earmarking a ridiculous amount of money for fortnite tournament prize pools. it would seem, then, that epic wants to waste little time in turning fortnite into one of the biggest esports around.in a blog post over on the fortnite website today, epic announced that it’s committing $100 million to prize pools for competitive fortnite. that eye-watering figure is far, far more than most developers set aside for their games, but if there’s one company that’s in a position to dedicate that amount of cash, it’s definitely epic. after all, fortnite easily pulls in millions and millions of dollars per day, so epic certainly has the cash to spare.it gets even more insane when you consider that this is just how much epic is planning to put up for fortnite‘s first year of competition. should fortnite manage to grow any bigger than it already is, we could very well see epic pump more into the competitive scene in subsequent years.the big question mark is what competitive fortnite will look like. for now, there isn’t even a custom server option available in fortnite, making any kind of attempt at competitive play difficult to pull off. epic almost certainly has something in the works, though, and now that it’s made this announcement, details about the company’s competitive plans are probably going to start coming in fast.indee...
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missouri bill bans lab-grown meat from being called meat
the meat industry, fearing societal changes toward increased environmental and health awareness, has moved swiftly to try and combat lab-grown and plant-based meat. both promise a slew of benefits for the environment and human health, but threaten to upend the existing meat industry, spurring efforts on the latter’s part to prevent use of the term “meat” in association with these new types of meat products.earlier this year, the us cattlemen’s association petitioned the usda in an effort to restrict the use of “meat” and “beef” to such products originating from animals that were born, raised, and then slaughtered to produce it. such a restriction would prevent companies from referring to lab-grown beef as meat or beef, a ridiculous limitation that may confuse the public on the matter.make no mistake, lab-grown meat is meat, only without the suffering, death, and environmental damage side effects. meat grown in a lab looks and tastes like meat acquired from a slaughtered cow, and several companies are working hard to bring the cost of this alternative down to reasonable levels. at a time when the population increasingly considers both the environmental and health impacts of their dietary choices, it’s not hard to imagine lab-grown and plant protein-based meat will have a large appeal.preventing the use of “meat” and “beef” labels, though, could introduce an element of confusion or distrust among some consumers. blocking progress in this regard would b...
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usb-c to lightning cable price cut suggests an apple change afoot
apple’s usb-c to lightning cable has seen a quiet price cut, dropping in price by almost a quarter amid rumors of a shake up in iphone and ipad charging. although apple includes a usb-a to lightning cable in the box with each iphone and ipad, it has also had an option for those wanting faster charging, just as long as they’re willing to pay up. that involves a switch to usb-c. first off there’s the usb-c to lightning cable, which is available in 1m and 2m lengths. paired with a 29w usb-c power adapter, as apple includes in the box with the 12-inch macbook, it means significantly faster charging rates for the iphone versus the standard ac adapter. it’s a convenient upgrade, but not an especially cheap one. the usb-c to lightning cable alone was $25, for instance, and then you have to add in the adapter. if you want the 29w model, for example, you’re looking at $49. now, it’s getting a little cheaper. the usb-c cable has been dropped to $19, as 9to5mac spotted, at least in its 1m form. the 2m version is still the same $35 as before. it comes amid rumors of a sweeping change in apple’s charger strategy. according to reports, the company plans to reveal a new 18w usb-c power adapter, complete with a new design. that would help shift apple away from usb-a and over to usb-c, as its macbook and macbook pro models use. in the process, it would bypass some of the lingering criticism that has focused on the fact that, out of the box at least, the current iphone range can?...
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pokemon go alolan forms update (time to come back!)
summer is coming to pokemon go, and that means big updates are about to hit. for this season of the gps/ai mobile game, niantic’s bringing on the alolan forms of pokemon of all sorts – and that means some wacky forms. case in point, the alolan version of exeggutor. it has a very, very long neck. it’s very tall, and it looks insane.the image you’re seeing above comes from artist eternalsonicstar, as posted first to deviantart. notice the long neck. it is insanely long. this is a version of exeggutor that’s evolved differently from the version we’ve known longer because it’s been relegated to the island chain alola (アローラ地方 alola-chihō) – that’s analogous to hawaii. alola appeared first in the games pokemon sun and moon, and ultra sun, and ultra moon. four islands are included in alola: melemele island, akala island, ula’ula island, poni island, and aether paradise. unlike the game and tv show, we do not expect that the pokemon that originate on these islands will be relegated to one region of the world – we probably won’t need to travel to hawaii to get these pokemon. “sunny days are ahead! whether your forecast calls for rain or shine, we’re celebrating all around the world by introducing some special pokémon from the tropical alola region to pokémon go,” said a niantic representative. “these unique variants were first seen in the pokémon sun and pokémon moon video games, and they will make their way to pokémon go in the coming...
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meet the real star of the royal wedding
forget the givenchy dress, groundbreaking sermon, and vast cake: the real star of the royal wedding this weekend had four wheels and an electric heart. while it may have looked like a classic e-type, however, meghan and harry’s getaway car was actually even rarer than that. that’s because it’s the jaguar e-type zero, the only electrified version of the car that the british automaker has made. revealed back in september last year, the one-off retrofit is the handiwork of jaguar land rover classic. the team there took an 1968 e-type series 1.5 roadster and carefully switched out its gas engine for a bespoke electric powertrain. the result is concept zero, an attempt to deliver 60s motoring and style with thoroughly 21st century technology. out went the jaguar xk six-cylinder engine, its place taken by a lithium-ion battery pack, electric motor, and – where the old transmission would’ve been – a reduction gear. that’s linked to a new prop-shaft. compared to other evs, the car that took meghan and harry from windsor castle to frogmore house in for their evening reception is actually fairly conservative in its power. jaguar opted to limit the e-type zero to 220 kw, in fact, enough for a quoted 5.5 second 0-62 mph time. in doing so, however, it meant much of the original hardware could be kept in place, instead of needing an upgrade to deal with more grunt. the brakes are original, for example, as is the suspension. in the open-top cabin, the thin, wood-rimmed steerin...
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razer gdpr update: old software wont work anymore
this morning razer began rolling out an update for the razer phone, an update that’ll change just a couple things. the most important part of the update is a series of upgrades that’ll bring the razer phone up to full gdpr standards. “razer highly values its users’ privacy, and therefore we are adding the highest standards of gdpr requirements from the across the globe to the razer phone,” said a razer representative. “we welcome the implementation of gdpr as it is an important step to enabling and empowering individual privacy rights.”razer’s update to the razer phone is just one of a set of updates coming with the dawn of gdpr. those are the privacy laws going into effect in the european union this year. those are the same privacy laws that mark zuckerberg won’t agree to, because why would facebook be open and clear with its users when it doesn’t need to be? how silly.per the folks at razer, “the gdpr not only applies to organizations located within the eu but it will also apply to organizations located outside of the eu if they offer goods or services to, or monitor the behavior of, eu data subjects.” razer is also sort-of saying the following: when you’re updating software for one region, you might as well just send the same update to everyone. it’s easier that way.the razer compliance with gdpr goes into effect may 25th, 2018. at that time, old versions of several pieces of razer software will “no longer be usable or valid.” the following ...
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nintendo labo's piano turns into a mini grand with this 3d printed mod
from the second nintendo labo was announced, it was clear that people were going to do cool things with it. while most of those cool things will revolve around the capabilities of labo’s cardboard constructions and the accompanying software, today we’re seeing a mod that makes labo’s piano look a bit more familiar. in short: this 3d printed mod turns your nintendo labo piano into a miniature grand, or at least gets it most of the way there.the mod comes to us from shigeryu, who has been documenting the process of creating it over on their twitter account. they’ve been posting updates for the better part of may at this point, and what seemingly began as a way to replace the keys on the labo piano with something a little more durable has quickly evolved into a mod that could potentially give the whole thing an entirely new look.shigeryu’s latest update came yesterday, when they said the project is about 85% complete. that hasn’t stopped them from creating a tutorial video for 3d printing new keys and knobs for the piano. at the end of the video, shigeryu mentions the possibility of creating a full case mod for the labo piano as well, making it look much more like an actual (though teeny tiny) grand.you can certainly make the argument that part of labo’s novelty lies in its various cardboard accessories, and by replacing those cardboard components with something more durable, you’re taking away part of the charm. on the other side of the coin, though, it isn’t ...
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best buy's gamers club unlocked might soon be a thing of the past
in the amazon age, best buy has made a lot of changes and launched a lot of initiatives to keep pace. one of its most successful initiatives is unquestionably gamers club unlocked, a subscription service that offers big discounts on new games for any platform. as it turns out, gamers club unlocked may have been too good to last.as leaked by video game deal hunter wario64, best buy has apparently sent a memo out to employees that says gamers club is effectively dead. “for a variety of reasons, we have decided that our gamers club programs will not be accepting new members,” the memo reads. “this includes both the free gamers club membership and gamers club unlocked (gcu).”the memo goes on to say that current members will continue to receive their benefits until their subscription period runs out, but won’t be able to renew once it ends. for everyone else, the memo encourages employees to offer my best buy memberships and its associated perks. best buy’s point-of-sale systems stopped surfacing gamers club subscriptions at checkout on the same day this memo went out, and it even instructs employees to take down associated signage immediately, so it looks like best buy wanted to remove mention of gamers club quickly.when you consider the cost of gamers club unlocked and what kind of perks it gave subscribers, it isn’t all that surprising to see it going away. gcu only cost $29.99 for a two-year subscription, and its main draw was a 20% discount on any new video game...
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nasa cal to create temperatures 10 billion times colder than space
nasa wants to make some very cold temperatures and to do this it is sending a laser to the international space station (iss). that laser will be used in an experiment to create a spot 10 billion times colder than the vacuum of space. the apparatus is called the cold atom laboratory (cal) and is about the size of an ice chest. it will be sent to the iss aboard an orbital cygnus rocket.the purpose of the experiment isn’t super cold space beer, rather the cold atom laboratory will help scientists observe the bizarre quantum properties of ultra-cold atoms. to reach the incredibly cold temperatures, a combination of lasers and magnets are used to chill and slow a cloud of atoms to slightly above absolute zero.absolute zero is -459.67 degrees fahrenheit and is impossible to achieve because at that point atoms stop moving. cal can cool atoms to one-tenth of a billion of a degree above absolute zero. that makes the atoms move extremely slowly and exhibit a microscopic quantum phenomenon.the incredibly cold cloud of atoms is known as a bose-einstein condensate and can be created here on earth. however, when created on earth gravity quickly drags the condensate downwards allowing them to be observed for only a fraction of a second. in the microgravity of the iss, scientists will be able to observe the cloud for up to ten seconds.scientists on earth will operate cal remotely to conduct experiments. cal will provide the longest viewing times ever achieved for bose-einstein condensates,...
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acer spin 3, 5 start alexa's notebook debut, more coming
hp may have dibs on putting alexa inside an all-in-one pc, but acer is making amazon’s highly popular smart assistant mobile. acer and alexa doing what google has been, for months, rumored to be preparing: putting an ai-driven smart assistant inside a notebook computer. with alexa inside the acer spin 3, spin 5, and, soon nitro 5 spin, amazon’s domination of the voice-controlled ai assistant space is nearly complete.it’s almost ironic that computers are the last ones to get voice assistants, considering the earliest prototypes and ancestors of alexa, cortana, siri, and google assistant mostly started out as desktop experiments. the market probably first needed to get used to the idea of commanding devices by voice before these ai helpers descended on the most versatile of devices.acer markets the alexa feature as empowering users to do more. not that these already powerful acer notebooks are suddenly able to perform things they previously couldn’t. it’s more about replacing multiple mouse clicks or typing with a simple phrase. just say the word, or words, and you have the weather, your shopping list, and your music right in front of you.the acer spin 5’s “acer purified.voice” feature promises that alexa won’t misunderstand you, thanks to its four far-field digital microphones. the acer spin 3 and other notebooks have dual mics only but all of them have intel’s smart sound tech and built-in dsps to make short work of voice and speech recognition.the questio...
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get iphone x navigation gestures on android: here's how
it seems that the next smartphone trend after notches are button-less, swipe-based, pill-using navigation gestures. and, like the notch, we have apple and its iphone x to thank, or curse, for that. android p will unabashedly have its own gestured-based navigation ui. if you’re a fan of that feature, however, you need not wait that long or forever to get it. the folks over at xda have released their own navigation gestures app that offers exactly that and a lot more. but while the app doesn’t require root access, you’ll need to aware of two important things before you go any further.the big fat warningthis would usually go into an “uninstalling” section at the tail end of a guide, but, should anything go wrong, it’s important to know this tidbit about the app beforehand. before you uninstall the app, for one reason or another, you should first disable navigation gestures in order to bring the standard navigation bar back. the app doesn’t have any way to return the navigation bar when you install it so you might end up with no way to go around your phone. navigation gestures by xda: the differencethis xda app is hardly the first nor only of its kind to offer gesture-based navigation or hide the navigation bar. you’d be surprised at the number of them available in the google play store but xda believes it has an edge over those. the most important being that it doesn’t require the device to be rooted.a lot of other navigation gesture apps make heavy use of work...
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bose's awesome '90s magic carpet suspension is coming to production
back in the 1990s, bose developed an insane suspension that eliminated any movement being transferred from the suspension to a car. the very first video at the bottom of this post shows you just how exceptionally well this tech worked for insulating the passengers from movement. the reason the tech never came to fruition back in the ’90s is said to be cost and weight.fast forward a few decades and a company called clearmotion in the us has purchased the rights to the bose control software and plans to combine it with the latest in air suspension. the result of the bose software and modern tech is a commercially viable suspension system that is good enough to have caught the eye of five major auto manufacturers.it now goes by the name “digital chassis system” and it is heralded as “the fastest proactive ride system that exists today.” the system can read the road and react instantly thanks to real-time accelerometers. the result is “unparalleled ride quality” that the company says you can feel in the first ten feet of driving.one key to the system is dual-function dampers that also work as actuators. the software extends and retracts the suspension in near-perfect sync with the road surface.development work is being performed in the uk right now. the goal is to have a production system in place by next year. there is no word on which automakers are interested in the system at this time.source: carthrottle
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resident evil 7: cloud version brings game streaming to switch
capcom has been one publisher throwing a lot of support behind the nintendo switch, and now it’s about to provide a big first for the console: game streaming. capcom has announced biohazard 7: resident evil cloud version for the switch, taking pretty much everyone by surprise. the fact that resident evil 7 is coming to the switch will be exciting enough for most fans, but the way it’s being released is fascinating as well.just as the name suggests, resident evil 7: cloud version will be streamed from capcom’s servers rather than saved to your device. it doesn’t even seem like you’ll have the option to buy it outright – instead, you’ll purchase access passes in 180 day increments that cost 2,000 yen (around $18). the cloud version includes all of the dlc that has been released for the retail edition, so if you can complete it with your first 180 day pass, this turns into quite the deal.a new page for resident evil 7: cloud version over on capcom’s japanese site provides more details. everyone who downloads the game from the eshop will get 15 minutes of play time on the house. not only does this give capcom an opportunity to get resident evil 7‘s hooks in you, but it also allows you to make sure everything is running smoothly before buying an access pass.as you’d expect, the fact that this is a cloud-based game means that you’ll need a stable internet connection the entire time you’re playing. that, unfortunately, means no playing on the go unless you’...
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microsoft just bought the key to making cortana far smarter
microsoft has acquired semantic machines, an artificial intelligence startup which could help cortana hold more natural dialog with users. the california company has focused its efforts on so-called “conversational ai,” moving beyond the more basic back-and-forth currently supported by the google assistant, apple’s siri, and amazon’s alexa. right now, talking with one of those virtual helpers could leave you doubting the “intelligence” part of ai. a big part of that is their difficulty identifying meaning: effectively picking up on the thread of a conversation, and using that to understand different requests and commands. semantic machines is taking a different approach. it has built a number of machine learning components which work together for a smarter ai that can hold that conversational thread. that includes a conversation engine which pulls semantic intent from voice or text and then creates a self-updating, learning framework to comprehend the nuances of that discussion. a new speech recognition engine has been built in-house, together with a proprietary speech synthesis engine so that the ai can talk back just as naturally as the user.reinforcement learning is a big component for the system. for a start there’s a proprietary data capture and annotation system, which the microsoft azure team is likely to be looking at with great interest, and which semantic machine plans to use to build a huge training system for ai using both speech and text. that also ...
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the huawei matebook x pro is finally on sale in the us
huawei’s matebook x pro, the macbook-rivaling ultraportable notebook that proves the company can make some seriously impressive design, is now available in the us. announced back at mobile world congress, the 13.9-inch notebook gets a 3k resolution touchscreen with minimal bezels, along with a clever way to hide its webcam for both aesthetic and security reasons. in fact, glance across the usual places you might expect to find a webcam on a laptop, and you’ll come up short on the matebook x pro. that’s because huawei has in fact hidden it in the middle of the f-key row. press the button between f6 and f7, and it pops up to reveal the 1-megapixel camera. when it’s depressed, meanwhile, it’s completely powered off. the rest of the keyboard is backlit and spill-resistant, and sits above an oversized trackpad. a fingerprint sensor is integrated into the power button, and multiple prints can be stored and assigned to different user accounts on the same notebook. the rest of the matebook x pro is made of aluminum alloy, and measures 0.57-inches thick. it tips the scales at 2.93 pounds, though still manages to squeeze in a usb-c ports, thunderbolt 3, usb-a 3.0, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. there are also four speakers, supporting dolby atmos, along with 802.11ac wifi. huawei has two versions of the matebook x pro to choose between. each gets a 13.9-inch 3,000 x 2,000 fullview touchscreen with 10-finger multitouch. the entry-level model has an 8th generation core i5-8250u pr...
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big iphone leak shows new display (size)
now that apple changed the iphone schedule with x, a new wave is in store for 2018. but what’s the size set going to be – and will there be three phones, or just two? this morning a set of blueprint-like plans landed on our tip desk with the suggestion that they’d close the gap.tips over the past few weeks suggested apple had plans to keep changing the game with a whole new set of phones for 2018. last year came the iphone x, the 10, a celebration of 10 years of the iphone on the market. at the same time, apple revealed iphone 8 and 8 plus – so where’s 9? and what’s going to happen in 2018 for numbers – are we going roman numerals with it?see this too: iphone se 2018: here’s how the new notch worksmaybe 2018 will bring iphone xi, then xii, etcetera. we’re also keeping an eye on the still-in-production iphone se. rumor suggests there’ll be an iphone se in 2018, but that it’ll adopt a lot more iphone-like design. the plans that appeared on our desk this morning originated with olixar – and that’s not always the best place for source material since it’s a brand that profits from attention. but let’s take a peek anyway.they suggest with a set of drawings and 3d illustrations that the new iphone se (x se, whatever it’ll be called), will have a tiny notch. why have a bigger notch when a smaller notch will do the job just fine? and what’s this? this updated design looks like it’s just a bit tinier than the current iphone se. the iphone se out righ...
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t-mobile lg g7 thinq price is unbelievable
the lg g7 thinq is on the horizon, which means that it’s time for carriers to begin announcing the deals and promotions they’ll offer on the phone. t-mobile, like it does with a lot of flagship phones, revealed today that it’ll be running a buy one, get one free promotion on the lg g7 thinq. while we’ve come to expect such promotions from t-mobile, the pricing it’s given the g7 thinq leaves us scratching our heads.t-mobile’s pricing for the g7 thinq breaks down to a $30 down payment for the phone when you get it, along with 24 monthly payments of $30 on its equipment installment plan. at first blush, that all seems to be on the up and up, as each of the big four carriers favor device installment plans instead of two-year contracts these days.however, the final price of the phone – $750 – becomes a little more mind-boggling when you realize that t-mobile is actually charging more for the g7 thinq than it is for the galaxy s9, which has a total price of $720 once everything is all added up. it isn’t a huge difference, but at a time where lg is struggling to find an audience, it certainly doesn’t seem like pricing the g7 thinq higher than what is essentially the gold standard of android flagships is going to translate to a lot of sales.with that said, you are getting a phone on the house with this promo as long as you satisfy the requirements laid out in the fine print. the good news is that there doesn’t seem to be many caveats with this offer – t-mobile...
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apple homepod by beats: cheaper but not enough to save it
apple products don’t always become an overnight success. some take years of constant marketing to hammer them into consumers’ skulls. so while the homepod’s reported lackluster sales are disappointing for apple fans, they might not be as fatal as some predict it to be. that said, the company seems to be trying to salvage its image by making a rather odd move. not only is it coming out with a cheaper homepod, according to reports it might not be launched as a homepod at all.if you asks analysts, like former kgi securities analyst ming-chi kuo, the homepod’s flaw wasn’t just the price per se. it was really about managing expectations. apple defends the homepod’s $349 price tag by marketing it more as a premium audio accessory, but consumers still see it as a smart speaker and compare it with the amazon echo or the google home. and that is where the problem starts.very few will argue that the homepod is great at its advertised audio chops. but when it comes integrating with siri or your smart home, you’re practically better off just talking to siri on your iphone or even your ipad. airplay 2.0, which would have given th homepod more features, is still nowhere to be found. in terms of features, the homepod offers little over equally or sometimes even less expensive high-quality speakers.apple is reportedly already trying to fix one of its mistakes but it might be barking at the wrong tree. according to sources, a cheaper ipad is in the works, one that will cost only...
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tesla releases some of its software to comply with open source rules
tesla makes some of the most popular electric vehicles out there and the systems in those cars rely on open source software for operating systems and features. some of that open source software that is used in tesla products has a license agreement that requires tesla to at least offer the user access to the source code. tesla hasn’t been making that offer.in a move to get compliant with the license agreements, tesla has begun to release some software components that might prove very useful to tesla hackers and security researchers. the software freedom conservancy says that it has been pressuring tesla to get compliant with the software licenses for years. it notes that it has received multiple reports of gpl violations regarding the model s software that uses busybox and linux.the conservancy says that no source code was given or offered to the user. tesla has started releasing some of its source code on github and sent out emails to users who have requested the code. the software now available includes the buildroot material uses to build the system image on the autopilot platform.tesla has also released the kernel sources for those boards along with the tegra-based infotainment system for the model s and model x. the software offered is for the 2018.12 release and will be updated with new versions as new software is launched.the software could make it easier for tesla owners who want to build their own features on top of the tesla system. security researchers could use ...
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ossic x 3d audio headphone dream is no more
crowdfunding is always a risky venture, both for the creators as well as the backers. being successfully funded, even raising three to five to ten times the goal, is never an assurance that the promised product will be delivered. the bigger the ambition, the bigger the risks and the ossic x is definitely a big one. it promised to do for audio what vr is doing for visuals. sadly, that promise is dead as ossic, the startup behind the headphones, reveals it will no longer be able to deliver the remaining headphones as it has completely run out of funds.surround sound is a good enough approximation of the three-dimensional properties of real-world sound if you’re sitting or standing still. when in virtual reality, or even in games, 3d spatial audio can make or break the illusion of immersion. vr, however, has mostly been focuses on the visual side of the technology and audio, as always, has taken a backseat.ossic x wanted to change that and use some of the same technologies in vr headsets, like head tracking, to offer a believable audio experience both in virtual reality and real reality. the startup may have overestimated how difficult it would be to create a completely new product or the resistance they would receive from manufacturers and suppliers simply for the fact that they’re a tiny company.ossic asked for $100,000 on kickstarter back in 2016 and was able to raise $2.7 million from nearly 10,300 backers. those funds, and whatever they may have received in other invest...
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at&t lte-m button: general-purpose amazon dash for businesses
amazon has made some rather odd devices in the past, from the terrible flop that was the fire phone to the suspicious fashionista echo look. but one strange product that seems to have somewhat survived is the dash button. a one-click device primarily designed to make it easy for amazon users to order one type of product, the dash concept seems to have had some fans over at at&t. the carrier has just launched its own lte-m button which can do more than just order tide pods.in terms of technical features, the at&t button immediately has one thing over the amazon dash. it rides on the carrier’s lte-m network, a slightly newer and also cheaper version of 4g lte designed for iot devices. it’s somewhere in between wifi and lte and doesn’t require a wifi connection.but perhaps more importantly, the lte-m buttons won’t be as single-purpose as the dash buttons are. or rather, they won’t be simply for ordering things, though that can definitely be done. instead, these buttons can be programmed for different actions, from asking for user feedback (“like” button), checking in at locations, signaling a pickup, and more.as useful as it may sound, these at&t lte-m buttons aren’t for consumer use. at&t is marketing them to businesses who would then program these buttons however they see fit. it isn’t competing with amazon either, since it’s utilizing amazon’s aws anyway.
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nvidia-powered robot ai learns by watching humans
artificial intelligence and machine learning have come a long way and have become buzzwords in many tech products today. impressive as they are, however, their methods of learning are still mostly, well, artificial. nvidia researchers are developing a new way to train ai for industrial robots that almost closely mimics the way we ourselves learn. and that’s by watching how another, more experienced human perform a task and then trying to repeat it.most neural networks are trained using what almost seems like brute force, except that it takes hours rather than years. machine learning often involves feeding a neural network thousands upon thousands of pieces of pre-existing data. while effective, it isn’t always efficient nor is it applicable in all situations.take, for example, factory or industry robots. they could very well benefit from some machine learning but training them often requires a specialist to program the robots at a low-level. in contrast, nvidia’s researchers have come up with an ai that is able to learn just by watching a human go through the task first. it even learns just by seeing it once.of course, there’s still some behind the scenes learning involved but even then it’s not your usual machine learning. nvidia prefers the use of “synthetic data” versus labeled training data, which gives the neural network an almost infinite amount of data to work with for very little effort. these simulation-based learning is, of course, well suited for nvid...
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teensafe child monitoring app leaked thousands of customer data
it seems that our eagerness or carelessness in surrendering our data so easily to companies and services is finally coming back to haunt us. from massive customer database hacking to the recent facebook scandal, the data we’ve sowed on company servers are now being reaped by others, often by criminals. this latest incident is both unfortunate and probably also inevitable. teensafe, an app that’s supposed to keep kids safe by letting their parents monitor them, has now practically achieved the opposite by leaking parents’ and children’s data to almost anyone who has been able to grab hold of its database.teensafe bills itself as a secure monitoring app for both ios and android. it markets its service to parents who want to keep an eye on their kids’ smartphone activities, from call logs to apps installed to browsing history. naturally, it requires users to submit certain data, like their email addresses, sign up with a password, and collect information about devices. that data, according to uk-bases security researcher robert wiggins, was left unprotected on the company’s amazon-hosted servers and accessible to anyone without a password.it actually gets worse from there. the data included not just the parents’ email addresses used to sign up for the service, it also included the child’s apple id email and, often, their names as the device name. to make matters even worse, the passwords for the child’s apple id was apparently stored in plain, human-readable te...
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tesla model 3 performance and awd specs, price, and musk's big boast
elon musk has revealed the key specs and pricing of the tesla model 3 performance version and the awd model 3, as well as throwing down the gauntlet to one of bmw’s most popular track cars. the outspoken ceo got chatty about the specs of the two most eagerly-anticipated variants of the more affordable electric car on twitter late on saturday, as the automaker put the final touches on the configurator. until now, tesla’s production line has been focused on a fairly limited array of options. the automaker chose to prioritize a single core configuration, in fact – the rear-wheel drive, extended range version with the premium cabin upgrade – with a handful of extras available, in the hope of streamlining production. those who live in areas prone to snow and icy conditions, however, or simply wanting more speed had been left waiting for more potent versions. now, they’re arriving.the dual-motor model 3 awd puts an electric motor front and rear. one is optimized for power, musk says, while the other focuses on range. importantly, however, either can step in for regular use if there’s a fault. “car drives fine even if a motor breaks down,” the tesla ceo points out. “help ensure you make it to your destination and don’t get stuck on side of road in potentially unsafe situations.”the dual motor awd option will be $5k, on top of the regular model 3 price. its range will be 310 miles, and it’ll do 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. top speed is 140 mph. in contrast, the cu...
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all the new overwatch anniversary event skins have leaked
blizzard’s hit game overwatch is celebrating its second birthday at the end of this month, and that means a new anniversary event begins next week. the event runs from may 22nd through june 11th on pc, ps4, and xbox one, and like the game’s other event held throughout the year will feature special loot boxes with time limited cosmetics like skins, emotes, and sprays. the character skins, of course, are what most players get excited about, and you can see all of them here.while blizzard usually does a good job of keeping the contents of event loot boxes a secret until they debut in-game, it seems they were betrayed by a bug tied to servers in taiwan. a few lucky players have been able to view all the new anniversary event cosmetics, sharing images of the skins online for fans to peek at. if you don’t want to have them spoiled, this is your last chance to look away.this year’s anniversary event will include 11 new skins, with 8 being legendary and the remaining 3 being epic. the epic skins are going to tracer, solider: 76, and lucio, and feature the usual small tweaks to their default looks. the more impressive legendaries are going to torbjorn, who gets the cyborg treatment; bastion, with a look inspired by soundwave from the transformers; symmetra, with a magician’s costume; and a dapper tux for doomfist. check out the rest in the images below.new loot box items aren’t the only focus of this event, however, as a new map for the game’s deathmatch mode is being in...
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apple pulls callkit apps from chinese app store following new law
apple has taken new action against app developers in order to comply with new cybersecurity laws in china. the company has begun warning ios developers that any apps using apple’s callkit will be pulled from the chinese app store unless they remove the framework’s integration. this comes after china’s ministry of industry and information technology has started to enforce regulations that see callkit as a way to help bypass censorship and surveillance.the callkit framework is a way for developers to add apple’s calling interface into their own apps, but it doesn’t actually make any calls. that’s still handled on the back-end by developer’s own voip services. callkit just helps the app’s interface better match that of ios.apple’s warnings sent to app developers were obtained by 9to5mac, and they state that callkit functionality must be removed from any apps available through the chinese app store, or they can choose to remove their app from the country’s store. this echoes a similar move apple made last year, when it pulled vpn apps from china to comply with censorship laws.it’s likely the chinese government is forcing apple’s hand on this issue. the authorities see voip technology as a way to get around monitoring and censorship, and they would prefer that apple try to hide any apps with this calling functionality. similar regulations forced microsoft to pull skype from chinese app stores last november, or face threats of violating digital security laws...
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