Why Does Google Employ a Pro-Slavery Lunatic?
It's now difficult to tell if Justine Tunney is a real person or not. Reading her Twitter and blog, she seems like some sort robot intelligence, an artificial entity designed to offend and disgust. No person can be this awful, right? Is it an act? A long-con of hardcore trolling? At a time when anti-tech resentment is at a high, can someone possibly be this brazen?

One school of thought says "don't feed the trolls". Another says "this is dangerous and should not be ignored".
2 hours ago
Johnny Dronehunter Does Exactly That In This Insane Shotgun Silencer Ad | Motherboard
"In the not too distant future," the video's description reads, "privacy is a thing of the past. Undeniable rights degrade like the paper they were written upon, and Big Brother has a constant eye on you and your family." At which point, only a "determined man and an unequaled weapon"—Johnny Dronehunter and the Salvo 12, I assume—can save you.

Yes, it's an ad for a shotgun silencer (shotguns can, apparently, be silenced). But guaranteed: in five years, you'll wish shooting drones out the sky was legal.
2 hours ago
Amazon’s new attack on Hachette touts the benefits of cheaper e-books - The Washington Post
In a post on its company's forums Tuesday, Amazon said that it would like to see most e-books priced at $9.99, rather than the common $14.99 or $19.99 prices that publishers set for digital copies of their books. Amazon argued that while it doesn't want every e-book to be set at $9.99, using that price for the majority of digital books would benefit customers, publishers and Amazon itself.

Hachette, unsurprisingly, does not seem to feel that "let's lower the price of books" is a good selling point.
2 hours ago
Wikimedia Foundation Now Accepts Bitcoin — Wikimedia blog
We’re fortunate that millions of people all over the world support the work of the Wikimedia Foundation through donations. It has always been important to the Foundation to make sure donating is as simple and inclusive as possible. Currently, we accept 13 different payment methods enabling donations from nearly every country in the world, and today, we’re adding one more: Bitcoin.

Surprising it's taken this long, really.
2 hours ago
What's a group selfie? Usie (pronounced uss-ee)
"Usies are a growing trend that I think have far more social value than selfies," said Michal Ann Strahilevitz, a professor of marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco who studies consumer behavior. "It's magical capturing moments we share with other people."

Definitely the worst of all possible worlds.
2 hours ago
Banking Ikea Style Puts Billionaire’s Model to Test - Bloomberg
In “Flappy Saver,” a knock-off of the popular mobile game Flappy Bird, the player best able to navigate hurdles such as jewelery stores and shoe shops wins the highest score by protecting savings stored in a flying piggy bank.

Truly we live in the worst of all possible worlds.
2 hours ago
Wladimir Palant's notes: Which is better, Adblock or Adblock Plus?
On Chrome, two popular ad blockers are currently available: AdBlock and Adblock Plus. Despite the confusingly similar names, they are completely unrelated projects. I am in charge of the latter, yet people will occasionally ask me whether I would recommend AdBlock or Adblock Plus to them.

The AdBlock wars get nasty.
2 hours ago
Tor security advisory: "relay early" traffic confirmation attack | The Tor Blog
We know the attack looked for users who fetched hidden service descriptors, but the attackers likely were not able to see any application-level traffic (e.g. what pages were loaded or even whether users visited the hidden service they looked up).

This may or may not be related to a cancelled talk on Tor attacks at Black Hat 2014.
2 hours ago
How to get a good rating from your Uber driver
While most drivers noted that truly bad experiences are few and far between, almost everything about being a good, responsible passenger can be boiled down to ‟don’t be an asshole.”

"Don't be an asshole" IS a fairly good rule.
Anti-Surveillance Camouflage for Your Face - The Atlantic
CV dazzle is ostentatious and kind of rad-looking, in a joyful, dystopic way. The first time I saw it, three years ago, I found it charismatic and captivating. Here was a technology that confounded computers with light and color. Since then, more and more people have learned about the technology. Harvey has contributed op-art about dazzle to The New York Times and enthusiasts have held facial dazzle parties. After documents from the Snowden tranche revealed the NSA had harvested an enormous database of faces from images on the web, CV dazzle seemed all the more urgent.

If nothing else, the pictures are worth a click
Co-op readies hi-tech trolleys to improve customer service >>> Marketing Magazine
Selected Co-op stores are trialling the new scheme, which prompts shoppers at various points in-store to answer questions about the layout, the ranges and products on offer. More general questions will quiz consumers on issues such as sustainable food, youth unemployment and localism. - Comment - Do you want a survey with your chicken drumsticks?
Nvidia quadruples display resolution by stacking two cheap LCD panels on top of each other >>> ExtremeTech
Nvidia researchers have used a fantastically straightforward approach to quadruple the effective resolution and double the refresh rate of cheap, off-the-shelf LCD panels: Stacking them on top of each other. - Comment - Why didn't we think about that? Sounds stupidly simple, but highly complex all at the same time.
Achievement Unlocked: Mars rover sets off-world driving record >>> SlashGear
NASA’s Opportunity Rover has set the human record for off-world driving distance this week. This record was previously held by the Soviet Union’s Lunokhod 2 rover, whose record was smashed as Opportunity kicked out 25 miles (40 kilometers) of driving. Any opportunity to one-up our space-race comrades, that’s what we like! - Comment - Only 10 years into a 90 day mission...
Piracy police hijack ads on copyright-infringing websites >>> CNET
To avoid that, a firm called Project Sunblock checks the content of websites, and has now been recruited by PIPCU to target dodgy sites. - Comment - Project Sunblock, only in Britain.
Is Big Pharma Testing Your Meds on Homeless People? — Matter — Medium
If you’re looking for poor people who have been paid to test experimental drugs, Philadelphia is a good place to start.

Rather puts "OKCupid experiments on its users" into perspective.
The history of information
This timeline of the history of information has some outstanding rabbit-holes: multiple entries on the history of magnetic card readers, Plimpton 322 (a cuneiform tablet called "the most famous original document of Babylonian mathematics"), and a whole series on crimes, forgeries, and hoaxes.

Get lost in this for half an hour.
If TaskRabbit Is the Future of Employment, the Employed Are Fucked
As of two weeks ago, the company no longer uses the bidding system. Each Rabbit is pegged at an hourly rate, accessible only via smartphone, and expected to be available immediately, a la Uber. If you can't commit to a task within 30 minutes, it moves on to someone else, reassigned via computer. Tasks that don't fall within generic categories like moving, cleaning, or food delivery are discouraged. Rabbits are matched with people looking for help via yet another mystical algorithm, removing whatever personal connection eager users enjoyed.

Comment: So TaskRabbit is… a temp agency. But it's probably got a higher valuation than your typical temp firm.
2 days ago
Teen’s Samsung Phone Bursts Into Flames While She’s Sleeping | Betabeat
Like all of us, 13-year-old Ariel Tolfree is addicted to her cell phone, so she keeps it tucked under her pillow while she’s sleeping. But, last week, the battery on her Samsung Galaxy S4 apparently overheated and bursted into flames in the middle of the night.

2 days ago
Star.21 is a £19 fitness tracker that aims to permanently change your attitude to health >>> The Inquirer
"Most Fitness Bands today do not work because the novelty is short lived" said Oaxis CEO, G-Jay Yong. "Our human brain is capable of rewiring itself in 21 days to establish new neural pathways. Through 21 days of repetitive actions, the long lasting healthy habits can be formed." – COMMENT - £19 for 21 days. Worth a shot I guess, but could just end up being yet more landfill.
2 days ago
3D holograms that track you around for any viewing angle are here >>> Pocket-lint
The artwork was named Help Me Obi, for the Star Wars fans out there, and offers a 360-degree view. The floating baby might freak you out at first but watch on in the video to see how the image follows the position of the viewer. – COMMENT – Clever stuff, but mass market? Not any time soon. Do people actually want holograms still? Might be good for video conferencing, Star Wars style.
2 days ago
Dear Instagram >>> Bolt
We know it's a great name, because we chose it last year when we set out to build a better mobile voice and messaging experience.

We've worked really hard since then building the Bolt brand and technology to where it is today. Please don't destroy all that effort. - COMMENT - Complaints before its even announced. Is that a new record?
2 days ago
EU gives the green light to Apple's $3 billion acquisition of Beats >>> TUAW
In addition, Apple and Beats Electronics are not close competitors because the headphones they sell differ markedly in functionality and design. Moreover, even after the transaction, a large number of global competitors such as Bose, Sennheiser and Sony would remain. - COMMENT - The EU's fine with it, not sure Bose is. Also has to go through US regulators, so not quite done yet.
2 days ago
Printer & Scanner Reviews, Ratings & Comparisons: Want a 3D-Printed Bobblehead? Amazon Can Help
The online retail giant is embracing the 3D printing phenomenon with a new Web store where you can find more than 200 3D-printed products available for purchase. Most of the items in the store range from around $40 to $100, including cufflinks, bobble head figurines (pictured) wine glass holders, and fashion accessories like pendants, earrings, and necklaces. – COMMENT - So, tat and jewellery then. Some of them even have a limited number ready to ship. Pretty sure that's not quite how 3D printing is meant to work. Printed on demand, surely? Anything else is just selling normal stuff that just happens to be printed.
2 days ago
PantryChic's Bluetooth ingredient dispenser is for lazy, type-A bakers >>> Engadget
Meet PantryChic, an airtight food canister that dispenses ingredients into a digital scale, so that you never even have to break out a measuring cup. - COMMENT - Internet of things gone too far, or not far enough depending on how you look at it.
2 days ago
US falling behind Europe on electronic payments /Euromoney magazine
A large gulf is emerging between the US and Europe as Americans remain wedded to cheque payments and signature credit cards, while an efficient standardized payment systems takes root in the single market.

If Europe ever gets its own Google-scale web firm, it's hard not to see this distinction being at the heart of the competitive advantage.
3 days ago
Hold the Phone: A Big-Data Conundrum - NYTimes.com
Laura Trucco, a Ph.D. student in economics at Harvard, followed a hunch. She wanted to see whether my experience was unique. But how? When people become frustrated with a slow phone, she reasoned, they search Google to figure out what to do about it. So, in theory, data on how often people search for “iPhone slow,” as provided by Google Trends, can measure the frustration globally. (Data for only the United States show similar results.)

Because this data is available weekly, she was able to cross-reference these searches against release dates of new phones. The charts show the results, which are, to say the least, striking. In the top chart, there are six distinct spikes, and they correspond to releases of new iPhones.

Alternative interpretation: your phone feels slow when you're bombarded with advertising for a new, faster phone.
3 days ago
SpaceX’s lawsuit against the Air Force is gaining steam - The Washington Post
A federal judge has ordered a review of a U.S. Air Force contract to put dozens of military satellites into orbit. The contract, which was awarded to longtime federal partner United Launch Alliance, is being contested by SpaceX over claims that the bidding process was non-competitive.

Capitalism! In! SPAAAACE!
3 days ago
Apple Confirms Purchase of Book Recommendation Maker BookLamp | Re/code
BookLamp, for its part, posted a statement that says its service “will no longer be available as our company evolves its mission.”

Its present mission, apparently, being to make its way to Cupertino and do whatever Apple says to do. Before being snapped up by Apple, the company had a “book genome project” that aimed to analyze books content and style and provide those that liked one book or author with recommendations for other books that might be of interest.

Discoverability in the iBookstore is fairly terrible, so this technology could be put to good use.
3 days ago
Instagram Accidentally Leaks Ad for Their Second Snapchat Ripoff | | Betabeat
Last night, Instagram leaked word of an app called “Bolt,” a new, unanticipated photo messaging service. Considering Instagram is owned by Facebook, this adds Bolt to the growing portfolio of Facebook’s messaging services, which include Messanger, WhatsApp, Slingshot and Instagram.

Facebook really likes trying to get Snapchat's users.
6 days ago
Guests refuse to leave Airbnb host's house - CNN.com
So, if unwanted strangers won't leave, just call authorities and have them booted out, right?
That's where Tschogl's nightmare really begins.
In California, renters who occupy a property for more than 30 consecutive days are considered full-time tenants on a month-to-month lease with rights to occupancy protected under the state's tenant law.

Reminder: if you rent your house to someone for two months, you're a landlord.
6 days ago
Alleged Sony Xperia Z3 Images Leaked >>> Ubergizmo
The images do not tell much concerning what is underneath the hood for the smartphone, but it does point to what the exterior will be like should the Xperia Z3 hit the market, boasting of rounded edges instead of the flatter and sharper edges that are found on the Sony Xperia Z2. - COMMENT - The sides look remarkably like the Xperia Z Ultra, which is certainly not a bad thing. If it's as thin and well built, Sony could have a winner here. Let's hope it's slightly smaller than the Z2.
6 days ago
Pirate Bay Launches Mobile Site, Teases More Expansions >>> TorrentFreak
Over the years the Pirate Bay site has undergone many changes to make it harder to shut down. The tracker was put into retirement, torrents were traded in for magnet links, and the site moved its servers to the cloud. - COMMENT - Pirates go mobile.

What remained the same, however, was the site’s general appearance and its lack of support for mobile devices.
6 days ago
Twitter's staff male-dominated >>> BBC News
The data released by Twitter on Wednesday showed that, overall, only 30% of its staff were female. The data followed a trend among tech companies that showed an under-representation of women.
6 days ago
Sony to pay up to $17.75 million in 2011 PSN hacking settlement >>> Ars Technica
The lengthy settlement agreement (PDF) offers a number of benefits to users affected by the breach: a free downloadable PS3 or PSP game (from a selection of 14 titles), three PS3 themes (from a selection of six), or a three-month subscription to PlayStation Plus. Users who took advantage of Sony's "Welcome Back" promotion back in 2011 can choose one of those benefits, while those who didn't get a free game back then can choose from two of the three benefits. - COMMENT - That didn't take long at all.
6 days ago
Josh Topolsky of The Verge Is Joining Bloomberg >>> NYTimes.com
In joining Bloomberg, which had been seen as a lucrative but not necessarily cutting edge destination for reporters and editors, Mr. Topolsky is bucking the trend of young, web-native journalists leaving established media brands for smaller, more nimble start-ups. – COMMENT - Something in those old media companies, then?
6 days ago
This MP Wants People Who Steal World Of Warcraft Weapons To Be Punished Like Real-Life Thieves
Mike Weatherley, who is also David Cameron’s chief advisor on intellectual property, asked ministers to consider new laws so that “people who steal online items in video games with a real-world monetary value receive the same sentences as criminals who steal real-world items of the same monetary value”. The Conservative MP, who himself plays the fantasy role-playing game Warcraft, told BuzzFeed that players sometimes spend large amounts of real world money on in-game items.

The far more pertinent question for most, of course, would be whether conventional property rights can be extended to digital downloads from sites such as iTunes or Amazon. That would obviously affect criminals who steal accounts – but it would also pose thorny questions for the companies who sell such digital property, and have got used to being able to impose restrictions on their use and sale.
7 days ago
NVIDIA's new Shield is a tablet built for gaming >>> Engadget
Shield Tablet dumps the original Shield's 5-inch screen in favor of a bigger 8-inch, 1080p display, swaps the original Tegra 4 in favor of K1 and drops the controller bit entirely. Should you wish to pair a controller with Shield Tablet -- and NVIDIA thinks you should -- the company's making one (it's even got WiFi Direct for lower latency than Bluetooth), but it's totally optional and doesn't come packed in with the tablet. So, what is this thing? Who is it for? And is it any good? – COMMENT - Android gaming isn't quite as big as it is on the iPhone and iPad, mainly because developers have struggled in the past to deal with the various device specifications. The original Shield was great, let's hope the tablet is too.
7 days ago
The Foursquare Blog — A brand new Foursquare, with a brand new logo and look, is almost ready for you
Everyone explores the world differently – guided by their own unique tastes, their friends, and the people they trust. Local search has never been good at this. It doesn’t get you, and, as a result, everyone gets the same one-size-fits-all results. Why should two very different people get the same recommendations when they visit Paris? Or the same list of places when they’re looking for a bar? We’re about to change that. In a couple weeks, we’re rolling out a brand new version of Foursquare that’s all about you. Tell us what you like, and we’ll be on the lookout for great places that match your tastes, wherever you are.

The first part of the Big Foursquare Relaunch was splitting the app in half, moving checkins over to the new Swarm app. This is the second half. But they've got an uphill struggle, after existing users rebelled over the change.
7 days ago
You can try Apple's OS X Yosemite beta starting from tomorrow >>> TechRadar
The beta is totally free but you'll need to sign up over on Apple's site. Remember though, this is still in development, so you can expect a few bugs and crashes.

In fact, Apple recommends installing it on a secondary Mac in case, you know, you've just got one lying around. - COMMENT - You do have a spare Mac, right? Still, it'll be interesting to see what's genuinely useful in all that new stuff.
7 days ago
Surprise: Snapchat's most popular feature isn't snaps anymore | The Verge
Snapchat says that its most popular feature is now its most public, least ephemeral one: Stories. Snapchat tells The Verge that more Stories are now viewed per day than snaps. One billion Stories are viewed per day, the company says, up from 500 million just two months ago. If you’re not familiar, Snapchat’s Stories feature launched late last year and lets users create compilations of snaps that last 24 hours. Stories are only be viewable by friends, unless you change a setting to let anyone who adds you view your Stories.

Watch out for Facebook's new "Tales" feature, coming soon to Slingshot.
7 days ago
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530 >>> The Register
The 530 is a smaller device than the Lumia 520 or recently launched Lumia 630/635, with a 4-inch display. Yet it still packs a quad core processor and can take memory cards of up to 128GB. As with the 520 and 630, the designer omits a front-facing camera and LED flash. A dual-SIM variant will be available in some markets. It bundles offline maps, free navigation and an Office client, with some 15GB cloud storage for new users. As you'd expect, it's 2G and 3G only, not LTE. - COMMENT - The Lumia 630 was decent, but not spectacular. Will the Lumia 530 beat Motorola's £80 Moto E? It'll be difficult. Microsoft killed off the Nokia X line to do this though.
7 days ago
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network • The Register
A Reg reader from Heckmondwike claims that a local busybody called the police after seeing him access the internet using BT's Fon service, which allows customers to access more than 5 million hotspots around the country. Most of these are ordinary BT residential routers which intentionally offer a service to Fon users passing by in addition to the householder.

BT's Fon service is fairly badly communicated – how many BT users know that they essentially get free wifi in any residential area? Doesn't stop this being funny, though.
7 days ago
New Xiaomi Mi Band is ridiculously cheap >>> CNET
The Mi Band will retail for the ridiculously low price of just 79RMB (which converts to $13, £7.5, AU$13.5). It has a 30 day battery life, which is impressive compared to some of the smartwatches and fitness bands on the market today. It also doubles up as a discrete alarm clock.

When simplicity is the key, why does it have to cost hundreds?
8 days ago
Did HTC just leak its own smartwatch? >>> TechRadar
At first glance it looks a tad like the first-gen TomTom Runner, but zoom in and this is definitely a UWO (Unidentified Wearable Object).

HTC's been rumoured to be creating a watch for a while now. Some expected it at MWC in February, and then again at the MTC One M8 launch. HTC's smartphone hardware is some of the best in the business, perhaps its smartwatch will be too.
8 days ago
Areal developers call out journalists after allegations of being a Kickstarter scam | Polygon
West Games' recently stated in a campaign update that Russian president Vladimir Putin allegedly emailed the game studio about access to the game's alpha.

The saga of Areal, a Kickstarter project to build a spiritual successor to cult classic game STALKER, is weird enough. But that Putin letter cannot be real… right?
9 days ago
Meet Your Digital Butler: a 'Social OS' - WSJ
The sum of all these contextual apps is, for now, a kind of ambient awareness of the contents of my day that I suppose more organized and less distractible people have known for years.

We've been promised this sort of awareness since the dawn of the PDA. Could it nearly be upon us? I hope so, I've already double-booked myself this week.
9 days ago
Hands on: Honda Uni-Cub review >>> TechRadar
Zipping around a room of journalists and Honda execs I felt and looked a tad ridiculous. But judge me all you want, one day you'll all be doing it.
And there lies the problem.
9 days ago
Latest Argos tablets to start at £80 - prices, specs >>> Wired UK
Available from 26 July, the new range will consist of tablets measuring 7 inches, 7.85 inches and 10.1 inches. In the two larger models Argos has beefed the MyTablet's processor up from a 1.6GHz dual-core processor to a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, which promises a significantly speedier performance.
Let's hope they're a little better quality than the last one. http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/oct/18/argos-mytablet-review-android-tablet-jellybean
9 days ago
iPhone 6: new photos could confirm light-up Apple logo notifications >>> Uswitch
Tellingly, the plastic part looks to have been made thin enough that light can easily shine through to alert you to updates and other important messages.
Another battery-sapping feature, that. Of course it could be a window for the antennae... http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2010/12/apple-invents-new-kind-of-logo-antenna-for-portables.html
9 days ago
Cortana will hit the UK in 'less than two weeks' >>> TechRadar
Responding to someone on Twitter, Marcus Ash, Group Program Manager of Cortana, said: "Barring an unforeseen issue, down to less than 2 weeks for the developer preview."
Cortana's coming to the UK. About time too. Will she have difference accent though?
9 days ago
How Bungie developed Destiny for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4 and PS3 >>> Digital Trends
“I’ll speak for the hypothetical player,” Wolfson explains. “I have a disadvantage sniping across the map because [my opponent with a next-gen console] is only two pixels on my screen and I’m four pixels on his. You see that in the world of PC gaming, where people are always racing to the best video card to give themselves the advantage.”
Damn those pixels. And those camping snipers, they're the worst. Ruining it for all us cross-platform players.
9 days ago
Star Citizen: Chris Roberts assures us that all the funds are used for development - Load The Game
Cloud Imperium Games’ Star Citizen is widely known as being the most successful crowd-funded title in gaming history. The record was set back in November 2012 when the game managed to raise over 4.2 million dollars in only about a month or so. But the fund raising campaign didn’t stop there however, and is still on-going to this day. As of this writing, Star Citizen managed to raise the impressive sum of almost $50 million.

$50m is a ludicrously high sum for a crowdfunded game to have in its coffers. For Star Citizen, that largely reflects its fairly innovative model of, essentially, F2P upgrades before the game has even launched, with some backers paying hundreds of dollars for the ability to start the game with better spaceships.

But with that amount of cash behind it, the pressure for the devs to not mess up is strong. Will they be able to make it work?
9 days ago
The campaign will aim to inform and encourage consumers - ranging from the next generation of digital users to 'silver-surfers' – about the huge range of entertainment content that is available from legal and licensed sources; giving them greater confidence when buying and using content online and providing additional guidance about internet safety.
Of course, if they choose to ignore the four educational letters nothing will happen. No teeth to this.
9 days ago
Tomorrow, We Scream for Ice Cream!
For £20 you get 5 Mr Whippy ice creams and branded Uber goodies - you can request higher multiples of ice cream if you wish, all you need to do is ask!

So you can pay £4 for a Mr Whippy, but at least Uber will bring it to your door.
13 days ago
DDoS attacks intensified in first half of 2014 >>> CNET
The largest reported attack in the second quarter was an NTP reflection attack at 154.69Gbps, launched against a Spanish target. NTP reflection attacks use address spoofing to overwhelm a target with requests. Such attacks -- while still significant -- were more prevalent in the first quarter than the second, according to Arbor. Average NTP traffic volumes are also falling back globally.
That's a heck of a lot of bandwidth.
13 days ago
EU Regulators Invite Google, Microsoft to Discuss 'Right to Be Forgotten' >>> WSJ
One flash point is Google's refusal to remove name-search results from its main Google.com search engine. It prefers to make a narrower removal of name searches in the European versions of its search engine, such as google.fr or google.co.uk. That position has already raised hackles with regulators in Germany and elsewhere, privacy officials have said.
Right to be forgotten certainly has some way to go before it's crystal clear what it really means, and what search engines have to do about it.
13 days ago
Inside Look: Imgur Reveals Redesign, Announces Plans for a Convention | | Betabeat
“We know that Imgur is huge in terms of scale, but don’t recognize Imgur as a community that’s come so far in the last few years,” Tim Hwang, Imgur’s Head of Special Initiatives, told Betabeat. “The meetups show that they appreciate us, but they’re also a sign of what’s to come.”
So what’s to come? The Imgur team wants to ramp up to a major convention, but won’t have the details ready until as late as December, though they claim it will be “something no Internet community has ever done before.”

By some measures, Imgur is bigger than Reddit, yet the company has few employees, little attention, is run on a shoestring and only took external investment for the first time this year. Could that be about to change?
13 days ago
Fly like Peter Pan over London Town with the Google Maps 3D update >>> Pocket-lint
Using the 43-degree angled satellite imagery, Google has crafted a 3D model of London for both Google Maps and Google Earth. The centre of the city at least looks spectacular and you can fly past or stare longingly at many well-known landmarks as well as streets off the beaten path.
Something to do if you're bored Friday lunchtime.
13 days ago
Police trial facial recognition software that can ID suspects 'in seconds' >>> Telegraph
Although none of those cases have yet come to court, and the results of the searches are not directly admissible as evidence, officers believe that the system will dramatically speed up investigations. The system can even find family members of the suspect, narrowing down the search even if the person is not themselves in the police database.

Narrowing down by family members? Criminals can run, but they won't be able to hide.
13 days ago
Killzone: Shadow Fall adds farting, planking DLC - Gaming News - Digital Spy
The latest Killzone add-on pack doesn't add traditional fodder such as guns, items, maps or abilities, but instead lets players pay money to pass gas.

Truly, this is the end of days.
13 days ago
What do Google searches tell us about our climate change fears?
Lang specifically checked how often, when and where citizens in 205 cities in the US used the search terms “global warming,” “climate change” and “weather.” The terms “drought” and “flood” were also included because increases in these natural phenomena are important predicted impacts of climate change… Lang found that search activity increased when extreme heat was felt in summer, when no rain fell over extended periods, and when there were fewer extreme cold snaps in winter. Such weather fluctuations are consistent with projected climate change.

Google Trends basically lets researchers see what it would be like to be psychic.
13 days ago
BlackBerry debuts Siri-like voice assistant >>> CNET
BlackBerry, which has been struggling to hang onto customers in the tough smartphone market, is offering BlackBerry Assistant after Apple debuted its voice-assistant Siri in late 2011, followed by Google Now and Microsoft's Cortana. With those other voice assistants already available, BlackBerry Assistant is unlikely to be that must-have feature for the Canada-based company's phones. --- Us too, we have a voice assistant too.
14 days ago
Amazon ‘Kindle Unlimited’ will be the Spotify subscription service for books >>> Pocket-lint
In total there will be over 600,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks to choose from. The pages showing off the new service appeared online before being quickly pulled down. But not before images were captured of the venture. -- All you can eat books. Makes sense, but the publishers might not like it much.
14 days ago
Novartis Joins With Google to Develop Contact Lens That Monitors Blood Sugar >>> NYTimes.com
What makes this case different is the involvement of Google’s engineers, he said. “One of the biggest hurdles was miniaturization, and that’s one of the biggest benefits that Google X brings,” he said. “This is a set of engineers that are really doing incredible things with technology.” -- Smart contacts are really going to happen, eventually.
14 days ago
Tesla confirms Model III as next EV contender >>> SlashGear
Despite being smaller, it will still be able to boast of a 200 mile (322 km) realistic range same as the Model S. But the Model 3 will also sell cheaper according to Musk, around ₤30,000 or $35,000, thanks to cheaper batteries that will be produced in Tesla's upcoming Gigafactory. --- £30,000 isn't exactly mass market, but the BMW 3 is one of the most popular family cars in the UK and costs not far off that.
14 days ago
Blurred lines: Are YouTubers breaking the law? • Eurogamer.net
Is it OK for a critic to get a cut of sales in exchange for coverage of a product? What about simply running advertorial, unmarked? Or even being paid £10,000 to like a Facebook page?

Do the answers to that change when the critics aren't traditional journalists, but are influential members of the YouTube Let's Play scene? Simon Parkin investigates.
John Bain received his first offer to create advertorial for his YouTube channel in 2010. "A video game publisher asked me to create a video about one of its titles," says Bain. "They agreed to pay for the coverage so long as I agreed to not say anything negative about the game." It was the first of a slew of such deals that Bain - better known to his 1.7 million YouTube channel subscribers as TotalBiscuit - has been offered, from posting a product link in a video's description through to elaborate ad campaigns. Bain was asked not to disclose the nature of the proposed sponsored content to his viewers. He refused the deal. "I don't know how I'd live with myself," he tells me. "It's taking your passion and selling it out for a small pay-cheque. It morally bankrupts you."
14 days ago
Apple debuts iTunes Pass in Japan, allows Passbook-based iTunes credit refills at Apple Stores | 9to5Mac
In Japan, you can now add credit to your iTunes account by using Passbook and cash at an Apple Store. A small change – but one that would be a necessary step to enable the creation of an iTunes wallet.
Apple today has launched an interesting new service for iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore users in Japan with iPhones and iPod touches. The new service, called iTunes Pass (no, not that iTunes Pass), allows users to go to an Apple Store in Japan, purchase credit in-store for the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore, and have that money immediately applied to the Apple ID account instead of needing to receive a gift card and enter a redemption code…
14 days ago
Overcast – Marco.org
Marco Arment's the creator of Instapaper, which created the category of "read it later" apps; he's the founder of The Magazine, the only good thing Apple's Newsstand ever had going for it; and he's employee number one of Tumblr, which you may have heard of.

Overcast is his third major app, but the first time he's entered a crowded space: podcast apps.
I had been wanting to make a podcast app for a while by late 2012, when I got two ideas that encouraged me to look more into it:

Smart Speed shortens silences. Playing at faster speeds has always helped people make time to hear more podcasts, but it usually came at the expense of sound quality and intelligibility. Smart Speed is like getting another speed increment for free: it saves time without sounding weird.
Voice Boost is a combination of dynamic compression and equalization that can make many shows more listenable and normalize volume across all shows. This makes amateur-produced podcasts (including many of my favorites) more listenable in loud environments, like cars, where you’d otherwise need to crank the volume so loudly to hear the quiet parts that you’d blow your ears out when the loudest person spoke.
14 days ago
Minuum demos non-annoying text entry on an Android Wear watch >>> TechCrunch
The design uses a single line of keys for entry, and a predictive algorithm to make a best-guess about what word it is you’re looking for. You can use the line of text predictions to quickly autocomplete words, or hold the screen down to access special characters. It still doesn’t look quite as easy as thumb typing with two hands on a standard screen, but it’s a lot better than trying to rope a full-sized keyboard onto a tiny screen, and it’s less socially awkward than speaking into your wrist. --- Looks promising. Android Wear really needs something else other than voice input for typing small notes. You don't half look like a burke talking into your watch.
15 days ago
Nest, Samsung will battle Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with new wireless protocol >>> Ars Technica
The biggest challenge to the Thread standard is that technology like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are both entrenched and universal. Most laptops, phones, tablets, and connected accessories already support one or both, and those standards could evolve to do most of what Thread does before it can gain a foothold in the majority of homes. Competition from other warring 802.15.4 protocols and things like Qualcomm and Microsoft's "AllSeen Alliance" will also affect adoption. The backing of big names like Google, Samsung, and ARM may help Thread, but a big name isn't always enough to establish a new industry-wide standard. --- Despite its merits, it's just another connection protocol. Do we really need another one? And how will smartphones interface with it?
15 days ago
Nerf NStrike ProCam: a blaster with built-in camera so you can record your takedowns >>> Pocket-lint
While the camera sadly doesn't include a zoom function so you can zone in on your target like the pro sniper you probably long to be, you can use the camera with the accompanying controls on the blaster to record those Nerf darts flying through the air to show what an "ace shot" you really are. --- Insert appropriate "in my day" comment, here. But really, these would have been great in the 80s.
15 days ago
Three makes 0800 numbers free on SIM-only plans >>> Wired UK
In addition, all other numbers beginning with 08, such as 084 and 087 numbers, will now only cost 5p per minute to call. The network's new SIM-only plans start at £7 and include data allowances ranging from 500MB to all-you-can-eat. Opting for unlimited data and minutes will set you back £23 per month. --- Free phone numbers are now free. A revelation.
15 days ago
HTC marketing chief Ho, engineering head Liu said to quit >>> Bloomberg
The exit of the senior executives continues a series of management changes that include replacing its finance chief in 2012 and the return of Wang to a more hands-on role at the company last year. HTC has posted 11 consecutive quarters of falling revenue amid increased competition and a cut in marketing spending. --- Trouble at HTC despite the One M8 picking the company up.
15 days ago
BBC News - 'Hidden From Google' lists pages blocked by search engine
"Some seem to have been removed, but are not any longer - that is part of the reason the list remains short. Until I can verify that an article is being censored consistently across European domains, I cannot put it on the list in good conscience," he said. --- More controversy in the "right to be forgotten" fall out.
15 days ago
All-new Windows Phone experience: Lumia Cyan update >>> Conversations
And for people in the US, Cortana is the virtual assistant built around you. She tracks what you care about, helps you become more productive, and even gets better at her job the more she learns about you. Read about the hidden tricks of Cortana here and meet the brains behind it here. She is also pretty good at football predictions. -- Only for Americans, but good to see Microsoft's Google Now and Siri rival hit handsets.
15 days ago
Google’s BigDog LS3 robot 'pack mule' gets military testing, carrying 180kg for 20 miles >>> Pocket-lint
Lance Cpl. Brandon Dieckmann, who was given the task of controlling Big Dog, said: “I was surprised how well it works. I thought it was going to be stumbling around and lose its footing, but it’s actually proven to be pretty reliable and pretty rugged. I’d say 70 to 80 percent of the terrain we go through, it can go through. There are times when it is going to fall over, but most of the time it can self-right and get back up on its own." --- Google now powering battlefields everywhere.
15 days ago
National Parks to get mobile signal boost - Telegraph
The aim of the deal is to help communities living in National Parks to benefit from consistent high quality mobile connectivity, while minimising any adverse environmental impacts. --- No where will be safe from the gabble of phone calls.
16 days ago
Former Google [X] director and head of Glass Babak Parviz joins Amazon | 9to5Google
There’s no word on what he’s going to be doing at Amazon, but he did lead some of Google’s more ‘futuristic’ endeavors, an area that Amazon has yet to — at least publicly — make an entrance. He mentions doing work on a “few other things,” but it’s unclear whether he means within Amazon or elsewhere.

---- Is Amazon moving in on wearables? Possibly not, unless it can leverage its existing services.
16 days ago
LinkedIn Buys Newsle to Show Relevant News About People in Your Network
"LinkedIn and Newsle share a common goal: We both want to provide professional insights that make you better at what you do," Ryan Roslansky, head of content products at LinkedIn, wrote in a blog post announcing the deal. "For example, knowing more about the people in your network – like when they’re mentioned in the news – can surface relevant insights that help you hit your next meeting with them out of the park."

---- As useful as LinkedIn can be, do people really want to use it like Facebook?
16 days ago
Competition vs. Community >>> Jay Freeman (saurik)
I always then feel like I have to ask people who see jailbreaking as an "opportunity to better monetize what that saurik chump won't": are you actually prepared to handle the situation where I get fed up and leave? Do you rely on my software? Are you relying indirectly on the people who in turn rely on me, or my friends?

Things are not all happy and bliss in Apple jailbreaking land. Do people still feel the need to jailbreak after the recent iOS 7 and incoming iOS 8 updates?
16 days ago
A Warhol With Your Moose Head? Sotheby’s Teams With EBay - NYTimes.com
Starting this fall, most of Sotheby’s New York auctions will be broadcast live on a new section of eBay’s website. Eventually the auction house expects to extend the partnership, adding online-only sales and streamed auctions taking place anywhere from Hong Kong to Paris to London. The pairing would upend the rarefied world of art and antiques, giving eBay’s 145 million customers instant bidding access to a vast array of what Sotheby’s sells, from fine wines to watercolours by Cézanne.

----- Do eBay users really want access to Sotheby's? I can't see their clientele overlapping considerably
16 days ago
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