Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tron-like Glow headphones pulse to the music and your heart

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/27/glow-headphones/

At first glance, a pair of Glow headphones might seem like gimmicky glow-in-the-dark earbuds that are designed to get your attention and not much else. But look a little closer and you'll find something a whole lot more interesting: Glow purports to be the "world's first" pair of smart headphones embedded with laser light. Yep, that TRON-like glow from the cable emanates from something called Fibrance, a special light diffusing fiber from the folks over at Corning -- you know, the same folks who make that Gorilla Glass stuff. As for what makes it so "smart"? Well, the colored light of the cable isn't static -- it actually pulsates to the beat of the music. And, if all of Glow's Kickstarter goals are met, even to the beat of your heart.

But that isn't the only thing that makes Glow so unique. Glow is also one of a few pair of headphones that's designed to be compatible with Android right from the start. "Android never had a dedicated audio accessory," says Zi Wang, the man who came up with the idea for Glow almost two years ago. Wang would certainly know a thing or two about this -- he's currently employed at Google and has worked closely with the Android team. Though he invented the concept, however, Wang's role in Glow is mostly advisorial, leaving most of the operations up to a team he built himself. Leading the team is Rafal Zboinski, an engineer with a long history when it comes to research and development in both hardware and software.

"Close to 98 percent of audio accessories on the market don't work properly with Android devices," says Wang, adding that they mostly only work with iOS. What he means by this, is that these accessories often have features that mimic the built-in clicker found on Apple's earbuds. That clicker does all kinds of things, like adjust the volume, answer phone calls, play or pause the music and even take a photo. Those same functions, he says, don't always play well with Android. Seeing as Android has nearly 1.3 billion users around the world, this struck Wang as a severe oversight. "It deserves a compatible solution to iOS."

What sort of functions are they talking about? Well, in addition to the lights pulsing to the beat of the music or to your heart, there's also a five-way D-pad controller that communicates with your phone over Bluetooth LE. You can use the controller to do all the usual things, like change the volume, play/pause music and switch tracks. It should work with most music apps like Pandora, Rdio and Spotify. Pressing the center button would activate voice commands like Google Now and you can use it as a camera shutter button too. There's also a separate phone button to answer or reject calls, and that D-pad has a clip on the rear.

And that's not all. Wang is planning on much more advanced features that include the ability to understand contextual situations. For example, say you're running late for a meeting and you're in your car. Your phone would be clever enough to know all of that information already due to your scheduled appointments and it would recognize your mode of transportation based on data from speed and motion sensors. If you receive a message in that moment asking your whereabouts, you could simply press the up button to trigger a canned "I'm on my way" response. Another example, Wang says, is if the phone notices you're watching a movie, you could hit a button to trigger an "I'll get back to you" reply.

The catch here, however, is that most of these advanced features will be Android-only, at least to start. iOS users will still have base features like music controls and rhythmic light pulsing, but Wang lacks the resources right now to guarantee parity with both. iOS support is, however, one of Glow's stretch goals on Kickstarter.

Of course, Glow also touts a superior audio performance. It boasts dual balanced armature for great harmonic response and true sound reproduction. Wang says they've worked really closely with Knowles, a company that makes high-quality audio components for brands such as Sennheiser.

Interestingly, the Glow still hooks up to the phone via the regular ol' 3.5mm jack. With Bluetooth LE, why not just add stereo Bluetooth to the mix and remove the need to be tethered to the phone altogether? That's because if the battery ever goes out, you can still use the headphones as just regular headphones. "If the battery goes out on a 15 hour flight, you can still listen to music," says Wang. If it was wireless, you'd be out of luck. Still, Wang says Glow will offer eight hours of continuous use and the team is currently developing an attachment to extend the battery life if necessary.

In the end, Wang wants Glow to be more than just a pair of headphones. He wants them to be in the wearable category too. But while earbuds like the Bragi Dash is focused more on fitness, he wants Glow to be more about lifestyle, emphasizing more on utility and usability. "Our heartrate sensing and ability to express that, is about expression. When you're out running, you can see the light pulse faster according to the rhythm of your heart ... if it senses you're in a calm mood, the pulsing will slow down." There'll be a binary switch that lets you choose whether you'd prefer the light to pulse to the rhythm of the music or to your heartbeat.

Wang wants Glow to have a beautiful aesthetic, but he's also careful to make it out of quality materials. That aforementioned D-pad is made out of a soft polycarbonate, and the housing of the light fiber is wrapped in a TPE material that he says will ensure the cord be free of tangles. As for colors? They'll be available in red, green or blue -- sorry, no RGB color-switching mode yet.

Oh, and there's actually a story behind the choice of the Fibrance material itself. Two years ago when Wang came up with the idea, he wanted to use electro luminiscent light cables. Indeed, he was so far along in the creation process that he had already made prototypes and filmed a Kickstarter video for it. But he came across the Corning Fibrance material by chance at an event, and was so enamored by the technology that he had to make the hard decision to scrap the entire thing and start from scratch. They were only two weeks from launching, but he says he had to do it. It was a good decision in the end, he says, because between then and now, they've also integrated other important features like Bluetooth, the beat analysis and a much lower power chip (an ARM Cortex M0, if you're curious).

I had a chance to try out a working prototype of the Glow headphones, and while it's difficult to truly judge the audio quality in such a brief amount of time, I came away impressed. It was neither too bass-heavy nor too treble-heavy, striking a nice, rich balance between the two. The light, as advertised, did pulse according to the music, but not in a heavy staccato like I expected. Instead it sort of ebbed and flowed with the song, almost like a roller coaster of rhythm rather than anything that flashed or blinked (which I imagine would be far more annoying). It seems like a neat feature, but in all honesty I'd probably feel really self-conscious wearing such an eye-catching thing out in public.

Alright, so what's the damage? If you get in on the Early Bird Special, a pair of Glow headphones will set you back $127. Wait a little longer, and you can snag one for $149, which is a special Kickstarter price. It's certainly spendy, but that's about on-par with most premium headphones. There are also a couple of big-ticket Kickstarter packages -- the $1,000 developer kit will get you an SDK, while a $4,000 backing will get you and a friend invited to a special electric dance music event in Las Vegas, appropriate accommodations, plus three different Glow headphones.

It's worth noting here that certain features require the Kickstarter to hit certain stretch goals. iOS support will need $500,000, the ability for the Glow light to dance to steps and movement will need $750,000 and that cool heart rate monitor thing? That will require $1 million. Photosynthetic sensors don't come cheap.

"Kickstarter for us is a market validation," Wang says. "We want to see if people will like it. What do people think? Are we on the right track?" If you feel like it is and you're willing to put your money on it, then head over to Glow's freshly launched Kickstarter page to pledge your contribution.

[Image credit: Glow]


Source: Glow, Kickstarter


Norway Has Figured Out How To Solve The Problem Of Music Piracy

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/norway-music-piracy-statistics-2015-1

Johnny Depp pirate

New data from Norway reveals that music piracy has completely collapsed in the country. Music Business Worldwide is reporting that the country has hit upon a way to rely on streaming to encourage residents to enjoy music legally.

A new music industry survey asked people under 30 in Norway whether they illegally download music online. The study, carried out by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, revealed that there's been a substantial drop in the number of young Norwegian people illegally downloading content.

Norway music download survey

In five years, the number of people admitting to illegally downloading files online has gone from 80% of survey respondents to just 4%. The survey also revealed that less than 1% of young people in Norway said that illegal downloads were their main source of music.

The IFPI is, predictably, pleased with the result. "In the past five years, we have virtually eliminated the illegal file-sharing of music," said Marte Thorsby of IFPI Norge.

These numbers aren't a surprise — Norway has worked for years to reduce the number of residents engaging in piracy. An Ipsos survey from 2013 revealed a continuing decline in the amount of pirated music in Norway.

piracy in norway 2008 2012

So how is Norway managing to buck the trend and reduce the levels of piracy? Simple: Most people in Norway use streaming services instead of buying music.

Digital music is dominant in Norway, the ! IFPI say s. That's not unusual, but it's the popularity of streaming services that seems to have caused the decline in piracy.Digital music Norway

The IFPI says that income from streaming sites in Norway increased 60% from 2012 to 2013, and streaming accounts for 65% of Norway's music market. That's a big difference from other countries. The IFPI estimates that 27% of global digital music revenue comes from streaming services.

Streaming services like Spotify, Tidal and WiMP are big business in Norway, and it's these companies that the IFPI credits with reducing piracy. "We are now offering services that are both better and more user-friendly than illegal platforms," Thorge said.

Piracy is such a non-issue in Norway that police barely have to do anything about it. As Torrent Freak points out, the country hasn't been cracking down on filesharers like the US and UK have been. In fact, nobody in the country has been prosecuted for illegally downloading music, and no piracy sites are blocked by the country's internet service providers.

SEE ALSO: 11 Numbers That Show How Prolific Online Piracy Is Right Now

Join the conversation about this story »


Monday, January 26, 2015

​Sling TV Review: Holy Crap, We've Figured Out Internet Television

Source: http://gizmodo.com/sling-tv-review-holy-crap-weve-figured-out-internet-1681592627

​Sling TV Review: Holy Crap, We've Figured Out Internet Television

At some point, TV became complicated. It used to be this thing I would plop down in front of after school and mindlessly flip through. Then, in 2009, everything changed : analog signals were outlawed, and the new digital TV signals failed me in every way: my old television wasn't compatible, my house was too far from the broadcasting stations. A nearby traffic jam blocked the signal. For whatever reason, I gave up on regular TV years ago, and went digital. If it wasn't on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, it didn't exist.



This Concept Has a Use For Old Modular Phone Parts: A Supercomputer

Source: http://gizmodo.com/this-concept-has-a-use-for-old-modular-phone-parts-a-s-1681758808

This Concept Has a Use For Old Modular Phone Parts: A Supercomputer

Modular phones are certainly a popular idea right now, even if they're currently failing to deliver on their promise . But there's already a suggestion about what could happen to their parts when they're no longer wanted: they could simply slide together to form a supercomputer.



Sunday, January 25, 2015

drag2share: Here's How To Get A Copy Of Every Tweet You've Ever Posted (TWTR)

source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/~3/txYipRu9Xcc/how-to-see-old-tweets-using-twitter-archive-2015-1

Twitter only lets you see a portion of your tweet history, but there's an easy way to get a copy of everything.

You can request to download your Twitter archive, which contains a searchable collection of every tweet (and retweet) you've ever made since first making your account.

Here's how to request your own free Twitter archive.

First, head on over to Twitter, click on your avatar in the upper-right-hand corner, and select Settings.

steven tweedie

Next, scroll to the bottom of the page where you'll see a big button that says Request your archive.

Twitter archive

Click Request your archive, and you're all set! It might take a while, but Twitter will email you a download link of your entire tweet history, which you can search through using keywords, hashtags, date, and @ usernames.

You can read more about what you can do with your Twitter archive here.


drag2share: The music industry's best-known production app will soon be free

source: http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/25/pro-tools-first/?utm_source=Feed_Classic_Full&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Engadget&?ncid=rss_full

Pro Tools First

You've probably heard the output of Avid's Pro Tools audio production software, even if you don't know what it's like -- it's virtually a staple of the music industry, and spawned now-famous (or infamous) effects like Auto Tune. There hasn't been a cheap way to try it for nearly 15 years, however, so it's not exactly practical for crafting songs in your basement. Thankfully, Avid's about to lower the barriers to entry. It recently unveiled Pro Tools First, a free version that lets you get your feet wet. It includes a "subset" of the usual features (you're mainly missing extra tracks, score editing and video playback), but it otherwise behaves like the paid version. You won't have to relearn anything if you hit the big time and start using the full software.

The real catch (besides the lack of a release date) is Avid's dependence on after-the-fact purchases to make money. You'll get 21 audio effect plugins from the outset, but you'll have to pay for more. Also, First only lets you keep three projects in the cloud for free. While you can export finished tracks when you're done, you'll have to fork over cash if you want permanent offline copies or more online space. All the same, this junior version of Pro Tools may be enough if you want to spruce up your indie band's sound without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to get started.


drag2share: Carnival's floating IMAX theater is the cruise line's version of sunblock

source: http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/25/carnival-cruise-will-have-an-imax-theater-naturally/?utm_source=Feed_Classic_Full&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Engadget&?ncid=rss_full

IMAX Theatre@Urawa Parco

Not to be outdone by Dolby opening its own large-format theater, the folks at IMAX are putting one of their massive screens on a cruise ship. Yes. Really. IMAX says that not only is this an industry first, but that the screen will be three decks high and debut next spring on what'll be the cruise line's biggest ship: the newly minted Vista. The outfit promises recent flicks and classics alike will be shown, in addition to IMAX documentaries. The best way to have seen Interstellar isn't all that the Vista has in store for avoiding the sunlight, either. Next door is what Carnival's calling the "Thrill Theater" where you can check out "multidimensional special effects experience." Given Carnival's less-than-stable history, we're going to imagine that rules out a 3D version of The Poseidon Adventure.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Try Flavored Vinegars for Low-Calorie Flavor Boost in Your Recipes

Source: http://lifehacker.com/try-flavored-vinegars-for-low-calorie-flavor-boost-in-y-1677136348

Try Flavored Vinegars for Low-Calorie Flavor Boost in Your Recipes

If you're looking to boost the flavor in your food while keeping it healthy, check out infused vinegars. Flavored vinegars give everything a bit of a boost and just add a few calories.

Healthy foods like salads can become unhealthy calorie bombs if you use too much dressing. If you're getting bored with your recipes, instead of adding fat or chemicals, add some vinegar.

We've covered some make-your-own salad dressings before, but specialty vinegars add flavor to everything without many calories. Soups, marinades and anything that uses a little vinegar taste better with a different style. The Kitchn explains that balsamic is a good start, but there's more on the shelf:

While balsamic gets a lot of attention, red wine vinegar has a nice bite to it and rice wine vinegar has a sweetness that is great in a lot of salads or to pickle vegetables. I recently discovered brown rice vinegar which has a delicate sweetness and is wonderful in salad dressings, as is apple cider or champagne vinegar.

Many upscale malls and even supermarkets are getting on the flavored vinegar trends. I have a half dozen in my pantry right now ranging from sweet like chocolate and blood orange to spicy like harissa and chipotle. All you need is a tablespoon or so to change up your recipe.

7 Pantry Essentials That Help Me Eat Healthier | The Kitchn

Photo by N Wong.


Friday, January 23, 2015

It's Going To Be A Big Problem If The Apple Watch Can't Even Last A Day (AAPL)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-watch-battery-life-2015-1

apple watch

Imagine this scenario:

You wake up at 6 a.m. and go to the gym. Then it's off to work for eight or nine hours. Then dinner and maybe drinks. You're home by 11 p.m.

Is your Apple Watch dead?

Based on a report from 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman, the answer is probably yes, especially if you use the watch a lot.

Gurman reports that Apple has been targeting 2.5 to 4 hours of active use on the Apple Watch. (That means the screen is on.) If you include a mix of active use standby mode (when the screen is off), Apple is shooting for about 19 hours on a charge.

Gurman was careful to note that these were Apple's battery life targets as of 2014, so it's possible Apple has figured out a way to squeeze more out of the battery in time for the watch's launch in a few months.

Meanwhile, other smartwatches on the market can last a lot longer. For example, Samsung's Gear 2 watch can last up to three days on a charge with normal use.

When I brought this up on Twitter this week, a lot of people pointed out that you can just charge your Apple Watch midday at work, like many people do with their iPhones. But that defeats the purpose of what the Apple Watch is designed to do. 

As Apple's own promotional materials point out, the Apple Watch is first and foremost a watch. Everything else from fitness tracking to receiving texts is just gravy. But if Apple wants to replace your current watch, creating one that can't even make it through a full day of use isn't going to cut it. Regular watches last months, years, or forever (if you have a self-charging model). Based on Gurman's report, you'll be lucky if your Apple Watch is still going by the time you go to bed at night.

And removing your watch in the middle of the day to charge it means you're missing out on the device's fitness monitoring and other handy features.

Apple has been relatively quiet on the Apple Watch'! s batter y life so far. The official line is you'll have to charge it nightly. If you can truly make it the whole day on a charge, it probably won't be a problem for most people. But if the "active" usage is on the lower end of Apple's targets, battery life is going to be a big problem for the Apple Watch.

SEE ALSO: I Found My New Favorite iPhone Accessory

Join the conversation about this story »


Thursday, January 22, 2015

NVIDIA's newest GPU crams in tons of power without a hefty price

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/22/nvidias-newest-gpu-crams-in-maxwell-power-without-a-hefty-price/

If you've been tempted by NVIDIA's high-end GTX 970 and 980 video cards, but couldn't justify their high prices, the company's latest entry is made for you. NVIDIA is rounding out its Maxwell family of video cards today with the GTX 960, a desktop GPU that it describes as hitting the "sweet spot" when it comes to price and performance. It's far more powerful than the entry-level GTX 750 and 750 Ti announced a year ago, but at $199 it's significantly cheaper than its high-end siblings (though some variations may be a tad more expensive). Just how powerful is the GTX 960? Enough for you to be able to play modern games like Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed: Unity in 1080p with the highest settings and still get a silky smooth frame rate of 60 FPS -- at least, according to NVIDIA. Expect to see video card makers roll out their GTX 960 cards over the next few weeks.

The GTX 960 also delivers one of the more intriguing features from the beefier Maxwell cards: 4K-like gaming on 1080p screens. While it probably won't be powerful enough to play graphics-heavy games in 4K, it can run less intensive games like League of Legends at that higher resolution and translate the sharper textures into something usable for your 1080p monitor. The GTX 960 sports 1,024 CUDA cores (half of the GTX 980's cores, and a bit less than the 970's 1,664) with a base clock speed of 1.1GHz. NVIDIA's also left in plenty of overclocking headroom -- it claims you can bump the GPU up to 1.5GHz without much effort (assuming the card you're using has decent cooling).

In short, the GTX 960 is the NVIDIA card most gamers should be snapping up. It's replacing the three-year-old GTX 660, which is certainly due for an upgrade. And aside from just being more powerful, it also includes some features gamers might appreciate. It'll run MOBAs like League of Legends silently, and it only needs a single six-pin power connector, both on account of Maxwell's impressive power efficiency. And the GTX 960 supports NVIDIA's new MFAA (multi-frame anti-aliasing) feature, which delivers most of the benefits of traditional anti-aliasing without the performance hit. In a live demo running Far Cry 3, simply turning on 4X MFAA bumped the frame rate from 43 FPS to 53 FPS.

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How small is an atom, really? (or how to make your head explode)

Source: http://sploid.gizmodo.com/how-atoms-are-so-weird-that-they-are-almost-impossible-1680999932

How small is an atom, really? (or how to make your head explode)

Kurzgesagt has a neat new explainer: "How small is an atom?" I watched it. It does a great job at giving you an idea of how small atoms are and how they work. But it doesn't matter, because my brain just plainly refuses to believe any of this. Hulk head hurt. Hulk smash atoms. Oops, Hulk make nuclear detonation.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

drag2share: Microsoft reveals the 'Surface Hub,' an 84-inch 4K all-in-one

source: http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/21/microsoft-reveals-the-surface-hub/?utm_source=Feed_Classic_Full&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Engadget&?ncid=rss_full

Today might be all about the next chapter in Windows, but there's something for the hardware-heads, too. Specifically the Surface Hub -- which joins Surface tablets, and Lumia smartphones on Redmond's roster of gear offerings. This beast is basically a large all-in-one PC (slash smart display) that is fully loaded with sensors, speakers, WiFi, NFC, microphones, cameras and more. The funniest thing? This huge device has been hiding in plain sight for the duration of Microsoft's keynote today.

While technically it's a regular Windows machine, it's fair to say that this is very much a business/collaboration tool. The most elaborate intelligent whiteboard you can imagine! No doubt, this is fruit from Microsoft's purchase of Perceptive Pixel, and of course, Redmond wants this to be the center of the modern workplace. For example, Hayete Gallot (senior director of business security), was careful to mention the special, large-screen apps that will come along with Windows 10 -- perfect for that 84-inch real estate. Naturally, Skype for Business is baked right in, too. And while business features can sometimes be a bit, y'know, dry... neat touches like being able to mark up presentations with a pen, and auto-sharing projects to attendees after a conference call do sound like a future of business we'd want to be part of. No details on when you can deck out your boardroom just yet though.


Microsoft's HoloLens headset is a holographic display for Windows 10

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/21/microsofts-hololens-headset-gives-your-windows-10-pc-a-holograp/

Microsoft is building support for holographic displays into Windows 10, so it only makes sense that the company would make one of those displays, wouldn't it? Meet HoloLens, an official headset with see-through lenses that merges digital content with the physical. It includes spatial sound so that you can hear things happening behind you in the virtual world, and it even has a dedicated Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) to make sure everything works smoothly. The company is shy about just when it'll start selling HoloLens, but it should be available "in the Windows 10 time frame."

Filed under: , ,



New amazing metal is so hydrophobic it makes water bounce like magic

Source: http://sploid.gizmodo.com/new-amazing-metal-is-so-hydrophobic-it-makes-water-boun-1680799039

New amazing metal is so hydrophobic it makes water bounce like magic

Scientists at the University of Rochester have created a metal that is so extremely hydrophobic that the water bounces on it as if it were repelled by a magic force field. Instead of using chemical coatings they used lasers to etch a nanostructure on the metal itself. It will not wear off, like current less effective methods.



Teenage Engineering will put a synth in your pocket for $59

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2015/01/21/teenage-engineering-pocket-operator-synths/

Teenage Engineering PO-12

Teenage Engineering has carved out a niche in the electronic music world. Its OP-1 is a highly adaptable synth that puts industrial design on par with sound quality and features. If there's one thing the OP-1 isn't, it's affordable. The basic synth is priced at a cool $799, pitting it against considerably more-established options from Roland, Korg, Moog and others. With its latest products, however, the Swedish startup is looking to put a whole lot of music-making power in your hands for a very low price.

The Pocket Operator (PO) series is a set of three miniature battery-powered synths, all priced at $59. There's the PO-12 "Rhythm" drum machine, the PO-14 "Sub" bass synth, and the PO-16 "Factory" melody unit. All three have 16-step sequencing and a selection of 16 sounds to choose from, and also offer 16 additional effects. There aren't any official videos available just yet (we'll update the article when they become available), but you can check out a clip of musician Cuckoo playing with a prototype PO-12 (which has been known about for some time) after the break.

Video of a prototype OP-12 -- the final version has a display and more effects.

As you'd expect from Teenage Engineering, the POs are very pretty. Powered by two AAA batteries, the synths are totally stripped back. Each is just a circuit board with a display and a number of mechanical switches and knobs. They do have the built-in speakers, 3.5mm in and outs, parameter locks and sync functionality you'd expect from a pocket synth, but the whole vibe is very barebones.

Teenage Engineering PO-16

Teenage Engineering is collaborating with fellow Swedish brand Cheap Monday -- best known for clothing Williamsburg's finest in skin-tight jeans and all manner of knitwear -- to bring its POs to market. Cheap Monday has its branding on each of the POs, and is also offering a range of Teenage Engineering-themed graphic tees and pins for displaying your brand allegiance. In addition to the clothing tie-ins, it's producing a more-functional case (priced at $39) for protecting your synths. All of the gear will launch tomorrow, timed with the start of NAMM trade show -- at $177 for the full suite, we expect them to sell very well.

Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator family