Friday, July 18, 2014

Netflix is testing a private mode that keeps your watching habits under wraps

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/18/netflix-privacy-mode/

Netflix Garners Two Top Show Nominations With 'Cards,' 'Orange'

If you've ever wanted to keep those embarrassing Netflix choices from family members or your social-networking pals, you might soon be in luck. According to the folks over at Gigaom, the streaming subscription service is currently testing a "Privacy Mode." This means that viewed titles won't appear in that Recently Viewed section on the main screen and they also won't factor into future recommendations. Select users across all of the company's locales are privy to the feature as part of the trial. Of course, there's a chance that it may never become a staple in the settings menu -- that's dependent on the results of the experiment.

[Photo credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

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Source: Gigaom

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The Cute and Sometimes Creepy Creations of the Willy Wonka of Robots

Source: http://gizmodo.com/the-cute-and-sometimes-creepy-creations-of-the-willy-wo-1607392955

The Cute and Sometimes Creepy Creations of the Willy Wonka of Robots

Instead of killing kids during private tours of his fantastical factory, Alex Reben is a Willy Wonka-type character of a different sort. He builds robots for a living—seemingly just for fun—and while some of his creations are certainly distressing, they're all fun to watch, interact with, or just ponder. The folks at Cool Hunting had the opportunity to check out Alex's lab, and thankfully, they brought a camera.

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PC giant Lenovo halts US sales of small Windows tablets

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/18/lenovo-halts-us-sales-of-small-windows-tablets/

Lenovo has pulled all of its smaller Windows tablets from US shelves, citing a lack of demand. The world's largest Windows computer maker had two models on the market: the 8-inch, stylus-equipped Miix 2 and the ThinkPad 8. A spokesman told PC World that it'll shuttle remaining stock of both of those models over to developing countries where "demand has been much stronger." Lenovo will continue to sell all its other Windows-based tablets stateside, like the 10-inch Miix 2 convertible and ThinkPad 10, saying those models are selling well stateside. It's fair to say consumers won't miss the ThinkPad 8 anyway, as the model was saddled with terrible battery life and other issues. Ironically, Microsoft recently made Windows free for devices 9-inches in size or smaller -- but clearly the price was just one issue consumers had with small Windows tablets.

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Source: PC World

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This beautiful rainbow insect is actually a wasp

Source: http://sploid.gizmodo.com/this-beautiful-rainbow-insect-is-a-wasp-1606998758/+jesusdiaz

This beautiful rainbow insect is actually a wasp

So today I learned that all wasps are not yellow and black. There's a an iridescent rainbow variant called the cuckoo wasp—of which this is a particularly beautiful specimen. They are kleptoparasitic wasps, who lay eggs in others insects' nest. The baby wasps will then eat the eggs or larva in the nest. Gorgeous bastards.

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Should You Get Amazon Kindle Unlimited?

Source: http://gizmodo.com/should-you-get-amazon-kindle-unlimited-1607137417

Should You Get Amazon Kindle Unlimited?

Amazon's Kindle Unlimited service is now available , offering access to 600,000 book titles and 8,000 audiobook titles for $10 a month. You can start a free trial today, but if you'd like to know immediately whether this is the digital borrowing service for you, we've got the answer:

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After 150 Years, Scientists Finally Know How Barnacle Glue Works

Source: http://gizmodo.com/after-150-years-of-mystery-scientists-now-know-how-bar-1607232968

After 150 Years, Scientists Finally Know How Barnacle Glue Works

Over a century and a half ago, Charles Darwin first described the remarkable adhesive capabilities of barnacles. He couldn't figure out how their natural superglue worked, though. And it took until now to finally unlock the barnacle glue's mysteries.

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It's Now Clear Why Amazon Is Making A Phone — And Why People Will Buy It (AMZN)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-ad-for-fire-phone-2014-7

amazon fire phone woman puzzled weird thinking

Amazon's first ad for the Fire Phone makes a simple, direct pitch: Buy the phone, and you'll get videos and games from Amazon Prime for free. Simple as that.

The Verge thinks it's a "strange" choice for a TV commercial, but I beg to differ. The Amazon phone is expensive and doesn't have the features to compete with Apple's iPhone or Samsung's Galaxy line. It begs the question, why would Amazon bother to get into the super-competitive phone business? Samsung and Apple already split all the profits in the business between them. It's virtually impossible even for well-resourced companies like HTC or Motorola to get a toehold in the market. After Apple and Samsung, the third biggest slice of phone market share globally belongs to Huawei, with just 4.7%, according Strategy Analytics.

smartphone market shareAnd Amazon is likely losing money on the Fire phone.

The one advantage it does have is all the free content and shipping you can get from Amazon for buying one. Amazon doesn't need to dominate the phone business like Apple or Samsung. All it needs is to add incremental users who shop heavily on Amazon and stay tied in to Amazon's attractive ecosystem of low-cost stuff (Amazon has a policy of insisting on the lowest prices possible from its vendors) coupled with free stuff (movies and games in this case) coupled with free shippin! g (Amazo n Prime) on anything else you buy.

Once those customers are tied in more heavily through their phones, they're basically just more shopping revenue for Amazon.

And if you use Amazon a lot but don't need the very best phone on the market, then the Fire phone probably looks a pretty good deal. Why not get all your movies and shipping free for a year? Here's the spot:

SEE ALSO: Delay Of Large iPhone Is The Best Possible News For Samsung

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Facebook Now Lets You Buy Things Straight From Your News Feed

Source: http://gizmodo.com/facebook-now-lets-you-buy-things-straight-from-your-new-1606723998

Facebook Now Lets You Buy Things Straight From Your News Feed

Facebook is just full of surprises today. After releasing its new Mentions app earlier, the company has just announced the latest in its long history of experiments: Giving you the ability to buy things straight from your News Feed.

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A Hoodie Made From Speaker Fabric Won't Muffle Your Headphones

Source: http://gizmodo.com/a-hoodie-made-from-speaker-fabric-wont-muffle-your-head-1606738990

A Hoodie Made From Speaker Fabric Won't Muffle Your Headphones

Originally designed for home or recording studio use, over-the-ear headphones somehow became a popular choice for music aficionados on-the-go. We can probably blame Sony's Walkman for that, but it means that Betabrand's new Audio Engineer's Hoodie—which uses speaker fabric on the hood so headphones can be worn over it—isn't necessarily just for those hiding in an over air conditioned studio all day.

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IRL: A 24-inch AOC monitor that doubles as a gigantic Android tablet

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/17/irl-android-all-in-one/

What can you do with 24 inches of Jelly Bean that you can't do with 10? Manufacturers like Acer, Asus and ViewSonic have been building oversized Android-powered devices for a couple years now; I was determined to find out why, so I spent a few weeks with AOC's own all-in-one. The hybrid external monitor will run you $370 on Amazon -- more than twice what you'll pay for a comparable 1080p screen -- but this pricier model adds stock Android 4.2.2 with a touchscreen interface. With the tap of a button, the integrated quad-core processor and eight gigs of storage spring into action, effectively converting this otherwise ordinary monitor into a complete Android-powered machine. There's even an integrated 720p webcam, and with stock Jelly Bean on board, you can install whatever apps you'd like from Google Play.

But where exactly should you install such a device? Based on the AOC A2472PW4T's marketing materials, it seems that the company thinks its all-in-one would be a good fit for the kitchen. So that's where I put it. There aren't any water-resistant elements to speak of, so I kept it away from the sink and did my best to avoid spills. Greasy fingers are inevitable when you're preparing a scratch-made meal, however, so I did a fair amount of wiping after I worked through my one and only Android-powered cooking session.

I've used a laptop to display web recipes before, but this was my first experience cooking with an app. I went with the first one I spotted in the category, Allthecooks, which had plenty of user-submitted options and a handy shopping list feature that could sync with my phone. I typed in my two key ingredients of chicken and maple syrup (of which I seem to have an infinite supply) and after a few taps and swipes, I landed on lunch. The finished product looked nothing like the picture, but I can hardly fault AOC for my inability to follow instructions. It tasted delicious, at least, though I'm still not convinced that protein and syrup should ever meet on the dinner plate.

Even though I've since moved the AiO back to my desk, I consider my first (and probably last) Android-in-the-kitchen experience to be a success. I just don't need a gigantic tablet in my life. Thankfully, there's quite a bit of flexibility here. The display tilts at either 15 or 57 degrees, depending on whether you want to use the AiO as a monitor or as an extra-large slate. There's a standard VGA connector and an HDMI port, so you can plug in just about any PC.

On the "Smart All-in-One" microsite, AOC plays up the device's multimedia capabilities, including what the company describes as "superior sound," which supposedly comes from the integrated 2-watt speakers. The music I played sounded distorted and tinny -- "superior" to a low-end smartphone, perhaps, but not much else. You also get an audio input, headphone jack, an SD card slot, three USB ports and even an Ethernet port. There's also integrated WiFi -- getting online is as easy as it is with an Android tablet or a smartphone. You can attach a wired keyboard and mouse, using the same peripherals with Android as you do with your PC.

PC mode (or Mac mode, in this case) is my preference going forward. If you prefer Android to Windows or Mac OS, or your home doesn't have enough computers to go around, it might make sense to use the AOC with Android, but the mobile operating system is designed for media consumption, not creation -- Jelly Bean can't replace a desktop OS, regardless of how large it may scale. If you're looking for a very basic all-in-one, this should meet your needs, but while it's capable of serving as a dedicated second screen to your laptop or a primary display for your desktop, there are plenty of far cheaper alternatives that offer better performance in a slimmer form factor, to boot.

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Google confirms Android Wear will support custom watch faces

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/17/google-android-wear-custom-watch-faces/

Since its beginnings, the Android platform has been known for being heavily customizable. As such, it's not exactly a surprise to hear Google say its new smartwatch ecosystem, Android Wear, is due to support watch faces from third-party developers. However, having actual confirmation makes for perfect peace of mind. In a Google+ post, Android's VP of Design Matias Duarte affirmed this would be the case, stating that the Wear team is already working on a custom watch face API. "Customization has helped Android thrive, and the same will be true for Android Wear," he wrote. The incoming API will make it "as simple as possible" for devs to make all-around great watch faces, ones which can look good, not drain a battery and blend well with the watches card-based UI. Duarte said "some" of these things won't be available until later this year, but that they are, without a doubt, on their way. So, don't worry, soon enough you'll have better choices to deck out that fancy, smart tick-tock wearabl! e of yours.

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Via: Android Police

Source: Matias Duarte (Google+)

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Text your friends even when you don't have service

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/17/text-your-friends-even-when-you-dont-have-service/

Ever needed to send a message to a friend from the boonies? A company called goTenna has just launched a device that connects to your phone via Bluetooth and turns it into a low-frequency radio with a range of several miles (up to 50 miles). Using an iOS or Android app, that'll let you text or share GPS locations (no voice calls) over an unlimited, free ad hoc network with other goTenna users. The team behind it says that everything is encoded, and the app will automatically retry until your message goes through -- in case you're hiking in difficult terrain, for instance. The company's planning on selling a limited number for $150 per pair on its site to raise $50,000 in funding -- after that, it'll run $300.

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Source: goTenna

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NVIDIA's Shield tablet leaks with Tegra Note styling

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/17/nvidias-shield-tablet-leaks-with-tegra-note-styling/

We've been hearing rumblings about NVIDIA's slate-style Shield successor, and now we have a face to go with the info. Thanks to noted leaker @evleaks, we're given a glimpse of the gaming tablet's front side. From the looks of it, speakers line the top and bottom (or left and right in landscape) of the display with what appears to be a front-facing camera as well. All told, the gunmetal gray color scheme drapes a design that resembles last year's Tegra Note. As far as internals go, previous rumblings point to 7.9-inch screen with 2GB of RAM and a quad-core Tegra K1 CPU, complete with Unreal Engine 4 abilities. What remains to be see is if that controller we got a peek at a while back is an accessory to wrangle traditional controls or if the new NVIDIA slate will also double as a home console for PC title streaming. We shouldn't' have to wait long for a proper introduction though, as the company has already hinted that the official reveal will happen before the end of 2014.

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Source: @evleaks

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A Robot Swarm descends on NYC's Museum of Math

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/17/a-robot-swarm-descends-on-nycs-museum-of-math/

Roboticist-in-residence James McLurkin offered an advanced preview of his Robot Swarm at NYC's Museum of Mathematics this week. The presentation detailed the background and programming concepts of these sensor- and speaker-laden bots -- which have a habit of spitting out 8-bit-style tunes while they work. The digital creatures exhibit group behaviors much like ants and bees, working together to map out their surroundings and communicating with each other -- and there's a definite hierarchy to their organization. The Robot Swarm exhibit will be open to the public when it's completed later this year and will be displayed beneath a transparent floor so you can watch the action happen from your own god-like perspective. Head on down to the gallery for a closer look at how the Robot Swarm will organize itself when robopocalypse finally arrives.

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Amazon testing Netflix-style subscription service for e-books

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/16/amazon-kindle-unlimited/

Ever heard of Kindle Unlimited? Us either, at least not until now. Originally spotted by kboards, a forum site that welcomes Kindle chatter, this previously unknown service appears to be an upcoming all-you-can-read subscription service from Amazon. For $9.99 monthly, as described by the image above, Kindle Unlimited is said to offer access to more than 600,000 books and "thousands" of audiobooks. Not surprisingly, that healthy digital library doesn't appear to include any of the major US publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon & Shuster) -- something e-book subscription service Scribd is very familiar with, since it only carries titles from one of the "Big 5." Amazon has yet to announce Kindle Unlimited, but after seeing these ads slip through the cracks, we can safely say it's only a matter of time before it becomes official.

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Source: Kindle Boards, Gigaom

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Google's Wallet apps now handle your gift cards

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/16/google-wallet-gift-card-support/

Google Wallet app handling gift cards

Gift cards are supposed to be pleasant surprises, but they can frequently be headaches; assuming you remember to bring them in the first place, you have to keep tabs on any leftover credit. They should be easier to manage after today, though. Google has just rolled gift card support into the Wallet apps for both Android and iOS. All you have to do is either snap a photo of a card or type in its info. After that, you can safely leave the plastic at home. Some merchants, such as AMC, Best Buy and Whole Foods, will also show the remaining balance on their cards.

If you aren't fortunate enough to have any gift credits on hand, don't fret -- there are a few upgrades for people who still have to pay with their own money. You can now ask for payments from friends through either the app or Gmail, and you can send your own payments using a debit card. Spanish-language users will also be glad to know that the app now works in their native tongue. The new features are US-only at the moment, but we wouldn't rule out expanded availability in the long run.

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Source: Google Commerce, App Store, Google Play

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Here's what it looks like to ride in the Tour de France

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/16/tour-de-france-on-bike-video/

The world of sports is actively finding ways to adopt new camera technologies. Namely, to help determine if a ball has crossed the goal line or, why not, to broadcast a player's point of view from a pair of glasses. In the case of the Tour de France, cycling's most celebrated competition, its governing body finally took the plunge and began allowing riders to mount a camera on their bikes. Thanks to that, Le Tour's 2014 edition, which is now at about its halfway point, has been giving us a great, inside look at the experience. Surprisingly, as Gizmodo points out, GoPro seems isn't the main choice for Tour de France teams, which is a bit strange given the popularity of the Hero line of cameras. Instead, most bicycles at the event are equipped with a CM-1000 from Shimano, a large manufacturer of cycling gear. Regardless, this is still a perfect chance to see what it's like inside the Tour de France pack, nev! er mind who's providing the cameras.


[Image credit: AFP/Getty Images]

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Via: Gizmodo

Source: Shimano

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Samsung's Level 'premium' portable audio line makes its US debut

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/16/samsungs-level-premium-portable-audio-line-makes-its-us-debut/

We were privy to Samsung's premium portable audio plans a few days before the rumblings of an Apple/Beats affair surfaced. The Level series of portable audio gadgets goes on sale tomorrow (July 17th) with appropriately-named options for over-ear, on-ear, in-ear and Bluetooth speaker listening -- covering the same bases as Dr. Dre's outfit. Level Over, the set of over-ear cans, is the priciest of the lot, asking $350 for its active noise cancellation, on-board controls, wireless connectivity and stitched leather-esque accents. There's also a Level App that's designed to tune the set to the environment or content you're consuming. As evidenced by their monikers, the Level On and Level In are the on-ear and in-ear entries, priced at $180 and $150 respectively. For those who prefer a wireless speaker, the $170 Level Box packs one-touch NFC or regular ol' Bluetooth pairing for its 15 hours of service. Unfortunately, we're waiting to judge the group with our own ears, but you can rest assured we'll offer up detailed observations when we do. The entire line goes on sale at Gilt.com tomorrow, with Amazon, Samsung.com and Best Buy's Samsung Experience Shops stocking them all before the end of next week.

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Source: Samsung

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New fighter pilot helmet delivers night vision without goggles

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/16/bae-striker-ii-helmet/

BAE Systems' Striker II helmet

Fighter pilots have access to helmets with amazing abilities. However, they still have to strap on heavy night vision goggles to fly in the dark -- an all too literal pain in the neck. Much to aircrews' relief, BAE Systems wants to make that clunky headgear a distant memory. Its brand new Striker II helmet includes a night vision camera that projects its footage on to the visor's high-resolution display, giving the pilot a good look at the outside world without the need for extra equipment. The tech should be far more comfortable during lengthy missions, especially in sharp turns where G-forces make any added weight feel that much worse.

That's not the only party trick, either. An array of lights on the back of the Striker II help guide a head-tracking system that keeps projected information in close sync with head movements; a pilot caught in a dogfight won't have to wait crucial moments for flight info to drift into view. The gotcha for any aspiring aces? BAE hasn't said just when it expects the Striker II to go into service, or who might be a customer. The original Striker is currently in use by air forces flying Eurofighter Typhoons and Saab Gripens, though, so it makes sense that they'd be some of the first to line up.

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Via: The Telegraph, BBC

Source: BAE Systems

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Scuba divers get their own underwater comms network

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/17/aqwary-smart-console-dive-communications/

Most teenagers would probably tell you that they'd die if you took away nonverbal communication, but one subset of our population actually could: scuba divers. They can't exactly send texts via smartphone to one another because saltwater, and water in general, makes it hard to transmit information between dive buddies using traditional methods like electromagnetic waves and even sound waves. And as The Verge points out, hand signals only work if the other person is paying attention to you. One company, however, thinks it has the solution for scuba-lives less frightening, and no, it isn't a subaquatic version of Snapchat. Aqwary's Smart Console system uses ultrasonic hydrophones to create a local network between divers (and those in the boat on the surface), where vital data like location info, air supply status and even temperature of up to 70 divers within some 328 feet is shared automatically and viewable via a colorful OLED screen. Should the oxygen tanks run low for any of said divers, the Smart Console will send an alert to everyone in the area.

Further on the safety side, if a Scuba Steve gets trapped underwater he can send an alarm out manually so a rescue can happen in short order. However, if coral reefs or shipwrecks become passé and you'd rather catch up with Piper Chapman or beam out a tweet while under the sea, that'll have to wait for now. The company says there isn't enough bandwidth for the former, but the latter could show up next year -- FOMO, much?

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Via: The Verge

Source: Aqwary

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LG's G3 Beat has laser autofocus and a smaller screen, but it's still pretty big

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/17/lg-g3-beat/

Now that LG's marched out its latest flagship smartphone, its time to repeat the process for smaller hands. That's where the G3 Beat comes in, folding in laser-guided camera autofocus, that self-learning keyboard, LTE and a removable 2,540mAh battery. What it doesn't get, however, is that ridiculously sharp quad-HD display found on the G3. Given that LG's positioned as a mid-range phone, it's not going to apologize for that -- it was most likely the priciest part of LG's bigger flagship smartphone. We would like the company, however, to explain exactly why it's called the G3 Beat, because we have no idea. That's what the phone will be called at launch tomorrow in Korea, but when it launches globally later this year, it'll be called the G3 s. Tame? Sure, but that second name makes a lot more sense.

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Source: LG

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This is the weirdest engine I have ever seen

Source: http://sploid.gizmodo.com/this-is-the-weirdest-engine-i-havee-ever-seen-1605020251/+jesusdiaz

This is the weirdest engine I have ever seen

According to Duke Engineering, their axial engine is the most efficient and lightest engine you can put in boats, light aircrafts, and generators—the mechanical engine of the (near) future! Maybe. I don't know if their claims are true and I don't really care. I just love watching it in action in this eternal gif.

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Google prepares modular phone dev kits (but your idea had better be good)

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/14/google-takes-project-ara-module-kit-requests/

Project Ara prototype up close

If you're a developer eager to start tinkering with Google's Project Ara modular phone technology as quickly as possible, it's time to get in line. The company has started taking requests for test boards; if you fill out the form before July 18th and meet Google's expectations, you could have (very) early hardware in your hands before the end of the month. Latecomers can get in on a second wave if they sign up no later than August 18th. Just don't assume that you can pick up a kit purely out of curiosity. Google is prioritizing the board requests based on your know-how and the "strength" of your proposed module concept -- it wants signs that there's a real device in the works. You'll have to sit tight if you're simply a fan of the build-your-own-phone concept, then, but it's apparent that Project Ara is quickly becoming a tangible reality.

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Via: Pocketnow

Source: Eduardo Ruiz (Google+), Project Ara

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Monday, July 14, 2014

drag2share: Verizon√Ęs FIOS Netflix speed tanks as finger-pointing by both companies continues

source: http://gigaom.com/2014/07/14/verizons-fios-netflix-speed-tanks-as-finger-pointing-by-both-companies-continues/

Verizon FIOS subscribers continue to see buffering Netflix streams, and the situation is apparently getting worse: Netflix's latest ISP speed index saw the average speed of Netflix streams watched by FIOS subscribers decline to 1.58 MBPS in June, down from 1.9 MBPS in May, and well below average speeds seen on other ISPs. The average speed of Netflix streams requested by Cablevision customers was 3.1MBPS in June, and Comcast customers got their Netflix fare with an average of 2.61 MBPS.

netflix isp speed index june 2014

Verizon actually used to fare a lot better in Netflix's ISP speed index. Last fall, Netflix streams to FIOS customers were still averaging up to 2.22 MBPS, but speeds have been in freefall since January.

Both companies continue to blame each other for the reason behind the slow-down, with Verizon public policy VP David Young once again arguing last week that Netflix was deliberately choosing a transit route without enough capacity to serve FIOS customers.

Netflix executives have been countering this by saying that Verizon has chosen to limit interconnection capacity in order to get Netflix to pay for peering. Both parties reached a commercial agreement, which includes such payments, in April — but the results of that agreement have yet to be felt by Verizon customers.

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Home Depot begins selling MakerBot 3D printers

Source: http://gigaom.com/2014/07/14/home-depot-begins-selling-makerbot-3d-printers/

Now for sale at Amazon, Radioshack and Staples, 3D printers are getting less and less difficult to find. Home Depot became the latest retailer to offer 3D printers today when it began selling MakerBots online and in 12 stores nationwide. The store is selling three printer models, plus MakerBot’s 3D scanner and filament. The 12 stores are located in California, Illinois and New York. “Imagine a world where you can 3D print replacement parts and use 3D printing as an integral part of design and building work,” MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis said in a release.

Related research and analysis from Gigaom Research:
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See How Much of NYC a Taxi Driver Sees in a Single Day

Source: http://gizmodo.com/how-much-of-nyc-a-taxi-driver-sees-in-a-single-day-1604813865

See How Much of NYC a Taxi Driver Sees in a Single Day

Everybody's wondered what it's like to be a taxi driver. Whether riding in the back of a cab contemplating your existence or watching a Robert De Niro movie, we've all contemplated how many passengers it takes to make a day's wages. Now, thanks to some clever code, you can watch it play out before your very eyes.

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Bittorrent tests the waters with paywall bundles for TV and music

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/14/bittorrent-paywall-science-fiction-series/

BitTorrent Download

BitTorrent is set to dabble in paywalls by teaming up with an independent producer for a sci-fi series called "Children of the Machine." Rapid Eye Studios will produce and fund the $1 million pilot, which will revolve around teenagers, global warming and technology gone awry. BitTorrent has worked with TV makers and major studios in the past, but is trying a brand new tact for the show. To fund a full eight-episode run, at least 250,000 users will have to sign up for a "BitTorrent Bundle" for $10 after seeing the pilot. Right now such bundles are free, but it plans to introduce paywall bundles starting in September with music content from a yet-unnamed "major artist." BitTorrent told the NYT it's looking for users "willing to reward creativity by paying a fair price" for the new scheme. It admit that it's a risky experiment, though -- users may be too set on a fair price being "free."

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Via: NYT

Source: BitTorrent

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$20 reusable chip detects type-1 diabetes quickly and cheaply

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/14/cheap-diabetes-test/

Researchers from Stanford University have developed a microchip that could make it much less costly to diagnose type-1 diabetes. The debilitating disease often strikes children, and the quicker it's detected, the easier it is to treat. The current test, however, is a time-consuming, costly burden for both hospitals and patients, requiring radioactive materials and several days of time. The new chip uses gold nanoparticles that cause fluorescent materials to glow when telltale antibodies are detected. Unlike the old tests, only a pinprick of blood is required, and the $20 chip can be reused up to 15 times. Such diagnostics could compliment other diabetes research, like Google's glucose detecting smart contacts, along with potential treatments or even cures. Researchers said the test will be particularly useful in countries where the standard test is too expensive, and are now working to launch it globally.

[Image credit: Stanford University/Norbert von der Groeben]

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Source: Stanford University

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MIT's new material opens the door to squishable, shape-shifting robots

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/14/mit-shape-shifting-robot-material/

MIT's shape-shifting robot material

Robots tend to be either very rigid or very soft, but neither extreme is ideal; ideally, machines could both squish themselves into tight spaces and remain sturdy for strength-dependent tasks. They just might, thanks to a team-up between MIT and Google's Boston Dynamics. The two have developed a composite material that can switch between hard and soft states on the fly. The design mates a compressible foam inside with an external wax coating. If a robot needed to deform, all it would have to do is soften the right joints with a bit of heating. It could even heal damage by heating and cooling an affected area.

It's still early days, but there are already plenty of potential real-world applications for the material. DARPA (the impetus for the project) wants robots that can literally slip through the cracks to reach otherwise inaccessible areas; they could rescue survivors trapped under rubble, for example. MIT, meanwhile, pictures surgical bots that could repair hard-to-reach body parts. We're still a long, long way from the liquid metal of Terminator 2's T-1000, but these findings suggest that the concept of a shape-shifting automaton isn't completely far-fetched.

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Via: TechCrunch

Source: MIT News

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Microsoft says super-cheap Windows devices are on the way

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/14/microsoft-says-super-cheap-windows-devices-are-on-the-way/

It used to be that if you only wanted to pay $199 for a brand-new laptop, you'd have to try your luck on Black Friday or pick up a Chromebook. Not so anymore. Microsoft COO Kevin Turner outed a $199 HP Windows laptop called the Stream at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference this morning, and it should see the light of day in time for the holiday season. Fine, it doesn't sound like the biggest deal ever. There are already a few solid Windows laptops floating around there for less than $100 more, after all, and at this point no one's sure what $199 will actually get you. That's a fair point, but c'mon: on some level this move is all about symbolism. Microsoft is telling the industry -- and the consumers that fuel that immaculate machine -- that it's not giving up low-end computing to Google without a fight.

Nadella and his crew are banking on the fact that Windows provides greater functionality and extensibility than ChromeOS right out of the box. When computer shoppers can own the full Windows experience (for better or worse) for the same price as committing to a Chrome-y connected lifestyle, they'll have to mull that choice over. That's exactly what Microsoft wants. Turner also confirmed that the next few months would bring at least a few full-blown Windows tablets priced to move at $99. That announcement wasn't as much of a surprise since the folks in Redmond revealed that the OS would be free to manufacturers when its installed on device's with screens under 9 inches. It was only a matter of time, but hey -- that doesn't make the gesture any less meaningful.

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Source: The Verge

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Secret widens its anonymous network to include your Facebook friends too

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/14/secret-adds-facebook-login-collections/

When Secret first launched earlier this year, the only subscribers who could see your anonymous missives on the app were folks who were somehow connected to your phone's address book -- they were either your friends, friends of friends, or friends of friends of friends (you get the idea). Now, however, Secret has loosened that restriction just a touch with the introduction of Facebook login support. Now if you sign up with Facebook on the app, you'll be able to spill your secrets to all your Facebook friends who are also on Secret. Of course, the company promises that no personal information is ever shared and you'll still be completely anonymous. On the one hand, this lets those of us who have more friends on Facebook than on on our phone's address book see more Friend posts on Secret. On the other, it does give us a tiny bit of the creeps. Thankfully, the feature is completely optional, so you don't have to participate if you don't want to.

Secret also announced another feature today called Collections, which are simply daily digests of posts from a certain category. You can go to Secret's brand new web interface and subscribe to any of the available Collections -- current categories include Popular, Dating, Reflections, Funny, Work and Loss. If you do subscribe, you'll get secrets from that collection in your Explore stream. This definitely narrow the kinds of posts you see on Explore quite a bit, and it seems like it lets you hone in more on what you prefer to see on there. According to the folks at Secret, they're still experimenting on how to give users more control over what they see on Explore, which can be a rather daunting task given the growing popularity of the network. If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, head on over to the source link to find out more. Don't worry, we won't tell anyone.

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Source: Secret (Medium), Secret

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drag2share: This Robot Has Written More Wikipedia Articles Than Anyone Alive

source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/businessinsider/~3/n0Zu2Mgo8vc/robot-most-prolific-wikipedia-author-2014-7

Wikipedia

You might think writing 10,000 articles per day would be impossible. But not for a Swede named Sverker Johansson. He created a computer program that has written a total of 2.7 million articles, making Johansson the most prolific author, by far, on the "internet's encyclopedia." His contributions account for 8.5 percent of the articles on Wikipedia, the Wall Street Journal reports.

But how can a bot write so many articles, and do it coherently? As Johansson--a science teacher with degrees in linguistics, civil engineering, economics and particle physics--explained to the WSJ, the bot scrapes information from various trusted sources, and then cobbles that material together, typically into a very short entry, or "stub." Many of the articles cover the taxonomy of little-known animals such as butterflies and beetles, and also small towns in the Philippines (his wife is Filipino).

Johansson's creation, known as Lsjbot, is certainly not the only bot to write articles meant for human eyes. For example, the Associated Press just announced that it will use robots to write thousands of pieces, and other news outlets use programs to write articles, especially finance and sports stories. And on Wikipedia, half of all of the edits are made by bots.

Several long-time members of Wikipedia are not happy that so many articles are being written by non-humans. But Johansson defends his bot, pointing out that the articles it writes are accurate (although there have been some glitches that he claims have been corrected), and can! very us eful. For example, Lsjbot wrote a stub about the town of Basey, in the Philippines. When Typhoon Yolanda hit the town, causing deaths, people were able to visit this stub and find out more about the town and its location.

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Google's augmented reality turf war, 'Ingress,' arrives on iOS

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/14/ingress-for-ios/

Ingress on an iPhone

Google's Niantic Labs grew the potential audience for Ingress in a big way late last year, when it put out the finished Android version of its augmented reality game. Today, the studio is taking the next (if fairly obvious) step toward grabbing more players: it's releasing the long-promised iOS edition. Both iPad and iPhone owners can now capture territory ("portals" in Ingress-speak) and build up their virtual skills by visiting real locations. The experience will be very familiar if you've played before; missions give you an incentive to keep coming back, while faction chats let you coordinate turf battles and meet fellow players. There aren't any major tweaks or upgrades that we've seen. The game ultimately remains an excuse to explore new places, but that's not a bad thing if you're tired of visiting the same old haunts -- hit the App Store if you're willing to give it a spin.

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Source: Ingress

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