Friday, October 10, 2014

New Tesla Model S P85D Is Faster Than A Ferrari

Source: http://jalopnik.com/tesla-model-s-p85d-this-is-it-and-i-went-for-a-ride-1644637002/1644663676/+chris-mills

New Tesla Model S P85D Is Faster Than A Ferrari

The new, all-wheel-drive 2015 Tesla Model S P85D accelerates to 60mph faster than a Ferrari 458 and pulls more Gs in a corner than a Ford Mustang. Not bad for a car that's also more efficient than its predecessor. Read more in Jalopnik's exclusive ride along.

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NASA Will Use UAVs to Hunt Down Baby Forest Fires

Source: http://gizmodo.com/nasa-will-use-uavs-to-hunt-down-baby-forest-fires-1644684411

NASA Will Use UAVs to Hunt Down Baby Forest Fires

Finding forest fires when they're big is relatively easy — you can see them from space. Or, y'know, just follow the burning smell. But if firefighters can identify a burn when it's just started, it's obviously far easier to nip in the bud. Sounds like a job for our old friend Mr Drone.

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Find Out What Your ZIP Code Predicts You'll Buy

Source: http://gizmodo.com/find-out-what-your-zip-code-predicts-youll-buy-1644697481

Find Out What Your ZIP Code Predicts You'll Buy

Where you live says a lot about you—and nobody knows that better than marketeers. Now, though, you can take a glimpse at what they know, using this searchable map built by software company Esri.

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√ĘGoogle app gets a conversational search upgrade, learns to use OpenTable

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/09/google-now-conversational/

Nothing makes voice-recognition software shine more than good conversational algorithms -- and the natural-search function in the Google app just got a minor upgrade. Not only can use your hotel confirmation to find nearby restaurants, but also now you can casually ask it to show you the restaurant's menu or book a reservation via OpenTable. You'll still have to do a little work to complete the reservation, however (Google only gets the booking started), and it's still not perfect: If a given restaurant doesn't support OpenTable or doesn't have a menu online, the process kind of falls apart. Still, it's a nice upgrade, assuming you've already come to terms with the fact that Google's algorithms are skimming your email.

[Image credit: Google]

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Via: TechCrunch

Source: Google

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A Nokia Lumia 1020 powers this automated 3D-printed telescope

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/09/ultrascope-space-nokia-lumia-1020/

There are many, many people who've always wanted a powerful space telescope in their backyards but can't exactly afford one. For avid makers and DIY enthusiasts, at least, that's not such an absurd dream anymore -- not when someone has designed an automated 3D-printed telescope that's powered by a commercially available phone: the Nokia Lumia 1020. The device is called Ultrascope, and it stands one meter tall when assembled, with a base that measures 65 centimeters wide. It was created by Open Space Agency founder James Parr, who promised to upload the current design and future iterations to his organization's website once the ongoing beta testing's done.

Here's how the robotic telescope works: first, your Windows laptop locates the ISS and forwards its location to Ultrascope's Arduino shield to move its motors. After the telescope positions itself, the 1020 starts snapping images and sends them to the cloud for post-processing. Parr hasn't revealed how powerful Ultrascope is exactly, but it's worth noting that the 1020's 41-megapixel camera blew us away when we tested it. It'll sadly take a while before you can find out for yourself, though, as OSA's busy working with Microsoft at the moment, developing an app that connects Lumia phones to the device.

Introducing: the 3D printed #Lumia powered Ultrascope http://t.co/E4wJ6A8mJy #MakeItHappen pic.twitter.com/wFOnOZPFaj

- Nokia (@nokia) October 9, 2014

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Source: Nokia, Open Space Agency

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Thursday, October 09, 2014

Amazon Is Opening a Brick-and-Mortar Store in Manhattan

Source: http://gizmodo.com/amazon-is-opening-a-brick-and-mortar-store-in-manhattan-1644425412

Amazon Is Opening a Brick-and-Mortar Store in Manhattan

Amazon, the cyber store that sells everything, plans to open its first physical store at 7 W 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan just in time for the holiday season. The experimental store will work as a mini-warehouse for some same day deliveries in New York. It'll surely serve as a nice little billboard, too.

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Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro: Yes, The Hinge is a Giant Watchband

Source: http://gizmodo.com/lenovo-yoga-3-pro-yes-the-hinge-is-a-giant-watchband-1644137355

Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro: Yes, The Hinge is a Giant Watchband

The backflipping Lenovo Yoga singlehandedly made laptops cool again. The Yoga 2 Pro added a backlit keyboard and a brilliant 3200 x 1800 QHD screen. Now, Lenovo's going for broke with the third generation of its transforming touchscreen machine. Not only is the new $1,349 Yoga 3 Pro thinner and lighter, it has a freaking watch band consisting of 813 precision-machined, hand-assembled components holding up its infinitely positionable screen.

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Ashton Kutcher Must Be Stopped (Before He Corrupts Our Laptops)

Source: http://gizmodo.com/ashton-kutcher-must-be-stopped-before-he-corrupts-our-1644148765

Ashton Kutcher Must Be Stopped (Before He Corrupts Our Laptops)

It's a little-known fact that celebrity Ashton Kutcher moonlights as a Lenovo engineer . At first, it was tolerable: a kickstand here , a bigger battery there. But now, the chisel-cheeked entrepreneur has twisted Lenovo's latest tablets to his own foul aims: the new Yoga Tablet 2 Pro has a built-in projector. And a subwoofer. And a 13-inch, 2560 x 1440 screen. It's a goddamn miniature movie theater, complete with a tiny Ashton to show you around the place.

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Apple enables unique passwords for apps that tap into iCloud

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/09/apple-unique-passwords-third-party-apps/

Do you use third-party apps like Outlook that access Apple's iCloud but don't support two-factor authentication? You'll now be forced to enter a specific password for each one. Following a notorious celebrity hack, Apple updated iCloud with an extra security layer used to protect accounts by sending a four-digit code to your personal device. However, many third-party calendar, contact and email apps that access iCloud don't support two-factor, and could therefore expose your iCloud password -- and all your personal data -- to hackers. Apple said that if you're signed in to one of those apps when the change goes through today, you'll be signed out and forced to generate and enter a new password. To see how, check after the break or click here for more.

This is a reminder that starting tomorrow, app-specific passwords will be required to access your iCloud data using third party apps such as Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, or other mail, contacts, and calendar apps.

If you are currently signed in to a third party app using your primary Apple ID password, you will be signed out automatically when this change takes effect. You will need to generate an app-specific password and sign in again. To generate an app-specific password:

  • Sign in to My Apple ID (https://appleid.apple.com)
  • Go to Password & Security
  • Click Generate App-Specific Password

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Source: Apple

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Samsung wants to kill hard drives with new high-efficiency SSDs

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/09/samsung-tlc-v-nand-ssd/

Samsung 850 Pro SSD

For the first time, Samsung has starting producing SSDs using (wait for it) 3-bit multi-level-cell, 3D Vertical NAND flash memory, better known as TLC V-NAND. So, who in the actual hell cares? You might, if you're planning on buying an SSD or computer soon. Samsung's current V-NAND technology has resulted in models like the 850 Pro SSD, which topped all benchmarks and has a 10-year guarantee. But combining V-NAND with 3-bit tech has more than doubled wafer yields, which should result in even cheaper, faster and higher-capacity SSDs. The disks aren't on sale yet, but there's a good chance that one of the first available will be Samsung's recently leaked 850 EVO.

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Source: Samsung

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Final's credit card tackles security with unique numbers for each retailer

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/09/final-credit-card/

While newfangled credit cards like Coin and Plastc aim to cut down on wallet clutter by loading up all of your payment methods in one place, another option is taking aim at security. It's called Final, and the chip & PIN card serves up a unique number to every place you shop or a "disposable" set of digits for one-time use. So when the next Target or Home Depot breach happens, you'll only have to deactivate the number assigned to those places rather than go through the hassle with your bank. You can easily deactivate numbers when a subscription has run its course, and set monthly limits so you're alerted when someone tries to go over that amount or that "free trial" runs out. When shopping online, there's a browser extension that quickly generates new numbers and populates the info fields automatically. What about mobile payments? Final plays nice with that digital wallet too, and as you might expect, a online portal offers access to spending info so that you can set goals and keep an eye on things. The company is looking to launch its beta in the first quarter of 2015, and if you're looking to opt in, you can sign up for early access via the source link down below.

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Source: Final

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Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro Ultrabook brings a thinner and lighter design

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/09/lenovo-yoga-3-pro-thinkpad-yoga-14/

Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro Ultrabook brings a thinner and lighter design

Remember how Intel recently unveiled a new family of chips designed to make 2-in-1 laptops much thinner and much lighter? Of course you do. Anyway, get ready to see lots of machines coming out this holiday season with extra-compact designs. Case in point: Lenovo's new Yoga 3 Pro Ultrabook, which launched today with a chassis that's 14 percent lighter and 17 percent thinner. All told, it weighs in at just 1.19kg, or 2.62 pounds. That's impressive even for a 13-inch Ultrabook, and it's definitely an improvement over the last-gen Yoga 2 Pro, which came in at 3.06 pounds.

Otherwise, the Yoga 3 Pro is similar to the last model: It still has a 3,200 x 1,800 display, and the industrial design and keyboard layout have barely changed either. Of course, too, this is fundamentally still a Yoga, which is to say it has a 360-degree hinge allowing you to fold the screen back into tablet mode (and also "Stand" mode, and "Tent" mode). As before, the battery life is rated for up to nine hours, not that we ever got close to that on the Yoga 2 Pro. Hopefully Lenovo actually means it this time. As for performance, this is an ultra-low-voltage Intel Core M processor, which means in exchange for slimmer designs and long battery life, you may experience a slight dip in performance versus a standard-voltage system. That said, it shouldn't stop you from using the machine as your daily driver.

Additionally, in less important news, Lenovo announced the ThinkPad Yoga 14, the company's first convertible Ultrabook with that particular screen size. Like the original ThinkPad Yoga, which has a 12.5-inch screen, this newer model has a self-flattening keyboard that locks up when the machine is in tablet mode. As a relatively big-screen Ultrabook, the specs are a bit more heavy-duty than you'd otherwise expect from an ultraportable, including discrete NVIDIA GeForce 840 graphics, 1TB of storage and 8GB of RAM. Despite that horsepower, though, Lenovo says you can still get up to eight hours of runtime on a charge. Both laptops arrive at the end of this month, with the Yoga 3 Pro priced from $1,349, and the ThinkPad Yoga 14 starting at $1,199.

Nicole Lee contributed to this report.

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Google's Android emulator is ready to help developers make 64-bit apps

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/08/googles-developer-emulator-is-ready-for-64-bit-apps/

There's a lot to look forward to in Android's next major update, but hardware nerds are focusing in one one key feature: official support for 64-bit mobile chips. It's the mobile OS' inevitable future, and chip-makers have been preparing for it for quite awhile. Now app developers can jump in, too: Google announced today that a x86 64-bit Android L developer preview emulator image is available for developers that want to take their apps to the next generation. Not every dev will need to rebuild, however -- apps built in Java will automatically benefit from the 64-bit release's increased accessibility to memory and registers. Choose another language? Well, you'll need to recompile: head over to the source to start testing your apps in 64-bit.

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Source: Android, Google+

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Toshiba prototype is a simpler, lighter Google Glass rival... with a catch

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/08/toshiba-glass-prototype/

Nearly every tech company wants in on the wearables game, but they can't all be Google Glass or Apple Watches -- not that they have to be. But hey, here's Toshiba -- and it's got a Toshiba Glass prototype to show off. We'll say this right at the start: this remains a reference product that the company's showing off at CEATEC in Japan this week. And yes, technical specifics (let alone a price) aren't being discussed yet, but the vision for Toshiba's eye-based wearable prototype is a gentle, predictable one. The hardware is the combination of a tiny projector, attached to admittedly normal-looking frames. However, there's actually a special kind of one-sided reflective glass to catch the projection. The projection module itself is kind of bulky, but actually lightweight... which is great, until you realize that this prototype requires a constant wired connection to work.

According to Toshiba, there's no computational component in the arm, which primarily consists of a tiny projector and not much else. There's no camera, rather Toshiba's concept would act primarily as a notification system. The concept teaser (and accompanying projected images) offered glimpses of fitness tracker notifications, call reminders and a handful of business-based applications point towards security and warehouse use. Toshiba's New Business Development Division's Yuki Kaneko told us that's a device headed for B2B first: it's for other companies that also want Toshiba's system support and other business-type stuff... that we leave to other dustier tech publications.

When we brought up the inevitable Google Glass comparison, Kaneko-san was (surprisingly!) positive about the ever-present wire, citing that it kept the weight down by offloading not only computing (and other frills like cameras), but also the battery. Battery life is thus dependent on whatever device it's connected to, leaving the wearable lighter and more, well, wearable. The real device will appear next year, but consumer models for us mere muggles will likely be a while after that -- for now, this is a business-centered wearable -- which probably explains the "goggle edition." (Our words, not theirs.)

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Drone racing in the woods evokes more than a few Star Wars memories

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/08/drone-racing/

Drone racing in the woods

Ever wanted to recreate the speeder chase in Return of the Jedi, or pod racing in The Phantom Menace? There's apparently an easy way to do it that doesn't involve sci-fi technology. France's Airgonay club recently raced flying drones through a forest using a combination of cameras and wearable displays to immerse pilots in the action. As you'll see in the highlight video below, it's both thrilling and more than a little challenging -- racers have to both dodge around trees and other drones that could come from virtually any direction. At least a few competitors had to retreat to a repair area to fix broken rotor blades and other damage.

This isn't really a spectator sport yet, but the Airgonay team is hopeful. There's a global tournament coming in about a year, and the club would like to see events stream online so that you can get that first-person experience from afar. The group's Herve Pellarin even predicts that drones will get virtual lasers to "shoot down" opponents Wipeout-style. FAA regulations may prevent this remote-controlled racing from getting started in the US for a while, but it's good to know that the framework for it already exists.

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Via: GigaOM

Source: Herve Pellarin (YouTube)

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HTC's next midrange smartphone is destined for selfie fans

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/08/htc-desire-eye/

Selfies are exploding in popularity, so naturally manufacturers are stepping up to offer phones that match that rapidly expanding trend. In reality, there are already several that specifically cater to those who can't resist a good picture of themselves, and HTC is hopping on the bandwagon with a "selfie phone" known as the Desire Eye. The device is among the first wave of phones that bear a 13MP camera on the front, which matches the resolution on the rear camera. It also comes with a new set of imaging tricks and the usual Sense experience, so it's appealing even if you don't want to broadcast your beautiful face all over Facebook and Instagram (among others). It's time to take a closer look at HTC's next big thing.

The Desire Eye is not the first smartphone that bears dual 13MP cameras; a KIRF called the THL W11 Monkey King holds that title. Still, it's the first from a major brand that is due to roll out worldwide -- it'll come to AT&T in October as an exclusive in the US and then make its way to Asia and Europe shortly after -- and is being positioned as one of HTC's flagship devices.

The device itself comes in two colors, coral reef (white with orangish red trim) and blue lagoon (dark blue with light blue trim), is 8.5mm thick, weighs 154 grams (5.43 ounces) and has a 5.2-inch 1080p display. It features slightly bubbled out sides and a flat back, but its thickness still allows plenty of room for my fingers, which makes it easy to grip. It uses HTC's new "double shot" design housing, which is a two-tone polycarbonate unibody design method that's also featured on the Desire 820; it looks and feels well-built and completely robust. It also comes with a waterproof rating of IPX7, which means that it's supposed to handle up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. It's great to see more devices like this land in the US, which has admittedly been late to the waterproof game.

The Desire Eye will be the first device to offer a new bundle of camera tricks called the Eye Experience, which will become available on a large number of HTC devices soon. Most of the new features listed aren't groundbreaking nor essential, but can help you get a little more creative with your shots. One of the coolest features is a clever new face tracking technique for video conference calls that can find up to four faces and display each of them on their very own frame; if someone is video chatting with you on Skype, for instance, they'd see four frames of each individual, rather than all four standing next to each other. Again, not essential, but it could make conference calls a little less intimidating.

On top of this, there's also a crop-me-in mode that lets you take a selfie picture and paste it into a rear camera shot. Face Fusion can merge two faces together; Split Capture lets you take a rear picture and selfie and put both in a split-pane view; Live Makeup is exactly what it sounds like, and it doesn't make me look any prettier (mileage could vary); Photo Booth takes four pictures and puts them into a photo booth-style set of frames. HTC is also adding voice capture for front-facing shots, so you just have to say "cheese" to take stills ("rolling" for video).

The Eye Experience will come to several other phones, such as the M7, M8, E8, Butterfly 2, One mini and mini 2, One max, Desire 816 and 820. HTC says that the feature list will be available when the update rolls out to these models, which suggests that some phones may not get all of the features.

I won't make any final judgments on the camera experience until the firmware is completely final (these units come installed with pre-production firmware), but my first impressions are more mediocre than I was hoping -- especially in the area of lowlight performance. Sure, it's not as noisy as some other phones, but I had to retake several shots that turned out blurry and most of them were too dark, a travesty when you're hoping to get a well-lit selfie. To that point, HTC has graciously added a dual-LED flash to the front for this kind of situation, but it's almost too bright; your face will be sufficiently lit, but you also won't be able to see anything for an hour. Colors aren't accurate in daylight shots either, but again, improvements may be made between now and the final release.

The new hardware, which runs Sense 6, features specs that are more indicative of the One lineup than the Desire brand, as it offers a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 chipset, 2GB of RAM, IPX7 waterproof rating, a 5.2-inch 1080p display, BoomSound and a 2,400mAh battery (which is just a tad too low for our taste). The 16GB internal storage is Thus, it's no surprise that HTC is planning to price it in between its two lineups: The company says the Eye will be priced somewhere between the Desire 820 -- the 64-bit smartphone unveiled last month -- and the E8, which is a plastic version of the M8.

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The one (gesture control) ring to rule them all

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/08/16lab-alps-gesture-ring/

While many companies are tinkering with lasers, ultrasound and even arm muscles for touchless gesture control on portable devices and desktop PCs, Japan's 16Lab just wants to put a pretty ring on you. The yet-to-be-named titanium wearable is designed by the award-winning Manabu Tago, and it features ALPS Electric's tiny module (5.05 x 5.65 x 2.5 mm) that somehow manages to pack Bluetooth Smart radio, movement sensor, environment sensor plus antennas -- there's a video demo after the break. Despite its custom-made 10mAh lithium polymer cell, 16Lab is aiming for at least 20 hours of battery life. This is possible mainly because you have to place your thumb on the top pad (with the ring's wedge pointing away from the user) to enable the sensors -- upon which point the ring vibrates to confirm that it's active. It's then just a matter of waving and tilting your hand until you're done.

In addition to gesture control, 16 Lab CEO Ko Kijima said his ring also serves as a notification tool (presumably by using the vibration motor), e-wallet and contactless key. What he didn't say was how much it'll cost, but since it's entirely titanium, it's going to do some damage to your wallet. The good news is that you'll have plenty of time to save up for the ring: the startup is hoping to launch it in Q2 2015 with several size options, though you can also pre-order the partially-plastic development kit edition later this year, if you don't mind its bulkiness.

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Source: 16Lab

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​Google's latest Chromebook update makes it easy to juggle multiple accounts

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/08/chromebook-work/

Has your company bought into Google's pitch for a Chrome-powered office? Then this update is for you: Google just announced a handful of Chromebook features specifically for office environments, including the ability to easily switch between personal accounts and your organization's credential-secured account. The enhanced identity features primarily focus on enabling the SAML standard used by common enterprise authorization providers, but a new multiple sign-in mode allows that security to live alongside your personal Google account -- possibly enabling users to bring their own Chromebooks to the office with relative ease. The update tacks on a handful of other business-specific features too, including better IT management for network certification and web app provisions, improved virtualization solutions from Citrix and VMware and a new annual subscription plan of $50 per device per year. Sound like it could improve your work life? Forward the source link (below) to your IT manager and get the ball rolling.

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Source: Google

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HTC's RE camera is a GoPro for NoPros

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/08/htc-re-camera/

Periscope. Asthma inhaler. PVC pipe. These are just a few items that came to mind the first time I saw HTC's first standalone camera, which the company is simply -- and oddly -- calling the RE. Even though nothing about this device is normal, it's catered to the interests of the average Joe. "If you're going whitewater rafting down rapids, use a GoPro," an HTC marketing executive said, pointing out that the RE isn't supposed to compete with the popular action cam. No, HTC's brand new emerging device, which should retail for around $200 when it hits US retail outlets like Best Buy later this month, is in a completely different category. But the biggest challenge HTC faces is in convincing buyers that this is better, faster and easier than simply pulling your phone out of your pocket when you need a quick shot.

The RE is a small and light device, at 96.7 x 26.5mm and 65.5 grams (2.31 ounces). This makes it easy to securely handle it one-handed, and that's exactly the point: It's supposed to be petite enough for you to quickly draw it out of your pocket or purse and start taking pictures or video footage of anything at a moment's notice. HTC continually mentioned family scenarios, such as anytime the kids or pets are doing something cute; I'd love to use it at Disneyland, both when wandering around the park and when going on rides. In theory, the camera will be perfectly ideal for such situations -- it takes 16MP images, 1080p 30fps video, 4x slow-motion 720p video and time-lapse recording, and features a 1 /2.3-inch CMOS sensor and 146-degree wide-angle lens.

There are only two buttons on the device: A shutter button on the outside, which you press once to take a picture and long-press for a couple seconds to take video, and a slow-motion capture toggle that you have to hold down to activate before starting the video. Notice that I didn't mention a power button, because HTC wants the device to be always-on, and thus, always ready and waiting for you to use it. Sensors embedded within the RE can tell when you grab it, so in theory it shouldn't take pictures when it's buried deep within your pants. You'll also find a mic on top, as well as an LED indicator and speaker just below the slow-mo button. A microSD slot sits on the bottom underneath a watertight tab; the RE comes with an 8GB card pre-installed, but you can switch it out for any card up to 128GB. There's also a micro-USB charging/data port and a quarter-inch tripod mount for a wide variety of accessories.

Although it's built using glossy plastic, rather than a matte finish, I didn't seem to mind very much. It certainly is a fingerprint magnet, depending on the color -- white, dark blue, teal and orange are available at launch -- but since my hand is already wrapped around it, those prints typically only show up in one place where my fingers routinely sit. And while glossy materials are often too slippery, I never felt like I was going to drop it.

With the RE, HTC wants to extend its reach to consumers who may not actually use an HTC phone; it's compatible with both Android 4.3 (or better) and iOS 7 (or better). Here's how it works: After downloading the app and using it to connect the RE with your phone, you can then use it to back up your pics and vids, change settings (like wide-angle versus standard angle, device updates, backup settings and more) and use the app's remote viewfinder and shutter. The RE app is also the only way you can take video in time-lapse mode; here, you can dictate how often it takes shots and the duration of the footage. Additionally, HTC says that developers will be able to access an API to open the RE up to third-party options -- Tencent and Instagram were specifically mentioned.

One of the most intriguing features on the RE is live broadcasting, but it won't be ready at launch but should be coming out shortly afterward. This is a fantastic use case for any aspiring (or already successful) YouTubers who want to record and upload events as they happen -- conventions, concerts, sporting events, perhaps even city hall meetings. I didn't get the opportunity to test out this feature, so I'm curious to see how reliable it'll be when it comes out; will there be significant latency issues, or is it capable of maintaining a consistent connection?

Fortunately, you can switch between a standard photo and wide-angle. The latter setting definitely captures a wide panorama as advertised, but the resulting images look like they were taken by a fisheye lens. Unless I needed to capture a breathtaking skyline or other majestic scenery, I preferred to stick with the normal angle; the wide-angle shots look too distorted to use for regular shots, but it's good to have the option and switch back and forth whenever necessary.

The unit I used was running pre-production firmware, so I will refrain from making final judgments on how it performs until I get my hands on a review unit. You can take a look at the samples to get a general idea of what to expect, but keep in mind that there are many parts of the experience that should improve before the device launches. I'm very hopeful for this, because my initial impressions weren't very good. My unit couldn't focus on close objects, although it focused on distant objects in the same image; I had to pull back a foot or so for the RE to focus on the correct target. The f/2.8 aperture isn't good enough to handle lowlight shots very well; most of them were blurry and noisy, and sometimes there was such little light that the device refused to even take a picture. The video stabilization wasn't able to compensate for the shakiness of my hand and smooth out my footage, which is crucial when using a device that's specifically designed to work for one-handed operation. (I've uploaded my full-res samples to my Flickr page.)

In terms of connections, the RE uses Bluetooth LE to initially pair with your phone, but the rest of the process is facilitated by WiFi Direct -- transferring files, the remote shutter and everything else.

The RE comes with an IPx7 water-resistance and dust-resistance rating, but you can buy a waterproof cap that boosts it to IPx8. It's also armed with an 840mAh battery, which HTC says is large enough to handle up to an hour and 40 minutes of continuous 1080p filming or 1,200 16 MP photos. (As an aside, the 16MP images are shot in 4:3, but you can bump down the camera resolution to 12MP if you prefer 16:9 pictures.) I was barely able to get through a full day of testing, as my unit was in the red when I was finally ready to go to bed and charge it up.

HTC recognizes that debuting a new category of standalone cameras comes with a lot of challenges. The pricing is one of the biggest concerns; at $200, it's going to be a difficult sell for confused shoppers who don't know why they'd use it instead of whipping out their phone to take pictures. People will also become frustrated at the lack of an on-device viewfinder, which means users will be taking pictures with an aim-and-pray approach. Retail representatives may also find it hard to sell the device if they don't understand the point of the product, or potential use cases for it. HTC will also have to work on distancing RE from its spiritual predecessor, the GoPro.

Another point of confusion is the name. HTC chose RE for a few reasons: First, through this and other products (the Zoe app, for instance), the company wants to distance the device so it's not associated with HTC phones, especially since the app and service will be cross-platform; HTC also believes that the RE name aligns with some of the camera's attributes -- it's simple, easy to say, and "you smile when you say it," the marketing team claims.

HTC's RE camera reminds you of...

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HTC's next midrange smartphone is destined for selfie fans

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/08/htc-desire-eye/

Selfies are exploding in popularity, so naturally manufacturers are stepping up to offer phones that match that rapidly expanding trend. In reality, there are already several that specifically cater to those who can't resist a good picture of themselves, and HTC is hopping on the bandwagon with a "selfie phone" known as the Desire Eye. The device is among the first wave of phones that bear a 13MP camera on the front, which matches the resolution on the rear camera. It also comes with a new set of imaging tricks and the usual Sense experience, so it's appealing even if you don't want to broadcast your beautiful face all over Facebook and Instagram (among others). It's time to take a closer look at HTC's next big thing.

The Desire Eye is not the first smartphone that bears dual 13MP cameras; a KIRF called the THL W11 Monkey King holds that title. Still, it's the first from a major brand that is due to roll out worldwide -- it'll come to AT&T in October as an exclusive in the US and then make its way to Asia and Europe shortly after -- and is being positioned as one of HTC's flagship devices.

The device itself comes in two colors, coral reef (white with orangish red trim) and blue lagoon (dark blue with light blue trim), is 8.5mm thick, weighs 154 grams (5.43 ounces) and has a 5.2-inch 1080p display. It features slightly bubbled out sides and a flat back, but its thickness still allows plenty of room for my fingers, which makes it easy to grip. It uses HTC's new "double shot" design housing, which is a two-tone polycarbonate unibody design method that's also featured on the Desire 820; it looks and feels well-built and completely robust. It also comes with a waterproof rating of IPX7, which means that it's supposed to handle up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. It's great to see more devices like this land in the US, which has admittedly been late to the waterproof game.

The Desire Eye will be the first device to offer a new bundle of camera tricks called the Eye Experience, which will become available on a large number of HTC devices soon. Most of the new features listed aren't groundbreaking nor essential, but can help you get a little more creative with your shots. One of the coolest features is a clever new face tracking technique for video conference calls that can find up to four faces and display each of them on their very own frame; if someone is video chatting with you on Skype, for instance, they'd see four frames of each individual, rather than all four standing next to each other. Again, not essential, but it could make conference calls a little less intimidating.

On top of this, there's also a crop-me-in mode that lets you take a selfie picture and paste it into a rear camera shot. Face Fusion can merge two faces together; Split Capture lets you take a rear picture and selfie and put both in a split-pane view; Live Makeup is exactly what it sounds like, and it doesn't make me look any prettier (mileage could vary); Photo Booth takes four pictures and puts them into a photo booth-style set of frames. HTC is also adding voice capture for front-facing shots, so you just have to say "cheese" to take stills ("rolling" for video).

The Eye Experience will come to several other phones, such as the M7, M8, E8, Butterfly 2, One mini and mini 2, One max, Desire 816 and 820. HTC says that the feature list will be available when the update rolls out to these models, which suggests that some phones may not get all of the features.

I won't make any final judgments on the camera experience until the firmware is completely final (these units come installed with pre-production firmware), but my first impressions are more mediocre than I was hoping -- especially in the area of lowlight performance. Sure, it's not as noisy as some other phones, but I had to retake several shots that turned out blurry and most of them were too dark, a travesty when you're hoping to get a well-lit selfie. To that point, HTC has graciously added a dual-LED flash to the front for this kind of situation, but it's almost too bright; your face will be sufficiently lit, but you also won't be able to see anything for an hour. Colors aren't accurate in daylight shots either, but again, improvements may be made between now and the final release.

The new hardware, which runs Sense 6, features specs that are more indicative of the One lineup than the Desire brand, as it offers a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 chipset, 2GB of RAM, IPX7 waterproof rating, a 5.2-inch 1080p display, BoomSound and a 2,400mAh battery (which is just a tad too low for our taste). The 16GB internal storage is Thus, it's no surprise that HTC is planning to price it in between its two lineups: The company says the Eye will be priced somewhere between the Desire 820 -- the 64-bit smartphone unveiled last month -- and the E8, which is a plastic version of the M8.

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Elon Musk Just Made It Way Cheaper To Live Off Solar Power

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/solarcity-giving-loans-for-solar-ownership-2014-10

solarcity

Outfitting your home with cheap solar power just got a lot easier.

Elon Musk-chaired Solar City, the biggest name in residential solar power, is now offering loans to allow their customers to own their solar panels for cheaper than their current lease offerings.

The loan option, called MyPower, ends up cheaper it is paid back by the customer paying for the energy produced by their equipment — and it's a win-win because these payments end up cheaper than your traditional power bill. And after 30 years, the power is free.

Here's how it works, according to SolarCity founder and CEO Lyndon Rive: customers take out a 30-year loan on a solar power system at 4.5% interest. SolarCity installs and maintains the system at no cost to the customer, and the customer pays for the power — and in the process, pays off the loan.

Typically loans available for homeowners to fit themselves with solar utilities are usually offered by third-party banks and municipalities in partnership with solar companies, and do not take into account how much power is being produced by the system. That means if the system underperforms, the customer loses money.

Instead, with SolarCity's direct financing, "you only pay based on the production of the system," which SolarCity will monitor and guarantee against drops in performance, Rive told Business Insider.

"We're able to do this because we have a very good understanding of how well your system is going to perform," Rive said.

Rive said that energy from the power company typically costs 20 cents per kilowatt-hour, and increases in price by 4% to 6% every year.

Under the MyPower program, customers will pay 16 cents for every kilowatt-hour they use in the first year, after which most people get a 30% federal tax credit that drives the cost down to 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. Year after year, the price will increase by ! 2.9% &md ash; less than the usual increase from the typical power company.

In the end this loan program ends up cheaper than their leasing agreement offer, the "Power Purchase Agreement," in which customers pay 15 cents per kilowatt-hour, increasing at 2.9% per year. They are going to continue offering the leasing option for customers, though in most cases it will be more expensive to lease than to own. "The only reason you'd go with a lease is if you pay low or no federal taxes," in which case the 2nd year 30% tax credit would not apply, he added.

And it ends up being much cheaper than traditional power-company power. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the typical US resident used 10,837 kilowatt-hours of power in 2012. This would cost about $2200 with a typical utility cost, but roughly $1750 in the first year of the MyPower plan. In the second year, that cost would drop to about $1300.

In addition to saving money, solar power substantially reduces pollution compared to fossil fuels, and allows households to move towards energy independence.

One possible disadvantage to the MyPower program is that solar power, like virtually all technology, is bound to improve dramatically over the next 30 years, both dropping in cost and increasing in efficiency. In fact, futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that we will have unl! imited, free solar energy in just 20 years. If that happens, SolarCity owners could find themselves paying for obsolete equipment.

However, as Jonathan Bass, SolarCity's vice president of communications, wrote in an email: "The value of the solar system is the electricity it produces. Electricity is a commodity, and we expect it to become more valuable, not less, over the next 30 years as retail rates rise, so we don’t expect customers to want to incur the cost of installing a new system during the term."

The MyPower program will help SolarCity expand their residential solar power products into new markets — and dramatically decrease the cost of power for many people.

SEE ALSO: Kurzweil: Solar Energy Will Be Unlimited And Free In 20 Years

READ MORE: Elon Musk: SpaceX Wants To Build A City On Mars

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We just had an out-of-body experience with this robot-Oculus project

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/08/robot-oculus-project-ceatec2014/

It's an unusual experience for a weekday afternoon: I stare up to see myself, staring up. I'm strapped into an Oculus Rift VR headset, which is both controlling (and streaming from) cameras atop a 1.5ft robot roaming around my feet. This robot on wheels is composed of segments that hold a stereo camera, storage, the 'brains' and importantly a wireless internet connection to stream dual camera feeds to a nearby PC -- and reversely, receive movement instructions. The effect, courtesy of high-latency motion feedback from the Rift, is that when I turn to the right, or look upwards, the robot does exactly the same thing, with a motorized joint connected to the camera module matching my gaze.

Better still, I could could control it with a games controller: one analog stick commanded front and back, while a second turned the little stack of electronics around. This adds an unusual in-game effect to the process, although if you're simply streaming a view from your immediate vicinity. It's a surprisingly cool effect, but it's easy to imagine this kind of setup used for remote monitoring, or even a damn fancy telepresence call. Imagine combining this Oculus Rift view with something like Softbank's Pepper robot and well, things could get a little weird.

At CEATEC 2014 in Japan, the robot (which didn't have a name when I visited), is hidden away from the imposing booths of Fujitsu and Toyota. It's part of a stand showcasing entries for a Japan-based engineering and design prize, Gugen 2014. (In fact, last year's Gugen winner was the low-cost prosthetic, Handie, which you can hear more about here.)

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Article: Samsung slump echoes demise of rivals BlackBerry and Nokia

Smartphone maker could follow decline of former mobile phone darlings which were too slow too adapt to changing market Samsung Electronics has reported a 60% slump in quarterly profits as the sudden decline in its mobile phone business draws comparisons with fallen rivals BlackBerry and Nokia. Ha...

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/oct/07/samsung-slump-smartphone-blackberry-nokia

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Article: FPS1000: The low cost, high speed slow-mo camera

Slow motion video is undeniably cool. It's not only visually intoxicating, it gives you a mind-bending perspective on the most fleeting of life's moments. Slow something down enough, and your brain ca …

http://www.gizmag.com/fps1000-affordable-slow-motion-camera/34161/

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This is the future of Photoshop and it feels like magic

Source: http://sploid.gizmodo.com/this-is-the-future-of-adobe-photoshop-and-it-feels-like-1643701001/+caseychan

This is the future of Photoshop and it feels like magic

Adobe has made a video with its vision for the future of its tablet-based graphic applications. Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere... it is really amazing, almost unbelievable—borderline magical, really. Check it out.

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Plastc wants to be the only credit card you'll ever need

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/08/plastc-card-preorder/

Your fat wallet wants to meet Plastc -- a device which its manufacturers claim can replace most of the credit/gift/loyalty cards you currently mule about. It works by pairing with an app on your phone (via Bluetooth), which provides near unlimited storage for all your cards (Plastc itself can only store up to 20). The app also logs your transaction history. Does this all sound a little familiar? That's because you're probably recalling a similar device called Coin launched back in 2013. Just like Plastc, it, too, can store various card details that you can call up, depending on which one you want to use. The bad news is that Coin, which promised to ship the first units this year, moved its ETA to spring 2015 (though there's a beta test going on) -- something pre-order customers obviously weren't happy with. So, one has to wonder if an unknown company will be able to do what Coin couldn't and release such an ambitious product on time?

See, in addition to being able to switch up card details through the e-ink touchscreen panel, Plastc can also show loyalty or gift cards' barcodes and remotely wipe your data in case it gets lost or stolen. The panel displays your name, picture and signature along with your card number as a form of identification, and it even flashes a message to return the card back to you if you lose it. Its accompanying app, on the other hand, is supposed to come with a security pin and facial authentication.

If both Plastc and Coin do make it to market, though, the former might have the upper hand, as it'll come embedded with a computer chip that makes it difficult to clone. The US will start encouraging retailers to only accept cards with those chips by 2015, making Coin obsolete almost as soon as it's out. Plastc's now available for pre-order from its website for $155 each -- $55 more expensive than the $100 Coin -- and might be out as soon as the summer of 2015.

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Source: Plastc

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Kinect for Windows can track individual finger movements

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/08/kinect-for-windows-finger-tracking/

Microsoft's new Kinect sensor is a lot of things, but absurdly accurate isn't one of them. To that end, Redmond' Research division is showing off some recent advancements its made with Handpose -- a way to fully track finger movement with its do-all gizmo in a variety of conditions. The video we've embedded below shows off the $150 PC peripheral analyzing and capturing intricate finger and hand movements seemingly pretty easily both from close-range and further back. Changes in lighting don't affect the fidelity either, as the tracking is all performed by the Kinect's depth sensor, not its camera. As Kotaku notes, however, this looks very much like something that'll be used for applications outside of gaming, rather than as a boost for your Dance Central skills. We'd like to imagine that its extra accuracy would probably come in handy in the operating room.

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Via: Kotaku

Source: Microsoft Research (YouTube)

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GitHub's free student bundle gets you started on writing code

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/08/github-student-bundle/

GitHub's student bundle

It's harder to score student discounts on programming tools now that many of them are subscription services, but GitHub has just launched a bundle that could make it far less expensive to get cracking. Its new Student Developer Pack gives you free access to the kind of tools you'd typically need to get a serious coding project off the ground, including the Unreal game engine, cloud hosting and GitHub's own code repository service. How much you get for free varies. Some partners simply offer credit, while others will give you a subscription -- in a few cases, for as long as you're still a student. The hope is that you'll like the tools enough to pay for them later, of course, but it's hard to knock an offer that leaves you with fewer school-related bills.

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Via: TechCrunch

Source: GitHub Education, GitHub Blog

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EE TV is a set-top box that streams video to your mobile devices

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/08/ee-tv/

EE TV

Already the UK's biggest mobile network, EE is looking to branch out. The company today announced EE TV, a new set-top box that will serve up over 70 Freeview channels, as well as various catch-up and on-demand services. The box itself has DVR capabilities, with a 1TB drive capable of storing roughly 600 hours of recorded TV or film. Up to four channels can be recorded at once, too. With EE being a mobile network, smaller screen devices are integral to the product. EE TV will pump content to up to four different screens including your TV, so tablets and smartphones connected to the same WiFi network can tune in to different channels or watch different on-demand video streams.

As you'd imagine, this is handled through iOS and Android apps which mimic the set-top box's UI. You can also use the apps as a remote for the main set-top box if you've misplaced the physical one, and "flick" anything you're watching on a mobile device instantly to the living room TV. You can also pause whatever you're watching on one device, and resume from another -- something EE says is only possible on its set-top box currently. Probably the most interesting feature is called "replay," which records up to six channels all the time, with the last 24-hours always available if you've missed anything.

Alongside the 70+ selection of Freeview channels, and catch-up services like BBC iPlayer, apps including YouTube and Wuaki.tv will also be available at launch, with various other services said to be joining the platform soon. EE TV will be launching in the very near future, and will be free to any of the company's broadband subscribers. Mobile customers will be able to get involved from £9.95 per month, and if you're not an EE customer of any description, you're out of luck.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

OLED Wallpaper Could Be the Future of Lighting

Source: http://gizmodo.com/oled-wallpaper-could-be-the-future-of-lighting-1643373103

OLED Wallpaper Could Be the Future of Lighting

It's the Star Trek-inspired future we were promised—walls that glow and change color, perhaps with just a gentle voice command. And it's finally (almost) possible thanks to a series of advances in OLED sheets. This new lighting solution also uses half as much energy than existing fluorescent lights. It is, however, pretty expensive.

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Apple TV Gets One Step Closer to Becoming Your Smart Home Hub

Source: http://gizmodo.com/apple-tv-gets-one-step-closer-to-becoming-your-smart-ho-1643518715

Apple TV Gets One Step Closer to Becoming Your Smart Home Hub

Apple TV has long seemed like a natural fit as a hub for Apple's smart home ambitions, even before those ambitions were codified in HomeKit . Today, we finally have a good look at exactly how that's going to work in practice.

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Nano 'missiles' help kill cancer through the power of green tea

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/07/green-tea-cancer-killing-missiles/

Green tea

Many will tell you that green tea is good for your health, but researchers at Singapore's A*STAR might just make it a literal life-saver. They've developed nanoscale drug delivery "missiles" that use a key ingredient from green tea, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), to kill cancer tumors more effectively. Compounds based on EGCG both shield the drug carriers from your immune system and provide some therapy of their own; in other words, these hunters are more likely to reach tumors and do a better job of healing your body when they arrive. They're also less prone to accumulating in organs where they aren't wanted, so there are fewer chances of nasty side effects. It's not certain when these tea-based transporters will be available to your doctor, but A*STAR's team is determined to make them a practical reality before long.

[Top image credit: Shutterstock / Africa Studio]

A*STAR's green tea-based drug delivery system

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Via: Phys.org

Source: A*STAR, Nature

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The secret to this interactive hologram tech is water vapor

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/07/interactive-holograms-leia-display-system/

It's 2014 and while we don't have flying cars just yet it looks like interactive holographic displays could be a reality rather soon. The not-so-cleverly-named Leia Display System (LDS) uses a combination of light, water-vapor and air to provide a transparent canvas for projected images while sensors track movement and touch inputs from users. The videos we've embedded below show all manner of poking and prodding by users, a bit of Minority Report-style pinching and zooming things in mid-air and even using gestures to rotate and flick stuff out of the way. There's even a sample with a Mercedes sedan driving through the curtain and it "shattering" around the vehicle as it passes through.

As of now, the screens come in 95cm x 65cm (roughly 37 inches by 25 inches) and 3m x 2.5m (around 10 foot by 8 foot) versions, with the latter able to be linked with other displays for an even bigger installation. The tech's Polish creator says that the LDS mostly has been requested for use in digital signage and advertising so far, but that it gets "non-standard" use requests pretty regularly. Here's to hoping that we see it used for more than just shilling products in the near future -- let's save that for Michael Jackson, okay?

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Source: Leia Display

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Google takes you to the 'Endgame' of its augmented reality world

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/10/07/google-endgame-augmented-reality-world/

Back in January, Google teamed up with author James Frey to create a project which would combine interactive novels with augmented reality games. That effort was part of Google's interest in expanding the Ingress AR platform beyond its Niantic Labs, as it looked to share those tools with with third-party developers who could create titles of their own. Today, as part of the launch of Endgame: The Calling, the first from a series of three novels, the partnership between Frey and Google has officially kicked off this type of augmented reality/interactive game.

The idea is to build a whole world around these novels, so Niantic Labs is working on designing real-life puzzles, clues and treasure hunts, as well as web videos and other stuff that can complement each piece of writing. With Endgame, for instance, there's a website called Ancient Societies, which ties into the story by giving you more info from the lead characters in the story you're about to read. There's no doubt it's a refreshing take on interactive storytelling, so we'll see if more authors, publishers and developers decide to come up with something similar in the future.

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Via: The Verge

Source: Ancient Societies

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Hackers Are Stealing Millions From ATM Worldwide With New Malware

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/hackers-stealing-millions-from-atm-2014-10

RTR3H3PT

A criminal gang is using a piece of malware to allow them to steal millions in cash from ATMs around the world without having to use a credit or debit card.

The hackers are using a piece of malware called Tyupkin, which once installed on an ATM, allows the criminals to steal huge amounts of money by simply entering a series of codes.

The malware has so far been detected infecting ATMs in Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

The attack was detected by Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab, which was asked by an unnamed financial institution to investigate the cyber-attack.

There are no details relating to the criminal gang behind the attacks, but Kaspersky Lab says the gang has stolen "millions of dollars" using the Tyupkin malware.

"Over the last few years, we have observed a major upswing in ATM attacks using skimming devices and malicious software," said Vicente Diaz, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab.

"Now we are seeing the natural evolution of this threat with cybercriminals moving up the chain and targeting financial institutions directly. This is done by infecting ATMs themselves or launching directAdvanced Persistent Threat (APT)-style attacks against banks. The Tyupkin malware is an example of the attackers taking advantage of weaknesses in the ATM infrastructure."

Kasperksy alerted Interpol to the attacks and it has informed the affected countries.

"Offenders are constantly identifying new ways to evolve their methodologies to commit crimes, and it is essential that we keep law enforcement in our member countries involved and informed about current trends and modus operandi," said Sanjay Virmani, director of the I! nterpol Digital Crime Centre.

Here's how the Tyupkin attack works:

  • First the criminals need to gain physical access to the ATMs, allowing them to insert a bootable CD which installs the malware.
  • After the system is rebooted, the ATM is under the control of the gang.
  • The malware then runs in the background on an infinite loop awaiting a command.
  • The malware will only accept commands at specific times, on Sunday and Monday nights, making it harder to detect.
  • To activate the malware, a unique combination key based on random numbers is generated, to avoid the possibility of a member of the public accidentally entering a code.
  • The criminal carrying out the theft on the ground then receives a phone call from another member of the gang, who relays a session key based on the number shown on the ATM's screen. This helps prevent members of the gang going at it alone.
  • When this session key is entered correctly, the ATM displays details of how much money is available in each cash cassette, inviting the operator to choose which cassette to steal from.
  • After this, the ATM dispenses 40 banknotes at a time from the chosen cassette.

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