You there! Hooligan! How much to retweet that tweet about butts in our weekly print periodical? Twenty-five dollars, you say? Sold!
You there! Hooligan! How much to retweet that tweet about butts in our weekly print periodical? Twenty-five dollars, you say? Sold!
Posted by Augustine at 8:06 AM
I suspect the Germans have a word for taking something great and then stripping it of everything remotely joyful until it's a cold hollow shell not fit for existence. Unless this FCC filing is totally off base, now I do too! Well, two words, I guess: Vudu Spark.
Posted by Augustine at 8:06 AM
If you've been jonesing for a square Android Wear smartwatch that's slightly more stylish than what's currently on offer, your wait is just about over. ASUS has announced that the ZenWatch will reach the US on November 9th, when it'll sell through Best Buy for $199; it'll also be available through Google Play at a later date. That's a pretty alluring price for wristwear that's not only fairly sleek looking, but goes above and beyond Android Wear's usual features, such as double-tapping the screen to launch a pre-assigned task. While a lot of what's under the hood will be familiar if you've tried earlier Google-powered wearables, ASUS' stand-out design could make it worth a closer look.
Posted by Augustine at 7:53 PM
How's this for obscene. Yacht-maker Ken Freivokh Design is in the process of engineering a brand new 500-foot superyacht for a client that will boast the world's first floating private IMAX theater below deck. And when it's not being used to show movies, the Nemo Room, as it's being called, will display live underwater images from cameras on the yacht mounted below the water line.
Posted by Augustine at 2:48 PM
Walmart looks set to launch a new streaming HDMI dongle resembling Google's Chromecast or Amazon's Fire TV Stick, but possibly lacking some of the features of those devices. Called the Vudu Spark, it leaked from the FCC's website, replete with multi-angle photos and a user manual. The document shows how to set up the Spark with your WiFi network, and that it'll basically do one thing: give you Vudu on your TV. That app is Walmart's answer to Netflix, serving up streaming movies and TV shows on demand.
The test reports show that it comes with a Zigbee-based RF remote control, though it's not clear if it'll also support smartphone-based control à la Google's dongle. There's also no sign of screen mirroring or other advanced features, meaning it might just be a no-frills way to get the Vudu app onto a dumb TV, though we'd have to see the device to confirm that. Anyway, if you do need those features plus Vudu, you can just buy a Chromecast, of course -- the Vudu app's been available on it for quite awhile. There's no word yet from Walmart on pricing and availability.
Posted by Augustine at 2:14 PM
For years now, scientists have been trying to develop microscopic robots that can swim through bodily fluids and repair damaged cells or deliver medicine. Now, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany believe they've got the perfect design -- in the form of scallops so small, they can barely be seen by the naked eye. These micro-robo-scallops move back and forth to swim through blood, eyeball fluids and other liquids inside our body. The scientists believe mimicking the way a true scallop swims is ideal, due to a number of reasons.
First, moving backward and forward is the best way to swim through non-Newtonian fluids, or liquids that can grow thicker or thinner, depending on the situation. As you've likely guessed, our bodily fluids are good examples (so is oobleck, or the 1:1.5-2 mixture of water and cornstarch -- seriously, try it out for yourself), as opposed to water, which can retain its viscosity. Second, the micro-scallops don't need much power be able to move that way. They don't require batteries or even motors -- just the energy provided by an external magnetic field.
According to the scientists, they don't have a particular purpose in mind for their minuscule scallop. Instead, they're hoping it becomes a reference design for other teams and companies that want to develop advanced medical technologies. If you're willing to follow these robots' example and swim through some scientific terminology, head over to Nature where the team's paper was recently published.
Filed under: Science
Posted by Augustine at 2:14 PM
The Hague (AFP) - European and US police have arrested 17 people running online "dark" markets selling illegal products and services in a joint operation against the supposedly anonymous Tor network.
Police from the United States and 16 European countries, including France, Germany and Britain, on Thursday "undertook a joint action against dark markets running as hidden services on Tor network," European police agency Europol said in a statement.
Tor is an online encryption service that protects a computer user's unique identifying IP address, used to set up private web connections in what has become known as the Darknet -- a hidden network used for both licit and illicit activities.
"The action aimed to stop the sale, distribution and promotion of illegal and harmful items, including weapons and drugs, which were being sold on online 'dark' marketplaces," Europol said on Friday.
The operation seized virtual Bitcoins worth one million dollars (800,000 euros), 180,000 euros in cash as well as unspecified drugs.
"We are not 'just' removing these services from the open Internet," said Troels Oerting, the head of Europol's EC3 cybercrime unit.
"This time we have also hit services on the Darknet using Tor where, for a long time, criminals have considered themselves beyond reach. We can now show that they are neither invisible nor untouchable."
US authorities on Thursday said they had shut down a reincarnation of the Silk Road online black market bazaar for drugs and other illicit goods and charged its alleged 26-year-old operator.
US prosecutors say Silk Road 2.0 enabled more than 100,000 people to buy and sell illegal drugs and other contraband anonymously over the Internet after its predecessor was shut down in 2013.
Posted by Augustine at 7:52 AM
I have seen the future of high definition displays and lo, it is glorious. Not to mention rollable, foldable, and clearly superior to LCD/LED—really every other panel technology available today.
Posted by Augustine at 4:31 PM
Last week it was a new streaming stick, and this week it's a speaker. Today, Amazon announced the Echo: a $199 speaker that caters to your Prime music, news and weather needs at the sound of your voice. Similar to "OK Google" command, a "wake word" gets the gadget to perk up before sorting those spoken cues like searches, setting alarms, relaying the forecast for tomorrow and more. It's kind of like having Siri, Google Now or Cortana stuffed into a diminutive household speaker. The audio accessory is connected to the retailer's cloud via WiFi, and it also allows for beaming Spotify or Rdio via Bluetooth. Thanks to a cylindrical design, the unit blasts out tunes and other bits in all directions so that everyone in the room can hear.
A group of seven microphones are scattered around the top of the speaker, which Amazon says allows the Echo to pick up your commands while it's playing Taylor Swift's 1989. What's more, that cloud connection enables the device to get smarter as it learns your speech patterns, vocabulary and personal preferences. There's a companion app to sort music, alarms, shopping lists and more on Fire OS and Android (also inside desktop and iOS browsers), as well as on-board controls to cue commands, adjust volume or disable the listening feature during weekend festivities.
Echo plugs in, so it's not portable like more straightforward efforts from Jawbone or Beats. While those devices were designed to be mobile, Bezos & Co. are clearly focused on the living room here, hoping you'll splurge for another purchase on top of the Fire TV to round out the entertainment arsenal. If you've been following voice-controlled gadgets, you're likely familiar with Ubi -- the compact device that plugs into a wall outlet to allow spoken commands to wrangle appliances and more. Amazon went a step further with this effort and stuffed the voice controls right into the speaker itself. Unfortunately, Echo is invite-only for now, but Prime subscribers that are lucky enough to nab one can do so at a $100 discount.
Posted by Augustine at 3:21 PM
A new razor-thin townhouse is set to make a splash in Manhattan's desirable Flatiron District of Midtown South.
It also features a glass elevator to move up and down the skinny building.
Though it's relatively small, it packs a big punch with six bedrooms, four powder rooms, a "backyard," a roof deck, a home office, and a garage (to park your presumably very skinny car).
It will also have not one but two hot tubs, plus a sauna and a steam room.
The townhouse will be built at 34 West 21st St., acco rding to the press release, and will be a single-family home.
One last view of the incredible townhouse and its awesome layout.
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Posted by Augustine at 2:22 PM
A good story is a very special incarnation of magic, and if there's one thing more interesting than seeing how it unfolds, it's seeing how it was put together. Thankfully, a terribly neat new tool called Draftback -- created by New York-based writer/programmer James Somers -- sort of lets you do just that... as long as the story in question lives in a Google document.
You see, the secret to Draftback's sorcery is that Google tracks every change you make to a document in incredibly minute detail - we're talking on a character-by-character basis, and all that writing data doesn't actually go anywhere. What Draftback does is it tallies up all those little changes and lumps them all into a single, interactive animation that shows off how your sentences shrink, your ideas swell, and your word choice grows more florid the later it gets. Think of it as an exercise in literary archeology.
No, really! Imagine your favorite writer, and visualize how well there arguments and suggestions and ideas flow together. Got it? The fruits of their talent are what ultimately wind up on the page, but all the agony and frustration that goes into each of those gems is lost to the sands of time. Until now, anyway. Just keep this in mind as you start playing around with it: Draftback is more a passion project than it is a polished product, don't be surprised to stumble across a few hiccups. They're not too numerous now (the neat analytical graphs that highlight when and where changes were made don't seem to work), but its core seems to work as well as us word nerds would like. Well, for now.
Via: James Somers
Posted by Augustine at 5:49 AM
There are more than 7 billion people on the planet and counting. The United Nations recently projected that the world's population will rise to 9.6 billion in 2050 and perhaps even 10.9 billion by the end of the century. With so many more mouths to feed, the environmental impact of increased food production is an issue that's only growing in importance. This weekend we'll be talking with two people who have very different approaches to the problem. Agnieszka Nazaruk (also known as Aga) co-founded a company called Niwa, which makes a smartphone-connected, modular hydroponic growing system that is intelligent enough so that even those with the blackest of thumbs can grow their own fruits and vegetables at home. Greg Sewitz, on the other hand, co-founded Exo, which offers a line of protein bars that has crickets -- yes, actual crickets -- as its main ingredient. Intrigued? Come on by the Expand stage this Saturday, November 8th, to hear more about what they have to say. Here's a little amuse-bouche for the conversation ahead (The answers below are not verbatim and were compiled from a series of interviews).
What is the mission behind your product?
Aga: We want to disrupt the current food system. We think it's broken. There are 2,000 trucks traveling over 2,000 kilometers just to ship us our food and that's just not sustainable. There's already a big movement toward local organic production and growing food in an urban environment. Our product makes it possible to grow food in an urban apartment with very little space. It's not just local -- it's hyperlocal.
Greg: Insects are a very sustainable and nutritious source of protein. Much of the world already eats insects as part of their regular diet, and it's a good way to meet the protein needs of their growing population. Our aim behind the Exo protein bars is to provide a more comfortable vehicle for Americans to get used to the idea of eating insects. You get to taste insects without it looking like a bug.
Tell me a little more about your product. How much is it?
Aga: It's essentially a kitchen garden, a smart hydroponic system that enables everyone to grow their own food. Right now, it's a little small, so in terms of volume, it's not going to be enough to stop you from going grocery shopping. But it's modular -- over time you could buy more units and stack them on top of each other in a cabinet if you like.
The smartphone app is the most important thing. The whole idea is that you can plant the seed, tell the app what you're growing and it loads a specific program for a particular vegetable. It'll take everything into account -- humidity, temperature, etc. We're targeting urban dwellers who have no idea how to garden -- we try to make it really easy.
We try to make it as affordable as possible. Other hydroponic units are very expensive -- like $2,000 to $3,000 per unit. Ours is $399, and there's enough space for six plants, though they do have to work in the same environment. We're working on a tray for root vegetables, but otherwise it should work with most supermarket vegetables.
Greg: Gabi Lewis, the other co-founder, and myself started the company while we were still in university. Gabi has always been into fitness and health, and was really into the Paleo diet, which is the idea of eating what our ancestors would have had access to, so he got into making his own protein bars. I then started reading about edible insects and how sustainable they were and how we might need to branch out and start eating insects. Americans have this severe psychological hurdle to the idea of eating insects, so we decided to put it in a bar.
What we did is order a bunch of crickets. We put them in a freezer to kill them, put them in the oven to roast them and then mill them into a powder. And then we basically swapped out the protein powder in our bars with the cricket flour and had our first prototype. We took it around to farmer's markets and gyms and people really liked it. We wanted to prove that people wanted to try it. We've only been selling it since last March, and it's been consistently running out since then. We couldn't make enough to meet demand.
A bar costs $3, and there are 40 crickets in a bar. The amount of protein is comparable to most protein bars.
What are the benefits of it?
Aga: There'll be lots of benefits. For parents, they want to feed their kids the best quality food. Food produced in this environment, you know it's fully organic; it's going to taste better; there are no pesticides or chemicals. It's pure, as fresh and pure as it can get. It's also great for those who just love the taste of homegrown food. And of course, it's also really beneficial to the environment. Local food production is just way more sustainable than shipping something across the country or the world.
Greg: We only work with farm-raised insects. It's incredibly efficient and cheap to raise insects at scale on a farm. To produce enough crickets to match an equivalent amount of beef protein requires 20 times fewer resources; the farms take up way less space; it produces 80 times less methane. It's an amazing option.
What do you think of all-in-one meal-replacement powders like Soylent?
Aga: I think there's room for experimentation. For us, we're trying to connect with our past when everyone was growing their own food. Soylent is a little extreme for me, but the truth is we all need to find ways to feed people. Using alternate sources, technology, etc. is the way to go. There just needs to be a good balance.
Greg: From our perspective, anybody solving the problem of trying to find a cheap, nutritious form of food is a good thing. Not everybody will have access to grass-fed organic beef, or any kind of beef for that matter, if we keep doing what we're doing. We worry that we don't know quite enough to nail down that all-in-one formula right away, but we do think that anyone doing any work on this question has value.
What is your hope for the future of your company and product?
Aga: We need to make our food chain systems more sustainable. We want to empower individuals to grow their own food. I truly believe that our app makes it extremely easy to grow food. Individuals should be able to take control of their own food. Food production should be democratized, making the whole system more sustainable. Our vision of the company is to enable everybody to grow their own food. In a few years, we want everybody to have a smart kitchen garden next to their fridge. You'll be able to pick up your fresh herbs, your salads, right in your own kitchen.
Greg: For us, we don't view ourselves as just a protein bar company. We want to normalize the idea of eating insects, full stop. We view the bars as the first step in doing that. Sushi is a good analogy. When sushi first came to America in the '60s, everybody thought it was gross. But a chef in Los Angeles created the California roll, which took the idea of raw fish and made it more palatable to Americans. To us, Exo is that gateway product for insects. We're not trying to convince your hardcore beef eater that he shouldn't eat burgers. We're trying to introduce an entire food group that's untapped in America and most of Europe. We want to diversify our food habits so there's not too much pressure put on food production.
[Image credit: Getty Images]
Posted by Augustine at 7:28 PM
The Minifigure Family application is now available again on Lego.com. With it you can create, send or share custom Lego themed post cards to your friends and family for the holidays.
Posted by Augustine at 7:27 PM
It almost sounded too crazy to be true, when Royal Caribbean announced that it would begin installing virtual balconies
Posted by Augustine at 7:26 PM
Nope, that's not a Surface Pro up there. But it's close. Dell just refreshed its 10.8-inch Venue 11 Pro tablet, and, much like Microsoft's slate, it's gone on a bit of a diet. Whereas the original Venue 11 Pro ran on a traditional, laptop-grade Core i5 processor, this one uses one of Intel's new Core M chips, which allows it to be much thinner and lighter -- and fanless, too. All told, it now comes in at 1.62 pounds and measures 0.42 inch thick -- not bad for what's essentially an 11-inch laptop replacement. (It's even slightly lighter than the Surface Pro 3, though to be fair, Microsoft's tablet also has a bigger screen.)As before, it'll be available with your choice of Core i3- and i5-series processors, a 1080p IPS screen and an optional Synaptics-made digitizer for pressure-sensitive pen input. Given that this is a lower-powered Core M processor, we wouldn't be surprised if the performance were slightly below last year's model, but even so, battery life is supposed to be longer: up to 10 hours on the tablet, plus another 10 if you add the optional Mobile Keyboard, which has its own 10-hour battery built in. Speaking of the sort, both of last year's keyboards, including the "Slim" folio, will work with this year's model as well. Good news for IT departments that already sprang for the accessories, and only want to upgrade the actual tablet. The Venue Pro 11 starts at $699 with the Slim keyboard included. Storage starts at 64GB, but there will also be 128GB and 256GB models available. Look for it this month, and in the meantime, enjoy the hands-on photos.
Posted by Augustine at 5:21 PM
We love two-factor authentication, and we love services that make our text messages accessible from our computers. However, if you don't want anyone—a snooping spouse, child, parent, or most importantly, a laptop thief—getting ahold of your private information, you might want to alter how you use two-factor authentication.
Two-factor authentication is one of the best forms of password security
Beware two-factor authentication using SMS forwarding | The Unofficial Apple Weblog
Photo by MIKI Yoshihito.
Posted by Augustine at 12:57 AM
Say goodbye to the days of monochrome night vision footage, folks. Sharp recently unveiled an infrared security camera that captures color 720p video, even in absolute darkness. The trick is an imaging sensor that uses near-infrared for illumination; unlike virtually every other competitor, this camera doesn't have to resort to conventional lights (and thus give itself away) to get a vivid picture. The device will likely be limited to corporate and government customers when it goes on sale in late November, but it could have a big impact on your safety. Building managers will soon have an easier time identifying intruders, not just spotting them -- while the technology might not stop a break-in, it should increase the chances of catching thieves before they strike again.
Filed under: Cameras
Posted by Augustine at 12:38 AM
If you're looking for somewhere a little "different" to stay for the holidays, you should check out the Jumbo Stay Hostel in Stockholm, Sweden.
Created inside of a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet that used to fly for Pan Am, this cozy hotel features a redesigned interior and the opportunity to sleep in the airplane's cockpit.
With 27 rooms that can hold up to 76 people, this unique hotel is one worth checking out.
Posted by Augustine at 7:27 PM
A Swedish white-hat hacker has discovered a serious vulnerability in OS X Yosemite that may extend to previous Mac operating systems as well, reports The Hacker News' Mohit Kumar.
Rootpipe allows outside users to gain administrator-level access to Macs running OS X Yosemite, Mavericks, or Mountain Lion without a password.
The security flaw gives attackers the opportunity to steal information, install malicious programs, or erase users' hard drives.
Kvarnhammar, for his part, appears to be waiting for Apple to patch Rootpipe before saying much about it:
Rootpipe has probably been around since at least 2012, according to Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet.
Apple has not publically acknowledged the security flaw and is expected to patch it in mid-January 2015, reports ZDNet.
We've reached out to Apple for comment and will update this post if we hear back.
Posted by Augustine at 7:26 PM
After years of development Disney unveiled its digital movie service on iOS earlier this year and today it's coming to Android too. When it launched, Disney Movies Anywhere had an unprecedented deep link to iTunes, and now on Android it's sharing a similar tie with Google Play. For users it's apparently as seamless as can be -- as long as they have a Disney account, any movies they unlock will be viewable on either family of devices (or the DMA website). The agreement covers access to around 400 Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies, and to make the sign-up worth your while, Disney is throwing in a free copy of Wreck-it Ralph for anyone that signs up and links an account.
Going cross-platform makes Disney's KeyChest-based system much more appealing -- and conveniently timed for the launch of Nexus Player / Android TV -- but we're still waiting to see if a tie-up with the likes of Amazon or Ultraviolet can fulfill the promise of unlocking a single copy in one store or with a Blu-ray / DVD purchase, and then being able to watch it anywhere, on any device. The Android app
isn't live yet(update: here it is), but you can check out a demo video for now (embedded after the break).
Posted by Augustine at 6:59 AM
In order to defend itself against small drones, China built a laser-based system that can shoot down the compact aircraft up to 1.2 miles away. According to the official Xinhua news agency, the tech can bring down the rogue flying machines within five seconds of locating them at altitudes of up to 500 meters (1,640 feet). It's said to be effective against the small UAVs flying at speeds of up to 112 MPH, and will primarily be used to secure events in urban locales and lock down unauthorized mapping efforts. The new system can be installed on existing vehicles to ensure troublemakers and their drones are kept from causing any mayhem. In statement by the China Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP), tests of the laser-based setup showed a 100 percent success rate, shooting down more than 30 drones during the trials. The CAEP is working on more robust systems with longer range as well.
[Image credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images]
Filed under: Misc
Source: The Guardian
Posted by Augustine at 7:34 PM
In addition to satellites and computers smaller than a giant room, Arthur C. Clarke also predicted mobile touchscreen devices that could be crumpled up like a handkerchief and stuffed in a pocket. Thanks to researchers at Japan's Semiconductor Energy Laboratory company, we're almost there.
Posted by Augustine at 9:32 AM