For the aspiring DJs and living room producers, there's now a way to craft your drum machine chops with nothing more than your favorite web browser. An HTML5-driven site lets you choose between iconic instruments like Roland's TR-808 and TR-909, alongside Elektron's Machinedrum, the LinnDrum and a regular ol' acoustic kit for the luddites. In addition to turning nobs to get the perfect sound, you can save samples for use during your next studio session. What's more, when you're all finished, the site allows you to export loops as a WAV file that can be employed in a more robust production app. If you'll recall, there's also a web-based MPC that'll let you try your hand at piecing together samples used by J Dilla and Kanye West. With these two tools in your browser, there's really no excuse for not exploring that music habit.
Friday, March 20, 2015
Apple is working on a new version of its Apple TV streaming set-top box, according to a new report from BuzzFeed News.
The new version of the Apple TV will be "a significant overhaul of the device," according to the report, and will introduce its own App Store in addition to adding Apple's virtual assistant Siri for the first time.
Apple is said to be planning to announce the new Apple TV at its World Wide Developers Conference in June, and will also debut a software development kit allowing app developers to create their own apps for the streaming box.
The interior of the Apple TV is said to be getting an overhaul as well. Apple will include a version of its A8 chip as the processor, and will increase the internal storage "well beyond the 8 GB in the current device."
The new report from Buzzfeed News appears to back up an earlier report from 9to5Mac's Mark Gurman which revealed Apple's would announce a slimmer version of the Apple TV complete with its own App Store and newly designed remote in the summer.
Interestingly enough, the Apple TV started out as a "hobby" product for Apple, but after reaching more than $1 billion in sales in 2013, Tim Cook has since said, "It's a little more difficult to call it a hobby these days."
Apple is also said to be developing its own TV subscription streaming service to launch in the fall, according to The Wall Street Journ! al, which will offer "about 25 channels, anchored by broadcasters such as ABC, CBS, and Fox, and would be available on Apple devices such as the Apple TV."
Posted by Augustine at 11:30 AM
I don't know if I'm quite having a breakdown, but I'm certainly sitting at my desk having some kind of adverse physical reaction to the fact that will.i.am has pumped another wearable device into this consumer electronics landfill we call Earth. Yes, Mr I.Am has made another
Posted by Augustine at 5:53 AM
Thursday, March 19, 2015
The Virgin giganto-brand already encompasses a media empire, a few airlines, wireless phone service, some hotels and an honest-to-goodness space program -- why wouldn't it churn out some electric cars for us, too? CEO Richard Branson hinted as much during a chat with Bloomberg, noting that Virgin's already got a team plugging away on high-speed electric car that'll participate in the Formula E racing circuit, but here's the bit that everyone's seized on:
"We have teams of people working on electric cars," Branson said. "So you never know-you may find Virgin competing with the Tesla in the car business as we do in the space business. We will see what happens."
To be absolutely clear, there's nothing at all concrete about his statements. Lots of things might happen. What's indisputable, though, is Branson's general distaste for more conventional, petrol-guzzling cars. The past few years have seem him tooling around in a Saab 9-5 BioPower station wagon, and he reiterated just today that he hopes "10 years from now the smell of exhausts from cars will be a thing of the past as much as the smell of cigarettes in restaurants."
Still, there's an argument to be made that Branson (and his vast swimming pools of cash) is just the right person to take on this challenge. He's certainly got the resources to turn a kooky concept into an actual road-worthy machine, and some of the hires made for Virgin Galactic -- like former White House assistant director of space and aeronautics Richard DalBello -- mean that Branson and his ilk have the clout and drive to make key strategic hires. Hell, there's a sort of proud British history of electric scooting, too: The world's first electric car just might've been invented by a plucky British inventor named Thomas Parker in the late 19th century. Thing is, crafting a truly usable, desirable electric car is no small feat - just ask the folks at Fisker who tried that, failed and sold what was left of their company to a Chinese company that plans a grand resurgence for the brand in the years to come.
Posted by Augustine at 8:09 PM
Some of the applications sound like pure science fiction New robots could take on exciting new forms and applications, with each component of the machine able to react and act on its own, according to a review published today in Science. The materials making up a robot are themselves are becoming...
Posted by Augustine at 5:23 PM
February 23rd, 2012. Electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling uploads the official music video for "Crystallize" to YouTube. Two days later, user "riley lux" uploads a video titled "DH long boarding on a windy day." In it, a group of friends enjoy some downhill riding set to Stirling's haunting violin-based soundtrack. The video itself isn't remarkable. Some self-shot GoPro footage, with a few edits roughly in time with parts of the song. But, there's something about each pass of Stirling's bow that balances the on-screen energy with a tangible calm. Later the same day, user "Jvr0s" chooses the same song for a video called "GPK Fun around town." In it, a group of friends practice parkour. This video is entirely forgettable, but for the song -- it somehow manages to elevate the otherwise unremarkable action cam footage.
My first exposure to the track is also on an action sport video, during a wingsuit video marathon, to be precise. Long after my first encounter, I hear the song again on an F-18 pilot's GoPro video; remembering it, I use Shazam to find out what it's called. I scour my YouTube history and realize: This song has been following me for months through its popularity on YouTube GoPro videos and I've only just noticed.
The question is: Why am I hearing this song in videos more than... well, any other? Is it a free download on some action sports site? Was it used in an advert for GoPro? Maybe it's just confirmation bias? Or, perhaps, Stirling's stumbled on a secret formula. Something in the song's DNA that makes it particularly suitable for soundtracking sweet jumps, aerial rides, hula-hooping, surfing, wingsuit flying or, seemingly any and every form of action-based activity?
As of this writing, searching YouTube for "Crystallize GoPro" returns about 12,000 results. By contrast, searching for "Rihanna Diamonds GoPro" (an arbitrarily chosen popular song), you actually get about 10,000 more results. However, scroll down and you'll soon see that the action videos using Rihanna's song are few, and drop off almost immediately. YouTube fills the space with "Results for similar searches." You can go 10 pages deep after searching "Crystallize GoPro," and still find more action videos soundtracked by the song. When I first noticed this, it seemed like an in-joke I didn't know about. Some videos are perhaps less suited for the piece, sure; it's not a panacea. But most -- the clear majority -- are improved by it.
Posted by Augustine at 4:45 PM
Mobile malware is bad enough by itself, but it's a nightmare at work -- one infection could put everyone's phones at risk, if not the whole business. IBM has a fix, though. A new version of its MobileFirst Protect tool now automatically looks for virus-ridden Android and iOS apps on staffers' phones, and puts any compromised device on lockdown before it can pose a threat to you or anyone else. It immediately limits access to apps and services, and it'll let your IT staff know if there's trouble. The system automatically updates its malware knowledge, too, so it shouldn't be caught off-guard by recently discovered exploits. Yes, IBM's threat tool another form of corporate oversight, but it could prove a lifesaver if it prevents a careless coworker from wrecking your personal phone.
[Image credit: IBM, Flickr]
Posted by Augustine at 9:49 AM
There's been plenty of speculation as to how Switzerland's watch making industry will deal with smartwatches. In Tag Heuer's case, the company has decided that if it can't beat Google, it might as well join it, which is why the firm has announced it'll be the first to produce "luxury" Android Wear devices. In addition to working with the search engine, Tag is also enlisting the services of Intel to help build the hardware that'll power this new wearable.
Jean-Claude Biver, head of watches for the luxury group LVMH -- Tag Heuer's parent company -- revealed a few choice tidbits about the decision. For instance, he told BBC News that rather than build a device that worked with iOS, or partner with Apple more generally, he preferred Google since it doesn't produce a watch of its own. There could also be some bad blood there, since Cupertino did steal former Tag sales and retail VP Patrick Pruniaux in the summer of last year. Biver also told an audience member at the event that the device would maintain Tag Heuer's house style. That falls in line with the previous Reuters report, which said that the new watch would ape the classic Carrera model.
The first watch from the partnership will arrive at the end of the year, Biver mischievously describing that as any time between October and December. The executive also revealed that the features and pricing of the watch are already known, but wouldn't be revealed until much closer to the launch date. Given that this is a Tag Heuer watch, however, we can speculate that the price will run from "a lot" all the way through to "woah."
Posted by Augustine at 9:49 AM
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Just because you're not splurging on a top-of-the-line smartphone doesn't mean that you have to settle for a tiny amount of storage. Samsung certainly thinks that way -- it just announced a 3-bits-per-cell flash memory chip that promises 128GB of storage in "mass market" (read: more affordable) mobile devices. It's based on the plain eMMC tech you see in most phones instead of the fast UFS format inside the Galaxy S6, but you probably won't complain about the speed when it can still read sequential data at a very respectable 260MB per second. The one catch? There's no word on when it'll be ready, so you may be waiting a while before you're carrying a budget phone with more drive space than some laptops.
[Top image credit: Samsung Tomorrow, Flickr]
Source: Samsung (BusinessWire)
Posted by Augustine at 9:25 PM
Though graphene is noted for its beautiful symmetry, when you add a few warts and imperfections, it becomes more interesting -- specifically, it has the potential to make fuel cells better and cheaper. Scientists from Northwestern University and other institutions were toying with the material as a hydrogen fuel cell membrane, and found that by knocking out at least four carbon atoms from the normally pristine structure, it performed vastly better. A large number of protons (and nothing else) slipped through imperfections in the atom-thick material in just a few seconds, efficiently generating electricity.
The "defective" graphene membrane transports protons much faster and more selectively than standard fuel cell membranes, which tend to let too many impurities through. That could lead to less complicated, hyper-efficient fuel cell batteries for EVs and wind or solar power plants. The tech could also bring improvements to regular batteries, according to the researchers. Despite being the poster-child for promising materials that nobody uses, Graphene might finally get its day by powering your future fossil-free car.
[Image credit: Murali Raju, Penn State]
Posted by Augustine at 3:02 PM
The last few times T-Mobile's CEO went off on an Uncarrier spree, he revealed a way to bank the data people paid for but didn't use, and eased up its credit requirements for new phone buyers. Now, at a cozy studio space in New York City, John Legere has a new Uncarrier 9.0 initiative to show off and it's a little different than what we're used to: It's meant to make pairing businesses with T-Mobile service less of a pain in the ass than than it normally is.
In short: Pricing is dead simple, so companies with less than 20 lines pay $16 per line for unlimited talk, text and 1GB of LTE data. Oh, you're running a bigger operation than that? Lines'll cost you $15 instead, and you can set up business family discounts of up to 50 percent, too.
In the event you need even more data, you can pay additional fees per line or shell out the dough for one big pool that costs $4.75 a gigabyte (naturally, rates dip a little the bigger your pool gets). The icing on the cake: Your business gets a free .com domain and website thanks to a partnership with GoDaddy, plus free Microsoft business email service if just one of your lines has additional purchased data stuck to it. And just like that, T-Mobile just made itself relevant to cash-strapped startups and mom-and-pop operations across the country.
Legere, boisterous as always and with a now-trademark Red Bull in hand, kicked off the event by summing up T-Mobile's big moves in 2014. To hear him tell the tale, the company saw 1 billion free international data roaming sessions, and paid for 1.8 million early termination fees last year, a testament to just how strongly these . More importantly, Legere confirmed once again that T-Mobile was sitting pretty with more than 55 million subscribers at the end of 2014, putting it neck and neck with -- or possibly just a bit ahead of -- its bitter rival Sprint, which Legere just couldn't stop ragging on.
Oh, and in case you were keeping count: It took about 10 minutes for Legere to drop his first f-bomb.
Filed under: Mobile
Posted by Augustine at 3:00 PM
There's something jarring about hearing old interviews of legendary futurist Buckminster Fuller. He speaks at a rapid pace, like each word is racing to get out before the next. But both Fuller's style and his self-assuredness make it hard not to get swept up in his unbridled optimism about the future of technology — especially in this new animated video created from audio interviews conducted by Studs Terkel in 1965 and 1970.
Posted by Augustine at 7:18 AM
Premera Blue Cross, a health-insurance company with millions of patients in the US, has just admitted that 11 million of its customers have been victims of a wide-ranging data breach. Stolen data includes Social Security numbers, bank account information, and clinical records. Oh crap.
Posted by Augustine at 7:17 AM
I've always thought of an iPhone passcode as being fairly secure — it's a 4-digit number, whith a lockout that prevents just mashing buttons until you find the right answer. But apparently, there's a cheap box that can get hack your security, no matter what.
Posted by Augustine at 7:16 AM
3D printers can build anything from prosthetics and musical instruments to Hershey chocolates. But, even as the technology continues to make strides with materials (metal, concrete, etc.) and takes on full-fledged architectural projects, it seems to move further away from the reach of children. Tinkerplay, a new kid-friendly 3D printing app, makes it quick and easy for all age groups to design and experiment with minimal assistance.
The app is the brainchild of Autodesk, the company best known for its flagship AutoCAD design software. It's an evolution of Autodesk-acquired Modio, an iPad app that worked with desktop 3D printers. Like its predecessor, Tinkerplay eliminates the need for additional rafts and support materials which tend to complicate the process for at-home designs. But new features and functions allow kids (and older humans) to choose from the pre-loaded character templates or create their own versions from modifiable parts. Users can drag and drop parts to create characters or create their own complex little parts with customizable textures and colors for a new design. For the latter, connectors available with the larger Tinkercad family can be employed. In the end, the printer processes similar color parts that can be snapped up together for a ready-to-pose figurine.
The app, available on iOS, Android and Windows, is an addition to a growing list of 3D printing tools that encourage at-home experimentation. But it also engages a more pertinent audience -- a generation that learns to swipe screens and tinker with gadgets before they can walk.
[Image credit: Tinkerplay]
Posted by Augustine at 7:15 AM
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
3D printing isn't short of advocates in the design and engineering world, because of its ability to easily produce prototypes—but it can be slow. A new company called Carbon3D hopes to change that, though, with a new 3D printing method that claims to be 25-100 times faster than other resin printing techniques.
Posted by Augustine at 1:04 PM
Bitcoin may linger on the fringes of the mainstream, but plenty of companies are casting envious eyes towards the technology that underpins it. Just days after IBM announced a plan to use the blockchain as the basis for its own payments platform, Gyft has said that it's doing the same. The digital gift card company has revealed that it's looking into ways to "tokenize" gift cards and issue them on the blockchain for better theft protection. CEO Vinny Lingham has admitted that the company is a long way away from having a working prototype, but it's clear that Bitcoin isn't going anywhere.
Posted by Augustine at 12:53 PM
Measure everything from acceleration to magnetic fields From what I remember of my high school physics class, we spent a lot of time rolling marbles down inclined planes. Today's kids are used to a little more tech, so the Pocket Lab project on Kickstarter wants to spice up science class by devel...
Posted by Augustine at 9:10 AM
Lights, mirrors, action! Scientists are developing smart contact lenses embedded with miniscule mirrors that can magnify your vision by almost three times. The 1.55mm-thick lenses incorporate a thin reflective telescope made of mirrors and filters; when light enters the eye it bounces off the ser...
Posted by Augustine at 9:03 AM
A Scottish start-up is turning root vegetables into an ingenious new material, which can be used to lock moisture into anything from food to cosmetics to concrete A Scottish start-up has developed a material made from carrots and sugar beet that it claims is twice as strong as carbon fibre, and i...
Posted by Augustine at 8:21 AM
Monday, March 16, 2015
The NFL is famous for its high-priced Super Bowl commercials. But when it comes to the bottom-line for the entire post-season, the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is not far behind.
In 2014, the NCAA Tournament generated $1.13 billion in ad revenue over 67 games, compared to $1.23 billion for the 11 games in the NFL playoffs according to data collected by Kantar Media. The NCAA Tournament actually led the NFL in 2013 when TV commercials sold for a total of $1.11 billion compared to $1.10 billion for the NFL playoffs.
The NBA playoffs is the only other North American postseason that generates more than $500 million in ad revenue while Major League Baseball and the NHL are way off the pace.
Posted by Augustine at 6:26 PM
Argos is under relentless pressure from Amazon in the UK, so it's looking to personalised services as a way to stand apart from its online-only competition. Today, the company is launching a new site for 3D-printed jewellery, which includes rings, bracelets and cufflinks. Customers can tweak the designs with their own names, words and phrases, and Argos promises to deliver the final product in 21 days. 3D printing is often associated with low-quality trinkets, but here Argos is clearly targeting a more luxurious market. All of the products are available in silver and 18 carat gold plating, with prices ranging between £50 and £220. It's a small trial for now, and Argos is enlisting Digital Forming and Innovate UK to help out with some of the technical aspects. If customers embrace the service though, the company says it'll consider how it can be expanded to other areas of its business, such as lighting and homeware. 3D-printing isn't a silver bullet for dethroning Amazon, but it represents the level of risk and creativity Argos needs to stay competitive.
Posted by Augustine at 11:40 AM