Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Google's Jamboard is a 4K digital whiteboard for collaboration

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/10/25/google-jamboard-digital-whiteboard/

It's hard to recall today, but being able to edit a document at the same time as others was a transformative feature for Google's suite of online office apps. That feature debuted a decade ago, though; these days, it's something most of us take probably take for granted. And as useful as real-time collaboration is in Docs and Sheets, it's not as organic as throwing ideas up on a physical whiteboard. So, in a bid to evolve the way we work once again, Google is unveiling Jamboard, a cloud-connected digital whiteboard that lets teams collaborate together no matter where they are.

At its core, Jamboard is basically just a 55-inch 4K display that you can use like a typical digital whiteboard. You can sketch out your ideas with a stylus for a small conference room full of coworkers. But what makes it quintessentially a Google product is its cloud connectivity. Whatever you draw on the device -- which the company calls your "jam" -- gets saved to your Drive folder automatically. You can pull in content from the web or other Google apps to buoy your ideas.

Most importantly, there are multiple ways for colleagues to collaborate on your work in real-time. Remote teams can use their own Jamboards to tune and contribute to your sessions as if they were right next to you. You can also pipe your jam to a Hangouts call, allowing you to potentially broadcast it to the world. And there are companion apps for Android and iOS that allow colleagues anywhere in the world to follow along. If you have an iPad or Android tablet, you'll be able to take advantage of all of the editing tools available to Jamboard devices. Phone collaborators, on the other hand, will be able to see everything going on and input data. (You can also pipe your jams to the web, but there's no online editor yet.)

The Jamboard itself basically looks like an oversized Nexus 10, right down to the thick bezels and the webcam above the screen. There's a small tray at the bottom for the passive stylus and eraser, right below the downward firing speakers. You can mount it to a wall, just like any other flatscreen TV, or you could opt for the stand that sits atop four large caster wheels, which makes it easy to move about your office. There are USB and HDMI ports along the side of the Jamboard (yes, you can use it as a standard 4K display), along with volume controls and an input select button right behind the bottom-right corner.

In many ways, Jamboard is a physical extension of Google's office suite. But it's also a way for the company to promote freeform brainstorming without tying users to specific apps. "From the beginning... we were putting people in sort of productivity boxes from the start, you had to choose right away, are you going to use Docs, a spreadsheet, or a slide deck," G Suite product director Jonathan Rochelle told Engadget. "We thought that might somehow limit creativity."

Though the Jamboard's stylus looks like a fat crayon, it's capable of drawing lines up to a fine 1mm. There's also a round eraser that also helps to clear off smudges from the screen. Both of those devices are passive, meaning you won't have to worry about battery life or even pairing them. Any stylus-like device will let you draw on the Jamboard, and, just like a real whiteboard, you can also use your finger to erase things as well.

In my brief hands-on time with the device, I was impressed with the responsiveness of the stylus, which felt almost as fast as drawing on a real whiteboard. Jamboard is capable of detecting up to 16 touch points at once, so you and a few colleagues will be able to use the screen at once. Clearly, Google is targeting the same market as Microsoft's Surface Hub, but it could be even more appealing to companies already tied to Google's apps.

Google plans to release Jamboard for under $6,000 in the first half of 2017 for G Suite customers. The company has already started testing the device out with big companies like Netflix, Spotify and Instrument, and is accepting signups for an early adopter program for companies who are eager to start jamming sooner.


Sunday, October 09, 2016

Brain-like memory gets an AI test drive

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/10/09/brain-like-memory-tested-with-neural-network/

Humanity just took one step closer to computers that mimic the brain. University of Southampton researchers have demonstrated that memristors, or resistors that remember their previous resistance, can power a neural network. The team's array of metal-oxide memristors served as artificial synapses to learn (and re-learn) from "noisy" input without intervention, much like you would. And since the memristors will remember previous states when turned off, they should use much less power than conventional circuitry -- ideal for Internet of Things devices that can't afford to pack big batteries.

It's still early days for this technology. If you wanted AI that could replicate the brain in its full glory, you'd need "hundreds of billions" of synapses (if not more). The far-simpler memristor array in this test was limited to looking for patterns. However, the Southampton group is quick to note that you wouldn't need to go that far for narrower purposes. You could have sensors that know how to classify objects and identify patterns without human help, which would be particularly helpful in dangerous or hard-to-reach places. You might just see IoT gadgets that are not only connected to the outside world, but can make sense of it.

Via: ScienceDaily

Source: University of Southampton, Nature


Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Panasonic's new prototype TV can hide in plain sight

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/10/04/thats-not-a-tv/

Panasonic showed off an early transparent TV before, but the company has now improved the image quality to the extent that the idea of a TV built into your furniture's glass panes is not only possible -- it's right here. The OLED screen is made of a fine mesh, embedded into the glass sliding door. While the TV image is visible even with the backlighting on, once it's dimmed, the image is clear and bright enough to be almost indistinguishable from existing TVs. (The last model was a bit too dim, and required undershelf lighting to boost the image.) Turn the TV panel off, however, and it's hard to tell it was ever there to begin with. Want one? Panasonic's spokesperson says the TV is likely to stay in development for a few years longer: at least another three years.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

This High-Speed Simulator Suspended From Cables Looks Like So Much Fun

Source: http://gizmodo.com/this-high-speed-simulator-suspended-from-cables-looks-l-1787152726

The most immersive virtual reality experience is still going to feel fake with your body plopped motionless in a chair. Adding motion into the mix, through the use of a simulator, greatly increases the realism of the experience—particularly if it can fly around a room like this amazing cable-controlled contraption.



Friday, September 23, 2016

A first look at Sony's full-frame A99 II

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/23/first-look-sony-a99-ii/

In the last year alone, Sony launched three major E-mount cameras, the full-frame A7S II and A7R II, along with the A6300 -- all impressive mirrorless models. So you might think it was losing interest in its A-mount single-lens translucent (SLT) series, having just launched one, the entry-level A68, late last year. At Photokina, however, Sony unveiled the Alpha A99 II, the long-awaited successor to its flagship A99 model.

We got our hands on one at the camera show in Cologne, and it a pretty nice combination of speed and resolution: 42.4 megapixels at a 12fps RAW shooting speed with continuous AF and exposure. To get that kind of performance, Sony incorporated its hybrid 4D Focus tech with 79 dedicated phase detection and 399 focal plane phase detection points. It's also got a max 102,400 ISO and new 5-axis stabilization system, so shooting in low-light won't be an issue.

The A99 II is also well-suited for video, allowing full-frame 4K recording at 30fps max. If you use it in crop-frame, "super-35" mode (at a 15-megapixel still resolution), it can do 4K with a full sensor readout, 1.8X oversampling and no pixel binning. If 1080p is okay, you can shoot at 120 fps for optimal slow-mo. Like other Sony models, it uses the XAVC S format to capture video at up to 100Mbps.

A show floor isn't an idea place to try out a camera, but we did get a feel for the handling. The camera is smaller and lighter than the original, so with the new grip, it's easy to heft. Like the original A99, it doesn't have an optical viewfinder -- the translucent mirror is only used for focusing. However, the XGA, 2.36 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder is bright and sharp, and allows up to 10X magnification to nail manual focus.

You can shoot at up to 8fps with live view activated. Based on an informal try, the 12fps burst speed, meanwhile, seems to work as advertised, and it could sustain that rate for several seconds -- not bad considering that each 42.4-megapixel RAW file is as large as 50 MB. All told, this camera should be a worthy flagship for Sony's A-mount series -- we'll know more when we get a look at it later this year.

Aaron Souppouris contributed to this report.

We're live all week from Cologne, Germany, for Photokina 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Opera's VPN-equipped browser is now available to everyone

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/20/opera-vpn-browser-available-to-everyone/

You no longer have to grab test software to try Opera's VPN-toting web browser. The company has released the finished version of Opera 40 for desktops, which revolves around a free virtual private network (provided by SurfEasy) that offers both a more secure connection as well as access to foreign content that would otherwise be blocked. Hi, Hulu and Pandora! It can automatically choose whichever VPN server will provide the fastest connection, but you can specify one of five countries (Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore and the US) if you're more concerned about visiting region-specific sites.

The update also brings a reworked battery saver and RSS feeds in personal news, so there's something to check out after the novelty of the browser's central feature wears off. One thing's for sure: it's worth a shot if you hate paying for VPNs, but want to stick to a mainstream browser that includes plenty of familiar elements.

Source: Opera


Kodak's latest 4K action camera captures VR-ready video by itself

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/20/kodak-4kvr360-action-camera/

The Kodak Pixpro SP360 4K action camera had a branding problem. Yes, you could shoot 360-degree videos, but they weren't spherical -- you needed two cameras to do that, which made it less-than-practical for full virtual reality videos. You won't have to do some extra shopping with the 4KVR360, though. The newly launched cam fuses a 20-megapixel sensor with lenses on both the front and back, letting one camera shoot fully immersive VR video all by its lonesome.

As you might hope, the camera is also very connected: there's WiFi and NFC to help talk to your phone, and Bluetooth to talk to an optional remote control. You can record up to 128GB of footage on a microSD card, so you shouldn't have trouble recording many of your adventures in VR. Kodak's name might be historic, but it's going up against mobile giants like Samsung and camera stalwarts Nikon.

The catch? JK Imaging (which oversees the Kodak camera brand) doesn't expect the 4KVR360 to ship until sometime in early 2017, and hasn't revealed a price. Though we'd expect it to be somewhere between the Nikon's $500 and Sammy's $350 though.


Monday, September 19, 2016

Xiaomi-backed mirrorless camera gives you Leica looks for $330

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/19/xiaomi-xiaoyi-m1-mirrorless-camera/

Xiaomi's camera strategy goes beyond action cams. Its associated Xiaoyi brand is introducing the M1, a Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera that promises solid performance (not to mention some familiar looks) for the money. This isn't the most advanced camera between its 20-megapixel sensor, a maximum ISO 25,600 sensitivity, and the absence of either a built-in flash or an electronic viewfinder. However, it also starts at the equivalent of $330/£253 bundled with a 12-40mm f/3.5-5.6 lens ($450/£345 with a 42.5mm f/1.8 lens), and bears more than a passing resemblance to modern Leica cameras -- it's a relatively accessible and stylish entryway into the world of interchangeable-lens photography.

And it's not as if the M1 doesn't have a couple of tricks up its sleeve. You can effectively shoot 50-megapixel photos, and record 4K video at 30 frames per second. There's also a 3-inch, 720 x 480 touchscreen to give you "phone-like" control, while Bluetooth and WiFi will help you share your photographic output with your smartphone.

The camera will sell through China's JD.com on September 23rd. There's no mention of an international release, although it won't be surprising if online retailers are willing to import it. Just don't expect to get quite as big a bargain by the time it reaches your door.

Via: Engadget Chinese (translated)

Source: Xiaoyi


Nikon's VR-ready camera arrives in October for $500

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/19/nikon-keymission-cameras/

Earlier this year, at CES 2016, Nikon took camera fans by surprise with its announcement of the KeyMission 360. But, back then, not many details were shared about the newly minted camera. The company only mentioned a few notable features, such as 4K video recording, NFC, WiFi and a waterproof design. Now, we're learning that the VR-ready shooter comes with two 20-megapixel (1/2.3-inch) sensors, electronic image stabilization, in-camera footage stitching and a swappable battery.

Most importantly, Nikon today announced that the KeyMission 360 is set to arrive in October for $500. That's a little pricier compared to other similar devices, like Samsung's $350 Gear 360, but the Nikon camera has much better specs.

What's more, the manufacturer also revealed the KeyMission 170 and KeyMission 80. The former, as its name suggests, offers a 170-degree field of view with a 12-megapixel, 1/2.3-ich sensor and "Nikon lens quality." Similar to the 360, the KeyMission 170 shoots 4K and is waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof as well.

Then there's the KeyMission 80, which is very reminiscent of Cisco's old line of Flip camcorders. Nikon says the entry-level KeyMission is intended to be a life blogging camera, designed for easy one-handed use. It comes with two cameras, one on the back (12 megapixels, 25mm lens) and another on the front (4.9 megapixels, 22mm lens) -- the latter for selfies, of course. The KeyMission 80 doesn't have 4K capabilities, so you can only record 1080p videos at up to 30 fps.

To bring these all together, Nikon is rolling out a new app for KeyMission cameras. That'll be a hub to control the cameras remotely, plus transfer pictures and videos from the 360, 170 or 80. The KeyMission 170 and 80 are also hitting stores in October for $399 and $279, respectively.


Fujifilm's GFX 50S is a mirrorless camera with a giant sensor

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/19/fujifilm-gfx-50s-is-a-mirrorless-camera-with-a-giant-sensor/

Fujifilm's been trying to take on its rivals by offering larger sensors for better quality pictures, but its latest system takes the cake. The new GFX 50S is the first to use the company's new G Format sensor, which Fujifilm said it fully customized and designed, and measures 43.8mm x 32.9mm. That's 1.7 times larger than the typical 35mm (aka fullframe) setup in high-end DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. And despite that huge sensor, the 50S still manages to retain a light 800 gram (body only) footprint and a size smaller than a typical fullframe DSLR. The GFX 50S will be available in early 2017, but price is still unknown.

But that's not all. The new sensor will be a whopping 51.4-megapixels sharp, and its pixel size is an obscene 5.3 microns. The GFX 50S will be compatible with a series of lenses using the new G Mount that Fujifilm is launching, with three of them arriving at the same time as the camera. These are a GF120mm f/4 macro lens, a GF32-64mm f/4 and a GF63mm f/2.8 prime. In mid 2017, three more options will be available: GF35mm f/2.8, GF23mm f/4 and GF110mm f/2. The company is expecting to hit 100-megapixels with this G-mount format in the future, so this could be the beginning of incredibly high-res pictures to come.

The GFX 50S looks similar to Fujifilm's X series cameras, which sport a somewhat retro look. It has a foldout display that you can tilt vertically and horizontally, as well as a viewfinder that you can attach with a hotshoe. Fujifilm is also offering viewfinders that you can tilt and rotate to make framing odd angles easier, as well as other accessories that it was somewhat vague about.

Fujifilm isn't the first to market with a compact medium format camera. Hasselblad took that title with its X1D earlier this year. While the X1D is slightly lighter (725 grams) than the Fujifilm, it's also jaw droppingly expensive at $8,995. We don't yet know the price of the GFX 50S, but we are expecting (hoping, really) it will cost less than $5,000. Or cheaper than the Hasselblad, anyway, since that brand tends to be pricier than most.

We'll be checking out the new Fujifilm GFX 50S, along with a bunch of other cameras, directly from Photokina this week, so stay tuned for our impressions.

Aaron Souppouris and Steve Dent contributed to this report.


Gamers beat scientists to making a protein discovery

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/19/gamers-beat-scientists-to-protein-discovery/

It's no great shock to see citizen scientists make discoveries that professionals miss, but making it through a video game? That's different. Gamers playing Foldit, a puzzle title that has teams trying to fold the best protein, have identified the shape of a protein before scientists (including two trained experts and 61 University of Michigan undergrads) could manage the feat. And it's not as if there were legions of contributors, either, as it took a relatively modest 469 players to help out.

The protein in question may be particularly significant. It prevents plaque formation, hinting that it might help fight Alzheimer's if and when the medical community develops a practical use for it.

The achievement underscores the primary advantage of crowdsourced research: you can foster the kind of large-scale collaboration that would be utterly impractical for academics. At the same time, though, it may also demonstrate the value of adding a game element to scientific education. Paper co-author Scott Horowitz notes that Foldit players were quick to learn about proteins "because it's fun," while students take "weeks and weeks" of lectures to wrap their heads around the same concept. It's easy to see more studies turned into games going forward -- it could save scientists some valuable time.

Source: University of Michigan, Nature, Foldit


Panasonic rolls out the 4K, full-metal LX10 compact camera

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/19/panasonic-lumix-lx10-fz2500/

Today, Panasonic is celebrating the 15th anniversary of its Lumix series with a new camera, the LX10. This compact shooter, which the company says is designed to fit in most jean pockets, features a 1-inch, 20.1-megapixel sensor and 24-75mm f/1.4-2.8 fixed Leica lens. The LX10 has a full metal body, giving it a premium look that you don't often see in other $700 cameras. Of course, being a Panasonic product, it shoots 4K video at 24, 25 and 30 fps.

In addition to the LX10, Panasonic's introducing the Lumix FZ2500, a bulky DSLR-like camera with a 20-megapixel sensor (also 1-inch) and a 20-48mm, 20x zoom Leica lens. Like its sibling LX10, the FZ2500 captures 4K as well, although it does so in both cinematic resolution (4,096 x 2,160) and UHD (3,840 x 2,160).

According to Panasonic, the LX10 isn't replacing the LX100 from 2014, noting that the priority with the latest was to have a bigger sensor. On the other hand, the FZ2500 could appeal to many videographers -- although its fixed lens is certainly a limitation. Still, it's better specced than, say, Sony's RX100 IV.

The LX10 is set to hit stores in November for $699, while the FZ2500 will arrive in December for $1,200.


Panasonic's GH5 arrives in mid-2017 with 6K video capture

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/19/panasonics-gh5-arrives-in-mid-2017-with-6k-video-capture/

As expected, Panasonic has unveiled its much-anticipated successor to the Lumix GH4, the GH5, and the focus is once again on video. The flagship model, set to arrive in mid-2017, ups the video capture capability to 6K at 30fps and brings 10-bit, 60fps shooting at 4K. 6K capture may sound like overkill, but it'll give filmmakers more options in terms of reframing, and allow for a better final 4K image. The GH5 will also be much better for slo-mo shots compared to the last model, which topped out at 30fps. At the same time, 10-bit capability will let professional videographers capture billions instead of millions of colors, giving far more latitude for color correction.

The camera will pack Panasonic's new 18-megapixel sensor, which supports up to 8fps in regular burst mode, or up to 60fps in Panasonic's "4K Photo" mode. The company also promised to add 8K, 32-megapixel capture in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. We don't know a lot else about the GH5, since we've only seen an early prototype, and it's not set to go on sale until the middle of next year. However, 6K capture and 10-bit video are huge additions, and should put the camera at the top of the list for videographers looking for new gear in 2017.


Friday, September 16, 2016

LG's new $150 midrange phone packs a huge battery

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/16/lgs-new-150-midrange-phone-packs-a-huge-battery/

If your main concern with a phone is battery life, and basically nothing else, this new LG device could be up your alley. The LG X Power is available on Boost Mobile for $150, and comes with an impressive 4,100mAh battery. Everything else about the new handset is pretty meh. The 5.3-inch machine only has a HD resolution, runs the somewhat outdated Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and has relatively poorer 8-megapixel and 5 MP rear and front cameras. I'd say the price justified the specs, but there are better phones out there for the money.

Despite the underwhelming specs, the X Power still has the biggest battery in that price range. It uses an octa-core MediaTek processor that the chip maker said has power-saving enhancements to extend battery life. So the stamina alone could be reason to consider the X Power.

This is also the first time a phone powered by Qualcomm rival MediaTek has been released by a CDMA carrier (the X Power will be available on Sprint in a few weeks). T-Mobile already sells some MediaTek-equipped devices. The X Power's low price is likely a result of the less costly MediaTek chip (compared to Qualcomm's options), and we'll have to get our hands on one to see how it holds up for daily multitasking. In the meantime, Boost customers who really want a long-lasting smartphone may want to consider the Power.


Google Safe Browsing makes accessing The Pirate Bay harder

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/15/google-safe-browsing-makes-accessing-the-pirate-bay-harder/

Guess what? There's another speedbump to browsing The Pirate Bay. Rather than internet providers blocking access to the URL (currently thepiratebay.org), certain web browsers are flagging torrent download pages with variations on the following message:

"The site ahead contains harmful programs

Attackers on thepiratebay.org might attempt to trick you into installing programs that harm your browsing experience (for example, by changing your homepage or showing extra ads on sites you visit.)"

That's what showed up when I did a search for "New Girl" on Google Chrome. But similar messages appear in Microsoft Edge and, as VentureBeat reports, Mozilla Firefox too. Surprisingly, Apple's Safari browser wasn't all that worried about me downloading any nefarious programs and let me see the torrent download page without a hitch.

Clicking the "details" link on the warning page in Chrome offers a clue about why the browser is warning users:

"Google Safe Browsing recently found harmful programs on thepiratebay.org. If you understand the risks to your security, you may visit this site before the harmful programs have been removed."

It sounds like there may be a bad ad network on the torrent site and that Google isn't blocking the media repository itself. So, if the bright red screen has you worried, this problem should resolve itself fairly soon. Or if you're impatient, you can deal with false warnings from The Pirate Bay that your Flash player is out of date.

For what it's worth, Chrome isn't blocking the KickAss Torrents alternative (now defunct) Torrentz, despite multiple pop-ups urging me to download a new version of "Flash" for the same reasons as The Pirate Bay. When, in all actuality, I've disabled it wholesale. Nice try, jerks.

Via: VentureBeat

Source: Google


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Epson's $650 FastFoto scanner is ludicrously speedy

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/15/fastfoto-ff-640-scanner/

Even though the vast majority of people have switched to digital photography, someone in your family likely has a box of old pictures stashed away somewhere. Birthday parties, Thanksgivings, Bar Mitzvahs -- you probably have some record of your childhood trapped in there. (My family certainly does.) Add in the fact that there's less and less need to own a printer, plus the tedium of scanning, and it all means those memories are likely to stay offline. Epson is looking to unearth that treasure pile of moments with the new FastFoto FF-640, which can scan, sort and even post your entire photo collection at a rate of one photo per second.

Unlike an all-in-one printer, the FF-640 doesn't try to do everything; it's a scanner through and through. The document feeder can accommodate up to 30 photos at a time -- a vast improvement over whatever you can fit on a flatbed. The scanner also captures both sides, so you can record all the tasty data that might be printed on the back, like date stamps from the development lab and handwritten notes. You won't need to babysit the 640 to make sure everything fed into the machine correctly: The scanner can detect different photo dimensions, and also auto-corrects the angle the photo was scanned at. No more making sure everything is straight or the same size -- the FastFoto is smart enough to figure out what's what.

The FF-640 can lift the burden of organization as well. The included software makes it easy to automatically name and sort the photos into appropriate folders, and create searchable metadata for all of them, including the original date of the image. Even more impressive is the photo processing built in: Rather than drag your photos into dedicated image editing software like Photoshop, the FastFoto can do basic touches like red-eye removal and color restoration with a click. White Christmases of decades past will no longer be a sickly yellow -- and mind you, my family has a lot of photos of beige Christmases and pinkish birthdays, making photo correction a time-consuming process. Once you're done making your cousins look a little less demonic, it's easy to send those photos to Dropbox, Google Drive, Facebook or Instagram. (Because there aren't enough embarrassing pics of me on there already, mom.)

The FastFoto can also scan other types of documents, like bills and invoices and the random other little bits of paper I've accumulated over the years -- which is great, because I have a lot of crap that I'd love to digitize, and I hate the flatbed scanner on my all-in-one printer. The FF-640 can scan 45 pages per minute, meaning I can make quick work of those file boxes clogging up my office.

It's a good thing that the FastFoto FF-640 is versatile, at least: At $650, it's priced a bit steep for something you might only use once. It might be worth it when you consider that you won't have to pay someone else to scan photos for you, and the time savings are immense -- one photo per second means you can theoretically polish off a box of 1,000 photos in under a half hour, so you'll have to find some other way to spend your rainy days.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Major cyberattack seller knocked offline as it faces arrests

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/11/major-cyberattack-seller-busted/

One of the more popular cyberattack peddlers just came crashing down. Israeli law enforcement has arrested Yarden Bidani and Itay Huri as part of an FBI investigation into their alleged control of vDOS, one of the most popular paid attack platforms. According to information unearthed by security guru Brian Krebs from a third-party hack targeting vDOS, the two teens raked in at least $618,000 launching "a majority" of the distributed denial of service campaigns you've seen in recent years. The platform itself is also offline, although that's due to one of vDOS' victims (BackConnect Security) using a bogus internet address claim to stem the flood of traffic hitting its servers.

Bidani and Huri weren't exactly careful about covering their tracks, Krebs says. The pair hosted vDOS on a server connected to Huri, and its email and SMS notifications pointed to the two. They even wrote a technical paper on DDoS attacks, while Bidani's old Facebook page references the AppleJ4ck pseudonym he used to conduct vDOS business. And if that weren't enough, vDOS refused to target any Israeli site since it was the owner's "home country."

Both suspects are out on bail, although they won't have much freedom. Officials have placed them under house arrest for 10 days, confiscated their passports and barred them from using any telecom devices for 30 days. It's unclear if they face extradition to the US.

The bust isn't going to stop paid denial of service attacks. As Bidani and Huri demonstrated, it doesn't take much more than a botnet and some basic business savvy to get started. However, it may put a temporary dent in the volume of those attacks -- and it'll certainly spook vDOS competitors who've been careless about hiding their activities.

Source: The Marker (translated), Krebs on Security (1), (2)


Friday, September 09, 2016

Google Maps adds Lyft and Gett to its ride hailing options

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/08/google-maps-lyft-gett-options/

Users searching for directions from Point A to Point B in Google Maps just got a few more options for getting there. According to the official Google Maps blog, both the iOS and Android versions now include estimated fares and wait times for ridesharing services Lyft and Gett when searching in cities in the United States.

Google Maps actually rolled out the feature for Uber way back in 2014 and other competing ridesharing services were added outside the US earlier this year, alongside Gett in New York City. With today's addition of Lyft, Google Maps now offers options from nine different ridesharing services in 60 different countries. (Of course, which options are available to you will depend on which city and country you're in.)

The ride hailing feature works exactly as you might expect: a "ride services" tab with a taxi icon now shows up alongside the driving, transit and walking directions. Switching to the tab brings up a list of available ridesharing services and the various ride types, such as Lyft Line or UberX, offered by each. Lyft estimates should start showing up for users wherever Lyft is available, but Gett is still limited to New York City for now.

Source: Google Maps


Sunday, September 04, 2016

Acer's latest convertible Chromebook is bigger and beefier

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/03/acer-chromebook-r13/

In May, Google announced that it would be bringing Android apps to Chrome OS, finally marrying the two operating systems in a way that makes Chromebooks that much more useful (A million-plus more apps!) All of a sudden, convertible Chromebooks sound way more appealing. Acer must've thought so too, because it unveiled the Chromebook R13 just a few days ago at IFA. Just like its R11 predecessor, the R13 has a 360-degree hinge that lets it seamlessly transition from Chromebook to Android-esque tablet in no time flat.

As the name suggests, the R13 has a 13.3-inch display. Acer was keen to point out that this is the first ever convertible Chromebook at this size, which is certainly of note if you're a fan of larger screens. It's a pretty nice display too, with a full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution plus it's an LED-lit IPS LCD. Measuring 12.83 by 8.98 by 0.61 inches and weighing in at 3.28 pounds, it won't weigh down your backpack. That said, when it was flipped over into tablet mode, I had a slight problem holding it due to its weight. This is definitely a tablet that you'd rest on your lap rather than grip it one-handed.

Speaking of tablet mode, I thought the display hinge felt pretty solid as I was turning it around. It was sturdy enough so that I could hold the R13 in a variety of positions; standard laptop mode, tent mode, presentation mode and of course as a flat tablet. I thought the touchscreen felt pretty responsive too, though I didn't have the opportunity to run too many apps on the demo unit at the Acer booth. What I especially enjoyed was the keyboard. The keys have a nice shallow clickiness, which I feel results in super fast travel. I felt like I could touch type pretty fast on this if I wanted to.

As for internals, the R13 has a MediaTek M8173C CorePilot quad-core processor, a HD webcam on the front for those webchats, plus a USB Type-C port on the side. It also has USB 3.0, HDMI, Bluetooth 4.0 and the usual microphone and headset jacks. Storage-wise, it'll come in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB varieties. Prices start at $399 and it'll be available starting this October. Which is around when the Play Store should arrive on Chromebooks. Great timing, right?

We're live all week from Berlin, Germany, for IFA 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.


Thursday, September 01, 2016

Withings launches its first watch with heart rate monitoring

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/01/withings-launches-its-first-watch-with-heart-rate-monitoring/

Much like it was mandatory to wear Loom Bands in 2014, if a fitness wearable can't track your heart rate then it's dead... dead, ya hear? Withings doesn't make fitness wearables so much as timepieces that just happen to track your activity, which justifies its decision to drag its feet on the heart rate sensor issue until now. That's now set to change with the Withings Steel HR, a follow-on to the Activité analog watch that gains an optical HR sensor and a new digital sub-display for smartphone notifications.

It's the digital sub-display that's probably the most striking new addition, a round circle that'll display your step count, heart rate and message notifications. The idea of cramming in a digital screen alongside an analog watch face isn't a new one, although Withings' version is significantly more elegant than Guess' version. Users can determine what's displayed on the screen via the company's iOS and Android companion app. Then, they can cycle through those options by pushing the multifunction button that sits where the crown should be.

Withings has historically been resistant to add too much technology to its timepieces to avoid compromising style and battery life. As such, the Steel HR follows the Activité and is a French-designed watch with a stainless steel case, chrome hands and silicone straps. Integrated into the face, below the main dial, is a sub-dial that, as usual, will creep toward your daily fitness goal as you move about your day. As well as being stylish, that level of restraint had another positive: a battery life that's measured in months, rather than days.

With the Steel HR, the company has managed to get 45 days of use out of its rechargeable cell, although that's a bit of a fudge. The first 25 days will offer you continuous HR for workouts, average HR for your working day and your resting HR at night. After that, the watch will go into power saving mode, giving you 20 further days with just basic step and activity tracking, but nothing more.

The Withings Steel HR will be available from the company's official website from the start of October and in stores by the end of that month. Available in both black or white, the 36mm edition will retail for $179.95/£169.95 while the 40mm version will set you back $199.95/£179.95.


Jabra's truly wireless earbuds track your heart rate during workouts

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/01/jabras-true-wireless-earbuds-track-your-heart-rate-during-worko/

Jabra just announced a two revised sports headphone models last month, but the company is already back with more portable audio news. This time around, the in-ear headphones are truly wireless without a short cord to connect the two buds. Following on the heels of the Bragi Dash and Samsung Gear IconX, Jabra's Elite Sport is two separate wireless earbuds that offer heart rate tracking.

In addition to keeping you free of cord tangles during a workout, the in-ear headphones analyze physical activity by keeping tabs on your pulse (with 90 percent or greater accuracy) and VO2 Max levels. More specifically, you can expect details on distance, pace, route, calories, and more. Like previous Jabra models, the Elite Sport also works with the Sport Life app for coaching tips during your session. They're also IP67-rated for water resistance and Jabra tacks on an extra 3-year warranty to protect against sweat damage.

In terms of battery life, Jabra claims up to three hours of music and calls before you'll need to recharge. That can be done with a portable charge case that's included with the headphones. While Samsung noted that battery life took a major hit when fitness tracking was turned on, Jabra doesn't mention it. That's not to say battery life doesn't take a hit when the heart rate monitor is being used on the Elite Sport, Jabra just didn't clarify. For comparison, the $199 Gear IconX can be used for 3.4 hours or music or during a 1.5-hour workout if you're listening to tunes at the same time. Jabra's Elite Sport will also cost your $50 more, but if that doesn't deter you, they'll go on sale at Best Buy October 30th.

We're live all week from Berlin, Germany, for IFA 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.


Philips' new OLED TV has built-in, super colorful ambient lighting

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/09/01/philips-android-tv-first-oled-ambilight/

If you've been waiting your whole life for a TV that offers a 4K resolution, an OLED panel and Philips' funky Ambilight technology, you're going to love TP Vision's newest 55-inch set.

The company is well-known for making Philips-branded TVs, and has gone a step further for its first model by integrating the ambient color-changing technology into the set too.

By using the "Philips Perfect Pixel Ultra HD engine" in combination with OLED pixels that have the ability to completely switch off, TP-Vision says the catchily named 901F delivers deeper, more accurate black levels.

Combine this with the Ambilight back-lighting effect on three sides of the TV and colors should look even more vibrant. It's also trying to side-step the achilles heel of many slim, Smart TVs by providing a 30W 6.1 sound bar that integrates into the unit.

Keeping it all ticking along nicely, hopefully, is Android for TVs, which offers up the usual Google services and apps that you'd expect from any other Android device.

While TP Vision could win a TV buzzword bingo prize for this announcement, it neglected to say when the set will be released, where it'll go on sale or how much it will cost.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Lenovo's Yoga Book is part tablet, part sketch pad

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/31/lenovo-yoga-book-preview/

Let's face it: tablets are on the brink of death, and it's really difficult to get excited about a new slate these days. And even though tablet-laptop hybrids are taking off, that market is cornered by Surfaces and iPad Pros. So I wasn't prepared to be as thrilled as I was by Lenovo's latest offering. The Yoga Book, based on my experience with a preview unit, is not merely a mimicry of Microsoft's Surface Book; it's got impressively innovative features and a well-thought out interface that make it a solid hybrid in its own right.

The Yoga Book has the same shiny "Watchband hinge" as Lenovo's Yoga 900 convertible laptops, which makes the Book's spine look like links on a wristwatch. That, together with a metal casing and slim silhouette, lend the Book a clean, modern aesthetic. I particularly like the gold version, which is only available for the Android variant that costs $499. A $549 Windows 10 model is also available, but that (disappointingly) only comes in black.

This book's cover may be pretty, but what really impressed me lies beneath. The Yoga Book's standout feature is its keyboard, which is essentially a giant touchpad. There are no physical buttons -- just a flat surface with the outline of keys.

The absence of physical buttons helps the Yoga Book look and feel more like a regular tablet with a flat back when you unfold it all the way around. Plus, without the uneven surface, you can use the bottom half of the device as a stand, with the keyboard facing down. The hybrid is also a lot lighter (1.52 pounds) than it would have been with a full keyboard, although it's still heavier than the Surface 3 (1.37 pounds without a keyboard).

But those aren't the main reasons for doing away with keys. The real pièce de résistance is housed within the flat surface, and Lenovo calls it the "Create Pad." Tap a button to the top right of the keyboard and the outlines disappear, and you're left with a blank canvas. It's like a Wacom digitizer tablet that you can draw on with the included stylus.

Lenovo adapted Android 6.0 Marshmallow to automatically start recording your doodles in the company's default note-taking app (which is the only app in the tablet that stores your input in the background) once you put the stylus to the touch pad. When you start writing, a small window pops up on the bottom right of the screen and captures your scrawls. This happens whether the tablet is awake or asleep, which is super convenient. It's basically like having a piece of paper ready for you to write on whenever you need, and worked really well in our demo. But, because the screen stays off when you're writing while the Yoga Book is asleep, it's hard to really know what you're jotting down.

Those who can't give up their paper addiction, however, will love this next feature. With a little finesse and jiggling of the stylus' nib with the included pen cap, you can pull out the stylus nib and replace it with an ink cartridge to make a real pen. Oh, and did I mention that "Real Pen" is what Lenovo named this stylus?

With the ink nib, you can write on real paper for a more old-school experience. And if you place the paper on the Create Pad, whatever you scrawl there will also show up in the Yoga Book. I tried placing an inch-thick notebook on top of the surface and wrote on it with the Real Pen and was very impressed when the system still detected my scribbles.

This won't work with a regular pen, though, you'll have to use the one Lenovo provides. It's designed with Wacom's "feel IT" tech that responds to the electro-magnetic resonance (EMR) film built into the keyboard, which enables the real-time digitization.

All this adds up to an experience that will delight and win over note-takers, and I'm incredibly stoked by what I've seen so far. But I don't think the Yoga Book will appeal to road warriors. Sure, the Windows version will run desktop apps and multiple apps simultaneously, making it suitable for productivity. The Android version has Lenovo's multiwindow support (until it gets updated to Android Nougat, which has that feature baked in) so it can handle multitasking as well.

The Yoga Book is powered by an Intel Atom x5 processor and has a generous 8500mAh battery that Lenovo said should last up to 15 hours of general use. Its 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 IPS display should also be a decent canvas for multimedia.

But for a 2-in-1 to truly facilitate productivity, it needs a real keyboard. Even though Lenovo thoughtfully designed the layout with more generously sized keys and spaces, implemented haptic feedback, predictive text and autocorrect (the latter two are only on the Android model), I still struggled to bang out more than a few words at once without a typo. Lenovo said it would take about two hours to get used to the new keyboard, but I'm not sure I believe that.

The stark change may alienate those who depend heavily on physical keys. For those people, Lenovo still has slightly more traditional hybrids. The company also unveiled a super thin Yoga 910 convertible laptop, which has a full-sized physical keyboard and bends all the way around to become a 14-inch tablet.

Still, Lenovo deserves props for making a bold, innovative move. As a lover of notebooks and real-life writing, I can't deny that I'm incredibly excited to try out the Yoga Book in the real world. And for those who prefer pen-and-paper (I imagine that includes artists, designers and students), the Yoga Book is a compelling candidate that could trump the iPad Pro and Surface.

We're live all week from Berlin, Germany, for IFA 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.


Hasselblad reveals a Moto Mod that replaces your Moto Z's camera

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/31/moto-z-hasselblad-true-zoom/

Remember the days before the Moto Z launched, when a mysterious camera MotoMod was leaked along with a handful of other snap-on accessories? Remember when the Z and Z Force launched, and that camera was nowhere in sight? Well, the wait is (almost) over. Motorola just revealed the fruit of its close collaboration with Hasselblad today -- the $250 True Zoom -- and it's set to launch on September 15.

Like, say, Sony's peculiar lens cameras, the True Zoom replaces the 13/16/23-megapixel on the back of whichever Moto Z you happen to own. Instead, you'll start working with a 1/2.3-inch 18.9-megapixel with big (think 1.55 micron) pixels and a 10x optical zoom. You'll probably notice a few things right off the bat. First off, everything's really well constructed. The mod itself is light, and when it's strapped to a Moto Z the textured grip is easy to hold on to and the zoom rocker around the shutter button works like a charm. With a big lens housing, a xenon flash and dark trim, the whole thing looks exactly like a pricey point-and-shoot from a distance. More importantly, the True Zoom behaves like one, too.

Early test JPEG and RAW shots came out remarkably crisp in both bright and low-light conditions, just as you'd expect from a sensor with pixels that big. (Friendly reminder: fretting about megapixels is almost completely pointless these days.) That crispness persists even when you're zoomed in all the way, which is frankly incredible. Think about it: the more you zoom, the more the minute motions of your hands get magnified. Lackluste stabilization would make for a Monet-like soft image at best and a hot blurry mess at worst, but the True Zoom does an incredible job of keeping things tight and focused.

You can even reach beyond the limits of lens thanks to an additional 4X digital zoom, but really, you're better off steering clear. That's nothing against Hasselblad -- digital zoom is just by nature a lousy compromise. (Alas, a pre-release software update basically bricked our True Zoom demo unit so we'll update this story with sample photos once we get another to play with.)

Frankly, it's a little strange to see Hasselblad dabbling with smartphone accessories of all things. In case you're not familiar, the storied Swedish company specializes in expensive medium format cameras -- at time of writing, the cheapest new Hasselblad camera on the market will set you back more than $6,000. To hear company spokespeople tell the tale, Hasselblad has been exploring more consumer-friendly options for a while, and Motorola's high-speed MotoMod connector was intriguing because of how seamlessly it allows third-party hardware to meld with the host device. Speaking of seamless, the True Zoom also plays nice with third-party camera apps, though whether you need them is another story. the stock Moto Camera app has been tricked out with extra scene modes and presets for sports and night photography.

What we have here isn't Hasselblad at its most ambitious, but Hasselblad at its weirdest, its most experimental. The jury's still out on whether anyone actually wants (or needs) to carry something like this around, but hey -- there's still something to be said for ambitious, elegant weirdness. Stay tuned for more as we continue our testing.

We're live all week from Berlin, Germany, for IFA 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.


Acer Made the Touchscreen Chromebook We've Been Waiting For

Source: http://gizmodo.com/acer-made-the-touchscreen-chromebook-weve-been-waiting-1785967967

At the IFA show in Berlin, Acer is showing off its new Chromebook R13, which is the industry’s first convertible Chromebook with a 13-inch display.



ASUS' Zenwatch 3 is fast and round

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/31/asus-zenwatch-3-reveal/

Following Motorola, Huawei and a bunch of other smartwatch manufacturers, ASUS has built a round Android Wear device. The Zenwatch 3 has a 1.39-inch AMOLED display with a 400x400 resolution, which works out at 287 pixels per inch (ppi). That's almost identical to the Huawei Watch and a smidge sharper than the larger second-gen Moto 360. The casing is made from stainless steel and will be available in a few different styles: gunmetal (black), silver and rose gold. All three have a gold inlay, which ASUS claims is like "the corona of an annular solar eclipse."

Whatever you say, ASUS.

The new wearable is 9.95mm thick -- a tad thinner than both the Huawei Watch and Moto 360. It runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor and 512MB of RAM, coupled with 4GB of internal storage. While the 341mAh battery will last you for "up to two days," ASUS is also pushing its "HyperCharge" technology, which will bring you back up to 60 percent in 15 minutes. Charging is handled with a magnetic port and there will also be an "optional battery pack," which sounds like a bizarre accessory for something so sleek. We'll have to ask for more details on that one.

On the software side, it's the typical Android Wear experience. Google's wrist-ready operating system is slowly improving, and the company has its "biggest platform update yet," Android Wear 2.0, scheduled for the fall. ASUS is, however, offering some custom watch faces for the Zenwatch 3, and hopes you'll make your own with its FaceDesigner app for smartphones. The new smartwatch also has some fitness chops, with automatic step-counting that is supposedly 95 percent accurate. It can also track a few other basic activities such as running, push-ups and sit-ups -- don't expect too much, however, this isn't a high-end Garmin.

The Zenwatch 3 will set you back €229 (roughly $255) in Europe -- ASUS is yet to give an official price for the US. There's no word on availability either, but rest assured we'll let you know when it's been confirmed.

We're live all week from Berlin, Germany, for IFA 2016. Click here to catch up on all the news from the show.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Intel's 7th generation Core CPUs will devour 4K video

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/30/intel-7th-generation-core-cpus/

4K video is finally gaining a foothold in home theaters this year, but for most PCs it's practically kryptonite. Even if you're lucky enough to have a powerful computer, dealing with such high-resolution video is a surefire way to spike your CPU usage and gobble up battery life. So it's little surprise that Intel made 4K performance the centerpiece of its long-awaited seventh generation Core processors, which were officially announced today. You can also look forward to a slew of other speed-enhancing features when the new chips hit laptops in September.

So just how good are these new batch of Core processors? How about a CPU utilization rate of around 5 percent and power usage of 0.5 watts on the new Core i7-7500U while playing local 4K video. That's compared to 40 to 70 percent CPU usage and a 10.2 watt power draw on its predecessor, the i7-6500U. And when playing 4K VP9-encoded video on YouTube, the new seventh generation i7 clocks in at 10 to 20 percent CPU usage while drawing 0.8 watts of power. The previous chip, on the other hand, ate up 70 to 80 percent of the CPU while taking up 5.8 watts of power.

Even as a computer geek, it's been hard to get excited over new processors over the last few years. Intel, for the most part, has focused on steadily improving its lineup instead of aiming for dramatic performance gains. (My fourth-generation quad-core desktop chip can still go toe-to-toe with sixth-gen offerings.) But when it comes to 4K, Intel has delivered an evolutionary upgrade. And while it might not sound that important yet, it sets the stage for laptops and desktops that need to drive the new video standard.

Specifically, Intel added hardware encoding and decoding capabilities for both 10-bit HEVC 4K video and 8 to 10-bit VP9 video. There's also HDR and wide color gamut support, but Intel says it's up to manufacturers to implement the two competing HDR standards, Dolby Vision and HDR10. On top of just letting you watch more 4K video, the new chips' encoding performance could be a huge deal for anyone editing media, with speeds between 1X and 3X real-time for 30FPS 4K.

Intel's seventh generation Core processors (codenamed "Kaby Lake") are basically a refined version of the company's Skylake design from last year. Once again, they're built on a 14 nanometer process, and they rely on Intel's Speed Boost feature, which pushes the chips to their maximum speed faster than previous generations. Unfortunately, the company isn't saying much about its seventh gen desktop lineup yet, but we'll hopefully hear details early next year.

The new laptop chips are divided into two groups: the "Y-series" for thin designs using up to 4.5 watts of power, and the "U" series for faster performance (or just about every other type of laptop). And while there's still a Core M3 processor in the new lineup, Intel has dumped the M5 and M7 models in exchange for the power efficient Y-series. Base clock speeds range between 2.4 GHz and 2.7 GHz for the U-series chips, with boost speeds up to 3.1GHz on the Core i5 and 3.5GHz on the Core i7. And for the more efficient Y-series, base speeds run between 1GHz and 1.3GHz, with larger boost figures between 2.6GHz and 3.6GHz.

When it comes to typical web browsing, Intel claims the new i7-7500U is 19 percent faster than the i7-6500U, while i7-7Y75 chip is 18 percent faster than the M7-6Y75, as measured by WebXPRT 2015. And when it comes to productivity, the company says the new CPUs are around 12 percent faster than their predecessors, based on SYSmark 2014 figures. Sure, they're not exactly exciting upgrades if you have a fairly new laptop, but if yours is getting long in the tooth, you'll definitely notice the difference. And while I didn't get any exact figures on battery life, you can expect some sort of improvement (especially when watching videos).

So what do these new chips mean for you? Basically, if you're in the market for a new laptop, it's worth waiting for new models featuring the seventh gen CPUs in September. And if you're planning to build or buy a new desktop, sit tight until January.


LG delivers three new super-sized ultrawide monitors

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/29/lg-delivers-three-new-super-sized-ultrawide-monitors/

LG has continued to push the limits of 21:9 aspect ratio monitors over the years and its latest three additions are something to behold. Ready to debut at IFA and coming to the US this fall, they include the "world's largest" 38-inch curved 38UC99 model that goes on sale in September for $1,500, a 34-inch curved 34UC79G due in October for $700, and the flat 34-inch 34UM79M coming in November for $600.

That massive 38-incher packs a Quad HD+ resolution of 3,840 x 1,600 and is apparently the first ultrawide monitor with a USB-C port built-in. The 34UM79M has integrated Google Cast support (plus built-in support for multitasking, so you can Netflix while you work without giving up any screen space). Finally, that curved 34-inch model is pitched as "the world's first 144Hz IPS 21:9 Curved UltraWide gaming monitor," with AMD FreeSync included to cut down on stuttering and tearing when the action gets hectic.

Source: LG Newsroom


Thursday, August 18, 2016

LG adds brighter, more portable projectors to Minibeam lineup

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/17/lg-adds-brighter-more-portable-projectors-to-minibeam-lineup/

For the very truly dedicated cord-cutters out there, LG has just announced two new portable, battery-powered projectors that can be set up blissfully free of any audio, video or power cables. The two models in LG's Minibeam lineup will debut next month at IFA 2016 in Berlin and hit retailers in the US shortly after.

First up is the PH450U (and the PH450UG version with built-in TV tuner), which LG claims is among the brightest battery-powered, short-throw projectors at 450 lumens. The projector only needs 13 inches of distance to put up an 80-inch screen, and can actually be set up sideways to project an image on any horizontal surface -- in case you want to project some trippy visuals on the dance floor at your next house party. According to LG's estimates, users should be able to get about two and a half hours of screen time out of the internal battery, so you won't be having any outdoor Godfather marathons without a backup battery just yet, but you can still stream a couple episodes of Stranger Things in your blanket fort before you need to plug in. The PH450G will retail for $649.99 when it goes on sale in September.

The second addition to the Minibeam lineup, the PH150G comes in at a diminutive 1.1 pounds for a cool $349.99. While the less expensive model needs more room to work, it can put up a 100-inch screen and has the same two and a half hour battery life as its short-throw sibling. (At 150 lumens, the brightness rating also takes a hit.) Both models offer wireless mirroring or streaming from a smartphone or tablet, plus the ability to stream audio out to Bluetooth headphones, portable speakers or home audio setup.

Source: LG Newsroom


Wikiverse turns Wikipedia into a visual universe of articles

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/18/wikiverse-turns-wikipedia-into-a-visual-universe-of-articles/

I've spent (too) many lazy evenings hopping from one Wikipedia entry to the next, reading things that could be useful for trivia night. It's fun enough, but this website that visualizes Wiki as a universe could make the experience even better for a lot of people. You can zoom around to visit clusters of stars representing interconnected topics -- clicking on one will load the article itself right within the interface. Since each star is visually connected to related entries with colored loopy lines, you can hop around like you would on the actual Wikipedia website.

Wikiverse is the upgraded version of an old Chrome experiment we covered back in 2014 called WikiGalaxy. It's designed by French computer scientist Owen Cornec who wanted to find a way to display entries in "a more engaging way." From what I can see, the new version is a lot more colorful compared to the older one. Cornec originally wanted to color code stars according to their super-categories, but he told us he wasn't able to do so because there are too many super-categories to count. Instead, he decided to use colors to differentiate clusters from each other and to indicate whether an entry is within that cluster or in another one. Wikiverse also feels faster than its predecessor, even on browsers other than Chrome, so you'll have zero issues pretending to be a spacecraft exploring a universe of knowledge.

Source: Wikiverse


Monday, August 15, 2016

Samsung plugs IBM's brain-imitating chip into an advanced sensor

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/14/samsung-ibm-truenorth-chip-advanced-sensor/

IBM's TrueNorth, a so-called "cognitive chip," remarkably resembles the human brain: its 4,096 cores combine to create about a million digital neurons and 256 million synapse connections. In short, like everyone's favorite complex organ, it operates extremely quickly and consumes far less energy than typical processors. Samsung has taken the chip and plugged it into its Dynamic Vision Sensor (DVS) to process digital imagery at a blindingly fast rate.

Typical digital cameras max out 120 frames per second, but a DVS-equipped gadget can capture an incredible 2,000 fps. Unlike a conventional sensor, each pixel on Samsung's only reacts if it needs to report a change in what it's seeing, according to CNET. That high speed could be useful for creating 3D maps or gesture controls. At a press event on Thursday in San Jose, the company demonstrated its ability to control a TV as it recognized hand waves and finger pinches from ten feet away.

DVS is efficient like its TrueNorth chip base, and only consumes about 300 milliwatts of power. That's about a hundredth the drain of a laptop's processor and a tenth of a phone's, a Samsung VP said at the event. But we still have a ways to go before we approach the minimal power requirements of the human brain, he said, which can process some tasks at 100 million times less power than a computer.

Source: CNET


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Intel buys an AI processing powerhouse

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/09/intel-acquires-nervana/

Intel isn't the biggest player in the artificial intelligence world, but it might change that very shortly. The chip giant just bought Nervana, a startup specializing in processor-based "deep learning as a service" through technology like its upcoming Nervana Engine, a dedicated AI hardware accelerator due in early 2017. The Intel crew isn't shy about its intentions. It wants Nervana's expertise to help boost the AI performance of its Xeon and Xeon Phi processors on top of broadening its AI know-how -- it's a fast track to the future.

The buyout may well be a hedge against NVIDIA. The graphics firm has been big on accelerating AI in both self-driving car systems and its high-powered graphics cards. It could face serious challenges if Intel offers similar power, especially if it's in a run-of-the-mill server that doesn't need pricey extras to handle machine learning tasks. Whether or not Intel is targeting NVIDIA, there's no question that it's getting serious about one of the hottest fields in tech.

Source: Intel, Playground


Monday, July 11, 2016

Change up your space with robotic furniture from Ori

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/07/11/ori-robotic-furniture/

Need a way to dramatically improve your living space? How about robotic furniture? No, it's not some far-off dream for the future. It's a collaboration between MIT Media Lab spin-off Ori with designer Yves Béhar.

Ori is introducing a line of architectural robotics, as they're described, which are meant to transform the way we arrange and decorate our bedrooms. Using these special pieces of furniture, you could theoretically take a studio apartment and transform it into a much larger space with plenty more functionality.

The line of connected products is set to offer innovation for those in urban areas, where simply pressing a button can change a living room into a bedroom, walk-in closet or even an office connected via "smart-home ecosystem." In fact, the Ori line gets its name from "origami," which makes sense when you consider The first residential versions of the furniture will be rolled out by developers in Boston, Washington DC and Seattle this summer and the program will be accepting pilot program partners in early 2017.


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Bitcoin mining just became more difficult, on purpose

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/07/09/bitcoin-mining-value-cut-in-half/

If you have computers chugging away as bitcoin mining machines, don't be surprised if your output just fell through the floor. Reuters notes that code built into the digital currency system has cut the mining reward in half as of July 9th. Where there were previously 25 bitcoins (roughly $16,000) to be mined every 10 minutes, you now have to fight over 12.5. The measure automatically kicks in every four years as part of an attempt to curb inflation that would come from both a growing number of miners and ever-faster computers.

To no one's surprise, reducing the reward could have serious consequences for dedicated miners. As you have to work twice as hard to get the same money, companies with not-so-efficient operations may have no choice but to restructure or even close shop entirely. KnCMiner, for instance, declared bankruptcy in May after warning about the impending profit loss. Those miners most likely to survive are the ones that keep costs to a minimum through lower-power computers and minimal staff.

You'd think that the industry would have anticipated the halving given that it will happen every four years like clockwork, but that's not necessarily the case. Although bitcoin isn't quite as celebrated as it was a while back, it's still far more mainstream than it was in 2012. There are many more people mining than there were four years ago, and not all of them realize that they'll have to factor in those reward cuts. The bigger question is whether or not the bitcoin business will be better-prepared when 2020 rolls around. Miners will either have to trim costs yet again or hope that they can make money from transaction fees.

Source: Reuters


Thursday, July 07, 2016

Facebook reveals open-source wireless platform, OpenCellular

Source: https://www.engadget.com/2016/07/06/facebook-opencellular-internet-access-remote/

OpenCellular is Facebook's open-source wireless access platform designed to provide internet to remote areas around the world. OpenCellular is roughly the size of a shoe box and it can support up to 1,500 people as far as 10 kilometers away with a range of connectivity options, including wireless services and everything from 2G to LTE. By the end of 2015, more than 4 billion people across the globe didn't have access to basic internet services and 700 million people lived outside the range of cellular connectivity -- making it difficult to log into Facebook, of course.

The initial version of OpenCellular's software platform will be available in the summer, and Facebook is testing out the boxes at its headquarters right now.

OpenCellular will eventually be open source, allowing researchers, telecom operators, tinkerers and anyone else to build on its design. Facebook will work with other Telecom Infra Project members to build and support an active community around OpenCellular.

"With OpenCellular, we want to develop affordable new technology that can expand capacity and make it more cost-effective for operators to deploy networks in places where coverage is scarce," Facebook engineer Kashif Ali writes. "By open-sourcing the hardware and software designs for this technology, we expect costs to decrease for operators and to make it accessible to new participants."

OpenCellular joins Facebook's other global connectivity initiatives, including its internet lasers and Aquila, the company's unmanned, solar-powered, internet-distributing plane.

This month, the United Nations reaffirmed internet access as a human right in a resolution that stated, in part, "The same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression." The non-binding resolution condemned governments that disrupted their citizens' internet connections, and it noted disparities in access among certain nations and between women and men across the globe.

Via: Mark Zuckerberg

Source: Facebook