Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Facebook offers a free VR audio tool thanks to a buyout

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/05/23/facebook-offers-free-vr-audio-tool/

Facebook isn't merely content to make a virtual reality camera rig and call it a day. The company has revealed that it acquired Two Big Ears, the creator of the VR audio app Spatial Workstation, and has set the software loose. As of now, Spatial Workstation is free -- anyone with a Mac (Windows support is coming) can produce immersive sound for their 360-degree videos. Support for the company's existing Pro and gaming products will phase out over 12 months, but you'll eventually see the gaming tech merged into the Facebook-owned software.

This isn't lightweight software -- don't go in expecting GarageBand for VR. However, it's bound to be a big help for anyone serious about VR video, including Facebook. The more professional-sounding videos are out there, the more reasons you have to buy a Facebook-backed headset like the Oculus Rift or Gear VR.

Via: VentureBeat

Source: Facebook, Two Big Ears


Polaroid's first smart TVs pack 4K and Google Cast

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/05/23/polaroid-smart-tv-with-google-cast/

When Google unveiled a wider range of TVs with Google Cast support, you might have done a double-take when you saw Polaroid's name -- what, the reborn camera maker? Yes, it's true... and you may have a good reason to take notice. Polaroid has unveiled its first-ever smart TVs, and it's clear that they offer some bang for the buck. Every model in the LED-lit range packs a 4K display, a 120Hz refresh rate, native HEVC decoding and Google Cast streaming, so you won't have trouble either watching Ultra HD video or sharing a YouTube clip from your phone.

The big deal, as you might guess, is the cost. The initial lineup will launch at sizes between 43 and 65 inches at respective prices between $499 to $999, while a 75-incher due in the fall will still be semi-affordable at $1,899. We wouldn't expect stellar image quality for the money, but these may well be more than enough if you're just looking to stay current without crippling your bank account.

Source: Polaroid


Vizio's cheaper tablet-controlled 4K TVs start rolling out

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/05/24/vizios-cheaper-tablet-controlled-4k-tvs-start-rolling-out/

If you want Vizio's 4K TV with SmartCast 6-inch Android remote, Ultra HD with Dolby Vision HDR and Google Cast receiving but you're not ready to pony up for a high-end P-Series set, a cheaper version is now available. Vizio announced the refreshed-for-2016 M-Series line in April and now they're going on sale, first via Vizio.com and eventually through other retailers. CTO and head of marketing Matthew McRae says that larger 70- and 80-inch versions are still on the way, but currently the $850 50-inch is the easiest one to get.


  • VIZIO SmartCast™ 50" M-Series™ Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display™ (M50-D1) MSRP $849.99
  • VIZIO SmartCast™ 55" M-Series™ Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display™ (M55-D0) MSRP $999.99
  • VIZIO SmartCast™ 60" M-Series™ Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display™ (M60-D1) MSRP $1,249.99
  • VIZIO SmartCast™ 65" M-Series™ Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display™ (M65-D0) MSRP $1,499.99
  • VIZIO SmartCast™ 70" M-Series™ Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display™ (M70-D3) MSRP $1,999.99
  • VIZIO SmartCast™ 80" M-Series™ Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display™ (M80-D3) MSRP $3,999.99

Source: Vizio Blog


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Malware for Virtual Skimming Is Getting Scarier

Source: http://gizmodo.com/malware-for-virtual-skimming-is-getting-scarier-1778067986

In 2009, malware called “Skimer” surfaced and security firms took notice. Skimer is essentially malware that gives hackers full access to an ATM without needing to install any physical hardware, like a card skimmer . According to a new investigation by Kaspersky Lab, the malware is not only seems in use, but it’s also become more powerful.



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Google built a processor just for AI

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2016/05/18/google-ai-processor/

Google is no stranger to building hardware for its data centers, but it's now going so far as to design its own processors. The internet giant has revealed the Tensor Processing Unit, a custom chip built expressly for machine learning. As Google doesn't need high precision for artificial intelligence tasks, the TPU is focused more on raw operations per second than anything else -- it's an "order of magnitude" faster in AI than conventional processors at similar energy levels. It's space-efficient, too, fitting into the hard drive bays in data center racks.

The fun part? You've already seen what TPUs can do. Google has been quietly using them for over a year, and they've handled everything from improving map quality to securing AlphaGo's victory over the human Go champion. The AI could both move faster and predict further ahead thanks to the chip, Google says. You won't get to buy the chip yourself, alas, but you might just notice its impact as AI becomes an ever more important part of Google's services.

Source: Google Cloud Platform Blog