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Showing posts from January 22, 2018

The Air Force is sticking by SpaceX after the Zuma mission

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Rumors have been circulating that something went wrong with the classified Zuma satellite that SpaceX launched on the tip of a Falcon 9 rocket two weeks ago. But few clues have emerged to explain what happened to the mysterious satellite. Now, comments from the US Air Force seem to suggest that if something did indeed go wrong, whatever it was, it might not have been SpaceX’s fault.The Air Force certified SpaceX to conduct military missions in 2015. And for now, the company will keep its certification, Lieutenant General John Thompson, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center, told Bloomberg. “Based on the data available, our team did not identify any information that would change SpaceX’s Falcon 9 certification status.” The...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2rxn7sH"

'Sonic' designer Yuji Naka joins Square Enix

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Here's a game industry move you probably weren't expecting: Sonic the Hedgehog co-designer Yuji Naka has joined Square Enix. He'll continue to pursue game development, but he isn't exactly dropping many hints as to what's next. Naka wants to make an "enjoyable game," which sounds like a good goal to shoot for. It's not clear what will happen to his game studio, Prope, with the change in career path.Whatever he does, Naka will bring a lot to the table. He started at Sega in 1983 and quickly developed a reputation for his programming skills, which proved instrumental to games like Sonic -- the game's signature loops and curves were the result of his work. He eventually became a producer who managed titles like Nights into Dreams and Phantasy Star Online. Naka left to form Prope in 2006 simply because he wanted to create his own games that weren't Sonic-related. Prope's titles weren't as high-profile, of course, but they covered a wide ra…

Trump’s latest blow to clean energy is a tariff on solar panels

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Cheap solar cells and panels from overseas will now be subject to a 30 percent tariff, the Trump administration announced on Monday. The decision is aimed at boosting the competitiveness of US-made solar panels. But opponents say that the tariffs could drive increases in pollution and endanger jobs in America’s $29 billion solar industry.The announcement comes after the International Trade Commission’s ruling in September that the companies SolarWorld AG and Suniva couldn’t compete with cheap solar panel imports. Both companies manufacture panels in the United States but are in fact foreign-owned, Bloomberg reports: SolarWorld AG is the American arm of a German company, and Suniva has a Chinese majority owner.The solar industry...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2DZth7r"

Google hires former Xbox, PlayStation exec Phil Harrison

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Phil Harrison followed up almost two decades as an executive for both Sony and Microsoft as an investor in computer and video game companies. But he's moving back to the tech world with a new role as Vice President and GM of Google, Harrison announced on Twitter.Excited to be able to share that today I've started a new role as Vice President and GM of Google - and relocating (back) to California. — Phil Harrison (@MrPhilHarrison) January 22, 2018Most of his career has been involved with production or oversight of gaming platforms. Starting in 1992, Harrison spent 15 years working for Sony, some of it heavily involved with the PlayStation family in regional and global executive positions. His assurance that the PS3's holistic platform would make the PC obsolete didn't pan out, but he stayed in gaming after leaving Sony, heading Atari for a year before stepping down and joining Microsoft in 2012 to become lead for Xbox in Europe. It's unclear what area Harrison will …

The more Facebook examines itself, the more fault it finds

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In October, I started writing a daily newsletter about Facebook and democracy. Fallout from the 2016 election had resulted in a daily deluge of journalism about the unforeseen consequences that Facebook and other social networks were having. By organizing those stories into one place, I hoped to chronicle a cultural reckoning and help give it some shape. I entered into it without a strong sense of how social networks should respond to the unfolding crises around the world. I simply wanted to understand: how is social media reshaping our world?Today, we learned that Facebook itself has been grappling with this question. In a remarkable set of blog posts from a company that is publishing evermore of them, the company owned up to some...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2n1UZJL"

The first 512GB microSD card arrives in February

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It didn't take long for someone to topple 2017's microSD storage record. The UK's Integral Memory has unveiled what it says it the first shipping 512GB microSD card. So long as your device can handle microSDXC (most Android phones and tablets, as well as PCs like the Surface Pro), you too can have half a terabyte in the space of a fingernail. The card's 80MB/s peak transfer speed isn't the fastest you'll find, but it should be enough for apps and recording gobs of 4K video.The card arrives in February, although it's not clear how much it will cost or how readily available it will be outside of the UK. Don't expect it to be cheap, though -- the 400GB card still carries a premium (around $250 on Amazon), and it's virtually certain that 512GB will cost more. This is more about bragging rights, both for Integral Memory and for well-heeled techies who want the kind of capacity normally reserved for laptops.Source:BusinessWire via Engadget RSS Feed "…

Android Oreo now shows WiFi network speeds before you connect

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Ever hop on a WiFi hotspot to save mobile data or boost speed, only to find out that it's so slow that you might as well have stayed on cellular access? If you're using Android 8.1 Oreo, that shouldn't be a problem going forward. After several weeks of teasing, Google is rolling out a feature that gauges the speed of WiFi networks before you connect. It's not giving you exact bandwidth readings -- instead, it's lumping the overall performance into categories that give you an idea of what to expect. You may want to avoid a "slow" (under 1Mbps) or "OK" (1-5Mbps) network unless you have no choice, but "fast" (5-20Mbps) and "very fast" (20Mbps and above) should do the job if you're catching up on YouTube.The ratings are a bit conservative, and might not help much if you're hoping to stream 4K or download a multi-gigabyte app. However, it should help you make more informed decisions. You might skip that overloaded airport …

You can visit the Pentagon’s secret nuclear bunker inside Minecraft

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Even if the populations of the US or Russia are annihilated in a nuclear apocalypse, the governments responsible for the devastation plan to fight on from vast, underground bunkers. Now, the public can peer inside the secretive complexes thanks to the efforts of arms control analysts who reconstructed these bunkers inside Minecraft.The mistaken missile alert that sent people scurrying for cover in Hawaii last week revealed just how poorly prepared the US government is to protect the public during a nuclear attack. The government’s plans for protecting itself from a rain of thermonuclear fire are much more detailed. Using satellite images, declassified information, and a good amount of guesswork, analysts at the Middlebury Institute of...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2G6qtq7"

Netflix to spotlight up-and-coming comedians with 15-minute specials

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Netflix has been streaming comedy specials for a while now. Seinfeld got his first show on the streaming platform last September and released a couple more events starring Patton Oswalt and Dave Chappelle before the New Year. Now, according to Deadline, Netflix is set to debut a series of 15-minute stand-up specials starring new comedic talents this year.Deadline reports that the specials will tape in February at Atlanta's Terminal West. Each comic will get 15 minutes to strut their stuff. The list of up-and-comers includes Aisling Bea, Michelle Buteau, Tim Dillon, JR De Guzman, Sabrina Jalees, Janelle James, Sam Jay, Josh Johnson, Ian Karmel, Jak Knight, Matteo Lane, Max Silvestri, Taylor Tomlinson, Phil Wang, Emma Willmann and Kate Willett.Source:Deadline via Engadget RSS Feed "http://ift.tt/2F5pxRn"

10 pretty pictures from NASA to help you recover from the government shutdown

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Space Some science grinds to a halt when the government shuts down.Parts of NASA were affected by the most recent government shutdown, and some remained unscathed. via Popular Science "http://ift.tt/2rv96vQ"

This is what determines the price of Bitcoin

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Technology Understanding the source of those crazy numbers.Anyone who follows the price of Bitcoin is probably getting pretty tired. Here's where they actually come from. via Popular Science "http://ift.tt/2F4GqeW"

Google is building an AI research team in France

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Google announced today that it's expanding its AI research efforts, setting up a new research team in France that will work with the country's AI research community on issues ranging from health to the environment. Google says the team's work will be published and any code it produces will be open source.Along with creating a dedicated AI team at Google France, the company is also expanding its workforce by 50 percent and opening four hubs that will provide free digital literacy training to the residents of France.But Google isn't the only company growing its AI presence. While Facebook already has an AI lab in the country, it announced today that it would put €10 million towards accelerating AI innovation in France. That money will be used for scholarships, funding servers and open datasets that public institutions can use and adding 30 additional fellowship positions to Facebook AI Research Paris' PhD program. The French team will also double from 30 to 60 people…

Google just broke Amazon’s workaround for YouTube on Fire TV

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Google and Amazon aren’t getting any closer to ending their bitter feud. In fact, today the user-hostile fight between them is only getting worse. YouTube has apparently blocked the Silk web browser on Fire TV from displaying the TV-optimized interface normally shown on large screens. As a result, trying to navigate YouTube and watch videos has become a usability nightmare on Amazon’s popular streaming products. It’s now basically a desktop computer experience, requiring users to browse around with the Fire TV remote (not exactly simple), play a video, then click to maximize it to fill the screen. Firefox for Fire TV is blocked from showing the TV-optimized view, as well.This petty move follows Google’s decision to remove YouTube from...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2n3qt1g"

Integral Memory’s new 512GB microSD card is the biggest microSD card yet

AltspaceVR co-founder joins Facebook's social VR team

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Facebook announced today that Eric Romo, the former CEO and co-founder of AltSpaceVR, is joining its social VR team as Product Director. He'll be helping with Facebook's nascent but thriving social VR efforts, building upon the company's Facebook Spaces launch last year."Eric is a pioneer in the social VR space who shares our vision of building virtual reality with people at the center," said Rachel Rubin Franklin, Facebook's head of social VR, in a post. "He's spent years building virtual communities to bring people together around common interests and compelling content.""With lots to tackle in 2018, I'm thrilled to have Eric on board," she continued.Years before Facebook Spaces, AltSpaceVR was one of the pioneers in the social VR space. Described as Second Life in VR, AltSpaceVR held many media events in recent years, such as partnering with NBC to air the presidential debates in VR and hosting virtual comedy shows from Reggie W…

Amazon doesn’t care if you accidentally shoplift from its cashier-less store

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Amazon Go, the e-commerce giant’s new cashier-less grocery store in downtown Seattle, opened today to a mix of general curiosity and incredulity. How can a store function without cashiers? How do you pay, and how does the business know who’s buying what?Amazon has done a sound job of explaining many of the particulars of its new concept store, one the company hopes brings more online customers into contact with its increasingly important offline presence. There are cameras and sensors, to detect when you’ve walked in and when items are removed from shelves, and there are check-in kiosks near the entrance for scanning your phone to register your presence via Amazon Prime. Regardless, Go will likely remain an alien concept for many.And...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2rxWfJ0"

Netflix's Juventus FC documentary premieres February 16th

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You won't have to wait much longer to see how Netflix handles a soccer (aka football) documentary. The service is premiering the first three episodes of its Juventus FC docuseries, First Team: Juventus, on February 16th. The show will cover the high-ranking Italian team's drama both on and off the pitch, whether it's the individual players or the coaches shouting at the sidelines. The second portion of the series should premiere later in 2018.For Netflix, this is a grand experiment. It seldom ventures into sports, and it's ambitious to cover one of the best-known sports teams on the planet. Having said this, don't be shocked if there are more shows like this if First Team is even mildly successful. It could help Netflix court sports fans who'd otherwise turn to documentaries on conventional TV, and there's pressure to compete against Amazon's fledgling sports lineup.Source:Netflix via Engadget RSS Feed "http://ift.tt/2n1maEp"

Facebook announces that it has invented a new unit of time

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Facebook launched a new product today: Flicks, a new unit of time. Yes, that’s right. A unit of time, like seconds or minutes or hours. After all, why limit asserting your corporate dominance to social connections, the consumption of the news cycle, and advertising on the internet, when you can define the very flow of time itself?According the the GitHub page documenting Flicks, a Flick is “the smallest time unit which is LARGER than a nanosecond,” defined as 1/705,600,000 of a second. (For comparison, a nanosecond is 1/1,000,000,000 of a second, making a Flick roughly 1.41723356 nanoseconds long.)We've launched Flicks, a unit of time, slightly larger than a nanosecond that exactly subdivides media frame rates and sampling... Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2G6ky43"

Netflix added 8.3 million customers in Q4, its biggest growth ever

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While Netflix is facing more competition than ever, its growth isn't slowing. The company just announced its four quarter earnings results, and revealed that worldwide it added 8.3 million customers, "the highest quarter in our history and up 18 percent vs. last year's record 7.05 million." While the Will Smith-starring movie Bright wasn't a hit with critics, the company seems happy, saying that it's one of the most viewed titles ever and drove a "notable" lift in customer acquisition. As a result, Netflix is planning to invest more in original films, as well as international content to follow its first German original series, Dark.Developing...Source:Netflix Investor Relations Q4 2017 results (PDF) via Engadget RSS Feed "http://ift.tt/2Dsty1Q"

AI-powered robot finds common soap ingredient may combat malaria

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Around half of the world's population is at risk of contracting malaria and it causes around half a million deaths each year. However, the parasites that cause malaria are becoming more resistant to the drugs we currently use to combat them, meaning the global malaria risk stands to increase if we don't develop new drugs quickly enough. Well new research published recently in Scientific Reports finds that a common chemical used in everything from soap and toothpaste to clothing and furniture might be an effective treatment, and it was done with the help of AI.Many popular antimalarial drugs target a specific enzyme found in malaria-causing parasites, an enzyme important for the parasites' growth. So researchers used AI-powered Robot Scientist Eve to screen a slew of FDA-approved compounds to see how well they were able to inhibit that enzyme and it found that triclosan was able to inhibit the enzyme from two different species of malaria-causing parasites, including variant…

The NSA’s voice-recognition system raises hard questions for Echo and Google Home

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Suppose you’re looking for a single person, somewhere in the world. (We’ll call him Waldo.) You know who he is, nearly everything about him, but you don’t know where he’s hiding. How do you find him?The scale is just too great for anything but a computerized scan. The first chance is facial recognition — scan his face against cameras at airports or photos on social media — although you’ll be counting on Waldo walking past a friendly camera and giving it a good view. But his voice could be even better: How long could Waldo go without making a phone call on public lines? And even if he’s careful about phone calls, the world is full of microphones — how long before he gets picked up in the background while his friend talks to her Echo?As...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2DWVDPP"

Microsoft now lets enterprise users recover corrupted or deleted files from the past 30 days

Android can now tell you how fast Wi-Fi networks are before you join them

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Some of the cool, more subtle features of Android 8.1 are still rolling out weeks after the first significant update to Oreo was released. For instance, today Google announced that Oreo will now display the speed of nearby open Wi-Fi networks to help you decide whether they’re even worth the effort of connecting to. The Wi-Fi settings menu will now display one of four speed labels: Very Fast, Fast, OK, or Slow.The difference between Very Fast and Fast, according to Google, is that you can stream “very high-quality videos” on the former and “most videos” on the latter. Most coffee shop dwellers should be fine with the OK level, as that’s enough for web browsing, social media, and Spotify streaming.Public Wi-Fi can be spotty. For the... Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2E0iSZr"

Rupert Murdoch wants Facebook to pay 'trusted' publishers for content

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Facebook has plans to tweak its News Feed to include more posts from friends and family and less from news publishers in an attempt to fix some of the platform's problems. Now news magnate Rupert Murdoch thinks that the social network should adopt a pay-TV model and start paying "trusted" publishers for content."The publishers are obviously enhancing the value and integrity of Facebook through their news and content but are not being adequately rewarded for those services," Murdoch said in a statement. "Carriage payments would have a minor impact on Facebook's profits but a major impact on the prospects for publishers and journalists."Murdoch feels that subscription models and Facebook's current tweaks are inadequate to solve the problem on a commercial, social and journalistic level. "We will closely follow the latest shift in Facebook's strategy," Murdoch said, "and I have no doubt that Mark Zuckerberg is a sincere person,…

Montana is the first state to enact its own net neutrality rules

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Most of the states fighting the FCC's net neutrality repeal are counting on lawsuits or legislative measures that could take years to process, but Montana Governor Steve Bullock isn't willing to wait. He just signed an executive order requiring that all internet providers with a Montana government contract from July 1st onward honor the principles of net neutrality for any customer in the state. Given that most major providers (including AT&T, Charter and Verizon) have government contracts, this forces telecoms to treat all traffic fairly regardless of what the FCC wants.Bullock also suggested that other states backing net neutrality could do the same. "This is a simple step," he said in a statement, adding that "we can't wait for folks in Washington DC to come to their senses and reinstate these [neutrality] rules."Whether or not the order sticks is another matter. The FCC crafted its repeal specifically to prevent states from reinstating consumer …

Hackers are stealing millions in cryptocurrency during ICOs

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A new report from Ernst & Young details just how big of a problem security is when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Researchers collected data on 372 initial coin offerings (ICOs) that took place between 2015 and 2017 and found that over 10 percent of ICO proceeds are stolenby hackers, a percentage that amounts to the theft of up to $1.5 million per month. And in addition to monetary theft, hackers are also gaining access to personal information like addresses, phone numbers, bank details and credit card numbers.Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have become incredibly popular of late and everyone from Ghostface Killah to KFC is jumping on the bandwagon. But digital currencies have largely functioned without regulation and without safety nets for most of their existence. And that combined with a lack of proper safeguards has opened up cryptocurrencies and exchanges to hackers and widespread theft.Ernst & Young says phishing is the most popular tool used by hackers. "Hackers are a…

Craiglist competitor Letgo adds housing sales to its secondhand marketplace

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Letgo, an upstart competitor to sites like Craigslist, is probably best known for a few cute commercials that have made the rounds over the past few years. While it may not have quite the same level of cultural relevance as Craigslist, the secondhand marketplace app is getting a big addition today with the option to let users sell or rent houses and apartments on the app, according to TechCrunch. (That’s a big jump from used bed frames and scooters.) As noted by TechCrunch, Letgo is one of the most popular shopping apps, third only to Amazon and Wish in the iOS App Store’s Top Free Shopping list. The app faces plenty of competition from larger secondhand stores like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist as well as other apps like OfferUp...Continue reading… via The Verge - Tech Posts "http://ift.tt/2E2mydj"

Google's $20 million Lunar Xprize will end without a winner

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The Lunar Xprize is about to come to an anticlimactic end after more than a decade. Google has confirmed to CNBC that it doesn't plan to extend the $20 million competition past its March 31st deadline -- itself an extension well beyond the original 2014 end date. Given that all the finalists either don't have the funds to continue or don't expect to launch that quickly (the fastest, SpaceIL, might not launch before the end of 2018), the competition is effectively over with no winners. Not that Google minds, however.If anything, the company believes that the journey was more important than the destination. "We are so thrilled with the progress made by these teams over the last ten years," it said in a statement. And to a degree, it's right. The teams have make significant strides in designing practical lunar rovers without the resources of a massive government agency. Private space exploration is theoretically one step closer, even if the technology from the X…