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Archive for June 29th, 2014

29
Jun
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California makes it legal to pay with Bitcoin and other virtual currencies


Bitcoins

If you’ve previously paid for goods with Bitcoin or other digital currency in California, you’re technically a criminal — the state has long had a law requiring US dollars, even if it hasn’t been enforced. As of this weekend, though, you’re officially in the clear. Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that legitimizes payments with Bitcoin, other forms of virtual money, community currencies and reward systems like coupons and points. As state assembly member Roger Dickinson explained when fighting for the measure, modern commerce has “expanded” beyond cash and credit; to him, it only makes sense that the law keeps up with the times.

This isn’t the same as federal approval, so you won’t be paying taxes with cryptocurrency in the near future. All the same, it’s a rare instance of explicit approval for digital cash in the US; normally, it exists in a gray area. There’s no certainty that California’s move will get the feds (or anyone else) to change their minds, but it at least means that you can feel guilt-free when shopping with virtual money in the Golden State.

[Image credit: BTC Keychain, Flickr]

Filed under: Internet

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Via: NewsBTC

Source: LA Times

29
Jun
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If you like having your apps neatly organized, check out 9 Cards Home Launcher [App of the Day]


9 cards home launcher_featured

There are lots of launchers for Android devices and that’s the beauty of Android. Different people prefer different things. You might be content with the launcher you got with your device, on the other hand you might want a different approach to Android, which is fine, more than fine actually. 9 Cards Home Launcher is one of those launchers which complement the current launcher you’re using.

After you install and run this app it will ask you which Gmail account you’d like to use after which it will start sorting your apps and what not. After it’s done you’ll see a grid of 9 cards on the screen, in each card will be an application. You can add more apps in certain categories which you’ll access by swiping from bottom up in order to call the 2nd screen in which you’ll also see 9 cards. By horizontally swiping the screen you’ll access different categories, like Home, Contacts, Social, Photography etc. You can of course edit these categories as you please or simply create new ones, it’s up to you. By swiping from top to bottom you’ll see a list of all your categories and by doing that motion while on that screen it will exit the app.

9 cards home launcher_1

As we said, this 9 Cards Home Launcher only complements your current launcher. When you exit this app you can call it up by manually opening the app or swiping up from your on-screen home button (Google Now motion), if you decide to set it that way. You can also for example set the launcher to use something called “Quick Drag Gesture” while you’re using your default launcher. This motion can be set on a part of the screen, if you swipe from that portion of the screen you’ll get a narrow vertical bar on the right where you’ll see a bunch of little squares which contain your collections.

9 cards home launcher_2

This app has some extra features as well, but we can’t talk about all of them. It also has a pro version which will give you even more features of course. You’ll have to try it out in order to see if you like it or not, the app works rather well, we didn’t have any issues during testing. You can get it if you follow the link below.

Did you like the app?

Source: Google Play Store

The post If you like having your apps neatly organized, check out 9 Cards Home Launcher [App of the Day] appeared first on AndroidGuys.

29
Jun
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The ACLU and the NSA’s ex-director will debate spying on June 30th


General Keith Alexander as he retired from the NSA

If you’ve wanted the NSA and anti-spying campaigners to sit down and hash things out, you’re about to get your wish… well, sort of. MSNBC is holding a surveillance-themed debate between former NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander and ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero on June 30th. When the two sides meet at 10:30AM Eastern that day, they’ll argue over whether or not the NSA is making Americans safer; suffice it to say that there are going to be some fierce disagreements.

While we’re sure that many would prefer that the NSA’s current leader was involved, you’ll at least get to play a part. The TV network is not only taking some questions from the audience, but letting it influence the results online; you’ll get to vote on where the debate should go, and say who you think is winning. We’re expecting a draw, but it should still be interesting to watch one of privacy’s biggest advocates square off against one of the NSA’s most prominent defenders.

[Image credit: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Flickr]

Filed under: Cellphones, Internet

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Source: MSNBC

29
Jun
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Google will have sole control over the interfaces of Android Auto, Wear and TV


LG G Watch, Moto 360 and Samsung Gear Live

You’d better get used to the interfaces you saw for Android Auto, Wear and TV at the Google I/O conference this past week — you’re going to be seeing them a lot. Google tells Ars Technica that it will maintain sole (official) control over the interface for all three new platforms, rather than give that power to manufacturers. While companies will be allowed branding and extra services, they won’t get to modify the core experience. You won’t see a Gear Live sequel with the Gear 2′s front end, for example, or find your way around town with a Honda-exclusive take on Android Auto.

Engineering director David Burke says this requirement is meant to provide a “very consistent” experience; you won’t have to grapple with different controls just because you’re watching TV in your bedroom instead of the living room. The shift in policy also lets Google manage the update process, which should be as “automatic and seamless” as the company’s Chrome browser. Theoretically, you won’t see the haphazard upgrade process common to non-Nexus Android devices, where updates sometimes arrive months after their official launches, if they arrive at all.

The move is likely to please fans of Google’s approach to interface design, or those who simply want to try new features as soon as possible. However, it’s a sharp break from Google’s mostly laissez-faire attitude to Android on phones and tablets — car, TV and wearable makers will primarily have to distinguish themselves through hardware if they want to use the bulk of Google’s services. If they insist on their own control layouts, they’ll have to take an Amazon-like approach and build (or find) replacement technology. The strategy likely won’t preclude you from loading custom software after the sale, but the Android you see in stores won’t be quite as diverse as it once was.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, Transportation, Wearables, HD, Mobile, Google

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Source: Ars Technica

29
Jun
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Inhabitat’s Week in Green: Terrapin Camper, glow-in-the-dark roads and the world’s fastest bike


Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.

The world’s first glow-in-the-dark roads were recently installed in the Netherlands as part of a month-long trial — and now, the team behind the project will take what it’s learned and incorporate it into an updated smart highway that will roll out later this summer. Driverless cars are the future of transportation, and Michigan is gearing up for them by developing a 30-acre urban environment for testing autonomous vehicles. Toyota just unveiled its new hydrogen fuel cell sedan, which will go on sale in the US next summer. Germany has long been a leader in renewable energy, and now the European country is breaking its own records.

Germany recently smashed three solar energy records, and the country’s northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein is set to generate 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources this year. One of the keys to increasing global renewable energy use is finding better ways to produce decentralized energy. To that end, Ecosphere Technologies has developed a shipping-container-size pop-up solar power station that can deliver energy wherever it’s needed. And if you’re having trouble restraining yourself from oversharing on social media, here’s one piece of wearable technology that could help you break the habit: A pair of NYU students has developed a 3D-printed bustier that turns transparent every time you tweet.

Is there anything mushrooms can’t do? We’ve seen lamps and furniture made from mycelium — and now the world’s first mushroom tower has sprouted in New York. The low-tech earthbag building technique just got a high-tech upgrade with the help of 3D printing technology. The Earth Home Builder is a machine that can 3D print entire homes by filling tubes with earth at a rate of 400 feet per hour. In other green design news, architect Abeer Seikaly drew inspiration from traditional basket weaving in her innovative design for solar-powered refugee tents. Each tent has its own water collection system, so they’re almost entirely self-sufficient. Speaking of disaster response, a new report suggests that the devastating New Jersey boardwalk fire could actually have been caused when saltwater surges from Hurricane Sandy hit low-lying electrical and mechanical systems. Germany’s University of Stuttgart recently unveiled a gorgeous geometric pavilion made entirely by robots. The structure was developed by the school’s computational design department, and it’s made from interlocking plywood panels. Legos continue to be the building material of choice for budding designers around the world, and a team of dedicated builders created an entire London bus shelter using 100,000 bricks. And for the perfect summer road trip, we present you with the Terrapin Camper, a gorgeous house on wheels made from handcrafted wood with a dinette that converts into a full-size bed.

Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing types of renewable energy. But what if we’re doing it all wrong? A Maryland-based company has created a new concept that turns the traditional wind turbine design on its head by putting turbines at the base of a tower that generates its own wind throughout the year. The concept hasn’t been tested, but the company claims it could produce energy 24 hours per day. For those of us who don’t want to buy into the grid, there’s an alternative: Community solar gardens allow customers who aren’t able to establish their own solar power systems to buy into a solar array and receive a credit on their electricity bill for power produced by the panels. The concept is taking root in communities across the country. And if you want to power up your gadgets using renewable energy while you’re on the go, there are a couple new options: Nokia is collaborating with British designer A. Sauvage to create a pair of wireless charging trousers that will juice up your phone when it’s resting in your pants pockets. And a pair of college kids has developed a solar battery charger for USB devices that can be charged either by an outlet or passively via the sun. Better still, the device can be 3D-printed from any material you can find, in any color imaginable.

Bike sharing is quickly spreading to cities all over the world, but those one-size-fits-all bikes don’t necessarily fit everyone — what about the kids? Paris’ Vélib just became the first bike-sharing system in the world to offer bikes for kids. In other green transportation news, the Canadian company AeroVelo recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to build the world’s fastest bicycle. The team expects its new design to be able to reach speeds of around 87MPH. And south of the border, a pair of artists has created a funky-looking aluminum car that was built to run on the roughly 5,000 miles of abandoned railroad tracks in Mexico and Ecuador.

Filed under: Misc

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29
Jun
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Gadget Rewind 2007: Flip Video Ultra


It was the mid-aughts and user-generated video was on the rise: Google had just purchased YouTube and consumers were starting to get their first camera-equipped cellphones. Despite all that, the quality of video captured by phones at the time was poor, and full-fledged camcorders were still too costly for most consumers to consider. Those factors made for a perfect storm and left the market wide open for Pure Digital. In 2007, the company introduced its Flip Video Ultra, a portable device that offered a solution to all that subpar video. The Flip Video Ultra featured a simple camera that captured quality video at an affordable price. And when it was let loose on the market in late 2007, it was unstoppable — at least for a time.

The Flip Video Ultra had humble beginnings. Back in 2005, Pure Digital teamed up with CVS to release its One-Time-Use Camcorder, which cost $30 and could capture 20 minutes of video. Transferring those precious moments to DVD would run you another $13. After a bit of success, the company moved on to more eco-friendly, non-disposable units. And then, in 2007, it rebranded the line as Flip Video. Like its predecessors, it was meant to be held upright when shooting video and incorporated intuitive controls. The design was a bit blocky, but it was the first to include a flip-out USB connector, making it easy to connect to computers without any cables. The Flip Video also came preloaded with FlipShare software, letting users plug, play, edit and share to sites like YouTube from any PC with a USB port.

The first Flip Video had only been on the market for a few months when Pure Digital replaced it with the next-gen Flip Video Ultra. The revision specifically addressed many of the original’s design issues. Pure Digital shaved some weight off the device and released it in an array of colors including black, pink and orange. With this new Flip, users could capture and save up to 60 minutes of VGA-quality (640 x 480) video on the 2GB model — it even boasted better low-light performance. Interacting with the device was a piece of cake using its 1.5-inch color display and buttons for play, record, delete, zoom and screen navigation. It also ran on two AA batteries, making it easy to re-up, rather than wait hours for batteries to recharge.

Because sales of the device were going so well in 2008, analysts at NPD listed the Flip Video Ultra as the top-selling camcorder in June of that year. It even managed to beat out devices from well-known brands like Sony, JVC and Panasonic. Soon, though, those same heavyweights were copying the Flip’s success with budget-priced camcorders of their own. Cisco, the well-known enterprise hardware outfit, seized on Pure Digital’s rise in the market and acquired the company in 2009. Unfortunately, the lifespan of the Flip Video line would prove to be short-lived and smartphones, with their ever-improving video capabilities, quickly replaced the single-use tech. By 2011, the market for these niche video devices began to completely dry up leading Cisco to altogether shutter the Flip camera division.


Did you own a Flip Video Ultra? Add it to your Engadget profile as a device you had (or still have) and join the discussion to reminisce or share photos of your device with other like-minded gadget fans.

Filed under: Cameras

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29
Jun

Jade Raymond on mobile games: “innovation on mobile is the recycling of 40 year old game Design”


It’s an exciting time in the gaming industry as a whole, with advances in technology creating many new avenues for gaming to be explored in. But where exactly does mobile gaming fit into all of this? Jade Raymond of Ubisoft gave her valuable insight on mobile games at Gamelab in Barcelona this week: “Mobile has attracted […]

29
Jun

BRAVEN 710 Review: You won’t believe the sound that comes out of this tiny Bluetooth Speaker


Defying the laws of physics is a very difficult thing to do, however the latest Bluetooth wireless speaker from BRAVEN makes that look easy. The 6.25×2.6×1.8 inch BRAVEN 710 is capable of creating an absolutely absurd amount of sound for its size, though this is to be expected from one of our favourite audio manufacturers […]

29
Jun
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Future cars may give themselves dimples to reduce drag


MIT's wrinkling surface in action

Golf balls are dimpled for a reason — they sail through the air just slowly enough that the uneven surface reduces drag, helping them fly further than they might otherwise. Wouldn’t it be nice if your car could get that kind of aerodynamic boost? It might, if MIT’s newly developed morphable surface becomes a practical reality. The technology creates dimples on the fly by sucking the air out of a hollow ball with both a stiff, rubber-like skin on top and a soft material just below. The result is odd-looking to say the least, but it’s effective. It can wrinkle itself to cut down on air resistance when it’s traveling slowly, yet smooth itself out to minimize drag at high speed.

Vehicles would be the most likely to benefit from the concept, and researchers already foresee transportation whose panels dimple to improve your mileage. However, the shrinking surfaces would be useful for completely stationary objects, too — radar domes and other vulnerable buildings could suck in their exteriors to minimize wind resistance and prevent a collapse. MIT still has a lot of work to do before these wrinkling materials reach shipping products, but don’t be surprised if you’re eventually driving a car that looks like something Titleist would make.

Filed under: Transportation, Science

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Via: Gizmodo

Source: MIT News

29
Jun
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Google and MediaTek to work together on Android One project


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During the Google I/O 2014, Google introduced the Android One series. The devices under it will be released in developing nations, and this is actually Google’s move to take a huge chunk out of the low-end smartphone market. There was a time when Nokia conquered it, now as Google Android powered smartphones are on top when we talk about high-end smartphones, they are also joining hands with different companies to manufacture low-cost phones under the Android One banner.

According to DigiTimes, MediaTek is now Google’s strategic solution partner for the development of the Android One initiative, which will enable smartphone makers to build low-cost smartphones that will target at least 1 billion customers.

At the I/O, Google showcased the first ever Android One smartphone, it was made by an Indian company Micromax and it was running on MediaTek MT6575 SoC as well. 

Android One should be under the price tag of $150-100 if Google wants it to be a success in the developing smartphone markets. Do you think Android one will be a success for Google?

Source: DiGiTImes

The post Google and MediaTek to work together on Android One project appeared first on AndroidGuys.

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