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20
Aug

Australian courts order ISPs to block 59 pirate websites


Australian authorities will make it much harder to keep up with the latest on Game of Thrones. They’re expected to crack down hard on dozens of pirate websites that serve unauthorized movies and TV shows within the next couple of weeks. That’s because federal courts down under have handed down rulings for two separate cases, both ordering major telcoms and internet service providers (ISPs) to block a total of 59 websites and 127 domains. That’s a huge number to block in one go and might actually help mitigate piracy in the country.

In the first case filed by entertainment company Village Roadshow, the judge said the websites, especially those that come with tutorials on how to evade legal action, “reflect a blatant disregard for copyright owners.” Roadshow specifically named 13 shows and movies available on pirate providers, including The Lego Movie, Kingsman: The Secret Service and The Big Bang Theory.

The judge for the Roadshow case ordered ISPs to block 42 of the 59 websites, while the judge for the lawsuit filed by Australian cable company Foxtel ordered them to block the remaining 17. Foxtel airs Game of Thrones in the country, but since it costs quite a bit of money per month, Australia has become one of the territories with the biggest number of GoT pirates. It’s not surprising that the company sought to block unauthorized sources, especially since a change in the laws back in 2015 allows rights owners to ask the court to ban offending websites.

All telcos and ISPs now have 15 days to comply — once they’re done, Australians won’t be able to access a total of 65 pirate websites via typical means. The online destinations they have to block include PrimeWire, MegaShare, Limetorrents, Project Free TV, Watch Series, PutLocker and GoMovies.

Graham Burke, Village Roadshow’s co-CEO and the head honcho of anti-piracy group Creative Content Australia (previously known as the IP Awareness Foundation), said:

“This is a historic moment for Australia to have what is effectively 95% of the criminal trade blocked. The thieves who run pirate sites contribute nothing to Australia — they employ no one and pay no taxes here. Of the enormous profits they earn, not one cent goes back to the original creators of the content.”

The group will take this chance to launch the country’s biggest anti-piracy campaign. They’re going all out, even to the point of producing TV ads that warn against identity theft and malware brought about by downloading pirated copies from shady websites. Burke has also revealed that Creative Content plans to sue any individual still downloading and watching pirated content later this year. You won’t lose your savings by watching an illegal stream of GoT, but you will be sued and might have to pay the equivalent of a speeding fine.

Source: News Corp Australia Network

20
Aug

Sorry, Amazon is canceling your ‘free’ Echo Dot


If you thought that free Echo Dot was too good to be true… well, you were right. Amazon is cancelling zero-cost orders for the tiny smart speaker, informing buyers that a “technical error” was responsible for the surprise Audible discount. You won’t walk away empty-handed if you seized the opportunity, mind you. Amazon is giving would-be buyers a $5 promotional credit, so you might still get a break on the Dot if that’s what you were after. Just don’t expect to see a repeat slip-up any time soon.

Source: Amazon

20
Aug

Google introduces six-second previews to video search results


Why it matters to you

If you have trouble finding the exact video content you’re looking for, Google’s new video preview feature could be what you’ve been waiting for.

It’s not just ads that Google wants to be six seconds long. The search giant is introducing the short and sweet video format to another medium — search results. Now, if you conduct a search on one of Google’s mobile apps, Google will let you watch a silent six-second clip of a video to help you determine if you need to see more. As it stands, any video that lives on the internet should be eligible for inclusion, although there may not be six-second clips available for some of the newest videos that are online.

While Google-owned YouTube videos are obviously included in this new video preview feature, Google notes that content from other video hosts should also have these little clips available. The feature is debuting first on Android, where you can find it in both the Chrome and Google apps. Initially, English will be the only language supported, but as Google rolls it out worldwide, it will also add more languages. The company also said that it plans to expand previews to further platforms, which likely means iOS in the near future.

Hopefully, this will help folks find what they’re looking for more efficiently, and without having to waste time watching irrelevant content. And don’t worry — Google won’t just show you six random seconds of a video. Rather, Google employed some of its machine learning capabilities, analyzing the entirety of the video before selecting which six seconds are most representative. The company hasn’t revealed too much about the algorithm behind this magic, but it seems to work quite well.

We should point out that the video preview feature will only work if you’re on Wi-Fi, as it takes up a lot of data (after all, you’re just playing tons and tons of video content, even if it’s only for six seconds at a time). If you really want to, of course, you can enable video previews when you’re on mobile networks. And similarly, you can opt out of them altogether — just navigate over to the settings for both the Google app and Google Chrome for Android. Happy video browsing, friends!




20
Aug

Need a current events update? You can now get it from YouTube’s Breaking News


Why it matters to you

Need to know what’s happening in the world? YouTube’s breaking news section can tell you.

You may use YouTube for nothing more than cat videos and old NASA footage, but rest assured, you can do a lot more than simply waste time on the video streaming platform. As initially reported by Android Police, YouTube now has a “Breaking News” section that, as the name might suggest, contains a collection of videos that share breaking news from around the world.

The news videos can be seen in a horizontally scrollable format, and while they’re not unique to you, they are unique to your region. So sure, you may not be seeing the same thing in the U.S. as you would in the U.K., but your fellow Americans are being served the same breaking news. If, for some reason, you don’t want to see the news, you can either hit the “x” on your desktop version or tap the “Not interested” option in the three-dot menu on your mobile device.

As it stands, the feature is live on both iOS and Android, as well as on desktop. But it doesn’t look like everyone has the feature quite yet. Nor is it clear as to whether this Breaking News section will only exist when there is, in fact, breaking news, such as a natural disaster or national emergency, or if it will be a constant addition to the YouTube platform.

Although it may seem odd for YouTube to be delving into the breaking news arena — after all, YouTube clips seem to be how folks escape the news, not consume it — it does make sense that the platform would at least try to bring some current events into the content reel. In June, YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that 1.5 billion people watched an hour of video on mobile alone.

Currently, for those who are seeing the new section, it looks as though they’re being served information from traditional networks. However, if the section finds a surer footing, it may be an opportunity for YouTube celebrities and personalities to give their viewers their own take on daily happenings. After all, if Snapchat is serving its viewers daily news, why not YouTube?




20
Aug

Aslan is a 3D-printed robotic arm that wants to help translate for the deaf


Why it matters to you

Aslan could help us communicate with the 70 million people around the world whose mother tongue is ASL.

Around 70 million people today claim sign language as their mother tongue, and now, we can add one more to their ranks. But the latest entity to be fluent in ASL isn’t a person — it’s a robotic arm. Meet Aslan, a new 3D-printed structure meant to “minimize the communication barrier between the hearing and the deaf.”

Intended to serve as a translator, Aslan can hear spoken language, then turn it into sign language. By means of a robotic set-up, spoken language will be immediately translated to sign language. And thanks to its 3D-printed design along with its easily attainable components, the team behind the project (sponsored by the European Institute for Otorhinolaryngology) believes that “the Aslan robot can remain available at a low-cost and more accessible to the world.”

Initially conceptualized in 2014, the robot is the brainchild of three Masters students, Guy Fierens, Stijn Huys, and Jasper Slaets. As Huys explained in a video about the project, “I was talking to friends about the shortage of sign language interpreters in Belgium, especially in Flanders for the Flemish sign language. We wanted to do something about it. I also wanted to work on robotics for my Masters, so we combined the two.”

Now, just a few years later, Aslan is a working prototype. The robot’s name is actually an acronym for “Antwerp’s Sign Language Actuating Node,” and is comprised of 25 3D-printed parts, and 16 servos controlled by an Arduino board. While Aslan is currently just a single hand, the hope is that the team will soon be able to add another arm to accommodate two-handed gestures. There’s also talk of an “emotive robotic face” so that the robot can also mimic facial expressions.

Once the design of Aslan is finalized, its creators say that the plans will be open sourced so that more people can make use of the clever tool. While the robotic arm is not meant to entirely replace human translators, it can certainly help to fill in some gaps. After all, ASL translators are not always readily available, but the hope is that with the help of these robotic arms, communication barriers can be overcome.




20
Aug

What would it be like to watch the solar eclipse from the moon?


Why it matters to you

Artistic imagination has always been one of the driving forces behind technological innovations.

Have you ever wondered what it would look like to view the upcoming solar eclipse from the moon? This artist did — all the way back in 1989. Space illustrator Pat Rawlings created the above acrylic painting nearly 30 years ago, depicting the view of the upcoming eclipse from the lunar surface.

Rawlings sent out the image via a rather rueful Twitter post on August 15:

Painting I did in '89 titled August 21st, 2017.I actually thought 28 yrs in the future tourists might watch the eclipse from the Moon.Sigh.. pic.twitter.com/AFABanLuqf

— Pat Rawlings (@Patnspace) August 16, 2017

Rawlings has spent decades creating illustrations and paintings depicting space exploration, and his artwork has been featured on the cover of Aviation Week and Space Technology nine times. The hundreds of illustrations at his site feature asteroids, comets, lunar colonization, Mars exploration, and many more subjects.

The original painting, titled August 21, 2017, was sold to a private collector 15 years ago. It was originally created as an illustration for a children’s book written by Isaac Asimov. However, Rawlings’ tweet has gotten such attention from space enthusiasts that he’s made prints of the paining available in a number of different sizes and formats.

Rawlings goes to great pains to make his illustrations as authentic as possible. “Whenever I do paintings or any sort of art like this, I try to create almost a daydream of what it would be like,” Rawlings said in an interview with The Atlantic. “I imagine, in three dimensions, what the craters look like and then I start mentally walking around in that scene thinking, where would someone go to see it?”

If you’re going to enjoy the solar eclipse from the surface of planet Earth, don’t miss these six apps that will enhance your experience. If you plan to capture images of the event, you can always check out our solar eclipse photography guide.

Even though we don’t yet have a lunar base to document the eclipse, we do know what solar eclipses look like from orbit. In fact, Space.com has a very cool new gallery featuring a dozen photographs from 50 years of solar eclipses as seen from space, including one taken in 1966 by Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell aboard Gemini 12.

“I optimistically thought we’d be able to watch the eclipse from the moon,” Rawlings said about his 1989 painting. “A lot of things were going on that made you feel like the future was accelerating at a pretty rapid pace.” Unfortunately, there will be no lunar explorers to witness the event this time around, so we must rely on artistic conceptions to imagine what it might be like.




20
Aug

What would it be like to watch the solar eclipse from the moon?


Why it matters to you

Artistic imagination has always been one of the driving forces behind technological innovations.

Have you ever wondered what it would look like to view the upcoming solar eclipse from the moon? This artist did — all the way back in 1989. Space illustrator Pat Rawlings created the above acrylic painting nearly 30 years ago, depicting the view of the upcoming eclipse from the lunar surface.

Rawlings sent out the image via a rather rueful Twitter post on August 15:

Painting I did in '89 titled August 21st, 2017.I actually thought 28 yrs in the future tourists might watch the eclipse from the Moon.Sigh.. pic.twitter.com/AFABanLuqf

— Pat Rawlings (@Patnspace) August 16, 2017

Rawlings has spent decades creating illustrations and paintings depicting space exploration, and his artwork has been featured on the cover of Aviation Week and Space Technology nine times. The hundreds of illustrations at his site feature asteroids, comets, lunar colonization, Mars exploration, and many more subjects.

The original painting, titled August 21, 2017, was sold to a private collector 15 years ago. It was originally created as an illustration for a children’s book written by Isaac Asimov. However, Rawlings’ tweet has gotten such attention from space enthusiasts that he’s made prints of the paining available in a number of different sizes and formats.

Rawlings goes to great pains to make his illustrations as authentic as possible. “Whenever I do paintings or any sort of art like this, I try to create almost a daydream of what it would be like,” Rawlings said in an interview with The Atlantic. “I imagine, in three dimensions, what the craters look like and then I start mentally walking around in that scene thinking, where would someone go to see it?”

If you’re going to enjoy the solar eclipse from the surface of planet Earth, don’t miss these six apps that will enhance your experience. If you plan to capture images of the event, you can always check out our solar eclipse photography guide.

Even though we don’t yet have a lunar base to document the eclipse, we do know what solar eclipses look like from orbit. In fact, Space.com has a very cool new gallery featuring a dozen photographs from 50 years of solar eclipses as seen from space, including one taken in 1966 by Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell aboard Gemini 12.

“I optimistically thought we’d be able to watch the eclipse from the moon,” Rawlings said about his 1989 painting. “A lot of things were going on that made you feel like the future was accelerating at a pretty rapid pace.” Unfortunately, there will be no lunar explorers to witness the event this time around, so we must rely on artistic conceptions to imagine what it might be like.




20
Aug

‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ won’t get more single-player content


BioWare vowed to fix Mass Effect: Andromeda’s numerous teething troubles shortly after launch, but there’s apparently only so much it can do. The studio has revealed that its 1.10 patch is the last single-player update for the game — in a confirmation of rumors, there won’t be any solo-focused patches or (more importantly) downloadable content. The game was meant to expand on the Pathfinder story though multiplayer missions, BioWare says, and other stories will be told through comics and novels.

The company will talk about multiplayer add-ons, support and N7 Day (November 7th)in the “coming weeks.”

While the decision against DLC wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment choice (EA previously shot down a rumor that it had cancelled extra content), the halt to single-player patches says a lot about the state of Andromeda. BioWare and EA aren’t happy with the game, and they aren’t about to sink more time into the solo side of it. That doesn’t mean Mass Effect on its way out, though. While BioWare is shy about what will happen next (it only “hope[s] to see you again in the Mass Effect universe), the franchise’s Casey Hudson is returning. That, to us, suggests that BioWare wants to do whatever it takes to restore the series’ good name.

Source: BioWare

20
Aug

Nest’s sub-$200 thermostat might swap metal for plastic


The Nest thermostat’s premium looks match its pretty hefty price tag, but if you’re cool with a simpler version that can still do the job, you may want to wait it out. Evan Blass, a notable gadget leaker known as evleaks, has tweeted an image of what looks like an unadorned version of the Nest thermostat. Based on its no-frills appearance, it seems to be the sub-$200 version Bloomberg said the Google-owned company is working on. Mark Gurman, the journalist who wrote the piece, even confirmed that it’s the cheaper Nest he reported in March.

Unlike the current models, the thermostat in the image doesn’t have a metal body or even a traditional LCD — it’s all plastic. The temperatures are displayed as colorful numbers on the white plastic screen, which might or might not be touch-enabled. Bloomberg said the more affordable Nest will (understandably) be equipped with less expensive components and could be available sometime in 2018. We’ll just have to wait for more info on what the sub-$200 thermostat can and can’t do compared to its more expensive siblings.

I might just move on from phones altogether… pic.twitter.com/6WyLEeUD6A

— Evan Blass (@evleaks) August 19, 2017

Here’s the cheaper, sub-$200 Nest Thermostat we wrote about in March https://t.co/NcIyrIJ3zK https://t.co/kXBqMxxHnp

— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) August 19, 2017

Source: evleaks (Twitter)

20
Aug

VW’s electric microbus will become a reality in 2022


When Volkswagen unveiled the ID Buzz, the assumption was that it would meet the same fate as many concept cars: it’d look good at an auto show, and promptly disappear when cold economic realities set in. Thankfully, the Buzz won’t suffer that fate. VW has announced that it will put the Microbus-inspired EV into production, with a launch expected by 2022. We wouldn’t expect everything about the Buzz to remain intact (those large wheels are likely the first things to go), but the ’60s-inspired styling, semi-autonomous driving and all-wheel drive option will carry over. VW is even teasing a cargo variant, so couriers may have a clean (and slightly kitschy) alternative to the usual vans.

The EV is primarily targeted at China, Europe and North America.

The melding of a nostalgic vibe with electric transportation is the primary allure, of course, but VW notes that going electric should make it very practical. As it doesn’t need a giant gas engine, there’s a tremendous amount of space. You’d get as much passenger room as a big SUV in the size of a compact commercial van, VW says. It’s also practical for the automaker. If prior leaks are accurate, VW is producing the Buzz precisely because it’s based on the same platform as other ID cars, making it far less expensive to develop than the previous Microbus concept (which had a one-off platform).

This won’t be the first ID model to hit the streets. The compact car is reportedly arriving around 2020, while the US would likely get the Crozz in a similar time frame. Still, the 2022 target is welcome when there was talk of the EV not arriving until closer to 2025, or at all. It also shows just how determined VW is to embrace electric transportation and put its diesel scandals in the past — it’s willing to take a chance on a design that could easily have been consigned to the history books.

Via: Autoblog

Source: Volkswagen

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