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IFTTT update outfits iPads, tacks on push notifications

IFTTT’s (If This Then That) recipes automate your apps and other tech tasks to make things a breeze, and the latest update allows the software to play nice on more than just that iPhone. Version 2.0.0 of the application tacks on full support for the iPad. There’s also the ability to assign an IFTTT recipe to beam a push notification to your device, so you’ll know when David Ortiz hits a home run or if you’ll need to pack a raincoat in the morning. Of course, you’ll want to check those application settings so that you’re not duplicating efforts here. What’s more, new recipe collections and a location-specific Photos Trigger have been throw in as well. If your trusty iOS device hasn’t alerted you to the update just yet, venture over to the source link and nab it up.

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Via: 9to5Mac

Source: IFTTT (iTunes), (Blog)


Roku devices can now stream Qello’s concert library for $4.99 per month

Have a current-gen Roku device? Want to watch Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball Tour performance from Madison Square Garden? Well, you’re in luck. The aforementioned streaming gadgets in the US, Canada and the UK are getting a Qello Concerts channel today, bringing access to “the world’s largest collection” of full-length performance and music documentaries via a $4.99 monthly All-Access Pass. While the added cost may be a bummer, live music enthusiasts can expect selections from Mumford & Sons, Queen, Wu-Tang Clan, Wolfmother and many more. If you don’t already have a Qello subscription, you can try it out free for a week on that Roku box or streaming stick.

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Source: Roku


Unreal Engine 4.1 update adds SteamOS and Linux support, arrives later this month

Good news for gamers who’ve been eyeing Valve’s upcoming Steam Machines: Unreal Engine 4.1 will support the Linux-based SteamOS after a pending update. In a blog post today, Epic Games’ Mike Fricker announced that the source code now includes “initial support for running and packaging games for Linux and Steam OS.” This means that upcoming UE4 titles like Daylight and Fortnite could be ported to the systems. If you’ll recall, CryEngine — the game engine that powers the likes of Ryse: Son of Rome and others — added Linux support back in early March to prep for the launch of Valve’s newfangled platform.


Source: Unreal Engine


Mozilla CEO steps down due to political backlash

After a slew of criticism and increased scrutiny over his donations to an anti gay-marriage bill in California, Mozilla’s newly appointed CEO Brendan Eich has stepped down. The company recently published a blog post that read, “Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it.” This is despite many assertions Eich has made in several interviews in the past week that he would not resign, even though multiple employees have come forward on Twitter and elsewhere asking him to leave. Popular dating site OkCupid also made its opinions clear by refusing Firefox users access to its website for a short period. In an interview with Re/Code, Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker said that Eich’s ability to lead has been compromised due to the increased scrutiny over the issue. She also told the publication that Eich’s decision to resign was his own and not due to any pressure from her or the board. There is currently no leading candidate to replace Eich, though efforts to seek one are underway.


Via: Re/Code

Source: Mozilla


Over 200 NSA documents collected and made searchable, from Snowden to Prism

When Edward Snowden made a name for himself last June by leaking classified NSA information, he did so by working with The Guardian and a documentary filmmaker. As such, the public learned of much of the NSA’s surveillance measures through the medium of a single media outlet. In the ensuing months, much more has come to light, and today the American Civil Liberties Union is unveiling “NSA Documents Database,” a searchable, categorized database of just over 200 previously classified NSA documents.

That includes everything from the initial Snowden leaks through Mystic (and more). The collection comprises “all of the documents released since [June 5, 2013], both by the media and the government,” and the ACLU promises more documents will be added as they become available. In so many words, if you’re looking to dig in and bone up on the current government surveillance debate, this is gonna be your jam.

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Source: ACLU, NSA Documents Database


Apple and Microsoft help form lobby group opposing attempts to kill software patents

Partner for American Innovation's members and message

Few would object to legislative attempts to stop patent trolls in their tracks. However, a host of companies are worried these efforts might go too far — enough so that they’ve formed their own US political lobby, the Partnership for American Innovation. The group, which includes tech giants Apple, GE, IBM and Microsoft, wants a “balanced” approach that reduces the volume of junk patents (and the resulting abuse) while letting companies file for software and biotech patents. The policy isn’t surprising when these firms are trying to protect their cash cows. However, it also pits the Partnership’s members squarely against firms like Netflix and Twitter, which argue that patents only get in the way. No matter what lawmakers do, it’s now clear that they’re going to get an earful from both sides.

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Via: Reuters

Source: Partnership for American Innovation (PDF)


Vine, now with messaging

Vine Messages

Vine isn’t just about sharing six-second videos anymore. The Twitter-owned service has just launched a messaging feature that lets you reach out to friends through either videos or text messages. It’s not very sophisticated at this stage (there’s no true group chat, for instance), but you can send videos to anyone in your smartphone’s contacts, whether or not they’ve installed a Vine app. Android and iOS users can get chatty today, but there’s no word on a corresponding Windows Phone update. Wherever Vine goes from here, it’s apparent that the service wants to be more than just entertainment — it would like to be a complete social platform.

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Source: Vine, App Store, Google Play


Google to launch wireless network with help of Verizon, report claims


Google has reached out to Verizon in an effort to help create a wireless network on the back of Google Fiber, says The Information. After also discussing the plans with Sprint, Google is said to have backed away from the carrier once SoftBank acquisitions took place. As it appears, Google could become a mobile virtual network operation (MVNO) .

From the sounds of it, Google would like to build out a wireless network in markets; users may potentially connect via Wi-Fi access points whenever in range of the Fiber network.  If no access points are available then the devices would connect to the carrier’s network.

As of today, Google Fiber networks are found in Kansas City, Missouri and Provo, Utah. Down the road, Google plans to expand to Austin, Texas, Atlanta, Georgia; Portland, Oregon; San Jose, California; and more. There’s obviously a lot that must be done before this builds into something that can compete on a national level, but if anyone can do it, it’s Google.

The Information via The Verge

The post Google to launch wireless network with help of Verizon, report claims appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Apple Acquired Speech Recognition Firm Novauris Last Year for Siri Team

Apple purchased automatic speech recognition company Novauris Technologies last year, reports TechCrunch. Novauris’ main product was NovaSystem, a server-based distributed speech recognition system.

According to the company’s website, its technology is able to handle multiple simultaneous voice requests, recognizing complete phrases and analyzing syllable structure for better speech recognition.


NovaSearch doesn’t carry out recognition at the word or sequence-of-words level, but rather identifies complete phrases from start to finish by matching them against a potentially huge inventory of possible utterances. This enables it to assemble information about what has been spoken over utterances of virtually any length and take near-optimal decisions.

While the Novauris website does not mention its acquisition by Apple, TechCrunch notes that a phone call to the U.K. offices was answered with “Apple,” by Novauris’s co-founder, who confirmed that the team now works for Apple. Novauris’s founders are well-known speech researchers and formerly worked at Dragon Systems, the company behind products like Dragon NaturallySpeaking and DragonDictate, now owned by Nuance.

One of the biggest differentiators about Novauris in terms of the competitive landscape, is that they operated in both the embedded and server space, and they also owned the core engine. This of course would make them a valuable asset for Apple, which had tried to acquire Nuance, the technology that powers Apple’s Siri – a partnership that has long been known, but only officially confirmed last year.

Novauris’s technology has been used by companies like Verizon Wireless, Panasonic, Samsung, Alpine, BMW, and more. It has also been used to power several different voice-activated mapping systems, as seen in the demo video below.

The acquisition took place in 2013 and the Novauris team has been working on improving Siri, Apple’s voice-based digital assistant. Apple is rumored to be working on making some significant upgrades to Siri with iOS 8, possibly expanding its ability to interface with third-party apps.



Apple’s Exploration of Pressure Sensitive Touch Screens Continues With New Patent Application

Apple is exploring touch screen technology that determines pressure sensitivity using a combination of capacitive touch and infrared light sensing, according to a new patent application recently published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (via AppleInsider).

The patent describes a method of determining the force of a user’s touch on a capacitive screen using infrared transmit lines from transmitters and receivers positioned under the frame of the cover glass. Capacitive touch combined with light would determine both the position of the finger and distinguish a soft touch from a harder touch, allowing Apple to implement gestures that could vary with force.

Using infrared light to determine where a user touches a screen is a method known as Frustrated Total Internal Reflection, or FTIR. FTIR is essentially a light-based way to detect multitouch, bouncing infrared light off of the touch screen to detect interference from a finger. When combined with capacitive touch, the interference measurements can also deduce force.

FTIR has been used by Microsoft for its Perceptive Pixel products, as noted in Apple’s patent application. Microsoft offers several large-screened multi-touch sensing devices that use FTIR and offers a technology called Microsoft PixelSense, which is used in the Samsung SUR40.

As implemented by Microsoft, the FTIR technology, which uses cameras to detect light refracted by pressure, allows multiple people to use the device at once and it also recognizes and distinguishes objects that are not fingers.

Though Apple has not yet built pressure sensitivity into the touch screens of its mobile devices, the company has been looking at various techniques for implementing pressure detection over the last several years. In addition to infrared light, Apple has explored force sensors, spring membranes, and pressure sensitive device casings.

Given Apple’s continued interest in pressure sensitive touch screens and competing products that already include pressure sensitivity, such as Microsoft’s Surface Pro line of tablets, the implementation of the technology in some form or another seems like a logical step for Apple’s future mobile devices.



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