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Microsoft’s E.T. game excavation hits paydirt

Excavators hold up E.T. for the Atari 2600

It looks like the legend might be true after all. Microsoft has uncovered intact copies of E.T. for the Atari 2600 at a New Mexico landfill, supporting claims that Atari buried legions of unsold cartridges in the desert after the movie-themed game proved to be a massive failure. With that said, it’s not yet clear that this is the treasure trove that Microsoft was hoping to find for its first Xbox-only documentary. The excavation team has only found a few E.T. units as of this writing, and they have company — there’s a shrink-wrapped copy of Centipede in the mix, for one thing. If the team does find many more examples of the extra-terrestrial flop, though, it could finally put a 32-year-old mystery to rest.

[Image credit: Lauren Hansard, Twitter]

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Source: Major Nelson (Twitter 1), (2)


LG G3 leaked picture shows the same back mounted keys


The upcoming LG G3 has been getting quite a bit of attention recently, and now we have a picture to go along with the details. Whilst it’s not the best quality. it does show a fair bit of detail.

From the image we can see that the upcoming LG G3 retains the same rear mounted keys as found on the previous generation LG G2, although they appear to have been given a redesign. In addition, there appears to be an additional sensor alongside the rear camera of which its function still appears to be unknown, even among all the previous leaks we’ve been hearing.

The notepad behind the device seem to indicate the specs of what can be assumed to be the LG G3, which show OIS+ as well as 16GB and 32GB storage variants. The 2GB and 3GB references seem to indicate the amount of RAM offered with the LG G3, which would put it on par/above the current flagship devices offered.


The post LG G3 leaked picture shows the same back mounted keys appeared first on AndroidGuys.


Amazon smartphone rumored as AT&T exclusive with “Prime Data”

Amazon Smartphone

It seems like the rumored Amazon smartphone has been in the works for years, and the rumors just keep on coming.  This time the information comes from Boy Genius Report.

BGR claims to have received information from parties close to the matter, and that the new Amazon device will be an AT&T exclusive and carry a feature called “Prime Data”. This will essentially give the user free data while using sanctioned apps, and will not effect their monthly data allotment.  It is speculated that the “free” data will cover Amazon’s portfolio of apps including Amazon MP3 and quite possibly a Prime Instant Video app.

In January of this year, AT&T announced their Sponsored Data program, and if the rumors come to fruition, Amazon may be the first company to utilize this program or something like it for their cellular offering.

Another assumption is that you will probably have to be an Amazon Prime member to utilize the feature or service.

If all the speculation around this phone turns out to be true, it is shaping up to be a very interesting entry into the smartphone game.


The post Amazon smartphone rumored as AT&T exclusive with “Prime Data” appeared first on AndroidGuys.


ComiXology Retires App, Debuts New Read-Only Version After Amazon Purchase [iOS Blog]

Just two weeks after being purchased by Amazon, digital comic book seller ComiXology has announced that it’ll be retiring its app in favor of a new read-only version that requires users to purchase comic books via their website, much like Amazon does with its Kindle app.
comixologyretiredComiXology recommends that their users back up their purchases through their ComiXology account and to download the new app to continue reading. However, the current app will still allow users to download and read their current books for a limited time. The Marvel and DC Comics apps, which are powered by ComiXology, appear to be unaffected.

In 2011, Amazon updated its Kindle app to remove the ability to purchase books from within the app to avoid Apple’s in-app subscription and purchases policy, which requires developers to give Apple 30 percent of however much they earn. In contrast, Beats updated its app with in-app subscriptions in an effort to increase subscription sign-ups.

The new app, Comics – Read Comic Books and Graphic Novels by comiXology is a universal app that’s available in the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


‘Relics of Technology’ turns dated gadgets into beautiful things

Photographer Jim Golden’s latest project takes yesterday’s daily drivers out of thrift stores bargain bins and puts them in the spotlight in gallery-quality photographs and GIFs. The series, titled Relics of Technology, which includes floppy disks, projectors and game controllers, elevates forgotten formats and form factors while underlining the ephemerality of technology. As Golden puts it, “These photos are reminders that progress has a price and our efforts have an expiration date.”

We caught up with Golden via email to ask him about the origins of the project and how he got his hands on all of these dinosaurs of innovation. Apparently, it all began with the above image of legacy cell phones. That led to an exploration of “dead media and lost formats.”

“Everything now is on your phone, back then we had this kind of interesting shapes and textures to hold all this information, “Golden said. “Now its touch screen, swipe and go!”

Golden pulled a majority of his subjects from thrift stores and crowdsourcing amongst friends, in addition to pieces he’d collected over time. For example, he keeps the brick phone and rotary phone in his Portland, Oregon studio, pointing out that his “kids don’t believe me that we ever used them.” While that particular statement might make you feel old, it’s a reminder of just how far we’ve come from the days of party line and star 69.

For a glimpse at the complete series, check out Relics of Technology on Golden’s site.

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Source: Jim Golden


Google Search: A visual history

“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

That was one of the primary goals Larry Page and Sergey Brin set when they launched Google in 1998 as a privately owned search company. Since then, the Mountain View-based outfit has branched out, creating a mobile operating system, mapping service, cloud-based productivity apps, branded devices and, now, smart thermostats. All of those offshoots, however, always point back to the company’s original aim: search. That baseline service is something Google’s been making refinements to ever since its inception. A practice that continues to this day, with the company constantly improving upon the usability and design of its search-based offerings. This means cleaning up a UI when needed, and launching new features that serve up that much-lauded universal accessibility in short order. What may come across as a small box centered in a vast expanse of white is, as you’ll see, actually something that’s constantly evolved since ’98.

1998-2001: Primary Search

For the first few years of its existence, was purely a search engine with its now iconic box and “I’m feeling lucky” hunting option. The latter was meant to help users discover new sites during the course of their queries.

2001-2007: Totally Tabular

If you needed to conduct an image-based search, Google added tabs just above the search box in 2001 to make the task much easier. These would take on a variety of looks in the years to come, but at launch, they were nestled up under the ultra-recognizable multihued logo.

2006-2007: Tabs Take Over

Tabs didn’t just stop there. They also briefly crossed over to Google’s Gmail and Calendar, offering useful links atop those interfaces. Those apps have since been cleaned up drastically, but there was a time when both were weighed down with clickable, tabbed options.

2007-2011: Navigation Bar

Some folks didn’t take too kindly to Google moving that tabbed content to a navigation bar at the top of the page. For a span of about four years though, search links and app access rested there.

2011: The Google Menu

In an effort to cleanup that navigation bar, Google opted to tuck those handy search categories and its suite of apps into a dropdown menu at the top left of the UI. The bar itself stayed put, adding Google+ access and notifications on the right-hand side.

2012: Google Now

With the release of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the folks in Mountain View introduced a new type of mobile search product: Google Now. This card-based system draws upon user habits and search histories to display everything from weather to packages ordered, flight status and the latest scores from your favorite team. Google’s even extended Now’s reach beyond just Android, making it available on both iOS and the desktop since.

2014: Tidied Up With Voice Search

It may not look like much has changed, but that top navigation bar has been tweaked again. This time, Google’s cleaned it up by moving that handful of links to the top right corner alongside notifications for Google+. There’s even another drop-down menu for accessing those trusty Google Drive apps and a handy list of sites that you visit most. To top it all off, the search box that’s been there from the very start now features voice search.

Google Doodles

Even before the company was officially incorporated, Google Doodles were a thing. The first was posted in 1998 to announce the attendance of Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Burning Man. Since then, the artwork has been used to celebrate all kinds of events, from the Olympics to birthdays of influential folks. The Doodle team has been keen to add a heavy dose of interactivity throughout the years, too, as evidenced by one of our favorites: a recordable Moog synthesizer for Robert Moog’s 78th birthday.

Mobile Minded

“You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer” reads entry number 5 in Google’s “Ten things we know to be true.”

Browser-based search on mobile has largely taken on the look of its desktop counterpart. Even today, there’s a side-mounted app tray to keep the main page focused on hunting for crucial info. Most Android users have a handy window on the their home screens and Google’s apps pre-installed, so there’s no real need to hit the search webpage directly. In terms of the standalone Search app though, it primarily drives the aforementioned Google Now.

Always Searching

To say that the folks in Mountain View have expanded the search engine since 1998 would be a massive understatement. It’s quite clear many of Google’s other products harken back to its prowess in handling queries. From Nexus to Now and Glass, there’s little chance that search won’t continue to drive all that Google does — no matter how its look may change.

Desktop screenshots courtesy of Google, except for the 2014 image.

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Windows Phone’s music app now lets you start playlists using your voice

Windows Phone Music app on a Nokia Lumia 1020

When the Windows Phone 8.1 preview rolled out, its music app was underwhelming; you couldn’t use Cortana voice commands for everything, and it was fairly buggy. Both of those gripes are gone now that Microsoft has updated the music client with its latest mobile OS in mind. You can now use voice to do most anything, including starting playlists by name; you no longer have to go hunting for that collection of hot summer jams. Problems with unexpected black screens should also be gone, and interface transitions should be smoother across the board.

This is just a hint of what’s to come, too. Microsoft is promising a series of updates that bring Live Tile support, initial background syncing and more intuitive playback controls. You should see the next upgrade sometime within two weeks, as of this writing. If there’s something you don’t like now, there’s a chance that Redmond will fix it in short order.

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Via: Xbox Music Team

Source: Windows Phone Store


Open data gives rise to a virtual Denmark in Minecraft

Since the US government opened its troves of public data we’ve seen some pretty neat projects like climate-change prediction tools and deforestation-monitoring systems. Denmark, on the other hand, has taken a different approach: the Danish Geodata Agency used internally developed topographic maps and elevation models to build a 1:1 recreation of the happiest country within Minecraft’s blocky confines. Unlike the virtual Great Britain we’ve seen before, this pixelated Denmark is more than just natural features like hills and forests. As Ars Technica has spotted, it includes accurate replicas of highways, homes, landmarks and businesses too. The project was intended to showcase the country’s open-data initiative to its students and educators, but anyone can take a gander until the Danish government’s game servers shut down in late October. Server rules, however, have disabled enemies and TNT — no Creeps allowed, naturally.

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Via: Ars Technica

Source: Danish Geodata Agency (Danish)


Samsung looking to increase flexible display production for 2015 flagship Devices

Samsung looking to increase flexible display productionEver since Samsung released the Samsung Galaxy Round smartphone, we’ve been wondering when Samsung would utilize its flexible display technology in other devices. While the Samsung Galaxy Round itself was a bit of a failure and never quite matched up to its main competitor, the LG G Flex, there are still plenty of ways a flexible display could be used and looks like Samsung is gearing up to do just that.

According to Ledwn, Samsung is planning to build a new factory to increase their output of flexible OLED displays.While the development of the site is expected to take 6 or 7 months to complete and is expected to be able to move into full production in early 2015. The flexible displays are said to be used in wearables and smartphones so it’s entirely possible that we will see flexible screens on the Samsung Galaxy S6 or Galaxy Note 5 come 2015. The development of this factory also supports Samsung’s other businesses with its curved TV production increasing as well. It will be interesting to see whether flexible displays really play a big part in the future of smartphones or not since nobody has attempted another after Samsung and LG.

What do you think about Samsung increasing production of flexible displays? Do you think there is a future in smartphones with flexible, curved displays? Let us know your opinion down below.

Source: Ledwn via TechDefault

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Is There a Chance for a Mobile Phone Signal Booster to Become a Savior?

Over the last few decades the quantity of people who have started using mobile phones has increased a lot and not every mobile company is able to cope with the influx of subscribers. That is why, more and more users do complain about the inadequate mobile phone coverage and the growing number of dropped or missed calls. Such problems with their mobile makes usual people rather annoyed, because in most cases modern users depend a lot on their cell phones.

There is Nothing to Worry about

Experts say that there is nothing to worry about it, as they have developed various ways, both usual and “smart” ones to conquer the problem of poor mobile signal coverage in any place of the country. In spite of their announcements the trouble of weak connection is still quite hot for many mobile phone owners.

badmobilesignalReasons for Bad Mobile Phone Signal

Before considering the ways to solve the issue of poor mobile phone signal, you have to bear in mind that in some cases mobile service providers should not be blamed for bad connection. Sometimes, such troubles are far beyond their abilities.

Bad signal can occur due to a great number of obstacles that a signal meets on the way to a mobile phone. Another reason is the far distance of a subscriber from a transmitting tower.

Ways to Combat a Fragile Mobile Phone Signal

There are ways when consumers can settle the problem of poor perception even without contacting the provider in any way.

Here come the methods that a person is able to refer to, while attempting to improve a mobile phone signal:

Charge Your Battery Regularly

– Do charge your mobile phone all the time, and do not let it be flat or almost flat, as the flatter battery is, the more chances you have to suffer from a poor signal.

Approach Open Areas

– When you are inside: in a house, an office or any type of building, rush to the windows or any other open space where signals are likely to penetrate in a better way. There are even particular apps for an iPhone which show you the areas with best coverage zones in the building or in the house. They say that such applications are quite efficient when you are in the countryside.

Cell Phone Signal Booster

– One more effective way to forget about poor mobile phone coverage is to set up a mobile phone signal booster from MyAmplifiers. A new type of devices has appeared not long ago, and its main aim is to take a weak signal and to boost it to the level, which is good enough to have a proper and fruitful conversation. Such gadgets do not need any specific installation: you only plug them into and they start working immediately. They do not occupy much space in the house and they are rather good for high-rise buildings, big lorries, country houses etc.

Change the Service Provider

– Some of the users refer to drastic measures and change the network provider. They strongly believe if they change the provider, the service and the mobile phone coverage will probably improve. In some cases, it can work, but it is not obligatory and it depends on the mobile phone company’s abilities and finance.

Hold Your Phone in the Right Way

– They say that, as some of the subscribers do not hold a phone correctly, the coverage can get worse because of this. Ideally, you are supposed to hold your phone upwardly straight and not any other way: downwards, turned somehow etc. It is necessary to act like this, because most mobile phone antennas are situated at the bottom of the phone.

As you can see, here are the basic ways to fight with poor mobile phone signal: to charge your phone as soon as it is required, to come closer to the windows or any other more or less open places, to change the service providers, to install a mobile phone signal booster, to hold the phone in the right way.
Every user has the right to implement any of the ways they wish to improve the quality of the phone communication – all of them seem to be rather effective.

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