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12
Jun

Elon Musk ‘clears a path’ for electric cars by opening Tesla’s patents


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Following up on his promise from a few days ago, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk just announced (in a blog post tiled “All Our Patent Are Belong to You“) the company is opening its patented technology for use by others. Saying it will not sue anyone who “good faith, wants to use our technology,” Musk claims he’s doing this to push electric vehicles as a whole, and points to gasoline cars as the true enemy. The problem he’s trying to solve is that while 100 million cars are made every year, Tesla will only ever build a fraction of them and so far, other manufacturers haven’t followed its lead with capable EVs. The two big questions now are whether anyone else will step up to the challenge of using the tech behind Tesla’s cars and Supercharger network, and can Tesla benefit by open sourcing patented technology for use by others? Clearly Musk thinks so, hoping to inspire a “rapidly evolving” tech platform that brings the world zero emission cars for everyone — here’s hoping other tech giants follow his lead.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Paul Sancya]

Filed under: Transportation

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Source: Tesla Motors Blog

12
Jun

FCC demands that states get out of the way of municipal broadband


FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler got his start as a lobbyist for the cable and wireless industries. So, it’s no surprise that many are suspicious of his intentions and dedication to fighting for the rights of American consumers. While his recent waffling on Net Neutrality is still cause for concern, his recent statements in support of municipal broadband are worth cheering. In a statement posted to the FCC site, Wheeler said that:

If the people, acting through their elected local governments, want to pursue competitive community broadband, they shouldn’t be stopped by state laws promoted by cable and telephone companies that don’t want that competition.

That’s about as strong a statement as one can expect from the head of a regulatory body. Plus, it’s a pretty blunt challenge to both the industry he once lobbied on behalf of, and the government officials many believe are in their back pockets. In particular he cited the case of Chattanooga, TN which built out its own gigabit per-second fiber network out of frustration with the options offered by the incumbent Comcast.

The trouble is, Tennessee’s state government passed a law restricting municipal broadband projects. Neighboring towns want to benefit from the same high-speed network that convinced Amazon to set up shop in Chattanooga, but state law prohibits the extension of such municipal networks. Tennessee is just one of many states however, that put restrictions on broadband networks built by local governments. And while no regulatory action has been taken to stop states from killing municipal broadband through legislation, Wheeler threatened action should an opportunity present itself.

Of course, a statement in support of publicly owned and operated broadband couldn’t go without a challenge from Republicans. Senators Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, Tom Coburn and Marco Rubio, among others, sent a letter (PDF) to the FCC Chairman, deriding him for showing “a lack of respect for states’ rights.” Of course, there’s no mention of locality rights, and ultimately the letter boils down to complaints Wheeler might “force” established cable companies to compete with tax-payer funded projects. (It’s also worth noting that residents of Chattanooga still have to pay for access to the city’s fiber optic network, broadband is not provided for free.)

The unfortunate reality is that most areas in the country still have only one option for high speed internet. If there are two broadband providers in your town, then consider yourself lucky. And frankly there are still a disturbingly high number of areas in the United States without access to broadband at all. Expanding broadband to underserved areas is just one potential perk, though. As Chattanooga has shown, high speed broadband can lure high-tech jobs and drive down prices with the incumbents through competition.

Filed under: Internet

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Via: BGR, Stop the Cap!

Source: FCC

12
Jun

The man who made the game in ‘Her’ is about to release a game you can play


He’s fresh to game development, but David O’Reilly has already created a game you likely know very well: the game in Spike Jonze’s excellent film, “Her.” While that “game” was, ya know, in a film and not a real game, he’s just about to release his first actual game in Mountain. O’Reilly describes it as a “mountain simulator” — he explained to a crowd at Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art this morning that it enables you to “live out all your dark twisted fantasies” of, uh, being a mountain. Okay, so what in the world is happening here? In actuality, it’s a game about interacting with a relatively static mountain. Weather changes, music changes, and you can input melodies (via touch on iOS, keyboard on PC/OS X) which alter the state of the world.

Sometimes you push forward time, sometimes you change the weather, sometimes you zoom out into outerspace — where your mountain lives, apparently! O’Reilly says it’ll be out in the next few weeks, and it’ll cost “about a dollar.”

Filed under: Gaming, Software, HD

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12
Jun

World Cup 2014 starts today, ready your Android and Chromecast devices


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With the World Cup starting today, you may want to tune in, but may not be close to a TV with a cable or satellite connection. Don’t fret, as this year you can tune in with your Android device with the WatchESPN app.

The WatchESPN app can even stream to your Chromecast, so that’s even better. All you have to do is sign-in with your service provider – if you don’t have cable or satellite TV, ask a friend or family member for some help.

According to my app and at the time of writing this, the opening ceremony is just about to start at noon MST (I live in Boulder, CO), then you can tune into the Brazil vs. Croatia match.

Enjoy soccer (or football) fans!

 

The post World Cup 2014 starts today, ready your Android and Chromecast devices appeared first on AndroidGuys.

12
Jun

iPhone-Connected Vessyl Smart Cup Tracks Drinking Habits [iOS Blog]


Vessyl, a smart cup designed by Yves Behar, is designed to measure and track any drink poured into it in real-time. Using sensors, Vessyl is able to detect drinks that are poured in to it, from water and soda to homemade smoothies, alcoholic beverages, coffee, tea, and more.

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When a drink is poured into Vessyl, an accompanying iPhone app displays all of the relevant nutritional information about the drink. Vessyl is able to track many pre-bottled drinks, but it is also able to determine the nutritional content of handmade beverages, such as smoothies or mixed drinks. The Verge was able to test Vessyl and has a detailed piece on the cup, including notes on its accuracy.

Let’s cut to the chase: while I only had an hour with a Vessyl prototype, I tried nearly a dozen beverages in it — and it successfully identified all of them. Within 10 seconds, the device, which currently resembles more of a Thermos than a finished product, recognized Crush orange soda, Vitamin Water XXX, Tropicana orange juice, Gatorade Cool Blue, plain-old water, and a few other beverages, all by name. Yes, this cup knows the difference between Gatorade Cool Blue and Glacier Freeze.

Vessyl can tell the difference between strong and weak coffee, Lee says, noting caffeine disparities. It can even measure the sugar, protein, calories, fat, and caffeine inside any beverage you pour into it, mass-produced or homemade.

Along with displaying nutritional information, Vessyl also keeps track of what a user drinks during the day, tallying statistics like calories consumed, caffeine levels, hydration, and more. Users can set goals within the app, tracking all of these metrics and more. Vessyl also tracks and estimates a person’s real-time hydration needs based on how much they drink, which is measured through the liquid level in the cup.


Vessyl, which holds 13 ounces of liquid, has a built-in display, a spill-proof lid, and a non-stick interior. It connects to an iPhone using Bluetooth 4.0 to upload nutrient data to its accompanying iPhone app, which also integrates with popular activity trackers. The cup lasts for five to seven days on a single charge and uses wireless charging.

Vessyl can be pre-ordered for $99, but will later retail for $199. It is available in three different colors (Shadow, Snow, and Steam) along with several accent lid colors.



12
Jun

FBI testing face recognition for finding suspects


The NSA may claim it’s not collecting photos of American citizens for a facial recognition database, but the FBI most certainly is. The feds has been building what it calls the “Next Generation Identification database,” primarily by gathering mug shots from local law enforcement agencies. The software is being built of MorphoTrust, a company that helped the State Department create its own face recognition database. At the moment the two can’t share data, say by simply importing an existing State Department record, but FBI Director James Comey wouldn’t rule out the possibility. What’s more concerning however, are the accusations from the Electronic Frontier Foundation that many innocent people will be swept into the database, which is expected to reach 52 million images by next year. To make matters worse, Director Comey was unable to allay those fears when addressing law makers recently. The agency’s head said he wasn’t sure if the EFF’s claims were accurate, nor could he rule out that people’s drivers’ license photos might end up in the pool. When asked specifically about license photos he said, “I think there is some circumstances in which when states send us records… pictures of people who are getting special driving licenses to transport children or explosive materials.”

Filed under: Misc

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Source: Ars Technica, EFF

12
Jun

Nokia and Korean carrier demo LTE fast enough to transfer 5GB of data in just 11 seconds


Nokia and Korean carrier demo LTE fast enough to transfer 5GB of data in just 11 seconds

File this under “science for science’s sake.” At least for now. A team of researchers at Nokia and Korean carrier SK Telecom have demonstrated a super-fast LTE network running at 3.7Gbps — that’s speedy enough to transfer a 5GB file in just 11 seconds. To put that in context, most LTE networks deliver up to around 150 Mbps, and even the most cutting-edge of cutting-edge LTE-Advanced networks tap out at 300 Mbps. Sounds like a pretty big improvement, eh? Well, this is where that proof-of-concept thing comes in: No phone on earth is currently capable of these speeds, nor are most modems, for that matter. So, it could be a while before your handset is actually capable of downloading a full-length movie in 11 seconds. Still, good to know the technology’s there, right?

Image credit: Shutterstock

Filed under: Wireless, Mobile, Nokia

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Via: Pocket-lint

Source: Telecom Lead

12
Jun

The Big Picture: Imagining NASA’s IXS Enterprise conceptual ‘warp ship’


The image above is Dutch designer Mark Rademaker’s CGI design concept; created to illustrate how NASA engineer Harold White’s IXS Enterprise “Warp ship” might look. White has been researching into possible methods of propelling space craft beyond the speed of light. The strongest theory involves the disruption of space-time in front and behind the craft. White claims he has calculated a plausible method that improves upon an earlier theory by physicist Miguel Alcubierre, and is working towards a proof of concept for the idea. Rademaker’s design shows large rings that would be used to create a “warp bubble” and was originally submitted for the Star Trek “Ships of the Line” 2014 calendar.

[Image credit: Mark Rademaker]

Filed under: Science

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Source: Mark Rademaker (Flickr)

12
Jun

Three sources to consider for buying unbranded Android phones


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Since day one, Google has made its wondrous Android OS to be open-source. This means that any company or person can manufacture a smartphone or device and install the platform at virtually no cost. As a result of this, many upstart companies and entrepreneurs have made their own Android products. Just about anyone who has access to smartphone components can (or has) design unbranded phones powered by Android.

Although unbranded Android phones are typically the ones that most consumers try hard to avoid they are a still an inexpensive and somewhat decent way to enter the Android world. Even though buying branded, low-price phones like the Nexus 5 or the OnePlus One is quite popular, some may want to enter the Android world with an unbranded phones.

The unbranded Android phone market has countless manufacturers and sites but we’ve trimmed it down to just three. If you’re the type who prefers to buy based on hardware specs alone you may find some of the phones listed in the sites are actually better than those made by much bigger companies. Oh, and for obvious reasons, we excluded re-seller sites like eBay and Amazon.

GearBest

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GearBest is known for selling an unbranded version of almost everything tech related. From watches, to PCs, laptops, tablets, phones and even toys. This site is quite popular and it feature a community that rates, comments and reviews products. This is important because you’ll have a group of people helping to get you the device best suited one for your needs. GearBest Android cell phones vary on price but we found some from as low as $30 all the way up to $350 (same price and Nexus 5). Although the site is pretty great overall, there is something lacking in the search and filtration area. For example check smartphone and 3G smartphone and you get two completely different lists of devices.

DX

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This site is very similar to GearBest in the sense that it’s popular and has a large selection of phones,. Unlike GearBest, it doesn’t have an active community and the price range is much higher. Although the site does focus on unbranded technology it doesn’t have a clear focus toward Android phones. Ironically, the site actually sells a couple of genuine Samsung phones. Android-powered phones range from $40 to $700 but much of the higher priced models come from branded devices..

Alibaba

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This is probably the most popular site of the three; this may be due to the fact that it’s a re-seller site like eBay. Unlike Amazon and eBay it has a focus on unbranded items – which is why included it. Also, unlike the sites listed above, it doesn’t have a tech-only focus. Products range from jewelry, tech, toys, office supplies and much more. Due to the fact that almost anyone can list their unbranded Android phone on this site it has a very large selection. And, because of this, prices have a much larger price range, anywhere from the ones to the thousands.

The post Three sources to consider for buying unbranded Android phones appeared first on AndroidGuys.

12
Jun

Redesigned Skype 5.0 for iPhone Launching Today


Microsoft announced earlier this week that it was close to releasing a new version of its Skype for iOS app with a streamlined design and improved performance. Arriving as projected, the new Skype 5.0 for iPhone is rolling out now in the iOS App Store. Some users are reporting seeing the update in their App Store “Update” pane but are unable to download, so users should be patient as it propagates.

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Skype 5.0 focuses on making conversations easier with a refined group chat feature that can be launched from the main hub and a revised notification system that works across Skype platforms including the iPhone, PC and Xbox.

We’re excited for you to see how the new app has been redesigned to put your conversations first, providing you with a smoother, leaner and more integrated experience. Skype for iPhone is up to five times faster and it is also more stable and more reliable. Navigating through the new UI is easier and more fluid. Whether it’s creating a group chat, sending a photo or starting a video call, the new Skype for iPhone has been rethought to be simple and intuitive.

What’s New in Version 5.0

– Overall performance improvements – faster start up and fluid animations.

– A new modern hub centric design putting recent conversations first – just swipe to see your favourite people or contacts.

– Richer and more reliable messaging: create groups, share photos (even to offline contacts) and video messages.

– In-app notifications for quick conversation switching, and in-app controls to manage notifications.

– A new simplified, modern voice and video calling experience.

Skype for iPhone is available for free from the iOS App Store. [Direct Link: iPhone]. An updated 5.0 version of Skype for the iPad is still under development.



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