This week, we learned about the dangers of stem cell treatment, explored the world of 3D motion capture and went on a vending machine shopping spree in Tokyo. Read on for Engadget’s news highlights from the last seven days. Oh, and be sure to subscribe to our Flipboard magazine!
Stem cells have the potential to be one of modern medicine’s most promising advances and we’re still learning a lot about how they work. A paralyzed woman in the US discovered this, after an experimental treatment caused her to grow a nose-like tumor on her back.
The virtual simians in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes are impressively lifelike, but 3D motion capture animations haven’t always been so awe-inspiring. Read on as Steve Dent explains the history behind this century-old technique.
If you’ve ever had to break in a new baseball glove, you know that the process take time — usually a few months at best. Not so with Nike’s new fielding mitt.
Why is it so hard to buy a Tesla? It’s a combination of archaic laws and a stubborn automotive industry.
What are the top smartphones on the market today? Our new buyer’s guide has you covered. Boom! You’re welcome.
What do 45th wedding anniversaries and next gen smartphones have in common? Sapphire, that’s what. This nearly indestructible gemstone makes the toughest displays on earth, but not without a hefty cost.
Japan has more vending machines per capita than anywhere else on Earth. Follow along as Mat Smith tries to live off nothing but vending machines as he travels around Tokyo.
“In-flight hackathon,” you say? By partnering with American Airlines, Wearable World aims to equip wearable startups with the tools they need to build apps that ease the burden of flying.
Microsoft announced the biggest round of layoffs in company history, giving 18,000 workers their walking papers. CEO Satya Nadella explained that the company’s new strategy is designed to make it “more agile” moving forward.
Samsung’s latest ultrabook is here. How does the ATIV Book 9 2014 Edition hold up to the competition? Check out Dana’s review for all the details.
Want to see a textbook definition of irony? Look no further than Indexeus, a search engine that primarily exposes the info of malicious hackers caught up in the very sort of data breaches that they inflict on others. As it was originally structured, people had to “donate” $1 for every record they wanted to purge from the engine’s index; in other words, they had to pay to avoid the wrath of their fellow thieves. This was ostensibly to create “awareness” of susceptibility to attacks, but critics have complained that it amounts to extortion.
You no longer have to pay, however. Indexeus founder Jason Relinquo tells security guru Brian Krebs that blacklisting is now free due to the EU’s “right to be forgotten;” he can’t charge for a service that’s supposed to be gratis. That purported desire to obey the law is rather odd when the indexed content is illegal by nature. Look at it this way, though — if any targeted hackers are having second thoughts about their paths in life, this may be the excuse they need to make a clean break.
[Image credit: Patrick Lux via Getty Images]
Filed under: Internet
Via: Krebs on Security
In 1999, Samsung launched the YEPP series aiming to deliver some of the smallest MP3 players on the market. These devices went beyond mere MP3 playback functionality with built-in FM tuners and voice recorders. By 2005, however, Samsung was looking for a better way to make its YEPP players stand out from the portable media players crowding the market. Its solution was the limited edition YP-W3: a diamond-studded MP3 player fashioned in the style of a pocket watch.
The YP-W3 wasn’t just for the glitterati, as it came in a variety of gem-free formats ranging from 256MB of internal flash storage, all the way up to 1GB. If you had the means, though, the version ringed with 0.007-carat diamonds embedded in a mirrored white-gold exterior was clearly the optimum choice. Its round display was fronted by a sapphire glass window — which even today is still a costly add-on — and had an enhanced white LCD for increased clarity.
Similar to today’s smartwatches, the YP-W3′s display could present the time as digital numerals or in the style of a traditional analog clock face. Volume, fast-forward and rewind buttons circled the display, with additional function keys and a mini-USB port along the edges. The full limited-edition package included EP-1 headphones and gem certification for the bling. There was also a belt clip, a carrying pouch and necklace chain so you could choose how to display your retro-futuristic fashion sense.
The YP-W3 was a smart option for consumers seeking a flexible MP3 player as it was compatible with a wide array of file formats and could also tune into FM broadcasts. If something on the radio really struck a chord, users could even record those songs directly to the device. And sound quality wasn’t so much an issue as Samsung also attempted to circumvent the poor bit rates of digital media at the time by including SRS Wow software. This feature load came with a drawback though, as the YP-W3 could only last for eight hours on a single charge of its rechargeable li-polymer battery. That’s a far cry from the day-plus battery life most consumers enjoy today — especially when you consider all that music’s being streamed and consumed on a smartphone.
Soccer fans around the world are going through withdrawal now that the World Cup is over, and in Brazil, people are beginning to think about what should be done with the 12 stadiums that were built or renovated for the tournament. A pair of French architects has come up with a brilliant idea: Convert the stadiums into affordable housing. Solar panels come in all shapes and sizes — but rarely do they come in the shape of a huge duck. A team of London-based designers has submitted a proposal to build a 12-story duck-shaped renewable energy generator for the Land Art Generator Initiative, which will be held later this year in Copenhagen.
Meanwhile, Jamaica launched the world’s largest wind-solar hybrid installation, and global clean energy investment surged in the second quarter of 2014, driven by big wind and solar deals and installations of small-scale, rooftop solar photovoltaics. California is currently experiencing a drought of historic proportions, but that isn’t stopping one company from extracting water from the Southern California desert for its bottled water operations. A new report finds that Nestlé is quietly removing undisclosed amounts of water from the state for Arrowhead bottled water.
The world’s first tower made of mushrooms recently debuted at Brooklyn’s PS1 museum, and Inhabitat caught up with architect David Benjamin to discuss the groundbreaking structure. The tower is made from mycelium (mushroom root) bio-bricks, and it is being used to test the viability of mushrooms as a building material. Elsewhere on the green architecture front, the design firm Chartier-Corbasson released plans for a skyscraper made entirely from its residents’ trash. As time passes and residents produce more trash, the tower would grow taller. And in Singapore, architect Moshe Safdie unveiled plans for a massive biodome with a circular waterfall that descends from the center of the roof.
In green transportation news, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company’s latest sedan would be called the Model 3 when it goes on sale in 2017. The electric car will be both cheaper and smaller than the Model S, and it’s expected to sell for about $35,000. Tesla also passed an important milestone in June as its rapidly expanding Supercharger network delivered more than one gigawatt hour of energy to Model S electric vehicles across the country. According to Tesla, the Supercharger network has saved 168,000 gallons of gas and offset 4.2 million pounds of carbon dioxide. The city of Helsinki wants to do away with personal cars altogether within the next 10 years by launching an integrated transit system that will make public transit more convenient and easier to use than commuting by automobile. And in Japan, Ferrari designer Ken Okuyama has drafted plans for a luxury sleeper train that looks like a boutique hotel on rails. The deluxe train looks futuristic on the outside and decadently retro on the inside, and the entire 10-car train only carries 34 passengers.
Teenagers continue to pave the way with some of the world’s most innovative projects. The latest wiz kid is Thomas Suarez, a 15-year-old who claims to have designed a 3D printer that is 10 times faster and more reliable than anything currently on the market. In other 3D printing news, the company Kudo3D recently unveiled the Titan 1, a printer that can print bigger objects faster than its competitors. The Titan 1 reached its Kickstarter goal of $50,000 within two minutes of launching the campaign, and it raised a total of $687,116. In other green design news, the folks at Oru Kayak have created the world’s first origami-inspired, flat-pack kayak. The one-of-a-kind kayak is now for sale, and you can get a $50 discount with this coupon code. The Spanish company peSeta and American designer Marc Jacobs have collaborated to create a beret with a turntable mounted on it. And a new report issued by China Labor Watch reveals several instances of child labor in a Samsung supplier’s factory in China.
Filed under: Internet
For all its beauty, Android’s openness is the reason why manufacturers and carriers are able to make their own tweaks to the OS. Some companies go as far as completely forking the platform, and we know how terrible that can be — though there are exceptions like Amazon’s Fire ecosystem, which offers a solid experience overall. Thankfully, manufacturers are beginning to realize it’s much better to deliver Android as Google intended, or at least as close to it as possible (e.g. HTC’s Sense 6). Chinese outfit ZTE will join this movement very soon, announcing that the Google Now launcher will be set as the default home screen on its future smartphones, starting with the launch of the Blade Vec 4G next week. Naturally, doing so means giving buyers a cleaner look right out of the box; plus, it puts all of the search giant’s services front and center, including the Play store and, of course, Google Now. Most importantly, it’s definitely going to make Google happy.
High-speed photography can be daunting if you’re not a seasoned pro. You may have a fast camera and flash, but you probably don’t have the gear (or people) you’d need to get that frozen-in-time look in most situations. MIOPS’ new camera trigger might make it easier to take high-speed shots all by your lonesome, though. By itself, it can tell a DSLR to take a shot and fire your flash when it detects light, motion or sound; you can capture lightning the moment it strikes, or your cat the moment it bolts across the room. The device supports external sensors like pressure pads, too.
It really comes alive if you pay for the Ultimate variant, which adds remote control from a Bluetooth-equipped Android or iOS device. Unlike most trigger apps, MIOPS’ mobile software lets you set up capture scenarios that only take pictures under very specific conditions. You can tell your taking time-lapse photos as soon as it gets dark, and snap additional lightning pictures if a big storm brews; in short, you shouldn’t have to keep a close watch over your camera.
MIOPS is looking to crowdfunding to get its peripheral off the ground. If you’re intrigued by the idea, you can pledge $189 for the Basic unit, or $229 for Ultimate. Everything should ship in December, so long as everything goes according to plan. That’s a lot of money to spend for a specialized tool, but it might pay off if you’re keen to shoot more than just the usual portraits and still life scenes.
No, the Recon Jet still isn’t out yet, but its manufacturer has a few bits of news to share. For starters, the sports-minded heads up display’s brain box is now angled slightly upward, which supposedly improves the display’s viewing angle and camera orientation. This tweak apparently boosts the HUD’s ergonomics and makes it fit a bit better, too. The Jet is also now rated to IP65 standard, which means it’ll be able to withstand dust and torrential rainstorms. Don’t think that it’ll work on your next swim, though, because submerging the unit is apparently out of the question. The outfit (thankfully) doesn’t mention any changes to its September 25th release date, either, but it is spending the next month working on testing the Jet. Oh, and there’s a protective case in the works too — all the better to keep your $700 investment safe and sound. How protected to the Jet remains while it’s on your face, however, well, that’s up to you.
Filed under: Wearables
Source: Recon Instruments
Starbucks’ mobile apps could soon let you buy much more than your next grande latte. The coffee shop’s digital lead, Adam Brotman, tells Recode that the coffee shop giant is talking to companies about using its app for payments and loyalty programs in other stores. He’s not naming any would-be allies, but the strategy would turn a fairly ordinary restaurant app into more of a universal digital wallet that just happens to focus on drinks. And even if that doesn’t pan out, Starbucks is still committed to expanding the role of its software — it’s determined to offer coffee pre-orders across the US, regardless how long it takes to make the feature work.
Over the last few months, we’ve heard plenty of reports that Samsung has started to comply with Google guidelines more at Google’s request. Things like TouchWiz customization and Samsung Apps have been tuned down a lot since then, so you might have been forgiven for thinking Samsung and Google have been coexisting happily ever since. There could be some trouble in paradise though, as reports are saying Google and Samsung are having a spat over wearables, specifically the new Tizen-based smartwatches that Samsung pushed out earlier this year.
Earlier this month, there was reportedly a “tense private meeting” between Google CEO, Larry Page, and Samsung Vice Chairman, Jay Y. Lee, in which Page made clear that he was not impressed with Samsung putting in so much more effort into their Tizen smartwatches than their Android Wear devices. You can definitely see why Page has voiced this concern; the recently released Gear Live is basically the Gear 2 with cheaper parts, though it’s not unheard of for Samsung to re-use slightly tweaked designs for new devices.
What do you think about Samsung and Google arguing over wearables? Think Google has grounds to be worried? Let us know what you think.
The post At loggerheads: Google and Samsung are having a spat over Wearables appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
It’s time for the latest edition of Feedback Loop! We discuss the dark and sometimes disappointing side of crowdfunding, ponder whether passwords are dying, look for point-and-shoot camera suggestions, share the cheapest ways to get HBO and talk about overly hyped gadgets. Head past the break to talk about all this and more with your fellow Engadget readers.
The perils of crowdfunding
For every great product that comes out of crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo or Kickstarter, it seems there’s an conversely horrible story about something that never shipped or lived up to expectations. Our own John Colucci discusses the darker side of this phenomenon and readers chimed in to share their own experiences. Do you have any crazy Kickstarter stories to tell?
Is the password really dying?
After enabling two-factor authentication on his personal Twitter account, a Wall Street Journal reporter shared his password with the public. He argues that “the password is finally dying.” Is he crazy? We discuss whether this is actually the case. Are passwords really dying? And what happens to two-factor authentication when you share one of your factors? Head over to the forums and sound off!
Point-and-shoot camera suggestions
Engadget forums user Baileylo recently welcomed a new member to his family. Congrats, Logan! He’s looking for a new camera to properly capture those special moments. What’s a good point-and-shoot under $500 that can work in a variety of lighting situations? Let him know!
What’s the cheapest way to get HBO?
HBO is basically the Holy grail of premium cable TV. Everyone wants it, but not everyone wants to pay for all the packages needed to get it. Is it possible to get access to HBO without subscribing to a ton of unnecessary channels? Or are we stuck sharing our parents’ HBO Go access? Share your tips and tricks right here.
Over-hyped gadget sightings
There have been a number of gadgets that have received tons of hype and press, only to end up forgotten and unloved. Things like the Microsoft Kin One, the Kin Two, the Nexus Q and even more recent examples like the Lytro and Samsung Galaxy Gear. Frank talks about seeing some of these “gadget unicorns” out in the wild. What are some surprising and unloved gadgets you’ve seen when you’ve been out and about?
Other discussions you may also like:
- What do you want to know about the Destiny beta?
- With new power restrictions on portable devices, how will TSA handle battery packs?
- Halt and Catch Fire S1E7: There’s a sucker born every minute
- Today is the 4th Anniversary of the 1st Instagram
That’s all this week! Want to talk about your favorite gadget or have a burning question about technology? Register for an Engadget account today, visit the Engadget forums and start a new discussion!