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18
Oct

Get ready to tap with Android 5.0 Lollipop Easter egg


lollipop_screenshot

Google including an Easter egg or two in a release of Android should be no surprise to anyone. The company enjoys having fun with their software releases and challenging fans to find the stuff they have hidden. The Easter egg included in Android 5.0 Lollipop may be their most ambitious yet as it is a full game for users to enjoy.

Down within the settings, users can access a special screen displaying the build’s name and a long press will reveal the Easter egg – a Flappy Bird clone that makes use of lollipops in place of pipes and Bugdroid in place of a bird. The graphics are nice and crisp with no attempt to give it a retro 8-bit look.

To get to the Easter egg, if you have the final developer preview loaded, go into Settings and drill down to About Tablet or About Phone. On the entry for Android Version, start tapping on that line rather quickly. Eventually this will open up a screen with a graphic of a big lollipop and the name of the build. Tapping on the lollipop will change its color while a long press will launch the game.

Click here to view the embedded video.

source: The Verge

Come comment on this article: Get ready to tap with Android 5.0 Lollipop Easter egg

18
Oct

Shuffle in positions may signal more Android/Chrome consolidation


google_lockheimer_upson

Sources within Google indicate some top level executives have shifted around and the changes may be another sign that the company is moving closer to a merger of its two operating systems. Hiroshi Lockheimer, who is the vp of engineering for the Android operating system, has had the engineering team assigned to the Chrome operating system placed under him. Linus Upson was the top engineer for Chrome and it is unclear what he will be doing moving forward.

Starting in 2013, both the Android team and the Chrome team have reported to Sundar Pichai, a senior vice president with Google. The move to place them both under the purview of one senior vp was consistent with Sergey Brin’s statements from as far back as 2009 that the two branches were likely to “converge.”

At Google I/O this year, the company announced plans to make it possible to run Android apps on Chrome OS powered devices. Just last month the first batch of apps able to do this were announced.

Although Chrome powered devices have found a popular market with schools, they still struggle to compete in the larger personal computer market. Meanwhile, Android dominates the smartphone market, powering 85% of all devices shipped during the second quarter of 2014. Google also has efforts underway with Android Wear and Android Auto to put variations of the Android operating system on  other form factors.

Some have suggested that Pichai’s move signals Android will be the base for the future as Google hopes to capitalize on an easy path for developers to create apps capable of running on several types of devices. Neither Lockheimer nor Upson have released statements regarding the moves.

source: Wall Street Journal

Come comment on this article: Shuffle in positions may signal more Android/Chrome consolidation

18
Oct

Recommended Reading: Palmer Luckey and the homemade VR headset


Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you’ll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

Smithsonian Magazine's 3rd Annual American Event

How Palmer Luckey Created the Oculus Rift
by Taylor Clark,
Smithsonian Magazine

If you’ve yet to read up on the origins of the Oculus Rift, there’s no time like the present. Smithsonian Magazine details the headset’s origins, giving its creator, Palmer Luckey, an American Ingenuity Award this week. The piece offers a look into the gaming gadget’s brief history, including the first meeting between Luckey and Brendan Iribe, Nate Mitchell and Michael Antonov back in 2012.

The Future of the Culture Wars is Here, and it’s Gamergate
by Kyle Wagner, Deadspin

Not sure what this whole Gamergate thing is all about? Here’s a good place to start. Kyle Wagner’s piece covers what you need to know and what it means for the future of internet culture.

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Endangered Tree Snails Keep Hawaii Public Radio Off the Air
by Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic

There have been lots of reasons for radio stations going off the air, but in Hawaii, the mating habits of endangered tree snails certainly make for an interesting situation. And of course, the whole thing makes for a perfect broadcasting metaphor.

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Outernet Aims to Provide Data to the Net Unconnected
by Camilla Costa, BBC

One company is looking to provide a truckload of reading materials and time-sensitive news bulletins to everyone around the globe — even those with no connectivity. How will it accomplish the task? A system of satellites and solar-powered compact receivers for mobile phones.

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Tesla’s Autopilot isn’t Special (But it’s Still Cool)
by Chris Ziegler, The Verge

At last week’s event, Tesla detailed its autopilot tech that’ll come with its vehicles. While the system is quite awesome, The Verge’s Chris Ziegler explains that it’s far from revolutionary. “The stereotypical vision of a car of the future tooling around your neighborhood with a driver comfortably asleep at the wheel (or missing altogether) isn’t any closer to reality than it was before,” he says.

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[Photo credit: Larry French/Getty Images]

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18
Oct

New York Attorney General says most Airbnb rentals in NYC violate the law


The legality of Airbnb rentals in New York City have been under fire for awhile now, and the city just fired another volley: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has released a report titled “Airbnb in the city,” and it’s not particularly favorable. The report claims that 72-percent of all private short-term rentals (read: Airbnb rentals) are illegal — specifically because they were rentals for an “entire/home apartment” for terms of less than a month. The report explains that these kinds of rentals probably should be paying hotel occupancy taxes, and estimates that the city has lost $33 million in tax revenue as a result of the illegal Airbnb rentals. Worse, the report says, a small contingent of hosts seem to be using Airbnb to run illegal hotels.

Although most of the violators appear to be average users operating one or two rentals at most, six-percent of the city’s hosts were labeled as “commercial users” running multimillion dollar businesses. Despite being such a small contingent of the host population, this group’s revenue accounts for 37-percent of all Airbnb earnings in the city. The most egregious violator is said to have leased out 272 units during the review period. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking the report very seriously, and has already filed a lawsuit against the owners of two apartment buildings in Manhattan. The lawsuit asserts that the brothers have been renting out the buildings as an illegal hotel, exclusively using its apartments for short-term rentals under 30-days.

The mayor’s office says that the city isn’t directly attacking Airbnb, bur rather owners who are operating illegal hotels that pose “serious health and safety problems.” The city also clarified that while the owners of the buildings in question have used Airbnb as a past, the site banned them before the legal action started — meaning they were probably among the 2,000 listings that weren’t “providing a quality, local experience to guests.” Either way, the Attorney General’s report is probably a good thing to read if you’re leasing a room through Airbnb in New York. Care for a look? You’ll find it right here.

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Via: Gothamist (1), (2)

Source: NY AG

18
Oct

X-ray machine used to disappoint ‘Star Wars’ fan


Back in the day, British Star Wars fans could send off for a figurine enclosed in an opaque white box. Of course, if you wanted to peek at whatever was hidden inside, you’d have to open the packaging, which would take a massive chunk off the value. Without it, however, you’d never know what was inside, with toys ranging from standard-issue models through to ultra-rare Boba Fett pieces that are now worth around $8,000. UK collector Dave Moss paid just $8 for one such box, and began to wonder if it was possible to peek inside using more modern methods.

An online appeal put him in touch with Rob Burman (pictured) from Collectors Gazette who decided to contact the University of Nottingham to see if it could help. It turns out that the Hounsfield Facility has some super-powerful CT scanners, which are usually used to study the roots of plants while they remain undisturbed in soil. It wasn’t a big leap to make between roots in soil and a toy in a box, and it wasn’t long before the university was scanning the package. On the upside, the hardware was able to visualize a detailed 3D image of the piece, but on the downside, it was a regular ol’ Emperor figure that’s only worth around $50. Still, Dave Moss isn’t complaining now that the mystery has been solved, but we’re left to wondering what would have happened to Erwin Schrödinger and his imperiled cat had the tech been around way back in 1935.

[Image Credit: The Hounsfield Facility / University of Nottingham]

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Via: The Independent

Source: Nottingham University

18
Oct

Flickr chooses a great time to launch its iPad app


Apple has chosen to focus on the iPad’s camera abilities with the upcoming Air 2 (we wish they wouldn’t) and apparently, finally snagged Flickr’s attention. Yahoo’s photo sharing service somehow managed to beat Instagram to the punch so perhaps the introduction of its first iPad-ready app (four years after Apple’s slate arrived) isn’t that late. So what’s in the (now universal) Flickr iOS app? iPad-optimized layouts for members to browse pictures whether their own or others that “cascade in a lovely waterfall format.” If you must take a picture with your tablet, the app can record photos or videos with live filters and a full suite of editing tools. It requires iOS 8 to work, and some of the upgrades that stretch across devices include support for the new sharing extensions, photo detail editing and a new unified search. The update is live in the app store now, and of course there’s no time like 3AM ET on a Saturday to give it a try.

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Source: iTunes, Flickr Blog

18
Oct

TalkAndroid Daily Dose for October 17, 2014


TalkAndroid_Daily_Dose

With hectic schedules, it can be hard to keep track of everything in your news feed. That’s why we created the TalkAndroid Daily Dose. This is where we recap the day’s hottest stories so you can get yourself up to speed in quick fashion. Happy reading!!

Android TV

Nexus 9 and Nexus Player are now up for pre-order in the Google Play Store

Apps

Firefox Beta update brings ‘tab casting’ & more!

Twitter adding suggested Tweets to the timeline based on user interest

Swiftkey updates for Halloween with spooky new themes

Carriers

According to a new FCC filing, Sprint will carry the Galaxy Note Edge

T-Mobile Galaxy Note 4 receiving minor update

Moto X now $50 on-contract with Verizon

Chromebooks

Samsung’s Intel-based Chromebook 2 availability and pricing announced

Deals

Expansys now offering refurbished Nexus 4 from $149

Gaming

Ghostbusters-themed Fruit Ninja update hits the Play Store just in time for Halloween

Google

Nexus device packaging to get new look

Phones

Moto X now $50 on-contract with Verizon

Expansys now offering refurbished Nexus 4 from $149

T-Mobile Galaxy Note 4 receiving minor update

According to a new FCC filing, Sprint will carry the Galaxy Note Edge

Sony Xperia Z4 to be a hardware juggernaut according to tipster

Smartwatches

Google Play lists Sony SmartWatch 3 as “coming soon”

Tablets

Nexus 9 and Nexus Player are now up for pre-order in the Google Play Store

Updates

Google releases Android 5.0 Lollipop SDK and other tools

T-Mobile Galaxy Note 4 receiving minor update

Come comment on this article: TalkAndroid Daily Dose for October 17, 2014

18
Oct

Google Play carrying Nexus 9 cover and keyboard folio


nexus_9_official_cover_black

Two accessories for the Nexus 9 arrived in the Play Store on Friday. Both have to do with protection and usability. The first is the official Nexus 9 Cover that also folds into a stand. It comes in Black, Lime Stone, Coral Amethyst, and Mint Indigo with the polyurethane material. The other options are Black Leather and Natural Leather. It folds in a bunch of different ways for various positions. One of the corners folds, when on the backside of the tablet, to expose the camera and activate it for quick snapping. The official cover costs $39 and Google lists it as “Coming soon.”

nexus_9_keyboard_folio_official

The other accessory is one we have known about for quite some time. The Nexus 9 Keyboard Folio, when not being used, completely protects the the tablet in a sturdy fashion. Opening up the accessory shows the keyboard full of functionality. It has two viewing angles depending upon the user’s preference for work and watching. It pairs with the tablet via Bluetooth. The downside of this item is that it is really expensive. The Nexus 9 Keyboard Folio is priced at $129.

[Cover Play Store Link] [Keyboard Folio Play Store Link]

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18
Oct

Fitbit says Force skin irritations were allergies, new wristbands have a warning


Fitbit recalled its Force wearable back in February after owners reported skin irritation, but after an investigation, says it will not do the same for the Fitbit Flex. The New York Times reports that the company and the Consumer Product Safety Commission decided a recall was not necessary, as long as the company makes a few changes. New wristbands will ship with a warning that it contains nickel, a common allergy, as well as a sizing guide to keep users from making it too tight. In a just-posted (at such a convenient time) letter to customers, CEO & co-founder James Park said “we are now confident that our users who experienced allergic contact dermatitis likely reacted either to very small levels of methacrylates…or, to a lesser degree, nickel in the stainless steel casing.” He goes on to say that Fitbit is taking this experience into account in the design for its next-generation trackers, which should include the new Charge and ChargeHR devices that recently surfaced.

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Source: New York Times, Fitbit

18
Oct

Capture 360-degree videos of your environment with this surveillance blazer


If Google Glass and lifelogging cameras aren’t enough to make you feel safe, then maybe what you really need is a surveillance blazer. See, nothing can get past the camera-dotted jacket above — not when it can capture 360 videos of your environment and instantly upload it to the internet with the click of a button. Its Korean creator, Shinseungback Kimyonghun, believes all the cameras (controlled by an onboard Raspberry Pi) give off an “I can record you” warning, which can deter people from messing with you. It doesn’t seem like he has plans to sell it en masse, though, so you might have to make your own if you desperately want one. Make sure to watch the video after the break, if that’s the case, for more clues on how to get it done.

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Source: The Creators Project, Shinseungback Kimyonghun

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