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19
Apr

Google Wallet balances to get FDIC protection


Google Wallet

If you use Google Wallet and keep a balance of funds available in your account, Google is taking steps to help make things a little bit safer for you. Google is now moving funds stored in Google Wallet accounts into FDIC-insured bank accounts. Hopefully this extra insurance would never be something users have to take advantage of, but if they do they now have insurance up to $250,000 on the funds on deposit.

Normally users would not keep a balance in Google Wallet, using the service merely as a pass-through mechanisms. This is similar to how other services like PayPal operate. However, it is possible for users to end up with balances in their account. Sometimes this may be intentional as the user wants funds to be available in the account. Other times it may be because the user has assumed funds would be moved automatically.

Google Wallet competitors like PayPal and Venmo currently do not offer to put user funds in FDIC-insured institutions. However, PayPal does offer zero liability protection against fraud which would cover most typical situations where a user’s funds might be at risk.

Does the addition of this extra layer of protection make you more likely to use Google Wallet?

source: Yahoo! Finance

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19
Apr

Google releases new Project Loon update video


project_loon_ballon_in_flight

Google’s Project Loon continues development from an audacious goal to use balloons to provide Internet service to areas traditionally un- or under-served to being a reality that provides service to 2 out of 3 Internet users. In their latest video about Project Loon, the Google team talks about how they have been working to ramp up their capabilities for a mass deployment.

Some of the challenges discussed in the video include things like the manufacture and launch of the balloons. When the project first start, producing a working balloon was a long process that frequently involved hunts for leaks. Now, the company is able to produce a functional balloon in a matter of hours. Likewise, Project Loon has improved the launch schedule from one balloon per day to a dozen.

You can check out the full video below on the status of Project Loon.

Click here to view the embedded video.

source: +Project Loon

Come comment on this article: Google releases new Project Loon update video

19
Apr

Sony’s super-thin 4K TV arrives this summer


A year after Sony’s 4K TV launch, the company is detailing the US launch of a revamped collection with HDR-compatible sets. You can now pre-order six models in Sony’s new Ultra HD lineup, with deliveries arriving in May. The line starts off with a 43-inch TV that costs $1,299.99, and goes up to a 75-inch behemoth at $7,999.99. Sony isn’t talking about pricing for the X900C, reportedly the thinnest LED TV in the world, but it’s poised to arrive this summer. It could be worth the wait — at 5.08mm, it’s thinner than your smartphone (unless you’re using Oppo’s 4.8mm R5). It also has a “Vanishing Edge” technology that makes the picture fill the entire screen.

In addition to their Triluminos technology, the TVs are equipped with a color correction feature that can make hues more vibrant or tone them down a notch for a more realistic visual experience. And as promised at CES earlier this year, the latest models are paired with Android TV. There’s a voice search feature so you can speak into a one-click remote or a compatible smartphone for quick access to your favorite app. Soon, gamers will also have access to Playstation Now and a DualShock 4 controller.

While the thinnest options won’t be available for a few months, you can be prepared for the onslaught of improved video with the X930C or X940C series, which will become HDR-friendly through a network update this summer.

Filed under: Home Entertainment, HD, Sony

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Source: Sony (PR Newswire)

19
Apr

Your Google Wallet funds are now insured


Google Wallet and Apple Pay

The money in your bank account is typically covered by federal insurance, but your internet payment services typically aren’t. If PayPal or Venmo went belly-up, you’d probably lose your existing balance. That won’t be a problem if you’re using Google Wallet, though. Google is now holding your Wallet funds in banks with FDIC insurance, so your digital credit is now that much safer. This isn’t to say that rivals leave you completely vulnerable — PayPal has fraud protection, for instance. However, the Wallet move means that you won’t have to go to court to get your cash back if Google goes bankrupt, no matter how unlikely that is.

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Source: Yahoo Finance

19
Apr

Inhabitat’s Week in Green: cheaper EVs, synthetic leaves and clay-pot speakers


Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.

Inhabitat's Week in Green

For more than three years, the Western United States — especially California — has been gripped by the worst drought on record. With no end in sight, San Diego County announced plans to build a massive $1 billion desalination plant. The plant will produce drinking water for 300,000 people in Southern California, but opponents have raised concerns about its high energy use, and that it will likely harm marine life. Researchers also discovered what may be causing the drought — a massive “blob” of warm water in the Pacific Ocean measuring a thousand miles wide is wreaking havoc on weather patterns and local marine life.

A couple months ago, IKEA announced plans to roll out a new line of lamps that would wirelessly charge your mobile devices. Now, it looks like the furniture giant is ready to start introducing the new lamps later this spring. In other energy news, Vancouver just became the latest city to switch to 100 percent renewable energy. The Canadian city now joins a list of more than 50 cities around the world that have pledged to abandon fossil fuels. Switching to renewables doesn’t just make sense for the environment — it’s good business sense. For example, offshore wind is already cheaper than both gas and nuclear power. In certain parts of the world, the technology is already financially viable and no longer needs government subsidies. New innovations are also finding energy sources in unexpected places. Engineers from Columbia University’s Computer Vision Laboratory have created what they claim to be the world’s first fully self-powered camera. The video camera converts light captured when creating an image into electrical power. On the green transportation front, Tesla is making headway on selling its vehicles in Maryland, and Chevy announced that it will be slashing the price of the 2015 Chevy Spark EV. After tax credits, the car will cost just $14,995 in some states.

Milan Design Week is like the Olympics for the design world. All the big names are there, and it’s also an opportunity for up-and-comers to show their work. This year’s event has featured scores of innovative new products that promise to change the way we interact with everyday objects. Japanese designer Kosho Ueshima unveiled a nanotech toothbrush that can clean your teeth without toothpaste. If you ever wanted to reach outer space without suiting up and hopping in a rocket, Nooka has produced a device that enables you to record a private message and send it into outer space. The event is more than just an assortment of quirky one-off designs; it’s also a forum for bold ideas. Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde proposed building a massive electric vacuum cleaner that could combat air pollution in cities like Beijing. Some of the other highlights from Design Week included the Salone Satellite show — an opportunity for young, emerging designers to show their wares. Japanese design studio Kappes used a collection of wires placed inside a terrarium to create a dazzling, ethereal work of art. And Mapu Guaquén combined traditional clay pots with modern speakers to create wireless speakers with a soft, raw look. Meanwhile, at the Ventura Lambrate exhibit, Julian Melchiorri created a synthetic biological leaf that can absorb water and carbon dioxide and produce oxygen like a plant. And United Nude teamed up with 3D systems to launch a line of sculptural 3D-printed shoes at Milan Design Week that combine art, design and technology to test the boundaries of fashion.

Filed under: Cameras, Household, Transportation, Science

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19
Apr

Bad software update kills many Wink smart home hubs


Now for the downside of a house loaded up with “smart” devices to allow remote control and monitoring: turning your home into a computer means computer-like problems. Today’s example comes from the Wink Hub, a $50 device sold at Home Depot that’s supposed to simplify things by working across standards and link common home appliances (lights, thermostat, garage door, etc.) to your phone. That was the plan until yesterday when Wink sent out a software update that went wrong somehow, and now a number of users have a box “so secure that it is unable to connect to the Wink servers” (Wink’s words, not ours). The problem knocked all Wink hubs offline from 12:40PM to 11PM ET yesterday, and while the company says a “majority” of hubs were able to recover and reconnect, those that weren’t will need to be sent back.

[Thanks Larry, Steve & John]

For its part, Wink has sent an email out to affected owners asking them to return their hubs and wait for a replacement, and is offering a $50 off Wink store voucher for the trouble. It initially sent out a coupon code, but disabled that one and promises individual codes for owners within 24 hours of submitting a return form (owners should call 844-WINK-APP for service). Unfortunately, as Wink user Chris Sewell posted on Google+, now affected owners are left questioning if they should stick with the company at all or switch to another (hopefully more reliable) platform — despite the many cool aspects of smart home setups.

All the things many owners won’t be doing with a Wink hub right now

We’ve contacted the company for more information but have not heard back yet, although for now its status page has some info on what happened. By its reckoning, the problem was due to a security feature it implemented in the “the early days” and was a misconfiguration that was completely avoidable. It’s pulling all Wink devices from store shelves for now, saying that local stores will not have inventory “for some time.” Apparently turning into a spy and an addict isn’t the worst thing that can happen with a smart home.

You can see where things went wrong in real time via Twitter

Uh-oh

Filed under: Household

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Source: Wink

19
Apr

Hitchbot’s poetry-writing sibling will also make its way across Canada


While Hitchbot was bumming rides across Canada and Germany, its sibling kulturBot remained at home to keep their “parents” company. Now kulturBot is going on an adventure of its own, traveling with musicians, poets and other artistic types aboard the Great Canadian PoeTrain Tour. See, it might be made out of a pasta strainer and a vacuum, but it will fit right in with the other passengers — after all, the little machine is a wordsmith itself. Its creators, Dr. David Harris and Dr. Frauke Zeller, designed kulturBot to write poetry using words and phrases taken from the diaries of Canadian geographer and fur trader David Thompson.

The robot’s lights flash whenever it’s done composing a new poem, and a thermal printer embedded in its body spits a printed copy out. Many of its pieces reportedly make as much sense as a drunk, stuttering newbie at a Friday night poetry slam, but Harris believes they’re still “strangely beautiful.” Here’s an example the developers gave to The Toronto Star (formatting ours):

men had worn
by our oldest hunter
only six hundred miles
of Great Britain and Women.

Feel free to formulate your own interpretation.

The machine going on an eight-day journey from Toronto to Vancouver is actually the third generation, with earlier iterations visiting museums and galleries instead. As Hitchbot wrote on its website: “Though I am clearly more handsome than my sibling, my kulturBot does have a few more years of experience.” Robopoet version 3.0’s journey will last from April 18th to 26th, during which it’ll be posting photos and snippets of its new masterpieces on Facebook and Twitter.

[Image credit: kulturBot/Facebook]

Filed under: Robots

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Source: The Toronto Star, Hitchbot, Frauke Zeller

19
Apr

Russians are using undiscovered exploits to hack the US government


Tulips on the White House lawn

If you’ve been wondering how Russian cyberattackers could compromise the White House and other high-profile targets, the security researchers at FireEye have an answer. They’ve determined that APT28, a politically-motivated Russian hacking group, used unpatched exploits in Flash Player and Windows in a series of assaults against the US government on April 13th. Patches for both flaws are either ready or on the way, but the vulnerabilities reinforce beliefs that APT28 is very skilled — less experienced groups would use off-the-shelf code.

Whether or not APT28 is linked to the earlier White House breach isn’t apparent. FireEye says it can’t comment on the connections, since that’s classified information. If there is a link, though, it’ll be clearer than ever that the US is up against a particularly fierce digital espionage campaign.

[Image credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images]

Filed under: ,

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Via: Reuters

Source: FireEye

19
Apr

Wikileaks dump of Sony internal documents uncovers Sony Xperia Z4 images, pegs April-June launch






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Whether you agree with Wikileaks‘ methodology or not, there is a whole heap of Sony‘s internal documentation floating around the Internet at the moment, which kind of made it easy to come across some new Sony Xperia Z4 images. The images appear to show the Xperia Z4, or “Sony Xperia Fourth Generation”, with metal construction and looking not unlike the Xperia Z3, however the fine print of one of the images says that the metal will be polished metal plating prepared by “anodizing technology”, which should give the Xperia Z4 a slightly different sheen to the Xperia Z3. Check out all the images below:

Sony Xperia Z4 images
Sony Xperia Z4 images
Sony Xperia Z4 images
Sony Xperia Z4 images

The other piece of notable information to come from the information dumped by Wikileaks is that a “Xperia flagship” is expected to be launched sometime between April and June 2015, which will undoubtedly be the Xperia Z4. It’s also worth nothing that this same time period should see the release of a new Xperia Z Tablet as well, presumably called the Xperia Z4 Tablet as previous naming conventions would suggest. We’ve heard rumours that April 20th is going to be the day that Sony announces the Xperia Z4, which matches with this new information, but we won’t have long to wait and see if that rumour is true.


Sony Xperia Z4 imagesWhat do you think about the Sony Xperia Z4 images? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Wikileaks via Phone Arena

The post Wikileaks dump of Sony internal documents uncovers Sony Xperia Z4 images, pegs April-June launch appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

19
Apr

Will the LG G4 sell as well as the LG G3? Korean analysts says “No”






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We’ve got just over a week before LG officially announces the LG G4, but the question is already being asked: Will the LG G4 sell as well as the LG G3? According to Korean analyst, IBK Investment & Securities, the answer is “No”. This answer is largely driven by the resurgent success of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge who says will create market conditions which “will not be favorable” for the LG G4, who LG is hoping will sell the same number of handsets as the LG G3, estimated to be around 10 million.

Another source has said that the recent rumours that the LG G4 will be powered be a Snapdragon 808 instead of a Snapdragon 810 will be an issue if true as it is losing “a selling point for LG”. And as you can imagine, anything that LG can claw back from the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge is going to be an important differentiator come April 28th, but we’ll have to see if LG has anything else hidden up their sleeves.


What do you think about the LG G4 not selling as well as the LG G3? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: The Korea Herald via Phone Arena

The post Will the LG G4 sell as well as the LG G3? Korean analysts says “No” appeared first on AndroidSPIN.

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