Google I/O 2016 registrations are now open!
Registrations are now open for Google I/O 2016, and Google isn’t taking them on a first come, first serve basis. You’ll be able to submit a registration application from March 8 through March 10 at 5 p.m PST, and then Google will randomly select winners. In the past, Google just let people purchase tickets until they were sold out, but it was less than ideal for everyone involved. From Google:
The window to submit a registration application will open at 9AM PST on March 8, 2016 and remain open until 5PM PST on March 10, 2016, so you’ll have plenty of time to apply. We’ll randomly select applicants from among all of the qualified applications once the window closes on March 10, 2016 and notify those selected via email. The order in which registration applications are received has no bearing on the final outcome.
Keep in mind, if selected you will need to fork over the $900 ticket fee. Don’t worry if you can’t attend in person though, as Google will again be livestreaming various portions of the event on its site.
Register for Google I/O 2016
Droid Turbo 2 Marshmallow update is finally rolling out
The long-awaited Marshmallow update for the Droid Turbo 2 appears to be actually pushing out. This is following a previous announcement of a soak test and roll-out that don’t seem to have gone according to plan. Motorola’s Product Manager, David Schuster, took to Google+ to say that it is now pushing.
I’m pleased to announce we have started soak testing with the Android Marshmallow 6.0 upgrade for Droid Turbo 2 on Verizon. We will monitor for a few days and with good results, proceed to full deployment.
If you own the Turbo 2, and didn’t receive the Marshmallow update previously, you will want to check for the update now. To check manually, head into your Settings, then About phone and finally check for the update. If you receive the update, be sure to let us know how it is treating you.
Discuss the update in the forums
Motorola Droid Turbo 2
- Hands-on with the Droid Turbo 2
- Droid Turbo 2 specs
- Join our Droid Turbo 2 forums
- Droid Turbo 2 vs. Droid Turbo
Lollipop is now the most-used version of Android, Marshmallow up to 2.3 percent
Google has released its latest update to the distribution numbers for each version of Android. In the latest round, Lollipop continues to gain ground, while the latest version, Marshmallow, jumped a little over one percentage point. Lollipop now sits at 36.1 percent, up from the to 34.1 percent in February, while Marshmallow has made the jump to 2.3 percent from 1.2 percent.
KitKat is no longer the version of Android with the single largest install base. It is down to 34.3 percent, compared to the 35.5 percent in February. Jelly Bean also saw a drop to 22.3 percent from 24.7 percent, Ice Cream Sandwich is down slightly to 2.3 percent and Gingerbread comes in at 2.6 percent. Finally, Froyo, Android 2.2, is now only installed on 0.1 percent of all Android devices.
Opera Mini’s built-in video compression finally hits Android
More than a year after hitting iOS, Opera is finally bringing its innovative video compression feature to its Android browser, Opera Mini. You’ll have to enable “video boost” manually in the browser’s “high savings mode,” but once you do your videos will load much faster than before. Of course, that also means you’ll lose quite a bit of quality, which could be noticeable on newer high-resolution Android screens. But if you live in an area with crummy bandwidth, or just travel a lot, you’ll probably get plenty of mileage out of video boost. (The browser will even count the amount of videos it’s optimized for you.)
Source: Opera Mini (Google Play), Opera
Facebook wants to detect slang before it’s popular
It’s tricky to catch slang while it’s still cutting edge. Unless you’re in the right social circles, you’ll probably hear that lingo when it hits the mainstream… in other words, when it’s already passé. Facebook might have a way to catch those words while they’re still hip, though. It received a patent for social glossary technology that would detect slang, acronyms and other neologisms. The conceptual software would look for terms that don’t have a known meaning (including familiar words out of context) and add them to the glossary if appropriate. It’d even pull terms out of the glossary if they fall out of favor — say, describing something as “totally tubular” when you’re not an ’80s-era surfer.
The code would make a note of the social groups using that slang based on everything from location to common traits like age. While it could automatically add terms on its own, Facebook raises the possibility of polling users to decide whether or not their turns of phrase should get official recognition.
This is just a patent, and there’s no telling whether or not Facebook will ever use it. However, it could come in handy for both you and the social network. If Facebook can understand what you’re saying (even when your parents can’t), it can give you more relevant news articles or determine your mood. Yes, it could also be used to deliver more targeted ads, but it could be worthwhile if it determines whether someone is a trendsetter or just another Gretchen-from-Mean-Girls wannabe.
Via: Business Insider
Ford hopes you’ll watch movies in self-driving cars
If and when self-driving cars become a practical reality, you’ll probably want something to do during your journeys besides chatting with passengers or checking your phone. Thankfully, Ford might have an answer. It recently obtained a patent for an “autonomous vehicle entertainment system” that would let you watch videos when you’re hands-free. Kick your vehicle into self-driving mode and a projector system could swing into action, complete with its own screen — yes, you could watch a movie while you’re on the way to visit family. Think of it as in-flight entertainment, just grounded.
As with most patents, there’s no certainty that Ford will ever use this. While the car maker is serious about autonomous vehicles, it could just as easily resort to flat-panel displays and other less dramatic hardware. There are some safety concerns, too. Do you really want the driver to be completely oblivious to road hazards? For this to work, driverless car tech will have to advance to the point where it’s truly reliable — where you can watch a 2-hour flick without worrying that your car might plow into a bus.
Via: Forbes, The Next Web
The best clothing iron and ironing board
By Jackie Reeve
This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer’s guide to the best things for your home. Read the full article here.
After putting in more than 20 hours on research and testing, on top of 31 hours spent producing our original guide, we can say that the Black+Decker D3030 Allure is the best, most reliable, and easiest-to-use iron for people who hope to spruce up the occasional wrinkled outfit or tablecloth without spending too much time or money. If you need an ironing board to go with it, we recommend either the sturdy and smartly designed Homz Durabilt or the compact and inexpensive Laundry Solutions by Westex.
How we tested
We asked Sweethome staffers to test irons and boards in our New York City office. Photo: Michael Hession
We set up irons and boards all over the Sweethome office and asked staffers to come in and try them. Our testers’ familiarity with irons ranged from the occasional user to the fairly expert. We put out silks, table linens, quilting cottons, button-down shirts, and T-shirts at every ironing station, alongside feedback forms that asked questions such as “How easy is it to use? How much steam does it release? How does it feel to hold—does it feel well designed and well built?” We also asked whether the ironing boards felt sturdy, and we requested thoughts on their size (both of their surface and of their frame when folded up). And then we let the ironers get to it.
Our top pick, the Black+Decker D3030 Allure, has a smooth glide, tons of steam, a user-friendly design, and an extended warranty at a great price. Photo: Michael Hession
Among the irons we tested, the Black+Decker D3030 Allure packed the best combination of features, offering a smooth glide, tons of steam, a user-friendly design, and an extended warranty, all at a great price. The Allure generally retails for around $50, but often you can pick it up for as little as $35. It isn’t as powerful as our upgrade pick, the Rowenta SteamForce, but in our testing it came in only second to the SteamForce in giving off steam, and it costs a quarter of the price. The Allure is also lighter than most of the irons we looked at, and our testers agreed that its Comfort Grip handle felt the best to hold and use overall.
Our runner-up pick, the Shark Ultimate Professional GI505, is high-powered and equipped with a generous 10-foot cord. Photo: Michael Hession
If the Black+Decker D3030 Allure is sold out or unavailable, we recommend the Shark Ultimate Professional GI505 in its place. It would be a great buy at a steep sale price, too. Equipped with a nice, long, 10-foot cord, it heated up quickly and tackled wrinkles about as well as the Allure. But it’s a little heavier and a bit more expensive (closer to $60), and it comes with just a one-year warranty. It also has a temperature-control display that’s a little less intuitive to use.
The Rowenta DW9280 SteamForce, our upgrade pick, shoots out more steam than any other iron. Photo: Michael Hession
The Rowenta DW9280 SteamForce iron was the best overall at wrinkle busting in our tests. It melted creases out of linen napkins and pressed quilt seams with almost no effort. We’ve never seen an iron give off more steam. But it’s heavier and much more expensive than our top pick and runner-up, so we recommend it only for crafters, sewers, and anyone with busy households or tons of laundry—that is, anyone who’s willing to make the investment to save time and energy.
The Homz Durabilt ironing board was by far our favorite. But it’ll cost you both dollars and space. Photo: Michael Hession
We investigated ironing boards for the first time and were floored by the smart design and sturdiness of the Homz Durabilt. The top of the board itself is metal mesh rather than metal with holes, which helps steam flow through your garment. The cover is made of high-quality cotton and thick foam padding that fits well, and in our testing it was the easiest board to open and adjust. But it’s pricey and a little bulky if you’re short on storage or ironing space.
We honestly weren’t wild about any of the more affordable boards we researched and tested; all were fairly mediocre. For something that’s compact and at least sturdier than other ironing boards at a similar price, you might want to look at the Laundry Solutions by Westex board.
If you need an ironing mat option, we have a recommendation in our full guide.
Wrapping it up
After more than 20 hours of research and testing, our pick is the Black+Decker D3030 Allure. It’s the easiest-to-use and most reliable iron we tested, and it produced almost as much steam as an iron that costs three times as much. We’d pair it with either the compact and inexpensive Laundry Solutions by Westex ironing board or the bulkier but smartly designed Homz Durabilt.
This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.
BioWare loses another storyteller as Cameron Harris steps down
Senior Editor Cameron Harris will leave BioWare — and the video game industry as a whole — in April, she announced in a series of tweets on Friday. At BioWare, Harris had a hand in crafting the narratives of Dragon Age: Inquisition, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect: Andromeda, which is due in 2017. She entered the video game industry in 2007 as a technical editor at Microsoft, and over the years she’s also worked with Nintendo and ArenaNet, according to her LinkedIn profile.
“I had a great time at BioWare, working with so many talented, passionate folks,” Harris said in a tweet. “I’m grateful for everything you taught me over the years.”
Harris is the third notable departure from BioWare this year alone. Mass Effect: Andromeda lead writer Chris Schlerf left in February to join Destiny studio Bungie, and long-time Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider exited in January.
Harris gave a talk at GDC 2014 on the importance of editors in creating strong video game stories, and we’ve embedded that presentation below.
NEC can verify your identity using sound-capturing earbuds
Sure, you could use your fingerprint to unlock your phone, but NEC developed a way to verify your identity with your ears. The corporation announced technology this week that used the way in which sound resonates in the ear canal to identify a person. Ear shape is also unique to each of us, so NEC created a way for microphone-equipped earbuds to measure the acoustics after sending out a sound. What’s more, the company says the technology works with 99 percent accuracy and only takes about a second to take its measurements.
“Since the new technology does not require particular actions such as scanning a part of the body over an authentication device, it enables a natural way of conducting continuous authentication,” NEC’s Shigeki Yamagata explained.
If you’re hoping to try out the in-ear tech sometime soon, you’re going to have to be patient. NEC says it’s working to commercialize the system during the 2018 fiscal year. As far as implementation goes, the company sees the best uses for the authentication technology to ensure security of critical infrastructure and continually verifying someone’s identity during confidential calls. NEC also aims for the system to be used in navigation or voice guidance situations where the directions are only intended for one person.
Coleco officially pulls its name from the Chameleon
Last month the Coleco Chameleon showed up at Toy Fair promising a taste of retro-gaming glory. But those promises have come to naught after a non-start to its Kickstarter and numerous accusations regarding faked prototypes. Today the Chameleon suffers another blow as Coleco Holdings, the company with the rights to the Coleco name and properties, has terminated its association with RetroVGS and the Chameleon project.
Coleco partner Chris Cardillo gave Engadget the following statement, which will also appear on Coleco’s Facebook page:
“Retro has decided that the work that they have created is not sufficient to demonstrate at this time. Consequently, we can no longer proceed with the project and the Chameleon project will be terminated. This separation is amicable. We wish Retro luck in the future.”
This isn’t the only blow RetroVGS has suffered in the past week: On Saturday David Giltinan, the managing editor of RetroVGS’s RETRO Magazine, announced his departure from the company. He cited the ongoing issues with the Chameleon as the impetus behind his leaving, saying “I have to separate myself from everything associated with it.” Though he conceded poor messaging from RetroVGS, he also asserted that there was “no ill intent or maliciousness on the part of the team.”
We’ve reached out to RetroVGS for comment on the future of the project.