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13
Mar

iClever has the best chargers for your devices (review)


With more of our lives running on batteries each day, we are having to charge more devices than ever. The majority of people at least have two devices that they

13
Mar

Dell brings Linux to its latest XPS 13 laptop


Have you coveted the Skylake-powered version of Dell’s near-borderless XPS 13 laptop, but wished it would ship with an open platform like Linux instead of Windows? Now’s your chance. Dell has released a new version of its XPS 13 Developer Edition that comes with Ubuntu Linux 14.04 out of the box. You’ll need a deep bank account to buy one right now, as your only current choices are high-end Core i7 models (with a quad HD+ touchscreen) that start at a lofty $1,550. You can finally get a Linux-based XPS 13 with 16GB of RAM, however, and there are promises of a far more frugal Core i5 system with 8GB of RAM and a non-touch display.

Pros looking for portables have reason to celebrate, too. You can now snag a Precision 3510, 5510, 7510 or 7710 mobile workstation with Ubuntu, giving you some extra computing power (including Xeon chips and a 4K display option) in your open source rig. Linux machines may still be more of a side project at Dell than the main event, but you won’t have to settle for sub-par gear.

Via: Liliputing

Source: Dell, Direct2Dell, Barton’s Blog

13
Mar

NASA probe should lead to quieter supersonic aircraft


There’s a good reason why it still takes hours to fly cross-country: supersonic airplanes are still so noisy that it’s utterly impractical to fly them over populated areas. That’s why the Concorde was largely relegated to overseas flights, after all. However, NASA has a new sensor that could usher in an era of quieter supersonic aircraft. The Eagle Aero Probe (the device you see in the red housing above) measures air pressure changes right near where they occur during a sonic boom, giving a near-instantaneous sense of what’s happening. Previously, the sensors were about 15 feet away in the radar dome — not exactly helpful when you need real-time data to measure a shockwave.

It’ll be a long while before the probe enters full service. Right now, the focus is on testing aboard NASA’s own F-15 Eagle aircraft. Provided it does make the grade, though, it could be extremely useful for studying the aerodynamics of new aircraft and reducing the loudness of their sonic booms. Eventually, you could see a wide range of supersonic aircraft that are relatively silent, including passenger jets — your New York-to-LA flight wouldn’t have to chew up a large part of the day.

Source: NASA

13
Mar

JJ Abrams, Steven Spielberg back day-and-date movie service


The notion of paying $50 to watch new-in-theaters movies at home may sound wild, but it apparently has the support of the biggest directors and producers in the business. Variety sources claim that the already hyped Screening Room service has the financial support of JJ Abrams, Ron Howard, Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg, among other Hollywood luminaries. Only some of them are directly investing money, according to the tipsters, but all of them are shareholders.

Neither Screening Room nor the movie veterans are commenting on the supposed leak. If it’s accurate, though, the support could be key to getting the service’s foot in the door. While the startup is reportedly charging steep prices to prevent theater chains from freaking out over lost revenue, that might not be enough to assuage those fears. The backing of famous directors might convince theaters that they have little to worry about if they let you watch movies on a set-top box in your living room.

Source: Variety

13
Mar

Netflix debuts Marvel’s ‘Luke Cage’ on September 30th


If you’ve been waiting for Netflix to flesh out its grittier Marvel shows with the release of Luke Cage, you now have a date to mark on your calendar. Lead actor Michael Colter has revealed that the unbreakable hero’s show will premiere on September 30th, or half a year after Daredevil’s second season kicks off. Colter didn’t say what the new show will entail, but the basic premise is no secret: Cage moves to Harlem following the events of Jessica Jones, and he’ll face enemies ranging from Black Mariah to Cottonmouth. There’s no certainty that Luke Cage will be a hit, but the effort invested in the first two Netflix-only Marvel shows (and Colter’s performance in Jessica Jones) suggests that it’s in good hands.

Beautiful people, fighting, & BREAKING NEWS for @LukeCage! Have a look at last night’s NYC premiere for @Daredevil.https://t.co/NvPgnU7rf7

— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) March 11, 2016

Via: Comicbook.com, The Verge

Source: Marvel (Twitter)

13
Mar

SXSW’s online harassment summit was a peaceful look at an ugly problem


Last fall, the organizers of SXSW thrust themselves into a storm of controversy. The event’s organizers cancelled two panels — one of which was dedicated to delving into the hot topic of online harassment — because it had received threats of violence. The harassers had essentially shut down a panel to discuss harassment, and SXSW quickly faced intense judgement for it. Media companies threatened boycotts, panel participants were outraged, the whole situation was badly managed. SXSW quickly responded by reinstating the two panels and dedicating an entire day to the subject of online harassment.

There were a few more bumps in the road. Notably, the organizers added one of the canceled panels to the online harassment summit, even though it was basically a pro-GamerGate panel that ostensibly had nothing to do directly with the day’s subject. That panel was moved, and it felt like SXSW had finally addressed the myriad of issues it created. Today in Austin, the online harassment summit took place, and all told it was a pretty peaceful forum to discuss one of the more important and difficult issues facing the technology community as well as the women and minorities who are frequently harassed when using the internet.

A total of 15 panels took place over the course of the day with dozens of speakers, and I obviously wasn’t able to attend all of them. But judging from what I saw, there was essentially no drama or strife surrounding an event that could have easily been a lightning rod for online harassment to move into the real world. I spoke to a few police officers, one of whom had worked security at SXSW for 18 years, and both said that the day’s panels and overall vibe was just as peaceful and laid-back as they’d come to expect over the years.

That’s not to say that the issues on hand weren’t incredibly serious and highly nuanced. Trying to quickly sum up the viewpoints of so many different speakers is near-impossible, but a few high-level trends stood out to me. Starting with perhaps the most obvious point, online harassment is a huge problem for women, minorities and the LGBTQ community because harassers think they have a right to the things they say — it’s become too easy to target people online and get away with it with zero repercussions.

“What we’re really seeing in this whole blowup around online harassement is fear,” says Dr. Mary Anne Franks, a law professor at the University of Miami Law School. “Fear and rage on the part of people who’ve always had more, have always had the capacity to express themselves… [they’re] looking at other people who are now standing up and saying ‘we actually have some things to say, and you’re not going to like some of them,’ and there’s nothing paritcularly new about this fear and this rage as a reaction.” Franks’ assessment of the feelings driving online harassment were shared by many others who spoke today; a number of speakers made the point that online harassment is as much or more of a societal problem as it is a problem with platforms like Twitter.

Indeed, a recurring theme was the need for solutions on a number of levels. Children and adults alike need to be better educated, platforms need to give us better tools for reporting and avoiding harassment, companies need to make having safe online communities more of a priority and law enforcement needs to recognize the severity of internet threats and not just dismiss them as harmless words without any real action behind them.

That doesn’t mean progress wasn’t recognized. Video game developer Brianna Wu, one of the most frequent targets of severe GamerGate attacks, gave Twitter credit for changing over the last year or so to be more effective at stopping harassment on its platform. “Before [GamerGate] happened, Twitter did not understand the landscape for transgender people,” Wu said. “I know they’ve updated those policies.” She went on to note that when she first started her game studio, the chance of successfully suspending a Twitter account harassing her was maybe five percent, but she says its now up to 20 to 30 percent.

Reddit, however, was a frequent topic of derision from many of the day’s panelists I heard from. “I would love to see us move away from talking about Twitter so much,” Wu said. “I want to hear us talk more about Reddit — they link to stuff that damages a woman’s reputation and it happens every day.” The site’s incredibly loose policy of moderation and the many communities engaging in frankly abhorrent activity was a constant target, and the audience seemed to agree with the panelists — every time Reddit came up, there was a feeling of everyone in the room nodding their heads along with the panelists.

No one solution emerged as a silver bullet. But the day seemed more about letting people speak frankly about the challenges they face rather than walking away with a plan of action. That said, there was one seemingly obvious solution endorsed on several panels: whether it’s online or in real life, if you see someone being harassed, do the right thing and help them. While it’s unfortunate that it took SXSW making some mistakes for this day to happen, it’s good to see a message of positivity and community emerge from a day that could have easily been marred by the very harassers who got one of these panels cancelled in the first place.

13
Mar

Steam will help you play any game in VR


Sure, SteamVR is making it easy to play virtual reality games. However, you probably have a whole bunch of conventional games in your Steam library — what about those? Don’t worry, you’re set. Valve has unveiled SteamVR Desktop Theater Mode, which lets you play any Steam game in VR. Ultimately, it boils down to putting your games on a big, simulated screen. What it looks like isn’t clear yet, but it should work with the HTC Vive and any other SteamVR-friendly headset. The Desktop Theater is in early beta testing now, and will get a proper debut at the Game Developers Conference next week.

It might be a necessary move. The odds of many game developers retrofitting existing titles for VR is pretty slim, and there will be certain games that just don’t make sense in an immersive form. This gives you a way to switch Steam games without having to repeatedly remove your VR gear — you can keep it on for as long as you’re playing games (and if other developers have their way, beyond that). Moreover, this gives you a reason to buy that pricey headset beyond the handful of VR games available at launch. It might just help you concentrate on your game by shutting out more distractions.

Source: Road To VR

13
Mar

Dulp – arcade/puzzle action in a simple package [Review]


Overview Dulp is an arcade/puzzle game that has you launching colored orbs into a multi-colored spinning ring. Your goal is to eliminate all of the ring’s colored segments by hitting

13
Mar

6 next-gen green cell phones


By Cat DiStasio

In the grand scheme of things, mobile phones haven’t been around that long. Less than 20 years ago, hardly anyone had one, and devices of that era certainly weren’t capable of doing what today’s smartphones can do. Cell phone technology progresses so quickly, in fact, that most users are prone to replacing their phones with new ones every few years — even if the old one still works — just to have something with longer battery life and a better camera. This behavior is inspiring designers to create more sustainable handsets: some with easily upgradable modules, some made with recycled materials and some that charge themselves with little or no interaction from the user. Although a few of these technologies are still in the conceptual phase, it’s easy to imagine that they could be available within the next few years — right about when you’ll be thinking about replacing the phone you have now.

13
Mar

If you’re not using Google Opinion Rewards, you’re Androiding wrong


It’s free money. No one hates free money.

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I’ve used Google Opinion Rewards since it first came to the UK, but my appreciation for the service has grown exponentially in recent months, as has the number of surveys to fill out. It’s now at a point where I’m comfortable in saying it’s one the very first apps I’d recommend a new Android user downloads.

If you can get it, there’s absolutely zero reason not to.

Google Opinion Rewards is basically a market research tool that Google will pay you to use. In exchange for answers to the surveys it provides, Google will give you varying amounts of credit to spend in the Play Store on any content available within. Surveys in Opinion Rewards are typically created by outside researchers for academic and commercial use, and unless otherwise stated up front your answers are anonymously aggregated and passed on to the researchers.

Most surveys are fairly brief, and by answering a few quick questions every so often you can quickly build up a sizeable credit.

Of course, the frequency of surveys and how much they pay out will vary depending on location, but at least where I am they’ve been coming thick and fast of late. At least one or two a day it seems come through asking for basic information on shopping habits based on my location history (which I’m OK with sharing.) My current balance stands at over £9, which is great, because I didn’t really do anything. It’s free money which I get to spend on content to enjoy with my son.

So, if you’re new to Android, or just haven’t come across this app yet, do yourself a favor and download it. You can’t say no to free, really.

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