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Waze warns you about dangerous intersections in big US cities

Most navigation apps can get you from A to B while avoiding traffic snarls, but they rarely give you a feel for how risky the drive might be. Is that intersection a cake walk, or a death trap? Waze thinks it can help. It’s now alerting drivers in five big US cities (Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington) when they approach intersections with historically high crash and injury rates — get close to one of these danger zones and you’ll get a reminder to drive carefully. This won’t do anything to stop other drivers from ruining your day, but it should prepare you for the dangers ahead.

Source: Waze


Newly unveiled Toyota Prius Plug-in uses its solar roof to get hefty 202mpg

Toyota has been at the forefront of hybrid vehicles since its Prius was released back in 1997. Now it’s got a new version of its plug-in hybrid that’s been upgraded with a super efficient engine and the return of that solar power roof to deliver some seriously economical driving.

You’ve probably been in a Prius before, after calling an Uber, and enjoyed the silent driving of pure electric. But that doesn’t last long before the engine in the hybrid is helping out.

The new car is way more efficient to help avoid this problem, using its solar roof to charge, a better engine and smart grille system all to save power.

The result is 31 miles of driving in pure electric mode or, with combined driving, an amazing 202 miles per gallon. That also means an environmentally friendly 32g/km for CO2 emissions, which are the best figures yet for any plug-in hybrid car.


Also helping to achieve that level of efficiency are LED headlights and rear lights. The car also boasts an aerodynamic drag factor of 0.24, thanks to things like a double bubble rear window and automatic radiator shutter that closes when not cooling.

The new battery in the Prius Plug-in Hybrid is 8.8W/h and can charge to full in two hours and twenty minutes. Complementing that is an enhanced 1.8-litre four cylinder engine which Toyota says adds up to the car’s total 40 per cent efficiency improvement.

In the cabin are 4.2-inch TFT screens, a wireless phone charging bay and a sound insulating screen for a more quiet drive.

Pricing and release date for the 2016 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid have not been announced.

READ: Electric double-decker buses with 180-mile range hit London next month


Dear Veronica: PC gaming on your couch!

This week, my friend Roger Chang of Daily Tech New Show joins us to explain how to best take advantage of those amazing Steam sales — right from the comfort of your couch! Personally, I’m more comfortable playing Stardew Valley at my desk, but to each their own.

We also take some tips from the audience about creative ways to use Slack, the hottest of hot new communications tools, and I give you some ideas for replacing the now-defunct email client Mailbox.

As always, keep sending those questions in using the hashtag #DearVeronica! Subscribe in iTunes, RSS or YouTube!


Barclays isn’t planning to support Android Pay in the UK

If UK bank Barclays hadn’t angered mobile customers enough over its delayed rollout of Apple Pay, a new announcement today looks take things up a notch. After Google declared that it will bring rival payment service Android Pay to the UK in the coming months, Barclays has gone on record to say it has no plans to support the platform. In a statement sent to Techradar, the company said: “At this stage we are not planning on participating in Android Pay in the UK.”

Instead, Barclays insists it will concentrate on the development of its own NFC payment technology, which is currently available inside the Barclaycard Android app. Google’s operating system allows third-party apps to interact with the NFC chip inside many of today’s Android flagships, which is something that Apple does not allow.

If you’re an iPhone or Apple Watch owner and are patiently waiting for Barclays to switch Apple Pay live, which was meant to happen by March 27th, there is some good news. In an email, Barclays CEO Ashok Vaswani confirmed to Barclays customer Chris Leonard that the bank plans to enable Apple Pay support “soon” but “for a variety of contractual reasons” a definite launch date can’t yet be confirmed.

If you’re an Apple fan, don’t fret, you won’t have to wait long, but if you’re of an Android persuasion, lady luck isn’t currently on your side.

@9to5mac @MacRumors @appleinsider Just received this email from the Barclays CEO. Regarding Apple Pay. Can’t wait

— Chris Leonard (@chrisleonard23) March 23, 2016

Via: TechRadar, Chris Leonard (Twitter)


You are now free to buy Xbox 360 games on your Xbox One

Yes, the Xbox 360 is officially old-school. Today’s Xbox One system update adds direct access to Xbox 360 games, making it easier to actually use the console’s backward compatibility function. Before the update, it was unnecessarily difficult to locate and download Xbox 360 titles, but now they’ll be available on the console just like current-generation games.

The update also brings Party Chat to Xbox One Twitch broadcasts, and it allows players to output Party Chat audio to speakers and a headset simultaneously. Party Chat supports up to 16 people now, so find some new friends stat. Game DVR gets an update, too, now allowing players to select recording lengths from 15 seconds to 5 minutes. We broke down the new features in our preview post at the beginning of the month.

On top of the previewed features, today’s update also improves the precision of the thumbsticks on the Xbox Elite controller, particularly as they’re moved diagonally.

Xbox One & Xbox App update avail today. Buy 360 games on Xbox One, 16-person party chat+more

— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) March 23, 2016


Microsoft’s Tay is an AI chat bot with ‘zero chill’

Got some time to kill? Microsoft wants you to kick back and chat with Tay, an artificial intelligence that’s supposedly super hip and down with the kids. Or at least, that’s what I gather from this official description: “A.I fam from the internet that’s got zero chill.” Geez, I must be getting old. To converse with Tay, you can either tweet or DM using the @tayandyou handle on Twitter, or add her as a contact on either Kik or GroupMe.

As the tweets below show, Tay isn’t afraid to crack some jokes and use millennial slang. She was created by Microsoft’s Technology and Research and Bing teams, using a mix of public data, artificial intelligence and eccentric staff contributions. “Public data that’s been anonymized is Tay’s primary data source,” Microsoft explains on the Tay website. “That data has been modeled, cleaned and filtered by the team developing Tay.”

A word of warning: Microsoft says Tay will use your conversations to “search on your behalf” and “create a simple profile” in order to personalize her responses. Your data and messages might also be kept for up to a year in order to improve Tay’s overall abilities. Sounds awfully similar to Her…

@steinekin @shannonloftis

— TayTweets (@TayandYou) March 23, 2016

@ssuaglrac when u realize u wrong halfway through an argument..

— TayTweets (@TayandYou) March 23, 2016

Via: Business Insider



The massively multiplayer online role-playing orgy I never had

It was supposed to be my first orgy.

NSFW Warning: This story may contain links to and descriptions or images of explicit sexual acts.

I’d had a handful of clumsy threesomes in college, but nothing compared to the wall-to-wall sex fest I had in mind. My encounters with role-playing games were similarly limited. I’d been party to a couple of rounds of D&D in high school because the dungeon master smoked us out and bought us beer, but 15-plus years later I couldn’t even begin to tell you what to do with a 12-sided die.

So when I heard about the Red Light Center, “the world’s only FREE Massively Multiplayer, Adult Virtual World,” I was cautiously optimistic.

I’d come across Red Light Center during my “first-hand quest for the future of sex.” The adult massively multiple online role-playing game is an interactive world akin to the SIMs that allows players to interact with each other using teledildonics. It’s been decades since I’ve played video games with any regularity, but a video game you can stick your dick in? I was sold.

Red Light Center boasts virtual worlds for furries, gays, public sex, BDSM, even high-class call girls. My imagination ran wild. I could and would have sex with all the people, maybe even that cat-woman hybrid thing I’d seen in the advertisement.

It may have been my first MMORPG orgy, but it wasn’t my first rodeo.

The site encourages users to “live your fantasies,” and that’s exactly what I would do if the software allowed. In order to connect to my teledildonic sex sleeve to the in-game experience, however, I’d have to use the new, limited RLC 2.0 beta. There would be no feline fuck-athon for me.

It may have been my first MMORPG orgy, but it wasn’t my first rodeo. In my previous experiences with teledildonics and virtual sex, I’d learned a certain level of patience is required. I charged my Kiiroo Onyx masturbator, read up on the virtual world I was about to enter, signed up for a VIP account and watched a tutorial on how to sync my toy to the in-game experience. After about two hours of prep, I assumed I was ready for any and all of the digital dicks. As I would come to find out, though, getting laid, even in a virtual fantasyland, isn’t as easy as just showing up.

After another couple hours of boner-killing login attempts and software crashes, I retired for the night. In the roughly four hours I wasted trying to get the game up and running, I could have signed on to Grindr, Tinder, Scruff or even walked 10 minutes to my local gay bar, picked up a flesh-and-blood human, done the deed, washed my ass and been in bed.

That night I fell asleep frustrated, but hopeful, chalking it up to human error. I’m not a gamer, much less an MMORPG player. Maybe there was a steeper learning curve than I’d expected. I spent much of the next day at work searching for hardware requirements, tutorials, FAQs — anything that could explain my experience. And then I found it: the key to my orgy misfortune. I’d been trying to run the program over WiFi. DUH!

The following night I hardwired my laptop, stripped down, whipped out the lube and turned my sex sleeve on. In minutes I was staring at a crude, 3D rendering of BuddyHudson, a name I gleaned from the copy of Jackie Collins’ Hollywood Wives sitting on the coffee table in front of me. I dressed him in a pair of butt-hugging blue jeans, a low-cut button down and some spotless white sneakers, gave him a long, luscious mane and slimmed his overbuilt body to match mine. Buddy was ready to bone.

And then I got stuck in a corner.

After the previous night’s failure, I entered the game’s “Welcome Tower,” a sort of outdoor nightclub, expecting to see piles of naked bodies writhing on top of each other, creating a sea of flesh and flailing appendages. Instead, I saw four white folks, dancing like white people do, on a Billie Jean-style light-up dance floor. The only fleshy writhing came from a naked couple, swaying back and forth like a pair of middle-aged swingers desperately bumping uglies on the dance floor at an off-season Hedonism.

But who was I to judge? I couldn’t even figure out how to start a private chat. I spent some time wandering around the rooftop lounge looking for orgy portals, and then I hit a wall. Literally. I’d turned into what appeared to be a virtual dressing room and — just like that — my first night in the land of pixelized excess had come to an end. I tried everything I could to back out of that corner on my own, but couldn’t muster the courage to ask for help in the main chat room. Just like in real life, I let intimidation get the best of me.

As it turned out, the only dick I’d see would be my own.

I considered throwing in the (as yet unsoiled) towel, but like Veruca Salt in the Chocolate Factory, I wouldn’t be satisfied until I got what I wanted. After a two-night hiatus, I returned the Red Light Center for one last try. I skipped the dance floor and found a neon sign beckoning me into what turned out to be a completely empty male strip club. As it turned out, the only dick I’d see would be my own. When the strip club came up short, I set out for a nearby brothel that felt like it shared an interior decorator with the hotel from the Shining. Once inside, I gravitated toward an empty bar. Seeing as I was alone, I stripped down to nothing and took a look around.

Just as I was getting ready to leave, a young blonde named lil_meg strolled up behind my bare ass. She invited me to her place to bone so I summoned the part of my Kinsey score that previously enabled late night makeout sessions with the opposite sex. If I couldn’t have all the digital dicks, one virtual vagina would have to do.

We disrobed, hopped into bed and filtered through a series of sex acts, the likes of which I’ve only ever seen on a blacklight poster. Just as I began to penetrate lil_meg, a button appeared, encouraging me to connect my sex sleeve to my computer. As meg sang the praises of BuddyHudson’s impressive member in a floating chat window, I hurried to connect my Onyx. After multiple failed connections, lil_meg was ready to blow. Once again, I’d come up short.

Despite the technical failures, I was encouraged by my encounter and returned to the “Welcome Tower” to see if I could find a willing member. I interrupted the relatively active open chat to ask if any of the men in the room liked to swing. … Crickets. As I waited for a response, the cold reality of rejection began to set in. Fear of STDs aside, trying to get laid in an MMORPG comes with a lot of the same baggage as it does in the real world.

My fantasies of a wild, open, no-strings orgy had turned into a clumsy, even humiliating, and desperate search for someone — anyone — to have sex with. I’m sorry to say, the only real advantage to virtual group sex may be the cleanup.


‘Minecraft’ gets its first live concert

Minecraft has had its share of real-world crossovers, but nothing quite like this. Norway’s annual The Gathering tech conference is hosting a live concert both in real life and in Minecraft tonight at 9PM local time (4PM Eastern), with volunteers mimicking the artists in Minecraft as they parade around the stage. And this isn’t a small production, either — AlunaGeorge, Broiler and Lemaitre are on deck, so you should be in for a good time whether you’re looking at the real artists or their blocky avatars.

No, it won’t come close to replicating the vibe of the real thing, but it might have a more personal feel than watching a run-of-the-mill video stream. Just be aware that this also means limited space. The organizers note that there should only be room for around 2,000 to 3,000 people, so you should probably hop on the Minecraft server ASAP (if you’re reading this in time) to have a chance of seeing what all the fuss is about.

Via: Fact, The Verge

Source: Heisholt, The Local, The Gathering


2017 Hyundai Ioniq triplets electrify New York

Hyundai’s electrified Ioniq might just be the green star of this year’s New York Auto Show, offering consumers hybrid, plug-in, and all-electric options.If you’re an American and want an affordably priced hybrid, plug-in, or full EV from a mainstream brand, get ready to meet the Hyundai Ioniq. The long-awaited rival to the Chevrolet Volt, Ford Focus Electric, Nissan Leaf, and Toyota Prius family heads to the 2016 New York Auto Show.

We already know quite a lot about all three flavors of the Ioniq from its international debut in Geneva. You can check out that report here. But there are some changes for the US market car, and the biggest is the US Ioniq’s electric range. Our original report indicated that the Ioniq Electric would cover 155 miles per charge, although we weren’t sure which range rating standard that was based on. According to Hyundai, the US model won’t be quite so impressive, scoring an estimated range of 110 miles. That fits the prediction of Autoblog boss Mike Austin, who suggested the Ioniq Electric would roughly match the 107-mile maximum of the Leaf.

The other change focuses on the range of the Ioniq Plug-in. That figure has fallen from 31 miles of all-electric range to 25. Both of these revised ratings aren’t necessarily down to changes in the cars themselves – the Electric still uses a 28-kilowatt-hour battery and the Plug-in has an 8.9-kWh unit, just like their European counterparts — but are simply differences in how range is measured.


Toyota’s Prius Prime plug-in hybrid touts 120MPG

Toyota’s Prius line has lost some of its luster in recent years. While it’s still synonymous with hybrid cars, its plug-in hybrid model is facing stiff competition that has an edge in terms of pure electric range. The auto giant isn’t standing still, though: it’s unveiling the Prius Prime as an answer to these pretenders to the throne. The PHEV’s electric-only range has been doubled to a (still modest) 22 miles, but it makes up for this with an equivalent efficiency of 120MPG. If the figure holds up, it makes the Prime the most fuel-efficient plug-in on the market. Toyota chalks it up to the combination of an upgraded hybrid system and a larger battery.

The vehicle is a technological showcase on the inside, too. If you want, you can have an 11.6-inch touchscreen that dominates the center stack Tesla-style. You’ll also have the usual raft of circa-2016 options, including a heads-up display, Qi wireless charging for smartphones, pedestrian detection, lane departure warnings and radar-based cruise control.

The Prius Prime should arrive in the fall, but Toyota isn’t discussing the price yet. That may be the true deciding factor here — if the Prime is too expensive next to the competition (or even regular Prius models), it may deter buyers who’d otherwise be sold. If it’s at least on par, though, it could reel in a lot of commuters eager to cut fuel costs without the shorter ranges that come with all-electric cars.

Via: Autoblog

Source: Toyota

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