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Ben Heck’s mechanical television, part 1

Before LCD monitors, we had good-old fashioned cathode ray tube monitors and televisions. In an homage to that simpler time, Ben and Karen are going back to basics with a two-part project: a mechanical television. To pull it off, the duo used a trusty glue-gun, repurposed a drill and found an unlikely source for a spinning disk. Have you tried a low-tech project yourself? Visit the element14 Community page to discuss this episode’s project and suggest challenges for future shows.


Apple original TV programming: What’s it producing and why?

Reports from last year suggested Dr Dre would soon star in Apple’s first original TV series, a somewhat-autobiographical drama called Vital Signs, but now we’re hearing that another Hip-Hop star,, is set to star in the company’s first major attempt at original programming.

Eddy Cue, an Apple executive, told The New York Times the upcoming show will be a reality series that covers how apps are developed and sold in Apple’s App Store. The idea came from Ben Silverman, who is an executive producer on shows like Jane the Virgin, The Biggest Loser, Marco Polo, and Flaked. Cue however cautioned that Apple won’t be getting into a “huge amount of movie production or TV production.”

Still, he said the company would continue to explore similar projects. We’ve detailed what some of those projects might be below.

Apple original content: Why is Apple producing TV?


The Street claimed last year that Apple met with Hollywood studios and executives about developing original TV shows.

It was thought at first that this original content could spearhead Apple’s oft-rumoured streaming TV service, which has been repeatedly delayed due to the company’s inability to secure content deals with CBS, ABC, Fox, Disney, Viacom, etc. Apple is rumoured to announce its cable-like service with original TV programming alongside the iPhone 7 in September 2016.

iTunes chief Eddy Cue is leading the discussions with Hollywood, meaning the original shows could be made available for rent or purchase on iTunes. However, they might be exclusive to Apple’s streaming service. Sort of like Netflix, the service is expected to include on-demand access to unlimited programming for a set monthly cost between $30 and $40 per month.

Netflix, which has disrupted Hollywood in recent years, produces original shows like Daredevil, House of Cards, and Orange is the New Black. By adopting a similar strategy to Netlfix, Apple could launch a successful streaming service accessible only through Apple TV, Mac, and iOS devices, which could then lead to bolster sales of its products. But all this is speculation.

Keep in mind The New York Post claimed Apple is looking to acquire some Time Warner assets, such as CNN, HBO, TBS, TNT, NBA TV, Cartoon Network, its Warner Bros movies division, and more, which would net it exclusive rights to the popular series, including Game of Thrones.

You can read more about Apple’s rumoured streaming service from here:

  • Apple TV subscription streaming service: What’s the story so far?

Apple original content: What shows are in the works? Store show


Apple has teamed up with artist as well as Hollywood producers Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens on a non-scripted television show focused on the app economy, according to The New York Times. The company has not announced a title, release timeframe, plots/storylines, episode length, nor information about on where the show will air. It could made available through an app in the App Store, for instance.

It could also be made available as a standard TV show on iTunes or Apple Music. All we know is that Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services, thinks the show is “perfectly tailored” for Apple: “One of the things with the app store that was always great about it was the great ideas that people had to build things and create things,” he added.

Dr Dre’s Vital Signs show

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Apple is producing a series called Vital Signs. It’s described as a dark drama and stars Hip Hop mogul Dr Dre. Sources who saw scripts for the show described it as being semi-autobiographical in that it is about a part of Dr Dre’s life, though each episode will focus on a “different emotion and how Dre’s character deals with it.”

Each episode will be 30 minutes in length and will feature plenty of violence and sex. One episode that began filming last month reportedly shows an extended orgy scene, for instance. All episodes will be released at once, and they’ll likely be distributed through Apple Music, which was born out of the Beats Music service created by Dr Dre. It might also be available through the App Store or iTunes.

Dr Dre is an executive producer, but the whole thing is backed by Apple. The series will also star Sam Rockwell, who is known for films like Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Moon, and it will be directed by Paul Hunter.

Apple original content: What about music videos?


Last July, Apple Music debuted a new music video from Drake called Energy. Prior to that, Apple had exclusively debuted videos for Pharrell’s Freedom and Eminem’s Phenomenal. Pitchfork claimed those videos were developed in-house at Apple for its music-streaming service, meaning the company’s first foray into original programming might’ve actually kicked off with music videos.

Apple original content: Want to know more?

Stay tuned to Pocket-lint’s Apple hub for related news and analysis.


Watch Orbital’s Cygnus spacecraft reach the ISS this morning

Run out of Daredevil episodes to binge but still can’t sleep? Take a peek live while the ISS captures its largest delivery ever, riding aboard an Orbital Cygnus spacecraft (like the one shown above during a delivery in December last year). NASA TV will kick off its livestream at 5:30AM ET., and the craft is scheduled to arrive at 6:40AM ET. The most exciting part, however, is still a couple of months off. Once Cygnus detaches from the ISS, engineers will remotely ignite the Spacecraft Fire-1 (Saffire-I) experiment, to find out how a large fire spreads in microgravity. It will be the first of a series of such experiments, and they will be the first ones conducted at this scale. Other experiments aboard include upgraded 3D-printing capabilities, the Gecko Gripper device, five CubeSats and much, much more.

Set your alarm! @OrbitalATK’s #Cygnus spacecraft arrives at @Space_Station at 6:40am ET:

— NASA (@NASA) March 25, 2016

Source: NASA TV (YouTube), Space Station Blog


Scientists find more evidence that Planet Nine exists

It took us almost 50 years to get a close look at Pluto, so we think it’s safe to say humanity has to wait a while before we can catch a glimpse of Planet Nine. In fact, we still have to prove that it really does exist. Mike Brown, who played a key role in the downgrade of Pluto, has reported that there’s new evidence of a ninth planet. Brown and his colleague Konstantin Batygin inferred the celestial body’s existence based on the movements of several objects in the Kuiper Belt. Now, Brown tweeted a slide presented by SETI that shows yet another Kuiper Belt object whose movement is influenced by a large mass that could be the mysterious planet.

The KPO was spotted by the Canada France Hawaii Telescope, which was observing the skies for the Outer Solar System Origins Survey. As you can see in the slide below, the newly discovered KPO is orbiting near the other objects Brown reported in January. He also said that this new discovery “takes the probability of [Planet Nine] being a statistical fluke down to ~.001%.” Scientists still have to find more evidence before they can confirm that there’s truly another huge planet beyond Neptune orbiting the sun once every 10,000 years or so. We just hope nobody suggests or agrees to name it Planet McPlanetface when astronomers confirm its existence.

Hey Planet Nine fans, a new eccentric KBO was discovered. And it is exactly where Planet Nine says it should be.

— Mike Brown (@plutokiller) March 24, 2016

Source: Mike Brown


Keyless entry systems are still vulnerable to simple hack

ADAC, the German Automobile Club, is sort of the AAA of Germany. Recently, the group revealed the findings of some auto security tests they’d run to bring attention to how easy it is for thieves to exploit keyless entry systems and steal cars, despite the fact that the vulnerability has been known for years.

The technique involves cars equipped with keyless entry transmitter keys. Normally the key, which uses a radio signal, must be just a few feet away from the vehicle. The ADAC researchers figured out that with some inexpensive equipment, they could pick up the radio signal from a nearby keyless entry fob and extend it several hundred feet. The equipment cost ADAC roughly $225.

Once inside, the researchers (or thieves) would be able to start and drive the car away, as most automakers allow the engine to keep running and the car to drive even after the keyless entry fob goes out of range. ADAC used the technique on several cars in Europe, including Audis, BMWs, GM products, Fords, Kias, and Toyotas.

This hacking technique isn’t new, but the ADAC release shows that it’s still a threat to contemporary cars. The only effective deterrent is to keep a keyless fob inside a signal-blocking device, like a bag or a Faraday cage, when the key isn’t in use. Even your freezer may be an effective signal blocker, if you don’t have a Faraday cage handy, according to The New York Times.

So this is simply another demonstration that there’s a simple, effective, inexpensive exploit that thieves can use to steal cars, and that automakers still haven’t come up with an effective solutions. That’s the point of ADAC’s recent demonstration – and why we’re reminding you that it’s still a threat.

Related Video:

Via: Tech Insider

Source: ADAC


Here’s your first look at Netflix’s ‘Voltron’ series

As Netflix expands its suite of original programming it’s going to the nostalgia well once again. The good news here is that instead of another sitcom spinoff like Fuller House, we’re getting Voltron: Legendary Defender. Today at Wondercon 2016 its partner Dreamworks Animation showed off a teaser trailer and some artwork that confirm everything at least looks right to children of the 80s.

The first 13 episodes are slated to arrive June 10th, with what executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos told USA Today will be a mix of “epic adventure” and “the campy nature of five lions that become a giant robot.” Its cast includes Tyler Labine, Josh Keaton, Jeremy Shada, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Kimberly Brooks, Rhys Darby and The Walking Dead star Steven Yeun — but we’re pretty sure you stopped reading at “giant robot.”

Source: Dreamworks TV (YouTube)


Nevada gets first FAA-approved urban drone drone delivery

Flirtey, the startup that did the first FAA-sanctioned drone delivery in a rural area, has replicated the feat in an urban setting. It sent out an autonomous hexacopter on a half-a-mile flight to an empty house in Hawthorne, Nevada on March 10th, carrying food, water and a first-aid kit in a box attached to a rope. It’s probably not the most secure way to transport fragile objects, though, so Amazon might have to devise another method to deliver TVs or anything breakable. The drone flew with zero human intervention — there was a pilot on standby in case things go awry, but the team programmed its flight path beforehand.

Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeny told Fortune that it was able to convince the FAA due to its previous experience delivering textbooks and car parts in Australia and New Zealand. Hawthorne doesn’t exactly have the maze-like skyscraper complexes of big cities, but the flight did prove that the startup’s machines are capable of navigating more crowded locations with buildings and power lines. It brings Flirtey closer to doing actual drone deliveries in the US. Before that, though, it plans to kick things up a notch and do another sanctioned flight in an “urban populated area.”

Today, we’re thrilled to announce @Fly_Flirtey successfully completed the first fully autonomous FAA-approved urban drone delivery in the US

— Flirtey (@Fly_Flirtey) March 25, 2016

Via: Fortune, Popular Science, GeekWire, ABC News

Source: Flirtey (Twitter)


The Public Access Weekly: What planet are you from?

Obviously this week’s big news was Monday’s Apple announcement (or non-announcement if you prefer), wherein they announced a 4-inch iPhone, a 9.7-inch iPad Pro and some additional bands for the Apple Watch. While these offerings are not exactly shocking new advancements in the hardware line up, some of the developments on the OS side were more intriguing to our editors — for example, CareKit which is designed to help people manage their health, illnesses and medications.
In non-Apple news, this month we’ve seen ten new contributors publish their first posts on Public Access — which is outstanding. An official tip of my hat to: Lovisa Alvin, Andrei Mircea, Cassie Phillips, David Balaban, Ari Shohat, Jamil Bryant, Elizabeth Kartini, Sherry Gray, Neal Cotton, and Maheshwor Bhattarai. Welcome and thanks for all your stories!

If you haven’t given a read through some of the newest Public Access stories on the home page yet, take some time to do so! There are some really interesting pieces going up — I was particularly excited to see that Neal Cotton has written about Syfy’s The Internet Ruined My Life, a show I’ve been watching with intentions on reviewing it for Public Access.

Honestly though, I’ve found it hard to get into TIRML; the reenactments come off as cheesy to me, and there doesn’t seem to be much to really say about it other than the obvious “Watch what you say and do online” lesson. If you’re looking for a show that really examines the harms and pitfalls that may lie in technology, I personally think that Black Mirror is a better, more imaginative — and more chilling — show. I’m still reeling from some of those episodes.

It took me days to recover from this episode.

Also, if you’re a Public Access member and you haven’t filed out your profile page yet, let me take this moment to encourage you to upload an image and add your social links — not only does this make it easier for us to give you a shout-out on social media, but it also makes your author page look hella professional.

Looking for something to read? Check out:

Starting today, we’re taking a week-long break from comments. I detail why in this post.

If you have an Android smartphone, you need to know what Stagefright is. If you’re not running Android 6.0 Marshmellow, then you really need to know what Stagefright is.

LED lights for bicycle wheels seem like such a cool idea, but do they work as well in practice? Andrew gets some hands-on time with Balight’s offerings.

One of the panels at GDC discussed the representation of Muslims in video games; this article highlights the panelists examples and suggestions on how to improve.

Looking for something to write about? Mull over:

There are times, as a writer, that you see a headline and think “I wish I’d written that.” This story on Danny Trejo, tacos and VR is fine example. It’s another instance where a truly novel approach was taken to a developing technology, and made me wonder: What’s your best idea for how VR should be used? Do you have a unique idea to what VR would be best for, that pushes it past the boundaries of roller coasters and games? Tell us what you see as the future of VR.

It was recently announced that Android Pay will soon be rolled out to UK customers, meaning that users will have options other than Barclays’ bPay. The comments discussed the fragmentation of payment systems and how it could hurt overall adoption. What are your thoughts about mobile payments? Is it detrimental to users to have so many different options? And does this type of fragmentation extend to other aspects of technology as well — say streaming services?

Between my commute on public transportation, and working in an open office, I spend a significant amount of time listening to music. Lately when I’m working I find myself leaning towards instrumental and ambient tunes which has resulted in me getting really into video game soundtracks (namely Dead Island and The Last of Us). What your favorite video game soundtrack and why?


Rumor: Google’s Android camera will get smart with Goggles

Google might be working on a new feature for Android cameras that allows smartphone photo-snappers to search for information directly from their pictures, SlashGear reports. This tech would essentially combine Google Goggles, a visual-search app that’s been around for years, with your Android camera (or Google Camera, if you’re really into brand-name apps).

Google Goggles lets users take pictures of recognizable or famous objects and instantly discover more information about those things. Plus, it can read text in eight languages and translate it. SlashGear reports (citing one anonymous source, it should be noted) that Google’s new tech would let users trace an outline around the object they want information on, getting rid of background noise and clutter.

So far, this functionality has been tested in mobile devices and wearables, SlashGear says. Something like this would work well in an augmented reality headset, we bet.

Source: SlashGear


Amazon’s Alexa controls Nest thermostats

Beginning today Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa can control Nest thermostats. If you’re home is too warm or too cold, just shout at the voice-activated helper and it’ll adjust the temperature. It’s going to be incredibly helpful on those summer days when it’s too hot to move.

Amazon announced that Nest thermostats would support Alexa voice controls when it launched the Amazon Dot and Tap earlier his month. Like the Echo, the new devices will also control the Nest.

Amazon has been working with multiple companies to make its Alexa platform a central part of the home. Nest has also been reaching out to other companies with Works with Nest system. So hopefully most of your connected home will work together in the near future.

Source: Nest

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