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Brave will pay you in Bitcoins for browsing the web

Brendan Eich, the controversial former CEO of Mozilla, recently launched Brave, a privacy-focused browser that blocks ads and trackers. While that concept isn’t new, Brave has a twist: You’ll have to pay to completely block ads, and if you allow replacement ads (reportedly free of bloat, tracking and malware) you’ll actually get paid yourself. Now, the company has revealed the Brave Ledger, a Bitcoin-based payment system for users and publishers. The specifications aren’t final, but Brave is now fielding comments and discussion from advertisers and developers.

Here’s how it works: Previously, the company said it would allow users to either pay to block ads, or get paid to allow ad replacements from Brave’s own network. Those ads, chosen by an ad-matching partner, are supposedly faster, safer and load after the publisher’s content, not before it like regular third-party ads. For ad-free mode, you’ll pay a monthly fee that will be distributed to publishers based on total traffic to each site. Brave’s ad network would take a five percent cut of the total amount collected.

How many publishers will go along with this, since many, like Engadget parent AOL, have their own ad networks?

When users go for replacement ads, Brave will take a 15 percent cut, its ad-matching partner would take 15 percent and publishers would get the biggest chunk, 55 percent. The latter pot would be divvied up based on the same traffic measurements as the ad-free method. Users get 15 percent, but there are some caveats. First of all, you need to have a Brave Bitcoin wallet, and the default option will be to donate money to your preferred publisher. If you want to spend the money yourself, you’ll need to verify your identity with a phone number and email address. Publishers will also need to be verified to a higher standard.

All of this creates as many questions as it answers. How much will users get paid (and have to pay) to accept or decline ads, for instance? Since the ad-free method amounts to a subscription, how many users will pay to skip ads? (Not many, if torrent software providers like uTorrent are any indication.) Which publishers will go along with this, since many, like Engadget parent AOL, have their own ad networks? These are tricky questions, and if the company doesn’t have the right answers, its Brave browser model will be dead on arrival.

Source: Brave Software


Roborace will feature futuristic, sci-fiesque driverless cars

The first driverless racing series (dubbed Roborace) might make you feel like you’re watching a sci-fi flick. Not only because you’ll be witnessing AI-controlled vehicles speeding on the race track with no human drivers, but also because the car contenders will use looks like it belongs in a movie set. See, Roborace’s organizers commissioned Daniel Simon to design its official car. And Simon is also the designer behind the lightcycles in Tron: Legacy, Oblivion’s drones and spaceships, as well as Captain America’s Hydra vehicles.

He said “beauty was very high” on their agenda, since Roborace aims to be “as much about competition as it is entertainment.” That said, he did work with engineers and aerodynamicists to come up with a good-looking car that’s more than just a movie prop — one that can actually reach 186mph. You’ll be able to watch Robocars (controlled by various teams’ self-driving AIs) in action at the 2016-2017 Formula E electric car racing season, starting in September. They’ll compete during Formula E’s one-hour pre-shows, though by the looks of things, they might be a lot more interesting to watch than the actual main events.

Via: Stuff

Source: Roborace


Dyson Launches First Smartphone Connected Fan With Air Quality Monitoring and Scheduling Features

Dyson recently launched the Pure Cool Link, a fan that looks and functions similarly to the company’s previous line of high-end oscillating personal air controlling devices, but now with the added bonus of cleaning the air in a home (via The Guardian). Thanks to its HEPA filter, the Pure Cool Link promises to remove 99.97% of particles as minuscule as 0.3 microns, so potentially hazardous pollutants like pollen, bacteria, mold, Asbestos, odors, tobacco smoke and even carbon dust can all be successfully captured.

The company is also integrating its connected smartphone app, Dyson Link, into its new Pure Cool Link fan, which marks the first time one of its fans will be able to be controlled through an app. The experience will let users monitor both indoor and outdoor air quality, and even let them set the connected device to automatically clean a room whenever the standards for clean air drop below a certain mark. The Dyson Link app was previously supported as a connected accessory to the Dyson 360 Eye robotic vacuum cleaner.

Company founder James Dyson said: “We think it is polluted outside of our homes, but the air inside can be far worse. Dyson engineers focused on developing a purifier that automatically removes ultrafine allergens, odours and pollutants from the indoor air, feeding real time air quality data back to you.”

Beyond air quality monitoring, the app gives users a suite of basic remote control functionality to the Pure Cool Link while displaced from it, including: a scheduling system, manual on/off controls, temperature and humidity numbers, and a complete history of the air quality levels in a room. It can also give users an updated reminder of the filter life inside of the Pure Cool Link, so they can be warned ahead of time when it needs to be changed.

Other features of the Pure Cool Link include a “night-time mode” that turns down the audible noise disturbance of the fan and dims the display, for users who want to keep its features running through night hours. Although the fan isn’t directly billed as a personal air condition device like Dyson’s other products, the Pure Cool Link can sense when it is a warmer day, automatically helping to drop the temperature within the room a few degrees “with smooth, long-range air flow.”

Dyson Cool Link fan
The range of connected Dyson devices is limited to the Pure Cool Link system, but the company is expected to continue to expand these smartphone app connectivity features to its other products in the future. At launch, the new Pure Cool Link system does not integrate with Apple’s HomeKit platform.

Those interested can purchase the Dyson Pure Cool Link tower for $499.99 from the company’s website, in either blue or white. There is also a smaller desktop version of the new air quality-controlling fan, but it appears to currently not be available to purchase from Dyson’s United States store. If abiding by the pricing tiers of previous Dyson products, the desk fan version of the Pure Cool Link would be $100 less and come in at $399.99.

The Dyson Link app can be downloaded from the iTunes App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: Dyson
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Apple Music is ‘Distractingly Good’ for Taylor Swift in New Ad

Apple today debuted a new ad for its music streaming service Apple Music, this time centering around a workout session by artist Taylor Swift. The singer posted the 1-minute video on Twitter earlier this morning, captioning it as “based on true events.”

In the commercial, she begins preparing for a treadmill workout by browsing Apple Music for some workout-related songs. After navigating through the service’s recommended Activity Playlists and landing on the Running sub-category, Swift decides on a playlist called “#GYMFLOW” and begins listening to Drake & Future’s song “Jumpman.”

As the video continues, Swift gets really into the song and sings along with the lyrics, ultimately leading her to wipe out on the treadmill with the accompanying tagline for the video describing Apple Music as “distractingly good.”

Based on true events. #TAYLORvsTREADMILL @applemusic @Drake @1Future

— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) April 1, 2016

Unlike the “For You” section of Apple Music, the pre-set playlists found on the service’s New tab are the same for every user and get specifically curated for different events — like a BBQ or studying — by Apple behind the scenes.

Tag: Apple Music
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Channel 4 adds live TV streaming to the All 4 Android app

Channel 4 retired its aging 4oD platform and replaced it with the new and shiny All 4 streaming service this time last year. All 4 finally put on-demand content, live channel feeds and sundries like web shorts in one place. Well, that was true of the All 4 site and iOS app at least, but Android users have been missing out on one key feature: live TV.

They needn’t turn to other services like TVPlayer any longer, though, as the All 4 Android app has now been updated with support for live channel streaming. The timing couldn’t be better as far as Channel 4 is concerned, since the feature has arrived just before the broadcaster’s first live Formula 1 event coverage airs this weekend. As you may remember, Channel 4 acquired certain Formula 1 broadcast rights last year, after the BBC decided it could no longer afford them.

Source: Channel 4, Google Play


Reddit probably got subpoena’d by the FBI or NSA

When companies receive National Security Letters (NSLs) from the FBI or a FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) request from the NSA, they also get a gag order barring them from telling anyone. There is one way that websites can inform users that they’ve been subpoena’d without breaking the law, though: Using a “warrant canary.” Those are simply statements in transparent reports that indicate a site has not received a letter since a certain date. Reddit had one in its 2014 report (below), meaning it had never received a subpoena as of January 29th, 2015. Last year’s report, released yesterday, includes no such remark, meaning that the company did indeed receive the dreaded letter sometime last year.

Concerning the report, Reddit founder and CEO Steve “Spez” Huffman remarks, “I’ve been advised not to say anything one way or the other.” While that says a lot in itself, there’s no way to officially confirm the request or, obviously, know what data the FBI, NSA or other agency asked for.

Such letters are legally controversial, because they allow the recipient very little judicial recourse. Recently, however, a judge released details from an FBI NSL for the first time. It was challenged by internet service provider Nicolas Merrill with, with help from the ACLU. “I’ve now been under a broad gag order for three years, and other NSL recipients have been silenced for even longer. At some point — a point we passed long ago — the secrecy itself becomes a threat to our democracy.”

Via: Boing Boing

Source: Reddit


ICYMI: Health tech for VR sickness, smarter wifi and more

ICYMI: Health Tech for VR Sickness, Smarter Wifi and More

Today on In Case You Missed It: The Mayo Clinic is licensing a new system that uses electrodes to fool the brain from getting sick when it doesn’t detect movement while using a VR headset. New, open-source recycling machines will let makers transform plastics into whatever their hearts desire. And MIT designed a smarter wifi system that can tell who is inside a room and who is out, letting those in log on without needing a password.

If you’re into fire effects, check out Colin Furze’s YouTube channel for a crazy DIY’d thermite launcher. As always, please share any great tech or science videos you find by using the #ICYMI hashtag on Twitter for @mskerryd.


Sprint knows some iPhone users in SoCal can’t connect to LTE

iOS 9.3 didn’t only make it tough for a lot of users to open web links, it also rendered some Sprint subscribers unable to connect to the carrier’s LTE network. According to the social media posts by some of the carrier’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus users in Southern California, they started grappling with the technical issue after updating their mobile OS. While Sprint hasn’t issued a fix yet, it says its “network team is aggressively working to resolve the issue.” The company adds that it “expects to have a solution in place as quickly as possible.”

Here is Sprint’s official statement:

“We have confirmed reports of some customers in Southern California on Apple 6s and 6s Plus devices with iOS 9.3 that may be experiencing a loss of LTE data connectivity. Our network team is aggressively working to resolve the issue and expects to have a solution in place as quickly as possible.”

To note, some users were able to solve their problem by rebooting and updating their preferred roaming list and data profile. That solution didn’t work for everyone in that Reddit thread, though, so anyone affected should keep an eye out for Sprint’s official update.

Via: Mac Rumors

Source: Sprint


Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases today on the Play Store

It’s April 1, and while that provides an excuse for Google to unleash Snoop Dogg on the Internet, today also marks the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on digital platforms. The latest instalment in the Star Wars series of movies will today be available for purchase on the Play Store.

As well as picking up the movie itself, fans who download a copy from the store will also have a bunch of extras to check out, including deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes and videos showcasing work that went on to get props and other elements ready for filming. It’s $14.99 for the SD version, while HD will set you back $19.99.

  • Download Star Wars: The Force Awakens from Google Play

If physical is more your thing, you can see retailer listings for the upcoming April 5 launch:

  • Pre-order at Amazon
  • Pre-order at Target
  • Pre-order at Best Buy
  • Pre-order at Google Play



Surprise, surprise: The LG G5 isn’t as metal as you might think

When we first picked up the LG G5 at MWC 2016, we were surprised by the feel. We commented at the time that it had a finish that didn’t quite look and feel right.

This was something we echoed in our review having spent more time with the LG G5 – admittedly a pre-release device not running final software – where we say: “…it’s the only metal phone to feature a removable battery. That might sound like a winner but, like we say, the finish somehow looks and feels entirely plasticky.”

Well that’s because it is.

In a teardown of the new LG G5, available today in the US and launching in the UK on 8 April, it’s clear that the body of the phone is coated in fairly thick plastic. 

That perhaps explains the difference in feel between the LG G5 and something like the iPhone 6 or HTC One M9. Those latter phones are anodised and blasted smooth, resulting in a wonderful finish, whereas the LG G5 appears to have a metal core that’s then coated in plastic and painted.

This might come as something of a surprise, as LG’s language surrounding the LG G5 doesn’t quite reflect this. The company talks about “a sleek, metal uni-body” and “a sleek metal aluminum body”, but that’s not the feel you get, because you’re gripping a painted plastic coating.

The source of the teardown video, JerryRigEverything, spends some time looking at the build quality of the phone, and we’d encourage you to watch to the end for the final scratch down of the G5’s casing.

Whether this matters to you or not will very much depend on what you expect. The finish isn’t as premium as some metal unibody rivals, but then with a price of £499 SIM free, the LG G5 isn’t as expensive either. 

You can read up on our impressions of the LG G5 in our review – of course we didn’t cut the back of the phone to pieces to discover how it was made up.

READ: LG G5 review: Modular misfire?

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