Lockheed Martin’s Generation Beyond initiative aims to “inspire the next generation of innovators, explorers, inventors and pioneers to pursue STEM careers.” And what better way to spark young students’ curiosity than to give them ride on a bus that simulates a ride across the Martian surface? Passengers aboard the Mars Experience bus are treated to an immersive virtual reality adventure. As the bus moves, it makes the students feel like they’re driving across the red planet by showing 200 square miles of its surface on the boarded-up windows.
The aerospace company says the VR experience was built with the same software used for “the most advanced video games” today, which hopefully means it has great graphics. Lockheed Martin’s high-tech vehicle will tour the US to give students from different regions a chance to try it out. It’s not Generation Beyond’s only projects, though. The company is also providing a free deep space curriculum to all middle school teachers and has released an app that sends you real-time Mars weather reports.
Source: Lockheed Martin, Generation Beyond
Uber and Lyft drivers in San Francisco will have to register for a business permit if they want to continue earning money from giving and sharing rides. City Treasurer Jose Cisneros has begun sending out letters to 37,018 drivers in the city letting them know of the new requirement, according to SFGate. It’s unclear how Cisneros got a hold of their names and why he’s suddenly decided to enforce a new rule. But SFGate notes that the city is basically telling the companies that if they refuse to recognize their drivers as employees, then they have to require them to get business permits as contractors. Also, if every driver applies for one, which costs $91 a year for those who make $100,000 or less in gross receipts, then the city will make $3.37 million a year.
If you’ll recall, both companies faced and continue to battle lawsuits regarding their drivers’ status. In California, a number of contractors filed a class action suit in their quest to be recognized as employees. Anyone who wants to continue driving for either company has to register within 30 days of receiving the letter. Part of the missive says “Failure to respond… may result in penalties and payment obligations.” They can file for an application through San Francisco’s newly launched online business registration system.
In a statement sent to SFGate, Uber says that as independent contractors, its drivers “are responsible for following appropriate local requirements.” Lyft spokesperson Chealsea Wilson, however, didn’t bother hiding her company’s issue with the new requirement. “We have serious concerns with the city’s plan to collect and display Lyft drivers’ personal information in a publicly available database,” she told the publication. “People in San Francisco, who are choosing to drive with Lyft to help make ends meet, shouldn’t have to compromise their privacy in order to share a ride.”
Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, paid a visit to the Perimeter for Theoretical Physicals in Waterloo earlier today. There, he encountered a sassy reporter who seemingly didn’t expect him to know much about quantum computing. But, as it turns out, Trudeau is well-versed on the topic, so he took the opportunity to break it down for everyone the event.
This happened after the journalist started a question by saying, “I was going to ask you to explain quantum computing, but…,” followed by light chuckles. In response, Trudeau said, “Very simple: normal computers work by…,” which caused the crowd to laugh and briefly interrupt him. The Canadian PM then resumed and gave the Cliff’s Notes version of quantum computing — which was more than that reporter thought he’d know.
Mr. Trudeau, we salute you.
Source: Global News
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There was something I was supposed to do today, but I can’t quite seem to recall what it was…. Just kidding! Clearly, today is the day I write and publish the Public Access Weekly! And also the day that citizens across the U.S. dread: tax day. Or, at least preparation for tax day (which falls on Monday, April 18th this year). Since doing your taxes is generally about as much fun as a root canal with no anesthesia, file an extension, then play hooky for a bit and join us for this weeks community round up.
Story of my life right now.
In comment news, I’ve sent out emails with a brief questionnaire to all the lovely folks who volunteered to mod (Thanks volunteers!) but I also wanted to update everyone else — We’re currently working on testing tools for the moderators to use, and getting resources together. We’re aiming to have a mod team ready to hit the comments section in full force within the next three weeks, so brace yourself because there will be an increasing amount of focus on moderating (and improving) the comments section.
That’s right. We’re creating a Mod Squad. ©ABC Television
We’re also still cross-posting Public Access stories to the Engadget home page! It’s been a few weeks since our last crossover article but Public Access members can still see their posts appear on our home page. As a reminder, if you’d like to have your post considered for the Engadget home page your post must: be original work, with an image (that you have the rights to, or is legally available for use), have correct grammar and spelling, and cannot be focused on promoting your business or be marketing/PR/SEO style writing. While Public Access is a user contributed site that focuses mainly on users tech opinions and thoughts, we’re really pretty flexible about what goes up on Public Access — but the reality is, we’re a consumer-level publication and the Public Access articles that do best are ones that focus on end-user’s experiences (not on business’ needs).
Looking for something to read? Check out:
My fella — who suffers from tinnitus — and I often bemoan the damage we’ve certainly done to our hearing at various times in our lives, from punishingly loud music at shows to days spent with earbuds in and music cranked. Between streaming music services and open office floor plans, it seems a lot of folks are pushing the limits of loud and some are already saying this will produce serious consequences in the future.
We often say that the internet is forever — heck there’s even a Criminal Minds episode titled such — because everything from your embarrassing LiveJournal from the summer of 2000 to unflattering images of a pop star performing at the Super Bowl have a way of remaining instantly digitally accessible. But that doesn’t stop people from trying; to whit, UC Davis recently spent thousands of dollars to clean up its search results and online reputation after an incident in 2011 where campus police pepper sprayed protesting students…. which seems to have immediately backfired as search results now display news posts covering the reputation management.
This piece covers IP mapping, its flaws and shortcuts that resulted in toilets being left in the front yard of the Taylor farm: “If it [the software] knows only that an IP address is somewhere in the U.S., and can’t figure out anything more about where it is, it will point to the center of the country.” This… is causing some issues for the Taylors.
Looking for something to write about? Mull over:
This article about Layer3’s service prompted a lot of conversations in the comments about various streaming services, cable packages and devices and made us wonder: What is your ideal entertainment package? Would you insist upon an a la carte option? Want everything to run through gaming consoles like PlayStations Vue? Tell us what your ideal cable/set-top/streaming entertaiment service looks like — or, write a beginners guide for cord cutters.
We posted this article covering the video leak of the new HTC “10” smartphone, and felt ourselves nodding along to one of the comments in particular: “Why is it hard to now get excited about smartphones? I think we are reaching a point where there is just not much to look forward to expect increased internals and a few design changes.” Now, it’s one thing for tech reviewers to be feeling a bit of burn out, but when consumers and users feel the same way? Well, then we wonder if maybe we’ve hit peak saturation of the smartphone market. Are you having a hard time getting excited about new smartphones? If so, tell us why and what it would take to get you thrilled about the category again.
What would it take to make you this excited about a smartphone?
AMC CEO Adam Aron recently mentioned the company was considering permitting movie theatre patrons to use their phones during showings and people immediately started having feelings that resulted in an immediate about-face from AMC. But the issue of etiquette and technology remains. Weigh in with your thoughts on the issue, tell us what proper smartphone etiquette should be in movie theatres, or how you would go about enforcing smartphone rules for movie theatre patrons.
Massive multimedia conglomerate Verizon is reportedly looking to overhaul one of its key consumer offerings. According to Variety, the company is preparing a next-generation “IP TV service,” with a planned launch in one of its existing FiOS markets later this year. Details are sketchy on how exactly this new service will work, but it sounds like it’ll be centered around a new set-top box. Earlier this week, Verizon filed FCC documents for a new box that would include the OnCue internet video technology that the company picked up from Intel over two years ago.
Variety says that this new box will offer a totally new interface that combines paid TV services alongside internet video options like Netflix. It also seems plausible that the new Verizon service will pull in online video programming from the company’s recent purchase of AOL (Engadget’s parent company). That combo of live paid TV services along with popular streaming options has been the holy grail that cable companies and consumer technology companies have been chasing for some time, but it remains an elusive goal.
Indeed, one of the big innovations for this next-gen service won’t really be consumer-facing: Verizon is reportedly planning to move to an entirely IP-based delivery system rather than the current QAM format. QAM pushes all the content that a provider offers at all times, whereas an IP-based solution only delivers exactly what the customer is watching at a given time — this could lead to major bandwidth savings for Verizon. This move is apparently a big part of why Verizon purchased OnCue from Intel in the first place.
One change that would definitely be noticed by consumers is a potential new name — as Variety notes, the released FCC documents contain no mention of the FiOS brand. Of course, it’s worth noting these documents are redacted and don’t really point to Verizon’s branding strategy. But it’s entirely possible that Verizon will take this opportunity to banish FiOS and start fresh.
Yet another part of this strategy could relate to Verizon’s ambitions to build a large-scale ad network to compete with the likes of Google and Facebook. A new internet-based TV service could provide the company with a new place to serve ads to its customers, but that’s just speculation at this point. Either way, we should find out what Verizon is up to before the year is out, at least for customers in some of the company’s markets.
Jony Ive’s design team has created a one-of-a-kind 12.9-inch iPad Pro, iPad Pro Smart Cover, and Apple Pencil holder that will be auctioned off as part of a fundraiser for the London Design Museum, reports Wallpaper.
The iPad Pro has been anodized with a bright yellow dye, making it unique among Apple’s standard color lineup of Space Gray, Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold. Compared to the Gold iPad Pro, it’s a much brighter, more vibrant shade of yellow.
Unique and exclusive customised design by the Apple Design Team for Time for Design.
Jony Ive showed a prototype mobile phone at the Design Museum in 1990, long before he started working for Apple. He was winner of the museum’s first ‘Designer of the Year’ award in 2003 for the iMac. To support the museum, he and his team in Cupertino have designed this special iPad Pro in a unique colour numbered Edition 1 of 1.
Accompanying the yellow iPad Pro is Smart Cover made from a blue French leather and an Apple Pencil ensconced in an orange Italian calf leather case. According to the auction listing, the iPad Pro’s back and the Smart Cover are etched with the words “Edition 1 of 1.”
The iPad Pro has an estimated value of GBP10,000 – 15,000, the amount it is expected to fetch at auction. It will be available to bid on starting on April 28.
Apple has donated specially designed items for charity auctions several times in the past, with Jony Ive creating a red Mac Pro and solid gold EarPods, among other items.
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In February, Major League Baseball introduced multitasking to its At Bat iPad app, allowing users to view its video inside the app while using Slide Over and Split View as well as outside the app with picture-in-picture. MLB tells TechCrunch that the adoption of the features has had a “profound impact” on live video consumption on iPad.
During the first two weeks of the current baseball season, MLB found that fans who had the multitasking update spent 20 more minutes per day watching live video on the iPad compared to last year. On average, fans who used the new multitasking options while watching video were spending 162 minutes a day watching MLB’s content, which is an 86 percent increase from last year. Fans who did not use the multitasking features while watching video watched an average of 101 minutes per day.
MLB’s data was only counted on iPads that support full multitasking capabilities, like the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4, although Slide Over is also available on the iPad Air and the iPad mini 2 and later. As noted by TechCrunch, MLB’s app was already the most consumed app in terms of minutes, with users watching 6.9 million minutes of content during the 2015 regular season. ESPN was in second place with 6.1 million minutes.
MLB At Bat is available in the App Store for free. [Direct Link]
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If Outlook is your go-to email app, you can now look forward to managing your email from your wrist. Coming along in the latest update to Microsoft’s email app is Android Wear support, meaning you can check email notifications, respond with canned replies and much more from your watch.
Here’s how Microsoft describes the integration:
This week, we’re bringing the best of Outlook to Android Wear. Stop reaching out for your phone, everything is now happening on your watch. Check your Outlook notifications, read your new emails and reply with pre-set messages or voice dictation right from your wrist. It’s never been that easy to manage your inbox.
The update is currently rolling out on Google Play, so it may not be immediately available for everyone. Still, if you own an Android Wear watch and use Outlook, you’ll soon be able to check it out on your wrist.