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12
May

ICYMI: Sea drones, Pigeon pollution patrol and more


ICYMI: Sea Drones, Pigeon Pollution Patrol and MoreToday on In Case You Missed It: A more affordable ocean-going drone is about to hit the market for about $3,000. We doubt it can reach the amazing things continually being sighted along the Mariana Trench, but it’s fun to dream. People at the Science Museum in London are trying to rebuild the first British robot. And this happened a month ago but we just discovered it and can’t stop talking about it: Pigeons in London were sent on test flights to collect pollution stats in their tiny air quality smart vests. Please take in the splendor of this image and share with every animal freak you know.

If you’re into art, you might appreciate these modern pop-up books. As always, please share any great tech or science videos you find by using the #ICYMI hashtag on Twitter for @mskerryd.

12
May

Canon’s latest EOS M lens has a built-in ring flash


Canon’s first EOS M may have landed with a thud, but things are getting much better for the mirrorless system. The company launched the excellent EOS M3 late last year, and just revealed a very interesting lens, the EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM. A new EOS M macro lens is a big deal, since there are only seven in the family so far. What’s especially exotic about the 28mm model is that it packs a “ring flash” that can fire from the left and right sides.

The light provide gentles illumination for close-up subjects and lets you create left or right shadows by using just one side of the flash. It also helps eliminate shadows from the lens itself, considering you have to get closer than normal for a shot (Canon’s other macro lenses tend to be telephotos). Canon also says the “tapered lens top shape makes it easy to capture high-quality images at close range without casting shadows.”

At 28mm, the lens provides a 45mm full-frame equivalent field of view, which is exactly one-to-one. Given the relatively simple three-element design, I wouldn’t be surprised if it has excellent optics — the 60mm EF-S macro has a spectacular rating on B&H, for instance. It’s also got Canon’s hybrid IS stabilization system, a stepping focus motor and a “super macro” mode that gives you 1.2 times magnification.

Most importantly, Canon clearly put a lot of thought into designing the model, which is a strong sign for the EOS M system. Hopefully, it will soon launch some other much-needed lenses, especially some fast primes, so serious users won’t have to rely on an EF lens adapter. The EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens will arrive in June for $300.

Via: The Verge

Source: Canon

12
May

Apple Named World’s Most Valuable Brand Despite Recent Slowdown


Apple has been named the world’s most valuable brand in 2016, according to the latest Forbes rankings, despite posting its first negative-growth quarter since 2003 with declining sales across its iPhone, iPad, and Mac product lines.

Apple’s recent slowdown was not enough to prevent the company from securing the number one position in the list for the sixth consecutive year, ahead of rivals Google and Microsoft. Forbes placed Apple’s brand value at $154.1 billion, up 6-percent from 2015 and nearly double Google’s value of $82.5 billion.

Coca-Cola, Facebook, Toyota, IBM, Disney, McDonald’s, GE, Samsung, Amazon, AT&T, BMW, and Cisco rounded out the top fifteen. Apple Watch fashion partner Hermès ranked 48th on the list. Other notable companies listed include Intel (17th), Verizon (21st), HP (38th), Sony (76th), Netflix (79th), and T-Mobile (93rd).

Apple remains the world’s most valuable company with a market cap of over $510 billion, despite its stock being down around 30-percent from May 2015 highs. Google parent company Alphabet trails closely behind, and briefly surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable company in February.

Apple also topped Interbrand’s most valuable brand list in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Tags: Apple, forbes.com
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12
May

Taylor Swift Dances Like No One’s Watching in Newest Apple Music Ad


Taylor Swift this morning tweeted out a new ad for Apple Music, this time showcasing a playlist called “Friday Night Rocks!” recommended to the singer within the For You tab of the music streaming service.

The new commercial plays out in a way similar to Swift’s previous ad, which saw her lip syncing to Jimmy Eat World as she prepared for a night out. This time, however, she dances around her living room alone to the tune of The Darkness’ “I Believe In A Thing Called Love.”

Dance like no one’s watching @AppleMusic @thedarknesshttps://t.co/QfX9l0EXX7

— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) May 12, 2016

After the last ad, Apple Music head of content Larry Jackson confirmed that the company had created a series of commercials with Swift, and would continue a steady rollout of them, akin to the release of singles on a record.

Read More: Apple Music is ‘Distractingly Good’ for Taylor Swift in New Ad

Tag: Apple Music
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12
May

LG’s new Action CAM LTE will let you record in 4K and stream to YouTube


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LG has added a new action camera to the company’s Friend ecosystem. The Action CAM LTE supports mobile networks and allows for remote access, ideal for use as CCTV, YouTube, or even a dash camera. The best part is you can do all this without having a smartphone at hand.

The camera unit itself is IP67 rated and can be immersed in up to one meter of water for 30 minutes. The onboard 1400mAh battery allows for up to four hours of recording in 4K. The camera is a 12.3MP shooter, which can record in 30 frames-per-second in 4K or stream in 30FPS in HD. 2GB of RAM is available, alongside microSD support for up to 2TB cards.

LG will launch the Action CAM LTE next month in South Korea, followed by select markets worldwide including Europe and the U.S.

Press Release

SEOUL, May 12, 2016 ― The newest addition to LG Electronics’ (LG) Friend ecosystem is the first action camera to be available globally with LTE connectivity built-in, allowing users to stream directly to sites such as YouTube Live without a smartphone. The device, LG Action CAMLTE, will launch in South Korea next month followed by key markets worldwide including North America and Europe.

In addition to its live streaming feature, LG Action CAMLTE will offer remote access* functionality via 3G and LTE which will enable the device to be used as a CCTV camera for home monitoring or as an automobile dash camera. Action CAMLTE users can download recorded images and videos on their paired smartphones.

With a rating of IP67, the LG Action CAMLTE is completely protected from dust, sand and can be immersed in up to one meter of water for up to 30 minutes. A completely waterproof case (available in the third quarter) will enable the camera to participate in more vigorous activities such as surfing and scuba diving. With the optional mount, the LG Action CAMLTE can capture smooth videos while attached to helmets, bicycles, cars and other fast moving objects. With a generous 1,400mAh battery the camera boasts an industry-leading Full HD recording time of up to four hours.

“We are committed to expanding the LG Playground ecosystem with both modules and standalone accessories and Action CAMLTE is one of many more that we plan to announce this year,” said Juno Cho, LG Electronics and Mobile Communications Company president. “Action CAMLTE is an example of the kind of innovation we will be bringing to market, devices that offer features unavailable in other competing products.”

Prices, specifications and carrier details will be announced locally at the time of launch.

Key Specifications:

  • Camera: 1/2.3-inch 12.3MP / 1.55 x 1.55㎛pixels
  • Connectivity: LTE / 3G / Wi-Fi 802.11 b, g, n / USB Type-C 2.0 / Bluetooth 4.1
  • Video Recording: UHD 30fps / FHD 60fps / HD 120fps
  • Video Live Streaming: HD 30fps
  • Memory: 2GB RAM / 4GB ROM (OS only) / microSD (up to 2TB)
  • Size: 35 x 35 x 77.9mm
  • Weight: 95g
  • Battery: 1,400mAh
  • Others: IP67 / GPS / Accelerometer / Gyroscope
  • Color: Light Gray

12
May

You can now pre-order the Sony Xperia X at Mobiles UK


Mobiles UK has the Sony Xperia X ready for pre-order on contracts costing £32 per month with Vodafone. If you don’t mind paying £25 upfront, O2 contracts are available from £28 per month, but you’ll only be able to enjoy 1GB of data compared to the 3GB with Vodafone.

xperia-x-hands-1.jpg?itok=HrrPEegD

Specifications include a 5-inch full HD display, Snapdragon 650 processor, 23MP main shooter, 32GB of internal storage, 3GB RAM, and a 2620mAh battery. Hit the link below to learn more and to place an order.

See at Mobiles UK

12
May

You can now check the traffic before you leave on TomTom MyDrive


The TomTom MyDrive application for iPhone and Android will now inform you if there is traffic congestion on your commute home or to the office, before you’ve set off.

MyDrive Traffic Checker is a new feature that has been added to the app for free. MyDrive has always given TomTom users the ability to work out their route on a smartphone before travelling, with supported TomTom devices even picking up that route in the car.

However, traffic checking adds an extra layer, enabling users to work out the best route without encountering heavy congestion.

“Based on feedback from our customers, we developed Traffic Checker for TomTom MyDrive. Now drivers will better understand when they need to leave the house, or the office, to get to their destination on time. We’ve finally solved the headache of the commuter dilemma,” said Corinne Vigreux, TomTom’s co-founder and managing director of consumer.

READ: TomTom MyDrive bridges the gap between smartphones and cars

TomTom MyDrive is a free app on iPhone and Android and is available from the iTunes App Store and Google Play respectively.

It works with a large array of TomTom Go devices, plus TomTom Rider and TomTom Trucker satnavs.

A device does need to have a data connection to receive the MyDrive data.

12
May

LG Action Cam livestreams over 4G, is 4K and works with YouTube Live


LG has announced an addition to its Friend ecosystem, the LG Action Cam. It is capable of capturing 4K video footage and also stream content to services such as YouTube Live over a 4G connection.

Its LTE connectivity will be dependent on partnered carriers – which are yet to be announced in the UK or US – but LG has revealed that it can also be used over a 3G network if required.

The camera has a 12.3-megapixel sensor and is also Wi-Fi enabled. It has Bluetooth 4.1 support and a USB Type-C port for good measure.

Video can be recorded in Ultra HD at 30fps, Full HD at 60fps, and 720p at 120fps for slow motion capture.

Live streaming is capped at 1080p in 30fps.

There is 4GB of internal storage, with a microSD card slot capable of expanding that by up to a further 2TB.

READ: The best action cam photos in the world: Jaw, meet floor

The processor details have not been revealed, but it does have 2GB of RAM.

The LG Action Cam is perhaps larger than some rivals on the market, at 35 x 35 x 77.9mm. It weighs 95g. The camera is also IP67 water and dust proof, able to be submerged to one metre for up to 30 minutes.

The 1,400mAh battery is capable of up to four hours of Full HD recording.

Global price and release details are yet to be confirmed, but it will be available in South Korea initially, hitting shops there in June.

12
May

You’ll need to pay for BBC iPlayer from 2017


The government’s white paper on the BBC Charter has been published and one of the stand-out changes will be the expected close of what is termed the “iPlayer loophole”.

Currently, people in the UK can watch BBC programming through BBC iPlayer for free, without having to pay the BBC licence fee. As of 2017 that will no longer be an option.

BBC iPlayer access will be covered by the annual licence fee, which currently stands at £145.50. From next year, those streaming shows but not paying could be prosecuted in the same way as those watching BBC shows on TV without a licence.

READ: BBC iPlayer to embrace Ultra HD as part of the Beeb’s ‘long term plans’

The white paper even puts forward the potential of securing BBC iPlayer access behind a membership log in, much like subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Video. That way only those who have paid the licence fee can actually access it.

The government proposes that this will also benefit users when travelling to Europe on holiday, who will still be able to watch UK programming on a mobile device abroad through their log in. That’s currently not possible.

The white paper also states that the licence fee will rise over the next five years in line with inflation. It has been frozen since 2010.

12
May

Infiniti Q30 first drive: To infinity and beyond?


It’s unusual to introduce a car from a brand that some readers might not be aware of, but a quick straw poll of friends and colleagues suggests Infiniti isn’t a universally known entity. So the Q30, its compact premium hatchback, might not be at the forefront of your mind. 

Today, perhaps more than ever, most of us buy a car on the reputation or our perception of its brand. With nearly half of new car buyers not even taking a test drive that’s a challenge for companies like Infiniti. You buy a BMW because of the way you believe it drives; a Mercedes because of its class and symbol of your prosperity; an Audi for its modernity, technology and the design of its interior. But why would you buy an Infiniti?

Well, Infiniti is Nissan’s premium brand, in the same way Lexus is to Toyota. It’s an established brand too: you might have only seen the name plastered on the side of an F1 car on telly recently, but the brand has been around in the US and Japan since the 80s. It only landed in the UK towards the end of the 2000s though.

Infiniti’s European range started with the Q50 — a mid-sized executive saloon car costing over 30K, and a brave choice alternative to the default 3-series or A4 — but now the Q30 is here and is likely to open-up the brand to a much wider group of customers, given its £20K starting price.

The bad news for Infiniti is the compact premium hatchback class is awash with default choice cars. So should you try a Q30 over a Mercedes A-Class, BMW 1-Series or Audi A3? We went to its Stockport dealership to find out.

Infiniti Q30 first drive: Mini Merc

Before jumping into the car, it’s worth pausing a moment to consider the context of Infiniti’s dealer footprint. The company currently has just 14 dealerships or “centres” in the UK — which sounds like a petite footprint, but they’re well spaced and in the big city locations (Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Bristol, Birmingham, London, Cambridge, etc). Unless you’re far into the sticks, chances are there’ll be one not millions of miles from your front door.

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Plus the brand plans to expand that number quite aggressively in the near future, and service centres are being assigned alongside Nissan dealers too. Although we suspect you won’t need to take it back to the dealers much. This is a Japanese brand after all — backed by technology from Nissan and Mercedes (more on that shortly) — so we’d bet on an Infiniti rarely going wrong. And given Infiniti only found just over 2,000 buyers in the UK in 2015, chances are if you visit a dealership you’ll have the team at your beck and call.

The Q30 itself is a small, slightly high-riding hatchback car. It’s based on the same platform as the Mercedes A-Class, and what might surprise when first jumping into the cockpit is that Infiniti is using the Mercedes gauge cluster, indicator stalks, steering wheel buttons and a few other bits of switchgear wholesale. Nothing wrong with that, as the Merc kit is high quality and easy to use. With the exception of the single wand wiper/indicator stalk which is over-loaded with functions — two stalks are better than one guys, come on.

Infiniti Q30 first drive: Uphill struggle?

Nonetheless, the good news continues when you get out on the road because whereas the baby Merc plays a fake sporty vibe which dictates the ride be hard and crashy, the Infiniti has bespoke-tuned suspension and has been setup to be much more languid. Net result: the ride is much better and suits this type of car.

You’ll not struggle for space inside either. Don’t expect Nissan Qashqai levels of practicality — the Q30 isn’t a crossover — and the exterior cladding belies a ride height and seat position that’s just a fraction higher than a normal car. But the boot has 368-litres of space, which is more than an A-class or BMW 1-Series, plus those in the back don’t get too raw of a deal.

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The Q30 is available in — take a deep breath — SE, Premium, Premium Tech, Business Exec, City Black and Sport trims. We drove what’s likely to be the best-selling Premium Tech trim — LED lamps, leather seats, powered front seats, rear view camera, keyless entry, 7-inch touchscreen, but no standard nav — in the smallest 1.5 diesel engine format.

Kicking off at a £21,500 in SE trim, the Q30 sounds reasonably price. Because it is, well, until you realise you can get the Merc A-Class for £21,815. The Infiniti is better equipped and has more room inside but we can’t help feel that this relative unknown is going to face an uphill struggle when punters can park a Merc on the drive for basically the same amount of cash.

Infiniti Q30 first drive: Engine options

Our Premium Tech, 1.5 diesel manual car gets out of the car park for £26,430 — but you’ll probably want to add the InTouch Navigation system which brings DAB radio and traffic sign recognition, at a heady £1,400. Our advice? Go for Business Executive grade instead — it runs to £25,080 in 1.5 diesel format, but you get the Nav included while losing the back-up camera and keyless entry.

The 1.5 diesel engine is familiar from various Nissans, Renaults and Mercedes models. On paper it sounds a bit weedy at 109bhp, but it’s got a very wide torque band, runs in a linear — rather than peaky — manner and (for a diesel) sounds sweet and quiet.

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The Q30 covers the 0-60mph run in around 12-seconds in this setup, which sounds slow in the modern lexicon, but in practice proved absolutely fine on the road — it kept up fine in the cut and thrust of Cheshire traffic, with enough oomph out on the Derbyshire hills to deal with bumbling tractors.

A brief drive in the Mercedes-sourced 2.2 diesel suggests that while it’s got a good slug more power, you trade-off in terms of refinement: it’s a noisy, ageing engine and unless you’re desperate for more power we’d stick with the 1.5.

However, the manual gearshift is a bit long-throw. And if you want to go fully relaxed, there’s a 7-speed auto available on some models which might be worth a look, as well as 1.6 and 2.0 turbo petrol options and four-wheel drive availability.

Infiniti Q30 first drive: Tech basics

The InTouch Navigation system in the Q30 proved easy to use, with both a touchscreen and a rotary controller. Some deep menus are a bit odd and graphics aren’t that modern, but it’s easy to get your head around and didn’t get us lost.

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We’d personally choose to avoid the “liquid copper” colour scheme of the cars in our photos, but in some ways it goes with a key vibe of this small Infiniti, which is being slightly different to the crowd.

One notable Q30 quality is how the trim level really impacts on the looks. While this model has quite a luxe feel, a Sport model in a darker colour and on big, dark alloys has a much more masculine, aggressive look.

First Impressions

While nothing stands-out as class-leading — and we’re sure you’ll end up having to answer the “you drive a what?” question a million times at dinner parties and in the office — it’s hard not to like the Q30.

It’s a relaxing, nice place to spend time. It doesn’t have the classlessness of a VW Golf, the driving bite of a BMW 1-Series or the interior perceived quality of an Audi A3. But it rides better than a Mercedes A-class, so if you like to be different it proves a novel alternative which might be worth a look.

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