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19
May

Adobe Spark replaces Slate, Post and Voice, create beautiful web stories in moments


A little over a year ago Adobe launched Slate, its online service that made the creation of beautiful, content-rich web stories and pages as simple as making a photo album. It also had two additional apps, Voice and Post, to help create animated videos and graphical design respectively.

Now it has decided to group them all together under the one banner.

Adobe Spark, as it is now called, consists of three iOS mobile apps and one web app. The browser experience is completely free and gives access to powerful but easy-to-understand tools in order to create a full web experience.

You do need to sign into an Adobe ID account or create one, or use a Facebook or Google login, but you don’t have to pay for the service. The account is used to effectively link your created content between the different apps.

Spark Post, which replaces the more basically named Post, continues to offer an easy way to create social posts and graphics. Spark Page is the iOS application formerly known as Slate, so can be used to create the entire web story. And Spark Video is a more obviously named animated video creation tool.

All three apps are available on the iTunes App Store now and the web app can be found at spark.adobe.com.

19
May

Incredible PS4 GT Sport screens look like real life photos


Sony has released the initial batch of screengrabs of Gran Turismo Sport, Polyphony’s first in the series for PlayStation 4 and they are, quite simply, staggering.

GT Sport was originally announced during Paris Games Week last year but this is the first time we’ve seen so many amazing images of the game.

It is unique in terms of a Gran Turismo game in that it focuses more on motorsports rather than road vehicles. Usually GT games are about collecting cars, but this is more about winning races against the computer and online opponents.

It is also expected to be one of the first racing games available for PlayStation VR.

READ: 37 best PS4 games every gamer should own

At launch, there will be 19 race locations, with 27 different layouts. Dirt tracks will also feature and 137 cars will be drivable from the off. More will be added in time.

The game will hit the UK on 18 November, so in time for a massive Christmas push, and considering what we’ve seen of it so far, Microsoft and Turn10 will have to go some with their next Forza game.

Just have a flick through the gallery of screenshots above and just marvel at how realistic they look. We can’t wait for E3 in June to have a further play on what could be the best PS4 race game yet.

READ: E3 2016: All the launches, games and consoles to expect

19
May

What are Android Instant Apps and why do they matter?


Google announced Android Instant Apps during its Google I/O 2016 developer conference. They represent a big change in how apps are managed, as well as how many apps you might end up having on your phone in the future.

Android Instant Apps will allow users to access certain elements of a particular app, without having to install that app on your phone. Sounds great right?

How do Android Instant Apps work?

Android Instant Apps allow users to access a piece of an app to get straight to the feature or service they want, without having to install the entire app. 

For example, if you want to pay for parking but you don’t want to download the parking app for the one time you plan to park there, Android Instant Apps should mean you’ll just be able to tap and pay and be on your way, and avoid the delay of installing an app you don’t really need.

To work, Android Instant Apps will require developers to modularise their apps in order for users to be able to access and download the one particular section of an app that’s needed.

Once they have done this, which might take a while to implement depending on the structure of the app, Google Play will be able to access the section of the code it needs within the app without the app needing to be installed on the user’s device. Google has demonstrated Android Instant Apps accessed via a web link, NFC and through Google search. 

Why are Android Instant Apps useful?

Android Instant Apps should make some actions a little easier and quicker.

You won’t be downloading and installing unnecessary apps that you’ll only use once or twice. This will help ensure you’re not clogging up your internal phone memory with pointless apps.

Android Instant Apps will also make doing certain things quicker, whether that’s paying for that parking or finding a recipe on Buzzfeed, for example. It’s in its infancy now, but over time, it could very easily change the way we use our devices.

They will streamline processes to a couple of taps, where now they involve downloading an app, installing it, navigating it and finding what you need, which is a lot more than a couple of taps.

What devices will Android Instant Apps work with?

Google has said Android Instant Apps will work with Android devices running Jelly Bean and above so it isn’t just for new devices.

When will Android Instant Apps appear?

Google has said Android Instant Apps will arrive later in the year. It is currently working with a few partners including BuzzFeed, B&H Photo, Medium, Hotel Tonight, Zumper and Disney.

Google has said it will gradually expand access for developers.

You can watch the video below for more information on Android Instant Apps and what Google has to say about them. 

19
May

A San Francisco housing complex is subsidizing Uber rides


While some communities aren’t so sure about ridesharing, an upscale development is actually paying residents to use it. Parcmerced, a planned apartment complex in the southwest corner of San Francisco, has partnered with Uber to encourage residents to ditch their cars. The townhouse and apartment complex offers a $100 transit subsidy toward bus and train services, but residents must spend at least $30 of that on Uber rides. The remaining $70 (or less) can be used on a Clipper card, which gives users access to the BART and Muni light rail services.

Parkmerced is well away from any transit hubs, but the community has established a flat $5 UberPool rate with Uber to nearby BART and Muni stops. (However, it won’t contribute more than that for any Uber rides.) Depending on how often you need to travel to San Francisco, that might cover a handful of trips into the city, including public transportation.

One of the largest single-owner neighborhoods in the US, Parkmerced is touting the effort as a way to “bridge people to car-free living,” the developer told SFGate. “The long-term goal is to de-emphasize car use, bring Muni [a rail service] into the neighborhood and use 21st century solutions to transportation.” However, it’s also a cost-cutting measure, as Parkmerced plans to provide just one parking space per housing unit, half of what is normally set aside for such developments.

The experiment is a first for Uber, which says that “by literally picking up where public transportation drops off, Uber is helping give people the benefits of car ownership without the hassle or expense.” The idea also fits into recent studies showing that car ownership can be reduced if ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber can cover the “last mile” of your journey. “This is definitely cutting edge,” says US Davis transportation professor Dan Sperling.

Via: Ars Technica

Source: Parkmerced

19
May

Uber shows off its first self-driving car


Uber’s foray into the world of self-driving vehicles will become a lot more visible in the coming weeks after the company confirmed its first autonomous car will officially hit the streets of Pittsburgh. The prototype — a hybrid Ford Fusion — will assist the company in collecting mapping data while putting its self-driving capabilities to the test. Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center (ATC), which is headquartered in the city, has equipped the car with a variety of sensors including radar, laser scanner and high-resolution cameras, but a human rider will be present at all times.

While this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Uber’s prototype — it was spotted cruising the city’s streets by the Pittsburgh Business Times last year — it is the first time the company has publicly shared news of its plans. In a blog post, Uber says that the development of its self-driving technology will mean “less congestion, more affordable and accessible transportation, and far fewer lives lost in car accidents.”

Uber has already gained permission from local authorities to test its car and will use the road miles to ensure it can deal with pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers. It thinks Pittsburgh’s streets will also provide the right environment for its vehicle to learn from, with its differing road types, traffic models and weather conditions. It also helps that Carnegie Mellon is on the doorstep, allowing the company to gather experience from engineers who have already built advanced autonomous robots and Mars rovers.

The end game, it appears, is to be one of the first to market with a fleet of for-hire vehicles. General Motors will invest $500 million in Lyft to help beat Uber to the punch and Google is forging ahead with the development of its own driverless car with the idea to spin the business off into an autonomous taxi service. Each entrant needs thousands of road miles before their vehicles are ready to take passengers, suggesting you’ll see many more driverless prototypes in the wild in the months ahead.

Via: The Verge

Source: Uber

19
May

Makers of uncrackable ransomware hand over the key


The creators of a virus that forces users to pay to recover their own files seem to have turned over a new leaf. Security researchers at ESET are reporting that TeslaCrypt’s developers posted the master encryption key, enabling ESET to develop a free fix. According to the firm, the creators of the virus were “wrapping up” their activities, and when a researcher asked for the master key, it was simply handed over. ESET has subsequently been able to produce a decryption tool (available here) that’ll enable anyone affected to get their files back.

ESET has gone to great pains to point out that ransomware is still one of the largest threats to people’s data online. It advises that everyone should keep their operating system updated and use a good anti-virus, as well as making regular backups of anything they wouldn’t want to lose. There’s also the question as to why TeslaCrypt’s developers were so willing to hand over the keys, but let’s hope that they decided to do the right thing. The alternative is just too horrible to contemplate.

Via: Bleeping Computer

Source: ESET

19
May

RadioPublic aims to capture the ‘Serial’ podcast crowd


Public Radio Exchange (PRX), the non-profit behind This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, is launching RadioPublic, a company that aims to capitalize on the popularity of podcasts like Serial. The first goal for the organization is to build an app that helps users find and listen to audio programs, including “spoken-word stories, news, information, journalism and entertainment,” according to the company. Investors include some serious media players, including the New York Times, Graham Holdings and the Knight Foundation Enterprise Fund.

It will operate as a public benefit corporation, allowing it to make money while still retaining a public service mission. RadioPublic will focus on building mobile apps, which it says will come “later this year” on several platforms. Meanwhile PRX (which has its own Public Radio Player app) will continue working with producers to develop podcasts and other audio content.

Having billions of radios, essentially, in people’s pockets, is an enormous channel for distribution that is still, in many ways, up for grabs.

Jake Shapiro is now CEO of RadioPublic, having handed the PRX leadership reins to Kerri Hoffman. He tells Poynter that podcasts like Serial and WTF with Marc Maron are bucking the trend of content being consumed on social media. “Having billions of radios, essentially, in people’s pockets, is an enormous channel for distribution that is still, in many ways, up for grabs,” he says. He adds that it will differ from rival apps like NPR One by having more diverse content selection. “We absolutely see that there’s a much broader definition of high-quality, interesting, relevant audio that has yet to be served well by the podcast world.”

Via: Poynter

Source: RadioPublic

19
May

Boosted’s new electric skateboards go further, ride smoother


Many a short journey has been livened up with one of Boosted’s electric skateboards underfoot, but after selling the same line-up for a few years now, it’s time to pimp that ride. The second-generation Boosted boards unveiled today keep the same, classic longboard styling and bamboo deck, but are otherwise different beasts. For starters, the boards will now take you a lot further thanks to swappable batteries and an extended-range option that increases average distance from 6-7 miles to 12-14 miles. Bigger 80mm wheels, custom-built trucks and various improvements to the motors and transmission should make those longer trips that much smoother, too.

All the important parts are now shielded against water damage, making puddles less of an obstacle, and are “modular” according to Boosted, allowing sidewalk surfers to fix and upgrade their boards without professional assistance. There’s also a new port for powering accessories like headlights, and finally, a new dual Bluetooth radio setup for keeping a strong connection to the throttle/brake remote and Boosted’s iPhone and Watch apps. Best of all, the second-generation electric boards are selling for the same price as their predecessors: $999 for the Single, $1,299 for the Dual and $1,499 for the Dual+. When you’ve settled on what kind of top speed you’d be comfortable with, throw in an extra $100 and you’ll get the extended-range battery as standard.

Boosted is asking for a $100 refundable deposit to reserve one (no Kickstarter campaign this time around), with the first electric boards shipping towards the end of July. International certification also means riders outside the US can jump on a Boosted board for the first time. Come fall, shipping will be expanded to Australia, New Zealand and much of Europe, including the UK.

Source: Boosted

19
May

See Google’s version of a VR future in today’s live stream


It’s day two of the Google I/O developer conference and by now we’ve gotten a taste of the company’s plans for the future of messaging apps, home assistants and virtual reality. Today, VP of Virtual Reality Clay Bavor takes the stage for a deep dive into Google’s VR history and its plans going forward. Perhaps we’ll hear more about Android N’s VR mode, Google’s Daydream VR platform or its hardware goals. The show kicks off at 12PM ET in the video embedded below.

For all the latest news and updates from Google I/O 2016, follow along here.

19
May

Google is working with IMAX on a cinema-quality 3D camera


Remember last year’s I/O, when Google revealed JUMP? It was a VR content creation system consisting of a camera rig made of 16 GoPros (called, appropriately, the “Odyssey”) and some incredibly smart cloud-based processing and sharing software. Now, a year later, Google’s Clay Bavor revealed at the company’s developer conference that Hollywood was fascinated by JUMP too — that’s why Google’s working on a cinema-quality 3D camera rig in partnership with IMAX.

“IMAX, of course, is known for incredibly immersive capture and audio,” Bavor said. “And they’re going to be bringing their decades of experience with camera design, optics, sensors and more to JUMP.”

There was no indication about when the fruit of Google’s and IMAX’s efforts would see the light of day, or even how far along the two have come. Still, it’s hard not to get excited about what this partnership could mean. Bavor rightfully pointed out how stunning good at audio and video capture IMAX can be, and that expertise should propel mobile VR experiences (like the ones Google is building as part of its Daydream project) further than we’ve seen. That’s not to say VR video efforts have been altogether lacking; we’ve seen cinematic, 360-degree projects before. The Fast and the Furious and Star Trek director Justin Lin tried his hand at one of Google’s Spotlight Stories last year, and with any luck, Google and IMAX’s work could make that sort of high production value VR video the rule, not the exception.

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