Golden State Warriors
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The Golden State Warriors set an NBA single-season record this year with 73 wins and are currently facing the Cleveland Cavaliers for the championship. Part of the reason for that success can likely be attributed the team’s use of tech to track player performance and physical activity. CNET has the story on all the gadgetry and how the Warriors are using it to ensure they continue their winning ways.
The man who’s keeping 1990s virtual reality machines alive
Some roots of the current VR boom are alive and well thanks to one man in the UK.
The trailers for ‘Ghostbusters’ (2016) and the art of editing comedy
Trailers for the new Ghostbusters movie are edited differently based on location and other factors. As it turns out, small tweaks make a big difference.
What Silicon Valley’s billionaires don’t understand about the first amendment
This piece from The Guardian offers some great insight into Peter Thiel’s battle against Gawker.
The kingdom of crying Kim Kardashian
Celebrity emoji apps are all the rage right now, but how did we get here? Crying Kim Kardashian may hold the answers.
Barbecue season has begun in the United States, and folks are dusting off their charcoal and propane grills for the first time in months to welcome the warmer weather. However, outdoor cooks have another option — if they’re adventurous enough to try cooking with the power of the sun. The concept of a solar ovens isn’t new; in fact, it’s probably quite ancient. But technological advancements made it possible to increase efficiency and make it easier to cook without traditional fuel. There are high-tech options field tested in remote terrain, a tubular solar cooker that reaches 550 Farenheit within just a few minutes, and even a super hot “death ray” that could have produced some tasty results, if it hadn’t self-destructed.
The 12-inch MacBook is attractive and compact, but not without compromises. When the original came out last spring, our reviewer Dana Wollman took issue with its lackluster performance and lack of ports outside of a USB-C connection. Still, the MacBook was good enough to warrant a refresh in 2016 that delivered more battery life and improved performance. Now, ASUS is getting in on the minimalist act with its new ZenBook 3. At a glance, the new MacBook and ZenBook 3 seem quite similar indeed, with small, lightweight designs and, well, not many ports. While we’ll certainly put the Zenbook 3 through its paces in a full review, a quick peek at the specs reveals two machines similar in profile, but with the potential for very different performance.
|Price||$999 / $1,499 / $1,999||$1,299 / $1,599|
|Dimensions||296 x 191.2 x 11.9mm (11.65 x 7.53 x 0.47 inches)||280 x 196.5 x 13.1mm (11.04 x 7.74 x 0.52 inches)|
|Weight||910g (2 pounds)||920g (2.03 pounds)|
|OS||Windows 10||OS X El Capitan|
|Display||12.5-inch LED-backlit LCD||12-inch LED-backlit LCD with IPS|
|Resolution||1,920 x 1,080||2,304 x 1,440|
|Processor||Intel Core i5 6200U or Core i7 6500U||Intel Core m3 (1.1GHz) or Core m5 (1.2GHz)|
|Memory||16GB / 64GB||8GB|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics 520||Intel HD Graphics 512|
|Storage||256GB / 512GB / 1TB SSD||256GB / 512GB SSD|
|WiFi||802.11ac with WIDI||802.11ac|
|Battery||40 WHr||41.4 WHr|
The Good The Acer Predator G6 fits our VR sweet-spot components into a big, distinctive case for under $2,000. Performance is great, basic software overclocking is built in, and there’s a swappable drive bay in the front.
The Bad You really have to like the sci-fi tank look to appreciate the design. Not enough front- or top-panel ports for all your VR accessories. The case interior is not as user-accessible as some.
The Bottom Line The big, bold Acer Predator G6 scores for VR performance, but it’s not exactly the most sophisticated-looking desktop we’ve ever seen.
The Acer Predator desktop line has some of my favorite promotional copy of all time, at least when it comes to PCs. “Fight on the forefront of intergalactic gaming with a commanding advantage,” the Predator’s splash page says, promising that the system will “crush 4K gaming and prepare for virtual reality,” while allowing you to “power-up for galactic domination.”
It all fits in with the extreme design of this gaming desktop, which looks like the tank tread of some kind of future war machine. Or, as Acer describes it, an “intimidating armor-inspired design.” Even the airflow vent directing air from the front to the back of the chassis is called an IceTunnel (as in, “Gaming is hot, so stay cool with IceTunnel cooling system”).
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Behind that somewhat goofy exterior and hyperbolic marketing-speak, is a set of components that we consider the sweet spot of first-gen VR desktops, with an Intel Core i7 6700K CPU and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 graphics card (but the just-announced GeForce 1080 card will probably eclipse that soon). This configuration also includes 16GB of RAM and a 2TB HDD/256GB SSD storage combo for a very reasonable $1,999. Different configurations are available internationally, starting at £1,299 in the UK. Only the smaller, newer Predator G1 tower is currently available in Australia, starting at AU$3,299.
Acer Predator G6
|4GHz Intel Core i7-6700K|
|16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2133MHz|
|4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 980|
|256GB SSD + 2TB 7200rpm HDD|
|802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
While most of the VR-ready desktops we’ve tested and reviewed have plenty of ports on the front or top panels, the Predator G6 has only two USB 3.0 ports, a media card reader and headphone and mic jacks. Keep in mind your VR setup may require a couple of USB ports, plus one more for an Xbox gamepad (at least for the Oculus Rift), and you’ll need ports for the included keyboard and mouse. Fortunately, there are four more USB 3.0 and two more USB 2.0 ports around the back. That in-the-box keyboard and mouse combo might be wired, but it’s a nice, hefty SteelSeries set, one of the better pack-in accessory sets I’ve seen.
In a story that mostly proves Facebook really doesn’t manipulate what stories are popular on its service, today the company responded to a rumor that its app is listening in on users. This time around, the rumor started in an article from The Independent reporting that a communications professor from USF noticed Facebook serving ads with topics similar to stuff she’d discussed near her phone. Not surprisingly, the story spread rapidly on Facebook, and today the company responded with a statement trying to clear up the situation. As it said to Gizmodo: “Facebook does not use microphone audio to inform advertising or News Feed stories in any way. Businesses are able to serve relevant ads based on people’s interests and other demographic information, but not through audio collection.” Clear enough?
Recently FUD stories like this have spread as a result of incomprehensible terms of service wrapped in so much legalese that no one knows what they’re really agreeing to. This time however, the fuel appears to be app permissions on Android and iOS. While Facebook does list a permission to use the microphone on iOS and Android, it’s only activated when a user tries to identify something like music or a TV show.
Unfortunately, most people aren’t sure what the permissions mean — even an app like Skype with an obvious need for access has to explain it — and assume anything listed might be in use at any particular time, no matter how unlikely that is. That said, if you do want to make sure Facebook does not have access to your microphone, you can disable it on either mobile platform. On iOS, just go to settings, select Facebook, and move the slider for microphone to off, or on Android, if you look under Apps in the settings menu, find Facebook and select permissions, you should see a similar slider for the microphone.
Today on In Case You Missed It: A company called FoldiMate is selling a standalone machine to sit alongside a washing and dryer and fold about 20 garments at a time for $850. Cornell University engineers are sending tiny interstellar computers to the ISS this summer, there they will act as satellites and, eventually, collect information from our nearest neighboring star system, Alpha Centauri.
We also round up the week in our TL; DR segment. If you grew up playing The Sims, this piece of news might interest you. We’re also very interested in the Visa payment ring the Olympic athletes can wear in Rio. As always, please share any great tech or science videos you find by using the #ICYMI hashtag on Twitter for @mskerryd.
The Good From baking to broiling, the GE JGB700SEJSS gas range is consistent when it comes to cooking food well. It also costs $1,000, which makes it one of the more affordable options we’ve reviewed.
The Bad The range lacks bells and whistles you might find on other units, such as a convection roast mode or an oven light you can turn on while your food bakes.
The Bottom Line The GE JGB700SEJSS is a solid oven for a good price.
Visit manufacturer site for details.
Manufacturers are quick to roll out new ovens loaded with impressive bonus features that drive the price of an appliance well into four (or even five) digits — LED lights surrounding the burner knobs, specialized baking modes to cook foods like pizza or chicken, even Wi-Fi and connected apps. It’s up to you to determine if you must have these sparkly extras in your next appliance purchase. But the GE JGB700SEJSS gas range makes a strong case for minimalism.
This $1,000 stainless-steel range is consistent in its ability to cook food well. It’s also easy to use and includes some simple add-ons that make cooking a little easier, such as a convection fan in the oven and an integrated griddle on the cooktop. And its price makes this appliance more affordable than units with more features.
The GE JGB700SEJSS is slim on cooking modes and lacks the sturdy physical presence of more expensive stainless-steel units, but that’s no surprise for a $1,000 large appliance. It also won’t break any records when it comes to cooking times. Minor faults aside, the JGB700SEJSS is no slouch in the kitchen, and a worthwhile purchase for a home cook that cares more about functionality than flash.
This GE range costs $1,000, and its performance…
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Basic doesn’t mean boring
This GE range is a 30-inch wide freestanding model with a stainless-steel finish.
Unlike more expensive ranges, the GE JGB700SEJSS doesn’t aspire to look like a professional-grade appliance. This unobtrusive range resembles other freestanding models with back panel controls and a row of burner knobs along the front of the unit. None of the features seem particularly strong; the knobs feel light, and the touch controls for oven temperature take a little extra “oomph” when you press them.
The griddle limits what you can do with the center burner, but it’s a good tool to have if you like this type of cookware.
The most notable feature of the oven is its five-burner cooktop. Cast-iron continuous grates cover the four burner on the left and right of the cooktop, and an integrated griddle covers the center oval burner. There aren’t any included grates you can replace the griddle with, so you’d have to switch out one of the grates on the side if you want to cook something over the center burner but don’t want to use the griddle. This is limiting if you don’t often use a griddle or need a fifth burner for a particularly active day of cooking. However, the griddle is a good size (it can hold six sandwiches at a time), so folks who often cook items like pancakes, bacon or eggs will be delighted to have it.
Just a few features, but lots of quality cooking
The GE JGB700SEJSS performed well in all of the cooking tests through which I put it. None of the results were earth-shattering, but this appliance was no slouch. The range stands up to more expensive competitors when it comes to its ability to cook food consistently well in an average amount of time, even without special features.
What a week! Not only was it Public Access’ first birthday this week — And a very happy birthday to all of you who make Public Access what it is! — But we also have stats on all the stories from May, details on a comments upgrade, special anniversary topic suggestions and an upcoming mini-contest to find our next Q&A interviewee. So. Many. Activities!
If you’d like to help us celebrate Public Access’ first birthday, you can check out our birthday post (which includes a traditional Public Access style GIF party); we’ve also got a story up that highlights the twelve most-read Public Access stories of the past twelve months. A hearty congratulations to all the authors featured in that story, and a heartfelt happy birthday and thank you to all Public Access members — we literally could not do it without you!
Over in the comments section, you may have noticed that we now have a user history enabled which means if you click on a user’s screenname you’ll get a pop up menu that displays all of that users comments. Clicking on the black box with an arrow next to the date will take you to the article that particular comment appeared in. It looks like this:
Lastly, keep an eye on the Public Access home page on Monday; we’ll be releasing the Q&A contest post that I mentioned in the birthday post — All the Public Access Weekly headlines are veiled pop culture references and the member or reader who guesses the most correctly will be our next Q&A star. Monday’s post will have all the titles, and entry details so if you’d like to be our next Q&A interviewee, this is your chance!
Hey how about some Public Access story stats from May?
- 90 total articles went live in May! Ninety. 9–0. That’s not only the best month we’ve had all year — it’s also the best month we’ve had since our launch month (June 2015). AND, it’s the fifth month in a row that our post count has beat the previous month. AND that is freakin’ awesome.
- 45 different Public Access members published posts — including 26 members who put up their very first stories. Welcome to all those new members!
- The Public Access member with the most posts published in May is: Dianna Labrien, who published nine posts in May. Second-place is a two-way tie between Lovisa Alvin and Jerry Li who each published six posts.
And the top 10 most read Public Access posts for May (as always, not counting the Public Access Weekly) were:
Double Play: How sports games reach deeper into gamers’ pockets by Richard Starr
How Technology is Changing our Vacations: Relive All of your Vacation Memories with These Three Travel-Sized Cameras by Daniel Choi
How Much Internet Speed Do You Really Need? by Sarah Pike
How Android is Making Its Mark in Medical and Health Technology by Alice Williams
Samsung Releasing Smart Contact Lenses That Are Straight Out of Spy Movies by Dianna Labrien
How Social Networks are Bringing Communities Closer Together by Allan Smith
Copenhagen Calling – Denmark Has A Thriving Start-up Scene To Rival Its World-Beating Business Culture by Edmund Ingham
Wine Merchants Across The UK Are Collaborating With Disruptive Tech Startup That Wants To Be The Amazon Of Wine by Edmund Ingham
The Final Fantasy Soundtrack: A Reflection by Mark Zita
Operation Finish All the Games: April 2016 by Kris Naudus
Looking for something to read? Check out:
Of all of our coverage of Computex 2016, Devindra’s hands-on experience with the Asus Zenbook 3 was one of the most popular — and people are not happy about the single USB port (and not in love with Asus support either).
Watch me guest host our ICYMI video show while Kerry was on vacation! Or, you know. Don’t. My feelings won’t get hurt.
Dan reviewed the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep — a gadget that purports to help busy new parents prepare bottles for their infants. As with anything child-related or parent-oriented, folks in the comments had plenty of opinions and advice about his findings.
Looking for something to write on? Mull over:
A bill currently working its way through our legislative system is designed to ensure that retail companies inform their customers of data breaches — While the various details of HR 2205 get hashed out, tell us how should companies handle data breaches? What kind of response would you expect, or consider to be responsible, from a retail store whose data has been compromised?
Later this month, 72 new tiny emoji will be available including bacon, avocado and facepalm emoji’s. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to tell us in a Public Access post what emoji you are sorely lacking in your digital life. Maybe like me, you’re dying for a skateboard emoji or a vinyl record emoji. What emoji should get added next?
If you’re a Public Access member be sure to check out the Topic Suggestion tag after you sign in — we’ve re-released the first three Public Access topic suggestions (Growing up geek, Your first screen name, and A haiku for your ISP) for our one-year anniversary. They’ll be available for a limited time, so snap ’em up while they’re back!
Microsoft Outlook made its debut on current wearables with an Apple Watch app last year, before launching an Android Wear app in April. Now Microsoft has gone a step further, by updating its app with an Android Wear watchface. Outlook users with a Wear device get details on their day’s schedule, next upcoming meeting or unread messages right on their initial screen, without needing to dive into an app or wait for a notification. If your work setup is centered around Outlook instead of Gmail, it should make dealing with scheduling and messages far easier — grab the latest update from the Play Store and sync apps on your Android watch to get the latest version.
Source: Microsoft Office Blog, Play Store