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11
Jun

Fiat 124 Spider review: More than an MX-5 remix


“I want a doctor to take a picture, so I can look at you from inside as well,” goes the line from The Vapors’ Turning Japanese. Well, cut into the Fiat 124 Spider and you would indeed find a Japanese rather than Italian core: the car shares its chassis, suspension and rear-wheel drive platform with the Mazda MX-5.

So does it sing the same tune? Not precisely, it’s in a different language, but you’ll still be singing along with the wind in your hair nonetheless. The Fiat has the same 1.4-litre turbocharged engine as you’ll find in, say, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and other cars across the Chrysler group’s portfolio, not the 1.5-or 2.0-litre options (minus the turbo) of the Mazda. There’s also an all-new exterior; every panel of the 124 differs to the MX-5, cutting a bulkier, better-looking and less curvaceous design than its Mazda cousin, one that riffs off the 1966 original 124 Spider.

So has Fiat got a number one hit on its hands in the guise of the all-new 124 Spider? It’s an interesting progression over the 1966 original; think of it like the remastered remix for 2016. We spent a day driving around its home-from-home of Italy to find out if it thumps a new beat.

Pocket-lint

Fiat 124 Spider review: Mazda, remixed

Inevitably there will be Mazda MX-5 vs Fiat 124 Spider comparisons all day long. Indeed, if you’re in the market to buy an affordable two-seater sports car (if it can precisely be called that) then, well, these are the two most obvious options and come in at similar price points. The Fiat’s £19,545 starting price is slightly more expensive, but not by a huge amount (we’ll come to trim specifics later).

The most apparent difference is that the Fiat only comes in its 1.4TB engine derivative, with no other options anticipated in the UK. At launch it’s a 6-speed manual only, too, with an auto option expected later down the line – but only sheepishly confirmed by the Italian team at the Fiat 124 Spider’s launch event in Verona, Italy.

Now, as sports cars go that’s not exactly a huge, thwapping great engine – it delivers 140bhp and a top speed of 134mph. The top-spec Mazda squeezes a 2.0-litre (157bhp) option under its hood, but minus the turbo, meaning it can take a little more momentum at middling gears to really wind it up to rowdy – but get there it does, and in wilder style once it’s up to speed. The Fiat is all about high revs in the lower gears, but more torque in the middle range.

Pocket-lint

Saying that, the 124 Spider’s 1.4TB has really apparent turbo lag and is just a little less peppy overall. The Italian tuning of the 6-speed box also means a very short first gear – with a short bite point on a very long clutch, making it surprisingly easy to stall – which quickly ramps up the revs, before second and third gears show a lift from that turbo if you push foot to the floor.

The Fiat ultimately feels tuned for a more refined ride. Its brakes are quite soft, requiring a firm press of the pedal to result in any kind of jerky response; the gearbox makes it very difficult to skid away out of control; and cornering around steep mountain bends is well handled thanks to cushioning suspension – you’re not going to be drifting at a 45-degree angle by any means. The Mazda is more of a loose cannon which, arguably, makes it more fun.

But what do you really want from a car? Fiat has done a good job of reining things in for a comfortable, controlled delivery that, realistically, will suit many drivers better anyway.

Pocket-lint

Fiat 124 Spider review: Design

Besides, the Fiat 124 Spider is the better looking car out of the two. Plenty of people will probably disagree with us here, but it’s one of those cars that looks even better when it drives past than it does in pictures. We prefer its more shoulder-padded body panels and aggy headlamps compared to the smoother, squinter MX-5 too. Oh and the alloy wheels’ design too.

And let’s not overlook the interior. All the UK-spec 124 Spider cars will come with button-press keyless start (you’ll be pleased for it after stalling), those alloy wheels, leather steering wheel and gear knob, aircon and Bluetooth connectivity.

If you want the leather seats with exposed stitching as per our car then you’ll have to push up to the mid-level Lusso trim. With the black paint job (£500) of our test car that brings in a total bill of £22,795. Which is competitive to the MX-5 in 2.0 form.

Pocket-lint

Sat inside and those 124 Spider seats are rather comfy, although the leather certainly encourages the body heat to soar (especially in 32-degree sun with the top down). There’s space enough for two people, but that’s pretty much it: other than one little cubby hole, which proved useful for sealed bottles of water, and one lift-up storage well, it’s just you and the car. No cup holders, no nonsense really. The boot is rather dinky too, at 140-litres, big enough for a couple of bags rather than a full-size suitcase.

The pared-back interior space is matched with a fairly simple tech setup too, much like the Mazda. The steering wheel goes up and down only, not forward and back; the trio of drivers’ dials behind are tricky to read in sunlight so you’ll all but ignore them (and assume you’re not doing 90 down a 50 road); and the individual aircon dials are rather plasticky and basic. That’s pretty much your lot.

Funnily enough we had been driving the Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.4TB ahead of this launch, which comes with a dynamic/normal/eco switch. No sign of this in the 124 Spider though, which we think is a shame. For a sporty roadster it’s actually quite quiet; you don’t get that rorty burble from the exhaust and because of the gearing it’s tricky to get much of an impressive sound out of it at all. We wanted more audio grunt.

But for all its smallness and simplicity, just look at those sweeping curves and eye-catching design. That’s what this car is all about; nobody is going to buy a centoventiquattro (as the Italians like to call it) to do a run to B&Q. Or the school run for that matter.

Pocket-lint

Fiat 124 Spider review: At the controls

When it comes to tech Fiat uses the Uconnect system. That protruding 7-inch screen to the centre console can be controlled by touch or – and this was our preference – there’s a rotational dial with joystick-like nudge controls to the centre tunnel. There are buttons to handle quickly navigating to major areas too, so you can dip into music, nav, or return to home screen with ease.

Now, the system isn’t up to the high-end levels of the German brands – Audi, et al, are really brimming with goodness when it comes to touchpad controls and speedy responses – but it works well enough and does what you’ll predominantly want. There are also two exposed USB ports to charge-up and connect devices, if you so wish.

The tech is separate from the overall drive though. There’s no traction controls – physical button or digitally accessed – which we found to be a surprise, while the Safety page within the menu settings is void of anything whatsoever. We’re not implying that it’s not safe, of course, because like we say this Fiat is the more sensible and controlled option to pick over the Mazda anyway.

Pocket-lint

So the tech is basic, but it works just fine. And with the phone linked-up to the Bose sound system to pump out the tunes, soft top down, we were happy as Larry while plugging along the Italian roads. Sometimes tech is slightly superfluous when all you want is the wind in your hair, music and sat nav (all of which are available here).

Verdict

If you’re in the market for a pretty two-seater roadster then the Fiat 124 Spider, in our view, bests the Mazda MX-5 to top of the charts in the looks department.

However, it’s a more controlled and more casual machine by comparison. Which is perhaps surprising, given it’s an Italian take on a Japanese classic; a classic remastered in a new, remixed, guise. It’s got all the comfort and cool down to a tee, but perhaps lacks a bit of the insanity that we were expecting from an Italian brand.

Still, as sporty roadsters go, the Fiat 124 Spider offers plenty for its asking price. We’d like a bit more grunt from that 1.4-litre engine, though, given the turbo lag. But if chic, cool and controlled is what you’re after then this lil beaut will certainly turn heads and satisfy that roadster craving no problems.

The big question that remains, of course, is whether to bust that £23k on this or the 2.0-litre Mazda MX-5. Or perhaps the 170bhp 124 Spider Abarth. You’ve got until September to contemplate, though, as that’s when the 124 Spider will hit UK forecourts, almost three months after its 18 June Italian debut (and just in time for the impending British winter, obviously).

11
Jun

Recommended Reading: Gary Numan’s fascination with Moog synths


His friend electric:
Gary Numan and
the Moog

DJ Pangburn,
The Quietus

The list of musicians Gary Numan has influenced is a mile long. During his three-night residency at Moogfest in May, the artist sat down with The Quietus to discuss lots of things, but in particular, his decades-long affinity for Moog synths.

Life extension technology gives us a bleak future: more white men
Charlotte Shane, Fusion

A great look at those looking to extend their lives, and what it could mean for the rest of the world.

The highest-tech stadium in sports is pretty much a giant Tesla
David Pierce, Wired

Its owners want the new Sacramento Kings arena to update nightly, just like a Tesla.

Moog let its engineers spend 10 months on an art project
John Paul Titlow, Fast Company

The Global Modular Synthesizer is a massive wall-mounted synth that took nearly a year to make, with the help of Tokyo artist Yuri Suzuki.

Siemens is building an army of collaborative spider robot factory workers
Sean Captain, Fast Company

Siemens is combining two of our worst fears to make multiple robots collaborate on projects.

11
Jun

Watch NRO’s spy satellite blast off to space at 1:30PM Eastern


United Launch Alliance (ULA) has a pretty significant launch scheduled for today. It will attempt to send the spy satellite-carrying Delta-IV Heavy rocket to space again after scrubbing its original launch on June 9th due to bad weather. This is only the massive rocket’s ninth flight after the first one blasted off in 2004. The Delta-IV Heavy is capable of packing 14,900 pounds of payload and can ferry satellites to geosynchronous orbit. While we know that it’s an NRO (National Reconnaissance Office) mission codenamed NROL-37, its other details are actually classified.

NASA Spaceflight believes NROL-37 is carrying an Orion spy satellite that the agency uses to intercept signals in space as part of its intelligence-gathering efforts. Whatever the mission’s details are, you’ll be able to watch the rocket take off. ULA will stream the launch online starting at 1:31 PM Eastern time today from the launchpad at Cape Canaveral in Florida. You may want to grab some snacks, a book or a game to play while waiting, though. Universe Today warns that ULA is keeping the rocket’s exact launch time a secret. It could be shortly after the livestream begins — the company did say that blastoff is planned for 1:51 PM — but it could be hours later, as well.

Via: Universe Today, NASA Spaceflight

Source: ULA

11
Jun

Relive the ’80s with the Korg Volca FM synthesizer


Synths are great. You push a key, turn a few knobs and suddenly you’re making “music.” So when keyboard maker Korg realized it had a hit with its low-cost, entry-level Monotron series, it was only natural to follow it up with something that had a little more bite. Enter the Volca line keyboards. At $160, they’re not in the same impulse-purchase range as the $50 Monotrons, but at least one of these synthesizers is a welcome addition for would-be Kraftwerk disciples workings toward converting their garage into sprawling mess of wires and flashing lights.

Of the highly focused new Volca models (bass, loops, beats, etc.) I tested the Volca FM, which is based on the wildly influential Yamaha DX7 digital synth. Both use frequency modulation to create a “metallic” sound — sort of as if your keyboard were attached to a piece of aluminum siding. It’s a crisp timbre that was used extensively in the 1980s by artists like Depeche Mode, Kenny Loggins (DANGER ZONE!), Phil Collins, Tears for Fears, both Janet and Michael Jackson, and really anyone you’d find on a “totally ’80s!” playlist.

Sure, the pedigree is impressive (DANGER ZONE!), but what really matters is that the Volca FM is a powerful little synth you can pick up for $160.

Similar to the Monotron line, the Volca FM has a ribbon keyboard so you’re not going to be hammering out complex songs in real time on the touch-sensitive layout. Still, thanks to the step sequencer that can link as many as 16 sequences of 16 steps together, so you can build incredibly elaborate patterns. It even records knob twists. So if you want to crank up the modular decay during a certain hit that’s part of your final loop, go for it.

It’s all great until you try to edit a sequence. While building out your steps, going back to correct a mistake or just make an adjustment is frustrating, and I usually ended up starting over. For simple patterns it’s not that big a deal. But if you’re creating something complex, get ready for a long night of throwing your hands in the air.

But the Volca is so crammed with features that any minor frustration is quickly eclipsed when you’re playing the arpeggiator, LFO, chorus and the choice of three voice polyphonic sounds, monophonic or mono setting. It even supports the file formats of the DX7 so you can add additional sound patches. The deeper you dive into this keyboard, the better the value.

The electronics are housed in a smoky translucent case that feels solid enough to handle being transported to gigs. There’s a tiny speaker on the bottom that’s serviceable but won’t replace headphones for the best sounds. But thanks to the addition of battery power, the Volca FM quickly became the go-to test bed for off-the-cuff ideas at my house. Why dig a synth out of its storage case, plug it into the wall and find some headphones when I can have this tiny synth in my lap right when the mood hits me?

Another pleasant surprise was that in the studio it didn’t exhibit the line noise that makes the Monotrons less than ideal for live performances. And while there’s no tap tempo button, you can sync it via MIDI to devices so you’re not trying to line up your beats on the fly while on stage.

Throw in an old-school seven-segment LED display and the Volca FM is a fun and surprisingly powerful synth that should be equally at home on stage and in your living room.

11
Jun

Clean up iTunes by hiding Apple Music – CNET


Not every iTunes user is an Apple Music subscriber.

If you purchase music through iTunes instead of subscribing to a streaming music service or subscribe to Spotify or a streaming service other than Apple Music, you can streamline the iTunes interface and hide the four Apple Music-related buttons — For You, New, Radio and Connect — that sit between the My Music and iTunes Store bookends.

To hide these four Apple Music buttons, open iTunes and from go to iTunes > Preferences. Click on the Restrictions tab and check the boxes to disable Apple Music and Connect.

More iTunes tips
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The Apple Music checkbox removes the For You, New and Radio buttons, while the Connect checkbox removes the Connect button. Click OK to save your changes, which leaves you with only the My Music and iTunes Store buttons at the top of iTunes.

And if you use Spotify or another streaming service other than Apple Music and use iTunes only to listen to an old music library and rarely if ever make iTunes purchases, check the box to disable iTunes Store on the Restrictions page.

This hides all four of the Apple Music-related buttons and the iTunes Store button, for a blissfully streamlined iTunes design with only the My Music button at the top.

itunes-preferences.jpg
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Simplify the iOS Music app

Similarly, you can hide Apple Music-related buttons in the iOS Music app. Go to Settings > Music and tap to turn off the toggle switch for Show Apple Music. With this setting turned off, the For You and New buttons are removed from the Music app. You can also remove the Connect button by going to Settings > General > Restrictions and toggling off Apple Music Connect.

With these two settings, you are left with but three buttons at the bottom of the Music app: My Music, Playlists and Radio.

(OS X Daily via Lifehacker)

11
Jun

Apple iPod Nano review – CNET


The Good The Apple iPod Nano has a sleek aluminum design, FM radio, Bluetooth and long battery life.

The Bad With no Wi-Fi, you’re stuck syncing music via USB from a PC or Mac running iTunes. It doesn’t work with Apple Music subscriptions, and the low-res screen is tiny.

The Bottom Line The iPod Nano is an aging music player that’s hurt by its outdated reliance on iTunes and lack of subscription music compatibility.

Yes, the iPod Nano still exists. It’s one of the last MP3 players standing in Apple’s lineup, next to the gym-friendly, small-as-a-button iPod Shuffle and the basically-an-iPhone-with-no-cell-service iPod Touch.

The current seventh-generation Nano was introduced way back in 2012, but still lists for $150 (£tk, AU$tk). Even with Apple’s built-in pricing premium, it feels like it should cost about 40 percent less at this point.

On the surface, there’s a lot to like here. The Nano is like a shrunken-down iPhone with 16GB of storage, a touchscreen and a little home button. And while it doesn’t have a full app store, it does offer far more than music: you can also listen to podcasts, watch videos and scroll through photos. There’s an FM radio and Nike+ fitness tracking too, and the Nano offers Bluetooth support for streaming audio to all of the latest wireless speakers and headphones. (One snag: that radio requires wired headphones, which double as the antenna.) It’s battery also averaged well over a day in our CNET Lab battery test. Can you say that about your phone?

11
Jun

Motorola Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs HTC 10 vs LG G5: What’s the difference?


Motorola took to the stage at Lenovo Tech World 2016 to unveil the new Moto Z. This new super smartphone replaces the Moto X as the flagship Moto device. It’s packed with flagship specs and innovation, looking to offer you something a little different, with a range of Moto Mod accessories.

There are two versions, the Moto Z and the Moto Z Force, the biggest difference between them being the battery capacity.

But with 2016 already throwing up some of the best handsets we’ve ever seen, does the Moto Z have what it takes to make its case? Can the Moto Z compete with the likes of Samsung and HTC, and how does it compare to LG’s own modular phone, the LG G5?

We’ve crunched through all the essential specs to bring you the lowdown on these flagship handsets.

Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs HTC 10 vs LG G5: Design 

The Moto Z has a metal unibody design using aluminium and stainless steel for a premium result. The Moto Z measures 153.3 x 75.3 x 5.19mm, so it’s super slim. It weighs 136g. Its sibling, the Moto Z Force, is slightly larger measuring 155.9 x 75.8 x 6.99mm and weighing 163g. Both have a fingerprint sensor on the front, a protruding camera on the rear and customisation from Moto Maker, for plenty of design options. It has a nano-coating for water resistance, but has no 3.5mm headphone socket, using USB Type-C instead, with an adapter in the box.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 has a metal and glass body that measures 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm and weighs 152g, so it’s fatter than the Moto Z. It is available in white, gold, black and silver colour options and offers a waterproof rating of IP68.

The HTC 10 offers a premium anodised metal unibody with a deep chamfer on the rear edge for an interesting design. The curved back results in a handset that measures 145.9 x 71.9, but varies in thickness from 3-9mm, so it feels fatter than it’s rivals. The HTC 10 is likely the most substantial with that solid body, but weighs in at 161g. Then there’s BoomSound, giving HTC the best speakers of all the devices here.

The LG G5 features a painted metal body with a modular element that allows for a removable battery – something that is not found on other metal devices. The G5 measures 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm and weighs 159g so a little fatter and heavier than the Galaxy S7 and Moto Z. It has a fingerprint sensor on the rear and it comes in silver, gold, titan and pink colour options, although it doesn’t feel as premium as the other devices on this list.

The big differentiator for the Moto Z is the seamless integration with Moto Mods. These accessories magnetically attach to the rear of the phones to expand the feature set. The LG G5 offers modular accessories too, although these involve more fiddling around, removing the bottom section of the phone to attach them. In that sense, the Moto has the edge.

Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs HTC 10 vs LG G5: Display

The Moto Z offers a 5.5-inch 2560 x 1440-pixel resolution display. It is an AMOLED display offering a pixel density of 535ppi. The regular Moto Z is topped with Gorilla Glass, but the Moto Z Force is protected with ShatterShield, so it’s virtually unbreakable. It offers the largest display of the flagship devices.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 also features an AMOLED display, but it is smaller at 5.1-inches (unless you take the S7 edge at 5.5 inches). It also offers a Quad HD resolution for a pixel density of 577ppi, which in theory means sharper and crisper images than the Moto Z. Samsung’s display is seriously impressive but it’s too soon to determine if the Moto Z is as lustworthy.

The HTC 10 plumps for a 5.2-inch LCD display, again with 2560 x 1440 pixels for 564ppi, offering great performance, although not as adept as the Samsung offering.

The LG G5 also has a Quad HD resolution on board. It sits in the middle at 5.3-inches at 554ppi, offering a great display with lovely deep blacks and its always on function. 

Across all these flagship phones there’s certainly no shortage of pixels: Samsung’s AMOLED displays have been great performers, however.

Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs HTC 10 vs LG G5: Camera

The Moto Z and Z Force differ in the camera departments. Both have a front 5-megapixel camera, but the normal Z has a 13-megapixel rear camera and the Z Force has a 21-megapixel rear camera. Both offer optical image stabilisation (OIS) and laser autofocus, both have 1.12µm pixels, although the Z Force declares that it has deep trench isolation on its sensor, as well as phase detection AF.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 features a 12-megapixel rear camera with 1.4µm pixels, OIS and an aperture of f/1.7 for better performance in low light. It features dual pixel technology for quicker auto-focusing using phase detection, while the front facing camera is 5-megapixels, which also has an f/1.7 aperture. The Samsung is regarded as one of the best cameras available.

The HTC 10 opts for a 12-megapixel camera with 1.55µm pixels, OIS and an f/1.8 aperture. It also offers laser autofocus on the rear. The front camera is 5-megapixels, but also offers OIS and autofocus. HTC’s main camera doesn’t perform quite as well as Samsung’s, but the selfie camera is excellent.

The LG G5 has a 16-megapixel main rear camera, along with a secondary 8-megapixel 135-degree wide-angle sensor for when you want a wider field of view that is closer to the human eye than a regular smartphone camera. There is also an 8-megapixel front-facing camera on board.

The LG G5 offers some wonderful results and that secondary rear camera is a lot of fun with that wide angle, but for simple consistency and performance, Samsung is one of the best around. It’s too soon the judge the performance of the Moto Z, however.

Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs HTC 10 vs LG G5: Hardware

Both Moto Z models are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset with 4GB of RAM. Options for 32 or 64GB storage with microSD expansion are offered. The Moto Z has a 2600mAh battery, which is a little on the small side, but the Moto Z Force boosts this to 3500mAh, giving it the biggest capacity on this list, although it matches the capacity of the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. The Moto Z offers USB Type-C.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 comes in two models – one has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip too, while the other has the Exynos 8 Octa processor. Both have 4GB of RAM though and 32GB and 64GB storage options, with microSD support for further storage expansion. The Galaxy S7 has a 3000mAh battery, and sticks with Micro-USB.

The HTC 10 is also a Snapdragon 820 device with 4GB of RAM and 32GB storage with microSD card expansion. It features USB Type-C and offers a 3000mAh battery.

The LG G5 has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage with microSD support. It has a smaller 2800mAh battery than many of the devices on this list, but as we mentioned previously, it is removable. There’s USB Type-C for charging and accessories.

Moto offers two very different devices in the sense of battery power; the Z Force is likely to be an endurance star, but we’re still some way from knowing how the Moto Z performs in daily use.

Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs HTC 10 vs LG G5: Software

Moto is known for taking a minimal stance when it comes to software. Offering a virtually unsullied version of Android Marshmallow, the Moto is as close to a Nexus as you’ll get without buying a Nexus.

The HTC 10 offers Android Marshmallow and has also reduced the bulk, removing many elements of HTC Sense that used to add bloat, for a lovely slick experience.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 also comes with Android Marshmallow, as does the LG G5, but both have their individual software. The Galaxy S7 has Samsung’s TouchWiz skin placed on top, while the G5 has LG’s Optimus UX on top, changing just about every element of Android visually, and bundling in a number of extra apps and services.

Although based on the same software, the Moto is going to be the most Androidy, the Samsung distinctly different, but with plnety of character. Of the collection, the LG feels a step behind on the software front.

Moto Z vs Samsung Galaxy S7 vs HTC 10 vs LG G5: Conclusions

Motorola makes a big play with the launch of two handsets that are virtually the same, but with one offering a big draw – a much larger battery.

LG’s Friend accessories for the G5 don’t look as attractive as those that Motorola now offers through Moto Mods, and paired with a small battery and build that lacks the premium feel of these other handsets, LG is really depending on that great wide-angle camera to win the G5 points.

Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 edge (which we’ve mentioned in passing here) are very solidly positioned, offering great performance across the board, with a great build, waterproofing, camera performance and wonderful displays. It’s Samsung that Moto really needs to knock aside – although the S7 has already been on sale for 3 months, and the Note 7 is likely to launch soon too.

HTC’s solid build makes it one of the best designed models on the list, and the software gives a great mature experience, with outstanding audio performance and a great front camera, a real return to form for HTC.

The slick design and the innovation with Moto Mods sees the Moto Z as a real challenger, although September availability sees them many months behind these other devices that are already available. The Moto Z is an innovative proposition, and on paper, at least, Moto could stir-up the flagship handset arena.

11
Jun

ICYMI: Robotank and carbon emissions made into rock


ICYMI: Robotank and carbon emissions made into rock
Today on In Case You Missed It: Israel Aerospace Industries has built a combat robot vehicle that is made of modular bits that can be switched out, while environmental scientists created rock out of carbon emissions from a power plant in Iceland, by first pumping the pollutant underground.

Be sure to read up on the flying car competition reportedly happening under Larry Page, and watch this video purely because it’s the strangest cat video we’ve seen in months. As always, please share any great tech or science videos you find by using the #ICYMI hashtag on Twitter for @mskerryd.

11
Jun

Facebook Forcing Users to Install Moments App to Retain Synced Photos


Facebook has begun notifying users with photos uploaded from their iOS devices that their synced albums will be deleted next month (via TechCrunch).

Facebook’s iOS photo syncing feature was launched in 2012, and let users automatically upload all photos on their mobile devices to a private album called ‘Synced’ or ‘Synced from Phone’.

The idea behind the feature was that copying the photos makes it easier to find and share pictures with friends on the social network.

Users are now being informed by email and via app notifications that these albums will cease to exist on July 7, and that they should either download the albums, or install the company’s photo-centric Moments app to retain their uploaded status.

News of the change has seen the Moments app shoot up the App Store’s Top Free Apps chart, where it currently ranks #2 ahead of Facebook’s hugely popular Messenger app, which sits at #3.

The forced adoption of yet another Facebook app has caused consternation among a number of social media account holders, who were subject to a similar heavy-handed approach in early 2014.

I’m gonna delete @facebook from my phone before I install Messenger AND Moments! Facebook is the new MySpace. https://t.co/ewszcNBEGY

— Ray Ulrich (@ulrichray) June 2, 2016

On that occasion, the company pushed all users to download Facebook Messenger after it removed the chat feature from its flagship app. Messenger has held its position in the free apps chart’s top three almost ever since.

This month, the company also announced that it would be removing chat from its mobile web app too, leaving users with no other option but to download Messenger if they want to continue using the feature on their phones or tablets.

In related news, Facebook announced this week that it has begun rolling out a new 360-degree photo feature across the social network, which will let users view uploaded panoramic shots and 360-degree photos in a more immersive way.

grand-canyon-full-screen-panorama
Photos compatible with the 360 feature are identified by a compass icon on the right-hand side of the shot once it has been uploaded. Mobile users can explore a photo by tapping and dragging it or by moving their phone, while desktop users can click and drag it with their mouse or trackpad.

Moments is a free download for iPhone and iPad available on the App Store. [Direct Link]

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11
Jun

Solar-powered aircraft completes its flight across the US


Solar Impulse 2 continues its slow creep around the globe, this time completing its journey across the US by landing in New York City. It first arrived in the continental US back in April when the solar-powered aircraft touched down in San Francisco, and now has completed its 14th leg since leaving Abu Dhabi in March of last year. It’s not the fastest way to get around — especially given delays due to battery damage — but it is very green, which is the whole point. Next up is an Atlantic Ocean crossing, with a destination in either southern Europe or Northern Africa. Check below for video of the latest flight.

BREAKING @andreborschberg lands in #NYC after a 5h flight, and completes the crossing of the USA! #futureisclean pic.twitter.com/58I0KxSXIU

— SOLAR IMPULSE (@solarimpulse) June 11, 2016

Source: Solar Impulse

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