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ICYMI: Segway’s plan B and flexible concrete

ICYMI: Segway's plan B and flexible concrete
Today on In Case You Missed It: Segway came to Intel’s Developer’s Forum to show a prototype for a self-balancing scooter that is also a robot. If the public SDK works out well, Segway hopes to release a consumer version of whatever it becomes in 2017.

Nanyang Technological University researchers created flexible concrete by embedding synthetic fibers inside the material, which makes it stronger as well as flexible.

If you’re interested, the CNNAir video is here. And in TL;DR, we run through the big headlines from the week, though we are most interested in seeing how the Ford vs. Uber self-driving race turns out. As always, please share any interesting tech or science videos you find by using the #ICYMI hashtag on Twitter for @mskerryd.


This 2014 Moto X case and holster combo is $4.95 today!


Want an easy way to keep your Moto X protected while you are using it and transporting it? If so, Amzer’s Shellster combo may be the perfect option for you. The hard case will protect the phone, and the holster makes it easy to carry around. Right now you can pick one up for just $4.95.


Facebook Announces Video-Based Social App ‘Lifestage’ For High Schoolers

Facebook has released a new teens-only social app called “Lifestage” that asks users to create profiles by uploading video clips instead of filling in text fields.

The standalone app is aimed at high school kids aged 21 and under, and doesn’t require a Facebook account. Users are asked to select their high school and are then shown video profiles of people at the same school or ones nearby, as long as at least 20 people from the same school use the app.

User profiles ask kids to upload videos of their “happy face”, “sad face”, likes, dislikes, best friend, the way they dance, and more, and Lifestage turns the clips into a video profile that others can then watch on the app’s social feed.

While there’s no restriction on who can download the app and create an account, anyone 22 or older will only be able to see their own profile, although Lifestage notes during sign-up that it can’t verify that users are the age they say they are. The app includes various highly visible blocking and reporting options, apparently to guard against the possibility of suspect users.

TechCrunch reports that the app was designed by Michael Sayman, a 19-year-old Facebook product manager who aims to replicate Facebook’s original incarnation as a college student network. “I wanted to work on an app that my demographic would relate to, or at least that my friends would want to use,” said Sayman.

The launch of Lifestage is certainly consistent with Mark Zuckerberg’s stated goal of putting video at the heart of all of Facebook’s apps and services, but it also points to the company’s continuing concern at Snapchat’s surging popularity among younger users, which has already led Facebook to imitate several of the app’s features in its photo-focused social offering, Instagram.

Time will tell whether Lifestage succeeds in attracting a younger crowd, or goes the same way as Poke, Slingshot, Paper, and Notify, all of which Facebook eventually binned following a lack of uptake.

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

Tag: Facebook
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Samsung’s Milk Music service ends for U.S. customers on Sept. 22


Fans and customers of the Milk Music service from Samsung have some bad news coming. As rumored, the service will be ended for customers in the US on September 22, 2016.

A press release from Samsung’s Newsroom says that the company has changed direction and has a plan to provide “the best music services available” across their Galaxy line.

We have made the strategic decision to invest in a partner model focused on seamlessly integrating the best music services available today into our family of Galaxy devices. We believe that working with partners will accelerate innovation, enhance device sales and provide amazing new experiences for our customers.

No word on what exactly Samsung is planning or what services may be incorporated into a new music platform, as Samsung says it has no additional details to share at this time. With IFA right around the corner, a great venue to unveil a new service is already in place. We’re there, and eyes are always on Samsung during IFA. We’ll make sure you know if any announcement is made.


Samsung’s Milk Music service will end on September 22nd

Users of Samsung’s Milk Music — and by definition, owners of Galaxy or Note smartphones, since the service was only available on them — are in for some sad news: It will shutter in the US on September 22nd. Fans should switch over to Slacker instead, which powered the service, the company said.

Milk Music was Samsung’s Pandora-like entry into the streaming music world, launching in 2014 as an oddly-timed but well-designed platform exclusive to the company’s devices. But they shut down its streaming video service last September a year after it went live and slowly scuttled the brand thereafter, like quietly renaming its Milk VR app to “Samsung VR” back in June. As Variety noted, the core Music service was likely doomed once bulk layoffs in July saw many of Samsung’s Media Services Center of America executives axed. To fill the void, the company noted in a statement that it will instead invest in a partner model integrating existing services into its device lineup.

Source: Variety


Now you can unlock Chrome OS with a PIN code

Want to unlock your screen by typing in a few numbers instead of a hefty password? The experimental feature is currently being tested in the latest Chrome OS developer update, according to Google employee François Beaufort. In a Google+ post, he describes how to drop the new functionality into your system:

All you have to do is enable the flag chrome://flags/#quick-unlock-pin, restart Chrome, and go to Chrome Material Design settings page for now to set up your Lock Screen PIN in the new “Screen Lock” section. When it’s done, lock your screen with 🔍 + L and enjoy the new unlock experience!

Sure, it’s far easier to plug in a PIN instead of whatever you’ve set as your Chrome OS password, and possibly more secure than using a nearby Android phone for Smart Lock. But you’re also not entering the code that will get you into your Google suite — the “keys to the kingdom” as one commenter on Beaufort’s post put it. Nifty, huh? Those wanting to dig deeper should check out the source code here.

Source: Google Plus (developer)


North Korea’s ‘Manbang’ is a state-approved streaming service

You can’t watch Netflix in North Korea, but the Democratic People’s Republic now has something, at least: Manbang — a state-approved set-top box that streams live TV, on-demand video content and newspaper articles over the internet. It’s a step forward for digital media delivery for North Korea, but it’s still fairly limited. Manbang, which ironically translates to “everywhere,” is only available to citizens in Pyongynag, Siniju and Sariwon.

The service’s limited availability is hardly a surprise. North Korea isn’t exactly known for having widespread internet access — and what it does have is fairly limited. That seems to be the case here, too: the service’s on-demand content seems to focus on Juche ideology and documentaries about North Korean leaders (we’re guessing The Interview won’t arrive on this service anytime soon). Viewers will also be able to call up educational programs designed to learn English and Russian.

Naturally, the device isn’t being marketed so much as a propaganda delivery system as a convenience — North Korea’s KCTV describes Manbang as a respite from the “radio interference” that makes television broadcasts unwatchable in border cities. That sounds all well and good for citizens who want to watch what the state wants them to watch. As for everybody else? Well, there are options.

Source: NK News


Google Allo’s sticker packs are weird and wonderful

Google’s Allo messaging app is on the horizon, and Android Police has an early look at what we can expect out of the sticker packs with which you can decorate your conversations with others. At a glance, they’re pretty out there.

If you’ve ever wanted to send someone a sticker of a bull squeezing his nipples or a very Rodney Alan Greenblat-like pig (person?) asking for pics, you’re in luck. Julio the Bull, Kind of Perfect Lovers and Cool Beans are just a small sampling of the stickers you can expect to see showing up within the app, each worlds apart from the more generic emoji you’ll find within the regular Google Hangouts app.

The stickers are currently out in the wild via test preview versions of Allo. While it’s not certain which will make the final cut when the app rolls out its final release, we’re hoping that a few of these irreverent illustrations do.

Source: Android Police


‘Titanfall 2’ multiplayer tech test is now open to all

Jon Shiring, the lead engineer for Titanfall 2 at Respawn Entertainment, announced via Twitter on Friday that the game’s first “Multiplayer Tech Test” session is now live. The open event (no pre-orders or game codes necessary) which runs through the weekend will give players the chance to try out the game’s first two mechs (Ion and Scorch). Players will also be treated to five new competition styles: Bounty Hunt, 5v5, Pilots vs. Pilots and 8v8.

In another tweet, Shiring describes this test version as a pre-alpha build with known bugs, so don’t be surprised if the gameplay isn’t quite polished yet. The whole point of letting anyone interested play is so Respawn can road test the game’s new server setup and hopefully avoid problems at launch. Next weekend phase two of the testing will occur with different maps, game modes, titans and more. The full game is slated for release on October 28th.

In another tweet, Shiring describes this test version as a pre-alpha build with known bugs, so don’t be surprised if the gameplay isn’t quite polished yet. The whole point of letting anyone interested play is so Respawn can road test the game’s new server setup and hopefully avoid problems at launch. Next weekend phase two of the testing will occur with different maps, game modes, titans and more. The full game is slated for release on October 28th.

No Code Needed!
Open MP Tech Test Is Live.

— Titanfall (@Titanfallgame) August 19, 2016

For those joining us this weekend – the MP Tech Test is an ACTUAL pre-alpha build, with known bugs. This is not a marketing demo build.

— Jon Shiring (@jonshiring) August 18, 2016

Via: Daily Dot, Gamespot

Source: Jon Shiring (Twitter), Titanfall 2 Tech Test details


Review: Deus Ex GO for Android

Deus Ex GO’s futuristic puzzles are challenging — but sometimes, so is just trying to get the game to work.


The Google Play Store is overflowing with puzzle games, so it really takes a special game to rise above the noise and demand attention. Deus Ex GO has potential to be one of those games, but it wasn’t an entirely smooth experience out of the gate.

Deus Ex GO is the latest mobile release from Montreal-based developer Square Enix. It’s the third title in their “GO” franchise, which jumps into an established action-adventure franchise (see: Hitman GO and Lara Croft GO) and spins off a challenging turn-based action-puzzle adventure.

For those unfamiliar with the Deus Ex franchise, the story takes place in the not-too-distant future — set against a cyberpunk dystopian backdrop — where humans and computers have become one thanks to augmentation technology. You play as Adam Jensen, a mechanically augmented security agent on a mission to hunt down terrorists.


And that’s exactly where the game begins, with Jensen breaching the walls of a compound under terrorist attack. Stylistically, the game does a great job from start to finish of keeping with the Deus Ex futuristic, hacker motif. The graphics are sharp; Square Enix blends their simplified “GO” art style with the Deus Ex digital themes to create a fully immersive experience. The kill animations are both varied and smooth, leading to some very satisfying moments when you finally figure out how to take out that guard and progress through to the next level. The story is simple yet intriguing, and unfolds as you play via popup dialog boxes.

Square Enix blends its simplified ‘GO’ art style with the Deus Ex digital themes to create a fully immersive experience.

Gameplay starts off simple — move here, take out unsuspecting guard, progress to finish — but as you progress, the game slowly layers on new mechanics. Hacking stations, marked in yellow, allow you to activate certain floor tiles and control enemy turrets. Augmentation powerups are strategically scattered throughout, giving you the ability to slip past enemies or, in later stages, control hacking stations at a distance. With no punishment for failure and typically only one correct path through each level, the game rewards trial-and-error gameplay. When you feel you’re truly stumped, you have the option of using a solution, which walk you through the level move-by-move. You are given three solutions at the start of the Story Mode with a menu available for buying via in-app purchases — but where’s the fun in that?


If you’ve played the previous “GO” titles and are fearful that Deus Ex Go is more of the same, fear not. Square Enix has shifted from the square grid pattern found in Hitman GO and Lara Croft GO, opting for a hexagonal grid here that adds another dimension to the puzzles and also just seems like a natural fit with the game’s theme. The puzzles are challenging but not impossible — the few times I did use a solution to get past a level, I felt stupid learning I was only off by one move.

Beyond the Story Mode (which features 54 challenging levels), Deus Ex GO also includes Weekly Challenges. Considering the relatively short length of the campaign, this is a great feature to justify the $4.99 price. The promised addition of a Puzzle Maker mode in a future update should also greatly up the value and replayability.

The game ended up crashing and forcing my phone (Nexus 6P) to reboot four times. FOUR TIMES.

But for all the great things I have to say about this game, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the issues I battled with trying to complete it. Having bought and downloaded the game from the Google Play Store, the game ended up crashing and forcing my phone (Nexus 6P) to reboot four times. FOUR TIMES. Progress was always saved, and it may well have been a issue related to my hardware. Regardless, I’m here to report my experiences, and it caused my frustration to grow every time it happened.

Often times a new level would load but not allow me to move, forcing me to back out to the level-select screen and restart the level. These glitches were annoying, but never dissuaded me from continuing the campaign. I’ll chalk them up to first-release technical issues that should hopefully be addressed in future updates.

Overall, I had a lot of fun playing Deus Ex GO, despite it’s relatively short Story Mode and the times where the game started bugging out. I would recommend it to both fans of Deus Ex, and puzzle gamers alike.

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