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Minecraft Player Spends 232 Hours Building Apple Campus 2

Apple’s spaceship-shaped campus in Cupertino, California has been under construction for several years and is one of the most expensive, ambitious buildings in the United States.

While Apple has been hard at work putting the finishing touches on the campus, which is slated to open later this year, Minecraft player Alex Westerlund has been building a Minecraft version of Apple’s second campus.

According to Westerlund, building the campus in Minecraft took him 232 hours over the course of a year. He used construction plans along with topographical maps to create an accurate rendition of the campus, down to the land it’s built on.

As can be seen in the video, the ring-shaped main building has been faithfully recreated, with its curved glass windows, massive doors, solar panels, window awnings, and more. Westerlund says the main building is “absolutely massive” at 469 blocks across, with every hill, path, and orchard placed according to construction plans.

The courtyard of the building includes trails, two cafes, a cafeteria patio, cherry trees, a fitness center, and a fountain, while the interior features atriums and a huge cafeteria built to match a publicly released rendering.

Apple’s real second campus is nearing completion. According to the latest drone video, construction crews are hard at work on landscaping and are wrapping up work on solar panels and a nearby research and development facility. The campus is expected to be finished in 2017, but exactly when employees will move in remains unclear.

Westerlund tells MacRumors that as Apple continues work on its campus, he’ll continue to flesh out his virtual version, putting in up to four hours of active building time per day.

Tag: Apple Campus 2
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Gotta catch even more….80 new Pokemon will be added to Pokemon Go later this week

In November 2016, files were found in Pokemon Go’s gaming code that suggested 100 new, Generation II Pokemon would be added to the game at some point. Today, Niantic has confirmed that 80 new Johto Pokemon, ones from the Gold and Silver games, a.k.a Generation II, will be available to hunt and catch in Pokemon Go later this week.

  • Pokemon Go: How to play and other tips and tricks

Rather than just hope you get lucky with an egg you eventually hatch, all 80 will be discoverable in the regular fashion of hunting and throwing several Pokeballs until you finally catch them.

It’s not just new Pokemon being added to the game though, as Niantic will also be introducing several new items, including evolving items required to evolve certain Pokemon. You’ll be able to get them from Pokestops, in the same way as you’d collect other items such as lures, eggs and Pokeballs.

New Berries will be thrown into the game too, Nanab berries will slow Pokemon down to make them easier to catch, while Pinap berries will double the amount of candy you receive upon successfully catching a Pokemon. You’ll need to enable to the Pinap berries before you go on to catch a new Pokemon, and they’ll only work for one Pokemon. You’ll need to use more before catching anything else. You’ll also be able to equip your avatar with new items including hats, shirts and trousers.

A promotional video for the new Pokemon also shows the game being played in more remote areas such as forests and up mountains, suggesting the tracking mechanics have been improved, as well as populating more areas with Pokemon instead of city centres.

  • How to catch Ditto in Pokemon Go
  • Pokemon Go buddy: How to use the new buddy system
  • Pokemon Go: How to raise your XP level, power up and evolve your Pokemon

As for the other 20 Pokemon, some are already in the game as first stage Pokemon, before evolving into Generation II, some will need the specific evolution items mentioned earlier, so won’t be able to be caught in the wild and the rest are likely to be Legendary Pokemon, which as far as we’re aware, aren’t in the game.

Either way, it’s certainly welcome news that Niantic has finally got round to releasing a big update for the game, that will hopefully reignite interest. Happy hunting.


Yahoo can scan your emails to tell you who’s calling

Yahoo has added two new features to its Mail app, helping users both easily identify phone numbers linked to email contacts and instantly sync photos from their camera roll to their desktop mailbox. The first new addition to Mail — imaginatively named Caller ID — recognizes familiar numbers, matching them to their corresponding email contact information. Conveniently, enabling the feature also updates previously dialed numbers in your call history, even adding in the contact info as you dial a recognized number.

The second new addition is called Photo Upload. Once enabled, Yahoo instantly adds your phone’s camera roll photos to your desktop Mail account, allowing you to search for specific snaps using its new image recognition technology. With the software promising to recognize landscapes, searching for words like “beach” or “snow” on the desktop app should bring up the relevant photos. Thankfully, these photos will only be viewable by you and the intended sender. Well, assuming your account doesn’t get hacked again, anyway.

Both features are available on iOS and Android now, with users able to enable each update in the Mail app’s settings. Out of all the companies expected to bring new innovations to an email app, it’s fair to say that the sensible money wasn’t on Yahoo. With the company recently stopping all users from even forwarding on emails and even restricting users who had ad-blockers its email service is hardly known for its cutting-edge new updates. Still, with iOS already incorporating email information into caller ID and both iOS and Android providing cloud-photo syncing services, these additions are unlikely to have a wide-reaching impact.

Source: Yahoo


Verizon reportedly reduces its Yahoo offer by $250 million

Verizon’s $4.83 billion Yahoo acquisition could end up costing closer to $4.6 billion, Bloomberg reports. The discount comes after two high-profile Yahoo hacks came to light last year, which affected more than a billion user accounts. Earlier reports suggested Verizon could be seeking $1 billion off the acquisition price, and that was before Yahoo revealed its second (and even larger) data breach in December.

While lowering the deal price by $250 million might appear significant on paper, it seems a bit low given the extent of the data breaches, and the fact that Yahoo was so slow to acknowledge them. It’s still unclear when Verizon will actually submit its revised acquisition offer, but it sounds like we’ll be hearing something soon. We’ve reached out to the company’s representatives for comment.

Source: Bloomberg


Your brain always has a backup plan

You may not always be consciously considering a Plan B when you’re making a decision, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Queen’s University researchers have discovered that the human brain’s motor neurons will prepare for multiple actions before making a decision. The team learned this by conducting experiments where volunteers were asked to guide a cursor toward one of two targets before they knew which one they were supposed to pick. While it was easy for the test subjects to consciously steer down the middle, the scientists took the cursor increasingly out of sync to make people compensate through unconscious actions. Sure enough, the volunteers’ movements were an average of the movement paths needed to reach the targets, not the average between the positions — their brains were already prepping for both paths.

The findings should help understand the human mind, of course. They suggest that the brain interprets the environment as a range of potential actions, and that you’re always considering options even if you only ever settle on one. However, this could also help produce smarter robots. If you could teach artificial intelligence to always have multiple solutions in mind, they could have a more human-like ability to improvise.

Via: EurekAlert

Source: Queen’s University, Cell Reports


Twitch’s in-chat tipping program generated $6 million in 2016

In June 2016, Twitch introduced Cheering, a system that allows viewers to pay their favorite partnered streamers simply by typing an emote into the chat — and it appears to have paid off. Participating streamers get one cent for every Bit pledged in their chat rooms, and last year, Twitch saw a total of 590 million Bits Cheered. That means these streamers took home $5.9 million in Bits alone throughout the second half of 2016.

Though Twitch hasn’t come out and said the Bits economy was $5.9 million strong in 2016, we confirmed the math with a spokesperson.

This $5.9 million figure would only apply to official Twitch Partner streamers who participated in the Bits beta. Twitch hosts 2.2 million unique streamers, but just about 17,000 of those streamers are Partners. If the Bits money were distributed evenly among 17,000 Partners, they’d each get about $350 (but, of course, the world is never so neatly organized).

Luckily for the remaining 2.18 million Twitch streamers out there, Bits aren’t the only way to make money on Amazon’s live streaming site. Third-party services like Revlo, Muxy, TwitchAlerts and others allow viewers to donate to their favorite streamers, usually sending on-screen messages along with their money. Plus, fans are able to subscribe to their favorite streamers via Twitch for $5 a month.

Charity streams are also a large part of the Twitch ecosystem, and some have accepted Bits as donations since the program launched. Twitch streamers raised $25.3 million for charity in 2016 via Bits and traditional donations alike.

This Saturday come celebrate my birthday ALL DAY on @Twitch by donating bits for charity!

100% of proceeds go to the @TrevorProject!

— Dylan (8Bit) (@EightBitDylan) February 3, 2017

The Bits update comes from Twitch’s interactive 2016 year-in-review slideshow. The presentation calls out Pokémon Go for hitting the top of the charts as a mobile game, and it says No Man’s Sky had “one of the most impressive launches in Twitch history. Let’s just leave it at that.” Amazon Prime users subscribed to more than 1 million Twitch channels for free, as is their right, and the most-watched new game of 2016 was Overwatch.

“This one wasn’t even close,” Twitch writes. “Blizzard’s lightning fast team shooter has been a fixture in the top ten since it launched.”

Source: Twitch


Apple’s ‘Arrogance’ Impedes Major Acquisitions as Analysts Look to Potential Targets in Online Video

In an in-depth new look at Apple’s merger and acquisitions tactics published today by Bloomberg, Apple’s “arrogant” culture of deal negotiations is put on display. According to sources who have worked with Apple in M&A, the company struggles repeatedly to pull off big deals “because of a series of quirks,” including a refusal to work with investment bankers, inexperience with large takeovers, and an “aversion to risk.”

Apple is more interested, and more confident, in building its own services rather than outright purchasing them from a competitor, with occasional exceptions like the 2014 acquisition of Beats and later launch of Apple Music.

“The first step in M&A is having some conviction about what it is you want to do,” said Eric Risley, managing partner at Architect Partners LLC who has negotiated deals with Apple. “Apple probably more than most feels that they’re very capable of building things” rather than buying them, he added. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

According to analysts and investors, Apple’s next big move should be the acquisition of an online video streaming service. The company has began making strides towards beefing up Apple Music’s original video content division, with Carpool Karaoke: The Series and Planet of the Apps coming this spring, but analysts believe it needs something “akin to Netflix or Inc.’s Prime Video.”

In order to reach a forecast of $50 billion revenue in its services business by 2021, Erick Maronak, chief investment officer at Victory Capital Management, said that the company is “going to have to pursue something bigger than a Beats-like acquisition.” This might include other possible “blockbuster” acquisitions like Walt Disney Co. or Tesla Inc, according to Baird analyst William Power.

Netflix is also mentioned multiple times as a logical acquisition target for Apple, with multiple investors and analysts saying the company “needs at least one big acquisition in online video.”

But even here, some analysts and investors argue for a big acquisition, especially in online video streaming. Apple has started distributing videos through the Music service, and pooling other providers’ video in its mobile TV app, but it has no service akin to Netflix or Inc.’s Prime Video.

On Friday, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi said Apple needs at least one big acquisition in online video. To reach its $50 billion target, the company must find an extra $13 billion in services revenue over the next four years — beyond what it can generate itself. Netflix Inc. ended 2016 with sales of less than $9 billion, so even buying that business may not be enough, the analyst said.

Looking behind the scenes at the process Apple goes through to acquire a company, the Apple deals team is said to be made up of around a dozen people and led by Apple’s head of M&A Adrian Perica. Most deals “take place at the behest of the company’s engineers,” so the team meets with Apple engineers who advise them on which potential acquisition targets are attractive and include talented engineers that would add value to Apple.

Its acquisition strategy works well for smaller startups, which it acquires frequently, but the company faces a challenge for bigger deals. Apple refuses to work with investment bankers in an attempt to work directly with the other company’s management teams. This results in an air of arrogance, according to Eric Risley, who has negotiated deals with Apple, further stating that “they’re used to being able to muscle their way in and get attractive economics.”

The company’s overall attitude “puts off sellers,” as well as its inexperience with integrating larger companies. Some analysts point towards the “lukewarm” launch of Apple Music after the Beats acquisition as proof of this struggle. Still, some investors remain adamant that for Apple to succeed, particularly in its attempts at creating and producing original TV, a big acquisition has to happen soon. Many of those have been pushing Netflix as an attractive target, despite Netflix saying it’s not for sale.

Read the rest of Bloomberg’s report right here.

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Apple Explores Smart Keyboard With Siri, Share, and Emoji Keys

Apple recently filed a patent application containing drawings of a Smart Keyboard with “Share” and “Emoji” keys, and a key that can be used to both search and invoke Siri, suggesting it may be exploring a new version of the iPad Pro accessory to be sold alongside next-generation models.

The drawings show that pressing the “Share” key would bring up a share sheet on the iPad Pro with options to share through apps such as Facebook, Mail, and Messages. There is no description of how the “Emoji” key would function, but pressing it would presumably bring up the on-screen Emoji keyboard on the iPad Pro.

The current Smart Keyboard already has a globe key in the bottom left corner that can bring up the on-screen Emoji keyboard, but this key is not visualized in the patent drawings. There is a non-existent “Fn” key in its place.

The third key, labeled with a magnifying glass, would serve multiple purposes. A single press, for example, could bring up a search field for searching within apps. A double press could bring up shortcuts for Messages, Photos, Calendar, Camera, Notes, Settings, and other apps. Long-pressing the key would invoke Siri.

Since this is not a design patent, Apple’s drawings are not entirely accurate, but rather just basic visualizations. The “Share” key is located where the right-side Command and Option keys would normally be, for example, while the “Emoji” key is included in lieu of Caps Lock, which is an essential key.

Nevertheless, we roughed up a quick mockup of what the new Smart Keyboard could look like based on the same layout of the new keys as Apple’s drawings.

Apple is rumored to launch a trio of new iPads as early as March, but possibly not until later this year, including an all-new 10-inch range iPad Pro with an edge-to-edge display. The other models are expected to be updated 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models with faster A10X processors.

A so-called “Smart Keyboard 2” could accompany the new iPads and perhaps the so-called “Apple Pencil 2” rumored to launch this year.

The current Smart Keyboard was released in November 2015 and costs $149 and $169 for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro respectively. International versions such as British English, Dutch, Korean, Spanish, Italian, German, Swedish, French, and Arabic were released in August 2016.

Tags: patent, Smart Keyboard
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iMessage Not Working for Some Users

Many iPhone and iPad users appear to be experiencing issues with Apple’s iMessage service, which seems to be down for some people. Those who are having problems are unable to send iMessages and are instead being forced to communicate via standard green bubble text messages.

According to user reports on Twitter, the problem started for some users last night. Not all iPhone and iPad owners are affected by the issue, but based on reports we’re hearing, a decent number of people are having trouble with iMessage.

Apple’s System Status page is not currently reporting a service outage, so it’s not clear what’s going on or when the problem will be fixed. We’ll update this post with any new information we receive.

Tag: iMessage
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AMD’s new R7 1700X desktop CPU may outperform $1,000 Intel chips in some cases

Why it matters to you

Here’s a good indication that PC builders can get $1,000 performance from an upcoming $380 AMD Ryzen processor.

AMD is aiming to bring high-priced performance to processors with a smaller cost due to the huge gains stemming from its Zen processor architecture in its new Ryzen CPUs. We recently saw a leaked roadmap of what AMD intends to sell regarding its Ryzen processor family next month, and now we have a leaked benchmark of the high-end R7 1700X chip.

As we saw last week, the R7 1700X processor will be an eight-core 16-thread chip that will compete with Intel’s Core i7-7700K CPU. The processor’s benchmark went live on Passmark on Tuesday, which consisted of an entry-level MSI A320 AM4 motherboard (which can’t be used to overclock), and 16GB of DDR4 memory clocked at 2,400MHz. The chip was shown to have a base clock speed of 3.4GHz and a turbo clock speed of 3.8GHz.

The benchmark compared AMD’s unannounced processor against the following CPUs:

  • Intel Core i7-6900K @ 3.2GHz ($1,089)
  • Intel Core i7-5960X @ 3.0GHz ($1,000)
  • Intel Core i7-6800K @ 3.4GHz ($434)
  • Intel core i7-7700K @ 4.2GHz ($339)
  • AMD FX-8350 ($150)

Out of eight tests, the Ryzen chip outperformed all the others in five: Integer Math, Floating Point Math, Sorting, Encryption, and Extended Instructions (SSE). It fell into fourth place in the Prime Numbers test, fourth place in the Physics test, and second place in the Compression test. The big takeaway here is that the Ryzen CPU outperformed Intel’s two $1,000 processors in those five tests while outperforming the Core i7-5960X processor in the Compression test … at nearly half the cost.

More: AMD optimizes ‘For Honor’ in latest Radeon Software Crimson ReLive update

AMD’s R7 1700X processor will reportedly be priced at a mere $381.72. Even more, the R7 1800X will supposedly cost $490.29 and the R7 1700 will cost $316.59. This should not only bode well for AMD in the mainstream desktop sector, but the enterprise and server markets too due to Ryzen’s low cost, low power consumption, and its performance in the Integer Math and Encryption tests.

Ultimately, the AMD R7 1700X chip scored a CPU Mark of 15,084. Here’s the chip compared to the others:

CPU Mark Score
Intel Core i7-6900K
Intel Core i7-5960X
AMD R7 1700X
Intel Core i7-6800K
Intel core i7-7700K
AMD FX-8350

As the scores show, AMD’s upcoming $382 processor isn’t too far behind Intel’s two $1,000 chips. Of course, this likely won’t be AMD’s fastest Ryzen chip on the market, as that is expected to be the R7 1800X model for a heftier $490. Still, if the R7 1800X matches the Core i7-6900K’s performance, that’s half the cost for mainstream desktop customers.

Finally, here are the results of Passmark’s single-threaded performance test:

CPU Single Threaded
Intel Core i7-7700K
Intel core i7-6900K
AMD R7 1700X
Intel Core i7-6800K
Intel Core i7-5960X
AMD FX-8350

AMD is expected to launch four eight-core Ryzen processors next month under the R7 label ranging in cost between $319 and $500. There will be three six-core R5 units, three four-core R5 units, and three four-core R3 units as well.

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