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Recommended Reading: What if there were a PBS of social networks?

The Case for a
Version of Facebook

Ethan Zuckerman,
The Atlantic

What if there were a publicly-funded social network open to all that provided a diverse world view rather than an echo chamber catered to one’s deeply-held principles? Sounds like a great idea. The Atlantic makes the case for the PBS of social networks, including why it’s needed and what it might look like.

LVMH and the Next Big Digital Shopping Experience
Elizabeth Paton, The New York Times

LVMH was resistant to digital shopping, but with the rise of Amazon, even luxury brands are having to adapt.

Hanging by a Thread: How the Online Nerdy T-shirt Economy Exists in an IP World
Ryan Parker, Ars Technica

The plight of an online t-shirt company that relies on an industry that’s quick to issue DCMA takedowns over intellectual property.

The Story Behind the PS VR Aim Controller
Sid Shuman, PlayStation Blog

A closer look at the PlayStation VR Aim Controller and how it works with FPS virtual reality


Verizon Wear24 hands-on

Verizon’s very own Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch just launched this week. The Wear24 can be fetched for $299.99 with a 2-year contract or $349.99 at full price. This year has already seen several new Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches, so it’s going to be interesting to see where Verizon’s offering stands in comparison.

Buy from Verizon

We managed to get our first Verizon Wear24 hands-on look, so read on to find out what this smartwatch is all about exactly.

Before we dive into it, you can quickly glance its specs below!

Verizon Wear24 specs

  • Usage time: up to 18 hrs;
  • Height: 1.65 in;
  • Width: 1.65 in;
  • Weight:2.99 oz;
  • Depth: 0.53 in;
  • Battery: 450 mAh non-removable;
  • Colors: Stainless Steel, Gun Metal or Rose Gold;
  • Display: 1.39-inch AMOLED, 400 x 400, 290 ppi;
  • Operating System: Android Wear 2.0
  • RAM: 768MB;
  • Storage: 4 GB;
  • Connectivity: LTE B13Cat.3;
  • SAR: 1.6 W/kg;
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 Processor.

Looking at the Wear24 for the first time, it shows a stark resemblance to the original Huawei Watch, as it favors a more neutral and premium look, with its metal chassis and round face style. It’s really tough to deny the similarities is has with the Huawei Watch!

Unlike Huawei’s original offering, though, the Wear24 doesn’t offer swappable bands, since the antennas for the cellular radio are incorporated into the band itself. Yes, the Wear24 does provide LTE-connectivity for a truly untethered experience, but in terms of personalization, there are only three colors to choose from – stainless steel, gunmetal, and rose gold.

Even with the premium construction, the Wear24 manages to offer an IP67 rating for water resistance, so you won’t have to worry about water damage if you happen to shower with it on accidentally. One important item that’s not present here is a heart rate sensor, something that you’ll have to bear in mind if your focus is on workouts and exercising. Despite that, we’re largely happy with the design, even with its thickness and all, since it’s the kind of design that strikes a balance between casual and formal attire.

The 1.39-inch 400 x 400 AMOLED display looks nice and sharp, but even more impressive are its clarity and outdoors visibility. That’s a crucial thing because readability plays into a smartwatch’s utility. Our only concern with the display is that it sits nearly flush with the bezel, so it’s more prone to scratching compared to other smartwatches that have recessed displays.

In terms of the experience, the Verizon Wear24 really doesn’t differ a whole lot from other Android Wear 2.0 watches out there – like the Huawei Watch 2 and the LG Watch Sport. In our quick time checking it out, its performance seemed responsive, thanks in part to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 processor that’s powering it.

The only thing added to the software are some preloaded watch faces that feature location-based functionality. Therefore, when you’re home, a few of the quick access shortcuts on the watch face will be for things like social networking and text messaging. Conversely, if you’re at work, you’ll get shortcuts for things like email.

Considering that it’s going to be competing against the LG Watch Sport, which Verizon is currently selling for a little bit more in price, the decision to pick up the Wear24 will largely hinge on the person’s design preferences. The 4G LTE connectivity, of course, means that the Wear24 has the added convenience of working independently from a smartphone.

Buy from Verizon


Want a fresh start for your browser history? Here’s how to clear it in every major browser

The internet can often take us to some strange places, and unless you are browsing in incognito mode, your browser is keeping a running record of every page you visit. If you share a computer with others, they might be able to see your history, either indirectly through autofilling, or directly by looking at the History section of your browser. If you don’t want someone to inadvertently see what you have been doing online — maybe you browse some disturbing subreddits, or have a secret life as a troll —  you may want to clear out your browser history from time to time. Here is how to do just that, no matter which browser you use.

Google Chrome

If you use Google Chrome, start by clicking the button represented by three vertical dots — it is located in the upper-right corner of your browser — to open a drop-down menu. Next, click the button labeled Settings.

Now that you are in the Settings section, click the button labeled Show advanced settings…

Next, under the Privacy heading, click Clear browsing data…

This will open a window in which you can select the specific data you want to clear, including download history and cookies. For our purposes, you should select Browsing history. You can also select the window of time you want to delete data from, whether it be the past hour or since the start of your browsing history.

Once you have decided how much data you want to delete, click Clear browsing data.


If using Safari, find the History tab at the top of your screen and click Clear History…

This will open a window that includes a drop-down menu, allowing you to decide what window of time you want to delete.

Once you select the time frame you want to delete, simply click the button labeled Clear History.


If you’re using Firefox, first click the button in the upper-right corner — represented by three vertical lines — to open a menu. Afterward, click the History button.

Now that you are in the History tab, click the button labeled Clear Recent History.

A window will open, along with a drop-down menu where you can choose the amount of data you want to clear out. Once you’ve made your decision, click Clear Now.


If you’re using Opera as your browser, start by clicking the History tab at the top of your screen, then click the button labeled Show All History.

Next, click the button labeled Clear Browsing Data… located in the upper-right portion of your screen.

This will open a window, where you can choose specific types of data to delete, and the time frame of said data. Make sure you check Browsing History. Once you’ve finalized your decisions, click Clear Browsing Data.

Microsoft Edge

If you’re using Microsoft Edge, start by clicking the Hub button — it looks like unequal lines — then click the History button, which looks like a clock with an arrow running counter-clockwise.

Next, select Clear All History. This will provide you with options outlining the types of data you can delete. Be sure to select Browsing History.

Finally, click the Clear button.


The battle of the entry-level headsets: Google’s Daydream View vs. Samsung’s Gear VR

For as much as tech writers talk about the VR revolution, virtual reality still remains purely theoretical for most consumers. Headsets such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are expensive, as are the high-end computers required to run them. There are plenty of entry-level VR headsets that run off of smartphones, but many are too weak to deliver a truly engaging experience.

Of the smartphone-powered VR headsets on the market, only Google’s Daydream View, a headset designed to be used in conjunction with Daydream VR, and Samsung’s Gear VR, a VR accessory compatible with Samsung’s Galaxy phones, have impressed us so far. But how do the two compare? Here, we take an in-depth look at both to find out.

Daydream View


Gear VR

Optical Lens
90-degree field of view
101-degree field of view
Depends on device
2560 x 1440 pixel Super AMOLED
Refresh Rate
Depends on device
60 Hz
Required Hardware
Google Pixel, Pixel XL, Huawei Mate 9 Pro, ZTE Axon 7, Motorola Moto Z, Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe
Galaxy Note 5, Note 7, Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, S7, S7 Edge, S8, S8+
Accelerator, gyrometer, proximity
Accelerator, gyrometer, proximity
Focal Adjustment
Focus adjustment wheel
Interpupillary Distance Coverage
~64 mm
54~70 mm
Physical UI
Motion controller (included)
Touchpad, Back button, volume key, and Gear VR controller (included)
Wireless connection
USB Type-C and MicroUSB
166.8 x 4.18 x 3.88 mm
201.9 x 116.4 x 92.6 mm
220 grams
310 grams
Color variants
Slate, snow, and crimson
Blue black, orchard gray
$79, plus cost of phone
$130, plus cost of phone
Available now
Available now
DT Review
3.5 out of 5 stars

4 out of 5 stars (late-2015 model)


Google designed the Daydream View to be comfortable, first and foremost. Most VR headsets are very obviously gadgets, made of a lot of plastic and rubber. But that’s not the case here — Google partnered with a clothing brand to achieve the headset’s look and feel.

The plastic frame feels a little cheap, but we’re big fans of the Daydream View’s soft-touch fabric. It’s lightweight and cushion-y, and has somewhat of a “comfy sweatpants vibe.” It doesn’t feel fragile, and the the face mask can be removed and washed — a feature we came to appreciate in our review, after watching hours of VR content.

The Gear VR, on the other hand, is made of plastic with a matte finish, and it’s lined with a rubber face mask. The newest generation of the device has slightly larger lenses with a separator between them, and an improved smartphone cover that snaps more easily onto the front of the device.

Google’s goal with the View is ease of use. As such, the View has no wires to fiddle with. You simply unfasten the elastic strap at the top of the headset to open the front panel, slide your phone between the front panel and lens, close it up, and refasten the strap. You don’t need to press anything to launch Daydream — the NFC chip in your phone will do that for you.

With the Gear VR, you need to plug in your phone via the micro-USB or USB Type-C connection.


When it comes to controls, the Gear VR and View are fairly comparable.

Google’s headset comes with a two-button controller outfitted with motion sensors, a trackpad, and a volume rocker on the side. The large circular dimple at the top acts as a selection button, and the lowest button serves as the Home button. The device resembles a Wii remote, and packs a 220mAh rechargeable battery that lasts anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour. When drained, it charges via USB Type-C.

In our review of the Daydream View, we were impressed by its responsiveness — there isn’t a lot of latency. And we liked that it could be paired with up to two phones, which comes in handy if you’re sharing a Daydream View with another person.

Samsung’s newest Gear VR headset, on the other hand, comes with the Gear VR Controller, an Oculus-designed motion wand that looks like a miniature HTC Vive controller. It, like the Daydream View controller, has a touch-sensitive trackpad that doubles as a clickable selection button. Below the trackpad are Home, Select, Volume, and Back buttons, and on the underside is a trigger. A wrist strap is also located near the bottom, which helps prevent you from losing your grip.

Unlike the Daydream View remote, the Gear VR Controller takes a pair of AA batteries, which Samsung says last up to 40 days. This, however, is entirely dependent on the battery manufacturer and how much you use it.

Gear VR Controller First Take

Inside is a gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnometer for tracking motion, allowing you to point, drag, drop, tilt, shoot, and carry out a host of other actions. In our brief time with the Gear VR Controller at Mobile World Congress, it felt sturdy, stable, and easy to grasp. The Home and Volume buttons were responsive, and the trigger felt satisfying and springy. The Gear VR also has a built-in directional pad and Back button, and can be paired with third-party controllers.

Most importantly, both headsets have been designed to accommodate users with glasses.


The Daydream View’s performance depends heavily on which phone you’re using to power it. According to Google’s official Daydream specifications, any phone with at least a 1080p display between 4.7 and 6 inches in size qualifies. It must support a refresh rate of at least 60 Hz, however, and a “low-persistence” mode. It also must have at least two physical processor cores, one of which must be assigned exclusively to the Daydream app.

The list of Daydream-supported smartphones is growing by the day, but here are some of the most popular models:

  • The Moto Z and Moto Z Force, both of which have screen resolutions of 2,560 x 1,440, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor, and 4GB of RAM. They start at $624 and $720, respectively.
  • The ZTE Axon 7, which has a screen resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, a Snapdragon 820 processor, and either 4GB or 6GB of RAM. It starts at $400.
  • The Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe, which has a screen resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, a Snapdragon 821 processor, and 6GB of RAM. Pricing has yet to be announced.
  • The Google Pixel and Pixel XL which have screen resolutions of 1080p and 1440p respectively, a Snapdragon 821 processor, and 4GB of RAM. The Pixel starts at $650 and the XL at $770.

The Gear VR, on the other hand, requires a Samsung Galaxy phone such as the Galaxy S8, S7, or the S7 Edge. These have 1440p displays.

Daydream-compatible smartphones and Samsung’s Galaxy phones may pack different components, but Samsung and Google have done their best to establish baseline specs — even on “low-end” hardware, you’ll have a pretty good VR experience using both Daydream and the Gear VR.

For now, it doesn’t seem like either headset will make for a remarkably different VR experience.


Google’s approach to software on the Daydream View is commendable. It’s simple, intuitive, and beginner-friendly — there’s even an interactive guide that teaches you how to use the remote, and a tutorial that has you exploring the woods with a flashlight.

The Daydream home screen resembles the layout of apps on the Oculus Rift. You can view your most recently-used apps, along with a library of all installed Daydream apps. Apps also download from Google Play, which means you don’t have to take off the headset to download an app or game. But you can browse the Daydream app when you’re not in VR mode, too, and quickly launch apps that way.

In our review of the Gear VR, we noted that the software interface had “a blocky, flat design,” but that navigating it was fairly easy. It doesn’t offer the same cute, intuitive onboarding experience as the Daydream View, but it’s fairly self-explanatory. On the left and right sides are the Library and Oculus Store, where you can download various apps and games. You scroll through pages using the Gear VR’s built-in trackpad, or the Gear VR Controller.

The Gear VR boasts hundreds of VR experiences and games. Some of the highlights include Facebook 360, a hub for the social network’s 360-degree video and picture content, and Minecraft, Microsoft’s Lego-like creation platform. Other standouts include Hitman Go: VR Edition, an adaptation of the smartphone-centric Hitman Go, and Paint VR, a blank VR canvas on which you can doodle. Earlier this year, Oculus also announced that more than 70 in-development titles would soon take advantage of the Gear VR Controller.

Google’s Daydream platform may not be able to match the Gear VR when it comes to volume, but that doesn’t mean it’s without compelling content of its own. A few highlights include Google’s suite of VR-optimized apps — YouTube VR, Street View, Google Play Movies, etc. — as well as experiences such as Wonderglade, Mekorama VR, Hunters Gate, and Star Chart VR. You can also use the headset to access coverage from The Wall Street Journal VR, CNN VR, The Guardian VR, and The New York Times, along with video apps such as HBO Go, Netflix, and Hulu VR. Recent titles like Gunjack 2: End of Shift and Danger Goat are just an added plus.

Pricing and availability

Both of these headsets are affordable gateways into VR. Either iteration of the Gear VR will run you a cool $130, and comes bundled with the aforementioned Gear VR Controller. The Daydream View currently retails for $79, and is available in snow, slate, or crimson configurations.


Last year, Oculus had a virtual monopoly on entry-level VR. The Daydream View is the Gear VR’s first major competitor, and it’s a neck-and-neck race.

We’re big fans of the Daydream View’s softer, more comfortable headset and easy-to-use software. But Samsung’s new Gear VR Controller shakes things up. It offers more inputs and longer battery life than the Daydream View’s controller, and supports exclusive games and experiences. Our review of the Gear VR Controller is forthcoming, so we’ll have to call it a tie for now. But in the meantime, it’s tough to go wrong with either platform.

Updated on 05-05-2017 by Kyle Wiggers: Added Daydream View impressions and details regarding the Gear VR Controller. 


Synthetic Sensors create a connected home without adding smart devices

Why it matters to you

Updating appliances with smart devices can get expensive. Synthetic Sensors might soon offer a better alternative.

With smart tech on the rise, creating a connected home is now possible. At the moment, consumers have two different routes they can take. One is to purchase many smart gadgets, but unless they are all one brand, they aren’t guaranteed to speak to one another. Another way is to retrofit old appliances with sensor tags. The first option is pricey, the second is tedious.

Thanks to a recent Carnegie Mellon University project, users may soon have a third choice. What they call Synthetic Sensors is a single device that plugs into any electrical outlet to connect everything in a room.

While only a prototype, this tiny device captures a wide variety of environmental data to transform practically any household object into a smart device. It uses ten different sensors to constantly track metrics such as sound, humidity, electromagnetic noise, motion, and light. For privacy reasons, researchers excluded the use of a camera. The Synthetic Sensors then use machine learning algorithms to output that data as context-specific information. It’s like a universal remote for the home.

When a fridge is opened, it produces a unique signature. The device senses movement, sees the light come on, and hears the door creak. To a group of sensors, this sounds very different from a garbage disposal, faucet, or toaster. By training the Synthetic Sensors, the research team has created a wide variety of senseable objects and actions.

Modern day sensors have become so small and sophisticated that gathering the data from a single point has become easy. The difficult part involves figuring out what to do with the information. Lead researcher Gierad Laput figured out that it could be used to answer questions about someone’s environment. In a conversation with Wired, Laput explained their need to translate the data into accessible information. “The average user doesn’t care about a spectrogram of EMI emissions from their coffee maker,” he said. “They want to know when their coffee is brewed.”

Synthetic Sensors aren’t just limited to detecting one activity or device at a time. The suite of sensors allows it to detect a variety of inputs at once, although currently, this does not always work perfectly. “Doing this type of machine learning across a bunch of different sensor feeds and making it truly reliable under a bunch of different circumstances is a pretty tough problem,” says Anthony Rowe, another researcher working in sensor technology. “The easy solution in the short term is coming up with an interface that makes it easier for users to point out problems and retrain the system.”

As a proof of concept, the Synthetic Sensors lack a user-friendly interface. The bigger idea here is to use the device as a way to capture fine-grained data without the need for a camera. By adding this technology to something like Google Home or Alexa, the assistants would become more knowledgeable without becoming more intrusive.


Capture all the action with the All PRO Action Camera for only $35

Your phone is great for take photos and videos, but not all phones are created equal and few are water- or dust-resistant. So where do you turn when you’re out kayaking, on the basketball court, scaling a mountain, or running around the backyard with a big dog? Your phone will get wrecked and any other handycam would be done for in minutes.

Capture the action for $35! Learn more

What you need is something rugged, compact, and easy to use. You also need something that’s preferably waterproof so that all your sweet footage makes it home with you. It would suck to shoot all this awesome stuff for a day only to realize your camera stopped working an hour into your adventure.


GoPro isn’t the only action camera on the market, and it’s price might put some folks off. Check out the All PRO Action Sports Waterproof HD 1080p camera. It shoots in full HD, can record up to 90 minutes of video on a single charge, capture photos and video up to 30 feet under water, and can attach to just about anything with some external straps (not included). Cameras like this generally retail for hundreds, and this one is $149.95 straight from Sky Innovations, but at Android Central Digital Offers, it’s only $34.99.

Sky Innovations All PRO Action Sports camera takes 12-megapixel photos, shoots video in 1080p at 30 FPS and 720p at 60 FPS. You’ll just need a microSD card (up to 32GB), and you’re good to go. You can take single shots or take advantage of the 5- or 10-second self-timer to get the shots you want.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive action cameras that can go absolutely everywhere you go, then check out the All PRO Action Sports camera from Sky Innovations. It’s only $34.99 at Android Central Digital Offers, so you save 76%.

Record it all with the All PRO Action Sports Waterproof HD 1080p camera! Learn more


The Best Accessories for Daydream


Get the most out of Daydream with the right accessories.

A Daydream headset can transport you to new worlds, and deliver amazing experiences, all with just the help of your smartphone. To really get the absolute best experience though, you’ll definitely want to consider throwing down a few dollars for the right accessories. From headphones that will ensure you really get to immerse yourself in a game, to the travel case that keeps your headset safe when on vacation, these accessories will make sure you get the most out of Daydream View.

See at


How Microsoft’s Story Remix does what Clippy couldn’t

Microsoft is making some bold promises with Story Remix, its recently announced app for the Windows 10 Fall Creators update. Together with the company’s deep learning technology, it can automatically craft your photos and videos into short films. Story Remix resembles Apple Clips and Google’s Photo Assistant, but it goes a bit farther with the ability to analyze everything on a pixel level-basis to detect people, objects and the overall setting.

If it works as advertised, it could be a transformational app for consumers fed up with their ever-growing libraries of digital media. It’s the latest attempt by Microsoft to make your life easier by predicting what you want. But, as you’ll recall, that hasn’t always worked out well for the company.

“Clippy was actually a very early attempt at trying to look at patterns of what you’re doing, but it didn’t have the benefit of all this deep learning tech that’s available now,” said Microsoft Corporate Vice President Chris Pratley, the man behind Story Remix, in an interview with Engadget. With his previous project, Sway, he tried to rethink how you could create text and media-based stories without worrying about formatting worries. Story Remix is the next logical step.

“The problem always holding us back is that we didn’t understand what you were doing,” he added. “If I was a human being, I could see if you’re writing an article, or something like that. But we didn’t know that. Everything was just text and pixels.”

Now, Microsoft can actually figure out what those pixels mean with its Compute Vision AI technology. That makes it easier to add visual effects, like placing a fireball animation onto a soccer ball as it’s about to be kicked. You just have to drop a 3D effect onto the soccer ball and letting Story Remix do the mapping work.

“Anyone now can take off the shelf deep learning tech and see there’s a face [in a photo],” Pratley said. “It’s a lot more work to tell you whose face it is, and to distinguish it from another face.” It’s one thing to do that for an image, but Story Remix also has to be able to analyze every frame of a video, up to 60 frames per second. That lets it add special effects that would typically require a green screen, like placing a volcano in the background of a video.

“Ten years ago, with the way any creative tool was built, the basic tools didn’t have a lot of features. And the really powerful ones had tons of features,” Pratley said. “The model was, you had to bring your own time, talent and patience to [every project], and you got out of it what you put into it. It sounds great, but it really isn’t.”

In many ways, Story Remix looks a lot like the future of productivity apps. It’s trying to cater to users of all sorts, from beginners who want to put in the least amount of effort into creating movies, to power users who want to spend a bit more time to get things just right. While there will surely be users who clamor for even more manual control in Story Remix, Pratley isn’t too worried about that. He points out that adding manual controls is easy, the hard part is going further to make complex productivity tools simpler for everyone.

Of course, there are reasons to be skeptical of this push towards deep learning-enhanced productivity apps. While the technology has made for some great demos, it really hasn’t transformed consumer apps just yet. And Microsoft will surely have a hard time living down the specter of Clippy. But, if Story Remix succeeds, it could be huge.

“It’s always been my dream as a creative tool builder, if I just knew what you were building, I could help you so much more,” Pratley said. “And now we do.”

Click here to catch up on the latest news from Microsoft’s Build 2017.


Ming-Chi Kuo Says Apple Likely to Unveil 10.5″ iPad Pro and Touchscreen Siri Smart Speaker at WWDC

Prominent KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has released a “2017 WWDC highlights” report, outlining his expectations for next month’s keynote event. While he expects the typical previews of the next versions of iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS, he also predicts we will see several hardware-related announcements.

One major debut Kuo expects to see is the long-rumored 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which he says has a greater than 70 percent chance of debuting at the event based on the timing of production ramp-up, which he sees as happening at the end of the current quarter. In line with previous rumors, Kuo believes the 10.5-inch iPad Pro will have a similar form factor as the current 9.7-inch model, squeezing in a larger display thanks to narrower bezels.

The newly designed 10.5” iPad Pro will have a similar form factor to the 9.7” model, but will feature a larger display thanks to narrow bezels. The new design should improve the user experience and help gain traction in the corporate/ commercial sectors. We forecast 10.5” iPad shipments of 5.0-6.0mn units in 2017F, accounting for 15% of total 2017F
iPad shipments.

Kuo also reiterates his belief that there is a greater than 50 percent chance Apple will unveil its Siri smart speaker at WWDC. He previously said that the speaker may not actually launch until later in the year, but an announcement at WWDC would give developers time to begin building support for the product.

In our April 28 Insight report (“Apple’s first home AI product to see cyclical shipments of over 10mn units; main competitor is Amazon Echo”), we offered estimates for the new home AI/ Siri speaker line. We also believe this new product will come with a touch panel.

For the first time, Kuo says Apple’s speaker will include a touch panel display, a detail that has remained unclear since rumors began. Most previous rumors have made no mention of whether the product will include a display, but Phil Schiller recently suggested such smart speaker products would benefit from the inclusion of a screen.

Apple’s WWDC keynote kicks off at 10:00 am Pacific Time on Monday, June 5, and MacRumors will have full coverage of the event as it unfolds.

Related Roundups: iPad Pro, Siri Smart Speaker
Tags: KGI Securities, Ming-Chi Kuo
Buyer’s Guide: 9.7″ iPad Pro (Don’t Buy)
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The Morning After: Weekend Edition

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Welcome to the weekend, where we close out Microsoft’s Build 2017 event with some big news about Windows… XP? Also, this week we met Amazon’s touchscreen-equipped Echo Show and it’s time to say RIP to MP3.

It’s that bad.‘WannaCrypt’ ransomware attack squeezes a Windows XP update out of Microsoft


Yesterday, the other shoe dropped as malware spread using an NSA exploit that recently leaked out. While Microsoft had already patched the vulnerability on its modern operating systems, millions of older computers were still at risk, and many were quickly infected. The NHS saw its systems go down, while FedEx and Renault have also reported significant outages.

In response, late last night Microsoft released a patch for three unsupported operating systems: Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows 8. Thanks to a security research accidentally finding and tripping the malware’s ‘killswitch,’ it’s stopped spreading for now, but experts warn that with a little tweaking it could again run rampant on unpatched systems at any time.

The vision.Microsoft revealed its plans for world domination at Build


While yesterday’s attack may slightly dull the appeal of Windows everywhere, that’s what Microsoft is pushing (although, certainly, with current-gen operating systems that have much better security). This week during its Build 2017 even we got an idea of how the company plans to fit in across and even beyond the many screens we use each day.

Retro.Amazon’s Echo Show is Alexa with a touchscreen


Is the future here? It seems that way, with Amazon’s reveal of the Echo Show, although the CRT-ish 7-inch touchscreen device has a design that isn’t (yet) universally loved. The $230 device will be ready for your video chat and YouTube streaming needs starting on June 28th.

Changing of the guardMP3 is dead, long live AAC


The Fraunhofer Institute brought MP3 into this world, and now it’s taking it out, by terminating licenses on certain patents. It’s been a pretty good two-decade run for the format, but the Institute sees AAC as the current de facto standard for digital music downloading.

Toss the LifeAlertRobotic exo-shorts safely twist old folks out of falls


The Active Pelvis Orthosis (APO) watches its wearer’s steps and provides a push when necessary to keep them from falling over. Falls cause injuries to millions of elderly people every year and these “exo-shorts” could cut into that — if only the researchers behind it can make them significantly lighter than the current nine-pound weight.

We’ve heard this beforeGoogle’s new plan to fix updates on Android is called Project Treble


The annual Google I/O event is coming up, and there we’ll surely hear more about the upcoming “O” version of Android. The only real problem is that we also know many Android devices don’t get very many updates, or when they do, it’s after a long delay. Google’s latest initiative to change that trend is called Project Treble, which it says creates a “modular base” for the software. That’s supposed to smooth the path from Google to the manufacturer to the carrier to end-user, and eventually, mean we never have to discuss this issue again.

But wait, there’s more…

  • The US military might let its IT warriors skip boot camp
  • You have until Monday to buy Alan Wake on PC, and then it’s gone for good
  • Join us for The Engadget Experience November 16th in Los Angeles
  • Instagram influencers fanned the flames of Fyre Festival hype
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