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21
May

Rare Apple-1 Computer Sells at German Auction for $130,000


A rare working Apple-1 computer that was built in Steve Jobs’ garage has been sold at auction in Germany for over $130,000 (via news24).

The highly sought-after vintage computer auctioned off in Cologne on Saturday was one of just 200 that the late Apple co-founder and Steve Wozniak designed and marketed in 1976.

The owner John Dryden, a Californian software engineer, admitted that finally parting with the machine was difficult. “(The Apple 1) was one of the first opportunities for someone to possess a real computer,” he said. “I’d been working with computers for a while but they were huge.”

The Apple-1 was sold with the original receipt for the motherboard and cassette recorder, an operating manual, and even notes of telephone conversations between Dryden and Wozniak from 1977. Apple never offered an external housing for the computer, while the power supply, keyboard, monitor, and cassette recorder had to be obtained separately by the owner. The winning bidder was a German engineer who collects old computers.

This machine was actually expected to fetch significantly more than it did this weekend, after an Apple-1 sold for a record $905,000 at a Bonhams auction in New York in October 2014. More recently, a unique “celebration” model went for $815,000 at a CharityBuzz auction in August of last year.


Breker’s auction house, which hosted the sale and specializes in technical antiques, put the lower price down to a settling of Apple “hype”, now coming over five years after the death of Steve Jobs.

The 8K machine, which originally sold for $666 over 40 years ago, is one of just eight still in working order. There are thought to be only around 50 to 60 Apple-1 computers still in existence.

Tag: Apple-1
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21
May

1More MK802 review: Great value Bluetooth over-ear headphones


You might not have heard the name 1More before. This Taiwanese-based audio manufacturer has been distributing headphones in the UK for less than a year – and having already seen the C1002 in-ears, we thought the company was off to a promising start, despite those in-ears sounding a little too bright.

The 1More MK802 are a different kettle of fish: these wireless over-ear cans are not only different by design, they also fare far better in the sound stakes. Are they 1More’s breakthrough product and headphones worthy of spending your hard-earned cash on?

1More MK802 review: Design

  • Bluetooth wireless or passive wired use
  • Soft over-ear PU-leather earcups
  • Control and bass adjustment buttons on earcups
  • 1More button to quick launch selected app

The MK802 are made from a TR-90 synthetic titanium, which makes them durable, lightweight and comfortable against the ears. They certainly feel sturdy for lightweight headphones.

They sit rather snugly on the head, although the soft leather earcups and headband make sure they remain comfy. We find their snug fit to be a little irksome over long listening sessions, but this is something that’s prevalent for lots of pairs of over-ear headphones.

Pocket-lint

On the back of the MK802’s right earcup you’ll find the power button, which you need to hold down for a few seconds to turn them on or off. Underneath this are a volume up and buttons, between which is a play/pause/answer-call button. The volume buttons protrude more than the play/pause button, to help differentiate when you’re feeling around – a small touch, but one that makes complete sense.

Alongside the main trio of buttons there’s a 1More button, which can be configured to launch different apps on your phone using the companion app – we made ours open Apple Music, for example.

On the left earcup there’s also a bass switch that lets you choose between three different levels of bass: hardly any, a normal amount, or a boosted amount. The left earcup also hosts the charging port on the bottom.

1More MK802 review: Features and performance

  • 15-hours music playback from built-in battery
  • No active noise-cancellation

Connecting the MK802 to your phone is incredibly easy: make sure they’re charged up, turn them on and find them in your phone or device’s Bluetooth settings, then tap to connect and you’re away.

Pocket-lint

Download the 1More assistant app – available for iOS and Android – which can be used to burn-in the headphones. It plays a constant white noise to essentially warm up the headphones and get the diaphragms moving more freely.

We had a listen to our headphones before and after the 12-hour recommended burn-in time, and we really did notice a difference. Music sounded flatter before we let them run in, whereas afterwards there was greater depth and it became much easier to place the various elements and instruments of different tracks within the sound scope.

There’s no active noise-cancellation on board, but the snug fit and plush leather earcups provide enough noise isolation to block out most external noise.

1More MK802 review: Sound quality

  • 40mm drivers
  • Intelligent hearing protection
  • aptX Bluetooth

The majority of Bluetooth headphones take a tip in sound quality when you switch from wired to wireless mode. We didn’t notice much of a difference with the MK802, which is high praise indeed.

Pocket-lint

Dynamically these cans are very impressive. Some of our tunes had a quiet opening before exploding into action for the first verse. The MK802s handled everything with ease and delivered audio with real impact and excitement.

When you do get those loud moments in songs, the MK802s go really loud. They have a separate volume control to the one on your phone, so not only can you turn your phone or tablet up to full volume, but you can turn the headphones up even further – something that lacks from many Bluetooth headphones.

Better still, even after such amplification, there’s no distortion. The 1More MK802 remain composed, controlled and manage to keep the depth within tracks – instead of becoming one jumbled mess. 

But for all of their good qualities, we did occasionally bump into a hint of harshness in the top-end, particularly when listening to dance tracks. It’s nothing a drop in volume can’t counter, but this sharp listen seems to be a trait of 1More – which might be a nod to the kind of music for which they are designed.

Pocket-lint

The last part of the listening puzzle is that bass switch. Because we’re bass junkies, we left it in the maximum position for the majority of our listening time, and were pleased that it didn’t overpower the rest of our songs. With it active, there’s a healthy amount of bass which added extra depth to our tunes without over-powering the mix. The middle bass switch position is also useful, but we rarely used the first position as we found it took away too much low-end.

Verdict

We find the 1More MK802 over-ears are more accomplished then their C1002 in-ear cousins. These over-ears are more natural sounding and balanced, with only a touch of over-sharpness at high volumes.

The MK802 deliver more than enough detail for all kinds of music, while the adjustable bass switch allows you to choose the low-end level as you please. There’s no active noise-cancellation – the battery is for Bluetooth wireless listening only – but the snug fit and comfortable earcups provide high levels of noise isolation to block out sounds from the outside world.

For their £150 asking price we think the MK802 over-ears are great value for money – and definitely deserve a place on your potential shopping list if you’re in the market for a pair of over-ear Bluetooth headphones.

The alternative to consider…

Pocket-lint

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 offer a greater Bluetooth range than the 1More MK802, plus they pause the music when you take them off your head. They’re incredibly comfortable and combine active noise-cancellation, too, which makes up a brilliant range of features to complement the excellent audio quality. However, they do demand an extra £100 over the MK802s, which is no small sum.

Read the full article: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 review

21
May

NBC and Viacom are making original shows for Musical.ly


Musical.ly might have professionally made original shows to offer along with user-produced content sometime in the future. According to Bloomberg, the music video app is currently talking to Viacom and Comcast’s NBCUniversal about creating original programming for its users. Musical.ly is reportedly interested in interactive shows that encourage the community to participate instead of heavily produced ones. The publication’s sources didn’t get more specific than that, only noting that the Chinese company’s purpose is to widen its appeal by offering videos that focus on, say, comedy or sports.

While Musical.ly hasn’t confirmed Bloomberg’s report yet, it’s not that hard to believe that it’s cooking up originals for its users. It’s already working with Seventeen to create a fashion and beauty series for the platform and with the 2017 Billboard Latin Music Awards in an effort to develop more Hispanic-focused concepts.

It’s also not unusual for social media platforms to develop original programming at this point in time. Twitter is working towards broadcasting live original content all day, every day. Facebook even brought in a former MTV executive to lead its efforts to create both scripted and unscripted originals, mainly for teenage audiences.

Before Musical.ly launches original shows, though, it will introduce Snapchat-like filters in the coming days. The feature will apparently be called Face.ly and will superimpose virtual masks on your face so you can create an animated avatar. It will eventually become a standalone app, but until then, it will live inside the company’s main application.

[Face.ly, Image credit: Variety]

Source: Bloomberg

21
May

Bacteria could lead to cleaner methane power


Methane as a greenhouse gas isn’t all that eco-friendly when used for power, but scientists might have a way to keep the damage to a minimum. Penn State researchers have crafted microbial fuel cells that can convert methane into electricity right at the well, without leaking loads of gas into the atmosphere by sending it through pipes. The team created a cocktail of bacteria (including a synthetic microbe you can’t normally grow) that produces the necessary materials to grab and transport electrons from the methane. Not only is this a relatively clean process, the bacteria can run on waste products — it might clean up the site as it generates power.

This definitely isn’t ready for prime time. The current project only produces a thousandth of the electricity that you’d get from a methanol fuel cell. And of course, cleaning up methane power is really a stopgap solution on the way to wider use of renewable energy. But it’s a start — until it’s realistic to ditch methane, anything that curbs its harmful emissions should be helpful.

Via: Reddit

Source: Penn State, Nature

21
May

Apple Says 2011 MacBook Pro No Longer Eligible For ‘Video Issues’ Repair Program


Apple says the following models are no longer eligible for its MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program for Video Issues:

• 15-inch, Early 2011
• 15-inch, Late 2011
• 17-inch, Early 2011
• 17-inch, Late 2011

The following MacBook Pro models remain eligible, so long as they were purchased less than four years ago:

• Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2012
• Retina, 15 inch, Early 2013

Apple launched the repair program in February 2015 to address a “small percentage” of MacBook Pro models that “may exhibit distorted video, no video, or unexpected system restarts,” allegedly due to faulty GPUs.

The program expired on December 31, 2016, but it’s still in effect for eligible models up to four years from their original date of sale.

A support document on Apple’s website says the affected models were sold between February 2011 and December 2013. Use the “Check Your Coverage” tool on Apple’s website to determine if a particular model is eligible.

The video issues impacted many customers, prompting a class-action lawsuit against Apple and an online petition with over 40,000 signatures. Affected users often experience visual banding or malfunctions on the screen, particularly when watching HD videos or using pro apps such as Final Cut Pro X.

Apple will continue to repair Mid 2012 or Early 2013 models, free of charge. Affected customers can call an Apple Store to schedule a Genius Bar appointment, visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or call Apple Support and request a postage paid box to mail in the MacBook Pro to a local Apple Repair Center.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro
Tags: repair program, Apple Support
Buyer’s Guide: MacBook Pro (Neutral)
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21
May

Microsoft’s true holographic display fits in your glasses


A lot of the technology billed as holographic, well, isn’t. Not even HoloLens. Real holography requires a laser-generated 3D image, and it’s no mean feat to stuff that into something you can comfortably wear. Microsoft just made some important progress, however. Its researchers have developed a true, near-eye holographic whose optics can fit inside a regular pair of glasses. The mirrors and the liquid crystal on silicon needed to achieve the effect sit inside the frame — it’s only the electronics that have to stay outside. While this extra-compact size would normally result in an unusable picture, corrections in the holographic projector make it easy to read details down to individual pixels.

The tech giant has also tackled some problems with generating those holograms. Its team took advantage of eye-tracked rendering (that is, providing the most visual detail where you’re looking) and GPU-boosted algorithms to generate high-detail holograms in real time, complete with realistic focus and vision correction. You wouldn’t necessarily need a set of corrective eyewear to compensate for astigmatism or other eyesight issues.

Microsoft is quick to point out that this doesn’t necessarily hint at its hardware plans. It’s just as well — the tech still faces some serious limitations. Besides the necessity of external electronics, the glasses only produce a monoscopic picture. A stereoscopic image is another challenge altogether. If everything comes together, though, you could have a real holographic display that’s comfortable to wear all day long. Whether you’re a doctor, designer or gamer, you could plunge yourself into augmented reality without a bulky headset weighing you down.

Source: Microsoft Research

21
May

American special forces open a drone hacker lab


Battlefield drones are evolving quickly, and there’s only so much militaries can do to keep up — they’re not used to competing with consumer tech that can improve in a matter of months. To that end, US Special Operations Command (aka SOCOM) is taking the unusual step of opening a drone hacker lab in Tampa, Florida. The organization’s James Geurts hopes this tinkerer mindset will help special forces “get out in front” of future threats that could easily prove overwhelming, such as drone swarms. There are also more direct problems to solve, such as balancing weapon payloads and portability. You may need a drone bigger than something like the tiny, kamikaze-oriented AeroVironment Switchblade (above) to take down a target, but you can’t always field more conventional runway-bound drones to do the job.

The lab could also help with countermeasures. SOCOM has already been working with Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Lab to turn improvised explosive detectors into drone jammers, and it won’t be surprising if the hacker lab takes this development one step further.

Not that the Command can afford to wait for breakthroughs. ISIS has already ramped up its ability to fly drones (up to 70 drones in one day over Mosul alone), and SOCOM felt enough heat that it recently placed an urgent order for 350 Switchblade drones to bolster its arsenal. While the lab should ultimately help in the long run, there will likely be plenty of stopgap solutions in the near term.

Via: Business Insider

Source: Defense One

21
May

Live look at the ‘alien megastructure’ star may solve mysteries


Astronomers may have ruled out an alien megastructure as the likely cause behind KIC 8462852’s strange dimming, but it’s still mysterious — and that’s partly due to the lack of live data (as live as you can get for a star 1,277 light years away, at least). How do you understand what’s going on when you have to rely solely on historical info that doesn’t even account for the star’s spectrum? Thankfully, researchers are getting that big chance: they’ve caught the star in mid-dimming, and they have numerous telescopes trained on it. If they can record the spectrum before and after the oddball behavior, they may have a better idea of the root cause.

Scientists don’t expect to find comets. They’ve mostly ruled that out given that the dimming has taken place for several decades or more. However, the spectral data could at least point them in the right direction. If there’s consistent spectral dimming, it would point to a solid object like a planet. More uneven dimming, meanwhile, could point to dust or gas as the culprit.

A definitive answer isn’t all that likely, at least not without extended analysis. With that said, just having a general idea of what’s involved could be enough to shoot down wilder theories and narrow the focus. That, in turn, could improve humanity’s overall understanding of the cosmos and prepare for the next time researchers spot something they can’t immediately explain.

Via: Popular Mechanics

Source: BerkeleySETI (YouTube)

21
May

Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki to work on his final film this fall


Studio Ghibli fans have something else to look forward to after Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter. Hayao Miyazaki, famous Japanese animation filmmaker and the studio’s mastermind, will be coming out of his retirement to begin working on his last project this fall. A job posting spotted by AnimeNewsNetwork is looking for in-between animators and background artists to work on his final film for the next three years or longer, starting on October 1st. Miyazaki’s body of work includes Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and My Neighbor Totoro. The animation maestro wants to finish the movie before the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, but Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki said that simply isn’t possible.

Ghibli struggled after Miyazaki left in 2013 and announced a hiatus less than a year later to restructure the company. The studio’s last feature film was actually released back in 2014 — it merely co-produced Ronja, which was directed by Miyazaki’s son Goro and which you can watch on Amazon Prime. Since the famous animator tried to retire several times in the past, we can’t say with 100 percent certainty that this truly will be his swan song. He will likely be 80 or older by the the time this project’s done, though, and the fate of Ghibli after he truly walks away from it remains uncertain, so you probably won’t want to miss this if you love his work.

Via: Polygon

Source: AnimeNewsNetwork, Studio Ghibli

21
May

These are the best Amazon Warehouse technology deals of the week


Updated by Lucas Coll on 5-19-2017: Added the Samsung Galaxy Tab A, Ecobee3 smart thermostat, Razer headset, and Roku Premiere+. Updated prices and removed the expired Netgear Nighthawk, PlayStation 4 Slim, Asus Chromebook, and Samsung smart TV offers.

Purchasing pre-owned and refurbished electronics is one of the easiest way to score big savings on name-brand products like TVs, gaming consoles, and tablets, and it’s especially attractive when you can buy them from trusted outlets like Amazon. We’ve rounded up some of the best ongoing deals from Amazon Warehouse available at the moment that can not only save you some money, but also potentially spare you the headache of dealing with less reputable sellers.

Although these items do not come with the original warranties, all Warehouse products are inspected, tested, and graded by Amazon and are backed by its solid return policy. You can purchase a warranty separately through Square Trade as well. Be sure to check out this page for more detailed information. Also note that Amazon Warehouse items generally have limited quantities of stock and prices fluctuate regularly based on inventory, so we don’t know how long these deals will last. If you see something you like, consider jumping on it before it’s gone.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8-inch tablet

Amazon Warehouse roundup

Samsung continues to dominate when it comes to Android mobile devices with its wide lineup of Galaxy smartphones, and the Galaxy Tab family has also proven to be very successful in the burgeoning tablet market. Now you can snag a “very good” condition Galaxy Tab A for just $121 from Amazon Warehouse. This 8-inch tablet has a 1,024 x 768 resolution XVGA display and comes loaded with Android Lollipop 5.0.

The Tab A also offers 16GB of built-in flash memory and a MicroSD card slot that lets you expand storage by up to 128GB. A quad-core 1.2GHz CPU and 1.5GB of RAM give you plenty of power for streaming videos, light gaming, and other tasks. The Galaxy Tab A costs $188 new, but you can save $67 when you buy a repackaged unit from Amazon Warehouse for just $121.

$121 on Amazon Warehouse

Ecobee3 smart Wi-Fi thermostat

Amazon Warehouse roundup

Smart home appliances are the hottest new thing in tech, and the excellent Ecobee3 Wi-Fi thermostat is one of our favorites. Unlike a traditional thermostat, the Ecobee3 syncs wirelessly with remote sensors and intuitively creates a custom climate profile based on your habits. The unit will selectively turn your heat and air conditioning on and off depending on which rooms of your home are being used, and can be controlled remotely using the companion app for iOS and Android devices.

You might be wondering why you’d ever need a smart thermostat, but the Ecobee3 has been shown to reduce energy consumption by more than 20 percent with its automatic temperature control that drastically reduces waste – meaning that it effectively pays for itself over time. The Ecobee3 Wi-Fi thermostat goes for $185 new but you can now get one in “good” condition for $148 on Amazon Warehouse.

$148 on Amazon Warehouse

Razer Kraken Pro gaming headset

Amazon Warehouse roundup

All gamers know the importance of a good headset, and Razer makes some of the best gaming peripherals available today. Many Razer accessories can be pretty expensive, but the Kraken Pro headset can be yours for just $30 from Amazon Warehouse. This pair of headphones features a built-in retractable microphone and 40mm neodymium magnetic drivers for punchy, detailed sound. The headset is also fully compatible with PC, Xbox, and Playstation to cover all your gaming needs.

The 40mm driver version of the Razer Kraken Pro gaming headset currently costs between $43 and $70 new depending on what color your choose, but the white model is available from Amazon Warehouse in “good” condition for just $30. The 32mm driver model is also available in black for $32 in “very good” condition.

$30 on Amazon Warehouse

Roku Premiere+ streaming media player

Amazon Warehouse roundup

Another one of our all-time favorites is the Roku Premiere+, which our review team picked as the best media streamer you can buy. Its 4K and HDR capability paired with an easy-to-use interface makes the Roku Premiere+ the way to go if you want to stream shows, movies, and more in crispy Ultra HD. The remote features a convenient point-anywhere sensor, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can enjoy your entertainment in private without disturbing others.

Even if you don’t have a 4K TV, the Roku Premiere+ will automatically play content in the highest setting available for your display, so it’s a great option for future-proofing your setup (meaning you can upgrade to a 4K television in the future without having to purchase a new streaming device). Normally $85 new, the Roku Premiere+ streamer is available from Amazon Warehouse for $64 in “good” condition, giving you a nice $19 savings.

$64 on Amazon Warehouse

Fire HD 8 tablet

Amazon Warehouse deal roundup

Amazon has a great lineup of low-cost tablets, and if you want something a bit cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy Tab, then the Fire HD 8 is an excellent option. You can score the 16GB model in “good” condition for just $60 on Amazon Warehouse, which is a nice discount off of the $90 price tag for a new unit.

The Fire HD 8 runs on a 1.3GHz quad-core processor and the 8-inch IPS display boasts a 1,200 x 800 resolution. Amazon Underground provides access to thousands of free apps and games, and Prime members can enjoy millions of free shows, books, movies, and songs. If you prefer more built-in storage, the 32GB model can be had for $80 in “good” condition. A MicroSD slot allows you to expand the storage to up to 200GB as well.

$60 on Amazon Warehouse

Sennheiser RS120 wireless headphones with charging dock

Amazon Warehouse deal roundup

Sennheiser is a household name in the headphone market — and for good reason — but you don’t need to pay through the nose for a pair. The Sennheiser RS120 headphones are one of the most popular models — they currently have a 4-star rating from more than 13,000 Amazon customers — and are very affordable.

The RS120 wireless headphones run on two rechargeable AAA batteries and come with a charging dock that doubles as a convenient stand for your cans when they’re not in use. Radio frequency wireless connectivity gets rid of any annoying cables that might trip you up and offers a range of up to 300 feet. If you need a good pair of wireless on-ear headphones, the Sennheiser RS120 with charging dock in “very good” condition can be yours from Amazon Warehouse for just $28.

$28 on Amazon Warehouse

Amazon Tap Bluetooth speaker

Amazon Warehouse deal roundup

In recent years, Amazon has expanded its lineup of Alexa-enabled devices with products like the Echo series and the Tap Bluetooth speaker. The Tap is an attractive and portable wireless speaker that streams audio from services like Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, and more when synced with your phone or tablet. Amazon Alexa allows for hands-free control via voice command, and the Tap offers some added Echo-like functionality as well: You can use Alexa to check the news, perform internet searches, or even do some online shopping.

Dual wraparound speakers deliver 360-degree stereo sound, the internal battery provides up to nine hours of continuous playback, and a charging stand is included. The Amazon Tap Bluetooth speaker normally costs $130 new, but Amazon Warehouse currently has units in “good” condition available for just $85.

$85 on Amazon Warehouse




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