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12
Nov

Blizzard’s animated short films could lead to a full-length ‘Overwatch’ movie


The robotic heroes of Blizzard Entertainment’s futuristic online shooter may soon be the stars of an Overwatch movie, thanks to the success of the popular animated short films. The game itself doesn’t offer much in the way of storytelling or character exposition, so Blizzard has filled in some of the gaps with a series of origin stories detailing the various heroes’ rise to power.

The production and direction of the Overwatch animated shorts has always been top-notch, and the gorgeous animation rivals that of Pixar. Eight shorts have been released so far, and they are truly a labor of love for the studio. Some of the clips even played in theaters across the country as part of the game’s launch events.

“The animated shorts are probably the thing that we have the most fun making,” director Jeff Kaplan told Polygon earlier this year. “We really love working with our animation group and digging out the stories not tied to any constraints of gameplay — we can tell any stories we want.” You can check out more behind-the-scenes info in a short “making of” documentary about the Rise and Shine episode.

There’s no doubt the studio has the talent and expertise for a full-length animated film, something fans have been clamoring for since the first cinematic trailer was released. Now, a representative from Blizzard has confirmed that they’re fully in support of the idea too.

“We would like that very much,” Tim Kilpin of Activision said to MCVUK in a recent interview. “These franchises exist across multiple platforms, so it’s not just the game as a driver, but it’s linear content [movies and TV] as a way to expand the audience.”

With more than 35 million players, an Overwatch movie would certainly have worldwide appeal, considering the popularity of the game in huge markets like China. Hit video games rarely translate into box-office success, however, as Blizzard’s own venture with their live-action Warcraft movie illustrated.

In the more immediate future, Activision is currently exploring the possibilities for a Call of Duty film. “Anytime you take a franchise as storied as this, with this kind of legacy, and expand it into a new form factor you have to be really careful,” Kilpin cautioned. “So frankly, if the script and the story isn’t right, we won’t do it.”

While a full-length movie may be years away, several more origin features are planned to round out the second season of the animated shorts. With more than 20 appealing characters to draw from, it’s a sure bet they won’t run out of story ideas any time soon.




12
Nov

Chromebook Holiday Gift Guide


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Chromebooks make great gifts! Here are the best choices for everyone on your list..

The holidays are on us once again. For many of us, the spirit of giving is a chance to make someone’s Christmas or Hanukkah a little more special by finding just the right gift. Good thing there is something that’s easy to find, won’t hurt your wallet and is something that anyone would love — a new Chromebook!

They come in plenty of sizes, styles and capabilities, so you’ll be able to pick the perfect model no matter who you’re buying for. And what you’re giving — the full internet experience with the Chrome browser, thousands of apps and extensions that go with it and a secure system that is quick and almost maintenance free. Of course, you also get Google Play and over 1,000,000 Android applications on select models.

Since different people have different needs, let our expertise help you pick the right Chromebook to make the perfect gift.

The best Chromebook for your parents (or grandparents)

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The Samsung Chromebook Plus is the best Chromebook you can buy right now (under $1000), and it’s also the best Chromebook for your parents or grandparents.

Even the older members of our families are pretty tech-savvy now and a solid Chromebook with a great display is going to be appreciated by everyone. Perfect for just about anything, the Chromebook Plus makes for a great way to do the boring things like paying the bills or the fun things like checking out family photos or keeping in touch through Facebook or a Hangouts video call. It’s also the perfect computer to take on a trip or just to sit in the living room and watch a movie or do a little shopping.

Designed for use with Google Play and Android apps, your parents will be able to do anything they need with the Chromebook Plus.

See at Amazon

The best Chromebook for your sibling or special someone

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2017 brought a lot of Chromebooks and just about every price point, but the Acer Chromebook R13 is still one of the best, especially for someone who will be using it both at home and out of the house.

At 13 inches, it has enough real estate to make for a “comfortable” experience, has plenty of power to do just about anything and folds over to become a large-screen tablet complete with a multi-touch interface. This meshes perfectly with Android apps from Google Play, which the R13 supports.

It’s also built well and the aluminum body is tough enough to hold up in a laptop bag or the table at Starbucks. Top things off with excellent battery life and the Acer Chromebook R13 is the best Chromebook you can buy for someone finishing up school or moving into the workforce.

See at Amazon

The best Chromebook for the little ones

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Tough as nails with great battery life is the perfect way to describe the Acer Chromebook Spin 11. Built with the education market in mind, the Spin 11 is MIL-SPEC rated so it can handle a full glass of water being dumped directly onto the keyboard, and also includes a Wacom EMR stylus for drawing, annotating and note-taking. The Spin 11 will survive the crazy things a youngster will undoubtedly do to it and provide years of entertainment and learning fun.

Designed for use with Google Play and Android apps, the little ones in your life will love using the Acer Chromebook Spin 11.

See at Amazon

The creme-de-la-creme

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If you know anyone who could benefit from having the very best Chromebook money can buy, you’ll want to give them a Pixelbook.

The Pixelbook is Google vision of the future of portable computing, equally at home being an ultra-portable laptop or a slim and light tablet, complete with Google Play support for Android apps. With one of the best high-resolution multi-touch displays in the industry and a wonderful keyboard and trackpad, the Pixelbook is perfect for anyone who will by using it for work or school full-time. All-day battery life and the muscle to do anything today as well as in the future, the Pixelbook is worth its high price for the right person.

All Chromebooks are capable and great for work or school, but anyone spending all day every day using one will love the Pixelbook.

See at Best Buy

Update November 2017: We updated things to help you make the right pick this holiday season.

Chromebooks

  • The best Chromebooks
  • Should you buy a Chromebook?
  • Google Play is coming to Chromebooks
  • Acer Chromebook 14 review
  • Join our Chromebook forums

12
Nov

After Math: Well that’s helpful


While social media continues to be humanity’s greatest and most toxic of dumpster fires, the tech industry did manage to do some good this week. Researchers discovered that molten quarks can produce eight times the energy as the hydrogen bomb, Ford began testing exosuits for its assembly line workers, and Google floated its Project Loon as a way to get Puerto Rico back online. Numbers, because how else will you know how good of a Samaritan you are?

138 MeV: That’s how much energy a pair of quarks would theoretically give off if smashed together hard enough. That’s eight times the amount of energy you get when smashing hydrogen atoms. And, since it should only take 130 MeV to successfully smoosh them, researchers believe they may have discovered the world’s next clean energy source. Assuming, of course, that doing so doesn’t first rip open a breach in the space-time continuum.

10 feet per second: That’s how fast NASA’s Active Response Gravity Offload System (ARGOS) can accelerate a 300 pound load, including astronauts training for off-world expeditions.

100 miles: That’s how far Daimler’s new all-electric school bus can travel before needing a recharge. Eat your heart out Miss Frizzle.

1 million: That’s how many times Ford’s automotive assembly workers have to lift their hands above their heads every year. To combat the recurring stress and shoulder injuries that often come along with such activities, the car company has begun testing out non-powered assistive exosuits to shift the load from man to machine.

100,000: That’s how many Puerto Ricans could have their internet connections restored once Google fills the skies above the island nation with its Project Loon Wi-Fi balloons.

1 hour: That’s how long Las Vegas’ new autonomous shuttle bus managed to be on the road before getting into its first fender bender. Hopefully they’ll work out the bug by the time CES rolls around in January.

50: That’s how many characters Twitter users can now leverage for their cleverest of account names, never mind the fact that you can’t read the entire thing from the timeline.

12
Nov

The best probe thermometer


By Michael Sullivan

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, reviews for the real world. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

After spending 12 hours testing probe thermometers and speaking with experts—including cookbook authors, chefs, butchers, and a New York City Department of Health employee—we think most cooks just need a regular meat thermometer. But if you’re set on getting a probe thermometer to measure the temperature of food while it cooks, we recommend the ThermoWorks Dot. In our tests, the Dot was the fastest and most accurate at reading temperatures. Its simple design and straightforward controls made it easier to use than the competition.

Probe thermometers versus instant-read thermometers

Our top pick for probe thermometer, the ThermoWorks Dot (left), and our upgrade pick for instant-read thermometer, the ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4 (right). Photo: Michael Hession

Everyone should have a meat thermometer in their kitchen to ensure they’re consuming food cooked to safe internal temperatures. The more common kind is an instant-read thermometer, which you can stick directly into food for a few seconds to check the temperature. A probe thermometer is intended to remain in the meat while it cooks. A heat-safe cable attaches the probe to a digital unit outside the oven that displays the temperature reading.

Most of the pros we spoke to recommended getting an instant-read thermometer over a probe thermometer, because they’re faster at reading temperatures and longer-lasting. But there are some advantages to using a probe thermometer; namely, that you get an alert as soon as a set temperature is reached, without your having to open the oven door.

How we picked and tested

After testing 11 probe thermometers for this guide, we think the ThermoWorks Dot (center) is the best for most people. Photo: Caroline Enos

For this guide, we looked at three types of probe thermometers:

  • Basic thermometers with a single probe
  • Dual-channel thermometers with two probes
  • Remote thermometers that display readings on wireless receivers or smartphone apps

After testing, we’ve concluded that remote thermometers are a convenience item most people can live without. We also don’t think most people need dual-channel models, which are meant to simultaneously measure the ambient air temperature and the meat. The experts we spoke with agreed that the extra measurements weren’t that useful for most people.

We considered probe thermometers with temperature ranges between -58 degrees and 572 degrees Fahrenheit, with probe cables heat-resistant up to 712 °F. Ideally, you want the cable to withstand temperatures up to 700 ºF for safe use on a grill. The length of the cable and the probe itself are also both important factors.

To test the accuracy of the thermometers, we put their probes in a ceramic mug filled with ice water (32 °F), in a pot of boiling water (212 °F), and in a stockpot of 130 °F water maintained by a sous vide circulator. We timed how long it took to reach a steady temperature, and how accurate that temperature was. To get a feel for their real-world usability, we also tested the most promising models in a screaming-hot, 650 °F to 700 °F grill, and while oven-baking pieces of chicken.

Our pick: ThermoWorks Dot

Our pick for the best probe thermometer is the ThermoWorks Dot. Photo: Caroline Enos

We recommend the affordably priced ThermoWorks Dot probe thermometer for its impressive accuracy and ability to read temperatures quickly. Compared with the others we tested, it was the easiest thermometer to use, thanks to its simple, intuitive design and large digital display. The Dot’s wide temperature range makes it ideal for both oven and grill use. The probe is long enough for even the thickest roasts, and it has a conveniently lengthy 48-inch cable.

In our tests, the Dot was the fastest thermometer to read temperatures accurately, typically in less than 9 seconds. Its thermistor sensor has an impressive temperature range of -58 °F to 572 °F (and a cable that can withstand 700 °F for short periods of time). The Dot was one of only three models that were accurate to the degree in a stockpot of 130 °F water.

Also great: ThermoWorks ChefAlarm and Smoke

For probe thermometers with more features, we suggest getting ThermoWorks’s Smoke (left) or ChefAlarm (right). Photo: Caroline Enos

If you want more features, such as a backlit screen and volume adjustment, we recommend two other models by ThermoWorks, the ChefAlarm and the Smoke. They both have longer probes than our main pick, and the same impressive temperature range.

In our tests, the ChefAlarm took a couple of seconds longer than the Dot to read temperatures, but it was just as accurate. The timer on this model is a nice addition, as are the backlit screen and volume control. The ChefAlarm also allows you to set the minimum and maximum temperatures, which have corresponding alarms. Our testers also liked that the ChefAlarm thermometer comes with a case. However, in spite of the ChefAlarm’s various benefits, we think most people will be fine with our pick.

Like the ChefAlarm, the Smoke has a backlit screen and volume control. But in contrast with our other picks, the Smoke can operate via a wireless receiver and has two channels to accommodate multiple probes: one probe to take the internal temperature of the meat, and an air probe for measuring the ambient temperature of the oven, grill, or smoker. The Smoke also allows you to set the minimum and maximum temperatures for each probe, which sound corresponding alarms. We don’t think you need these features, but if you really want them, the Smoke was the best model we tested that offers them.

This guide may have been updated by Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

12
Nov

Several iPhone X Owners Experiencing ‘Crackling’ or ‘Buzzing’ Sounds From Earpiece Speaker


A limited but increasing number of iPhone X owners claim to be experiencing so-called “crackling” or “buzzing” sounds emanating from the device’s front-facing earpiece speaker at high or max volumes.

Over two dozen users have said they are affected in a MacRumors discussion topic about the matter, while similar reports have surfaced on Twitter and Reddit since the iPhone X launched just over a week ago.

On affected devices, the crackling sounds occur with any kind of audio playback, including phone calls, music, videos with sound, alarms, and ringtones. The issue doesn’t appear to be limited to any specific iPhone X configuration or iOS version.

“Love the phone but I was wondering if anyone has had any issues with the speakers slightly sounding a little crackling whenever max volume,” said one MacRumors forum member with the alias ShadowYYZ. “Noticeable on certain songs and even my ring tone which was bought from the iTunes Store.”

For those unaware, the iPhone X’s earpiece doubles as a speaker that combines with the traditional speaker at the bottom of the device to deliver stereo sound. Both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 series also have stereo speakers.

MacRumors hasn’t been able to reproduce the issues described. Apple didn’t immediately respond to our request for comment on the matter.

While the sounds could be the result of distortion, especially since they occur at higher volumes only, several users are convinced that there could be a bigger software or hardware issue affecting the earpiece.

“I listen to a lot of music on the speakers of the iPhone X and I noticed the slight crackle right away,” replied another MacRumors forum member who goes by the username Benz63amg. “Since so many of us seem to experience this crackle then my assumption is that it’s software related rather than hardware.”

A few months ago, several iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus owners experienced a similar “static noise” issue with the earpiece during phone calls. Apple acknowledged the issue and fixed it in iOS 11.0.2.

Since the crackling sounds on iPhone X don’t appear to be limited to phone calls, it’s unclear if the issues are related.

Apple has been replacing affected iPhone X units free of charge, according to customers who contacted the company. Apple also appears to be collecting diagnostic information so that its engineers can investigate the matter, as it routinely does with any potential software or hardware issues.

Like the green lines affecting some iPhone X displays, this is an isolated issue affecting a very low percentage of the millions of devices being manufactured. The majority of iPhone X owners do not appear to be affected.

If you experience this problem, we recommend booking a Genius Bar appointment with the Apple Support app or contacting Apple via phone, email, online chat, or Twitter to have your iPhone X replaced. Apple is known for providing good customer service, and it is often genuinely helpful in these situations.

Related Roundup: iPhone XBuyer’s Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)
Discuss this article in our forums

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12
Nov

The 7 budget PCs that prove PC gaming is for everyone


Looking for the best cheap gaming PCs can be an annoying process. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, then you may end up sinking funds into a machine that doesn’t perform as needed. Either way, you’ll want decent hardware for the bucks you’re shelling out, especially now that virtual reality is becoming more mainstream, thanks to Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality platform baked into Windows 10.

Below you will find a list of desktops focused on gaming that we believe are great for the money. Most consist of seventh-generation Core processors from Intel, but we also found one affordable model packing one of AMD’s latest Ryzen-branded chips. All models below can support the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets for VR, one of our requirements when determining the best cheap gaming PCs you can buy.

Acer Predator G3-710-UR11 ($890)

Here’s a great desktop for PC gamers based on Intel’s seventh-generation Core i5-7400 processor, and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 (3GB) graphics card. This is a great combination for virtual reality, and is complemented by a cool armored exterior to visually spice up your dull desktop surface. But it’s not exactly small either, measuring 20.08 (L) x 7.09 (W) x 16.1 (H) inches, and weighing a hefty 24.2 pounds.

The drawback to Acer’s desktop is that it has a weird memory amount of 12GB: typically, you see either 8GB or 16GB. Adding to that, the primary drive only provides 128GB of storage (M.2 SSD), most of which will be eaten up by Windows 10 and your installed desktop programs. This desktop includes a slower, secondary hard drive where you’ll likely be forced to install all your games.

As for other notable features, this rig includes Wi-Fi connectivity, Sound Blaster X-Fi MB5 audio, an easy-swap expansion bay, and Acer’s IceTunnel thermal system to keep the components inside cool.

We haven’t reviewed this model, but we have reviewed its big brother, the Acer G6.

Asus GR8 II-T069Z ($900)

This desktop definitely screams “gamer” in appearance alone. It sports a futuristic look ripped straight out of a sci-fi movie centering on ancient technology, rocking angled edges and built-in illumination for an awesome presentation. However, despite its towering appearance, it’s actually a mini-PC measuring just 11.0 x 3.4 x 11.7 inches, and weighing a mere 8.8 pounds.

While its looks will turn your head, its best selling point is what’s inside. This mini-desktop packs Intel’s seventh-generation Core i5-7400 processor, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 (3GB) graphics card, 16GB of DDR4 system memory clocked at a decent 2,400MHz, and a 512GB M.2 SSD providing a good starting point for installing your favorite PC games. It doesn’t ship with a secondary hard drive.

As for other notable features, the desktop includes Wi-Fi connectivity, SupremeFX HD audio, and plenty of ports to support the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets for high-definition virtual reality.

Read our latest coverage of the Asus GR8 II here.

CyberpowerPC Gamer Extreme ($1,000)

This desktop is just pretty… pretty garish, that is. The chassis sports clear acrylic panels on the front, top, and left side that are complemented by cooling fans sporting red LEDs for lighting up this desktop’s innards. The front also includes a door that conceals the ugly optical drive, and an I/O panel just above the door provides four USB ports, a microphone jack, and a headphone jack.

Luckily, the desktop has it where it counts, with a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7700 processor, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 (3GB) graphics card, 8GB of DDR4 system memory, and a 1TB hard drive spinning at 7,200RPM. We’re not exactly keen regarding the hard drive serving as your primary storage solution, but we imagine the company opted out of an SSD due to the costs of the processor and illumination. You should eventually swap out the hard drive for an SSD, and use the hard drive as secondary storage.

Moving on, this desktop is a monster in size, weighing 31.1 pounds and measuring 20.5 x 7.8 x 18 inches. It’s supposedly optimized for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and includes features like Ethernet-based networking, a 24x DVD burner, and a seven-color wired keyboard.

Dell XPS Tower ($900)

There’s nothing flashy about this tower desktop from Dell. In appearance, it doesn’t speak to PC gamers, but its heart is in the right place. Inside you’ll find Intel’s seventh-generation Core i7-7700 processor, 16GB of DDR4 system memory, and AMD’s Radeon RX 560 graphics card. You have everything you need here for a great VR experience with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, including more than the necessary ports to support these two headsets.

Like CyberpowerPC’s more expensive solution, Dell’s desktop ships with a 1TB hard drive as your primary storage device. It’s a great starting point you can manually upgrade at any time, such as swapping out the graphics card for a newer model, and exchanging the hard drive for a faster SSD. This system also supports up to 64GB of system memory.

In addition to its expandability, Dell’s desktop includes a DVD burner, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and loads of expansion bays and slots. It weighs at a beefy 22.1 pounds, and measures 15.3 x 14.0 x 7.1 inches.

HP Omen Desktop ($980)

Omen is HP’s brand dedicated to PC gaming. With this desktop installment, the company focuses on recent components produced by AMD, namely the just-released Ryzen 5 1400 processor, and the recent Polaris-based Radeon RX 580 graphics card (4GB). But if you prefer Team Green, there’s an even cheaper version of this machine packed with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 (3GB) costing $835.

Visually, the Omen is an attractive desktop that clearly showcases its gaming roots. The multi-edge design is rather neat, which integrates red lighting and a flip-open panel towards the top that provides quick access to three hard drive bays. Inside you’ll get 8GB of DDR4 system memory clocked at 2,400MHz, a 256GB SSD playing host to the operating system, and a secondary 1TB hard drive, where you’ll install most of your games.

In addition to the actual desktop, your purchase also includes a wired keyboard with volume control, and a wired optical mouse. The desktop weighs a hefty 33.8 pounds, and measures 17.41 x 7.56 x 16.43 inches.

iBuypower Chimera AM001i ($835)

Here’s another gorgeous but budget-friendly desktop for PC gamers. This one is based on a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7400 processor, and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 (3GB) graphics card. These components are crammed into a very rectangular metallic chassis sporting a “broken” red illuminated line along the front, and a clear panel on the left side. Inside, the cooling fans include red LEDs to light up all those tasty innards.

Along with the Intel and Nvidia chips, this desktop provides 8GB of DDR4 system memory clocked at 2,400MHz, a 120GB SSD to play host to the operating system and a few programs, and a secondary 1TB hard drive for your PC games, videos, and other files. Other ingredients packed into iBuypower’s desktop include Wi-Fi connectivity via a USB adapter, plenty of ports supporting the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, and more. The PC also includes a wired mechanical keyboard built for gamers, and a wired gamer-themed optical mouse.

Finally, this PC is a beast in size, measuring 25.0 x 12.5 x 21.38 inches, and weighing 30 pounds.

MSI Trident 3 VR7RC-028US ($900)

As the model number implies, MSI’s desktop is ready to handle the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Powering this affordable beast is a seventh-generation Intel Core i5-7400 processor, and Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 (3GB) graphics card. They’re crammed into an impressive design that resembles a gaming console, which is built to rest on a surface horizontally, or vertically, using the provided seat/stand.

Other ingredients inside MSI’s desktop are 8GB of DDR4 system memory clocked at a meager 2,133MHz, a SATA-based M.2 SSD with 128GB of storage, and a secondary 1TB hard drive where you will store most of your games. All of this is complemented by Audio Boost 3 and Nahimic 2 audio, MSI’s Mystic Light illumination technology, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and plenty of ports to support VR headsets.

So how big is this console-style PC? It weighs a mere 18.1 pounds, and measures 15 x 10 x 20 inches, which is a bit larger than the original Xbox One console.

Check our our MSI Trident 3 full review.




12
Nov

Weekly Rewind: Crowdfunding astronauts, flying cars, self-cleaning toilets


A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top tech stories, from a Black Friday countdown to a flying car — it’s all here.

 Uber wants flying taxis to soar above Los Angeles by 2020, with help from NASA

Uber

In the future, car traffic will have no effect on your taxi ride — at least, that is what Uber and NASA are counting on. On Wednesday, at the Web Summit in Portugal, Uber’s head of product Jeff Holden announced more details about Uber’s flying taxis program.

Holden said Los Angeles will be the third city Uber plans to use as a test site for its flying taxi project, “Elevate,” by 2020. Dallas and Dubai were the first two cities added as initial test sites for Uber’s flying taxi initiative in April. Holden also revealed Uber signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA in an effort to create a custom air traffic control system that would manage Uber’s fleet of low-flying aircraft.

Read: Uber wants flying taxis to soar above Los Angeles by 2020, with help from NASA

Amazon Cloud Cam review

With a line of home-centric devices like the iconic Echo speaker and Fire TV, it was only a matter of time until tech giant Amazon dipped a toe into home security. Turns out that the Seattle company dove right in with the release of the Amazon Cloud Cam, an indoor security camera available now. We had a chance to test out an early review unit to see if its night vision, two-way audio, and smart motion detection could stack up to more expensive cams.

Read: Amazon Cloud Cam review

Facebook can use uploaded nude images to protect potential revenge porn victims

Facebook is conducting trials of a new preventative measure to combat revenge porn in Australia. The social media giant is requesting that those who consider themselves vulnerable to such tactics pre-emptively upload their images to the social network. While it might seem counter-intuitive, such a solution would let Facebook, and by extension, the uploader, get ahead of the problem.

Revenge pornography has been a growing problem for years, especially on Facebook, with often inefficient tools (like copyright law) available to take down the images long after they’ve been shared. Facebook is looking to do something much more proactive to prevent the practice in the future, and hopes that people who have the potential to be affected will trust its A.I.-driven system to combat it.

Read: Facebook can use uploaded nude images to protect potential revenge porn victims

Count down to Black Friday with our favorite deals available now

Calling Black Friday the Super Bowl of commerce is like calling the sun “kind of hot.” Every year, on the morning after Thanksgiving, consumers across America wake up at the crack of dawn, bellies full of half-digested turkey, and sprint to their favorite stores hoping to nab items at ridiculously low prices.

While there are some people who revel in the consumer chaos, most of us are just looking to save a little bit of cash as we head into the holiday season. So if you’re trying to avoid the madness all together, join us as we count down to Black Friday with our favorite deals available right now.

Read: Count down to Black Friday with our favorite deals available now

Apple’s iPhone 11: News, rumors, specs, and more

Even though Apple just released the iPhone X, rumors are already beginning to swirl about the next iPhone. While we don’t know exactly what the next iPhone will be called, we’re assuming it’s not going to be called the iPhone 9. For now, we’re calling it the iPhone 11.

Read: Apple’s iPhone 11: News, rumors, specs, and more

Never clean a toilet again — SpinX robot does the dirty job

If there’s one chore truly deserving of your loathing, it’s toilet cleaning. Unfortunately, the only thing grosser than doing that particular chore is not doing that particular chore, so you grimace and bear it. But take heart, friends — your days of scrubbing that bowl may soon be coming to a close. It’s all thanks to SpinX, heralded as the toilet-cleaning robot. Promising to self-sanitize both your toilet bowl and seat in just 90 seconds, the SpinX claims to be the only automatic, toilet-cleaning robot on the market.

Read: Never clean a toilet again — SpinX robot does the dirty job

Meet the amateur astronauts trying to crowdfund their way into orbit

Copenhagen Suborbitals/Flickr

There’s a nondescript warehouse tucked behind an opera house in Copenhagen, Denmark, where a few dozen rocket scientists meet every week to discuss what has become their collective obsession: sending an astronaut into suborbital space.

That might not seem like such a feat. Russia ticked the suborbital box over 55 years ago, and NASA has sent people to the moon and back. But considering that every member of Copenhagen Suborbitals (CopSub) is an amateur and a volunteer with a day job outside of the warehouse, the organization’s goal is one of the more ambitious in aerospace.

Read: Meet the amateur astronauts trying to crowdfund their way into orbit

Who makes the best 4K streamer? Apple, Roku, Amazon, and more square off

So you’ve got the whole setup: a kickin’ sound system, the perfect furniture arrangement, and a new 4K HDR TV to tie it all together. Now it’s time to put it to work.

While 4K UHD Blu-ray provides the highest quality 4K Ultra HD picture and sound, streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Vudu are a quicker, easier, and cheaper way to get the latest content onto your television. Your new smart TV probably sports some of the apps you need to watch built right in, but a 4K-enabled streaming set-top box offers some distinct advantages, such as a large number of supported apps, voice and AI assistant integration, gaming, and even external storage. What’s more, many of our picks are portable, meaning you can take them on vacation or business trips so you never have to give up on your favorite shows while away from home.

Read: Who makes the best 4K streamer? Apple, Roku, Amazon, and more square off

A drone you can’t crash? It’s finally here, thanks to AR and smart glasses

Do you want to get a drone, but are too worried about either breaking it or something around you? The good folks at DJI, Epson, and Y Media Labs are here to help — courtesy of the world’s first augmented reality drone for smart glasses. The three companies announced in early November that they have teamed up to create an AR drone flight simulator app for the Epson Moverio BT-300 smart glasses, which allows you to rack up hours of drone flight without the need to actually shell out for a real drone — or extra home insurance.

“Drones are expensive,” Sheila Mikailli, marketing lead for Y Media Labs, told Digital Trends. “If you’ve just invested a thousand dollars on a new drone, the last thing you want to do is crash your brand-new toy. The simulator allows drone users to practice flying and polishing their skills in a safe environment. Unlike other drone apps controlled through your phone, this truly immersive experience allows users to get comfortable with how their drone actually flies because the physics are accurate and the simulator is controlled by the DJI drone controller, not through the phone.”

Read: A drone you can’t crash? It’s finally here, thanks to AR and smart glasses




12
Nov

Weekly Rewind: Crowdfunding astronauts, flying cars, self-cleaning toilets


A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top tech stories, from a Black Friday countdown to a flying car — it’s all here.

 Uber wants flying taxis to soar above Los Angeles by 2020, with help from NASA

Uber

In the future, car traffic will have no effect on your taxi ride — at least, that is what Uber and NASA are counting on. On Wednesday, at the Web Summit in Portugal, Uber’s head of product Jeff Holden announced more details about Uber’s flying taxis program.

Holden said Los Angeles will be the third city Uber plans to use as a test site for its flying taxi project, “Elevate,” by 2020. Dallas and Dubai were the first two cities added as initial test sites for Uber’s flying taxi initiative in April. Holden also revealed Uber signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA in an effort to create a custom air traffic control system that would manage Uber’s fleet of low-flying aircraft.

Read: Uber wants flying taxis to soar above Los Angeles by 2020, with help from NASA

Amazon Cloud Cam review

With a line of home-centric devices like the iconic Echo speaker and Fire TV, it was only a matter of time until tech giant Amazon dipped a toe into home security. Turns out that the Seattle company dove right in with the release of the Amazon Cloud Cam, an indoor security camera available now. We had a chance to test out an early review unit to see if its night vision, two-way audio, and smart motion detection could stack up to more expensive cams.

Read: Amazon Cloud Cam review

Facebook can use uploaded nude images to protect potential revenge porn victims

Facebook is conducting trials of a new preventative measure to combat revenge porn in Australia. The social media giant is requesting that those who consider themselves vulnerable to such tactics pre-emptively upload their images to the social network. While it might seem counter-intuitive, such a solution would let Facebook, and by extension, the uploader, get ahead of the problem.

Revenge pornography has been a growing problem for years, especially on Facebook, with often inefficient tools (like copyright law) available to take down the images long after they’ve been shared. Facebook is looking to do something much more proactive to prevent the practice in the future, and hopes that people who have the potential to be affected will trust its A.I.-driven system to combat it.

Read: Facebook can use uploaded nude images to protect potential revenge porn victims

Count down to Black Friday with our favorite deals available now

Calling Black Friday the Super Bowl of commerce is like calling the sun “kind of hot.” Every year, on the morning after Thanksgiving, consumers across America wake up at the crack of dawn, bellies full of half-digested turkey, and sprint to their favorite stores hoping to nab items at ridiculously low prices.

While there are some people who revel in the consumer chaos, most of us are just looking to save a little bit of cash as we head into the holiday season. So if you’re trying to avoid the madness all together, join us as we count down to Black Friday with our favorite deals available right now.

Read: Count down to Black Friday with our favorite deals available now

Apple’s iPhone 11: News, rumors, specs, and more

Even though Apple just released the iPhone X, rumors are already beginning to swirl about the next iPhone. While we don’t know exactly what the next iPhone will be called, we’re assuming it’s not going to be called the iPhone 9. For now, we’re calling it the iPhone 11.

Read: Apple’s iPhone 11: News, rumors, specs, and more

Never clean a toilet again — SpinX robot does the dirty job

If there’s one chore truly deserving of your loathing, it’s toilet cleaning. Unfortunately, the only thing grosser than doing that particular chore is not doing that particular chore, so you grimace and bear it. But take heart, friends — your days of scrubbing that bowl may soon be coming to a close. It’s all thanks to SpinX, heralded as the toilet-cleaning robot. Promising to self-sanitize both your toilet bowl and seat in just 90 seconds, the SpinX claims to be the only automatic, toilet-cleaning robot on the market.

Read: Never clean a toilet again — SpinX robot does the dirty job

Meet the amateur astronauts trying to crowdfund their way into orbit

Copenhagen Suborbitals/Flickr

There’s a nondescript warehouse tucked behind an opera house in Copenhagen, Denmark, where a few dozen rocket scientists meet every week to discuss what has become their collective obsession: sending an astronaut into suborbital space.

That might not seem like such a feat. Russia ticked the suborbital box over 55 years ago, and NASA has sent people to the moon and back. But considering that every member of Copenhagen Suborbitals (CopSub) is an amateur and a volunteer with a day job outside of the warehouse, the organization’s goal is one of the more ambitious in aerospace.

Read: Meet the amateur astronauts trying to crowdfund their way into orbit

Who makes the best 4K streamer? Apple, Roku, Amazon, and more square off

So you’ve got the whole setup: a kickin’ sound system, the perfect furniture arrangement, and a new 4K HDR TV to tie it all together. Now it’s time to put it to work.

While 4K UHD Blu-ray provides the highest quality 4K Ultra HD picture and sound, streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Vudu are a quicker, easier, and cheaper way to get the latest content onto your television. Your new smart TV probably sports some of the apps you need to watch built right in, but a 4K-enabled streaming set-top box offers some distinct advantages, such as a large number of supported apps, voice and AI assistant integration, gaming, and even external storage. What’s more, many of our picks are portable, meaning you can take them on vacation or business trips so you never have to give up on your favorite shows while away from home.

Read: Who makes the best 4K streamer? Apple, Roku, Amazon, and more square off

A drone you can’t crash? It’s finally here, thanks to AR and smart glasses

Do you want to get a drone, but are too worried about either breaking it or something around you? The good folks at DJI, Epson, and Y Media Labs are here to help — courtesy of the world’s first augmented reality drone for smart glasses. The three companies announced in early November that they have teamed up to create an AR drone flight simulator app for the Epson Moverio BT-300 smart glasses, which allows you to rack up hours of drone flight without the need to actually shell out for a real drone — or extra home insurance.

“Drones are expensive,” Sheila Mikailli, marketing lead for Y Media Labs, told Digital Trends. “If you’ve just invested a thousand dollars on a new drone, the last thing you want to do is crash your brand-new toy. The simulator allows drone users to practice flying and polishing their skills in a safe environment. Unlike other drone apps controlled through your phone, this truly immersive experience allows users to get comfortable with how their drone actually flies because the physics are accurate and the simulator is controlled by the DJI drone controller, not through the phone.”

Read: A drone you can’t crash? It’s finally here, thanks to AR and smart glasses




12
Nov

Weekly Rewind: Crowdfunding astronauts, flying cars, self-cleaning toilets


A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top tech stories, from a Black Friday countdown to a flying car — it’s all here.

 Uber wants flying taxis to soar above Los Angeles by 2020, with help from NASA

Uber

In the future, car traffic will have no effect on your taxi ride — at least, that is what Uber and NASA are counting on. On Wednesday, at the Web Summit in Portugal, Uber’s head of product Jeff Holden announced more details about Uber’s flying taxis program.

Holden said Los Angeles will be the third city Uber plans to use as a test site for its flying taxi project, “Elevate,” by 2020. Dallas and Dubai were the first two cities added as initial test sites for Uber’s flying taxi initiative in April. Holden also revealed Uber signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA in an effort to create a custom air traffic control system that would manage Uber’s fleet of low-flying aircraft.

Read: Uber wants flying taxis to soar above Los Angeles by 2020, with help from NASA

Amazon Cloud Cam review

With a line of home-centric devices like the iconic Echo speaker and Fire TV, it was only a matter of time until tech giant Amazon dipped a toe into home security. Turns out that the Seattle company dove right in with the release of the Amazon Cloud Cam, an indoor security camera available now. We had a chance to test out an early review unit to see if its night vision, two-way audio, and smart motion detection could stack up to more expensive cams.

Read: Amazon Cloud Cam review

Facebook can use uploaded nude images to protect potential revenge porn victims

Facebook is conducting trials of a new preventative measure to combat revenge porn in Australia. The social media giant is requesting that those who consider themselves vulnerable to such tactics pre-emptively upload their images to the social network. While it might seem counter-intuitive, such a solution would let Facebook, and by extension, the uploader, get ahead of the problem.

Revenge pornography has been a growing problem for years, especially on Facebook, with often inefficient tools (like copyright law) available to take down the images long after they’ve been shared. Facebook is looking to do something much more proactive to prevent the practice in the future, and hopes that people who have the potential to be affected will trust its A.I.-driven system to combat it.

Read: Facebook can use uploaded nude images to protect potential revenge porn victims

Count down to Black Friday with our favorite deals available now

Calling Black Friday the Super Bowl of commerce is like calling the sun “kind of hot.” Every year, on the morning after Thanksgiving, consumers across America wake up at the crack of dawn, bellies full of half-digested turkey, and sprint to their favorite stores hoping to nab items at ridiculously low prices.

While there are some people who revel in the consumer chaos, most of us are just looking to save a little bit of cash as we head into the holiday season. So if you’re trying to avoid the madness all together, join us as we count down to Black Friday with our favorite deals available right now.

Read: Count down to Black Friday with our favorite deals available now

Apple’s iPhone 11: News, rumors, specs, and more

Even though Apple just released the iPhone X, rumors are already beginning to swirl about the next iPhone. While we don’t know exactly what the next iPhone will be called, we’re assuming it’s not going to be called the iPhone 9. For now, we’re calling it the iPhone 11.

Read: Apple’s iPhone 11: News, rumors, specs, and more

Never clean a toilet again — SpinX robot does the dirty job

If there’s one chore truly deserving of your loathing, it’s toilet cleaning. Unfortunately, the only thing grosser than doing that particular chore is not doing that particular chore, so you grimace and bear it. But take heart, friends — your days of scrubbing that bowl may soon be coming to a close. It’s all thanks to SpinX, heralded as the toilet-cleaning robot. Promising to self-sanitize both your toilet bowl and seat in just 90 seconds, the SpinX claims to be the only automatic, toilet-cleaning robot on the market.

Read: Never clean a toilet again — SpinX robot does the dirty job

Meet the amateur astronauts trying to crowdfund their way into orbit

Copenhagen Suborbitals/Flickr

There’s a nondescript warehouse tucked behind an opera house in Copenhagen, Denmark, where a few dozen rocket scientists meet every week to discuss what has become their collective obsession: sending an astronaut into suborbital space.

That might not seem like such a feat. Russia ticked the suborbital box over 55 years ago, and NASA has sent people to the moon and back. But considering that every member of Copenhagen Suborbitals (CopSub) is an amateur and a volunteer with a day job outside of the warehouse, the organization’s goal is one of the more ambitious in aerospace.

Read: Meet the amateur astronauts trying to crowdfund their way into orbit

Who makes the best 4K streamer? Apple, Roku, Amazon, and more square off

So you’ve got the whole setup: a kickin’ sound system, the perfect furniture arrangement, and a new 4K HDR TV to tie it all together. Now it’s time to put it to work.

While 4K UHD Blu-ray provides the highest quality 4K Ultra HD picture and sound, streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Vudu are a quicker, easier, and cheaper way to get the latest content onto your television. Your new smart TV probably sports some of the apps you need to watch built right in, but a 4K-enabled streaming set-top box offers some distinct advantages, such as a large number of supported apps, voice and AI assistant integration, gaming, and even external storage. What’s more, many of our picks are portable, meaning you can take them on vacation or business trips so you never have to give up on your favorite shows while away from home.

Read: Who makes the best 4K streamer? Apple, Roku, Amazon, and more square off

A drone you can’t crash? It’s finally here, thanks to AR and smart glasses

Do you want to get a drone, but are too worried about either breaking it or something around you? The good folks at DJI, Epson, and Y Media Labs are here to help — courtesy of the world’s first augmented reality drone for smart glasses. The three companies announced in early November that they have teamed up to create an AR drone flight simulator app for the Epson Moverio BT-300 smart glasses, which allows you to rack up hours of drone flight without the need to actually shell out for a real drone — or extra home insurance.

“Drones are expensive,” Sheila Mikailli, marketing lead for Y Media Labs, told Digital Trends. “If you’ve just invested a thousand dollars on a new drone, the last thing you want to do is crash your brand-new toy. The simulator allows drone users to practice flying and polishing their skills in a safe environment. Unlike other drone apps controlled through your phone, this truly immersive experience allows users to get comfortable with how their drone actually flies because the physics are accurate and the simulator is controlled by the DJI drone controller, not through the phone.”

Read: A drone you can’t crash? It’s finally here, thanks to AR and smart glasses




12
Nov

Uber charts a new course in Asia: Working with taxis and governments


To say that Uber has had a tough year would be, well, the understatement of 2017. While the company has long been a magnet for bad press, these last 11 months seem to have been particularly contentious, even for a company as accustomed to controversy as Uber. From continued fights with governments, to driver protests, to the departure of a CEO, to the loss of a license in a major market, the embattled unicorn is looking for ways to change its approach. And so too is Uber’s new Asia chief, Brooks Entwistle, who joined the company in August.

Entwistle has his work cut out for him — Uber has already been pushed out of the largest market in the region (China), and in other nations, homegrown competitors are giving the company a serious run for its money. But the new leader is taking a page from new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s book, rather than that of ex-executive Travis Kalanick, calling for cooperation and coexistence over outright war.

In fact, Entwistle told TechCrunch, Uber is trying to make allies out of former enemies. “We are actively looking to partner with taxi companies,” he said. “In Taipei, taxis are at 30 percent utilization, we can drive that [figure] up.”

Similarly, Entwistle is hoping to work more closely with government officials so as to avoid the situation currently unfolding in London (where Uber is fighting tooth and nail to maintain its license to operate). As he told TechCrunch, “I visit one or two countries a week to meet regulators and governments. We talk solutions and are coming at this from a collaboration/partnership approach. The conversation feels like it is really changing.”

Government cooperation will be more important than ever for Uber, especially as rivals like Go-Jek and Grab gain traction, raising capital from Asian investors, and expanding their services beyond ride-hailing. But Uber is still looking for a silver lining, and in a departure from previous practices, toward legislative allies.

So far, this looks to be working. “We launched fully in [Cambodia] in cooperation with the government,” Entwistle noted. “Transportation officials were on stage and it is very much a partnership. I do think we have to work with them to provide solutions, and we are asking them in many cases what they need.”




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