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26
Sep

This is surely the coolest way yet to solve a Rubik’s Cube


When it comes to solving the Rubik’s Cube, the focus is usually on speed rather than on how it’s actually achieved.

So how about this super-cool video showing a Rubik’s Cube solving itself. Now that’d be something to pull out at a party.

Created by Japanese YouTuber Human Controller, the self-solving Rubik’s Cube is built around a custom 3D-printed core and powered by a series of servo motors, with its smarts delivered via an Arduino board.

Human Controller recently posted several videos showing the cube solving itself. One shows it moving across a table with every turn as the jumble of colors re-align on each side. The best video, however, shows Human Controller holding the cube at one of its corners as the motors diligently turn the sides until the puzzle is solved.

Photos posted by the cube’s creator, together with a video showing him take it apart, reveal how the electronics and other components have been squeezed into a tiny space, enabling the Rubik’s Cube to retain its original size.

In fact, a video posted 18 months ago reveals that the project has been in the workshop for some time, with an older version of the self-solving cube much larger than the final design. Shrinking all of the technology has clearly been a major challenge, but he’s achieved exactly that and the results are impressive, to say the least.

Now, if Human Controller will be so kind as to apply his self-solving technology to the tangled web of global disputes and conflicts, his work will truly be done.

Rubik’s Cube speed demons

The fastest time for a human to solve the Rubik’s Cube is a mere 4.22 seconds. This robot, however, can solve it faster than you can say, “what the…” — taking just 0.38 seconds. You have to watch it in slow motion to see it happening, otherwise you might suspect some video trickery taking place. What makes it all the more astonishing is that the 0.38 seconds includes the time it takes the robot to assess the position of the colors on the cube and work out how the hell it’s going to solve it.

The famously frustrating puzzle was invented in 1974 by Hungarian architect Erno Rubik, though it wasn’t until 1980, when Ideal Toy Company licensed the puzzle, that it found global fame. It’s since sold more than 350 million units worldwide, making it the most successful toy ever.

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  • The best shows on Amazon Prime right now (September 2018)
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  • Volvo wants to build a future in which you can’t wait to commute to work
  • Spirit animals: 9 revolutionary robots inspired by real-world creatures



26
Sep

This is surely the coolest way yet to solve a Rubik’s Cube


When it comes to solving the Rubik’s Cube, the focus is usually on speed rather than on how it’s actually achieved.

So how about this super-cool video showing a Rubik’s Cube solving itself. Now that’d be something to pull out at a party.

Created by Japanese YouTuber Human Controller, the self-solving Rubik’s Cube is built around a custom 3D-printed core and powered by a series of servo motors, with its smarts delivered via an Arduino board.

Human Controller recently posted several videos showing the cube solving itself. One shows it moving across a table with every turn as the jumble of colors re-align on each side. The best video, however, shows Human Controller holding the cube at one of its corners as the motors diligently turn the sides until the puzzle is solved.

Photos posted by the cube’s creator, together with a video showing him take it apart, reveal how the electronics and other components have been squeezed into a tiny space, enabling the Rubik’s Cube to retain its original size.

In fact, a video posted 18 months ago reveals that the project has been in the workshop for some time, with an older version of the self-solving cube much larger than the final design. Shrinking all of the technology has clearly been a major challenge, but he’s achieved exactly that and the results are impressive, to say the least.

Now, if Human Controller will be so kind as to apply his self-solving technology to the tangled web of global disputes and conflicts, his work will truly be done.

Rubik’s Cube speed demons

The fastest time for a human to solve the Rubik’s Cube is a mere 4.22 seconds. This robot, however, can solve it faster than you can say, “what the…” — taking just 0.38 seconds. You have to watch it in slow motion to see it happening, otherwise you might suspect some video trickery taking place. What makes it all the more astonishing is that the 0.38 seconds includes the time it takes the robot to assess the position of the colors on the cube and work out how the hell it’s going to solve it.

The famously frustrating puzzle was invented in 1974 by Hungarian architect Erno Rubik, though it wasn’t until 1980, when Ideal Toy Company licensed the puzzle, that it found global fame. It’s since sold more than 350 million units worldwide, making it the most successful toy ever.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • The best PS1 games of all time
  • The best shows on Amazon Prime right now (September 2018)
  • The 20 best tech toys for kids will make you wish you were 10 again
  • Volvo wants to build a future in which you can’t wait to commute to work
  • Spirit animals: 9 revolutionary robots inspired by real-world creatures



26
Sep

Report Claims Apple News Brings Publishers Higher Traffic But a Lot Less Ad Revenue


An extensive new report by Slate has revealed the challenges publishers are facing when it comes to profiting from Apple News despite the platform’s growing readership.

According to the report, page views on Apple News have roughly tripled since September 2017, and the app has now surpassed Facebook as a driver of readership.

Unlike Google and Facebook however, Apple News hosts content within the app instead of sending readers to the original website, depriving publishers of ad revenue.

In a stark example, Slate revealed that it earns more money from an article that gets 50,000 page views on its own site than it does from 54 million views on Apple News.

Apple News has so far offered publishers few opportunities for generating ad revenue, although Apple recently added support for Google’s industry standard ad-serving tool DoubleClick.

Still, Apple’s privacy policy ensures limitations: Google’s ad manager can serve traditional banner ads including animated GIF ads, but it can’t yet be used to serve HTML5-based ads or pre-roll video ads.

Despite the struggle, publishers are continuing to embrace Apple News in the hope that things will eventually change and given the huge opportunities for exposure that the platform offers. In countries that support Apple News, the app now comes pre-installed on all new Macs and iOS devices.

Apple has also reportedly urged major U.S. newspapers about adding their content to the Texture magazine app that Apple purchased in March, with a view to eventually integrating the subscription-based service into Apple News.

Tag: Apple News
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26
Sep

Delta tech issue grounds planes, tells travelers to check Wednesday flights


Delta Air Lines suffered nationwide disruption to its flights on Tuesday evening after its systems suffered what the carrier described as a “technology issue.”

The disruption, which had no effect on Delta’s operations outside of the U.S., began early evening ET and was considered serious enough for the carrier to stop all of its aircraft from departing U.S. airports. About an hour in, Delta flights were given permission to take off from all airports except JFK and LaGuardia in New York, and Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta.

A short while later, the carrier announced it had resolved the issue and confirmed that all flight restrictions had been lifted.

The issue had been made worse by a problem with Delta’s website and Fly Delta app that prevented many of its customers from logging in to check the status of their flight. Delta says its website and app are once again up and running.

Knock-on disruption

In a statement issued by Delta after the incident, it said that despite the flight delays, it had managed to avoid canceling any of its flights.

But it added that the disruption could result in a knock-on effect for some flights on Wednesday morning, though it expected the impact on its schedule to be “minimal.” Nevertheless, it’s advising anyone flying with Delta on Wednesday to check their flight status on delta.com or on the Fly Delta app before they leave for the airport.

The airline, one of the world’s largest and which handles more than 160 million travelers a year, insisted there had been no impact on safety while the glitch was being fixed, and it apologized to its customers for any inconvenience suffered as a result of the ensuing disruption.

As is usual in the case of such incidents, many passengers stuck inside Delta planes that were about to take off vented their frustration on Twitter.

Sittings inside the airplane for 2 hours in NYC. Problems started at 5:45 so why would @delta keep boarding people knowing that planes can’t take off. #delta

— Jolanta T (@jrtibebu) September 26, 2018

Despite the problems, some managed to inject a bit of humor into their complaint:

Delta flights finally in motion. Waiting in a long line of #delta planes at JFK. Literally have been “driving” for 30min. It appears we will be driving the plane to Las Vegas.

— Brittany Finkle (@BrittFinkle) September 26, 2018

It’s not the first time Delta has been hit by technical issues that have led to widespread disruption. In 2017, computer issues that led to a systems outage forced the airline to cancel flights, and a year earlier, a computer meltdown at its hub in Atlanta, Georgia, saw flights canceled and grounded around the world.

And Delta isn’t the only U.S. airline to experience these troublesome issues, with other giants such as American and United having their fair share of incidents to deal with in recent years.

Editors’ Recommendations

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  • Caltech is training drones to ‘herd’ flocks of birds. Here’s why



26
Sep

Apple Pay to Be Available in 60% of U.S. Retail Locations by End of 2018


Apple Pay is expected to be available in 60 percent of retail locations in the United States by the end of the year, Apple’s VP of Apple Pay Jennifer Bailey told Fortune today in an interview at the company’s Brainstorm Reinvent Conference.

Since Apple Pay’s 2014 introduction, Apple has worked to bring it to 24 countries around the world. Apple has to negotiate deals with each and every country where Apple Pay expands, so it’s been a slow process, but growth is strong even outside of the United States.

Apple has recently been focusing on expanding the usefulness of the Apple Wallet, which houses Apple Pay credit and debit cards. Apple Wallet is now being used for purposes like public transit, customer loyalty programs, student IDs (launching next week), and may soon expand to corporate access and hotel key cards. Apple’s own campus permits employees to enter using Apple Wallet.

“It’s a tremendous new area for us to focus on, which is really access,” Bailey said.

According to Bailey, when Apple Pay was first introduced, Apple didn’t approach the launch with the aim of disrupting the credit card industry. Instead, the goal was to work with credit card companies and introduce “great customer experiences.”

Apple was uninterested in pursuing a bank charter, necessary for introducing Apple Pay as a credit card replacement option, because it didn’t want to face regulation.

“When we thought about Apple Pay, we thought, there are a lot of payments out there that our customers already love and trust,” Jennifer Bailey, Apple VP of internet services and Apple Pay, said Tuesday morning during Fortune’s Brainstorm Reinvent conference in Chicago. “We don’t sit around and think about, ‘what industry should we disrupt?’–we think about, ‘what great customer experiences can we develop?’”

When asked if Apple makes money from Apple Pay transactions, Bailey answered the question with a “perhaps,” but said that other features in the Apple Wallet are about bringing more utility to customers and making sure people “love their iPhones.”

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
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26
Sep

The ultrathin Dell S2718D 27-inch monitor is on sale for a very limited time


When looking at desktop PCs, it’s easy to get caught up in technical details like CPU clock speeds, whether you need a dedicated GPU, how much RAM to budget for, and so forth. One thing that often gets treated as an afterthought is the humble monitor, which is what allows you to actually interface with all of that shiny hardware.

Dell remains one of the premier makers of desktop displays, and when the Dell S2718D was unveiled at last year’s CES, it was noted for its super-slim design – which was offset by its hefty price tag of $700. This put it squarely into “professional” territory and well out of budget range for most normal PC users, but now, it’s on sale from Staples for just $220, the lowest price we’ve seen yet for this ultrathin display.

“Ultrathin” isn’t just marketing speak here: The Dell S2718D panel measures at just under 7mm thick and features Dell’s InfinityEdge display technology for an extra-slim bezel. The display itself is 27 inches wide, giving you more screen real estate than standard 20- to 22-inch desktop monitors without veering too far into big-screen territory to fit on your desk.

The Dell S2718D 27-inch monitor is an IPS (in-plane switching) display, offering much better viewing angles than the TN displays of yesterday which were notorious for washing out when not viewed head-on. It’s also got a high-definition resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels – crisper than 1080p Full HD – and at its base you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports and a 45-watt USB-C port, which deliver enough power to charge your gadgets. The USB-C port can even juice up larger devices like laptops and tablets.

The list price for the Dell S2718D monitor is $600, but you can typically find it for around $400 at other retailers. Nonetheless, this new low of $220 from Staples ($380 off its current manufacturer recommended sales price) is far and away the best price yet for this ultrathin HD monitor, and we don’t expect it to last long. If you’re in the market for a new desktop display, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal than this one before Black Friday.

$220 | Staples

Looking for more great stuff? Find PC deals and more on our curated deals page, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for regular updates.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and choose what we cover carefully and independently. If you find a better price for a product listed here, or want to suggest one of your own, email us at dealsteam@digitaltrends.com.Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

Editors’ Recommendations

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26
Sep

‘Minimal Turing Test’ asks humans to prove they’re human with only one word


A test that is designed to highlight the difference between human and machine — or prove that a human really is a human — is nothing new. In fact, it’s the basis for the Turing Test, a test devised by pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing all the way back in 1950. Here in 2018, machines have gotten considerably smarter, and the idea of a machine that thinks is no longer quite as crazy as it sounded almost 70 years ago. It’s therefore no surprise that the question of what separates humans from machines is at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds — as a new “Minimal Turing Test” makes clear.

Devised by two researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the University of Pennsylvania, the new spin on an old classic asked 1,089 human participants to name a single word they would use to explain just what makes humans, well, human.

“We proposed a new method for studying how people think about other kinds of agents, or people that belong to other social groups — essentially give one word to prove your identity,” John McCoy, an assistant professor of Marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, told Digital Trends. “We asked people to give one word to prove that they’re not a smart robot, and to judge the words of others. We used techniques from natural language processing to cluster the words that people gave, and modeled people’s words and judgments with ideas from game theory.”

The words human respondents used to prove their humanity included “love” (a massive 14 percent of responses), various answers relating to emotions, compassion, religion, and … “poop.” Because what are we as the planet’s current most intelligent beings if not for lovers of toilet humor?

In fact, poop had a whole lot of significance for the project. After the answers had been collected, the researchers randomly formed pairs of words and then told another group of 2,405 participants to choose which word they thought was from a human and which one was from a robot — despite the fact that both were selected by humans. “Poop” was the one that most people thought had been picked by a human. The least successful, for obvious reasons, was “robot.”

“Most of the words make sense once you see them, but they’re not necessarily what I would have predicted ahead of time,” Tomer Ullman, a postdoctoral associate in the Computational Cognitive Science group at MIT, told us. “Some of the words still have us scratching our heads. That the taboo category word beat out everything else isn’t something I would’ve bet a lot of money on before we ran the study, though it may seem obvious in retrospect.”

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26
Sep

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 joins the ray tracing future on October 17 for $499


Riley Young/Digital Trends

If Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Ti is a bit too rich for your gaming blood, you can pick up the RTX 2070 next month instead. Nvidia announced through its GeForce Twitter account that the RTX 2070 will be available on October 17 at a starting price of $499. If you opt for the Founders Edition card, that version will cost $100 more at $599. Like the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti flagship, the RTX 2070 will utilize Nvidia’s new Turing architecture, which will support artificial intelligence-enhanced features, ray tracing, and Deep Learning Super Sampling.

While the RTX 2070 represents a more affordable option for gamers compared to the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti flagships, it may not be an immediate upgrade compared to the aging GeForce GTX series. In our early benchmarks of both the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti with current games, we found that the RTX 2080 delivers performance that’s about on par with the GTX 1080. For its part, Nvidia claims that the new RTX series should be capable of up to six times the performance of the GTX platform. However, for this performance to become a reality, you need to wait for games that support ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). And at this time, it’s unclear if ray tracing games will be available when the RTX 2070 launches in October. Without ray tracing and DLSS, gamers won’t be able to realize the card’s full potential.

Nvidia is placing huge bets on ray tracing as the future of gaming. The feature allows scenes to be rendered in real time, showing how light can be absorbed, reflected, or refracted off of surfaces. The effect is similar to computer-generated imagery, or CGI, in movies. In games, Nvidia claims that this will lead to more realistic scenes and animations. However, if you don’t need ray tracing, you may get better bang for your buck by finding a GTX series cards that are being discounted now that the RTX series are starting to arrive.

If you’re interested in investing in Nvidia’s vision for the future of gaming, you can sign up on the dedicated GeForce RTX 2070 portal to be notified when pre-orders go live.

October is shaping up to be a big month for the PC industry. In addition to the RTX 2070 hitting shelves, Microsoft is also slated to take the wraps off of the next major update to Windows 10, which the company is aptly calling the October 2018 Update.

Editors’ Recommendations

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  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Mobile sighting hints at more powerful gaming laptops



26
Sep

The HP Tango smart printer clearly wants you to confuse it for a book



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HP Tango Smart Printer

HP Tango Smart Printer

HP Tango X Smart Printer

Remember when printers used to look like, well, printers? HP’s latest addition to the world of paper and ink is the Tango — a device designed to look nothing like a conventional printer. At first glance, the HP Tango appears to be perhaps a small fabric layer box, or a very thick book, but within is a small wireless printer boasting some tricks. Starting from $150 for the base unit, and $50 extra for the Tango X model with fabric, the mini-stealth printer might play as more of a centerpiece than something to hide away.

Announced as the world’s first smart home printer, the HP Tango is more than just a little printer with a form factor of 14.8 x 8.1 x 3.6 inches and only 6.8 pounds. Starting with more traditional functions, the Tango can wirelessly print a black print resolution of up to 1,200 x 2,000 dpi and a color resolution of up to 4,800 x 1,200 dpi. The printer itself is a thermal inkjet machine and can print at up to 11 pages per minute. Overall, the HP Tango presents decent specifications for its size to those looking to purchase a new inkjet printer.

But, none of the above functions make this printer any smarter than the one you might already own, so what is it hiding? HP says the Tango gains extra smarts for the home thanks to its ability to allow users to print from anywhere, whether that is on the same Wi-Fi network as the device or half-way around the world. The Tango works in conjunction with the HP Smart app to enable printing almost anywhere.

HP has also squeezed a few other smart features into the app including instant notifications for when you run out of ink, easy scanning of documents with your smartphone’s camera, and a setup wizard for getting your Tango connected and ready. Users can also opt to have the printer automatically order additional ink when it is low thanks to the company’s Instant Ink service.

Lastly, we all know that a device isn’t truly smart unless we can talk to it, and HP has made sure that we are never lonely by bestowing the printer with voice functionality. Currently compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana, you can inform your virtual assistant that you need a specific type of form printed, and it will automatically communicate with your HP Tango.

Buyers looking to get their hands on the new HP printer can begin ordering now; however, the version that includes the linen cover, the Tango X, will be available next month. Owners can pick from either Indio linen or charcoal linen to start, with corck currant coming later this year. Those purchasing the regular Tango have the ability to add on a linen cover after their purchase for an additional cost.

Editors’ Recommendations

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  • Home printer buying guide: How to choose a printer that best fits your needs
  • The best portable photo printers of 2018
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  • The best 3D printers under $1,000



26
Sep

Functional Apple-1 Computer Sells for $375,000 at Auction


A rare fully operational Apple-1 computer auctioned off by RR Auction at WeWorks in Boston today fetched a total of $375,000.

The Apple-1 came from a person who purchased the machine from The Byte Shop, the store where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak originally sold the computers for $666.66. The seller used the Apple-1 to learn BASIC and wrote small programs before he decided to hold onto it because it “could one day be a piece of computing history.”

Bobby Livingston, Executive VP of RR Auction said that the company was “thrilled” with the price that the Apple-1 earned.

“We are thrilled at the price achieved and that’s why we thought it fitting that the Apple 1 should headline our annual Rare and Remarkable auction– it’s a museum-quality piece that has earned a special place in history.”

Apple-1 expert Corey Cohn restored the machine to its original, operational state in June 2018, and the auction included a comprehensive technical condition report prepared by Cohen. Cohen rated the condition of the computer at 8.5/10 after it worked without fault for eight hours during a comprehensive test.

Over the course of the last few years, several Apple-1 computers have surfaced at auction and have sold for $130,000 to $815,000. The Apple-1 that fetched the highest price as known as the “Celebration” Apple-1 and was ultra rare due to its black “green” PCB board that was not sold to the public and was not part of a known production run.

There are an estimated 60 to 70 Apple-1 computers still remaining of the original 200 machines that were designed and built by Jobs and Wozniak.
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