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Posts tagged ‘News’


20-minute ‘Gears 4’ prologue playthrough looks very familiar

Even the most dedicated Gears of War fan might need a refresher course ahead of the franchise’s fourth numbered sequel. And that’s precisely what the new video from the developers at The Coalition is all about. What’s more, it’s direct feed footage of the first section of the game, aptly titled “Prologue.” So, you can see exactly what sorts of trouble you’ll be getting into in a few weeks.

The 22-minute video covers some of past Gears moments from different perspectives. Those include a battle from Aspho Fields (a key event in the universe’s fiction that hasn’t been in a game previously), Emergence Day when the humans of Serra came in first contact with the Locust enemies and the battle at Anvil Gate that ended the war with those subterranean monsters.

All that and the video sets up the legend of Marcus Fenix, father of 4’s protagonist, J.D.. This isn’t the first time Gears of War has had playable memories. In fact, 2013’s side story, Judgment, was based entirely around that narrative conceit. Kind of a clever way to tie all the games together, no? Sadly this video contains precisely zero new Run the Jewels tracks. Gears of War 4 comes out October 11th on Xbox One and Windows 10.

Source: Xbox Wire


Watch the Rosetta probe fall into its death spiral this Friday

On September 30th, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta probe will cap off its 12-year career surveying Comet 67P (aka Churyumov-Gerasimenko) by slowly descending to its surface. There the spacecraft will join its lander Philae, given up for lost and recently re-found, before losing all power upon landing. You can watch Rosetta’s last dance with its comet partner on NASA TV and elsewhere online, both broadcasting the probe’s end with analysis and commentary on Friday from 6:15 AM until 8 AM ET.

Rosetta began its mission in 2004 and finally arrived at Comet 67P on August 6, 2014, becoming the first probe to meet up with and trundle alongside a comet as it hurtled around the sun. But as the pair sped on an outward path away from Earth, scientists knew that eventually the light gathered by the craft’s solar panels would be too dim to power the heaters that ensure its survival.

Thus, the mission directors planned a final rendezvous between comet and probe, where Rosetta will send Earth one last gift before it shuts off for good: A slew of once-in-a-lifetime photographs and measurements of 67P as it descends to its surface. If you’re waiting until the probe begins its final approach, tune in at 7:20 AM ET on Friday, when the old workhorse counts down to its final sign-off.

Source: NASA


Meerkat made a Houseparty app that lets you do group video chats

Meerkat is back, with a new app that already has a million users.

Shortly before Periscope became known as one of the most popular live-streaming apps on the market, a similar app called Meerkat debuted at SXSW and basically became an overnight sensation, but then Twitter bought Periscope and the writing was on the wall for Meerkat.

Fast forward a couple years later, and Meerkat’s creators have launched a group chat app called Houseparty. They actually built Houseparty under the pseudonym Alexander Herzick, according to The Verge, for about 10 months, and even created bogus Facebook and LinkedIn pages to hide the fact that Meerkat was changing its strategy. Meerkat has been demoing the app to college students, and it’s already nearing 1 million users.

Watch the video below to see how Houseparty works. You basically just invite friends via SMS to join your group chat, and then you’re able to video call with all of them at the same time. Your friends obviously need to download Houseparty to join calls, though. The idea is, with Houseparty, you’ll no longer use group texts to check in with many friends at once but rather live video.

Houseparty reportedly grew so quickly that the service was overwhelmed and suffered connection problems. Everything seems to be going well now however, as the new app, which is free to download and use, currently has five-star rating on the Apple App Store and four stars on the Google Play Store.


Add an in-demand skill to your resume with the Microsoft Excel Pro Training (89 per cent off)

When it comes to building budgets, databases, and the like, businesses rely on Microsoft Excel to get the job done. That’s why becoming proficient with this premier spreadsheet software is a smart move if you’re looking to impress on the job hunt.

The Microsoft Excel Pro Training for Mac and PC has 49 hours of training to get you building streamlined spreadsheets like a pro. For a limited time, Pocket-lint readers can get this course bundle on sale for just £22.18 ($29 USD).

Here’s an overview of the tracks you’ll complete in this training:

  • Microsoft Excel – Basic: Dive into this CPD-accredited course and develop a solid foundation with the Excel basics. You’ll learn how to organize data using math, logic, statistical, and text functions.
  • Microsoft Excel – Advanced: Take your Excel skills further by using VLOOKUP to hone in on particular values. Plus, this course will show you how to create and format pivot tables, so you can summarize and explore data with ease.

As the name suggests, the Microsoft Excel Pro Training for Mac and PC Bundle comes with Excel training for both operating systems. That way, you can show off your Excel expertise regardless of which you prefer.

The Microsoft Excel Pro Training for Mac and PC normally retails for £211. However, Pocket-lint readers can kickstart their Excel education with a special discount, taking the final price down to only £22.18 ($29 USD).


Get a free 60-day membership to Audible, the world’s largest audiobook platform

We all know reading is important, but finding the time to curl up with a good book can be a challenge. Fortunately, you can still get through your reading list without having to crack open a book, thanks to Audible.

The world’s largest provider of audiobooks, Audible lets you take your reading on the go, and Pocket-lint readers can get started with a free 60-day membership.

To sweeten the deal, Audible is offering two free book credits to help you get started. With these credits, you can choose any two books in the library, and they’ll be yours forever. Plus, you’ll receive membership discounts on additional purchases as well.

Audible has a massive selection of over 180,000 audiobooks. Whether you’re looking for a productivity-boosting self-help book or a juicy thriller to spice up your morning commute, Audible has you covered.

With the world’s number one audiobook service, you can enjoy your listening on multiple devices, and you’ll always start right where you left off last. Plus, Audible lets you listen to your audiobooks at up to three times the normal speed, so you can blaze through your reading when you’re short on time.

After your 60-day membership, you can continue your listening journey with Audible for just £11.44 ($14.95 USD) a month. Of course, you can always cancel your membership at any time as well.

Sign up now, and you can enjoy 60 days of Audible membership totally free.


Dutch limo company builds a Tesla Model S hearse

While Tesla updates the AutoPilot software to reduce your risk of meeting an untimely demise behind the wheel of one of its vehicles, Netherlands-based builder RemetzCar is taking a different approach. This Tesla Model S isn’t the first one to get the stretch treatment, but it is apparently the first one intended for use as a hearse. Commissioned by Van der Lans & Busscher BV, it can make sure your last ride is a zero-emissions one in what the company claims is the first fully-electric hearse.

Similar to the Big Limos project shown above, RemetzCar had to remove the battery first, before stretching the aluminum frame of the Model S by 80cm, or about 31.5 inches. The glass windows and roof complete the look, while a retractable floor holds the coffin and has a storage space underneath. The two are showing off their work at the 2016 Funeral Exhibition.

Via: Daily Dot, CNET Roadshow, Electrek

Source: RemetzCar, Van der Lans & Busscher BV


Nano-scale mirror could be a breakthrough for optical computing

Using a mere 2,000 atoms of cesium, Professor Julien Laurat and his team at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris have created the world’s smallest mirror. According to postdoctoral fellow Neil Corzo, who is also lead author on the team’s research paper published in the Physical Review Letters journal this week, the nano-mirror has the same level of reflectance as materials that require tens of millions of atoms and could one day lead to new advances in optical computing.

The mirror uses a nanoscale optical fiber only 400 nm in diameter to place the chain of cesium atoms in just the right alignment to reflect the light. (For reference, a human hair is roughly 80,000-100,000 nm thick.) Because of the extremely tiny scale, the atom chains had to be precisely spaced at half the wavelength of the light beam — which also means the color of light had to be specifically chosen.

As Popular Mechanics notes, the team was able to use the mirror to temporarily trap the light beam, essentially creating a sort of optical diode that can store and retrieve light pulses. As Corzo concludes in the paper, this may eventually prove useful in building light-based photonic circuits that will vastly increase computing speeds.

Via: Popular Mechanics

Source: Physical Review Letters, Science News Journal


Daily brief: LG ramps up, BlackBerry shuts down, and Samsung is on fire


Over the hills and far away.

This morning, as BlackBerry announced the shuttering of its hardware division, which will lead to around 100 job losses at the company, LG began to ramp up the V20 sales machine in its home country of Korea.

Frankly, it’s no surprise that BlackBerry has taken this road given its difficulty selling hardware since the introduction of BlackBerry 10 in 2013. And while the Priv, its first Android phone, was pretty well-received, it’s safe to say it didn’t break sales records. But while it was marketing the Priv and working with TCL on releasing its follow-up, the $299 DTEK50, it was quietly improving its Android software suite with the intention of releasing it widely across the Android ecosystem. The reality is that BlackBerry has always been pretty good at software, and despite its struggles to build a viable app store within BlackBerry 10, its iOS and Android alternative, it was a pretty good OS.

At the same time, after using the V20 in a pre-production state, it’s clear that LG, like many other Android OEMs, still struggles to temper its tendency to overthink Android software. It may launch with Android 7.0 Nougat, but it doesn’t really resemble what you’d find on the Nexus 6P or 5X.

Companies like LG, Huawei, and even Samsung, could learn a thing or two from BlackBerry by focusing on providing an Android experience as well-considered and mature as their hardware.

And if you’re still interested in BlackBerry as a company, and BB10 as an OS, CrackBerry isn’t going anywhere. Go pay them a visit, and tell them Daniel sent you.

Huawei Mate 9 leaks: six colors, up to 6GB RAM and 256GB storage

Looks like Huawei’s upcoming Nougat-powered slab will have three price tiers between $480 and $700, with the top-level Mate 9 being available in six colors, with 6GB of RAM and an enormous quarter-terabyte of internal storage. Look for a mid-November launch with the new EMUI 5 interface. More

BlackBerry is out of the phone business

While not entirely surprising, BlackBerry has confirmed that its future is entirely in the software space. After years of waffling around it, CEO John Chen said during its Q2 2017 earnings that the company would stop designing and building its own phones, choosing to rely on third parties like Foxconn and TCL. More

OnePlus continues move towards creating water

The OnePlus 3 is getting another community build. OxygenOS 3.5.3 adds a few tweaks, including scrolling screenshots and a new default clock widget for the home screen. It’s unclear when OxygenOS 3.5 will move to production, but it shouldn’t be too long now before the merger of OxygenOS and HydrogenOS is complete.

In other OnePlus news, the end-of-the-line OnePlus X is finally getting its Marshmallow update with OxygenOS 3.1.2.

MasterCard offering Brits free London travel and coffee with Android Pay

Each Monday in October, the card provider will cover the cost of travel on TfL, including the tube, London bus services and Emirates Air Line (up to £30.50), as well as offering free hot drinks at Caffe Nero when you use Android Pay. Check out the full details.

Samsung faces new Note 7 battery fire claim in China

A Guangzhou man claims his Note 7 exploded less than day after delivery, but he’s reportedly not handing it over for inspection by Samsung because he doesn’t trust the company. Two similar reports have been explained away by Samsung as being caused by external heat sources. More

LG V20 lands in Korea this week

Other regions (with the exception of Europe) should be getting the phone in the coming weeks. More

Google Play Music now available in India

At long last, it appears Google’s entire music catalog is available to Indian consumers. Singles cost ₹15, with albums between ₹70 and ₹210 (more than Apple Music). Play Music also has most Bollywood albums released in the last 20 years. More

Alcatel brings the Idol 4 to Canada for free on contract

Alcatel told Canadians that the Idol 4 would be coming to Quebec-only Videotron on September 30, and now the company is also bringing the phone, minus the cool VR headset, to Bell and Virgin Mobile. Available for $0 on a 2-year plan, or $299.99 outright, the Idol 4 doesn’t have the greatest spec sheet, but it is a pretty decent little phone for the price. There’s also a new Pop 7 LTE tablet available at both carriers for $150.

Anyone can now create a Twitter Moment

Do you use Twitter Moments? You know that middle tab that gets in the way of your horizontal scrolling between Timeline and Direct Message. I kid, but not really. Now, Twitter is rolling out Moments creation to anyone, allowing users to compile Tweets into a cohesive narrative in order to tell a story. Yay?

That’s a mighty big smartphone



Nissan made self-driving chairs so you won’t have to stand in line

Nissan, the Japanese carmaker, is now making autonomous chairs.

Most people are familiar with waiting in line. In the UK, you do it at the bank. In the US, you do it at the DMV or post office. Queues are a thing everywhere in the world, and almost everyone has a day when they hate standing in them. Well, Nissan has come up with a solution to the problem.

It has introduced a fleet of ProPilot Chairs. A ProPilot Chair is a self-driving seat, and it’s equipped with sensors that allow the chair to detect and follow the another ProPilot Chair in front of it, and any empty chairs in the line will automatically glide to the back. The chairs won’t take you down the road to the cinema, but if you’re lazy and fed up with standing in lines, they will alleviate some of your woes when it comes to queuing. 

Nissan said the chairs’ technology is based on the same system that’s currently available in the Serena minivan, which isn’t completely autonomous, but its forward-facing cameras and on-board sensors allow it to drive around corners, slow down, etc. Keep in mind Nissan is one of several companies planning to make its autonomous vehicles ready for crowded city centers by 2020.

The ProPilot Chairs are currently on display at Nissan’s public gallery in Japan, and they will be trialled at restaurants in the country from 2017.


Amazon’s new Fire TV stick is faster and has an Alexa remote (but no 4K)

Amazon is giving its streaming media stick an update.

The company has announced a new Amazon Fire TV streaming media stick with a quad-core processor, rather than the dual-core processor found the last stick, and support for faster Wi-Fi (802.11ac MIMO). But the most interesting upgrade is the new “Alexa” remote that comes bundled with it, as it lets you use your voice to find content to watch from over 7,000 HD channels.

Unfortunately, the new stick still can’t handle 4K streams. If you want a media player that stream 4K video, check out Amazon’s full-fledged Fire TV box. The updated stick costs $40, so it’s priced the same as the previous model, and it includes the remote, which used to cost an extra $10. Amazon will start shipping its new Amazon Fire TV stick in October.


To encourage you to pick the new Amazon Fire TV stick up sooner rather than later, Amazon said customers who activate it by 31 October will get “up to $65 in free content from Sling TV, Hulu, and Amazon Video”. Keep in mind Roku recently just launched a new line of streaming media players, including a $30 Roku Express. It also offers a 4K-capable box.

Also, Google might release a new Chromecast Ultra with support for 4K.

  • Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know
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