Thursday, 8 October 2015

The company behind the world's most popular drone just built the ultimate selfie stick

For the last two years the DJI Phantom has been our favorite drone. It's cheap and easy enough to be accessible to the average consumer, but powerful enough to satisfy professionals. It's been the unit that led the way as drones democratized aerial imagery, making dramatic shots previously reserved for Hollywood an option for anyone with $1,000.
Today, DJI is introducing the Osmo, a handheld stabilizer that tries to repeat the same trick. It takes the camera and gimbal technology of DJI's drones and repackages it as the ultimate selfie stick. The goal is to make cinema-quality stabilization and 4K video accessible to the average consumer, while winning over lots of professionals on a tight budget as well. The Osmo goes on sale today,...
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Everyone is copying Microsoft's Surface

Bill Gates always wanted a tablet.
Back in 2001 when the first real tablet PC running Windows emerged, Gates was bullish in an interview with CNN: “Within five years I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America,” he said. Apple’s iPad won the tablet popularity race nearly 10 years later, but it hasn’t become the most popular form of PC yet.
Gates saw the value of a convertible tablet complete with a keyboard and a pen 15 years ago, but it’s not Apple that’s leading the industry forward with the idea of a modern tablet. It’s Microsoft.
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The Incredibles 2 is coming in 2019, and Toy Story 4 will be late

It's not just a day for Marvel; Disney has announced a slew of new release dates for upcoming animated and live-action films, including The Incredibles 2. The Pixar sequel is now scheduled to arrive June 21st, 2019, with Toy Story 4 — originally slated to open in 2017 — pushed to June 15th, 2018. That will leave room for Cars 3, which is now scheduled to open on June 16th, 2017 (Pixar really likes mid-June openings, in case you were wondering).
Disney also confirmed that its animated take on Jack and the Beanstalk will in fact be called Gigantic, as teased at D23 earlier this year (the film opens on March 9th, 2018). We're including the new announcements as listed by Variety below, many of which are mysteriously untitled Pixar or Disney...
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6 technologies that will help humans survive on Mars

By Cat DiStasio Planet Earth is abuzz with headlines about Mars. First, NASA announced the discovery of flowing water on the red planet. Then The Martian opened to rave reviews. We have so many questions about the mysterious frozen planet. Does liq... read more

Review: The Incase x Parabellum Travel Folio Wraps Your Apple Watch in Expensive Bison Leather

Apple's designed its Apple Watch to meet a wide range of tastes and budgets, offering the device at price points ranging from $350 to $17,000. Recently, the company also teamed up with Hermés for a unique designer Apple Watch collection that features Hermés bands. 

Some accessory makers have taken a cue from Apple and have also partnered up with well-known fashion labels to create unique Apple Watch accessories. One of the latest companies to do so is Incase, through a partnership with luxury brand Parabellum. Together, the duo have created the Apple Watch Travel Folio, which is handcrafted in Los Angeles, California from full grain North American Bison leather.

Design wise, the Travel Folio has an impressive attention to detail and impeccable construction, and I would expect nothing less for its premium $250 price tag. The exterior is a high-quality textured leather while the interior is a soft suede to keep the Apple Watch safe from scratches. I am not an expert on leather, but the Bison texture looks nice and it should weather well with daily use.

I used the Incase x Parabellum Travel Folio in Pumpkin, which is a rich orange-tinged brown color that would match well with a Gold Apple Watch and is used for several other Parabellum products. The Travel Folio also comes in a classic black, but both are made from the same bison leather.

Parabellum is known for its style and quality, and while I'm also not a fashion expert, the Travel Folio matches the Parabellum aesthetic and is as stylish as the company's range of popular bags, belts, and wallets. For someone who owns other Parabellum products, the Travel Folio would fit right in with a collection. Incase and Parabellum only made 150 of the Apple Watch Travel Folio accessories, so each one is a limited edition product.

A dust bag is included with the Travel Folio, and there's a subtle Incase logo on the snap button (which is made of ceramic) that keeps it closed. An additional cord wrap is included, with a matching button with a Parabellum logo. Inside, the Folio is stamped with the Parabellum and Incase brand names.

The Travel Folio is multi-purpose, serving as both a charging station and a way to transport both the Apple Watch and the Apple Watch charger. When traveling, the Apple Watch can be placed under the leather of the right side of the Folio, while the charger is wrapped up in the separate cord wrap. With the Apple Watch in the Folio, the band is covered while the face of the Apple Watch remains visible for quick time checks. As the name suggests, this is a Folio - it has a cover that folds over the Apple Watch and snaps closed. I noticed when using the Folio that it has a bit of a bulge where the Apple Watch is located when it's shut with the Apple Watch inside.

There's a suede-covered foam cutout that accommodates the Apple Watch charger for using the Travel Folio at home or for charging. The Apple Watch charger fits into the cutout and the cord is drawn through the bottom, allowing it to be plugged into a power adapter. From there, the Apple Watch can be placed atop the charger inside the Folio, either underneath the leather flap or atop it.

Because the cutout for the Apple Watch charger is suede and foam, it's not particularly stable within the Folio, but that doesn't much matter because the entire thing lays flat on a desk or other surface. When traveling, the Folio can be used to store the Apple Watch while in transit, and then set up in a hotel room as a place to charge the Apple Watch at night.

Serving two functions gives it a lot more versatility than a simple Apple Watch carrying case, but ultimately this can be purchased for either purpose. It works as a simple case for holding the Apple Watch during travel or as a charging solution. Because of its design, the Travel Folio only works with open-loop bands and it does not support iOS 9's Nightstand mode. Someone with a closed-loop band like the Milanese Loop may not want to buy the Travel Folio because of the hassle of needing to undo the band each time it's used.

The long length of the Travel Folio makes it somewhat awkward to transport. It won't fit well in a purse or pocket, but it will fit in a suitcase, briefcase, or larger bag. At home, it looks nice on a desk or a nightstand and it keeps the Apple Watch safe from the environment while it's charging, but it's not a better solution than one of the many other docks on the market for home charging.

Bottom Line

At $250, the Incase x Parabellum Apple Watch Travel Folio is aimed at a niche audience. It's ludicrously expensive compared to other Apple Watch stands and charging solutions on the market, and it's not something that I would buy myself or that I would recommend to the average person who owns an Apple Watch simply because of its high price tag.

For someone who's familiar with the Parabellum brand, likes a bit of luxury, or needs a way to keep an ultra-expensive Apple Watch Edition safe, the Travel Folio is worth looking into. Disregarding its price tag, it's versatile because it can be used for travel or at home on a desk, but its size makes it unwieldy.

It's not the most practical Apple Watch charging solution or travel case that I've seen, but if you're spending $250 on an Apple Watch accessory, I'm guessing practicality falls below quality, branding, and design. The Travel Folio is exquisitely made and is inarguably one of the most high-quality Apple Watch products on the market. If you're after those particular attributes and price is not a factor, it's worth a look. 

Sony's Xperia Z5 has a frosted glass back, and I've already broken it

Sony has been having such a torrid time with its smartphones lately that you might say it can't catch a break — only in this case, that's exactly what it did. I have had the company's new flagship handset, the Xperia Z5, in for review since the beginning of this week, but I've already managed to create an expansive, arcing crack in the rear of its case. Like previous Xperia Z devices, this latest model has glass on both the front and the back, though the rear portion is now frosted glass, which appears to be more fragile and susceptible to cracks than the stuff used previously. Either that or I've been incredibly unlucky.
The problem is that I didn't have to drop the Z5 from a great height to cause it such harm. I'm not even sure how...
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Ancient Mars Was Wetter and Warmer Than We Ever Realized

New data collected by the Curiosity rover shows that Mars was once quite Earth-like, featuring river deltas, lakes, and a warm climate. What’s more, the Red Planet may have been able to sustain liquid water at the surface long enough for life to emerge and evolve.

Lightroom for iOS Now Available to All Users, No Longer Requires Creative Cloud Subscription

Adobe updated its lineup of mobile apps earlier this week, and among those updates was a new version of Lightroom, the company's iOS-based photo editing app. As part of the recent update to Lightroom, Adobe quietly made the app available to all users, removing the need for a subscription to Creative Cloud. 

Prior to this week, the free Lightroom app was dependent on the desktop version of Lightroom and it required users to have one of Adobe's Creative Cloud subscription plans. Signing up first on Lightroom used to activate a trial Creative Cloud account, giving iOS users only a limited amount of time to use the app. Now restriction free, Lightroom can be downloaded by all iOS users at no cost and used to manage and edit photos on iOS indefinitely.


The Next Web was the first to highlight the change to Lightroom, and the site spoke to Adobe's director of product management for digital imaging Tom Hogarty who said Lightroom has been a popular choice for mobile users. Adobe is likely hoping the change will draw potential subscribers to Adobe's other apps.
We're seeing alot of people come in first on Lightroom mobile, so now we're allowing people to use it locally on their local assets, their local photos and videos on their phone and tablet for as long as they like.

More and more people are adopting the phone as their primary camera, taking the DSLR out less and less, and we're seeing the same thing with the use of Lightroom. Some users are creative pros who are aiming for efficiency, but many others are just consumers who love photography.
Lightroom for mobile devices has many of the same capabilities that are available for the desktop and it's a powerful editing tool on iOS devices. It includes one-touch improvement tools and more advanced adjustments for fixing problems like insufficient lighting or unwanted objects.

The recent update to the app adds a new haze removal feature that's useful for removing haze in landscaping photos, and it includes a targeted adjustment to that allows colors in a specific area to be tuned. It also offers an in-app Adobe camera, integration with Photoshop Fix, and better organizational tools.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for iPhone is available for free from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for iPad is available for free from the App Store. [Direct Link]

BlackBerry could quit hardware as early as next year

At a panel interview at Code/Mobile, BlackBerry CEO John Chen has said that the company might quit the hardware business if it isn't profitable by next year. He said that he "never says never" to shutting down its device business and perhaps focus... read more

You might have to wait until November for the new Apple TV

While Apple previously said it would officially launch the revamped Apple TV this month, you might not actually see it until November, reports 9to5Mac. Sources tell the site that the new set-top box won't be hitting Apple stores until next month read more

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

What Those Frost Patterns on Your Car Window Have To Do With Ice in Space

As we head into winter, many people will see these frosty figures show up on their windows, or on the hoods of their cars. And ben though you’re seeing them here on earth, such patterns are excellent examples of how ice forms in outer space.

Vizio's 120-inch Reference Series 4K TV with HDR costs $130,000

Although Vizio is known for making affordable 4K TVs, the manufacturer's also busy exploring other areas. Revealed back in April, its Reference Series television sets are designed for home entertainment buffs, featuring Dolby's Vision high-dynamic-... read more

Beach House is releasing a new album on October 16th

Beach House is releasing a new album called Thank Your Lucky Stars on October 16th, according to Stereogum. This is the first anyone's heard of the album, and it might've remained a complete surprise if not for fans' fervor and attention to detail.
The album is arriving just a few months after the band's excellent fifth LPDepression Cherry, but it's not a companion album or B-sides collection; it's a distinct album in its own right. Earlier this week, Reddit and 4chan users noticed that the band's website devoted to Depression Cherry had a new URL. The mystery deepened yesterday when a special area of the site was made temporarily available, one full of unreleased photos and lyric sheets for songs that hadn't yet been announced. Fans...
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Sunday, 4 October 2015

Panoz unveils a concept version of its arrow-shaped road car

Panoz's years-long vision of an arrow-shaped road car is finally coalescing into something tangible. The automaker has unveiled a real-world concept version of the car, the DeltaWing GT, that shows that the idea isn't far-fetched. Despite Panoz's... read more

Soon, you'll be able to remap the buttons on your Xbox One controller

Apparently that Windows 10-powered Xbox One dashboard isn't the only new software feature gamers have to look forward to. Mike Ybarra, of Microsoft's gaming team, has revealed on Twitter that all of us will soon be able to completely remap the buttons on any Xbox One controller so that you can change what the system sees when you click the B button, for instance.
Yes, that means that you won't need to spend $150 on that super-fancy, customizable Xbox One Elite controller to get the feature.
And that's good news, because button remapping should have been a standard feature years ago. Not only is it convenient for anyone who wants to make a small tweak to how a game is played, but it's a godsend for physically-impaired players. Simply...
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16 Searches You Can Run on Wolfram Alpha That Don't Work on Google

There are all kinds of different ways to use Wolfram Alpha, and it’s often a better idea to load up the computational knowledge engine rather than your search portal of choice. Here are 16 of the most useful queries that Wolfram Alpha can handle but leave Google stumped.

E-Books Will Never Replace Print, Because E-Books Are Stagnant and Poorly Designed

Welcome to this week’s Reading List, where you’ll find the best science and technology stories on the internet assembled in one delightful package. This week, we’ll ponder the place books have in our lives, explore urban history, see without realizing it, and remember the birth of online music streaming.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Apple to Open Up Apple TV's Universal Search to Additional Apps via New API

One of the key features of the new Apple TV set to launch later this month is universal search, which allows users to find content across a number of different services using text entry or, in some countries, Siri voice search. Universal search will work across iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime at launch, but it was initially unclear whether the feature would be expanded to include additional content sources over time. 


In a follow-up story on his interview with Tim Cook last month, BuzzFeed's John Paczkowski relates some additional details on Apple TV shared by Cook, including word that developers will indeed be able to make their content available to universal search via an API.
“At launch we’ll have iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, and HBO — so we’ll have five major inputs into universal search initially,” Cook said. “But we’re also opening an API, so that others can join in.”

And Apple’s confident that they will do just that. “I think that many, many people will want to be in that search,” Cook said. “And that’s great for users. Think about your experience today. Even if you’re fortunate enough to have the content you want to watch in an app, you sometimes don’t remember exactly where that show is, so you’re going to Netflix or Hulu or Showtime. You shouldn’t have to do that. It should be very simple.”
Cook went on to note that universal search will be intelligent enough to know which services the user is subscribed to, highlighting which sources are available free or with existing subscriptions. This is true even when different services offer only a portion of a television series' seasons, such as a show where older seasons are available through Netflix with an existing subscription but newer seasons may need to be purchased through iTunes or through a new HBO subscription.

Where Should NASA Send a Space Probe Next?

Going to Pluto was incredible, but as we continue to soak in the glorious images , NASA’s already trying to figure out which celestial target to hit next. The space agency revealed five finalistconcepts this week, including missions that would take us to Jupiter’s asteroids and the surface of Venus.

MacGyver is coming back to TV with a reboot from Furious 7 director James Wan

The TV studios just keep the reboots coming. CBS is working on bringing MacGyver back to television, according to The Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly. This won't be your parents' MacGyver however; Furious 7 director James Wan is set to executive produce the series, and he's on board to develop what's sure to be an explosive pilot episode. The show hasn't yet been ordered to series, but CBS
Oh, and expect MacGyver to be a bit less scruffy than his ’80s incarnation: the rebooted series will follow a 20-something version of the quick-on-his-toes action star. The official description for the show says this greener MacGyver "gets recruited into a clandestine organization where he uses his knack for solving problems in...
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Google's 'Don't be evil' creed disappears as company morphs into Alphabet

For Google, with a new parent company comes a new code of conduct, and there's a pretty noticeable change. The search company's famous creed — "don't be evil" — is absent from Alphabet's new code of conduct.
The new code of conduct was published on Friday after Google officially completed its transformation into one of several organizations within a parent company, which is called Alphabet.
"Don't be evil" has been part of Google for over a decade, and it's the very first line of the search company's code of conduct. While Alphabet isn't using the well-known phrase in its new code of conduct, the intention is arguably still there. The first line instead now reads: "Employees of Alphabet and its subsidiaries ... should do the right...
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Aetho's 'Aeon' GoPro stabilizer looks slick, and so will your video

"Shoot video that's worth watching" reads one of the straplines for Aetho's "Aeon" handheld GoPro stabilizer. It sounds kinda obvious, right? But, if you've ever walked/ran/danced/dived/whatever with a GoPro in your hand/mouth/knees/whatever you'll... read more

Friday, 2 October 2015

Apple Watch Launching in Brazil and Colombia on October 16

Apple's Brazilian and Colombian websites have been updated to note that the Apple Watch will be launching in those countries on Friday, October 16.


The October 16th launch of the Apple Watch in Brazil and Colombia will mark the seventh Apple Watch launch wave. The sixth launch wave will take place next Friday, with the Apple Watch expanding to Belgium, Finland, Norway, Luxembourg and Poland.

  • April 24: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, U.K. and U.S.

  • June 26: Italy, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, and Taiwan

  • July 17: The Netherlands, Sweden, and Thailand

  • July 31: New Zealand, Russia, and Turkey

  • September 25: Austria, Denmark, and Ireland

  • October 9: Belgium, Finland, Norway, Luxembourg, and Poland

  • October 16: Brazil and Colombia

In Brazil, pricing for the Apple Watch Sport will start at 2.899,00 reals for the 38mm model, which is equivalent to approximately $733.70. Apple Watch prices in Colombia are not yet available on the website. 

iPhone 6S teardown reveals how Apple made it nearly waterproof

iPhone 6S teardown reveals how Apple made it nearly waterproof

On the outside, the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus look very much like their predecessors. But, a dissection of Apple’s latest phones has revealed what could be some very clever waterproofing measures to keep liquids out and your sanity intact.
Upon opening up an iPhone 6S, iFixit first noticed an adhesive gasket placed between the front and back panels that didn’t exist in the iPhone 6 lineup. While unannounced by Apple, this small change in design is likely to greatly reduce the amount of iPhones returned due to minimal water damage.
But, let’s say that you drop your iPhone in the pool. Is the new adhesive seal enough to keep your phone from frying? Probably not. Thankfully, the teardown specialists also discovered that every one of the logic board’s cable connectors is sealed to protect itself in the case that water does make its way inside. Maybe that’s how the devices in the video below survived water torture for an hour.
YouTube : these are certainly welcomed additions for butterfingered iPhone users, it’s strange that Apple didn’t mention these efforts to improve water resistance at all alongside the announcement of its latest phones. iFixit points out that the Cupertino, CA-based company only recently filed a patent in March for the waterproof silicone seals seen in the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. Perhaps, this is just a trial for next year’s iPhone.
Even though many users have found the new iPhones to be more hydrophobic than before, we recommend that you don’t risk losing yours just to see if it works or not.

Apple Acquires Speech Technology Startup VocalIQ

Apple has purchased VocalIQ, a startup located in the United Kingdom that has developed a natural language API to allow computers and people to have a more natural dialogue, reports Financial Times. According to VocalIQ's website, the company has developed a self-learning dialogue API built on 10 years of natural language research, belief tracking, decision making, and message generation.

It's not always clear how Apple uses the technology from companies that it purchases, but with this acquisition, it's likely Apple will use the API to improve its voice-based personal assistant, Siri. Financial Times also believes Apple could use the technology for its upcoming car project, as VocalIQ specialized in in-car applications among other things.

While VocalIQ's speech processing and machine learning technology could be incorporated into devices from wearables to the connected home, the company was particularly focused on in-car applications. This included a collaboration with General Motors.

In a blog earlier this year, VocalIQ described how a "conversational voice-dialog system" in a car's navigation system could prevent drivers from becoming distracted by looking at screens. Its "self- learning" technology allows "real conversation between human and the internet of things", VocalIQ wrote.
VocalIQ has criticized Siri in a past blog post, calling the virtual assistant a "toy" unable to understand context. The difference between VocalIQ's system and traditional speech-recognition services like Siri and Cortana is its ability to learn.
The reason for this state of affairs is that while Apple, Google and the some others have mastered how the use machine learning for speech-recognition, they are still stuck with medieval approach when it comes of conversational voice dialog. They are still using pre-programmed flow-chart based response that don't learn.

The consumer demand for a self-learning multi-domain conversational voice system where consumers can freely talk about movies, restaurants, music, hotel bookings and the meaning of life, is huge and undeniable. The first one to meet that demand will rule the smartphone and wearables market for the next decade.
Apple confirmed its purchase of VocalIQ with its usual statement: "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

The Next Big Space Race?


This is Part 3 of the 3-Part Series on the Corporate Battle for Global Internet Connectivity OneWeb and SpaceX have both launched ambitious plans to bring hundreds of satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and, by doing so, provide low-latency broadband internet to anyone anywhere on Earth. Through strategic partnerships and impressive fundraising, they are both well positioned to develop… Read More

The Phoenix Effect Lets You Unboil an Egg

Researchers at Itmo University in Russia have found a way to fold mutilated proteins back into the right shape. Afterwards, the proteins work better than they did before. They call it the “Phoenix Effect”: an exhausted protein is ripped apart by heat, only to rise again better than before.