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A media platform based on blockchain will arrive soon, which unlike Reddit or Twitter can’t be policed (Fred Wilson/AVC)


Techmeme /

A media platform based on blockchain will arrive soon, which unlike Reddit or Twitter can’t be policed (Fred Wilson/AVC)

Fred Wilson / AVC:
A media platform based on blockchain will arrive soon, which unlike Reddit or Twitter can’t be policed  —  The Decentral Authority  —  We’ve been big fans of Reddit since it was part of the first Y Combinator class ten years ago this summer.  We’ve watched closely as it emerged as a community powered mostly by its users.

Full ‘Steve Jobs’ Trailer: “I Play The Orchestra”


SourceFed / Jonathan Holman

Full ‘Steve Jobs’ Trailer: “I Play The Orchestra”

Danny Boyle directs Michael Fassbender as the tech giant. Universal has had quite the trip with their upcoming Steve Jobs biopic. Between a shift of hands from Sony, and more actors and directors lined up than even thought possible, the movie is finally being released. Based on the Walter Isaacson biography of the same name, and written by Aaron Sorkin, the movie looks to be a powerhouse in the fall festival and awards circuit. From Universal, here’s first full trailer for the film: Admittedly, I still haven’t been able to get behind Fassbender as Jobs, simply because of their build

iPhone 6s to support download speeds of up to 300 Mbps, double that of the iPhone 6, run more efficiently with new Qualcomm LTE chip (Mark Gurman/9to5Mac)


Techmeme /

iPhone 6s to support download speeds of up to 300 Mbps, double that of the iPhone 6, run more efficiently with new Qualcomm LTE chip (Mark Gurman/9to5Mac)

Mark Gurman / 9to5Mac:
iPhone 6s to support download speeds of up to 300 Mbps, double that of the iPhone 6, run more efficiently with new Qualcomm LTE chip  —  iPhone 6S to double LTE speeds, run more efficiently with new Qualcomm chip  —  One of the main upgrades to the next iPhone’s internals …

Ask Siri to Divide Zero by Zero


SourceFed / Andrew Fahey

Ask Siri to Divide Zero by Zero

You know, Siri can be a real jerk. It seems that Siri is finally fed up with all of the dumb questions that we’ve been asking it all of these years. It turned down your marriage proposal. It told you about woodchucks. Now its doing your math homework for you. However, it isn’t doing so without making you rethink every decision you’ve made in your life. Watch YouTube user zomtheforestcat demonstrate what happens when you ask Siri to divide zero by zero: That’s cold blooded, Siri. People online are freaking out about Siri’s sass, including Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul.

Apple Music Is Here—Go Try It Now


Gizmodo / Darren Orf

Apple Music Is Here—Go Try It Now

Today, Apple is pushing out the latest update to iOS, and in this 8.4 version iPhones users will get some brand new Apple bloat Apple features, chief among them being the long-time-coming Apple Music streaming service.Yep. This is the Beats-powered, star-studded, Taylor Swift-yielding music service we’ve all been waiting for. It’s the supposed Spotify slayer from a company that’s been historically known for disrupting the music biz. But this time around, they’re riding in the backseat of this cultural revolution. Let’s see if they have what it takes to be back in the driver’s seat.As is true with most OTA updates, it might take a while for the update to actually be available on your particular iPhone (Settings General Software Update or just try through iTunes), but just keep praying to the software update gods.

Apple Music Launches With iOS 8.4 At 8 AM PT On June 30


TechCrunch / Darrell Etherington

Apple Music Launches With iOS 8.4 At 8 AM PT On June 30

 Apple Music is coming tomorrow, and Apple Music Senior Director and former beats CEO Ian Rogers wants you to be ready, so he has revealed the specifics of when it’ll star rolling out. The official launch time for Apple Music is June 30 at 8 AM PT, per a Rogers’ blog post and Facebook event, at which time iOS 8.4 will be made available for users to update their devices. iOS 8.4… Read More

Chris Farley Documentary Gets Its First Trailer


SourceFed / Jonathan Holman

Chris Farley Documentary Gets Its First Trailer

Set to hit theaters in late July. If you’re a pop culture gearhead, then it’s incredibly difficult to omit one of the preeminent comedians of the 1990s: Chris Farley. Orchestrating classic skits on Saturday Night Live and larger-than-life, but lovable oafs in movies like Tommy Boy and Black Sheep, Farley has made an incredibly lasting impact on comedy, and media at large. After tragically passing away at the age of 33 in 1997, he’s a prime example of those gone too soon. And with tragedy and fame, people always wish to see the other side, so we’ve got a documentary

UberBoat Quietly Launches in Instanbul


Gizmodo / Maddie Stone

UberBoat Quietly Launches in Instanbul

While Parisian cab drivers took to the streets to pillage and burn Uber vehicles last Thursday, the ever-contentious ridesharing company was quietly rolling out UberBoat across the continent in Istanbul.Yep, you heard that right. In Istanbul you can now tap a button on your phone and summon a speed boat to ferry you across the Bosphorous Strait, a waterway that forms part of the boundary between the European and Asian sides of the city. The trip will cost about $19 USD, but the Beneteau boats Uber’s using, which belong to local boat company Navette-Tezman Holding, can carry about 6 to 8 people at once. That still ends up being a bit pricier than public ferries, which according to Bloomberg, serve about 20 routes across the strait for a basic price of 81 US cents. Hopefully that price gap will differentiate the two services enough that Uber doesn’t start sparking sea riots, as well.[Bloomberg Business via Ars Technica]

Force Touch is Reportedly Coming to iPhone


Gizmodo / Maddie Stone

Force Touch is Reportedly Coming to iPhone

Ahoy, an Apple rumor! Unnamed sources tell Bloomberg Business Apple has begun production on an iPhone model equipped with Force Touch, the same haptic feedback feature that made its debut this year in the Apple Watch and the company’s new MacBook.The introduction of Force Touch to iPhone is being hailed by some as Apple’s latest maneuver to keep pace with the likes of Samsung, whose Galaxy S6’s screen can be viewed from the side. But touch sensors aside, don’t expect the new iPhone to look all that different: according to Bloomberg’s nameless whisperers, at least, the exterior design will be very, very similar to that of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. If all goes well, full-scale manufacturing of the new phone could start as early as July, so if you’re an iOS user, better start mastering those two-stage clicks soon. [Bloomberg Business]Top image via Shutterstock

How We Made Top Gear


Gizmodo / sniffpetrol on Jalopnik, shared by Alissa Walker to Gizmodo

How We Made Top Gear

The very last Clarkson, Hammond & May edition of Top Gear will be broadcast this Sunday and sniffpetrol – by day, mild mannered former Top Gear script editor Richard Porter – explains how they used to put the show together and what it was like to be at the cutting edge of cocking about. There we go then. The sun has set on what I imagine we will one day call Old New Top Gear. Now we sit patiently with seatbelts fastened and backrests in the upright position, awaiting developments from New New Top Gear / The Jeremy Clarkson Car Hour / James May’s Amphitheatre Of Cheese.Whatever happens next, it’s going to be quite different from what I like to think scholars will one day call Top Gear Classic. It might be made in quite a different way too. I don’t know. I only know the way we used to make the show, which was with a mixture of sweat, panic, disagreement and potato snacks.On the programme I hope historians will soon refer to as Top Gear – Original Taste the most important thing for any given item was, unsurprisingly, the idea. If we’re talking about a track test, that idea was always pretty simple; is it an interesting car and can we say moderately entertaining things about it while slithering around a runway for six to eight minutes?Ideas for the big, three presenter films were rather more difficult. Coming up with suggestions wasn’t the hard part, it was the process that followed in which the idea would be prodded and dismantled and subjected to the same line of questioning it might receive from a four-year-old; Why? Why? No really, why? Why were we going there? Why were we taking those cars? Why were we doing this at all?For those items in which we bought old rotboxes or built something of our own, it was important to have some headline question we were answering or some logical problem we were setting out to solve. Can you buy a car for £100 or less? Can you build your own amphibious car? Can we alleviate travel chaos brought on by snow using machines that normally sit idle in winter?You needed the question for the studio introduction to give some line of logic, some small reason why we were craving your attention for the next half an hour or so. Once the item was up and running you could drift away from that original point, though I believe the best Top Gear stories never forgot it.If the idea couldn’t pass muster in the office, in particular at the hands of chief scrutineer Clarkson who worried about this stuff more than anyone on the team, then it didn’t happen. Case in point, we once had this notion that we would re-invent the fire engine. Why were we doing that? Because it seemed like they were too big and too slow and therefore took too long to get to emergencies. The solution was obvious; Top Gear would build a small, high performance fire truck.The trouble is, if you make a fire engine smaller there’s no room on board for all the ladders, hoses and burly men it needs to do its job. So it has to be big. And then it can’t get through gaps in traffic. So you make it smaller. And then it can’t do its job. And then…We sat in a meetings for hours debating this round in circles before concluding with heavy heart that the ideal design was a fire engine, as in the sort we already have. The whole idea was thrown in the bin. It would have been easy to have plugged on simply for the sake of seeing Richard Hammond trying to fit a massive ladder onto the roof of a tiny van, but really we’d have been doing it purely for the jokes and, much though it may have seemed otherwise, such brazen comedy chasing was never enough for Top Gear.An idea had to be better than that and, assuming that it was strong enough to withstand being debated and dismantled in the office, the production team would then crack on with finding cars, scouting locations and doing all the things necessary to make it happen. It’s all well and good saying that, for example, you’re going to re-invent the helicopter and to do so you’re going to need four camels and an exploding gazebo in a westerly facing garden but it isn’t going to happen without the hardest working, most dedicated and talented production team in television. Fortunately, that’s what we had. Even more fortunately, I was only joking about that helicopter thing.While the ground work was being done, the next job was to script the item. It was sometimes complained that Top Gear became ‘too scripted’ which was the internet’s way of saying too set-up, too pre-planned, too close to a cack-handed comedy sketch. In truth, all TV shows are scripted. Obviously that’s true of drama shows like Game Of Thrones because dragons are heavily unionised and won’t come out of their trailer unless everything is agreed in advance. But ‘reality’ shows are scripted too, and so are documentaries and improv and the weather report. A television programme with no script at all would be a mess. A script doesn’t have to mean every single moment is written down in advance, it can be simply a series of points that lets everyone on the crew how we’re going to start, where we’re going to go, and what we hope might happen.For a Top Gear track test, the script might have been pretty detailed. It would have presenter words on it, maybe a few chewy metaphors, and it would attempt to pace the item by deciding which lines were voice over, which were in vision, when the car would be moving, when it would be static and so on. Yet even this could change radically on the day, especially if a car revealed new facets or the presenter simply changed their mind on something.A three header item out in the field would be much looser. Sometimes so loose a director would read the script and slowly sigh the words, Is that it? Ideally, there’d be a studio introduction that set out the logic of the story, some attempt to structure the start, maybe a few choice gags for each presenter to attack his colleagues’ choice of cars (though they preferred to keep the really good ones to themselves and unleash them like Indiana Jones’s whip when least expected) and then a broad attempt to order the item’s activities. Even so, one of the most common words on a Top Gear script was a vague, director-baiting place holder that simply said, ‘whatever’.The actual process for writing scripts, or at least sitting down to fill in the gaps with ‘whatever’, took several forms. Sometimes Jeremy would get a rush of blood to the head and crack on with it on his own, then email me a first draft with a simple note at the top; ‘ADD FACTS AND GAGS’. Sometimes one or more of us would go over to his flat near the Top Gear office and work on it together. Clarkson would usually drive the computer, jabbing awkwardly at the keyboard with a single rigid digit on each hand, like he was trying to CPR a rat.His ungainly typing style disguised his immense ability as the fastest writer I’ve ever worked with, rapidly producing first draft words that were sharper, tighter and funnier than most word jockeys could manage after 20 attempts. Every so often he’d pause as he searched for a chunky analogy to illustrate a point and we’d spend a minute or two bouncing gags back and forth, trying to make each other laugh. A lot of Top Gear writing was based around men in a room trying to make each other laugh.Eventually, the script would be in some sort of workable shape, the gold plated unicorns would have been sourced, and we’d be in a position to film the damn thing. For this we would need three film crews – one for each star car in case they got split up and all the better to shoot the three way chats while allowing plenty of editing options to cut out the waffling bits – and a large van full of snack items.Once the item was shot, it would disappear into the edit suite where over many weeks it would be diced and sliced and finessed into the finished item over which voiceover lines would be dubbed.During our usual on-air routine, voice overs were done on a Monday evening the week of transmission, each presenter taking their turn to go into the recording booth while the other two loafed around in the control room, saying unhelpful things over the talkback loop, writing lurid slogans on other people’s scripts and generally behaving like children. Restless, middle-aged, deliberately annoying children.Tuesday was writing day. In advance, I’d hash together a first draft studio script, pulling together the planned intros for each film, adding some thoughts for discussions out of them, and doing the ‘housekeeping’ of adding sections like the ‘Tonight….’ menu, the Stig ‘some say’ lines and the guest introduction. Then the presenters would arrive and we’d start the process of refining, revising or completely re-writing the words during which the three of them would read my jokes and either laugh, in which case I would inwardly fist pump, or say ‘hmm, not sure about that’, in which case I would inwardly sob, though outwardly I would stand behind them at the computer and do neither of those things.At some point in the morning we’d turn our attention to the massive slick of press releases and pictures laid out on the floor behind us and the presenters would begin reading out things and firing one-liners at each other, the best bits of which I’d attempt to write down and later type up into bullet points from which the rough shape of the news segment would emerge.Then, once the script was deemed satisfactory, and there were enough items in the news document, we’d sit down in front of the whole production team and read through our homework. If they laughed at the jokes, we’d go home happy. If the material fell flat on its arse we’d despondently go back to the computer and keep working.Either way, we’d fetch up at the studio the next morning and Jeremy would thunder into the crappy presenters’ room at the back of our shabby Portakabin with a dozen new script tweaks, suggestions and jokes. The rest of us might turn up on a Wednesday morning with one vague thought for something that could be improved; only Jeremy would have lain awake all night worrying over tiny details and agonising over the smallest point until he’d got it right. Top Gear might sometimes have seemed like a big, freewheeling, slobbery, shambolic mess but you’d be amazed at the attention to detail. Someone once asked me what it was like to write on the show and the only way I could explain it was to say that we could easily lose 40 minutes arguing whether ‘raspberries’ was a funnier word than ‘hat’.On those Wednesday mornings at Dunsfold we’d spend another couple of hours having debates about such things followed by a technical rehearsal in the studio, a spot of lunch and then all hands on deck. Are the presenters dressed? Is the audience in? Are the machines recording? Then it’s show time.Or at least, it was. Maybe one day it will be again. Who knows how Top Gear and its pattern parts replica might turn out in the future. For all concerned, I just hope the production process is something like it was on the show we might one day come to call Top Gear – The Golden Years: Disorganised, exhausting, stupid and a simply enormous amount of fun.Illustration Sam WoolleyContact the author at matt@jalopnik.com.

Microsoft Officially Launches Office For Android Phone


TechCrunch / Sarah Perez

Microsoft Officially Launches Office For Android Phone

 Microsoft this morning announced the official launch of Office for Android phone, five weeks after the company rolled out the suite of applications as a preview. Today’s release, which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint designed for the Android smartphone experience, follows earlier efforts at bringing Office to Android tablets, as well as support for Office on iOS devices, Windows and… Read More

Apple Music signs thousands of independent labels after changing royalty structure during trial period (Billboard)


Techmeme /

Apple Music signs thousands of independent labels after changing royalty structure during trial period (Billboard)

Billboard:
Apple Music signs thousands of independent labels after changing royalty structure during trial period  —  Apple Music Signs Beggars Group, Merlin: Sources  —  Beggars comprises the imprints 4AD, XL, Matador and Rough Trade and has had a hand in the careers of Adele, Radiohead and Arcade Fire …

Google Finally Gives Revenge Porn Victims a Way to Remove Abusive Links


Gizmodo / Adam Clark Estes

Google Finally Gives Revenge Porn Victims a Way to Remove Abusive Links

It’s about damn time. Now that about half the states in the nation have passed laws banning revenge porn and several people have been convicted under those laws, Google says it will finally give revenge porn victims the option to get said revenge porn removed from searches. The search giant made the announcement today on its public policy blog. The plan for removing links to revenge porn sounds pretty similar to the way that many state laws address the issue—very carefully, given the First Amendment implications involved. Amit Singhal, head of Google Search, writes:Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web. But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims—predominantly women. So going forward, we’ll honor requests from people to remove nude or sexually explicit images shared without their consent from Google Search results. This is a narrow and limited policy, similar to how we treat removal requests for other highly sensitive personal information, such as bank account numbers and signatures, that may surface in our search results.In the coming weeks we’ll put up a web form people can use to submit these requests to us, and we’ll update this blog post with the link.Singal adds that a form that will allow victims to send in requests will appear “in the coming weeks.” Exactly how Google will vet those requests remains unclear.Either way, it’s a tremendous step forward in the way-too-arduous fight to put a stop to this vile behavior. There’s also a bill due to be introduced soon to the House of Representatives that would make revenge porn a federal offense. While debating that legislation is sure to turn into a free speech battle, it’s encouraging that companies as big and powerful as Google are taking a strong stance on this issue. Let’s hope others follow.Contact the author at adam@gizmodo.com.Public PGP keyPGP fingerprint: 91CF B387 7B38 148C DDD6 38D2 6CBC 1E46 1DBF 22

A shack in SiIicon Valley and a mansion in Austin: Here’s what a $1-2 million home looks like in 7 major US cities


Tech / Madeline Stone

A shack in SiIicon Valley and a mansion in Austin: Here’s what a $1-2 million home looks like in 7 major US cities

It’s becoming more and more expensive to live in Silicon Valley, and recent studies by real estate brokerage Redfin show that more and more people are looking to move away from the area.  When you compare the modest homes that you can buy in Silicon Valley with the mansions you could buy elsewhere, it’s easy to see why.  Our friends at Redfin helped us to find homes that will cost you $1 million or $2 million in different cities across the U.S. You might be surprised to see how much the same amount of money can get you in different real estate markets.In Silicon Valley, $1 million gets you a modest home that was built in the ’70s. Price: $999,999 Square feet: 2,474 Address: 5122 Kozo Place, San Jose But in Seattle, $1 million can get you a sleek, modern home with views of Lake Washington. Price: $1.05 million Square feet: 1,620 Address: 2518 Everrett Ave E, Seattle In Boston, the same amount of money buys you a Tudor home with four bedrooms and 2,596 square feet of space. Price: $999,900 Square feet: 2,596 Address: 284 Pond Street, Boston  See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Tesla for the Common Man


SourceFed / Andrew Fahey

Tesla for the Common Man

Tesla Motors’ Model 3 will have a driving range of at least 250 miles on a single charge, and is going to cost a mere $35,000. The Model 3 will be a part of Tesla’s third generation of electric cars. It will join the ranks of Tesla’s $70,000 Model S and $80,000 Model X crossover. As well, the Model 3’s $35,000 price tag and 250 mile range beats both the Chevrolet Bolt’s $38,000 price and 200 mile range. Tesla’s Model 3 is going to be huge for the future of alternative energy vehicles. Having an affordable electric option is going

Elon Musk’s Space Internet Plan Is Moving Forward


Gizmodo / Maddie Stone

Elon Musk’s Space Internet Plan Is Moving Forward

In yet another episode of ‘What crazy idea is Elon Musk trying to disrupt the world with this week?,’ the billionaire’s space company has officially requested FCC permission to begin testing satellites for what could become a globe-spanning internet.Rumors of said spacenet began to crystallize this past January, when Businessweek published a report outlining SpaceX’s plan to cover every human being in a glorious blanket of high-speed wifi. Basically, Musk wants to use a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to shoot a constellation of small satellites into low Earth orbit that’ll beam signals to the far corners of the planet. The space internet would eventually pick up a decent chunk of web traffic in urban and suburban regions, in addition to bringing billions of Internet-less people into the digital age. That, at least, is the plan. And with the new FCC filing—which would allow SpaceX to test the antennae on its satellites and determine if they’re currently strong enough to send signals down to Earth—it’s one that the Musk seems to have a vested interest in pushing forward. If the FCC permits it, SpaceX could begin launching test satellites as early as next year. And if all goes well, the service could be up and running in as few as five.But. There’s one big issue here that SpaceX seems to be skirting, and that’s the price tag for the whole shebang. Deploying satellites closer to home makes good sense from a speed perspective—it cuts down on latency, the time delay issue that makes traditional satellite internet (which involves much larger satellites positioned much higher above the planet) vexingly slow compared with fiber optic connections. But there’s a tradeoff— the signal from low-orbiting satellites won’t be able to cover nearly as much of the planet. So, you’ll need a lot of satellites. Four thousand, according to Musk’s latest math.As Wired discusses this week, constructing and deploying four thousand satellites, even into low Earth orbit, could end up being very, very expensive. Indeed, a Bill Gates-backed effort to create a low Earth orbit space internet in the 90s folded when costs ballooned out of control. And when you’re talking about creating a service that’s accessible to folks in developing countries, it goes without saying that it’s going to have to be dirt cheap.We’ll just have to wait and see if SpaceX can hack it. At this point, anyone that can offer me the tiniest sliver of hope for a Comcast-free future has my blessing. Godspeed, Elon.[The Washington Post | Wired ] Follow Maddie on Twitter or contact her at maddie.stone@gizmodo.comTop image via SpaceX

iOS 9 code hints 1080p, 240fps, flash coming to iPhone FaceTime cameras (Zac Hall/9to5Mac)


Techmeme /

iOS 9 code hints 1080p, 240fps, flash coming to iPhone FaceTime cameras (Zac Hall/9to5Mac)

Zac Hall / 9to5Mac:
iOS 9 code hints 1080p, 240fps, flash coming to iPhone FaceTime cameras  —  Code found in the first iOS 9 developer betas reveals that Apple is planning to support some significant camera features and upgrades with the new software version.  Presumably planned for the next iPhone hardware version …

Instagram is launching a redesigned website with bigger photos (Jacob Kastrenakes/The Verge)


Techmeme /

Instagram is launching a redesigned website with bigger photos (Jacob Kastrenakes/The Verge)

Jacob Kastrenakes / The Verge:
Instagram is launching a redesigned website with bigger photos  —  Instagram’s website is about to look much nicer.  It’s introducing a new web design on desktop and mobile this week that cleans up the page and makes photos much bigger than they are now.  Most noticeable is the change …

Sunlight and Graphene Could One Day Power a Spaceship


Gizmodo / Sarah Zhang

Sunlight and Graphene Could One Day Power a Spaceship

Graphene, already a plenty weird wondermaterial, has an unexpected new property that could one day play a role in space exploration: When hit with light, it propels forward. Huh! Scientists accidentally stumbled across this discovery when studying graphene sponges, crumpled up versions of the single-atom thick sheets of carbon. As the team used a laser beam to cut the graphene sponge, the beam itself seemed to inch the sponge forward. So they set up some controlled experiments, which New Scientist describes below:The team placed pieces of graphene sponge in a vacuum and shot them with lasers of different wavelength and intensity. They were able to push sponge pieces upwards by as much as 40 centimetres. They even got the graphene to move by focusing ordinary sunlight on it with a lens.So what’s going on? One obvious theory would be something similar to the idea behind solar sails. Photons of light have momentum, and they transfer it to whatever they’re hitting. But with the graphene sponge, it seemed to be moving too much to be momentum alone. Here’s how New Scientist explained the team’s alternative theory: Instead, they think the graphene absorbs laser energy and builds up a charge of electrons. Eventually it can’t hold any more, and extra electrons are released, pushing the sponge in the opposite direction. Although it’s not clear why the electrons don’t fly off randomly, the team was able to confirm a current flowing away from the graphene as it was exposed to a laser, suggesting this hypothesis is correct. To be clear, this is a bizarre observation about graphene that still needs to be confirmed by other scientists. And while graphene is great, it’s hard to make on a commercial scale. It’s easy and fun to dream up uses for graphene, but we’ll have to wait and see whether it lives up our imaginations. [New Scientist, ArXiv] Top image: An artist depiction of a solar sail, which graphene could make obsolete. NASAContact the author at sarah@gizmodo.com.

Project Jacquard Hands-On: Google’s ATAP is Putting Sensors In Fabric


Gizmodo / Brent Rose

Project Jacquard Hands-On: Google’s ATAP is Putting Sensors In Fabric

Roaming around the floor of Google I/O we got our hands on one of the prototypes from ATAP, Google’s DARPA-like experimental lab. It’s called Project Jacquard, and it’s nice n’ soft. It’s a fabric that can control your phone.Jacquard is about weaving touch sensor technology into fabrics. Using conductive thread it’s possible to weave a mesh that looks not unlike the matrix of sensors under your touchscreen. But because it’s just simple thread it can be manufactured at scale and woven on industrial equipment. In other words they should be able to make a lot of it, cheaply and easily. While you can see the grid pattern of the touch sensor in the photo up top, we were told that it can be made to be totally seamless, so you don’t even know it’s there. In their demo area ATAP had some woven into a tablecloth that was connected to different devices. It worked basically just like a touchpad. On a computer screen you could see a visualization of what the fabric perceived. It could sense multiple fingers dragging, tapping, swiping, and it even did a good job sensing different levels of pressure. I was also able to tap to turn on some Philips Hue bulbs. Swiping up/down adjusted the brightness, and swiping left and right changed the bulbs’ colors. You can use it to play/pause/skip tracks on your phone’s music player. They said it might even be possible to make a whole shirt out of the stuff, where the shirt acts as a micro-controller with various sensors (accelerometers, gyroscopes, pressure sensors, heart rate monitors, etc) attached. While they told us us that to start out the primary goal is to control smartphones with it, one could imagine some fun scenarios. A robot teddy bear that responds to your kid’s touch when they’re playing with it. A swipable pillow on your couch to adjust lighting or your entertainment system. A bed sheet that acts as an sleep (or sex) tracker. Pants that could control your phone—you could literally butt-dial someone!We’ll be finding out more tomorrow morning at 9am PST but in the meantime, what would you use this kind of technology for? No idea too crazy.

GoPro Working On A VR Camera Array And ‘Quadcopter’ Drone


TechCrunch / Matthew Panzarino

GoPro Working On A VR Camera Array And ‘Quadcopter’ Drone

 Today, GoPro announced that it was working on an array that combines 6 GoPro Hero cameras for spherical shots all at once. CEO Nick Woodman says that when Facebook bought Oculus, the ‘gauntlet was dropped’ and GoPro started work on a spherical setup that could generate content for virtual reality and augmented reality systems.
Woodman also said that the company has software in… Read More

Android Pay Is Google’s Plan for the Mobile Payments Future


Gizmodo / Bryan Lufkin

Android Pay Is Google’s Plan for the Mobile Payments Future

We suspected that Google would announce about a new payments system at I/O, and we were right. Enter Android Pay.Android Pay is an open-platform API that enables customers to make payments from their credit cards within an Android mobile app. To use it, unlock your phone like normal, place it in front of the data-slurping terminal, and boom: payment complete. A virtual account number is created; your card number isn’t shared at the store.Android Pay is partnering with over 700,000 stores, including Best Buy, Gamestop, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Whole Foods and McDonald’s. Google says it will work with major cards (Visa, AmEx, Discover, MasterCard) and major phone companies (AT&T, Verizon, T Mobile).It will also integrate with other apps like Groupon and Grubhub, which will offer the Android Pay payment option to users as they make their purchases within the Groupon or Grubhub app.The writing for a new payment system was on the wall: Earlier this year, Google acquired mobile payments app Softcard, and there had been rumors about a revamped Google Wallet. In this world of Venmo lovers, digital payments systems are getting more and more popular for individuals, and companies also want give that option to their consumers. Google Wallet is clearly taking a backseat. It’s not being completely replaced, though—it’ll stick around as a peer-to-peer, Venmo-like service in which folks can send each other money from their bank accounts. Android Pay, meanwhile, is the retail muscle Google Wallet never had.Payments is a hot topic among tech companies: Android Pay follows Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and even Facebook now allows person-to-person payments in chat threads. Android Pay is just the latest of systems that are poised to permanently change the way people shop and fork over their hard-earned cash.

Facebook Messenger Lets You Send Money In Chat Threads Now


Gizmodo / Bryan Lufkin

Facebook Messenger Lets You Send Money In Chat Threads Now

Facebook’s payments feature for the Messenger app has been rolling out slowly across the U.S. and landed in New York City today armed with a couple new features. But how does it stack up against Venmo? I repaid a $5 happy hour debt to fellow Gotham-dwelling Gizmodian Darren Orf to find out.First introduced back in March, the payments feature allows you to instantly pay or receive money from your friends. But two new features make it even better. Now, if you’re having a conversation with someone in Messenger and type out a dollar amount, it automatically turns into a hyperlink. Click it, and you’ll instantly be prompted to pay the person that amount. This also works in a group chat: If you’re chatting several people on the desktop version of Messenger, you can pay individuals without leaving the chat. Everyone in the conversation will see who paid whom.I took the updated version for a spin and found it easy to use, plus doing it in a messaging app is pretty organic.I opened Messenger and clicked on an already existing chat thread with Mr. Orf. Here, I could file mytruant $5 payment for a long-ago imbibed IPA. I had two options: Click on the new dollar bill icon to initiate the transaction, or, thanks to today’s update, type something like: “$5 for beer sry dude.” The $5 auto-morphs into a link, just as an address or phone number would. Darren confirmed payment and collected his virtual moolah.Making payments this way, as opposed to in an app like Venmo, is convenient: I could see it making sense for when you’re talking with a group about who owes what after a dinner everybody planned earlier in Messenger.But for folks who already have Venmo on their phone, Messenger payments might be kinda pointless. After all, you have to re-enter your debit info, again, into a separate app, to have yet another string of personal data flying around in the ether. On the other hand, it might be a more streamlined process, assuming you’re already Facebook friends with your payees. You don’t have to add them to the service.The Messenger payment function is also kinda nice, because unlike Venmo, there isn’t an obnoxious newsfeed of payment activities between your friends and strangers, filled with inside jokes and emoji-speak. With the Messenger update, only the other folks in a group chat will be subjected to your happy hour payback transactions.Does this mean paper money is even closer to reaching “endangered” status? Or that Facebook tightens its death grip on us all? Maybe both, but if you hate carrying cash like many people, you’re good either way.Images via Facebook

These ridiculously detailed aerial photos of London are so stunning


Gizmodo / Casey Chan on Sploid, shared by Casey Chan to Gizmodo

These ridiculously detailed aerial photos of London are so stunning

The weather isn’t great and the pubs close too early and the food is often better in other cities and yet London is still one of the capitals of the world and is packed with so much history. Photographer Vincent LaForet took these amazing aerial shots of London and seeing the city overhead like this reminds you why that is.The buildings may be old and the streets may be confusing when you’re down low but boy, it looks great from above.Click on the magnifying glass to zoom and see these images up close at full screen because the detail is absolutely phenomenal. It’s the only way to do them justice.The full set of Vincent’s London photos can be seen here on Storehouse. You can also sign up to pre-order a book on Vincent’s Air series here. The entire Air Series in Europe is sponsored by G-Technology.”Vincent Laforet is a director, photographer, and a pioneer in tilt-shift, aerial photography, and in HD DSLR cameras for shooting film. He won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for his images of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s conflicts after 9/11, plus three prizes at the 2010 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek, Life and many other national and international publications have commissioned his service.Follow him on his blog, Twitter, Facebook, Storehouse, and Instagram.You can buy his book Visual Stories: Behind the Lens with Vicent Laforet here.This is part of a series in which we are featuring futuristic, striking, and just beautiful photography. If you are a photographer with awesome work, please drop me a line here.SPLOID is delicious brain candy. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

The Pirate Bay’s .SE domain to be seized, rules a Stockholm District Court, so service moves to .GS, .LA, .VG, .AM, .MN, and .GD domains (Ernesto/TorrentFreak)


Techmeme /

The Pirate Bay’s .SE domain to be seized, rules a Stockholm District Court, so service moves to .GS, .LA, .VG, .AM, .MN, and .GD domains (Ernesto/TorrentFreak)

Ernesto / TorrentFreak:
The Pirate Bay’s .SE domain to be seized, rules a Stockholm District Court, so service moves to .GS, .LA, .VG, .AM, .MN, and .GD domains  —  Pirate Bay Moves to GS, LA, VG, AM, MN and GD Domains  —  The Pirate Bay has long been associated with Sweden but soon the popular torrent site will stop using a Swedish domain name.

Apple Debuts New 15-Inch MacBook Pro With Force Touch And $1,999 27-Inch Retina iMac


TechCrunch / Darrell Etherington

Apple Debuts New 15-Inch MacBook Pro With Force Touch And $1,999 27-Inch Retina iMac

 Apple has updated both the 15-inch MacBook Pro With Retina Display, and the 27-inch iMac, with new specs that include Intel Core processors, as well as a new Force Touch trackpad for the MacBook, which provides opportunities for unique input via a secondary, deeper click, as well as Apple’s trademark “taptic” feedback, which makes it feel like the trackpad is physically… Read More

Apple Now Sells A Lightning Dock For Your iPhone


TechCrunch / Darrell Etherington

Apple Now Sells A Lightning Dock For Your iPhone

 Apple has finally done what many had long hoped it would – released an official dock for Lightning-sporting iPhones, ranging from the 5 all the way up to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The new design should work with devices going forward, too, unlike previous Apple docks, because it features a freestanding Lightning connector that doesn’t require your device to fit the dimensions of a… Read More

After nearly a decade of research, Apple shelved plans over a year ago for the TV set that Carl Icahn expects it to release in 2016 (Daisuke Wakabayashi/Wall Street Journal)


Techmeme /

After nearly a decade of research, Apple shelved plans over a year ago for the TV set that Carl Icahn expects it to release in 2016 (Daisuke Wakabayashi/Wall Street Journal)

Daisuke Wakabayashi / Wall Street Journal:
After nearly a decade of research, Apple shelved plans over a year ago for the TV set that Carl Icahn expects it to release in 2016  —  Behind Apple’s Move to Shelve TV Plans  —  Apple had dropped its TV plans, but investor Carl Icahn sees the firm entering the market next year

YotaPhone 2, the Dual Screen E-Ink Wonder, Is Blowing Up On IndieGoGo


Gizmodo / Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan

YotaPhone 2, the Dual Screen E-Ink Wonder, Is Blowing Up On IndieGoGo

The general consensus about YotaPhone, the wacky Russian smartphone with a dual LED and E-Ink screen, was simple: I’m not sure how useful it is, but I want to try that. Now the company is funding a North American run for the phone on IndieGoGo, and damn, people sure are excited about it.The second generation YotaPhone has only been available in certain European countries since December, but this morning company launched an IndieGoGo campaign to bring the phone to the US and Canada—explaining that “the North America smartphone market is one of the most challenging to enter.” The goal? To raise $50,000 and have the phone in backers’ hands by the end of the summer before a public launch. Only three hours into the campaign, the company has already raised $60,000 in flex funding—and it’s safe to say that number will rise quickly over the next two days, since the company is offering a $75 discount to anyone who backs in the first 48 hours. If you missed out on the flurry of YotaPhone chatter, here are the basics. It looks like a fairly standard smartphone with a 5-inch AMOLED screen running Android Lollipop—all business in the front, you might say. It’s a party in the back, though, with an E-Ink screen that’s touch-sensitive and always on, letting you read, respond to messages, and check apps without turning the energy-hog LED screen on. The battery savings are huge: You could read for five days on a single charge, the company says. It’s a strange idea, at first glance. And indeed, it may enter the annals of tech history as a one-off anomaly. On the other hand, increasing the battery life of a phone by days without giving up a conventional screen is a pretty smart idea. We’ll have to wait and see. For now, it seems the demand is certainly there. The IndieGoGo campaign is here—right now, you can grab one of the unlocked phones for $575, while the phones will cost $600 when they officially launch in North America in August. Contact the author at kelsey@Gizmodo.com.

Watch the First Trailer of Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs Right Here


Gizmodo / Jamie Condliffe

Watch the First Trailer of Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs Right Here

It’s been a turbulent process but the new Steve Jobs movie has finally come together. This is the first trailer of the film, which features Michael Fassbender and Seth Rogen as Apple co-founders Jobs and Wozniak.The movie, with a script by Aaron Sorkin and direction by Danny Boyle, is now being produced by Universal, after Sony Pictures abandoned the project. Elsewhere, the cast includes Michael Stuhlbarg as Andy Hertzfeld, Jeff Daniels as Apple CEO John Sculley, Adam Shapiro as Avie Tevanian, and Kate Winslet as a former marketing chief.The trailer, below, drips with Sorkin’s touch. How do you think the whole thing’s going to turn out? [Universal Pictures]

This Could Be the World’s Most Efficient Solar System


Gizmodo / Jamie Condliffe

This Could Be the World’s Most Efficient Solar System

A Swedish company claims that this small-scale concentrated solar energy system—which leans on ideas from a 19th-century Scottish clergyman—converts 34 percent of sunlight into electricity. That could make it the most efficient solar system in the world.The Guardian reports that the system—currently being tested by its makers, RiPasso Energy, in the Kalahari Desert—uses 100 square-meter dishes to focus the sun’s light to a single, hot point. The heat then drives a Stirling engine, first developed by Robert Stirling in 1816, which uses alternate heating and cooling of a closed volume of gas to drive a piston and, in turn, flywheel to generate electricity. The dishes swing on their axes during the day in order to capture as much light as possible.Tests show that each dish could generate between 75 and 85 megawatt hours of electricity per year. For a little context, the same amount of electricity generated by coal-fired power station would create 81 metric tonnes of CO2. The claimed efficiency of 34 percent compares incredibly well with other solar techniques, too: traditional photovoltaic cells currently manage around 23 percent at best.While the financial side of things remains unclear—and potentially prohibitive—RiPasso now claims to have secured funding to first large-scale installation. It’ll be interesting to see if it can hit it’s claimed 34 percent efficiency at scale. [Guardian, RiPasso Energy]Image by RiPasso Energy

Architects Design Wooden Bicycle Frame to Explore Structural Engineering


Gizmodo / Maddie Stone

Architects Design Wooden Bicycle Frame to Explore Structural Engineering

Wooden bikes may be beautiful, but they’re also a tad impractical. Nevertheless, there may be unexpected value in wooden bike frames, which architects can use to understand important structural challenges and prototype new designs.That, at least, is the rationale behind bike manufacturer AERO’s latest prototype. Architects Martino Hutz, Atanas Zhelev and Mariya Korolova built this wood-framed bike not so that they could ride it, but to study how thin wooden sheets can be used to build stronger buildings. Zhelev tells Deezen that “The bicycle is perfect to test how wooden structures work in different scales with different loads.”The bike frame is composed of lamellas—millimeter-thick sheets of birch wood glued together into strips that splay out at the points where the crank and peddle are fixed, as well as below the seat. The natural fibers of each lamella were aligned to enhance the structure’s overall strength. Zhelev and his team are finding that this layering method offers lightness, improved flexibility and enhanced durability over traditional wood-based building materials.Also, talk about a damn beautiful bike. [Deezen]Images reproduced with permission from AERO. You can check them out on Facebook and find more work from these designers here and here.Follow Maddie on Twitter or contact her at maddie.stone@gizmodo.com

Tweeting To Order A Pizza Is Probably The Laziest Thing You Can Do


Gizmodo / Chris Mills

Tweeting To Order A Pizza Is Probably The Laziest Thing You Can Do

Starting on May 20th, there will be a new definition for a first-world problem. For those too lazy to order pizza delivered to their door via an app or (god forbid) talking to a human being on the phone, a new option will exist: tweeting a pizza emoji to @Dominos. In an interview with USA Today, Dominos’ CEO boasts about the frictionless order system being put in place: “It’s the epitome of convenience…we’ve got this down to a five-second exchange.” Just imagine! Ordering a thousand-calorie fast-food extravaganza without the hassle or inconvenience of opening an app, or finding a phone number, or really without having to think at all. Doesn’t the #future sound wonderful?Of course, there are no details surrounding the ordering system, like how Dominos know which pizza to send, or where, or how much things will cost. But let’s just pretend that this isn’t a cynical PR move, and instead get tweeting those pizza emoji to score ourselves some sweet, sweet double-cheese deep crust. [USA Today]

Facebook Now Puts Full Articles From Big Publishers in Your News Feed


Gizmodo / Jamie Condliffe

Facebook Now Puts Full Articles From Big Publishers in Your News Feed

Facebook has just launched a new service called Instant Articles, which allows media organizations to create interactive pieces which are hosted on Facebook’s servers and embedded in your news feed.The new service was apparently born out of a desire for speed. Facebook claims that news articles take an average of eight seconds to load from its mobile app—said to be “by far the slowest single content type on Facebook,” in a press release. Zuckerberg & Co. decided the obvious solution was to host the content themselves, a step which they claim speeds up load times by ten times.That’s been enough to convince some big names to join in. From 10 a.m. ET today, the Times, BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, National Geographic, NBC News, The Guardian, BBC News, and Germany’s Bild and Der Spiegel will all be posting articles on Facebook via Instant Articles. Initially only iOS users will see them, but the service is said to land on Android soon.What will they look like? As you zip through your feed many won’t look dramatically different, though some will have wizzy video covers that play as you scroll. But within the articles themselves, Facebook promises “a suite of interactive features that allow publishers to bring their stories to life in new ways. Zoom in and explore high-resolution photos by tilting your phone. Watch auto-play videos come alive as you scroll through stories. Explore interactive maps, listen to audio captions, and even like and comment on individual parts of an article in-line.”According to The Verge the experience is slick—thanks mainly to the fact that the story is pre-loaded as you scroll towards it, so that it’s ready to pounce when you tap to read. The service also strips out much of the advertising you see on many of the websites that are involved (presumably instead leaning on Facebook’s ad savvy elsewhere to generate the cold, hard cash). The result, in theory, is a slick media experience that doesn’t require heading to another, independent website.Of course, the big question is how this changes the media landscape. When the content of some of the biggest news publishers on the planet is hosted on Zuckerberg’s servers, why need you ever leave the lovely blue walled garden that is Facebook? It remains to be seen how successful the experiment will be, of course—but if it does perform as well as Facebook hopes, publishers could well finds themselves even more reliant on a service they have little control over. [Facebook]

HBO boxing analyst destroys the theory that Manny Pacquiao hid his shoulder injury for money


Business Insider / Tony Manfred

HBO boxing analyst destroys the theory that Manny Pacquiao hid his shoulder injury for money

Ever since Manny Pacquiao revealed that he fought Floyd Mayweather with a torn rotator cuff in his post-fight press conference, he has been criticized for his handling of the injury. He has even been sued by disgruntled fans who say he kept the injury hidden in order to keep the fight on schedule and preserve his $100 million+ payday. On HBO’s boxing broadcast last Saturday, analyst Max Kellerman laid out an eloquent case for why this theory is wrong and Pacquiao doesn’t actually deserve the blame. Kellerman argued that Pacquiao had no good options, and that postponing the fight for a year to get shoulder surgery would have given him an even worse chance to win: “I think some people have the sense that Manny Pacquiao sold out for the money. And by fighting with a torn rotator cuff, not giving himself the best chance to win, he somehow perpetuated a fraud on the public. I strongly disagree with this. A dilemma is not a tough choice; a dilemma is a choice between two bad options. What was Manny Pacquiao supposed to do three weeks to go before the fight when he was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff that needed surgery? Was he supposed to postpone the fight? So 12 months off — he was already off for five months — he was supposed to come back after shoulder surgery and a 17-plus-month ring absence to fight and try to beat Floyd Mayweather? Does that give him his best chance to win?” He says Pacquiao “manned up” by fighting hurt, and that postponing it ran the risk of the fight never happening: “When all the tickets have already been sold, the hotel rooms have been booked, the airfare, etc., the eyes of the boxing world hoping to see this fight and this event. What did Manny Pacquiao do? He manned up. He said, ‘If I can get a shot a toradol in my shoulder, I can go through with this fight. I think that gives me the best chance to win.’ “By the way if he postpones, there may never be a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. Who knows if Mayweather is even still active 12 months-plus into the future.” Finally, he said it’s not Pacquiao’s fault that he couldn’t get a numbing injection in his shoulder before the fight: “So Pacquiao’s camp clears it with USADA, the drug-testing body that Mayweather’s side insisted upon. USADA says, ‘Fine, a shot of toradol is fine.’ And then ultimately at the 11th hour the Nevada State Athletic Commission says Pacquiao can’t get the shot at toradol because of essentially a clerical error, because some box wasn’t checked off, a form wasn’t filled right. If people are mad at anybody for Pacquiao not being at his best, if that’s the belief, be mad at the Nevada State Athletic Commission, in my view. Because just when the boxing world most needed them to show sound judgement, they decided to stand on principle instead of cooperate with the spirit of the event.” It’s not like Pacquiao’s shoulder would have been any better if he delayed the fight for a few weeks. It was either fight now and use a shot to ease the pain, or put the fight off for a year — when he might be in even worse physical shape and there’s no guarantee Mayweather is even still fighting. Here’s the full video: Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here’s how Floyd Mayweather spends his millions

Analyst Says iPhone 6s Will Have A Luxe Rose Gold Option


TechCrunch / Darrell Etherington

Analyst Says iPhone 6s Will Have A Luxe Rose Gold Option

 Apple’s next iPhone (likely the ‘iPhone 6s’ if it keeps with recent naming conventions) could come in a luxury rose gold finish, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via AppleInsider). The analyst, who has a good track record of calling Apple product plans ahead of their official announcement, shared info about the rose gold option in a research note today, and… Read More

I Beta-Tested The Apple Watch So You Don’t Have To


Gizmodo / Sean Hollister

I Beta-Tested The Apple Watch So You Don’t Have To

Two weeks ago, I started wearing an Apple Watch. I’ve come to a conclusion: I just paid hundreds of dollars to be a glorified beta tester for Apple’s latest product. But you know what? I’m glad I did—because Apple’s latest product really needs a kick in the pants.What Is It?A meticulously crafted aluminum, steel, or 18-karat gold wristwatch with a tiny Apple computer inside. A computer that needs to be paired to an iPhone (5 or newer) to send info to your wrist over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It tells time, delivers weather reports and stock info, plays music, tracks your fitness and heart rate, helps you find your phone, navigates to destinations, even makes calls from your wrist if needed. Not to mention pay for things without a credit card, set alarms, timers and reminders, read email, and check your calendar.Oh, and most importantly: it runs apps. Lots of them. Apps which could theoretically let this device do anything else you’d ever want to do with a watch. There are lots of other smartwatches out there, but nobody does apps like Apple.Why Does It Matter?Everybody’s been waiting for the Apple Watch to show us if smartwatches are actually a smart idea, or just a passing fad. Why? Apple knows a thing or two about establishing consumer electronics demand. Remember how the iPod dominated MP3 players? How the iPhone wiped out Palm and Windows Mobile? How the iPad succeeded where other tablets had failed? Yeah. Apple’s got a track record of swooping in right before an existing technology becomes a huge success, providing key ingredients (like multitouch screens) to finally make them work.But unlike smartphones and MP3 players before Apple swooped in, there isn’t really a market for smartwatches quite yet. The best smartwatch—the Pebble—only sold one million copies as of last year. Do people want smartwatches at all? That’s still a real question.Too bad the state of the current Apple Watch means we’ll have to keep waiting for the answer.So This Is What The Future Looks LikeBefore I tell you why I desperately want my money back, I should probably get this off my chest: from a hardware perspective, the Apple Watch is one of the loveliest gadgets I’ve ever used. It looks pure and simple and timeless—even more than most Apple products I’ve tried.For my beta test, I bought the most basic model you can think of (the $350 Apple Watch Sport with the aluminum case and plain white elastic band) because I’m a cheap bastard. And yet, I can’t stop admiring the fit and finish of even Apple’s most basic timepiece.The way the curved glass edges perfectly meet the rounded metal frame. The inky black of the excellent AMOLED screen. The precision of the laser-etched digital crown. All of which are only amplified, by the way, if you pick the shiny steel version, which adds gravitas in every sense of the word. (It’s hefty—reassuringly so—and the buttons feel way better.)Apple Watch 38mm vs. the original Pebble—look how far we’ve come. Another constant delight: how small the Watch really is in person. Even the 42mm version makes the Android competition look unnecessarily chunky, but my 38mm Watch is a marvel of miniaturized technology. To be honest, the 38mm frame is small enough that it actually looks a little dainty on my man-wrists… but I kind of enjoy getting in touch with my softer side. (Is it still politically correct to say that?)The best part: Apple’s surprisingly comfortable sport band. I’ve tried on every single band in Apple’s collection, and the $150 Milanese Loop is definitely the most fun. (It’s got MAGNETS!) But the simple, pedestrian Sport Band that came in the box is super comfy. I can wear the watch all day long without ever feeling a burning desire to rip it off. The strap takes a little getting used to at first, since you buckle it the opposite of how you’d expect, but the result is a rubber cradle for your wrist—soft and unobtrusive enough that you don’t have to take it off when working at a laptop or desk.I even admire the way you attach and detach the straps. No tools or fiddling required here: just slide one in, and a little spring-loaded button pops into place at the perfect moment to lock it right in. It’s kind of like inserting a fresh magazine into a semi-automatic pistol—you just slide it in, and the mechanism takes care of the rest. I love how it feels. Swapping out the $50 Sport Band for the $150 Milanese LoopI think it’s pretty safe to say Apple’s solved the first problem with wearable technology. The Apple Watch is attractive. And if that were the end of my beta test, I’d be so, so happy.The Smartwatch DilemmaHere’s the bigger problem with wearable technology—most of it has no reason to exist. If you want to wear an Apple Watch, you need to own an iPhone. So why not use the phone instead? Why would you ever choose to fiddle with a tiny screen on your wrist when you can use the nice big one that’s always in your pocket or purse? I call it the Smartwatch Dilemma.Still, over the past year or two, I’ve heard a lot of theoretical answers to that question. So I used the magical new Apple Watch to put them to the test.“It’s rude to pull out your phone during social situations, but you could check a watch instead”Have you ever used a watch? Checking your watch is the universal symbol for “I’m worried I might be late for something more important than you.” Besides, it turns out that checking a watch in the year 2015 is way more conspicuous than looking at a phone. Everyone has a phone, and nobody bats an eye if you pull out a particularly nice one. (They all cost $200 on contract.) But every time I pull out the Apple Watch, people notice. They see I’m the guy who spent hundreds (maybe thousands) of dollars on a luxury item—and that I’m fiddling with my wrist instead of talking to them.“You can leave your phone behind—say, when you go out on a run—and still have a useful gadget at hand”Not unless your watch has a cellular connection! The Apple Watch does have Wi-Fi, which means that you can walk around your own home without a phone and still be able to use your apps, ring your phone remotely when it’s buried knee deep in your luxurious corner sofa, or even make calls from your wrist when you’re sure nobody will see you talking to your hand.But the moment you step outside Wi-Fi range, practically everything stops working. Sure, you can track that run, reward yourself with a Starbucks latte using your stored credit card, even listen to a limited selection of music if you own Bluetooth headphones… but that’s about it. Oh, and you’re not going to be dialing 911 down that dark alley, you’re not going to be there for urgent calls from friends and family, and you won’t have any GPS directions if you get lost.Yeah, I think you’ll probably keep your phone on hand.“You could save so much time by checking a watch instead of fumbling for your phone.” and “Isn’t it cooler to control the world from your wrist?”Only if you aren’t then fumbling with your wrist. Which you will. A lot. Because as I’ve kept hinting for roughly the last 1,200 words, this thing can be a pain in the ass.Here’s my answer to the smartwatch dilemma: it only makes sense to use a watch when it’s faster, cooler, or more intuitive than opening an app on a phone. When you’re in a situation where you can’t or wouldn’t easily pull your phone out of your pocket… or when it’s just way more fun to do things with a sci-fi wrist-communicator. Like communicate with sci-fi wrists. (More on that later.)The Apple Watch showed me that such uses DO exist. They’re just hamstrung by Apple’s frustrating user interface. So let’s talk about that.Controlling the Apple WatchThe Apple Watch effectively has three buttons, a touchscreen, and a dial. One of those buttons is actually the dial itself, and one of them is beneath the screen if you press down hard, but that’s not the confusing part. What’s confusing is that they don’t always do what you’d want.An earlier draft of this review, in Evernote.Take the Digital Crown, the gorgeous laser-etched dial on the side of the watch. It’s my favorite thing about this tiny machine. Scrolling through lists of notifications, text messages, even entire email threads is a buttery smooth dream. I never would have thought reading on a watch would make any sense, but this dial makes it work.The app carousel.But if you want to scroll through apps, forget about it. Apple makes you swipe around its pretty little carousel of app icons with a terribly tiny touchscreen instead. A touchscreen small enough—particularly on the 38mm version—that I often miss the app I’m trying to tap and launch another by accident.Like I said, you can press down on that screen to activate a button—Apple’s Force Touch. But there’s never anything in any app to tell you that Force Touch is an option—you have to experiment for yourself to see what it does.If you swipe down from the top of the screen, you can get a list of your recent notifications, and you can swipe up for Glances: itty-bitty single-purpose screens. Like your current location, your current heart rate, your next single calendar item, your music controls, and the all-important page where you can set the watch to silent. (You’ll want to do that—notification pings are loud and tend to annoy anyone and anything within earshot.)Oh, but those swipe controls I just mentioned? They only work from the watchface where you tell the time. Not from the app carousel, and not from inside any other app either.So you just press the home button to go back to the watchface, and then swipe up, right? Isn’t that what home buttons do? Nope. The so-called “home” button is actually a back button — it only takes you back one step at a time, and it’s frustrating as all get-out.How to get to Glances if you’re inside an app: three presses and a swipe. Let me illustrate: if you’re inside an app, you have to press the home button three times to get back to the watchface: once to go back to the app carousel, again to center the app carousel, and a third time to actually go home again! Or you can press it two times very quickly to switch between the watchface from your app. Unless you’re already on the app carousel, in which case it’ll switch back to the app, not the watchface. Confused yet?How not to get to Glances.Here’s what happens in practice: I’ll want to skip to the next song or see my heart rate, and I’ll press twice… but a little too slowly. The app carousel pops up, then centers. I’ll swipe, thinking I’m on the watchface… but instead, I’ll just shove the app carousel in a random direction. Cursing, I’ll press again to go to the watchface… only to merely center the app carousel again. Frustrated, I’ll press twice quickly, and find myself back in the app instead of the watchface. This is the point I generally stop giving a shit, and people tell me I’m a pretty patient man.Other controls aren’t so confusing. You press the bottom button once to start texting your friends, twice to pull up Apple Pay, and holding it down lets you turn off the watch entirely. But given that all of those are things I’d rarely ever do on a watch, and the touchscreen/home button combination feels so iffy, I wish that second button had been used a little more wisely.It’s also probably worth noting that the Apple Watch isn’t particularly speedy. There can be some nasty lag here and there even just swiping around the interface. Apps can take so long to load that you’ll think they’ve crashed. Which they also do, on occasion. And when they do, there’s nothing you can do about it other than reset the watch or pretend they don’t exist.All of which makes it pretty damn hard for watch apps to clear the bar of being faster, handier, or cooler than pulling out my phone.So, with no further ado, here are the many, many Apple Watch features that failed to meet that bar, and the few where I actually felt I was getting some value for my money.Where The Apple Watch Falls ShortAs a watchIt tells the time, sure, but you have to deliberately raise your wrist and wait a moment for the screen to turn on. It doesn’t take long—certainly less than to unlock a phone—but when we’re talking about checking the time, any wait at all feels pretty dumb. And it feels even dumber every 20th time or so when it doesn’t activate reliably.I’m also not really in love with any of the 10 included watchfaces—though it’s really cool how you can add little widgets to them to show things like your upcoming calendar events and progress toward exercise goals. And I guess it’s cool to see when the sun will rise and set with the flick of a dial.Keeping the screen onNot only do you have to deliberately raise your wrist to turn the screen on, it’ll also automatically turn off—whether you like it or not. Sometimes, it’ll turn off even if you’re still using it. I’ve had the screen shut off while trying to open an app; when looking at the time; and even while the watch was supposedly actively listening for my voice commands. I get that Apple’s trying to keep the battery life in check, but it’s super frustrating.Serious fitnessApple promised the Watch would tell me when I’d been sitting too long, and track my calorie burn with precision. Sure enough, the Watch comes with a built-in heart rate monitor and asks me to stand occasionally… but both features are pretty useless. For instance, the Apple Watch regularly reminds me to stand when I’m working at my standing desk. (Think about that for a second.) Last week, it asked me to stand right after I sat down.The heart rate monitor? It only really works when you turn it on. I ran my ass off during a giant Nerf war, and discovered the watch hadn’t taken a single reading. Not even one. Turns out the ambient sensors only work when you stand very still. To turn on the active ones, you need to actually tell the Apple Watch that you’re going to start exercising—and in so doing, sacrifice your battery life to the green LED gods.Most days, the Apple Watch battery actually isn’t a problem for me at all—I’ll go to bed with 40-50% left in the tank! But the day I used the heart rate monitor for a single hour, the watch didn’t last the evening. At least it’s always tracking your steps, I suppose.Power reserve modeWhen the battery reaches 10%, the Apple Watch prompts you to switch over to power reserve mode. Don’t bother. It does literally nothing but show you the time, and even that requires a button press. And if you want to switch it back on for a quick look at something, you can’t. Not till you drop it on a charger again.Triaging notificationsThe one thing I’ve always enjoyed about smartwatches, ever since the Pebble, is getting notifications on my wrist. If you ask me, it’s the single most important thing a smartwatch can do. Which is why it blows my mind that they’re often harder to use on the Apple Watch than any other platform.While most of them seem to come in on time, I’ve seen some arrive in fits and starts, some ridiculously late, and others uselessly bunched up. Why tell me generically that I’ve got “three Facebook notifications” and “two Gmail messages” when there’s a lovely dial there that could let me scroll through the actual messages myself? Worse, dismissing those notifications on the watch is a chore—you either have to tap and swipe on every single one, or nuke ‘em all with a Force Touch.GmailMaybe you’re dreaming of reading and replying to your Gmail from your watch. Don’t. There’s no Gmail app for the watch, and you can barely make out the beginning of messages in the notifications that Gmail’s iPhone app will beam over. Apple’s Mail app will let you read messages, but it won’t actually push Gmail to your phone. You have to manually pull them down from the cloud. And you can’t reply anyhow. It’s so much easier to just pull out a phone.HandoffSupposedly, you can start reading things on the watch and finish them on the phone—like those poor Gmail notifications above. But I can’t figure out a way to make the blasted thing work reliably. Sometimes, I’ll see a little icon when I unlock my phone to indicate that a Handoff is ready. Then, I’ll unlock my phone. Sometimes, it’ll launch the right app. Sometimes it won’t!And Handoff seems to assume that you’re going to unlock your phone the old-fashioned way—you know, before Apple added an amazing fingerprint sensor that instantly unlocks your phone when you place a finger on the home button and press down. Does Apple really expect me to re-lock my phone and then unlock it again?GlancesSee “Controlling the Apple Watch” above.Controlling musicIt’s actually pretty awesome to use the dial to control volume on my phone from across the room… but first I have to tap tiny touchscreen buttons to get to your music app of choice, and/or pull up the music playback glance. (See above for why that’s a pain in the ass.) You might even need to switch between the app and the glance repeatedly, because some app developers aren’t building volume controls right into their apps. Oh, and as far as I can tell you can’t play audio over the Apple Watch’s speaker—not even talk radio. I’ll stick to my phone.Almost all my phone callsWalking down the street with an Apple Watch right up to my face is just asking for it to get punched. Which is pretty much what it looks like you’re doing to yourself when you rapidly move the watch between your ear and your mouth. Stick to your phone.Almost anything in the carI’ll talk about driving directions in a bit. They’re actually fairly cool. But otherwise, the driving experience is pretty broken. Like, I-can’t-believe-they-shipped-it-like-this broken. When my iPhone is connected to the Apple Watch and my car at the same time, incoming calls no longer go to my car. They don’t go to the watch either—only the actual iPhone itself. Somehow, Apple has managed to make these two wonderful pieces of wireless technology cancel each other out. Sounds like something that’ll get addressed in an update, though.Yelp, failing to load a list of nearby cafesAlmost anything involving third-party appsThere are over 3,500 apps available for the Apple Watch already, and most of them are shit. The worst part: there’s no good way to tell until you try them. Apple’s promoting a small collection of them in the Apple Watch app, but you have to blindly search the App Store yourself for the rest—and since watch apps are considered to be part of the iPhone apps, you might pick something with fantastic user reviews only to find the watch version is disgustingly bad. I’ve been grabbing anything and everything that looked even remotely interesting, and here are the most common sins:Apps with touchscreen buttons that are too tiny to press (I’m looking at you, Blackjack)Apps with completely unrelated functionality to their iPhone counterparts (Buzzfeed is just a daily quiz) Games which aren’t actually games, but just companion apps for actual games on the phone (Want to play Modern Combat 5 on your watch? Yeah right.) Apps which fail to install on the watch until you manually activate them on the phone. (Too many to name) Apps which require you to log into a service on the iPhone before you can proceed, when you’re not sure you wanted the iPhone version to begin with (Ditto) Apps which take forever to load (Flipboard) or crash Apps which are arbitrarily limited to a tiny amount of their normal contentI think it’s the last one that irks me the most, because that gorgeous dial really makes it easy to scroll through lots of text. Scrolling through five tweets at a time, or a single lousy story in Yahoo News Digest, just makes me want to weep. Instagram’s square pictures and “just heart this” mentality are perfectly suited to the Apple Watch. So why can I only see the last nine images in my feed?Apple PayI’d like to use Apple Pay. I might even enjoy it someday, But right now, pulling out a $350 watch in front of an underpaid clerk makes me feel like a giant douchebag. Particularly when I realize that the store in question doesn’t actually accept Apple Pay. (I’ve done that twice now.)What I Actually Do With My Apple WatchSiriIt’s strange to think, but true: the most reliable control on the Apple Watch is your voice command. Fed up with the touchscreen, I use Siri for practically everything now. I just hold down the digital crown, speak a few words, and up pops an app or text message or new entry in my calendar.Reply to text messagesMy wife likes to text me. She should probably know better, because I rarely reply. I often don’t see them come in, I can be absent-minded when I do, and I kind of hate banging out replies too. But with voice commands (see above) I just say a phrase into the watch, and it’s remarkably good at interpreting my voice, even with music playing, over my car’s engine, or in a noisy room. Google also has good voice recognition, but I think Apple is better at canceling the noise.Field short incoming callsPR people call me—a lot—and I like to at least pick up the phone. Except I don’t actually enjoy the part where I pick up an actual phone. The Apple Watch lets me do so hands-free while I keep on sifting through tech news, and callers are none the wiser. It sounds just as good as a speakerphone, which is pretty impressive for a device this size.Find my phoneOne reason I don’t like picking up the phone while working is that I often misplace it. A few button presses and a swipe on the watch, and the phone will start ringing.Get silent turn-by-turn directionsOkay, so it’s not quite as good as my Moto X, where I can literally just say “Okay Google Now, Navigate Home” and automatically get full turn-by-turn GPS navigation even when my phone is locked. But I can say “Hey Siri, Navigate Home” after waking up the screen, wait about ten seconds, then tap an annoyingly tiny button on the screen to get something even a bit better.Because once I do that, I can just peek at my wrist at any point and see my next turn, even scroll ahead to see the turns after that—and every time I get close to a turn, it’ll silently buzz my wrist in a pattern that lets me know if I need to turn right or left. If it weren’t for the way the Apple Watch screwed up incoming calls in the car, and how difficult it is to pop up Glances to change the volume, I could definitely see myself using this more. Oh, but Apple really needs to compensate for speed of travel when deciding how soon to alert.RemindersBy the time I unlock my phone, I might have already forgotten what I want to remember. With the Apple Watch (or, let’s face it, any Android Wear smartwatch), I can just say “Hey Siri, remind me to take out the trash when I get home,” or and it’s smart enough to do it. I set alarms the same way—if I’m parking in metered spot in downtown San Francisco, a quick voice command can help remind me to move my vehicle. Ditto the Evernote and Trello apps, where I can jot down ideas with my voice and file them away for organizing later.ShazamTwo presses to quickly identify the song that’s currently playing, without hunting through the icons on my phone. I still need to hunt through the icons on the watch, of course, but it’s a teensy bit faster and more convenient. I just wish I could ask Siri to identify the song directly, the way I can with Google devices. (Right now, Siri prompts me to use Shazam on my iPhone. Siri’s not so bright.)LifelineMy new addiction, Lifeline is a choose-your-own-adventure game that’s all about notifications. Somehow, you have a comm link to the sole survivor of a spaceship crash. He’s all alone, paranoid, and doesn’t know what to do. It’s your job to keep him alive by giving him good advice, then waiting for him (minutes, hours, even overnight) to report back on his progress. He’ll ping you at all hours of the day.You can play it on the iPhone too, sure, and it’s got some delightfully atmospheric music if you do, but it’s pretty amazing to see “Incoming Message” pop up on the watch and see this spaceman talking to you on your wrist communicator. It’s one of the few things I’ve experienced on Apple Watch that actually feels cooler than on the phone.Dark SkyI don’t check the weather much. Now, it no longer gets me in trouble. I paid a few bucks for an app called Dark Sky, which warned me right before it was about to start raining right outside my front door. Local info, pushed right to my wrist where I won’t miss it—that’s what a smartwatch should be about.Does that seem like a pretty short list to you? Now you know why I’m returning the watch.LikeI love the way the hardware looks and feels. Superb, through and through.Pretty cool how the Watch protects your data—it uses the heartrate sensor to detect when it’s on your wrist, staying unlocked, and locks itself as soon as it’s removed. You can either enter a pin, or just use the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on your nearby iPhone to unlock it once more.The bands are fantastic, and the Sport Band version comes with two straps so you can adjust it for nearly any size of wrist. At first, I was worried my band was too small, but there was another one waiting for me right inside the package. Problem solved.Unless you’re using the watch like crazy—or tracking any sort of exercise but basic steps—the battery actually isn’t a gigantic problem. You have to charge it every night, just like your phone, but I’m finding there isn’t much of a tangible difference between one day, two days, or three days between fill-ups. Unless you can last a week, more than a day’s charge can actually be worse, since you don’t build up the nightly habit you need to keep it charged.No LikeI can’t believe Apple shipped this product with such a confusing interface. Sure hope it isn’t hard to fix!Why the heck doesn’t the home button take you straight home, like it does in iOS?Why does the screen shut off when I’m in the middle of using it?There’s no good way to tell which apps don’t work when you’re away from your phone.I like wireless charging, but I wish the magnet was a little stronger to keep it snapped to the watch. I’ve accidentally knocked it off my bedside table a couple of times, and found the battery nearly dead in the morning.Should You Buy It?No. Almost certainly not. There’s only one real reason to buy the Apple Watch today: if you so badly crave a gadget that’s new and different that you’re willing to settle for something broken. The good news: first-generation Apple products always suck! Look at the original MacBook Air, the original iPod, or best of all the original iPhone. It cost a ridiculous $500 on contract, shipped without an app store and without 3G connectivity or push email. But one year later, the iPhone 3G cost $200 for twice the speed, twice the memory, and all those features built in.Again, the difference is that nobody needs a watch. It’s optional. And there’s a very high bar for apps that the initial wave of app developers are doing a piss-poor job of meeting, even the apps that Apple initially recommends. It’s going to take a lot of careful thought on developers’ part, and curation on Apple’s part, for the watch to be a success.Here’s a little advice from an early beta tester: Build your app around the gloriously tactile digital crown. Don’t assume you only have a tiny canvas to paint on, since the dial lets us comfortably scroll forever. Avoid touchscreen buttons smaller than a fingertip. Give us something new and different and uniquely built for the watch, not a companion to your existing app. If you’ve got an great existing app, push great actionable notifications to the watch instead. Build experiences for scenarios where people can’t or won’t pull out their phones… and make sure they’re way the heck faster than pulling out a phone anyhow.And don’t buy an Apple Watch. Not yet.With any luck, it’ll be out of beta by this time next year.Contact the author at sean.hollister@gizmodo.com.

Fully-Functional TRON Lightcycle Sold For $77,000


Gizmodo / Chris Mills

Fully-Functional TRON Lightcycle Sold For $77,000

If you’ve always had your heart set on a TRON Lightcycle — a working one, not a matchbox toy — you’d better start saving. The going rate (as much as there is a going rate for one-off movie-replica collectibles) is $77,000. The bike was sold at auction by RM Sotheby’s, as part of a wider auction of the Andrews Collection, to an undisclosed (but damn lucky) bidder. It wasn’t even close to the most valuable lot, either — a 1962 Ferrari 400 went for $7,645,000.

This Is the World’s First 6TB 2.5-Inch SSD


Gizmodo / Jamie Condliffe

This Is the World’s First 6TB 2.5-Inch SSD

If you need masses of storage but like your laptop’s performance super-fast, then this new SSD may scratch your itch. With 6 terabytes of storage, this is the world’s largest capacity 2.5-inch SSD (for now).The Fixstars SSD measures just 9.5 millimeters in thickness, and offers read speeds of up to 540 MB/s and write speeds of up to 520MB/s. Larger capacity SSDs are available, but not in this form factor. Prices aren’t yet available, but given a 1TB version costs $1,000, expect to have to dig deep into your wallet. [Fixstars via PhysOrg]

Apple Releases iOS 8.4 Beta 3


TechCrunch / Darrell Etherington

Apple Releases iOS 8.4 Beta 3

 Apple’s latest iOS 8.4 beta, the third for the next significant iOS software update, is now available. This most recent instalment continues to offer a revamped Music app, bringing both function and UI changes to the music playback app, a move many suspect also prefaces the possible arrival of a new iTunes streaming music service at the Worldwide Developers Conference early next… Read More

Trailer for Netflix Original ‘Sense8′ Looks Awesome!


SourceFed / Nicole K.

Trailer for Netflix Original ‘Sense8′ Looks Awesome!

The creators of The Matrix have joined together to create this epic looking TV series. Yesterday the first trailer for the Netflix original Sense8 was released. Much to our delight, The Matrix creators Andy and Lana Wachowski as well as Dan Glass (Batman Begins, V for Vendetta) and J. Michael Straczynski (Thor, Changeling) will be writing and directing the series. The trailer reveals that the show will follow 8 people who are suddenly mentally linked. Forced into each other’s lives, their secrets are laid out, their emotions run haywire, and they even adopt each other’s abilities. The show stars actors

Tesla’s Gigafactory Isn’t Big Enough to Make Its Preordered Batteries


Gizmodo / Alissa Walker

Tesla’s Gigafactory Isn’t Big Enough to Make Its Preordered Batteries

As Elon Musk revealed in an earnings call earlier this week, people preordered a shit-ton of Tesla’s new batteries: Over 50,000 Powerwall units were reserved. Now some interesting math, courtesy of Bloomberg: The five million square-foot Gigafactory planned outside of Reno probably isn’t big enough to make them all.Take a look at the numbers, which Musk himself described as “like crazy off-the-hook.” Musk said “50,000 or 60,000” Powerwall batteries were reserved as well as about 25,000 Powerpack batteries for commercial applications. That’s about $800 million in preorders. A Tesla spokesperson agreed the math looked right. One important point: The “reservation” process was nothing more than entering an email and answering a few questions about what you might buy, so a more accurate way to describe this might be “interest list.”This would mean Tesla’s batteries are likely already backordered for at least a year or more, according to analysis from Bloomberg:There’s also no way for Tesla to keep up with the level of demand reflected by the early reservations. The company is sold out of storage batteries until mid-2016. Musk claimed the production of storage batteries alone could “easily” take up the entire capacity of Tesla’s $5 billion factory in Nevada, which is scheduled to open next year. The massive facility was originally slated to devote about two-thirds of its output to electric-vehicle batteries. “We should try to make the factory bigger,” Musk said. Of course, reservations don’t mean cash, but even if half of these preorders turn into sales that’s going to keep the factory very busy. What’s funny is that everyone seemed to think Tesla jumped into the home battery market to keep the factory busy while waiting for the demand for electric cars to increase! Now Musk might have to build a whole new factory just to produce all the batteries for homes. [Bloomberg]

You Can Now Order Takeout Directly From Google Search Results


Gizmodo / Jamie Condliffe

You Can Now Order Takeout Directly From Google Search Results

Because ordering food already seemed too difficult, Google has decided to add a new tool to its search system which allows you to order takeout from restaurants straight from a page of results.When you search for nearby food joints, you should be able to select an option to “place an order.” That should whisk you direct to one of the many food ordering services—including Seamless, Grubhub, Eat24, Delivery.com, BeyondMenu and MyPizza.com—without ever having to visit the website of the food place. Google is planning to add more delivery option in future—but sadly, even the slimmest of food stuff won’t fit through copper wire or optical fiber. [Google via TechCrunch]Image by Lucas Richarz

IBM’s Watson Could Offer Customized Treatment To Every Cancer Patient


Gizmodo / Chris Mills

IBM’s Watson Could Offer Customized Treatment To Every Cancer Patient

Rather than relying on carpet-bombing approaches like chemotherapy and radiation treatments, cutting-edge cancer cures are looking more towards a surgical strike, tailored to shutting down the mutations that are driving growth. And the secret weapon in that fight might just be a well-known Jeopardy contestant. IBM’s Watson supercomputer rose to fame when it trounced two human Jeopardy contestants in 2011. And since then, it’s kept itself busy, as a chef, bartender, and even pseudo-doctor. Watson has even dabbled in cancer before. But the latest foray is the most impressive. Doctors from participating clinics will upload the DNA fingerprint of a tumor, and Watson will scour its memory banks, trying to work out which mutation is driving tumor growth, and what drug — approved or experimental — is best suited to attack the ailment, based on its knowledge of medicine, and the many clinical trials fed into its brain. In that regard, it isn’t just matching human doctors: it’s using the obscene computing power at its disposal to find the best cure. It’s not a system that will suddenly eradicate cancer — there are still tumors that will puzzle Watson, and radiation/chemotherapy will still be the best treatment in some cases — but it’s a pretty big stepping stone on the path towards more personalized, more effective medicine. Let’s hope Watson’s first recommendation isn’t for a hot bowl of chicken soup. [Reuters]

Apple and Google Are Racing to Analyze Your DNA


Gizmodo / Bryan Lufkin

Apple and Google Are Racing to Analyze Your DNA

Technology is filled with all kinds of rumors, real and fabricated. It gives us a look at might be and will be. BitStream gathers the whispers all in one place to divine what the future has in store.Smartphones allow us to do just about anything, and soon, analyzing our DNA could be up there with booking hotels and Facebook stalking our exes. Apple’s reportedly teaming up with researchers to make iPhone apps that could test your genes and store the findings on a scientist-maintained cloud database. And it’s not the only tech company that wants to get its hands on our genetic data. Google and the government are also working to create huge collections of DNA test results, in order to fight diseases. Welcome to the next frontier of big data—the race is on. [MIT Technology Review]Android M, the latest version of the Google’s mobile OS, will be unveiled at the annual Google I/O dev conference. There’s been no official confirmation, but just going on past years, and a mention of Android M had mysteriously vanished from Google’s I/O website, we’d say it’s a safe bet. [The Verge]Edge or Spartan—which do you like? Microsoft revealed the actual name for its upcoming Windows 10 browser will be “Edge” at the Build conference last week, but according to a fan survey on Windows Central, a third of respondents prefer the code name Spartan. [Windows Central]Beware the PC killer: Rombertik is demon-from-Hades malware that totally wipes your hard drive if it’s detected. [PCWorld]Fetuses might hate cell phones: New research suggests pregnant moms should keep ringing mobiles away from their tummies or risk disturbing their unborn. [HealthDay] Music’s evolution, mapped: Scientists studied 17,000 songs from 50 years of the US Billboard Hot 100 songs in the most detailed analysis of pop music ever. [Phys.org]Rear Window, drone style: Your pervy neighbor might be spying on you with his drone. But state laws could punish Peeping Toms. [Bloomberg]What You Might Have Missed on GizmodoMoto E (LTE) Review: When Cheap Means CheapWhat Would You Tell NASA to Do to Improve the Mission to Mars?The Most Brilliant DiY Tutorial Channels to Watch on YouTube Right NowHostage Uses Pizza Hut App to Message for Help

iOS 9 May Be Getting an All-New Siri


Gizmodo / Darren Orf

iOS 9 May Be Getting an All-New Siri

Technology is filled with all kinds of rumors, real and fabricated. It gives us a look at might be and will be. BitStream gathers these rumors all in one place to divine what the future has in store.Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is only a month away, and rumors surrounding how Apple plans to update its mobile software are increasing steadily. We’ve already heard that iOS 9 probably won’t have some flashy redesign. Instead, the software will most just focus on security updates and not being broken in general. However, it does seem that Apple has plans for a redesigned Siri that will look more like the colorful version now on the Apple Watch, and that’s probably a good thing. With Google Now getting updated with insane frequency and Cortana getting a huge boost from Windows 10, Siri’s been neglected. Apple needs to make up some ground.Even before we get our hands on iOS 9 though, 9to5Mac reports that iOS 8.4 will include the new Beats-powered music service even though Apple is still trying to line up partners before launch. Cupertino’s been battling other streaming services, like Spotify, to completely eliminate free ad-based services as the Beats app will only offer a paid subscription option. This means that just like the Apple Watch app, Apple is slapping another software advertisement on your phone without your say so. [9to5Mac]STEM found a savior in the most unlikely of places—emoji. A new education website, uses the power of emoji to teach kids scientific concepts in many different fields and disciplines. Of course, Bill Nye will bring us into this emojication future. [Fusion]Last year’s Galaxy Tab S had the most ludicrous display we’d ever seen on a tablet, and now Samsung may almost be ready to refresh the popular iPad competitor with four different variants. The 8-inch and 9.7-inch tablets could debut as soon as next month. [SamMobile]A galaxy far, far away: Yale researchers push back the cosmic frontier seeing galaxies as they were 13 billion years ago. [Science Daily]Stay calm and keep droning: Google and Amazon suddenly see U.S. regulators about face on drones regulation. Maybe Amazon’s threats of looking outside the U.S. finally got to ‘em. [WSJ]Invention hoarders: Apple received 38 different patents covering the Apple Watch, iPhone, and other small pieces of tech. [Patently Apple]Kill all credit cards: those old, outdated pieces of plastic’s days are numbered, and a new offshoot of PayPal, Affirm, thinks the millennial generation will deliver the killing blow. [Quartz]

Elon Musk Wants Apple To Get Into The Car Business


Gizmodo / Damon Lavrinc on Jalopnik, shared by Alissa Walker to Gizmodo

Elon Musk Wants Apple To Get Into The Car Business

During today’s investor call for Tesla’s Q1 earnings, Elon Musk was asked about Apple’s possible foray into cars. His response: “I certainly hope Apple gets into the car business. That’d be great.”Musk noted that Tesla has recruited, according to him, five times as many people from Apple as Apple has recruited from Tesla. “It’s easy to find out at LinkedIn,” says Musk. Musk mentioned Tesla’s plans to show the Model 3 in March of next year and plans to begin sales in March of 2017, but that we “shouldn’t hold” him to it – it’s a hope, after all, and Tesla hasn’t always been consistent about delivering on time.Contact the author at damon@jalopnik.com.Public PGP keyPGP fingerprint: 7301 D7FC 2FF6 D437 E5A7 0568 3A14 624A 1800 4C85

Say Hello to the Final Oculus Rift—Coming 2016


Gizmodo / Sean Hollister

Say Hello to the Final Oculus Rift—Coming 2016

Virtual reality is coming—and now, we finally know when. You will actually be able to buy a real, consumer version of the Oculus Rift in the first quarter of next year. You’re looking at it right now. Let me repeat: this is not another prototype. Shit is getting real.What do we know about the final Oculus Rift? Not a whole lot quite yet. Oculus says it’s closely based on the most recent Crescent Bay prototype, which means it should be drastically lighter, smaller, and more comfortable than previous developer kits, and come complete with integrated headphones and positional audio. Oculus also claims it’ll have a new tracking system that will support “both seated and standing experiences,” so you won’t necessarily have to be sitting down to get your VR fix—though we’re still talking about a wired headset, so don’t expect to go running around a room with the thing.The Crescent Bay prototype, for comparison.Other than that, the company’s keeping details pretty close to the chest—for now. Over the coming weeks, says Oculus, we’ll hear more about the hardware, software, input (did they figure out how to build a controller?) and games (any killer apps?) for the platform. First up: hardware specs, coming next week.For a moment there, we were worried that Oculus might miss the virtual reality coming out party. The Valve / HTC Vive and Sony’s Morpheus made quite a splash at the Game Developers Conference in March, and both got release dates—while Oculus could only promise that its Samsung Gear VR smartphone experience would arrive anytime soon. But now, it looks like HTC and Samsung will ship this year, and then Oculus and Sony next year. I wonder when Microsoft’s HoloLens will join them.Contact the author at sean.hollister@gizmodo.com.

Consumer Drone King DJI Raises $75M To Build lndustrial UAV Developer Platform


TechCrunch / Josh Constine

Consumer Drone King DJI Raises $75M To Build lndustrial UAV Developer Platform

 How will DJI keep its drone hardware business from being commoditized by cheap knockoffs? By fostering a drone operation software developer ecosystem with a new $75 million growth equity investment from Accel Partners. DJI may build variations of its drones for agriculture, oil & gas, mining, and other commercial tasks. But to make sure its drones can handle a much wider variety of use… Read More

The Solution To the Apple Watch Tattoo Problem Was So Obvious


Gizmodo / Andrew Liszewski

The Solution To the Apple Watch Tattoo Problem Was So Obvious

There was some bad news last week for tattooed Apple fans hoping to take advantage of everything the company’s new smartwatch had to offer. It turns out that ink on your arm hinders the Apple Watch’s ability to monitor your heart rate. But as Conan discovered, Apple already has a simple solution for sale.At just $500 the Apple Watch Hand is so obvious and simple you have to wonder why Apple didn’t introduce it alongside its smartwatch months ago. But rumors have it that faulty fingernails have been holding up production of the hand, and Apple is doing everything in its power to have it ready for when the actual Apple Watch eventually gets delivered to those who pre-ordered one. [YouTube via CNET]

2016 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe Rendered, Detailed: All the Whomp, Two Fewer Doors


Car and Driver Blog / Jens Meiners

2016 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe Rendered, Detailed: All the Whomp, Two Fewer Doors

What It Is: The most powerful iteration of the next C-class coupe, the Mercedes-AMG C63. It will be strongly differentiated from the non-AMG versions—perhaps even more so than our renderings suggest. Powered by a twin-turbo V-8, the C63 will share less than half of its sheetmetal with the workaday coupes. Look for wide fenders, quadruple […]

Behind the plan to replace the Internet’s ageing TCP/IP architecture with Named Data Networking (Lucy Vernasco/Motherboard)


Techmeme /

Behind the plan to replace the Internet’s ageing TCP/IP architecture with Named Data Networking (Lucy Vernasco/Motherboard)

Lucy Vernasco / Motherboard:
Behind the plan to replace the Internet’s ageing TCP/IP architecture with Named Data Networking  —  The Mission To Save The Internet By Rewiring It From The Name Up  —  While most of us have been binge-streaming or strapping computers to our bodies or wrapping our heads around the ins …

The Apple Watch Has a Hidden Port That Could Make It Way Better


Gizmodo / Mario Aguilar

The Apple Watch Has a Hidden Port That Could Make It Way Better

One of the most annoying things about many smartwatches is terrible battery life, requiring a charge just about every night. But the Apple Watch’s hidden port could be the solution.The 6-pin port hidden in the little notch where you slide the Watch’s band. It’s technically a diagnostic port, which Apple can presumably use to figure out what’s wrong with your Watch when it’s not working properly. The port can quickly send power, too—and now some are wondering weather it can be used to charge the Watch, since wireless charging is so slow.The idea of using the watch’s strap to lend it more power is already emerging. A team of entrepreneurs is working on a product called Reserve Strap, which is basically a battery-watchband for the Watch. The designers haven’t actually built the product, and they’re still looking into whether the strap concept will work. In other words, don’t go throwing $250 at a pre-order without thinking it through. Notwithstanding the fact that Reserve Strap isn’t a real thing yet, the idea is to put the band—and the extra port—to work is a good one. Pebble’s new line of watches have a port that allows you to plug in bands that add functionality to the watch, too—be it GPS, a heart rate monitor, or something else. It makes sense: If the watch is smart, why is the band still dumb? [Reserve Strap via 9to5Mac via Popular Mechanics]

Dufl, A Service That Packs And Ships Your Suitcase, Is A Traveler’s Dream


TechCrunch / Jordan Crook

Dufl, A Service That Packs And Ships Your Suitcase, Is A Traveler’s Dream

 The absolute worst part of traveling, whether it’s for business or for pleasure, is packing and unpacking a suitcase. The work it takes to pack a bag is negligible, but having a clean inventory of clothes each time you pack takes far more planning. Dufl, a service that launches today, is looking to change all that. The idea behind Dufl is that frequent travelers waste a lot of time… Read More

IBM Just Cracked One of the Biggest Problems Facing Quantum Computing


Gizmodo / Jamie Condliffe

IBM Just Cracked One of the Biggest Problems Facing Quantum Computing

Quantum computing could make complex calculations trivial—but it’s currently fraught with problems. Now, though, IBM has solved one of the biggest, allowing it to detect the internal errors that could otherwise render quantum calculation useless.One of the many problems exhibited by the breed of future computers is that they exist in the delicate and fuzzy quantum world, using not bits but qubits—quantum bits. Each of these qubits can represent a 0, a 1, or—crucially—both, providing the ability to dramatically bump up computation speeds. When both exist at the same time on the quibit, they are related by what physicists call a phase relationship.But in real quantum computers, errors can occur when a qubit holds both states: they can flip to being just a regular 0 or 1 (known as a bit flip), or the phase relationship can change sign (known as a phase flip). While there are already techniques in existence that can detect both errors, so far it’s been impossible to detect them both at the same time. That’s not much use, because you needed to be able to detect all errors for a quantum computer to work reliably. But researchers at IBM have cracked the problem. PhysOrg explains how:The IBM Research team used a variety of techniques to measure the states of two independent syndrome (measurement) qubits. Each reveals one aspect of the quantum information stored on two other qubits (called code, or data qubits). Specifically, one syndrome qubit revealed whether a bit-flip error occurred to either of the code qubits, while the other syndrome qubit revealed whether a phase-flip error occurred. Determining the joint quantum information in the code qubits is an essential step for quantum error correction because directly measuring the code qubits destroys the information contained within them. It’s a seemingly simple solution to what’s been a huge problem in the quantum community. IBM reckons it should be enough to introduce this kind error detection in the larger arrays of qubits that researchers hope to create in the future. We sure hope so. [Nature Communications via PhysOrg]Image by Service for IBM

Salesforce as takeover target: Here’s a look at the potential buyers (Larry Dignan/ZDNet)


Techmeme /

Salesforce as takeover target: Here’s a look at the potential buyers (Larry Dignan/ZDNet)

Larry Dignan / ZDNet:
Salesforce as takeover target: Here’s a look at the potential buyers  —  Summary:Salesforce has a gawdy market cap so the field of potential acquirers is limited.  Nevertheless, a handful of tech giants led by Oracle could pull off a deal.  —  Salesforce is reportedly retaining investment bankers …

Apple Looking Into Built-In Telephoto iPhone Camera Lenses


TechCrunch / Darrell Etherington

Apple Looking Into Built-In Telephoto iPhone Camera Lenses

 Apple’s iPhone is just about the best smartphone camera you can get, but a new patent application provides a good indication of how it could get even better. The patent is for a “small form factor telephoto camera (via AppleInsider) and describes how the company might make a camera with a narrower field of view, but a much higher magnification factor, and also how such a camera… Read More

Scientists Are Trying to Change All Blood Into Type O


Gizmodo / Sarah Zhang

Scientists Are Trying to Change All Blood Into Type O

If you know anything about blood types, then you know how they add an extra wrinkle to blood donations. Match donor and recipient blood types incorrectly, and you could even kill a patient. That’s why scientists are working on artificially changing donated blood into type O, the universal donor. In the simplest terms, blood types refer to whether someone an extra sugar molecule bound to the surface of their blood cells. People who are type A have one kind, B another, and AB both. Type O people have neither. That’s why people with type O can essentially donate to anyone. But scientists have also been tinkering in a lab, and they’ve found that an enzyme can be used to snip off that extra A or B sugar molecule. Normally, though, that enzyme is not very efficient. In a recent study, scientists were able to tweak the enzyme so it became 170 times more efficient at getting rid of the the extra sugar molecules. That’s a lot, but it’s still not perfect—even tiny bit of extra A or B sugars could trigger an immune reaction. But if the technology ever does get even better, it could make matching blood or organs donations less complicated. [J. Am. Chem. Soc. via Popular Science] Top image: Malota/shutterstock

How Old Do You Look? Microsoft Built A Robot That Tries To Guess Your Age


TechCrunch / Greg Kumparak

How Old Do You Look? Microsoft Built A Robot That Tries To Guess Your Age

 How old do you look? Old for your years? Young enough that you get carded every time you try to buy a beer? Now, how old do you look… to a computer that does nothing but guess ages? As something of an experiment, Microsoft’s machine learning team has built a site that takes any photo you throw at it and tries (with varying success) to guess the ages of those it portrays. They say… Read More

Taptic Component Bottleneck Blamed In Part For Apple Watch Supply Shortage


TechCrunch / Darrell Etherington

Taptic Component Bottleneck Blamed In Part For Apple Watch Supply Shortage

 The Apple Watch is rolling out to customers, but it’s taking longer to get into user hands than some might like. A new report out today by The Wall Street Journal puts the blame for the slow rollout primarily on a shortage of Apple Watch Taptic Engine components, caused by issues found in the parts supplied by one supplier in particular. The WSJ author who penned the piece clarified… Read More

Secret Shuts Down


TechCrunch / Josh Constine

Secret Shuts Down

 [Update: Secret has confirmed it will shut down and give investors back their money] Anonymous sharing app Secret will shut down soon, according to sources close to the company. The announcement could be made as soon as today or tomorrow, and there’s some talk of current employees receiving modest severance packages. Having raised $35 million, it’s unlikely that the company is out… Read More

The F8 of ‘Furious 8′ Is Known: Release Date Announced For Next Installment


SourceFed / JD W.

The F8 of ‘Furious 8′ Is Known: Release Date Announced For Next Installment

How much do you hate me? While there was never really any doubt, Vin Diesel has confirmed that there WILL be a Furious 8 film to follow up this year’s box office hit. Yesterday, at Universal’s CinemaCon panel, the actor revealed that the film is slated to hit theaters on April 14, 2017. At the CinemaCon reveal, footage was shown of the last moments of Furious 7 (don’t worry, no spoilers) right before Diesel took to the stage and made the announcement. In part, Diesel said: “We were giddy and excited. You all gave me so much confidence. There was

Volvo Designers Replace the Front Passenger Seat with Something Better


Core77 /

Volvo Designers Replace the Front Passenger Seat with Something Better

Chauffeurs can get uppity, and it’s no wonder: They’re entrusted with driving your six-figure luxury vehicle, and just as you sit in the back with an empty seat next to you, so too is there an empty seat next to the chauffeur up front. This may give them the illusion of parity, or that they’ll one day have a companion to sit next to them and keep them company on those long drives to the airport, and that sends the wrong message.But not with Volvo’s XC90 Excellence Lounge Console concept, designed for the discriminating executive. The designers have ripped the front passenger seat out altogether and replaced it with a multifunctional object. At first glance, it’s a shoe cabinet. This conveniently deprives the chauffeur of a place to keep his personal effects, with the added bonus of allowing the passenger to take their shoes off and place their aromatic feet much closer to where the chauffeur can smell them. A pop-up tray contains a 17-inch LCD monitor and doubles as a jewelry tray, with a large mirror that flips out of the rear. There is also a lockable compartment where you can store an array of expensive watches that cost more than the chauffeur’s annual salary; it cannot hurt, we think, to mention this aloud as you bring each watch out to model it. Admittedly the design is not perfect, as the executive may wish to sit on the left-hand side and still stretch out. Ideally there would be some way for a left-riding passenger to recline, extending their shoeless feet to either side of the chauffeur’s head. But until they work that out, we’ll have to settle for this:

Two New Apple Watch Apps, Knock And oneID, Let You Unlock Your Mac From Your Wrist (And More)


TechCrunch / Sarah Perez

Two New Apple Watch Apps, Knock And oneID, Let You Unlock Your Mac From Your Wrist (And More)

 As mobile developers rush to release applications compatible with Apple’s new wearable device, the Apple Watch, many are still wondering what sorts of app experiences make sense for the small wrist-borne screen versus that of the smartphone. To some extent, where the Apple Watch really shines is with “invisible” apps – paying for items with Apple Pay, or using the Watch… Read More

Facebook’s Latest App Is a Dialer With Caller ID For Android 


Gizmodo / Mario Aguilar

Facebook’s Latest App Is a Dialer With Caller ID For Android 

Facebook’s quest to conquer your phone continues with Hello, a new dialer app that replaces the one that comes natively installed on your Android phone. And if you’re not partial to anything, it’s probably worth a try.Facebook’s endless app proliferation is tedious. (Tedious people call this proliferation “unbundling.”) But the new Facebook dialer app introduces something you won’t get from any other: Even if you don’t have a number saved on your phone, Facebook can go look at its databases and see if its got a number match. If it does, it’ll tell you who is calling and show you their photo, even if you’re not friends. It also makes blocking numbers as easy as a tap.Sure, other apps add caller ID—but given how often I use Facebook as a directory for numbers I don’t have, this one seems pretty useful.[Facebook]

Project Fi: Google’s Plan To Fix Your Wireless Service Is Here


Gizmodo / Mario Aguilar

Project Fi: Google’s Plan To Fix Your Wireless Service Is Here

Google’s Project Fi is the company’s long-rumored wireless carrier service for mobile devices. But far from a traditional plan, Google’s might be the most flexible out there—while also saving you a bundle of money.Unlike Google’s other public infrastructure program Google Fiber, for which the company is physically putting fiber in the ground, Google isn’t actually building out a network of cell towers for Project Fi. Instead, it’s piggybacking on Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks. (This is also how providers like Republic Wireless work.) The plan offers 4G/LTE coverage, and wireless tethering, and Wi-Fi calling all included.What makes Project Fi special and potentially more reliable than anything out there is that it dynamically switches between networks depending which of those is offering the best service in your area. Additionally, if there’s pre-vetted public Wi-Fi available, it’ll jump on board that network as well. The “network of networks” has a lot of potential to be more reliable. If one network has an outage, the others can serve as support.The new plans costs $20 for starters, which gets you talk, text, and wireless tethering. Then it costs $10 per GB of data. So if like me, you’ve got 3GB per month, then you would pay $50 per month. The kicker is that if you don’t use all the data you pay for you’ll get paid back for what you don’t use. For now, Project Fi is only available for the Nexus 6 with a special SIM card, but hopefully that will change down the line.It all sounds pretty sweet, if not exactly different from what Republic Wireless just started offering—though, in the long run, Google’s deep pockets will surely be an asset. Something about the Google name attached to Project Fi makes me both more trustful of it and more suspicious. Sure, Google implies reliability—but I also don’t know how much more control of my digital life I want to give Google.Google’s currently in an invitation-only phase of the program, which you can sign up for here.

Tesla’s Next Big Product Is Coming On April 30: Batteries


Gizmodo / Alissa Walker

Tesla’s Next Big Product Is Coming On April 30: Batteries

When Elon Musk makes his next big announcement later this month he won’t be joined by an electric car or a space-bound capsule. Tesla will finally be passing along details on its long-awaited batteries designed for home use, plus a “utility-scale” battery as well—both of which will likely be manufactured in its new Gigafactory in Nevada.Musk has hinted several times via social media that the batteries were on the way:Major new Tesla product line — not a car — will be unveiled at our Hawthorne Design Studio on Thurs 8pm, April 30— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 30, 2015Now Tesla’s spokesperson has confirmed the announcement to Buzzfeed:“We have decided to share a bit about what we will announce on the 30th,” Jeff Evanson, Tesla’s VP of investor relations wrote in a message confirmed by BuzzFeed News as authentic. “We will introduce the Tesla home battery and a very large utility scale battery. We will explain the advantages of our solutions and why past battery options were not compelling.”Tesla’s home batteries have been heralded as a serious game changer for the clean energy industry, a low-cost alternative that will complement the growing demand for solar power. Musk has already pledged to make batteries for 500,000 cars by 2020 at its new Gigafactory, so the home battery product was an obvious addition. But it’s the intriguing “utility-scale” battery which is a new development. Tesla’s already changed the electric car market. Will it start selling batteries to utility companies and radically alter our energy future? [BuzzFeed]

Elon Musk had a deal to sell Tesla to Google in 2013, for about $6B, and another $5B in capital for factory expansions (Ashlee Vance/Bloomberg Business)


Techmeme /

Elon Musk had a deal to sell Tesla to Google in 2013, for about $6B, and another $5B in capital for factory expansions (Ashlee Vance/Bloomberg Business)

Ashlee Vance / Bloomberg Business:
Elon Musk had a deal to sell Tesla to Google in 2013, for about $6B, and another $5B in capital for factory expansions  —  Elon Musk Had a Deal to Sell Tesla to Google in 2013  —  On the verge of bankruptcy, the company sought a savior in Larry Page  —  This story is excerpted and adapted …

Tight Spot? The New BMW 7 Series Can Park Itself With No One in the Car


Gizmodo / Andrew Liszewski

Tight Spot? The New BMW 7 Series Can Park Itself With No One in the Car

The actual car hasn’t been revealed to the public just yet—at least without its camo wrapping—but that hasn’t stopped BMW from announcing that its new 7 Series will be the first car that can be parked remotely using its key fob, without anyone actually having to be inside the vehicle.Other car makers have talked about and demonstrated similar passengerless self-parking technologies designed to let a vehicle squeeze into a space too small for its doors to be opened. But BMW is the first to include it on a production vehicle, allowing the driver to use the car’s touchscreen Display Key fob to either have it pull into a tight spot, or out of one.At CES 2014, Bosch, a maker of automotive components, was showing off a similar feature the company had developed that allowed drivers to autonomously park a vehicle using a smartphone, but there’s no word if BMW is using the same technology for its new 7 Series. And while the new feature isn’t quite the completely autonomous self-driving car we’ve all been anticipating, it’s still a great sneak peek at the technology, especially for those of us who don’t exactly excel at parking. [BMW via Autoblog]

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UberBoat Quietly Launches in Instanbul


Gizmodo / Maddie Stone

UberBoat Quietly Launches in Instanbul

While Parisian cab drivers took to the streets to pillage and burn Uber vehicles last Thursday, the ever-contentious ridesharing company was quietly rolling out UberBoat across the continent in Istanbul.Yep, you heard that right. In Istanbul you can now tap a button on your phone and summon a speed boat to ferry you across the Bosphorous Strait, a waterway that forms part of the boundary between the European and Asian sides of the city. The trip will cost about $19 USD, but the Beneteau boats Uber’s using, which belong to local boat company Navette-Tezman Holding, can carry about 6 to 8 people at once. That still ends up being a bit pricier than public ferries, which according to Bloomberg, serve about 20 routes across the strait for a basic price of 81 US cents. Hopefully that price gap will differentiate the two services enough that Uber doesn’t start sparking sea riots, as well.[Bloomberg Business via Ars Technica]

Force Touch is Reportedly Coming to iPhone


Gizmodo / Maddie Stone

Force Touch is Reportedly Coming to iPhone

Ahoy, an Apple rumor! Unnamed sources tell Bloomberg Business Apple has begun production on an iPhone model equipped with Force Touch, the same haptic feedback feature that made its debut this year in the Apple Watch and the company’s new MacBook.The introduction of Force Touch to iPhone is being hailed by some as Apple’s latest maneuver to keep pace with the likes of Samsung, whose Galaxy S6’s screen can be viewed from the side. But touch sensors aside, don’t expect the new iPhone to look all that different: according to Bloomberg’s nameless whisperers, at least, the exterior design will be very, very similar to that of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. If all goes well, full-scale manufacturing of the new phone could start as early as July, so if you’re an iOS user, better start mastering those two-stage clicks soon. [Bloomberg Business]Top image via Shutterstock

How We Made Top Gear


Gizmodo / sniffpetrol on Jalopnik, shared by Alissa Walker to Gizmodo

How We Made Top Gear

The very last Clarkson, Hammond & May edition of Top Gear will be broadcast this Sunday and sniffpetrol – by day, mild mannered former Top Gear script editor Richard Porter – explains how they used to put the show together and what it was like to be at the cutting edge of cocking about. There we go then. The sun has set on what I imagine we will one day call Old New Top Gear. Now we sit patiently with seatbelts fastened and backrests in the upright position, awaiting developments from New New Top Gear / The Jeremy Clarkson Car Hour / James May’s Amphitheatre Of Cheese.Whatever happens next, it’s going to be quite different from what I like to think scholars will one day call Top Gear Classic. It might be made in quite a different way too. I don’t know. I only know the way we used to make the show, which was with a mixture of sweat, panic, disagreement and potato snacks.On the programme I hope historians will soon refer to as Top Gear – Original Taste the most important thing for any given item was, unsurprisingly, the idea. If we’re talking about a track test, that idea was always pretty simple; is it an interesting car and can we say moderately entertaining things about it while slithering around a runway for six to eight minutes?Ideas for the big, three presenter films were rather more difficult. Coming up with suggestions wasn’t the hard part, it was the process that followed in which the idea would be prodded and dismantled and subjected to the same line of questioning it might receive from a four-year-old; Why? Why? No really, why? Why were we going there? Why were we taking those cars? Why were we doing this at all?For those items in which we bought old rotboxes or built something of our own, it was important to have some headline question we were answering or some logical problem we were setting out to solve. Can you buy a car for £100 or less? Can you build your own amphibious car? Can we alleviate travel chaos brought on by snow using machines that normally sit idle in winter?You needed the question for the studio introduction to give some line of logic, some small reason why we were craving your attention for the next half an hour or so. Once the item was up and running you could drift away from that original point, though I believe the best Top Gear stories never forgot it.If the idea couldn’t pass muster in the office, in particular at the hands of chief scrutineer Clarkson who worried about this stuff more than anyone on the team, then it didn’t happen. Case in point, we once had this notion that we would re-invent the fire engine. Why were we doing that? Because it seemed like they were too big and too slow and therefore took too long to get to emergencies. The solution was obvious; Top Gear would build a small, high performance fire truck.The trouble is, if you make a fire engine smaller there’s no room on board for all the ladders, hoses and burly men it needs to do its job. So it has to be big. And then it can’t get through gaps in traffic. So you make it smaller. And then it can’t do its job. And then…We sat in a meetings for hours debating this round in circles before concluding with heavy heart that the ideal design was a fire engine, as in the sort we already have. The whole idea was thrown in the bin. It would have been easy to have plugged on simply for the sake of seeing Richard Hammond trying to fit a massive ladder onto the roof of a tiny van, but really we’d have been doing it purely for the jokes and, much though it may have seemed otherwise, such brazen comedy chasing was never enough for Top Gear.An idea had to be better than that and, assuming that it was strong enough to withstand being debated and dismantled in the office, the production team would then crack on with finding cars, scouting locations and doing all the things necessary to make it happen. It’s all well and good saying that, for example, you’re going to re-invent the helicopter and to do so you’re going to need four camels and an exploding gazebo in a westerly facing garden but it isn’t going to happen without the hardest working, most dedicated and talented production team in television. Fortunately, that’s what we had. Even more fortunately, I was only joking about that helicopter thing.While the ground work was being done, the next job was to script the item. It was sometimes complained that Top Gear became ‘too scripted’ which was the internet’s way of saying too set-up, too pre-planned, too close to a cack-handed comedy sketch. In truth, all TV shows are scripted. Obviously that’s true of drama shows like Game Of Thrones because dragons are heavily unionised and won’t come out of their trailer unless everything is agreed in advance. But ‘reality’ shows are scripted too, and so are documentaries and improv and the weather report. A television programme with no script at all would be a mess. A script doesn’t have to mean every single moment is written down in advance, it can be simply a series of points that lets everyone on the crew how we’re going to start, where we’re going to go, and what we hope might happen.For a Top Gear track test, the script might have been pretty detailed. It would have presenter words on it, maybe a few chewy metaphors, and it would attempt to pace the item by deciding which lines were voice over, which were in vision, when the car would be moving, when it would be static and so on. Yet even this could change radically on the day, especially if a car revealed new facets or the presenter simply changed their mind on something.A three header item out in the field would be much looser. Sometimes so loose a director would read the script and slowly sigh the words, Is that it? Ideally, there’d be a studio introduction that set out the logic of the story, some attempt to structure the start, maybe a few choice gags for each presenter to attack his colleagues’ choice of cars (though they preferred to keep the really good ones to themselves and unleash them like Indiana Jones’s whip when least expected) and then a broad attempt to order the item’s activities. Even so, one of the most common words on a Top Gear script was a vague, director-baiting place holder that simply said, ‘whatever’.The actual process for writing scripts, or at least sitting down to fill in the gaps with ‘whatever’, took several forms. Sometimes Jeremy would get a rush of blood to the head and crack on with it on his own, then email me a first draft with a simple note at the top; ‘ADD FACTS AND GAGS’. Sometimes one or more of us would go over to his flat near the Top Gear office and work on it together. Clarkson would usually drive the computer, jabbing awkwardly at the keyboard with a single rigid digit on each hand, like he was trying to CPR a rat.His ungainly typing style disguised his immense ability as the fastest writer I’ve ever worked with, rapidly producing first draft words that were sharper, tighter and funnier than most word jockeys could manage after 20 attempts. Every so often he’d pause as he searched for a chunky analogy to illustrate a point and we’d spend a minute or two bouncing gags back and forth, trying to make each other laugh. A lot of Top Gear writing was based around men in a room trying to make each other laugh.Eventually, the script would be in some sort of workable shape, the gold plated unicorns would have been sourced, and we’d be in a position to film the damn thing. For this we would need three film crews – one for each star car in case they got split up and all the better to shoot the three way chats while allowing plenty of editing options to cut out the waffling bits – and a large van full of snack items.Once the item was shot, it would disappear into the edit suite where over many weeks it would be diced and sliced and finessed into the finished item over which voiceover lines would be dubbed.During our usual on-air routine, voice overs were done on a Monday evening the week of transmission, each presenter taking their turn to go into the recording booth while the other two loafed around in the control room, saying unhelpful things over the talkback loop, writing lurid slogans on other people’s scripts and generally behaving like children. Restless, middle-aged, deliberately annoying children.Tuesday was writing day. In advance, I’d hash together a first draft studio script, pulling together the planned intros for each film, adding some thoughts for discussions out of them, and doing the ‘housekeeping’ of adding sections like the ‘Tonight….’ menu, the Stig ‘some say’ lines and the guest introduction. Then the presenters would arrive and we’d start the process of refining, revising or completely re-writing the words during which the three of them would read my jokes and either laugh, in which case I would inwardly fist pump, or say ‘hmm, not sure about that’, in which case I would inwardly sob, though outwardly I would stand behind them at the computer and do neither of those things.At some point in the morning we’d turn our attention to the massive slick of press releases and pictures laid out on the floor behind us and the presenters would begin reading out things and firing one-liners at each other, the best bits of which I’d attempt to write down and later type up into bullet points from which the rough shape of the news segment would emerge.Then, once the script was deemed satisfactory, and there were enough items in the news document, we’d sit down in front of the whole production team and read through our homework. If they laughed at the jokes, we’d go home happy. If the material fell flat on its arse we’d despondently go back to the computer and keep working.Either way, we’d fetch up at the studio the next morning and Jeremy would thunder into the crappy presenters’ room at the back of our shabby Portakabin with a dozen new script tweaks, suggestions and jokes. The rest of us might turn up on a Wednesday morning with one vague thought for something that could be improved; only Jeremy would have lain awake all night worrying over tiny details and agonising over the smallest point until he’d got it right. Top Gear might sometimes have seemed like a big, freewheeling, slobbery, shambolic mess but you’d be amazed at the attention to detail. Someone once asked me what it was like to write on the show and the only way I could explain it was to say that we could easily lose 40 minutes arguing whether ‘raspberries’ was a funnier word than ‘hat’.On those Wednesday mornings at Dunsfold we’d spend another couple of hours having debates about such things followed by a technical rehearsal in the studio, a spot of lunch and then all hands on deck. Are the presenters dressed? Is the audience in? Are the machines recording? Then it’s show time.Or at least, it was. Maybe one day it will be again. Who knows how Top Gear and its pattern parts replica might turn out in the future. For all concerned, I just hope the production process is something like it was on the show we might one day come to call Top Gear – The Golden Years: Disorganised, exhausting, stupid and a simply enormous amount of fun.Illustration Sam WoolleyContact the author at matt@jalopnik.com.

Microsoft Officially Launches Office For Android Phone


TechCrunch / Sarah Perez

Microsoft Officially Launches Office For Android Phone

 Microsoft this morning announced the official launch of Office for Android phone, five weeks after the company rolled out the suite of applications as a preview. Today’s release, which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint designed for the Android smartphone experience, follows earlier efforts at bringing Office to Android tablets, as well as support for Office on iOS devices, Windows and… Read More

Apple Music signs thousands of independent labels after changing royalty structure during trial period (Billboard)


Techmeme /

Apple Music signs thousands of independent labels after changing royalty structure during trial period (Billboard)

Billboard:
Apple Music signs thousands of independent labels after changing royalty structure during trial period  —  Apple Music Signs Beggars Group, Merlin: Sources  —  Beggars comprises the imprints 4AD, XL, Matador and Rough Trade and has had a hand in the careers of Adele, Radiohead and Arcade Fire …

Google Finally Gives Revenge Porn Victims a Way to Remove Abusive Links


Gizmodo / Adam Clark Estes

Google Finally Gives Revenge Porn Victims a Way to Remove Abusive Links

It’s about damn time. Now that about half the states in the nation have passed laws banning revenge porn and several people have been convicted under those laws, Google says it will finally give revenge porn victims the option to get said revenge porn removed from searches. The search giant made the announcement today on its public policy blog. The plan for removing links to revenge porn sounds pretty similar to the way that many state laws address the issue—very carefully, given the First Amendment implications involved. Amit Singhal, head of Google Search, writes:Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web. But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims—predominantly women. So going forward, we’ll honor requests from people to remove nude or sexually explicit images shared without their consent from Google Search results. This is a narrow and limited policy, similar to how we treat removal requests for other highly sensitive personal information, such as bank account numbers and signatures, that may surface in our search results.In the coming weeks we’ll put up a web form people can use to submit these requests to us, and we’ll update this blog post with the link.Singal adds that a form that will allow victims to send in requests will appear “in the coming weeks.” Exactly how Google will vet those requests remains unclear.Either way, it’s a tremendous step forward in the way-too-arduous fight to put a stop to this vile behavior. There’s also a bill due to be introduced soon to the House of Representatives that would make revenge porn a federal offense. While debating that legislation is sure to turn into a free speech battle, it’s encouraging that companies as big and powerful as Google are taking a strong stance on this issue. Let’s hope others follow.Contact the author at adam@gizmodo.com.Public PGP keyPGP fingerprint: 91CF B387 7B38 148C DDD6 38D2 6CBC 1E46 1DBF 22

A shack in SiIicon Valley and a mansion in Austin: Here’s what a $1-2 million home looks like in 7 major US cities


Tech / Madeline Stone

A shack in SiIicon Valley and a mansion in Austin: Here’s what a $1-2 million home looks like in 7 major US cities

It’s becoming more and more expensive to live in Silicon Valley, and recent studies by real estate brokerage Redfin show that more and more people are looking to move away from the area.  When you compare the modest homes that you can buy in Silicon Valley with the mansions you could buy elsewhere, it’s easy to see why.  Our friends at Redfin helped us to find homes that will cost you $1 million or $2 million in different cities across the U.S. You might be surprised to see how much the same amount of money can get you in different real estate markets.In Silicon Valley, $1 million gets you a modest home that was built in the ’70s. Price: $999,999 Square feet: 2,474 Address: 5122 Kozo Place, San Jose But in Seattle, $1 million can get you a sleek, modern home with views of Lake Washington. Price: $1.05 million Square feet: 1,620 Address: 2518 Everrett Ave E, Seattle In Boston, the same amount of money buys you a Tudor home with four bedrooms and 2,596 square feet of space. Price: $999,900 Square feet: 2,596 Address: 284 Pond Street, Boston  See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Tesla for the Common Man


SourceFed / Andrew Fahey

Tesla for the Common Man

Tesla Motors’ Model 3 will have a driving range of at least 250 miles on a single charge, and is going to cost a mere $35,000. The Model 3 will be a part of Tesla’s third generation of electric cars. It will join the ranks of Tesla’s $70,000 Model S and $80,000 Model X crossover. As well, the Model 3’s $35,000 price tag and 250 mile range beats both the Chevrolet Bolt’s $38,000 price and 200 mile range. Tesla’s Model 3 is going to be huge for the future of alternative energy vehicles. Having an affordable electric option is going

Elon Musk’s Space Internet Plan Is Moving Forward


Gizmodo / Maddie Stone

Elon Musk’s Space Internet Plan Is Moving Forward

In yet another episode of ‘What crazy idea is Elon Musk trying to disrupt the world with this week?,’ the billionaire’s space company has officially requested FCC permission to begin testing satellites for what could become a globe-spanning internet.Rumors of said spacenet began to crystallize this past January, when Businessweek published a report outlining SpaceX’s plan to cover every human being in a glorious blanket of high-speed wifi. Basically, Musk wants to use a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to shoot a constellation of small satellites into low Earth orbit that’ll beam signals to the far corners of the planet. The space internet would eventually pick up a decent chunk of web traffic in urban and suburban regions, in addition to bringing billions of Internet-less people into the digital age. That, at least, is the plan. And with the new FCC filing—which would allow SpaceX to test the antennae on its satellites and determine if they’re currently strong enough to send signals down to Earth—it’s one that the Musk seems to have a vested interest in pushing forward. If the FCC permits it, SpaceX could begin launching test satellites as early as next year. And if all goes well, the service could be up and running in as few as five.But. There’s one big issue here that SpaceX seems to be skirting, and that’s the price tag for the whole shebang. Deploying satellites closer to home makes good sense from a speed perspective—it cuts down on latency, the time delay issue that makes traditional satellite internet (which involves much larger satellites positioned much higher above the planet) vexingly slow compared with fiber optic connections. But there’s a tradeoff— the signal from low-orbiting satellites won’t be able to cover nearly as much of the planet. So, you’ll need a lot of satellites. Four thousand, according to Musk’s latest math.As Wired discusses this week, constructing and deploying four thousand satellites, even into low Earth orbit, could end up being very, very expensive. Indeed, a Bill Gates-backed effort to create a low Earth orbit space internet in the 90s folded when costs ballooned out of control. And when you’re talking about creating a service that’s accessible to folks in developing countries, it goes without saying that it’s going to have to be dirt cheap.We’ll just have to wait and see if SpaceX can hack it. At this point, anyone that can offer me the tiniest sliver of hope for a Comcast-free future has my blessing. Godspeed, Elon.[The Washington Post | Wired ] Follow Maddie on Twitter or contact her at maddie.stone@gizmodo.comTop image via SpaceX

iOS 9 code hints 1080p, 240fps, flash coming to iPhone FaceTime cameras (Zac Hall/9to5Mac)


Techmeme /

iOS 9 code hints 1080p, 240fps, flash coming to iPhone FaceTime cameras (Zac Hall/9to5Mac)

Zac Hall / 9to5Mac:
iOS 9 code hints 1080p, 240fps, flash coming to iPhone FaceTime cameras  —  Code found in the first iOS 9 developer betas reveals that Apple is planning to support some significant camera features and upgrades with the new software version.  Presumably planned for the next iPhone hardware version …

Instagram is launching a redesigned website with bigger photos (Jacob Kastrenakes/The Verge)


Techmeme /

Instagram is launching a redesigned website with bigger photos (Jacob Kastrenakes/The Verge)

Jacob Kastrenakes / The Verge:
Instagram is launching a redesigned website with bigger photos  —  Instagram’s website is about to look much nicer.  It’s introducing a new web design on desktop and mobile this week that cleans up the page and makes photos much bigger than they are now.  Most noticeable is the change …

GoPro Working On A VR Camera Array And ‘Quadcopter’ Drone


TechCrunch / Matthew Panzarino

GoPro Working On A VR Camera Array And ‘Quadcopter’ Drone

 Today, GoPro announced that it was working on an array that combines 6 GoPro Hero cameras for spherical shots all at once. CEO Nick Woodman says that when Facebook bought Oculus, the ‘gauntlet was dropped’ and GoPro started work on a spherical setup that could generate content for virtual reality and augmented reality systems.
Woodman also said that the company has software in… Read More

Android Pay Is Google’s Plan for the Mobile Payments Future


Gizmodo / Bryan Lufkin

Android Pay Is Google’s Plan for the Mobile Payments Future

We suspected that Google would announce about a new payments system at I/O, and we were right. Enter Android Pay.Android Pay is an open-platform API that enables customers to make payments from their credit cards within an Android mobile app. To use it, unlock your phone like normal, place it in front of the data-slurping terminal, and boom: payment complete. A virtual account number is created; your card number isn’t shared at the store.Android Pay is partnering with over 700,000 stores, including Best Buy, Gamestop, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Whole Foods and McDonald’s. Google says it will work with major cards (Visa, AmEx, Discover, MasterCard) and major phone companies (AT&T, Verizon, T Mobile).It will also integrate with other apps like Groupon and Grubhub, which will offer the Android Pay payment option to users as they make their purchases within the Groupon or Grubhub app.The writing for a new payment system was on the wall: Earlier this year, Google acquired mobile payments app Softcard, and there had been rumors about a revamped Google Wallet. In this world of Venmo lovers, digital payments systems are getting more and more popular for individuals, and companies also want give that option to their consumers. Google Wallet is clearly taking a backseat. It’s not being completely replaced, though—it’ll stick around as a peer-to-peer, Venmo-like service in which folks can send each other money from their bank accounts. Android Pay, meanwhile, is the retail muscle Google Wallet never had.Payments is a hot topic among tech companies: Android Pay follows Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and even Facebook now allows person-to-person payments in chat threads. Android Pay is just the latest of systems that are poised to permanently change the way people shop and fork over their hard-earned cash.

Sunlight and Graphene Could One Day Power a Spaceship


Gizmodo / Sarah Zhang

Sunlight and Graphene Could One Day Power a Spaceship

Graphene, already a plenty weird wondermaterial, has an unexpected new property that could one day play a role in space exploration: When hit with light, it propels forward. Huh! Scientists accidentally stumbled across this discovery when studying graphene sponges, crumpled up versions of the single-atom thick sheets of carbon. As the team used a laser beam to cut the graphene sponge, the beam itself seemed to inch the sponge forward. So they set up some controlled experiments, which New Scientist describes below:The team placed pieces of graphene sponge in a vacuum and shot them with lasers of different wavelength and intensity. They were able to push sponge pieces upwards by as much as 40 centimetres. They even got the graphene to move by focusing ordinary sunlight on it with a lens.So what’s going on? One obvious theory would be something similar to the idea behind solar sails. Photons of light have momentum, and they transfer it to whatever they’re hitting. But with the graphene sponge, it seemed to be moving too much to be momentum alone. Here’s how New Scientist explained the team’s alternative theory: Instead, they think the graphene absorbs laser energy and builds up a charge of electrons. Eventually it can’t hold any more, and extra electrons are released, pushing the sponge in the opposite direction. Although it’s not clear why the electrons don’t fly off randomly, the team was able to confirm a current flowing away from the graphene as it was exposed to a laser, suggesting this hypothesis is correct. To be clear, this is a bizarre observation about graphene that still needs to be confirmed by other scientists. And while graphene is great, it’s hard to make on a commercial scale. It’s easy and fun to dream up uses for graphene, but we’ll have to wait and see whether it lives up our imaginations. [New Scientist, ArXiv] Top image: An artist depiction of a solar sail, which graphene could make obsolete. NASAContact the author at sarah@gizmodo.com.

Project Jacquard Hands-On: Google’s ATAP is Putting Sensors In Fabric


Gizmodo / Brent Rose

Project Jacquard Hands-On: Google’s ATAP is Putting Sensors In Fabric

Roaming around the floor of Google I/O we got our hands on one of the prototypes from ATAP, Google’s DARPA-like experimental lab. It’s called Project Jacquard, and it’s nice n’ soft. It’s a fabric that can control your phone.Jacquard is about weaving touch sensor technology into fabrics. Using conductive thread it’s possible to weave a mesh that looks not unlike the matrix of sensors under your touchscreen. But because it’s just simple thread it can be manufactured at scale and woven on industrial equipment. In other words they should be able to make a lot of it, cheaply and easily. While you can see the grid pattern of the touch sensor in the photo up top, we were told that it can be made to be totally seamless, so you don’t even know it’s there. In their demo area ATAP had some woven into a tablecloth that was connected to different devices. It worked basically just like a touchpad. On a computer screen you could see a visualization of what the fabric perceived. It could sense multiple fingers dragging, tapping, swiping, and it even did a good job sensing different levels of pressure. I was also able to tap to turn on some Philips Hue bulbs. Swiping up/down adjusted the brightness, and swiping left and right changed the bulbs’ colors. You can use it to play/pause/skip tracks on your phone’s music player. They said it might even be possible to make a whole shirt out of the stuff, where the shirt acts as a micro-controller with various sensors (accelerometers, gyroscopes, pressure sensors, heart rate monitors, etc) attached. While they told us us that to start out the primary goal is to control smartphones with it, one could imagine some fun scenarios. A robot teddy bear that responds to your kid’s touch when they’re playing with it. A swipable pillow on your couch to adjust lighting or your entertainment system. A bed sheet that acts as an sleep (or sex) tracker. Pants that could control your phone—you could literally butt-dial someone!We’ll be finding out more tomorrow morning at 9am PST but in the meantime, what would you use this kind of technology for? No idea too crazy.

Facebook Messenger Lets You Send Money In Chat Threads Now


Gizmodo / Bryan Lufkin

Facebook Messenger Lets You Send Money In Chat Threads Now

Facebook’s payments feature for the Messenger app has been rolling out slowly across the U.S. and landed in New York City today armed with a couple new features. But how does it stack up against Venmo? I repaid a $5 happy hour debt to fellow Gotham-dwelling Gizmodian Darren Orf to find out.First introduced back in March, the payments feature allows you to instantly pay or receive money from your friends. But two new features make it even better. Now, if you’re having a conversation with someone in Messenger and type out a dollar amount, it automatically turns into a hyperlink. Click it, and you’ll instantly be prompted to pay the person that amount. This also works in a group chat: If you’re chatting several people on the desktop version of Messenger, you can pay individuals without leaving the chat. Everyone in the conversation will see who paid whom.I took the updated version for a spin and found it easy to use, plus doing it in a messaging app is pretty organic.I opened Messenger and clicked on an already existing chat thread with Mr. Orf. Here, I could file mytruant $5 payment for a long-ago imbibed IPA. I had two options: Click on the new dollar bill icon to initiate the transaction, or, thanks to today’s update, type something like: “$5 for beer sry dude.” The $5 auto-morphs into a link, just as an address or phone number would. Darren confirmed payment and collected his virtual moolah.Making payments this way, as opposed to in an app like Venmo, is convenient: I could see it making sense for when you’re talking with a group about who owes what after a dinner everybody planned earlier in Messenger.But for folks who already have Venmo on their phone, Messenger payments might be kinda pointless. After all, you have to re-enter your debit info, again, into a separate app, to have yet another string of personal data flying around in the ether. On the other hand, it might be a more streamlined process, assuming you’re already Facebook friends with your payees. You don’t have to add them to the service.The Messenger payment function is also kinda nice, because unlike Venmo, there isn’t an obnoxious newsfeed of payment activities between your friends and strangers, filled with inside jokes and emoji-speak. With the Messenger update, only the other folks in a group chat will be subjected to your happy hour payback transactions.Does this mean paper money is even closer to reaching “endangered” status? Or that Facebook tightens its death grip on us all? Maybe both, but if you hate carrying cash like many people, you’re good either way.Images via Facebook

These ridiculously detailed aerial photos of London are so stunning


Gizmodo / Casey Chan on Sploid, shared by Casey Chan to Gizmodo

These ridiculously detailed aerial photos of London are so stunning

The weather isn’t great and the pubs close too early and the food is often better in other cities and yet London is still one of the capitals of the world and is packed with so much history. Photographer Vincent LaForet took these amazing aerial shots of London and seeing the city overhead like this reminds you why that is.The buildings may be old and the streets may be confusing when you’re down low but boy, it looks great from above.Click on the magnifying glass to zoom and see these images up close at full screen because the detail is absolutely phenomenal. It’s the only way to do them justice.The full set of Vincent’s London photos can be seen here on Storehouse. You can also sign up to pre-order a book on Vincent’s Air series here. The entire Air Series in Europe is sponsored by G-Technology.”Vincent Laforet is a director, photographer, and a pioneer in tilt-shift, aerial photography, and in HD DSLR cameras for shooting film. He won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for his images of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s conflicts after 9/11, plus three prizes at the 2010 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Time, Newsweek, Life and many other national and international publications have commissioned his service.Follow him on his blog, Twitter, Facebook, Storehouse, and Instagram.You can buy his book Visual Stories: Behind the Lens with Vicent Laforet here.This is part of a series in which we are featuring futuristic, striking, and just beautiful photography. If you are a photographer with awesome work, please drop me a line here.SPLOID is delicious brain candy. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

After nearly a decade of research, Apple shelved plans over a year ago for the TV set that Carl Icahn expects it to release in 2016 (Daisuke Wakabayashi/Wall Street Journal)


Techmeme /

After nearly a decade of research, Apple shelved plans over a year ago for the TV set that Carl Icahn expects it to release in 2016 (Daisuke Wakabayashi/Wall Street Journal)

Daisuke Wakabayashi / Wall Street Journal:
After nearly a decade of research, Apple shelved plans over a year ago for the TV set that Carl Icahn expects it to release in 2016  —  Behind Apple’s Move to Shelve TV Plans  —  Apple had dropped its TV plans, but investor Carl Icahn sees the firm entering the market next year

YotaPhone 2, the Dual Screen E-Ink Wonder, Is Blowing Up On IndieGoGo


Gizmodo / Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan

YotaPhone 2, the Dual Screen E-Ink Wonder, Is Blowing Up On IndieGoGo

The general consensus about YotaPhone, the wacky Russian smartphone with a dual LED and E-Ink screen, was simple: I’m not sure how useful it is, but I want to try that. Now the company is funding a North American run for the phone on IndieGoGo, and damn, people sure are excited about it.The second generation YotaPhone has only been available in certain European countries since December, but this morning company launched an IndieGoGo campaign to bring the phone to the US and Canada—explaining that “the North America smartphone market is one of the most challenging to enter.” The goal? To raise $50,000 and have the phone in backers’ hands by the end of the summer before a public launch. Only three hours into the campaign, the company has already raised $60,000 in flex funding—and it’s safe to say that number will rise quickly over the next two days, since the company is offering a $75 discount to anyone who backs in the first 48 hours. If you missed out on the flurry of YotaPhone chatter, here are the basics. It looks like a fairly standard smartphone with a 5-inch AMOLED screen running Android Lollipop—all business in the front, you might say. It’s a party in the back, though, with an E-Ink screen that’s touch-sensitive and always on, letting you read, respond to messages, and check apps without turning the energy-hog LED screen on. The battery savings are huge: You could read for five days on a single charge, the company says. It’s a strange idea, at first glance. And indeed, it may enter the annals of tech history as a one-off anomaly. On the other hand, increasing the battery life of a phone by days without giving up a conventional screen is a pretty smart idea. We’ll have to wait and see. For now, it seems the demand is certainly there. The IndieGoGo campaign is here—right now, you can grab one of the unlocked phones for $575, while the phones will cost $600 when they officially launch in North America in August. Contact the author at kelsey@Gizmodo.com.

The Pirate Bay’s .SE domain to be seized, rules a Stockholm District Court, so service moves to .GS, .LA, .VG, .AM, .MN, and .GD domains (Ernesto/TorrentFreak)


Techmeme /

The Pirate Bay’s .SE domain to be seized, rules a Stockholm District Court, so service moves to .GS, .LA, .VG, .AM, .MN, and .GD domains (Ernesto/TorrentFreak)

Ernesto / TorrentFreak:
The Pirate Bay’s .SE domain to be seized, rules a Stockholm District Court, so service moves to .GS, .LA, .VG, .AM, .MN, and .GD domains  —  Pirate Bay Moves to GS, LA, VG, AM, MN and GD Domains  —  The Pirate Bay has long been associated with Sweden but soon the popular torrent site will stop using a Swedish domain name.

Apple Debuts New 15-Inch MacBook Pro With Force Touch And $1,999 27-Inch Retina iMac


TechCrunch / Darrell Etherington

Apple Debuts New 15-Inch MacBook Pro With Force Touch And $1,999 27-Inch Retina iMac

 Apple has updated both the 15-inch MacBook Pro With Retina Display, and the 27-inch iMac, with new specs that include Intel Core processors, as well as a new Force Touch trackpad for the MacBook, which provides opportunities for unique input via a secondary, deeper click, as well as Apple’s trademark “taptic” feedback, which makes it feel like the trackpad is physically… Read More

Apple Now Sells A Lightning Dock For Your iPhone


TechCrunch / Darrell Etherington

Apple Now Sells A Lightning Dock For Your iPhone

 Apple has finally done what many had long hoped it would – released an official dock for Lightning-sporting iPhones, ranging from the 5 all the way up to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The new design should work with devices going forward, too, unlike previous Apple docks, because it features a freestanding Lightning connector that doesn’t require your device to fit the dimensions of a… Read More

Watch the First Trailer of Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs Right Here


Gizmodo / Jamie Condliffe

Watch the First Trailer of Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs Right Here

It’s been a turbulent process but the new Steve Jobs movie has finally come together. This is the first trailer of the film, which features Michael Fassbender and Seth Rogen as Apple co-founders Jobs and Wozniak.The movie, with a script by Aaron Sorkin and direction by Danny Boyle, is now being produced by Universal, after Sony Pictures abandoned the project. Elsewhere, the cast includes Michael Stuhlbarg as Andy Hertzfeld, Jeff Daniels as Apple CEO John Sculley, Adam Shapiro as Avie Tevanian, and Kate Winslet as a former marketing chief.The trailer, below, drips with Sorkin’s touch. How do you think the whole thing’s going to turn out? [Universal Pictures]

This Could Be the World’s Most Efficient Solar System


Gizmodo / Jamie Condliffe

This Could Be the World’s Most Efficient Solar System

A Swedish company claims that this small-scale concentrated solar energy system—which leans on ideas from a 19th-century Scottish clergyman—converts 34 percent of sunlight into electricity. That could make it the most efficient solar system in the world.The Guardian reports that the system—currently being tested by its makers, RiPasso Energy, in the Kalahari Desert—uses 100 square-meter dishes to focus the sun’s light to a single, hot point. The heat then drives a Stirling engine, first developed by Robert Stirling in 1816, which uses alternate heating and cooling of a closed volume of gas to drive a piston and, in turn, flywheel to generate electricity. The dishes swing on their axes during the day in order to capture as much light as possible.Tests show that each dish could generate between 75 and 85 megawatt hours of electricity per year. For a little context, the same amount of electricity generated by coal-fired power station would create 81 metric tonnes of CO2. The claimed efficiency of 34 percent compares incredibly well with other solar techniques, too: traditional photovoltaic cells currently manage around 23 percent at best.While the financial side of things remains unclear—and potentially prohibitive—RiPasso now claims to have secured funding to first large-scale installation. It’ll be interesting to see if it can hit it’s claimed 34 percent efficiency at scale. [Guardian, RiPasso Energy]Image by RiPasso Energy

Architects Design Wooden Bicycle Frame to Explore Structural Engineering


Gizmodo / Maddie Stone

Architects Design Wooden Bicycle Frame to Explore Structural Engineering

Wooden bikes may be beautiful, but they’re also a tad impractical. Nevertheless, there may be unexpected value in wooden bike frames, which architects can use to understand important structural challenges and prototype new designs.That, at least, is the rationale behind bike manufacturer AERO’s latest prototype. Architects Martino Hutz, Atanas Zhelev and Mariya Korolova built this wood-framed bike not so that they could ride it, but to study how thin wooden sheets can be used to build stronger buildings. Zhelev tells Deezen that “The bicycle is perfect to test how wooden structures work in different scales with different loads.”The bike frame is composed of lamellas—millimeter-thick sheets of birch wood glued together into strips that splay out at the points where the crank and peddle are fixed, as well as below the seat. The natural fibers of each lamella were aligned to enhance the structure’s overall strength. Zhelev and his team are finding that this layering method offers lightness, improved flexibility and enhanced durability over traditional wood-based building materials.Also, talk about a damn beautiful bike. [Deezen]Images reproduced with permission from AERO. You can check them out on Facebook and find more work from these designers here and here.Follow Maddie on Twitter or contact her at maddie.stone@gizmodo.com

Tweeting To Order A Pizza Is Probably The Laziest Thing You Can Do


Gizmodo / Chris Mills

Tweeting To Order A Pizza Is Probably The Laziest Thing You Can Do

Starting on May 20th, there will be a new definition for a first-world problem. For those too lazy to order pizza delivered to their door via an app or (god forbid) talking to a human being on the phone, a new option will exist: tweeting a pizza emoji to @Dominos. In an interview with USA Today, Dominos’ CEO boasts about the frictionless order system being put in place: “It’s the epitome of convenience…we’ve got this down to a five-second exchange.” Just imagine! Ordering a thousand-calorie fast-food extravaganza without the hassle or inconvenience of opening an app, or finding a phone number, or really without having to think at all. Doesn’t the #future sound wonderful?Of course, there are no details surrounding the ordering system, like how Dominos know which pizza to send, or where, or how much things will cost. But let’s just pretend that this isn’t a cynical PR move, and instead get tweeting those pizza emoji to score ourselves some sweet, sweet double-cheese deep crust. [USA Today]

Facebook Now Puts Full Articles From Big Publishers in Your News Feed


Gizmodo / Jamie Condliffe

Facebook Now Puts Full Articles From Big Publishers in Your News Feed

Facebook has just launched a new service called Instant Articles, which allows media organizations to create interactive pieces which are hosted on Facebook’s servers and embedded in your news feed.The new service was apparently born out of a desire for speed. Facebook claims that news articles take an average of eight seconds to load from its mobile app—said to be “by far the slowest single content type on Facebook,” in a press release. Zuckerberg & Co. decided the obvious solution was to host the content themselves, a step which they claim speeds up load times by ten times.That’s been enough to convince some big names to join in. From 10 a.m. ET today, the Times, BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, National Geographic, NBC News, The Guardian, BBC News, and Germany’s Bild and Der Spiegel will all be posting articles on Facebook via Instant Articles. Initially only iOS users will see them, but the service is said to land on Android soon.What will they look like? As you zip through your feed many won’t look dramatically different, though some will have wizzy video covers that play as you scroll. But within the articles themselves, Facebook promises “a suite of interactive features that allow publishers to bring their stories to life in new ways. Zoom in and explore high-resolution photos by tilting your phone. Watch auto-play videos come alive as you scroll through stories. Explore interactive maps, listen to audio captions, and even like and comment on individual parts of an article in-line.”According to The Verge the experience is slick—thanks mainly to the fact that the story is pre-loaded as you scroll towards it, so that it’s ready to pounce when you tap to read. The service also strips out much of the advertising you see on many of the websites that are involved (presumably instead leaning on Facebook’s ad savvy elsewhere to generate the cold, hard cash). The result, in theory, is a slick media experience that doesn’t require heading to another, independent website.Of course, the big question is how this changes the media landscape. When the content of some of the biggest news publishers on the planet is hosted on Zuckerberg’s servers, why need you ever leave the lovely blue walled garden that is Facebook? It remains to be seen how successful the experiment will be, of course—but if it does perform as well as Facebook hopes, publishers could well finds themselves even more reliant on a service they have little control over. [Facebook]

Analyst Says iPhone 6s Will Have A Luxe Rose Gold Option


TechCrunch / Darrell Etherington

Analyst Says iPhone 6s Will Have A Luxe Rose Gold Option

 Apple’s next iPhone (likely the ‘iPhone 6s’ if it keeps with recent naming conventions) could come in a luxury rose gold finish, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via AppleInsider). The analyst, who has a good track record of calling Apple product plans ahead of their official announcement, shared info about the rose gold option in a research note today, and… Read More

I Beta-Tested The Apple Watch So You Don’t Have To


Gizmodo / Sean Hollister

I Beta-Tested The Apple Watch So You Don’t Have To

Two weeks ago, I started wearing an Apple Watch. I’ve come to a conclusion: I just paid hundreds of dollars to be a glorified beta tester for Apple’s latest product. But you know what? I’m glad I did—because Apple’s latest product really needs a kick in the pants.What Is It?A meticulously crafted aluminum, steel, or 18-karat gold wristwatch with a tiny Apple computer inside. A computer that needs to be paired to an iPhone (5 or newer) to send info to your wrist over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It tells time, delivers weather reports and stock info, plays music, tracks your fitness and heart rate, helps you find your phone, navigates to destinations, even makes calls from your wrist if needed. Not to mention pay for things without a credit card, set alarms, timers and reminders, read email, and check your calendar.Oh, and most importantly: it runs apps. Lots of them. Apps which could theoretically let this device do anything else you’d ever want to do with a watch. There are lots of other smartwatches out there, but nobody does apps like Apple.Why Does It Matter?Everybody’s been waiting for the Apple Watch to show us if smartwatches are actually a smart idea, or just a passing fad. Why? Apple knows a thing or two about establishing consumer electronics demand. Remember how the iPod dominated MP3 players? How the iPhone wiped out Palm and Windows Mobile? How the iPad succeeded where other tablets had failed? Yeah. Apple’s got a track record of swooping in right before an existing technology becomes a huge success, providing key ingredients (like multitouch screens) to finally make them work.But unlike smartphones and MP3 players before Apple swooped in, there isn’t really a market for smartwatches quite yet. The best smartwatch—the Pebble—only sold one million copies as of last year. Do people want smartwatches at all? That’s still a real question.Too bad the state of the current Apple Watch means we’ll have to keep waiting for the answer.So This Is What The Future Looks LikeBefore I tell you why I desperately want my money back, I should probably get this off my chest: from a hardware perspective, the Apple Watch is one of the loveliest gadgets I’ve ever used. It looks pure and simple and timeless—even more than most Apple products I’ve tried.For my beta test, I bought the most basic model you can think of (the $350 Apple Watch Sport with the aluminum case and plain white elastic band) because I’m a cheap bastard. And yet, I can’t stop admiring the fit and finish of even Apple’s most basic timepiece.The way the curved glass edges perfectly meet the rounded metal frame. The inky black of the excellent AMOLED screen. The precision of the laser-etched digital crown. All of which are only amplified, by the way, if you pick the shiny steel version, which adds gravitas in every sense of the word. (It’s hefty—reassuringly so—and the buttons feel way better.)Apple Watch 38mm vs. the original Pebble—look how far we’ve come. Another constant delight: how small the Watch really is in person. Even the 42mm version makes the Android competition look unnecessarily chunky, but my 38mm Watch is a marvel of miniaturized technology. To be honest, the 38mm frame is small enough that it actually looks a little dainty on my man-wrists… but I kind of enjoy getting in touch with my softer side. (Is it still politically correct to say that?)The best part: Apple’s surprisingly comfortable sport band. I’ve tried on every single band in Apple’s collection, and the $150 Milanese Loop is definitely the most fun. (It’s got MAGNETS!) But the simple, pedestrian Sport Band that came in the box is super comfy. I can wear the watch all day long without ever feeling a burning desire to rip it off. The strap takes a little getting used to at first, since you buckle it the opposite of how you’d expect, but the result is a rubber cradle for your wrist—soft and unobtrusive enough that you don’t have to take it off when working at a laptop or desk.I even admire the way you attach and detach the straps. No tools or fiddling required here: just slide one in, and a little spring-loaded button pops into place at the perfect moment to lock it right in. It’s kind of like inserting a fresh magazine into a semi-automatic pistol—you just slide it in, and the mechanism takes care of the rest. I love how it feels. Swapping out the $50 Sport Band for the $150 Milanese LoopI think it’s pretty safe to say Apple’s solved the first problem with wearable technology. The Apple Watch is attractive. And if that were the end of my beta test, I’d be so, so happy.The Smartwatch DilemmaHere’s the bigger problem with wearable technology—most of it has no reason to exist. If you want to wear an Apple Watch, you need to own an iPhone. So why not use the phone instead? Why would you ever choose to fiddle with a tiny screen on your wrist when you can use the nice big one that’s always in your pocket or purse? I call it the Smartwatch Dilemma.Still, over the past year or two, I’ve heard a lot of theoretical answers to that question. So I used the magical new Apple Watch to put them to the test.“It’s rude to pull out your phone during social situations, but you could check a watch instead”Have you ever used a watch? Checking your watch is the universal symbol for “I’m worried I might be late for something more important than you.” Besides, it turns out that checking a watch in the year 2015 is way more conspicuous than looking at a phone. Everyone has a phone, and nobody bats an eye if you pull out a particularly nice one. (They all cost $200 on contract.) But every time I pull out the Apple Watch, people notice. They see I’m the guy who spent hundreds (maybe thousands) of dollars on a luxury item—and that I’m fiddling with my wrist instead of talking to them.“You can leave your phone behind—say, when you go out on a run—and still have a useful gadget at hand”Not unless your watch has a cellular connection! The Apple Watch does have Wi-Fi, which means that you can walk around your own home without a phone and still be able to use your apps, ring your phone remotely when it’s buried knee deep in your luxurious corner sofa, or even make calls from your wrist when you’re sure nobody will see you talking to your hand.But the moment you step outside Wi-Fi range, practically everything stops working. Sure, you can track that run, reward yourself with a Starbucks latte using your stored credit card, even listen to a limited selection of music if you own Bluetooth headphones… but that’s about it. Oh, and you’re not going to be dialing 911 down that dark alley, you’re not going to be there for urgent calls from friends and family, and you won’t have any GPS directions if you get lost.Yeah, I think you’ll probably keep your phone on hand.“You could save so much time by checking a watch instead of fumbling for your phone.” and “Isn’t it cooler to control the world from your wrist?”Only if you aren’t then fumbling with your wrist. Which you will. A lot. Because as I’ve kept hinting for roughly the last 1,200 words, this thing can be a pain in the ass.Here’s my answer to the smartwatch dilemma: it only makes sense to use a watch when it’s faster, cooler, or more intuitive than opening an app on a phone. When you’re in a situation where you can’t or wouldn’t easily pull your phone out of your pocket… or when it’s just way more fun to do things with a sci-fi wrist-communicator. Like communicate with sci-fi wrists. (More on that later.)The Apple Watch showed me that such uses DO exist. They’re just hamstrung by Apple’s frustrating user interface. So let’s talk about that.Controlling the Apple WatchThe Apple Watch effectively has three buttons, a touchscreen, and a dial. One of those buttons is actually the dial itself, and one of them is beneath the screen if you press down hard, but that’s not the confusing part. What’s confusing is that they don’t always do what you’d want.An earlier draft of this review, in Evernote.Take the Digital Crown, the gorgeous laser-etched dial on the side of the watch. It’s my favorite thing about this tiny machine. Scrolling through lists of notifications, text messages, even entire email threads is a buttery smooth dream. I never would have thought reading on a watch would make any sense, but this dial makes it work.The app carousel.But if you want to scroll through apps, forget about it. Apple makes you swipe around its pretty little carousel of app icons with a terribly tiny touchscreen instead. A touchscreen small enough—particularly on the 38mm version—that I often miss the app I’m trying to tap and launch another by accident.Like I said, you can press down on that screen to activate a button—Apple’s Force Touch. But there’s never anything in any app to tell you that Force Touch is an option—you have to experiment for yourself to see what it does.If you swipe down from the top of the screen, you can get a list of your recent notifications, and you can swipe up for Glances: itty-bitty single-purpose screens. Like your current location, your current heart rate, your next single calendar item, your music controls, and the all-important page where you can set the watch to silent. (You’ll want to do that—notification pings are loud and tend to annoy anyone and anything within earshot.)Oh, but those swipe controls I just mentioned? They only work from the watchface where you tell the time. Not from the app carousel, and not from inside any other app either.So you just press the home button to go back to the watchface, and then swipe up, right? Isn’t that what home buttons do? Nope. The so-called “home” button is actually a back button — it only takes you back one step at a time, and it’s frustrating as all get-out.How to get to Glances if you’re inside an app: three presses and a swipe. Let me illustrate: if you’re inside an app, you have to press the home button three times to get back to the watchface: once to go back to the app carousel, again to center the app carousel, and a third time to actually go home again! Or you can press it two times very quickly to switch between the watchface from your app. Unless you’re already on the app carousel, in which case it’ll switch back to the app, not the watchface. Confused yet?How not to get to Glances.Here’s what happens in practice: I’ll want to skip to the next song or see my heart rate, and I’ll press twice… but a little too slowly. The app carousel pops up, then centers. I’ll swipe, thinking I’m on the watchface… but instead, I’ll just shove the app carousel in a random direction. Cursing, I’ll press again to go to the watchface… only to merely center the app carousel again. Frustrated, I’ll press twice quickly, and find myself back in the app instead of the watchface. This is the point I generally stop giving a shit, and people tell me I’m a pretty patient man.Other controls aren’t so confusing. You press the bottom button once to start texting your friends, twice to pull up Apple Pay, and holding it down lets you turn off the watch entirely. But given that all of those are things I’d rarely ever do on a watch, and the touchscreen/home button combination feels so iffy, I wish that second button had been used a little more wisely.It’s also probably worth noting that the Apple Watch isn’t particularly speedy. There can be some nasty lag here and there even just swiping around the interface. Apps can take so long to load that you’ll think they’ve crashed. Which they also do, on occasion. And when they do, there’s nothing you can do about it other than reset the watch or pretend they don’t exist.All of which makes it pretty damn hard for watch apps to clear the bar of being faster, handier, or cooler than pulling out my phone.So, with no further ado, here are the many, many Apple Watch features that failed to meet that bar, and the few where I actually felt I was getting some value for my money.Where The Apple Watch Falls ShortAs a watchIt tells the time, sure, but you have to deliberately raise your wrist and wait a moment for the screen to turn on. It doesn’t take long—certainly less than to unlock a phone—but when we’re talking about checking the time, any wait at all feels pretty dumb. And it feels even dumber every 20th time or so when it doesn’t activate reliably.I’m also not really in love with any of the 10 included watchfaces—though it’s really cool how you can add little widgets to them to show things like your upcoming calendar events and progress toward exercise goals. And I guess it’s cool to see when the sun will rise and set with the flick of a dial.Keeping the screen onNot only do you have to deliberately raise your wrist to turn the screen on, it’ll also automatically turn off—whether you like it or not. Sometimes, it’ll turn off even if you’re still using it. I’ve had the screen shut off while trying to open an app; when looking at the time; and even while the watch was supposedly actively listening for my voice commands. I get that Apple’s trying to keep the battery life in check, but it’s super frustrating.Serious fitnessApple promised the Watch would tell me when I’d been sitting too long, and track my calorie burn with precision. Sure enough, the Watch comes with a built-in heart rate monitor and asks me to stand occasionally… but both features are pretty useless. For instance, the Apple Watch regularly reminds me to stand when I’m working at my standing desk. (Think about that for a second.) Last week, it asked me to stand right after I sat down.The heart rate monitor? It only really works when you turn it on. I ran my ass off during a giant Nerf war, and discovered the watch hadn’t taken a single reading. Not even one. Turns out the ambient sensors only work when you stand very still. To turn on the active ones, you need to actually tell the Apple Watch that you’re going to start exercising—and in so doing, sacrifice your battery life to the green LED gods.Most days, the Apple Watch battery actually isn’t a problem for me at all—I’ll go to bed with 40-50% left in the tank! But the day I used the heart rate monitor for a single hour, the watch didn’t last the evening. At least it’s always tracking your steps, I suppose.Power reserve modeWhen the battery reaches 10%, the Apple Watch prompts you to switch over to power reserve mode. Don’t bother. It does literally nothing but show you the time, and even that requires a button press. And if you want to switch it back on for a quick look at something, you can’t. Not till you drop it on a charger again.Triaging notificationsThe one thing I’ve always enjoyed about smartwatches, ever since the Pebble, is getting notifications on my wrist. If you ask me, it’s the single most important thing a smartwatch can do. Which is why it blows my mind that they’re often harder to use on the Apple Watch than any other platform.While most of them seem to come in on time, I’ve seen some arrive in fits and starts, some ridiculously late, and others uselessly bunched up. Why tell me generically that I’ve got “three Facebook notifications” and “two Gmail messages” when there’s a lovely dial there that could let me scroll through the actual messages myself? Worse, dismissing those notifications on the watch is a chore—you either have to tap and swipe on every single one, or nuke ‘em all with a Force Touch.GmailMaybe you’re dreaming of reading and replying to your Gmail from your watch. Don’t. There’s no Gmail app for the watch, and you can barely make out the beginning of messages in the notifications that Gmail’s iPhone app will beam over. Apple’s Mail app will let you read messages, but it won’t actually push Gmail to your phone. You have to manually pull them down from the cloud. And you can’t reply anyhow. It’s so much easier to just pull out a phone.HandoffSupposedly, you can start reading things on the watch and finish them on the phone—like those poor Gmail notifications above. But I can’t figure out a way to make the blasted thing work reliably. Sometimes, I’ll see a little icon when I unlock my phone to indicate that a Handoff is ready. Then, I’ll unlock my phone. Sometimes, it’ll launch the right app. Sometimes it won’t!And Handoff seems to assume that you’re going to unlock your phone the old-fashioned way—you know, before Apple added an amazing fingerprint sensor that instantly unlocks your phone when you place a finger on the home button and press down. Does Apple really expect me to re-lock my phone and then unlock it again?GlancesSee “Controlling the Apple Watch” above.Controlling musicIt’s actually pretty awesome to use the dial to control volume on my phone from across the room… but first I have to tap tiny touchscreen buttons to get to your music app of choice, and/or pull up the music playback glance. (See above for why that’s a pain in the ass.) You might even need to switch between the app and the glance repeatedly, because some app developers aren’t building volume controls right into their apps. Oh, and as far as I can tell you can’t play audio over the Apple Watch’s speaker—not even talk radio. I’ll stick to my phone.Almost all my phone callsWalking down the street with an Apple Watch right up to my face is just asking for it to get punched. Which is pretty much what it looks like you’re doing to yourself when you rapidly move the watch between your ear and your mouth. Stick to your phone.Almost anything in the carI’ll talk about driving directions in a bit. They’re actually fairly cool. But otherwise, the driving experience is pretty broken. Like, I-can’t-believe-they-shipped-it-like-this broken. When my iPhone is connected to the Apple Watch and my car at the same time, incoming calls no longer go to my car. They don’t go to the watch either—only the actual iPhone itself. Somehow, Apple has managed to make these two wonderful pieces of wireless technology cancel each other out. Sounds like something that’ll get addressed in an update, though.Yelp, failing to load a list of nearby cafesAlmost anything involving third-party appsThere are over 3,500 apps available for the Apple Watch already, and most of them are shit. The worst part: there’s no good way to tell until you try them. Apple’s promoting a small collection of them in the Apple Watch app, but you have to blindly search the App Store yourself for the rest—and since watch apps are considered to be part of the iPhone apps, you might pick something with fantastic user reviews only to find the watch version is disgustingly bad. I’ve been grabbing anything and everything that looked even remotely interesting, and here are the most common sins:Apps with touchscreen buttons that are too tiny to press (I’m looking at you, Blackjack)Apps with completely unrelated functionality to their iPhone counterparts (Buzzfeed is just a daily quiz) Games which aren’t actually games, but just companion apps for actual games on the phone (Want to play Modern Combat 5 on your watch? Yeah right.) Apps which fail to install on the watch until you manually activate them on the phone. (Too many to name) Apps which require you to log into a service on the iPhone before you can proceed, when you’re not sure you wanted the iPhone version to begin with (Ditto) Apps which take forever to load (Flipboard) or crash Apps which are arbitrarily limited to a tiny amount of their normal contentI think it’s the last one that irks me the most, because that gorgeous dial really makes it easy to scroll through lots of text. Scrolling through five tweets at a time, or a single lousy story in Yahoo News Digest, just makes me want to weep. Instagram’s square pictures and “just heart this” mentality are perfectly suited to the Apple Watch. So why can I only see the last nine images in my feed?Apple PayI’d like to use Apple Pay. I might even enjoy it someday, But right now, pulling out a $350 watch in front of an underpaid clerk makes me feel like a giant douchebag. Particularly when I realize that the store in question doesn’t actually accept Apple Pay. (I’ve done that twice now.)What I Actually Do With My Apple WatchSiriIt’s strange to think, but true: the most reliable control on the Apple Watch is your voice command. Fed up with the touchscreen, I use Siri for practically everything now. I just hold down the digital crown, speak a few words, and up pops an app or text message or new entry in my calendar.Reply to text messagesMy wife likes to text me. She should probably know better, because I rarely reply. I often don’t see them come in, I can be absent-minded when I do, and I kind of hate banging out replies too. But with voice commands (see above) I just say a phrase into the watch, and it’s remarkably good at interpreting my voice, even with music playing, over my car’s engine, or in a noisy room. Google also has good voice recognition, but I think Apple is better at canceling the noise.Field short incoming callsPR people call me—a lot—and I like to at least pick up the phone. Except I don’t actually enjoy the part where I pick up an actual phone. The Apple Watch lets me do so hands-free while I keep on sifting through tech news, and callers are none the wiser. It sounds just as good as a speakerphone, which is pretty impressive for a device this size.Find my phoneOne reason I don’t like picking up the phone while working is that I often misplace it. A few button presses and a swipe on the watch, and the phone will start ringing.Get silent turn-by-turn directionsOkay, so it’s not quite as good as my Moto X, where I can literally just say “Okay Google Now, Navigate Home” and automatically get full turn-by-turn GPS navigation even when my phone is locked. But I can say “Hey Siri, Navigate Home” after waking up the screen, wait about ten seconds, then tap an annoyingly tiny button on the screen to get something even a bit better.Because once I do that, I can just peek at my wrist at any point and see my next turn, even scroll ahead to see the turns after that—and every time I get close to a turn, it’ll silently buzz my wrist in a pattern that lets me know if I need to turn right or left. If it weren’t for the way the Apple Watch screwed up incoming calls in the car, and how difficult it is to pop up Glances to change the volume, I could definitely see myself using this more. Oh, but Apple really needs to compensate for speed of travel when deciding how soon to alert.RemindersBy the time I unlock my phone, I might have already forgotten what I want to remember. With the Apple Watch (or, let’s face it, any Android Wear smartwatch), I can just say “Hey Siri, remind me to take out the trash when I get home,” or and it’s smart enough to do it. I set alarms the same way—if I’m parking in metered spot in downtown San Francisco, a quick voice command can help remind me to move my vehicle. Ditto the Evernote and Trello apps, where I can jot down ideas with my voice and file them away for organizing later.ShazamTwo presses to quickly identify the song that’s currently playing, without hunting through the icons on my phone. I still need to hunt through the icons on the watch, of course, but it’s a teensy bit faster and more convenient. I just wish I could ask Siri to identify the song directly, the way I can with Google devices. (Right now, Siri prompts me to use Shazam on my iPhone. Siri’s not so bright.)LifelineMy new addiction, Lifeline is a choose-your-own-adventure game that’s all about notifications. Somehow, you have a comm link to the sole survivor of a spaceship crash. He’s all alone, paranoid, and doesn’t know what to do. It’s your job to keep him alive by giving him good advice, then waiting for him (minutes, hours, even overnight) to report back on his progress. He’ll ping you at all hours of the day.You can play it on the iPhone too, sure, and it’s got some delightfully atmospheric music if you do, but it’s pretty amazing to see “Incoming Message” pop up on the watch and see this spaceman talking to you on your wrist communicator. It’s one of the few things I’ve experienced on Apple Watch that actually feels cooler than on the phone.Dark SkyI don’t check the weather much. Now, it no longer gets me in trouble. I paid a few bucks for an app called Dark Sky, which warned me right before it was about to start raining right outside my front door. Local info, pushed right to my wrist where I won’t miss it—that’s what a smartwatch should be about.Does that seem like a pretty short list to you? Now you know why I’m returning the watch.LikeI love the way the hardware looks and feels. Superb, through and through.Pretty cool how the Watch protects your data—it uses the heartrate sensor to detect when it’s on your wrist, staying unlocked, and locks itself as soon as it’s removed. You can either enter a pin, or just use the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on your nearby iPhone to unlock it once more.The bands are fantastic, and the Sport Band version comes with two straps so you can adjust it for nearly any size of wrist. At first, I was worried my band was too small, but there was another one waiting for me right inside the package. Problem solved.Unless you’re using the watch like crazy—or tracking any sort of exercise but basic steps—the battery actually isn’t a gigantic problem. You have to charge it every night, just like your phone, but I’m finding there isn’t much of a tangible difference between one day, two days, or three days between fill-ups. Unless you can last a week, more than a day’s charge can actually be worse, since you don’t build up the nightly habit you need to keep it charged.No LikeI can’t believe Apple shipped this product with such a confusing interface. Sure hope it isn’t hard to fix!Why the heck doesn’t the home button take you straight home, like it does in iOS?Why does the screen shut off when I’m in the middle of using it?There’s no good way to tell which apps don’t work when you’re away from your phone.I like wireless charging, but I wish the magnet was a little stronger to keep it snapped to the watch. I’ve accidentally knocked it off my bedside table a couple of times, and found the battery nearly dead in the morning.Should You Buy It?No. Almost certainly not. There’s only one real reason to buy the Apple Watch today: if you so badly crave a gadget that’s new and different that you’re willing to settle for something broken. The good news: first-generation Apple products always suck! Look at the original MacBook Air, the original iPod, or best of all the original iPhone. It cost a ridiculous $500 on contract, shipped without an app store and without 3G connectivity or push email. But one year later, the iPhone 3G cost $200 for twice the speed, twice the memory, and all those features built in.Again, the difference is that nobody needs a watch. It’s optional. And there’s a very high bar for apps that the initial wave of app developers are doing a piss-poor job of meeting, even the apps that Apple initially recommends. It’s going to take a lot of careful thought on developers’ part, and curation on Apple’s part, for the watch to be a success.Here’s a little advice from an early beta tester: Build your app around the gloriously tactile digital crown. Don’t assume you only have a tiny canvas to paint on, since the dial lets us comfortably scroll forever. Avoid touchscreen buttons smaller than a fingertip. Give us something new and different and uniquely built for the watch, not a companion to your existing app. If you’ve got an great existing app, push great actionable notifications to the watch instead. Build experiences for scenarios where people can’t or won’t pull out their phones… and make sure they’re way the heck faster than pulling out a phone anyhow.And don’t buy an Apple Watch. Not yet.With any luck, it’ll be out of beta by this time next year.Contact the author at sean.hollister@gizmodo.com.

HBO boxing analyst destroys the theory that Manny Pacquiao hid his shoulder injury for money


Business Insider / Tony Manfred

HBO boxing analyst destroys the theory that Manny Pacquiao hid his shoulder injury for money

Ever since Manny Pacquiao revealed that he fought Floyd Mayweather with a torn rotator cuff in his post-fight press conference, he has been criticized for his handling of the injury. He has even been sued by disgruntled fans who say he kept the injury hidden in order to keep the fight on schedule and preserve his $100 million+ payday. On HBO’s boxing broadcast last Saturday, analyst Max Kellerman laid out an eloquent case for why this theory is wrong and Pacquiao doesn’t actually deserve the blame. Kellerman argued that Pacquiao had no good options, and that postponing the fight for a year to get shoulder surgery would have given him an even worse chance to win: “I think some people have the sense that Manny Pacquiao sold out for the money. And by fighting with a torn rotator cuff, not giving himself the best chance to win, he somehow perpetuated a fraud on the public. I strongly disagree with this. A dilemma is not a tough choice; a dilemma is a choice between two bad options. What was Manny Pacquiao supposed to do three weeks to go before the fight when he was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff that needed surgery? Was he supposed to postpone the fight? So 12 months off — he was already off for five months — he was supposed to come back after shoulder surgery and a 17-plus-month ring absence to fight and try to beat Floyd Mayweather? Does that give him his best chance to win?” He says Pacquiao “manned up” by fighting hurt, and that postponing it ran the risk of the fight never happening: “When all the tickets have already been sold, the hotel rooms have been booked, the airfare, etc., the eyes of the boxing world hoping to see this fight and this event. What did Manny Pacquiao do? He manned up. He said, ‘If I can get a shot a toradol in my shoulder, I can go through with this fight. I think that gives me the best chance to win.’ “By the way if he postpones, there may never be a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. Who knows if Mayweather is even still active 12 months-plus into the future.” Finally, he said it’s not Pacquiao’s fault that he couldn’t get a numbing injection in his shoulder before the fight: “So Pacquiao’s camp clears it with USADA, the drug-testing body that Mayweather’s side insisted upon. USADA says, ‘Fine, a shot of toradol is fine.’ And then ultimately at the 11th hour the Nevada State Athletic Commission says Pacquiao can’t get the shot at toradol because of essentially a clerical error, because some box wasn’t checked off, a form wasn’t filled right. If people are mad at anybody for Pacquiao not being at his best, if that’s the belief, be mad at the Nevada State Athletic Commission, in my view. Because just when the boxing world most needed them to show sound judgement, they decided to stand on principle instead of cooperate with the spirit of the event.” It’s not like Pacquiao’s shoulder would have been any better if he delayed the fight for a few weeks. It was either fight now and use a shot to ease the pain, or put the fight off for a year — when he might be in even worse physical shape and there’s no guarantee Mayweather is even still fighting. Here’s the full video: Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here’s how Floyd Mayweather spends his millions

Fully-Functional TRON Lightcycle Sold For $77,000


Gizmodo / Chris Mills

Fully-Functional TRON Lightcycle Sold For $77,000

If you’ve always had your heart set on a TRON Lightcycle — a working one, not a matchbox toy — you’d better start saving. The going rate (as much as there is a going rate for one-off movie-replica collectibles) is $77,000. The bike was sold at auction by RM Sotheby’s, as part of a wider auction of the Andrews Collection, to an undisclosed (but damn lucky) bidder. It wasn’t even close to the most valuable lot, either — a 1962 Ferrari 400 went for $7,645,000.

This Is the World’s First 6TB 2.5-Inch SSD


Gizmodo / Jamie Condliffe

This Is the World’s First 6TB 2.5-Inch SSD

If you need masses of storage but like your laptop’s performance super-fast, then this new SSD may scratch your itch. With 6 terabytes of storage, this is the world’s largest capacity 2.5-inch SSD (for now).The Fixstars SSD measures just 9.5 millimeters in thickness, and offers read speeds of up to 540 MB/s and write speeds of up to 520MB/s. Larger capacity SSDs are available, but not in this form factor. Prices aren’t yet available, but given a 1TB version costs $1,000, expect to have to dig deep into your wallet. [Fixstars via PhysOrg]

Apple Releases iOS 8.4 Beta 3


TechCrunch / Darrell Etherington

Apple Releases iOS 8.4 Beta 3

 Apple’s latest iOS 8.4 beta, the third for the next significant iOS software update, is now available. This most recent instalment continues to offer a revamped Music app, bringing both function and UI changes to the music playback app, a move many suspect also prefaces the possible arrival of a new iTunes streaming music service at the Worldwide Developers Conference early next… Read More

You Can Now Order Takeout Directly From Google Search Results


Gizmodo / Jamie Condliffe

You Can Now Order Takeout Directly From Google Search Results

Because ordering food already seemed too difficult, Google has decided to add a new tool to its search system which allows you to order takeout from restaurants straight from a page of results.When you search for nearby food joints, you should be able to select an option to “place an order.” That should whisk you direct to one of the many food ordering services—including Seamless, Grubhub, Eat24, Delivery.com, BeyondMenu and MyPizza.com—without ever having to visit the website of the food place. Google is planning to add more delivery option in future—but sadly, even the slimmest of food stuff won’t fit through copper wire or optical fiber. [Google via TechCrunch]Image by Lucas Richarz

Trailer for Netflix Original ‘Sense8′ Looks Awesome!


SourceFed / Nicole K.

Trailer for Netflix Original ‘Sense8′ Looks Awesome!

The creators of The Matrix have joined together to create this epic looking TV series. Yesterday the first trailer for the Netflix original Sense8 was released. Much to our delight, The Matrix creators Andy and Lana Wachowski as well as Dan Glass (Batman Begins, V for Vendetta) and J. Michael Straczynski (Thor, Changeling) will be writing and directing the series. The trailer reveals that the show will follow 8 people who are suddenly mentally linked. Forced into each other’s lives, their secrets are laid out, their emotions run haywire, and they even adopt each other’s abilities. The show stars actors

Tesla’s Gigafactory Isn’t Big Enough to Make Its Preordered Batteries


Gizmodo / Alissa Walker

Tesla’s Gigafactory Isn’t Big Enough to Make Its Preordered Batteries

As Elon Musk revealed in an earnings call earlier this week, people preordered a shit-ton of Tesla’s new batteries: Over 50,000 Powerwall units were reserved. Now some interesting math, courtesy of Bloomberg: The five million square-foot Gigafactory planned outside of Reno probably isn’t big enough to make them all.Take a look at the numbers, which Musk himself described as “like crazy off-the-hook.” Musk said “50,000 or 60,000” Powerwall batteries were reserved as well as about 25,000 Powerpack batteries for commercial applications. That’s about $800 million in preorders. A Tesla spokesperson agreed the math looked right. One important point: The “reservation” process was nothing more than entering an email and answering a few questions about what you might buy, so a more accurate way to describe this might be “interest list.”This would mean Tesla’s batteries are likely already backordered for at least a year or more, according to analysis from Bloomberg:There’s also no way for Tesla to keep up with the level of demand reflected by the early reservations. The company is sold out of storage batteries until mid-2016. Musk claimed the production of storage batteries alone could “easily” take up the entire capacity of Tesla’s $5 billion factory in Nevada, which is scheduled to open next year. The massive facility was originally slated to devote about two-thirds of its output to electric-vehicle batteries. “We should try to make the factory bigger,” Musk said. Of course, reservations don’t mean cash, but even if half of these preorders turn into sales that’s going to keep the factory very busy. What’s funny is that everyone seemed to think Tesla jumped into the home battery market to keep the factory busy while waiting for the demand for electric cars to increase! Now Musk might have to build a whole new factory just to produce all the batteries for homes. [Bloomberg]

IBM’s Watson Could Offer Customized Treatment To Every Cancer Patient


Gizmodo / Chris Mills

IBM’s Watson Could Offer Customized Treatment To Every Cancer Patient

Rather than relying on carpet-bombing approaches like chemotherapy and radiation treatments, cutting-edge cancer cures are looking more towards a surgical strike, tailored to shutting down the mutations that are driving growth. And the secret weapon in that fight might just be a well-known Jeopardy contestant. IBM’s Watson supercomputer rose to fame when it trounced two human Jeopardy contestants in 2011. And since then, it’s kept itself busy, as a chef, bartender, and even pseudo-doctor. Watson has even dabbled in cancer before. But the latest foray is the most impressive. Doctors from participating clinics will upload the DNA fingerprint of a tumor, and Watson will scour its memory banks, trying to work out which mutation is driving tumor growth, and what drug — approved or experimental — is best suited to attack the ailment, based on its knowledge of medicine, and the many clinical trials fed into its brain. In that regard, it isn’t just matching human doctors: it’s using the obscene computing power at its disposal to find the best cure. It’s not a system that will suddenly eradicate cancer — there are still tumors that will puzzle Watson, and radiation/chemotherapy will still be the best treatment in some cases — but it’s a pretty big stepping stone on the path towards more personalized, more effective medicine. Let’s hope Watson’s first recommendation isn’t for a hot bowl of chicken soup. [Reuters]

Apple and Google Are Racing to Analyze Your DNA


Gizmodo / Bryan Lufkin

Apple and Google Are Racing to Analyze Your DNA

Technology is filled with all kinds of rumors, real and fabricated. It gives us a look at might be and will be. BitStream gathers the whispers all in one place to divine what the future has in store.Smartphones allow us to do just about anything, and soon, analyzing our DNA could be up there with booking hotels and Facebook stalking our exes. Apple’s reportedly teaming up with researchers to make iPhone apps that could test your genes and store the findings on a scientist-maintained cloud database. And it’s not the only tech company that wants to get its hands on our genetic data. Google and the government are also working to create huge collections of DNA test results, in order to fight diseases. Welcome to the next frontier of big data—the race is on. [MIT Technology Review]Android M, the latest version of the Google’s mobile OS, will be unveiled at the annual Google I/O dev conference. There’s been no official confirmation, but just going on past years, and a mention of Android M had mysteriously vanished from Google’s I/O website, we’d say it’s a safe bet. [The Verge]Edge or Spartan—which do you like? Microsoft revealed the actual name for its upcoming Windows 10 browser will be “Edge” at the Build conference last week, but according to a fan survey on Windows Central, a third of respondents prefer the code name Spartan. [Windows Central]Beware the PC killer: Rombertik is demon-from-Hades malware that totally wipes your hard drive if it’s detected. [PCWorld]Fetuses might hate cell phones: New research suggests pregnant moms should keep ringing mobiles away from their tummies or risk disturbing their unborn. [HealthDay] Music’s evolution, mapped: Scientists studied 17,000 songs from 50 years of the US Billboard Hot 100 songs in the most detailed analysis of pop music ever. [Phys.org]Rear Window, drone style: Your pervy neighbor might be spying on you with his drone. But state laws could punish Peeping Toms. [Bloomberg]What You Might Have Missed on GizmodoMoto E (LTE) Review: When Cheap Means CheapWhat Would You Tell NASA to Do to Improve the Mission to Mars?The Most Brilliant DiY Tutorial Channels to Watch on YouTube Right NowHostage Uses Pizza Hut App to Message for Help

Say Hello to the Final Oculus Rift—Coming 2016


Gizmodo / Sean Hollister

Say Hello to the Final Oculus Rift—Coming 2016

Virtual reality is coming—and now, we finally know when. You will actually be able to buy a real, consumer version of the Oculus Rift in the first quarter of next year. You’re looking at it right now. Let me repeat: this is not another prototype. Shit is getting real.What do we know about the final Oculus Rift? Not a whole lot quite yet. Oculus says it’s closely based on the most recent Crescent Bay prototype, which means it should be drastically lighter, smaller, and more comfortable than previous developer kits, and come complete with integrated headphones and positional audio. Oculus also claims it’ll have a new tracking system that will support “both seated and standing experiences,” so you won’t necessarily have to be sitting down to get your VR fix—though we’re still talking about a wired headset, so don’t expect to go running around a room with the thing.The Crescent Bay prototype, for comparison.Other than that, the company’s keeping details pretty close to the chest—for now. Over the coming weeks, says Oculus, we’ll hear more about the hardware, software, input (did they figure out how to build a controller?) and games (any killer apps?) for the platform. First up: hardware specs, coming next week.For a moment there, we were worried that Oculus might miss the virtual reality coming out party. The Valve / HTC Vive and Sony’s Morpheus made quite a splash at the Game Developers Conference in March, and both got release dates—while Oculus could only promise that its Samsung Gear VR smartphone experience would arrive anytime soon. But now, it looks like HTC and Samsung will ship this year, and then Oculus and Sony next year. I wonder when Microsoft’s HoloLens will join them.Contact the author at sean.hollister@gizmodo.com.

Consumer Drone King DJI Raises $75M To Build lndustrial UAV Developer Platform


TechCrunch / Josh Constine

Consumer Drone King DJI Raises $75M To Build lndustrial UAV Developer Platform

 How will DJI keep its drone hardware business from being commoditized by cheap knockoffs? By fostering a drone operation software developer ecosystem with a new $75 million growth equity investment from Accel Partners. DJI may build variations of its drones for agriculture, oil & gas, mining, and other commercial tasks. But to make sure its drones can handle a much wider variety of use… Read More

iOS 9 May Be Getting an All-New Siri


Gizmodo / Darren Orf

iOS 9 May Be Getting an All-New Siri

Technology is filled with all kinds of rumors, real and fabricated. It gives us a look at might be and will be. BitStream gathers these rumors all in one place to divine what the future has in store.Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is only a month away, and rumors surrounding how Apple plans to update its mobile software are increasing steadily. We’ve already heard that iOS 9 probably won’t have some flashy redesign. Instead, the software will most just focus on security updates and not being broken in general. However, it does seem that Apple has plans for a redesigned Siri that will look more like the colorful version now on the Apple Watch, and that’s probably a good thing. With Google Now getting updated with insane frequency and Cortana getting a huge boost from Windows 10, Siri’s been neglected. Apple needs to make up some ground.Even before we get our hands on iOS 9 though, 9to5Mac reports that iOS 8.4 will include the new Beats-powered music service even though Apple is still trying to line up partners before launch. Cupertino’s been battling other streaming services, like Spotify, to completely eliminate free ad-based services as the Beats app will only offer a paid subscription option. This means that just like the Apple Watch app, Apple is slapping another software advertisement on your phone without your say so. [9to5Mac]STEM found a savior in the most unlikely of places—emoji. A new education website, uses the power of emoji to teach kids scientific concepts in many different fields and disciplines. Of course, Bill Nye will bring us into this emojication future. [Fusion]Last year’s Galaxy Tab S had the most ludicrous display we’d ever seen on a tablet, and now Samsung may almost be ready to refresh the popular iPad competitor with four different variants. The 8-inch and 9.7-inch tablets could debut as soon as next month. [SamMobile]A galaxy far, far away: Yale researchers push back the cosmic frontier seeing galaxies as they were 13 billion years ago. [Science Daily]Stay calm and keep droning: Google and Amazon suddenly see U.S. regulators about face on drones regulation. Maybe Amazon’s threats of looking outside the U.S. finally got to ‘em. [WSJ]Invention hoarders: Apple received 38 different patents covering the Apple Watch, iPhone, and other small pieces of tech. [Patently Apple]Kill all credit cards: those old, outdated pieces of plastic’s days are numbered, and a new offshoot of PayPal, Affirm, thinks the millennial generation will deliver the killing blow. [Quartz]

Elon Musk Wants Apple To Get Into The Car Business


Gizmodo / Damon Lavrinc on Jalopnik, shared by Alissa Walker to Gizmodo

Elon Musk Wants Apple To Get Into The Car Business

During today’s investor call for Tesla’s Q1 earnings, Elon Musk was asked about Apple’s possible foray into cars. His response: “I certainly hope Apple gets into the car business. That’d be great.”Musk noted that Tesla has recruited, according to him, five times as many people from Apple as Apple has recruited from Tesla. “It’s easy to find out at LinkedIn,” says Musk. Musk mentioned Tesla’s plans to show the Model 3 in March of next year and plans to begin sales in March of 2017, but that we “shouldn’t hold” him to it – it’s a hope, after all, and Tesla hasn’t always been consistent about delivering on time.Contact the author at damon@jalopnik.com.Public PGP keyPGP fingerprint: 7301 D7FC 2FF6 D437 E5A7 0568 3A14 624A 1800 4C85

The Solution To the Apple Watch Tattoo Problem Was So Obvious


Gizmodo / Andrew Liszewski

The Solution To the Apple Watch Tattoo Problem Was So Obvious

There was some bad news last week for tattooed Apple fans hoping to take advantage of everything the company’s new smartwatch had to offer. It turns out that ink on your arm hinders the Apple Watch’s ability to monitor your heart rate. But as Conan discovered, Apple already has a simple solution for sale.At just $500 the Apple Watch Hand is so obvious and simple you have to wonder why Apple didn’t introduce it alongside its smartwatch months ago. But rumors have it that faulty fingernails have been holding up production of the hand, and Apple is doing everything in its power to have it ready for when the actual Apple Watch eventually gets delivered to those who pre-ordered one. [YouTube via CNET]

2016 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe Rendered, Detailed: All the Whomp, Two Fewer Doors


Car and Driver Blog / Jens Meiners

2016 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe Rendered, Detailed: All the Whomp, Two Fewer Doors

What It Is: The most powerful iteration of the next C-class coupe, the Mercedes-AMG C63. It will be strongly differentiated from the non-AMG versions—perhaps even more so than our renderings suggest. Powered by a twin-turbo V-8, the C63 will share less than half of its sheetmetal with the workaday coupes. Look for wide fenders, quadruple […]

Behind the plan to replace the Internet’s ageing TCP/IP architecture with Named Data Networking (Lucy Vernasco/Motherboard)


Techmeme /

Behind the plan to replace the Internet’s ageing TCP/IP architecture with Named Data Networking (Lucy Vernasco/Motherboard)

Lucy Vernasco / Motherboard:
Behind the plan to replace the Internet’s ageing TCP/IP architecture with Named Data Networking  —  The Mission To Save The Internet By Rewiring It From The Name Up  —  While most of us have been binge-streaming or strapping computers to our bodies or wrapping our heads around the ins …

The Apple Watch Has a Hidden Port That Could Make It Way Better


Gizmodo / Mario Aguilar

The Apple Watch Has a Hidden Port That Could Make It Way Better

One of the most annoying things about many smartwatches is terrible battery life, requiring a charge just about every night. But the Apple Watch’s hidden port could be the solution.The 6-pin port hidden in the little notch where you slide the Watch’s band. It’s technically a diagnostic port, which Apple can presumably use to figure out what’s wrong with your Watch when it’s not working properly. The port can quickly send power, too—and now some are wondering weather it can be used to charge the Watch, since wireless charging is so slow.The idea of using the watch’s strap to lend it more power is already emerging. A team of entrepreneurs is working on a product called Reserve Strap, which is basically a battery-watchband for the Watch. The designers haven’t actually built the product, and they’re still looking into whether the strap concept will work. In other words, don’t go throwing $250 at a pre-order without thinking it through. Notwithstanding the fact that Reserve Strap isn’t a real thing yet, the idea is to put the band—and the extra port—to work is a good one. Pebble’s new line of watches have a port that allows you to plug in bands that add functionality to the watch, too—be it GPS, a heart rate monitor, or something else. It makes sense: If the watch is smart, why is the band still dumb? [Reserve Strap via 9to5Mac via Popular Mechanics]

Dufl, A Service That Packs And Ships Your Suitcase, Is A Traveler’s Dream


TechCrunch / Jordan Crook

Dufl, A Service That Packs And Ships Your Suitcase, Is A Traveler’s Dream

 The absolute worst part of traveling, whether it’s for business or for pleasure, is packing and unpacking a suitcase. The work it takes to pack a bag is negligible, but having a clean inventory of clothes each time you pack takes far more planning. Dufl, a service that launches today, is looking to change all that. The idea behind Dufl is that frequent travelers waste a lot of time… Read More

IBM Just Cracked One of the Biggest Problems Facing Quantum Computing


Gizmodo / Jamie Condliffe

IBM Just Cracked One of the Biggest Problems Facing Quantum Computing

Quantum computing could make complex calculations trivial—but it’s currently fraught with problems. Now, though, IBM has solved one of the biggest, allowing it to detect the internal errors that could otherwise render quantum calculation useless.One of the many problems exhibited by the breed of future computers is that they exist in the delicate and fuzzy quantum world, using not bits but qubits—quantum bits. Each of these qubits can represent a 0, a 1, or—crucially—both, providing the ability to dramatically bump up computation speeds. When both exist at the same time on the quibit, they are related by what physicists call a phase relationship.But in real quantum computers, errors can occur when a qubit holds both states: they can flip to being just a regular 0 or 1 (known as a bit flip), or the phase relationship can change sign (known as a phase flip). While there are already techniques in existence that can detect both errors, so far it’s been impossible to detect them both at the same time. That’s not much use, because you needed to be able to detect all errors for a quantum computer to work reliably. But researchers at IBM have cracked the problem. PhysOrg explains how:The IBM Research team used a variety of techniques to measure the states of two independent syndrome (measurement) qubits. Each reveals one aspect of the quantum information stored on two other qubits (called code, or data qubits). Specifically, one syndrome qubit revealed whether a bit-flip error occurred to either of the code qubits, while the other syndrome qubit revealed whether a phase-flip error occurred. Determining the joint quantum information in the code qubits is an essential step for quantum error correction because directly measuring the code qubits destroys the information contained within them. It’s a seemingly simple solution to what’s been a huge problem in the quantum community. IBM reckons it should be enough to introduce this kind error detection in the larger arrays of qubits that researchers hope to create in the future. We sure hope so. [Nature Communications via PhysOrg]Image by Service for IBM

Salesforce as takeover target: Here’s a look at the potential buyers (Larry Dignan/ZDNet)


Techmeme /

Salesforce as takeover target: Here’s a look at the potential buyers (Larry Dignan/ZDNet)

Larry Dignan / ZDNet:
Salesforce as takeover target: Here’s a look at the potential buyers  —  Summary:Salesforce has a gawdy market cap so the field of potential acquirers is limited.  Nevertheless, a handful of tech giants led by Oracle could pull off a deal.  —  Salesforce is reportedly retaining investment bankers …

Apple Looking Into Built-In Telephoto iPhone Camera Lenses


TechCrunch / Darrell Etherington

Apple Looking Into Built-In Telephoto iPhone Camera Lenses

 Apple’s iPhone is just about the best smartphone camera you can get, but a new patent application provides a good indication of how it could get even better. The patent is for a “small form factor telephoto camera (via AppleInsider) and describes how the company might make a camera with a narrower field of view, but a much higher magnification factor, and also how such a camera… Read More

Scientists Are Trying to Change All Blood Into Type O


Gizmodo / Sarah Zhang

Scientists Are Trying to Change All Blood Into Type O

If you know anything about blood types, then you know how they add an extra wrinkle to blood donations. Match donor and recipient blood types incorrectly, and you could even kill a patient. That’s why scientists are working on artificially changing donated blood into type O, the universal donor. In the simplest terms, blood types refer to whether someone an extra sugar molecule bound to the surface of their blood cells. People who are type A have one kind, B another, and AB both. Type O people have neither. That’s why people with type O can essentially donate to anyone. But scientists have also been tinkering in a lab, and they’ve found that an enzyme can be used to snip off that extra A or B sugar molecule. Normally, though, that enzyme is not very efficient. In a recent study, scientists were able to tweak the enzyme so it became 170 times more efficient at getting rid of the the extra sugar molecules. That’s a lot, but it’s still not perfect—even tiny bit of extra A or B sugars could trigger an immune reaction. But if the technology ever does get even better, it could make matching blood or organs donations less complicated. [J. Am. Chem. Soc. via Popular Science] Top image: Malota/shutterstock

How Old Do You Look? Microsoft Built A Robot That Tries To Guess Your Age


TechCrunch / Greg Kumparak

How Old Do You Look? Microsoft Built A Robot That Tries To Guess Your Age

 How old do you look? Old for your years? Young enough that you get carded every time you try to buy a beer? Now, how old do you look… to a computer that does nothing but guess ages? As something of an experiment, Microsoft’s machine learning team has built a site that takes any photo you throw at it and tries (with varying success) to guess the ages of those it portrays. They say… Read More

Taptic Component Bottleneck Blamed In Part For Apple Watch Supply Shortage


TechCrunch / Darrell Etherington

Taptic Component Bottleneck Blamed In Part For Apple Watch Supply Shortage

 The Apple Watch is rolling out to customers, but it’s taking longer to get into user hands than some might like. A new report out today by The Wall Street Journal puts the blame for the slow rollout primarily on a shortage of Apple Watch Taptic Engine components, caused by issues found in the parts supplied by one supplier in particular. The WSJ author who penned the piece clarified… Read More

Secret Shuts Down


TechCrunch / Josh Constine

Secret Shuts Down

 [Update: Secret has confirmed it will shut down and give investors back their money] Anonymous sharing app Secret will shut down soon, according to sources close to the company. The announcement could be made as soon as today or tomorrow, and there’s some talk of current employees receiving modest severance packages. Having raised $35 million, it’s unlikely that the company is out… Read More

The F8 of ‘Furious 8′ Is Known: Release Date Announced For Next Installment


SourceFed / JD W.

The F8 of ‘Furious 8′ Is Known: Release Date Announced For Next Installment

How much do you hate me? While there was never really any doubt, Vin Diesel has confirmed that there WILL be a Furious 8 film to follow up this year’s box office hit. Yesterday, at Universal’s CinemaCon panel, the actor revealed that the film is slated to hit theaters on April 14, 2017. At the CinemaCon reveal, footage was shown of the last moments of Furious 7 (don’t worry, no spoilers) right before Diesel took to the stage and made the announcement. In part, Diesel said: “We were giddy and excited. You all gave me so much confidence. There was

Volvo Designers Replace the Front Passenger Seat with Something Better


Core77 /

Volvo Designers Replace the Front Passenger Seat with Something Better

Chauffeurs can get uppity, and it’s no wonder: They’re entrusted with driving your six-figure luxury vehicle, and just as you sit in the back with an empty seat next to you, so too is there an empty seat next to the chauffeur up front. This may give them the illusion of parity, or that they’ll one day have a companion to sit next to them and keep them company on those long drives to the airport, and that sends the wrong message.But not with Volvo’s XC90 Excellence Lounge Console concept, designed for the discriminating executive. The designers have ripped the front passenger seat out altogether and replaced it with a multifunctional object. At first glance, it’s a shoe cabinet. This conveniently deprives the chauffeur of a place to keep his personal effects, with the added bonus of allowing the passenger to take their shoes off and place their aromatic feet much closer to where the chauffeur can smell them. A pop-up tray contains a 17-inch LCD monitor and doubles as a jewelry tray, with a large mirror that flips out of the rear. There is also a lockable compartment where you can store an array of expensive watches that cost more than the chauffeur’s annual salary; it cannot hurt, we think, to mention this aloud as you bring each watch out to model it. Admittedly the design is not perfect, as the executive may wish to sit on the left-hand side and still stretch out. Ideally there would be some way for a left-riding passenger to recline, extending their shoeless feet to either side of the chauffeur’s head. But until they work that out, we’ll have to settle for this:

Two New Apple Watch Apps, Knock And oneID, Let You Unlock Your Mac From Your Wrist (And More)


TechCrunch / Sarah Perez

Two New Apple Watch Apps, Knock And oneID, Let You Unlock Your Mac From Your Wrist (And More)

 As mobile developers rush to release applications compatible with Apple’s new wearable device, the Apple Watch, many are still wondering what sorts of app experiences make sense for the small wrist-borne screen versus that of the smartphone. To some extent, where the Apple Watch really shines is with “invisible” apps – paying for items with Apple Pay, or using the Watch… Read More

Facebook’s Latest App Is a Dialer With Caller ID For Android 


Gizmodo / Mario Aguilar

Facebook’s Latest App Is a Dialer With Caller ID For Android 

Facebook’s quest to conquer your phone continues with Hello, a new dialer app that replaces the one that comes natively installed on your Android phone. And if you’re not partial to anything, it’s probably worth a try.Facebook’s endless app proliferation is tedious. (Tedious people call this proliferation “unbundling.”) But the new Facebook dialer app introduces something you won’t get from any other: Even if you don’t have a number saved on your phone, Facebook can go look at its databases and see if its got a number match. If it does, it’ll tell you who is calling and show you their photo, even if you’re not friends. It also makes blocking numbers as easy as a tap.Sure, other apps add caller ID—but given how often I use Facebook as a directory for numbers I don’t have, this one seems pretty useful.[Facebook]

Project Fi: Google’s Plan To Fix Your Wireless Service Is Here


Gizmodo / Mario Aguilar

Project Fi: Google’s Plan To Fix Your Wireless Service Is Here

Google’s Project Fi is the company’s long-rumored wireless carrier service for mobile devices. But far from a traditional plan, Google’s might be the most flexible out there—while also saving you a bundle of money.Unlike Google’s other public infrastructure program Google Fiber, for which the company is physically putting fiber in the ground, Google isn’t actually building out a network of cell towers for Project Fi. Instead, it’s piggybacking on Sprint and T-Mobile’s networks. (This is also how providers like Republic Wireless work.) The plan offers 4G/LTE coverage, and wireless tethering, and Wi-Fi calling all included.What makes Project Fi special and potentially more reliable than anything out there is that it dynamically switches between networks depending which of those is offering the best service in your area. Additionally, if there’s pre-vetted public Wi-Fi available, it’ll jump on board that network as well. The “network of networks” has a lot of potential to be more reliable. If one network has an outage, the others can serve as support.The new plans costs $20 for starters, which gets you talk, text, and wireless tethering. Then it costs $10 per GB of data. So if like me, you’ve got 3GB per month, then you would pay $50 per month. The kicker is that if you don’t use all the data you pay for you’ll get paid back for what you don’t use. For now, Project Fi is only available for the Nexus 6 with a special SIM card, but hopefully that will change down the line.It all sounds pretty sweet, if not exactly different from what Republic Wireless just started offering—though, in the long run, Google’s deep pockets will surely be an asset. Something about the Google name attached to Project Fi makes me both more trustful of it and more suspicious. Sure, Google implies reliability—but I also don’t know how much more control of my digital life I want to give Google.Google’s currently in an invitation-only phase of the program, which you can sign up for here.

Tesla’s Next Big Product Is Coming On April 30: Batteries


Gizmodo / Alissa Walker

Tesla’s Next Big Product Is Coming On April 30: Batteries

When Elon Musk makes his next big announcement later this month he won’t be joined by an electric car or a space-bound capsule. Tesla will finally be passing along details on its long-awaited batteries designed for home use, plus a “utility-scale” battery as well—both of which will likely be manufactured in its new Gigafactory in Nevada.Musk has hinted several times via social media that the batteries were on the way:Major new Tesla product line — not a car — will be unveiled at our Hawthorne Design Studio on Thurs 8pm, April 30— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 30, 2015Now Tesla’s spokesperson has confirmed the announcement to Buzzfeed:“We have decided to share a bit about what we will announce on the 30th,” Jeff Evanson, Tesla’s VP of investor relations wrote in a message confirmed by BuzzFeed News as authentic. “We will introduce the Tesla home battery and a very large utility scale battery. We will explain the advantages of our solutions and why past battery options were not compelling.”Tesla’s home batteries have been heralded as a serious game changer for the clean energy industry, a low-cost alternative that will complement the growing demand for solar power. Musk has already pledged to make batteries for 500,000 cars by 2020 at its new Gigafactory, so the home battery product was an obvious addition. But it’s the intriguing “utility-scale” battery which is a new development. Tesla’s already changed the electric car market. Will it start selling batteries to utility companies and radically alter our energy future? [BuzzFeed]

Elon Musk had a deal to sell Tesla to Google in 2013, for about $6B, and another $5B in capital for factory expansions (Ashlee Vance/Bloomberg Business)


Techmeme /

Elon Musk had a deal to sell Tesla to Google in 2013, for about $6B, and another $5B in capital for factory expansions (Ashlee Vance/Bloomberg Business)

Ashlee Vance / Bloomberg Business:
Elon Musk had a deal to sell Tesla to Google in 2013, for about $6B, and another $5B in capital for factory expansions  —  Elon Musk Had a Deal to Sell Tesla to Google in 2013  —  On the verge of bankruptcy, the company sought a savior in Larry Page  —  This story is excerpted and adapted …

Tight Spot? The New BMW 7 Series Can Park Itself With No One in the Car


Gizmodo / Andrew Liszewski

Tight Spot? The New BMW 7 Series Can Park Itself With No One in the Car

The actual car hasn’t been revealed to the public just yet—at least without its camo wrapping—but that hasn’t stopped BMW from announcing that its new 7 Series will be the first car that can be parked remotely using its key fob, without anyone actually having to be inside the vehicle.Other car makers have talked about and demonstrated similar passengerless self-parking technologies designed to let a vehicle squeeze into a space too small for its doors to be opened. But BMW is the first to include it on a production vehicle, allowing the driver to use the car’s touchscreen Display Key fob to either have it pull into a tight spot, or out of one.At CES 2014, Bosch, a maker of automotive components, was showing off a similar feature the company had developed that allowed drivers to autonomously park a vehicle using a smartphone, but there’s no word if BMW is using the same technology for its new 7 Series. And while the new feature isn’t quite the completely autonomous self-driving car we’ve all been anticipating, it’s still a great sneak peek at the technology, especially for those of us who don’t exactly excel at parking. [BMW via Autoblog]

Netflix Sets Its Prices According to Local Piracy Rates


Gizmodo / Maddie Stone

Netflix Sets Its Prices According to Local Piracy Rates

If you live in a country with a lot of piracy, you probably enjoy lower monthly Netflix subscription fees. That’s according to Netflix CFO David Wells, who says that a country’s piracy rate is the primary factor determining the service’s local price.Netflix, with over 60 million subscribers globally, is a giant in the world of online video entertainment. Its biggest competitor is, in fact, piracy. But as TorrentFreak reports, Netflix treats online piracy like any other source of competition, using statistics on illegal downloads to determine not only what types of content it should offer, but also, local rates.“Piracy is a governor in terms of our price in high piracy markets outside the US,” Wells explained. “We wouldn’t want to come out with a high price because there’s a lot of piracy, so we have to compete with that.”It’s an interesting strategy that may speak to why the on-demand streaming service has seen so much success in recent years. Piracy isn’t going away, and if you can’t stamp out your competition, better to make it as unattractive as possible. [TorrentFreak]Follow Maddie on Twitter or contact her at maddie.stone@gizmodo.com

You Don’t Need A Digital Strategy, You Need A Digitally Transformed Company


TechCrunch / Tom Goodwin

You Don’t Need A Digital Strategy, You Need A Digitally Transformed Company

 In 2015 it seems foolish to have a digital or mobile strategy, you just need a business strategy for the modern world. Whether it’s Uber reinventing the transportation business, Instagram changing the nature of photography or Netflix disrupting video content, what binds these companies is they brought digital thinking to the very heart of their companies, not just bolted it onto the side. Read More

This Little Device Turns Your Thumb Nail Into a Track Pad


Gizmodo / Jamie Condliffe

This Little Device Turns Your Thumb Nail Into a Track Pad

Sometimes your hands are completely tied up when you need to use a device the most—so even gesture recognition is no use, let alone a touchscreen. MIT’s latest input device though, which turns your thumbnail into a track pad, could help.NailO is inspired, apparently, by decorative nail stickers—but it seems a little more useful than that. Developed at MIT’s Media Lab, the multilayer device—comprising battery, circuitry, capacitive sensors and a cover—takes your touch and sends it via Bluetooth to a mobile device or computer.The device recognizes several gestures, and is shown in use in the video below. It’s also capable of being used to type characters, though we suspect that’s a rather laborious process. Better, probably, used in situations where both hands are a full but a quick thumb swipe is convenient: when your’re cooking, say, or looking at instructions while your hands are occupied with tools.In tests, the device has been shown to detect five different gestures with 92 percent accuracy, reports CNET — which probably isn’t quite enough to feel seamless in use, but it’s getting there. The team behind it also suggests that accidental gestures—which seems incredibly likely—could be avoided by requiring a long activation press before gestures are acted upon.There have been, understandably, headaches along the way: combining an antenna and processor in such close proximity is difficult, and finding a small enough battery with respectable life is difficult, too. Regardless, the researchers plan to continue to develop the concept.The team will present the device at the upcoming CHI 2015 human-computer interaction conference in Seoul. [MIT and CNET]

America Should Envy This Speed Record-Shattering Japanese Bullet Train


Gizmodo / Mario Aguilar

America Should Envy This Speed Record-Shattering Japanese Bullet Train

The Central Japan Railway Company’s maglev bullet train hit 366 miles per hour yesterday in a test, a record-setting clip that breaks the the 12-year landspeed record of 361 mph, the Wall Street Journal reports.That’s crazy fast, and much faster than the train will go when it starts carrying passengers in 2027. (The video above shows the train being tested last year.) Meanwhile, North America’s Amtrak tops out at 150 mph.Though it seems like wheeled and maglev trains aren’t that far apart right now in the record books, remember that maglev is still relatively new tech, whereas the wheeled train’s maxing out on its potential.Magnetic levitation trans run—or hover, really—on magnetic tracks that reduce friction and allow the trains to travel at theoretical speeds much higher than what you can get with rails. For comparison, the world’s fastest conventional wheeled train was hit by a TGV train on the LGV Est line of France’s high-speed network. It went 357 mph. In the United States, the big advancements in train technology aren’t magnetic at all. GE just competed tests on its new high-speed locamotive, which cut particulate matter emissions by 70 percent and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 76 percent. An approved plan to introduce a maglev train line connecting Florida’s major cities was killed in 2011 when Governor Rick Scott refused federal funding for the project, a matter that was ultimately settled by the US Supreme Court. The voter approved high-speed line California would run on wheels and hit a top speed of a meager 220 mph. Ugh America. Lame! [WSJ]

Tim Cook has the best pay-for-performance rating among highest-paid US executives, earning $65.2M last year (Caleb Melby/Bloomberg Business)


Techmeme /

Tim Cook has the best pay-for-performance rating among highest-paid US executives, earning $65.2M last year (Caleb Melby/Bloomberg Business)

Caleb Melby / Bloomberg Business:
Tim Cook has the best pay-for-performance rating among highest-paid US executives, earning $65.2M last year  —  Apple’s Tim Cook Is a Steal at $65 Million in Pay  —  Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook has the best pay-for-performance rating of any chief executive officer on the Bloomberg Pay Index …

Coin, The One Credit Card To Rule Them All, Is Finally Shipping


TechCrunch / Jordan Crook

Coin, The One Credit Card To Rule Them All, Is Finally Shipping

 The Coin card (promising to let you combine all your credit/debit/loyalty cards into a single piece of tech) has delayed for so long that you might have forgotten that you ordered one. In November of 2013, the YC-backed company blew past its $50,000 pre-order goal in forty minutes, but despite a promise of summer 2014 shipping, the company has yet to ship a product that wasn’t in beta.… Read More

Jordan Spieth’s win at The Masters is worth $3 per share (UA)


Business Insider / Myles Udland

Jordan Spieth’s win at The Masters is worth $3 per share (UA)

Jordan Spieth, the 21-year-old golf phenom who just won The Masters, is sponsored by Under Armour.  In January, the company locked up Spieth to a new 10-year deal and it is already paying off.  In a note to clients on Friday, analysts at Piper Jaffray wrote that following Spieth’s win, the sale of Under Armour’s golf merchandise has accelerated.  As a result, the firm raised its price target on Under Armour to $93 from $90. So Spieth’s Masters win is worth, in Piper’s view, $3 per share for Under Armour.  There are 218 million Under Armour shares outstanding, so another way to think of this is that Spieth’s win is worth around $654 million for the company. Here’s Piper: We are reiterating our Overweight rating on Under Armour following a round of store checks illustrating the accelerating momentum of the golf business since Jordan Spieth’s Masters win last weekend. Simply stated, golf is one the fastest growing categories for Under Armour and we believe it can double, while growing well in excess of the overall brand, and reach more than $400M in the next few years. To wit, UA golf search volume during the Masters increased 8.9x compared to 2015 before the Masters—well ahead of the peer average of 1.8x. While we are not changing our estimates, we are raising our FY16 EPS multiple from 60x to 62x to reflect recent brand strength and our PT moves from $90 to $93. The model for Spieth’s impact on Under Armour’s sale is Nike and Tiger Woods. Piper notes that Nike signed Spieth at a “near identical” point in his career to Tiger, and over the next decade, Nike’s golf sales grew at a 15% compounded annual growth rate to $700 million in 2008 from $120 million in 1997.  And so over the next three years, Piper thinks Under Armour’s golf business can grow from around $200 million today to $400 million. More broadly, Piper is bullish on Under Armour’s selection of star athletes to endorse.  Here’s Piper: We are increasingly impressed with the knack for athlete selection displayed by UA. In our view, the company has done a commendable job identifying and locking in young talent just ahead of major successes before the cost of their service soars. Spieth and Stephen Curry are the best examples given they are tracking toward becoming the faces of their sports for the next decade, but we believe the company has a deep roster (over 500 athletes in North America) of other emerging stars.SEE ALSO: 21-year-old Jordan Spieth runs away with the Masters, ties the record for lowest score ever Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here Are The Handicaps For A Bunch Of Celebrity Golfers

The Best Buildings of the Year, According to the Internet 


Gizmodo / Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan

The Best Buildings of the Year, According to the Internet 

The people who get to dole out awards to architects each year are normally critics and panels of experts who know exactly what goes into designing a building. But what would normal people—or even the internet at large—choose? Just like most awards programs, Architizer’s annual A+ Awards (which my colleague Alissa Walker covered earlier this week) uses a jury of experts to decide which buildings win. But it also asks the internet to vote on its favorites, awarding a special “popular choice” award to those buildings. Think of it as the Kid’s Choice Awards for architecture. As you might expect, what the world likes doesn’t always match up with what architects and critics like. Check out a few of the more interesting favorites below. Best Restaurant: Restaurant Steirereck by PPAG architectsBest Apartment: Ice & Snow Apartment by Penda ArchitectsBest Stadium: Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors by FC Clubhouse Suh ArchitectsBest Museum: The Blue Planet Acquarium by 3XNBest House (XL): Sambade House by spaceworkersBest High-Rise Office: One World Trade Center by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLPBest Small House: Haffenden House by PARA-ProjectBest Residential Interior: House in Sai Kung by Millimeter Interior DesignBest Church: Community Church Knarvik by Reiulf Ramstad Architects.Best Library: James B. Hunt Jr. Library by Snøhetta /Clark NexsenBest Bridge: Tabiat Pedestrian bridge by Diba Tensile Architecture

New Mercedes-Benz pickup to be called GLT?


Autoblog / Brandon Turkus

New Mercedes-Benz pickup to be called GLT?

Filed under: Mercedes-Benz, TruckThe Mercedes-Benz truck will allegedly be called the GLT, and according to the head of the project, it won’t be “a fat cowboy truck.”Continue reading New Mercedes-Benz pickup to be called GLT?New Mercedes-Benz pickup to be called GLT? originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments

Tim Cook has the best pay-for-performance rating among highest-paid US executives, earning $65.2M last year (Caleb Melby/Bloomberg Business)


Techmeme /

Tim Cook has the best pay-for-performance rating among highest-paid US executives, earning $65.2M last year (Caleb Melby/Bloomberg Business)

Caleb Melby / Bloomberg Business:
Tim Cook has the best pay-for-performance rating among highest-paid US executives, earning $65.2M last year  —  Apple’s Tim Cook Is a Steal at $65 Million in Pay  —  Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook has the best pay-for-performance rating of any chief executive officer on the Bloomberg Pay Index …

Tim Cook has the best pay-for-performance rating among highest-paid US executives, earning $65.2M last year (Caleb Melby/Bloomberg Business)


Techmeme /

Tim Cook has the best pay-for-performance rating among highest-paid US executives, earning $65.2M last year (Caleb Melby/Bloomberg Business)

Caleb Melby / Bloomberg Business:
Tim Cook has the best pay-for-performance rating among highest-paid US executives, earning $65.2M last year  —  Apple’s Tim Cook Is a Steal at $65 Million in Pay  —  Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook has the best pay-for-performance rating of any chief executive officer on the Bloomberg Pay Index …

These Are Easily The Most Gorgeous Maps Of The Moon Ever


Gizmodo / George Dvorsky

These Are Easily The Most Gorgeous Maps Of The Moon Ever

On the request of NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey has prepared two highly detailed maps of the Moon. Fortunately, they’ve also been made available to the public, so check ‘em out in all their lunar glory. The two sets of maps, compiled by USGS cartographer Trent Hare and colleagues, include image mosaics and topographical maps. The image maps above were put together using data captured by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Wide Angle Camera (WAC) and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). All named features larger than 53 miles (85 km) in diameter or length were included (unless they weren’t visible on the map). For an extremely hi-res (251 MB) version of this map, click here. A smaller, low-res version can be found here (recommended).Above are the topographical lunar maps. They’re based on data from the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter which is aboard NASA’s LRO. To create the maps, the cartographers used more than 6.5 billion measurements collected between 2009 and 2013. For an extremely hi-res (472 MB) version of this map, click here. A smaller, low-res version can be found here (recommended).[Via USGS]Citation: Hare, T.M., Hayward, R.K., Blue, J.S., and Archinal, B.A., 2015, Image mosaic and topographic map of the moon: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3316, 2 sheets.

Doctors Ask Columbia University to Fire Dr. Oz Because He’s Full of Shit


Gizmodo / Matt Novak

Doctors Ask Columbia University to Fire Dr. Oz Because He’s Full of Shit

Dr. Oz is full of shit. He peddles garbage advice on his garbage TV show. And that’s not just my opinion. It’s science! Science which tells us that Dr. Oz gives advice that’s baseless or wrong about half the time. But now his peers in the medical community are speaking out.
Astoundingly, Dr. Oz is the vice chairman and professor of surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Which are prestigious positions at a prestigious institution. But should someone whose promotes ridiculous weight loss cures and anti-GMO hogwash really hold these positions? A new letter addressed to the dean of the medical school at Columbia University says no.
As Skepchick reports, a group of esteemed doctors have finally had enough. Their letter to Dr. Lee Goldman, the dean of the Columbia University medical school appears below.

Dear Dr. Goldman:

I am writing to you on behalf of myself and the undersigned colleagues below, all of whom are distinguished physicians.

We are surprised and dismayed that Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons would permit Dr. Mehmet Oz to occupy a faculty appointment, let alone a senior administrative position in the Department of Surgery.

As described here and here, as well as in other publications, Dr. Oz has repeatedly shown disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine, as well as baseless and relentless opposition to the genetic engineering of food crops. Worst of all, he has manifested an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.

Thus, Dr. Oz is guilty of either outrageous conflicts of interest or flawed judgements about what constitutes appropriate medical treatments, or both. Whatever the nature of his pathology, members of the public are being misled and endangered, which makes Dr. Oz’s presence on the faculty of a prestigious medical institution unacceptable.

The letter was signed by ten doctors from places like Stanford University, the American Council on Science and Health, and the University of California, San Diego. It’s unclear how Dr. Goldman will respond, let alone whether he’ll do so publicly. But at the very least this letter helps publicize the fact that Dr. Oz continues to peddle garbage.
You’d think that having to testify in front of Congress and admit that much of what you say on your show has no science to back it up would’ve done that already.
[Skepchick]
Image: Dr. Oz testifies June 17, 2014 before the Senate subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance examining how to protect consumers from false and deceptive advertising of weight-loss products via AP

Etsy Stock Surges 86 Percent At Close Of First Day Of Trading to $30 Per Share (TechCrunch)


Techmeme /

Etsy Stock Surges 86 Percent At Close Of First Day Of Trading to $30 Per Share (TechCrunch)

TechCrunch:
Etsy Stock Surges 86 Percent At Close Of First Day Of Trading to $30 Per Share  —  Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade goods, went public today.  It turns out Wall Street investors like those homespun crafts.  Shares opened at $31 on the NASDAQ, popping up 94 percent from the initial set price of $16 per share.

Sources: Yahoo In Talks To Buy Foursquare


TechCrunch / Ingrid Lunden,Jordan Crook

Sources: Yahoo In Talks To Buy Foursquare

 Yahoo has been busy rebuilding its business around mobile under CEO Marissa Mayer, and soon it could make one of its biggest bets yet on the platform. We have heard perennially that the company has been looking to buy Foursquare, the New York startup behind the eponymous local search app and location-based social “check-in” app Swarm. The latest rumor we are hearing is giving… Read More

Hello Alfred Raises $10.5M To Automate Your Chores


TechCrunch / Anthony Ha

Hello Alfred Raises $10.5M To Automate Your Chores

 Hello Alfred, a startup that taps into existing on-demand services to automate your weekly chores, has raised $10.5 million in Series A funding. The round was led by NEA and Spark Capital, with participation from Sherpa Ventures and CrunchFund. (CrunchFund is backed by TechCrunch-owner AOL, and like TechCrunch, it was founded by Michael Arrington). This follows a $2 million seed round led… Read More

Guitar Hero Is Back This Fall, And You’ll Only Need Three Fingers


Gizmodo / Sean Hollister

Guitar Hero Is Back This Fall, And You’ll Only Need Three Fingers

“This is stupid,” I try to tell myself. “Weren’t music games just a fad?” For one long minute, I struggle to hit a single note on my plastic axe, as game developers and PR people fire eye-daggers into the back of my head. But then, all of a sudden, it clicks. I’m strumming up a storm. I’m playing the new Guitar Hero—and it’s surprisingly awesome.

“Want to know how long we’ve been making this? It’s this long,” laughs Jamie Jackson, the game’s creative director—gesturing to his beard. As you can see, the man has a chin worthy of respect. And yeah, it’s strange to think that we’ve gone nearly five years without a new Guitar Hero game. Music games kind of fell off a cliff back in 2011, after enjoying enormous success. Now, both Rock Band
and Guitar Hero are coming back. But how will Activision get us interested in picking up a plastic axe again?
In my short demo with the game, it came down to three things:
1.) You don’t have to use your goddamn pinky to play

The new Guitar Hero controller feels like a blast from the past. Maybe I’ve got rose-tinted glasses on, but the cheap plastic peripheral felt practically identical to the ones from the Guitar Hero 5 / Rock Band era several years back. But this one has one key difference: you don’t have to use your pinkie. Instead of five frets, there are six — but they’re all under your index, middle, and ring fingers.
Jackson explains to me a concept that I’m already extremely familiar with: how Guitar Hero players got stuck on previous games’ medium difficulty setting because — no matter how quick they were with their fingers — they just couldn’t get their pinky in the mix. “As soon as you had to use your pinky, it all went to shit,” says the beautifully bearded man. So yeah, you’re no longer moving your hand like a real guitarist, but gosh is it easier to grasp.

Sure enough, I was banging out notes just like before on medium difficulty—but I also found myself intrigued by harder settings where you have to move your three fingers back and forth on the frets—or hit both together—instead of just up and down the guitar neck.
2.) It shames you into playing better—instead of shaming you not to play

I vividly remember the original Guitar Hero series was all about shame. It felt pretty silly to watch cartoony characters prance about on stage while strumming a fake plastic guitar, and worse when the game totally booed me off stage when I failed. (If you haven’t realized yet, I kind of suck at this game.)
Well, a little bit of that shame is back, but it’s way more entertaining. Now, every major Guitar Hero song is a first-person music video designed to make you feel like a rockstar on stage, where you feed off the energy from fans cheering for you—or booing you when you fail.

The game keeps track of whether you’re doing well or poorly in real time, and can switch between an audience that loves you or hates you on the fly—using giant robot cameras, the developer filmed two versions of every single video frame with those two different audiences: one cheering your name and singing back your songs, and one holding up nasty signs. You don’t fail anymore and get booed off stage completely: you just feel horrible for letting down your fans and bandmates.
Speaking of which, even your own band members will give you the evil eye:

3.) It (sounds like) Guitar Hero won’t make you buy endless new versions and songs again

See that square, frame-like button on the controller? It takes you to a new game mode called Guitar Hero TV, which is a live TV guide of real music videos you can play along to, for free. No subscription, no fee to get more music as long as it’s being broadcast to you through Guitar Hero TV. (The company didn’t rule out additional paid songs, but that sounds promising!)

It also doubles as the game’s multiplayer mode, where you can compete with other people around the world in real time. Not that I’ll ever be good enough at Guitar Hero to do that.
I think this guy might have a chance, though. He looks pretty serious.

The new game’s called Guitar Hero Live, and it’s coming this fall for $100 to practically every console you can think of: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Wii U. Mobile devices, too. Activision says they’ll be a version for phone and tablet that you can plug into a TV with an HDMI cable, and use a full-sized guitar with too.
I think I’m willing to give music games another go. How about you?

Apple Buys LinX, A Camera Module Maker Promising DSLR-Like Mobile Performance


TechCrunch / Darrell Etherington

Apple Buys LinX, A Camera Module Maker Promising DSLR-Like Mobile Performance

 Apple has acquired LinX, an Israeli camera tech company whose most recent offerings include multi-aperture camera models which can enable effects like background focus blur, parallax images and 3D picture capture. TechCrunch received the following from Apple, which is a statement the company provides in lieu of confirmation when it has, in fact, acquired a smaller company: Apple buys… Read More

Sharp’s Dumb Incredible 4K Smartphone Display Will Melt Your Face


Gizmodo / Darren Orf

Sharp’s Dumb Incredible 4K Smartphone Display Will Melt Your Face

The new Galaxy S6 may have the best display yet with the most most pixels. But we need more, and Sharp is going to give it to us with an absolutely bonkers 5.5-inch LCD 4K display—that’s 806ppi for anyone keeping count.In 2011, Apple decided the resolution limit of the human eye when holding a phone was about 300 pixels-per-inch. Well, screw that. However, in Mr. Jobs defense, he didn’t exactly see the future where we’d be putting our smartphones only a couple inches from our face, thanks to smartphone-powered VR headsets like Gear VR, Google Cardboard, or even the new VR headset for LG’s G3. The 3860X2160 IGZO panel still has a few remaining questions to answer. First, Sharp needs to figure out mass production, meaning we won’t be seeing this display anytime soon (more like 2016), and second, how these displays won’t absolutely demolish our already frustratingly poor battery life. We’ve reached out to Sharp for clarification. But let’s not worry about it and accept that 4K smartphones are definitely not overkill and superfluous. Nope. [Techblog.gr via GSM Arena]

Stylish Black and White Photos


Abduzeedo Design Inspiration – Design Inspiration & Tutorials / abduzeedo

Stylish Black and White Photos

After a while I decided to check out Flickr for some photography inspiration. The first thing I noticed is how cool Flickr looks, very focused on the images, quite different than the web 2.0 days where the community and user interaction was the most important thing. Anyway for this post I want to share some quite stylish black and white photos, with that noir feel. I am using the embed code for photos that Flickr uses so let’s see how that looks.
For more information about the photos make sure to click on them and visit the photographers profiles.

Tags: photographyblack and whitenoirabduzeedo’s blog

First four Game of Thrones season 5 episodes leak online, apparently originating from review copies, surfacing on major torrent sites, in major blow to HBO (Ernesto/TorrentFreak)


TorrentFreak / Ernesto

First four Game of Thrones season 5 episodes leak online, apparently originating from review copies, surfacing on major torrent sites, in major blow to HBO (Ernesto/TorrentFreak)

Ernesto / TorrentFreak:
First four Game of Thrones season 5 episodes leak online, apparently originating from review copies, surfacing on major torrent sites, in major blow to HBO  —  First Episodes of Game of Thrones Season 5 Leak Online  —  Starting a few hours ago several episodes of the new Game of Thrones season started to appear online.