How Netflix completely revamped recommendations for its new global audience
Before Netflix got into the business of producing its own programming, it spent a lot of time emphasizing its recommendation software, the algorithms that would learn your taste and suggest the...
Leap Motion Tips 'Orion' Hand Tracking for VR
The new software and hardware aims to improve natural hand and finger input in simulated scenarios.
Edible spoons. Game over, people.
And you thought sporks were peak utensil innovation.
You can now log into Gmail without a Google account
You can now use Gmail as your email client for a Yahoo or Hotmail account
Twitter is testing a button that serves up ready-made GIFs for users
Twitter users may soon see more GIFs in their newsfeed, thanks to a dedicated GIF button the company is quietly testing.
PCMag on Twitter
Today at 10AM we're talking about Apple's battle against the FBI. Watch here: http://fb.me/pcmag pic.twitter.com/9CmbLKJuo8
Being Bilingual Changes the Architecture of Your Brain
Of course, any bilingual person will tell you that sometimes they don’t bother making a choice. When I talk to other people who speak English and Spanish, I often mix the languages together, saying things like, “Quieres un toast?” and “I wanted to aprovechar the holiday and viajar un poco.” If I want to maximize the cognitive benefits of speaking two languages, should I stop mixing and force my brain through the gymnastics every time I open my mouth? In short: no. “Back in the 1980s, people claimed that language mixing was pathological,” Kroll said. “It’s actually a normal and typical part of bilingual experience.” Plus, it’s not like my brain is slacking off. I’m still choosing between languages with every word, it’s just that I’m not making the same choice every time.
Customer Letter - Apple
We can find no precedent for an American company being forced to expose its customers to a greater risk of attack. For years, cryptologists and national security experts have been warning against weakening encryption. Doing so would hurt only the well-meaning and law-abiding citizens who rely on companies like Apple to protect their data. Criminals and bad actors will still encrypt, using tools that are readily available to them.
EFF to Support Apple in Encryption Battle
We are supporting Apple here because the government is doing more than simply asking for Apple’s assistance. For the first time, the government is requesting Apple write brand new code that eliminates key features of iPhone security—security features that protect us all. Essentially, the government is asking Apple to create a master key so that it can open a single phone. And once that master key is created, we're certain that our government will ask for it again and again, for other phones, and turn this power against any software or device that has the audacity to offer strong security.
'5D' discs can store data until well after the sun burns out
Researchers at the University of Southampton's Optical Research Center announced on Tuesday that they've perfected a technique that can record data in 5 dimensions and keep it safe for billions of years. The method etches data into a thermally stable disc using femtosecond laser bursts. The storage medium itself holds up to 360 TB per disc, can withstand temperatures up to 1000 degrees C and are estimated to last up to 13.8 billion years at room temperature without degrading.
Tim Cook: Apple will fight US demands to build an iPhone backdoor
Cook says that although the FBI and the government have taken care to avoid describing this method of access as a backdoor, this is what the order amounts to. "The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor," writes Cook. Apple has stated many times in the past that the creation of any sort of backdoor would set a dangerous precedent. Such software might fall into the hands of hackers, and lead to similar demands for access from nation states like Russia and China.
Cover Letters Are Dead: Do This Instead
"What’s interesting is that companies aren’t judging your personality from your posts; they’re looking for a culture fit," says Bitte. "Cover letters used to be the medium to figure that out, but that’s no longer the case. Today, social media can tell a hiring manager a lot more, and they’re using it to find the right fit."
Apple ordered to help unlock San Bernadino shooter's iPhone
The implications of the government’s demands are chilling. If the government can use the All Writs Act to make it easier to unlock your iPhone, it would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data. The government could extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge.
Comcast's Fandango acquires Rotten Tomatoes and Flixster to build movie-discovery empire
“Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes are invaluable resources for movie fans, and we look forward to growing these successful properties, driving more theatrical ticketing and super-serving consumers with all their movie needs,” said Fandango President Paul Yanover in a statement about the deal. “Our new expanded network will offer unparalleled capabilities for all of our exhibition, studio, and promotional partners to reach a massive entertainment audience with innovative marketing and ticketing solutions that benefit from original content, home entertainment products, ‘super tickets,’ gifts with purchase, and other new promotional opportunities.”
Apple Opposes Judge’s Order to Help Unlock Phone Linked to San Bernardino Attack
Apple Inc. Chief Executive Tim Cook said the company will oppose a federal judge’s order to help the Justice Department unlock a phone used by a suspect in the San Bernardino, Calif., attack.
Apple's CEO Tim Cook says firm will oppose iPhone court order
Apple's CEO Tim Cook says firm will oppose iPhone court order
Cook said that Apple would resist that order.
Check out this story on USATODAY.com: http://usat.ly/1TqcldW
Geeks Unite: Steve Wozniak’s Comic Con to Bring Hollywood and Silicon Valley Together
The man known for co-founding Apple Inc. with Steve Jobs in 1976 is now the face of the Silicon Valley Comic Con, a new event merging the worlds of pop culture and tech, due to be held next month in San Jose, Calif. The show’s main focus will be virtual reality, a technology with lots of practical applications for filmmakers and video game developers.
Issue and Pull Request templates
It's hard to solve a problem when important details are missing. Now project maintainers can add templates for Issues and Pull Requests to projects, helping contributors add the right details at the start of a thread. This is the first of many improvements to Issues and Pull Requests that we're working on based on feedback from the community.
Los Angeles hospital paid $17,000 in bitcoin to ransomware hackers
Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center had lost access to its computer systems since 5 February after hackers installed a virus that encrypted their computer files. The only out was if the hospital paid the hackers $17,000 worth of bitcoins, the digital currency.
What BuzzFeed's Dao Nguyen Knows About Data, Intuition, And The Future Of Media
I have a good example about that, because it's something that I was involved in personally. The first post I wrote on Buzzfeed was called " 27 signs you were raised by immigrant parents ." It was published two years ago now, so I feel kind of terrible still talking about it. The point of it was it was incredibly viral, got like 2 million views—it got like 1 million views in the first 12 hours. Two and a half years ago we were a very small site, so it was a big deal. It wasn't the first post that we ever wrote about having immigrant parents, there were previous posts called "Signs you were raised by immigrant parents." There was one that was "Signs you were raised by Pakistani immigrant parents." There were many versions that all did pretty well, but this one blew them out of the water. That's because the concept was piggybacking off other people's work. The whole post was gently mocking your parents. Like "Your dishwasher is only used to dry dishes, not wash them." Or "Your mother is always telling you you need to wear a sweater.
People are up in arms about Apple's fight with the FBI
"I have always admired Tim Cook for his stance on privacy and Apple's efforts to protect user data and couldn't agree more with everything said in their Customer Letter today. We must not allow this dangerous precedent to be set. Today our freedom and our liberty is at stake," Koum wrote on Facebook .
How schools around the country are turning dead Microsoft PCs into speedy Chromebooks
The Ovid-Elsie school district sits an hour west of Flint, Michigan, the city now notorious for being poisoned by its own penny-pinching administrators. The district, which serves roughly 1,600 students, is one of the poorer areas in the state, with a per capita income of just over $15,000. "We’re looking at close to three-quarters of our kids [who] are classified as economically disadvantaged here," said Kris Kirby, the district’s assistant superintendent. So when it came time to find computer equipment for every classroom, Ovid-Elsie had to get creative.
Feds want Apple’s help to defeat encrypted phones, new legal case shows
The government thus asks me to read into the All Writs Act an empowerment of the judiciary to grant the executive branch authority to use investigative techniques either explicitly denied it by the legislative branch, or at a minimum omitted from a far-reaching and detailed statutory scheme that has received the legislature's intensive and repeated consideration. Such a broad reading of the statute invites an exercise of judicial activism that is breathtaking in its scope and fundamentally inconsistent with my understanding of the extent of my authority.
This $4 handset for India is the world's cheapest smartphone
While the company told Gadgets 360 it built the device with ‘immense support’ from the Indian government, it remains to be seen how the Freedom 251 actually performs. Even if its components were highly subsidized to bring down costs, it’ll be a miracle if Ringing Bells, a relatively unknown brand, can produce a well built phone with decent performance at this price.
Tim Cook: Apple will fight to stop the FBI accessing your data
Judge in this case does not understand that the FBI is capable right now to brute force this without having Apple do anything… This scenario is being used as an excuse to force us to give up our freedom. Hey FBI – Make a Copy of the RAM of the phone (you do have physical access right?) – Try as many times as you can until the software wipes the phone… then restore the phone with your image of the phone, and pick up where you left off. Rinse and Repeat… Obviously this should be done using an automated approach – but it is certainly possible. When is someone in the press going to expose this as nothing more than a ruse by FBI to force the writing of a backdoor. When one has physical access to an encrypted device – there is nothing from stopping your from imaging the device, and retrying to brute force it – You can also turn off the networking and reset the clocks guys… When will the public learn they are being misled.
Twitter will now let you record and share videos in Direct Messages
The San Francisco-based company headed up by co-founder Jack Dorsey is facing a steep stock decline and a slowing — by some metrics even declining — user base. To remedy the situation, Twitter has started experimenting with an algorithmic timeline that would place tweets out of chronological order to try and add more value for new users. As The Verge 's Walt Mossberg wrote last month , Twitter feels like "secret-handshake software" understood and enjoyed only by power users and industry professionals who use the service for their jobs. A GIF button and a DM video feature don't do much to fix those longstanding issues, but they do bring Twitter up to speed with competing products from Facebook and Google.
Here’s Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s response to the Apple-FBI controversy
Pichai’s comment doesn’t suggest big action on the part of Google, which of course maintains the Android operating system that competes with Apple’s iOS. But it does suggest that Pichai is closer to Apple than the FBI in this case.
Help Leonardo DiCaprio finally win an Oscar in this 8-bit game
‘ Leo’s Red Carpet Rampage ‘ is an 8-bit browser game that shows the actor trying to outrace everyone on the red carpet to catch his prize. Some of the people he has to pass include Matt Damon, Michael Fassbender and Eddie Redmayne.
Lots of People Are Losing Distance Vision, and No One Knows Why
Modern life takes a toll on bodies. It’s easy to tick off the uniquely 21st-century diseases that plague humans today: obesity, heart disease, diabetes. But those are the visible afflictions, the ones that show up on expanding bellies and skyrocketing death rates. Out of sight, another epidemic is silently raging: myopia, or nearsightedness. Between the 1970s and the early aughts, the incidence of myopia in the US nearly doubled, to 42 percent. Myopia’s rise has been the starkest in Asia; one survey in Korea found a rate as high as 96 percent among teenagers.
Google has open-sourced its iOS app testing tool
Google has announced that it’s open-sourced EarlGrey , a testing framework for iOS apps. The company says it’s been used in developing software for Apple’s mobile platform including YouTube and Google’s Calendar and Photos apps.
Warren Spector is in charge of 'System Shock 3'
Still, it's good to see Spector, who has also worked on the Deux Ex and Ultima series, back where he belongs. He sounds appropriately energized to bring the series into the current day -- the last System Shock game is over 16 years old at this point. "Working on System Shock was one of the most fulfilling things I've done in my career," Spector said in a press release, "and it's hard to describe how much I'm looking forward to sharing with players what SHODAN has been up to since the last game was released."
Facebook will soon let any publisher post Instant Articles
For its part, Facebook says users are more likely to post and share Instant Articles. That said, there will still be some publishers that prefer to forego the feature, espcially smaller ones. As The Verge points out, implementing it requires some web-coding prowess, and some publishers might prefer to use richer advertising methods not available to Instant Article posts.
Apple issues $1.5 billion in green bonds in first sale
WASHINGTON Apple has issued $1.5 billion in bonds dedicated to financing clean energy projects across its global business operations, the largest green bond to be issued by a U.S. corporation, the company's head of environmental policy said Wednesday.
Microsoft's new Surface Book update will fix sleep problems
When we reviewed Microsoft's Surface Book back in October we noticed a number of weird issues. Bluescreens and driver crashes occurred frequently, and the docking app for the display crashed occasionally. Microsoft assured us that some of the issues would be addressed before consumers started purchasing the devices, but they weren't. A growing number of Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 owners have been voicing their issues recently.
Google Launches Fresh-Grocery Deliveries
Google said it would begin delivering produce, meat, eggs and other perishable goods on Wednesday in parts of San Francisco and Los Angeles. The service is part of Google Express, which partners with retailers in some U.S. cities to deliver goods to consumers within hours of an order.
Instagram has added two-factor authentication
Getting your social media accounts hacked sucks, so it’s about time Instagram upped its security. Good new though: the network confirmed to TechCrunch it is finally adding the option for two-factor authentication.
U.S. and Apple Dig In for Court Fight Over Encryption
Washington and Silicon Valley geared up Wednesday for a high-stakes legal battle over a phone used by one of the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorists, a contest each side views as a must-win in their long fight over security versus privacy.
Microsoft says it's finally fixing the biggest problems with its Surface Book laptop and Surface Pro tablet
I actually put my Surface Pro 4 in a drawer while I waited for all of this to be resolved, so I can't test the new software update immediately. But it's good to see that Microsoft is finally showing signs of wanting to fix this problem.
Why Apple Is Fighting Not To Unlock iPhones For The Government
And herein lies the rub. There has been some chatter about whether these kinds of changes would even be possible with Apple’s newer devices. Those devices come equipped with Apple’s proprietary Secure Enclave, a portion of the core processing chip where private encryption keys are stored and used to secure data and to enable features like TouchID. Apple says that the things that the FBI is asking for are also possible on newer devices with the Secure Enclave. The technical solutions to the asks would be different (no specifics were provided) than they are on the iPhone 5c (and other older iPhones), but not impossible.
IBM Watson AI XPRIZE: A Cognitive Computing Competition
The IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, a Cognitive Computing Competition, was announced on the TED Stage on Feb 17, 2016. It is a $5 million competition challenging teams from around the world to develop and demonstrate how humans can collaborate with powerful cognitive technologies to tackle some of the world’s grand challenges.
Yahoo’s New Research Model
Our new approach is to integrate research teams directly into our product teams in order to produce innovation that will drive excellence in those product areas. We will also have an independent research team that will work autonomously or in partnership with product partners. The integrated and independent teams, as a whole, will be known as Yahoo Research. Yahoo Research will drive the company’s scientific efforts, look to the future, think out of the box, and be responsible for pushing the frontiers of the consumer internet. I will lead the independent research team, and together with Ben Shahshahani and the other integrated product research partners, will guide our research activities across the company.
Department of Defense Upgrading 4M Devices to Windows 10
Microsoft also today announced two security certifications, which it likely hopes will encourage others to make the leap to Windows 10: the National Information Assurance Program and the Defense Information Systems Agency Unified Capabilities Approved Products List, which is a list of products that meet the DoD's "strict security and interoperability requirements," Adams wrote.
Why the FBI's request to Apple will affect civil rights for a generation
But the truth is, no legal case applies in a vacuum. If this goes through, if Apple is forced to assist, it will open a floodgate of law enforcement requests. Then what about civil cases? Opening a phone to support a messy divorce and child custody battle? Or what about requests from other nations, especially places like China and the UAE that already forced BlackBerry and others to compromise the security of their customers?
Homer Simpson will perform live in your living room this May
The Simpsons is set to debut its first ever ‘live’ performance this May, with everyone’s favorite dad Homer Simpson poised to deliver two live Q&As with audiences on the East and West coast.
Shonda Rhimes: "Playing With My Children Likely Saved My Career"
Rhimes describes the electrifying feeling she gets when she’s writing, working, and creating, as the "hum." "The hum is more than writing," she says. "It is action and activity. The hum is a drug. The hum is music. The hum is light and air. The hum is God’s whisper right in my ear. And when you have a hum like that, you can’t help but strive for greatness at any cost. That’s called the hum. Or maybe it’s called being a workaholic."
American Airlines Sues Gogo Over Slow In-Flight Internet
"After carefully evaluating the new technology and services in the marketplace, American has decided to exercise its rights under the Agreement and recently notified Gogo that ViaSat offers an in-flight connectivity system that materially improves on Gogo's air-to-ground system," the airline said in its suit, according to the newspaper.
'On the Brink of Greatness' unlocks Silicon Valley's secrets
Nobody said starting your own business was going to be easy. So why not get some pointers from a man who's already been there and done that. Steve Goldbloom is such a man. He's been there. He's done that. And now he's here to tell you all about it in Engadget's new video series, On the Brink of Greatness .
Join Spotify Premium, Get a Google Chromecast
For a limited time, Spotify customers who buy three months of ad-free Spotify Premium for $29.97 will receive a free Chromecast , the company announced on Wednesday. The offer does not apply to those who live outside the U.S. or U.K., and is available through Feb. 28. In addition, Spotify says that customers are limited to one Chromecast per person.
View-Master VR keeps one foot planted in the real world
The DLX is a bit bigger than the previous model and the interior brackets have been redesigned to be a bit more accommodating of different phone shapes and sizes. It also incorporates a headphone jack so that future View-Master experiences can use sound in their presentations, harkening back to the old talking viewer (but far superior in content and audio quality, of course). Unfortunately, the DLX still isn't very glasses-friendly.
However, even as View-Master seeks to make its VR experience more immersive, the brand is still finding ways to stay grounded in the real world. The old View-Master models were always a pretty solitary activity: Only one kid could use the viewer at a time, and everyone would have to take turns. While the VR View-Master viewers still work like this, some of this year's new View-Master sets will add a real-world element that allows other children to join in the fun.
The View-Master reel shown off at the show, 'Escape the Labyrinth,' also comes with a special kit containing all manner of decoding devices, including a code wheel and a pair of 3D glasses.
Google CEO: FBI's request of Apple could set a 'troubling precedent'
"Forcing companies to enable hacking could compromise users' privacy," Pichai tweeted after calling Cook's post "important." He goes on to note that Google understands and respects the challenges law enforcement faces, but he believes that "giv[ing] law enforcement access to data based on valid legal orders" is entirely different than "requiring companies to enable hacking of customer devices & data." Pichai also calls Google's products "secure" and says that they "keep your information safe" and said he's looking forward to a "thoughtful and open" discussion about the issues that the FBI's order have raised.
Microsoft Brings Red Hat Enterprise Linux To Azure
“Since we announced our partnership in November, we’ve seen strong interest and momentum from our customers looking to bring their Red Hat investments to Azure,” Sanders said in today’s announcement. “Azure provides the best Enterprise-grade support of the public cloud, by offering a fully integrated support experience with co-located Red Hat and Microsoft support engineers sitting side-by-side to help you when you need it!”
Spin Master's life-size BB-8 is too cute and too real
Having your own life-size astromech droid will cost more than the $150 Sphero, but it's still pretty affordable: Spin Master's BB-8 will be $180 when it hits store shelves this fall. It's certainly worth the wait for that perfect Poe Dameron cosplay.
Indonesia bans Tumblr in massive porn crackdown
Indonesia has banned popular social media site Tumblr , along with nearly 500 other websites, in a massive clampdown on the sharing of porn online.