Microsoft Goes After The Ubiquitous MacBook To Boost Surface Brand Recognition | TechCrunch
Microsoft billed the Surface Pro 3 as the device that can replace multiple pieces of Apple kit, including the MacBook and the iPad. Its latest ad spots for its Windows 8 marquee device target the MacBook directly, invoking the classic Apple Mac vs. PC ads with their visual style but focusing more on specs. Two of them feature just two guys chatting with each other naturally (read: not at all naturally) about their respective computers, while the last is a head-to-head specs comparison montage set to EDM.
Scientists Program Largest Swarm of Robots Ever | Science | WIRED
Or, Rubenstein says, these tiny robots can act as biological cells, forming the building blocks for bigger, shape-shifting robots. The idea is that such a robot could take whatever shape is best suited for a particular task. It could assume the shape of a snake to slither across sand, form legs to crawl over rock, or even a wheel to roll up and down a hill. A swimming robot could become more aerodynamic to slice through water. It could even split into two if the task requires it. And, these collective robots would be easily fixed, since ideally every one of the tiny robots would be cheap and replaceable.
The cold, hard truth about the ice bucket challenge
I look at the camera, hold a bucket of ice water over my head, tip it upside down, post the video on social media and then nominate two others to do the same. Along the way, my nominees and I use the opportunity to donate to the ALS Association, a charity that fights amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also called Lou Gerhig’s disease), a fatal neurodegenerative disease. Multiply this activity 70,000 times, and the result is that the ALS Association has received $3 million in additional donations. Via the ice bucket challenge, celebrities and the general public have fun and receive publicity; at the same time, millions of dollars are raised for a good cause. It’s a win-win, right?
Tom Hanks made a typewriter app for iPad that goes clickety-clack
At least one Kickstarter project and several Etsy listings have tried to make keyboard docks for the iPad in the old typewriter style. Now, Tom Hanks, Academy Award winner and the biggest typewriter fanatic known to man, has created an iPad app called the Hanx Writer that goes clickety-clack as you bang away at the virtual keys on your screen. Just like a real keyboard, the Hanx Writer makes lots of noise.
Bill Gates And Tim Cook Dump Ice On Their Heads For ALS Awareness, Challenge Elon Musk and Dr. Dre | TechCrunch
Update: And here’s Bezos dousing himself at Amazon’s all-hands meeting this afternoon. After considering passing the challenge onto a few people who almost certainly wouldn’t partake, he names Star Trek stars William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, and George Takei. Bezo’s ice dump goes down at the three minute mark in the video below
Google buys Instagram-analyzing mobile app startup Jetpac
Google has bought Jetpac, a startup that analyzes Instagram photos to help travelers find the best places to check out while they’re in town. It’s a handy app and technology, and the company has some technical chops, as well.
Yahoo Acquires Ad Startup ClarityRay | TechCrunch
We’ve been working on building up security capabilities and making Yahoo a safer place for users and partners. Advertising is an essential part of our business here at Yahoo, and we’re committed to getting it right. ClarityRay is a company with deep expertise in ad-malware detection and prevention. The bottom line for Yahoo is that search is going to get better and safer for users, and advertising will become more reliable and profitable for partners.
EyeEm Acquires Computer Vision Startup Sight.io To Make Photo Search And Discovery Better | TechCrunch
However, more broadly speaking, joining up with EyeEm makes sense for Sight.io, as EyeEm is heavily focused on photo discovery, and the technology and talent Sight.io brings will help EyeEm improve its own photo search and discovery systems that much more quickly. Essentially, this deal plays into EyeEm’s larger thesis that search and discovery on the large stock photo sites and photo-sharing networks could be so much better, and it’s only a matter of building out the right technology to give itself the edge.
YC-Backed Zen99 Makes Life Easier For Freelancers With Finance And Insurance Tools | TechCrunch
Freelancers and contractors are a rapidly growing part of the workforce. Without benefits, however, many struggle with issues like figuring out how much of their earnings to withhold for taxes and finding insurance providers.
20 best iPhone and iPad apps and games this week
Humin - Phone and Contacts (Free) Humin is only available in the US for now, but there’s plenty of buzz around it: a replacement for iPhone’s default Phone app, which tries to offer a smarter take on contacts, providing more context for everyone in your digital phonebook. Usual caveats for a free app like this apply though: will the developer be trying to make money from your personal data, or will it sell up and shut down just as you’re getting used to it? iPhone
Gimme a Beat: Intel, 50 Cent Pair Up on Heart-Rate Headphones
For SMS Audio, the partnership with tech giant Intel and the new product are part of an effort to gain traction in a crowded headphone market. NPD analyst Ben Arnold has said that, while the premium headphone market has grown 16 percent over the past year, SMS Audio’s dollar share has shrunk to less than one percent. The company’s headphones, which range in price from $70 to more than $200, have gotten mixed reviews.
SmartThings CEO: We're keeping the platform open after the Samsung buy
Clearly, we’re a long way off from seeing how this acquisition affects SmartThings. Hawkinson promises an updated product road map before the end of the year. Maybe he’ll share something big when he speaks at our Structure Connect event in October. But until then, he’s preaching openness in interviews and in a steady stream of responses to commenters on his company’s site. He’s also assuring developers and customers that the free services they currently enjoy will remain free and will perhaps expand thanks to Samsung’s support. Since SmartThings has been very clear that it hopes to make money buy creating an app store of sorts and sharing in that revenue, an assurance of the freemium model is good to hear for both customers and developers.
Is BuzzFeed's deletion of articles an ethical lapse or the growing pains of a new-media entity?
BuzzFeed has come under fire for deleting thousands of old articles, which founder Jonah Peretti says didn’t live up to the kinds of standards the site wants to adhere to now. Should the company be criticized for doing this because it’s a journalistic no-no, or congratulated for evolving?
Alibaba Pictures said it has uncovered possible accounting irregularities
HONG KONG—Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s discovery of potential accounting irregularities at the film-production arm it recently bought is the latest red flag for investors as the e-commerce giant prepares for what could be the largest initial public offering in U.S. history.
Microsoft to deliver Windows 'Threshold' tech preview around late September | ZDNet
These mind numbing stories keep saying they're removing the Charms bar. Okay. But I have a hybrid/tablet so what will you be replacing the charms with? The charms do a lot of essential functions like printing, screen sharing, searching, etc. You cannot simply remove the charms and still have functional apps and tablet devices like mine. So I'm okay with them removing the charms, but they have to replace it with a new bar somewhere for my apps and devices to still work. Who cares that they're changing the interface, the real story is how the new interface will work. Simply saying it will be like WP8.1 does not answer the question. To make Windows 9 work like 8.1 would mean every single developer and app having to be rewritten. That is not an answer as it would mean breaking 99% of the apps in the Windows Store. What I think is probably happening are they are simply moving the charms bar somewhere else (like the taskbar) or they are going to break every single app in the Windows Store.
Poll: Will You Pay More for a Tougher iPhone Screen?
That may provide some peace of mind — it covers dud batteries and other problems beyond cracked screens — but it’s no bargain. Apple stores will repair a broken screen without AppleCare: the typical cost for an iPhone 5 is a little north of $150. That ends up on par if not a little cheaper than the cost of the extended warranty and repair. There is also a cottage industry of retailers (authorized and not) that repair iPhone screens. A RadioShack in New York’s Times Square quoted us $119 to fix an iPhone 5 screen. But choosing a repair shop is a roll of the dice.
Global smartphone shipments pass 300m for first time in single quarter
Global Q2 shipments for Microsoft’s mobile OS came in at just 2.5 percent, down from 3.4 percent a year earlier. Shipment volume, too, dropped from 8.2 million handsets a year ago to 7.4 million, marking a decline of 9.4 percent. However, IDC noted that compared to Q1, Windows Phone shipments showed a “slight improvement.”
The man who created the first pop-up ad says 'sorry'
Ethan Zuckerman was a designer and programmer for the early web-hosting service Tripod.com when a car company freaked out. The unspecified manufacturer had bought a banner ad on a page that "celebrated anal sex," and was not too pleased at the association of its brand with sexual escapades. Tripod had the solution: what if an advert could launch in its own window? Zuckerman wrote the code for the world's first pop-up ad , and for many years it was impossible to browse without being inundated by pop-ups.
U.S. extends deadline for 'net neutrality' comments to Sept 15
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Friday said it would accept public comments on its proposed new "net neutrality" rules through Sept. 15, giving Americans extra time to weigh in on how they think Internet traffic should be regulated.
Call of Duty Strengthened by 'Freedom to Fail,' says Activision - IGN
Activision says that the Call of Duty franchise's recent switch to a three-year development cycle gives the developers more "freedom to fail," thereby encouraging innovation.
In the Battle for the Connected Home, Stakeholders Are Lining Up
“The last two or three years have been a slow ride—the land of venture capitalists,” said Mary Turner, chief executive of AlertMe, a connected-home company based in the United Kingdom. “But most of the deals that are being done at the moment are by big corporates. The epic giants are gearing up for the battle beyond the living room. Now it’s about getting into the rest of the home.”
Rocket Internet Adds $1 Billion To Valuation In Less Than A Week With United Internet Investment
Thought it may seem odd that a pre-IPO company would raise more than $1 billion in less than two weeks, the private capital allows Rocket to continue to build a war chest that it can use to reinvest in its e-commerce startups. The incubator has launched more than 75 different startups since it was founded in 2007, and most of those companies operate in the cash-intensive world of online retail. Rocket, which has a reputation for mimicking American technology companies in developing markets, brought in revenue of more than $900 million in 2013, according to the Financial Times. One potential investor in Rocket’s IPO, who attended a roadshow-type briefing on the company at Detusche Bank’s offices in Berlin, said that he expects the company to reveal its plans for the capital at investor meetings in Germany and London scheduled for September.
Tesla Extends All 85kWh Model S Drivetrain Warranties To 8 Years And Infinite Miles | TechCrunch
Originally, the Model S carried a four-year, 50,000-mile limited warranty that could be extended to 8 years and 100,000 miles for an additional $4,000 fee. Musk says in his blog post detailing the move that “[i]n hindsight, this should have been [Tesla's] policy from the beginning of the Model S program,” as the company’s warranty should reflect its belief in the improved reliability of its electric engines vs. their gasoline-powered equivalents.
Germany "accidentally" spied on Hillary Clinton phone call, report says
SZ’s sources in the German government apparently insisted that there was no systematic espionage against the U.S., and that the recording of the call – while Clinton was in office, and traveling in a U.S. government plane – was purely accidental. A member of the government reportedly said the decision not to destroy the recording was “idiocy.”
Smaller games 'great candidates' for Xbox Games with Gold
Above: Goat Simulator, coming to Xbox One
When mind-bender Braid came to Xbox Live Arcade in 2008, it felt emblematic of a curated platform: a boutique in which unique concepts and independent developers could gain exposure. Now the boutique is long gone and independent games are plentiful, mingling with AAA games right there in the living room, for better or worse.
Games like the time-stopping shooter, Super Hot , are now regularly shown beneath lit-up Xbox and PlayStation logos at major press briefings, though they're not typically explored in depth. Instead, the presentation format seems to be cramming every confirmed game into a montage and shotgunning them into the audience. In the years since Braid , independent creations have gone from oddities to commodities, and they're "coming to our console first" – that's how the line goes.
From his perspective, says Xbox Marketing VP Mike Nichols, it's not really about moving the needle bit by bit, but strengthening the allure of diverse experiences on a single machine. "I think a lot of gamers, they like games of all types," says Nichols.
Don't Call the Police "Militarized." The Military Is Better Than This.
But none of those material factors actually account for cops' proven willingness to use this gear on American citizens. That comes only with a citadel mentality, what I call Fortress America: a belief that "we" are under siege from "them." It comes from a society that establishes poverty and privation as a matter of course for some citizens, then criminalizes those citizens, then dehumanizes the criminal class. Only after we have constructed someone as an internal enemy does it then make sense to target him thus:
A wild Mega Audino appears in Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire remakes
The latest Pokemon to receive the Mega Evolution treatment is Audino, a 'mon with such precise hearing that it can diagnose illness simply by listening to a patient's body. As a result of this phenomenal ability, the Pokemon Centers of the Unova region keep Audino at hand to assist Nurse Joy. The 'mon apparently took a liking to its unforeseen medical profession as the Mega Evolved Audino almost looks like a tiny, stylized doctor, complete with white lab coat and stethoscope.
Though the Pokemon Company is only now debuting Mega Audino, Pokemon fan site Serebii reported on the Mega Evolution two days ago when both Mega Audino and Mega Slowbro accidentally appeared on the official Korean Pokemon website. The Pokemon Company has yet to officially acknowledge the existence of Mega Slowbro, and offered no comment to our inquiries. Despite this, the Korean leak correctly predicted every aspect of Mega Audino, leading us to expect a Mega Slowbro announcement shortly.
Mega Audino will make its video game debut in the upcoming Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire 3DS games which are scheduled to launch on November 2.
Intel and SMS Audio Introduce Activity Tracking Earbuds
The earbuds are water resistant so anyone that runs in the rain or sweats like they’re being questions by a federal judge can workout without worrying about their tunes and data tracking shorting out because of moisture. More impressive is that the earbuds are powered by the audio jack on your smartphone. “We managed to figure how to produce a circuit that allows you to extract power from audio and power the device without a battery,” says Bell.
The Cable Guys Have Become the Internet Guys
Last quarter, for the first time ever, the biggest cable TV providers started selling more broadband subscriptions than video subscriptions, according to a new tally from Leichtman Research Group .
The Gyroscopes in Your Phone Could Let Apps Eavesdrop on Conversations | Threat Level | WIRED
In a presentation at the Usenix security conference next week, researchers from Stanford University and Israel’s defense research group Rafael plan to present a technique for using a smartphone to surreptitiously eavesdrop on conversations in a room—not with a gadget’s microphone, but with its gyroscopes, the sensors designed measure the phone’s orientation. Those sensors enable everything from motion-based games like DoodleJump to cameras’ image stabilization to the phones’ displays toggling between vertical and horizontal orientations. But with a piece of software the researchers built called Gyrophone, they found that the gyroscopes were also sensitive enough to allow them to pick up some sound waves, turning them into crude microphones. And unlike the actual mics built into phones, there’s no way for users of the Android phones they tested to deny an app or website access to those sensors’ data.
The plastic-clad HTC One E8 should be headed to Sprint soon
The plastic version of HTC’s One M8 was thought to be unlikely to make its way over to the United States, but according to Sprint’s official YouTube channel, the carrier will be carrying the TD-LTE capable phone.
OperationSAFE is on JustCoz!
“Please start giving today to help children recover from trauma. http://bit.ly/givechild @operationsafe ”
The Day Ferguson Cops Were Caught in a Bloody Lie
The officers got the wrong man, but charged him anyway—with getting his blood on their uniforms. How the Ferguson PD ran the town where Michael Brown was gunned down.
CRM and Cloud Computing To Grow Your Business - Salesforce.com
Customer relationship management (CRM) is all about managing the relationships you have with your customers. CRM combines business processes, people, and technology to achieve this single goal: getting and keeping customers. It's an overall strategy to help you learn more about their behavior so you can develop stronger, lasting relationships that will benefit both of you. It’s very hard to run a successful business without a strong focus on CRM, as well as adding elements of social media and making the transition to a social enterprise to connect with customers in new ways.
7 Things Really Amazing Communicators Do
Next to boring lectures and overbearing shouting, I find the most frustrating communication to be where I have to carry the entire conversation. Amazing communicators know how to give and take in a reciprocal manner. Not only do they initiate conversation, they help drive the direction and encourage others to take part. They often mirror by repeating others' comments, concerns and feelings in a manner that shows understanding and interest. To be an amazing communicator, you should be well informed and yet ready to learn , listen and participate.
Google Opens Classroom, Its Learning Management Tool, To All Teachers | TechCrunch
With Classroom, Google closes the loop. Students can use their Google laptops with Google’s apps, write their papers in Google Docs and then submit them through Classroom. It’s for teachers and parents to decide whether they want to make Google such a central hub in their students’ educations, but it’s clearly more convenient for everybody involved to stay within one ecosystem than to have to juggle two or more.
AdStage Raises $6.25M To Bring Its Cross-Network Ad Platform To The Masses | TechCrunch
Sahil Jain is Co-Founder & CEO at AdStage.
Sahil co-founded his first company, YC & SV Angel backed Trigger.io at 20.
He dropped out of UC Berkeley, where he studied Philosophy and Econ, to join AOL Corp Devt. at 19, dropped out of High School to join Yahoo! Mobile at 17 and worked in the professional video game industry before that.
In 12 years of blogging, the more things change, the more they stay the same
Over the past 12 years, blogging has gone from being a niche curiosity to becoming a catch-all phrase for everything from rants to press release rewrites. However, what has not changed is its ethos and its importance in an increasingly content rich world.
MIT Technology Review
The mission of MIT Technology Review is to equip its audiences with the intelligence to understand a world shaped by technology.
The bridge between suicide and life
For many years Sergeant Kevin Briggs had a dark, unusual, at times strangely rewarding job: He patrolled the southern end of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, a popular site for suicide attempts. In a sobering, deeply personal talk Briggs shares stories from those he’s spoken — and listened — to standing on the edge of life. He gives a powerful piece of advice to those with loved ones who might be contemplating suicide.
How to Be Polite
Because nearly everyone in the world believes their job to be difficult. I once went to a party and met a very beautiful woman whose job was to help celebrities wear Harry Winston jewelry. I could tell that she was disappointed to be introduced to this rumpled giant in an off-brand shirt, but when I told her that her job sounded difficult to me she brightened and spoke for 30 straight minutes about sapphires and Jessica Simpson. She kept touching me as she talked. I forgave her for that. I didn’t reveal a single detail about myself, including my name. Eventually someone pulled me back into the party. The celebrity jewelry coordinator smiled and grabbed my hand and said, “I like you!” She seemed so relieved to have unburdened herself. I counted it as a great accomplishment. Maybe a hundred times since I’ve said, “wow, that sounds hard” to a stranger, always to great effect. I stay home with my kids and have no life left to me, so take this party trick, my gift to you.
How to make stress your friend
Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.
The Front Lines of Ferguson
At some point, I fell. And, for a moment, I could feel the smoke in my lungs. The mix of the weapons firing and the smoke and the sirens froze me for a second, and then I got up to hide behind a tree. There were screams — “LET’S GO!” Some yelled at the cops: “Come lock me the fuck up!” “On the side of y’all car it says ‘to protect and serve’ and y’all ain’t protecting shit!” “There’s fucking kids out here and you throwing smoke bombs!”
The Skully Smart Helmet Is The Fastest Funded Indiegogo Campaign To Hit $1M | TechCrunch
The helmet uses a network of sensors, microprocessors, and a camera to deliver a heads-up display with turn-by-turn GPS navigation, which appears about 10 feet in front of the rider. Labeled as the “Synapse platform,” it offers automatic infinitely variable focal distance, which means the information is clear no matter where the rider is looking.
5 facts you should know about women who shaped modern physics
4. Albert Einstein called German mathematician Emmy Noether a creative mathematical genius.
Noether’s Theorem is a fundamental idea on which much of modern physics is built. Published in 1918, her theorem states that if an object has symmetry — i.e., if it looks the same regardless of changing locations or times — then this leads to conservation laws in nature. Says Ghose: “A simple example is a movie of the motion of a ball when you throw it. The motion looks the same if you run the movie backwards in time (time symmetry). This means that the total energy of the ball remains the same (conservation of energy) — the energy just gets converted into different forms as the ball moves. This is a simplified example, but the theorem is widely applicable and is a real workhorse of modern physics.”
5 basic skills of power, and how you can learn to use them
“Before you can learn to write power, you’ve got to learn how to read it,” says Liu. To do this, you probably need some motivation. Liu recommends choosing an issue you care about — we’ll use the example of police brutality here, but it could be anything. “Looking through the lens of your issue, take inventory of the forms of power that are in play in your community. Get literate in the way decisions get made,” says Liu. “Understand what bodies have the authority to make decisions on the issue you care about, and start observing who has influence over those bodies.” Overall, Liu recommends asking yourself: Who has formal and informal power in my community, and how did those arrangements come to be? And beyond that: what would I need to do to claim more power than I currently have? “These are not questions that people tend to ask, unless there is a moment of crisis,” he says.
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The TheTechNewsBlog Daily, by TheTechNewsBlog: updated automatically with a curated selection of articles, blog posts, videos and photos.
59 Free Twitter Tools and Apps for Marketers
At Buffer, we tend to come across a fair share of social media tools . We’ve collected a great bunch to share with you! Here are all the tools we’ve found helpful and many more that we’re excited to try. If there’s a free Twitter tool out there, you’re likely to find a mention here in our list.
You can carry a privacy-minded wireless hotspot in your pocket
Devices like the Safeplug can deter companies and governments from snooping on your devices at home, but they're not much good when you're on the road. That's where the PORTAL (Personal Onion Router To Assure Liberty) project comes into play. Load the customized firmware on to certain travel hotspots (some TP-Link models and their clones) and you can maintain strong privacy anywhere you have internet access, without using special software; think of it as an anti-surveillance tool in your pocket. It not only puts you on the Tor anonymity network that spies hate so much, but supports connection masking add-ons that prevent your Tor data from being blocked. You can visit China without worrying that you'll have to use an insecure, heavily censored connection just to get online.
The catch? It's not all that easy to set up. You have to be comfortable with loading unofficial code like OpenWRT , for a start. It's also "highly recommended" that you use a modified router; there isn't enough room on stock devices to load PORTAL without plugging in a USB drive, robbing you of the chance to use a cellular data stick.
With $1.1M In Funding, Conversion Logic Announces Tools For Tracking Video Ads Across Devices | TechCrunch
The company is currently developing the product in collaboration with a few clients, and it plans to bring on its first paying customers this fall. While it’s focused on video initially, Testwuide said he hopes to expand to other ad formats. And while Conversion Logic is working closely with its initial customers, Testwuide said, “We’re not here to build a consulting company. We’re here to build a SaaS company, with some client services on top.”