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Internet Television

Lights, camera, interaction: Why video data is a crucial part of the enterprise value chain
Apr. 12, 2014 - 12:00 PM PDT Apr. 12, 2014 - 12:00 PM PDT The Netflix-Comcast truce has demonstrated once more how crucial video has become for today’s internet. YouTube alone streams enough footage each month to
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Amid social TV consolidation, Zeebox rebrands as Beamly 14 April 2014, 20.39 Internet Television
Amid social TV consolidation, Zeebox rebrands as Beamly
21 hours ago Apr. 14, 2014 - 3:00 AM PDT Social TV startup Zeebox is rebranding as Beamly, and focusing more on interactions that happen when a show isn’t airing — a departure from the focus on live second-screen activities
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A print newspaper generated by robots: Is this the future of media or just a sideshow?
13 hours ago Apr. 14, 2014 - 10:44 AM PDT What if you could pick up a printed newspaper, but instead of a handful of stories hand-picked by a secret cabal of senior editors in a dingy newsroom somewhere, it had pieces that were
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Mohu preps Channels TV tuner release after raising $145,000 on Kickstarter
20 hours ago Apr. 14, 2014 - 4:00 AM PDT Antenna maker Mohu is working on releasing its Channels TV adapter this summer after successfully completing a Kickstarter campaign that not only helped the company to raise close to
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Comcast customers get much faster Netflix streams, thanks to peering deal
12 hours ago Apr. 14, 2014 - 11:31 AM PDT The peering deal between Netflix and Comcast seems to be paying off for consumers: The average speed of Netflix streams consumed by Comcast subscribers has increased by 65 percent over
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Earth News Reports

Dick Moby’s Eco-Sunglasses Help Rid the Oceans of Plastic Pollution
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU: Tommy Hilfiger Adds Eyewear to Philanthropic “Millennium Promise” Line Dick Moby’s Eco-Sunglasses Help Rid the Oceans of Plastic Pollution by Helen Morgan , 04/14/14   filed under: Eco-Fashion
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Factory45: An Online Accelerator for Sustainable Fashion Businesses
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU: First Fair-Trade-, Fair-Labor-Certified Clothing Arrives in the U.S. Factory45: An Online Accelerator for Sustainable Fashion Businesses by Amy DuFault , 04/14/14   filed under: Features,
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Make a Veggie-Printed Tote for Trips to the Farmers’ Market (DIY Tutorial)
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU: Recycle a Necktie Into a Camera Strap (DIY Tutorial) DIY Nation Make a Veggie-Printed Tote for Trips to the Farmers’ Market (DIY Tutorial) by Blair Wilson, Textile Arts Center , 04/14/14   filed
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The Awesome Reason You’ll Never See a UPS Truck Take a Left Turn in the U.S.
Share on TumblrEmail Email and text messages may have replaced snail mail, but there are some things that you just can’t send electronically. While the Internet may have killed the handwritten letter, all
Read More 67 Hits 0 Ratings
Hybrid Skylys Flying Car is an Electric Vehicle, Helicopter and Plane Rolled Into One
Share on TumblrEmail The dream of flying cars dates back to the 1960s when the animated series “The Jetsons” envisioned a future where these airborne vehicles dominate the sky. In the past few years the
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Glow-in-the-Dark ‘Smart Highways’ Replace Street Lights in the Netherlands
Share on TumblrEmail Light-absorbing glow-in-the-dark road markings have replaced standard street lighting on a 500 meter stretch of highway in The Netherlands. This project is the first stage of a concept
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WordPress news: April 6 to April 12, 2014 14 April 2014, 20.38 Green Architecture
WordPress news: April 6 to April 12, 2014
WordPress has become a tool used by millions of designers for much more than creating blogs. Each week we take a look at what’s new with WordPress. For more regular news, tutorials and tricks, check out our blog about
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Whimsical lighting collection 14 April 2014, 20.38 Green Architecture
Whimsical lighting collection
Ingo Maurer‘s nickname is “The poet of light”. I’m pretty sure you will understand why by taking a look at the images in this post. Via Beautiful Life. The post Whimsical lighting collection appeared
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Keeping it Consistent- Why You Need a Responsive Website Design 14 April 2014, 20.38 Green Architecture
Keeping it Consistent- Why You Need a Responsive Website Design
Today’s consumers are spending more and more of their time on their mobile devices. From browsing the Internet to catching up on current events, mobile devices have become an essential part of daily life. When it comes to
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Urban fabric rugs 14 April 2014, 20.38 Green Architecture
Urban fabric rugs
Urban fabrics is a series of area rugs inspired by the man made patterns inscribed upon the Earth’s surface through the development of our agriculture, infrastructure and architecture. The post Urban fabric rugs appeared
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Technology News Reports

The Awesome Reason You’ll Never See a UPS Truck Take a Left Turn in the U.S.
Share on TumblrEmail Email and text messages may have replaced snail mail, but there are some things that you just can’t send electronically. While the Internet may have killed the handwritten letter, all
Read More 67 Hits 0 Ratings
Hybrid Skylys Flying Car is an Electric Vehicle, Helicopter and Plane Rolled Into One
Share on TumblrEmail The dream of flying cars dates back to the 1960s when the animated series “The Jetsons” envisioned a future where these airborne vehicles dominate the sky. In the past few years the
Read More 63 Hits 0 Ratings
Glow-in-the-Dark ‘Smart Highways’ Replace Street Lights in the Netherlands
Share on TumblrEmail Light-absorbing glow-in-the-dark road markings have replaced standard street lighting on a 500 meter stretch of highway in The Netherlands. This project is the first stage of a concept
Read More 70 Hits 0 Ratings
Cheap Solar Power—at Night 14 April 2014, 20.39 Tech
Cheap Solar Power—at Night
New solar thermal technologies could address solar power’s intermittency problem. By Kevin Bullis on April 8, 2014 Searing sun: Thousands of mirrors focus sunlight on a tower to generate high temperatures at a power
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Does Musk’s Gigafactory Make Sense? 14 April 2014, 20.39 Tech
Does Musk’s Gigafactory Make Sense?
Tesla’s audacious plan to build a giant battery factory may mostly be a clever negotiating tactic. By Kevin Bullis on April 14, 2014 Dream maker: Elon Musk, Tesla Motors’ CEO, hopes a massive factory will lead to
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Going Nuclear: The Global Power Picture 14 April 2014, 20.39 Tech
Going Nuclear: The Global Power Picture
Already a Magazine subscriber? You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account. Activate Your Account Become an Insider It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research,
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The Underappreciated Ties Between Art and Innovation
Author Sarah Lewis discusses some counterintuitive pathways to breakthroughs. By Brian Bergstein on April 15, 2014 Sarah Lewis The path to a great achievement—whether it is a technological innovation or a masterwork of
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Averting Disastrous Climate Change Could Depend on Unproven Technologies
A U.N. climate report says we’ll overshoot greenhouse gas targets, and will need new technologies to make up for it. By Kevin Bullis on April 14, 2014 Carbon conundrum: One way to decrease the amount of carbon in the
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Adobe Lightroom for the iPad is finally here, and it’s superb: Hands on review
Adobe’s Lightroom has become the dominant image-organizing and non-destructive-editing application among serious photographers. However, it has been very awkward to integrate mobile devices into a Lightroom-based workflow.
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Heartbleed: Which passwords you should change right now
Security researchers can all agree on one thing: the Heartbleed bug is probably the most significant and dangerous vulnerability to ever hit the internet. What’s odd about Heartbleed, though, is that due to the nature of
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What the Heartbleed bug is, and how you can protect yourself (and your servers)
Over the last couple of days, you may have heard about the rather ominous sounding Heartbleed bug — a bug that affected hundreds of millions of websites, exposing usernames, passwords, encryption keys, and other sensitive
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The NSA knew about and exploited the Heartbleed bug for ‘at least two years’
When I wrote about the Heartbleed bug last week, and how it means that much of the web has been insecure for the last two years, I found myself thinking: “if I was the NSA, or some other intelligence agency, this is exactly
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Why Game of Thrones is the most pirated TV show in the world
While hard and fast figures are tough to come by, it appears that the Game of Thrones season four premiere will become the most pirated TV episode of all time, racking up around one million downloads within 12 hours of the
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Could a Hotel Bring Back Los Angeles’ Theater Row?
The gothic interior of the United Artists Theater. Photos by Jen Griffes The gothic interior of the United Artists Theater. Photos by Jen Griffes Murals line the walls of the United Artists Theater. Photos by Jen
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How Flesh-Eating Strep Bacteria Evolved Into an Epidemic
Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. Image: CDC Bacteria aren’t kind enough to leave behind a fossil record (save for cyanobacteria), but they’re evolving fast. Really fast. Their short life cycles mean that generations come
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Mad Men Recap: Welcome to the Beginning of the End
Every week, Wired takes a look at the latest episode of Mad Men through the lens of the latest media campaign of advertising agency Sterling Cooper & Partners. Image: AMC “Are you ready? Because I want you to pay
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3 Brilliant UI Details in Carousel, Dropbox’s New Photo App
Photo Illustration: WIRED With the rise of digital cameras and smartphone photography, we lost photo albums–the actual, physical things we relied on to hold our memories. In their place, we have the photo apps that come
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Watch Live Tonight as a Total Lunar Eclipse Turns the Moon Blood Red
Tonight the Earth, moon, and sun will align just right to put on a celestial show known as a total lunar eclipse. Though you can just look up in the sky to catch the event, we’ve also got some spectacular live feeds of the
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Apple Buys Tiny Dams to Power Its Data Centers
Apple’s Maiden, North Carolina, data center. Photo: Apple Apple is buying up a hydro-electric project in Oregon, hoping to lock into an environmentally sustainable way of powering its massive data centers. The project,
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Tesla Model S Blazes Across the United States on Record-Setting 12,000-Mile Road Trip
Share on TumblrEmail Summer is almost here, and thousands of US travelers are gearing up for the great American tradition of road tripping across the States. But what if those trips could be taken by electric
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MIT Whizzes Invent Magical Furniture That Changes Shape on Demand
MIT's Tangible Media Group created Transform, a vision of what could be the shape-shifting furniture of the future. Photos by MIT MIT's Tangible Media Group created Transform, a vision of what could be the
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Are Touchscreens Melting Your Kid’s Brain?
Gadget Lab Reddit Digg Stumble Upon Email Tags: children, magazine-22.04, magazine-april-2014, tablets Subscribe to Wired Magazine Advertisement Wired gadgetlab Editors Michael Calore Bryan
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A Virtuoso Robot Band Whose Guitarist Has 78 Fingers
Practice might be the way for human musicians to get to Carnegie Hall, but if you’re a robot, it’s not so tough—as long as your programmers have given you the proper advantages. Meet the Z-Machines, a band made entirely
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A Sweet/Sad Stop-Motion Film Made With 3D Printing
They said the honey was just at the top of the stairs… GIF: Kyle VanHemert. Source: DBLG Here’s an innovative use for your 3D printer: moviemaking. London-based creative agency DBLG shows the way with “Bears on
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Twitter’s Next Big Cash Cow: Your Data 14 April 2014, 18.59 Tech
Twitter’s Next Big Cash Cow: Your Data
Twitter just agreed to buy its long-time partner Gnip, a data company that anaylizes and sells Twitter data to a host of third parties companies. Gnip is the largest provider of social data in the world. In its announcement,
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This Car Talk Puzzler Solution is Bogus 14 April 2014, 18.59 Tech
This Car Talk Puzzler Solution is Bogus
Image: Rhett Allain. It’s not so easy to burn a string from both ends Don’t get me wrong. I love Car Talk. Who doesn’t love this show? I think this is the only podcast I listen to in the car that doesn’t make my kids
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Why Google’s Modular Smartphone Might Actually Succeed
In a two-story building in an industrial district of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ara Knaian shows off prototypes of what could be the industry’s first completely modular smartphone. On workbenches sit prototypes of memory
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The Revival of Cancer Immunotherapy 08 April 2014, 02.16 Tech
The Revival of Cancer Immunotherapy
An old idea for treating cancer is yielding impressive results on cancer patients—and lots of attention from drug companies. By Susan Young on April 7, 2014 Immune infantry: T cells (yellow) attack cancer cells (pink)
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Tesla Model S Breaks 28-Year-Old Sales Record in Norway 08 April 2014, 02.14 Transportation
Tesla Model S Breaks 28-Year-Old Sales Record in Norway
Share on TumblrEmail The Tesla Model S has only been on sale in Norway for less than a year, but the electric car has already broken a 28-year-old monthly sales record. Last month Tesla sold 1,493 Model S
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Laser-Cut Koi Bike Rack Offers a Stylish New Way to Keep Bicycles Safe in Philly
Share on TumblrEmail Jibe Design won a bike rack competition with Koi – a futuristic new design that will be installed at the base of a downtown high-rise in Philadelphia. Based on a Japanese textile and
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Man Hacks Prius to Run on San Francisco MUNI Electric Bus Power Lines
Share on TumblrEmail When we first spotted this crazy picture of a Prius driver hitching a free energy ride on San Francisco’s MUNI power lines, we couldn’t believe it! Equipped with a giant trolley pole,
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High-Flying Camera: DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Drone Promises Stabilized HD Video
Camera drones are increasingly popular among sports and photography enthusiasts for their ability to capture stunning images from above. DJI, a company that specializes in small remote-controlled aerial vehicles, now sells
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Europe votes to protect net neutrality, abolish mobile data roaming charges
In a stark reminder of just how different things are over the pond in Europe, the EU Parliament has voted in favor of abolishing mobile roaming fees and maintaining net neutrality. While US lawmakers have generally favored
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Map-D: MIT spinout takes big data real-time with GPUs
We all know that with enough expensive servers, big companies can crunch through massive amounts of data. In some cases, like trending search reports, dedicated computing resources can even make large-scale analysis happen in
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Build 2014: Microsoft announces Windows Phone 8.1, shows off Cortana the digital assistant
At the Build 2014 conference keynote in San Francisco, Microsoft’s Terry Myerson and Joe Belfiore have kicked off things by giving us more details about Windows 8.1 Update 1, and officially unveiling Windows Phone
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Facebook details its plans to bring drone internet access to the masses – but will monopolistic telcos stand idly by?
Earlier this month, Facebook announced that it was developing its own drone-based plan for global internet coverage, to compete against the likes of Google’s balloon-based Project Loon. On Friday, Zuckerberg unveiled a more
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How Dropbox knows you’re a dirty pirate, and why you shouldn’t use cloud storage to share copyrighted files
Over the weekend, it emerged that Dropbox has the ability to stop you from publicly or privately sharing copyrighted content — in other words, Dropbox has a system in place that prevents piracy. At first, this sounds rather
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European Parliament Votes to Protect Net Neutrality, Kill Roaming Fees
Image: Free Press/CC The European Union is poised to pass new laws that would protect network neutrality within its borders. On Thursday, as part of a larger proposal to create a single telecommunications market for the
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Vine Creeps in on Messaging With New Private Video Option
Vine added private video messaging features in an update today. Image: Vine Vine just announced that it’s getting in on private messaging. Users can now send looping six second video messages to multiple contacts —
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Science Graphic of the Week: Fluorescence Reveals the Incredible Productivity of America’s Corn Belt
The glow represents satellite measurements of fluorescence of land plants in early July, over a period from 2007 to 2011. Image: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. During photosynthesis, the chlorophyll in healthy plants
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Apple’s New Lottery System Gives Everyone an Equal Shot at Getting Into WWDC
Apple is holding WWDC June 2nd this year. Image: Apple Apple announced its annual, five-day Worldwide Developer conference (WWDC) will kick off June 2nd this year. And following the model that other large conferences like
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Tsunami Warning Tests Galapagos Islands 03 April 2014, 21.21 Tech
Tsunami Warning Tests Galapagos Islands
Boats anchored in Puerto Ayora in the early morning of April 2nd. Vessels were ordered out of the shallow-water harbor during the tsunami warning of April 1st. (Image: Jeffrey Marlow) At 8:46 PM, on April 1st, the Nazca and
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Nest’s Smoke Alarm Stumble Is a UI Lesson for Everybody
Image Courtesy of Nest After a nearly blemish-free record that culminated in a $3 billion acquisition by Google, Nest today issued a surprising halt to sales of Protect, its gesture-controlled smoke alarm. One of the
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Madrid Gets Ready to Launch its First Electric Bike Sharing Program
Share on TumblrEmail Madrid is making it easier and greener to get around town with its first electric bike-share program. Dubbed BiciMad, the program mirrors similar programs in place in Barcelona, London
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Antler Handlebars Add Hipster Flair to Picnic-Ready Lumburr Bicycle
Share on TumblrEmail Spring is finally here, which means fair-weather cyclists and picnickers are popping up in droves at parks across the nation. In celebration of craft and the great outdoors, Lumbürr Co
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Pay with Your Fingerprint 03 April 2014, 21.19 Tech
Pay with Your Fingerprint
Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is the first smartphone that can use a fingerprint to authorize payments in stores and online. By Tom Simonite on April 2, 2014 Anyone with an iPhone 5 can use its fingerprint reader to unlock the
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A Bandage That Senses Tremors, Delivers Drugs, and Keeps a Record
A flexible electronic skin patch has strain gauges to measure tremors, and heating elements to release drugs held inside nanoparticles. By David Talbot on April 1, 2014 Drug patch: A new prototype of an electronic skin
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Study Shows Flawed U.S. Encryption Standard Could Be Broken in Seconds
If the NSA did have the keys to the backdoor in a random number generator it could break some encryption without trouble. The security of a data connection protected using a flawed U.S. encryption standard promoted by
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U.N. Climate Report Warns of Increased Risk to Crops
Crop yields are expected to decline due to climate change faster than scientists thought. By Kevin Bullis on March 31, 2014 A few years ago scientists thought climate change wouldn’t cause much harm to overall food
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Cheaper Joints and Digits Bring the Robot Revolution Closer
Efforts to build robot hands and humanoids more cheaply could make them affordable enough for businesses and even homes. By Tom Simonite on April 4, 2014 Helping hand: A new kind of electrostatic clutch makes this design
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Toyota Unveils TS040 Hybrid Race Car for the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship
Share on TumblrEmail Toyota just unveiled its new TS040 hybrid race car, which is going to go head to head with Audi and Porsche during this year’s 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship. The all-wheel-drive
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$4.9 Billion Plan Aims to Protect NYC Transportation Infrastructure from Future Storms
$4.9 Billion Plan Aims to Protect NYC Transportation Infrastructure from Future StormsSee Beautiful New Pics of the Eco-Friendly Waterfront Condos Coming to Brooklyn Bridge ParkNew QueensWay Plan Reveals Zip-Lines,
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Arizona and Ohio Legalize Tesla’s Direct-to-Consumer Sales Model
Share on TumblrEmail The battle between Tesla and state car dealership associations continues to rage on, however the tide may be slowly turning in favor of the electric automaker. After New Jersey passed
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The Latest Chat App for iPhone Needs No Internet Connection
A startup’s software will let iPhone apps connect phones without the Internet. By Tom Simonite on March 28, 2014 Just between us: Peer-to-peer schemes like FireChat’s send information without involving distant servers
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Curiosity Stops to Thwack Its Instruments, Take Amazing Panoramas
A mosaic panorama made from images taken on Mar. 27. Image: NASA/JPL/MSSS/Jason Major (Do yourself a favor and click through to see the full image) On the road of life, it’s sometimes important to stop and thwack your
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A Futurist on Why Lawyers Will Start Becoming Obsolete This Year
Photo: Do-Ming Lum Karl Schroeder is one of the best of the current generation of hard science fiction writers. He’s also an accomplished futurist who works for the design firm Idea Couture. In his new novel Lockstep,
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Here's All the TV You Need to Catch Up on This Weekend
Screengrab: WIRED The two hardest things to say goodbye to in pop culture are: 1) Yesterday and 2) TV shows that you love. Broad City and Brooklyn Nine-Nine have wrapped their inaugural seasons, which B99‘s Gina Linetti
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Microsoft Curtails Email Snooping After Leak Controversy
Photo: Jim Merithew/WIRED A week after being caught snooping through the hotmail account of an unnamed French journalist who published some company secrets, Microsoft says it will no longer search through customers emails
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Design FX</em>: Noah'</em>s Epic Storm Was Controlled by a Single iPad App
And on the eighth day, we got apps. Director Darren Aronofsky’s new film Noah is, of course, about the Biblical flood so massive it required one man to build an ark. Bringing such an apocalyptic deluge to the big screen was
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WIRED Space Photo of the Day: Milky Way Panorama
Touring the Milky Way now is as easy as clicking a button with NASA's new zoomable, 360-degree mosaic presented Thursday at the TED 2014 Conference in Vancouver, Canada. The star-studded panorama of our galaxy is constructed
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The internet thinks Facebook just killed the Oculus Rift
As announcements go, this one hit everybody way out of left field. From the halls of GTC to the echoing environs of Reddit, when Facebook excitedly announced that it had purchased Oculus VR — the manufacturers behind the
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Apple wants to bypass net neutrality for its own streaming video service
Apple has been toying with the idea of modernizing the living room for the better part of a decade now, and it seems as if Cupertino is on the cusp of a breakthrough. Apple is reportedly in talks with Comcast to bring a
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Turkey becomes first nation to block Google DNS, claims Twitter is groveling at its feet
Turkey’s corrupt Prime Minister Racep Tayyip Erdoğan has upped the ante in his quest to “root out Twitter,” which is hugely popular in that country. Three days ago, Erdoğan banned Twitter in Turkey after links
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What is mesh networking, and why Apple’s adoption in iOS 7 could change the world
With iOS 7, Apple snuck in a very interesting feature that has mostly gone unnoticed: Mesh networking for both WiFi and Bluetooth. It also seems that Google is working to add mesh networking to Android, too. When it comes to
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Verizon accused of tearing out copper telephone lines to force FiOS and wireless on customers
Verizon has come under fire in the past for attempting to shove consumers off of copper wire and on to either FiOS or its expensive wireless Voice Link service but the blowback to-date hasn’t dissuaded the company. Now,
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Rungu’s Three-Wheeled Juggernaut Bike Floats Over Sand and Snow
Share on TumblrEmail Anyone that’s ever tried to ride a bicycle through the sand or snow knows how easily standard tires are bogged down, making it a near impossible feat. But a new fleet of “fatbikes”,
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All-Electric Horizon Trike Gives Off-Road Mobility to the Disabled
Share on TumblrEmail Designer Jesse Lee has created an all-terrain electric tricycle that gives extreme mobility to adventurers with disabilities. The three wheeled Horizon bike can be controlled with hand or
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Bicycle Haüs is a Gleaming Green Mecca for Cycling Enthusiasts
Share on TumblrEmail The recently re-located bike shop is a two-story wedge structure that uses a combination of resilient materials, solar power and strategic
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What Zuckerberg Sees in Oculus Rift 26 March 2014, 20.13 Tech
What Zuckerberg Sees in Oculus Rift
Facebook acquired Oculus Rift because it believes virtual reality could be the next big thing after mobile. By Simon Parkin on March 26, 2014 New reality: Attendees try Oculus Rift at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las
Read More 11 Hits 0 Ratings

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Cheap Solar Power—at Night PDF Print E-mail

New solar thermal technologies could address solar power’s intermittency problem.

Searing sun: Thousands of mirrors focus sunlight on a tower to generate high temperatures at a power plant in Ivanpah, California.

When the world’s largest solar thermal power plant—in Ivanpah, California—opened earlier this year, it was greeted with skepticism. The power plant is undeniably impressive. A collection of 300,000 mirrors, each the size of a garage door, focus sunlight on three 140-meter towers, generating high temperatures. That heat produces steam that drives the same kind of turbines used in fossil-fuel power plants. That heat can be stored (such as by heating up molten salts) and used when the sun goes down far more cheaply than it costs to store electricity in batteries (see “World’s Largest Solar Thermal Power Delivers Power for the First Time”).

But many experts—even some who invested in the plant—say it might be the last of its kind. David Crane, CEO of NRG Energy, one of three companies, including BrightSource Energy and Google, that funded the plant, says the economics looked good when the plant was first proposed six years ago. Since then, the price of conventional photovoltaic solar panels has plummeted. “Now we’re banking on solar photovoltaics,” he told a crowd of researchers and entrepreneurs at a conference earlier this year.

The allure of solar thermal technology is simple. Unlike conventional solar panels, it can generate power even when the sun isn’t shining. But in practice, it’s far more expensive than both fossil fuel power and electricity from solar panels. And that reality has sent researchers scrambling to find ways to make the technology more competitive.

One big challenge, says Philip Gleckman, chief technology officer of Areva Solar, is that the arrays of mirrors, as well as the motors and gearboxes used to aim them at the sun, are expensive. One potential fix, he says, comes from a San Francisco startup, Otherlab, which replaces the motors with pneumatics and actuators that can be made cheaply using the manufacturing equipment that’s currently used to make plastic water bottles.

The head of Otherlab’s solar efforts, Leila Madrone, says the technology could cut the cost of mirror fields for concentrating sunlight by 70 percent. But even this cost reduction, she says, won’t be enough to make the technology competitive with solar panels—even though the mirrors account for a third to a half of the overall cost of a solar thermal plant.

Getting overall costs down will require increasing the amount of power a solar thermal plant can generate, so it can sell more power for the same amount of investment. One approach to increasing power output is to increase the temperatures at which solar thermal power plants can operate, which would make them more efficient. They currently operate at 650 °C or less, but some researchers are developing ways to increase this to anywhere from 800 °C to 1,200 °C. That approach is being pursued by another startup, Halotechnics, which uses high-throughput screening processes to develop new materials—including new kinds of salt and glass—that can store heat at these high temperatures (see “Cheap Solar Power at Night”).

Another option, being funded by a new program at the U.S. Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy, is to make power plants that add solar panels to solar thermal power plants. The basic idea is that solar panels can only efficiently convert certain wavelengths of light into electricity. Much of the energy in infrared and ultraviolet light, for example, doesn’t get converted, and is instead emitted as heat. The new projects look for ways to harness that heat.

Solar systems that combine heat and solar panels aren’t new. For many years, companies have offered solar systems that run water pipes behind solar panels—the waste heat from the panels makes the water hot enough for showers.

The new approach, however, is to look for ways to reach much higher temperatures—high enough to be used for generating electricity. Such methods typically involve concentrating sunlight to generate high temperatures, and then diverting some of that concentrated sunlight to solar panels.

In one case, nanoparticles suspended in a fluid absorb wavelengths of sunlight that solar panels don’t convert efficiently. Those nanoparticles heat up the fluid. Light that the solar panels can use pass through the fluid to a solar panel. Other researchers use mirrors that allow only certain wavelengths to pass through them.

Howard Branz, the program manager in charge of these projects at ARPA-E, says the hope is that the added cost of these hybrid systems will be made up for by two things. First, the systems will be more efficient, potentially converting more than half of the energy in sunlight into electricity, compared to 15 to 40 percent with existing conventional solar panels.

Second, the ability to store heat for use whenever it’s needed will become more valuable as more solar power is installed. Germany, which has far more solar power than any other country, sometimes has to pay its neighbors to take excess solar power generated on some sunny days. “This program is looking out to a future that might be tomorrow in Germany, three years away in California, five years away in Arizona,” Branz says. “But eventually this future will come to everywhere that people want to generate a lot of electricity with solar energy.”

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Does Musk’s Gigafactory Make Sense? PDF Print E-mail

Tesla’s audacious plan to build a giant battery factory may mostly be a clever negotiating tactic.

Elon Musk of Tesla

Dream maker: Elon Musk, Tesla Motors’ CEO, hopes a massive factory will lead to cheap electric cars.

Lithium-ion batteries are just about everywhere—they power almost all smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Yet in three years, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, says he intends to build a single factory in the United States that will more than double the world’s total lithium-ion battery production. The plan is still in its early stages, but already four states are negotiating with Tesla in the hope of becoming the factory’s home.

People have come to expect bold plans from Musk. In addition to founding Tesla, he started his own rocket company, SpaceX, which now delivers supplies to the International Space Station. But even for him, the “gigafactory,” as he calls it, seems audacious.

First of all, Tesla sold 23,000 cars last year. The gigafactory, which would start production in 2017, would by 2020 make enough batteries for 500,000 electric cars. Second, battery companies normally announce factories only after they’re funded and a site is selected. And they typically scale up gradually. Why announce plans to build such an enormous factory —especially when electric car sales so far come nowhere close to justifying it?

The project seems even more puzzling in light of the hard times at other electric car battery factories in the United States. In 2009, President Obama announced an ambitious $2.4 billion grant program intended to launch an electric car battery industry in the United States. That effort, so far, has failed—factories were built, but sales have been poor because electric car sales have been slow. All of the battery makers involved have struggled (see “Too Many Battery Factories, Too Few Electric Cars”), and one, A123 Systems, went bankrupt.

Musk is betting that Tesla can generate a much bigger market for electric cars. To keep the factory humming, he will have to sell more than 10 times as many electric vehicles in a year as Nissan managed last year (and Nissan has sold more electric cars than any other automaker). Musk has some reason for confidence—last year Tesla sold as many electric cars as Nissan in the United States, even though Tesla’s Model S costs two to three times as much as Nissan’s electric car, the Leaf. He seems to be betting that a huge factory will significantly reduce the cost of making batteries, which remain the most expensive part of electric cars. In the ideal scenario, that cost reduction would help Tesla produce a mass-market car similar in cost to the Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt but that, crucially, will be able to go more than twice as far on a charge (the car would also be able to accelerate faster than the Leaf).

Yet it’s not clear that a huge factory would deliver the needed cost reductions. According to a presentation to investors, it would lower costs by 30 percent. Tesla has a good track record for reducing battery costs (see “Driving Innovation”), and even incremental improvements at conventional factories could reduce costs by 15 percent by 2020, says Menahem Anderman, president of Advanced Automotive Batteries. But it’s unclear where the remaining 15 percent might come from.

Economies of scale could help lower production costs to some degree, but Tesla says the unusual design of the gigafactory, with batteries built from raw materials rather than assembled, will also help.

Usually, the components of batteries are made in many different places. Electrolytes are often made at a large chemical plant and graphite electrodes at a plant that also makes graphite for tires and other applications. The electrolytes and electrodes are then packaged into cells at a plant dedicated to cell making, and the cells are assembled into complete battery packs—with cooling systems and electronic controls—in yet another factory.

Musk plans to bring almost all of this under one roof. Raw materials, processed into electrodes, electrolytes, containers and other parts, go in one end; complete battery packs come out the other. The factory will also be able to take old batteries apart to recycle the materials, and Musk even plans to use solar and wind to help power the factory.

Brett Smith, codirector for manufacturing, engineering, and technology at the Center for Automotive Research, says having control over every part of the process could indeed help reduce costs.

Tesla would need to bring in a great deal of expertise to make this work. What’s more, there are benefits to making different parts in different places. For example, it can be cheaper to make electrolytes in a large chemical plant that makes other chemicals, too. Panasonic, Tesla’s current battery cell supplier, benefits from the know-how of workers in Japan, many of whom have decades of manufacturing experience.

“Manufacturers have tried both approaches. Either approach can work,” says Jack Hu, a professor of industrial operations and engineering at the University of Michigan.

But Hu says such a plant would need to be flexible. “It is possible to build a gigafactory,” he says. “The key lies in the how. Battery manufacturing is a complex process involving many steps. If these steps are all dependent on each other, then the gigafactory would be a bad idea: difficult to run, a lot of down times; difficult to identify quality problems.”

Beyond the technical challenges, Tesla may struggle to convince partners to go along with the scheme. The factory would cost $5 billion, with $2 billion coming from Tesla. If Tesla can’t sell as many cars as it hopes, there would be no alternative market for those batteries, making it a risky investment.

Whether the gigafactory is actually built, and whatever the final factory looks like, the way Musk has been promoting it may prove to be a savvy business move. Announcing the factory at an early stage, and with an ambitious size, could be good for negotiations with states, especially given the proposed size of the factory. Some states are even reconsidering laws that restrict how Tesla can sell cars in their state, which could help open new markets for the automaker.

Proposing such a huge undertaking might also make it more likely that Panasonic or some other partner will later go along with a less ambitious plan—say, a factory to supply 100,000 cars. “Panasonic can’t afford to lose the business,” says Anderman.

And yet, as grand as Musk’s plan is, it’s worth noting that 500,000 cars is still a tiny fraction of the worldwide auto industry. GM sold nearly 10 million cars last year. If electric vehicles are ever to make a dent in the world auto market, then gigafactories will need to become a reality. 

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Going Nuclear: The Global Power Picture PDF Print E-mail

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The Underappreciated Ties Between Art and Innovation PDF Print E-mail

Author Sarah Lewis discusses some counterintuitive pathways to breakthroughs.

Sarah Lewis

Sarah Lewis

The path to a great achievement—whether it is a technological innovation or a masterwork of art—is almost never direct. On the contrary, creative breakthroughs often come after wrenching failures. That idea animates The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery, a book by Sarah Lewis, an art curator who is completing her PhD at Yale. Based on 150 interviews with artists and explorers as well as scientists and entrepreneurs, the book is neither a self-help manual nor a bundle of case studies. It’s a meditation on accomplishments that come from seemingly improbable circumstances and the connections between art and science. Lewis spoke with MIT Technology Review’s deputy editor, Brian Bergstein.

Overcoming failure is the subject of bromides and commencement speeches. At FailCon events, startup founders swap tales of not succeeding. So what’s different about your discussion of failure?

There are failures of very different magnitudes; I’m not even sure I would call some Silicon Valley failures failures. I think of failure as the gap between where you are and where you want to go. The larger it is, the more you call it failure, and the smaller it is, the more you call it having something to improve upon, or needing to pivot. You can have a series of failed entrepreneurial feats, and that feels very different from having your entire life feel like a failure.

I’m thinking [instead] of the importance of structures that let people go deep with their failure while letting it be an entrepreneurial endeavor if they like, or an innovative discovery.

What’s an example?

Andre Geim, a physicist who is based at the University of Manchester, was not seen as someone who would ever win the Nobel Prize, because his experiments could be so outlandish. He won the IgNobel Award in 2000 for levitating a live frog with magnets—and then [won the Nobel] for isolating graphene 10 years later. He was dealing with failure: the psychological frustration that can come when people don’t quite take you seriously was difficult for him to endure, required a kind of courage. And he did [the graphene work] through a process of Friday-night experiments: times where, in the laboratory, they felt free enough to fail, and therefore made these groundbreaking discoveries. He’s a good example of what it means to allow the generative process of failure to help you, through these Friday-night experiments.

He was also doing something quite unusual, which is being a deliberate amateur: every five years or so he would go into another field [of physics] and work on other people’s realms of expertise, go to all the conferences, and ask questions they didn’t dare. It required that he get up to speed quickly in a new field but also, as he describes it, not read himself out of his own new ideas.

At least Geim moved between ­similar fields. You also write about Samuel Morse, who invented the telegraph after struggling as a painter—though you argue that his art and his invention were closely linked.

Invention, whether in paint or with wires, for him was really one and the same.

Few people recognize that when they’re moved by a work of art, they’re moved by an artist’s ability to solve a problem that is often a long-standing, timeless one. For Cézanne, it was how to realize nature in paint. He didn’t sign 90 percent of his paintings, because he didn’t feel he had yet solved the problem. For Beethoven, it was how to innovate with sound that was new. All these different works are solutions to problems. For some people, there’s no differentiation between finding something new in paint and finding something technologically.

In fact, you contend that art enhances the scientific quest.

I came across a great study by a physiologist, Robert Root-Bernstein of Michigan State University, who’s found that there’s a disproportionately high number of Nobel laureates in the sciences who have artistic avocations that don’t drop away when their scientific work ramps up.

Why do you think that is?

What the arts allow us to do is develop the muscle required for discernment, and also strengthen our sense of agency to determine for ourselves how we’re going to tackle a given problem. Especially when you’re young, it’s one of the few times there’s no set path that someone can point you to go down to figure out the answer to a problem you’re trying to solve. If you’re in a math or science class and you’re trying to learn different equations, there’s an answer and you’re trying to arrive at it. But if I’m drawing a beautiful plant—say I wanted to make the lines really thick. The teacher can’t come over and say, “You know, the lines should be thinner.” There’s no should, really. Ultimately it’s up to the person creating the work to determine what the path is, and that kind of agency is what’s required for innovation.

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Averting Disastrous Climate Change Could Depend on Unproven Technologies PDF Print E-mail

A U.N. climate report says we’ll overshoot greenhouse gas targets, and will need new technologies to make up for it.

Carbon conundrum: One way to decrease the amount of carbon in the atmosphere would be to reverse the kind of deforestation shown here in Victoria, Australia.

A U.N. climate report released on Sunday concludes that there may still be time to limit global warming to an increase of two degrees Celsius or less, which could help the world avoid the worst effects of climate change. But doing so will depend on making extraordinary changes to energy infrastructure at a much faster pace than is happening now, and may require the use of controversial and unproven technologies for pulling greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.

The new report, to be released in full tomorrow, is the third in a series issued in the last year by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The first of these three reports looked at evidence for climate change, while the second investigated the effects of climate change and options for adapting to it. The new report considers options for preventing climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Together, the three IPCC reports constitute the group’s fifth climate assessment, synthesizing tens of thousands of scientific studies to guide government policy makers on climate change.

The new report is mostly concerned with the extent and pace of greenhouse gas emissions and what it will take to reduce those emissions to limit climate change. But its conclusions are partly based on the premise that it will be possible to extract greenhouse gases from the atmosphere—a technology that has yet to be proven on any practical scale.

“There’s a whole suite of technologies that are fun to talk about, but nothing’s ready for prime time,” says David Victor, professor of international relations and director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California at San Diego.

Scientists generally agree that avoiding the worst of climate change will require stabilizing levels of key greenhouse gases below 450 parts per million (greenhouse gas levels, including carbon dioxide and other gases such as methane, are already at 430 parts per million). But even with aggressive measures to reduce emissions—investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear power plants, and technology to capture carbon dioxide from fossil fuel power plants—the world is likely to shoot past that amount. As a result, limiting warming to two degrees Celsius might require actually removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, to bring levels back down to 450 parts per million.

At this point, it’s clear that climate change can’t be prevented entirely. It has already had an impact on sea levels, ocean acidification, and many ecosystems (see “Why We Can’t Just Adapt to Climate Change”). And the new IPCC report concludes that emissions of greenhouse gases have increased faster in the last 10 years than in the three previous decades. The report says the worst effects of climate change may be avoided with substantial investment in technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But the report also mentions three ways to take carbon dioxide out of the air, and all are problematic. The first is increasing the number of trees on the planet to absorb more carbon dioxide, but this requires reversing a long trend of deforestation.

The second is an approach called bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, or BECCS. This involves growing trees and other biomass, burning it to generate electricity, and then capturing the carbon dioxide this releases and storing it underground. In theory, this could reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. But the scale of this approach could be limited in practice; it may be hard to generate large amounts of electricity using trees without causing major deforestation. And carbon capture and sequestration technology has not been proven at a large scale (see “What Carbon Capture Can’t Do” and “Capturing and Storing Carbon Dioxide in One Easy Step”). The report acknowledges that this approach is risky. “My own view is that BECCS is a fantasy,” says Victor. “It’s something the modeling community came up with because it allows the models to solve seemingly unsolvable problems.”

Finally, the report also refers to other “carbon dioxide removal” technologies—experimental approaches that use various materials to absorb carbon dioxide. Because carbon dioxide occurs in very low concentrations in the atmosphere (only a few hundred parts per million) capturing it usually takes a lot of energy. As a result it will likely be costly. “It’s a lot cheaper to prevent emissions than to try to remove them later,” says Howard Herzog, a senior research engineer at the MIT Energy Initiative.

Even if all greenhouse gas emissions were stopped today, the gases that have already accumulated likely will cause more warming for decades until the world’s climate settles into a new equilibrium. The fact that carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere, and elevated levels can persist for hundreds of years, means that actions taken now will have long-lasting effects.

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Could a Hotel Bring Back Los Angeles’ Theater Row? PDF Print E-mail

The gothic interior of the United Artists Theater. Photos by Jen Griffes

The gothic interior of the United Artists Theater.

Photos by Jen Griffes

Murals line the walls of the United Artists Theater. Photos by Jen Griffes

Murals line the walls of the United Artists Theater.

Photos by Jen Griffes

A particularly avant-garde statue in the theater's lobby. Photos by Jen Griffes

A particularly avant-garde statue in the theater's lobby.

Photos by Jen Griffes

A lighting element in the theater's hallway. Photos by Jen Griffes

A lighting element in the theater's hallway.

Photos by Jen Griffes

"Peripheral Stream," from the L.A. Dance Project, performed at the Ace Hotel's United Artists Theater. Photos by LADP

"Peripheral Stream," from the L.A. Dance Project, performed at the Ace Hotel's United Artists Theater.

Photos by LADP

The theater served as a church for part of its past life. Photos by Jen Griffes

The theater served as a church for part of its past life.

Photos by Jen Griffes

The lobby of the Ace Hotel. Photos by Jen Griffes

The lobby of the Ace Hotel.

Photos by Jen Griffes

Whimsical sketches line the walls of the hotel's lobby. Guest contributions are not encouraged. Photos by Jen Griffes

Whimsical sketches line the walls of the hotel's lobby. Guest contributions are not encouraged.

Photos by Jen Griffes

A view of downtown LA from the Ace Hotel's rooftop. Photos by Jen Griffes

A view of downtown LA from the Ace Hotel's rooftop.

Photos by Jen Griffes

Looking down Broadway. Photos by Jen Griffes

Looking down Broadway.

Photos by Jen Griffes

The gothic interior of the United Artists Theater. Photos by Jen Griffes

The gothic interior of the United Artists Theater.

Photos by Jen Griffes

Murals line the walls of the United Artists Theater. Photos by Jen Griffes

Murals line the walls of the United Artists Theater.

Photos by Jen Griffes

A particularly avant-garde statue in the theater's lobby. Photos by Jen Griffes

A particularly avant-garde statue in the theater's lobby.

Photos by Jen Griffes

A lighting element in the theater's hallway. Photos by Jen Griffes

A lighting element in the theater's hallway.

Photos by Jen Griffes

"Peripheral Stream," from the L.A. Dance Project, performed at the Ace Hotel's United Artists Theater. Photos by LADP

"Peripheral Stream," from the L.A. Dance Project, performed at the Ace Hotel's United Artists Theater.

Photos by LADP

The theater served as a church for part of its past life. Photos by Jen Griffes

The theater served as a church for part of its past life.

Photos by Jen Griffes

The lobby of the Ace Hotel. Photos by Jen Griffes

The lobby of the Ace Hotel.

Photos by Jen Griffes

Whimsical sketches line the walls of the hotel's lobby. Guest contributions are not encouraged. Photos by Jen Griffes

Whimsical sketches line the walls of the hotel's lobby. Guest contributions are not encouraged.

Photos by Jen Griffes

A view of downtown LA from the Ace Hotel's rooftop. Photos by Jen Griffes

A view of downtown LA from the Ace Hotel's rooftop.

Photos by Jen Griffes

Looking down Broadway. Photos by Jen Griffes

Looking down Broadway.

Photos by Jen Griffes

In the heart of downtown Los Angeles, hiding in plain sight, some of the city’s most unique architectural treasures are gathering dust. The Roxie, the Tower, the Million Dollar, the Palace: these and dozens of other historic theaters have fallen far since their 1920s and ‘30s heydays, as money and glamor fled to the city’s ever expanding suburbs.

But now, the theaters’ fates appear to be turning around, having bounced off rock bottom and ridden (and contributed to) a wave of revitalization in the heart of the country’s second largest city. Perhaps the most promising re-launch is the United Artists Theater, which has been incorporated into the recently opened Ace Hotel.

The Ace group is internationally renowned for its locally sourced design consciousness. Partner Kelly Sawdon explains the Ace has been looking at Los Angeles as a site ripe for expansion for years, but the development opportunities never quite materialized. “Often times we’re looking at office buildings or older structures that aren’t currently hotels,” she notes. There are many false starts because of “zoning issues, or the developer doesn’t get the building. For us it ultimately comes down to the look and feel of the building, the neighborhood, and the fact that we have to be excited about it.” The addition of the UA Theater – a richly historic structure with strong links to the city’s entertainment industry DNA – sealed the deal, giving the company a distinctive foothold in LA rooted to local character.

The theater is a Gothic revival cave, dripping with Gaudi-esque stone flourishes. It was built in 1927 by a trio of united artists – Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and Charlie Chaplin – who joined forces to take on the film studios in the dissemination of their artistic endeavors. This creation myth is told in melodramatic allegory by murals lining the theater’s interior walls.

“We see it as a platform to engage the creative community in LA,” says Sawdon. “There are a lot of different creative classes in LA that you don’t always find in other cities, and that makes for a lot of opportunities here that are unique.”

One such distinctive troupe was on display as the theater’s dance repertory launched in late February with three performances from the LA Dance Project. Benjamin Millepied’s company offered bold – at times discomfiting – vignettes that incorporated music and stage art from other LA art scene luminaries. Future bookings will entail other dance shows as well as film nights, movie premieres, concerts, product launches, and private events.

Ace is embracing the role of revitalization early actor. “Being just slightly out of the main core area is something we’re used to doing,” says Sawdon. “We like helping build neighborhoods, we like the opportunities that allows us.” There are already signs that the intersection of 9th and Broadway is going upscale, as a number of Ace’s traditional “retail friends” have set up shop.

From the hotel’s rooftop lounge / restaurant “Upstairs”, Broadway extends northward, a shadowed canyon punctuated with repurposed theaters whose grand lobbies and stages sit dark and empty. But the United Artists marquee is aglow, a welcome sight in this neighborhood that has seen better days. “The artists have often been the ones driving the creative vision of this city,” notes Sawdon, “and we hope that this theater is treated the same way – artist driven and focused on how we can be a part of the fabric of the city.”

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How Flesh-Eating Strep Bacteria Evolved Into an Epidemic PDF Print E-mail

Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. Image: CDC

Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. Image: CDC

Bacteria aren’t kind enough to leave behind a fossil record (save for cyanobacteria), but they’re evolving fast. Really fast. Their short life cycles mean that generations come rapid-fire, adapting through natural selection into the monster pathogens that are currently shrugging off our finest antibiotics.

It’s all the more troubling when we’re dealing with the flesh-eating variety. A new study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, details the evolution of one such bacteria, group A Streptococcus. By charting its evolution, scientists hope to gain invaluable insights into tackling subsequent generations of these menaces, and to begin to better understand the very nature of epidemics.

You’ve probably caught a strain of group A Streptococcus before, manifesting itself as strep throat. But depending on your immune system and the strain of Strep, you can be affected in many different ways, some of them fatal. “So you can get infections of muscles, you can get infections of cardiac valves, it can go to bone,” said physician Paul Sullam of the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, who wasn’t involved in the study. “It can also get into your bloodstream. And when it does, it can produce this generalized disturbance of your cardiac function and lung function, something we call septic shock.” It can also lead to something called necrotizing fasciitis, the horrific destruction of soft tissue.

caption

Streptococcus pyogenes, the single species of group A Strep. Image: Wikimedia

Strep wasn’t always so virulent and aggressive. Back in the early 1980s, it suddenly ramped up into into an epidemic, which continues to this day. And thanks to this new study, we now know exactly how that happened.

Scientists sequenced the genomes of thousands of strains of group A Strep in the biggest bacterial study of its kind to date. What they found was that, incredibly, only four tiny modifications to group A Strep caused it to explode into a worldwide epidemic.

“The first two events were the acquisition of two bacterial viruses,” said infectious disease pathologist James Musser of the Houston Methodist Research Institute, one of the authors of the paper. “Bacteria, just like humans, can get infected by viruses.”

Sometime in the 1980s, these viruses infected a single bacterial cell of group A Strep, transferring genes to the bacterium that allowed it to produce novel toxins. This is known as horizontal gene transfer, the acquisition of a trait not by mutations in reproduction, but from an outside source. Indeed, according to Sullam, “more common in this particular organism is it imports genetic material from other sources, predominantly by bacteriophages,” the viruses that infect them.

The third event was a regular old mutation in the genes of the bacteria, which produced an upgraded variant of one of the toxins. The fourth and final event that immediately preceded the epidemic was an attack from another virus, which had previously attacked another strain of group A Strep, picking up some of its genetic material. When it hit the epidemic strain, it transferred this material, which encoded two additional toxins and caused the strain to churn them out in massive quantities.

“This whole process ultimately resulted in two important character changes to the organism, which were the ability to cause an increased number of infections, and an increased severity of infection,” Musser said. Then you’re off and running with an epidemic.”

This type of intensive study only just became cheap enough to deploy on such a massive scale. Five years ago, the analysis of five genomes was considered a large study. This one studied the genomes of a staggering 3,615 group A Strep strains. The technology is beginning to allow scientists to finally tackle long-standing questions in biomedical research.

The implications for battling Strep are huge. “Group A Strep is unusual, we do not have vaccine against it,” Musser said. “But we can use this type of information to perhaps point us to some Achilles’ heel from a bacterial standpoint.”

“So now we’ve done it once, we know what an epidemic looks like,” he added. “But now [the experiment is] going to be repeated with other group A Strep strains, and as importantly with other types of bacteria, in order to figure out what the rules are for the commonalities underlying epidemic behavior.”

Reference:

Nasser, W. et al. (2014) Evolutionary pathway to increased virulence and epidemic group A Streptococcus disease derived from 3,615 genome sequences. PNAS.

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Mad Men Recap: Welcome to the Beginning of the End PDF Print E-mail

Image: AMC

Every week, Wired takes a look at the latest episode of Mad Men through the lens of the latest media campaign of advertising agency Sterling Cooper & Partners. Image: AMC

“Are you ready? Because I want you to pay attention. This is the beginning of something.

Do you have time to improve your life? Do you have precisely 30 seconds for a word from AccuTron watches?

The watch appears, bottom third. The second hand moves with a fluid sweep, and above it? ‘AccuTron Time.’

You go into a business meeting. Is there food in your teeth? Ashes on your tie? And you’ve got nothing to say. The meeting is boring, but you can’t be. But you’re wearing an AccuTron. This watch makes you interesting.”

Freddy Rumsen’s right. This is the beginning of something: the end. And the ad pitch for AccuTron watches that kicks off Mad Men’s seventh and final season (or at least the first half of it in this Sopranos/Breaking Bad-style last-season split) tells us a lot about how our heroes will handle it. If Matthew Weiner hadn’t intended us to “pay attention” to the ad for the watch, he wouldn’t have called this episode “Time Zones.”

For one thing, there’s the contrast between Don’s countless, failed man-who-wasn’t-there pitches last season, which relied on conspicuously not showing the products involved or the people who might use them. The AccuTron ad centers both the watch and the wearer; its whole selling point is how much more attention the latter will grant the former. Even the framing of the monologue drives home the point: Instead of a distant Don sitting with his back to us, or staring off into the distance, we’ve got Freddy Rumsen staring right at us, talking right at us. This is an ad written by a man who, having been forcibly disappeared from the scene, has discovered that’s not so fun a fate after all. He wants back in, and pleasing the customer is his point of reentry.

Image: AMC

Image: AMC

The nature of that customer has changed, too. “Late 20s, shaggy, and with a youthful cowlick,” Freddy says, before adding the crucial caveat: “But in a suit and tie. This is a businessman.” It’s tough to hear that and not think of the many Sterling Cooper & Partners employees it describes. Half the staff seems to feint in the direction of the counterculture: Stan with his beard and weed and fringed jackets, Ginsberg with his irony and occasional Vietnam-triggered guilt-ridden breakdowns, Ken with his satirical and pseudonymous science-fiction stories, Pete with his new-found happy-go-lucky attitude and his waxing philosophical about L.A.’s “vibrations,” even the much older Roger with his acid and orgies and open relationships and whatnot. But ultimately they remain within the comfy confines of capitalism, using the iconography of rebellion to sell the system. The AccuTron may hum with the electronic “OMMMMMMM” of enlightenment, but it’s simply a way for a cool young comer to signal that he’s more interesting than the gray-haired suits who surround them. No wonder the terminally lame new head of Creative, Lou Avery, repeatedly shoots it down between terrible (and low-key racist) jokes.

But as Lou’s obliviousness indicates, it does take creativity to understand how coolness can be used to sell squareness—and Don Draper’s still got that in spades. He may be down and out of SC&P (for two months and counting), but he remains as magnetic as ever. He bowls over Megan’s unctuous agent with his good looks and charm. He earns a welcome from Pete Campbell so warm and seemingly sincere that you’d forget they were ever once mortal enemies. He’s still influencing his one-time protégé Peggy Olson, even if neither of them realize it: Changing Don’s tagline to “AccuTron: It’s time for a conversation” may be Peggy “lifting her leg” on the pitch, as Freddy puts it, but it’s also bringing it closer in line with Don’s maxim that “If you don’t like what people are saying, change the conversation,” a line she stole whole cloth last season.

And most strikingly—shockingly, even—he’s still able to create almost instantaneous intimacy with the beautiful brunette of his choice. This time it’s his young, widowed airplane seat-mate Neve Campbell, whose wedding ring serves as the conversation-piece role in the walking AccuTron ad that is Don Draper. Yet the sparks between them fizzle in the end, because the Don Draper of Mad Men Season Seven is on to his own brand of bullshit. “If I was your wife,” his new friend purrs, “I wouldn’t like this.” “She knows I’m a terrible husband,” Don replies, an assertion that doubles as an admission. After all, they’re only locked in this long-distance relationship because of his constant capriciousness last season: starting a risky affair with a neighbor that ended in disaster, committing to moving to the West Coast then backing out after Megan had already committed to the change of locale by quitting her soap-opera job.

Image: AMC

Image: AMC

Maybe Don’s gun-shy, or maybe he’s making an honest attempt to live up to his end of the bargain, even though a lot of the heat between him and Megan has died down. (Compare and contrast their scenes here with the combustible sexuality of the last two season premieres: Season Five’s legendary “Zou Bisou” performance and dom/sub “clean-up” scene, or Season Six’s sultry weed-and-bikinis Hawaiian bacchanalia.) Either way, Don’s knowledge of his own limitations, paradoxically, is what keeps him from cheating again.

Don’s capable of some growth, as we’ve seen. He’s opened up about his past to his coworkers and his children (and, unfortunately, the good people from Hershey’s). He’s learned from his creative mistakes last year and begun adjusting his approach in his pitches, if AccuTron’s any indication. Even using Freddy Rumsen as the linchpin of his deceptions has evolved: Back in the second episode of the series, Don used babysitting a drunk Freddy as an excuse for coming home late to Betty after a tryst with his bohemian mistress; now he’s relying not on Freddy’s alcoholism but his talent, and using him not to pull one over on his missus but to stay in the ad game.

But the cracks are showing. Dig Don’s big intro in the episode, strutting out of LAX in slo-mo to “I’m a Man” by the Spencer Davis Group. Our first shot of him is decidedly unglamorous: He’s conducting an airport-bathroom shave, seemingly referenced when Steve Winwood sings about the whiskers on his chin seconds later. When he steps out of the airport he’s surrounded by similar suits in the arrival area. Megan shows up, looking like a vision, but the two of them immediately have to deal with prosaic issues like running late for a business dinner.

Image: AMC

Image: AMC

That’s all well before we see other characters similarly struggling to self-actualize: There’s Peggy, powerless at work, unwitting slumlord at home, still hung up on Ted Chaough; there’s Roger, still slipping into three-piece suits between orgies, enduring awkward brunches with his possibly cult-inducted daughter, just wanting to move his girlfriend’s boyfriend over so he can get some sleep. And it’s long before we get to the “I’m a Man” scene’s bookend: hangdog Don freezing his underwear-clad ass off beyond the broken doors of his balcony while Vanilla Fudge’s cover of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” plays in that marvelously literal Mad Men music-cue manner.

I mean, sure, I whooped it up for the conspicuous badassery of the sights and sounds in Don’s intro sequence, just as I was bowled over by the Freddy/Don pitch. (I believe this was the first time the show ever had a character speak directly into the camera, certainly for such a sustained period of time, and the impact was tremendous.) But unlike the AccuTron man, his hair and his watch signaling that his suit-and-tie image is belied by hidden (if ultimately inconsequential) complexities, Don’s seventh-season rollout indicates that there’s less left in him than meets the eye.

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  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Tech  |  
 
3 Brilliant UI Details in Carousel, Dropbox’s New Photo App PDF Print E-mail

Photo Illustration: WIRED

Photo Illustration: WIRED

With the rise of digital cameras and smartphone photography, we lost photo albums–the actual, physical things we relied on to hold our memories. In their place, we have the photo apps that come preinstalled on our smartphones. It definitely seems like a bit of a downgrade.

But if you listen to Gentry Underwood, the designer who led the development of Dropbox’s new photo app, Carousel, there’s a lot to love about today’s photo apps. They’re simple, responsive, incredibly easy to use. They keep our cherished memories just a few flicks away.

There’s just one problem with those stock photo apps, as Underwood sees it. They make it seem like your life started the last time you bought a smartphone.

The faster you’re going, the crummier the thumbnails it can serve up without you noticing.

Carousel aims to solve that short term memory problem. The idea is to give people a simple tool for revisiting all their photos–not just the ones they’ve snapped with their most recent device. Underwood, whose popular email app Mailbox was acquired by Dropbox for somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million last year, says the goal was taking the photos that exist as “stacks of files on your computer” and bringing them into an app where they could actually be enjoyed.

On one level, that’s a huge technical undertaking. We’re amassing more pictures than ever–more than you could ever keep stored on a single mobile device. To sidestep this storage issue, Carousel seamlessly integrates images snapped on your phone with those stored in your Dropbox, combining them into one massive collection. The hard part is making it seem like everything’s stored locally. That after all is what keeps those photo apps feeling so snappy in the first place.

“We wanted it to feel like a no compromise experience,” Underwood says. “And that took a ton of work–just a ton of work–to get there.”

A Perceptual Trick

In large part, that work involves fine-tuned caching and other heavy geekery. But there’s also some clever perceptual trickery that went into Carousel’s UX. For example, the app saves multiple thumbnails for each photo at various resolutions and deploys them depending on how fast you’re scrolling through your collection. The faster you’re going, the crummier the thumbnails it can serve up without you noticing.

Gentry Underwood. Photo: Courtesy of Dropbox

Gentry Underwood. Photo: Courtesy of Dropbox

Carousel was also a chance for Underwood and company to improve on the standard mobile photo app, particularly in terms of how pictures are displayed. In Carousel, your photos are automatically sorted into events based on time and location. That way, the app can condense events with a huge number of shots, so you won’t need to swipe past all two hundred pictures your kid’s birthday party every time you’re looking for something that came before it. A smart horizontal scroll bar on the bottom of the screen offers an even quicker way to scrub through your collection chronologically.

Giving Every Smile a Score

Even more ingenious is the way Carousel surfaces photos it thinks you’re most likely to want to see. To start, the app scans every photograph in your collection for human faces. Based on the qualities of the mugs it detects, it assigns each picture a “smile score.” The one with the highest ranking for a given event is displayed with a double-size thumbnail, serving as a sort of hero shot for that subset of pics.

That simple feature, Underwood says, instantly elevates the app from a basic photo viewer to something more meaningful. “I kind of lost it the first time I saw it in action,” he says. “Because for the first time my gallery felt alive. It’s sort of a little idea, but that little idea has a dramatic impact.”

That smile score is the rare feature that can lend an emotional layer to our generally unfeeling software. Instead of treating each image the same, Carousel attempts to identify the pictures that will actually evoke a positive response. “If you think about the ones that are going to give you the biggest hit of seratonin and dopamine, it’s the photos where a loved one or a friend is looking back at you,” Underwood says. That’s one big step toward solving that “stack of files” problem.

Curating Instead of Deleting

The other subtle departure from standard mobile photo apps comes in the simple tools Carousel offers for organizing your collection. After tapping on a photo to see it full size, you can either swipe up to add it to a sharable group of images or swipe down to hide it from your collection.

A “hide” feature might not seem like an especially exciting inclusion, but it’s hugely useful–and something that’s missing from most stock photo apps. With its original photo app, Apple established a model where your only option was to delete photos. “It’s a 100% destructive thing,” Underwood says. It’s also a heavy, two-step interaction; you have to tap the trash can and then tap again to confirm your intentions. As a result, many people don’t delete at all–and consequently have photo rolls stuffed with misfires, blurry selfies, and eight not-quite-right versions of the same shot.

The swipe-to-hide function, Underwood says, was part of an effort to give people tools for “lightweight, easy curation.” It’s the same type of simple interaction that fueled the success of Mailbox, which set itself apart from other mobile email apps with a clever swipe-driven sorting system.

The version of Carousel that arrived last week is very much a version 1.0, Underwood says, and we can expect to see more in the future. “There’s a ton of opportunity here,” he explains. “A lot of it is very difficult to get right.”

He’s not wrong. Reinventing the photo album for the digital age will take both sharp UI smarts and a mastery of cloud-based storage. Fortunately for us, that’s exactly what Underwood and Dropbox have going for them.

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Page 1 of 65

Computer News Reports

Here's your rumored Amazon phone, 3D interface and all, now in allegedly leaked photos
Image: BGR The wily Amazon phone: It’s the smartphone rumor that won’t quit, and now more circumstantial evidence of its eventual release has surfaced in the wild. On Tuesday, BGR posted what it describes as photos of
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Canonical's new Ubuntu focuses on the long haul 14 April 2014, 18.59 Computers
Canonical's new Ubuntu focuses on the long haul
As organizations move in-house systems to the cloud, Canonical wants them to consider switching their OSes as well. “When people move to cloud, it very often involves re-architecting an application,” said Mark Baker,
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Toshiba's 4K laptop to ship next week for ,499.99 14 April 2014, 18.59 Computers
Toshiba's 4K laptop to ship next week for $1,499.99
One of the first laptops with a 4K screen will go on sale from Toshiba for US$1,499.99 next week. The Satellite P55T has a 15.6-inch screen that can display images at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is four times
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Windows 8.1 Update tip: Clean up that disk space now
Mark Hachman On April 8, Microsoft blessed us with an update to Windows 8.1 that made the touchy-feely OS more palatable to PC users. Now that you've had about a week to play around with the update—which brings the
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Apple antitrust compliance efforts slow, but picking up, monitor says
After dragging its feet for months, Apple is finally making good progress on a court-ordered antitrust compliance program related to the U.S. Department of Justice’s ebook price-fixing case against the company, an
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Look at this: The first 4K laptop, Toshiba's Satellite P55t, coming soon
Open your pocketbooks, 4K fans, Toshiba's first Ultra HD laptop is headed your way next Tuesday. The Tokyo-based electronics maker just announced that the Toshiba Satellite P55t will hit U.S. store shelves on April 22,
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Indosat routing error impacts few but hits Akamai, Chevron
A routing error by one of Indonesia’s largest telecommunications providers on Wednesday made it briefly appear it controlled a large swath of the Internet, according to monitoring firm Renesys. A technical change made it
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3D-printed modules for Google's Ara phone coming early next year
Lego-like parts that will form the building blocks for Google’s Project Ara will be produced on 3D printers and ship in time for the customizable smartphone’s release early next year. With Project Ara, Google is
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Nest tells users to disable key feature of Protect smoke alarm
Nest, the connected-home device maker Google agreed to buy in January, is disabling a feature that allows its Nest Protect smoke and carbon-monoxide alarm to be silenced with a wave of the hand. The feature, Nest Wave, is
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State AGs investigating Experian subsidiary's data breach
A group of state attorneys general in the U.S. is launching an investigation into a recently disclosed data breach of 200 million personal records at a subsidiary of credit monitoring firm Experian. Connecticut Attorney
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Chicago Sun-Times first major US paper to accept bitcoins
The Chicago Sun-Times is now accepting bitcoins as payment for subscription, becoming the first major U.S. newspaper to take the digital currency. The paper’s goal is to keep evolving with changing technology, and
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T-Mobile offers credits to retain BlackBerry customers
T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere said Thursday he was disappointed with BlackBerry’s decision this week to split with the carrier, and offered credits to hold on to dedicated BlackBerry users among its customers. The
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The Therapy of Blogging While Showing Off Your Ideas Out in the Open
You may have noticed how over the course of the last few days I haven’t had much of a chance to blog over here. And it is not because things may well be so incredibly hectic that I wouldn’t have enough time for it. Quite
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The Humanity of the Web: Reflections of a Social Computing Evangelist
A little while ago Courtney Hunt, from the talented Denovati Group, reached out to me through Twitter, and then LinkedIn, to ask me whether I would like to contribute to a book project they are working on to go and celebrate
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Hosting company describes security scare aimed at Bitcoin accounts
On Sunday morning, Nate Daiger, one of the owners of a small Los Angeles-based hosting company Chunk Host, received an odd email on his phone. The email came from SendGrid, a company used by Chunk Host to send its email.
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'Coinkrypt' malware mines cryptocurrencies on Android
A malicious software program for Android that mines lesser-known cryptocurrencies could cause phones to overheat, a mobile security company warned Wednesday. The “Coinkrypt” malware appears to not be very widespread
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Mt. Gox consults Japanese police over missing bitcoins
Failed Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has contacted Japanese police regarding the bitcoins it lost before filing for bankruptcy protection last month. Tokyo police haven’t said whether they’re investigating Mt. Gox, but
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Box to offer usage-based pricing, file conversion service
As it heads toward an estimated US$250 million initial public offering, cloud storage and collaboration provider Box is thinking outside, well, itself. The nine-year-old company introduced an alternative to its traditional
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Hands On: T-Mobile's free international roaming 26 March 2014, 20.13 Computers
Hands On: T-Mobile's free international roaming
For people who travel overseas a lot, it sounds almost too good to be true: unlimited international data roaming and texting at no extra cost. But that’s exactly what T-Mobile USA started offering its U.S. users earlier
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Mt. Gox creditors want to force Karpeles to testify in the US
Creditors of failed Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox are trying to force its CEO Mark Karpeles to go to the U.S. for questioning related to a fraud lawsuit. Gregory Greene and Joseph Lack asked a U.S. judge to order Karpeles to go
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Gran Canaria – Celebrating the Mini-Continent 19 March 2014, 18.43 Computers
Gran Canaria – Celebrating the Mini-Continent
Today is a special day for yours truly. A very special day, actually. And I am not saying that because I know how perhaps half of the world (if not the whole world already!) may well be enjoying the various different
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The Future of Collaboration Lies in Human Resources AND Management’s Hands
A few weeks ago I put together the attached article for CMSWire where I tried to reflect on what I feel is the number #1 challenge for today’s corporations in terms of embracing a much more open, transparent, knowledge
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The Trials and Tribulations of an Independent Freelancer – Your Online Bio Profile and Digital Footprint
It’s been a month since I last posted a blog entry over here and I am sure plenty of you folks out there may be wondering what I have been up to and everything, right? After all, leaving IBM after 17 years of
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China's Alibaba confirms plans for US IPO 15 March 2014, 20.11 Computers
China's Alibaba confirms plans for US IPO
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group on Sunday announced its plans to make a public stock offering in the US, an event that could set a record for the US IPO of a Chinese company. The Hangzhou, China, company said in a
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Communications

Joomla! Specific Links
Joomla! Specific LinksA selection of links that are all related to the Joomla! Project.
Yahoo Wants To Beat YouTube | Coaxing YouTube Stars With Advertising Revenues
YouTube is one of the tentpoles of the Web at this point in time, being a household name and one of the most-visited sites on the Internet. And yet Yahoo is reportedly planning to compete with YouTube by launching its own
Read More 0 Comments 133 Hits 0 Ratings
Google & Viacom Settle YouTube Fight | Seven-Year Copyright Lawsuit Ends Amicably
Google and Viacom have finally resolved the long-running lawsuit over videos uploaded to YouTube almost a decade ago. The terms of the out-of-court settlement aren’t being disclosed but we’re just pleased this
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The BBC Unveils New-Look iPlayer | A Responsive HTML5 Design Brings It Up To Date
The BBC has unveiled the new iPlayer, and its free catch-up television service has undergone several big changes. The biggest being an HTML5-powered responsive design driving the whole effort. The New iPlayer The BBC has
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Google Ordered To Remove ‘Innocence Of Muslims’ Over Actress’ Copyright Claims
An appeals court has ordered Google to remove a controversial short film from YouTube after an actress who appeared in Innocence Of Muslims filed a copyright claim. The decision seems to go against existing thinking on
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LoveFilm Becomes Amazon Prime Instant Video In The UK, With £79 Adding A Raft Of Extras
LoveFilm is no more, being rebranded as Amazon Prime Instant Video and being folded into the existing Amazon Prime service. Most people will have to pay more money for the service, but the £79-per-year asking price buys you
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Netflix News Roundup: Subscriber Numbers, Pricing Tiers, Net Neutrality Statement
Netflix has had a big news week, with various stories emerging from and about the streaming video company. This includes revenue and subscriber numbers, plans for new pricing tiers and an expansion into Europe, and a statement
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What The Net Neutrality Ruling Means For Online Video 18 January 2014, 22.47 4G Voice, Video, & Data
What The Net Neutrality Ruling Means For Online Video
A recent decision by an appeals court in Washington to chuck out net neutrality rules could have dire consequences for everyone using the Internet. Including those who both deliver and consume online video. Net Neutrality
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Vdio Is Dead | Rdio Shutters Video Service 28 December 2013, 22.35 4G Voice, Video, & Data
Vdio Is Dead | Rdio Shutters Video Service
Vdio is no more, with parent company Rdio deciding to shutter the online video service. The reasons for the closure remain unclear, but it seems that there just wasn’t room for Vdio in an already-crowded market. It didn’t
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YouTube’s Content ID Crackdown On Let’s Play Videos Draws Ire From Gamers & Developers
YouTube’s recent crackdown on Let’s Play videos, with an aggressive new Content ID update, has left a bad taste in the mouths of everyone involved. Except the companies making money from videos they really had no business
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Google Fights Back After YouTube Comments Spam Increased | Google+ Integration Staying
Google has finally addressed the issues affecting the new YouTube comments system, controversially rolled out earlier this month. Unfortunately, while small changes are being made to plaster over the cracks, the elephant in
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YouTube Changes Comments System To Google+, Even Jawed Karim Complains 10 November 2013, 00.35 4G Voice, Video, & Data
YouTube Changes Comments System To Google+, Even Jawed Karim Complains
Google has rolled out the new YouTube comments system, which is designed to stop the absurd levels of spam and trolling which have plagued the site in recent years. Unfortunately the new system requires Google+ integration,
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File contained a virus and was deleted 02 November 2013, 22.56 4G Voice, Video, & Data
File contained a virus and was deleted
I had a client that was recently getting this message.  If you are getting it, the cause can be a misconfiguration or worse. The result can sometimes be caused by faulty anti virus programs.  Or anti virus programs that were
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YouTube Launching Paid Spotify-Like Streaming Music Service Before End Of 2013
Google is set to launch a YouTube music streaming service before the end of 2013, at least if current persistent rumors are to be believed. This service will work the same way as Spotify, with a hefty catalog of music
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Is Online Streaming Availability To Blame For Movie Piracy? Research Suggests It Could Be
Do people pirate things because they’re cheap and want to get whatever they can for free? Or is the practice less sinister and more about getting hold of things that aren’t available in the format they favor? These are
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Netflix Originals Keeping Subscribers Happy | Original Content Strategy Already Working
Original content looks like being a small but significant part of the future of online television.. It’s certainly an area Netflix, amongst others, has explored, and one which, according to a new report, looks to be working
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YouTube Founders Unveil MixBit, A Vine & Instagram Competitor With Hidden Tricks
The mobile video space is becoming more crowded by the day. Following on from Vine and its six seconds of recording simplicity, and Instagram and its 15 seconds of recording simplicity, comes MixBit. Can this new startup
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YouTube Opening New Production Studio In New York | Original Content Ramped Up
YouTube is set to continue its efforts to evolve from the home of a disparate collection of funny animal videos into the home of truly talented individuals all creating professional-quality programming. In order to affect this
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Google Launches Chromecast, a $35 Dongle That Streams Content From Mobile To TV
Google recently unveiled Chromecast, a $35 dongle that is able to stream content from mobile devices to your television. This is Google’s latest attempt to grab a foothold in the TV industry, which it’s going to need to be
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Hulu Owners Decide Not To Sell After All | Fox, NBC, & Disney Reinvest Millions Instead
Hulu has been withdrawn from sale for the second time in its history, with the joint partners once again deciding against accepting the bids that were coming in, just as they did in 2011. Instead, the three partners are
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Video on Instagram Arrives To Compete With Vine | Facebook & Twitter Go Head-To-Head
Facebook and Twitter have been at war as competing social networks for a number of years. But the latest battleground between the two is mobile video, with Video on Instagram (owned by Facebook) arriving as a direct response
Read More 0 Comments 3145 Hits 0 Ratings
PalmPad: HP Slate in Palm Clothing? 17 June 2013, 15.02 4G Voice, Video, & Data
PalmPad: HP Slate in Palm Clothing?
Dec. 21, 2010 - 12:39 PM PDT Dec. 21, 2010 - 12:39 PM PDT Summary: It’s being reporting today that HP/Palm is preparing to release the “PalmPad” next month. The story is accompanied by a diagram showing the PalmPad.
Read More 0 Comments 2484 Hits 0 Ratings
Home Health Monitoring is Big Business 17 June 2013, 15.02 4G Voice, Video, & Data
Home Health Monitoring is Big Business
Dec. 21, 2010 - 7:55 AM PDT Dec. 21, 2010 - 7:55 AM PDTSummary: Remote health monitoring generated €7.6 billion globally in 2010, an amount destined to grow as this nascent area of healthcare is used more heavily in the
Read More 0 Comments 3064 Hits 0 Ratings
Last Minute Geek’s Holiday Gift Guide 17 June 2013, 15.02 4G Voice, Video, & Data
Last Minute Geek’s Holiday Gift Guide
Dec. 20, 2010 - 11:36 AM PDT Dec. 20, 2010 - 11:36 AM PDT The geek in your life is hard enough to find appropriate gifts for the holidays, and this year, once again you waited until the last moment. Never fear, we have scoured
Read More 0 Comments 2952 Hits 0 Ratings
Android This Week: Leveling Off; Fring Calling; LogMeIn 17 June 2013, 15.02 4G Voice, Video, & Data
Android This Week: Leveling Off; Fring Calling; LogMeIn
Dec. 18, 2010 - 6:00 AM PDT Dec. 18, 2010 - 6:00 AM PDTSummary: The growth of Android in the smartphone space has been phenomenal, but recent ad statistics show it may be leveling off. VoIP calling is hot on Android, however,
Read More 0 Comments 3080 Hits 0 Ratings
MobileTechRoundup 226 17 June 2013, 15.02 4G Voice, Video, & Data
MobileTechRoundup 226
Dec. 17, 2010 - 8:00 AM PDT Dec. 17, 2010 - 8:00 AM PDT Summary: Join James, Matt and Kevin live for this week’s audio podcast where they’ll cover the week’s mobile technology news and share experiences with the
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Kindle for Android Gets Periodicals, In-App Store 17 June 2013, 15.02 4G Voice, Video, & Data
Kindle for Android Gets Periodicals, In-App Store
Dec. 17, 2010 - 7:08 AM PDT Dec. 17, 2010 - 7:08 AM PDTSummary: Amazon has rolled out a major new version of the Kindle app for Android that adds magazines and newspapers to the standard e-book fare. The app also adds shopping
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Samsung ATIV Smart PC 17 June 2013, 15.02 4G Voice, Video, & Data
Samsung ATIV Smart PC
The tablet market is going into hyperdrive.  The announcement of Microsoft’s foray into the tablet market utilization with Windows 8 architecture made a few ripples.  It will be really interesting to see how this plays
Read More 0 Comments 3017 Hits 0 Ratings
Norton Hotspot VPN 17 June 2013, 15.02 4G Voice, Video, & Data
Norton Hotspot VPN
One of the thorniest issues is traveling and maintaining security.  Norton has come up with a nice little VPN package that allows for secure surfing while on open networks. If you have ever been in a hotel, most likely you
Read More 0 Comments 2976 Hits 0 Ratings
Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance WordPress Error 17 June 2013, 15.02 4G Voice, Video, & Data
Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance WordPress Error
WordPress is awesome until it isn’t.  Knowing you (or not really knowing you – but knowing how most people operate), you probably did the automatic update with no backup. Yep, it’s what most people do.  You
Read More 0 Comments 2941 Hits 0 Ratings
Tactus Amazing Tactile Mobile Buttons 17 June 2013, 15.02 4G Voice, Video, & Data
Tactus Amazing Tactile Mobile Buttons
Touch screens rule the day, but maybe not forever – if Tactus has anything to say about it.  They say the flat, touch screens are boring and they are looking to put some caliente into em. The idea is really simple. 
Read More 0 Comments 3217 Hits 0 Ratings
Has LinkedIn Been Hacked? 17 June 2013, 15.02 4G Voice, Video, & Data
Has LinkedIn Been Hacked?
Well, that is the million dollar question, isn’t it?  I have seen a lot of accusation and rumor going around, but I have yet to see any substantiating evidence. In fact, updating twitters from LinkedIn are saying that
Read More 0 Comments 2755 Hits 0 Ratings
Thoughts On Arrested Development Season 4 & How Netflix Is Changing The Future Of TV
As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Arrested Development is back, with Season 4 made exclusively for Netflix. The whole season is now available for subscribers to stream, and it’s well worth watching. Take my word for it. But
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Nintendo Claims Copyright Over YouTube Gameplay Videos, Using Content ID System
Nintendo has, in its infinite wisdom, decided to declare war on the fans who dare to post videos of themselves playing Nintendo games. Not only is this a terrible decision in terms of a rich corporation making money off its
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Sony NSZ-GS7 Google TV Set Top Box Review 25 May 2013, 17.11 4G Voice, Video, & Data
Sony NSZ-GS7 Google TV Set Top Box Review
I recently purchased the Logitech Revue and I, ironically did a Logitech Revue review.  Anyway, I wasn’t so hot on the Logitech.  So, I nabbed me a Sony NSZ-GS7 to compare. The first thing you notice on the Sony is
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YouTube Starts Charging For Content | Select Subscription Channels Go Live For 99 Cents
As was rumored for some time, YouTube has started charging for content, with paid channels making their debut. The pilot scheme gives qualifying partners the opportunity to erect paywalls, but will viewers pay in the numbers
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Google Ups Ante For Original Programming Efforts With First YouTube Comedy Week
For one week in May YouTube is going to (try to) be the funniest website on the planet. The Google-owned property already boasts a multitude of funny clips, but YouTube Comedy Week is something altogether more ambitious. This
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Tesla's sales model? It's simple: don't sell cars: If you are waiting with bated breath for electric vehicles to revolutionize the transportation sector, you are likely to pass out. If it happens, it will not be an overnight process. That...
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