Technology

The World of 3D Portraiture

Slashdot - 1 hour 1 min ago
An anonymous reader writes in with this BBC story about the niche market of 3D printed "selfie" models. By now we're familiar with tales of 3D-printed marvels, from guns to duck prosthetics. But when I traveled to a physics conference in March, I wasn't expecting to end up with a full colour printout of myself. However, at a small stall that popped up on Industry Day at the American Physical Society's March meeting — that is precisely the service that was being offered. I stepped on to a little rotating platform, tried to stand still for a few awkward minutes while a camera scanned me up and down, and then filled out a form. A few weeks later, a box has arrived in the post. Somewhere inside it, my two-inch twin is waiting for me to overcome my trepidation and show him the light of day. But I'm in no hurry; it all seems a bit... odd. The box sits on my desk for several days. Even though getting 'printed' puts me in the illustrious company of Barack Obama and Richard III, I'm unsure about my decision. What, I wonder, does someone do with a small selfie in statue form? Where does this business find its customers?

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Alibaba Teams Up With China’s Largest Telecom To Sell Smartphones To Rural Customers

TechCrunch - 1 hour 10 min ago
 Alibaba has partnered with China’s biggest telecom operator to sell low-cost smartphones to people in rural areas for prices as low as 299 RMB ($48). The deal with China Telecom, which has 186 million users, is part of a two-pronged strategy for the e-commerce giant, which sees smaller cities as key to its growth plans for its e-commerce business and operating system YunOS. A line of… Read More

Scientists spot runaway galaxies

Engadget - 1 hour 33 min ago
It's well established that runaway stars and planets are a cosmic reality, but runaway galaxies? Yes, amazingly enough, those exist. Scientists have discovered at least 11 galaxies moving so quickly (up to 6 million miles per hour) that they're escap...

Freelancer.com Acquires Payment Service Provider Escrow.com For $7.5M

TechCrunch - 2 hours 59 min ago
 Job marketplace Freelancer.com announced today that it has agreed to purchased Escrow.com for $7.5 million in cash. The acquisition was funded by through an placement of $10 million AUD (about $7.8 million) in ordinary shares of Freelancer.com to institutional investors. As its name suggests, Escrow.com provides online escrow services for e-commerce sites by holding payments for goods or… Read More

Bitcoin’s Q1: Record VC Investment, Falling Prices, And Slow Consumer Adoption

TechCrunch - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 11:33pm
 The bitcoin-watching news service CoinDesk recently released its first quarter look into the cryptocurrency’s performance during the opening months of 2015. Mostly the data is net positive, showing an increase in total wallets, and investment. However, there are a number of included data points that demonstrate slowing growth in key bitcoin, and bitcoin-related areas. The collected… Read More

Someone got Android Wear running on Samsung's Gear 2 watch

Engadget - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 11:16pm
Don't despair if you bought Samsung's Gear 2 smartwatch, only to realize that you wanted the Android-powered Gear Live instead -- there might be a solution in the works. XDA tinkerer biktor_gj has successfully loaded Android Wear on the Gear 2 after ...

Google Insiders Talk About Why Google+ Failed

Slashdot - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 11:08pm
An anonymous reader writes in with this story about what happened to Google+ from an employee perspective. "Last month, Google announced that it's changing up its strategy with Google+. In a sense, it's giving up on pitching Google+ as a social network aimed at competing with Facebook. Instead, Google+ will become two separate pieces: Photos and Streams. This didn't come as a surprise — Google+ never really caught on the same way social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn did....Rumors have been swirling for months that Google would change its direction with Google+. Business Insider spoke with a few insiders about what happened to the network that Google believed would change the way people share their lives online. Google+ was really important to Larry Page, too — one person said he was personally involved and wanted to get the whole company behind it. The main problem with Google+, one former Googler says, is the company tried to make it too much like Facebook. Another former Googler agrees, saying the company was 'late to market' and motivated from 'a competitive standpoint.'"

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uBeam’s Ultrasound Wireless Charging Is Real, And About To Be Really Funded

TechCrunch - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 9:45pm
 What if wireless power at a distance actually worked? It does. uBeam invented a way to wirelessly send energy up to 15 feet away with ultrasound. What if you could slap a wireless charging case on your phone and charge it while you move around or use it? uBeam invented that too. While early uBeam prototype were massive, non-portable boxes that merely shot power around, it now has a working… Read More

Interactive exhibit honors women in game development

Engadget - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 9:12pm
There's a new interactive video game exhibit at The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) in California, and it's not showing off just any game-related material. No, it's putting a spotlight on the accomplishments female game developers -- e...

Internet Privacy Is The Wrong Conversation

TechCrunch - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 9:00pm
 On April 2, the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook is in hot water with government regulators in six European countries over its practice of tracking users’ movements across the web to sell targeted advertising. The kerfuffle illustrates the bind that the world finds itself in over tracking – the collection and sharing of data on users’ browsing habits to help sites… Read More

When Exxon Wanted To Be a Personal Computing Revolutionary

Slashdot - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 8:37pm
An anonymous reader writes with this story about Exxon's early involvement with consumer computers. "This weekend is the anniversary of the release of the Apple IIc, the company's fourth personal computer iteration and its first attempt at creating a portable computer. In 1981, Apple's leading competitor in the world of consumer ('novice') computer users was IBM, but the market was about to experience a deluge of also-rans and other silent partners in PC history, including the multinational descendant of Standard Oil, Exxon. The oil giant had been quietly cultivating a position in the microprocessor industry since the mid-1970s via the rogue Intel engineer usually credited with developing the very first commercial microprocessor, Federico Faggin, and his startup Zilog. Faggin had ditched Intel in 1974, after developing the 4004 four-bit CPU and its eight-bit successor, the 8008. As recounted in Datapoint: The Lost Story of the Texans Who Invented the Personal Computer, Faggin was upset about Intel's new requirement that employees had to arrive by eight in the morning, while he usually worked nights. Soon after leaving Intel and forming Zilog, Faggin was approached by Exxon Enterprises, the investment arm of Exxon, which began funding Zilog in 1975."

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The Future Deconstruction of the K-12 Teacher

Slashdot - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 7:25pm
An anonymous reader writes: English teacher Michael Godsey writes in The Atlantic what he envisions the role of teachers to be in the future. In a nutshell, he sees virtual classrooms, less pay, and a drastic decrease in the number of educators, but thinks they will all be "super-teachers". From the article: "Whenever a college student asks me, a veteran high-school English educator, about the prospects of becoming a public-school teacher, I never think it's enough to say that the role is shifting from 'content expert' to 'curriculum facilitator.' Instead, I describe what I think the public-school classroom will look like in 20 years, with a large, fantastic computer screen at the front, streaming one of the nation's most engaging, informative lessons available on a particular topic. The 'virtual class' will be introduced, guided, and curated by one of the country's best teachers (a.k.a. a "super-teacher"), and it will include professionally produced footage of current events, relevant excerpts from powerful TedTalks, interactive games students can play against other students nationwide, and a formal assessment that the computer will immediately score and record. I tell this college student that in each classroom, there will be a local teacher-facilitator (called a 'tech') to make sure that the equipment works and the students behave. Since the 'tech' won't require the extensive education and training of today's teachers, the teacher's union will fall apart, and that "tech" will earn about $15 an hour to facilitate a class of what could include over 50 students. This new progressive system will be justified and supported by the American public for several reasons: Each lesson will be among the most interesting and efficient lessons in the world; millions of dollars will be saved in reduced teacher salaries; the 'techs' can specialize in classroom management; performance data will be standardized and immediately produced (and therefore 'individualized'); and the country will finally achieve equity in its public school system."

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Jay Z says his Tidal music service is doing just fine, thank you

Engadget - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 7:11pm
Jay Z re-launched Tidal with a lot of fanfare, but how well is his artist-owned streaming service doing so far? Just fine, if you ask the man himself. As part of a flurry of Twitter posts, Mr. Carter revealed that Tidal has "over 770,000" subscribers...

Officials Say Russian Hackers Read Obama's Unclassified Emails

Slashdot - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 6:15pm
An anonymous reader points out that Russian hackers reportedly obtained some of President Obama’s emails when the White House’s unclassified computer system was hacked last year. Some of President Obama's email correspondence was swept up by Russian hackers last year in a breach of the White House's unclassified computer system that was far more intrusive and worrisome than has been publicly acknowledged, according to senior American officials briefed on the investigation. The hackers, who also got deeply into the State Department's unclassified system, do not appear to have penetrated closely guarded servers that control the message traffic from Mr. Obama's BlackBerry, which he or an aide carries constantly. But they obtained access to the email archives of people inside the White House, and perhaps some outside, with whom Mr. Obama regularly communicated. From those accounts, they reached emails that the president had sent and received, according to officials briefed on the investigation.

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The Micro VC Shakeout

TechCrunch - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 6:00pm
 When we started Bullpen Capital in 2011, there were about 30 or so “microVC” or “micro-seed” funds — and we knew them all. Today, four years later, there are likely over 220 micro VC funds and growing. In fact, I joke with my partners that “we will likely get to 400 before we go back to 40.” That line always elicits a nervous laughter, as it captures… Read More

Google Executive Dan Fredinburg Among Victims of Everest avalanche

Slashdot - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 5:04pm
alphadogg writes: Dan Fredinburg, privacy director for the company's Google X team, and an engineer who worked on many of Google's most exciting projects during his 8 years with the company, died over the weekend in an avalanche on Mount Everest. The 33-year-old worked on projects such as Google Loon, the company's balloon-based Internet access effort and self-driving car. He also was involved in Google Street View Everest, leading expeditions to gather imagery of the Khumbu region around Mt. Everest. Fredinburg's career began in a much less glamorous fashion as a "dock rat" and as a farm hand in Arkansas.

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'Gears of War' looks like the next game to get an Xbox One remaster

Engadget - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 5:03pm
Like it or not, ports of classic games to the latest consoles are still all the rage... and Microsoft appears eager to cash in on the trend. Both Kotaku and Polygon report that Microsoft, Black Tusk Studios and Dirty Bomb's Splash Damage are working ...

Silicon Valley Can Accelerate Social Impact Globally

TechCrunch - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 5:00pm
 Silicon Valley’s influence is undeniable but its global impact has always been a passive byproduct of success at home. To make a lasting, material difference, there needs to be a concerted effort to expand its reach in a substantial and sustainable way. For the better part of the last century, the Valley has been a bedrock for technological progress and era-defining industry. From the… Read More

Seeing Buildings Shake With Software

Slashdot - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 3:55pm
mikejuk writes: In 2012 a team from MIT CSAIL discovered that you could get motion magnification by applying filtering algorithms to the color changes of individual pixels. The method didn't track movement directly, but instead used the color changes that result from the movement. Now another MIT team has attempted to put the technique to use in monitoring structures — to directly see the vibrations in buildings, bridges and other constructions. Currently such monitoring involves instrumenting the building with accelerometers. This is expensive and doesn't generally give a complete "picture" of what is happening to the building. It would be much simpler to point a video camera at the building and use motion magnification software to really see the vibrations and this is exactly what the team is trying out. Yes you can see the building move — in real time — and it seems to be a good match to what traditional monitoring methods say is happening. The next stage is to use the method to monitor MIT's Green Building, the Zakim Bridge and the John Hancock Tower in Boston.

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NASCAR's first hydrogen-powered pace car hits the track

Engadget - Sun, 04/26/2015 - 2:56pm
NASCAR may be dominated by gas-guzzling racers, but its pace car this weekend is decidedly kinder to the environment. The motorsport league's Sprint Cup race in Richmond on the 26th (delayed from the 25th due to rain) has Toyota's hydrogen-powered Mi...