DC5m United States IT in english 155 articles,
created at 2017-05-10 00:06
1 / 155
Amazon launches Echo Show
smart speaker with
touchscreen and video calling
Amazon is launching Echo Show, a new Alexapowered smart speaker that includes a 7in
touchscreen and video-calling features, as it enters
the next stage in an ongoing battle with Google to
become the most popular in-home voice assistant.
Echo Show, which will cost $230 in the US and will
ship on 28 June (no UK release date is set) , will
operate like Amazon’s existing Echo and Echo Dot
wifi-connected smart speakers, putting the
company’s artificially intelligent voice assistant
Alexa into the home. But unlike Amazon’s previous
voice-only smart speakers, it will also have a
touchscreen to show extra information, play videos
from YouTube and elsewhere, show results for
questions and other visual information that’s
currently displayed when Alexa is asked a question
on the firm’s Fire TV smart devices.
Amazon said: “Voice responses from Alexa are now
enhanced with visuals and optimised for visibility
across the room. Call or message your family and
friends that also have an Echo or the Alexa App, get
the news with a video flash briefing, see your Prime
Photos, shop with your voice, see lyrics with
Amazon Music, and more. All you have to do is
Echo Show has two Dolby-tuned speakers in the
front, which Amazon says should fill a room and
make listening to music or watching video better
than with previous devices, and a front-facing
camera. Users can also place calls to other Echo or
Alexa App users, including a new feature Amazon
calls “Drop In” for family and friends. The screen
can also display the feeds from compatible security
The Echo Show is the second new Amazon Echo
device to be announced in the last few weeks. In
April, Amazon launched the Echo Look, a voicecontrolled smart selfie camera that is able to
compare outfits and give fashion advice. While
Echo Look is only available to select customers in
the US via invitation, Echo Show will see wider
availability, albeit only in the US initially.
Amazon is locked in battle with Google and others
for the burgeoning new world of voice assistantpowered smart speakers. Amazon has the lead
thanks to its original Echo, which was launched in
the US in 2014 and the UK in 2016. It became a
sleeper hit in the US, while its open partnerships
with various smart home makers including
Alphabet’s Nest and Samsung’s SmartThings
propelled it to an early market majority.
According to data from eMarketer, Amazon’s Echo
devices will have 70.6% of the market versus
23.8% for Google’s Home. The research firm
expects 35.6 million Americans will use a voiceassisted device at least once a month, which
means that smart speakers will be far from a massmarket device, but usage will be up 128.9% year on
Martín Utreras, vice president of forecasting for
eMarketer, said: “Consumers are becoming
increasingly comfortable with the technology, which
is driving engagement. As prices decrease and
functionality increases, consumers are finding more
reasons to adopt these devices.”
Samsung’s Harman Kardon is set to release a
voice-controlled speaker with Microsoft’s Cortana
virtual assistant in the Autumn in the US, leaving
Apple as the last of the big four US technology
companies with a virtual assistant but no voice-
controlled speakers to house it in.
While Google’s Assistant has been available in a
broad range of Android devices, including
smartphones and smartwatches, Amazon’s big
advantage has been the opening up of its Alexa
system to third-party developers and hardware
makers, which has seen Alexa appear in various
speakers, other devices and cars.
Whether an Echo speaker with a screen is what the
next stage of voice-control in the home looks like
remains to be seen. Apple’s senior vice-president
of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, recently said
in an interview with NDTV that a screen was key to
a voice-controlled device, although the popularity of
Amazon’s original Echo was partly fuelled by it
being a voice-only interface that freed both hands
and eyes.
Amazon's Echo Show Includes a
Built-In Touch Screen
Amazon officially unveils its screenequipped smart speaker – the Echo
Amazon Echo Show launched:
everything you need to know
Who ya gonna video call? Amazon
rolls out new Echo Show home hub
with touchscreen
Amazon gives voice-enabled
speaker a screen, video calling
Amazon adds video calling with Echo
Here are all the reasons why I want
Amazon’s Echo Show
Daily Report: Using Amazon’s Echo
to Phone Home
2017-05-09 15:41 Samuel Gibbs
2 / 155
Toshiba wrangles with Western
Digital over chips unit sale –
Silicon Valley
TOKYO — Money-losing Japanese electronics
company Toshiba is sparring with its U. S. joint
venture partner Western Digital over the planned
sale of Toshiba’s computer-chip business.
Tokyo-based Toshiba needs cash from such a sale
to shore up its finances after it suffered massive
losses in its nuclear power division.
Toshiba warned Western Digital to stop interfering,
according to letters obtained Tuesday by The
Associated Press. The letters from the company’s
lawyers, dated May 3, accused Western Digital of
“improper” interference.
Western Digital bought SanDisk, Toshiba’s
longtime partner in making flash memory chips, last
year. It has argued the sale might violate terms of
the joint venture with Toshiba, according to the
Such sales can be sensitive because they involve
the transfer of technology.
Calls to Western Digital in Asia went unanswered.
Several companies, including Western Digital, are
reportedly interested in acquiring Toshiba’s prized
chip-making business. Another is Hon Hai of
Taiwan, also known as Foxconn, a major supplier
to Apple, which has acquired Japanese electronics
company Sharp.
South Korea’s SK Hynix is also reportedly a bidder.
A Japanese consortium including governmentaffiliates like the Development Bank of Japan and
the public-private Innovation Network Corp. of
Japan are said to be preparing a bid with U. S.
private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. The
financial newspaper Nikkei reported last month that
Western Digital might join that effort.
Toshiba is projecting a trillion yen ($9 billion) in
losses for the fiscal year that ended in March,
although auditors have refused to sign off on its
earnings report. The company is also embroiled in
an accounting scandal.
Further raising doubts over its future viability,
Toshiba’s U. S. nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric
filed for bankruptcy protection in March.
Four nuclear reactors that Westinghouse is helping
to build in South Carolina and Georgia are behind
schedule and billions of dollars over budget, as
costs soar after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima,
northeastern Japan, six years ago.
Toshiba tells Western Digital not to
interfere with chip unit sale
Toshiba wrangles with Western
Digital over chips unit sale
2017-05-09 13:42 By Yuri
3 / 155
TripAdvisor's quarterly revenue
rises 5.7 percent, shares up
The Needham, Massachusetts-based company's
shares rose about 6 percent to $49.55 in afterhours trading.
The company's total revenue rose to $372 million in
the first quarter ended March 31, from $352 million
a year earlier. (
Net income fell to $13 million, or 9 cents per share,
from $29 million, or 20 cents per share.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Arunima
Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)
Chipmaker Nvidia's quarterly
revenue jumps 48.4 percent
Yelp plunges more than 25% after
outlook falls way short of estimates
2017-05-09 16:35 Reuters Editorial
4 / 155
Best cheap phones 2017: our
top budget mobiles
Update: We've now included the Wileyfox Swift 2 in
our best cheap phone list - scroll down below to
see where it has ranked - plus we've said goodbye
to the Vodafone Smart Prime 7. Wileyfox Swift 2
Vodafone Smart Prime 7
In the past, the term 'best cheap phones' was
usually a warning, rather than a tempting
proposition, with shoddy build quality, sluggish
performance, laughable screen resolution and
woeful cameras. But this isn't the past, this is the
present, and the market abounds with top budget
While the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7, iPhone
7, LG G5 and HTC 10 steal headlines around the
world, there's a lot of intriguing (and cheap) stuff
going on in the world of budget phones. Samsung
Galaxy S7 iPhone 7 LG G5 HTC 10
Sadly smartphone innovation isn't cheap – and
most of it is reserved for high-end contract
handsets. There is however such a thing as a good
cheap smartphone, and ever so gently all those
amazing features from the flagship devices are
slowly trickling down to the budget phones.
Here's a selection of our favourite cheap phones
that cost under £200. Don't need to worry about
cost? Check out our best phone list best phone
The phone with two day battery life
Weight: 177g | Dimensions: 153 x 76 x 8.3mm | OS:
Android 6 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution: 1080
x 1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 625 | RAM: 4GB |
Storage: 32GB | Battery: 5100mAh | Rear camera:
13MP | Front camera: 5MP
The Lenovo P2 is the best cheap phone you can
buy right now. It has some incredible spec and it's
all packed into an attractive package that looks like
a premium phone that many won't even realise is a
cheaper device.
The P2 offers two-day battery life. When we were
testing this phone we were able to get through a full
two days of using the phone without having to plug
it in and put it on charge.
There's a powerful processor inside, considering
the price of the phone, and it also features a great,
bright 5.5-inch Full HD display. It's a heavier device
than anything else on this list, but it's worth it
considering how great the battery life on the
Lenovo P2 is.
Read the full review: Lenovo P2 Lenovo P2
The best Moto G out there
Weight: 145g | Dimensions: 144 x 73 x 9.5mm | OS:
Android 7 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 1080 x
1920 | CPU: Snapdragon 430 | RAM: 2/3GB |
Storage: 16GB/32GB | Battery: 2800mAh | Rear
camera: 13MP | Front camera: 5MP
Motorola's latest Moto G hasn't become our best
cheap phone in the world right now, but it's still a
great phone and has slotted in the second place in
our best cheap phone list.
The Moto G5 comes with a new metal design as
well as a Full HD display and a fingerprint scanner
on the back of the phone. Moto G5
You won't get the fastest processor on this list or
NFC with the Moto G5, but as an all-round product
the new cheap Motorola phone will keep you going
well if you decide to buy one soon.
Read the full review: Motorola Moto G5 Motorola
Moto G5
Solid specs, strong camera and superb price
Weight: 158g | Dimensions: 143.7 x 71.9 x 8.6mm |
OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution:
1280 x 720 | CPU: Snapdragon 430 | RAM: 3GB |
Storage: 32GB | Battery: 2700mAh | Rear camera:
16MP | Front camera: 8MP
For just £189, Wileyfox has done wonders with the
Swift 2 Plus. It looks and feels like a much more
expensive phone, with an attractive aluminium
build and smooth performance.
Its camera is capable of taking decent shots, its
fingerprint sensor works well, and the Cyanogen UI
is a genuinely thoughtful enhancement of the stock
Android operating system.
Read the full review: Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus Wileyfox
Swift 2 Plus
Another phone raising the budget bar
Weight: 137g | Dimensions: 144 x 72 x 9.9mm | OS:
Android 6 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 720 x
1280 | CPU: Snapdragon 410 | RAM: 2GB |
Storage: 8GB/16GB | Battery: 2800mAh | Rear
camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP
This is the lowest price phone out of all the Moto G
products available right now.
It features a 720p screen, but despite that the spec
on this Motorola phone is still good including 2GB
of RAM, 16GB of storage, an 8MP rear camera and
a 5MP front facing selfie shooter.
The best part is it's running Android 6 Marshmallow
software and Motorola has confirmed it will soon be
upgraded to Android 7. That means you'll have the
latest software, something many high-end and
expensive phones are still waiting to get.
Read the full review: Moto G4 Play Moto G4 Play
The high-end of Motorola's budget line
Weight: 155g | Dimensions: 153 x 76.6 x 7.9-9.8mm
| OS: Android 6.0.1 | Screen size: 5.5-inch |
Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | CPU: Octa-core 1.5 GHz
| RAM: 2/4GB | Storage: 16GB w/ microSD | Battery:
3,000mAh | Rear camera: 16MP | Front camera:
The first of three entries in this list from Motorola, it's
the Moto G4 Plus. It's the highest spec budget
phone from the company from 2016 and features
some of the best features we've seen on a phone at
this price point.
The spec is much the same as the Moto G4, but it
also comes with a fingerprint scanner and an
improved camera - that's what the Plus means as
it's the same size as the normal Moto G4.
The 16MP rear shooter is arguably the most
impressive phone camera at the sub-£200 mark. If
you want to be able to take good photos but can't
afford to buy a high-end phone, this is the best
choice for you.
There's no NFC so you won't be able to use
Android Pay on the Moto G4 Plus, but a bright
display and strong performance is sure to make up
for it. Before you buy, note it may be worth waiting
for the newly launched Moto G5 Plus that's
expected to come out in the next few months. Moto
G5 Plus
Read the full review: Moto G4 Plus Moto G4 Plus
Blu's first phone in the UK
Weight: 170g | Dimensions: 154.3 x 74.9 x 7mm |
OS: Android 6 | Screen size: 5.5-inch | Resolution:
1080 x 1920 | CPU: Octa-core 1.8GHz | RAM: 4GB |
Storage: 64GB | Battery: 3130mAh | Rear camera:
13MP | Front camera: 8MP
When the Blu Vivo 6 initially launched it didn't
feature in our best cheap phone ranking but a
recent price drop has meant it's now in position
number six on our list.
Blu's first foray into the UK is a budget phone with a
high-end design, despite being available in very
limited colour choices.
It comes with impressive spec considering the price
though with a 5.5-inch Full HD display, 13MP rear
shooter, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. If you
like the look of the Vivo 6, you won't be
disappointed with this if you buy it as your next
cheap phone.
Read the full review: Blu Vivo 6 Blu Vivo 6
Wileyfox does it again with this feature-rich budget
Weight: 155g | Dimensions: 143.7 x 71.9 x 8.6mm |
OS: Android 7 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution:
720 x 1280 | CPU: Quad-core 1.4GHz | RAM: 2GB |
Storage: 16GB | Battery: 2700mAh | Rear camera:
13MP | Front camera: 8MP
Another Wileyfox device has made it onto our best
cheap phone list, and this one costs even less than
the Swift 2 Plus listed above.
We love the Swift 2 for its combination of low price
and good spec. There's a 5-inch screen, 13MP rear
shooter and Android 7 software right out of the box.
Our highlight of this phone is the design - it feels
premium, while coming with a low price point. If
you're looking for a lot of features for not much
money and you like the design of the Swift 2, we'd
recommend this as your next affordable phone.
Read the full review: Wileyfox Swift 2 Wileyfox Swift
An always-on second screen
Weight: 120g | Dimensions: 142.6 x 71.8 x 7.1mm |
OS: Android 6.0 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution:
720 x 1280 | CPU: Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 |
RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | Battery: 2300mAh |
Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 8MP
LG's latest budget handset comes with one major
selling point - it has a second, always-on display.
No other phone that's under £200 is going to be
able to offer you that and that's one key reason to
buy the LG X Screen.
The spec may not be as impressive as say the Moto
G4, but it still comes with 2GB of RAM, a
Snapdragon 410 processor and a 13MP rear facing
If you're a fan of LG, the X Screen may well be the
best product you'll be able to buy right now if you
don't want to shell out on a flagship phone like the
Read the full review: LG X Screen LG X Screen
Honor's last low cost phone
Weight: 120g | Dimensions: 142.6 x 71.8 x 7.1mm |
OS: Android 6.0 | Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution:
720 x 1280 | CPU: Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 |
RAM: 2GB | Storage: 16GB | Battery: 2300mAh |
Rear camera: 13MP | Front camera: 8MP
Honor used to be a specialist in low priced phones
but most recent releases from the company have
skewed a little more on the expensive end of the
market. That's except for the Honor 5C though.
The Honor 5C is a strong choice for your low cost
mobile upgrade. It comes with a 5.2-inch Full HD
screen, Android 6 Marshmalllow software and a
powerful Kirin 650 processor.
There's also a powerful 13MP rear camera and an
8MP selfie shooter to capture your gorgeous face
and send it to your friends and family.
Read the full review: Honor 5C Honor 5C
The Moto E3 is brilliantly cheap, but not brilliant
Dimensions: 143.8 x 71.6 x 8.5mm | OS: Android 6 |
Screen size: 5-inch | Resolution: 720 x 1280 | CPU:
1GHz quad-core | RAM: 1GB | Storage: 8GB |
Battery: 2,800mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front
camera: 5MP
The Moto E3 isn't our favorite cheap phone in the
world right now... it's not even the best cheap phone
from Motorola - those are the Moto G4 Plus and
Moto G4 up above.
But if you're looking for a truly cheap device, the
Moto E3 is still a good option you could take a look
at. We particularly liked the battery life and the build
quality of the Moto E3 when we reviewed the
There are issues such as the lack of NFC support,
which means you can't use Android Pay, as well as
limited space, but if this won't be an issue for you
then the Moto E3 may be perfect for you.
Read the full review: Moto E3 Moto E3
Should you wait for a new cheap phone to be
announced? There's sure to be many more
upcoming phone announcements in 2017, but
rumors for affordable new devices are currently
quite quiet.
We know Motorola is planning a Moto E4
announcement at some point over the next few
months, but other cheap phone rumors are few and
far between. For that reason it's a great time for you
to buy a new phone, especially if you like the look
of one in the list above. Moto E4 Happy to spend
more on your phone? Read our best phone of 2017
guide best phone of 2017
The best laptop deals in May 2017:
cheap laptops for every budget
The best cheap Now TV deals in
May 2017: the cheapest boxes and
2017-05-09 13:30 By
5 / 155
Net Neutrality Activists
Question FCC Cyberattack
Claim After John Oliver
Segment – InsideSources
Proponents of net neutrality are skeptical of the
Federal Communications Commission’s claim
multiple cyberattacks brought down the FCC
website instead of a flood of comments from
comedian John Oliver’s latest segment on net
At the end of Sunday night’s episode of HBO’s ‘Last
Week Tonight’ host John Oliver called on internet
users to inundate the FCC with comments in
support of net neutrality rules the agency is
planning to scale back. Shortly after it was widely
reported there was such an uptick in comments it
crashed the agency’s Electronic Comment Filing
System, the same thing that happened after Oliver’s
first segment on the issue in 2014.
Net neutrality supporters said the crash, which was
still slowing the website down into Monday,
signaled overwhelming support for the rules.
“Last night John Oliver broke the FCC’s website…
again, ” Free Press, an independent pro-net
neutrality group and First Amendment group, said
Monday. “The comedian spent the bulk of his show
on Net Neutrality — and laid into FCC Chairman
Ajit Pai for his plan to destroy the open internet.
Seconds after Oliver urged viewers to file
comments and oppose Pai’s plan, the FCC’s
website crashed — just like it did the first time he
talked about the issue back in 2014.”
But the FCC came out with a different explanation
Monday afternoon, saying the comment filing
system was the target of multiple Distributed Denial
of Service (DDoS) attacks — when hackers flood a
website with traffic from a network of compromised
computers, or botnet, with the goal of overloading
servers with more traffic than they can sustain and
crashing the site.
“These were deliberate attempts by external actors
to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high
amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host, ”
FCC CIO David Bray said. “These actors were not
attempting to file comments themselves; rather they
made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access
and file with the FCC.”
The agency chief information officer said the
attacks, described by Bray as “multiple” DDoS
attacks, began at midnight, the same time Oliver’s
show concluded.
He said the system “remained up and running the
entire time, ” but the attacks “tied up the servers and
prevented them from responding to people
attempting to submit comments.”
But Fight for the Future, another net neutrality and
digital advocacy group, is crying foul, and
described the agency’s explanation as either a
case of carefully nuanced wording, an outright
falsehood or a scheme concocted by the
broadband industry.
“The FCC’s statement today raises a lot of
questions, and the agency should act immediately
to ensure that voices of the public are not being
silenced as it considers a move that would affect
every single person that uses the internet, ” Evan
Greer, the group’s campaign director, said Monday
Greer said the agency is either being “intentionally
misleading” by claiming the surge in traffic was a
cyberattack “in order to let themselves off the hook
for essentially silencing large numbers of people by
not having a properly functioning site to receive
comments from the public about an important issue,
” or “Someone actually did DDoS the FCC’s site at
the exact same time as John Oliver’s segment, in
order to actively prevent people from commenting
in support of keeping the Title II net neutrality rules
that millions of people fought for in 2015.”
“Given Ajit Pai’s open hostility toward net neutrality,
and the telecom industry’s long history of
astroturfing and paying shady organizations to do
their dirty work, either of these scenarios should be
concerning for anyone who cares about
government transparency, free speech, and the
future of the internet, ” Greer said.
Fight for the Future said the FCC should release its
server logs to an independent cybersecurity analyst
or a major news outlet to “verify exactly what
happened” Sunday night.
Either action would likely violate federal information
security laws without special permission, and any
investigation would probably be taken up by the
Department of Homeland Security or the FBI, at the
FCC’s request, making the group’s demands
unlikely to be fulfilled.
Fight for the Future’s hypothetical scenarios seem
equally unlikely. It’s a stretch to speculate internet
service providers have illegal malicious cyber tools
at the ready for just such an event, and even more
so to suggest they had reason to believe Oliver
would deliver a second episode on the issue they
had advance notice of somehow.
The Obama administration’s Democrat-led FCC
said the same thing happened in June 2014 after
Oliver’s first segment on net neutrality, and a senior
FCC official in Pai’s office confirmed to reporters
during a conference call in April that the system has
been the target of malicious traffic in the past, and
that despite upgrades, it could still crash if too many
users attempt to file comments at the same time.
During the same call, the staffer explained the FCC
won’ t be basing its decision on the number of
comments filed for or against the plan, but whether
their arguments and data are factual and have
sound legal backing.
“It’s not a counting procedure where you decide
which side placed more comments in the record
and that side wins, ” the senior staff member said.
“That is not the way the Administrative Procedure
Act works.”
The FCC’s website listed the number of comments
on the “Restoring Internet Freedom” order at almost
185,000 Tuesday morning, and climbed to almost
500,000 at the time of this writing.
Follow Giuseppe on Twitter
Subscribe for the Latest From InsideSources Every
John Oliver's plea for net neutrality
may have provoked hackers to knock
out FCC website
FCC website 'targeted by attack'
after John Oliver comments
2017-05-09 13:10 Giuseppe Macri
6 / 155
The best BlackBerry KEYone
deals and prices in May 2017
It's been a long time coming, but the BlackBerry
KEYone has finally been released in the UK and
(whisper it quietly) it's actually rather good. A
comeback story to match Liverpool in Istanbul or
Elvis's '68 special, the fruity mobile phone company
synonymous with business execs tapping away at a
miniature keyboard has returned to grace.
Equipped with an updated version of that keyboard,
Full HD screen and 12MP main camera, the
Blackberry KEYone runs off Android. If you've
missed your old pocket-PC, we recommend
checking out the below comparison chart - it may
not quite be a match for the likes of the Samsung
Galaxy S8, but it's not far off. Below that we have a
scaled-down version of our full BlackBerry KEYone
review, as well as our pick of the best three deals in
If you're just not sure which offer best suits you, we'll
take the pain out of choosing your new BlackBerry
KEYone deal. Whatever data usage you require,
we pick out the cheapest prices on the market.
"There's something very comforting about the
familiarity of that old styling in the BlackBerry
KeyOne. It's a sophisticated-looking smartphone
with that famous physical keyboard, updated for the
Android era.
You just need to be aware that the mid-range specs
are bettered by more expensive flagship phones its
entertainment capabilities make the BlackBerry
KEYone feel as if it clocks out at 5pm sharp when it
comes to the fun stuff.
BlackBerry’s signature keyboard is a welcome
change if you miss the tactile feedback of a real
smartphone keyboard. It has 52 customisable
shortcuts, so every long and short press gets you
somewhere faster. It also acts as a trackpad, so you
can scroll through menus and web pages as you
lightly pet the keys.
Its screen-and-keyboard combo is outlined in a
silver anodized aluminum frame and backed by a
black, soft grip textured rear cover. This stylish, twotoned look is has real character. The most clever
thing is that it hides the fingerprint sensor inside the
small space bar at the bottom of the phone.
It’s touted as the most secure Android phone, preloaded with smart, enterprise-level mobile software
and, at last, delivers an old-school physical
keyboard within a modern enough design.
The KEYone's Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 octacore chipset is fast enough for most day-to-day
work tasks, but we started to see occasional
slowdown when playing games. It's also a step
behind other phones when it comes to graphics.
Add to that a limp mono speaker on the bottom
bezel and you've got a handset that's really found
wanting if you like to use your phone for
And considering BlackBerry aims its wares directly
at business users, we’ re surprised the BlackBerry
KeyOne doesn’ t have a dual nano SIM tray when
many unlocked phones now have options for using
either a second SIM or microSD card - it would
have come in handy for those travelling
internationally on a regular basis.
The BlackBerry KEYOne is the smartphone for
anyone who has said ever ‘I miss my old
We can't fault it for admirably resurrecting the best
of BlackBerry: a physical keyboard, sophisticatedlooking, two-tone design and smart, secure
software. It looks and feels like it’s meant for
Exiled BlackBerry users who have felt forced to
trade their physical keyboards for on-screen
keyboards will undoubtedly rejoice."
The best cheap smartwatch deals in
May 2017
The best gaming mouse deals in
May 2017
The best cheap Now TV deals in
May 2017: the cheapest boxes and
2017-05-09 14:17 Adam Marshall
7 / 155
E3 2017: Everything you need
to know about this year's
gaming extravaganza
E3 is the world’s biggest gaming show. Every June,
E3 is the world’s biggest gaming show. Every June,
the video game development community and press
gather in Los Angeles to learn about what the next
year has in store for the world of video games. This
year 15,000 members of the public will be joining
the party too.
It’s an exciting show. The big players in the
industry, from Sony to Microsoft and Nintendo to
Ubisoft, all compete to get the biggest headlines by
saving their biggest announcements for the show.
In previous years we’ ve seen the announcement of
new consoles and new games, and with two new
consoles being released this year (the Nintendo
Switch and Microsoft’s Project Scorpio) , we’ re
expecting the major publishers to have something
big lined up for the show.
But what exactly is coming? Read on for our top
predictions for this year’s show, and if you’ re
interested in reading about what went down at E3s
past, check out our pages on E3 2016 and E3 2015
It’s a big year for Nintendo and according to
Nintendo of America's president Reggie Fils-Aime
the company is planning a "big" E3 to reflect this.
It seems this bigness is going to be concentrated on
the show floor, however, as it was revealed in a
recent company financial briefing that once more
Nintendo won't be holding a traditional on-stage
press conference. Nintendo hasn't had one of these
since 2012, instead reaching out to fans directly
with Nintendo Direct-style videos and Treehouse
Bearing this approach in mind, it seems most likely
that Nintendo is planning to use the fact that the
show is open to the public this year as a way to
showcase more of its Switch and 3DS games.
Fils-Aime didn't share any specifics with regards to
show plans but he did say that there would be a
"variety" of both Switch and 3DS games on display.
Last summer’s Pokemon Go reminded everyone
how much affection there still is for Nintendo’s
classic franchises, and consequently Pokemon Sun
and Moon went on to be one of the fastest selling
Pokemon games in some time.
But Nintendo wasn’ t done there. Its NES Classic
Mini, which bundled 30 classic NES games into a
cute little chassis was one of the hottest presents of
the holidays, and its Nintendo Switch reveal had us
all very excited indeed for the company’s new
Nintendo has a lot to play for at this year’s E3. The
Switch will be three months old and Nintendo will
need to use its presence at the show to maintain
the console’s momentum, and convince people that
it has a lot of games coming for the console for the
coming years.
It's been confirmed that there'll be a Splatoon 2
tournament at the Nintendo booth this year. Though
it's not certain what form the tournament will take it's
highly likely that it'll be somewhat similar to the
Super Smash Bros tournament that was held at E3
in 2014.
Outside of this, Nintendo has confirmed little else.
At a minimum we expect the new Super Mario
Odyssey to form a big part of Nintendo’s showing,
but we’ d be disappointed if we didn’ t see at least
one new big game announced, such as the
rumored Pokemon Stars.
Every year we cross our fingers and hope that
Retro Studios will be allowed to make another
Metroid Prime game, or that Nintendo might see fit
to resurrect F-Zero for another outing, but what’s
more likely is that the company will be hoping to
launch a couple of all new franchises with its new
We’ ve already seen Nintendo pushing its new
games Arms and 1-2 Switch at the console’s hands
on event, but we’ re sure the company has a lot
more in store for the new hardware.
If the response so far has been an indicator of
anything, it’s that Nintendo could really use a game
to show what the Switch is capable of, in the same
way that Wii Sports perfectly showed off the
capabilities of the Wii.
Sony's conference is scheduled to take place this
year on June 12 at 6pm PT, 9pm ET, and at 2am on
June 13 BST.
Sony has developed a knack for showstopping E3
presentations in recent years. Two years ago it
stole the show by announcing a long-anticipated
remake of Final Fantasy 7 alongside Shenmue 3,
and last year it let games such as God of War and
Horizon: Zero Dawn speak for themselves
alongside an appearance from legendary game
designer Hideo Kojima.
It then went on to be a big hardware year for Sony.
It launched a refresh of the PS4’s hardware with the
PS4 slim, a new 4K console in the form of the PS4
Pro, and the first ever console virtual reality
headset, the PlayStation VR.
We think virtual reality will be a big focus for Sony at
this year’s event. Its VR headset is out in the wild
now, and people need big meaty gaming
experiences to convince them it’s a worthwhile
Announced at last year’s presentation, Star Wars
VR ended up being an amazing experience whose
biggest problem was its length. We’ d love to see a
full-length Star Wars X-Wing game that can be
played in virtual reality in its entirety announced at
this year’s show.
We also saw the announcement of a new SpiderMan game developed by Ratchet and Clank studio
Insomniac games last year, and with Spider-Man:
Homecoming arriving on the big screen a month
after E3 in July it’s highly likely that Sony will want
to capitalise on the excitement with another
Otherwise we expect Sony to be pretty much
business as usual at this year’s show. It’s
developed a comfortable lead over Microsoft in
hardware sales, and it’s unlikely to want to upset
this too much.
Best free iPad games 2017
The best gaming mouse deals in
May 2017
The best cheap Now TV deals in
May 2017: the cheapest boxes and
2017-05-09 12:45 Jon Porter
8 / 155
The best free video editor 2017
Today's free video editors are a huge step up from
Windows Movie Maker, combining professionallevel tools with interfaces that are easy to master –
even if you've never made your own movie before.
If your needs are simple (you just want to trim a clip
to size, record a voiceover, or combine several
sections of footage together) , there are free, userfriendly tools that will get the job done in seconds.
Alternatively, you might be looking for a full videoediting suite that will give you complete control over
how your finished work looks and sounds – from
advanced audio filters to green screen effects.
Again, there are free tools that are perfect for the
task, and put premium-level tools within reach of
Whatever kind of movie you're making, here are the
very best free video editors for home users.
Putting professional-quality tools within reach of
everyone, regardless of budget, Lightworks is the
best free video editor available today
Lightworks is far much more than a simple tool for
cutting clips – the pro version has been used to
create big-name movies including The King's
Speech and Road to Perdition. Lightworks
As you would expect for such a powerful video
editor, you won't be able to master it overnight, but
that's certainly not something you could hold
against it.
Lightworks is described as the professional video
editor for everyone, and we reckon that's a fair
summary. Despite its power, it will run well on fairly
modest hardware, and it handles video capture and
advanced editing with aplomb.
If you've tried other free video editors you'll
probably find that the interface is a little different to
anything you're used to, but you can arrange the
various controls and windows to create something
that suits your way of working.
Review and where to download: Lightworks
Not as feature-packed as
particularly good for beginners
Free video editors have a tendency to be either
simple to use and limited in terms of features, or
powerful and time-consuming to learn. VideoPad
Video Editor does an excellent job of avoiding both
pitfalls – a powerful editor that you can easily
navigate, even if you've never used anything similar
in the past. VideoPad Video Editor
This ease of use plays a big part in VideoPad's
appeal, but it also comes highly recommended
because of the sheer range of tools it has on offer. It
may not be quite as feature-packed as Lightworks,
but it's much easier to just jump straight into.
You can work with video footage that's
your hard drive, or capture from your
camcorder. You then have access to a
video and audio editing tools (effects,
already on
plethora of
sequencing and more) , the likes of which would
not be out of place in a premium video editor.
Review and where to download: VideoPad Video
Editor VideoPad Video Editor
The interface is unusual, but once you master it,
you'll reap the benefits
Shotcut is another professional-feeling free video
editor that requires a little patience if you are
achieve the results it is so capable of delivering.
The slightly unusual interface can be put down to
the fact that this started life as a Linux application,
and little has changed in its conversion to Windows.
To start with, the interface may seem a little stark.
You will need to not only load a video, but also
choose which editing mode you would like to work
in and which tools you'd like to use.
There's no getting away from the fact that Shotcut
has a steep learning curve. It's possible to achieve
some impressive results by simply applying one of
its many filters to your video, but the real rewards
will only be reaped by those willing to invest the
time and energy in fully getting to grips with what's
on offer.
Review and where to download: Shotcut Shotcut
A non-linear video editor stacked with tools, with
more added all the time
VSDC Free Video Editor provides a huge array of
effects and filters to enhance your footage, with
both wizards and manual options to suit beginners
or more advanced users. VSDC Free Video Editor
VSDC is highly capable, and can yield superb
results. As a non-linear editor, it works in rather a
different way to many other similar tools, letting you
position clips and other elements on the timeline
wherever you like and edit them there.
With the ability to not only work with multiple scenes
and transitions, but also to add sprites and text to
videos, you can create a professional-quality movie
if you're willing to stick with VSDC's slightly odd way
of working and unusual interface.
The latest version of VSDC adds extra artistic
effects, including smoke. There's also a dedicated
Instagram export profile and automatic image
stabilization. It's noticeably faster, too. An excellent
choice for creative video projects.
Review and where to download: VSDC Free Video
Editor VSDC Free Video Editor
An accessible free video editor for small editing
tasks and enhancing clips
One thing to understand about Avidemux from the
outset is that it is not going to help you create the
next Star Wars or to become a master movie
producer. Rather, it's a set of essential tools for
everyday video editing, covering all of the basics
such as converting formats, trimming footage,
appending one clip to another, and applying filters
and effects. Avidemux
While Avidemux isn't offer the most powerful free
video editor, it's not a pared-back Windows Movie
Maker style affair either. You might have to go
hunting for some of the more advanced options, but
spend a little time perusing the menus and you'll be
There's also a handy quickstart guide to get you
rolling if you're totally new to video editing. If you
can't see a tool you need, Avidemux is also
expandable via plugins that add features like
subtitles and watermarks. a handy quickstart guide
Review and
You might also be interested in our guide to the
best free photo editors, the best laptops for video
editing and our list of best video editing software
the best free photo editors best laptops for video
editing best video editing software
The best free alternative to Lightroom
The best free email client 2017
Best free iPad games 2017
The best free screen recorder 2017
2017-05-09 16:17 By
9 / 155
This week’s best VPN deals:
PureVPN, Buffered VPN,
General Electric’s new smart lamp called The Sol
has Amazon’s Alexa embedded inside so that you
can control the lighting of a room with your voice.
IoT-enabled devices have quickly found a place
inside our homes despite the fact that they are often
designed with minimal security features. The Sol
By using a VPN to connect to the internet, you can
make sure that your smart home is protected online
and that your user data remains anonymous. VPN
Most VPN providers offer services globally and thus
charge in US Dollars rather than in local currencies,
so we've listed pricing in Dollars for the sake of
Bear in mind that when you click through to the
actual deals, you may find the prices automatically
displayed in pounds, or whatever your native
currency may be.
So, without further ado, here are some great deals
on VPNs to help protect your connected devices:
1. PureVPN - Only $69 a year
PureVPN provides its customers with 500 servers
across 180 locations, and 95,000 IP addresses.
This service also has a well-designed PC client that
offers a number of connection options and tools.
PureVPN only records the time you connect to a
server and the bandwidth you use. It does not log
the websites you visit or the files you download.
2. Buffered VPN - Great performance at $99 a year
This VPN is an excellent choice for users
concerned with speed and maximum performance.
Buffered VPN boasts not only impressive
connection speeds but also low latency levels
which provide responsive browsing. This service
also keeps no logs on its users ensuring your
privacy will remain intact while online.
3. Windscribe - Just $24 for 24 months
This competitively priced service is offering a
promotion where new users can sign up for two
years for just $24. Windscribe has clients for
desktop and mobile platforms and currently
supports Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS.
This VPN also gives you unlimited bandwidth for
downloads as well as support for an unlimited
number of devices. Android Check out the best
VPN services of 2017 best VPN services of 2017
Amazon’s new Alexa Calling feature
lets you make a call without using a
2017-05-09 17:00 By
10 / 155
Nevada teenager snags most
retweeted tweet of all time and
a year of free nuggets
A chicken-loving teenager has just snagged the
crown for Most Retweeted Tweet ever, all over a
wager with fast food giant Wendy’s. Most
Retweeted Tweet
16-year-old Carter Wilkerson of Reno, Nevada
really likes Wendy’s nuggets — I mean really likes
them. Carter tweeted Wendy’s, asking how many
retweets he’ d need for a year of free nuggets. They
@carterjwm 18 Million @carterjwm
— Wendy's (@Wendys) April 6,2017 April 6,2017
Win a trip to Amsterdam!
We've teamed up with Product Hunt to offer you the
chance to win an all expense paid trip to TNW
Conference 2017!
We've teamed up with Product Hunt to offer you the
chance to win an all expense paid trip to TNW
Conference 2017! TNW Conference CHECK IT
Carter apparently isn’ t easily intimidated, because
he tweeted:
— Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) April 6,2017 April
He then went on an aggressive campaign of asking
for retweets from friends and celebrities alike, which
bore rich fruit. Before long, #NuggsforCarter was a
trending campaign with t-shirts, and Carter was
appearing on TV shows. There was a
#NuggsforCarter emoji on Twitter, and Wendy’s
followed the campaign closely, responding every
time he hit a major number.
// https: //
— Wendy's (@Wendys) April 7,2017 April 7,2017
A Twitter playground fight has never been so
stupidly fun to watch. When Carter’s tweet finally
reached the record number, Wendy’s donated
$100,000 to the Dave Thomas Foundation for
Adoption. Though since he’s not at 18 million, he’s
probably not going to get that free year of nuggets.
Wendy’s is apparently giving Carter the free
nuggets, but I’ ll say this to the company: if he does
get 18 million retweets, I expect him to get at least a
lifetime of nuggets. Actually, two lifetimes — he’s
young, he’ ll be around a while.
The previous title-holder was Ellen Degeneres,
who has 3,430,486 million retweets for her selfie/
thinly-veiled Samsung ad at the 2014 Oscar show.
This is why I expect much richer rewards for Carter:
the most retweeted tweet before now had the
combined power of several celebrities and
Samsung’s marketing apparatus behind it, and was
taken at one of the biggest public events in the
world. Ellen Degeneres thinly-veiled Samsung ad
A kid who loves Wendy’s managed to do better. Let
that sink in.
Update 4-9: A previous version of this post stated
that Carter hadn’ t yet received his year of free
nuggets. He has. We’ ve amended the article and
regret the error. You go, Carter.
A teen's tweet asking for free Wendy's chicken
nuggets just surpassed Ellen DeGeneres' record for
the most retweets of all time on Business Insider A
teen's tweet asking for free Wendy's chicken
nuggets just surpassed Ellen DeGeneres' record for
the most retweets of all time on Business Insider
Sit back and let the hottest tech news come to you
by the magic of electronic mail.
Prefer to get the news as it happens? Follow us on
social media.
Got two minutes to spare? We'd love to know a bit
more about our readers. Start! Start!
All data collected in the survey is anonymous.
Chicken nugget tweet breaks Twitter
2017-05-09 16:00 Rachel Kaser
11 / 155
Microsoft is planning to turn
Windows 10 PCs into Amazon
Echo competitors
Microsoft has been working on a new HomeHub
feature for Windows 10 to better compete with
devices like Amazon 's Echo. HomeHub is
designed to create a family environment for a PC
with shared access to calendars, apps, and even a
new welcome screen. Microsoft is even planning to
support smart home devices like Philips' Hue lights,
to enable Windows 10 to act as a hub to control and
manage smart home hardware. While we've heard
about HomeHub before, The Verge has obtained
internal concepts of exactly how Microsoft is
imagining HomeHub will work.
The major addition is a new welcome screen that
includes an "always on" digital corkboard to let
families use to-do lists, calendars, and notes. The
welcome screen is really designed for kitchen PCs
and new smaller hardware with screens that will
support Cortana voice commands from across the
room. Microsoft appears to be readying Windows
10 for future devices that are similar to Amazon's
new Echo Show hardware, with easy access to
voice search, calling, and smart device control.
Microsoft's differentiator is that it wants these
devices to be considered full Windows 10 PCs.
Microsoft is aiming to include the new welcome
screen, shared desktops, and easy calling in the
Windows 10 update due in September. This update
should also include improvements to Cortana, and
support for third-party smart home devices.
Microsoft's plan for supporting smart devices looks
a lot like Apple's own Home app, with the ability to
manage and control smart devices directly within
Windows 10.
More from The Verge: Microsoft Build 2017: what to
expect from this week's conference Harman Kardon
teases its Cortana-powered speaker Windows 10 S
won't let you change the default browser or switch
to Google search
Microsoft is tentatively planning to support Hue,
Nest, Insteon, Wink, and SmartThings devices with
its connected home app. Cortana will be used to
send commands to devices, just like Amazon's
Echo. Microsoft has been working with PC makers
including HP and Lenovo to create new hardware
or refresh existing PCs with a focus on this new
home effort. Both HP and Lenovo are expected to
have all-in-one PCs ready for the holiday period
with support for waking up with Cortana voice
commands and the new welcome screen feature for
Windows 10.
Any devices that come with these new Windows 10
features will rely on PC partners to create. Microsoft
is holding a special event on May 23rd in Shanghai
where it's planning to " show the world what's next."
Given that Microsoft will need the full support of
OEMs to build special devices for its dream of the
shared kitchen PC, Shanghai seems like the perfect
venue for Microsoft's new push into the home.
Enterprise alert: Microsoft slates
next Windows 10 LTSB release for
2017-05-09 14:51 Tom Warren
12 / 155
Target increases its free
shipping threshold as Amazon
drops it
Here's a new wrinkle in the free shipping wars.
Here's a new wrinkle in the free shipping wars.
Target boosted its free shipping threshold on
Sunday to $35 from $25, the company told CNBC.
The higher threshold comes as Amazon slashed its
minimum purchase for non-Prime members by $10
to $35, from $49. Wal-Mart rolled back its free
shipping threshold to $35 in January for two-day
Target began offering its $25 threshold in February
2015. Prior to that, shoppers needed to spend $50
to qualify for free shipping.
"Target regularly reviews and adjusts our online
shipping policies and practices to better serve
guests and enhance our business" the retailer said
in a statement. No official press release or blog post
went up announcing the move.
Things won't change for Target's REDcard cred or
debit cardholders. They will continue to receive free
shipping online with no threshold in addition to 5
percent off every purchase.
While Target won't disclose specific statistics
regarding the percentage of online orders that
qualify for free shipping by hitting $35 or using the
Target REDcard, the retailer says "a small
percentage of purchases are less than
$35, so the majority of orders will continue to ship
for free."
Shipping is a growing expense for retailers
including Target as online orders grow. In addition
to distribution centers, Target has more than 1,800
stores in the U. S. and in February, CEO Brian
Cornell told the financial community Target is
shipping directly from around 1,000 of its stores,
with stores fulfilling 68 percent of orders placed
online during the 2016 holiday season.
The retailer has seen choppy sales over the past
year, most recently turning in a disappointing
holiday quarter. Target is spending $7 billion over
several years to invest in its digital operations,
existing stores and lowering prices.
Earlier Monday, the company said it is testing a
program, called Target Restock, to let customers
order household essentials and have
delivered to their homes the next day.
Amazon cuts free shipping minimum
to $25
2017-05-09 14:35 Courtney Reagan
13 / 155
Best iPad games: the top free
and paid-for titles around
No-one predicted the meteoric rise of gaming on
iOS, and we're not sure anyone knew what the iPad
was for at all when it first appeared.
However, Apple's tablet has become a very able
gaming platform. With more screen space than the
iPhone, games have the means to be more
immersive. The iPad's therefore a perfect platform
for adventure games, strategy titles and puzzlers.
Not sure which iPad is best? We've got them listed
on our best iPad ranking - or you can check out the
best tablets list to see the full range available now.
best iPad best tablets
But, just like the iPhone, there are so many iPad
games that it's tough to unearth the gems and avoid
the dross. That's our mission here - to bring you the
very best iPad games, mixing traditional fare with
titles that could only have appeared on a capable
and modern multi-touch device.
Many path-finding puzzlers have you use arrow
tiles to direct auto-running critters to goals. (Longtime gamers may fondly remember ChuChu
Rocket! as a shining example) .
Causality is in similar territory, only you also get to
control time itself, by dragging up and down the
screen. Causality
Early on, this primarily allows you to fix errors –
going back to try again when a sprinting astronaut
is eaten, or when you run out of your limited
number of steps. Before long, though, you’ re
hurling people through time portals, so they can
assist their past selves.
It’s mind-bending stuff, but also one of the finest
puzzle games of modern times. It’s also perfect for
iPad, due to its visually dazzling and tactile nature.
Evergrow is one of those rare titles that can only
really work on the iPad. It stars a grinning square
floating in space whose only goal in life is to grow.
In the void, other squares lurk. Like-colored ones
can be attached; collisions with wrong-colored
ones cause damage. Grow enough and you head
to the next level. Evergrow
When things get hectic, multi-touch allows you to
manage several squares simultaneously. But the
game’s well-suited to the iPad in other areas, too:
the large display is ideal for interaction, and the
squarish aspect ratio allows you to see incoming
hazards more easily than on a widescreen iPhone.
It’s a simple idea, well-executed. And what might
have been a gimmicky game has plenty of staying
power, too, since Evernote regularly lobs new
ideas, weapons and foes into the mix.
There’s something gleefully classic about
SpellTower. It marries very old-school word games
– in the sense of paper-based crosswords and
word searches – with much-loved arcade puzzlers.
The result is the best word game on iOS.
Tower mode has you face a stack of letters, tapping
out snaking words that disappear when submitted,
the tiles above then falling into the gaps. A keen
sense of planning is required to balance letter
stacks and ensure tiles aren’ t left stranded.
Additional modes soon open up: Puzzle adds a
new row of letters for every word you submit; Rush
throws in a timer; and Debate pits two players
against each other. iPad Pro owners also get Super
Tower mode, offering a colossal 432 tiles and the
potential for blockbuster scores – if you can find the
right words lurking within the jumble.
Described by its creator as a literary RPG,
Voyageur mixes text adventure with space trading.
Imagine seminal classic Elite combined with
Lifeline and you’ re on the right track. Voyageur
The story begins with you having bolted an alien
‘Descent Device’ to your ship, enabling faster-thanlight travel – but only towards the center of the
galaxy. You embark on a one-way journey,
stopping off on planets to trade, explore, and
become embroiled in side quests.
With the game being text-oriented and
algorithmically generated, descriptions and events
tend to repeat quite often. Still, if you at any point
feel you’ ve seen a planet before, you can leave
with a few taps – and there are always new things
waiting to be found. For anyone armed with an
imagination, Voyageur
captivating experience.
Hidden object games are often dull and can be
heavy on the pocket, demanding you spend lots of
money on IAP. Hidden Folks isn’ t either of those
things, and has the added bonus of being hugely
charming. Hidden Folks
You’ re presented with hand-drawn scenes, each of
which has a strip across the bottom, depicting
objects to find. You can tap any of them for a clue,
but the scene can also be interacted with, for
example to rustle bushes to find someone lurking
behind them.
Cute mouth-originated sound effects pepper
proceedings, and the pace is varied with differing
map sizes, and the odd playable scene, such as
helping someone to a destination by adjusting the
Thus, with its wit and smarts, Hidden Folks very
much stands out from the crowd – unlike some of
the tiny critters it tasks you with locating.
The basic mechanics of Splitter Critters resemble
1990s arcade puzzler Lemmings, in that you guide
marching creatures to a goal. But whereas you
armed lemmings with tools, Splitter Critters has you
slice up the screen with a finger, so you can adjust
the landscape to create new pathways. Splitter
This is clever, but Splitter Critters isn’ t done. The
undo button reverts your last cut, but not the
position of critters. Undo therefore becomes a
device vital for completing levels, rather than
merely a means of reverting errors.
Throughout its length, the game keeps adding new
elements, such as ocean worlds and a grim
underground base full of critter-frying lasers. And
although the challenge never rises above slight, the
charm and tactile nature of Splitter Critters makes it
a joyful journey, especially on the iPad’s larger
Twisted Lines is another great iOS puzzler with
simple rules, but also level design seemingly
created to drive you to despair. Each of the 100
levels involves you directing a little colored block
that leaves a trail of two colors, but should you
cross over the trail, your block changes color to
match the first line it hits. Twisted Lines
This is pretty important, given that your task is to
blocks littered
claustrophobic, deviously designed single-screen
puzzles. From the start, Twisted Lines is a
pleasingly tricky challenge, and it keeps adding
further complications – trail erasers; teleporters – to
keep you on your toes.
If there’s any drawback to the game, it’s the strict
linear unlock of levels (presumably, this is designed
to urge you to grab hint IAPs if you get stuck) . But
other than that niggle, Twisted Lines is a brainteaser among the very best on iPad.
Although there’s a hint of Limbo about the
silhouette-heavy imagery in Yuri, this is a much
sunnier – and speedier – affair. An explorationoriented platform game, Yuri finds the titular
protagonist belting about on a skateboard-like bed.
Visually, the game resembles a living papercraft
project, with cut-out creatures milling about, and
subtle textures providing depth, but it’s the feel of
the game that draws you in.
This is a world where every nook and cranny begs
to be scrutinized and, because you get endless
lives, there’s little frustration when you zoom along
at Sonic speeds and suddenly find yourself at the
bottom of a ravine. You can just try again – perhaps
knocking back the speed a touch.
Old-hands might gripe Yuri is a bit simplistic and
shallow, because there’s little to do beyond
exploration. But then that’s the point, and so if you
fancy delving into an interesting arty world on your
iPad, Yuri’s a good bet.
This old-school adventure game is all the more
impressive when you realize it’s the work of one
man. From the delicate pixel art to the smart story –
all delivered in rhyme – you’ d think a team of
clever people had beavered away on Milkmaid of
the Milky Way rather than a sole individual.
Milkmaid of the Milky Way
The star of the show is Ruth. Her tools have
vanished in a storm, and she needs to make
cheese and butter to sell. It’s all very slow and
relaxing – until a spaceship abruptly shows up and
rudely steals her cows, propelling her into a rather
more out-of-this-world experience.
If you’ ve played this kind of game before, you’ ll
know what to expect – explore your surroundings,
find objects, and figure out where to use them.
But the difficulty curve is gentle enough to snare
newcomers, while the feel and polish of the game
should help it appeal to anyone who spent years
taking on Lucasfilm fare on a PC.
First appearances aren’ t everything. Initially, Super
Gridland looks much like any other match game.
You swap tiles, try to match three or more, and with
a little luck initiate cascades that further your cause.
Super Gridland
From the off, though, there’s something odd about
Super Gridland. You’ re collecting resources, and
building structures rather than gaining points. And
as the sun sinks below the horizon, everything goes
dark, the tiles spin, and you find yourself fending off
all manner of horrors.
Much of the magic in Super Gridland is in figuring
out how everything works, and so we won’ t spoil
Suffice to say: this is a clever, distinctive entry in a
packed match game genre. And while the journey
itself is quite short, it’ ll make you think far more
than contemporaries only interested in how fast you
can swap tiles.
There are games that scream for attention and then
there are creations like Klocki. This somewhat
minimal puzzler is as relaxed as they come, with its
lack of a time limit and serene soundtrack that
bubbles away as you play. The tasks also – initially
at least – border on the meditative, early puzzles
being very simple to complete. Klocki
The basic aim is to fashion complete lines, which is
achieved by manipulating tiles on the surfaces of
3D shapes. At first, this is just a case of swapping a
few tiles around, but later levels become quite
devious in adding new ideas and challenges to trip
you up.
Even so, Klocki never becomes frustrating. This is a
no-stress puzzler, ideal for winding down rather
than being a game that will wind you up. But even if
you typically prefer tougher fare, give Klocki a go,
because its tiny isometric worlds prove rewarding
and mesmerizing in equal measure.
You might balk at Pac-Man appearing in a best-of
list for iPad games, but this isn’ t your father’s
arcade game. Sure, the basics remain: scoot about
a maze, eating dots, avoiding ghosts, and turning
the tables on them on eating a power pill. But PacMan Championship Edition DX is significantly
faster, has neon-clad mazes and a thumping
soundtrack, and the gameplay’s evolved in key
areas. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX
First, the maze is split in two. Clear one side and a
special object appears on the other, which refills
the cleared side when eaten. Secondly, snoozing
ghosts can be brushed past to fashion a spectral
conga to shepherd, contain, and not blunder into –
until you eat a power pill, reverse course, and eat
your pursuers to amass huge points.
In short, this game is superb, transforming an
ancient classic into something fresh and exciting.
And importantly, it works best on the large iPad
display, because your fingers don’ t get in the way
of your frenetic dot-gobbling.
In the future, it turns out people have tired of racers
zooming about circuits on the ground. In AG Drive,
tracks soar into the air – akin to massive rollercoasters along which daredevil racers of the day
speed, gunning for the checkered flag. AG Drive
This is a pure racing game – all about learning the
twists and turns of every circuit, and the thrill of
breakneck speed. The only weapons you have
available are strategy and skill. And this suits the
kind of stripped-back controls that work best on
iPad – tilting to steer, and using thumbs to
accelerate, brake, and trigger a turbo.
Also, while some slightly irksome IAP lurks, there’s
little need to splash out. The game’s difficulty curve
is such that you can gradually improve your skills
and ship, working your way through varied events
until you become an out-of-this-world racing
legend. (Or, if you’ re a bit rubbish, an ugly stain on
the side of a massive metal building.)
Most city building games are about micromanagement – juggling budgets, people’s
demands, and limited space. But Concrete Jungle
rethinks the genre as a brilliant brain-bending
puzzler. And here, restrictions regarding where you
can build are of paramount importance. Concrete
At any point, you have seven rows with six lots
where you can place a building. Said buildings are
served semi-randomly from a card deck. Each
column needs to have enough housing points for it
to vanish and unlock more space on which to build.
The snag: other buildings boost or reduce the
points allocated to adjacent lots.
You must therefore take great care to place your
factories (bad) and parks (good) , realizing that any
complacency may be severely punished several
moves down the line, when you suddenly find
yourself faced with a slum of your own making.
Treasure Buster comes from the Angry Birds school
of game design – at least in terms of its insanely
simple controls. You drag back on a little
dungeoneer, who upon release bounces about the
screen, scooping up loot and smashing into
enemies. Clear a room and you venture further into
the dungeon, unearthing new adversaries that try to
kill you in excitingly varied ways. Treasure Buster
Chances are your tactics won’ t vary a great deal –
these kinds of titles (which take influence from
Japanese pachinko, a style of mechanical arcade
game) often devolve into firing at maximum strength
and hoping for the best.
But there is at least some nuance here, in locating
or buying new powers, and defeating bosses by
way of amazing pool-like rebound shots.
And at any rate, Treasure Hunter looks superb on
the iPad screen, with an immediacy and energy
that’s compelling enough to counter any lack of
Although it's almost 13 years old, Rome: Total War
is one of the best games of 2017 thanks to its re-
release on iPad. Rome: Total War
You can now rule an empire from your Apple slate
in this strategy game that defined the genre. You
start the game as one of six factions, aiming to
throttle enemies and conquer the known world. This
historical simulator will force you to wield your
tactical brain, as well as demonstrating your
diplomatic and fighting skills.
You may not think this complicated battle simulator
would work on iPad, but Feral Interactive have
reworked the game enough that it works brilliantly
with a touchscreen. You’ ll want a larger iPad to
play this though, as you’ ll need to do a lot of
reading within the menus.
But if you have a sizeable slate this is essential,
and the Barbarian Invasion expansion is coming to
iPad very soon as well, so there's a lot of life in this
It’s ‘maniacally yet methodically skidding through
dirt tracks time’ in Go Rally, an overhead arcadeoriented take on zooming along like a lunatic,
against the clock. Go Rally
Aside from some nicely rendered courses, Go
Rally’s a winner through its controls, solid physics,
and relatively short tracks. Playing doesn’ t feel like
an ordeal to be overcome – instead, the brevity of
the courses makes Go Rally akin to a Trials title,
where you can conceivably master every turn.
The career mode eases you in gently, gradually
unlocking access to new cars and tougher races.
And if you get fed up with what the game throws at
you, it’s even possible to scribble on your iPad’s
screen to fashion new tracks of your own. The
tracks of your dreams – and everyone else’s
nightmares – can then be inflicted on the world at
Coming across like the mutant offspring of
ALONE… and Jetpack Joyride, RunGunJumpGun
is a murderously difficult yet gripping auto
runner/shooter. RunGunJumpGun
You blast your way through 120 levels set across
three unique worlds, but even endless ammunition
and lives don’ t help, because every level is packed
full of spikes, projectiles and massive saw blades –
plus, the protagonist is a massive idiot.
Instead of carefully picking his way through the
carnage, he belts along, using his gun to blast
ahead (whereupon he loses altitude) or downwards
(in order to gain height) . You’ re therefore charged
with juggling these minimal controls while figuring
out a route, getting the timing precisely right so you’
re not killed and catapulted back to the start –
If that’s not quite enough for you, each level
includes collectables, designed as a “gift to selfhating completionists” by the game’s creator.
Masochistic? Quite possibly. Ingenious fun-infused
havoc? Definitely.
Traveling on underground railways can be a fairly
hideous experience, which is perhaps why Mini
Metro is such a pleasant surprise. The game is all
about designing and managing a subway, using an
interface akin to a minimal take on the schematics
usually found hanging on subway walls. And it’s
glorious. Mini Metro
Periodically, new stations appear. You drag lines
between them, and position trains on them, in order
to shepherd passengers to their stops. All the while,
movement generates a hypnotic, ambient
Over time, things admittedly become more fraught
than during these relaxing beginnings. The
demands of an increasing number of passengers
forces you to juggle trains and rearrange lines until
you’ re inevitably overwhelmed. But the nature of
the game is such that this never frustrates – instead,
you’ ll want to take another journey - hugely unlike
when suffering the real thing.
From the creators of Machinarium and Botanicula,
Samorost 3 is an eye-dazzlingly gorgeous oldschool point-and-tap puzzler. Samorost 3
It follows the adventures of a gnome who sets out to
search the cosmos and defeat a deranged monk
who's smashed up a load of planets by attacking
them with a steampunk hydra.
The wordless tale primarily involves poking about
the landscape, revealing snatches of audio that
transform into dreamlike animations hinting at what
you should do next.
Although occasionally opaque, the puzzles are
frequently clever, and the game revels in the joy of
exploration and play. It's also full of heart – a rare
enchanting title that gives your soul a little lift.
RPG combat games usually involve doddering
about dungeons with a massive stick, walloping
goblins. But in Solitairica, cards are your weapon;
or, more accurately, cards are the means by which
you come by weapons. Solitairica
Your aim is to trudge to a castle, defeating enemies
along the way. You do so in a simplified solitaire,
where you string together combos by removing
cards one higher or lower than your current card.
Doing so collects energies used to unleash
defensive or offensive spells.
Unfortunately, your enemies also have skills, and
survival requires a mix of luck and planning to
defeat them.
This involves managing your inventory so you're
always armed with the best capabilities, while
probably simultaneously wondering why the hero
didn't arm themselves with a bloody great sword
rather than a deck of cards.
Although it resembles an iPad take on Zelda,
Legend of the Skyfish is more a handcrafted action
adventure with a hint of puzzling. Legend of the
The story involves a civilization greedily emptying
the seas and subsequently getting enslaved by
angry fish...a s you do.
Heroine Red Hook sets out to rescue her brother
from the cod mob, having been trained by a friendly
whale in the art of maiming bipedal seafood by way
of her trusty fishing rod.
Each of the 45 handcrafted levels comprises loads
of miniature islands, where your rod can be used to
catapult you across rivers, drag boulders onto
switches that open doors, and smack fishy foes into
fillets. It's all quite linear and by-the-numbers, but
Skyfish is so relentlessly charming you'll be smitten.
One time darling of Sony handhelds, Lumines
barges its way on to iOS by way of Lumines Puzzle
& Music. If you've not played any games in the
series before, we're very much in Tetris-style blockfalling territory, only Lumines has a thumping beat
at its core. Lumines Puzzle & Music
As you drop blocks into the well – each comprising
up to two colors – you aim to craft solid slabs at
least two-by-two squares in size; these are then
wiped when the playhead moves over them.
Time it right and you get combos, high scores, and
a giddy sense of smugness; mess up and you'll
merely be taunted with a premature game over,
while sadly nodding your head to the beat.
High-octane card games don’ t seem the greatest fit
for iPad gaming, but Exploding Kittens perfectly
captures the manic chaos of the Oatmeal-illustrated
original. As per that version, this is Russian roulette
with detonating cats. Exploding Kittens
Players take turns to grab a card, and if they get an
exploding kitten, they must defuse it or very abruptly
find themselves out of the game.
Strategy comes by way of action cards, which
enable you to peek at the deck, skip a turn, steal
cards from an opponent, and draw from the bottom
of the deck “like the baby you are”.
Local and online multiplayer is supported, timers
stop people from dawdling, and a ‘chance of kitten’
meter helps everyone keep track of the odds. Large
hands of cards rather irritatingly require quite a bit
of swiping to peruse (although cards can be
reordered) , but otherwise this is first-rate and
amusingly deranged multiplayer mayhem.
By the 1990s, pinball games had come a long way
from their roots, and Timeshock! has long been
regarded as something of a classic.
The basic plot involves unlocking and then
traveling between time zones, achieving further
goals by winning various prizes scattered
throughout the ages.
Of course, this all comes by way of smacking a
metal ball about the place, racking up points by
successfully hitting ramps and targets.
Fast forward to 2016 and the original creators have
had a couple of cracks at Kickstarter to bring back
their game, the second of which succeeded.
But rather than a straight port, this new edition of
Pro Pinball is reimagined for modern devices, with
eye-popping graphics, lush lighting and remastered
audio. Pro Pinball
You only get one table, which might seem miserly
in a world of Zen Pinball and Pinball Arcade, but it’s
one of the best – and certainly the best-looking –
pinball tables you’ re going to find on an iPad.
There’s some seriously black humor lurking at the
heart of 60 Seconds! Atomic Adventure. The game
begins as a frantic collect’ em up, your chunky dad
bounding around his home trying to grab whatever
he can in order to survive an imminent nuclear
strike. 60 Seconds! Atomic Adventure
The controls and physics are bouncy and elicit a
sense of panic as you choose between shotguns,
food, family members, maps, and radios.
Assuming you make it underground, the game
switches to a Choose Your Own Adventure of sorts,
with a smattering of resource management.
You dish out provisions, send your kid out into a
probable nuclear winter, armed only with a torch
and your best wishes, and attempt to eke out an
existence before everyone inevitably dies of
It’s a bleak end of the world story as written by a
satirical cartoonist: equally chilling, compelling and
– due to the breezily-written narration – oddly
One of the things the iPad’s been really great at is
reimagining books. From textbooks to stories,
interactive tomes have brought new life to literature
and education alike.
Burly Men at Sea sits halfway between game and
storybook, and features three chunky sailors with
hugely impressive beards, keen on setting out to
sea on an exciting adventure. Burly Men at Sea
Being that this is a videogame, they’ re of course
instantly eaten by a whale, after which point you
direct their progress by dragging the screen and
tapping items to interact with them.
The story is short, but you end up in a kind of
nautical Groundhog Day, retracing steps and
attempting to locate further pathways to explore.
The branches are limited in number compared to
the complexity found in the likes of 80 Days, but
Burly Men at Sea remains essential nonetheless,
due to its charm, polish and sheer artistry.
It might have the word 'deep' in its title and be about
digging, but Dig Deep! isn't a game about depth.
Instead, this is a frantic auto-runner/digger, a bit like
Doug dug. on fast-forward. Dig Deep! Doug dug.
As your little miner burrows into an alien world, you
must avoid being blown up by buried explosives,
eaten by alien monsters, or impaled on spikes
some idiot carelessly left lying around.
All you can do is move left or right, dashing (by way
of swipes) to scoot faster when necessary, and
hope a pick-up (shields; super-fast digging
boosters) shows up when you're in a tough spot.
This might all seem suited to iPhone, but Dig Deep!
works far better on an iPad resting on a table. The
larger display makes it easier to spot incoming
hazards, and the seat-of-the-pants nature of Dig
Deep! gives you more of a fighting chance when
you're not covering half the display with two
Although a fairly simple game to play, there's a lot
to unpack in Severed. It features a one-armed
woman attempting to save her family from a hell
populated by hideous-looking beasts. Severed
She roams dungeons, slicing enemies to bits and
then - equally ingeniously and horrifically - uses
their severed parts to level-up her own skills and
There's no gore, though - Severed resembles
Infinity Blade as reimagined by a graphic designer.
The visuals are all sleek 2D planes, lines and
tasteful gradients. But the battles are exciting,
comprising frantic swordplay and careful parries.
Often, you find yourself surrounded, rhythmically
flicking between monsters, figuring out which to kill
first and those you can cope with absorbing a few
blows from.
The repetitive nature of such skirmishes may pall a
little over the game's length, but there's enough
here to keep touchscreen swordplay fans occupied
for hours. And the story that underpins the
adventure has the kind of heart that provides an
emotional center that's frequently lacking on
There's a strangeness at the core of Road Not
Taken that will be familiar to anyone who's
experienced Spry Fox's other top-notch mobile
puzzler Triple Town. Road Not Taken is a more
expansive title than its forebear, featuring a ranger
attempting to rescue children lost in the woods
during a harsh winter. Said younglings must be
reunited with their parents, but that's easier said
than done. Road Not Taken
The frosty woods are full of horrors, and you have
limited energy, sapped by moving when holding
items, or when blasted by a blizzard.
You must therefore figure out the most efficient way
to get the kids back to safety, making use of the
game's quirky way of manipulating objects: tap and
you hurl everything you're holding in a straight line
away from you, until it hits something; combine
several of a specific item and you'll sometimes be
nicely surprised by what they transform into.
There is something of a take-no-prisoners aspect to
Road Not Taken - it'll be a while before you fully
understand its many nuances. But if you're after a
game with depth, charm, and intrigue, this snowy
puzzler won't leave you cold.
When playing Linia, you feel like a hunter, waiting
to strike. Only instead of lobbing a spear at a wild
beast, your prey is abstract shapes that shift and
morph in cycles. Linia
Your target is displayed at the top of the screen as a
row of colored discs. You must then drag a line
through shapes that match the provided series of
target colors. Hit a wrong color – even if you only
slice a bit too far – and you'll need to try again.
The mechanic is, of course, Fruit Ninja – and every
other slicing game you've ever played; but the stark
visuals and rhythmic nature of the targets results in
something fresh and vibrant. And you'll need a
strong sense of observation along with excellent
timing and reactions to succeed, not least when
overlapping and changing before your very eyes.
One of the dangers in games is they sometimes
have a tendency to try and do too much. No such
problems with Hyperburner, which has a razorsharp sense of focus. Hyperburner
This one's essentially the 'escape' bit from
countless sci-fi movies, where a pilot heroically
weaves their way to freedom through the narrowest
of twisty obstacle-laden corridors.
In Hyperburner, this scenario is played out again
and again, across a range of visually stunning
courses. One minute, you'll be bobbing and
weaving between massive red asteroids and
associated deep-space mining equipment; the next,
you'll be lurching back and forth in a desperate
attempt to not smear your ship across the insides of
a colossal duct someone's seen fit to fill with
spinning cogs of death. It's a relentlessly
exhilarating ride that's a joy to experience.
From the minds behind World of Goo and Little
Inferno comes this decidedly oddball puzzler.
Human Resource Machine, in a non-too-subtle
satirical dig at workers, finds a little employee as a
cog in a corporate machine. Human Resource
Actions (moving and sorting boxes) are 'automated'
by way of programming inputs - loops and routines
constructed by dragging and dropping commands.
This might seem daunting, but the learning curve
isn't too harsh, and a distinct sense of personality
permeates the entire production, smoothing things
over when the mechanics are threatening to make
your brain steam.
If there's a criticism, the story seems slight
compared to the team's previous work, but it is
nonetheless oddly affecting to see your little
automaton age as you work your way through the
For people of a certain age, Day of the Tentacle will
need no introduction. This pioneering work set the
standard for point-and-click adventures in the early
1990s, through its mix of smart scripting, eyepopping visuals and devious puzzles. Day of the
On iPad, you get the original title more or less
intact, along with a remastered edition, with all-new
high-res art and audio. (You can instantly switch
between the two using pinch gestures.)
Chances are the puzzles and pace might initially
throw newcomers, but players old and new will find
much to love trying to stop the nefarious purple
tentacle taking over the world, along with delving
into the importance of hamsters, and figuring out
how to best utilize items to assist people stuck in
three different time zones.
(And if you're very old and wondering if they
included Maniac Mansion in the PC, it's there, in
If you find golf a bit dull, Super Stickman Golf 3
offers a decidedly different take on the sport.
Instead of rolling greens, a sprinkling of trees and
the odd sandpit, golfers in this bizarre world pit their
wits against gravity-free space-stations, floating
islands, and dank caverns with glue-like surfaces.
Super Stickman Golf 3
The game's side-on charms echo Angry Birds in its
artillery core, in the sense that careful aiming is the
order of the day. But this is a far smarter and more
polished title, with some excellent and imaginative
level design.
With this third entry, you also get the chance to spin
the ball, opening up the possibility of otherwise
impossible shots. And once you're done with the
solo mode, you can go online with asynchronous
turn-based play and frenetic live races.
In Telepaint, a semi-sentient wandering paint pot
wants nothing more than to be reunited with a
brush. The tiny snag: it appears to be stuck in a
world of brain-bending maze-like tests, comprising
single screens of platforms and teleporters. Your
goal is to figure out a route, avoiding pot-puncturing
spikes and a clingy magnetic 'friend' - a task that
becomes increasingly baffling and complex.
You're helped along a little by VCR-style controls
that let you pause for breath, and these often
become key to solving puzzles, enabling you to
switch teleport triggers while everything else onscreen remains static. Even then, the going's tough.
Still, while Telepaint has the propensity to make
your head hurt like having a paint can dropped on
it, this is a colorful, unique and enjoyable iOS
puzzling classic that's not to be missed.
One of the earliest 3D games was Battlezone, a
tank warfare title at the time so realistic the US
military commissioned a version from Atari to train
gunners. iOS tribute Vector Tanks was
subsequently gunned down by Atari lawyers, but its
DNA survives in Tanks! - Seek & Destroy. Tanks! Seek & Destroy
Like Battlezone, Tanks pits you against an endless
number of vector tanks, on a sparse battlefield. But
this is a much faster, tougher game, with tilt-and-tap
controls that put you more in mind of console racing
games than a stodgy tank 'em up. The result is a
relentlessly thrilling 3D shooter that marries the
best of old-school smarts and modern mobile
Having escaped from the primordial soup, bipedal
Egz discover a hostile world. Everything's out to get
them, from the hazardous environment to evil
critters lurking in wait. Your goal is to make it to the
end of 80 stages, without literally cracking up first.
Egz looks superb: colorful, vibrant and cartoony.
The controls are also great, with you simply
pointing which way your Egz should head, setting
the strength of a jump, and hoping for the best. But
the best doesn't always come - the game can be
quite punishing, not least due to an odd upgrade
and XP model that requires quite a lot of grinding at
But the game's charm, smart level design and
tendency to fling new ideas your way makes it a
tasty treat worth sticking with.
Pinball games tend to either ape real-world tables
or go full-on videogame, with highly animated
content that would be impossible on a real table.
INKS. tries something different, boasting a modern
'flat design' aesthetic, and having coloured targets
on each table that emit an ink explosion when hit
with the ball. INKS.
Each of the dozens of tables therefore becomes a
mix of canvas and puzzle as you try to hit targets
while simultaneously creating a work of art. Neatly,
as the ball rolls through ink splats, it creates paths
across the table, which is visually appealing and
also shows when your aim is off.
Because each level is short — usually possible to
complete in a minute or so — INKS. manages to be
both approachable enough for newcomers and
different enough for experts to get some enjoyment
out of.
These days, most footie games want to be an
interactive facsimile of what you see on the telly.
But Pixel Cup Soccer 16 harks back to breezier
arcade fare of old, with a fast, fun take on the
beautiful game. Pixel Cup Soccer 16
That's not to say there's a lack of nuance and depth
- the game includes various modes (World Cup,
Euros, and, brilliantly, the Women's World Cup) ,
along with directional controls and varied passing
types. Mostly, though, it's about silky smooth runs
and blasting shots from the half-way line - the kind
of football you imagine in your head but otherwise
never get to see on a screen.
Shove a stripped-back platform game into a
washing machine and you might end up with Circa
Infinity, the mutant offspring of Super Mario, Super
Hexagon, and Tempest. This is a universe of
spinning concentric circles, patrolled by tiny
demons and flying beasties. You must heroically
jump inside each circle, avoid your foes, and leap
towards a tiny orb that veers and sways, providing
access to the next bite-sized challenge when
caught. Circa Infinity
Despite looking like it was dredged up from a
1980s home computer and having — horrors! —
on-screen virtual buttons, Circa Infinity is hugely
compelling. But take heed: you will have a major
falling out with your thumbs when you misjudge
which direction you should be heading in while
upside down, your brain dizzy from traversing
dozens of spinning discs.
From its earliest moments, Momoka evokes a sense
of wonder from the events happening beneath your
fingertips. It recalls iOS classics Soosiz and
Swordigo — the latter in Momoka's Metroidish sideon platform adventuring larks, and the former with
its circular planetoids. Larger areas become lazily
rolling, mesmerising environments boasting lovely
low-poly art; occasionally, you leap between tiny
asteroids, the screen lurching and spinning like a
2D Mario Galaxy on fast forward. Momoka
The effect is striking, but Momoka is rewarding
beyond interesting aesthetics. The story's simple
quest unfolds at a brisk pace, with clear objectives
encouraging exploration, gradually rewarding you
with new abilities and places to visit. The price tag
might put some people off, and there is perhaps the
sense at times Momoka's a touch simplistic, but its
creative level design and heart is something we
need more of on iOS.
The second we set eyes on Captain Cowboy, with
its 'retro' flickering screen and caves full of boulders
and diamonds, a grin plastered itself across our
faces. It resembled a giant game of classic arcade
title Boulder Dash. Captain Cowboy
And that's more or less what you get, but with
added bonus features. Your space cowboy scoots
about, digging through dirt, collecting swag, and
trying to avoid being crushed by boulders.
On leaping into the void, he spins wildly until
reaching safe ground, often on another of the many
screens that compose the map, some of which
include surprises — underwater caverns, space
busses and a super-secret space station disco.
Yes, you read that right. And, yes, we imagine the
folks on the ISS are quite jealous right now.
Just when you think there's nothing more autorunners have to say, along comes a great game
that freshens up the genre. In Chameleon Run,
your blocky character belts along, leaping into the
air, and switching colour to match the platforms
below. Chameleon Run
Being the wrong colour on landing results in death.
Falling down one of the many gaps results in death.
Leaping over the goal like an idiot also results in
death. This is not a kind game.
Instead, Chameleon Run rewards perseverance,
attention to detail, and a willingness to try new
things. As you progress, skills are revealed that
open up new pathways on previously tackled level,
giving you a shot at beating each stage's three
predefined challenges, thereby unlocking further,
tougher levels.
And for anyone who thinks they can breeze
through, the last couple of stages are knowingly
ridiculously tough to the point you'll be yelling at
your thumbs for being rubbish when you fail yet
There's not a lot of originality in King Rabbit, but it's
one of those simple and endearing puzzle games
that sucks you in and refuses to let go until you've
worked your way through the entire thing. King
The premise is hackneyed — bunnies have been
kidnapped, and a sole hero must save them. And
the gameplay is familiar too, where you leap about
a grid-like landscape, manipulating objects,
avoiding hazards, finding keys, unlocking doors,
and reaching a goal.
But the execution is such that King Rabbit is
immediately engaging, while new ideas keep
coming as you work through the dozens of puzzles.
Pleasingly, the game also increases the challenge
so subtly that you barely notice — until you realise
you've been figuring out a royal bunny's next moves
into the wee small hours.
Nintendo fans probably wonder why the big N
hasn't yet brought the superb Advance Wars to
iPad, but Warbits now scratches that particular itch.
However, although Warbits is influenced by
Nintendo's turn-based strategy title, it isn't a copy —
the iOS game brings plenty of new thinking to the
table and is very much optimised for the iPad.
Working with 16 varied units, you conquer a series
of battlefields by directing your troops, making
careful note of your strengths and the enemy's
relevant weaknesses. All the while, Warbits merrily
has you and your opponent trading barbs, often
about subjects such as whether tomatoes are fruit,
because that's the kind of thing you'd go to war
Finish the 20-mission campaign and you'll have a
decent grasp of Warbits, and can then venture
online to take on other human players across
dozens of different maps. With superb visuals,
enough new ideas over the game that inspired it,
and a single one-off price-tag, Warbits is a mustbuy for any iPad-owning strategy nut.
Often, platform games have you reach new places
by majestically leaping about and occasionally
jumping on a cute enemy's head. Not so in Shadow
Bug, where a deranged insect ninja speeds about
by slashing foes with swords. To be fair, he's
surrounded by horrors, and so perhaps stabbing
someone in this nightmarish world is simply a way
of saying hello. Shadow Bug
This means of getting around — just tap to move to
an enemy and slice them up — infuses Shadow
Bug with a Sonic-style manic pace, but the game is
also about puzzle-like pathfinding.
It's an interesting combination, although Shadow
Bug is never afraid to shake things up, with one
early set piece finding the slashy insect merrily
bludgeoning its way across the landscape while
driving a kind of ramshackle tank that squashes
everything in its path.
The idea behind Dreii is apparently to explore skill,
logic and friendship, happening by way of you
controlling strange flying creatures that pick up
shapes using tethers. These shapes must be
stacked to reach a light for a few seconds, after
which point your floating avatar briefly celebrates
before moving on to the next challenge. Dreii
Even the earliest levels are quite engaging, due to
the delicate controls and slightly bouncy physics.
But Dreii revels in throwing curveballs. Before long,
you find yourself faced with levels that require
multiple people to complete — only you can barely
communicate with other players who enter the
Imagine assembling flatpack furniture with several
friends, while everyone's gagged and wearing
boxing gloves and a jet-pack and you're most of the
way there.
Touchscreens have opened up many new ways to
play games, but scribbling with a finger is perhaps
the most natural. And that's essentially all you do in
Magic Touch, which sounds pretty reductive - right
up until you start playing. Magic Touch
The premise is that you're a wizard, fending off
invading nasties who all oddly use balloons to
parachute towards their prize. Match the symbol on
any balloon and it pops, potentially causing a
hapless intruder to meet the ground rather more
rapidly than intended.
Initially, this is all very simple, but when dozens of
balloons fill your field of vision, you'll be scrawling
like crazy, desperately fending off the invasion to
keep the wizard gainfully employed.
Very occasionally, free games appear that are so
generous you wonder what the catch is. Cally's
Caves 3 is rather Metroid, except the hero of the
hour is a little girl who has pigtails, stupid parents
who keep getting kidnapped, and a surprisingly
large arsenal of deadly weapons. Cally's Caves 3
She leaps about, blasting enemies, and conquering
bosses. Weapons are levelled up simply by
shooting things with them, and the eight zones take
some serious beating — although not as much as
the legions of grunts you're shooting at.
Having played Planet Quest, we imagine whoever
was on naming duties didn't speak to the
programmer. If they had, the game would be called
Awesome Madcap Beam-Up One-Thumb Rhythm
Action Insanity - or possibly something a bit shorter.
Anyway, you're in a spaceship, prodding the screen
to repeat beats you've just heard. Planet Quest
Doing so beams up dancers on the planet's
surface; get your timing a bit wrong and you merely
beam-up their outfits; miss by a lot and you lose a
life. To say this one's offbeat would be a terrible
pun, but entirely accurate; it'd also be true to say
this is the most fun rhythm action game on iPad —
and it doesn't cost a penny.
Traditional platform games often fare poorly on
iPad, but Traps n' Gemstones bucks the trend. Its
approach is resolutely old-school, from the onscreen controls to the Metroid-style gameplay that
involves exploring a huge interconnected world,
opening up new passageways by finding and
correctly using objects. Traps n' Gemstones
The theme, though, is more Indiana Jones. A little
chap, armed with a whip and with a fedora on his
head, leaps about a pyramid, grabs loot, and gives
mummies and snakes a good whipping.
Interestingly, the game simultaneously manages to
appeal to casual and hardcore gamers.
Progress doesn't reset, meaning you can keep
getting killed but gradually work your way into the
bowels of the pyramid. But your score reverts to
zero when you come a cropper; getting into the
thousands is therefore a big challenge for those
who want to take it.
There's a hint of classic iOS puzzler The Room
about _PRISM, although this game propels the
concept into a futuristic sci-fi setting. Each of the 13
puzzles finds you staring at a floating shape in a
star-lit void. Close inspection reveals buttons,
switches and levers. Manipulating these transforms
the shape before your eyes, and you keep fiddling
and delving deeper until a crystal is given up.
It's a quite meditative experience, although it's also
quite easy and fairly short. Still, the sense of
discovery throughout is frequently enchanting, even
if you do sometimes end up playing finger Twister
to reach a number of switches, or spinning a shape
multiple times for a lever you could have sworn was
visible earlier.
Love You to Bits has a heart as big as a thousand
iPads. It's a tap-based adventure that finds a little
space explorer trying to retrieve pieces of his
android girlfriend that have been scattered across
the galaxy. Love You to Bits
The mechanics are right out of classic point-and-
click gaming, essentially having you amble about
2D locations, unearth items and then drop them in
the right spot.
But the game is so relentlessly creative and
inventive with its environments — full of dazzling
visuals, references to movies and other games, and
increasingly clever mechanics and ideas — that
you can't help but love it to bits yourself.
The little monster at the heart of A Good Snowman
Is Hard To Build, wants some friends, and so sets
about making them from crisp snow covering the
ground. But as the game's title states, making
snowman is hard — largely because of strict rules
governing the monster's universe. Snowmen must
comprise precisely three balls of gradually
decreasing size, and any snowball rolled in the
snow quickly grows. A Good Snowman therefore
becomes a series of brain-bending puzzles - part
Soko-Ban, part Towers of Hanoi - as you figure out
how to manipulate balls of snow to build icy friends
for a monster to hug. A Good Snowman Is Hard To
You get the feeling creators of classic vertically
scrolling shooters would sit in front of AirAttack 2 in
a daze, dumbfounded at what's possible on modern
home-computing devices. That's not down to the
gameplay, though: like its predecessor, AirAttack 2
is a straightforward shooter - you're piloting a fighter
in World War II, downing enemies while optionally
yelling "tally ho" at an annoyingly loud volume.
AirAttack 2
But this World War II is decidedly different from the
one that occurred in our reality: Germans own
limitless squadrons and building-sized tanks
(versus the Allies, seemingly relying on a single
nutcase in a plane to win the war) . It's the jawdropping visuals that really dazzle, effortlessly
displaying swarms of enemies to down, colossal
bosses to defeat, and a destructible environment to
take out your frustrations on. For the low price (not
least given that there's no IAP whatsoever) , it's an
insane bargain.
The first Badland combined the simplicity of onethumb 'copter'/flappy games with the repeating hell
of Limbo. It was a stunning, compelling title, pitting
a little winged protagonist against all kinds of crazy
ordeals in a forest that had clearly gone very wrong.
In Badland 2, the wrongness has been amplified
considerably. Now, levels scroll in all directions,
traps are deadlier, puzzles are tougher, and the
cruelty meted out on the little winged beast is
beyond compare. Still, all is not lost - the hero can
now flap left and right. We're sure that comes as a
huge consolation when it's sawn in half for the
hundredth time. Badland 2
We mention The Room and its sequel elsewhere in
this list, but The Room Three is the best entry in the
series yet. Again, this is a somewhat Myst-like
game of exploration and puzzle-solving, figuring
out how to escape your environment by utilising
everything around you. The Room Three
But there's more freedom this time round, with multiroom locations, surreal and deeply strange
moments that find you sucked into the very puzzles
you're trying to solve, and the creeping menace of
The Craftsman, a malevolent nutcase who initially
leaves you locked in a dungeon, and then tasks
you with freeing yourself from the confines of the
remote island on which you're stranded. One to
play in the dark, with rain pouring down outside - if
you dare.
This single-screen platformer initially resembles a
tribute to arcade classics Bubble Bobble and Snow
Bros., but Drop Wizard is a very different beast. It's
part auto-runner, which might infuriate retrogamers, but this proves to be a brilliant limitation in
practice. Your little wizard never stops running, and
emits a blast of magic each time he lands. You must
therefore time leaps to blast roaming foes, and then
boot the dazed creatures during a second pass. It's
vibrant, fast-paced, engaging, and — since you
only need to move left or right — nicely optimised
for iPad play. Drop Wizard
Since it rebooted Robotron-style twin-stick blasting,
the Geometry Wars series has been the go-to game
for a session of duffing up hordes of neon ships.
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved takes the
basic concept and wraps it around 3D shapes
lurching and spinning in space. Geometry Wars 3:
Dimensions Evolved
It disorients but brings a new dimension (pun
intended) to the genre, and is one of the prettiest
and noisiest games on the system. If you're armed
with an iPad Pro, you even get a co-op mode,
where two people play on the same screen.
A murder mystery inside a rickety old PC, itself
inside your iPad, Her Story is one of the most
intriguing titles around. It plonks you in front of the
L. O. G. I. C. Database, a creaky old system that
returns snippets of police interviews in relation to
search terms. Helpfully, you can only access five at
once, even if there are many more results (the joys
of 1990s interface design!) , but this forces you to
delve deeper. Before long, you'll be scribbling
notes, eking out clues from every other sentence,
and realising there's more to every mystery than
meets the eye. Her Story
One of the most beautiful games we've ever seen,
Icycle: On Thin Ice also has a penchant for the
surreal. It features naked hero Dennis, peddling
through a strange and deadly post-apocalyptic
frozen wonderland. Each level feels like a scene
from a Gilliamesque animation, but on venturing
further into madness, you'll note how tight the level
design is — any failures are down to your fingers
rather than the game. At the tail end of 2015, seven
new locations arrived, so you could discover what
happens at the end of the end of the world. Icycle:
On Thin Ice
Much in the same way Hitman GO reworked a
much-loved franchise for mobile, Lara Croft GO
transforms Tomb Raider into a dinky turn-based
boardgame of sorts. It shouldn't work, but the result
is wonderful — all minimal, breathtaking visuals,
and smart puzzles that present a challenge but
rarely stop you for too long in continuing your
journey. Most amazingly, it feels like a proper Tomb
Raider game, with moments of wonder, and
palpable tension when you mull over whether your
next move will send Lara tumbling into the abyss.
Lara Croft GO
Because of the nature of touchscreen controls,
there's a tendency to slow things down on iOS.
ALONE… throws such caution to the wind, flinging
you along at Retina-searing speed as you try in
vain to save a little ship hurtling through rocky
caverns of doom. ALONE…
This is a game that's properly exciting, and where
every narrow escape feels like a victory; that all
you're doing is dragging a finger up and down,
trying in vain to avoid the many projectiles sent your
way, is testament to you not needing a gamepad
and complex controls to create a game that
genuinely thrills.
It turns out the future will involve hoverboards, only
it'll be robots piloting them. In Power Hover, all the
humans are gone, but so too are the batteries that
power your robot village. So you hop on your flying
board and pursue a thief through 30 varied and
visually stunning levels. Power Hover
Whether scything curved paths across a gorgeous
sun-drenched sea or picking your way through a
grey and dead human city, Power Hover will have
you glued to the screen until you reach the end of
the journey. And although it's initially tricky to get to
grips with, you'll soon discover the board's floaty
physics and controls are perfectly balanced.
A love letter to trees. A game about the beauty and
joy of cultivation. These aren't words that would
usually scream 'amazing game'. But Prune is a
unique and frequently remarkable experience. It
starts simply, teaching you how to prune a tiny
branch, so a plant can grow to reach the sunlight
and blossom. Before long, you're responsible for
cultivating huge trees that arc past poisonous
floating orbs, dealing with fragile foliage in
unforgiving cities, and coaxing unruly underground
weeds towards their prize. Prune
If you've ever felt a bit angry at the end of a long day
in the office, take solace in the fact you've never felt
quite as miffed as the stars of The Executive. Stress
levels have reached the point everyone's mutated
into monsters. Fortunately, the CEO's remained
cool-headed and can now become the karatekicking superhero he always wanted to be. Cue:
120 hand-crafted levels where you dart about the
place, kicking werewolves in the face, leaping
between floors, and marvelling at the bewitching
ridiculousness of it all. The Executive
At some point, a total buffoon decreed that racing
games should be dull and grey, on grey tracks, with
grey controls. Gameloft's Asphalt series dispenses
with such foolish notions, along with quite a bit of
Here, in Asphalt 8, you zoom along at ludicrous
speeds, drifting for miles through exciting city
courses, occasionally being hurled into the air to
perform stunts that absolutely aren't acceptable
according to the car manufacturer's warranty. It's
admittedly a bit grindy, but if you tire of zooming
about the tracks in this game, there's no hope for
you. Asphalt 8
We've lost count of how many gem-swappers exist
for iOS, but PopCap's Bejeweled has a long history,
which brings a maturity that's reflected in this iPad
release. The polished standard mode is present
and correct, where you match three or more gems
to make them explode and bring more into the well.
'Zen' then transforms this into a no-lose chill-out
zone. Bejeweled
Beyond that, there's the fast-paced 'Lightning',
'Diamond Mine' (dig into the ground) , Butterflies
(save insects from spider-ronch doom) , and Poker
(make 'hands' of gems) .
This fantastic platform puzzler stars a bug who's
oddly averse to flying. Instead, he gets about 2D
levels by rolling around in boxes full of platforms.
Beyond Ynth HD hangs on a quest, but each level
forms a devious test, where you must figure out
precisely how to reach the end via careful use of
boxes, switches and even environmental hazards.
Beyond Ynth HD
And for anyone wanting an even sterner test,
cunningly placed jewels are there to find in each
stage, requiring all kinds of trickery and box
manipulation to reach.
A pilot finds himself trapped inside a tiny area of
space frequented by an alarming number of deadly
asteroids. You must stave off death for as long as
possible. Bit Pilot is the best of the iOS avoid 'em
ups, with precise one- and two-thumb controls
guiding your tiny ship, effortlessly dodging between
rocky foes — until the inevitable collision. Bit Pilot
Beyond the basic and harder modes, you can try
Supermassive, a kind of zoomed-out Rocky Horror
Show, or thread your way through tiny temporary
corridors in the claustrophobic and deadly Tunnels.
Blek is akin to shepherding semi-sentient
calligraphy through a series of dexterity tests. Each
sparse screen has one or more dots that need
collecting, which is achieved by drawing a squiggle
that's then set in motion. To say the game can be
opaque is putting it lightly, but as a voyage of
discovery, there are few touchscreen games that
come close. Blek
In what we assume is a totally accurate
representation of what boffins in Geneva get up to,
Boson X finds scientists sprinting inside colliders,
running over energy panels and then discovering
particles by leaping into the abyss. Boson X
Initially, at least, said abyss is quite tricky to avoid;
but learn the patterns in each collider and you'll
have a fighting chance of success in this addictive
mash-up of Super Hexagon, Tempest and
CRUSH! is deceptive. At first, it appears to be little
more than a collapse game, where you prod a
coloured tile, only for the rest to collapse into the
now empty space. But subtle changes to the
formula elevate this title to greatness: the tiles wrap
around, and each removal sees your pile jump
towards a line of death. So even when tiles are
moving at speed, you must carefully consider each
tap. CRUSH!
Some variation is provided by the three different
modes (which affect block speed and surges) , and
power-ups, which blast away colors and blocks in
specific ways you can take advantage of.
Device 6 is first and foremost a story — a mystery
into which protagonist Anna finds herself propelled.
She awakes on an island, but where is she? How
did she get there? Why can't she remember
anything? The game fuses literature with
adventuring, the very words forming corridors you
travel along, integrated puzzles being dotted about
for you to investigate. Device 6
It's a truly inspiring experience, an imaginative,
ambitious and brilliantly realised creation that
showcases how iOS can be the home for
something unique and wonderful. It's also
extremely tough at times. Our advice: pay attention,
jot down notes, and mull away from the screen if
you get stuck.
Eliss was the first game to truly take advantage of
iOS's multi-touch capabilities, with you combining
and tearing apart planets to fling into like-coloured
and suitably-sized wormholes. This semi-sequel
brings the original's levels into glorious Retina and
adds a totally bonkers endless mode. Unique,
challenging and fun, this is a game that defines the
platform. Eliss
First Strike bills itself as the fun side of nuclear war,
but there's a sting in its tail. The game mixes Risklike land-grabs, a Civ-style tech-tree, and defence
akin to Missile Command, your missiles aiming to
intercept incoming strikes. Sooner or later, though,
you realise the only way to win is to go all-out,
sacrificing territory and obliterating your opponents.
First Strike
Just like the classic Missile Command, First Strike
remains a playable game, but it's one with a chilling
message that comes through loud and clear - at
least when it's not buried under radioactive
Forget-Me-Not is like one of those ice creams you
get with every kind of candy imaginable, but instead
of sugary treats, the sprinkles here are all the best
arcade games of old. There's Pac-Man dotmunching, Rogue dungeon-roaming, nods to
Caterpillar, Wizard of Wor and more. It's a glorious,
madcap neon-drenched slice of perfect arcade fare,
deserving a lofty position in gaming's history
alongside the more famous games that inspired it.
With almost limitless possibilities in videogames, it's
amazing how many are drab grey and brown
affairs. Frisbee Forever 2 (like its similarly
impressive forerunner) is therefore a breath of fresh
air with its almost eye-searing vibrance. Frisbee
Forever 2 forerunner
There's a kind of Nintendo vibe - a sense of fun that
continues through to the gameplay, which is all
about steering a frisbee left and right, collecting
stars strewn along winding paths. And these are a
world away from the parks you'd usually fling plastic
discs about in - here, you're hurled along rollercoaster journeys through ancient ruins and
gorgeous snowy hillsides.
It's great to see Square Enix do something entirely
different with Hitman GO, rather than simply
converting its free-roaming 3D game to
touchscreens. Although still echoing the original
series, this touchscreen title is presented as a
board game of sorts, with turn-based actions
against clockwork opposition. Hitman GO
You must figure out your way to the prize, without
getting knocked off (the board) . It's an oddly
adorable take on assassination, and one of the best
iOS puzzlers. There's also extra replay value in the
various challenges (such as grabbing a briefcase
or not killing guards) , each of which requires an
alternate solution to be found.
There are other famous swiping games on iOS —
Cut the Rope and Fruit Ninja spring to mind — but
Icebreaker has oodles more charm, loads more
character and,
The basics initially involve slicing chunks of ice, so
frozen Vikings trapped within can be rescued in a
boat. Over time, this animated, cartoon world
continues to come alive under your fingers, as you
learn to manipulate other objects - such as rope
and slime - to get your helmeted chums home.
A roller-coaster ribbon of road winds through
space, and your only aim is to stay on it and reach
the highest-numbered gate. But Impossible Road is
sneaky: the winding track is one you can leave and
rejoin, if you've enough skill, 'cheating' your way to
higher scores. It's like the distillation of Super
Monkey Ball, Rainbow Road and queue-jumping,
all bundled up in a stark, razor-sharp package.
Impossible Road
Who knew you could have such fun with a five-byfive grid of letters? In Letterpress, you play friends
via Game Center, making words to colour lettered
squares. Surround any and they're out of reach
from your friend's tally. Cue: word-tug-o'-war, last-
minute reversals of fortune, and arguments about
whether 'qat' is a real word or not (it is) . Letterpress
A boy awakens in hell, and must work his way
through a deadly forest. Gruesome deaths and trial
and error gradually lead to progress, as he forces
his way deeper into the gloom and greater mystery.
Originating on the Xbox, Limbo fares surprisingly
well on iOS, with smartly designed controls that feel
entirely at home on the iPad. But mostly it's Limbo's
eerie beauty and intriguing environments that
captivate, ensuring the game remains hypnotic
throughout. Limbo
A game that could have been called Reverse Pool
For Show-Offs, Magnetic Billiards lacks pockets.
Instead, the aim is to join like-coloured balls that
cling together on colliding. Along the way, you get
more points for trick shots and 'buzzing' other balls
that must otherwise be avoided. 20 diverse tables
are provided for free, and many more can be
unlocked for $1.99/£1.99/AU$2.99. Magnetic
In Monument Valley, you journey through delightful
Escher-like landscapes, manipulating the very
architecture to build impossible paths along which
to explore. It's not the most challenging of games
(nor does it have the most coherent of storylines) ,
but each scene is a gorgeous and mesmerising
bite-sized experience that showcases how
important great craft is in the best iOS titles.
Monument Valley
Racing games are all very well, but too many aim
for simulation rather than evoking the glorious
feeling of speeding along like a maniac. Most
Wanted absolutely nails the fun side of arcade
racing, and is reminiscent of classic console title
OutRun 2 in enabling you to drift effortlessly for
miles. Add to that varied city streets on which to
best rivals and avoid (or smash) the cops, and
you've got a tremendous iOS racer. Most Wanted
This superb arcade puzzler is at times microscopic
and at others galactic in nature, as you use the
power of physics and time to move your 'mote'
about. Some levels in Osmos are primordial soup,
the mote propelled by ejecting bits of itself, all the
while aiming to absorb everything around it.
Elsewhere, motes circle sun-like 'Attractors', and
your challenge becomes one of understanding the
intersecting trajectories of orbital paths. Osmos
The iPhone's a bit small for pinball, but the larger
iPad screen is perfect for a bit of ball-spanging.
Pinball Arcade is the go-to app for realistic pinball,
because it lovingly and accurately recreates a huge
number of classic tables. Pinball Arcade
Tales of the Arabian Nights is bundled for free, and
the likes of Twilight Zone, Black Knight, Bride of
PinBot and Star Trek: The Next Generation are
available via in-app purchase. On exploring the
various tables (you can demo all of them for free) , it
rapidly becomes apparent just how diverse and
deep pinball games can be.
Yes, we know there's a Plants vs. Zombies 2, but
some dolt infected that with a pointless time-travel
gimmick and a freemium business model. The
charming, amusing, silly and sweet original
remains where it's at.
For the uninitiated, in Plants vs Zombies you repel
zombies that march towards your house with the
power of hostile plants. Only through careful plant
placement and choosing the right ones for the job
will your bRAAiinnZZZ remain in your head. Plants
vs Zombies
A regimented game set in a world of microbes,
Splice is all about arranging said microbes to fit
within predefined outlines. Restrictions abound,
based on binary trees, forcing you to think ahead
regarding where to drop your microbes and when
to splice them. Grasp the basic mechanics and the
game opens up, but it never relinquishes its
devious edge, later introducing freeform microbes,
and those that grow and vaporise. Splice
Ah, Super Hexagon. We remember that first game,
which must have lasted all of three seconds. Much
like the next — and the next. But then we
recognised patterns in the walls that closed in on
our tiny ship, and learned to react and dodge. Then
you threw increasingly tough difficulty levels at us,
and we've been smitten ever since. Super Hexagon
That said, we suspect only if you're superhuman
will you ever get to see the hallowed final screen
that appears when you survive 60 seconds in every
Super Hexagon mode.
Apple's mobile platform has become an unlikely
home for traditional point-and-click adventures.
Sword & Sworcery has long been a favourite, with
its sense of mystery, palpable atmosphere,
gorgeous pixel art and an evocative soundtrack.
Sword & Sworcery
Exploratory in nature, this is a true adventure in the
real sense of the word, and it's not to be missed. (To
say anything more would spoil the many surprises
within. Just trust us on this one, grab a copy, don
some headphones, and immerse yourself in a
gorgeous virtual world.)
Threes! is all about matching numbered cards. 1s
and 2s merge to make 3s, and then pairs of
identical cards can subsequently be merged,
doubling their face value. With each swipe, a new
card enters the tiny grid, forcing you to carefully
manage your growing collection and think many
moves ahead. The ingenious mix of risk and reward
makes it hugely frustrating when you're a fraction
from an elusive 1536 card, but so addictive you'll
immediately want another go. Threes!
This sweet, endless title stars a bird who loves to fly
but doesn't have the wings for it. Instead, she uses
gravity, sliding down hills and then propelling
herself into the air from the top of adjacent slopes.
Meanwhile, in another mode, her offspring are
happily racing, bounding over lakes, eager to earn
the biggest fish from their mother. Whichever route
you take, Tiny Wings is a vibrant, warm and friendly
experience. Tiny Wings
You can almost see the development process
behind this one: "Hey, fingers look a bit like legs, so
if we put a skateboard underneath…" And so
arrived one of the finest iOS sports titles, with you
using your fingers to roam urban locations and
perform gnarly stunts. Admittedly, this game is tricky
to master, but it's hugely rewarding when you do so,
and video highlights can be shared with your
friends. The game's also a great example of
touchscreen-oriented innovation — Touchgrind
Skate just wouldn't be the same with a traditional
controller. Touchgrind Skate
Ever since cop-in-a-coma Rick awoke to find
himself in a post-apocalyptic world filled with the
undead, Walking Dead has captured the
imagination of comic-book readers and TV viewers
alike. The interactive version follows a new set of
characters, but the threats facing them are no less
As with creator Telltale's other titles, Walking Dead
comes across like a mash-up of comic strip and
adventure, with palpable moments of tension, and a
game experience that changes depending on your
actions. The first part of the story is free, and you
can then buy new episodes; if you survive, season
2 is also available. Walking Dead season 2 is also
It didn't begin life on the iPad, but World of Goo
certainly makes sense on it. A bewitching game of
physics puzzles and bridge building, the title also
has real heart at its core. The basics are
disarmingly simple: use semi-sentient blobs to
create structures that enable unused goo to access
'goo heaven' (by way of an industrial-looking pipe) .
World of Goo
But through powerful and frequently surreal
imagery, haunting audio and the odd moment of
poignancy, you find yourself actually caring about
little blobs of goo, rather than merely storming
through the game's many levels.
At the heart of Year Walk is something dark and
horrifying. This daring game is a first-person
adventure of sorts, but it presents itself as a kind of
living picture book. You begin in a sparse forest,
snow crunching underfoot. Year Walk
Gradually, a story is revealed that is unsettling,
clever, distinctive and beautifully crafted — much
like the game itself. You won't rest until the story's
told, but getting to the end will mean facing many
moments of horror in one of the iPad's most
unmissable and original creations.
Pinball games tend to be divided into two camps.
One aims for a kind of realism, aping real-world
tables. The other takes a more arcade-oriented
approach. Zen Pinball is somewhere in-between,
marrying realistic physics with tables that come to
life with animated 3D figures. Zen Pinball
Loads of tables are available via IAP, including
some excellent Star Wars and Marvel efforts. But for
free you get access to the bright and breezy
Sorcerer's Lair, which, aside from some dodgy
voice acting, is a hugely compelling and fast-paced
table with plenty of missions and challenges to
discover. Want more? Here are the best iPhone
games around Want more? Here are the best
iPhone games around
Best free iPad games 2017
2017-05-09 13:46 By
14 / 155
Here is how to follow along
with the Microsoft Build 2017
Microsoft Build 2017 starts on Wednesday, kicking
off the company’s most important event for
convincing developers to build solutions around
Microsoft products and services. Build 2017 is also
a great opportunity to learn about those
technologies that are most important to Microsoft
and therefore to get a glimpse of what is coming
from the company over the next year or so.
If you’ re interested in following along with Build
2017, then there are a few ways to do so. Note that
the conference starts with the first keynote at 8 a.m.
(PT) .
We’ ve already covered what we expect Microsoft to
highlight at Build 2017, and here is a quick list of
the topics we think will take front and center at the
If you are hoping to see new Surface hardware at
Build 2017, then you are likely to be disappointed.
However, everything else that is interesting about
Microsoft is likely to get at least some coverage
over the event’s three information-packed days.
Microsoft Build 2017: Complete
Windows 10, mixed reality, AI, and
the cloud will be front and center at
Microsoft Build 2017
2017-05-09 13:15 Mark Coppock
15 / 155
China’s Alipay expands into
the U. S. thanks to deal with
First Data
Apple Pay and Android Pay may dominate the
mobile payments market in the United States, but
there’s now a new competitor on the block. It’s
called Alipay, and it’s actually one of the most
popular mobile payment platforms in China. Now,
it’s expanding beyond the Far East, and is available
to use across the U. S.
The expansion comes as a result of a deal between
Alipay and First Data, and there are around 4
million merchants that will accept Alipay at launch,
according to a report from Bloomberg .
“This will open up Alipay to where it’s truly
ubiquitous across the United States and hopefully
more countries later, ” said Souheil Badran,
president of Alipay North America, in an interview
with Bloomberg. “We decided rather than trying to
do it on our own, this is an ecosystem that we’ re
looking for a partner that can provide scale.”
While Alipay is expanding beyond China, the
service may not actually gain all that many new
users. It’s actually largely targeted at Chinese
customers who travel to the U. S., so they don’ t
have to sign up for a new payment service while
they’ re traveling. It also eliminates the need to get
cash and convert it to local currency, or face having
to pay high international credit card fees. Alipay has
expended to other countries too. In fact, according
to the report the service is accepted by as many as
100,000 retailers in 70 international markets.
In China, Alipay and WeChat Pay dominate the
mobile payments market, and combined they hold a
hefty 90 percent share. Leveraging the millions of
Chinese customers who travel abroad could help
the company better take on WeChat.
While Apple Pay and Android Pay were both
launched in the past few years, Alipay actually
dates back to 2004. At the time, it was launched as
a payment platform for Alibaba’s ecommerce
Alipay, China’s top mobile payment
service, expands to the U.S.
2017-05-09 12:37 Christian de
16 / 155
iPhone 8 Plus release date,
news and rumors
Update: More images of the iPhone 8 have leaked,
and there's talk that Apple could chuck a free pair of
AirPods in the iPhone 8 Plus box.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the original
iPhone. It has almost been 10 years since Steve
Jobs walked out on stage and changed the way we
use our mobile phones, so you can expect Apple to
celebrate with major upgrades on the iPhone 8 and
iPhone 8 Plus. iPhone 8 iPhone
That stacks up with some of the rumors we're
already hearing, which suggest the iPhone 8 Plus
will see a lot of improvements.
We’ ve already had word that the iPhone 8 Plus
may come in two different models, and heard
rumors of it having a fully upgraded spec as well.
The iPhone 7 Plus was even better than the iPhone
7, so we have high hopes for the iPhone 8 Plus. But
will it even be called the iPhone 8 Plus, or are we
going to get the iPhone 7S Plus? iPhone 7 Plus
iPhone 7 iPhone 7S Plus
Apple’s usual naming convention suggests it will go
for the iPhone 7S Plus, but the company may
decide to use the tenth anniversary as an excuse to
skip a generation, for a major upgrade in 2017.
Read our in-depth reviews: iPhone 7 | iPhone 7
Plus iPhone 7 iPhone 7 Plus What is it? The next
phablet iPhone When is it out? Probably
September 2017, or maybe 2018 What will it cost?
Lots and lots of money
For the last few years Apple has announced new
iPhones at the start of September, and then
released the phone later in the month.
That’s exactly when we’ d expect the iPhone 8 Plus
to launch in 2017. The only iPhone to not be
launched in September in recent years is the
iPhone SE, but we’ d expect the iPhone 8 Plus to
follow a year after the iPhone 7 Plus, which
launched in September 2016. iPhone SE
There’s also a chance this may be called the
iPhone 7S Plus - in which case the handset called
the iPhone 8 Plus won't be here until 2018.
Usually we'd expect Apple to introduce an S model
the year after a new numbered phone, but this year
a lot of rumors have suggested it may just jump
straight to the iPhone 8 Plus.
But even assuming the late 2017 launch, it's
possible that the iPhone 8 Plus won't land in
September, as rumors suggest there are issues
with laminating the display, which could cause it to
be delayed until October or November. rumors
TechRadar’s take: September 2017 looks likely, but
it may be called the iPhone 7S Plus instead of the
iPhone 8 Plus, and a delay is possible.
Hottest leaks: There will be two versions: one with
an OLED screen and one LCD Some rumors
suggest the screen size will increase It could have
a True Tone display
Apple may be making two versions of the iPhone 8
Plus in 2017, and the biggest difference between
the two could be the screen technology each uses.
A KGI Securities analyst has suggested that one
version of the iPhone 8 Plus will come with an LCD
screen (as is used by current Apple phones) , while
another will come with OLED.
Rumor has it Apple wants to upgrade the screen
technology to OLED on all of its iPhone models, but
demand for the tech is too high at the moment for
Apple to build enough OLED screens, so it may
only do it on one version of the iPhone 8 Plus. to
Though recent rumors from The Investor suggest
Apple could have secured 160 million OLED
panels, which should be enough for most models.
The Investor
It seems the curved OLED models may be sourced
from Samsung, and could be made of plastic.
sourced from Samsung
Expect the OLED version of the iPhone 8 Plus to
cost a little more than the LCD version. The
possible lack of OLED stock may also mean this
version of the Plus will be in higher demand.
Supply chain sources claim the OLED handset will
have an edge-to-edge screen with a fingerprint
scanner embedded into it, and that this model is
currently codenamed "Ferrari." We've seen more
evidence of this possibility from an Apple patent,
showing a bezel-free screen with embedded
components. A second, similar Apple patent has
also emerged. Supply chain sources Apple patent
And now there's even more evidence, as a leaked
schematic of a prototype iPhone 8 also shows an
all-screen front. leaked schematic
If Apple does place the scanner in the screen, it
might add a 'function area' at the bottom, similar to
the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro, according to a
research note. This would be in place of the
hardware home button found on current models.
MacBook Pro research note
Apple may also decide to up the size of the iPhone
8 Plus's screen.
The iPhone Plus range has always had 5.5-inch
screens, but one analyst believes the screen will be
upped to 5.8-inches on the iPhone 8 Plus, as
there’s now a demand for larger screen phones.
That's a rumor that's popped up more than once, so
it's looking quite likely. believes more than once
It may be that Apple decides to keep this size jump
just for the OLED version though, if it happens at all.
It's also possible that we'll get a curved iPhone 8
Plus, in fact a recent rumor talks about a curved
OLED screen, and one which could potentially
have a higher-than-QHD resolution. rumor
Apple has supposedly ordered 70 million curved
OLED panels from Samsung, though these could
be intended for next year's handsets, given that the
order seemingly wasn't
supposedly ordered
Whenever a curved screen iPhone arrives it might
not be as dramatically curved as the likes of the
Samsung Galaxy S8 though, according to one
source, which adds that the curves also won't add
significant new functions to the phone. Samsung
Galaxy S8 one source
There’s also the very, very slim chance Apple will
be able to include a flexible screen on the iPhone 8
Patently Apple has pointed out that the company
patented the technology for a foldable iPhone a few
years back, with the patent describing a screen that
can fold in two, much like a book, but this hasn't
been specifically linked to the iPhone 8 Plus.
Patently Apple
The iPhone 8 Plus might also inherit an iPad Pro
9.7 feature according to one report, namely a True
Tone display which would allow it to automatically
adjust the screen colors based on the ambient light
around you. It's a feature that would make sense to
add, since an Apple product already has it. iPad
Pro 9.7 report
TechRadar's take: It looks like the iPhone 8 Plus
will come in two models. One will feature an OLED
screen and another will feature an LCD display
(and may be called the iPhone 7S Plus) . A size
boost and curves are also starting to look likely.
Hottest leaks: A major change compared to
previous models It'll still be a large phone, but one
version may be glass instead of metal The Touch ID
fingerprint scanner may be integrated into the
One of the biggest criticisms of the iPhone 7 and
iPhone 7 Plus was the fact that neither had a new
In fact, Apple handsets from the iPhone 6 Plus
onward look largely the same, so there may be
some big design changes coming on the iPhone 8
Plus. iPhone 6 Plus
One analyst from China expects the biggest change
in the design to be a move toward a curved glass
back, rather than the metal used on other iPhone
models. from China
The CEO of the company that makes the iPhone’s
metal casing has even said one model of the
iPhone 8 “will adopt glass casing next year”. And
we've also heard more reports of a glass back, with
a steel frame to hold it together. You can see how
that might look in the image of a dummy handset
below. more reports dummy handset
It would make sense for the most premium and
expensive iPhone model to get the new material
rather than the normal iPhone 8. Though it's also
possible that all iPhone 8 models will get a glass
back, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Ming-Chi
Another source has also suggested the phone will
come with a “glass sandwich design”, so it may be
that the iPhone 8 Plus looks quite a bit like the
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. source Samsung
Galaxy S7 Edge
The other big rumored design change is dropping
the Touch ID scanner from the iPhone 8 Plus. Some
have rumored it would be integrated into the screen
instead, while other sources suggest it will be
moved to the back of the phone. sources
But there's a chance we won't see much change to
the design at all, with another source claiming the
iPhone 7S Plus will look a lot like the iPhone 7
Plus, albeit with a new red color added to the mix.
another source
Either way, expect the iPhone 8 Plus to keep its
waterproof build (possibly even slightly more
waterproof, with IP68 certification in place of IP67,
according to The Investor) , as well as a 3.5mm
headphone jack-less design. The Investor
TechRadar's take: It's about time Apple changed up
the design, and the iPhone's tenth anniversary is
the perfect time to do it.
Hottest leaks: Optical image stabilization looks
almost certain Expect a similar 7MP selfie shooter
Wireless charging may finally come to the iPhone
The camera was perhaps the biggest upgrade for
the iPhone 7 Plus, so we’ d expect to see a similar
spec on the iPhone 8 Plus shooter.
Respected Chinese analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has
suggested the dual-lens camera will remain limited
to the Plus model, and that both lenses will benefit
from optical image stabilization, where currently
only the wide-angle lens features OIS on the
iPhone 7 Plus. Ming-Chi Kuo
The iPhone 8 Plus may also get augmented reality
features, allowing it to recognize objects and
manipulate faces, as well as possibly supporting
3D effects. augmented reality features 3D effects
More evidence of this comes from leaked sketches,
drawn by a factory worker. The annotations aren't in
English, but apparently mention 3D cameras on
both the front and back. The cameras may also
switch from a horizontal alignment to a vertical one,
as you can see in the image below. leaked
sketches vertical one
As for the front camera, we’ d expect it to stay at the
7MP mark on the iPhone 8 Plus, as it was upgraded
for the last phone, but there’s nothing in particular
rumored yet for the selfie shooter.
In terms of the battery size, there are no clear
rumors for the iPhone 8 Plus.
The biggest upgrade for the phone may be the
introduction of wireless charging technology, and
not like you’ ve seen on Android devices in the
Apple has been rumored to be working on wireless
charging tech that can work up to 18 feet away from
the phone, or rather, Energous - a company
working on the tech - is said to be collaborating with
a "tier 1" smartphone maker, and has also claimed
to be working with one of the largest consumer
electronics companies in the world, on a solution
due to ship this year. also claimed
This would be truly wireless charging – and while
"tier 1" doesn't necessarily refer to Apple, BGR
claims the company working on the tech has
received an investment of $10 million from one of
Apple's major suppliers, making Apple the obvious
guess. BGR
Recently, it's also been revealed that a senior
Apple employee has been hired by Energous, and
that the company plans to release a product in time
for the iPhone 8's launch. also been revealed
If Apple is working on this, and if it's ready for the
iPhone 8 Plus, it would be a game changer feature
that no other phone maker is currently capable of
Even if we don't get long-distance wireless
charging, this might be the first iPhone with normal
wireless charging, as according to a research note
obtained by 9to5Mac all iPhone 8 models will have
the feature . 9to5Mac will have the feature
Although another leak suggests the phone won't
have any kind of wireless charging. another leak
Whether there's wireless charging or not, you're
sure to want to plug the iPhone 8 Plus in at times,
and surprisingly there's some evidence that you'll
be doing that via USB Type-C, rather than a
Lightning connection, though the evidence so far is
flimsy. evidence
TechRadar's take: Look for a similar dual-lens
camera, but with OIS for both lenses. Battery life
improvements are possible, but don't count on longdistance wireless charging or a USB-C port.
Hottest leaks: A focus on augmented reality A
powerful graphics chip
We’ d expect iOS 11 to launch alongside the
iPhone 8 Plus, but it’s currently uncertain what new
features the software will bring. iOS 11
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus both launched
with upgraded A10 Fusion chipsets, so we’ d
expect a quad-core chip on the iPhone 8 Plus and
it's likely to be called the A11 Fusion or even just
In terms of RAM, we’ d expect the iPhone 8 Plus to
come with 3GB or 4GB.
The iPhone 7 Plus has 3GB on board and the iPad
Pro 12.9 packs 4GB, so with the iPhone 8 Plus
Apple might up the RAM to 4GB.
The iPhone 8 Plus might also use a graphics chip
that's far more capable for gaming, especially in
augmented reality and virtual reality, as Imagination
Technologies has made just such a chip, and its
tech often features in Apple's A-series chipsets. just
such a chip
Augmented reality could be a big focus of the
iPhone 8 Plus in fact, as Apple reportedly has up to
1,000 engineers working on an AR project that
could be destined for the next iPhone. reportedly
TechRadar's take: The iPhone 8 Plus will be the
fastest Apple handset yet, with an A11 chip and at
least 3GB of RAM.
Hottest leaks: A Smart Connector for accessories? It
may include an iris scanner or tech to stop thieves
stealing your fingerprints New sensors to detect
touch on more than just the screen Facial
recognition tech
Apple could make every side of the iPhone 8 Plus
smart, by using new sensing technology to let the
sides respond to a users touch - potentially
allowing you to change the volume with a swipe
along the edge and snap a photo with a tap.
Though this sounds ambitious. new sensing
One Apple patent shows off a detailed system to
stop thieves being able to take your fingerprints
from your Touch ID sensor – so that may be
included on the iPhone 8 Plus. Apple patent
There’s also the chance the Smart Connector from
the iPad Pro could launch on the iPhone 8 Plus.
iPad Pro
The long rumored iPhone 7 Pro was meant to
feature the Smart Connector, for accessories such
as small keyboards, but Apple may be waiting to
launch it on the iPhone 8 Plus instead.
Another rumor for the iPhone 8 Plus is the addition
of an iris scanner . iris scanner
It’s a technology Samsung tried on its latest phablet
– the Galaxy Note 7 – which allowed you to unlock
your phone just by looking at it. Galaxy Note 7
A report out of China suggests Apple is
investigating the technology, but right now it’s
unclear whether the company will see fit to press
ahead with a brand new way to unlock your phone.
But Apple may also be looking into facial
recognition as a way to secure your phone.
Evidence for that is growing, as Apple has acquired
a startup that works on the tech, and an analyst's
research note suggests a 3D laser face scanner will
be packed into the phone. facial recognition
acquired a startup research note
There's also talk that the iPhone 8 Plus could come
with free AirPods in the box. Given that it almost
certainly won't have a 3.5mm headphone port it
would make some sense to get wireless earbuds
with it, but given that AirPods are quite pricey we're
skeptical that it will happen. free AirPods AirPods
TechRadar's take: We doubt the iPhone 8 Plus will
have an iris scanner or touch-sensitive sides, but a
Smart Connector and improved fingerprint scanner
are both distinct possibilities, while evidence of
facial recognition is hard to ignore.
We’ d expect a similar price for the iPhone 8 Plus
as there was for the iPhone 7 Plus.
The 32GB model costs $769 (£719, AU$1,229) ,
while the 128GB version costs $869 (£819,
AU$1,419) . If you want an even bigger 256GB
version you have to spend $969 (£919, AU$1,569) .
In 2017 we may see an even more expensive
iPhone 8 Plus with an OLED screen though, in fact,
some sources reckon it could be over $1000, so
don’ t expect your next phablet to come cheap.
some sources
TechRadar's take: The iPhone 8 Plus is sure to cost
at least as much as the iPhone 7 Plus, and some
versions may be even pricier. iPhone 8 release
date, news and rumors iPhone 8 release date,
news and rumors
Kingdom Hearts 3 release date,
news and rumors
2017-05-09 14:54 By
17 / 155
The best Samsung Galaxy A5
and Galaxy A3 deals in May
The brand new Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) and
Samsung Galaxy A3 (2017) give you the premium
looks of the flagship Samsung Galaxy S7, but with a
much lower price tag.
If you fancy getting hold of a smartphone with
flagship looks without having to empty your wallet
then you’ ll want to check out the best Samsung
Galaxy A5 deals and top Samsung Galaxy A3 deals
Our Galaxy A3 deals are perfect for those wanting
to stick to a tight budget, with a selection of great
low-cost tariffs for you to explore. If you're working
with a bit more cash you'll want our great Galaxy A5
deals, which give you a more feature-packed
phone at a still affordable price.
Further down this page you will find the best
Samsung Galaxy A5 deals and Samsung Galaxy
A3 deals as chosen by our experts, on a networkby-network and model-by-model basis. But at the
top here you'll find what we assess to be the overall
best Samsung Galaxy A5 deals and Samsung
Galaxy A3 deals available today.
The best cheap Now TV deals in
May 2017: the cheapest boxes and
2017-05-09 11:15 TechRadar deals
18 / 155
2017-05-09 IBM and Pebble
Beach Company Tap Watson
to Enhance Traveler
Experience at Top U. S. Resort
• Pebble Beach Goes Mobile for the First Time with
New App Built with Watson
• Star Surfer Laird Hamilton and Pro Volleyball
Player Gabrielle Reece
Use New App to Personalize their Pebble Beach
2017-05-09 IBM to Provide
Enterprises with Precise Placement
Control of their Cloud Workloads
2017-05-09 16:34
19 / 155
How Google’s OSS-Fuzz is
securing open-source
Google released OSS-Fuzz five months ago with a
mission to make open-source projects stable,
secure and reliable. Since then, the continuous
fuzzing solution has found more than 1,000 bugs
with 264 of them flagged as potential security bugs.
vulnerabilities in several critical open source
projects: 10 in FreeType2,17 in FFmpeg, 33 in
LibreOffice, eight in SQLite 3,10 in GnuTLS, 25 in
PCRE2, nine in gRPC, and seven in Wireshark, etc.
We’ ve also had at least one bug collision with
another independent security researcher (CVE2017-2801) , ” a team of software security
engineers at Google wrote in a post.
OSS-Fuzz is designed to catch issues after a
regression is introduced and before users are
impacted. It detects memory safety related bugs,
correctness or logic bugs as well as timeout and
out-of memory failures.
In order to expand its open-source security efforts,
Google is announcing new rewards for opensource projects. “We believe that user and internet
security as a whole can benefit greatly if more open
source projects include fuzzing in their
development process. To this end, we’ d like to
encourage more projects to participate and adopt
the ideal integration guidelines that we’ ve
established, ” the team wrote.
The company’s existing Patch Rewards program is
being expanded to include fuzz targets rewards.
Eligible projects will receive up to $1,000 for initial
integration and up to $20,000 for ideal integration.
According to Google, ideal integration includes fuzz
targets checked into upstream repository, fuzz
targets provide good code coverage, fuzz targets
are a part of the official upstream development and
regression testing process, and integrated in the
build system.
InfluxData Simplifies IoT and
DevOps Monitoring with Enhanced
Visualization Features
2017-05-09 15:42 Christina Cardoza
20 / 155
The Latest: Collapse larger
than thought at nuke waste
The Latest on an accident at the Hanford Nuclear
Waste facility in Washington state (all times local) :
11: 15 a.m.
Officials say a collapsed patch of ground above a
nuclear waste storage tunnel in Washington state
was larger than first believed.
The U. S. Department of Energy said the Tuesday
collapse covered about 400 square feet (37.1
square meters) instead of the 16 square feet (1.4
square meters) first reported at the Hanford Nuclear
Officials detected no release of radiation and say
there were no workers inside the tunnel. Nearby
workers were evacuated.
The agency says the rail tunnels are hundreds of
feet long, with about eight feet (2.4 meters) of soil
covering them. The U. S. Department of Energy
says the incident caused the soil above the tunnel
to sink between 2 and 4 feet (half to 1.2 meters) .
Hanford for decades made plutonium for the
nation's nuclear weapons arsenal.
9: 43 a.m.
An emergency has been declared at the Hanford
Nuclear Reservation in southeastern Washington
state after a portion of a tunnel that contains rail
cars full of nuclear waste collapsed.
Randy Bradbury, a spokesman for the Washington
state Department of Ecology, said officials detected
no release of radiation and no workers were
He says there were no workers inside the tunnel
when it collapsed Tuesday morning but that nearby
workers were evacuated and others who were
farther away were told to remain indoors.
Hanford for decades made plutonium for nuclear
weapons and is now the largest depository of
radioactive defense waste that must be cleaned.
The sprawling Hanford site is about half the size of
Rhode Island .
Tunnel with nuclear waste collapses
in Washington state
2017-05-09 14:22 By
21 / 155
Embryo of Colossal Dinosaur
Was Preserved for 90 Million
About 90 million years ago, a gigantic bird-like
dinosaur with a toothless beak and a crest atop its
head laid a clutch of enormous eggs. At least one of
these eggs never hatched, but rather became the
first and only one of its species on record to
fossilize, according to a new study.
The discovery of the 15-inch-long (38 centimeters)
embryo is remarkable, said study co-researcher
Darla Zelenitsky, an assistant professor of
paleontology at the University of Calgary in Alberta,
"This is the first embryo known for a giant
oviraptorosaur, dinosaurs that are exceedingly rare,
" Zelenitsky told Live Science in an email. [See
Images of the Newly Named Giant Oviraptorosaur
Moreover, it's only the second species of giant
oviraptorosaur on record, Zelenitsky said. The other
Gigantoraptor, a beast that stood as tall as 16 feet
(5 meters) .
After the fossilized embryo's discovery, it took 25
years for the previously unidentified Cretaceousage specimen to receive an official scientific name.
A Chinese farmer in Henan Province found the
oviraptorosaur embryo in 1992, and a year later it
was exported to the United States by The Stone
Co., a Colorado firm that sells fossils and rocks.
Word spread when the company uncovered the
eggs and embryo, and National Geographic
featured it on a magazine cover in 1996.
The National Geographic photographer, Louis
Psihoyos, captured so much detail in his shots that
people began calling the dinosaur " Baby Louie, "
even after it went on display at the Children's
Museum of Indianapolis.
However, because of Baby Louie's significance (an
embryo representing a new species of rare
dinosaur) , researchers decided to wait until it was
repatriated to China in 2013 to study it, Zelenitsky
After the examination at the Henan Geological
Museum, a group of researchers from China,
Canada and Slovakia gave Baby Louie the formal
scientific name of Beibeilong sinensis, which
means "baby dragon from China, " in a combination
of Mandarin and Latin. [Image Gallery: Dinosaur
Day Care]
Giant oviraptorosaurs are two-legged dinosaurs
that looked like modern-day cassowaries — large,
flightless birds that live in Australia. But an adult B.
sinensis would have towered over the 6.5-foot-tall
(2 m) cassowary, and even a typical oviraptorosaur,
such as Oviraptor, Zelenitsky said.
B. sinensis measured up to 26 feet long from its
snout to the end of its tail, and it weighed up to
6,600 lbs. (3,000 kilograms) when fully grown at
age 11. That means B. sinensis underwent a
substantial growth spurt, as it likely weighed just
under 9 lbs. (4 kg) after it hatched, Zelenitsky said.
While the incredibly well-preserved specimen and
eggs — huge, elongated fossils that measured up
to 17 inches (45 centimeters) long and weighed
about 11 lbs. (5 kg) — have helped the researchers
learn about B. sinensis, they don't contain many
clues about the dinosaur's parenting style. It's
unclear whether the parents protected the nest and
cared for the young because no adult material was
found with the nest, Zelenitsky said.
Still, the finding reveals that these enormous eggs
— the largest known dinosaur eggs on record,
Macroelongatoolithus, meaning "large elongate
stone egg, " — came from giant oviraptorosaurs,
she said.
"Because Macroelongatoolithus eggs are common
in the fossil record, the established link between
Macroelongatoolithus and giant oviraptorosaurs
enabled us to infer that these animals were much
more abundant, common [and] widespread than
indicated by the scarcity of their bones, " Zelenitsky
The study was published online today (May 9) in
the journal Nature Communications.
Original article on Live Science .
Fossilized Dino Embryo Is New
Oviraptorosaur Species
2017-05-09 11:54 Laura Geggel
22 / 155
Disrupt NY 2017 – Hackathon
MC, judges and last ticket
The Disrupt NY hackathon is a week away and we
are giddy with excitement. Over the course of the
week, we’ ll be sharing all the details you need for a
successful hackathon and the best place to start is
to highlight our judges and amazing MC.
As VP of Product for GoDaddy’s Productivity
business, Anjali oversees the team that provides
small businesses with products that help them
communicate, collaborate and run their businesses.
Before joining GoDaddy, Anjali led product teams
at PayPal, where she oversaw the global launch of
Consumer wallet (web and mobile) increasing
active consumers from 100M to 150M in the first two
years. She also held leadership positions at
Financial Engines, Intuit, ATI and General Motors
where she focused on bringing technology
solutions and solving for consumers and SMBs
worldwide. Anjali studied in Engineering at the
University of Ottawa, Canada.
Charlie O’ Donnell is the sole partner and founder
at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, which makes seed
and pre-seed investments and was the first venture
firm located in Brooklyn–where he was born and
raised. Brooklyn Bridge invested in the first rounds
of Canary, The Wing, Orchard Platform, Tinybop,
Hungryroot, Clubhouse, Ringly, and goTenna
among others. Working in venture capital since
2001, he apprenticed his way through the asset
class with analyst roles on the original Union
Square Ventures team as well as at the General
Motors pension fund. At First Round Capital, he
sourced investments in Singleplatform (sold to
Constant Contact) and GroupMe (sold to Skype) .
Charlie discovered GroupMe at the Techcrunch
hackathon where the service had been built. He
also sourced investments in Backupify (which was
an idea he had tweeted to the founder, a friend of
his) , chloe + isabel, and Refinery29.
Jon Gottfried is the co-founder of Major League
Hacking, the official student hackathon league. Jon
previously co-created the Hacker Union, worked as
a Developer Evangelist at Twilio and Echo Nest,
and served as National Director for StartupBus. Jon
loves creating new technology and teaching others
to do the same. He was recently named to the
Forbes 30 Under 30 Education category for his
work with MLH and was a previous winner of the
TechCrunch Disrupt hackathon with Thingscription
and an honorable mention with Joysticc.
Nimi is a Principal at BoxGroup, a seed stage
venture fund, where she focuses on investments in
fintech, healthcare, and marketplaces. BoxGroup’s
portfolio includes companies such as Blue Apron,
ClassPass, Warby Parker, Flatiron Health, and
Vine, among many others. She sources and invests
in entrepreneurs building disruptive technology
companies that aim to create category-defining
businesses. Previously, she worked in Investment
Banking at J. P. Morgan and later as an Associate
Product Marketing Manager at Google, focused on
growing small business advertisers. She graduated
with an Honors BA degree from Harvard, majoring
in Economics and Government, and also received
an MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business
School. In 2017, Nimi was named to the Forbes 30
Under 30 list for Venture Capital.
Tom Sella is VP, Product at WeWork, working on
the fascinating interaction between people and
space. Prior to WeWork, Tom held a position with
Samsung following an acquisition of a startup he
co-founded, Boxee.
In Boxee’s infancy, Tom jumpstarted the Israeli
operation and launched the initial Boxee service.
He was instrumental in Boxee’s foray into the world
of Consumer Electronics and was behind Boxee
Box’s most notable innovations including the RF
remote control and dual-sided QWERTY keyboard
Tom served in various operations and systems
engineering roles with start-ups. He was also a
WordPress advisor and source code contributor
and started a multi-user Hebrew blogging platform.
Before beginning his professional career, Tom
served in the elite IDF intelligence unit, 8200.
Tom is grateful to his wife and three kids for
supporting his decision to JUDGE YOU on this
beautiful day.
The final wave of tickets to the hackathon is
available now – get your free hackathon ticket here.
Can’ t spend the weekend hacking? Included in this
release is a limited supply of spectator tickets.
Come watch the presentations and see what you
Saturday, May 13,2017
12: 30pm – Registration opens (come fed or bring a
brown bag lunch, beverages served)
1: 30pm – Hacking
2: 00pm – API Workshop: IBM, PubNub
7: 00pm – Dinner
Midnight – Pizza and beer, provided by Bira 91
Sunday, May 14,2017
7: 00am – Breakfast served
9: 30am – Hacking concludes and hacks submitted
to wiki
10: 00am – General public welcome to enter to
attend hackathon presentations
11: 00am – Hackathon presentations begin
2: 00pm* – TechCrunch and Sponsor awards
*Final awards may be held earlier or later
depending on the duration of hack presentations.
Please note, times are subject to change
2017-05-09 16:53 Emma Comeau
23 / 155
Scientists solve 400-year-old
mystery of Prince Rupert's
In the 17 th century, Prince Rupert from Germany
brought some of these glass drops to England's
King Charles II, who was intrigued by their unusual
properties. While the head of the drop is so strong
that it can withstand the impact of a hammer, the tail
is so fragile that bending it with your fingers will not
only break the tail, but cause the entire droplet to
instantly disintegrate into a fine powder.
Prince Rupert's drops are easily made by dropping
red hot blobs of molten glass into water. Although
researchers have tried to understand what causes
the unusual properties of these drops for many
years, it was not until recently that modern
technology has allowed researchers to thoroughly
investigate them.
In 1994, S. Chandrasekar at Purdue University and
M. Chaudhri at the University of Cambridge used
high-speed framing photography to observe the
drop-shattering process. From their experiments,
they concluded that the surface of each drop
experiences highly compressive stresses, while the
interior experiences high tension forces. So the
drop is in a state of unstable equilibrium, which can
be easily disturbed by breaking the tail.
One open question, however, is how the stresses
are distributed throughout a Prince Rupert's drop.
Understanding the stress distribution would help to
more fully explain why the heads of these drops are
so strong.
To do this, Chandrasekar and Chaudhri began
collaborating with Hillar Aben, a professor at Tallinn
University of Technology in Estonia. Aben
specializes in determining residual stresses in
transparent three-dimensional objects, such as
Prince Rupert's drops.
In the new study published in Applied Physics
Letters, Aben, Chandrasekar, Chaudhri, and their
coauthors have investigated the stress distribution
in Prince Rupert's drops using a transmission
polariscope, which is a type of microscope that
measures the birefringence in an axi-symmetrical
transparent object, such as a Prince Rupert's drop.
In their experiments, the researchers suspended a
Prince Rupert's drop in a clear liquid, and then
illuminated the drop with a red LED. Using the
polariscope, the researchers measured the optical
retardation of the light as it traveled through the
glass drop, and then used the data to construct the
stress distribution throughout the entire drop.
The results showed that the heads of the drops
have a much higher surface compressive stress
than previously thought—up to 700 megapascals,
which is nearly 7,000 times atmospheric pressure.
This surface compressive layer is also thin, about
10% of the diameter of the head of a drop.
As the researchers explain, these values give the
droplet heads a very high fracture strength. In order
to break a droplet, it's necessary to create a crack
that enters the interior tension zone in the drop.
Since cracks on the surface tend to grow parallel to
the surface, they cannot enter the tension zone.
Instead, the easiest way to break a drop is to disturb
the tail, since a disturbance in this location allows
cracks to enter the tension zone.
Overall, the researchers believe that the results
finally explain the great strength of Prince Rupert's
drops .
"The work has fully explained why the head of a
drop is so strong, " Chaudhri told . "I
believe we have now solved most of the main
aspects of this area. However, new questions may
emerge unexpectedly."
Explore further: Why water splashes—new theory
reveals secrets
More information:
H. Aben et al. "On the extraordinary strength of
Prince Rupert's drops." Applied Physics Letters.
DOI: 10.1063/1.4971339
2017-05-09 16:45
24 / 155
Carbon uptake in Tibetan
Plateau soil may offset melting
permafrost carbon release
Anyone paying attention to the science surrounding
global warming has heard about the problem of
carbon released into the atmosphere due to
permafrost melting in colder parts of the planet.
Less well known or understood is what happens to
the soil above the permafrost. As temperatures rise,
soil above the permafrost becomes warmer,
offering a haven for new plant growth—such plants
have been found to sequester carbon from the air
back into the soil. Thus, as more carbon is released
from below, more is sequestered from above, but is
it possible that new sequestering offsets old
release? That is what the researchers with this new
effort want to know. To learn more, they studied soil
samples taken from multiple sites in the Tibetan
Plateau (a large elevated plateau north of the
Himalayas) in the early 2000s and compared them
with similar samples taken a decade later.
The researchers report that the soil samples were
taken from depths up to 30 cm (which is above the
permafrost line) and found an average
accumulation of carbon in the soil to have occurred
at a mean rate of 28.0 g cm −2 yr −1, which they
concluded was due to accumulation of organic
carbon concentrations (material left when plants
died) . They describe the increase as substantial,
and possibly enough to offset carbon released due
to permafrost melting. More tests will have to be
conducted to determine if there is a true offset, but
the study results suggest that climate change
models might have to be adjusted if offsetting
occurs in regions much farther north. If carbon
released by melting permafrost in Russia, Canada
and other parts of the world is offset by new plant
growth, it is possible that much less carbon will
make its way into the atmosphere than has been
predicted, resulting in slower than predicted global
Explore further: Study shows microbes
accelerate loss of permafrost in Greenland
More information:
Jinzhi Ding et al. Decadal soil carbon accumulation
across Tibetan permafrost regions, Nature
Geoscience (2017) . DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2945
Abstract Permafrost soils store large amounts of
carbon. Warming can result in carbon release from
thawing permafrost, but it can also lead to
enhanced primary production, which can increase
soil carbon stocks. The balance of these fluxes
determines the nature of the permafrost feedback to
warming. Here we assessed decadal changes in
soil organic carbon stocks in the active layer—the
uppermost 30 cm—of permafrost soils across
Tibetan alpine regions, based on repeated soil
carbon measurements in the early 2000s and
2010s at the same sites. We observed an overall
accumulation of soil organic carbon irrespective of
vegetation type, with a mean rate of 28.0 g C m−2
yr−1 across Tibetan permafrost regions. This soil
organic carbon accrual occurred only in the
subsurface soil, between depths of 10 and 30 cm,
mainly induced by an increase of soil organic
carbon concentrations. We conclude that the upper
active layer of Tibetan alpine permafrost currently
represents a substantial regional soil carbon sink in
a warming climate, implying that carbon losses of
deeper and older permafrost carbon might be offset
by increases in upper-active-layer soil organic
carbon stocks, which probably results from
enhanced vegetation growth.
2017-05-09 16:44
25 / 155
Transition-metal free carboncarbon bond-forming reaction:
vinylation of azaallyls
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have
developed a mechanism for making allylic amines
without the use of transition metal catalysts. Their
work is the first reported instance of transitionmetal-free C (sp 3) -C (sp 2) coupling of vinyl
bromide electrophiles with azaallyl anions and
azaallyl radicals. Their work appears in Nature
"This work opens up several new avenues that
could affect many types of transformations, " says
Professor Marisa C. Kozlowski one of the principle
authors of the study. "The formation of the radical
species by a carbanion donating an electron shows
a non-metallic entry to these important reactive
species. In addition, this chemistry adds a distinct
mechanism in cross-coupling allowing certain
architectures to be generated more efficiently."
Building on their prior work for making allylic
amines via a 1,1-diphenyl-3-arylallyl-2-azaallyl
anion, Li et al. discovered that when they reacted
an ketimine with a vinyl bromide to form their
azaallyl anion, the subsequent vinylation reaction
occurred without the need for a palladium catalyst.
The sp 2 carbon on the vinyl halide added to the sp
3 carbon on the aryl azaallyl anion (See figure) .
This type of carbon-carbon coupling reaction
typically needs a transition metal catalyst.
By using a base that is sterically hindered, [MN
(SiMe 3) 2 where M = Li, Na] , the reaction does not
deprotonate the product and results in the Evinylation product in good yield. This mechanism is
regioselective, reacting with the imine carbon, and
chemoselective for the formation of the allylic amine
over the competing reaction that forms a terminal
alkyne from the vinyl bromide.
Once Li et al. optimized their reaction conditions,
they tested the scope of their new mechanism. In
general, their mechanism is successful with a range
of functional groups on the N-benzyl amine and on
the vinyl bromide. The authors report that they did
have to adjust some of the reaction conditions
depending on the functional groups on the Nbenzyl amine, but, overall, the reaction worked for
electron withdrawing groups, such as 4-halides and
3,5-di-CF 3. Additionally, this reaction worked for
electron donating groups, such as 4-methyl and
with heterocyclic compounds, such as pyridyl
ketimines and thiophenyl ketimines.
The authors then looked at the versatility of the vinyl
bromide. Their reaction tolerated a broad range of
vinyl bromide products including several aryl vinyl
bromides and aliphatic vinyl bromides. Importantly,
the authors did not detect isomerization and
cyclization with any of the vinyl bromides tested.
Computational and experimental studies were
conducted to better understand the mechanism in
hopes of testing other types of functional groups in
the future. Li et al. eventually determined a
mechanism that involved an unusual radical
intermediate formed from azaallyl anion electron
transfer after deprotonation of the ketimine. Electron
paramagnetic resonance studies confirmed that
there is a radical species involved, but further
studies are needed to understand the nature of this
species and whether the radical (s) is directly
involved in the vinylation reaction.
The authors believe the radical is likely an azaallyl
radical and that both the azaallyl anion and azaallyl
radical are intermediates in a mechanism that is
dependent upon the substrate on the vinyl bromide.
However, additional studies would need to be
conducted to confirm this.
This research opens the door to the production of
natural products without the use of a transition
metal catalyst for a reaction that typically requires
transition metals. Further research will look at the
versatility of this reaction and its subsequent
Explore further: Amino acids formed from the
single-electron activation of carbon dioxide
More information:
Minyan Li et al. Transition-metal-free chemo- and
regioselective vinylation of azaallyls, Nature
Chemistry (2017) . DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2760
Abstract Direct C (sp3) –C (sp2) bond formation
under transition-metal-free conditions offers an
atom-economical, inexpensive and environmentally
benign alternative to traditional transition-metalcatalysed cross-coupling reactions. A new chemoand regioselective coupling protocol between 3aryl-substituted-1,1-diphenyl-2-azaallyl derivatives
and vinyl bromides has been developed. This is the
first transition-metal-free cross-coupling of azaallyls
with vinyl bromide electrophiles and delivers allylic
amines in excellent yields (up to 99%) . This
relatively simple and mild protocol offers a direct
and practical strategy for the synthesis of highvalue allylic amine building blocks that does not
require the use of transition metals, special
initiators or photoredox catalysts. Radical clock
experiments, electron paramagnetic resonance
studies and density functional theory calculations
point to an unprecedented substrate-dependent
coupling mechanism. Furthermore, an electron
paramagnetic resonance signal was observed
when the N-benzyl benzophenone ketimine was
subjected to silylamide base, supporting the
formation of radical species upon deprotonation.
The unique mechanisms outlined herein could
pave the way for new approaches to transitionmetal-free C–C bond formations.
2017-05-09 16:43
26 / 155
Overuse of water threatens
global food supply
In recent years, scientists have revealed that we are
depleting our global groundwater reserves at an
alarming rate. In some cases, these aquifer waters
won't be replenished in this century, or ever. Now
researchers from the U. S. and Europe have shown
that a significant share of this unsustainable water
use fuels the global food trade, which means water
exhaustion in supplier nations could ripple outward,
causing food crises half way across globe.
The research, published in Nature at the end of
March, identified the countries that export and
import the most food produced with non-renewable
groundwater and the specific crops that rely most
heavily on over-exploited aquifers. "We want to
recognize that groundwater depletion is not a local
issue, " said Michael Puma, one of the authors on
the paper and a researcher affiliated with Columbia
University's Center for Climate Systems Research,
the Center for Climate and Life and NASA's
Goddard Institute for Spaces Studies. "It represents
a stress on our global food supply ."
Overall, approximately 11 percent of nonrenewable groundwater used in irrigation is
embedded in international food trade. (The other 89
percent goes to domestic food production.) The
biggest exporters of food produced with nonrenewable groundwater are Pakistan, India and the
U. S., accounting for two-thirds of all such exports.
The biggest importers of such food are China, the
U. S., Iran, Mexico, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Canada,
Bangladesh, the U. K. and Iraq. The crops most
reliant on non-renewable groundwater are major
staples such as wheat, rice, sugar, cotton and
The researchers also highlighted the trade
relationships that are most vulnerable to products
produced with non-renewable groundwater. For
instance, Pakistan's rice exports have more than
quadrupled from 1990 to 2010 and drew a quarter
of the country's non-renewable groundwater in
2010. These exports primarily go to Kenya,
Bangladesh and Iran. Pakistan's rice exports have
likely played a major role in depleting the country's
aquifers, the researchers write, a process that
should accelerate if population growth surges as
projected at home and among importing partners
over the next three decades.
Puma says he was shocked at the scale of the
problem revealed in the results. Many of the
countries that rely most heavily on overexploited
aquifers also happen to be the world's biggest food
producers: the U. S., Mexico, China, India. And the
relationship between supply and demand in the
global food trade is already tight. "So it's really
troubling to look at this, on top of all of the
challenges we face for the global food supply, " he
Non-renewable groundwater was defined as the
volume of groundwater withdrawn for irrigation in
excess of natural recharge rates and irrigation
return flows, a calculation that has been made
easier due to recent advances in water cycle
modeling. The researchers relied on the PCRGLOBWB model, an open source, large-scale
hydrological model intended for global and
regional studies developed at the Department of
Physical Geography at Utrecht University in the
There is some uncertainty in the model, said Puma,
because the rates of irrigation, rainfall, recharge,
aquifer saturation, are all estimates. But the model
itself has been verified using multiple datasets from
both NASA and the U. S. Geological Survey, so the
researchers have confidence in their results.
The paper recommends measures to address the
problem for both importers and exporters. Food
producing nations could implement water-saving
strategies such as improvements to irrigation
efficiency and a shift to more drought-resistant
crops, together with irrigation metering and
regulation of groundwater pumping. Importing
countries could support sustainable irrigation
practices in their trade partners. But more analysis
needs to be done at the local level to understand
the socioeconomic, cultural and environmental
conditions that might shape policy responses.
"It's something that is poorly understood, " said
Puma. "We don't have many mechanisms, policy or
otherwise, to deal with this."
Explore further: Study finds 11 percent of
internationally traded food
More information:
Carole Dalin et al. Groundwater depletion
embedded in international food trade, Nature
(2017) . DOI: 10.1038/nature21403
2017-05-09 16:43
27 / 155
Batting blight with big data
Detroit, for instance, has seen its population decline
by nearly 30 percent over the past 15 years, leaving
more than 50,000 homes vacant, according to the
real estate firm RealtyTrac.
Identifying blighted homes often requires a major
commitment of manpower and public finances,
often scarce commodities in cities like Detroit. Big
data analytics offers city leaders a more efficient
and cost-effective way to find and fight blight,
according to a recent paper by Qian Wan, a
mechanical engineering Ph. D. candidate at the
Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering
and Applied Sciences, and co-author Bradley
Pough, a J. D. candidate at the Harvard Law
Their paper, "Digital Analytics and the Fight Against
Blight: A Guide for Local Leaders, " examines the
problem of urban housing blight, identifies best
practice uses of data analytics, and provides data-
driven recommendations for municipal officials.
"Blight spreads like a disease, " Wan said.
"Neighbors of blighted homes that have fallen into
disrepair may pay less attention to their own
properties, or the blighted homes erode the
housing market so residents pack up and move to
better areas. Once it starts, it becomes harder to
control. But city officials can do something about it if
they can find it early."
One potential solution involves the use of mobile
app-based reporting systems to crowdsource blight
identification. In New Orleans, for instance, the
creation of a public website and blight identification
app helped city officials reduce the number of
blighted homes by more than 10,000 between 2010
and 2013, according to the Greater New Orleans
Community Data Center.
Identifying existing housing blight is a step in the
right direction, but data analytics can also help
predict and prevent blight, said Wan.
By training a machine-learning algorithm based on
variables that are proxies for blighted homes, such
as water and electricity shut-offs, code violations,
and mail stoppage, officials can gather predictive
analytics on which homes are most likely to
become blighted. Armed with that knowledge,
municipalities can intervene through code
enforcement to prevent blight before it takes root.
Cincinnati, for example, has begun utilizing a
machine-learning algorithm comprised of 50
different variables; the algorithm correctly predicted
blight in 78 percent of cases, compared with a 53
percent prediction accuracy rate by code
inspectors, according to the students' research.
The biggest obstacle to launching these systems is
often the data itself, Wan said.
"Utility data and code violations are all indicators of
blight, but they are stored in different places and in
different formats, " she said. "Once the information
is organized in the same database, at the same
scale, in the same units, and the same intensity,
even the simplest machine-learning algorithm
could draw some patterns."
Before beginning to organize data, Wan and Pough
recommend officials establish parameters based on
their city's unique definition of blight. Regulations in
some municipalities call a house blighted if it lacks
a clear owner, while others focus on code violations
rather than deeds.
Once the data have been identified and labeled,
developing predictive algorithms can go a long way
toward streamlining what is currently a costly and
time consuming process.
In addition to providing tips and resources to help
local governments battle blight, Wan hopes the
paper inspires engineering students to think
outside the box.
"Engineers often think of going into academia or
industry, but there is a lot of potential to make a
major impact by working in the public sector, " she
said. "We can use technology to make the world a
better place."
Explore further: Adding windows to vacant houses
and clearing vacant lots reduces gun violence,
saves money
More information:
Pough, Bradley and Qian Wan. 2007. Data
Analytics and the Fight Against Housing Blight: A
Guide for Local Leaders. Responsive Communities
2017-05-09 16:42
28 / 155
To curb climate change, we
need to protect and expand US
To slow climate change, we need to rapidly reduce
global emissions from fossil fuels, biofuels,
deforestation and wetland and agricultural soils.
We need to also accelerate the removal of carbon
dioxide that is already in the atmosphere.
In a new report published by the nonprofit
Dogwood Alliance, my co-author Danna Smith and
I show that we have a major opportunity to make
progress on climate change by restoring degraded
U. S. forests and soils. If we reduce logging and
unsustainable uses of wood, we can increase the
rate at which our forests remove carbon dioxide
from the atmosphere and ensure that it will remain
stored in healthy forests.
An undervalued resource
At the 2015 Paris climate conference, the United
States and 196 other nations agreed to combat
climate change by cutting their greenhouse gas
emissions. The Paris Agreement recognizes that
forests play an important role in meeting climate
goals by removing carbon dioxide from the
atmosphere and storing carbon in trees and soils.
But the agreement calls for steps only to protect and
restore tropical forests.
These forests clearly are important. They hold such
enormous amounts of carbon that if they were a
country, their emissions from logging and forest
clearing would rank them as the world's thirdlargest source, behind China and the United States.
But these activities are also having a serious and
little-recognized impact in the United States. Net U.
S. forest growth each year removes an amount of
carbon dioxide from the atmosphere equal to 11 to
13 percent of our fossil fuel emissions. This is only
about half of the average carbon uptake by forests
worldwide. In other words, U. S. forests are much
less effective at capturing and storing carbon
relative to our fossil fuel emissions than forests
The greatest contribution to this gap is logging. We
are cutting trees in the United States at a rate that
has reduced the carbon storage potential of U. S.
forests by 42 percent of its potential. Recent
satellite images show that the southeastern United
States has the highest forest disturbance rate in the
Overharvesting reduces carbon storage
When European settlers arrived at the start of the
17th century, forests covered much of the eastern
and northern portion of North America. By the late
1800s, 85 to 90 percent of these forests had been
cut. Only about 1 percent of original intact oldgrowth forest remains in the lower 48 states.
Regrowth now covers 62 percent of areas that
originally were forested, and commercial tree
plantations cover an additional 8 percent.
Tree plantations grow rapidly but are harvested
frequently and retain very little soil carbon and are
harvested more frequently. As a result, they store
less carbon than natural forests.
And we are still logging our forests at a significant
rate. According to recent studies, timber harvesting
in U. S. forests currently releases more carbon
dioxide annually than fossil fuel emissions from the
residential and commercial sectors combined.
These harvests support a large wood and paper
products industry. The United States produces
about 28 percent of the world's wood pulp and 17
percent of timber logs – more than any other
country in the world. It is also the leading producer
of wood pellets and wood chips for the growing
forest bioenergy sector (burning wood in various
forms for energy) at home and abroad.
Wood energy is not low-carbon
Forest bioenergy is widely considered to be a
renewable fuel source, because new trees can
grow – albeit slowly – to replace those that are
consumed. But it is not a low-carbon energy source.
Bioenergy produces about as much carbon as coal
per unit of heat released. Burning wood in power
plants to generate electricity is typically 50 percent
more carbon-intensive than coal-fired generation
per unit of electricity produced.
But proponents assert that forest bioenergy is
carbon-neutral because new tree growth,
somewhere now or in the future, removes carbon
dioxide from the atmosphere and "offsets" carbon
emissions when biofuels are burned. Although the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has
stated clearly that bioenergy is as carbon-intensive
as fossil fuels, the European Union and many U. S.
states classify biomass as a zero-carbon energy
source like wind and solar power.
Today 60 percent of the European Union's
renewable energy comes from bioenergy. Notably,
the United Kingdom is ending its use of coal for
electricity, but is replacing coal with wood pellets
imported from the southeast United States.
Needless to say, it does not make economic sense
to import eight million tons of wood pellets yearly
across the Atlantic Ocean. However, the British
government has provided over $1 billion in annual
subsidies to utilities to pay the cost of pellet
production and transport.
Moreover, under climate accounting rules,
emissions from burning wood for energy are
counted as coming from land use change—that is,
harvesting trees. This means that the United
Kingdom is outsourcing carbon emissions from its
wood-fired power plants to the United States. And
the U. S. forest products industry and U. K. power
companies are profiting from activities that have
serious harmful impacts on Earth's climate.
The value of standing forests
Forests provide more than forest products or carbon
storage. They prevent flooding, provide natural
filtration for drinking water, support wildlife,
moderate local temperature extremes and provide
a storehouse of scientific knowledge, cultural
values and recreation opportunities.
To make forests part of our climate strategy, we
need a carbon accounting system that accurately
reflects flows of carbon between the biosphere and
the atmosphere. Bioenergy emissions should be
counted as coming from energy production, rather
than as a land use change.
We also must manage our forest systems on a
sound ecological basis rather than as an economic
growth-oriented business, and value the multiple
ecosystem services that forests provide. One way to
do this would be to pay landowners for maintaining
standing forests instead of only subsidizing logging
for timber, fiber or fuel. We cannot log and burn our
way to a low-carbon, stable climate future.
Explore further: Special status fails to protect forests
from illegal tree loss
2017-05-09 16:42
29 / 155
Extreme weather just might
encourage us to get our act
together on global warming
We deny the reality of climate change, minimise its
implications or our responsibility for it, or project the
consequences onto far off places or into the future.
Such processes can occur in individual thinking;
and they can appear in conversation, groups and
wider societies as deliberate but unspoken "
agreements " not to talk about climate change in
polite conversation. These denial tendencies are
supported on an even larger scale in society and
culture, as climate change is routinely absented or
minimised as an issue – in media, government
policy or advertising for example.
Meanwhile, the climate crisis deepens. Across the
planet, climate change is increasing the likelihood
of extreme weather. To be defined as " extreme ", a
weather event must be significantly divergent from
normal patterns, with accompanying severe
impacts, and be historically infrequent (about once
every hundred years) . They include floods,
droughts, wildfires and heatwaves. Such " extreme
weather events " are predicted to increase in the
future as global warming increases.
It is commonly argued that one reason climate
change doesn't have enough psychological or
social traction is because it is perceived as distant –
in time and space. And so some commentators,
including former NASA scientist James Hansen,
have predicted that this kind of direct experience of
the manifestations of climate science predictions
will increasingly bring the reality of climate change
home, breaking through established defences, and
finally closing the gap between knowing and doing.
Fossil fuel weather
Is this likely? Perhaps surprisingly, research
suggests that in the wake of experiencing extreme
weather, people may not consider climate change
any more of a threat. For example, while the severe
floods in the south-east of England in the winter of
2013-14 were exactly the kind of event predicted by
climate scientists for a number of years, those
directly experiencing them were found to be "no
more knowledgeable, concerned or active in
relation to climate change than people without
flooding experience".
Why might this be the case? The cause of such
incidents involves an array of factors, and
separating out human influence and natural
variability in weather systems is challenging. This is
why scientists, cautious by profession, talk of
climate change "increasing the odds" of extreme
weather in general, but rarely weigh in on
arguments about specific events. Considering our
psychological and social tendency not to attribute
worrying events to human-made climate change,
the potential power of direct experience to "open
our eyes" to climate change is scuppered by the
apparent uncertainty in connecting specific events
to climate change.
But what if extreme weather events could be
attributed to human-induced climate change with
confidence? The emerging area of "extreme event
attribution" allows us to pose such a question. New
research by Noah Diffenbaugh and colleagues at
Stanford University is the most ambitious
contribution to this field to date. They devise a
thorough set of measurements and demand a high
burden of proof in quantifying the influence of
global warming on unprecedented extreme climate
For one of their case studies, the summer decline of
Arctic sea ice, overwhelming statistical evidence
meant the significant contribution of climate change
anthropogenic climate change has increased the
likelihood of the hottest events over more than 80%
of the surface area of the Earth.
Triggering action
Diffenbaugh and colleagues refer to the important
implications of their research "for climate adaptation
and mitigation efforts", imagined as top-down
interventions such as disaster risk management
systems. But what interests me are the implications
for behavioural and social change, particularly of
the potential for extreme event attribution to
activism and
engagement with climate change as an urgent
issue. Would we be more willing to change our
behaviour, get together, act up accordingly, if we
had direct experience of an extreme event that is
confidently attributed to climate change?
It is certainly tempting to think that combined with
direct experience of extreme weather, clearer
attribution would be a powerful push factor. But
developments in the psychology of defence
mechanisms suggest that when we start to feel that
threatening situations are getting closer, our
defences become more pronounced and manic.
We might increase our antagonism for individuals
or groups who are bringing the problem to our
attention or managing the fallout from extreme
events; or uncritically idealise leaders who assert
denial (any examples spring to mind?) . We might
even go overboard in pursuing and cheerleading
behaviours deemed environmentally damaging, to
reassure ourselves and others that we have
nothing to worry about (remember the Republican
campaign slogan " Drill, baby, drill "?) . This makes
sense – we need to work harder, individually and
collectively, to deny the reality of climate change
when it starts to feel more real.
Despite my reservations, we just can't be sure what
the effects of being able to attribute extreme
weather to climate change might be. It is still
possible that with a stronger causal narrative,
immediate and direct experience of extreme events
unlocks the motivation of individuals and
communities in ways we have witnessed in other
areas of environmental campaigning. Firsthand
experience of this kind just might puncture the
individual defence mechanisms and socially
generated silences that maintain the gap between
what we know about climate change, and what we
are doing about it.
Explore further: Better information needed to
understand extreme weather
2017-05-09 16:42
30 / 155
Amazon debuts its own
concert series in the UK as a
perk for Prime members
subscribers, with the launch of its own concert
series called Prime Live Events. The debut shows
will take place in London in May through July,
starting with Blondie later his month. Alison Moyet,
Texas, and Katie Melua will also each have their
own shows this summer. If you can’ t make it to
London or afford the tickets, you’ ll be able to
stream the concerts through Amazon Prime Video
after they wrap.
The tickets are sold through Amazon, which is
handling the events and their promotion.
Tickets for Blondie start at £150 (roughly $194
USD) for a concert that will be held at London’s
Round Chapel. However, the other events are a bit
less expensive with prices that start at either £75 or
£95. (See below) .
Amazon had previously tested the concept of
hosting its own concerts with John Legend and
Robbie Williams at smaller venues.
The concerts are being promoted as being intimate
events at iconic venues – giving concert goers a
unique experience they couldn’ t get elsewhere.
The idea is that by offering access to these
exclusive shows only to Prime members,
consumers will purchase Amazon’s annual
subscription just for the chance to buy the tickets.
While Amazon hasn’ t yet announced any shows
outside the U. K., Recode had reported back in
November the company was planning an
international expansion of its Amazon Tickets
business. The company had also last year sold
tickets to U. K. customers for events like an Elton
John concert and theater performances like
“Wicked” and “Book of Mormon.”
2017-05-09 16:41 Sarah Perez
31 / 155
Apple tops $800 billion market
cap for first time
The iPhone maker's shares have gained 33 percent
this year and almost 50 percent since the U. S.
election in November, and the company now
represents about 4 percent of the $21.7 trillion that
makes up the entire S&P 500. SPX index.
"It's just reflective of how powerful a franchise it is. It
may be the most powerful franchise in the country
today, " said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView
Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey,
whose firm does not own the stock.
"Considering that it has a limited number of
products, it has really dominated that market in a
way that few companies have, and it's been able to
retain margins despite lots of competitors."
Stock buybacks have also bolstered Apple shares,
with the company reducing its actual share count by
20.9 percent and the average diluted shares
outstanding by 20.5 percent over the past four
years, according to Standard & Poor's data.
The closing market cap of $802.8 billion was larger
than the economies of 45 of the 50 U. S. states,
topped only by Illinois, Florida, New York, Texas
and California.
Billionaire Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire
Hathaway (BRKa. N) has disclosed a stake of
roughly $20 billion in Apple, said on Monday he
had grown more fond of the company because he
could "very easily determine" the iPhone maker's
competitive position "and who is trying to chase
(Additional reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch;
Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
2017-05-09 16:29 Chuck Mikolajczak
32 / 155
How a hoax story about
betting on Le Pen fooled the
You may have seen screenshots of tweets from a
disappointed Brexiter who was trying to convince
Ladbrokes his 13-year-old son put a £500 bet on
Marine Le Pen winning the French election.
Tweeting under @Wollygogg, a Colin Johnson of
Great Yarmouth was desperately trying to claw
back the money from the bookmaker. Except the
internet found a deleted tweet that said he had
made the bet.
The story had all the schadenfreude the internet
needed – the only problem is that it was a hoax.
There was no bet.
But there is a Colin Johnson of Great Yarmouth,
whose Facebook pictures of him and one of his
sons were published on Mail Online alongside
quotes about the story. So how did a fake account
end up being linked to a real person?
The owner of the account, who spoke to the
Guardian on the condition of anonymity, confirmed
the hoax. “There is no bet. I am not Colin, ” he said
via a direct message on Twitter.
With a background in PR, the man said he had
“duped a lot of reporters in the past” and knew how
to make a hoax story such as this spread.
He created the account last month and attempted to
make it look as legitimate as possible, retweeting
leading Brexiters and tweeting in support of Le Pen.
“I wanted to try to create a story: obnoxious
Brexiteer backs Le Pen, taunts liberals while
endearing himself to [Andy] Wigmore, [David]
Vance, [Arron] Banks etc (I hoped to get public
support from them) , loses bet and then throws a fit,
” he said.
The account bears the name and location of an
individual from Great Yarmouth whose YouTube
videos of him confronting bailiffs and police have
been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on
The man behind the account said: “My intention
was never to link it to the real CJ. I put the name out
there wondering if people would join the dots.”
Twitter users began making the connection, but
@Wollygogg never answered tweets asking about
the real Colin Johnson’s channel.
From the start, he knew the fake account was
getting attention. All it needed was momentum.
“I hoped to rope in Jeremy Vine to give it legs, but
somehow it started to take off on its own anyway, ”
he said.
“All of a sudden it started popping up on accounts I
follow on my genuine Twitter. People were posting
it on Facebook too. Last night, I was in a bar in
Hoxton and I could hear two women laughing about
Websites then began to cover the story. Some
reached out and interviewed “Colin”, who kept up
the pretence. “I was surprised the Mail went for it, ”
he said. “Doing the telephone interview was
difficult.” When journalists asked for proof of the bet,
he provided a photoshopped Ladbrokes receipt.
The Guardian has attempted to contact the real
Colin Johnson for comment. On Tuesday, he
uploaded a video to YouTube saying he had
received messages about the tweets.
“I’ ve been getting harassed something chronic by a
little group of trolls, saying I’ ve been betting or my
son’s been betting, ” he said.
“They’ ve been saying I’ ve been betting on some
fascist group that ain’ t even in this country. I don’ t
even know who – Le Pen or some bollocks like that.
I had to ask someone that I know, because you
know I don’ t keep up with politics.
“Anyone who knows me, I’ m not fascist, I’ m not into
none of that bollocks whatsoever.”
For the fake Colin, it is an example of how the
politically polarised world of Twitter can make
hoaxing easy. “Both sides are creating fake or
misleading content to try to smear their opponents, ”
he said.
“I have a feeling that if I tweeted right now saying
‘this is a hoax’ , people would respond with
something like ‘Yeah right, you are just trying to
save face, Colin.’ ”
2017-05-09 16:25 Elena Cresci
33 / 155
The 25 best VR games for PC,
consoles and mobile
Update: We've had a chance to try some recent VR
releases including Arizona Sunshine and Rick and
Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, which have easily earned
their places on our list.
Picking the best VR games at the moment is a
challenge. While there’s a modest selection of great
ones to choose from on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and
PlayStation VR, the catalogs on these platforms are
comprised of both games specifically authored for
VR – like Eve: Valkyrie – and ports in the vein of
Resident Evil 7. Oculus Rift HTC Vive PlayStation
VR Resident Evil 7
Even still, many of the games being made with VR
in mind are crudely designed cash-grabs, with their
developers hoping to make a quick buck off the
new format. Likewise, a lot of the games being
ported over to VR from other platforms simply don’ t
feel at home on a head-mounted display. For that
reason, it’s tough to find the best VR games amid
all the shovelware.
Nevertheless, what we're focused on here is
quality; more specifically, the best VR games for
Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR and mobile
that you can enjoy right now.
Joe Osborne and Gabe
contributed to this article
The sort of game that maybe should have come out
alongside one of the headsets, Sparc is an athletic
proof-of-concept for what VR can be. From CCP
Games, the developer of Eve Online, Sparc is like a
weird fusion between tennis and dodge ball where
the goal is to hit the player standing opposite of you
with a ball. It’s a full-body gaming experience that
makes use of the Oculus Rift Touch controllers or
the Vive wands, if you’ re on HTC’s hardware.
Being the physical “vsport” that it is, Sparc will make
you sweat rest assured, but there’s still a lot of
thought required to strategize wins. That’s
especially the case in “pro mode, ” where the
objective is to not only nail your opponent with the
ball, but to do so without any shield for blocking.
Instead, both you and your opponent will be forced
to dodge the other player’s throws without any
means of a handicap.
Expected: TBA 2017
It may be over thirty years old, but the Elite
franchise is still alive and kicking, thanks to creator
David Braben's fight to reacquire the license.
Drawing elements from the first game – e.g. trading,
exploring and engaging in combat within a
massive, procedurally-generated universe – Elite:
Dangerous is an Elite game for the 21st century
crowd. It's even represented as such in its
depictions of our galaxy in the future.
Oh, and did we mention the gameplay is massivelymultiplayer? Navigating the next frontier has never
felt so real and connected. Elite: Dangerous is a
game best experienced online and in VR.
Assuming you know somebody generous enough
to print the 23-page manual, Keep Talking and
Nobody Explodes is the new Mario Party, at least in
the sense that it will make your friends hate you.
Developed by Steal Crate Games, Keep Talking
and Nobody Explodes requires careful attention
from a recommended 2 to 6 players. While one
player works to defuse a bomb, the others have to
provide clear instructions on how to do so.
Demanding some intense cooperation from your
peers, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a fun
game with the right group of people, and it's even
more enjoyable in VR using either a Samsung Gear
VR or Oculus Rift headset. Keep in mind that while
a gamepad is optional with the Gear VR version,
the Oculus Rift version must be paired with a
In the year 2050,21st century careers – like "chef"
and "mechanic" – naturally, no longer exist, having
been replaced years prior by the likes of
programmers and the AI they create. Job Simulator
takes it upon itself to transform the jobs of the
modern day into museum exhibitions to be
experienced as simulations by the player.
Of course, this means the museum, which doubles
as a theme park, is operated by robots who can't
quite recall things accurately. As a chef, for
example, pizza is made by microwaving a slice of
bread toppled with a block of cheese. In total, there
are four jobs to select from: Office Worker, Gourmet
Chef, Store Clerk and Auto Mechanic, each
seasoned with a uniquely sardonic twist.
Mechanically, Rick and Morty Simulator: Virtual
Rick-ality is very similar to Owlchemy Labs'
previous VR game, Job Simulator.
But beyond the simple puzzle-come-adventuregame mechanics of combining objects in your
environment to solve puzzles is the same razersharp wit that makes Job Simulator such an
essential VR experience, and now it's even better
thanks to the voice-acting chops of Rick and Morty
star Justin Roiland.
Whether Virtual Rick-ality is an essential
experience will depend entirely on whether you're a
fan of the show or not. If you've ever enjoyed the
cartoon then you owe it to yourself to try the VR
game, but if you've yet to give it a watch, or if you've
done so and aren't a fan of its irreverent brand of
humor, then the Rick and Morty Simulator might be
one to miss.
With most of even the best VR games being bitesized, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a breath of
fresh air, even if it’s a simultaneously horrific one.
Despite the ability to play it otherwise on PC, Xbox
One and PS4 proper, this is the first installment in
the Resident Evil series that you could say was
designed with virtual reality in mind. That’s
because, unlike the entries before it, Resident Evil
7 is played using a first-person perspective.
Don’ t assume you can just run and gun your way
through the game, however, as Capcom has taken
Resident Evil back to its survival horror roots with
Resident Evil 7. As such, you’ ll have to think
tactically about how you manage to survive
encounters with the game’s freaky enemies. As
Ethan Winters, a resident of Dulvey, Louisiana
whose wife went missing three years prior, you’ ll
be tasked with exploring a creaky old deserted
house in an effort to find her.
The silver lining is that there’s only one location
throughout the game, so don’ t expect anything too
chaotic beyond a generous helping of jump scares.
Remember that early launch game on the Nintendo
64 where you soared through the clouds and
jumped through both literal and figurative hoops to
complete objectives? Eagle Flight is like Pilotwings
but you play as a minimalistically rendered eagle
instead of an uncanny caricature of a what a person
should look like.
Available for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation
VR, Ubisoft’s VR debut Eagle Flight gives players
the chance to take to the skies and explore Paris
like never before: 50 years after humanity has died
out. Even better, pair up with a few buddies and you
can engage in dog, err, bird fights in one of two
multiplayer modes.
Though the franchise may have already concluded
on conventional platforms, Batman: Arkham VR is
the follow-up to Arkham Knight virtually none of us
were expecting. Not long after Rocksteady Studios
revealed its third entry in the Batman Arkham
universe would be its last, the developer
announced this exclusive to PlayStation VR that
would later make its way to all three headsets.
Batman: Arkham VR is more of a self-contained
detective story than a canonical sequel or prequel
to the established Arkham mythos. You won’ t be
knocking goons unconscious with a VR-reimagined
version of Rocksteady’s signature combat
mechanics. However, what you can expect is not
much more than a 90-minute, DLC-sized story
mission at a fraction of the cost of a full-priced
Lengthy VR experiences are pretty thin on the
ground as it stands, and that's part of what makes
Arizona Sunshine such an enjoyable experience.
The game, which sees you exploring a zombieinfested Wild West, is a refreshingly lengthy
experience that you can really sink your teeth into,
which contrasts with the more arcade-like
experiences offered by other games.
Movement is handled by teleporting yourself
around the environment which handily allows you
to cover great distances without motion sickness,
and you reload and change weapons by moving
your weapon to your ammo belt.
Out of any of the experiences we've played so far,
Arizona Sunshine feels like what VR games might
eventually become once developers have the time
and money to craft full-length virtual reality
But in the short term searching old mine shafts with
a six-shooter in one hand and a blinking flashlight
in the other is just plain cool, even if you'll have to
keep your play sessions to half an hour at a time
just to hold your nerve.
Like Alien Isolation, Surgeon Simulator 2013 is also
centered around aliens. Instead of fleeing from
them, though, you're chipping away at their insides.
Similar to objectives in Job Simulator, Surgeon
Simulator 2013 banks on your incompetence at
performing advanced surgical procedures, such as
heart and brain transplants, exacerbated only by
the unique interface of a VR headset.
The game supports VR natively with Oculus Rift,
though it requires a pair of Razer Hydras to attempt
heart transplants. A separate version, entitled
Surgeon Simulator VR: Meet the Medic, is available
as a free Steam download for HTC Vive.
Ever wanted to deliver frozen chickens from
Innsbruck to Bad Kissingen in an eighteen
wheeler? The developers at SCS Software, who
should probably be using their genius for the
betterment of mankind, has perfectly replicated the
art of being a truck driver, letting players fulfill their
long-haul longings.
The VR experience has been updated to work well
with the Oculus DK2 and lets you look all around
your cab, as well as lean out of the window to peer
behind you. You'll still crash your semi into the hard
shoulder on a regular basis, but that's always your
fault, never the game's.
It's official: the world's most popular block-'em-up
has finally arrived on VR. Minecraft Windows 10
Edition is now out on the Oculus Rift, but you won't
need to splash out $599 / £499 / AU$649 (the cost
of the Rift) for the experience. That's because it's
also available on the Samsung Gear VR, with all of
the Oculus version's features in tow. What's more,
there's even a theater view in case it makes you
sick just thinking about 360 degrees of lego brick
terrain. now out on the Oculus Rift Gear VR
We're not sure what excites us most about
exploring Minecraft in VR — legging it from
creepers in the dead of night or burrowing into the
landscape like goggle-wearing, pickaxe-wielding
mole. A bit of both, probably.
Hover Junkers started revving our VR engines
when its first gameplay videos surfaced a couple of
years ago. Its story makes little sense: Earth has
nearly run out of water, so naturally everybody is
pelting it around on crudely made hover barges
firing rounds into each others' heads. We'll forgive
that, though, as Junkers' gameplay is manic
multiplayer action – and great fun to boot.
Waving around the two Vive wands and your
headset to look and move around, you have to
shoot the enemy while taking cover on your barge
to avoid incoming fire. The sheer freedom of
movement makes the game very different to nonVR shooters - you can troll people by flipping the
bird and even shoot yourself in the head, should
you wish to. That's the videogame moment we've all
been waiting for, right? troll people by flipping the
Yes, Eve: Valkyrie will make you feel at least a little
bit sick. But isn't any epic gaming experience worth
a bit of pain? What started out as a spectacular tech
demo for the Icelandic developers of Eve: Online
has evolved into a fast, squad-based dogfighting
simulator set in deep space.
That focus on combat allows the game to be much
less realistic and more visceral than its competitors
- and it's more arcadey as a result. It may not be
able to deliver long-term thrills, but if you're looking
to be dazzled by what the Oculus Rift has to offer at
this early stage, look no further than Eve: Valkyrie.
Oculus Rift
Ever wanted to play pool with your friends without
leaving the house to go to a bar? With Pool Nation
VR, nothing about the billiards experience is
compromised – yes, even beer-chugging remains
intact. At long last, the HTC Vive proves you don't
need a gamepad to play pool.
So get ready to throw barstools, chairs and empty
beer bottles at the wall when you lose because
Pool Nation VR is the most comical and somehow
realistic depiction of everyone's favorite tabletop
sport. And, hey, it's not just pool you get to
experience – developer Cherry Pop Games gives
you the whole bar. Yes, you can even go for a few
rounds of darts if you're so inclined.
Creative Assembly's masterful conversion of the
Alien movie into a survival game was an
unexpected success of last year. It allows players to
take on the role of Ripley's daughter, attempting to
survive another xenomorph event and, in turn,
discover what happened to her mother.
The long-promised Oculus support wasn't released
with the game, but it does exist in the game's code
and has been reimplemented by modders. It makes
for an utterly terrifying and hardcore experience,
with players trying to stealth their way through the
grimpunk space station, but it's mostly short-lived
due to the alien's efficiency.
I've never really been a petrolhead - though I do
know that red ones go faster - so I can't comment on
how good a game Assetto Corsa is.
Suffice to say that my Petrolhead friends say it's one
of the best car games out there, and the reviews
agree. The key point is its moddability, which has
allowed gamers to add all sorts of fancy new cars
and tracks onto its superb driving system.
It supports Oculus natively and, like Elite, it makes
perfect sense to be able to look around when
racing, whether rallying or in an F1.
VR is wonderful at providing a sense of presence in
a world - but not so good, as yet, at interacting with
it. Which is perfect for 'walking simulators' like this.
Dear Esther is an exploration game, where you
walk all over a remote Scottish island, plumbing its
depths and heights, as your character whinges
about his life. It may sound like an art-house
adaption of a J. G. Ballard novel, but the game is
utterly beautiful to wander.
The unofficial sequel to 1989's Shufflepuck Cafe
takes the physical game of Shufflepuck (AKA Air
Hockey) to the furthest possible point.
Shufflepuck Cantina takes place in an interstellar
casino, where you play against a charismatic range
of aliens and robots with a huge array of special
moves on a range of bizarre tables.
The casino is just charming to wander, packed with
unearthly sights and detail, and fun challengers to
natter to. Warning: you'll need to shut your eyes for
the control-free intro, as it's utterly nausea-inducing.
As far as VR showcases go, it doesn’ t get much
simpler than Raw Data, a first-person action game
that puts you up against waves of enemies in a
controlled environment. Don’ t expect any overtly
complex RPG elements added to the mix, however,
as Raw Data prioritizes refined combat mechanics
and digestible controls over gameplay variety.
Raw Data itself doesn’ t consist of much more than
choosing a hero, whether Bishop, Saija or Boss,
and going in guns (or swords) blazing against
hordes of challenging enemies. It only gets more
difficult when you go online with a friend, with
communication limited to body language and
simulated eye contact. There’s so much attention to
detail in Raw Data that picking up and loading your
gun is a task in and of itself.
Subnautica looks like it should be a simple diving
game - but then you realise you don't recognise any
of the 'fish'... or the sky or the sun.
It's actually a survival game on a distant ocean
world, where you have to craft equipment, pilot
submarines, and terraform the aquatic undersea for
humankind - whilst surviving hostile wildlife,
volcanoes, and aircraft-sized jellyfish. It's still in
Early Access, so the Oculus Rift support is limited
but effective.
Lucky's Tale is one of two games (the other being
multiplayer dogfighting shooter EVE: Valkyrie)
being bundled with the Oculus Rift, and it's an
intriguing little platformer. Think Mario 64 spliced
with Crash Bandicoot, viewed with a third-person
camera angle that you can manipulate by moving
your head, and you'd be halfway there.
The VR element lets you peek at more of the level
as you go along, which sounds gimmicky but
actually introduces an exploration element as you
tilt your head to reveal secrets in the level. It may
not blow you away like other VR games will, but
Lucky's Tale proves that VR can breathe new life
into old, ostensibly dead genres.
ADR1FT is the closest thing we'll ever get to a video
game adaption of the movie Gravity. How it works is
simple, albeit thoroughly engaging and original. In
a first-person view, you'll be tasked with navigating
a zero gravity setting with an oxygen limit that's
realistic enough to keep you from taking off and
exploring too far.
Like an underwater level of a Sonic game set in
space, you'll need to survive on as little oxygen as
possible without letting your character die. To make
simultaneously tasked with completing a series of
puzzles throughout five different areas all while
listening to a soundtrack that was composed by
developer Adam Orth and the band Weezer.
(Because why not?)
Not to be confused with the Miley Cyrus hit single,
The Climb comes from Crytek, a developer widely
known for making your graphics card sweat (see:
'But Can It Run Crysis?' meme) . The Climb is no
exception. Beautifully rendered scenery makes
extreme hiking less of a chore in a game that's
basically Uncharted without any of the combat. And
that sounds rad.
If you're looking for the game to showcase VR to
your distant relatives at a family event, don't exempt
The Climb from your considerations.
Think you have what it takes to climb Mount
Everest? Everest VR might cause you to rethink
your confidence. Like The Climb, Everest VR is a
literal climbing simulator. Only this time, you're
pushed right in the middle of a mountain cold
enough to freeze off your limbs.
Sure, Everest VR can't emulate the weather
conditions over an HTC Vive, but what it does well
is bringing a fierce reality to the forefront of a
headset for the first time ever. Like the antithesis to
a certain 1999 track by Santana featuring Rob
Thomas of Matchbox Twenty, man, it's a cold one in
Everest VR. Yet, at the same time, it's a suspenseful
and emotional one.
Shooting Showdown 2 reimagines the first-person
shooter concept for VR. You aim by tilting your
head to move a crosshair in the middle of the
screen, hitting a button on a Bluetooth controller to
take out objects strewn across the level. They can
be anything from shooting range targets to a robot
carrying a bucket or traffic lights that require you to
shoot the green light.
Regarded as one of the best games for the
Samsung Gear VR, its head-to-head mode pits you
against human opponents to see who can rack up
the highest score.
2017-05-09 16:25 By
34 / 155
Edward Snowden endorses
OpenStack and warns of
closed-shop public cloud risks
Whistleblower Edward Snowden today endorsed
the open-source infrastructure platform OpenStack,
speaking via video link during a keynote on the
second morning of the OpenStack Summit in
Snowden, who enlisted the help of journalists to
expose the NSA and GCHQ’s worldwide
surveillance dragnet, offered his thoughts on cloud
computing and what the implications are for open
source versus closed shop development.
“How does the ordinary user think about cloud,
what does cloud mean to them? To them cloud
means Google Apps, Gmail, things like that, they’
ve got things on somebody else’s computer, ” he
said, responding to a question from the OpenStack
Foundation’s Mark Collier. “On the other hand wee’
ve got what you guys do, the infrastructure as a
service layer, which is increasingly becoming the
bones of the internet, the thing it’s built upon.
“One of the things that you guys do best is help the
people who are placed to actually make the
decision about how to build it make these in a
considered way, ” he said. “For most people the
internet is kind of magic, it just happens, they look
at it on their smartphone, their Facebook app is the
“But that’s not enough and we can’ t let people go
to this stuff mindlessly when they’ re in the acts of
building rather than consuming.”
And that means questioning the for-profit public
clouds offered by the big players like Microsoft,
Amazon and Google.
“You could use EC2, you could use Google’s
Compute Engine, or whatever, these are fine, they
work, but the problem is they are fundamentally
disempowering, ” Snowden said. “You give them
money and in exchange you’ re supposed to be
provided with a service, and that exists. But you’ re
actually providing them with more than money, you’
re providing them with data, and you’ re giving up
control and giving up influence - you can’ t reshape
their infrastructure, and they’ re not going to change
things and tailor it for your needs.
“You end up reaching a certain point where, OK,
these are portable to a certain extent, you can
containerise things and then ship them around, but
you are sinking costs into an infrastructure that is
not yours, fundamentally.”
He said that OpenStack rids its users of that
“inherent silent vulnerability” that comes with
investing into platforms that users do not influence,
do not own, do not control, and “do not even shape”
- public cloud, essentially.
“Whereas with OpenStack, you build it layer by
layer, it’s a little bit more of a technical
understanding, but as it’s becoming more
sophisticated and continues to comply with the free
and open values that the open source community
drives all over the place, but particularly, here, we
can start to envision a world where cloud
infrastructures are not private in the sense of private
corporations, but private in the sense of personal,
whether you are a small business, whether you are
a large business, whether you are a community of
“You can control it, you can shape it, you can build,
you can lay the foundation upon which everybody
builds, and I think that’s probably one of the most
powerful ideas that shapes the history of the
internet, and hopefully will allow us to direct the
future of the internet in a more free, rather than
closed, way.”
Snowden went on to detail his work as the
president of the Freedom of Press Foundation,
including working on the organisation’s in-house
open source development, such as SecureDrop.
The Foundation is now working on an open
hardware effort called an ‘introspection engine’ that
will allow people to check that their smartphones
are behaving in the way they’ re told they are.
“This gets into that central issue we talked about
with infrastructure, ” Snowden said. “You’ re
running things on Google’s stack, you’ re running
things on Amazon’s stack, how do you know when
it starts spying on you? How do you know when
your image has been passed to some adversarial
“Whether it’s taken by an employee, sold to a
competitor, whether it’s taking a copy for the FBI,
legally or illegally, you really don't have any
awareness of this because it’s happening at a layer
that’s hidden from you - it doesn’ t matter if it’s a
rootkit, it doesn’ t matter if it’s a hypervisor, or a
process stack.
“The same thing happens with our phones - when
we turn on airplane mode, when we turn off location
services, how do we know the GPS is actually
turned off? How do we know the baseband antenna
is actually powered down?”
Users are trusting that the software on their devices
will tell them the truth but that might not be the case.
“So we are developing a hardware that’s free and
open and everybody will be able to replicate this,
where you will be able to look at the electron flow
over the circuit paths to confirm that for yourself, ”
Snowden said.
But what should the people actually building the
technology take into consideration - and what are
their ethical obligations?
“We don’ t work for governments, we don’ t work for
states, we don’ t work for corporations, we should
be working for the spirit of technology itself, moving
people closer to a more empowered future, ” he
explained. “I try to think of this in terms of values all systems should be largely designed to obey the
user. Secondly, they should not be designed to
hide things from the user, they should not deceive
the user, they should not lie to the user.
“This is one of the largest problems we have with
closed source - it’s not so much that somebody
doesn’ t want to share the source code, although
that matters in the abstract sense, it’s what that
actually means when they don’ t. This leads to the
world we have today when we have vulnerabilities
in every Intel chip that has AMT enabled - because
Intel’s management engine has these blobs on it,
we can’ t inspect that, we can’ t see that, we can’ t
change that and we can’ t patch it ourselves.
“When you're thinking about your ethical
obligations, the main thing is: how do i empower
the user? And if this creates a large-scale
disruption in the traditional power structures, if this
can be used for an application of powers by
aggressive actors, whether they’ re corporate,
government entities or anything else, how can
people be sheltered against this?”
2017-05-09 16:24 Tamlin Magee
35 / 155
Facebook says it found faster
way to translate through AI
Facebook says its researchers have found a new
way to use artificial intelligence to translate material
on its social network faster and more accurately.
This could mean Facebook users eventually seeing
everything translated immediately into their
preferred language, not just post but videos too.
Facebook already translates posts in more than 45
languages, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg says there is
still "a lot more to do."
For now, Facebook has made the research and its
methods publicly available so developers and
others can use it to build translation and other
language tools. Beyond language translation, the
technology can be used for chatbots, for example,
or other language-based tasks.
The method uses something called a convolutional
neural network, a technology that's already used for
image processing and other types of machine
2017-05-09 16:22 By
36 / 155
Why Fitness (Not Just How
Much You Exercise) Matters in
Cancer Risk
CHICAGO — A person's overall cardiorespiratory
fitness is linked to his or her risk of developing
precancerous polyps in the colon, which can grow
into colon cancer, a new study from Singapore
In the study, the researchers found that people with
lower levels of cardiorespiratory fitness had a
higher risk of developing these polyps, which are
also called adenomas.
Doctors have long known that failing to get enough
physical activity is linked to an increased risk of
colorectal cancer, said lead study author Dr.
Vikneswaren Namasivayam, a gastroenterologist at
Hospital. Namasivayam
presented his findings here Monday (May 8) at
Digestive Disease Week, a scientific meeting
focused on digestive diseases. [7 Cancers You Can
Ward Off with Exercise]
In the new study, the researchers focused on
precancerous polyps instead of cancer. They
wanted to look for a link between fitness and these
polyps, because discovering such a link would
"lend further credence to the idea" that fitness plays
a role in the development of colorectal cancer,
Namasivayam said.
The researchers also took things a step further,
measuring people's cardiorespiratory fitness and
not just asking them how much they exercised, he
Cardiorespiratory fitness is a very different concept
from physical activity, Namasivayam told Live
Science. When people talk about physical activity,
the term refers more to a behavior than a biological
cardiorespiratory fitness can be objectively
measured, he said.
Another way of looking at the difference between
physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness is that
while physical activity influences cardiorespiratory
fitness, other factors influence it too, Namasivayam
said. A person's age, sex and genetics also affect
his or her cardiorespiratory fitness level, he said.
In the study, the researchers measured the
cardiorespiratory fitness of 36 adults between ages
45 and 70. Of these participants, 20 people had
precancerous polyps and 16 people, the controls,
had no polyps.
cardiorespiratory fitness, the researchers focused
on VO2 max, which is a measure of aerobic fitness
that looks at how much oxygen the body is able to
use in a given time period to power its cells. The
higher an individual's VO2 max is, the more fit that
person is. To measure VO2 max, the people in the
study were asked to ride stationary bikes to the
point of exhaustion, Namasivayam said. [Everything
you Need to Know About Aerobic Exercise]
The researchers found that the higher a person's
VO2 max was, the less likely it was that a person
had a precancerous polyp. In other words, people
in the study with precancerous polyps "were more
likely to have a lower level of [cardiorespiratory
fitness] compared with those who" did not have
polyps, Namasivayam said.
The study was small, and more research is needed
to help scientists fully understand the link between
cardiorespiratory fitness and the risk of
precancerous polyps, Namasivayam noted. In
addition to replicating the findings of this study,
researchers also need to look into the biological
mechanisms that could explain the link, he said.
The findings have not yet been published in a peerreviewed journal.
Originally published on Live Science .
2017-05-09 16:17 Sara G
37 / 155
Has Meizu's quick charge tech
reinvented the smartphone?
Do you carry a portable charger for your
smartphone? They seem innocent enough, but
those small black boxes are like a sticking plaster
over the tech industry's gaping wound; pathetic
phone batteries not fit for the modern mobile age.
portable charger
It's not just the Pokémon Go app that drains the life
from smartphones, with navigation apps like
Google Maps, firmware updates, and even just the
camera app eating away at battery life at a worrying
rate. Pokémon Go app that drains the life from
smartphones firmware updates
So could a claim by Chinese phone maker Meizu
that it now has the technology to recharge a phone
in less than 20 minutes change everything? claim
by Chinese phone maker Meizu
Short battery life is a huge problem for the phone
industry, whose minor improvements in power
efficiency have been swallowed up by the everincreasing size of smartphone screens.
"Smartphones have become more power-hungry,
and battery life and charging technology has failed
to keep pace, leaving users often unsatisfied with
the battery life of their devices, " says James
Manning Smith, Information Analyst at Futuresource
Consulting. Futuresource Consulting
He points out that manufacturers have three
choices when designing a phone; larger batteries
in devices, more efficient components, and making
charging more convenient for users.
Meizu has taken the middle road with its Super
mCharge technology, which it unveiled at a press
event at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona.
The live demo saw an empty smartphone fill-up in
precisely 18 minutes and 55 seconds. Mobile World
Congress 2017
Not exactly a riveting watch for onlookers, but
impressive nonetheless. After over a year of R&D,
said Meizu, it had improved the power of a Super
mCharge battery to 55W, and accelerated charging
speed by 5.5 times.
That 55W figure is key. “Meizu's 55W charging is a
first for the mobile industry, ” says Manning Smith,
who confirms that it's a more powerful charging
solution than anything already on the market.
“Standard USB charging is 5W, while some OEMs
have released phones with 15-18W charging, such
as Motorola, Samsung and Oppo.”
The battery inside the Meizu demo phone was
3,000mAh, which is a typical size for a smartphone
(for comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S8 uses a
3,000mAh battery, while the iPhone 7 claims a
1,960mAh battery) , though this one was specially
designed by Meizu's engineers to bear more than
four times the current so it could work with Super
mCharge. Samsung Galaxy S8 iPhone 7
So what has Meizu actually achieved here? As well
as taking charging to 55W, Meizu has dramatically
accelerated the charging speed.
Technically speaking, Super mCharge uses charge
pump technology; comprising two groups of circuits,
the charge pump exports half of the voltage after
transformation and improves efficiency by 8%.
"Our solution yields 98% efficiency, compared with
other companies who struggle to hit 90%, " claims
Super mCharge also uses a USB cable that's been
redesigned to carry up to 160W of power, and as a
result it does cost three times more than a regular
USB cable.
There are two immediate concerns. Firstly, does
fast charging mean the battery won't last very long?
Secondly, is all that extra heat generated safe?
After all, exploding batteries in smartphones like the
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 have made us all nervous.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7
On the first question, Meizu insists that in tests its
3,000mAh battery retained more than 80 percent of
its capacity after 800 charge and discharge cycles,
so it should be good for two years' normal use.
On the second concern about safety, Meizu claims
that its optimization algorithm means the highest
temperature the battery reaches is 39°C/102°F (in
an ambient temperature of 22°C/72°F) , just a bit
higher than body temperature.
Manning Smith explains that since smartphones
are very condensed devices, engineering
restrictions mean the heat that builds up during
high-powered charging can damage the battery,
and other components in the phone.
"Meizu has developed a technology that allows the
battery to be charged at a very high rate, without
exceeding dangerous temperature levels, " he
This is all impressive stuff, but only if the device can
live up to Meizu's promises. "Once the technology
comes to market, it has the potential to set a new
standard for wired smartphone charging, " says
Manning Smith.
That should happen during 2019 or 2020, but
there's no guaranteed success for Super mCharge.
Not only are several other similar innovations
expected in that time-frame, but the general trend
towards super-fast wired charging for phones looks
set to be overtaken by the wireless charging era.
wireless charging
When it comes to super-fast wired charging,
Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 (QC3.0) for Android
devices is the current front-runner, with QC4.0 just
announced for new flagship Android phones that
use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset – and
that includes the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, ZTE
Gigabit and some versions of the Samsung Galaxy
S8. Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Sony Xperia XZ
Premium ZTE Gigabit
QC4.0 claims to charge 20% faster than QC3.0
(which charges an empty phone to 50% in about 30
minutes) . That's not as impressive as Super
mCharge's promised speeds, but then again it's
available already.
"Wireless charging companies are trying to [create]
a world in which charging cables are unnecessary,
" says Manning Smith, who admits that support for
wireless charging pads in wider society is in its
infancy. wireless charging pads
However, Aircharge has been installing wireless
charging stations in restaurants, airports and hotels,
while IKEA is including wireless charging pads in
some furniture. Aircharge
"Should we see an increase in the availability of
wireless charging outlets in our daily lives, there
may be less need for fast charging technologies, "
Manning Smith says.
There are also efforts to develop high-wattage
wireless charging. Bosch has wireless charging for
power tools that it plans to take up to 60W and use
in all kinds of mobile devices by 2020, which would
surpass Meizu's achievement – while LG has been
developing wireless charging pads that bring a fully
discharged phone up to 50% in 30 minutes, (so on
a par with QC3.0) . Bosch has wireless charging for
power tools LG has been developing wireless
charging pads
“The convenience of cable-free, little-and-often
charges that wireless charging can provide may be
more convincing for consumers than wired, but
quick charging, ” says Manning Smith.
So while Meizu's Super mCharge is an exciting
achievement, the future belongs not to
electrochemical cells, but wireless charging pads –
probably starting with your car . starting with your
car Want to charge less? Get one of these battery
monsters. Get one of these battery monsters
2017-05-09 16:15 By
38 / 155
OnePlus 3T vs Honor 8 Pro
The OnePlus 3T offers a lot for under £500, but how
does it measure up to the snazzy Honor 8 Pro
Both phones sit on the high end of the so-called
mid range, boast excellent battery life and
represent great value for money buys. So which
one should you shell out for?
We’ ve tested out both phones and more recently
spent time with the sexier Midnight Black One Plus
Read on for the full lowdown where we compare
both phones in terms of processors, network
performance and cameras - as well as price.
OnePlus 3T vs Honor 8 Pro: Design
While both phones house big screens north of five
inches, it’s the Honor 8 Pro that’s the bigger of the
two. Its 5.7-inch 2,560×1,440 IPS LCD sits inside a
157 x 77.50 x 6.97 mm frame.
That does make it slightly thinner than the One Plus
3T, but still, it’s a little less friendly to those with
smaller hands. The 3T by contrast measures 152.7
x 74.7 x 7.35 mm and houses a 5.5-inch
1,920x1,080 Optic AMOLED screen.
Both the 3T and the 8 Pro feature hardened glass
screen protectors (Corning’s Gorilla Glass 4 and 3,
respectively) and their bodies are fashioned from
single pieces of machine-milled metal. They’ re
reassuringly weighty and premium-feeling to the
touch, though the subtle matt shades of the
Midnight Black 3T are particularly easy on the eye.
The Honor 8 Pro is also only available in metallic
blue (in the UK) which, while very nice looking,
might not be to everyone’s tastes. Unlike the
OnePlus 3T, there's no protective case in the box
and there aren't yet any available to buy separately.
At the base of each phone sits a 3.5mm headphone
jack, Type-C USB port for data and power and a
single exterior speaker.
Both phones feature SIM card trays which pop out
with the gentle push of the paperclip-looking
unlocking tool. The OnePlus 3T’s card tray only
features support for two nano SIMs, whereas the
second slot on the Honor 8 Pro’s tray can house
either a SIM or a microSD card.
OnePlus 3T vs Honor 8
performance and battery life
The OnePlus 3T is powered by Qualcomm’s quadcore Snapdragon 821 processor clocked at
2.35GHz and 6GB of RAM. The Honor 8 Pro
meanwhile features HiSilicon’s octo-core Kirin 960,
with four cores clocked at 1.8GHz and the other four
at 2.4GHz, plus 6GB of RAM.
Performance-wise, the phones are very similar.
They’ re fast beasts, launching games and apps
quickly and shooting 4K video like it’s no big deal.
Benchmarking tool AnTuTu, which measures
overall phone performance, puts the Honor 8 Pro
slightly ahead; the Huawei phone scored 144,881
while the 3T racked up 141,429. Similarly, the
(1861,6394) of the Honor 8 Pro pipped those of the
3T (1881,4276) , but only slightly.
In terms of high end games, both phones handled
the like of Micro Machines and Lara Croft Go well
enough, but the OnePlus 3T did struggle a bit with
the later stages of Civilization Revolution 2 games.
Given that the OnePlus brand is synonymous with
fast charging, long lasting battery power, it’s maybe
not surprising to see that its 3,400mAh battery
outlasts the bigger 4,000mAh unit of the Honor 8
Pro; thanks in part to the screen being a less pixel
dense and more energy efficient AMOLED.
The OnePlus 3T also fills up more quickly; we went
from zero to 100 per cent in about two hours
charging off of a mid-2012 MacBook Pro's USB 3.0
port. Using the supplied Dash Charger (5V, 4A) ,
we were able to get from nothing to full in 50
minutes with the 3T.
The OnePlus 3T's battery can put up with some
serious levels of abuse, able to pass the PC Mag
battery drain test (this streamed over 4G with the
screen brightness cranked to the max) for over ten
After 30 minutes on the Dash Charger, we were at
67 per cent, thereby living up to OnePlus’s claim of
‘a day’s power in half an hour’ . Perhaps something
to keep in mind if Pokémon Go is more of your
Charging using the Honor 8 Pro's supplied
QuickCharge mains adapter (5V, 2A/9V, 2A) sees
you able to fully fill an empty battery in just over an
hour and a half. You’ ll get almost 50 per cent full
after half an hour and close to 70 per cent in 60
Charging from the same MacBook Pro’s USB port
took us 7 hours and 45 minutes.
OnePlus 3T vs Honor 8 Pro: Network performance
When testing out phones at PC Mag, we use the app in numerous indoor and outdoor
locations at various times of the day and then work
out average download speeds, upload speeds and
latency for every major UK network.
Because speed test results can vary depending on
daily network traffic, buildings, cranes, (note: PC
Mag Towers is currently located opposite a building
site) and outages, we ran some new tests, separate
to the ones we’ d conducted for our reviews, to see
how these phones compared side by side:
OnePlus 3T
Down / Up / Latency
O2: (18.81) (19.96) (35.8)
EE: (73.52) (33.78) (21.5)
Vodafone: (16.74) (14.07) (29.33)
Three: (9.49) (21.48) (33.08)
Honor 8 Pro
Down / Up / Latency
O2: (16.04) (19.03) (141.08)
EE: (53.03) (39.74) (150.5)
Vodafone: (5.11) (3.91) (140.91)
Three: (6.19) (13.21) (139.66)
For reference, you’ ll need at least 5Mbps spare in
order to reliably stream HD video from YouTube,
Netflix, iPlayer, etc. Latency effects things like
videocalling; any latency north of 300 milliseconds
means you’ re probably going to experience
problems with things like Skype, Facebook video
calls, etc.
OnePlus 3T vs Honor 8 Pro: Main camera - stills
The OnePlus 3T brings a 16-megapixel camera to
the party, while the Honor 8 Pro features a 12+12
megapixel dual lens set up. Both phones can take
16: 9,4: 3 and 1: 1 stills, those taken by the OnePlus
3T obviously being bigger.
Having two 12 megapixel sensors working together
might suggest that it combines everything to allow
for 24 megapixel shots, but it doesn’ t work like that.
One camera is dedicated to capturing RGB (colour)
information while the other processes monochrome
data. The theory is that you get more brightness
and contrast information this way than you would
with a single, bigger sensor.
It’s perhaps not surprising to learn that the phone
with a dedicated monochrome sensor is generally a
bit better at producing shots in low light conditions
than the OnePlus 3T. The Honor 8 Pro’s flash is
also more powerful, illuminating dark corners and
reaching shadows that the OnePlus 3T’s flash
sometime’s can’ t, though this can result in
foreground subjects being bathed in more light than
you’ d like, so keep your distance:
The HDR mode of the Honor 8 Pro is also generally
better at picking out things like details of clouds and
shadows on buildings in the daytime too - see the
building site shots for a good example of this.
Manual controls of the 3T and 8 Pro let you adjust
shutter speeds, down to 1/8000 and 1/4000
respectively, and sensitivity from 100-3200 and 503200, although weirdly in a lot of low light
situations, the 3T on auto tends to default to 6400 which you can’ t select yourself in manual mode.
Both phones feature laser assisted autofocus, tap to
focus and the ability to set separate focal and
exposure points; all of these features are buttery
smooth and work quickly. You can also shoot
timelapses, slow-mo video, panoramas with both
phones and save RAW photos, if you really want to
tinker with stills later on in Photoshop.
The Honor 8 Pro features a wide aperture focus
mode, which gives you the ability to change
aperture size (from f/0.95 to f/16) and create nifty
faux-bokeh effects. There’s also a handy document
scanner, which lets you save captured print outs,
slides and menus and PDFs, if you need to do that.
The interface of the Honor 8 Pro’s camera is also
more logical. You can swish between menu
screens, toggle still and video modes and adjust
ISO and virtual shutter speeds with greater
precision than you can on the OnePlus 3T.
OnePlus 3T vs Honor 8 Pro: Main camera - video
Both phones have the ability to record 4K Ultra HD
video at 30fps (frames per second) , 1080p Full HD
video at 60 and 30fps and 720p video at 30fps.
Should you need to, the Honor 8 Pro also lets you
capture VGA and QVGA video, if you want to feel
like it’s 2005 all over again.
The quality of the video footage shot by the phones
is broadly comparable, though as with stills, the
Honor 8 Pro does a slightly better job of illuminating
darker areas, like the shadows cast by trees on a
bright, sunny morning.
Another ace up the Honor 8 Pro’s sleeve is the
ability to toggle object tracking, which sees the
video automatically adjusting focus if you’ re
shooting clips of your bets, newborn relatives, cars,
or anything that’s moving quickly/not liable to sit
still. Other minor plusses include the option of
filters, (letting you shoot in sepia, monochrome, etc)
and the option to tweak exposure, focus modes
(continuous auto and manual) , metering (matrix,
centre, spot) and white balance (auto, cloudy,
sunny, tungsten, fluorescent, custom) . You don’ t
get quite the same level of options on the OnePlus
OnePlus 3T vs Honor 8 Pro: Front camera - selfies
The OnePlus 3T’s front camera features a 16megapixel sensor, twice the size of that of the
Honor 8 Pro’s.
Both cameras feature fixed focal points, so you’ ll
need to expertly position yourself in overly bright
areas before taking a snap.
You can mess around with ISO and white balance
on the Honor 8 Pro, which helps in some situations,
but these controls are positioned in such a way that
they’ re not easy to access or manipulate when you’
re posing.
Both phones feature smile detection mode and the
ability to take shots with the volume rocker, instead
of the standard on screen control. Again, the Honor
8 Pro goes one better by letting you toggle audio
detection, so it’ ll take a selfie if you say ‘Cheese!’
or something.
Huawei’s dead keen on selfies and so it’s not
surprising to learn that it’s slightly creepy eyeball
enlarging Beauty Mode is present and correct on
the Honor 8 Pro.
While the OnePlus 3T doesn’ t come with the same
level of face changing tools in its digital make-up
kit, there is a skin smoothing filter, which mutes
blemishes, blackheads and other perceived
Neither phone features a front-facing flash module,
but the Honor 8 Pro sort of makes up for this by
turning every pixel on the panel white in lieu of a
real flash. This works in a pinch, but as you can’ t
actually see what you’ re selfie looks like ‘til it’s
been taken, results may vary.
OnePlus 3T vs Honor 8 Pro: Price
The OnePlus 3T is the better value buy. Both the
64GB (£399) and 128GB (£439) editions, when
bought unlocked and SIM-free, are cheaper than
the 64GB-only Honor 8 Pro (£475) .
The OnePlus 3T also has the advantage of being
available to buy on contract from O2 (no up front
cost, from £33/month) , whereas the Honor 8 Pro is
only available to buy unlocked, directly from Honor.
You can pick the Honor 8 Pro up on finance via
PayPal Credit (starting at £22.76/month) , but you'll
still have to get a SIM for it.
If you’ re keen on protecting your phone with a
case, then you should know that there’s a whole
arsenal of cases on the OnePlus store available to
buy now; the only accessory you can pick up for the
8 Pro at the moment is a selfie stick tripod .
With all that said, the Honor 8 Pro’s dual lens
camera is superior. Not only does that second
monochrome sensor do a better job of handling low
light shots, it’s also easier to use and that bigger,
higher-res display also means that you also get a
better look at your shots than you do on the 3T’s
The Honor 8 Pro’s storage can also be expanded
with a microSD card, the OnePlus 3T’s can’ t.
Seeing as the cost of cards is falling all the time,
making up that storage deficit shouldn’ t cost too
much more.
OnePlus 3T vs Honor 8 Pro: Verdict
If you’ re in the market for a new phone and you’ ve
got around £500 to play with then the question
really comes down to whether you prefer to take
pictures (get the Honor 8 Pro) or you need a phone
with a battery capable of taking a serious
hammering (get the OnePlus 3T) .
Both phones look fantastic, though you get a bit
more choice from OnePlus - gunmetal, soft gold or
midnight black. The 8 Pro is available in any colour
you like, as long as it’s blue.
As the phones are so similar, we think that your
choice should depend on primarily your budget and
phone usage habits (i.e. power user vs shutterbug)
2017-05-09 16:06 Thomas Newton
39 / 155
Signal Sciences lands $15 m
investment to help secure
DevOps world
Signal Science s, a venture backed startup that
wants to help companies secure their web apps in
a modern DevOps context, announced a $15
million round today led by CRV with participation
from Harrison Medal, Index Ventures and OATV.
The company founders started at Etsy, which
helped pioneer the DevOps idea, and while they
were there, they found that securing a product that
was changing constantly — sometimes hundreds of
times per day — was a very different animal from
securing one in which they had several months
between updates.
Signal Sciences aims to help companies working in
this modern development environment maintain
security even when there is a constant stream of
updates. “The core technology we call the Web
Protection Platform sits between customers’ Web
apps, APIs, and websites and mobile apps and all
traffic from outside, ” Andrew Peterson, company
founder and CEO explained. His company’s
software aims to protect customers from attackers
and misuse of those tools. In fact, the customer can
configure the software to fix a problem
automatically, then inform the right team members
for further analysis.
The founders learned at Etsy that speed was of the
essence in the DevOps development world. “When
we came in and built the security program [at Etsy] ,
our guiding force was to build a security program,
but one that needed to be in service of speed and
control of delivery on the application delivery side
of the house, ” he said. When they left the company
to form Signal Sciences they took this core lesson
with them.
In a market with so many competing security
startups, Signal Sciences is attempting to
differentiate themselves by being security for the
micro services domain where, instead of
developing a monolithic application, companies are
delivering containerized applications in small
discrete pieces. In this world, developers worry
about creating the application bits, while the
operations team is responsible for delivering the
stream of updates — hence the name DevOps.
Murat Bicer, who is a general partner at CRV, says
he had been looking for a security company that
was built to secure the DevOps approach, and
when he met the team at Signal Sciences it was a
very quick decision to write the check. “I have been
fortunate enough from very early days to be
working with companies central in the DevOps
movement like Chef and DataDog. Watching this
change over the last 7 or 8 years or so, I
understood the magnitude of this change, and how
important it was to build a security solution
[specifically for DevOps] , not a bolt-on, but built
from the ground up, ” Bicer said.
The company, which was founded in 2014,
launched the product last year. It has 50 employees
and over 60 customers including Yelp, WeWork,
Etsy and Grubhub.
2017-05-09 16:04 Ron Miller
40 / 155
CityStream gives cities realtime road data
CityStream from Nexar harnesses the company’s
dashcam app and allows municipalities to make
use of the crowdsourced data. The idea is to share
traffic patterns and behaviors so that cities can
tweak routing and make infrastructure changes
based on how cars are actually using roads day to
The basis for CityStream is Nexar’s app for iOS and
Android that turns your smartphone into a smart
dashcam. It records events when danger is
detected, like if you hit the brakes hard to avoid
another car, and sends the video to the cloud. The
phone logs data from the sensors as well to create
a picture of what exactly happened with your car
when the incident occurred.
The app was already sharing that information
among users to help them avoid accidents. Now it’s
sharing that data with cities, which is far less
expensive for local agencies than buying and
deploying a fleet of dedicated vehicles outfitted with
sensors. A fleet of Nexar users are already on the
streets uploading incidents with their phones.
Cities can use the data to manage areas of
congested traffic, route first response vehicles
through the path of least resistance, and make the
best use of parking and public transportation
options. Nexar says that its app can provide an “xray” of a city at any time, providing data that can
save time and potentially lives. CityStream can also
help fleet operators with deliveries to make or ridesharing companies with effective routing.
The tricky part is that Nexar’s app uses AI to judge
the driving of those around you. If a car cuts you off
Monday morning, it will recognize that car on
Tuesday morning’s commute and warn you to be
careful. It’ ll warn everyone else of that car too;
that’s Nexar’s magic AI-plus-cloud sauce. The
privacy implications of this are already sketchy, if
technically legal, so sharing this information with
the local municipality could possibly result in less
than Utopian uses of the data.
2017-05-09 16:04 Kristen Hall
41 / 155
‘Blade Runner 2049’ is the
sequel we didn’ t know we
If you haven’ t seen Blade Runner 2049 ’s new
trailer yet, get ready to become really excited about
the upcoming movie. I didn’ t know much about
Blade Runner’s sequel except that they were
making one.
The trailer caught me by surprise when I saw both
Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford discussing our
gloomy future. Just like Ridley Scott’s original
movie, the ambiance of the movie is quite different
from other science fiction movies.
Filled with neon lights and fog, I can still remember
iconic shots from Blade Runner even though I have
only seen it a couple of times. I hope the sequel can
also create some memorable shots on its own.
Blade Runner is also an undervalued visual
universe. While, it was one of my dad’s favorite
movies, people my age don’ t really care about
Blade Runner. Not much happened since the initial
release in 1982. So I hope this new movie is going
to make younger people look back at this science
fiction classic.
2017-05-09 16:04 Romain Dillet
42 / 155
Dell EMC World: Michael Dell's
7 Keys To The Future Of Dell
Technologies And The IT
Industry - Page: 1
Texas Instruments
From the day Dell Technologies Chairman and
CEO Michael Dell's father brought home an early
calculator, he's been fascinated by the possibilities
unlocked science and technology. Now, as the
leader of the largest privately-held IT firm in the
world, he still has his eyes fixed on the future.
In a keynote at the Dell EMC World conference in
Las Vegas, Dell laid out the companies broad
product portfolio for the more than 13,000 in
attendance and gave insights into how that portfolio
is positioned for the future of global business. As a
boy, Dell saw the calculator as a way to "amplify my
own intelligence and my own creativity, " and the
process is the same for all of humankind. "Fast
forward 45 years and hundreds of thousands of
moments just like that are driving human progress
in profound ways."
Round Rock, Texas-based Dell Technologies is
doing by using its private ownership structure to
"innovate like a start-up with the scale of a global
powerhouse, " Dell said, and it's fueled by $4.5
billion in annual R&D spending, a powerful supply
chain and "more powerful channel partners than
any other technology company anywhere."
2017-05-09 16:00 Matt Brown
43 / 155
2017 Mobility 100: 15 Coolest
Mobile App Development
Platforms - Page: 1
App Development Platform Innovators
Whether an enterprise is seeking to develop mobile
apps for internal users (such as employees) , or
external (such as customers) , the ideal type of
platform is going to be same. It's going to be fast
and secure, while also being flexible and
connectable (to outside data sources) . Numerous
mobile app development platforms on the market
offer all of these advantages and more for the
creation of business apps, but which ones really
deliver? To give a sense of the key players offering
mobile app development platforms right now, we've
rounded up 15 of the coolest vendors to know
2017-05-09 16:00 Kyle Alspach
44 / 155
Pokemon Stars: all the latest
leaks from the rumored
Nintendo Switch game
domain now redirects to the standard Hoshi translates to star.
This may not seem in any way significant but
according to Dystify, prior to the announcement of
Pokémon Sun and Moon (niji
meaning rainbow, the game's development
codename) was also redirected to
// (Niji means Rainbow, the
codename for Pokémon Sun/Moon) also started
redirecting to it. May 9,2017 May 9,2017
This could very easily mean nothing at all, but it
could also point to an incoming Pokémon Stars
announcement. Only time will tell!
Original article continues below...
Though there’s been no official confirmation that a
game called Pokémon Stars is coming to the
Nintendo Switch, we do know that a Pokémon
game will make its way to the console eventually.
Nintendo Switch we do know
There are many possible forms the game could
take – it could be some kind of extended cut port of
Pokémon Sun and Moon, it could be an entirely
new sequel, or it could be a side release such as
PokkenTournament, which would fall in line with
Nintendo’s Pokémon release approach for
consoles such as Gamecube.
The scenario that’s proving most popular among
theorists is that Pokémon Stars will be a port of the
3DS Sun and Moon titles, essentially bringing these
games over to the newer console with some new
features added (think of it as being the Pokémon
Yellow to Sun and Moon's Red and Blue. We’ d
posit that Eclipse makes more sense as a title than
Stars, but that’s besides the point.
We’ ve already laid out exactly why we think the
mainline Nintendo 3DS titles would be well-suited
to Nintendo’s newest console but beyond our
staunch belief that it simply makes sense, there’s
been an ever-growing number of rumors that point
to the fact that it’s what we’ re going to get. We’ ve
already laid out
Here we've laid out exactly what those rumors are,
and we've also thrown in a few things we'd like to
see from the first Pokémon Nintendo Switch title.
What is it? The much-rumored debut of the
Pokémon franchise on Nintendo Switch. When can
I play it? There's no release date or even a
confirmation of the game's existence but rumors
point to a mid-2017 reveal with a late 2017 to mid2018 release. What can I play it on? Nintendo
Switch of course!
There's been no final confirmation or game reveal
from either Game Freak or the Pokémon Company
but over the past year there have been several
reports and interviews that suggest it's only a matter
of time.
Main series producer, Junichi Masuda, doesn’ t
discount it and Pokémon Company CEO confirms.
In September 2016, back when the Switch was still
known as the NX, Pokémon Company CEO
Tsunekazu Ishihara confirmed in an interview with
the Wall Street Journal that the company would
develop games for the console. Wall Street Journal
Later in the year, Pokémon series producer, Junichi
Masuda, was less enthusiastic with his commitment
to Switch support. However, he did not discount that
mainline Pokémon titles were a possibility for the
Switch, stating that he was waiting for the console
to be released to market to determine whether or
not it would benefit from Pokémon. Junichi Masuda
Then came the Eurogamer report
Adding fuel to the rumor fire, Eurogamer published
a report late last year that said multiple sources had
confirmed a new version of Pokémon Sun and
Moon was being developed for the Switch under
the code named Pokémon Stars. Eurogamer
According to the report, this third title was
developed alongside Sun and Moon for 3DS and
already had feature working versions of Sun and
Moon content.
Development was said to be slowed down in the
run up to the launch of the 3DS titles but after their
release would resume and work would begin on
new features.
The report finished up by stating that though the
game had initially been slotted for a Summer 2017
release, it was then pushed to later in the year.
Then came the hiring call
Just after the Switch’s release in March of this year,
Game Freak re-started the rumor mill by posting job
ads on Indeed Japan stating that they were looking
to temporarily hire people capable of creating
character models on machines like the Wii U and
PlayStation Vita for a new entry in an RPG series
which is “popular on a global scale.” posting job
ads Wii U PlayStation Vita
Now, there was no direct mention of Pokémon in
this listing but it does seem like the most likely
scenario considering Game Freak doesn’ t have
many RPG franchises under its belt that would fall
into this globally popular category.
The line of merchandise
A recently announced line of merchandise titled
'Look Upon the Stars' is yet another sign that the
Sun and Moon follow up could be coming. recently
announced line of merchandise
The official image for the line which you can see
above is heavily geared towards everything stars
and everything in the line is patterned with
constellations. It's fairly heavy-handed in terms of
hinting and the fact that the line goes on sale in
Japanese Pokemon centers at the end of May, just
ahead of E3, has fan hopes high for an official
That's everything we know. Now let's get into the
things we'd love to see from the rumored game.
Better graphics and animations
Game Freak pushed the Nintendo 3DS to its
absolute limits with Pokémon Sun and Moon (to the
point where 3D support had to be removed) . That
means Game Freak is ready to move beyond the
limitations of the 3DS and we’ d fully expect to see
graphical advancements in the Nintendo Switch
version. 3D support had to be removed
The graphics and animations in Sun and Moon
were already excellent, definitely the best we’ ve
seen so far from a Pokémon game, but moving to
Nintendo Switch could very well allow for sharper
character and environment models and much more
expressive character faces.
A well-translated UI
For a long time now, the Pokémon games have
been developed for Nintendo’s DS handhelds
which has given developers two screens over
which to spread the game’s UI. This has resulted in
arguably one of the most well-designed UIs in
video games with Game Freak making the most of
the space to put interactive menus on the bottom
touchscreen of the DS consoles.
The Nintendo Switch, however, only uses one
screen which would mean Game Freak would have
to drastically rethink its UI approach and there’s a
risk it wouldn’ t work quite as seamlessly. Of course,
the company had to develop single screen UIs for
Pokémon before the release of the DS but we’ re
not sure we’ d like to return to this more crammed in
The fact that the Switch has a touchscreen could
possibly help to balance matters, though, as it
would allow for more immediate interaction rather
than a return to using the directional pad to scroll
through options. There's also room for interesting
A mainline title
Though the Pokémon Company has confirmed that
it’s planning to release a title for the Nintendo
Switch, this doesn’ t guarantee a mainline title.
It’s actually reasonably likely that we’ ll see a side
title such as Pokken Tournament released on the
new console in addition to, if not instead of, a
mainline title. We’ d really rather it was the former
rather than the latter but it’s hard to ignore the fact
that it’ d be much easier to port Pokken Tournament
to Nintendo Switch quickly than Sun and Moon.
Traditionally, Nintendo has used its home consoles
for Pokémon games such as Stadium, Snap and
Pokken Tournament and kept its mainline titles on
handheld devices.
The Switch presents an interesting problem,
though, because it’s both a home and handheld
console. It’s basically a console that allows Game
Freak to retain the player connectivity offered by
handhelds while accessing overcoming the
graphical and processing limitations of the 3DS.
We think the most likely scenario is that we’ ll see a
side Pokémon title released on Switch before we
see any kind of new mainline game, but that we will
see one eventually.
This mainline title, code named Pokémon Stars, is
likely to be a re-imagining of Sun and Moon in the
vein of Pokémon Yellow, Crystal or Platinum rather
than a direct sequel like Black and White 2.
Admittedly, Pokémon Sun and Moon’s story was
pretty well set up for some kind of sequel. There
were many interesting character threads left to
follow and it’ d be easy for a new character to
encounter these people so that the player can
discover what paths they’ ve taken.
But at the moment it’s probably best to take the port
with extended features approach as it’ d be the
perfect way to draw in the new Switch audience
who haven’ t played Sun and Moon before then
releasing a direct sequel.
Make good use of the Festival Plaza
The Festival Plaza was an odd addition to Sun and
Moon. It felt strangely separate from the main game
and wasn’ t a particularly good use of online
features. This could completely change with the
Switch. The plaza could become the perfect place
for players to meet up and the LAN party
capabilities of the Switch could see Festival Plaza
become the place where an eSports community
takes off.
New Pokémon
While most people say they’ re not sure they can
handle any more Pokémon and that they stopped
paying attention after the original 150, we just want
to see more. The new setting in Pokémon Sun and
Moon brought in interesting and fun Alolan
variations on Pokémon we already know and love
so if we can’ t get any more completely new
creatures, we’ d love to see a few more instances of
Make sure you come to us for the latest news and
updates on Pokémon Stars as we'll be updating this
page as and when it happens. Get ready for any
possible Pokemon titles with these great Nintendo
Switch deals Get ready for any possible Pokemon
titles with these great Nintendo Switch deals
2017-05-09 15:52 By
45 / 155
Cognitive security is the
future, says Martin Kuppinger
User organisations should investigate cognitive
security now because that is the future, according to
“Security suppliers should understand the potential
of cognitive security and hire the rare experts in this
area, ” he told the opening session of the European
Identity & Cloud Conference 2017 in Munich.
Kuppinger urged security suppliers to “reinvent”
themselves to ensure they have a future. Current
technologies, he said, are largely based on the
known attacks, but attack patterns being faced by
organisations are increasingly those that are
There is a growing need, said Kuppinger, for
organisations to be able to detect attacks before
they are analysed and known.
“It is more important than ever for organisations to
have the capability to address attacks that are still
unknown, ” he said.
“We are only scratching the surface when it comes
to advanced technologies to improve our cyber
defences, and the time has come to take a serious
look at cognitive security technology.”
A key area that a cognitive computing approach
can help, said Kuppinger, is being able to correlate
events in such a way that companies can identify
which security events are related to an incident or
attack and are worth investigating.
“One of the biggest challenges today in security is
to reduce the number of events that need to be
analysed, which is where the skills shortage is
having the greatest impact, but cognitive computing
can help by reducing the number of events that
need to be analysed, ” he said.
Already, cognitive computing is enabling better
understanding of authentication risk to determine
when additional authentication is required and user
behaviour analytics to help identifies abnormalities
as potential indicators of malicious activity.
“We have just started this journey [into cognitive
security] but it is an important journey that will have
a great effect on things such as security intelligence
and behaviour analytics. Cognitive security has the
potential to make a greater impact on cyber security
than traditional security technologies, ” said
In terms of closing the skills gap, he urged
organisations to invest in education for their
existing security team, recruit young academics and
support the team to get the information it requires
by applying cognitive technologies.
“Don’ t try to do everything yourselves. You will
succeed with a mix of people and managed
services, which can complement areas where your
team lacks skills or capacity, ” said Kuppinger.
“Use the right tools to learn about attack patterns to
detect incidents, to analyse and classify incidents,
and to respond to incidents. Use cognitive security
technologies, ” he said.
2017-05-09 15:45 Warwick Ashford
46 / 155
Dell EMC World: Enterprise
Sales Chief Scannell Says
Partners Are Booting
Competitors, Winning Big
Deals Amid Huge Market
Opportunity - Page: 1
Global Enterprise Sales President Bill Scannell is
ready to bring Dell EMC channel partners into an
all-out enterprise sales street fight, and he likes
their chances.
"I've never seen in my 32 years with this company
the amount of market opportunity that's out there, "
Scannell told about 4,000 partners gathered for the
Global Partner Summit at Dell EMC World in Las
Scannell referenced a recent storage deal won by
solution provider Insight that tipped the scales at
$133 million for a single order. "That was a
relatively new customer for Dell EMC, it was underpenetrated, " Scannel said.
[Related: Dell EMC World 2017]
"We replaced 32 petabytes of 3Par storage
because it just doesn't work. We have great
technology that works really well together. We can
deliver deployments for these customers doing
transformations better than anyone else.
"I have, in any given market, anywhere in the world,
30 to 32 percent market share at best. There's 70
percent opportunity that we have to win together.
We'll help you find those opportunities, and we'll
work very aggressively with you to help you win
those. Our win rate is going up. We haven't seen
win rates like we did in Q1, and we're on a really
strong pace for Q2."
The Insight deal was one of several significant
partner wins highlighted by Channel Chief John
Byrne. These include a $5 million storage deal won
by NCS; a $20 million server deal won by
Computer Center; a $32 million storage deal won
by WWT; a $55 million storage deal won by
Bechtle; and a $53 million deal won by Megaplus in
Pakistan, thought to be the largest private-sector
tech deal ever closed in that country.
"The customers love our messaging, " Scannell
said. "Only Dell Technologies can bring it all
together. There's no other company that has the
breadth of portfolio that we have. Increasingly,
customers want to do business with fewer
companies. As Dell Technologies, we can sit down
with any customers and talk to them about the
opportunity that's in front of them and in front of us
working with our partner ecosystem to win, and win
That message is certainly resonating with solution
providers, said Patrick Fettuccia, senior vice
president of business management at Rolta
Advizex, a Burlington, Mass.-based solution
provider that works with Dell EMC. "About 60
percent of our registrations coming in are net-new
business. It's new business, and it's our traditional
customers expanding. It's market segment specific.
Health care providers, we're seeing a lot of growth
there, and public sector is on fire too."
Fettuccia added that he's optimistic about his
company's ability to spur growth across the entire
Dell EMC portfolio. "We're a long-time EMC partner,
and Dell is new to us. We've always been a strong
enterprise player in the storage space, so what's
really exciting to us now is the compute side. To
hear Billy talking about the focus on enterprise and
being in there working together is great."
Ryan Heiden, the principal systems engineer at
RoundTower Technologies, a Cincinnati, Ohiobased solution provider that works with Dell EMC,
as well as several other major vendors, said Dell
EMC seems to be hitting the right buttons for growth
in the channel.
"The sky's the limit, " Heiden said. "We're growing
like gangbusters, and I'm sure the Dell portfolio we
sell will probably grow at the same rate. The
technology is coming out, and partners have the
ability to reach into different areas and bundle
deals together with multiple technologies. That
helps drive the price up, and security is a big piece.
The portfolio they have is best-of-breed in a lot of
cases. The name, the trust, the quality resonates
with customers on a lot of levels."
2017-05-09 15:40 Matt Brown
47 / 155
Immersive virtual-reality
creation software for
It's now easier than ever to create a 3-D
environment and then add and manipulate virtualreality content in real time, thanks to the software
created by EPFL startup Imverse. What's required?
A 360-degree 2-D photo taken with any commercial
camera, and a pair of off-the-shelf virtual-reality
glasses. The software is similar to photo editing
software allowing the users to freely explore and
modify the environment created from the picture in
real time.
Imverse's software delivers professional results and
has a wide range of potential uses. Javier Bello
Ruiz, the CEO of Imverse, which got its start at
Campus Biotech Innovation Park, is initially
targeting virtual-reality studios that work with realestate agencies, advertisers and the media. "Take a
real-estate agent who wants to sell a house that's in
need of a little work. The seller could show a
prospective buyer the end result by modeling the
house in 3-D using a 360-degree photo and then
modifying the interior in real time – even
environment – suggesting various options that the
buyer could tweak freely using the virtual-reality
The program is so simple that even non-experts
can use it, and licenses will be available early next
year. "Just like with photo editing software, all you
need is a little training to begin developing
interactive content, " said Javier. This will save
users significant time and money. The underlying
technology was developed in part at the lab run by
Olaf Blanke, the director of the Center for
Neuroprosthetics located at Campus Biotech. The
software will soon be tested by potential customers
and will be presented this week at the World VR
Forum in Crans-Montana. "Switzerland is known for
its cutting-edge technology, and the Lake Geneva
region has an excellent virtual-reality ecosystem.
So we're hopeful that we'll meet potential customers
and partners and stir up interest among investors, "
Javier added.
The project engineers are already at work on the
next step: full immersion of a user's body so that the
user can interact with the virtual environment in real
time. Javier hopes that his company's application
will quickly become the software of choice for
developing mixed-reality content.
Explore further: Virtual reality to prevent cognitive
2017-05-09 15:34
48 / 155
Strategy suggests ways to
prepare for emerging
antibiotic resistant superbugs
That concept is demonstrated in a new study from
Washington University School of Medicine in St.
Louis. The researchers discovered compounds that
block resistance to a major class of antibiotics
called tetracyclines. If developed into a drug, such a
compound could be given in combination with a
tetracycline, should the infection become resistant
to tetracycline alone. These types of compounds do
not have a direct antimicrobial effect—if given
alone, they would not kill bacteria. Instead, they
knock down the bacteria's ability to survive
treatment with specific antibiotics.
The research, performed in bacteria grown in the
lab, is published May 8 in the journal Nature
Chemical Biology .
"These compounds inhibit the ability of tetracyclineresistant bacteria to destroy tetracycline, " said cosenior author Gautam Dantas, an associate
professor of pathology and immunology. "We're
gunking up the resistance machinery of bacteria
capable of destroying tetracycline. If these bugs
can't chew up this antibiotic anymore, they are resensitized to the effects of the drug."
Tetracyclines are prescribed for a wide variety of
bacterial infections, including pneumonia and other
infections of the respiratory tract; acne and other
skin infections; infections of the genital and urinary
systems; and the bacterial infection that causes
stomach ulcers. They also are widely used in large
farming operations, including the dairy and fish
Despite tetracyclines' widespread use, bacterial
infections have not yet demonstrated aggressive
resistance to these drugs via destruction
mechanisms. Some bacteria are resistant to
tetracyclines through other means, such as
pumping the drug out of the cell or blocking the
drug from reaching its target, but these strategies
are not as effective as destroying the drug entirely.
Dantas said conditions are favorable for this
destructive type of resistance to ramp up.
The researchers discovered these resistance
inhibitor compounds by first conducting genetic
surveys of bacteria living in soils from different parts
of the country; they were interested in
understanding the extent of antibiotic resistance
present in bacteria living in the environment. Using
a genomic technique that Dantas' laboratory helped
develop, the researchers previously had isolated
small fragments of bacterial DNA from soils and
screened those pieces for genes that can confer
antibiotic resistance in infectious bacteria. These
studies demonstrated that soil bacteria are packed
with genes that—if transferred into disease-causing
bacteria—would allow that bacteria to survive
treatment with many common antibiotics.
According to Dantas, one set of genes stood out
because the researchers could not find these
sequences listed in any genomic database, and
these novel genes allowed bacteria to break down
tetracycline antibiotics, a problem that has not yet
occurred in the many patients treated with
While the genes are not yet widely present in
bacteria causing infections, Dantas and his team
determined the genes were at high risk of
spreading because of tetracyclines' widespread
use and the fact that even appropriate antibiotic use
favors survival of resistant bacteria. In addition,
some of the newly discovered resistance genes
were located near sections of the bacterial genome
known to be capable of jumping between even
distantly related bacteria. The resistance genes
enable the bacteria to manufacture proteins the
researchers dubbed tetracycline destructases
because of their ability to break apart tetracycline.
Dantas formed partnerships with co-senior authors
Timothy A. Wencewicz, an assistant professor of
chemistry, and Niraj H. Tolia, PhD, an associate
professor of molecular microbiology, to determine
how these destructases work and develop
inhibitors that interfere with their ability to break
apart tetracycline. Dantas pointed out the
importance of collaborations across disciplines to
tackle the complex problem of antibiotic resistance.
In this case, the researchers are combining
expertise in genetics, chemistry, structural
microbiology and big data analysis to design
inhibitors of tetracycline destructases.
Bacteria carrying tetracycline destructases are not
yet at the level of danger posed by superbugs such
(CREs) , but their resistance strategies work in
similar ways in terms of the ability to destroy an
antibiotic. Last year, a CRE infection resistant to all
available antibiotics led to the death of a Nevada
woman with a recent history of hospitalizations
outside the United States.
Targeting resistance has had success in some
bacterial infections that have become resistant to
another important class of drugs called betalactams, which includes penicillin. Tetracycline
destructase inhibitors would serve a similar function
to beta-lactamase inhibitors. These inhibitors often
have been developed alongside their associated
beta-lactam drugs and have helped some betalactams regain their effectiveness.
Emphasizing the timeliness of the research, Dantas
said there is evidence these tetracycline
destructase resistance genes are beginning to
ramp up the threat to patients with bacterial
"Since we started this work three years ago, one
tetracycline destructase now has been found to be
present in four of the six most deadly pathogens, as
defined by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, " Dantas said. "This is our motivation for
working to find inhibitors of tetracycline
Explore further: Soil bacteria may provide clues to
curbing antibiotic resistance
More information:
Jooyoung Park et al. Plasticity, dynamics, and
inhibition of emerging tetracycline resistance
enzymes, Nature Chemical Biology (2017) . DOI:
2017-05-09 15:33
49 / 155
Researchers developing
robotic prosthetics to help
restore balance in fall victims
Hur's prior research helped him answer two
questions: "Can we predict a fall? Can we then
reduce the number of falls?" The data he gathered
from test subjects, which he put into his own
mathematical model, led him to conclude that a
person's fall risk could be predicted.
His research focuses on the biomechanical and
neuromechanical aspects of human walking and
balancing along with robotics. He's currently
applying his knowledge in a rehabilitation setting
using a different population of data for the research.
"Human walking and balancing are extremely
robust and optimal considering the significant
neural delays and information processing times.
There are abundant insights that we can learn from
human behaviors and motor controls. Bridging the
gaps between bio/neuromechanics and robotics is
one of the most crucial steps that my research is
focusing on to maximize the outcomes from
rehabilitation robotics, " Hur said.
Hur and his team work with subjects with normal
walking and balancing ability who are put into an
environment where they experience a controlled
fall by walking across an oily surface which causes
them to slip and fall. Sensors attached to each
muscle collect data on the falls and recoveries by
measuring muscle activity.
Because researchers believe it is a neurological
command that regulates balance, using this data
will help them separate the activity into several
subcomponents helping Hur's group to program
assistive devices to fit each individual's walking
Hur is one of only a few researchers investigating
the possibility of creating robotics that not only can
walk like a human—which can be done—but that
can also help in the event of an unexpected slip or
trip based on customized algorithms the device
"learns" from the human's behavior. Many
exoskeleton robotics have been developed to help
patients walk normally, but they are bulky and
unable to assist a person with an unexpected loss
of balance, which means they are not tailored to
suit a patient's unique needs. Hur's developments
will correct both of these issues.
"I am not limiting myself to only rehab because
there are many other areas to which I can apply my
knowledge. At this moment however, I want to focus
on the rehabilitation side so we can have better,
more human-friendly, lightweight and robust robotic
prosthetics and exoskeletons, " Hur said.
The project is called AMPRO, which stands for A&M
Prosthesis. Hur's research group has also
completed developing a new prosthesis that is
biomechanically more efficient and lightweight. In
addition to this project, the group is also working on
a balance device. Using similar biomechanical and
neuromechanical understanding, this device
retrains the balance of patients who are prone to
falls. It uses a handheld control which stimulates
the skin when the body becomes unbalanced,
training the brain to recognize imbalance and
correct it.
Explore further: Can virtual reality help us prevent
falls in the elderly and others?
2017-05-09 15:32
50 / 155
Young children unconcerned
about digital tracking by
A new University of Michigan study suggests that
when it comes to digital privacy, children often do
not see the negative consequences of someone
tracking items belonging to someone else.
"These findings raise serious concerns for
children's digital safety and security, " said lead
author Susan Gelman, professor of psychology and
linguistics. "They indicate that children up to 10
years of age display robust positive moral
judgments about digital tracking and digital privacy,
at an age when many children play with, use or
own a variety of types of mobile devices with a builtin GPS."
Cell phone ownership has been on the rise for the
last decade, including among children 8-10 years
of age. About a third of this group owns a cell
Digital privacy is of growing concern, given the
increasing use of technological devices that track
object locations, revealing personal information
regarding an individual's movements and activities,
Gelman said.
Although many children use this technology—such
as cell phones that track their location throughout
the day or sharing photos that are tagged with time
and location stamps—little had been known
regarding how children of different ages evaluate
digital tracking, and whether they are sensitive to
violations of privacy.
The study examined how more than 300 children,
ages 4-10, and adults evaluated a hypothetical
situation of someone using a mobile GPS device to
track items (a backpack, a favorite object, a pet) that
they either do or do not own.
The results indicate striking age differences. Adults
were consistently negative about someone tracking
items that the tracker did not own. They identified
possible negative consequences of someone
tracking others' possessions (such as stealing or
stalking) , moral principles ("It's an invasion of
privacy, " "Without permission, it's wrong") and a
vague sense of unease ("It's weird, " "He has no
business to know where [my] dog is") .
In contrast, the children did not express such
negativity, overall. The youngest children (4-7
years) were positive about someone tracking
others' possessions. In fact, children were more
negative about someone merely placing a mobile
GPS device on an object and not tracking it than
about someone placing the device in order to track
the object, Gelman said.
evaluations differed
markedly when
comparing children to adults, more subtle
measures indicate an earlier emerging sense that
tracking someone else's possessions is less
acceptable than tracking one's own possessions,
as early as 4-5 years old.
By 6-7 years old, some children were able to
provide reasons to explain this belief ("Because
sometimes it's kind of private, " "If Sam uses his
computer to see where my backpack is, it's
cheating, " "He could steal it") .
"At the same time, children were much more
accepting of this behavior than adults, perhaps
focusing on the benefits of object-tracking (for
example, to find lost objects) more than its costs, "
Gelman said.
The findings raise an urgent question: what is the
best way to protect children? Gelman said it starts
by educating children about potential dangers, and
providing clear guidelines and limits for how and
when their phones and accounts should be shared.
Explore further: Tracking devices may improve
quality of life for parents of children with autism
More information:
Susan A. Gelman et al. Developing Digital Privacy:
Children's Moral Judgments Concerning Mobile
GPS Devices, Child Development (2017) . DOI:
2017-05-09 15:30
51 / 155
Virtustream Extends MissionCritical Cloud Tech To
Complex Health Care
Applications - Page: 1
Mission-critical cloud developer Virtustream, which
is a part of Dell EMC, has launched a new public
cloud offering specifically targeting health care
customers with a full set of managed services for
such applications as Epic's electronic medical
records software and Meditech's electronic health
care records software.
Virtustream this week also unveiled a new
integration with VMware vRealize Automation, or
VRA, which allows customers with VMware
infrastructures to extend their mission-critical
applications to the Virtustream Enterprise Cloud.
Together, the two moves represent a significant
expansion for Virtustream which until now has been
primarily focused on providing a cloud for more
common mission-critical workloads such as SAP,
said Scott Millard, vice president of global channels
and alliances for the Bethesda, Md.-based cloud
[Related: VMware Cloud For AWS: The Tech
Groundwork Is Laid, Partners Look At How To
"We're expanding our footprint into new verticals
outside SAP, " Millard told CRN. "It's our official
coming out party."
The expansion of the Virtustream Enterprise Cloud
capabilities was good news to Michael Tanenhaus,
principal at Mavenspire, an Annapolis, Md. solution
provider and Dell EMC channel partner.
"There are very few cloud providers who are willing
to sign SLAs around mission-critical applications, "
he said. "And applications like Epic and Meditech
are not known for their ease of being able to
virtualize or keep stable at load."
Such a capability makes sense for Virtustream, as
bringing health care to the cloud is big business,
Tanenhaus said.
"Just in my region alone there are four providers
who do cloud services around that business, " he
said. "But I can't say any of them do Epic, which is
probably the most painful of those apps to have
working in that sense."
The new Virtustream Healthcare Cloud provides
the ability to offer services and infrastructure
availability with a HIPAA/HITECH-compliant
environment and service level agreements (SLAs)
of up to 99.999 percent, Millard said.
2017-05-09 15:30 Joseph F
52 / 155
China is planning ahead for life
after coal
It's true that China consumes around a quarter of
the world's total primary energy and more than half
its coal. This was once a necessity. The "open door"
policy to foreign investment that began in the late
1970s led to rapid economic growth and, in turn, a
spectacular rise in energy demand. Electricity
consumption in China rose from just 232 kilowatt
hours (KWh) in 1978 to nearly 6,000 terawatt hours
(TWh) today – that is, six thousand billion kilowatt
hours – and to keep up with demand, China
needed coal.
However, coal as a proportion of China's energy
mix peaked at 75% in the late 1980s and by 2016 it
had fallen to 62%, the lowest since the
establishment of the People's Republic in 1949.
This was a result of Beijing taking serious
measures in recent years to cut coal, in order to
reduce domestic pollution and to tackle climate
One of these measures was the Top-1,000
Enterprises Energy-Saving Programme. Launched
in 2006, the programme targeted the country's
largest energy-consuming firms in sectors like steel,
petrochemicals, cement, and textiles. Together,
these 1,000 enterprises accounted for a third of the
nation's energy consumption. The programme was
quite effective and contributed towards China's
efforts to reduce its energy consumption per unit of
The government has also taken action to slow the
country's economic growth and set lower annual
rate of GDP growth at 6.5% in the 13th Five-Year
Plan (2016-2020) , against 9-10% in the previous
three decades.
Pollution protests
With economic growth slowing and the heaviest
polluters being forced to use less energy, coal
generation was a natural choice to cut back. By this
point, people in China were well aware of the
problem with coal. And from the mid-2000s the
pollution problem was becoming too serious to
ignore, and civil society groups began to protest.
Local authorities initially resisted the government's
"war on pollution" but last year brought about some
of the worst smog ever recorded in China and the
strongest response yet from the central authorities.
In September 2016, China's cancelled more than
103 under-construction and planned coal-fired
power plants, a total of 120 gigawatt hours (GWh) of
capacity. In March this year, premier Li Keqiang
announced that an additional 50GWh would be
shut down or postponed. The coal power stopped
in China so far is equivalent to the combined coal
power capacity of the UK and Spain. China's era of
one coal-fired station a week is over.
A commitment to cutting emissions
Beijing's long-standing opposition to international
climate change obligations is well-known, at least
prior to the 2015 UN conference in Paris. But things
are changing. Though China's coal capacity may
yet increase slightly over the next few years, any
growth will be dwarfed by planned investment in
solar, wind and nuclear.
China is now the world's largest backer of green
energy, accounting for 17% of global investment in
the sector. According to Greenpeace, it installed an
average of more than one wind turbine every hour
of every day in 2015. It also covered the equivalent
of one soccer field with solar panels every hour,
action that may allow China to meet its 2020 goals
for solar installation two years ahead of schedule.
By 2030 it is hoped that cleaner energy will help
reduce China's CO₂ emissions by 54% from 2010
This is good news because the inescapable fact is
that efforts to mitigate climate change are doomed
to fail if the Chinese do not get on board. Compared
with other countries, China still has a long way to
go. Britain, for instance, recently managed a day
without coal for the first time in more than 130
years, while other countries have drastically cut
their carbon footprint.
However, energy policy is, as with most aspects of
Chinese life, more complicated and more
susceptible to internal and external pressures than
many observers believe. The reaction of the
Chinese leadership to these pressures gives us
hope that the country can free itself of dirty coal,
and that this day may come sooner rather than
Explore further: China says coal consumption falls
for third year
2017-05-09 15:29
53 / 155
Scientists have mapped the
DNA of tea – and it could stave
off a pending crisis
The intensive use of pesticides and chemical
fertilisers in tea plantations has also led to soil
degradation at an average annual rate of 2.8%.
This also causes chemical runoff into waterways,
which can lead to serious problems for human
health and the environment.
However, hope may be on the horizon now that
scientists at the Kunming Institute of Botany at the
Chinese Academy of Sciences have sequenced the
entire tea genome. Mapping the exact sequence of
DNA in this way provides the foundation for
extracting all the genetic information needed to
help breed and speed up development of new
varieties of the tea plant. And it could even help
improve the drink's flavour and nutritional value.
In particular, the whole tea tree genome reveals the
genetic basis for tea's tolerance to environmental
stresses, pest and disease resistance, flavour,
productivity and quality. So breeders could more
precisely produce better tea varieties that produce
higher crop yields and use water and nutrients
more efficiently. And they could do this while
widening the genetic diversity of tea plants,
improving the overall health of the tea plant
This is also an important milestone for scientists
because it provides a deeper understanding of the
complex evolution and the functions of key genes
associated with stress tolerance, tea flavour and
The new tea genome is very large, with nearly
37,000 genes – more than four times the size of the
coffee plant genome. The process of evolution by
natural selection has already helped the tea plant
develop hundreds of genes related to resisting
environmental stress from drought and disease.
These genes are like molecular markers that
scientists can identify when selecting plants for use
in breeding. This will allow them to be more certain
that the next generation of plants they produce will
have the genes and so the traits they want,
speeding up the breeding process. Sequencing the
genome also raises the possibility of using genetic
modification (GM) technologies to turn on or
enhance desirable genes (or turn off undesirable
ones) .
The same principles could also be used to enhance
the nutritional or medicinal value of certain tea
varieties. The genome sequence includes genes
associated with biosynthesis. This is the production
of the proteins and enzymes involved in creating
the compounds that make tea so drinkable, such as
flavonoids, terpenes and caffeine. These are
closely related to the aroma, flavour and quality of
tea and so using genetic breeding techniques
could help improve the taste of tea and make it
more flavourful or nutritional.
For example, we could also remove the caffeine
biosynthetic genes from the tea plant to help
breeding of low or non-caffeine varieties. By
boosting certain compounds at the same time, we
could make tea healthier and develop entirely new
flavours to make caffeine tea more appealing.
An estimated 5.56m tons of tea is commercially
grown on more than 3.8m hectares of land (as of
2014) . And its huge cultural importance, as well as
its economic value, mean securing a sustainable
future for tea is vitally important for millions of
people. So the first successful sequencing of the
tea genome is a crucial step to making tea plants
more robust, productive and drinkable in the face of
massive environmental challenges.
Explore further: Tea tree genome contains clues
about how one leaf produces so many flavors
2017-05-09 15:29
54 / 155
What is NFC? Everything you
need to know
Have you ever wondered what makes tap-and-go
services like Apple Pay, Android Pay and Amiibo
work? As much as it seems like pure magic, it isn't.
So what is it exactly? Simply put, it's a method of
wireless data transfer called NFC (Near field
communication) that detects and then enables
technology in close proximity to communicate
without the need for an internet connection. It's
easy, fast and works automagically.
The tech involved is deceptively simple: evolved
from radio frequency identification (RFID) tech, an
NFC chip operates as one part of a wireless link.
Once it's activated by another chip, small amounts
of data between the two devices can be transferred
when held a few centimeters from each other.
No pairing code is necessary to link up and
because it uses chips that run on very low amounts
of power (or passively, using even less) , it's much
communication types.
At its core, NFC works to identify us by our enabled
cards and devices (and by extension, our bank
accounts and other personal info.)
NFC chips stocked inside credit cards for
contactless payments are nothing new. But a
slightly more recent - and admittedly more enticing use case for NFC is with your smartphone, or even
your smartwatch, as a way to digitize your entire
Virtually every mobile OS maker has their own apps
that offer unique NFC functionality. Android users
have the widest variety to choose from. The most
well-known option is Android Pay, which works on
many Android phones and watches, allowing you to
access your funds for contactless payments.
Samsung Pay, which operates similarly, is
available for Samsung phone users in the US, and
expected to land in the UK soon.
But NFC functionality on phones isn't limited to
payments. There's also Android Beam, which was
implemented way back in 2011 in Android Ice
Cream Sandwich 4.0 as a nifty, simple process that
allows for the transfer of photos, contacts and
directions by holding two phones together.
Apple's phones from the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6
Plus onwards also have NFC functionality, as do
the Apple Watch and Apple Watch 2, albeit with
limited use so far, as it's only usable for Apple Pay.
It's a lot like Android Pay, in that it's an app which
gives users the ability to link up their credit and
debit cards and then use their phone with
contactless readers.
Lastly, those who prefer Microsoft's Windows 10
Mobile will be able to use Microsoft Wallet, though
currently this is only available in the US.
Whichever device you have, it's likely that a local
supermarket, train station, taxi or coffee shop
supports contactless payments via your phone's
NFC chip.
Simply hold it close to a contactless payment
terminal and instantly, like swiping a credit card, the
payment will complete.
Looking toward the future, it's possible that NFC
chips could be used to replace every card in your
That means the unique info on your frequent
shopper loyalty cards, library card, business cards
and the like could be contained and transmitted
simply via NFC. Already many such cards are being
2017-05-09 15:27 Cameron Faulkner
55 / 155
Threatened bird nesting again
on Los Angeles area beaches
The western snowy plover is nesting along the Los
Angeles area coast for the first time in nearly seven
decades, federal officials said.
Nests for the small, rare shorebird were found last
month at Santa Monica Beach, Dockweiler State
Beach, and Malibu Lagoon State Beach, the U. S.
Fish and Wildlife Service reported Monday.
Biologists placed wire cages around the nests to
protect them.
"This is a sign that, against all odds, western snowy
plovers are making a comeback, and we really
need the cooperation of beachgoers to help give
them the space they need to nest and raise their
young, " said Chris Dellith, a Fish and Wildlife
biologist in Southern California .
Although western snowy plovers use LA County
beaches for roosting during the winter, the last
documented active nest was in 1949 at Manhattan
The 6-inch shorebird with dark patches on its back
remains threatened by habitat loss, predation and
human population growth. They were listed under
the Endangered Species Act in 1993.
The birds lay their eggs in small depressions on
sandy sections of beaches from Baja California in
Mexico all the way north to Washington.
The plover's worldwide population was estimated at
1,800 as of 2016.
The plover nests on Malibu and Dockweiler state
beaches are located within partially fenced areas,
but remain at risk of disturbance, officials said. To
ensure the eggs and future chicks have the best
possible change of survival, biologists are asking
beachgoers to keep their distance.
2017-05-09 15:19 By
56 / 155
Sequoia-backed startup
Empower aims to replace your
bank’s app
Empower, a startup looking to help millennials
better manage their finances, is today launching its
mobile app for iOS devices. The new application
combines the ability to see an overview of your dayto-day transactions and spending behavior, with
other tools to transfer money between accounts,
automate your savings, and soon, pay bills and pay
down your debt.
The ultimate goal, explains Empower’s founder
Warren Hogarth, is to have Empower be able to
fully replace your bank’s app.
“We want to help you take action to get ahead –
without you having to exit the app, go to your bank
app, remember you password, move money
around… [with Empower] from one place, you have
control of everything, ” he says.
Prior to starting Empower around a year ago,
Hogarth had spent the past seven and a half years
as a partner at Sequoia, where he saw first-hand
how modern fintech startups were helping changed
the way people approached managing money,
payments, and investing. Sequoia has backed a
number of top fintech players, including Square,
Stripe, Prosper, Klarna, FutureAdvisor, and
SunRun, for example, and Hogarth led the
investments in the last two himself.
Having this bird’s-eye view into the market helped
Hogarth see a niche that could still be filled, he
“No one really has been able to crack the nut in
building the one app on your homescreen that
consumers use to manage their money, ” says
One of the bigger companies in this space was
Mint, which has been around for more than a
decade and wasn’ t built with a mobile-first mindset.
In addition, Empower isn’ t just pulling in data from
banks and other financial firms – it has partnered
with the providers, and then performs in-house data
cleaning and structuring to help the data make
sense to end users.
To get started, you search in the app for banks and
financial firms where you have accounts, then login
to add them to Empower. The company uses strong
encryption and claims it sets a higher bar on
security because it’s audited by its financial
partners. (Says Hogarth, data is 256-bit AES
encrypted at rest, 256-bit SSL encrypted at transfer,
and stored in PCI-compliant environment; user
credentials aren’ t stored) .
Once your accounts are added, Empower can show
you where you’ re spending your money broken
down by category, or alert you if you’ re spending
more than your pre-configured limit. You can
categorize transactions it hasn’ t been able to
identify itself, and this will contribute to a
crowdsourced database of transaction categories –
meaning, the app’s ability to identify your
transactions will get better in time, as more people
use it.
Of course, some banks already offer reporting and
analysis tools built into their own apps, but
Empower aims to do more in time.
At launch, it can facilitate transfers between any of
its over 1,000 supported banks, and will allow you
to set aside a percentage of your paycheck through
an auto-saving feature. There are a number of apps
out today that can also aid in automating your
savings, like Digit, Oval, Clinc, Acorns, Albert,
Qapital, and others. However, Empower doesn’ t
attempt to set up its own white-label savings
account – it lets you transfer money into an account
you already operate.
The app also competes with a variety of others that
offer to give you a fuller view of your financial health
– including Albert, Prosper Daily or Level Money,
for example – but doesn’ t yet have some of the
more in-depth analysis and charting or intelligent
push notifications of its rivals. But it expects to grow
its toolset in time, and plans to offer features that
will help users pay down student loans, transfer
funds into high-interest savings accounts, and will
make suggestions about loan products that could
save you money through refinancing debt.
Empower may also suggest later that users use
their excess cash to make investments, but will not
make investment advice itself – though it may work
with robo-advisers in the future on those efforts.
The San Francisco-based team of five also includes
co-founder Justin Ammerlaan, whose background
involves building software for financial institutions.
The company has raised an undisclosed round of
seed funding (not surprisingly) led by Sequoia.
The Empower app is a free download on iTunes.
An Android version is a few months out.
2017-05-09 15:01 Sarah Perez
57 / 155
Your snaps won't disappear as
quickly with Snapchat update
Thanks to a new update, your Snaps could last a lot
longer than 10 seconds.
On Tuesday, Snap — the parent company of app
Snapchat — announced an update allowing users
to set timers on Snaps to infinity. Previously, the
maximum time users could set on a Snap was 10
"We’ ve all felt the frustration of not being able to
fully enjoy a Snap – even after replaying it – and we
wanted to give you the option of allowing the
recipient to enjoy your Snap as long as they’ d like,
" reads a blog post from Snapchat.
The company says once the recipient of a Snap
closes it, it will disappear.
The app will also add two more features: the ability
to create Snaps that loop, and a "Magic Eraser" to
remove objects in a Snap. The update is available
The update arrives as Snap prepares to release its
first earnings since becoming a publicly traded
company. Snap will announce earnings after the
markets close Wednesday.
2017-05-09 15:00 Brett Molina
58 / 155
The new robotic ecosystem to
take the stage at TechCrunch
Sessions: Robotics
At TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics, on July 17 at
MIT’s Kresge auditorium, the programming lineup is
set to showcase the fast developing new ecosystem
around robotics.
For a long time robotics was more the domain of
academic research, defense spending, and big
corporations, but the surge in new technologies,
from sensors to AI to GPUs has made the field more
accessible to entrepreneurs and early stage
investors. At the same time, the fundamentals of
robotics are at work in products few thought
possible a few years ago, such autonomous
vehicles, drones, and collaborative workplaces.
A few days ago we released a limited set of general
admission tickets and announced part of the
agenda. T oday we’ re pleased to announce
additional new speakers:
Robots In The Sky
Drones are robots too, and no doubts that the skies
will soon be full of drones carrying out work from
package delivery to security patrols. Our first
speaker to join this panel:
Andreas Raptopoulos is the founder and CEO of
Matternet, which is a startup working to deliver a “
complete solution for automated aerial logistics, ”
which among other things means combining
drones and delivery vehicles in a closely
synchronized delivery solution. Andreas studied at
industrial design engineering at the Imperial
College London and founded two UK-based
companies, Aylo and FutureAcoustic, before
starting Matternet in Silicon Valley.
The Venture Capital View
Helen Zelman Boniske is a co-founder of Lemnos
Labs, a Silicon Valley-based early stage venture
firm that invests in robotics and hardware
companies — “putting silicon back in the Valley.”
An MIT engineering grad, Zelman and her partners
have invested in 23 companies, including many up
and coming startups in the robotics world.
She will join Manish Kothari (SRI Ventures) and
Josh Wolfe (Lux Capital) on our venture investing
panel to discuss robotics from the standpoint of
early stage investors.
Collaborative Robotics
One of the fastest growing categories is
collaborative robotics, “co-bots” for short. These are
smaller, flexible robots and systems designed to
work alongside humans as well as other
machinery, as opposed to working inside cages.
Clara Vu is co-founder and VP of engineering at
Veo Robotics, a startup creating sensor-based
systems that control spaces where human and
machines interact. A Yale University math graduate,
Vu is a veteran of iRobot, where she was a senior
software engineer, and co-founder and director of
software development at Harvest Automation.
Jerome DuBois is co-founder of 6 River Systems,
which has developed “Chuck” a warehouse robot
designed to interact with the mixed machine and
human environment typical found in many
warehouse settings. A UNH engineering graduate
with an MBA from Northeastern, DuBois worked at
Kiva Systems and later Amazon Robotics, which
acquired Kiva.
We will announce more of the agenda next week. In
the meantime, here are some helpful links in case
you want to attend or participate in the show.
Startup Pitch Competition and Student Demos
We are looking for five great early stage startups
and student demos for our event. You can apply
here and learn more here.
Here are some key links:
2017-05-09 14:57 Ned Desmond
59 / 155
A Trump Dividend for Canada?
Maybe in Its A. I. Industry
Amir Moravej, an Iranian computer engineer in
Montreal, quietly worked last year on building
software to help people navigate the Canadian
immigration system. He saw it as a way for others to
avoid the same immigration travails he suffered a
few years earlier.
Then came the American presidential election.
“Trump accelerated everything, ” said Mr. Moravej,
33, the chief executive of a software start-up named
Botler AI.
With immigration taking center stage in American
politics and elsewhere, Botler AI began putting
more resources into building a chatbot tailored to
one of Canada ’s immigration programs. On
Wednesday, the start-up plans to announce that
Yoshua Bengio, a research pioneer in artificial
intelligence and director of the Montreal Institute for
Learning Algorithms, is joining the fledgling
company as a co-founder and chief strategist.
Mr. Bengio is adding his intellectual firepower to
ease the way for what could become a migration of
high-tech talent. Canada stands to benefit from the
American political climate and the Trump
administration’s efforts — stalled in court so far — to
sharply restrict travel into the United States from six
predominantly Muslim nations. After Mr. Trump’s
election, applications to Canada for student and
temporary visas surged.
“If we look back 10 years from now, I’ d be surprised
if the Trump effect didn’ t show up in the data, ” said
Joshua Gans, a professor at the Rotman School of
Management at the University of Toronto.
Immigration is a linchpin in Canada’s economic
policy. One-fifth of the country’s population of 36
million is foreign-born. Canada has dozens of
provincial and federal programs, but a priority is
entrepreneurs, often with points assigned for
specialized expertise, education and language
Trends in actual immigration will take time to show
up conclusively, but the early evidence of a Trump
effect is most apparent in a field like artificial
intelligence, where Canada has been at the
forefront of innovation and is seeking to build a
large A. I. industry .
Not only are Canadian A. I. start-ups like Botler AI
now building on interest in immigration and on
homegrown talent, but major American technology
companies, including Google, Microsoft and IBM,
have also been adding to their A. I. research teams
in Canada.
The ride-hailing service Uber announced on
Monday that it was opening a branch of its
advanced technologies group in Toronto, the
company’s first outside the United States. The lab,
which will develop self-driving car technology, will
be led by Raquel Urtasun, an expert in computer
vision at the University of Toronto.
Canada has well-funded programs intended not
only to lure A. I. experts to the country, but also to
persuade A. I. researchers, educated at Canadian
universities, to remain in Canada rather than depart
for Silicon Valley, as so many have done before.
The nation’s policy makers also want to persuade
expatriate engineers and entrepreneurs to return to
Canada — and the political climate in the United
States has influenced some to do so.
Ross Intelligence, an A. I. start-up founded in
Toronto, moved to the San Francisco Bay Area two
years ago for the business and funding
opportunities in the tech world’s hotbed.
But last month, Ross, whose software can read
through thousands of legal documents and rank
relevant cases for lawyers, opened an office in
Toronto. Five members of its team, including senior
engineers and two co-founders, are moving from
San Francisco to Canada. The group includes two
Canadians, a Brazilian, a Belgian and an
The Toronto outpost, said Jimoh Ovbiagele, a cofounder and chief technology officer of Ross,
“allows us to really recruit from the global talent
Mr. Ovbiagele, one of the Canadians who is
relocating to Toronto, said Ross had received
dozens of inquiries from international students
concerned about the immigration risk of working in
America. Ross, he said, recently hired engineers
who were international students and graduates of
Princeton, Cooper Union and the University of
Another technologist making the move to Canada
from Silicon Valley is Maxime Chevalier-Boisvert,
31, who returned to Montreal a few weeks ago after
working for Apple for 13 months. There were other
considerations, she said, but “the election of Trump
did play a role” in convincing her that she would
prefer to live in Canada.
So when an opportunity to work at Mr. Bengio’s A. I.
institute in Montreal became available recently, Ms.
Chevalier-Boisvert did not hesitate. Her new salary
is about a third of her income at Apple.
Then again, Ms. Chevalier-Boisvert observed, her
rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Montreal is
less than a third of the monthly rent she paid for a
one-bedroom apartment in Sunnyvale, Calif. And
Montreal, she added, is a cosmopolitan city.
“Living in Montreal is pretty good, ” Ms. ChevalierBoisvert said.
Back at Botler AI, a lot of work remains — including
landing funding and figuring out a business plan.
But the addition of Mr. Bengio is a sign that the
start-up needs to be taken seriously.
Mr. Bengio, in an interview, said he was joining the
start-up partly because Botler AI’s technology fits
neatly with research underway at his A. I. institute.
What’s more, he added, the company’s work
around immigration could “help a lot of people.”
2017-05-09 14:50 STEVE LOHR
60 / 155
StarLeaf takes $40M to keep
growing its videoconferencing
as a service business
UK teleconference company StarLeaf, which sells
cloud-based video and conferencing services to
businesses, has taken on its first external capital
close to a decade after first being founded, back in
2008. The $40 million round is co-led by Highland
Europe and Grafton Capital.
StarLeaf, which was founded by three telecoms and
video conferencing entrepreneurs who together
previously founded and sold three other networking
companies (Madge Networks, Calista and Codian) ,
started selling cloud services to customers in 2013
— and says usage of its platform is now doubling
year over year.
Its sales pitch is interoperability with “every” thirdparty meeting/conferencing technology, atop a fully
owned and operated global video comms network,
called the StarLeaf OpenCloud platform. It says this
network has full redundancy and duplication across
its eight points of presence across North America,
Europe, Asia and Australasia; industry standard
AES-128 encryption covering all video conferences
and calls; “exceptional” quality of service and call
quality regardless of network, via use of
technologies such as resilient codecs and dynamic
bandwidth management; a single dashboardbased management portal for granularly controlling
deployments; and a focus on offering user-friendly,
rich end-point features such as screen sharing; the
ability to transfer videocalls to other users; the
ability to add more participants to a one-to-one
video call; a centrally managed address book and
so on.
With the pitch on the functionality front of its platform
being its offering cloud-based capabilities that
might otherwise only be available to businesses
investing “hundreds of thousands of dollars in
expensive on-premise video infrastructure”.
Underpinning its platform architecture is a clear
conviction that video communication is of growing
importance to businesses — for example, it notes
that two thirds of its 100 million+ annual call
minutes are ad hoc point-to-point video calls
between users, rather than scheduled meetings.
(Though of course the network also supports audioonly comms.)
StarLeaf says its platform is currently being sold
into 50 countries worldwide, with what it dubs a
“rapidly growing” enterprise client base in Europe,
North and South America, Australia and New
Zealand, “especially” over the past two years —
noting for example that it’s signed up 150 new
clients with 1,000+ employees in 2016 vs 65 in
2015. At this point it says it has more than 1,000
customers, including the likes of Travelex, Bose,
and Dr Martens.
The new funding will be used to support this growth
momentum — including by investing in its Asia
Pacific business to step up activity there. It says it’s
also intending to double its 130-strong headcount
in the next 18 months — having done the same in
the past 18 months.
Commenting on the funding in a statement,
Laurence Garrett, partner at Highland Europe, said:
“StarLeaf has built its solution from the ground up
which gives it a real advantage in ease of use and
quality. It offers real interoperability between
different vendors which is unique in this market
place and is delivering really high quality calls and
a brilliant level of service.”
2017-05-09 14:46 Natasha Lomas
61 / 155
Apple's WWDC event will kick
off June 5, with a new iOS and
macOS likely
On Tuesday afternoon, Apple began inviting media
to its WWDC keynote, noting that the festivities will
kick off at 10 a.m. Pacific on June 5.
This year's keynote will be held at the McEnery
Convention Center in San Jose, California, which
we learned when Apple announced WWDC back in
February. Apple typically holds its big keynotes at
the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
The original WWDC invite to developers said
"Technology alone is not enough. Technology must
intersect with the liberal arts and the humanities, to
create new ideas and experiences that push
society forward. This summer we bring together
thousands of brilliant minds representing many
diverse perspectives, passions, and talents to help
us change the world."
It suggests, perhaps, that there needs to be a more
human element to our technology. This could mean
the obvious: that it wants to continue to meet with
and cater to developers. Or maybe there's
something deeper here. Does Apple have big plans
to merge the real world and the digital? That could
point to augmented reality, which Apple has said is
important to its plans moving forward. Or perhaps
we'll hear about a smarter version of Siri, one that
lives on an Amazon Echo-like device.
Apple's also expected to unveil its latest product
software during the keynote, including iOS 11, the
latest version of macOS, and updates to watchOS
and tvOS.
Apple sometimes uses the event to introduce new
hardware, too. Rumors have suggested Apple is
gearing up to launch a new 10.5-inch iPad, in
addition to a refreshed iPad Pro and updated
MacBook Pro computers.
2017-05-09 14:42 Todd Haselton
62 / 155
Monitor Reviews & Price
Comparisons from
So much of your work happens with your eyes.
Your workspace may have a powerhouse PC with a
ton of storage, an excellent keyboard and mouse,
and even a comfy chair, but if your monitor isn't any
good, your work experience will suffer. For a better
display that lets you get more done, you want a
model that offers the specific features you need,
along with the right size, resolution, and overall
cost. And if you are an IT professional tasked with
buying monitors for your business, basic functions
and price are what matter most. You'll also have to
determine what size panel works best for each
employee, what features will help enhance
productivity, and what kind of warranty you need. In
this guide, we'll show you what to look for when
shopping for a desktop monitor for work.
Most businesses operate within a strict capital
budget, so it's important to spend your money
wisely. A basic 22-inch monitor can cost anywhere
from $150 to $250, while a 24-inch model will be in
the $200-to-$400 range. If you require more screen
real estate, a basic 27-inch screen will run you
between $300 and $500. If you want to replace a
dual-monitor setup with a single monitor, consider
going with an ultra-wide model. For around $600,
you can get a 29-inch, ultra-wide panel that lets you
easily view multiple windows using multiple input
sources without having to sacrifice a lot of desktop
As always, be prepared to spend more for monitors
with high-end, high-resolution panels and features
such as height-adjustable stands, multiple digital
inputs, USB ports, and webcams. For example, a
27-inch Wide, Quad High-Definition (WQHD)
monitor will cost you upward of $500, while a highend 30-inch 4K or Ultra High-Definition (UHD)
display can go for around $2,000 to $3,000.
Fortunately, you don't have to spend big dollars for
a sizable midrange UHD monitor; plenty of 28-inch
models based on Twisted Nematic (TN) panel
technology can be had for around $500 or less if
you shop wisely.
While it's always nice to work with a big screen, it's
not always practical or cost-effective. A 22-inch
widescreen model works for basic office tasks and
will fit easily on most desktops. A 24-inch
widescreen is a good fit for users who need to have
more than one window open at any given time. If
there's room (and budget) , a 27-inch screen is
ideal for multitasking, while a 34-inch, ultra-wide
model offers a space-saving alternative to a dualmonitor setup.
Monitors that use TN panels are usually the most
cost-effective displays because TN displays cost
less to manufacture than In-Plane Switching (IPS) ,
Patterned Vertical Alignment (PVA) , or MultiDomain Vertical Alignment (MVA) screens. You'll
get wider viewing angles and more accurate color
and grayscale performance from IPS, PVA, and
MVA panels than you will from a TN display, but if
you don't require a high degree of accuracy or
numerous picture settings, most TN monitors
should work for basic office use.
See How We Test Monitors
These days, nearly every monitor is capable of
displaying content in high definition. Models that
are less than 22 inches will usually have a
maximum resolution of 1,366 by 768, which means
they can only go as high as 720p. The most
common resolution is 1,920 by 1,080 (1080p) ,
which gives you full high definition and is ideal for
watching video. For users who work with highly
detailed images or are involved with graphics
design, a WQHD monitor offers a 2,560-by-1,440
resolution and is typically a 27-inch model. An UHD
monitor is at the top of the resolution food chain and
comes in a variety of sizes ranging from 24 inches
on up.
As is usually the case with features, the more you
get, the more you'll pay. A display with a highly
adjustable ergonomic stand (height, tilt, swivel, and
pivot) will cost a good deal more than a display that
only has a tilt adjustment. The same goes for I/O
ports; if you need DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, and VGA
connectivity, you'll pay a premium. If your desktop
PCs don't have DisplayPort outputs, there's no
reason to pay extra for a monitor with DisplayPort
inputs, but try to go with at least one HDMI port if
possible, as it will connect to lots of different
external devices. If you spend an inordinate amount
of time in front of a screen, you may want to
consider a model that offers a Low Blue Light
setting that can help reduce eyestrain and fatigue.
If you or your employees are constantly plugging
thumb drives and other USB peripherals into your
PC, a monitor with a USB hub can be a big timesaver. Look for one with side-mounted ports, so you
don't have to reach around the back of the display
every time you plug or unplug a device. For users
who require accurate colors, a screen with an
extensive image settings menu is a must. Some
models come with a bundled calibration tool, but
there are several third-party solutions available as
Built-in speakers can reclaim valuable desktop
workspace, but they are typically underpowered
and tinny sounding. If your management does not
want employees listening to music or watching
videos at their desks, look for a monitor without
embedded speakers. The same goes for webcams;
they can be useful for video conferencing, but can
also be a distraction in the workplace if misused. If
you plan on using wall-mounting kits to conserve
desk space, make sure the monitors are equipped
with VESA-compliant mounting holes. Lastly, look
for a monitor that comes with a three-year warranty
that covers parts, labor, and backlighting.
To get you started, we give you some of our toprated monitors in a variety of sizes and price points.
Be sure to also check out our top monitor picks, as
well as our favorite displays for gaming and for
2017-05-09 14:42 John R
63 / 155
Here’s how to convince your
boss you should go to TNW
Conference 2017
Tell them you’ ll get shit done.
Ever been to a tech festival?
TNW Conference won best European Event 2016
for our festival vibe. See what's in store for 2017.
TNW Conference won best European Event 2016
for our festival vibe. See what's in store for 2017.
We’ re not just talking about swapping business
cards and coming back with great ideas – we’ re
talking about doing your job at the conference.
We all know that time spent at a conference can set
you back at work as everyday tasks take a back
seat to networking and socializing. But they don’ t
have to. At TNW 2017, enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout
the entirety of the conference space. Need to send
a last minute email? We’ ve got you covered.
Literally. In Wi-Fi.
Additionally, get actual work done at a number of
areas designed to provide you with a bit more quiet
time to focus on small projects that may pop up.
Emergency conference call? No need to worry that
overzealous attendee will interrupt.
And what’s worse than finally sitting down to
complete a task and finding out your laptop is
nearly dead. That’s why strategically located
recharging areas will be available throughout the
conference terrain. There will also be simulcast
lounges to give participants the flexibility to work
while listening to main stage talks.
But this is TNW, so we understand the value in
being inspired, innovative, and collaborative. That’s
why during TNW 2017, you’ ll enjoy the perfect
combination of inspiration, meetings, and
workshops… it’s the perfect triple threat of making
the most of your conference experience.
At Afterhours, meet leading tech scene influencers
in the fields of marketing, entrepreneurship,
investment and product management. This
informal, one-day-only event is your chance to ask
candid questions about companies you admire and
products you use. Afterhours
Attend workshops focused on providing attendees
with a masterclass on any given topic. Companies
like Bynder, Adobe, New School, IBM and
Worldpay will teach design-thinking techniques and
give insights on how to build your own chat bot.
workshops Bynder Adobe New School IBM
Then there’s Engage. Round-table sessions
focused on connecting brands with attendees.
During 30-minute sessions a selection of tech
companies share insights on their industry, talk
about their product, and share experiences. This is
truly matchmaking for businesses. Engage
As Lisa Shufro, former Executive Producer of
TEDMed, points out, “…in business, every day is an
event.” At TNW conferences, our events mean
business. Lisa Shufro
Ticket holders can sign up for our sessions and
workshops here! Hurry, they’ re filling up fast. If you
haven’ t secured your tickets yet, now’s your
chance. sessions and workshops here! now’s your
Read next:
Here are all the reasons why I want Amazon's Echo
Here are all the reasons why I want Amazon's Echo
Show Insights TNW Conference
Sit back and let the hottest tech news come to you
by the magic of electronic mail.
Prefer to get the news as it happens? Follow us on
social media.
Got two minutes to spare? We'd love to know a bit
more about our readers. Start! Start!
All data collected in the survey is anonymous.
2017-05-09 14:37 Annick van
64 / 155
New materials bring quantum
computing closer to reality
engineering Professor Jelena Vuckovic is looking
to quantum computing, which is based on light
rather than electricity. Quantum computers work by
isolating spinning electrons inside a new type of
semiconductor material. When a laser strikes the
electron, it reveals which way it is spinning by
emitting one or more quanta, or particles, of light.
Those spin states replace the ones and zeros of
traditional computing.
Vuckovic, who is one of the world's leading
researchers in the field, said quantum computing is
ideal for studying biological systems, doing
cryptography or data mining – in fact, solving any
problem with many variables.
"When people talk about finding a needle in a
haystack, that's where quantum computing comes
in, " she said.
Marina Radulaski, a postdoctoral fellow in
Vuckovic's lab, said the problem-solving potential of
quantum computers stems from the complexity of
the laser-electron interactions at the core of the
"With electronics you have zeros and ones, "
Radulaski said. "But when the laser hits the
electron in a quantum system, it creates many
possible spin states, and that greater range of
possibilities forms the basis for more complex
Capturing electrons
Harnessing information based on the interactions of
light and electrons is easier said than done. Some
of the world's leading technology companies are
trying to build massive quantum computers that rely
on materials super-cooled to near absolute zero,
the theoretical temperature at which atoms would
cease to move.
In her own studies of nearly 20 years, Vuckovic has
focused on one aspect of the challenge: creating
new types of quantum computer chips that would
become the building blocks of future systems.
"To fully realize the promise of quantum computing
we will have to develop technologies that can
operate in normal environments, " she said. "The
materials we are exploring bring us closer toward
finding tomorrow's quantum processor."
The challenge for Vuckovic's team is developing
materials that can trap a single, isolated electron.
Working with collaborators worldwide, they have
recently tested three different approaches to the
problem, one of which can operate at room
temperature – a critical step if quantum computing
is going to become a practical tool.
In all three cases the group started with
semiconductor crystals, material with a regular
atomic lattice like the girders of a skyscraper. By
slightly altering this lattice, they sought to create a
structure in which the atomic forces exerted by the
material could confine a spinning electron.
"We are trying to develop the basic working unit of a
quantum chip, the equivalent of the transistor on a
silicon chip, " Vuckovic said.
Quantum dots
One way to create this laser-electron interaction
chamber is through a structure known as a
quantum dot. Physically, the quantum dot is a small
amount of indium arsenide inside a crystal of
gallium arsenide. The atomic properties of the two
materials are known to trap a spinning electron.
In a recent paper in Nature Physics, Kevin Fischer,
a graduate student in the Vuckovic lab, describes
how the laser-electron processes can be exploited
within such a quantum dot to control the input and
output of light. By sending more laser power to the
quantum dot, the researchers could force it to emit
exactly two photons rather than one. They say the
quantum dot has practical advantages over other
leading quantum computing platforms but still
requires cryogenic cooling, so it may not be useful
for general-purpose computing. However, it could
have applications in creating tamper-proof
communications networks.
Color centers
In two other papers Vuckovic took a different
approach to electron capture, by modifying a single
crystal to trap light in what is called a color center.
In a recent paper published in Nano Letters, her
team focused on color centers in diamond. In
nature the crystalline lattice of a diamond consists
of carbon atoms. Jingyuan Linda Zhang, a graduate
student in Vuckovic's lab, described how a 16member research team replaced some of those
carbon atoms with silicon atoms. This one alteration
created color centers that effectively trapped
spinning electrons in the diamond lattice.
But like the quantum dot, most diamond color
center experiments require cryogenic cooling.
Though that is an improvement over other
approaches that required even more elaborate
cooling, Vuckovic wanted to do better.
So she worked with another global team to
experiment with a third material, silicon carbide.
Commonly known as carborundum, silicon carbide
is a hard, transparent crystal used to make clutch
plates, brake pads and bulletproof vests. Prior
research had shown that silicon carbide could be
modified to create color centers at room
temperature. But this potential had not yet been
made efficient enough to yield a quantum chip.
Vuckovic's team knocked certain silicon atoms out
of the silicon carbide lattice in a way that created
highly efficient color centers. They also fabricated
nanowire structures around the color centers to
improve the extraction of photons. Radulaski was
the first author on that experiment, which is
described in another NanoLetters paper. She said
the net results – an efficient color center, operating
at room temperature, in a material familiar to
industry – were huge pluses.
"We think we've demonstrated a practical approach
to making a quantum chip, " Radulaski said.
But the field is still in its early days and electron
tapping is no simple feat. Even the researchers
aren't sure which method or methods will win out.
"We don't know yet which approach is best, so we
continue to experiment, " Vuckovic said.
Explore further: Simultaneous detection of multiple
spin states in a single quantum dot
More information:
Marina Radulaski et al. Scalable Quantum
Photonics with Single Color Centers in Silicon
2017-05-09 14:36
65 / 155
High-temperature devices
made from films that bend as
they 'breathe'
The system relies on oxide materials similar to
those used in many of today's rechargeable
batteries, in that ions move in and out of the
material during charging and discharging cycles.
Whether the ions are lithium ions, in the case of
lithium ion batteries, or oxygen ions, in the case of
the oxide materials, their reversible motion causes
the material to expand and contract.
Such expansion and contraction can be a major
issue affecting the usable lifetime of a battery or fuel
cell, as the repeated changes in volume can cause
cracks to form, potentially leading to short-circuits or
degraded performance. But for high-temperature
actuators, these volume changes are a desired
result rather than an unwelcome side effect.
The findings are described in a report appearing
this week in the journal Nature Materials, by
Jessica Swallow, an MIT graduate student; Krystyn
Van Vliet, the Michael (1949) and Sonja Koerner
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering;
Harry Tuller, professor of materials science and
engineering; and five others.
"The most interesting thing about these materials is
that they function at temperatures above 500
degrees Celsius, " Swallow explains. That suggests
that their predictable bending motions could be
harnessed, for example, for maintenance robotics
inside a nuclear reactor, or actuators inside jet
engines or spacecraft engines.
By coupling these oxide materials with other
materials whose dimensions remain constant, it is
possible to make actuators that bend when the
oxide expands or contracts. This action is similar to
the way bimetallic strips work in thermostats, where
heating causes one metal to expand more than
another that is bonded to it, leading the bonded
strip to bend. For these tests, the researchers used
a compound dubbed PCO, for praseodymium-
doped cerium oxide.
Conventional materials used to create motion by
applying electricity, such as piezoelectric devices,
don't work nearly as well at such high temperatures,
so the new system could open up a new area of
high-temperature sensors and actuators. Such
devices could be used, for example, to open and
close valves in these hot environments, the
researchers say.
Van Vliet says the finding was made possible as a
result of a high-resolution, probe-based mechanical
conditions that she and her co-workers have
developed over the years. The system provides
"precision measurements of material motion that
here relate directly to oxygen levels, " she says,
enabling researchers to measure exactly how the
oxygen is cycling in and out of the metal oxide.
To make these measurements, scientists begin by
depositing a thin layer of metal oxide on a
substrate, then use the detection system, which can
measure small displacements on a scale of
nanometers, or billionths of a meter. "These
materials are special, " she says, "because they
'breathe' oxygen in and out, and change volume,
and that causes the substrate to bend."
While they demonstrated the process using one
particular oxide compound, the researchers say the
findings could apply broadly to a variety of oxide
materials, and even to other kinds of ions in
addition to oxygen, moving in and out of the oxide
These findings "are highly significant, since they
demonstrate and explain the chemical expansion of
thin films at high temperatures, " says Holger Fritze,
a professor at the
Clausthal University of Technology in Germany,
who was not involved in this work. "Such systems
show large strain in comparison to other hightemperature stable materials, thereby enabling new
applications including high-temperature actuators, "
he says.
"The approach used here is very novel, " says Brian
Sheldon, a professor of engineering at Brown
University, who also was not involved in this
research. "As the authors have pointed out, this
approach can provide information that differs from
that obtained with other methods that are employed
to investigate chemical expansion."
This work has two important features, Sheldon
says: It provides important basic information about
the chemical expansion of such materials, and it
opens the possibility of new kinds of hightemperature actuators. "I think that both are very
important accomplishments, " he says.
Explore further: Thin layers of water hold promise
for the energy storage of the future
More information:
Jessica G. Swallow et al. Dynamic chemical
expansion of thin-film non-stoichiometric oxides at
extreme temperatures, Nature Materials (2017) .
DOI: 10.1038/nmat4898
2017-05-09 14:34
66 / 155
A Shot against Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder
Each night before “Greg” goes to bed he brushes
and flosses his teeth. Then he double-checks the
instructions on the dark brown bottle his nurse gave
him before he unscrews the cap and tips five drops
of a light-amber, oily liquid onto a spoon. The brew,
glistening from the light of the bathroom fixture, is
tasteless and has no odor he can detect. But it’s
chock-full of bacteria.
He sloshes the substance around in his mouth and
Greg hopes that while he sleeps the foreign
microbes will wage war with other organisms in his
gut, changing that environment to ultimately help
him manage some of the post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) symptoms that cloud his mind and
riddle his days and nights with nightmares,
flashbacks, thoughts of suicide and irrational
responses to stressful events. The bacteria he is
swallowing, his doctors tell him, “may help reduce
symptoms of stress.”
Each drop of Greg's brew is filled with millions of
Lactobacillus reuteri, a bacterium isolated and
derived from human breast milk. The Denver VA
Hospital orders the substance and prescribes it as
part of a PTSD clinical trial involving 40 veterans
who either receive the bacteria or a placebo mix of
sunflower oil and other inactive substances. (The
bacterium is also currently used to treat a dental
condition called chronic periodontitis because it
has been shown to help fight inflammation.)
Altering the immune system to help build resilience
to stressful events is a roundabout way to fight
PTSD. But despite the massive burden of this
disorder, there are few treatments for many of its
crushing symptoms. Of the more than two million
troops deployed in U. S. military conflicts
worldwide, an estimated 11 to 23 percent have
sustained some level of either traumatic brain injury
(TBI) or PTSD. Greg, whose name has been
changed in this article to protect his identity, is
among them. He served in Operation Iraqi Freedom
and was injured when the vehicle he was in
detonated a roadside improvised explosive device
—killing several of his comrades and leaving him
with a badly wounded leg, a traumatic brain injury
and the constellation of symptoms that comprise
With few options available after he tried a variety of
mental health therapies, last year he and 39 other
veteran volunteers—all suffering from PTSD and
being treated at the Rocky Mountain MIRECC for
Veteran Suicide Prevention center in Denver—
volunteered to be part of an early clinical trial to
determine if L. reuteri can reduce their
physiological and psychological responses to
stressful situations. The roughly $200,000 trial is
funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs and
aimed at evaluating the feasibility, acceptability,
tolerability and safety measures for the possible
use of the bacterium to treat PTSD.
The bacterium was chosen after earlier animal trials
suggested it produced anxiety-fighting responses.
Last year a team of researchers at the University of
Colorado Boulder found that injecting beneficial
bacteria into mice helped them become more
resilient to the stress of residing with much larger,
aggressive mice. In that study the scientists injected
healthy mice with a heat-killed preparation of
Mycobacterium vaccae —which, like L. reuteri, acts
like a drug, modulating the mouse’s immune
system. (The two microbes are cousins and share a
common ancestor.) The injected mice exhibited
less anxiety or fearlike behaviors, and behaved
more proactively around their aggressors than did
those in a control group, which had to make do
without the shots.
The vaccinated mice’s amplified calm made sense
biochemically: The researchers discovered that the
gut-altered mice also had more Tph2, an enzyme
involved in the biosynthesis of the calming
neurotransmitter serotonin, in the brain. The
bacterial brew provided another benefit in the gut
as well: Biopsies showed the injected mice were 50
percent less likely to suffer stress-induced colitis, as
measured by cellular damage to the colon; and
they had less system-wide inflammation. That study
was hailed as a major breakthrough and named
breakthroughs of 2016 by the nation’s leading
nongovernmental funder of mental health research,
the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.
“There is a growing recognition that the microbiome
can impact health in general and, more specifically,
mental health, ” clinician Jeffrey Borenstein, the
organization’s president, said in a statement about
the research. The mouse work “can potentially be a
game changer in our understanding of this, and
ultimately lead to new treatments, ” he added.
“Our study in PNAS showed we can prevent a
PTSD-like syndrome in mice, ” says Christopher
Lowry, a professor in the Department of Integrative
Physiology at C. U.–Boulder, who headed up the
study on mice that demonstrated M. vaccae’s
effects on stress resilience. Lowry’s results were
also consistent with earlier evidence about the
powers of M. vaccae bacteria: Previous work
established that M. vaccae increases serotonin in
the prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain that
modulates anxiety . (The researchers are not using
M. vaccae in humans because it is not yet approved
for human use whereas L. reuteri works along the
same immune-regulating pathway and could be
tapped without needing further regulatory
The human trials with L. reuteri began in August
2016 at the Denver VA Hospital, headed up by
Lowry and Lisa Brenner, a psychiatry professor at
the University of Colorado Denver School of
Medicine. In addition to asking veterans to down a
daily allotment of bacteria or placebo—the
volunteers are unaware of which substance they
are taking—each participant has been asked to
keep a diary of gastrointestinal symptoms for about
two weeks, and submit to stool tests. Participants
then return for further blood tests covering various
biomarkers of inflammation and gut permeability.
Then, after eight weeks, the veterans are subjected
to stress testing like the mice.
Instead of exposing them to large mice, however,
they are asked to do something even more
intimidating to many humans: give a speech in front
of a group while researchers collect their
psychological and physiological stress measures
(including heart rate variability and galvanic skin
response) . Participants also receive final blood
and stool tests for biomarkers of inflammation, gut
permeability and any changes in the microbiome.
Final results from the study are expected in May
The foundational work behind this study is “very
provocative” because it validates the concept of
immunizing against a variety of stress-related
disorders, says John Cryan, head of the
Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at
University College Cork in Ireland, who was not
involved with the work. The findings, he says,
suggest this may be a promising way to help fight
anxiety in PTSD patients.
2017-05-09 14:33 Sandra Lamb
67 / 155
Brain-imaging system uses
'multi-pupil' prism arrays
The system is capable of revealing changing
details of biological processes in cells over a larger
field of view than otherwise possible, allowing "high
throughput" essential for the study of brain activity.
"We are looking at huge numbers of neurons, so
the number of data points you can measure per
second is 20 million, 30 million, " said Meng Cui, an
assistant professor in Purdue University's School of
Electrical and Computer Engineering and the
Department of Biological Sciences. "High
throughput is very important because you want to
measure these numerous neurons simultaneously
at very high speed and also at high spatial
resolution ."
The method, called multi-pupil adaptive optics,
hinges on deformable mirrors that change shape to
counteract the distortion caused when light passes
through biological tissue, and a "prism array"
containing many faceted segments. Each segment
produces its own image corresponding to a
different part of a microscope's field of view.
"That way you simultaneously correct the distortion
in different regions and you can look at them all
together, " Cui said. "So you can see clearly over a
wider field of view than before and at high
Researchers used the system to image brain cells
called microglia; signaling processes of neurons
involving calcium; vasculature in the brain; and
"dendritic spines, " structures in neurons critical to
learning and communication between brain cells.
Findings are detailed in a research paper
published on May 8 in the journal Nature Methods .
"The microglial cells are important for maintaining
brain health and recovering from strokes, " Cui said.
"High-resolution in-vivo imaging of dendritic spines
is also of great importance in neuroscience. And
calcium imaging has been widely used in
neuroscience for in-vivo large-scale recording of
neuronal network activity, which demands both
high speed and excellent image quality."
The system was used to perform time-lapse
imaging to study changes in functioning brain cells,
in research with laboratory mice.
Cells and living tissue contain a complex
combination of structures and materials, all having
a different index of refraction, which defines how
fast light travels while passing through materials.
Because of this heterogeneity, light traveling
through cells produces blurred images, not unlike
the effect of raindrops on a car's windshield.
Devices called spatial light modulators in adaptive
optics systems are able to counter this distortion by
changing shape when voltage is applied, adjusting
conventional adaptive optics systems are limited
because they are able to image only small areas at
a time.
"Multi-pupil adaptive optics solves this problem, "
said Cui, who invented the method.
The initial research used a 3-by-3 prism array
containing a total of nine segments, each around a
square centimeter.
"The current version of multi-pupil adaptive optics is
about 10 times better than conventional methods, "
he said.
However, the performance might be improved by
increasing the size of these arrays to contain
perhaps as many as 36 segments.
Explore further: First images from Adaptive Optics
Lucky Imager (AOLI)
More information:
Jung-Hoon Park et al. Large-field-of-view imaging
by multi-pupil adaptive optics, Nature Methods
(2017) . DOI: 10.1038/nmeth.4290
2017-05-09 14:32
68 / 155
RedLock emerges from
stealth to protect customers
from faulty cloud
The major cloud infrastructure vendors know a
thing or two about securing their platforms, but they
still can’ t protect their customers against user
configuration error. That’s where RedLock, a
startup emerging from stealth today comes in. It can
warn you or fix a user error that could expose your
Clearly, the cloud vendor has primary responsibility
to ensure that the underlying infrastructure is
secure, but it’s up to customers to secure their own
data, based at least partly on how they configure
each cloud instance. When you consider that a
company could launch hundreds or even
thousands of cloud instances per day across a
range of vendors, launched by a variety of
developers and operations employees, the problem
only multiplies. RedLock is a cloud service
designed to save your company from configuration
mistakes that could leave your data vulnerable.
Say, for example, that one of your developers starts
an EC2 instance with a MongoDB database,
populates it with customer PII and accidentally
leaves it open to the internet. RedLock would save
you from this potential disaster, says Varun
Badhwar, company founder and CEO, by issuing a
warning that the data in this database is exposed to
the internet and asking if you really want to do this.
“I think for years Amazon has been talking about
the shared responsibility model. They have
diagrams where they have responsibility to secure
physical infrastructure, but ultimately it’s the
customer’s responsibility to secure the content,
applications and firewall settings, ” Badhwar
Badhwar has been around the cloud security space
since 2005 when he helped build the security for, Salesforce’s platform as a service. Later
he helped launch CipherCloud.
His latest company offers a range of cloud security
services including a high-level view of your cloud
vendors, policy
monitoring, where you can set a policy and have
RedLock enforce it automatically or run it by you
first, anomaly detection and risk measurement. It
also will allow you to do forensics on an incident
after the fact.
The RedLock service integrates with your
infrastructure service at the API level. There is no
agent or proxy required, according to Badhwar. For
now it supports AWS and Google Cloud, but later
this year, it will also add support for Azure, giving
the company support for the big three cloud
infrastructure vendors.
Surely, the cloud vendors could each provide a
service like this for its customers, but as Badhwar
points out, such a solution would very likely only
work for the individual vendor’s cloud, and
RedLock provides a security picture across multiple
The company also announced that it has raised
$8.5 million in Series A, which brings the total
raised to $12 million including an earlier $3.5
million seed round. Investors across both rounds
include Sierra Ventures, Storm Ventures, Dell
Technologies Capital, which came out of stealth
yesterday, and other unnamed parties.
RedLock is available widely today. Pricing is
subscription-based, based on the number of
workloads the system is monitoring.
2017-05-09 14:31 Ron Miller
69 / 155
U. S. Life Expectancy Varies
Significantly Based on
By Lisa Rapaport
(Reuters Health) - Even as life expectancy is rising
in many places across the U. S., there are some
places where lifespans are getting shorter and
geographical inequalities are becoming more
pronounced, a new study suggests.
Nationwide in 2014, the average life expectancy
was about 79.1 years, up 5.3 years from 1980, the
study found. For men, life expectancy climbed from
70 years to 76.7 years, while for women it
increased from 77.5 years to 81.5 years.
But the study also highlighted stark disparities: a
baby born in Oglala Lakota County, South Dakota,
can expect to live just 66.8 years, while a child born
in Summit County, Colorado, can expect to live 86.8
years, on average.
“For both of these geographies, the drastically
different life expectancies are likely the result of a
combination of risk factors, socioeconomics and
access and quality of health care in those areas, ”
said senior study author Dr. Christopher Murray,
director of the Institute for Health Metrics and
Evaluation at the University of Washington in
“We found that risk factors - obesity, lack of
exercise, smoking, hypertension, and diabetes explained 74 percent of the variation in longevity in
the U. S., ” Murray said by email. “Socioeconomic
factors - a combination of poverty, income,
education, unemployment and race - were
independently related to 60 percent of the
inequality, and access to and quality of health care
explained 27 percent.”
To examine changes in life expectancy over time,
researchers looked at death certificates from each
county in the country.
Several counties in South and North Dakota,
typically with Native American reservations, had the
lowest life expectancy, the study found. Counties
along the lower half of the Mississippi and in
eastern Kentucky and southwestern West Virginia
also had very low life expectancy compared with
the rest of the country.
In contrast, counties in central Colorado had the
highest life expectancy.
Some of the biggest gains in life expectancy during
the study were seen in counties in central
Colorado, Alaska and in metropolitan areas around
San Francisco and New York.
But there was little, if any, improvement in life
expectancy in some southern counties in states
stretching from Oklahoma to West Virginia. Many
counties where life expectancy dropped the most
are in Kentucky.
One limitation of the study is that there might be
errors in county death records, the authors note.
Researchers also lacked data to explore how much
the findings might be explained by migration of
certain types of people to certain communities.
“The bottom line is that our life expectancy is
increasingly being shaped by where we live within
the U. S., ” said Jennifer Karas Montez, a sociology
researcher at Syracuse University in New York who
wasn’ t involved in the study.
“Lifestyle behaviors are not causes, they are
symptoms, ” Montez said by email. “They are
symptoms of the environment and the social and
economic deprivation that many parts of the country
now endure thanks to decades of policy decisions.”
2017-05-09 14:30
70 / 155
Why You Shouldn't Tell People
About Your Dreams
I had a friend who tried hard to remember more of
her dreams. She’ d write them down and then tell
people about them. She stopped, though, because
it started interfering with her social life. She'd start
talking about her dreams and people would leave
the room.
There are two major theories about why we dream.
The first is the activation-synthesis theory, which
holds that dreams are interpretations by our
forebrains of essentially random activity from the
spinal cord and cerebellum during sleep, especially
REM sleep.
Part of the explanation for why dreams can be so
weird is that they are interpreted from chaotic
information. The evolutionarily older parts of our
brains are also the seat of our basic emotions.
According to this theory, the emotion comes first
and dreams are made to make sense of the
emotion. Evidence of this comes from scenechanges that happen: when we have anxiety
dreams, for example, they often switch from one
anxious situation to a different one—so rather than
us feeling anxious because of the content of our
dreams, it could be that our feeling is causing an
anxious narrative in the dream!
The other major theory of dreaming is “threat
simulation theory, ” which holds that the
evolutionary function of dreaming is for us to
practice how to behave in threatening situations.
There's a lot of evidence for this theory too.
First, most dream emotion is negative. Also, people
tend to dream of ancestral threats: falling, being
chased, natural disasters, and so on. These
frightening elements are overrepresented in
dreams—that is, we see them in dreams much
more than our experience in our day-to-day world
would predict. Lots of people dream of being
chased by animals, but how often does this actually
happen to people? The overrepresentation of
animals chasing us in dreams, especially for
children, suggests that we have some innate fear of
them. In contrast, we don’ t dream of modern
threats, such as heart attacks, as much as you’ d
expect if dreams were based on the problems we
actually face in today’s world.
These two theories of dreaming are often presented
as competing, but as far as I can tell they are
compatible—that is, even if dreams are
interpretations of chaotic input from the spinal cord,
there is still a theory needed to describe how
chaotic input is elaborated into narratives that we
experience as dreams, and it's quite possible that
the mind takes advantage of this opportunity to
practice dealing with dangerous things.
Why do we feel the urge to talk about our dreams?
A suggested ramification of threat simulation theory
relates to the idea that “two heads are better than
one: ” discussion of dreams might be adaptive if
they help us mentally prepare for threats. We like to
talk about dreams to help us prepare for how to act
in dangerous situations in the future.
Which leads us to why we find our own dreams so
interesting. There are three reasons based on
known psychological effects, though all of them are
speculative in terms of my application of them to
The first is negativity bias, which makes us pay
attention to dangerous things.
Because most dreams are negative (support for the
threat simulation theory) our bias in favor of
negative information makes them feel important.
The second reason has to do with the emotional
primacy of dreaming—because so many dreams
are so emotional, they feel important in a way that
people hearing about them, not feeling that
emotion, might find hard to relate to. Once I
dreamed of a terrifying staircase. When I told my
girlfriend about it, she laughed at me for being
scared of such a harmless thing. In the dream it was
scary, but clearly my audience couldn’ t appreciate
We tend to think of dreams as being really weird,
but in truth about 80 percent of dreams depict
ordinary situations. We’ re just more likely to
remember and talk about the strange ones.
Information we don't understand can often rouse
our curiosity, particularly in the presence of strong
emotion. Just like someone having a psychotic
experience, the emotional pull of dreams make
even the strangest incongruities seem meaningful,
and worthy of discussion and interpretation.
These reasons are why most of your dreams are
going to seem pretty boring to most people.
But if you’ re going to talk about some of your
dreams, pick the ones in which you deal with a
problem in some new way. The negativity bias
would make them more interesting than your happy
dreams, and if you feel you learned something
about how to deal with a threat, maybe your
audience will too.
2017-05-09 14:29 Jim Davies
71 / 155
The Search for Life on Mars Is
about to Get Weird
MESA, Arizona—Since the dawn of the space age
NASA and other agencies have spent billions of
dollars to reconnoiter Mars—assailing it with
spacecraft flybys, photo-snapping orbiters and
landers nose-diving onto its surface. The odds are
good, many scientists say, for the Red Planet being
an extraterrestrial address for alien life—good
enough to sustain decades’ worth of landing very
expensive robots to ping it with radar, zap it with
lasers, trundle across its terrain and scoop up its
dirt. Yet against all odds (and researchers’ hopes
for a watershed discovery) , Mars remains a pokerfaced world that holds its cards tight. No convincing
signs of life have emerged. But astrobiologists
continue to, quite literally, chip away at finding the
As the search becomes more heated (some would
say more desperate) , scientists are entertaining an
ever-increasing number of possible explanations
for Martian biology as a no-show. For example,
could there be a “cover up” whereby the harsh
Martian environment somehow obliterates all
biosignatures—all signs of past or present life? Or
perhaps life there is just so alien its biosignatures
are simply unrecognizable to us, hidden in plain
Of course, the perplexing quest to find life on Mars
may have a simple solution: It’s not there, and
never was. But as the proceedings of this year’s
Astrobiology Science Conference held here in April
made clear, life-seeking scientists are not giving up
yet. Instead, they are getting more creative,
proposing new strategies and technologies to
shape the next generation of Mars exploration.
Talk about looking for Martians and you inevitably
talk about water, the almost-magical liquid that
sustains all life on Earth and seems to have served
as an indispensable kick-starter for biology in our
planet’s deepest past. “It all started out with ‘follow
the water;’ not necessarily ‘follow the life’ …but
‘follow one of the basic requirements for living
systems,’ ” says Arizona State University geologist
Jack Farmer, referring to NASA’s oft-repeated
mantra for Martian exploration. “There are many
indications of water on Mars in the past, perhaps
reservoirs of water in the near subsurface as well, ”
he says. “But what is the quality of that water? Is it
really salty—too salty for life?”
Without liquid water, Farmer points out, one would
naively think organisms cannot function. The reality
may be more complex: on Earth, some resilient
organisms such as tardigrades can enter a
profound, almost indefinite state of hibernation
when deprived of moisture, preserving their
desiccated tissues but neither growing nor
reproducing. It is possible, Farmer says, that
Martian microbes could spend most of their time as
inert spores “waiting for something good to happen,
” only springing to life given the right and very rare
“extremophiles”—microbes that live at extremes of
temperature, pressure, salinity and so on—exhibit
similar behavior.
Farmer says there is as yet no general consensus
about the best way to go about life detection on the
Red Planet. This is due in no small part to the
runaway pace of progress in biotechnology, which
has led to innovations such as chemistry labs
shrunken down to fit on a computer chip. These
technologies “have been revolutionizing the
medical field, and have now started to enter into
concepts for life detection on Mars, ” he explains.
Things move so fast that today’s best technology for
finding Martian biology may be tomorrow’s
laughably obsolete dead-end.
But no matter how sophisticated a lab on a chip
might be, it won’ t deliver results if it is not sent to
the right place. Farmer suspects that seriously
seeking traces of life requires deep drilling on Mars.
“I basically think we’ re going to have to gain
access to the subsurface and look for the fossil
record, ” he explains. But discovering a clear,
unambiguous fossil biosignature on Mars would
also raise a red flag. “We probably would approach
the future of Mars exploration—particularly
accessing habitable zones of liquid water in the
deep subsurface—more cautiously, because life
could still be there. So planetary protection would
be taken very seriously, ” he says. (“Planetary
protection” is the term scientists commonly use for
precautions to minimize the chance of biological
contamination between worlds. Think of it not so
much in terms of bug-eyed aliens running rampant
on Earth but of billion-dollar robots finding
“Martians” that prove to only be hardy bacterial
hitchhikers imported from our own world) .
Like-minded about deep diving on Mars is
Penelope Boston, director of the NASA
Astrobiology Institute at the agency’s Ames
Research Center. “That’s my bias, ” she says.
“Given Mars’ current state, with all the challenging
surface manifestations of dryness, radiation and
little atmosphere, the best hope for life still extant on
Mars is subsurface.” The subsurface, she says,
might also offer better chances of preserving past
life—that is, of fossils, even if only of single-celled
The planet’s depths hold the potential for harboring
liquid water under certain circumstances, Boston
thinks. But how far down might that water be? “I
suspect it’s pretty far…and how we get to it, that’s a
whole other kettle of fish, ” she says. Over the years
scientists have estimated the average depth of the
planet’s possible liquid reservoirs as anywhere
between tens of meters to kilometers. Then again,
recent observations from orbiters have revealed
mysterious dark streaks that seasonally flow down
the sunlit sides of some Martian hillsides and
craters. These “recurring slope lineae” could
conceivably be brines of liquid water fed by
aquifers very close to the surface, some
researchers say.
Such lingering uncertainties emerge from the
indirect and scattered nature of our studies of Mars,
and ensure that any argument for life there is based
solely on circumstantial information, Boston notes.
“Each individual piece of evidence is, on its own
merits, weak, ” she says. Only by amassing a
diverse suite of independent measurements can a
well-built case for life on Mars be made, she says:
“In my opinion, we can’ t make that strong case
unless we push to do all of those measurements on
exactly the same precise spot. We don’ t do that
because it’s very difficult, but it’s something to
aspire to.” Despite decades of sending costly
hardware to Mars, Boston believes that what is still
missing is a sense of harmony between
instruments, allowing them to work together to
support a search for alien life. “I think that the
precise requirements of a really robust claim of life
at the microscopic scale require us to push on
further, ” she notes.
Attendees at the astrobiology meeting in Arizona
showcased an assortment of high-tech devices for
microfluidic “life analyzers” and integrated nucleic
acid extractors for studying “Martian metagenomics”
to exquisitely sensitive, miniaturized organic
chemistry labs for spotting tantalizing carbon
compounds and minerals at microscopic scales.
Missing from the mix, however, was any solid
consensus on how these and other tools could all
work together to provide a slam-dunk detection of
life on Mars.
Some scientists contend a new kind of focus is
sorely needed. Perhaps the pathway to finding any
Martians lurking in the planet’s nooks and crannies
is to learn where exactly on Mars those potentially
life-nurturing niches exist, and how they change
over the course of days, months and years rather
than over eons of geologic time. That is, to find
homes for extant life on Mars today, researchers
should probably not just be studying the planet’s
long-term climate but also its day-to-day weather.
“Right now we’ re sort of shifting gears. Once you’
ve found out that a planet is habitable, then the next
question is, ‘Was there life?’ —so it’s a completely
different ball game, ” says Nathalie Cabrol, director
of the Carl Sagan Center at the SETI Institute. “On
Mars you cannot look for life with the tools that have
been looking for habitability of that planet, ” she
argues. “We should be looking for habitats and not
habitable environments. You are dealing on Mars
with what I call extremophile extreme environments
on steroids, ” she says, “and you don’ t look for
microbial life with telescopes from Mars orbit.”
Cabrol advocates making an unprecedentedly
robust, high-resolution study of environmental
variability on Mars by peppering its surface with
weather stations. Sooner or later telltale signs of the
possible whereabouts of extant life may emerge
from the resulting torrents of data. “Today’s
environment on that planet is a reflection of
something in the past, ” she says, and planting
numbers of automated stations on Mars does not
need to be expensive. “This is of interest not only to
astrobiology but to human exploration. The first
thing you want to know is what the weather is like, ”
she says, adding, “Right now we’ re not equipped
to do this and I’ m not saying it’s going to be easy to
look for extant life. I’ m not saying what we’ re doing
now is wrong. Whatever we put on the ground we
are learning. But there is variability on Mars. You go
up or down one meter, things change. Habitats at a
microscopic level can happen at the scale of a
slope. It can happen at the scale of a rock!”
“I think Mars offers us the highest chance of finding
life” somewhere beyond Earth, says Dirk SchulzeMakuch, a planetary scientist at Washington State
University. But, like Boston and others, he
maintains confirmation of life will only come from
multiple “layers of proof” that have to be consistent
with one another. “We really need at least four
different kinds of methods, ” he says. “My point is
that there’s no slam-dunk. We need several
instruments. You have to build a case, and right
now we can do better…unless the biosignature
through a microscope is waving hello.” The trouble,
he adds, is that too-stringent planetary protection
rules may preclude getting the evidence necessary
for that proof. “We have the technology to go to
places where there could be life, ” he says. “But we
can’ t go to certain areas on Mars, like recurring
slope lineae or…under patches of ice. It seems to
be ridiculous.”
Indeed, Schulze-Makuch speculates planetary
protection may be a lost cause for Mars—or at least
a misguided endeavor. It may even be that any
Martian microbes are actually Earth’s long-lost
cousins. Or, conversely, Mars rather than Earth is
really the sole site of biogenesis in our solar
system. Both scenarios are possible, considering
that single-celled organisms can likely survive
world-shattering impacts and the subsequent
interplanetary voyages if embedded in ejected
shards of rock that could fall elsewhere as
meteorites. Innumerable impacts of this scale
battered the solar system billions of years ago,
potentially blasting biological material between
neighboring worlds. On balance, Schulze-Makuch
says, “the chances are higher that we are Martians.”
2017-05-09 14:29 Leonard David
72 / 155
Norwegian firms Yara,
Kongsberg to build selfsteering container ship
"The new zero-emission vessel will be a gamechanger for global maritime transport contributing to
meet the United Nations sustainability goals, " the
companies said on Tuesday.
Automobile makers and technology companies are
already working on the development of self-driving
cars and trucks, as well as electric vehicles.
The planned autonomous container feeder will cut
emissions from road transport when it starts
shipping products from Yara's Porsgrunn plant to
Norway's Brevik and Larvik ports for global
deliveries in 2018, the companies said.
Brevik and Larvik ports are about 14 km and 26 km
away from Porsgrunn respectively by road.
The ship is expected to operate initially as a
manned vessel, moving to remote-controlled
operation in 2019 and to fully autonomous mode
from 2020.
(Reporting by Nerijus
Alexander Smith)
2017-05-09 14:24 Reuters Editorial
73 / 155
U. S. stock indexes bob further
into record territory – Silicon
By STAN CHOE, AP Business Writer
NEW YORK — U. S. stock indexes bobbed a bit
further into record territory Tuesday, joining a
smooth rise higher for markets around the world.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500
index ticked up by 3 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,402,
as of 10: 04 a.m. Eastern time. If it remains up for
the day, it would mark the third straight session
where it’s set an all-time high.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 22 points,
or 0.1 percent, to 21,034, and the Nasdaq
composite rose 27 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,130.
MARKETS ABROAD: European markets were
mostly higher, and the German DAX rose 0.5
percent. The CAC 40 in France gained 0.3 percent,
and the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.6 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index dipped 0.3 percent, while
the Hang Seng in Hong Kong jumped 1.3 percent.
South Korean markets were closed as votes
headed to the polls to vote for president.
CHECKING IN: Marriott International jumped $5.21,
or 5.4 percent, to $101.58 after reporting stronger-
than-expected earnings for the latest quarter. The
hotel operator cited improving trends around the
world, from North America to Europe to Asia.
OFF THE LOT: Hertz Global Holdings sank $2.62,
or 17.6 percent, to $12.29 after reporting a larger
loss for the last quarter than analysts expected.
YIELDS RISE: Treasury yields rose as bond prices
dropped. The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.40
percent from 2.39 percent late Monday. It has been
climbing since hitting a low of 2.17 percent three
weeks ago.
DIVIDEND PAYERS: When bond yields were
scraping close to their record lows last summer, the
relatively big dividends paid out by utility stocks,
telecoms and real-estate investment trusts looked
particularly attractive. Now, with bonds beginning to
pay more interest, demand for dividends has dulled
a bit.
Telecom stocks in the S&P 500 fell 0.7 percent,
most among the 11 sectors that make up the index.
Utilities and real-estate stocks weren’ t far behind,
both down 0.5 percent. Telecom stocks have
dropped nearly 11 percent this year, when the
overall S&P 500 is up 7 percent.
EVERYONE REMAINS CALM: Markets have been
placid, as investors keep crossing off reasons to
fear. Last week’s jobs report gave reassurance that
the U. S. economy is improving despite its weak
showing at the start of the year, and companies
have been turning in stronger profit reports. This
past weekend’s presidential election in France also
raised confidence that voters may be turning their
back on a nationalistic brand of politics that could
hurt global trade.
The market has become so calm that an index used
to measure fear among traders is close to its lowest
in more than two decades. The VIX volatility index
on Monday hit its lowest closing level since 1993,
and it held close to that level Tuesday.
CURRENCIES: The euro fell to $1.0896 from
$1.0930 late Monday. The dollar rose to 114.07
Japanese yen from 113.07 yen, and the British
pound slipped to $1.2928 from $1.2943.
COMMODITIES: Benchmark U. S. crude fell 36
cents to $46.07 per barrel. Brent crude, the
international standard, slipped 39 cents to $48.95
per barrel.
Natural gas rose 3 cents to $3.21 per 1,000 cubic
feet, heating oil fell a penny to $1.45 per gallon and
wholesale gasoline slipped 1 cent to $1.51 per
Gold dipped $6.70 to $1,220.40 per ounce, silver
fell 10 cents to $16.16 per ounce and copper added
a penny to $2.50 per pound.
2017-05-09 14:22 By Stan
74 / 155
Stack Overflow charted the
woefully short lifespan of your
favorite frameworks
Hacker News users are a fickle bunch, with a
tendency to hype up obscure programing
languages and frameworks, only to discard them
once they’ ve lost their novelty. I’ m sorry, but it’s
absolutely true, and why I’ ve long ceased to visit it.
Hacker News
Charting the stratospheric rise and meteoric fall of
these languages and frameworks is Stack Overflow,
which today launched a tool that shows you interest
in a particular technology over time. It measures
interest by the number of questions asked each
month. Stack Overflow
“We're hunting for awesome startups”
Run an early-stage company? We're inviting 250 to
exhibit at TNW Conference and pitch on stage!
Run an early-stage company? We're inviting 250 to
exhibit at TNW Conference and pitch on stage!
JQuery’s popularity is in decline, but it remains top
dog. As demonstrated by the graph, interest in
Angular remains steady; the angularjs tag refers to
the first version of the popular front-end framework,
with the angular tag representing subsequent
Unsurprisingly, back-end and UI frameworks are a
lot more brutal. Stack Overflow charted the
historical trends of several different frameworks,
and they all displayed the same pattern: swift
growth, and even swifter decline.
Stack Overflow also looked at three mainstream
languages – Python, PHP, and Perl – and charted
their growth (or lack thereof) since 2009. Python,
unsurprisingly, is kicking ass. PHP is still clearly
popular, but it’s in decline — perhaps due to being
a “fractal of bad design.” Perl, on the other hand, is
pretty stagnant. “fractal of bad design.”
More insights can be found here, on Stack
Overflow’s blog. And if you want to discover your
own trends, you can check out the same tool used
in this piece here. here Insights
Sit back and let the hottest tech news come to you
by the magic of electronic mail.
Prefer to get the news as it happens? Follow us on
social media.
Got two minutes to spare? We'd love to know a bit
more about our readers. Start! Start!
All data collected in the survey is anonymous.
2017-05-09 14:19 Matthew Hughes
75 / 155
SFR seeks $2.6 billion in
damages from Orange in
antitrust litigation
SFR's claim is detailed in Orange's 2016 annual
registration document and was first reported by
French news magazine L'Express.
"SFR has accustomed us to prohibitive demands in
the past that were not put into effect, " a spokesman
for Orange said. SFR declined to comment.
SFR's initial estimates for the damages amounted
to 512 million euros, Orange said in its registration
Verizon and BT, which also provide services for the
corporate sector in France, are respectively
claiming 215 million and 150 million euros
respectively, Orange said.
The two telecoms groups were not immediately
available for comment.
The three legal actions against Orange are brought
before the Paris Commercial Court, Orange said.
These financial claims follow a 2015 decision by
the French competition authority that fined Orange
350 million euros for abusing its dominant position
to hold back competition in the corporate sector.
($1 = 0.9194 euros)
(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gwenaelle
Barzic; editing by John Irish)
2017-05-09 14:18 Reuters Editorial
76 / 155
Unlocked Samsung Galaxy S8
now available for pre-order
Hot off the heels of its international release for
carriers, Samsung has begun pre-orders for the
unlocked variants of its excellent Galaxy S8 and its
larger next of kin, the Galaxy S8+ in the US.
Compared to the almost four-month wait for the
Galaxy S7 to go unlocked, non-committal
smartphone users have only waited weeks since
Samsung’s highly anticipated flagship released.
Now, US users who enjoy globetrotting or switching
carriers at a moment’s notice will be able to do so
with the unlocked version.
Pre-orders have begun at both Samsung’s website
and Best Buy, though the unlocked S8 and S8+
won’ t ship until May 31 in the US. The S8 will cost
$724 and the S8+ will set you back a whopping
$824 and apparently, each model will only be
available in the midnight black color.
We’ ll be keeping an ear to the ground for details
regarding the unlocked variant arriving elsewhere
around the world. Galaxy S8 Galaxy S8+ Galaxy S7
2017-05-09 14:17 By
77 / 155
Short sellers get 'annihilated'
after Wayfair surges more
than 20% on better-thanexpected results
Wayfair shares spiked Tuesday after the online
furniture retailer reported better-than-expected firstquarter results.
The stock was up 23 percent as of midday Tuesday.
Wayfair is one of the market's best performers this
year with its shares up 79 percent year to date
versus the S&P 500's 7 percent return.
The company's short interest is 14.1 million shares,
or 39 percent of its float, according to FactSet.
Wayfair short sellers lost roughly $160 million by
midday assuming the investors didn't exit their
"This is what happens when short sellers gang up
on one stock. They get completely annihilated
when they are wrong, " Active Alts' Brad
Lamensdorf, portfolio manager of a short-squeeze
ETF, said in a phone interview. One short seller,
however, is recommending that investors should
add to their bearish Wayfair positions on the rally.
"While some $W shorts cover, Citron loves the
opportunity to short more here, " Citron Research
wrote on its Twitter feed. "Citron believes the stock
should trade right back to $45."
Wall street analysts cheered the report, further
boosting the stock. Wayfair reported it had a firstquarter loss of 48 cents per share versus the Wall
Street consensus for a loss of 57 cents per share.
The company also posted $961 million in sales for
the quarter compared with the $935 million Street
"Q1 results and Q2 guidance gave Wayfair bulls
plenty to cheer about, " Piper Jaffray analyst Peter
Keith wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. "All in, the
set up going forward for W shares looks attractive
as revenue growth has stopped decelerating.… We
can now see a path to full year EBITDA profitability
in the U. S. for 2017."
Disclosure: Active Alts does not have a position in
2017-05-09 14:15 Tae Kim
78 / 155
Buffett's fledgling biBERK
pursues online insurance
But that's how a senior executive describes
biBERK, a unit that lets owners of small businesses
shop online for commercial vehicle, general
liability, property, workers' compensation and
eventually professional liability insurance.
The biBERK chief operating officer, Rakesh Gupta,
said the year-old operation, known as "Cover Your
Business" until a March name change that could
benefit from Berkshire's cachet, was the brainchild
of Ajit Jain, Berkshire's top insurance executive.
Jain wanted a hassle-free way for small business
owners to bypass insurance agents, often getting
quotes within five minutes after completing short
" can deliver something to you in four
hours, " Gupta, who grew up in New Delhi and
specialized in "big data" before joining biBERK,
said in a recent interview. "If people can buy paper
towels on the internet, why not insurance?"
Sales data are confidential, but Gupta said biBERK,
or Business Insurance Berkshire Hathaway, is
signing up twice as many customers as a year ago.
The business reflects none of Omaha-based
Berkshire's appetite for assuming huge insurance
risks, such as major catastrophes or American
International Group property and casualty claims, in
exchange for upfront payments Buffett can invest.
Gupta said business insurance could follow the
trajectory of auto insurance, where Berkshire's
Geico unit, as well as rivals Progressive and USAA,
won market share from State Farm and Allstate by
driving underwriting costs, and premiums, down.
"If that happens, we want to be at the forefront, " he
In workers' compensation, biBERK typically
provides instant quotes to 60 percent of applicants,
denies 20 percent, and asks 20 percent to speak
with representatives.
Improvements to the sign-up process now permit 50
percent of customers to buy without human help, up
from 10 percent a year ago.
Gupta said biBERK sometimes holds what it calls
"hatchet" meetings to assess risks and red flags the
questionnaires might not address.
Still, biBERK can afford the occasional mistake.
Its parent Berkshire Hathaway Direct Insurance Co
has $118 million of surplus capital, plus
reinsurance support from Berkshire's National
Indemnity Co unit.
Gupta said insurers have been slow to adopt online
technology in part because of state regulatory
He hopes biBERK will attract more younger, more
technology-savvy people going into business for
"It's still very, very small, " he said. "In the scheme of
Berkshire, it's an interesting experiment."
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Phil
2017-05-09 14:15 Jonathan Stempel
79 / 155
Online review startup Podium
has raised a fat new $32
million round from Accel and
Podium, a Utah-based enterprise software
company specializing in customer review
management has pulled in an over-subscribed $32
million Series A round, led by Accel Partners.
Several sources close to the matter told us about
this round, which we wrote about yesterday in an
article about Utah-based Peak Ventures. However,
Podium has now confirmed the numbers to
We were previously told the round is valued at
north of $100 million and that the startup originally
tried to raise $20 to $25 million but as other VC
firms wanted to come into the round Podium was
able to take in even more. Podium did not want to
comment on the valuation but was able to confirm it
previously sought the smaller amount before taking
in $32 million.
Co-founder Eric Rea attributes the success of the
round to the work he and his partner Dennis Steele
have done in the last year. Podium launched in
2014 to help offline businesses get a handle on
online customer reviews. Local brick-and-mortar
businesses were starting to get reviews on Yelp,
Facebook and other sites but those reviews could
be from anyone and not necessarily from authentic
customers. Rea and Steele saw a need to help
those businesses get better reviews from verified
The Startup now claims 10,000 business in its
roster (or 80,000 individual customers) and has
seen a 600 percent increase in revenue in the last
year. Rea also tells TechCrunch the company is on
target to hit $30 million in annual revenue by the
end of 2017.
Accel led the round, along with participation from
GV (formerly Google Ventures) , Summit Partners
and Y Combinator (Podium was also in YC’s winter
2016 batch) . But it has taken a while for the startup
to catch the glances of some of the bigger players
along Sand Hill Road.
However, Silicon Valley seems to be taking note of
the Silicon Slopes lately and this could very well be
part of the reason for Podium’s ability to raise such
a large round. There are now a handful of
companies worth over $1 billion dollars along the
Wasatch Front and firms like Sequoia, Insight
Venture Partners and Accel regularly send partners
to scout the area. Qualtrics, worth about $2.3 billion,
just raised another $180 from these three firms.
Rea told me it seems like every Silicon Valley VC
firm now has their Utah expert.
Rea also says he plans to use the new cash to hire
a lot of engineers, particularly for building a new
customer interaction platform to help Podium with
some machine learning goals. The startup already
uses a special algorithm to identify online review
information but Rea says this would sweeten the
startup’s ability to go deeper at-scale, including
discovery, making appointments, confirming
appointments and a lot of other work that could be
used to improve the customer experience.
The new funding now brings the total up to $36
million to date.
2017-05-09 14:05 Sarah Buhr
80 / 155
What is the point of offensive
Some people believe that offensive humour such
as sexist or racist jokes can help break down
barriers and challenge prejudice. Others simply find
it appalling. The topic is clearly sensitive and often
leads to discussions about free speech, morality
and political correctness. But what can academic
research tell us about the implications of offensive
We examined the subject looking at jokes about
rape that have appeared in the media in recent
years with some regularity. High profile comedians
that have used rape jokes include Jimmy Carr,
Frankie Boyle, Dapper Laughs, Daniel Tosh, Sarah
Silverman and Ricky Gervais. All of these jokes are
Some researchers argue that offensive jokes do not
have any wider implications – they are
inconsequential or “just jokes”. This view broadly
sees the criticism of offensive humour as a part of
“political correctness”, which is viewed as a
movement that encourages censorship and
threatens liberty and free speech.
But there is psychological research on humour that
denigrates, belittles, or maligns an individual or
social group that argues the opposite. This work
has found that such jokes act “as a releaser of
existing prejudice”. One study even found that
exposure to sexist humour can decrease male
perceptions of the seriousness of rape.
Another study found that women were more likely to
view themselves as objects and worry more about
their bodies after viewing sexist humour. This
research suggested that although jokes may not
instantly change the world, they may affect people
at an interpersonal level.
Some research argues that there are positive
effects of offensive humour – usually as a form of
resistance. The use of racist stereotypes by black
and minority ethnic comedians has been shown to
have the potential to undermine racism. Disabled
comedians have also ridiculed stereotypes of the
disabled by reversing the offensive comments of
the non-disabled. But the success of this “reverse
joking” has a lot to do with the identity of the
comedian – white and non-disabled comedians
joking about black or disabled people have to work
much harder not to reinforce stereotypes.
Not surprisingly, in rape jokes the common themes
are often sexual objectification, devaluation and
violence. Our own research examined the few rape
jokes that have been told by British comedian Ricky
Gervais. There are two or three in his stand-up
routines, and a few more on child abuse. Jokes can
always be taken or “read” in more than one way.
This small number of jokes garnered significant
criticism on social media. Here is one such joke
from 2010:
I’ ve done it once, I’ m not proud of it in the slightest.
I’ m fucking ashamed of it. I wasn’ t drunk, I was
over the limit. That was Christmas and I took the car
out and I knew I shouldn’ t. I knew at the time I
shouldn’ t be in the car. But I learned my lesson
‘cos I nearly killed an old woman. In the end I didn’ t
kill her. In the end, I just raped her. But as I say
nothing came of it ‘cos luckily, thousand to one shot
I know, she had Alzheimer’s. Yeah, not a credible
Gervais defended the joke online: “The joke clearly
revolves around the misdirection in the term ‘nearly
killed’ , suggesting narrowly avoided. But, as it turns
out, ‘nearly killed’ means something much, much
worse. A big taboo, but comically justified I feel.”
When Gervais defends the joke as “comically
justified” he is really suggesting that he thinks it
might be satirical – he is attempting to do more than
simply laugh at rape. This relies on “nearly killed”
meaning different things in different contexts.
But despite Gervais’ intention, it is not possible to
avoid the problematic misogynistic reading. And the
satirical reading is not obvious. In the “lead-in”
when setting up the joke he was not talking about
not satirical towards attitudes to rape but to public
service adverts on drink driving. The punchline
relies on the statement “I just raped her” which
connotes that rape is not serious and certainly not
as serious as being “nearly killed”.
There is no clear anti-rape satire developed in the
joke. The lines about the woman not being a
credible witness trivialises the criminality of rape –
a social problem that is often cited in relation to
justice for rape victims. Again, the satire is not well
Meanwhile, US comedian Sarah Silverman has
joked about rape in a way that is more obviously
Needless to say, rape, the most heinous crime
imaginable. Seems it’s a comic’s dream, though.
Because it seems that when you do rape jokes that,
like the material is so dangerous and edgy. But the
truth is it’s like the safest area to talk about in
comedy. That’s the trick. Cause who’s going to
complain about a rape joke? Rape victims? They
don’ t even report rape. I mean, they’ re just
traditionally not complainers.
Silverman directs her joke at male comedians who
tell rape jokes. She juxtaposes a rhetoric of edgy
taboo breaking with a reality of victims to critique
male comedians who use rape in their comedy.
Indeed, she highlights a hypocritical culture which
simultaneously refer to rape as a serious crime,
while also laughing at rape jokes.
Offensive humour is political and highlights a
connection between our identities, politics and the
pleasure of laughter. When people engage in
joking about rape or sexual assault – Donald
Trump is perhaps a good example here – there are
intended and unintended consequences for
society. In contributing to a blurred distinction
between a culture of sexual abuse and humour,
rape jokes may contribute to the normalisation of
such abuse and make it more difficult than it
already is for victims of sexual abuse to speak out.
There may be a place and time for certain offensive
humour. But if you’ re unsure about just how
damaging a joke could be, it may be wise to think it
over one more time before delivering it.
2017-05-09 14:04 Karen Morgan
81 / 155
Health Benefits, Health Risks
& Nutrition Facts
Turns out that onions are nothing to cry over —
these flavorful bulbs are packed with nutrients.
"Onions are super-healthy, " said Victoria
Jarzabkowski, a nutritionist with the Fitness Institute
of Texas at the University of Texas at Austin. "They
are excellent sources of vitamin C, sulphuric
compounds, flavonoids and phytochemicals."
Phytochemicals, or phytonutrients, are naturally
occurring compounds in fruits and vegetables that
are able to react with the human body to trigger
healthy reactions. Flavonoids are responsible for
pigments in many fruits and vegetables. Studies
have shown that they may help reduce the risk of
Parkinson's disease, cardiovascular disease and
A particularly valuable flavonoid in onions is
quercetin, which acts as an antioxidant that may be
linked to preventing cancer. “It also might have
heart health benefits, though more studies need to
be done, ” said Angela Lemond, a Plano, Texasbased
nutritionist and
spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and
Quercetin has a host of other benefits, as well,
according to the University of Maryland Medical
Center, reducing the symptoms of bladder
infections, promoting prostate health and lowering
blood pressure.
Other important phytochemicals in onions are
disulfides, trisulfides, cepaene and vinyldithiins.
They all are helpful in maintaining good health and
have anticancer and antimicrobial properties,
according to the National Onion Association.
Partly because of their use in cooking around the
world, onions are among the most significant
sources of antioxidants in the human diet,
according to a 2002 report in the journal
Phytotherapy Research. Their high levels of
antioxidants give onions their distinctive sweetness
and aroma.
“Foods that are high in antioxidants and amino
acids allow your body to function optimally, ” said
Lemond. “Antioxidants help prevent damage, and
cancer. Amino acids are the basic building block for
protein, and protein is used in virtually every vital
function in the body.”
Sulfides in onions contain necessary amino acids.
“Sulfur is one of the most common minerals in our
body that assists with protein synthesis and
building of cell structures, ” said Lemond.
"I like to recommend eating onions because they
add flavor without salt and sugar, " Jarzabkowski
said. Onions are low in calories (45 per serving) ,
very low in sodium, and contain no fat or
cholesterol. Furthermore, onions contain fiber and
folic acid, a B vitamin that helps the body make
healthy new cells.
Onions are healthy whether they're raw or cooked,
though raw onions have higher levels of organic
sulfur compounds that provide many benefits,
according to the BBC. A 2005 study in the Journal
of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that there
is a high concentration of flavonoids in the outer
layers of onion flesh, so you'll want to be careful to
remove as little of the edible part of the onion as
possible when peeling it.
Here are the nutrition facts for onions, according to
the U. S. Food and Drug Administration, which
regulates food labeling through the National
Labeling and Education Act.
Serving size: 1 medium onion (5.3 oz / 148 g)
Calories: 45 (Calories from Fat: 0)
Amount per serving (%DV*)
*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a
2,000-calorie diet.
Total fat: 0g (0%)
Total Carbohydrate: 11g (4%)
Dietary Fiber 3g (12%)
Sugars 9g
Cholesterol: 0mg (0%) Sodium:
Potassium: 190mg (5%) Protein: 1g
Vitamin A: (0%) Vitamin C: (20%) Calcium: (4%)
Iron: (4%)
Heart health
According to Jarzabkowski, onions encourage a
healthy heart in many ways, including "lowering
blood pressure and lowering heart attack risk." A
2002 study in the journal Thrombosis Research
suggested that sulfur acts as a natural blood thinner
and prevents blood platelets from aggregating.
When platelets cluster, the risk for heart attack or
stroke increases. This research further supports a
similar 1992 study in Thrombosis Research that
focused on sulfurs in garlic. Furthermore, a 1987
animal study in the Journal of Hypertension
demonstrated delayed or reduced onset of
hypertension with sulfur intake. However, the
authors said more research was needed to
determine if this benefit might be found in humans.
Recently, health researchers have noticed a
relationship between messaging molecules called
oxylipins and high cholesterol management. A
2016 study in the journal Redox Biology found that
consuming onions increases oxylipins that help
regulate blood fat levels and levels of cholesterol.
The quercetin in onions may also help prevent
plaque buildup in the arteries, which reduces the
risk of heart attack and stroke, according to the
University of Maryland Medical Center. But since
most of the studies in this regard have focused on
animals, more research is needed to understand
the effects in humans.
Onions’ sulfurs may be effective anti-inflammatory
agents, according to a 1990 study in the journal
International Archives of Allergy and Applied
Quercetin has been found to relax the airway
muscles and may provide relief of asthma
symptoms, according to a 2013 study in the
American Journal of Physiology.
Immune system
"The polyphenols in onions act as antioxidants,
protecting the body against free radicals, " said
Anne Mauney, a dietitian based in Washington, D.
C. Eliminating free radicals can help encourage a
strong immune system. According to the University
of Maryland Medical Center, the quercetin in onions
also reduces allergic reactions by stopping your
body from producing histamines, which are what
make you sneeze, cry and itch if you're having an
allergic reaction.
A 2015 meta-analysis found that intake of allium
vegetables, including onions, were associated with
reduced gastric cancer risk. According to World’s
Healthiest Foods from the George Mateljan
Foundation, eating between one and seven
servings of onions per week may help reduce the
risk of colorectal, laryngeal and ovarian cancer.
Eating several servings of onions a day may help
decrease the risk of oral and esophageal cancer.
Quercetin may be a powerful anti-cancer agent,
according to Jarzabkowski. The University of
Maryland Medical Center said that quercetin may
especially inhibit cancer cells in "breast, colon,
prostate, ovarian, endometrial, and lung tumors."
The National Onion Association discussed a recent
study from the Netherlands that showed that people
who ate onions absorbed twice as much quercetin
as those who drank tea, and more than three times
as much quercetin as those who ate apples, which
are other high-quercetin sources. Red onions are
especially high in quercetin, according to the
association. Shallots and yellow onions are also
good options. White onions contain the least
amount of quercetin and other antioxidants.
Onions may help with some side effects from
cancer treatments, as well. A 2016 study published
in Integrative Cancer Therapies found that
consuming fresh yellow onion helped lessen
insulin resistance and hyperglycemia in breast
cancer patients undergoing a form of chemotherapy
known to cause insulin resistance.
The fiber in onions promotes good digestion and
helps keep you regular. Additionally, onions
contain a special type of soluble fiber called
oligofructose, which promotes good bacteria growth
in your intestines. One 2005 study in Clinical
Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that
oligofructose may help prevent and treat types of
diarrhea. The phytochemicals in onions that
scavenge free radicals may also reduce your risk of
developing gastric ulcers, according to the National
Onion Association.
Regulating blood sugar
The chromium in onions assists in regulating blood
sugar. The sulfur in onions helps lower blood sugar
by triggering increased insulin production. One
2010 study in the journal Environmental Health
Insights revealed that this might be especially
helpful to people with people with diabetes. People
with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who ate red
onions showed lower glucose levels for up to four
A 2014 meta-analysis in the journal Nutrition found
that patients with Type 2 diabetes saw more
normalized liver enzymes and lower glycemic
levels when consuming sliced onions.
Bone density in older women
A 2009 study in the journal Menopause found that
daily consumption of onions improves bone density
in women who are going through or have finished
menopause. Women who ate onions frequently had
a 20 percent lower risk of hip fracture than those
who never ate onions.
While not especially serious, eating onions can
people. The
carbohydrates in onions may cause gas and
bloating, according to National Digestive Diseases
Information Clearinghouse. Onions, especially if
consumed raw, can worsen heartburn in people
who suffer from chronic heartburn or gastric reflux
disease, according to one 1990 study in the
American Journal of Gastroenterology.
Eating a large amount of green onions or rapidly
increasing your consumption of green onions may
interfere with blood thinning drugs, according to the
University of Georgia. Green onions contain a high
amount of vitamin K, which can decrease blood
thinner functioning.
It is also possible to have a food intolerance or an
allergy to onions, but cases are rare, according to
an article in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical
Immunology. People with onion allergies may
experience red, itchy eyes and rashes if an onion
comes into contact with the skin. People with an
intolerance to onions may experience nausea,
vomiting and other gastric discomfort.
Lastly, Jarzabkowski encouraged people to make
sure their onions are fresh. "Onions keep for a long
time, " she said, "but they still spoil." Onions spoil
much faster if they are chopped or sliced. If you cut
up your onions for later use, be sure to refrigerate
them in a closed container. A 2015 study found that
unrefrigerated yellow onions showed potential
growth of E.coli and salmonella, though refrigerated
ones did not.
According to the National Onion Association:
Onions probably originated in central Asia, in
modern-day Iran and Pakistan. Prehistoric people
probably ate wild onions long before farming was
invented. Onions may have been among the
earliest cultivated crops.
Onions also grew in Chinese gardens as early as
5,000 years ago, and they are referred to in the
oldest Vedic writings from India. As early as the
sixth century B. C., a medical treatise, the Charaka
Sanhita, celebrates the onion as medicine, a
diuretic, good for digestion, the heart, the eyes and
the joints.
A Sumerian text dated to about 2500 B. C. tells of
someone plowing over the governor's onion patch.
In Egypt, onions were planted as far back as 3500
B. C. They were considered to be objects of
worship, and symbolized eternity because of the
circle-within-a-circle structure. Paintings of onions
appear on the inner walls of pyramids and other
Onions were buried with mummies. Some
Egyptologists theorize that onions may have been
used because it was believed that their strong scent
and/or magical powers would prompt the dead to
breathe again.
Onions are mentioned in the Bible. In Numbers 11:
5, the children of Israel lament the meager desert
diet enforced by the Exodus: "We remember the
fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely, the
cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the
onions and the garlic."
The Greeks used onions to fortify athletes for the
Olympic games. Before competition, athletes would
consume pounds of onions, drink onion juice and
rub onions on their bodies.
The Romans ate onions regularly. Pedanius
Dioscorides, a Roman physician of Greek origin in
first century A. D., noted several medicinal uses of
Pliny the Elder catalogued Roman beliefs that
onions could cure poor vision, induce sleep, and
heal mouth sores, dog bites, toothaches, dysentery
and lumbago. Pliny wrote of Pompeii's onions and
cabbages, and excavators of the doomed city found
gardens where, just as Pliny had said, onions had
grown. The bulbs had left behind cavities in the
By the Middle Ages, the three main vegetables of
European cuisine were beans, cabbage and
onions. Onions were prescribed to alleviate
headaches, snakebites and hair loss. They were
also used as rent payments and wedding gifts.
The Pilgrims brought onions with them on the
Mayflower. However, they found that Native
Americans were already using wild onions in a
variety of ways: eating them raw or cooked, as a
seasoning or as a vegetable. Onions were also
used in syrups, as poultices, as an ingredient in
dyes, and even as toys.
Slicing onions makes you cry because when you
cut into it, the onion produces a sulfur-based gas.
The gas reacts with the water in your eyes and
forms sulfuric acid. To rid your eyes of this fiery
irritant, your tear ducts work overtime. For no more
(or fewer) tears, try moving your face farther away
from the onion so the gas disperses before
reaching your eyes.
Another suggestion for reducing tears is to first chill
the onions for 30 minutes. Then, cut off the top and
peel the outer layers leaving the root end intact.
Bulb onions are yellow, red or white. In the United
States, yellow onions make up about 87 percent of
the commercial onion crop; red onions are 8
percent; white onions, 5 percent.
Onions range in size from less than 1 inch to more
than 4.5 inches in diameter. The most common
sizes sold in U. S. markets are 2 to 3.75 inches.
Scallions, or green onions, are actually immature
yellow, red or white onions, harvested before the
bulb begins to form. "Spring onions" and "salad
onions" are other aliases for immature onions.
A scallion is not a shallot. This misnomer probably
occurs because "échalion" is another name for the
shallot, derived from the French échalote. Shallots
have a distinctive taste, but the flavor is closer to
that of mature onions than to that of scallions.
The largest onion ever grown weighed 10 lbs. 14
ounces (about 5 kilograms) , according to the
Guinness Book of World Records.
U. S. farmers plant about 125,000 acres of onions
each year and produce about 6.2 billion pounds a
year. The top onion-producing areas are
Washington, Idaho, eastern Oregon and California.
The leading onion production countries are China,
India, United States, Turkey and Pakistan.
The average American eats 20 lbs. (9 kg) of onions
per year.
To avoid "onion breath, " eat a sprig of parsley, or
rinse your mouth with equal parts lemon juice and
water, or chew a citrus peel.
"I will not move my army without onions!" — Ulysses
S. Grant
"It's hard to imagine civilization without onions." —
Julia Child
"Onion skins very thin
Mild winter coming in.
Onion skins very tough,
Coming winter very rough." — old English rhyme
"Mine eyes smell onions: I shall weep anon." —
"All's Well that Ends Well" by William Shakespeare
2017-05-09 14:04 Jessie Szalay
82 / 155
Signal Sciences releases new
web protection platform
Signal Sciences today announced the availability of
its Signal Sciences Web Protection Platform (WPP)
. WPP is new platform designed to provide threat
protection for web applications, APIs, and
microservices on any platform.
This platform launch comes on the heels of Signal
Sciences’ announcement of a $15 million series B
funding round led by CRV. Signal Sciences plans
to use the funding for its future web application
security efforts.
According to the company, the WPP offers several
deployment options, including the WAF and runtime
application security projection modules. The
platform can also operate as a reverse proxy for
legacy applications, Signal Sciences said.
attack, Signal
Sciences’ platform responds by pushing relevant
attack signals to the cloud analysis engine, without
introducing a negative impact on performance,
according to the company’s site .
“Security continues to slow down the adoption of
DevOps and cloud as it grasps for solutions to
these new business imperatives. We are changing
that, ” said Andrew Peterson, CEO and cofounder of
Signal Sciences. “Signal Sciences WPP allows
appsec teams to collaborate with their development
and operations teams to automate security and
release secure software faster, thus enabling their
business to run quicker.”
Some features in the platform include its ability to
work across modern architectures like the cloud,
containers, PaaS or IaaS. Signal Sciences’ WPP
also protects customers from the OWASP’s Top 10,
application DDoS, account takeovers, and other
threat models for applications.
In addition, WPP has the ability to integrate with
software like Atlassian JIRA, Datadog, PagerDuty,
Slack, Splunk, and others. The platform’s API-first
design also lets customers create their own
integrations as well.
2017-05-09 14:00 Madison Moore
83 / 155
Highly skilled professionals at
risk of being replaced by
Artificial intelligence (AI) could go beyond replacing
repetitive tasks and replace some of the tasks of
skilled professionals in medicine, law and IT over
the next five years.
Repetitive tasks, including IT and business
processes as well as more complex financial
advice roles, are already being completed by
software robots and replacing thousands of people
But according to Gartner, by 2022 even tasks
completed by highly skilled professionals in
medicine, law and IT could be replaced.
“The economics of AI and machine learning will
lead to many tasks performed by professionals
today becoming low-cost utilities, ” said Gartner
vice-president Stephen Prentice .
“Many competitive, high-margin industries will
become more like utilities as AI turns complex work
into a metered service that the enterprise pays for,
such as electricity.”
Gartner gave an example of a lawyer’s role being
taken over by a machine: “A lawyer undergoes a
long, expensive period of education and training.
Any enterprise that hires lawyers must pay salary
and benefits big enough to compensate for this
training for each successive lawyer it hires.
“On the other hand, a smart machine that
substitutes for a lawyer also requires a long,
expensive period of training. But after the first smart
machine, the enterprise can add as many other
smart machines as it wants for little extra cost.”
Gartner also cited the insurance industry as a
potential home for AI. Roles that carry out loan
origination and insurance claims adjustment could
be automated, it said.
This is already a reality, with Fukoku Mutual Life
Insurance in Japan saying it will replace more than
30 staff by using IBM Watson cognitive computing
software to read medical documents that are used
to assess payments. The robots will calculate
payment amounts but final decisions will continue
to be made by a human.
Meanwhile, in the financial services sector, SEB in
Sweden is using IPsoft’s cognitive technology for
customer services.
The software robot known as Amelia, which was
launched in 2014, has an understanding of the
semantics of language and can learn to solve
business process queries like a human. It can read
300 pages in 30 seconds and learn through
experience by observing the interactions between
human agents and customers.
But Gartner has some better news for human
workforces, claiming new, more rewarding jobs will
emerge. “While AI will hit employment numbers in
some industries, many others will benefit as AI and
automation handle routine and repetitive tasks,
leaving more time for the existing workforce to
improve service levels, handle more challenging
aspects of the role and even ease stress levels in
some high-pressure environments, ” it said.
CIOs, as the in-house AI expert, will play a key role
in ensuring the adoption the technology leads to
progress in the business, and at the same time they
must use it to transform the IT operation.
Gartner said AI will replace routine functions of the
IT organisation, such as system administration, help
desk, project management and application support.
“Some roles will disappear, but AI will improve
some skills shortages, and the IT organisation as a
whole will increasingly focus on more creative work
that differentiates the enterprise, ” it added.
The recent World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos,
Switzerland, discussed the risks posed by
technology to jobs and political stability.
Problems highlighted by the WEF’s Global risks
2017 report included the fact that, as a result of AI
and other disruptive technologies, long-term jobs
were giving way to self-employment in the “gig”
economy, leaving individuals to shoulder more
responsibility for the costs of unemployment,
sickness and old age.
2017-05-09 14:00 Karl Flinders
84 / 155
Nexsan Unity goes all-flash
but leaves NVMe on the backburner
Nexsan has upgraded its Unity multiprotocol
storage arrays with all-flash options, Intel Xeon
processors, increased memory, boosted capacities
and bandwidths.
It also has integrated policy-based migration –
Unity Active Archive – which can be managed from
the array UI .
Meanwhile, Nexsan has decided to hold off on
introducing NVMe capability on grounds of cost and
fit with its customer base.
Nexsan’s unified storage arrays – which allow SAN
and NAS access as well as file sync and share –
have been upgraded with Intel Xeon processors, a
leap of two generations from previous processors
and a performance jump of around 6x, according to
Nexsan founder Gary Watson .
Also, all-flash options of Nexsan arrays are now
available in boxes from entry-level to high-end. And
flash has become standard as an accelerator
cache, with two slots reserved at least in all array
Now the entry level 2200 series can house up to
182TB of flash or 280TB of spinning disk (plus flash
acceleration) . The mid-range 4400 series can
scale to 1.7PB with spinning disk and 737TB as an
all-flash array. The high end 6900 goes to 4.6TB or
1.6PB as an all-flash array.
“We’ re seeing a transformation in which customers
are transitioning to flash as a mainstream option, ”
said Watson.
Unity Active Archive comes from Nexsan’s
Assureon, which has existed as a separate product
– with an object storage-based back-end – for the
best part of 10 years. The issue was that the Unity
operating environment was Unix -based and
Assureon didn’ t have a Unix client. Nexsan
therefore developed one, and policy-based
archiving can now be run from the Unity UI.
When asked about NVMe, Watson said Nexsan has
developed a “24-bay NVMe product with IOPS
around the 10 million mark about two years ago”.
“We just about got it working, but decided it was not
our core focus, ” he said. “We might go back to it
later this year. We’ ll focus on what we’ re doing, but
if we decide to play in it [NVMe] , we know how to.”
“But to get the advantages of NVMe you need to
transfer bare metal over the wire, which means
NVMe-over-fabrics. Unity today has iSCSI, Fibre
Channel and NAS protocols, so it’s hard to see the
usefulness of that.”
2017-05-09 14:00 Antony Adshead
85 / 155
Why Failure is Critical to
DevOps Culture
It’s no secret that in order to fully adopt a DevOps
culture, it requires acceptance of change from the
C-level, down. The tricky part is that there is no
roadmap or “step-by-step” guide to change a
company’s culture, because every company is
vastly different. A business can’ t simply say, “Right
now we’ re going to start doing DevOps, ” because
so much of the change is cultural and requires an
ongoing conversation to see the bigger picture.
One critically important concept for any
organization beginning to adopt its own DevOps
culture is by accepting the idea of “Learning from
Failure.” If your team or company culture does not
place a high value on learning and striving for
improving upon failure in processes, tools, and
individuals in a continuous manner, then any efforts
to roll out DevOps will fail. This is why the ‘culture of
DevOps’ comes up so frequently and why it
frustrates many who strongly hold on to ‘old-view’
methods of managing development and operations.
companies have a hard time grasping this idea of
failure as a success. Naturally, companies want to
be able to mitigate as many instances of outages
and glitches, which can not only be financially
detrimental but can also tarnish the brand image.
But if a company has the mindset of limiting failure,
that can directly conflict with wanting to improve
and stay ahead of the market competition. The only
way to do that is to continuously learn, and if we’ re
not allowing ourselves to learn because we’ re
attempting to prevent mistakes (which is effectively
impossible) , then no growth occurs.
Of course, this is easier said than done, and is
something that requires a “safe space.” Companies
need to create a culture where failure is okay and
understand that everyone is there to learn from
each other. This is exactly what blameless
postmortems, a process for evaluating the success
(or failure) of a project's ability to meet business
goals, are designed to help with. It’s important to
not point fingers, because everyone is there to
understand the same thing: what can we learn?
Additionally, without this acceptance of failure
within an organization, many employees may be
inclined to cover up mistakes in an effort to avoid
reprimand. If there is a mentality that “heads will
roll, ” and someone could lose their job when these
issues are surfaced, all that does is incentivize
silence and complacency. To an employee, there’s
no value to letting everyone know what they
experienced, what they did, what the results were,
and what they were thinking. However, some
companies with a working DevOps culture actually
reward employees for uncovering flaws and failures
as they can now use that information to improve the
overall functionality and availability.
Trust is essential for this to occur, and again, that
starts from the top. Encouraging “learning from
failure” is the quintessential aspect of DevOps that
makes it what it is, and is an area where many
organizations and IT pros fall short. When we
empower teams to continuously learn from their
mistakes, their ability to adapt and grow becomes a
organization’s success. After all, isn’ t that the
ultimate goal for any business?
Jason Hand, DevOps Evangelist at VictorOps, is a
well-known thought leader in the DevOps space,
having recently won the “Top DevOps Evangelist”
award in the 2017 DevOps Dozen awards. Jason is
co-organizer of DevOpsDays – Rockies, and has
spent the last two years presenting and building
content on a number of DevOps topics such as
Blameless Post-mortems, ChatOps, and modern
Incident Management (author of both “ ChatOps –
Managing Operations in Group Chat ” and “
ChatOps for Dummies ”) . A frequent speaker at
DevOps-related events and conferences around
the country, Jason enjoys talking to audiences
large and small on a variety of technical and non-
technical subjects.
2017-05-09 14:00
86 / 155
SoftBank's tech fund will soon
announce it's raised $95
billion: Report
SoftBank is close to announcing that its technology
fund has raised $95 billion, according to a
Bloomberg report, citing people familiar with the
The announcement will be as soon as next week.
Companies like Apple and Qualcomm have
previously said that they're investing money.
Softbank will contribute $25 billion of its own capital
to the fund over the next five years. The Abu Dhabi
based Mubadala Development Company is also
expected to commit as much as $15 billion, people
familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
SoftBank has agreed to spend more than $30
billion on technology companies itself in the last 12
months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Read the entire Bloomberg report.
2017-05-09 13:47 Chantel McGee
87 / 155
Silicon Valley is missing a 'big
opportunity' because it doesn't
understand poor people Medicaid chief
Silicon Valley might be hunting unicorns in the
wrong places.
According to one top federal health official,
entrepreneurs and investors are overlooking one
massive population: Low-income Americans who
qualify for Medicaid.
That's a big mistake, given that new funds are
available for those that are bringing IT innovation to
the space, said Medicaid chief medical officer
Andrey Ostrovsky.
"My gut is that it's a big opportunity with $500 billion
in federal spend every year in a system that hasn't
evolved technologically much since 1965, "
Ostrovsky said.
"There are unicorns sitting in there, " he added.
Ostrovsky, a doctor and former health entrepreneur,
hit the headlines in March for speaking out against
the Republican plan to replace Obamacare, despite
the potential fallout from his political bosses. He
describes that decision as one that was "morally
necessary, " as he took a Hippocratic oath to protect
Ostrovsky said he grew up in project housing in
Baltimore, Maryland. His family was reliant on
Medicaid for three years.
These days, he spends a lot of time thinking about
how he got out of the projects and become a
successful doctor, while many of his childhood
friends did not. And he regularly takes his five-yearold son to homeless shelters to "interact with fellow
human beings who have the cards stacked up
against them."
The health-technology sector is booming, with
investors pouring $4.2 billion into the space last
year alone.
But only a tiny fraction of these technologies are
targeted to disadvantaged communities. Fitbit
activity bracelets or doctor-scheduling apps aren't
particularly useful for those who are homeless, or
lack reliable Internet access.
According to Ostrovsky, investors have shied away
from Medicaid populations in part due to the
complexity. But he suspects that another major
reason is the lack of empathy and understanding of
human needs.
So he recently took to Twitter to publicly invite
Silicon Valley investors to spend a "few weeks
homeless, functionally impaired or caring for a child
with complex needs." On a phone call with CNBC,
he said an experience like this is "bread and butter"
for design thinking and customer development.
"How else will a VC understand deal flow for a
population for served by Medicaid?"
Overall, he's optimistic about the increasing flow of
dollars into health care, especially for efforts that
support the shift from volume-based care (payment
based on tests and procedures) to value-based
care (payment based on outcomes) . But he thinks
that Silicon Valley has a long way to go to evolve its
thesis, to ensure
of all
"I can't stress enough that I want to serve as an
open door between Silicon Valley and Medicaid, "
he said.
2017-05-09 13:47 Christina Farr
88 / 155
Fox harassment claims create
clouds around Sky takeover
A U. K. scandal torpedoed Rupert Murdoch's first
attempt to take control of British-based broadcaster
Sky. Now claims of sexual harassment at his U. S.based Fox News are creating storm clouds around
a second.
A woman who says she was mistreated by former
Fox TV star Bill O'Reilly is calling on British
regulators to reject 21st Century Fox's bid to buy the
61 percent of Sky that it doesn't already own, saying
the deal would allow Fox to bring a culture of
sexual and racial harassment to the U. K.
Experts say that on current evidence the claims are
unlikely to derail the bid for Sky, though it's still too
early to know for sure. The takeover values Sky,
which broadcasts Premier League soccer and top
film offerings across Europe, at 18.5 billion pounds
($24 billion) .
For Fox, the situation is all too reminiscent of
Britain's phone-hacking scandal, in which
journalists working for Murdoch newspapers were
accused of gaining illegal access to the voicemail
messages of celebrities, members of the royal
family and crime victims. Murdoch's News Corp.
withdrew its previous bid for Sky in 2012, amid
fallout from the scandal.
News Corp. in 2013 split itself into two companies,
with 21st Century Fox focusing on broadcast and
cable television, as well as film and TV studios.
Ofcom, Britain's telecommunications regulator, is
currently reviewing the proposed deal to determine
whether it is in the public interest. Among the issues
it will consider is whether those who manage the
entity are "fit and proper" to hold a broadcasting
license, a test that provides broad latitude for
regulators and the politicians who will make the
Critics of the deal want Ofcom to take into account
lawsuits filed in the United States alleging racial
and sexual harassment at Fox News, a unit of 21st
Century Fox.
Fox has moved to fire problematic employees, even
senior ones such as O'Reilly, who denies any
wrongdoing. That has led many analysts to suggest
that Murdoch's companies were trying to show
there's a new culture in the media empire as
Rupert's sons take on bigger roles.
Rupert Murdoch is executive chairman of 21st
Century Fox and News Corp. His son Lachlan is
also executive chairman of Fox and chairman of
News Corp., while James Murdoch is CEO of Fox
and chairman of Sky.
In another example of aggressive house-cleaning,
the Financial Times reported that News Corp. has
decided to part company with Kelvin MacKenzie,
former editor of the Sun, Britain's biggest
newspaper by circulation. MacKenzie has been at
the center of controversy since last month when he
wrote a piece comparing England soccer player
Ross Barkley, who has a Nigerian grandfather, to a
Fox did not immediately respond to an email
request for comment. However, when Rupert
Murdoch was asked by the BBC outside his offices
in New York whether Ofcom was going to consider
what's happening at Fox News, he shook his head
and said "nothing's happening at Fox News.
The company has in the past said it "welcomes a
thorough and thoughtful regulatory review."
"We believe this transaction is in the interest of the
U. K., its creative economy and its consumers, " the
firm told the Department for Culture Media and
Sport. "For the past 30 years, (21st Century Fox)
and Sky have been broadcasters of good standing
in the UK, a responsibility we take seriously."
One of the people to come to London to speak with
Ofcom is Wendy Walsh, a psychologist and Los
Angeles radio host who was once a regular guest
on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor."
Walsh said many women were unable to speak out
because Fox's way of dealing with the complaints
was to pay women off and muzzle them with
disclosure agreements. She says the bid for Sky
should be blocked because media companies have
a special role in society.
"A corporation should not become a monopoly over
a media entity, " she told The Associated Press.
"The role of the media has always been to be the
Fourth Estate, the watchdog on government and
greedy corporations. You are not supposed to be
the greedy corporation."
Attorney Douglas Wigdor, who represents 21
people who have complaints against Fox, also
plans to travel to Britain later this week to speak
with Ofcom.
Wigdor, with represented Nafissatou Diallo, the
chambermaid who accused ex-International
Monetary Fund boss Dominque Strauss-Kahn of
sexual assault, said he had a responsibility to
inform regulators about the complaints from his
clients about Fox.
"I refer to them as 18th-Century Fox, " he said,
arguing that the company's behavior is more typical
of that century.
Under British law, Ofcom examines whether people
who control media enterprises have "a genuine
commitment" to broadcast standards. The regulator
also has "an ongoing duty to be satisfied that the
holders of broadcast licenses are fit and proper to
be licensed."
But it remains to be seen whether regulators will be
swayed by the storm.
Media analyst Alice Enders of Enders Analysis said
that while Ofcom will listen to the testimony and
take such evidence into account, phone hacking
and sexual harassment are very different types of
"People are fanning the flames and the smoke
signals are rising, but it's got to be more than a
group of people aggrieved by their workplace
environment, " Enders said.
Enders said added that it was also important to be
judicious in the conclusions drawn.
"I think it's very important that we realize that people
are typically innocent until proven guilty so every
allegation that's made around 21st Century Fox is
not, in fact, " she said.
Walsh is unapologetic. She believes she is in a
unique position to speak out.
"I just want this to be an example, " she said. "Large
companies can't do business this way."
2017-05-09 13:36 By
89 / 155
8 Laptops That Will Run
Microsoft's Windows 10S Page: 1
Laptops For Education
When Microsoft unveiled Windows 10S, a new
version of Windows 10 tailored to the needs of
education, the company also unveiled a new
device (the Surface Laptop) that will run the
operating system. But Microsoft will have plenty of
company. HP, Dell, Samsung, Asus, Acer, Fujitsu
and Toshiba are also planning Windows 10S
laptops (nothing from Lenovo so far) . Many of the
laptops have similar specs to those of
Chromebooks—which Windows 10S intends to
compete with in schools—though not all of them do.
Microsoft said that Windows 10S will be available
this summer, but didn't give a specific date. Pricing
has also not been released for all of the devices,
though Microsoft disclosed that the new devices will
start at $189. The Surface Laptop will be
considerably higher than the others, starting at
In the following slides, we've rounded up the key
details on eight Windows 10S laptops that were
disclosed by Microsoft this month.
2017-05-09 13:36 Kyle Alspach
90 / 155
Apple's former CEO shares
the one iPhone feature he'd
like to see next
Apple has plans to push its services revenue into
hyper growth — but it won't be able to do it without
improving iPhone battery life, said former Apple
CEO John Sculley.
"I think the iPhone is still, probably, the most
valuable product in the world, and should continue
that way for some time, " Sculley told CNBC's "
Squawk on the Street " on Tuesday. "The iPhone
has more and more services, and more of them are
video, the battery life becomes a big issue."
Reports of about the next iPhone have centered
around features like a flexible organic LED screen,
wireless charging and the bigger batteries allowed
by the lack of a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack,
Sculley said. In part, that's because those features
allow batteries to last longer for draining activities,
like watching movies from the cloud, Sculley said.
These kinds of questions translate to big money for
Apple. Last week, Apple reported that services
revenue —sales from the App Store, digital content,
AppleCare, Apple Pay and licensing — rose 18
percent year-over-year, the fastest growth rate of
any segment Apple disclosed. Plus, current CEO
Tim Cook said that rumors about the next iPhone
may have led to delayed purchases in the first three
months of the year.
"I think everyone is anticipating a huge refresh
cycle when the next iPhone comes out, " Sculley
said. "Also, the iPhone become more valuable as
new services become more attractive, even ones
not offered by Apple. And, of course, Apple is
growing its service revenue as well."
Shares of Apple's stock hit yet another all-time
intraday high on Tuesday, reaching $154.68 a
share. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite also
broke new records.
With a whopping $256.8 billion in cash, Apple has
invested in new content, like a Tribeca Film Festival
movie, for Apple Music.
"I'm not involved with Apple, but it would be logical
for them to want to move into content, " Sculley said.
"I mean, look at the activity that's going on with
Amazon: They're getting deep into content, some
very high quality, which is always an Apple
Sculley, who was once a marketing guru at Pepsi,
made headlines at the helm of Apple for his close
relationship — and subsequent fallout with —
founder Steve Jobs. When asked, Sculley
dismissed the idea that Apple has failed to innovate
without Jobs, saying he thinks new products like
cars and artificial intelligence are likely to come
from Apple in the 2020s.
"I think the company is extremely well-led — I think
Tim Cook's done a great job, " Sculley said. "The
bigger question I think is, 'What happens after the
iPhone .... and will it still look like an iPhone?' Or
will it have a completely different form factor?"
2017-05-09 13:32 Anita Balakrishnan
91 / 155
How high can weed tech go?
Pretty high if you ask Silicon
Before recreational marijuana usage became legal
in eight states, weed tech typically stayed in the
realm of online discussions. In fact, it wasn’ t that
long ago that bongs and rolling paper were the
most sophisticated ways to partake of weed.
Now, though, the mixture of recreational and
medicinal marijuana laws has brought legal weed
to more than half the country. As a result, Silicon
Valley and other major technology players have
become highly interested in developing weed tech.
Win a trip to Amsterdam!
We've teamed up with Product Hunt to offer you the
chance to win an all expense paid trip to TNW
Conference 2017!
We've teamed up with Product Hunt to offer you the
chance to win an all expense paid trip to TNW
Conference 2017! TNW Conference CHECK IT
This rapidly expanding industry has already
spawned an international annual convention,
Cannatech, which brings innovative minds together
to discuss new advances in weed tech. Presenters
and attendees have helped create and produce
some truly impressive pieces of technology that
take marijuana products out of the local head shop
and give them a very modern twist. Cannatech
Whether you use marijuana or simply have a soft
spot for cool tech, there’s a lot in the weed world
that’s worth looking at. For example, proper lighting
has always been necessary for indoor growth, but
this used to be very cumbersome and expensive.
Advances in LED technology have brought the cost
and energy consumption down. It’s also now
possible to create customized light spectrums with
LEDs, which could lead to big changes in
marijuana strains.
Other pieces of weed tech that are worth keeping
an eye on include:
1. Solvent extractors
One of the biggest recent changes in marijuana is
the ability to extract cannabis concentrate. This
takes the form of solvents such as rosin hash oil.
Within the past year, solvent extractors have
become increasingly available, and weed tech
leaders have made it possible to extract solvent in
larger quantities and at lower temperatures. The
end result provides a different type of high, and
solvent extractors are now being produced for
home usage. extract cannabis concentrate
2. Discreet vaping
Vaping technology has given new life to the
tobacco industry, and it’s also become a major
component of marijuana usage. Vaping removes a
lot of the stigma involved with lighting a joint or
smoking a bowl because most people cannot tell
what you’ re vaping. Additionally, the latest vaping
devices offer features that make them even more
discreet. For instance, the PAX 3 can be partially
controlled via a smartphone app. partially
controlled via a smartphone app
3. Cannabutter Machines
Marijuana edibles are a big business, especially in
medicinal marijuana shops. But what about people
who take care of everything for themselves at
home? Cannabutter devices such as the
MagicalButter Machine have popped up recently,
and they enable users to mix buds and trim, butter
and a few herbs into an edible product that doesn’ t
emit any smell. Therefore, people can keep their
marijuana usage completely private and avoid
negative encounters
4. Plug ‘n Plant Grow Systems
Perhaps the most impressive weed tech is the
development of automated miniature grow houses.
The plug ‘n plant grow system from LEAF
automatically controls the climate, light and nutrient
dosing to deliver the best possible results. These
systems are expensive, so they’ re targeted at highend users and cultivators. If the price isn’ t a
deterrent, though, you could also use this approach
to grow other crops. plug ‘n plant grow system
Many tech companies are working on products that
physically interact with marijuana, but there’s also a
big interest in apps that help manage everything. A
popular example is GrowBuddy, which offers an
anonymous way to carefully monitor the process of
marijuana plants. This is intended to help people
obtain better growing results. By combining this
with a grower’s marketplace, the developers of
GrowBuddy are able to tap into a niche group of
buyers. GrowBuddy
Other existing products, including LEAF’s plug ‘n
plant system, can be controlled or enhanced by an
app. There are also many social networking
opportunities via apps for growers and marijuana
enthusiasts. Tapping into this market is a no-brainer
for app developers, and the value of these apps
should continue to increase as marijuana laws
One major challenge that weed tech faces is the
issue of how to advertise it. Although it’s not
technically illegal to advertise marijuana shops and
products on television, there are numerous
restrictions in place that make this traditional form of
advertising practically impossible to utilize.
Companies working with weed tech may also be
turned down by print publications. This is because
there is a lot of concern about children seeing ads
related to marijuana. Just like cigarettes and
alcohol, there is an age requirement for legally
purchasing recreational and medicinal marijuana.
As a result, it’s typically not possible to purchase
advertising unless the media source in question is
also intended solely for adults.
The marijuana and weed tech industries have been
doing a good job of policing themselves to avoid
legal issues with advertisements. A prime example
is the fact that many companies make website
visitors enter their birthdate before they can access
the site’s content.
Building a website and social media presence is an
important first step, but getting the word out is
further complicated by ad restrictions placed by
Google AdWords and Facebook. However, many
companies have found great success by taking
advantage of influencer marketing for marijuana. In
a nutshell, this involves finding highly influential
social media users and working with them to get
your company’s link shared with a large audience.
influencer marketing for marijuana
It may be complicated to advertise marijuana and
weed tech, but there’s still a big market for it. As
weed tech becomes even more sophisticated and
viewpoints about legal marijuana continue to relax,
we can expect to see an even bigger focus on this
industry from the leaders of Silicon Valley.
With 13 percent of Americans regularly using
marijuana, it’s only a matter of time before ads
become more commonplace. Non-users may also
end up benefiting from alternate applications for the
weed tech that’s currently being created. In other
words, this growing industry appears to be a winwin for tech innovators. 13 percent of Americans
Contributors Silicon Valley weed regulations weed
Sit back and let the hottest tech news come to you
by the magic of electronic mail.
Prefer to get the news as it happens? Follow us on
social media.
Got two minutes to spare? We'd love to know a bit
more about our readers. Start! Start!
All data collected in the survey is anonymous.
2017-05-09 13:30 Andrei Tiburca
92 / 155
NVIDIA to train 100,00
developers on deep learning
NVIDIA is on a mission to close the expertise gap in
the field of artificial intelligence. At the GPU
Technology Conference this week in Silicon Valley,
the company announced plans to increase the
amount of AI developers by the tenfold this year.
Through the NVIDIA Deep Learning Institute, the
company plans to train 100,000 developers, data
scientists and researchers on the latest AI tools and
“AI is the defining technology of our generation, ”
said Greg Estes, vice president of developer
programs at NVIDIA. “To meet overwhelming
demand from enterprises, government agencies
and universities, we are dramatically expanding the
breadth and depth of our offerings, so developers
worldwide can learn how to leverage this
transformative technology.”
Its institution will provide instructor-led workshops,
on-demand access to training, and access to
NVIDIA software. In addition, the company is
expanding its curriculum to include deep learning
for self-driving cars, healthcare, web services,
robotics, video analytics and financial services.
Coursework will also be available online and
through hands on labs across Asia, Europe and the
United States.
“There is a real demand for developers who not
only understand artificial intelligence, but know how
to apply it in commercial applications, ” said
Christian Plagemann, vice president of Content at
Udacity, who will be working with the institute on
self-driving car content. “NVIDIA is a leader in the
application of deep learning technologies and we’
re excited to work closely with their experts to train
the next generation of artificial intelligence
practitioners.” The Deep Learning Institute is also
expanding to include new deep learning training
labs, new coursework for educators, and new DLI
certified training partners. The company will work
with Microsoft Azure, IBM Power and IBM Cloud
teams to bring the institute’s content to cloud
2017-05-09 13:30 Christina Cardoza
93 / 155
Large UK businesses
increasingly want CEOs to
have IT background
Large UK businesses are increasingly looking for
CEOs with a background in IT as they attempt to
keep pace with digital transformation.
According to analysis of FTSE 100 companies,
carried out by recruitment firm Robert Half UK, the
number of CEOs with a background in IT has
trebled over the past four years, with one in 10
CEOs now in the UK’s top 100 companies having a
background in IT.
In 2014, only three CEOs had a background in IT
but this has now increased to 11.CEOs with a
background in finance still dominate the role in the
FTSE, at 43% of CEOs, but this has reduced from
55% in 2016. This demonstrates the impact of
digital across industry sector because it used to
often be a struggle to get a seat on company
Large businesses today are updating their internal
operations through the latest IT infrastructures and
transform their customer facing businesses through
technologies such as mobile, cloud, big data,
artificial intelligence and social media.
As IT is seen as a business enabler rather than just
a way to cut costs, an understanding of how these
technologies can be applied to business models is
essential for CEOs to have.
“With digital transformation, automation and GDPR
offering challenges and opportunities, growth
remains the number one priority for all businesses
– small and large, ” said Phil Sheridan, senior
managing director at Robert Half UK.
“Strong leadership that can deliver profitability and
create a sustainable advantage against competitors
and new market entrants is key.”
The rise of CIOs to the top job is clearly gathering
pace after signs of change over the past couple of
years. In November 2015, a survey from Deloitte of
1,200 technology leaders in 43 countries showed
that CIOs have the opportunity to drive business
strategy in a way that has not been possible before.
The Robert Half study also found an education from
Oxford or Cambridge universities is no less of a
prerequisite for a CEO job at an FTSE company.
The proportion of CEOs with an education at one of
these universities has declined from 23% to 17%
since 2010. Just under a quarter (23%) have an
MBA, and four CEOs hold a PhD.
2017-05-09 13:30 Karl Flinders
94 / 155
Target aims to bring
household essentials to your
front door Video
Transcript for Target aims to bring household
essentials to your front door
It today said Mike's target wants to bring household
essentials to your front door is testing a new service
called target re stuck that would compete with
Amazon pantry. Customers will be able to have
basic items delivered to their homes by the next
business day. Proper navigation app ways has
used lots of celebrity voices birds turn by turn
directions when you edition you may have. Herded
Mr. T but now it lets you record your own voice so
you can give directions yourself. It's all part of a new
update for android users. Balance of integrated yet.
It's harder Vermont and Oreo cookie but even Oreo
thinks it can be done that Disco is holding a contest
for a creamy flavor stick it text your idea posted on
Orioles web site or posted on social media. But the
hash tag might Oreo creations and the price for first
place. Half a million dollars but how many Aureus
you get that this truly priceless does your tech bytes
This transcript has been automatically generated
and may not be 100% accurate.
2017-05-09 13:28 ABC News
95 / 155
Did cloud kill backup?
With enterprises rapidly adopting hybrid and multicloud infrastructure and migrating traditional
workloads to the cloud, distributed architectures
have become de-facto standard, but traditional
backup and recovery strategies have not kept pace.
A new cloud-first approach to data protection is
According to IDC, 70% of CIOs have a cloud-first
strategy, and it is safe to assume most enterprises
have a multi-cloud infrastructure, deploying
applications on the best suited cloud whether
private, public or managed. This evolution to multicloud has created two transformative shifts that are
disrupting the application tier of the infrastructure
First, next-generation applications born in the cloud
are being deployed on next-generation distributed,
non-relational databases such as Apache
Cassandra, MongoDB, Apache HBase, and many
others. As non-relational databases, they offer highavailability but compromise consistency. For
analytics applications, businesses are now rapidly
deploying either on-premises analytical data-stores
such as Apache HDFS / Hadoop or cloud-native
databases such as Amazon Redshift and Google
BigQuery. To further complicate matters, these nextgeneration applications are deployed both on
public cloud infrastructure and on-premise private
Secondly, traditional data center applications are
migrating to the cloud. While these applications are
still predominantly deployed on relational
databases such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL
Server, the balance is shifting towards deployment
on next-generation cloud-native databases such as
Amazon DynamoDB. The explosive growth of
Amazon Web Services database business, growing
to more than $2B in just three years, is but one
example of this shift.
Any enterprise that has a multitude of applications
and databases is living in a multi-cloud world and
the implications are profound. From a CIO’s
perspective, there are several strategic takeaways.
First, applications dictate the choice of cloud. For
example, if you have applications that leverage
Oracle’s Exadata platform, you are not going to
move the Oracle Exadata platform to AWS, but
rather to Oracle Cloud. Similarly, for Microsoft SQL
Server-specific applications, you will likely move
these applications either to Microsoft Azure public
cloud or Amazon AWS. Not surprisingly, new and
modern applications that are deployed on nonrelational and modern databases will be deployed
from the get-go on cloud-first infrastructure.
Second, use-cases cross cloud boundaries. In
addition to protection of entire applications that
have migrated to the cloud, organizations need to
move data sets to the cloud for testing,
development or analytics, migrating inactive data to
the cloud for cost efficiency, and bringing data back
on-premises for compliance and governance.
The bottom line is CIOs need a new backup and
recovery strategy, as part of an overall data
management strategy, to thrive in the multi-cloud
world. CIOs need to proactively plan and execute a
data protection strategy that not only provides data
protection for hyper-scale, distributed applications
born in-the-cloud, but also provides the freedom to
best leverage all their cloud resources as dictated
by application requirements.
The requirements for data protection in a multicloud world require a fundamentally different
approach than traditional data protection. There are
a number of key capabilities to look for when opting
for a backup and recovery strategy that can keep
pace with your overall cloud migration:
When done right, adopting a cloud-first data
protection strategy in a multi-cloud environment can
unlock benefits previously unattainable within
traditional boundaries, such as delivering complete
availability and performance, which provides failure
resiliency to the data protection infrastructure as
well as flexible recovery point objectives from
minutes to hours. And using application-centric
deduplication can provide space-efficient backups,
achieving up to 70% reduction in secondary
storage cost.
So, did cloud kill backup? Most certainly not! But it
does necessitate a reinvention of data protection for
the new normal of the multi-cloud world. Digital
transformation is driving mainstream adoption of a
multi-cloud infrastructure, ushering in a new era of
hyper-scale, distributed applications which are
becoming the bedrock of organizations’ go-forward
strategy. To keep pace with this transformation,
CIOs need to ensure their data is always available,
and this requires them to take a fresh look at their
requirements and the technologies they use to
address these challenges.
2017-05-09 13:23 Tarun Thakur
96 / 155
Apple is no longer the most
innovative of companies, said
Walter Isaacson
Apple is no longer the world's leader in innovation,
Aspen Institute CEO Walter Isaacson told CNBC on
Instead, companies like Google and Amazon are
the new leaders, he said.
"Apple is no longer the most innovative of
companies, " said Isaacson. "But they are good at
execution, " he said.
The innovation in the virtual assistant space, for
example, is coming from Google and Amazon, not
Apple, Isaacson said.
He's surprised Apple hasn't moved it's virtual
assistant Siri into the home. "I use both Amazon
Alexa, and Google Home ... sometimes I let them
compete, " said Isaacson. The value of the virtual
assistant model isn't just the hardware, but the
potential for an ecosystem of apps, he said.
Apple will likely release a home assistant device
soon — possibly this summer — but Isaacson
thinks it could be too late for the company to catch
up in that space. Instead, Apple should look at other
areas that are ripe for innovation.
"You could have a great company -- and Apple is a
great company -- without having really a next big
thing, but it isn't in Apple's DNA to be that way, "
said Isaacson.
2017-05-09 13:19 Chantel McGee
97 / 155
Hate laundry day? Samsung
FlexWash, FlexDry handle two
loads at a time
For many people, doing laundry is one of the most
Samsung’s FlexWash and FlexDry machines, now
available for purchase, can reduce the amount of
time you have to spend doing laundry by allowing
you to complete two laundry loads — a large load
and a small one — at the same time.
“FlexWash and FlexDry provide a new level of
flexibility for people to customize the way they care
for their clothes, no matter if they’ re doing large or
small loads, darks or lights, delicates or regulars,
even hot washes or cold, ” said John Herrington,
senior vice president, general manager of home
appliances, Samsung Electronics America.
The FlexWash machine features a lower washer
with a 5.0 cubic foot capacity, as well as an
additional top load compartment with a 1.0 cubic
foot capacity. This allows you to place a large load
full of your dark clothing in the main compartment,
while you wash a few light-colored tops or infant
clothing items in the top compartment. The FlexDry
machine has a large (7.5 cubic foot) bottom
compartment for your everyday loads. The top
compartment lets you gently dry delicate items, like
your favorite silk top.
You don’ t need to hire a contractor or take on
additional construction or plumbing to set up the
FlexWash machine. Samsung reports that
installation is similar to most standard washers.
Both the FlexWash and FlexDry are “smart, ” and
allow you to do things like monitor and schedule
washer and dryer cycles from your smartphone.
You can get the FlexWash and FlexDry machines in
black, white, or stainless steel for a starting price of
$1,599 each. The dryer also comes in a gas or
electric version. The price of these machines is
higher than many other smart laundry machines,
which typically range from around $700 to $1,500
depending on the brand and features. Typical smart
washing machines do not, however, offer the ability
to complete more than one laundry load at the
same time.
2017-05-09 13:15 Erika Rawes
98 / 155
Celiac Disease Linked to
Higher Risk of Pneumonia
CHICAGO — People with celiac disease may face
an increased risk of pneumococcal infections, a
new meta-analysis finds.
Pneumococcal infections are caused by the
bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae. The most
common illness that the bacterium causes is
pneumonia, but it can also cause other conditions
such as bacteremia (a blood infection) .
These infections are "very preventable, " thanks to
the pneumococcal vaccine, said Dr. Malorie
Simons, a resident physician in internal medicine at
Brown University Alpert Medical School and the
lead author of the meta-analysis. Simons presented
her findings here Monday (May 8) , at Digestive
Disease Week, a scientific meeting focusing on
digestive diseases. [5 Dangerous Vaccination
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
recommends that babies under 2 and adults over
65 receive the vaccine, and that people ages 2 to
64 receive it if they have certain medical conditions,
such as asthma or diabetes, but celiac disease is
not included.
In the United Kingdom and Europe, medical
guidelines recommend that people with celiac
disease get the pneumococcal vaccine, Simons
In the meta-analysis, the researchers looked at
three large European studies that included nearly
80,000 people with celiac disease and more than
800,000 people without celiac disease. They found
that people with celiac disease had double the risk
of pneumococcal infections, compared with people
who did not have the disease.
One possible explanation for why people with
celiac disease may be at greater risk of
pneumococcal infections might be found in the
spleen, Simons told Live Science. The spleen plays
an important role in the immune system, including
helping protect the body against bacterial infections
such as S. pneumoniae, Simons said.
Problems with the spleen — including having an
abnormally small spleen — are associated with
celiac disease, Simons said. Between 20 and 80
percent of people with celiac disease may have
problems with this organ, and many are unaware of
the issue, she said.
Based on the findings of the meta-analysis, the
researchers "strongly recommend" that people with
pneumococcal infections, Simons said.
In addition, Simons stressed the importance of
following a gluten-free diet if you have celiac
disease. It appears that patients who do not strictly
follow a gluten-free diet are more at risk for
pneumococcal infections than those who do, she
The findings have not yet been published in a peerreviewed journal.
Originally published on Live Science .
2017-05-09 13:15 Sara G
99 / 155
Coffee Shops Skip Wi-Fi to
Encourage Customers to
Actually Talk
At HotBlack Coffee, a cafe in downtown Toronto,
you can get walnut butter squares, lemon poppy
seed muffins, biscotti and, of course, coffee.
But one thing you can’ t get there: Wi-Fi.
Jimson Bienenstock, the president of HotBlack, said
the shop opened last year without Wi-Fi with the
express intent of getting customers to — gasp! —
talk to one another instead of burying their faces in
“It’s about creating a social vibe, ” he said. “We’ re a
vehicle for human interaction, otherwise it’s just a
At many coffee outlets, workers set up makeshift
offices and rely on the stores’ Wi-Fi, which has
come to be considered a given — if not a right.
While HotBlack is not the first cafe to withhold Wi-Fi
from the public, industry experts said such shops
are in the minority and risk alienating customers.
Mr. Bienenstock said he has traveled extensively,
including 15 years of living in Europe, and found
that the practice of setting up a temporary
workplace in a cafe was largely confined to North
America. He said he did not see his approach as
revolutionary but as a response to society’s deep
immersion into all things digital that leads people to
seldom communicate face to face.
Customers initially were aghast at the decision.
“What do you mean you don’ t have Wi-Fi?” was a
common refrain, he said, adding that the camps are
divided between those who love it and those who
loathe it. (Only four of 28 reviews on Yelp noted the
shop’s lack of Wi-Fi.)
HotBlack, which has seating for 58, gained the
recent attention of the Canadian news media for its
counterintuitive approach, with an article in The
Globe and Mail and an interview with the Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation .
While the business does rely on volume, Mr.
Bienenstock said the lack of Wi-Fi was not meant to
get customers to linger less. He said he measured
success by the din of his shop.
“You’ d have a hell of a time concentrating in our
place because there’s so much noise, ” he said.
“There’s so many people talking to each other.”
To promote conviviality, other shops have adopted
a no-Wi-Fi policy and gone a step further: doing
away with some comfy furniture and narrowing
counters to make them less accommodating for
Caroline Bell, co-owner of Café Grumpy, said it
offers Wi-Fi only at its Greenpoint, Brooklyn,
location, which has a larger space for customers
who want to work, she wrote in an email. The cafe
does not offer Wi-Fi at its seven other New York City
Alex M. Susskind, an associate professor of food
and beverage management at the School of Hotel
Administration at Cornell University, said he saw
the lack of Wi-Fi as a detriment. Customers develop
a “habituated expectation” and would be surprised
not to have it.
“That kind of bucks the trend of what most people
go to coffeehouses for, ” he said.
A 2015 thesis by Rose K. Pozos about the “urban
sociability” of coffee shops posited that sitting alone
with a laptop in a cafe was not necessarily
“People still chose to go there instead of being
alone at home or work, ” wrote Ms. Pozos, who was
a student at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore,
Pa., at the time of her thesis. “This indicates that
there is a social reason for people to go to coffee
shops that does not involve direct interaction with
In an email, she added that other businesses, such
as the Blue Bottle Coffee, are known for lacking WiFi, but that does not stop people from coming with
laptops. To really get people to stop, some coffee
shops enforce laptop-free zones, she wrote.
Jordan Michelman, a founder of Sprudge Media
Network, which writes about coffee news and
culture, said in an email that some customers
simply rely on unlimited data plans for their
electronic devices.
Cutting off Wi-Fi has not been a trend among chainoperated coffee outlets, such as Starbucks, he
wrote, adding that HotBlack was “certainly in the
“I think a lot of shops think of offering Wi-Fi as being
somewhere between offering nice soap in the
restroom or offering a kid’s play place, ” he wrote.
“It’s not quite an essential amenity or legally
required to open, but it’s nice, it makes customers
happy, and makes your space feel more like their
2017-05-09 13:11 CHRISTOPHER MELE
100 / 155
Oracle Co-Ceo Mark Hurd On
Amazon, Microsoft, Google
And Things Steve Jobs Told
Him - Page: 1
Hurd In The Hot Seat
Oracle Co-CEO Mark Hurd touched on topics
ranging from Oracle's cloud transition to its biggest
rivals during a question-and-answer session
delivered in front of members of the press at
Oracle's Media Day on May 4 at its headquarters in
Redwood Shores, Calif.
Hurd gamely fielded most questions, especially
those that allowed him some shots at competitors.
The one area in which he ducked prodding was
politics, both declining to share his impressions of
the Trump administration and keeping mum on coCEO Safra Katz' involvement in advising the new
But Hurd wasn't shy when discussing Oracle's
cloud strategy, and sizing up the competition,
including hyper-scale heavyweights Amazon Web
Services, Google and Microsoft. For good measure,
he threw in his two cents about SAP, Salesforce,
and Workday and offered a not-entirely-enthusiastic
take on the startup landscape.
Hurd also recounted a discussion with Steve Jobs
in which the late Apple CEO compared the duties of
executives in the consumer and enterprise tech
Here are some highlights from that discussion.
2017-05-09 13:10 Joseph Tsidulko
101 / 155
Mozilla floods EU officials
with digital leaflets to fight
nonsensical copyright laws
Mozilla continues its march for better copyrights
laws in Europe and the company is back with yet
another online campaign. This time it wants your
help to drop millions of virtual leaflets from the sky
to let EU officials know that outdated copyright laws
are “threatening the health of the internet.”
Teaming up with Dutch creative studio Moniker,
Mozilla has launched an interesting campaign that
“urges EU lawmakers to modernize copyright law
for the 21st century.” Moniker
“We're hunting for awesome startups”
Run an early-stage company? We're inviting 250 to
exhibit at TNW Conference and pitch on stage!
Run an early-stage company? We're inviting 250 to
exhibit at TNW Conference and pitch on stage!
Paperstorm – as it is called – is essentially a clone
of the popular app of the same name that, instead
of virtual paper planes, unleashes countless digital
leaflets protesting the currently proposed copyright
reforms in the EU. Paperstorm popular app of the
same name
Once you’ ve dropped a certain number of leaflets,
you’ ll get a chance to tweet your complaints,
accompanied by the hashtag #FixCopyright,
directly to key officials like Chair of the EU
Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs Pavel
Svoboda. #FixCopyright
Here are a few examples:
Hi @ComodiniCachia! Me and 99 citizens want you
to #fixcopyright! We started a #paperstorm –
@ComodiniCachia #fixcopyright #paperstorm https:
— Kirsten Fiedler (@Kirst3nF) May 9,2017 May
Dear @ComodiniCachia: I have dropped 685
leaflets out of 49 208 on https: //
Please #fixcopyright @ComodiniCachia https:
// #fixcopyright
— Kevin Zawacki (@kevinzawacki) May 9,2017
May 9,2017
The campaign builds on Mozilla’s earlier initiative
that involved trolling the nonsensical copyright bill
with classic memes . trolling the nonsensical
copyright bill with classic memes
As the company explains, “if enacted, [the new
proposal] would introduce content filtering and
neighboring rights – rules that would stifle
innovation, free expression and openness online.”
“We are especially concerned about the provisions
calling for mandatory upload filters, which would
force online services from Soundcloud to eBay to
Wikipedia to monitor all content posted online in the
name of copyright protection, ” said Mozilla Senior
Policy Manager Raegan MacDonald. said
“Such an obligation would have a disastrous impact
on the internet ecosystem, repressing free
expression and wedging out smaller players, ” he
For more details about the issues with the
upcoming copyright law reforms, visit Mozilla’s
dedicated Change Copyrights website here . here
Now head to Paperstorm and make it rain on the
EU officials. Paperstorm
on The Mozilla Blog on The Mozilla Blog Insights
Sit back and let the hottest tech news come to you
by the magic of electronic mail.
Prefer to get the news as it happens? Follow us on
social media.
Got two minutes to spare? We'd love to know a bit
more about our readers. Start! Start!
All data collected in the survey is anonymous.
2017-05-09 13:08 Mix
102 / 155
‘Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’ : How to
find and use all of the
Shortcuts have been an integral part of the Mario
Kart franchise since the very beginning, but as the
series has progressed, the shortcuts have become
less pronounced. In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you aren’
t going to find any ridiculous paths that seriously cut
down the length of a track, but there are still plenty
of less-traveled points of interest to help you reach
the finish line ahead of the competition.
This shortcut guide is in alphabetical order, and
shows all of the prominent shortcuts across the
game’s 48 tracks. Naturally, you can cut corners
and use a mushroom to go off-road and create
additional, situational shortcuts. With many tracks
featuring multiple routes, you should always test out
new openings to see which ones work for you.
2017-05-09 13:08 Steven Petite
103 / 155
Buy 'repatriation stocks'
because that is sure to make
the cut in the final tax bill,
UBS says
Investors shouldn't wait to find out the exact details
of Washington's tax reform, but instead immediately
buy shares in the companies that will benefit from
the parts of the legislation most likely to survive the
partisan debate, UBS analysts said.
Repatriation, or bringing overseas profits back to
the U. S., is "one element of tax reform that both
sides of the aisle can agree on, " UBS Strategist
Julian Emanuel said in a note Sunday. His call for
the week is to "buy repatriation stocks."
"The potential for continued buybacks (and
resulting EPS uplift) from repatriation reinforces our
overweight call on Tech and Health Care, which
together hold over 80% of the offshore cash, "
Emanuel said in the note.
Source: UBS analysis of Company 10-Ks. Of the
S&P 500 constituents, 230 disclosed cash held
offshore. Cash represents cash and short-term
marketable securities. A few instances exist in
which a company includes long-term investments.
The House last week passed a Republican plan to
replace the Affordable Care Act, paving the way for
Congress to discuss tax reform. President Donald
Trump has proposed cutting the tax rate on
returning overseas profits to 10 percent from 35
percent, and many on the Street expect companies
will use their cash hoards to buy back stock.
Buybacks reduce the share count for a stock,
increasing the earnings per share and theoretically
benefiting shareholders. However, critics say cash
would be better deployed in longer-term business
investments such as capital expenditures.
S&P 500 companies hold about $2.4 trillion in
unrepatriated profits and more than $1 trillion cash
overseas, according to UBS.
In a note last week, UBS analysts listed the 10
stocks they expect will benefit the most from
Source: UBS. *Assume repatriation under the GOP
Blueprint with 75% of liquid capital and 25% of
illiquid capital used for share repurchases.
Trump did not give a specific number for
repatriation in his plan released last month.
Companies could also use repatriated cash to pay
down debt, rather than buying back shares.
2017-05-09 13:00 Evelyn Cheng
104 / 155
How a Wasp Turns
Cockroaches into Zombies
Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and
Giroux. Adapted from How Earth’s Deadliest
Creatures Mastered Biochemistry, by Christie
Wilcox. Copyright © 2016 by Christie Wilcox.
I don't know if cockroaches dream, but i imagine
that if they do, jewel wasps feature prominently in
their nightmares. These small, solitary tropical
wasps are of little concern to us humans; after all,
they don't manipulate our minds so that they can
serve us up as willing, living meals to their
newborns, as they do to unsuspecting cockroaches.
It's the stuff of horror movies, quite literally: the jewel
wasp and similar species inspired the chestbursting horrors in the Alien franchise. The story is
simple, if grotesque: the female wasp controls the
minds of the cockroaches she feeds to her
offspring, taking away their sense of fear or will to
escape their fate. But unlike what we see on the big
screen, it's not some incurable virus that turns a
once healthy cockroach into a mindless zombie—
it's venom. Not just any venom, either: a specific
venom that acts like a drug, targeting the
cockroach's brain.
Brains, at their core, are just neurons, whether
we're talking human brains or insect brains. There
are potentially millions of venom compounds that
can turn neurons on or off. So it should come as no
surprise that some venoms target the carefully
protected central nervous system, including our
brains. Some leap their way over physiological
hurdles, from remote injection locations around the
body and past the blood-brain barrier, to enter their
victims' minds. Others are directly injected into the
brain, as in the case of the jewel wasp and its
zombie cockroach host.
Jewel wasps are a beautiful if terrifying example of
how neurotoxic venoms can do much more than
paralyze. The wasp, which is often just a fraction of
the size of her victim, begins her attack from above,
swooping down and grabbing the roach with her
mouth as she aims her “stinger”—a modified egglaying body part called an ovipositor—at the middle
of the body, the thorax, in between the first pair of
legs. The quick jab takes only a few seconds, and
venom compounds work fast, paralyzing the
cockroach temporarily so the wasp can aim her
next sting with more accuracy. With her long
stinger, she targets her mind-altering venom into
two areas of the ganglia, the insect equivalent of a
The wasp's stinger is so well tuned to its victim that
it can sense where it is inside the cockroach's dome
to inject venom directly into subsections of its brain.
The stinger is capable of feeling around in the
roach's head, relying on mechanical and chemical
cues to find its way past the ganglionic sheath (the
insect's version of a blood-brain barrier) and inject
venom exactly where it needs to go. The two areas
of the roach brain that she targets are very
important to her; scientists have artificially clipped
them from cockroaches to see how the wasp reacts,
and when they are removed, the wasp tries to find
them, taking a long time with her stinger embedded
in search of the missing brain regions.
Then the mind control begins. First the victim
grooms itself, of all things; as soon as the roach's
front legs recover from the transient paralysis
induced by the sting to the body, it begins a
fastidious grooming routine that takes about half an
hour. Scientists have shown that this behavior is
specific to the venom, as piercing the head,
generally stressing the cockroach, or contact with
the wasp without stinging activity did not elicit the
same hygienic urge. This sudden need for
cleanliness can also be induced by a flood of
dopamine in the cockroach's brain, so we think that
the dopaminelike compound in the venom may be
the cause of this germophobic behavior. Whether
the grooming itself is a beneficial feature of the
venom or a side effect is debated. Some believe
that the behavior ensures a clean, fungus- and
microbe-free meal for the vulnerable baby wasp;
others think it may merely distract the cockroach for
some time as the wasp prepares the cockroach's
Dopamine is one of those intriguing chemicals
found in the brains of a broad spectrum of animal
life, from insects all the way to humans, and its
effects are vital in all these species. In our heads,
it's part of a mental “reward system”: floods of
dopamine are triggered by pleasurable things.
Because it makes us feel good, dopamine can be
wonderful, but it is also linked to addictive
behaviors and the “highs” we feel from illicit
substances like cocaine. It's impossible for us to
know if a cockroach also feels a rush of insect
euphoria when its brain floods with dopamine—but
I prefer to think it does. (It just seems too gruesome
for the animal to receive no joy from the terrible end
it is about to meet.)
While the cockroach cleans, the wasp leaves her
victim in search of a suitable location. She needs a
dark burrow where she can leave her child and the
zombie-roach offering, and it takes a little time to
find and prepare the right place. When she returns
about 30 minutes later, the venom's effects have
taken over—the cockroach has lost all will to flee. In
principle, this state is temporary: if you separate an
envenomated roach from its would-be assassin
before the larva can hatch and feed and pupate, the
zombification wears off within a week. Unfortunately
for the envenomated cockroach, that's simply too
long. Before its brain has a chance to return to
normal, the young wasp has already had its fill and
killed its host.
The motor abilities of the roach remain intact, but
the insect simply doesn't seem inclined to use them.
So the venom doesn't numb the animal's senses—it
alters how its brain responds to them. Scientists
have even shown that the stimuli that normally elicit
evasive action, such as touching the roach's wings
or legs, still send signals to the animal's brain; they
just don't evoke a behavioral response. That's
because the venom mutes certain neurons so they
are less active and responsive, leading to the
roach's sudden lack of fear and willingness to be
buried and eaten alive. This venom activity requires
toxins that target GABA-gated chloride channels.
GABA, or γ-aminobutyric acid, is one of the most
important neurotransmitters in insect—and human
—brains. If neuron activity is a party, then GABA is a
wet blanket; it dampens a neuron's ability to be
triggered through activation of chloride channels.
When chloride channels open, they allow negative
chloride ions to flow. Because these ions like to
hang out with positive ions, if these channels are
open when a sodium channel happens to open,
chloride ions can cross the membrane at almost the
same pace as sodium ions, making it harder for the
sodium ions to start the domino cascade that is
neuron signaling. Even though a neuron receives
the “go” command, the action potential is stopped in
its tracks. GABA isn't a complete inhibitor, however
—the chloride channels can't wholly keep up with
the sodium channels, so a strong stimulus can
overcome the dampening effect. This dulling
system is what the wasp co-opts to make the
cockroach do her bidding. Her venom is packed
with GABA and two other compounds that also
activate the same chloride receptors, β-alanine and
taurine. These also work to prevent the reuptake of
GABA by neurons, prolonging the effect.
Although these venom compounds can cut the
brain activity that would make her prey flee, what
they can't do is make their way to the right parts of
the cockroach brain by themselves. That's why the
wasp has to inject them directly into the cockroach's
ganglia. Fortunately for her, in a convenient quirk of
nature, the same venom that zombifies roach brains
works like magic to produce the transient paralysis
needed to line up the cranial injection. GABA, βalanine and taurine also temporarily shut down
motor neurons, so the wasp needs only one venom
to complete two very different tasks.
With her prey calm and quiescent, the wasp can
replenish her energy by breaking the roach's
antennae and drinking some sweet, nutritious
insect blood. Then she leads her victim to its final
resting place, using what remains of an antenna as
an equestrian uses the reins on a bridle. Once
inside her burrow, she attaches one egg to the
cockroach's leg, then seals her offspring and the
roach in.
As if the mind manipulation wasn't bad enough, the
wasp's venom has one final trick. While the roach
awaits its inevitable doom, the venom slows down
the roach's metabolism to ensure it lives long
enough to be devoured still fresh. One way
metabolism can be measured is by how much
oxygen is used up over time, as all animals
(including us) use oxygen in the process of creating
energy from food or fat stores. Scientists have found
that oxygen consumption by cockroaches that have
been stung is much lower than that of their healthy
roach friends. They thought this might be the result
of the reduced movement of the complacent victims,
but even when paralysis is induced by using drugs
or severing neurons, the stung cockroaches live
longer. The key to the prolonged survival seems to
be hydration. How exactly the venom acts to keep a
roach hydrated is not known, but it ensures that
when the wasp larva hatches from its egg, its meal
is ready to eat. And soon enough after that, a new
wasp emerges from the burrow, leaving the roach
carcass behind.
Jewel wasp venom is only one example of
neurotoxic venom taken to the extreme. There are
more than 130 species in the same wasp genus,
including the newly described Ampulex dementor
(named for the soul-sucking guards of the magical
prison Azkaban in the Harry Potter series) .
Ampulex belongs to a very large and diverse group
of wasps, numbering at least in the hundreds of
thousands of species, which are known for some
serious mental manipulation. All have a macabre
life cycle: as adults, they feed like other wasps and
bees, but as larvae, they must feed off other
animals. They're not quite independent, not quite
parasites—they're parasite-ish, or as scientists call
them, parasitoids.
Cockroaches are not their only targets; there are
parasitoid wasps that lay their eggs in spiders,
caterpillars and ants. The temperate Northern
Hemisphere wasp Agriotypus will dive underwater
to attach her eggs to caddis fly larvae and can
remain submerged for up to 15 minutes to
accomplish her task. The brave Lasiochalcidia
wasps of Europe and Africa throw themselves into
the nightmarish jaws of an ant lion, pry them apart
and insert their eggs into its throat. There are even
wasps called hyperparasitoids that parasitize other
wasps like themselves, such as Lysibia species of
Europe and Asia, which will sniff out caterpillars
parasitized by fellow parasitoid wasps in the genus
Cotesia and lay eggs in the freshly pupated wasp
larvae. In some cases, multiple wasp species
parasitize one another, leading to a Russian doll of
parasitic interactions.
And to ensure their safe passage from larva to
adulthood, these wasps often gain more than just a
meal from their hosts. One of them turns its
caterpillar hosts into undead bodyguards that will
defend pupating young wasps that just ate through
its body. Another species' larva forces its spider
host to spin it a deformed but durable web to protect
its cocoon just before killing the arachnid.
Whereas the wasps in this unusual family may have
perfected the art of mind control, there are other
venomous species whose toxins alter mental
states. There are even species whose neurotoxic
compounds get through our own blood-brain
barrier, a feat that no wasp venom can yet achieve.
But unlike cockroaches, we Homo sapiens have a
strange affinity for substances that mess with our
minds. Although the roaches run from those that
would twist their brains, some people are willing to
pay upward of $500 for a dose of venom to have a
similar experience.
2017-05-09 13:00 Christie Wilcox
105 / 155
How a tap could tame the
smart home
Here’s a novel fix for the headache of interacting
with all sorts of connected devices: researchers at
Carnegie Mellon University have devised a system
that lets smartphone users tap their phone against
an IoT device in order to have a contextual menu
automatically loaded on screen — thereby saving
them from having to scramble around looking for
the correct app to control each device. Or fiddling
with actual physical buttons and trying to navigate
less consumer friendly menus.
So, in other words, “no more scrolling through
endless pages of apps on your phone to control
with your supposed ‘smart home'”, as CMU
researcher Chris Harrison puts it.
The system, called Deus EM-Machina (see what
they did there?) , leverages the fact that
electromagnetic noise is emitted from everyday
electrical objects to power a device classifier —
they’ re using a smartphone kitted out with an EMsensor that can detect what IoT device it’s resting
on — enabling contextual functionality to be
pushed to the smartphone screen so it can be a
dynamic control device.
And while researchers at CMU’s Future Interfaces
Group have previously shown a similar
electromagnetic sensing system running on a
wearable device — also for powering contextual
awareness of other devices — the use of a
smartphone as the control device in this latest
research scenario means richer menus can be
made available to users, allowing more control
functions to be supported.
Introducing the research in a paper they write:
Examples of the apps the researchers built to
demonstrate the sensing system are shown in the
below video — including controlling a thermostat;
configuring a router; printing a document that’s on
screen on the mobile device with a single print
button push; sending text from a mobile to a
desktop computer; and more.
The researchers created a background Android
service running alongside their IoT device classifier
that pushes so-called “contextual charms” onto the
screen for certain applications — aka small floating
buttons that appear at the right edge of an app
when the phone touches a supported device, and
which can execute commands (such as a “cast
charm” to stream video content to a smart TV, or a
print button to print what’s on screen) .
“We envision that future smart appliance
applications would register their device’s EM
signature and a set of verbs with the charm system
service upon installation, which would enable
existing apps to immediately take advantage of
appliances and devices in a user’s environment.
This is analogous to the current paradigm of
applications registering Android “share” handlers to
support system-wide sharing of content to e.g.,
social media, ” they write on this.
Discussing limitations of the system in general they
emphasize the need for IoT devices to have open
APIs, noting: “We initially set out to produce fullstack implementations for all of the networkconnected devices on our list. However, we were
stymied by the lack of public APIs on several of
them. Furthermore, even when APIs were available,
some were vendor-locked (e.g., the Apple TV
casting APIs were only open to Apple devices) . In
order for the future Internet of Things to have true
impact, open APIs are a strong requirement. Until
then, our system will be limited by the inability to
talk to all smart devices.”
Other limitations include difficulties recognizing
multiple instances of the same device (e.g. more
than one connected thermostat) ; and external
interference from powerline noise which can
confuse the device classifier. The sensing system
also cannot work if a device is truly powered off —
although the researchers note that low power or
sleep modes might still render an IoT object
The research is being presented this week at the
ACM CHI Conference in Denver. CMU is also
presenting another interesting bit of interface
research at the conference — which involves using
a conductive spray paint and an array of electrodes
to turn any surface into a touch-sensitive surface.
2017-05-09 12:58 Natasha Lomas
106 / 155
Benchmark has hired its first
woman partner
The venture capital firms that back Silicon Valley's
major startups are still mostly white and mostly
male. But today, Benchmark took a step toward
gender diversity with the hire of Sarah Tavel as a
general partner.
That means the now six-person partnership went
from 0 percent women to 16 percent women in one
fell swoop.
Tavel is no token female. Her resume spans
Bessemer Venture Partners, Pinterest and Greylock
Partners, and, according to Benchmark's Bill
Gurley, she "has shown a remarkable ability to spot
new companies and markets."
In Benchmark's post, Gurley wrote:
Benchmark was a big and early investor in Uber,
and Gurley is currently advising the company as it
deals with various legal and public relations
— By Elizabeth Crane, Re/, edited by
CNBC's parent NBCUniversal is an investor in
Recode's parent Vox, and the companies have a
content-sharing arrangement.
2017-05-09 12:56 Elizabeth Crane
107 / 155
Assassin’s Creed Empire:
will the series go back to its
origins in 2017?
Assassin’s Creed has become a familiar gaming
franchise, with a new mainline installment
appearing just about every year since Assassin’s
Creed 2 was released all the way back in 2009.
Just as Assassin’s Creed was becoming one of the
old faithfuls of the gaming world, though, Ubisoft
surprised us in 2016 by taking a year out. There
was still a film and two Assassin’s Creed
Chronicles titles in the meantime but no sprawling
mainline game. Ubisoft surprised us
You don’ t realize what you have until it’s gone and
after just one year of being away people are
clamoring to hear about what the next game will
bring. After this break, though, expectations are
In 2015 Assassin’s Creed Syndicate barely
managed to pull the series back from the precipice
Assassin’s Creed Unity had pushed it towards.
Ubisoft wasn’ t exactly firing on all cylinders.
With an extra year to refocus and get things right,
though, fans are expecting the series to return
bigger and better than ever, particularly as Ubisoft
itself stated in 2015 that it was taking this year “to
evolve the game mechanics and to make sure we’
re delivering on the promise of Assassin’s Creed
offering unique and memorable gameplay
experiences that make history everyone’s
We’ re now a good bit into 2017 and E3 is just
around the corner so naturally rumors around the
next game are piling up. E3 What is it? The next
and highly-anticipated installment in the historical
adventure franchise What can I play it on? Most
likely PS4, Xbox One and PC When can I play it?
Late 2017 is the most likely date, if not later
Ubisoft announced its year release break prior to
the launch of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate in 2015.
After there was indeed no mainline release in 2016,
we’ re now expecting to see the next Assassin’s
Creed game sometime in 2017.
Traditionally Assassin’s Creed games have been
launched later in the year (every mainline game in
the series to date has been released on console in
November or very late October) so we're expecting
a similar release window for this next title.
E3 is rapidly approaching and it’s reasonable to
expect that there’ ll be some kind of official reveal
there with a loose release window attached.
Story and setting
For a while now the next Assassin’s Creed title has
been referred to as Empire after a report from
Kotaku suggested this was the code name being
used for the game’s development. Kotaku
Kotaku’s report also suggested that the game
would be set in ancient Egypt.
A more recent report from WWG, however, has
suggested that though this setting is correct, its final
title will be Origins not Empire. WWG
WWG claims to have spoken from sources at
Ubisoft and reports that these sources not only
confirmed that the game will be revealed at E3, but
that the “vast open world adventure” has been
called Origins because the game’s story will
explore the original assassin’s guild in Egypt.
From a marketing point of view the name also
establishes the game as a fresh start for the series.
Exactly how the game will explore the original
assassin’s guild is unclear. The most likely scenario
is that it’ ll delve into how and why the guild was
started but this is just speculation.
According to WWG’s sources, the game will feature
two protagonists – a man and a woman like
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate - but it’ ll be much less
linear than previous games in the series and
character progression is “less tied to the story.”
One source apparently repeatedly compared the
game’s approach to progression and story to
Bethesda’s Skyrim.
The report also states that Origins is “huge”, the
biggest Assassin’s Creed game to date, and that
though it is set in ancient Egypt players will be able
to explore beyond this, possibly as far as Greece.
This kind of exploration in this time frame naturally
means boats, and the sources have suggested that
naval exploration and combat will feature. As
massive fans of Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, we
couldn't be happier with this news.
Unrestrained progression and exploration is indeed
a significant change for the Assassin’s Creed
franchise and it’ ll be interesting to see how a more
open-ended playground approach would work, if
that is indeed the direction Ubisoft is planning to
move in.
By this point Assassin’s Creed’s gameplay has
become extremely familiar but with Ubisoft stating
that it intends to “evolve” the mechanics we’ re
excited to see what could change.
We imagine there’ ll still be the usual free running
and stealthy attacks with hidden blades combined
with naval exploration and combat that will
hopefully draw heavily on Black Flag. However, the
suggestion that character progression will be less
tied to the story is likely to mean an entirely new
approach to gathering experience and unlocking
new moves and equipment.
It’s looking increasingly likely that the two
protagonist approach taken by Syndicate is set to
return in Origins, too. Whether players will choose
the protagonist they’ d like to play as or whether
they’ ll move between the two as they play isn’ t yet
Fewer bugs and glitches
Bugs and glitches – it’s an obvious one but it’s what
we’ d like to see. Or rather, it’s something we’ d like
to see less of. Though Assassin’s Creed is known
for its gorgeous historical visuals, it’s also
renowned for being plagued with visual and
gameplay problems.
Unity in particular was widely criticized for glitchy,
borderline frightening character animations and this
is an issue we’ d really like to see ironed out. If
rumors that this will be the biggest Assassin’s
Creed game to date are true, it’s more important
than ever that Ubisoft focuses uses the additional
time it's taking to perfect the finer details and doesn’
t let them slip through the cracks when creating the
larger game world.
Better combat
Assassin’s Creed’s combat isn’ t bad but it’s not
particularly inspiring or exciting. Despite the fact
that you’ re an assassin, it has often been easier to
simply barge into a combat situation and fight your
way through rather than apply any kind of stealth.
Once you are engaged in close combat you mostly
find yourself button mashing or waiting for the right
time to counter and get a cool slow-mo finishing
move. Being an assassin should feel more urgent
and tense than it does in the Assassin’s Creed
games and we’ d like to see some changes that
bring this about.
Quality over quantity
It's being reported that this is the biggest Assassin’s
Creed game to date and that there’ ll be a much
larger focus on exploration than we’ ve ever seen
before. In fact, comparisons are being drawn to
Skyrim. This is making us both excited and nervous.
More freedom to explore a historical world sounds
fantastic and we love the idea that we could
become any kind of assassin we like with a new
approach to character progression.
What we don’ t want to see, though, is a huge
explorable game world with too few quests to keep
us interested or a great number of quests that are
repetitive and grinding.
A larger map is all well and good as long as it feels
necessary. If it really is going to be a much larger
and less linear game, we’ d love Assassin’s Creed
Origins to have diverse characters, environments
and quests to make it feel like this was a formula
change worth making. This is everything we know
about what's coming E3 2017 This is everything we
know about what's coming E3 2017
2017-05-09 12:56 By
108 / 155
‘Adulting’ the Right Way:
Redefine What It Means to
Work and Play
The responsibilities that come with being an adult
are rarely fun: working full time, paying bills,
maintaining a car, doing the grocery shopping
week after week. There’s even a word for it now:
adulting. Millennials in particular are realizing that
adulting isn’ t all they thought it would be. As an
employer, you can make adulting easier by giving
employees back the valuable free time they’ ve
come to miss.
When employees say they want work-life balance,
what they really want is the ability to get everything
done that they need to do. That includes work,
errands, household chores, as well as hobbies and
recreation. Work shouldn’ t take over to the point
that they no longer have time to live their lives. At
the same time, younger workers especially are
looking for positions that appeal to their sense of
purpose. That means work is no longer a means to
an end. This is a win-win for both employee and
employer: employees achieve a personal sense of
fulfillment, and employers benefit from higher
employee engagement.
Work-life balance and a sense of purpose are
worthwhile endeavors, but the truth is that work isn’
t always fulfilling. Sometimes life gets put on hold.
The car still needs an oil change. The dry cleaning
still needs dropping off and picking up. The
refrigerator and pantry need restocking—and on a
weekly basis, no less. Regardless of how fulfilled
your employees are, they need downtime. Given
that work days are only getting longer and other
adult responsibilities loom, finding that downtime is
becoming increasingly difficult.
But, there’s more to it than that, because what good
is having more free time if you don’ t have anything
fun planned? On-site concierge, entertainment, and
party-planning services help employees make the
most of their down time. They can buy concert
tickets, plan a family get-together, or identify local
sights they haven’ t yet visited. By taking care of
low-value tasks at work and scheduling high-value
activities for their free time, employees can redefine
what it means to be an adult.
Learn more at
2017-05-09 12:54 Espresa
109 / 155
12 top portable chargers: the
best ways to charge your
gear on the go
Do you find your phone battery often dies before
the end of the day? Then you should buy a portable
charger so you can keep it pumped up with battery
while on the go.
We've put together a selection of great portable
power banks that you can get right now and we've
listed them down below.
Whether you’ re looking for a high capacity battery,
slim design, lots of ports or something that can
charge up both your phone and your laptop, we’ ve
got the great portable chargers you need to see.
A whole 20,100mAh to play with
You've likely heard of Anker, and this is one of the
company's best portable chargers. It comes with a
huge 20,100mAh battery inside, meaning this will
be able to charge up your phone or tablet multiple
times before it needs a recharge.
It also comes with high-speed charging for your
devices if they use PowerIQ or VoltageBoost. It
won't be able to use Qualcomm's QuickCharge
technology, but it'll still boost your device when
you're on the go.
Charge two at a time
If the Anker isn't right for you, our next choice is the
Aukey 20,000mAh battery pack. It features two ports
so you can charge both your phone and your tablet
at the same time and also has a light to show you
how much battery charge is leftover.
The blocky design may not be for everyone, but this
portable charger should be able to charge your
phone and other gadgets a few times over with
such a high capacity cell inside.
Bright with a large capacity
This is the cheapest option for a portable charger
we have on the list, but this option from RAVPower
should suit you for recharging your mobile phone
while on the go.
It has a capacity of 6,700mAh, which should
recharge your average smartphone at least once
and maybe even twice. There are three color
options here with the choices of either pink, bright
blue or silver.
The LEDs on the side of the device also show you
how much charge is left and there's fast-charging
tech built-in too.
For those looking for something slimmer
If you're looking for a slim charger you can slide into
your bag's front pocket, this option from Iceworks is
going to suit you nicely. There's no need to carry
around a cable with this version, as the charging
cables are built directly into the body.
Be warned, the Iceworks 5,000mAh charger will
only work with micro USB (older Android devices)
and Lightning (newer iPhone models) as there's no
USB-C cable on here.
Metal and sleek
Poweradd also offers a great slim portable charger,
and it's one of the cheapest options on this list yet
boasts a substantial 10,000mAh cell inside.
It may be quite heavy, but this is only 1.3cm thick,
making it a great device to slip into your back
pocket when you're out and about. You'll want to
grab a cable to go with it though as unlike the
Iceworks choice above it doesn't come with one
built in.
A better design than the rest
The best looking device we've chosen is the Lepow
portable charger. It comes in a variety of colors and
can be easily slipped into your pocket, as it's much
smaller than many options on this list.
You will need to make sure you have a cable with
you to connect it up to your device, but it comes with
a 5,000mAh battery inside, which is enough to
charge up almost any smartphone at least once.
A whole six ports
This may not be the most portable charger on our
list, but it features a lot of ports, so you can charge
multiple devices at the same time. It'll even charge
laptops as well as your phone and tablet.
You can charge six devices at once, and with a
50,000mAh capacity it has the juice to do that, so if
you're usually surrounded by a lot of tech this is
possibly one of the best chargers to buy.
Huge in battery and size
Looking for a another option with lots of ports on it?
This may be a good choice for you, as there are
four ports and you can charge up your MacBook as
well as USB devices such as your phone.
There's a quick charge port too, which will fast
charge compatible devices such as the Samsung
Galaxy S7 .
One you can throw around
After a rugged charger that won't break if it takes a
beating? The ZeroLemon ToughJuice pack could
be a great choice for you, as it comes with a solid
design that isn't too large to slip into your bag or
even your back pocket.
It also features four USB ports, so you're able to
charge a number of devices all at the same time.
One for your laptop
RAVPower's portable charger is a great choice if
you need a device that can charge both your laptop
and your phone. It features USB-C and normal USB
outputs as well as an AC output, so you can plug
your laptop charger directly in.
There's also a 20,100mAh capacity battery inside,
so this will be able to juice up your phone or tablet
multiple times before you need to put it back on
The white option
The picture above may be deceptive, as this isn't a
small charger and is capable of charging up your
laptop or tablet as well as your phone
You can charge up to three devices at the same
time and it comes with a 23,000mAh capacity, so it
should last long enough between recharges.
Something different
The largest charger in this category (in terms of
size, though not capacity) is also one of the most
innovative, as this one can even jump start your car.
It features a huge 13,600mAh battery that can give
your car that much needed jolt whenever you need
it to, but also comes with various ports for your
phone or laptop to charge as well.
2017-05-09 12:50 James Peckham
110 / 155
Moving Bookmarks Between
Q. I would like to transfer my bookmarks (favorites)
from Internet Explorer to Chrome. IE keeps
malfunctioning and I’ ve heard that Chrome is more
reliable. My operating system is Windows 7. How
would I go about transferring the bookmarks?
A. Most browsers these days are very good at
importing bookmarks from their competitors, so start
by installing Google Chrome, which can be
downloaded for free at Once
you install the new browser, open the program.
If Chrome does not ask if you want to make it your
default browser and import your existing bookmarks
from other programs, it can be done manually. Go
to the top-right corner of the window and click the
icon for the More menu; the icon looks like a vertical
stack of three dots. On the More menu, select
Bookmarks and then Import Bookmarks and
In the box that opens, select Internet Explorer from
the drop-down menu. Under Select Items to Import,
area, turn on the checkboxes next to
Favorites/Bookmarks. You can also choose to
import your browsing history file from Internet
Explorer, so you can quickly return to previously
viewed pages in Chrome. Click the Import button
when you are finished.
If you plan to use the Chrome browser on multiple
computers or devices, there is an option to sync
bookmarks, history, stored passwords and other
settings to all your hardware. To get everything in
sync, you need a Google Account; if you do not
already have one from using Gmail or YouTube,
you can sign up at .
Once you have a Google Account name and
password, use it to sign into Chrome by selecting
your name or profile icon in the top-right corner of
the window and clicking the sign-in button. To
adjust what data is synced with Chrome, go to the
Menu button, select Settings, then pick Advanced
Sync Settings.
2017-05-09 12:49 J.
111 / 155
This tiny drone can be
carried and deployed by
Drone-maker AeroVironment has developed a
handheld quadcopter that it says can be carried by
soldiers on the battlefield and quickly deployed to
get an aerial look at a potentially hostile location.
The drone, called Snipe Nano Quad, has
retractable rotor arms so it can be carried in a
compact form and unpacked when needed. It
weighs just 140 grams (5 ounces) .
It's equipped with cameras that can send a visible
or infrared image back to a handheld controller unit.
The infrared view provides a way to see the body
heat of a person who may be hidden.
The drone has a top speed of around 20 miles per
hour and a radio range of about 1 kilometer. It has a
battery life of about 15 minutes, and its size means
its difficult to spot when in the sky, said the maker.
A control unit for AeroVironment's Snipe drone.
Twenty of the drones were delivered in April to the
U. S. government, the company said. It didn't name
the customer agency, but AeroVironment recently
signed a contract to supply small drones for border
protection work and has a lucrative continuing
business with the U. S. Army for its RQ-11 Raven
hand-launched drone.
AeroVironment has been developing small-size
drones for several years. Its perhaps most wellknown research project is a hummingbird drone
that maintains flight by quickly flapping two wings,
similar to a hummingbird.
2017-05-09 12:49 Martyn Williams
112 / 155
Kevin Mitnick on why banning
laptops from aircraft is dumb
(and the best way to make a
prison shank)
In the 1990’s, Kevin Mitnick was the world’s most
wanted hacker. At the height of his infamy, he was
the subject of a manhunt that dragged on for over
two years. When US authorities finally captured
him, prison administrators placed him in solitary
confinement over fears he’ d launch an ICBM strike
by whistling dial tones into the facility’s payphone.
Kevin Mitnick
Today, he’s still the world’s most wanted hacker.
The only difference is he’s gone legit.
“We're hunting for awesome startups”
Run an early-stage company? We're inviting 250 to
exhibit at TNW Conference and pitch on stage!
Run an early-stage company? We're inviting 250 to
exhibit at TNW Conference and pitch on stage!
Last Wednesday, Mitnick gave the keynote address
at IP Expo – an information security trade show,
held in the splendor of Manchester’s Central
Exhibition Center. Delegates were so eager to hear
his talk, the event organizers set up overflow rooms
to cope with the demand. IP Expo
I was due to interview him at 1 PM, but Mitnick
showed up late. It took him about 15 minutes to
makes his way to the press room due to the throngs
of people desperate to shake his hand, ask him
questions, or get one of his famous business cards
– which are actually a set of lockpicks.
Mitnick hails from a purer time. Back then, hackers
were known for their libertarian-leaning politics and
intellectual curiosity, not for the more mercenary
characteristics of today’s hackers.
In the halcyon days of hacking there was an real
sense of optimism. There was an attitude that
hackers could be one of the mechanisms that holds
power to account. Something that was typified in
the schlocky 1995 film, Hackers, and any edition of
2600: The Hacker Quarterly from that era. 2600:
The Hacker Quarterly
But it’s no longer the 1990’s, and Kevin is no longer
an inexperienced young man. He’s aware of the
formidable, far-reaching nature of the United States
We talked a little about Lauri Love, the AngloFinnish hacker who is currently fighting extradition
to the US over charges of hacking into computers
belonging to the Federal Reserve, the US Army,
Missile Defense Agency, and NASA. Mitnick isn’ t
confident that there’ ll be a happy ending. “Once the
US get a hold of you, they don’ t let up. That’s it.”
Lauri Love fighting extradition
He also noted that, if Lauri Love is to ever see his
extradition attempt dropped by the US authorities, it’
ll won’ t be due to international pressure, but rather
due to an arrangement with the British government.
Citing the recent example of Gary McKinnon, the
Scottish hacker who broke into 97 US Government
and NASA computers in search of evidence for
extraterrestrial life, he said: example of Gary
“In the case of Gary McKinnon, I think the US made
a deal with the UK – ‘if you focus your police efforts
on Assange, we’ ll give McKinnon a pass’ . It’s not
just some prosecutor having compassion.
Something must have happened where the US said
that if you help us, we’ ll let your guy go”
Love’s only other hope, he said, was if that in
catching him, the US government would have to
expose one of its software exploits. This was in
reference a case where the FBI dropped a case
against a website involved in the trafficking of child
sexual imagery, as they would have had to reveal
their exploit against the TOR system. dropped a
case against a website involved in the trafficking of
child sexual imagery
Despite that, he remains convinced that individuals
can be a force for transparency, and openness. He
cited the example of Edward Snowden – even if
that doesn’ t always translate to policy change.
“I know Edward Snowden put his life on the line to
expose the NSA’s illegal wiretapping. They were
caught with their panties down, and exposed to the
US… Exposed to the world. But will the government
change? Absolutely not. Not in a million years.
They’ ll continue to do what they’ re doing – what
they did for centuries – spy.
At one point, something like 50 percent said they
thought Snowden did the right thing. But did he get
a pardon? No. He’s in exile in Russia. Honestly, I’
m surprised they let Chelsea Manning go. Really
surprised. Although she deserved it because 35
years was ridiculously long, and fortunately Obama
gave her a pardon.”
Segueing into Manning, he said:
“She should be thanking her lucky stars. The US
government is draconian. They locked me up in
solitary confinement for a year because they
thought I could launch a nuclear strike with a payphone which is obviously bullshit!”
Mitnick also expressed cynicism about whether
those in the seat of power actually know how to
protect us. An expert on the physical and human
element of security, having authored several books
on the subject, he expressed disdain for the recent
electronics ban. recent electronics ban
When I brought up the fact that the ban may soon
be extended to Europe, he sighed. “That’s really
going to suck.” extended to Europe
“I don’ t check my computers. I refuse to. I don’ t
know how that’ ll affect my travels, because if you
check your luggage, there’s the risk that it’ ll get
compromised. You’ re leaving it in the hands of
government agencies. It’s now an issue of whether
you move your stuff via FedEx or UPS or DHL, or
leave it at home.”
You have to wonder how much of it is security
theater? Because they don’ t let you carry small
pocket knives on the plane, but they give you cans
of soda. I was in prison, and I know how to make a
shank out of a can of soda. It’s not too hard. You
just empty the contents out, and you turn can turn
the sharp aluminum can into a weapon.”
Although he accepted that there was a possibility
the ban is based on genuine intelligence.
“If you can sneak an explosive into a shoe, it stands
to reason you’ d be able to fit one into a laptop. I
remember someone tried to sneak a bomb into a
printer – which they caught.”
Kevin Mitnick’s latest book, The Art of Invisibility, is
now available from Little, Brown. You can order it
on Amazon today. The Art of Invisibility order it on
Amazon today Insights
Sit back and let the hottest tech news come to you
by the magic of electronic mail.
Prefer to get the news as it happens? Follow us on
social media.
Got two minutes to spare? We'd love to know a bit
more about our readers. Start! Start!
All data collected in the survey is anonymous.
2017-05-09 12:42 Matthew Hughes
113 / 155
EdgeX Foundry: How Dell Is
Helping Accelerate Time-ToMarket For IoT Devices Page: 1
Solution providers delivering Internet of Things
solutions at the edge face a time-consuming
process because of the plethora of device
standards. But a new open-source consortium has
emerged that aims to align market leaders around a
common Internet of Things framework.
The Linux Foundation in April lifted the curtain on
EdgeX Foundry to accelerate interoperability in IoT
edge computing. Dell has contributed its Project
FUSE source code under Apache 2.0 for the
The source code consists of more than a dozen
microservices and more than 125,000 lines of code
to seed the EdgeX Foundry project.
[Related: Dell EMC World 2017]
"We want this project to be about unifying, not reinventing, " Jason Shepherd, director of IoT strategy
and partnerships at Dell, told CRN. "Customers are
looking for IoT solutions at the edge, but it's hard to
assemble all the pieces and to put together various
industrial, enterprise-grade IoT applications that
solve business problems. EdgeX is addressing this
by forming an ecosystem, making it easier to deploy
IoT in the ​field."
Systems integrators, for example, can take
advantage of EdgeX Foundry to market their
solutions faster with plug-and-play ingredients that
they can further customize, while ISVs can benefit
from interoperability with third-party applications.
"Talking from a channel perspective, this will help
channel players accelerate their time to market, " he
said. "Systems integrators can work faster, add
value to their IoT applications, still sell solutions
and make money — but they don't need to re-invent
the middle. Now they have time to focus on adding
EdgeX Foundry will drive interoperability between
applications and connectivity standards through
plug-and-play components that can be combined to
secure easily scalable IoT solutions, according to
The EdgeX Foundry initiative, which is designed to
be flexible, platform-independent and industrialgrade, is aimed at edge hardware such as routers,
gateways and servers, he said.
"Success in Internet of Things is dependent on
having a healthy ecosystem that can deliver
interoperability and drive digital transformation.…
EdgeX Foundry is aligning market leaders around a
common framework, which will drive IoT adoption
and enable businesses to focus on developing
innovative use cases that impact the bottom line, "
said Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux
EdgeX Foundry will be collaborating with other
open-source projects and standards groups,
including Cloud Foundry Foundation, Object
Management Group and ULE Alliance. More than
40 companies have joined the consortium so far.
2017-05-09 12:40 Lindsey O
114 / 155
Make some friends: Here’s
how to connect with other
Switch users
At the moment, early Nintendo Switch adopters are
more than likely engrossed in The Legend of Zelda:
Breath of the Wild — already one of the most
critically acclaimed single-player adventures of all
time — but sooner or later you’ ll want to see what
your friends are up to (probably playing Zelda) . As
of now, there are a few ways to connect with friends
on Switch, and more methods on the horizon.
Keep in mind that the Switch caps your friend list at
300 people.
Although Nintendo of America president Reggie
Fils-Aime promised that they wouldn’ t be part of the
Switch’s online infrastructure, alas, the Switch’s
launch update implemented a modified version of
the “Friend Code” system for connecting account.
Used on the Wii and, most recently, the 3DS family
of systems, a friend code is a twelve digit password
you can send to friends outside of the console,
which they can then punch in to send you a friend
request. Unfortunately, as of now, you’ ll need to
exchange friend codes via text, social media, or in
person to connect with friends with this method.
Find your code
On the home page, click on your account icon in the
upper left hand corner, represented in the image
below as “Steve’s Page.”
Your friend code is available in two places: on the
landing menu (Profile) , and under the Add Friend
menu. This is the code you should send your
friends so that they can find you.
Adding a friend
On the user page, click Search with Friend Code
and type a user’s 12-digit code to send a Switch
friend request.
If entered properly, your friend’s nickname and user
icon will pop up, and you can confirm that you want
to send the request.
Back at the Add Friend menu, you can check on
your pending requests under Sent Friend Requests
Unlike previous friend code systems, the user on
the receiving end of the request does not need to
know the sender’s friend code to become friends.
Once accepted, the user will show up in your Friend
List on the user page.
Accepting a friend request
When someone sends you a friend request, a
notification dot will show up next to the Add Friend
section of the user page. The Friend Requests
inbox at the top of the menu lets you know that
someone has added you.
Click Friend Requests to see the requesting user’s
icon and nickname. From here, you can either
accept, reject, or block the user.
If you’ re having a few friends over for a LAN party,
you won’ t have to bother with friend codes to add
new pals.
You can search for nearby Switch players under
Search for Local Users on the Add Friends menu of
the user page. In order to find one another, you
each have to click the same symbol. Our best guess
is that this is a parental control feature, albeit not an
incredibly sophisticated one.
After agreeing on a symbol, find the user’s
nickname and icon and send a request.
Note that adding friends locally doesn’ t go into
effect until both users have logged onto the online
Out of the gate, the Switch seemingly lets you add
users that you’ ve played with before. After playing
a multiplayer game, head over to the Add Friends
section on the user page. Here, click on Search for
Users You Played With. However, this option
seems to only work for friends you played with over
local wireless at this time. We’ ve played numerous
online races in Fast RMX, but none of the users we
played with have shown up here.
Friends from official Nintendo apps linked to your
Nintendo account — Super Mario Run, Miitomo,
Fire Emblem Heroes — will show up under
Suggested Friends in the Add Friends menu of the
user page. From here, you can skip the friend code
process by simply clicking on a user and sending a
While this doesn’ t technically net you more friends,
you could end up exchanging friend codes by
sharing images over social media. The Switch
happens to have a rather nice share feature that
gives you the ability to add image captions and
create memes to upload to Facebook and Twitter.
On the user page, click on User Settings and scroll
down to Posting to Social Media to link your Switch
to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Once linked, go to the home page and select Album
Unfortunately, the Switch doesn’ t allow screen
captures inside the album, but all you have to do is
select an image, add a caption if you’ d like, and
click Post to blast it across social media.
If you’ re particularly fond of a certain friend, you
can elevate them to Best Friend status. Navigate to
your friend list and choose one of your favorite pals.
Click the Best Friends option.
That user now has a star in the upper left hand
corner of their icon. Sadly, your bestie won’ t be
notified of their newfound importance in your life, as
marking best friends is a one-way street. The star
could come in handy if you have a plethora of
friends with the same avatar, though.
If you no longer want to be friends with a certain
user, you can unfriend them. You can also take it a
step further by blocking the user, which prohibits
them from adding you again.
Head over to your Friend List and select the friend
that you want to remove.
Click Options .
Either pick Remove Friend or Block. If you change
your mind about blocking an old friend later on, you
have to go into User Settings and choose Manage
Blocked-User List to open the door for becoming
friends again.
As mentioned above, Nintendo has said that more
streamlined methods for adding friends are in the
works. At some point, you may be able to add
friends via Nintendo Network IDs — user-picked
names for 3DS and Wii U that are much easier to
remember and share than 12-digit friend codes —
and through social networks you can link to your
Nintendo account. According to Nintendo, certain
titles will also have in-game friend request systems
to make it easier to connect with those playing the
same game.
There’s also the curious matter of User IDs, a
separate username attached to your Nintendo
account that became available a few weeks prior to
launch. At first, it seemed that User IDs would
replace NNIDs, but considering that Nintendo has
plans for NNIDs in the future, it’s unclear if the
recently added usernames will be used to add
friends on Switch.
2017-05-09 12:37 Steven Petite
115 / 155
Science Movies on Netflix in
Catch a whiff of the fresh science movies springing
up on Netflix in May! Live Science looks at some of
the titles that are taking root.
The Big Burn (PBS, 2015) : In 1910, untested
employees of the newly-formed U. S. Forest Service
were caught unawares by a terrifying and deadly
challenge. This documentary explores how the
rookie rangers confronted monumental drought in
the Northern Rockies that led to out-of-control
wildfires. The burning peaked during the month of
August, when flames devoured 3 million acres in 36
hours and claimed the lives of 78 firefighters,
shaping federal policies for wildfire control for the
coming decades.
Blood on the Mountain (Virgil Films and
Entertainment, 2016) : Mining coal takes a toxic toll
on the human body and on the environment. And
the legacy of coal mining in West Virginia is on grim
display in this unflinching documentary, which
offers a bleak view of the environmental and human
cost exacted by fossil fuel extraction, benefiting
corporations and politicians far more than it benefits
the hard-laboring workers.
The Mars Generation (Netflix, 2017) : Could
humanity's future include travel to Mars?
Astrophysicists and astronauts weigh in on the
challenges of long-distance spaceflight and the
dream of missions that could transport people to the
Red Planet. Meanwhile, teenage trainees at the U.
S. Space and Rocket Center immerse themselves
in work toward making that dream a reality.
Command and Control (PBS, 2017) : Building a
nuclear arsenal comes with incredible risks, and
most Americans may be unaware that in 1980, an
accident at a nuclear missile complex in Damascus,
Arkansas, nearly resulted in the detonation of a
warhead 600 times more powerful than the bomb
that leveled Hiroshima. Based on recently
declassified documents, this fascinating glimpse
into the American nuclear weapons program tracks
its history, and evaluates the human errors and
accidents along the way that could have doomed
us all.
What's With Wheat? (Gravitas Ventures, 2016) :
Why are so many people wheat-intolerant or
sensitive to wheat? And why is wheat linked to so
many modern-day health problems, when it has
been a staple of the human diet for thousands of
years? In this documentary, a nutritionist interviews
14 experts, to understand how wheat has changed
since it was first cultivated, how these changes
could be affecting human health, and how people
can break a dietary cycle that could be making
them sick.
Original article on Live Science .
2017-05-09 12:33 Mindy Weisberger
116 / 155
Microsoft expands on its
stance to not to use a USB
Type-C port
introduced the Surface Laptop last week. Ranging
from $999 to $2,199, the device aims to tackle the
high-end Chromebook market packing a restricted
version of Windows 10. But what the laptop does
not pack is a USB Type-C port, which left many
customers and members of the press scratching
their heads. The technology, according to one
Microsoft designer at the time, isn’ t ripe for the
As we mentioned last week, USB Type-C has
nothing to do with speed — it defines the port size
and type of connector. The typical USB 3.1 port
uses a large, rectangular “Type-A” interface relying
on a single-sided this-side-up connector. But with
the combined introduction of USB 3.1 Gen2,
Thunderbolt 3, and Type-C, there is a lot of
misconception that they are all one in the same.
But that is not the case at all. Even more, there are
specific cables required for the technology residing
behind the Type-C port and they all generally look
the same. Adding to the confusion, Type-C ports
are sometimes used to charge their host devices.
Customers could essentially grab the wrong TypeC charger and quickly run out of battery juice
because the charger was not up for the task. Users
would then turn to the device maker with their
complaints, not the charger manufacturer.
Microsoft does not want that. Microsoft does not
want customers to deal with the various Type-C
cables, underwhelming chargers, all the adapters,
and the third-party Type-C docks. That is why the
Surface Laptop features only one USB 3.1 Gen1
Type-A port, one headphone jack, one Mini
DisplayPort connector, and the Surface Connect
port. Simplicity.
That latter connection is how customers can “safely”
expand their Surface device experience. Microsoft’s
$200 Microsoft Surface Dock adds two Mini
DisplayPort connectors, one gigabit Ethernet port,
four USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports, and one audio out
port. The dock connects to a compatible Surface
device via Microsoft’s proprietary Surface Connect
port. Right now, it works with the Surface Pro 3,
Surface Pro 4, and Surface Book but the Surface
Laptop will undoubtedly be added soon.
While limiting a Surface device’s connectivity
seems like forcing customers into purchasing the
dock, Microsoft sees this setup as brand stability.
Customers won’ t get ticked at Microsoft because
they are confused about the different types of
cables, chargers, and so on. Microsoft is controlling
the end-to-end experience and there is nothing
wrong with that.
Call it consumer confidence.
“It’s not like we haven’ t known about USB-C for a
long time, ” general manager of Surface
Engineering Pete Kyriacou told The Verge. He
added that through the closed docking scenario,
Microsoft can provide additional connectivity
options with confidence.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Surface Laptop
targets the education sector despite its high-end
price. It takes aim at students and teachers who
already have peripherals on-hand, eliminating the
need for an annoying adapter that may eventually
be misplaced. But why only include one USB port in
the first place?
“That came down to design and space, ” Kyriacou
2017-05-09 12:31 Kevin Parrish
117 / 155
CIO finds storytelling
challenging but crucial
Dave Smoley recently wrapped up a three-year
digital transformation. While most CIOs might be
popping the cork on a bottle of champagne, the
AstraZeneca IT leader has turned his focus to
growth and innovation. Smoley is educating
executives on disruptive technologies that may
generate more revenues and efficiencies for the U.
K.-based pharmaceutical company.
The trick to communicating information about
emerging technologies lies in crafting a narrative
that connects how the tools-- including anything
from machine learning technologies to social
collaboration software to digital therapeutics -support the company's mission to create life-saving
drugs for cancer and other diseases. "You have to
connect the dots and translate it into a compelling
story that various people who meet with the CEO
can share and get people excited about [the tools] ,
" Smoley says.
Storytelling is an increasingly effective go-to tactic
for companies seeking to cultivate innovation.
Lowe's Innovation Labs practices perhaps the most
extreme example of this, creating narratives in
comic books that portray retail robots, ad-hoc toolmaking in space and holographic interior design.
AstraZeneca isn't going as far as Lowe's, but
Smoley’s challenges are no less daunting as he
must coax business leaders for a company steeped
in hard science to invest in new types of information
technology. Each month, Smoley and members of
his innovation team, which exists largely in Silicon
Valley and Cambridge, U. K., spend an hour
briefing members of the executive team on
emerging technologies. They explain to the
business leaders what the tools are, what other
people are doing with them and what AstraZeneca
is doing -- or plans to do with the tools -- via pilots.
This year, Smoley's staff has briefed the executives
on potential applications for artificial intelligence
and machine learning to optimize drug discovery,
as well as manufacturing, sales, patient
engagement and diagnostics. For example,
AstraZeneca is piloting machine learning software
from startup DataRobot to analyze real-world data
on drugs to determine if there are any adverse
events that suggest safety issues.
Members of Smoley's team have also given
presentations on high-performance computing,
quantum computing
operations, as well as data analytics and
visualization to help improve patient care and to
glean new insights about opportunities. The
presentations are crucial, Smoley says, because
they afford his team the opportunity to convince the
business about why what they're working on is
important. "A lot of projects can get buried or lost if
the business isn't linked to them, " Smoley says.
"We can be hub of the wheel and the enabler."
Creating alignment between IT and the business
has been a goal for CIOs since they began viewing
themselves more as business partners than tech
dudes connecting cables in data centers. But
getting business buy-in to innovation -- a path more
littered with the bones of failed projects than the
riches of success -- can be a tough sell. And
Smoley says it's tough to find the right balance of
technical explanations with narrative building to
convince the business that potential initiative is
Crafting a narrative presents its own chicken-andegg challenge. "A lot of really good technologists
can't communicate worth a hoot or put a
presentation together to save their lives, so you end
up in this challenging spot where you might have
the right story but you can't tell it well, " Smoley
says. "Or you've got no story but great technology
information and you have to sort through all of that
to get it right."
Moreover, Smoley finds himself explaining how the
tools fit into the context of AstraZeneca's business
to people who have varying degrees of
understanding about technology. His audience
includes AstraZeneca's CFO, head of HR and the
executive vice president of discovery science. "It's a
highly federated company so you have to bring it
together in a way that gets people to get their head
around it and decide priorities going forward, " says
Smoley, who adds that partnering with innovative
vendors is crucial in helping to weave the story
together and present it to business leaders.
In May, Smoley's team is presenting on social
collaboration technologies such as Facebook at
Work and Slack as potential alternatives to software
from That application, Chatter,
works fine for CRM (customer relationship
management) scenarios but is untenable for other
business functions, he says. Staff briefings for the
remainder of 2017 will cover genomics, nextgeneration user interfaces, internet of things and
wearable computers, digital therapeutics and
mobile health, cybersecurity and blockchain and
automation, robots and chatbots.
Smoley enjoys the work but acknowledges trying to
engage with this business over disruptive
technologies presents a different challenge. Normal
IT tends to be programmatic and linear, whereas
innovation is something of an awkward crapshoot.
"It requires a totally different skill set than the typical
IT shop because a lot of what you're doing is your
consulting and gathering information both in and
outside the company in a short period of time, "
Smoley says
Smoley knows somethings about traditional IT,
having just completed a sweeping transformation
he initiated in 2013 to bolster IT while cutting IT
costs in half. Smoley flipped the model from 70
percent outsourced and 30 percent insourced, and
retired some legacy applications in favor of cloud
software from Box,, Workday,
Microsoft (Office 365) and ServiceNow. In the next
leg of this journey, AstraZeneca is leveraging
computational horsepower from Amazon Web
Services to crunch large data sets, part of a major
genetics push. Smoley is also building a mobile
software platform to automate and tailor paperbased business processes for smartphone and
[6 strategies for becoming a digital business]
Regardless of the project type, Smoley says
entrepreneurial behavior remains a core value and
something that will help drive competitive
advantage for AstraZeneca. "Within IT we talk about
leadership and that comes alive in how you pick
projects, staff and run them, " Smoley says.
2017-05-09 12:31 Clint Boulton
118 / 155
Your Brain Remembers
Languages You Think You
New evidence suggests that the earliest traces of a
language can stay with us into adulthood, even if
we no longer speak or understand the language
itself. And early exposure also seems to speed the
process of relearning it later in life.
In the new study, recently published in Royal
Society Open Science, Dutch adults were trained to
listen for sound contrasts in Korean. Some
participants reported no prior exposure to the
language; others were born in Korea and adopted
by Dutch families before the age of six. All
participants said they could not speak Korean, but
the adoptees from Korea were better at
distinguishing between the contrasts and more
accurate in pronouncing Korean sounds.
subconsciously, even if conscious memories of the
language do not exist, ” says Jiyoun Choi,
postdoctoral fellow at Hanyang University in Seoul
and lead author of the study. And it appears that
just a brief period of early exposure benefits
learning efforts later; when Choi and her
collaborators compared the results of people
adopted before they were six months old with
results of others adopted after 17 months, there
were no differences in their hearing or speaking
“It's exciting that these effects are seen even among
adults who were exposed to Korean only up to six
months of age—an age before which babbling
emerges, ” says Janet Werker, a professor of
psychology at the University of British Columbia,
who was not involved with the research.
Remarkably, what we learn before we can even
speak stays with us for decades.
2017-05-09 12:30 Jane C
119 / 155
US watched Russia hack
French systems during
The United States watched Russians hack France's
computer networks during the election and tipped
off French officials before it became public, a U. S.
cyber official told the Senate on Tuesday.
France's election campaign commission said
Saturday that "a significant amount of data" — and
some fake information — was leaked on social
networks following a hacking attack on centrist
Emmanuel Macron's successful presidential
campaign. France's government cybersecurity
agency is investigating what a government official
described as a "very serious" breach.
The leak came 36 hours before the nation voted
Sunday in a crucial presidential runoff between
Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. The
election commission said the leaked data
apparently came from Macron's "information
systems and mail accounts from some of his
campaign managers" — an attack that mimicked
Russian hacking of the Democratic National
Committee in the 2016 U. S. presidential election .
"We had become aware of Russian activity. We had
talked to our French counterparts and gave them a
heads-ups — 'Look, we're watching the Russians.
We're seeing them penetrate some of your
infrastructure. Here's what we've seen. What can
we do to try to assist?'" Adm. Mike Rogers told the
Senate Armed Services Committee.
He said the U. S. also is working closely with
German and British counterparts.
Rogers also said the U. S. is still working on a
comprehensive cyber policy to counter what he
called a "brave new world" in the cyber domain. He
said the United States is improving its ability to
defend against cyberattacks, but "I would also tell
myself, Rogers you are not moving fast enough."
2017-05-09 12:15 By
120 / 155
Pandora believes it can make
a deal to sell itself in the next
30 days
Pandora is actively trying to sell itself and believes
it can get a deal done within 30 days, sources told
KKR — an investment firm known for its private
equity and hedge funds — said Monday it plans to
invest $150 million in Pandora in exchange for new
shares of preferred stock, a deal that will close in 30
Sources said Pandora thinks the KKR investment
makes a sale more likely to happen. Pandora
declined to comment.
If Pandora sells itself within that 30 days, it would
have to pay KKR $15 million. But sources said the
company views that money as an insurance policy
of sorts that effectively gives the company a 30-day
option to sell itself — which it thinks it can do.
Pandora shares were lower on Tuesday before the
report, after a slew of news dropped on Monday
related to the deal, including mixed financial
results, and an announcement that two board
members would resign. Shares pared losses
slightly after news that Pandora is actively working
to close a deal.
KKR's Richard Sarnoff will also join Pandora's
board — but two other directors will leave. Venture
capitalist James M. P. Feuille and technology
investor Peter Gotcher will resign from Pandora's
board, and a committee will appoint new directors,
Pandora said.
"Having secured a significant financial commitment
from KKR to strengthen the Company's balance
sheet, we have positioned the Company to
evaluate any potential strategic alternatives,
including a sale, in the 30 days before the financing
is set to close, " outgoing director Feuille said in a
statement .
Pandora earned more per share than Wall Street
expected in the first quarter of this year, but it lost
listeners from a year ago. And a new strategy
around premium subscriptions wasn't able to boost
forward guidance to meet estimates.
With more competition than ever, the streaming
company has faced challenges turning a profit.
Corvex Management, a hedge fund run by Keith
Meister, had previously pushed Pandora to sell
some of its assets, while SiriusXM has been
suggested separately as a potential buyer.
Still, Pandora remains a popular business. It's been
the No. 1 grossing music app every day in the App
Store for the past six months with the exception of 5
straight days in November when Spotify took over,
according to research from Apptopia.
— Reporting by CNBC's Scott Wapner and Jason
Gewirtz on " Fast Money: Halftime Report ." Written
by CNBC's Anita Balakrishnan. David Faber also
contributed to this report.
This is developing news. Please check back for
2017-05-09 12:12
121 / 155
Researchers are using
neural networks to get better
at reading our minds
Researchers are doing a remarkable job of
scanning the human brain and extracting
information that can be used for a number of
important applications. Known as brain decoding,
this technology could help with such things as
curing some forms of blindness and controlling PCs
and other devices using the brain as an input
One of the technologies used in brain decoding is
functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) ,
which is able to determine brain states while certain
mental functions are being carried out. An example
is reconstructing visual stimulus, and a group of
researchers has determined a way to extract
cleaner and more accurate data, as Engadget
Essentially, some Chinese researchers applied
neural network algorithms to the process of
mapping brain scan data to what a person sees. As
can be seen in the illustration below, algorithms
accomplish varying degrees of accuracy in
recreating what a person is seeing using fMRI realtime scanning.
The researcher’s Deep Generative Multiview Model
(GDDM) provides an uncanny representation of the
letters being viewed by a test subject. This means
that the decoding process is essentially reading the
subject’s mind and displaying the results onscreen. While the technical details are incredibly
complex, the overall concept is relatively simple —
use neural network algorithms to make mapping
real-time data vastly more accurate.
The applications for this kind of technology are
mind-bogglingly exciting. While this particular
research only handled the brain’s processing of
simple visual data, more accurate systems could
potentially handle more complex images and even
video. Should the technology progress that far, then
applications could be developed for using the brain
to control devices, analyze dreams, and create a
cure for blindness.
Future work will be aimed at perfecting the
algorithms and neural networks with an eye to
reconstructing dynamic vision. In addition, the
researchers are looking at how to use the fMRI
imaging measurements for multi-subject decoding.
If they succeed, then it will not be too long before
scientists can read our minds and act on that data
— which is both a promising and terrifying
2017-05-09 12:11 Mark Coppock
122 / 155
This old portable TV is
actually a Raspberry Pipowered retro gaming
Thanks to the wonders of microcomputing, you can
now turn your rusty vintage television set into a fullfledged retro gaming system – courtesy of
Raspberry Pi. courtesy of
Recreational inventor and single-board computer
enthusiast Finn Anderson took to Reddit to
demonstrate how he repurposed an old-school TV
set he found on the street into a legitimate custombuilt retro gaming console. Reddit
“We're hunting for awesome startups”
Run an early-stage company? We're inviting 250 to
exhibit at TNW Conference and pitch on stage!
Run an early-stage company? We're inviting 250 to
exhibit at TNW Conference and pitch on stage!
To put together the whole setup, Anderson
removed most of the old parts and packed the
emptied TV box with a brand new HDMI-supported
12-inch screen that he copped from eBay and a
Raspberry Pi 3 computer. computer
Powering the system is the RetroPie emulator that
allows running games from various archaic
consoles like Playstation 1, Nintendo N64 and
Dreamcast. RetroPie Playstation
You can see the gaming machine in action in the
footage below:
The best thing about the system is that – in addition
to playing a bevy of classic game like Mario Kart
and The Legend of Zelda – you can also use it as a
standard TV set since it comes with a built-in digital
Here are some more images of the console:
Anderson has since uploaded tons of images of his
repurposed television gaming system on Imgur,
where you will also find detailed instructions on
how you can build your own. Read the full post
here. here
Raspberry Pi-TV retro gaming system on Imgur
Raspberry Pi-TV retro gaming system on Imgur
Sit back and let the hottest tech news come to you
by the magic of electronic mail.
Prefer to get the news as it happens? Follow us on
social media.
Got two minutes to spare? We'd love to know a bit
more about our readers. Start! Start!
All data collected in the survey is anonymous.
2017-05-09 12:02 Mix
123 / 155
Austrian court orders
Facebook to remove hate
speech postings worldwide
It followed abuse its leader received from trolls on
the site, and was filed against Facebook's Irish
Eva Glawischnig, who has been the federal
spokesperson for the Green Party since 2008, had
been targeted by "a fake profile" called Michaela
Jaskova, which accused Ms Glawischnig of
The party has complained the ruling leaves many
questions unanswered, including whether the
obligation to delete abusive material should include
similar but not identical posts.
It is considering taking the matter to the Supreme
Court to establish whether similar content, which
cannot be automatically detected by Facebook,
should be deleted too.
Facebook has not responded to the ruling and
declined to comment to Sky News, but is set to hire
an additional 3,000 staff to combat hate speech and
harmful material hosted on its platform.
In January, a man with learning difficulties was
bound, gagged and brutally punched in a video that
was live streamed on Facebook .
Last month, a video was uploaded to the site of a
man shot dead in an unprovoked attack .
Regulation regarding these incidents is being
pursued by governments across Europe.
The European Commission, in partnership with
Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube
published a code of conduct on countering illegal
hate speech online.
In December, the Commission published a fact
sheet reporting that 28% of all notifications of
alleged online hate speech led to the removal of
the flagged content, although only 40% were
reviewed within 24 hours.
Earlier this month in the UK, MPs stated that social
media companies should be fined if they fail to
remove harmful material from their platforms.
2017-05-09 12:01 Alexander J
124 / 155
Does LSD 'Microdosing'
Really Work? Study Aims to
Find Out
Microdosing, or taking tiny doses of psychedelic
drugs, is rising in popularity, with users saying it
boosts their mood, focus and productivity. But
there's been little scientific study of the practice —
until now.
Researchers in the United Kingdom say they plan
to conduct the first rigorous scientific study on the
effectiveness of microdosing .
The study will enroll 20 participants, who will
receive either a microdose of LSD — about one
tenth of a recreational dose — or a placebo, before
they are asked to perform various tasks. Some of
these tasks will include measures of creativity,
alertness and mood. Participants will also play the
ancient Chinese game of Go, which involves
pattern recognition. In addition, participants will
have their brains scanned so researchers can
compare the neural effect of a microdose with that
seen in people who take a standard recreational
dose. [Trippy Tales: The History of 8 Hallucinogens]
The study will be "double blind" meaning
participants won't know whether they're getting LSD
or the placebo.
The study will be led by Amanda Feilding of the
Beckley Foundation, an organization that
researches psychedelic drugs in order to spur
changes in drug policies that are based on
scientific evidence.
"For decades, we have seen anecdotal evidence
that microdosing improves mood and well-being,
enhances cognition, increases productivity, and
boosts creativity, " Feilding said in a statement .
"Now we have the opportunity to undertake the first
controlled scientific investigation…into the effects of
microdosing LSD, thereby finally establishing
whether the claims about its benefits are true."
The researchers are raising money for this study,
and other studies on psychedelic drugs, through a
crowdfunding campaign launched today (May 9) .
Original article on Live Science .
2017-05-09 12:01 Rachael Rettner
125 / 155
The FAIR team takes on
neural machine translation
Facebook is continuing its mission to make the
world more connected in its latest research effort.
The Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research
(FAIR) team announced a new approach to neural
machine translation. According to the researchers,
the approach is able to achieve nine times the
speed and accuracy of existing neural systems.
This approach is designed to break down language
barriers so everyone can consume content in their
preferred language, Facebook said.
As part of its research, the team is making the
sequence modeling tool site source code and
trained systems available to the open software
community. With the code, researchers can develop
custom models for translation, text summarization
and other tasks, according to the FAIR team.
“A major consideration with neural machine
translation for practical applications is how long it
takes to get a translation once we show the system
a sentence. The FAIR CNN model is
computationally very efficient and nine times faster
than strong RNN systems. Much research has
focused on speeding up neural networks through
quantizing weights or distillation, to name a few
methods, and those can be equally applied to the
CNN model to increase speed even more,
suggesting significant future potential, ” the team
wrote in a post. The researchers hope their process
will pave the future for other text processing tasks
such as dialogue systems that can respond to
complex questions better.
2017-05-09 12:00 Christina Cardoza
126 / 155
Chatty chatbots and the 'time
to frustration'
Chatbots have been getting a lot of attention
recently through a combination of trends: advances
in natural language processing (NLP) , a
resurgence of chat and chat channels (think
Facebook Messenger, Slack, Hipchat etc) ,
ubiquitous mobility and advances artificial
intelligence — including the emergence of A. I.
systems that are beginning to understand the intent
of spoken or written words. In addition, consumer
and user familiarity with this low-hassle, unintrusive
channel makes chat a preferred mechanism for
several interaction scenarios.
As enterprises look to capitalize on chat, an option
communication and interaction channels, they have
to be aware of the maturity of the channel and
balance that with the need to maintain the quality of
customer interactions and experience. This is hard
to do, and it can conflict with the allure of a
cheaper-to-maintain and scale-out customer
experience and interactivity channel.
Non-mature chat systems tend to be too chatty and
can be detected quite easily. A chatty chatbot
makes it harder for users to get the service they
need. A chatty chatbot is unable to understand the
user’s intent — or it may interpret the user’s intent
incorrectly, leading to a repetitive and frustrating
“Time to frustration” becomes a key metric for
designing useful and delightful chatbots. This is the
measure of the time it takes for users to reach a
point of frustration that turns them off from the
chatbot — and, possibly, from the company’s
product or service. Measuring time to frustration
requires mechanisms that detect changes in the
usage and interaction of a chatbot by a user in
addition to post-chatbot usage activity and
Frustration can be detected, at a high level, by how
a user reacts to the chatbot’s response. If a user
resubmits his or her inquiry with slight changes,
retries the same request or switches the channel of
communication, it is a good sign of frustration. In
fact, techniques used by search service providers to
understand user queries and determine intent (and
failure to do so) have a lot of relevance in the world
of chatbots. This also means that excelling in
understanding intent and responding to users’
needs with high quality requires a trove of good,
highly curated content, interaction data that enables
the chatbot to understand intent, and feedback loop
mechanisms to measure and improve the quality of
the chatbot.
To develop a successful chatbot strategy and build
useful chatbots, enterprises should keep the
following six tips in mind:
Enterprises should expect that different segments of
users will react to and adopt chatbots at different
rates. This is critical, because offering chatbots in
interaction scenarios that require high touch, highly
personalized service such as financial advice for
high-net-worth clients, can be detrimental to the
experience and the quality of service. Enterprises
also need to consider the familiarity of user
segments with the chat channel and the suitability
of their specific needs to be serviced through a chat
channel. In short, will the users be targeted with a
chatbot service show up on the chat channel?
Be sure to choose the right chatbot for the given
purpose. Here are some examples:
Conversational chatbots are much harder to build
information-retrieval or automation chatbots.
Natural language processing and A. I. have a long
way to go before machines can understand natural
language. For enterprises looking to get started,
focusing on nonconversational bots not only
provides a shorter time to market with this capability
but can also begin generating highly valuable data
relevant to training the conversational chatbot.
Enterprises should ensure that their data and
content is of high quality, curated and organized
processing. In addition, the enterprise should mine
all customer interactions across every other
channel to determine the categories and forms of
user requests and associated high-quality or lowquality responses. Depending on the types of
chatbots that are required, enterprises should
aggregation or information-retrieval scenarios and
expose them as services that can be triggered
through APIs or other similar mechanisms.
Enterprises should analyze and categorize the
intent of their users as evidenced from past
interactions in other channels and the language
that is used to express the associated intent. This
can then be used to automatically extract intent
from user-submitted text or audio.
Chatbots need to be easy to discover and invoke.
Because there is an implication of privacy and datasharing, explicit consent might often be required. In
addition, the easy discovery of the appropriate
recommendations and easy search (similar to the
discovery capability introduced in Facebook
Messenger based on user feedback that showed
that users were having a hard time finding bots) .
With the conditions ripe and ready, and a user base
that is increasingly familiar with chat channels and
chatbots, it’s a good time to explore this channel.
Chatbots can offer cheaper, nonintrusive and often
more satisfying and instant interaction channels for
users, making their experience with your enterprise
more delightful and satisfying.
2017-05-09 12:00 Kumar Srivastava
127 / 155
The Federal Government
Makes It Ridiculously Hard to
Study Gun Violence and
Medical Marijuana
Ernest Hemingway, Nobel laureate in literature,
wrote A Farewell to Arms. David Hemenway,
professor of health policy at the Harvard T. H. Chan
School of Public Health, wishes CDC personnel
could just mention arms. “Researchers, staff at the
Centers for Disease Control, are afraid to say the
word ‘guns’ or ‘firearms,’ ” Hemenway said on
February 17 at a session on gun-violence research
at the annual meeting of the American Association
for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) . The
conference took place in Boston, famous for gunrelated havoc since the Boston Massacre (which,
unlike the Bowling Green Massacre, actually
happened) .
“Public health is underfunded relative to medicine
in terms of research, ” Hemenway noted. “Within
public health, injury prevention is particularly
underfunded. And within injury prevention, firearms
research is the most underfunded for the size of the
According to Hemenway, on average in the U. S.,
more than 300 people get shot daily. A third of them
die. “Since I graduated from college [in 1966] , there
have been more civilian deaths from guns in the
United States than combat deaths on the battlefield
in all the wars in United States history, including the
Civil War and World War II.” (And, of course, the war
that started brewing after the Boston Massacre.)
“Twenty years ago [the CDC was] doing a tiny
amount of funding for firearms research ... $2.6
million a year total, ” Hemenway said. “This was too
much for the gun lobby and Republicans in
Congress, and they attacked the CDC. And now the
CDC does no funding of firearms research. Zero.”
No official prohibition stops the CDC from offering
such funding. But Hemenway says that CDC folks
avoid even saying “guns” or “firearms” to keep out
of congressional crosshairs: “The director of the
CDC, of our major public health agency, we've had
mass shooting after mass shooting in the United
States, and what has he said? And I don't blame
him... not a single word. And for good reason.
Because he knows if he says anything about guns,
funding will be cut.” Talk about trigger warnings.
The National Institutes of Health also feels the chill
of a congressional freeze-out. Hemenway talked
about research that examined grants given by the
NIH during a 40-year period. “How many deaths
were from cholera, diphtheria, polio and rabies in
the United States? And the answer was 2,000. How
many research awards were given by the NIH
during that period to cholera, diphtheria, polio and
rabies: 486. During the same 40-year-period, how
many people were shot in the United States with
guns? The answer's four million. How many
research awards were there about guns and gun
issues? Three.”
By the way, the data on civilian deaths include
suicide by gun. Studies show that the majority of
such suicides depend on the easy accessibility of a
firearm—most people don't simply switch to another
method when a gun isn't around. Of course, we can
never know what Hemingway (as well as a couple
of people I knew personally) would have done
without the presence of a handy gun.
Another group of researchers at the AAAS meeting
who deal with some unfriendly feds are those trying
to determine if cannabis can be good medicine. In
fact, in the parts of the country where medical
marijuana is legal, opioid deaths and prescription
pain medication use are way down—so there's at
least some evidence that pot seems to help
manage pain.
But marijuana is still what is known as a Schedule I
substance—the Food and Drug Administration
does not recognize a legitimate medical use for it,
so scientists have to jump through flaming hoops to
get any to study.
“It can't come off of Schedule I to a different
schedule until the traditional drug development
work has been done, and I don't think the traditional
drug development work [large phase III trials] really
can be done while it's Schedule I, ” said Ryan
Vandrey of the Johns Hopkins University School of
Medicine on February 19 at the AAAS conference.
“It's a catch-22.”
And it's not likely to be uncaught any time soon,
especially with Jeff Sessions as attorney general
(he still was as we went to press, anyway) . In April
2016 Sessions famously said, “Good people don't
smoke marijuana, ” which is so vacuously,
reductively absurd as to render a retort
unnecessary. Except for the one I saw on Twitter
reacting to the Sessions quote: “True. I eat it.”
2017-05-09 12:00 Steve Mirsky
128 / 155
Back from the past: Lister
Motors builds new road-legal
1958 Knobbly race cars
If you have a tendency to drool when you see
awesome cars, get a towel ready. The Lister Motor
Company, one of the most famous British racing
marques, has brought back a winning FIA Appendix
K class current spec racer from the late 1950s and
announced a limited run continuation build of street
legal versions of the 1958 Lister Knobbly.
In the early 1950s, the Lister MG started racing with
a modified MG 4-cylinder engine, winning its first
race in 1954. Looking to boost power, Lister tried a
Maserati engine in 1956 but soon switched to a 3.8liter inline 6-cylinder Jaguar engine. That engine
and car’s distinctive bodywork referred to as
“knobbly” evolved into the 1958 Lister Knobbly.
Lister produced other models in the interim since
the late 1950s, including the Lister Storm based on
a 12-cylinder Jaguar engine that was converted to
a hybrid race car in 2005. Lister announced a new
model in 2013, a $3.2 million 1,000 horsepower
hypercar .
To celebrate the company’s anniversary in 2014,
Lister built 10 1958 Works Lister Knobbly 60th
Anniversary Editions built to meet FIA racing
standards. But it is the latest Lister model that is
causing excitement.
The new 1958 Lister Knobbly model is a streetlegal car that is essentially the same vehicle
manufactured in 1958. The car has a tubular
chassis made from the original engineering jigs —
structures that both hold the parts in place while
they are being worked on and ensure the fit and
fittings are in the correct places. The Knobbly has
hammered aluminum body panels the company
says to take about 500 hours to beat into the correct
The six-cylinder Jaguar 3.8-liter engines and fourspeed transmissions are almost identical to those
used in the 1950s. The engines are built from
original Jaguar blocks with new remanufactured
The engine looks and runs like the original, but
don’ t think that the performance pales by any
measure. According to Lister, the “new” 1958
Knobbly is rated at 330 horsepower and can
accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and
reach a top speed of 181 mph.
There are a number of changes in the road-ready
version of the Knobbly. Lister states the most
notable changes were carefully integrated into the
original design. Major changes include a
collapsible steering column, rollover protection,
turn-signal indicators, side repeater flashers, and a
rear fog lamp. The cars also have brake fluid and
low fuel level warning lights, a sunken fuel filler
cap, rearview mirrors, and a ratchet handbrake.
Instead of a windscreen the Knobbly now has a
wind deflector, and the wheel spinners have been
removed so you won’ t slice pedestrian shins or
knees if they get too close to the car when it’s
moving. (The car pictured below built for a single
customer has wheel spinners.)
Lister is building only 10 road-ready Knobblys, with
two six-cylinder engine choices. If you order the car
with a 4.2-liter the price is about $291,000.
Equipped with the even-more-original 3.8-liter
motor the Knobbly costs about $381,000.
According to Lister, the new street-legal car is the
first of “more future road-going Lister models, too.”
2017-05-09 11:59 Bruce Brown
129 / 155
Gaming with guidance: How
to set up parental controls on
modern consoles, handhelds,
and computers
The family that plays together stays together, but as
every parent knows, you can’ t always be around
when the kids want to enjoy a quick game of
Madden or Super Smash Bros. Video games have
grown over the past few decades to the point where
they now encompass a wide variety of genres,
themes, and audiences. While for a long time the
classic image of a “gamer” was a young, early-midteen boy, the fact of the matter is the average age of
the video game audience is now 31 years old,
about 52% are female, and, increasingly, much of
what’s available on store shelves and for download
reflects this. In order to make sure your children are
playing the games meant for them, it’s important to
monitor their gaming habits to ensure their safety.
There’s also a pretty good chance, given the
current average audience for games, that you’ re a
parent who owns a console which is also used by
your children, and you want to be sure that the
mature games you may enjoy — say, Call of Duty or
The Last of Us — and access to things like online
stores and chat functions are restricted to your kids.
First and foremost, always remember to look at the
ratings on games; in the US, the ESRB is the
ratings board that determines the appropriate
audience for a game, and sets a rating much like
the MPAA does for films. The ESRB has an easy to
use website,, where you can look up
ratings by title and break down what different
content tags mean. They also have a mobile app
that allows the same function, so you’ ll be able to
quickly recognize what ratings and content
warnings mean, and whether they’ re appropriate
for your child. Beyond that, making sure consoles
are set up correctly to enable (or disable) certain
functions — like web browsing, voice chat, and
store purchases — is the other crucial aspect to
ensuring their security.
Here is an easy-to-follow guide covering each of
the major gaming consoles currently on the market,
and their parental settings.
Select your console:
In order to set up parental controls on a PS4, first
begin by creating a Master Account for yourself,
and Sub Account (s) for your children. You can do
this when you first set up the console, or by going to
the PSN options on the console menu and
following the on-screen instructions to create a new
Once you have a Master Account set up, you can
now create a sub account. To do this, sign in to your
master account, then follow these steps:
Once you’ ve created your Sub Account (s) ,
navigate back to the System Menu, to Parental
Controls, and from there you can access a number
of options to set for each Sub Account, including:
On a single Xbox One console, multiple accounts of
varying types can be stored and shared. In order to
do this, you must set up a Family Profile on your
Xbox One console. To do this, press the Menu
button on your Xbox One controller. Select Settings
and scroll to Family. From here, you can manage
the accounts within your Xbox’s family; add or
remove accounts to/from the family (this does not
affect an account’s ability to use the console) ; and
change settings. Account types range from adult, to
teen, to child, and each type has its own restrictions
and permissions when it comes to changing
settings or accessing content:
Once a family profile has been created, you may
now create privacy settings for each account. To do
so, once again navigate to the Settings menu by
pressing Menu on the controller, and then selecting
Family. Once there, you may select a profile to edit.
While the settings for adult accounts cannot be
changed, the following restrictions/permissions may
be applied to teen and child accounts:
PCs are powerful gaming machines, but as we all
know, they serve a number of functions. In order to
fully protect your children, you’ ll need programs
that protect them while using other applications,
such as web browsers. However, if your primary
concern is over their safety while gaming, you do
have some options specifically tailored for that. PC
gaming is unique from consoles in many ways, but
one of the primary differences is in how games are
distributed and installed. There are a number of
distribution platforms, the most popular (to the point
of near-ubiquity) being Steam. Goliath publisher EA
also has its own separate platform, Origin. Several
others exist, so it’s important to identify which
platforms your child is using, and familiarize
yourself with their parental controls. Furthermore,
many games (such as the ever-popular Minecraft)
run standalone, without the use of one of these
programs, and therefore are not able to be
regulated by programs like Steam or Origin. Still, it’s
almost a given these days that your child is using
Steam to access at least some of his or her games.
We’ ll give you tips on how to access the parental
controls for Steam, as well as for the other popular
service, Origin.
In Steam, under Preferences, there is an option
labeled Family. From here, you may enable Family
Mode. This mode, protected by a PIN, allows you to
create whitelists of games you wish to be displayed
while in Family Mode, blocking all others even if
they’ re installed on the hard drive. Titles can be
blocked on an individual basis, or categorically by
content type. There are also options to
disable/enable use of the store, community, chat,
and other features (these features are mostly off in
Family mode by default) . Swapping in and out of
Family Mode is easy — just click an icon and enter
your PIN.
Origin’s parental control options are limited to
mainly age-restricting
games and
preventing access to the Origin online store. EA
suggest parents create their own origin accounts (a
that can
at , then create their child’s account.
The account is restricted by age, so be sure to put
in your child’s correct birthday when creating their
account, and include your email in the “parent’s
email” field. Physically purchased games that
include an Origin code can be added to your child’s
account by entering the activation code on their
account, however digital games cannot be
purchased with a child account.
2017-05-09 11:57 Brendan Hesse
130 / 155
‘Tokyo 42’ release date
revealed in stylish, ultrashort trailer
Since last year, SMAC Games and Mode 7 have
slowly been revealing the beautiful world of Tokyo
42. This isometric indie game is an upcoming
action game inspired by classics like Syndicate and
Grand Theft Auto.
Today, an incredibly short trailer reveals that the
Tokyo 42 release date for PC and Xbox One is May
31. PS4 owners will have to wait until mid-July. The
trailer features only 4.2 beautiful seconds of Tokyo
42 because our time is “precious.”
In Tokyo 42, players control a character who has
been forced into the dangerous world of assassins.
Set in a futuristic Tokyo, the main character has
been framed for a murder they didn’ t commit. The
player must take on missions in exchange for paper
as they prove their innocence. Along the way, they
will uncover the “dark conspiracy that will affect
The game features an open-world, single-player
campaign with a story and plenty of side quests.
When friends come over, there is also a competitive
arena-based multiplayer mode available.
Players will have to purchase and learn a number
of weapons and tools including pistols, machine
guns, sniper rifles, katanas, and more. Every bullet
and grenade in the game has full physics. Players
will dodge and weave as they go up against rival
gangs, police, or sinister corporate drones. The
world offers multiple ways to tackle each fight.
One moment, players will use stealth to sneak into
a gang stronghold, while in another, they’ ll be
leaping from buildings sniping enemies in midair.
Additionally, players can use skin-swapping to
infiltrate any of the many groups including the
Punks, the Skins, and the NanoMed corporation.
What sets this title apart from other isometric games
is the player’s ability to rotate the camera to gain
access to new areas. Little secrets and details are
scattered about in every corner of the map.
SMAC Games is a North London-based studio
made up of brothers Sean Wright and Maciek
Strychalski. Tokyo 42 is their first game.
2017-05-09 11:53 Garrett Hulfish
131 / 155
Hong Kong should up its
fintech game to remain
relevant: council
The financial services industry makes up about a
fifth of Hong Kong's economy and employs six
percent of its workforce, making it critical for the city
to keep up with fintech.
The Financial Services Development Council
(FSDC) , which was set up by the government and
comprises members from the financial industry,
consultancies and law firms among others, also
urged the government to bolster local companies
offering tech solutions in the spheres of wealth
"These are specific areas where we think Hong
Kong has natural opportunities and also
opportunities in attracting overseas investment into
fintech, but also in developing local startups and
entrepreneurs, " James Lloyd, Asia-Pacific fintech
leader at consultancy EY and an FSDC member,
told reporters.
The FSDC proposed the creation of a government
office to oversee fintech policy and regulation, as
well as a "major government-funded" cybersecurity
The creation of a digital ID for individuals and
corporations should help slash costs on anti-money
laundering and "know your customer" (KYC)
requirements for financial firms at first, but later also
be used to increase transparency on trade and
manufacturing, it added.
The council also urged changes to Hong Kong's
regulations to make the city more open to "digital
solutions" such as allowing customers to open
accounts online.
In a separate report the FSDC also proposed
developing distributed ledger technology (DLT) ,
including the creation of a publicly funded research
Hong Kong should also change regulations to
recognize digital currencies and consider issuing
its own digital currency, it added.
Set up in 2013, the FSDC has issued
recommendations to bolster Hong Kong's position
as an international center for the trade of China's
currency, lure more initial public offerings and real
estate investment trusts (REITs) , among others.
(Editing by Miral Fahmy)
2017-05-09 11:49 Elzio Barreto
132 / 155
Hexagon Eye of Saturn
Stares into Space in Stunning
Saturn never blinks.
The ringed planet's bizarre "eye" — its north polar
vortex and surrounding hexagonal jet stream —
stares impassively out into space in an amazing
photo by NASA's Saturn-orbiting Cassini probe .
Though NASA released the image just Monday
(May 8) , Cassini actually snapped it on Jan. 22. At
the time, the spacecraft was about 560,000 miles
(900,000 kilometers) from the gas giant's cloud
tops, agency officials said. [See Saturn's Weird
Hexagon in Technicolor Techno (Video)]
The photo has a resolution of about 33 miles (54
km) per pixel, they added.
Saturn's hexagon is about 20,000 miles (32,000
km) wide and consists of air traveling at about 200
mph (320 km/h) , scientists have said. Other
planets, including Earth, are known to have jet
streams, but none of them remotely resemble
Saturn's north polar hexagon.
The strange feature was first spotted in the early
1980s by NASA's Voyager mission. Cassini has
gotten some good looks at the hexagon since
August 2009, when spring arrived in Saturn's
northern hemisphere and the sun began flooding
the area with light.
"Although the sunlight falling on the north pole of
Saturn is enough to allow us to image and study the
region, it does not provide much warmth, " NASA
officials wrote in an image description Monday. "In
addition to being low in the sky (just like summer at
Earth's poles) , the sun is nearly 10 times as distant
from Saturn as from Earth. This results in the
sunlight being only about 1 percent as intense as at
our planet."
The $3.2 billion Cassini-Huygens mission is a joint
effort involving NASA, the European Space Agency
and the Italian Space Agency. The Cassini
spacecraft launched in October 1997 and arrived at
Saturn in July 2004. (Huygens was a piggyback
lander that touched down on Saturn's largest moon,
Titan, in January 2005.)
The Cassini orbiter is nearing the end of its
impressive mission, which discovered liquidhydrocarbon seas on Titan and a buried, potentially
life-supporting ocean on the Saturn moon
Enceladus, among other accomplishments.
Late last month, Cassini began the "Grand Finale"
phase of its mission, a series of 22 dives between
Saturn and the planet's innermost rings. On Sept.
15, the orbiter will end its life with an intentional
dive into Saturn's thick atmosphere, a maneuver
designed to ensure that the probe doesn't
contaminate Titan or Enceladus with microbes from
Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and
Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or
Google+. Originally published on .
2017-05-09 11:47 Mike Wall
133 / 155
Chad Sakac On Dell EMC's
Push To Turn HyperConverged Infrastructure
Into A Utility - Page: 1
The New Hyper-Converged Infrastructure
Hyper-converged infrastructure is one of the
industry's hottest markets. Chad Sakac, president of
the converged platforms division at Dell EMC,
speaks about how Dell EMC's new 14G servers will
fit into hyper-converged infrastructure, and how the
company will turn HCI into a utility.
Get more of CRN's coverage of Dell EMC World
2017 .
2017-05-09 11:45 Joseph F
134 / 155
Brexit yet to dampen fintech
recruitment in London
Despite fears over Brexit, London is still seen as the
place to be in Europe for people developing digital
technologies for the finance sector.
Research from German recruitment website Joblift
shows there has been, on average, a 5% increase
in financial technology (fintech) jobs in the UK
every month from April 2016 to April 2017, with
London accounting for the most.
In contrast, Berlin, which is a threat to London’s
dominance as a fintech hub, had, on average, a 2%
increase in the number of postings each month this
The study found that 3,370 fintech jobs were
advertised directly, compared with 1,458 in
This is no surprise, as the London fintech sector is
currently substantially bigger than Berlin’s, but it is
a surprise to some that the rate of job growth is still
higher in London.
“Berlin has been touted as London’s major
competitor for the title of Europe’s fintech hub, given
uncertain Brexit effects and Berlin’s expanding
startup scene, ” said Joblift. “However, our research
shows that London trumps the German capital in
both the number of jobs being posted and, more
surprisingly, the rate of job market growth.”
In the UK, it is only London that packs a punch, with
the second-biggest hub, Manchester, only
generating 166 jobs in the same period.
Meanwhile, Belfast in Northern Ireland is seeing
rapid growth, with an 18% average monthly
increase in job adverts over the past 12 months.
The continued recruitment by fintechs in London
shows that while the big banks are already
outlining plans to move operations out of the UK to
ensure continued access to EU markets, fintechs
are, for now at least, not losing their appetite for UK
Big banks are moving UK jobs abroad because of
fears of losing their rights to sell services across
Europe, known as passporting, when the UK leaves
the EU. Cities such as Dublin, Paris and Frankfurt
are seen as potential destinations for thousands of
jobs currently based in London.
Fintech startups’ fears around Brexit are related to
their continued ability to hire the right people. As
the UK government has committed to ensure there
is access to skills overseas post-Brexit, fintechs are
likely waiting to see what happens, and could move
quickly if it becomes an issue.
Investment in the UK’s fintech industry shrank last
year, and research earlier this year found fintech
investments in the UK in 2016 fell by almost £176m
compared with 2015, but still towered above the
figure in 2014. The figures from data and analytics
company Fintech Global found a total of £936.5m
was invested in UK fintech in 2016, with £820m of
that in London. This compares with around
£1,112m and £963m respectively in 2015.
2017-05-09 11:45 Karl Flinders
135 / 155
Mega-Quakes Can Cause
Earth’s Crust to Rip Open
and Snap Shut
Like a crocodile's jaw opening and snapping shut,
Earth's crust can rip apart and then violently close
back up during an earthquake, a new study finds.
The discovery refutes previous claims that this kind
of phenomenon was impossible, and the new
research could potentially require that current
seismic maps be redrawn.
The study focused on a particular paradox
associated with thrust faults, a crack in Earth’s crust,
where geologic forces are slowly pushing a huge
slab of continental crust up and over an oceanic
"For a long time, it was assumed that thrust faults,
subduction zone faults being a class of such faults,
could not have a large amount of slip close to the
Earth's surface, " said Harsha Bhat, a research
scientist at the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in
Paris and co-author of the new study with California
Institute of Technology graduate student Vahe
Gabuchian. [The 10 Biggest Earthquakes in History]
The assumption was made because as the
continental slab grinds over the oceanic one below,
it scrapes off the soft surface clay and leaves it piled
up in the subduction zone. Geologists thought that
any energy generated from a seismic event within
the thrust fault would peter out once it hit the soft
clay and that a large slip wouldn't happen near the
But clues from past earthquakes suggested
otherwise, said Christopher Scholz, a professor of
geophysics at Columbia University's LamontDoherty Earth Observatory in New York City. The
San Fernando earthquake that occurred in 1971,
for example, left behind an unusual pile of debris
that anyone can still see today, said Scholz, who
was not involved with the new study.
"It's right at the base of a mountain, " he said. "The
thrust comes out at a low angle, and it looks like
[the earthquake] flapped the whole soil layer, just
flipped it over below the fault."
How did the earthquake cause such a giant amount
of material to flip over if the energy dissipated in the
Geophysicist James Brune, then at the University of
Nevada was the first scientist to attempt to answer
that question in a 1996 study he published in the
Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Science,
Scholz said. Brune figured it was the result of some
kind of torquing action in the fault. He conducted an
experiment using foam rubber that showed the
energy of a simulated earthquake propagating
down a fault and flipping the tip — as if some large
hand were cracking a whip.
"I don't think people believed it, " Scholz said. "They
thought this was some weird thing that had to do
with foam. They didn't take it seriously."
For decades, the idea lay dormant, he said.
But clues from subsequent earthquakes continued
to suggest that Brune had been on to something. In
their new paper, Bhat, Gabuchian and their
colleagues cited the 1999 magnitude-7.7
earthquake in Chi-Chi, Taiwan, that caused billions
of dollars in structural damage and killed more than
2,000 people. They also pointed to the magnitude9.0 earthquake in Tohoku-Oki, Japan, that
damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power
Plant in 2011.
Geophysicists who analyzed the faults after the
earthquakes could not find signs of stress at the
boundary between the soft clay and harder rock.
"How can it slip without stress?" Scholz said. "That's
the big mystery."
And it's a mystery that Gabuchian and his
colleagues think they have solved. The researchers
performed an experiment similar to Brune's from
1996, but they did not use foam.
Instead, the scientists used a transparent block of
plastic that has mechanical properties similar to
those of rock, and conducted experiments in
Caltech's earthquake laboratory, nicknamed the
"Seismological Wind Tunnel, " a facility that can
simulate and image laboratory-generated temblors.
The researchers cut the plastic block in half and
then forced them together, simulating the tectonic
pressure of two slabs of Earth's crust pressing
against each other. Next, they placed a wire fuse
where they envisioned the epicenter of an
earthquake and then lit the fuse.
Instantly, a rupture propagated down the fault line,
and when it hit the surface, the fault twisted open
and then snapped shut.
The snapping action reduces the stress that keeps
both sides of a fault pressed together, said Bhat.
Less pressure makes it easier for a slab of rock to
“Hence you can have large amount of shallow slip,
” he said.
At least for the magnitude-9.0 earthquake in
Tohoku-Oki, the researchers think that as the
earthquake propagated up the fault, it caused one
slab of rock to twist away from the other
momentarily and then snap shut, causing the fault
to slip more than 160 feet (50 meters) .
"The snapping open is temporary, " Bhat
emphasized. "It's not like how it's depicted in the
movies, " he said.
Armed with this new information, geologists could
redraw seismic maps to show where the ground
might torque in future earthquakes and cause the
most destruction, Scholz said. This could help cities
better prepare for future events and help geologists
solve mysteries about past earthquakes, he added.
Original article on Live Science .
2017-05-09 11:45 Tracy Staedter
136 / 155
It’s an all-out riot in season 5
trailer for Netflix hit ‘Orange
is the New Black’
The death of a significant, beloved character at the
end of the fourth season of Orange is the New
Black was bound to have ramifications far beyond
the violence of the season finale, and now fans
have their first look at how things may play out in
the upcoming fifth season of the hit series.
Netflix released the first official trailer for season 5
of Orange is the New Black this week, and revealed
that the entire season will unfold over just three
days in the series’ timeline. The death of the inmat
sparks a riot that results in a full-scale mutiny at
Litchfield Prison.
As the trailer indicates, the Litchfield prisoners
suddenly find themselves in power at the prison,
and this new dynamic creates its own share of
problems for the inmates — and makes them
acutely aware of what they truly want from life.
The fifth season of Orange is the New Black was
recently subjected to its own set of problems when
a hacker stole and released the first 10 episodes of
the 13-episode season after demanding a ransom
from Netflix. The FBI is currently investigating the
security breach.
The Season 5 premiere will be directed Andrew
McCarthy, who directed several prior episodes of
the series, from a script penned by series creator
Jenji Kohan. McCarthy also directed the Season 3
and Season 4 premiere episodes. The series was
renewed for seasons 5-7 in 2016.
Orange is the New Black was initially based on
Piper Kerman’s memoir Orange Is the New Black:
My Year in a Women’s Prison, which chronicles the
time she served in Federal Correctional Institution
Danbury, a minimum-security federal prison in
Connecticut. Since its premiere in 2013, the series
has gone on to earn multiple Primetime Emmy
Award and Golden Globe Award nominations and
wins, and is the first series to receive Emmy
nominations in both comedy and drama categories.
The fifth season of Orange is the New Black will
premiere Friday, June 9, on Netflix.
2017-05-09 11:43 Rick Marshall
137 / 155
Microsoft admins: Update
your systems now to prevent
"crazy bad" zero-day bug
Two members of Google's Project Zero discovered
a serious exploit over the weekend. It's so bad it
can take over a system just by sending an email-no
opening or reading necessary.
2017-05-09 11:40 Brandon Vigliarolo
138 / 155
Apple engineers are
reportedly testing Apple’s
‘Siri speaker’ in their homes
Several years after Amazon launched its Alexa
digital assistant as part of its Echo home speaker,
Apple is said to be moving toward the launch of its
own version of the device. In fact, the company may
be closer to finalizing a device than we thought —
according to the latest reports, Apple employees
are testing prototypes in their homes.
The report comes from Bloomberg, and it notes that
Apple engineers just recently started in-home
testing — and that the device could finally be
launched at WWDC in June. It’s currently unclear
what the device will look like — or if it will come with
a display like Amazon’s latest offering, or just a
The original claim of the speaker’s existence came
from blogger Sonny Dickson, a guy who over the
years has called it right with a number of Apple
leaks. In a tweet, Dickson said the Cupertino,
California-based company is “currently finalising
designs for their Alexa competitor, expected to be
marketed as a Siri/AirPlay device.”
The blogger added that the product is may carry
some form of Beats technology and run a variant of
iOS, with the latter point suggesting it could come
with a touchscreen, something Amazon’s Echo
device lacks though might one day include .
There have long been rumors that Apple is looking
to build Siri — its own digital assistant that
launched five years ago with the arrival of the
iPhone 4S — into a piece of hardware similar to the
Echo, and Dickson’s tweets this week suggest the
company could be gearing up to unveil it in the
coming months.
So, what would Apple’s offering let you do? Well, if
it’s anything like Amazon’s Echo speaker and its
Alexa assistant, or Google’s Home offering
incorporating Google Assistant — or indeed Siri —
users will be able to call out questions on any
number of topics and expect a spoken reply within
seconds. Want to listen to a song from your music
library? Then simply call out the track and let your
digital assistant take care of it. Echo and Home also
let you control your integrated smart home
appliances, so we can expect similar functionality
involving Apple’s own technology.
We can also look for the tech giant to offer up
something special in the way of features or
hardware quality to help it stand out from its rivals
and grab attention in the marketplace.
News that Apple may be close to unveiling its
Echo/Alexa rival came on the same day that
Amazon unveiled the Echo Look, a hands-free,
voice-activated camera for the home that the
ecommerce company is touting as a kind of fashion
assistant so you can see how your outfits look in
full-length snaps.
We wonder if Apple is already working on a rival
Updated on 05-09-2017 by Christian de Looper:
Added news that Apple engineers are reportedly
testing a prototype in their homes.
2017-05-09 11:36 Trevor Mogg
139 / 155
‘MLB The Show 17’ : Best
practices for batting with
Although MLB The Show 17 is a serious baseball
sim at its core, the game remains accessible to
casual fans thanks to its refined, relatively simplistic
control scheme. Even with its pick-up-and-play
identity, though, if you go into a game swinging
away at pitches without giving it much thought, you’
re going to run into some trouble with friends.
Worse still if you plan to tangle with hardcore
baseball fans in online matchmaking. While batting
difficulty scales according to your skill against the
computer, when facing a real opponent, it helps to
If you’ re looking to hang some serious numbers on
the scoreboard, here’s what you should keep in
In order to score some runs, you will have to hit the
ball. Since baseball is a game of reaction time and
reflexes, there’s no better teaching mechanism than
stepping into the box and swinging away. Still, if
you find yourself striking out a lot, you may want to
take a step back and reevaluate your strategy.
You have three different swing options at the plate:
Normal, contact, and power. How you use these
swings is important, but not for the reasons you may
think. Out of those three, you’ re best served using
the normal swing 90 percent of the time. The
normal swing is a jack-of-all-trades. You can hit
screeching liners, high smacks in the gap, and
dingers that wind up in the back row of the
This isn’ t to say that you should avoid using contact
and power altogether, but you’ ll probably fare
better if you save them for special situations.
After making contact, the most important aspect of
batting is making a conscious effort to control where
the ball goes on the field. The Show 17 helps you
with its directional arrows which can be pointed at
three different heights across right, left, or center
field. While using the arrows can go a long way
towards steering the ball, you also have to do some
of the work yourself. By timing your swing properly,
you can start to gain control of ball placement.
Diversifying where you hit the ball helps keep your
opponent on edge. Since fielders tend to position
themselves based on whether a right or left hander
is at the plate, using the opposite side of the field
when given the right opportunity can often create
seams in the defense that otherwise wouldn’ t be
2017-05-09 11:34 Steven Petite
140 / 155
Microsoft fixes remote
hacking flaw in Windows
Malware Protection Engine
Microsoft released an update for the malware
scanning engine bundled with most of its Windows
security products in order to fix a highly critical
vulnerability that could allow attackers to hack
The vulnerability was discovered by Google Project
Zero researchers Tavis Ormandy and Natalie
Silvanovich on Saturday and was serious enough
for Microsoft to create and release a patch by
Monday. This was an unusually fast response for
the company, which typically releases security
updates on the second Tuesday of every month
and rarely breaks out of that cycle.
Ormandy announced Saturday on Twitter that he
and his colleague found a "crazy bad" vulnerability
in Windows and described it as "the worst Windows
remote code execution in recent memory."
At the time, the researcher didn’ t disclose any other
details about the flaw that would have allowed
others to figure out where it’s located, but said that
installations in their default configurations and
could be self-propagating.
According to a Microsoft security advisory
published Monday, the vulnerability can be
triggered when the Microsoft Malware Protection
Engine scans a specially crafted file. The engine is
used by Windows Defender, the malware scanner
preinstalled on Windows 7 and later, as well as by
other Microsoft consumer and enterprise security
products: Microsoft Security Essentials, Microsoft
Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010, Microsoft
Endpoint Protection, Microsoft Forefront Security for
SharePoint Service Pack 3, Microsoft System
Center Endpoint Protection and Windows Intune
Endpoint Protection.
Desktop and server Windows deployments might
be at risk, especially if real-time protection is turned
on in the affected security products. With real-time
protection on, the Malware Protection Engine
inspects files automatically as soon as they appear
on the file system, as opposed to processing them
during scheduled or manually triggered scanning
According to the Google Project Zero description of
this vulnerability, the mere presence of a specially
crafted file in any form and with any extension on
the computer could trigger exploitation. This
includes unopened email attachments, unfinished
downloads, temporary internet files cached by the
browser and even user content submitted to a
website that's hosted on a Windows-based web
server running Internet Information Services (IIS) .
Because the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine
runs with LocalSystem privileges, successful
exploitation of this vulnerability could allow hackers
to take full control of the underlying OS. According
to Microsoft, attackers could then "install programs;
view, change, or delete data; or create new
accounts with full user rights."
Users should check that the Microsoft Malware
Protection Engine version used in their products is
1.1.10701.0 or later. Propagation of the fix to
products that are configured for automatic updates
can take up to 48 hours, but users can also trigger a
manual update.
deployments should ensure that their update
automatically approve and distribute engine
updates and new malware definitions, " Microsoft
said in its advisory. "Enterprise administrators
should also verify that the latest version of the
Microsoft Malware Protection Engine and definition
updates are being actively downloaded, approved
and deployed in their environment."
2017-05-09 11:32 Lucian Constantin
141 / 155
Review: Billion BiPAC
8920NZ Dual-SIM 3G/4G LTE
Embedded V/ADSL2+
Wireless-N VPN Firewall
An embedded LTE modem ensures you stay online
24/7. Having a backup internet connection used to
be something only businesses making heaps of
cash could justify. But with the popularity of cheap
pre-paid 3G and 4G data plans, having a
contingency plan for when your internet goes down
at home or small business, is cheaper than ever.
Billion’s latest BiPAC 8920NZ VDSL modem router
makes implementing a secondary internet
connection seamless. From the outside, the BiPAC
8920NZ looks just like any other Wi-Fi modem
router on the market. It supports VDSL, so it’ ll work
with FTTN/FTTC NBN and has a dedicated Ethernet
WAN port, as well as 4-port gigabit Ethernet switch.
A USB port on the back allows for an external HDD
to be attached to act as network storage. The core
feature of the BiPAC 8920NZ is its tri-WAN
configuration. In one box, there’s traditional
Ethernet WAN, ADSL/VDSL modem WAN and an
integrated 3G/4G modem with dual SIM card slots.
When configured correctly, this allows for seamless
failover. Just a warning though - just because
there’s two SIM slots, doesn’ t mean you can use
both SIMs simultaneously. It’s there so you can set
up failover between SIMs, not for link aggregation.
There’s no need to worry about USB 3G/4G modem
compatibility like on other routers that claim have
3G/4G support, as the modem is built directly in to
the router itself. No USB dongles required. As soon
as the router detects that the primary WAN interface
is down, it’ ll move all traffic over to the 3G/4G
modem and then move back to the primary
interface once it starts working again. The 3G/4G
modem in our test unit is the MC7430 from Sierra
Wireless, that supports the B1, B3, B5, B7, B8, B18,
B19, B21, B28, and B38-B41 LTE bands and the
B1, B5, B6, B8, B9, B19 WCDMA/3G bands.
Basically, it’ ll work on every network in Australia.
Sierra claim the MC7430 supports 300 Mbps down
and 50 Mbps up, but Billion’s documentation for the
BiPAC 8920NZ state a maximum of 100 Mbps for
downloads. In testing, it was rare to achieve more
than 60 Mbps on Optus or Telstra, but that’s likely to
be the typical randomness of radio frequency
communications, rather than a lack of effort from the
modem. Compared with a standalone LTE modem,
speeds were roughly identical. Besides the tri-WAN
setup, the BiPAC 8920NZ has all the other goodies
you’ d expect in such a high-end modem router.
Detailed QoS options, 16 simultaneous IPSec VPN
tunnels (L2TP client and server support) , a deep
packet inspection firewall and loads of other
obscure networking features. For those who need
to manage a fleet of these things, protocols like TR069 and SNMP are supported. The only sore point
with the BiPAC 8920NZ is the lack of 802.11ac WiFi. 802.11n is fine and all, but 802.11ac is standard
on all but the cheapest Wi-Fi routers these days.
There isn’ t even support for 5 GHz 802.11n –
something that may be important if you’ re in a
densely populated area that has poor 2.4 GHz
spectrum availability. Setup is not as friendly as
say, Netgear or D-Link’s more consumer facing
models, but is on-par with other enterprisey level
devices from Cisco and Draytek. Billion’s support is
excellent though, with regular firmware updates
and a detailed user guide that’s written by someone
with a solid knowledge of the English language,
unlike some other manufacturers. Unless you
specifically need the 3G/4G modem feature, there’s
much cheaper and equally capable VDSL Wi-Fi
routers. The fact there’s a cellular modem built-in
bumps up the price significantly. USB 4G modems
are practically given away by telcos at
supermarkets now, so is it worth the hundreds of
dollars more for a feature that can be added on to a
cheaper router with a $19 dongle? If having one
less thing sticking out of your router and an instant,
seamless transition between the fixed and cellular
connections is important to you, then the Billion
BiPAC 8920NZ won’ t disappoint.
2017-05-09 11:30 Anthony Agius
142 / 155
ET deals: Save $500 on a Dell
XPS desktop PC
In search of an affordable desktop that has plenty of
room for upgrades? Take a look at the XPS 8910
tower PC from Dell. With a sleek modern design, a
Skylake CPU, space for three 3.5-inch drives, and
support for up to 64GB of DDR4 memory, this PC is
up for almost anything.
So, what kind of specs are we looking at here? This
tower ships with a sixth generation quad-core
3.4GHz Intel Core i7-6700 processor, a dedicated
Nvidia GeForce GTX 750Ti graphics card (with 2GB
of memory) , 16GB of DDR4 RAM (2133MHz) , a
1TB 7200RPM hard drive, a DVD burner, gigabit
ethernet, Bluetooth 4.2, and 802.11b/g/n/ac WiFi
A USB keyboard and mouse pair are included in
your purchase, so a monitor is all you’ ll need to
start out. An HDMI port, a dual-link DVI, and a
DisplayPort are included in this configuration, so
you’ ll be able to use the vast majority of PC
monitors or HDTVs. And if your display of choice
has a different connection, a quick search on
Amazon or MonoPrice will likely result in an
affordable adaptor.
Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) comes installed by default,
so you’ ll have access to helpful features like the
Cortana personal assistant, the Windows Store,
and local game streaming from your Xbox One.
While Dell lists the market value as $1199.99, direct
purchases will get an automatic $200 discount. And
when enter coupon code “XPS699” during
checkout, you’ ll save an extra $300 on top of that.
Use Dell’s free shipping option, and you’ re only left
paying $699.99 (plus any applicable taxes) .
Our commerce group sources the best deals and
products for the ET Deals posts. We operate
independently of Editorial and Advertising and may
earn a percentage of the sale, if you buy something
via a link on the post. If you are interested in
promoting your deals, please contact us at
[email protected]
For more great desktop deals, go to TechBargains
2017-05-09 11:30 Grant Brunner
143 / 155
Citymapper bus goes where
no bus has gone before
Citymapper is running a trial of a new ‘Smartbus’
that will identify the needs of its users and create a
travel route in order to bridge the gap between user
need and transport available.
For years now Citymapper has been helping its
users to navigate major cities by using up-to-theminute information on transport networks to create
routes that will get people from door to door as
quickly and efficiently as possible. Now they are
going one step further by providing their own mode
of transportation.
For now it is just a trial-run for two days in London,
but considering the Citymapper app now serves
around 40 cities worldwide, if the trial is a success,
we wouldn’ t be at all surprised to see a global roll
The ‘popup route’ named CMX1 will run a set loop
across the River Thames on May 9 and 10, and will
be free to use for Citymapper users. It is currently
unclear what this service will cost or how users
would pay if the service were to become a long
term fixture.
It may seem like an unusual move for a company
that has a very successful software-based model to
start buying buses, but Citymapper’s CEO and
former Google engineer Azmat Yusuf explained his
motive to Wired: “All these other things are getting
smarter and better, but why aren’ t buses?” And
he’s not wrong; aside from occasional changes in
design and improvements of engines, buses are
practically the same as when they started running
in the 19th century.
The new Citymapper bus is full to the brim with
technology that helps both the user and the driver.
There are displays that show information on where
you currently are, where the next stop is, and
current traffic. Plus, there are USB ports in all of the
seats for easy charging of electronic devices.
The coolest feature of all is the driver's software. On
top of giving drivers information about amount of
users on board and distance between buses, using
Citymapper’s traffic algorithms the bus will be able
to redirect to best serve users, rather than stick to
an allocated route come-what-may.
The proposed routes that this bus will run should it
become a full service will be decided based on the
needs of users. Citymapper identified from the
searches that its users were making that there were
certain journeys that were not being served by the
current system, and thought that it could solve this
problem by creating a transport option that could
have a route dictated by real searches of real users.
While this sounds like a welcome addition, there
could be a hurdle for Citmapper in fully realizing
this plan. Buses need to have the approval of TfL,
London’s transport authority, before they are able to
run. TfL has apparently been very cooperative with
Citymapper when it comes to all things app-based,
but it will be interesting to see if it'll be as willing to
cooperate if Citymapper launches a service that
could affect TfL's profits.
Via The Verge
2017-05-09 11:26 Andrew London
144 / 155
T-Mobile Revvl T1, T2, and T3
Pro | News and rumors
T-Mobile may be readying a self-branded lineup of
affordable smartphones, and the first three may
have been revealed prematurely. In early May,
details of the T-Mobile Revvl T1, T2, and T3 Pro
began to surface.
According to Android Authority, TCL, Alcatel’s
parent company and the firm behind the BlackBerry
Key One and DTEK devices, is designing and
producing the Revvl phones. They are expected to
be cheaper than Apple’s entry-level iPhone (less
than $650) , and they will reportedly launch
alongside a commitment-free T-Mobile service that
will come with a lifetime warranty and insurance
We don’ t know much about T-Mobile’s Revvl
lineup, but we’ re learning more every day. Here is
what we have so far.
The Revvl T1’s design remains shrouded in
mystery, for the most part, but Android Authority
obtained a rendering in May.
It has an earpiece at the top and bottom, an LED
flash for illuminated selfie pictures, and rounded
corners on all four sides. On the right are what
appear to be a physical power button and a volume
rocker, and it is completely black in color.
From the front, it looks a little like an iPhone.
The Revvl T1 won’ t break speed barriers anytime
soon, but that is not to say its hardware isn’ t
T-Mobile’s mid-range phone packs a 5.5-inch Full
HD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS display, a 13-megapixel
rear camera and a wide-angle five-megapixel front
camera, and 3,000mAh battery. There is a
fingerprint sensor onboard, and a USB-C charging
In terms of software, it runs Android Nougat — the
latest version of Google’s mobile operating system.
Android Authority wasn’ t able to confirm if it would
ship with T-Mobile apps pre-installed or a custom
The Revvl T1’s launch date is anyone’s guess, but
Android Authority is betting sooner rather than later.
Its source pegs the third quarter of 2017 as a likely
release window.
2017-05-09 11:26 Kyle Wiggers
145 / 155
10 Days to Deadline, 50%
Registered SIM Cards
A total of 11.36 million out of the 22 million
registered SIM Cards have been verified to match
their details with the National Identity card
The development was revealed by the ICT Director
of the National Identification and Registration
Authority (NIRA) , Clet Turiho at a news conference
held on Monday at UCC headquarters on Bugolobi,
According to Turiho, since the commencement of
the exercise, a total of 13 million requests were sent
to NIRA from telecommunications operators
although only 11.36 million were found with
information matching with the Databases and have
so far been verified.
Executive Director for the Uganda Communications
Commission (UCC) , there are approximately 22
million registered active simcards in Uganda.
“We have about 22 million simcard users. But
remember that some individuals have more than
one simcard while some companies and
organizations also have up to 50 simcards, ” said
Mutabaazi who added that the progress of the
exercise is impressive.
Government requires all phone users to have their
simcard registration details verified, to match with
the National ID database.
The deadline for verification expires on May 19 th,
after which all unverified simcards will be
Security Minister Lt. Gen Tumukunde already ruled
out possibility of another extension of the deadline.
“The deadline for deactivation of unregistered simcards is May 19,2017. For that matter, I don’ t think
we will have any issues or complaints.”
He also revealed that legal teams from telecom
operators, Ministries of Security and Internal Affairs
are yet to meet and study the possible legal
implications of switching off unregistered cards.
2017-05-09 11:25 Paul M
146 / 155
Is Microsoft in the
smartphone business? It
depends who you ask
In 2013, Microsoft’s then-CEO Steve Ballmer threw
one of his monumental temper tantrums with the
board of directors, threatening to quit if they did not
approve of his proposed $7.7 billion purchase of
Nokia’s handset business.
Rather than take advantage of this opening to
finally be rid of him, the board capitulated, and it
turned into a disaster. Microsoft would write off the
whole acquisition just two years later -- $7.7 billion
Microsoft soldiered on with the Windows Phone
business but its heart clearly wasn’ t into it. That
much was obvious when Joe Belfiore, then the
head of the group, took a year-long sabbatical from
the company to travel around the world with his
daughter. That told me all I needed to know about
Microsoft’s dedication to Windows Phone.
With its most recent quarter, Microsoft made just $5
million on phone sales. Yes, $5 million, about what
Apple makes in a minute. The company CFO said
she doesn’ t expect phone sales to materially
contribute to the company in the future, either.
Microsoft has denied it’s exiting the phone
business, even if there is no business left to exit.
Even though the company has not introduced new
phones in 15 months, a lifetime by device
standards, CEO Satya Nadella told a Minnesota
public radio host "I'm sure we will make more
phones, but they will not look like phones that are
there today."
Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president for the
Windows and Devices Group, said the same thing
to Bloomberg . "We're not going to come out with
another device that someone's done."
So what are they going to come out with? Well,
Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman, who led
development of the HoloLens headset, told
Bloomberg " The phone is already dead. People
just haven't realized it yet. "
Initially some Microsoft blogs took this to mean he
was talking about Microsoft’s phone business, but I
think Microsoft knows its phone is dead. More likely
he meant the smartphone as a device and physical
form. Kipman went on to say he thought mixed
reality technologies would replace the smartphone
as a device.
Now granted there is a trend of function
consolidation where single-use devices get merged
into multi-function devices. The iPhone basically
killed the iPod, for example, and 2-in-1s are doing a
number on tablets.
I can see the smartphone being merged in with
another device, but a mixed reality device will need
a major form factor overhaul because no one is
going to want to walk around with a HoloLens on
their head all day. The mere sight would be
Microsoft faces two challenges -- the first is finding
a new form factor that works. A headset is out of the
question, and Google Glass didn’ t do very well,
either. So they need something new that works and
is socially tolerable. Good luck with that.
The greater challenge is credibility. The fact is that
while Windows Phone was in many ways a
superior OS to iOS and Android, Microsoft
completely pooched the handset market with the
Nokia buy and its failure to secure OEMs. It’s done
so well with the Surface tablets and notebooks, too.
Perhaps it learned its lessons from the handset
But after the disaster of Windows Phone, falling
from a billion dollar business to zero in under three
years, any attempt to restart will be an uphill battle
of epic proportions.
Microsoft has the resources and the patience, but
will it work this time?
2017-05-09 11:24 Andy Patrizio
147 / 155
Researchers deliver new
password solution, Progress
Sitefinity 10, and Dell
Technologies Capital — SD
Times news digest
As an effort to help users create secure passwords,
researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and
the University of Chicago have developed a new
solution that provides password advice. The new
password meter not only tells users in real time
whether or not their password is good, but it offers
feedback and advice on how the password could
be better.
“The key result is that providing the data-driven
feedback actually makes a huge difference in
security compared to just having a password
labeled as weak or strong, ” said Blase Ur, assistant
professor in the University of Chicago’s Department
of Computer Science. “Our new meter led users to
create stronger passwords that were no harder to
remember than passwords created without the
Progress Sitefinity 10 released Progress has
announced the latest update to its web content
management system, Progress Sitefinity 10. The
release includes new user authentication and
security capabilities such as Sitefinity Site Shield,
the ability to export and import site data, CDN
support improvements, and Azure cloud support
“Our customers choose Progress Sitefinity CMS
because it is easy-to-use, can scale and is
affordable. The release of the Sitefinity 10 CMS
bolsters those differentiators by adding out-of-thebox capabilities for user identity management for
reduced time to market and total cost of ownership
of sites, ” said Anton Hristov, director of product
marketing for Progress Sitefinity. “Additional
Sitefinity and Digital Experience Cloud features
further the enablement of digital marketers to
optimize the user experience and improve
conversions across sites and devices without costly
custom implementations.”
BMC Software survey: Automation required to keep
pace of innovation BMC Software released new
insights from a recent automation survey, finding
that 73 percent of IT leaders believe businesses
that aren’ t embracing IT automation will cease to
exist in 10 years. Other respondents highlighted the
demands for new sources of revenue, the
competitive advantage, and other factors as
pressures to compete digitally.
“IT teams must be able to manage the customer
value chain in spite of decentralized usage of cloud
services, ” said Gur Steif, president of digital
business automation at BMC. “This is requiring a
new level of IT automation to adapt to the
challenges posed by increasingly diverse
infrastructure, disparate data, and accelerated
applications – the critical components of digital
Despite these challenges, IT leaders said they
believe they are “empowered” to deliver the
required IT innovation so they can drive their own
digital transformations. Seventy-seven percent of
respondents believe that businesses are doing
enough to prepare for the automation workforce,
according to the survey.
Thunderbird finds new home The Mozilla
Foundation has decided it will serve as the legal
and fiscal home for the Thunderbird project, which
is a free and open-source email, news, RSS and
chat client developed by the Mozilla Foundation.
However, the Thunderbird project will migrate off
Mozilla Corporation infrastructure, which means the
operational aspects of the project will be separated,
writes Mozilla technical editor Philipp Kewisch.
According to Kewisch, the Thunderbird Council is
“optimistic” about its future. In the meantime,
“ The long term plan is to migrate our code to web
technologies, but this will take time, staff, and
planning. We are looking for highly skilled
volunteer developers who can help us with this
endeavor, to make sure the world continues to have
a high-performance open-source secure email
client it can rely upon, ” wrote Kewisch.
Dell Technologies Capital emerges A new venture
practice is coming out of stealth mode this week.
Dell Technologies Capital is designed to help
develop technology solutions and bring them to
market. The practice has already participated in
more than 70 early-stage startups and will focus on
areas such as software-defined networking,
management and orchestration, security, machine
learning, artificial intelligence, Big Data, analytics,
cloud, Internet of Things and DevOps. “Capital is
merely table stakes to set a startup company on the
path to success. New companies are looking for
active investment partners who provide breadth
and depth of expertise and access to resources and
scale, ” said Scott Darling, president of Dell
Technologies Capital. “Dell Technologies Capital is
comprised of a team of highly experienced
investors with an extensive network of industry
contacts to help our portfolio companies achieve
escape velocity. We’ ve been making these
investments in stealth mode for a number of years
and are accelerating our pace of investments.”
2017-05-09 11:23 Christina Cardoza
148 / 155
AeroVironment unveils palmsized surveillance drone for
U. S. military
The smaller size and simplicity of operation means
it can used by ordinary soldiers, offering squads
and other small military units the kind of
surveillance capacity previously reserved for larger
military units, where drones are operated by
AeroVironment said it delivered 20 of the 5-ounce
(140-gram) Snipe unmanned aircraft to its first U. S.
government client in April. The company declined
to identify the government agency that purchased
the drones, but Aviation Week reported last year
that AeroVironment was developing prototypes for
the U. S. Army.
AeroVironment said the drone benefited from
advances in technology achieved in the
development of its Nano Hummingbird drone for
DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency, which has been responsible for many
technological and scientific breakthroughs used by
the military.
Kirk Flittie, AeroVironment's vice president in
charge of unmanned aircraft systems, said in a
statement the Snipe copter drone is "designed to be
worn by its operator so it can be deployed in less
than a minute."
The aircraft, which is intended intelligence and
reconnaissance missions, can relay high-resolution
images and record video both day and night. It can
fly at speeds of 20 mph (35 kph) , has a range of
more than a kilometer (half-mile) , and can fly for
about 15 minutes on batteries, the statement said.
AeroVironment's hand-launched Raven unmanned
aircraft, which weighs 4.2 pounds (2 kg) and has a
wingspan of 4.5 feet (1.4 meters) , is one of the
most widely used military surveillance drones, with
more than 19,000 built.
Shares of AeroVironment dropped 0.2 percent to
$29.13 within its 52-week range of $22.16 to
(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Jeffrey
2017-05-09 11:19 Reuters Editorial
149 / 155
Everything I learned about
motherhood from video
I’ ve never had a baby. I once had one of those
dolls that you could feed and it periodically pissed
itself, but I gather this only represents a fraction of
the experience. I’ ll tell you what I have done,
though: I have played a lot of video games.
Games, you may be startled to discover, are not too
great at portraying motherhood – though they seem
to have fatherhood all figured out. Did you know
that once you have a daughter you suddenly
become aware that women are people, too? Who
could have seen that coming? This modern
phenomenon, known as the “dadification of
games”, has largely come about through game
designers and writers growing up, becoming
parents and having all these feelings about
protectiveness and caring that they want to express
through their chosen medium. See The Last of Us,
BioShock Infinite and The Walking Dead among
others. Meanwhile, due to the fact that not a lot of
senior game designers are women, and because
many of the ones that are women are often forced
to choose between career and family – because
sexism is bullshit – the motherhood stories just don’
t get told.
If everything I learned about motherhood was from
games, a large part of it would be “you die roughly
five minutes after giving birth, surviving just long
enough to leave a memento or a letter that will later
serve as the motivation for your child to do some
big quest”. You are less a nurturing, sentient human
being, more a plot device. The statistical probability
of this happening is worrying on a pandemic scale:
there’s Ellie’s mother in The Last of Us, Evie and
Jacob’s mother in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, the
drowned mother in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons,
the protagonist’s mother in Fallout 3, the saintly
Lady Comstock in Bioshock Infinite (who, when she
returns to life, does so as a nightmarish and deadly
siren) … the list continues.
You’ d think that mothers were some kind of
impossible narrative puzzle, best dispatched at the
beginning so no one has to bother writing a
rounded female character. If we’ re feeling
generous, we could suggest this is down to the fact
that video games have habitually drawn their
archetypal structures from fairy tales (the brave
prince rescuing the fair maiden, etc) – and in these
ancient stories, the death of a mother is a familiar
inciting incident. But that’s not really good enough
in the era of sophisticated storytelling – and the
malaise is a lot more complicated.
For example, another lesson I have learned from
games is that motherhood is sexy, but in a
dangerous way. The game version of Dante’s
Inferno has a 40-foot naked woman who fires
scythe-handed babies from her gaping nipples.
Bioshock has the protagonist’s mother, an “exotic
dancer” who sells her baby and is promptly
murdered by her lover. Bloodborne has Arianna,
Woman of Pleasure, who gives birth to a monstrous
child who must be killed. If you kill Arianna instead,
you get her shoes, which bear this awful
description: “Innocent and cute. In contrast with its
owner.” Yeesh. A lot of games display this
unbearable, puritanical view that mothers must be
sexually pure, and therefore anything that
combines sexuality and motherhood must be bad
and wrought with peril.
There is a sinister obsession with the corruption of
motherhood, betraying a Freudian fear of women
as a suffocating, castrating presence. There has
been, for as long as women have existed, a terror
that they are “monstrous” – ie unpredictable,
chaotic, untrustworthy; cloying sweethearts one
second and vitriolic harridans the next. Even now,
this deep-seated trope continues in the guise of
PMS jokes and Manic Pixie Dream Girls (what do
they even want, and why isn’ t it me???) – and, of
course, female video game characters who look
simpering and sweet until they spinning-bird-kick
you in the face. Add the body horror of pregnancy
into the mix and whoah, it’s terrifying. Hence, the
Alien movies – a multimillion dollar franchise based
around the idea that birth is gross.
Perhaps it’s for the best that motherhood is rarely
portrayed in games if revulsion and death are so
often the result – if the actual physicality of
motherhood is so baffling and mysterious and how
do babies even come out and why must mothers
have their own personalities and motives. Why can’
t they just be caring and loving, and preferably
dead long before the events of the game? Think of
the mother figure in every Pokémon adventure –
stuck in the house, in a dead-end town, while her
husband is missing or working in another city. Her
10-year-old child leaves to hunt little creatures all
day, only returning to scrounge money from her.
She is not a person. A person cannot effectively be
replaced by an ATM.
Fortunately, there are good, interesting examples of
motherhood scattered throughout the video-game
canon. Child of Light begins with the protagonist’s
mum dying, but the story isn’ t about her
relationship with her father; instead it follows Aurora
reconnecting with her beloved mother in a magical,
fairytale world, guided and helped by her in her role
as the Queen of Light. Joyce Price, Chloe’s mother
in Life is Strange, has her own worries and motives,
working at a diner to provide for her troubled
daughter and trying to maintain a relationship with
her overbearing husband. In Night In The Woods,
Mae’s mother, Candy, begins as the kind of mum
who stays inside and interacts only with the
protagonist, but she is slowly revealed to be a more
complex character who is fiercely loving towards
her daughter despite Mae being incredibly difficult
and angsty towards her.
Still though, it seems mothers are not allowed to be
game protagonists in the way that dads and dad
figures are able to be. There is a persistent belief
that mothers are defined by that role, while men are
able to save the world – or even just leave the
house – without becoming a tragic plot motivation.
Adventurousness – as with Lara Croft’s mother,
Amelia Croft – is punished; she dies either by
touching a cursed sword or by being in a plane
crash. The player is assumed to be male in too
many cases, and thus their only relationship with
mothers is having one, or marrying one. Even
Bayonetta, perhaps the most prominent example of
mother-as-protagonist, is actually just playing
mother to a younger version of herself, which
doesn’ t really count, though I haven’ t researched
the law on that.
And so, I call to you, game designers, game writers
and yes, even you execs – especially you execs –
who sit at the top of game studios making all the big
important decisions like release dates and
downloadable content prices: make games about
mothers. Don’ t just make games about your
mothers; make games across the whole spectrum.
Better yet: hire mothers and let them tell their
stories. Even if this prospect fills you with unnatural
horror, there is a vast spectrum of relatable stories
to explore out there and an untapped market to sell
them to. After all, a large portion of your potential
customers will have had babies, or may go on to
have them in the future – and many of these people
won’ t even be murdered by demons immediately
2017-05-09 11:16 Kate Gray
150 / 155
‘For Honor’ Beginner’s Guide:
Best practices for becoming
a melee master
Ubsioft’s For Honor is one of the more interesting
experiments to come out this year. The medieval
melee simulator can probably best be described as
a 3D fighting game that borrows from the formula of
popular first-person-shooters. For Honor, as you
may have heard, features an innovative combat
system called “The Art of Battle, ” and with that
comes a set of new skills to master. It’s not always
the easiest game to get into, however, as its pacing
is more methodical than your typical hack-andslash title. There’s a learning curve for the rockpaper-scissors-style combat that extends all the
way down to the game’s seemingly obtuse controls.
Once the mechanics start to click, however, it can
be immensely satisfying.
Perhaps you participated in one of the betas and
you’ ve already stepped online to join the Faction
War, or maybe you just completed the introductory
tutorial and don’ t know what to do next to square
your footing. Either way, these steps and tips
should help you master the game’s elaborate
combat system.
For Honor is a multiplayer-centric game, and while
it definitely helps to test your skills against human
opponents, we suggest slowing down a bit and
exploring the other parts of the package first. If you
jump straight into live battle after the first tutorial, it
may be harder to pick up the skills that you need to
succeed at first.
The single player campaign introduces the three
factions — Knights, Vikings, and Samurai — across
18 missions. You will get the chance to play as
multiple classes within each faction to get a broad
sense of each character’s strengths and
weaknesses. While the story is relatively banal, it
does an excellent job introducing moves in easily
digestible portions. Breaking down the game’s
nuanced combat one piece at a time is far more
manageable than diving head first into multiplayer
How to Play
If you absolutely don’ t want to get through the
campaign, the “How to Play” section of the menu
has practice and advanced practice modes. Here,
you’ ll learn the moves introduced in the campaign,
but you won’ t get the same feeling of incrementally
adding to your skill repertoire. Regardless, it’s still
better than jumping in without the proper
While each hero offers a unique array of special
moves, the core tenants of the battle system — “The
Art of Battle” — remain intact no matter your hero of
choice. Before you attempt to master a hero’s
personal moveset, getting to know the five central
mechanical principles will go a long way toward
unfurling your victory banner along the castle walls.
You will spend most of combat in the guard stance.
Squared to your enemy, you have the choice of
steadying your weapon left, right, or above your
head. With the goal of blocking incoming enemy
attacks, it’s best at first to stay in step with your
opponent’s blade. Since you only have a split
second to move your weapon to a different guard
position, the system relies on anticipation and
sometimes even gut instinct. When your opponent
attacks, an icon will briefly flash red to reveal the
direction of the incoming blow. As odd as it sounds,
you may want to pay more attention to the icon in
the center of their body rather than the enemy’s
weapon if you are having trouble warding off
attacks. The longer you hold out on the defensive,
the more stamina your opponent will exert in trying
to land a strike. Even though this rock-paperscissors back and forth may be stressful, patience
gives you the upper hand. Keep in mind you can
also guard attacks from enemies that you aren’ t
locked onto by blocking in the direction of an
adjacent attack.
Once you have a knack for guarding, you can throw
in a bit off offense with your defense. When your
opponent attacks and the directional icon flashes, if
you match up the correct direction in combination
with a heavy attack, you will perform a parry.
Basically, this knocks your opponent back, and
leaves them open to a quick counterattack. Be
careful, however. If you don’ t time it correctly, you
will get hit, as your guard lowers when parrying.
Yes, in order to win a battle, you must attack your
opponents, but we mentioned guarding and
parrying first for a reason. You should attack
sparingly and with precision. Hasty attacks often
lead to defeat, so choose wisely. Attacks can simply
be broken down into light and heavy. Light attacks
are weaker and harder to block, while heavy
attacks are more cumbersome but inflict critical
damage. You conserve stamina by primarily
sticking with light attacks. Heavy attacks should be
reserved for when you catch your opponent off
guard or when they are flailing around carelessly.
When landing a heavy attack, you can often follow it
up with a quick light attack before bracing back to
guard mode. Keep in mind that if you initiate an illadvised heavy attack, you have a moment to cancel
it. Since light attacks strike quicker, if you see your
opponent winding up a heavy attack, you can
usually beat them to the punch with a light attack of
your own.
Guard breaks
If you’ re opponent consistently blocks or counters
all of your attacks, guard breaks can often take
down their defensive stance momentarily. A guard
break tells your hero to rush your opponent with
either a shove or a thrust of your shield, if
applicable. With your opponent’s defense
compromised, you can easily land a light attack and
often land a heavy attack. Be careful, though, as
your guard is also down and already in progress
attacks from your opponent will still land when
executing a guard break. It’s important to not be too
far from your opponent when you initiate a guard
break, too, as each hero only lunges so far. On the
flip side, to defend against a guard break, you must
perform one of your own when your opponent’s
weapon or shield flashes red. If successful, the area
around your character will flash blue, sending your
opponent backwards and opening them up for an
Performing an additional guard break at impact will
initiate a throw. More often than note, this will send
your opponent to the ground, in which case you can
unleash a few attacks before your opponent rises
again. Since throws exert a fair bit of stamina,
however, it’s best to save these for when you can
pin your opponent against a wall or send them
hurtling to their death off a ledge.
If you find yourself getting beat down often, you may
be staying too still. Sure, it’s wise to stand your as
much as possible, but dodging creates separation
that is sometimes needed to confuse your opponent
and take the upper hand. If you need to regroup,
dodging backwards is a sure fire way to reset, but if
you want to turn dodges into simple light or heavy
attacks, dodging left or right is a better method as
you’ ll likely stay within attack range. Use dodges
sparingly, though, as it’s a quick way to deplete
your stamina.
2017-05-09 11:11 Steven Petite
151 / 155
The H1 Humvee makes a
comeback in China, thanks to
VLF Automotive
There is a reason General Motors pulled the plug
on Hummer seven years ago. Apart from high fuel
prices scaring away customers, the Hummer
product had become so distilled (we’ re looking at
you, H3) , that the brand lost its mojo.
When Americans remember Hummer now, we don’
t think fondly of the H2 and H3 — we idolize the H1,
the Humvee. We are not the only ones, apparently.
The Chinese market has a fascination with the H1,
and VLF Automotive intends to capitalize on their
You remember VLF, of course — the company
behind power-packed versions of the Karma,
Mustang, and Viper. With ex-GM executive Bob
Lutz, famed automotive designer Henrik Fisker, and
Boeing executive Gilbert Villarreal at the helm, VLF
has taken on some wacky projects in its Michigan
According to Car and Driver, the latest endeavor
combines VLF’s assembly resources with Humvee
Export’s “enthusiasm.” Humvee Exports is a fiveperson operation that includes dealership owners
who used to sell consumer-spec Hummer H1’s until
they were killed off in 2006. Even after the model
was discontinued, AM General (the truck’s
manufacturer) , continued building the HMMWV
(High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle) for
U. S. military use. AM General then began offering
the “C-Series kit” to consumers in 2013. Since then,
Humvee Export has been assembling and
exporting the kits all over the world (but not in its
own backyard) . The kit doesn’ t meet the new Low
Motor Vehicle
Manufacturers Act
requirements, unfortunately.
The C-Series kit, which was shown at this year’s
Shanghai auto show, looks very similar to the
1990s H1, except that it shares a nose with the
current military version. VLF will assemble the
Humvee in one of three trim levels — Bravo,
Charlie, or Delta. Buyers can also choose from four
paint colors and four GM engines.
Powertrains include a 6.5-liter diesel V8 engine
with three levels of output: 190 horsepower and
385 pound-foot of torque, 205hp and 440 poundfoot, or 250hp and 440 pound-foot. If you prefer a
gas-powered motor, you can opt for an LS3 6.2-liter
V8 with 430hp and 424 pound-foot of torque.
2017-05-09 11:11 Miles Branman
152 / 155
Snap's first earnings report
will show how much it's
feeling pressure from
For Snap, parent company of social media site
For Snap, parent company of social media site
Snapchat, raising money has come much easier
than making it.
While its $3.9 billion initial stock sale in early March
was the largest U. S. IPO in more than two years,
the company has consistently reported huge
And when it reports earning for the first time as a
public company on Wednesday, investors will get a
sharp reminder that it's still not close to making a
Just as important: They'll see whether Facebook 's
habit of adopting knock-off features has dented
Snapchat's user growth.
Wall Street expects the company to post an
adjusted loss of 12 cents a share, based on the
estimates of 29 analysts compiled by Yahoo
Finance. This excludes the impact of stock-based
compensation, which Snap — like other tech firms
— doles out liberally.
Including those numbers, Snap's operations are
deep in the red.
Last year's operating and net losses outstripped
sales, for example — a sign of how much funding
it's already burned through.
What Snap has been delivering to investors is
skyrocketing revenue growth.
First-quarter sales are expected to rise fourfold from
a year earlier as Snapchat puts more ads in front of
its roughly 150 million users.
Facebook, meanwhile, has been busy adding
features pioneered by its upstart rival — including
easy-to-use photo filters and a way for users to
create their own video stories.
Wednesday afternoon's report will reveal whether
Facebook's push is impacting Snap's growth in
users or ad sales — though company said in its IPO
filing that it expected first-quarter sales to decline
from the end of last year.
That has led analysts to expect revenue of $158
million, compared with $165 million in the fourth
quarter of 2016.
Still, such a sequential revenue drop hasn't
happened in at least two years, according to Snap's
regulatory filings.
And any revenue hiccup is likely to be fodder for
Wall Street bears betting against the stock amid
growing competition.
While Snap shares surged 44 percent in their first
day of public trading in March, to more than $24 a
share, the stock has closed below that level every
day of April and May.
Snap shares were up 1.4 percent Tuesday
2017-05-09 11:08 John Shinal
153 / 155
From Kinect to InnerEye –
How Microsoft is
supercharging gaming tech
with AI smarts to help
diagnose cancer
No one single technology exists in a vacuum.
Microsoft’s Kinect may have suffered an ignoble
slide into obscurity following its troubled pairing
with the Xbox One. But its underlying principles,
technology and the research that went into
developing it now has a far more important role
than measuring
It’s saving lives.
Speaking at the AI Summit in London, Microsoft’s
Professor Christopher Bishop (Laboratory Director
of Microsoft Research) and Antonio Criminisi,
principal researcher for InnerEye Assistive AI for
Cancer, discussed how the principal root gaming
tech, in conjunction with machine learning
principles, is now being used to help diagnose
InnerEye Assistive AI for Cancer is a Microsoftenabled research project using image analysis and
tools to dramatically lower the amount of time it
takes to identify and diagnose cancerous cells in a
One of the key applications of the technology is in
examining the data produced from a Computer
Tomography (CT) scan. CT scans look right the way
through body tissue and bone matter, resulting in
images offering many different layers or slices of
views throughout a patient’s body. Together, they
build a whole picture of the internal workings of a
patient – but identifying each organ through each
minutely-differing layer, and being able to identify
anomalies within that data, can take even the most
skilled oncologist many hours. They use 3D
modelling tech to highlight and identify healthy
organs, separating them from any aberrations, but
must build that picture pixel by pixel, or voxel by
voxel, before deciding on a treatment plan.
But what takes an oncologist hours to do by hand,
InnerEye can achieve (with a little human help) in
just around 30 seconds. As such, much more time
can be given to the treatment plan for each
individual patient, with solid data (in the case of
radiation therapy) as to which healthy areas of the
body to avoid hitting.
“To train the software we have hundreds of images
of CT scans from patients, all anonymised and
consented”, explains Criminisi.
“They come from different regions in the globe, not
just the UK, which is important to capture the
variability in ethnicity, body shape and the disease
state. Each image is confirmed by an oncologist to
have, for example signs of prostate cancer, and we
refine it down through segmentation.”
InnerEye’s performance is not devoid of input from
a doctor however. In fact, it’s improved by it. While
InnerEye is incredibly capable of identifying
different body zones, its margin of error is not
perfect. An oncologist can fine tune the resulting
report, and the data fed back to the cloud can be
used to refine InnerEye’s algorithms wherever they
are in use, in any practice anywhere around the
“It’s not ‘reinforcement learning’ , it’s a different type
of machine learning called ‘supervised learning’ , ”
said Criminisi. It’s a more traditional type of learning
as it is refined through professional input, in this
case from a doctor.
“We’ re never going to replace doctors, ” says
Criminisi. “But this is a tool to help them do their
jobs more efficiently and effectively.”
For any patient with an interest in gaming, they may
be surprised to hear the roots of the software now
being used on their journey to recovery.
“It’s using the same technology that was first
developed for game playing with Xbox, ” explains
“What we’ re doing uses Random Forest, a very
special sort of machine learning algorithm, which
interestingly came out of Microsoft’s Cambridge lab
many years ago and lead to the invention of Kinect.
“That technology was looking at a user, not a
patient, from the outside in, and was capable of
recognising movements. So we thought, let’s turn it
on its head, and use it on images where you look at
a patient from the inside out. It’s the same
technology evolving over time.”
It’s not just the scanning tech’s history in Kinect that
links Microsoft’s AI ambitions back to gaming, but
the underlying chip hardware carrying out the
computational tasks too. Its Field Programmable
Gate Array (FPGA) silicon architecture is founded in
the work done on gaming GPUs.
“A CPU is a rather generic processor, ” explains
“It has the advantage of being very flexible and
programmable in software, but the actual
architecture is fixed. Then there is more specialized
architecture, such as graphical processing units, or
GPUs. They’ re designed for fast graphics, primarily
for the games industry. But it turns out they are very
well suited for a very specific type of machine
learning called a ‘deep neural network’ , which
really is the thing that’s underpinned the whole
excitement around AI.
“GPUs are a very specific fixed architecture, really
very good at doing a lot of the same thing in
parallel. But they lack flexibility. An FPGA is a little
bit different – you can think of it like a LEGO set of
gates that can be configured in software to be very
specific architecture. It won't be quite as efficient as
a purpose-designed chip on a specific algorithm,
but you can very quickly configure it to work on any
one of a number of different algorithms, or if a new
algorithm comes along.
“This is what’s fuelling the AI revolution, along with
an enormous amount of research around new
machine learning techniques. The flexibility means
that, when a new and improved algorithm comes
along, we can just reconfigure that FPGA
supercomputer to deal with it. We no longer need to
develop a new bespoke chip. ”
As an example, Bishop claims that FPGA chips
could be used to translate the entirety of the epic
novel ‘War and Peace’ from Russian into English in
the time it’ d take you to pick it off your bookshelf.
“Imagine a future where we deploy this tool in
hospitals, as we are already doing, ” says Criminisi.
“As an oncologist fixes some mistakes, or makes
stylistic choices, that data goes back into the
Microsoft Cloud, Azure, and we use it to retrain the
algorithm. There’s continuous learning. The next
day, when the doctor goes back into his surgery,
the performance has been improved. That’s where
we want to go next.”
But reaching this exciting next stage in everyday
diagnose will present challenges removed from
silicon, admits Criminisi.
“One thing is to talk about the technology, the other
is to talk about the legal hurdles and the privacy
hurdles. Enabling a mechanism where you can do
continuous learning, will be from a governance
point of view a lot more complicated than even what
we’ re doing right now.”
It may not quite be a resurrection for the Kinect, but
in preventing a potentially untimely death in
patients, perhaps the technology, through this
evolution, has finally found its true calling.
2017-05-09 11:07 Gerald Lynch
154 / 155
Best Buy is offering $70 off
the Apple Watch Series 2,
and $200 off the MacBook Air
If you’ ve had your eye on some Apple gear
recently, Best Buy’s got some sale prices worth
considering. The big box retailer has chopped $200
off the price of the MacBook Air, and has made the
Apple Watch Series 2 $70 cheaper.
You can find the full roster of deals by starting on
this page on Best Buy’s site .
Right now, you can get the Apple Watch Series 2—
which is the latest model—for $300 with the 38mm
case. Alternatively, you can get the 42mm option for
$329. Both prices save you $70 off of Apple’s
standard price.
You can also pick up a MacBook Air with a 1.6GHz
“Broadwell” Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM,
and a 128GB solid state drive for $800. The display
is 13.3 inches with a resolution of 1440-by-900.
Best Buy had this device on sale at the same price
back in February, and if you ask me, the Air isn’ t
worth it at a higher price. If the Broadwell chip and
Thunderbolt 2 didn’ t already tip you off, the Air
hasn’ t been updated since 2015, and there’s not
much reason to think it ever will be.
If you’ re looking for a budget-level MacBook,
however, you’ re kind of stuck since the Air is the
cheapest Apple laptop you can get. Still, if you can’
t catch the MacBook Air sale this time, wait for it to
come around again before buying.
[Today’s deal: MacBook Air for $800 and the Apple
Watch Series 2 for $70 off at Best Buy]
2017-05-09 11:07 Ian Paul
155 / 155
Electrick spray paint can
transform any object into a
touch-sensitive surface
Imagine being able to transform any object or
surface into a smart touch-sensitive one using
nothing more than a fresh coat of paint. That’s
exactly what engineers at Carnegie Mellon
University have achieved with Electrick, a cuttingedge project combing software and spray paint.
“This is a touch-sensing technology, similar to what
you have with your smartphone screen, but
applicable to any surface you can think of, ”
Professor Chris Harrison, head of Carnegie
Mellon’s Future Interfaces Group (FIG) , told Digital
Trends. “With it you can make tables, walls,
furniture, TV remotes — anything you can put paint
onto — into a touchpad.”
The technology is based around an algorithm that’s
able to read a finger press by sensing changes in
the flow of electricity over a conductive surface. This
concept is called electric field tomography, and
involves running small amounts of current through
pairs of electrodes and looking for any voltage
differences. By attaching electrodes to the
periphery of the object covered in Carnegie
Mellon’s smart conductive coating, Harrison and
colleagues demonstrated that it was possible to
sense exactly where a touch had been placed.
“It’s really exciting to think about the ways
companies might apply these sort of finishes to
make wholly new forms of interactive goods, ”
Harrison continued. “For example, you could have
a steering wheel that can determine whether or not
your hands are placed on it in the right location.
Right now, the state-of-the-art tech that we have in
cars is a touchscreen display in the Tesla. But
imagine being able to make the steering wheel and
the entire dash of a car interactive, just by adding
an extra coating!”
In demos, Electrick was used to add touch-sensing
capabilities to objects including (but not limited to) a
sheet of drywall, the surface of a guitar, and a Jell-O
mold of a brain. All offer unique possibilities in
terms of potential applications. For instance, it’s
easy to imagine how conductive paint could be
applied to a guitar to allow effect pedals to be
incorporated directly into its body.
The other big advantage of the system, Harrison
noted, is its cost. He describes it as “ridiculously low
cost, ” and says that adding smart touch-sensitive
surfaces to an object works out as, “way under $1
per square foot.”
There are, of course, limitations. Despite being
touch-sensitive, the objects don’ t include a display,
which means the inputs have to be read on another
device (like touching the aforementioned Jell-O
mold of a brain as a way of controlling a mobile
app) or else be used to control relatively simple
interactions, like lights switching on or off.
Right now, the system also can’ t do multi-touch,
referring to the common interaction method on a
trackpad or touchscreen in which more than one
points of contact with the surface are recognized
simultaneously. That could well change in the
future, though.
Next up, Harrison said the goal is to further refine
the technology. This will include not just further
improving the accuracy of the touch-sensing
capabilities, but also grappling with questions like
how to avoid scenarios involving unwanted
accidental touches. After all, it’s one thing to
fantasize about a possible Star Trek future in which
every surface in our homes is interactive; another to
deal with the reality of that scenario, were it to be
implemented poorly.
After that, the team’s ambition is then to find a way
of getting the Electrick technology out into the real
world where it belongs: something Harrison is more
than keen to do.
“In our lab we do applied work that’s about
attacking real world problems, whether that’s
improving people’s lives or simply delighting them
with a new experience, ” he said. “But at the same
time we’ re not the commercial arm of a big
company, so we’ d be looking for partners that
could take this technology to the next level.”
The technology was shown off this week by its
creators, which included co-authors Yang Zhang
and Gierad Laput, at the Conference on Human
Factors in Computing Systems in Denver. If you’ re
interested in finding out more, you can check out
the full research paper — titled “Electrick: Low-Cost
Touch Sensing Using Electric Field Tomography”
— here.
Then you can set about planning all the objects in
your apartment you hope to make into future smart
surfaces at the earliest possible convenience!
2017-05-09 11:03 Luke Dormehl
Total 155 articles. Generated at 2017-05-10
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF