Saturday, 28 January 2017

Ring raises $109M to help build safer neighbourhoods, sights still set on IPO

dsc07023 Video doorbell and connected security device startup Ring has raised $109 million in a Series D round, following its $61.2 million raise last year, when it also launched its Ring Pro smart doorbell. This time around, the new funding follows quickly on the heels of its launch of its connected video motion floodlight, which debuted at CES and will help Ring continue to pursue its goal of… Read More

The Amazon Echo is having its mainstream moment

echo The little talking speaker that could, Amazon’s Echo, is moving into the breakout phase of its success, according to data collected by analysts firm Slice Intelligence. The Echo is coming off a tremendously successful holiday shopping season, which saw not only a high volume of sales, but a key evolution in consumer demographics that’s driving sales from a broader cross-section… Read More

Qualcomm reaffirms it will continue to supply Apple during its legal dispute

apple-qualcomm Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said today on the company’s call accompanying its first-quarter earnings report that Qualcomm would continue to work with Apple as a supplier despite a major legal battle between the two companies. “We intend to remain a good supplier to Apple even while this dispute continues,” Mollenkopf said on the call. “Our preference is to resolve… Read More

These genetically modified cyborg dragonflies could perform ‘guided pollination’

dragonfleye We are now in a day and age where cyborg insects no longer even raise an eyebrow. Hell, you can order kits! But this particular cyborg insect is especially interesting: a dragonfly that has been modified inside and out to follow the path programmed into a solar-powered electronic backpack the size of a fingernail. Read More

States aim to legalize the “Right to Repair” your gear

729398eac1b4692b28051c19eff30eaa “Unofficial” product repair shops may be getting a leg up in Nebraska, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Kansas. These states are working to legalize repair of devices from any manufacturer, including litigious Apple. Why is this necessary? Because Homeland Security raids repair shops on claims of counterfeit repair part importation and most devices are locked down,… Read More

Crocodile and lizard bots peep at their scaly peers for nature documentary

robot_head If you want to walk among the crocodiles, first you must become a crocodile, as the saying goes. But short of an Ace Ventura-style setup, a robot is probably your best bet if all you want is some sweet footage for a nature documentary. That’s just what these Swiss roboticists did for a BBC show airing today. Read More

Boeing shows off the spacesuit astronauts will wear on the Starliner

starliner_gallery14_960x600 The commercial spaceflight industry is doing a great job creating new rockets, launch vehicles and all that good stuff, but spacesuits have seen few alterations. Until now. Boeing has publicly debuted what astronauts on its Starliner craft will be wearing, and it looks like a big improvement. Read More

Ford’s new SmartLink OBD accessory adds connected features to older cars

e-pid_800x320-with-disclaimer Connectivity features are increasingly included as standard on new vehicles, with cellular modems in particular becoming a popular feature included even in base level trim. Now, connectivity is so important to Ford, that the automaker is actually offering an easy retrofit option to add connected features to Ford and Lincoln vehicles from model years between 2010 and 2016, with SmartLink, a… Read More

Netgear’s Orbi might be the best Wi-Fi router I’ve ever used

main I’m rarely this excited about a wi-fi router. I’ve used Apple gear for years now, replacing Airport after Airport until I found I hit a wall. My house is made of wood, brick, and lathe with a little horsehair and metal sheeting thrown in so I was unable to get good Wi-Fi throughout. I ran powerline Ethernet to the attic and added an Airport Express to speed things up but I was… Read More

Snap will reportedly file publicly for its massive IPO late next week

Evan Spiegel Snap — the makers of Snapchat — had confidentially filed for its IPO late last year, but it looks like we’ll be getting a look at the inner guts of the company’s financials and workings as early as late next week. The company will file publicly for its initial public offering late next week, according to a new report from Kara Swisher over at Recode. This is yet… Read More

All Chromebooks launching in 2017 will be compatible with Android apps

chromebook pixel All Chromebooks new in 2017 will support Android apps out of the box. An update will not be required. Owners will be able to take the Chromebook home, open it up and immediately access the Google Play Store. The news comes from a single line of text on Google’s list of Chromebooks compatible with Android apps. “All Chromebooks launching in 2017 and after as well as the… Read More

Friday, 27 January 2017

Go tell Neil Young that he can use the JustBoom DAC to play back his audio on a Raspberry Pi

screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-10-26-21-am My, my, hey, hey lossless audio is here to stay thanks to JustBoom, a set of Raspberry Pi “hats” that connect to the mini computer and offer high fidelity audio playback and amplification. The $24 hats include a lossless DAC, a mini-amplifier, and a high-resolution audio output with COAX and optical audio out. If you, like Neil Young, require the utmost fidelity in your music… Read More

Axon VR promises real haptic feedback for your sojourns into virtual reality

screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-12-11-07-pm Have you ever wanted to feel a dragon breathe on your wrist? A tiny reindeer paw at your palm? A virtual robot skitter up your arm and burrow into your chest? Axon VR is about to let you. IEEE Spectrum’s Evan Ackerman checked out the Axon VR device at CES a few weeks ago and it looks like the sleeper hit of the show given how little it was covered and how amazing it looks. The box, a… Read More

Apple releases macOS 10.12.3 with MacBook Pro GPU and battery fixes

macbookproports Apple has just released an update to macOS Sierra. 10.12.3 is a bugfix update, but it brings some much-needed changes for the new MacBook Pro released late last year. With today’s update, Apple has issued a couple of fixes for the graphics chipset in the 15-inch model. Apple has also fixed the Safari icon fetching bug that was affecting battery life. There are many screenshots and videos… Read More

Civil War short ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ touts bleeding-edge VR cinematography at Sundance

My Brother's Keeper Filmmakers are still trying to wrap their heads around VR, and the results are a mixed bag — but as the technology to create catches up with cinematic techniques honed over decades, new and interesting experiences are popping up right and left. One recent example is this short film shot for viewing in VR that had to vault a few of the technical challenges that have held the medium back. Read More

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Amazon’s new Echo wake word makes your Star Trek dreams come true

screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-12-21-27-pm Amazon has a new wake word for its Echo speakers, letting you trigger the Alexa voice assistant by uttering “Computer” aloud. It’s far more susceptible to accidental activation, yes, but it’s also a dream come true for Star Trek fans who watched both original series and TNG crew members address the Enterprise’s on-board computing systems directly. I have tried… Read More