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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigns following controversies 21 Jun 2017, 9:17 am
Uber founder Travis Kalanick is resigning as chief executive officer under investor pressure, following a slew of controversies that rocked the ride-hailing firm.
The New York Times cites two anonymous sources close to Uber in reporting that Kalanick resigned as CEO on Tuesday from the company that he co-founded in 2009 and helped build into the global operation it is today. Investors had reportedly sent Mr Kalanick a letter demanding that he step aside.
"I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this difficult moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight," Mr. Kalanick said in a statement.
Kalanick will remain on Uber's board of directors. He had previously committed to changing Uber's corporate culture from the inside as the company experienced a slew of controversies.
Allegations of sexual harassment at Uber surfaced earlier this year prompting an internal investigation into the firm's culture. On top of that, a federal probe has been launched into 'Greyball', a software tool Uber is alleged to have used to help drivers avoid law enforcement or regulations.
A former Uber employee, Anthony Levandowski, is also accused of stealing trade secrets from Waymo, another previous employer.
Source: New York Times
Spotify hopes groups build playlists through Messenger 21 Jun 2017, 9:02 am
Spotify is introducing Group Playlists for Messenger, allowing for a group to build playlists even if some of the group don't use Spotify.
You could use this new feature to build playlists for planned parties, for example, or just to keep up to date with new music that your friends hear.
Users can now create a Group Playlist, share it with their friends, and add songs to it directly within the Messenger app using the Spotify Chat Extension. Once a friend has created a Group Playlist, others in the conversation can add more songs directly through the Spotify Chat Extension, available by tapping the blue "+" icon next to the composer. They do not need to be on Spotify.
To try it out, visit m.me/Spotify
Spotify now available from Windows Store 20 Jun 2017, 10:25 pm
Starting today, Spotify is now available as a downloadable app from the Windows Store in all 60 countries it operates in.
It is available as a downloadable app from the Windows Store for Windows 10 (Anniversary Update or later) and for Windows 10 S. Of course, Spotify has been available as a 32-bit application for Windows for some time now, but the launch of Windows 10 S makes bringing popular apps to the Windows Store more important.
Windows 10 S is a feature-limited version of the operating system designed for low-end devices, with a nod toward the education market. Users can only install apps on Windows 10 S from the Windows Store.
Spotify beat rival iTunes to the Windows Store, with the latter projected to be available frop Microsoft's store later in the year.
Earlier this week, Spotify revealed it had reached 140 million users worldwide.
You can get Spotify from the Windows Store now.
PayPal rolling out instant transfers to bank accounts 20 Jun 2017, 10:07 pm
PayPal is beginning to roll-out instant transfers of funds to bank accounts, if the user is willing to accept a small transaction fee.
Sending money from PayPal to your bank account can easily take a day or more, which can be quite inconvenient for users looking for direct access to funds. Now, PayPal is working on making those transfers much faster to fend off competitors trying to lure away users.
PayPal users in the United States will soon be able to make "instant" transfers to bank accounts via eligible debit cards linked to their account. The funds will be in the bank account within a matter of minutes, and no more than thirty minutes, according to PayPal.
However, these speedier transactions do come at a cost in the form of a 25c transaction fee.
The feature is currently available in beta to select U.S. users of PayPal and will be made available to all U.S. users (with eligible Visa or Mastercard debit cards) in the coming weeks and months.
Unfortunately, PayPal hasn't made any comment on instant transfers to bank accounts for non-U.S. users just yet.
ProtonVPN is a free VPN service for everyone 20 Jun 2017, 9:50 pm
The ProtonMail team reveals a new free VPN service for everybody as it continues to make privacy and security an achievable goal for Internet users.
ProtonMail launched three years ago as the world's first publicly available end-to-end encrypted email service on the 25th anniversary of the web. The encrypted e-mail service was developed and launched through the efforts of scientists from CERN and MIT.
Citing the rollback of Obama-era Internet privacy rules in the United States, and the ongoing censorship experienced by over a billion Internet users worldwide, Proton Technologies has launched ProtonVPN. While there are paid options available, there is a permanent free tier also available.
Using the free service, a user's communications are routed through encrypted tunnels located in three countries, getting around most censorship and data monitoring efforts. The drawback is that the speed will be comparatively slow compared to the paid tiers, and is limited to use with only one device at a time.
A Basic plan for $4 per month ups it to 2 devices and improves speed, while a Plus plan for $8 per month bumps to 5 devices and offers the highest speed. The most expensive plan, the Visionary plan, allows for 10 devices and promises the highest speed.
An extra benefit of the Plus and Visionary plan is "Secure Core", which protects against the effects of the VPN service being compromised. It does this by first passing user traffic through the Secure Core network in certain countries, including Switzerland and Iceland, where there is strong legal protection for privacy. That way, even a compromised VPN endpoint cannot determine the original IP address.
ProtonVPN does not log user activity on its service, and therefore is unable to hand over usage information to any third party. It also uses strong encryption algorithms (AES-256) and protocols (OpenVPN).
For more information: protonvpn.com
This is the new OnePlus 5 with dual camera 20 Jun 2017, 5:14 pm
The Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus has released a new flagship smartphone. Company that has grown hugely over the past couple of years brings the new iteration of OnePlus smartphone to the market.
This time around the phone seems to take a lot of hints from iPhone design as well as hardware but retains brings its own flavor to this new design. Featuring a double camera sensor in the back, curved antenna lines, and smooth rounded edges makes the phone look a lot similar to the iPhone 7 Plus but there are definitely differences.
The camera is said to be even better with not only more megapixels (20+16) but also with huge investments in terms of software. To showcase this OnePlus had a super popular model Emily Ratajkowski take six instagram pictures. The OnePlus 5 also features a 16 megapixel selfie shooter.
In terms of other specs there's nothing out of the ordinary. You have Snapdragon 835 which powers the likes of Galaxy S8, the trademark 5.5 inch Full HD Optic AMOLED display, fingerprint sensor in the home button, as well as huge amounts of RAM. Actually there are two versions, one with 6 gigs of RAM (and 64 gigs of storage) and one with massive 8 gigs of LPDDR4X RAM (and 128 gigs of storage).
The OnePlus 5 also features Dash Charging that has been improved from previous iterations. It is faster than Galaxy S8 by a large margin and even the 3300 mAh battery has a 10% edge on the top competitor. A worthy accomplishment especially considering that the OnePlus 5 is only 7.25mm thick while Galaxy S8 is 8mm.
The company teased during the presentation about having removed the heaphone jack but this is of course not the case (phew!) as the company acknowledge that a huge majority of OnePlus customers want it in their device.
The prices are as follows: $479 for the 6GB/64GB Slate Grey version and $539 for 8GB/128GB Midnight Black version. To get discounts from accessories and faster shipping enter the Early Drop code "Clearer Photos" (without quotes) at the OnePlus.net store. The shipments start immediately.
Finnish VR firm details 'human eye resolution' headset 19 Jun 2017, 1:09 pm
Staffed by employees formerly of Microsoft, Nokia, Intel, Nvidia and Rovi, Varjo promises a dramatically improved VR experience.
Varjo (Finnish for 'Shadow') emerged from stealth today to detail its upcoming VR headset, codenamed "20|20", and the improvements it will offer on existing (and still pending) products from rivals in the space. It is selling its product as the world's first Human eye-resolution headmounted display.
With a dramatically improved effective resolution, Varjo is making big promises for its products in Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality (VR/AR/MR) realism, citing its patented technology that "replicates how the human eye naturally works, creating a super-high-resolution image to the users gaze direction."
While offering the same 100° field of view as Oculus and HTC's Vive, it bumps the effective resolution to 70 MP, from 1.2 MP.
"Varjo's patented display innovation pushes VR technology 10 years ahead of the current stateof-the-art, where people can experience unprecedented resolution of VR and AR content limited only by the perception of the human eye itself," said Urho Konttori, CEO and founder of Varjo Technologies.
"This technology, along with Varjo VST, jump-starts the immersive computing age overnight – VR is no longer a curiosity, but now can be a professional tool for all industries."
This technology will be shipping in Varjo-branded products specifically for professional users and applications starting in late Q4, 2017.
For more images, see www.varjo.com/media
Legal threat sinks GTA mod toolkit 19 Jun 2017, 9:15 am
A legal threat from Take-Two has taken down the popular Open IV toolkit used to create mods for Grand Theft Auto titles on PC.
Open IV's Russian developers received a cease and desist letter earlier this month, and have decided to comply and take down the official download source for the popular toolkit.
First released in 2011 to modify the PC version of the mega-popular Grand Theft Auto IV, Open IV later added support for Grand Theft Auto V. It aided in the development of mods to the game, allowing enthusiasts to modify objects, models and textures.
The cease and desist letter, received by Good-NTS on June 5, claimed that the toolkit allowed third parties to defeat security features of its software and modify that software in violation Take-Two's rights. The developers said they do not have the time or energy to fight the claims in court.
Take-Two says it was not deliberately targeting single player mods, that instead the latest versions of Open IV enabled malicious mods allowing harassment of players and interfered with the GTA Online experience.
Clash of Clans developer releases yet another big title 17 Jun 2017, 9:51 pm
Supercell, the Finnish mobile game developer has been a force to be reckoned with for years on the iOS and Android app charts, has come up with a new game.
Currently leading the top grossing apps chart on iOS with not one but two games, the Supercell's Clash universe has probably never been more popular than after major updates to both Clash of Clans as well as last year's Clash Royale.
However, the company has been developing a new title that is almost ready to hit the global app market. The new game is called Brawl Stars and pits players in a battle arena with brawlers in their controls. These collectible and upgradable brawlers have their own strengths, weaknesses, and specialities, as you might imagine.
There are different modes, four to be exact, of combat but all of them put brawlers against each other. For example Smash & Grab is a 3v3 arena where each player controls one brawler. The winner is the team that collects fastest ten crystals that spawn in the center of the map and keep them for a period of time.
Supercell clearly has designed the game e-sport aspect in mind, and to showcase that the soft launch was done after a YouTube tournament between popular YouTubers, such as Chief Pat.
Unfortunately currently the game is only available in Canada and on iOS. However, if you want to try out the beta, I'm sure you'll find a way to create a Canadian Apple ID.
Amazon buys Whole Foods, invests $14 billion into groceries 17 Jun 2017, 9:24 pm
You remember that amazing video Amazon released when announcing their new product Amazon Go? People just walking in and out of a grocery store without having to stop at the register or even scan the items. Well, it seems that Amazon is getting more serious than just installing a few Go stores.
The company lead by Jeff Bezos has now buying Whole Foods, America's leading natural foods grocery store. The supermarket chain is known for its organic and natural foods, as well as products that avoid artificial preservatives and additives.
As you know organic food is not cheap, and Bezos had to shell out nearly 14 billion dollars for this shopping spree. Whole Foods has a total of 410 stores around the country.
As soon as the regulatory officials approve the deal, Amazon will pay $42 per share in an all-cash acquisition totaling $13.7 billion. The transaction is said to close before the year ends.
In addition to Amazon Go stores the online shopping giant is offering everyday grocery store items via its Prime Pantry.
It wouldn't be a surprise if Amazon tries to incorporate some Whole Foods products and services into its seemingly all-encompassing Prime umbrella. However, at this point the companies didn't reveal what they have in mind.
Atari CEO confirms: New gaming console in development 17 Jun 2017, 9:05 pm
Atari surprised the gaming crowd at E3 by releasing a teaser trailer for something called Ataribox. What exactly was it supposed to tease about, no one really knew.
However, it certainly is a real product, and the CEO of Atari has come public to confirm that. The video showed close up shots of what seemed like a retro console with wood paneling, quite like the legendary Atari 2600 itself.
Atari CEO Fred Chesnais indeed confirms that the company is developing a new gaming device but details are otherwise scarce. He does say that it is a PC based gaming system, though, albeit not a surprise.
Even though we did see a sneak peek into that beautiful oak paneling – or whatever material it supposedly is – the device itself is not even close to being finished. The final design or features haven't been decided yet so it is no surprise that there aren't many details.
We'll just have to wait and see when Atari is ready to wow us like they did in 1977, right?
Spotify gaining more momentum, Apple Music falls further behind 17 Jun 2017, 2:45 pm
Spotify has been killing it for years. After a rough start for a couple of years not being able to gain the trust of the big record companies, especially in the US, it started to gain traction to never look back.
Now in 2017, however, Spotify has been challenged by perhaps the toughest player on the field. Apple came swinging with the new Apple Music streaming service roughly two years ago and has been investing heavily to grab some of Spotify's customers and maybe even overtake it.
After hitting 20 million subscribers last December, and 27 million this June, Apple Music has been indeed gaining customers. However, it is nowhere near Spotify and the gap is only widening.
Spotify has revealed that it is now serving music every month to over 140 million users, including the free tier. Unfortunately it doesn't tell us what part of the 140 million is paid Premium customers but from previous numbers we know that it is growing faster than Apple Music.
Just months after Apple hit 20 Spotify was celebrating the 50 million Premium subscribers. A year ago Spotify revealed it had 100 million total subscribers.
Recently Spotify announced that Taylor Swift is back on Spotify after going exclusive on Apple Music very publicly to end her streaming ban aimed especially at Spotify.
Here are all the important Nintendo releases from E3, with trailers 15 Jun 2017, 3:18 pm
The world's leading video game conference E3, or Electronic Entertainment Expo, is currently going on in Los Angeles but we've already witnessed some of this years most important news. Amongst those was obviously Nintendo's press conference where it announced tons of new stuff especially for the new Switch console.
Let's take a look what they had to offer.
As said Nintendo focused on the new Switch console which can be used as a home console as well as a portable handheld console. Perhaps the most important of the releases was just a teaser. The company announced that it is working on a new Metroid title. Metroid Prime 4 will be available on Switch only but it is currently not known when this will happen.
Actually Nintendo announced two new Metroid games. The other one is called Metroid: Samus Returns which is a remake of an classic for 3DS.
Switch will get a tons of games, some of which are shown in the trailers below, later this year. These include a platformers Yoshi as well as Kirby 2 which lets you play co-op. Nintendo also announced the DLC for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a new Pokémon game, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, and Fire Emblem Warriors, all for Switch.
Super Mario Odyssey also finally got a release date, October 27, and the Japanese giant let us know that even Rocket League is coming to Switch.
Clearly the company is putting a lot of effort bringing many of the legendary Nintendo brands to Switch but also getting popular titles, that fit the Switch narrative, from other platforms.
What? The legendary Atari is making a comeback? Watch the teaser 15 Jun 2017, 3:02 pm
You might have to be born in the 80s to remember the computer brand but nonetheless one of the more legendary computer and video game companies that have existed on the planet might be coming back.
Even if you haven't ever played on a Atari system or a a game made by the company – although surely you've played Pong – you probably have seen a nostalgic gamer wearing a shirt with the logo. The company has quite a cult following within old school community and thus it is welcomed with much hype when a new Ataribox website was launched teasing a new product.
What is Ataribox exactly? Well, that is the one thing we do not know. The teaser only shows what seem to be close ups of what is the Ataribox. According to them it might be a replica of the Atari 2600 which is the source of the cult following. Some of the details look like they are from the epic wood paneling on the Atari 2600.
One possibility is definitely that it'll be a similar project as the recent NES Classic which stuffed Nintendo's classic games in a mini NES replica. In that case expect to play games like Blasteroids, Paperboy, Gauntlet, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Rampart, and Marble Madness.
Firefox got faster, important tech mimics Chrome's 15 Jun 2017, 2:37 pm
Not long time ago Firefox was amongst the leading web browsers in the world. The software developed by Mozilla has however fallen quite far in usage and the reason is likely a rather underdeveloped technology.
Now Mozilla has announced a new version of Firefox that should bring the once great browser back with updated technology and improved speed. Newly released Firefox 54 uses a new Electrolysis technology that has been under development for a long while.
Electrolysis mimics a technology that made Google's Chrome browser pretty much an overnight success. It allows the browser tabs or processes to perform separately. One of the advantages of this technology is that when a website crashes your browser or slows it down you can regain control by killing that individual process.
Mozilla already brought the technology to Firefox platform last year but it was a half baked version. Now it should work on the browser as intended and is fully functional. You should expect more responsive UI and smoother performance.
You can download Firefox 54 here