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Bitcoin breaking records - man bought a pizza with bitcoins back in 2010, those bitcoins would be worth $20M today 22 May 2017, 12:08 pm
Bitcoin is breaking valuation records this Spring, as the cryptocurrency's valuation has risen from May 2016 valuation of appx $440 to record-breaking $2'135 as of today.
Business Insider tells a story about a Bitcoin enthusiast called Laszlo Hanyecz who bought two pizzas from Papa Johns back in May, 2010 for 10'000 bitcoins. Back then, the value of those coins was approximately $40. Today, the same amount of bitcoins would be worth more than $20 million.
That transaction is considered as the first "real world" purchase of good where bitcoins were used.
Google brought Google Assistant to iPhone 20 May 2017, 5:41 pm
Google has been focusing a lot lately on artificial intelligence and its applications. Obviously one of the bigger steps forward in that area was the new Google Assistant that was unveiled last fall.
In the beginning the app was only available to a very small minority, namely the Pixel users, but the company has expanded to other Android phones as well as their new smart speaker Google Home. Now, however, Google has gone way further and even brought it to the biggest competitor's flagship, the iPhone.
Already Google Assistant has said to be in over 100 million devices but with the addition of iPhone and other phones Google aims capturing more of the enormous 2 billion smartphone market. Obviously Siri will still have the edge on iOS as it is the only assistant you can access straight from you home button but Google has created a widget which gets you to the Google Assistant pretty swiftly.
But this is still only the tip of the iceberg according to Google. At Google I/O the company announced Google Assistant SDK which allows developers and manufacturers to bring Assistant with its AI capabilities to any kind of application and hardware whether it be a speaker, a coffee maker or a completely new type of device.
Google also announced that it'll be expanding to new languages. By the end of the year Assistant will understand for example German, French, Italian, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese.
Next Apple Watch to have a new type of health sensor? 19 May 2017, 11:29 pm
Many Apple fans are probably already waiting for the upcoming iPhones that will be introduces in early September, if previous years are any indication. However, Apple has a lot more in store in terms of services and products.
Apple Watch hasn't been as relevant in recent history as it was when it first launched but the company is working on a major update. CEO Tim Cook has been seen wearing a new type of sensor added to a Apple Watch, CNBC reports.
Ever since unveiling the first Apple Watch with a heart rate sensor, the Cupertino giant has been more interested in health applications in both software and hardware. The upcoming new version could bring an even more important health related sensor.
The sensor is said to monitor glucose levels continuously without invasive measures. This "holy grail" of blood sugar tracking would be a huge help to people suffering from diabetes. Because the measurements are not necessary for the larger population it might be an external accessory.
Apple hasn't usually released new Apple Watches in its developer conference in June and it is unlikely this years WWDC is any different but with an update to watchOS we might get some indication if Apple is indeed going to add this function to their smartwatches.
Sweden drops charges against WikiLeaks' founder, Julian Assange 19 May 2017, 9:47 am
Swedish prosecutors released a statement today saying that they will drop the preliminary investigation against WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.
"Chief prosecutor Marianne Ny has today decided to discontinue the preliminary investigation regarding suspected rape concerning Julian Assange," the office said in its statement.
Julian Assange has lived in Ecuador's embassy in London, since 2013. The lawsuit accusing him of rape in Sweden, has been pending for almost 7 years. Assange has denied the claims and stated that it is a manhunt against him and WikiLeaks.
Shortly after the release of the statement, Assange posted a photo of him smiling, to his Twitter account:
While the European Arrest Warrant issued for Mr Assange has been withdrawn by the Swedish prosecutor, Assange will still be arrested when he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy by British police on a separate warrant for failing to appear in court years ago.
The Witcher coming to Netflix 17 May 2017, 4:00 pm
The fantasy book series written by Andrzej Sapkowski became a huge success in the world of video games in 2007 when the first Witcher game was released. Now after a decade of The Witcher games we've been expecting a movie adaption but there has been a turn of events.
The producers of Sean Daniel Company, Sean Daniel and Jason Brown, have signed a deal with Netflix. This means that the movie production has taken a back seat and a new TV show adaption for Netflix is in the works.
The streaming giant has managed to acquire another valuable game franchise under its Originals umbrella after announcing a Castlevania animation in February. According to Engadget, the show will run multiple seasons but not much more – including any of the casting – is known at this point.
What we do know, however, is that Sapkowski is a creative consultant for the Netflix show and according to his statements really happy about the deal and the upcoming TV series. This should bode well to fans of both book and game series.
The Witcher is a story about Geralt of Rivia who is one of the last Witchers, a superhuman monster slayer, in the fantasy world with dwarves and elves.
HTC's new flagship smartphone senses pressure, tops camera benchmark 16 May 2017, 5:31 pm
HTC has unveiled today their newest flagship smartphone. The U11 is a top tier smartphone that comes with a proprietary pressure sensing technology that differentiates itself from the likes of Galaxy S8 and LG G6.
The Edge Sense technology, as the company calls it, is able to sense the pressure when the user squeezes the phone. This allows the device to perform tasks depending on the pressure level and duration. The sensors are located on the sides of the phone, which brings us to another difference to the aforementioned competitors.
Unlike LG or Samsung, HTC's flagship doesn't have a bezel-less display but instead a more traditional one we would have expected from every single smartphone last year. However, in 2017, it has become increasingly popular to remove the home button and stretch the display to all edges.
It is, though, not the fault of the new technology per se, as BGR as found out. According to HTC staff they just don't have the display prowess of manufacturers like LG and Samsung that can custom build their displays.
Even without the trendy display the U11 is a true flagship, make no mistake about that. The 5,5 inch QHD display is accompanied by the Snapdragon 835, 4 gigs of RAM, 64 gigabytes of microSD expandable storage, 12 MP UltraPixel camera and a 16 MP selfie shooter.
Don't let the megapixels fool you, though. Like the Samsung's back shooter, this 12 megapixel camera is a force to be reckoned with. According to DxOMark it is the new leader in smartphone camera quality as the first one to reach 90 points.
It features a 1/2.55 sensor, f/1.75 aperature, dual LED flash, super fast dual-pixel Phase-Detect Autofocus, and OIS.
U11 includes a 3000 milliamp hour battery which supports Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0, and is protected from the elements (at least water and dust) by IP67 certification. Both front and back are Gorilla Glass 5.
HTC U11 will ship in June and will cost $649 unlocked on Amazon or on Sprint as the exclusive carrier partner starting on June 9th for $29/mo for a 2 year contract for a total of $696.
"Last Warning!" - Evil scam targeting entrepreneurs and others in Facebook 16 May 2017, 10:42 am
During the past 24 hours, there has been a massive wave of phishing attempts targeting Facebook page owners, such as entrepreneurs and hobby groups.
Unlike most other previous scams, this one is quite believable. Pae owner gets a notification from a fake Facebook account called "Notification Page" claiming that unless user takes action her/his Facebook business page will be taken down within 24 hours. permanently.
The link in such "notification" leads to a phishing fake, looking like an official Facebook page, asking user's Facebook credentials. After user enters the credentials, the people behind the scam can then hijack the user's business page and extort money from the user for returning the ownership.
Below is a screenshot of such message:
Notification message reads:
Your account has been reported by other users, security system received a report that your account has violated Facebook's policy. Please confirm your account by clicking the link below:
All accounts are not verified within 24 hours will be deleted from our database, and users will not be able to use them again.
Facebook Team Security.
Disable Warning | Facebook
Copyright 2017 by Facebook, Inc
As with all such scams, it is best to ensure that the link in question actually leads to Facebook's own domain. And if you recognize such scam, ignore the message and report the sender to Facebook.
Google acquires VR dev behind 'Job Simulator', 'Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality' 11 May 2017, 1:25 pm
Google has added VR studio Owlchemy Labs to its portfolio, promising to continue developing engaging, immersive games on multiple platforms.
Owlchemy Labs is the developer behind the popular Jobs Simulator VR title for HTC Vive, PlayStation VR and Oculus + Touch that many considered a proof of the potential for revival of virtual reality. More recently, Owlchemy released Rick & Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, compatible with the Vive and Oculus.
Now at Google, Owlchemy promises to continue making the kind of content they are famous for.
"Owlchemy Labs makes things that are absurd, highly polished, and filled to the brim with terrible puns & jokes that we love making. We both believe that VR is the most accessible computing platform and that there's a ton of work to be done, especially with regards to natural and intuitive interactions," the acquisition announcement reads.
"Together with Google, with which we share an incredible overlap in vision, we're free to pursue raw creation and sprint toward interesting problems in these early days of VR."
Read More at owlchemylabs.com
WATCH: 'The Sims' is coming to iOS, Android 11 May 2017, 1:02 pm
EA has announced that the popular Sims franchise is coming to the iOS and Android mobile platforms soon.
Almost two decades on since its successful debut on PC, the mega-popular social simulator is coming to mobile devices properly.
The Sims Mobile will be a port of the game for iOS and Android, whereas previous non-Desktop and non-Console releases were more limited, such as the The Sims Freeplay.
As before, you can customize and personalize your own Sims from their physical appearance to their personality traits and their goals for life.
When your Sims accomplish their career goals and retire, you'll be rewarded with Heirlooms that unlock hobbies and careers for future generations, allowing new Sims to tell deeper stories.
No details were given by EA on the cost or release date of The Sims Mobile, but here is a trailer:
Tesla taking Solar Roof pre-orders 11 May 2017, 12:59 pm
Tesla has begun accepting pre-orders for its Solar Roof products ahead of installations that will begin in the United States in the summer.
Solar Roof aims to keep the typical appearance of a roof from street level. It combines both solar and non-solar tiles, based on your electricity consumptions estimates. A home that also charges an electric car frequently will require more solar tiles, for example.
It will generate electricity from sunlight during the day and with an integrated Powerwall, can make the energy available at night time too.
According to Tesla, the typical homeowner can expect to pay $21.85 per square foot for Solar Roof, which is lower than an estimate of $24.50 cited by Consumer Reports to be cost competitive.
The cost of a Solar Roof can be offset when taking the prolonged reduction of electricity bills into account.
However, since there are a wide variety of circumstances to take into account, Tesla has created a Solar Roof calculator that lets homeowners estimate the upfront price of Solar Roof, as well as the value of the energy it can generate for their home.
The calculator takes roof size, the average local price of electricity, and how much sunlight a neighborhood receives annually into account.
Pre-orders can be made today at the Tesla Solar Roof website. Installations will begin in the summer in the U.S., and outside the U.S. starting next year.
Sprint will launch 5G network in 2019 11 May 2017, 12:57 pm
Following announcements from its major competitors, wireless carrier Sprint has announced it will launch its own 5G services in 2019.
On Wednesday, Qualcomm Technologies, SoftBank and Sprint announced a joint agreement to develop technologies for 5G, including the 3GPP New Radio (NR) standard in Band 41 (2.5GHz) for accelerated wide-scale 5G deployments.
"The companies plan to provide commercial services and devices in late 2019," the trio said in a press statement.
Unfortunately that's as far as the details go. Given that Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile have already spoken on their plans for their next generation mobile networks, Sprint wants its customers to know it's not asleep at the wheel.
Verizon is already trialling 5G technology in Ann Arbor, Michigan, while AT&T will rollout a 5G network starting in 2018. T-Mobile has a similar timeframe set.
Music on YouTube prevents piracy, study claims 11 May 2017, 12:52 pm
Research based on exclusive YouTube data and a survey of thousands of users in multiple countries shows that YouTube reduces music piracy.
The study itself was commissioned from RBB Economics by Google itself, as it tries to answer the question of whether YouTube is a net positive or negative for the music industry. The video sharing giant has repeatedly come under scrutiny from music companies alleging low returns to the industry from music on its service.
RBB Economics published its first paper as part of the study today, which tests the cannibalization effect of YouTube: whether or not the availability of music on YouTube cuts down use of other, potentially more lucrative, streaming services.
The researchers found that the absence of music on YouTube would instead push users to lower value music channels, including piracy websites.
"In the absence of YouTube, time spent listening to pirated content would increase by 29%, suggesting that people are going to YouTube instead of pirating music," the study finds.
"And further, blocking music from YouTube does not lead to an increase in streams on other platforms."
YouTube paid out over $1 billion in revenue to the music industry last year, though the music industry has questioned this claim. Revenue is generated on YouTube primarily through advertising, and YouTube's ContentID system allows the industry to monetize content uploaded by fans too.
Source: RBB Economics (PDF)
Offline viewing now easier in Chrome on Android 10 May 2017, 4:33 pm
Google has made some improvements to the offline viewing of webpages in the Android version of its Chrome web browser.
Users of the browser already download more than 45 million webpages per week since the feature was added to the browser last year.
Now, Chrome developers are just adding some improvements to make it even easier to accomplish.
You can now long-press on any link to get the option to download it, and you can do the same for an article suggestion on the new tab page.
Once you attempt to visit a webpage and are greeted with the "You are Offline" page, there is now an option to download the page automatically as soon as it becomes reachable.
Last but not least, the New Tab page will also display previously downloaded pages tagged with a new offline badge.
Improvements like this can be helpful for users with intermittent data coverage, or when dealing with an unstable remote server.
FCC website hit by attack following John Oliver plea 10 May 2017, 4:28 pm
Host of HBO show had called on the public to flood the FCC with comments opposed to repealing net neutrality regulations.
Last Week Tonight host John Oliver made the plea in a segment on his weekly show on Sunday, mirroring a similar plea he had made a few years previously that led to the FCC's servers being overwhelmed with traffic.
This time, however, it doesn't appear to be concerned citizens that have caused an issue for the FCC's services. Instead, the regulator claims it was deliberately attacked on May 8.
"These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC," chief information officer Dr David Bray said.
"While the comment system remained up and running the entire time, these distributed denial of service (DDoS) events tied up the servers and prevented them from responding to people attempting to submit comments."
FCC chairman Ajit Pai said earlier this year that Net Neutrality rules would be reviewed by the regulator, adding that the rules had impacted investment, innovation and job creation.
Windows 10 running on half a billion devices 10 May 2017, 4:24 pm
Microsoft has hit a milestone with the announcement that its Windows 10 consumer OS is now running on 500 million active devices.
The previous milestone was reached in September last year, when Windows 10 crossed the 400 million installed threshold. While adding 100 million additional devices in the mean-time is good news for Microsoft, it does suggest the company won't hit 1 billion devices for its flagship OS as early as intended.
Predictably, Windows 10 share growth has slowed quite a bit since the Redmond-based giant stopped offering free upgrades from older operating systems. Microsoft had hoped to reach 1 billion devices by the end of 2018, but now is targeting that milestone for some time in 2019.
Still, Microsoft did note a strong picking among businesses for the Windows 10 OS.