Tech News Feed

'Pokémon Go' update gives Android gamers an AR photo mode

Engadget - 9 hours 27 min ago
Earlier this month, Niantic promised a feature called "Go Snapshot" that would turn Pokémon Go into an AR photo machine. Now, the feature is live -- for Android devices, at least. You'll also have to be a Level 5 or above trainer to be able to...

NASA Eyes Colossal Cracks In Ice Shelf Near Antarctic Station

SlashDot - 10 hours 49 min ago
NASA is keeping an eye on the Brunt Ice Shelf, home to the British Antarctic Survey's Halley VI Research Station, which has growing cracks that are threatening to unload an iceberg soon. "NASA/USGS Landsat satellites are monitoring the action as the cracks grow," reports CNET. "When the iceberg calves, it could be twice the size of New York City. That would make it the largest berg to break off the Brunt ice shelf since observations of the area began in 1915." From the report: An annotated view of the ice shelf shows the cracks as they relate to the Halley VI station. The crack leading up the middle is especially concerning. It's been stable for 35 years, but NASA says it's now extending northward as fast as 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) per year. As of December, Halley station was home to around 30 science and technical staff on missions to study the ice shelf and climate change in the polar region. The BAS completed a relocation of the futuristic-looking Halley station in 2017, placing it farther away from the unpredictable cracking. "It is not yet clear how the remaining ice shelf will respond following the break, posing an uncertain future for scientific infrastructure and a human presence on the shelf that was first established in 1955," NASA says. NASA says iceberg calving is "a normal part of the life cycle of ice shelves, but the recent changes are unfamiliar in this area."

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HTC shows off Vive Cosmos VR controllers in a new video

Engadget - 11 hours 3 min ago
HTC is slowly but surely sharing more information about the Vive Cosmos after the company showed the system off at CES earlier this year. The official HTC Vive Twitter account has posted a short video giving us a glimpse of how the Cosmos controllers...

Israel To Launch First Privately Funded Moon Mission

SlashDot - Wed, 2019-02-20 22:30
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: A team of Israeli scientists is to launch what will be the first privately funded mission to land on the moon this week, sending a spacecraft to collect data from the lunar surface. Named Beresheet, the Hebrew word for Genesis, the 585kg (1,290lb) robotic lander will blast off from Florida at 01.45 GMT on Friday, propelled by one of Elon Musk's SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets. Once it touches down, in several weeks, it will measure the magnetic field of the moon to help understand how it formed. Beresheet will also deposit a "time capsule" of digital files the size of coins containing the Bible, children's drawings, Israel's national anthem and blue and white flag, as well as memories of a Holocaust survivor. While it is not a government-led initiative, the state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) corporation joined as a partner. If the mission is successful, Israel will become the fourth country, after Russia, the U.S. and China, to reach the moon. "This is the lowest-budget spacecraft to ever undertake such a mission," an IAI statement said of the $100 million project. "The superpowers who managed to land a spacecraft on the moon have spent hundreds of millions." It added that although it was a private venture, Beresheet was a "national and historic achievement."

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Nike's self-lacing Adapt BB shoes aren't playing well with Android phones

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 22:01
How do you know you're living in the future? When your shoes have technical problems. Owners on Google Play and CNET report that Nike's Android companion app for the self-lacing Adapt BB has some teething troubles, most notably a buggy firmware updat...

Cybersecurity Expert Questions Existence of Embedded Camera On SIA's Inflight Entertainment Systems

SlashDot - Wed, 2019-02-20 21:10
Vitaly Kamluk, an information security expert and a high-ranking executive of cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab, went on Twitter with concerns about an embedded camera in Singapore Airlines' (SIA) inflight entertainment systems. He tagged SIA in his post on Sunday, asking the airline to clarify how the camera is being used. Yahoo News reports: SIA quickly allayed his fears of unwanted surveillance by assuring Kamluk that the cameras have been disabled, with no plans to use them in the future. Not all of their devices sport the camera, though -- SIA explained that only some of its newer inflight entertainment systems come with cameras embedded in the hardware. In another tweet, SIA affirmed that the cameras were already built in by the original equipment manufacturers in newer inflight entertainment systems. Kamluk recommended that it's best to disable the cameras physically -- with stickers, for example -- to provide better peace of mind. In 2017, entertainment device developer Panasonic Avionics said it was studying how eye tracking can be used for a better passenger experience. As the report mentions, "Cameras can be used for identity recognition on planes, which in turn, would allow for in-flight biometric payment (much like Face ID on Apple devices) and personalized services."

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Britain and Germany Will Not Ban Huawei, Citing Lack of Spying Evidence

SlashDot - Wed, 2019-02-20 20:30
An anonymous Slashdot reader writes from a report via Reuters: Despite persistent U.S. allegations of Chinese state spying, Britain said it is able to manage the security risks of using Huawei telecom equipments and has not seen any evidence of malicious activity by the company, a senior official said on Wednesday. Asked later whether Washington had presented Britain with any evidence to support its allegations, he told reporters: "I would be obliged to report if there was evidence of malevolence [...] by Huawei. And we're yet to have to do that. So I hope that covers it." At the same time, German officials have told The Wall Street Journal that the country has made a "preliminary decision" to allow Huawei to bid on contracts for 5G networking. Catering to the surging populism, the U.S. has accused Huawei and other Chinese telecom equipments, along with European cars, as national security risks, even though the National Security Agency, American's cyber spying agency, was found to have wiretapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel, conducted economic espionage against France, and hacked into Chinese networks. Earlier this week, beleaguered Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei described the continued investigations by the U.S. into the Chinese firm -- including the arrest of his daughter and company CFO, Meng Wanzhou -- as politically motivated.

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Samsung's Galaxy S10 provides a sneak peek at WiFi's future

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 20:25
Samsung's Galaxy S10 and S10+ have a lot going for them; their luscious OLED displays, the in-screen fingerprint reader, and they each have three rear-facing camera lenses. Another interesting feature on both these phones (as well as on the lower-end...

Pinterest blocks some searches to curb anti-vaccination myths

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 20:24
Social networks have made a number of efforts to halt the spread of anti-vaccination myths, but Pinterest recently took things a step further: it's curbing all talk about vaccination. The site has revealed to the Wall Street Journal that it blocked...

Google Is Expected To Reveal Game Streaming Service At GDC In March

SlashDot - Wed, 2019-02-20 19:50
Google has sent out invites to this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC) press event, where the company is expected to unveil a new game streaming product. ExtremeTech reports: There have been rumors about a Google game stream product or service for several years. Initially, leaks pointed to a hardware platform called Yeti that would stream games to a connected display. In late 2018, Google rolled out a game streaming test called Project Stream. To publicize the demo, it worked with Ubisoft to give everyone free access to the new Assassin's Creed Odyssey. Google wrapped up Project Stream in early 2019, offering players a free copy of Assassin's Creed Odyssey as thanks. Of course, you'd need a real gaming PC to run that version. Google's GDC event will take place on March 19th at 10 AM Pacific. All we know for sure is that Google is there to talk about a gaming project. It just seems extremely likely that it will be a new phase for Project Stream. It might remain browser-only, but Google does have a giant network of TV's out there with Chromecast streaming dongles plugged in. If it could leverage those to stream games, it could instantly have as many eyeballs as Sony or Microsoft.

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This robotics museum in Korea will construct itself (in theory)

TechCrunch - Wed, 2019-02-20 19:49

The planned Robot Science Museum in Seoul will have a humdinger of a first exhibition: its own robotic construction. It’s very much a publicity stunt, though a fun one — but who knows? Perhaps robots putting buildings together won’t be so uncommon in the next few years, in which case Korea will just be an early adopter.

The idea for robotic construction comes from Melike Altinisik Architects, the Turkish firm that won a competition to design the museum. Their proposal took the form of an egg-like shape covered in panels that can be lifted into place by robotic arms.

“From design, manufacturing to construction and services robots will be in charge,” wrote the firm in the announcement that they had won the competition. Now, let’s be honest: this is obviously an exaggeration. The building has clearly been designed by the talented humans at MAA, albeit with a great deal of help from computers. But it has been designed with robots in mind, and they will be integral to its creation.The parts will all be designed digitally, and robots will “mold, assemble, weld and polish” the plates for the outside, according to World Architecture, after which of course they will also be put in place by robots. The base and surrounds will be produced by an immense 3D printer laying down concrete.

So while much of the project will unfortunately have to be done by people, it will certainly serve as a demonstration of those processes that can be accomplished by robots and computers.

Hold this beam for me, friend robot, and let us construct a house together

Construction is set to begin in 2020, with the building opening its (likely human-installed) doors in 2022 as a branch of the Seoul Metropolitan Museum. Though my instincts tell me that this kind of unprecedented combination of processes is more likely than not to produce significant delays. Here’s hoping the robots cooperate.

NASA's free interactive photo book shows the abstract beauty of Earth

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 19:23
NASA just released 168 pages of stunning images showing the planet's atmosphere, water, land, ice and snow from a satellite's perspective. For $53, you can buy a hardcover version of the book, simply titled Earth. Or you can accept the unavoidable tr...

Vox Lawyers Briefly Censored YouTubers Who Mocked the Verge's Bad PC Build Video

SlashDot - Wed, 2019-02-20 19:10
An anonymous reader writes: In case you missed the latest drama to take place in the YouTube tech community, Ars Technica reports how Vox Media attempted to copyright strike two reaction videos that mocked The Verge's terrible PC build guide video that could have ruined a $2,000 system for a beginner PC builder. That effort failed when the tech community sounded the alarms; YouTube removed the copyright strikes and Vox Media had to retract their takedown notice. From the report: "Last week, The Verge got a reminder about the power of the Streisand effect after its lawyers issued copyright takedown requests for two YouTube videos that criticized -- and heavily excerpted -- a video by The Verge. Each takedown came with a copyright 'strike.' It was a big deal for the creators of the videos, because three 'strikes' in a 90-day period are enough to get a YouTuber permanently banned from the platform. T.C. Sottek, the Verge's managing editor, blamed lawyers at the Verge's parent company, Vox Media, for the decision. 'The Verge's editorial structure was involved zero percent in the decision to issue a strike,' Sottek said in a direct message. 'Vox Media's legal team did this independently and informed us of it after the fact.' The move sparked an online backlash. Verge editor Nilay Patel (who, full disclosure, was briefly a colleague of mine at The Verge's sister publication, says that when he learned about the decision, he asked that the strike be rescinded, leading to the videos being reinstated. Still, Patel defended the lawyers' legal reasoning, arguing that the videos 'crossed the line' into copyright infringement. It's hard to be sure if this is true since there are very few precedents in this area of the law. But the one legal precedent I was able to find suggests the opposite: that this kind of video is solidly within the bounds of copyright's fair use doctrine."

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A Psion Palmtop Successor Has Arrived and It Runs Android and Linux

SlashDot - Wed, 2019-02-20 18:30
dryriver writes: A lot of people probably remember the 1990s palmtop computers made by Psion fondly. The clamshell-design palmtops were pocketable, black and white, but had a working stylus and a fantastic tactile foldout QWERTY keyboard that you could type pretty substantial documents on or even write code with. A different company -- Planet Computers -- has now produced a spiritual successor to the old Psion palmtops called the Gemini PDA that is much like an old Psion but with the latest Android smartphone hardware in it and a virtually identical tactile keyboard. It can also dual boot to Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Sailfish) alongside Android. The technical specs are a MediaTek deca-core processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage (plus microSD slot), 4G, 802.11c Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, eSIM support, and 4,220mAh battery. The screen measures in at 5.99-inches with a 2,160 x 1,080 (403ppi) resolution. The only thing missing seems to be the stylus -- but perhaps that would have complicated manufacturing of this niche-device in its first production run.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch Active hands-on: Ready for the gym

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 18:20
Samsung's updated watch is a stripped-down version of what came before it. Amid all the four (four?!) new phones Samsung paraded out at its Unpacked event, the Galaxy Watch Active is Samsung's newest smartwatch, with a design that feels less aggressi...

This custom ‘hyperfisheye’ lens can see behind itself

TechCrunch - Wed, 2019-02-20 18:09

If you’re doing ordinary photography and videography, there’s rarely any need to go beyond extreme wide-angle lenses — but why be ordinary? This absurd custom fisheye lens has a 270-degree field of view, meaning it can see behind the camera it’s mounted on — or rather the camera mounted on it.

It’s certainly a bit of fun from Lens Rentals, the outfit that put it together, but it’s definitely real and might even be useful. Their detailed documentation of how they put it together piece by piece is fascinating (at least I found it so) and gives an idea of how complex lens assemblies can be. Of course, this one’s not exactly standard, but still.

The C-4 Optics 4.9mm f/3.5 Hyperfisheye Prototype, as they call it (hereafter “the lens”) first appeared as what seemed at the time to be an April Fools’ joke, at best half-serious. “The Flying Saucer,” as they called it, AKA the Light Bender, AKA the Mother of all Fisheye Lenses, included a vaguely plausible optical diagram showing the path of light traveling from the far edge of its view, from about 45 degrees rearward of the camera.

Sure, why not? Because it’s ridiculous, that’s why not!

But the beautiful bastards did it anyway, and the results are as ridiculous as you’d imagine. There are lenses out there that produce past-180-degree images, but 270 is really quite beyond them. Here’s what the output looks like, raw on top and corrected below:

Naturally you wouldn’t want this for snapshots. It would be for very specific shots in high resolution that you would massage to get back to something resembling an ordinary field of view, or somehow incorporate into a VR or AR experience.

The camera has to mount in between the legs that support the lens, which is probably a rather fiddly process to undertake. The enormous lens cap, or “lens helmet,” doubles as an upside-down stand to ease the task.

It’s a fun project and adds one more weird thing (two, technically, since they built a second) to the world, so I support it wholeheartedly. Unfortunately because it’s a “passion project” it won’t be available for rent, so you’ll be stuck with something like the Nikon 6mm f/2.8, with its paltry 220-degree field of view. What’s even the point?

Samsung’s 2019 ‘Unpacked’ event by the numbers

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 18:00
Welp, that's 90 minutes we're never getting back. In a lackluster announcement event held in San Francisco on Wednesday, Samsung execs stumbled their way through repeated applause breaks to tell the world about the company's newest needless mobile de...

Here’s everything announced at Samsung’s Galaxy S10/Galaxy Fold event

TechCrunch - Wed, 2019-02-20 17:53

Missed today’s Samsung Unpacked event in San Francisco? In all, we have five new phones — one of them a foldable — some new earbuds, a virtual assistant and a watch. Here’s everything you need to know.

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, presented at Unpacked in San Francisco (Source: Samsung)

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold launches April 26, starting at $1,980

The last time we saw Samsung’s foldable onstage, it was, quite literally, shrouded in darkness. The company debuted a prototype of the upcoming device at a developer conference, showing its folding method and little else.

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 lineup arrives with four new models

For the 10th anniversary of the flagship line, Samsung is going all in on this thing. And with more information expected on Samsung’s upcoming foldable, well, that’s a lot of Samsungs.

Samsung’s ‘budget flagship’ the Galaxy S10e starts at $750

The S10e is the most interesting of the bunch — or at least the most interesting one that doesn’t sport 5G.

The Samsung S10 gets a 5G model

Never mind the fact that 5G is still a ways away in just about every market — Samsung’s taking an educated gamble that some percentage of its early adopting/cost is no object approach will get in early on the next generation of cellular technology.

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 has a built-in Instagram mode

A new partnership with Instagram will bring Stories directly to the camera app, without leaving Samsung’s default camera software.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 can wirelessly charge other phones

The feature relies on the S10’s large battery to charge other devices. The new feature should be compatible with all phones that charge via the Qi standard.

Samsung S10’s cameras get ultra-wide-angle lenses and more AI smarts

Unsurprisingly, one of the features that differentiates these models is the camera system. Gone are the days, after all, where one camera would suffice.

Here’s how all of Samsung’s new Galaxy S10’s compare

Want a quick at-a-glance breakdown of how they all compare? Here’s a handy chart so you know what to look for.

Samsung just announced a phone with 1TB of built-in storage

Three different storage options: 128GB, 512GB and 1 terabyte.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch Active tracks blood pressure

In the watch front, Samsung is embracing user health, much like the rest of the industry, including blood pressure tracking.

These are Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds

Wireless all the way. Samsung says the Galaxy Buds should be able to pull around five hours of talk time, or six hours of music listening time.

Samsung’s Bixby-powered Galaxy Home speaker will arrive ‘by April’

The product — as well as a rumored cheaper version — are a core part of Samsung’s push to make Bixby a key player in the smart home raise.

Samsung has sold 2 billion Galaxy phones

That’s a whole lot of Galaxy smartphones.

Want more? You can always watch a recording of today’s live stream.

Are We Ready For 5G Phones?

SlashDot - Wed, 2019-02-20 17:50
Next-generation 5G networks are very much in their infancy right now, but that's not stopping smartphone manufacturers from teasing new 5G phones. At Samsung's Galaxy S10 launch event today, Samsung teased the Galaxy S10 5G, a top-tier model of the Galaxy S10 that offers 5G mobile data connectivity. "The device, which has a larger screen and battery than the S10 Plus, will temporarily be a Verizon Wireless exclusive before expanding to other carriers in the weeks after launch," reports The Verge. "It will go on sale sometime 'in the first half of 2019." Late last year, LG confirmed that its first U.S. 5G phone would debut on Sprint "in the first half of 2019," just as Sprint launches its 5G network. At around the same time, Lenovo unveiled the Moto Z3, a phone that only connects to 5G with a MotoMod modular accessory. It too is expected to arrive early this year -- but there's no mention of how much it'll cost. OnePlus, Nokia, and Huawei are also working on 5G phones expected to arrive sometime this year. The question is: are we ready for 5G phones? Three of the four largest carriers in the U.S. have only just started offering 5G service in select cities. Sprint, the fourth largest U.S. telecommunications company, hasn't even reached this step. Just like the first 4G phones to hit the market, these first-of-their-kind 5G devices look to merely symbolize what the next decade of mobile computing has in store.

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Samsung CEO says the Galaxy Home speaker will arrive by April

Engadget - Wed, 2019-02-20 17:49
While the Samsung Galaxy Home was nowhere to be seen at the company's Galaxy Unpacked event held today, the smart speaker apparently has not been forgotten. DJ Koh, vice chairman and CEO of Samsung Electronics, told CNET that the company plans to lau...