Tech News Feed

Spotify Premium Users Will Get Some Albums Two Weeks Before Free Users

SlashDot - Wed, 2017-04-05 07:30
Spotify has signed a long-term licensing agreement with Universal Music Group, allowing new albums from Universal artists to be restricted to its premium service for up to two weeks. The Verge reports: In a statement, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek admitted that Spotify understands that its policy of releasing albums across its entire service couldn't last forever. "We know that not every album by every artist should be released the same way, and we've worked hard with UMG to develop a new, flexible release policy," Ek stated. "Starting today, Universal artists can choose to release new albums on premium only for two weeks, offering subscribers an earlier chance to explore the complete creative work, while the singles are available across Spotify for all our listeners to enjoy." The agreement with UMG should allow for deals with Spotify's other two major label partners, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Group, to be completed in short order -- deals that likely will match the parameters set in the Spotify-UMG deal -- paving the way for Spotify's initial public offering.

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Disqus wants to help rid the web of toxic commenters

Engadget - Wed, 2017-04-05 07:01
In recent years, commenting services have come and go, but one has maintained a consistent presence on some of the world's biggest websites: Disqus. It's spent the past ten years helping brands and news media develop their own communities, while simu...

The Hard Truth about the Rhino Horn "Aphrodisiac" Market

Scientifc America - Wed, 2017-04-05 06:45
Media coverage hyping the supposed use of rhino horn to pump up sex drive does no favors for conservation efforts

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The Honor 8 Pro is Huawei's best flagship yet

Engadget - Wed, 2017-04-05 06:30
There's Huawei, and then there's Honor. While both are technically the same company, the Honor brand takes some of the best bits of Huawei's smartphones and packages them up in new devices that don't take as much of a bite out of your bank account. T...

How the IBM 1403 Printer Hammered Out 1,100 Lines Per Minute

SlashDot - Wed, 2017-04-05 06:00
schwit1 quotes a report from IEEE Spectrum: The IBM 1460, which went on sale in 1963, was an upgrade of the 1401 [which was one of the first transistorized computers ever sold commercially]. Twice as fast, with a 6-microsecond cycle time, it came with a high-speed 1403 Model 3 line printer. The 1403 printer was incredibly fast. It had five identical sets of 48 embossed metal characters like the kind you'd find on a typewriter, all connected together on a horizontal chain loop that revolved at 5.2 meters per second behind the face of a continuous ream of paper. Between the paper and the character chain was a strip of ink tape, again just like a typewriter's. But rather than pressing the character to the paper through the ink tape, the 1403 did it backward, pressing the paper against the high-speed character chain through the ink tape with the aid of tiny hammers. Over the years, IBM came out with eight models of the 1403. Some versions had 132 hammers, one for each printable column, and each was individually actuated with an electromagnet. When a character on the character chain aligned with a column that was supposed to contain that character, the electromagnetic hammer for that column would actuate, pounding the paper through the ink tape and into the character in 11 microseconds. With all 132 hammers actuating and the chain blasting along, the 1403 was stupendously noisy [...] The Model 3, which replaced the character chain with slugs sliding in a track driven by gears, took just 55 milliseconds to print a single line. When printing a subset of characters, its speed rose from 1,100 lines per minute to 1,400 lines per minute.

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The Morning After: Wednesday, April 5th 2017

Engadget - Wed, 2017-04-05 06:00
Welcome to the middle. Apple is sorry about its Mac Pro, and promises something big next year, while in other mea culpa news, the makers of Mass Effect: Andromeda will release a bunch of fixes both this week and in the coming months. Rounding it off,...

Driverless pods begin ferrying the public around Greenwich

Engadget - Wed, 2017-04-05 05:35
It's been almost a year since the UK's Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) opened sign-ups for a driverless pod trial in Greenwich. The original plan was to start before Christmas, but given today's date that obviously didn't happen. Still, better la...

Watch a NASA simulation of Cassini's upcoming Saturn crash

Engadget - Wed, 2017-04-05 04:35
On April 26th, NASA's Cassini probe will begin diving in and out of the gap between Saturn and its rings in what the agency calls its "Grand Finale." The spacecraft will orbit the gas giant it's been observing since 2004 22 more times before taking t...

Oculus collaborates with South Korea to find new VR talent - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2017-04-05 04:34
10 promising startups dabbling in VR and AR will get picked by the Facebook-backed company and South Korea's government for a 10-week program.

DirecTV doubles its live 4K broadcasts for this year's Masters

Engadget - Wed, 2017-04-05 03:30
Last year DirecTV made history with the first live 4K broadcast -- the PGA Masters Tournament. It was only one channel, sure, but up to that point anything we'd seen in UHD had been pre-recorded. For the outfit's return trip to the 4K links, DirecTV...

'Arctic World Archive' Will Keep the World's Data Safe In an Arctic Mineshaft

SlashDot - Wed, 2017-04-05 03:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Norway's famous doomsday seed vault is getting a new neighbor. It's called the Arctic World Archive, and it aims to do for data what the Svalbard Global Seed Vault has done for crop samples -- provide a remote, impregnable home in the Arctic permafrost, safe from threats like natural disaster and global conflicts. But while the Global Seed Vault is (partially) funded by charities who want to preserve global crop diversity, the World Archive is a for-profit business, created by Norwegian tech company Piql and Norway's state mining company SNSK. The Archive was opened on March 27th this year, with the first customers -- the governments of Brazil, Mexico, and Norway -- depositing copies of various historical documents in the vault. Data is stored in the World Archive on optical film specially developed for the task by Piql. (And, yes, the company name is a pun on the word pickle, as in preserving-in-vinegar.) The company started life in 2002 making video formats that bridged analog film and digital media, but as the world went fully digital it adapted its technology for the task of long-term storage. As Piql founder Rune Bjerkestrand tells The Verge: "Film is an optical medium, so what we do is, we take files of any kind of data -- documents, PDFs, JPGs, TIFFs -- and we convert that into big, high-density QR codes. Our QR codes are massive, and very high resolution; we use greyscale to get more data into every code. And in this way we convert a visual storage medium, film, into a digital one." Once data is imprinted on film, the reels are stored in a converted mineshaft in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. The mineshaft (different to the one used by the Global Seed Vault) was originally operated by SNSK for the mining of coal, but was abandoned in 1995. The vault is 300 meters below the ground and impervious to both nuclear attacks and EMPs. Piql claims its proprietary film format will store data safely for at least 500 years, and maybe as long as 1,000 years, with the assistance of the mine's climate.

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'Rick and Morty,' McDonald's Szechuan sauce and the internet - CNET

CNET News - Wed, 2017-04-05 02:51
It's possibly the most Dan Harmon thing to ever happen.

Reebok will introduce plant-based sustainable shoes this year

Engadget - Wed, 2017-04-05 01:47
While others try shoes that lace themselves or have 3D printed soles, Reebok will have "plant-based" footwear on shelves this year. Adidas already sold a sneaker produced from ocean-plastic, but Reebok's "Cotton + Corn" push is focused on shoes that...

Zoe Quinn's book about fighting online hate arrives Sept. 6th

Engadget - Tue, 2017-04-04 23:51
Zoë Quinn, perhaps one of the most qualified people to talk about online harassment, has written a book on her fight against online hate. It's called Crash Override, just like the volunteer group she founded to support harassment victims, and it...

Scientists Invent Smartphone Screen Material That Can Repair Its Own Scratches

SlashDot - Tue, 2017-04-04 23:30
drunkdrone quotes a report from International Business Times: Researchers say they have developed a new material that could pave the way for self-repairing smartphones, robots and other electronic devices. Scientists from the American Chemical Society claim that the material, which can stretch up to 50 times its usual size, is able to heal itself "like nothing has happened" even when cut in two. The material is flexible, transparent and shares similar properties to human skin. When exposed to electrical signals, a current is generated that creates a chemical bonding reaction between molecules. The most obvious applications for electronics devices seems to be self-healing displays, although lead researcher Dr Chao Wang is also exploring the possibility of a self-healing lithium-ion battery. While the technology is similar to the hydrogen-infused rear cover found on the LG G Flex, which allows for small scratches to be healed, the material developed by the American Medical Society is a completely new innovation that can "automatically stitch itself back together" within one day of being sliced into pieces. The team will present its research at a Tuesday meeting of the American Chemical Society, according to Business Insider.

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​More woke than Coke: Pepsi slammed for tone-deaf protest ad - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2017-04-04 23:24
Pepsi and Kendall Jenner just want the riot police to relax. But unlike a cooler of ice-cold cola, the internet has zero chill.

FX reel shows how 'Ghost in the Shell' developed its visual style

Engadget - Tue, 2017-04-04 23:20
By most accounts, the movie adaptation of Ghost in the Shell didn't live up to the visionary manga and anime it's based on, but it did create some stunning visuals. The film's holo-saturated neon cityscape was designed in major part by digital creati...

Hologram meets 5G in Verizon-KT demo - CNET

CNET News - Tue, 2017-04-04 22:36
Verizon and South Korean carrier KT show off what tomorrow's superfast networks can do.