Biggest Loser Bob Harper Suffers After Heart Attack, Recovers

See the original posting on Timely

Bob Harper , host of NBC’s The Biggest Loser weight loss show, has said he is “feeling better” just over two weeks after suffering from a heart attack. Harper, who took over as a host on the show in 2016 after serving as a trainer on it, thanked everyone for “the outpouring of messages and …

Tesla Model S Battery Pack Teardown

See the original posting on Hackaday

We’ve heard a lot about the Tesla Model S over the last few years, it’s a vehicle with a habit of being newsworthy. And as a fast luxury electric saloon car with a range of over 300 miles per charge depending on the model, its publicity is deserved, and that’s before we’ve even mentioned autonomous driving  driver-assist. Even the best of the competing mass-produced electric cars of the moment look inferior beside it.

Tesla famously build their battery packs from standard 18650 lithium-ion cells, but it’s safe to say that the pack in the Model S has little in common …read more

Emys is like Dora the Explorer except a robot

See the original posting on The Verge

A company called Flash Robotics designed a robot named Emys that’s supposed to teach kids another language. While plenty of apps, TV shows, and games attempt to ingrain language into kids’ sponge brains through repetition, Emys might be more successful because of its built-in tablet and unique, expressive face, which relies on three moving disks and two smartwatch displays. It was inspired by emoticons :).

After demoing Emys at The Verge’s office, I don’t think it’ll turn your kids into baby geniuses. But with that said, I do think Flash Robotics approaches language instruction slightly differently than those TV shows and games in an effort to minimize screen time. Emys relies on RFID tags to teach. If a child holds a tag picturing a…

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Can the Huawei P10’s ‘Leica-style’ portraits beat the iPhone 7 Plus?

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At Huawei’s Mobile World Congress event on Sunday, CEO Richard Yu couldn’t stop saying one particular phrase when talking about the P10’s camera: “Leica-style portraits.” Huawei has put portrait modes into its cameras for a while, and started its Leica partnership last year, but with the P10 the company is making a concerted technical and promotional effort to push the feature.

Like the iPhone 7 Plus, the P10 uses a combination of software and a dual-camera array to simulate the shallow depth of field you typically need expensive gear to achieve. I find this technology fascinating, and it’s clear that similar techniques are going to be a big part of photography’s future. But Huawei and Apple’s implementations are actually very…

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What we can learn about SpaceX’s trip to the Moon from the Apollo 8 mission

See the original posting on The Verge

SpaceX’s surprise announcement yesterday that it would send two private citizens around the Moon next year may mark a huge milestone: the private space industry’s version of the Apollo 8. That mission was a precursor to more advanced lunar exploration for NASA, and paved the way for the first lunar landing. The lessons of Apollo 8 may give us hints of what’s next for SpaceX’s Moon ambitions.

The Apollo 8 mission helped NASA prepare for landing on the Moon. SpaceX will face some similar challenges on its lunar mission. Like Apollo 8, Elon Musk’s customers won’t be able to return to Earth in the event that something goes wrong; they’ll be on their own for the mission, which is expected to last a week. That includes illness — one of the…

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Ford wants to launch drones from self-driving vans to deliver all your crap

See the original posting on The Verge

Ford unveiled a new concept at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today: an electric self-driving delivery van that can launch a fleet of drones to pick up and drop off packages in hard-to-reach places. The automaker said the idea fits into its self-styled “City of Tomorrow,” a high concept vision of the future involving autonomous vehicles, ride-sharing, and a bevy of other transportation buzz words.

“Autolivery,” as the concept is called, is geared toward solving the last-mile challenge in delivery, specifically the last 15 meters between the delivery truck and the drop-off. The drones will come in handy when dealing with deliveries in dense, urban areas, where parking is impractical and people live in high-rise…

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Porsche Design’s Book One is a beautiful alternative to the Surface Book

See the original posting on The Verge

Microsoft surprised the world with its Surface Book hinge design, but it’s not the only company capable of creating a unique Windows-powered 2-in-1 laptop. Porsche Design unveiled its Book One at Mobile World Congress this week, and it took me by surprise. At first glimpse it looks very similar to Microsoft’s Surface Book, and side-by-side there are obvious similarities, but I got a chance to spend some more time with the Book One and discover exactly how it blows past Microsoft’s own design.

Porsche Design has teamed up with Quanta, Intel, and even Microsoft to produce the Book One. It’s an ambitious effort to move from phones and headphones straight into computers, and it’s going to be the first of many computing devices with the…

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HBO’s Tickled special lets a documentary villain react to his on-screen portrayal

See the original posting on The Verge

The most frustrating thing about David Farrier and Dylan Reeve’s 2016 documentary Tickled is that it has no real resolution. Although the pair of New Zealand filmmakers ultimately made contact with David D’Amato, the strange, reclusive man responsible for publishing hundreds of “competitive endurance tickling” videos online, he never admitted to any wrongdoing, or agreed to have a real conversation unless it was about legal threats.

That’s where HBO’s new 20-minute special comes in. The Tickle King, which premiered February 27th, documents the aftermath of Tickled’s first screenings at film festivals and in theaters, when private detectives and D’Amato himself show up and cause disruptions. Basically, it asks one question: what happens…

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eMarketer: Snapchat growth driven by older users, as usage among young adults declines

See the original posting on TechCrunch

snapchat ios icon Snapchat has a reputation for being an app that’s confusing to the “olds” – something the company tried to address with a redesign just ahead of filing for its IPO. In addition, the app has expanded beyond its original use case, which focused on communication, and now includes short, easily digestible content from a number of sources, including media and… Read More

Breather wants to save you from unwanted office distractions with the Nope button

See the original posting on TechCrunch

screen-shot-2017-02-28-at-10-32-14-am In what is clearly a marketing ploy from workspace rental service Breather, the company is launching a Chrome plug-in called the “Nope Button.”
The idea here, according to the company, is to help people avoid distractions in the office, even if they can’t reserve a private Breather to get some alone time. With open work spaces becoming the standard in startup offices (and… Read More

Nissan’s self-driving test car tackles London streets

See the original posting on TechCrunch

Nissan Motors' autonomous drive vehicle is displayed at the company's showroom in Yokohama on May 13, 2015. Nissan on May 13 said its fiscal-year net profit soared 17.6 percent to 4.2 billion USD, crediting a weak yen and new model rollouts for buoyant results that drove past its own earlier forecasts.  AFP PHOTO / TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA        (Photo credit should read TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images) Nissan is testing its self-driving vehicles on European streets for the first time, with a rollout begun Monday in London. The tests, reported by Reuters, involved modified Nissan Leaf electric vehicles equipped with a range of sensors and onboard computing power, going as fast as 50 miles per-hour, and transitioning between small local roads and larger, multi-lane thoroughfares.
London was… Read More

Ford’s new self-driving van concept is like a rolling hive for delivery drones

See the original posting on TechCrunch

ford_2017_mwc_autolivery_29 Ford’s new “Autolivery” van concept has a terrible name, but is actually based on interesting core ideas. The van is yet another result of Ford’s fruitful “last mile mobility” internal employee challenge, and this one pairs an electric self-driving van with autonomous drones that nest within to help transport packages that last few feet to a… Read More

This is the first jazz record

See the original posting on Boing Boing

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the first jazz record ever released, or rather “jass” record. In a New York City recording studio, five white musicians called the Original Dixieland Jass Band recorded the “Livery Stable Blues” backed by the “Dixie Jass One-Step” on a 78 RPM disc. Of course, jazz music was actually “invented” primarily by black musicians in New Orleans as an evolution from ragtime in the 1910s. (But rather than recognize this long musical thread, Original Dixieland Jass Band leader/cornetist Nick LaRocca went on to make racist comments insisting he invented jazz.) At Smithsonian, John Edward Hasse looks at the history of this influential record:

Some scholars would prefer the honor of the first jazz recording to go to the African-American instrumental quartet the Versatile Four, which on February 3, 1916, recorded Wilbur Sweatman’s “Down Home Rag” (listen below) with swinging rhythms, a strong backbeat and a drive that implies improvisation. Or to Sweatman himself, who in December 1916 recorded his “Down Home Rag,” (listen below) playing a solo with an improvisatory feel but a non-jazz accompaniment. Some experts simply say that it’s futile to acknowledge any actual first jazz recording, but rather point to a transition from ragtime to jazz in the years leading up to 1917. As critic Kevin Whitehead put it: “We might do better to think not of one first jazz record but of a few records and piano rolls that track how jazz broke free of its ancestors.”

In New Orleans and a few other urban places, jazz was already in the air by the 1910s, and in late 1915 the record companies were starting to discover it. That’s when, according to legend, Freddie Keppard, a leading African-American cornetist from New Orleans, was playing in New York City and received an offer from the Victor Talking Machine Company to make a record.

Keppard turned Victor down, the story goes, either because he didn’t want others to “steal his stuff” or because he refused to perform an audition for Victor without compensation, thus losing the honor and distinction of leading the first jazz band to make a recording.

And so it fell to the Original Dixieland Jass Band.

Microsoft Announces Xbox Game Pass, Netflix-Style Gaming For the Xbox One

See the original posting on Slashdot

Microsoft today announced it is moving into the world of Netflix-style game subscriptions with Xbox Game Pass, a monthly service coming this spring that will give you a selection of games you can download and play on your Xbox One for $9.99 a month. From a report on Polygon: The service will include “over 100 games,” including Halo 5: Guardians, Payday 2, NBA 2K16 and SoulCalibur II. “One of the best things about Xbox Game Pass is that you can discover and download the full titles directly on your Xbox One,” the official post states. Any game you buy through the service will be sold to you at a 20 percent discount. An alpha preview of the program begins today with “a very limited” number of games, and Xbox Live Gold subscribers will get first crack at the program this spring. It also sounds as if the service may be available, at least in part, on the PC.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Horizon Zero Dawn: 16 tips before you play

See the original posting on The Verge

I’m smitten with Horizon: Zero Dawn, a video game that hits the best notes of the “explore, kill, and collect” genre without becoming too leadened by busywork. It has a script on par with a fun sci-fi matinee, arguably the most polished visuals on a home console, and combat that amounts to more than shooting hundreds of dudes in the face. But I do wish I’d known more about the game’s idiosyncrasies before I played.

Despite a lengthy tutorial prologue, many of Horizon’s most useful tips and tools are buried in the game’s opaque menus or mentioned offhand in text blurbs that appear on loading screens. I think my time with the game would have been better with a handful of pointers.

These are the lessons I learned in my playthrough, free…

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The five most interesting Oculus games at GDC

See the original posting on The Verge

Facebook-owned VR company Oculus rode a wave of hype to last year’s Game Developers Conference, where it offered reporters a full day of demos for flagship titles on the Rift and Gear VR virtual reality headsets. The Rift was released shortly after GDC 2016, and while virtual reality is still niche a year later, it’s much more of a known quantity in 2017. We’re much more aware of the limitations that headsets and motion controllers impose on a game, the conventions that work best in them, and the benefits they can bring to the table. Oculus also isn’t trying to set up an entire launch catalog, just a steady enough flow of games to satisfy users through the year. So it’s not totally surprising that this year’s lineup is more understated…

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Strava updates its Apple Watch app with GPS support

See the original posting on The Verge

The popular fitness network Strava has updated its iOS app so it can run independently on the Apple Watch 2 which features built-in GPS. The update comes a couple weeks after the Android Wear version of the app was updated with the same functionality.

Strava says Apple Watch 2 users will be able to record their time, pace, distance, speed, and heart rate directly on the Watch. To access the new untethered features, just update the Strava app on your iOS device.

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FCC chairman says net neutrality was a mistake

See the original posting on The Verge

FCC chairman Ajit Pai said today that net neutrality was “a mistake” and that the commission is now “on track” to return to a much lighter style of regulation.

“Our new approach injected tremendous uncertainty into the broadband market,” Pai said during a speech at Mobile World Congress this afternoon. “And uncertainty is the enemy of growth.”

Pai has long been opposed to net neutrality and voted against the proposal when it came up in 2015. While he hasn’t specifically stated that he plans to reverse the order now that he’s chairman, today’s speech suggests pretty clearly that he’s aiming to.

“Today, the torch at the FCC has been passed to a new generation, dedicated to renewal…

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