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White-hot electric car startup Faraday Future jumps into Formula E racing

Faraday Future is apparently the real deal. Bankrolled by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, the electric car startup announced today a new partnership with Dragon Racing that will see the company lend its expertise towards producing an electric car for use in the FIA Formula E Championship. DON'T MISS:  Portable DVD player found in wreckage of fatal Tesla Model S crash Not to be confused with Formula One (though governed by the same body), Formula E racing -- as the name subtly implies -- involves electric cars exclusively. In accordance with the partnership, Faraday Future will be part of a new race team called Faraday Future Dragon Racing Formula E that will begin competing in Formula E's upcoming season in October. According to the announcement, Faraday Future will be a title sponsor and "core technical partner" of Dragon Racing, a team owned by Jay Penske. "Formula E has placed a significant emphasis on electric performance and connectivity which makes it a great fit for Faraday Future," Faraday Future executive Marco Mattiacci said in a press release. "Formula E has leveraged a community of fans and embodies the competitive spirit that we also share." Commenting on the partnership, FIA Formula E President Alejandro Agag welcomed Faraday Future to the racing world with enthusiasm. "We are thrilled to welcome Faraday Future into Formula E," Agag said. "Faraday Future is a brand that is targeting the highest standard in terms of design, R&D and manufacturing of electric cars and we couldn't be happier that they have chosen Formula E to challenge some of the greatest car companies in the world." Per the press release, the partnership between Faraday Future and Dragon Racing will only grow deeper over a period of three years. In 2016, Faraday Future will leverage their R&D to explore ways to "improve overall drivetrain performance" and enhance performance data and analytics. In 2017, Dragon Racing will begin implementing Faraday Future developed technologies. And in 2018, "Faraday Future and Dragon Racing will work together to implement various Faraday powertrain components, software, firmware and other hardware as the team sees fit." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cAtt3jExhA Disclosure: Jay Penske is the CEO of Penske Media Corp., BGR's parent company

Infinity:One is OLPC XO’s bigger, more responsible sibling

Infinity:One is OLPC XO's bigger, more responsible siblingRemember One Laptop Per Child? Gone are the weird bulk orders required to get your hands on an OLPC in recent years, now you can just straight pre-order a laptop for $230, which should ship in August. In fact, the laptop is hardly familiar to anyone who has been following One Education's Infinity laptop project — which was originally supposed to be modular, and run Android or Sugar OS.


Google pays its taxes, senior Europe executive insists

Google is regularly accused of not paying its fair share of tax both in Europe and in the United States, registering instead in low tax havensThis is within the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) average," the Google executive said. Italy has also demanded more than 200 million euros from Google, which is accused of perpetrating tax fraud there. Like other US-based online multinationals, such as Amazon and Facebook, Google is regularly accused of not paying its fair share of tax both in Europe and in the United States, registering instead in low tax havens.


Tesla fatal crash is setback to autonomous cars

Tesla charging stations for electric cars are pictured in Wittenburg, northeastern Germany, on May 18, 2016The Tesla Model S cruising on "Autopilot" failed to pick up a crossing tractor-trailer against a bright sky, sending the driver to his death without any effort to hit the brakes. The first known fatality from autonomous driving technology, it was a nightmare scenario for an industry promoting a way to improve road safety and reduce traffic fatalities that come mostly from human error. Researchers say the tragedy does not change the long-term outlook for autonomous vehicles or their potential benefits, but could dampen enthusiasm for this technology.


NASA extends the New Horizons mission to fly by another small world beyond Pluto

NASA extends the New Horizons mission to fly by another small world beyond PlutoToday, New Horizons team received official confirmation that they will get extra funding from NASA to continue doing science with their faraway spacecraft, which visited Pluto in the summer of 2015. During this extension, which will last to 2021, New Horizons will conduct another flyby of an object at the Solar System's edge, as well as collect data on dozens of other deep space objects along the way. The spacecraft’s new target is 2014 MU69, an icy body about 20 to 30 miles across located in the Kuiper Belt — the huge cloud of objects at the fringes of the Solar System.


Alexa will now let you order over a million items from Amazon with your voice

Amazon kicked the home virtual assistant trend into overdrive a year ago when it launched the first Echo. Since then, Alexa—the voice service powering the device—has become increasingly intelligent as the company gives it new skills. It's latest skill is possibly its latest surprising, as Amazon has now given Alexa the ability to order over a million new products from Amazon, even if the customer has never ordered that product before. READ MORE:  A roundup of original iPhone reviews that got everything completely wrong Before now, Amazon Echo owners had to have ordered a product from the online retailer at least once before in order for Alexa to be able to place an order. Starting today, customers will now be able to order hundreds of thousands of products for the first time with Alexa, as long as it's a Prime-eligible item. Let's say you're looking for a can opener and you aren't really particular about which one you receive. Simply say, "Alexa, order a can opener," and Alexa will proceed to suggest a product and give you a price. Say "yes" and the order will be on its way, without you ever having to open up a laptop or power on a tablet. The ability to buy even more things on Amazon might not be the best reason to buy an Amazon Echo on Amazon, but if you were planning to pick one up anyway, you're going to receive an even smarter assistant than you expected. You can pick up the  original Amazon Echo for $179.99 , the  Amazon Tap for $129.99 , or the  Echo Dot for $89.99  through Alexa Voice Shopping.

Dell is done with Android — again

Dell is done with Android -- againThe company is discontinuing all its Android tablets -- which means it's done with Android for now.


Tesla crash raises concerns about autonomous vehicle regulation

The Tesla Model S version 7.0 software update containing Autopilot features is demonstrated during a Tesla event in Palo AltoThe fatal crash of a Tesla Motors Inc Model S in Autopilot mode has turned up pressure on auto industry executives and regulators to ensure that automated driving technology is deployed safely. Shares of Tesla and Mobileye NV, the maker of the camera vision system used in the Model S, rose on Friday as analysts said the accident was likely a short-term setback. On Friday, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said U.S. traffic deaths rose by 7.7 percent to 35,200 in 2015 - the highest annual tally since 2008 and biggest single-year jump since 1966.


BMW will mass produce a self-driving car by 2021

Tesla and Google aren't the only companies working towards a future filled with self-driving cars. BMW earlier today boldly announced its plan to begin mass producing a self-driving car by 2021. As part of its 5-year plan to make autonomous driving a reality, BMW will rely upon camera and sensor technology sourced from Mobileye, the same Israeli company that Tesla currently partners up with for its own self-driving car technology. Also in the mix is Intel who will contribute technology of its own at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. DON'T MISS:  Portable DVD player found in wreckage of fatal Tesla Model S crash As USA Today notes , the announcement is significant insofar as this marks the first time that an automaker has attached a specific deadline regarding the production of a self-driving vehicle. "The statement reflects a bold step for engineers who are still facing significant engineering hurdles in the race to deliver self-driving cars," the report adds. "Today marks an important milestone for the automotive industry as we enter a world of new mobility," Mobileye Co-Founder Amnon Shashua said. "Together with BMW Group and Intel, Mobileye is laying the groundwork for the technology of future mobility that enables fully autonomous driving to become a reality within the next few years." Of course, the timing of BMW's announcement comes at an interesting time. Yesterday, word spread that a Florida man was fatally killed when the Tesla Model S he was driving with Autopilot activated crashed into a tractor-trailer. In the wake of the tragic accident, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) indicated that their intention to investigate the role that Tesla's Autopilot software played, if any, with the crash. The joint press release announcing the intriguing new partnership between BMW, Intel and Mobileye can be read in part below: The future of automated driving promises to change lives and societies for the better. But the path to get to a fully autonomous world is complex and will require end-to-end solutions that integrate intelligence across the network, from door locks to the data center. Transportation providers of the future must harness rapidly evolving technologies, collaborate with totally new partners, and prepare for disruptive opportunities. Together with Intel and Mobileye, the BMW Group will develop the necessary solutions and innovative systems for highly and fully automated driving to bring these technologies into series production by 2021. The BMW iNEXT model will be the foundation for BMW Group's autonomous driving strategy and set the basis for fleets of fully autonomous vehicles, not only on highways but also in urban environments for the purpose of automated ridesharing solutions. BMW Group, Intel and Mobileye are convinced that automated driving technologies will make travel safer and easier. The goal of the collaboration is to develop future-proofed solutions that enable the drivers to not only take their hands off the steering wheel, but reach the so called "eyes off" (level 3) and ultimately the "mind off" (level 4) level transforming the driver's in-car time into leisure or work time. This level of autonomy would enable the vehicle, on a technical level, to achieve the final stage of traveling "driver off" (level 5) without a human driver inside. This establishes the opportunity for self-driving fleets by 2021 and lays the foundation for entirely new business models in a connected, mobile world.

That Eye-Fi card you could have bought a year ago is going to stop working on September 16th

That Eye-Fi card you could have bought a year ago is going to stop working on September 16thThis week, Eye-Fi announced that it would be discontinuing services for its older Wi-Fi-connected SD cards. The X1 and X2 SD cards were designed to bring Wi-Fi connectivity to older cameras that lacked it, and worked with a mobile or desktop app for transferring images. Eye-Fi says it started phasing out the X2 cards in 2012 and ceased selling them in authorized channels in March, 2015.


Obama’s targeted air strikes killed 64 to 116 civilians outside war zones, says White House

Obama's targeted air strikes killed 64 to 116 civilians outside war zones, says White HouseThe US government has released numbers estimating that targeted air strikes have killed 64 to 116 civilians outside war zones since President Barack Obama took office in 2009. The statistics offer a rare official look at casualties from the drone program, albeit one that is significantly lower than unofficial estimates. The report doesn’t count deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, which are designated "areas of active hostilities." That leaves anti-terrorism strikes in countries like Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.


Correction: Windows 10 Anniversary story

FILE - In this Jan. 21, 2015, file photo, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at an event demonstrating the new features of Windows 10 at the company's headquarters in Redmond, Wash. As Windows 10 approaches its first birthday, Microsoft is adding new features to its flagship operating software. The new features, scheduled for release on Aug. 2, 2016, will include new security measures, more capabilities for Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, and a new service called Windows Ink, which lets users with a digital stylus add handwritten notes or reminders and draw on screen to annotate documents, maps and other apps. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In a story June 29 about Microsoft's Windows 10, The Associated Press misspelled the name of a woman who sued Microsoft in small claims court. She is Teri Goldstein, not Terri. The story also provided an incorrect age for Goldstein. She declined to give her age for publication.


Verizon brings back limited offer to pay $300 for your old phone

Verizon brings back limited offer to pay $300 for your old phoneTrade in your old phone at Verizon and get up to $300 toward a new phone or your phone bill.


Tesla driver dies in first fatality with Autopilot: What it means for the future of driverless cars

Tesla driver dies in first fatality with Autopilot: What it means for the future of driverless carsA man using Tesla's Autopilot died when neither he, nor his car, braked to prevent crashing into a tractor-trailer. Here's how the accident fits into a broader conversation about autonomous driving.


Apple blasts Spotify for wanting special App Store treatment

There's certainly no love lost between Apple and Spotify as the rivalry between the two companies came to a head earlier this week. Spotify's general counsel, if you recall, recently lambasted Apple for refusing to approve Spotify's latest app update because the app does not make use of Apple's proprietary billing system. In a scathing letter sent to Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell on June 26, Spotify said that Apple's actions might run afoul of antitrust law and that Apple is using the "App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors.” DON'T MISS:  A roundup of original iPhone reviews that got everything completely wrong Never mind the fact that any and every app on the App Store that relies upon subscription pricing has to utilize Apple's billing system. Furthermore, the App Store is Apple's playground and they get to determine the rules. And as if that weren't enough, recall that Apple ahead of WWDC announced that it was adjusting the revenue split on long-term subscriptions from 70/30 to 85/15. In the wake of Spotify's letter, Apple has fired back with a letter of its own that has since been obtained by Buzzfeed . "We find it troubling that you are asking for exemptions to the rules we apply to all developers," Sewell said, "and are publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths about our service." Apple later points out that the work in creating and maintaining the App Store is no small feat and that the company's digital marketplace is not simply something developers can take advantage of without playing by the rules. "Our investment in the App Store is not trivial," the letter reads, "any great retailer will tell you there is an incredible amount of effort that goes into maintaining their store. However, if a customer chooses to sign up for a digital product outside of the App Store the developer does not pay us anything, and their content will still work on Apple devices. To imply that Spotify should not have to pay to avail itself of the benefits of Apple's hard work, just as every other developer does, would give you a tremendous advantage over other developers. It's simply unfair and unreasonable." Now is Spotify being extremely unreasonable here? It's hard to say. Note the following excerpt from a Recode report which doesn't paint Apple in the most favorable light. [Spotify] has used Apple’s billing system for years, but passed on Apple’s fee to customers by charging $13 a month instead of the $10 a month the service sells for outside Apple’s store. Last year, after Apple launched its own music service, Spotify became more vocal about encouraging users to pay for the service outside of iTunes. Last fall, Spotify started a new end-run via a promotional campaign offering new subscribers the chance to get three months of the service for $0.99 — if they signed up via Spotify’s own site. This month, Spotify revived the campaign, but Gutierrez says Apple threatened to remove the app from its store unless Spotify stopped telling iPhone users about the promotion. Apple's full letter to Spotify can be viewed via the source link below.

Sleeping driver, terrified granny among Tesla Autopilot users on YouTube

The Tesla Model S version 7.0 software update containing Autopilot features is demonstrated during a Tesla event in Palo AltoA sleeping driver and a terrified granny are among the many people who appear in popular YouTube videos using the Tesla Autopilot technology - and not always using the system as intended. Many are not "screaming granny" videos, but the more whacky ones often get far more clicks than the straightforward videos.


Fatal Telsa crash shows limits of self-driving technology

FILE - In this Sept. 15, 2015 file photo, a Tesla Model S is on display on the first press day of the Frankfurt Auto Show IAA in Frankfurt, Germany. Federal officials say the driver of a Tesla S sports car using the vehicle’s “autopilot” automated driving system has been killed in a collision with a truck, the first U.S. self-driving car fatality. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said preliminary reports indicate the crash occurred when a tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of the Tesla at a highway intersection. NHTSA said the Tesla driver died due to injuries sustained in the crash, which took place on May 7, 2016 in Williston, Fla. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government is investigating the first reported death of a driver whose car was in self-driving mode when he crashed. Joshua D. Brown, 40, died May 7 when his Tesla Model S, which was operating on "autopilot," failed to activate its brakes and hit a truck in Florida.


Spying drone sneaks a look at Apple’s nearly complete spaceship campus

Spying drone sneaks a look at Apple's nearly complete spaceship campusCupertino, California's most famous corporate resident hopes to move into its ambitious new home next year, and construction looks to be progressing on schedule.


BlackBerry is reportedly building three new Android phones

BlackBerry is reportedly building three new Android phonesNeon, Argon and Mercury: we'll see one new BlackBerry each quarter, according to this report.


NFL QB Kaepernick shows it’s hard to tolerate fans who want selfie

NFL QB Kaepernick shows it's hard to tolerate fans who want selfieTechnically Incorrect: Accosted by supposed fans in an LA hotel, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick shows remarkable restraint.


Kanye West’s ‘Famous’ video is now on YouTube

Kanye West's 'Famous' video is now on YouTubeKanye West's music video for "Famous," which The Verge's T.C. Sottek called "damn genius clickbait," was — until now — damn genius clickbait that was exclusive to Tidal. Now, it's available to watch on YouTube.


Going Rogue: Entertainment industry vets build VR startup with Michael Bay

To longtime film, animation and video game production executive Pete Blumel, the increasingly hot virtual reality space represents the “perfect bridge” to bring together almost every corner of the entertainment world, from Hollywood to technology to game development. He believes in VR and the fresh opportunities it affords content creators so much that earlier this year he helped launch a Los Angeles-based production studio called The Rogue Initiative . Packed with creative executives and interactive media developers from companies like Pixar, Amblin Entertainment, Disney, Electronic Arts and more, its vision is to build original, cinematic content for VR, feature films and television. Plenty of companies do that, of course, but not every VR startup can boast a similar bench strength. Or can count, as The Rogue Initiative can, Transformers director Michael Bay as an advisor who also plans to direct a VR project in his signature explosion-loving style for the company.  MUST READ:  Researchers in Texas are cloning cattle to make better tasting steaks Lynda Obst, a producer whose film credits include Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar , is another advisor. In addition to looking for new investment and strategic partnerships, The Rogue Initiative will be distributing its VR goodies across platforms from all the usual suspects, from the Oculus Rift to the Samsung GearVR as well as services like Netflix and Amazon. For Blumel, The Rogue Initiative’s CEO and creative director, it’s all a continuation of the passion for storytelling and the experience that’s driven his involvement with projects like the Call of Duty Modern Warfare series, which he came into at Infinity Ward when the franchise decided to jump into the modern era. “We kicked that off with Call of Duty 4, and I still look at that and see a game that holds up really well,” said Blumel, who spent 8 years as a video game producer at Infinity Ward before going on to launch three startups including The Rogue Initiative. “It holds up because it was all about the gameplay and the experience. “The thing about us at The Rogue Initiative is we’re not pivoting from another industry. We’re real-time immersive storytellers who’ve been working in interactive entertainment and video games for a very long time. We’re a production team that’s also not just tech-savvy and adept, but we’re also creatives. And all the stuff we’re working on, we’re co-creating with big storytellers like Michael Bay.” The Rogue Initiative team currently includes 15, with other founders including chief production officer Cathy Twigg and chief business development officer Hrish Lotlikar. Twigg started her career at MTV Films where she was responsible for talent discovery and adding to the project pipeline. She went on to work at Dreamworks Television Animation, Sony Pictures Television and Bandeira Entertainment, among other names, and is currently helping The Rogue Initiative develop its IP for VR, interactive, feature and TV projects. Lotlikar, meanwhile, brings experience in startups, venture capital, investment banking and management consulting. “We built The Rogue Initiative from the ground up to be a go-to team for Hollywood creators, to collaborate and co-create and co-own new IP,” Lotlikar said. “That’s really what sets us apart, and really our big vision here is we co-create and co-own new IP in VR, then we take that and can make it into a feature film, TV show, we can take it to arcades, we can take it to merchandising.” That speaks to what Blumel said he sees as another differentiator of his VR startup compared to others that have launched in recent weeks and months. His wants to create IP that also lives beyond VR - content that eventually become anything from a graphic novel to a TV show. The reason for the company’s name? It’s simple. The leadership team, Blumel explains, likes to go against the grain, to take the initiative in things that may be considered “rogue” or against the traditional line of thinking. Its formation earlier this year comes as interest in VR technology and content is exploding. Just this week alone, Twitter confirmed its hire of a former Apple designer for a VR project at the social network. Sony in recent days also made Jake Zim, its senior vice president of digital marketing, the company’s new senior vice president of virtual reality, signaling a firm commitment from the entertainment giant to VR. The Rogue Initiative, meanwhile, thinks it’s got what it takes to pull ahead of the pack. “We’re a production company with heavy-hitters and amazing storytellers. That’s what we’re building right now,” Blumel said.

Katy Perry, Twitter’s most-followed user, crosses 90-million mark

Katy Perry, Twitter's most-followed user, crosses 90-million markThe American pop icon reaches 90 million Twitter followers, making her the social media network's top-ranked user.


Portable DVD player found in wreckage of fatal Tesla Model S crash

Yesterday, word broke that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) was looking into a Florida incident involving a Tesla Model S that crashed into a tractor-trailer this past May, tragically killing the driver of the Tesla. What prompted the NHSTA's interest in the matter is that the Model S had Tesla's Autopilot software activated at the time of the accident. As a result, the agency indicated that the crash "calls for an examination of the design and performance of any driving aids in use at the time of the crash.” DON'T MISS:  A roundup of original iPhone reviews that got everything completely wrong In the wake of the fatal accident, there have been a number of interesting developments. Tesla, for one, issued a lengthy blogpost addressing the matter. Additionally, the driver of the tractor-trailer issued a statement to the Associated Press  wherein he said that the Model S driver wasn't paying attention to the road because he was watching a movie. Frank Baressi, 62, the driver of the truck and owner of Okemah Express LLC, said the Tesla driver was “playing Harry Potter on the TV screen” at the time of the crash and driving so quickly that “he went so fast through my trailer I didn’t see him.” “It was still playing when he died and snapped a telephone pole a quarter mile down the road,” Baressi told The Associated Press in an interview from his home in Palm Harbor, Florida. He acknowledged he couldn’t see the movie, only heard it. In light of that, Reuters is now reporting that the Florida Highway Patrol found a portable DVD player in the wreckage of the Model S. "There was a portable DVD player in the vehicle," Sergeant Kim Montes confirmed to Reuters in an interview. Incidentally, MobilEye -- the Israeli company that provides the brains behind Tesla's Autopilot software -- released a statement of its own indicating that it's technology is not designed to prevent the type of accident that caused the fatal crash. "Today’s collision avoidance technology, or Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) is defined as rear-end collision avoidance, and is designed specifically for that," the statement reads. "This incident involved a laterally crossing vehicle, which current-generation AEB systems are not designed to actuate upon. Mobileye systems will include Lateral Turn Across Path (LTAP) detection capabilities beginning in 2018, and the Euro NCAP safety ratings will include this beginning in 2020.”

A comforting, mindless time watching people eat food on Twitch

A comforting, mindless time watching people eat food on TwitchIt's the day before a holiday weekend, which means a lot of people are on vacation and not a lot of people are in the Verge offices right now. So, when presented with the prospect of eating lunch alone, I, like any good citizen of the modern world, turned to the internet for comfort and companionship. Specifically, I turned to "Social Eating," a new Twitch category where people livestream themselves eating or drinking.


A Dark Souls of VR would be wonderful — here’s how you’d make it

A Dark Souls of VR would be wonderful — here’s how you’d make it"The Dark Souls of X" is such a common cliche that there’s an entire Twitter account dedicated to mocking it. The phrase is usually an unnecessary substitute for saying a game is hard: Super Hexagon is the Dark Souls of mobile games, Super Meat Boy is the Dark Souls of platformers, Homefront: The Revolution is the Dark Souls of cooperative multiplayer. For something that feels genuinely of VR, you might look to Left-Hand Path — a literally and figuratively dark fantasy game whose creator has described it as Dark Souls for the HTC Vive.


Apple responds to Spotify over anticompetitive claims

Apple responds to Spotify over anticompetitive claimsApple responded today to Spotify's controversial claims that the iPhone maker was intentionally rejecting the streaming service's app to prevent it from competing with Apple Music, saying Spotify is asking for "preferential treatment" in the App Store's approval process. Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell sent a letter, obtained by BuzzFeed News, to Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez outlining the company's stance and calling into question Spotify's claims of anticompetitive behavior. "There us nothing in Apple’s conduct that 'amounts to a violation of applicable antitrust laws.' Far from it," he adds.


Kanye West’s infamous ‘Famous’ music video now on YouTube

Kanye West's infamous 'Famous' music video now on YouTubePreviously a Tidal exclusive, the controversial NSFW video is now available for everyone (of age) to see.


I traveled with a smart carry-on and I’m never using a ‘dumb’ bag again

Nearly three hours had passed before the realization finally hit me: I left my carry-on in the trunk of the taxi that drove me home from the airport. My laptop, my clothes and everything else I had stuffed into my little Tumi suitcase were no longer in my possession and I had no idea if my belongings would ever be returned to me. I can’t even imagine the look of panic that must have washed over my face. Thankfully, I got lucky that time. I was the driver’s last fare of the evening and the cab company found my bag in the trunk of his car. But not everyone is so lucky. Baggage loss and theft have always been huge problems in airports, hotels and elsewhere. But as it turns out, there is a solution — and it's sleeker and more stylish than you might imagine. DON’T MISS: The iPhone 7 nightmare OK seriously, where does it end? It seems like anything and everything is connected these days, with "smart" features being added to everything from lamps and pencils to toasters and even gardening equipment. Of course, some product categories stand to benefit a bit more than others from smart features like connectivity and app control, and it turns out luggage is a category that benefits far more than I thought it would. Yes, I was a bit skeptical when I first heard about Bluesmart and its crowdfunding campaign back in 2014, but today I'm a believer. Bluesmart raised $2.2 million for its first connected carry-on, and it has since shipped more than 21,000 units in 40 different countries. It's hard to argue that the bag has been anything but a success on all fronts, though the company's first model — the $449 Bluesmart One — does have some shortcomings. To address those shortcomings, the company has launched a new limited-edition model called the Bluesmart Black Edition . First things first — why does a carry-on need to be "smart"? Bluesmart's bags pack four main selling points, the first being location tracking. Using the accompanying Bluesmart app, One and Black Edition bag owners can pinpoint their bag's location in a matter of minutes. The location tracking doesn't just use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth proximity like all those little tag products you see everywhere, it uses cellular triangulation. Each bag includes a SIM card and a 3G radio. Through a partnership with Telefonica that includes all of the carrier's roaming agreements, the bags can be located just about anywhere. Best of all, the service is completely free. Bluesmart said that may change some day but if it does, it will only change for new purchases — anyone who already owns a Bluesmart bag will continue to enjoy free location tracking for life. The second big selling point is a built-in 10,400 mAh battery and a USB port that lets you charge your smartphone, tablet, eBook reader or any other device by plugging it into your carry-on. Then there's a built-in scale that lets you weigh your bag simply by picking it up and choosing the weight function in the app. Finally, Bluesmart bags have a very cool remote locking feature. When your carry-on is at your side, there's often no reason to lock it. When it leaves your side it's a different story though, and in the event of a theft there's obviously no time to stop and lock your bag. With Bluesmart's proximity locking enabled, your bag will lock itself automatically when it moves too far away from your phone. This prevents snooping and slows thieves down or stops them completely in the event someone steals your bag. You can also lock and unlock the bag on command with one tap in the app. As for the differences between the One model and the new Black Edition, it's all about design and style. The Black Edition looks and feels much more high-end, though the One sports a nice design as well. The Black Edition is in a different league though, and it's easily on par with Tumi bags. The casing itself is "Class A Makrolon Polycarbonate," which is a fancy way of saying that it's the same firm and durable plastic found on comparable bags. The front of the case features a strong and stylish gray felt material that locks over the zippers so the bag cannot be opened by anyone unless they have your smartphone or a TSA key. Bluesmart's new Black Edition bag also features redesigned wheels that are nice and smooth. Inside, we find the bag's one shortcoming compared to many comparable carry-ons: it's not very spacious. There are a few pockets and I had just enough room for a three-day trip this past weekend, but I only packed casual clothes and didn't need a suit. The bag doesn't have any expansion option either — no unzipping for more space. If you can make do with 34 liters of packing volume along with a 15-inch laptop compartment, the Bluesmart Black Edition is as sleek and stylish as it gets. Add on the smart features and you've got a great product that addresses real needs and tackles true pain points surrounding travel. And no one will complain about the prospect of removing a few paint points from travel. The Bluesmart Black Edition is available beginning this week for $549 and will be sold exclusively at the MoMA Design Store and Bluesmart's website .

Congress discontinues BlackBerry devices for Senate staffers

Congress discontinues BlackBerry devices for Senate staffersAfter a 10 year run, the Senate will finally stop issuing BlackBerry smartphones to its staff.


Björk debuts hairy 3D-printed mask for tour’s Tokyo leg

Björk and the 3D printed Rottlace maskIcelandic singer-songwriter Björk has become the face of a new kind of 3D printing technology that allows for the creation of a fibrous, hairy material called Rottlace. Designer Neri Oxman and the Mediated Matter Group came up with the concept, which Björk is putting into practise on the Tokyo leg of a Björk Digital virtual reality event series which started June 29 and runs until July 18. Björk's own face was used as a basis for the prosthetic covering, which mimics soft tissue, muscle and rigid bone structure within a single print, Mediated Matter said in a statement.


Following fatal crash, Tesla partner says Autopilot can’t avoid these kind of accidents

There's still a great deal we don't know about the deadly Model S crash that occurred back in May. We know that the driver had Autopilot engaged and we know that Tesla is under investigation, but on Friday, Tesla's partner Mobileye shed some light on how the car's self-driving system might factor into this incident. FROM EARLIER:  Man who died in fatal crash with Model S on Autopilot was allegedly watching a movie Electrek got its hands on a statement from a Mobileye executive, who explained that the Automatic Emergency Braking system is only capable of protecting drivers from rear-end collisions, not lateral collisions (as was the case in this crash). Here's the full statement regarding the crash from Dan Galves, Mobileye’s Chief Communications Officer, provided by Electrek : "We have read the account of what happened in this case. Today’s collision avoidance technology, or Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) is defined as rear-end collision avoidance, and is designed specifically for that. This incident involved a laterally crossing vehicle, which current-generation AEB systems are not designed to actuate upon. Mobileye systems will include Lateral Turn Across Path (LTAP) detection capabilities beginning in 2018, and the Euro NCAP safety ratings will include this beginning in 2020." This is an absolute tragedy, and seemingly one that could have been avoided. Now that the story has made international news, we're hopeful that Tesla owners will think twice before they hop into the back seat to take a nap with Autopilot engaged . This is not finished software. It's not worth the risk.

Podcast: Business Technology Weekly – All your data are belong to us

Podcast: Business Technology Weekly - All your data are belong to usBusiness Technology Weekly is TechRepublic's news podcast, featuring top tech headlines. This week we discuss HP's Device-as-a-Service model, what the Brexit means for tech, and Google's data policy.


JVC’s first Apple CarPlay receiver is now available

JVC's first Apple CarPlay receiver is now availableIf you own an older vehicle and have been looking to try out Apple's CarPlay, JVC may have a solution for you. The company has released the KW-V820BT, its aftermarket receiver featuring CarPlay. The receiver, which costs $600, features a 6.8-inch resistive touchscreen, Bluetooth audio, and standalone Spotify and Pandora apps, alongside Apple's OS.


BMW, Intel, Mobileye hook up to bring self-driving cars to roadways by 2021

BMW, Intel, Mobileye hook up to bring self-driving cars to roadways by 2021And not just some namby-pamby, semi-automation, either.


Uber, Lyft settlement did not require either side to pay -sources

A Lyft Glowstache is seen inside a car during a photo opportunity in San FranciscoBy Joseph Menn and Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A pitched legal battle between ride-hailing rivals Uber and Lyft, involving accusations of hacking and corporate spying, ended with a settlement this week that did not require either company to pay money, according to sources familiar with the agreement. The settlement coincided with news that Lyft was working with investment bank Qatalyst Partners to pursue strategic options, including a possible sale of the company. The settlement would remove a legal risk for potential partners, though it could not be learned whether the deal or timing was linked to a possible transaction.


The BFG review: Steven Spielberg’s take on Roald Dahl is all treacle, no spice

The BFG review: Steven Spielberg’s take on Roald Dahl is all treacle, no spiceThe fun thing about British author Roald Dahl has always been his authentic streak of malice. Which may explain why Steven Spielberg’s film adaptation of Dahl’s book The BFG feels so sleepy and dull: It replaces most of the sense of threat with sentiment, and plays up the whimsy at the expense of any other emotion. It feels like a neutered version of Dahl, one without the gleeful derangement of Gene Wilder in the 1971 screen adaptation Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, or Anjelica Huston in the 1990 version of The Witches.


This Illusion of the Year finalist will blow your mind

This Illusion of the Year finalist will blow your mindIs it round? It is square? A seemingly miraculous Illusion of the Year finalist plays with your brain and leaves you befuddled.


BlackBerry is reportedly going to release three new Android phones. Aw, BlackBerry

BlackBerry is reportedly going to release three new Android phones. Aw, BlackBerryBlackBerry isn’t ready to give up on Android. The company is reportedly planning to release three new Android phones this year, which will come out one per quarter for the next three quarters, according to VentureBeat. CEO John Chen mentioned the creation of two new Android phones earlier this year.


The cheapest convertible in America is technically a Mercedes-Benz

The cheapest convertible in America is technically a Mercedes-BenzThe Smart ForTwo Cabriolet will be the cheapest top-down fun you can have in the US, with a starting price well below $20,000.


Alibaba launches new anti-fake drive, urges brands to help out

An employee is seen behind a glass wall with the logo of Alibaba at the company's headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang provinceBy John Ruwitch HANGZHOU, China (Reuters) - Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on Friday went public with a new drive to display its determination to stamp out fake goods, urging brands to help its anti-piracy campaign rather than trade rebukes on the issue. The U.S.-listed online shopping powerhouse has been dogged by accusations its sites are flooded with copy-cat products, culminating with its ejection this year from a U.S.-based anti-counterfeiting alliance only weeks after being admitted. At an intellectual property conference it's hosting in Hangzhou, Alibaba on Friday unveiled a new online system to help track and remove fakes as its top anti-piracy official called for more cooperation with makers of branded goods.


Small aesthetic, tech updates underpin 2017 Cadillac CTS

Small aesthetic, tech updates underpin 2017 Cadillac CTSThe ATS is also receiving some updates, but we told you about those already.


Facebook will let you post in several different languages at once

Facebook will let you post in several different languages at onceNow you can tell people what you had for breakfast in languages you don't even know.


Facebook’s new multilingual composer lets you post in several languages at once

Facebook's new multilingual composer lets you post in several languages at onceYou'll soon be able to post on Facebook in multiple languages using a new automatic translation feature, the company said today. If you write a post in English but publish it in Spanish, for example, any of your friends or followers who use Facebook in Spanish would see that Spanish translation of your post. The new composer, which will work for all permutations of the 45 languages Facebook currently translates, is beginning to roll out today.


Creepy DJ uses seagull skull as a turntable needle

If nothing else, this is certainly an adventure in aural weirdness.

Impossibly pleasant retired pilot makes magical automatic breakfast machine

Impossibly pleasant retired pilot makes magical automatic breakfast machineA 69-year-old retired airplane pilot named Peter Browne has created the most lovable mechanical contraption this side of Short Circuit. Built with pal Mervyn Huggett, who I have to imagine was birthed whole cloth for an abandoned J.K. Rowling novel, the machine prepares the three core parts of a morning meal: the protein (an egg), the grain (toast), and the beverage (tea, naturally).According to the YouTube page of SWNS TV, the project took "a total of 1,000 hours" over three months of construction. ...


Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant can now order millions of items

Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant can now order millions of itemsThe Echo smart speaker and Fire TV previously were only able to reorder items.


This mouse has an accelerometer, gyroscope, 50 buttons, and an OLED display to make you the ultimate gamer

This mouse has an accelerometer, gyroscope, 50 buttons, and an OLED display to make you the ultimate gamerThe Z mouse will bring you to another dimension, mannnn. But not actually. What it’ll do is let you use your mouse in unconventional ways. Like: Swiftpoint You can tilt it to different angles to control when you crouch or lean during a game without having to hold down a key.Or: Swiftpoint You can pivot the mouse so you can run forward while also turning to the side.And finally: Swiftpoint You an use it "in the air" because why do you need to keep a mouse on the ground, right? This function apparently gives you better control when pitching, rolling, and yawing. ...


As if! Video pirate hides Clueless movie in 360-degree YouTube clip

As if! Video pirate hides Clueless movie in 360-degree YouTube clipA pirate with the username Thuy Pham surreptitiously inserted a copy of the 1995 teen movie within another 360-degree video on YouTube.


Hillary Clinton writes farewell message to The Toast, the internet’s best place for women

Hillary Clinton writes farewell message to The Toast, the internet's best place for womenIn May, Nicole Cliffe and Mallory Ortberg announced that today would be the end of The Toast. Today, presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has written a farewell message for a blog. Of course, The Toast commenters are right to be excited and right to be a little suspicious.


Senate staffers will no longer be issued official Blackberry smartphones

Senate staffers will no longer be issued official Blackberry smartphonesThe age of the Blackberry as the go-to mobile device in Congress is finally coming to an end. Senate staffers were informed this week that BlackBerry devices won't be issued after the already-limited supplies run out. "BlackBerry informed Verizon and AT&T that production of all BlackBerry OS 10 devices (Q10, Z10, Z30, Passport, and Classic) has been discontinued," reads a memo from the Sergeant at Arms office received by reporter Jim Swift.


You can now buy millions of products on Amazon with Alexa

You can now buy millions of products on Amazon with AlexaIt's been possible to use Amazon's Echo and Alexa assistant to make basic purchases - reorders of existing products, a handful of select items from Amazon - since the device launched, but today the Echo's purchasing abilities are being greatly expanded. The products do have to be eligible for Prime shipping, and Amazon says it is adding more products to the list every day. Once you ask Alexa for a product, say coffee, Alexa will suggest a Prime eligible product and tell you the cost.


Listen to the sound of NASA’s Juno spacecraft crossing into Jupiter’s magnetic field

Listen to the sound of NASA’s Juno spacecraft crossing into Jupiter’s magnetic fieldNASA’s Juno spacecraft has officially crossed the barrier over into Jupiter’s magnetosphere, the powerful magnetic field that extends millions of miles around the planet. NASA believes Juno entered this region of space between June 24th and 25th.


Do you need your next phone to be VR capable?

Do you need your next phone to be VR capable?The last Android phone I bought was the Galaxy S6, specifically because it did VR. Right now, if you're looking for a phone, you basically have a choice between Samsung (if you want good VR, or just like curved edges on things), and everybody else.


An analog pinball cabinet is being transformed into a digital art machine

An analog pinball cabinet is being transformed into a digital art machineThere will also be people playing pinball. "Things like pinball get people over the seriousness of artwork," says Zander Brimijoin, the company's creative director. When we visit Red Paper Heart's office in mid-June, the project, is still under construction.


Scooby Snack, glamping, and tl;dr added to the Oxford English Dictionary

Scooby Snack, glamping, and tl;dr added to the Oxford English DictionaryUnfortunately, it's "bring your own snack” and they don't know an Afghan biscuit from a Scooby Snack. The OED has your back. The OED continually updates their list of words to keep abreast of modern colloquiums and phrases.


A roundup of original iPhone reviews that got everything completely wrong

When the iPhone burst onto the scene in 2007, it was evident that the world of mobile technology would never be the same. While the original iPhone admittedly had its fair share of shortcomings (it lacked 3G, MMS support, copy and paste etc.), its multitouch display and full web browser were immediate game-changers. Without equivocation, the iPhone quickly, if not instantly, became the blueprint upon which all other smartphone manufacturers based their own hardware and software designs. Yesterday we highlighted a number of positive reviews that accompanied the release of the original iPhone nine years ago this week. But as tends to be the case in the tech world, not everyone at the time was able to appreciate the immediate impact that the iPhone was poised to exert over the entire tech industry. Rather predictably, an onslaught of short-sighted and pessimistic reviews tended to hone in on all of the features the iPhone lacked rather than looking at all of the revolutionary new features it introduced into the mainstream. Some reviews, believe it or not, even criticized the iPhone for boasting too many features. DON'T MISS:  5 ways the iPhone is still better than Android after all these years So with the iPhone celebrating its ninth birthday this week, below are a handful of original iPhone reviews and opinion pieces that got it way wrong. TechCrunch Surprised to see TechCrunch on the list? So are we, but Seth Porges' June 7, 2007 iPhone prediction piece was off-base in so many ways that one would almost be inclined to believe that he set out to make ill-advised predictions on purpose. In a piece titled, "We Predict the iPhone Will Bomb", Porges lays out a number of reasons why the iPhone was destined for failure. For starters, Porges anticipated a wave of cracked screens. The iPhone is thin — just 11.6mm — and nearly the entire front is made up of the much-heralded touchscreen. That means glass. And, as anybody who has ever tossed a Wiimote knows, glass breaks. So when Mr. Customer gets a shiny new iPhone and sticks it in his back pocket (after all, that’s where he’s kept EVERY phone since the StarTAC), don’t be surprised if he finds that glass screen can’t sustain all 200 pounds of him. Cracked screens will be to the iPhone what scratched backs were to the Nano. Porges also had reservations about the iPhone's virtual keyboard. That virtual keyboard will be about as useful for tapping out emails and text messages as a rotary phone. Don’t be surprised if a sizable contingent of iPhone buyers express some remorse at ditching their BlackBerry when they spend an extra hour each day pumping out emails on the road. And for the trifecta, Porges also anticipated that the original iPhone would be chock-full of bugs. Why? Because Apple opted to release it on a Friday. Until June 29, it’s hard to tell too much about the iPhone, but I can tell you with near-certainty one thing: the product was almost certainly rushed to market before Apple’s engineers would have liked. ... This, coupled with the fact that Apple has never, in recent memory, released a product on a Friday, should make everybody say “Hmmmm,” and suggests they took a calculated risk of releasing a product that might be a little buggy (probably about as bad as the first run of screen-flickering, case-cracking, motherboard-busted MacBooks), rather than suffer the embarrassment of not keeping their word. AdAge Just about a week before the first iPhone shipped, Al Ries of AdAge penned a piece boldly declaring that the iPhone was going to fail. Why? Because the tech world was ripe with examples of do-it-all devices that never gained traction in the marketplace. Prediction No. 1: The iPhone will be a major disappointment. The hype has been enormous. Apple says its iPhone is "literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone." A stock-market analyst says, "The iPhone has the potential to be even bigger than the iPod." I think not. An iPod is a divergence device; an iPhone is a convergence device. There's a big difference between the two. ... Prediction No. 2: The media will blame the execution, not the concept. Suppose the iPhone is a major disappointment. Will another convergence failure convince the high-tech industry of its folly? Highly unlikely. Once a concept like convergence grips the imagination, it seldom dies. David Platt  - June 21, 2007 blogpost This one is a gem. The forthcoming (June 29) release of the Apple iPhone is going to be a bigger marketing flop than Ishtar and Waterworld (dating myself again, aren't I) combined. And it’s not for reasons of price, or limited cell carrier options, or lack of corporate IT support, which are the mainstream media’s main caveats when they review it. Instead, the iPhone is going to fail because its design is fundamentally flawed. The designers and technophiles who encouraged development of the iPhone have fallen into the trap of all overreaching hardware and software designers; thinking that their users are like themselves. ... [The] iPhone crams too many functions into a single box. Putting everything in the same package so you only have to carry one box sounds like a good idea, until you want to listen to music while surfing the web or reading your email or playing a game. Then users will find it essentially impossible to use one function of the tiny box without disrupting the operation of another. A few dedicated technophiles might, just MIGHT, figure out how to do so, but it will require far more dedication than an ordinary user is willing to invest in learning and then remembering. This combination condemns the IPhone to a tiny niche at best. Third, users will detest the touch screen interface due to its lack of tactile feedback. Using a thumb keyboard, as on the very popular Treo phone, allows the user to feel the keys and know subconsciously that he’s about to press this one and not the one next to it. A touch screen doesn’t allow that, so the user will have to be looking at the keyboard at all times while using it. Bloomberg's Matthew Lynn The big competitors in the mobile-phone industry such as Nokia Oyj and Motorola Inc. won’t be whispering nervously into their clamshells over a new threat to their business….The iPhone is nothing more than a luxury bauble that will appeal to a few gadget freaks. In terms of its impact on the industry, the iPhone is less relevant. Steve Ballmer An all-time classic! "There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share," Ballmer said in the wake of the iPhone's unveiling. "No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eywi0h_Y5_U The Guardian This 2007 article from The Guardian provides yet another data point which proves that analysts and research companies often lack clarity and insight. Apple's much-anticipated iPhone, which goes on sale in the US today, will struggle to break into the mainstream because of a lack of a 3G connection and low demand for converged devices, according to research. International research conducted by media agency Universal McCann has concluded that Apple's goal of selling 10m iPhones by the end of 2008 is too ambitious. Apple's iPhone combines a phone, music and video player with web and email capabilities, but researchers found demand for these converged devices was lowest in affluent countries. John C. Dvorak Perhaps one of the worst tech opinion pieces ever? Dvorak not only expressed pessimism about the iPhone, but he advised Apple to pull the plug on it altogether. Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone…The problem here is that while Apple can play the fashion game as well as any company, there is no evidence that it can play it fast enough. These phones go in and out of style so fast that unless Apple has half a dozen variants in the pipeline, its phone, even if immediately successful, will be passé within 3 months. ... What Apple risks here is its reputation as a hot company that can do no wrong. If it’s smart it will call the iPhone a ‘reference design’ and pass it to some suckers to build with someone else’s marketing budget. Then it can wash its hands of any marketplace failures. Michael Eisenberg of Benchmark VC The cell phone world is a cutthroat margin business where margins decline overnight. ... I wonder if Apple will succeed in maintaining margins as Motorola and Nokia cut prices on all new phones. Brent Arends - The Street There is much to admire about the new iPhone. The hardware looks beautiful and the product is apparently smooth and easy to use. It's a terrific achievement for Steve Jobs and the Apple team. So give them their moment in the sun. But beyond all the iHype and iMania, let's get one thing clear. The iPhone isn't the future. It isn't a revolutionary mobile device ushering in a new era. At its heart, this fancy-looking new product is very old fashioned. The reason: It tries to keep Apple and AT&T in control instead of you. Todd Sullivan The company has had a string of hits since it introduced the iPod and its shareholders have benefited sending shares from $7 in 2003 to the $100 they sit at today. The introduction of the iPhone will be the first miscue for the company and send its shares, priced for perfection tumbling. "Why?" - you ask. ... There are several versions of Mp3 player phones out there and none of them are big sellers. The reason? The market does not want them together. I do not want to have to turn off my music to get a phone call. If I am driving my family in my car and we are listening to the iPod, having to turn off the music to answer my phone becomes a major hassle. The same holds true for any event where I play the iPod. Why would I pay $600 for this, or, buy an iPod in addition to this, in order to avoid the hassle? ... Being able to make a call simply by pointing a finger at a number is a feature touted for the phone. How is this any different or accurate from scrolling on my blackberry? This feature will lead to frustration, as users who do not point at exactly the number they want will keep initializing errant calls.

Memories are the cryptocurrency of our souls

Memories are the cryptocurrency of our soulsAfter what was thought to be a slow news week, Nilay, Dieter, and Paul bring in resident cybersecurity expert Russell Brandom to explain the cryptocurrency Ethereum and how there was a recent attack on the Decentralized Autonomous Organization which stole $53 million. Then, later on in the show a surprise guest pops in to give us breaking news on the Android.


A Brazilian judge has blocked $6 million in Facebook funds, says report

A Brazilian judge has blocked $6 million in Facebook funds, says reportA Brazilian judge has ordered a block on 19.5 million real (roughly $6 million) owned by Facebook, according to a new report by O Globo’s G1 news service. It’s the latest move in an ongoing legal fight with WhatsApp, which saw days-long telecom blackouts of the service in both May and December. According to the order, the 19.5 million real blocked by the judge constitute unpaid fines by WhatsApp.


Sony announces five new 4K TVs

Sony announces five new 4K TVsSony is preparing to add three new, cheaper models to its 4K TV lineup. The X700D, the X750D, and the X800D are the latest additions to Sony's XBR lineup, and the new sets will be available in five different configurations:XBR-49X700D, 49-inch, $999.99 MSRPXBR-55X700D, 55-inch, $1,499.99 MSRPXBR-65X750D, 65-inch, $2,299.99 MSRPXBR-43X800D, 43-inch, $1,299.99 MSRPXBR-49X800D, 49-inch, $1,499.99 MSRP


HP Spectre review: an ultra shiny, ultra portable MacBook competitor

HP Spectre review: an ultra shiny, ultra portable MacBook competitorIf you’re looking for a premium, ultraportable laptop, there aren’t many options to be found in the Windows world. In terms of premium design and ultraportable features, the Spectre is as good as you can get. It’s priced premium too: the Spectre starts at $1,169, and the unit I’ve been testing sells for $1,249.


Formula E season finale: how to watch and what to expect

Formula E season finale: how to watch and what to expectFormula E is about to wrap up its second season this weekend with a double-header finale in London that promises to be a thrill. Two drivers have been waging an excellent battle for the drivers’ title, and the team championship is also up for grabs. In Formula E’s debut season, the drivers’ championship was decided in the last laps of the final races in London.


Bat For Lashes and Blood Orange push the boundaries of musical storytelling

Bat For Lashes and Blood Orange push the boundaries of musical storytellingNatasha Khan and Devonté Hynes don’t have that kind of star power, but their new albums — as Bat for Lashes and Blood Orange, respectively — are proof you can tell an effective story about yourself without the strength of personality reserved for pop’s upper echelon. Khan’s always had a deft hand with characters, and her discography is littered with memorable single-name figures.


Court freezes Facebook’s funds in Brazil

SAO PAULO (AP) — A Brazilian news site says a federal court has ordered more than $6 million in Facebook funds frozen because its popular messaging service WhatsApp failed to turn over messages sought in a drug case.

Apple fires back at Spotify over music streaming claims

The Apple Inc. logo is shown outside the company's 2016 Worldwide Developers Conference in San FranciscoSAN FRANCISCO/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Apple Inc fought back on Friday against Spotify's claims that the U.S. tech giant had hampered competition in music streaming by rejecting an update to the Swedish service's iPhone app. The two companies have gone head to head in the battle for music streaming customers since Apple Music was launched in more than 100 countries last year. Apple's entry into the field sparked concerns from music streaming companies such as Spotify, which have argued that the 30 percent cut Apple takes of subscriptions in its App Store give its own service an unfair advantage.


New trailers: Sully, Stranger Things, Morgan, and more

New trailers: Sully, Stranger Things, Morgan, and more"The New Man in Charge" is a 12-minute epilogue that seems to have been included as a DVD feature, made up of what appears to be unused footage from season 6. "The New Man in Charge" is pure function, just 12 minutes of bluntly explaining Lost's mysteries for those who haven't been paying attention and questioned the series at its every turn. In fact, like all people at The Verge, I am a staunch defender of the Lost finale (jk most of them hate it).


Is the Intel Management Engine a backdoor?

Is the Intel Management Engine a backdoor?Is Intel's Management Engine a backdoor for security groups and hackers, or just a feature created to aid businesses? Jack Wallen dives in and draws his conclusions.


The Space Black iPhone 7 pictured here couldn’t possibly be any hotter

Apple is rumored to launch the iPhone 7 in a new color this year. After last year’s rose gold iPhone, we’re going to get either a blue or black new option this year, according to reports that are yet to be confirmed. Designers are having a field day with these rumors, creating all sorts of 3D renders of the blue or "Space Black" iPhone 7. Martin Hajek, one of our favorite artists when it comes to creating images of unreleased Apple devices based on the latest rumors, has his own take on a black iPhone 7. DON'T MISS:  5 ways the iPhone is still better than Android after all these years Hajek’s mockups show an iPhone 6s-like device that has all the features we expect in the new iPhone 7, including redesigned antenna lines and camera on the back of the handset, a capacitive home button, and no headphone jack. The black iPhone 7 looks absolutely gorgeous in these images, particularly when paired with a pair of black Lightning EarPods. And yes, a black iPhone 7 will go great with black Apple Watch bands as well. We’ll also note that the phone has a dark mode theme that Apple might enable at some point in a future iOS 10 beta release – and the Game of Thrones iMessage chat is a nice touch. While we wait for actual iPhone 7 photos, you can check some of Hajek's renders below, with the full set of images available at the source link.

How to use GIFs to take better fireworks photos

How to use GIFs to take better fireworks photosEach and every July — since perhaps the dawn of time — our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds are bombarded with low-lit and grainy photos of fireworks displays. The truth is even as smartphone cameras improve with each new device cycle, they're still not very capable when it comes to snapping a solid photo of anything in the dark at a distance. The "X-Pro II" or "Lo-Fi" filter will only do so much, and it's often that the only decent photos you'll see are saturated to death.


Facebook now lets users start fundraising pages for nonprofits

Facebook now lets users start fundraising pages for nonprofitsExpanding its focus on charitable giving, Facebook is now letting users start standalone Pages where they can raise money for charity. The new feature, launched yesterday, lets ordinary people collect donations for the US-based 501(c)3 nonprofit of their choice, set fundraising goals, and let their friends and followers know why they should give. "Fundraisers allow nonprofit supporters to set up a dedicated page to share their story, tell others about a nonprofit’s mission, and rally around a fundraising goal," reads the announcement post on the Nonprofits on Facebook page. Facebook launched Pages for nonprofits last fall, letting organizations like Mercy Corps and the World Wildlife Fund raise money directly from the News Feed.


Das Keyboard is crowdfunding a cloud-connected mechanical keyboard

Das Keyboard is crowdfunding a cloud-connected mechanical keyboardEverything’s internet-connected, so why not your keyboard? Das Keyboard launched a Kickstarter yesterday for its 5Q, which it hopes will be the first cloud-connected keyboard on the market. What exactly does a cloud-connected keyboard do?


This crazy graphic charts all of the scientific advancements behind the iPhone

This week marks the 9th anniversary of the iPhone, the game-changing device that quite literally changed the way hundreds of millions of people around the world live. So while we're busy praising the iPhone and the smartphone revolution that it helped usher in, we thought now was as good a time as any to talk about the myriad of technical and scientific advancements throughout history that helped make the iPhone a feasible product. DON'T MISS:  5 ways the iPhone is still better than Android after all these years To this point, Quartsoft has a fascinating and incredibly detailed infographic , which while too large to post in its entirety here, does an incredible job of highlighting the entire history of every piece of technology that makes the iPhone the marvel that it is, tracing developments from ancient times all the way to the present. Whether it be David Edward Hughes who in 1880 was responsible for the "first intentional transmission of a signal by means of electromagnetic waves" or Germany's Georg Ohm who came up with the concept of electric resistance in 1827, the infographic provides a fascinating history lesson which cleverly showcases how technological innovations were slowly but surely built on groundbreaking scientific advancements throughout history. If you don't have the time or a big enough desktop monitor to quickly peruse through the infographic, not to worry. Quartsoft also has a text-based timeline on its homepage which chronologically lists all of the important scientific developments across the following categories: electricity, battery technology, Internet, computing, radio breakthroughs, telephone advancements, Wi-Fi, photography, LCD displays, video cameras, and touch screen technology. Make sure to hit the source for the full graphic.

BMW is working with Intel and Mobileye to make a self-driving car in five years

BMW is working with Intel and Mobileye to make a self-driving car in five yearsBMW announced this morning that it will "bring solutions for highly and fully automated driving into series production" by 2021, just five years from now. The plan is a partnership with Intel, which will supply processing power, and Mobileye, the Israeli supplier of driver assistance systems and sensors that supplies a large percentage of the auto industry. The announcements have all come as a part of BMW's 100th anniversary celebrations, which have seen the launch of three concept cars from BMW (and its brands Mini and Rolls-Royce) that prominently feature self-driving tech.


CNET UK podcast 488: Android Nougat, suing Apple for billions and angering Adele

CNET UK podcast 488: Android Nougat, suing Apple for billions and angering AdeleAndroid has a sweet new name, a Florida man has his eyes set on Apple and Andy questions what's inside a Mars bar.


Man who died in fatal crash with Model S on Autopilot was allegedly watching a movie

Telsa's much-lauded Autopilot feature on the Model S and Model X managed to log a combined 130 million miles without a single crash involving a fatality. That phenomenal streak came to an end last month, however, when Tesla acknowledged that the Autopilot feature was engaged on a Model S when it struck a tractor-trailer while traveling at high speeds. The driver of the Model S was killed in the horrific crash, and Telsa is now cooperating with an investigation being conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As impressive as Tesla's Autopilot feature is, drivers are always advised to keep their attention on the road even while autonomous features are enabled. But according the driver of the truck that was struck by the Model S, the driver was actually watching a movie while Autopilot was engaged. DON'T MISS:  5 ways the iPhone is still better than Android after all these years 62-year-old Frank Baressi was driving the tractor-trailer with which the Model S in question collided. The Model S was traveling down a highway with Autopilot engaged when Baressi's truck pulled across the roadway from a perpendicular street to make a turn in the opposite direction. Neither the Tesla driver nor Autopilot detected the truck, and the Model S drove underneath the trailer while colliding at windshield height. Here's a diagram of the incident that was created by Electrek : In an interview with The Associated Press , Baressi has made a curious but serious accusation. According to his claim, the driver of the Model S was watching a movie on the car's display when the accident occurred. Frank Baressi, 62, the driver of the truck and owner of Okemah Express LLC, said the Tesla driver was "playing Harry Potter on the TV screen" at the time of the crash and driving so quickly that "he went so fast through my trailer I didn't see him." "It was still playing when he died and snapped a telephone pole a quarter mile down the road," Baressi told The Associated Press in an interview from his home in Palm Harbor, Florida. He acknowledged he couldn't see the movie, only heard it. There is no mention of a movie playing on the Tesla's screen in the police report. Video playback is also disabled automatically when the car is in gear, so the car's owner would have had to modify the software in some way in order to have been watching a movie while driving. There are no reports at this point suggesting that was the case. The victim in the crash was former Navy SEAL Joshua D. Brown of Canton, Ohio. Brown was an avid Tesla enthusiast who had previously credited the Autopilot in his Model S with avoiding a collision with a truck.

BMW to develop driverless car technology with Intel, Mobileye

The logo of German manufacturer BMW is seen in ZurichBy Edward Taylor FRANKFURT (Reuters) - BMW is teaming up with Intel and Mobileye to develop new technology for the auto industry that could put self-driving cars on the road by around 2021. The alliance highlights a shift in the dynamics of research and development in the car industry, which until recently saw automakers largely dictating terms for suppliers to manufacture their proprietary technologies at specified volumes and prices. Now carmakers are increasingly striking up partnerships with technology firms using open technology standards, seeking to harness their expertise in areas including machine learning and mapping as they race against Silicon Valley companies such as Google , Tesla and Apple to develop driverless vehicles.


Our emoji etiquette guide schools you on lying, drooling, clown faces

Our emoji etiquette guide schools you on lying, drooling, clown facesWhen's the right time to send your friend a face with a long nose, or a severed arm taking a selfie? How about a clown face? The answers range from sometimes to never.


Dream Park

Dream ParkIts creators call it "hyper-reality": a virtual experience overlaid onto physical space, creating impossible places that visitors can touch as well as see. On July 1st, after months of running limited "beta testing," The Void is opening its first public attraction: a Ghostbusters-themed experience in New York City’s Times Square, located inside the Madame Tussauds wax museum. Ghostbusters: Dimension is short and linear, although there are supposedly hidden Easter eggs for visitors to find—it’s a walk-through three-person experience, not a vast virtual world.


NordVPN offers powerful mobile VPN service and app, but there’s Wi-Fi gotcha

NordVPN offers powerful mobile VPN service and app, but there's Wi-Fi gotchaUsing a VPN can secure your browsing and give you access to region-locked websites and video. NordVPN's mobile apps overhaul promises easy use, but there's a potential problem that users have noticed.


Faraday Future goes racing in FIA Formula E

Faraday Future goes racing in FIA Formula EStill waiting on that passenger car, though.


Brexit: FinTech firms fear for staff shortages and lost EU customers

Brexit: FinTech firms fear for staff shortages and lost EU customersLondon is an international hub for financial-technology firms. Some of these fast-growing start-ups are now weighing in on how the UK's vote to leave the EU will affect the industry.


Zenefits takes a hit to please investors

Zenefits takes a hit to please investorsAs part of a deal for a past funding round, the HR software company agreed to slash its valuation and give investors more ownership.


ING planning Europe-wide website as one-stop shop for customers

People stand near the logo of ING Group NV at a branch office in AmsterdamBy Maya Nikolaeva and Julien Ponthus PARIS (Reuters) - ING Group is working on a Europe-wide platform enabling customers to handle all their bank accounts, including money transfers, in one place, in response to upcoming rule changes and growing competition from non-bank rivals such as Apple . Regulatory changes are set to make the online banking world even more competitive. The EU revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) means member states will have until January 2018 to offer freedom for customers to make banking transfers between various bank accounts with the help of a third-party player.


Faraday Future is joining Formula E

Faraday Future is joining Formula EThe California-based electric car company announced the news today in London, where this weekend Formula E will wrap up its second season with a pair of races around Battersea Park. Faraday Future will be entering the series thanks to a technical partnership with Dragon Racing, one of the 10 existing Formula E teams. The company will also become a stakeholder in Dragon Racing, which is currently owned by Jay Penske (the son of motorsport legend Roger Penske), though the two sides declined to say how much Faraday will control.


Futuristic nap pods get upgraded with sleepy sounds, but do they work?

Futuristic nap pods get upgraded with sleepy sounds, but do they work?There, I entered the MetroNaps EnergyPod — pods that look like very comfy chairs you'd expect to see on a spaceship. The goal of the partnership between the two companies is to make the MetroNaps napping experience even better, by bringing in Pzizz’s "proven solution" to inducing sleep, says MetroNaps CEO Christopher Lindholst. The psychoacoustic techniques Pzizz uses are supposed to induce sleep.


Google confirms Android Nougat’s version number in new statue video

The month of June ended with a massive revelation from Google  — Android N’s final name was unveiled. And I can’t blame if you if you’re disappointed with "Nougat," which is probably one of the first things that come to mind when having to choose a dessert name for Android N. There’s nothing wrong with Android Nougat as a name for this year’s major Android update, and we shouldn’t really care what Android N ended up being called. But Google set us up for what appeared to be something far more interesting. For the first time in Android history, Google allowed fans to vote on the Android N and even made us believe the OS update might get a cool name like Nutella . That would have been a major hit for Google — globally, Nutella might be an even better-known brand than KitKat. DON’T MISS: This is the iPhone 7 leak we’ve been waiting for That said, Google still hasn't revealed many details about Android N other than its name. The final version of the operating system is expected this summer, but Google didn’t offer any hints regarding a potential roll out date. In fact, Google didn’t even say what version number Android Nougat is. Many suspected Android N will be Android 7.0... and it turns out that’s indeed the case. But you have to see Google’s Nougat statue video below to get that confirmation. Well, it’s actually in the video’s description so you don't have to watch it at all: “On June 30th, 2016 we unwrapped our latest treat, Android 7.0 Nougat.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xn9iq3lG_w We expect Android 7.0 to be rolled out at some point this summer, likely alongside new Nexus hardware. As for the Nougat name, we have plenty of time to get used to it.

Amazon picks up exclusive rights to stream PBS Kids shows

Amazon picks up exclusive rights to stream PBS Kids showsDaniel Tiger and other educational pals will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.


Why Apple buying Tidal makes sense

Why Apple buying Tidal makes senseApple is apparently in exploratory talks to acquire Jay Z's streaming service Tidal, for an undisclosed amount, according to The Wall Street Journal. If Apple does manage to keep all the Tidal artists, it's feasible that Apple could catch up with Spotify's 30 million paid users in the next year or so (the acquisition of Tidal alone would push it to nearly 20 million paid subscribers), but that 100 million number looms large, and Apple will have to make some changes to reach that target.


Why AI’s massive disruptions may be just what you’re looking for

Why AI's massive disruptions may be just what you're looking forArtificial intelligence is becoming a serious part of our lives. Get ready for machines that know you -- really, really know you.


Well Designed: July’s Most Stylish New Gear

Well Designed: July's Most Stylish New GearFrom a gas grill to an all-terrain party cooler, here's the gear we can't wait to get our hands on this July.


This ‘ambiguous cylinders’ illusion is blowing my tiny mind

This 'ambiguous cylinders’ illusion is blowing my tiny mindJust a bunch of cylinders which are also rectangular prisms when you look at them in the mirror, but when you turn them round they become rectangular prisms which are cylinders in the mirror. This is, apparently, the 'ambiguous cylinders' illusion, the creation of Kokichi Sugihar, a professor of engineering at Meiji University in Japan. Like this illusion, the ambiguous cylinders rely on the viewer looking at a structure from a certain angle— in addition to some judiciously placed folds that look like curves when seen back to front.


Hillarymoji is an iPhone keyboard for pantsuit-starved millennials

Hillarymoji is an iPhone keyboard for pantsuit-starved millennialsAiming to reach younger voters, a software developer has released an iOS keyboard with emojis depicting the Democratic candidate.


Germany boosts funds for faster internet to 4 billion euros

Germany will make an additional 1.3 billion ($1.45 billion) euros in funding available to expand broadband internet access to poorly-connected regions, the Transport and Digital Infrastructure Ministry said on Friday. The government announced plans last October to spend 2.7 billion euros as part of a push to give all households in Germany access to internet speeds of at least 50 megabytes per second by 2018. Transport and Digital Infrastructure Minister Alexander Dobrindt said the extra funds would go to regions where network expansion is not commercially justified.

First Click: Are you like this weirdo who watches TV and films in fast forward?

First Click: Are you like this weirdo who watches TV and films in fast forward?A feeling that’s been festering for a week, ever since I read this Washington Post article titled “I have found a new way to watch TV, and it changes everything” by Jeff Guo, who, I presume, is the devil.


McDonald’s opens branch in Singapore with VR and Kinect-powered fun

McDonald's opens branch in Singapore with VR and Kinect-powered funThe new restaurant is also brimming with wireless (and wired) chargers for your phone.


Researchers in Texas are cloning cattle to make better tasting steaks

Think back to the best steak you've ever eaten. The texture was tender and buttery, juices seeped out with each slice, the marbling was ideal, and the flavor was life-changing. Now imagine that each and every steak you eat is just as incredible as that one perfect steak. It might sound far-fetched, but researchers in Texas have begun to use cloning to improve beef yield and quality from cattle ranches, and it could lead to a sea change for the beef industry. DON'T MISS:  5 ways the iPhone is still better than Android after all these years Dr. Ty Lawrence is the director of the University Meat Laboratory at West Texas A&M University, where he also teaches both undergraduate and post-graduate level courses that focus on the science of meat. Most people never stop to consider the science behind the food they consume, but it is often complex. And in West Texas, science and science fiction are converging to revolutionize cattle farming. In an interview this week with Texas Standard , Dr. Lawrence discussed the work he and his colleagues are doing with cloning. The team was researching ways to improve beef quality yield per steer, and realized that they could achieve both by using cloning technology in combination with breeding. The process begins when another one ends — the researchers start with the carcass of a desirable steer. “High-quality cattle, those that end up at white tablecloth restaurants, are typically very low-yielding," Lawrence said. "They often come with trim fat, that [is] fundamentally waste." Through the cloning process, he says the team is "looking to improve taste fat without the waste fat, so to speak.” Dr. Lawrence continued, "We’ve used cloning to recapture that carcass into a live animal, and then we’ve crossbred those live animals to get those calves, to see if we’re successful or not, thus far." An evaluation of the first seven steer to result from the team's procedure has shown promising results. Compared to natural steer of the same weight, Lawrence's cloned cattle are worth an average of $140 more per animal. The professor was also quick to clarify that the beef resulting from this process would not be cloned beef, so to speak. "The meat that would arrive at a grocery store is not cloned," Lawrence said. "The genetic original from that animal may have been cloned, but that’s the case already." Texas Standard's interview with Dr. Lawrence is embedded below.

China’s JD.com says Brexit could boost imports of British goods

A sign of China's e-commerce company JD.com is seen at CES Asia 2016 in ShanghaiChinese online retailer JD.com said on Friday that Britain leaving the European Union could make British goods cheaper to buy but it was premature to say if the move would significantly impact the group's business. The pound has dropped almost 8 percent against the dollar since last Friday, the steepest daily decline in the post-1973 floating-exchange-rate era, after Britain's Brexit vote stunned global markets. It is however too early to say if there will be a significant impact on business," Tony Qiu, head of JD Worldwide, told a news conference in Paris.


‘Crowd Control,’ part 22: Spies in heaven

'Crowd Control,' part 22: Spies in heavenIn the finale of CNET's historic crowdsourced sci-fi novel, the war on Earth is over, but the story of the multiverse may just be getting started.


Take a seat at the White Shark Cafe

Take a seat at the White Shark CafeThe Monterey Bay Aquarium is planning to attach a video camera to a shark's fin to watch it feed in the Pacific.


Do-it-yourself sperm-counting centrifuge gets FDA approval

Do-it-yourself sperm-counting centrifuge gets FDA approvalIt's not just women who are monitoring their reproductive systems using internet-connected gadgets — now men can get in on the fun too! Say hello to Trak, a portable centrifuge that offers an easy way to test sperm count at home. The company behind Trak, Sandstone Diagnostics, unveiled the product years ago, but last month announced FDA approval, with Trak now set to go on sale in October this year for $159.99. Users just fill a disposable propellor-shaped cartridge with their semen, and place it in the centrifuge.


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