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Contextual App Folder: The coolest Android app you're not using

6 hours 35 min ago

Android users looking for a contextual folder that will automatically alter its contents based on configured triggers should check out Contextual App Folder.

This jet engine ceiling fan and coffee table are way too cool for your living room

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 23:04
If that plain old wood-and-whatever ceiling fan in your living room isn't quite generating enough airflow for your liking, perhaps you'd consider a jet engine instead. Well, maybe not an actual jet engine, but at least a fan built using jet engine parts , like this one by Phighter Images , which sells all kinds of aviation parts that have been repurposed for the home. Sourced from a Pratt & Whitney JT8 engine, this ridiculously cool ceiling fan measures and impressive 39 inches in diameter, and is controlled via remote. It's a bit smaller than the nearly 50-inch diameter of an actual JT8D fan, but it's probably a better fit for most rooms at its somewhat shrunken size anyway. Phighter Images even sells a second version, based on the General Electric GE9X engine, with a different blade style, if you're after an extremely specific look. Oh, and they'll even sell you an engine cowl ring to go along with it, so you can complete the "there's an engine sticking out of my ceiling" look you're undoubtedly after. Not a fan of fans? That's okay, you can still put a jet engine in your den with a totally badass coffee table, complete with mood lighting around the base. Apparently Phighter Images has been building these kinds of things for some time now. Owner Kurt Eldrup and his father, a retired Brigadier General, have serious passion for planes. "Items have a story to tell or an event that has to do with that aircraft, that’s what so great about it," the company's about page reads. "The fun part is finding the parts and then building and using the item along with the history that comes with it." It's also pretty darn cool.

Boosted asks regulators to help handle its smoking electric skateboard problem

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 22:10

Boosted has turned to federal regulators to help handle the investigation into two battery failures on its electric skateboards last month. Boosted also told customers who had already received the board to stop riding until a fix was found. As part of our investigation into the short-circuit of the battery electronics, we have reported the issue to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Russia actively tried to help Donald Trump win the election, CIA report says

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 22:07

A secret assessment conducted by the CIA determined that Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was intended to help put Donald Trump in office, The Washington Post reported this evening, using anonymous sources. The U.S. Intelligence Community — which is made up of 16 different government agencies — had already concluded that the Russian government was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Convention, as well as the email hack of Clinton campaign chief John Podesta.

HBO is teaming up with J.J. Abrams again for a new space drama

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 22:02
Following the outsized success of Westworld , HBO is planning to work with J.J. Abrams and his studio Bad Robot Productions once again for a space drama called Glare . According to The Hollywood Reporter , Glare is billed as "an hourlong drama exploring the colonization of another planet." Javier Gullón ( Enemy ) will write the script and serve as executive producer alongside Abrams and Bad Robot's TV head Ben Stephenson. No other details regarding the project have been released at this time. Although it will likely be months before we see or hear anything substantial about the project, it's certainly not a surprise that HBO would want to work with Abrams again after Westworld managed to become the Game of Thrones of the 2016 fall season . Abrams served as executive producer on that hour-long drama as well, and Bad Robot was one of production companies that brought it to life. Abrams is no stranger to space. Over the past decade, he has rebooted the Star Trek franchise for Paramount Pictures and the Star Wars franchise for Disney, both of which were critical and commercial hits. He won't have to same budget to work with on a television series, but if there's any network that can come close to bringing a movie-sized space epic to the small screen, it's HBO. With Game of Thrones coming to an end in 2018 and Westworld  firmly planted in the fall, HBO needs another spring/summer blockbuster to hang its hat on. Glare might be what the network was searching for.

This is the iPhone VR headset you’ve been waiting for

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 21:01
Virtual reality on smartphones is still in its infancy, with Google Cardboard and Samsung's Gear VR being the most popular options for those wanting to dabble in VR without going all-in with an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. That doesn't leave a ton of options for iPhone owners, but Occipital's Bridge headset might have the power to make Apple's smartphone a VR heavyweight. What makes Bridge different from the Gear VR and Cardboard, aside from the fact that it's made exclusively for iPhone, is that it's not just a plastic housing that sits on your face. The additional hardware that makes up the Bridge, including the positional "Structure Sensor" and wide angle lens adapter for the iPhone camera, works together with the phone to not only detect your head movements, but also your location as it relates to the world around you. The sensor, which is mounted on the brow of the headset, uses infrared scanning to gauge your distance from objects in your immediately vicinity. That means you can walk around an open space and have those movements duplicated in the virtual world, just like you'd experience with a full-room VR setup like the HTC Vive. Also like the Vive, the headset can warn of before you run into objects in the real world, and generates a wireframe model of what it's seeing so you don't smack a wall or trip over a coffee table. However, unlike the Vive and Rift, it can do all this without the need for additional sensors mounted around the room, or thick wires running from the headset to a computer. It's all pretty impressive looking, and thanks to the onboard camera of the iPhone, augmented reality and mixed reality experiences are also totally within the Bridge's capabilities. Of course, the success of any platform hinges on the content, and for that the headset needs to find its way into the hands of talented developers. Occipital is currently rolling out both its "Explorer Edition" bundle to get developers on board for $499, and the standalone headset and single Bluetooth controller for $399.

DirecTV Now is suffering an outage in its second week of availability

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 20:37

It appears that DirecTV Now, AT&T’s new internet TV streaming service, is down for many customers, all of whom are furiously tweeting at the service’s various Twitter handles this evening. Now, it’s pretty standard for online services to go down from time to time, but this is only DirecTV Now’s second week of availability. AT&T began offering the service, which lets you watch network and cable television on a wide variety of streaming devices and screens, on November 30th.

Your passwords still suck, according to people who are smarter than you

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 20:00
You probably think your clever little "P455W()rD" password is the highest degree of online security in the land, but a new study by the bright minds at Germany's Hasso-Plattner Institute says otherwise. In fact, your passwords are pretty much useless, because you keep reusing them. What is the matter with you? After studying 1 billion user accounts — yes, that's billion with a "b" — from over 30 different leaks and breaches, researchers discovered that 27% of user passwords were nearly identical to those used by the same email address for a different account or service. In fact, 20% were exactly the same from one account to the next. The obvious issue here is that by reusing an account password, anyone with that information can simply use your email address and bad password habit to take a peek inside all of your other accounts, too. Hackers who target smaller services, like a local company, might get your password and then use it elsewhere, like your PayPal account. Beyond duplicate passwords, the study found that the passwords themselves are just utter crap right from the start. According to the data, here are the five most common user passwords across all services: 123456 123456789 111111 qwerty 12345678 Are you serious right now? If there were a GIF that depicted a disheveled dog pooping on an account login screen, I'd use it right now. In short, if you're using strings of numbers or even whole words as your password — and especially if you're duplicating or nearly duplicating them between services — you need to spend a Saturday completely revamping your account security, or you're just making yourself an easier target.

Watch Stephen Colbert rip into ‘Pizzagate’ and fake news

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 19:20
If you’re still not convinced that the #Pizzagate conspiracy is just fake news, after all that happened over the last few days, then Stephen Colbert will set things straight for you. Heck, he’ll even explain the difference between fake news and real news, and what makes a conspiracy… well, a conspiracy. Pizzagate isn’t real. It’s not a sex trafficking ring somehow working for Hillary Clinton. And the 28-year dude that walked in a pizzeria with a gun proved that. But there might still be some believers out there. In case you know anyone, just point them to this Colbert segment. Colbert pulled on punches on this one, calling out all “subreddit sub-geniuses” who still believe Pizzagate is a thing in a 10-minute monologue you have to see. From the get-go, the host makes it clear that The Late Show with Stephen Colbert isn’t a place for news. It’s entertainment. Colbert also explains where you can get your straight news from, and what sources to avoid so that you never run into Pizzagates again. Colbert also explains how things can quickly escalate online, as people often fail to understand how things work, or what they read . I know what you Pizzagate believers out there must be thinking: Is Colbert in on it?

U.S. trade judge rules Arista infringes more Cisco network patents

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 19:10

By Andrew Chung NEW YORK (Reuters) - Arista Networks Inc used rival Cisco Systems Inc's network device technology in its ethernet switches without permission, a U.S. trade judge ruled on Friday, handing Cisco yet another win in a sprawling legal battle over patents between the two companies. The judge, MaryJoan McNamara of the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, said that Arista had infringed two patents owned by Cisco. The ruling, which must be reviewed by the full commission over the next few months, could lead to an order banning the import of Arista's products into the United States.

Sources: Cuba, Google strike deal to hike internet speed

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 18:43
HAVANA (AP) — Google and the Cuban government have struck a deal giving Cubans faster access to the internet giant's content, two people familiar with the deal say.

Niantic is trying to fix the dreadful new Nearby tracker in Pokemon Go

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 18:40
Ever since Niantic scrapped the original Nearby tracker, Pokemon Go players have been begging for the company to bring it back. There's no question that it had its flaws, but the Sightings system that replaced it was useless, and the new tracker only detects Pokemon within a certain range of nearby PokeStops. Although the latest tracker (which only recently rolled out beyond the San Francisco Bay Area) is better than nothing, it's a huge slap in the face for rural players who don't have any PokeStops in their area. Thankfully, on Friday, Niantic pushed out an update that should make everyone happy . Today, Niantic expanded the latest Nearby feature to "most regions of the world" where Pokemon Go is available with one very important change: Sightings have returned. If there aren't enough PokeStops in your location to fill out the Nearby tab, Sightings will be displayed alongside them (or in place of them altogether if there aren't any PokeStops around). Most players would simply prefer that Niantic bring back the footprints from the first version of the app, but that clearly isn't on the table. This is a reasonable compromise that will give rural players the ability to see nearby Pokemon once again and shouldn't have a negative effect on suburban or urban players. That said, urban players might suffer from a case of FOMO, as Sightings don't appear when PokeStops are plentiful. I live in New York City, which means I'm never more than a few blocks from a dozen or so PokeStops. That means that I will never see Sightings unless I pack my bags and leave the city. Nevertheless, Niantic specifically refers to this as a "test," so we'll likely see a few more renditions of the Nearby feature before the company settles on a design that makes more players happy than it does mad.

A ridiculous plan to produce unlimited clean energy actually seems to be working

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 18:25
Humans need energy because that's the only thing that powers our smartphones, and without them we'd have to actually talk to our relatives at family gatherings, so it's a pretty big deal that we have an energy plan for the future. The sun is a great source of energy, but it's just too far away. So, scientists have been working on a way to create an energy source like the sun, but here on the surface of our planet. Somehow, it's actually working. The idea isn't simple, but I can pretend like it is by describing it in a few short sentences, like this: Instead of nuclear fission, which is essentially the splitting of atoms to produce energy while also creating nuclear waste, scientists want to use nuclear fusion. Fusion, which is the joining of atoms, produces heaps of energy, but without radioactive byproducts. A device called the Wendelstein 7-X, or W7-X for short, has made this possible. In a fusion reactor, hydrogen must be superheated into plasma, but that's a real problem because, as plasma, the substance is so ridiculously hot that it will burn straight through pretty much anything it touches. The W7-X, a stellarator is used to suspend this hot hydrogen in a vacuum using magnetic fields produced with supercooled coils. If the plasma doesn't touch anything, it can't burn it, and the system works. In a paper recently published in Nature Communications , the team behind the W7-X along with several other scientists confirmed that things are moving along smoothly, and that the magnetic field system works as intended. That's big news, not just for the group, but for humanity as a whole. What's particularly neat about the entire project is that the only fuel that is need is seawater, which can be used as a source of hydrogen. With no radioactive waste on the backend, a fusion reactor has the potential to provide the world's with virtually unlimited clean energy. Maybe 2017 will be okay after all.

Netflix’s ‘Mythbusters’ spinoff is available to stream right now

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 17:47
Nerds the world over were left weeping when Discovery's long-running  Mythbusters  franchise ended earlier this year. But as it's now accustomed to doing, Netflix has stepped into the void with a similar, less safe-for-work version of the science show. White Rabbit Project  is legally the closest thing to  Mythbusters  that Netflix could pull off. The format of the show is nearly identical: there's myths and rumors that the team put to the test. The only real difference is the cast, as Jamie and Adam aren't returning. Instead, we get the  Mythbusters  build team of Tori, Grant and Kari goofing around once again. All ten 45-minute episodes are available to stream (and download offline!) on Netflix right now. As a longtime  Mythbusters  fan, I'm seeing a lot to love here already. The on-screen chemistry is still there, but with Netflix's budget and lack of control, things are a little more wild, it would seem. One other big benefit over Discovery: no ad breaks, which means we aren't subjected to the endless "what you missed earlier" segments. In the first episode, they tackle some crazy myths about World War II weaponry, which is as good as it sounds. Other things I'm looking forward to seeing later this evening include testing ingenious heists, traffic lights, and the hoverboard.

Google is replacing Flash in Chrome once and for all

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 17:37

Google told us in May that it would eventually block Adobe Flash Player content on Chrome. Google is slowly rolling HTML5 out to users over the next couple of months, starting with one percent of users on the current version of Chrome. Everyone should have an updated Chrome by February, when the most recent beta version goes stable.

There’s an easy way to make your iPhone photos look so much better

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 16:49
Apple made a big deal out of the new cameras on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and for good reason. They're some of the best cameras ever put on a phone, as you'd expect, and in the right hands (with the right lighting!) they produce DSLR-level results. But along with the new camera hardware, Apple also made a bunch of changes to the software in iOS 10, and you don't need a brand-new iPhone to make use of the best change. Most photographers are evangelical about shooting in a RAW format. In case you're unfamiliar with the details of image compression, here's a primer: JPG and PNG, the most common image formats on the web, are compressed formats. Rather than taking the data from your camera sensor and turning it straight into 1s and 0s, it goes through an algorithm first that takes out details that your eye won't see. For the most part, it's a fantastic invention. Image compression shrinks digital image files down to a workable size. But it also kills data from the photograph that might be useful later, if you want to edit your images. That's where RAW comes in. RAW formats are exactly what they sound like -- the direct, unedited data from your camera's sensor. The files sizes are much larger: depending on the image, anything from 7-15MP on an iPhone. But the tradeoff is much better image quality if you want to tweak your photo later on. Petapixel has a good demonstration of the extreme differences. In iOS 10, Apple added the ability to shoot RAW photos. It's not enabled natively in the camera app, but with a third-party app, you're good to go. You'll need an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, 6S or 6S Plus, or SE. (Technically, the 9.7-inch iPad Pro is capable, but I want to discourage tablet photography where possible.) The best third-party app for handling RAW images right now is Adobe Lightroom. Adobe has long been the biggest name in photo editing, and the Lightroom app for iOS does a great job as a basic camera app with a ton of editing capabilities afterwards. If you have a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, it also allows for easy syncing to the desktop version of Lightroom, where you can edit those RAW files to your heart's content. If you don't want to subscribe to Adobe, ProCamera is a good option to shoot and edit RAWs right on your iPhone. For $7, it's a small investment to make if you want to take phone photography seriously.

The best books to give Apple fans in 2016

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 16:17

Looking for a thoughtful gift for an Apple professional in your life? Look no further than one of this season's recommended Apple-related books.

Spotify wants to bring on-demand features to its free mobile users

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 16:15

Spotify is testing a new feature called Jump In that would let its free mobile users get on-demand features in certain playlist, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation. Spotify would roll back its shuffle-only mandate on the free tier — at least partially — allowing mobile users to choose what song they want to listen to in select playlists.

Spectral review: Netflix’s new movie is Gears of War meets Aliens, on the cheap

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 16:10

Back in June 2016, the news broke that distribution company Universal Pictures had pulled Spectral, a science-fiction thriller with a strong video-game flavor, from its fall release roster. There are a lot of possible factors, some weedier than others, including a 2016 film slate glutted with science fiction and fantasy, and the newness of Legendary’s relationship with Universal, given that the former had just left its longtime distribution deal with Warner Bros. Spectral, which Netflix picked up in November and rushed to its streaming platform on December 9th, is a mishmash of familiar film tropes, with bits and pieces from Black Hawk Down, Edge of Tomorrow, and especially Aliens.

California gives Nvidia the go-ahead to test self-driving cars on public roads

Fri, 12/09/2016 - 15:56

Nvidia has been granted a permit by the California Department of Motor Vehicles to start testing self-driving vehicle technology on the state’s public roads. The company joins a growing list of autonomous vehicle testers in California that features the likes of Google, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Ford, and GM, as well as startups like Faraday Future and NextEV. While Nvidia is best known for its graphics cards, the company has spent the last few years steadily pushing into artificial intelligence, with an emphasis on autonomous driving.