Tag Archives: Gadget News

Watch the first public Macintosh demo in newly released video

Jobs introduces the Macintosh to the public for the first time.

Video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET)

We all know that Steve Jobs unveiled the Macintosh at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting on January 24, 1984, but he also gave an encore performance of sorts a few days later for a meeting of the Boston Computer Society.

The video of that January 30, 1984, meeting can be seen below. It was released for the first time Saturday since it was shot that day and ran over at Time.com with lots of the great context surrounding that meeting. While the scripted presentation is much the same as the original unveiling six days earlier, the video quality is significantly better at the Boston event, and Jobs seems more polished.

It’s also interesting to watch the question-and-answer session after Jobs’ pitch since the audience is filled with actual users and probably some of the era’s top nerds querying the Macintosh team on everything from the system hardware to the justification of text in MacWrite. There’s a great moment toward the end when host Jonathan Rotenberg announces that a future meeting will feature a speaker from IBM, the company that Jobs had just finished bashing. Audible laughs and boos can be heard from the audience.

The 90-minute video ends with Steve Wozniak and members of the Macintosh team heading into the audience to answer some questions one-on-one, something that seems pretty inconceivable to imagine Apple executives doing today.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/JTfM-LGcEQQ/

Palantir iOS app listens to you play video games, offers tips on the second screen

Apps like Shazam and Zeebox can listen to songs and TV shows and identify what’s playing or what you’re watching, but until now the tech hasn’t been used much for gaming. A companion application for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor could change that. The Palantir iOS app (named after the networked seeing stones from Lord of the Rings canon) uses the aforementioned audio-sync technology to deliver exclusive content and contextual info (like walkthroughs) by listening in while you play the game. That content is curated from Wikia, which hosts vast reserves of lore, guides and minutia for games and pop culture. Shadow of Mordor doesn’t have a release date just yet, but the Palantir app also works on trailers. If you want to give it a go for yourself, we’ve embedded the debut gameplay video after the jump.



Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/01/25/shadow-of-mordor-palantir-app/?ncid=rss_truncated

Stephen Hawking declares: ‘There are no black holes’

Hope? Or not so much?

BBCWorldNewsWatch/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

Wait, so my life may not have disappeared down a black hole after all?

There is a chance for it to emerge and bloom like the career of David Hasselhoff?

It’s charming when a phrase enters the language and we think we all know what it means. In the case of “black hole,” we think of an infinity of black nothingness that swallows everything that slips into it.

But now, in a new paper called “Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holes,” Stephen Hawking has cast the cat among the black, holey pigeons and caused a scattering of incomprehension.

His precise words were: “The absence of event horizons mean that there are no black holes — in the sense of regimes from which light can’t escape to infinity.”

It seems clear. There are no forever and ever holes of blackness. There is always the chance that light might emerge.

Hawking continued, however: “There are however apparent horizons which persist for a period of time. This suggests that black holes should be redefined as metastable bound states of the gravitational field.”

So there are black holes. It’s just that we should redefine them a touch. So what’s this apparent horizon?

Well, it’s “a surface along which light rays attempting to rush away from the black hole’s core will be suspended.”

But if they’re suspended, they will never emerge, stuck in solitary confinement like the Man in the Iron Mask. The result is surely still the same. Once something disappears into a black hole, it’s done for.

At times of existential stress like these, I turn to Nature magazine for help. It suggests that, at least in theory (and, let’s face it, this is all theory), black holes might at some point disappear.

However, the magazine offers a dispiriting set of words from Don Page, a physicist from the University of Alberta in Canada. It might be possible that particles could emerge from black holes, he said.

Oh, cry of joy.

However, if particles did “it would be worse than trying to reconstruct a book that you burned from its ashes.”

Ah, now that’s a feeling I’m familiar with.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/PFDQtuDZ-x8/

Recommended Reading: The Internet of (insecure) Things and the fight for wearable disruption

Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology in print and on the web. Some weeks, you’ll also find short reviews of books dealing with the subject of technology that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

The Internet of Things Is Wildly Insecure – And Often Unpatchable
(1,218 words)
by Bruce Schneier, Wired


The race for the connected home has been on for sometime now, and with each passing month, it seems a new arsenal of gadgets pops up. Recently, issues surrounding the security of those internet-enabled devices have come to light — including the ability to hack those units to shoot out a crop of spam emails. As Bruce Schneier writes, locking down that new washer or smart fridge is a lot easier said than done thanks to the lack of patching options for the exploited vulnerabilities. As you might expect, Schneier begins to lay out a worst-case scenario that he says is inevitable unless we force “embedded system vendors to design their systems better.”

Why Wearable Devices Will Never Be As Disruptive As Smartphones
(1,082 words)
by Kevin McCullagh, Fast Company

Each time we get cozy with a new wearable device, we’re reminded of the uphill climb that these gadgets face before they’ll become mainstream tech. Here, four key roadblocks are discussed that face that particular sector — including the fact that those interested in the self-quantified movement don’t accurately represent the mindset of the masses.


Is This Thing On?
(5,662 words)
by Stan Alcorn, Digg

Ever wonder why crappy smartphone videos blow up on the internet, but a really insightful podcast goes overlooked? Well, on the whole, those broadcasts are difficult to find and most folks still aren’t familiar with the term. Stan Alcorn dives into the plight of sharing audio and how places like SoundCloud are lending a hand to make sharing files of the listening sort a bit easier.


The iPod of Prison
(1,327 words)
by Joshua Hunt, The New Yorker

Believe it or not, MP3 players have yet to completely replace analog radios for inmates. In this article for The New Yorker, Joshua Hunt profiles the Sony SRF-39FP pocket radio: the “gold standard” for older listening devices that runs about 40 hours on a single AA battery. There’s quite the backstory here, including the fact that the SRF-39FP was one of the first radios to use the then revolutionary CXA1129N integrated-circuit chip.


How the NSA Almost Killed the Internet
(7,273 words)
by Steven Levy, Wired

Wired’s Steven Levy takes an in-depth look at the battle that Google, Facebook and other major tech outfits faced from the US government during 2013. The quest to prevent disasters dove headlong into company data over the last year, and as Levy puts it, “even if it turns the US into the number one adversary of American tech companies and their privacy-seeking customers.”




Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/01/25/recommended-reading-the-internet-of-insecure-things/?ncid=rss_truncated

Google ad patent would offer e-shoppers a free taxi to stores

Hey, who knows? They might even send a self-driving car for you.


At Google they try to think of everything.

The principle behind this is that if they think of everything, there’s a chance they can then own everything and make money out of everything.

The latest attempt is a patent for an ad service that would offer a free taxi to take you to the door of the retailer whose fine wares you’ve just seen advertised online.

I am grateful to TechCrunch for noticing this patent. It has the moving title of “Transportation-aware physical advertising conversions.”

Naturally, it’s all about convenience and profit.

The patent abstract declares: “The invention involves automatically comparing the cost of transportation and the potential profit from a completed transaction using a number of real-time calculations.”

There are very few companies that enjoy real-time calculations as much as Google. And you can grasp the logic here. If someone’s searching for
cars to buy, then serving an ad that offers them a taxi to speed them to the point of purchase is a very cost-effective notion.

If they’re searching, however, for dental floss, then it might not be worth the advertiser’s time and money to offer them a ride in a Prius.

Google describes like so the depth of calculation involved:

The calculation may consider various factors including a consumer’s current location, the consumer’s most likely route and form of transportation (such as train, personal car, taxi, rental car, or shared vehicle), the consumer’s daily agenda, the price competing advertisers are willing to pay for the customer to be delivered to alternate locations, and other costs. In this regard, the customer’s obstacles to entering a business location are reduced while routing and cost calculations are automatically handled based on the demand for the advertiser’s goods and potential profit margins.

Some might imagine that the inducement of a free ride won’t move many. They’ll suggest that the real value of that ride will be insignificant when compared with the potential spend on the purchase.

But retailers have to try many things to get people into physical stores these days. Look how Abercrombie and Fitch uses fetching young bodies to fetch people into their establishments.

Human beings are maddeningly irrational sorts. They can be seduced by 10 percent off very little in order to buy things they never needed in the first place.

They can be persuaded by coupons, direct mail, and even pretty faces to part with their money.

It’s not the real bargain that matters so much. It’s the feeling that you got a bargain.

So the notion that the advertiser will respect your business so much that he’ll even send a car to pick you up isn’t entirely daft.

We’re the daft ones for being tempted.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/YIG_FEM5uf8/

Easter egg-filled panorama of Seattle is Microsoft’s latest Photosynth art project

After all the panoramas, street views and 3D flights of fancy through cityscapes, how can Microsoft make the next one different? Apparently, by teaming up with over 100 of Seattle’s local artists and performers to cram this 360-degree panorama full of imaginative easter eggs (like the airship seen above). Dubbed the Gigapixel ArtZoom, Microsoft unveiled it tonight at the Seattle Art Museum but like other Photosynth projects, anyone with a browser can dive in right now. 2,368 twenty-two-megapixel images were shot from the Bay View condominium building and stitched together with Microsoft’s Image Composite Editor software — it’s the same system behind Windows 8.1’s panorama feature and Bing Maps. Click and zoom through the resulting image on a Where’s Waldo-style search for the performers (inserted via separate photoshoots after the original shoot and highlighted with additional info) on its dedicated website here, or check after the break for a behind the scenes look at how it was made.



Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/01/24/microsoft-gigapixel-artzoom-seattle-panorama/?ncid=rss_truncated