Tag Archives: Gadget Reviews

Sorry, you can’t plant enough trees to offset fossil fuels

This doesn’t mean humanity is doomed, provided the predictive model is reasonably accurate in the first place. However, it does reinforce the idea that lowering emissions involves more than a single solution like planting greenery. Any real answer to human-made climate change is going to involve a complex set of answers.

For the researchers, this involves both reducing fossil fuel consumption and implementing multiple techniques for removing CO2. You could make more efficient use of available land by eliminating food waste, as an example. Reforestation is still wise, to be clear, but it’s just one piece in a larger puzzle that can include everything from smarter farming to solar power.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/21/planting-trees-not-enough-to-offset-co2-emissions/

Ben Heck’s Super Glue Gun: Time for some reverse engineering

When Ben created the Great Glue Gun it was given away as a prize. Thankfully, the winner still watches the show and sent it in to the team so that it could be reverse engineered. Ben discovers the original design has a mix of pros and cons, like the fact that it keeps trying to push out glue, even when there isn’t any. That means it’s time to tinker with 3D printer extruder gears and take a lot of mechanical (as opposed to electronic) designs into account. Let us know what you think, and follow along over on the element14 Community!

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/21/ben-heck-s-super-glue-gun-time-for-some-reverse-engineering/

Microsoft’s true holographic display fits in your glasses

The tech giant has also tackled some problems with generating those holograms. Its team took advantage of eye-tracked rendering (that is, providing the most visual detail where you’re looking) and GPU-boosted algorithms to generate high-detail holograms in real time, complete with realistic focus and vision correction. You wouldn’t necessarily need a set of corrective eyewear to compensate for astigmatism or other eyesight issues.

Microsoft is quick to point out that this doesn’t necessarily hint at its hardware plans. It’s just as well — the tech still faces some serious limitations. Besides the necessity of external electronics, the glasses only produce a monoscopic picture. A stereoscopic image is another challenge altogether. If everything comes together, though, you could have a real holographic display that’s comfortable to wear all day long. Whether you’re a doctor, designer or gamer, you could plunge yourself into augmented reality without a bulky headset weighing you down.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/20/microsoft-holographic-display-in-glasses/

The UK’s new vaping laws explained

From today, vaping gear sold in the UK must adhere to a new set of specific guidelines. That’s because last year, the EU updated its regulations covering tobacco products to include e-cigarettes and e-liquids for the first time. When these first came into effect, almost all types of e-cig advertisements were immediately banned, given they effectively promote the consumption of nicotine, an addictive substance. And now, exactly one year later, the rules that actually impact what vaping products are legally eligible for sale have come into force.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/20/uk-eu-new-vaping-laws-explained/

Uber responds to claims it charges what ‘you’re willing to pay’

Accusations that upfront pricing benefits Uber rather than drivers are nothing new. Blogger Christian Perea at The Rideshare Guy complained that Uber was secretly overcharging passengers and not paying drivers, and there was a lawsuit filed alleging the same thing this past April.

According to Bloomberg, Uber’s head of product Daniel Graf has said that upfront pricing uses machine-learning to figure out how much riders are willing to pay for a given ride and then charges them accordingly, a feature he called “route based pricing.” Bloomberg interpreted this to mean that riders traveling routes in wealthier areas would be charged more than those in less high-end areas.

However, an Uber spokesperson who spoke to Engadget on the phone said that Uber only uses rider demand to inform its upfront pricing structure, not rider apparent wealth. He confirmed that the fare charged to customers in high-demand areas can be higher than the driver’s take, which is typically based on time, distance and traffic. This type of pricing is only in areas that have Uber’s carpooling service, as well.

“We price routes differently based on our understanding of riders’ choices so we can serve more people in more places at fares they can afford,” he said. “Riders will always know the cost of a trip before requesting a ride, and drivers will earn consistently for the work they perform with full transparency into what a rider pays and what Uber makes on every trip.”

In other words, some folks will pay a bit more to get a dedicated UberX car in high-demand areas and others might be willing to wait a bit more for a more affordable UberPool ride. Uber then uses aggregate data from past users’ behavior to set upfront pricing accordingly.

Uber sent the above email to drivers today to communicate this change. Uber’s spokesperson also told us that any extra funds from this kind of differential pricing are going right back into promotions that show drivers where they can make more per ride as well as into funding more Uber drivers on the road to help cover high demand.

The perception of Uber as a company trying to scam its drivers out of extra ride fares is a dangerous one, whether it has a kernel of truth or not. Some might also see it as muddying the waters of Uber’s claim that it’s just a middle-man. Drivers might understandably be upset if they see themselves as independent contractors using an app to facilitate ride-sharing — a claim Uber itself encourages — who are not seeing any benefit from higher per-ride fees. Bringing in more money from riders may help Uber itself, but it could also alienate drivers, who may not understand or believe Uber’s explanations. Transparency about how pricing actually works could go a long way to help Uber’s perception problem.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/19/uber-responds-to-upfront-pricing-worries/

LastPass will store two-factor codes alongside your passwords

Keeping track of a list of secure passwords across your myriad accounts and services is a nightmare, but it’s necessary for the future we live in. LastPass, the password management app, wants to make it a little more convenient on mobile. With the latest update to its authenticator application, two-factor authentication codes will now be stored in your password locker along with everything else.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/19/lastpass-two-factor-code-storage/