Nintendo pulls a 3DS game to fight another homebrew exploit

Nintendo's cat-and-mouse game with homebrew exploits isn't over yet. The gaming giant recently pulled Terry Cavanagh's retro platformer VVVVVV from the 3DS eShop after Shiny Quagsire discovered a way to use the game to run your own code. It's not a...

These Visions of a Self-Driving Vehicle Future Are Incredibly Convincing

Autonomous cars are coming , and with them comes the promise of a future that’s safer and healthier for all. These are the most compelling visual arguments for that future that I’ve seen yet.

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A 10-year-old Finnish kid won $10,000 for hacking Instagram

A precocious youth has won a $10,000 bug bounty from Facebook after he figured out a way to delete other users' comments from Instagram's servers, Mashable reports.

Can rumors delay your smartphone purchase?

HTC 10

There are a lot of folks out there that like to read rumors, and keep tabs on how a particular phone, or tablet, is coming along based on a varied array of reports. Some things are legitimately things, maybe even more often than not, and then sometimes there are plenty of controlled leaks, where companies might want to see how a particular feature, whether hardware or software, resonates with potential buyers out there in the real world.

AppleSamsungHTC

The DuoGraph Makes Creating Pretty Spiral Patterns a Snap

Remember that nifty Cycloid Drawing Machine making the internet rounds back in March? Its inventor, Joe Freedman, is back with a smaller, simpler version called the DuoGraph, making it easier than ever to create pretty swirling patterns reminiscent of Spirograph .

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SpaceX had a superhero costume designer make a spacesuit

SpaceX is fond of making technology that looks good, and apparently that extends as far as astronaut gear. Thanks to both a Tested video (at the 12:09 mark) and a recently highlighted Bleep interview, we now know that well-known costume designer Jose...

The White House Has Realized Artificial Intelligence Is Very Important

Technology

Fostering conversation

GoPro’s new video editing suite is very familiar

It didn't take long for GoPro to make use of those mobile video editing apps it acquired back in February. The action camera maker has launched a "mobile creative suite" that, in its initial form, repurposes Quik and Splice as tools for editing your...

McLaren uses 20-year-old laptops to maintain its first supercar

You've no doubt heard of organizations clinging to ancient technology to keep their businesses running, but probably nothing like this. A Jalopnik tour has shown that McLaren relies on a roughly 20-year-old laptop, a variant of Compaq's LTE 5280, to...

A simple tweak to Spotify’s iOS app makes navigation a lot easier

Spotify is the leading streaming music service -- despite the fact that its app design has always left something to be desired. Things have improved in the last year or two, but by and large its apps are not easy to navigate. However, a seemingly sim...

T-Mobile LG G3 getting update to Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow

LG G3 hands-on

The same day that Google revealed that Android 6.0 made its way to more devices this month, T-Mobile has announced that its LG G3 is moving up to Marshmallow, too.

LG G3T-Mobile

Google Maps takes you inside Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic venues

Google Maps adds indoor views of major attractions on the regular. Ahead of this summer's Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, the company is taking you inside the 25 indoor venues that will host sporting events in a few weeks. There are "enhanced views"...

High-profile women in tech push diversity with Project Include

Take a look at the diversity statistics from many tech companies, as we did with our 2015 Diversity Report Card, and you'll notice a consistent issue. The tech industry, for all of its meritocratic grandstanding, has a big inclusion problem -- and ma...

Microscopic Tubes Inside Beating Heart Cells Work Like Shock Absorbers

Using state-of-the art microscopy, scientists have peered inside cardiac cells while they beat, revealing tube-like structures that buckle and then snap back into shape, much like shock absorbers. The details now appear in Science.

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Brazilian court reverses yet another WhatsApp ban

Access to WhatsApp has been reinstated in Brazil just 24 hours after Judge Marcel Montalvão ordered the country's five largest cellular service providers to block the messaging service.

Fashion (mostly) missed the point of its tech-inspired Met Gala

Since 1946, the Met Gala has hosted the biggest names in fashion and entertainment. While the prestigious event acts as a fundraiser for The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, it's also a chance for A-listers from different industries to...

The 12 Craziest Hubble Pictures Of All Time

Celestial Fireworks Space

Background material

A vertical gallery of images taken by the Hubble space telescope.

Postmates’ couriers help small shops with same-day deliveries

Small businesses use Shopify's software to create custom online storefronts, and Shopify regularly adds features making it easier to juggle digital and physical sales. Now those customers can get a same-day delivery option through Postmates so long a...

Google VR And The Quest For Wireless, Affordable Virtual Reality

Google VR Clay Bavor Technology

A Q&A with Google's Head of VR, Clay Bavor

Google's VP of virtual reality may not be ready to divulge specifics about their new VR headset just yet. But here's what they're prioritizing.

Google’s May 2016 Android distribution stats show Marshmallow growing as other versions fall

Nexus 6 Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Google’s Android Platform Distribution stats for May 2016 are in, and Android 6.0 Marshmallow has grown once again.

Google reports that during the 7-day period ending on May 2, 7.5 percent of the Android devices that accessed the Play Store were running Marshmallow. That number is up from 4.6 percent in April 2016.

Google

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Scheduled To Launch Again On Thursday Morning

space launch march 4 Space

And try another drone ship landing, though the odds are steep

For the first time since its history-making takeoff and droneship landing last month, SpaceX is launching again.

Moog’s new app brings the iconic Model 15 synth to your iPad

Moog may be known for its analog synthesizers, but the company has also crammed those sounds inside iOS apps for making noise on the go. With its latest app for the iPhone and iPad, the company created a digital version of its iconic Model 15 instrum...

Looking for art in artificial intelligence

Michael Casey, Dartmouth College and Daniel N. Rockmore, Dartmouth College

Algorithms help us to choose which films to watch, which music to stream and which literature to read. But what if algorithms went beyond their jobs as mediators of human culture and started to create culture themselves?



In 1950 English mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing published a paper, "Computing Machinery and Intelligence," which starts off by proposing a thought experiment that he called the "Imitation Game." In one room is a human "interrogator" and in another room a man and a woman. The goal of the game is for the interrogator to figure out which of the unknown hidden interlocutors is the man and which is the woman. This is to be accomplished by asking a sequence of questions with responses communicated either by a third party or typed out and sent back. "Winning" the Imitation Game means getting the identification right on the first shot.






Alan Turing.
Stephen Kettle sculpture; photo by Jon Callas, CC BY



Turing then modifies the game by replacing one interlocutor with a computer, and asks whether a computer will be able to converse sufficiently well that the interrogator cannot tell the difference between it and the human. This version of the Imitation Game has come to be known as the "Turing Test."



Turing's simple, but powerful, thought experiment gives a very general framework for testing many different aspects of the human-machine boundary, of which conversation is but a single example.



On May 18 at Dartmouth, we will explore a different area of intelligence, taking up the question of distinguishing machine-generated art. Specifically, in our "Turing Tests in the Creative Arts," we ask if machines are capable of generating sonnets, short stories, or dance music that is indistinguishable from human-generated works, though perhaps not yet so advanced as Shakespeare, O. Henry or Daft Punk.



Conducting the tests

The dance music competition ("Algorhythms") requires participants to construct an enjoyable (fun, cool, rad, choose your favorite modifier for having an excellent time on the dance floor) dance set from a predefined library of dance music. In this case the initial random "seed" is a single track from the database. The software package should be able to use this as inspiration to create a 15-minute set, mixing and modifying choices from the library, which includes standard annotations of more than 20 features, such as genre, tempo (bpm), beat locations, chroma (pitch) and brightness (timbre).






Can a computer write a better sonnet than this man?
Martin Droeshout (1623)



In what might seem a stiffer challenge, the sonnet and short story competitions ("PoeTix" and "DigiLit," respectively) require participants to submit self-contained software packages that upon the "seed" or input of a (common) noun phrase (such as "dog" or "cheese grater") are able to generate the desired literary output. Moreover, the code should ideally be able to generate an infinite number of different works from a single given prompt.



To perform the test, we will screen the computer-made entries to eliminate obvious machine-made creations. We'll mix human-generated work with the rest, and ask a panel of judges to say whether they think each entry is human- or machine-generated. For the dance music competition, scoring will be left to a group of students, dancing to both human- and machine-generated music sets. A "winning" entry will be one that is statistically indistinguishable from the human-generated work.



The competitions are open to any and all comers. To date, entrants include academics as well as nonacademics. As best we can tell, no companies have officially thrown their hats into the ring. This is somewhat of a surprise to us, as in the literary realm companies are already springing up around machine generation of more formulaic kinds of "literature," such as earnings reports and sports summaries, and there is of course a good deal of AI automation around streaming music playlists, most famously Pandora.



Judging the differences

Evaluation of the entries will not be entirely straightforward. Even in the initial Imitation Game, the question was whether conversing with men and women over time would reveal their gender differences. (It's striking that this question was posed by a closeted gay man.) The Turing Test, similarly, asks whether the machine's conversation reveals its lack of humanity not in any single interaction but in many over time.



It's also worth considering the context of the test/game. Is the probability of winning the Imitation Game independent of time, culture and social class? Arguably, as we in the West approach a time of more fluid definitions of gender, that original Imitation Game would be more difficult to win. Similarly, what of the Turing Test? In the 21st century, our communications are increasingly with machines (whether we like it or not). Texting and messaging have dramatically changed the form and expectations of our communications. For example, abbreviations, misspellings and dropped words are now almost the norm. The same considerations apply to art forms as well.



Who is the artist?




Who is the creator - human or machine? Or both?
Hands image via shutterstock.com



Thinking about art forms leads naturally to another question: who is the artist? Is the person who writes the computer code that creates sonnets a poet? Is the programmer of an algorithm to generate short stories a writer? Is the coder of a music-mixing machine a DJ?



Where is the divide between the artist and the computational assistant and how does the drawing of this line affect the classification of the output? The sonnet form was constructed as a high-level algorithm for creative work - though one that's executed by humans. Today, when the Microsoft Office Assistant "corrects" your grammar or "questions" your word choice and you adapt to it (either happily or out of sheer laziness), is the creative work still "yours" or is it now a human-machine collaborative work?



We're looking forward to seeing what our programming artists submit. Regardless of their performance on "the test," their body of work will continue to expand the horizon of creativity and machine-human coevolution.



The Conversation

Michael Casey, James Wright Professor of Music, Professor of Computer Science, Dartmouth College and Daniel N. Rockmore, Professor, Department of Mathematics, Computational Science, and Computer Science, Dartmouth College



This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Netflix knows which videos you’re likely to click

Have you noticed that Netflix's video thumbnails follow a familiar pattern? That's no accident -- in fact, the streaming giant has developed a whole process for choosing those pictures. In a fresh blog post, the company has revealed details of a te...

Teens Say They’re Addicted To Technology. Here’s How Parents Can Help.

Half of of all teens say they feel addicted to their mobile devices.


That’s right, 50 percent of teens actually admitted that they feel addicted. Just imagine what the real number is.

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You Can Prevent a ‘Panama Papers’ Scandal at Your Law Firm

The data breach at the law firm of Mossack Fonseca in Panama sent shock waves around the world recently with the prime minister of Iceland stepping aside, Swiss authorities raiding the headquarters of the Union of European Football Associations, and relatives of the president of China linked to offshore companies. The size of the breach was also shocking with 2.6 terabytes of data leaked. That's 30 times bigger than the WikiLeaks release or the Edward Snowden materials. However, the most shocking part of the "Panama Papers" story is that the breach and exploit of the popular open source project Drupal was totally preventable.

Everyone knows that law firms manage large amounts of highly sensitive information. Whether the data involves an individual's estate plan, a startup's patent application, or a high-profile merger and acquisition, clients expect their information to be secure. Indeed, lawyers are required to keep this information both confidential and secure. Yet, despite the very high level of security owed this information, many firms lack an IT staff and outsource the creation and maintenance of their data management and security services. Once outsourced, there is an assumption that someone else will effectively manage the data and ensure its security.

This is many firms' first mistake. Even if they aren't managing their own IT, law firms still have an obligation to make sure that data is properly secured. This means asking frequent questions about security and ensuring that the vendor is implementing reasonable security measures.

This level of diligence is critical today, as law firms are increasingly under threat of attack. In March, the international firms Weil Gotshal & Mangers and Cravath, Swaine & Moore reported data breaches, highlighting the risks for law firms and their clients. With the amount of confidential information retained by firms about business deals and strategies, there is an expectation of future attacks. Confirming this is a 2015 Citigroup Cyber Intelligence Center report cautioning big firms about the threat of attacks on their networks and websites.

Implementing reasonable security measures means continuously monitoring both proprietary and open source code for vulnerabilities. This is a notion that lawyers should be familiar with. In most M&A deals many lawyers advise clients to run security scan of the codebase to understand the code integrity and surface any vulnerabilities.

This is a particularly important M&A exercise for open source usage as much open source is not supported in same way proprietary software is -- through automated updates and patches that are pushed out proactively. Still, open source code is the way software applications are built today and open source makes up 35 percent to 50 percent of the average code base so managing and securing it is vital. It is widely incorporated into programs used by law firms around the world. Open source tends to be high quality and offers powerful tools. However, you can't reap the benefits of open source programs without managing their risks.

When a security vulnerability is identified in open source, it is publicly announced along with ways that the vulnerability can be exploited. Sometimes there is even a sample code or YouTube video giving cybercriminals a recipe for hacking. However, security updates and patches are usually made available too. Because the process is not automated, these announcements should be monitored and the patches installed promptly to ensure the security of data.

Sometimes this is easier said than done. Even when firms know open source software is used in their codebase, it can be difficult to know exactly where it exists. Without that visibility into what open source they're using and where, the patches aren't of much use. This is why it's critical for law firms to identify all open source code in use, inventory it, and map it to a known vulnerability database. When a vulnerability is announced, the firm can decide from a business standpoint if it's material and requires action. When it's deemed material, the stakes can be extremely high so scanning the code should be a regular compliance process.

Whether law firms have IT departments or outsource to a service provider, they should use products that automate the inventory process, monitor the software, and send automatic alerts when a security vulnerability is identified. It's not difficult to secure data when the right products are in place.

If Mossack Fonseca had such a procedure in place, the Panama Papers scandal never would have happened. The version of the open source project used, Drupal, had 25 or more known security vulnerabilities. They were publicly announced as far back as 2013. If anyone at the firm was paying attention, it could have implemented the security patches. When the patches weren't applied, it was open season for hackers.

The Panama Papers scandal illustrates the dangers of being lax about the security of client information. It also shows how law firms that take security seriously have a competitive advantage. As more data breaches are sure to come to light, law firms have an opportunity to differentiate themselves with a higher level of service. Those that don't could be the next hacking victim -- or already are and just don't know it yet.

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‘Dishonored 2’ leaves the shadows on November 11th

Dishonored 2 will launch on PS4, Xbox One and PC on November 11th, giving fans another taste of supernatural assassination. The sequel was first unveiled at Bethesda's E3 press conference last year, along with a tentative "Spring 2016" release window...

Microsoft buys a company enabling the Internet of Things

If it wasn't already evident that Microsoft is serious about becoming a big player in the Internet of Things, it is now. The tech pioneer has bought Solair, a company focused on Internet of Things services for businesses -- say, making sure that fact...

Nextbit Robin going on sale for $299.99, matching its early bird Kickstarter price

Nextbit Robin hands-on

When the Nextbit Robin first hit Kickstarter last September, there was a limited number of early bird units priced at $299, a full $100 off the Robin’s normal asking price. If you missed out on that special offer, though, you’ll be getting another chance this week.

Nextbit Robin

Would You Pay $500 a Week to Live in This Glorified Hostel?

The housing crisis is edging an entire generation out of the most expensive cities on the planet. But what if you could still live in those cities, moving between them like a digital-age vagabond, sharing well-appointed apartments for short stints with likeminded globetrotters? That’s the promise of a new co-living startup called Roam.

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Twitter rolls out ‘Connect’ to help you follow more accounts

Connect, Twitter's newest feature, allows users on iOS or Android to browse a curated list of accounts to follow -- it's like having a personal stylist for your Twitter account. The recommendations will be refined over time, but they're based on who...

Bowers and Wilkins sells to a tiny home automation startup

Bowers & Wilkins has been cranking out solid audio gear for the better part of three decades, but it's being acquired by a company that's only been around since 2014. Eva Automation, a Silicon Valley startup founded by former Facebook CFO (and Sa...

What It’s Like To Work As A Facebook ‘News Curator’

Depending on whom you ask, Facebook is either the savior or destroyer of journalism in our time. An estimated 600 million people see a news story on Facebook every week, and the social network’s founder Mark Zuckerberg has been transparent about his goal to monopolize digital news distribution. “When news is as fast as everything else on Facebook, people will naturally read a lot more news,” he said in a Q&A last year, adding that he wants Facebook Instant Articles to be the “primary news experience people have.”


Facebook’s stranglehold over the traffic pipe has pushed digital publishers into an uneasy alliance with the $350 billion behemoth, and the news business has been caught up in a jittery debate about what, precisely, the company’s intentions are.

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iOS 9.3.2 beta 4 update rolling out to developers and public testers

iOS 9.3 iPhone 6s Plus

iOS 9.3.2 testing continues today with a fourth beta release.

Apple is now rolling out the iOS 9.3.2 beta 4 update — build 13F68 — and the exciting news is that unlike past 9.3.2 beta releases, this update is going out to developers and public testers simultaneously. If you’re a registered dev or a member of the Apple Beta Software Program, you can get the update by going into Settings > General > Software Update on your device.

Apple

India rejects Apple’s plan to import refurbished iPhones

As iPhone sales start to decline for the first time in 13 years, the company has been looking to emerging markets to make up the slack with first-time buyers. But Cupertino's plan to boost marketshare in India by importing and selling refurbished iPh...

Amazon snags ‘Downton Abbey’ creator’s next show for Prime Video

Amazon is hoping for another streaming hit with Julian Fellowes Presents Doctor Thorne, the next show from the creator of Downton Abbey. Amazon has snapped up US distribution of the series from the Weinstein Company, and all three episodes of the sho...

Giphy Keys keyboard launches on iPhone to give you quick access to animated GIFs

Giphy Keys iPhone GIF keyboard

Animated GIFs are very “in” right now, and thanks to Giphy, iOS users can now easily insert GIFs into their everyday communications.

It’s Illegal to Possess or Distribute This Huge Number

There are ways to get in trouble with the law for just about everything: smoking weed, theft, horse theft, stealing a horse and teaching it to smoke weed, and even shouting “fire” in a crowded not-on-fire stable full of stoned horses. But numbers are pure and theoretical and definitely exempt from legal action, right?

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Periscope gets an editor-in-chief to spot its best live streams

Periscope wants to not only help you share live streams, but find the best of them... and it's willing to try unusual strategies to make that happen. Medium editor Evan Hansen has joined Periscope to become its first editor-in-chief. As he explains t...

Traffic Spikes on This YouTube Video Might Help Predict ISIS Attacks

Do you ever listen to a particular song to get psyched up for something? Maybe it’s a morning run or a sick day of surfin’ the ‘net. Well, ISIS fighters do the same thing. But in this case, they’re all watching the same video on YouTube. So much so that when traffic on the video spikes, US intelligence agencies take notice.

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Sony’s Google Cast speakers are ready to put music in any room

Back at CES, Sony announced new multi-room audio gear with a soundbar and two speakers to put music all over your house. Now, a few months after their debut, those devices are ready to handle tunes. As a refresher, the HT-NT5 soundbar features six sp...

A.I. Made This Dress With ‘Too Much Side Boob’ For The Met Gala

Lisa Maria Falcone in A.I.-designed dress at Met Gala Technology

Patience, Grasshopper

I have the fashion sense of a straight white male blogger, but to my eyes, it fits in quite well with the many other eye-catching outfits on display at the event (themed…

The best refrigerator

By Liam McCabe This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer's guide to the best things for your home. Read the full article here. We think the best refrigerator for you is most likely the Whirlpool WRF535SMBM—a reliable, affo...

China Plans To Defeat American Lasers With Smoke

PLA Smoke Weapon Military

Armor as ephemeral as the air

China might be testing smoke as an anti-laser weapon.

Astronauts Trapped In Isolation Habitat Explore Asteroid In Virtual Reality

Space

A simulated mission visits a simulated asteroid

Two NASA crew members came face-to-face with an asteroid yesterday, without leaving the space habitat mockup at Johnson Space Center.

Famed techno DJ Richie Hawtin reveals his first mixer

The DJ mixer controls and contours all sounds. The slightest twist of a knob or the slide of a fader can change the structure of one sound to make room for another. The instrument, which is at the core of all electronic music performances, has seen a...

YouTube is testing a cleaner Material design

YouTube's basic design hasn't changed a lot over the years, but it could get a major cosmetic upgrade soon. Commenters on Reddit's YouTube forum discovered a new Material look that would bring it in line with the latest version of Chrome OS and Andro...

Engadget giveaway: Win a ‘Star Wars’ prize pack courtesy of ThinkGeek!

You may still be reeling from the recent sweep of date-related events (Pi day, Alien day, and 420) but the ride's not over yet. Tomorrow is May the 4th, which is observed by many as a Star Wars "holiday" and may garner a lot of attention this year on...

One Third of All Antibiotics Prescribed to Americans Are Unnecessary

For the past several years, doctors have been sounding the alarm about the overuse of antibiotics. For all the concern, however, no one quite knew how much of the antibiotics prescribed in the United States were unnecessary—until now. And the problem goes even deeper than suspected.

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Huawei Watch Jewel and Elegant models hit the US today with $50 discounts

Huawei Watch Jewel, Elegant

After their official announcement back in January, the Huawei Watch Jewel and Elegant models are launching today in the US.

Huawei WatchHuawei

Craig Wright Claims He Will Move Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin ‘In the Coming Days’

Yesterday, Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright announced that he was the elusive creator of Bitcoin. His proclamation was immediately met with an avalanche of suspicion , with one prominent cryptography expert describing it as “flimflam and hokum.” Now, through a spokesman, Wright has promised that further proof for his claims is coming.

Read more...

Scientists use nanoparticles to crush lingering fat cells

If you think losing weight is simply diet plus exercise, the equation is not so simple. A recent study of Biggest Loser participants showed that even if you manage to drop pounds, your body will fight you for years afterward to gain them back. That's...

Giphy Keys Is the iPhone Keyboard For GIF Fanatics

For the past week, much to the annoyance of my friends, parents, and acquaintances, I’ve been testing Giphy Keys, a free iOS keyboard from the gif-obsessed website. It’s made texting so much better.

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Gravitational Wave Scientists Win $3 Million For Being Awesome

Earlier this year, scientists confirmed the presence of gravitational waves, a cosmological feature first predicted by Albert Einstein. In recognition of this remarkable achievement, the scientists involved in the study have won the $3 million Special Breakthrough Prize.

Read more...

Kodak is giving free film to Kickstarter directors

Crowdfunded filmmakers will be able to shoot on film for a lot less money thanks to a partnership between Kodak and Kickstarter. Kodak says it will provide free 35mm or Super 16mm film stock for select projects, up to a total of around $20,000 for 35...

HTC Desire 830 makes its official debut with 5.5-inch display, BoomSound front speakers

HTC Desire 830 official

HTC today took the wraps off of a new entry to its Desire series of smartphones.

The Desire 830 is equipped with BoomSound front-facing speakers above and below its 5.5-inch 1920x1080 display. On the back of the Desire 830 lives a 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization, while the front-facing selfie camera is an UltraPixel shooter.

HTC

Giphy’s Official iOS Keyboard Gets GIF-ing Right

Giphy Keys app on iOS Technology

Say hello to 'Giphy Keys'

GIF search engine company Giphy has released an official iPhone keyboard app. Even though you thought they already had one.

The latest 3Doodler 3D printing pen is smoother and easier

The team at WobbleWorks has been quick to iterate on the concept of a 3D printing pen in the past 3 years, and it's not stopping any time soon. The startup has unveiled the 3Doodler Create, a third-generation pen that irons out some of the remaining...

Giphy Keys for iOS puts GIFs at your fingertips

After Apple allowed third-parties to create custom keyboards for iOS, a flood of apps tried to make typing easier or add a way to send GIFs with only a few taps. Now Giphy, already a popular destination for the internet's favorite image format, is ju...

Moog Packs a $10,000 Synthesizer Into an iOS App

Moog’s first iPad app, called the Animoog, did an incredible job smashing together iPad tech and old analog instruments , back when tablets were very much a new thing. It’s nearly five years later, and Moog has launched an all-new app, digitally memorializing its classic $10,000 Moog Model 15 Synthesizer. Luckily, the app comes at a 99.7 percent discount.

Read more...

Google’s self-driving tech goes into Chrysler minivans this year

That rumored deal between Google and Fiat Chrysler for self-driving car technology? It's reportedly happening... if not quite in the way you'd expect. Bloomberg sources claim that the arrangement will put some of Google's autonomous tech into the 201...

ICYMI: AI in a USB stick, electric bike wheel and more

Today on In Case You Missed It: Chip maker Movidius created an advanced neural networks USB stick to put AI into any device; the GeoOrbital wheel turns any dumb bike into a 20 miles per hour powerhouse; and Samsung has a pilot program to put a moth...

TalkTalk to simplify broadband prices by including line rental

Line rental is one of the things you have to consider when taking out a broadband contract, since they almost always come hand in hand. But with these two separate monthly fees, one-off setup charges and introductory discounts, you need ten minutes a...

Dish gets into… the iPhone repair business?

Now this is interesting. Today, satellite TV provider Dish introduced a new service for iPhone repairs in the US. It's an intriguing business decision, considering the company hasn't done anything similar in the past -- unless you take into account f...

Erato is the next company trying ‘truly wireless’ earbuds

Cast your mind back to 2014. Now imagine a pair of wireless headphones from that time. Most likely, you thought of an "over the head" pair of cans, like the SMS Sync, or a pair of tethered earbuds like Powerbeats. These days, the definition of "wirel...

AdBlock Plus wants to help you pay the sites you visit most

With hundreds of millions of internet users choosing to block ads, publishers are being forced to adopt new strategies to survive. Paywalls are one option, but they often put off readers who wish to visit a website just to read one article. As compan...

It Only Took Amazon’s ‘Prime Now’ 2 Years to Get on to the Web

Amazon launched its same-day delivery service Prime Now way back in 2014 as an app. Finally, two years later, you can order from your desktop too.

Read more...

The Healthiest Way For Older People To Waste Some Time

If you were raised on the West Coast in the 1950s and 1960s, you were probably taught that games -- Scrabble, Chinese Checkers, Pick Up Sticks, Monopoly etc. -- were for rainy days. In my family it was a sin to be indoors on a sunny Saturday or Sunday, or after school, or on summer vacation. As a result I never much got into playing indoor games of any sort, besides the occasional family domino game, which only happened after the sun went down.

2016-04-25-1461603436-6246072-gameimage2.jpg

Later, when I was playing the Orange Country club circuit in the early 1980s, I marveled at the skill our drummer had at the PacMan console. I tried it once or twice and couldn't get the hang of it. Then, in the 1990s when I ran one of the first digital marketing agencies, the employees would spend their lunch hours and after hours playing "Doom." There were gun shots, explosions, and epithets flying around the office like it was a war zone. Still, I couldn't get into it.

Now that some of us have more free time on our hands, research is suggesting that one of the best ways we can spend that time is in front of the computer (or the tablet, or the smartphone, or even your e-reader) playing games. Consider the case of octogenarian Doris Oram, who plays nightly on her Kindle Fire, as described in the UK's Guardian:

"It keeps me very active and alert," she explains. "It's a great activity in the evening when you might not have much to do. I find if I have a few minutes to spare and am feeling a bit bored it can help my mind stay sharp. At night I like to just pick it up and have a go. I don't have dementia but have found it really helps with coordination because you have got to use your eyes and fingers to play."

The Entertainment Software Association reports that over 50 percent of the over-50 crowd are gamers, and two-thirds of them play on computers and/or mobile devices. Maybe that explains why several of my Facebook friends have been inviting me to play Farmville, Candy Crush Saga, Diamond Dash, online Scrabble and other browser games these last few years. Maybe they're onto something.

CBS News reports that "Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco found that 60-year-olds who played a custom-designed video game for 12 hours over the course of a month improved their multitasking abilities to levels better than those achieved by 20-year-olds playing the game for the first time. The subjects retained those improvements six months later."

According to a recent study conducted by North Carolina State University, "seniors [63 and over for this study] who play video games regularly or even occasionally report better overall emotional well-being."

Having written several times about the negative effects of violent video games on frustrated teens, I may have developed a prejudice toward video and computer games in general. My attitude may also be influenced by the fact that I've never been any good at these types of games. But now I suspect that, if I want to keep my brain relatively nimble as I hurtle toward Medicare, I should try harder.

Of course not all games have the same beneficial effect on the aging brain. According to the UCSF study from 2013, it's when a game helps improve other cognitive functions, like attention span and memory, that it has a direct impact on mental plasticity.

According to brain and spine surgeon Dr. Ezriel Kornel, "the key is to improve at the game and continually be learning. New synapses form between the neurons in the brain when it's learning something new, and these connections can be used in other situations."

Of course, there is great benefit to simply having fun. For Doris Oram, competing against her friends at online golf or bowling every Friday is as much a mental exercise as it is a social event. For many of us who have had to cut back on our favorite sports or give them up altogether, the virtual experience can stimulate the endorphins as well.

There are some games that older boomers have been playing more than others. The AARP even has a trove of free games that have proven popular with our age group. That's not to say that games designed for kids can't be beneficial as well, so long as you can understand the lingo.

For those of us like myself that are tethered to our devices just to earn our daily bread, the idea of spending our free time glued to our monitors may not be appealing. Yet. Nonetheless, I'm thinking that I might start spending fewer after-dinner hours watching "Star Trek the Next Generation," and more time playing "Space Invaders." Just so long as it's dark outside.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:



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