colinneagle writes "Microsoft Research has just taken the wraps off SurroundWeb, research prototype to display webpages on multiple projectors to display information on the walls of the room you are in. Microsoft describes SurroundWeb as "a 3D Browser that displays webpages across multiple surfaces in a room, adapt their appearance to objects present in that room, and interact using natural user input."
A Room Skeleton is rendered using the Kinect motion sensor from the Xbox. It scans the room to see what kinds of surfaces are available and what areas are not, such as windows or art on the walls. Next, SurroundWeb learns what projection equipment is available, such as just a monitor, projects, phones, and anything else with a display. The monitor shows the main presentation information while the projector shows additional content "spilling out" of the slide and onto the wall of the room. Phones can be used for interacting with the content and you can use the Kinect's hand-gesture support as well.
Microsoft states rather clearly that it is sensitive to privacy concerns around scanning the room. "From mobile phones, we have learned how dangerous it is to give devices unrestricted access to sensor output ... Similarly, from raw video and depth streams inside a home, it is likely possible to infer economic status, health information, and other sensitive information. Therefore we do not want to expose raw sensor data to webpages," the researchers said in their paper."Link to Original Source
colinneagle writes "It wasn't easy, but Steve Patterson hacked an HTC First smartphone to deliver cheap over-the-air internet for PCs and live TV. He details the process here, which involved switching the SIM card to get on T-Mobile's network, using Aereo for OTA internet and TV, and rooting the First to make it into a Wi-Fi router. While admitting that the process would have been easier with a different, more easily unlock-able smartphone, he did accomplish it.
For those with thousands of television channels and a fondness for exclusive services like HBO and ESPN — which were not available through this method — this approach may not provide enough choice. But for the consumer who regularly looks at his or her cable guide and wonders why hundreds of shows are listed but only a handful are interesting, it's a good way to save some money."
colinneagle writes "A lot of people really don't like Google Glass when they come across it. This week, it turned to violence.
Sarah Slocum, whose LinkedIn profile lists her as a contributing editor at Newsdab, said in a Facebook post that she was assaulted by two women at a San Francisco bar after initially showing other patrons how the device works. The women were reportedly part of a group of bar patrons who were concerned with being recorded by the Glass.
Shortly after Slocum was attacked, a male patron reportedly stole her Google Glass device off her face, and when she chased after him, someone else stole her wallet and cellphone, Slocum explained in a Facebook post."Link to Original Source
colinneagle writes "The purported iWatch project — a smart wrist-worn device that rumors suggest Apple has been working on — may come to fruition at some point this year. Tim Cook has hinted at the company entering new product categories in 2014, and Apple has been hiring experts in wearable technologies and medical sensors like crazy lately.
This has spawned some extreme rumors, to the extent that some expect a device that can do things like automatically and continuously monitor glucose levels, or even detect heart attacks before they occur.
Some digging around the wearable medical device community shows just how impossible this is."Link to Original Source
colinneagle writes "WhatsApp was originally founded in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, both former Yahoo engineers. What's particularly interesting, if not downright inspirational, is that Acton — himself a former Apple engineer — applied for jobs at both Twitter and Facebook way before WhatsApp became a wildly popular mobile app. Both times he was rejected. In May 2009 he tweeted, "Got denied by Twitter HQ. That's ok. Would have been a long commute." And then in August 2009, he tweeted, "Facebook turned me down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life's next adventure."
His co-founder, Jan Koum, was also reportedly denied for a job at Facebook as well."Link to Original Source
colinneagle writes "Amid all the talk about Microsoft forking Android for a smartphone OS, one suggestion involves a look back to Microsoft's DOS days. Microsoft DOS was designed per IBM’s specification to run exclusively on IBM’s PC hardware platforms. Phoenix Technologies employed software developers it nicknamed “virgins,” who hadn’t been exposed to IBM’s systems to create a software layer between Microsoft’s DOS system and PCs built by IBM’s competitors. This helped Microsoft avoid infringing on IBM’s patents or copyrights, and subsequently helped fuel the explosive growth of PC clones.
Microsoft could use the same approach to “clone” the proprietary Android components in its own Android fork. This would prevent copyright infringement while giving Microsoft access to Google Play apps, as well as Android's massive base of developers."Link to Original Source
colinneagle writes "Some digging around on LinkedIn found a lot of relatively recent hires at Apple involving people with experience in wearable devices, medical sensor technology, and other areas that may relate to Apple's long-rumored iWatch initiative."Link to Original Source
colinneagle writes "Bryan Lunduke recently pulled together a collection of the weirdest places he's found Linux, from installations in North Korea and the International Space Station to a super-computer made out of Legos and computer engineer Barbie.
But I figured the Slashdot crowd would have some suggestions to expand the list. See any weird places for Linux not mentioned in this list?"
colinneagle writes "Perhaps investors have had enough, because when Amazon released earnings yesterday that weren't quite up to part with analysts' expectations, shares of the world's largest e-retailer sank by nearly 10%. Money-wise, Amazon raked in a profit of $239 million on revenue of $25.59 billion with EPS coming in at $0.51. The folks on Wall Street, though, were anticipating EPS of $0.66 on revenue of $26.06 billion.
Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak hinted during the company's earnings conference call yesterday that we might see an increase to the company's popular Amazon Prime service. As it stands now, Amazon Prime costs $79 per year and offers users free shipping on millions of items, free book borrowing for select Kindle titles, and last but not least, free streaming to the company's video on-demand service. Going forward, Amazon may increase that pricepoint to either $99 or $119.
That's a rather significant price increase, but it's important to keep in mind that the price of Amazon Prime has remained the same ever since Amazon first started the program nine years ago."Link to Original Source
colinneagle writes "Perhaps what’s most interesting about Paper is that it seems like a subtle admission of what Facebook users who are interested in following trustworthy sources and content have alleged in recent years – Facebook has basically become a watered-down version of Instagram. Facebook Paper incorporates enough new features for Facebook to call it a unique app, but it’s still pretty close to a straight-up re-design
Facebook Paper is a new Facebook newsfeed without the stigmas of the old one. It puts content first and foremost, and lets users brush the messy, social aspects aside. Whether people actually treat it like that or fall back into their old ways will dictate how successful it is."Link to Original Source
colinneagle writes "A new project from Telefonica called BeWifi enables internet users to snag unused bandwidth from Wi-Fi networks running nearby. So, if you have a family of five trying to stream five different movies at the same time, and your neighbors happen to be out for the night, you and your family could borrow their unused bandwidth until the neighbors come home and log on again.
The technology has been in development since about 2008, and required Telefonica to build and install routers adorned with software that pools available bandwidth to make it available for all Telefonica customers in the area, through what Telefonica director of product innovation and research Pablo Rodriguez described as "a mesh to aggregate the capabilities [of the routers]." The pilot program attracted more than 1,000 users to sign up in the first week it was available, according to Wired UK. Rodriguez said the company was "able to double the speed that customers were getting," in some places where users previously couldn't stream Skype and YouTube in the same household at the same time."Link to Original Source
colinneagle writes "The majority of the 420,000 ATMs in the U.S. run XP, and an executive with an ATM software provider says he expects only 15% of bank ATMs in the U.S. to be on Windows 7 by the April 8th deadline when Microsoft will end support for XP. It's apparently not unusual for the ATM industry to move slowly. "As a rule, security patches that directly affect the machines might be issued only once a quarter," the executive said.
And unlike the old Windows PCs sitting in doctor offices that likely don't have an Internet connection, ATM machines have to be wired 24/7 for transactions. It's also unclear how often those independent ATMs found at convenience stores and gas stations that look like they're 30 years old, and which aren't tied to a bank, are updated to prevent hacking."Link to Original Source
colinneagle writes "It's a Raspberry Pi-based tablet computer, complete with a 10-inch capacitive touchscreen, Wi-Fi, and an absolutely gorgeous wooden and carbon fiber case. Built by Michael Castor in just two weeks (start to finish), this amazing rig gets roughly six hours of battery life and even sports hinges. That's right. It's a polished, wooden tablet that opens, allowing you to get at the internals in case you need (or want) to make any modifications or swap out the SD card. The PiPad was even signed by Eben Upton, the driving force behind the design of the Raspberry Pi itself, which is 14 different kinds of nerd cool.
Michael has even provided a detailed parts list and a walk-through explaining how he built the PiPad. So, if you've been itching to turn your Pi into a tablet computer – and, if you are anything like me, you absolutely have that particular itch – this is an amazing starting point."
colinneagle writes "A company called FacialNetwork has developed the first real-time facial recognition app for Google Glass that targets consumers, enabling Glass users to gleam detailed information about nearby people just by looking at them.
Called NameTag, a demo of the technology is shown in a YouTube video. Photos of famous people like Kanye West or Bryan Cranston, the actor of Breaking Bad fame, were strewn about the house as NameTag users tested the functionality. However, apparent users also claim to successfully find information about each other. After one user expresses doubt that the app would work with other people at the demo, he allegedly finds another user’s Facebook account simply by snapping a photo of his face with Glass and searching it on NameTag."Link to Original Source
colinneagle writes "Although Amazon's proposed drone-based product delivery service is still apparently years away, one hacker has already developed a sort of next-generation pirate ship that could hijack and redirect Amazon's delivery bots mid-air. On his website, Sammy Kamkar explained SkyJack, a witty name for a software he developed that allows a remote operator to take control over a drone while it's still flying.
The software, which Kamkar calls "Zombie drone" throughout a YouTube video explaining it, runs on a Parrot AR.Drone 2 and scans for other drones' wireless signals while flying. When it detects nearby drones, the software disconnects the target drone from its wireless connection to its operator, then takes the operator's place. The target drone is then subjected to the same control as the one that detected it, and can be controlled by the operator."Link to Original Source