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Google removes all clouds from Earth imagery

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jun 27, 2013 1:33 am

Google has processed hundreds of terabytes of Earth imagery to construct a cloud-free version of its satellite imagery used in its Maps and Earth products. The data is also now higher resolution, providing the ability to see the Earth in greater detail. The new imagery comes from NASA's and USGS' Landsat 7 satellite. Due to a hardware failure early in life, this was no easy feat.

 

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Landsat 7's imagery has black stripes in the normal images due to said hardware failure. Google had to combine multiple images in order to remove those black stripes. This same process is essentially how they managed to get a cloudless version of their imagery, even in tropical zones that almost always have some cloud cover.

 

Google has also focused on bringing the new imagery to zones that hadn't been updated in a while. This means the new imagery focuses on Russia, Indonesia, and central Africa. Google notes that the new image is over 800,000 megapixels. In other words, it would take a piece of paper the size of a city block to print it out at the standard 300dpi.

Continue reading 'Google removes all clouds from Earth imagery' (full post)

Sony removed PS4 camera to beat Microsoft on price

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Jun 27, 2013 1:02 am

According to sources close to Sony, the entertainment giant decided to not bundle the PlayStation 4 camera with every console so they could beat Microsoft's $499 price point. But not only did Sony do this to beat Microsoft on price, they didn't let retail partners know that the price changed. The only information they provided to retail partners was that the PS4 camera would no longer be included with the console.

 

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This might have been a great move. Not only was Sony able to beat Microsoft on price, but it turns out that people don't like an always-connected camera in their living room. Sony has been able to avoid accusations that the device might be spying on its users.

 

On the other hand, it will likely cause the PlayStation camera accessory to see less uptake in the market. By not requiring every user to have it, game developers will have to deal with a fragmented landscape where only some gamers have the camera. This means developers are unlikely to make as much use of the camera, which in turn provides less incentive for users to buy a camera. It's the classic chicken and egg scenario.

NVIDIA delays Shield shipping until next month after discovering mechanical issue

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jun 27, 2013 12:27 am

NVIDIA has announced that they have delayed the shipping of their upcoming handheld gaming console. Project Shield was originally slated to go on sale tomorrow, but NVIDIA has decided to push that date back to sometime in July due to a mechanical issue. The issue stems from a third-party component supplier who's part isn't quite up to NVIDIA's "exacting standards."

 

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NVIDIA doesn't have a confirmed shipping date beyond sometime in July, so we'll let you know as soon as NVIDIA releases a firm ship date. NVIDIA has also extended apologies to those who preordered Shield and those who were looking forward to buying the console. NVIDIA believes that the console will be well worth the wait.

 

It's probably better for the company to wait and perfect the device than release a product that wouldn't garner the reviews and experience that they want.

Instagram CEO: Windows Phone and BlackBerry app not coming 'anytime soon', Google Glass app sometime after that

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Apps | Posted: Jun 27, 2013 12:04 am

It looks as though it could still be a long time before Instagram finds its way onto the Windows Phone and BlackBerry platforms. This fact comes courtesy of Instagram's CEO, who noted during an interview that Google Glass is towards the bottom of their list for new platforms. This is because Instagram considers where its users are and where the growth is.

 

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Shortly after explaining that a Glass app is towards the bottom of their list, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom warned that BlackBerry and Windows Phone apps may not be coming anytime soon. "I'm just saying that in order of priority, the way we evaluate where to expand to is really simply where our users are, and where the growth is," the executive explained. "It took us a very long time to get to Android."

 

We're actually quite surprised that Instagram hasn't brought an app to the other mobile platforms as of yet. Instagram is owned by Facebook, a massive company that could easily afford to port the application to the other platforms. If you're planning on using Instagram on Google Glass just be warned that it could be a very long time until an app is released for the platform.

Dish no longer wants Clearwire, withdraws offer after Sprint increases their bid

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jun 26, 2013 11:29 pm

Sprint recently sweetened their offer for Clearwire and it was apparently enough to push Dish away. Dish has announced that they have withdrawn their offer to acquire Clearwire, citing a "change in recommendation" at Clearwire. In plain English, this means that shareholders now prefer Sprint's sweetened offer and are suggesting the board take it instead of Dish's.

 

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Interestingly enough, Sprint is about to be acquired by Softbank as soon as it clears all of the regulatory hurdles. In other words, Softbank will be acquiring Clearwire and the spectrum that Clearwire owns. It's not clear what Sprint plans to do with Clearwire after the acquisition, though they'll likely make use of the spectrum for faster LTE.

Apple seeds new version of OS X 10.8.5 update to developers

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Jun 26, 2013 11:04 pm

Apple has made an update to OS X 10.8.5 available to developers. Mountain Lion build 12F13 is now available for developers to try out and look for bugs. The new operating system can be downloaded through the Mac Developer Center or through the built-in Mac App Store Software Update functionality.

 

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The build contains no known issues, but Apple has asked that developers continue to focus on Wi-Fi, Graphics, Wake from Sleep, PDF viewing and Accessibility, and Mobile Device Management during their use. This software is just an update to Mountain Lion, with the OS X 10.9 Mavericks developer previews having been seeded to developers earlier this year.

 

It's not clear when this update will be made available to the general public, though it should be sooner rather than later if there are no known issues with it. We'll let you know when the actual update becomes available for you to download.

Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, & Skype hit with Prism data protection complaint in EU

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jun 26, 2013 10:29 pm

Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, and Skype have been hit with a complaint in the European Union over data protection issues in relation to the recently revealed NSA spying program Prism. THe complaint has been brought by the same group that ran the Europe v Facebook campaign. Through this latest complaint, they hope to gain clarification on the laws regarding foreign data passing to US agencies.

 

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These five companies have been selected specifically because of their corporate structure. Each has a subsidiary in the European Union, which should be required to follow EU data protection rights and policies. The question becomes a bit less straightforward when these companies have US headquarters, possibly making them be required to comply with US laws that are in conflict with EU laws. They have an excellent explanation:

 

If a European subsidiary sends user data to the American parent company, this is considered an "export" of personal data. Under EU law, an export of data is only allowed if the European subsidiary can ensure an "adequate level or protection" in the foreign country. After the recent disclosures on the "PRISM" program such trust in an "adequate level of protection" by the involved companies can hardly be upheld.

 

There can in no way be an adequate level of protection if they cooperate with the NSA on the other end of the line. Right now an export of data to the US must be seen as illegal if the involved companies cannot disprove the reports on the PRISM program.

Continue reading 'Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, & Skype hit with Prism data protection complaint in EU' (full post)

Facebook denies allegations that it handed over user data to Turkish government

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jun 26, 2013 10:02 pm

Facebook strongly denies allegations that it handed over user data to the Turkish government in relation to the ongoing protests currently taking place in Turkey. Facebook notes that they rarely provide any user data to Turkish law enforcement or government officials, with the only exception being if there appears to be an immediate threat to life or a child.

 

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Facebook has not provided user data to Turkish authorities in response to government requests relating to the protests. More generally, we reject all government data requests from Turkish authorities and push them to formal legal channels unless it appears that there is an immediate threat to life or a child, which has been the case in only a small fraction of the requests we have received.

 

We are concerned about legislative proposals that might purport to require Internet companies to provide user information to Turkish law enforcement authorities more frequently. We will be meeting with representatives of the Turkish government when they visit Silicon Valley this week, and we intend to communicate our strong concerns about these proposals directly at that time.

 

Reports of Facebook providing Turkish officials with user data stemmed from an NPR report that cited a Turkish minister. He claimed that Facebook was "in cooperation with the state" and that Twitter refused to supply user data. Facebook and others are worried about pending litigation that could force them to provide more data to the Turkish government. Some of Turkey's legislators have called for stronger social media use rules in light of the protests.

 

Should Facebook and Twitter be required to cooperate more with the Turkish government?

Steam introduces Trading Cards, collect and trade these virtual cards to get the whole set

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jun 26, 2013 9:28 pm

Everyone's favorite gaming company has just introduced virtual Trading Cards. These new cards will be given out for playing Steam games, with half of the set being provided in each game. To collect the other half, you'll have to collect and trade with other gamers like yourself. These cards can then be turned into game badges and tradable Steam community items.

 

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The idea isn't completely new. Other games have provided cards or collectibles instead of in-game achievements. These cards a bit more useful than some of the other implementations I've seen. For instance, a complete set of cards can be turned into a game badge. These game badges will also come with XP, helping you level up quicker and earn more rewards for leveling up.

 

It's a cool idea that I think will work extremely well with the Steam community. If you want to learn more about the new program, you can head over to the page Steam has set up.

Google editions of Galaxy S4 and HTC One are now available for pre-order in the Google Play Store

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jun 26, 2013 9:02 pm

A few weeks ago, we learned that Samsung would be releasing a stripped-down Nexus-like version of its galaxy S4 which would be called the Google Edition S4. Shortly thereafter, HTC announced that they would be doing the same with their flagship smartphone, the HTC One.

 

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Today, Google has launched both of the stripped-down android smartphones for preorder in the Google Play Store. Both devices run stock versions of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and will begin shipping to customers on July 9.

 

The Google edition of HTC's One retails for $599.99 while Samsung's Galaxy S4 Google Edition retails slightly higher at a price of $649.99. For Android purist, these two phones represent the holy grail of smartphone technology, but they are not just for those who wish for a pure Android experience; they represent a way for more consumers to buy high-end smartphones without a contract and without all the added features that manufactures normally bloat smartphones with.

Continue reading 'Google editions of Galaxy S4 and HTC One are now available for pre-order in the Google Play Store' (full post)

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