The Hilton chain of hotels is set to adopt smartphones as room keys as of next year in over 4,000 of its properties.
Digital check-in and room selection will be available across 11 brands, and work for Hilton Hhonors in over 80 countries. According to Hilton, its members are looking for alternative ways to control their experiences during their stays, and this approach could be the one of them. Although Hilton has run a trial of digital check-ins for some time, this is by far the biggest rollout it has attempted. Hilton is aiming for all of its hotels to offer the digital room key service by the end of 2016.
"Travelers can use their smartphones as boarding passes to get to their seats on an airplane, so it is only natural that they will want to use them as a way to enter their hotel rooms," Hilton's chief exec Christopher Nassetta said in a statement. "We have spent the past few years testing a number of different options to make this vision a reality, and we are developing proprietary technology that is safe and reliable for our guests to use, and cost-effective for our hotels to install."
A study from a British university has claimed some gamers who play for extended periods of time begin to hear sound effects in their heads, including "maddening" screams.
Nottingham Trent University explored something referred to as game transfer phenomena, when players find that gaming influences either their perceptions or behaviors out in the real-world. Of the 1,244 players who were surveyed, one in ten experienced auditory hallucinations after they'd put down the controller, including the whistling of bullets, the pew pew of lasers, beeping or the sound of vehicles.
In one of the more extreme cases, a gamer heard the word 'death' whispered over and over again for days, and another heard the words 'go, go, go' whenever he was near crowds. "These experiences can sometimes result in illogical thoughts and behaviors," a psych researcher from Nottingham Trent, Angelica Ortiz, said. "It's important to help gamers understand their experiences since re-experiencing sounds and voices may provoke distress, especially when associated with dangerous situations in the game."
Two fresh Windows Phone 8.1 devices are soon to appear in the wild, one of which will apparently be designed specifically to take selfies.
The two were reportedly shown off to Microsoft employees at an annual company meeting by Stephen Elop, the former CEO of Nokia and current devices head. Elop described the device as a "selfie phone," according to the Verge, which is likely to be the codename Superman handset with a 5-megapixel front facing camera. The second is apparently codename Tesla, which was designed as a high-end smartphone at an affordable price.
Just how well the phones will fare is anyone's guess, but Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella did recently allude to a unified experience across all Microsoft devices. It could well be possible that the company is lining up some big hitters - provided it finally manages to iron out the ecosystem problems that have plagued it since the start.
One of the hallmarks of the Raspberry Pi developer board is modest power for a low price. Microsoft wants to get in on the action that Raspberry Pi is getting with DIY fans and tinkerers. The software giant has unveiled a new developer board of its own called Sharks Cove.
The board works with Windows or Android and hardware for the board comes from Intel and is made by a firm called CircuitCo. The processor used on Sharks Cove is an Intel Atom Z3735G quad-core chip with speeds of 1.33GHz to 1.83 GHz. That chips is paired with 1GB of RAM and the board offers 16GB of flash storage with storage expansion via a microSD card slot.
One of the things that has made the Raspberry Pi so popular is its very low price, as you might expect Microsoft is offering Sharks Cove for a much higher price- $299. To help justify that price Microsoft points out that it includes a Windows 8.1 image in the price.
Facebook is planning to begin forcing all users to download its new Messenger app if they want to continue chatting with friends. The forced migration will reportedly start in the next few days. European users of Facebook who wanted to chat had to download Messenger back in April.
Facebook is telling people that Messenger is about 20% faster for chatting than chat was using the main iOS and Android Facebook apps. After positive results in user engagement with the European test, Facebook is set to make everyone use the new app.
Users will get a few notices before chat eventually stops working on the main app and they have to use the new app. Facebook is notifying users directly about the change and once made, the messages tab will be replaced with a Messenger shortcut.
NASA has several spacecraft and rovers on and around Mars performing scientific studies of the Red Planet. The Opportunity rover has been on the surface of Mars since 2004 and recently set a record. Opportunity has set a record for the longest distance ever driven off the Earth.
Opportunity has been on the surface of the Red Planet for a decade and has driven 25 miles. The previous record for the most miles driven off-Earth was held by the Soviet Union Lunokhod 2. The record was grabbed on July 27 as Opportunity drove 157 feet to reach 25.01 miles on the odometer.
If the rover continues to operate, it will reach its next major investigation site mission called Marathon Valley. Scientists want to study this area because they believe clay minerals are exposed close together at the site.
If you have ever made a grilled cheese sandwich and didn't eat it straight away, you know how soggy they can get and how quickly crunchy becomes a soft mess. This is a big problem for a restaurant that makes all sorts of grilled cheese sandwiches for delivery called The Melt. Crispy, crunchy goodness at the store can be soggy and nasty in short order.
To combat this problem the company has come up with a Smart Box that is designed specifically to keep the sandwiches crispy, crunchy, and just as good as when it came off the grill during it's roughly 30 minute journey to your door. The Smart Box was created by former Flip Camera founder Jonathan Kaplan.
The challenge in designing the Smart Box was figuring out how to create airflow to prevent moisture build up. The Smart Box has gone through several iterations and the current one can keep the sandwiches fresh and hot for up to 30 minutes. The Smart Box has a heating element and fans that trigger when the temperature gets too low or the humidity too high. The Melt currently has 15 locations in California.
GM has announced that it plans to add wireless smartphone charging to Cadillac vehicles in 2015. Not all vehicles will get the wireless charging option, but it will be available on 2015 Cadillac ATS sedan and coupe and on the 2015 CTS and 2015 Escalade.
Vehicles that have the wireless charging option will have a Powermat wireless charging pad inside the console of the vehicle. Drivers and passengers will be able to lay their compatible smartphone down on the mat to charge wirelessly.
GM says that the majority of wirelessly charging devices on the market would work with its Powermat option. While the phone is on the charging mat, drivers will still be able to answer and make phone calls using the vehicle's Bluetooth hands-free tech.
One of the bodies in our solar system that is under investigation by NASA is Saturn and its moons using the Cassini spacecraft. Cassini has been studying the icy Saturn moon called Enceladus and so far, it has discovered 101 active geysers on the surface of the icy world. The interesting thing about this discovery is that liquid water is believed to be reaching the surface of the planet from an underground sea.
Cassini has been eyeing the southern polar terrain for nearly seven years as scientists have studied the tiger stripe fractures in the area on the surface of the moon. These geysers and the large fractures were discovered on the moon years ago.
Scientists believe that the geysers and liquid water believed to be under the surface of the moon are caused by the repeated flexing of Enceladus by the gravitational forces of Saturn as the moon orbits the planet. Another theory was that there may be a back and forth rubbing action cause by friction of opposing walls that turns ice into the geysers. Cassini has now proven that the geysers coincide with small-scale hot spots that are only a few dozen feet across and are too small to be caused by frictional heating leaving gravitational forces as the cause for the liquid water and hot spots.
Rhapsody is a streaming music service that has been around for a long time now offering a wide range of music. This week the company has announced that it plans to expand into more locations including France and Latin America. The expansion into the new areas comes with deals in place with French operator SRF and Telefonica in Latin America.
Rhapsody has also noted that it has reached 2 million paying subscribers for its premium and unRadio internet radio service launched along with T-Mobile in the US. Rhapsody launched in 2001 and is currently facing stiff competition in the marketplace.
Segment leader Spotify now boasts 10 million paying subscribers putting it at about 5 times the size of Rhapsody. Rhapsody's subscriber numbers are on the increase with the firm announcing in April that it had 1.7 million paying customers.