If you're a heavy user of Pandora, you won't like this news - the company has announced they're putting a limit on how much music you can listen to through their free app. There's now a 40-hour limit, which was pushed in thanks to the rise in royalty rates that Pandora must pay record companies.
If you'd like to listen to more than 40 hours of music per month, you can choose to subscribe to the Pandora One service. This service gives users unlimited listening, on top of a lack of advertisements. You can either choose this, or pay a one-time $0.99 fee to listen as long as you'd like for the rest of the month. Desktop users still have the ability to listen to unlimited music.
Most of you reading this will never hit the limit. In fact, it will affect less than 4% of our total monthly active listeners. For perspective, the average listener spends approximately 20 hours listening to Pandora across all devices in any given month.
Samsung is set to launch their competition crushing Galaxy S IV in just over two weeks time, but now we have some benchmarks to share with you. It looks like Samsung's upcoming flagship smartphone has enjoyed some leaked benchmark scores, with a result posted to Browsermark's database today.
In raw CPU performance, it completely demolishes the competition - scoring 2710 using Google Chrome 25. The previous champion? Apple's iPhone 5 with 2416 using Safari. Samsung's Galaxy S III LTE model scored 2359. If these results are true, the Galaxy S IV is going to be a true powerhouse of a smartphone, and you can't complain at that.
The other thing to remember is that there won't be much in the form of competition against it, as any phone that would trump it would require even faster internals. Sure, we have the Snapdragon 800, Tegra 4 (and 4i) coming, as well as Samsung's own Exynos 5 Octa, but the Galaxy S IV is going to be here, very soon. Those other SoCs are months away.
Unfortunately for those who missed the Google Glass pre-order, there is really only one other way to get a headset before everyone else: buy one from someone who pre-ordered a set. Since the competition to win a chance to buy a pair ends today, you're basically left waiting for the public release or buying a pre-release product from one of those lucky few who have purchased one already.
One such person put up an auction on Ebay, which has now been pulled. The auction started at $1,500, the sunk price for the headset, though it quickly skyrocketed to over $15,000 before being pulled. It's not clear whether the user pulled the auction or whether Ebay and/or Google had something to do with it.
From the auction's description:
Time to spill the beans on Intel's upcoming CPU and chipset plans, if our tomato sauces are correct. One of our sources tipped us that Haswell will be coming at Computex (June 2013) on the Z87 platform as the mid-range solution (much alike the previous-gen Z77), though this is something that is widely available through Google, and mostly widely known among inner circles as being fact.
More importantly, the source let us know that the next-generation performance range of CPUs will be coming by the end of the year, and not 2014 as previous speculated. This news comes from a source that is very close to the subject.
While we suspect this to be Ivy Bridge-E based, our source wasn't exactly clear and it could end up being Haswell-E, with Ivy Bridge-E being skipped. We do know, however, that the next-gen performance chip will make use of a chipset called X99. A quick Google for "X99" turns up relatively little and basically nothing about an Intel chipset.
Piracy is a big deal pretty much everywhere at this point with everything from Wii games, to smartphone apps being installed without a purchase made. Some companies simply deal with this by threatening legal action or actually filing suit. Tweetbot has came up with a unique method to combat people pirating their relatively cheap app.
Tweetbot is considered by many to be the best iOS Twitter app and, as such, it is pirated a lot. The company has decided to combat this issue by coding recent versions of the app to post an embarrassing tweet to the user's account if their copy of the app has been pirated.
As you can see in the above image, the tweet reads "I've been demoing a pirated copy of @tweetbot and really like it so I'm going to buy a copy." A quick twitter search brought me pages upon pages of users who have this tweet posted to their account. Normally I do not agree with most companies methods of dealing with pirates, but this one is about as funny as it gets.
Render. Rinse. Repeat! That's AMD's new recommended method of hair care. The company could have just very well ushered in a new era of 3D graphics with its new hair processing technique dubbed TressFX. The process showcases more "realistic" and "natural" hair for in game characters.
AMD says that the new technique allows for individual strands of hair to be rendered out, and everything will flow more naturally with unique physics properties and collision detection. Long gone are the days when you have to suffer trough Laura Croft's pony tail bouncing within a seemingly flat plane.
AMD's blog stated:
Over the years we have seen some weird apps pop up in both the Apple App store as well as the Google Play Store, but this one may take the cake. Myshkin Ingawale, a graduate of MIT, has created an app that will analyze your urine and spits out a breakdown of several key parameters that allude to your state of health.
I know what you are thinking and there is no reason to worry. The app works by taking an image of a test strip that was dunked into a cup on urine. Dubbed Uchek It works by taking photos at set intervals and analyzing the color changes on the test strip. By doing this it is able to measure the levels of glucose, bilirubin, proteins, specific gravity, ketones, leukocytes, nitrites, urobilinogen and hematuria present in the urine.
Ingawale says that the app replaces much larger and more expensive machines which can cost between $1K and $10k. Those machines use proprietary test strips that can cost upwards of $100. For $20 Ingawale gives you a packet of test strips, and the app is only a $0.99 purchase in the Apple App Store. An Android version of the app is currently in development with the release date currently unspecified.
Google have just pushed out Chrome 26 in beta form, which includes improved spell checking abilities with updated dictionaries and added support for Korean, Tamil and Albanian. You can also sync custom dictionaries across multiple devices.
Added dictionaries aren't the only things Chrome 26 receives, support for grammar, homonym and context-sensitive checking, which is the same technology we see baked into Google search and Docs. The improved engine will correct proper nouns, such as the misspelling of Stephen Spielberg - whereas "Steven" is the correct way of spelling his name. This feature is currently locked to English users who have to enable the "Ask Google for suggestions" spell check option.
Other changes include:
Last week, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer pissed off a bunch of her employees by banning them from working remotely. Working from home can be great for some people, but now if you did that at Yahoo, you'll have to completely change your day-to-day life and work at a Yahoo office.
Jackie Reses, Yahoo's Human Resources boss, sent a memo out, advising that all remote employees would need to be working in Yahoo offices by June. This will mostly affect parents of young children, where working from home can be a massive benefit. Where it gets weird, is that Mayer herself had a child last year, and is a CEO of one of the biggest companies in the world - so how does she do it? How does she balance the trials and tribulations of motherhood, with the responsibilities of being a CEO?
Well, she builds her own nursery in her office, that's how! This will not bode well with mothers at Yahoo who currently work remotely, and so they should be upset. If it's good for Mayer, and not for them, what does that mean for working parents at Yahoo? Why not just build a nursery and staff it within Yahoo to keep everyone happy? I know that's what I'd do - keep your employees happy, at all costs.
We've heard so much about the PlayStation 4 in the last week or so, but what about the cost of games? Surely these next-gen games cost more to develop? Yes, yes they do, and that cost will see games rise by 5-10% at launch, thanks to the higher development costs on the PS4.
The news comes from EA's latest investor call, where the company's Chief Financial Officer, Blake Jorgensen, stated that there will be a 5-10% increase in development costs for PS4 titles. This means we should expect to see PS4 titles priced at $69.99 at launch, where over time, they'll eventually fall down to $59.99. In order to back this up, EA's Chief Technology Officer, Rajat Taneja, has said that PS4 games will be capable of 8-10 times the graphic capabilities of current-gen games, where we'll see games in 1080p at 60fps.
One last surprise, Taneja also said that he's seen Battlefield 4 and that "it's stunning."