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  • Samsung chief faces long day as South Korean court weighs arrest warrant

    FILE PHOTO: Jay Y. Lee attends the 2015 HO-AM Prize ceremony in SeoulBy Ju-min Park SEOUL (Reuters) - The head of South Korea's giant Samsung Group faces a long day in court on Wednesday as a judge decides whether he should be arrested for bribery in a corruption scandal that has engulfed President Park Geun-hye's administration. Investigators questioned Jay Y. Lee for 22 hours last week as a suspect in the scandal which led to parliament impeaching Park in December and throwing the country into crisis. Park, 64, remains in office but has been stripped of her powers while the Constitutional Court decides whether to make her the country's first democratically elected leader to be forced from office.


  • Facebook moves to head off tougher regulation in Germany

    File photo of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during a town hall at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, CaliforniaBy Caroline Copley and Eric Auchard BERLIN/MUNICH (Reuters) - Facebook is stepping up efforts to head off tougher regulation by Germany, a fierce critic of the social media network operator, saying on Monday it would do more to combat fake news as its chief operating officer met with officials in Berlin. Top German lawmakers are planning legislation this year to force Facebook to remove "hate speech" from its web pages within 24 hours or face fines, a push that could force the social mediagiant to bear more responsibility for content posted by users. Germany's strict libel and slander laws are meant to protect citizens by making it a crime to defame others.


  • Airbus CEO sees 'flying car' prototype ready by end of year

    Airbus Group Chief Executive Tom Enders speaks during a news conference on the aerospace group's annual results, in LondonAirbus Group plans to test a prototype for a self-piloted flying car as a way of avoiding gridlock on city roads by the end of the year, the aerospace group's chief executive said on Monday. Airbus last year formed a division called Urban Air Mobility that is exploring concepts such as a vehicle to transport individuals or a helicopter-style vehicle that can carry multiple riders. "One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground," Airbus CEO Tom Enders told the DLD digital tech conference in Munich, adding he hoped the Airbus could fly a demonstration vehicle for single-person transport by the end of the year.


  • Oracle opens start-up accelerator in Israel for cloud innovation

    The Oracle logo is seen on its campus in Redwood CityU.S. software provider Oracle Corp said on Monday it was opening an accelerator program in Israel for startups developing cloud technologies or whose technologies are based in the cloud. A pilot program was first launched in India and more centers will be announced soon. Oracle's startup cloud accelerator program builds on its excellence center for Israeli startups, which was established in 2003 by Oracle Israel in cooperation with the government to support the growth of early stage startups.


  • Baidu names former Microsoft exec as COO in artificial intelligence push

    Baidu's company logo is seen at its headquarters in BeijingChina's Baidu Inc said it has appointed a former Microsoft Corp executive as chief operating officer, part of a push into artificial intelligence as earnings from its core search engine business wane. Baidu has been refocusing its business strategy after the introduction of new advertising regulations, aimed at medical advertising in particular, led to a 16 percent drop in ad customers during quarter ended in September. Qi Lu, who was an executive vice president at Microsoft and headed its unit in charge of Office, Bing and Skype until last September, will help develop artificial intelligence as a key strategic focus for Baidu over the next decade.


  • China's Baidu opens augmented reality lab to boost waning profits

    A sign of Baidu is seen during the third annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen town of JiaxingChinese search engine Baidu Inc on Monday launched an augmented reality (AR) lab in Beijing as part of a $200 million effort to revitalize the company's shrinking profits with cutting edge technology. The lab, which currently employs 55 people, will initially aim to drive revenue through AR marketing, though will later explore healthcare and education. "AR marketing is taking off," Andrew Ng, the chief scientist overseeing Baidu's artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality and deep learning projects, told Reuters.


  • New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick isn't on 'Snapface' or 'InstantChat'

    New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick isn't on 'Snapface' or 'InstantChat'The NFL's football players are increasingly using social media to build their brands, express their frustrations, and sell their condos, but the same familiarity shouldn't be expected from one of the game's most successful coaches. "SnapFace and all that, I don’t really get those,” the New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told Boston's WEEI sports radio. Belichick was speaking in response to a Facebook Live video, broadcast from the Pittsburgh Steelers' locker room in the aftermath of their playoff victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, in which Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin called the Patriots "assholes." Ironically, Tomlin and a select group of players also used the post-game motivational speech to emphasize the value of staying quiet on social media in the week before the upcoming AFC Championship game between the two teams, all the while being broadcast via wide receiver Antonio Brown's Facebook Live stream.


  • New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick isn't on 'Snapface' or 'InstantChat'

    New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick isn't on 'Snapface' or 'InstantChat'The NFL's football players are increasingly using social media to build their brands, express their frustrations, and sell their condos, but the same familiarity shouldn't be expected from one of the game's most successful coaches. "SnapFace and all that, I don’t really get those,” the New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told Boston's WEEI sports radio. Belichick was speaking in response to a Facebook Live video, broadcast from the Pittsburgh Steelers' locker room in the aftermath of their playoff victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, in which Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin called the Patriots "assholes." Ironically, Tomlin and a select group of players also used the post-game motivational speech to emphasize the value of staying quiet on social media in the week before the upcoming AFC Championship game between the two teams, all the while being broadcast via wide receiver Antonio Brown's Facebook Live stream.


  • Pakistani right cries 'blasphemy' to muzzle progressives

    Faces of some of the five liberal activists who disappeared in Pakistan earlier this month -- no one has claimed responsibilityA virulent social media campaign to paint five disappeared Pakistani activists as blasphemers deserving execution has spotlighted how right-wing efforts to muzzle liberal voices using the country's draconian laws have found a powerful new platform online. The five men had stood against religious intolerance and at times criticised Pakistan's military, with several of them running progressive Facebook pages. "There are people trying to label these missing bloggers blasphemers.


  • Latest macOS beta has a new feature to help users conserve battery life With battery life performance on Apple's new MacBooks now an issue on everybody's radar, Apple's latest macOS Beta introduces a new feature designed to help users better preserve battery life. While the current incarnation of the macOS menu bar already alerts users as to which apps happen to be draining the battery, the latest iteration of macOS beta now includes a "Display Brightness" string under the "Using Significant Energy" heading. Originally spotted by MacRumors , users have found that if they click on "Display Brightness", the brightness on the display will automatically go down to 75%. If this at all sounds familiar, it's because Apple has a similar feature in iOS called Low Power mode. Originally introduced in iOS 9, Low Power mode will lower an iOS device's brightness when battery life drops below 20%. Though Apple's MacBooks are designed to deliver best in class battery life at 10 hours, Apple's recently revamped MacBook Pro line was recently involved in a mini-controversy after Consumer Reports found that battery life on Apple's premier notebook line varied wildly. As a quick example, one test found that battery life on Apple's non-TouchBar MacBook Pro fluctuated between 4.5 hours and 19 hours. Consequently, Apple's new MacBook Pros marked the first time that Apple's flagship notebook did not receive a "buy" recommendation from the publication. Over the past few days, however, Apple managed to identify the problem and has since  issued a software fix that alleviates the issue. In turn, Apple's new MacBook Pro line up has since received a "buy" recommendation from CR. Incidentally, Apple still hasn't added the "time remaining" option back to the menu bar after removing it last month amid a slew of complaints from users regarding wildly inconsistent estimates.
  • You can buy a handgun that looks like an iPhone, and cops are worried It might look like a bulky old-generation square iPhone to most people, police included, but the device in the image above is a weapon. One that actually works, and one that could have people fooled. The Ideal Conceal, which we told you about last March , is a .380 caliber handgun that’s currently available for preorder. The gun is supposed to “hide in plain sight” and become “virtually undetectable,” according to the Minnesota-based company that makes it. "The idea for Ideal Conceal follows the present-day demand for handguns that people can carry on a day to day basis, in a manner that makes carrying a gun easy to do,” the company says on its website. “From soccer moms to professionals of every type, this gun allows you the option of not being a victim. The gun fires high-velocity ammunition, Business Insider reports , which means it can be discharged with speed. Furthermore, the gun does not have to be cocked before being fired. When not in use, the gun can be “concealed” like in the image above, by folding it up. When you’d need to use it like, the bottom side folds out to make up the gun’s handle and reveal the trigger, like so: The gun retails for $395, and Ideal Conceal has already received over 12,000 preorders in the US, The Times notes . The Ideal Conceal has police in Europe worried. The gun is expected to arrive illegally in the region in the coming months. Belgian police are apparently on high alert — a warning regarding the gun was already issued. "To the eye, nothing can distinguish it from a mobile telephone," the warning read, according to local newspaper Derniere Heure . "Most people possess a smartphone, meaning that it can pass completely overlooked."
  • You can buy a handgun that looks like and iPhone, and cops are worried It might look like a bulky old-generation square iPhone to most people, police included, but the device in the image above is a weapon. One that actually works, and one that could have people fooled. The Ideal Conceal, which we told you about last March , is a .380 caliber handgun that’s currently available for preorder. The gun is supposed to “hide in plain sight” and become “virtually undetectable,” according to the Minnesota-based company that makes it. "The idea for Ideal Conceal follows the present-day demand for handguns that people can carry on a day to day basis, in a manner that makes carrying a gun easy to do,” the company says on its website. “From soccer moms to professionals of every type, this gun allows you the option of not being a victim. The gun fires high-velocity ammunition, Business Insider reports , which means it can be discharged with speed. Furthermore, the gun does not have to be cocked before being fired. When not in use, the gun can be “concealed” like in the image above, by folding it up. When you’d need to use it like, the bottom side folds out to make up the gun’s handle and reveal the trigger, like so: The gun retails for $395, and Ideal Conceal has already received over 12,000 preorders in the US, The Times notes . The Ideal Conceal has police in Europe worried. The gun is expected to arrive illegally in the region in the coming months. Belgian police are apparently on high alert — a warning regarding the gun was already issued. "To the eye, nothing can distinguish it from a mobile telephone," the warning read, according to local newspaper Derniere Heure . "Most people possess a smartphone, meaning that it can pass completely overlooked."
  • Japanese rocket suffers catastrophic failure Japan's ambitious plan to launch a pint-sized rocket equipped with a satellite has come to an abrupt end after the rocket suffered a communication failure and ended up plummeting back to Earth. The tiny rocket was launched from the Uchinoura Space Center at approximately 8:30 on Sunday morning with its microsatellite payload which it hoped to send into orbit.  At first things seemed to be going rather well for the rather small rocket, which measured approximately 35 feet in length. The satellite it was carrying is also a miniature, at just over a foot in width. The rocket managed to cruise skyward and appeared to be working as intended, but Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency later revealed that the rocket and its satellite ended up in a water grave. The agency explained that communications with the rocket malfunctioned and one of its boosters didn't go off as planned. This caused the rocket to lose its momentum and fall back to Earth. Japan's mini rocket ended up somewhere in the Philippine Sea, making the mission a total loss. The launch had originally been scheduled for January 11 but was postponed several days due to windy conditions. As technology advances many space agencies from around the world are finding ways to make their satellites smaller and smaller, reducing costs and making it easier — in theory — to get them into orbit. In December, NASA released a video showing how its Pegasus XL rocket hauled several tiny satellites into space with the help of a highly modified jet airliner. That launch went much more smoothly than Japan's ill-fated effort, but setbacks are just part of the game.
  • Apple’s TV plans are finally starting to take shape Apple finally seems to be warming up to the the fact that it needs original programming if it ever hopes to compete in the TV space. To be sure, there are no shortage of movies and TV shows available for purchase and rental via iTunes, but Netflix has demonstrated that a stable of high-quality and exclusive content is what really moves the needle in today's ever-evolving entertainment age. Late last week, word surfaced that Apple was finally preparing to dive into the realm of original content head first. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal , Apple has been busy talking with producers about developing episodic shows similar in style to hit shows like HBO's Westworld and Netflix's Stranger Things . This is a promising development given that shows like  Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps  aren't exactly thrilling programs capable of attracting a wide audience in the same way that a show like House of Cards can pull in viewers. In the wake of that report, Apple Music chief and longtime music industry veteran Jimmy Iovine explained Apple's goals in the media space while appearing at a Television Critics Association event this past weekend. Iovine's remarks were originally relayed by The Hollywood Reporter . "At Apple Music, what we're trying to create is an entire cultural, pop cultural experience, and that happens to include audio and video," Iovine said. "If South Park walks into my office, I am not going to say you're not musicians, you know? We're going to do whatever hits popular culture smack on the nose. We're going to try." Reports indicate that Apple's first stab at compelling original programming may hit Apple Music before the end of the year. As a final point, it's worth noting that Apple's deep pockets could certainly help it roll out any number of hit shows. As we've explained previously, Apple would only need $538 million in order to cumulatively produce one season of each of the following shows: Game of Thrones Breaking Bad House of Cards Orange is the new Black Arrested Development Mad Men Marco Polo The Wire The Big Bang Theory Sons of Anarchy All in all, it's reassuring to see that Apple finally seems to have a semblance of a strategy in a space that it's ignored for far too long.
  • ‘Game of Thrones’ might have more episodes left than we thought HBO hasn't yet formally renew Game of Thrones for an eighth season, and there’s an exciting — or annoying — reason for that. It all depends on your personal take on the hit TV series. Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss surprised fans last year when they said that they have some 13 hours left in the Game of Thrones saga. That implied that HBO would only air 13 more episodes over the course of the next two seasons. We already know that season 7 will hit HBO later than initially expected, and it will consist of just 7 episodes. So we thought HBO had settled on a six-episode eight and final season. However, TVLine found out that HBO is still waiting for Benioff and Weiss to decide how many episodes they want in season 8. That’s why the last Game of Thrones season has not been formally confirmed. “The only thing we’re working out is how many episodes they want to do,” HBO programming president Casey Bloys told the site. Bloys “hopes” there will be more than six episodes. “They’re still figuring it out because I think they’re trying to get a shape of the season,” he said. “They always do what they think [will yield] the best version of the show. It’s all about how many they’re comfortable [with]. But I’ll always take more.” However, more episodes of a TV series won’t necessarily make it a better show. Just look at the most recent season of  The Walking Dead . Fans could certainly have done without quite a few of the episodes in the first half of the current season. Moreover, Benioff and Weiss last year said they had a firm conclusion in mind for Game of Thrones when they started it. “I think we’re down to our final 13 episodes,” Benioff said last April. “We’re heading into the final lap.” He then added that it’s ““not just [about] trying not to outstay [our] welcome.” He continued, “We’re trying to tell one cohesive story with a beginning, middle and end,” he continued. “We’ve known the end for quite some time, and we’re hurtling towards it. Those last images from [the Season 6 finale] showed that. Daenerys is finally coming back to Westeros, Jon Snow is king of the North, and Cersei is sitting on the Iron Throne. And we know the Night King is up there, waiting for all of them. The pieces are on the board now… and we are heading toward the endgame.”
  • Russian Cyberattacks 'Sloppy' Compared to What's Next

    Russian Cyberattacks 'Sloppy' Compared to What's NextThe Russian hacks of the Democratic National Committee might have gone unnoticed if one of the two attacking groups hadn't made so much "noise," a security expert told the ShmooCon hacker conference here yesterday (Jan. 15). Because that group, dubbed Fancy Bear or APT 28, was so sloppy, it was caught within a few weeks, said Toni Gidwani, director of research operations at Arlingon, Virginia, cybersecurity firm ThreatConnect. The subsequent investigation led to the discovery of a year-old, continuing penetration of the DNC's servers by a rival Russian group, called Cozy Bear or APT 29, that had previously gone undetected.


  • Mark Hamil as ‘The Joker’ thrashes Donald Trump yet again Outside of his memorable roles in Star Wars , Mark Hamill over the past few decades has enjoyed an incredibly successful run as a Hollywood voice over actor. Taking a look at Hamill's impressively long resume, his voice work as the Joker from  Batman: The Animated Series  truly stands out as something iconic. Last week, Hamill thought he'd have a little fun and decided to record one of Donald Trump's widely circulated tweets using his patented and quintessentially evil Joker voice. The result was nothing short of stunning. This week, Hamill was at it again, this time reading Trump's recent Twitter tirade about Meryl Streep. As for some quick background, Streep during last week's Golden Globe Awards show trashed President-elect Donald Trump without mentioning him by name. "There was one performance this year that stunned me," Streep said in part. "It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good, there was nothing good about it, but it was effective and it did its job. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back." Never one to ignore a insult or even a perceived slight, Trump predictably took to Twitter where he called Streep "one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood." In a new audio recording titled "Return of Trumpster", Hamill once again delivers a homerun. And for anyone who missed Hamill's first effort, here it is below for your listening enjoyment. https://twitter.com/HamillHimself/status/817901534948179968?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw As Trump prepares to take over the Oval Office this week, we can expect to hear more Hamill as Joker as Trump audio recordings in the weeks and months ahead.
  • Here’s the battery that could have saved the Galaxy Note 7 Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 was absolutely the most publicized example of faulty battery technology in the history of mobile phones, but exploding batteries aren't exclusively a Samsung problem. A quick Google search will produce news stories about defective batteries in phones from Apple, LG, Sony, Nokia, and every other major manufacturer. Lithium-ion batteries are simply not a perfectly reliable power source, and while the Note 7 was an extreme example, every manufacturer could benefit from batteries that are able to extinguish themselves if they get a bit too hot. Now, science has delivered exactly that. A new paper by Stanford University researchers, published in Science Advances , describes an innovative battery technology that includes a flame-retardant substance which allows the batteries to provide power as normal, but will spring into action if things get out of hand. http://d3a5ak6v9sb99l.cloudfront.net/content/advances/3/1/e1601978/F1.large.jpg?width=800&height=600&carousel=1 A small amount of triphenyl phosphate is housed inside a thin shell inside of the battery itself. If the battery is working normally, you'll never even know it's there, but if for some reason the temperature inside the battery passes the 150 degree Celsius  (302F) — as it does in cases where batteries balloon up and explode — the shell will melt and the phosphate will extinguish the situation. In their testing, the researchers were able to demonstrate that the battery safeguard could prevent the battery from going nuclear in just four-tenths of a second. In a situation like that of the Galaxy Note 7 — where it is thought defective batteries, casing design, or a combination of both were responsible for the explosions — these batteries would have been able to prevent themselves from spitting fire. Once these new batteries have self-policed their explosive tendencies they are no longer function properly, so Samsung would still have a battery replacement problem on its hands, but there would be no headlines about smartphones burning down homes, garages, or cars.
  • Analyst: Apple’s next MacBook Pros will have Kaby Lake processor, more RAM

    Analyst: Apple’s next MacBook Pros will have Kaby Lake processor, more RAMWell-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at KGI Securities in Taiwan has issued a new note indicating that this year’s MacBooks will be upgraded with Intel’s Kaby Lake processors, as well as 32 gigabytes of RAM in the 15-inch model. According to Kuo, a new 12-inch MacBook will begin production in the second quarter of this year, new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros will begin production in the early third-quarter, and a new 15-inch MacBook will begin mass production in the final quarter of the year, featuring 32 gigabytes of memory and aimed at high-end users. It’s unclear whether this last machine will fall into the “Pro” lineup or have simply the “MacBook” nomenclature.


  • Analyst: Apple’s next MacBook Pros will have Kaby Lake processor, more RAM

    Analyst: Apple’s next MacBook Pros will have Kaby Lake processor, more RAMWell-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at KGI Securities in Taiwan has issued a new note indicating that this year’s MacBooks will be upgraded with Intel’s Kaby Lake processors, as well as 32 gigabytes of RAM in the 15-inch model. According to Kuo, a new 12-inch MacBook will begin production in the second quarter of this year, new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros will begin production in the early third-quarter, and a new 15-inch MacBook will begin mass production in the final quarter of the year, featuring 32 gigabytes of memory and aimed at high-end users. It’s unclear whether this last machine will fall into the “Pro” lineup or have simply the “MacBook” nomenclature.


  • Failed Lily drone startup allegedly used GoPro in promotional video, lied about it The much-hyped Lily drone is officially dead in the water after the company realized it wouldn't be able to actually produce the autonomous flying camera that it had promised buyers for over a year, but the legal battle over how the whole thing shook out is just getting started. In a lawsuit filed in California alleges that the startup was doomed from the beginning, and continued to mislead customers for months, while at the same time using footage from its competitors hardware in an attempt to show its non-existent drone's magical capabilities. As Recode reports, the lawsuit was filed by the San Francisco District Attorney's office, and has been in the works since long before Lily publicly declared failure. The primary issue with how Lily rose to viral fame — while raking in over $30 million in pre-orders — is that the Lily drone never really existed to begin with. In emails that were released as part of the lawsuit, Lily CEO Antoine Balaresque openly mulled the idea of lying to Lily customers by claiming that the footage shot in the promotional video was actually from a Lily drone. "I am worried that a lens geek could study our images up close and detect the unique GoPro lens footprint. But I am just speculating here: I don't know much about lenses but I think we should be extremely careful if we decide to lie publicly," he wrote. In reality, the footage shown in the extremely popular Lily video was shot using a DJI drone and a GoPro camera. The company claimed that the footage was shot on a Lily prototype, but the suit also alleges that it simply wouldn't have been possible since "Lily Robotics did not have a single Lily Camera prototype that had all the features advertised." But despite the inevitable court battle that lies ahead, it seems that Lily did do something right; The company reportedly has every cent from the customer pre-orders on hand and ready to refund to each and every buyer. The cash was held in "cold storage," according to Recode's source, meaning that if you were one of the many who dropped hundreds of dollars on a drone that never existed, at least you'll get a check in the mail.
  • Even Nintendo didn’t know the NES Classic would be this popular Ever since it came out, the NES Classic Edition has been permanently out of stock . Dribbles have come into Best Buy, Amazon Prime Now and Walmart, but consoles have been snapped up by people willing to wait in line at 3AM, in December. While it might be nice for Nintendo's ego to have people scrambling to find the console, it's not great for Nintendo's bottom line. NES Classic Editions have been going at resellers for around $200, which is a lot of revenue forgone for Nintendo. And, let's not even mention all the consoles that might have been sold as Christmas presents, if customers could have found them in store. In a series of interviews during the launch of the Nintendo Switch , COO of Nintendo America Reggie Fils-Aime explained what caused the stock overruns. Speaking to  Wired , he said that "what happened with NES Classic is that was a situation where the global demand was well in excess of anything we had anticipated, and that’s what created shortages. The good news, at least for consumers in the Americas, is we’re going to continue to make the NES Classic available. With the ongoing level of supply, the ongoing demand is going to be met. We know the concern." "I think that incremental demand is what surprised us. Because again, how many times have you purchased the original Super Mario Bros. ? We thought that the consumer that already had a Wii or a Wii U and had purchased those games once or twice already, we didn’t think that they’d buy the NES Classic. And they did." To paraphrase: we're all a bunch of suckers that keep handing Nintendo our money.
  • What if Microsoft’s Surface Phone is actually a foldable Surface tablet? Microsoft might be out of the smartphone-making business for the time being, but the company has been rumored to be working on a high-end Surface Phone. It’s unclear whether the company will go forward with a Surface Phone launch anytime soon, although a new discovery suggests that Microsoft is also studying foldable smartphones — the kind of devices that could easily be turned into Windows tablets. Samsung, Apple, and others are also researching foldable smartphones. Just like its competitors, Microsoft also has documentation that highlights its foldable smartphone vision. Found by MSPowerUser , USPTO Patent No. 9,541,962 describes a Mobile computing device having a flexible hinge structure . The patent, awarded on January 10th, features plenty of imagery to explain Microsoft’s vision. The user would be able to easily switch from tablet to smartphone mode, with the screen being placed on the exterior of the device. That way, the tablet could be used as a phone in compact form, or as a tablet when unfolded. A recent report said Samsung will release a smartphone just like the one Microsoft envisions later this year. LG is also rumored to have similar foldable screen technology in place, tech that’s supposedly even more advanced than Samsung’s. The report claimed that LG might even provide foldable screens to its competitors, including Apple and others. The Microsoft patent also imagines devices that would have two hinges and three foldable parts. Furthermore, Microsoft even lays out screen sizes for mini-tablet and smartphone mode, as well as resolutions. Microsoft’s patent doesn’t guarantee that such a device will actually be built. However, The Verge notes that the Surface Studio leaked out months in advanced thanks to patent filings.
  • Bad news: GameStop has already sold out of the Nintendo Switch While Nintendo can't afford to let the Switch become another NES Classic Edition by harshly limiting the stock in order to increase demand, it looks like snagging a Switch on day one without a preorder is going to be a tall task. On Sunday, GameStop sent out a press release revealing that it had "reserved all of its first allotment of Nintendo Switch systems," and is now working to get more. “The fact that this initial allotment has been completely reserved in a matter of a few days demonstrates gamers desire for this fun and revolutionary gaming system,” said Bob Puzon, senior vice president of merchandising at GameStop. “We’re working closely with Nintendo to get additional Nintendo Switch units, and will let our customers know when they become available." In the meantime, Puzon encourages customers to the Switch page on GameStop's website , where they can scroll to the bottom and sign up to receive updates when and if more units are made available for preorder. Although the Switch itself is sold out at the moment, the games are not, so if you want to preorder The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild , Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or Super Mario Odyssey , you can do so right now. As we did with the NES Classic Edition, we'll be sure to provide updates as often as we can when we hear about Switch preorders going live at retailers both online and off. You can also keep an eye on the Amazon widget below, where stock should be available every so often until the Switch launches on March 3rd.
  • Canada's Portag3 Ventures invests in Street Contxt By Solarina Ho TORONTO (Reuters) - Portag3 Ventures, a financial technology fund backed by Canada's Power Financial Corp , has invested an undisclosed amount in finance startup Street Contxt, Portag3's president said in an interview on Monday. Started in 2012, Toronto-based Street Contxt lets financial analysts distribute their research reports to capital markets clients and track how they are used, and offers a system for money managers to organize and make the most of the research they amass. "Our target for this coming year is to make 10 to 15 investments," Adam Felesky, Portag3 president and co-founder said.
  • Making an iPhone in the USA wouldn’t bring jobs here One of President-Elect Trump's few consistent policies has been to vaguely try to bring manufacturing jobs back to the USA. An obvious target for his wrath would be the iPhone, especially given Apple's other problems with keeping cash overseas. Bringing iPhone production from the USA to China would, for Trump, theoretically bring some of Apple's money back to the US, and create a few good ole'-fashioned blue-collar jobs. But there's one problem: if iPhone factories came to the US, you can be sure that robots would be the only ones getting more jobs. A shining example of this comes today from the chairman of Pegatron, a Chinese-based manufacturer that also has some small plants in the US, which mostly make repair components for HP and Dell. TH Tung, Pegatron's chairman, said that those US-based plants could easily increase production by three to five times if necessary -- for example, if Trump introduced crippling tariffs on Chinese-made components. But that increase in production wouldn't come by hiring more workers. Instead, it would almost exclusively come from increased capital spending and automation. The relative cost of skilled labor in the US and China is such that it's cheaper to build a robot than it is to hire one US worker to replace one Chinese worker in the supply chain. Regardless of geographical location, increased automation in technology manufacturing is a given. Foxconn, Apple's biggest manufacturing partner in China, is pushing ahead with building fully-automated assembly lines in its Chinese plants. Foxconn is said to be making 10,000 of its automated "Foxbots" per year, and that's with manufacturing still in China. If Trump forced Foxconn to move production to American plants, where labor is exponentially more expensive, you can be certain that Foxconn's automation plans will pick up speed. This isn't all idle speculation. Following Trump's election, rumors spread that Apple was conducting a feasibility study into moving iPhone production to the US. Although that might seem like a victory for Trump -- Apple never looked at moving iPhone production stateside for Obama! -- it's likely just good forwards planning from Apple. The question of iPhone manufacturing has already come up between Tim Cook and Donald Trump, so Cook having a study that says it's impossible to move iPhone manufacturing to the US is really just an insurance policy. Unfortunately for Trump, it's really a moot point. Even if he could get iPhone manufacturing shifted to the US -- and that's a huge, towering if -- it seems that all he'd be doing is giving new jobs to the people who build Foxconn's robots. "Make the Chinese robotics industry great again" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
  • Watch the SNL press conference sketch that pissed off Donald Trump In the final episode before President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration ceremony, Saturday Night Live packed as many shots as it could at Trump in a sketch lampooning the incoming president's recent press conference. Unsurprisingly, Trump wasn't a big fan of the sketch, and lashed out on Twitter once again. Before we get to the reaction, it's worth watching the sketch itself, which focused on healthcare, the star-studded inauguration and the bizarre reports that came out in the days before the press conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_Gf0mGJfP8 The fact that Trump gave SNL the opportunity to bring Kenan Thompson's Steve Harvey impression into the mix without even having to come up with some contrived reason for him being there was astounding. If nothing else, Trump is making the lives of the SNL writers easier than its been in years. But rather than ignore the show altogether, or perhaps even take credit for the show's ratings bounce through 2016, Trump decided to once again bash the show on Twitter, calling it the worst of the network: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/820764134857969666 One of these days, Trump is going to realize that his tweets are just a signal boost the "really bad television" and... oh, who am I kidding. He's going to continue to tweet about SNL throughout his presidency . We should also expect to see his press secretary, Sean Spicer, stick up for his boss during Trump's reign, as he did this weekend when he appeared on Fox News program MediaBuzz to say that SNL "used to be funny and entertaining and light-hearted," but is now "just bad." https://twitter.com/MediaBuzzFNC/status/820684339176423424 Urine trouble now, NBC! No one's going to stream Saturday Night Live  after this.
  • Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan has passed away

    Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan has passed awayGene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon, has died at the age of 82, according to NASA. “Truly, America has lost a patriot and pioneer who helped shape our country's bold ambitions to do things that humankind had never before achieved,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.


  • Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan has passed away

    Apollo astronaut Gene Cernan has passed awayGene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon, has died at the age of 82, according to NASA. “Truly, America has lost a patriot and pioneer who helped shape our country's bold ambitions to do things that humankind had never before achieved,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.


  • Today only, save $70 on a 13-inch Chromebook with 10 hour battery life Windows might still be the most popular desktop operating system in the world, but it sure seems like Microsoft's days at the top are numbered. The company is doing everything it can to stay competitive, and Windows 10 was certainly a massive step in the right direction compared to Windows 8. But an increasing number of computer buyers are looking for decent laptops for the least possible amount of money, and Windows machines still can't offer the same value as Chromebooks. Here's a perfect example: right now Amazon is selling the Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook for just $179.99. It offers a powerful processor, 4GB of RAM, USB-C connectivity, 10 hours of battery life and more, and it's a fraction of the price of a comparable Windows laptop. Here are some key details from the product page: Ultrafast USB Type-C Data Transfer Rate: ThinkPad Chromebook is equipped with two USB Type-C ports, for powerful and fast connectivity to peripherals. USB Type-C can charge your laptop or your peripherals and provides video and data I/O. The connector is also smaller – narrowing the gap between device and connector size – and reversible, meaning it doesn’t have to be oriented "correctly" to connect to the port. Thin and Light Design; Long Battery Life: Starting at a mere 3.2 lbs (1.4 kg) and just 0.78” (19.8 mm) thin, this Chromebook is ultraportable – it’s perfect for productivity on the go. And with up to 10 hours of battery life, you can work a full day without recharging. Tested to Military Specifications: Military-specification testing validates the ruggedness, durability, and quality of this Chromebook by conducting 12 tests. Integrated 720p HD Webcam & Dual Noise-Cancelling Microphones: Enjoy superior web conferencing on your Chromebook, which includes a low-light sensitive 720p HD webcam with wide-angle viewing and face-tracking, dual noise-cancelling microphones with configurations for crystal-clear private and conference mode VoIP meetings, plus, convenient multimedia keys for quick and easy access to microphone, speaker, and camera controls.
  • All the ways Nintendo screwed up the Switch reveal (and how to fix them) On Thursday, January 12th, Nintendo finally pulled the curtain back on its next home console: the Switch. As a detractor of the Wii U from the day it was unveiled, I was pleased to see that the company had seemingly veered back on course with the Switch — a hybrid home/portable console with some exciting ideas and one of the most anticipated launch titles in history. But then reality began to sink in. As enthusiastic as I am for the hardware itself ( as you can see in my hands-on report ), it's hard to look past all of the ways that Nintendo botched the reveal of a console that everyone wanted to like. Below, I'm going to explore all of the ways that Nintendo bungled the reveal of a console that absolutely has to succeed, and provide some (potentially untenable) solutions for the company to consider. 1. The Price Nintendo is asking consumers to pay $299 for an underpowered console that doesn't even come with a charging controller. Both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One retail for $249 at the moment, and both have massive libraries of games that will only grow larger throughout 2017 and beyond. Whatever Nintendo has to do to lower the price of the launch bundle, it should. Whether that means removing the non-charging Grip controller or selling the Switch Dock separately or throwing all the wrist straps into the ocean, the Switch simply isn't competitive at $299, and never will be. 2. The Launch Lineup This section probably deserves its own post, but I'll try to be brief. At the time of writing, Nintendo has announced five retail games that will be available for the Switch on launch day. Five. I think I downloaded more than five games on my iPhone this weekend. To make matters worse, two of the launch games are ports, and only one actually looks anything like a triple-A console game: 1-2 Switch ($49.99) Just Dance 2017 ($59.99) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild ($59.99) Skylanders: Imaginators ($59.99) Super Bomberman R ($59.99) If Nintendo wants to convince anyone other than diehard fans to buy a Switch at launch, it needs to make 1-2 Switch a pack-in game. I won't even go into the fact that 1-2 Switch looks like a collection of tech demos worth about $10, but to take it out of the bundle and sell it for $50 is criminal. 3. The Games I know, we just talked about games, but the problem runs much deeper than the launch lineup. According to Nintendo, Only 23 games are currently scheduled to hit the Switch in 2017. Of those, the only true exclusives are Breath of the Wild , Splatoon 2, ARMS, Super Bomberman R  and Super Mario Odyssey , with the remainder of the list consisting of ports ( I Am Setsuna , Minecraft, Skyrim ), remasters ( Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Ultra Street Figher II ) and indie games ( Has-Been Heroes , Snipperclips ). Super Mario Odyssey could very well be the killer app for the Switch over the holiday season. Zelda might be massive enough to tide us over until the end of summer. But for now, it's hard to see how the Switch is going to avoid the same fate as the Wii U, especially when things dry up completely in early 2018. Thankfully, unlike many of these issues, Nintendo has time to address this one. No matter what it takes, Nintendo needs to come to E3 2017 with as full a slate of releases as it has had since the GameCube hit store shelves in 2001. If 2018 for the Switch is anything like 2016 was for the Wii U, it's already over. 4. The Accessories If you ever needed proof that Nintendo exists in an alternate reality, look at how much it charges for accessories. A set of Joy-Con controllers costs $79.99. A single Joy-Con controller, which you would only ever buy if you broke or lost one, costs $49.99. Yeah, you show 'em, Nintendo. Punish the idiots who break just one of their Joy-Con controllers by charging them an extra $10 to replace it. What's even more stunning than the price of the Joy-Cons — which are more expensive than a DualShock 4 or an Xbox One controller, despite the fact that they don't come with an actual controller shell — is that the Grip that comes in the box of the $299 Switch can't be charged . You have to take the Joy-Cons out of the Grip and slot them back into the Switch console to charge them, or pay $29.99 for Charging Grip. This one's easy: GIVE US A CHARGING GRIP IN THE BOX, NINTENDO. 5. The Online Service Nintendo waited three months after revealing the Switch to actually talk about it. Presumably, this was because there were still elements of the console that needed to be finalized before the company would be ready to show it to the public. Somehow, even after the three months were up, Nintendo still hadn't figured out the Switch's online service is going to look like. All Nintendo knows for sure is that we'll be paying for it. Honestly, the fact that the Switch online service is paid instead of free doesn't bother me all that much — it's the industry standard, whether we like it or not. What does bug me is that Nintendo expects us to buy a gaming console in March 2017 that won't have a full online service until fall 2017. Here's the kicker: Nintendo is going to do its own sort of PlayStation Plus/Games with Gold program and give away a free NES or SNES game every month to those who subscribe to the service. The games will even be updated with online play! Unfortunately, once the month is up, you can't play the games anymore. Another easy solution: let subscribers keep their NES games and figure out what you're going to do with your online service before the console launches in March. You have a month and a half. Get to work. I really like the Nintendo Switch. I dig the Joy-Con controllers, I love the improvements made to the Switch Pro Controller, I can't believe I can play Mario Kart 8 on the go and I want to have one in my home on March 3rd. I just wish that Nintendo would stop finding ways to make desirable products undesirable. The Nintendo Switch will be available on March 3rd for $299.99
  • The original iPhone changed phones as we knew them, but iPhone 4S was a game-changer too

    The original iPhone changed phones as we knew them, but iPhone 4S was a game-changer tooLast week the tech internet lit up with a collective nostalgia around the ten-year anniversary of the launch of Apple’s iPhone. The iPhone dramatically changed a lot of things, least of all the way we use phones.


  • The original iPhone changed phones as we knew them, but iPhone 4S was a game-changer too

    The original iPhone changed phones as we knew them, but iPhone 4S was a game-changer tooLast week the tech internet lit up with a collective nostalgia around the ten-year anniversary of the launch of Apple’s iPhone. The iPhone dramatically changed a lot of things, least of all the way we use phones.


  • Everything we already know about the Galaxy S8 Samsung's next flagship phone, and the first big device since the Note 7 inferno, is set to drop sometime in the next few months. As per hallowed internet tradition, we're already awash with rumors and leaked images about what to expect, and when. Flat screen or edge? One of the biggest questions remaining about the Galaxy S8 is whether we're going to see one phone or two. Last year, Samsung released the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge -- basically, the same phones, but the Edge has a curved bezel that lets you do something with the side of the screen when the phone is on your bedside table, or something. So far, rumors are split on whether Samsung is going to go all-out on the edge with the Galaxy S8, or if we're going to get a flat version as well. The edge version of the Galaxy S6 and S7 proved to be reasonably popular, so it's not clear how many people Samsung would be annoying if it goes with an edge-only approach. One this is fairly clear: we are getting a version with a curved edge. Numerous design renderings and leaked photos have shown a curved-screen version, and given that the edge display is one thing that strongly differentiates Samsung from Apple (and the rest of the Android crowd), Samsung is unlikely to do away with the curve. Headphone jack is here to stay One rumor that looks likely is that Samsung will buck the trend and release a flagship smartphone with a headphone jack. This is a no-brainer move for Samsung: Apple has suffered a backlash from loyal fans over its decision to remove the headphone jack, and Samsung has proven itself capable of making a waterproof phone that keeps the headphone jack. This is good news for most of the human race, as a disturbing number of other Android manufacturers have decided to follow Apple's lead and remove the headphone jack. HTC and Motorola are both pushing higher-end phones  that are 3.5mm-jack-free, so Samsung should be able to get easy money selling to the small market of people who have normal headphones. Watch for two sizes Even though Samsung might stick solely with curved screens for the Galaxy S8, that doesn't mean we'll only get one phone. Leaks and rumors from insiders suggest we'll see two Galaxy S8 models this year: a Galaxy S8, with a 5.7-inch screen, and a Galaxy S8 Plus with a 6.2-inch screen. Insert jokes about copying Apple here. If those screen sizes seem big, that's because they are. Apple's two iPhone models have 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens, by comparison. If Samsung's phones had the same-sized bezels, they would be objectively huge. But the saving grace here is that screen size does not equal phone size. By shrinking the bezel and using a curved screen, Samsung may well be able to fit a huge screen into a phone the same size as Apple's iPhone, which would be a big advantage when it comes to usability. All the power you'd expect Between a combination of spec leaks and just accepting the obvious, we have a decent idea about what will be powering teh Galaxy S8. You can expect Samsung to use a combination of its own Exynos chip and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, depending on which carrier and region a phone is sold for. That chipset will be backed up by 4GB or 6GB of RAM, and 64GB of onboard storage would give Samsung back the edge, as Apple raised the base storage to 32GB on the new iPhones. One detail that has consistently come up is the existence of a "Game Mode," a software setting that would fully unlock the phone's processing power. In addition to boosting gaming power, it would also let Samsung win the battle of benchmarks. This is kind of amusing, as Samsung has been caught out before using software settings to try and game the benchmarks. A "Game Mode" would just make the power-mode software available to everyone, thereby making it OK to use on benchmarking apps.
  • Nvidia’s fantastic new Shield TV is now available Nvidia didn't make a very big deal about the upgrade it gave its Shield streaming box earlier this month at CES in Las Vegas, but the features list pretty much speaks for itself. Despite being literally identical in design, the new Shield is a lot more capable and packs some really stellar new features that make it one of, if not the best streaming media accessory on the market. Today, the company announced that the refreshed Shield is now available to order. The new Nvidia Shield includes 4k streaming of video content from all the major players, as well as 4k PC-to-TV streaming of games being run on the same network. So, you can boot up League of Legends or Battlefield 1 on your gaming rig and play it from your couch on the big screen in the glorious 4k detail. Those two things are probably enough to make the Shield's $199 price tag seem totally reasonable, but Nvidia really went all out on this thing. Since the Shield runs on a version of Android, it includes not just the bells and whistle associated with Android TV, but now also packs the Alexa-like Google Assistant as well. The assistant can be summoned from whatever room you have your shield in, but that wasn't enough for Nvidia either, so they developed the Nvidia Spot, which is a small speaker and microphone that plugs into any power outlet and spreads the functionality of Assistant to as many other rooms as you want. The Shield comes with a physical remote and a game controller. The Spot add-ons aren't quite ready for the spotlight just yet, however, but Nvidia plans to announce pricing and availability soon.
  • Galaxy S8 release date reportedly set for April 15th We started the week with a bunch of fresh Galaxy S8 rumors, including an extensive preview of Samsung’s upcoming phone and new renders that may have offered measurements of the handset. That, however, isn’t the whole story. A new report out of Asia claims that the Galaxy S8 is going to be released in mid-April, complete with some big camera improvements. According to Korean-language  site ETNews , Samsung is looking to improve the selfie this year. Therefore, its mobile devices will have better front-facing shooters, Galaxy S8 included. The report says that on Samsung will launch new smartphones that have significantly improved front cameras on April 15th. It’s likely that the Galaxy S8, already expected to arrive in the second half of April, will lead this mini-selfie revolution. The report indicates that Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy A will have 8-megapixel cameras. The Galaxy S8 should have an improved 8-megapixel shooter, complete with auto-focus features. It's worth noting that April 15th is a Saturday, and Samsung typically launches flagship smartphones on Fridays. The report also says that the Galaxy S8 might not copy the iPhone 7 when it comes to one critical feature. The iPhone 8 and the iPhone 7s Plus are both tipped to feature dual rear cameras this year. The Galaxy S8 might not have a dual camera on the back as initially planned, as the idea has supposedly been killed during development. Samsung insider Eldar Murtazin did not mention anything about a dual rear camera on the Galaxy S8 in his extensive preview . Existing Galaxy S8 case leaks do not show a dual camera on the phone’s back either. ETNews also says that the Galaxy S8 will have an iris recognition camera on the front side, just like the Galaxy Note 7.
  • Flying cars are real, and Airbus is making them this year If there's one thing that the year 2000 and beyond really let us down on it's the unfulfilled promise of flying cars. Sure, there are airplanes that can be driven on city streets, but they're not exactly commonplace, and definitely not as impressive as what 80s sci-fi movies had led us to believe. Now Airbus, one of the biggest aviation brands on the planet, is promising to do its part to clear up traffic congestion with autonomous flying taxis, and it plans on having a working prototype flying high by the end of this year. As Reuters reports , Airbus CEO Tom Enders announced the company's plans to continue development within its Urban Air Mobility division of a single-person autonomous flying vehicle at a recent tech conference in Germany. "We are in an experimentation phase, we take this development very seriously," Enders said. "One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground." Enders also cited the potential for flying cars to provide some much needed relief for city infrastructure like roads and bridges — after all, flying cars don't stress the pavement. What's more, Rodin Lyasoff, the CEO of A^3, Airbus's advanced projects group, suggests that flying cars are actually much closer to reality than we think. “Many of the technologies needed, such as batteries, motors and avionics are most of the way there,” he says on the company's website. But Lyasoff also notes that one of the biggest hurdles currently is the technology that will allow the vehicles to avoid collisions when flying autonomously, though he says solving that issue is already a top priority. The company's current plans of having a single-passenger craft in the air within the next 12 months are ambitious, but seemingly within the realm of possibility, so grab your air sickness bag and strap in because the future is just around the corner.