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Author Nick Montfort tells us how to define the future

February 5, 2018 Alex 0

Nick Montfort is a professor in MIT’s Comparative Media Studies/Writing and the author of a new book, “The Future.” His book explores “future makers” – people who create the future with their work. It’s a fascinating read and he’s a fascinating thinker in the space. Our conversation on Technotopia started with the Norman Bel Geddes, designer of… Read More

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Amazon’s Soaring Healthcare Ambition: The Promise and the Problem

February 5, 2018 Alex 0

Healthcare is a mess in the United States. Consumers pay more and get less than in most other developed countries. Strong comprehensive healthcare is unaffordable for most without substantial help, which is why putting the burden on the government really does not work. If people cannot afford something, individually aggregating it under what amounts to a tax is not really any better — and given the extra overhead, arguably is worse. What's needed is a way to bring costs down sharply.

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Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro is already heavily discounted on its first day of US preorders

February 5, 2018 Alex 0

Huawei’s new flagship phone, the Mate 10 Pro, is available for preorder starting today in the US, but its launch is already off to a rough start. The Chinese company took a hit in January when AT&T and Verizon pulled out of deals to carry the Mate 10 Pro in their stores, reportedly due to US government pressure. Major retailers and a crowd-shopping site are offering discounts on the flagship already.

The Mate 10 Pro has a 6-inch display with a 2160 x 1080 OLED screen and an 18:9 aspect ratio, thin bezels, 4GB of RAM, and options for 64GB or 128GB SSD. The device is powered by a Kirin 970 CPU that was developed in-house, comes with a 4,000mAh battery. The phone also has dual rear-facing cameras: a 20-megapixel color sensor, and a…

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SpaceX animation shows what Elon Musk’s Roadster will look like on its way toward Mars

February 5, 2018 Alex 0

Roughly 24 hours before SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy is supposed to blast off for the first time ever, CEO Elon Musk just shared an animated video of what it will look like when the new giant rocket releases a Tesla Roadster into space.

The animation is a sort of updated version of the computer-generated Falcon Heavy video that the company released a few years ago. But this new version shows roughly where the all-electric sports car will sit within the rocket’s payload fairing, and includes a new section at the end that illustrates what it will look like when the car separates from the spacecraft.

Around or shortly after the Falcon Heavy’s three booster stages touch back down on Earth, the rocket’s payload stage will pop the two halves of the…

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Strava users, in midst of privacy problems, are reporting that one of the app’s top features has been disabled

February 5, 2018 Alex 0

A week after the fitness app Strava came under fire for exposing sensitive military locations through heat maps, some Strava users are complaining that one of the app’s popular features has been temporarily disabled.

The app’s Segments feature, a popular tool that lets outdoor fitness enthusiasts create public segments of their workouts that others can search for and compete against, appears to be working intermittently. According to users on Reddit, trying to create a new workout segment in the app leads them back to Strava’s main dashboard, rather than allowing them to create the segment.

One user said they submitted a ticket to Strava’s customer support, and was told that the company was reviewing certain features to “ensure they…

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Sony insists that its new Gold Wireless Headset is indeed a new product

February 5, 2018 Alex 0

Sony today announced a new Gold Wireless Headset for its PlayStation 4 consoles. The main new feature seems to be a slightly updated design, and a giant “NEW” on the front of the box, lest you forget for a few minutes that this was in fact an item fresh off the production line.

Despite the name, the new Gold Wireless Headset is not actually gold colored. Nor should it be confused with the old Gold Wireless Headset Sony released back in 2014, or the Platinum Wireless headset from 2016 (which was, practically speaking, the old new Gold before the announcement of today’s new new Gold).

Not to be confused with the old Gold or the Platinum Wireless Headsets
That is to say, Sony had in theory replaced the original Gold headset with the…

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FTC gives internet scam victims more time to get money back from Western Union

February 5, 2018 Alex 0

The Federal Trade Commission has extended the claim filing deadline for its $586 million settlement with Western Union. Consumers who’ve previously lost money to a scammer that took payment through Western Union now have until May 31st to file a claim and recoup those funds.

The settlement covers a wide range of potential victims; anyone who got scammed between January 1st, 2004 and January 19th, 2017 is eligible to submit a claim. You’re not necessarily guaranteed to get all of your stolen cash back, however as the FTC says “the amount you get will depend on how much you lost and the number of people who submit valid claims.”

The process of going through those claims might take up to an entire year, so don’t expect…

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Here’s a $159 iPhone X clone with a giant battery

February 5, 2018 Alex 0

The iPhone X knockoffs keep coming. Chinese company Oukitel has unveiled the U18, which features a similar silhouette to Apple’s newest phone, complete with a notch. The back of the device looks nothing like Apple’s phone, although it does have dual, vertically-stacked cameras. It also includes gesture controls (so congrats to Dan), and face unlocking.

The phone ships with a large 4,000mAh battery, which is Oukitel’s signature spec, as you might remember from last year’s K10000 Pro phone, which shipped with a 10,000mAh battery. Here are some other specs, just for fun:

5.85-inch, 21:9 display with 720P resolution
4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage
USB-C
Android 7.0
A rear fingerprint sensor
16-megapixel / 5-megapixel rear dual-camera system

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Ehang’s passenger-carrying drones look insanely impressive in first test flights

February 5, 2018 Alex 0

Two years ago, Chinese drone maker Ehang came to CES in Las Vegas and promised to build a completely autonomous, passenger-carrying quadcopter that would revolutionize mobility. Many of us in the tech community chortled under our breath, wondering if such a thing was even possible, let alone advisable. Today, the company released footage of its first piloted test flights in China — and color us impressed: this thing is no joke.

over 1,000 test flights with human passengers
Ehang’s engineers put the quadcopter, dubbed the Ehang 184, through a battery of tests over the last several months, and with good measure. The company conducted over 1,000 test flights with human passengers, including a 984-foot (300-meter) vertical climb, a weight…

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Finally, Nintendo addresses Mario’s nipples

February 5, 2018 Alex 0

Of all the things Super Mario Odyssey will be remembered for, its most outlandish legacy is undoubtedly the debut of Mario’s nipples. After the initial screenshots of the bare-chested, mustachioed hero sparked a meme frenzy and a speed-running competition, more questions soon emerged: why does Mario have nipples, but no belly button?

In a new Q&A from Nintendo, this is the very first question posed to producer Yoshiaki Koizumi, who side-eyes before replying, “So we’re jumping right into that question, are we?” He goes on to say that he didn’t expect this to be such a hot topic among fans. It did, however, give him pause. “Once I heard that people were talking so much about Mario’s belly button, it made me start to think about whether we…

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