As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.
- VIDEO: Artists unite for Tidal re-launch
Some of the biggest names in entertainment have re-launched the music subscription service Tidal, which they claim will change musical history.
- What Exactly is Project Spartan – And What is it Not?
With the release of the Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 10049, we get our first public glimpse of Project Spartan, the all new browser that will be coming in Windows 10. Project Spartan has been talked about and teased since January but it has taken them until now to get a build of it that they felt was stable enough to use. In the life of the Internet though, two plus months is a long time so I thought I would give everyone a refresher of what Project Spartan is exactly and equally as important, what it is not. The
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- VIDEO: The Outernet connecting Kenya schools
The system that can provide data and create Wi-Fi hotspots in remote parts of the world
- Is fibre key to connecting Africa?
Is fibre key to getting all of Africa online?
- Microsoft Issues Windows 10 Build 10049 with Project Spartan To Fast Ring Windows Insiders
It took nearly two months for the Windows 10 Technical Preview to be updated after the initial release but the Fast Ring is apparently very fast right now. Windows Insiders on the Fast Ring of Windows 10 have now had Build 10049 pushed out to them. This update has a lot of fixes but it also is the first release with the all new singing-and-dancing Project Spartan web experience. The update will only be available to those who are on the Fast Ring so if you are wanting to see Project Spartan and are on the Slow Ring, you will
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- Hillary Didn't Backup, But You Should
Wait a minute. Hillary erased all her email? On purpose?
Forget the logical, legal and/or political implications of her actions. From a purely technological point-of-view, in a world in which we are all deathly afraid of losing our files to some unforeseen digital disaster, who consciously completely clears two years of emails, forever?
The timing of Hillary’s head-scratching email erasure are alternately apropos and inexplicable since March 31 is World Backup Day, a day dedicated to the promotion of making copies of your documents, photos and email for both safe-keeping and posterity.
Not only can’t I fathom someone purposely erasing all/ their emails, regardless of what kind of work you do, but she didn’t even back them up while she was in office? That’s not old school. That’s dumb.
It can’t be a space issue. Her 55,000 emails probably came to around 10 GB, the digital memory equivalent of small change. Hillary, or her IT minions, could have backed up those emails onto a $50 portable hard drive in about the same amount of time it took to delete them — probably less, and still had room to store 4K video copies of all her speeches and campaign videos from 2008 (using the new HEVC compression standard, of course).
If Hillary used an outside email service that caps storage space, I could understand selectively erasing, say, junk or marketing/sales emails. But all your own email generated in a government job from your own server? Not only is that madness, it’s a giant waste of time and energy.
Hell, maybe she did back them up. And when Hillary’s lawyer told the House Benghazi committee that the emails had been erased from her server, the committee assumed that meant no digital copies of the emails still exist at all. But maybe someone dragged-and-dropped the emails onto a thumb drive to be squirreled away in some secret safety deposit box. It would have taken maybe the time it takes you to read this rant to do this.
Again, I got no political dog in this hunt; I’m looking at this merely from an objective, if somewhat cynical, tech perspective. Personally, as far as my own digital files are concerned, I’m as paranoid as Richard Nixon, John Lennon concerning Richard Nixon’s deportation efforts, and Jerry Fletcher, the obsessively suspicious cab driver played by Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory combined. In other words, I am a studious backer-upper.
All my digital files and photos are automatically backed up as I create and save them. I use Dropbox as my primary work document hard drive; via its desktop app, when you save a file, Dropbox stores and syncs the file on your hard drive and in the cloud — automatic backup, clean and simple.
I also use Transporter, which I wrote about last World Backup Day, as my own personal cloud service for storing files, photos and movies. Somewhat similar to Dropbox, you can use one Transporter as your everyday hard drive. Any file you save is automatically mirrored/saved to a second Transporter drive connected and kept in a safe off-campus location. And since Transporter is your cloud, there’s no annual subscription, which is always nice.
I also have a subscription to SugarSync — everything I create on my desktop automatically gets upload to SugarSync for cloud storage. For me, SugarSync is the digital equivalent of throwing boxes up into the attic or into a storage space. One of these years I’m gonna go in there to clean up and organize. One of these years.
I also have Amazon Cloud Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Picasa photo accounts.
Like I said, paranoid.
Not only am I assured that everything I create on or save to my PC is stored in multiple virtual locations, I can access nearly anything digital of mine on any device from anywhere I am via an Internet connection, which is essentially everywhere in the civilized world (and even some not-so civilized locales).
Use this World Backup Day to make your own minimal backup effort — even if it’s just to buy a 1 or 2 TB portable hard drive and drag-and-drop the contents of your C drive (if you’re on a Windows PC) on to it, or create an automatic Time Machine backup if you’re on a Mac.
There is simply no excuse for losing any photo, file or email, accidentally or on even for political purpose.
If you need backing up advice, here’s a handy instructional infographic from my friends at Cloudwards.net to help you out.
Courtesy of: Cloudwards.net
- Jay Z, Madonna, Nicki Minaj And Other Artists Announce New Streaming Service, Tidal
NEW YORK (AP) — Madonna, Rihanna, Beyonce and Jay Z are among the A-List musicians who are co-owners of Tidal, a streaming service being billed as the first artist-owned platform for music and video.
The membership-based service — similar to subscription service Spotify — will provide music and video content that users can stream on computers, tablets and smartphones or listen to offline. It is being offered at two price points: $10 for standard sound quality and $20 for “lossless high fidelity sound quality.” Few other details were released about the streaming service.
Kanye West, Daft Punk, Alicia Keys, Jack White and Nicki Minaj also were among the artists who announced at a New York City event Monday that they are co-owners of the service that quietly launched in October. Keys said the artists hope Tidal will “forever change the course of music history” and ensure the viability of the industry.
The celebrities — who also included Jason Aldean, Usher, members of Arcade Fire and deadmau5 — stood in a line onstage as Keys spoke to the audience at Skylight at Moynihan Station in Manhattan. Most of them wore black as a sign of solidarity. Keys called the event “a graduation.”
“So we come together before you on this day, March 30th, 2015, with one voice in unity in the hopes that today will be another one of those moments in time, a moment that will forever change the course of music history. For today we announce of Tidal, the first ever artist-owned, global music and entertainment platform,” Keys said.
The venue for the event was transformed to display a walkway paying tribute to the different decades in music, starting with the 1950s.
Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Calvin Harris, who both appeared via video, are also co-owners.
“Our mission goes beyond commerce, it goes beyond technology. Our intent is to preserve music’s importance in our lives,” Keys said. “Music is the language of love, of laughter, of heartbreak, of mystery. It’s the world’s true, true, without question, universal language.”
Each of the owners signed documents at the event as the audience screamed when they walked to a table in the center of the stage.
AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen continued to this report.
- #VeryRealisticYA Hilariously Describes The Harsh Reality Of Growing Up
A teen in a dystopian world rebels against the tyrannical government. An average high schooler falls for the mysterious new girl at school. A group of friends take the road trip of a lifetime. Sound familiar? That’s because the successful world of YA fiction is full of these kinds of characters and stories. In reality, it’s all a bit different.
John Hansen noticed this after comparing his typical day to that of a YA protagonist.
Sometimes I spend all day doing homework and then look at YA characters who save worlds and I’m just like, HOW DO THEY FIND THE TIME???
— John Hansen (@ABoredAuthor) March 28, 2015
The 17-year-old YA writer went on to tweet a few alternative plot ideas for the YA universe. His characters might not defeat evil leaders or save the world, but they definitely have their own problems to face.
Extremely realistic YA novel: a girl must battle her way through school on 5 hours of sleep before the villain (exhaustion) destroys her.
— John Hansen (@ABoredAuthor) March 28, 2015
Extremely realistic YA novel: a boy must topple an oppressive dystopian regime–his always-on-his-case-about-college-applications parents.
— John Hansen (@ABoredAuthor) March 28, 2015
John invited other Twitter users to play along, and #VeryRealisticYA was born. In response, the rest of the Internet traded the usual YA plots we know and love for some more practical stories. From dealing with college debt to never having magic powers, this is what it’s actually like being a young adult in the real world today.
Girl politely declines to be the face of the revolution because it’s junior year and she has too much homework. #VeryRealisticYA
— John Hansen (@ABoredAuthor) March 29, 2015
Girl wakes up one morning with a super ability. She is suddenly able to binge on Netflix, Nutella and tumblr all at once. #VeryRealisticYA
— E.P. Hahn (@epv_hahn) March 30, 2015
Misfit girl with glasses takes them off and only like 2 people notice and ask if she got contacts or just forgot them. #VeryRealisticYA
— Klaus Future (@klausfuture) March 30, 2015
Nerdy girl is paired in school project with bad boy. She does all the work and they never speak again. #VeryRealisticYA
— Janine Mimi De Jesus (@LoveJanineMimi) March 29, 2015
A gifted teen’s world is blown apart when she realizes just how much student debt she’ll have once she’s done with college. #VeryRealisticYA
— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) March 29, 2015
Girl shocked to discover that she is long lost royalty. Mom gently explains, “Honey, that is just your spam folder.” #VeryRealisticYA
— Reggie Lutz (@ReggieLutz) March 29, 2015
One fateful summer, one group deep in the woods learns that nothing can overcome the power of friendship. Except bears. #veryrealisticya
— Devin Pitts-Rogers (@devinjpr) March 30, 2015
Jacob arrested at the Canadian border with his 3-year-old “fiancée” Renesmee. #VeryRealisticYA
— Andrew Shaffer (@andrewtshaffer) March 29, 2015
Girl moves to NY to be on Broadway. Nobody casts her when she steps off the bus. She even has to go to auditions. #VeryRealisticYA
— Rachel D’Erminio (@Raetastic) March 30, 2015
Four friends try on the same pair of pants. It fits one of them. The last one to try them on rips them. #VeryRealisticYA
— Mara Wilson (@MaraWritesStuff) March 29, 2015
Boy gets a letter at age 11. It invites him to take the PSAT #VeryRealisticYA
— Colin Heasley (@ColiHeasle) March 29, 2015
In a non-post-apocalyptic world, it’s up to one teenage girl to do some extracurriculars because colleges like that. #VeryRealisticYA
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) March 30, 2015
#VeryRealisticYA Teen finds an old book of spells. Tries one on a dare. It doesn’t work. He puts the book back where he found it.
— Jenn Marie Thorne (@juniperjenny) March 29, 2015
Teens fall in love and can’t quote any poetry to each other because they didn’t do the readings last year in AP English. #VeryRealisticYA
— Rachel D’Erminio (@Raetastic) March 30, 2015
A young girl plays hide & seek in a wardrobe. Her brother finds her immediately. It’s a terrible hiding place. #VeryRealisticYA
— TheBloggess (@TheBloggess) March 29, 2015
Teen accidentally uploads embarrassing video to YouTube. The next school day is normal because it only got 2 views. #VeryRealisticYA
— Brooks Benjamin (@brooksbenjamin) March 29, 2015
- Coachella And Lollapalooza Ban Selfie Sticks
LOS ANGELES (AP) — You can bring your beach towels and floral headbands, but forget that selfie stick if you’re planning to go to the Coachella or Lollapalooza music festivals.
The devices, which grasp cellphones to allow people to take pictures of themselves farther away from their faces, are banned at this summer’s festivals in Indio, California, and Chicago. Coachella dismissed them as “narsisstics” on a list of prohibited items. Selfie sticks have become a popular but polemical photo-taking tool: Avid picture takers like snapping their own shots in front of monuments and sunsets, but critics dismiss them as obnoxious and potentially dangerous to others around them.
A spokeswoman for Coachella would not comment on the restriction. Lollapalooza representatives did not return a request for comment but on the festival’s Twitter account said the decision was being made “for safety, to speed security checks at the gate & to reduce the number of obstructions between the fans and the stage.”
Coachella and Lollapalooza are among dozens of big events and landmarks taking a stand against the sticks.
In Europe, the Palace of Versailles outside Paris, Britain’s National Gallery in London and the Colosseum in Rome have all banned selfie sticks, saying they need to protect exhibits on display and ensure the safety of visitors.
In the U.S., Ultra Music Festival in Miami, one of the world’s largest electronic music festivals, also prohibited selfie sticks at last weekend’s event.
“They will be turned away and we’ll probably make fun of you,” Ultra said on its Twitter account earlier this month.
Wayne Fromm, creator of the Quik Pod and the first to patent the selfie stick more than a decade ago, said he understood the decision for museums and festivals to ban the stick and that the intention was never for the device to be fully extended in busy spaces.
“Intentionally or not, there is a danger to other people in crowded places,” he told The Associated Press.
He added that he is at work on a new selfie-taking tool that will accomplish the same tasks without so many problems.
Another selfie-stick entrepreneur, Jacqueline Verdier, CEO of Selfie on a Stick, said the festivals were going too far and that the sticks can be used safely.
“I think it’s really doing a bit of disservice to the attendees,” Verdier said. “They’re not going to be able to capture the same memories.”
Some concertgoers praised the decision, saying the sticks promote a culture of narcissism and detract from the festival experience. Others said they enjoy using them and lament there is so much negativity around them.
Thomas Smith, 31, of Los Angeles, will be going to Coachella this year and said he wasn’t planning to bring it into the venue because of recent backlash against the stick — even though he’s used it on previous occasions and likes the sticks because of the perspective he’s able to get for photos and video.
“People make fun of the people who use them,” he said. “Taking a selfie is kind of an embarrassing thing but when you see someone who went out of their way to get equipment to take a selfie, there’s an extra level of embarrassment attached.”
Asked about Coachella and others dubbing the self-stick as a “narsisstic,” Fromm said he found the term offensive. He said people have liked to look at themselves since the beginning of time and that everyone wants to look their best.
“My intention was to encourage better photos for posterity,” Fromm said. “Is that narcissistic?”
- All Monetization, No 'Ums' at Orange County's Startup Weekend
Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event that brings together designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and experts to take ideas from sheer concept to amazing new products.
Anyone is welcome to attend and pitch their startup business idea. Participants receive feedback from their peers, and teams are formed around the top-voted ideas. These teams of generally three or more people, then embark on a three-day frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekend culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders, competition judges, and peers.
With over 1,500 events hosted to date, spanning 726 international cities, the program has yielded over 13,000 startups created by over 123,000 entrepreneurs.
“MVP” in the vernacular of startups stands for minimally viable product. And that’s what each team hopes to build in a given weekend. In each city, the format is the same:
- Pitch an idea, vote for your favorites, and form your team (or join someone else’s).
- Build: Put your talents to work and build a minimally viable product, team, and brand for execution in the real world or even just your portfolio.
- Launch: Put final touches on your presentation and state your case to the Judges.
Orange County, California
Five teams competed in Orange County this past weekend. Particularly notable in this Southern California version of a San Francisco hackathon, is a focus on product viability. These teams were here to build a product to sell, not merely to produce an idea without a market.
The End of Ums
By the 54th hour, one team walked away with top awards, having built a notification system to help public speakers, orators, and everyday conversationalists recognize and correct verbal pauses.
Startup, Illuminate, aims to serve as your personal speech coach. Inspired by the CEO’s experience cringing as he reviewed a video introduction of himself and noticed his pronounced speech delays, the system pings the user every time he/she uses verbal pauses (“um”, “ah”, “okay”, and the like). With consistent conditioning via mobile notifications at each offense, user speech patterns can be replaced with more useful communication.
— K5 (@k5launch) March 30, 2015
GeoWoding: Geocaching meets fitness. Imagine picking up and trying a new, professionally developed urban workout at the beach. Trying the regimen, recording your time, leaving your feedback, and having your results listed on a leaderboard. That’s what GeoWoding has built. The concept has a functional web app, with ambitions to launch a Kickstarter campaign and develop the fully functional mobile app and embark on a go-to-market strategy.
— Andre F Bourque ♕ (@SocialMktgFella) March 29, 2015
Stay @ Home: Pairing flex schedule employers with skilled talent seeking part-time, and telecommuting professionals. There’s an unserviced need here, particularly for men. While similar (although not entirely equivalent) services exist for women (think Mom Corps), they preclude 49 percent of the population. With integrated coaching, professional training, and plans to build a robust social network, Stay @ Home aims to fill this service need.
— LA SW EDU (@LAswedu) March 30, 2015
Dapper: On demand barbers. Think Uber meets barbers. Again, a concept not entirely foreign to the female population where a variety of mobile hair dresser services exist, a structured network of this for men does not exist. With Dapper, barber profiles are established, Yelp-like rating and feedback mechanisms put in place, and men can summon on-demand hair care.
— Andy Keil (@alwaysunday) March 28, 2015
Horizon Dash: Financial planning in five minutes. Somewhere between the financially savvy, and the too young to care is a population of 20-30 somethings seeking financial advice without the high fees, high learning curve, and sophisticated results. That’s the market here: Light on time, heavy on results working professionals, and Horizon Dash aims to service them.
— The VineOC (@thevineoc) March 30, 2015
- Tourists Are Taking Selfies In Front Of New York Explosion Site
The blast killed two people and injured 22, but that hasn’t stopped tourists from posing for cheerful selfies in front of the site of the East Village explosion in New York City.
“Self-absorbed jerks are treating the East Village gas explosion site like a tourist attraction,” reports the New York Post.
— EventPhotosNYC (@Eventphotosnyc) March 28, 2015
The paper cites several examples, including Christina Freundlich, a former communications director for the Iowa Democratic Party, who posted an Instagram photo of her smiling, making a peace sign in front of the wreckage on Saturday.
After her post received heavy criticism, Freundlich deleted the picture and issued an apology to the Des Moines Register.
“It was inconsiderate to those hurt in the crash and to the city of New York,” Freundlich said. “What happened last week in the East Village is not to be taken lightly and I regret my course of action.”
Freundlich did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post.
The selfie-taking has not stopped. A HuffPost staffer spotted a group of people holding a selfie stick and smiling for the camera on Monday afternoon.
Authorities found two bodies amongst the wreckage on Sunday.
- 8 Contemporary Icons Explain The Relationship Between Artistry And Technology
It’s difficult, if not entirely impossible, for today’s artists to ignore the growing influence of technology on their respective fields. As tools both digital and physical become more and more sophisticated, from 3D printing to creative robotics, contemporary icons in the worlds of music, film, visual art and literature are forced to watch as their industries change radically. That is, unless they hop aboard an always-shifting train of innovation, and embrace the visionary tactics that can make creativity that much more impactful.
In a new film from Liberatum titled “Artistry/Industry,” major figures like the iPad-happy painter David Hockney, the app-savvy Miranda July and the Facebook-attuned architect Frank Gehry discuss the ways in which new technologies have changed the ways they create. Directed by Pablo Ganguli and Tomas Auksas, the short gives a glimpse into the minds of artists who see a happy marriage between culture and tech.
We’ve rounded up our favorite quotes from the film, all of which illuminate a future in which art and science coexist. You can watch the film in full above, chock full of faces like Kehinde Wiley, Susan Sarandon and Simon de Pury.
“Technology has liberated an entire generation of thinkers, movers, creators. Technology for black and brown people all over this globe has created a state of grace that we have never seen here before. What we have now is a communication ability. We have the ability to see working ideas that are going on in the great cities throughout the world and whether you live in Shanghai or you live in Sao Paulo, you have the ability of seeing and knowing the ideas of some of the greatest minds of our generation.” -Kehinde Wiley
“I know lots of artists who are totally committed to the smell of oil paint and that’s it for them. They are not interested in anything else. I can identify with that but I also see these other people as using the world to make their statement. Bringing technological advances and fusing them together to make a new picture.” -Ed Ruscha
“The first technology is brushes, pencils, pens. Things like that, the technology that you draw with. Technology always alters pictures. I got an iPhone and then I found you could draw on it. I made about two hundred drawings on the phone and then I read about the iPad. So I thought the moment the iPad is out I will get that because drawing on a bigger thing would be better.” -David Hockney
“I don’t make sweetie pie buildings but I want them to be user friendly. I want you to feel comfortable in them. I don’t design every piece of furniture so I am very interested in watching what people do with the spaces and bring their own stuff to make it their own. I love that. That’s why we are having fun with Facebook because you have got two thousand kids with machines and they all have different tastes and we have built a building where we are letting it all hang out.” -Frank Gehry
“Technology was essential in order for there to be filmmaking. There could be no cinema without recorded images, moving images, recorded sound and as the technology changed, as different elements were added to it such as colour, talking capability then the cinema evolved, and as we go on and as the technology evolves and changes, so will storytelling.” -Francis Ford Coppola
“If somebody doesn’t have a smartphone and they don’t own a computer, that’s enough art for me. That person is off the grid. Say it’s an eighteen year old or a fifteen year old to exist for ten years on this planet without needing to put yourself out there like that, that takes so much more power, you might as well be a monk in China. It probably is the equivalent. That is going to be what kids get into in 20 years time.” -MIA
“Young artists from any part of the planet, you could be from Afghanistan and have a camera and have a desire to tell a story and that actual child or kid making a film from the middle of nowhere can actually put something up on YouTube and have the world experience it. That is to me the most exciting time.” -Brett Ratner
“People don’t actually think about the fact that the modern day music business probably came from Tesla. Tesla created the idea of radio, radio became mainstream amongst us and radio was a passing of music across vast amounts of land. We were able to have mainstream radio and suddenly there was a need for mainstream music business. So technology actually created the music business itself, so it only makes sense that it shapes us over time.” -Scooter Braun
- Silk Road agents charged with theft
Two former US agents are charged with stealing digital currency that came into their possession during an investigation into the notorious marketplace.
- Introducing The HuffPost What's Working Honor Roll: A Daily Roundup Of Solutions-Based Stories
As journalists, we dutifully report on what’s going wrong, from scandals and corruption to natural disasters and social problems. But far too often the media fails to show the whole picture, neglecting to tell the stories of what is working. From scientific breakthroughs to successful crime-reduction initiatives, the What’s Working Honor Roll highlights some of the best reporting and analysis, from a range of media outlets, on all the ways people are working toward solutions to some of our greatest challenges.
The recent shootings of unarmed black men by police officers in Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin have led to violent protests and division between officers and residents nationwide. But the town of Richmond, California seems to have found a solution to reducing crime, while unifying the police department with the community. Many say it’s all thanks to one man: Richmond’s chief of police Chris Magnus. Since Magnus became chief in 2006, the town has seen significant drops in homicides and other violent crimes. One of the ways he’s done it is by engaging in conversation with the community and building stronger relationships. That sense of trust, along with actively hiring a diverse police staff, appears to be a successful recipe for stopping crime, creating peace and working toward a safer tomorrow.
“I feel like all lives matter,” Magnus said. “That’s really what community policing should be about.”
Read the full story here.
The New York Times: Company Thinks It Has Answer for Lower Health Costs: Customer Service
The United States has the most expensive health care system in the world. And yet, a little customer service could go a long way toward changing that. One company in Seattle thinks it has a solution that can keep patients healthy and out of the hospital, while also improving the nation’s health care overall. Iora Primary Care in the Central District of Seattle is a new kind of health care provider with a customer-is-always-right mentality, where the customer is the patient. Iora has patients pay a monthly fee, as opposed to paying doctors by the visit, and offers 24/7, non-billed assistance via phone and email. The company is trying to “transform health care” using health coaches to reach patients at a personal level — all while making a profit at the same time. Iora hopes to one day open hundreds of practices nationwide — “a kind of Starbucks for health care.”
Read the full story here.
If you know a story you think should be on our Honor Roll, please send an email to our editor Catherine Taibi via email@example.com.
- Women give tech sector wake-up call
Lack of gender diversity and alleged discrimination against women are uncomfortable issues once again in the spotlight for the technology sector.
- Apple stores in US, Europe now accepting non-iPhone trade-ins
As reported previously, Apple has now expanded its “reuse and recycling” program in the US and Europe to include now taking selected models of non-iPhone smartphones as trade-in towards a new iPhone. The program is now operating throughout the US, Canada, the UK, France, and Italy, and may be operating in other countries as well. Only specific recent models are eligible, but customers can being the process either online or in person at an Apple Store.
- Here's How You Can Play 'Super Mario 64' At Your Desk Right Now
“Super Mario 64″ is almost 20 years old. Almost 20! Still, it’s endured as a classic game that millions enjoyed — which is why it’s so exciting that you can play the first level in glorious high-definition in your Web browser right now.
Mario races through Bob-Omb Battlefield.
Developer Erik Roystan Ross has released a fully functional version of the “Bob-Omb Battlefield” stage, which you can access simply by clicking here. If you don’t have it already, you’ll be prompted to install the Unity Web Player for it to work. You can also download desktop versions for Windows, Mac and Linux — it works with your keyboard or Xbox One, Xbox 360, DualShock 3 and DualShock 4 controllers.
Dubbed “Super Mario 64 HD,” the game was built using Ross’ “Super Character Controller” program and features graphics that are smoothed out and overhauled from the jagged edges present in the original Nintendo 64 version. In fact, it looks a bit like something you might see on Nintendo’s Wii U system. We can dream, can’t we?
A representative for Nintendo did not immediately respond to a request for comment. This doesn’t appear to be an authorized use of the company’s famous mascot, though, so you might try giving it a whirl before any cease and desist letters go out.
- DEA, Secret Service Agents Accused Of Stealing Bitcoins During Silk Road Investigation
WASHINGTON — Two former federal law enforcement agents who investigated an online marketplace used to trade drugs have been arrested and charged with stealing bitcoins during the investigation, the Justice Department announced Monday.
Carl Force, 46, a former special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Shaun Bridges, 32, a former special agent with the Secret Service, participated in the investigation of Silk Road. The creator of that online marketplace, Ross Ulbricht, was convicted of drug trafficking and other crimes earlier this year.
Now Force has been charged with wire fraud, theft of government property, money laundering and conflict of interest, while Bridges is facing wire fraud and money laundering charges.
Force, who worked undercover in the case using the identity “Nob,” chatted with Ulbricht, who was using the name “Dread Pirate Roberts,” according to federal authorities. Force allegedly failed to put the private keys and passwords needed to decrypt those conversations into the case file, and failed to provide them to the prosecutor on the Ulbricht case or anyone else in his chain of command, according to an affidavit from another agent in the case.
While Force was authorized to work under only one undercover identity, he allegedly had another, “French Maid,” and yet another, “Death from Above,” that he used to communicate with Ulbricht and extract money from him. He is accused of seizing funds from a California resident that ended up in his personal bitcoin account, which was then converted into U.S. funds that went into his personal bank account. He also allegedly launched his own limited liability company within days of the seizure of the funds.
Force was making roughly $150,000 a year as an agent. Yet he allegedly “paid off his mortgage, a government thrift savings plan loan, and wrote several very large checks for tens of thousands of dollars” while also investing in properties and businesses, and wiring money to an overseas account, according to a federal agent’s affidavit.
Bridges had worked with Force in the Silk Road investigation, according to the affidavit. In particular, he had been part of an effort to provide “proof of death” photos to Ulbricht in order to convince the Silk Road boss that a hit he had allegedly ordered against a former employee had been carried out.
Bridges and Force allegedly texted back and forth and monitored the price of bitcoins. The former is accused of diverting more than $800,000 in bitcoins to his personal account.
The affidavit said that Bridges “abruptly resigned” from the Secret Service on March 18, 2015. Force has also resigned from the DEA.
Force was arrested on Friday and will appear in Maryland federal court on Monday, while Bridges surrendered on Monday and will appear in California federal court.
- Major Transhumanism Conference Features Both Rising and Seasoned Experts
Transhumanist Scientist Maria Konovalenko in front of the White House — Photo by Alexey Turchin; Transhumanist Lecturer Riva-Melissa Tez speaking – Photo by Dan Taylor / Heisenberg Media
On March 21st, nonprofit organization Brighter Brains Institute held the first major US transhumanism conference of the year, located in San Jose, California. Titled Transhuman Strategies, the conference was host to an exciting array of speakers. Notably different from other transhumanist conferences before was the blend of both young and seasoned transhumanists, a sure sign that the science and technology advocating movement is growing among a younger demographic. Vice Motherboard had a 4-person film crew on hand to capture the event, adding to the excitement that transhumanism is continuing to break into the mainstream.
The conference talks were centered on four key questions:
What are the Transhuman Goals in the near future?
How can these Transhuman ideas permeate the mainstream?
Are there ways Transhumanism can assert itself in the political sphere?
How can Transhumanist ideas and innovations create a better world now, for billions of people on Earth?
With nearly 100 people in attendance, speakers attempted to address the questions in their own way while emphasizing their field of expertise. Digital iconoclast RU Sirius and his writing partner, Lifeboat Foundation advisor Jay Cornell, gave talks and signed copies of their new book Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity. British philosopher, lecturer, and entrepreneur Riva-Melissa Tez spoke on bettering transhumanist strategies. Russian scientist Maria Konovalenko and businessman Mikhail Batin spoke on transhumanism activism in the field of longevity. Futurist and CEO of The Foresight Company John Smart spoke on foresight development and how to attain the best future. H+ Magazine editor and computer engineer Peter Rothman discussed ways to help get funding for transhumanist projects. Adam Marblestone, “Director of Scientific Architecting” with the Synthetic Neurobiology group at MIT, spoke on new strategies to accelerate brain science. Hank Pellissier, the organizer of the event, spoke on the emerging concept of transhumanitarianism — where transhumanists do humanitarian deeds with an emphasis on using science and technology for the greater good.
I spoke on how transhumanism has been recently entering the political arena. Increasingly, futurists are hoping that through politics, radical science and technology will gain a better foothold in society. Some of the questions I brought up in my speech apply to all Americans. For example: How will Hillary Clinton address the growing concerns of Designer Babies, now that the technology is just a few years away? What about Jeb Bush (who carries the stem cell research moratorium stigma of his older brother)? Presumably, conservatives like newly announced US Presidential candidate Ted Cruz would seek to limit such advances in technology that could turn future children into potential superhumans, even if it’s in the best interest of the species’ health.
Of course, not all science and technology are safe. Even amongst the transhumanist community, many aren’t sure what the outcome of creating a superintelligent AI will bring. Will we use its incredible possibilities to transform the species to ever greater heights? Or will an independent AI seek to destroy us in some Terminator scenario?
Whatever happens, the quickly growing field of transhumanism and its advocates are searching out the answers right now. Some people in America might not be ready yet for some of the progressive ideas transhumanists present, but the growth of radical science and technology in our world seems inevitable. The best way to handle such change in the way humans live and evolve with technology is to make a powerful effort to understand it all far ahead of time. Conferences like Transhuman Strategies — especially when they include a broad swath of age groups, perspectives, and nationalities in their speakers — are a good start in trying to address the issues in our changing world.