How technology will change life in the future and more...
Hollywood-friendly copyright bill passes House of Representatives
The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would make the Register of Copyright a presidentially appointed position, instead of a part of the Library of Congress. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), will now move to the Senate, where it’s being put forward by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).
As we’ve written previously, this bill would grant the US Copyright Office more agency in advocating for specific copyright policy — something that’s previously led to conflict between the office and the Library of Congress. Goodlatte and other supporters of the bill describe it as a way to make the Register of Copyright democratically accountable, since they would be confirmed by the Senate rather than...More Info...
Exif is a clever tool that stops people from stealing your photos
Image piracy has always been a major problem on the web. But a smart new tool called Exif — no, not that EXIF, which stands for Exchangeable Image File and refers to the data that gets embedded into an image — aims to solve it by borrowing the sharing behavior popularized by video services like YouTube and Vimeo.
Photographers who want to share their images typically have to hope other people won’t reuse those photos without credit or be vigilant in making sure that doesn’t happen. They can watermark their images, but they aren’t 100 percent foolproof. The result of all this is that the path to getting recognized or even paid for your work as a photographer is fraught with challenges.
Exif applies an embedding-as-sharing model to...More Info...
Google data servers begin going live in Cuba
Google has become the first foreign company to go live with a data server in Cuba. The launch should improve the speed and reliability of Google services within the country, though they won’t do anything about the extremely limited access Cubans have to the internet.
Dyn Research spotted the launch on Wednesday, writing that Google’s first server had gone live within the last 24 hours. “It is a milestone as this is the first time an outside internet company has hosted anything in Cuba,” wrote Doug Madory, the company’s director, according to the Miami Herald.
Google announced plans to launch in Cuba back December, after signing a deal with ETECSA, the state-run...More Info...
Acer’s new Leap Ware smartwatch looks like a Pebble Time Round with
Acer announced its Leap Ware smartwatch today that features the MediaTek MT2523 chipset and the company’s MT2511 bio-sensing chip. Acer appears to be positioning the smartwatch as a stylish, fitness-oriented device that can monitor heart rate, stamina, stress / fatigue levels, and UV ray exposure. The company doesn’t explicitly list the sensors inside the device, but presumably it’s relying mostly on that bio-sensing chip.
Leap Ware can reportedly last three to five days on a single charge and features a 42mm watchface with 20mm bands. Those bands can be swapped out, and Acer sells its own navy blue and light brown options. Unfortunately, Acer’s watch doesn’t run on Android Wear, so to pair it with an iPhone or Android device, you’ll...More Info...
Timothy Zahn on Grand Admiral Thrawn: ‘He’s like an old friend who
Earlier this month, a new novel from author Timothy Zahn arrived in bookstores that Star Wars fans have been waiting a long time for: the definitive origin story for Grand Admiral Thrawn. The character, first introduced in 1991’s Heir to the Empire, has remained a favorite villain in the franchise and was recently brought back into the official continuity through the animated series Star Wars Rebels.
Thrawn serves as an origin story for the character we meet in Rebels, as well as that of the Expanded Universe novels that Zahn wrote decades ago. It follows Thrawn as he rises through the ranks of the Imperial Navy, meeting a number of characters from Rebels along the way as he tracks down smugglers and the earliest Rebel movements against...More Info...
Alien: Covenant’s VR experience is violent, creepy, and short
So much of the Alien mythos boils down to a single scene. Even if you haven’t seen the original, you know the beats: a casual meal interrupted by the victim’s sudden collapse. There’s confusion, then dread, some crunching sounds, then a tiny alien popping out of the victim’s chest, accompanied by an insane amount of gore.
It’s rightfully iconic, and judging by the reaction to this week’s VR version, much of the Verge staff is still traumatized by it. When the question came up — who wants to try out a VR thing where you’re an alien bursting out of someone’s chest? — there were surprisingly few takers.
But, well, here I am.
It’s called Alien: Covenant In Utero, released on the Oculus Rift and Gear VR...More Info...
Acer's Predator X27 G-Sync HDR gaming monitor does 4K at 144Hz
In January, Asus showed off the first 4K HDR gaming monitor running at 144Hz — a sort of best-of-all-specs scenario. Now Acer is following with a very similar display, the Predator X27, which combines G-Sync HDR, a 4K resolution, and a 144Hz rate. The display is based on the quantum dot tech that TV manufacturers love to brag about, and it has 384 individually-controlled LED zones to drive the wide contrast of HDR.
The display also supports Nvidia's ULMB (Ultra Low Motion Blur) technology, which if you haven't seen in person I highly recommend at least checking out a demo — it's hard to describe, but it makes fast on-screen movement look super smooth.
Tobii eye-tracking is also built into the display, which Acer also includes on some of...More Info...
Facebook is working with Live Nation to make organizing concert tours
Facebook is testing out a new feature that will allow artists, managers, and tour promoters to organize and manage tour-related Facebook events, the company tells The Verge. For example, if an artist is on a 40-city tour, there’s going to be 40 Facebook events for the concerts, plus meet-and-greet events, and potentially club appearances after the show. The new feature allows for all of those events to be grouped together and managed more easily, allowing for consistent messaging from the artist to their fans.
The social network has seen 40 percent growth year over year in users who engage with events created by Pages — over 550 million people using Facebook events every month. In a statement, Facebook Events product manager Bruna de...More Info...
A sequel to R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet may be coming to Apple
In today’s edition of creepy men getting their projects potentially funded by multi-billion-dollar companies, Apple is considering putting the sequel to R. Kelly’s rap opera “Trapped in the Closet” on Apple Music, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
The first five chapters of the series premiered on R. Kelly’s seventh album TP.3 Reloaded in 2005, and grew over the next seven years to encompass 33 chapters of the most ridiculous story, with some of the greatest twists and turns you’ve ever seen or heard heard. “Trapped in the Closet” was definitely entertaining, as evidenced by the somehow riveting first chapter:
However, it doesn’t negate the fact that R. Kelly is a sexual predator who has been accused of having sex with girls as...More Info...
Autonomous robot 3D printers like this could help build homes for us o
MIT’s newest 3D printer isn’t the sort you’d keep on your desk. With a long robotic arm and caterpillar treads, it’s designed to work in the construction sites of the future. To prove its mettle, it recently printed the biggest robot-built structure ever — in just over 13 hours. The robot is still at the proof-of-concept stage, but the MIT team that created it hopes that automating construction will cut costs and boost worker safety, according to a paper published this week in the journal Science Robotics. One day, it might even help humans colonize space, autonomously building houses on other planets before human settlers arrive.
This isn’t the first time engineers have attempted to automate construction. Nearly 100 years ago, Thomas...More Info...