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Alibaba Is Now Competing on Amazon’s Home Turf in the Cloud

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 11:52am

Chinese online shopping giant Alibaba may not be competing with Amazon for Americans' retail dollars just yet. But it's now stepping to its US rival in the cloud.

The post Alibaba Is Now Competing on Amazon’s Home Turf in the Cloud appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Samsung’s Smart Move: No More Smartwatches

ReadWriteWeb - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 11:39am

Samsung executive vice president Young-hee Lee has revealed the company’s smartwatch strategy moving forward: Don’t release any. Speaking with the Wall Street Journal at Mobile World Congress, Lee explained Samsung’s new strategy regarding watches simply:

We’ve been introducing more devices than anybody else. It’s time for us to pause. We want a more perfect product.

King Of The Molehill

Lee isn’t exaggerating about how many smartwatches have come out of Samsung over the last couple of years. After diving into the wearable space with the first Galaxy Gear in September 2013, Samsung went wearable crazy. The next year saw the release of the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, Gear Fit, Gear Live, and Gear S. But while Samsung blanketed the market with products, not one of the six devices have managed to catch on in a big way.

The Gear Fit, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear 2 - only half of Samsung's smartwatch offerings since 2013.

Strategy Analytics reported last May that Samsung owned 71 percent of the smartwatch market at that time—but that translated into sales of only 500,000 watches out of 700,000. That’s sort of like being declared Emperor of Rhode Island, a grand title for a teeny kingdom. And during the same period, rival analysts Canalys declared Pebble the smartwatch leader with 35 percent of the market, with Samsung trailing behind with a 23 percent stake.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s mobile division posted shrinking profits and disappointing Galaxy S5 sales. With the Galaxy S6, Samsung has scaled back its attempts to cram every conceivable (and half-baked) feature into its smartphones. Based on Lee’s wish for Samsung to make “a more perfect product,” it looks like the company is taking a similar tack with its wearables.

Waiting For Apple To Make Its Move

Even though Samsung has decided to pull back on releasing any and every smartwatch it can think of, that doesn’t mean that it’s out of the game for good. Far from it, in fact. Patents for a Samsung-designed, round-faced smartwatch have turned up over the last few months, with recent rumors suggesting that a device supposedly codenamed “Orbis” would make an appearance at MWC this week.

An image culled from Samsung's patent filing.

That obviously didn’t happen, but clearly Samsung’s working on something. With the debut of Apple’s first wearable looming, Samsung may be hitting the brakes to ensure a more strategic release. After all, excitement and interest in smartwatches will be at their highest once consumers have a chance to buy the Apple Watch.

Samsung will undoubtedly want to ride that wave, not unlike their strategy with their previous Galaxy smartphone offerings. There’s no better way to show you’re competing on the same level as the hottest new product than to constantly compare yourself to it. Don’t be surprised to see commercials this spring showing Samsung smartwatch wearers smugly comparing their devices’ superiority to all those silly Apple Watches.

Images courtesy of Samsung; patent image retrieved from WIPO

Categories: Technology

Nvidia’s New Console Doubles as a Superpowered Streamer

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 11:26am

Packed with the mighty new Tegra X1 chip, Nvidia's new set-top box is made to handle 4K video and games streamed from a supercomputer.

The post Nvidia’s New Console Doubles as a Superpowered Streamer appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Alien Landscapes Created Inside a Fish Bowl

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 11:00am

Kamiel Rongen creates strange, alien landscapes inside a fish bowl.

The post Alien Landscapes Created Inside a Fish Bowl appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Uber Buys Mapping Startup as Tensions With Google Grow

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 10:35am

Uber is finally loosening its chokehold on the billions of dollars it’s raised over the years, with the acquisition of deCarta, a mapping software business that was founded back in 1996.

The post Uber Buys Mapping Startup as Tensions With Google Grow appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

WIRED Binge-Watching Guide: Misfits

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 10:00am

Have you ever wondered what would happen if the X-Men were a bunch of British juvenile delinquents whose only interests were getting drunk, shagging, and punching people in the face? Enter Misfits.

The post WIRED Binge-Watching Guide: Misfits appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Photographing Snowflakes in Freefall

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 10:00am

A camera has been developed to show photographs of snowflakes in freefall.

The post Photographing Snowflakes in Freefall appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

A Smartwatch App That Lets Your Boss Track You Constantly

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 10:00am

Kris Duggan is building a social smartwatch app that lets your boss track your quantified self. That may sound like a Silicon Valley send-up. But it’s the real thing. Today, Duggan and his 18-month-old startup, BetterWorks, announced that this wearable app would arrive in the summer, bringing their corporate-goal-setting service to the much-anticipated Apple Watch. […]

The post A Smartwatch App That Lets Your Boss Track You Constantly appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Chappie Is Loud, Messy, and Surprisingly Radical

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 9:00am

The fact that a movie that somehow blends Bicentennial Man with Pacific Rim exists is a miracle. And the only person who could have made it is Neill Blomkamp.

The post Chappie Is Loud, Messy, and Surprisingly Radical appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

The Lululemon Family Launches a ‘Technical Cashmere’ Line

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 9:00am

“How could we make cashmere not so precious?” asks J.J. Wilson.

The post The Lululemon Family Launches a ‘Technical Cashmere’ Line appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Mac OS X 10.10.3 Beta: New Photos App, New Emoji, And More

ReadWriteWeb - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 9:00am
Mac OS X 10.10.3 beta Apple photo

Apple has released the first public beta of OS X 10.10.3 featuring multicultural emojis, easier logins for Google users that take advantage of two-step verification, and a new Photos app which is set to replace iPhoto and Aperture.

See also: You Can Now Run Beta Versions Of Apple's OS X—For Free

The first beta build is available to OS X Yosemite users that have signed up for Apple’s OS X Beta Program. Because this is a public beta, you don't need a developer account or special access. Just sign up, download and install the beta utility, and receive the update via Apple’s App Store.

Photos App

When Apple announced the discontinuation of iPhoto and Aperture, its old photo applications, the Photos app was set to be its replacement. Both iPhoto and Aperture have long been go-to solutions for photo organizing and quick touch-ups for photographers from a range of experience levels from amateurs to professionals.

Aperture, which has long been considered an important step up from iPhoto for professionals and enthusiast photographers is now being replaced by another free app. For this to work, Photos would have to sit firmly in that space between iPhoto and Aperture—user-friendly enough for beginners and powerful enough for enthusiasts and professionals alike.


Upon installation, the first thing of note is just how similar the Photos app was in appearance to the iOS app of the same name. Apple’s ongoing strategy to blend the user experience of its mobile operating system (iOS) with its desktop system (OS X) is evident in the app design.

The liberal use of whitespace and simple interface is a notable step up from the dated appearance of iPhoto. The sidebar is noticeably absent, and has been replaced with a photo navigation tool.

The app itself has a noticeable speed advantage over iPhoto. Navigating between events is quick and peppy. Even when sorting through years of photos at a time, there is little to no noticeable sluggishness. Being able to see your photos all at once is also an interesting experience on a larger screen. What was a novelty on the iPhone and iPad has become a useful feature on the desktop.


Editing tools included with Photos are sparse by comparison to Aperture, but incredibly intuitive and easy to use. There is a lot here to love for iPhoto users, but Aperture’s more experienced user base will find it to be a step down.

At first, it would appear there are really just a few adjustments you can do to a photograph, beyond cropping and rotating. Upon selecting the Add option in the editor, you are given access to the following editing tools.

  • Histogram
  • Light
    • Exposure
    • Highlights
    • Shadows
    • Brightness
    • Contrast
    • Black Point
  • Color
    • Saturation
    • Contrast
    • Cast
  • Black and White
    • Intensity
    • Naturals
    • Tone
    • Grain
  • Sharpen
    • Intensity
    • Edges
    • Falloff
  • Definition
  • Noise Reduction
  • Vignette
  • White Balance
  • Levels

Photos also includes a set of filters you can apply to photos to change their looks quickly and easily. These nine filters are very basic, and are standard for what you might expect in a modern photo app.

Organization is the heart of the Photos app. Photos are automatically organized by location and date/time. This feature is a direct reflection of the iOS app, and should be a natural fit to users already accustomed to the mobile experience.

If you have pre-existing iPhoto events set up, you don’t lose them when you migrate to Photos. Instead, these events are stored in the Albums area of the app under the title iPhoto Events.

iCloud Photo Library is another big part of the 10.10.3 update. When you first launch the Photos app, you are given the option to activate the iCloud Photo Library (beta) which keeps your photos (and edits) synced and accessible across all of your Apple devices. You can even access photos via the Web on iCloud.com.

The downside here is that if you take many photos at all, you'll probably have to cough up some extra money to store them if you want to take advantage of this service.

Where Photo Stream came across as a bit clunky, given the way it would only make photos accessible for a short time, the iCloud Photo Library seems to be a much better solution. Your entire library is accessible at any time.

Like iPhoto, Photos has plenty of options for users to share photos via iCloud, Flickr, Twitter, Messages, Vimeo, LinkedIn, and more. You also have access to Projects, which give you the ability to create calendars, cards, books and more and have them professionally printed.

Overall, the new Photos offers a modern design that fits well within OS X Yosemite. It marks a great step forward for iPhoto hobbyists and amateurs, who will likely consider it a decent replacement. Advanced Aperture users, however, may find it lacking.

Multicultural Emojis

Another new feature introduced in the public beta of 10.10.3 is a new set of emoji which include a more diverse set of human characters, flags, and more.

See also: Apple's Emoji Characters Will Soon Look More Like The World

These new emoji come with a new picker, making it easy to scroll through categories of emoji, select the one you want, and apply it to your text.

For users that have long been hoping for an emoji set that lets them use characters of varying skin tones, diverse families including same-sex couples with children, as well as an expanded set of flags representing 32 more countries, this will be a welcome update.

Google Two-Step Verification

Also included in the 10.10.3 update is support for Google two-factor authentication—the security measure that requires you to input a texted passcode as well as your password to get into your Google account. When you add your Google accounts to OS X’s Internet Accounts panel in System Preferences, you gain the ability to use Google’s services with apps like Calendar and Mail.

Until now, if you've enabled two-factor authentication, adding your Google account to OS X has been troublesome. Your Mac would give you an error message letting you know that you need to get something else from Google, but there was no clear way to enter the verification code.

Version 10.10.3 gives you an extra dialogue box with a field you can enter the code you receive from Google in to continue. The process is quick and easy.

Images courtesy of Apple

Categories: Technology

Ebola’s Not Over For Health Care’s Volunteers

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/04/2015 - 8:31am

Health care workers who caught Ebola while treating its victims in the US and in Africa continue to struggle with poor health and the stigma of the disease.

The post Ebola’s Not Over For Health Care’s Volunteers appeared first on WIRED.

Categories: Open Source, Technology