According to PatentlyApple, Apple has filed yet another solar panel patent. While this is the eighth patent for the Cupertino, Calif.-based company in an effort to make proprietary solar technology, the “Power Management for a system having non-volatile memory” has eliminated the need for a power converter to turn the solar power into electronic energy. In practical applications, this means that a solar panel could be attached directly to the Magsafe port of a computer or onto the back of a phone. It’s just a concept now, but it could mean that solar power won’t come at the cost of slimness and style.
The last four months have been a roller coaster for Ouya. And, as the holidays loom on the horizon, what’s next? Read more »
Although their mail clients have shut down, Lavabit and Silent Circle have joined forces to change the protocols of secure mail. Read more »
Vanished is a scary, stressful thrill that is worth the dollar I paid for it. Read more »
Facebook has announced its Q3 earnings, which shows not only growth in mobile ads but also a widening of the social platform’s user base. Read more »
Maybe indie is popular after all. Gaming company Valve announced today via email that its independent-focused platform Steam experienced 30 percent user growth in the past year, pushing the total active accounts to 65 million — more than Xbox Live. Microsoft estimates that its platform has 48 million accounts, while Sony’s Playstation Network claims 110 million. Valve will enter with a broad user base into 2014, where it hopes to convert those fans into loyal Steam Machine buyers. But it’s a sign that PC gaming isn’t as ailing as everyone expects.
Electronic Arts is experiencing trouble with its Origin platform again, mistakenly region-locking users’ ISPs to Europe. Read more »
Over-the-top communications app Tango is moving into another new area: music, thanks to a partnership with Spotify. Read more »
Neighborhood-focused social media company Nextdoor has raised $60 million, including an investment from Comcast. Read more »
Google’s rumored smartwatch, which makes use of Google Now, is reportedly entering the final stages of production. Read more »
Want to see the curves of the Earth from a small pod hooked up to a massive balloon? Well, now it’s legally possible, as the FAA has approved the operations of World View. According to Forbes, the Tuscon-based company offers rides in its pressurized, six-person capsule that floats to 100,000 feet for $75,000. The FAA deemed the company legal due to its short jaunt to the stratosphere, and it could be up and running in as little as three years. So feel free to sign up, as long as Gravity didn’t freak you out too much.
A new report from Pew Research shows that more people than ever are creating and sharing photos online. Read more »
Facebook has received plenty of resistance in its piece-by-piece effort to open up more user information for use in features and advertisements. Each time Facebook changes its policy, a predictable cycle occurs: initial user anger, followed by the company’s soothing words that privacy is still important. Privacy scholar Michael Zimmer has launched The Zuckerberg Files to unlock Mark Zuckerberg’s “philosophy of information” — and track his ever-changing stance on privacy. Though it’s a bit involved for an ivory-tower dweller, it is interesting to see the Facebook CEO get tracked for a change.
Nielsen announced a new SDK to measure how people watch television from digital sources, including the tablet and smartphone Read more »
The Wall Street Journal says that Samsung is finally teaming up with the NBA to bring televisions and tablets to the teams and officials. Read more »
Zynga is pleasing investors with its latest numbers, but social gaming alone won’t keep it from doing better than breaking even. Read more »
Hulu seems to love getting its leadership from its parent companies. Just weeks after it announced Mike Hopkins, a former executive at Fox, would take over as CEO after Jason Kilar left the position in January, the streaming video company has confirmed via blog post that former Disney executive Elaine Paul will join the team as CFO. Like Hopkins, Paul also has a history with Hulu: She was involved in Disney’s original investment in the company.
When it comes to endangering teenage drivers, texting has become a bigger threat than alcohol. But there’s no consensus on a prohibitive punishment that keeps texting while driving to a minimum, according to a series of infographics by Mother Jones.
The most punitive state is Alaska, which slaps texting drivers a $10,000 fine and one year in jail. On the other hand, California’s fine to punish texting is just $20. What’s more, four states — Arizona, Montana, South Carolina and South Dakota — don’t even have a ban. These vast differences show that most people still aren’t aware of the dangers of texting behind the wheel.
It’s no secret that the community behind Wikipedia is insular, methodical and bureaucratic. But the high barriers of entry that Wikipedians have established to keep the website’s millions of pages under control are now coming back to haunt them, according to an in-depth feature by MIT Technology Review. There simply aren’t enough people to regulate and edit the firehose of information — both correct and incorrect — to keep to the high standard the community sets for itself, much less be a reliable encyclopedia. That insular group is going to need to open up, or risk collapsing under the weight of its own system.
After announcing its decision to offer ads a few weeks ago, Instagram finally shows off a sample. Read more »
Vine has issued an update that will please power users, with a very important editing tool. Read more »
One of the biggest selling points for TiVo’s latest line, the Roamio, was the promise of out-of-home streaming. The company finally announced via press release that the feature will begin its roll-out today via a software update to all TiVo Roamio Pro and Plus owners. Users will be able to watch shows over WiFi both in-home and on-the-go, as well as download and save shows for viewing offline — provided they have an Apple product to run TiVo’s app. The company says that Android and 4G/LTE support will debut next year.
Linkedin has debuted a new feature for iPhone that allows users to see each other’s professional profile without leaving their email. Read more »
NASA has spent years perfecting data transmission between the Earth and space, starting in the 1960s with radio wave technology. The group is one step closer to seamless, lossless and speedy data transmission as it announced that the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) has used a pulse laser beam to create a record-breaking 622Mbps connection between the Earth and the Moon. That’s a connection much faster than ones found in the average American household traveling more than 200,000 miles. NASA hopes the laser technology will help provide increased image resolution and even 3D video transmission from deep space.
The media has reported that HTC has shut down a production line, but the Taiwanese company begs to differ. Read more »
Apple has announced that today is the day OS X 10.9 Mavericks debuts — for free. Read more »
The food experiment-turned-real product Soylent has raised a $1.5 million seed round from Andreessen Horowitz, Lerer Ventures and Alexis Ohanian. Read more »
Ahead of the release of the One Max, HTC is the subject of a Bloomberg report that the company is allegedly planning an Android-based smartwatch for 2014. There are scant few details on the project — only that it will be able to “take pictures” — but it’s not altogether unlikely that the Taiwanese company would want to get into the watch space. HTC has fallen on tough times recently, posting its first-ever quarterly loss and selling back shares in Beats, Inc. With Samsung cannibalizing the company’s smartphone sales, not trying its hand on a smartwatch could add insult to injury — and admit defeat.
In 2006, Nintendo made a hard left turn. Known for creating commercially loved, top-of-the-line consoles like the Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64 and the Gamecube, Nintendo stepped off the expected path to produce a new, novel console: The Nintendo Wii. Now, after seven years and more than 100 million units sold worldwide, Nintendo has halted the production of the Wii indefinitely. Kotaku reports that the shutdown was announced earlier this month, but the results are still sad. The Wii’s success changed Nintendo, for better or for worse, and it’s the end of an era.
Finally, Hulu Plus has updated its iPhone app with Chromecast support, enabling it to be used like a TV remote for all of the premium service’s offerings. Hulu Plus has offered increased Chromecast support — including display, live queueing, and scrub features — since early October, but the iPhone was suspiciously missing from the line-up. Considering how much of the Hulu audience was demanding iPhone support in the comments, the inclusion is both needed and expected, but it is another fortification to Chromecast’s offerings that bring a more TV-like experience to the device.
Facebook says it has seen success with its news publishers, especially with BuzzFeed and BleacherReport. Read more »
Quantum computing is just in its infancy, but its possibilities have certainly intrigued Google. In order to make the future come that much faster, the company is now looking to the children to usher in a new, quantum-physics savvy generation. The Google Quantum A.I. Lab Team released a blog post detailing the kid-friendly qCraft: a modpack for the popular, pixelated MMORPG Minecraft that enables players to explore and experiment with quantum physics in the digital world. With it, kids will be able to enact Schrodinger’s Cat, instead of reading about it in a text book.
When building software, it’s great to be Open Source until it isn’t. In early days of a project where time is of the essence, as when Google scrambled to get into mobile to catch up with Apple’s iPhone, opening up makes for better software faster. But, what happens when you win? Ars Technica has a great report about Google’s introduction of proprietary apps that replace Android Open Source Project apps — essentially cutting off company-enacted updates to the Open Source material. It’s an ingenious, if slightly conniving, way to keep competitors from swiping the platform.
While they are competitors on the social media front, Facebook and Google will now be bedfellows in advertising, as an announcement from Google confirms the companies have struck a partnership in which DoubleClick Bid Manager will now be able to buy on the Facebook Ad Exchange. It’s a win for both companies, as DCBM clients will now be able to have access to real-time FBX ad inventory, and Facebook has the opportunity to bring more clients to real-time ads. This could, in theory, also boost the quality of Facebook’s ads — and bring in more revenue for the company.
NPD has released a September report that shows great news for Nintendo, but against a slow period for its larger rivals. Can its sales strategy keep the business going? Read more »
Apple has issued a recall relating to the 64GB and 128GB flash storage drives used in the previous generation of MacBook Air systems. If you bought a MacBook Air between June 2012 and June 2013, the latest firmware update will also run a test to see whether the drive needs to be replaced. It’s unclear how widespread the flash storage drive failure is, but it appears that the faulty drive will undergo total failure if left unchecked. So hop to it: your music library and photo albums will thank you for it.
In New York, it’s not uncommon for someone to get their phone snatched right out of his hands on the subway, in the middle of Candy Crush Saga, by a hot-footed thief.
New York State Senator Jeffrey D. Klein wants to curb the practice, according to the New York Times, by requiring business to see or have “proof of ownership” (like a sales receipt) to buy or sell smartphones. While it wouldn’t stop one-off Craigslist sales or shadier practices, if it’s passed it could shine a light on where a phone goes after it leaves its owner’s hands.
Twenty years after adventure game Myst was released, the company behind the game is crowdfunding another title. Read more »
There’s great need for security in the Internet of Things. Can the industry make itself better, or will the government have to step in? Read more »
At Mobilize 2013, AT&T announced a crucial partnership with Tesla that brings the mobile company into the driver’s dashboard. Read more »