We've had an exciting year in the smartphone world and for those that haven't upgraded in a while, it's time to answer the question - what should you put in the letter to Santa? Sure, it might be a bit early for the holiday shopping, but we don't expect any new major phones launching to market this year so this buyer's guide will probably be the last one for 2016.
Today's nation-wide internet outage was enabled thanks to a Mirai botnet that hacked into connected home devices, according to security intelligence company Flashpoint. The distributed denial of service attack targeted Dyn, a large domain name server...
We're hours away from Nintendo's (brief) reveal of the NX, and if there's one game we're excited for, it's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The new adventure, which is coming out on both the Wii U and NX next year, was a highlight at E3 2016,...
It's been almost a year and a half since Nintendo announced the NX, and now the gaming giant has finally dropped the codename and secrecy in favor of something more official: Switch. Like the countless rumors previously asserted, it's indeed a hybrid...
It's a trick question. You're supposed to answer no – because well, look at those people – but then you learn it's a company portrait of Microsoft from 1978.
Early employee Bob Greenberg, pictured in the middle, won the free portrait after calling in a radio show and guessing the name of an assassinated president. The gang reluctantly gathered together in some of their finest attire, and an American business legend was made.
With Microsoft's stock hitting an all-time high after earnings on Thursday — higher than its previous peak in 1999, at the height of the dot-com boom — we thought it would be a good time to take another look back.
This is an update of a post originally written by Jay Yarow in 2011.
Bill Gates is now giving away the billions he made from Microsoft
We all know what happened with this guy. Bill Gates founded and built Microsoft from nothing into the most valuable technology company in the world. Along the way he became the richest man in the world, and is now giving is fortune away to all kinds of good causes.
Andrea Lewis became a fiction writer and freelance journalist
Andrea Lewis was the only person at the company that was from Albuquerque. She was a technical writer for Microsoft, which meant she wrote documents explaining Microsoft's software. She left Microsoft in 1983, eventually becoming a freelance journalist and fiction writer. She co-owns the Hugo House, a literary center in Seattle.
Maria Wood sued Microsoft just 2 years later
Maria Wood was a book keeper for Microsoft, and married to another one of the early Microsofties in the picture. She left the company just two years later, suing it for sexual discrimination. Microsoft settled the case. After that, she vanished from the public eye, raising her children and volunteering for good causes.
Warning: Full spoilers for the October 19th episode of Arrow, “A Matter of Trust,” follow.
Several notable developments occurred in this week’s Arrow, as Felicity made a big confession, Curtis suited up for the first time, and Lyla approached Oliver with a big request.
Arrow executive producer Marc Guggenheim discussed these plotlines and more, and where various Season 5 storylines are going as the season continues.
At the end of the episode, Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) revealed to Rory, AKA Ragman (Joe Dinicol), that she was responsible for the death of his family (and indeed, his entire hometown) and Guggenheim said that moving forward, “I feel like
Eastman Kodak and the Bullitt Group on Thursday introduced the Ektra smartphone, which will be the first mainstream handset carrying the Kodak brand. The phone inherits its Ektra name from Kodak’s consumer cameras from the 1940s, and is designed to cater to digital photography enthusiasts, which is emphasized by overall design (which somewhat resembles the original), a large assembly of lenses as well as a dedicated shutter button. Initially, the Kodak Ektra device will be exclusively in Europe for €499.
Kodak developed the world’s first digital camera in the mid-1970s and has patented a huge number of digital imaging-related technologies since then. Although the company was fairly successful with its digital cameras in the 1990s and early 2000s, it lost a significant chunk of its market share later on as new companies entered the scene. Consequently, Kodak filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early 2012 and then had to exit the digital camera business, sell off its image sensor solution unit and some other businesses, and then sell many of its patents to a group of high-tech rivals in 2013. After re-emerging from bankruptcy, Kodak decided to focus on commercial products and services, but did not forget its heritage of serving consumers. In 2013, it demonstrated its first micro four thirds camera to be made by a third party and in late 2014 announced plans for smartphones.
Nowadays the market for standalone cameras is on the decline as many people use smartphones to make pictures, and this is when Kodak decided to team up with Bullitt (which also has rights to produce phones under CAT and Land Rover brands) to create a Kodak-branded handset. Under the terms of the agreement, Kodak licensed two of its trademarks to Bullitt and then developed the photography software as well as the optical lenses assembly. In the meantime, Bullitt designed the Kodak Ektra smartphone itself.
From hardware point of view, the Kodak Ektra is a typical mainstream smartphone, featuring a 5” FHD display and is based on MediaTek’s Helio X20 SoC. The handset comes equipped with 3 GB of LPDDR3 RAM, 32 GB of NAND flash storage, a 802.11ac Wi-Fi + BT 4.1 wireless module, a 4G/LTE Cat4 modem and a 3000 mAh battery. A good thing is that the phone sports a USB Type-C port used both for data and charging.
Specifications of Kodak Ektra
MediaTek Helio X20 (MT6797)
2 × Cortex-A72 at 2.3 GHz
4 × Cortex-A53 at 2.0 GHz
4 × Cortex-A53 at 1.4 GHz
ARM Mali T880 MP4 GPU at 780 MHz
Meanwhile, the imaging capabilities of the Kodak Ektra deserve a closer look: after all, the smartphone is all about photography. The main (rear) camera of the phone uses Sony’s 21 MP Exmor RS IMX230/IMX338 sensor (Kodak does not reveal the exact model), which is found on some other smartphones nowadays, as well as a dual-LED flash. As noted above, Kodak designed the imaging software with SLR-like UI to select the scene type (e.g., HDR, landscape, portrait, macro, sport, night-time, panorama, bokeh as well as a smart auto mode). In addition, the phone supports the manual mode that allows adjusting exposure, ISO, focus, white balance and shutter speed — just like on cameras. Finally, Kodak applied a special coating to the lenses to maximize their luminous transmission.
While Sony’s 21 MP sensors are used relatively widely and behave predictably, Kodak’s lens assembly and custom software are supposed to be the main factors that will differentiate the Ektra from competing Android 6-based devices. Obviously, we will need to test the hardware and software before drawing any conclusions about imaging capabilities of the Kodak smartphone. As for the front-facing camera, Bullitt/Kodak installed a fairly good 13 MP sensor with an f/2.2 lens.
Kodak and Bullitt intend to sell the Ektra in Europe later this year for €499 or £449, depending on the country, through Bullitt’s typical sales channels. The design as well as the price point clearly indicate that the Kodak Ektra is a niche phone that is positioned below flagship models from Apple and Samsung, but still relatively high in the market for what's largely mainstream hardware. That said, it looks like the Ektra is banking on people familiar with the Kodak brand, who value imaging capabilities, stylish design and original accessories (Kodak will offer a case and a pouch). However, it is unlikely that the smartphone will capture a significant chunk of the market. After all, many smartphone makers claim that their products have the industry’s best photography capabilities and Kodak/Bullitt are definitely not the first to advertise such features.
Nintendo just revealed their brand new console to the world, the Nintendo Switch. It's the first console of its kind to let you play your game anywhere you want, whether it's at home on your TV or out and about.
At the core of the system is a display unit running on a custom NVIDIA Tegra processor that makes use of a brand new set of gaming API called NVN to get the best out of it. The main unit is an assuming slab with an HD screen on it. It's what you plug it into that makes it interesting.
At home, you can just slot the unit into the Nintendo Switch Dock that connects to your...
Artist Mike Kelley creates "Airportraits" of the world's airports by photographing all the planes that take off on a given day, then compositing them together into a kind of time-lapse of a day's worth of flights, which presents an instantly comprehensible way of comparing the different services; they're available as stunning prints. (via Kottke)
TV tech is on the move again. From the relative simplicity of 1080p versus 4K resolution, we humble buyers now have to contend with HDR (High Dynamic Range) in all its multiple flavours.
HDR has pushed screen makers to new levels of innovation. The idea of higher peak brightness and wider colour range (the two key attributes of HDR) may sound relatively straightforward, but executing them has caused a fundamental rethink with display technologies – and there's no clear consensus between brands (or I suspect even within brands) as to which solution is best.
So how do the approaches of the three biggest innovators, Samsung, LG and Sony, compare? They all have a very different idea about how best to bring home the incredible dynamics and wide colour of HDR…
Samsung SUHD Quantum Dot TVs
Quantum Dot technology is the future of TV… at least according to Samsung. We know this because it shills the point at every opportunity, but what makes QD so interesting?
In short, it's allowed Samsung to reconceptualise TV construction.
Quantum Dot nano-particles are pretty useful. They're incredibly efficient when it comes to brightness, and are capable of astonishing colour purity. 10,000 times smaller than a human hair, they can deliver perfect primary colours, depending on their particle size. But Samsung doesn't use Quantum Dots for the display itself, instead they're used as a backlight enhancement.
In a common or garden LED backlit LCD TVs, those white LED backlights are actually blue, coated with yellow phosphor. This coating leads to diminished intensity, one reason why many LCD TVs produce an orangey red. Using a Quantum Dot Enhanced Film (or QDEF) layer between the TV backlight and the Liquid Crystal panel can fix this.
The phosphor can be removed and the native blue backlight, mixed with Red and Green produced by the QDEF filter, produces a brilliant white light, which allows the attached LCD panel module to function more efficiently. The result is more accurate colour – and lots of it. The range-topping UE55KS9000, for example, claims to cover 96 per cent of the DCI P3 colour spectrum. This, and the ability to deliver a better peak luminance, make QD screens seem a natural for HDR content.
Spend five minutes spent with any Samsung TV boffin and they'll also tell you quite emphatically that inorganic Quantum Dots are not prone to aged related degradation. A Quantum Dot screen bought today, should be just as bright a decade hence. That's not something OLED vendors are prepared to claim.
But adopting Quantum Dots alone does resolve fundamental LCD issues of limited contrast and haloing around bright objects on a dark background. This remains a problem that both edge-lit screens and local dimming full array models struggle with.
Samsung hopes to solve this with QLED, a next generation screen technology which looks likely to jettison that LED backlight in favour of an organic light source, or involve some sort of shift to directly energised electroluminescent Quantum Dots. QLED TVs (however they end up being made) could theoretically be 30 per cent brighter than OLED, but have comparable black levels. But we'll probably have to wait till 2018 or so before we get a proper first look.
LG OLED TVs
LED LCD TVs may be unable to deliver a really good black, but that's an area where OLED shines (or rather, doesn't). This is because organic LED panels are self emissive. Like plasma TVs of yore, they don't require a constantly beaming backlight. When you need total black, the pixels literally turn off.
The catch is OLED panels can't deliver the kind of peak brightness that high-end LCD screens muster either.
This discrepancy has led to two different certification grades for Ultra HD premium HDR capable TVs. Ultra HD Premium badge certification can be applied to LED displays which offer more than 1000 nits peak brightness and less than 0.05 nits black level, or OLED TVs which only offer 540 nits peak brightness yet drop to 0.0005 nits black level. A disparity that makes sense when you consider certification is a guarantee of range, not brightness.
Of course, when you're watching HDR on an OLED TV, the perceived dynamic contrast, often seems just as great as that on an LED LCD display. And some might argue it's less fatiguing to watch too.
Significantly, OLED also doesn't suffer from unwanted haloing around areas of brightness on dark backgrounds, either, as there's no backlight chicanery to disguise.
If only there was a display technology which combined the black level performance of OLED with the brightness of top end LED LCDs…
Sony Backlight Master Drive
Making its debut on Sony's Z-Series flagship 4K screens this autumn, the Backlight Master Drive is a new backlighting technique which seeks to combine the black level performance of OLED with the extreme peak luminance associated with HDR.
First seen in prototype form at CES 2016, this ingenious direct array technology sets out to address many of the problems associated with conventional backlighting.
While Sony is keeping specifics under wraps, we do know the system uses an undisclosed number of precision controllable white LEDs driven by a highly accurate lighting algorithm.
These LEDs use a calibrated beam design which focuses the LED light into a defined spot. The effect is less diffusion. The splashy, often indiscriminate halo often seen around bright objects is largely eradicated.
Peak highlights are crisply delineated against dark backgrounds. The visual effect is far more OLED like than you might image. Yet peak luminosity, a benefit of LCD backlighting, remains high. Allied to Sony's own X-Tended Dynamic Range Pro image processing, HDR highlights really zing. Backlight Master Drive technology really does appear to offer the best of both worlds.
So who has the better TV tech?
Inevitably, all these competing TV designs have strength and weakness but in all cases the pros significantly outweigh the cons. Samsung's SUHD implementation of Quantum Dot combines extreme HDR brightness with a rich, wide colour gamut; LG OLED delivers unbeatable black level performance with dynamic colour performance; and Sony's Backlight Master Drive combines OLED-like contrast with huge luminosity.
When it comes to image performance, it seems TV buyers have never had so many great (or difficult) choices to make.
Flashpoint is having ripple effects across all of the DC shows, and in Tuesday's episode of The Flash it was revealed how Barry Allen had a significant effect on Arrow in a way that tied back to a Season 1 plot point on Legends of Tomorrow.
In the second episode of the season, Barry Allen catches up with Arrow's Felicity Smoak to talk through the ripple effects of Flashpoint. He realizes that the deviations between the original timeline and the Flashpoint timeline -- which have resulted in a third, slightly altered timeline -- have affected those closest to him.
Apparently Barry Allen should have watched The Butterfly Effect before he started mucking about with the timestream. Then he might have known that using time travel to fix one’s problems never ends well. There are always unintended consequences, and it’s those consequences that formed the basis of this week’s episode. “Paradox” offered an intriguing view of the Arrow-verse as it exists in the aftermath of “Flashpoint,” even if not all of the changes to the timeline are as dramatic as they seemed.
Barry had no shortage of headaches to deal with this week as he adjusted to life in his new (and apparently permanent) universe. Iris and her father aren’t on speaking terms. Cisco is a shadow of his usual self as he mourns the death of his brother. All of a sudden, some surly British guy is hanging out in Barry’s office. And now there’s a new metahuman killer leaving husks of skin in his wake. It’s a lot to take in.
As seen below, this Guardian is influenced by the character's usual comic book look, though with some changes - and none of the yellow color scheme he usually has. Said Supergirl's producers said in a statement, “James Olsen takes on the mantle of the classic DC Comics hero, Guardian. With his trademark shield intact, James will fight to protect National City alongside Supergirl."
Mehcad Brooks as James Olsen/Guardian in Supergirl.
The Sorcerer Supreme is coming to the big screen in Doctor Strange, the latest installment in Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the titular hero in the movie, which will usher the mystical arts into the superhero saga.
Doctor Strange in many ways will be an origin film, explaining surgeon Stephen Strange's transition to the Mystic Arts as he becomes one of the most powerful heroes around. It also will introduce magic into the MCU in a way that is certain to have a lasting impact on the series. And will one of the missing Infinity Stones pop up as well? Only time will tell.
Turns out graphene, the wonder material with so many potential applications, is also the secret sauce to making tougher silk. A team of scientists from Tsinghua University in Beijing successfully created silk that's twice as tough simply by feeding t...
Spoilers for The Flash's Season 3 premiere, "Flashpoint," continue below.
Flashpoint might have only lasted one episode on The Flash, but executive producer Todd Helbing promises we're just beginning to see the problems Barry Allen caused by trying to change history and altering the timeline.
Helbing got on the phone to talk about what's coming up on The Flash, and also what's not; it had been speculated that Flashpoint could last for multiple episodes, so he explains why The Flash team decided to wrap it up after only one episode. He also previews the introduction of Tom Felton's character Julian Albert in Tuesday's episode, "Paradox," what the additions of speedsters Jesse Quick and Kid Flash mean for the show, and how The Flash is planning on using Wentworth Miller's Leonard Snart this time around. Read the full Q&A below.
Philip Klemenov, a well-known pro gamer and livestreamer who went by "Phizzurp," had his life tragically cut short when he died in a car accident on October 2nd. However, his passing is also showing how the streaming community can unite in moments...
Update 10/13: After earlier asking customers to stop using the Note7, today the company has expanded the matter to a full recall in the United States. All Note7s, originals and replacements, are now being recalled by the company. As most users are expected to want to swap to another phone, the actual processing of the recall is being handled by both Samsung (for direct sales customers), and retailers/carriers for remaining customers.
Meanwhile, along with the refunds/partial rebates being offered by retailers to either cover the cost of the phone or the price difference between it and its replacement, Samsung has also announced that they are expanding their US bill credit program. In short, customers who stay with Samsung will receive a $100 bill credit, while customers who replace their Note7 with another manufacturer's phone or opt for a full refund will receive a $25 bill credit.
U.S. Note7 Refund and Exchange Program
Under the terms of the U.S. Note7 Refund and Exchange Program, you have the following choices and can take these next steps beginning October 13, 2016 at 3pm ET:
Exchange your current Galaxy Note7 for any Samsung smartphone and replacement of any Galaxy Note7 specific accessories with a refund of the price difference between devices
Obtain a refund at your point of purchase
In addition, you may be eligible for additional incentives described below:
What if I want to exchange my Galaxy Note7 for another Samsung smartphone?
As a sign of our appreciation for your patience and loyalty, we are offering up to a $100 bill credit from select carrier or retail outlets if you exchange your Galaxy Note7 for another Samsung smartphone, less any incentive credits already received.
What if I already exchanged my Galaxy Note7 for another Samsung smartphone?
If you already exchanged your Galaxy Note7 device for another Samsung smartphone, you will receive up to a $75 bill credit from select carrier or retail outlets in addition to the $25 you previously received.
What if I want a refund for my Galaxy Note7?
If you choose to obtain a refund, you will receive up to a $25 bill credit from select carrier or retail outlets as a token of our appreciation and acknowledgement of your inconvenience, less any incentive credits already received.
What if I want to exchange my Galaxy Note7 for another brand of smartphone?
If you choose to exchange your Galaxy Note7 for another brand of smartphone, you will receive up to a $25 bill credit from select carrier or retail outlets as a token of our appreciation and acknowledgement of your inconvenience, less any incentive credits already received.
Update 10/12: Seemingly set to put an end to this saga, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Samsung has informed South Korean regulators that it intends to permanently cease production of the phone. Given the issues Samsung has experienced, it goes without saying that this is not surprising, and this will mean that the Note7 will not get a third shot in the market.
Samsung made it official today that it is suspending all sales and exchanges of its beleaguered Galaxy Note7 smartphone, and it is also asking all partners to do the same.
After reports of several phones catching on fire after it initially went on sale, Samsung initiated a global recall while it investigated the source of the problem, which traced the issue to defective batteries from a specific supplier (Samsung sources batteries from more than one supplier). With the problem seemingly solved, Samsung initiated an exchange program where customers could trade in their defective Note7s for new, supposedly safe, ones or a new Galaxy S7 or S7 edge instead.
Unfortunately, it did not take long for fresh reports of battery fires to surface. Several of the replacement Note7s have caught fire too, including one that forced a Southwest Airlines flight in Louisville, Kentucky to be evacuated on October 5th. Another replacement Note7 caught fire in a Farmington, Minnesota girl’s hand on October 7th.
Here's Samsung's official statement:
We are working with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to investigate the recently reported cases involving the Galaxy Note7. Because consumers’ safety remains our top priority, Samsung will ask all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note7 while the investigation is taking place.
We remain committed to working diligently with the CPSC, carriers and our retail partners to take all necessary steps to resolve the situation. Consumers with an original Galaxy Note7 or replacement Galaxy Note7 should power down and take advantage of the remedies available, including a refund at their place of purchase. For more information, consumers should visit samsung.com/us/note7recall or contact 1-844-365-6197.
These new incidents suggest that the Note7’s issue is not limited to a single battery supplier like Samsung first thought. The Note7 is clearly a safety risk at this point, and we recommend that anyone that currently owns a Note7 heed Samsung’s advice and immediately power down the device and store it in a fire-safe location until it can be returned or exchanged.
At New York Comic-Con today, Marvel announced that Sigourney Weaver will play the villain in Netflix’s upcoming superhero team-up series The Defenders. The news was confirmed by Marvel vice president of digital media Ryan Penagos on Twitter.
Marvel didn’t reveal exactly which character Weaver will play, but Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb called her “a worthy foe" during the panel. In a press release, Netflix simply referred to her as "a significant but unspecified role."
After more reports of replacement Galaxy Note 7 phones catching fire, Yonhap News reports that Samsung has temporarily suspended production. The Korean paper cited an anonymous source working at one of Samsung's suppliers, and the company has not yet...
In addition to dropping two pieces of casting news during the Netflix/Marvel panel today at New York Comic Con, the cast of Marvel’s IRON FIST also took to the stage to discuss the show and present the first real trailer. Finn Jones steps into the role of billionaire Danny Rand, who returns to New York […]
Netflix made two big casting announcements during the panel for its Marvel series today. First was the news that Deborah Ann Woll is going to appear in THE PUNISHER along with star Jon Bernthal. Woll will reprise the role of Karen Page, whom viewers first met in Marvel’s Daredevil. In addition, the four leads of […]
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is being turned into a TV series.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin, who produced the 2004 film, will remake the movie into a show with Universal Cable Productions attached. But, the project is still in its early stages.
Zev Borrow, who’s known for writing Chuck, is in talks to pen the script. But Charlie Kaufman, who wrote the original film, won’t be involved with the remake. Anonymous Content, the production company that's responsible for True Detective and Mr. Robot, will be producing the project.
The polarizing poster child for the wonders and woes of free speech on the Internet, 4chan, is enduring tough times. With ad revenue drying up, it faces an existential dilemma to change or die. Last Sunday, the site's owner Hiroyuki Nishimura broke t...