Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom might have been able to reclaim his New Zealand finances earlier this year, but his ensuing legal fight against internet piracy charges has apparently evaporated that. The entrepreneur told the BBC that he' has gone through $10 million in legal costs. His legal defense team stepped down two weeks ago causing Dotcom to initially claim he might have to represent himself at his bail hearing (which began earlier today). While Dotcom was able to reclaim some assets, dozens of bank accounts remain frozen. Dotcom's follow-up online storage service, Mega was valued at $164 million in March, although as the BBC reports, the founder doesn't hold a stake in the company. Financial troubles have also been compounded by his political party, the Internet Party, which failed to claim a single seat in New Zealand's general election two months ago.
Razer's Nabu wristband has been long in the making, but it's finally here... well, almost. The gear maker has announced that its hybrid activity tracker and smartwatch will be available in North America on December 2nd. According to the company, that nearly year-long wait makes sure that it lives up to its promises, including social networking features that pop up when you meet fellow Nabu owners. It'll normally be available for $100, although the the first 5,000 Razer Insider members who pre-order can score a unit for $80. The Nabu is a bit late to the party given that rivals like Fitbit have stepped up their game in recent months, but it may be a nice complement to your gaming laptop.
Solar power just hit one of its biggest milestones, in more ways than one. First Solar recently finished building Topaz, a 550-megawatt plant that represents the largest active solar farm on the planet. And we do mean large -- the installation's nine million solar panels cover 9.5 square miles of California's Carrizo Plain. It's an impressive feat that should power 160,000 homes on Pacific Gas and Electric's grid, although it won't be alone at the top for very long. First Solar's Desert Sunlight farm will match that capacity once its last solar cells go online, and SunPower's 579MW Solar Star is due to go live in 2015. Not that there's a problem with that, of course. These solar plants have been a long time coming, and they promise eco-friendly energy for hundreds of thousands of Golden State residents.
[Image credit: Center for Land Use Interpretation]
Remember the OpenWorm project, in which researchers reproduced the genome of a nematode worm digitally and made it wiggle around on a screen? If you take the "brain" of that worm and use it to power a robotic car, you end up with researcher Timothy Busbice's WormBot. He mapped the software into a Lego Mindstorms EV3 bot, then trained it to follow sound the way a nematode follows food. When he whistles to "call" the bot, it heads toward him but stops and reverses if it detects an obstacle (using the EV3's sonar) -- even though it was programmed to do none of those things.
A few days ago, it was rumored that Samsung was planning to replace its head of mobile in a bid to reverse slumping smartphone sales. Now, local rival LG is doing the same thing, albeit for a very different reason. CNET is reporting that current chief Dr. Jong-Seok Park has been suffering from health problems that mean he'll step into an advisory role for the company while Juno Cho (pictured, left) from LG's holding company replaces him. It's a good time to be taking over, since LG's mobile arm recently recorded record high sales and doubled profit -- giving Cho plenty of time to pick out the furniture for his new office.
[Image Credit: Photo/Judi Bottoni / AP]
There's a reason why unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aren't permitted to fly beyond 400 feet and within a five-mile radius from airports: they could cause a disaster if they smash a plane's windshield or get sucked into its engine. Unfortunately, some drone operators don't follow protocol, and their numbers have only increased since June 1st this year. According to a document that the FAA has just released, pilots and air traffic controllers have reported 175 incidents in which a drone was seen flying in restricted airspace since mid-2014. Out of those 175 incidents, 25 describe drones almost colliding with either a plane or a helicopter.
On November 30th, Japan's Hayabusa 2 will be leaving leaving Earth aboard a Mitsubishi-made rocket to make its way to an asteroid -- but not to blow it up. The Japanese spacecraft will follow in its predecessor's footsteps and observing a space rock for science (of course). But unlike the first Hayabusa that explored an asteroid rich in silicate and nickel-iron, this one's headed for one that's made of clay and rocks: materials that could contain organic matter and water. The unmanned vehicle will traverse outer space for more than three years until it finds asteroid "1999 JU3," which it's scheduled to reach by June 2018.
It's getting to the point where when a gadget can't access YouTube it's more noteworthy than one that can. With that in mind, how the venerable Slingbox 500 and Sling TV interact with Google's video empire is pretty damned neat: the platform now uses YouTube as a contextual overlay for whatever it is you're watching. One of the examples the outfit gives is say you're checking out Jimmy Fallon do his Neil Young impression on The Tonight Show. Using Audible Magic's tech, and in this hypothetical case, Sling will serve up the last clip of the talk-show host doing so. Pretty cool, right? There's also a new "Trending on YouTube" gallery that is exactly what it sounds like. Naturally, there's a standalone app for accessing Mountain View's streaming video catalog as well.
Ubisoft may not have a way to turn back time and release Assassin's Creed Unity without a slew of glitches, but it's at least trying to make amends to jilted gamers. The studio has announced that it...
Federal law enforcement might not be having much success pushing for laws that require a security backdoor on your phone, but that doesn't mean it's out of options. Judges (including one who publish...