So this is something. The Scandinavian press is buzzing right now with the news that Jay Z is buying the Norwegian company behind the high-quality music streaming service Tidal. The rapper and entrepreneur made a 464 million Krona (roughly $56 million) bid which the company's reviewing board has already reviewed. It's recommending all its shareholders accept the offer.
Things would be a lot easier for roboticists if their creations can learn from any instructional video they watch without further programming. While we're still far from teaching robots complicated skills using just a playlist of YouTube clips, a University of Maryland research team is in the very early stages of making that happen. The team's research is funded by DARPA's Mathematics of Sensing, Exploitation and Execution (MSEE) program, which aims to teach machines not only how to collect data, but also how to act on it. For this particular study, the researchers have developed a system that allowed their test robots to learn from a series of "how-to" cooking videos on YouTube. During testing, the robots were able to perform the tasks shown in the videos using the right utensils and with zero human input.
How do you prove your device isn't vaporware? Put a price and pre-order date on it. Well, that's what Saygus is doing with the V2 (pronounced V-Squared) that we spent some time with at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, at least. If you reserve a handset come February 2nd, not only will you get a $50 break off the $599 asking price, but Saygus is throwing in a few extras as well. Those include an additional battery and what the company's calling a "customized, replaceable glass screen protector." The pre-order registration window's been extended until noon MST February 2nd, and actual pre-orders start at 11:59 p.m. MST (the outfit's based in Salt Lake City, Utah) or February 3rd at 1:59 a.m. Eastern. What a world we live in: one where you can register to pre-buy something that still doesn't have a release date, from a company that hasn't succeeded in bringing a product to market in its five-year existence.
We have no idea how Jurassic World is going to turn out come summer, but we do know that it's getting Lego-fied for Lego Jurassic World. The game follows all three Jurassic Park stories in addition to this June's blockbuster, and it'll be available for basically every platform you can think of. Short on imagination? Well then, here's a list: 3DS, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Phew. The dino-centric series has always had a bit of a mixed showing when it came to solid video game adaptations (the Sega Genesis movie tie-in and the Xbox's Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis were great, though), but the folks at Traveller's Tale have a pretty good track record with their Lego games.
Toshiba has undertaken many attempts to reshape its TV segment over the years with "Cloud Portal" and Cell TV, but none have hit the mark and now it's getting out of the business entirely in North America. Following other Japanese manufacturers that have axed (Pioneer), scaled back (Panasonic), or reorganized (Sony) their TV operations, Toshiba will license its name to Taiwan's Compal. New TVs from the venture will be on shelves in March, so don't be surprised if they're a bit different. It already switched to more outsourcing after axing jobs in 2013, so the shift may turn out to be subtle. Toshiba has always been willing to bring some unique -- if not always appreciated -- aspects to the game, and we'll be sad to see them go. The plan now is to "develop new technologies and services" while it works on securing a stable profit.
The latest iTunes is now available for download, and while it won't clothe your old application in a newer, fancier interface, it does come with a convenient new feature. To be exact, it adds an iTunes widget right within the notification center that lets you play, pause and skip songs without accessing the program itself. You can even buy tracks from within the widget if you're jamming to songs on iTunes Radio. To get this new feature, fire up your Mac App Store and find iTunes 12.1 from among all your outdated applications in the Updates tab -- just take note that you need to have OS X Yosemite installed to see the download and enjoy the widget's features.
Actually, it's not about ethics in games journalism. NBC's Law & Order: SVU will air an episode titled "Intimidation Game" on February 11th, and unless you've been living under a rock the circumstances will be pretty familiar. In a plotline following "GamerGate" and the women many of its participants targeted for harassment, the show will feature a video game developer (played by Mouzam Makkar) preparing for a launch "amid a stream of online insults, intimidation and death threats." Inevitably Detective Olivia Benson and Ice-T are called in and... you've seen Law & Order, right?
Hopefully, unlike in real life the cops know how to deal with online intimidation and threats, but we also hope that the dramatization doesn't downplay the all-too-real events that are still occurring. As far as the real lives of some of the women the episode appears to be basing its main character on, Zoe Quinn has an online support network for those dealing with internet abuse called Crash Override, while Brianna Wu is working on "Women in Tech: The Book!". Similarly, Anita Sarkeesian laid out 2015 plans for her organization, Feminist Frequency, and is working with "major social media and gaming platforms" to work on ending harassment.
As Cyanogen moves along a new path (apparently with help from Microsoft) phone maker OnePlus is working on its own flavor of Android, and now it has a name: OxygenOS. Unfortunately, it doesn't have much else beyond promises of going back to the drawing board with software that is "open, customizable, and free of bloat and unnecessary features." That's good to hear though, and matches up with the alpha build seen earlier this month. In classic OnePlus style, the tease just sets up another tease, and we're told more information is coming on February 12th, so mark your calendars.
In an effort to help prevent foodborne illnesses and contamination, IBM Research is teaming up with Mars for a safety study that'll examine how supply chains affect what we eat. Specifically, the du...
It's only been a few weeks since Microsoft released the preview versions of Office for Android, but the software giant is finally ready to bring the final version of those apps to Google Play. Start...