You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours -- all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.
When 500px unveiled its Prime photo licensing store, it stirred up a hornet's nest -- many photographers were outraged that the image host would keep most of the cash from their work. Give credit to the company for a change of heart, though. It just launched Prime in beta, and the royalty rates are much more favorable. While 500px now sells all photos at a $250 flat rate (instead of a $250 minimum), photo owners get 70 percent of that revenue; unless you regularly sell pictures at higher prices, you stand to earn considerably more per shot. You'll have to get an invitation to the beta to give Prime a chance, but the revamped service could be a sweeter deal if you'd make a pittance from rival photo services.
T-Mobile's customer-friendly "Uncarrier" schtick seems to be changing people's minds about the country's 4th largest wireless provider, and it's not done fiddling with that formula just yet. The folks in magenta just announced a slew of tweaks to its Simple Choice plans that make them worth yet another look.
We're live on the ground at South By Southwest (#SXSW for short), the annual event that brings together everyone and anyone who's invested in the interactive arts. Those artists include the minds behind emerging startups (like Twitter was here in 2007), as well as established innovators like Mark Cuban and even Grumpy Cat.
We're already off to a great start: we've seen a man get stunned by the Chaotic Unmanned Personal Intercept Drone and had a chance to punch virtual sharks with the Oculus Rift and Leap Motion. But, there's more to come over the next few days, including riding MarioKart in real life, separate virtual conversations with Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, Shaq and much more.
Here's how to keep up with us at SXSW, after the break.
Inventables' Shapeoko 2 desktop computer controlled (CNC) milling machine just got a whole lot more attractive. The company's new Easel tool is a free design and fabrication web app designed for the $650 open-source kit, which launched last October. The new duo will enable you to design objects in 2D with a real-time 3D preview, then "print" your creation using a USB-equipped CNC milling machine (such as the Shapeoko) with wood, plastic or soft metal. Best of all, Inventables has whipped up an interface so straightforward even an Engadget editor could figure it out. Creating designs, such as the bottle opener we tossed together is a simple drag and drop affair, and requires no prior experience. While you should be able to design basic objects in less than five minutes, assembling a Shapeoko can take considerably more time. Fortunately, Zach Kaplan happened to have one ready to go, so we caught up with the Inventables CEO to try out the new cloud-based design tool here at SXSW.
If the simplicity of ASUS' Chromebox is enticing, you'll be glad to hear that you can pick up the miniscule computer very soon. The $179 Chrome OS desktop is now available for pre-order at stores like Amazon, Newegg and TigerDirect, with the first wave of orders due to ship on March 14th. A base system starts out modestly with a 1.4GHz Celeron and 2GB of RAM, although you can splurge for a Core i3 model (the Core i7 variant isn't coming stateside). Just don't expect a completely silent machine -- AnandTech understands that none of the Chromeboxes are fanless, contrary to some expectations. As long that isn't a dealbreaker, though, you can snag ASUS' cheap PC at one of the source links.
Beats Music is already integrated with Apple's CarPlay system, which means you'll be able to stream music from Beats' catalog in any vehicle that happens to have Apple's setup installed. Now, new API support could mean we'll be able to pump out the jams from even more cars. The streaming music service made its API public today, a move that gives third-party developers access to its vast music collection. In particular, developers get access to the company's library of tunes, album art and track metadata (Beats previously shared its API privately with a few big names like Sonos and Bop.fm). So far, Chevrolet has announced it's adding Beats to its AppShop system -- and we're sure it won't be the last company to do so.
My Dearest Friends at Engadget,
With this letter I have enclosed a large, slightly frayed chunk of styrofoam that we all thought resembled the prominent "t" in the Engadget logo – you know, the one wearing the cute Wi-Fi hat. We have no use for this item here at Joystiq, so we thought you might hoist it above your reeking desk-beds, or use it in another story about 3D printers.
Ben Gilbert is joined by Engadget editor and former Best Buy celeb Chris Velazco, along with our social media guru John Colucci who's managed to drag himself away from Grumpy Cat and 3D-printed Oreos long enough to share his thoughts on SXSW. While Ben flexes his verbal Shaq Fu to keep the podcast on track, the real Shaquille is actually scheduled to host a panel on wearables at the Austin event this week. There's a good deal of strange news to talk about, but none quite as odd as Dorian Nakamoto's #bitcoinchase on Thursday. Of course there's a method to all this madness and it can be found at the streaming links below, steganographically embedded into this week's episode of the Engadget Podcast. Enjoy!
Hosts: Ben Gilbert
Producer: Jon Turi
Hear the podcast: