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Tag Archives: home computers

Internet giants shift U.S. policy strategy to the defensive

Internet giants, including Alphabet’s Google and Facebook, are moving to compromise on several major policy issues as they adjust to an abrupt shift in the political winds in Washington. Just last week, the U.S. Senate took a big step toward advancing legislation that would partially strip away the internet industry’s bedrock legal protection, a 1996 […]

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How to scale fast with a 1-week hiring plan

Exponential organizations are a new breed of business built to scale very rapidly. These are enterprises that operate 10 times better, faster, and more cost effectively than their traditional, linearly-operated peer organizations. They exploit the benefits of “exponential”, or scaling, technologies to one-up competitors, disrupt industry icons, and keep competitors at bay. Uber and Airbnb […]

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Robots learn to walk naturally by understanding their bodies

The challenge with bipedal robots isn't so much getting them to walk at all (although that's sometimes a problem) as it is getting them to walk naturally. They tend to either step cautiously or quickly run into trouble. Swiss researchers think they can do better, though: they're working on COMAN (Compliant Humanoid), a headless robot designed to master walking. The automaton is more graceful through a combination of more flexible, elastic joints and a control algorithm that helps the bot understand its own body.

COMAN is aware of the symmetries in its dynamics and structure, which helps it not only walk with a natural gait but carry objects, navigate uneven surfaces like stairs, and react to surprises. If you push the robot, for instance, it knows exactly where to place its foot so that it doesn't tip over like some of its peers. And thanks to that added flexibility, it's more likely to survive that rudeness.

The technology is a long way from reaching robots you can interact with. For one thing, these machines would need 'heads' or some other way of exploring the world on their own. They may be particularly clever when they arrive, though. The team is also exploring the possibility of teaching bipedal robots t coordinate in shared actions, such as carrying a table. You could eventually see moving robots that have no problems hauling your couch down a flight of stairs.

Source: EPFL, PLOS One

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Now you can sleep on the cool side of the pillow literally all night

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'Moona' is a water-based system that regulates the temperature of your pillow. It connects to an app that tracks your motion throughout the night, and adjusts the temperature accordingly. Cool water is pumped through the system to induce sleepiness, and warm water to gently wake you.  Read more...

More about Apple, Iphone, Smartphones, Mashable Video, and Apps And Software

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Office 365’s revamped web launchers put you to work sooner

Sometimes, it's not your productivity apps that need a tune-up... it's how you get to those apps that needs work. And Microsoft knows it. The tech firm has redesigned the Office.com front end and Office 365's web app launcher. There's now a recommended section that surfaces the activity that's relevant to you, so you can quickly jump to where you're needed -- say, a Word file that needs edits or your recent PowerPoint presentation. You can also search for people, apps, documents and sites right from the get-go.

Things promise to be simpler once you're waist-deep in work, too. There's a streamlined Office 365 web launcher that focuses just on the most common apps and those you use often, so you're not wading through menus to return to a favorite tool. You can pin apps if you know you'll need to use, them, and there's a prominent recent documents section that will switch you back to that all-important report. If you're not sure which app to use, you can explore recommended apps to get resources, install desktop apps and otherwise determine whether or not it's the right tool for the job.

Microsoft expects these updates to reach Office 365 users "soon," so don't be surprised if they aren't visible right away. Whenever you get them, it's clear that Microsoft is increasingly treating Office's web version as its own sort of operating system, not just as a collection of apps. This won't necessarily lure you or your company to Google Apps, but it could make the Office experience more cohesive.

Source: Office Blogs

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Download this: Ikea’s AR app lets you preview furniture before you buy

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Apple dropped iOS 11 this week and, in addition to a load of new features, the update brings the first wave of augmented reality apps created using the company's new ARKit tech. 

But one of the best use cases of ARkit so far is not a game or an app to make your selfies more interesting: It's from Ikea. 

Called Ikea Place, the app uses Apple's augmented reality technology to help make Ikea shopping a little less painful. It uses your phone's camera to quickly scan a room — you'll need iOS 11, but not an iPhone 8 or iPhone X to use it — so you can then "place" Ikea furniture around you. Read more...

More about Tech, Apple, Ikea, Augmented Reality, and Apps And Software

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Auto maintenance could be more efficient in the future

Imagine if every time Apple pushed out an update for your iPhone — from a major operating system refresh to a security patch — you were required to make an appointment at an Apple store, bring your phone in at the designated date and time, and hang around for what could be several hours waiting […]

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Hands-on with Apple Music using ‘OK Google’

Bots talking to apps is not new, but a Google property that works with an Apple property in a fluid and seamless way is kind of earth-moving. It’s not as big as a recent move by Amazon to partner with Microsoft and trigger the bots from each company by voice, but we can see where all […]

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What we’re watching: ‘Marvel’s The Defenders’ and ‘The Night of’

Welcome back to Video IRL, where several of our editors talk about what they've been watching in their spare time. This month we're talking about the latest Marvel/Netflix series, The Defenders, to find out if it's as bingeworthy as previous efforts. Billy Steele hopped into HBO's archives to check out The Night Of and explains why this is a crime series you won't want to miss, and finally, Richard Lawler talks about The Man from Nowhere without mentioning that he always cries at the end.

'Marvel's The Defenders'


Mat Smith

Mat Smith
Bureau Chief, UK

If you've seen all the other shows that have fed into Defenders, this Marvel team-up isn't going to change how you feel about each of the protagonists. Jessica Jones gets nearly all the good quips, aside from Madame Gao (an imperious old woman that scared the crap out of heroes and villains alike in those other Netflix shows), and even uses a car to ram a resurrected ninja/love interest. Danny Rand, the Iron Fist, is still petulant, myopic and just ugh — if anything, it's good to have human punchbag for everyone else to riff off. Other heroes "forget" his mystical title, despite the fact that Rand says it to anyone and everyone who'll listen. I hoped they'd at least offer some highlights to the Fist, but he's still the weakest part.

The story mostly centers around Daredevil and the Iron Fist, and there are several surprises in the last half of the eight episodes to keep things interesting. Luke Cage seems to take a backseat: He's all voice of reason and stoic calm most of the time. (This is funny to me because in the old comics, it was usually the other way around, as Fist would tell Cage to not take it all so seriously. Then again, Cage also wore a golden tiara thing, so, you know, maybe things are better this way.)

Once I'd finished it all, and believe me, I binged like a lot of viewers, I felt a little underwhelmed. It's not that it was bad, it's just that perhaps my expectations were too high. Despite being like an Indie Avengers supergroup, I didn't feel like any of the heroes evolved much during this team-up run, and the threat didn't ramp up as much as I'd hoped it would, barring a four-on-four match-up in the final few episodes. The group thing works fine; it's just that some of the solo artists do better work on their own.

'The Night of'


Billy Steele

Billy Steele
Senior News Editor

If you're looking for something to fill the void left by True Detective and remedy the disappointment of the second season, HBO's latest crime thriller will do the trick. The Night Of is set in NYC and chronicles one really bad night out for Nazir Khan. What starts out as relatively innocent sneaking out and taking his father's cab to go to a party, ends up with him being accused of a murder he doesn't remember committing. Well, mostly because of the cocktail of drugs and alcohol he consumed.

Riz Ahmed is spectacular in the lead role as Khan. He adapts from being a sheltered college student to becoming a murder suspect whose new home is Rikers Island. In fact, Ahmed just won a well-deserved Emmy for the character. Along the way, fellow inmate Freddy Knight, played by Michael K Williams of The Wire fame, takes Naz under his wing. In exchange for protection in prison, Naz has to do some illicit activities to repay the debt. And of course, that creates a whole other set of issues.

John Turturro is also outstanding in the role of John Stone, a lawyer that hangs out around police stations looking for clients. Stone thinks this is another open-and-shut case where he can get paid to convince his client to take a plea deal. And because it's a high-profile murder case, he'll earn much more than his usual fee. During the course of the show, it's amazing to watch Stone's change of heart towards Naz while dealing with his own personal struggles -- all of which culminates in the attorney's epic closing argument.

The best part? It's only eight episodes, which means it's easily bingeable in a weekend -- if you're as determined as I was. The shorter season also kept the pace moving along at a good clip, and the show never felt like it was dragging or filling time like some 13-episode series tend to do. What's more, The Night Of works so well as a one-season show. While there have been rumblings about a second installment, I'd be perfectly fine with HBO keeping this to one season. Unless of course, Turturro comes back as John Stone -- then I might be convinced to change my tune.

'The Man from Nowhere'


Richard Lawler

Richard Lawler
Senior News Editor

If you, like me, have a leaning towards classic action flicks from a few decades ago, then Korean movies can fill the hole left by current Hollywood movies that rely too heavily on quick camera cuts and CGI. A few you should check out include I Saw the Devil, No Tears for the Dead and, my favorite, The Man from Nowhere.

This 2010 release lived up to its title, suddenly appearing and instantly becoming one of my favorite movies. It fills its two-hour runtime with a visceral, close-up brand of violence all paced to match the way we learn about its main character's backstory. A mysterious pawnshop loner turns out to be a former special-forces operative, who deliberately chews through a crime syndicate that has kidnapped a little girl he befriended. It's not the most original plotline, but the mix of story and action is perfect, and star Won Bin -- who I hope will return to action movies someday as he is sorely missed -- pulls off every bit of subtle emoting necessary to carry the role.

It closes with an action scene that I won't spoil but can honestly say is a favorite along with anything seen in either The Raid movie. Emotional stakes combined with excellent choreography and cinematography take it to another level and should earn this flick a spot on your shelf.

"IRL" is a recurring column in which the Engadget staff run down what they're buying, using, playing and streaming.

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Have almost any toy imaginable, at the click of a button

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This kid-friendly 3D printer lets you choose from and print hundreds of different toy designs, and even design your own. Read more...

More about Kickstarter, Mashable Video, Kids, Diy, and Toys

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