Wednesday, July 02, 2014

More quick links

More of what caught my attention lately:
  • Crazy cool and the first time I've seen ultrasound used for device-to-device communication outside of research: "Chromecast will be able to pair without Wi-Fi, or even Bluetooth, via an unusual method: ultrasonic tones." ([1])

  • A 3D printer that can print in "any weldable material" including titanium, aluminum, and stainless steel ([1])

  • "You teach Baxter [an inexpensive industrial robot] how to do something by grabbing an arm and showing it what you want, sort of like how you would teach a child to paint" ([1])

  • When trying to use the wisdom of the crowds, you're better off using only the best part of the crowd. ([1])

  • "Americans now appear to trust internet news about as much as newspapers and television news ... not because confidence in internet news is rising, but because confidence in TV news and newspapers has plummeted over the years." ([1])

  • "Microsoft is basically 'done' with Windows 8.x. Regardless of how usable or functional it is or isn't, it has become Microsoft's Vista 2.0 -- something from which Microsoft needs to distance itself." ([1])

  • Google Flights now lets you see everywhere you can fly out of a city (including limiting to non-stops only) and how much it would cost ([1] [2] [3] [4])

  • "Entering the fulfillment center in Phoenix feels like venturing into a realm where the machines, not the humans, are in charge ... The place radiates a non-human intelligence, an overarching brain dictating the most minute movements of everyone within its reach." ([1])

  • Google's location history feature is both fascinating and frightening. If you own an Android device, go to location history, set it to 30 days, and see the detail on where you have been. While it's true that many have this kind of data, it may surprise you to see it all at once.

  • "Vodafone, one of the world's largest mobile phone groups, has revealed the existence of secret wires that allow government agencies to listen to all conversations on its networks, saying they are widely used in some of the 29 countries in which it operates in Europe and beyond." ([1])

  • Many "users actually do not attach any signi´Čücant economic value to the security of their systems" ([1] [2])

  • "Ensuring that our patent system 'promotes the progress of science,' rather than impedes it, consistent with the constitutional mandate underlying our intellectual property system" ([1])

  • Smartphones may have hit the limit on how much improvements to screen resolution matter, meaning they will have to compete on other features (like sensors or voice recognition) ([1])

  • "Project Tango can see the world around it in 3D. This would allow developers to make augmented-reality apps that line up perfectly with the real world or make an app that can 3D scan an object or environment." ([1])

  • The selling point of smartwatches is paying $200 to not have to pull your phone out of your pocket, and that might be a tough sell. ([1])

  • "As programmers will tell you, the building part is often not the hardest part: It's figuring out what to build. 'Unless you can think about the ways computers can solve problems, you can't even know how to ask the questions that need to be answered'" ([1])

  • "[No] lectures, discussion sections, midterms ... a pre-test for each subject area ... given a mentor with a graduate degree in the field ... [and] textbooks, tutorials, and other resources. Eventually, they're assessed on how well they understand the concepts." ([1])

  • "A naked mole rat has never once been observed to develop cancer" ([1])

  • Hilarious Colbert Report on the Hachette mess, particularly loved the bit on "Customers who enjoyed this also bought this" at 3:00 in the video ([1])

  • Humor from The Onion: "We want $100 from you, so we’re just going to take it. As a cable subscriber, you really have no other option here" ([1])

  • Humor from the Borowitz Report: "It never would have occurred to me that an enormous corporation with the ability to track over half a billion customers would ever exploit that advantage in any way." ([1])

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