What if all those apps you rely on at work weren’t trapped on your smartphone’s tiny screen? They may not be for much longer. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Future Interfaces Group lab have come up with a novel way for your smartphone to spill out onto your desk while still letting you interact with apps…
The Justice Department’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division is responsible for enforcing compliance with federal environmental laws. So to find that the fingerprints of coal lobbyist-turned-ENRD acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Wood are on an environmental-racism scandal is, actually, pretty par for…
It’s always the same with blockbuster movie marketing these days—the closer you get to release, the more and more footage comes out to the point you could piece together everything chronologically and come away with a huge chunk of the actual movie. Sometimes the studios themselves do it for you in the form of…
A group of small Internet service providers yesterday urged Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to preserve the FCC's net neutrality rules and the related classification of ISPs as common carriers.
"We have encountered no new additional barriers to investment or deployment as a result of the 2015 decision to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service and have long supported network neutrality as a core principle for the deployment of networks for the American public to access the Internet," the ISPs said in a letter to Pai that was organized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
The current rules are necessary "to address the anticompetitive practices of the largest players in the market," but "the FCC’s current course threatens the viability of competitive entry and competitive viability," the companies wrote.
Google is launching a major redesign for Google News, bringing the site more in line with Google's company-wide "Material Design" guidelines. A gray background and white cards around each story bring the site more in line with what Google has been doing on Android and makes it look a lot like Google Now. Everything is a lot more spaced out, so you'll see less information on a single page. Google says the airier design is "designed for readability" and will make it easier to scan stories.
The site remains recognizable as Google News. There's still a vertical column of sections on the left side, but now the list is customizable. There's also still a right-side column that houses recent items, the weather, sports scores, and local news. Google is highlighting its "Fact Check" labeling program with a new block in the right column that will show "the top fact checked articles recently published." One new navigation element is a top bar that lets you jump between top headlines, local news, and "For You"—a suggested content section.
Unlike my previous visits to Japan, this isn’t simply a tourist trip. For the first three weeks, at least, I’ve several jobs to get on with – so I suppose I won’t be blogging the days when I just sit in my room or Miho’s office preparing lectures or comparing The Borrowers with the UK and US dubs of Arrietty (my task of the moment). So far, I haven’t visited a single shrine or temple. Still, even ordinary life comes with its fair share of firsts. I’m enjoying listening to Japanese radio, and I’ve finally mastered the art of opening an onigiri with aplomb. Meanwhile, this is a view of my home as seen from Miho’s sixth-floor office:
If you have a machete, feel free to hack your way through to my front door and say Hello!
On Saturday I made a trip to Shinjuku – only twenty minutes on the tube, but a world away, in the the privy chamber of Tokyo’s pumping heart. This was where I’d spent my first ever day in Japan, mostly getting lost in Shinjuku station (the world’s busiest, or so I’ve read). This time, as an old Japan hand, I only had to stop and ask directions twice before I found my way to the Keio Department store. I was there to have tea with Yasuka, whom I’d met at Clémentine Beauvais’s York conference back in May. We had a good chat (where I was pleased to find a natural occasion to slip in the expression “kuuki wo yomenai”, which I’d been dying to do for some time); but here I’d like to record a culinary first: kakigoori (or shaved ice). It’s very much a summer treat, so I’d not had the chance to eat it on my previous visits, which were in spring. I went for matcha flavour, tricked out with adzuki beans. Yummy to eye and tongue alike:
(It has to be said that Yasuka’s choice was pretty lush, too.)
Afterwards, I admired the hugely expensive clothes, kitchen appliances, etc., on Keio’s many floors, and played the “Irasshaimase!” game. You know those thrillers where people have to thread their way through a room without tripping any of the laser alarms (always coloured bright red for your convenience)? The “Irasshaimase!” game involves seeing how far you can walk through a Tokyo department store without triggering an "Irasshaimase!" from any of the assistants (“Irasshaimase!” being the welcome accorded, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, to any customer who strays into their field of vision). My record so far is 20 metres. I don’t really mind being greeted, but like many Westerners I’m never quite sure how (or whether) to respond. Should I ignore the smiling assistant entirely, as many Japanese seem to? It certainly appears to be going too far to say “Thank you” or “Hello”, unless you’re seriously considering taking the relationship to the next level and buying something. In between lies a sickly repertoire of half-smiles, half-nods, subliminal body-swivellings and other such awkwardnesses, the mastery of which my nation has made its own.
I worked most of Sunday, but in the afternoon declared “No more - I must abroad!” and, having got a taste for urban living, tubed me to Ikebukuro (literally “Pond Bag” – no, I don’t either). I was particularly interested to see the street known, so NHK World had informed me, as “Otome Road”, the female answer to Akihabara, where girl geeks gather to buy figurines, cosplay, check out the latest manga, and perhaps be treated like a princess at the Swallowtail Butler café (Otome Road’s equivalent to Akihabara’s maid cafes).
Perhaps four o’clock on a rainy Sunday afternoon wasn’t the best time to visit this demi-monde, but Sunshine City was still busy despite the rain:
(I like this couple the best.)
Otome Road took some finding, even though I picked up a map (two, in fact – in English and Japanese) at the nearby Tourist Information, on which it was clearly marked. When I reached the area where I believed it to be there were, indeed, drifts of teenaged girls, all dressed to the nines (Lolita fashion was their key note), but no lively street of shops that accorded with my mental image of the trendy Otome Road. I asked a couple of the girls and got blank looks, and it was the same story with the assistant in the combini next door. Eventually, someone pointed me down a street that did indeed have some otaku-ish shops here and there along one side (the other side was just car parks and offices) – and that, it appears, was Otome Road; but it seemed awfully thin pickings, compared to what their male equivalents have in Akihabara. (I was later told that “Otome Road” [Young Woman Road] is the term used by male otaku, not by the otome themselves – which perhaps explains the blank looks.)
Eatery of the day: Brasserie Edible. I do admire an establishment that doesn’t oversell itself:
The Root A White House Reporter Grew Tired of the ‘Fake News’ Narrative, So He Fought Back | Deadspin The Knicks Are Done With Phil Jackson | The Slot Watch Donald Trump Creep Out an Irish Reporter While She Is Reporting on Him | Fusion Here’s a Trump Voter Close to Tears Over Losing Health Care Under the GOP’s Bill |
The next wave of fingerprint readers on smart devices could be more inconspicuous than they are now. Earlier this year, Synaptics announced a new range of fingerprint sensors that can be integrated under polymers, ceramics, and glass, potentially providing more functions to Android soft buttons. Rumor has it that Apple has also been experimenting specifically with under-display fingerprint readers, and that's the area that Qualcomm has been focusing on as well. At Mobile World Congress Shanghai, the chip maker showed off its first ultrasonic-based, under-display fingerprint sensors in a prototype of the existing Vivo Xplay6 smartphone.
The technology built into this prototype allows the bottom-third of the smartphone's display to act as the fingerprint reader and unlock the device. As demonstrated in a hands-on demo by Engadget, you simply press your thumb to the display and the device unlocks within a second or so of reading your fingerprint. It doesn't appear to be a speedy as traditional smartphone fingerprint sensors, but that's not surprising since the technology is still in its infancy and hasn't yet been incorporated into any consumer devices.
According to Vivo, the technology could be built out so the entire display could act as a fingerprint sensor. However, that will up the production costs dramatically. Engadget's report says that Vivo could eventually spread the technology through the bottom half of the display rather than just a small portion close to the bottom edge.
When 2016 was over, Apple announced that its app store business generated well over $28 billion in sales that year. While that includes sales of software for its desktop operating system, it does not include the vast quantity of applications that are given away for free (many of which enable some sort of transaction when run). By any measure, the app store is big business, and an app-store-like ecosystem has now been part of any mobile OS for years.
One of the striking things about this is that, if you believe Steve Jobs, none of this was ever supposed to be. When the original iPhone was introduced, Jobs announced its development environment: Web apps.
There’s no SDK that you need! You’ve got everything you need if you know how to write apps using the most modern Web standards to write amazing apps for the iPhone today. So developers, we think we’ve got a very sweet story for you. You can begin building your iPhone apps today.
Jobs, of course, was famous for dismissing something as irrelevant right until the moment that Apple was ready to enter that market. The tight deadlines for putting something as complicated as iOS together undoubtedly left some of its SDK in a state of flux, and all of it was poorly documented—things were likely good enough for internal app development, but not the developer community. It was easy to see Jobs' promotion of Web apps as a strategic announcement, meant to put off developer demands while the SDK was cleaned up.