For millennia, the greatest theological minds have vehemently debated one the great questions of existence: what kind of connector does Satan use to link his peripherals and his P.C.? Well, we now have a definitive answer: that dastardly trident-branded USB.At least that’s what one Brazilian “evangelical cult” claims. Welder Saldanha, the founder and “apostle” of “Paz do Senhor Amado” (Peace Beloved of the Lord) has forbidden followers from using the connector which is branded with Satan’s soul-poking tool of choice, citing that “The symbol of that name [USB] is a trident, which is used to torturethe souls that go to hell. Use of that symbol proves that all users ofthis technology are actually worshipers of Satan.”Brazilian blogs have been bouncing this story around since at least early summer (link with Google translation). But only now are we snarky secularists of Europe and North America starting to take notice. There are some elements of this story that seem too wacked to be true, such as when asked which peripheral-connector followers are permissible, Mr. Saldanha answers Bluetooth because “Blue was the color of the eyes of our savior Jesus Christ.” I haven’t been able to find any independent verification that this “cult” even exists. So, there is a chance I may be putting up a post in the near future explaining that this is all a prank or a joke that did not properly bridge the Portuguese-English divide. But for now, it’s all pretty nutso.pic via
Welcome to Geek.com’s latest installment of obscure extreme sports! In this episode we’ll be covering extreme sledding, part of the motorsport genre within the larger family of Darwin Award-worthy sports.To take conventional sledding to the extreme you don’t need a mountain, halfpipe, or even an abandoned building, you just need a a sled, some snow, and a fast vehicle whose driver isn’t looking backwards very often. In the case above a French SNCF train was used, along with a sled that was able to ride between the tracks. The rider seems to have attached a rope to the train when it slowed down at a station and then ridden behind it–somehow without incident–until they got to the next station. A few friends of his were nice enough to ride alongside and film the event.As incredibly unsafe as this is, it seems relatively tame during the video. I have no doubt that the rider should have been scared out of his wits considering that an errant railway tie would have meant his almost certain demise, but I doubt a DIY bungie jumper would have even broken a sweat. In fact, this would probably seem like pleasant way to commute compared to that or flying inches from a cliff face in a wingsuit.via Devour
When Ludacris has some big news to announce, where does he go? Why, Gearlog, of course. We met up with the rapper/actor in a posh hotel room in Vegas to discuss Soul, his new line of headphones.Of course, Ludacris isn’t the first rapper to get his own line of branded headphones–Dre and Puffy already beat him to that one–be he seems pretty sure that his is the best. Soul features five different modes, the High Definition Professional SL300 Powered Noise Cancelling headphone, High Definition On-Ear models SL150 and SL100, and the SE99 and SE49 High Definition In-Ear headphones.All boast “world class” noise cancellation and audio mixing, according to the company. After the jump, check out our interview with the man himeself.
There’s a lot of talk of the so-called Apple Tax, or the premium that a consumer pays to buy an Apple product. For almost a decade, stalwart Windows PC advocates have argued that buying a similarly-specced Apple desktop or laptop adds hundreds of dollars to the price of the machine. For what it’s worth, that argument is true, even though Apple enthusiasts will argue that you are paying for a more solidly constructed and reliable machine. Even so, you know where the Apple Tax doesn’t exist at all? With the iPad, because even a year after release, the competition still can’t seem to manage to release a decent Android tablet that matches the iPad WiFi 16GB’s $499 price.Case in point? The much-anticipated new Motorola Xoom, one of this year’s most admired Honeycomb tablets, is going to sell for nearly $800. That’s for the 3G version, obviously, but even the WiFi-only version will cost $600.These numbers are official. They come directly from Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha, who openly admits that Motorola can’t seem to compete with Apple’s tablet hardware without charging more.“Competing with Apple you have to deliver premium products,” said Jha. The thing is, while Apple manages to deliver premium tablets at a consumer price, the competition is releasing them at premium prices as well.The Motorola Xoom isn’t the only Android tablet coming in well above the price of the iPad: the HTC Flyer is now rumored to cost $730 when it launches. What we’re seeing here is the industry being caught with its pants down: Apple has invested heavily in the tablet supply chain, and they’ve dominated most of the parts. To eke out a tablet, the competition is simply having to pay a lot more to build one than Apple is… and it’s all about being behind the curve and letting Apple dictate the industry. Yeesh.Read more at Reuters.
Calipers don’t lie, but sometimes perspectives do. According to measurements by Consumer Reports, the white and black versions of the Apple iPhone are exactly the same thickness. This supports Apple’s claim that the devices are the same size, and refutes stories swirling around tech blogs that the white iPhone is slightly larger.News broke last week that the white iPhone was slightly larger than the black version, to the tune of 0.2mm, and photos circulated around the web of the two devices resting next to one another, clearly showing one larger than the other. Shortly after, Apple issued a statement claiming the two devices were the same size.AdChoices广告Apple SVP of Product Marketing Phil Shiller claimed that people shouldn’t “believe all the junk that you read” in a Twitter conversation with an iPhone owner who questioned him about the size difference, including a photo for illustration.Now, Consumer Reports has gotten into the fray, and broken out a pair of high-quality calipers to measure the two devices side by side, and sure enough, both white and black iPhones come in at 0.37 inches. Still, the photos that have circulated the web remain, and unless they’re just bad perspective or an oddly placed photo, it’s still possible that someone out there has a white iPhone that’s slightly bigger than their black one.Consumer Reports went on to claim that they tried a number of different cases with both phones, and had no issue with hard-shelled cases with soft sides and hard cases with firm sides: both types of case fit both iPhones without a problem.With both Apple and Consumer Reports saying the two phones are identical, it’s unlikely we’ll hear much more on the issue. It’s also unlikely that worries over case size will amount to any manufacturing changes. Still, even if someone out there has a white iPhone that’s 0.2mm thicker than their old black one, they can trust it should still fit their old case.Read more at Consumer Reports
The phrase “wireless hard drive” probably isn’t one you’ve heard before, but Seagate has gone ahead and done it–got an external hard drive and slapped on a battery and wireless router. With this $200 contraption people can stream video, music, and images to their portable devices (though it’s basically designed to work with the iPad and iPhone).The value proposition of the Satellite wireless hard drive is that it enable users to augment the storage of their mobile device, like a WiFi iPad. Want more storage when you are traveling? Apple will bump you from 16GB to 64GB for $200, but Seagate will get you from 16GB to 516GB for the same amount. Plus the Satellite can connect to multiple devices at once. It also gives users the option of streaming video or downloading it. Streaming might seem like the more attractive option but it’s not, it means you are using the Satellite for all 90 minutes of that movie you are watching. You can download a movie in a fraction of that, save it to your iDevice, and then watch it from there while the external hard drive goes into a power-sipping idle mode.It all probably sounds cool, if you are the type of person that needs mass storage on-the-go. Ideal users could be parents with multiple children who are driving across the country. The Satellite sits in the front seat while the kids pull in as much video as they could ever want on their iPads and iPods.Streaming works through a free app or through the device’s browser. You just need to connect to the Satellite the way you would any router or mobile hotspot.In theory, that’s all there is to it–you load up your drive with whatever media you want (via USB, not WiFi) and then download or stream at your leisure. Up to three people can stream at once, but more activity means battery life will be affected. The Satellite should last for 5 hours of use while the idle life is 25 hours.In practice things don’t always go quite so well. Connecting to the Satellite is easy, but to do so you need to sign off from your normal WiFi connection, so forget about downloading any email (not that you would be if you are in the car, but at home this is annoying). From there you can go right to Safari and it will connect with the drive. There is an app that does the same thing… but who needs another app?When working with the Satellite you can sort by video/photos/music/documents or browse through the clunky folder-based UI. Find some music you like, click it, and the iPad will stream the track. Press back, find a video, and after some loading time it will start playing. You can either stream or download (only with the app) media this way. Streaming video tends to be smooth, but if you aren’t working with optimized video there can be annoying frame rate issues.Through the browser/app you can do advanced features like reboot the GoFlex, change your SSID, add/chance a WiFi password, and so on. There is some loading time with each click, but overall things go smoothly.Just be to completely clear: The Satellite works, but there are issues. Some operations, like photo viewing, can be slow and the app does not work in the background (so you can’t switch to something else while it works). Also the drive is formatted in NTFS which can be a pain for the Mac users who will be buying it. The user interface feels pretty bad as well–if the device sees an incompatible video it’ll show up as if you can play it, but then it will attempt to download which can take minutes before you know what’s going on. ID3 tags and other meta information are missing, which will surely bother the enthusiasts that want to take 500GB of media with them. Also missing are playlists, music sorting, and slideshows, which means it’s bad at viewing images and playing music.Also, you can’t play music in the background using the app. Close the app and the music stops. You can get around this by using the browser, but even then you can only play one track before you need to press “Back”, find another track, and have it reopen in the streaming media player.The biggest problem with the Satellite might just be that it’s not from Apple. That means it’s kept almost entirely out of iOS’s walled garden. Using the app you can save a video or track to the iPad as “Local Content”, but not into your Videos or iTunes libraries. Anything you save will live apart from the rest of your iPad’s media, which is insanely annoying.There is a lot to like about the GoFlex Satellite, but the hurdles in front of it are considerable. As a wireless hard drive and a USB 3.0 drive it works well, but as a way to play media it’s not much fun to use. If the family techie wants to set things up then hand off the iPad to someone else, great, but if you need to explain to the kids why their video doesn’t live with the rest or why they can’t play music while they look at pictures, then you’ll understand why the Satellite missed its mark.Aside from the clunky UI and a few other shortcomings Seagate did what they could to play nicely with iOS, but it’s far from ideal and way behind the rest of the iOS experience.seagate_satellite_04seagate_satellite_04seagate_satellite_03seagate_satellite_02seagate_satellite_01seagate_satelliteseagate_goflex_satellite_002
We first heard of the Motorola Droid Bionic at CES back in January, and it appears that, if all goes as planned, we’re sitting right on the tail of the Bionic’s grand release into the world of eager Android users. Though the Droid Bionic hasn’t gotten quite as much press as the iPhone 5’s huge amount of never-ending rumors, there are still quite a few floating around, many which have Android users talking around the water cooler.Here’s what we do know…ScreenA recent FCC inspection revealed images of the Bionic’s manual, confirming that the screen will be 4.3 inches, as opposed to the 4.5-inch display that was rumored for a while. So, the Droid Bionic is the same size as the Samsung Galaxy S2. The display will be a capacitive touchscreen at qHD (960×540, 240 dpi).The ComponentsThe Droid Bionic will work on Verizon’s 4G LTE network which was just made available yesterday to half of the American population. It will run Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) on a 1GHz dual-core, TI OMAP 4430. Like the rumored iPhone 5, the Bionic will have an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with 1080p HD video recording, as well as a VGA front-facing camera. The phone has 1GB of RAM and up to 32GB of expandable memory capability. There will be a micro HDMI port and a 1735mAH battery.Inductive Battery ChargingA recent image of the Droid Bionic’s alternative battery cover looks like it will support inductive charging. It hasn’t been confirmed as of yet, but Motorola Mobility is a partner with Qi, meaning there’s a good chance we’ll be seeing it in the Droid Bionic. The FCC filing had an image of the inductive charging door and the back of the phone (under the cover) appears to have prongs what could connect to a charging cover. We’re pretty sure wireless charging is going to happen, though we don’t know if it will be an optional feature or not.Webtop Apps and Wireless PrintingLike the Motorola Atrix, the Bionic will offer the same kinds of connectivity. You’ll be able to connect it to an additional dock to be used like a laptop or desktop computer. The phone will feature full Firefox browsing with multi-window support, although we wonder why it’s not Chrome since it’s an Android phone. It will have new widgets and MotoPrint support which will let the user print to WiFi-enabled printers. Additionally, the Bionic will have an HDMI-out option for viewing content on a larger screen.Mobile HotspotThe Bionic is rumored to be used as a wireless hotspot for up to eight devices.Release date and pricingMotorola CEO Sanjay Jha said in an earnings call towards the end of July that we would see the phone sometime in September — the perfect time for back-to-school shopping and competing with the iPhone 5 which is also supposed to be either announced or released on September 7.Rumors have been leaning towards the beginning of the month, and a leaked Best Buy ad suggests it will be released on September 8 — just one day after the iPhone 5 is rumored to be announced. That’s good timing on Motorola’s part. The ad says the phone will be priced at $299.That pretty much wraps up the rumors thus far. Have you heard of any others?
When quadcopters first appeared they looked like a very cool toy you could control with a smartphone. Then students and researchers started experimenting with the quadrotor machines, and got them flying aggressively, working together to build towers, and demonstrating complex swarm behavior.Now we seem to have gone full circle, as quadcopters are being used as flying delivery units. Their cargo? Tacos.This, of course, could just be a joke, but the so-called TacoCopter service allows you to order a fresh taco with your choice of fillings via your smartphone. As part of the order your position is logged via GPS and the taco is then attached to the bottom of a TacoCopter ready for delivery.Specific details of exactly how this system works have not been released. I assume the TacoCopter has an on-board GPS system that allows it to get regular updates as to your phone’s location. It then travels to the last known point where hopefully you are waiting to collect the taco.At the moment TacoCopter is (suspiciously) only available through a private beta serving the San Francisco Bay Area. Even so, I think there’s a few hurdles the service needs to overcome if it is going to work with any degree of reliability and success.To start with, a quadcopter can only fly for so long before its batteries need recharging. We’re talking minutes not hours here, so that limits their range significantly. You also can’t overlook the fact a quadcopter isn’t cheap. Someone ordering a taco may take the view the flying delivery device is worth keeping for a quick profit. Finally, there’s also a question mark over whether the TacoCopter would be allowed to fly without having a license first.An unmanned, flying food delivery service sounds very cool and would certainly cut down on delivery times. However, I am skeptical it will work, and if it does, will we end up with skies full of swarming drones delivering packages? Collision detection and route mapping algorithms are going to have to improve quickly if that’s the case.Is this a joke service? 99% sureWould I use a quadcopter delivery service? Most definitely.More at TacoCopter
While most Americans will have to wait just a little bit longer to get their hands on Samsung’s latest flagship, in various parts of the world the device has been out for almost a month already. We gave you a brief look at the Galaxy S3 at CTIA but I managed to persuade a friend of mine here in the UK to give me a few hours of playtime with the one he’s just bought so here are my thoughts on the device (spoiler alert – it’s pretty special). Keep in mind, this is the Exynos-powered UK-edition. Geek.com has a US model as well that we’ll be covering in the future.HardwareI was incredibly surprised by the build quality of the S3, even with all its plastic it still manages to feel very premium, even more so than the Galaxy Nexus. I find myself loving the hardware button — it mirrors the contours of device and looks great. I’m not a massive fan of the menu and back buttons but that can’t be helped with a physical home button unless you’re willing to do it wrong, like HTC. Having the physical buttons also leaves much more of the massive 4.8-inch screen for consuming media.When I first got my Galaxy Nexus I thought the screen was huge and that I would never need a bigger screen but I actually found myself jealous of the S3’s screen. Even though both the Galaxy S 3 and the Nexus have 1280×720 HD Super AMOLED screens and the Nexus has a greater amount of pixels per inch somehow the S3s screen appeared better but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. It’s also not much bigger height and width wise in comparison to the Galaxy Nexus and is actually thinner.BatteryDespite being thinner than the Nexus, Samsung have managed to fit a whole extra 250 mAh (350 over the GSM version) into its battery and this makes all the difference. When I checked the battery usage, the phone had been off charge for 13 hours and 40 minutes, the screen had used up 39% of the depleted battery on medium brightness and the phone still had 24% remaining. On the Nexus I usually get about 2 hours of screen on time at a low brightness before I need to connect a charger.If the battery still isn’t quite enough for you, Samsung have have provided a power saving feature which limits the CPU, uses a low power level for the screen, changes the background color (only in email and browser, strangely) and turns off haptic feedback. Changing the background color seems to just reduce the white on the background of web pages, not quite the dramatic effect I was expecting.GesturesSamsung have implemented some simple gestures for common tasks that can be activated under the ‘Motion’ heading in the settings page. My favorite is the palm swipe to take a screenshot. All you do is swipe your palm (I find the side of your hand is the easiest way to perform the gesture) across the screen, moments later you see a white line sweep across the screen kinda like the light you see escaping from a document scanner and the notification for the saved screenshot then pops. I was surprised at how well this worked, I expected that when I moved my palm across the screen that it would cause the home screen to move or to pan the current web page thus creating a screenshot of something unexpected but it worked perfectly and is much cooler than pressing the home and power buttons together.Another gesture is tilt to zoom, whilst reading a web page you can simply tilt the phone back slightly and the page zooms in, tilt the phone towards you and it zooms back out. Then there’s the palm touch, which is stated that when you touch your palm to the screen the current media playing will pause. By media I assumed this would include YouTube videos, sadly it did not, it did however, work on music playback.The direct call gesture is a nice touch, if you have a contact currently displayed on screen you can simply lift the phone to your ear and it will begin to call them, it also works in a thread in the stock SMS app. Likewise if you’re scrolling through your contacts list you can swipe left on a contact to send them an SMS or swipe right to begin calling them.S VoiceI was excited to try S Voice as I hadn’t had much experience with Siri and last I checked the current Android alternatives weren’t much to shout about. I love the UI of S Voice with the carbon fiber looking background, unfortunately that’s where my love of S Voice stopped. The first query I tried was ‘What’s the weather like today’ which worked perfectly, I then tried to ask ‘What’s the greatest smartphone in the world’ which it completely misunderstood. I thought, well that’s alright, I do tend to mumble, so I tried again, this time I was greeted with a network error even with great signal as can be seen in the screenshot above. All subsequent attempts garnered network errors and even one server error, I gave up in the end.TouchWizA complaint I have with TouchWiz is with some of the replacement stock apps, to me they aren’t as nice as the stock ICS ones, especially the contacts/people app. They seem to be using the design guidelines from before ICS although this isn’t such a big deal as they don’t have to fit in with the stock launchers Holo theme, maybe they would actually look out of place if they took on the new design guidelines. It does however make them look out of place with some of the ICS optimized apps coming through the Play Store currently. Some of the TouchWiz apps are actually extremely similar to their stock counterparts, the Gallery app for example seems to be exactly the same except for the Action Bar at the top.A minor issue I have with the stock browser is that it has it’s own brightness settings, it took me forever to work out why the screen was dimming whenever I opened the browser, for some this will be a great added feature but for me it seems a little strange, if the device were mine however, I’d be replacing the stock browser with Chrome Beta anyway.For all Samsung’s work on polishing TouchWiz and creating a great user experience one blindingly obvious mistake they made was with homescreen folders. For some ridiculous reason you have to press menu on the homescreen, tap create folder and then drop the apps you want into said folder. You can’t just drop an app on top of another to create a folder like in stock ICS which seems a really obvious thing to overlook.As I was flicking through the available widgets there was one named “Videos”, intrigued I placed it on the home screen, I was then asked to choose a video from the gallery, which I did and the widget was placed. It was a screenshot of the video with a play icon in the center, I clicked play and expected the video to start playing within the widget which it didn’t. It opened up the video player and played from there, who needs access to a video so frequently and quickly that they need a widget on their home screen? Also the pop out and overlay feature of the videos is certainly a wow factor but I couldn’t see myself ever using it, I would rather pause it and quickly take care of whatever it was that required me to move away from full screen video enjoyment.One last little part of TouchWiz that I like is some of Samsung’s own live wallpapers, specifically the news one. You simply choose your location and news topic (top stories, politics etc.) and the live wallpaper shows various headlines of your chosen topic. It looks incredibly cool and polished but if you’re someone who has a cluttered home screen then ultimately it becomes pointless as you won’t be able to read the headlines or touch them to open up the news article. There’s also a similar wallpaper for stock market information.Final ThoughtsTouchWiz is by far one of the best custom skins to land on Android, I never thought I’d say this but I wouldn’t be apposed to using this over stock, for a while at least. I’ve never owned a smartphone that wasn’t running stock Android but there’s something about TouchWiz on the S3 that makes me contemplate not getting the next Nexus and waiting for the S4. Perhaps it’s the smoothness that Samsung have instilled throughout the OS that brings it more inline with the smoothness of iOS or the inclusion of some of the features you only get on a stock device by flashing something like CyanogenMod (power controls in notification bar or expandable number of home screens, etc.). Either way Samsung have created a truly great experience through the combination of their excellent hardware and amazing software.
It’s not going to be long now before speculation about the iPhone 5 kicks into high gear. A launch is expected before the year is over, and we are already expecting a larger display, a thinner phone, and a new, smaller dock connector. Other than that, it’s unlikely Apple will change much. Why would they when the iPhone is so recognizable and popular?But Apple always likes to push the boundaries and raise our expectations ever higher–just look at what they did to the MacBook Pro display last week. So if they could surprise everyone with an unexpected feature, and it made the phone stand out next to the competition, you bet it would make the final design.The concept video above, created by Adney Films, will certainly turn a few heads if it gets played for the iPhone design team. Apple is always trying to be minimalist in the design decisions it takes, and what’s more minimalist than a display that’s completely clear?I think we can all agree that the iPhone 5 is going to look nothing like the piece of hardware shown off in this video. It’s way too thin for today’s components to fit inside, and there’s no way to create a completely clear smartphone even if clear batteries may be coming along soon. But you have to add the word “yet” on to the end of those statements.Apple is leading the way in gadget design, and in particular glass manufacturing. It wasn’t by accident that they managed to get the screen on the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display down to just 7mm thick.If Jonathan Ive could make the display, and therefore the iPhone completely transparent, would he? I suspect so, and I’d put money on Apple achieving such a breakthrough before anyone else. As for when it arrives, we could be waiting for the iPhone 8 or 9 to be pulled out of Tim Cook’s pocket on stage a few years from now.
While we can’t say for sure whether the Nexus 7 tablet will look like the image we saw two days ago — or even whether the leaked hardware specs were on target — we do know this. Google is definitely releasing a tablet, and Asus is helping them bring it to market. How do we know? Because an Asus executive confirmed as much to Reuters.The unnamed exec also confirmed that the tablet was built to take on the Kindle Fire, which certainly makes sense. It’s not exactly an ideal scenario for Google that the best-selling Android-based tablet on the market ships with a third-party app store and none of their default apps installed. With a Nexus tablet on offer, Google is no doubt hoping to lead the way for their other OEM partners and show them that it’s possible to build a successful Android tablet. All it takes is the right mix of hardware, software, and, of course, a competitive price.It’s a strategy that worked for Android phones, with the original G1 paving the way. It’s also the same strategy Microsoft is employing with the Surface, though they’ve chosen to go after a more difficult target: the iPad.For Google, however, kickstarting the next generation of Android tablets with a lower-cost device is the most logical move — the Kindle Fire has proven that people want an alternative tablet that doesn’t command the iPad premium. It’s also a move that can yield big returns down the road as users make purchases from Google Play and sign on for additional storage for their Google Drive accounts.More at Reuters
An 11-year-old girl has just won a $20,000 award from AT&T for helping to create an app that discourages users from texting while driving. It was part of a promotion to generate awareness for the “It Can Wait” campaign, a “just say no to drugs” for today’s youth that stresses the perils of distracted driving.Victoria Walker collaborated with designer David Grau to create an app called Rode Dog. It works by encouraging friends to join one another in a “pack.” Assuming the group all installs the app, they act as monitors for one another. So if users log on and realize their friend is texting while driving, they can send a loud barking sound to that friend. Then, the sound will not stop until the phone is put away.Walker and Grau hope to have the app up and running on the app storefronts for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone later this year. They have said the prize money will go toward enhancing the app.Of course, there are many other options for preventing texting while driving. They all rely on the phone’s built-in GPS or satellite location to determine if users are traveling at a speed greater than the defined setting. Most of these options, however, are mainly designed for parents to restrict their children from using the phone while driving.Because of the explosion of this new “It Can Wait” campaign, though, there will likely be a much bigger focus on app development and services geared toward users who want to police themselves or their friends.More at Rode Dog, via LA Times
Click to enlargeOne of the big complaints surrounding the Nexus 7Best Price at Amazon launch was the lack of customer support when dealing with the device. Google was not initially prepared to handle the volume of users that required support, which led to an increase in wait time for callers who needed solutions. Then once you exceeded the two week purchase window, all warranty needs fell to Asus, and Google was not to be involved. This was a confusing process that led to many unhappy users, but it could be fixed soon. We’ve recently received word from a source that now Google is using a third party company to staff a call center for the release of the next Nexus devices.Recruiters have been visiting Bay Area campuses looking for Android enthusiasts willing to come work for Google within the next few weeks. Applicants are not being told specifically what the position is for until after the applications are submitted, though the advertisement makes it fairly clear who they are applying to work for. At this time Google has no mention of these positions anywhere on their website.We’re told that Google plans to have the call center fully staffed and trained by the end of the month. This falls in line with what has been reported regarding Google’s plans to announce their next device.A Nexus Call Center staffed by Android enthusiasts would enable Google to handle a wide variety of issues, not just basic hardware and software defects, as they did with the Nexus 7 support. Google is clearly using back channels to ramp up for a major launch, which could also point to the original rumors that there would be multiple Nexus devices released this season.
The human brain is a remarkable living machine. It’s constantly processing sensory input and churning away on innumerable little tasks that make up your very being. Humans rely on having a big, powerful brain to solve problems and avoid danger. However, when we encounter a visual input that doesn’t make sense, our brain will do its best to fill in the gaps — it’s just not always right. The result is an optical illusion, and you can experience them from the safety of your internet connection. Click the gallery to see each one of the pics and then check out the full explanations of each animations below, without your browser being weighed down by all those hefty GIFs!The Phantom Green DotTo get this illusion to work, just stare at the center of the image. As the pink dots swirl around, the gap will quickly be replaced by a green dot. I can assure you there is no green in this GIF — try following the gap’s movement with your eyes. The green dot is gone, right? This is a result of how the eye perceives color, as described by the opponent process theory. The photoreceptor cells in the retina that see the magenta dots quickly become saturated and tire out, so you see an afterimage of the magenta dots. The weakened signal is interpreted by your brain as the opposite color, the antagonist of magenta, green.The Spinning DancerThis one will really mess you up. The spinning dancer illusion was designed in 2003 and has been melting brains ever since. The silhouette of the dancer lacks all depth cues, so your brain interprets the movement as either clockwise or counterclockwise. It seems most people get clockwise at first, though. Now look away or down at her foot. In a flash, the direction seems to have reversed. When you’re watching the rotation, whichever way it’s going seems like it must be the right one. How could it have ever been different? Then it changes again and your brain explodes with “whaaaaaaa?”Flashed Face DistortionThe flashed face distortion effect is likely related to the brain’s strong drive to spot and recognize faces. We want to differentiate between the two faces, but there isn’t enough time. When you look at the center of the image, your peripheral vision picks up on the presence of the faces, but your brain lacks the data to fully process them. What you get is a bizarre caricature of the real face. A person with a large nose appears to have a gigantic schnoz and someone with a slightly asymmetrical face looks like Quasimodo. Brains are weird.Motion-induced BlindnessThis GIF is interesting not only because things literally disappear from your vision, but because we don’t know exactly why it happens yet. Stare at the middle and the yellow dots blink out. Look to the side, and they come back. Science is still trying to nail down the exact cause, but there are several good hypotheses. It may be a case of your brain filling in the peripheral vision incorrectly because it is overwhelmed by the spinning motion. Alternatively, it could be an adaptive strategy to facilitate better perception of movement. Whatever causes it, it’s cool.Gathering For Gardner Dragon The human brain, as previously mentioned, is programmed to recognize faces. Even faces that don’t look entirely human can be favored in an ocean of stimuli. The GIF above shows how the Gathering For Gardner dragon (named after science writer Martin Gardner) seems to follow the viewer around the room. The brain sees the features of a face and processes it as a regular convex surface. It’s actually concave, but the brain can’t sort that out until you get around to the side.Illusory SquareThe phantom square connecting the four smaller dots is a result of illusory contours. The same effect happens with some static images, but it’s much more profound in this animation. It is believed illusory contours are generated in the V2 area of the visual cortex, which is responsible for processing complex shapes. It’s simply thrown off by the moving dots and the intersection of the larger dots with the square in the background. The result is that the smaller dots are perceived as the corners of a square.Floating CubeThis illusion packs in a few visual quirks to trick your brain into thinking the object is a floating 3D box. Your brain wants things to be regular three dimensional shapes, so the lines and surfaces in this concave box are processed as cube. That background also serves to make the shape seem like it has more depth, making the illusion more potent. The brain is really just taking a guess based on limited visual information.Inverted ColorThis is another example of opponent process theory causing a negative afterimage. The photoreceptors in your eye are being overwhelmed by the magenta and blue tones. When the image flips to the neutral grayscale version, the weakened signal from those photoreceptors causes the brain to interpret the image as having the opposite, or antagonist color from the magenta and blue channels. That means you see greens and yellows — an almost natural color image.Penrose TriangleThe Penrose triangle was popularized in the 1950s by mathematician Roger Penrose. You can follow the path of the ball around the triangle and it seems to make sense at first, but there’s just something off about it. Any two corners follow normal Euclidean geometry, but that third one is connected in two different planes. The literal Penrose triangle cannot exist in real life.The Growing CigaretteThe trick with this illusion is all in the background. The drawing of the wall makes the brain think it is looking at a 3D scene. Therefore, it assumes one cigarette is farther away than the other. Since in a real 3D space those lines on the wall would be parallel, your brain tells you that one cigarette is clearly larger than the other because it’s farther away and crosses more lines. So when the left one rolls over, it seems to get larger VIEW PHOTO GALLERY The Phantom Green DotThe Phantom Green DotStare at the center and the gap in the pink dots will suddenly be filled in with a green one.The Spinning DancerClockwise or counterclockwise? Your brain won’t be able to decide and will actually flip back and forth if you look away and back a few times. Flashed Face DistortionStare at the center of the image and the faces on either side are perceived as deformed and kind of scary. Motion-induced Blindness Look at the dot in the middle as the square rotates around it. After a moment, the yellow dots will vanish.Gathering For Gardner DragonYour brain is pretty sure this paper dragon is a convex face following the viewer around, but no. It’s a concave face taking advantage of the brain’s wishful thinking. Illusory SquareWatch as the smaller dots move through the larger ones. You could swear for a split second that there are lines connecting them in a square, but there is no square.Floating CubeThe package appears to be floating in mid air, but it’s just a concave box in front of the backdrop.Inverted ColorWatch the center of the image, and wait for it to change. It looked like a color image for a moment, right?Penrose TriangleLooking at any two corners of the Penrose triangle makes sense, but then that third one doesn’t look right. That’s why it’s called an impossible shape. The Growing CigaretteWhen the small cigarette on the left rolls to the right, it appears to get larger. Actually, they were the same size to start with.Stare at the center and the gap in the pink dots will suddenly be filled in with a green one.
Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Wednesday 28 Feb 2018, 7:00 PM Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie Here’s what to do if you see a homeless person sleeping rough tonight In Dublin last night there were over 200 reports about homeless people sleeping rough. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie 61,201 Views Share635 Tweet Email2 https://jrnl.ie/3876898 HOMELESS SERVICE HAVE thanked members of the public who got in touch overnight out of concern for people they had seen sleeping rough in the severely cold weather.Dublin City Council’s homeless executive had 220 reports through its rough sleeper alert system, which it is asking members of the public to use if they have a concern about a homeless person. Short URL Feb 28th 2018, 7:01 PM You can find the reporting system here.“This has enabled the Housing First outreach teams to locate and engage with people sleeping rough and work with them to access shelter and more importantly the teams have been able to engage with people who would not normally come into services,” the homeless executive said this morning.The Inner City Helping Homeless voluntary organisation will have outreach teams working again tonight and they can be alerted to anyone sleeping rough by calling 01 8881804 or 085 8389281.Here’s what to do if you are in other parts of the country and have concern for a homeless person:In Kildare, the Peter McVerry trust is operating the freephone line, which is 1800 804 307.Meath County Council advises members of the public use its out of hours number, 1890 445 335.Louth County Council can be contacted out of hours on 1890 202 303.For services in Kilkenny, you can call Good Shepherd Centre on 056 7722566 or the council’s emergency call centre number 056 7794145.In Cork, you can contact the homeless persons unit on 021 4963 052.Cork Simon has an Emergency Shelter on Anderson’s Quay. Their number is 021 4278 728.The number for the Society of St Vincent de Paul in Cork is 021 4317 899 and Pathways, which is for male teens aged 14 – 17 yr old can be contacted on 021 4507 050. The Limerick Homeless Action Team can be reached on its freephone out of hours number: 1800 606060.In Galway you can call Cope homeless services on 1800 788887.To alert services in Kerry, you can call Arlington Lodge shelter in Tralee on 066 719 3800.All of the local authorities have expanded their emergency accommodation provisions for the duration of the storm. Each of the local authorities have a general out of hours emergency number which can also be used and as a last resort, you can contact your local garda station.‘Distressing rise in homeless figures’Taoiseach Leo Varadkar earlier today acknowledged that the latest figures, which showed an increase in the number of people presenting as homeless, “are bad” and “distressing”.In total, there were 1,517 families with 3,267 children staying in emergency accommodation in January.This marks a rise of 109 families and 188 children since December.There were 5,837 homeless adults in emergency accommodation in January, a rise of 158 on the previous month.He said the rise in the figures is “disappointing” and shows government will have to redouble its efforts. “It is going to take time to get on top of this problem,” Varadkar said.At the moment, he said his main concern is people who may be sleeping rough during the severe weather over the next number of days.Read: Dublin homeless executive received over 200 reports about rough sleepers overnight> By Michelle Hennessy 24 Comments
295 Comments Protesters listen to speeches in Trafalgar Square, London, today. Source: John Stillwell/PA ImagesFranceIn Paris, at least 2,000 people gathered near the Eiffel Tower, holding up banners that read “liberty, equality, solidarity”, in a reference to France’s national motto.“I am here for women and for all minorities because Trump is a threat to all humanity,” said a US national Kendra Wergin, who is in her mid-30s.Andreia Rossi, a 39-year-old Brazilian, told AFP she was taking part “because I am a woman, but also because I want to protest against everything Trump represents.”She added: “It’s very dangerous, he has lied to all those who voted for him, and that can happen in France too.” Source: Gareth Fuller/PA ImagesRight-wing populists and nationalist groups in France and elsewhere in Europe have been emboldened by Trump’s victory as well as by Britain’s vote last year to leave the European Union.While Trump won 42% of the women’s vote in the US, many worry that gender rights and other progress on women’s health, contraception and abortion could be chipped away.‘Make America sane again’In Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam and Geneva too, protesters were enraged by Trump’s derogatory remarks on women.“We are here for women and for human rights,” one of a large contingent of American expatriate women told SkyTG24 news channel in Rome.“This American says Trump go back to your own planet,” read a placard brandished by a protester. Protesters carry placards as they leave Grosvenor Square, London. Source: John Stillwell/PA Images“We must defend democratic values,” said Karen Olson, who organised the Swiss march, as motorists driving by honked their horns in support.“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty,” read a banner held up by a Barcelona protester.“Make America sane again,” read a banner in Amsterdam.In Budapest, up to 400 people gathered in solidarity with the Washington marchers.“Bridges not walls,” read one of their banners, a reference to Trump’s threat to build a wall separating the US from Mexico to stop migrants from entering the country – and to have Mexico pay for it. Protesters carry placards in Bristol. Source: Ben Birchall/PA ImagesIn Berlin, hundreds rallied in front of the US embassy, chanting pro-migrant slogans in a nation that welcomed nearly a million people fleeing war and poverty in 2015.“No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here,” they cried.In Prague, protest organiser Johanna Nejedlova branded Trump’s rhetoric “hateful”.“We want to express our support for values such as democracy, human rights, ecology and women’s rights,” she said. Source: Ben Birchall/PA ImagesThere were also solidarity marches beyond Europe too, with protests in Johannesburg, South Africa, where marchers held up banners reading “Black lives matter” and “Love trumps hate”.With reporting from AFPRead: Updated: The inauguration protests (and parties) happening in IrelandRead: ‘It’s only a matter of time before Putin makes a fool of Trump’ Short URL Jan 21st 2017, 5:20 PM Share Tweet Email9 Women’s March Dublin attracts thousands as part of global protest against Trump Other protests were held in London, Paris, Geneva and Johannesburg against sexism and racism, which Trump is seen to represent. #WomensMarch #Dublin pic.twitter.com/gmhtnAW9Jy— Joshua Murray (@Joshua_Murray_) January 21, 2017 47,432 Views Saturday 21 Jan 2017, 5:20 PM “The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights,” organisers said in a statement.It is estimated that around 300 similar marches – including the Dublin event – are set to take place across the world today. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article https://jrnl.ie/3198425 #WomensMarch dublin pic.twitter.com/AOkwu9ZXQg— Enda O’Dowd (@endajodowd) January 21, 2017 By Sean Murray The UKIn London, a largely female crowd, which also had many men and children, packed a Trafalgar Square rally in solidarity with women-led demonstrations throughout the United States.“Our Rights Are Not For Grabs – Neither Are We” were among the banners held aloft, along with “We shall overcomb” and “Make bigotry wrong again”. ‘We shall overcomb’ – one of the most common signs from the Women’s March protests. This one is from London. Source: Ben Birchall/PA ImagesHannah Bryant, a 34-year-old museum worker, brought her four-year-old daughter – both of them wearing the bright pink “pussy hats” worn by US demonstrators.“I’ve been teaching her about equality and prejudice,” she said.“It’s a feeling of solidarity – not in our name,” said Jill Pickering, a 56-year-old American student. “I’m angry – I didn’t vote for Trump.”Organisers said 100,000 attended the London march, although there was no independent verification as police do not give an estimate. Source: Enda O’Dowd/Twitter Source: Joshua Murray/Twitter Updated, 5.20pmTHE WOMEN’S MARCH in Dublin kicked off this afternoon, as protests take place worldwide against the inauguration of the US President Donald Trump.Crowds gathered in the city centre for 12.30pm today before marching down O’Connell Street to join protesters in London, Barcelona and Helsinki, as well as other planned protests in Galway and Castlebar today. Women’s March Dublin. Source: TheJournal.ieParticipants posted videos and pictures across social media of the event which, by 1.30pm today, seems to have attracted in excess of a few hundred people.The final turn-out was in its thousands; it’s even been suggested that the march had to be moved to Parnell Square because it was too large to rally at the GPO. Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ieThe march here was organised and supported by the Abortion Rights Campaign, Amnesty International Ireland, European Network Against Racism, ROSA & The Coalition to Repeal the 8th. Source: TheJournal.ieIt is also being supported by groups such as Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and the National Women’s Council of Ireland.Powered by social media, the “Women’s March on Washington” aims to draw 200,000 people to the US capital, illustrating the divisions of a country whose incoming leader faces levels of public mistrust unseen in recent decades.Organisers are now saying that the number is closer to 500,000, and the ‘march’ part of the protest has been called off due to safety concerns.
“Heartbreaking”: Malta’s iconic Azure Window arch has collapsed after a storm You might have seen the arch in Game of Thrones. “A three-month geological study published in 2013 had concluded that erosion was inevitable,” said the authority.The Azure Window was created after two limestone sea caves collapsed. It soon became a popular tourist site, attracting thousands of people every year.It was featured in Clash of the Titans and was the backdrop for the wedding between Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. https://jrnl.ie/3278474 Mar 9th 2017, 10:22 AM The striking natural limestone arch near the Dwejra Bay collapsed yesterday morning after bad weather hit the island.The Malta Tourism Authority said that concerns about the Azure Window’s long-term future had grown over the past year. Source: Alan Grech/Twitter Peter Vella, Director of the Malta Tourism Authority for the UK and Ireland said: Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article Went to #Dwejra this morning and my heart broke a little bit.Goodbye #AzureWindow 💔 I took 1st photo in Sep 2016, 2nd photo today. pic.twitter.com/VJYQIXL08I— 𝐒𝐩𝐚𝐠𝐡𝐞𝐩𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐞 (@YesMissMurphy) March 8, 2017 41,291 Views THE FAMOUS AZURE Window landmark in Malta, located on the island of Gozo, has collapsed following a storm.Malta’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, described the news as “heartbreaking”, underlying how proud the country was of the stunning natural arch. Share81 Tweet Email1 49 Comments Source: Joseph Muscat/Twitter By Aoife Barry Short URL Falling rocks had even led to a ban on accessing the site – although the Malta Today newspaper reported earlier this week that people were continuing to ignore the ‘no entry’ signs.In January, waves from rough seas broke off a large slab at the base of one of the arch’s cliffs. Bye Bye Tieqa. The best shot I ever took of the iconic landscape. Always wanted to give it another shot 🙁 #Dwejra #AzureWindow #Malta pic.twitter.com/UvOFGpPm5m— Alan Grech (@Alan_Grech) March 8, 2017 We are deeply saddened to lose such a magnificent landmark. The Azure Window was a spectacular site and a natural wonder. Although this is a very sad day for Malta & Gozo Dwejra still has other great sites for tourists, such as the inland sea and the Fungus Rock.Read: Not bad for March: Sunny spells and temperatures in the mid-teens> #Dwejra #AzureWindow site today. Picture by @Armed_Forces_MT pic.twitter.com/9reBk7nmr5— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) March 8, 2017 Khaleesi, part of your home is gone! 🙁 #RIP #AzureWindow @GameOfThrones @emiliaclarke pic.twitter.com/nqO7TN5D26— Ryan Paul Abela (@RyanPaulAbela) March 8, 2017 Source: Ryan Paul Abela/Twitter Source: Joseph Muscat/Twitter Source: Stephanie Murphy/Twitter Thursday 9 Mar 2017, 10:22 AM The site from where one could admire it-Tieqa tad-Dwejra. Heartbreaking. pic.twitter.com/S4XV6MyKRu— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) March 8, 2017
Thursday 30 Mar 2017, 1:42 PM Image: Richard Shotwell/AP By Associated Press Short URL 24,608 Views Share376 Tweet Email 14 Comments Mar 30th 2017, 1:42 PM Noreen Fraser at Variety’s Power of Comedy event at Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles in 2012 Image: Richard Shotwell/AP http://jrnl.ie/3315189 Noreen Fraser at Variety’s Power of Comedy event at Avalon Hollywood in Los Angeles in 2012 NOREEN FRASER, A TV producer whose own cancer diagnosis turned her into an activist against the disease, has died. She was 63.Fraser died on Monday at her Los Angeles home of metastatic breast cancer, her family said.She joined forces with other prominent women, including TV presenter Katie Couric, to found Stand Up to Cancer. The organisation holds celebrity-filled telethons and has raised a reported $300 million-plus (over €280 million) for research since 2008.Its aim is to get lifesaving treatment to patients more quickly through collaborative research.Another of its founders, producer Laura Ziskin, died of breast cancer in 2011 at age 61.Family milestones Fraser’s personal crusade began after she was diagnosed in 2001 with breast cancer, her husband, TV producer Woody Fraser, told the Los Angeles Times.“She didn’t know if she’d see her children graduate from grade school, then high school, then college,” he said, adding that she got to witness those events but not her daughter’s upcoming wedding.Fraser established the Noreen Fraser Foundation in 2006 to fund women’s cancer research. At her direction, the foundation’s assets were transferred last year to the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, where a research lab is named after her.Fraser, a native of Cleveland, produced TV shows including Entertainment Tonight and Home Show.Besides her husband, she is survived by children Madeline and Mack, her parents Jackie and Fred Friend and eight siblings.Read: American Airlines co-pilot dies during airport approach in New MexicoRead: Fears cyclone will turn parts of Great Barrier Reef into ‘underwater wasteland’ Woman who helped raise $300m for cancer research dies from breast cancer Noreen Fraser was a TV producer in the US. Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article
Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article By Cónal Thomas https://jrnl.ie/4515123 Cycling ‘Quietway’ for Dublin’s Southside revived after MetroLink route scrapped “The MetroLink completely torpedoed the plan,” says Fine Gael councillor Paddy Smyth. Short URL 50 Comments Mar 3rd 2019, 9:01 PM Proposed Quietway route. Source: AECOMPLANS FOR A Quietway in Dublin are being revived after reports that MetroLink’s Southside section are to be scrapped.Developed in London in the UK, Portland, Oregon in the United States and in parts of the Netherlands, Quietways are designed to reduce traffic-flow and eliminate rat-running.Instead of travelling on busy traffic corridors, pedestrians and cyclists would travel along segregated cycle tracks from Kimmage to Donnybrook, on residential streets, laneways and through cul-de-sacs. Stretching from Herbert Park in Donnybrook to Corrib Road in Terenure, Fine Gael councillor Paddy Smyth’s proposal involves a Quietway running through residential streets across 6.5 kilometres of Dublin’s Southside. Dublin City Council tendered for a feasibility study in 2016 for this urban Greenway, which was shelved in 2018 after concerns surrounding permeability, access and MetroLink were raised. The major stumbling block to Dublin’s Quietway is the now-in-jeopardy MetroLink.“The MetroLink completely torpedoed the plan,” says Smyth. ”That the National Transport Authority [NTA] decided to put a Metro down the middle of Ranelagh.”MetroLink’s section through Ranelagh cut off pedestrian and cyclist access at Cowper on the Luas Green Line – the midpoint of Smyth’s Quietway. Quietway in London Source: Sustrans.OrgWith a reconfiguration of the area needed to facilitate MetroLink, councillors argued that Smtyh’s Quietway couldn’t proceed. At the time, certain local representatives argued that not enough public consultation took place, either. Smyth disputes this, however. “I have been pilloried in public and in the chamber for a lack of public consultation on this project,” he says. “But when certain councillors had the opportunity to give the public their say on this, they voted it down.”The Quietway project, which has estimated cost of close to €1.4 million, was shelved by councillors last May. Smyth says that he now plans to bring the Quietway plan back to the council chamber in April where he’ll “be asking [council] engineers to start public consultation with all stakeholders”.The Quietway designed in three sections: from Herbert Park to the Cowper Luas stop, from Cowper Luas stop to Terenure Road North and from Terenure Road North to Corrib Road, according to Smyth. “We can make a really safe route across the city for cyclists.” Share14 Tweet Email2 41,157 Views Sunday 3 Mar 2019, 9:00 PM
Short URL Monday 18 Mar 2019, 9:47 AM By Sean Murray 46,509 Views Image: Niall Carson/PA Images https://jrnl.ie/4548604 Mar 18th 2019, 9:47 AM Share15 Tweet Email Poll: Should every child be taught the words of Amhrán na bhFiann in primary school? Leo Varadkar has said he believes it should be compulsory learning in primary school. Yes (13720) 121 Comments Image: Niall Carson/PA Images TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said that every child should be taught the words of the Irish national anthem – Amhrán na bhFiann – in primary school.He made the comments after taking part in St Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago, telling TheJournal.ie that it would be a good idea.“So, I think that would be good,” he said. “I don’t think I would go down the American route, you know the pledge of allegiance at the start of the day, I’m not sure that would really fit in with the Irish culture. But the words of the national anthem – I think that is something every kid should learn in primary school.”So, what do you think? Should every child be taught the words of Amhrán na bhFiann in primary school? Not sure (235) Poll Results: No (1279) YesNoNot sureVote Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article