First of all: that name. Google Play Music All Access. Perhaps Google's presenters realized, as they were driving to the I/O keynote, that they had forgotten to name the new music-streaming service, and came up with that clunker backstage.
Unique? Magical? It's easy to dismiss those claims within minutes of signing up.
Jump to the keynote, where Chris Yerga described All Access as "a uniquely Google approach to a subscription service," and remarked, "Here's where the magic starts." Unique? Magical? It's easy to dismiss those claims within minutes of signing up. Prosaic and useful, yes; unique and magical, no. All Access is nowhere near an innovation. The major ecosystem companies, each of which started with groundbreaking technical development, now seem to fashion their business destinies on buttressing their networks with products innovated elsewhere, plugging holes to sway existing users from drifting out of the system. It's not a new story, but always a sad one.
Baby scores goal! Crowd goes wild! This may just be the most adorable play in the history of soccer
The aww-inducing moment comes from Chelsea player Paulo Ferreira’s retirement ceremony at the club's Stamford Bridge stadium this weekend. As Ferreira thanked his teammates on the public address system, it was the toddler son of backup goalkeeper Ross Turnbull who stole the show, slowly dribbling his way downfield to put one in the back of the net
The goal is pretty cute, to be sure, but it's the Chelsea fans' super enthusiastic reaction that really makes the video pop. The clip has been a hit on the social web with sports fans on Monday, so check it out for yourself above and let us know what you think in the comments Read more...More about Soccer, Entertainment, Videos, Sports, and Watercooler
Starting to get bored of the ThinkPad's classic look but not keen on the Edge series? Then we have good news for you! Earlier today we received a couple of photos that show off two upcoming Lenovo Ultrabooks: the 13-inch ThinkPad S3 (codename "Labatt") and the 15-inch ThinkPad S5 ("Guinness"). As you can see above and after the break, both aluminum laptops feature a new "floating design" that might have taken a page out of Samsung and Vizio's book: shaving off the front outer edges of the bottom side to create that slim and floating illusion. Also, these will apparently come with either a black or silver lid.
Some folks on Sina Weibo have received other teaser photos of the ThinkPad S5, with one confirming the presence of JBL stereo speakers. The funny thing is Chinese website Yesky reported on a charity auction that actually sold limited editions of the S3 and S5 earlier this month, but those unannounced Ultrabooks went under everyone else's radar. If you're curious, Yesky speculates that a launch is due in China at the end of this month, but you'll have to stay tuned for the prices and specs.
Three months ago, security firm Mandiant revealed that an army unit of Chinese hackers was to blame for attacks on U.S. targets for at least six years, stealing corporate and government secrets. Now, after a period in which the group shut down part of its infrastructure and put operations on hold, the hackers are back in business
According to the New York Times, the shadowy group, codenamed APT1 by Mandiant in its report and identified as Unit 61398 of China's People's Liberation Army, has resumed its persistent attacks in the past few weeks
Unit 61398 was thrown into the spotlight in February after being identified as the group responsible for many of the most successful cyberattacks against U.S. targets in recent years. Following Mandiant's report, the U.S. government asked China to stop its attacks. But the request, it seems, fell on deaf ears. Read more...More about China, Hacking, Cybersecurity, Chinese Hackers, and Us World
The valley has a bit of a thing for drones lately — have you noticed? Airware, which builds brains for commercial unmanned aircrafts, just raised $10.7M. Longtime Wired Magazine editor Chris Anderson left his position to go full-time on his DIY drone company, having raised $5 million. Even Union Square Venture’s Fred Wilson has been brainstorming what he’d do with a drone of his own.
Later this week at the AngelPad demo day, another drone-centric company will make its debut: DroneDeploy. Unlike the rest of the lot, DroneDeploy doesn’t want to build drones, or even the parts that go inside. They want to make the software that companies use to control their drones.
Now, remember: we’re talking about commercial drones, here, not military drones. The drones that the Valley has a budding interest in are the type that might, say, scan our gas infrastructure for leaks, deliver your lunch, or search for stranded skiers in the Alps — not the kind that shoot you from 1,000 feet above. DroneDeploy, for example, is already working with teams scanning for pirates off the coast of Sierra Leone, and delivering medical supplies in West Africa. As we’ve discussed in-depth before, drones are not inherently evil.
DroneDeploy is a web-based drone control and management platform. (Let that last sentence serve as a friendly reminder that we live in the friggin’ future.) Their goal is to be compatible with as many different popular drones as possible, providing their owners with things like:
- Browser-based drone control
- Fleet management/tracking, with electronic filing of the required paperwork
- Data logging
- Automatic flight regulation assistance. Not allowed to fly drones after midnight in a certain region? DroneDeploy will remind you.
- Automated log analysis that will help identify things like a motor that’s about to fail.
- Expandability, by way of an App Store of sorts. Want all of those pictures your drone can take to be stitched together into one big panoramic map view? They’ve got an app for that.
The way DroneDeploy sees it, there will be two big sectors in the commercial drone world: those who make the drones and those who make the software that manages said drones. By launching into beta now — about two years before the U.S. government is requiring the FAA to open up U.S. airspace to commercial drones — they’re looking to conquer that second sector right off the bat. The commercial drone market is already valued in the billions, and that’s before it’s really even gotten started.
Generally when I write about a company rolling out their beta signups, I do so with the expectation that we’ll flood their signup page with more users than they know what to do with. Given that most TechCrunch readers probably don’t have a legion of drones waiting at their behest, though, I assume that won’t be the case here.
If you do have a drone or 10 that need managing, however, you can sign up for DroneDeploy‘s beta here.
Square's been venturing beyond those tiny credit card swipers as of late. Last week, the company introduced its nifty $299 Stand POS system for iOS, and now it appears to be branching out to individuals, with a to-be-announced service called Square Cash. There's not much info to share at this point -- TechCrunch recently discovered a dedicated landing page for the new service, which looks to be invite only at this point. There does seem to be an option to request an invitation, but the button isn't properly linked, so we weren't able to make our way to the proper form in order to take a closer look.
A handful of help articles do shed some light on the service, though. To send money, you'll simply send an email to your recipient with the dollar amount in the subject line and "firstname.lastname@example.org" in the cc field. Once your friend or associate receives the email, they'll type in the debit card account number of their choosing and Square will fund the associated checking account within 48 hours. Each payment costs just 50 cents to send, and there's no cost to receive -- it's not quite clear whether or not you can use a credit card to fund the transfer, but with fees of less than $1, we imagine you'll need to use a checking account. Square has yet to formally introduce the service, but we're guessing an announcement will be coming soon.
Filed under: Internet
No matter how much you plan, you can still end up getting very little done. Computer scientist Cal Newport is trying something new: ditching the plan altogether to see what he spends his time on.
Well, Yahoo! has already officially announced its $1.1 billion cash deal to snatch up social darling and microblogging platform du jour, Tumblr. The question on everyone's mind is, what else could the struggling web pioneer have up it's sleeve? Truth is we have no idea. Could Mayer have another acquisition to announce or a special new product lined up for tonight's event? Or, is she simply going to talk about the finer details of the Tumblr deal for an hour. You'll have to check back in at 5:00pm ET to find out.
Filed under: Internet
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Today's definitely a big day for Tumblr: there's a refreshed iOS app in the iTunes Store! And, well, a bit of other news, too. But you'll hear plenty more about that later -- for now, it's all about mobile. The blogging platform just updated its application for iPad and iPhone, adding that "fancy new post type chooser" that recently made its debut on Android. The design tweak enables one-click access to a variety of post tools, letting you submit video, chats, links, quotes, photos and text, with colorful icons to match. It's yours for the downloading at the source link below.
Filed under: Software
Abercrombie & Fitch's small sizes aren't stopping this blogger from taking a stand when it comes to the public image of plus-size women
Jes, known on the Internet as The Militant Baker, recreated popular topless A&F ads, but with her own twist — adding the tagline "Attractive & Fat." She published the images on her blog along with an open letter to the retailer's CEO Michael Jeffries
Jeffries and A&F recently came under public scrutiny for comments made in a Business Insider article, published earlier this month. The story claimed that the stores do not stock XL clothing sizes because the CEO "doesn't want larger people shopping in the store." Read more...More about Blogger, Retail, Brands, Advertising, and Watercooler
Apple’s fifth-generation iPad will hit mass production in July and launch "as early as September," according to supply chain sources.
Digitimes reports that the next iPad will still have a 9.7-inch 2048 x 1536 resolution display, albeit one which is built on a glass substrate thinner than its predecessor (0.2mm versus 0.25mm on the fourth-generation iPad).
The news website also says the tablet will have slimmer bezels, use more efficient LED backlighting and will be between 25-33% lighter than the previous model.Ipad, Apple Ipad, Ipad Rumors, Tech, and Apps Software
Square’s not just for businesses apparently, as an invite-only page for a product called “Square Cash” has popped up. Not many details are known about it, but we’ve reached out to the company for comment.
UPDATE: A Square representative sent us the following statement on Square Cash: “We’re excited to share Square Cash with our friends. We’ll continue to invite others to try it out in the coming weeks.”
The splashy animated page shows an email to a friend with a $25 payment, with a Square email address in the CC line:
This approach is similar to other personal payment solutions, like Venmo and PayPal. Google wants you to send payments to people via Gmail and Wallet. Even Visa got into the act at one point. You can view the page right now, and that’s it. Sending money to friends is a social experience that really hasn’t been cracked yet, and it makes complete sense that a service like Square step up to take the crown. The space is officially hot again.
The page promises that you can send money directly to someone’s debit card, even if they’re not signed up for Square. They’ll be given a link to attach a debit card with their first received payment, which serves as a fantastic way to onboard new Square users:
The invites are being controlled by the company, not even allowing you to enter your email address. There’s also a help page set up for the “Cash” product already, sharing that it will cost the sender $0.50 per transaction and will be free for recipients. You’ll both get receipts for each transaction. The company says on the page: “Square Cash is the easiest way to send money to anyone, using just email and your debit card.”
The company just announced a new, pretty iPad cash register for businesses, but Square clearly wants to be in all of our pockets…and bank accounts.
While it’s hard to decrypt CEO Jack Dorsey’s tweets and vines, Square Cash might have been the reason for this recent little celebration:
Celebrating an excellent little something. vine.co/v/b9JqebYq1wj—
Jack Dorsey (@jack) May 20, 2013
We’ll let you know when we get our invites, but it seems like those close to Square and Twitter are getting first crack:
Just tried Square Cash. This is cool shit. square.com/cash—
Wayne Chang (@Wayne) May 20, 2013
Defense Distributed's plan is to put the power of guns in the hands of every person with access to the internet and a 3D printer. Until now, however, we'd only seen the Liberator pistol built using an expensive industrial-grade printer -- despite the fact that the blueprints for gun have been downloaded by thousands of people who don't have access to such a high-end machine. One of those folks decided to put the Liberator in the hands of the printing proletariat by making it with a consumer-level Lulzbot A0-101 3D printer, a nail and some common screws.
This new version, called the Lulz Liberator, differs from the original in that it's got a rifled barrel and uses metal hardware to hold it together (as opposed to printed plastic pins). Printing it took around two days and used about $25 worth of generic ABS material, and the pistol produced was fired successfully nine times, but its creator claims it could've shot more. It's still a far cry from a Glock or Beretta, of course, as the gun misfired several times, and removing spent shell casings required the use of a hammer. So, it's not quite ready for prime time, but it's one more bit of proof that the age of printed pistols is officially upon us.
[Image Credit: Michael Guslick]
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Hey everyone, I'm Dick Talens. I'm the co-founder of Fitocracy and a nutritional/fitness coach who specializes in helping people with very little time find their six-pack. Summer is just around the corner, and everyone is looking to get in shape. There are many "get fit for the summer" programs out there, but very few of them work if you're busy, un-athletic, or don't love exercise. Fortunately, I specialize in helping these people.
- Runs Ubuntu out of the box
- 13.3-inch screen
- 256 GB SSD
- Intel Core i7 Processor
- MSRP: $1,549 with rebate
- Excellent Ubuntu performance out of the box
- Thin and light
- 12 second boot time
- No SD card slot
- Limited software choices
- Graphics card slightly underpowered
Dude, you got a Linux-powered Dell! In all the years I’ve reviewed laptops I’ve never been as pleasantly surprised by an Ultrabook as I was with the Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition. This ultrathin, ultralight SSD laptop originally came in Windows flavor but, much to my surprise, I far prefer the Ubuntu edition of this device. It is solidly built, acceptably priced given the solid state drive, and surprisingly powerful.Rewind
I’ve been using some form of POSIX-compliant operating system for over a decade but I must admit that I have been remiss in my Ubuntu installations. Whereas I was once a KDE kid with some Gnome leanings, my distro knowledge stopped at about Mandrake and picked up again as Ubuntu began its rise to glory. That said, I was curious to see what Linux looks like these days. In short, it looks great.
The laptop itself is well-made. An aluminum top and pane of Gorilla Glass protects the 13-inch screen and it weighs a little less than 3 pounds. The entire package is self-contained, solid, and quite portable.
The laptop, codenamed Sputnik, is a concerted effort by Dell to make sure everything on the device works well. It includes a number of Dell-specific packages – you can see a list here – but it supports most updates to the OS and attendant software and seamlessly upgraded to the latest version, 13.04, on top of the stock 12.04 Dell provides.
If you haven’t used Linux on a desktop you’ll be surprised at how uneventful it is. Everything “just works,” from the camera to the disk encryption to the update downloads, and there is little of the traditional futzing around with scripts and drivers when attempting to add hardware or fix broken peripherals. As a non-power-user who once wrote a script to re-initialize my audio chip every time I woke my computer from sleep, it was a pleasure to see the XPS 13 boot up without issue and worked quite seamlessly with most devices I tried with it. Arguably, with only two USB ports (one 3.0, one 2.0) and a DisplayPort jack, you’re not going to be adding much to the mix.
The GeekBench score for this particular model hovered at around 5,500, which is solid performance. The MacBook Air, for example, gets about 6,600 on a good day and the Core i7 hits about 7,000 although it can top out at about 10,000 depending on the machine. 5,500, while not ideal, is still solid. The laptop lasted for 7 hours of standard use, about par for the course for a laptop of this size.
Using the laptop was a dream. I was able to set up my environment quite quickly and seamlessly and after a few hours I quickly picked up a workflow that allowed me to write, edit photos, and post from the field. The lack of an SD card was quite disheartening, to be sure, but an external dongle helped me make short work of that issue. I used GIMP to crop and resize photos, Vim to edit my posts and writing, and connected to web-based versions of my favorite cloud services if I needed access to files or social media.
The best part about the XPS 13 Developers Edition, however, is Dell’s own support offerings. It’s clear that releasing an Ubuntu into the wild without good support would be suicide for the product. To that end, the company is offering one year of “ProSupport” that includes round-the-clock North American tech support and next-day on-site servicing. While Dell Hell is still a fresh memory in my mind, at least, this offering is more in line with corporate support than end-user Windows management.
No. Unless you’re a GIMP master, this probably isn’t the laptop for you. To be fair it’s surprisingly thin and light but it has no SD card slot, making it a hard sell for the designers among you. Working solely on the web? Sure, you could feasibly get away with doing a little CSS or HTML on this thing, but you’re probably better served with a laptop running more photo-editing applications.
Writers will also be a little put off by the lack of native support for some of their tools. However, if you’re a markdown/plain text editor kind of person, this laptop connected with a revision control system could be a winner. It obviously depends on your workflow and, although I was able to pick it up fairly quickly, Ubuntu might not be the place to look for absolute ease-of-use.
Yes. To paraphrase Justin Timberlake, a laptop isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? An Ubuntu laptop. While you may annoy most of your co-workers with your insistence on running LibreOffice, this laptop is more than enough to run a few spreadsheets on and, in addition, build a business with. Seamless connectivity to most cloud services is a large benefit and thanks to Dell’s CloudLauncher app you can quickly and easily spin up nodes with a few keystrokes. Best of all, you’re not going to be another me-too entrepreneur with a MacBook Air and a dream (and you don’t have to use Windows 8), which is a great feeling
Yes. This is a more-than-capable programmer’s machine and all of the care Dell put into this laptop really helps it shine as a developer’s device. For example, Dell has added Profile Tool, a method for “cloning” a workspace between laptops. This allows you to manage dependencies, preferred system tools, and tool chains. An Ars reviewer notes that these Profiles could become a way to “share” setups between programmers as well as a method to see how programming “superstars” have set up their machines. In short, Dell wants to make it clear that they care about developers with this device.Bottom Line
It doesn’t get much cooler than the XPS 13 – and that’s high praise coming from an unreformed Apple addict. While I’m not sure this would become my everyday carry laptop, I could definitely see it replacing a similarly outfitted Windows machine and, if I ever felt the need to go full Doctorow when it comes to encryption, open software, and paranoia, this is the device I’d choose.
Laptops are the new desktops. While you can buy a solid tower PC for about $500, this price represents how little manufacturers care about the desktop world. Barring a few huge gaming rigs, laptops are where it’s at.
We have been arguably remiss in avoiding formal laptop reviews and so we’re trying to remedy that with a series we’re calling Laptop Week. This week we will focus on some of the best laptops available today alongside a few gems that popped up over the past year or so. We will run the gamut from Chromebooks to Windows 8 and take a few detours on the way.
You can read all of our Laptop Week coverage here and feel free to contact me if you’d like to see us look at anything in particular on the market or in the laptops we’re testing. Look for a few Laptop Week posts per day, starting with an amazing Ubuntu laptop that I think could easily replace a MacBook Air for those in the right frame of mind.
We’ve created a quick and easy rating method for each laptop we address and take into consideration the needs of designers, entrepreneurs, and programmers. Because you mostly don’t care about speeds and feeds, these will be high-level assessments of each laptop from a practical perspective.
Welcome to Laptop Week. We hope you enjoy your stay.
10 days, people! TechCrunch invades Austin in just ten days from now, with our legendary Meetup + Pitch-off series.
The magic started in New York this year, with a hugely successful pitch-off, an amazing turn-out and lots of fun memories. So we’re heading out on the open road with the event, which includes a networking meetup as well as a 60-second pitch-off competition with awesome prizes. Over the course of the year, we’ll be hitting up Boston, San Diego, and Seattle, but the first stop on our journey is in the great state of Texas.
Austin, are you ready?
Tickets include booze (21 and older please), live entertainment in the form of that 60-second pitch-off contest, and there will even be some prizes and a fireside chat with a local Austin luminary, Bijoy Goswami. Tickets to the event are selling out quickly, so if you’d like to come hang out with myself, John Biggs, Matt Burns, and your local tech community, click here and grab a ticket.
Speaking of time running out… Entrepreneurs, this is your last call for applications to the 60-second pitch-off. First place in the pitch-off will receive a table in Startup Alley at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013. Second Place will receive two tickets to the upcoming TechCrunch Disrupt, and Third Place will receive one ticket to TechCrunch Disrupt SF.
Companies selected to participate in the pitch-off will also meet with TC staffers for one-on-one office hours sessions to discuss the product and pitch.
Up to the challenge? Apply to be in the pitch-off here.
Our NY Meetup + Pitch-Off was quite the success. PaddleYou was spotted in Hardware Alley after coming in third at the Pitch-Off, while runners up Talkz and winner 3DLT both made it into the Disrupt Battlefield.
C’mon! How can it not be a great time?
We’re looking forward to seeing you there!
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LOS ANGELES — Sony picked one of the most high-profile parties of the year to debut its new headphones. And with a red carpet studded with vamping models, celebrities and enough paparazzi coverage to scare Kanye, the Sony X headphones got a lot of attention at the Maxim Hot 100 party late last week.
The Maxim list is the magazine's fans' take on who's the hottest of the hot. With all those accessories and eye candy, it could have been easy to forget that the event was sponsored by the Japanese technology giant. But everywhere you turned at the Vanguard club, or at least over the shoulders of every starlet, the headphones were on display. Read more...More about Sony, Los Angeles, Maxim, Headphones, and Entertainment