Solar Impulse completes US trip. A damaged wing couldn't deter the sun-fueled Solar Impulse airplane from completing the last leg of its cross-country hopscotch from Silicon Valley to Phoenix to Dallas-Fort Worth to St. Louis to Cincinnati to Washington, D.C., and then, on Saturday, to the Big Apple, New York City. The revolutionary carbon fiber solar airplane has 12,000 solar cells built into its wings that recharge a set of four 400-kilo lithium batteries housed in the engine pods during flight. The plane averages about 8 horsepower-similar to what the Wright Brothers managed when they first flew in 1903.
It happened last week: The passing of an inventor whose handiwork is in millions of homes and offices . . . maybe even yours. Doug Engelbart died Tuesday at his California home, roughly 49 years after creating the computer accessory known as the Mouse. In an interview many years later, Engelbart showed off his original, made in 1964 as part of an experiment -- a wood-encased mouse, or "X-Y Position Indicator For A Display System," as it was called at the time. "It was no great shakes, the invention," Engelbart said. "It was just putting together things that were already known. So that's how we got the first mouse." His modest assessment understated the sensation the mouse created when he showed it off for the very first time at a computer conference in 1968. Interesting to note, he patented it in 1970 but the patent ran out before he made much money. Over 1 billion mice have been sold. It's possible the mouse may be replaced with touch screens in the coming years. No one could figure out until 1984 how to market and make money with the mouse so the invention sat idle for about 16 years until Steve Jobs put it into the first Macintosh. Englarbart couldn't get funding for any new projects. We might have had the next big thing ten or twenty years ago if he did.
What is the next big thing? The "thing" will be a new category called "Wearables". This will include products like an Apple iWatch and Google Glasses. It will also include other inventions yet to be thought up. The iWatch will work with an iPhone to transmit data from the phone or tablet to the watch so you can get email, texts, music and more. Google Glasses will allow the user to have overlays over reality called augmented reality so the user can see information about what the wearer is looking at. It will also allow the wearer to video tape and upload anything they see to the internet. The first arrest captured by Google Glasses was captured over the weekend in New Jersey. You can bet there will be far more gruesome uploads caught in the future like accidents and shootings we will be able to see firsthand.
Apple today released its third beta version of iOS 7, only two weeks after pushing out the second iteration of its newest operating system to developers. The latest update includes fixes for pre-release bugs in Messages, iCloud, and AirPlay. Specifically, problems with the new iCloud Keychain feature have been patched, as well as issues with the Find My iPhone and Bookmarks toggles,according to Apple Insider, which cited sources familiar with the release notes. The Messages application, meanwhile, no longer presents an empty message list; Apple also addressed a flaw that caused the app to crash when the user viewed attachments on two separate threads. A reportedly common issue that caused some apps to receive duplicate push notifications, or none at all, has been updated, and the app switcher now shows all suspended applications, Apple Insider said.
In honor of its fifth anniversary, Apple's App Store is giving away some of its most popular games and apps for free. Head to the App Store on an iPhone or iPad, and you'll find a "5 Years of the App Store" banner with details on the apps and games available. Apps such as Barefoot World Atlas, Day One, How to Cook Everything, photo editing app Over and Traktor DJ. In the Games department, users can freely download Badland, Infinity Blade II, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Tiny Wings and Where's My Water.
As Facebook begins rolling out its Graph Search engine more broadly to its U.S. English-language user base today, it faces new challenges that were perhaps not at the forefront of our minds when the service was officially announced. Currently, the on-site search engine aims to make the people, places, photos and other interests posted to Facebook more easily discoverable, but for it to succeed in scraping away a subset of user queries that can be answered using social data - things like restaurant recommendations or new albums to listen to, for example - Graph Search will need to gain access to more data. More importantly, users will need to feel comfortable sharing that data with Facebook - a relationship that may have grown rockier in the wake of the PRISM scandal that revealed a large-scale U.S. National Security Agency spying operation that had ties to Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and more.
Sat-nav firm Garmin has made a portable head-up display (HUD) for cars that projects turn-by-turn directions on to a vehicle's windscreen. The portable HUD works with a smartphone and Garmin app to generate navigation information. The gadget can project directional arrows, distances, current speed and speed limits on the windscreen. Information is projected via the HUD's attached reflector lens or on to a plastic film stuck to the window glass. The navigation system can also provide voice prompts via a smartphone's speaker or a car stereo that works with the Bluetooth short range radio technology. The app associated with the sat-nav system is available for iPhones, Android phones and Windows Phone 8 handsets. Garmin said its HUD would cost about $130 (£86) when it went on sale in late summer. Regional maps for the associated Garmin app will cost about $30 (£20) each.
The first big update to Windows 8 - dubbed Windows 8.1 - will be available to manufacturers by late August, Microsoft announced today at its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC). That release to OEMs means that Windows 8.1 will be pre-loaded on "many" of the devices that will be released ahead of the holiday season, chief marketing officer Tami Reller said during a morning keynote. PC makers like HP, Acer, and more are typically provided with advance access to new and updated versions of Microsoft's OS so they can test them out and pre-load them onto upcoming systems. Windows 8.1 is scheduled to be released to consumers later this year as a free update for Windows 8 users. Microsoft has not announced a hard release date yet, but promised more details in the coming months.
Google has turned the Roswell UFO incident into a point-and-click adventure. Head over to Google.com and check out their latest 'doodle" honoring the 66th anniversary of the reported UFO sighting in New Mexico. The black-and-white game starts with an alien crashing atop a hill, and must search for the parts of his spaceship to fly back home. Players use the mouse to point and click in the direction they want the alien to walk or pick up items. On this day in 1947, a mysterious object crashed on a ranch in Roswell, New Mexico. The crash is tied to a weather balloon, but the most popular theory is the object was a ship carrying alien life.
The hackers who knocked out tens of thousands of South Korean computers simultaneously this year are out to do far more than erase hard drives, cybersecurity firms say: They also are trying to steal South Korean and U.S. military secrets with a malicious set of codes they've been sending through the Internet for years. The identities of the hackers, and the value of any information they have acquired, are not known to U.S. and South Korean researchers who have studied line after line of computer code. But they do not dispute South Korean claims that North Korea is responsible, and other experts say the links to military spying add fuel to Seoul's allegations.
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