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Google's Waze Navigation App Shows Its Pride

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In a move to set its own mapping platform apart from the competition, Google acquired Israeli crowd-sourced mapping company Waze in 2013. Waze has just updated its selection of user icons to help users show off their Pride while en route. Unlike other mapping services, Waze makes a point of turning its navigation into a social experience, encouraging users to crowdsource traffic data in real time. Waze also allows users to share personal status updates via a set of predefined icons expressing various emotions. In addition to sarcastic, ninja, and peaceful, Wazers can now set their icons to "proud."

Response to the app's update have been generally positive, but Waze isn't without users who felt as if the company missed the point of Pride.

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Waze's latest updates are available for free now in both the Google Play and Apple App stores.

 


Google Unveils Self-Driving Car: VIDEO

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Google unveiled its self-driving car yesterday at Recode's Code Conference in Southern California, Mashable reports:

Brin described riding in the car, which in one test was programmed via smartphone, as "relaxing," and similar to catching a chairlift. He added that the car will eventually go up to 100 mph once it's proven to be able to travel safely at that speed.

Watch the company's video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "Google Unveils Self-Driving Car: VIDEO" »


Towletech v.110: Roller Coasters, Drinkable Books, Prehistoric Bugs, Nintendo

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BY KYLER GEOFFROY

A round-up of the best tech, science, and geek-related news from around the web.

Road (1) 5 new "record-breaking" theme park rides that will make you s**t your pants this summer. The 17-story Verrückt waterslide [pictured above] is taller than Niagara Falls and shoots raft-riders down at 65 mph. Verrückt, German for insane, seems like an apt name for the jaw-dropping plunge. 

Road (1)  FrankenSenator Al Franken has a new petition you can sign to help "save the internet" and net neutrality

Road (1) Google launches same-day delivery service for household items and non-perishable goods in New York City and Los Angeles.

Road (1) Speaking of Google, if it really only costs them $80 to make Google Glass, then its $1,500 price tag is quite the markup.

Road (1) The humanitarian org Water is Life has come up with a revolutionary new way to combat the 3.4 million worldwide deaths due to waterborne illness each year – The Drinkable Book. Basically, it's an educational manual for safe water habits that's also printed on technologically advanced filter paper designed to kill diseases like cholera, typhoid and E. coli. The paper costs only pennies to produce and each book is capable of providing someone with clean water for up to four years. 

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 8.53.09 PMRoad (1) Retro gamers who grew up with the Nintendo Entertainment System can now preorder the gorgeous Analogue Nt machine to play old NES games on your hi-def television. 

Road (1) Virtual reality company Oculus VR wants to build a billion person massive multiplayer online (MMO) experience with its new owner Facebook.

Road (1) Roku’s new Streaming Stick gives you access to your HBO, Hulu, and Netflix content on the go. 

Road (1) Cosmos takes a look at the terrifying and enormous insects of the past.

 

MicroRoad (1) What should consumers expect from 3D printing in the near future? “Beyond the hype, [current] consumer 3D printers can’t make anything your heart desires—they mostly make junk, and there are only so many synthetic orange dinosaurs in top hats one person can collect. While this argument is true, after a fashion, the field is continuously improving. And not so long ago, affordable consumer 3D printers didn’t exist at all. The selection of desktop machines is growing. Desktop printers are increasingly available for around $1,000 or less. And setup is easier. Whether the printer connects by WiFi or USB, more printers are nearing plug-and-play."

Road (1) Your cell phone can now alert you if you're near a store that sells items or products you've searched for online. So excuse me while I go delete my browser history...

PhonesoapRoad (1) And lets face it, your cell phone's screen is probably a dirtier surface than even your toilet seat. Just think about all the random door knobs and body parts you touch in-between your Candy Crush play sessions. Luckily, the folks over at Phonesoap have developed a combination sanitizer and charger that uses ultraviolet rays to zap all manner of gross bacteria. It's like a mini tanning bed for your phone!

Road (1) Scientists can now reprogram skin cells into sperm cells. The tricky question, however, remains whether or not they should.   
 


SXSW 2014: The Robot Revolution is Coming and 3D Printing Is Leading the Way - VIDEO

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Sxsw_2014_bugSXSW - Austin's annual tech, film, and music festival - is currently underway and has brought in thousands of film buffs, tech geeks, actors, and musicians from across the globe to meet, mingle, and enjoy the coolest city in Texas. And with the Interactive portion of the festival drawing to a close, what better time to look back on the things we've learned at SXSW 2014 so far.

The Robot Revolution is Coming and 3D Printing is Leading the Way!

The machines took over SXSW in a big way this year, with numerous panels throughout the week dedicated to emerging technologies and the impact they will undoubtedly have on our culture, economy, and well-being.

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 1.35.12 AMMultiple panelists stressed that as technology becomes exponentially more sophisticated and incorporated into our everyday lives (a la Google Glass, self-driving cars, and 3D printers), the question we ask will switch from “What will tech of the future be able to do?” to “What won’t tech be able to do (and do better than humans) in the future?”

The answer, most panelists agreed, will likely be “not much.”

Continue reading "SXSW 2014: The Robot Revolution is Coming and 3D Printing Is Leading the Way - VIDEO" AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "SXSW 2014: The Robot Revolution is Coming and 3D Printing Is Leading the Way - VIDEO" »


SXSW 2014: What Info Can (And Should) the Government Protect and Collect? - No Easy Answers

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Sxsw_2014_bugSXSW - Austin's annual tech, film, and music festival - is currently underway and has brought in thousands of film buffs, tech geeks, actors, and musicians from across the globe to meet, mingle, and enjoy the coolest city in Texas. And with the Interactive portion of the festival drawing to a close, what better time to look back on the things we've learned at SXSW 2014 so far.

What Info Can (And Should) the Government Protect & Collect? - No Easy Answers

Issues surrounding citizens' right to privacy and right to access information have been front and center for much of the week here in Austin, with a host of big names offering their thoughts and opinions on the matter.

GoogleGoogle chairman Eric Schmidt and Director of Google Ideas Jared Cohen kicked off SXSW with a discussion that ranged from robotics to privacy to the role of whistleblowers in the digital age. Both also shared their concerns over government overreach and the “balkanization of the internet” by countries around the globe.

In 2012, for example, Iran became the first country to push for a “national internet,” which would allow the country’s government to wall off a part of cyberspace, control it, and potentially even rewrite history. “Imagine if the Arab world decides to delete all references to Israel,” Schmidt hypothesized.

Interestingly, many of the panelists who spoke on issues related to privacy and security in the digital age were unable to be at SXSW in person due to their complicated relationships with the U.S. government.

IMG_1475-1In a video conversation through Skype, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange blasted the NSA as a “rogue agency” and urged citizens to stand up and speak out about their right to privacy. Gay journalist Glenn Greenwald and whistleblower Edward Snowden also appeared via video, with Snowden accusing the NSA and U.S. government of “setting fire to the future of the internet” and telling attendees that they were the “firefighters” against mass surveillance and data collection.

"In an NSA building somewhere probably in Maryland there is a record of everyone who has ever called an abortion clinic, everyone who has called an Alcoholics Anonymous hotline, anyone who has ever called a gay bookstore," Snowden said. "And they tell us don’t worry we aren’t looking at it or we aren’t looking at it in that way...that is none of the government's business."

CloudOther panelists pushed back a bit against the enthusiastic embrace of Assange, Snowden and unfettered access to government information. BBC’s Sharon Weinberger asked audiences to imagine a hypothetical 1940s where both the internet and Edward Snowden were present. How would we feel if he had leaked classified government blueprints for nuclear warheads? Would we support open access to information if it enabled our wartime enemies to potentially build a weapon of mass destruction?

Google’s Schmidt also found the internet’s ability to allow leakers to release extremely large quantities of documents troubling:

“I don’t think we want random people leaking large amounts of random data,” Schmidt said. “People can be hurt. There’s no way to tell if there’s something in a leak of a million documents that it could get someone killed.”

For now, it seems the debate about who exactly gets to decide what “appropriate use” of government power is and what types of information should be public will continue into the foreseable future.  

[Google photo via PC Pro]


Google Doodle Becomes 'Gay Propaganda' for Sochi

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Google's Doodle has gone rainbow in an apparent response to the Sochi Games and Russia's law banning 'gay propaganda'.

A quote from the Olympic Charter sits below the doodle: "The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play."

Clicking on the doodle takes you to a search for the Olympic Charter.

Well played.


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