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Turner Broadcasting To Create Shows Exclusively For Snapchat

December 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

snapchat-150x150Turner Broadcasting System Inc will develop additional video content for mobile app Snapchat and team up with the social media company on advertising, Turner announced, as they expand a partnership to broaden their reach among millennials.

TV networks of the Time Warner Inc unit, including TBS and Adult Swim, will create original series exclusively for the unit of Snap, Inc, the broadcaster said in a statement.

The companies also renewed their March agreement for Snapchat to create Live Stories, collections of user-submitted photos and videos centered around a specific event, with sports shows from Turner. The shows include the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAAA) Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Championship.

Turner will lead sales efforts for Live Stories and shows, while Snapchat will take the lead for sponsorships on the Discovery channels.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Turner formed the partnership with Snap in 2015, and forged links with other digital media companies, to court younger viewers who prefer mobile gadgets to television. Turner said its networks reach more than 75 percent of millennials each month, the same audience that Snapchat targets.

The partnership began with the launch of Snapchat’s Discover feature which allows companies to offer and manage their own content. The original channels included Turner’s CNN and Bleacher Report, a San Francisco-based sports news website.

Bleacher Report, which had been available worldwide except in the United States, France and Australia, will launch a U.S. Discovery channel on Jan. 4. CNN will increase its content on Discovery.

Snap has partnered with multiple traditional U.S. media companies, including Viacom Inc and Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal, as it prepares to go public early next year.

This year Turner has also invested in digital media companies Mashable and Refinery29, and launched a digital video startup within CNN called Great Big Story.

Will Facebook Get Acquired By Evil Google?

December 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The word on the information street is that Google wants to buy Facebook. It is entirely speculative, but could have legs.

Information leaked suggests that talks are well advanced between the two companies.

Anecdotal evidence from many Facebook users suggests that talks are well advanced and the companies are already sharing experimental data, between themselves, of user data. Other sources suggest that Microsoft (Vole) is also interested in Facebook and, conversely, that Facebook is interested in buying Microsoft.

None of the companies cared enough to comment to Fudzilla at press time. 

Courtesy-Fud

Facebook Developing Artificial Intelligence To Patrol Live Videos

December 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

fb-logo-3-150x150Facebook Inc is developing a way to automatically flag offensive material in live video streams, building on a growing effort to use artificial intelligence to monitor content, said Joaquin Candela, the company’s director of applied machine learning.

The social media company has been embroiled in a number of content moderation controversies this year, from facing international outcry after removing an iconic Vietnam War photo due to nudity, to allowing the spread of fake news on its site.

Facebook has historically relied mostly on users to report offensive posts, which are then checked by Facebook employees against company “community standards.” Decisions on especially thorny content issues that might require policy changes are made by top executives at the company.

Candela told reporters that Facebook increasingly was using artificial intelligence to find offensive material. It is “an algorithm that detects nudity, violence, or any of the things that are not according to our policies,” he said.

The company already had been working on using automation to flag extremist video content, as Reuters reported in June.

Now the automated system also is being tested on Facebook Live, the streaming video service for users to broadcast live video.

Using artificial intelligence to flag live video is still at the research stage, and has two challenges, Candela said. “One, your computer vision algorithm has to be fast, and I think we can push there, and the other one is you need to prioritize things in the right way so that a human looks at it, an expert who understands our policies, and takes it down.”

Facebook said it also uses automation to process the tens of millions of reports it gets each week, to recognize duplicate reports and route the flagged content to reviewers with the appropriate subject matter expertise.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg in November said Facebook would turn to automation as part of a plan to identify fake news. Ahead of the Nov. 8 U.S. election, Facebook users saw fake news reports erroneously alleging that Pope Francis endorsed Donald Trump and that a federal agent who had been investigating Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was found dead.

However, determining whether a particular comment is hateful or bullying, for example, requires context, the company said.

Facebook Adds Popular Games To Messenger App

December 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

fb-messenger-app-150x150For users who enjoy the popular Facebook Messenger app, it’s game time.

The social network has rolled out a feature that allows users to play hugely popular games such as Pac-Man and Space Invaders, the company’s latest attempt to get users spend more time on its messaging app.

The new feature, initially rolled out in 30 countries with 17 games, will be available on the latest versions of iOS and Android operating systems.

A user, in the midst of a conversation, can tap on a game controller icon to choose a game and start playing. The feature also allows user to challenge their friends for a game.

Facebook made Messenger a standalone app in 2014, a move that initially irked many users. The app, however, gained popularity after the company added a host of features to it.

The social network has also added instant video and payment facilities to the app.

Facebook boasts of having more than one billion users for its messaging app, making it one top three apps in the world.

Its main Facebook app is the most popular, followed by Messenger and WhatsApp, the messaging service it bought in 2014.

Researchers Working On App To Prevent Death During Dangerous Selfies

November 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

dangerous-selfie-150x150Researchers are attempting to design an app that could prevent people from being killed while taking dangerous selfies.

Carnegie Mellon University announced that researchers there are working with colleagues at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology in Delhi, India to take on the issue of deadly selfies.

People around the globe have been putting themselves in reckless situations – on railroad tracks, on cliff edges — to grab a memorable selfie. Researchers found that individuals died falling from high places, while the most group deaths happened around water, with some dying in capsized boats.

“In India, a number of deaths occurred when friends or lovers posed on railroad tracks, which is widely regarded as a symbol of long-term commitment in that culture,” Carnegie Mellon reported. “Gun-related deaths in selfies occurred only in the U.S. and Russia. Road- and vehicle-related selfies and animal-related selfies also were associated with deaths.”

“In India, a number of deaths occurred when friends or lovers posed on railroad tracks, which is widely regarded as a symbol of long-term commitment in that culture,” Carnegie Mellon reported. “Gun-related deaths in selfies occurred only in the U.S. and Russia. Road- and vehicle-related selfies and animal-related selfies also were associated with deaths.”

According to Carnegie Mellon, the system was able to tell the difference between a dangerous selfie and one that is not risky 73% of the time.

That technology will be critical to developing an app that could be used to decrease the number of selfie deaths.

An app, which has not yet been developed, could be designed to warn a user or even disable the phone if a selfie is being taken in a dangerous situation. The problem, though, is that some people might use a warning as bragging rights that they’re brave enough to put themselves in a dangerous situation.

“There can be no app for stupidity,” Hemank Lamba, a Ph.D. student in Carnegie Mellon’s Institute for Software Research, said in a statement.

The app also could be used to pinpoint areas where people are routinely taking dangerous selfies so they could be marked as “no selfie” zones.

Carnegie Mellon also noted that an app could be used for augmented reality games, like Pokemon Go, to keep users from putting themselves in risky situations while playing.

 

Nearly Half The World Makes It To The Internet By End Of 2016

November 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

worldwide-internet-users-150x150Once 2016 comes to an end, nearly half of the world’s population will be using the internet as mobile networks grow and prices fall, but their numbers will remain concentrated in the developed world, according to a United Nations agency.

In the world’s developed countries about 80 percent of the population use the internet. But only about 40 percent in developing countries and less than 15 percent in less-developed countries are online, according to a report by the U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

In several of Africa’s poorer and more fragile countries, only one person in 10 is on the internet. The offline population is female, elderly, less educated, poorer and lives in rural areas, said the union, a specialized agency for information and communication technologies.

 Globally, 47 percent of the world’s population is online, still far short of a U.N. target of 60 percent by 2020. Some 3.9 billion people, more than half the world’s population, are not. ITU expects 3.5 billion people to have access by the end of this year.

“In 2016, people no longer go online, they are online. The spread of 3G and 4G networks across the world had brought the internet to more and more people,” the report said.

Telecoms and internet companies are expanding as more affordable smartphones encourage consumers to browse the internet, causing demand to grow for data-heavy services. However, less-developed countries – LDCs – still trail the rest of the world.

“Internet penetration levels in LDCs today have reached the level enjoyed by developed countries in 1998, suggesting that the LDCs are lagging nearly 20 years behind the developed countries,” the report said.

It blamed the cost of services and of extending infrastructure to rural and remote customers and the high price of mobile cellular use.

Is The Mobile Gaming Space Difficult To Succeed?

November 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Gaming

There’s something quite noble about Phil Larsen, Luke Muscat and Hugh Walters, and their reasons for turning their collective backs on Halfbrick.

The trio had been partly responsible for some of the biggest games in the smartphone space, including Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, but they felt they had nothing left to learn working at the developer, so took the gamble to go it alone.

“There weren’t too many more challenges, and the challenge of starting something new and being small and agile seemed like a smart idea,” says Phil Larsen, who is the MD at the studio. “And we are all basically in our early 30s, and we thought that maybe we wouldn’t get another chance. So we decided to go for it.”

The team left Halfbrick at the start of 2015 and attended GDC with “no money, no game, no nothing”. Although Larsen felt the newly formed team, named Prettygreat, had the capacity to pull in some big investors, they instead decided to aim a little lower, and accept funding from the founders of Crossy Road makers Hipster Whale.

“Matt [Hall] and Andy [Sum], being so successful with Crossy Road at the time, wanted to put some investment into other studios, and they were the perfect fit for us,” Larsen explains. “They were other developers who understand what we do, they trust in us as a team because we’ve done it all before, and it just helped us get everything off the ground. It has basically been the best possible decision we could have made.”

Prettygreat has only been going for 18 months, but it’s already created two games, with a third deep in development. The firm initially made the modestly popular smartphone title Landsliders, a casual collect ’em up project that it managed to pull together in just four months.

“Although we’d worked together before, working on our first game is always going to be tricky, you’ll be understanding each other and finding a new approach,” Larsen explains. “The way we did that was to try and create something a little bit unique, a bit weird, with some control innovation… as a game, it was profitable, which is good. It wasn’t the mega hit of the year or anything like that, it wouldn’t have reached any Top Ten charts in terms of downloads, but we made that game in four months, and we supported it for six months after launch, which we wouldn’t have done if there wasn’t profit to be made. The game has about 5m downloads so far, which is not bad. We’ve come from a place where 200m or 300m downloads were the norm, so we’re scaling back, which is fine. But Landsliders is a first game that says: ‘hey, this is what we can do. Make a game fast and make it successful’.”

It may seem like a rapid turnaround, but Prettygreat managed to outpace that with its second game, Slide the Shakes, which was designed and released in just six weeks.

“Basically, we had about three weeks left at the end of last year, because we’d done everything for Land Sliders. So we just decided to make a game. It also made a profit and had 3 or 4m downloads already. That was also a game where we understood its scope and potential, so we invested the appropriate amount of time – which was six weeks, but I think our quality level for that was quite high.

“We are game strategy agnostic, for want of a better way of expressing that. We are not sitting here saying we’re going to make triple-A games on mobile, or make six months projects every time. We are going to pick projects that we like and we are going to develop it to the level that we think it will be successful – and if that means it is six weeks, fine, if it is six months, which is our current project, then we will do that. We just want to make all sorts of crazy ideas. We don’t have any specific business model or genre.”

The Prettygreat team seem to know a thing or two about building sustainable smartphone games, which is difficult in a market where discoverability is difficult and the competition is plentiful. Even some of the world’s biggest mobile developers struggle to enjoy repeat success in this space. It’s a fact that’s not lost on Larsen, but he says if developers are smart, plan carefully and make sure the projects are in tune with the team’s talents, then success is not necessarily that hard to come by.

“A lot of people talk about how competitive it is, which is true. And they talk about how hard it is to make a whole bunch of money, which is true. But a misconception that a lot of people have is that you have to be making Clash Royale money, or you need to be spending loads of money, or you need to take years making the games,” Larsen begins.

“There is a lot of competing factors as to what makes a business successful. For a while it was Angry Birds, and building a brand, and merchandise. Then it was all about free-to-play. We have been through all of that at Halfbrick. Our perspective is, it is competitive but you need to pick the right business model for your team, and you need to pick the right approach for you. With three dudes at the start of a company, we weren’t saying: ‘Let’s do a Candy Crush and make $1m a day.’ No. We will pick something that we know we can get out there in a short amount of time, know generally what monetisation trends that are happening, and what is the easiest way of getting some revenue going for our games.

“Yes it is hard, but it is not impossible. A lot of people say it’s impossible, but no, you just need to be smart about how you approach it for your team specifically. If we had taken AUS$2m in funding when we started, or attacked it in a bigger way, then people would be expecting us to make a Candy Crush. But we didn’t want to do that.

“Our biggest strength as a company is scoping products right, and making them for the right people at the right time. It is very easy for an indie team to say mobile is hard, but that’s possibly because they’ve spent 18 months making the game – that might be hard to recoup as an investment. We would sooner spend four months on a game.

“Having a team that works together really well, and approaching it with a clear focus, then you can make money. We haven’t made millions of dollars yet, but that’s ok, you don’t need millions to pay three people.”

Prettygreat’s next product is currently not announced, although Larsen says it is an online multiplayer project that will be unveiled soon. This title has a much bigger scope and has already been in the works longer than its previous projects. However, Larsen is reluctant to suggest the team will continue to make bigger, more ambitious projects. He tells us that the following game could take six weeks again, or four months.

Yet don’t take this to mean there is a lack of ambition on the part of the former Fruit Ninja makers.

Larsen concludes: “I don’t want to be perceived as just three guys making stuff for the hell of it, and it’s all crazy and whatever happens, happens. That’s true to an extent, and day-to-day things are very fun and casual. But we are very serious about success financially, and our reputation is very high and we want to keep that going. The path we take is sometimes a bit unconventional, and it doesn’t necessarily have a simple six month or 12 month goal, which is what the bigger investors want to see. But we still have our eyes on the prize. We are probably not going to become a 100-person studio anytime soon, but the idea that we can create some of the biggest games in mobile and strategically scale to support them, then that’s fine. If that happens, then we will make that happen.

“We have come from a place where we were working on Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, which were some of the biggest mobile games ever for a few years. We are not strangers to that environment. We haven’t started a studio to figure out how to do mobile, we absolutely already know how to do that. We’ve been through the highs and lows of some of the biggest things out there. We know what to expect and we are definitely aiming for it, but we are not going to compromise quality or our studio culture to get there.”

Courtesy-GI.biz

Facebook Acquires FacioMetrics

November 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

fb-logo-3-150x150Facebook has purchased FacioMetrics, a facial image analysis company, as it attempts to give users new features to add special effects to photos and videos.

The technology developed by the startup also includes capabilities for face tracking and recognizing emotions, which could potentially open up other applications for Facebook.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Facebook will discontinue the products, which are no longer available on app stores. The FacioMetrics website only has a message about the acquisition.

“How people share and communicate is changing and things like masks and other effects allow people to express themselves in fun and creative ways,” a Facebook spokesman wrote in an email Wednesday. “We’re excited to welcome the FacioMetrics team who will help bring more fun effects to photos and videos and build even more engaging sharing experiences on Facebook.”

FacioMetrics, a startup that was spun off from Carnegie Mellon University, was launched to meet the interest and demand for facial image analysis with applications such as augmented and virtual reality, animation, and audience reaction measurement, the company’s founder and CEO Fernando De la Torre wrote on the company’s website.

“Now, we’re taking a big step forward by joining the team at Facebook, where we’ll be able to advance our work at an incredible scale, reaching people from across the globe,” De la Torre added.

In 2003, De la Torre joined the Robotics Institute at CMU, where his research interests were in the fields of computer vision and machine learning. In December, the Human Sensing Laboratory at CMU released to fellow researchers its IntraFace software for tracking facial features and recognizing emotions. “Now it’s time to develop new applications for this technology. We have a few of our own, but we believe there are lots of people who may have even better ideas once they get their hands on it,” De la Torre said at the time.

Facebook has acquired companies in the past to enhance its photo and video capabilities, as it competes for users with services such as Snapchat. The acquisition of Masquerade Technologies in March brought technology that allows users to add special effects to faces in photos and videos.

LinkedIn Ban Begins In Russia

November 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

linkedin-logo2-150x150Russia’s communications regulator issued instructions that public access to LinkedIn’s website to be blocked on Thursday to comply with a court ruling that found the social networking firm guilty of violating a data storage law.

LinkedIn, which has its headquarters in the United States, is the first major social network to be blocked by Russian authorities, setting a precedent for the way foreign Internet firms operate. It has over 6 million registered users in Russia.

The Kremlin said that the decision was legal and that President Vladimir Putin did not plan to interfere in the case.

 When asked whether the move might stir fears of online censorship, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there were “no such concerns.”

Critics see it as part of an attack on social networks in a country which has increasingly tightened control over the Internet.

Russian law requires websites that store the personal data of Russian citizens to do so on Russian servers, something communications regulator Roskomnadzor said LinkedIn had not done.

That law was approved by Putin in 2014 and came into force in September last year.

LinkedIn’s site will be blocked within 24 hours, Interfax news agency cited Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky as saying. One Internet service provider, Rostelcom, said it had already blocked access.

Two others, MTS and Vimpelcom, said they would do so within 24 hours.

LinkedIn was starting to hear from members in Russia saying they were no longer able to access the site, a company spokeswoman said.

“Roskomnadzor’s action to block LinkedIn denies access to the millions of members we have in Russia and the companies that use LinkedIn to grow their businesses,” the spokeswoman said.

Roskomnadzor’s Ampelonsky told Reuters the watchdog had received a letter from LinkedIn’s U.S. management on Friday requesting a meeting.

He said he expected the meeting to take place within the next two weeks, but that Roskomnadzor had first to get approval for the meeting from the foreign ministry and the security services because LinkedIn was a foreign company.

The LinkedIn spokeswoman said the firm was still interested in meeting Roskomnadzor “to discuss their data localization request.”

Facebook Launches Metrics FYI To Provide Insights Into Its Video Ads

November 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

facebook-advertising-150x150Several months after Facebook Inc acknowledged it had inflated the average time it told advertisers that users were watching their video ads, the company is promising better data to give ad buyers a clearer picture of how they are spending their money.

The world’s biggest online social network on Wednesday launched a new blog on its website called Metrics FYI, where it will share updates and corrections for its data.

“We want to ensure our clients trust and believe in the metrics that we are providing,” Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s vice president of global market solutions told Reuters.

 Getting advertisers to buy more video ads is key to Facebook’s continued revenue growth, as they fetch higher rates from advertisers than text or photo-based ads.

Facebook, along with Alphabet Inc’s Google and other large digital companies, has been criticized for a lack of transparency in how it measures the performance of videos.

Particularly, the lack of a universally agreed method of calculating how much time people are watching online video has been a sore spot for advertisers.

Shares of Facebook were down 2.5 percent at $114.30 in premarket trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

In September, Facebook told advertisers that the average time users spent viewing online ads was artificially inflated, because it was only counting videos that were watched for at least three seconds, its benchmark for a “view.”

Facebook left out those who watched for less than three seconds, or who did not watch the video at all, which gave advertisers the impression their videos were performing better than they really were.

Since the admission and ensuing criticism from advertisers, Everson said Facebook has been in contact with clients and ad community trade groups, including the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

Facebook also said  it is in the process of forming what it called a ‘Measurement Council,’ which will include measurement experts from clients and ad agencies.

One of Facebook’s prominent advertisers, Swiss food and drink company Nestle SA, is already on board, Everson said, and the council should be up and running by early 2017.

The ANA, which represents Procter & Gamble Co, AT&T Inc and other major advertisers, has called on Facebook to get its metrics accredited by the Media Rating Council (MRC), an independent media measurement audit group.

While Facebook’s internal metrics are not accredited by that group, it does use MRC-accredited third-party vendors, such as Nielsen and comScore, to help advertisers verify certain data.

Facebook, Google Offer Up Plan To Stop Spread Of ‘Fake News’

November 16, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

facebook-banned2-150x150Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc both announced plans geared towards halting the spread of “fake news” on the internet by targeting how some purveyors of phony content make money: advertising.

Google said it is working on a policy change to prevent websites that misrepresent content from using its AdSense advertising network, while Facebook updated its advertising policies to spell out that its ban on deceptive and misleading content applies to fake news.

The shifts comes as Google, Facebook and Twitter Inc face a backlash over the role they played in the U.S. presidential election by allowing the spread of false and often malicious information that might have swayed voters toward Republican candidate Donald Trump.

The issue has provoked a fierce debate within Facebook especially, with Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg insisting twice in recent days that the site had no role in influencing the election.

Facebook’s steps are limited to its ad policies, and do not target fake news sites shared by users on their news feeds.

“We do not integrate or display ads in apps or sites containing content that is illegal, misleading or deceptive, which includes fake news,” Facebook said in a statement, adding that it will continue to vet publishers to ensure compliance.

Google’s move similarly does not address the issue of fake news or hoaxes appearing in Google search results. That happened in the last few days, when a search for ‘final election count’ for a time took users to a fake news story saying Trump won the popular vote. Votes are still being counted, with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton showing a slight lead.

Nor does Google suggest that the company has moved to a mechanism for rating the accuracy of particular articles.

Rather, the change is aimed at assuring that publishers on the network are legitimate and eliminating financial incentives that appear to have driven the production of much fake news.

“Moving forward, we will restrict ad serving on pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the primary purpose of the web property,” Google said in a statement.

The company did not detail how it would implement or enforce the new policy.

WhatsApp Adds Full Encryption To Video Calls

November 16, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

whatsapp-logo-150x150One of the most popular means of communication, Facebook’s  WhatsApp, had included fully encrypted video calling to its messaging app as of Monday, a move that comes as privacy advocates worry about the potential for stepped-up government surveillance under a Trump administration.

WhatsApp, which boasts more than a billion users worldwide, adopted end-to-end encryption early this year, making it technically impossible for the company or government authorities to read messages or listen to calls.

The new video calling service will thus provide another means for people to communicate without fear of eavesdropping though WhatsApp does retain other data such as an individual’s list of contacts.

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum said in an interview that video calls will be rolled out to 180 countries within hours after the feature is introduced at an event in India.

“We obviously try to be in tune with what our users want,” Koum said at the company’s unmarked Mountain View, California headquarters building. “We’re obsessed with making sure that voice and video work well even on low-end phones.”

Koum told Reuters that improvements in phone cameras, battery life and bandwidth had made the service viable for a significant proportion of WhatsApp users, even those using inexpensive smartphones.

Apple Inc  offers its FaceTime video calls to iPhone users, and Microsoft Corp’s  Skype offers video calls on multiple platforms. But WhatsApp has built a massive installed base of mobile customers and has been steadily adding more features to what began as a simple chat applications.

Google Sets 1080p Standard For DayDream

November 16, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

daydreamingGoogle has revealed specifications for Daydream and has defined a minimum specification that you will need to make a Daydream work.

Traditionally you only need a boss that doesn’t pay attention on what you do in Daydream, but Google wants you to have a display between 4.7 and 6 inches with a resolution of at least 1080p 60Hz display. These phones need to have a 3ms or less latency and 5ms or less persistence. Quad HD 2560×1440 or higher resolution is recommended.

If six inches is the maximum, we wonder if the Daydream will make an adjustment to work on Xiaomi Mi Max and the highly anticipated and sold out in a minute, bezel-less Xiaomi Mi Mix. Both of them have 6.44 inch screen. The Google document is pretty clear, it says: “The display MUST measure between 4.7″ and 6″ diagonal.”

Daydream needs a GPU supporting OpenGL ES 3.2 and Vulkan that is able to decode two instances of 60fps video simultaneously and can offer consistent 60 FPS rendering. Google also requires temperature sensors to read the device surface temperature as the company doesn’t necessarily want to set your face on fire. Just to remind you, you need to wear Daydream VR slot-in glasses with your phone on your face.

The device must have at least two physical cores, MUST support sustained performance mode, MUST support H.264 decoding at least 3840×2160@30fps- 40Mbps (equivalent to 4 instances of 1920×1080@30fps-10Mbps or 2 instances of 1920×1080@60fps-20Mbps), MUST support HEVC and VP9, MUST be capable to decode at least 1920×1080@30fps-10Mbps and SHOULD be capable to decode 3840×2160@30fps- 20Mbps (equivalent to 4 instances of 1920×1080@30fps-5Mbps). Google used ALL CAPS to make it clear that it is not kidding about the requirements.

Google Pixel is officially the first phone supporting Daydream and Daydream VR but it looks like most high end phones updated to Android 7.0 should work too. They MUST meet the requirements above.

Bear in mind that apart from the Pixel and the Pixel XL by Google the only phone having the Android 7.1 that we are aware of, the Huawei Mate 9 with 5.9-inch display and 1080p that  qualify this phone to work with Daydream.  Android 7 aka Nougat will come to more phones but as usual, Google and its partners are extremely slow to migrate to a new Android, a wound that won’t heal for Android OS anytime soon.

Google’s Daydream VR is on pre-orders for $79 and if that sounds like a good price, bear in mind that Xiaomi has its own Xiaomi slot-in VR glasses selling for $12.29 but it doesn’t come with the Daydream remote.

Courtesy-Fud

Hackers Breach 412M Accounts On FriendFinder Dating Website

November 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

friendfinder-network-150x150Over 412 million accounts on dating and entertainment website FriendFinder Networks have reportedly been exposed, the second time that the network has been breached in two years, according to a popular breach notification website.

The websites that have been breached include adultfriendfinder.com, described as the “world’s largest sex and swinger community,” which accounted for over 339.7 million of the 412 million accounts exposed, LeakedSource said Sunday.

Other network sites that had user accounts exposed were cams.com with 62.6 million exposed, penthouse.com with 7 million, stripshow.com with 1.4 million, icams.com with about 1 million and an unidentified website adding 35,372 users whose accounts were exposed.

The sites were hacked in October through a local file inclusion vulnerability on FriendFinder Networks that was reported at about the same time by a researcher. Soon after disclosing the vulnerability, the researcher, who used the Twitter handle 1×0123 and is also known as Revolver, stated on Twitter that the issue was resolved, and “…no customer information ever left their site,” according to CSO’s Salted Hash.

FriendFinder did not immediately comment. The network, however confirmed to ZDNet that it identifed and fixed a vulnerability that “was related to the ability to access source code through an injection vulnerability.”

LeakedSource said it found that passwords were stored in plain visible format or using the weak SHA1 hashed (peppered) algorithm, increasing the possibility of their misuse. LeakedSource claimed it had cracked over 99 percent of all the passwords from the databases to plain text.

It also found that about 15 million users had an email in the format of: email@address.com@deleted1.com, suggesting that information on users who earlier tried to delete their accounts was still around.

The FriendFinder Networks hack, if confirmed, would outstrip that of Myspace in its impact. The exposure of an estimated 360 million accounts of Myspace users was reported earlier this year. The FriendFinder hack also has the potential of being more embarrassing for a number of users, because of the sensitive transactions on its sites.

Snapchat Spectacles To Be Sold In Vending Machines

November 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

snapchat-spectacles-150x150Snap Inc has debuted its video-camera sunglasses in its usual quirky style, setting up a big yellow vending machine on a beach boardwalk where customers could lay out $130 for the “Spectacles” glasses.

According to postings on Twitter, a line of more than 100 people quickly formed in front of the wacky vending machine, referred to as a “Snapbot,” that appeared in Venice, California.

“This looks like something dropped from a cartoon UFO, with balloons attached to slowly float down,” Twitter user Ajay Mehta wrote.

 The glasses quickly sold out, Twitter users reported. They reappeared on sites such as eBay for $1,000.

Snap, an $18 billion company which makes the popular messaging app Snapchat, has made its foray into hardware with glasses equipped with a camera on it that connects wirelessly to a smartphone to take and send “snaps” – the company’s terms for video and photo messages sent on its app.

The Spectacles will remain a bit elusive. The Snapbot vending machines will land in new locations for about a day, and that location will be shared just 24 hours in advance. The machines are the only way to buy the glasses directly from the company.

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