Image: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disney Parks via Getty Images
It wasn't just Sleeping Beauty itching for a nap at Disneyland's 24-hour celebration kicking off its 60th anniversary events.
Thousands of super fans, camped out since 6 p.m. Thursday night, officially entered the park at 6 a.m. Friday to spend all day and night at the Anaheim, California amusement park.
In a midnight session, the Senate has voted down the USA Freedom Act, putting one of the legal bedrocks of the NSA's bulk surveillance programs into jeopardy. The Patriot Act is set to expire at the end of the month, and the USA Freedom Act would have extended large portions of the act in modified form. Tonight's failure to arrive at a vote makes it likely that many of those powers will automatically expire, although Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) scheduled a last-minute session on May 31st for one last shot at passing the bill.
In particular, the USA Freedom Act would have modified the Section 215 of the Patriot Act, a clause that allows the FBI to secretly order the collection of "tangible things" that could help in a national security investigation. Since its passage, Section 215 has been interpreted loosely — and likely illegally — by intelligence agencies. As whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed in 2013, the definition of both "tangible things" and "investigation" was broad enough to let NSA build a large database of American phone records for an ongoing, expansive national security effort.
After the program was discovered, President Obama ordered the NSA to get approval before searching the database, but the phone metadata orders have still been renewed every three months. Government reports have said that there's little evidence the phone records program foiled any terrorist plots, however, and a recent court decision found that it wasn't legal at all by the standards of Section 215.
A Hawaii-based company called Total Recall Technologies (TRT) is suing Facebook-owned Oculus Rift and its founder Palmer Luckey, saying that Luckey used confidential information he learned from the company in 2011 to build his own head-mounted display.
In a complaint filed in the Northern California US District Court (PDF), TRT says that its two partners, Ron Igra and Thomas Seidl, developed and patented a method to take video of a real-world scene and display it in a head-mounted display using an “ultra-wide field of view.” Seidl met Luckey in 2010 in connection with his work on developing head-mounted displays, and contacted him in 2011 to build a prototype for TRT.
There's a lot to love about Etsy -- it's one of the best places on the internet to find all sorts of stuff like minimalist Captain America prints or laser-cut Deathly Hallows earrings, but shipping windows are kind of a crapshoot. That could change because Amazon is apparently emailing some of the hand-crafted goods emporium's sellers and offering them to peddle their wares, according to The Wall Street Journal. The forthcoming section on Bezo's ecommerce behemoth is called Handmade, and invites lead to a survey asking about what categories the wares would fall under (11 total, including baby, apparel, pet supplies) but there isn't any word about when the section will go live.
WSJ notes that anything regarding fee structure is missing in action as well, adding that there's a pretty big disparity between what Etsy charges its sellers versus what Amazon does. For example, Amazon's cut of sales ranges from 12 percent to 45 percent per item, with a $1 minimum per item sold. Etsy, on the other hand, takes $0.20 for every item listed and 3.5 percent of the selling price. The trade-off for sellers would be a much higher potential for sales, but at a possibly lower profit. It's worth noting that these talks are all presumably very early and nothing is set in stone just yet. What's it mean for those of us who just want a super-cool Calvin and Hobbes stuffed Hobbes, though? Convenience and hopefully guaranteed shipping for the tiger. That's something I can get behind.
It’s been a long day, and you have a screaming headache. You want to rub your temples, but you’re tired and your arms feel heavy and cramp after like three seconds. But why should we have to rub our own temples in this day and age? We don’t. There’s a group of engineers out there ready to take care of that for us, and their campaign is up on Indiegogo.
If this company of engineers had an “As Seen on TV” commercial, it would start like this: “From the inventors of the Sleep Shepherd — the hat that helps you sleep — comes the Vi-Band, the headband massager!” It’s a hands-free head massager that vibrates over your temples and forehead, built into a simple headband. Yep, a hand’s free head massager that doesn’t look like you’re trying to bring back the real Quaid.
HopSkipDrive, a Los Angeles startup you’ve probably never heard of, just made a small piece of ride-hailing history. It says it’s the first such company to do fingerprint background checks of its drivers. At least we know that other big players — Sidecar, Uber, Lyft and Shuddle — do not.
Fingerprint checks are the gold standard. Taxi companies in most urban areas in California are required by law to use them, as are organizations who work with vulnerable populations, like hospitals and schools.
Since Uber and Lyft are regulated by a different entity — the California Public Utilities Commission — they’re not held to the same standard. Occasionally, drivers on these services turn out to have assault records or reckless driving infractions that the companies didn’t catch.
Earlier this week, Spotify announced plans to transform itself into something a lot more than just a streaming music service. The company wants to start hosting video clips, radio stations, live DJ mixes, and podcasts. On this episode, David and Michael go deep into the news, discussing what the implications are not only for Spotify, but for competing music services and for the media-consumption internet. If this plan takes off, a whole lot about how you use watch, listen, and interact online is going to change.Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.
"If the iPhone gained traction, RIM's senior executives believed, it would be with consumers who cared more about YouTube and other Internet escapes than efficiency and security," reads one portion of an excerpt from Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff's Losing the Signal, as published by the Wall Street Journal. The company believed that its central business customers cared more about security and efficient communication — for instance through the signature BlackBerry physical keyboard — than having the full internet in their pocket.
At the time, most phones had extremely limited Web and video functions and clumsy button-based browsers. The iPhone was the first smartphone with a Web browser comparable to the desktop, as well as an all-touchscreen interface. Apple moreover negotiated with AT&T to allow unlimited data, something unheard of when most data plans were still measured in megabytes.
Fox recently announced that "American Idol" won't get another season. Good riddance, I say. The show may have produced a few names with actual talent, but it felt like one of those reality shows where viewers get their jollies watching judges crush people's dreams like grapes in a stomping vat.
My big pet peeve with "American Idol" and other shows of its ilk isn't just that they turn gullible rubes into emotional cannon fodder as a holy sacrifice to the gods of reality TV. My worry is that "Idol" may have convinced someone with genuine, untapped talent not to pursue their passion just because some British meanie thinks he knows more about music than anyone else.
This week at Gizmodo, we got our hands on Buckminster Fuller’s FBI file, recounted your worst PayPal horror stories, told you why you need to stop drinking bottled water, and hung out with Neal Stephenson to chat about his latest novel. Here are the highlights.
There are few things on this planet I hate more than bottled water. Just the crinkling sound of someone wrapping their mouth around one of those squeaky garbage accordions fills me with rage. I stopped drinking it a long time ago—and you should stop drinking it, too.
So you’ve made it past all the VC grilling and received a term sheet. Congratulations! But don’t celebrate just yet. Term sheets are non-binding, and even though they should signify a VC has conviction in investing in you and is ready to move towards closing, they fall through more often than most founders may expect.
Here are the three most common reasons why receiving a term sheet may not result in an investment by a VC and what you can do about it.
LA Noire is, at its core, an impeccably executed, hard-boiled police drama. As a member of the 1940s LAPD, you spend your time combing scenes for clues, interrogating suspects, following leads, et cetera.
Built around a large number of scripted cases with linear scenarios—though an optional free-roaming mode is available—LA Noire leans heavily on deft writing and powerful performances, buoyed by the use of MotionScan technology, which portrays actors' faces in startling detail, from small wrinkles to nervous tics. (Expressions play a major role during interrogation scenes.) Fistfights, shoot-outs, car chases, and foiled bank robberies add delicious action to the drama.
LA Noire grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go for roughly the same amount of time as two TV series seasons—an apt description for such a narrative powerhouse.
This week we cover one noteworthy review of the new MacBook by Marco Arment, as well as iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 details. Apple is supposedly tidying up with both OS updates this year, and also making things more pleasant for older device owners, and that’s very good for Tim Cook’s favorite customer satisfaction metric.
We also discuss the new $2,000 iMac, as well as the update for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. And surprisingly, we spend very little time talking about the Apple Watch, for probably the first time since that device became available – or even was first announced.
Rumors also suggest iPad could get a dual-screen mode, and we’re fairly split on how we feel about that. One thing’s certain, though: Apple probably has a ton of new stuff to show off at WWDC this year if they’re spilling the beans on Mac hardware refreshes a few weeks before the actual event.
In Canada there are basically two prison systems. One, for those sentenced to less than two years, is run by the province (thus a common sentence is "two years less a day"). The second, for those sentenced to two years or more, is run by the Federal Government. Recidivism rates for those sentenced to provincial jails is roughly 45% re-offend (statistics are lifelong, not three years as in the parent post's research). For the Federal system, it's less than 5%. Provincial inmates are released to the community they came from, while Federal inmates are paroled to a different community. They balance the releases by placing people based on the incarceration rate in a given community; in other words if 5 criminals are sent to Federal prison in a town, then 5 are released to that town, but are not from that town.
This phone isn’t something Tony Stark was able to build in cave with a box of scraps. It’s a brand new Galaxy S6 Edge from the folks at Samsung, and it’s going on sale soon. No, you won’t need an arc reactor to power it: an ordinary lithium polymer battery will do just fine. Other than the crimson and gold tones borrowed from Iron Man’s armor and the image of his helmet on the back, this is an ordinary S6 Edge.
Wait, what helmet? The render above is obviously lacking that particular detail, but it’s clearly visible in another image — a teaser posted by Samsung itself. As you can see, the Avengers Edition Edge should be arriving in just a few more days.
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"It's-a me! Mad Max!"
A new twist on the original Mad Max: Fury Road trailer imagines what the film might be like if it took place in the Mario Kart universe. What if Fury Road was littered with cartoon-like banana peels, and giant chain-chomps that cause explosions? The results are pretty awesome.
Finally, here are the last speakers to be announced for our second annual Code Conference, which takes place next week.
Because Twitter has been so in the news for a variety of reasons, and because the livestreaming startup called Periscope that it bought this year has too, we thought that CEO Dick Costolo and founder Kayvon Beykpour would make a great pair to interview in our famous red hot seats. (Costolo has been grilled by us before, while Beykpour is a newbie.)
We hope to cover a lot of topics onstage about how the social communications company innovates (make or buy?), copyright issues around mobile video (we’ll ask speaker and CBS CEO Les Moonves about that dicey issue too) and how Twitter leaders think of the company as it moves forward (and how they cope with the constant scrutiny).