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2015-08-02 22:56:02 UTC

Inside Derek Zoolander's brain, Einstein's theory of relativity swirls, mocha frappuccinos float, synapses sputter and the word "Eugoogly" is very clearly defined.

The new teaser for the sequel to Zoolander also explains the most pressing question some fans may have: Why isn't the movie called 2oolander. Puns are just too much for Derek to wrap his head around. Actually, the phrase "wrap your head around" probably wouldn't make much sense to him, either.

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Mojibar Is a Keyboard-Driven Emoji Search Engine for Mac

Mac: The emoji search in OS X is just fine, but if you’re looking for something a little smoother, Mojibar is a menubar based emoji app that makes typing in an emoji quick and easy.

Once it’s installed, you can load up the app with Ctrl+Shift+Space. From there, you can quickly search through emoji, then drop emojis into text with either the unicode or the emoji code.

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It was an eventful week in tech news, beyond the usual quarterly-earnings hubbub. Uber, Stripe and other big-name startups inked major deals, and Google began winding down its one-time would-be Facebook killer. Here are the details:

Uber raised another $1 billion (giving it $5 billion total) round that set the company’s value at more than $50 billion, the investors reportedly including Microsoft and Times of India owner Bennett Coleman and Co. Uber is planning to invest $1 billion in India, whose startup market is heating up as Alibaba, Foxconn and SoftBank just plunked down $1 billion to invest in Indian Amazon competitor Snapdeal. Microsoft may be scaling back its smartphone hardware ambitions, but the company is making a big bet on its operating system with Windows 10. The new software is much more competitive with Mac OS X, and Re/code’s Walt Mossberg likes it, but whether Microsoft will get developer love for its non-desktop devices is far from certain. Google may have Internet balloons, but Facebook built an unmanned aircraft that it aims to use for connecting people to the Internet. Speaking of sky-high, the company beat Wall Street expectations this week with  a surge in mobile ad revenue. Oh, and Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, are expecting a baby girl. Google Express delivery workers are trying to unionize, Google Glass is relaunching with a focus on enterprise applications, and Google+ isn’t dying quietly so much as it’s being shoved out the door. The company is making its push for home services after acquiring Homejoy earlier this month. Visa is investing in Stripe, in a deal that values the digital payments startup at $5 billion (there are other investors, none of whom are putting in more than $100 million each); the two are also signing an agreement that further wrap up the companies’ businesses in one another. Interim CEO Jack Dorsey was brutal and unsparing when talking about Twitter’s disappointing growth numbers on the earnings call this week, which sent Wall Street into a tizzy. The exit of three major product executives probably won’t calm the Street’s nerves. NBCUniversal plans to invest $250 million in BuzzFeed at a $1.5 billion valuation, and it’s also putting an undisclosed amount into Vox Media (the owner of Re/code), which puts the company’s value at $850 million. Yelp’s stock plummeted earlier this week, and the company says a “unicorn bubble” is sapping it of revenue and talent. Don’t expect Yelp to be the only major tech company to blame the rise of privately backed startups. This week on the Re/code Decode podcast with Kara Swisher, Andreessen Horowitz partner Chris Dixon talked about startups, the tech bubble, and niche fields like virtual reality and bitcoin. Walt Mossberg talked about Windows 10, and Ina Fried explained the recent car-hacking drama. Snapchat is a secretive company, and the lack of publicly available information makes it tough to figure out the innards of its business. Here’s a number: Revenue could reach $50 million this year (the startup was last valued at $16 billion), and it’s ramping up its CFO search as it looks to grow the dollars-and-cents end of its business.
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Posted by on in Gizmodo

Enjoy This Gorgeous Image of the Lagoon Nebula

At this very instant, five thousand light years from Earth, near the center of our galaxy, new stars are forming in a region of interstellar gas and dust called the Lagoon Nebula.

Bright, hot young stars blaze amid dark clouds of dust and bright streaks of glowing gas. Remember that some of those stars are several times larger than the Sun, yet they’re dwarfed by these streaks of gas and dust. For a more precise sense of scale, the whole image is about 40 light years across.

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Cyber-attacks are ten a penny now, and the FBI and other authorities that investigate these crimes around the world have many hurdles to cross if they want to catch a hacker. Police forces can often be hindered by the dark web and anonymizing tools used by cyber-criminals to cover their tracks, but there are also political barriers in arresting cyber-criminals in other countries as well as lengthy trials and investigations into home-grown perpetrators. A couple of high profile cases from recent years have shined a light on how cyber-crime cases are carried out.

There is now a growing underground economy for cyber-crime. It is no longer the preserve of just the hacker elite. The market is thriving, said Symantec in one of its most recent threat reports. More cyber-criminals, whether sophisticated or glorified script kiddies, means more work for authorities as they try desperately to keep up with a flood of international attacks.

International cyber arrests

Many of the world’s most active hackers are dotted across the globe, from Russia to China, from the UK to Australia. The FBI’s most wanted cyber-crime list includes numerous foreign nationals. The most recent hacker snagged from across the pond was British man Lauri Love, who is charged with infiltrating US government computers and now faces extradition.

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Baymax from 'Big Hero 6'

Have you watched 3D-animated Disney flicks like Big Hero 6 and wondered how some of its scenes manage to look surprisingly realistic? Today's your lucky day: Disney has posted a top-level explanation of how its image rendering engine, Hyperion, works its movie magic. The software revolves around "path tracing," an advanced ray tracing technique that calculates light's path as it bounces off objects in a scene. It takes into account materials (like Baymax's translucent skin), and saves valuable time by bundling light rays that are headed in the same direction -- important when Hyperion is tracking millions of rays at once. The technology is efficient enough that animators don't have to 'cheat' when drawing very large scenes, like BH6's picturesque views of San Fransokyo. Although Disney's tech still isn't perfectly true to life, it's close enough that the studio might just fool you in those moments when it strives for absolute accuracy.

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How well is the Apple Watch selling? Apple isn’t saying much, but that hasn’t kept Bernstein Research anaylist Mark Li from trying to find out. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, a subsidiary of Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) and one of Apple’s suppliers for the Watch told investors that it fell short of a “break-even” number of shipments of its Apple Watch components during the second quarter, and it expects to fall short again in the third quarter. According to Li, it’s very rare for a company to fall short of “break-even” shipments in the third quarter, given the looming holiday rush, and Li says that ASE’s shortfall indicates that Apple Watch sales are lower than expected.

ASE’s subsidiary said its “break-even” point is two million units per month.

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hayao_miyazaki_collection

Even if you only have a passing interest in anime, the name Studio Ghibli will probably be known to you. The animated movies the studio has produced never falter in their quality, storytelling, or ability to appeal to all ages. And a lot of that is thanks to one man: Hayao Miyazaki.

Miyazaki co-founded Studio Ghibli and has undertaken work as artist, animator, author, screenwriter, director, and producer. He’s the complete package in the world of Japanese animation, but he’s also now 74-years-old and retired from the studio in late 2013. The following year Studio Ghibli stopped making feature films.

disney_Miyazaki_collection

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Java, unleashed in 1991, has become one of the world's most-used programming languages. Here are seven key features that will keep it viable in a world of supercomputing, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.
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(Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons)

Java. No other language defines the Web age of applications quite as thoroughly as this programming tool, which came to life alongside the World Wide Web. From its birth in 1991 at Sun Microsystems (which was purchased by Oracle), the language designed by James Gosling, Mike Sheridan, and Patrick Naughton has been a key part of many enterprise application efforts. Nearly 25 years on, does Java still deserve to be part of your development plans?

Java's main benefit has always been the promise of WORA: Write Once, Run Anywhere. In simple terms, this means a development team could write an application in Java and compile it into executable form, then have that executable run on any Java-enabled platform. It's a very, very efficient way of programming, but that efficiency does carry a few costs.

One of the major costs is that access to low-level machine hardware must be limited in order for WORA to work. Universal compatibility requires abstraction, and abstraction tends to be paid for in the currency of performance. Java's distance from the hardware is a key reason that C++ remains a major development language, often alongside Java. But that's only one cost. The other big cost might well be one that places major limits on Java's future.

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Dr. Dre is finally giving his fans something new to listen to. The music producer, Apple executive, and N.W.A. rapper announced yesterday that he's releasing a new album on Friday, August 7th. It's called Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre, and it's Dre's first proper album since 1999's 2001.

"I was leaving the set, going to the studio, and I felt myself just being so inspired by the movie that I started recording an album," Dre said on Saturday during his weekly Beats 1 radio show, "The Pharmacy." "I kept it under wraps, and now the album is finished. It’s an ‘inspired-by’ album, it’s inspired by Straight Outta Compton," the new N.W.A. biopic coming out this month. The album will be exclusive to iTunes and Apple Music.

The announcement also marks the official death of Dre's long-in-the-works album, Detox, which was originally planned for release in 2011. "I didn't like it," Dre said on his radio show, adding "The record, it just wasn't good. … I worked my ass off on it, and I don't think I did a good enough job ... I just wasn’t feeling it."

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Posted by on in Ars Technica
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Sean Gallagher

At the end of May, my wife and I received a note from Comcast explaining that we had been getting undercharged for our cable service—and to expect that to stop pretty darn quick. This note set in motion a course of events that would lead to my trip last week to Comcast's Baltimore customer service center to turn in our cable boxes once and for all and cut the cable cord.

Well, sort of. But I'll get to that in a minute.

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A BMW i3 charging. Tim Stevens/CNET

With more and more plug-in cars hitting the roads, there's been growing concern over the strain these vehicles will have on the nation's overtaxed power grid. BMW thinks it may have a solution in California.

The German automaker has partnered with utility Pacific Gas & Electric for an 18-month pilot program in the San Francisco Bay Area that's just getting underway. The trial, dubbed BMW iChargeForward, gives $1,540 in gift cards to 100 owners of i3 hatchbacks to charge their vehicles during off-peak times.

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Posted by on in Slashdot
Reuters reports that four people have died of Legionnaire's Disease in an outbreak in the Bronx, and 65 more have exhibited symptoms of the disease. The Bronx was also home to the most recent flare-up of the disease, in December of last year. Says the article, In response to the outbreak, the city's health department has inspected 22 buildings in the Bronx, 17 of which have cooling towers. Five buildings, including the historic Opera House Hotel, Lincoln Medical Center and the Concourse Plaza mall and movie complex, tested positive for Legionella. Disinfection efforts are ongoing or have already been completed at all five sites. ... The people who died from the disease were older adults with underlying medical problems, according to a city press release. The department said the city's drinking water supply, fountains and pools have not been affected.
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Three years ago, I began taking August off social media. I wasn’t alone. That was the year everyone started writing about digital detoxes, smartphone-free summer camps, and Facebook cleanses. One writer at the Verge took a year’s vacation from the Internet.

I don’t seem to see those stories as much anymore. To figure out why, I decided to ask my 1,868 Facebook friends. I pulled up the site, but before I could properly articulate the question, I noticed a guy I met briefly five years ago had posted hiking photos from the same place I went hiking last week. We had both been in Oregon!! What a coincidence! I clicked on the photo and saw he’d been there with a woman I knew from high school. Well, how do they know each other? I clicked on her photo and up came a profile pic of three tiny children, all adorable. The youngest had a Brown University shirt on. A little bit of digging revealed that, in fact, her husband had gotten a job at my alma mater and they’d all moved to Providence. I’d learned so much in just five minutes, but what was it I’d wanted to know from Facebook?

Welcome to my social life. I acknowledge, it’s not pretty. Somewhere the really good, talented Facebookers are diligently exercising self-discipline to use Facebook only for useful things. There are so many useful things! They’re catching up on current events, reimbursing each other for dinner over Messenger, RSVP’ing for book readings, choosing Airbnb stays based on friend recommendations. They don’t get lost in their Newsfeeds. Their trigger fingers aren’t locked on the “like” button. They aren’t me.

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Arianna Huffington built The Huffington Post into a global digital media empire, while Jonah Peretti, who helped found HuffPo, went on to co-found BuzzFeed, turned into a digital juggernaut that could soon be valued at $1.5 billion. The former colleagues now stand at the vanguard of the new media industry, watched and discussed and speculated about all the time for clues about where digital media is going.

But both of digital media's big empire-builders are looking in another direction: Television.

Digital media companies, the great disruptors of news and entertainment, are cozying up to television as they look to find cash to justify their lofty valuations. Following in the footsteps of their rapidly growing rival Vice — which made its name on well-produced videos on transgressive subjects and tyrannical regimes — BuzzFeed and more recently HuffPo have begun building out video operations that are producing the kind of original, high-production work that could help tap the big bucks that TV still commands.

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Dropbox's Roku channel

You can already access your Dropbox files on all your PCs and mobile gadgets, but what if you want to put them on your TV? If you have a Roku player, you're set. Roku has launched a Dropbox channel that lets you browse your photos and videos on its set-tops, including in slideshows. Yes, you now have an easy way to recap your vacation on a big screen without turning to other cloud services. The channel isn't flawless -- TechCrunch notes that you can't play long videos, so this won't work if you're trying to stream full-length movies. Even so, it's a big help if you'd rather not have everyone gather around your computer to see your snapshots.

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It looks likely that Samsung is going to unveil two phablet-sized devices at its next press event on August 13: the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. If you want to know what to expect ahead of time, then the pictures and specs leaked to the Web over the weekend remove most of the uncertainty about what’s coming from the South Korean company.

Just in case you missed these elsewhere. pic.twitter.com/zOmKkJqQpU

— Evan Blass (@evleaks) August 1, 2015

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Before virtual reality headsets become mass-market products, iPhone owners can sample the futuristic technology in a cheap and easy way, thanks to Google Cardboard. AppleInsider offers a rundown of the best VR experiences available to download right now on the App Store.

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tl;dr: Buy a Google Cardboard v2 unit and download Vrse on the App Store.

Before you get started

Google Cardboard is compatible with Apple's iPhone lineup, but is best used with the larger screens of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. For the jumbo-sized iPhone 6 Plus, you'll need to own a version 2 of Google Cardboard, which is not as widely available as the original model.

Your best bet is the I Am Cardboard Kit, available from Amazon for $24.99. It's the most widely known brand based on Google Cardboard, and it has version 2 models available in stock with Prime shipping at Amazon.

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“The minute a major Silicon Valley VC sets up a branch in Mexico, you will be out of business,” a Mexican founder told me over dinner at last year’s Mexico VC Day in San Francisco. I did not respond, because I actually think our risk of going out of business is higher if they don’t come. And we don’t expect them to come in the near future.

Last June, SVB (Silicon Valley Bank), LAVCA (Latin American Venture Capital Association) and Endeavor organized a trip to Mexico City for “leading Silicon Valley VC funds and investors” in order to scope out the investment potential in Mexico.

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