March 5, 2019

Forget iOS 13, we want the new Apple Watch to look this gorgeous

While iOS 13 will undoubtedly be the main attraction at Apple's WWDC event this coming June, there's a good chance we'll see some interesting developments regarding watchOS as well. Though the initial incarnation of the Apple Watch featured a somewhat clunky design with respect to software, Apple over the years has improved upon the original design tremendously. The 2018 release of watchOS 5 in particular introduced a number of compelling UI changes that improved overall functionality and usability. We haven't heard a whole lot about what type of updates we can expect from the next iteration of watchOS, but that didn't stop Matt Birchler from coming up with some intriguing watchOS 6 concept designs for Apple's increasingly popular wearable. Though the software Apple releases doesn't frequently align with concept designs -- no matter how intriguing they appear to be -- Birchler's concepts present a number of interesting ideas that are certainly worth taking a look at. One of the more interesting ideas Birchler has centers on a brand new grid layout for the dock to replace the vertical scrolling system currently in use. "My proposal," Birchler writes, "is to convert the dock to a grid system, at least on the Series 4 and newer models. The 44mm model especially has more room than ever, and those pixels could more effectively be used to show full previews of your recently used apps and let you get into them with bigger touch targets." Truth be told, the implementation illustrated below looks quite sleek. All in all, Birchler has a number of interesting ideas for watchOS 6, including sleep tracking functionality (rumored to be in the works) and the ability to keep a watch face on the display indefinitely (via an opt-in toggle, of course). You can check out the full array of his concepts over here.
March 5, 2019

Newspaper headlines: ‘Irish’ bomb packages and knife crime ‘crisis’

The papers focus on Irish links to explosives posted to London and the response to knife crime.
March 5, 2019

Newspaper headlines: ‘Irish’ bomb packages and knife crime ‘crisis’

The papers focus on Irish links to explosives posted to London and the response to knife crime.
March 5, 2019

This Samsung patent hints at the future of wire-free television sets

Samsung is one of the most prolific manufacturers of TVs around these days, and its newest designs promise a whole new level of stunning design and picture quality. Think the new 8K TVs that Samsung added to its lineup this year, as well as its Frame TVs that can be hung on the wall and display a beautiful piece of art whenever the TV is not in use as such. That's one of a few different examples we could point to of Samsung trying to think of the TV as something other than a bland, utilitarian box. And the South Korea-based consumer electronics giant may still have lots more up its sleeve for us in this regard. We know, for example, about the release of its one-cable TV, which uses a transparent cable to connect to the power supply as well as any peripherals. But when you've got one cable, the natural next step is to move forward with a cable-free TV, which appears to be what Samsung has in mind based on a newly discovered patent filing. According to Dutch tech blog LetsGoDigital, Samsung Electronics actually filed a patent that depicts this idea with the World Intellectual Property Office. Specifically, it envisions a wireless power transceiver and display. The patent was just published a few days ago, on February 28. As LetsGoDigital notes about it, one idea for powering a TV wirelessly might be to use a wide coil. However, the tendency to make TV sets increasingly thinner means there's no room inside to house such a coil. Samsung's solution, according to this new patent, is a bar that's mounted horizontally behind the television. The wireless power receiver would be connected to the separate box which looks like a sound bar and incorporates the wireless power transmitter. Here's a diagram of what the setup is envisioned to look like: As always, it's worth offering the usual reminder associated with patent coverage that the filing doesn't necessarily mean Samsung has formal plans to do anything with this yet or to ever commercialize it. Still, it would no doubt be welcomed by some consumers who don't want unsightly cables and tangles of wires running from their TVs throughout their home. And it's definitely interesting to see Samsung keep trying to think about new ways to push the bounds of what it can offer consumers through its TV set design and manufacturing process.
March 5, 2019

Senate warned about social media’s role in fueling dangerous anti-vaxxer movement

During the Senate’s Tuesday hearing on the alarming growth of preventable disease outbreaks, two testimonies stuck out. The first was Ethan Lindenberger, a high school senior from Ohio who decided to get vaccinated against the wishes of his anti-vaxxer mother. “My mother would turn to anti-vaccine groups online and on social media looking for her […]
March 5, 2019

Roswell, New Mexico Is What Happens When Teen Tropes Grow Up

"Roswell, New Mexico" returns to its human side after Max tells Liz the truth about Rosa's death. Heather Hemmens previews the episode that dives into Maria's relationship with her mother, when we learn more about her psychic abilities.
March 5, 2019

Watch Japan’s asteroid probe fire a bullet into a space rock

It was just a couple of weeks ago that the Japan space program, JAXA, announced that its Hayabusa2 probe had successfully completed a maneuver never before attempted in space. The spacecraft dipped down, close to the surface of the asteroid known as Ryugu, fired a projectile at its surface, snatched some sample material, and then gently drifted back into its original position. The maneuver was complex and risky, but Hayabusa2 pulled it off, and now we actually have video of how the entire thing played out. A small camera installed on Hayabusa2 captured the moment of touchdown, the firing of the "bullet" into the asteroid's surface, and the return of the probe to its holding position in the sky above the rock. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3hO58HFa1M This is some pretty incredible stuff. The video, which is actually much higher quality than you might expect, provides a stunning look at the highly technical operation. One of the things that made this maneuver so risky is the incredibly jagged and rocky surface of Ryugu. JAXA engineers were initially shocked at how debris-covered the asteroid is, and the team was actually forced to delay its sample collection attempt because they weren't sure how they were going to pull it off. Ultimately, a slightly less-messy location was found on Ryugu and JAXA decided that it was worth the risk to attempt to snag a sample of the rock. Hayabusa2 is scheduled to perform at least two more sample collection maneuvers before its stay at the asteroid can be over. When that time comes, the probe will head back towards Earth to deliver the material to scientists for further study.
March 5, 2019

The ‘Game of Thrones’ showrunners directed the finale because they felt like they had to

The closer we get to the premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones, the more tidbits hit the press, including a few significant details about the upcoming adventures in Westeros. A report earlier this week told us that an episode will deliver the biggest battle cinematic experience ever recorded on film, and that the episode might be 90 minutes long. But that wasn’t the only new revelation about Game of Thrones. The same story reveals a few interesting details about the secrecy around the final season, and the highly anticipated finale of HBO’s most successful series. The final episode of the series is so “extremely top-secret,” Entertainment Weekly reports, that it had to be directed by David Benioff and Dan Weiss -- the Game of Thrones showrunners. The report notes that for the finale, “secrecy was ratcheted up to another level,” and only crew members wearing a special “Episode 6” badge were allowed on set, while some of the scenes were shot on a closed set. All of that, of course, just so leaks could be prevented at all costs. And that’s why the duo responsible for the massive Game of Thrones success decided to direct the finale, Weiss explains.
When something has been sitting with you for so long, you have such a specific sense of the way each moment should play and feel. Not just in terms of ‘this shot or that shot,’ though sometimes it’s that as well. So it’s not really fair to ask somebody else to get that right. We’d be lurking over their shoulder every take driving them crazy making it hard for them to do their job. If we’re going to drive anybody crazy, it might as well be ourselves.
Wiess did not say what will happen in episode 6, but he did say they want people to love the show:
We want people to love it. It matters a lot to us. We’ve spent 11 years doing this. We also know no matter what we do, even if it’s the optimal version, that a certain number of people will hate the best of all possible versions. There is no version where everybody says, ‘I have to admit, I agree with every other person on the planet that this is the perfect way to do this’ — that’s an impossible reality that doesn’t exist. I’m hoping for the Breaking Bad [finale] argument where it’s like, ‘Is that an A or an A+?’
An earlier anecdote in EW’s coverage reveals that the showrunners went to great lengths to prevent leaks. For example, the huge battle scene was interrupted at one point in April 2018 by a helicopter flying above the set. That aircraft shouldn’t have been there in the first place as the production received government-protected airspace while filming in Northern Ireland, which ensured that no flying object whatsoever would disturb them. The production followed through with the Civil Aviation Authority to identify the pilot who flew over the battle just to make sure it wasn’t carrying paparazzi looking for scoops. It turned out it was a police helicopter, so no secrets were exposed. Benioff, meanwhile, explains that they’ve had an idea all along for the end. “From the beginning, we’ve talked about how the show would end. A good story isn’t a good story if you have a bad ending. Of course, we worry,” he said explaining that he’ll be “very drunk” and “very far from the internet,” when the finale airs on May 19th.
March 5, 2019

Ford F-600 returns with ‘Godzilla’ V8

Monster motor for a monster truck.
March 5, 2019

Workers rights: MPs promised vote on changes after Brexit

Unions say a pledge to allow MPs to decide on adopting future EU changes is "flimsy window dressing".