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BattleScar is a short animated ode to ‘70s punk, starring Rosario Dawson

  • Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our brief breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review comes from the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

    The short virtual reality film BattleScar starts before you even put on the headset. In Sundance’s experimental New Frontier section, viewers enter a booth that’s been transformed into a teen girl’s bedroom, circa 1978. A mattress sits on the floor, littered with a leather jacket and high boots. One wall has PUNK slashed in straight black lines. Beneath that, in smaller script: was invented by girls. The design is clearly conveying defiance, but with 40 years of hindsight, the aesthetic is comfortingly familiar.

    BattleScar is the start of a three-part series...

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    12 hours 3 min ago

Android 8.1 can now display Wi-Fi speeds before connecting

  •  Oreo was a bit of a lackluster update on first launch, but the mobile operating system is getting some nice new tricks with 8.1’s updates. The new Speed Labels feature is one of the more compelling of the bunch, offering estimated network signals prior to logging on. Starting this week, users with 8.1 installed will see one of four qualifiers next to open Wi-Fi networks: Very Fast, Fast,… Read More

    12 hours 11 min ago

The Bowers & Wilkins PX headphones offer big sound at a high price

  •  The PX headphones are Bowers & Wilkins’ first noise-cancelling headphones. While Bowers & Wilkins is more known for its premium work with high-end speakers, its first foray into noise-cancelling headphones is a win. Overall the Bowers & Wilkins PX wireless headphones boast big sound and a sharp design, but they come at a high price compared to similar offerings by competitors. Read More

    12 hours 13 min ago

Amazon doesn’t care if you accidentally shoplift from its cashier-less store

  • Amazon Go, the e-commerce giant’s new cashier-less grocery store in downtown Seattle, opened today to a mix of general curiosity and incredulity. How can a store function without cashiers? How do you pay, and how does the business know who’s buying what?

    Amazon has done a sound job of explaining many of the particulars of its new concept store, one the company hopes brings more online customers into contact with its increasingly important offline presence. There are cameras and sensors, to detect when you’ve walked in and when items are removed from shelves, and there are check-in kiosks near the entrance for scanning your phone to register your presence via Amazon Prime. Regardless, Go will likely remain an alien concept for many.


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    12 hours 14 min ago

How I fight innovation block as I get older

  • Listen, I’ll be the first to admit it: it’s not easy getting older. Personally, there’s something inescapably frustrating about feeling myself slow down when I simply can’t afford to. But more than that, I’m irritated when I can sense myself thinking something is a good idea because it’s familiar. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always viewed ‘comfort’ and ‘growth’ as two points on opposite ends of a spectrum. And while this might seem like a personal issue at first glance, you can rest assured that your ability to embrace change is going to have a massive impact on…

    This story continues at The Next Web

    12 hours 17 min ago

Rupert Murdoch’s crazy idea to fix Facebook might just work

  • Media mogul and longtime internet adversary Rupert Murdoch today released a statement calling on Facebook to begin paying trusted publishers. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. The memo calls on Facebook to begin paying a carriage fee, much like the model used by cable companies for networks like CNN and ESPN. “Trusted” publishers would receive a take of overall revenue in exchange for increasing user trust on the platform. Facebook and Google have popularized scurrilous news sources through algorithms that are profitable for these platforms but inherently unreliable. Recognition of a problem is one step on the…

    This story continues at The Next Web

    Or just read more coverage about: Facebook

    12 hours 20 min ago

Waymo is bringing its self-driving cars to the streets of Atlanta soon

  • Image credit: Waymo

    Waymo, the division of Google's parent company Alphabet that's dedicated to automated cars, recently announced that it'll soon start testing its self-driving minivans in Atlanta, Georgia. 

    Unfortunately, we know little else about the Atlanta tests aside from the location, but the rollout should be soon. 

    Last week Waymo started building 3D maps of the downtown Atlanta area in preparation for the launch, ensuring that the cars have an up-to-date reference before Waymo starts inviting locals to hop in the vehicles.

    Waymo is currently testing its cars in two California cities (Mountain View and San Francisco), as well as in Phoenix, Austin, Detroit and Kirkland, Washington.

    With Atlanta added to the growing list, Waymo now has an impressively large number of driving conditions in which to test its cars, ranging from hills and extreme heat to rain and bitter cold. 

    In recent months, in fact, the company has even started putting cars on the road without safety drivers in Arizona, although members of the general public aren't allowed to ride in these cars yet.

    Prior to that, Waymo produced a report showing that its cars had significantly lower rates of driver engagement than its competitors.

    What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas

    Waymo has a massive lead, but other automated car companies are attempting to expand tests as well.

    As The Verge reports, Lyft and Aptiv offered a ride-hailing service for the city of Las Vegas during this month's CES 2018 conference. Originally, the plan was to end the service when the show wrapped up a little over a week ago, but the partnering companies have decided to let Las Vegas riders continue using the semi-autonomous service for the time being. 

    Beyond that, Lyft and Aptiv are attempting to bring their service to other cities as well, with Boston looking like a likely location.

    12 hours 32 min ago

Facebook announces that it has invented a new unit of time

  • Facebook launched a new product today: Flicks, a new unit of time. Yes, that’s right. A unit of time, like seconds or minutes or hours. After all, why limit asserting your corporate dominance to social connections, the consumption of the news cycle, and advertising on the internet, when you can define the very flow of time itself?

    According the the GitHub page documenting Flicks, a Flick is “the smallest time unit which is LARGER than a nanosecond,” defined as 1/705,600,000 of a second. (For comparison, a nanosecond is 1/1,000,000,000 of a second, making a Flick roughly 1.41723356 nanoseconds long.)

    We've launched Flicks, a unit of time, slightly larger than a nanosecond that exactly subdivides media frame rates and sampling...

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    12 hours 46 min ago