bad place earlier this year — on a list of “providers” that reportedly gave the NSA direct access to their central servers. The company immediately took steps to calm consumers, assuring its user base that it didn’t create a federal “back door,” and demanding more transparency from government agencies. Now, the Mountain View search giant has told The Washington Post that it’s accelerating its encryption initiative, which will hopefully offer users another layer of comforting protection.”It’s an arms race,” Google VP of security engineering Eric Grosse told the paper. “We see these government agencies as among the most skilled players in this game.” That is to say, protecting user data isn’t easy — intelligence firms and skilled hackers can eventually find their way around even the most sophisticated encryption, but building these kinds of walls has become a necessity in a post-PRISM world. The move is designed to protect Google users against unauthorized snooping, but Mountain View will still have to comply with court orders and official requests. Still, who are we to argue with a more defensible inbox?
No. Nope. Nuh-uh. We’re not gonna talk about Pokemon X / Y. We’re not going to talk about how it’s out today, available to purchase from either your favorite retailer or the 3DS eShop for $40. We’re not going to talk about the high review scores it’s gotten. We’re not going to give each other friend codes in the comments to make trading easier. We’re not going to talk about which version is better *cough*X*cough* or which one has cooler mega evolutions *coughcough*X*cough* or exclusive monsters to catch *COUGH*X*COUGHCOUGH*.Actually, I have no idea which version I’ll even be picking up, or when I’ll do so. But it’s always fun to get into the spirit of friendly poke-based competition, yeah? It’s like cheering for your high school football team, if your team was made up of birds made of lightning, living swords, and fish that turn into dragons.And hey, while we’re on the topic of “what’s better,” why not pick your favorite webcomic from this week’s offerings before not talking about Pokemon in the comments?ReadySoup (Braggin’ Rage)Gamercat (Hardcore)Dorkly (Pick Your New Pokemon Game!)Brawl in the Family (Rock or Roll)Castle Vidcons (Be Proud)Smashing Avatar (Again and Again) %Poll-85052%
reviewed Diptic in the past. It’s a great iPhone app for creating photo collages on the fly. Now, Diptic PDQ (US$0.99, universal) gives you many of the same features with a new look and a quicker workflow.The developers call it a “stripped down” version of Diptic, but don’t let that fool you. Diptic PDQ has the same wide feature set, but far fewer design templates. While Diptic has 200, Diptic PDQ offers just 35 templates.It’s easy to manipulate your image within the frames for the best composition, and you can adjust the size of each frame. Images can be zoomed and rotated, and reversed for a mirror image. Borders can be customized by color and size. There are 14 filters you can apply to your images. Gallery: Diptic PDQ | 4 Photos 4 +1 I made some impressive collages with very little trouble. Your collage can be saved to your camera roll, sent via email or uploaded directly to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Although the output is advertised as high-resolution, my creations were just over 1.4 MB, so it’s clear they are being compressed when mailed. I’d like to see a higher-resolution option. Filters apply to all images. I think it would have been better to have the ability to apply them individually. Collages are limited to four photos. I didn’t find the reduced number of templates a limitation. There were plenty of options to suit my needs.Diptic PDQ is perfect for quickly creating vacation photos, or pictures from a social occasion like a party or meeting. People you send them to will appreciate how nice they look.Diptic PDQ requires iOS 7 and is optimized for the iPhone 5, and presumably the iPhone 5s, which has the same screen specifications.
All you really need to do is mount up after dispatching the trash pack just before the chamber that leads down to Brutallus’ area. Then ride as fast as you can for the window – you may get dismounted (I didn’t, but I can’t swear that it won’t) but just keep going, using any movement speed or travel boosts you have (Blink, Heroic Leap) and make sure you get through the broken window before Madrigosa says “Hold, friends” – as long as she hasn’t started talking yet, you can drop through the window and into the open area where the two stand.Once you’re down there, they still have their little squabble, and you can’t interrupt it – neither is targetable in any way during their fight – but you can get to see it more clearly. I was actually pretty impressed – for something that happens entirely in game, with no cutscenes or special models rendered, just two big critters duking it out it’s surprisingly cool to watch. Madrigosa ends up seeming a lot less silly when you’re right up there watching her light up the whole space with her weird magic attacks, freeze him in place and set half the place on fire – it seems a lot more reasonable that she thought she could take Brutallus when you can actually see the whole thing.Of course, in the end it doesn’t work out for her – she spent too much time jawing and not enough time on the ridiculously bright magic show. But it was still pretty fun. In the end, Brutallus ends up winning in his usually jerk way. He didn’t even drop anything good.
including Infinity Blade III and the latest in Rovio’s beloved Angry Birds series: Angry Birds Star Wars II.In the sequel to the original Angry Birds Star Wars, this time around gamers play through levels inspired by the Star Wars prequels Episodes 1-3. However, unlike the first Angry Birds Star Wars, this time players have the option of being a baddy:The Force is strong with this one. Get ready for Angry Birds Star Wars II – the epic follow-up to the #1 smash hit game! Based on the Star Wars movie prequels, use the Force for good against the greedy Pork Federation or choose a much darker path. That’s right; for the first time ever you can “Join the Pork Side” and play as the fearsome Darth Maul, Emperor Palpatine and many other favorites!Besides being able to play the big bads listed above, players will actually be able to play more than 30 Star Wars characters including Yoda, pod-racing Anakin, Mace Windu and Jango Fett. Additionally, this time around you can swap which characters are in the slingshot out at any time, so you have a choice in the order you launch them in.Angry Birds Star Wars II is a universal app for US$0.99.
If you’re looking to get the most out of your Grand Theft Auto 5 experience on the Xbox 360, you’ll want to hold off on installing both discs to the console’s hard drive. Rockstar recommends that players refrain from installing the game’s “Play” disc after completing the first disc’s required 8GB install.Eurogamer’s tech analysis team Digital Foundry illustrates the consequences in the above comparison video, which shows that an installed Play disc results in missing objects and texture pop-in, among other in-game issues.”Optimal streaming is achieved by making use of all the available bandwidth in the system,” Digital Foundry chief Richard Leadbetter explains. “Why stream just from the hard drive when you can run in data simultaneously from both the disc and the HDD?”Based on what we’re seeing on the Xbox 360 version, perhaps running both DVD and HDD assets from just the one source slows down access times, impacting streaming performance. It’s not game-breaking stuff, but it does take you out of the moment when it does manifest and for that reason we can’t recommend installing the play disc.”
Tokyo Game Show attracted 270,197 attendees this year, breaking its own record again – 2012 hit 223,753 people, while 2011 had 222,668 and 2010 had 207,647. TGS ran from September 19 – 22, and this year, both of its public days brought in more than 100,000 visitors each, another record number.This year TGS expanded from eight halls to nine and was able to include extra exhibits, such as the Indie Game Area, Romance Simulation Game Area and Cloud Gaming Area. Smush them all together and you get the Indie Romance Simulation Cloud Gaming Area, which sounds like it could be the next breakout genre from Japan.Next year’s TGS is scheduled in the same space at Makuhari Messe, from September 18 – 21. Show full PR textComputer Entertainment Supplier’s AssociationNikkei Business Publications, Inc.TOKYO GAME SHOW 2013 was held over a four-day period from Thursday,September 19 to Sunday, September 22, 2013 at Makuhari Messe organizedby the Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association (CESA; Chairman:Shin Unozawa), in cooperation with Nikkei Business Publications, Inc.(Nikkei BP; President & CEO: Kohei Osada). The total number of visitorshas been announced.TOKYO GAME SHOW 2013 attracted the highest total number of 270,197visitors, welcoming 46,444 more visitors than the last year whichused to be a record high. In particular, both of Public Days recordedover 100,000 visitors each day, which exceeded the record of 94,989visitors in last year, also reaching the highest number of visitorsfor single day.By expanding the venue from Hall 1 to Hall 9, which used to be up toHall 8, we were able to set up new areas such as Indie Game Area,Romance Simulation Game Area, Cloud Gaming Area and provide variousorganizers’ projects, enabling many visitors experience the furtherenhanced TOKYO GAME SHOW.The next TOKYO GAME SHOW is scheduled to be held at the same venuefrom Thursday, September 18 to Sunday, September 21, 2014. Stay tuned!
no secret that the NSA has courted privacy violations, but new documents divulge just how long such incidents have occurred. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released approximately 1,800 pages of declassified files, which reveal that the NSA’s phone record program violations happened between 2006 (when it first came under court supervision) and 2009, when the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ordered changes to the operation. During that period, a total of 17,835 phone numbers were listed for checking against Uncle Sam’s database, and only about 1,800 were based on the standard of reasonable suspicion. According to Clapper, congress received the papers we’re seeing now at the time of the incidents, and corrective measures have been put in place. Among the preventative actions are a complete “end-to-end” review of telephony metadata handling, the creation of the Director of Compliance position and a fourfold increase of the compliance department’s personnel.As it turns out, the missteps are (again) said to have been accidents. “There was nobody at the NSA who had a full understanding of how the program worked,” an intelligence official claims. Sure, the increased transparency is certainly welcome, but a recently-leaked NSA audit from May of 2012 suggests that collection of protected data is still occurring from a combination of human error and technical limits. To pore through the National Security Agency’s fresh load of documents, hit the second source link below.
on the decline for the past year, but there are new hints that the situation is improving — if only slightly. Both Gartner (shown here) and IDC estimate that worldwide computer shipments dropped roughly eight percent year-over-year in the third quarter. While that’s not exactly comforting to vendors, it’s better than the double-digit losses of the past several months; the analyst groups even saw flat or positive growth in countries like Japan and the US. Any further declines in some regions may be relatively gentle, Gartner says.As for who’s out in front? Heavyweights like Lenovo, HP and Dell grew thanks to improving business sales and some advance shipments of Windows 8.1 PCs. Acer and ASUS, meanwhile, were dealt the worst blow as their netbook sales continued to suffer from the rise of mobile OS tablets. Neither Gartner nor IDC is predicting a turnaround for the industry, but they suggest that PC builders are finally figuring out their places in a world where mobile devices rule. Show full PR textGartner Says Worldwide PC Shipments in the Third Quarter of 2013 Declined 8.6 PercentThe ‘Back-to-School’ Sales Quarter Experienced Its Lowest PC Volume Since 2008October 09, 2013 04:43 PM Eastern Daylight TimeSTAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Worldwide PC shipments totaled 80.3 million units in the third quarter of 2013, an 8.6 percent decline from the same period last year, according to preliminary results by Gartner, Inc. This marks the sixth consecutive quarter of declining worldwide shipments.”Consumers’ shift from PCs to tablets for daily content consumption continued to decrease the installed base of PCs both in mature as well as in emerging markets. A greater availability of inexpensive Android tablets attracted first-time consumers in emerging markets, and as supplementary devices in mature markets.””The third quarter is often referred to as the ‘back-to-school’ quarter for PC sales, and sales this quarter dropped to their lowest volume since 2008,” said Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst at Gartner. “Consumers’ shift from PCs to tablets for daily content consumption continued to decrease the installed base of PCs both in mature as well as in emerging markets. A greater availability of inexpensive Android tablets attracted first-time consumers in emerging markets, and as supplementary devices in mature markets.”HP and Lenovo have been virtually neck and neck for the top global position in the PC market. Lenovo took the lead, as it did last quarter, but the upcoming holiday sales season will be a key battlefield for both companies. Lenovo accounted for 17.6 percent of global PC shipments in the third quarter, and HP had 17.1 percent of shipments, according to preliminary results (see Table 1).Weakness in the Chinese market continued to affect Lenovo’s overall growth. However, strong growth in the Americas, as well as EMEA, offset the declining PC shipments for Lenovo in the Asia/Pacific market. HP recorded positive shipment growth in 3Q13 for the first time since 1Q12. With the exception of Latin America, HP’s growth exceeded the average growth across all regions.Dell’s PC shipments exceeded growth rate averages across all regions. Acer’s shipments declined 22.6 percent compared with a year ago, as a reduction in netbook shipments impacted overall PC shipment results. Acer has heavily sought opportunities in other device markets. Asus saw PC shipments decline 22.5 percent. Asus has clearly shifted its focus from PCs to tablets. Asus’ tablet shipments were nearly equal to its mobile PC shipments in 3Q13.In the U.S. market, PC shipments totaled 16.1 million units in the third quarter of 2013, a 3.5 percent increase from the same period last year, registering the second consecutive quarter of shipment growth after six quarters of decline (see Table 2). Low inventory from the first half of 2013, and the introduction of new models with Intel’s Haswell and new form factors brought the sell-in shipment up compared with a year ago.”The positive U.S. results could mean that seasonal strength and channel fill for new product launches in 3Q13 finally overcame the structural decline,” Ms. Kitagawa said. “Even though 3Q13 shipments were compared with artificially weak 2Q13 because of inventory control for the Windows 8 launch at the time, the 3Q13 results imply the U.S. market may have passed the worst declining stage, which started in 2010. The shrinking installed base of PCs has also passed the steepest decline phase because the structural change has progressed fairly quickly. Tablets will continue to impact the PC market, but the U.S. PC market will see a more moderate decrease rather than a steep decline in the next two years.”PC shipments in EMEA totaled 22.4 million units in the third quarter of 2013, a 13.7 percent decline from the same period last year. The EMEA region suffered its sixth consecutive quarter of declining PC shipments. All areas of the region – Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa – showed a shipment decline. PC shipments across all of Eastern Europe remained weak due to the ongoing popularity of tablets and some weakening of the Russian Ruble versus the euro and U.S. dollar, which led to a PC price increase.In Asia/Pacific, PC shipments were at 28.1 million units in the third quarter of 2013, an 11.2 percent decline from the third quarter of 2012. The region was hampered by the currency volatilities, especially in India and Indonesia, where currencies plunged to record lows. Vendors were also mindful of Windows 8.1, new models based on Intel’s Bay Trail that will start shipping the following quarter. Therefore, they were careful in managing inventory.These results are preliminary. Final statistics will be available soon to clients of Gartner’s PC Quarterly Statistics Worldwide by Region program. This program offers a comprehensive and timely picture of the worldwide PC market, allowing product planning, distribution, marketing and sales organizations to keep abreast of key issues and their future implications around the globe. Additional research can be found on Gartner’s Computing Hardware section on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/it/products/research/asset_129157_2395.jsp.PC Market Beats Expectations with Mild Improvement in Business Outlook, According to IDCOctober 09, 2013 04:00 PM Eastern Daylight TimeFRAMINGHAM, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Worldwide PC shipments totaled 81.6 million units in the third quarter of 2013 (3Q13). In year-on-year terms, the market contracted -7.6%, ahead of a projected decline of -9.5% for the quarter, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker. While shipments remained weak during the early part of the quarter, the market was somewhat buoyed by business purchases, as well as channel intake of Windows 8.1-based systems during September.”The third quarter was pretty close to forecast, which unfortunately doesn’t reflect much improvement in the PC market, or potential for near-term growth”A slight uptick in business volume contributed to shipments. The top three vendors (Lenovo, HP, and Dell), which all have an important presence in the enterprise and public sectors, each saw modest positive year-on-year growth during the quarter. Conversely, consumer sentiment remained lukewarm at best, as evidenced by the continued struggles of Acer and ASUS.Despite some encouraging developments in the business space, emerging markets continued to exhibit troubling signs, with Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan)(APeJ) in particular still facing stock of Ivy Bridge-based systems and continued encroachment from lower-priced tablets and smartphones.”The third quarter was pretty close to forecast, which unfortunately doesn’t reflect much improvement in the PC market, or potential for near-term growth,” said Loren Loverde, Vice President Worldwide PC Trackers. “Whether constrained by a weak economy or being selective in their tech investments, buyers continue to evaluate options and delay PC replacements. Despite being a little ahead of forecast, and the work that’s being done on new designs and integration of features like touch, the third quarter results suggest that there’s still a high probability that we will see another decline in worldwide shipments in 2014.””The United States outperformed many other regions as growth stabilized just under 0%. Continuing upgrades from Windows XP boosted shipments, particularly in the commercial desktop segment, while retail acceptance of new and emerging product categories, such as Chromebooks and Ultraslims, helped the portables segment,” said Rajani Singh, Senior Research Analyst, Personal Computers. “Nevertheless, the broad picture of the U.S. market has not changed much, with hopes for a small increase in the fourth quarter followed by a challenging 2014.”Regional HighlightsUnited States – The U.S. market continued to show signs of recovery although shipments were down slightly (-0.2%) year over year in the quarter. Better alignment with channel partners and internal restructuring helped most of the top vendors to grow faster than the market. Additionally, emerging product categories and a greater assortment of Windows 8-based models supported the volume uptick. Migration from Windows XP to Windows 7 added a few basis points as well. HP maintained its leadership position, gaining a few points of share in the U.S. Among the other top-tier leaders, Lenovo recorded impressive growth of 25.8% year on year and managed to maintain strong positive momentum by growing its channel reach and relationship sales.EMEA – The PC market in Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) contracted in the third quarter in line with IDC forecasts. PC shipments remained constrained particularly in the home segment, which continued to suffer from weak consumer demand amid an ongoing budget shift to tablets. From a supply perspective, the quarter was also affected by an unfavorable year-on-year comparison with 3Q12, when shipments were supported by preparation to Windows 8 launch. Lean inventory remained a priority for channel partners across EMEA during 3Q13, inhibiting further sell-in. Portable PC shipments suffered a particularly strong decline, while desktops were less constrained. As forecast, the commercial market was less negative than the consumer market due to pockets of investments remaining available despite constrained spending. Shipments were also supported by seasonal back-to-school projects.Japan – The PC market in Japan performed better than expected. Improved economic sentiments, favorable exchange rates, and the approaching expiration of Windows XP support helped to lift the market although consumer buying remained suppressed. Most of the top 5 vendors saw growth compared to the year before.Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) – APeJ was generally close to forecasts with a decline of -8.8% year on year. Many countries, particularly in developing markets, struggled with exchange rate pressures, but commercial buying in China was better than expected.Vendor HighlightsLenovo maintained the top PC vendor title, and continued to expand its channel reach as well as experiment with new form factors. Troubles in Asia/Pacific continued to pose a significant problem, where much of the lower-tier channels struggled with inventory clearance, constraining overall growth. However, the vendor posted a strong gain in the U.S. market, growing more than 2% compared to a year ago.HP finished the quarter in the number 2 position, with growth improving from recent quarters. The company continued to receive a boost from shipments to India as part of a large education project. Shipment trends also improved in the U.S. and EMEA, but HP continued to face struggles in Latin America.Dell saw its first positive year-on-year growth since the fourth quarter of 2011, thanks largely to maintaining growth in the Americas market. The company also managed to edge past 9.5 million units shipped in a quarter for the first time in over a year.Acer Group continued to be affected by declines in shipments across all regions due to continued weakness in consumer PC spending. The firm nevertheless has remained aggressive in trying new form factors and hybrid devices.ASUS shared a similar predicament with Acer where despite a focus on new designs, its lack of corporate customer base has also limited its growth.Some IDC estimates prior to financial earnings reports.Shipments include shipments to distribution channels or end users. OEM sales are counted under the vendor/brand under which they are sold.PCs include Desktops, Portables, Mini Notebooks, and Workstations and do not include handhelds, x86 Servers, and Tablets (i.e. iPad and Android-based Tablets with detachable keyboards). Data for all vendors are reported for calendar periods.IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker gathers PC market data in over 80 countries by vendor, form factor, brand, processor brand and speed, sales channel and user segment. The research includes historical and forecast trend analysis as well as price band and installed base data.
Ubisoft is concentrating its American operations for online games in Montreal, Quebec, expecting to add 500 new jobs to the region by 2020. This investment over the next seven years focuses on online infrastructures and the expansion of Ubisoft’s motion capture technologies, and it will bring Ubisoft’s employee total in Quebec to 3,500.The 500 new jobs include standard video game production roles, along with “community and network management specialists, business intelligence analysts, mathematicians, telemetry experts, systems operators, and monetization and interactive marketing specialists,” Ubisoft explains. It’s a $373 million CAD ($362 million USD) investment overall.Tax breaks in Quebec make it sensible for Ubisoft to operate its American services from Canada.”We firmly believe in the importance of creative industries for our economy and are pleased to have been supporting Ubisoft since their arrival in Quebec, in 1997,” Quebec Premier Pauline Marois said. “Their growth and concrete economic benefits for the Quebec nation are true sources of pride. The project announced today, bringing about important job creation, allows us to foresee success in the future.”
Update: Rockstar has sent out a tweet clarifying preload times for Grand Theft Auto 5 on PS3. In the US, PSN users who pre-ordered the game can download the game files on Monday at 3am EST; in Europe, it’s Sunday at 3pm BST.Original story: Those who pre-ordered Grand Theft Auto 5 through PSN will not be able to preload the game ahead of its September 17 launch. A Rockstar representative confirmed the news with Joystiq, stating that there would be no preloading in the US and that “it’s not our call.”Those who pre-ordered the game in Europe will have to wait until Monday, September 16 to preload Grand Theft Auto 5, a post on the forums reads. Europe was originally supposed to be able to preload the game from today on.A whole slew of details about Grand Theft Auto 5’s plot and soundtrack were leaked through a European PlayStation Store pre-order file last month. Sony took responsibility for the leak and removed the file, which could be the reason for the last-minute preload delay in Europe. We’ve followed up with Sony for further clarification on the matter and will update this post accordingly.
Marketcircle has released Billings Pro for iPad. The time-tracking and invoicing app has made the leap from the desktop to Apple’s tablet, and offers independent and small-business owners the freedom to get things done while out in the field. Here’s a look at the most recent version of Billings Pro for iPad.Earlier this year, Marketcircle discontinued Billings and encouraged users to switch to Billings Pro. Why? One of the main reasons was sync. Many users need to generate invoices on the go, and have them waiting on all compatible devices. Since Billings required manual sync of two devices on the same Wi-Fi network, that had to change.Billings Pro syncs data between Marketcircle’s servers and the user’s devices. This isn’t client/server syncing that sends data on demand, but real-time sync that is handled seamlessly in the background. It’s what Marketcircle calls “distributed computing.” Gallery: Billings Pro for iPad | 4 Photos 4 +1 DevelopmentWhen working on a version of Billings Pro for the iPad, Marketcircle’s developers focused on these guiding ideas:Users will use this while “in the field” with their customers.The iPad would let them design an invoice that looked and, in many ways, behaved like a paper invoice.The result is Billings Pro for iPad.LooksThe app uses a paper/folders metaphor. It looks nice and is immediately understandable. The home screen features three main sections: Invoices, Projects and Clients. Each section is organized in a clever way. The row of invoices shows what’s overdue or what’s about to come due first. Projects are sorted by modification date and clients, again, by when you most recently worked with one.UseThe invoices are well executed and look nice. When editing an invoice, it looks similar to its paper counterpart. In fact, since the full-sized iPad’s screen is about the same size as an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper, it’s like working with a real-world invoice. From the invoice editor, you can enter new client information, add a slip, change existing client information and more.Billings Pro for iPad makes it easy to customize invoices, too. You can add a background or other images that are consistent with your company or band, all from within the iPad app. If a photo is in your camera roll, you can add it. Color and font options are available, too. If you’re the type who gets carried away with cosmetic changes, don’t worry. Marketcircle will save you from yourself. You only can use two fonts (one main and one accent) and three colors (a base and two accents).Each invoice gets a unique number, of course, and that requires communication with the server. If you’re outside of an active, compatible network as you make an invoice, it will be placed in a queue for sync as soon as a network connection is available.ConclusionBillings Pro looks great on the iPad and should serve mobile business owners and freelancers well. I used Billings for years and look forward to making the transition to Billings Pro myself. Billings Pro for the iPad is available for free from the iOS App Store.Billings Pro requires a subscription that starts at $5 per month for a freelance plan which includes 5 invoices, 5 estimates and 5 statements each month. You can also pay $99 for a year subscription that provides unlimited invoices, unlimited estimates and unlimited statements. All plans allow you to add unlimited number clients and projects.
Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.When it comes to public transportation, taking the bus is the least sexy option. Buses are slow; they make frequent stops; and because they share the road with cars, they get stuck in traffic. But a new proposal for a giant lane-straddling bus would eliminate traffic congestion by letting cars pass right through the middle of it. The futuristic bus is just one of several stories about innovations in green transportation on Inhabitat this week. Mercedes-Benz just completed the first cross-country trip for a self-driving car with its S500 Intelligent Drive research vehicle, and BMW unveiled the official production model of its 2015 i8 plug-in hybrid sports car at the Frankfurt Motor Show. In other green car news, Nissan announced that it is in the final stages of developing its second electric vehicle — the e-NV200 compact van. In an effort to make flat tires a thing of the past, Korean manufacturer Hankook has produced a puncture-proof, airless tire that is made from 95 percent recyclable materials. And in more good news for green cars, August was the best month ever for US sales of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and conventional hybrids. Would you book yourself a one-way ticket to Mars? If you said yes, you aren’t alone: More than 200,000 people have applied to join the very first Mars colony, but only four will make the final cut. In order to sustain human life on Mars, those settlers will need food; to that end, NASA is planning to grow fresh vegetables in space, 230 miles above the Earth. Back here on Earth, researchers are studying cilantro’s potential as a “biosorbent” that can remove lead and other toxic heavy metals from contaminated water. A new plant-based egg substitute that is backed by Bill Gates and is meant to replace animal products recently went on sale at Whole Foods. And a team of researchers from Japan and New Zealand recently found a way to double the lifespan of yeast in a breakthrough in anti-aging science.The world’s first “invisible” skyscraper has been granted a construction permit outside of Seoul, South Korea. The tower will be among the top 10 tallest buildings in the world, and it will use an LED facade system to project what’s directly behind it. In other green architecture news, vertical garden pioneer Patrick Blanc is teaming up with architect Jean Nouvel to create the world’s tallest vertical garden in Sydney. In China, MAD Architects recently unveiled plans for a new skyscraper complex that emulates mountains, hills and lakes. Just moments after Japan was named the host nation of the 2020 Olympic Games, Zaha Hadid unveiled plans for an eco-friendly Olympic stadium. And in a rare move, architect Rafael Viñoly acknowledged that mistakes were made in designing the Walkie Talkie building in London’s financial district, which has produced concentrated light beams so powerful that they’ve melted car parts and started fires.New York Fashion Week just came to a close, and one dress that hit the runway was produced by an unexpected designer: MakerBot. The 3D-printing company debuted its “Flexible Filament” dress that is made from a biodegradable, plant-based fiber. In other 3D-printing news, scientists in China have produced a fully functioning 3D-printed kidney. And in Boston, a team of makers recently produced the Mebotics Microfactory, a 3D-printing device that can manufacture virtually anything — not just pieces of plastic. In other green design news, Miele unveiled the world’s first solar-powered tumble dryer and GoSun launched a new fuss-free sun-powered stove can heat up to 550 degrees in mere minutes. And for techie parents who need to digitize everything, enter the Owlet, a baby health monitor that is worn like a sock and delivers information about your child’s heart rate, oxygen, body temperature, sleep cycle and sleep position directly to your smartphone.
A recently self-published book captures most of Apple’s products in one eye-catching place. This photography book is lean on text, but large on photographs of everything you’ve ever loved from the company that was forecast to fail.The aptly named, Iconic: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation, is the brainstorm of Australian native Jonathan Zufi, who collected 500-plus Apple products over the last four years. He captured more than 150,000 product shots in his photographic studio in Atlanta, Ga., to complete this “photographic shrine,” as described by Betsy McKay at the Wall Street Journal. The simple silver-gray cover with black writing and a power button inserted in the letter “o” presents a subtle visage, just like the first 20 years of Apple’s advertising. The book includes beautifully captured products of almost every device ever produced by Apple in stunning color photography.The 326-page coffee table book includes six chapters: Desktops, Portables, Peripherals, iDevices, Prototypes and Packaging. Each chapter includes an introduction from a different luminary, commentator or influencer in the Apple community, such as Daniel Kottke (Apple employee #12, whose signature graces the original Macintosh interior case); Chet Pipkin, CEO of Belkin International; architect Neal Pann (who was once kind enough to lend me a Powerbook G4 at Macworld Expo when mine suddenly died); ZDNet columnist and system administrator Kenneth Hess; and a number of other well-known and not so well-known Apple fans. The book includes a forward written by Steve Wozniak.You may not recognize Zufi’s name, but if you’re an Apple fan, you’ve surely seen his Shrine of Apple site, which houses about 3,500 photos he’s taken of Apple products. A note to Apple retail stores in New England: you can see Apple’s QuickTake camera on the site. (Sorry, I had to include that note after going to three Apple stores in the past two years, in which employees maintained that Apple never made a camera.)Zufi chose to self-publish his work of art and created Ridgewood Publishing to do just that. This book is not your average title, mass-produced on recycled paper and destined to yellow, oh no. According to the author, “the 12 x 9.625-inch book is printed on 105 lb. GoldEast matte paper. The dust jacket [is] printed on 105 lb. art gloss [with] film lamination and the endpapers [are] printed on 95 lb. white woodfree, plain white paper. Iconic is Smyth sewn-bound, cased-in, with a square back and head/tail bands. The case materials used [are] Slate Blue binding cloth (Classic Edition) and General Roll Leaf Lustrofoil ‘Silver S5’ (Special Edition).” That’s a pretty amazing product spec sheet for a published book today.Part of Zufi’s impetus to create this photographic masterpiece is quoted in The Wall Street Journal article:I wanted to create a repository where people who also love the company and its products could go and reminisce … I want people who are a bit younger who think Apple just makes things that start with “i” to know this company used to make clunky printers.The special edition includes an external “custom form-fit book case with a design to celebrate the vintage computing retro form factor of the late ’70s and early ’80s,” which is pictured on the Iconic site.You can order Iconic: The Classic Edition for US$75.00 from the site and pre-order Iconic: The Special Edition for $300.00, which will ship in mid-October.
the number of iOS devices running iOS 7 just surpassed the number running iOS 6 after only three days. What do we have to say to the Android world at this juncture in history? This: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX7wtNOkuHoThe rapid adoption of iOS 7 vividly demonstrates the advantages of having a “closed” ecosystem in which the hardware manufacturer also controls the operating system. Not only are Apple’s devices uncluttered with bloatware from carriers and manufacturers, but everyone in the ecosystem can get an update at pretty much the same time, delays caused by overworked servers or having really old equipment notwithstanding.We’re sure that there’s going to be some debate about whether or not this is an accurate figure. Chitika delivered some updated numbers that showed the adoption rate to be more like 32 percent after just 48 hours — still an amazingly fast uptake of a completely new version of a major mobile operating system. Just remember those figures for Android 4.3 Jelly Bean which, after 14 months, is only showing a paltry 45 percent share of the Android operating system world.Can you say “fragmentation”? Of course you can!Updated: Reader PKFC notes that the figures for all of Android “Jelly Bean” include versions 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3, with a total of 43.39 percent of the total Android operating system share. Previous versions include 4.0.x “Ice Cream Sandwich” (26.1 percent of the total), and 2.3.x “Gingerbread” (27.07 percent). And by the way, as of this update at 4:46 PM ET on 9/21/13, Mixpanel is now showing iOS 7 adoption at 52.35 percent compared to iOS 6 at 43.66 percent. Older devices running earlier versions will remain at about 3.98 percent. Boo-yah!