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How Microsoft Plans To Give Virtual Reality Apps a Big Boost

The market for virtual and augmented reality products has developed slower than expected, but Microsoft is seeking to accelerate the sector by making it much easier for people to connect from different locations and with different kinds of devices. From a report: The ultimate goal of the new effort, dubbed Microsoft Mesh, is to allow, for example, a person in an office in New York using Facebook's Oculus VR headset to collaborate with a person in Seattle using Microsoft's HoloLens 2 glasses. ...

Microsoft's Dream of Decentralized IDs Enters the Real World

For years, tech companies have touted blockchain technology as a means to develop identity systems that are secure and decentralized. The goal is to build a platform that could store information about official data without holding the actual documents or details themselves. Instead of just storing a scan of your birth certificate, for example, a decentralized ID platform might store a validated token that confirms the information in it. Then when you get carded at a bar or need proof of citiz...

SmartThings Starts Saying Goodbye To Its Hardware

Stacey Higginbotham: If you own a 2013 SmartThings hub (that's the original) or a SmartThings Link for the Nvidia Shield TV, your hardware will stop working on June 30 of this year. The device depreciation is part of the announced exodus from manufacturing and supporting its own hardware and the Groovy IDE that Samsung Smartthings announced last summer. SmartThings has set up a support page for customers still using those devices to help those users transition to newer hubs. That transition w...

'Email Is Making Us Miserable'

Cal Newport, writing for New Yorker: A study, published in 2019, looked at long-term trends in the health of a group of nearly five thousand Swedish workers. They found that repeated exposure to "high information and communication technology demands" (translation: a need to be constantly connected) were associated with "suboptimal" health outcomes. This trend persisted even after they adjusted the statistics for potential complicating factors such as age, sex, socioeconomic status, health beh...

User Says Apple Disabled His iCloud, App Store, and Apple ID Accounts After Payment To Apple Card Failed

Dustin Curtis, writing on his blog: About ten days ago, when I went to update a few apps in the App Store on my Mac, I was met with a curious error: "Your account has been disabled in the App Store and iTunes." The internet is filled with stories from people whose Google accounts were locked for unexplained reasons, causing them to lose all of their data, including years of email, so I was somewhat concerned. But I'd never heard of similar cases involving Apple's services, and I wouldn't expe...

Disney CEO Suggests There's No 'Going Back' To Pre-COVID Film Releases

As Disney prepares to release "Raya and the Last Dragon" in theaters and as a premium on-demand title this Friday, CEO Bob Chapek says that he thinks the experimentation his studio and others in Hollywood are doing with releasing movies during the pandemic will permanently change the movie business. From a report "The consumer is probably more impatient than they've ever been before," Chapek said during a Q&A at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference, "particul...

Microsoft's New Intelligent Speakers Deliver Its Promised Meeting Room of the Future

Microsoft demonstrated prototype hardware a few years ago that promised meeting rooms of the future with automatic speaker identification, transcription, and even translation. Microsoft now claims it's delivering this for real with new Intelligent Speakers, small puck-like devices that can identify up to 10 different voices in a Microsoft Teams meeting. From a report: These speakers will automatically generate a transcript during a meeting, with individual identification of those speaking. Th...

China Will Dominate AI Unless US Invests More, Commission Warns

The U.S., which once had a dominant head start in artificial intelligence, now has just a few years' lead on China and risks being overtaken unless government steps in, according to a new report to Congress and the White House. From a report: Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who chaired the committee that issued the report, tells Axios that the U.S. risks dire consequences if it fails to both invest in key technologies and fully integrate AI into the military. The National Security Commission ...

All 270 US Apple Stores Are Open For the First Time Since March 2020

An anonymous reader quotes a report from 9to5Mac: Every Apple Store in the United States is open for the first time in nearly a year. It was 353 days ago -- March 13, 2020 -- that Apple closed all of its retail stores outside of Greater China. While some Apple Stores offer in-store shopping appointments and others can accept Express pickup of online orders only, all 270 US locations are now open in some capacity as of March 1, 2021. Apple Stores in Texas around Houston, Dallas, and San Antoni...

Google Finance Adds Crypto Data Tab For Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash

Google Finance now has a dedicated "crypto" field for bitcoin, ether, litecoin and bitcoin cash. CoinDesk reports: Right at the top of the page, where users can "compare markets," crypto is listed among the five default markets, which also includes U.S., Europe, Asia and "Currencies." At the moment, it appears Google Finance only tracks a limited number of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and bitcoin cash are displayed by default when clicking the crypto tab. A search for Cardano...

Rocket Lab Reveals Plans For Reusable Rocket With 8 Ton Payload

Rocket Lab has unveiled plans for a larger rocket that can carry bigger payloads than its current reusable trooper, the Electron. It's called the Neutron and will be capable of carrying 8 metric tons to low-Earth orbit compared to the Electron's 660 lbs capacity. Engadget reports: The Neutron will also have a fully reusable first stage that can land on an ocean platform, in the same vein as SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster. Rocket Lab is looking to fast-track the rocket's first flight to 2024 by usi...

Facebook, TikTok Least Trusted By Americans, Google Most Trusted, Says Survey

An anonymous reader quotes a report from ZDNet: Forty percent of Americans don't trust Facebook and TikTok and Google appears to be winning the trust wars, according to a survey from SeoClarity. SeoClarity surveyed 1,057 American residents to gauge trust in tech companies and found a majority of US citizens think social media companies need more regulation. The findings are notable due to how tech companies are stacking up on trust. Google tops Amazon, Microsoft and Apple on the trustworthy s...

How a 10-Second Video Clip Sold For $6.6 Million

In October 2020, Miami-based art collector Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile spent almost $67,000 on a 10-second video artwork that he could have watched for free online. Last week, he sold it for $6.6 million. Reuters reports: The video by digital artist Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, was authenticated by blockchain, which serves as a digital signature to certify who owns it and that it is the original work. It's a new type of digital asset - known as a non-fungible token (NFT) - that has ...

Linus Torvalds Went Six Days Without Electricity, Swears Smaller 5.12 Kernel Is Co-Incidental

Linux overlord Linus Torvalds has revealed that inclement weather in the USA meant he recently endured six electricity-free days in his Portland, Oregon, home during which he was unable to tend to the kernel. As a result he therefore pondered adding an extra week to the merge window for version 5.12 of the Linux kernel. The Register reports: "As you can tell, I didn't do that," he said in his State of The Kernel update that announced release candidate one of the new kernel cut. "To a large pa...

Popular LA Restaurant Closes After High-Tech 'Dine and Dash' Scheme

quonset writes: "The Korean Fusion Cafe 'Spoon by H' had the ingredients to become an L.A. success story but is the epitome of a small business, with owner and chef Yoonjin Hwang working 15-hour days to run the restaurant with her mother and brother," reports CBS News. "'We have no staff. We have no cooks. I have to do everything by myself,' said Hwang. 'Like so many other small businesses we were hit hard by the pandemic. All we could do was just like take it day by day and do whatever we co...
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