Tech Today w/ Ken May

Featured entries

The Pirate Cinema turns worldwide torrent traffic into art. The results are equally beautiful, chaotic, inspiring, maddening, and there’s a slight chance that I can feel my brain melting. Read more…

MojoKid writes After last Wednesday’s Windows 10 event, early adopters and IT types were probably anxious for Microsoft to release the next preview build. Fortunately, it didn’t take long as it came out on Friday, and it’s safe to say that it introduced even more than many were anticipating (but still no Spartan browser). However, in case you missed it, DirectX 12 is actually enabled in this Windows 10 release, though unfortunately we’ll need to wait for graphics drivers and apps that support it, to take advantage of DX 12 features and performance enhancements. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Earlier this week, the last of the Google Play edition Android phones in Google’s online storefront were listed as ” no longer available for sale .” When contacted for comment, Google had nothing to say, but it’s not hard to read between the lines here. The last new Google Play phone was introduced in the spring of 2014. Plans for a Galaxy S5 GPe phone made it far enough that official press photos leaked out into the wild , but the phone never materialized. The program hit its peak early last year, when a full half-dozen devices were listed all at once: the Galaxy S4 , the HTC Ones M7 and M8 , the first-generation Moto G , the Sony Z Ultra , and the LG G Pad 8.3 . Like doomed kids making their way through Willy Wonka’s factory, they silently dropped out one by one. Now they’re all gone, and it looks a whole lot like the program has wrapped up. If so, it’s a quiet, inconspicuous end to a quiet, inconspicuous program. Normally we’d say that fewer choices for Android shoppers would be a bad thing, but the changes Google has made to Android since the GPe program was introduced had already rendered it mostly irrelevant. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Not to be outdone by Dolby opening its own large-format theater, the folks at IMAX are putting one of their massive screens on a cruise ship. Yes. Really. IMAX says that not only is this an industry first, but that the screen will be three decks high and debut next spring on what’ll be the cruise line’s biggest ship: the newly minted Vista . The outfit promises recent flicks and classics alike will be shown, in addition to IMAX documentaries. The best way to have seen Interstellar isn’t all that the Vista has in store for avoiding the sunlight, either. Next door is what Carnival’s calling the “Thrill Theater” where you can check out “multidimensional special effects experience.” Given Carnival’s less – than – stable history, we’re going to imagine that rules out a 3D version of The Poseidon Adventure . [Image credit: Cog Log Lab / Flickr ] Filed under: Home Entertainment , Transportation , HD Comments Source: IMAX , Carnival

When Sony launched its PlayStation Now service as a beta last year, the ridiculous per-game rental pricing structure stopped us from giving it any serious consideration almost immediately. Last week, though, the service graduated from beta with a more feasible all-you-can-play subscription plan . Suddenly this was an opportunity. Has the idea of running games on remote servers advanced at all since OnLive’s ahead-of-its-time launch back in 2010 ? We’ve been kicking the tires on the service for about a week now, and what we’ve found is a surprisingly compelling addition to the pay-per-game ownership model of retail discs and downloads. If you have the bandwidth and a yearning to sample some PS3 classics among the service’s somewhat limited initial selection on your PlayStation 4, PlayStation Now is well worth checking out. Performance When initially reviewing OnLive back in 2010 , running a game through the offering’s remote servers was a noticeably worse experience than running that same game locally. Even with a 20Mbps FiOS connection, our reviewer “could tell that the game was not running natively” thanks to “framerate bumps, sudden resolution drops, and gameplay blips.” Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Dish Network Violated Do-Not-Call 57 Million Times

Posted by kenmay on January - 24 - 2015

lightbox32 writes Dish Network has been found guilty of violating the Do Not Call list on 57 million separate occasions. They were also found liable for abandoning or causing telemarketers to abandon nearly 50 million outbound telephone calls, in violation of the abandoned-call provision of the Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule. Penalties for infringing on the Do Not Call list can be up to a whopping $16, 000 for each outbound call. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Verizon nears “the end” of FiOS builds

Posted by kenmay on January - 24 - 2015

It’s been nearly five years since Verizon decided to stop expanding its FiOS fiber network into new cities and towns, so this week’s news won’t come as a huge surprise: Verizon is nearing “the end” of its fiber construction and is reducing wireline capital expenditures while spending more on wireless. “I have been pretty consistent with this in the fact that we will spend more CapEx in the Wireless side and we will continue to curtail CapEx on the Wireline side. Some of that is because we are getting to the end of our committed build around FiOS, penetration is getting higher,” Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said yesterday in the Q4 2014  call with investors . Wireline capital spending totaled $1.6 billion in the most recent quarter and $5.8 billion for 2014, down 7.7 percent from 2013, Verizon said. Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Most Blu-rays and DVDs these days come with filmmaker commentary tracks, but it isn’t too often you get to hear a game developer give play-by-play while running through something they created. That’s the thrust behind the latest episodes of Double Fine Productions ‘ “Devs Play” YouTube series , spotted by P olygon . Here we have one of Doom ‘s co-creators John Romero playing a handful of maps from the legendary first-person shooter that runs on basically any platform . He breaks down everything from the work that went into differentiating it from id’s other FPS Wolfenstein 3D , how the team used texture irregularities to denote secret rooms and even how he’s watched speed runs that not even he can replicate. Oh, and he designed the first level last, incorporating everything he’d learned throughout the other missions to make the initial one the most interesting. Perhaps best of all? Seeing just how enthusiastic Romero remains about the game some 22 years later. Well, that and his luxurious mane of course. There are 10 episodes total running between 10 and 20 minutes each, and we’ve embedded the first clip below. Each is presented in 1080p60 and makes for excellent Chromecast material, if you ask us. Filed under: Desktops , Gaming , Home Entertainment , HD Comments Via: Polygon Source: Double Fine Productions (YouTube)

Disney Turned Down George Lucas’s Star Wars Scripts

Posted by kenmay on January - 24 - 2015

ageoffri writes: When Star Wars fans learned that George Lucas was making the prequels, most were filled with excitement and anticipation. When Episodes 1-3 were actually released, many found them unsatisfying, and became disillusioned with Lucas’s writing. Now, it appears Disney felt the same way. Though they bought Lucasfilm and began production on Episode 7, they weren’t interested in using the scripts Lucas had already worked on. In an interview, he said, “The ones that I sold to Disney, they came up to the decision that they didn’t really want to do those. So they made up their own. So it’s not the ones that I originally wrote [on screen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens].” After what happened with the prequels, that may be for the best — but others may worry about Episode 7’s plot being entirely in the hands of Disney and JJ Abrams. Read more of this story at Slashdot.

At Oxford, a Battery That’s Lasted 175 Years — So Far

Posted by kenmay on January - 24 - 2015

sarahnaomi writes There sits, in the Clarendon Laboratory at Oxford University, a bell that has been ringing, nonstop, for at least 175 years. It’s powered by a single battery that was installed in 1840. Researchers would love to know what the battery is made of, but they are afraid that opening the bell would ruin an experiment to see how long it will last. The bell’s clapper oscillates back and forth constantly and quickly, meaning the Oxford Electric Bell, as it’s called, has rung roughly 10 billion times, according to the university. It’s made of what’s called a “dry pile, ” which is one of the first electric batteries. Dry piles were invented by a guy named Giuseppe Zamboni (no relation to the ice resurfacing company) in the early 1800s. They use alternating discs of silver, zinc, sulfur, and other materials to generate low currents of electricity. Read more of this story at Slashdot.