The solar-powered system, which Musk previously described as a cross between a Concorde, rail gun and air-hockey table, would shoot as many as 28 passengers in each enclosed capsule through a low-pressure steel tube at up to 800 miles per hour, according to the 57-page design plan.
The plans are also open-source, meaning anyone can build upon and improve them. I suppose it’s too much to hope for that this could be the start of a cross-country high-speed rail system for the U.S., what with the lobbying dollars that the airline industry likely has, but it’s nice to dream.
Security firm Lookout has detailed a clever new bit of Android Malware lurking in the Google Play store. The good news: unless you’re downloading questionable Russian clone apps, you’re probably not affected. The bad news: that hasn’t kept it from being downloaded a few million times.
Without asking permission, Google sends developers the personal details of everyone who buys their app from Google Play.
So let’s review:
Create an app for Android that includes malware in it. Use said malware to do crappy things.
Use the information Google provides to you to build a list of email addresses of people who are not aware enough to not download suspicious looking apps in order to spam them. Use said spam to fleece them.
“I think what the administration did was creepy,” said Mary C. Waters, a sociology professor, adding that “this action violates the trust I once had that Harvard would never do such a thing.”
Why would anyone think that an organization would “never do such a thing”? I mean, yes, it’s creepy and it sucks, but that’s part of what it means to be employed in the 21st century: when you accept the use of their email systems, you are also signing away your privacy when it comes to what comes in to and out of that email address. Anyone who thinks something different is either naive or willfully ignorant of how email works.
In other news, I’m sure the Harvard folks can head over to MIT to learn how to send emails anonymously from a temporary Gmail account.
If you have an iOS device and aren’t playing Letterpress, (a) you’re missing my favorite game on the App Store and (b) you’re missing update notes like these, which are fantastic. And the basic game is free, so you have nothing to lose, so go get it right now.
Today marks the start of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, a yearly exposition where tech companies show off what new, idiotic crap they’re going to peddle to the world for the next 365 days, and I already have in my vote for what could be my favorite device announced: The Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon. It’s a a 27″, 17 pound Table PC. What’s a Table PC, you ask? I’m sure the fine folks at Lenovo would be happy to explain it to you!
As a Table PC, Horizon can lie flat on any surface, lets two or more people use the screen at the same time, supports interactive physical gaming accessories and is designed for touch screen game-play among several players. Horizon takes advantage of Windows 8 touch functionality to bring customized games from Electronic Arts and Ubisoft to life in a way players have never seen before. Horizon can also easily transform into a 27-inch high-performance desktop to handle whatever productivity tasks users need to do.
Still confused? Maybe this two-minute video will get you on the path to Understanding-burg:
[Sorry, gang: This video doesn’t exist anymore. Which is probably for the best, since this whole thing was a dumbass idea to begin with that, spoiler alert, did not work out for Lenovo anyway. Love, eD! from 2015]
What an incredible video! I mean, not for the product, because boy howdy does this seem stupid, but the fact that two young girls can, in the amount of time it takes the father to make a cup of coffee, move that entire computer from his office to their room down the hall without him being aware! And look at how effortlessly mom carries the thing into the living room when she needs to make a video call on Skype!
Granted, the video does leave me with a few questions that are thus far unanswered, such as:
They clearly show this thing is being powered by a battery. What sort of battery life does this thing get?
If the battery life is more than 22 minutes, is it being powered by a tiny nuclear reactor?
If it is a tiny nuclear reactor, is that what mutated everyone into having the sort of super-strength that would be required to not be pissed about having to pick up a 17 pound device every time you wanted to move to a new location? Or does it just make you docile enough to not be pissed about carrying around a 17 pound device from room to room due to some irreversible brain-damage?
Personally, I don’t think those questions are enough to prevent us from being enthusiastic about how stupid this product is; if anything, they should enhance our enthusiasm and make it grow! I mean, seriously, this is the dumbest thing I’ve seen since the Microsoft Surface – not the current one, whose marketing hook is “listen to the awesome click our keyboard cover makes!“, but the one Microsoft announced back in 2007 and has since re-dubbed the Microsoft PixelSense. Granted, that thing was meant more for businesses, but given how often you see it in public, you can guess how well it did in the market.
So high-fives to Lenovo for really trying to fill a niche that the market didn’t even know it wanted: giant-ass tablets that are cumbersome and whose value over a traditional computer seems to be that you can lie the stupid thing down and play digital air-hockey on it. It will be available, barring Lenovo coming to their senses (which they most assuredly won’t), this summer, and will cost you $100 per pound.
There was an article on Ars Technica the other day titled “10 Things We’d Like To See Tim Cook Do In His Next Year At Apple”. Thinking to myself that this article came from Ars Technica, which is generally seen as the place for so-called “serious” technology news, I was tittlated1 to see what they would say, assuming there would be some great insight. Then, after clicking through the article in Google Reader, I was greeted by their first suggestion:
10. License OS X
The logic the contributor brought to that gem of a suggestion was that Apple was not taking full advantage of the “professional” market, so maybe granting an OEM license to someone else to develop a new powerful machine would be a good idea. Because, as we all know, the Mac Pro hasn’t been updated in over two years, and Apple has been outright struggling as a company without the backing of that tired old workhorse.
Well, as long as everyone is racking their brains with ideas for Tim Cook, since clearly Apple is in danger of going out in a ball of flame, I thought I’d bring four of my own ideas to the mix to help out a bit, too.
Item: Release “iPad Mini” in early October with 7.85” screen. Release “iPad Air” in early November that doubles as a hoverboard.
There is little doubt that I wouldn’t buy my parents iPad Minis for Christmas. There is even less doubt that I wouldn’t buy an iOS-powered hoverboard for myself.
Item: Allow iMessage to send messages to someone at a scheduled time. Most importantly, allow me to send myself iMessages from the future.
Because sometimes you just need to give yourself some advice to prevent issues down the line.
Item: Release a suit of armor. You know, like Iron Man’s.
This would be great. Of course, instead of Jarvis, we’d have Siri, so it wouldn’t be as bad-ass, but, still: Iron Man, bitches.
Item: License Android. Release an iPhone with Android to gain further marketshare.
Actually, never mind on that one. Samsung has that market pretty covered, I figure.2
If Apple can maybe get its act together and take these suggestions, I think things will be better for everyone.