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Italy's once-luxurious Costa Concordia cruise ship embarked on its last voyage on Wednesday, as tug boats began towing it from island wreck site to scrapyard grave in one of the biggest salvage operations in maritime history. Hundreds of onlookers on the Mediterranean island of Giglio, including survivors from the nighttime disaster two and a half years ago that left 32 people dead, watched from shore as the crippled giant began its crawl up the coast. "This is a big day for Giglio but we'll only be able to relax once it reaches Genoa", Nick Sloane, the South African salvage master in charge of the operation, was quoted by Italian news agency Ansa as saying. The rusting liner, roughly twice the size of the Titanic and now hoisted afloat by massive air chambers, will be tugged to the port of Genoa in northwest Italy, where it will be dismantled and scrapped.
Binairy Talk is a charming interactive installation that blends smoke signals with computer language. Created by a pair of German design students, the project takes text input and transforms it into binary code as part of an attempt to illustrate how data surrounds us constantly. The results are then represented by puffs of water vapor which are subsequently blasted across the room by what looks like a modified loudspeaker. After crossing through a laser sensor, the signals are processed and translated into comprehensible writing once more. ...
The first bodies recovered from the Malaysia Airlines plane that was downed over Ukraine were flown back on Wednesday to the Netherlands where a national day of mourning has been declared. Members of the Dutch royal family were due to meet the two military transport planes carrying 40 bodies which will undergo identification before being handed over to families. The Netherlands lost 193 citizens on the doomed jet that had 298 passengers and crew on board when it was downed last Thursday in eastern Ukraine, in a region controlled by pro-Russian rebels. Officials at Kharkiv airport held a minute's silence before the coffins were loaded onto the first Hercules plane, which took off at around noon local time.
Microsoft has a new smartphone competitor for the low end: the Lumia 530. Designed as a successor to the popular Lumia 520, Microsoft’s Lumia 530 includes similar specifications and a low price point of just 85 euros ($114) before taxes and subsidies. While the Lumia 525, a revision of the 520, included 1GB of RAM, Microsoft has opted for 512MB of RAM in the Lumia 530 and just 4GB of storage and a quad-core processor. The Lumia 530 also includes on-screen buttons, joining the Lumia 630 as the second Windows Phone to include this new functionality. Beyond the specifications, this device could be significant for Windows Phone.
A US patent made public on Tuesday bolstered rumors that Apple has designs on a smartwatch. "The invention pertains to an electronic wristwatch," said a summary in Apple patent paperwork on record with the US Patent and Trade Office. The patent describes a wrist band, possible with a touch screen, configured to connect wirelessly to a mobile device such as a smartphone. Disclosure of the patent added fuel to talk that California-based Apple intends to weigh into the blossoming wearable computing market with a smart watch.
Over three years ago, Japanese artist and designer Yugo Nakamura presented a concept that would bring digital art to our walls. Just two weeks ago, American startup Electric Objects launched its EO1 picture frame, which is very similar to Framed, onto Kickstarter. Now, the designer and his business associate William Lai are launching a consumer-focused frame through their company FRM with a Kickstarter campaign. While Electric Objects' effort sticks closely to the 2011 Framed concept unveiled by Nakamura, the new Framed adds a few extras that weren't in its original launch three years ago.
A British inventor is preparing to let rip the loudest fart that France has ever heard. In order to accomplish this mission, Colin Furze put together a valveless pulse jet, a propulsion device sometimes used by hobbyists to power model aircraft and other remote-controlled vehicles. Furze intends to have his absurd contraption prepared by July 24th, which is when he plans to unleash auditory hell from the cliffs of Dover, England.
Sony Corp said on Thursday it would invest 35 billion yen ($345 million) to increase production of image sensors for smartphones and tablets, as the company courts handset makers to get more orders for front-facing camera sensors, used to take selfies. The Japanese firm said it will increase production of stacked CMOS sensors at two factories on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, while completing work on a factory in northwestern Japan it bought from Renesas Electronics Corp for a total investment of 35 billion yen. Sony, which currently supplies image sensors for the main camera in Apple Inc's iPhone said the investment will allow it to raise production by 13 percent to 68,000 wafers a month by August 2015, a step closer to its mid-term goal of 75,000. Imaging sensors are an area of strength for Sony, which leads the market ahead of Omnivision Technologies Inc, whose sensors are mostly used in front-facing smartphone modules that typically have lower specifications than the main rear camera.
HBO has greenlit a pilot for a TV show based on 1973 sci-fi movie Westworld, about lifelike robots breaking their programming to murder guests in a luxury theme park. Deadline reports the production will keep the setting of the original movie, and will star Anthony Hopkins and Evan Rachel Wood in "a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin." Westworld was set in a Delos, a theme park made up of three distinct zones — Medieval World, Roman World, and the eponymous West World — and populated with humanoid androids. The pilot will keep the film's theme park setting Fittingly, given the subject material, the TV pilot is being developed by J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company.
By Bill Rigby SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp said it aims to get its loss-making Nokia phone unit to break even within two years, helping its stock rise in after-hours trade. Microsoft's chief financial officer said in a call with analysts that the company plans to take $1 billion in costs out of the Nokia operation and stop its losses by fiscal 2016 - which ends in June 2016 - following massive job cuts announced last week. "The expense guidance around Nokia was much better than feared," said Daniel Ives, an analyst at FBR Capital Markets. "While there is still some heavy lifting ahead, it appears brighter days are on the horizon for Microsoft after a decade of pain and frustration." Microsoft shares hit new 14-year highs over the past week, and were up 1.1 percent at $45.33 after hours.
Among the new features added to iOS 8 beta 4, Apple’s latest iOS 8 pre-release version that was released to developers on Monday, there’s nifty a new setting ready to handle roaming in the European Union, Cult of Mac reports. FROM EARLIER: iOS 8 beta 4 is now available for download By going to Cellular settings, users can easily discover a new “EU Internet” toggle that lets them turn it on and off, depending on where they plan to travel. The option is found right under the “Data Roaming” setting (pictured above), and is supposed to address the new roaming rules for the region. “Turn off data roaming when traveling to avoid charges when web browsing and using email, MMS, and other
Watch Dogs is one of the best games of the year and a decent showcase title for the new generation consoles, but it still doesn’t stand up to the seemingly professionally doctored demo from E3 2012. What we saw two years ago was a game that looked more stunning than just about anything else on the market — the reality wasn’t quite as impressive. Now, just two months after the game’s release, PC modder Federico Rojas (aka TheWorst) has released the final version of his graphics mod for Watch Dogs on the PC, bringing the retail release up to speed with the pipe dream from the original demo. “This is going to be the last version,” Rojas wrote in the 1.0 release
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has confirmed that his company will amalgamate all major versions of Windows into one operating system. Speaking on the company's quarterly earnings call today, Nadella told analysts Microsoft will "streamline the next version of Windows from three operating systems into one single converged operating system." Describing the implications of the change, Nadella said "this means one operating system that covers all screen sizes." Previously, under the management of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft had multiple teams producing different versions of Windows working separately from each other. "Now," Nadella said, "we have one team with a common architecture." The Microsoft boss didn't clarify exactly how Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox will be unified, but noted the benefit for users and developers — while Microsoft will still sell different editions of Windows, the new unified platform will allow the creation of universal Windows apps that work across all devices running the OS.
It’s no secret that Netflix to expand in additional European markets this year, but the company has never offered an exact rollout plan for the new countries it wants to conquer. Fortunately, in a new letter to shareholders spotted by Android Police, Netflix confirmed that its European presence will see a significant increase in September, when the movie streaming service will reach six new markets. “Outside the U.S., we generated continued growth in all of our markets. We ended Q2 with 13.8 million international members, growing 78% y/y,” the company wrote in the letter. “In September, we’ll be launching Netflix in Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg. This launch into markets with over 60 million broadband households will significantly
By Christina Farr SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc's iPad is losing steam just four years after its release, but an alliance with International Business Machines Corp could rejuvenate a flagging product by entering into a largely untapped corporate market. Apple shipped 13.2 million iPads in the June quarter, 8 percent fewer than a year earlier and lagging Wall Street's forecast for 14 million or more. Apple helped create the tablet market in 2010 with its first iPad. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook described iPad sales as "very bifurcated" - they continue to grow at 50 percent or above in emerging markets such as the Middle East and China, but in developed countries like the United States, the "market is weaker." Research firm IDC lowered its forecast for 2014 worldwide tablet demand growth to 12.1 percent - a fraction of the 51.8 percent expansion of 2013.
By Christina Farr and Edwin Chan SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc posted a smaller-than-expected 6 percent rise in quarterly revenue on Tuesday, but revenue surged 28 percent in greater China despite stiff competition in its third-largest market. It sold 35.2 million iPhones in the June quarter, a rise of about 13 percent that was in line with analysts' projections, helped by a strong performance in an Asian market considered crucial to Apple's longer-term growth prospects. Chief Executive Tim Cook told analysts on a conference call that Apple's Chinese performance was "honestly surprising." Unit iPhone sales jumped about 48 percent and Mac computer sales rose 39 percent in the June quarter, Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said in an interview. This month, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd estimated April-June operating profit far below most analysts' forecasts, as its Galaxy S5 sold more slowly than expected in the face of severe competition. "We have a really good runway in front of us with China Mobile," Maestri said, referring to Apple's main carrier partner in the world's No. 2 economy.
Revered animator Hayao Miyazaki may have bowed out of animation with the stunning, controversial The Wind Rises, but his Studio Ghibli still has talent to spare. Hiromasa Yonebayashi is one such example; Like Arrietty, When Marnie Was There is an adaptation of a British children's novel, this time by Joan G. Robinson; Studio Ghibli hasn't announced plans for the rest of the world, but if The Wind Rises is any indication, you'll probably have to wait until 2015;
A three-year-old lawsuit targeting Apple by former employees at its retail and corporate locations has been certified by the California Superior Court, and given class-action status. Filed in 2011 by Brandon Felczer — who spent about a year working for Apple — (along with three others), the complaint accuses the company of violating California labor codes by not providing time for employees to eat, rest, see itemized wage statements, or get paid in a reasonable amount of time after employment ended. The complaint is effectively asking for backpay on these periods, citing California Labor Codes, as well as asking for them to be applied to other former workers who were in similar situations going all the way back to December 16th, 2007. Per Recode, the lawsuit could be open to around 20,000 Apple employees in California if and when it makes it to a jury trial.
By Malathi Nayak SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc reported better-than-expected revenue and profit for the first quarter, driven by robust sales of titles such as "Titanfall," digital revenue and cost control. "On the digital side, (we saw) great continued growth on mobile and PC full game downloads and our subscriptions business with all of those up dramatically," CFO Blake Jorgensen said in an interview. Games such as "Ultimate Fighting Championship," soccer title "FIFA" and shooter game "Titanfall" were strong revenue drivers, Jorgensen said. Electronic Arts shares were relatively unchanged after closing at $38.42 on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.