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50 years ago, ‘the mother of all demos’ foretold our tech future

Engelbart, who died in 2013, was working at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) at Menlo Park when he presented the demo at a San Francisco computer meetup via video conference. That alone was an impressive technical feat (showing what was essentially the first version of Skype), but what was to come in the next 90 minutes changed things forever.

"If in your office, you as an intellectual worker, were supplied with a computer display backed up by a computer that was alive for you all day and was instantly responsive to every action you have, how much value could you derive from that?" Engelbart asked. "Well, this basically characterizes what we've been pursuing for many years in what we call augmented human intellect research center at the Stanford Research Institute."

The entire demonstration was performed live, to show rather than just talk about the technology and prove that computers could actually be "responsive." It was a brave move considering the state of the technology -- the team had to build their own display for around $90,000 in 1960s money. "The display driver was a hunk of electronics 3 feet by 4 feet," Engelbart added, according to a new book called "Valley of Genius." He emphasized, however, that that the Stanford team wasn't just developing the systems, but using them for their own projects.

He first used a simple grocery shopping list to show how databases could simplify everyday life by formatting and displaying information by category. From there, he laid out new forms of input control (the bitmapped screen, mouse and keyboard), showed off a way to jump from subject to subject by clicking on linked text (hyperlinks), demonstrated Google Docs-like collaboration and showed off keyword searching.

On top of that, he previewed simple linked graphics, meta tags, open-source software and ARPA, the internet's predecessor. In fact, ARPA actually paid for the demo to the tune of $175,000 at the time, about $1.2 million in 2018 money.

The Stanford team had loftier ambitions than just developing technology. Their stated goal was to "augment human intellect," improve collaboration and make it easier for individuals and teams to reach their full potential. Engelbart figured that as society became increasingly more complex, humans needed to improve their learning and knowledge as quickly as possible.

At the time, the SRI team wasn't exactly highly regarded by other computing researchers, and the coordinators of the conference where it was shown were "hesitant" about the demo. None of that discouraged Engelbart, however. "By 1968 I was beginning to feel that we could show a lot of dramatic things," he said. "I had this adventurous sense of, 'Well, let's try it then,' which fairly often ended in disaster."

It obviously didn't, and the rest is history. "It eventually fed out into Xerox PARC and then Apple to take over the world," said Engelbart's collaborator Bill Paxton. "But, at the time, Doug was a voice crying into the wilderness."

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/12/10/mother-of-all-demos-50th-anniversary/

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Microsoft’s new Edge browser will support Chrome extensions

Of course, that's great news for those who already use the plug-ins for security, productivity, or to replace every image in Chrome with a pic of Nicolas Cage. It's important to note, however, that intent doesn't necessarily mean Chrome extensions are confirmed.

Upon its announcement of the overhauled Edge browser last week, Microsoft noted that the changes "under the hood" could occur over the course of a year -- and a lot can change during that time. But seeing as other Chrome-based browsers also offer the popular feature, there's really no reason for Microsoft to buck the trend. In the same question and answer thread, Alden also confirmed that the new Edge browser is coming to the Xbox One along with "all Microsoft devices."

In addition, the Edge Project Manager addressed how progressive web apps (PWAs) will work on the new browser -- these are web pages that deliver mobile app-like experiences to users. As with Chrome, Alden said that the team expects to support installing PWAs directly from the browser, as well as through the Microsoft Store. "Existing UWP apps (including PWAs in the Store) will continue to use EdgeHTML/Chakra without interruption," he added.

But not everyone is thrilled about the company's switch to Google's open-source Chromium. Mozilla CEO Chis Beard recently penned a blog post in which he lambasted Microsoft's decision as bad for competition.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/12/10/microsoft-edge-chrome-extensions/

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China grants Qualcomm a ban on some iPhone sales

The injunction reportedly affects iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus and X, though Apple is disputing the scope of the ban. It claims the order only affects iPhones running on older versions of iOS and that iOS 12 (which all of the above devices are compatible with) doesn't violate the patents, according to CNBC.

"Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us," Don Rosenberg, general counsel of Qualcomm, said in a statement to Reuters.

"Qualcomm's effort to ban our products is another desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world," Apple said in a statement to CNBC. "All iPhone models remain available for our customers in China. Qualcomm is asserting three patents they had never raised before, including one which has already been invalidated. We will pursue all our legal options through the courts."

The Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court (which earlier this year banned some imports of Micron's memory chips) granted the preliminary order against four Apple subsidiaries. Qualcomm filed the suit late last year.

Apple and Qualcomm are also embroiled in legal battles in the US, and face a trial in April over a patent dispute. Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission is set to battle Qualcomm in court next month over antitrust issues related to -- you guessed it -- patents.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/12/10/apple-iphone-x-ban-china-court-injunction-qualcomm/

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NASA’s Voyager 2 probe has entered interstellar space

"I think we're all happy and relieved that the Voyager probes have both operated long enough to make it past this milestone," Voyager Project Manager Suzanne Dodd said in a statement. "This is what we've all been waiting for. Now we're looking forward to what we'll be able to learn from having both probes outside the heliopause."

NASA announced back in October that it suspected this moment might happen soon. The spacecraft had been detecting increasing amounts of cosmic rays, something Voyager 1 experienced in 2012. But Voyager 2 has something its partner didn't when it left the heliosphere -- a functional Plasma Science Experiment. Voyager 1's stopped working in 1980, but Voyager 2's is still in working order, and it's able to take measurements of the solar wind. On November 5th, Voyager 2 detected a sharp drop in the speed of solar wind particles and since then, it hasn't measured any solar wind flow at all -- strong evidence that it has exited the sun's protective bubble.

Three other onboard instruments -- the cosmic ray subsystem, the low energy charged particle probe and the magnetometer -- also recorded data that fit with what would be expected when exiting the heliosphere.

Voyager 2 launched in 1977 and is now NASA's longest running mission. Both it and Voyager 1 were initially built for a five-year run and were designed to give us a look at Jupiter and Saturn. But at 41 years, both are still trucking and they're now providing us with a look at what's beyond the heliopause. "Voyager has a very special place for us in our heliophysics fleet," said Nicola Fox, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA. "Our studies start at the sun and extend out to everything the solar wind touches. To have the Voyagers sending back information about the edge of the sun's influence gives us an unprecedented glimpse of truly uncharted territory."

Both spacecraft are still technically within the solar system, however. And they will be until they exit the Oort Cloud, a large collection of distant objects that are still affected by the sun's gravity. While it's not known how wide the Oort Cloud really is, scientists estimate that it will take around 300 years for Voyager 2 to reach the inner edge and maybe 30,000 years to exit the outer edge.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/12/10/nasa-voyager-2-entered-interstellar-space/

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Google Maps for iPhone now includes personalized recommendations

The feature can provide you with news and updates on events, activities, openings, pop-ups and even menu changes in neighborhoods, restaurants and stores you follow. It also suggests new places for you to check out.

The update is rolling out today, and it follows the arrival of the Group Planning feature in September, which helps you and your friends decide where to have dinner or hang out using a simple voting system. The move also seems to be part of a broader effort by Google to bring more Android- and Pixel-first features to iOS.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/12/10/google-maps-ios-for-you-recommendations/

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John Romero gifts ‘Doom’ 18 new levels for its 25th birthday

Sigil will also be available in a $40 Standard Edition that includes an elaborate box from metal album artist Christopher Lovell, a soundtrack from Buckethead and a 16GB USB drive themed like a floppy disk. If you're really, truly committed, you can drop a whopping $166 on a Beast Box that includes everything from the Standard Edition plus an autographed box, a pewter statue of Romero's head on a spike (for all the Doom II fans), a coin, a t-shirt and a Christopher Lovell art print.

Both the new levels and the physical copies are expected to arrive in mid-February. You can pre-order the boxed releases from now through December 24th. You definitely don't need to pay for Sigil. Consider this, though: outside of Doom Eternal, this is your best chance to mark the series' 25th anniversary with something tangible.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/12/10/john-romero-doom-sigil-expansion/

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The best books, movies and graphic novels to give as gifts

It's cold outside! Which makes the holidays the ideal time to give the gift of indoor entertainment. We've curated a breadth of books, movies and music in our holiday gift guide to curl up to, all of them staff favorites. On the list you'll find some physical treats for film buffs, including The Matrix Trilogy 4K, the Mission Impossible series 4K Blu-ray, Stanley Kubrick's galactic masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey 4K, and animation Avatar: The Last Airbender Blu-ray collection -- due for the Netflix live-action treatment next year. Or you could nab a Crunchyroll streaming subscription for the anime fan in your life.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/12/10/best-books-graphic-novels-and-movies-gifts/

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8BitDo adapter adds wireless controller support to PlayStation Classic

The PlayStation Classic, Sony's retro console that includes 20 PS1 games, arrived last week, and for those of us who prefer to play a little further away from the TV than wired controllers allow, a solution is on the way. Later this month, 8BitDo is releasing a USB adapter that lets you use its own wireless controllers with the console, along with Sony's DualShock 3 and 4, Bluetooth Xbox controllers, Switch Pro, Wii U Pro and even Joy-Cons.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/12/10/playstation-classic-wireless-controller-adapter-8bitdo/

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GoPro will make ‘most’ of its US cameras outside of China

International production will stay in China, GoPro said.

There's an important omission, though: GoPro didn't give a destination for its US-oriented production. It's not necessarily going to the US, and history would suggest that you might not see stateside GoPro manufacturing. It's not just that labor costs can be less expensive abroad -- it's that GoPro might have access to a larger, more flexible workforce, not to mention partner companies and resources that are relatively close by. Like it or not, the tariffs don't necessarily provide a strong incentive for domestic production.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/12/10/gopro-moves-camera-production-out-of-china/

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Another Google+ data bug exposes info for 52.5 million users

In October, Google revealed that it had found a major security bug potentially impacting around a half million Google+ users. The company at that point made the decision to shut down the service the following August. Last month, Google once again spotted a security issue, on that could potentially serve up the personal information of some 52.5 million users -- including names, email address, occupation, gender, birthday, relationship status and age, whether they were set to public or not -- to developers using the Google+ API. This was the final straw for the company, which has announced that the service will shut down four months early and its API will cease functioning within 90 days.

While the API bug did potentially impact tens of millions of users, Google asserts that it has found no evidence of the exploit being acted upon or the data being misused. What's more, the security hole has already been patched so the service's few remaining fans will be able to enjoy it, at least until the spring.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2018/12/10/google-plus-data-leak-info-52-5-million/

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