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Apple, Tesla want changes to California’s self-driving car tests

The tech titan wants California to redefine disengagement, so that companies will include instances wherein the human drivers had to take the wheel to prevent even minor traffic violations. However, it believes certain instances shouldn't be officially counted as disengagements anymore, such as handing back control to a human driver due to system error or so that they could navigate a construction site. The changes will give Apple, whose permit to test is fresh out of the DMV, more accurate data for its experiments.

Both Apple and Tesla are also asking the state to allow testing of heavier autonomous vehicles. We're guessing the automaker has plans to unleash self-driving trucks on California roads -- we know it's working on at least one semi truck that Elon Musk teased during a recent TED talk.

Alphabet's autonomous car division Waymo is asking the DMV not to approve the new liability proposal that could make the automakers liable for crashes that aren't their vehicles' fault. Uber, which has tumultuous relationship with California's DMV, also sent in a request, and it stays true to the company's nature. The ride-hailing corporation wants authorities to allow paying customers to ride the cars it's testing with human drivers onboard.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/29/apple-tesla-california-self-driving-car-test-policy-change/

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Hideo Kojima on his cinematic influences, ‘Death Stranding’ and VR

Anyone who's played a Metal Gear Solid game can tell, without a question, that Hideo Kojima loves movies. When he was asked about his earliest impressions of cinema, Kojima says it started when he was a child, when his parents wouldn't let him go to bed without watching a certain amount of movies every night. His first solo theater-going experience for 1975's Rollerball; he was so short, he couldn't see over the ticket counter, and a worried theater attendant led him to a seat personally.

Before the age of home video, Kojima would see the same film in the theater several times a day, changing his seat with every screening to get a different angle of the film. And when he finally did get access to video, he would watch Taxi Driver daily before going to school or work. Not surprisingly, Robert De Niro was his favorite actor throughout his teens -- the character of Solid Snake was actually inspired by De Niro's in The Deer Hunter.

When Keighley wondered why Kojima liked working with actors in his games so much (Death Stranding features The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus and the great Mads Mikkelsen), he noted that he liked the small bits of inspiration they bring to a project. "By bringing in actors, they do some things that I don't imagine," he said. " That alone makes the world bigger, there's something happening on the stage." Ultimately, that leads to more natural feeling characters than you'd get from completely CG creations.

As for progress on Death Stranding, Kojima quipped, "It's moving on PS4... Overall, [we] have the general plan for the project, there's a plot." His team is also still testing out different systems for the game, characters and environment. If the game were an Italian restaurant, he said, he's now focusing on what kinds of tables would be there, and what's actually on the menus. The development progress is "going pretty well" overall, he added.

Kojima was particularly intrigued by the possibilities of virtual reality. "A photo has always been something that's been a frame. A painting has always been a frame. 130 years ago Lumier brothers created movies and that was also in a frame," he said. "The media so far has always been about what kind of information you can put inside a frame. This goes the same for games, they're very interactive. In an FPS, you can move around, but it's still about what kind of information you can put inside that frame."

"When it comes to VR/AR, you lose that frame. It becomes something totally different. It's about how you can put this information in a completely different canvas... That goes for games and videos. That's something I'm very excited about."

Given his excitement for VR on stage, I wouldn't be surprised if he's eyeing some sort of VR project in the future. It's also the ideal medium for Kojima: He helped to mature gaming as a storytelling medium, and I'd bet he has plenty of ideas of how to push that new medium forward.

Keighley rounded out the chat by asking if Kojima would ever direct a traditional film. "I love movies, so definitely one day I'd want to," he said, while noting that it would also be impossible until he finishes Death Stranding. Funny enough, he also pointed out that he's worried about making a movie -- since he loves cinema so much, "if I start making a movie I might never finish it."

As for what type of movie Kojima would like to make? Not surprisingly, he's game for a "big budget blockbuster." But he's also intrigued in doing a smaller feature with a few characters in a single room. I'm calling it now: #KojimaforDieHard.

Check out all of our Tribeca 2017 coverage here.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/29/hideo-kojima-tribeca-games/

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Amazon’s free Android app program is nearing its end

Amazon didn't give an exact reason for the service's impending demise in its announcement. It merely said that it has created "new monetization opportunities for developers" since the program launched two years ago. "Developers can now earn revenue outside their game by converting game characters and imagery into branded t-shirts via Merch by Amazon," the announcement read. "And with Amazon Coins, Appstore customers can save on every game in the Amazon Appstore. Customers can buy Amazon Coins at a discount, while developers continue to get their full 70 percent revenue share." To note, developers' payment for apps downloaded from the Underground store is based on how long you keep their creations.

If you have an Android device from another manufacturer, you can only access Underground's free app store until this summer. In case you'd still like to like to try it out, you'll need to visit its official website on your phone or tablet to install it, since it's not available on Google Play. If you have a Fire tablet, you can access the store until it shuts down in 2019. However, you'll have to make do with what's already available, because Amazon will no longer accept requests to be included in the program after May 31st.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/29/amazon-ending-underground-free-apps-program/

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Tesla revives automatic braking in response to lower review scores

Apparently, public pressure works... to a degree. Tesla has reintroduced automatic emergency braking to the Model S and Model X through an update after their continued omission led Consumer Reports to lower its ratings for the electric cars. It's a tentative step, mind you. The feature currently only works at speeds up to 28MPH, so this won't save you if someone abruptly slows down on the highway. Higher speeds will come in stages, Tesla says. It's not clear just when you'll see the 90MPH braking that came with models released before October 2016.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/29/tesla-brings-back-automatic-braking/

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Festa dei lavoratori 2017: immagini divertenti per WhatsApp

La Festa dei lavoratori 2017, denominata anche Festa del lavoro, si celebra in tutta Italia il primo Maggio. Proprio per questa occasione, quale miglior modo per augurare un Buon primo Maggio festeggiando la Festa dei lavoratori se non con una carrellata di alcune tra le migliori immagini Festa dei lavoratori da condividere su WhatsApp e molti altri social network, tra cui Facebook, Instagram, Twitter e non solo. Le applicazioni di messaggistica istantanea e i social network son uno tra i migliori mezzi per festeggiare questa importante ricorrenza, in modo semplice e rapido. Quindi, non resta che scoprire insieme le migliori immagini per la Festa dei lavoratori 2017.

Per festeggiare la Festa del lavoro 2017 molto spesso vengono inviati messaggi, frasi e anche immagini simpatiche tramite WhatsApp oppure con altre piattaforme social, come Facebook e Twitter. In questo articolo ti proponiamo una carrellata di immagini simpatiche e divertenti da condividere con colleghi di lavoro, amici e parenti per WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram e non solo. Se sei alla ricerca di immagini divertenti, messaggi per celebrare la Festa dei lavoratori 2017, sei sicuramente nel posto giusto.

Ti ricordiamo che salvare le immagini divertenti presenti devi eseguire alcune operazioni, estremamente semplici. Tieni premuto il dito sull’immagine per qualche secondo, fino a quando non comparirà sullo schermo una nuova finestra di dialogo. All’interno di quest’ultima clicca sulla voce Salva immagine. L’immagine verrà salvata all’interno del rullino dei dispositivi iOS, come iPhone, iPad e iPod Touch, mentre su Android verrà archiviata nella cartella Download del browser. Così facendo, è possibile condividere facilmente le immagini umoristiche anche con altre applicazioni di terze parte e social network, WhatsApp incluso.

Ecco, quindi, la selezione di immagini divertenti per la Festa dei lavoratori 2017:

La prima tra le migliori immagini divertenti vi è una frase saggia di Confucio. Un modo unico per ricordare ad amici, parenti e colleghi di fare sempre il lavoro che si ama.

Anche i Lego festeggiano la Festa dei lavoratori 2017!

Tra le migliori immagini più divertenti per la Festa dei lavoratori 2017 non poteva mancare una vignetta sulla disoccupazione.

L’immagine ideale da condividere su WhatsApp pensata per tutti coloro che partecipano al concerto del primo Maggio.

Un pezzo di storia del cinema italiano, un’immagine divertente che lascerà sicuramente un sorriso a chi la riceverà su WhatsApp. Ecco Alberto Sordi ne “I Vitelloni”.

Anche Charlie Chaplin festeggia la Festa del lavoro, sempre con il sorriso e in modo divertente. Un’immagine da condividere via WhatsApp con colleghi, amici e parenti per strappare una risata.

Ecco la gerarchia al lavoro, una delle tematiche più discusse anche durante la Festa dei lavoratori.

Per celebrare la Festa dei lavoratori 2017, ti proponiamo anche una serie di citazioni sul primo Maggio da inviare a colleghi, amici e parenti su WhatsApp oppure da condividere sui vari social network come Facebook, Twitter e non solo.

Ecco la lista delle frasi più belle sulla Festa del lavoro da condividere e ricordare:

  • L’uomo che si vergogna del suo lavoro non può avere rispetto di se stesso. Bertrand Russell
  • In fin dei conti il lavoro è ancora il mezzo migliore di far passare la vita. Gustave Flaubert
  • Felice colui che ha trovato il suo lavoro; non chieda altra felicità.
    Thomas Carlyle
  • L’Italia è una Repubblica fondata sullo stage. Beppe Severgnini
  • Non devono esserci poveri e non c’è peggiore povertà di quella che non ci permette di guadagnarci il pane, che ci priva della dignità del lavoro. Papa Francesco
  • Io credo nel popolo italiano. È un popolo generoso, laborioso, non chiede che lavoro, una casa e di poter curare la salute dei suoi cari. Non chiede quindi il paradiso in terra. Chiede quello che dovrebbe avere ogni popolo. Sandro Pertini
  • Non c’è lavoro che un uomo possa fare che non sia dignitoso, se lo fa nel modo giusto. Bill Cosby

Article source: http://www.tecnocino.it/2017/04/articolo/festa-dei-lavoratori-2017-immagini-divertenti-per-whatsapp/90255/

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The best 360-degree camera

Who should buy this

The appeal of 360-degree cameras is the ability for the viewer to see (and often hear) not just what's in front of you, but the entire visual sphere of that location. 360-degree images and videos enable the viewer to look around independently, whether that's by dragging within the picture window in an app or on a computer screen, or by moving their body while holding a phone or tablet that can register its place in 3D space. When you wear an inexpensive pair of Google Cardboard goggles or more advanced VR gear, the experience you record becomes fairly immersive.

Ways to use 360-degree cameras are still evolving, but there are some scenarios that lend themselves to this kind of shooting. 360-degree cameras can function as an action camera, a POV camera, or a mounted camera. For more on these shooting styles, see our full guide.

How we picked and tested

The Ricoh, Nikon, 360Fly, and Samsung cameras. Photo: Jeff Carlson

We started by reading reviews and combing through specifications for nearly 30 cameras that offer 360-degree recording capabilities. Based on a reader survey of how much you'd be willing to pay for a 360-degree camera, we then limited our scope to models priced under $600. Working on the assumption that more megapixels would be beneficial, especially when shooting video, we looked closely at 4K-capable models. But because only a small number of them currently exist, we brought in a Ricoh Theta S for testing to see how its HD video differed from 4K footage in real-world usage. We dismissed solutions like the GoPro Omni that require strapping together two or more cameras using novel brackets or cages for 360-degree coverage due to complexity. Ultimately, we were able to limit our contenders to just a handful of models: the Ricoh Theta S, 360fly 4K, Samsung Gear 360, Insta360 Nano, and Nikon's KeyMission 360. For more details on what we dismissed and why, please see the full guide's competition section.

We took the cameras on vacation to Vancouver and Disneyland, and we also used them on everyday excursions in and around Seattle. In addition to testing ease of use and image quality, viewing results on computers, mobile devices, and cardboard VR viewers, we looked at the post-capture process: editing using dedicated apps and sharing to social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and other outlets that support 360-degree viewing.

Breaking out of that pipeline, however, introduces complications. Editing an image in an external application like Photoshop or cutting together multiple video clips into one movie can remove the metadata that identifies the media as 360 so it displays as a flat image rather than a sphere, necessitating an extra step to reintroduce it. And you can't assume that every outlet knows what to do with the end result. Facebook displays the images correctly, for example, but as of this writing, Facebook-owned Instagram does not.

Our pick

The Ricoh Theta S (tripod not included). Photo: Jeff Carlson

We think the Ricoh Theta S is the best all-around choice for a 360-degree camera. Its two lenses capture a true 360-degree sphere of view with good color fidelity, sharp image quality in still photos, and pleasing video quality (even though it's limited to 1080p resolution). The camera is comfortable in the hand and easy to use on its own, but it can also be controlled from a smartphone app. Editing and sharing clips and photos is an easy-to-understand process, something we couldn't say for some of its rivals. The Theta S was the camera we reached for first when going out to shoot footage.

The Theta S uses two 12-megapixel sensors paired with ultrawide 240-degree lenses in order to create 360-degree footage along both horizontal and vertical axes. It grabs nearly all of that imagery—hiding only the camera itself—and splices the captures from each lens into one seamless 14-megapixel image or 1080p video. The result is technically still a flat image, but when viewed in the Theta S app, or in some outlets such as Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr, the effect can feel like you're standing where the photographer stood. Why look out over just one vista when you can see every view from the top of a mountain?

A 4K upgrade

The 360fly 4K's faceted design makes it stand out (tripod not included). Photo: Jeff Carlson

To avoid the need for stitching multiple images together, the makers of the 360fly 4K went with a different approach. The camera has just one lens, capturing a 240-degree vertical view and a 360-degree horizontal view. Because it captures that view in 4K resolution, it offers sharper footage with greater detail than our top pick. The images are still treated as full 360-degree scenes, and because it uses just the one lens, there's no stitching where two images are joined together—but there's a blind spot under the camera, replaced by a black or faux-reflected area. The practical effect, when viewing the footage, is feeling as if you're being prevented from looking down (or up, depending on the camera's orientation).

For Samsung owners

Photo: Jeff Carlson

The Samsung Gear 360 excels in all the areas we determined were important for 360-degree cameras. It has good image fidelity and shoots video at 4K. Its physical design is compact and feels good in hand (with its included mini tripod that doubles as a handle), with the best external controls of any of the cameras we tested. And working with the images after you've shot them in the Samsung Gear app is easy and straightforward. But it's fully compatible with only a limited range of Samsung phones, which prevents us from making it a top pick. Samsung recently announced a second-generation Gear 360 that the company says will be compatible with a wider range of devices.

Like the Theta S, the Gear 360 captures a full 360-degree sphere around the camera using two lenses, and it does so at 4K resolution (up to 3840×1920 pixels). Still photos are shot at 7776×3888 pixels when both images are combined; you can also choose to shoot using just one lens. Image quality is very good, although the lens distortion appears exaggerated when viewing it within the Gear 360 app; it looks fine when shared to Facebook or YouTube, however.

Samsung has announced, but has yet to make available, the 2017 model of the Gear 360. The new version has a redesigned form factor, shoots 4K video, offers live streaming ability, and should work better with iOS devices. We're looking forward to testing it when we can.

This guide may have been updated by The Wirecutter. To see the current recommendation, please go here.

Note from The Wirecutter: When readers choose to buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/28/the-best-360-degree-camera/

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Uber puts you in control of your user data

This isn't a response to the #deleteUber social media campaign, the company stressed, telling The Verge that the feature has been in the the works for "more than a year."

Beyond that, the update will give you a little more control over how your location is used within the app. A new feature will let you drop a pin to show your friends where you are and it sounds like you'll be able to disable GPS services entirely for more privacy.

You'll have to enter an address for pickups by hand, versus the app automatically pinpointing where you are, however. You know, in case you think that sharing an intersection versus your home's or destination's address is a bit too open to Big Brother. Is it enough to get you to come back to the ride-hailing service? Let us know in the comments.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/28/uber-account-deletion-privacy-update/

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The Galaxy S8’s home button shifts to prevent screen burn

This subtle movement can only be seen with careful measurement but it's definitely changing position by a pixel or two, notes Dutch site Galaxy Club. The feature was confirmed in an exchange between a Samsung superfan and the company's official Dutch Twitter account, as well.


I sat in on a virtual support group for sexual-assault survivors

With a Gear VR headset and headphones, I sat and listened to a series of accounts from sexual-assault survivors, who would start talking when I looked at them. Their stories were cut into sections and chronologically arranged, and each person stopped talking when I looked away. In the virtual environment, you'll see the survivors' heads laid out on a web-like map. Each individual's account consists of four or five sections tied to each other with a thin line so you know where they begin and end. You can start at any part of an individual's timeline.

Testimony isn't a VR "experience." It's not designed to transport you to the scene of a crime or force you to watch, horrified, as someone is attacked. Instead, it lets sexual-assault survivors tell their stories in their own words, which is far more powerful than a reenactment. The accounts are straightforward and don't go into explicit detail. When your brain is forced to fill in the gaps left by the unspoken words, your sense of empathy is perhaps stronger than if you had simply watched the episode unfold.

Then there is the sheer power of witnessing a survivor struggle with her emotions while revisiting her trauma. I know some survivors of sexual assault -- they are all strong and inspirational people. But even the most resilient of them have, in my experience, shied away from detailing what happened to them. It is rare to hear a survivor's story told so vulnerably, and for anyone dealing with similar pain, Testimony provides a support-group-like environment where he can find strength and solace in the privacy of his home.

Testimony's greatest strength lies in its focus on each individual's journey after their assaults. When I heard that it took a year for one survivor to hear back from the police about her gang rape and that all the officer had to say at that time was that they would "give the ringleader a call" — a year later — I was outraged. And this theme of being failed by the legal system runs through all the accounts. As I jumped from person to person, the sense of injustice at how they were let down by law enforcement is pervasive.

To be fair, Testimony doesn't offer a chance for police officials to weigh in, and as such it has an inherent bias. As a journalist, my instinct is to seek the comment from a representative for the legal system is, so we can hear both sides of the story. But that would ultimately distract from what is essentially an incredibly personal encounter with these survivors.

Testimony presents a diverse collection of accounts from men and women that are impossible to ignore. Its focus on the individual survivors, delivered in a stark, relatively distraction-free environment, puts the spotlight on an issue that sorely needs it. Project creator Zohar Kfir, herself a survivor of sexual assault, plans to launch a web platform in June to allow others to come forward and share their stories. She told Engadget that access to VR is still very limited and that expanding the project through the internet can help them reach more people. Her team is also working with anti-sexual-assault organization RAINN to bring Testimony to more survivors. Ultimately, though, the goal is to draw attention to the failings of the legal system and to try to ensure nobody else suffers the indignity of being ignored.

As the project gains momentum, the combined voices of sexual-assault survivors who feel let down by the legal system may eventually grow loud enough that authorities will be forced to listen.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/28/testimony-tribeca-2017-vr-sexual-assault-support/

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Your next Lego masterpiece is a $120 NASA Saturn V rocket

Lego has been inspired by NASA lately. Last month, the toymaker paid homage to women who made great contributions to the space agency, and now it's revealing an Apollo Saturn V set that also looks incredible. As seen in the picture above, this rocket stands at a little more than three feet tall and can be positioned horizontally or vertically. The idea for the piece was born out of the company's Lego Ideas program, which lets people from all over the world submit concepts they'd like to see get made. Made up of nearly 2,000 Lego pieces, the NASA Apollo Saturn V is expected to hit stores in June for $120 -- which is a small price to pay to make your Moon-landing fantasies come true.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/04/28/lego-nasa-apollo-saturn-v/

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