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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Google Finally Release Motion Stills for Android and Here Is How It Work

Last year, Google launched an app called Motion Stills for iOS users. Motion Stills worked in tandem with the iPhone’s Live Photos feature, turning them into shareable GIFs and stabilizing them in the process. Of course, with no such Live Photos feature on Android, the app stayed exclusive to iOS devices – until today, that is.
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In a post to the Google Research Blog, the company announced today that Motion Stills will at last make its way to Android. It would appear that the lack of a Live Photos feature didn’t stop Android users from requesting the app in droves, and today it arrives with a few tweaks to let those users make their own GIFs and short video clips with the touch of a button.

There are, ultimately, two ways to create a GIF or clip with Motion Stills. If you want to capture a short clip to use it as a GIF, you simply need to tap the record button and capture the action. If, on the other hand, you have a longer clip that you’d like to condense into a Motion Still, you can use the app’s Fast Forward feature, which allows you to set a playback speed of up to 8x to pack even more footage into your GIF.

Google says that it has redesigned the streaming pipeline it used on iOS to allow Motion Stills to perform stabilization and loop optimization as the video is being recorded. The result is that you won’t have to wait for your GIF to be created once you’ve captured the video that will feature in it. All of this done on the device itself, which means that you don’t need to have an internet connect while you use Motion Stills.

Motion Stills is available now on the Google Play Store [download] for phones running Android 5.1 or later. Google additionally says that it may implement certain features from Motion Stills into larger apps (like Google Photos) as time goes on. If that sounds good to you, go download the app and use it so Google can continue to refine its creation process for short-form videos.





Apple Releases Security Patches For Your iPhone and Mac: How To Update Them Right Now

Apple released two security updates this week, one for iPhones and iPads, the other for macOS computers like the MacBook. This set of updates is absolutely imperative for all users as it fixes a security hole that can potentially take over your device through a Wi-fi connection. Updating a MacOS device or an iOS device can be done right now right now – both can be gotten straight from Apple with the instructions provided below – and it’s EASY. 
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Multiple Flaws Fixed
These security holes come courtesy of the serendipitously titled “Broadpwn” flaw. This flaw allows the hacker to execute code within your device after finding their way in through the front door – your Wi-fi chip, in this case. This flaw was discovered by Nitay Artenstein of Exodus Intelligence.


This is only one of a wide array of security holes patched for MacOS and iOSwith this update. Also fixed with this update is a method with which the attacker could spoof the user’s address bar. This would trick the user into thinking they’re logging in to a website they trust when in reality they’re logging in to the attacker’s site, thereby giving them all manner of private information – that was discovered by xisigr of Tencent’s Xuanwu Lab.

A fun one – if you find it fun having a completely unusable iPhone – is a Safari flaw (also fixed with this update). This flaw included a malicious or compromised website which could “show infinite print dialogs and make users believe their browser was locked.” The fix in this case was to throttle print dialogs – simple enough – discovered by Travis Kelley of City of Mishawaka, Indiana. 


How to UPDATE
For those with a MacOS device, the process begins in the upper left-hand corner of your screen. Click the Apple logo, move your arrow down to “About This Mac” and click again. Inside the About This Mac screen, you’ll find the name of your latest update, it’ll be something like macOS Sierra, Version 10.12.3 (or something along those lines).

In this screen there’s a button called “Software Update…” – click it. This will open the Mac App Store Updates screen. The first update available should be called “Software Update” and it should bring you up to speed. You might have to repeat this process a couple times depending on the age of your last update.

For iPhone and iPad and iPod Touch device users, there’s a process which I’ve outlined in full – with pictures – above and below. The first step is Settings, then General, then Software Update. Inside Software Update there’s going to be a little mention about what’s coming your way.


Agree to the update and make it download. Once this update is downloaded, it’ll begin to update your device, and all will be well once again. May god have mercy on your soul and the soul of your iPhone.




Google Releases Support For CarPlay Google Play Music

Google Play Music users can now access the app through Apple’s CarPlay, with a new update quietly adding it to the short list of third-party services. The new version of Google’s music app joins Amazon, Spotify, and a select few others with CarPlay support, with a much simplified interface promising to be easier and safer to access while on the move. You will, of course, need a CarPlay-compatible vehicle in order to actually use it, mind. 
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As with other third-party music apps available through CarPlay, Google Play Music has just its core functionality on display. First spotted by 9to5Mac, the app is split into categories for browsing through your own music library, playing your recent tracks, and digging through the service’s recommendations. Finally, there’s a Stations section for Google Play Music’s custom playlists, based on genre and activity.


Apple has taken a conservative – some might say too conservative – approach to what it allows into CarPlay’s walled garden. Only a small number of apps have been permitted through, despite frequent requests by many users for in-car versions of the their favorite apps. Music is the best served category on that front, with more than ten third-party streaming radio and on-demand services supported.

That hasn’t gone down well with those who would rather use alternative phone, messaging, or navigation apps to those Apple would prefer: its own dialer, Messages, and Apple Maps. One of the most frequent demands is for a version of Google Maps for CarPlay, closely followed by Waze. Users of IM apps like Whatsapp have also regularly asked for support while they’re behind the wheel.

Come iOS 11, CarPlay will see a number of improvements, though most will focus on Apple Maps. There, Apple will add things like lane guidance during navigation, with the app showing which lane the driver ought to be in for an upcoming turn, together with speed limits for the current area. Alternative routes will also be presented in a more user-friendly way, such as when there’s unexpected traffic in the road ahead.

Potentially most disruptive, though, is a new “Do Not Disturb While Driving” setting. A fresh addition to CarPlay in iOS 11, it will mute any incoming notifications – bar those from whitelisted priority contacts – in the name of minimizing distractions. Anybody sending a message to a device in this mode will receive a reply informing them that the recipient is on the move.

What there won’t be, though, is any sort of open-season for third-party apps that want to get into the dashboard. Apple’s policies on this are still pretty much opaque, something which has already nudged some over to Android, where Google’s Android Auto has proved more receptive to allowing apps into its UI-controlled interface.





Intel's Movidius Neural Compute Stick Can Democratizes Deep Learning Application Development

In September of last year, Intel announced that it had acquired Movidius. Modivius is a company that does a lot of different things, from making avoidance sensors for DJI drones to developing deep learning technologies with a handful of different partners. Today we’re seeing some of the deep learning fruits of that buyout, with Intel introducing us to the Movidius Neural Compute Stick. 
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What looks like a simple USB thumb drive is, in reality, a whole lot more complex. The goal of the Movidius Neural Compute Stick is to allow for the development of deep learning applications at the edge. Essentially, this little stick will allow developers to prototype and deploy deep neural network applications without a reliance on cloud systems.

At the heart of the Neural Compute Stick is the Modivius Vision Processing Unit. This is the same unit that can be found in a bunch of other devices that require AI at the edge, including drones and security cameras. Modivius has made AI chips like this for products where latency in uploading to the cloud is a concern, so it isn’t really much of a surprise to see it launch that same chip in the NCS.



The NCS supports the Caffe framework and connects through USB 3.0. The host machine you connect it to doesn’t need to be a beast of a computer, either – all the NCS requires is an X86_64 computer running Ubuntu 16.04, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of free storage, and at least a USB 2.0 port, though obviously a USB 3.0 port is recommended.

At the moment, the Neural Compute Stick is available through Mouser Electronics here in the United States or RS Components in the UK. It sports a retail price of $79, which honestly doesn’t seem too bad considering what it does. This is likely just the beginning of Intel and Movidius’s plan to take the deep learning world by storm, so stay tuned for more.





China’s artificial intelligence Set To Be Among The World's Best by 2025

Artificial intelligence is a hot industry with governments and private companies alike scrambling to stay ahead. Earlier today, China announced a plan to make itself one of the global leaders in AI technologies, something that would see the nation’s core artificial intelligence industries exceeding the $22 billion valuation mark by the year 2020 and, assuming everything goes as planned, exceeding $59 billion by the year 2025.
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Details about the plan and the expected valuation in coming years were issued today by China’s State Council, which said this national AI development plan will help give it a ‘new competitive edge,’ among other things. China isn’t the first country to announce plans for a national-tier AI project — the US did something similar back in October, for example. The move to get ahead on AI technologies has big military significance for governments around the world.

In China’s case, it will need to deal with a lack of high-end computing hardware and software, among other things, if it wants its plan to proceed as intended. The country will also need to heavily invest in personnel trained in the technology. To help with that latter aspect, China plans to ‘promote mutual development’ between the government and the nation’s private entities, including academia and private corporations.

Talking about the plan, China’s State Council said, ‘The situation with China on national security and international competition is complex — we must take initiative to firmly grasp this new stage of development for artificial intelligence and create a new competitive edge.’ Among other things, the Chinese government anticipates using a variety of market regulations and policies to bolster the industry, making the nation’s government a larger part of the AI effort.

As it stands, China is currently home to both private and state artificial intelligence efforts, some of which focus on the technology’s applicability to the military. Some major Chinese entities and corporations are helping lead the nation’s AI work, including internationally-known Baidu

SOURCE: Reuters





Lenovo Unveils New Concept Design For An AR Headset And It Is The daystAR

Lenovo is clearly hungry to make its mark in VR and AR; the company’s just announced a new AR headset, making it the fourth head-mounted display we’ve seen from it so far this year.
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daystAR, as the device is called, was revealed at the TechWorld conference this week, though it’s only a concept right now. The device appears to be full standalone with an onboard vision processing unit, optical display, and free-formed surfaced lenses that allow for a 40-degree field of view (FOV), which is similar to the FOV on Microsoft’s HoloLens. 




Image Credit: It Home

During the show, Lenovo showcased the headset being used to help repair an aircraft engine in a display that looks very similar to something you’d see on HoloLens.

There’s really not much more to say on it for now other than that Lenovo is also teasing its own AR Platform for developers to release content on. This platform will apparently offer services such as Cloud Object Recognition, Remote Assistance, Multiplayer Interaction, and a 3D Content Manager. Looks like this might not be a Windows 10 Mixed Reality device, then, which is strange considering the company is releasing a VR headset under that brand later this year.

This marks Lenovo’s second AR announcement this week. At Disney’s D23 event last weekend the company also teased a device that looks to pair with a smartphone and is used specifically to play a new Star Wars game. That certainly seems to be on the lower end of what the company is doing with AR, especially stacked up next to daystAR.

Elsewhere, Lenovo is also making a standalone VR headset using Google’s new WorldSense platform, that should also be releasing this year just like its Windows 10 device. The company looks like it’s throwing everything it’s got at VR and AR, the only question is: what will stick?




AppData Folder in Windows: What Does It Mean?

Windows applications often store their data and settings in an AppData folder, and each Windows user account has its own. It’s a hidden folder, so you’ll only see it if you show hidden files in the file manager.

Where You’ll Find AppData

Each user account has its own AppData folder with its own contents. This allows Windows programs to store multiple sets of settings if a computer is used by multiple people. The AppData folder was introduced on Windows Vista, and is still in use on Windows 10, 8, and 7 today. 
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You’ll find each user account’s AppData folder—short for Application Data—in that user’s directory. For example, if your user name is “Bob”, you’ll find your application data folder at C:\Users\Bob\AppData by default. You can just plug this address into the address bar to view it, or show hidden folders and browse to your user account directory at C:\Users\NAME . (You can also type %APPDATA% into File Explorer’s address bar to head directly to the AppData\Roaming folder, which we’ll talk about in a moment.)


What Are Local, LocalLow, and Roaming?

There are actually three folders inside AppData, and different programs store different types of settings in each. Open your AppData folder and you’ll see Local, LocalLow, and Roaming folders.
Let’s start with Roaming. The Roaming folder contains data that would “roam” with a user account from computer to computer if your PC was connected to a domain with a roaming profile. This is often used for important settings. For example, Firefox stores its user profiles here, allowing your bookmarks and other browsing data to follow you from PC to PC.
The Local folder contains data that’s specific to a single computer. It’s never synced from computer to computer, even if you sign into a domain. This data is generally specific to a computer, or contains files that are too large. This data may include downloaded cache files and other large files, or just settings that a developer doesn’t think should sync between PCs. It’s up to each developer to decide what goes where.


If you’re not connected to a domain, there’s no real difference between the Roaming and Local folders. It’s all just stored on your PC. However, application developers still divide different types of data between different folders just in case.
The LocalLow folder is the same as the Local folder, but is designed for “low integrity” applications that run with more restricted security settings. For example, Internet Explorer when run in Protected Mode only has access to the LocalLow folder. The difference doesn’t really matter for your personal use, but some applications just need a folder to write to because they don’t have access to the main Local folder.
If a program wants to have a single set of settings or files that are used by multiple users, it should use the ProgramData folder instead. This was known as the “All Users” AppData folder in previous versions of Windows. For example, an antivirus application might keep its scan logs and settings in ProgramData and share them with all users on the PC.
These guidelines aren’t always adhered to. For example, Google Chrome stores all its settings and your user data in the Local folder, while we might expect it to store these settings in the Roaming folder instead.
Some applications may store their settings in your main user account folder at C:\Users\NAME\ , or in your documents folder at C:\Users\NAME\Documents . Others may store data in the registry, or in a folder elsewhere in your system. On Windows, application developers can store data wherever they like.

Should You Back Up the AppData Folder?

Most Windows users should never even need to know this folder exists. That’s why it’s hidden by default. Programs store their application data here, and you can poke around if you like—but you’ll rarely have a need to.
You shouldn’t need to back up this entire folder, although you may want to include it in backups just so you have everything, should you need to restore it.
But, if you want to back up a specific program’s settings or a computer game’s save files, you may be able to do it by digging into the AppData folder, finding the program’s directory, and copying it to another location. You may then be able to copy that folder to the same place on a new computer and the program will use the same settings. Whether this will work really depends on the programs—some programs store their settings in the registry, for example, or elsewhere on the system.
Many programs provide a way to synchronize their data between computers, or at least export it. It’s rare that you’ll have to dig into the AppData folder, but you may want to do it occasionally.




SpaceX Next-Gen Dragon Will Not Required Propulsion Landings After All

SpaceX has abandoned plans to use powered landings for its Mars-destined Dragon spacecraft, company CEO Elon Musk recently revealed. The original plan involved utilizing thrusters to help the Dragon land, but a ‘tough decision’ was made to eliminate that ability, or at least part of it. Musk explains that while the technical ability is still there, it has removed from the design the small legs that would pop out for the spacecraft to land on.
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As it stands, the current version of the Dragon, which is used for cargo, makes a splash-down landing. The private space company is creating a different version of Dragon, though, that will be used by NASA’s commercial crew program, and this under-development Dragon was set to use propulsion landings rather than splashdowns. 



The company has multiple reasons for scrapping these plans, the big one seemingly being that it no longer appears to be the right approach for landing on Mars. Talking about this at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference today, Musk explained, “I’m pretty confident that [propulsion landing] is not the right way and there’s a far better approach.”

Unfortunately, we don’t know what that approach is, though we’ll no doubt hear about it at some point in the future. Some different type of landing method will be utilized by future SpaceX spacecraft, but that’s all that was revealed this time around. The alternative method isn’t the only reason the company abandoned the propulsion landing plans, though, with Musk also revealing that there would have been ‘a tremendous amount of effort to qualify’ the technology in terms of crew safety.

Musk also remained quiet about SpaceX’s planned Red Dragon mission, something that itself has already experienced a launch bump from next year to 2020. Whether that Red Dragon mission will end up entirely cancelled due to the scrapping of the propulsion plans is unclear.





Hackers Again Stole $32 Million Worth Of Ethereum; Third Theft Within 20 Days

An unknown hacker has just stolen nearly $32 million worth of Ethereum – one of the most popular and increasingly valuable cryptocurrencies – from Ethereum wallet accounts linked to at least three companies that seem to have been hacked. 
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This is the third Ethereum cryptocurrency heist that came out two days after an alleged hacker stole $7.4 million worth of Ether from trading platform CoinDash, and two weeks after an unknown attacker hacked into South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb and stole more than $1 Million in Ether and Bitcoins from user accounts.


On Wednesday, Smart contract coding company Parity issued a security alert, warning of a critical vulnerability in Parity's Ethereum Wallet software, which is described as "the fastest and most secure way of interacting with the Ethereum network."

Exploiting the vulnerability allowed attackers to compromise at least three accounts and steal nearly 153,000 units of Ether worth just almost US$32 million at the current price.


The attack started late Tuesday and continued on Wednesday, resulting in a total of three transactions, which can be seen on Etherscan.io. The three victims of the attack identified are:
Parity says the vulnerability affected the contract used to create multi-signature Ethereum wallets in Parity version 1.5 or later, warning its users to move their Ether from their in-browser wallets to more secure accounts immediately. 



White Hat Hackers Group Holds $75 Million Worth of Ethereum


Yes, 377,000 more Ether worth over $75 Million were also drained by white hat hackers.

As the attack began, a group of white hat hackers used the same exploit to drain approximately 377,000 Ether from other vulnerable wallets into holding accounts in order to protect them from black hat hackers, Coindesk reports.

The Whitehats are currently holding the rescued funds and has promised to return the funds to their owners once this security threat passed.
"The White Hat Group were made aware of a vulnerability in a specific version of a commonly used multisig contract. This vulnerability was trivial to execute, so they took the necessary action to drain every vulnerable multisig they could find as quickly as possible," White Hats wrote on Reddit
"We will be creating another multisig for you that has the same settings as your old multisig but with the vulnerability removed and we will return your funds to you there."
The company has just released an updated version of the Parity software fixing the vulnerability.




Latest Update For DOOM ‘Ultimate’ 6.66 Unlocks All The DLCs And Major Revisions Seen

The cleverly named update 6.66 ‘Ultimate’ update for Bethesda’s DOOM video game has arrived, and with it comes an unlocking of all the DLCs. The game, which is now more than a year old, pits players against the forces of hell in what has largely been a well-received version of the classic game. According to Bethesda, new people and early players are still enjoying this title, and now everyone is getting a chance to try the game via free weekends.
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As great as it is, DOOM is now a bit dated and so it’s no surprise Bethesda is moving to renew interest. To make the game more appealing, the company is ditching the season pass arrangement and unlocking all of the DLC content. That means everyone gets access to the trio of multiplayer packs, of which there are the nine top maps, more playable demons and guns, additional armor and equipment, and other stuff.

If you don’t have the game, that won’t be a problem — Bethesda is also rolling out free weekends starting tomorrow, though PlayStation 4 owners will have to wait until next Thursday, the 27th, to get their own free weekend access. Once the free weekend ends, players who enjoyed the game will be given the chance to buy it at a discounted $14.99 USD / $17.99 AUD / 11.99 GBP price.

In addition to unlocking the DLCs, the company says that it is making some changes with the 6.66 update, not the least of which is replacing the Hack Module System with a new Runes System. The new system will bring persistent earned abilities to players in multiplayer; they neither expire nor have to be activated, instead arriving at the player load out.


The HUD is also being treated with improved callouts, and there’s a completely revised kill card to help players assess how they died (that is, what kind of weapon was used and the damage). The user interface and menus are also being updated in 6.66, with new post-match summaries and lobbies that have better player statuses, among other things. Bethesda says it has also fully revised its multiplayer progression system, and plus there are ‘tons of bug fixes’ and general improvements.

SOURCE: Bethesda





GLAS: Microsoft’s Cortana Thermostat Possesses A Windows 10 IoT Core

Microsoft has its own smart thermostat in the pipeline, and it is called GLAS. The model comes from HVAC provider Johnson Controls; it sports a Windows 10 Internet of Things core, according to Microsoft, and packs all of the intelligence of Cortana. The company is only teasing the thermostat at this time, and so there are some questions remaining. The model has, however, been shown off in a video.
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To put it mildly, the Microsoft GLAS thermostat is beautiful and it could be paired nicely with both traditional and modern home designs. The video below shows off the thermostat, explaining that it is suitable for use in both homes and businesses. We don’t know the thermostat’s specs, but the imagery appears to show that it has a clear touch display. 





Microsoft states that GLAS features a combination of Azure Cloud, Cortana voice services, and the aforementioned Windows 10 IoT core. On the user side of things, they get an elegant thermostat with an intuitive interface, one that makes old mechanical dials and battery-powered LCDs look positively archaic. The display is mounted on a base that appears to harbor a camera, though it could also be a light sensor.


In addition to packing technology that will help consumers save money on electricity, Microsoft indicates the thermostat will in some way help monitor air quality — whether that’s via an integration with a separate air monitor or via built-in sensors is unknown at this time. The thermostat will also give the user daily reports on the environment.

Microsoft says the thermostat can intelligently alter its settings when necessary based on the assessment it makes throughout the day. There’s voice activation, a menu that shows estimated energy savings, plus the current air quality. When will GLAS be available and how much will it cost? The company hasn’t yet revealed that information.

SOURCE: YouTube




NewPipe Is An Android App For YouTube Having More Controls And No Google

YouTube is arguably the biggest source of streaming multimedia, video or audio, on the Internet but its viewing experience on mobile, even on Google’s own Android, leaves much to be desired. We are almost at the mercy of how Google dictates mobile users should experience YouTube, which isn’t really that much compared to what you can do on the desktop. There are, however, a few enterprising and daring developers who are giving users a bit more control. Like this NewPipes app that even lets you slow down or speed up YouTube vids, whether Google allows it or not. 
NewPipe Is An  Android App For YouTube Having More Controls And No Google


To be clear, NewPipe is not an app that you can find on Google Play Store for one very important reason. It violates Google’s Terms of Service because of the way it uses YouTube to deliver functionality that is otherwise not even available on the web browser version of YouTube. Because of that, the only way to get it is by getting the APK from the project’s GitHub page and sideloading it. All disclaimers about security and safety apply.

Because it directly taps into YouTube web pages to parse the information it needs, it bypasses a lot of Google’s requirements. You don’t even need to have Google Play Service installed to use it, which could be a boon for advanced users who prefer to keep their custom ROMs Google-free. In exchange for that roundabout way of getting information and videos, NewPipe offers functionality you won’t find even in third-party but sanctioned YouTube apps.

For example, you can stream the YouTube video to a different player if you wish or even to Kodi. You can download not just videos but even audio only versions. The latest new feature lets you choose the playback speed of the video.

Given how this app is treading on murky waters, it remains to be seen how long before Google attempts to block it, one way or another. That said, Google can’t do so easily without potentially breaking features that other blessed third-party apps use. And since NewPipe is open source, it won’t be too hard for others to take up the torch to keep it moving forward.

SOURCE: GitHub





The Restored 4K Blu-Ray Box Of Terminator 2 Will Be Having A Giant Robot Arm

Terminator fans are in for a treat. Company StudioCanal has announced the upcoming release of a new 2D/3D Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray of Terminator 2. That news alone isn’t terribly exciting, but the special content in the box set is: there will be a life-size Terminator robot arm included with the kit. The box set is expected to arrive later on this year likely following a remastered version of the film heading to some theaters.
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Terminator 2 remains the most beloved installment in the Terminator franchise, and its enduring existence across new mediums and formats proves this. The movie has already been brought to Blu-ray in the past, but this time around it’ll be in Ultra HD definition and/or in 3D, depending on the iteration you buy.




The movie has been remastered and will be heading to theaters throughout the UK starting next month; StudioCanal anticipates offering its special box set later on this year, but whether it will coincide with the theatrical re-release is unclear. If you’ve never seen the movie in remastered 4K quality, check out the trailer below — be sure to bump YouTube’s resolution up to the max if it’s not that way upon playing.

The box set, meanwhile, will feature the new 4K restoration of the film, as well as the 3D remaster, though you’ll need a 3D television to enjoy it. The set will also include the ‘T2: Reprogramming The Terminator’ documentary and a pair of feature commentaries, one with James Cameron and William Wisher, the other with 23 cast and crew members. There will also be ‘The making of T2’ from 1993.


That’s not the end of it, though. The kit will feature a ‘seamless branching’ of the special extended movie cut, the director’s cut, and the theatrical cut, plus a pair of deleted scenes with accompanying audio commentary. A new 3D version of the T2 trailer will be included alongside the movies, plus the original legacy trailers. 




If you’re a mega-fan, there’s also going to be the Endo Arm Special Edition, a kit that will have a 2D copy of the movie, a 3D copy of the Blu-ray, a 4K Ultra HD copy, and a CD soundtrack, plus the collectible Terminator robot arm in a special case. Price is unclear.

SOURCE: Blu-ray




Fitbit Smartwatch Will Still Be Release, says CEO

Huawei’s announcement of its new Band 2 and Band 2 Pro has got people wondering where Fitbit is in all of these. Last we heard, the famed fitness tracker maker was on the road to creating its first true smartwatch (no, the Blaze above doesn’t really count) but has been hit with delays. Breaking his silence, company chief James Park assures fans and critics alike that the Fitbit Smartwatch, whatever it will be called, is actually still on track and has even shared what features it will and will not have.
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You’d probably be crazy to make your own smartwatch platform these days, with Android Wear and Apple watchOS dominating the scene. Unless you were Pebble, except they have been acquired by Fitbit. Undaunted and defying reports of financial woes and delays, Park claims that everything is still going to plan.

But what are those plans? Apparently nothing so grand as Android Wear or even the dearly departed Pebble. Fitbit’s focus is still primarily on the fitness side. In fact, you could say that the smartwatch aspect is just sugar on top. A fitness tracker in smartwatch clothing, so to speak.


A precise GPS is one such feature, something Fitbit already has in most of its high-end trackers but something most smartwatches don’t. Park also says that there will be new biometric sensors, though, unsurprisingly, doesn’t go into detail about them. It will be interesting to see if Fitbit has come up with something we haven’t seen yet in that space, considering there seems to have been very little innovation as far as sensors go.

The smartwatch part consists of “nice to have” features, like music playback, both offline and online, possibly partnering with Spotify, Pandora, and the like. Fitbit will utilize Pebble’s HTML/Javascript-based platform to pull in app developers. But what the Fitbit smartwatch won’t have is standalone internet connectivity, TE or otherwise. Park doesn’t believe there is a compelling use case for this feature, at least not at the expense of battery life.

Despite being “on track”, Park has made no estimate when the Fitbit smartwatch will actually pop up. When it does, it will have to squeeze into a small but already saturated smartwatch market. How it will stand out from the sea of smartwatches is something left to be seen, but it’s not easy to discount the allure of Fitbit’s name and the promise of week-long battery life.

SOURCE: Financial Times




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