Category Archives: Technology

Nintendo Gets Go Ahead to Sell Switch Console in China

Nintendo may have just hit the jackpot in a good way; they can now sell their Switch Console in China.

Nintendo shares were up by more than 15 percent Friday afternoon in Tokyo after its Chinese partner Tencent Holdings received approval to sell its Switch console in the southern province of Guangdong.

Authorities in Guangdong, where Tencent is registered, posted the news on their website Thursday according to Reuters, saying they had permission to start distributing the Switch with a test version of New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

China brought its 15-year ban on video game consoles to an end in 2015, but Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox have struggled to gain significant traction in the huge local market. This was followed by a ban on new video games last year, which was partially lifted in December, with Tencent winning approval for some games at the start of 2019.

Some analysts see more potential for Nintendo’s games roster than rivals Sony or Microsoft because of the popularity of properties such as Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon in China. Nevertheless, progress in the market is likely to be slow, with new titles needing to be individually approved and a big backlog in applications that are believed to have built up during last year’s ban.

Consoles need approval from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, while software needs permission from the State Administration of Press and Publication.

With Nintendo being able to sell their Switch in China now, it will help its stock prices which had dropped sharply in January due to cutting the project sales of their console. The stock price has been down by 11 percent for the last 12 months.

 

Photo from CNET

Earthquakes Underestimated in California

If you live in, or plan on living, in Southern California in the near future, take this as a note. There will be plenty of earthquakes (mainly small ones) that you will have to deal with on a consistent basis.

In a ten year period from 2008 and 2017, the southern part of California was hit by over 1.8 million earthquakes. This is 10 times more than previously thought, a new study found.

Seismologists at the California Institute of Technology found approximately 180,000 earthquakes had been recorded during that time.

The data from the daily recordings showed that the region experienced at least 495 quakes a day. or roughly one every three minutes. The reason that most of these earthquakes were missed was simply because they were just too small to notice, even for the best technology.

“It’s not that we didn’t know these small earthquakes were occurring,” said Zachary Ross, lead author of the study and soon to be assistant professor of geophysics at Caltech. “The problem is that they can be very difficult to spot amid all of the noise.”

The study about these earthquakes was published last Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Science.

Researchers did state that it was hard to find the smaller quakes or temblors because seismic data also includes background noise such as building construction and shaking from traffic.

To find the quakes, seismologists used a technique called “template matching,” where an easily-identifiable earthquake signal is used as a template to find matching data indicating a temblor. Researchers also used an array of powerful computers to scan the earthquake catalog and verify the new earthquakes.

Most of the smaller temblors that were found by scientists were between negative 2.0 and 1.7.

In a statement, Michael Gurnis, director of the seismological laboratory and geophysics professor at Caltech, said the study “has opened a new window, allowing us to see millions of previously unseen earthquakes and this changes our ability to characterize what happens before and after large earthquakes.”

 

Photo from Time Magazine

Samsung Cancels Chinese Launch of Galaxy Fold

Samsung was looking to hit a home run with the introduction of the Galaxy Fold, a smartphone that is foldable. However, the first people to get the phone have had some of the worst experiences that anyone has experienced with similar devices.

As a result of this, Samsung has reportedly postponed the Chinese launch of its forthcoming Galaxy Fold smartphone, according to SamMobile. They reported that the issue wasn’t due to problems with the phone itself but due to the lack of a venue.

This also has resulted in the cancellation of planned events in Hong Kong and Shanghai that were set to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. This news came from Richard Lai’s Twitter. Lai is the editor in chief for Engadget Chinese.

As of press time, Samsung has not made an official report explaining why the cancellations happened, and they have not said if they plan on rescheduling the phone’s release.

This comes after numerous reports from various tech journalists and big names who found the devices they had to review ended up breaking after a couple of days. Some of the issues ranged from the hinge or screen breaking and some curious users removed the protective covering from the screen, which resulted in the phone breaking.

Samsung did release a statement on those reports, saying that it “will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter.” However, all reports have indicated that they still plan on moving forward with the US launch date of April 26th, which is this Friday.

Samsung has a lot riding on this first-generation device. The $1,980 phone is the highest-profile foldable phone to hit the market, and reports that the devices are breaking after just a couple of days of use is potentially a huge setback.

 

Photo from Android Central

Measles Outbreak Hitting the Country Hard

The battle over vaccinations has taken a turn for the worse in New York.

The widening measles outbreak has prompted public health officials to take extraordinary measures to limit the spread of the highly contagious virus.

The city of New York will be making unvaccinated people in high-risk areas in Brooklyn get immunized or they will face fines upwards of $1,000. Schools in Washington have barred hundreds of students from classes and school events due to an outbreak there.

Hospitals in some areas are currently screening kids who have a fever and/or a rash in the nation’s second-worst outbreak since the supposed elimination of measles in 2000.

But what about people who can’t – or shouldn’t – get vaccinated?
Of course, with any battle involving health, public trust must be taken into consideration. Parents vaccinate their children in order to protect them from preventable diseases. This also helps those who can’t get vaccinated due to age or other health issues like cancer.

Continue reading Measles Outbreak Hitting the Country Hard

Error: Facebook and Instagram Down For More Than 2 Hours

If you had troubles this morning trying to log into Facebook or Instagram, no worries, because you were not the only one.

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were all experiencing issues this morning for users worldwide.

Two of the most popular social media sites, Facebook and Instagram, were both inaccessible, with news feeds refusing to refresh and the main Facebook.com domain unavailable for more than two hours.

WhatsApp messages were also unable to be sent or received (it is like a form of texting). Most people headed over to Twitter to share their complaints and concerns before the return of their beloved sites. Messenger, Facebook’s chat service, was also down for more than two hours.

The outages appear to have started at around 6:30 AM EST this morning, and some locations were more widely affected than others.

A spokesperson for Facebook released a statement to the Verge saying they were aware that some people were having trouble accessing the Facebook family of apps. “We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible,” the statement read.

Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp all started to come back online at around 9 AM ET this morning.

These issues come after Facebook dealt with a previous service outage that was the worst in the company’s history. It took over 24 hours before all of the issues were solved and for most users, it took hours before they were able to post on the social media sites.

Facebook blamed a “server configuration change,” and apologized for the outages.

 

Photo from Regenexx

2020 Presidential Hopeful Plans to Launch his Campaign via Hologram

The 2020 presidential race is slowly picking up the pace with numerous Democratic candidates entering the race to see if they can be the one to replace current president Donald Trump as he looks for re-election. One hopeful is going to officially announce his campaign with something that has only been used in music so far.

Through the use of holograms, 2020 presidential contender Andrew Yang hopes he can be in two places at once while campaigning for the Democratic nomination.

Yang, 44, told TMZ that he was testing out the technology so that he could more easily campaign in the early battleground states of Iowa and New Hampshire. While talking to TMZ, Yang would demonstrate the technology, which has been made famous because of Tupac Shakur, who was shot and killed back in 1996.

“Well, if you look closely at that footage, you’ll see it’s actually not me performing with hologram Tupac. That’s a hologram of me,” Yang explained. “I was doing a demo of what a hologram would consist of in order to send the hologram me to campaign in Iowa and other battleground states so I could be in two places or three places at once.”

Yang is a noted tech entrepreneur from New York who has a following of supporters. Some of his supporters use the name “Yang Gang” to refer to themselves, and they use sites like Reddit and 4Chan.

He is also known for his outside of the box ideas, which include cutting down on the number of circumcisions in the United States, making Tax Day an official holiday, and giving $1,000 to every single American.

As of right now, Yang is a minor candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, as he is currently polling at 0.8%, according to RealClearPolitics. However, he has raised over $2 million in campaign donations with 80,000 donors, which is enough to qualify him for the first Democratic presidential debate.

 

Photo from CNN

Hurricane Season is Upon Us But There’s Good News in Sight

We have officially just started hurricane season here in the United States. The season which runs until November officially has not been kind to us in these past two seasons, with devastating hurricanes hitting the East Coast from Florida to North Carolina.

This season, however, is likely to be different from the previous two.

Thanks to a weak El Nino, experts are expecting a weak, slightly below average Atlantic hurricane season. This information was composed by meteorologist Phil Klotzbach and other experts from Colorado State University.

They predicted that there will be 13 named tropical storms that will form, five of which will become hurricanes.

An average season has 12 tropical storms, six of which are hurricanes. The past two seasons were above average seasons.

A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its wind speed reaches above 74 mph.

Of the five predicted hurricanes, two are expected to spin into major hurricanes – Category 3, 4 or 5 – with sustained wind speeds of 111 mph or greater. The group said there’s a near-average chance for major hurricanes to make landfall along the U.S. coastline. Klotzbach put the chance of a major hurricane strike at 39%.

Last year, Florence and Michael combined to kill more than 100 Americans and cost nearly $50 billion in damage, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

The team predicts that 2019 hurricane activity will be about 75% of the average season. By comparison, 2018’s hurricane activity was about 120% of the average season.

The prediction from Colorado State last year was nearly spot on; they had predicted 14 tropical storms would form, of which seven would become hurricanes. In all, 15 tropical storms developed, and eight strengthened into hurricanes.

One of the major determining factors in hurricane forecasting is whether the USA is in an El Niño or La Niña climate pattern.

The First Ever Photo of a Black Hole is to be Released Soon

For us, the sheer power of a black hole is something that we do not want to experience. The fact that we can be swallowed up at any given moment is frightening and amazing at the same time.

However, we have never seen a picture of a black hole due to it being well, a black hole. We have known of them for decades now, but soon we will see an actual picture of a black hole.

Next Wednesday, at several press briefings around the world, scientists will apparently unveil humanity’s first-ever photo of a black hole, the European Space Agency said in a statement. What is even more amazing is where the picture is coming from. The black hole, “Sagittarius A,” is at the center of our Milky Way galaxy.

But aren’t black holes, well, black, and thus invisible, so none of our telescopes can “see” them? Yes – therefore the image we’re likely to see will be of the “event horizon,” the edge of the black hole where light can’t escape.

Even that will be challenging, however, as the black hole at the center of our galaxy is “shrouded in a thick cloud of dust and gas,” according to Science Alert. Even more confounding is that spacetime around a black hole is “weird.”

The picture might be hard to see at first. This is due to the fact that black holes are actually collapsed stars. Their gravity is so strong that even light can not escape from the grasp of the hole. So the photo may show a dark blob surrounded by a ring of bright light, according to Yahoo.

Science News said that the black hole research was done using the Event Horizon Telescope, a network of eight radio observatories around the world.

It was reported by Popular Mechanics that this announcement taking place next week, whatever it could be, will be something that we have never seen before.

Press briefings will be held simultaneously in the U.S, Brussels, Santiago, Shanghai, Taipei, and Tokyo.

Twitter Introduces Their “Lights Out” Dark Mode

Ever since Twitter introduced their dark theme for their mobile devices back in 2016, there were complaints about it not being dark enough. Well, Twitter has listened and they have introduced their true version of dark mode for iOS. (Sorry Android users).

Earlier this week, the new feature was released to users who have iPhones.

This new mode takes advantage of OLED screens’ ability to display pure black – they achieve this by turning off the pixels entirely to produce the darkest possible shade of black. This feature looks and works best on the most recent iPhones, which is why the feature is currently only available on iPhones only.

If you’re using one with an LCD display, you’ll still see a darker shade of black than before.

However, the switch between the old dark mode and the Lights Out version is not too big; yes, the new version is darker while the old version has a blueish tint, but it seems like the older version was better for the eyes.

In order to switch to this mode, you will need to head to your settings on the Twitter app and tap on the dark mode toggle and select the Lights Out option.

This feature is not available to Twitter users that have Android phones, but the company has promised that the new feature will be available to them very soon.

 

Photo from Metro

Verizon Introduces a Free Version of Their Call Filter

More and more people are looking at different cell phone companies just based off whether or not there will be a system for blocking out robocalls, which reached record highs in the past couple of years.

Verizon is releasing their features for free to customers after telling their customers of the features earlier in the week. They would fulfill that promise with Call Filter, which previously cost $2.99 per month per line.

The free version, which has the same name as the paid service, will be available to Verizon customers on the App Store and Google Play.

Some of the features that will be available on the free version of Call Filter include a spam detection, spam filter, and the ability to report numbers. Users will also get an alert if the incoming call is likely to be spam. Verizon will also let you determine your level of risk, which in return will help the network be able to block calls for you automatically, sending them to voicemail.

The free version has been released already, but Verizon did state that it will take about three weeks before all of its customers will have use of it. You won’t need to sign up for an unlimited plan to get the service, but Call Filter will not be available to prepaid users.

The service won’t be limited to just Android and Apple phones, as it will work with basic phones along with BlackBerrys and the discontinued Windows Phone. The setup will vary with each phone as users with those phones will have to call Verizon, head to a store, or log in to their accounts online.

Now, there will be some features that will not be available on the free version of Call Filter, which is why Verizon will be still offering the $2.99 version of Call Filter. Those who opt to pay for it will also gain Caller ID to identify the names of unknown callers, plus the ability to create personal spam and block lists.

Those who have the paid version will also get a “robocall risk meter,” a scale on your screen based on the fraud risk, ranging from low to medium, to high. The paid version will also provide users the ability to research and look up spam numbers.

It was also announced on Thursday that Verizon has successfully designed a “verified calls” feature on its network that helps you determine whether a caller is legit, showing you a notification that it is verified alongside the full ten digit number. This will be a function under the premium Call Filter services.

The company has started deploying verification across its network and will continue doing so over the next few months.

Verizon is not the first company to be entering the race to fight back against spammers as AT&T and Comcast made the announcement last week that they have completed their first verified call between their respective networks.

T-Mobile was the first to launch a  call verification on its mobile network, which took place earlier this year. However, it was only doing so for calls between T-Mobile customers and on a limited amount of devices as it waits for other carriers and networks to roll out the feature.

 

Photo from Forbes

Apple Cancels Their AirPower Project

Apple’s AirPower is officially dead. Yep, the wireless charger that would have been able to charge any Apple product is not going to be produced.

The product was first announced alongside the iPhone X in 2017; however, Apple has officially killed off the project.

When it was initially announced, the AirPower was touted as being capable of wirelessly charging an iPhone, AirPods, and an Apple Watch at once, something that has not been seen or done before. At the time, Apple had this product releasing in 2018. Well, 2018 has come and gone by, and now, we will never see this product in households.

A statement from Apple was first provided to Tech Crunch and has been confirmed by USA TODAY. Apple stated that they felt the charging pad did not reach their standards, therefore resulting in the cancellation of the product entirely.

“After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have canceled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward,” said Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering to Tech Crunch.

There have been persisting rumors that Apple had issues with hardware in trying to manufacture the pad. Sonny Dickson, a notable Apple leaker, wrote in a blog that the company had issues with heat management, interference, and the accuracy and speed of charging Apple products.

You may remember the battery issues that Samsung had with one of their Galaxy phones a couple of years back. Apple most likely did not want to have those issues with their AirPower, resulting in the pad’s cancellation.

This comes after Apple announced their latest version of the AirPods, which will come with a wireless charging case.

In what seems to be an ironic and cruel twist, anyone who buys the next generation of the wireless-charging buds will have a reference to, and in some cases a picture of, the now-canceled AirPower on its packaging.

What was meant to be a game changer will now be just a footnote on a box.

Gearbox Announces the Next Entry of Borderlands

After a long few years, Gearbox, the gaming company known for its Borderlands series, finally decided that in order to get back on track, it is time for the third game.

This news has been long-anticipated by fans, but it is now official: the third Borderlands game is coming out soon, according to Gearbox. After months of rumors, hints, and teases, the game was officially announced on Friday. There is no word on platforms (Xbox and PlayStation will be assumed here) or a release date, but it has been suggested by 2K Games, the publisher, that it will be out within this coming fiscal year, which will be next April.

This is the fourth entry in the critically and commercially successful loot-shooting Borderlands series, after the first two games and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, which came out in 2014.

Borderlands 3 looks very similar to the three previous games, which were very popular and liked by critics and gamers.

This news, which is great for Gearbox, comes after a few difficult years for the independent studio located in Frisco, Texas. They have dealt with two high-profile games that were poorly received due to their graphics. Aliens: Colonial Marines, which was released in 2013, became infamous after a pre-released demo exposed the game for graphics that were flashy and fake compared to the real game’s. In 2016, an attempt to appeal to the fans of the hero shooters, but that game flopped just as hard as the Aliens game.

Now, the company will hope to win new fans as well as bring back old fans with a new entry to its most successful series to date.

However, for right now, fans will have to wait for more news, and according to Gearbox, there will be more to reveal to fans on April 3.

 

NASA Has Published Picture of Undetected Meteor

A week before Christmas last year, there was a meteor that none of us even knew about. Now it wasn’t one that put us at risk but it was a reminder of how hard it could be to miss the ones that put us at risk of the end.

On Friday, previously unreleased satellite photos of a powerful asteroid that appeared just above the Bering Sea were released by NASA after it was discovered in photos.

The explosion unleashed around 173 kilotons of energy, more than 10 times that of the atomic bomb blast over Hiroshima in World War II.

Images captured minutes after the fireball disintegrated in the atmosphere show the shadow of the meteor’s trail cast on top of clouds, elongated by the sun’s low position.

The super-heated air turns the clouds to an orange tint in the meteor’s wake.

The pictures that were taken were from two NASA instruments on board the Terre satellite.

A still image was taken at 2350 GMT, while five of the nine cameras on the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument took another sequence of photos at 2355, which NASA collated into a GIF that shows the orange trail.

NASA estimates that the meteor occurred at 23:48 GMT.

Meteors are rocks from outer space that become incandescent upon entering earth’s atmosphere as a result of friction. They are also known as shooting stars. Pieces that survive intact and hit the ground are known as meteorites, which are very common for meteor showers and are sights to see.

It was the most powerful explosion in the atmosphere since the fireball that burst over the Russian town of Chelyabinsk in 2013. That was 440 kilotons, and left 1,500 people injured, mostly from glass flying out of smashed windows.

This time around, the blast occurred over waters, hundreds of kilometers off the Russian coast.

The first photo of the event that was happening was caught by a Japanese weather satellite and was just released this week as well.

Apple Looking to Add a New Feature to the Next iPhone

The Samsung Galaxy S10, which was recently released, can charge other phones if you just place them together, as long as both phones have a glass back.

This ability to charge other devices wirelessly off of the new phones, allowing you to share a bit of your battery life in a pinch,  was recently introduced by Huawei and Samsung.

Japanese blog Mactakera (via 9to5Mac) has reported that Apple’s next iPhone might include the feature in the near future.

This is not a surprise, since Apple is always trying to keep pace with its competition in order to have the best profits.

The blog cites Chinese suppliers, backing up an earlier report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that claims the 2019 iPhone would get such a feature, along with upgraded cameras and a bigger battery. This is also another attempt to stay on pace with the Galaxy after their release of the popular Galaxy S10.

The site also notes that the forthcoming iPhone might also come with a new charging cable and the 18W charging port that comes with the iPad Pro, although it won’t utilize USB-C.

Being able to wirelessly charge off of an iPhone would be useful, especially after Apple said the second generation of AirPods would come with a wireless charging case. Also, there have been rumors of a truly wireless form of the Beats Powerbeats in the near future.

A wireless charging case for AirPods would be a feature that could very well be extremely useful if your headphones or Apple Watch die while you’re out and about and away from a charger.

 

T-Rex Found in Canada Determined to be World’s Biggest

If you were to be asked, “What is the first dinosaur that you can name?” most people would probably say, a T-Rex. This is not surprising, as the dinosaur is very legendary in many ways, and the T-Rex they found previously in Canada has now been determined to be one of the biggest ever.

The towering Tyrannosaurus Rex that  was discovered in western Canada in 1991 has been determined to be the world’s largest in recorded history. A team of paleontologists determined this in a statement on Friday after decades of research and the reconstructing of the skeleton.

Nicknamed “Scotty,” for a celebratory bottle of scotch consumed the night it was discovered, the T-Rex was measured at 13 yards long and probably weighed more than 19,400 pounds, making it bigger than all other carnivorous dinosaurs, the team from the University of Alberta said in a statement. Continue reading T-Rex Found in Canada Determined to be World’s Biggest

Amazon to Introduce Ads in their App

It has become a common occurrence to see ads displayed on whatever website or app that you use. Well, expect to see more of them when you go shopping on Amazon.

Amazon has decided to start displaying video ads to online shoppers as a way to make more money for the company that seems like it doesn’t have enough money in the world.

This has been a part of a several months long beta that Amazon has been testing out on their mobile apps. According to a Bloomberg report, this rollout will be coming to the Android and iOS versions of Amazon’s mobile app in the coming weeks. The video ads that will play to users will be about search items that they have been looking at.

It will also include shoppers’ tips and how to items that Amazon sees as a way to make people stay on their app instead of leaving the app to look at videos of the product on sites like YouTube.

It is reported to be a way for Amazon to break up the monopoly of video advertisement that Google and Facebook have set up for themselves. Amazon will now account for at least 8.8% of the digital advertising market, while Google still claims over 37%, which is a decrease of 1% from last year,

Amazon is also increasing their budget to show ads online by 22%, equaling $16 billion for this year.

Amazon sees the opportunity to increase their value by doing this, and we will see in the end whether or not this will work for them.

 

Photo from Mobile App Daily

Who is Going to Enter the World Gaming Hall of Fame this Year?

Who is going to be the lucky ones to enter the hall of fame that is designed for video games?

Will it be Solitaire that is finally able to play its cards right and enter the hall? Could the popular franchise, Mortal Kombat be able to “Finish it” and claim it’s rightful place in the hall? Or could it be the popular mobile game, Candy Crush that is able to enter the hall at a very young age?

There are 12 different games that are up for nomiation that include Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, and NBA 2K. The expert committee will decide whether or not any of these 12 games will be inducted in the hall on May 2nd. Gamers are also allowed to vote for their favorites into the hall until March 28th in an online ballot.

The World Video Game Hall of Fame is located in Rochester, NY and it recognizes all electronic games in many different platforms from arcade to mobile phones.

It also shows how popular the video game industry is as they are also breaking records in profits again as the industry is projected to make nearly $140 billion from last year compared to the dwarf size amount of $43.4 billion made by the movie industry.

It is very honorable for these games to be considered for the hall of fame and good luck to each and everyone of these games in their races to enter the hall.

 

Photo from Nintendo Reporters

PETA Faces Backlash for Steve Irwin Comments on Twitter

February 22nd would have been Steve Irwin’s 57th birthday. To us watching Animal Planet at home, we saw Steve as the Crocodile Hunter. But he was no hunter; he was a conservationist who taught us not to approach the animals as he did. He loved what he did and to this day, his family follows in his footsteps.

PETA, however, does not see it like that; they saw Irwin as a terrible example. They believe he was in the wrong for what he did and that when Irwin was killed by a stingray in 2006, he more or less deserved it.

Cue one of the few times that everyone on Twitter can agree with something. That something was attacking PETA for their comments on the tribute that Google did for Steve, their Google Doodle.

Celebrities like Drake Bell and Dan Bilzerian have made comments in the last 24 hours denouncing the statements of PETA while most Twitter users were pointing out how Democrats and Republicans were agreeing about how Irwin was a much better conservationist than PETA.

Users were also able to point out that PETA has a robot system. Whenever someone tweeted #donate in a reply on PETA’s Twitter, PETA left very funny replies like this one from a user: “I just boiled 3 pandas alive, y’all want some?  #donate.” PETA replied with a thank you and link to finish the donation.

Other users also pointed out PETA’s history of killing dogs and cats that were unable to be adopted in time. PETA responded to some of those comments with statistics from the organization themselves.

The lesson to be learned here is it doesn’t matter how big or powerful you are if you make comments against a great human being like Steve Irwin. You better get ready to face a ton of backlash.

 

Photo from Indy100