When Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield and his team realized that their online game Game Neverending wasn't going to be a hit, they turned the game's photo-sharing tool into a stand alone product -- and got lucky.
Fast forward 8 years and Butterfield is at it again. His new company Tiny Speck, which employs much of the same team as before, shelved its online game Glitch last year. Now, they've taken the customized communications … Read more
The Federal Communications Commission voted Friday to regulate phone rates for prisoners calling from jails and prisons.
The 2-1 vote to support the new regulation will significantly lower calling rates, which can total as much as $17 for a 15-minute phone call, or 10 times what an average per-minute calling rate is for regular consumers.
As part of the new rules, the agency will cap per-minute charges to 25 cents per minute, which means a 15-minute call would cost no more than $3.75. The FCC also banned extra fees associated with making collect calls or using calling cards.
Families … Read more
One day in the future, your bathtub could become a spectacular arcade that lets you play video games by splashing your hands around.
A projection system called AquaTop uses water as an interactive display, allowing users' limbs to freely move through, under, and over the projection surface for a more immersive experience.
The prototype setup, created by a team of engineers from Tokyo's University of Electro-Communications, projects games, movies, and photos (or, presumably, e-mail and spreadsheets, but they're not as much fun) onto a liquid surface made cloudy with an opaque powder. A Microsoft Kinect depth sensor detects motions from above and beneath. … Read more
The U.S. Department of Defense is building its own secure 4G network to improve collaboration among separate branches of the military, according to the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The network is part of an effort dubbed "Joint Information Environment," which will consolidate 15,000 Defense Department networks in the cloud, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey said in a speech (PDF) delivered Thursday at the Brookings Institute, an influential think tank based in Washington, D.C. In addition to greater collaboration, the new network will be "significantly more secure, helping ensure the integrity … Read more
Let's face it: It doesn't matter how high quality the video is. Chatting over Skype or FaceTime doesn't do a lot of good if the call is between the hearing and the deaf and only the latter know sign language.
Now, following a successful release in California in April, the SmartVP videophone by Purple Communications is available free of charge to the deaf and hard-of-hearing nationwide, and it manages to solve the signing conundrum.… Read more
Apple apparently still has its eye on NFC, at least as described in a freshly won patent.
Awarded Tuesday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, an Apple patent called "System and method for simplified data transfer" describes a way of automatically transferring data from one device to another.
Both devices would be configured to copy data from one to the other. The first device may be set up to save and transfer data associated with specific apps. Powering up the second device would automatically tell the first device to transfer the data. The devices outlined in … Read more
The U.S. government is easing sanctions that for more than two decades have prohibited companies from selling electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, and wireless routers to Iran.
The move, announced Thursday by the Treasury Department, allows U.S. residents to export electronic equipment to individuals but not to the Iranian government or "to any individual or entity on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list." The SDN list is a compilation of individuals and groups with whom U.S. residents are prohibited from doing business, such as Al-Qaeda.
"The people of Iran should be able … Read more
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder supports privacy changes that would require the government to seek a warrant based on probable cause to obtain cloud-stored e-mail, and other documents and files stored in the cloud.
"But the more general notion of having a warrant to obtain the content of communications from a service provider is something that we support," Holder added, noting that citizen privacy and the government's ability to access such data is "one of the most important conversations" to be had in this day and age.
He stated that there were "very … Read more