A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top 10 tech stories, from Travis Kalanick’s departure from Uber to how to make your home look Airbnb ready — it’s all here.
Virgin Mobile is redefining itself, and part of that new identity involves partnering with Apple and turning its business into the first “iPhone-only” carrier. The carrier’s new program is called “Inner Circle.”
Inner Circle, which Virgin announced at an event in San Francisco, means the carrier is getting rid of all of its Android devices, and will start only selling iPhones. The program starts on July 1, and customers who sign up within the first 30 days will get 12 months of unlimited talk, text, and data for $1. You’ll need to buy an iPhone from Virgin, and set up auto pay to be able to take part in the $1 promotion. In typical carrier fashion, your data is “deprioritized” or throttled if you go over 23GB a month. Video, games, and music on Virgin’s 4G LTE are also “mobile-optimized,” meaning videos are streamed at 480-pixel resolution; music streams at 500kbps or lower; and cloud gaming streams up to 2mbps. After the first year, you will have to pay $50 a month.
When it comes to listing a property on Airbnb, HomeAway, or whichever property rental site, a picture might just mean the difference between booking and sitting empty. Between two similar properties, photographs are often a deciding factor, says Sara Gates, the marketing manager for Vacasa, an agency that handles vacation rentals for property owners. Listings with better photographs tend to book more often and even appear higher in the search results — which is why Airbnb photography is important.
But what, exactly, makes a good photograph for a vacation rental? Kimberly Stevenson, Vacasa’s lead photographer, shared a few dos – and a few don’ts – when it comes to Airbnb photography.
“You have to experience virtual reality to truly appreciate it.” It’s a common refrain, but that’s not always true. Some VR experiences can captivate those watching from outside a virtual reality headset. Some, like Within’s Life of Us, can catch the eye of just about anyone who walks by.
At Unity’s Vision VR summit in May, Life of Us easily drew the biggest crowd of all the demos on the show floor. You could see it through the exit, and that tiny glimpse provided the inspiration to walk to the entrance at the hall’s opposite end and weave past the other booths to watch attendees playing Life of Us up close.
You don’t have to go to the boulangerie for perfectly baked bread. Just head on over to your oven. With just a little help from Forneau, you can start making loaves that will renew your dedication to carbohydrates (as if your dedication ever really waned). You may remember the first iteration of the Forneau Bread Oven from 2015, which was ultimately backed by nearly 800 people from 20 different countries. And now, the team is back with the latest and greatest version of the oven: The Forneau 2.0.
So what exactly is this bread oven? Don’t worry — it’s not a whole new appliance you’ll have to install in your kitchen. Rather, this cast-iron bakeware device simply sits in your existing oven, creating the perfect environment for you to make artisan bread at home. Baking bread with the Forneau is straightforward — simply place the device in your oven to preheat, and when it’s at the correct temperature, place your bread dough onto the peel and slide it in. The cast-iron walls promise to heat the dough thoroughly and evenly, and because it’s in an enclosed space, it will trap the steam from the bake. That means you’ll end up with a golden-brown, crisp crust, just like you do at professional bakeries.
Being a Game of Thrones fan has required extra patience this year. After eschewing the usual production schedule to get the right weather to finally allow winter to come to Westeros, the show’s season 7 premiere was pushed back until summer. In the meantime, we’ve had to obsess over any and all pieces of information we can find.
The season is going to be a crazy one — even for Game of Thrones — as the stakes have never been higher now that the series finale is just 13 episodes away. There are already interesting storylines in progress, from Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) seating herself on the Iron Throne to Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) coming to make her claim on the crown on the backs of her dragons. The great game could play out in so many ways, and it is going to be fascinating to watch it develop.
There is a lot to tie up as we head into the show’s final two mini seasons, starting with season 7’s much-anticipated July 16 premiere. Prepare yourself with everything we know so far — but be warned that there are spoilers ahead.
With equal parts excitement and exhaustion, famous surf, lifestyle, and adventure photographer Chris Burkard took time out of his insane promotional tour to speak with Digital Trends about his new surfing film, “Under An Arctic Sky.” The 40-minute film, directed by Burkard and produced by Sweat Pants Media, follows four surfers on their journey to Iceland’s brutal north coast. The reason for the trip? The region just experienced its largest storm in 25 years.
Burkard, a self-taught director, speaker, and author, is also one of the most followed adventure photographers who boasts 2.6 million followers on Instagram alone. However, even with his years of experience, nothing prepared Burkard — or his crew — for the epic challenges of making a surfing film in the world’s harshest weather conditions. With the grueling project in the rear view, Burkard shared with us his reasoning behind switching gears to shoot in some of the coldest places on earth, the backstory of Under An Arctic Sky, and what he truly hopes the film will inspire in others.
A device being developed by European scientists may help make breast cancer tests easier and less painful to endure. It’s called the PAMMOTH (or, photoacoustic ultrasound mammoscopy for evaluating screening-detected abnormalities in the breast, if you have time to say it) and combines light and sound sensors to offer a 3D image of the suspected tumor. The goal is to create a “while-you-wait” test that minimizes discomfort and uncertainty of cancer diagnosis.
“Despite advancements in X-ray imaging, ultrasound imaging, and MRI, these clinical imaging [methods] have shortcomings,” Srirang Manohar, project coordinator and professor at the University of Twente, told Digital Trends.
Engineers at Caltech may have solved one of those awkward smartphone problems of the last few years — the camera bump — by creating a super thin chip designed as an alternative to a glass camera lens. It’s called an optical phased array, or OPA, and it digitally replicates the same light-gathering ability of a glass lens to take a picture. Think of it as a lens-less camera.
Ali Hajimiri, a professor at Caltech and principal investigator on the project, explained how it works. “We’ve created a single thin layer of integrated silicon photonics that emulates the lens and sensor of a digital camera, reducing the thickness and cost of digital cameras.”
Graphene, one of the most buzzed-about carbon compounds in material science, has the potential to transform industries, not the least of which is the world of sound. There’s only one problem: it’s really expensive. But audio researcher Peter Gaskell thinks he’s cracked the graphene conundrum.
Ora, a Montreal-based startup Gaskell co-founded with Sergii Tutashkonko (who holds a Ph.D. in material science), wants to be the first to market with graphene-based headphones. Gaskell, who holds a Ph.D. himself in audio recording, stopped by Digital Trends’ New York office to demo his new creation ahead of the company’s crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. They’re tentatively dubbed the GrapheneQ Headphones, and they sound fantastic.
Uber founder Travis Kalanick has resigned as CEO of the ridesharing company. Kalanick decided to step down on Tuesday night following intense pressure from five major investors, The New York Times reported.
News of the 40-year-old founder’s departure follows mounting criticism over the way the company has been conducting its business, and comes just a few days after the funeral of his mother, who died in a boating accident at the end of last month.
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