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 tech stories, from what Nest’s big product announcement to the best Porsches ever made — it’s all here.
Behold the majesty of our world with the 46 best drone photos
Drone costs have dropped substantially over the past few years, and during this span, we have seen the technology increase exponentially. While early designs were more of a backyard novelty (and often a nuisance) than anything else, the latest drone models are loaded with advanced cameras and stabilization technology that allows for more practical uses. Designed with extended operational range, long gone are the days of simply buzzing — and often caroming — about the backyard or neighborhood. The best drone photos can attest to this.
As the demand for drones has increased, so too has the market, as manufacturers look to cater to each specific industry niche. While pint-sized quadcopters are well-suited for navigating narrow indoor environments, there are hundreds of more powerful brutes on the market designed to handle the gustier conditions often involved with aerial photography. We should know — we have tested dozens of drones over the years and curated a comprehensive roundup of our favorites.
Read: Behold the majesty of our world with the 46 best drone photos
Here’s what HEIF and HEVC are, and why they’ll improve your iPhone with iOS 11
Apple’s iOS 11 is officially here, you will notice several new camera and photo features. But one change you may not be aware of is Apple’s adoption of the HEIF and HEVC formats, and you may not be aware of its benefits and limitations immediately. HEIF and HEVC promise to deliver improved resolution and more manageable photo and video file sizes, but those are just the start. You should know that not every hardware and software support these two formats yet. So, as you’re familiarizing yourself with iOS 11, here’s what you need to know about HEIF and HEVC.
Read: Here’s what HEIF and HEVC are, and why they’ll improve your iPhone with iOS 11
How fast? How far? Chips inside the NFL’s new footballs track every last stat
During Monday night’s showdown between the New York Giants and the Detroit Lions, I looked up from my seat and saw Jamal Agnew maneuver though a sea of Giants ready to take his head off, en route to a stunning 88-yard punt return touchdown at Metlife Stadium. Seconds afterwards, he deflated a stadium full of fans. I looked down at a Microsoft Surface tablet and saw who kicked the ball, how fast it traveled, and even how fast Agnew was running.
Are you ready for some football … tracking? The NFL has placed coin-sized radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips from Zebra Technologies inside footballs for every game this season to provide a deeper dive into statistics — information the league has never effectively captured. The advanced stats the NFL will collect from players and footballs could be used in fantasy football, but the NFL tracking footballs might not be as dramatic as some might hope.
Read: How fast? How far? Chips inside the NFL’s new footballs track every last stat
These are the 15 best Porsches ever made
Even among the crowded world of German sports car manufacturers, Porsche has legendary status. For almost 100 years, the company has been building some of the most captivating and awe-inspiring performance machines on Earth; so much so that its iconic 911 has become the benchmark by which other supercars are judged. It’s hard to name one model as our favorite, however, so for this list, we’ve compiled 15 of the best Porsches ever assembled. Some are classics of yesteryear and some are hot off the assembly line, but they all have one thing in common: they’re fast as hell.
Amazon reportedly working on Alexa-powered smart glasses and security systems
Leave it to Amazon, one of the world’s largest retailers, to seek to disrupt augmented reality and home security. The Seattle, Washington-based retailer is actively developing Alexa-enabled “smart glasses,” according to an exclusive report in the Financial Times, alongside a “smart” security camera.
Amazon’s smart glasses, which are said to resemble an off-the-shelf pair of spectacles, pack a microphone, a wireless chip of some kind, and an earbuds-free bone-conduction system that pipes Alexa’s voice straight to your inner ear. It’s reportedly being spearheaded by Babak Parviz, the founder of Google Glass, who joined Amazon in 2014, and could launch as soon as “year-end.”
Read: Amazon reportedly working on Alexa-powered smart glasses and security systems
Nest Secure hands-on review
Nest is back, and it’s back with a vengeance. The company recently took the wraps off of the Nest Thermostat E, but that did not mark the end of Nest’s 2017 announcements. Instead, Nest saved its biggest product unveilings for an event in San Francisco, where it revealed a lineup of security-focused products.
The star of the show is the Nest Secure, the company’s new smart alarm system that works in concert with a series of door and window trackers called Nest Detect, a key fob called Nest Tag, and Nest Guard, the brain-center of the whole system. It’s built to be super intuitive, super secure, and relatively easy to install. We were on the ground at the event, and managed to get some hands-on time with the new Nest Secure product lineup.
Budweiser and Lyft want you to get home safely for free
Getting home this weekend is about to get a lot easier, and it’s thanks to a surprising source. While Budweiser isn’t generally in the business of making you a more responsible driver (quite the opposite, in fact), the beer maker is now ensuring that you can have your fun while being safe. For the second year in a row, Budweiser and Lyft are teaming up to stand against drunk driving by giving you a free ride home.
The two companies are offering up to 150,000 total round-trip rides starting today and lasting through the end of the year. So even if you don’t have a designated driver, you can still rest assured that you’re not putting anyone in danger when you make your way home at the end of the night.
Read: Budweiser and Lyft want you to get home safely for free
Why Google bought part of HTC’s smartphone team for $1.1 billion
It’s official: Google has agreed to acquire a select team of engineers from HTC’s smartphone division for $1.1 billion in an all-cash deal. Under the terms of the unusual arrangement, the search giant won’t get a direct stake in HTC — instead, it’ll gain “non-exclusive” licensing rights to HTC’s current and future intellectual property. The engineers are people who have already worked with Google to develop its Pixel smartphones, and they will soon become “fellow Googlers.”
Analysts seem confused about the real purpose behind the deal, however.
“It remains a complete mystery to me as to what Google is paying money for,” noted Richard Windsor, a former Nomura Securities analyst and the force behind Radio Free Mobile.
Read: Why Google bought part of HTC’s smartphone team for $1.1 billion
Equifax confirms it suffered a separate data breach in March
Following the massive data breach that Equifax disclosed to the public in early September, news of a second, earlier attack at the credit agency has emerged. Although originally just a rumor from anonymous sources, Equifax confirmed the secondary hack on September 19, which took place in March, though the firm denied it had anything to do with the larger hack. Adding insult to injury, Equifax has now inadvertently contributed to a phishing campaign by sending its customers to phishing site rather than its own breach notification portal.
Read: Equifax confirms it suffered a separate data breach in March
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