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October 24th, 2014
02:41 PM ET

Watch Mark Zuckerberg speak Chinese

In case you missed it, here's Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking Mandarin Chinese at Beijing's Tsinghua University.

Zuckerberg surprised the audience by speaking and answering questions in Mandarin for almost 30-minutes.

His heavy accent caused a few moments of misunderstanding - like when he tried to say the word "billion" but it came out as "eleven."

But no matter. It was an inspiring effort!

September 26th, 2014
02:19 PM ET

Life a little less 2D

Forget what you know about conventional printing – and start thinking three-dimensionally.

3D printing – once considered niche – is now becoming more mainstream. UPS, for example, just expanded its 3D printing services to locations across the United States to keep up with demand.

But Bre Pettis and the folks at Stratasys are working to bring 3D printing to your home.

Pettis is the co-founder of Makerbot, the company that pioneered 3D printers for consumers. Now at Makerbot’s parent company, he’s part of an innovation workshop called Bold Machines.

“We’re exploring the frontier of what’s possible,” Pettis says. “Imagine Iron Man’s workshop. We’ve got all the 3D printers in the Stratasys lineup – from Makerbots to wax printers – that make wax 3D models that you can then take into a foundry and make beautiful customized jewelry.”

So how does it work? FULL POST

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Filed under: Gadgets • Movies • Technology • Titans of Tech
September 24th, 2014
02:16 PM ET

ISS gets its first 3D printer

Life on the International Space Station may never be the same. The crew is now unpacking the latest cargo delivery, which includes the station's first-ever 3D printer.

"Having that on-demand capability is a real game-changer," says Niki Werkheiser, NASA's 3D Printing in Zero-G project manager.

Astronauts will test how the printer performs in microgravity. Samples will be brought back to Earth, to confirm that the technology works the same as on the ground.

If it's successful, the ISS crew will no longer have to rely on resupply missions to bring them the tools they need.

And down the line, a 3D printer would also be a key part of deep space exploration missions.

"We won't be able to launch every single thing that we might ever need with us," Werkheiser says. "So we'll have to have sustainable technologies that allow the astronauts to be able to adapt and use whatever resources are available to them for living and operations."

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Filed under: Space • Technology
September 11th, 2014
10:19 PM ET

Did Apple do enough?

September 9th was one of the biggest days for Apple in years. They introduced two larger iPhones, a mobile payments system, and the long-awaited Apple Watch - the first major new product created without the input of the late Steve Jobs.

But are any of them new enough?

After all, the trend for larger phones was pioneered by their arch-rival, Samsung. Mobile payment systems have been around for some time now. And while everyone expected Apple to completely redefine what a smartwatch is... the Apple Watch appears to be just a better version of what's out there; an evolution of current smartwatches instead of a revolution.

So how did Apple do? The New Yorker's Nicholas Thompson gave his take to Kristie Lu Stout.

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Filed under: Gadgets • Technology
September 11th, 2014
02:26 PM ET

The end of the iPod Classic

Thirteen years ago, Apple was a small computer maker. It's now the most valuable company in the world.

And that transformation was triggered by the iPod.

Apple has quietly discontinued the iPod Classic, the latest incarnation of the original iPod. While the line lives on in the shape of the Touch, Nano and Shuffle, they aren't as iconic as the original. When you think iPod, you think of the Classic: Shaped like a deck of cards, with a metallic back, and of course, the scrollwheel.

But the original design lives on in one tiny way: The top row of icons on the Apple Store includes the classic iPod silhouette.

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Filed under: General • Technology
September 9th, 2014
02:19 PM ET

Destiny's mingleplayer experience

Few realize that many of the first video games were multiplayer. It took time for computers to be smart enough to provide decent opponents, leading to the rise of singleplayer games.

Now Destiny is about to introduce gamers to a new type of gaming: mingleplayer. FULL POST

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Filed under: Games • General • Technology
September 3rd, 2014
10:03 PM ET

Game Faces: Rami Ismail

For a small developer that's just four years old, Vlambeer has a surprising influence on the gaming industry.

The Dutch studio is made up of just two people, but it's one of the most well-known indie developers. Co-founder Rami Ismail almost feels like an unofficial spokesman for the industry.

"We are not afraid to speak up against things we find problematic in the industry, and things we find interesting in the industry," said Ismail.

Indeed, he has been a staunch supporter of Anita Sarkeesian and her series examining women in video games - a series that has sparked a wave of abuse for Sarkeesian and those who stand with her.

He also suggested Vlambeer's high profile might be because the company always seems to find itself in the middle of the industry's latest trends. FULL POST

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Filed under: Game Faces • Games • General • Technology
September 3rd, 2014
06:57 AM ET

The rise of Xiaomi

Executives in wigs dancing and singing on stage. Hundreds of fans clad in the same orange shirt cheering them on. Fans racing on stage to win plush toys.

I wasn't sure what to expect from my first Xiaomi fan event. But I didn't expect this.

FULL POST

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Filed under: China • Technology • Titans of Tech
September 2nd, 2014
07:06 PM ET

Cloud computing demystified

The FBI has entered the hunt for the hacker who stole dozens of private celebrity photos. The nude images may have been stored in the "cloud."

It's safe to say that many don't really understand cloud computing. The new Cameron Diaz film "Sex Tape" is based around the idea that nobody gets how it works.

But it's actually fairly simple.

cloud2The cloud is really just another word for servers on the Internet. Using the cloud means you're outsourcing tasks to those servers that might otherwise be performed by your local device. The most common one is to use the cloud for storage; so, instead of storing data on your computer, data is stored on remote servers that you access via the Internet.

Think of it like putting your money in a bank. You're putting your property in a dedicated storage space. Using a bank means you don't have to keep all your money in a piggy bank at home, while using the cloud means you don't have to have every photo you've ever taken taking up valuable space on your iPad. And when you do want to see your photos, storing them on the cloud allows you to access it on any device - similar to how banks allow you to withdraw money from any ATM.

And it's a safe bet that you're already using cloud services. If you've ever used Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail or any web mail service, then you've been storing your email in the cloud.

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Filed under: Data • Technology
June 16th, 2014
03:08 PM ET

Virtual reality's new reality

There’s something a little strange that one of today’s hottest trends in technology is… virtual reality.

It’s an idea that seems past its time; sitting alongside household atomic generators and personal jetpacks as visions for the future that seem laughable today. But VR isn’t a joke anymore.

I had the chance to try on the headset that has almost single-handedly revived interest in virtual reality: the Oculus Rift.

For now, the Rift is only in the prototype stage and has some way to go before it’s ready for consumers. Still, even at this early stage the potential of the Rift is incredible.

It looks big and bulky, but once it was strapped to my head I couldn’t feel the weight of the Rift. The whole setup is slightly cumbersome; you have the headset, then you have to put on headphones and find your controller — without being able to see either, because your eyes are covered by the Rift.

My first impressions of the Rift? It’s a little unsettling. I was surprised by the low resolution of the screen, individual pixels reminding me that my eyes were millimeters away from them; I was acutely aware of the edges of the display; and basically, I could feel like I had a big plastic visor strapped to my face.

But then you move your head… and your view of the world shifts almost perfectly with your movement. Move your head to the left, and you’re looking left.

I played a 3D platforming game called Lucky’s Tale (from the creator of Words With Friends). To be brutally honest, it felt a little like a simple Mario clone: You make a cute little fox run and jump along a basic path running from left to right. Then the path turns back to the left… and you find yourself scoping out the way ahead simply by turning your head to look at it.

Video games have allowed you to move your view of the world for years through a controller. It’s not a new idea. But with the Rift, looking around a game’s world is as natural as looking around our own.

That’s when the Oculus Rift experience starts to click, and it all starts to work.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Gadgets • Games • Technology
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