South by Southwest Festival Highlights Latest VR Productions

Virtual reality productions are making a splash at SXSW in Austin, Texas. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the festival is featuring shooter game “Archangel,” Skydance Interactive’s first original; a trailer for the interactive, sci-fi experience “Trinity” directed by Patrick Boivin, the first VR series from UNLTD; and alternative reality project “Wonder Buffalo,” made possible by ETC’s “2016 Innovative Technology Award granted to filmmaker Christine Berg and writing partner Simon Shterenberg.” THR also notes that Skydance Interactive is “developing ‘Life VR’ in conjunction with Skydance’s sci-fi thriller ‘Life,’ which is opening March 24 through Columbia Pictures” and “Sony Pictures VR released its first virtual reality project, ‘Passengers VR,’ on Tuesday, timed with the digital and Blu-ray release of the motion picture.” Continue reading South by Southwest Festival Highlights Latest VR Productions

Silicon Valley Still Dominates Tech Startup Culture and Power

In the Industrial Revolution, ideas were more portable than machines, helping to spread change globally. Not so with today’s high-tech startups. Although U.S. cities as far-flung as Denver, Austin, Chattanooga and Washington, DC boast startup centers, Silicon Valley is far and away the biggest for new technology companies, offering experienced talent and more capital. Even as other cities evolve, Silicon Valley grows faster, leaving startups elsewhere at a competitive disadvantage. Continue reading Silicon Valley Still Dominates Tech Startup Culture and Power

National Science Foundation Funds Stampede Supercomputer

The National Science Foundation just announced grants to build the $30 million Stampede 2 supercomputer which, outfitted with 18 petaflops, will offer twice the power of the Stampede, which debuted in March 2013. Its processing capacity puts it on a par with Cray’s Titan and IBM’s Sequoia (though not as powerful as China’s Tianhe-2). The supercomputer will be available to any researcher with a need for immense processing power, for such applications as atomic and atmospheric simulations. Continue reading National Science Foundation Funds Stampede Supercomputer

Nvidia Unveils GeForce GTX 1080 Advanced Graphics Card

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang debuted the much-anticipated GeForce GTX 1080 gaming GPU, the first based on the new Pascal architecture, promising dramatic improvements in performance, memory and power efficiency. Huang told the crowd at DreamHack in Austin, Texas that the new GPU delivers twice the performance and three times the efficiency of Titan X. For a sense of Pascal’s capabilities for gaming and virtual reality, attendees were treated to demos involving next generation character models, the Ansel game capture tool and the compelling “VR Funhouse” experience. Continue reading Nvidia Unveils GeForce GTX 1080 Advanced Graphics Card

SXSW Focuses on Big Issues, Lifestyle Products Replace Apps

At this year’s SXSW, the verdict is that apps are over. Instead, tech-influenced lifestyle innovations and big picture issues took center stage. President Obama became the first U.S. President to attend the festival, where he delivered a keynote address about encryption and fighting terrorism, without directly referencing the current battle between the Justice Department and Apple. In addition to hearing about futuristic technologies, SXSW attendees discussed the election and enjoyed “lifestyle brand” products. Continue reading SXSW Focuses on Big Issues, Lifestyle Products Replace Apps

Meerkat Shifting From Livestreaming to Video Social Network

Just as Facebook and Twitter are doubling down on livestreaming video, Meerkat, the startup whose livestreaming app was a hit at last year’s SXSW Festival in Austin, is changing course. Chief executive Ben Rubin, who began to realize over a year ago that livestreaming wouldn’t produce the results to succeed, emailed the company’s 48 investors to explain the company’s pivot from mobile broadcast video towards video social networking. Most of the investors, he says, are supportive of the shift. Continue reading Meerkat Shifting From Livestreaming to Video Social Network

Sony’s Future Lab R&D Program to Showcase Tech at SXSW

Sony announced the launch of its Future Lab Program, a new research and development initiative “that emphasizes an open creative environment and direct lines of communication with society, through which it aims to co-create new lifestyles and user value in the future.” Sony’s program will share prototypes with the user community during development and welcome feedback to help refine projects. The first project — a hands-free interface that offers a new way to experience audio — will be featured in Austin at the SXSW Interactive Festival. Continue reading Sony’s Future Lab R&D Program to Showcase Tech at SXSW

Uber is Bringing its New Meal Delivery Service to 10 U.S. Cities

Ride-hailing service Uber is expanding its new meal delivery service to 10 U.S. cities in the coming weeks. People in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Austin, Washington DC, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Seattle and Dallas will be able to order food from dozens of local restaurants through a dedicated UberEats app and have an Uber driver deliver the meal. UberEats will have longer hours of operation than Uber’s existing lunchtime-only food delivery service in these cities. Continue reading Uber is Bringing its New Meal Delivery Service to 10 U.S. Cities

Google to Spin Off Autonomous Cars as Alphabet Company

In 2016, Google will spin off its driverless car unit, currently part of Google X, as a standalone business under the Alphabet aegis. With more than 1 million miles clocked on public roads, the company already has a hefty lead on competitors, including Uber Technologies, which has raised more than $10 billion towards its own work creating an autonomous car. Google first plans to launch a service, with fleets of large and small vehicles deployed in closed areas such as college campuses, military bases and corporate complexes. Continue reading Google to Spin Off Autonomous Cars as Alphabet Company

Amazon Enters the Gig Economy with “Flex” Delivery Service

E-commerce giant Amazon launched a new delivery system this week called Amazon Flex. The Uber-like model offers individuals with their own vehicles and an Android smartphone the opportunity to deliver packages for $18-25 per hour. Drivers have the option of two-, four- or eight-hour shifts. In addition to a car and an Android phone for managing deliveries with the Flex app, drivers must be over 21 and pass a background check. The new system, initially rumored back in June, works with Amazon’s Prime Now service, which offers members one- and two-hour delivery on items. Continue reading Amazon Enters the Gig Economy with “Flex” Delivery Service

Free Shipping and Speedy Delivery a New Focus for Companies

In shipping news, retailers and tech companies continue to compete for consumers’ attention by offering fast and affordable delivery options. While Amazon, Google and others continue their plans for drone delivery — and companies continue to experiment with one- and two-hour delivery in major cities — recent news has surfaced that Apple is teaming with Postmates to offer same-day delivery of Apple Store items, Walmart is developing a new three-day shipping service, and Amazon is introducing free shipping on thousands of smaller goods. Continue reading Free Shipping and Speedy Delivery a New Focus for Companies

Meerkat Planning New Features After Restrictions by Twitter

We recently reported that Life on Air’s new iOS app Meerkat was attracting a large number of Twitter users interested in broadcasting live, temporary video. Twitter has since restricted Meerkat from using some of its tools, including the ability to pull info about a user’s follower base (important to Meerkat users for locating their existing friends). Speaking at South By Southwest in Austin over the weekend, Life on Air CEO Ben Rubin said Twitter’s move has motivated him to speed up the development of new features for Meerkat. Continue reading Meerkat Planning New Features After Restrictions by Twitter

AT&T GigaPower Service Offers Data Privacy for Monthly Fee

GigaPower by AT&T, the company’s 1 gigabit-per-second service, was introduced in 2013 in Austin, Texas — and this week it rolled out in Kansas City, Missouri. While customers can enjoy ultrafast fiber-optic Internet access for $70 per month, AT&T also tracks their online activities. Those who prefer to keep their browsing habits private can pay an additional $29 a month. Since opting out of sharing such data is typically offered free of charge, some are questioning whether AT&T’s model will discourage people from doing so. Continue reading AT&T GigaPower Service Offers Data Privacy for Monthly Fee

Google Continues Expansion of Ultrafast Fiber Internet Service

Google announced yesterday that it plans to deliver its Fiber Internet service with speeds of one gigabit per second (100 times faster than average U.S. broadband) to many of the neighborhoods in 18 cities of metro areas including Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; and Nashville, Tennessee. As with its initial three areas, the company will offer its one gigabit Internet service for $70 per month, while an Internet and TV package will cost $120-$130, depending on the location. Continue reading Google Continues Expansion of Ultrafast Fiber Internet Service

Rohinni Develops Printable Lighting with Ultrathin Lightpaper

Idaho-based Rohinni is aiming to reinvent ultrathin LED lighting with its Lightpaper technology, which essentially prints lighting and applies it to almost any surface. Lightpaper mixes ink and tiny LEDs and then prints them on a conductive layer, which is positioned between two other layers and sealed. When current runs through the tiny diodes (about the size of a blood cell), they light up. Rohinni envisions the tech being used for everything from illuminated logos on CE devices to vehicle headlights. Continue reading Rohinni Develops Printable Lighting with Ultrathin Lightpaper

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