Tag: gadgets

Everything You Need To Know About Canon’s EOS R Camera

Canon and Nikon protected their DSLR turf as long as possible, but Sony has been killing them lately with its mirrorless range.

Nikon finally jumped into the fray by launching the Z6 and Z7 models, and today, Canon unveiled the $2,299 EOS R, a 30.3-megapixel video-centric full-frame mirrorless camera.

It also introduced a new lens mount, Canon RF, along with four lenses, including three interesting high-end “L” models.

The EOS R slots between Sony’s A7 III and A7R III and the Nikon Z6 and Z7, resolution-wise. It’s a near match to Canon’s own EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR, with similar resolution, dual-pixel autofocus, shooting speeds and video specifications.

Canon unveiled the EOS R with four lenses, one more than the Z6 and Z7 had at launch. They are, I daresay, also more interesting than Nikon’s Z-Mount models.




The first is the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM model, a very solid kit lens for both photographers and videographers.

There’s a macro lens available right off the bat too: the RF 35mm f/1.8 IS STM Macro. At 35mm, it will do double-duty as a relatively inexpensive walking-around lens.

The last two are the most interesting (and expensive). Canon’s RF 28-70mm f/2L USM is an extremely fast zoom lens with a normal range that illustrates the power of the new mount.

The company also launched a 50mm f/1.2 that’s not quite as light-sensitive as Nikon’s crazy f/0.95 Z-Noct, but it’s still damn fast and will be available sooner.

On top of the regular focus and zoom controls, each of the new lenses has a special new control ring. You can program it to change f-stop, shutter speed and other settings.

The three new EF to RS lens adapters, meanwhile, will let you use any EF and even EF-S lenses (with a crop on the latter) with no loss in quality.

You’ll also get full autofocus, stabilization and metering capabilities, so you won’t be left in the lurch if you already have a lot of Canon glass.

Canon also introduced a lens adapters for drop in neutral density and other filters, and another with a control ring much like the one on the new RF lenses.

All of those will let you use EF and EF-S lenses exactly as if they’re on a 5D Mark IV or other DSLR, Canon promised.

Unfortunately, because of the mount size (54mm with a 20mm flange distance), it will never be compatible with Canon’s mirrorless APS-C EOS-M system.

This will likely anger EOS-M owners, especially because Sony lets you use full-frame lenses on APS-C E-Mount cameras like the A6500, and E-Mount lenses on A7 cameras (albeit with cropping on the latter).

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Tim Cook Calls For US Federal Privacy Law To Tackle ‘Weaponized’ Personal Data

Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, called on Wednesday for a federal privacy law in the US to protect against voracious internet companies hoarding so much digital data that the businesses know citizens “better than they know themselves” – and then often sell the information on.

Cook warned in a keynote speech that personal data was being “weaponized” against the public and endorsed tough privacy laws for both Europe and the US.

The iPhone and Mac computer giant has stood out in its explicit declarations that Apple prefers to protect its customers’ personal data.

Speaking at an international conference in Brussels on data privacy,Cook applauded European Union authorities for bringing in a strict new data privacy law in May, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).




This gives consumers more control over their personal information and imposes greater restrictions and transparency rules on all companies, with the threat of fines, but particularly affects the chains of companies that exploit digitally acquired data, including tech leaders such as Google and Facebook and middlemen marketers and data brokers.

The conference featured brief video comments from the Facebook chairman, Mark Zuckerberg, and Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, asserting various steps they are taking to give users greater protection, in moves observers saw as a jostling by tech giants to curry favor in Europe as regulators intensify their scrutiny.

Cook warned that the trade in personal information “has exploded into a data industrial complex”.

Data protection has become a major political issue worldwide and European regulators have led the charge in setting new rules for the big internet companies.

The GDPR requires companies to change the way they do business in the region, and a number of headline-grabbing data breaches have raised public awareness of the issue.

Cook warned that technology’s promise to drive breakthroughs that benefit humanity is at risk of being overshadowed by the harm it can cause by deepening division and spreading false information.

In the first big test of the new rules, Ireland’s data protection commission, which is a lead authority for Europe as many big tech firms are based in the country, is investigating Facebook’s data breach, which let hackers access 3m EU-based accounts.

Google, meanwhile, shut down its Plus social network this month after revealing it had a flaw that could have exposed personal information of up to half a million people.

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This Robotic Finger Attachment For Your Smartphone Will Gently Caress Your Hand

Our smartphones are cold, passive devices that usually can’t move autonomously unless they’re falling onto our faces while we’re looking at them in bed.

A research team in France is exploring ways to change that by giving our smartphones the ability to interact with us more.

MobiLimb is a robotic finger attachment that plugs in through a smartphone’s Micro USB port, moves using five servo motors, and is powered by an Arduino microcontroller.

It can tap the user’s hand in response to phone notifications, be used as a joystick controller, or, with the addition of a little fuzzy sheath accessory, it can turn into a cat tail.




MobiLimb is a research project by PhD student Marc Teyssier and his team across from French universities. Teyssier shares more process photos on his website as well as a detailed explanation for the project.

In the spirit of human augmentation, which aims at overcoming human body limitations by using robotic devices, our approach aims at overcoming mobile device limitations (static, passive, motionless) by using a robotic limb,” he writes.

There’s definitely an unsettling, creepy way in how it moves. Maybe it’s the way it drags its lifeless phone-body across the table to let you know you have a new message.

Or maybe it’s the human flesh cover for the finger that turns it into a dismembered digit? I can’t quite place my MobiLimb on it.

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Sony Announces The PlayStation Classic, Its Own Mini Retro Console

If you’re the kind of person who has two beers and regularly launches into the same 20 minute-long ode to the original PlayStation for playing a seminal role in the maturation of gaming as an art form, well, do we have some news for you.

Sony just announced its intentions to give the PlayStation the (winning) Nintendo Classic treatment with a tiny to-scale version of the PS1 called the PlayStation Classic.

The teeniest new console is scheduled to hit shelves on December 3, retailing for $99.99.

Like Nintendo’s wildly popular SNES and NES Classics that paved the way, Sony’s PlayStation Classic will come pre-loaded with a cache of well-loved games.

The PlayStation Classic’s lineup will feature 20 classic games, including Final Fantasy VII [editor’s note: hell yeah], Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms. 

Almost 25 years ago, the original PlayStation was introduced to the world. Developed by Sony Computer Entertainment, it was the first home console in video game history to ship 100 million units worldwide, offering consumers a chance to play games with real-time 3D rendered graphics in their homes for the first time,” Sony said, waxing nostalgic in a blog post announcing the console.




We’re here for it.

According to Sony, the new mini PlayStation will be 45% smaller than a real PlayStation, complete with smaller controllers that also mimic their forebears.

Each unit will ship with an HDMI and USB cable and two controllers for couch multiplayer.

The consoles will be available to pre-order at some retailers in Canada and the U.S and more details (including the 15 other games) so keep an eye out — Sony will be sharing more details in the next month or two.

All games “will be playable in their original format” so expect them to look and feel just like they did in the dark ages, when things were simple and good.

Most of us can agree that this particular nostalgia baiting tactic is awesome, take our money, but have you seen this thing? It’s extra cute.

Maybe it’s because the PS1 had those iconic circular buttons that echoed its game discs and round things are cute like Kirby is cute (Toad, on the other hand, is over).

If you spent significant time marveling over the PS1 when it made waves in 1995, you too likely retain a proprioceptive kind of intimacy with its then cutting-edge form.

Do you remember precisely how much give the buttons had when you depressed them, how the disc hood yawned open gracefully, almost suspensefully?

Of course you do.

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Why The Theory that Computer Processors Will Double In Power Every Two Years May Be Becoming Obsolete

IBM PC (1981): IBM’s first proper effort at home computing was so successful it popularised the term ‘PC’. It could be connected to the user’s TV, process text and store more words than a large cookbook.

Almost exactly 50 years ago, the American electrical engineer Gordon E. Moore made a prediction which would come to have a profound impact on people’s expectations about technology.

Writing in Electronics magazine in April 1965, he suggested that as advances were made, the power of the average computer processor would double every year.

Moore went on to become a co-founder of Intel Corporation, now one of the world’s largest producers of microprocessors, which govern the speed of most laptops and PCs.

His prediction, which he updated in 1975 and now states that the doubling of processor power will occur every two years, came to be known as Moore’s Law.




Since then, this two-year cycle has provided the blueprint which has underpinned the continual advances in technology to which most of us are now accustomed – and has led to consumers taking ever faster computers, more realistic computer games and better iPhones for granted.

But according to Brian Krzanich, the current chief executive of Intel, the era of Moore’s Law may be coming to a natural end.

In a discussion with analysts on Wednesday night, he admitted that while his firm had “disproved the death of Moore’s Law many times over”, its next generation of microprocessors would take slightly longer to produce.

Gordon E. Moore

Apple iPhone 6: Apple’s latest smartphone in 2014 sold more than 100 million units by 1 March in 2015. Features include an 8MP camera, up to 128GB of storage and a 4.7in high-definition display

The electrical engineer was in his 30s when he made his famous prediction in the pages of a magazine that the number of transistors which could be fitted into computer chips would double approximately every year, meaning that computers would become increasingly more powerful.

In 1975 he extended the interval to two years. Now known as Moore’s Law, it has so far proved correct.

Three years after making his prediction, Moore co-founded NM Electronics alongside Robert Noyce.

The company later changed its name to Intel Corporation – a portmanteau of the words “integrated” and “electronics” – and currently employs more than 100,000 people. Now aged 86, Moore is estimated to be worth more than $6.1 billion.

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Attached To Technology And Paying A Price

When one of the most important e-mail messages of his life landed in his in-box a few years ago, Kord Campbell overlooked it.

Not just for a day or two, but 12 days. He finally saw it while sifting through old messages: a big company wanted to buy his Internet start-up.

I stood up from my desk and said, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,’ ” Mr. Campbell said. “It’s kind of hard to miss an e-mail like that, but I did.

The message had slipped by him amid an electronic flood: two computer screens alive with e-mail, instant messages, online chats, a Web browser and the computer code he was writing.

While he managed to salvage the $1.3 million deal after apologizing to his suitor, Mr. Campbell continues to struggle with the effects of the deluge of data.

Even after he unplugs, he craves the stimulation he gets from his electronic gadgets. He forgets things like dinner plans, and he has trouble focusing on his family.




His wife, Brenda, complains, “It seems like he can no longer be fully in the moment.”

This is your brain on computers.

Scientists say juggling e-mail, phone calls and other incoming information can change how people think and behave. They say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information.

These play to a primitive impulse to respond to immediate opportunities and threats. The stimulation provokes excitement — a dopamine squirt — that researchers say can be addictive. In its absence, people feel bored.

The resulting distractions can have deadly consequences, as when cellphone-wielding drivers and train engineers cause wrecks.

And for millions of people like Mr. Campbell, these urges can inflict nicks and cuts on creativity and deep thought, interrupting work and family life.

While many people say multitasking makes them more productive, research shows otherwise.

Heavy multitaskers actually have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information, scientists say, and they experience more stress.

And scientists are discovering that even after the multitasking ends, fractured thinking and lack of focus persist. In other words, this is also your brain off computers.

The technology is rewiring our brains,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse and one of the world’s leading brain scientists.

She and other researchers compare the lure of digital stimulation less to that of drugs and alcohol than to food and sex, which are essential but counterproductive in excess.

Technology use can benefit the brain in some ways, researchers say. Imaging studies show the brains of Internet users become more efficient at finding information. And players of some video games develop better visual acuity.

More broadly, cellphones and computers have transformed life. They let people escape their cubicles and work anywhere. They shrink distances and handle countless mundane tasks, freeing up time for more exciting pursuits.

For better or worse, the consumption of media, as varied as e-mail and TV, has exploded. In 2008, people consumed three times as much information each day as they did in 1960.

And they are constantly shifting their attention. Computer users at work change windows or check e-mail or other programs nearly 37 times an hour, new research shows.

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From Samurai Swords To Impressive, Handmade Kitchen Knives.

If you do a bit of kitchen knife research, you will soon discover a recurring theme, as well as some odd advice. The recurring theme is that the three key knives everyone must own are a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a bread knife.

The odd advice is after those three, what you choose to add to your collection is personal. As someone whose job it is to definitively point people toward the best next thing, this “personal choice” business is disconcerting. Also, it’s true.




The two offerings from Kikuichi Cutlery are a Japanese take on a Western-style chef’s knife known as a gyuto, and a six-inch bunka which resembles a santoku with a more aggressive snout.

First, they’re beautiful. The Shun had an elegant a shimmering blade and a black handle made of resin and hardwood, while the Kikuichis had such a stunning simplicity that they clearly meant business.

 

The latter, made by a team of elderly expert blade smiths known as the “young knife makers” association’ in Japan’s Sakai City, were sure to be special.

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Google Unveils Latest OS, Out NOW On Pixel Phones

Android 9 Pie: If you have the right phone, you can get the new Android right now.

Android fans can today download the latest version of Google’s hugely popular mobile OS.

Android Pie, the ninth iteration of the operating system, has been officially unveiled by the search engine giant today.

Android 9 introduces digital wellbeing features, better notifications and promises to extend battery life for devices. And it’s available to download today via an over-the-air update for Google Pixel devices.

In a blog post, Sameer Samat, the VP of Product Management for Android and Google Play, said: “The latest release of Android is here!

“And it comes with a heaping helping of artificial intelligence baked in to make your phone smarter, simpler and more tailored to you. Today we’re officially introducing Android 9 Pie.




We’ve built Android 9 to learn from you—and work better for you—the more you use it.

“From predicting your next task so you can jump right into the action you want to take, to prioritizing battery power for the apps you use most, to helping you disconnect from your phone at the end of the day, Android 9 adapts to your life and the ways you like to use your phone.”

Google described Android Pie as an experience “powered by AI” and said it will adapt to how individuals use their phones and learn user preferences.

Personalised settings include the new Adaptive Battery and Adaptive Brightness modes.

These former setting, as the name suggests, adapts to how users use their phone so apps which aren’t used don’t drain the battery.

While the latter setting automatically adjusts the brightness level to how the user prefers it.

App Actions also predict what users are going to do next based on the “context and displays that action right on your phone”.

Slices, a new feature which is launching later this year, shows relevant information from users’ favourite apps when they need it.

So, for instance, if a user starts typing the name of certain taxi apps it will also show prices for a ride home in the search results screen.

Android Pie is also introducing a new system navigation featuring a single home button.

But one of the biggest additions will be the digital wellbeing features previously announced at Google I/O earlier this year.

Google said: “While much of the time we spend on our phones is useful, many of us wish we could disconnect more easily and free up time for other things.

In fact, over 70 percent of people we talked to in our research said they want more help with this.

“So we’ve been working to add key capabilities right into Android to help people achieve the balance with technology they’re looking for.”

The digital wellbeing features are officially launching later this year, but are available right now for Pixel phones in beta.

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Nikon Confirms New Full-Frame FX Mirrorless Cameras And Lens Mount

It’s official: Nikon will soon launch a full-frame mirrorless camera system with a brand a new lens mount.

In a press release, it announced that it’s developing a “next-generation full-frame (Nikon FX-format) mirrorless camera and Nikkor lenses, featuring a new mount,” adding that “professional creators around the world have contributed to the development.

As expected, it’s also working on an adapter that will let you use existing full-frame Nikon F-Mount DSLR lenses with the cameras.

Nikon hinted that the new mount would allow it to make the lenses and cameras slimmer and smaller.

The new mirrorless camera and Nikkor lenses that are in development will enable a new dimension in optical performance with the adoption of a new mount,” says the press release.




Nikon is just confirming what we already strongly suspected, considering that yesterday, its European division unveiled a teaser video with shadowy glimpses of the camera.

It also set up a website called “In Pursuit of Light,” which had the apparent launch date of the camera (August 23rd) hidden in the HTML code.

However, Nikon has yet to confirm the specs, date and price, or even shown an official image of it yet. More details will reportedly come on a dedicated website at a later date.

For the rest of the story, we’re relying on sites like Nikon Rumors, which have been pretty accurate up to this point.

Nikon will supposedly release two cameras, a $4,000 48-megapixel model, and a $2,500, 25-megapixel “budget” version.

Those compare roughly to Sony’s 42.4-megapixel A7R III and the 24-megapixel A7 III, though both Nikon models would be more costly and have higher resolution.

Nikon and Canon are under extreme pressure to catch Sony in the mirrorless category. Both companies are way, way late to the game, so Nikon will have to at least match Sony’s current models to have any kind of a chance.

The $2,000 A7 III, for one, is a stellar performer, and there are 63 native FE lenses for it, while Nikon is starting from scratch with its own system.

The adapter will help, but could degrade optical and mechanical performance compared to native lenses.

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Water Resistant Gadgets Aren’t Waterproof

The terms water-resistant and waterproof get bandied around quite a bit in the gadget market, but that doesn’t mean you chuck your gadgets into the nearest pool with impudence.

Water-resistance is most definitely not waterproof by any measure.

Last week we dove deep into the nomenclature and standards surrounding the testing and production of water-resistant gadgets.

This week we’re back with a lighter overview that’s perfect for people looking for a broad overview of water-resistant gadgets without so many tables and technical specifications.

Let’s take a look at the most important things you need to know about water-resistance and your gadgets.




What’s the Difference?

Every year thousands upon thousands of consumers fry their supposedly “waterproof” gadgets because of a poor understanding and poor marketing.

Understanding the basics of water-resistance is key to keeping your gadgets safe as well as purchasing the right gadgets for your outdoor and sport needs.

The most important thing you need to understand about the entire concept of “waterproof” is that it isn’t a real thing outside of very misleading marketing material.

There is no waterproof gadget on the market.

Every single phone, watch, sport band, GPS device, portable speaker, or the like that bills itself as “waterproof” should really bill itself as “Water-resistant within the parameters specified by the manufacturer.”

Think of it like “earthquake proof.” It is impossible to build a structure that is completely impervious to earthquakes.

No matter how well-built and over-engineered a structure may be there is always a combination of earthquake intensity and duration that will bring it to the ground.

Water-resistance is exactly the same. Every “waterproof” gadget has a point where the it has been submerged too long, too deep, or in water too hot or too cold, and the seals on the device fail allowing water inside.

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