What exactly is making the Apple Watch tick? The good folks over at iFixit have answered that burning question for us by taking apart one of Apple’s new devices. They discovered that the screen and battery are fairly easy to remove but the watch’s S1 integrated computer chip, which Apple has disclosed little information about, is harder to wrench loose. Below the chip, there are hints of new health features that Apple may yet implement in the watch if they receive regulatory approval. Check out the full breakdown of the Apple Watch in the pictures above.
FCC decision could drown merger plans in red tape
Comcast is facing a new obstacle on its path to merging with Time Warner Cable.
The Federal Communications Commission is reportedly planning to issue a “hearing designation order” that would bury the deal even deeper in regulatory purgatory, according to the Wall Street Journal. Under such an order, the merger would be reviewed by an administrative law judge in a hearing that would significantly increase the time and money Comcast would need to potentially see the deal through.
Past deals that were hit with hearing designation orders, such as AT&T’s bid to acquire T-Mobile, ultimately failed to win FCC approval.
Comcast has disputed arguments that a merger with Time Warner Cable would make the company overly powerful, as the two cable giants largely operate in different markets. However, some detractors, including content producers and technology companies, have said the merged company would be able to exert unfair leverage to raise customer prices and limit the diversity of TV offerings — especially considering Comcast now owns NBCUniversal.
Project Fi is cheaper and more flexible than most wireless plans+ READ ARTICLE
Google is already an Internet Service Provider and a pay-TV operator. Now it’s expanding to become a wireless carrier as well.
Google unveiled Wednesday a new cell phone service dubbed Project Fi, which offers the same basic functionality as traditional wireless carriers, such as voice, text and Internet access, at a lower price than many common plans.
Here’s a primer on everything you need to know about Google’s Project Fi:
What exactly does Project Fi offer?
Project Fi offers a basic cell phone plan that includes unlimited domestic talk and text and unlimited international texts for $20 per month. International calls will cost $.20 per minute. Subscribers can add a monthly allotment of 1GB of data for $10 month, and increase the allotment by $10 per gigabyte.
One thing that makes Fi different from many mainstream carriers is that any data a customer doesn’t use shows up as a credit on their next bill — each 100MB is worth $1. There are also no overage penalties, as extra data use is charged at the same rate as data that is part of the plan. And, in a nice plus for international travelers, mobile data costs the same $10/GB in more than 120 countries.
How will Project Fi differ from what traditional wireless carriers offer?
Google’s service will switch between different high-speed wireless networks operated by Sprint and T-Mobile, depending on which is stronger in a given area. In addition to regular cellular coverage, phones on Project Fi will switch to Wi-Fi networks when available to place calls and access the Internet without using up customers’ data plans.
Using Wi-Fi for voice service is becoming an increasingly popular strategy in the telco industry — Cablevision recently unveiled a cell phone service that is entirely reliant on Wi-Fi connections and costs $30 per month.
What do I need to get Project Fi?
Right now, you can only use Project Fi with a Nexus 6, Google’s flagship Android phone. The Nexus 6 costs $649 for the 32GB version. Unlike traditional carriers, Google isn’t offering a subsidy on the phone in exchange for a two-year contract commitment (Project Fi is contract-free).
However, customers can pay for the device over the course of two years if they pass a credit check. And if you already own a Nexus 6, it’ll work on Project Fi.
How is Google able to build the infrastructure to offer cell phone service?
Google isn’t building its own cell phone towers for Project Fi. Instead, it operates on networks already operated by Sprint and T-Mobile. The big wireless carriers already make lots of money by effectively renting access to their networks to smaller carriers, who then resell that service to consumers using different branding.
Google, of course, could be a much bigger long-term threat to the wireless industry than the typical small-scale operator. But Sprint has reserved the right to renegotiate its deal with Google if the search giant gains a large number of subscribers, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Why would Google want to be a wireless carrier?
Google’s primary interest as a company is getting people on the Internet so that they can make Google searches and be served ads, which is how Google makes money. Developing new ways to make Internet access cheaper, faster or more reliable creates more opportunities for users to feed into Google’s core business.
Google likely doesn’t have aspirations to become the next AT&T or Comcast–those firms have incredibly high infrastructure costs and often contentious relationships with their customer base because of the high fees they charge. Rather, Google wants to tip the scales to force the giants in telecommunications to offer better service. This is already happening with Google Fiber, Google’s high-speed Internet service, which has prompted Time Warner Cable to boost Internet speeds for its own customers in places like Charlotte, N.C.
How will this affect the other carriers?
For now, any impact will be small, because Project Fi is only available on the Nexus 6. T-Mobile and Sprint will actually benefit financially because Google is paying them for their networks, and those companies will have the leverage to stamp out Google’s service if it develops in ways they don’t like. But in the long run, Google’s presence could force carriers to offer customers plans that are cheaper and more flexible. T-Mobile has already been filling this disruptive role in the telco industry through its aggressive Uncarrier plan.
Mobile-friendly websites will now get a big boost
Google has let the world in on a recent change to its carefully protected search algorithm. Starting Tuesday, the company is boosting the ranking for mobile-friendly websites and demoting those pages that don’t load well on smartphones.
The search giant first announced the change back in February, and the move has earned the moniker “Mobilegeddon” as anxiety over the algorithm tweak has grown in recent weeks. The end result should benefit users, who will less often be sent to hard-to-navigate websites designed for desktop computers.
The shift will also help Google, which is fiercely competing with apps dedicated to specific services (think Amazon for shopping, Yelp for restaurant reviews) that are siphoning away inquiries users could be typing into a Google search bar.
Google is ending support for the video app on many old devices
If you’re still clinging to your first iPhone from 2009, Google is giving you one more reason to upgrade. The company is ending support for its YouTube app on many devices manufactured before 2013, including a number of Apple gadgets, because of upgrades to YouTube’s platform. Here’s a quick guide to which devices are affected and what you can do to hang onto YouTube.
Apple phones will have to run iOS 7 or iOS 8 in order to be compatible with YouTube. If you have the original iPhone, the iPhone 3G, or the iPhone 3GS, you’re simply out of luck, since they don’t support either operating system. iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 users who have never upgraded their operating system can update to iOS 8 to get access to YouTube. iPhone 4 users who already have iOS 7 will still have access to YouTube, but those who never upgraded will be out of luck because Apple now only offers iOS 8, which is not supported on the iPhone 4.
On the iPad front, only the original iPad will no longer be compatible with YouTube. Other users with old iPads can just upgrade to Apple’s latest OS to use the YouTube app.
The third-generation Apple TV can be upgraded to support YouTube by selecting “Settings,” then “General,” then “Upgrade Software” in the device’s menu. First and second-generation Apple TVs, which were on sale before 2012, will no longer support the YouTube app at all.
Sony and Panasonic TV and Blu-ray players that use Google TV may not run the YouTube app. Devices that only support version 1 and version 2 of Google TV won’t be compatible with YouTube, while newer devices that support version 3 and version 4 will run the video app.
Even on devices that don’t support YouTube’s app, users can still navigate to YouTube’s mobile site in their web browsers to watch videos.
Officials called the high-speed trip “comfortable”
The world’s fastest train can now zip along at 373 miles per hour.
A Japanese maglev train reached that dizzying speed on a test track near Mount Fuji Tuesday, The Guardian reports. Nearly 50 railway employees were on the train at the time, and railway officials called the high-speed trip “comfortable” for human passengers. The mark sets a new world speed record, eclipsing the standing record of 367 mph, reached by the same train last week.
Maglev trains, short for “magnetic levitation,” hover just above the rails through the use of electric magnets.
Current commuter trains in Japan, already super-fast by global standards, travel at speeds of about 200 mph. The maglev train is scheduled to go into commercial operation by 2027, carrying passengers from Tokyo to Nagoya, a city 180 miles away, in about 40 minutes.
The company is broadening the scope of what counts as abuse
Twitter is continuing its campaign against abusive online messages, announcing a new slate of changes to the social network Tuesday aimed at curtailing Internet trolls and bullies.
Twitter has broadened the types of threats that it can punish by changing its rules to ban “threats of violence against others” rather than “direct, specific threats of violence against others.” The social network says the previous phrasing was too narrow to deal with the different types of abuse that occur online. Twitter is also taking a more granular approach to dealing with abuse by locking offending users’ accounts and forcing them to delete certain tweets to access their accounts again. The company also says it will limit the reach of abusive messages in some cases without actually deleting them, though it doesn’t specify how the messages will be limited.
The changes come a day after Twitter announced it would begin allowing users who don’t follow each other to send each other private messages. The move prompted a vocal backlash from some Twitter users who felt the new policy might invite more online abuse.
The bot, programmed to buy illegal goods online, was part of an art exhibition
A robot programmed to buy drugs from illegal online markets has been freed by Swiss police. The shopping bot, called the “Random Darknet Shopper,” was created last fall by a Swiss art group called !Mediengruppe Bitnik to purchase illicit goods online using a weekly allowance of $100 worth of Bitcoin. The various items the bot bought at random, including counterfeit sneakers and ecstasy, would be delivered to the art group’s gallery for an exhibition.
Swiss police captured the robot back in January and confiscated its purchases. However, last week, the art group announced that the police had returned Random Darknet Shopper as well as all of the goods it bought, except for the ecstasy. A Swiss police official told CNBC that the makers of the robot wouldn’t be charged for programming the robot to buy illegal items.
“This is a great day for the bot, for us and for freedom of art!” the art group wrote in a blog post.
Here's how to find your search history—and delete it
Some of your deepest, darkest secrets have probably passed through the Google search bar. Now, you can download every last query you’ve ever typed into the search engine and see them all together in their raw glory (or shame).
The feature was first rolled out as an experiment last year but is now available to all users, according to the unofficial Google blog Google Operating System. To access the data, visit your Web History page, click the gear icon in the top-right corner and click “Download.” A warning box will appear advising users to enable two-step verification and to avoid downloading their search histories to public computers.
Click “Create Archive” and a zip file featuring all the search queries will be placed in a folder called “Takeout” in your Google Drive account. The file can then be downloaded to your computer. Only searches you made while logged into your Google account are included in the file.
If you’re horrified at the idea of every fleeting thought you’ve typed into Google being gathered in a single place, you can also delete your search history. On the Web history page where you download the archive, simply click the gear icon and select “Remove items” instead. In the drop-down menu, you’ll see an option to remove items since “the beginning of time.”
The landslide was caused by a coal mining accident
A massive landslide moving like molasses downed trees and power lines before inching across a road in Russia earlier this month, and the whole incident was caught on video.
The landslide occurred near Novokuznetsk, which is east of the Ural Mountains, according to National Geographic. In the four-minute video, a mixture of soil and rocks moves with slow but deliberate force across the Russian landscape, dragging down everything that comes in its path. No one was hurt.
The disaster was caused by a collapse of waste material at a nearby coal mine, a coal industry official told local Russian media. Mines can be a common trigger for landslides worldwide.