TIME Gadgets

Man Fined For Using Apple Watch While Driving

Police in Quebec equate the gadget to using a telephone

A Canadian man recently was fined $120 for wearing his Apple Watch while driving.

Jeffrey Macesin was pulled over by Quebec police after he was using the gadget on his wrist to change the song he was listening to, CTV News reports. A law in Quebec’s highway safety code prohibits driving a car while using a handheld device that has a telephone function.

Macesin argues that the Apple Watch shouldn’t be treated the same as a smartphone. The watch needs to be paired to a smartphone to function, but it can send and receive both calls and text messages. “It’s not so much handheld. It’s a watch,” he told CTV. “You know, it’s on my wrist. That’s where it gets controversial.”

Macesin is protesting the ticket and may seek a lawyer to argue his case.

[CTV]

TIME Internet

Google’s Nuttiest Project Is Making Big Progress

Google Internet Balloon
Jon Shenk—AP Google has been testing balloons which sail into the stratosphere and beam Internet down to Earth.

Project Loon is getting a lot more sophisticated

Project Loon, Google’s ambitious plan to deliver Internet access to remote places via balloons, is becoming more than just a moonshot. At its annual I/O developers conference, the company told Bloomberg that it has had two key breakthroughs with Loon recently that could help it scale to achieve its goal.

Initially launching a single balloon required a dozen employees. Now Google has built a 50-ft.-(15-m)-tall, cube-shaped contraption called the Autolauncher, which can send balloons airborne every 15 minutes with the aid of just four people.

Secondly, Google has increased the range the balloons can travel and still carry an Internet connection. The company has developed technology to transfer Internet signals from balloon to balloon, which will allow the balloons to travel up to 497 miles (800 km) away from a ground station that’s connected to the Internet. Previously the balloons could only travel 50 miles (80 km) from a ground station and maintain an Internet signal. With the new innovation, Google will be able to cover the entire region of West Africa using only about eight ground stations.

Though Loon is still in an experimental phase, the advancements mean it may reach commercial deployment sometime in 2016.

TIME Google

Gmail Just Hit a Pretty Major Milestone

US-TECHONOLOGY-GOOGLE
Jewel Samad—AFP/Getty Images Google's lead designer for "Inbox by Gmail" Jason Cornwell shows the app's functionalities on a nexus 6 android phone during a media preview in New York on October 29, 2014.

It's closing in on 1 billion users

Google’s Gmail, already the most popular email service around, just notched member No. 900 million, the company announced at its annual I/O developers conference this week.

Gmail doubled its number of users in the last three years, USA Today reports. The announcement was made by Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of products.

The news comes as Google is publicly launching Inbox, a version of Gmail designed for mobile phones. Over three-quarters of Gmail users log into their email accounts from their phones.

Google’s Pichai recently spoke with Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky about the company’s business strategy and being patient.

TIME Companies

See Uber’s Stunning New Sci-Fi Headquarters

Ride-hailing company Uber, among the most valuable private companies in the world, is planning a futuristic two-building headquarters in San Francisco, Calif.

TIME Drones

Passenger Plane Barely Dodges Drone Above New York

Near-collision occurred on the way to LaGuardia Airport

A passenger airliner had to take evasive action to avoid hitting a drone in the skies above New York Friday morning.

Shuttle America Flight 2708 reported climbing 200 feet to avoid an unmanned aircraft on the way to LaGuardia Airport, according to a statement from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The drone was reportedly operating in the area near Prospect Park in Brooklyn at an altitude of 2,700 feet. The FAA said it would investigate the near-collision, but didn’t provide any information on who was operating the drone.

The FAA is in the process of drafting rules to regulate how drones can operate in public airspace. Currently the organization’s guidelines for hobbyists warn against flying above 400 feet or within five miles of an airport. But Prospect Park is some ten miles from New York JFK, its nearest airport.

 

TIME slack

Everyone Wants to Acquire Tech Darling Slack

Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and chief executive office of Slack.
Slack Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and chief executive office of Slack.

CEO Stewart Butterfield says the suitors have been lining up

The workplace messaging app Slack is not just popular among businesses trying to streamline how their employees communicate in the office. It’s also the belle of the ball when it comes to tech companies looking to spend big on acquisitions.

Speaking at the Code Conference Thursday, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield told the audience that he has fielded acquisition offers from between eight and ten companies, according to a report in TechCrunch. But he is simply uninterested in cashing out.

“I’m going to make more money than I need in any outcome at this point,” Butterfield said.

Instead, the Silicon-Valley CEO is in it for the long haul, and for his legacy. “Five or ten years from now, I want people to talk about our employees like, ‘Ooh they worked at Slack,” he said.

TIME facebook

You Can Finally Post GIFs on Facebook

Watch President Barack Obama on a skateboard

Prepare the cats

It’s been a long time coming, but Facebook has finally granted users the power to communicate in GIFs on the social network.

The company has quietly rolled out an update that lets GIFs play natively within the News Feed. Just copy the URL of your favorite moving image, post it in the status update bar and watch it appear in all its hypnotic glory.

Tests seemed to indicate that the functionality doesn’t yet work in comments, so we’re still a ways away from being able to respond to a lame status update with Kanye un-smiling.

Also, you don’t have to worry about your News Feed becoming a torrent of distracting moving images. The GIFs don’t begin their endless loop until you click play.

 

TIME robots

Watch the Scariest Robot in the World Jump Over Stuff Automatically

Please don't become self-aware

It’s bad enough that Boston Dynamics has made a robotic cheetah that can run nearly 30 m.p.h. (48 km/h). Now MIT has its own cheetah-robot that can autonomously leap tall obstacles in a single bound. The robot uses lasers to see its environment, and the onboard computer uses a three-part algorithm to detect an obstacle, adjust its approach, then measure the appropriate jump trajectory. The entire process takes about 100 milliseconds. Right now the cheetah can clear hurdles as high as 18 in. (46 cm) at an average running speed of 5 m.p.h. (8 km/h).

MIT researchers are planning to demonstrate their cheetah’s abilities at the DARPA Robotics Challenge in June.

TIME Innovation

Google Wants to Put a Touch Sensor on Your Pants

In this March 23, 2010 file photo, the Google logo is seen at the Google headquarters in Brussels.
Virginia Mayo—AP In this March 23, 2010 file photo, the Google logo is seen at the Google headquarters in Brussels.

Get ready for smart clothing

Soon your clothes may be able to communicate with your phone. At its annual I/O developers conference, Google is demoing a new smart fabric that it calls Project Jacquard, made by its experimental Advanced Technologies and Projects group. The fabric is made using conductive thread and works similarly to a touchpad, using low-power Wi-Fi to interact with other devices. Jacquard can sense multiple finger presses and even varying amounts of pressure. In the demo, Google showed the fabric being used to change the brightness and color of smart light bulbs as well as to control a media player.

The company said a primary initial use case for the technology would be to control a smartphone. So get ready to use your pants to fiddle with the smartphone that’s already sitting right in your pocket.

[Gizmodo]

 

TIME Apple

Everybody With an Apple Watch Is Now an Amateur Meteorologist

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images An attendee inspects the new Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California.

More like "cloudsourcing," right?

The latest update to popular iOS app Weather Underground lets Apple Watch wearers help crowdsource weather data straight from their wrists.

In a 5.0.1 update that was recently released for the free app, the new versions adds the following functionality: “Added crowd reporting, because your watch is waterproof, your phone is not. Tell us it’s raining from your wrist.” Basically, when you notice it’s starting to rain, you can tell the app, which then adds that to data from other users for more accurate weather reporting.

“Powered by 100,000+ weather stations, Weather Underground provides the world’s most accurate hyper-local weather forecasts, radar, maps, and severe weather alerts,” according to the app’s website.

In addition, the app boasts that it allows Apple Watch users to get all their weather data “at a glance,” including viewing current conditions both hourly and for the next 10 days.

The news of the app’s update comes after reports showed that Apple Watch third-party apps are expected to get a boost in quality by the fall, as developers will be able to create apps that run natively on the device.

 

 

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com