Apple Buys Itself an Augmented Reality Company

apple-firmRecent legal documents spied out by TechCrunch have shown that Apple has acquired Metaio, a German start-up firm that’s been focused on augmented reality development since about 2003.



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Spotify lets your DJ from your wrist with its Android Wear app

Spotify lets your DJ from your wrist with its Android Wear app

Soon you’ll be able to better control your music from your wrist, as Spotify has confirmed it’s coming to Android Wear but hasn’t shown off any features just yet.

So far we know you’ll be able to choose tracks to play from your wrist, navigating through both your own music and the Browse section. We expect it won’t come with search functionality – it’ll likely work as a playlist browser.

Slick wrist beats

It’s not currently clear whether it’ll be a Premium members exclusive feature either. We hope those on free accounts will be allowed access, but there’s no telling just yet.

The app will begin rolling out in June and should be on all devices by the end of the month.



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GOOGLE IO: The best Android M feature is Google Now on Tap

GOOGLE IO: The best Android M feature is Google Now on Tap

When I pulled up a chair at Google IO and asked what was new on tap, I was cutely told that Google Now on Tap is the latest and greatest part of the Android M selection.

It’s so new that this feature is not part of the just released developer preview. Instead Now on Tap is coming "later this year," likely debuting with the full Android M update.

What does it serve up? Even faster Google search shortcuts within a menu overlay, meaning you don’t have to stray too far from an app to find the right results.

It takes the power of Google Now and the ever-wise knowledge graph, and attempts to predict what you want to know and where you want to find it – all without your input needed.

It’s Pitch Perfect

Google Now on Tap works best when it answers the awkward questions that come up during real-life conversations, like an email or Hangout exchange.

Android M feature Google Now on Tap

"Want to see Pitch Perfect 2?" You think, what the heck is that again? "I’d see anything with Anna Kendrick." Isn’t that the girl from… No, I’m thinking of Anna Paquin.

Within Android 5.0 Lollipop, these questions required closing the chat, scrolling through your app-filled screen, opening up Chrome and typing in the "what" and the "who" to investigate.

Android M promises to reduce these cumbersome steps: Hold the on-screen home button of a Nexus 6 and a new menu pops up in place of the old, circular Google Now shortcut.

The knowledge graph slides up from the bottom of the screen after scanning what’s been said in your conversation, and it tells you about the movie and actress.

Two Google Now cards contain pithy information and a photo of each, and their own set of shortcuts to apps like IMDB, Flixster and Twitter. Only then are you pulled into a different app.

It gets even faster

"But what films do I know her from?," you ask. She’s that actress from that movie where that… thing happens. Google voice search can even understand your very non-specific questions.

Android M feature Google Now on Tap

It’ll even understand "her" is Anna Kendrick. It won’t start bringing up the movie "Her," like a Siri web search might do.

This is Google’s long-standing promise to understand the word "it." It judges what you are asking based on the context of the app you’re using and the words or images within.

Who’s the lead singer of that band?

Proving that Google Now On Tap works outside of its own set of apps, the company said that it extends to rival music streaming services like Spotify.

Android M feature Google Now on Tap

"Okay Google, who’s the lead singer?" when the D12 rap group frontman selfishly sings about being the lead singer of "My Band?"

It’ll let you know it’s Eminem faster than the funny, boastful lyrics do, all without making you do all of the leg work.

Don’t worry: it’s opt-in

Now on Tap is a time-saving convenience that takes Google’s primary business out of the equation: search. It pulls you to the information you want or into the app you need.

Android M feature Google Now on Tap

But while the app does the searching for you in any app, the Google rep I talked to said that it’ll be an opt-in feature. It won’t be enabled on Android M automatically.

That way, anyone who has a problem with the privacy aspect of Google looking through an app on command won’t have to go through the hassle of disabling it on some back menu.

Not ready for Android M beta

Google’s saving the best for last, it turns out. While the app was nearly flawless during my brief Google IO demo, it’s still got a few kinks to work out.

Android M feature Google Now on Tap

That’s why you won’t find it in the Android M developer preview. It’s not even ready for the beta, but it’s an exclusive you won’t find anywhere else.

As much as Google is opening up its software to iOS, like the now iPhone-compatible Google Photos and Google Cardboard VR, this is locked down to Android.

And that makes the iPhone vs Android debate a lot more interesting. "Okay Google, who is winning *it*?"



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Here’s Apple’s temporary fix for that iMessage crash bug

Here's Apple's temporary fix for that iMessage crash bug

You know that problem with a single message being able to reboot your iPhone? Well, Apple has now issued a temporary fix as we wait for an official software update to solve the problem.

In a support post, Apple recommends three steps.

First, ask Siri to "read unread messages".

Then use Siri to reply to the malicious message with anything you want. From there you’ll be able to open up Messages again without an issues.

Finally, in Messages, swipe left to delete the entire thread or tap and hold to delete the single malicious message.

That’ll allow you to use Messages again without any issues but it doesn’t seem to solve the problem of someone sending you the message over again.

iFix, you fix

We’ve tested our fix here and it means you won’t be affected by the hack again.

Then it’s just a matter of time to wait for Apple to update its software – and there’s no telling how long that will take. Fingers crossed it’s soon.



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New Memory Alloy Springs Back Into Shape Even After 10 Million Bends

New Memory Alloy Springs Back Into Shape Even After 10 Million Bends

Memory alloys that spring back into a pre-defined shape are nothing new, but regular bending means they fatigue and fail within a relatively short time-scale. Now, a team of engineers has developed an alloy that rebounds into shape even after 10 million bends.

Existing memory alloys have found plenty of uses, in everything from flexible glasses frames to medical implants that open up blood vessels. But in these applications, they can typically undergo just a small number of large deformations before they break.

The new alloy, which is made from nickel, titanium and copper, has a special crystal structure that allows it to undergo bending more easily than most metals. The constituent atoms are arranged in a way that allows them to switch between two different configurations, over and over. This is known as a phase transition, and it can can occur either with changes in temperature or merely the release of tension.

The team, based at the University of Kiel in Germany, actually found that a small quantity of titanium-copper impurities, Ti2Cu, that they added helped that phase transition to happen. As a result—and after weeks of machine-enabled testing—they found that the sample could survive being bent over 10 million times. The result are published in Science.

The researchers suggest that the new material could be used in situations where loading varies constantly, like in the wings of airplanes, or where materials undergo regular heating and cooling. [Science via BBC]

Image by University of Kiel

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Handpick turns Instagram into the world’s largest recipe book

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Instagram can be hell if you’re hungry. The photo-sharing social network is full of people sharing the delicious dishes they’ve just whipped up as well as ridiculously well posed restaurant fare. The trouble is, while there are millions of posts about food, actually searching for them and connecting images to recipes isn’t easy. Instagram’s native search just isn’t up to the job. That’s where Handpick (for Android and iOS) comes in. While the food discovery app has been around since 2013, it got really useful this week. The app’s original aim was to reduce the amount of food waste in the world by making…

This story continues at The Next Web

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Minecraft to release monthly UK magazine

Dennis Publishing strikes deal with Mojang, creator of building game, with first print run set for 45,000 copies

Continue reading…

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Reigate Grammar School Computing Department

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