Facebook isn’t one to shy away from ambition, and their newest plan to deliver Internet to rural parts of the world via their own drone sounds just crazy enough that it might work.
In a blog post on Thursday, Facebook detailed their plans to find economical ways to provide Internet access to the 4 billion people that live removed from cell towers or land lines. Instead of trying to install fiber-optic cable or microwave repeaters, Facebook plans to fly their thousand-pound drone in circles above the Earth, providing broadband level internet to those within a 50 mile radius below.
The drone is called Aquila, Latin for eagle, and was designed by Facebook’s aerospace team in the UK. It’s solar powered and has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but is much lighter due to its carbon-fiber frame. When the drone is deployed, Facebook says it will be able to circle an isolated area for up to 90 days at an altitude of 60,000 to 90,000 feet before floating down for a tune-up and returning to the sky.
Aquila is part of a larger project launched a year ago by Facebook’s Connectivity Lab to provide Internet access to those who don’t have it. The goal of the lab’s work is “to accelerate the development of a new set of technologies that can drastically change the economics of deploying internet infrastructure.”
Along with the drone, Facebook also announced a breakthrough from their laser communications team in California. They have designed and lab-tested a laser that can deliver data at 10s of GB per second to a target the size of a dime from more than 10 miles away. This speed blows away the previous best in the industry, and the next step is for Facebook to test these lasers in real-world conditions. Facebook hopes that when finished, this laser system can be used with their aircraft to create a network that can reach anywhere.
Those furious fowl are once again taking flight as Rovio has launched Angry Birds 2, the first true sequel in the popular franchise. The game retains the same slingshot format and many of the original characters but pretty much everything else has been overhauled.
Angry Birds 2 features multi-stage levels loaded with lush vegetation and plenty of detail. There’s also a cast of new characters joining familiar favorites complete with end-of-stage boss piggies. Our feathered friends can also cast spells like calling in a blizzard or summoning rubber ducks from the sky in their battle to get their eggs back.
In previous games, players had to fling over whichever birds were next in the line-up. Angry Birds 2 lets you choose which birds to propel and in what order using bird “cards.”
Rovio has also baked in a multiplayer aspect, allowing players to compete with others around the world to earn feathers that can be used to build their flock.
Angry Birds 2 is available as of writing for Android and iOS via their respective app stores. The game is free of charge yet as is the norm these days, it relies on in-app purchases to generate revenue. The good news is that players will be able to complete the entire game without spending any real-world cash.
Rovio struck gold with the original Angry Birds in 2009 and has successfully milked the franchise for everything it can. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not the sequel can give the series the boost it needs to reverse its downwardmomentum.
Windows 10 is finally here and it’s the best version of the operating system we’ve seen in a while. Even better, it’s a free update if you already have Windows 7 or newer.
The new operating system is available as an update starting July 29 and we recommend you upgrade. If you’re ready to bring your Windows 8 or 7 machine up to the latest version of Microsoft’s OS, there are few things you’ll have to do to make the upgrade as painless as possible. I’ve outlined the key steps to follow below.
Step 1: Make sure your computer is eligible for Windows 10
Windows 10 is free for anyone running the latest version of Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 on their laptop, desktop or tablet computer.
You must be an administrator on your computer, meaning that you own the computer and set it up yourself. It’s very likely that you will not be able to update work computers that are managed by an IT department on your own.
Step 2: Back up your computer
To protect all of the files you have on your computer, I highly recommended that you back up your computer, just in case something goes wrong during the upgrade process. For a detailed process on how to do this, check out CNET’s guide to preparing your PC for Windows 10.
Step 3: Update your current Windows version
You will need to install all of the updates for the current version of Windows you have on your machine. If you’ve set up automatic updates, you should be all set, but double-check first.
On Windows 7, go to Start, Control Panel, System and Security and Windows Update.
On Windows 8 and 8.1, go to Start, PC Settings, Update and recovery, and Windows Update.
On all versions of Windows, your computer will you if there are any available updates and walk you through the process of downloading and installing them.
You may need to check for and install updates several times to finish this process.
Step 4: Wait for the Windows 10 prompt
Once your computer has the latest updates, a Windows icon will pop up in the taskbar on your desktop, letting you know you can reserve Windows 10. Follow the directions on the screen to let Microsoft know that you would like the Windows 10 update. You may enter your email address to confirm the update, but it is not necessary.
When you’re finished with the reservation process, all you can do is sit back and wait for Microsoft to automatically send Windows 10 to your computer, a process that can take several days or weeks. When it’s time to install the update, you will get a notification on your computer.
Have you ever wondered how Shazam works? I asked myself this question a few years ago and I read a research article written by Avery Li-Chun Wang, the confounder of Shazam, to understand the magic behind Shazam. The quick answer is audio fingerprinting, which leads to another question: what is audio fingerprinting? When I was student, I never took a course in signal processing. To really understand Shazam (and not just have a vague idea) I had to start with the basics… Coding Geek
Satoru Iwata is a familiar name to most gamers. He was the president and CEO of Nintendo, captaining the company since 2002. Under his guidance, Nintendo captured the casual market of gamers with the Wii system and saw a low point with the release of the Wii U. Mr. Iwata has long been one of the public faces of the company, delivering Nintendo’s numerous “Nintendo Direct” digital events and videos. Unfortunately, Mr. Iwata was unable to attend this year’s E3 due to medical complications. Today, more tragic news have been announced. Mr. Satoru Iwata, aged 55, passed away on July 11, 2015.
Mr. Iwata is as well known and respected as other Nintendo giants like Reggie Fils-Aime and Shigeru Miyamoto. The loss of Mr. Iwata comes as a surprise for many, as the severity of his health issues were not widely known. Nintendo remains a name deeply entrenched in the childhoods and memories of an entire generation. Even before his work as the head of Nintendo, Mr. Iwata worked as a freelance programmer for HAL Laboratory, the developer behind classics such as Mother (known as Earthbound in the West), Kirby, and Super Smash Bros. Under Mr. Iwata, Nintendo was busy refocusing its efforts in the home, hinting at a new gaming platform known as the “NX,” as well as engaging in partnerships to bring their titles to the mobile arena.
His death comes at a time of change at Nintendo. The company faces numerous challenges in a rapidly changing industry, an industry many might say they’ve been slow to adapt to. However, Nintendo’s greatest challenge may be carrying on without Mr. Iwata, or perhaps keeping him in their hearts.