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  • Weekly Round Up Podcast #83: starring Xiaomi, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook

    Welcome to Weekly Round Up, our podcast discussing the latest tech trends, innovation, and news from the last few days. This week, Hadlee Simons plays host to Andy Walker and a brief appearance from Matthew Alexander. We discuss Microsoft's recent Surface announcements and reveals, the new edge-to-edge screened Xiaomi Mi MIX, and Apple's MacBook Pro launch. We also touch on how the world's biggest brands use Facebook. What are we watching, reading, playing: Andy is playing Battlefield 1 and is not watching anything at the moment. Hadlee is still playing Pumped: BMX on his smartphone. Tweet of the Week: A clever tweets about...

  • Apple’s new TV app is called ‘TV’ because some things never change

    Apple's October event wasn't all MacBooks and iPhone updates. Today, Tim Cook and crew announced a few things for the Apple TV. Chief of which is the company's new TV app simply dubbed TV. No, seriously. It's actually called TV. Even with that uninspiring name, the app is heading to both tvOS (Apple TV) and iOS (iPhone and iPad) for users in the US "by the end of the year", and aims to provide users with a unified viewing experience. It's essentially a digital TV guide, displaying the collated content from all of your video-on-demand accounts -- from HBO to CBS --...

  • Vine is the latest victim of Twitter’s crazy week

    Twitter, after shedding 9% of its company staff this week, is also shedding Vine. In a blog post published on Medium, "Vine and Twitter" explains that the former will be "discontinuing the mobile app" in a move that almost spells the end for the promising but ailing short video platform. We have some important news to share about Vine. Read more here: https://t.co/jPveGelXgS — Vine (@vine) October 27, 2016 The video creation and sharing service, that was bought by Twitter in 2012, was used by consumers and media alike to cover events like the Ferguson uprising of 2014, to the everyday lives of...

  • Qualcomm to acquire NXP Semiconductors (who?) in $47bn deal

    Mobile chipmaker Qualcomm has announced that it will acquire NXP Semiconductors in a deal valued at a massive US$47-billion. Most of our tech-savvy readers know that Qualcomm is the company behind the all-conquering Snapdragon smartphone processors. But what about NXP? "NXP is a leader in high-performance, mixed-signal semiconductor electronics, with innovative products and solutions and leadership positions in automotive, broad-based microcontrollers, secure identification, network processing and RF power," the mobile chipmaker wrote in a statement. "...NXP also has leading positions in automotive infotainment, networking and safety systems, with solutions designed into 14 of the top 15 infotainment customers in 2016," Qualcomm added. The Qualcomm decision to...

  • Here’s why Snapchat is Snapchat’s own worst enemy

    It's tough to think of another mobile platform that's enjoyed as much success in as short a time as Snapchat. The service has managed to successfully shed its early reputation as sexting platform number one. In the process, it's transformed into a service that prides itself on being a platform for authentic media-sharing. Who needs carefully shot, crystal clear DSLR snaps when spur-of-the-moment, blurry shots can feel more intimate? Who cares about smooth, 4K video clips when shaky footage happening right now feels more authentic? Or at least that's the thinking... As a result of the app's live nature, it's quickly become a social media icon alongside...

  • Epic Rap Battles pits Trump against Clinton in cuss-filled clip

    The current US race for the White House has never been this entertaining or this frightening. Right in the golden age of social media, the elections have been covered in almost every guise -- from video to parody.  ith the elections just a few days away now, Epic Rap Battles is bringing the two together. Placing Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton, the two duke it out in a much more cuss-infused rap battle, fit with scandal references on both sides, catch phrases and of course, that wall. Speaking of a wall, EPB does seem to side with Clinton in this...

  • Citizen scientists discover intriguing circumstellar disc

    Citizen scientists and professional astronomers have found what could possibly be the oldest known circumstellar disk -- a group of dust and debris that often birth planets and stars. While most planetary discs seem to fade within 30-million years, this particular disc is still going strong. "This particular red dwarf is a candidate member of the Carina stellar association, which would make it around 45 million years old," said team leader Steven Silverberg in a blog post. "It's the oldest red dwarf system with a disk we've seen in one of these associations." This circumstellar disc could be as old as 45-million years The...

  • Apple Q4 2016 financials: revenue slides as services boom

    Apple has revealed its Q4 2016 earnings report, revealing US$46.9-billion in revenue and US$9-billion in profit for the quarter. How did they fare compared to Q4 2015 though? Well, the company reported revenue of US$51.5-billion and US$11.1-billion in profit back then, marking a notable slide. The company has also seen a significant year-on-year decline in the crucial Greater China market, going from US$12.5-billion in Q4 2015 to US$8.7-billion in Q4 2016 (representing a 30% drop). As for the all-important hardware sales this quarter? Well, the firm recorded a 17% revenue drop for Macs compared to a year ago, as well as a 13% revenue drop...

  • Drones can change lightbulbs now, making humans even less useful

    Sven, the pilot of drones, had a dream, and that dream was to change a faulty lightbulb using nothing but a drone. Ambitious? You bet. Over complicated? Uh, obviously. But still, it's the proof of concept that's enduring. Also, it sounds simple enough, right? Well, that's what Sven probably thought. After destroying nine lightbulbs and a poor, courageous drone, Sven somehow pulled off the unthinkable. He removed the faulty lightbulb and replaced it with a working lightbulb using nothing but a thumbstick-controlled quadcopter. That blonde joke has no credence now that drones can change lightbulbs The video, which is published on Sven's YouTube...

  • Icelandic hot spring bread is (probably) as tasty as it is crazy

    If you had a hot spring nearby, why wouldn't you use its heat as a makeshift oven? That's what one YouTuber found out when she visited Iceland (h/t Digg). It turns out that Rúgbrauð is an Icelandic specialty, being rye bread made by burying it near a hot spring. The spring's heat takes care of the rest, making for a truly badass way to bake your bread. The bread is encased in a pot and plastic before baking, of course. Still, a little sand in your mouth beats tasting that other Icelandic specialty, Hákarl. Check out the video below.

  • New tech makes wind turbines cheaper, lighter and sturdier

    The WALiD (Wind blade using cost-effective Advanced Lightweight Design) project in conjunction with the Fraunhofer Institute, have developed lighter but sturdier wind turbine blades that could improve the technology's efficiency and longevity. Lowering the weight of the turbines could allow them to be assembled a lot easier as well as improve their stability -- in the ocean specifically -- and reduce the cost of wear and tear. Wind turbine blades measure up to 80m in length with a rotor diameter of 160m in order to produce maximum energy yields. One drawback of these turbines is that they can be extremely heavy....

  • The art of Facebook: 30 of its biggest brands analysed

    For personal use, Facebook is an excellent way to communicate with friends, keep up to date with event lists, and of course, sneak around others' personal lives. But how do some of the world's biggest brands use the social network? A study, conducted by analytics firm Quintly, aims to do just that, looking at 30 of the world's biggest brands and their unique uses of Facebook in the first half of 2016. These brands include the likes of Monster Energy, Intel, BMW, Zara and Skittles, to name but a few. Have a look at the full list below: BMW, Starbucks, Disney,...

  • Twitter to cut 8% of workforce – report

    Twitter may be considered an icon of today's internet era, but its financial status has never been shining by most accounts. Now, Bloomberg reports that the company plans to lay off 300 staff, representing a not-insignificant 8% of their workforce. The publication, citing "people familiar with the matter", said that the layoffs might be announced this week before Twitter's third-quarter earnings meeting on Thursday. It added that the number of laid off employees could still change. Twitter hasn't been a money maker by any stretch, having sought a sale instead So who would be affected by these job cuts? TechCrunch reports that sales teams are...

  • Google purchases eyeball tracking firm Eyefluence

    "Eyeball tracking" might sound like the stuff of science fiction horrors, but it's an essential focus for those in the virtual and augmented reality spaces. And who better to know this than Google? The company has bought eyeball tracking firm Eyefluence, which should help it in its present and future VR and AR ambitions. Financial information was undisclosed, but according to Mattermark, Eyefluence raised around US$21.6-million in two funding rounds. Eyefluence, founded in 2013 by Livescribe founder Jim Margraff, develops technology to "create a more natural, intuitive way to interact with augmented and virtual reality displays". "Over the last three and a...

  • Eaze: weed-delivery startup gets $13m in funding

    Who says you have to visit a dispensary to get the Devil's Lettuce? Certainly not the people behind Eaze, which promises to get the Whacky Tobacky to your door in no time flat. Now, the company has announced US$13-million in series B funding, making Eaze "the fastest growing and most funded cannabis technology company in the world", the firm claims. "It has now raised more than $25M in total funding. Fresh VC led the round with participation from DCM Ventures, Tusk Ventures, Winklevoss Capital, Rose Capital and others," Eaze wrote in a blog post. The investment comes at a time when nine states have cannabis-related legislation on...