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Games, Uncategorized,

How The Rampage Movie Aims To Avoid The “Video Game Curse”

Video game movies have a track record of mediocrity or worse. While there are some good ones, video game movies, most would probably agree, are generally not very good. One of the next big video game movies coming out is Rampage, which is based on the ’80s game of the same name. In aninterview with IGN, director Brad Peyton (San Andreas) talked about how his new film might break the so-called “video game curse” for movie adaptations.

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Games, Technology,

LittleBits’ Droid Inventor kit is the first STEM toy that works

I’ve been watching STEAM and/or STEAM toys with great interest and great skepticism. While many parents and teachers report great success with programming toys like Cleverbot and whatever this thing is, I’ve found that kids (and parents) I know find many STEM toys to be sterile, boring, and just no fun.

The same held true for the notoriously fiddly LittleBits kits. These kits had little snap-together electronic parts that allowed you to create circuits and connect chips in order to build various projects. You could make synthesizers, Arduino gadgets, and robots and the like but, ultimately, nothing sparked with anyone I knew. Now, I’m pleased to report, LittleBits has finally pulled off STEM magic with the Droid Inventor kit and other manufacturers would do well to emulate them.

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Social Media,

Facebook appoints a new AI research head

Facebook has a new executive coming on to unify its research efforts in the field of artificial intelligence.

Former IBM exec Jérôme Pesenti will be taking the lead at Facebook’s AI research (FAIR) arm, Quartz reports. Yann LeCun, who previously held the lead role, will be shifting to a more research-focused role where he will continue to drive the scientific agenda of FAIR in his new role as chief AI scientist, a Facebook spokesperson tells TechCrunch.

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Social Media,

Instagram won’t comment on rumored video calling feature

Instagram copied the ‘Snap’ and now it might be going after the ‘chat’. A video calling feature was spotted in a non-public version of Instagram by WhatsApp industry blog WABetaInfo. It would let users who’ve begun an Instagram Direct message thread to video chat with each other. That could let people spend even more time in the app, but by actively communicating, rather than passively browsing which Facebook has come to admit isn’t good for our well-being.

Mobile World Congress 2017 - Day 3
Mobile,

Google completes its $1.1B deal to buy a chunk of HTC’s smartphone division

Google has announced the completion of its $1.1 billion deal to buy a large slice of HTC’s hardware business.

The acquisition was announced back in September 2017 but now it has passed the requisite approvals and is finalized. Beyond the transfer of over 2,000 engineers from HTC — that’s around one-fifth of HTC’s engineering team — Google will also receive a non-exclusive license for HTC’s intellectual property. HTC is retaining its Vive VR division and it will continue to make its own smartphones, the company confirmed last year.

Most obviously, the deal boosts Google’s hardware game significantly by handing a portion of HTC’s own smartphone development team, many of whom worked on Google’s Pixel hardware (which was outsourced to HTC) and other HTC devices which, while much lauded, didn’t sell in huge volumes.

microsoft-teams
Computers,

Microsoft’s Slack competitor, Teams, gets its biggest update with new app integrations and app store

Microsoft’s Slack competitor, Microsoft Teams, rolled out its biggest update since the software’s launch last year, the company says. The focus of the new set of features is allowing users to better work with apps – something Microsoft Teams accomplishes via integrations, new search and discovery features, commands, and more.

Some of the features are, in fact, quite Slack-like.

For example, Microsoft Teams now offers a way to search for apps from the new app store where you can browse by category or search by name, category or integration type – like Project Management or BI. Slack, of course, also has its own app directory, which has allowed it to highlight all the work tools that currently work with its team collaboration resource – a move that helped it gain traction in the workplace.