Levi’s Google-powered smart jacket goes on sale next week

The question is whether this jacket is really worth the cost — after all, that’s a lot for denim. The key for the Levi’s Commuter jacket lies in a snap tag on the left sleeve cuff that allows you to interact with your phone right on the jacket using gestures, LEDs and haptic feedback. It’s not fully unobtrusive — from the pictures, it appears to protrude from the sleeve quite a bit — but it’s pretty small. But if you want a low key and simple way to interact with your phone (and you love denim jackets), you may want to check it out. You can see our early review here.

Levi’s Google-powered smart jacket goes on sale next week

The jacket is primarily aimed at bike commuters, and it would work well for this group. You can use the Jacquard app, available for iOS and Android, to customize what exactly your jacket can do. You can receive messages, send calls to voicemail, hear your next direction while biking, control your music and more. The tag charges via USB and the battery lasts for about two weeks. It’s removable, so the jacket is, presumably, washable.

You can visit jacquard.com/levi/specs on your mobile device to see if it’s compatible; generally, phones running Android 6.01 or newer will work. iOS users must have an iPhone 6 or later running iOS 10 or iOS 11. It’s likely this jacket will appeal to a very narrow set of people, especially considering its hefty price tag. But if it’s as thoughtfully made as it appears to be, it will probably attract some fans.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/25/levis-smart-jacket-project-jaquard-on-sale/

Office 365’s revamped web launchers put you to work sooner

Things promise to be simpler once you’re waist-deep in work, too. There’s a streamlined Office 365 web launcher that focuses just on the most common apps and those you use often, so you’re not wading through menus to return to a favorite tool. You can pin apps if you know you’ll need to use, them, and there’s a prominent recent documents section that will switch you back to that all-important report. If you’re not sure which app to use, you can explore recommended apps to get resources, install desktop apps and otherwise determine whether or not it’s the right tool for the job.

Microsoft expects these updates to reach Office 365 users “soon,” so don’t be surprised if they aren’t visible right away. Whenever you get them, it’s clear that Microsoft is increasingly treating Office’s web version as its own sort of operating system, not just as a collection of apps. This won’t necessarily lure you or your company to Google Apps, but it could make the Office experience more cohesive.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/24/microsoft-revamps-office-365-web-launchers/

Google Daydream’s web-browsing features surface in Chrome

Through Chrome 61, users can now browse and interact with websites in VR. Just open up a website on Chrome and then slip your phone into a Daydream View headset and you’ll be able use any website as well as take advantage of immersive viewing with sites supporting WebVR.

With these first steps, Google joins Samsung and Oculus in offering VR web browsing. Oculus’ Carmel VR browser is currently in developer preview, while Samsung’s Internet for Gear VR browser has been around for a little while now. But Beaufort says this is just the start for Chrome. In his post, Beaufort said, “This is just the beginning for web browsing in VR so stay tuned, there’s more to come!”

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/22/google-daydream-web-browsing-features-chrome/

Facebook accused of supporting ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Myanmar

The company confirmed that it had blacklisted posts by ARSA to official Zaw Htay, who posted a screenshot to their Facebook page. The statement says that “dangerous organizations are not allowed to use our services and we also remove content that supports or praises such groups.” It’s believed that the site has also suppressed images and video of Rohingya Muslims being tortured and killed.

Rohingya Muslims have a contentious status in Myanmar, and are considered a stateless minority in the mostly Buddhist country. They are considered to be deeply persecuted, which prompted a Rohingya militia group to attack police posts in late August, killing 12. In response, Myanmar’s government retaliated with a program of violence that Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, describes as “clearly disproportionate.” More than 300,000 Rohingya have now fled their home after their villages were burned and fleeing civilians have been allegedly gunned down. Al Hussein describes Myanmar’s actions as a a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

In a statement, Facebook said that it is “only removing graphic content when it is shared to celebrate the violence, versus raising awareness and condemning the action.” Spokesperson Ruchika Budhraja added that the company is “reviewing content against our Community Standards, and, when alerted to errors, quickly resolving them and working to prevent them from happening again.” The company has also affirmed that it chose to mark ARSA as a dangerous organization without the intervention of Myanmar’s government.

Subsequently, a Facebook spokesperson sent Engadget the following statement:

“We allow people to use Facebook to challenge ideas and raise awareness about important issues, but we will remove content that violates our Community Standards. These include hate speech, fake accounts, and dangerous organizations.

Anyone can report content to us if they think it violates our standards and it doesn’t matter how many times a piece of content is reported, it will be treated the same.

Sometimes we will allow content if newsworthy, significant or important to the public interest – even if it might otherwise violate our standards. In response to the situation in Myanmar, we are only removing graphic content when it is shared to celebrate the violence, versus raising awareness and condemning the action.

We are carefully reviewing content against our Community Standards and, when alerted to errors quickly resolving them and working to prevent them from happening again.”

Facebook has often struggled to balance its desire not to become a hotbed for graphic content with political and cultural sensibilities. The site came under fire in 2016 for blocking a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo from the Vietnam war that featured a naked child fleeing from soldiers. The image breached the site’s rules on underage nudity, but was reinstated following an international outcry. At the time, the site explained that its rules were evolving and that mistakes would be made, but will always improve.

Unfortunately, the role of monolithic media broadcaster with the attentions of a billion people comes with responsibilities. Facebook has often publicly rebutted the idea that it has any power, but it’s clear that the issue is coming to a head, and fast.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/20/facebook-accused-of-supporting-ethnic-cleansing-in-myanmar/

Google wants to ensnare readers in its iOS search app

If you want to dive deeply into a particular topic, consider using Google’s app for iOS instead of your other browsers. The big G has made it much quicker to find and explore articles and other content related to what you’re looking at by adding suggestions at the bottom of page. Say, you’re reading one of our CRISPR or Cassini posts: when you’re done and scroll back up, a panel will pop up from the bottom with cards that link to related pieces marked “People Also View.” The cards could lead to Wikipedia articles about the genome-editing technique or the Saturn probe, they could link to NASA pages, scientific studies — anything related to the topic, really.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/19/google-related-articles-ios-app/

Red Sox reportedly cheated with a Fitbit, not an Apple Watch

We’ve asked Major League Baseball for comment and will let you know if it has a response.

Yes, the cheating is undoubtedly more important than the devices involved. The Red Sox could have swiped pitching cues using CB radios and it would still have been relevant. If the scoop is true, however, this might be a classic case of a device becoming so synonymous with a category that people don’t realize there are alternatives. Just as every game console is “a Nintendo” to some people, someone in the pipeline may have assumed that the wearable was an Apple Watch just because it had a touchscreen.

Turns out there was no Apple Watch involved in Red Sox sign stealing. It was a Fitbit product according to a major league source. .

— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) September 16, 2017

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/18/red-sox-reportedly-cheated-using-fitbit/

How Bodega typifies Silicon Valley’s cultural ignorance

It’s almost like someone said “Siri, show me why everyone hates and fears the things wearing human suits known as techies.”

Piles of money for trivial garbage

Bodega isn’t just an offensive idea, it’s an idea so bad and obviously worthless it’s maddening. Part of the visceral backlash was directed at the bourgeois wastefulness of the whole startup ecosystem, of which we are all angrily exhausted.

People who shop at the same Bay Area corner stores that Bodega wants to eliminate, like me, aren’t worried about any problem the startup wants to solve. We’re fretting about paying rent, affording health insurance, and the extreme gap between Bay Area’s rich and poor created by local tech companies that’s making the homeless problem a third world nightmare in our streets. A world in which Bodega gets a truckload of cash to almost literally burn right before our eyes.

Fast Company informs us,

About a year ago, McDonald and Rajan secured funding from notable investors to launch the concept, including Josh Kopelman at First Round Capital, Kirsten Green at Forerunner Ventures, and Hunter Walk at Homebrew. They also secured angel investment from senior executives at Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, and Google.

According to TechCrunch, the startup’s first financing round was a cool $2.5 million.

No, instead of all the money that could help the Bay Area’s crushing homeless problem (and serve as models for other cities if done well), or help other worthy tech causes like Hack The Hood, we get Silicon Valley’s “best and brightest” reinventing the vending machine in the most dystopian, community-destroying way imaginable.

You can almost see the pitch meeting. One VC remarks to another, “You think that’s crazy? Hold my Juicero.”

Replacing community with soulless automation

Deeper outrage was directed at the hubris, ignorance, and privilege it takes to want to make a business out of replacing the cornerstones of community known on the East Coast and parts of Los Angeles as bodegas.

The idea of the Bodega product is to remove human contact from the neighborhood shopping equation, to do away with the actual bodega. “The vision here is much bigger than the box itself,” McDonald told Fast Company. “Eventually, centralized shopping locations won’t be necessary, because there will be 100,000 Bodegas spread out, with one always 100 feet away from you.”

Right after the Fast Company article came out, the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development in New York issued a statement. “The awful irony of naming the company ‘Bodega’ after the very brick and mortar institutions they aim to displace, to say nothing about the cat their logo is based on that will similarly be displaced, is offensive, utterly misguided, and frankly disrespectful to New Yorkers,” it wrote.

How Bodega typifies Silicon Valley’s cultural ignorance

Until the backlash hit, Bodega seemed fine with everything written about it killing corner stores and appropriating the bodega name. The Fast Company article that got all the attention was a really well-done piece and had confronted CEO and co-founder Paul McDonald. In it, Elizabeth Segran wrote, “I asked McDonald point-blank about whether he’s worried that the name Bodega might come off as culturally insensitive. Not really.” He told her in response, “I’m not particularly concerned about it.”

When it became clear that replacing bodegas with a box wasn’t a great selling point — nor was naming the company after the thing it seemed keen to undercut — McDonald shot out a backpedaling apology.

In contrast to his brush off about the issue of co-opting “bodega” to Fast Company, McDonald wrote:

When we first came up with the idea to call the company Bodega we recognized that there was a risk of it being interpreted as misappropriation. We did some homework — speaking to New Yorkers, branding people, and even running some survey work asking about the name and any potential offense it might cause. But it’s clear that we may not have been asking the right questions of the right people.

Regarding the headlines echoing McDonald’s quote about Bodega’s aim to eliminate the necessity of stores he wrote, “Challenging the urban corner store is not and has never been our goal.”

Then the clicks and whirrs of a robot that had only learned about corner stores from a machine learning algorithm kicked in as McDonald continued:

Corner stores have been fixtures of their neighborhoods for generations. They stock thousands of items, far more than we could ever fit on a few shelves. Their owners know what products to carry and in many cases who buys what. And they’re run by people who in addition to selling everything from toilet paper to milk also offer an integral human connection to their patrons that our automated storefronts never will.

Can you imagine handing your bank details to these clowns? Or trusting them to make the right decisions about audits and security, or your home address and third parties, or … any Google, Facebook, Uber — any major company’s products — that affect millions of users every day?

Maybe there was a point in time when we could, but I don’t remember it. Every day seems to bring a new terrifying (and insulting) reason to distrust Silicon Valley’s companies and eager little startups. Which is probably because, like with Bodega, they’re all founded, operated, funded, and secured by the same kinds of people.

That wacky “integral human connection”

I think we’re morbidly fascinated with who the people behind these tech companies are, the ones making huge decisions about our lives (and our security and privacy). They create and gatekeep the technologies that arbitrate our relationships and our communities. These are the people who are shaping our future, and yet we end up with over-engineered, pricey juice presses and vending machines.

Paul McDonald served as a product manager at Google for 13 years. His partner Ashwath Rajan was an associate product manager at the company for just over a year. In case you’re not sure what that means, a Google Product Manager shepherds to completion new products and features that impact the lives of millions of users every day.

McDonald and Rajan have been testing out their Bodega Boxes at 30 locations around the Bay Area since late last year, placing the bespoke toilet paper vending machines in what me must assume are crime-free (read: upper class) apartment lobbies and offices.

Bodega is not unique in any way. Remember SceneTap, the facial recognition startup for telling its app’s users how many women were in a bar at any given time? They tried to launch in San Francisco. To their surprise, but no one else’s, the backlash was huge.

I can’t imagine a solution for the Bodega problem, mostly because of the fact that it exists at all.

How Bodega typifies Silicon Valley’s cultural ignorance

Here in the Bay Area, where these ex-Googlers got their pedigrees to formulate and pitch their startup, we don’t actually call them bodegas. We call them “corner stores.” This little detail is even more conspicuous when you consider that Paul McDonald says he has not lived in New York.

Which is why even just the startup’s name “Bodega” told us locals and natives — the involuntary first-wave recipients of Silicon Valley’s fucked up experiments with our lives — all we needed to know.

Images: Alain-Christian/Flickr (Bodega cat); Spencer Platt/Getty Images (An NYC bodega)

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/15/how-bodega-typifies-silicon-valley-s-cultural-ignorance/

Google sources short video clips to go inside Google Maps

Google sources short video clips to go inside Google Maps

Add a photo or video from a place’s page

On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Maps app .

Search for a place or tap it on the map.

From the bottom, tap the place’s name or address to see more info.

Tap Add photos. You might have to scroll down to see this.

Choose what you want to do:

Choose a photo or video from your gallery: Tap Folder.

Take a new photo: Tap Camera tap the shutter.

Take a new video: Tap Camera tap and hold the shutter for up to 10 seconds to record a video. To remove a video’s sound, tap the sound bars on the bottom right.

Note: You can add media for points of interest, like businesses or parks, but not for addresses or coordinates.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/15/google-maps-local-guides-video-android/

The new iPhones vs. the iPhone 7: What’s changed?

iPhone X iPhone 8 iPhone 7
Pricing $999, $1149 (off contract) $699, $849 (off contract) $649, $749, $849 (offcontract)
Dimensions 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm (5.65 x 2.79 x 0.30 inches) 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm (5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches) 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches)
Weight 174g (6.14 ounces) 148g (5.22 ounces) 138g (4.87 ounces)
Screen size 5.8 inches (147.32mm) 4.7 inches (119.38mm) 4.7 inches (119.38mm)
Screen resolution 2,436 x 1,125 (458ppi) 1,334 x 750 (326ppi) 1,334 x 750 (326ppi)
Screen type Super Retina OLED Retina HD IPS LCD Retina HD IPS LCD
Battery Size not available (up to 21 hours talk time, 12 hours internet) Size not available (up to 14 hours talk time, 12 hours internet) 1,960mAh
Internal storage 64 / 256 GB 64 / 256 GB 32/128/256GB
External storage None None None
Rear camera Dual cameras:
Wide-angle, 12MP, f/1.8
Telephoto, 12MP, f/2.4
12MP, f/1.8 12MP, f/1.8
Front-facing cam 7MP TrueDepth, f/2.2 10MP, f/2.2 7MP, f/2.2
Video capture 4K at 60fps 4K at 60fps 4K at 30fps
NFC Yes Yes Yes
Bluetooth v5.0 v5.0 v4.2
SoC Apple A11 Bionic Apple A11 Bionic Apple A10 Fusion
CPU Not available Not available 2.34GHz quad-core
GPU Not available Not available PowerVR Series 7XT GT7600 Plus
RAM Not available Not available 2GB
WiFi Dual band, 802.11ac Dual band, 802.11ac Dual band, 802.11ac
Operating system iOS 11 iOS 11 iOS 10
Notable features Face ID, new gyroscope and accelerometer, IP67 certified, wireless charging New gyroscope and accelerometer, IP67 certified, wireless charging Touch ID, IP67 certified
iPhone X iPhone 8 Plus iPhone 7 Plus
Pricing $999, $1149 (off contract) $799, $949 (off contract) $769, $869, $969 (off-contract)
Known dimensions 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm (5.65 x 2.79 x 0.30 inches) 158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5mm (6.24 x 3.07 x 0.30 inches) 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm (6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches)
Weight 174g (6.14 ounces) 202g (7.13 ounces) 188g (6.63 ounces)
Screen size 5.8 inches (147.32mm) 5.5 inches (139.7mm) 5.5 inches (139.7mm)
Screen resolution 2,436 x 1,125 (458ppi) 1,920 x 1,080 (401 ppi) 1,920 x 1,080 (401 ppi)
Screen type Super Retina OLED Retina HD IPS LCD Retina HD IPS LCD
Battery Size not available (Up to 21 hours talk time, 12 hours internet) Size not available (Up to 21 hours talk time, 13 hours internet) 2,900mAh
Internal storage 64 / 256 GB 64 GB / 256 GB 32/128/256GB
External storage None None None
Rear camera Dual cameras:
Wide-angle, 12MP, f/1.8
Telephoto, 12MP, f/2.4
Dual cameras:
Wide-angle, 12MP, f/1.8
Telephoto, 12MP, f/2.8
Dual cameras:
Wide-angle, 12MP, f/1.8
Telephoto, 12MP, f/2.8
Front-facing cam 7MP TrueDepth, f/2.2 7MP f/2.2 7MP, f/2.2
Video capture 4K at 60fps 4K at 60fps 4K at 30fps
NFC Yes Yes Yes
Bluetooth v5.0 v5.0 v4.2
SoC Apple A11 Bionic Apple A11 Bionic Apple A10 Fusion
CPU Not available Not available 2.34GHz quad-core
GPU Not available Not available PowerVR Series 7XT GT7600 Plus
RAM Not available Not available 3GB
WiFi Dual band, 802.11ac Dual band, 802.11ac Dual band, 802.11ac
Operating system iOS 11 iOS 11 iOS 10
Notable features Face ID, new gyroscope and accelerometer, IP67 certified, wireless charging New gyroscope and accelerometer, IP67 certified, wireless charging Touch ID, IP67 certified

Follow all the latest news from Apple’s iPhone event here!

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/12/iphonex-vs-iphone8-vs-iphone7/

Lawsuit claims Trump’s election committee used personal email

The current document (via The Verge) says that using non-governmental email systems violates the Presidential Records Act of 2014, which requires the use of “official federal government email to conduct government business.” The Lawyers’ Committee must be able to search and log any emails used by advisory members to prepare its case. According to the filing, Commissioners promised to search their own emails and identify those that “they believe are relevant, and then forward those emails to Defendants’ counsel.” Wait, what?

It’s hard not to think of the endless tirades against candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during the last election, of course. A federal judge ordered the release of Clinton’s emails from her tenure as Secretary of State, the FBI investigated her emails (twice) and then said it would not press charges, after all.

The advisory committee, for its part, states in the filing that the “defendants do not, moreover, recall making any definitive statements as to email addresses being used by non-federal commissioners,” and that the specific email accounts are not relevant.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/09/06/lawsuit-claims-trump-election-committee-personal-email/