In recent months, the audio-based social media app Clubhouse has emerged as Silicon Valley's latest disruptive darling . The format feels familiar: part Twitter, part Facebook Live, part talking on the phone. But as Clubhouse continues to expand, its security and privacy failings have come under increased scrutiny—and left the company scrambling to correct problems and manage expectations. Clubhouse, still in beta and available only on iOS, offers its users “rooms” that are essentially group audio chats. They can also be set as public addresses or panel discussions where some users are “speakers” and the rest are audience members. The platform reportedly has over 10 million users and is valued at $1 billion. Since last year it has been an invite-only haven for Silicon Valley elite and celebrities, including an Elon Musk appearance earlier this month. But the company has struggled both with concrete security issues and more ephemeral questions around how much privacy its users … [Read more...] about Clubhouse’s security and privacy lag behind its explosive growth
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February brings the annual celebration of the lunar new year—welcome to the Year of the (Metal) Ox —and with it two new action-packed films from China and South Korea, respectively. Directed by Lu Yang, A Writer's Odyssey —currently playing in select theaters—centers on a man searching for his lost daughter, hired to assassinate a novelist whose fantasy work-in-progress has begun to shape events in the real world. Over on Netflix, Space Sweepers is being touted as the first Korean bona fide blockbuster, focusing on the adventures of the plucky crew aboard a space junk salvage vessel who must save the Earth from total destruction. Together they make for an action packed, fantasy/sci-fi weekend double feature. (Some spoilers below for both films, but no major reveals.) A Writer's Odyssey Based on a short story by Shuang Xuetao entitled To Kill a Novelist , A Writer's Odyssey has a decidedly ambitious, very meta premise, shifting between two parallel worlds: the … [Read more...] about Action-packed meta-fantasy, space opera herald a bright future for Asian film
Sony announced Tuesday a new cloud-based gaming service at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Dubbed Playstation Now , the service will allow gamers to stream classic Playstation titles to a range of devices including PS4, PS3, PS Vita, smartphones, tablets, and supported Bravia TVs. “Playing your favorite PS3 game on your television will become a reality”, SCE chief Andrew House told audience members. At present, only the 2014 Bravia TVs launched in the US will be supported. The technology behind Sony's Playstation Now comes from cloud technology specialist Gaikai, which the company acquired in 2012 for $380 million. Gaikai's technology uses advanced servers and compression techniques to reduce the lag which is often observed when high-quality games are played over the Internet. While Sony promises low latency, it will be interesting to see how the service performs in the real world. The Verge tested Sony's new gaming service and concluded that, apart from … [Read more...] about Sony unveils Playstation Now cloud-based gaming service at CES
It took a couple more months than originally expected but Gaikai's game streaming service is finally set to open its digital doors today. The new service resembles OnLive in that it will run games on remote servers and stream video back to the player through a browser plug-in, without additional downloads or special hardware required. This means that even the most-demanding of games can be played on low-end PCs, but beyond the technological aspect of streaming games though a broadband connection, the two companies actually have a different business plan in mind. Gaikai is limited to game demos -- at least for now -- and is pitching itself as a game advertising company to attract developers. In a nutshell, the idea is to reduce the friction that stops players from making impulse purchases on the web, allowing them to actually try games for free at the point-of-sale and then pay for a full download of the game, order a physical copy, or simply share the game demo on social networks … [Read more...] about Gaikai launches cloud gaming service with four EA demos
Which is better for Earth : an electric or gas-powered vehicle? The answer to this question might seem blindingly obvious: Of course electric cars must be better for the environment, because they don’t have exhausts and so don’t emit greenhouse gasses as they drive. However, electric vehicles (EVs) aren't perfect, and they come with their own set of polluting problems. Notably, their batteries contain components, such as lithium , that require a significant amount of energy to source and extract. But battery production is just one part of an electric car's life span. A 2014 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looked at the entire life cycle of an EV's emissions, from mining the metals required for the batteries to producing the electricity needed to power them, and then compared this with the average emissions of a gas-powered vehicle. The team found that when electric vehicles are charged with coal-powered electricity, they’re … [Read more...] about Is an electric car better for the planet?