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2024-03-02 22:11:20| Engadget

Incredible footage released by Varda Space Industries gives us a first-person view of a space capsules return trip to Earth, from the moment it separates from its carrier satellite in orbit all the way through its fiery reentry and bumpy arrival at the surface. Vardas W-1 capsule landed at the Utah Test and Training Range, a military site, on February 21 in a first for a commercial company. It spent roughly eight months leading up to that in low Earth orbit, stuck in regulatory limbo while the company waited for the government approvals it needed to land on US soil, according to Ars Technica. Here's a video of our capsule ripping through the atmosphere at mach 25, no renders, raw footage, the company posted on X alongside clips from reentry. Varda also shared a 28-minute video of W-1s full journey home from LEO on YouTube. Below is a longer 5-minute edit from separation to touchdown:The full unedited raw footage and audio from separation to touchdown is available on our YouTube: https://t.co/ipdBvx93iB pic.twitter.com/ggIRHUvnnI Varda Space Industries (@VardaSpace) February 28, 2024 Varda, which worked with Rocket Lab for the mission, is trying to develop mini-labs that can produce pharmaceuticals in orbit in this case, the HIV drug ritonavir. Its W-1 capsule was attached to Rocket Labs Photon satellite bus, which the company said ahead of launch would provide power, communications and altitude control for the capsule. Photon successfully brought the capsule to where it needed to be for last weeks reentry, then itself burned up in Earths atmosphere, SpaceNews reported. Now that the capsule has returned, Ars Technica reports that the ritonavir crystals grown in orbit will be analyzed by the Indiana-based pharmaceutical company, Improved Pharma.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/this-is-what-it-looks-like-to-reenter-earths-atmosphere-from-a-space-capsules-pov-211120769.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-03-02 19:24:51| Engadget

Lunar night has come around again, presenting yet another test for the two landers that recently arrived on the moons surface. Both Japans SLIM spacecraft and Intuitive Machines Odysseus have gone to sleep for the two-week-long stretch of darkness, the two teams confirmed at the end of this week. Theres no guarantee that theyll be able to resume operations afterward, but theyll try to reestablish contact when the time comes. While the solar powered landers werent built to withstand the frigid lunar night, SLIM which has been on the moon since January 19 has already beaten the odds before to pull through last month. Itll be the first lunar night for Odysseus, which landed on February 22.  On March 1 at 3am JST, the sun set on the Shioli Crater and #SLIM re-entered a period of dormancy. Although the probability of a failure increases with the repeated severe temperature cycles, SLIM operation will attempt to resume when the sun rises (late March). #GoodAfterMoon pic.twitter.com/RHxNX1cmBF SLIM (@SLIM_JAXA) March 2, 2024 The missions, though successful in that the spacecraft survived their respective descents to the surface, stand as further examples of how challenging it is to land on the moon; both landers fell over, leaving them stuck in non-ideal positions. SLIM face-planted, and Odysseus broke a leg and tipped onto its side. SLIM has been able to capture a few images from the surface, and the team shared another look at the Shioli crater from its perspective on Thursday before it powered down. Odysseus has sent home some pictures too from its wide-angle camera, including one last transmission before lunar night that shows a portion of the lander and the surface of the moon, with a tiny crescent Earth in the distance. But the world has eagerly been awaiting third-person POV pictures from the EagleCam made by students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which hitched a ride with Odysseus. Unfortunately, that doesnt seem likely to happen at this point. Before its power was depleted, Odysseus completed a fitting farewell transmission. Received today, this image from February 22nd showcases the crescent Earth in the backdrop, a subtle reminder of humanitys presence in the universe. Goodnight, Odie. We hope to hear from you pic.twitter.com/RwOWsH1TSz Intuitive Machines (@Int_Machines) February 29, 2024 The camera wasnt deployed as originally planned before the moment of touchdown, and while Intuitive Machines said this week that the team was able to power it up and eject it after Odysseus reached the surface, communications with the camera so far arent working. The EmbryRiddle team is working on that and wrestling with that to see if theres anything they can do, Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus said on Wednesday. The onset of lunar night isnt going to help those odds.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/two-toppled-moon-landers-go-dormant-for-a-lunar-night-they-may-not-survive-182451657.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-03-02 11:00:18| Engadget

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has given Waymo permission to expand its robotaxi operations to Los Angeles and more locations in the San Francisco Peninsula despite opposition from local groups and government agencies. "Waymo may begin fared driverless passenger service operations in the specified areas of Los Angeles and the San Francisco Peninsula, effective today," the regulator wrote in its decision (PDF). As CNBC notes, Waymo has been testing its driverless vehicles in those locations for a while now, but this decision will allow it to charge passengers for their robotaxi rides.  In the CPUC's decision, it admitted that it received letters of protests regarding Waymo's expansion from the City of South San Francisco, the County of San Mateo, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and the San Francisco Taxi Workers Alliance. And, it received those letters before the agency suspended Waymo's expansion efforts in February for up to 120 days following the Alphabet-owned company's revelation that it had issued a recall for its vehicles. Waymo reported back then that two of its robotaxis collided with a backwards-facing pickup truck that was being towed in December 2023 because its software predicted the truck's movements incorrectly. The company had to develop and deploy a fix to its fleet.  LA Mayor Karen Bass previously sent a letter to the CPUC (PDF), stating her concerns about the regulator's decision to allow autonomous vehicles to operate in her city. "To date, local jurisdictions like Los Angeles have had little to no input in AV deployment and are already seeing significant harm and disruption," she wrote. David Canepa, vice president for the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, also said in a statement regarding this recent development: "I'm confused and a bit suspicious that the CPUC took only 11 days to change its mind on the suspension. I find this to be egregious and disingenuous. We have had no talks to address our concerns and it says to me that neither Waymo nor the CPUC care about local concerns the public safety of our residents." Waymo spokesperson Julia Ilina, however, assures the public in a statement to Wired that the company will take an "incremental approach" when it comes to deploying the service in LA. It also has "no immediate plans" to expand its service in San Francisco. In addition, she said Waymo will continue to "work closely with city officials, local communities, and [its] partners." Ilina has also noted that while the CPUC did get letters of protest, it also received letters of support for Waymo's expansion from 81 organizations and individuals. They include letters from various groups for the elderly and people with disabilities, local community councils, as well as transportation advocates.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/waymo-gets-approval-to-deploy-its-robotaxi-service-in-los-angeles-100018409.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-03-01 21:01:25| Engadget

Meta is starting to bring the Threads API online, though it will still be some time before its widely accessible to developers. The company has begun testing its new developer tools with a handful of companies, Meta engineer Jesse Chen shared in a post on Threads. According to Chen, whose post was first spotted by TechCrunch, the API is currently in beta but a wider rollout could come by the end of June. The initial group of companies testing out the beta version of the API include social media management platforms Sprinklr, Hootsuite, Social News Desk and Sprout Social. Meta is also working with tech news aggregator Techmeme and live video platform Grabyo. For now, it sounds like the API will primarily enable the publishing of content to Threads from these services, but Chen said there are also plans to enable reply moderation and insights capabilities. Having an API could help Threads attract more publishers and power users, who often rely on third-party software for posting and analytics. Instagram head Adam Mosseri has previously expressed some reluctance to woo publishers, saying that his concern was that a dedicated API would mean a lot more publisher content and not much more creator content. (Mosseri has also said he doesnt want to amplify news on the platform.) But with 130 million users, Threads is starting to look more and more like a viable alternative to X, and offering professional-level tools is a good way to get publishers and brands to post more to the platform. Having an API could also, potentially, aid the companys plans to support interoperability with Mastodon and the rest of the fediverse, though Meta hasnt publicly discussed its API in that context,.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/meta-is-starting-to-test-the-threads-api-with-third-party-developers-200125403.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-03-01 20:52:33| Engadget

Apple has walked back its decision to remove home screen web apps in the European Union (EU). After initially blaming its decision to ditch them on the Digital Markets Acts (DMA) requirement to support non-WebKit browsers, Apple now says European users will return to enjoying the same web app experience from before when iOS 17.4 arrives early this month. We have received requests to continue to offer support for Home Screen web apps in iOS, therefore we will continue to offer the existing Home Screen web apps capability in the EU, Apple wrote Friday in an updated developer support document. This support means Home Screen web apps continue to be built directly on WebKit and its security architecture, and align with the security and privacy model for native apps on iOS. Progressive web apps (PWAs) act much like native apps with features like dedicated windows, notifications and local storage. Apple removed them for European customers in the second iOS 17.4 beta, instead asking if users want to open the website in Safari. At the time, the company claimed web app support could compromise security, given the DMAs requirement to support non-WebKit browser engines. Addressing the complex security and privacy concerns associated with web apps using alternative browser engines would require building an entirely new integration architecture that does not currently exist in iOS and was not practical to undertake given the other demands of the DMA and the very low user adoption of Home Screen web apps, the company wrote in February. The Open Web Advocacy organization chimed in quickly to criticize Apples now-reversed move. Apple has had 15 years to facilitate true browser competition worldwide, and nearly two years since the DMAs final text, the organization wrote in February. It could have used that time to share functionality it historically self-preferenced to Safari with other browsers. Inaction and silence speaks volumes. The EU didnt sound much happier about the web app removal. European Commission officials said in late February they were probing Apples decision in what sounded like the build-up to a formal investigation. The Financial Times reported that regulators sent developers questions about the impact of Apples PWA removal. Whatever may have happened between then and now to change Apples mind, its remaining tight-lipped. Instead, the company is framing its reversal as a simple response to requests it received to continue offering home screen web apps. Perhaps EU officials assured the iPhone maker the company wouldnt need to support PWAs from other browser engines, or maybe the company merely wanted to head off a formal probe (and the bad PR it could generate). Regardless, only European iOS 17.4 beta users are without web apps, and theyll have them back once the softwares final version arrives.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/apple-backtracks-on-plans-to-get-rid-of-web-apps-on-iphones-in-the-eu-195232177.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-03-01 20:44:15| Engadget

I knew what I was getting into when I sat down for a press screening of Dune Part 2: A towering sci-fi epic best viewed on an enormous theater screen, just like Denis Villeneuve's first Dune film. What I didn't realize was that it would also give me a serious back massage it really does kick butt. That was my experience at an Atlanta-area AMC, where the film whipped the Dolby Cinema seats into such a frenzy that, for one thrilling sequence, I felt like I was actually riding a sandworm plowing through the spice-filled desert of Arrakis. Now, I can't guarantee you'll have the same ride at a normal theater (unless the subwoofer is cranked up obscenely high). What makes AMC's Dolby Cinema locations unique is that they feature rumbling transducers in every recliner seat, in addition to powerful dual-laser Dolby Vision projectors and enveloping Atmos sound. I've seen tons of films in AMC Dolby Cinemas since those screens began rolling out in 2017, but Dune Part 2 is the first time the haptic seats actually felt like they enhanced my moviegoing experience. When I rushed out to the bathroom in the middle of the film, I noticed that my body was still vibrating, the way you sort of feel after a deep massage by expert fingers. Technically, you're still better off watching Dune Part 2 in IMAX theaters it was actually filmed for that enormous format, and true IMAX theaters also deliver enough walloping low-end sound to shake your core without the need for rumbling seats. But it's hard to find full-sized IMAX screens, and for most US viewers it'll likely be easier to find a nearby AMC Dolby Cinema. Let's be clear: I'm no fan of theater gimmicks, like the moving seats and various weather effects in 4DX cinemas. So I'm genuinely surprised how much I appreciated a heavy dose of recliner rumbling in Dune Part 2. Perhaps it's because the film is also fanbtastic not that I expected any less from Villeneuve, a director who turned the first Dune into a cinematic feast and was also miraculously able to deliver a Blade Runner sequel that surpassed the original. Photo by NIKO TAVERNISE for Warner Bros. Dune Part 2 picks up where the first film abruptly ended, with Paul Atreides and his mother making their way through the desert with its native inhabitants, the Fremen. It's immediately clear that this isn't actually a sequel to the first film, it's genuinely a second half, with all of the action and more spectacle that many felt were lacking before. Personally, though, I just loved being back in Villeneuve's vision of Frank Herbert's universe. As much as I appreciate the bombastic costumes and environments from David Lynch's Dune adaptation, I find this iteration far more immersive: Every room seems genuinely lived in, every custom feels like an organic outgrowth of a society that's existed for thousands of years. It's the sort of attention to detail we don't often see in films and TV today, when it's easier to shoot faux desert scenes on ILM's StageCraft set (aka "The Volume," the technology that was so thoughtlessly implemented in Quantumania). Warner Bros. Even if you dont end up seeing Dune Part 2 in a Dolby Cinema (I swear, this isnt an ad), its a film worth seeing on the big screen. Its vast scale and ambition cant be contained on a TV, and its elaborate soundscape (including Hans Zimmer going extra hard for the score) deserves more than tinny flatscreen speakers or a mere soundbar. Dune has always seemed like an unadaptable work, something so massive that it could only truly exist in Frank Herberts shroom-filled dreams. But once again, Villeneuve and his creative team have seemingly done the impossible: Theyve turned the fantasy of Dune into a cinematic reality. You owe it to yourself to pay tribute.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/dune-2-review-dolby-cinema-194415814.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-03-01 19:40:19| Engadget

This week, Adobe revealed an experimental audio AI tool to join its image-based ones in Photoshop. Described by the company as an early-stage generative AI music generation and editing tool, Adobes Project Music GenAI Control can create music (and other audio) from text prompts, which it can then fine-tune in the same interface. Adobe frames the Firefly-based technology as a creative ally that unlike generative audio experiments like Googles MusicLM goes a step further and skips the hassle of moving the output to external apps like Pro Tools, Logic Pro or GarageBand for editing. Instead of manually cutting existing music to make intros, outros, and background audio, Project Music GenAI Control could help users to create exactly the pieces they needsolving workflow pain points end-to-end, Adobe wrote in an announcement blog post. The company suggests starting with text inputs like powerful rock, happy dance or sad jazz as a foundation. From there, you can enter more prompts to adjust its tempo, structure and repetition, increase its intensity, extend its length, remix entire sections or create loops. The company says it can even transform audio based on a reference melody. Adobe says the resulting music is safe for commercial use. Its also integrating its Content Credentials (nutrition labels for generated content), an attempt to be transparent about your masterpieces AI-assisted nature. One of the exciting things about these new tools is that they arent just about generating audiotheyre taking it to the level of Photoshop by giving creatives the same kind of deep control to shape, tweak, and edit their audio. Its a kind of pixel-level control for music, Adobe Research scientist Nicholas Bryan wrote. The project is a collaboration with the University of California, San Diego and the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University. Adobes announcement emphasized Project Music GenAI Controls experimental nature. (It didnt reveal much of its interface in the video above, suggesting it may not have a consumer-facing UI yet.) So you may have to wait a while before the feature (presumably) makes its way into Adobes Creative Cloud suite.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/adobes-latest-ai-experiment-generates-music-from-text-184019169.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-03-01 19:08:29| Engadget

Spotify has added another subscription option. This time around, it's offering a plan that has little to do with music. The Audiobooks Access Tier (which is US-only for now) offers 15 hours of audiobook listening each month for $10. You'll have access to Spotify's library of more than 200,000 titles You can, of course, still listen to ad-supported music via Spotfy's free tier. At first glance, it might seem odd for Spotify to offer an audiobook-only tier at this price. Spotify Premium, which costs $11 per month, has the same 15 hours of audiobook listening time as well as other perks. However, audiobooks often take somewhere in the realm of between seven and 11 hours to listen to. As such, Spotify is undercutting Audible to a degree. That platform offers one audiobook credit per month for $15. So, for $5 less with Spotify, you might be able to listen to roughly two books per month (unless you prefer to enjoy epic novels that are around 1,000-plus pages long in print). It's worth bearing in mind, though, that unused listening time does not carry over into the next month. Spotify noted that, since it started offering 15 hours of audiobook listening to Premium subscribers at no extra cost in November, there's been a 45 percent increase in those on the free tier searching for and interacting with audiobook material every day (the company also sells audiobooks on its web player). That uptick in interest is a decent enough reason for Spotify to try an audiobook-only subscription tier.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/spotify-rolls-out-an-audiobook-only-subscription-180829039.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-03-01 18:15:24| Engadget

Axios, a site known for political analysis and extensive use of bullet points, has joined the ranks of pundits fawning over Mark Zuckerbergs PR strategy. The Meta CEO, they claim, is (as originally headlined) "having a PR moment" which is "casting a halo effect on the company itself." That's obviously untrue, but let's say it in a format more likely to reach Axios's audience. The big picture: Zuckerbergs recent PR blitz is neither out of character nor a sign of a freshly rehabbed image. In fact, Meta and Zuckerberg are staring down one of the biggest crises theyve ever faced. Why it matters: Praising the PR strategy of a gigantic company which is credibly accused of enabling a variety of mass-scale harms is, at best, irresponsible, even if that PR strategy was working which it isn't. Describing competitor products as inferior is exactly what executives are supposed to do. Zero points awarded. The CEO of Meta responding to some of his social media comments isnt a sign of radical authenticity, it's a ploy for engagement. Saying you've "never seen Zuckerberg," who to the best of our knowledge is a living, breathing human man "act so ... real" is an astonishingly low bar to clear! To recap here, Meta is embroiled in a massive lawsuit from nearly every state over the myriad ways it has allegedly harmed its youngest users. And Zuckerbergs actions, or lack thereof, are at the heart of many of these claims. Court documents have revealed that the CEO personally intervened to block a proposed ban on plastic surgery filters on Instagram despite advice from experts that these effects could exacerbate body dysmorphia and eating disorders. Under his leadership, Meta turned a blind eye to children using its platform, against its own policies, and did little to stop adults from sexually harassing children. Under his leadership, Instagrams recommendation algorithm promoted child sexual exploitation content and connected a "vast pedophile network." At the same time, Zuckerberg repeatedly denied or ignored requests from his top lieutenants to invest more in safety. Just last week, his lawyers were in federal court arguing that he should not be held personally responsible in dozens of lawsuits over the harms his platforms have allegedly caused. The most viral moments from Zuck's Congressional testimony, which Axios bizarrely suggests was good for his image, was a moment when he stammered an apology to the families of children who have been victims of online exploitation on the platforms he controls. One parent in the room described it as forced. The second-most viral moment was Senator Ted Cruz pointing to a posterboard of an in-app Instagram warning screen which indicated search results might "contain images of child sexual abuse" and which also provided the option to "see results anyway." REUTERS / Reuters Needless to say, Zuckerberg and his handlers are savvy enough to know that none of that is good for the public image of the fourth-richest person in the world. That Zuckerberg has been particularly eager to share his quirky hobbies and newfound love of Japanese McDonalds is not at all surprising. But distraction is a time-worn PR move, but no amount of light-hearted Instagram posts can blunt a headline like "Meta Staff Found Instagram Tool Enabled Child Exploitation. The Company Pressed Ahead Anyway." This also isnt a new strategy for Zuckerberg. While its true he was once a painfully awkward and very sweaty public speaker, he has long since shed that image. And hes gone through several different versions of himself. He spent much of 2017 on a listening tour of the US visiting farms and factories and random families dinner tables (many of whom happened to reside in swing states, fueling speculation that he was eyeing a move into politics.) And well, a political tour is sort of what he was doing: Zuckerberg reportedly has had a pollster whose full-time job is to track public perception of his often alien behavior. One such pollster reportedly quit after just six months, coming to believe the company was bad for society. Mark's favorability in a variety of public polls has ranged from very bad to extremely, laughably, irreparably bad. This is far from the first time Mark has tried to distract the public with a personal hobby, only for his inability to relate to the average human experience to lead to a swift and spectacular faceplant. Take, for example, his infamous backyard grilling Facebook Live from 2017, wherein he managed to utter the word "meats" 13 times over the course of 30-odd achingly long minutes. It was awkward, but not quite as strange as the time Mark allegedly challenged himself to only eat meat from animals he himself killed, resulting in a moment where he allegedly turned an alive goat into a dead one with "a laser gun and then the knife," according to former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. (And like a true rich weirdo, he opted to learn how to end an animal's life, but, according to the same recollection by Dorsey, outsourced the butchering to someone else.) Perhaps more successfully, in 2019 he appeared to discover his love of foiling which is like wakeboarding, but dorkier and much more expensive. In short, Zuckerberg isnt reinventing himself as much as simply remixing the same PR formula hes been using for years, particularly when his company is in some sort of distress, which seems to be always. His people are trying very hard to make him seem like a normal guy through a mix of carefully curated social media posts, photo opps and talks with media personalities. It's a strategy that will continue to work on a handful of gullible people. At least as long as some of those media personalities like Axios CEO Mike Allen are willing to call men like Mark Zuckerberg "real, daring and unguarded."This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/no-mark-zuckerberg-isnt-having-a-pr-moment-171524818.html?src=rss

Category: Marketing and Advertising

2024-03-01 18:09:22| TRENDWATCHING.COM

Spotted by: Liesbeth den Toom

Category: Marketing and Advertising

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