Host of Potential Yahoo Buyers Emerge – Major Companies Linked

Yahoo is up for sale, and some of the major players in media and technology are keen to pick over the bones of the once-great company, with Microsoft, Google, Verizon, Time, and the Daily Mail all indicating an interest in future bids.

“Media companies, such as the Daily Mail and Time Inc., are reportedly thinking of making an offer,” reports CNN Money. “A Daily Mail spokesman confirmed to CNN Money that the company is looking at bidding for Yahoo.”

Yahoo is currently valued at around $34b – a shadow of its value in late-2000, when the company was worth closer to $255b – with the company’s Asian stock accounting for the bulk of that valuation, indicating that the company’s internet business is practically worthless.

Google and Microsoft have also been linked with purchases of pieces of Yahoo’s business, though the former is unlikely to make any such deals over concerns of breaking antitrust laws. Microsoft, however, already has a close relationship with Yahoo, and previously attempted a $45b takeover of the company back in 2008.

“Verizon could also be a player,” CNN Money adds. “It owns Yahoo rival AOL and other media assets, and the company has publicly expressed interest in taking a look at Yahoo. AOL is like a mini version of Yahoo, with a sizable digital advertising and online content business. Verizon bought AOL last year for more than $4 billion.”

“Private equity firms General Atlantic, TPG and KKR are also widely reported to be considering buying Yahoo,” CCN Money reveals.

Former Vice President of Google Product Search Marissa Mayer was appointed CEO of Yahoo in 2012, tasked with changing the fortunes of the ailing business. After a promising start, Mayer soon proved impotent in her efforts to stop the rot that had already decimated Yahoo, with her cost-cutting measures of sub-division closures and staff redundancies designed to keep the company ticking over until it could find a new owner.

Apple’s Tim Cook Describes FBI Fight as a “Bad Dream”

Apple CEO Tim Cook has spoken candidly to TIME about his on-going battle against the FBI – with the US law enforcement agency putting him and his company under immense pressure to bypass the iPhone encryption of San Bernardino shooting suspect Syed Rizwan Farook – comparing the ordeal to a “bad dream”. Cook also expressed his dismay that the US government should be the one to stand up for the civil liberties of US citizens, not him.

“I never expected to be in this position,” Cook confessed in the interview with TIME magazine. “The government should always be the one defending civil liberties. And there’s a role reversal here. I mean I still feel like I’m in another world a bit, that I’m in this bad dream in some wise.”

“But at the end of the day, we’re going to fight the good fight not only for our customers but for the country,” he said. “We’re in this bizarre position where we’re defending the civil liberties of the country against the government. Who would have ever thought this would happen?”

Cook took the opportunity to stress that, despite reluctance – “Fighting the government is not a thing we choose to do,” he laments – his fight against the FBI’s efforts to bypass Apple’s encryption will continue, because, “at the end of the day—and none of us would have been able to sleep at night” if Apple caved.

Image courtesy of Mashable.

Computer Completes a Rubik’s Cube In A Spellbinding Time

There are many things in life that are quite annoying and include inventions such as Predictive Text; however, the Rubik’s Cube certainly adds a new dimension to the word “Frustrating”. But, what happens if you mix a homemade computer with arguably the world’s most difficult game?

Well, two software engineers from Kansas, US, decided to find out and it becomes apparent this computer was able to successfully complete the iconic puzzle in a mind-bending 1.047 seconds, this means that it successfully found the correct permutations quicker than it would have taken for you or me to say the word Rubik’s Cube.

The current Guinness World Record is a rather poor 2.3 seconds while humans are currently well behind on a snail-like pace of 4.9 seconds, although, that is still pretty fast. If you’re wondering, this record is held by a 14-year-old who goes by the name Lucas Etter in November 2015.

Below is the video, as you can see, the cube is being held within a 3D printed frame via “drilled holes with four USB cameras pointing at the puzzle. The robot is then hooked up to a Linux-based computer running a Kociemba Rubik’s cube-solving algorithm that takes the information delivered from the cameras and then works out in milliseconds which moves to make”.

The creators, Jay Flatland and Paul Rose uploaded the video and are currently applying for it to be officially recognized as a new world record, one would assume this would be a time which stands for a long while, although, you know what assumptions are.

Azimuth “SP-1 Crazy Rider” Designed Watch Unveiled at CES

Mechanical wristwatches are seen as rather antiquated when you consider the development and ubiquitous use of both Smartphone’s and also the new breed of smartwatches. Who would want a timepiece that is able to tell the current time when these new gadgets are able to surf the Internet, keep track of your workout routine and also able to let you know the time in Australia. Luxury Swiss watchmaking company Azimuth is proving there is still a large market for expensive timepieces after unveiling a new watch at CES.

The watch in question goes by the name of the “SP-1 Crazy Riderand is quite nifty when you consider it is able to convey the correct time within the 24-hour clock. A normal watch is as you know, designed for the 12-hour clock, the Azimuth watch takes its inspiration from a motorcycle drive chain. Below is an image to convey this new watch as well as a quick summary of the design behind this new product.

  • Inside the watch housing is a chain which is wrapped around two sprockets which turn in unison.
  • A watch hand is attached to the chain, it makes its way around the watch face indicating the hour
  • A more traditional watch hand in the centre of the watch indicates the minute.
  • As the time goes on, the hour hand is carried along by the chain while the minute hand appears to be linked to the chain.

I know what you thinking, you would like one of these, well, there might be a slight problem considering the watch is estimated to have an RRP price of $5,200 (£3,581.14), which is a lot. Still, the design is certainly creative and will have both consumer appeal and also a market within today’s watch aficionados. Would you buy one?

Image courtesy of ablogtowatch

A Look At Time Magazines Selected Space Images Of 2015

Long lasting American magazine “Time” has recently announced a selected list of 55 space images that have captured the imagination of readers and experts alike, below is a look at just a few of these amazing and awe-inspiring pics.

Below is a fantastic image that was captured by The Hubble Space Telescope of the Eagle Nebula “Pillars of Creation”, this was published in January 2015 and it is an incredible image, the detail certainly captures the imagination of space for both budding and also veteran astronomers.   

The image below was captured by the New Horizons spacecraft of Pluto in July 2015, “The New Horizons mission is helping NASA understand worlds at the edge of the solar system by making the first reconnaissance of the dwarf planet Pluto and by venturing deeper into the distant, mysterious Kuiper Belt – a relic of solar system formation”.   The image is fantastic and conveys a world that has previously been out of reach for explorers.  

Below is an image that was captured of an Orbital ATK Antares rocket which exploded just after launching from Pad-0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, on Oct. 28, 2014. The rocket was carrying an unmanned Cygnus spacecraft filled with NASA cargo, this image was finally released in 2015.  The image feels as if it has just been lifted from a blockbuster movie set or a newly released video game, certainly a spectacular image.

This image below is of Astronaut Scott Kelly who re-entered the International Space Station (ISS) after a space walk, as you do, the image is again spectacular and was released in October 2015. 

The final image was released in December 2015 and is of the Vega rocket that was launched with the aim of testing a variety of methods to detect gravitational waves, the image was released in December 2015. The image certainly conveys the power needed to propel a rocket into space.

Has Facebook Suffered From a 46 Year Old Bug?

Facebook is certainly a phenomenon which has travelled to huge swathes of the globe and, in turn, gained huge adoption. From celebrities being able to instantly update followers regarding their latest escapades to Mr and Mrs Blogs posting various life events, including cat pictures, the tech giant has certainly been a force. But! Did you know Facebook has been around for 46 years?  Well, a new bug has been unearthed congratulating many users on reaching the milestone of “46 years of friendship on Facebook”.

As you would expect, this is slightly odd considering the social network has not even been around for 15 years, below is an image to illustrate the notification which many confused users have received.  So, what is going on?  Facebook has not disclosed the exact cause of the bug but has released the following statement.

We’ve identified this bug and the team’s fixing it now so everyone can ring in 2016 feeling young again.


There is speculation that the bug originates from Unix, let me explain, the aforementioned Unix “underlines many of the world’s servers and it keeps time by counting up from zero at one-second intervals from the date with which the clock began, this is also known as the epoch.  Therefore, this conveniently happens to be January 1st, 1970 at midnight Greenwich Mean Time, or 46 years ago today going by Eastern Standard Time.  Every second from that point on is known as epoch time and thus is why some gadgets may in theory switch to December 31st, 1969.

Has Facebook suffered from its very own Y2K or millennium bug?  If it has then it’s been very small considering it has been subsequently rectified at speed.  On a side note, even users who are significantly under 46 years of age have also seen this message, perhaps someone at Facebook has been on the New Year drink too soon.

Oculus Rift Pre-Order Availability Confirmed

Yesterday we speculated that all signs are pointing towards an imminent release date for the Oculus Rift VR headset and we based on several individual sources and information. Shortly after we published this news, we got the official confirmation. Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus VR, posted the good news on Twitter where his fans could read the positive message: The virtual reality headset is on-target for a Q1 2016 launch and pre-orders are expected to come soon after the new year.

January is a tough month for a lot of people money wise, as that’s usually where all the large bills have to be paid such as insurances, and it also comes on top of Christmas where people tend to spend more than they should. Should you fall within this category and fear that you can’t be among the first row of pre-order candidates, then don’t worry. Palmer continued with a message assuring prospective buyers that they don’t need to stress over the holiday as Oculus VR will give a fair warning before launching pre-orders.

To sweeten the deal, Oculus Rift pre-orders will get a free copy of EVE Valkyrie along with the headset itself. Whether the Oculus Touch controllers will be available for pre-orders too or if they’ll launch at a later time is something we don’t know yet. I’m sure we will learn a lot more once CES 2016 in Las Vegas starts.

Watch This Amazing Journey From the Sun to Jupiter at the Speed of Light

Have you ever wondered how it’s like to travel through our solar system? Yeah, it may be boring and it may take years and years if you’re not travelling at the speed of light, but how about a virtual journey?

If your answer is yes, then let animator Alphonse Swinehart take you on an amazing virtual journey from the Sun to Jupiter, at the speed of light! However, don’t expect it to last just a few minutes, even at this speed.

Swinehart wanted to illustrate the mind-blowing scale of the solar system we live in, and he apparently did it in this not-so-short amazing video. The detail, from the scale of planets to the actual distance between them, appears to be accurate, but he did make a few minor tweaks.

“I’ve taken liberties with certain things like the alignment of planets and asteroids,” he says, “but overall I’ve kept the size and distances of all the objects as accurate as possible.”

In addition to the above, Swinehart did not take into account the physics that theoretically are in place when travelling at the speed of light, such as distorted vision and the time slowdowns.

Nevertheless, it looks like the journey will take about three quarters of an hour, so it would be wise to free up your schedule a bit if you want to watch it.

Oh, also, if you’re interested in more of Alphonse Swinehart’s work, you can find his portfolio webpage here. Enjoy!

Pebble Time’s Kickstarter Smashes Records by Raising more than $20 Million

Pebble’s Time watch has launched on Kickstarter a month ago and has recently closed with a $20.3 million funding campaign.

The Pebble Time is said to feature a colour e-ink display, 20% thinner body, a seven-day battery life and even has a waterproof feature. The watch was available at $179 during the Kickstarter campaign compared to the retail price of $199 you can find it today.

The company’s campaign apparently broke two Kickstarter records. The first one was on the day it launched, having it be the fastest project to raise a huge amount of money in a matter of minutes and the second one was achieved the following week, when it became Kickstarter’s most funded campaign.

For those of you who have contributed to Pebble’s Time watch campaign, it is worth pointing out that the company will start shipping the watches in May.

Thank you The Next Web for providing us with this information

Apple’s Tim Cook Named ‘CEO of the Year’ by CNN

US news outlet CNN has named Tim Cook, the Chief Executive of Apple, as its ‘CEO of the Year’ for 2014. Over the last twelve months, Apple has enjoyed an upsurge in stock price and record-breaking sales with its iPhone 6 iteration, for which Cook has been rewarded.

CNN posits that Cook did “an amazing job” and cite the hype for the forthcoming Apple Watch next year as a major victory.

Cook has arguably the toughest CEO job in America. He’s had to convince skeptics that Apple can still innovate after the death of Steve Jobs. He’s proven all the naysayers wrong.

Cook has garnered a number of other accolades this year, including the Financial Times’ ‘Person of the Year’ 2014, and a nomination for TIME magazine’s 2014 ‘Person of the Year’, losing out to the Ebola Fighters.

Source: MacRumors

Apple Watch Now Available… From 1995

Apple’s new watch isn’t meant to be on sale until “early 2015”, but as MacRumors points out, you can get your hands on one right now. One from 1995.

Yes, Apple has made watches before (even called “Apple Watch”) but this was no way to keep in touch or pay for your groceries. It merely told the time, in a very zany fashion. These ‘stylish’ watches were given away as a free gift to those who upgraded to Macintosh System 7.5.

Now you might be wondering why Apple would need to give away a free gift to sell something. Well in 1995, Apple was not the Apple we know today. The company was crumbling, both in terms of its product line and its finances. After years of poor CEOs (John Sculley, Michael Spindler, and Gil ‘Bozo’ Amelio) following the ousting of Steve Jobs in 1985, it’s not at all surprising that Apple felt inclined to sell tat like this to keep afloat.

The watches have now gone on sale after the distributor found he had some left over stock. You can get them for $99-$129 – with the cheapest featuring minor imperfections and the most expensive being marked as “flawless”. You can get one at originalapplewatch.com.

Source: MacRumors

 

Apple Finally Letting Users De-Register iMessage Account

Apple has just announced their new website, enabling users to de-register their iMessage service – helping users unbind their telephone numbers from the Apple-only offering.

This website has been developed to solve the issue of when a user stops using their iPhone and switches to another device, their registered iMessage number may conflict with the new messages they wish to send to their friends through their updated device. The “Deresgister iMessage” website provides a step by step guide on how to log off the iMessage service and allows them to enter their new information on the website – sending them a confirmation message to lift the iMessage binding.

Previously there were reports of users deactivating their iPhone only to have their iMessage account stay bound to their phone number against their will – these reports range all the way back to 2011 when Apple first released the iMessage platform. Since the beginning of 2014, Apple had promised they would provide a simplistic way to opt-out of this service, taking them a rather long 11 months to process to completion.

When comparing this to Google Hangouts or Blackberry’s BBM offerings, it’s quite different. iMessage is only applicable to Apple devices (including ‘Face Time’), where as hangouts and BBM operate through third-party app software to be used in different technologies.

Although quite late to the game, it’s good to see that Apple has fixed one of their niggling issues.

Image courtesy of Chiphell

Geologists Say that Earth-like Soils on Mars Could Lead to Microbial Life Discovery

Some geologists have analysed a few sample images captured by the ‘Curiosity’ rover from Mars and tell that there might be Earth-like soils on the red planet. The images show that there might be some ancient fossilized soils deep within an impact crater, which could eventually lead to the discovery of microbial life.

While Mars is filled with landscapes resembling catastrophic floods and rocks from impact craters, there might be signs of smooth soils and soften terrain, much like we have on Earth. Gregory Retallack from the University of Oregon has apparently analysed the mineral and chemical data from Curiosity, leading to the discovery of such soils we are used to stepping on for thousands of years.

The professors states that soils from Gale Crater, dating back to 3.7 billion years ago, appear to have cracked surfaces lined with sulfate and vesicular hollows, both features of soils found on desert terrains on Earth. In addition, the sulphate concentration are said to be comparable with Antarctic Dry Valleys and Chile’s Atacama Desert.

“The pictures were the first clue, but then all the data really nailed it,” Retallack says in a news release. “The new data show clear chemical weathering trends, and clay accumulation at the expense of the mineral olivine, as expected in soils on Earth […] Phosphorus depletion within the profiles is especially tantalizing, because it attributed to microbial activity on Earth.”

Th new soils discovered are said to offer more insight on habitable conditions previously found on Mars. Also, having them date back 3.7 billion years ago tends to put Mars’ water cycle at around the same time as the Earth started diversifying. Further studies are said to take place on geologically younger layers within craters in order to learn the planet’s life story.

Thank you IFLScience for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of IFLScience

Drink Coffee During the Day… At the Scientifically Proven Best Times!

Most people drink coffee early in the morning, during the day or at night in order to last the night. Either at work, at home or out with friends, it seems that most people go out for a coffee as a way to socialize nowadays. But the question is, when is it the best time to drink a cup of coffee?

Neuroscience doctoral student, Steven Miller, seems to explain that the best time for drinking coffee is between 9:30 and 11:30. He states that careful timing of when you get your daily dosage of coffee is important and prevents people from building up a tolerance to it. Miller says that it is the same as with painkillers and antibiotics, having them administered only when needed so as to prevent individuals from becoming resistant to their effects. Coffee however does not alter the body’s pain or pleasure, it is merely a way to alter its alertness to fatigue, prolonging the daily activity.

This is why Miller suggests to avoid drinking coffee during time periods when the body is naturally more alert. Just as nobody takes a prescription painkiller for a mild headache, coffee should only be drank at certain times in order to feel the desired effect. More information about the body’s internal clock, the hormones it releases periodically throughout the day and other coffee-drinking best times throughout the day can be found on Miller’s blog here.

Thank you Popular Science for providing us with this information

Scientists Have Simulated a Time Travel Scenario… But Only with Photons

Time travel is a thing for science fiction, a theory that has been debated for a long time, but without any physical proof of it being possible. Scientific advancements and human curiosity however tends to take imagination to the next level. This is the case of a few scientists from University of Queensland, where they managed to successfully simulate quantum particles travelling through time, helping them understand some inexplicable aspects of modern physics.

The scientist state that time travel stands between two of the most successful yet inexplicable physical theories, which are Einstein’s general relativity and quantum mechanics. While the first is described as viewing the world at a very large-scale full of stars and galaxies, the other describes it as very small, at a scale of atoms and molecules.

“The properties of quantum particles are ‘fuzzy’ or uncertain to start with, so this gives them enough wiggle room to avoid inconsistent time travel situations,” UQ’s Tim Ralph explains. “Our study provides insights into where and how nature might behave differently from what our theories predict.” These include the violation of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, cracking of quantum cryptography, and perfect cloning of quantum states.

What is known so far is the fact that time speeds up and slows down depending on how fast an object is moving relative to another object, having Einstein’s theory suggest that traveling back in time would require following a space-time path that returns to the same point in space, however at an earlier time.

The theory described above is said to be called a closed timelike curve, having the author state that the paradox of time travel can be solved in a quantum regime. The principle works by having a quantum particle travelling through a wormhole back in time and returning to the same location at an a previous time.

Thank you IFLScience for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of IFLScience

Google Invents Self-Fixing Problems? Is This The Future?

After some of you experienced or at least saw what happened yesterday with some of Google’s Services, the company officials expressed their apologies and released a statement explaining what went wrong, which inevitably caused the outage yesterday.

Ben Treynor, Google VP Engineer, posted a statement which points to a ‘bug’ in the system, the ‘culprit’ that caused the whole outage. He says that at 10:55 a.m. PST, an internal system that generates configurations for other key systems reported to have generated incorrect settings, which in turn sent out to other systems. Around 11:02 a.m. PST, the massive outage started and users reported they can’t access the Google services.

The current incompatible settings were basically telling the systems to ignore server requests from users, which in turn generated the error messages. About 12 minutes later, at 11:14 a.m. PST, the same system that generated the error instructions rectified itself and starting sending correct configurations. By 11:30 a.m. PST, all systems were back online and engineers started taking precautionary steps, from removing the source of the failure, to implementing new security measures for it not to occur a second time.

Some questions still remain though. If the bug hadn’t ‘magically’ repaired itself, at what timeline would we be looking at for yesterday’s outage? And how come Google’s Site Reliability Team did not find the error faster? I mean, we are all human of course, but isn’t Google supposed to be one of the top companies with the best team of engineers? It appears not.

Thank you Google Blog for providing us with this information