Today at a press conference leading up to E3, Microsoft unveiled its next-gen games/entertainment console, the Xbox One. Their stated goal for the Xbox One is to have a single device provide "all of your entertainment." One of the big changes is increased support for voice and and gesture input. You can turn the console on by voice, and it will recognize you and automatically login. Swiping to the side with your hand will browse through menu pages, and saying "Watch TV" will bring up the TV app very quickly. The same with music, internet, and movies. The new console also supports multitasking — for example, while watching a movie, you can bring up your web browser in a side panel and surf the web at the same time. There is also a built-in TV listings app that responds to channel names — saying "Watch CBS" will switch to CBS without giving it an actual channel number. By this point, you're probably asking: does it play games? Yes. Hardware specs: 8-core CPU/GPU, 8GB RAM, a Blu-ray drive, a 500GB HDD, USB 3.0, and Wi-fi Direct. (They didn't provide the CPU frequency, instead saying it had 5 billion transistors.) The Kinect sensor got an upgrade: 2Gbps of data capture has finer skeletal visibility, can detect minor orientation changes in hands and fingers, and can even calculate your balance and weight distribution. The new controller looks slightly bigger, and is designed to play well with Kinect. They've also updated Smartglass, the remote control software that runs on mobile devices, but they didn't explain much about it. The new Xbox Live will have 300,000 servers powering it, up from 15,000 this year — though, of course, no details were provided about server specs. The console will have native game capture and editing tools — essentially, a game DVR. Saved games will be stored in the cloud, and they have new matchmaking capabilities that operate in the background. Update: 05/21 17:50 GMT by S : Halo is getting its own live-action TV show, for some reason. They'll be collaborating with Steven Spielberg. Microsoft is also partnering with the NFL for live broadcasts and interactive experiences, such as split-screen Skype chats and fantasy league updates. Xbox One will be out "later this year." No price information. it will not be backward-compatible with Xbox 360 games.
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mask.of.sanity writes "Lights, sounds and magnetic fields can be used to activate malware on phones, new research has found. The lab-style attacks defined in a paper (PDF) used pre-defined signals hidden in songs and TV programmes as a trigger to activate embedded malware. Malware once activated would carry out programmed attacks either by itself or as part of a wider botnet of mobile devices."
With the kind of cagey phrasing found in many such electronics approval applications, Google describes a device that some are taking to be the successor to its discontinued Nexus Q thus: "The device functions as a media player." From the article: "Some of the specs of the device includes a 2.4GHz WiFi b/g/n connectivity. The FCC report does not contain test photos so we do not know what the device looks like. It is likely that the H840 will support Google Play Music All Access and will have similar functionality as a Sonos media player that can be connected to external speakers."
Blug_fred writes "For the second edition, today is the time to celebrate Culture Freedom Day. While not as popular as HFD or SFD, celebrating Free Culture involves finding Free Culture artists, inviting them to your place and having them perform, display or talk about what their creation(s). Of course you can always simply project a couple of Free Culture movies and launch a discussion about their business models. Either way you can find all the happening for today here on the map and we sincerely hope there will be something of interest near you."
An anonymous reader writes "In their ongoing battle against websites said to infringe music copyrights, record labels have initiated a fresh wave of actions aimed at forcing UK ISPs to carry out domain blocking. This third wave is set to be the biggest so far, affecting as many as 25 domains and including some of the world's largest torrent sites and file-hosting search engines. Furthermore, the BPI – the entity coordinating the action – will ask courts to block U.S.-based music streaming operation, Grooveshark."
Google's I/O annual conference is ramping up at San Francisco's Moscone Center. Last year, in the conference keynote, the company took its biggest-yet dive into hardware when it introduced the Nexus 7 tablet, Google Glass, and the ill-fated Nexus Q. The secret is out on Glass, of course: this year, there's a pavilion inside the conference center where I'm sure they'll be showing off applications for it. (Quite a few of the people in the endless lines here are wearing their own, too.) Anticipating the announcements at I/O is practically its own industry, but it's easy to guess that there will be announcements from all the major pots in which Google has its many thousands of (tapping) fingers. Android, search, Chrome, mapping, and all the other ways in which the behemoth of Mountain View is watching what you do. You can watch the keynote talk (talks, really) streamed online from the main conference link above, but this story will be updated with highlights of the announcements, as well with stories that readers contribute. Update: 05/15 16:22 GMT by T : Updates below. Update: 05/15 19:02 GMT by T :Update details: Notes (ongoing) added below on maps, gaming, the Play store, Google+, and more. And, notable, Larry Page is (at this writing) on stage, with an unannounced Q & A session.
An anonymous reader writes "With updated lyrics, commander of expedition 35 on the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield, sings Space Oddity on board the ISS. He's not Bowie, but he's pretty good."
Noiser writes "The Israeli pop singer Aya Korem published her new song "Computer Engineer" as a website that shows translation to the Perl programming language along with the lyrics. Perl is quite a good match, given that the Perl community has a long tradition of publishing "Perl poetry", and this song proves that this tradition is very much alive. No Flash is required to view the website, so if you are an HTML5 geek, have no worries."
An anonymous reader writes "BitTorrent has come up with a new way to sell music. It's called BitTorrent Bundle, and it puts the music store alongside the torrent. At last, someone has come up with a way to turn all us entitled, lawless downloaders into paying customers. BitTorrent thinks of BitTorrent Bundle as a sort of 21st century band flyer. Post a torrent with a handful of live tracks from your latest tour, Bundle it with a store that lets your groupies buy the full album." Put simply, the idea is that bands publish a basic torrent with a few songs as a teaser. When users download that .torrent file from BitTorrent.com, they're shown a page asking for something — money, an email address, or social media interaction — in exchange for the rest of the album (or other bonus content). If they comply, they get a different .torrent file. It's not intended as a guard against piracy, but as a way to link up content creators with the torrenters who are actually willing to pay.
garymortimer writes "OppiKoppi music festival in South Africa plans to deliver beer to campers via flying robot." All I want to know is, when is beer via flying robot distribution coming to a grocery store near me.
An anonymous reader writes "A Methusen, Mass. high schooler, who goes by the rapper name 'Cammy Dee' has been arrested after posting lyrics that police felt were 'communicating terrorist threats.' This wouldn't be the first time rap lyrics were investigated, but if formally charged for 'communicating terrorist threats' this would a set a chilling low bar for terrorist investigations."
An anonymous reader writes "On April 28, 2003, Apple launched the iTunes Music Store. In their original press release, they called it 'revolutionary,' in typical PR fashion. As the service reaches its 10th anniversary, it seems they were actually correct. From The Verge: 'At launch, it was Mac-only and offered a relatively tiny catalog: 200,000 songs (it currently has 26 million). But it did have the support of the major record labels of the day: Universal, EMI, Warner, Sony, and BMG. The partnerships were key to helping Apple take control of music distribution — without the songs, the iPod was a nicely designed but empty box. ... Jobs certainly had his challenges. Vidich said he's the one who suggested that iTunes charge 99 cents per track and he remembers Jobs nearly hugged him. At the time, Sony Music execs wanted to charge more than $3 a track, according to Vidich. No doubt a $3 song price would have tied an anchor around iTunes' neck, stifling growth. 99 cents, on the other hand, was below the sub-$1 psychological barrier — and has continued to be an important price point for not only music but the wide swath of 99-cent iOS apps in the store. ... Apple bet that the majority of consumers wouldn't have an issue with its lock-in tactics, and it bet correctly.'"
centre21 writes "Having been on Slashdot for several years, I've seen a lot of articles concerning DRM. What's most interesting to me are the number of comments condemning DRM outright and calling for the abolishing DRM with all due prejudice. The question I have for the community: is there ever a time when DRM is justified? My focus here is the aspect of how DRM protects the rights of content creators (aka, artists) and helps to prevent people freely distributing their works and with no compensation. How would those who are opposed to DRM ensure that artists will get just compensation for their works if there are no mechanisms to prevent someone from simply digitally copying a work (be it music, movie or book) and giving it away to anyone who wants it? Because, in my eyes, when people stop getting paid for what they do, they'll stop doing it. Many of my friends and family are in the arts, and let me assure you, one of the things they fear most isn't censorship, it's (in their words), 'Some kid freely distributing my stuff and eliminating my source of income.' And I can see their point. So I reiterate, to those who vehemently oppose DRM, is there ever a time where DRM can be a force for good, or can they offer an alternative that would prevent the above from happening?"
redletterdave writes "Thanks to a newly developed audio extraction technology called optical scanning, the Smithsonian was able to recover the voice of Alexander Graham Bell from one of his hundreds of discs he donated to the museum, which were once considered 'mute artifacts.' Since many of the collected recordings are very fragile due to their age and experimental nature, optical scanning is a non-invasive procedure that creates a high-resolution digital map of the disc or cylinder, which is then reconstructed and used to simulate the motion of a stylus moving through its grooves to reproduce the original audio content. Bell, who created this recording on a wax and cardboard disc on April 15, 1885, can be heard clearly saying, 'In witness whereof — hear my voice, Alexander Graham Bell.'"
tlhIngan writes "On Tuesday, the New York appellate court denied Grooveshark the DMCA safe harbor protection on songs like Johnny B. Goode. What happened was due to an oddity in the law, the DMCA does not apply to state-licensed copyrighted works (those copyrighted before February 15, 1972). What happened was Congress overhauled copyright law to make it a Federal matter, but all works prior to that date still come under common-law and state statutes. The end result is that Grooveshark does not have DMCA safe harbor protection for older works and may be sued for copyright infringement (barring other agreements, e.g., UMG and YouTube), even though they fully comply with the DMCA otherwise, taking down copyrighted materials. Grooveshark is a "music locker" service allowing users to upload music for others to listen to."
itwbennett writes "Aereo's court battles are far from over, to be sure, but the ruling earlier this month that the TV streaming service doesn't violate copyright laws must have the folks at music streaming service Pandora shaking their heads, wondering why they're still paying royalties that currently consume more than half their revenues. The implications of Aereo's business model are far-reaching and may ultimately 'be resolved by Congress, just as it did when cable first came on the scene, by passing legislation to redefine a public performance,' writes broadcast industry attorney David Oxenford."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Twitter is plunging into the online music game. Twitter Music (or "Twitter #music," in the company's own rendering) uses Twitter activity such as Tweets and engagement "to detect and surface the most popular tracks and emerging artists," according to an April 18 posting on Twitter's official blog. Songs on the app derive from three sources: iTunes, Spotify, or Rdio. And yes, Twitter is big, but its victory is by no means assured: other IT giants have entered the same market only to watch highly-publicized projects wither away, doomed by some combination of audience apathy and implementation issues. Take Apple's Ping, for example: launched in September 2010 as part of an iTunes update, the ambitious social-networking and music-recommendation engine immediately ran into a number of problems, including a lack of Facebook integration (despite Steve Jobs' assurances to the contrary) and widespread reports of spam and fake accounts. Can Twitter's effort stand out, or will it just be lost in all the noise?"
hypnosec writes "The Internet Archive has a great collection of books, music, visual items and websites but, it had one thing lacking up until now – software. This has changed recently as The Internet Archive now claims to hold the largest collection of software in the world. The expansion at the Internet Archive has come through collaboration with other independent archives like the Disk Drives collection, the FTP site boneyard, Shareware CD Archive, and the TOSEC archive. The archive doesn't hold just the software – it also holds documentation as well."
An anonymous reader writes "TechCrunch and The Verge are reporting that Apple is near a deal with Universal Music to provide a streaming 'iRadio' music service. 'Apple is expected to launch a web radio service similar to Pandora's later this year, provided that executives there can strike an agreement with Sony Music Entertainment as well as music publishers. Talks with Sony, which operates the third label, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony / ATV, the music publishing company jointly run with the estate of the late singer Michael Jackson, are said to not be as far along towards reaching a deal. ... As for the financial terms, Apple will not receive the steep discounts it had sought for the labels' music.' Apple's 400 million active iTunes accounts could give even Pandora, with its 200 million users, something to worry about. 'For startups and streaming music companies, this means looking closely at the competitive advantages offered by their own platforms and decided how best to position their own services. A key advantage, and one that will likely get emphasized by virtually everyone challenged by an iRadio, is cross-platform compatibility. Apple will likely be able to offer something along those lines through iTunes on Windows, but for the most part it'll be a strictly iOS/Mac affair. That, combined with personalization and recommendation engines, along with other value add features, will be the way to combat an iTunes streaming service, but no matter what, an Apple product will change the face of this market.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The NY Times reports that Twitter will soon launch a new music recommendation system for users of its service. The company teased the new feature and directed queries to announcement that We Are Hunted, a company focused on music recommendation through social media, would be shutting down and joining the Twitter team. 'Recommendations based on social media interactions have become common throughout digital media for things like restaurants and shopping. Many online music services offer these features as well. Spotify, for example, can broadcast its users' playlists through Facebook. Twitter's advantage, in addition to its size, may lie in the devotion of its customers. "Music is one of the most tweeted topics," said Ted Cohen, a former label executive who is now a consultant to digital music companies. "Discovery is critical to the growth of music, and the new gatekeeper is recommendations from trusted sources."' Oddly, those 'trusted sources' seem to be celebrities with Twitter accounts at the moment, as the system is currently invite-only and restricted to 'influencers.'"