Brennan expected to endure grilling from Senate committee over America’s controversial policy of targeted killing
Read the latest blog summary here
Brennan expected to endure grilling from Senate committee over America’s controversial policy of targeted killing
Read the latest blog summary here
Google Maps is on a roll. After completing its trek across the Grand Canyon last week, the world’s best map service added 38 additional ski resorts to its mapped areas. Google kicked off this off in November when they mapped about 90 resorts around the world. The newly added maps are mostly located in the United States, and can be viewed online as well as in its apps for Android and iPhone. If you love the slopes like I do, you know that adding ski resorts like Squaw Valley, Big Sky and Whistler Blackcomb is a big deal. If you haven’t used Google Maps to check out resorts before, it’s really simple to navigate. Ski runs are marked in blue, green and black lines show how tough the terrain is, and lifts are marked as red dotted lines. As always, Google is never satisfied, and promised that “more ski resort maps [are] on the way.” Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a mountain… or 38… calling my name.
Image Courtesy of EndGadget
The American International Toy Fair starts this Sunday. Normally, tech writers wouldn’t’ be too excited about a toy fair, except for their perpetual childlike personalities and secret love of all things juvenile. This year, however, is different. As the iPad gains popularity, companies are finding ways to incorporate it into their products. From cars that interact with the iPad to Tankbots that are controlled by the tablet, toys are becoming the next big thing for the iPad.
At this year’s Toy Fair, NERF will be making a slam dunk with their new N-SPORTS CYBERHOOP. Now, not only can you play office B-Ball during March Madness, you can actually play against your buds and hear real-time commentary on your shots.
Using a specially made N-SPORT hoop in connection with the free CYBERHOOP app, players can select from five different basketball challenges to start shooting hoops. The CYBERHOOP transmits players’ scores to the iPad and triggers commentary, follows the “game” stats, and even captures video of the exciting sports action.
You’ll be able to share your shots using the highlight reel and play virtually with friends online through the app’s multiplayer mode.
The specially designed N-SPORTS basketball is expected to launch this fall for $19.99 and the companion CYBERHOOP app will be available as a free download in the App Store.
IK Multimedia, the leading iOS accessory maker for music-related products recently updated their popular AmpliTube guitar and bass effects app to include “Loop Drummer,” a personal drummer inside your app.
Through an in-app unlock, users can access Loop Drummer, which is a loop-based customizable drum track that you can sync to your AmpliTube recorder. You can either play along with a single loop, or put together a full drum track, complete with intro, basic beats, fills, and an ending.
There are more that 500 different drum loop sounds across a variety of music genres, including Rock, Blues, Country, Metal, Funk, and more. They are available in “Style Packs,” which package 64 different loops in each genre, organized into eight songs with eight loops in each song.
Loop Drummer is more than a click track for recording. It features a remixer, which creates a drum track based on an algorithm that sequences the loop. Drum tracks can also be customized with a cymbal button, which adds a crash to the downbeat, and a tempo adjuster to let you speed up or slow down the song. There are built in mixer controls and the ability to adjust the drum level, separate from the recorder’s volume.
Loop Drummer is available as an in-app purchase inside AmpliTube. If you don’t already have the app, you can purchase it for $19.99 in the App Store. If you already have AmpliTube, download the free update to gain access to the new feature. You’ll get eight sample loops for free with the download. Each pack of 64 loops cost $3.99 each, or you can download the whole set for $14.99.
“Can an iPad really replace a ‘proper’ computer? Can a ten-inch, 128GB tablet do the work of an eleven-inch 128GB MacBook Air? The answer is yes. Kinda,” Charlie Sorrel writes for Cult of Mac. “If your work involves having two windows sitting permanently open side-by-side, then the iPad might not be for you (although you might consider whether you need both windows open together).”
“For most other regular workaday work type work, though. the iPad is ideal,” Sorrel writes. “And here’s our guide to replacing your Mac with an iPad. Specifically a Retina iPad, but you might even manage with a mini.”
In the full article, Sorrel covers the following:
– Replacing Microsoft Office/iWork
– Replacing The Finder
– Replacing Photoshop
– How To Zip Files
– Replacing Other Utilities
– Replacing A Physical Keyboard
– Buying A Stand
– Handy To Have Hardware
Sorrel writes, “By definition, the iPad does some things better than the desktop, and some things worse. You’ll have to assess the tradeoffs to see whether an iPad will work for you, but be sure to do it with an open mind. Many people are wedded to their Macs just because they’re used to them, not because they actually need all that they offer.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: One thing we’d add, regarding physical keyboards for on-the-go use, is a choice we didn’t see in Sorrel’s full article, but it’s one we use (when we don’t just use the iOS on-screen keyboard) and it works well for us: Logitech’s Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad (US$99.99)
“Here’s a fuller idea of Legg Mason manager Bill Miller’s view on Apple (AAPL) – the one that ever so briefly got traders buying the stock again this morning,” Brendan Conway reports for Barron’s. “This is from an excerpt of a forthcoming interview with Consuelo Mack WealthTrack that airs Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. on public television.”
Apple is the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of the stock market. It’s the Dr. Jekyll in the sense that they are one of the greatest product innovators creating products that people love and a brand that people love, and they’re Mr. Hyde in their completely idiotic and dysfunctional capital allocation which is the worst probably in the history of corporate America among good companies. So they have $135 billion of cash… Tim Cook said when they had $90 billion of cash, he said it was way too much. They had not possible reason to use it, announced a modest dividend and a modest share buyback that would not even draw down the cash at all, not one dollar. A year later, 135 billion of cash… I think Apple at $450 a share has huge optionality. It’s nine and a half times earnings. It’s going to grow probably 15 or 16 percent this year consensus, 12 to 14 next. Coke grows six to eight percent and trades at 17 times earnings, so if Apple had a capital allocation like IBM or like McDonald’s… McDonald’s pays out 100 percent of free cash flow to shareholders and trades at 15, 16 times. Apple would be up 50 percent on just sensible capital allocation. — Legg Mason manager Bill Miller
Read more and/or watch the video in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, as they’re not stupid, Apple has some master plan for all of that cash. Whether it be buying up content creators who refuse to play ball, snapping up Microsoft and putting them out of their wretched misery, building flying cars and developing iTransporters, buying Lithuania, or whatever… eventually we’ll find out what Steve told Tim to save up that mountain of cash for.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “David E.” and “Michael H.” for the heads up.]
Masked gunmen rape six Spanish women at Mexican beach resort in latest attack on tourists in recent days
A masked gang raped six Spanish women in Acapulco, authorities have said.
Five armed attackers broke into a property on a beach resort on Monday, tying up six men before raping the women.
The Guerrero state attorney general, Martha Garz n, said a seventh woman begged the men not to rape her and the assailants told her they would spare her because she was Mexican. “Fortunately, we have strong evidence to lead us to those responsible for this reprehensible act,” Garzon told Radio F rmula.
The mayor of Acapulco, Luis Walton, was later forced to apologise after he said the attack was “regrettable” because it would damage the city’s image, but it “could have happened anywhere”.
The comments triggered outrage in Mexico and Spain, and his office issued a statement on its website saying Walton “very much laments the misinterpretation of his comments, which were never intended to hurt the victims or minimise the facts”.
The popular holiday destination, which attracted film stars and musicians in the 1950s and 60s, has made headlines in recent years owing to a rise in drug gang killings and extortions, but the violence has rarely affected tourists.
Mexico’s foreign relations department said it regretted the attack, adding: “Up to now the investigations are being carried out by local authorities and they will be the ones to provide information.”
In Mexico local authorities determine if organised criminal are behind an attack, and, if so, pass the case to federal authorities.
Security and drug analyst Jorge Chabat said: “Everything points to this being organised crime, because several gangs have operated [in Acapulco] for years … it’s probably not the big cartels but there are smaller groups that carry out crimes on a permanent basis.”
The Spanish embassy in Mexico City said the victims were receiving consular assistance and treatment.
Spain’s foreign ministry had issued a travel advisory on its website for Acapulco before the attack, listing the resort as being located in Mexico’s “risk zone”.
The attack came three days after a pair of Mexican tourists returning from a beach east of Acapulco were shot at and slightly wounded by members of a masked self-defence squad that set up cordons in areas north of the city to defend their communities against gang violence. The vigilantes said the tourists failed to stop at their improvised roadblock.Acapulco was extolled in Frank Sinatra songs and Elvis Presley films. Elizabeth Taylor was married there, John F and Jackie Kennedy spent their honeymoon in a local resort, and Howard Hughes spent his later years in a suite at the Princess hotel.
Last week, Mexico used an international tourism fair in Spain to promote itself as a safe destination.
More than half of Conservative parliamentary party decline to support PM on issue at heart of his modernising agenda
Parliament took a historic step towards embracing full equality for gay people when MPs voted on Tuesday overwhelmingly in favour of equal marriage at the end of a charged Commons debate that exposed the deep rift over David Cameron’s modernising agenda at the heart of the Conservative party.
The 225-vote majority, greeted with rare applause in the public gallery, was marred for the prime minister, who suffered a humiliating rebuff when more than half of the parliamentary Tory party declined to support the government on an issue he has personally invested in.
Owen Paterson, the environment secretary, led an unofficial rebellion by an estimated 136 Tory MPs in rejecting Cameron’s plea. The opponents – including two tellers – included Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor, who has been running a Tory leadership campaign.
About 40 Conservatives, including the attorney general, Dominic Grieve, either formally abstained or did not vote in the second reading of the bill, which was subject to a free vote in which MPs were entitled to follow their consciences.
The result meant the prime minister, who won the support of an estimated 127 Tory MPs, including one teller, failed to win more than half of his 303 MPs.
But the bill is likely to reach the statute book, assuming it has a safe passage through the Lords, after support from Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs ensured it got an overwhelming second reading.
Desmond Swayne, a Tory whip who used to serve as the prime minister’s parliamentary private secretary, proudly announced to the chamber that 400 MPs had voted in favour of the bill, with 175 voting against.
The prime minister welcomed the vote. He tweeted: “Strong views exist on both sides but I believe MPs voting for gay people being able to marry too, is a step forward for our country.”
Nick Clegg said: “I genuinely believe that we will look back on today as a landmark for equality in Britain … No matter who you are and who you love, we are all equal. Marriage is about love and commitment, and it should no longer be denied to people just because they are gay.”
The Roman Catholic church made clear that it would use the strong objections to the bill voiced by MPs across the house to maintain its campaign against same-sex marriage. The Most Reverend Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark, said: “The Catholic Church continues to support marriage understood by society for centuries as the significant and unique lifelong commitment between a man and a woman for their mutual well-being and open to the procreation and education of children. Marriage is rooted in the complementarity of man and woman.
“For these reasons the Church opposes the government’s Bill to re-define marriage. Despite claims by supporters of the Bill that the central issue is one of equality, the Bill actually seeks to re-define marriage and will have consequences for society at large.
“It became clear during today’s debate in the House of Commons that the government has not thought through a number of profound problems in the bill raised by members of parliament during the debate. It will be extremely important that the many concerns we and others have expressed will be fully and carefully considered during the next stages of the bill’s passage through parliament.”
One prominent Tory opponent of the bill endorsed the church’s view. The MP said: “This legislation is asking for trouble. The lawyers will be rubbing their hands.”
Colin Hart, campaign director of the anti-equal marriage group Coalition for Marriage, said: “The scale of the opposition against the government’s profoundly undemocratic plans is astonishing, and sends a clear message to the prime minister that he faces a lengthy and damaging battle to redefine marriage.
“Just a few months ago, if we had predicted this result, no one would have believed us, but our clear and simple message that these proposals are undemocratic and will lead to all sorts of unintended consequences has struck a chord with ordinary voters and now scores of MPs.
“We have consistently warned the legislation contains no safeguards for those who work in the public sector. Top lawyers, with a track record of winning against the government, have said the quadruple lock is not sustainable and instead of trying to answer these questions the PM remains hell bent on ramming this bill through parliament in a dangerously short period of time.
“Mr Cameron hopes that this matter is now settled. He is wrong. His attempts to distract those in his own party and the wider country from the fall out will fail. More importantly this is not the end of the fight against these ill-thought through and divisive plans. There are more votes in the Commons, more speeches, potentially dozens of amendments and then the bill will go to the Lords where the voting arithmetic is very different.”
Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of Stonewall, said: “As the last piece of the legislative jigsaw providing equality for gay people in Britain, this is a truly historic step forward.
“We’re absolutely delighted that MPs have demonstrated so overwhelmingly that they’re in touch with the 21st century. We anticipate, as always, a tough battle in the House of Lords. Happily, the size of the commons majority seen tonight – much larger than for most normal government business – will make it very difficult for peers to suggest that the bill should be rejected.
“Most people in Britain support equal marriage and will be delighted that we’re now a step closer to it. We’re grateful to the thousands of Stonewall supporters, many of them straight, who played a big part by contacting their MPs in support.”
The vote prompted angry recriminations among Tory supporters of reform who criticised Cameron for failing to offer wholehearted support for the reform.
A promised statement by the prime minister was hurriedly recorded for television cameras late on Tuesday afternoon four hours after Maria Miller, the equalities minister, had opened the debate.
One reformer said: “The prime minister couldn’t even be bothered to turn up in the chamber. That is so fucking rude. This will have a corrosive effect. The politics around this have been so bad.”
The criticism of the prime minister was voiced after MPs from all the main parties lined up on opposing sides. Margot James, Tory MP for Stourbridge, warned her colleagues that the Conservative party would suffer the same fate as the Republicans in the US unless it wholeheartedly embraced social reform.
But Sir Roger Gale, the veteran Tory MP for Thanet North, lambasted the government. “Marriage is the union between a man and a woman – has been historically, remains so. It is Alice in Wonderland territory, Orwellian almost, for any government of any political persuasion to seek to come along and try to rewrite the political lexicon.”
Tory modernisers were horrified by the speeches by opponents of reform. One minister said: “Yes we can confidently say that the Tory party is divided – and divided right down the middle on this one. And with the help of four or five speeches we have been taken back more than 50 years to the horrors of the 1950s.”
Philip Hammond, the defence secretary who opposes equal marriage, did not vote because he is away on official business. His ministerial colleague Andrew Robathan, one of Cameron’s original supporters in the 2005 Tory leadership contest, voted against the bill. He was joined by Mike Penning, the Northern Ireland minister, and by Robert Goodwill, a senior whip.
Clegg failed to win the support of four Lib Dem MPs. They were Sir Alan Beith, John Pugh, Gordon Birtwistle and the former children’s minister Sarah Teather.
Ed Miliband failed to win the support of 22 Labour MPs who voted against the bill. They included the shadow justice minister Robert Flello.
So you think that you have run out of fashion accessories at this point in time to match the rest of your wardrobe, or figured out that it would be great to have something far different from what your mates have, then the $26.99 LED Crystal Earrings would definitely come in handy. From the name itself, you can more or less say that you’ve got a winner on your hands, or rather, should we say “ears”?
The LED Crystal Earrings will come in red, white, or blue, and whenever you do not want to be the star of the party with your blinged out earrings, then you can always make use of the rubber backs, where it will instantly turn you incognito in a particular crowd. Each purchase will be accompanied by two pairs of batteries for light. Talk about being the one that truly stands out from the rest of the crowd when you have these on! Surely attending rave parties will attract the relevant attention from the guys, as they home in on this chic chick with great taste in accessorizing. Each pair of the LED Crystal Earrings come with plastic backs so that they will not cause the batteries to touch your skin.
UAVs, or better known as Unmanned Air Vehicles, have become an indispensable part of modern day warfare. Basically, the chances of you wiping out an enemy is far higher if you happen to possess weapons of mass destruction as well as sport the latest that technology can offer. Well, folks in the British Army have a new “toy”, so to speak, to play around with, and that would be the Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Air Vehicle which will measure approximately 4″ x 1″, and will offer troops who are on the ground the kind of situational awareness which is all too vital in sensitive missions.
The Black Hornet will come with a small camera that offers troops reliable full-motion video and still images. Instead of using one of those fiber optic cables which can be bent, soldiers can instead use it to peer around corners, or check out what lies on the other side of the wall, as well as over other obstacles in order to identify any hidden dangers as all the images captured by it will be shown off on a handheld terminal.
The Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Air Vehicle will come in the size of a child’s toy, while carrying a revolutionary new system that is easy to tote around whenever you are on patrol, where it can also perform in harsh environments and windy conditions to boot. Tipping the scales for as little as 16 grams a pop, and it has been developed by Prox Dynamics AS of Norway as part of a 20 million contract, where 160 units will be developed alongside Marlborough Communications Ltd in Surrey.
Sergeant Christopher Petherbridge of the Brigade Reconnaissance Force in Afghanistan, said, “Black Hornet is definitely adding value, especially considering the lightweight nature of it. We use it to look for insurgent firing points and check out exposed areas of the ground before crossing, which is a real asset. It is very easy to operate and offers amazing capability to the guys on the ground.”
[ Black Hornet Nano Unmanned Air Vehicle copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]