HTC launches Viveport worldwide

HTC’s app store, Viveport, for its Vive virtual reality headset is going live worldwide today. Viveport first opened exclusively in China this spring with developers being able to register fora beta last month.

There will be a 48 hour launch celebration, which will include discounted prices for Vives titles. With its partnership with Valve, HTC Vive owners can buy and run games through steam.

The company promises Viveport will not only just focus on games it will also take importance on apps such as art, education, sports, health, fashion, news, shopping, and various others. Viveport is launching in 30 countries with about 60 titles. Viveport Premieres will highlight new content such as Evert VR, Pearl, The Music Room, and others that haven’t been available elsewhere.

Apple spending $45 million on research center in Beijing

Apple is building a $45 million research facility in Beijing, The Wall Street Journal reports. The facility will employ 500 people and will develop computer, communications, audio, and visual hardware. This will be Apples first R&D facility in China.

Tim Cook announced last month about plans for China and investments for research and development. The facility is reportedly going to be developed in the Zhongguancun Science Park, Beijing, Wangjing district.

Apple has faced hard times recently in China. Chinese authorities shut down iTunes Movies and iBook services earlier this year, which prompted Tim Cooks visits to China. Apple has been manufacturing its devices in China for a long time.

Apple has already made investments in China including the $1 billion invested in Didi Chuxing, a ride-hailing app in China. This new facility may help smooth relations with China and get Apple back one of its important markets.

Microsoft announces partnership with Adobe

Microsoft announced a major partnership with Adobe today at Ignite. The partnership focuses on Adobe delivering its cloud services on Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft says Adobe will now make Azure its “preferred cloud platform” for the Adobe Marketing Cloud, Creative Cloud, and Document Cloud services. Adobe will use SQL Server and Azure’s machine learning services provided in the Microsoft Cortana Intelligence Suite.

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, brought out onto the stage the CEO of Adobe, Shantanu Narayen. “Customers today expect a well-designed, personalized and consistent experience every time they engage with a brand,” said Shantanu Narayen in a statement today. “Adobe and Microsoft will bring together the cloud horsepower and end-to-end capabilities brands need to design and deliver great digital experiences.”

The partnership will make it simpler for customers to work across the two services. “Customers today expect a well-designed, personalized and consistent experience every time they engage with a brand,” said Shantanu Narayen. “Adobe and Microsoft will bring together the cloud horsepower and end-to-end capabilities brands need to design and deliver great digital experiences.”

Microsoft announces Windows Defender Application Guard for Edge browser

Microsoft announced today at Ignite that its making its Edge browser more secure for enterprise.

Microsoft explained that it will run Windows Defender Application Guard in a container that is bound directly to the hardware in order to protect Windows 10 from untrusted browser searches. The company explained that containers within other browser leave enterprises vulnerable to 90% of attacks because they don’t user hardware based protection.

Microsoft gave a demo of security breaches without the integration to the hardware. By deploying Application Guard the machine is kept safe from attacks and are locked in a container or what they call a “maximum security prison.”

Along with Application Guard Microsoft is also rolling out with new Office 365 features. The new Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection will protect usrs from malicious URLs and will cover SharePoint, One Drive for Business, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.

 

UPS Testing Drone Deliveries

UPS has started trials of deliveries using drones that deliver medical, emergency, items. UPS tested a delivery at Marblehead where a drone dropped a package at Children’s Island, running a scenario where a young child needed an asthma inhaler. The delivery took about 8 minutes for a 3 mile journey.

The company UPS has parented to work with is CyPhy Works, a Massachusetts based drone company. UPS has also invested in CyPhy.

The company is running trials currently, there’s no certain date in the future where these deliveries using drones would be used. Though we can see from the many companies that are testing drones, such as Domino’s, Wal-Mart, and Amazon, are finding unique ways to adapt to new technologies.

 

Mars Mission receives funding from Senate

Members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee passed a bipartisan bill that authorizes $19.5 billion in an effort to pursue a mission to Mars and sending astronauts to the International Space Station using private rockets.

Under the Senate bill, a mission to mars would be the first ever to be required by law. The measure has been sponsored by Senators Ted Cruz, Bill Nelson, Marco Rubio, Roger Wicker, Gary Peters, and Tom Udall. Around $4.5 billion will be for exploration, $5.4 billion for science, and $5 billion for space operations.

the $19.5 billion is authorized for fiscal 2017 under the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2016. The Obama administration has proposed spending $19 on NASA. The money would allow NASA to work on the Space Launch System, the Orion multipurpose vehicle, development of space suits for Mars, upgrade the space station for use through 2028, improve opportunities for the private sector, and a scheduled 2018 unmanned trip to mars with a manned mission by 2021.

Google launches Daydream VR Development tools

Google has launched its VR platform Daydream for developers and have released the new Google VR SDK. The kit allows developers to build in VR for devices that are ready for Daydream, it also supports integration with Unity and Unreal game engines.

Daydream was revealed during Google I/O and Google stated that it would create its own virtual reality headset for Daydream in the future. Daydream is integrated within Android 7.0, Nougat. Netflix, Hulu, HBO, CNN, and other apps will be available at launch.

During an announcement today on the Google Developers blog, Google announced Daydream is available to all through its developer website. The developer site provides documentation, tutorials, and sample apps to help new developers.

Google also opened up the Daydream Access Program, which allows only members to push their apps to Google Play.

 

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative announced a $3billion investment in an effort to cure disease

Last year Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, his wife, started an organization to help advance human potential and equality and pumped $45 billion into it. $3 billion from that organization will be used over the next decade to invest in an effort to help cure, prevent, and manage all disease. The project is called Chan Zuckerberg Science and was announced in San Francisco.

The project aims to bring together teams of scientists and engineers in an effort “to build new tools for the scientific community, said Priscilla Chan at the San Francisco event.

$600 million from the $3 billion will be invested in Biohub, a location aimed to unite researchers from Stanford, UCSF, and Berkeley with engineers to find new ways to finding cures to diseases. “We’ll be investing in basic science research with the goal of curing disease,” Said Chan.

Bill Gates came to the stage and called the project “very bold, very ambitious”. He supported the project and called for others to do the same and organizations with funding are needed to stop diseases from spreading such as Ebola.

The Biohub will be located at 499 Illinois St, SF, CA. It will be led by UCSF’s Joe DeRisi and Stanford’s Stephen Quake, who are known for their experience in bio-engineering and biophysics. The most important part about the research that will take place in the Biohub is that it will be openly available to doctors and researchers around the world.

Google releases Allo messaging app

Google announced two new products, Duo and Allo, during its I/O developer conference earlier this year. Duo the video chat app was released about a month ago and Allo has been released today, after weeks of rumored release dates.

Allo, the new messaging app, is different from Hangouts or anything previously launched by Google. Allo is integrated with Googles top of the line machine learning technology and Google Assistant. Allo and Duo are going to replace Hangouts, which offered both messaging and video calling. According to Google Hangouts is set to become an enterprise solution while Allo and Duo are focused as consumer products.
Allo Emoji.jpgBoth the apps are simple and straightforward. However, Allo has a lot more to offer than Duo. The messaging app has quite a bit of new features. Users are able to make text appear bigger or smaller when pressing and holding the send button then dragging up or down. Users also have more than two dozen sticker packs available to use during chats, which come in a range of styles and they’re all free. Users can share images and are able to draw on them, share your location, and dictate text.

TAllo Lunch.jpghe biggest feature is the integration of Google’s machine learning and Google Assistant, which is still in preview. With Google Assistant you can chat with it as you would anyone else or you can use the @google command to ask a question. You can use this feature during chats with others. It will allow you to get weather information, nearby restaurants, quick info, and a host of other things such as setting timers, alarms, and reminders.

 

allo-messagingPersonally one of my favorite features is smart replies. Smart replies offer suggestions for users to reply with instead of typing or swiping the word out. This works even for photos.

Allo also comes with an incognito mode that enables end-to-end encryption for chats. Users also get features such as discreet notifications and the ability to auto delete messages.

Allo does seem to be off to a good start, however, the Assistant is still in preview. Therefore we have yet to see what it can truly offer. Still Allo seems like a good replacement for Hangouts though it will have tough competition against Facebook Messenger and Whats App.

The app is available on both Android and iOS.

Tesla wins bid to power Southern California Edison

Tesla recently won a contract to provide power to Southern California Edison to combat future power shortages. Tesla will supply 20 megawatts of energy storage using its Powerpacks technology that is capable of powering 2,500 homes for a day.

Tesla announced its stationary storage battery system in may. There are 2 different storage systems. The Powerwall batteries for homes and the Powerpack batteries for commercial and industrial use. The batteries are in production currently at Tesla’s Gigafactory, in Reno, Nevada.

The contract is a response to the recent Aliso Canyon leak. On October 23, 2015 one of the underground storage wells began to leak methane. This leaked methane began to have side effects for the residents of he nearby Port Ranch community. Residents complained of headaches and nosebleeds, which led to their relocation. Southern California Gas Company, owned by Sempra Utilities, took months to fix the situation, having to dig 8,500 ft down to the gas reservoir, pumping it with slurry, and sealing it with cement. This became the second largest methane leak in the history of the the US. Without the largest natural gas storage facility, the state started a bidding to look for alternative solutions.

Tesla reported that it will deliver and install the 80MWh Powerpack battery system at Southern California Edison’s Mira Loma substation before the end of 2016. This is one of the most important parts as previously its taken years to implement power solutions. “The storage is being procured in a record time frame,” months instead of years, said Yayoi Sekine, a battery analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “It highlights the maturity of advanced technologies like energy storage to be contracted as a reliable resource in an emergency situation.”

“Upon completion, this system will be the largest lithium ion battery storage project in the world,” Tesla posted on its website. “When fully charged, this system will hold enough energy to power more than 2,500 households for a day or charge 1,000 Tesla vehicles.”

Musk went on to say that “In order to achieve a sustainable energy future, one which has high penetration of solar and electric vehicles, the world needs a two-way, flexible electric grid. The electric power industry is the last great industry which has not seen the revolutionary effects of storage. Working in close collaboration with Southern California Edison, the Tesla Powerpack system will be a landmark project that truly heralds the new age of storage on the electric grid.”