Hangouts for iOS may have gotten off to a rocky start -- evidenced by its poor ratings in the App Store -- but it seems that Google is looking to right its wrongs in its first major update to the messaging app. Most significantly, the new version features clickable links in messages and in-app sound notifications, along with official support for iOS 6. Any badge count issues have been fixed, and you'll now also be able to invite friends to join Hangouts via SMS. Add all these with a number of bug fixes, and they bring a good reason to give Hangouts a whirl... perhaps for a second time.when.eng("eng.perm.init")
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
British Airways teams up with Designworks for electronic bag tags that nab info from your smartphone
Tired of ripping off those old luggage tags after a trip? Well, those could be a thing of the past if all goes according to plan -- at least when flying British Airways. The airline cooked up an electronic bag tag that looks to discard the paper version with the help of the folks at Designworks. Once passengers have checked in, they simply need to hover a smartphone over the tag to beam (via NFC, we'd surmise) both flight info and the requisite barcode to the tag's display. The idea behind the whole thing isn't only to keep the paper-changing to a minimum, but to also save precious time at the check-in counter. A live trial of the tagging gadget is planned, so we'll soon be able to see if the concept stands up to baggage handlers.
Astronaut Karen Nyberg is on the International Space Station right now. Like many an astronaut before her, she is active on social media. Unlike most, however, her preferred social media network is female-friendly, domesticity-oriented photo-sharing network Pinterest.
"Astronaut by day. Aspiring quilter, crafter, artist, runner by night. Wife and Mommy 24/7," her bio reads. Nyberg, who first worked with NASA as a mechanical engineer in the '90s, has 23 pinboards. Some are dedicated to spaceflight and science, others to domestic hobbies and her children. A pinboard called "Hair and Space" reveals the volumizing effect of zero gravity on her magnificent hair. "When girls see pictures of ponytails, don't you think it stirs something inside them that says, that could be ME up there?" Nyberg writes.
Before arriving in space, Nyberg's pinning routine included baby quilts, birthday cakes, and diagrams of aeronautical equipment. “I've been using Pinterest for a couple of years and absolutely love it because of my other hobbies," she told CBS News last month. As she prepared to leave Earth, she started "adding some space things."
Now that Nyberg is in orbit, most of her pins depict astronomical phenomena and science experiments. But space provides traditional Pinspiration, too. A recent picture of "floating fat quarters" — fabric squares for quilting — has Nyberg's followers eagerly anticipating the quilt she seems to be sewing in outer space.
Eccentric pharmaceutical billionaire Stewart Rahr, who refers to himself as "Stewie Rah Rah, Number 1 King of All Fun," recently signed the papers on a $250M divorce from his wife of 43 years. To celebrate, he created a sex tape in the back of his limousine with "three brunettes" and Icona Pop playing in the background. He then sent the tape "to many of his powerful New York contacts," reports "Page Six."
We've seen sex tapes leaked for publicity. We've seen sex tapes leaked for money. This, however, may be the first time we've seen a sex tape leaked as a post-divorce announcement that the creator is single and ready to mingle. "What a trip, what a crew!" Stewie Rah Rah wrote in the message accompanying his video.
A generous philanthropist (earlier this month he gave $10M to Make-A-Wish), Stewie Rah Rah is also known for a "digital parlour game called Celebrity Charity Trivia," in which he e-mails a photo of himself with a celebrity to 700 contacts, who then race to name the celebrity and the event where the photo was taken. Those who respond first get $5,000 to donate to the charity of their choice. He's an enormously wealthy Stalker Sarah committed to making the world a better place, plus limousine orgies.
Stewie Rah Rah is living the American dream.
No word on whether cash was awarded for accurate descriptions of Rahr's sex tape, but "one disgusted person" who spoke to "Page Six" guessed the 67-year-old shot the video in southern France.
“However inappropriate or offensive the footage might appear to some, all the women are consenting adults who were engaged in friendly, voluntary and lawful behavior," Stewie Rah Rah's lawyer said.
Texas governor Rick Perry has called a second special session of the state legislature to address the omnibus anti-abortion bill that was defeated by State Senator Wendy Davis's dramatic filibuster and an "unruly mob" of protesters last night, starting Monday. A majority of the state's residents oppose the new restrictions, which would close all but 5 of the state's 42 abortion clinics and ban abortions after twenty weeks. As governor, Perry can call unlimited extra 30-day sessions, the AP reports. Here's hoping they're as right about this as they were about the vote last night.
In every office, every sorority, every gathering of post-industrial white-collar Westerners, there is a tribe of Diet Coke fiends. Our most visible members are female. We tend to be type A overachievers and controlling about caloric intake — the kind of women to whom Diet Coke spokesperson Taylor Swift might appeal. Our allegiance to our beverage of choice is strong. We carry Diet Coke in our purses. We know the chemical-taste hierarchy of artificial sweeteners. (Aspartame purists resort to Diet Pepsi before stooping to Coke Zero.) We recognize our kind when we see each other stocking up at the bodega. We share tips about convenience stores with steady Diet Coke supplies, and those with lower prices. When the office vending machine runs out of Diet Coke, we riot.
We are not safe.
Diet Coke fiends worldwide are reeling today at the discovery of a woman who drank nothing but cola soda for sixteen years (our hero!) in Monaco (ooh la la) who is now suffering from heart problems (oh shit).
Based on findings presented at a medical conference in Athens, Live Science reports that the 31-year-old woman "did not have a family history of heart or hormone problems. But she told her doctors that, since the age of 15, she had not drunk any water — soda (specifically cola) was the only liquid she consumed. She drank about 2 liters (2 quarts) of cola daily, she said."
Now, we do not know what type of cola soda this woman was drinking. We do not know the brand. We do not know if it was Diet. We do not know if this remarkably dedicated woman — this paragon of loyalty and/or OCD — preferred aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, fructose, or sucrose. (Translation for novices: Diet Coke, Diet Coke with Splenda, 50 percent of Coke Zero, Coca-Cola in America, and Coca-Cola in Mexico.) But like the New Zealand woman who allegedly died from Coca-Cola addiction last year, hers is a cautionary tale. Puberty-onset cola soda addiction may be pleasurable, but also dangerous.
Luckily the news is not all bad. "After abstaining from soda for just one week, the woman's potassium levels and heart electrical activity returned to normal," Live Science writes. The findings have not yet appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, but maybe consider taking a week off to drink some water once your Diet Coke diet reaches its fifteenth-year anniversary anyway.