Flipboard Launches Android Beta

Flipboard on Samsung Galaxy s3

Android owners rejoice: social newsreading app Flipboard is headed your way. The company opened up a private beta program for Android phones Wednesday.

To sign up, head on over to flipboard.com/android. Flipboard will email you instructions so you can set up the beta version on your phone.

As rumored, Flipboard for Android will first become available on Samsung Galaxy S III devices, which are expected to arrive in the U.S. any week now.
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Link every town by video

Each week a global thinker from the worlds of philosophy, science, psychology or the arts is given a minute to put forward a radical, inspiring or controversial idea – no matter how improbable – that they believe would change the world.  Continue reading

‘Olympic rings’ molecule olympicene in striking image

Researchers have succeeded in taking a stunning image of a newly synthesised molecule called olympicene.

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The joylessness of shopping

Somewhat in the manner of a therapist directing his patient towards a profound inner truth, Leo Johnson asked us to close our eyes and recall a time and a place when we we’d been “totally in the groove, really happy”.

We did. Continue reading

Facebook’s new Camera app mirrors Instagram

Facebook has launched a photo sharing smartphone app called Camera.

The software allows users to take multiple pictures and share them at once rather than having to upload them one at a time.

The app also features a feed of friends’ photos.

The launch is unexpected as the program offers users similar tools to Instagram which the social network is in the process of taking over.

Both apps allow users to add filters and make other tweaks to photographs.

Facebook has agreed to pay $1bn (£638m) for Instagram, but the acquisition has not been completed.

Brian Blau, research director at the technology analysts Gartner, said the move may surprise some, but thought it made sense.

“Facebook has to move its business forward,” he told the BBC.

“It said earlier that it would keep Instagram as a separate business, but you need to bear in mind that it is buying a unique social network with a specific demographic.

“By doing this Facebook allows Instagram to remain intact while adopting some of its features to ensure its core service maintains its lead as the internet’s most used photo sharing site.”

At present Camera only works on Apple’s smartphones and tablets.

A news release from Facebook did not mention when it might be released for Android or other systems.

Google’s Moog Doodle: The Inside Story

Why do Google Doodlers build the things they do? They’re fans, that’s why. When Google’s Chief Doodler Ryan Germick and Google Engineer Joey Hurst decided they wanted to build the Google Moog Synthesizer Doodle, it was to “Pay tribute to someone who was like a patron saint of the nerdy arts,” said Germick.

Germick told Mashable that he was a huge Robert Moog fan. Moog, who died in 2005 and would have been 78 today, developed what is widely recognized as the first commercial synthesizer. Previous versions were the size of closets. Germick called him “a passionate toolmaker.”

Hurst and Germick collaborated on last year’s playable Les Paul guitar Google Doodle, but it was Germick who brought this project to Hurst — who actually celebrated his birthday one day before Moog’s — as a kind of a challenge. “Joey is an amazing engineer and I love to come up with a way to stump him,” explained Germick.

The concept was to recreate the Mini Moog Analog Synthesizer in a Web browser. Germick thought there was no way it could be done. Hurst, who knew someone who owned an original Moog, was instantly excited by the project.

Hurst obviously succeeded, but it wasn’t easy. The project, which was done on Hurst’s 20% “work on what you want at Google” time (he is not on the Google Doodle team), took almost four months from the first mention to the roll-out. That unveiling actually began yesterday in parts of the world where it was already the 23rd. Hurst explained it was probably one of the most involved engineering efforts they’ve ever had for a Google Doodle and required thousands of lines of code.

Hurst said he was excited to show the first functioning version to Germick. “It looked terrible,” said Germick with a laugh, but it was producing audio. “That’s the joy of programming in general. You spend a little bit of time and you can make these really amazing things,” said Hurst.

Interestingly, there was a recent development that helped make the fully-functioning, virtual Moog device possible: a new API from Google. Hurst said Google recently added the Web Audio API to Google Chrome. It provides, he said, “Really high-quality, low-latency audio” in the browser, but not in all Web browsers. Outside of Chrome, the Moog Doodle turns into pure Flash.

If you haven’t checked out the Google Doodle yet, then you may not understand how complex it really is. The Google Moog has 19 full-functioning knobs, one wheel, a switch and four tracks that let you record up to 30 seconds of overlaid audio. As with the Les Paul Guitar doodle, you can play, record and share, via a link or Google Plus. Continue reading

How Amazon is changing the rules for books and movies

The online retail giant is tapping its huge customer base and vast technical underpinnings to reshape the way books, movies, and television programs are made. Continue reading