Archive for category News

Bing Maps Preview Arrives

Big Congrats to the teams in Bellevue, Sunnyvale, Boulder, Graz and more.

What you’re seeing here is the product of 10 years of effort, in many ways, and represents a turnaround and partial recovery from one of Ballmer’s biggest mistakes. He famously handed most of the company’s mapping business to Nokia, losing many smart minds and multiple years of effort in the process.

But a core group remained, and with the company’s renewed support were able to build this as a first step to catching up. And it’s a very admirable step. Nice work!

From Bing Maps Preview Arrives on Windows 8.1 – Search Blog.

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This is the thing about nuclear power. It doesn’t just go away when we’re not looking.

Long story short, fuel rods are waiting to be removed to a slightly safer location. Company doing the removal is probably going bankrupt and the government is probably incompetent. If the rods touch, here comes Zuul. We might not have a Tokyo anymore. And in the meantime, cesium detectors might be a useful addition to sushi bars, especially the good ones that fly in their fish…

If you’re thinking, “hey, what if there’s an earthquake somewhere near where I live and the same thing happens again?”

Good thinking! Here’s a handy map of nuclear plants and earthquake zones:

Which makes me think that all those people prepping their little post apocalyptic shelters against evil bandits (after the downfall of civilization, or Obama’s third term) might want to rethink their security plans.

If civilization goes down, so do the people maintaining these nuclear plants. So do the deliveries of fuel to keep the water pumps running. We’d be relying on plants whose fundamental safety plans may be based on the assumption of everything else working just fine.

Personally, I’d be more comfortable with nuclear power if the plants could demonstrate that they’d be the last ones standing (and still generating power) after any number of catastrophes outside.

Otherwise, we might as well draw a map of every nuclear plant in the world being a massive emitter of radiation at once and note the Extinction Level Event we built to power your son’s night light.

Or, you know, we could fix it. We have plenty of time and ample cause for action.

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Microsoft shows off WebGL for IE11

This is awesome news.

Microsoft shows off WebGL, touch-capable features in Internet Explorer 11 | Ars Technica.

As Will Wright noted earlier about a different “reversal,” it’s always a good thing when the world’s largest software company actively listens to its users and what they want.

Great things will happen as a result.

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My AWE 2013 Talk is Online

I had to cut out most of the jokes due to the 15 minute time limit, but I thought I at least got to the main points and finished right on the nose. What do you think?

Slides are here

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Google to buy Waze for $1.3 billion

If true, this makes Google pretty much unstoppable in maps, IMO, and Navteq increasingly irrelevant. Waze nailed crowd-sourced routing and traffic, and I imagine could translate well to other similar domains.

Congrats to Di-Ann and the team.

Google to buy Waze for $1.3 billion to bolster its maps lead, says Israeli newspaper | The Verge.

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Andrew Scott Reiss

My heart goes out to Andrew’s family, friends and co-workers.

Oculus VR co-founder, 33, killed by speeding car | Tech Culture – CNET News.

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Just a quick note for those who follow my blog. I will try to post more often now that I’ve emerged in my new role at Syntertainment as co-founder, CTO/CPO and interim CEO. Will is naturally Chief Creative Officer.

In my previous stint at Amazon, I was limited in what I could speak about publicly, for company PR reasons. Ironically, my project (next gen tablet shopping experiences) was not nearly as secretive as my work at Microsoft had been. But then again, no one at Amazon tried to fire me for speaking my mind… You’ll hopefully see some of those cool projects announced by their respective owners.

Mostly, I wanted to open an invite for people who know what kind of things I love to work on to come join us at Syntertainment. We’re looking for a few more superstars to join the early team, with the perks and challenges that entails.

What can I say? We’re developing an entirely new kind of game, which will add some new ways of thinking about the world; and like SimCity and The Sims, likely inspire an entire genre after the fact. It’s a unique opportunity full of fun and adventure, with challenges few dare to take on.

We won’t be providing more details publicly yet, but for those who love the startup life, now is the best time to make the leap and effectively be your own boss on an equally self-motivated team.

I’m personally having a blast.

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Gone to Plaid

Well, I finally did it. I went and left a perfectly good corporate space ship for a tiny winnebago. I can honestly say that for the first time in at least a decade, I’m truly excited (not just enthusiastic) about what I’m working on.

I can’t yet say what this new startup is doing or even what it’s called, except to say that it’ll be a whole new kind of game, developed with some of the people I most respect and admire in the industry.

In fact, it’s a chance to work with one person in particular that I’ve wanted to work with for over 20 years, to be a co-founder, CTO, and even interim CEO while we find just the right person to manage the business side of things long-term.

The design side is already well-covered. We need a few more world-class technologists to join up next.


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Brain Implant Controls Robotic Arm

We may have seen the monkey controlling a robotic arm, but here it is in human trials with much more impressive results. Researchers were able to train the system by having the participant think about moving her arm. With several months of training, her motions were fluid and precise (see video below). Future improvements would make the system more tolerable to brain tissue and wireless, paving the way for those direct brain/machine interfaces we’ve imagined.

Still, it requires surgery. Gives new meaning to “you are the controller,” doesn’t it?

Mind over matter helps paralysed woman control robotic arm | Science | The Guardian.


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Why do we need one kind of printer to make microchips and another kind to make plastic housings, with robots or cheap labor to assemble the results when we can simply print the whole device, circuits and all? Brilliant.

“Carbomorph” material to enable 3D printing of custom personal electronics.

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