Vintage Electric drew a lot of attention when it unveiled its retro e-bikes a couple of years ago: it managed to fuse the classic look of early 20th century board track racers with a decidedly modern electric motor. Well, it’s back for another year… and it’s clear that the company has learned a lot in a short space of time. Its newly launched 2016 Tracker ups both the performance and the nostalgia quotient. It’s 15 percent more efficient than last year’s Tracker, but produces 20 percent more torque and carries a larger 70 watt-hour battery good for 35 miles of real-world travel. At the same time, you’ll find clever new touches like stainless steel accents and pewter badging.
Taking this trip back in time won’t come cheap. You’re looking at $4,995 for the standard Tracker (similar to the Cruz), and that’s before you consider the custom color options. It might be easy to justify, however. This is one of the few e-bikes that’s stylish in more than a utilitarian sort of way — so long as it handles as nicely as it looks, you may find yourself looking for excuses to go riding.
Apple and Tesla aren’t the only two tech companies grabbing each other’s staff to fulfill their automotive dreams — Google has quietly hired Robert Rose, the lead for Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot program. It’s not clear what he’s working on besides software at Google Robotics, but it won’t be surprising if he’s working on self-driving cars. He’s unlikely to be working for Boston Dynamics, whose staff are relatively independent from the Google mothership. One thing’s for sure: Tesla will notice his absence. Rose was the lead engineer for some of SpaceX’s earlier rocketry and reported directly to Elon Musk while at Tesla, so this clearly wasn’t a trivial move.
[Image credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images]
The State Department announced on Monday that it will release an email from former-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server that, according to members of the intelligence community, may contain classified information. The email is part of a nearly 8,000-page document dump scheduled for Monday. The State Department has already unveiled around 30,000 pages (of an estimated 54,000) since the scandal erupted in March.
The email in question, sent November 27th, 2010, is one of four that Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III and State Department Inspector General Steve Linick deemed “classified” earlier this summer. The State Department did not expound on the subject of the email or the nature of the classified materials it reportedly contains.
“These emails were not retroactively classified by the State Department; rather these emails contained classified information when they were generated and, according to IC classification officials, that information remains classified today,” McCullough and Linick wrote in a July 23 statement. “This classified information should never have been transmitted via an unclassified personal system.” McCullough then argued in August that two of those four emails contained “Top Secret” intelligence. What’s more, intelligence community classification experts “judged that they contained classified State Department information when originated,” McCullough wrote in a follow-up memo.
The State Department, however, disputes the validity of these secrecy classifications and has suggested that its employees may have garnered the information in question through means not involving classified intelligence reports. Either way, the State Department has beseeched Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Jr. for a ruling. The email in question is likely one of those. The remaining 8,000 or so documents will consist of emails from 2012 through the end of Clinton’s stint as Secretary of State.
Just last week, Microsoft began selling the Lumia 950, the first Windows 10 mobile phone, and though the software showed promise, the hardware itself was lacking in charm. Now, Japanese design firm NuAns is set to release the “Neo,” a sleek handset that should make for a nice alternative to the Lumia (if you’re okay to trade design for customizability). It sports an interchangeable upper and lower half that can be swapped out, with 64 possible combinations available. The phone is set to retail for around $350 with lower-end specs to match, including a 5-inch, 1,280 x 720 display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor and 16GB of storage (expandable via microSD slot). If this handset sounds like something you can’t live without, there’s one problem: it’s exclusive to Japan. So, unless you want to fly over to pick one up, it looks like you’ll have to get creative when custumozing a smartphone available in your market.
On November 22nd, artist collective DJ Detweiler posted a screenshot of a message from SoundCloud that said its track, “John Cage – 4’33 (DJ DETWEILER REMIX),” had been removed because it appeared to contain copyrighted content. The joke here is that the original “4’33″” is completely silent and a remix would supposedly be just as soundless. DJ Detweiler shared the image with the caption, “MADE A NEW REMIX TODAY, SOMEHOW THIS HAPPENED,” and tagged a handful of music publications. The story waspickeduponline with headlines decrying SoundCloud’s over-reach of copyright law and the absurdity of content-protection algorithms.
However, DJ Detweiler’s “remix” wasn’t silent at all, according to SoundCloud. “The upload referenced in the screenshot was not a track of silence and was taken down because it included Justin Bieber’s ‘What Do You Mean’ without the rightsholder’s permission,” the company says.
SoundCloud’s full statement reads as follows:
The upload referenced in the screenshot was not a track of silence and was taken down because it included Justin Bieber’s What Do You Mean without the rightsholder’s permission. The respective user uploaded the track under the title “4’33″, which is also the name of John Cage’s famous piece of silence but it was not, in fact, silence. We’re happy to host any content on the platform as long as it’s properly authorized. If we’re told that any content has been posted without permission, we need to remove that content in accordance with applicable law.
DJ Detweiler, for its part, has been sharing stories about the “silent track” and laughing about the situation on Twitter. We’ve reached out to the group for comment.
AT&T customers who’ve managed to hold strong to their $30 unlimited data plans since the carrier ended that option back in 2010 are about to get a bit of a surprise. According to 9to5 Mac, AT&T is seeking to increase that $30 a month fee to $35 a month (CNBC and CNET have also corroborated this story). That isn’t much of a jump, but it is the first price increase of the grandfathered plan in years. Still, AT&T is hardly the only culprit here. T-Mobile has increased its unlimited data plan from $80 to $95 a month for new customers (older customers will still pay $80 a month), Sprint is now charging $70 a month for it and Verizon has upped its own grandfathered unlimited data plan by $20 a month. The unlimited data price increase for AT&T customers will go into effect in February of next year.
Brain-controlled robot limbs have already helped the disabled gain some mobility, but full-fledged robots have proven elusive: how do you use thoughts to steer a free-roaming machine? Swiss researchers think they have the answer. They’ve developed a mind-controlled telepresence robot that lets those with motor disabilities travel when it would otherwise be impractical. It’s ultimately a laptop on a pedestal, but it uses clever semi-autonomous software to take the hard work out of controlling where the robot goes. You only have to don an EEG-based cap and imagine moving your hands or feet — the robot plots a path based on your commands, and avoids obstacles all on its own.
The technology is still young, and isn’t expected to reach the market for years. However, it’s promising: testers got used to piloting the robot within 10 days. If everything goes well, being paralyzed or bed-ridden would be no obstacle to visiting your family at home, or attending a meeting as if you were there.
Tivo’s QuickMode option, which lets you speed up recorded shows with pitch-corrected audio, is available on every Roamio DVR as of today. The feature arrived last week for the TiVo Bolt, the company’s latest set-top box, but it is now officially expanding to the entire Roamio family. TiVo says that, along with the release of QuickMode, it’s also making other goods available in today’s update. There’s a refreshed look and feel in the TiVo Guide, as well as a new setting designed to make it easy for cord-cutters to get access to their content. Of course, the main attraction here is QuickMode — TiVo says it can “shave a month of time each year” for people who want to watch shows at a faster pace.
Whatever you think of Apple’s products, there’s little doubt that the A9X processor in the iPad Pro is quick — in a few cases, it rivals the performance you’d get from a laptop. But why is it so quick, especially when Apple tends to shy away from high clock speeds, many-core processors and other conventional performance tricks? Thanks to AnandTech and Chipworks, we now have a good idea. They’ve torn down the A9X to reveal that the chip is a series of calculated tradeoffs. It only has two CPU cores and doesn’t even have Level 3 memory cache to keep the processor humming, but it has a monstrous amount of bandwidth (51GB per second) and a whopping 12 graphics cores. That’s twice as many as in the iPhone 6s’ A9 chip, folks. To boot, the A9X is larger than Intel’s latest quad-core desktop processors — Apple has the headroom for components that you don’t see in many PCs.
From these clues, it’s apparent that Apple designed the A9X specifically with the iPad Pro in mind: it knew that it had the space and battery requirements to fit this beast of a processor inside. That might also explain why the iPad Air 2 is sticking around despite its year-old A8X hardware. Like it or not, Apple probably couldn’t have shoved the A9X into a smaller tablet without making some sacrifices. You may have to wait a while before this kind of speed reaches something more portable.
Adobe’s bet on mobile productivity is serious, with its suite of Creative Cloud apps leading the way. One of the company’s newest applications is Premiere Clip, a video editor that first debuted on iOS. But now Adobe is bringing this app to Android, giving users on the platform a fast and easy way to create videos on the go. Adobe Premiere Clip automatically creates videos from media stored on your smartphone or tablet (among other things), which can then be shared to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Aside from letting you distribute saved videos on social media, you can also polish those on the desktop with Adobe Premiere Pro CC — though you’ll need a subscription for the latter feature. The best part about Premiere Clip is that it’s free, and could be a good option if you have to make a video in a pinch.