недеља, 06. октобар 2013.

'Little Miss Sunshine' directors sign up for Mr. Rogers movie 'I'm Proud of You'

The beloved children's classic Mister Rogers' Neighborhood aired for 33 years, and a new film is going to take a look at what Fred Rogers was like behind the camera as well. The Wrap reports that the directing team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris will be directing I'm Proud of You. Based on Tim Madigan's autobiographical novel of the same name, it tells the story of a "jaded and distracted husband and father" whose life is changed when be becomes lifelong friends with Fred Rogers. The script for the project was written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster. Dayton and Fair, whose feature credits include Little Miss Sunshine and Ruby Sparks, previous worked in music videos with bands like Weezer, The Smashing Pumpkins, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I'm Proud of You isn't the only Mister Rogers film in development, either. Earlier this year Deadline reported that the spec script A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, written by Alexis Jolly (The Ellen DeGeneres Show), sold to Treehouse Picturs, though additional details on the plot were under wraps.

Apple reportedly cutting iPhone 5S wait times with in-store pickup

Earlier this week, Apple briefly allowed internet shoppers to reserve the iPhone 5S for in-store pickup, but the company pulled the option after just one day. Thankfully it seems the reservation system is coming back, and soon; 9to5Mac reports that Apple is preparing to start taking web reservations this week — perhaps as soon as Monday. Customers can choose their preferred color, carrier, and storage capacity, and Apple's online store will reveal which local stores (if any) have each configuration in stock. Demand for the flagship iPhone has so far outpaced supply by a wide margin, particularly when it comes to the new gold model. And even with the reinstated reservation system, you may have a tough time securing the iPhone 5S you're after. But at least you'll be able to avoid the lines. Apple on Monday reported that it sold 9 million iPhones in the first weekend of availability for the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5S.

Blood ivory: poachers use poison to slaughter elephants in Africa

Elephant poachers have picked up some dangerous new tricks. Earlier this week it was revealed that 87 elephants have been poisoned by cyanide in one park alone — and incidents of poaching only seem to be growing worse.

The joy of mind-controlled flamethrowers

A mind-controlled flamethrower is just one of the wild devices being cooked up at i3 Detroit, a workspace that supports a community of local DIYers. So what else can a bunch of makers build with plenty of tools and limitless creativity?

Second Life's strange second life

Second Life rose to fame for its all-too-simple concept: letting users live a second life, even if it’s a mundane one. As the game celebrates its 10th birthday this week, we check in with some of the world’s longtime inhabitants to see what it’s meant for their first life.

DOJ considers federal guidelines for law enforcement drones

Despite their prevalence among law enforcement agencies, drones still aren't subject to any universal set of policies (other than FAA guidelines) that outline when and how they should be used. But a new report (PDF) from the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is recommending that the DOJ look into enacting such a ruleset. "We found that the technological capabilities of UAS and the current, uncoordinated approach of DOJ components to UAS use may merit the DOJ developing consistent, UAS-specific policies to guide the proper use of UAS," the report says. "Unlike manned aircraft, UAS can be used in close proximity to a home and, with longer-lasting power systems, may be capable of flying for several hours or even days at a time, raising unique concerns about privacy and the collection of evidence with UAS." Drones raise 'unique concerns about privacy' The report follows an OIG audit of domestic drone deployment in the US; the FBI, Burearu of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and US Marshals Service were all asked to provide details of their drone programs and feedback on potential guidelines. The FBI is said to be the only agency actively using drones "to support its mission," with the ATF expressing plans to utilize them for future operations. The DEA and USMS have tested drones, but reportedly have no intention of using them for official purposes. The report also reveals how much has been spent on drone deployment: from 2004 through May of this year, DOJ-affiliated law enforcement components spent “approximately $3.7 million on small UAS,” with the FBI responsible for $3 million alone. Figures for the CIA are predictably absent here, though the secretive agency reportedly had a working budget of $14.7 billion for its operations in 2013. FBI and ATF officials told the OIG that there's no "practical difference" between drones and manned aircraft when it comes to evidence gathering and surveillance. As a result, the FBI — which says it uses drones in "very limited circumstances" — has largely applied its existing aerial guidelines to UAS. The ATF meanwhile is said to be working on a checklist that tells agents where and when the unmanned units should be employed. But the OIG isn't convinced that's enough; it's recommending the formation of a working group to examine drone issues. But privacy implications aren't its only concern. Ensuring that any and all drone evidence is admissible in court is paramount among the OIG's priorities.

MLB shows us what to expect from iOS 7's new iBeacon location services

Among the lesser-touted additions to iOS 7 is iBeacon, a new feature that allows the iPhone (4S and later) to communicate with tiny, cheap Bluetooth LE sensors, enabling all kinds of location-based services. One major application is obviously indoor mapping, which has proven to be a major pain point for smartphones. In terms of accuracy, iBeacon is a massive improvement over traditional methods of monitoring a user's location like GPS — a technology that's too often off the mark when you're inside. Google has launched indoor maps to make tourist attractions and multi-floor destinations like shopping malls easier to explore, and iBeacon represents Apple's answer to the problem. But its potential extends far beyond mapping, opening up new avenues for retailers, museums, and other businesses to reach consumers. Apple says iBeacon offers 'a whole new level of location awareness' Since iBeacon is brand new with iOS 7, developers are just now running experiments that make use of it. Major League Baseball is among the early adopters; it gave members of the press a demonstration of iBeacon earlier this week. Touring Citi Field, the iPhone was able to keep precise track of its location with the help of sensors placed throughout the ballpark. This enabled MLB's At Bat app to play videos when visitors were near specific sections of the stadium, and automatically bring up discount coupons when they approached Citi Field's merchandise shop. iBeacon can also monitor how many times you've visited a given location, which could allow retail partners to offer savings to loyal shoppers. Starbucks, Macy's, and American Airlines are among other companies testing out iBeacon according to CNET. Since the Bluetooth transmitters are an essential part of the technology, it will likely take some time before you walk into your local mall and start receiving automatic location prompts. But Apple is clearly (and very quietly) laying the groundwork for a sophisticated location-based services solution. More nitty gritty details on iBeacon can be found at Apple's developer site.