Last week in tech: Kill some time before Facebook AI fixes everything
Download the latest podcast and catch up on everything tech you missed last week.
Last week was the Mark Zuckerberg show. You couldn’t click on a tech blog, turn on a news station, scroll through your news feed, look into a magical crystal ball without Zuck’s stoic mug popping up. It was important, but it was also very long. Luckily, we’re wrapping up the Facebook stuff this week and heading back into the world of neat gadgets and exciting tech. Here’s what happened last week.
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The new Last Week in Tech podcast covers the high (and low) points of everything Zuckerberg-related, as well as a surprisingly rowdy discussion about laptop design and a fascinating look at the sate of space tourism. You can listen in the SoundCloud player above, subscribe on iTunes, or subscribe on Stitcher. Also, we now have T-shirts, which you can buy here. Wearing one won’t actually make you smarter, but you sure will look smart.
Catch up on all the Facebook news
We watched every minute of last week’s Facebook testimony and broke it down in a variety of ways. Here’s how to check out the coverage in case you missed anything
A recap of the important stuff we learned during the hearings.
Microsoft’s Project Zanzibar gives us the fanciest way to play Minecraft
We typically think about head-mounted displays or giant touch screens when we think about interactive digital play, but Microsoft is working on an interactive mat that uses NFC and multitouch to translate real-world object actions into on-screen events. Microsoft sees this as a potential education tool, so of course it’s focusing on Minecraft, which many kids seem to love more than a bathtub full of Fun Dip.
Ikea made a Bluetooth speaker
Ikea Eneby Speakers
The Eneby is a $49 Bluetooth speaker that you can buy when you’re out buying flat-pack furniture and meatballs at Ikea. It’s an 8 x 8-inch box with a handle that you have to attach on your own. There’s also a larger 12 x 12-inch version that will set you back $89. Adding a battery pack will cost you $20 extra, while the speaker stand will set you back another $10. We haven’t heard it yet, but the speaker itself looks understated and attractive. You can use it to listen to current Swedish hit, “Hon dansar vidare i livet.”
Black Magic made a weird-looking 4K video camera that seems awesome
Black Magic 4K Camera
You may not be familiar with Black Magic unless you’re a camera nerd, but the company has a history of making impressively small cameras with lots of high-end cinema features. Its latest is the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K that looks like it was made in 2001, but has some truly high-end specs for $1,300. It records raw video footage and captures 4K footage at 60 fps. Jargon translation: It’s more than ready to film your new reality show.
Vizio’s new TVs take commands from Alexa and Google Assistant
If you like shouting at your TV, the new panels from Vizio may appeal to you thanks to their integration with Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant. The top-level model is the $2,200 P-series Quantum, which uses its Quantum Dot technology, which translates into more accurate colors. Visio isn’t, however, offering any OLED displays, which are popular in high-end TVs right now. Still, as you might expect, the 2018 Vizio lineup offers a lot of TV for extremely competitive prices.
Instagram gives you more options
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?? #OnThisDay in 1959, @nasa introduced America’s first astronaut class — and this photo carries quite a story. The hastily-arranged LIFE photoshoot was the only time the Mercury 7 would appear together in their pressure suits, and it nearly didn’t happen. NASA resisted the proposed arrangement, citing the fact the seven astronauts did not train together and would never have suited up all at once. The shoot would go on, but not before another obstacle presented itself: Deke Slayton and John Glenn’s custom-made aluminized boots were not yet ready. ? Look closely and you’ll see Slayton and Glenn (front/center) were given common work boots that had been spray-painted silver. Mission accomplished?
Facebook’s photo-specific social network didn’t get much in the way of mentions at last week’s hearings, but it did get some notable updates. First, you’ll soon have the option to download all of your Instagram data, including photos, comments, and other stuff like you can with Facebook. The service also added a new portrait mode that adds fake blur to the backgrounds of your photos.
Ultimate Ears released a pair of $2,200 in-ear headphones for musicians
The $2,200 UE Live headphones
When you picture fancy headphones, you probably imagine huge cans that cover your entire ears. UE’s Live in-ear monitors, however, are intended for professional musicians. Each ear gets its own array of high speakers to let you hear every single note of the “Free Bird” solo.