Category Archives: News

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PS4s are being bricked by a chat exploit – here’s how you can stay safe

PlayStation 4 owners recently began reporting a strange messaging exploit, one which has already been allegedly weaponized to brick their consoles. Sony is working to fix the problem, but in the meantime, everyone just set your messages to private. Several users congregated on a Reddit thread, sharing a very similar story: A user would receive a message from someone, and after a moment several functions of their console would stop working. Some users attempted to fix their consoles, or delete the offending message via the PlayStation mobile app. According to the users in the Reddit thread, the message corrupted their consoles to…

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Artificial intelligence is complex, but we can’t afford to ignore it

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana In early September, the media went abuzz with news of Amazon becoming the second US company to surpass the $1 trillion market cap. However, the news of Amazon’s success has eclipsed certain interesting facts: 2017 was the worst year ever for traditional retail stores thanks to e-commerce businesses like Amazon. More than 662 traditional retail businesses filed for bankruptcy in 2017 — a 30 percent increase from 2016. Traditional retailers were the second biggest job loser in 2017 — contributing to a loss of over 36,000…

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Adobe to finally bring the ‘real’ Photoshop to iPads

Adobe revealed at its MAX event that a new Photoshop would be coming for iPads — and not just any old defrocked mobile version. No, the “real” Photoshop will be available for your iPad sometime next year. We first heard rumors that Adobe was going to attempt to bring full-bore Photoshop to Apple’s tablet earlier this year. Scott Belsky, chief product officer of Adobe’s Creative Cloud, told Bloomberg he was hoping to have the product out as soon as possible. While we’ve had “lite” versions of Photoshop made for App Store before, they’ve always felt more anemic than the desktop version — especially when…

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Facebook will delete posts that spread voting misinformation this election

Facebook today announced it’s tackling the most basic form of fake news to circulate around the time of an election: Voter misinformation and anything that might keep users away from the voting booths this fall. Specifically, the company revealed it would be removing posts that encourage “voter suppression” — anything that might deter or prevent people from voting. So posts that imply others shouldn’t vote, or attempting to feed them incorrect information on the voting process in their region, would fall into that category. According to Jessica Leinwand, the company’s public policy manager, basic misinformation about voting booths, voting dates,…

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Hear Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen reflect on his life and legacy in rare public interview

Paul Allen speaking at Seattle’s Town Hall in 2011. (GeekWire File Photo)

It’s hard to overstate the impact Paul Allen has had on technology, philanthropy and, really, the world. The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist died at age 65 on Monday, but despite his vast array of interests and investments across the globe, he often shied away from the spotlight.

In remembrance of his life, we are sharing a unique, candid interview between Allen and GeekWire co-founder Todd Bishop, recorded at a live event in 2011. In the interview, Allen shares his outlook on Microsoft, the progress of technology, his relationship with Bill Gates, his first struggle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and much more.

The conversation was recorded in front of a packed house at Town Hall in Seattle in 2011, shortly after the release of Allen’s book Idea Man.

Listen to the interview in the player above, or subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Continue reading for highlights and a video clip from our original report in April 2011. Read all our coverage of Allen’s passing here.

Why he wrote the book the way he did: You are faced with a decision when you do something like this. Are you going to make it unvarnished, warts and all? Are you going to tell things as best as you could recollect them. And that was the decision that I made, but it was an easy one, based on who I am and how I’ve been brought up. That’s just what you do. I wanted something of substance, something that was accurate, something that was honest, and I believe we achieved something like that.

Whether the book has jeopardized his friendship with Bill Gates: I don’t think so, but I’m sure there are things in the book that Bill wants to discuss, and he’ll have a different slant about them. Bill and I have had many intense discussions over the years. We haven’t had a chance to talk about the book since it was published. I gave him a copy months ahead of publication. So he had a head start on it. That discussion will be very, very intense, and he’ll be very direct, as will I.

On his recent discussion with Steve Ballmer about the book: No one has disagreed or contradicted any fact or any memory to me. … Steve said, “Yeah, those things did happen, some of those things did happen,” like I recount. I think obviously if you’re in a leadership position at Microsoft, and I’m giving my critique of the future, or the challenges for the future, I guess I should say, those are areas that Steve’s focused on, and is sensitive about, and he talked a little bit about that.

How his second bout with cancer made him both more and less patient: Whenever you go through one of these treatment regimens there are many things that are completely out of your control. You just have to be patient and hope things work out for the best, and be optimistic. Take a positive attitude. On the other hand, realize that if there isn’t a positive outcome, your time may be limited so it makes you that much more focused on realizing your dreams and hopes, because all of our times on this planet are limited.

Why he’s so interested in the brain: We’re just starting to understand the outlines of how things work. … It’s so completely different than the way a computer works, and as someone who programs computers, that fascinates me. The brain was designed by evolution, so each part of it is optimized for what it does, and it’s incredibly, incredibly complex. … Then there’s trying to understand, at a chemical level, at a biological level, how the different parts of the brain work, and if you understood that, and those aspects of the brain, then you could possibly bring forward treatments to neurodegenerative diseases.

On his yachts: They’re too big, and there are too many of them. Do I need to say anything else? … No, I grew up seeing films like “Silent World,” the Jacques Cousteau movie about his wonderful diving saucer and all these adventures they had underwater. The biggest yacht that I have accommodates a submarine. What they do, what these guys do, these captains, they’ll say, Paul, we know you want to build a bigger boat. And here’s a model. It’s about this big, and the submarine goes in the back here, and it’s going to be pretty good size. And then they start building it, and you go to Germany, and you see it and you go, oh my gosh, that’s really big. No, no, it’s enormous.

The appeal of his submarine: It turns out if you go 1,000 feet down in the ocean, it’s really dark, and the animals are really strange, but if you put on some Pink Floyd, it’s fantastic.

Does he use an iPhone, Windows Phone or Android? I’m a little bit old-school, I use a Blackberry. My mother, God bless her, forced me to take touch typing when I was 16. So my thumbs, I’ve got really fast thumbs on the BlackBerry keyboard, and I send quite a few emails every day. I’m sure at some point I’ll convert to a, to a … new platform. (Laughter)

Mac, Windows or Linux? Windows, come on!

Star Wars, Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica? All of them.

On helping to fund the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence: It’s a very, very long shot, and if they do hear something, they’re supposed to call me. But my Blackberry, nothing. It’s not even vibrating. No, imagine how all of our lives would be stimulated and changed if there were other societies out there beyond our solar system. It’s a very, very long shot. But I thought it was worth it.

On his passion for Jimi Hendrix: After 25 years, I could play a half-decent Purple Haze. It was funny to talk to (Jimi’s) bass player, Noel Redding, and I’d say, what was it like? … “Oh, he’d come in after one night, and he’d say, ‘Here’s a song called The Wind Cries Mary, and I wrote it in about a half-hour, here we go, let’s record it.’ ” I’m going, like, it took me 25 years!

On being part of one of the greatest bands ever, Microsoft: We had our hits, we did. A few in the top 10.

On his Twitter account: The other day, I was thinking, I should send out some tweet as kind of a joke, saying, “Bitter billionaire retires, this is my last tweet. Look out Howard Hughes. Going to Vegas today.” But I just don’t like ‘Ice Station Zebra’ that much. That was his favorite movie, he’d just sit there watching it over and over.

On the rise of Facebook: It’s amazing, if you think about it, why wasn’t something like Facebook done years earlier? It could have been. There was nothing stopping that from occurring. It’s just you have to have the idea. So there’s always things that come down the pike, that you don’t expect that suddenly affect all of our lives in a great way, and I think that’s one of the wonderful aspects of technology.

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Chandra X-ray telescope is back at work: Engineers trace glitch to 3 seconds of error

An artist’s conception shows the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. (NASA / CXC / SAO Illustration)

NASA’s 19-year-old Chandra X-ray Observatory has been returned to its normal pointing mode after a data glitch forced a five-day outage, NASA said today.

The bus-sized spacecraft went into safe mode on Oct. 10, bringing science observations to a halt. The Chandra mission’s operation team determined that the outage was caused by a fault in one of the gyroscopes used by Chandra’s pointing system. That fault resulted in a three-second period of bad data, which led the onboard computer to calculate an incorrect value for the spacecraft’s momentum, NASA said in today’s status update.

The erroneous reading triggered the safe-mode condition, which caused Chandra to swap critical hardware operations to backup units and reconfigure its mirrors and solar panels to avoid the risk of damage.

Chandra’s operation team diagnosed the problem and switched gyroscopes to get the pointing system up and running again. The gyroscope that experienced the glitch has been placed in reserve.

NASA said the team plans to apply a series of pre-tested software patches and return Chandra to full science operations by the end of the week.

Since its deployment from the shuttle Columbia in 1999, Chandra has charted X-ray emissions from a wide range of astronomical sources, including black holes and supernovae. Chandra observations were crucial to last year’s detection of what appears to be the closest-orbiting pair of supermassive black holes ever found.

Chandra isn’t designed to be serviced from space. The telescope was designed for a mission life of five years, but it’s on track to last four times that long.

The better-known Hubble Space Telescope also experienced a gyro breakdown last month. Hubble’s operations team is still diagnosing the problem, and the telescope is still in safe mode.

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Pixel 3 vs iPhone XS: Which camera is better?

Over its last two iterations, the Google Pixel’s camera was practically celebrated as a star quarterback, set to outperform the rest of the pack by a mile. Naturally, there were monumental expectations for what the Pixel 3’s camera would be capable of. I’ve had the pleasure of testing not only the Pixel 3’s shooter, but also the one on the new iPhone XS, side-by-side to determine their strengths and weaknesses. While Google is still confident about putting out seriously good photos through a single camera, the iPhone relies on a dual camera setup to rival the Pixel. Before I dive…

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Bill Gates pays tribute to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen: ‘Personal computing would not have existed without him’

In 2013 at the Living Computers Museum, Bill Gates and Paul Allen recreated a famous photo from 1981 surrounded by PCs. (Photos: Microsoft and Vulcan)

NEWS: Paul G. Allen, 1953-2018: Microsoft co-founder leaves legacy of innovation, philanthropy, bold bets

Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft together in 1975, cementing the pair as legends in the world of technology.

Allen passed away Monday, and not long after Gates reflected on his time with his partner and friend in a statement:

I am heartbroken by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Paul Allen. From our early days together at Lakeside School, through our partnership in the creation of Microsoft, to some of our joint philanthropic projects over the years, Paul was a true partner and dear friend. Personal computing would not have existed without him.

But Paul wasn’t content with starting one company. He channeled his intellect and compassion into a second act focused on improving people’s lives and strengthening communities in Seattle and around the world. He was fond of saying, “If it has the potential to do good, then we should do it.” That’s the kind of person he was.

Paul loved life and those around him, and we all cherished him in return. He deserved much more time, but his contributions to the world of technology and philanthropy will live on for generations to come. I will miss him tremendously.

RELATED: ‘His legacy will live on forever’: Death of Paul Allen brings reaction from the many worlds he touched

Allen and Gates, both computer enthusiasts, met when they were students at Lakeside School in Seattle at ages 14 and 12. Allen, whose father was associate director of libraries at the University of Washington,  spent a good amount of time with Gates and other friends in UW’s Computer Science Laboratory. So much so, that he received a letter in 1971 when he was a high school senior, informing him that he would no longer have access to the UW’s graduate computer lab.

Paul Allen, left, and Bill Gates at Lakeside School in 1970. (Bruce Burgess Photo Archive)

It was at UW where Allen and Gates launched their first venture, a startup that developed a computer system to count traffic called Traf-O-Data.

Allen reflected on the venture last year during an event to christen the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.

Objectively speaking, Traf-O-Data was a failure as a company. Right as our business started to pick up, states began to provide their own traffic-counting services to local governments for free. As quickly as it started, our business model evaporated.

But while Traf-O-Data was technically a business failure, the understanding of microprocessors we absorbed was crucial to our future success. And the emulator I wrote to program it gave us a huge head start over anyone else writing code at the time.

If it hadn’t been for our Traf-O-Data venture, and if it hadn’t been for all that time spent on UW computers, you could argue that Microsoft might not have happened.

Together, they founded Microsoft in 1975. The original idea behind the company, whose name Allen reportedly derived from a portmanteau of microcomputer and software, was to build an implementation of a programming language for a new microcomputer.

Like any long-term friendship, Allen and Gates had their rocky moments. Allen’s 2011 memoir “Idea Man,” reportedly created a rift among the two titans, as the book brought to light previously unknown details about their relationships included tense negotiations over Microsoft equity and Allen’s departure from the company when he was originally diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.


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TLDR: Paul G. Allen (1953-2018)

GeekWire is sad to report that Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has died from cancer at the age of 65. Instead of the usual show format, we’re going to feature highlights from Allen’s speech at the 50th anniversary of the University of Washington Computer Science and Engineering School. He delivered this speech in March 2017, after he gave a $40 million gift to the school.

Today’s featured stories

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[Editor’s Note: TLDR is GeekWire’s tech news rundown show, hosted by Starla Sampaco. Watch today’s update above, subscribe to GeekWire on YouTube, and check back weekday afternoons for more.]

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The Real Resistance

The most valorous resistance movement of our time is that which steadfastly opposes all forms of totalitarian fundamentalism, whether they masquerade as “progressivism” or as divine commandments. Partisans of this resistance oppose intolerance and incivility among both the masses and the intelligentsia; historical revisionism and historical illiteracy; racism—including Jew-hatred and Muslim persecution of black Africans; gender and religious apartheid; contemporary slavery. And finally, we condemn as genuine hate speech, that which assaults free speech, and leads to the absence of self-criticism, scientific inquiry, and intellectual diversity.

With some few exceptions, we strongly support the state of Israel. While many of us are Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, and atheists, those most crucial to this struggle are, perhaps, religious, secular, and former Muslims.

Continue reading “The Real Resistance” at…

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