With his manipulated Street View imagery, photographer Aaron Hobson hopes to take viewers to "enchanted and remote lands."
Plenty of photographers have tapped Google Street View for imagery.
Doug Rickard travels the byways of the U.S. via Street View to find images that, in the words of the Museum of Modern Art, "comment on poverty and racial equity in the United States, the bounty of images on the Web, and issues of personal privacy."
Michael Wolf became a flashpoint for controversy when his project "A Series of Unfortunate Events" received kudos from the World Press Photo competition--could Wolf's Street View-based approach truly be called photojournalism?
And Jon Rafman, discussing his own Street View work, has cited "hard-boiled American street photography," Depression-era Farm Securities Administration photos, and the work of famous "decisive moment" photojournalist Cartier-Bresson, among other things.
Aaron Hobson, however, seems less concerned with the documentary and journalistic potential of Street View images. Hobson doesn't like his Street View images served raw. He likes to cook them a little.
Hobson ends up with images that one might not guess were culled from Street View at all.
Indeed, with a bit of finessing in Photoshop--some dodging and burning to emphasize highlights and shadows, some stitching together of separate photos to produce panoramas, some adjustments to color--Hobson ends up with images that one might not guess were culled from Street View at all.
Hobson, who refers to himself as the "Cinemascapist" and whose non-Street View worksuggests film stills or fashion shoots, says he discovered the potential of Street View after he was asked to help scout movie locations in Los Angeles.
Living in a small town in New York's Adirondack Mountains, he decided to respect his fear of flying, and protect his bank account, by experimenting with a little cyberscouting and traveling the roads of LA and its environs via Street View.
"I soon became addicted to going around using the maps, and the [Street View] project started from there," Hobson told the U.K.'s Daily Mail.
He subsequently spent nine months wandering the world for his "Cinemascapes - Street View Edition" project. As he told ABC News, he'd drop Street View's "little yellow guy" down somewhere and then, "as boring and tedious as it is, just drag that little guy from town to town--continuing North or South for hours and hours" until he stumbled on something that caught his eye.
Hobson limits his virtual wanderings to parts of the world (mainly Europe, he says, but also Brazil and Central America; Hong Kong; and South Africa) that were documented in a high-definition format, a fact that also helps differentiate his work from the pieces produced by other photographers who use Street View.
And, as you'll see, he likes to venture off the beaten path, "in search of enchanted and remote lands" typically reserved for the eyes of their inhabitants alone.
The SIM-LEI electric car can travel 333 kilometers on a single charge, say its creators.
There may have been more alluring electric cars on display at this year's Tokyo Motor Show, but the beauty of this prototype lies in its performance.
The SIM-LEI can travel 333 kilometers (more than 200 miles) on a single charge, say its Japanese creators SIM Drive, and it also boasts supercar-like acceleration -- 0 to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds.
The key to these remarkable statistics lies not, as you might expect, underneath the hood but in its wheels.
Most electric vehicles house a single motor in the area vacated by the petrol engine, but the SIM-LEI has four motors, which fit in the hubs its wheels.
Each one delivers 65 kilowatts, giving the car a total output of 260 kilowatts, compared with the 80 kilowatts of output available in, say, the Nissan Leaf.
A 24.5 kWh battery sits below the floor along with inverters and controllers, which fit into a unique steel monocoque helping reduce weight, according to SIM Drive.
More innovation: World's smallest car fuels nanotech advance
The SIM-LEI -- LEI stands for Leading Efficiency In-Wheel motor -- took 15 months to complete and builds on advances made with the fantastic-looking Eliica -- a super-fast eight-wheeler designed by SIM Drive CEO and President Hiroshi Shimizu.
His latest design may not look so sporty but the SIM LEI does come with low-friction tires and a low-set chassis, which helps reduce drag, says the company.
Recent technological advances are making in-wheel motors more attractive, says James Widmer, from the Center for Advanced Electrical Drives at the UK's Newcastle University.
"Motors have become more powerful for their weight and the volume they take up, which has made it more practical to get very good performance from putting electric motors directly in the wheels of cars," Widmer said.
And electric motors provide drivers with far greater control than internal combustion engines, he says.
"If you do put an electric motor in each wheel then there are huge possibilities with things like traction control and stability control," he added.
While car makers including Peugeot and Mitsubishi have used in-wheel motors in concept cars that have never been commercially available, SIM Drive hopes its four-seat sedan will go into production in 2013.
SIM Drive says the price will depend on how many it makes, but if the car ends up being mass produced, customers can expect to pay around ¥2.5 million ($32,000).
Google's new Find My Face technology will suggest nametags for photos' subjects in Google+.
WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) -- Google made its first foray into the growing field of social facial recognition technologies on Thursday, introducing Find My Face, a tagging suggestion tool for its Google+ social network.
On the surface, it operates pretty much identically to Facebook's facial recognition technology, Photo Tag Suggest. Find My Face scans users' and their friends' photos for recognizable faces, and suggests nametags for the faces by matching them with users' profile photos and other tagged photos on the social network.
But Google's Find My Face technology has been built with some key differences that the search giant believes will help better ensure users' privacy.
For instance, unlike Facebook, Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) prompts users to opt into the service before it starts automatically suggesting to their friends that they be tagged in photos. Only after a Google+ user opts into Find My Face will Google construct a face model of that person, using his or her profile photo and existing manually tagged photos on the site.
Google also requires the subject of a suggested tag to approve it before it goes public if the tagger isn't in the tagee's "circles." Facebook allows all tags to go live before notifying the subject.
"Privacy has been baked right into this feature," said Benjamin Petrosky, product counsel for Google+, at a facial recognition policy summit held by the Federal Trade Commission in Washington on Thursday.
Facebook suffered a heap of criticism from regulators across the globe after quietly turning on its facial recognition feature and opting in hundreds of millions of its users a year ago. The company apologized and developed a way for users to opt out of the suggestion feature.
The social network also took some heat for forcing users to adjust their privacy settings to opt out if they don't wish their faces to be used for tag suggestions.
On Thursday, Facebook received even more criticism by some privacy advocates at the FTC conference for not requiring pre-approval for tags.
But privacy advocates say that's too late, since users can only remove tags once they've already gone public. Users can adjust their privacy settings to pre-approve tags before they are linked to their profile, but they still can't pre-approve tags before they are issued at all. For those users, the only way to avoid the situation is to adjust their privacy settings to completely disable the ability for others to tag them.
It wasn't just Facebook taking some heat. Though conference attendees generally applauded Google's efforts to ensure privacy, they also saved some criticism for Find My Face.
Unlike Facebook, which requires friends to mutually agree to befriend one another, Google+ members can place one another in circles without being "encircled" back.
That makes it more difficult for Google to know who to suggest tags to, leaving open the possibility that people you don't want tagging you will be getting automatic tagging suggestions for your face from Google.
"The goal is to only suggest tags for people that you know or we think you know," said Google's Petrosky. "It doesn't have to be bi-directional."
Petrosky said Google's algorithm works so that if all the sharing on its social network is coming from one user and not the other, that will tip off Google that those users don't have a real connection, even though one may follow the other. Plus, tags still have to receive approval if the person issuing the tag isn't in the subject's circles.
Tagging may be the digital equivalent of writing names on the back of a photograph, but in a world where people can automatically be recognized in photos by computers, it raises a host of privacy concerns that don't have clear or obvious solutions.
Both companies are treading lightly. Facebook and Google have eachsettled lawsuits with the FTC for violating users' privacy.
Is it just me or is the ICANN plan to corral online porn going terribly wrong? We already have reports that universities are snapping up XXX domains in an effort to get ahead of porn pranksters who want to besmirch a few good online names with smut.
I guess this turn of events was obvious to anyone with half a brain.
Legitimate porn sites have little interest in the triple X domains, which went on sale earlier this week, for their businesses because they see them as potential censorship and, more importantly, they thrive on people accidentally stumbling on their URLs.
In the early days of the web this was common because porn purveyors snapped up known names and brands -- none of which had to feature an obvious porn domain label. That's how "Whitehouse.com" ended up, for a time, as a porn site.
.XXX was designed to improve the situation. No more accidentally typing in, well, something you didn't intend. With a designated porn domain, it's unlikely anyone would end up in the wrong place.
Better yet, corporations and homes could easily block all .XXX domains. That's the plan, but if pornographers stay away and legitimate people, companies, businesses and universities race to snap up any and all XXX domain names that could be construed as theirs, then this triple XXX domain could be an embarrassing failure for the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).
Think I'm exaggerating? The AP reports that 80,000 XXX domains were sold in presale and many companies like Pepsi and Nike lined up to purchase adult domains. The University of Kansas reportedlyjust paid $3,000 for a variety of XXX URLs.
It's unlikely anyone will ever type in www.KUgirls.xxx, but that's not the point. The university just wanted to be safe. I understand the impulse. Even as I'm writing this, I'm wondering if I, too, should try to protect my good name by buying the LanceUlanoff.xxx domain.
I know where to go. GoDaddy.com is registering them for $99 a year, making these domains considerably more expensive than standard domains (which you can buy at various sites at anywhere from $1.99 or $9.99 -- yearly maintenance fees are then more expensive).
According to the website, if I wanted to launch an adult website under that URL, I actually have to become an "Internet Community Member" and then confirm my status of "the sponsored adult entertainment community". My guess is that this is how the ICANN polices the URLs, to ensure that someone isn't registering someone else's brand as a porn site.
I have no plans to do so, which conveniently means I do not have to become a part of the "Community." GoDaddy tells me this too, and is -- fortunately, I guess -- only too happy to help me park my URL for the same exorbitant fee.
Atop GoDaddy's XXX domain registration page is this: "Let's be adult about it. Create an adult Web presence or protect your brand." This is followed by an explanation of why you'd want to register an XXX domain. Note what it starts with:
"Secure your brand. Protect your reputation."
"Perhaps you'd like to create an adult entertainment website. Or maybe you're here to keep your brand from being registered as a .XXX by someone else. Whatever your reasons for wanting a .XXXdomain, you've come to the right place. To check the availability of your domain, type the name you want into the search box above. "
GoDaddy has built its brand with coy references to sex (check out any of its Super Bowl ads), but it's not being coy here. The message is clear: If you don't want someone launching a porn XXX domain with your name or brand, you'd better let GoDaddy take your money and register it for you.
While I see the parallels with the early days of the web, this situation is different in one fundamental way: Those snapping up the domains for protection will never use them. No one outside the porn industry wants to run a live XXX domain website. These businesses and universities are simply buying them in what GoDaddy actually calls "Defensive Registrations" to hide them from view forever (and they'll pay GoDaddy yearly fees to do so).
Instead of creating a solution, the ICANN's apparently misguided efforts have spawned a new anxiety: "Your Brand Name in Porn." The fear is so strong that it's got all these people buying up domains just so the wrong people can't get them. As I see it, this could be quite a windfall for GoDaddy. The company should send the ICANN a thank-you note.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — It may be one of the technology world's most expensive efforts to give something away: Hewlett-Packard Co. said Friday that it's making its webOS mobile system available as open-source software that anyone can use and modify freely.
HP snagged the intuitive webOS software when it paid $1.8 billion in 2010 for Palm Inc. in what became a failed effort to revive the flailing smartphone pioneer. HP said it still plans to develop and support webOS.
First released on the Palm Pre smartphone in 2009, webOS ultimately ran on several smartphones. In July, HP also used it on its tablet computer, the TouchPad.
The webOS software was marked by its multitasking capabilities and the ability to view open apps as "cards" that you can slide across the screen, tap to enlarge or flick to dismiss. Initially, it was generally well-reviewed by technology critics.
The mobile devices never caught on with consumers, though, many of whom were more enticed byApple Inc.'s iPhone and iPad and smartphones running Google Inc.'s Android software. Developers also weren't that interested in creating apps for such a small audience.
HP hopes that by offering it to the open-source community, more mobile apps will be developed. The move could also mean that other consumer-electronics manufacturers would decide to make devices that use the software.
Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett called HP's decision creative. He suspects companies would have been interested in buying webOS from HP, but he's not sure how much they would have wanted to pay for it. This way, HP gets to make a limited investment in webOS' future and keep a hand inmobile software.
"If you decide you can't afford to get in the game fully with both feet, absolutely at least keep your options open," he said.
HP's decision is not unlike what AOL did with the Netscape browser years ago. After losing to Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Netscape was released to the open-source community. Its successor, Firefox, is now one of IE's leading rivals.
Google also has seen success letting developers use its open-source Android software.
The future of webOS had been uncertain since August, when HP said it would stop making tablet computers and smartphones — part of a blundered announcement by then-CEO Leo Apotheker, who also said then that HP was looking into putting its PC business up for sale.
In September, Apotheker was fired and replaced by former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. Whitman said in late October that HP wouldn't be selling off its personal computer business after all, but said then that the future of webOS was still unclear.
Todd Bradley, the head of HP's PC unit, said at the time that it was "fair to say Apple got a great jump-start in the tablet space" and HP was trying to figure out its own best approach. He said HP was focused on building a tablet that uses Microsoft Corp.'s upcoming Windows 8 software.
He added that consumers shouldn't be keeping an eye out for a TouchPad 2, but that the company would "clearly look at what's the right path forward for WebOS." With Friday's announcement, it appears HP believes it has found it.
Shares of HP, which is based in Palo Alto, rose 24 cents to finish trading at $27.90. The stock rose 22 cents to $28.12 in after-hours trading.
After experiencing both the ups and downs in the smartphone market, Research In Motion (RIM) is now trying to make its way in the tablet industry as well. The new Blackberry PlayBook tablet is the company’s first effort in this regard. Released in April 2011, this tablet is working really hard to make some productive revenue for its developers, if nothing else. We’ll now take a look at the goods and bads of this device in detail. So jump in!
Blackberry PlayBook Specs and Features
The tablet features 1 GHz dual core processor and 1 GB of Random-Access Memory (RAM). It has a distinctive 7-inch LCD screen with WSVGA 1024 x 600 pixel resolution,and acapacitive panel with multi-touch capabilities. The compact screenmakes this tabletreally handy by reducing its total weight to 0.9 lbs, which is much lighter as compared to the iPad.
PlayBook is backed by the new Blackberry Tablet OS with QNX technology, an operating system that also supports symmetric multiprocessing. The device also flaunts twin 1080p HD cameras ideal for making high-quality videos and video conferencing. The rear camera is 5 mega-pixels and the front-facing camera is 3 mega-pixels, definitely better than the low-quality iPad cameras in every way.Not just that, this Blackberry Tablet also have 1080p HDMI output; GPS; accelerometer; stereo speakers and microphones; digital compass; micro USB port; and 6-axis motion sensor (gyroscope). In terms of connectivity, the device can be connected through Bluetooth (2.1+ EDR) or Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n).Later, it will be updated to support WiMax, LTE, and HSPA+ as well, probably by the end of this year.
The Blackberry PlayBook release took place on April 19, 2011 with Best Buy being its preferred retailer in the USA. The device is available in three models, differentiating each other on the basis of external storage and also prices. Therefore, the 16 GB PlayBook is priced at $499, 32 GB at $599, and the 64 GB version is available at $699 in North America.
Even after having such amazing features and smart technology, the Blackberry PlayBook couldn’t manage to attract users like the iPad. Why? There are a number of reasons for that. Let’s find out!
First, the PlayBookapps are pretty limited, especially when we compare them with Apple or Android applications. This majordrawback automatically reduces its usability and makes the device less enjoyable. There’s no doubt that applications play a great role in maintaining the reputation of devices. That’s why the continuously growing app stores of Apple and Android do not let their devices fade out from the market so easily.
Secondly, the Blackberry PlayBook price is pretty much similar to the iPad 2, which makes it a lot easier for buyers to make their choice between the two. Of course, no sane person would want to spend their money on an unstable new device, when a highly rated device is available at the same price.
And lastly, the false promise! The Blackberry tablet claims to give a battery life of up to 10 hours, but it actually gives much lesser time when compared with other tablets.According to a test done by Engadget, the PlayBook displayed an average battery life of 7:01 hours, which was fairly less than the iPads, Motorola Xoom and even Archos 101.
Overall, the Blackberry PlayBook is purty, smart and unique but it is also true that the industry is already dominated by a name-brand tablet. Therefore, the new tablet developers should consider all of the various aspects including features, competitors, prices, and of course timing before releasing their final products in the market.
Congratulations, you've won millions in a lottery that you didn't enter! Just wire us some money first to cover fees, and we'll send you your winnings!
These fake lottery email scams have become ubiquitous, with scammers sometimes posing as well-known companies to boost their credibility. In 2008, Yahoo sued several "John Does" for using its name and logo as part of a scam.
On Monday, a federal judge awarded Yahoo (YHOO, Fortune 500) $610 million in damages from the Thai and Nigerian scammers that the company was eventually able to identify through Internet records.
Yahoo's complaint reveals that between December 2006 and May 2009, more than 11.6 million hoax lottery emails were sent through its email system. The court awarded Yahoo $50 per scam email, a total of $583 million, for its victimization through violations of the Can-Spam Act.
The remaining $27 million is an award for trademark infringement. Yahoo was also awarded attorneys' fees.
Yahoo could use the cash: The court's total award is about half of the $1.2 billion profit that Yahoo netted for 2010.
But Yahoo stands little chance of actually collecting. None of the defendants -- a group of Thai and Nigerian individuals, a Nigerian corporation, and a Taiwanese corporation -- have responded to Yahoo's complaint. Nigeria is a famous haven for e-mail scammers.
The New York district court judge, Laura Taylor Swain, noted in her ruling that "apart from minor variations in phrasing and style, the [individual] emails [in the scam] are strikingly similar."
Swain concluded that the "circumstantial evidence is sufficient to support the reasonable inference that defendants are co-conspirators."