Light-Bot Teaches Computer Science With A Cute Little Robot And Some Symbol-Based Programming

TechCrunch

Light-Bot has been around for a few years – it began as a Flash game in 2008 – but this newer version has been rebuilt for iOS and Android and offers an easy way for kids to learn concepts like loops, if-then statements, and the like without typing or coding.

The creator, Daniel Yaroslavski, has been building games for seven years and is an undergrad at the University of Waterloo. He built the game with a $4,000 award from his school.

Previous versions of Light Bot have been played 7 million times and the apps are getting five-star ratings on iTunes and the Play store. “Teachers in the U.S., Russia and more use the original light-bot games in their classrooms to introduce programming concepts as well,” said Yaroslavski.

“Other players in the programming education space provide softwares which use code and words to teach programming. This instead is a video…

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Google Removes All The Clouds From Google Maps And Earth

TechCrunch

Ready for your regular reminder that technology is magic?

Google has just rid the earth of clouds. Well, Google Earth, at least*. They’ve just pushed an update to the satellite imagery found in Google Earth and Google Maps, offering a higher-res (and now cloud free) view of the earth than ever before.

By tapping the tools they built for the Planetary Time Machine project they showed last month, Google was able to process and combine all of the photos they had for each region of earth — that’s hundreds of terabytes of data — until they had an almost completely clear shot of the entire globe. Go, now, Brave Adventurer! Explore the world from the comforts of your five-wheeled vessel, the SS Herman Miller!

As part of the update, they’ve also updated the satellite imagery in places that haven’t been refreshed in a while, focusing mostly on Russia, Central Africa…

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Zuck’s Adorable Sheepdog Beast Is Now A Facebook Messages Sticker Pack

TechCrunch

Now you and Facebook’s CEO can unwind in the same way: playing with Beast. The billionaire’s Puli dog just got his own Facebook Stickers pack, which lets you forgo typing and instead send friends animated images of Beast playing, begging, or wearing the cone of shame. Before you ask “why does this matter?”, consider that this is part of Facebook’s quest to help you communicate complex emotions efficiently.

If Facebook has the most expressive, efficient messaging system, people will use it rather than SMS, iMessage, Google Hangouts, Path, Line, WhatsApp, Snapchat, or any other app. That’s a big deal because people spend a ton of time messaging, which creates advertising and ecommerce opportunities. Messaging engagement also provides critical data on who you’re closest to, which Facebook can use to better target ads and show your more relevant content in the feed.

That’s why stickers are becoming all the rage in…

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EA Is Watching Wii U

My Nintendo News

ea

EA Labels president Frank Gibeau has said that while the company doesn’t have any Wii U titles in development, it is looking closely at the platform. Gibeau says that it’s only been roughly sixty days since they launched Need for Speed: Most Wanted on the console and claims that they haven’t written off the platform just yet. Gibeau concluded by saying that they are currently focussing their efforts on the next generation of platforms from Sony and Microsoft.

“It’s been 60 days since we launched Need for Speed Most Wanted on the Wii U. We’ve launched four games. We’re proud of them. They’re in the marketplace and they’re selling. The guys inside the studio are looking at the Wii U tech and they’re looking at the platform. They understand it. As it develops, if there’s an opportunity to publish more games on the Wii U, we’ll do that. We’re not writing…

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If The Government Can Access Our Facebook Data, What Happens When We Have Computers On Our Faces?

TechCrunch

Wearables will follow a similar path as the smartphone market, Forrester analysts predicted in April 2012. “Wearables will move mainstream,” they said.

But will they?

Do you believe this?

Do I?

Maybe?

From fitness trackers to smartwatches to computers you wear on your face, this emerging market, enabled by the increasing miniaturization of hardware components and lightweight materials, has increasingly been piquing the interest of investors and early adopters alike.

Futurist, artificial intelligence expert and inventor Ray Kurzweil predicted that access to the Internet will eventually become completely wireless and provided by wearable or implanted computers. He’s now Director of Engineering at Google, whose Google Glass team includes scientists who have already built prototypes of bionic contact lenses.

Are you ready for Google Eyeballs?

Am I? I don’t know. Maybe?

Wearable technology, in and of itself, is nothing new. The idea that humans want to augment their own capabilities with gizmos and gadgets…

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Thanks To iOS 7’s Game Pad Support, Flipside Controller Case Gets A Second Shot

TechCrunch

The Flipside was a Kickstarter project I covered last December, which aimed to create a Bluetooth video game controller case that charged via solar power and used low-power Bluetooth 4.0. At the time, it had a very ambitious funding goal, and was hurt by the lack of official support for game pads in iOS. Now, it’s back on Indiegogo, with wind under its sails thanks to Apple’s inclusion of a universal game controller SDK in the upcoming iOS 7.

Flipside creator Justice Frangipane says that the Flipside was subject to Apple’s review last fall, and that the team there was very excited about the project and even offered support, but that Frangipane wasn’t allowed to discuss any details ahead of the announcement of iOS 7. The Flipside offers the ability to work as both case and controller for an iPhone, but can also work as a Bluetooth controller for…

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Apple Releases iOS 7 Beta For iPad And iPad Mini With New Update, Brings Voice Memos Back

TechCrunch

Apple has released a new beta of its iOS 7 software for developers today, and the big news is that the iPad version has arrived. Back when Apple announced iOS 7, it said the tablet version would follow the iPhone version a few weeks later, and they’ve stayed good to that promise. The iPad version support is available from the developer channel for those registered as iOS devs.

The other change that we’re seeing reported by users of the new beta is the return of Voice Memos to iOS. This was left out of the first beta, but reports said Apple just didn’t have it ready for inclusion in that version, so it’s no surprise to see it return here. The interface and icon are completely redesigned, as one might expect, getting rid of the skeumorphic rendition of a mic that dominated the previous version, and flattening out controls and…

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Hacker Scrapes Thousands Of Public Phone Numbers Using Facebook Graph Search

TechCrunch

A hacker has exploited Facebook’s Graph Search to collect a database of thousands of phone numbers and Facebook users. Both parties agree that all the information was left public by users (even if the users themselves may still not realize it). But Facebook issued him a cease and desist after the hacker continued to scrape data and argued with Facebook that the availability of the information invades users’ privacy.

Brandon Copley, a mobile developer in Dallas, Texas, searched and downloaded 2.5 million entries of phone numbers from the social network. He says many of these entries are empty, as they either aren’t active numbers or aren’t connected to a Facebook user with public settings; however, he notes that thousands of entries do match a phone number with the name of a Facebook user.

A Facebook representative tells me that this is a feature of graph search and that these…

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Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Second Quest Dates Announced

My Nintendo News

linkzelda

By popular demand, The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses concert series will revisit several cities this summer and fall with Second Quest, a new season of fresh and exciting material exploring even more chapters from the Zelda franchise. Returning fans will also get a chance to relish once again in the beautifully orchestrated four-movement symphonic work from last season, as well as favourite moments from the game, carefully and beautifully timed with the gorgeous, larger-than-life orchestral score.

  • Austin, TX; The Long Center; June 29
  • Philadelphia, PA; Mann Center; July 25
  • Toronto, ON; Sony Centre; September 7
  • Seattle, WA; Benaroya Hall; September 12
  • San Jose, CA; San Jose Civic; December 14

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“Facebook Reader” Is Real, But It’s Not RSS Or A Google Reader Wannabe

TechCrunch

Facebook is working on a fresh way to read news, a source tells TechCrunch. It’s not based on RSS, and Facebook isn’t rushing the launch of a product that could compete with Flipboard. That’s because news reading is a high-stakes, long-term project that could get us to invest even more time in the social network.

Since our source brought us that info last week, the WSJ ran a story saying that Facebook is working on a product, code-named Reader, but had few details about how the product worked. It compared Reader to Flipboard because it supposedly aggregates news and presents it in a tablet- and smartphone-friendly format.

The report matches up with a post we published a little over a week ago, when we predicted that Facebook would soon be launching a reader product. We were wrong about the launch date, but can now confirm Facebook has indeed…

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