Two former Apple engineers raised $10 million to prevent the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco from happening again - Business Insider

Instrumental AI
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Instrumental cofounders Anna Shedletsky and Sam Weiss. Instrumental

Manufacturing consumer electronics can be really hard — just ask Samsung, one of the biggest and best manufacturers in the world. A flaw in the Galaxy Note 8's battery led to the smartphone overheating, which meant Samsung had to recall millions of phones. 

Some estimates have suggested that the fiasco cost Samsung over $5 billion. 

A new startup founded by two former Apple engineers, Instrumental, wants to make it much easier to manufacture electronics and head off complicated problems before they start costing companies thousands of dollars per minute. 

Instrumental cofounders Anna Shedletsky and Sam Weiss know exactly the problems that come up when you're manufacturing millions of complex gadgets.

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Snapchat launches location-sharing feature Snap Map - TechCrunch

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Snapchat’s next big feature wants to get you to meet up with friends in real life rather than just watching each other’s lives on your phones. Snap Map lets you share your current location, which appears to friends on a map and updates when you open Snapchat. It’s rolling out today to all iOS and Android users globally.

“We’ve built a whole new way to explore the world! See what’s happening, find your friends, and get inspired to go on an adventure!,” Snap writes on its blog.

How to use Snapchat’s Snap Map

When you open Snapchat once you have access to the feature, you can choose to share your location with all your friends, a few friends you select or you can disappear from the map at any time by going into Ghost Mode or not opening Snapchat for a few hours. Alternatively, location sharing is turned off by default and you can leave it that way to just lurk, watching what friends are up to.

To access the Snap Map, you pinch on your Snapchat camera home screen. From there you can scroll around to see where friends are in your city or around the world. Tapping on their “ActionMoji” BitMoji avatar opens their Story to show what they’re up to, or lets you message them directly to make meetup plans. Snapchat automatically picks an ActionMoji for you based on your location, time of day and other factors.

Outside of the location-sharing element, Snap Map also gives users an alternative way to discover Story content beyond the well-worn Stories feed and the powerful but buried Story Search feature. Users can submit Snapchat Story posts to Our Story to be eligible for their content to appear to non-friends for around 24 hours. You also can see “heat” colors on the Snap Map to see where lots of Snaps are being uploaded, which might indicate a concert or big event from which you’d want to explore Snap Stories.

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'Sega Forever' Plans to Debut Free Classic Sega Games on iOS Each Month - Mac Rumors


Sega today announced a new mobile gaming initiative that will see a vast collection of the company's classic games launch monthly on iOS and Android devices for free, although in-app purchases will be available so users can get rid of ads. Called "Sega Forever," the program will let iOS gamers play "nearly every Sega game ever," from all of Sega's previous console generations, including Master System, Genesis/Mega Drive, Game Gear, Dreamcast, and Saturn (via GamesIndustry.biz).

The games will be available as individual apps, with the first five appearing at launch including Sonic The Hedgehog [Direct Link], Comix Zone [Direct Link], Phantasy Star II [Direct Link], Kid Chameleon [Direct Link], and Altered Beast [Direct Link]. At the time of writing, none of the apps had yet to appear on the iOS App Store, but their launch should be imminent. After that, Sega plans to debut between two and three games from its classic library every month under the Sega Forever initiative.

All of the games will be supported by advertisements with an optional $1.99 in-app purchase to remove them. But Sega Network chief marketing officer Mike Evans promised that the integration of ads has been executed so as to not interrupt gameplay.

With the back catalogue Sega has available, the publisher is confident it will be able to continue bringing more classics to mobile for years to come. There are 15 classic Sega titles already available through the App Store that will also be brought into the Forever fold.

"It's a very easy conversion to take those games to free," Sega Network's chief marketing officer Mike Evans tells GamesIndustry.biz. "We're just bolting in the advertising support model and a single in-app purchase that can disable those ads."

"The games were never designed for ads or in-app purchases, which is why we've maintained this faithful emulation experience," he says. "We've spent a lot of time looking at the analytics from the soft launch in the Philippines to understand how we can get this model to be the best for the game experience itself whilst balancing the commercial needs we have."

Enhancements to Sega's old games include Messages sticker packs, leaderboards, achievements, cloud saves, touch screen controls, Bluetooth controller support, and an offline play option. Looking toward the future, Evans said that the company will hold user polls to gauge which classic games that its fans want to see most come to mobile.The first five Sega Forever titles should begin populating on the iOS App Store soon. Users can go to Sega's website to sign up for email alerts that will notify them when new games are announced for the collection. For even more information about the new mobile initiative from Sega, check out Mike Evans' interview with GamesIndustry.biz.Original link
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Super Mario Odyssey Is the First Open-World Mario Game to Hit 60 fps - Twinfinite

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When it comes to video game graphics, Nintendo is a company more well-known for its brilliant creative direction than for its technical achievements. But with Super Mario Odyssey, likely the company’s most important holiday 2017 release, Nintendo is apparently targeting a framerate it has never previously hit in an open-world Mario game.

Digital Foundry reports that Super Mario Odyssey often runs at a constant 60 fps in its Frozen Desert level while also hitting 60 fps as standard in its New Donk City hub level, albeit with “a few drops in the otherwise buttery-smooth 60 fps framerate.” Although it’s been nearly 15 years since Nintendo’s last open-world Mario game (Super Mario Sunshine), both it and predecessor Super Mario 64 ran at just 30 fps.

To pull off 60 fps, Super Mario Odyssey currently runs at a resolution of just 720p while employing some resource-saving visual trickery. For instance, NPC models in the distance are rendered in 2D and only turn to 3D as players close in on them. Apparently, this can look a bit odd at times, as the 2D sprites sometimes disappear before being replaced by their 3D brethren. Additionally, some 3D models are animated at just 30 fps while the game itself continues to run at 60 fps. As Digital Foundry mentions, this latter trick has been used in many other games, including Halo 5.

On the plus side, Super Mario Odyssey is said to boast huge environments and detailed textures. And with its release set for October 27, Nintendo still has some time to try and figure out how to upgrade the game’s resolution and smooth out the 2D to 3D model transitions without compromising the framerate. While Nintendo has not commented on its resolution plans for Super Mario Odyssey, the company’s Splatoon 2 was still running at 720p as recently as March but has since been confirmed to have been bumped up to 1080p.

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Former iOS Chief Scott Forstall Discusses Creating the First iPhone - Mac Rumors


Former iOS chief Scott Forstall gave a rare interview last night at an event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, where he discussed the birth of the iPhone and his relationship with Steve Jobs.

Speaking to journalist John Markoff after an opening hour with original iPhone engineers Nitin Ganatra, Hugo Fiennes, and Scott Herz, Forstall's appearance was the first time he had spoken publicly since he was ousted from Apple in October 2012, following the botched launch of Apple Maps.

Scott Forstall (right) speaking to John MarkoffForstall proved a charismatic storyteller on the night as he discussed his school education and his early career at Steve Jobs' NeXT, before moving on to his work on the first iPhone at Apple. The former iOS chief spoke with genuine warmth about his time with the company, but stopped short of offering any huge revelations, although the audience was treated to a few more details as well as some humorous episodes along the way.

For example, Forstall claimed that before the iPhone was conceived, Jobs had initially wanted a tablet with capacitative touch and multitouch in order to get one over on someone he "hated" who worked at Microsoft.

"It began because Steve hated this guy at Microsoft. That is the actual origin," Forstall said, before adding that it wasn't Bill Gates. After hearing the person boast about Microsoft's tablet and stylus development, said Forstall, "Steve came in on a Monday, there was a set of expletives and then he said, 'Let's show them how it's really done'."Regarding the iPhone, Forstall said the idea for the device was initially born when he and Jobs were eating lunch and they noticed everyone was using their phones. "We hated them," he said. "No one seemed like it was a pleasurable thing to use a phone, but it's a nice thing for communication." The episode prompted Jobs to ask the tablet design team to redouble their efforts to perfect multitouch but to miniaturize it for a device that you could put in your pocket.

Forstall also touched upon the concept of skeuomorphic design, claiming he had "never heard of skeuomorphism" when he was working on iOS and that it sounded "unnatural".

"When I look at design - when I look at good design - it's approachable, friendly, you can use it without a manual. It's fun. We talked a lot about photo-illustrative design. It was infused into the design sense of Apple by Steve Jobs since the original Mac. We used these design philosophies. It doesn't mean we loved it, or loved every single part of it. We know it worked. How do we know it worked? You just have to watch people use it."Elsewhere, Forstall chose to highlight the many emails he received from customers explaining how the iPhone and iPad had changed and even saved lives. One email was from a 100-year-old woman who had been an avid reader and writer all her life, before age had made these pastimes impossible. The iPad bought for her by her family had allowed her to take up reading and writing again, long after she had all but given up hope.

Forstall also spoke touchingly about his friendship with Jobs, including the time when Forstall contracted a rare and potentially lethal vomiting virus which left him in hospital for months, before the late Apple CEO arranged for an acupuncturist to treat him. After two sessions, Forstall was discharged from hospital and went on to make a complete recovery.

Forstall shared a particularly funny anecdote about how Jobs insisted on paying for both their lunches at the Apple cafeteria, despite the fact that the $8 meals were charged against staff paychecks with each scan of their badges, and as CEO, Jobs only got paid a dollar a year.

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