Windows 8.1 now available to download – Windows 8 users will see a notification in the Windows Store with a prompt to upgrade to the new operating system. Microsoft has added a number of improvements with this update, including built-in Bing search, smart SkyDrive syncing, and visual changes to the Start Screen and application snapping. For a full overview of all the features see our Windows 8.1 review.
Nokia is trying to patent its own smartwatch with multiple displays – Nokia appears to be experimenting with its own smartwatch concepts. In a patent application submitted in August last year, the company details a “multi-segment wearable accessory.” According to the description, and some related diagrams, it’s a plan for a modular watch than can be worn on the wrist. Images show a concept where each segment of the watch would have its own display to show content, allowing the user to turn his or her wrist to access different parts.
Twitter may launch a standalone messaging app, says All Things D – Twitter is revamping its private messaging feature and could release a standalone app for messages, according to a new report. All Things D, citing anonymous sources, says the overhaul of messages is coming in “the near future.” It comes at a time when messaging apps have exploded globally, with companies like WhatsApp, Line, and Kik attracting users by the hundreds of millions. And it would mark another direct point of competition with Facebook, which has a popular standalone messaging app of its own.
A stable version of Ubuntu’s mobile OS is available now… if you own a Nexus 4 – After a long period of developer (and enthusiast) previews, Ubuntu 13.10 for smartphones, as well as desktops, is finally available as a stable release. The gesture-heavy, Linux-based mobile OS still doesn’t have an official hardware home — if you’ll remember, Canoncial’s Indiegogo bid for the Ubuntu Edge failed to meet its lofty goals — but there are a couple of devices that can run the OS. Google’s Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 are both officially supported, so owners of those handsets with the right know-how can head to the company’s site now for instructions to flash the OS. That doesn’t mean we won’t someday see a dedicated Ubuntu device — the company’s still in talks with OEMs. For now, though, you can at least enjoy the fruits of Canonical’s mobile labors while holding fast to the Edge of hope.
SwiftKey 4.3 update offers keyboard layouts you can resize, move and split – Nearly two months after SwiftKey opened up its Cloud to the public, the third-party Android keyboard is ready to push out another significant update. Taking advantage of the momentum it built with 4.2, version 4.3 offers a feature called Layouts for Living. Essentially, the new functionality lets you change the size, position and format of your keyboard. You can move it anywhere on the screen, shrink it down for one-handed use and even switch to a “thumb” mode which lets you split your ‘board into two halves (this would be especially helpful for two-handed typing on tablets).
The story behind the company contracted to make the buggy Healthcare.gov website – It’s no secret that the Healthcare.gov website — which is home to Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges — hasn’t had a smooth launch. The company that won the $93.7 million contract to construct the site is CGI Federal, a subsidary of a Canadian firm called CGI Group. Blame for the botched launch has largely settled on the company, the contractors it hired to complete the job, and the bureaucratic system that awards such contracts. The Washington Post has now profiled CGI Federal, and it turns out the IT company is a relative newcomer to US government contracts — and it doesn’t have a spotless track record.
Stephen Elop was Nokia’s second choice for CEO, says ex-chairman – Stephen Elop left Microsoft just over three years ago to become the chief executive of Nokia, but he wasn’t first choice for the job. Jorma Ollila, ex-chairman of Nokia who led the search for a new CEO in 2010, claims that he interviewed five candidates in the US for the job, The Wall Street Journal reports. Ollila’s primary choice was a candidate who was number two “at a well-known American technology company.” The mystery candidate isn’t named, only described as in his 50s, but he’s said to have bowed out of the application process due to personal reasons.
Panasonic’s Lumix GM1 is the smallest Micro Four Thirds camera yet – Panasonic has announced the Lumix GM1, a truly tiny mirrorless camera. Despite its 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds-sized sensor, the GM1 measures just 98.5mm x 54.9mm x 30.4mm — smaller even than Sony’s RX100 II compact, and an undeniably impressive feat of engineering. The camera also features a 3-inch touchscreen, Wi-Fi, a pop-up flash, and a retro aluminum design that continues down the Fujifilm-inspired path first trodden by the Lumix GX7.
LG’s G Pad 8.3 available today in the US for $349.99 – LG’s G Pad 8.3 tablet is going on sale in the US today for $349.99. The G Pad 8.3 is a small, well-built Android tablet sized perfectly to compete with the iPad mini, but when it was first announced back in early September, LG wasn’t ready to disclose exactly when it would ship or at what price. And now that those details are known, its price may be a sticking point for buyers: for that price, you can get either the iPad mini or the Nexus 7 — two exceptional tablets — for less.
Sail the high seas in style with this insane alien yacht concept – Zaha Hadid’s latest design looks like it could be the pristine, swirling hive of some alien race. In reality, her new work is actually the concept for a series of five luxury yachts that the shipbuilder Blohm + Voss wants to make. According to Superyacht News, yachts are traditionally commissioned and designed with input from the client, but Blohm + Voss wanted to do something a little more daring that would be interesting enough to entice buyers. “It had to be something truly unexpected and exceptional,” Herbert Aly, CEO of Blohm + Voss, tells Superyacht News. “It will be expensive, for sure.”
Two lions, one man – Incredible video of man hugging it out with his lion bros – Make sure you’re wearing brown underpants before clicking play on this video. If you’re anything like me they will turn brown in the first 20 seconds anyway. The guy in the video is acclaimed ‘Lion Whisperer’ Kevin Richardson. He’s an animal behaviorist who prides himself on being accepted by prides of lions and packs of hyenas.
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