Top tech stories of the day for Tuesday 17 December, 2013

Facebook confirms autoplay video ads are coming to your News Feed – They’ve been a long time coming, but Facebook’s new video ads are finally here. Confirming a report from the Wall Street Journal that said they’d launch this week, the company says it will start rolling out promoted videos to a limited number of users’ News Feeds, starting with ads for the new film Divergent.

Implementing a similar format to Instagram, Facebook’s video ads will automatically play when they appear on onscreen – although sound will be muted on both the desktop and mobile. While you won’t be able prevent the new ad units from popping up, they can be avoided with some quick scrolling action.

Facebook confirms autoplay video ads are coming to your News Feed

 

 

Fully wearable Iron Man Mark III suit is made to 3D printed order for $35,000 – We joked yesterday about finding the perfect gift for that eccentric billionaire (or millionaire, or really just any “rich” person) in your life, but nothing truly says money to burn like your very own Iron Man suit. The real kicker here is that this Iron Man Mark III suit, made by (wait for it) Iron Man Factory, is actually fully wearable and made to fit anyone as tall as 5′ 5″ to 6’1″. It also incorporates sensor-controlled motors — powered by a AAA battery — to activate the “thrusters” on back and even slide open the helmet so your loved ones can smack that smug Tony Stark-like perma-grin off your face. Oh and did we mention the 7lbs suit, which is made from a carbon fiber polymer and features a cushioned interior, also contains an LED lighting system? Yeah, there’s that too, but also no lasers. Sorry, you can’t have everything.

Fully wearable Iron Man Mark III suit is made to 3D printed order for $35,000

 

 

IEC announces new standard for future universal laptop chargers – The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) published a new standard this week detailing the specifications for a single laptop charger compatible with a wide range of notebooks. While there’s no legal mandate for companies to follow the spec, the announcement paves the way for universal notebook chargers, bringing a massive reduction in e-waste with it.

IEC announces new standard for future universal laptop chargers

 

 

Microsoft will have a new CEO ‘in the early part of 2014’ – With roughly nine months to go until Microsoft’s unforgettably demonstrative CEO Steve Ballmer steps down, the hunt is on for his replacement. Will it be incoming Nokia CEO Stephen Elop? Maybe Ford’s Alan Mullaly? No one outside of Microsoft’s board of directors knows for sure, but it apparently won’t be too long before we find out. “I expect we’ll complete our work in the early part of 2014,” board chair John W. Thompson wrote on Microsoft’s blog.

Microsoft will have a new CEO ‘in the early part of 2014’

 

 

Former Microsoft Office exec Kurt DelBene will rebuild HealthCare.gov – Leading Microsoft is arguably the toughest (and most up-for-grabs) job in tech right now, but salvaging a catastrophic government website launch is a close runner-up. The White House has tapped Kurt DelBene, the outgoing Microsoft Office President, to head up a revamp of its notoriously glitch-ridden HealthCare.gov.

Former Microsoft Office exec Kurt DelBene will rebuild HealthCare.gov

 

 

Nelson Mandela, Paul Walker, and iPhone 5S top Google’s 2013 search list – Google is taking a look back over 2013 with its annual year-end zeitgeist, a report on the people, events, and trends that seem to have best captured the public’s interest. For 2013, Google says that its top global trending searches were led by Nelson Mandela, Paul Walker, and the iPhone 5S. Gadgets play a big role in the top 10, with Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and Sony’s PlayStation 4 coming in at numbers 8 and 9 respectively. Though the Harlem Shake is ranked fifth, the rest of the list is filled largely by events, rather than specific trends.

Nelson Mandela, Paul Walker, and iPhone 5S top Google’s 2013 search list

 

 

Edward Snowden reminds the world that he’s still homeless – While the US justice system slowly begins to digest everything Edward Snowden revealed about the NSA, the whistleblower himself remains stateless and living under temporary asylum in Russia. In an open letter to the people of Brazil, following revelations of widespread NSA “data collection” in that country, Snowden has made it clear that he’s not happy with his current situation and won’t be content until an appropriate government grants him permanent political asylum.

Edward Snowden reminds the world that he’s still homeless

 

 


Google’s robotics program has legs, but where is it going? – Google’s plan to dominate the robotics field is well underway. Already, Google owns a company that make robot arms, a company that makes robot eyes, and now one that makes robot legs.

With last week’s acquisition of Boston Dynamics, an 80-person company that makes robots that can run faster than Usain Bolt and catch their balance after slipping on ice, the Mountain View giant has assembled a world-class team capable of developing the kinds of sophisticated robots we’ve only seen in science fiction. But what, exactly, is Google building?

Google’s robotics program has legs, but where is it going?

 

 


Original ‘Tomb Raider’ launches on iOS for 99 cents – The original Tomb Raider is now available for iOS, and it costs just 99 cents. “We’ve not messed about with it,” promises developer Square Enix. Players can expect the “full, unedited, unadulterated experience” that introduced the world to Lara Croft and kicked off one of gaming’s most enduring franchises. You’ll also be getting two extra levels that were added to Tomb Raider with its 1998 re-release. Square Enix says this all adds up to about 15 hours worth of gameplay. “How better to find out if you’ve still got what it takes to beat a legendary game than by taking on the lost city of Atlantis and the pyramids of Egypt?”

Original ‘Tomb Raider’ launches on iOS for 99 cents

 

 

Shia LaBeouf apologizes for plagiarism – Shia LaBeouf has admitted not crediting an author as the inspiration for his short film. After debuting at the Cannes Film Festival last year, LaBeouf’s well-receivedHowardCantour.com was released on Vimeo earlier this week, but the actor was soon to be in the headlines for the wrong reasons as BuzzFeed revealed his film heavily plagiarized plot and dialog from Daniel Clowes’ short story Justin M. Damiano. Both the short story and film open with exactly the same monologue, and the similarities continue throughout the 11-minute short, which has since been replaced with a trailer.

Shia LaBeouf apologizes for plagiarism

 

 

Motorola finally offering wood backplate option for Moto X starting with bamboo – After months of waiting, Motorola today announced the first of its “natural” Moto Maker customization options: bamboo. The company’s flagship Moto X can now be ordered with a bamboo rear case, though the option comes at a premium. Picking a natural back color adds $100 to your order total, and Motorola is attaching a “delayed shipping” warning to the Bamboo choice. Early orders won’t be delivered until January, according to the company. But it may be worth the wait for interested buyers. “Since each back is made from real Bamboo, no two devices will ever be the same,” Motorola says. The natural configurations (bamboo is technically a type of grass) were announced alongside all of the other Moto X colors earlier this year, but have failed to materialize until today.

Motorola finally offering wood backplate option for Moto X starting with bamboo

 

 

Thanks for reading,
Andrew Richardson

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Author: Andrew Richardson

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