The Hyperloop VR app shows how boring the future will be

I’ve seen Tomorrowland, so I know that the future is supposed to be full of flying cars and jetpacks. Elon Musk’s version of the future is a little less fanciful — it only involves levitating people through a partial vacuum at hundreds of miles an hour. But if this VR app that lets you try the Hyperloop experience is accurate, Musk’s future won’t be particularly exciting.

To support its Hyperloop pod design bid, the Delft University of Technology had an ad agency make an app that explains how Hyperloop and lets users virtually try out a Hyperloop trip. It’s whatever you call the polar opposite of a wild ride.

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The app is available for iOS or Android. In addition to an explainer of Hyperloop technology and how it works, it lets you try a simulated journey from Paris to Amsterdam. Only, it could be a simulated journey from North Dakota to South Dakota for all I care. You sit in a small pod, watch the miles tick away (quite quickly) and stare at the inside of the pod. In case the app doesn’t work, you can replicate the experience by sitting in a room with a flickering tube light and a kitchen timer.

Of course, Hyperloop isn’t supposed to be a rollercoaster ride. The main benefit is speed and simplicity, and while loop-the-loops would certainly add to the entertainment value, the G-force would probably make you pass out.

While Hyperloop is looking promising from a technology standpoint, its adoption in the US still isn’t looking all that likely. The same problems that have prevented the rollout of highspeed trains still apply to Hyperloop, mostly that it’s difficult and expensive to build a completely straight track between two cities.

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The Empire Strikes Snack: R2-D2 Popcorn Maker

OK, so obviously R2-D2 worked with the Rebels to fight against the Empire, so that headline isn’t technically accurate. But it’s Friday afternoon — so gimme a break.

ThinkGeek has a pretty cool R2-D2 popcorn maker for sale, and this seems like a nice way to honor actor Kenny Baker, who played R2 in the films and passed away recently. You’ll think of how much enjoyment he brought to your life as the beeping droid every time the smell of fresh popcorn wafts in from the kitchen.

R2-D2 is a busy droid. He has taken the time to appear in all of the Star Wars films and lends his support to Padme, Anakin, Leia, Luke, and Obi-Wan. He carries important, world-altering messages, serves in battle, fixes other droids, rescues the heroes, and more. 

But Artoo knows that a loyal droid’s job is never done so he even takes the time to pop you up some delicious and healthy air-popped popcorn to keep the hunger pains at bay as you settle in for a Star Wars marathon. The R2-D2 Popcorn Maker has the streamlined look of your favorite droid. It includes a measuring cup, top cover, corn inlet, plastic body and power switch. Drop in some kernels, watch him heat up and he will be spitting out your yummy snack in minutes. If you love light and fluffy air-popped popcorn, then this is the droid you are looking for! 

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The world’s largest (and ugliest) airship has completed its first flight

Airlander 10 is the world’s largest airship that can fly. Dubbed “Flying Bum” because of obvious reasons, the huge blimp took off on its maiden flight in London on Wednesday, after technical issues stopped the original launch that should have taken place on Sunday.

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The Airlander 10 measures 302 feet, needs 1.3 million cubic feet of helium to run, and can reach an altitude of 16,000 feet where it can stay for five days, NBC News reports. Its first flight was rather short-lived, as it only stayed in the air for 20 minutes about 35 miles north of London.

It’s unclear whether the aircraft will be used for commercial purposes anytime soon, but the Flying Bum can be used for surveillance (which we can’t have enough of), communications and humanitarian relief.

The huge flying object has been in the making since 2007 at Hybrid Air Vehicles.

Now that we know this thing can actually fly, I can’t but wonder what it’d be like for the Airlander 10 to be used by a country’s military, and then to somehow break free and fly by itself. You know, because that stuff really happens.

The following video from CNN Money will show you exactly how gigantic this aircraft is and help you understand the Flying Bum thing better.

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You Might Be Able to Deflect Lasers With Lightsabers in Disney Theme Parks' STAR WARS Lands

And here’s a more technical breakdown of what that means:

An entertainment environment has a user with a faux light saber that interacts with a drone flying through the air or operated with hidden rods to appear as if its flying through the air. The faux light saber has LEDs attached thereto to provide IR light to the drone. As an LED is turned on, an invisible light sensor built into the drone captures an image of the field of view with a bright spot at the position of the activated LED. A visible light source built into the drone then projects light through particulate matter toward the faux light saber. As a result, the [user] is provided with the illusion that the faux light saber has deflected a laser beam. Multiple LEDs can be activated in sequence at various times to give user the impression that the movement by the users of the faux light saber is deflecting multiple laser beams.

To be clear, this isn’t an official announcement that this technology will 100% be available inside the theme parks, because Disney is constantly applying for patents and developing tech that never sees the light of day or isn’t incorporated for one reason or another. But either way, it’s cool that they have the technology, and we’ll have to wait and see if they can figure out a way to scale that into the parks. Would it be an attraction all its own, or would they maybe hand everyone a lightsaber to play with while people were waiting in line for another ride? (OK, that last one admittedly sounds like a potential legal nightmare, but I’m sure there would be other ways they could utilize this if they wanted to.)

I downloaded the Star Wars app a few months ago just to play its lightsaber training game, and while it’s simple, it’s pretty fun. That seems like a good way to practice until you get the chance to check out this new technology in person…if Disney goes through with including it in the park.

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People who preordered the Galaxy Note 7 are in for a nice surprise

Samsung’s hot new Galaxy Note 7 smartphone is the best phablet the world has even seen. Period. We published our in-depth Galaxy Note 7 review on Tuesday morning and in it, we explained just how good Samsung’s new phablet really is. The design has been dramatically improved, making the phone incredibly comfortable to hold despite its massive 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display. The updated internal components provide more power than ever before. And the new software features make an already great stylus experience even better.

Android fans who preordered the Galaxy Note 7 are already in for a treat when they receive the best new phablet in the world, but it looks like many people are about to enjoy an extra little surprise.

MUST READ: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review

When we first posted our hands-on preview of the Galaxy Note 7, we told you about a great limited-time offer. People who preorder the Note 7 and people who purchase one in the early days following its release will be able to choose either a free 256GB microSD card or a free Gear Fit 2 fitness tracker to enjoy along with their new phablet. As a result, many people jumped at the opportunity and preordered the phone — and it seems like most we’ve spoken with chose the memory card, which isn’t surprising since you basically get a 320GB phone for the price of a 64GB iPhone 6s Plus.

Now, it appears as though many people who preordered the Note 7 are in for yet another surprise.

We’ve received a handful of emails from Samsung fans whose Galaxy Note 7 units have already shipped. A quick search reveals that other sites have received similar emails, including Android news blog Droid Life. As noted in the blog’s post, it looks like both Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile began to ship out preorders on Monday using either next-day or two-day shipping, which means that consumers could begin receiving their new phones as soon as today.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 7 isn’t technically supposed to launch until this Friday, August 19th, so these early deliveries will indeed be a nice little bonus for eager fans who preordered the new phablet. But trust us: Whether you receive your new Note 7 early or not, we couldn’t be more confident that you’re going to be impressed with Samsung’s latest and greatest.

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Japanese Trailer for STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE Reveals a New Plot Detail

A Japanese trailer has been released for Lucasfilm’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and it features a bit of new footage from the film. It also offers us a new plot point in the film that we didn’t previously know regarding the Empire’s “weapon test.” 

When it comes to the new footage you’ll see some extra clips of the Deathtroopers, as well as a couple new shot of Diego Luna‘s Captain Cassian Andor. As for the new piece of plot info, I will talk a little bit about it below the trailer. Some people might consider it a minor spoiler, so I’m just playing it safe. 

Just in case you didn’t catch it in the trailer. We see Mon Mothma telling Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) that they’ve “intercepted an encoded Imperial transmission” about an upcoming “weapons test,” which is obviously the Death Star. After that Captain Cassian Andor revealed the  information: “The message was sent by your father.” 

Mads Mikkelsen is playing Hyn’s father Galen Erso in the film. Here is some previously released rumored information on the character, some of which is most likely true. 

Mads Mikkelsen (Galen appears to be his name in the film) is kind of the key to the film in a way. He is a scientist that took over the Geonosian Death Star project. He solved several of the flaws the Empire could not and is sort of a revered person in the Empire for his contributions. However, Mikkelsen’s character is a Robert Oppenheimer-type character. Oppenheimer helped design the atomic bomb only to say, “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” The guilt “Galen” feels for his contributions to the Empire become too much and he defects, attempting to make things right. In order to do this, he enlists the help of his only daughter….

Rogue One is set to be released on December 16th, 2016.

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Delta finally explained how one power outage grounded an entire airline

Earlier this week, Delta passengers worldwide were stranded as a computer failure completely screwed up operations. The ensuing chaos provided a good look at how the robots are actually going to kill us, but also raised some good questions: how does one power outage ground an airline, and how fired is the sysadmin?

The Week spoke to Delta’s COO, Giles West, to try and understand what happened to take the entire network offline. It’s a sad story of backups that should’ve worked, knock-on effects, and one seriously expensive outage.

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“Monday morning a critical power control module at our Technology Command Center malfunctioned, causing a surge to the transformer and a loss of power,” West said. “When this happened, critical systems and network equipment didn’t switch over to backups. Other systems did. And now we’re seeing instability in these systems,” West told The Week.

In other words: a power surge caused by one malfunctioning piece of equipment tripped a power transformer, killing everything at Delta’s command center in Atlanta. Clearly, this shouldn’t have happened, and there should have been a backup power system in place (or an entire backup command system).

But even with this failure, why did a computer failure in Atlanta stop planes from flying in London? From news stories at the time, it sounds like the main problem was with the passenger information system. Without the computer, airline staff couldn’t check in passengers or issue boarding passes, a vital step in loading the plane. Some news outlets reported Delta staff filling out boarding passes by hand, but that’s a bad fix at best.

The problem because worse because even though the outage only lasted a few hours, the knock-on effects on Delta’s service was huge. Running an international airline involves careful balancing of crew and aircraft all around the world, and a small delay will cause major delays for later flights which were never affected by the computer outage.

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DEADPOOL 2 Rumor – Kyle Chandler and Mackenzie Davis Reportedly Wanted For Cable and Domino

On a new episode of Meet The Movie Press, the reliable Jeff Snider says that Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights, Bloodline) and Mackenzie Davis (The Martian) are wanted for the parts. He said:

“People were talking about Cable from Deadpool 2. There’s been a name floating around for Cable for months, hasn’t changed, don’t know if it’s changed. Didn’t make any calls about this. This was just the name that has been out there for months. So take this with a gigantic grain of salt. The biggest grain of salt your tiny little brain can imagine. The name that is floating around for Cable right now is Kyle Chandler… The name for Domino, who is said to be the scene-stealer of the movie, is Mackenzie Davis.” 

I’m a huge fan of Chandler and he seems like a surprising choice for Cable. I never thought of him as being a potential actor to take on the role, but now that it’s been put out in the world, I love the idea of him the character. I think he’d be great! When previously talking about the kind of actor they would need to play Deadpool, screenwriter Rhett Reese said:

“Strength, gravitas, a purposefulness that Deadpool doesn’t have. Deadpool’s kind of got ADD, and we think of Cable as someone who locks onto something and is going to get that thing solved no matter what.”

The also said they were looking for someone “physically imposing”, which doesn’t seem to fit Kyle Chandler, but I assume that they’ll have him bulk up of the film if they actually did end up casting him. 

As for Davis taking on the role of Domino, I’m totally on board with that. She seems like a talented enough and quirky actress to pull off the witty mercenary character. I’m happy to hear that Domino is actually going to be included in the film. This is the first time I’ve heard her the character involvement with the sequel outside of speculation. 

What do you all think about Kyle Chandler and Mackenzie Davis possibly taking on these roles?

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Hack makes it possible to factory reset any Samsung phone without a password

Android has a factory reset protection feature that’s supposed to prevent anyone from using a lost or stolen device without proper authentication. But hackers always seem to find ways of preventing  the feature from working properly – in this case, they’ve found a way to circumvent the factory reset protection.

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A brand new video on YouTube channel RootJunky shows us that the factory reset protection can be bypassed on Samsung devices, including the Galaxy Note 7 and the Galaxy S7 series. The method works on older devices as well.

While this might be a security oversight from Samsung — one that will probably be patched in the future — the method isn’t simple, so it’s not like Samsung could have easily seen this coming. Here’s how it works, as explained by Android Police (emphasis ours):

After confirming that the FRP is activated in the bootloader, he reboots the phone, connects it to WiFi, then connects it to a computer. The next step is downloading a program from his site that allows him to send a fake call to the phone. Once the call comes in, he hits “Create contact”, scrolls all the way down in the contact creation list, and clicks the “SCAN BUSINESS CARD” option. That opens a prompt to download the business card scanning app on Galaxy Apps. From there, it’s a matter of downloading a file manager after signing into a Samsung account, which lets him get to an app he created that essentially acts as a shortcut to a Google sign-in screen. There, he hits the three-dot menu on the top right that permits him to open a web page to sign in through. After this, he signs into a new Google account, reboots the device, goes through the setup process once again, and voila! The S7 is able to be used normally again.

Try explaining that to a friend. Simple, no? Also, you would need those special apps to fake a call and to sign into a new Google account during the process.

As you can see, this isn’t really the kind of hack Android device makers can foresee, and it takes a lot of effort to come up with such hacks. Watch the video below to understand it better.