Saturday, January 31, 2015

ARES Atelier XXL is the Ultimate Mercedes-Benz S Class Limousine

Even though people who are passionate about cars think mostly in terms of driving pleasure, some statements just have to be made, especially if you're in the statement-making business. You will need a heck of a luxury vehicle.
Even though people who are passionate about cars think mostly in terms of driving pleasure, some statements just have...

So what can you do when your everyday luxury car doesn't cut it anymore? What do you do when you have to go above the S-Class/A8/XJ/7 Series/LS/Panamera group of cars? You can turn to Maybach, you can turn to Bentley, you can turn to Buick, just kidding, or you can choose Rolls-Royce and if you do that, you're pretty much set. Unless you need even more of a statement.

There is of course the Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman we've been waiting for, but we haven't heard anything official about it the past few months. If it will indeed look like this, well then if that's the sort of car you need, you might as well forget all about it and focus on this spectacular ARES Atelier Mercedes S Class XXL. It's as ridiculously big as it is beautiful. They really nailed the front and rear fascias.
Even though people who are passionate about cars think mostly in terms of driving pleasure, some statements just have....

ARES has stretched and reinforced the chassis of a regular S-Class sedan and fitted a carbon fiber body kit, bigger brakes, 21" wheels, 6mm thick glass as well as a whole list of features that help keep you alive during an armed assault. It can even be equipped with a Bomb detector to identify explosives on the car.

Inside, there's total luxury. Nappa Italian leather, carbon Alcantara, custom sports steering wheel, enforced individual air conditioning, hands-free intercom, 8 spotlights for the rear compartment, 17" foldable HD flat screen, iPad control, electric curtains, upgraded sound system with 30cm subwoofer and premium 5.1 equalizer. Of course you can call it pointless and a waste of money, but billionaires see things differently.

Oh and it's no slouch on the road either. It has over 600 HP and it can do 0-62 mph in just 4.8 seconds. Of course they had to modify the transmission and upgrade the brakes in order to handle the extra weight and size of the car.

Apple's earnings report was *too good*. People don't think Apple can beat it.

Apple's holiday earnings for 2014 were record shattering.

The company earned an $18 billion profit on $74.6 billion in revenue. That profit was more than any company had ever earned in history.
Apple's holiday earnings for 2014 were record shattering.

Apple's quarterly revenue was higher than Google's revenue for all of 2014. It was more than Amazon, Google, and Microsoft generated in revenue combined.

And yet, despite this awe-inspiring performance, there are lots of investors and analysts that think Apple is sorta screwed.

Basically, these people think that Apple did too well. They think there is no way Apple can top this quarter.

It's not an unreasonable position to take. After all, $74.6 billion in revenue is a lot of revenue. It's going to be hard for Apple to top that next year.

And yet, Apple has consistently outperformed the skeptics.

Apple is the world's most valuable company, so it's not like we could argue that people don't believe in it.

But, Apple's valuation is arguably low. Google, for instance, has a PE of 27.25. Apple has a PE of 16. And yet, Apple is growing faster than Google. Apple's sales were up 30%, while Google's revenues were only up 15% last quarter.

Can Apple deliver growth in the future? I say yes. And so does Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times.

We kicked around Apple's earnings report, as well as the earnings of Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft on this week's podcast.

Lakers' Jordan Clarkson is surviving after being thrown in deep end

Jordan Clarkson wilted under the Chicago Bulls defense late in Thursday's game, and he nearly coughed away the lead, but Lakers Coach Byron Scott stuck with him.

"Sometimes," Scott said, "you got to throw a guy in the fire and see what he's made of."

So the rookie point guard had the ball in his hands in the second overtime with the Lakers up by two. Clarkson probed the right side, jabbed hard and pulled back to hit a jumper. Gliding back on defense, he spun toward the crowd and flexed his arms at his sides — another test passed.
Jordan Clarkson wilted under the Chicago Bulls defense late in Thursday's game, and he nearly coughed away the lead...

Scott has called him the most intriguing player on the Lakers' roster after he inserted Clarkson into the starting lineup four games ago. In a lost season, it was time, Scott said, to see what Clarkson could do.

The Lakers have learned something new about Clarkson each game. There have been hiccups — he struggled against Houston guard Patrick Beverley and had five turnovers, and Clarkson was pressured into mistakes against the Bulls.

But he has held his own against some very talented point guards. He hung with San Antonio's Tony Parker and Washington's John Wall — the pair outscored him by just a combined nine points — and playing opposite Derrick Rose on Thursday, Clarkson scored 18 points with four rebounds, four assists, and two blocks and two steals. He held Rose to 17 points on seven-for-26 shooting.

"I think we've got a pretty good basketball player in this kid," Scott said Friday at practice. "When he falls on his face he gets right back up."

Clarkson was selected 46th overall in the June draft, and at the time, Kobe Bryant labeled it a steal. With Steve Nash out for the season, and the Lakers not satisfied with Jeremy Lin's production, Clarkson has been a bright spot at point guard.

"Just being thrown into it, it's a good learning experience for me," Clarkson said.

When Nick Young's ankle sprain Monday closely followed the news that Bryant was lost for the season because of a torn rotator cuff, the Lakers lost a significant amount of scoring.

In their absence, the beneficiary has been Wayne Ellington, who has thrived playing the role typically occupied by Young. Ellington has averaged 21 minutes per game this season but played 36 on Tuesday against the Wizards and 46 against the Bulls.

In those games, Ellington averaged 25.5 points, four rebounds and three assists on a combined 21-for-49 shooting.

The scoring spurt has surprised Scott. "But it also shows that he's just playing extremely well," Scott said. "He's making shots, he's creating shots for himself, he's getting to the basket, he's getting to the passing lane, he's getting a lot of opportunities."

Young took shots in practice Friday, but Scott said he is still unable to run or cut. His status for the Lakers' game against the New York Knicks on Sunday is still uncertain.

"We'll just have to wait and see," Scott said.

"I keep saying it's an opportunity," Ellington said. "I'm just trying to take full advantage of it. Yeah, I'm hungry. I'm hungry, and I have a lot to prove."

HTC Desire 816G (2015) With 1.7GHz Octa-Core SoC Launched at Rs. 19,990

HTC has launched a refreshed version of the HTC Desire 816G handset in India, replacing its 1.3GHz quad-core MT6582 processor with a 1.7GHz octa-core (unspecified) processor. The HTC Desire 816G (2015) has been priced at Rs. 19,990, slightly more than the Rs. 18,990 last year's variant was launched at.
HTC has launched a refreshed version of the HTC Desire 816G handset in India, replacing its 1.3GHz quad-core...

All other specifications remain the same between the two variants, though once again, HTC has not specified the Android version - the first generation ran on Android 4.4.2 KitKat however. The dual-SIM Desire 816G (2015) features a 5.5-inch HD (720x1280 pixels), 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of built-in storage expandable via microSD card (up to 32GB).

The Desire 816G (2015) features a 13-megapixel rear camera with a BSI sensor and flash, apart from a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. Connectivity options include 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Micro-USB 2.0, 3.5mm jack, and GPS/ A-GPS. It support Nano SIM cards, weighs 158 grams, and measures 156.6x78.7x7.9mm.

Other specifications include accelerometer, proximity sensor, digital compass, and ambient light sensor, a 2600mAh battery rated to deliver up to 10 hours of talk time on 3G, and 460 hours of standby time. The company is also touting the presence of its BlinkFeed home page feature, as well as dual-frontal speakers with BoomSound.

HTC recently launched another octa-core smartphone in India, the HTC Desire 526G+ Dual SIM. The smartphone is priced at Rs. 10,400 for the 8GB storage variant and Rs. 11,400 for 16GB storage version. Besides a 4.7-inch qHD (540x960 pixels) display, it packs a 1.7GHz octa-core (unspecified) processor coupled with 1GB RAM. It sports a 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.

In a statement about the launch, Faisal Siddiqui, Vice President and Country Head, HTC India, said, "The new offering under the HTC Desire series is our next step towards a power packed combination of beautiful design and flagship performance all backed by a powerful 1.7GHz octa-core processor. The HTC Desire 816G is the best buy amongst big screen devices, packing powerful performance and innovative design perfectly at a great price."

Friday, January 30, 2015

Ferrari: Italian team target two Formula 1 wins in 2015

Ferrari have unveiled the new SF15-T car they hope will start them on the long road back to Formula 1 success.

The Italian team have made major management changes, sacking a tranche of senior staff, following their worst season for more than 20 years in 2014.
Ferrari have unveiled the new SF15-T car they hope will start them on the long road back to Formula 1 success....

New team principal Maurizio Arrivabene set the target of winning "at least two races" in 2015 after none last year.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel joins Kimi Raikkonen at the team as a replacement for Fernando Alonso.

"There is a lot of change going on, a lot of new people in new positions," said Vettel, who has moved from Red Bull.

"It takes time to settle in, but I am confident we are going in the right direction. But it would be wrong to expect a lot of us."

He added: "It will be difficult to be right there from the beginning, but the main target is to catch up more and more as the season progresses." 
Ferrari have unveiled the new SF15-T car they hope will start them on the long road back to Formula 1 success.....

 Vettel has already described driving for Ferrari as a lifelong dream.

"Starting the season will be something special," he said. "Everything red and it is a special colour.

"It means so much, with so much history. I am really looking forward to it."

Last year, Ferrari failed to win any races and managed only two podium finishes with Alonso.

The new car is clearly an evolution of its predecessor and carries a strong resemblance to it in many areas, although it has more tightly packaged bodywork at the rear in search of better aerodynamics.

 The most obvious change is to the nose section, where the previous 'vacuum cleaner' design has been replaced by a smoother, longer nose reminiscent of that on the new McLaren that was unveiled on Thursday.

Ferrari have retained their unconventional pull-rod front suspension system, which has the suspension arm running from the top of the upright to the bottom of the chassis rather than the other way around.

"Last year, we had an unacceptably large gap in our performance and we have tried to ensure the weaknesses on the '14 car were put right," said technical director James Allison.

Ferrari's car struggled in engine performance and Allison said a lot of attention had been paid to improving the power-unit, in terms of raw power, driveability and effectiveness of the energy recovery systems.

Ferrari hope to benefit from a change in regulations allowing limited in-season engine development to help them close the gap on Mercedes.

Allison added: "A definite weakness of last year's car was that the amount of electrical energy we were able to recover from the turbo was not really good enough for producing competitive power levels during the race.

"It was one of the reasons Ferrari's qualifying performance was relatively stronger than race performance last year.

"We have tried to change the architecture of the engine to make it a better compromise between qualifying and racing performance."

Get a Samsung Series 3 Chromebook for $149.99

It was just the other day that I was touting a refurbished HP Chromebook, singing the praises of its non-Windows operating system and seriously low price.

Ah, but that was a 14-inch model, bigger and heavier than some users prefer. If you're looking to travel light, you might prefer something smaller and slimmer.
It was just the other day that I was touting a refurbished HP Chromebook, singing the praises of its non-Windows operating...

Like this: Today only, and while supplies last, Woot has the refurbished Samsung Series 3 11.6-inch Chromebook for $149.99, plus $5 for shipping. It originally listed for $249.99, and currently sells new for around $179.99. (Apologies in advance if it sells out before you get there. Seems to be the pattern this week.)

The rather comely XE303C12 features a Samsung Exynos 5 dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of solid-state storage, and an 11.6-inch screen running at 1,366 x 768.

For a Windows system, those specs would seem pretty low -- especially the RAM. But the Chrome OS doesn't require a lot of horsepower, and if Cheapskate Jr.'s own Series 3 (which I bought him at the beginning of the school year) is any indication, there's more than enough juice here.

Juice for what? Browser-based activities, which is Chrome's modus operandi. Chromebooks are proof-positive that you can accomplish a lot with little more than a browser. Word processing, spreadsheets, games, photo editing and sharing -- it's all there.

The Series 3 comes with two USB ports -- one 2.0, one 3.0 -- and an SD slot, meaning you can easily expand the available storage and/or access media from external sources. It measures a fairly svelte 0.7 inch thick and weighs 2.4 pounds.

CNET gave the system three stars, I think maybe missing the point that this is a system best-suited to students, grandparents, and others with modest computing needs. It's not a business-laptop replacement. (I was also a bit surprised by the comments about build quality, as my son's Series 3 struck me as surprisingly solid.) For another perspective, check out PC Mag's review. Both reviews were based on a $250 price tag.

For $150, this is a pretty sweet buy -- and a great way to see what your computing life might be like without Windows. Your thoughts?

Bonus deal: Sometimes you want a Bluetooth speaker, and sometimes you want a speaker dock -- you know, a place that can blast your tunes while simultaneously charging your phone or tablet. Today only, and while supplies last, Meh once again offers the JBL OnBeat Mini iPhone/iPad speaker dock for $30, plus $5 for shipping. Price at Amazon: $47. I grabbed one of these last time around, and must admit I really like it. And unlike a lot of docks, it has a rechargeable battery, so it doesn't have to stay tethered to an outlet.

Tim Howard reportedly being targeted by New York City FC, Toronto FC, LA Galaxy

Could Tim Howard be the next US national team star to make the move to MLS?
Could Tim Howard be the next US national team star to make the move to MLS?

A report in UK publication the Daily Mail indicates that New York City FC, Toronto FC and LA Galaxy are considering a move for the American No. 1 and World Cup star. Howard, who played in MLS with the MetroStars from 1998 to 2003 at the outset of his career, recently signed a contract extension with Everton through 2018, so a transfer fee would apparently be part of the equation.

A possible driver of these rumors is the performance of Joel Robles, who has impressed since coming on for Howard after he exited with an injury against Stoke City on Boxing Day. At 24 years of age, Robles is clearly in line as the successor for the 35-year-old Howard, who is currently on a year-long hiatus from USMNT duty.

Cardiff City’s David Marshall and Molde’s Orjan Nyland have also been linked to Everton, further evidence that Howard’s days with the Toffees could be numbered. But Howard himself suggested last year that he planned to retire at the club.

"For me, I think the MLS ship has sailed," Howard told SB Nation after the World Cup. "That's what it looks like, anyway. I signed a new four-year contract with Everton. If you cut me open, I bleed blue and I want to finish my career there. I can't foresee myself coming back. I think there was probably a chance before I signed the contract, but not anymore."

Suge Knight arrested on suspicion of murder; bail set at $2 million

Notorious former rap music mogul Marion "Suge" Knight has been arrested on suspicion or murder after he allegedly ran over two men with his truck following an argument on a film set in Compton, a source close to the investigation confirmed to the Los Angeles Times. His bail has been set a $2 million.

 Knight, 49, arrived at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department West Hollywood station with his attorney around 12:30 a.m. to be interviewed by homicide detectives as a person of interest, according to authorities and his lawyer.
Notorious former rap music mogul Marion "Suge" Knight has been arrested on suspicion or murder after he allegedly ran...

The interview concluded around 3:30 a.m., Knight's attorney, James E. Blatt, told The Times.

The confrontation began about 3 p.m. Thursday when Knight and two unidentified men began arguing on the set of "Straight Outta Compton," a biopic about the group N.W.A., said Capt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department detectives unit.

About 20 minutes after the alleged argument, the victims were at Tam's Burgers near Central and East Rosecrans avenues, authorities said. Knight is believed to have followed the men in his truck and run them over in the parking lot, Corina said.

Witnesses said the truck hit the men, then backed over them before leaving the scene.

One of the victims, 55, died. The other, 51, suffered undisclosed injuries, Corina said. At least one of the victims was a member of the film crew, he said.

The incident is being investigated as a homicide rather than a traffic accident. Deaths caused by vehicles are considered homicides only if authorities determine the driver intentionally used the vehicle as a weapon.

Blatt said his client was being attacked by a group of men, and, while trying to get away from his attackers, accidentally ran over the victims.

"I am positive Mr. Knight will be exonerated by Tuesday," Blatt said. "Investigators are still interviewing witnesses and still need to see video of the incident."

A representative for Knight had no comment on the allegations.

Traffic slowed to a crawl at the corner of Rosecrans and Central avenues as evening commuters tried to navigate past the crime scene. Onlookers gathered, trying to catch a glimpse of the parking lot of the popular burger joint. Social media exploded with the news of Knight's allegedly being involved in another crime.

Directed by F. Gary Gray, "Straight Outta Compton" tells the story of N.W.A., a pioneering rap group made of up Arabian Prince, DJ Yella, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E and Ice Cube, and later, MC Ren. Modern-day rappers credit the group with making rap mainstream and inspiring many of today's top artists. Knight's affiliation with the production of the movie, if any, is unclear.

Knight co-founded Death Row Records with Dr. Dre in 1991 and built it into the first rap label to consistently dominate the pop scene. But he has a history of legal troubles.

In 1996, Knight was at the wheel of a BMW in Las Vegas when passenger and popular rapper Tupac Shakur was shot by gunmen in another vehicle. Shakur died a week later, and the case has not been solved.

In 1997, Knight was sentenced to nine years in prison for violating the terms of his probation from an earlier assault case. He was released from prison in 2001 but was sent back to jail two years later for violating parole when he hit a parking-lot attendant.

In 2006, Knight filed for bankruptcy. He put his Malibu mansion up for sale the following year. In 2008, he was arrested in Las Vegas on suspicion of drug possession and aggravated assault. The next year, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery.

Last August, Knight and two others were shot inside a packed West Hollywood nightclub at a pre-awards party hosted by singer Chris Brown.

Apple’s iPhone 6 Success Is Mostly Android’s Loss, Giving iPhone Plenty Of Room To Grow

Apple’s newest iPhone customers aren’t just old customers upgrading older devices – in fact, the vast majority are migrating from other platforms. Apple CEO Tim Cook told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that over 85 percent of consumers buying iPhones lately are coming from devices that aren’t iPhones, and that most of those are shifting over from Android. This is potentially better news for Apple than its record-breaking 74.5 million iPhones sold during the past quarter, because it means there’s plenty of headroom to improve on that number in the future.
Apple’s newest iPhone customers aren’t just old customers upgrading older devices – in fact, the vast majority are...

A lot of the apprehension that crops around Apple when it posts huge numbers like it did this past quarter involves analysts predicting it has or is about to reach a ceiling, but the way in which Apple is racking up sales is as important as how many it’s moving. Apple CEO Tim Cook has pointed to new markets with lots of consumers new to smartphones as key opportunities, and the company’s success in markets like Greater China has shown those sentiments to be true.

The size and shape of the emerging smartphone market is debatable, however, and partly at the whim of global economic climate shifts (and that’s doubly true when you’re targeting the rarefied higher end of the market). What isn’t as hard to pin down is the pool of existing smartphone users who own an Android device: It’s a huge market, one that we’ve spent the last few years watching as it grows.

Apple’s situation with the iPhone in some ways parallels what happened with the Mac: Cupertino led the way with a relatively successful early product before it ceded the majority of the market to a competitor and started making gains once again. The big difference is one of scale: iPhone was never on the ropes in the way the Mac was, and as a result the moment (now) when it starts bringing switchers back to its platform sees it doing so from a position of power. The Macs steady gain in the PC market, when applied to the iPhone/Android equivalent, could translate to huge sales volumes if Apple can continue to convince people to switch camps.

Nothing on the horizon would seem to indicate Android devices are on the verge of gaining any significant technical advantage over iPhones, and Apple’s pacing in terms of releasing larger-screened devices has clearly done a lot to trigger of users waiting for that feature on iOS hardware.  And with Samsung seeming like a ship that may have lost its rudder, Apple may be fighting a battle without a truly organized resistance.

Kobe Bryant expected out 9 months

Kobe Bryant is officially done for the season after having surgery to repair his torn right rotator cuff Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Lakers also made it official that their superstar doesn't believe his career is finished.
Kobe Bryant is officially done for the season after having surgery to repair his torn right rotator cuff Wednesday.

Bryant is expected to need nine months to recover from his third straight season-ending injury. If Bryant meets that timetable, he could return to basketball shortly before the start of the 2015-16 season -- and the Lakers expect to see him in purple and gold again.

Neal ElAttrache and Steve Lombardo performed the two-hour surgery at the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.

"I expect Kobe to make a full recovery, and if all goes as expected, he should be ready for the start of the season," ElAttrache said in a statement provided by the Lakers.

The Lakers formally declared Bryant out for the season by acknowledging the expected recovery time for his injury but also effectively confirmed he won't retire and will attempt to play his 20th season in the fall. Bryant, who will be 37 years old this summer, is the NBA's highest-paid player at $23.5 million this season, and he is under contract for $25 million next year.

"In my mind right now, he's coming back next year, unless he tells me something different," coach Byron Scott said at practice Wednesday.

Of Bryant's impending rehabilitation, Scott added, "It's pretty painful from what I've heard, and the rehab is long."

"But I think the biggest thing with Kobe, as long as [the media are] saying that he's done, he's going to come back," Scott said. "I think he proved his point this year that he still has a lot left in the tank. He's still one of the best players in the league."

Scott already had acknowledged Bryant was highly unlikely to play again this season for the flailing Lakers (12-34), who will match their franchise record for futility if they lose their 10th consecutive game when the Chicago Bulls visit Thursday. But if Los Angeles finishes with a top-five draft pick, the club won't have to give its first-round choice to Phoenix until next year to complete its trade for Steve Nash in 2012.

Bryant hurt his right shoulder while dunking last week in New Orleans, deciding Monday on surgery. He is the third-leading scorer in league history and a five-time NBA champion.

"I feel like I just returned a 100 yard kickoff in the last two minutes of the Super Bowl to win it all only to have my run called back by a flag on the play," Bryant said Tuesday night in a post on The Players' Tribune.

Bryant averaged 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 35 games but made a career-worst 37.3 percent of his shots in a wildly inconsistent 19th season. He also passed Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA's career scoring list, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.

Bryant's popularity hasn't waned during his injury-plagued stretch. He was voted to the All-Star Game for the 17th time this month, and he is still the Lakers' public face despite his recent prolonged absences from the court.

Bryant missed the 2013 playoffs after tearing his Achilles tendon late in the regular season, and he played in just six games last season before breaking a bone near his left knee. Although he has played through innumerable injuries in the past, the accumulated wear from nearly two decades in the NBA has caught up to him.

Bryant sat out eight games to rest in the past month, and he played under a strict minutes limit. It wasn't enough to protect him from another major injury.

Bryant joins Nash, first-round pick Julius Randle and swingman Xavier Henry with season-ending injuries already for the Lakers.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Reasons Android Phones Are Better Than iPhones

Apple just reported a record number of iPhone sales in its latest earnings report.

But while iPhones might be selling like hotcakes, there are still a bunch of reasons why Android phones are better.
Apple just reported a record number of iPhone sales in its latest earnings report.

When you buy an iPhone, you're stuck with as much storage as you decided to buy at the get-go. Most Android phones, however, have a microSD card slot, so you can easily and cheaply buy more storage space.

If your battery starts sucking, you can often remove it and replace it with a new one. Can't do that with an iPhone.

A bunch of Android phones (including the HTC One, LG G3, and the Galaxy S5) can be used as remote controls, because they have infrared blasters on the top. iPhones do not.

Android files screenshots, downloaded pics, and pictures saved from messages into their own separate folders.

Generally, Android's visible file system is amazing. When you plug your Android phone into your computer, you can see a file system just like the one you'd work with if you were searching for something on your computer. It's as easy as drag-and-drop. Apple doesn't give you that kind of access to all your files.

Android doesn't care where your music comes from. Apple and iOS 8, however, require iTunes if you want to load your iPhone up with songs, and you need iPhoto if you ever want to get your photos onto your computer.

You can use any micro-USB cable to charge your Android phone. If you want to charge your iPhone, you need to have Apple's proprietary "Lightning" cable.

Google's app store lets you download apps to your phone directly from its website. If you search for an iPhone app in a browser, on the other hand, you have to launch iTunes or the App Store to download and install it.

You can set multiple user accounts on the same Android tablet.Share your Android-running tablet with your family or coworkers? If so, you can set multiple user accounts on one device, limiting the information that each user can see. Can't do that on the iPad.

On an iPhone, you can unlock your phone with your fingerprint or a passcode. On most Android devices, you have several additional options, including patterns or face unlocks.

You can download a bunch of apps that let you further change your phone's interface, like Aviate, which arranges your apps alphabetically in a more list-like format rather than the standard grid layout.

Nokia and HTC throw down swords, sign patent war peace treaty

Nokia and HTC have decided to bury the patent hatchet and spar no more in courts throughout the world after the two companies signed a patent and technology collaboration agreement.

The two firms were just one pair of the many firms battling on multiple fronts in the Great Patent War, with ongoing lawsuits in Europe and the US, but have now settled all pending patent litigation between them.
Nokia and HTC have decided to bury the patent hatchet and spar no more in courts throughout the world after the two...

The companies didn't disclose too many details of the deal, but did say that HTC would be making payments to Nokia and that the collaboration would involve HTC's LTE patent portfolio. The newly minted chums are also planning to "explore future technology collaboration opportunities".

"Nokia has one of the most pre-eminent patent portfolios in the industry," said HTC general counsel Grace Lei in a canned statement.

"As an industry pioneer in smartphones with a strong patent portfolio, HTC is pleased to come to this agreement, which will enable us to stay focused on innovation for consumers," Lei added.

"We are very pleased to have reached a settlement and collaboration agreement with HTC, which is a long standing licensee for Nokia's standards-essential patents," said Paul Melin, chief intellectual property officer at Nokia.

It's beginning to seem like a mild peace has broken out on some of the smaller patent fronts, with Google and Cisco signing on the dotted line recently and Google also agreeing to cross-license with Android buddy Samsung, while Samsung has made up with Ericsson as well.

It remains to be seen if the patent war superpowers – Apple and Samsung – will be able to come to any kind of arrangement when they're forced into talking to each other in court-mandated mediation some time this month.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mercedes-Benz moves R-Class output to AM General

Mercedes-Benz has made a deal with AM General, a contract builder probably best known for having made the Army's Humvees a generation ago, to produce its big R-Class utility vehicle.

The move will free up space at Mercedes' Tuscaloosa, Ala., plant for production of the new GLE coupe, and M and GL-Class models, the German automaker said Tuesday.
Mercedes-Benz has made a deal with AM General, a contract builder probably best known for having made...

R-Class production will begin at AM General's plant in Mishawaka, Ind., this summer. The R class is sold in the Chinese market only. Launched in early 2005, Mercedes-Benz stopped selling it in the U.S. in 2012.

"With the introduction of the new GLE Coupé and the ongoing strong demand for SUVs, Tuscaloosa needs all available production capacities for this segment," said Jason Hoff, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International.

AM General, formerly a subsidiary of American Motors, has experience as a contract manufacturer. The company began design work in 1979 on the Humvee, a military off-road vehicle. In 1992, AM General began production of civilian versions of the Humvee, the Hummer.

In December 1999, AM General and General Motors agreed to cooperate on marketing and distribution opportunities for the Hummer. GM acquired the Hummer brand.

In 2010, GM dismantled the Hummer brand, after inventory dwindled and Hummer dealerships began closing. The last Hummer H3 was assembled in Shreveport, La., on May 24, 2010.

AM General's Mobility Ventures designs and produces the MV-1, a universally accessible vehicle for handicapped people and paratransit fleets. The plant is able to make 70,000 vehicles a year, including the additional R-Class production, said AM General spokesman Jeff Adams.

"AM General is pleased to have been selected by Mercedes-Benz to build this vehicle at our world-class commercial vehicle facility in Mishawaka. We look forward to a long term relationship with Mercedes and expanding our services to the U.S. and global auto industry," said Charlie Hall, President and CEO of AM General.

Apple launches bug-fixing iOS 8.1.3

The latest update to iOS 8 reduces the amount of space needed to install an update and squashes a number of bugs.

 Apple rolled out an update to iOS 8 that resolves bugs and paves the way to a smoother updating experience.
The latest update to iOS 8 reduces the amount of space needed to install an update and squashes a number of bugs.

Launched on Tuesday, iOS 8.1.3 fixes programming glitches that prevented users from entering their Apple ID password for Messages and FaceTime, caused the Spotlight search feature to stop showing app results and prevented multitasking gestures from working on the iPad.

Perhaps the biggest improvement, however, is that iOS 8.1.3 reduces the amount of storage needed to perform the update itself. Previously, users needed at least 5.7GB of free space to store and install the latest version. The update reduces the amount of space required, but the release notes for iOS 8.1.3 did not specify the new amount. Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.

Adoption of iOS 8 has been sluggish. Stats from Apple's App Store Distribution page show a relatively slow uptake of the new version over the past several months, from 14 percent in September to 69 percent last week. Though that growth rate may not sound bad, it's been slower than the adoption rate for iOS 7 over the same time frame.

Since its debut in September, the latest version of Apple's mobile OS has bumped into a variety of technical hurdles. The initial version of 8.0 came with a few bugs that Apple tried to fix a week later with iOS 8.0.1. But version 8.0.1 introduced even more bugs, prompting Apple to quickly pull it and launch 8.0.2. Further enhancements and bug fixes came courtesy of iOS 8.1 on October 20 and iOS 8.1.2 on December 19.

The various bugs may have shied iOS users away from upgrading to iOS 8, but the high storage capacity needed to update certainly prevented many from upgrading. Now, with a smaller space requirement, more people may decide to take the plunge to iOS 8, courtesy of version 8.1.3.

Twitter adds video and group direct messages

Mobile users will be able to tweet video straight from the app and send DMs to more than one person.

Twitter will allow users to post video from within its apps, and to send direct messages to a group of people.
Mobile users will be able to tweet video straight from the app and send DMs to more than one person.

Video and group DMs were both part of a range of new features announced in November, which have started to arrive on the service.

The long-rumoured video tool allows users to capture, edit and share video from within the mobile apps. Just as you can now click on a camera and take a picture before posting it directly to Twitter, an update will allow you to do the same with video.

Uploaded videos will then be hosted within the tweet. They will be previewed as a thumbnail and users can start watching by tapping on them.

Users can also upload videos from the camera roll on iOS. Android users will be given the same feature soon, Twitter said.

Videos can be a maximum of 30 seconds long.

The tool has already been in use for some celebrity and brand accounts, and shows how the embedded videos will work.

Group DMs will allow for conversations with multiple people using the direct messaging feature, which allows users to send private messages to any user that follows them. Users can choose which accounts they want to add to a group chat, which will then send a notification to all of that have been selected.

Twitter has been gradually improving its direct messaging feature. Another of the improvements mentioned in the November announcement, the ability to share a tweet within direct messages, has already been released.

Both features will be rolled out in the coming days. But all users will be able to see direct messages and posted videos straight away.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How the iPad Went From Massive to ‘Meh’ in 5 Short Years

Five years ago today, Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in a keynote where he spent a lot of time sitting on a couch. The audience went wild, but out in the rest of the world, not everyone stood up and cheered.

Just after the big reveal, WIRED polled its readers to find out how they felt about this new giant iPhone without the phone. About 60 percent said they didn’t plan on buying one, mainly because their laptops and smartphones already had them covered. They didn’t need a third thing in between.
Five years ago today, Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in a keynote where he spent a lot of time sitting on a couch. The audience went wild, but out in the rest of the world

Pundits said much the same thing. “The iPad falls between two stools—not quite a laptop, not quite a smartphone,” Charlie Brooker wrote in The Guardian. “In other words, it’s the spork of the electronic consumer goods world.”

Apple ended up selling a lot of sporks. But, funny thing, that early, skeptical reception to the iPad was just ahead of its time. In the end, you really just need the spoon and the fork.

Still, the genius of the iPad, and the reason for its massive popularity, was that Apple realized it didn’t have to make a device that people needed. It just had to make something they would want. Later in his piece, which published the weekend after Jobs’ 2010 keynote, Brooker distilled the brilliant mundanity of the iPad down to its essence. “It looks ideal for idly browsing the web while watching telly. And I suspect that’s what it’ll largely be used for,” he said. “Millions of people watch TV while checking their emails: it’s a perfect match for them.”
Effortless Leisure

Early ads played heavily on the idea of the iPad as a device for leisure. In one billboard I saw every day for weeks on my walk to work, an iPad sat atop an anonymous lap in fashionable pants. It was a vision of computing not as a productive activity—hunched over a laptop, gripping a smartphone on the way to the next meeting—but as an unapologetic form of relaxation. Even if you were using the iPad for work, Apple marketers and the design of the device itself suggested you were getting things done in a way that was relaxed, even effortless.

“Effortless” definitely describes how easy it seemed for Apple to sell iPads in those early days. Quarter after quarter, iPad sales doubled and sometimes nearly tripled compared to the same time a year earlier. By its second full year on sale, the number of iPads sold hit the double-digit millions every quarter—more than 58 million total in Apple’s fiscal 2012. This thing that didn’t have a clear reason to be had found its way into laps all over the world, seemingly inventing a whole new category of computing in the process.
Apple hasn’t figured out many new things to do with the iPad to bring back the old excitement.

But then a funny thing happened. The number of laps seeking iPads started to get smaller. The first decline came in the third quarter of 2013, when iPad sales fell from just over 17 million a year earlier to a little more than 14.6 million. At the time, the absence of a new flagship model was blamed. But then the falloff continued.

After a record 26 million iPads sold at the beginning of 2014, the next three quarters saw sales drop. To be sure, Apple is still selling a ton of iPads—about 68 million in its last fiscal year. The issue isn’t people don’t want iPads. It’s just that people don’t want them in increasing numbers anymore. “Apple’s wildly successful iPad is plateauing,” as Forrester’s James McQuivey put it.

And the reason isn’t hard to figure out. It’s basically what WIRED readers pointed out way back in 2010. Smartphones and laptops pretty much already do all the stuff you would use an iPad for. Except they didn’t as much back then.
Thinning Interest

The most obvious change is the incredibly expanding smartphone screen. Apple held out as long as it could as Android-based competitors kept making screens bigger, and consumers kept responding. But now with the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple has phone that is itself almost big enough to set in your lap. At the same time, laptops—especially Apple’s—kept getting thinner and lighter, encroaching on the iPad’s key selling points in the process.

Apple still sells way more iPads than it does Macs. But Mac sales are on the rise. And the Apple rumor mill is saying the next MacBook Air will be the most iPad-ish yet.

At the same time, Apple hasn’t figured out many new things to do with the iPad to bring back the old excitement. During the October keynote to launch the latest model, Apple executives gushed and gushed and gushed about how *thin* the new iPad was. And it is! The iPad Air 2 is thin, elegant, and so light it just might float right off your lap. But the drama is gone.

The iPad is nice. You might still hang out together sometimes on the couch. But when you’re done, you probably just put it down on the pile with all the magazines and mail and other stuff stacking up on the coffee table. It’s just another way to waste a little time.

Microsoft and HTC are M8s again: New One mobe sports WinPhone

HTC has launched an M8 phone running Microsoft's latest Windows Phone OS – but only in the US and only for the Verizon network.

"Consumers love the HTC One (M8) and today's introduction extends that enthusiasm to new audiences hungry for choice in their mobile experience," said Jason Mackenzie, President of HTC Americas in a canned statement.
HTC has launched an M8 phone running Microsoft's latest Windows Phone OS – but only in the US and only for...

The new Windows Phone M8 has almost exactly the same hardware [PDF] as the Android version unveiled in March: a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 chip from Qualcomm, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage – minus the 8GB required for the Redmond operating system.

Engineers from HTC and Microsoft have collaborated to get the latest build of the OS on the handset, so users will get Windows 8.1 with the Cortana personal assistant, which is a first for HTC. The handset has a promotional price of $99.99, and people who buy through the Microsoft store get a $25 case and screen protector thrown in for free.

"The HTC One (M8) for Windows is true to the flagship product's award-winning design and unique experience while also taking the best of what Windows Phone has to offer," said Darren Laybourn, VP of engineering for Microsoft. "We succeeded in offering customers the best of both our worlds with this phone."

Well, kind of. The device is only available in North America, exclusively from Verizon – although you can use it internationally as it supports various LTE, HSPA+, GSM/EDGE and CDMA radio bands.

Overall, this could be a sign that there has been something of a rapprochement between HTC and Microsoft. The firms used to be joined at the hip after Microsoft dumped (some would say screwed over) the British smartphone maker Sendo, which built the first working Windows smartphone in 2002.

After that, HTC was the premier Windows phone vendor, but in the last few years the Taiwanese firm has been concentrating more on Android devices – in part because they are more popular but also due to Microsoft's close partnership with, and eventual ownership of, Nokia's handset cranking biz.

So is this a sign that HTC and Microsoft are back in bed together? Probably not if this phone is anything to go by. The new M8 is on a very limited release even though HTC probably got a big subsidy from Microsoft to produce it.

But it is a sign that Redmond is doing whatever it can to raise Windows Phone above minnow status in the smartphone OS pool. It'll take more than the HTC deal to achieve this – developers are just as important – but Microsoft hasn't given up on its phone OS just yet.

Skype vs. Tango vs. Viber Free Download – Is Skype losing its Global Client Base?

Skype began operations more than a decade ago and as of now, this Microsoft-owned giant voice calling app has managed to amass more than 750 million active users across the globe.
Skype began operations more than a decade ago and as of now, this Microsoft-owned giant voice...

On the other hand, Tango is a relatively new player in this big and highly competitive industry and as it seems, this application has made its clear intentions of becoming a mainstay in this industry.

Skype is a top VoIP app and it has been there for the past decade, without facing any serious challenger. However, things have begun taking a twist and a field that was once dominated by Skype is now being entered by an array of applications that are giving Skype a run for its money. While Skype is best known for its quality when it comes to offering users with free video calls, Tango has emerged as a serious competitor for Skype in this niche, thanks to the similarly high quality free video calls it offers its users.

With the stiff competition Skype is facing in the free video calling niche, it is left with the free voice calling niche to turn around its fortunes. However, this niche is also being “attacked” by Viber, which is also proving to be a best fit when it comes to quality free voice calls over the web. So, what is it going to be for Skype? Is it really losing its global popularity to these two apps, Tango and Viber, or is it just another of those tough times that will soon be overcome with newer features and services from Skype? Here’s a look at these three apps from a closer range.
Skype began operations more than a decade ago and as of now, this Microsoft-owned giant voice....


Tango is a free to download and use app that can be found on the official Google Play Store, iTunes App Store and Microsoft’s official page. With more than 250 million users across the globe, this app is proving to be a real threat to Skype with its amazing quality when talking about free video calls. The video calling niche is one of the holding pillars of Skype and with it being eaten away slowly by Tango, it remains to be seen what step Skype will take next to curb this situation.

One thing that is clearly still in favor of Skype in this niche is the brand name it has in itself and its owner, Microsoft. Furthermore, Skype has the financial power to include some of the best features in this segment of video calling and it is expected to keep doing what it does best with free video calls. Skype can be used to make affordable video calls to non-Skype users, a feature that is yet to be availed on Tango, thus making Skype far much suited than Tango.


Viber is the app that is moderately eating away the voice calling client base of Skype thanks to the high quality of calls it offers its users. What has made this app such popular are the lightweight nature, simple UI and ease of registration it presents users with. The latter case is what has dominated the highlights where only a mobile number is used to create an account. While Skype users will be required to provide a username and password they created during sign up when logging in, there is nothing like logging in when using Viber.

Kobe Bryant to have shoulder surgery

Kobe Bryant will have surgery Wednesday on his torn right rotator cuff, likely ending his 19th season with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant seriously aggravated a lingering shoulder ache while dunking last week in New Orleans. The star guard and the Lakers decided Monday on surgery, which typically requires several months of rehabilitation.
Kobe Bryant will have surgery Wednesday on his torn right rotator cuff, likely ending his 19th season...

The Lakers will announce a timetable for Bryant's recovery after surgery, but coach Byron Scott anticipates losing the third-leading scorer in NBA history for the rest of the year.

"Kobe is probably not going to play" again this season, Scott said.

"We all know how tough he is," Scott added after Monday's practice. "He's a trooper, so we pray for him that his return will be sooner rather than later."

The 36-year-old Bryant's torn rotator cuff is likely his third straight season-ending injury. He missed the 2013 playoffs with a torn Achilles tendon, and he played just six games last season before breaking a bone near his left knee. His famously resilient body has finally worn down from the accumulated grind of nearly two decades and several lengthy postseasons with the Lakers, including five NBA title runs.

After returning at nearly full strength in training camp, Bryant sat out eight games to rest in the past month and played on a strict minutes limit. He still dealt with assorted aches and setbacks before he injured his shoulder.

Bryant met with Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic on Monday, determining his injury's extent and deciding on surgery. He is averaging 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 35 games this season, but shooting a career-worst 37.3 percent in a wildly inconsistent season.

The Lakers reacted to the news with disappointment and respect for Bryant, who was selected to the All-Star Game for the 17th time last week.

"Kobe is a warrior," Lakers forward Carlos Boozer said. "He's strong, and he's going to attack rehab like he always has."

The Lakers also discouraged speculation that Bryant's career might be over. He is the NBA's highest-paid player at $23.5 million this season, and he is under contract for $25 million next year.

"I think he's done everything that you can possibly do in this league, and I think at times, we don't appreciate all the stuff that he's been able to accomplish," Scott said. "I don't think we appreciate how tough he is, all the injuries and other things that he's played with, to be able to come back the way that he's come back. I don't see Kobe as the type of guy that wants to leave his legacy on [these] terms. I think he wants to go out on his own terms. We'll just have to wait and see."

The Lakers (12-33) are in the midst of another aimless season, losing eight straight heading into Tuesday's visit from Washington. The 16-time NBA champion franchise is almost certain to miss the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1976.

The Lakers also owe a first-round draft pick to the Phoenix Suns to complete their disastrous trade for Steve Nash, who played just 65 games in the past three years and never suited up this season. But Los Angeles will keep the pick this summer if it lands in the top five, providing ample incentive for fans to hope the Lakers' collapse is total.

Bryant wasn't at the Lakers' training complex Monday, and he didn't attend their loss to Houston on Sunday night. Scott plans to speak with Bryant throughout the week to see what he's thinking about his future, but he hopes Bryant isn't ready to quit.

"With the Achilles last year, everybody said he was done," Scott said. "He came back and I think the first month of the season, he proved to everybody that he still has a lot left in the tank. I think he still has that hunger and that competitive nature to come out and prove it again. After the surgery, I'll talk to him and see how it is. We'll talk and we'll go from there."

Monday, January 26, 2015

3 California hotels among Gayot's 10 best new hotels of 2014

3 California hotels among Gayot's 10 best new...

The quirky Wayfarer hostel in Santa Barbara and much acclaimed Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles have been cited as two of Gayot's 10 top new hotels in the U.S., according to the guide's website.

Gayot took stock of newcomers in 2014 and ranked those worthy of a tryout. The boutique Kinzie Hotel in Chicago takes the top spot for its location and Chicago map murals on the guestroom walls, according to Gayot's website.
The quirky Wayfarer hostel in Santa Barbara and much acclaimed Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles have been cited as two of Gayot's 10 top new hotels in the U.S.

Five of the 10 are in the West, and the New York City area and Florida claim two each.

The Wayfarer is the guide's budget pick for 2014. You can get a private or dorm-style room with "free breakfast, a terrific pool and a community kitchen worthy of the most discerning gourmet chef," Gayot says.

It's pretty hard to beat the sheer beauty of the 1927 United Artists building that Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles took over. The ornate theater, the Chapter restaurant and the rooftop pool put the hotel at No. 3. (Gayout liked the in-room acoustic Martin guitars too.)

Here's Gayot's list of newcomers:

1. Kinzie Hotel, Chicago

2. The Crawford Hotel, Denver

3. Ace Hotel Downtown L.A.

4. The Wayfarer, Santa Barbara

5. The Epiphany, Palo Alto, Calif.

6. Metropolitan by Como, Miami Beach, Fla.

7. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, Fla.

8. The Cromwell in Las Vegas

9. Park Hyatt New York in New York City

10. The Paper Factory in Long Island City, N.Y.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

LA Galaxy welcome back familiar face Edson Buddle for preseason training stint

Dealing with personnel changes is a major part of any preseason training camp and it was no different for the defending MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy when they took the field for the first time on Friday.
Dealing with personnel changes is a major part of any preseason training camp and it was no different...

Gone are familiar faces like MLS scoring king Landon Donovan (retirement) and tenacious midfielder Marcelo Sarvas (trade to Colorado Rapids) leaving the club to search for replacements ahead of the 2015 season. But even though both players were major contributors a year ago, the Galaxy are confident that they won’t miss a beat heading in their quest to repeat as MLS Cup champions.

“I’m sure that we’ll see later in the preseason if we’ll really miss them,” said defender A.J. DeLaGarza. “They were two of the best players in the entire league last season, so we’ll sure miss them but we have guys who can step up who came off the bench [in 2014] and did well.

“Then we have [Steven] Gerrard coming in midway through the season who is pretty good himself. Hopefully there isn’t too much of a drop off and we can do better than we did last year.”

Amid all departures, there was one familiar face present on Friday who may be making his return to StubHub Center. Forward Edson Buddle who spent four years with the club from 2007-2010 and then again in 2012 was among five non-draftees joining the club in preseason looking to earn a contract.

After departing the Galaxy following the 2012 season, Buddle spent two difficult years with the Colorado Rapids where he made just 42 appearances, scoring seven goals and four assists. Although his numbers in Colorado were a far cry from his mercurial 2010 season that saw him score 17 goals en route to a place on the U.S. World Cup squad, LA believe that they can fit Buddle into their squad.

“We know Edson,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “He’s a good player and he’s a player that we hope that we can fit into our team”

Added Todd Dunivant, “It was a pleasant surprise [to see him here]. He’d be a great pick up if he works out and he’s obviously motivated. I’ve been Edson’s teammate now for years and know what he can bring.”

Even though Buddle went through some struggles in Colorado, his longtime teammate A.J. DeLaGarza is confident that he could find his scoring touch once more with the Galaxy.

“He’s another goal scorer in this league who is proven and I’m sure that there’s no other place that he’d rather be than here. I’m sure that he’s going to come out here and give it everything he has,” said DeLaGarza. “For a big man, he’s got good feet, he’s strong and can hold up the ball, but he’s also got pace. But he’s a goal scorer and is someone that can give us quality minutes.”

LG smartphone sales surged 25% in 2014, thanks in part to the success of LG G3

LG Electronics Inc. plays second fiddle to Samsung, its big brother in South Korea, but that hasn’t stopped the company from putting its stamp on the smartphone market. According to industry sources, LG’s smartphone sales grew more than 25 percent year-over-year in 2014, thanks in part to the success of the LG G3.
LG Electronics Inc. plays second fiddle to Samsung, its big brother in South Korea, but that hasn’t stopped the company ...

In 2014, the No. 2 tech company in South Korea shipped an estimated 59.6 million smartphone units, up 25.2 percent from the 47.6 million smartphone units shipped in 2013, according to sources speaking to The Korea Herald. LG, which entered the smartphone market in 2009, shipped 20 million smartphone units in 2011 and 26.3 million units in 2012, according to data from Strategy Analytics.

In the first half of 2014, LG announced that it sold a record-breaking 14.5 million smartphone units, a 20 percent year-over-year increase. The company credits the LG G3’s success in South Korea.

The article notes that industry watchers attribute LG’s strong smartphone sales in 2014 to the popularity of the G line of phones, which includes the G3, the G3 Stylus and the G3 Beat. Another reason for the company’s stellar year was the release of the LG Wine Smart, a flip phone with buttons connecting users directly to popular messaging platform KakaoTalk.

Despite the banner year, LG trails China-based Huawei Technologies Co. and Xiaomi Inc. However, the forecast for 2015 looks favorable for LG: “As Xiaomi and other Chinese players will see slowed earnings in the first half of this year, LG’s smartphone shares and profitability will improve,” an industry insider told The Korea Herald.

LG’s next major smartphone act features the curved G Flex 2, which is set to launch in South Korea on Jan. 30, with availability in the U.S. to come at an unspecified date. The LG G4 is expected to debut in May.

Lamborghini Egoista: now on display

Lamborghini wrapped up its extensive 50th anniversary celebrations last year - which took in a 350-car hotride around Italy - with the reveal of a one-off, single seater Gallardo concept.

That car is called the Lamborghini Egoista. The Lamborghini Egoista is an anti-radar material packed bizarro, and is available for permanent public viewing at the Lamborghini museum.
Lamborghini wrapped up its extensive 50th anniversary celebrations last year - which took in a 350-car hotride around Italy...

Yes, that means you lot out there can go and look at it; touch it, smell it.

If you're still sat there reading these words and not dashing off to Sant'Agata on the first chariot out*, then you might like to know about the Egoista. Based on the Gallardo and packing a modified version of its 5.2-litre V10, it produces a nice round 600bhp.

That exterior though, woah. It takes cues from an Apache helicopter, with side flanks designed so as to represent a ‘bull preparing to charge, horns lowered'. There's no aero on top, but flaps in the bodywork that open or close automatically depending on driving conditions.

It's all made of carbon fibre, aluminium and aeronautical-spec anti-radar material, with a single seat, racing harness and head-up display. It'll go in display first in the Lamborghini showroom, and then the museum.

So, would you mind telling us what you're still doing there reading this? GO GO GO!

Jordan Clarkson revels in first start with Lakers

Friday night marked just another Lakers loss, unless you were the father-son combo of Mike and Jordan Clarkson.

Jordan earned his first NBA start 44 games into his rookie season and delivered solid results — 11 points and four assists with only one turnover in 29 minutes — against one of the league's top point guards, San Antonio's Tony Parker.
Friday night marked just another Lakers loss, unless you were the father-son combo of Mike and Jordan Clarkson.

It meant just as much to Mike Clarkson, diagnosed last year with a rare form of cancer in his lower back, but there at AT&T Center to see his son's first legitimate NBA steps.

"When I heard he was starting, I can't even tell you the feeling because I've never had that feeling before," said Mike Clarkson, who raised Jordan in San Antonio and was on hand for all his games at nearby Wagner High.

Jordan was selected 46th overall in June, his draft stock dropping because of a scoring slump the second half of his junior season at Missouri. It directly coincided with the news of his father's diagnosis.

Mike's cancer has since diminished greatly, reduced to only a handful of satellite cells that doctors continue to observe.

Jordan is a get-back-to-work type who eventually revealed some inner exuberance after his debut as a starter.

"Hopefully, I'm going to be in the league for 10, 15 years and I can look back and say my first start was at home," Clarkson said. "That's always going to be cool."

Lakers Coach Byron Scott didn't think it would be easy for Clarkson against the defending NBA champions, who won, 99-84.

But Clarkson scored in the first quarter on a 19-foot pull-up jump shot, a fastbreak layup, and with Tim Duncan lingering in the paint, a four-foot shot after creating space with a quick curl under the basket.

Clarkson made a reverse layup after weaving through traffic in the second quarter and also found Carlos Boozer for an easy fastbreak layup.

Later in the game, he led a fastbreak, drew a foul on Manu Ginobili, and made the layup and free throw.

"We already knew he had the burst. The thing with Jordan was to get him to slow down," Scott said. "With his speed, he should have three gears. He should be like half speed, then three-quarters and then put that burst when he really needs to get by people.

"I thought he showed some maturity [Friday] as far as slowing his game down and then when he needed it, he was able to put the jets on."

Clarkson's success against the Spurs kept Jeremy Lin on the bench as a DNP-CD for the first time in nearly three years.

At the very least, Clarkson's play was early validation for the Lakers spending $1.8 million to buy Washington's second-round draft pick in June. They eagerly selected Clarkson with it.

Top Gear drives the 520bhp Audi A3

It might look like a mildly enraged A3 saloon with big, kerbable, fancy alloy wheels and some deft detailing. But it's not. This is the A3 Clubsport Quattro, and it's Audi's Crystal Ball of RS. It's also bloody mad.

You mentioned RS. I'm interested.

Thought you might be. It's the A3 Clubsport Quattro concept, built for the enthusiastic crowd of the annual Worthersee tuning event, and packing so many horsepowers you wonder if Audi has any left to spare for its other cars.
It might look like a mildly enraged A3 saloon with big, kerbable, fancy alloy wheels and some deft detailing.

How many horsepowers?

520bhp. In any sane universe, a small, Audi saloon with nearly as much power as a V10 R8 supercar surely signals the collapse of civilisation and the coming of the Four Horsemen. And yet in this application, it sort of works.

Before we get to that, some technical information. Under all the paint and bling, this is the new A3 saloon, which means the new MQB platform and all the weight-saving goodness that brings with it. Into this chassis is fitted Audi's venerable and now five-time International Engine of the Year winner (in the 2.0-litre to 2.5-litre class) 2.5-litre turbo. Then, it all goes a bit Looney Tunes.

Though at heart the same engine you'll find in the Audi RS Q3, here it gets a much larger turbocharger with the capacity to pump out 1.5 bar of boost, a better, modified intercooler, a modified camshaft, a new intake and exhaust system and remapped ECU. Mention is made of the firing sequence - 1-2-4-5-3 - which gives the engine that distinctive RS snarl, and it's been hooked up to a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox and quattro all-wheel-drive. Obviously.

So is it fast?

You're better off asking what flavour you prefer your windows. The car has a specific output of 208bhp per litre, pushes out an impressive 443lb ft of torque, and because it weighs just 1527kg, boasts a power to weight ratio of 339bhp per tonne.

0-62mph? You're looking at 3.6 seconds, which makes it faster than the RS6. Top speed? 192mph. One hundred and ninety two miles per hour in a car a whisker fatter than a VW Golf.

So what's it like?

Our time was limited to a few hot laps and some standing-start bursts of acceleration, so it all came in a blur. Plus we had the head of Quattro on board too - Heinz Hollerweger - so the impetus to not end up in a tree with a senior Audi director on board was paramount.

From a standstill, you bury your right foot on the Clubsport's throttle and wait for everything to spool up and hook together. There's nothing. Then nothing. Then a little more nothing. Then, around 2,300rpm, everything goes ballistic. That monster turbo wakes up and punts you down the road with such savagery, you need to keep a steady eye on your surroundings. Lest you become part of them.

It's a laggy thing, in a magnificently old-school way. And we kind of admire its honesty. Big turbo, big power, lots of lag, lots of speed. As expected, keep the revs in the cooking zone - between 2,300rpm and 6,000rpm - and you'll experience an addictive and impressive turn of pace.

It sounds magnificent too; a snarly, hard-edged metallic noise that evokes enough ancient RS memory to confirm its bloodline. Sounds better on the outside than in, mind. In fact, inside, it doesn't shake and vibrate and threaten to break free from the chassis, as a concept really should. There's some noise, and then lots of speed. It just feels incredibly well bolted together.

What about its handling?

A few laps aren't enough to exploit this A3's potential, but it's very much a point-and-squirt kind of car. As long as you're in the right rev range, this thing accelerates out of bends with spite. The steering feels commendably hefty (you'll still want to feel something more, though), and turns in sharply and cleanly enough.

It's even possible to get that back end moving, which makes the Clubsport actually a bit of fun to properly throw around. Weight distribution is 57:43 front to rear.

Obviously, on a buttery smooth test track, the ride's harshness was impossible to tell, but 21-inch wheels, a 10mm drop in ride height and racing coilover suspension would suggest the need to exercise caution over distressed tarmac.

The brakes, meanwhile - huge 370mm ceramics up front - are immense. Get them up to temp and you can absolutely stamp on them to your heart's content.

And it looks good, right?

Agreed. Those flared arches - a la RS4 - and bolstered CFRP side sills give it a bruiser's touch. Then there are the silver mirrors, front and rear diffusers (for better airflow), that rear spoiler that doubles as a functioning air-brake (when travelling at speeds over 50mph), single-frame front grille, and round fuel cover. Inside it's pure A3, which is to say, wonderfully finished with a bulletproof dash and instruments.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Kia Motors recalls nearly 87,000 Forte sedans in U.S. due to fire risk

Kia Motors is recalling 86,880 Forte sedans in the United States because a cooling fan resistor may overheat and melt, increasing the risk of a fire, according to documents filed by U.S. auto safety regulators.
Kia Motors is recalling 86,880 Forte sedans in the United States because a cooling fan resistor may overheat and melt...

The recall involves certain model year 2014 Forte compact sedans and is expected to begin on Feb. 24, according to documents on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

Dealers will replace the cooling fan resistor and multifuse unit in the recalled cars, and owners of vehicles with a 1.8 liter engine will also have the engine control unit software updated, the documents said.

The South Korean automaker reported several incidents of engine fires that could be linked to the resistor but no accidents or injuries, the documents said.

A Kia Motors representative was not immediately available for comment.

Hip Hop Week In Review: 50 Cent, Lupe Fiasco, Birdman

50 Cent says a boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao is "not going to happen" and Birdman deals with the aftermath of Lil Wayne's Cash Money diss.

This week's headlines were dominated by a trio of big album releases on Tuesday, January 20 with Lil Wayne's mixtape in particular making news for a series of Cash Money disses early in the tracklist. 50 Cent also spoke out about the possibility of a blockbuster boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, saying outright, "That's not going to happen."
50 Cent says a boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao is "not going to happen" and Birdman...

Elsewhere, hackers claimed responsibility for Atlantic Records giving fans a release date for Lupe's new album.

50 Cent Says Mayweather Vs. Pacquiao Fight Won't Happen

After news surfaced that Manny Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum had agreed to a possible fight with Floyd Mayweather, G-Unit founder 50 Cent spoke out and predicted that it won't happen.

“That’s not going to happen," 50 Cent told Techno Buffalo. "You heard me say it on film. It’s not going to happen."

50 believes that Floyd is in a favorable position and can practically choose to fight anyone he wants. Reports have surfaced online stating that Mayweather may not fight Pacquiao. The undefeated champion may select a rematch with Miguel Cotto instead.

“What you wanna fight Pac-Man for under those circumstances when you can pick anybody you want to?" 50 asks within the clip. "Cause we wanna see the toughest fight?"

Hackers Claim Responsibility For Lupe Fiasco Release Date

With Lupe Fiasco's fifth album finally released after a series of delays earlier this week, some fans may recall that the Atlantic Records emcee has a group of hackers to thank for the drop.

Back in October, Hackers of the Operation Free Lupe division of Anonymous claimed responsibility for Atlantic Records tweeting a release date for the Tetsuo & Youth album.

On October 14, TheAnonMessage tweeted, "@AtlanticRecords: You have 24 hours to present a statement announcing the immediate release of @LupeFiasco's album.”

Atlantic replied with the release date, to which Lupe tweeted “V.”

The following day, TheAnonMessage tweeted, "Damn, we wanted to test that website crasher though.”

Birdman Reportedly Frustrated With Lil Wayne After Cash Money Diss

With an obvious diss for Cash Money appearing early on Lil Wayne's new mixtape, Birdman is reportedly now angry with his label's star.

According to TMZ, Birdman is annoyed because of the choice words Lil Wayne raps on the cut regarding his current label situation with Cash Money.

“Our sources say Birdman is angry on 2 fronts … that Wayne is trying to bail on a binding contract and even more personal, he's putting their relationship on blast,” TMZ says.

“The mogul won't budge and will only release the album on his terms," the article adds. "And he will fight Wayne if he sues to get out of his contract.”

The report also states that Birdman “will not voluntarily release the rapper from Cash Money.”

Apple Paid Tim Cook $9.2 Million Last Year

Ever wonder how much one makes as the head of Apple?

Good news! Since Apple is a public company, that’s public information. They updated their charts for last year just this morning.
Ever wonder how much one makes as the head of Apple?

Here’s how it all broke down in 2014:

    Tim Cook took in $9.2 million in 2014 — $1.7 million of that as salary, $6.7 million as non-equity compensation (that is, money he makes based on how the company performs). That’s over double what he made in 2013, which was roughly $4.2 million.
    Newcomer Angela Ahrendts, hired away from Burberry to lead Apple’s retail strategy, earned $73 million. The very vast majority of that ($70 million) was in stock.
    CFO Peter Oppenheimer earned $4.5 million before retiring in September. This was about double his 2013 compensation.
    Oppenheimer’s replacement, Luca Maestri, earned $14 million — about $13 million of which was stock and bonuses.
    iTunes/App Store/Apple Pay/Siri/Apple Maps/iCloud-boss Eddy Cue earned $24. million, $20 million of which was stock. This is about 12x his 2013 compensation.
    Supply chain head (SVP of Operations) Jeff Williams earned $24 million, $20 million of which was stock.

This doesn’t factor in any net worth gained on Apple stock each exec already owned — and given that Apple stock did nothing but climb in 2014, that’s likely a huge chunk of cash in its own right.

BMW Readies 3-series Midcycle Updates

BMW is getting ready to implement a midcycle facelift for its current, F30 3-series. Part of the 2016 update will be new engine options, according to the website The 3-series will receive a plug-in-hybrid version with a four-cylinder gasoline engine, and the 3.0-liter 335i will be replaced by the 340i, which features a new six-cylinder turbo of the same displacement.
BMW is getting ready to implement a midcycle facelift for its current, F30 3-series...

The plug-in hybrid, likely to be called 328e, will use a four-cylinder turbo and an electric motor. Combined output is 180 horsepower and 236 lb-ft, distilled through an eight-speed automatic; the hybrid also offers a 22-mile electric range. The model replaces the current ActiveHybrid 3, which is fitted with a powerful straight-six and an electric motor. (As for the new hybrid, its “e” designation reminds us of the mid-1980s “eta” engines.)

The 340i gets the new, modular 3.0-liter straight-six, code-named B58. It replaces the 335i, with its 300-hp N55 engine. We expect a power boost of about 20 horsepower, and we’re told that the B58 sounds better than the somewhat disappointing N55. The model designation 340i, of course, borders on the ludicrous. This is not a four-liter V-8, and it doesn’t come close to the power output of a modern V-8, either.

As to the M3, it will receive just a few minor upgrades reflecting parts of the facelift of the 3-series. Look for upgraded lighting units, but beyond that, we believe the styling of the M3 won’t change. The website says that BMW is considering a competition package. We hear that further down the road, BMW is mulling a three-cylinder for the entry-level version of the 3-series. That’s not part of this update, and we don’t expect it to come to the U.S. any time soon.

The Top 10 Most Popular Hip Hop Singles Of The Week: Eminem, Lil Wayne, Joey Bada$$

Shady Records releases a video for "Detroit Vs. Everybody" and Lil Wayne disses Cash Money Records.

Earlier this week fans got a trifecta of albums from Joey Bada$$, Lupe Fiasco, and Lil Wayne on the same day. Joey Bada$$ spent much of the week promoting his debut, stopping by Sway in the Morning and giving fans a peek at his first experience with virtual reality. Lil Wayne's mixtape also confirmed speculations about his current beef with Cash Money and Wayne took the occasion to officially diss his long-time label. Late in the week, Shady Records also released a video for the Shady XV lead single "Detroit Vs. Everybody."
Shady Records releases a video for "Detroit Vs. Everybody" and Lil Wayne disses Cash Money Records.

Lower down the list, Chris Brown releases a video for his Kendrick Lamar-featuring X single while Hollow Da Don and Honey Cocaine each drop off new music for fans.

Shady Records Releases Video For "Detroit Vs. Everybody"

Months after the song originally dropped, a video to accompany the Shady XV hit has been released by Eminem and Shady Records. The black-and-white visuals match the gritty track and spotlight each emcee as they spit their respective verses in their shared hometown.

Lil Wayne Disses Cash Money On Sorry 4 The Wait 2

With the release of his latest mixtape meant to tide fans over during the delay of his Carter V album, Lil Wayne takes the first few moments of his new Sorry For The Wait 2 project to confirm his riff with Cash Money Records and diss the label outright.

On the mixtape's first track, a remix of O.T. Genasis'"CoCo," Wayne claims responsibility for Cash Money's ongoing success and alludes to the label throughout: "Tha Carter gon' be late so I cooked up a tape," he says in the intro, "The garden's full of snakes so I had to escape."

Joey Bada$$ Promotes B4.Da.$$

Joey Bada$$'s debut album finally hit shelves earlier this week and the 20-year old emcee has spent the week promoting the release. Appearing alongside Rik Cordero, Joey was filmed using a virtual reality set for the first time and seemed to amuse himself with some adult-themed visuals.

This Week's Top 10

1. Eminem, Royce Da 5'9, Big Sean, Danny Brown, Dej Loaf, & Trick Trick - "Detroit Vs. Everybody"

2. Lil Wayne Disses Cash Money, Nas Reflects On Jay Z Beef

3. Joey Bada$$ Reacting To Virtual Reality For The First Time

4. A$AP Yams Passes Away At 26, Funkmaster Flex Blasts Jay Z On Hot 97

5. Chris Brown feat. Kendrick Lamar - "Autumn Leaves"

6. Eazy E & Bone thugs-n-harmony - 1994 Studio Session Footage

7. Honey Cocaine - "Shady Wit Me"

8. Hollow Da Don - "Yola"

9. Joey Bada$$ Performs "Born Day" On Sway In The Morning

10. The Cash Money Records Breakdown