From GeekWire: Samsung unveils Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus smartphones with improved cameras, repositioned fingerprint reader


Samsung unveiled the latest iteration of its flagship smartphone, debuting the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus on Sunday at Mobile World Congress. The new phones, available March 16, feature improved cameras and a repositioned fingerprint scanner, among other changes. The 12-megapixel camera now has an adjusting aperture, which helps automatically let in more light and can improve photos taken in dark settings. The S9 Plus also features a dual camera lens. The fingerprint scanner is now below the rear camera, instead of to the right, as it was positioned on the S8. Samsung also added new augmented reality tech… Read More

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From GeekWire: Nokia to acquire Unium, will use mesh wireless software to improve in-home WiFi speeds


Nokia today announced that it will acquire Unium, a Seattle-based company that helps improve WiFi speeds via mesh networking technology. The Finnish tech giant plans to integrate Unium’s software into its “end-to-end, whole-home WiFi solution.” The acquisition is part of the company’s new expanded WiFi offering. Nokia has more than 47 million “home gateways installed worldwide.” Founded in 2002, Seattle-based Unium helps improve slow or dead WiFi spots in a home by creating a secure mesh network and recommending optimal locations for devices, ultimately re-routing traffic to provide better wireless internet connections. The company licensed its product to internet service providers and manufacturers… Read More

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From GeekWire: ‘Feeding the spirit, soul and stomach’: Inside Pittsburgh’s famous fish fries and the online map that fuels them


PITTSBURGH — At 5:24 p.m. on the first Friday of Lent, the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church runs out of fish. A disappointed line of Catholics and non-Catholics alike fills the small basement area beneath the picturesque late 19th century church atop the city’s Polish Hill neighborhood. A few file out the door, but many remain, ready to try out some other goodies, such as homemade pierogies or haluska, an Eastern European noodle dish. Others stick around to chat with neighbors, friends and strangers. This same scene takes place at countless churches, fire halls and businesses across the Pittsburgh region;… Read More

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From GeekWire: SnowWorld melts away pain for burn patients, using virtual reality snowballs


In a white, sterilized room in the burn ward of Shriners Hospitals for Children in Galveston, Texas, a physician meticulously removed staples from a teenage boy’s burn. The wound covered more a quarter of his body and would take years of pain therapy to heal. Normally, he would be shouting and squirming with each tug at the bandages, but not that day; his mind was far away from the hospital, immersed in an icy VR tundra called SnowWorld. For more than 20 years, VR pioneers and pain specialists Hunter Hoffman and David Patterson, both researchers at University of Washington, have… Read More

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From GeekWire: Week In Geek Podcast: Tech tangles with politics over net neutrality and government incentives


The tech industry’s entanglements with politics were on full display this week. Washington and other states are fighting the FCC’s net neutrality rollback with new bills and lawsuits, and advocates across the political spectrum are criticizing Amazon’s request for government incentives in its HQ2 search, with some calling it ‘corporate welfare.’ We explore both topics on this episode of the Week In Geek Podcast. Plus, we take a look at the technology behind wireless, over-the-air charging — it’s closer to reality than you might think —  and an app that could help in the battle on the opioid crisis. On the random… Read More

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From GeekWire: Pittsburgh goes to court to keep Amazon HQ2 proposal secret


Pittsburgh officials are pushing back on a ruling demanding the city release its proposal for Amazon’s second headquarters. Late Friday afternoon, the city and Allegheny County appealed a decision by the Pennsylvania open records office that said the Amazon HQ2 bid was a public document and therefore couldn’t be kept secret. The appeals from the county and city claim that the ruling was biased and contained factual errors. The Office of Open Records ruled in favor of Pittsburgh’s WTAE-TV, one of several news organizations that filed right-to-know requests to see Pittsburgh’s proposal for the $5 billion second headquarters that Amazon… Read More

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From GeekWire: Pluto VR launches virtual reality communication app on Valve’s Steam gaming marketplace


Seattle startup Pluto VR has launched its first product. The company focuses on applications for people to communicate within virtual reality, and its technology debuted yesterday in Early Access on Steam. In a press release, the company said its application will run alongside other SteamVR apps to enable virtual face-to-face communications. Pluto VR wants to be the application we use to talk to other people who are also wearing a virtual or augmented reality headset. The four-year-old Seattle startup is developing something like Skype or Facebook Messenger — a communication app that can run on its own, or on top of other experiences — but for virtual… Read More

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From GeekWire: MIT President Rafael Reif believes that tech, science and students can change the world


Can a better understanding of human intelligence make for smarter machines? Rafael Reif thinks so. He’s an internationally renowned electrical engineer, researcher, and professor and for the past five years, he’s served as the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Reif spends a lot of his time thinking about how we better understand the world around us, and now he’s applying that perspective to artificial intelligence with MIT’s Intelligence Quest project. We spoke with Reif about the project on a recent episode of the GeekWire podcast, which you can hear in the player below. But we wanted to know more… Read More

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From GeekWire: Dropbox saved almost $75 million over two years by building its own tech infrastructure


After making the decision to roll its own infrastructure and reduce its dependence on Amazon Web Services, Dropbox reduced its operating costs by $74.6 million over the next two years, the company said in its S-1 statement Friday. Starting in 2015, Dropbox began to move users of its file-storage service away from AWS’s S3 storage service and onto its own custom-designed infrastructure and software, and the cost benefits were immediate. From 2015 to 2016, Dropbox saved $39.5 million in the cost of revenue bucket thanks to the project, which reduced spending on “our third-party datacenter service provider” by $92.5 million… Read More

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