Author Archives: Chris Davies

Writing for R3 Media since 2006, Chris Davies is currently executive editor for SlashGear and Android Community. Based in San Francisco, he's responsible for SlashGear's editorial decisions and covers all forms of consumer technology. You can follow him on Twitter.

Glitch scrubs SpaceX sun-spy satellite launch

Glitch scrubs SpaceX sun-spy satellite launch

SpaceX's plans to launch a new satellite intended to monitor solar wind were scrubbed last-minute on Sunday, though the ambitious rocket start-up isn't to blame. The Falcon 9 rocket should have been SpaceX's fifteenth to launch - and its first deep-space mission - taking a satellite dubbed DSCOVR into orbit for the US government. However, glitches with the Air Force radar system that SpaceX was to use to track the rocket's booster stage meant takeoff was cancelled with less than three minutes to go.

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Curiosity spitting odd findings after Mars dust feast

Curiosity spitting odd findings after Mars dust feast

NASA's Curiosity rover has been busy with its drill again, and analysis of the second sample of Martian rock is already turning up some unexpected conditions back when the red planet supported liquid water. Curiosity put its low-percussion-level drill into play for the first time last week, carving a chunk out of a site known as "Mojave 2" at the base of Mount Sharp, and feeding it in powder form into its Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument. Turns out, even though the analysis isn't finished yet, there are already signs of a surprising amount of jarosite, to a degree that suggests Mars was - at least in parts - a whole lot more acidic than predicted by earlier testing.

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Nintendo demanding complete loyalty from gaming YouTubers

Nintendo demanding complete loyalty from gaming YouTubers

It was supposed to be a sign of Nintendo embracing gamers and YouTube reviewers, but the new Creators Program has become mired in controversy after terms tweaks demanded complete devotion to the company's titles. Announced at the end of January, the Nintendo Creators Program was, if viewed generously, a compromise by the Japanese firm: rather than issuing take-down notices to YouTubers using in-game footage in their monetized videos, Nintendo would instead share the bounty. Some sifting through the conditions, however, suggested that Nintendo was at best myopic, and at worst aggressively controlling, and subsequent adjustments to the language have seen things go even further downhill.

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DARPA wants to piggy-back satellites on jets to space

DARPA wants to piggy-back satellites on jets to space

Getting payloads from Earth and into space is shaping up to be big business, and now DARPA is weighing in with its own piggy-back proposal that could see jets help take satellites into orbit. Dubbed the Airborne Launch Assist Space Access (ALASA) program, the scheme isn't designed to challenge SpaceX and Boeing for their Launch America contracts, taxiing NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, but instead to act as a more affordable route to put up things like communication and weather satellites with relatively short notice. The goal is a roughly $1m delivery charge and, maybe more importantly, a far faster turnaround than existing methods.

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AT&T Foundry cooks up hot car warning watchdog

AT&T Foundry cooks up hot car warning watchdog

A new gadget that warns of potential hot car deaths of babies and pets could cut tragic cases like the Justin Ross Harris indictment last summer, with an AT&T intern already cooking up a prototype. The handiwork of Nancy Dominguez at the carrier's Foundry innovation center, the sensor uses a combination of motion, carbon dioxide, and temperature detection to spot if a dog or a child has been left in a vehicle, figure out whether conditions are getting too hot inside, and then fire out a warning message if things are getting dangerous. If unaddressed, the system can even call in 911.

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Planck knocks 100m years off oldest stars, no Botox needed

Planck knocks 100m years off oldest stars, no Botox needed

Age may only be a number, but it turns out some of the oldest stars in the universe could be a lot younger than believed, according to new results from the Planck telescope. While scientists had previously estimated that the first stars began to shine 440m years after the Big Bang, itself pegged at 13.8 billion years ago, new results from the decommissioned ESA space telescope suggest that may have been off by as much as 100m years. Spilling the stars' age secrets are freshly calculated maps of cosmic background radiation, that help explain when reionization of the universe began.

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This is the first Ubuntu phone, the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition

This is the first Ubuntu phone, the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition

The smartphone space is about to get more crowded, with the first Ubuntu phone, the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, hoping to muscle in among Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. Targeting the midrange market that so far Android has cavorted significantly in, BQ's new phone has a 4.5-inch screen, dual SIM support, and both an 8-megapixel camera on the back and a 5-megapixel camera up-front. More important than the hardware, though, is the new software, which Ubuntu claims is more content-centric than rival platforms. That's built around what Ubuntu has dubbed Scopes, a new take on the mobile UI.

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Tesla’s taste for Apple is voracious

Tesla’s taste for Apple is voracious

Tesla's appetite for new blood as it develops the Model S and new electric cars has a taste for fresh fruit, with CEO Elon Musk admitting that Apple staff are hire of choice. Musk's car company has turned to Apple employees or ex-employees more than those from any other firm as it builds its teams, in fact, more so in fact than from the traditional car makers. Meanwhile, despite offering what are said to be huge signing bonuses and pay bumps, Apple is reportedly struggling to return the favor and poach staff from Tesla.

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Chevrolet Bolt affordable EV tipped for late-2016 launch

Chevrolet Bolt affordable EV tipped for late-2016 launch

Chevrolet may have insisted the Bolt EV was a concept when it pulled the wraps off the compact car in Detroit last month, but according to new rumors we won't have that long to wait for a production version. Slotting in underneath the Chevy Volt in both size and range, the concept was designed, according to GM president Mary Barra, to satisfy markets outside of just California, which has been the most enthusiastic to embrace electric and hybrid technology so far. Now, new rumors say production is likely to kick off late next year.

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Kia Trail’ster teases e-AWD with a trad twist

Kia Trail’ster teases e-AWD with a trad twist

Kia keeps dripping out details of its new rugged concept car, now dubbed the Kia Trail'ster, though if anything we're even more confused than we were before. What started last month as the teasing bumper and chunky wheels of a concept for the Chicago Auto Show now has a name - replete with needless apostrophe - and what turns out to be not quite the electric all-wheel-drive powertrain we were expecting. Instead, it appears that the Trail'ster will be a hybrid, combining old and new technologies to make it more sure-footed in snow and mud.

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