It’s illegal to wakeboard Amsterdam’s canals – unless you’re Casey Neistat

Amsterdam is known for being particularly strict when it comes to how people use its waterways. It’s understandable – they’re more than 300 years old. So what does it take to get them to relax their rules to allow a jet ski and a wakeboard to cruise them for an entire morning? The potential for the video to go viral thanks to Casey Neistat and TNW Conference, it would seem. After witnessing Casey’s awesome feat of snowboarding around NYC, we decided Amsterdam was the perfect place to recreate it on water. The city is home to 100km of canals after… This story continues at The Next Web

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Apple reportedly considered buying-out Time Warner

Following the trails of Amazon and Netflix, Apple too might be looking to step up its production of original video content. According to a report from the Financial Times, last year a top Apple executive broached the prospect of a potential Time Warner buyout at a commercial meeting between the two companies to discuss the possibility of partnering up in a future Apple video streaming service. Discussions, however, failed to materialise into anything serious and acquisition proposals never reached either Apple’s Tim Cook or Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes. Both companies have since refused to comment the subject. Given its high-profile assets… This story continues at The Next Web

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We proudly announce the European Tech30 2016: A list of the fastest growing companies in revenue

The Tech5 competition 2016 has come to an end. Together with Adyen, we searched six countries to find each one’s fastest growing companies in revenue, hosting a dinner in each country to announce its winner. During TNW Europe –on the main stage at 5:10PM – we’ve just announced the overall European winner and handed over the  prestigious Tech5 award. Congratulations Lesara! During Tech5, we met several fascinating, fast growing companies, but not all could take home their country’s prize. As a content provider TNW is always looking for great stories. That’s why we’ve decided to introduce the European Tech30. This is a list… This story continues at The Next Web

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From Audi to Volvo, most “self-driving” cars use the same hardware

My actual drive from Washington, DC, to Columbus, Ohio, and back took about 12 hours in total, but thanks to the magic that is time-lapse, you can come with me in a mere 90 seconds. Video edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)

On Sunday, my colleague Lee Hutchinson regaled you all with a tale of his semi-autonomous driving adventure in one of Tesla’s high-speed electric chariots. But that’s not the only semi-autonomous (Level 2 self-driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) road trip we’ve conducted here at Ars. You can read all about how we got on with Volvo’s latest and greatest XC90 SUVs in a week or so. Plus, there’s the new Audi A4, which in Dynamic mode really puts the mantra of “trust the machine” to the test as it late-brakes for exits at up to 0.5G. And finally, I was also fortunate enough to have put many miles on an Audi A7 TDI, driving from DC to Columbus, Ohio, and back when I went to visit the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3.
Much of the technology that underpins these systems is shared among the industry. A handful of companies like Bosch, Delphi, and Mobileye provide sensors, control units, and even algorithms to car makers, who then integrate and refine those systems.
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Twilio’s new Notify API helps developers cleverly manage notifications across platforms

Notifications suck — for users and developers. Twilio thinks it can help change all of that with its new Notify API, which manages SMS, push and platform notifications. Three main components make up the Notify API: orchestration, messaging and segmentation. Orchestration helps developers assign users to group profiles for bulk messaging, and allows those users to decide when and where they may want to see messages. It also accounts for user activity, and where (and when) a device was used last. In that instance, a user who reliably uses their phone — but not a developer’s app — may receive… This story continues at The Next Web

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Microsoft could update Xbox One this year, drop new console ‘Scorpio’ in 2017

The rumored PS4.5 PS4k Playstation ‘NEO’ is going to be a 4k gaming beast, but Microsoft is reportedly planning a couple big moves of its own. One will just be a smaller and cheaper version of the Xbox One, but another — codenamed ‘Scorpio’ — is set to have a more powerful GPU reportedly capable of handing an Oculus Rift. The report — by Kotaku — also suggests Microsoft is exploring a deal with Oculus that could make this a reality. Microsoft is holding its cards close, but it’s believed that the new version — expected to release in 2017 — should have… This story continues at The Next Web

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Square’s Register API is now available for Android

Businesses that don’t want to run their point-of-sale system through an iPad no longer have to: Square is making its Register API available for Android. With Register, Square customers can create custom point-of-sale applications that utilize card swipes, NFC payments like Apple Pay or Android Pay as well as cards with electronic chips. Implementing the API only takes three lines of code, and Square notes the device you host Register on doesn’t even need to handle payment information. While Square Register is available globally, Register for Android is rolling out to the US and Canada first.

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Can good looks save the Buick Cascada from mediocrity?


Attractive in an amorphous way, the 2016 Cascada convertible is Buick’s first drop-top in 25 years. It does the leisurely, big American convertible drive thing well. At almost two tons, it should.

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General Motors has been on a bona fide roll lately. Releasing good products like the latest Corvette, Camaro, the revitalized Volt. Waking up the dormant mid-size truck segment. Genuine leaders like Cadillac’s ATS have shown the world that there’s life aboard the S.S. GM and that the once-beleaguered giant has learned and refocused after staring death in the face. Which brings us to the Buick Cascada convertible.
“Good enough” is not enough in today’s marketplace. “Good enough” means you’re quickly exposed to predators. The Cascada looks raffish and daring, but it also sits on the old GM of Europe’s Delta front-wheel-drive family. And GM’s European division often shows a flair for the more sophisticated in chassis engineering. But like weather patterns, fashion, and certainly technology, goalposts move. GM’s Alpha architecture (as used in the Cadillac ATS) is more capable, rigid and space-efficient than the Delta platform. Planting the new Cascada—looker though it may be—on an aging platform is an Old GM decision when New GM decisions have brought about highly sophisticated and worthy products. The Cadillac ATS, the new Camaro, Corvette, the revised Volt, and a healthy list of others have injected a sense of an actual renaissance within the company headquartered at a place called The Renaissance Center in Detroit.
What’s worse is that GM also skimped where it’s most visible to owners: inside. The interior design crew coughed up dozens of buttons and dials (we stopped counting at 40) for the center stack’s ventilation, audio, and ancillary adjustments you deal with everyday. To choose between satellite and terrestrial radio, you must dive into several sub-menus in the touchscreen display, in a forced carousel of sorts past AM, FM, plugged-in media devices, and then SiriusXM. The screen itself is glare-prone and hard to read, while buttons on the lower portion of the screen are often blocked or hard to select. The central instrument panel’s LCD display is not able to give turn-by-turn directions when Navigation is active, either. The rest of the world and especially in this entry-premium segment has moved to multitasking digital buttons and high-res graphics. All the forward collision and lane departure technology in the business—of which the Cascada has both—can’t make up for a 20th Century interface. It’s like having to use a VT-100 terminal for e-mail and word processing.
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Source: auto

48-volt mild hybrids: A possible cure for diesel emissions cheats?

Delphi has been testing its 48V mild hybrid system in this Honda Civic turbodiesel. (credit: Delphi)

It’s clear that we need to make our passenger vehicles a lot more efficient if we want to avoid some of the very worst effects of climate change. And it’s also becoming increasingly clear that diesel—which was once looked at in places like Europe as a panacea for this problem—might not be quite so groovy, what with rampant emissions cheating in the auto industry. Delphi, a major vehicle component supplier, thinks it has a real solution to help us with this, in the form of 48V “mild hybrids.”
Climate change is such a big problem that even Donald Trump (who says he doesn’t believe in it, publicly) is spending money to defend his properties from sea level rise. Although passenger vehicle emissions are only part of the carbon emission problem, in the US, Europe, and China regulators are taking the problem seriously, with increasingly strict fuel efficiency targets for all new cars. Here in the US, car makers have until 2025 to double their average fuel economy to 54.5mpg, but things are even tighter abroad. China has set 2020 for its deadline, by which time manufacturer averages have to be down to 117 grams of CO2 per km driven, and the following year the EU requires fleet averages of just 95g/km. And along with those targets come hefty financial penalties for missing them.
Several years ago, we took a deep dive into some of the technologies that automakers are looking at to get themselves out of this bind. These features included variable valve timing, small capacity turbocharged engines, gasoline and diesel direct injection, cylinder deactivation, and stop-start functions. But all of those features are being widely deployed across new vehicle fleets, and it’s clear that they won’t be enough. Of course, there’s also the wide world of electrification, like plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery EVs, but adoption of EVs of all stripes remains insufficient to really move the needle—even accounting for Tesla’s gigantic Model 3 presales. That’s where the 48V mild hybrid comes in.
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Tim Cook discovers iPhone in painting from 1670

This morning I attended an interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook at Startup Fest Europe in Amsterdam. Tim Cook said lots of things, which we all already knew, but he also started off with an interesting anecdote, which is cute enough to share with you. Tim was being accompanied by the former European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam the evening before. As Neelie Kroes told the story: “At one point Tim rushes over and tells me ‘Come take a look, I found a painting with an iPhone on it!’ So he takes my arm and shows me a Rembrandt with… This story continues at The Next Web

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