GIF inventor Stephen Wilhite has died of COVID-19 at age 74, NPR reports. He worked at CompuServe when he developed the Graphics Interchange Format, designed to enable photo transfer over slow modem connections. According to his wife, he invented the format almost single-handedly in 1987.
With limitations like 256 colors per animation, the format could have died out long ago. However, it was designed by Wilhite to store multiple frames, making it easy to share animated clips without the demands of a video format. After AOL bought CompuServe and let the patent expire, the GIF renaissance began with artists and Tumblr users. And so it went on.
Oh and it’s “JIF” with a soft “G,” according to Wilhite, which I consider to be the last word on the matter.
— Matt Smith
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The rumors are back.
Bloomberg sources claim that Apple is developing a subscription service for the iPhone and other hardware. As with the iPhone Upgrade Program, you pay a monthly fee instead of a prepayment or funded installments. The service may include regular upgrades and will launch in late 2022 or early 2023. The price is also unknown. Apple’s current upgrade program requires $35 or more per month to get both annual iPhone upgrades and continuous AppleCare+ coverage. Considering that Apple’s top phones now top $1,000, it could make a lot of sense.
It’s been out in China for a long time.
OnePlus’ latest flagship phone will launch on March 31 in Europe, North America and India. The company promised that the OnePlus Pro 10 would arrive in those markets by the end of March, so that’s right on track — if it comes close. It released the smartphone in China in January. It supports a three-camera array, similar to last year’s OnePlus 9 Pro, and matches the screen size and resolution of its predecessor. However, there are some screen upgrades in the background and a bigger battery on board too. You can pre-order the OnePlus Pro 10 through the OnePlus website and Amazon on March 31 at 10:20 AM ET, though the price is still unknown. Expect a review from Engadget soon.
That’s in addition to ongoing sales for the iPad Air and iPad mini.
Amazon is selling the M1-based Wi-Fi model with 128GB of storage for a new all-time low of $950 after you add an instant coupon at checkout. That’s $149 less than usual. The 512GB version is back to its best ever price of $1,299 (down from $1,399). It might be worth checking out our other picks from Amazon as there are discounts on other iPad sizes too.
Google says the algorithm accurately detects undiagnosed AFib 98% of the time.
After a large-scale virtual health survey, Google has submitted Fitbit’s passive heart rate measurement algorithm for review by the US Food and Drug Administration. The study tested how accurately the device could detect atrial fibrillation, or irregular heart rhythms. The system uses photoplethysmography to passively monitor blood flow in a user’s wrist and determine if there are any irregularities. Google said the algorithm correctly identified undiagnosed AFib 98 percent of the time. Fitbit’s Sense Smartwatch was FDA-approved in 2020 for its ability to assess AFib using built-in electrocardiogram technology. However, that method requires active input from the user.
It apparently targeted US news media, IT, crypto and fintech.
Google’s Threat Analysis Group announced Thursday that it had discovered a pair of North Korean hacking groups using a remote code exploit in the Chrome web browser. Google found evidence that their attacks date back to January 4, 2022, although the Threat Analysis Group notes that organizations outside the US could also be targeted.
One group targeted 250 people from 10 companies and did fraudulent job postings from the likes of Disney and Oracle, sent from accounts faked to look like they were from Indeed or ZipRecruiter. Clicking the link will launch a hidden iframe that would trigger the exploit.
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