GIF inventor Stephen Wilhite has died from COVID-19 at the age of 74, NPR has reported. He worked at CompuServe when he developed the Graphics Interchange Format, designed to allow photo transfers over slow modem connections, inventing the format in 1987 virtually on his own, according to his spouse.
With limitations like 256 colors per animation, the format could easily have died out long ago. However, it was designed by Wilhite to store multiple frames, making it easy to share animated snippets without the demands of a video format. After AOL purchased CompuServe and let the patent expire, the GIF renaissance began with artists and Tumblr users. And on and on it went.
Oh and it’s “JIF” with a soft “G,” according to Wilhite, which I consider the final word on the matter.
— Mat Smith
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The rumors are back.
Bloomberg sources claim Apple is developing a subscription service for the iPhone and other hardware. Akin to the iPhone upgrade program, you’d pay a monthly fee rather than an up-front cost or financed installments. The service may include regular upgrades and launch in either late 2022 or early 2023. Pricing is also unknown. Apple’s current upgrade program requires $35 or more per month to get both yearly iPhone upgrades and continuous AppleCare+ coverage. Given that Apple’s top phones now circle above the $1,000 mark, it might make a lot of sense.
It’s long been out in China.
OnePlus’ latest flagship phone will launch in Europe, North America and India on March 31st. The company promised that the OnePlus Pro 10 would arrive in those markets by the end of March, so that’s right on schedule — if calling it a little close. It released the smartphone in China back in January. It’ll back a three-camera array, similar to last year’s OnePlus 9 Pro, and match its predecessor’s screen size and resolution. However, there are some screen upgrades in the background and a larger battery on board as well. You’ll be able to pre-order the OnePlus Pro 10 from the OnePlus website and Amazon on March 31st at 10:20 AM ET, though pricing is still TBC. Expect a review from Engadget soon.
That’s on top of ongoing sales for the iPad Air and iPad mini.
Amazon is selling the M1-based WiFi model with 128GB of storage for a new all-time low price of $950 after you attach an instant coupon at checkout. That’s $149 less than usual. The 512GB version is back to a best-ever $1,299 price (down from $1,399). It might be worth checking our other picks from Amazon, as there are discounts on other iPad sizes, too.
Google says its algorithm accurately spots undiagnosed AFib 98% of the time.
Following a large-scale virtual health study, Google has submitted Fitbit’s passive heart rate monitoring 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 track the blood flow in a user’s wrist and determine if there are any concerning irregularities. Google said its algorithm correctly identified undiagnosed AFib 98 percent of the time. Fitbit’s Sense Smartwatch was approved by the FDA 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 on Thursday it had discovered a pair of North Korean hacking groups leveraging a remote code execution exploit in the Chrome web browser. Google found evidence of their attacks going back as far as January 4th, 2022, though the Threat Analysis Group notes organizations outside the US could have been targeted as well.
One group targeted 250 people across 10 companies, making fraudulent job offers from the likes of Disney and Oracle, sent from accounts spoofed to look like they came from Indeed or ZipRecruiter. Clicking on the link would launch a hidden iframe that would trigger the exploit.
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