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Amazon Takes a Leap of Faith With 'Transparent'
September 26, 2014
With the launch on Friday of its latest original series, Transparent, Amazon may be signaling its intention to challenge Netflix in the streaming video market. Amazon already has earned praise for its original programming, but it hasn't reached the critical or audience success of Netflix offerings such as House of Cards or Orange Is the New Black.
Apple Dismisses Bendgate
September 26, 2014
Apple has been plagued by two iPhone 6 issues in recent days: 1) an update to its iOS 8 operating system wound up disrupting cellular connectivity and disabling the Touch ID fingerprint reader to unlock it; and 2) numerous reports surfaced in mainstream and social media that it bends. About the iOS 8 issue, Apple has been most apologetic. On the reports of the iPhone 6 bending? Not so much.
Desktop PCs May Be Poised for a Comeback
September 26, 2014
Desktop computer users are more satisfied with their devices than laptop and tablet owners, according to a recent American Customer Satisfaction Index survey. However, the category of personal computer satisfaction in general appears to be somewhat in the dumps. The annual measure of satisfaction fell 1.3 points to a score of 78 out of a possible 100.
The Sky Is Droning
September 26, 2014
The FAA on Thursday gave the green light for six aerial photo and video production companies to begin using unmanned aircraft systems, also known as "drones." To incorporate the devices in film and TV production, the companies will be required to hold private pilot certificates, keep their drones within line of sight at all times, and restrict flights to a so-called sterile area.
Apple Redoubles Efforts to Fix iOS 8 Glitches
September 25, 2014
Apple on Thursday announced it's preparing iOS 8.0.2 -- which will include a fix for problems triggered by iOS 8.0.1 -- and plans to release it in the next few days. In a rare move, Apple on Wednesday suspended downloads of iOS 8.0.1, which aimed to fix problems uncovered after the launch of iOS 8. What's more, it recommended a downgrade for owners of Apple's new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
The Dark Side of Apple Design: From Antennagate to Bendgate
September 25, 2014
When Apple -- which is clearly one of the world's best companies at design -- makes a misstep, it's amplified by a wild combination of user dismay and hater glee. Because there are millions of users and many haters, a design flaw can turn into an instant public relations tornado. Enter Bendgate, featuring the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apparently, carrying them in your pocket can make them bend.
iPhone 6 Bendgate: The End of Tight Jeans?
September 24, 2014
Another new Apple product, another "-gate" debacle. This time, it's bendgate. On the heels of the release of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus handsets earlier this month has come an uproar over an unexpected weakness: In short, when stashed in a pocket of a tight pair of pants, the iPhone 6 Plus bends -- and it doesn't return to its original shape when removed.
DIY Pi-Top Computer Lets Users Get Under the Hood
September 24, 2014
Pi-Top, a Raspberry Pi Model B+ powered build-your-own-laptop kit, soon could enable users to learn computer programming, designing and 3D-printing skills. The Pi-Top team recently released details on its construction of a prototype computer. The developers plan to use the model in a Kickstarter campaign to generate funding for the project.
Pants on Fire, Schmidt Tells Climate Change Denier ALEC
September 23, 2014
Google on Monday publicly denounced the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council for lying about climate change. "We funded them as part of a political campaign for something unrelated," Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt told a caller to NPR's Diane Rehm Show. "I think the consensus within the company is that was sort of a mistake. We're trying to not do that in the future."
Will the Beats Go On?
September 23, 2014
Apple appears to be planning changes for the Beats Music streaming service, following its $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics in May. Information from sources supposedly in the know indicated the company was planning to discontinue the service, according to one report, but Apple indicated the rumor was "not true." It's possible that Apple is planning to rebrand the service, however.
Farewell, Bonny Bodhi?
September 22, 2014
Well autumn is nigh upon us here in the Northern reaches of the Linux blogosphere, and any day now the a/c will downshift to "medium" over at the Broken Windows Lounge. Oktoberfest ales are selling like hotcakes, and more than a few bloggers are rejoicing at the end of the Dog Days in fact -- but for the recent arrival of a sad bit of news: Developer Jeff Hoogland is leaving Bodhi Linux.
EMC Swings Its Partners in Rumored Deal Talks
September 22, 2014
Intrigue is thick surrounding EMC these days. The story line goes something like this: An activist shareholder is pressuring EMC to sell itself to companies that might be interested in acquiring the data storage giant. The list of possible suitors is short -- the two names that keep circulating are HP and Dell. EMC apparently has been discussing merger possibilities with HP for a year or more.
Sony's PlayStation TV Could Be a Busy Little Gadget
September 22, 2014
Sony Computer Entertainment on Monday confirmed that nearly 700 games will be available for its PlayStation TV system when it launches in North America on Oct. 14. They will include popular and classic franchises such as Killzone: Mercenary, Final Fantasy, Twisted Metal and Metal Gear Solid. The PS TV is a non-portable variant of the PlayStation Vita.
Marriott Plays With Sensory-Rich Virtual Reality Getaways
September 22, 2014
Marriott Hotels last week introduced a new vacation opportunity: instant teleportation from New York City to the beaches of Hawaii or downtown London -- no uncomfortable airplane trip required. The journeys are virtual, using 4D sensory technology based on Oculus Rift. Travel enthusiasts are able to see, hear and even feel what it's like to be present in locales halfway across the globe.
The Coming Virtual Lifestyle Revolution
September 22, 2014
Uplinq, Qualcomm's big -- and it was big -- developers' conference, took place last week. There were two parts that were particularly interesting. One was its new robotics effort, and the other was the announcement that it's pushing Vuforia, its augmented reality platform, into wearable head-mounted displays -- think Google Glass on steroids -- that we may end up wearing every waking moment.
DoD and Tech Firms Face Daunting Health-IT Challenge
September 22, 2014
The U.S. government is about to embark on a major IT program dealing with personal health records. The program is being launched by the U.S. Department of Defense, which issued a request for proposals to health IT providers late last month. The initiative is expected to support medical readiness for DoD's military personnel, as well as its beneficiaries and health system personnel.
Gadget Ogling: Amazon on Fire, Virtual Reality, True Nature and Energy Relief
September 20, 2014
Apple might be the flavor of the minute as new iPhones hit stores, but Amazon isn't ready to let its rival hog all the limelight. Without a flashy presentation, it unveiled a half-dozen new Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers. There's a 6-inch Fire HD tablet priced at $99 and a 7-inch version for $139. The Fire tablets are reliably solid machines, and those are fantastically enticing prices.
Google Brings Hamster-Eating Into Sticks-and-Stones Brawl With News Corp.
September 19, 2014
News Corp. and Google have lashed out at each other as the EU reconsiders the terms of its proposed antitrust settlement with the latter. News Corp. essentially accused Google of nefarious behavior in a letter to the European Competition Commissioner over the EU's proposed antitrust settlement with Google. Perhaps the irony of the situation hit Google hard.
Harmony Takes Control of Home Sweet Automated Home
September 18, 2014
Logitech has announced four new products for the smart home in its Harmony family that let users control TVs, set-top boxes, speakers, lighting, thermostats, door locks, window shades and more. Users can trigger activities such as dimming the house lights in several ways: by pressing a button on their remote; passing a sensor; using the Harmony mobile app; or by setting up an automatic schedule.
FTC Gives E-tailers Bad Shipping News
September 18, 2014
The Federal Trade Commission has updated a longstanding rule governing mail- and phone-based retailers to explicitly include e-commerce vendors as well, meaning that online retailers now must abide by a 30-day shipping requirement or refund customers' payments if they can't. Merchants in violation could be sued by the FTC for injunctive relief or monetary civil penalties.
Early iPhone 6 Reviewers Might as Well Be Rating Vacuum Cleaners
September 18, 2014
With every new iPhone release, Apple delivers a handful of new iPhones to a select few industry journalists to review. How are those journalists and publications selected? First, they are known to appreciate the Apple aesthetic -- they have written dozens of positive reviews. No Apple haters allowed, which makes sense. It's important to set the stage for positive vibes.
Nintendo Blows Some Minds With Hyrule Warriors
September 17, 2014
Nintendo's Hyrule Warriors, which was released in Japan last month and will arrive in North America on Sept. 26, is a very different kind of game. Nintendo called in help from two outside studios: Team Ninja; and Omega Force, the creators of Dynasty Warriors. The result is a game that looks a lot like The Legend of Zelda but doesn't play like it at all.
FCC Chews on the Mobile Net Neutrality Question
September 17, 2014
The FCC on Tuesday hosted a roundtable discussion on the possibility of Net neutrality rules being applied to mobile networks. Participants in the talk included representatives from The Center for Media Justice, Consumers Union and CTIA. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler earlier this year suggested that the 2010 rules, which exempted mobile services from Net neutrality provisions, should be reconsidered.
IBM's Watson May Change the Face of Business Analytics
September 17, 2014
IBM on Tuesday announced Watson Analytics, a natural language-based cognitive service designed to provide businesses with instant access to powerful predictive and visual analytics tools. It runs on desktop PCs and mobile devices. Watson Analytics automates data preparation, predictive analysis, and visual storytelling for business professionals in data-intensive areas such as marketing and sales.

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