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Tuesday - June 9, 2015
asus-zenpad-8.0-tablet-audio-cover
Asus' new ZenPad 8.0 aims to end the scourge of tablets with terrible sound. Its interchangeable cover design gives users several functional options. One is the Audio Cover, which bumps up sound quality by tucking a 5.1 surround-sound system inside. Its six speakers, including a subwoofer, promise to significantly improve the tablet experience of watching video and listening to music. [More...]

Tuesday - June 9, 2015
apple-2015-wwdc-music-os-x-el-capitan-ios-9
To cap off Monday's wide-ranging keynote at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced a three-pronged music initiative -- a streaming service, a live radio broadcast station, and an app that lets artists connect with fans. "Music is such an important part of our lives and our culture," Cook said, showing off Apple's famous "one more thing" slide. [More...]

Monday - June 8, 2015
Robots from Korea and the U.S. staggered off with the top three prizes at the DARPA Robotics Challenge, held in California over the weekend. In all, robots from 23 teams participated in the challenge, which consisted of an obstacle course simulating conditions similar to those following the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster. DRC-Hubo, the entry from South Korea's Team Kaist, took first prize. [More...]

Monday - June 8, 2015
windows-10
There are things about working with large companies that can be really frustrating. For instance, when both Windows Vista and Windows 8 were coming to market, a number of us pointed out that things needed to be fixed before the product was released, but we were ignored, with catastrophic results. This time, however, Windows 10 is looking better than any OS I've ever reviewed. [More...]

Thursday - June 4, 2015
apple-worldwide-developers-conference-wwdc15
By the time you read this, I'll have finished swearing in the privacy of my office, and likely will have entered the acceptance stage of grief. Already, realization is dawning that I was right to withhold hope that Apple would reveal a new Apple TV at its WorldWide Developers Conference on Monday. I hate it when pessimism wins. But how can I know that Apple isn't going to introduce a new Apple TV? [More...]

Thursday - June 4, 2015
bittorrent-bleep-private-messaging
BitTorrent's Bleep, a secure peer-to-peer messaging service, last month reached the end of its third trimester in alpha testing, and an official version became available for iOS, Android, OS X and PC. The official release is the first to reach iOS. Bleep's Whisper feature enables ephemeral messaging, along with the service's cloudless, end-to-end encrypted calling function. [More...]

Thursday - June 4, 2015
Google appears to be heeding warnings of security experts who say Android users need better control over what apps do with information from their phones. At I/O, its worldwide shindig for developers held last week, the company announced that the next version of its mobile operating system, Android M, would take a more granular approach to permissions for data requested by apps. [More...]

Wednesday - June 3, 2015
fallout-4-trailer-bethesda-softworks
The last second has since ticked off the countdown timer on the teaser site, and Fallout 4's official website has gone live. Fallout 4's confirmation on Wednesday may have invoked more feelings of relief than surprise. Even before the teaser site went up, gamers looking for another loot-and-shoot role-playing game have been demanding a followup to 2010's Fallout: New Vegas. [More...]

Wednesday - June 3, 2015
doppler-labs-here-active-listening
Doppler Labs on Tuesday launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Here Active Listening system, which takes noise-canceling technology to a new level. Unlike typical noise-canceling headphones, Here's Bluetooth earbuds allow a listener to customize ambient sound, not just block it out. Paired with a smartphone app, Here can be used to control volume, mix sounds and even add effects. [More...]

Tuesday - June 2, 2015
SoundHound on Tuesday launched a private beta of Hound -- a personal assistant similar to Siri, Google Now and Cortana -- and began fielding requests for invites. SoundHound built its music ID service on voice and pattern recognition technologies. In developing Hound, SoundHound has retrofitted that technology's framework with what it calls its "Speech-to-Meaning" engine. [More...]

Tuesday - June 2, 2015
There's a new twist in the way feds are seeking to penalize bad actors for making and distributing software used in crimes, suggest recent arrests by Justice Department and FBI officials. "There's a more concerted campaign to go after go after those folks who are distributing in the underground," said Tom Kellermann, chief cybersecurity officer at Trend Micro. [More...]

Tuesday - June 2, 2015
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted to close debate on the USA Freedom Act, a measure that would prohibit the NSA from the indiscriminate collection Americans' phone call data. The bill already has passed in the House. However, the brawling over the bill is not quite over. The Senate has yet to address several proposed amendments to the legislation before voting on it later on Tuesday. [More...]

Monday - June 1, 2015
windows-10-july-29-free-upgrade
Windows 10 will be available for free to users running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on their PCs or tablets. However, it's likely that once they've been exposed to the full range of possibilities, many of those users will opt to buy a new device that can take full advantage of the operating system. Using the biometric authentication in Windows Hello, for example, likely will require a new PC. [More...]

Monday - June 1, 2015
google-cardboard-virtual-reality
It's a whimsical approach to virtual reality, but Google's Cardboard VR platform breaks down the barriers of entry and allows consumers to bring their own devices to the movement. "I think [Cardboard] will help with the general popularity of VR," said Marxent CEO Beck Besecker, "but I think the folks that are really going to gravitate to VR are going to want a high-quality experience." [More...]

Monday - June 1, 2015
I was at Dell's analyst conference last week and HP Discover is this week. As I was considering the contrast between the two companies, I started to think the contrast between Apple and HP is greater. There is a lot of cross-pollination between the firms -- and given how often Apple has embarrassed HP in the market, you'd think HP would have learned from its mistakes. Apparently, it hasn't. [More...]

Saturday - May 30, 2015
lenovo-cast-vide-streaming
Media streaming is becoming an ever-crowded market thanks to players like Chromecast, Sling, Apple TV and Roku. We can add another player to the mix with Lenovo Cast, which will become available in August. The puck-shaped accessory can stream 1080p video to your TV from your smartphone, tablet or computer. What's compelling about this is it can display just about anything you have on your smartphone. [More...]

Friday - May 29, 2015
wood-computer-chip-cellulose-nanofibril
In a significant step toward a future in which consumers can toss old gadgets onto a compost heap, researchers have proved the viability of placing computer chips on support structures made from wood. This latest advance in green technology could "be used for many things, including mobile devices, displays, solar cells and much more," said UW engineering prof Zhenqiang "Jack" Ma. [More...]

Thursday - May 28, 2015
google-io-developers-conference-photos-brillo-maps-android-pay
Google on Thursday kicked off its I/O developers conference with the introduction of a new app for better managing, organizing and storing photos, as well as an Android spinoff for the Internet of Things, and an offline feature for Maps. The new Google Photo application allows shutterbugs to back up photos automatically from any device to a personal home site on the Net. [More...]

Thursday - May 28, 2015
jony-ive-apple-chief-design-officer
There seem to be two major reactions to the "promotion" of Apple's Jonathan Ive to the newly created position of chief design officer: first, that he deserves the recognition and reward; and second, that this is the beginning of the end for Jony Ive's tenure at Apple. Apple released the news in the UK... on Monday, which was the Memorial Day holiday in the United States. [More...]

Thursday - May 28, 2015
The U.S. Department of Defense's Inspector General has rejected allegations that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service engaged in questionable domestic intelligence activity. The finding concluded a DoD IG probe spurred by allegations that NCIS was making available to military intelligence agencies its Law Enforcement Information Exchange, a database of 506.3 million law enforcement records. [More...]

Wednesday - May 27, 2015
nintendo-splatoon-wii-u-shooter
With its bloodless battles of attrition between squads of human-squid chimeras, twitch-shooter Splatoon oozes classic Nintendo charm that has enamored many early reviewers. It takes a crack at the competitive shooter genre, but instead of the visceral shock of bullet wounds, blood, and the wails of the wounded, Splatoon supplies brightly colored ink to wield in chaotic matches. [More...]

Wednesday - May 27, 2015
microsoft-windows-10-phone-companion-android-ios-cortana
Microsoft advanced its "if you can't beat'em, join'em" mobile strategy with Tuesday's announcement of Phone Companion, an app built into Windows 10 that's designed to synchronize information across multiple platforms, including Android and iOS. Windows 10 Phone Companion works like a hub on a PC for a user's mobile devices, allowing apps like Cortana to work across multiple platforms. [More...]

Wednesday - May 27, 2015
Americans have been spied on by their own government for far longer than most realized, it turns out, and the United States National Security Agency's surveillance activities are just the tip of the iceberg. The FBI, which repeatedly has expressed dismay at Google and Apple securing their mobile OSes reportedly has become a major player in administering the NSA's warrantless surveillance program. [More...]

Tuesday - May 26, 2015
apogee-groove
Tinny, terrible laptop speakers may be a relic of the past, but there are still occasions when the built-in audio from your portable computer's speakers or audio jack just doesn't quite cut it. Let's say you're an electronic music luminary traveling the world without the comforts of one's home studio but with an album deadline to meet. You need to hear what's going on. So here's the Apogee Groove. [More...]

Tuesday - May 26, 2015
Since Apple SVP Craig Federighi announced HomeKit at last year's Worldwide Developers Conference, the company has been working on making it ready for prime time. Now, a year later, Apple finally may have an app to go with its framework for integrating home management and monitoring devices with iOS. Whether Apple will announce the new app, called "Home," at this year's WWDC is unknown. [More...]

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