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Gadget Ogling: Apple vs. Google, a Bossy Activity Tracker, and Feeling Your Path
October 18, 2014
There was plenty of focus on the cameras at Apple's presentation, as it tries to promote the tablet as an ideal viewfinder for taking high-quality images, while adding iPhone features like time-lapse and burst mode. However, the new push of iPad photography is just encouraging even more people to look foolish by taking photos with their tablet in public. This is a plague.
Netflix Drives Into a Ditch
October 17, 2014
Netflix stock closed Friday at $357, up slightly from the depths it plummeted to earlier this week. Shares fell almost 25 percent in premarket trading on Thursday -- more than $110 a share -- to $338. The plunge followed news of weak subscriber growth in its third quarter. Netflix reported $1.2 billion in Q3 revenue, which was up 38 percent from the same period a year prior.
Netflix Falls in Punch-Drunk Love With Adam Sandler
October 02, 2014
Netflix on Thursday announced that it will be the exclusive home for four original feature films starring Adam Sandler. Netflix will work with Sandler's Happy Madison Productions to develop the films and premiere them exclusively on its service. "This is an interesting development and one that demonstrates that Netflix hasn't forgotten its movie roots," said IDC analyst Greg Ireland.
Gadget Ogling: Smart Wine, Wooly Sound and a Clever Light Bulb
September 27, 2014
I give LG a little flak for constantly releasing new smartphones, but here's one with a twist. LG is pegging the Wine Smart as its first flip-style smartphone. Yes, the compact style is back, only this time its fuel is Android, instead of whatever arcane OS manufacturers might dream up. I suspect this is more about style than function, outside of a dedicated button for opening an IM app.
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.
Comcast Blasts TWC Merger Foes
September 25, 2014
Comcast on Tuesday lashed out at critics of its $45.2 billion bid for TWC, accusing Discovery Communications of making "extortionate demands." Netflix also drew Comcast's ire. The proposed merger is in the public interest, Comcast maintained. "It is not extortion to demand that Comcast provide its own customers the broadband speeds they've paid for," said Netflix spokesperson Cliff Edwards.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Destiny Teams Race to Vault of Glass Finish Line
September 16, 2014
Bungie's second special Destiny event, dubbed "Vault of Glass," went live early Tuesday. Bungie calls it "the most elaborate mission" it has ever created. Only gamers who have reached Level 26 will qualify. Attempts to complete the Raid are being streamed live on Twitch. After months of hype and anticipation, Destiny, the latest video game from Bungie, finally arrived last week.
Minecraft May Help Microsoft Build Its Mobile Strategy
September 15, 2014
Microsoft on Monday announced it has agreed to acquire Mojang, the software developer that created the popular Minecraft video game. Although it's subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory review, the deal is expected to be finalized by the end of this year. Microsoft will pay $2.5 billion for Mojang and gain full control of the iconic Minecraft franchise.
Verizon May Launch Have-It-Your-Way Internet TV
September 12, 2014
Verizon in the first half of next year will launch an Internet TV service that offers a selection of custom channels as well as a bundle of content from the Big Four networks, according to reports. Represented in the mobile-minded bundle will be not only content from ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, but also millennials-focused programming from DreamWorks Animation's Awesomeness TV.
Will Ferrell Calls On Gamers to Launch Cancer Assault
September 10, 2014
Comedian Will Ferrell on Wednesday announced an effort to battle cancer by giving gamers a chance to participate in a two-hour gaming event with him. The Indiegogo initiative aims to raise $375,000 for nonprofit organizations Cancer for College and DonateGames, by asking gamers to contribute at least $10. One randomly selected giver will win the opportunity to play games with Ferrell on Oct. 26.
Apple Brings It
September 09, 2014
Apple on Tuesday rebuilt its iPhone foundation by introducing two new models with Retina HD displays: the iPhone 6 at 4.5 inches, and the iPhone 6 Plus at 5.5 inches. It launched Apple Pay, which promises to become the catalyst NFC mobile payment technology needs to become mainstream. Plus, it introduced the drool-worthy Apple Watch in two sizes, three style collections, and six choices of straps.
TiVo Mega Unabashedly Flaunts Its Enormity
September 08, 2014
TiVo pulled out all the stops at this year's CEDIA show, which typically features the biggest and flashiest new offerings in the world of home theater. Fifteen years after pioneering the DVR space, the company on Monday announced the TiVo Mega, which boasts 24 terabytes of recording space -- enough to store more than 26,000 hours of standard definition or 4,000 hours of high-definition video.
Americans Mad as Hell Over Proposed Net Neutrality Rules
September 04, 2014
More than 99 percent of the 800,000 or so comments on Net neutrality the FCC released last month were in favor of an open Internet, according to the Sunlight Foundation's analysis of the comments. At least 60 percent of the comments, or more than 484,000, were form letters written by organized campaigns, although that is a lower percentage than is common for high-volume regulatory issues.
Now Netflix Members Can Pick Which Friends Can See Their Picks
September 03, 2014
Recommending movies and TV shows you've watched on Netflix to individual Facebook friends just got easier. The company on Tuesday launched a new social recommendation feature that lets users pick and choose the contacts they'd like to interact with after viewing a video. "It makes more sense that way," Jan Dawson, chief analyst with Jackdaw Research.
A Big Honking iPad Could Roll Right Over Apple's Speed Bump
August 27, 2014
While the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is working to establish itself as the perfect tweener device between tablet and laptop, one hot rumor suggests that Apple's answer for more working space on an iPad will come in the form of a bigger screen -- 12.9 inches of touch-sensitive glory. The rumor comes from Bloomberg, which vaguely cited "people with knowledge of the matter."
Amazon Pulls a Twitch on Google
August 25, 2014
Amazon has inked a deal to acquire Twitch Interactive, a real-time video platform for gamers. Prior to the disclosure, rumors had been building that it was on track to snatch Twitch from Google, which reportedly had been very close to buying it. The pending acquisition was rumored to be for upwards of $1 billion. However, Amazon said it was buying the company for $970 million cash.
SoundCloud to Run Ads, Share the Loot
August 22, 2014
SoundCloud on Thursday launched On SoundCloud, a program that will facilitate advertising on the site. Membership initially is by invitation only; SoundCloud will roll it out to a select number of artists. It later plans to bring on more advertisers and make the program available to the general membership. The announcement sparked a mixed response. "Really dude?" wrote "creator 1,000,001. "Ads?"
Hack Day Produces Oculix, a Mind-Blowing Trip Through the Netflix Catalog
August 21, 2014
A team of Netflix programmers merged the company's videos with the virtual reality capability offered by the Oculus Rift headset as a fun project on Netflix Hack Day. The Oculix media app lets users browse a floating 3D Netflix video catalog using head turning movements and hand gestures. Once a selection is made, the user can watch the video in a VR theater setting.
The New Golden Age of TV
August 15, 2014
Over the top, or OTT, video-streaming service Netflix has been doing something right. Netflix snagged 15 prime-time Emmy nominations for its original series, including best drama for House of Cards and best comedy for Orange Is the New Black. The company launched in 1997 as a DVD-by-mail service and successfully transitioned into becoming the leading online video service.
Vevo Music Videos Get Pinned
August 14, 2014
Pinterest said Wednesday that it has signed a deal that will allow users to create boards that include their favorite Vevo music videos. They now will be able to share, search for and watch Vevo videos on Pinterest, as well as pin videos to Pinterest straight from Vevo.com or the Vevo iOS app. The move is an indication that Pinterest is serious about providing a broader social platform.

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