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Gadget Ogling: Streaming Socks, a High-Powered Hoverboard, and a Vigilant Vacuum
December 29, 2015
Finally, a pair of socks I would not be ever-so-slightly disappointed to find among my gifts on Christmas morning. Netflix has released some designs for socks that can stop streaming the show or movie you're streaming if you should nod off. The socks detect when you've stopped moving for a long period and hit the pause button. If you're still awake, you can wiggle your big toe to halt the action.
Google, Facebook and Twitter Agree to Pull Hate Speech in Germany
December 18, 2015
Germany on Tuesday announced that Google's YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have agreed to its demands to remove hate speech appearing on their networks within 24 hours after a removal request has been made. The measures include best practice mechanisms that FSM, a nonprofit association dedicated to the protection of minors, and its members, including Google, have developed.
Star Citizen's Second Alpha Hurtles Past $100M Landmark
December 16, 2015
Racking in more than 200 times its original asking price, the crowdfunded space simulator Star Citizen recently reached a landmark 100 million in backer dollars. At the same time, developer Cloud Imperium released version 2.0 of the game's Alpha build. It's billed as the biggest Star Citizen update yet. The update puts to use the Star Citizen's multi-crew component.
T-Mobile Sets Hulu Lure to Snag Verizon Customers
December 14, 2015
T-Mobile last week introduced its latest promotion aimed at attracting subscribers from rival mobile phone carriers: 12 months of Hulu streaming service for Verizon customers who switch to T-Mobile. In addition to a year's worth of Hulu service, T-Mobile will give Verizon customers who switch up to $125 off in-store accessories such as smartwatches, speakers, fitness trackers and headphones.
27 Highly Desirable Gifts for Apple-Loving Fanatics - and 1 to Skip
December 10, 2015
Chances are, you know an Apple fanatic -- someone whose iPhone, Mac or iPad is a prized possession. If you don't know a true fanatic, you probably know a fan -- or barring that, someone who might appreciate an Apple-made gift this holiday season. To help you cut through the chaff, from one Apple fanatic to... someone else entirely, I've put together a list of the best Apple gifts.
Final Fantasy VII Remake: More Story, Less Action
December 9, 2015
Square Enix last week offered some tidbits about its upcoming Final Fantasy VII remake, which likely will be episodic in nature with the emphasis on action toned down. The company revealed the first gameplay footage of the remake at the PlayStation Experience 2015 event in San Francisco. The game likely will be released exclusively for Sony's PlayStation 4 game console, at least at launch.
Apple Cranks Up Music Storage to 100K
December 8, 2015
Apple has increased from 25,000 to 100,000 the maximum number of music tracks that can be uploaded to the personal libraries of Apple Music and iTunes Match users, according to media reports Sunday. When Apple launched its streaming music service, Apple Music, in June, company exec Eddy Cue revealed on Twitter that the company was working on raising the library ceiling for iOS 9.
Wii U at Long Last to Share Minecraft Gold
December 8, 2015
Mojang on Monday announced that Minecraft finally is headed for the Wii U, with touchdown scheduled for Dec. 17. The lack of Minecraft availability long has been a legitimate reason to skip the Wii U in favor of another console. Although Minecraft is just the type of family-forward experience Nintendo pushes, it's surprising how long it took for it to reach Nintendo hardware.
Facebook Lets Ordinary People Try Out Live Video
December 7, 2015
Facebook last week launched a beta of its Live Video service for a small percentage of iPhone users in the United States. Live Video reportedly will be available for the Android platform at a later date. Facebook also has launched a pilot to make it easier to share videos from mobile devices. Some iPhone and Android device users can tap the "What's on your mind?" prompt to trigger a drop-down menu of the options they can share.
VTech Hires Mandiant to Shore Up Security for Kids
December 4, 2015
VTech on Thursday revealed it has hired FireEye's Mandiant to help improve security after reaction from parents around the world over news that its servers were hacked. It also is cooperating with law enforcement agencies worldwide to investigate the incident and has temporarily shut down several websites, its Learning Lodge app store, and its Kids Connect service.
At $60K, Nokia's Ozo VR Camera Is Priced Right for Pro Filmmakers
December 3, 2015
Nokia this week revealed its Ozo virtual reality camera system. Priced at $60,000, it will ship in the first quarter of 2016. While its price may be too high for many YouTube content creators, it's low enough for studios that previously may have been hesitant to embrace VR because of the cost of equipment. Before the Ozo, experimenting with VR came at a high cost, Nokia said.
Vintage Video Games Reloaded
December 1, 2015
The movie and music industries over the past three decades have reaped profits from their vaults. Technological advances in hardware provided new revenue streams for old media. The electronic entertainment industry largely has failed to reap the same rewards. Many older video games essentially are unplayable unless the gamer has an old console or PC sitting around.
Pirate Bay Scores Rare Legal Victory
December 1, 2015
A District Court in Stockholm, Sweden, last week ruled against an international group of content providers who sought to force a local Internet service provider to block The Pirate Bay, a file-sharing site, said lawyers for the plaintiffs. The content providers had filed a lawsuit suit to compel ISP Bredbandsbolaget to block The Pirate Bay from operating in Sweden.
Is This VR's Mainstream Moment?
November 24, 2015
Samsung last week began fulfilling orders for its Oculus-power Gear VR headset, giving U.S. consumers their first taste of Oculus VR's brand of virtual reality. International preorders have opened as well. It won't be until early next year that Oculus VR begins shipping its full-featured Oculus Rift headset, but as a Gear VR collaborator, it has been touting Samsung's mobile-driven headset.
NY AG Subpoenas Yahoo in Daily Fantasy Sports Battle
November 21, 2015
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman this week sought an injunction to keep DraftKings and FanDuel from operating in the state, according to press reports. He also subpoenaed Yahoo as part of his effort to end the operation of daily fantasy sports platforms in New York, press reports said. If he's successful, it could tip the dominoes in other states.
Nvidia Updates Shield Tablet, Shaves $100 Off Price
November 20, 2015
Nvidia this week revealed a refreshed Shield Tablet K1 and indicated that it isn't done updating the gaming slate. One of the biggest parts of the refresh is a cut of $100 off the price of the 16-GB tablet. The original Shield Tablet was available in a $299 16-GB version and a $399 32-GB variant. A new battery replaces the fire-prone cells that caused a recall of the original Shield Tablets.
Halo Makes Month for Xbox One
November 18, 2015
The NPD Group last week announced that Halo 5: Guardians set atop the gaming charts for October, despite its Xbox One exclusivity. The latest installment of the long-standing sci-fi shooter has given the Xbox One a much-needed boost, but Microsoft's latest console is still well behind rival Sony's PlayStation 4. Overall, the console market saw marginal gains in October.
Microsoft Gives Gamers a New Xbox One Experience
November 16, 2015
Microsoft on Thursday began rolling out the New Xbox One Experience, delivering backward compatibility for Xbox 360 games and updating the user interface to a Windows 10 foundation. Support for legacy Xbox games is the headliner, but the roughly 1.15-GB update includes new social elements baked into a reworked interface. The refreshed interface is faster and more social, the company said.
Microsoft Pulls the Plug on Zune
November 16, 2015
Microsoft on Sunday announced that it would retire the service for its Zune digital media players beginning immediately, and users will no longer able to stream or download content to the device from the Zune music service. The device will continue to function as a music player, and any downloaded content will remain on the device. Users can transfer music to and from the device.
Valve's Steam Gaming Hardware Hits Home
November 13, 2015
Valve this week rolled out the hardware phase of its road map from bedrooms and basements to living rooms and lounge areas with its long-awaited video game controller, PC link box and Steam boxes. Valve's road map to the living room began with Big Picture mode in 2011, continued with in-home streaming in 2014, and now includes the new Steam hardware.
T-Mobile Opens Streaming-Video Buffet
November 12, 2015
T-Mobile on Wednesday announced Binge On, a plan that lets qualified customers Netflix and chill as much as they want. It's the type of move meant to shake up the wireless industry and to cultivate more T-Mobile loyalists. Beginning this Sunday, certain customers can consume streaming content from several popular services without having it count against their data plans.
Now Facebook Users Can Tell Their Music Stories
November 6, 2015
Facebook on Thursday announced Music Stories, a feature in its iPhone app that lets users post links to music they like with comments. Clicking the link will launch a 30-second preview of the music, which is streamed from either Apple Music or Spotify. Listeners then can purchase the music from the service or save it to their account there.
For Tech-Savvy Teens and Tweens, TV and Music Still Rule
November 6, 2015
Although teens and tweens have more choices than ever when it comes to media activities, watching television and listening to music are their top preferences, according to a report Common Sense Media released this week. Among tweens, ages 8 to 12, watching TV was the top media activity, with nearly 62 percent saying they did it every day. For teens, ages 13 to 18, listening to music was the top media activity.
Circle With Disney Lets Parents Unglue Kids From Media
November 5, 2015
Circle Media and Disney Interactive on Wednesday launched Circle With Disney, a device that gives parents greater control over the management of their children's online activities. Circle With Disney provides curated Disney content through a licensing agreement. Paired with a companion iOS app, it allows users to limit and filter content streaming to a variety of devices.
Live-Action Trailer Hypes Fallout 4 Release
November 5, 2015
Bethesda on Thursday released a preview trailer for its postapocalyptic video game Fallout 4. The game will be released worldwide next week for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One as well as the Sony PlayStation 4. Despite the title, it's actually the fifth major installment in the series. Bethesda has pulled out all the stops, including cross promotions, to build excitement for the release.
Film Industry Claims Victory in Shutdown of Major Piracy Sites
November 4, 2015
The Motion Picture Association of America ran a victory lap after announcing the shutdown of movie and television torrent sites Popcorn Time and YTS. The shutdowns resulted from major legal wins in Canada and New Zealand. The MPAA last month obtained injunctions against the sites in those countries, effectively blocking them from further operation.
Is Apple TV a Worthy Upgrade? Sort Of
November 3, 2015
For Apple TV fans, the new Apple TV is the long-awaited upgrade we've been pining for, but I'm only half as impressed as I thought I would be. It comes down to this: The new Apple TV is an excellent set-top box, and it provides a foundation for the app-centric living room TV experience of the future... but damn, Apple, you spent how many years not getting this thing polished?
Using Tech to Fix the Horrid US Political Debates
November 2, 2015
I watched with interest last week's Republican debate and realized very quickly that whatever that was on my TV, it sure as hell wasn't an actual debate. The idea is for us to be able to compare the qualifications and positions of a variety of candidates and then make a more informed choice -- but if every candidate is asked a different question, then how do we compare the answers?
T-Mobile Rumored to Roll Out Unlimited Video
October 30, 2015
Rumors that T-Mobile plans to introduce an unlimited data plan for streaming video services circulated Thursday following a Twitter post from journalist Evan Blass, who tweets under the handle @evleaks. The company would allow unlimited high-speed data to be used to watch select streaming from services such as Netflix and HBO under its "Uncarrier 10" campaign, he suggested.
Apple TV Reviews: Kinda Buggy, Kinda Great
October 29, 2015
The latest version of Apple's streaming media set-top box has gathered a bundle of mixed early reviews. Some reviewers saw great potential in the $149 diminutive black box designed to pump movies, TV shows, games and apps from the Internet to a television set. Others found plenty to criticize. "I was a little shocked to see how buggy it was," wrote David Pogue.
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What do you think of politically inspired Internet memes?
They tend to be brutally honest about their targets.
They're usually cheap shots based on lies.
They're often stupid but amusing.
They can have a dangerous influence on uninformed people.
They don't impress me one way or the other.