European Commission opens investigation into Amazon’s dealings with Luxembourg

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EU authorities are taking a hard look at Amazon’s tax affairs in Luxembourg, according to Reuters. The European Commission reportedly believes that Luxembourg’s 2003 tax ruling might be instrumental in allowing Amazon’s local subsidiary Amazon EU Sarl to lower its taxable profit. The in-depth probe is only the latest in the European Commission’s attempts to investigate potential tax issues within its realm in relation to big corporations such as Apple, Starbucks, and Fiat.

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Darth Vader will silence you for leaking ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ secrets

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Star Wars: Episode VII director J.J. Abrams has teased fans with pictures and video from the movie’s set, but after a series of unplanned leaks courtesy of unnamed sources and pilots, it looks like the film’s production staff has cracked down on the sharing of secrets — with the help of a certain Sith master.

Frank Marshall, a producer on the still-untitled Episode VII, tweeted a picture of a poster on the wall at the UK’s Pinewood Studios that shows Darth Vader’s gloved hand covering the mouth of an Imperial officer. The poster, based on the iconic “Loose lips sink ships” design used to dissuade people from revealing secrets during World War II, was designed by artist Cliff Chiang It’s taken from Chiang’s 2010 Star Wars collection, a…

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Neil Gaiman’s reading of ‘The Graveyard Book’ makes me squeal like a schoolgirl

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“Neil Gaiman, best known for being a low-rent version of Terry Pratchett in a leather jacket,” quips one of my colleagues — name withheld to protect the heathen — amid a discussion of my beloved author’s reading of The Graveyard Book. I won’t lie. I immediately went on the defensive. Gaiman occupies a shelf in my heart beside The Mirror Empire’s fiercely outspoken Kameron Hurley and short story virtuoso Benjanun Sriduangkaew.

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This is the keyboard iPhone 6 Plus owners deserve

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Maybe you’ve heard, the iPhone 6 Plus is a big phone. By and large, I’ve overcome the enormity of it — it actually fits pretty well in my hand, and I haven’t dropped it yet (knock on wood). There’s just one thing that’s really bothering me: when I’m holding it one-handed, there’s absolutely no way to reach the far end of the keyboard with my thumb unless I want to balance the phone precariously on my fingertips. It’s a recipe for disaster. Reachability doesn’t help, because it only pulls down the top of the screen — it doesn’t bring the left side closer to the right (or vice versa, if you’re left-handed).

My dream keyboard would solve this, and it’s enticingly simple: just put a smaller keyboard on there and right-align it or left-align…

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Microsoft and Adobe team up to make Photoshop way better for touchscreens

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Photoshop isn’t the easiest app to use on a touchscreen, but Adobe is quickly beginning to change that. It officially began supporting touch gestures on Windows 8 today — including the ability zoom, pan, and rotate — after starting to publicly test them early this year. But more important for the long run, Adobe is working on some interface changes that’ll make the app designed for use with touch, rather than having touch support grafted onto it.

Adobe teased the first of those changes today by demonstrating an upcoming feature called Playground. It’s a new, minimalist view inside of Photoshop that lets you scrub through all of the different layers in your file just by swiping your finger across it. Layers can even be picked up and…

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Your next Amazon tablet might come with a Washington Post app subscription

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In the year since Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post, media watchers have wondered how the famously hands-on CEO might change the venerated newspaper. According to a new Businessweek report, the changes will have a lot to do with Amazon. According to the report, the Post is working on an app that will lay out the newspaper’s best stories in a magazine layout, available for monthly subscriptions. And thanks to the Bezos connection, the app will likely be packaged for free with new Kindle purchases, offering a huge new national distribution channel for the Post. It would also tempt the same backlash Apple faced when it bundled iTunes with a new U2 album.

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25 years ago, ‘Twin Peaks’ promised the return of ‘Twin Peaks’ for June 10th, 2016

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This morning at 11:30AM — the same time that FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) first entered the town of Twin Peaks — both David Lynch and Mark Frost announced (via Twitter) that Twin Peaks is returning for a nine-episode run on Showtime in 2016. Production is set to begin next year.

But Twin Peaks was always supposed to return in 2016 — or to be specific, June 10th, 2016. That’s the original broadcast date for Twin Peaks’ season two finale, where Laura Palmer (a key figure, for those who don’t know the show) told Cooper that she’d see him again in 25 years. The new teaser actually begins with a clip from seconds before Palmer utters that line.

If you want to see it for yourself, recorded backwards and then “reversed” to make it…

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Sad Bill Murray singing Bob Dylan is the best Bill Murray

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You can divide everyone in your life into two camps: the fans of dry-humored, early-period Bill Murray (Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day), and the fans of sad-sack, late-period Bill Murray (Lost in Translation, Wes Anderson appearances). There is no middle ground. You can make a case for either, but I’d throw my lot in with the late-period folks, precisely for stuff like this just-released clip from the upcoming movie St. Vincent.

According to a synopsis for the film, Bill Murray plays “a retired curmudgeon with a penchant for alcohol and gambling.” It features this excellent clip of Bill Murray singing an off-tune version of Bob Dylan’s “Shelter From the Storm” while having a smoke, which is essentially The Case For Old Bill Murray in about…

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How the financial crisis killed HP’s printer business, in one chart

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Hewlett-Packard announced today that it was splitting its business in two, creating a printer and PC company alongside one dedicated to enterprise services. This may seem like the inevitable putting out to pasture of an aging technology that has been displaced in the mobile age. But it actually wasn’t so long ago that HP’s printer business was growing steadily. As The Guardian’s technology editor Charles Arthur points out, between 2005 and 2008 sales in the printer division expanded at a healthy clip. Like many things, they fell of a cliff when the financial crisis hit, but unlike some other industries, the appetite for old-fashioned paper and ink never recovered, and has been slowly dwindling ever since, precipitating today’s big…

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Watch Jeff Goldblum brutally interrogate a pile of money for ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’

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“Think I care about you? If it were up to me, I’d take a wad of gum, stick it right on Andrew Jackson’s smug fucking face, crumple you up, stuff you in a pair of old dockers, throw you in a washing machine on permanent press, then hand you off to a toddler with a pair of scissors and a marker and tell him to make confetti.”

Like all Last Week Tonight sketches, the scene — where Jeff Goldblum in full Law & Order mode plays bad cop to a pile of cash — serves to satire a serious issue. In this case, it’s civil forfeiture, a “shady process [where]… police can just take your stuff if they suspect it’s involved in a crime.”

The biggest laughs, unsurprisingly, comes from the absurdity of the truth (e.g. “United States of America … v….

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A new ‘Twin Peaks’ miniseries is coming to Showtime in 2016

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After being super coy on Twitter, David Lynch and Mark Frost have confirmed that Twin Peaks will return in 2016, more than 25 years after the show first premiered on ABC, in a limited series run for Showtime.Lynch will direct all episodes, and both Lynch and Frost will handle writing. According to Deadline, the new Twin Peaks with be set in the present day and will provide answers to some of the long-standing (seriously, over two decades) questions.

No word on if Kyle MacLachlan will return in the title role as FBI Agent Dale Cooper, but #damngoodcoffee is inspired by one of his most memorable lines, and having seen the original run, we’d be surprised if he doesn’t have at the very least a cameo.

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Microsoft imagines an incredible transparent smart cover for Surface tablets

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When Microsoft isn’t busy transforming living rooms into giant Xbox games, it’s working on incredible new technologies. The latest Microsoft Research work sees the company investigate the idea of a transparent smart cover for a Surface tablet. FlexSense is a transparent piece of plastic that can sit on top of a tablet and provides some truly unique methods of input, without the need for external sensors like cameras. Microsoft’s demonstration shows how you could physically peel or flip layers of a user interface or naturally reveal specific parts of an image that has a filter applied, all by using piezoelectric sensors within the thin layer of film.

In an application like Photoshop it’s easy to imagine, as Microsoft does, a method to…

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Facebook now officially owns WhatsApp

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Eight months after announcing its intent to acquire messaging giant WhatsApp, the deal has finally gone through. Facebook announced the closing of the deal with the SEC in the United States, and with the European Commission in Europe. Since the deal was announced for $19 billion, its price tag has actually increased to a whopping $21.8 billion. This is in part due to Facebook’s rising stock price over the last several months, Recode points out.

Don’t expect WhatsApp to abandon its $1 / year business model

As WhatsApp officially joins the Facebook fold, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum has joined Facebook’s board. He will also be paid just $1 per year like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, according to filings, but has been given a very hefty…

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Plex on Xbox One makes streaming your torrented movies easy and elegant

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Both of the latest consoles from Microsoft and Sony started off with nonexistent media center capabilities, which was a big disappointment to people with massive digital movie and TV show collections. But thankfully Xbox One is already starting to turn things around. There’s Microsoft’s own media player app (which will soon support high-quality MKV files) and tomorrow Plex is coming to Xbox One. In recent years, much like XBMC, Plex has emerged as a go-to app for home theater diehards. If we’re being honest, it’s also used by people who download their fair share of Blu-ray rips, DVD screeners, and so on. Obviously plenty of Plex customers are using it legitimately — many have a catalog of self-made movie backups — but the other side…

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Adobe introduces Premiere Clip, a video editor for iPhone and iPad

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One of the biggest names in video editing is coming to mobile. Adobe is today introducing Premiere Clip, a simple and streamlined video editor for the iPhone and iPad. Though it shares a family name with Premiere Pro, Adobe’s desktop editor, Clip is a far simpler app — it’s meant for everyone, not just professionals. In fact, if you’ve used iMovie, Clip will actually look somewhat familiar: the app allows you to arrange and trim shots, filter your video, and apply some basic transitions and effects. It’s all enough to stitch a set of clips together into a nice looking video, which is about all you can ask for on a phone or tablet.

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Advertising beacons discovered in hundreds of NYC phone booths

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As New York City looks to upgrade its phone booths, the boxes may be getting more technology than many citizens realize. This weekend, a Buzzfeed investigation found approximately 500 advertising beacons in Manhattan phone booths, all installed without a formal approval process or public comment period. The beacons are already common in malls and stadiums, but it’s rare to see them on public streets, and even stranger to see them taking over a spot previously reserved for public landlines.

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This 3-minute teaser for ‘Breaking Bad’ spinoff ‘Better Call Saul’ is pretty much just two scenes and weird country music

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Anyone who stayed up to the end of AMC’s Breaking Bad marathon on Sunday got a big surprise: a three-minute Better Call Saul teaser featuring country music icon Junior Brown and a flailing demonic airdancer. The big news is the theme song, a darkly hokey country tune that doubles as Saul’s official jingle, telling tales of murder, kidnapping and arson. There are a few shots of Saul in action, but nothing even close to spoiler territory. So far, details have been thin on the Breaking Bad followup, but this should be enough to keep us busy for a while.

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HP announces plan to split in two

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Hewlett-Packard is officially splitting in two. Following rumors over the weekend, HP is announcing today that it will separate its PC and printer division from its enterprise and services business. The split means current CEO Meg Whitman will become the chairman of the PC and printer operation, and continue as CEO of the split-off enterprise business. Dion Weisler, an executive at HP’s PC business, will take over as CEO of the company’s PC and printer operation.

HP Enterprise is the newly split-off part of the original company, and HP Inc will continue to focus on PCs and printers. “The decision to separate into two market-leading companies underscores our commitment to the turnaround plan,” says HP CEO Meg Whitman. “It will provide…

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Watch the developer become god in this precursor to the Metaverse

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Brian Peiris built a live-coding web app for the Oculus Rift that lets you manipulate your virtual 3D environment in real-time. Sure, it’s just a bunch of simple manipulation of geometry for now, but it’s clearly a precursor to where the technology could take us: a metaverse where citizens of Mr. Lee’s Greater Hong Kong are less concerned with their democratic rights than the general upkeep of their avatars. Create anything you want so long as you’ve got the coding skills to support your whims.

The link to the Metaverse is so obvious that it was Neal Stephenson himself, who brought Peiris’ project to our attention. Yes, that Neal Stephenson, the author who wrote the SciFi classic Snow Crash, where grotesque-looking “gargoyles” walk…

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Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, is getting her own show on Hulu

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The Mistress of the Dark is making a small screen reappearance just in time for Halloween. Elvira, the self-proclaimed “hostess with the mostess,” is coming to Hulu later this month with an updated version of her ‘80s cult classic show, Movie Macabre. Elvira will be suited up in none other than her iconic sexy vampire outfit, and will offer up her typical sharp commentary on thirteen low-budget horror B-movies. The new show, dubbed 13 Nights of Elvira, will start up on October 19th, reports Shock Till You Drop. While you wait, be sure to catch up with some of the seductress’ classic material below.

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