Elon Musk enlists his five sons to help complete the Ice Bucket Challenge

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The Ice Bucket Challenge is well on its way to raising plenty of money for ALS research — and it’s leaving no tech exec dry. Tesla CEO and billionaire inventor Elon Musk took his turn taking a cool, refreshing ice-water bath today. Musk’s five boys, Griffin, Xavier, Damian, Saxon, and Kai got a good laugh out of dousing their father, though the contraption isn’t quite as impressive as Bill Gates’ over-engineered rig. Musk is apparently under the weather, though, so maybe he wasn’t quite up to the task of one-upping the Microsoft co-founder. Gates challenged Musk yesterday, and now Musk is passing the torch on to Johnny Depp, Tony Hawk, and Minecraft creator Notch.

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Possible plot details leak from ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ set

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The Star Wars: Episode VII set seems to be a leaky ship. Minor details from the upcoming film have been finding their way online since filming began, and now a couple of reports claim to have an idea of how the film’s plot is going to play out. Of course, if you want to go into the next Star Wars installment with fresh eyes, you better stop reading here. And don’t feel too bad — there really are just bits and pieces at this point.

Possible spoilers ahead!

According to separate reports from Indie Revolver and Latino Review, the film will feature a lengthy flashback to explain the history behind the film’s main villains, the Sith Inquisitors. The flashback (or flashbacks) will reportedly take place when Leia is little more than a young…

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The Weekender: winning the internet and making mixtapes

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Good morning and welcome back. We’ll be your guides through space and time on this starship we call the Weekender. It’s been a long week, full of small victories and larger tragedies, so this journey is your chance to reflect. It’s your chance to learn something and do something new — even if it’s just riding a bike. Here’s everything you need for your verse.

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See the evolution of texting and the internet on film

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Digital communications can be a storyteller’s nightmare: they mean that everyone is constantly connected and that action increasingly happens on a screen, rather than between two actors. No one’s really figured out a perfect way of dealing with that yet — depictions of the internet on film are often fairly hokey, and cutting to a text message on a phone only serves to slow down the action. So what’s a director to do? In the latest in his film analysis series Every Frame a PaintingTony Zhou takes a look at how filmmakers are slowly beginning to handle text messages and the web better and better. After years and years, Sherlock may just have nailed the text message… but it seems that the web is still anyone’s game.

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New trailers: ‘Rudderless,’ ‘Mortdecai,’ ‘The Canal,’ ‘Better Call Saul,’ and ‘Revenge of the Green Dragons’

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The summer movie season may be winding down, but there are still some huge new titles in theaters this weekend, including The Giver and The Expendables 3. As usual, what’s coming to theaters in the next few months looks quite a bit different, from more emotional stories to far spookier ones for this October. We’ve rounded up five of this week’s best new trailers below so that you can take a look at what’s coming up in the not-too-distant future.

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Windows 9 preview expected next month

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Microsoft is expected to deliver an early preview version of Windows Threshold next month, the codename for what will likely be named Windows 9. The software maker has been gradually working on the release over the past several months, adding and tweaking features ready for a “technology preview” release to the public. Microsoft has been sharing early builds of Threshold to close OEMs and partners, and ZDNet reports that a public preview is expected next month or early October.

The Windows 9 preview will be similar to how Microsoft first let developers test Windows 8, with features not fully complete or missing. ZDNet claims updates will be pushed to users who install the preview on an automatic basis, meaning the release will change…

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From Google to Lenovo: the ups and downs of Motorola’s last three years

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On August 15th, 2011, Google revealed that it would be purchasing Motorola Mobility, which was formerly in charge of the eponymous corporation’s cellular phone division. One of the major reasons motivating the acquisition was Google’s desire to pick up Motorola’s library of patents. In a blog post, Google CEO Larry Page wrote that the move would “better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple, and other companies.”

The decision would later prove problematic. It…

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Premier League warns soccer fans not to post goals on Vine and Twitter

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The World Cup was wonderful for so many reasons this year, whether it was watching Arjen Robben’s 5,268 dives, Luis Suarez’s moment of madness, or the animated facial expressions of Mexico’s manager Miguel Herrera, there was always something to share. It was these moments and more from The Beautiful Game that generated thousands of animated GIFs and Vines of World Cup goals, a big win for social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. While fans happily enjoyed sharing these brief clips, FIFA was far less impressed and began cracking down to remove them. The same is about to happen to the Premier League in England.

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Xbox One’s new media player is perfect for watching torrents

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Microsoft announced its plans to bring a standalone media player to Xbox One earlier this week, and now the company is previewing some of its new features. A dashboard update for Xbox One preview users is rolling out in preparation for the media player app beta, with some of the new social and TV features. While the media player isn’t available just yet, Microsoft is demonstrating how it works in a preview video.

The media player, a highly requested feature, supports local files from USB and network media players through DLNA. Both of these features will allow Xbox One owners to download content like movies, TV shows, or music and stream them directly to the console or play them from a USB stick. Microsoft is improving its support of…

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Tesla improves Model S drive unit warranty to cover 8 years and ‘infinite miles’

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Elon Musk and Tesla are showing even more confidence in their Model S. Moments ago, Musk announced that the car’s drive unit warranty has been extended to match that of the Model S battery pack and will now run for 8 years from the date of purchase. The new policy, which is retroactive and covers existing owners, allows for “unlimited miles” to be driven in that time. So as long as you’re within those 8 years, Tesla will service your car under warranty at no cost if there should be an issue with the drive unit. You may be on the hook for problems elsewhere, and the updated and far more generous warranty only applies to the 85 kWh Model S. Musk says this is Tesla’s “most popular car by far.”

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Hacking Team is spreading government malware through YouTube and Microsoft Live

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You don’t have to click on a sketchy link to end up downloading malware. A new report from Citizen Lab’s Morgan Marquis-Boire shows how companies can spread targeted malware by intercepting web traffic en route, sending malicious traffic from an otherwise friendly link. A company called Hacking Team has been using the tactics on traffic from YouTube and Microsoft’s login.live.com servers, seeding innocent videos with surveillance software designed to track the target’s activities online.

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This could be a stormtrooper from ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’

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IndieRevolver has published pictures of redesigned Imperial stormtrooper helmets that it claims will be used in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII. If the images are legitimate, then it begs a question of Episode VII‘s closely-guarded story: with Emperor Palpatine destroyed and Darth Vader dead at the end of Return of the Jedi, how is the Empire still functional enough to field an army? We’ll likely find out more soon as more secrets leak from the Star Wars set.

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EE now lets people pay to skip the wait when calling customer service

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No one likes waiting on the phone for customer support. It’s always a miserable experience, and EE thinks it’s one customers will pay money to avoid. The UK carrier now offers callers the option of forking over 50 pence (roughly $0.83 USD) to jump ahead of everyone else waiting to speak with a representative. And what does that money go towards? Improving EE’s customer service, of course. It will help the company open more support lines and thus, in a perfect world, cut down the wait for everyone — whether they’re paying to cut the whole line or not.

But it’s a questionable approach any way you look at it. Just think about the complaints and outrage that would result if Verizon Wireless, AT&T, or any other major US carrier were to pull…

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos takes the Ice Bucket Challenge and dares ‘Star Trek’ stars to go next

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the latest to answer the call and take a bucket of ice water to the head for charity. Bezos got up on stage during a company all-hands meeting to soak himself while standing in what appears to be an inflatable kiddie pool. Bezos, of course, has to pass the challenge on from there, and he makes his selection a bit more interesting by theming it: he’s challenging Star Trek stars William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, and George Takei to take the Ice Bucket Challenge next. If you’re wondering why Bezos and a huge group of other tech executives have been dousing themselves, you can read our story on what the Ice Bucket Challenge is and why it’s gotten so huge.

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The Renovo Coupe will do smoky burnouts around a Tesla Model S

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Tesla’s Model S, the mascot for the modern electric vehicle, is a fine family hauler. In fact, it’s a very quick one: it’ll race from 0 to 60 in just 4.2 seconds when equipped with the 85 kilowatt-hour performance drivetrain, which is faster than just about everything else on the road shy of exotics and high-end sports cars. But a new startup — based right in Tesla’s backyard — is poised to make the Model S look a bit slow.

The simply-named Coupe comes from Renovo, which says it has been…

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The internet is so big that it’s breaking routers

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The internet may soon be too large for many border routers to handle, according to a new report from analysts at Renesys. Older hardware could reach a breaking point in the next few weeks, causing failures across smaller providers. It’s going to be more of an inconvenience than a catastrophe, but if your small provider goes down in the coming weeks, there’s a good chance there’ll be an overloaded border router behind it.

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Ferguson is now a free speech zone

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By T.C. Sottek and Matt Stroud

The people of Ferguson, Missouri are still out on the streets. They’re loud, and they’re upset, but tonight they’re not being intimidated by warrior cops. They’re not being tear gassed. They’re not being shot at with rubber bullets. They’re simply doing what Americans do in hard times.

The decision today by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to yank St. Louis County Police from security detail appears to be paying off. Since police shot and killed Michael Brown on Saturday, heavily armed officers locked down the neighborhood, intimidating peaceful protestors. Police aggression peaked on Wednesday night as the nation watched, as officers advanced on crowds of residents, asking them to turn off their cameras….

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Warner Bros. is pretending ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ has a cooler name because it bombed in theaters

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This summer’s sci-fi action flick Edge of Tomorrow was pretty widely received as a legitimately good summer blockbuster, but for one reason or another it did pretty awful at the box office. Now, as the movie heads on-demand and onto DVD and Blu-ray, Warner Bros. is trying a new strategy to boost sales: it’s basically pretending that the film has a different, cooler name. On iTunes, the film is actually listed as Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow, and the DVD cover hides the name at the very bottom in favor of displaying the tagline “Live Die Repeat” in huge letters.

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Top cable providers now have more broadband subscribers than TV customers

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The top US cable providers now have more broadband subscribers than pay-TV customers, if new numbers from an analytics firm are correct. The milestone was reached last quarter, according to figures from Leichtman Research Group. Companies including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, and Charter collectively had roughly 49,915,000 internet subscribers at the end of Q2 2014, which was enough to inch past the TV tally of 49,910,000. “With the addition of more than 30 million broadband subscribers over the past decade, cable providers have clearly expanded well beyond their roots in cable TV service,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst at the research firm.  To be clear, it’s not as though people are necessarily…

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