Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact review

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We call it battery life because it is vital.

Without it, e-readers wouldn’t be so popular, electric cars wouldn’t threaten gas guzzlers, and smartphones would never have taken over as the primary computing device in people’s lives. Battery life is the story of Sony’s new Xperia phones. They have the usual panoply of specs and features that no Android device would dare leave a factory without, but the main reason you’ll want to buy one will be their extraordinary endurance. Sony expects both…

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This video makes the best case yet for why we should all use Snapchat

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“The question is, when do I not use Snapchat?” “It’s breakfast, it’s lunch…”

Snapchat is notoriously hard to pin down. First it was for sexting, then it made the word “ephemeral” a Thing again, then it was probably for sexting again. Somewhere it became worth north of $10 billion, an app that could turn down $3 billion from Facebook and not look silly for doing so. But the question remains: what is Snapchat for? I’ve never really known.

Casey Neistat, a filmmaker and something of a Snapchat savant, has an answer. In his latest video, he makes the case for Snapchat being the future of social media, but in a fundamentally different way. It’s not like Facebook or MySpace, his argument goes, though it may be their natural evolutionary…

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This published hack could be the beginning of the end for USB

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In July, researchers Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell announced that they’d found a critical security flaw they called BadUSB, allowing attackers to smuggle malware on the devices effectively undetected. Even worse, there didn’t seem to be a clear fix for the attack. Anyone who plugged in a USB stick was opening themselves up to the attack, and because the bad code was residing in USB firmware, it was hard to protect against it without completely redesigning the system. The only good news was that Nohl and Lell didn’t publish the code, so the industry had some time to prepare for a world without USB.

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Soylent 1.1 hopes to make you fart less

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Foodstuffs have version numbers now. That’s the world we live in.

Or at least one consumable has a version number: Soylent, which has just been revved to 1.1. The latest formulation of the crowdfunding-born meal replacement promises less sweetness — they’ve taken out some of the sucralose, so users can more easily “customize” the flavor to their liking. Perhaps more importantly, it adds an “enzyme blend” that promises to reduce “digestive issues” experienced by some users of the original (myself included).

The company behind Soylent still hasn’t caught up to demand; many buyers still have orders that have been outstanding for months, but it would appear that some of that delay is chalked up to work on the new formulation. There’s also…

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Finally, there’s an iOS keyboard that sounds like Jack Nicholson

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Watching the slow and steady trickle of third-party keyboards arrive on the App Store is like seeing a desert get rain for the first time. And like that dry, cracked earth, my own thirst for new ways to poke out emails and texts is insatiable. That is maybe the only way to explain why I purposefully downloaded and installed a keyboard designed to sound like Jack Nicholson.

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Leonardo DiCaprio won’t play Steve Jobs in upcoming biopic

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Leonardo DiCaprio is no longer in talks to play Steve Jobs in the upcoming biopic written by Aaron Sorkin, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This movie has been in the works for a while now, and this is the second big change that it’s gone through this year: originally, David Fincher was in talks to direct it with Christian Bale as the star, but in April, the studio instead decided to put it in the hands of Danny Boyle, director of Slumdog Millionaire, with DiCaprio as its lead.

The Reporter now says that Bale is back on the list of potential names to play Jobs. Alongside him is said to be Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Bradley Cooper — though the Reporter suggests that Affleck is an unlikely choice due to scheduling conflicts. There’s…

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The Vergecast, live today at 4:30PM ET

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Hello! Do you like watching people talk about Ebola and/or Windows 10?1 Then you, friend, are in luck. We’ll be broadcasting the Vergecast live at 4:30PM ET with special guest Elizabeth Lopatto, whose science reporting you’ll find on this very site and whose hilarious tweets you’ll find on …Twitter. Plus maybe, just maybe, we’ll find out what the heck happened to Windows 9. Tune in!

1. No connection between the Ebola Virus and Windows intended, imputed, or implied.

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Evernote redesigned its note-taking web app, and it’s gorgeous

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Evernote released a redesigned version of its web client today that tries to minimize distractions and encourage people to focus on the task at hand. The design hides most elements of the user interface by default, giving you a clean space to work in. Icons on the right give you access to your notebooks, tags, search, and other features. Mostly, though, it’s just a white space to fill with your writing, with user interface elements that pop up when you hover over different parts of the screen. “It’s built to eliminate distraction,” Evernote CEO Phil Libin said at the fourth annual Evernote Conference. “It’s built for focus.”

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Samsung puts the metal Galaxy Note 4 through its own bend test

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Samsung wants to dismiss the idea that its upcoming Galaxy Note 4 will be as “easy” to bend as Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus. Looking to capitalize on the controversy that Apple and others say shouldn’t really be a controversy, Samsung has released a new video meant to showcase the strength and resiliency of its latest phablet. The Note 4 features a metal band, remember, so this was always going to be a fairer fight than pitting the 6 Plus against the plastic Note 3.

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DirecTV renews NFL deal to offer Sunday Ticket

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DirecTV has renewed its deal with the NFL to carry every Sunday afternoon out-of-market game through its Sunday Ticket package. The Washington Post is reporting that the deal is in place for eight years and will net the NFL $1.5 billion annually, though neither company is officially disclosing terms of the agreement. Sealing the deal was critical for DirecTV for a number of reasons, with one prominent one being that the fate of its merger with AT&T in part depended on it — AT&T was allowed to bail on the merger if DirecTV lost the NFL deal.

But it never really looked like DirecTV had any significant chance of losing Sunday Ticket, which is one of the company’s biggest draws. The deal also expands DirecTV’s ability to stream games to…

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My friend, the phone sex worker

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I met Denise for lunch last week at a quiet corner cafe in Paris. She was lounging on the terrace with a friend and a bottle of rosé, their faces two dark dots amid a row of pale office workers packed into tables on the sunny side of the street. She flashed a toothy grin as I apologized for being late, and poured me a glass.

“So,” she began as I settled in, “do you have any questions or do you just wanna start talking about sex?”

Denise and I met for the first time last summer through a…

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Watch the first teaser trailer for Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’

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Pixar has been keeping details of its next film pretty quiet, but today it’s finally giving eager fans a look. It’s just premiered the first teaser trailer for Inside Out, a story about the personified emotions inside of a young girl’s mind. Unfortunately, Pixar is still keeping things pretty quiet — this teaser shows more footage from the studio’s old movies than it does from this new one. You can’t really blame it for leaning on the classics, but it makes it hard to get a true sense of Inside Out just yet. Still, the movie is directed by Pete Docter, who previously did Monsters, Inc. and Up for Pixar, and you can definitely see a resemblance to the former. Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, and Mindy Kaling are among the voice…

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The best home security camera

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These days, a $200 monitoring camera can keep a very good eye on your home when you’re gone. Most of these gadgets aren’t design to stop an intruder, but to provide a peace of mind. You use them to find out more about what’s going on in your home with both live and recorded video, and simple information updates.

A good home monitoring camera should be well designed but inconspicuous, easy to set up, and extremely easy to use. The best ones make it simple to check in on what’s going on at…

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Video shows how David Fincher keeps his audience omniscient

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Earlier today, we were treated to another thorough analysis of a director’s process when video blog “Every Frame a Painting” — which has taken a look at, among other things, Martin Scorsese’s use of silence and the history of texting in film — took on the timely subject of David Fincher’s work. Fincher, who most recently directed Gone Girl nd is known for his stylish, moody work, has described his process as being not about what he does with the camera but, rather, “what I don’t do.”

The video above, which was created by freelance video editor Tony Zhou, focuses on all the constraints Fincher places on himself, moving beyond flashier moments like the CGI title scene in Fight Club to analyze the director’s quieter and more telling…

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Google redesigns Newsstand for Material Design

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Google’s magazine and online news reading app is getting a makeover. After introducing Play Newsstand last November, Google is today giving the app a surface-level redesign that’ll make it fall in line with the next big version of Android. Rather than using one stark accent color, the updated Newsstand places a heavier reliance on big images and color overlays, making it comply with Google’s new Material Design style — which we’ll be seeing in full force very soon.

Newsstand allows readers to browse through stories on various websites and to download and read through magazines. The other big update to Newsstand today is meant to make the latter of those much easier. Until now, Newsstand’s digital magazines displayed just like a normal…

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LG is working on a webOS SmartWatch

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The world’s favorite abortive mobile operating system, webOS, refuses to go away quietly. After being open-sourced by HP and then sold off to LG, webOS is now apparently returning to mobile devices in the form of a new LG SmartWatch. A developer website hosted by LG teases a software development kit for a webOS SmartWatch, while the familiar Bean Bird from LG’s webOS TVs also shows up, this time supporting a classically styled analog wristwatch.

LG is already an active participant in the developing smartwatch market with two Android Wear models: the G Watch that inaugurated Google’s wearable software platform and the G Watch R, which is going on sale later this month. Like fellow Korean manufacturer Samsung — who has adapted the Tizen…

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First Apple CarPlay systems arrive courtesy of Pioneer

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Pioneer is now the first aftermarket manufacturer to support Apple CarPlay with the release of new firmware for its NEX in-dash receivers. The 2014 NEX series ranges in price from $700 to $1,400. Pioneer also announced a new $600 AppRadio 4 with big 6.2-inch capacitive touchscreen and support for both CarPlay and MirrorLink, thus making it compatible with iOS devices and handsets from Nokia, Samsung, and others.

CarPlay was announced in March as the foundation of Apple’s connected car strategy. “CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car,” said Apple VP Greg Joswiak at the time. “iPhone users always want their content at their fingertips and CarPlay…

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Four new Adam Sandler movies are coming exclusively to Netflix

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Netflix is betting big on Billy Madison. The company has announced it’s signed a deal with actor Adam Sandler that’ll see him produce and star in four feature-length films set to premiere exclusively on Netflix. Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions and Netflix will work together on each project, according to a press release issued this evening. Neither side is discussing numbers, so we don’t yet know how much Netflix has committed to its collaboration with Sandler.

Sandler’s films have grossed over $3 billion globally

Considering Sandler’s recent box office disasters (Blended, anyone?), it may seem odd that Netflix would pursue such a lengthy and all-encompassing deal. But remember that Netflix has access to our collective streaming…

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Ebola isn’t the only public health emergency, British Medical Journal tells WHO

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The British Medical Journal called on the World Health Organization today to declare a public health emergency. Not because of any specific disease, but because climate change will cause an additional 250 000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050, by the WHO’s own estimate.

“WHO has shown important leadership on climate change but has stopped short of declaring a global public health emergency,” writes BMJ editor-in-chief Fiona Godlee, in an editorial. But the evidence that climate change poses a “threat to human health and survival” is strong, she writes, and it’s time to act.

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We are all Hongkongers

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There were supposed to be fireworks last night.

October 1st is China’s Fourth of July, the day the populous superpower shuts down its factories and turns patriotic. On the mainland, you can’t walk down a street without hearing celebratory booms and seeing sparks. A pyrotechnic spectacle always lights up the waters above Hong Kong, too. Hong Kong is a tiny region that’s overseen by China, even though it has technically been governed by a separate law — “one country, two systems,” as they…

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