The Nexus 6: hands-on with Google’s phablet

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After watching Apple unapologetically release the gigantic iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung release the fourth iteration of its massive Galaxy Note, getting a 6-inch phone from Google seems almost par for the course. Huge phones are the new normal, but the Nexus 6 somehow manages to feel supersized even by today’s surreal standards. The basic stats are already known: a Quad HD screen, a powerful Snapdragon 805 processor, a 13-megapixel camera, and a battery big enough to power it all. But the stats…

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Microsoft releases new Windows 10 preview with a Notification Center

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Microsoft released its first Windows 10 Technical Preview just three weeks ago and the software maker is now ready to issue a fresh update. If you’re already testing Windows 10 then a new preview build (9860) is available from the update and recovery section of PC settings. While the initial release included a new Start Menu, virtual desktops, new snap views, and an overall focus on the desktop, the latest test build refines a few features as Microsoft continues to develop Windows 10. Microsoft says it has made nearly 7,000 changes to this latest Windows 10 Technical Preview.

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Sean Parker is building a beach-finding app as penalty for his obnoxious wedding

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Former Facebook president Sean Parker has agreed to build an app for California’s Coastal Commission as part of his $2.5 million settlement for throwing a highly elaborate and highly unauthorized wedding in a protected redwood forest last year, according to SFGate. Parker is reportedly working on a mapping app that’ll help people find public beaches, which can sometimes be tricky due to wealthy residents attempting to hide entrances or claim areas as private property.

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Google brings Songza’s best feature to Play Music

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After purchasing Songza for an undisclosed sum earlier this year, Google is now bringing that app’s best features to Google Play Music on Android, iOS, and the web. An update due today will add a new section to the “Listen Now” page that’s a streamlined take on Songza’s Concierge functionality. Depending on what time it is or what you’re likely to be doing at that moment, Play Music will present you with a colorful list of activities (working out, getting ready for work, sleeping, studying, etc.) designed to perfectly match your daily routine and mood.

The magic word is context, and Google tries its best to guess that by looking at the time, the day, the device you’re using, and other “signals” that offer a clue on what you might want…

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Travelers coming from Ebola-stricken countries are now restricted to five US airports

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Starting Wednesday, travelers who have spent time in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea will have to land in one of five airports if they want to gain access to the US, reports USA Today. The Department of Homeland Security announced today that all travelers coming from Ebola-stricken countries will have to go through enhanced screening — screening that currently only takes place in New York City, Chicago, Newark, Washington, and Atlanta.

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This is what happens to viral art after it gets filtered through the web

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When an image or video goes viral on the internet, the original file oftentimes gets, well, abused as it gets passed along and reshared, resulting in the circulation of dozens of copies that suffer in quality. The result of this process — downloading files, uploading them, and repeating — is commonly referred to as compression artifcating. You may have have seen an example of this a few years ago when YouTuber canzona uploaded a video of himself, downloaded it, and reuploaded it 1,000 times (the final product is quite terrifying). This technique dates back to at least 1969, with an art project called “I Am Sitting in a Room” where a composer recorded himself in a room, played back the recording, and then recorded that, over and over.

A…

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Watch this psychedelic TEDx talk from the guy Google believes is the future of computing

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News broke this morning that Google, alongside a number of venture capital firms, led a $542 million investment in a mysterious startup named Magic Leap. The company is promising to “build a rocket ship for the mind” that will completely reinvent the way we experience the world. Founder Rony Abovitz calls his technology “cinematic reality” and says it goes way beyond what virtual or augmented reality have so far been able to accomplish.

There are very few details about the technology or examples of it in action. There is, however, this completely surreal video of a TED Talk that Abovitz gave in Sarasota, Florida in January of 2013. Neon ape-men, giant candy bar totems, and a soundtrack from 2001 A Space Odyssey. It’s a thrilling glimpse…

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Amazon inks deal with book publisher Simon & Schuster, gets ammo in Hachette fight

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Amazon continues to solidify its grip over books sales. As first reported yesterday by Business Insider, the online retail giant has signed a multi-year pact to sell new paper books and ebooks from CBS-owned Simon & Schuster, one of the largest publishing companies in the world. The full terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed, but it puts an end to months of difficult negotiations and ensures that Simon & Schuster book titles will be prominently promoted on Amazon’s website, according to The Wall Street Journal. Simon & Schuster touted the deal as a victory for its authors in a letter it sent them, noting that it preserves the authors’ share of ebook sales going forward. But the deal is perhaps most strategically advantageous for…

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Google launches support for Security Key, a simpler kind of two-factor authentication

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It just got a little easier to log into Gmail. Today, Google launched support for Security Key, an open standard that lets you log in to an account with a physical device, usually in the form of a USB. The device takes the place of the six-digit confirmation codes currently used by Google’s two-factor authentication. Instead of typing in the code, you’ll simply insert your USB key before logging in. A password is still required, so a thief wouldn’t be able to log into your account just by stealing your security key. On the other hand, if your account password ended up leaking onto the web, it would be useless without the corresponding security key.

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Google leads $542 million funding of mysterious augmented reality firm Magic Leap

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Google is leading a huge $542 million round of funding for the secretive startup Magic Leap, which is said to be working on augmented reality glasses that can create digital objects that appear to exist in the world around you. Though little is known about what Magic Leap is working on, Google is placing a big bet on it: in addition to the funding, Android and Chrome leader Sundar Pichai will join Magic Leap’s board, as will Google’s corporate development vice-president Don Harrison. The funding is also coming directly from Google itself — not from an investment arm like Google Ventures — all suggesting this is a strategic move to align the two companies and eventually partner when the tech is more mature down the road.

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This is what happens to viral art after it gets filtered through the web

See the original posting on The Verge

When an image or video goes viral on the internet, the original file oftentimes gets, well, abused as it gets passed along and reshared, resulting in the circulation of dozens of copies that suffer in quality. The result of this process — downloading files, uploading them, and repeating — is commonly referred to as compression artifcating. You may have have seen an example of this a few years ago when YouTuber canzona uploaded a video of himself, downloaded it, and reuploaded it 1,000 times (the final product is quite terrifying). This technique dates back to at least 1969, with an art project called “I Am Sitting in a Room” where a composer recorded himself in a room, played back the recording, and then recorded that, over and over.

A…

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Xbox One’s new digital TV tuner lets you stream TV to a tablet or smartphone

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Microsoft announced its digital TV tuner back in August, and it’s finally going on sale in European countries today. The 29.99 EUR ($40) accessory plugs into a USB port on the Xbox One to pick up channels using free-to-air DVB-T, DVB-T2, and DVB-C television standards. This also enables the TV functionality on Xbox One along with TV listings from OneGuide. While recording isn’t supported yet, Microsoft is allowing Xbox One owners to pause live TV and rewind or fast-forward. The pausing works even if you switch back to a game. It’s not clear if the software maker plans to enable DVR functionality in future, but the pausing live TV temporarily uses part of the 500GB hard drive storage on the console.

The most interesting part of the…

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Microsoft Lumia will replace the Nokia brand

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Microsoft started dropping hints about its plans to kill off the Nokia and Windows Phone brands last month, and now the company is ready to make it official. Microsoft Lumia is the new brand name that takes the place of Nokia for the software maker. The name change follows a slow transition from Nokia.com over to Microsoft’s new mobile site, and Nokia France will be the first of many countries that adopt “Microsoft Lumia” for its Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts. Microsoft has confirmed to The Verge that other countries will follow the rebranding steps in the coming weeks.

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Microsoft’s next Xbox One update adds Twitter integration and custom backgrounds

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Microsoft promised deeper Twitter integration for Xbox One back in June, and the company is now planning to deliver it next month. Microsoft’s November Xbox One update adds TV features that highlight what’s popular or trending nearby alongside live tweets from Twitter users discussing individual shows. It’s one of the more unique uses of Twitter for TVs, and tweets will even show up on a new MiniGuide feature on the console.

Twitter integration on Xbox One doesn’t stop at just TV features, though. Microsoft is also adding the ability to link an Xbox Live account with Twitter to share game DVR clips directly to followers. It’s not an automatic process that will spam followers, but another share option for game clips after they’ve been…

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The awesome ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ mixtape will be released on cassette

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Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy makes it clear that Peter “Star Lord” Quill is willing to risk his life for two things: his friends, and a cassette mixtape called “Awesome Mix Vol. 1.” The mix has been available in the real world in digital, CD, and record form, but soon you’ll be able to get your hands on Quill’s actual tape — or one designed to look exactly like it — when Marvel releases a special version of the cassette to a select group of record stores shortly before the movie comes out on Blu-Ray and DVD on December 9th.

The limited edition “Awesome Mix Vol. 1.”will be available from independent retailers that participate in Record Store Day, an annual celebration during which limited edition vinyl and CD releases are put out….

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Watch a self-driving Audi become ‘the fastest autonomous car on the planet’

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Audi put a big exclamation point on its self-driving technology — “piloted driving,” as the company calls it — with an adrenaline-filled demonstration in Germany over the weekend. The car in question was a 560-horsepower RS7 rounding the course at Hockenheimring during the finale of this year’s DTM season (DTM is a little bit like a German NASCAR, so the right audience was certainly on-hand for this sort of thing). The car was going full-out, guided through a combination of precision GPS and 3D cameras. The in-car footage showing the view out of the windshield at triple-digit speeds with no one in the driver’s seat is nothing short of terrifying.

Car companies are increasingly relying on extreme demonstrations of self-driving to show…

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Does Yosemite have a privacy problem? Not exactly

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This morning, The Washington Post called out an unexpected privacy concern in Apple’s new Yosemite operating system. Apple’s Spotlight application, previously used to index material on a user’s hard drive, has added a new Suggestions feature that points to external sites relevant to a given search term. As the Post article points out, that means search terms have to be transmitted back to Apple with a lot of extra information, including location data that the Post found to be precise enough to pin down a specific building.

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Squeezed out: as the iPhone gets bigger in size and sales, the iPad keeps slumping

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Apple had a major event last week, and it unveiled new versions of its iPad. Normally the world goes crazy when Apple debuts a device, but the reaction to these iPads was decidedly muted. They were thinner and had more horsepower, sharper screens, better cameras, and Touch ID. But they didn’t generate anywhere near the excitement of the iPhone 6 last month, or of previous generations of iPad. All that points to an increasingly clear trend: tablet computers may be here to stay, but they are not going to replace the laptop or PC the way many people once thought they would — at least, not without a drastic shift in philosophy and marketing.

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Does Yosemite have a privacy problem? It’s complicated

See the original posting on The Verge

This morning, The Washington Post called out an unexpected privacy concern in Apple’s new Yosemite operating system. Apple’s Spotlight application, previously used to index material on a user’s hard drive, has added a new Suggestions feature that points to external sites relevant to a given search term. As the Post article points out, that means search terms have to be transmitted back to Apple with a lot of extra information, including location data that the Post found to be precise enough to pin down a specific building.

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‘Dead Rising’ film has its lead: former ‘Daily Show’ war correspondent Rob Riggle

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Comedian Rob Riggle is probably best known for his work as a Daily Show correspondent through 2008, as well as his various film and TV cameos (21 Jump Street, The Other Guys, NTSF:SD:SUV). And now he’s playing lead for the upcoming video game adaptation Dead Rising: Watchtower. Here’s the official synopsis:

Dead Rising: Watchtower takes place during a large-scale zombie outbreak. When a mandatory government vaccine fails to stop the infection from spreading, the four leads must evade infection while also pursuing the root of the epidemic, with all signs pointing to a government conspiracy. Politics, public paranoia, and media coverage play an important role in the story’s narrative.

Riggle will play photojournalist and…

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