HP’s new smartwatch actually looks good

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Fashion designer Michael Bastian is partnering with HP and retailer Gilt to sell a smartwatch this fall. Described by Gilt as a “Michael Bastian smartwatch engineered by Hewlett-Packard,” the timepiece couples a circular face with a fairly aggressive sporty design. Although its shape bears a small resemblance to the Moto 360 smartwatch, its 44mm face is far more inline with traditional watches than Motorola’s. It’ll launch with a selection of straps in brown leather, black rubber, and green nylon. The watch will be compatible with both Android and iOS, and will be able to receive notifications for things like emails, texts, and sports updates. It’ll also offer music controls and display weather forecasts. Given how basic its function set…

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The Mars 2020 rover will search for life while generating its own oxygen

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NASA has its next rover all planned out. On Thursday, the agency revealed seven implements that will be sent on the Mars 2020 mission. These include two instruments for detecting organic compounds, sensors for measuring environmental conditions, and an experimental device designed to produce oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. In addition, the rover will be equipped with “a ground-penetrating radar that will provide centimeter-scale resolution of geologic structure of the subsurface.” It will cost an estimated $130 million to develop these items.

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Drone crashes while smuggling weed into maximum security prison

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The wreckage of a drone has been found outside of a maximum security prison in South Carolina, according to Reuters. It is believed to have been used in an attempt to smuggle phones, marijuana, and tobacco into the Lee Correctional Institution. The discovery precipitated an investigation that would later lead to the arrest of 28-year-old Brenton Lee Doyle and a search for a second suspect.

State Department of Corrections spokeswoman Stephanie Givens is cited as stating “officials believe it was the first time an unmanned aircraft had been used in an effort to breach prison walls in the state.” While it might be a new incident for South Carolina, similar cases have cropped up across the world. Earlier this year, Australian authorities…

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The most gender-equal tech company still hires mostly men

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Copying the lead of other big tech companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google, eBay has detailed its workplace diversity for the first time. The figures released show a company that hires more women, Hispanics, and black people than its industry peers, but one that is still dominated by white and Asian men.

42 percent of eBay’s 33,000 employees are women. By comparison, only 37 percent of Yahoo’s and 30 percent of Google’s workforces are female. But up at the top of the company, eBay’s figures are less impressive: only 28 percent of the company’s leaders — people at director level or above — are women. The company’s tech division is even less equal, with men making up 76 percent of the workforce, but its non-tech arm is almost…

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NFL players will wear RFID chips this season to track their movements

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This year’s football season is set to begin in September, and for the first time 17 National Football League stadiums will employ radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to better track how players move on the field during games. The league has partnered with Zebra Technologies to use its quarter-sized RFID sensors inside the shoulder pads of players. These sensors will track not just where players are on the field, but also how fast they get going, and what their acceleration was like on the way there — all in real-time.

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Apple reportedly paying internet providers to ensure speedy delivery of its data

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Apparently has turned on its new content-delivery network, and is reportedly paying Comcast and other big ISPs to move hardware into their data center and build direct interconnects to their networks. This is the exact same evolution that Netflix has been going through, building out its own CDN and agreeing to pay ISPs for interconnection. The major difference is that Netflix has loudly opposed the fact that ISPs can charge a fee for this arrangement, while Apple has stayed mum on the issue.

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New Oculus Rift dev kit uses front of a Galaxy Note 3 as its screen

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It doesn’t get much more “off-the-shelf” than this: the new Oculus Rift developer kit uses the front half of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 for a display. Samsung’s logo is in its usual spot, and the frame even has slots where the phablet’s home button, earpiece speaker, and various sensors would normally go. iFixit made the discovery while tearing down the Rift Dev Kit 2, which is now making its way to developers who ordered the VR headset earlier this year.

And while it’s a strange thing to see, the decision to use a Samsung component that’s already rolling off the assembly line makes total sense. It’s less costly than producing a custom panel — which we don’t expect to see until the consumer Rift arrives — and the Note 3’s 1080p Super…

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San Francisco Airport testing beacon system for blind travelers

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San Francisco Airport is testing out location-aware beacons to help visually-impaired people navigate around one of its newest terminals, a program it could roll out to the rest of the airport if successful. An early version of the system was shown off to press today for use on Apple iOS devices, though SFO also plans to make it available for Android users and eventually expand the system to serve up information for those who can see.

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Windows Phone will soon render websites a lot more like an iPhone

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Microsoft has tried to push standards with its mobile Internet Explorer browser, but unfortunately the wider web largely develops specifically for the webkit rendering engine and the iPhone. That’s left a lot of mobile websites not rendering properly in Internet Explorer mobile, and a frustrating user experience. Twitter and a number of Google web sites do not render correctly in Windows Phone, but Microsoft thinks it has an answer. With the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, Microsoft is tweaking its mobile browser to better support sites that were designed for an iPhone. The approach means Microsoft is adding non-standard web platform features, but the result is a much better experience for Windows Phone users.

Some of the changes…

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Hulu now lets you watch free TV shows and movies on Android

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Hulu is finally starting to let viewers watch TV shows on their phones and tablets without paying for a subscription. Beginning on Android today, just about everything that you can currently watch for free on Hulu’s website can now be watched for free on mobile devices. Hulu says that there are some exceptions to what you can watch, but it doesn’t say what those are and makes it sound as though it isn’t much. The changes come alongside an update to its Android app, which is now available in the Google Play Store.

Until now, Hulu has put strict walls around where it lets viewers watch TV shows and movies. If you weren’t a subscriber, you were limited to the desktop when it came to watching a full episode — meaning that you had to…

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You can play every Game Boy Advance game on your iPhone right now

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The original Game Boy turns 25 today, but short of owning an original device or buying the games again on limited selection of the 3DS eShop, your best bet for re-living Super Mario Land or Pokémon Red is to use emulators. The portable nature of the games and the relatively low hardware requirements needed to emulate Nintendo’s handhelds have made them a perfect fit for modern day smartphones. While Android users have a variety of choices for emulation, the legally gray area of emulators has kept any apps from making it to Apple’s App Store, leaving apps like gpSPhone and GBA.emu limited only to jailbroken iOS devices.

GBA4iOS, from developer Riley Testut, is different. Using a loophole in Apple’s app installation systems, this…

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French company Iliad wants to buy T-Mobile and ruin Sprint’s grand plan

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We may soon see a bidding war for T-Mobile. French telecom company Iliad has put in a $15 billion, all-cash bid for the company that would give it a controlling stake of 56.6 percent. The news throws a huge wrench into the months-long narrative that Sprint is preparing to buy its smaller competitor. T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom and Sprint have already reached a tentative agreement that would ultimately combine the third and fourth place US carriers, according to previous reports. But Iliad gives T-Mobile another path in taking the fight to its rivals. The Wall Street Journal first reported Iliad’s interest in T-Mobile on Thursday afternoon.

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We are all Glassholes now

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2013 was the year of the Glasshole — the year that technology made one of its most violent entries into our personal lives at bars, restaurants, workplaces, and homes. Public backlash stemmed from concerns about Glass’ clandestine camera, and about fears of being documented publicly without consent. But really, Glass isn’t much different from the cameras we already use. It’s just the most obvious manifestation of our obsession with documentation, the most logical scapegoat for a much larger…

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The drone you should buy right now

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The word drone has a lot of different meanings: military craft, research tool, delivery robot. But for the average civilian, drone means a high-tech toy. Maybe you’ve seen one flying at your local park or caught some viral video footage of a drone swooping through a fireworks display. Even people like Martha Stewart are suddenly penning love letters to their drones. If you’ve ever wondered whether it would be fun, easy, and affordable to own one yourself, we’re here to tell you it’s possible….

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‘Wire’ creator David Simon is making a new miniseries

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David Simon is known for his stark yet nuanced portrayals of race, class, violence, and other issues in America: he’s best known for The Wire but created other critical successes like Generation Kill (set in the 2003 invasion of Iraq) and and Treme (set in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.) The latter ended late last year, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, Simon is moving ahead with another show, this one a six-hour HBO miniseries called Show Me a Hero.

Show Me a Hero is based on a 1999 nonfiction book by former New York Times reporter Lisa Belkin, and it was reportedly just greenlit by HBO. The book follows Nicholas Wasicsko, who became the youngest mayor in America when he won a campaign in Yonkers, New York in…

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T-Mobile tops 50 million subscribers, swings to a profit in latest earnings

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T-Mobile’s reinvention has been underway for a few years now, driven by the larger-than-life CEO John Legere and his Uncarrier program. While the company had succeeded in stealing customers from its rivals, namely Sprint, it seemed that strategy was also driving it to heavy losses. That changed this morning, when the company reported its second quarter earnings, and a profit of $391 million that surprised Wall Street analysts.

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The first detailed Moon photo was taken 50 years ago today

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Until 50 years ago today, we had never seen exactly what the Moon’s surface looked like. As the Space Race heated up, NASA launched the first Ranger probe in 1961, intending to capture photographs and scout the way forward for a human landing. But a rocket on Ranger 1 failed to fire, sending the craft falling back into Earth’s atmosphere with its mission uncompleted. This pattern would continue for three years and five more frustrating missions.

Finally, in 1964, Ranger 7 made it to the Moon. On July 31st, at 9:08AM ET, it returned the image above, capturing the Alphonsus and Ptolemaeus craters (on the right) and the lunar “Sea of Clouds.”  Over the next 17 minutes, it would send back 4,316 images, returning the last one less than 3…

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Tesla’s US ‘Gigafactory’ will be operated by Panasonic’s battery masters

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Electric car manufacturer Tesla has today announced a partnership with Japanese electronics giant Panasonic to build a large battery manufacturing plant on US soil. Dubbed the “Gigafactory,” the facility will produce the lithium-ion cells, modules, and packs that power Tesla’s all-electric vehicles. While Panasonic will be doing the actual manufacturing, Tesla will manage the site and assemble the cells into packs and modules. The California-based manufacturer already has a deal in place to purchase cells from Panasonic’s existing battery factories, and says the new factory will not supplant that arrangement.

Tesla first announced it planned to build a battery factory in the US last November, and reaffirmed its commitment to that plan b…

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Internet.org app brings free access to Facebook and Google in developing countries

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet.org initiative launched last year with the goal of helping make the internet available to the entire world. Internet.org is taking a big step towards this by launching an Android app that provides free data access to services like Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, and more. The app will be available in Zambia initially, with plans to extend it to other developing markets over time. While Android users can simply download a standalone version, all of the services can also be accessed freely through internet.org on feature phones, or from within Facebook’s Android app. Internet.org has partnered with Airtel in Zambia to provide the free data access, and the initiative has been focusing on developing…

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Samsung promises to release a non-plastic phone this year

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Following another quarter of disappointing financial results, Samsung is promising a pair of new smartphones for 2014. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Kim Hyun-joon, senior vice president at Samsung Mobile, told investors and analysts a large-screened phone will materialize in the coming months, along with a model made from “new materials.” The large-screened device is almost certainly going to be the latest in Samsung’s popular Galaxy Note line, but the promise of a phone utilizing “new materials” is more intriguing. Over the past months there’s been rumor of a 4.8-inch Galaxy Alpha device built from metal, which is expected to be announced next month.

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