LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live review: the first Google watches

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I’ve been looking at my phone a lot less recently. Normally, no buzz in my pocket can go un-checked, no news alert or Snapchat unseen. But thanks to these watches I’ve been wearing, my phone spends a lot more time in my bag. I can just flick my wrist to see what’s going on.

Smartwatches have become a thing. They’re a thing because Google says so, because it just released Android Wear and unleashed a torrent of wrist-bound devices. As a result, we’re being forced to consider an important…

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CoreOS Raises $8M Series A Round, Launches Managed Linux As A Service

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8028191546_d8f37bad25_k CoreOS, a Linux distribution optimized for very large server deployments, today announced that it has raised a $8 million Series A funding round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers with follow-on investments by Sequoia Capital and Fuel Capital. This comes after a previous investment from Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital last year. Read More

Banned beans: can Keurig kill coffee pirates with DRM?

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No company has done more to change the way Americans drink coffee in the last several years than Keurig Green Mountain. Its method of brewing coffee by injecting hot water into prepackaged plastic pods has quickly grown to rival drip coffee as the preferred means of getting a quick hit of caffeine. “It was slow to start, but now it’s growing by leaps and bounds,” says Joe DeRupo, communications director at the National Coffee Association. “It’s the biggest change in coffee-brewing technology since Mr. Coffee was introduced in the 1970s.”

One of every four dollars Americans spend on coffee to be brewed at home is now spent on pods, and Keurig, which pioneered the process in the US, dominates the market. But Keurig’s hold on the industry…

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The RealReal’s Latest App RealBook Will Tell You What Your Designer Goods Are Actually Worth

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realreal-items Luxury consignment marketplace The RealReal is expanding its mobile footprint today with the launch of a new app called RealBook, which lets both potential buyers and sellers better understand the value of luxury items, including fashion and apparel, fine jewelry and watches. RealBook now joins the company’s previously launched smartphone apps, The RealReal’s mobile shop and Consign. Read More

Forget.me Puts Out Early Data On What Europeans Want To Vanish From Google

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4635702361_75503474bf_z An online service called Forget.me, launched last week to quickly capitalize on a European court ruling from late May that requires Google to process requests by private individuals to de-index outdated or irrelevant personal information, has put out some early data on the kind of requests individual Europeans are submitting via its (for now) free service. Read More

Reading Rainbow Has More Backers Than Any Kickstarter Campaign Ever

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readingrainbow Ever since Reading Rainbow went off the air in 2006, LeVar Burton has been working to bring it back. In 2012, he launched a tablet app program, and just recently, he launched a Kickstarter campaign asking for $1 million to develop Reading Rainbow programming across all platforms, which will be provided to classrooms for free. Flash forward to today, and the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter… Read More

OK Go’s long history of viral music videos

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You don’t need to like OK Go’s brand of alternative rock to appreciate their offbeat yet ingenious music videos. Their recent “The Writing’s On The Wall” would be a fun watch even without an audio track. But this isn’t the Los Angeles-based band’s first brush with viral fame. Their initial taste of stardom came after rehearsal footage for “A Million Ways” was published on YouTube. The quirky choreography became an immediate hit, and over 2 million people have watched it since.

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The new NSA director downplays damage from the Snowden leaks

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The National Security Agency is putting on a charm offensive. The agency’s new director, Admiral Michael S. Rogers, sat down for an interview with The New York Times on Friday, offering his opinion on the current state of the agency. “I understand where we are,” Rogers told the paper, saying that while the agency retains much of its previous corporate support, many companies and specialists have turned their backs on the agency in recent months. “I don’t waste a lot of time saying, ‘Why wouldn’t you want to work with us?'”

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Blackwater mercenary chief threatened to kill a State Department investigator in Iraq

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The mercenary group Blackwater has long been a target for criticism — but when a investigator from the State Department started looking into reports of fraud and abuse, Blackwater’s top manager threatened to have him killed. A deep investigation by the New York Times‘ James Risen has turned up evidence of widespread wrongdoing by the company, including systematic fraud and abuse of power against the local population. Even more troubling is how powerless the government was to stop the company, paralyzed by embassy connections and administrative secrecy. Read the full report here.

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See the Soviet X-ray records used to spread banned music

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Before tape recorders made it easy (enough) to save a copy of your favorite song, clever music fans turned to records to duplicate music for their own use and help it spread. According to NPR, this was a particularly important tool for residents of the Soviet Union who, during the 1950s and earlier, used it for gaining access to banned music, particularly from the West. At the time, vinyl was scarce, however, so they ended up using a different material: X-ray film. Using discarded X-rays from hospitals and archives, people would trim them into circles, place a hole in their center, and imprint music onto them.

Back in May, NPR published an in-depth piece on the tools used for dissent in the Soviet Union, including these records. It has…

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Lollapalooza is launching a cashless payment system

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Chicago’s Lollapalooza Music Festival is launching a new cashless system, allowing attendees to buy food and drink with a personal RFID bracelet distributed on entrance. To pay a vendor, concertgoers will simply tap their bracelet against a vendor’s point-of-sale system, wirelessly transmitting their credit card information. The system requires users to opt-in in advance, so no one will be forced to load their credit cards onto the bracelet, but organizers even partial adoption to speed up often chaotic food and drink lines.

Bonnaroo and Coachella both use RFID bracelets as ticket substitutes, but neither has taken the leap to a full RFID-enabled payment system. For large festivals, the bracelets can also be used to create a record of…

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ConnecTV Acquires TweetTV To Add Real-Time Analytics To Its Social TV Platform

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Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 12.59.02 Both Twitter and Facebook are vying for pole position as the platform of choice for social TV engagement — the place where viewers go to quip about TV shows in real time – but there are movements among pure-play startups to build up their positions, too. In the latest of these, ConnecTV is buying TweetTV to add more analytics features to a network that already lets… Read More

Zap Zap Fractions Makes Learning Math Fun

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Zap Zap Fractions Zap Zap Fractions is an iPad and iPhone math app for children that manages to be both instructional and beautiful. When I saw the game demoed by its creators, Malaysia-based Visual Math Studio, at the recent Echelon event, I was impressed by its illustrations of aliens and spaceships, as well as its entertainment value. The concept behind the game, which teaches kids the basics of fractions,… Read More

Resources For Writing About Programming

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Today was Open Source Bridge’s unconference day. I led a session about improving our writing skills. I wanted to gather more ideas to supplement my talk and my article on “Writing an Excellent Programming Blog”. A half-dozen smart people showed up with tips and links. Here are my notes.

Some examples of unusually well-written programming books:
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