HP made a smartwatch in 1977, and you can buy a prototype for $14,500

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Long before we were debating the merits of Android Wear and the rumored iWatch, companies were experimenting with quartz technology, LEDs, and miniaturized circuits to create the ancestors of the modern wearable. HP — which made some of the most important calculators back when calculators were a big deal — pitched in with the HP-01, a busy hunk of metal that took the crown as the world’s first calculator watch (long before the days of the Casio you might have in your desk drawer). According to the Museum of HP Calculators, it cost $600 in 1977 dollars, weighed a third of a pound, and could be had in your choice of gold or stainless steel.

Today, the HP-01 is a bona fide collector’s item — doubly so when it’s being sold in an unreleased…

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YC-Backed Rigetti Computing Raises $2.5M To Create Commercial Quantum Systems

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hitchhiker's guide supercomputer Once confined to research labs and science fiction, quantum computing is finally reaching a point where researchers aren’t simply trying to find out what’s possible, but looking at how they can actually work the technology into commercial hardware. YC-backed Rigetti Computing wants to be one of the companies that leads the effort to create an ecosystem around quantum computing. Read More

Viewers beg FCC to save rural programming amid cable mergers

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There’s one potential casualty of the pending cable industry mergers that most city dwellers probably haven’t given much thought to: rural TV programming. But it turns out there are a lot of people concerned that Comcast and Time Warner Cable becoming one could mean the end of shows like National Tractor Pulling, Cumberland Highlanders, The Mollie B Polka Party, and re-runs of Hee-Haw. The same goes for AT&T’s proposed buyout of DirecTV. According to The Wall Street Journal, nearly half of comments received by the FCC over both proposed mergers that could reshape the cable TV landscape have come from viewers pleading with the commission to protect RFD-TV. That’s an impressive effort when you consider just how small the channel they’re…

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Web acceleration protocol nears completion

See the original posting on JavaWorld

When it comes to speeding up Web traffic over the Internet, sometimes too much of a good thing may not be such a good thing at all.

The Internet Engineering Task Force is putting the final touches on HTTP/2, the second version of the Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP). The working group has issued a last call draft, urging interested parties to voice concerns before it becomes a full Internet specification.

Not everyone is completely satisfied with the protocol however.

“There is a lot of good in this proposed standard, but I have some deep reservations about some bad and ugly aspects of the protocol,” wrote Greg Wilkins, lead developer of the open source Jetty server software, noting his concerns in a blog item posted Monday.

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EA’s Xbox One subscription service launches today

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EA’s new subscription service is now available to Xbox One owners. After launching in beta at the end of July, the publisher has today opened up EA Access to everyone who owns Microsoft’s new console. The service gives you unlimited access to select EA games for $4.99 a month or $29.99 per year, but for now the library remains very limited: as of today the EA Access “vault” includes Battlefield 4, Peggle 2, FIFA 14, and Madden NFL 25. That’s the same batch of games featured in the beta, but EA says the selection of titles “will evolve with games joining the collection over time.” For now the service is only available on Xbox One, and it looks like that could remain true for some time. “We don’t think asking our fans to pay an additional…

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Michael Bay may not direct the next ‘Transformers’

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Director Michael Bay may finally be ready to step away from his explosive (and explosively successful) Transformers franchise. In an interview with USA Today, Bay tells the paper that he believes he will hand the franchise off to another director for future installments. It’s not a done deal just yet, but Bay says that he has other movies that he’d like to tackle. “There’s kind of a new chapter, a new direction in movies I want to make,” Bay says. “I have a lot of stories to tell. And it’s about flexing new muscles.” He’s reportedly working on a TV project and is interested in making a documentary on elephant poaching.

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Chromebooks will never be successful until they have bigger screens

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I’m currently typing on the new Acer C720 Chromebook with Intel’s Core i3 processor. It’s the sixth or seventh Chromebook I’ve used in the past year, each one slightly better than the last.

The new C720 is a fine Chromebook (though I’m not convinced it’s really worth its $379 sticker price). It runs the Chrome OS operating system, a much simpler platform than Windows or OS X, and can handle multiple tabs, streaming video, and web-based gaming without much issue. It’s ever-so-slightly…

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Behold, the fish cannon

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Salmon are amazing fish. They’ll swim hundreds of miles against the current, hurl themselves up waterfalls, and risk being eaten by bears as they return to their birthplace to spawn. But some obstacles are too much, and that’s where Whooshh Innovations comes in. Behold, the salmon cannon. Seriously, watch this video of fish getting launched out of pneumatic tubes:

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BeachMint Gets Lucky In Joint Venture With Conde Nast

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Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 10.48.20 AM E-commerce platform BeachMint announced it will take over all operations for Lucky Magazine today. The takeover is part of a newly formed joint venture between BeachMint and magazine publishing giant Conde Nast. Called The Lucky Group, it will be led by BeachMint’s Josh Berman as CEO with Lucky’s editor in chief Eva Chen and the magazine’s senior VP, Gillian Gorman Round.… Read More

Microsoft teases ‘selfie phone’ Lumia 730 unveiling for September 4th

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Microsoft is getting ready to unveil a new Lumia Windows Phone on September 4th. The software maker has started emailing invites to members of the press to tease a “ready for more” announcement. The invite comes just two weeks after Microsoft devices chief Stephen Elop showed off two new Lumia Windows Phones, and described one particular device as a “selfie phone” during a private internal company meeting. Microsoft’s invite appears to hint that the selfie phone, expected to be labelled Lumia 730, will be unveiled next month.

“Join us for more face time,” is also included in the invite, perhaps another hint at a particular phone with a good forward-facing camera. Images of Microsoft’s Lumia 730 leaked recently, showing a handset that’s…

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Windows 9 set to include Cortana digital assistant

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Microsoft is preparing to include its Cortana digital assistant in the next major version of Windows, currently codenamed Threshold. Windows Threshold is expected to be named Windows 9 when it ships in spring 2015, and sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that Cortana is a major area of investment for the release. Windows enthusiast site Neowin reported on Cortana showing up in early Windows Threshold builds, and we understand the current implementation is only a placeholder during the early stages of development.

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Parenthoods Debuts A Mobile Social Network Just For Moms & Dads

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MG_1224-edit Becoming a parent is an amazing, life-changing experience, but it can also be one that’s isolating and lonely – especially if your pre-baby social activities involved spur-of-the moment invites, happy hours, and nights out on the town. Parenthoods, a new Y Combinator-backed mobile platform, wants to help with the social isolation parenthood can bring by offering a community for… Read More

Google Invests In $300M Submarine Cable To Improve Connection Between Japan And The US

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A steelworker works on an underwater cable. Google today announced that it is joining a consortium of five other companies to build and operate FASTER, a new trans-Pacific cable system that will connect Japan to the west coast of the U.S. with initial speeds of up to 60 Tb/s. Other members of the consortium include China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, Global Transit, KDDI and SingTel. NEC will be the system supplier. Read More

Weird, real titles of 19th century novels

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The Toast has over 100 examples of the genre, including “The Adventures Of An Irish Smock, Interspersed With Whimsical Anecdotes Of A Nankeen Pair Of Breeches,” “The Charms Of Dandyism; Or Living In Style. By Olivia Moreland, Chief Of The Female Dandies” and “Fashionable Infidelity.” No wonder novels caused a moral panic akin to reefer madness, Seduction of the Innocents, PMRC music-bans and video-game violence hysteria.

OpenTable launching its meal-pay service in 20 cities, starting with NYC

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Restaurant-goers in the US will soon have another way to pay for their meals without waiting for the check. After launching a pilot program for its restaurant payments service in San Francisco earlier this year, OpenTable announced today that it’s officially expanding the service to 20 new cities before 2015, starting with New York City.

The expansion allows OpenTable to better compete with such mobile payments services as PayPal, Square, and Dash, but the company’s entrenched partnerships could give them an edge going forward — the company partnered with 45 restaurants in New York as part of the launch. The feature is currently exclusive to the iOS app, but will hit Android sometime in the near future.

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StudyBlue Founder Chris Klundt Steps Back Into CEO Role, Revamps Site Design, Preps For Pro

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Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 12.50.34 PM Just in time for students to head back to school, crowdsourced flash card study platform StudyBlue announced a new site design, search navigation capabilities, a lifelong learning feature, a new pro version of the platform and that co-founder Chris Klundt would be stepping back into the role of CEO today. Read More

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