The iPhone 6’s Lightning cable may be reversible at both ends

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Sonny Dickson, the man who provided the sapphire glass screen rumored to feature at the front of Apple’s upcoming iPhone 6, has a new hardware revelation about the unannounced new phone: a reversible USB cable. Thanks to its symmetrical design, the Lightning connector is already capable of being plugged into an iPhone or iPad in any orientation, and now Apple’s apparently addressing the other end of the cable as well. The thinned-out middle section of the USB plug is said to have contacts on both sides, making it possible to connect without having it “the right way” up.

Such reversible USB cables can already be found on sale from third-party accessory makers, plus there’s the imminent Type-C USB standard that will shrink the size of the…

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Julian Assange plans to leave Ecuadorian embassy ‘soon’

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he will soon leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London, in a move that would end a two-year standoff with authorities. Assange has been living under asylum at the embassy since 2012, after Swedish investigators called him in for questioning over allegations of sexual assault. Assange faces likely arrest if he leaves the grounds of the Ecuadorian embassy, and has feared that doing so would result in his extradition to the US, where the Justice Department has been investigating WikiLeaks since the organization began publishing troves of classified diplomatic cables in 2010.

At a press conference Monday, the 43-year-old Australian national told reporters that he will leave the embassy “soon,” but “not for…

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Sony’s A5100 combines super-fast autofocus and touchscreen controls for $549

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Six months after introducing the A6000, a mirrorless camera with a lightning quick autofocus system, Sony is back again today with the new A5100. Priced at $549 (or $699 with Sony’s 16-50mm kit lens), the company’s latest addition to its Alpha line effectively replaces the NEX-5T. And it’s a nice middle ground between the entry-level A5000 and A6000.

The A5100 borrows the 24.3-megapixel APS-C sensor and revamped, speedy hybrid autofocus system from the A6000. They also share the same BIONZ X image processing engine. Basically, you’re getting A6000 guts in a lighter and slightly more pocketable design. This one’s really aimed at people upgrading to mirrorless from a smartphone; there’s even a question mark button on the back to help…

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Twitter experiment that changes how favorites work angers users

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Twitter is experimenting with a new feature that is downright blasphemous to experienced users. Some users are seeing a few tweets in their timelines that have merely been favorited by accounts they follow. That’s a massive change: Twitter has fundamentally only shown tweets and retweets posted by followed accounts (as well as advertisements) in timelines to date.

The experiment is particularly concerning for some because the favorite has always been rather mysterious. Despite its name, many do not use the favorite in the same way as a Facebook “Like.” Some use it as a simple acknowledgment of receiving a tweet or as a way of saying “thanks.” It can also be a simple way of saying that you found something funny. Others use it as a type…

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Moto 360 smartwatch priced at $249.99 according to Best Buy listing

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Motorola is all set to unveil its Moto 360 watch at a press event in Chicago on September 4th, but it looks like Best Buy has let the cat out of the bag. A product page for the Android Wear smartwatch has mistakenly gone live on Best Buy’s mobile site, and it lists the device with a $249.99 price tag. This is not the first time we’ve heard that the Moto 360 will cost $249.99. The fine print of the official rules for a Motorola contest this past May placed the smartwatch’s approximate retail value at the same price. Droid Life first reported on the leak earlier this afternoon.

That price puts the Moto 360 at just a bit more than the first two Android Wear smartwatches: the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live, which cost $229 and…

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These solar arrays fold up like origami flowers

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Sending stuff up to space is no easy task — even 45 years after Apollo 11. Size, weight, and cost are all massively important, so some researchers are turning to advanced origami to fold up solar arrays. The result of their two years’ worth of work is a solar array with a diameter of just 8.9 feet (2.7 meters) when folded and a massive 82 feet (25 meters) when unfurled. A 1/20th scale model of the array is what you see here.

To build the solar array, Shannon Zirbel and professor Larry Howell of Brigham Young University, and mechanical engineer Brian Trease of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, enlisted the help of renowned origami expert Robert Lang. One of the major difficulties faced by the team is that solar arrays are not as thin as…

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See the actual photo Nick Frost took in ‘Shaun of the Dead’

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If one thing’s for certain, it’s that Simon Pegg and Nick Frost had far too much fun parodying the zombie movie with 2004’s Shaun of the Dead. In one of the movie’s better gags, when the two are confronted with a zombie for the first time, they (naturally) don’t expect it’s a person raised from the dead. But when the zombie finally attacks, Frost does what any good friend would do: he runs off to find a camera. It turns out he actually took the photo during filming, and the picture’s surfaced on Reddit this week. Of course, if Shaun of the Dead were shot today, he would have just snapped a selfie with his phone instead.

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You’ll be able to play the ‘Pokémon Trading Card Game’ on your iPad later this year

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The ‘90s are back. At least, that’s what the makers of the Pokémon Trading Card Game hope. An iPad version of the card game has surfaced at the World Championships in Washington DC, and representatives have confirmed to Polygon that the game is real. It’s reportedly scheduled to be released sometime this year, but from the looks of it, the game is a simple port of the Windows and Mac version of the trading card game that has been available for some time. Assuming it’s largely the same as that game, it will be free to play, and players will be able to import physical cards to their digital decks. Of course, Pokémon’s a little late to the punch: a little card game called Hearthstone has become a huge success in just a few months since…

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Elon Musk enlists his five sons to help complete the Ice Bucket Challenge

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The Ice Bucket Challenge is well on its way to raising plenty of money for ALS research — and it’s leaving no tech exec dry. Tesla CEO and billionaire inventor Elon Musk took his turn taking a cool, refreshing ice-water bath today. Musk’s five boys, Griffin, Xavier, Damian, Saxon, and Kai got a good laugh out of dousing their father, though the contraption isn’t quite as impressive as Bill Gates’ over-engineered rig. Musk is apparently under the weather, though, so maybe he wasn’t quite up to the task of one-upping the Microsoft co-founder. Gates challenged Musk yesterday, and now Musk is passing the torch on to Johnny Depp, Tony Hawk, and Minecraft creator Notch.

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Possible plot details leak from ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ set

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The Star Wars: Episode VII set seems to be a leaky ship. Minor details from the upcoming film have been finding their way online since filming began, and now a couple of reports claim to have an idea of how the film’s plot is going to play out. Of course, if you want to go into the next Star Wars installment with fresh eyes, you better stop reading here. And don’t feel too bad — there really are just bits and pieces at this point.

Possible spoilers ahead!

According to separate reports from Indie Revolver and Latino Review, the film will feature a lengthy flashback to explain the history behind the film’s main villains, the Sith Inquisitors. The flashback (or flashbacks) will reportedly take place when Leia is little more than a young…

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The Weekender: winning the internet and making mixtapes

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Good morning and welcome back. We’ll be your guides through space and time on this starship we call the Weekender. It’s been a long week, full of small victories and larger tragedies, so this journey is your chance to reflect. It’s your chance to learn something and do something new — even if it’s just riding a bike. Here’s everything you need for your verse.

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See the evolution of texting and the internet on film

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Digital communications can be a storyteller’s nightmare: they mean that everyone is constantly connected and that action increasingly happens on a screen, rather than between two actors. No one’s really figured out a perfect way of dealing with that yet — depictions of the internet on film are often fairly hokey, and cutting to a text message on a phone only serves to slow down the action. So what’s a director to do? In the latest in his film analysis series Every Frame a PaintingTony Zhou takes a look at how filmmakers are slowly beginning to handle text messages and the web better and better. After years and years, Sherlock may just have nailed the text message… but it seems that the web is still anyone’s game.

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New trailers: ‘Rudderless,’ ‘Mortdecai,’ ‘The Canal,’ ‘Better Call Saul,’ and ‘Revenge of the Green Dragons’

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The summer movie season may be winding down, but there are still some huge new titles in theaters this weekend, including The Giver and The Expendables 3. As usual, what’s coming to theaters in the next few months looks quite a bit different, from more emotional stories to far spookier ones for this October. We’ve rounded up five of this week’s best new trailers below so that you can take a look at what’s coming up in the not-too-distant future.

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Windows 9 preview expected next month

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Microsoft is expected to deliver an early preview version of Windows Threshold next month, the codename for what will likely be named Windows 9. The software maker has been gradually working on the release over the past several months, adding and tweaking features ready for a “technology preview” release to the public. Microsoft has been sharing early builds of Threshold to close OEMs and partners, and ZDNet reports that a public preview is expected next month or early October.

The Windows 9 preview will be similar to how Microsoft first let developers test Windows 8, with features not fully complete or missing. ZDNet claims updates will be pushed to users who install the preview on an automatic basis, meaning the release will change…

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From Google to Lenovo: the ups and downs of Motorola’s last three years

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On August 15th, 2011, Google revealed that it would be purchasing Motorola Mobility, which was formerly in charge of the eponymous corporation’s cellular phone division. One of the major reasons motivating the acquisition was Google’s desire to pick up Motorola’s library of patents. In a blog post, Google CEO Larry Page wrote that the move would “better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple, and other companies.”

The decision would later prove problematic. It…

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Premier League warns soccer fans not to post goals on Vine and Twitter

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The World Cup was wonderful for so many reasons this year, whether it was watching Arjen Robben’s 5,268 dives, Luis Suarez’s moment of madness, or the animated facial expressions of Mexico’s manager Miguel Herrera, there was always something to share. It was these moments and more from The Beautiful Game that generated thousands of animated GIFs and Vines of World Cup goals, a big win for social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. While fans happily enjoyed sharing these brief clips, FIFA was far less impressed and began cracking down to remove them. The same is about to happen to the Premier League in England.

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Xbox One’s new media player is perfect for watching torrents

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Microsoft announced its plans to bring a standalone media player to Xbox One earlier this week, and now the company is previewing some of its new features. A dashboard update for Xbox One preview users is rolling out in preparation for the media player app beta, with some of the new social and TV features. While the media player isn’t available just yet, Microsoft is demonstrating how it works in a preview video.

The media player, a highly requested feature, supports local files from USB and network media players through DLNA. Both of these features will allow Xbox One owners to download content like movies, TV shows, or music and stream them directly to the console or play them from a USB stick. Microsoft is improving its support of…

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Tesla improves Model S drive unit warranty to cover 8 years and ‘infinite miles’

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Elon Musk and Tesla are showing even more confidence in their Model S. Moments ago, Musk announced that the car’s drive unit warranty has been extended to match that of the Model S battery pack and will now run for 8 years from the date of purchase. The new policy, which is retroactive and covers existing owners, allows for “unlimited miles” to be driven in that time. So as long as you’re within those 8 years, Tesla will service your car under warranty at no cost if there should be an issue with the drive unit. You may be on the hook for problems elsewhere, and the updated and far more generous warranty only applies to the 85 kWh Model S. Musk says this is Tesla’s “most popular car by far.”

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Hacking Team is spreading government malware through YouTube and Microsoft Live

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You don’t have to click on a sketchy link to end up downloading malware. A new report from Citizen Lab’s Morgan Marquis-Boire shows how companies can spread targeted malware by intercepting web traffic en route, sending malicious traffic from an otherwise friendly link. A company called Hacking Team has been using the tactics on traffic from YouTube and Microsoft’s login.live.com servers, seeding innocent videos with surveillance software designed to track the target’s activities online.

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