Winter has defeated my former hometown’s tourism website

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There’s a little-known law that requires every single t-shirt and hoodie sold within the city limits of Ithaca, NY — a city in which I spent several years as a student — to be emblazoned with the slogan “Ithaca is Gorges” or some variation thereof. In summer, this seems like a cute idea. In winter, you realize you have sworn allegiance to a place that chose a collection of gaping, icy maws as its local symbol. It’s currently around 13 degrees Fahrenheit there, expected to dip below zero over the weekend, with a hazardous weather warning for “bitterly cold Arctic air.” Braving the half-frozen New York subways is nothing compared to wondering how many inches of ice will blanket Ithaca’s steep, deadly hills on any given day.

Fortunately,…

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Stop listening to podcasts at 1.5x

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I love audio. And I want you to love audio, too. But I’m not sure you can, because of this habit you’ve got. I know you’re busy, and you have a lot on your plate, and there are so many shows to keep up with, but you need to stop listening to podcasts sped up to 1.5x. You need to open yourself up to love.

Open yourself up to loveRadio — like film, music, TV, theater, and dance — is a temporal art. It relies on the passage of time to play with anticipation, tension, and release. A good radio producer knows how long a thought will linger in a listener’s consciousness, and either grants her that time, or purposely denies it. A conversation between two hosts is riddled with pregnant pauses and interruptions designed to head off…

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This is Ferrari’s bold vision for the future of Formula One

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Ferrari’s Formula One design team just launched a site for a radical concept car that looks unlike anything F1 has ever put on the track. The two views of the design, front and back, should give fans something to both drool and argue over until the first race of the season next month in Australia.

2014 wasn’t a banner year for Formula One racing. Ratings were down as fans were up in arms over the move from V8 to V6 engines and controversial changes to the cars’ nose design — all while the brand new all-electric series Formula E saw a successful debut.

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Listen to Christopher Nolan talk Interstellar with the director of Star Wars: Episode VIII

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If you didn’t get a chance to see Interstellar in IMAX, Christopher Nolan’s science fiction epic is heading back to the really big screen for one showing this Saturday. And despite what you may think of the movie overall, Interstellar is objectively gorgeous — especially on IMAX.

With that news item in mind, The Playlist found this recording of a talk between Nolan and Rian Johnson (LooperStar Wars: Episode VIII), which took place January 3rd at Aero Theatre in Santa Monica (caution: spoilers). The audio is a bit rough, but if you’re willing to focus, the two filmmakers talk at length and in detail about making the film, from his involvement early on through production and sound design. It’s decidedly behind-the-scenes, which is…

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The custom PC of my dreams costs $3,200 and doesn’t look like a can of Mountain Dew

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This month, custom PC manufacturer Falcon Northwest sent over what it calls the Tiki, a custom, high-end gaming PC squished into a box that’s a little larger than an Xbox One. The Tiki, of course, does laps around the Xbox One from a raw power perspective. It comes with a GeForce 980 graphics card and an i7-4790K 4GHz CPU, which is to say, despite its size, the computer should run most new video games at maximum visual settings just fine.

The Tiki costs $3,200.

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What is fan fiction? A helpful explainer from What’s Tech

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This past weekend the Fifty Shades of Grey film adaptation made a staggering amount of money, but did you know the series began as a humble work of Twilight fan fiction? And that fan-fic owes its prominence to technology? And that amateur and professional writers alike are beginning to make bank off their unofficial books?

On this week’s episode of What’s Tech?, The Verge‘s Entertainment Editor Emily Yoshida explains fan fiction, slash fiction, and her early experiences with the red-lit corners of Star Wars / Sailor Moon crossovers.

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Stop using this old Ford to show what the Apple car will look like

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I had an interesting conversation with my parents last night in which they protested the design of the Apple car, decrying the garish orange paint and a design that made it look “like a Russian car from the 1950s.” I like to think that I’m more or less up to speed on the rumor mill — certainly more than my parents, who are not in the business of breaking news — but I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about.

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Planet TV: Seoul Surfing

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Despite the internet’s limitless reach, for the most part American audiences watch American shows — until, that is, they’re bought up and remade a la The Office or House of Cards. But with the growing popularity and accessibility of international hits, it’s becoming clear just how much TV talent is hiding overseas. So The Verge is taking an international tour of television’s best and weirdest. This time, we’re off to South Korea!

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US government wants to get better at social media to fight ISIS propaganda

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The US government isn’t just fighting ISIS on the ground — it’s also been battling the terrorist group online, trying to counteract ISIS’ propaganda with messaging of its own. But those efforts have not been particularly successful, according to The New York Times, and now the US government is hoping to streamline and strengthen its messaging in an attempt to counteract ISIS’ work. Effectively, this means that the government wants to get better at using social media.

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The moonshot that missed

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For decades, architect Eli Attia has been filling notebook after notebook with ideas for a new way to think about constructing buildings. He developed a process he calls Engineered Architecture — a system that he says would radically simplify every aspect of the construction process. Attia describes it as new approach to every aspect of architecture and construction, potentially revolutionizing the industry. He began developing the system in 1996 and calls it his life’s work, although he’s coy about many of its specific details. Five years ago, he took it to Google X to turn it into working software. Now, he says they’ve stolen it.

Engineered Architecture should have been the perfect project for Google’s moonshot program: a bold idea,…

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Modern Family’s new episode never leaves the screen of a MacBook Pro

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MacBooks and iPhones pop up in movies and TV so often that it’s nearly a trope unto itself, but on February 25th ABC’s Modern Family is going a step further. A new episode called “Connection Lost” takes place entirely on the screen of a character’s laptop — and while it’s a fun new riff on the sitcom’s successful formula, it’s also one of the most glowing love letters to the Mac you’ll see this this side of an Apple keynote.

“Connection Lost” belongs to a burgeoning sub-genre of what could be called “screen capture filmmaking.” You’ve seen it before, going back to those heartstring-tugging Google ads from a few years ago: the “camera” captures a computer screen, tracking the mouse, web pages, and other apps the unseen operator uses, all…

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Microsoft opens up Office mobile and web apps to all cloud storage services

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Microsoft’s Office Dropbox integration was a surprise partnership last November, but Microsoft is now extending it to everyone else. After launching updated iOS apps with iCloud storage support, Microsoft is announcing native cloud integration in the Office for iOS apps for all rival cloud providers. This means that in future, once app developers have updated their apps, you will be able to open, edit, and save documents with OneDrive, Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, Box, and many others.

A more open Microsoft

It’s a surprise move from Microsoft and an increasing sign of the company’s willingness to be more open and partner with rivals. It’s also a key way to keep consumers and businesses hooked on using Microsoft Office as a…

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Microsoft is ready to unleash Xbox One apps

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Microsoft is planning to open up its Xbox One apps platform in a big way this summer. While the software maker has remained consistently quiet around its timing for cross-platform (universal) apps running on its gaming console, sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the company will start to allow more and more apps on the Xbox One by the end of the year. Microsoft is planning to detail its plans fully at the company’s Build developer conference in April, but we understand they’ll involve allowing developers to turn retail Xbox One units into developer kits.

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Samsung talks up wireless charging in the buildup to Galaxy S6 launch

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The countdown to Samsung’s next big phone launch is at less than two weeks now, and the Korean company is starting to release strategic teasers hinting at the specs we can expect from the new device. Last week, there was the promise of an amazing new camera, whereas today Samsung is putting the spotlight on wireless charging.

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Apple wanted to build a far smarter Watch, but couldn’t find the technology

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Spend a few minutes on Indiegogo and you’ll come across a series of extraordinarily ambitious wearable devices promising to detect everything from your sleep patterns, to your stress levels, to the number of calories you’ve burned in the past hour. They’ve incited plenty of skepticism and the latest report from the Wall Street Journal shows why: the Apple Watch was initially intended as exactly that sort of multifunctional health-monitoring device, but the sensors available just weren’t good enough. Heart activity, blood pressure, and stress levels were among the things Apple wanted to track with the Watch, however issues of complexity and reliability — such as getting accurate readings on users with hairy arms or dry skin — forced Apple…

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Microsoft Office for iOS now supports iCloud storage

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Microsoft is updating its Office for iOS applications with support for Apple’s iCloud storage today. The updated apps allow iPhone and iPad users to open, edit, and save documents to iCloud without having to pay for an Office 365 subscription or use Microsoft’s own cloud storage service, OneDrive. While Microsoft added similar support for Dropbox back in November, the iCloud feature is a little less obvious to use.

The places section of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for iOS do not allow you to add iCloud as a place, and you have to access iCloud documents from the “more” section. It’s a little confusing, and it does make it a little difficult to create documents and store them in iCloud. There’s also restrictions on filetypes, so while…

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Link is the most popular Nintendo Amiibo

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It’s official: Link is the most popular Amiibo of them all. Figures released today at Nintendo’s investor briefing show the Legend of Zelda protagonist selling more than any of the other Nintendo characters immortalized as a Skylanders-style NFC-equipped plastic figurine.

Here’s the top 10 for North America:

  1. Link
  2. Mario
  3. Pikachu
  4. Kirby
  5. Samus
  6. Yoshi
  7. Zelda
  8. Donkey Kong
  9. Peach
  10. Luigi

The US and Canada have made up 63 percent of Amiibo sales to date; Europe, Japan, and Australia accounted for 23 percent, 11 percent, and 3 percent respectively. Australia is the only region where Link didn’t make the top spot — Mario appears to be more popular down under.

Additionally, CEO Satoru Iwata announced today that Nintendo is planning to use…

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Someone (probably the NSA) has been hiding viruses in hard drive firmware

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The NSA may be hiding payloads in the firmware of consumer hard drives, according to a new report from Kaspersky Lab. The report tracks a group that researchers have dubbed “Equation,” which uses previously undiscovered methods to plant targeted malware in hard drive firmware, where it is difficult to detect or remove. The report found exploits for hard drives made by many of the largest brands in the industry, including Samsung, Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor, Toshiba and Hitachi. The group is closely tied to Stuxnet, using many overlapping vulnerabilities and techniques over the same time period, and those similarities combined with previously published NSA hard drive exploits have led many to speculate that Encounter may be part of…

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Watch a trailer for one of the best sci-fi movies in years

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I have no problem throwing about hyperbolic claims when it comes to World of Tomorrow, the new animated short by Don Hertzfeldt that premiered at Sundance and won the Grand Jury Prize in the shorts competition. The trailer, above, announces the seventeen minute long film will be available on-demand on March 31st. I look forward to writing more about the film then, as I would hate to spoil its contents before you have a chance to watch with fresh eyes.

It uses a fictional future to talk about the real anxieties of the presentI still want to say some nice things about World of Tomorrow, because I sincerely believe someone who finds themselves on The Verge will connect with it. The story follows a young girl named Emily who comes in…

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