Google is shutting down live lesson marketplace Helpouts in April

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After more than a year in existence, Google Helpouts, Google’s video lesson platform that connected users with experts in a variety of fields, will shut down on April 20th. In an official announcement on Google+, the company stated that the service hadn’t “grown at the pace we had expected” so it’s time to say a sad so long to the application and the community.

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Hackers rob US and global banks of millions in one of the largest heists ever

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Banks in Russia, Japan, the US, and Europe have fallen victim to a massive, sophisticated malware hack, allowing the perpetrators to steal hundreds of millions of dollars since 2013. According to a Kaspersky Labs report provided to the New York Times, more than 100 banks in 30 nations have been affected by the breach, with upwards of $300 million stolen in the process.

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The Verge Playlist: It’s Valentine’s Day and you’re going to be alone forever

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Today is a very special day. Today is a day we celebrate love and hope and love and kissing and sex and hearts and candy and having someone who will care when you die. It’s very real, and very serious. Some people don’t have that person, and for those people, I’ve made the only playlist you’ll ever need.

There’s the pinnacle of loneliness: Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” (also covered amazingly by Prince, but that’s not on the internet). There’s a desperate torch song: Dusty Springfield’s truly pitiful “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.” There’s Drake, alone and drunk in a basement: “Look What You’ve Done.” There’s the Violent Femmes’ pleading, self-loathing “Please Do Not Go.” A few loops should take you through the night. I…

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Megaupload copyright infringement case sees its first conviction

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The Megaupload copyright infringement case saw its first conviction yesterday, Ars Technica reports. Programmer Andrus Nõmm plead guilty to felony copyright infringement and was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison.

Nõmm was arrested in Virginia earlier this week after years of fighting extradition in the Netherlands. He was arrested in the Netherlands in 2012.

Megaupload owner Kim Dotcom is accused of running the now-defunct file storage site as a piracy ring and encouraging users to upload copyrighted material illegally. Dotcom’s servers were seized by police in 2012, but last year New Zealand’s Court of Appeal ruled that police had to provide Dotcom copies of all data seized in the raid. Dotcom and the five other…

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Marion Cotillard will star in Assassin’s Creed alongside Michael Fassbender

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Last month we reported that Justin Kurzel’s Assassin’s Creed film adaptation was on track for a 2016 theatrical release following several delays caused by script rewrites and scheduling issues. Now Marion Cotillard (The Dark Night Rises, Inception) has been named as one of the movie’s stars along with Michael Fassbender.

No word yet on Cotillard’s role

The movie, based on Ubisoft’s popular video games, tells the story Desmond Miles, a bartender who’s kidnapped by a corporation that forces him to return to his assassin roots. It’s not clear yet which role Cotillard will play in the movie.

Cotillard and Fassbender have worked together before, in the upcoming adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which was also directed by Kurzel. That…

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The first virtual reality rock opera’s Kickstarter launches today

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All right, it’s possible that Nuren isn’t technically the first VR rock opera. But it’s highly likely. The (eventually) seven-part “feature-length virtual reality music experience” is composed by Jake Kaufman, who’s also behind the chiptunes Shovel Knight soundtrack, and it looks like a weird combination of THX-1138 dystopia, adorable neon-haired robots, and 360-degree virtual reality video, which is currently experiencing a bit of a boom. The plot, according to the creators:

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The NSA just captured the evil side of Valentine’s Day in this perfect tweet

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Valentine’s Day may be about love as filtered through romance novels, candy hearts, and chocolate-covered strawberries, but love has a dark side. As a reminder, here’s the NSA using the single most sinister love song Sting ever wrote to send a cheery V-Day greeting:

Just to be perfectly clear, the lyrics from the classic Police track “Every Breath You Take” are, explicitly, about stalking. In a 1983 interview with NME, Sting himself stated, “I think it’s a nasty little song, really rather evil. It’s about jealousy and surveillance and ownership.” The bit about…

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Björk shares a dark, strange trailer for her upcoming MoMA retrospective

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Beginning next month, the Museum of Modern Art will host a retrospective of Björk’s expansive, multi-faceted career. The exhibit, Björk, will act as an experimental timeline of Björk’s art, drawing from her more than 20 years as a musician and visual artist.

The exhibition’s centerpiece is called Black Lake

The dark, corporal trailer above is for the exhibition’s centerpiece, a video installation called Black Lake. The installation shares its title with a track from Björk’s recently leaked album, Vulnicura.  According to Rolling Stone, Black Lake is a visual collaboration between the design firm Autodesk and the director Andrew Thomas Huang. Huang also directed Björk’s elaborate video for “Mutual Core” off her 2011 album Biophilia. The…

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The Weekender: 4chan, binaural audio, and Deadmau5

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Hello fellow weekend-goers, and welcome back to The Weekender. This week, we explored Bill Gates’ predictions about the future of online classrooms, hacked our brains with binaural audio, and flew drones with Deadmau5. We’ll also be setting you up for a stellar weekend back on this terrestrial plane. So sit back and take a journey with us

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Reuters: Apple may be working on a self-driving car after all

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Apple is working on a self-driving car, Reuters reports. An industry insider said Apple is gathering information and parts to make a prototype for a self-driving electric vehicle. Yesterday, a lead from the Wall Street Journal indicated Apple was working on an all-electric vehicle called Project Titan. That report explicitly stated a self-driving car was not part of Apple’s plan.

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Flickr takes a step forward with a new interface and a timeline

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Flickr began rolling out a new feature called Camera Roll today, PetaPixel reports. The update, now testing in beta, features a sleeker interface that allows users to browse, edit, and organize their photos with greater ease.

Camera Roll lives up to its name by allowing users to view all of their photos in a fluid stream organized by date. Users can choose to arrange images by date taken or date uploaded, and scroll smoothly from their most recent photos at the start of the roll, to their oldest photos at the end.

Another big update is the addition of a timeline, pictured above. When users click on a year shown on the left-hand side of the page, the year expands into 12 months, allowing users to jump back and forth in time…

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Apple is working on an electric car, Wall Street Journal reports

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The rumors have been getting stronger all week, and now they’ve come to a head: WSJ is reporting that Apple is indeed working on a car. “Project Titan,” as it’s known internally, is an all-electric vehicle that apparently “resembles a minivan” in its current iteration and has a team of several hundred people working on it.

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Apple’s new premium music service reportedly launching by this summer

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According to Billboard, Apple’s upcoming streaming service – the next evolution of Beats Music – could see a “possible” launch sometime in the spring, but is “certain” to reach consumers by summer. 9to5Mac reported on the revamped Beats-based service last week, putting forward iOS 8.4 as the update that could potentially put the on-demand, premium service into the hands of millions of iPhone users without making them download a standalone app. Apple is expected to integrate Beats’ features, curated playlists, and social/sharing functionality directly into the Music app, though 9to5Mac also suggested that development of Apple’s new premium music service hasn’t been going so smoothly, with one source calling the situation “a mess.”

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One year later, the Comcast merger apocalypse still isn’t here

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One year ago today, Comcast announced a deal: it planned to merge with rival Time Warner Cable in a transaction worth north of $45 billion. The two cable giants could become one; federal regulators could approve the merger with a few swift stroke of their pens. “We believe that this transaction is approvable,” Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said simply, as executives prophesied the deal would be done by the end of 2014.

And yet, we’re still waiting. Nearly as quickly as the deal was announced, customer service horror stories about Comcast, always at a hum in discussions about the company, seemed to amplify. Writers, activists, and consumers all shared anecdotes online and with the FCC, testifying to why Comcast deserved the ignominious title…

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FXX will finally stream The Simpsons in original 4:3 format

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Last summer, fledgling cable network FXX played a week-and-a-half long marathon of every Simpsons episode up until that point, making it event television for fans everywhere. Unfortunately, purists quickly noticed that, in broadcasting the series in 16:9 format, many of the show’s funniest early sight gags were being cropped out. Since then, only the recut versions have been available online.

That oversight is finally at an end. The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean tweeted last night that the show’s first seven seasons are now available for streaming on the web in the original 4:3 aspect ratio:

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Nintendo is making a Mii app for smartphones

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Nintendo has been infamously reticent when it comes to embracing mobile devices, but the company is slowly changing its tune — and soon there will be an app to prove it. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata recently revealed that Nintendo is working on an app that would let users use their Mii avatars outside of games and the company’s own Miiverse social network.

“It would be fun for players to use their Mii characters as icons on social media.”

“It would be fun for players to use their Mii characters as icons on social media,” he told Japan’s Nikkei business daily. “We are currently developing an application that will allow users to do that.” The app will be officially announced later in the year, and right now there are next to no…

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5 things Apple could be doing with cars

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Multiple reports in the last several days have suggested that Apple is working on cars in some capacity. That inevitably sets the imagination running wild: how can a company that makes most of its money from a pocket-sized chunk of aluminum and circuitry make the transition into transportation — a brutal industry that has claimed hundreds of companies over the last century?

At a high level, I’d suggest that reinventing the automobile today is no more audacious than reinventing the cellphone in 2007, as Apple did — and it might even be easier, considering Apple’s historic brand power and market position. But that doesn’t mean it’d be a walk in the park, nor does it mean that it’s the only thing Apple could be working on. Let’s have a…

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Watch the first teaser for Guillermo del Toro’s gothic thriller Crimson Peak

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Guillermo del Toro plans on dragging audiences kicking and screaming into his Victorian nightmares this fall with his new thriller Crimson Peak. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, and Mia Wasikowska, the film follows a young author swept up in her new husband’s mysterious, supernatural past. Judging from this first look, the film has the polished, B-movie aesthetic del Toro has been cultivating for the last several years. Here, the cast glides through a house that looks like a haunted doll house, and the film certainly looks like it honors the “grand dames” of the haunted house genre already. Crimson Peak will hit theaters on October 16th.

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