Plex for PlayStation 4 delayed in the US as it launches in Europe

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Xbox One owners have already been enjoying the delights of Plex for two months, and it’s now arriving on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 just in time for the holidays. Plex has emerged as a go-to app for home theater diehards, and a popular choice for people who download movie and TV show rips. On PlayStation 4 it looks identical to the Xbox One version, with a horizontal interface to organize all your movies and TV shows. Recently added movies are available front and center, and music / photo support is coming at a later date.

Plex is debuting in Europe and Asia today, but a US launch “will happen in the near future” according to the company. The odd delay could be down to Sony as Plex notes “it takes a while to work out all the…

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Google Maps now lets you tour Street View in virtual reality

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Google turned its attention to virtual reality earlier this year with the launch of its Cardboard do-it-yourself VR viewer, and now it’s bringing functionality to Google Maps to support it. A new “easter egg” in Google Maps for Android allows Cardboard owners to activate VR in Street View and tour around cities worldwide. It’s enabled after you double-tap the navigation circle in the lower right of the Google Maps app which then activates the side-by-side VR view.

If you’ve not yet acquired Google Cardboard, you can fold your own or buy a viewer kit from a variety of manufacturers. While it’s just made of cardboard and uses an Android smartphone for the display, Google has shipped more than 500,000 units, suggesting that there’s demand…

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Judge keeps Steve Jobs video testimony from public release

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A California judge has denied a request from a trio of media outlets to make video deposition of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs available to the public. The request was filed by the Associated Press, Bloomberg, and CNN during this month’s trial over security measures Apple added to iTunes and iPods nearly a decade ago, where 27-minutes of the deposition was shown in court. The request prompted a heated three-way debate over whether making the video available outside the courtroom would run afoul with federal laws prohibiting the recording of courtroom proceedings.

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US officials link Sony Pictures hack to North Korea

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US officials are now pointing the finger at North Korea for the hacks against Sony Pictures, multiple reports claim. Citing government intelligence officials, The New York Times says that the country was “centrally involved” in the attack that led to troves of internal Sony Pictures documents being leaked, including plans for future studio projects. Citing unnamed officials, CNBC adds that the hacks came from outside the country, though were orchestrated by North Korea.

The US is expected to make an official statement on the matter tomorrow.

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Mars and comets: a brief summary of this week’s sweetest space news

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Space and planetary scientists are out in force this week at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. The buzz centers on comets, especially on results from Rosetta, the first mission to orbit and land on a comet and Mars, where possible traces of methane-belching microbes have again been spotted. Here’s a round-up of some of this week’s science.

Philae in flight to 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as seen from Rosetta. (ESA)

Still searching for Philae

Any hour, any day now, Rosetta-mission scientists expect to know where their lander is.

“The photos we need have been taken,” says Matt Taylor, project scientist with the European Space Agency. “They’re in a pipeline, we’re just waiting for them…

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Up close with the BlackBerry Classic

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BlackBerry is returning to its roots. Today the company announced the release of the BlackBerry Classic, its latest smartphone with a full QWERTY physical keyboard and an optical trackpad, bringing back the best thing about the company that once dominated the smartphone market. The Classic isn’t for everyone, and with a $449 price tag, it won’t be cheap to pick up either. But for those who miss tapping on the physical keyboard made famous by BlackBerry in the mid 2000s, it doesn’t get much better than this.

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Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel on being hacked: “It’s not okay that people steal our secrets”

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One of the least expected companies to take collateral damage in the epic Sony Pictures hack has been Snapchat. CEO Evan Spiegel regularly trades emails with Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton, who sits on Snapchat’s board, and the revelations from the pair’s emails have been spilling out all week. Among them: the company secretly bought a company that makes a Google Glass-like product; it’s actively pursuing plans to insert music into the app; and the company turned down a bigger offer from Facebook than the $3 billion originally reported. But there are other revelations in there, too: that Chinese internet company Tencent felt insulted by him during fundraising negotiations, for example, and that he and his co-founder sought to take $40…

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Watch every onscreen death in the Lord of the Rings trilogy

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Let’s get this out of the way first: I don’t think there are exactly 212,470 on-screen deaths during Peter Jackson’s entire (extended edition) Lord of the Rings, as purported by this six-minute supercut… but I also don’t care because it’s still a great recap to the more than 11 hours of beautiful cinema that ultimately led us to part three of The Hobbit trilogy that’s now in cinemas worldwide.

Never forget, though, that of all the deaths in Lord of the Rings, only one really, truly mattered — and that’s of course the character Boromir, played by acting fall guy Sean Bean. He’s #155 in the video, but he’ll always been #1 in my heart.

And if that isn’t enough, here’s every on-screen death in the original Star Wars trilogy. Again,…

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The best wireless headphones you can buy

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Wireless headphones are awesome. Of all the gadgets I use on a daily basis, they are the ones that make me most feel like I’m living in the near future. That may sound like hyperbole, but putting on headphones and having music pump directly into my ears without any cables getting in the way is just a great experience.

I don’t have to worry about my bag yanking them from my head every time I take them off. I don’t have to worry about threading the cable through my coat before leaving the house on a cold day. And I don’t have to worry about causing a major catastrophe if I get up from my desk and forget to take them off my head. It’s the freedom and convenience of wireless headphones that draws me and many others to them.

There are a lot…

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Congress votes to turn Manhattan Project sites into a national park

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The sites where J. Robert Oppenheimer and others developed the atomic bomb could soon be put in the company of Gettysburg, Yellowstone, and the California redwoods. Late last week, the Senate approved the National Defense Authorization Act, which included a section establishing the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. The park will preserve places where bombs were designed, manufactured, and tested in the 1940s, as well as the cottages and dormitories where their creators lived.

The Atomic Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit group that’s lobbied for the bill, has published a guide to what the park will include. It will span three states, covering 30 sites in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Hanford, Washington. This…

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Uber will use biometric scans to improve background checks on drivers

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In the wake of high-profile incidents in which passengers were allegedly assaulted by their drivers, Uber said today it would improve background checks using methods including biometric scans. “We are initiating research & development on biometrics and voice verification to build custom tools for enhanced driver screening,” the company said in a blog post. “We are also investing in ways to provide riders the instant ability to communicate with us and their loved ones in the event of an emergency.”

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Parks and Recreation’s final season will predict our future

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NBC is bringing us back to Pawnee, Indiana next month for the farewell season of Parks and Recreation, and Entertainment Weekly just premiered a teaser that shows what the future holds — literally.

The 30-second spot — which features both a delivery drone hovering above Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), and April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza) using a see-through touch-screen tablet — shows us that creator Mike Schur’s is following up on his promise to HitFix back in April that the comedy would become “very gently sci-fi” in its final episodes. Fans of the series will remember that, in the final scene of the sixth season, the story flashed forward three years to show Knope and company working for the National Parks Service.

The sci-fi themes won’t…

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Facebook experimenting with ‘official’ classifieds in Groups

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It’s not a full fledged classifieds section, but Facebook wants to make it easier to sell your stuff over the social network. You’ve just got to be in the same Facebook Group as whoever’s doing the buying. The Next Web reports that Facebook is testing a feature that lets Group members enter details about items they’re selling in place of a normal status update or wall post. There are designated fields for an item title, location, description, photo, and asking price. Once all that’s filled in, Facebook posts your sale in a nice, easily readable format that makes skimming over classifieds much easier.

That’s where Facebook’s involvement in your sale ends, though. The company takes no responsibility for purchases or sales made through…

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BuzzFeed buys developer to focus on building native apps

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BuzzFeed has big plans to build out its mobile app. The site has acquired the team behind Hyper IQ, a developer that’s already been working on BuzzFeed‘s iOS app. The plan is to have Hyper IQ’s seven-person team grow to around 30, who will largely be working on iOS and Android. BuzzFeed intends to improve how specific verticals are presented within its app — it’s particularly interested in improving the experience for its news and video verticals. The team will be working out of BuzzFeed‘s new Minneapolis engineering office.

“We’re thrilled to be part of BuzzFeed’s plans to build a technology presence in the Twin Cities,” Hyper IQ president Phil Wilson says in a statement. “More importantly, like so many technology leaders, BuzzFeed…

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BlackBerry Classic, I can’t resist you

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Every three months or so, I find myself perusing the deep corners of Ebay: looking, searching for the perfect BlackBerry 9930 to buy, only to talk myself out of it every time. There’s no LTE connectivity, and the camera is awful, I’d say. But none of that really, truly matters to me. I am a diehard BlackBerry keyboard lover. The Blackberry Curve was my first smartphone. While my friends on AT&T were buying iPhones, I was all in on BlackBerry and didn’t regret it one bit.

The BlackBerry keyboard was, is better than every other phone on the market. Much like Antonio Stradivari perfected the violin in the early 18th century, BlackBerry has mastered the physical keyboard, and from everything I’ve seen, it will not be surpassed. When I had…

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BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti: ‘It’s not just a site, it’s a whole process’

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BuzzFeed announced today that it’s acquiring the talent team behind mobile app developer Hyper IQ, a significant investment in building native apps for a publisher that’s traditionally been web- and social-first.

That’s a big tech story, and I spent an hour talking to BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti about the media business, what technology actually helps BuzzFeed do, and what’s next for a company he says was a “cat site” three years ago.

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Tile’s tiny Bluetooth stuff-tracker now works with Android

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Tile‘s promise to track your stuff with small Bluetooth squares last year made it one of the biggest crowd-funded successes ever, raising nearly $2.7 million worth of orders in just a month. What’s taken the company a lot longer is making enough Tiles for all the people who bought it, as well as getting them to connect to something other than Apple’s iPhones and iPads. Today the company says both those problems have been solved, with it fully catching up on preorders, and with a new app for Android users that lets them connect with their Tiles.

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