Apple engineers are now blogging about Swift

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Apple employees blogging about something publicly is not a usual occurrence, but that’s what’s happening with engineers who have built Swift, the company’s new programming language. Today the company quietly launched a new blog for Swift that promises to bring a “behind-the-scenes look into the design” of the programming language “by the engineers who created it.” So far, there are just two posts: one introducing the blogand another that goes into some detail about the programming language’s compatibility.

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Tap for iPhone and Android lets you ping friends by tapping twice on the phone in your pocket

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Just weeks after the rise of Yo, the app that lets you send a lightweight “Yo” notification to a friend and nothing more, something more terrible has already come along. Tap is a new app for iPhone and Android that lets you send your location or a quick ping to a group of friends by simply tapping twice on your phone. The phone could be on the table, in your pocket, or on a seat in your car. The app is designed to let you quickly ping a friend when you’ve arrived at their house, or when dinner’s ready. Notifications disappear after ten minutes.

The company calls its app “the Snapchat for location,” “the world’s fastest messaging app,” and “four times faster than Yo.” No matter what you want to call it, Tap is just the latest app trying t…

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Lyft hit with restraining orders from NY attorney general, Taxi Commission

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The New York attorney general and the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) filed temporary restraining orders against ridesharing company Lift today, which planned to begin service in two boroughs of the city beginning at 7PM local time. The company had one sit-down meeting with officials about offering the service, which lets people order rides from registered Lyft drivers using their mobile phones. Lyft then announced it would begin service, despite local officials saying they were still evaluating whether the service complied with local transit laws. Apparently that was a step too far, and both the New York attorney general and TLC have taken immediate legal action to keep the service from running as planned.

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See the mind-blowing box art for the new edition of ‘Scanners’ from the Criterion Collection

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1981 was a great year for cinema. Just take a look at the most popular films released then: Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Evil Dead, Escape from New York, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, to name a few. But often overlooked is the cult classic Scanners, gore-master David Cronenberg’s breakout film about psychic warriors.

That shouldn’t be the case anymore. Scanners is getting a beautiful new home edition (Blu-Ray, DVD and iTunes) from the Criterion Collection, complete with all new, mind-blowing…

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The arcane symbols on the back of your gadgets could be going away

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The odd, government-mandated hieroglyphs etched on to the back of the iPhone are as memorable as “Designed by Apple in California,” but some could soon be relics: a new bill introduced in the Senate would allow device makers to digitally stamp phones, computers, and other gadgets, rather than physically etching symbols on to them.

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US reminds 14,215 dead people that they need to register for the draft

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The US Selective Service recently mailed out 14,215 letters to men in Pennsylvania reminding them of their obligation to register for the draft. As The Washington Post notes, that’s nothing out of the ordinary. But in a truly bizarre twist, those notices were addressed to people born between 1893 and 1897 — all of whom are most certainly now dead. The “youngest” recipients would now be at least 117 years old, and no living person on Earth is known to be that age. The agency is chalking up the blunder to an error with its computer systems that occurred during “a routine automated data transfer between the State of Pennsylvania and Selective Service.”

Apparently the Selective Service uses just a two-digit code to identify someone’s birth…

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Samsung’s Tizen phone delayed yet again

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Samsung’s plans to diversify its portfolio with the introduction of smartphones running the open source Tizen OS have had to be postponed once more. Originally scheduled to launch at a developer event in Moscow yesterday, the Samsung Z has now been delayed to an indeterminate point in the future. In a statement sent to The Verge, the Korean company says that it “plans to postpone” the Russian release of the phone, but will continue to “actively work with Tizen Association members to further develop TIzen OS and the Tizen ecosystem.”

This follows the scuppering of plans to release a Tizen handset in Japan last year, which Samsung rationalized as the result of “poor market conditions.” The strategy was altered again earlier this year to…

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Meet Louise, Microsoft’s digital assistant before Cortana

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Cortana may have only debuted with Windows Phone 8.1 recently, but Microsoft has been experimenting with personal digital assistants for years. In newly released videos, the software maker has detailed Project Louise, an automated personal assistant that started life back in 2010. Many of the features that Cortana performs on Windows Phone were present in the prototype versions of Louise, including the ability to control calendar events and search for nearby restaurants.

There’s even a hint at how Cortana may debut in Windows 8, with a restaurant booking demo of Louise on a Windows 8 tablet. While Louise was clearly a codename for what has become Cortana, Microsoft did consider Alyx and Naomi as final names for the digital assistant….

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Google’s top lawyer says EU’s ‘right to be forgotten’ restricts freedom of expression

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Google’s chief legal officer has explained why the company disagrees with the EU’s recent ruling that people have the “right to be forgotten” by its search engine. Writing in The Guardian, David Drummond explains the search giant’s problems with the judgement, saying that it contradicts the information on freedom of expression in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and that the language used by the court means the removal of results comes after “very vague and subjective tests” as to whether the information is of public interest.

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Amazon wants to test new 50 mph drones in its own backyard

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Amazon has asked the Federal Aviation Administration if it can start testing delivery drones in its own facilities in a bid to speed up the rollout of its Amazon Prime Air shipping service. The company sent a letter to the FAA this week, in which it requested the opportunity to carry out research and development on the unmanned aerial vehicles designed to carry packages to Amazon customers. Currently, if the Seattle-based company wants to test new designs for its drones outside, it has to travel to one of six FAA-approved sites dotted around the country. If its request for exemption from FAA rules is granted, it would mean the company’s R&D team — which includes an ex-NASA astronaut — wouldn’t need to leave the Amazon campus to trial new…

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You have until August 25th to sound off on Comcast’s takeover of Time Warner Cable

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Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner is, to put it lightly, controversial. The $45.2 billion all-stock transaction would extend Comcast’s already substantial swaths of subscriber territory even farther, an idea that’s incensed Senator Al Franken and a former FCC commissioner, among others. Now it’s the public’s turn to weigh in.

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Car thief becomes first person to die in a Tesla Model S crash

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Elon Musk can no longer say that no one’s ever died in a Tesla automobile crash. But few people will be pointing fingers at the electric car maker for this senseless tragedy. Earlier this month, 26-year-old Joshua Slot managed to successfully ride off with a Model S he’d stolen from a Tesla service center in Los Angeles, but police quickly spotted the luxury vehicle and gave chase. According to Park Labrea News, the high-speed pursuit was eventually called off after officers were involved in a fender bender of their own, leaving the police department strained for resources and without any feasible way of catching up to Slot. Reports claim he was traveling at speeds of “nearly 100 mph,” but losing the police tail apparently didn’t…

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A chat with Microsoft’s CEO: why Apple and Google haven’t won yet

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Satya Nadella has been CEO of Microsoft for five months, and he’s made it clear he intends to change and re-focus the software behemoth as it navigates the next generation of technological change. To mark the closing of Microsoft’s fiscal year, Nadella released a long, detailed memo laying out his grand vision for the future of Microsoft. He talked about the importance of mobile and the cloud, the end of Microsoft’s focus on devices and services, and laid the foundation for big changes in…

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‘Gotham’ TV show will begin telling the origins of Batman this September

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Fox plans to tell the origin story of Batman through its upcoming series Gotham, and it’s just announced that the series will premiere on September 22nd at 8PM ET/PT. Though the series exists in the world of Batman — and with famous Batman villains like the Penguin on the loose — the hero himself won’t be on screen. Instead, it’ll take place when Bruce Wayne is just a child, right after the murder of his parents. The show will actually focus on a young Commissioner Gordon back when he was still a detective. That makes it sound as though the series could become an interesting new crime drama, with the larger story of Gotham’s corruption and Gordon’s assent through the police force mixed in.

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Justice Department won’t investigate CIA for spying on Senate committee

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The US Justice Department has decided against pursuing a criminal investigation of the CIA over accusations that it spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Earlier this year, Senator Dianne Feinstein sharply criticized the CIA for monitoring computers used by the committee as lawmakers worked to complete a classified report on the agency’s interrogation program under President George W. Bush. The report is said to be a damning look at the program and torturous interrogation methods like waterboarding. It also reportedly criticizes the CIA for misleading Bush’s administration and Congress during 9/11’s aftermath.

Feinstein said the intrusion “violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution.” In…

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FTC sues Amazon for letting children rack up in-app purchase bills

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A week after Amazon rejected a settlement over in-app purchases, the FTC has filed suit against Amazon for allegedly letting children run up bills without parental approval. In a complaint, it asks a court to make Amazon refund users who were billed a total of “millions of dollars” in unauthorized charges, and for the company to be banned from billing parents or other account holders without more explicit consent. “Amazon’s in-app system allowed children to incur unlimited charges on their parents’ accounts without permission,” says FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “Even Amazon’s own employees recognized the serious problem its process created.”

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Yes, potato salad belongs on Kickstarter

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The potato salad Kickstarter hit $40,000 yesterday,* and The Verge’s editor-in-chief Josh Topolsky wanted to talk about it.

“Isn’t it a gross abuse of Kickstarter? Doesn’t this run counter to what they’re trying to do?” he asked. “Is this the kind of business Kickstarter wants to run?”

This is a common reaction, but I think it’s a misunderstanding. First, there’s always been a place for jokes on Kickstarter. Second, this particular joke is especially fitting given Kickstarter’s current goals.

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The new gladiators: Valve’s quest to turn e-sports into epic spectacle

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The question “what is Dota 2” will be asked more times this month than at any other point in the game’s past or future. Valve is presently hosting the marquee Dota 2 tournament of the year, The International 4 (TI4), and its incredible $10.5 million prize pool has garnered attention from corners of the world that wouldn’t traditionally care about professional gaming. Whatever else happens at the event, its significance as a flagbearer and emissary for e-sports to a mainstream audience is already assured. But Valve won’t be satisfied if you just learn about this game’s existence. It wants to recruit you into its sphere of addictively intricate gameplay.

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