You can now stream SoundCloud through your Sonos speakers

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SoundCloud is the latest music service to hop on the Sonos bandwagon. You can now listen to SoundCloud’s huge library of user-uploaded music, playlists, podcasts, comedy bits, newscasts, and more with Sonos’ hi-fi audio systems. “You’ve already used SoundCloud to connect with your favorite artists: now, with a click of a button, they can send their freshest tracks and playlists direct to your home,” SoundCloud announced today.

Playback is handled with the Sonos controller app, which sadly means you can’t (yet) control the speakers throughout your house with SoundCloud’s redesigned iPhone app. Google Play Music still has a leg up on other streaming services when it comes to native Sonos integration, but we won’t complain about another…

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Can Snapchat make money without losing its cool?

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Snapchat is an unconventional company. From its faux-apologies to its reported rejection of a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook, the Los Angeles startup is anything but predictable. And the company has launched new products at a rapid clip: in the last year alone, Snapchat has rolled out a storytelling platform called Stories, video chat, and text messaging. It’s clearer now, perhaps more than ever, that Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel is in it for the long haul.

If Snapchat is indeed in the game to make money, and not simply to grow a massive user base and sell to the man, the company’s going to need to think about monetization. And it has. If you’ve been paying close attention, you might have already noticed Snapchat has been…

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Google, DropBox, and others team up to cut patent trolls off at the source

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Despite its high profile in the tech world, patent trolling — in which companies sue for damages over patents they don’t intend to use — has been difficult to address. Reform efforts in Congress stalled earlier this year, when Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) failed to broker an agreement that would have raised the bar for sending patent infringement warnings and increased the risks for bringing a frivolous lawsuit. In the wake of this defeat, Google, DropBox, Canon, and others are forging a truce that they hope will stop trolls from building a patent arsenal.

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Microsoft CEO readies big shakeup, drops devices and services focus

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sent a broad email to all employees today outlining the company’s ambitions for the new financial year. Top of the agenda is reshaping what the “core” of Microsoft is, and Nadella admits the devices and services description, introduced by former CEO Steve Ballmer, was helpful, but that “we now need to hone in on our unique strategy.” That unique strategy is a Microsoft that’s focused on mobile and cloud, a similar message that Nadella has hinted at previously. “We will reinvent productivity to empower every person and every organization on the planet to do more and achieve more,” Nadella boldly states.

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Kelsey Grammer joined Twitter to fix your terrible grammar

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Kelsey Grammer has joined Twitter, but not for the usual reasons. The actor, who is currently experiencing something of a career renaissance, isn’t there to plug Transformers: Age of Extinction or his role in the upcoming Expendables 3. Instead, Kelsey Grammer wants to educate Twitter’s masses on the rules and intricacies of English grammar. With his inaugural tweet, he even coined a hashtag to go along with the mission: #KelseyGrammerGrammar. “It has come to my attention that the fine people of Twitter have an egregious grammar problem,” Grammer wrote. “I’m here to help.”

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NEPTUNE is streaming from the ocean floor

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NEPTUNE, otherwise known as the North-East Pacific Time-Series Underwater Networked Experiment, is relaying real-time data from the bottom of the sea to researchers and the public alike. A detailed Ars Technica profile examines the subsea infrastructure that spans 800km (about 500 miles) in length and costs non-profit organization Ocean Networks Canada $17 million a year to maintain. The article explores how NEPTUNE was assembled atop the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate and the meticulous work required to keep it fully operational. It’s an intricate labor, but it ensures that 130 or so instruments attached to the network continue to provide data on everything from seismic activity to the health of the ocean.

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Samsung child labor allegations contradict recent audit

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The 2014 edition of Samsung’s annual Sustainability Report was issued a few days ago and enumerated a long list of improper employment practices among the Korean company’s Chinese suppliers. What it did not find, however, were any instances of child labor, giving the 100 suppliers that were audited in China a clean bill of health at least on that metric. Contradicting those Samsung inspections is a report today form China Labor Watch (CLW) that alleges multiple instances of child labor at the Shinyang Electronics factory in Dongguan.  CLW is scathing in its dismissal of Samsung’s social responsibility reports as mere advertisements that “don’t have any real value for the workers.”

Li Qiang, Executive Director at CLW, goes on to describe…

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Aereo says it’s not dead yet, despite Supreme Court ruling otherwise

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It may not be curtains for internet television broadcasting company Aereo, which shut down last month following a ruling by the US Supreme Court that it violated the Copyright Act. In a new court filing today, the company says it believes it can operate once again, and within the confines of the Supreme Court decision by existing legally as a cable system instead of an equipment provider. Under current law, that would protect any transmissions it’s picking up from being prohibited, the company wrote in a joint letter to US District Judge Alison Nathan.

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Google Maps can now tell you the exact distance between two points

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Google Maps is making it a whole lot easier to find out exactly how far apart any two (or more) points are on a map. As of yesterday, you can now right click anywhere on Google Maps on the web and choose “measure distance” to bring up a digital ruler that’ll tell you just how far away its final point is. You aren’t confined to the streets either: Maps can measure from any one point to another, be it in the ocean, on a building, or on the other side of the globe. Multiple points can be dropped down too, allowing the ruler to change directions.

Though Google Maps has always given distance measurements when routing directions, those have been confined to whatever paths are along the route. If you wanted to simply measure between two points…

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The Oculus Rift meat puppets are here

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Body swapping is a dream of both science fiction and present-day virtual reality. What would it be like to spend a day as a model, or a rock star, or a child? Designer Yifei Chai wants his Pretender Project to answer that very question. But in the process, he’s learning how hard it can be to condense a collective cultural dream into a real project.

Visit the Royal College of Art to see Chai’s project, and you might be asked to don a pair of Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles and stand in front of a Kinect. Suddenly, you’ll be seeing out of someone else’s eyes — the eyes of your “avatar,” probably Chai. Put your hand up, and an electric current will lift his too. Bend your elbow, and his will follow, clumsily. It’s not just imitation….

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These two guys think cutting things with spoons will be their next viral hit

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Spoons are meant for soup, yogurt, and other foods that, looked at another way, could be considered drinks. But did you know that the spoon can also be used to cut things? In fact, any relatively strong piece of material with a flat side can be used to cut things, and that discovery seems to be the inspiration for Cut Dat Commentary, a four-month-old YouTube channel starring a man in an apron who uses a spoon to cut various foods, such as a cucumber, ghost pepper, or American cheese, on a wooden cutting board.

We never see the man’s face, only his anonymous arms attacking the food. He approaches first with faux precision, then usually just starts hacking. Most of the short videos end with a mangled piece of fruit or vegetable (see the M…

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The leader behind Google’s wildest projects joins Zynga’s board of directors

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Ever since she left DARPA to lead Google’s ATAP group, Regina Dugan has focused on technologies that are both ambitious and impressive. She’s the leader behind the modular phones of Project Ara and the 3D-vision tablets of Project Tango. Now she’s adding another, unexpected line to her resume: member of Zynga’s board of directors.

Zynga has found itself needing some reinvention, and as it approaches the one-year anniversary of naming former Microsoft executive Don Mattrick as CEO, it’s hoping Dugan will help come up with product ideas. Appointments to corporate boards generally don’t make for big changes, but Zynga says that Dugan will be more involved in product decisions as a part of the “product committee.” “I believe we need to…

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Experience the shocking power of Britney Spears without Auto-Tune

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Auto-Tune has been embraced by the music industry for its ability to create polished, listenable recordings when an artist lacks the natural talent to hit every note. That’s the nice way of saying it. Engineers also turn to Auto-Tune when dealing with truly wretched “singers.” And they’re using it everywhere. All the time. Pop star Britney Spears became the latest showcase of all that Auto-Tune makes possible this month after an unaltered studio session voice track leaked online. It’s for a song called “Alien” from Spears’ 2013 album Britney Jean. The finished song (with copious amounts of pitch correction) can be heard here. This version sounds nothing like that. Spears, who by now should be a recording studio veteran in every sense, is…

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The second ‘Mockingjay’ trailer hints at revolution

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The first half of Mockingjay, the final installment in the Hunger Games series, won’t arrive until November. We’re over a year away from the conclusion. But the filmmakers are already seeding teasers that hint at its biggest idea: that a world exists outside the ruthless government of Panem. Like the first one, this is supposedly an address from President Snow, but something is about to go very wrong. It’s very simple — the video gives away very little about what we’ll actually see in the film. It also keeps up the pretense of being propaganda, sent straight from the sinister Capitol to your screen. Of course, if The Hunger Games has taught us anything, it’s that the line between entertainment, art, and propaganda is finer than we’d like…

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Yo app is being used to monitor missile strikes in Israel

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The premise of Yo — the app that just lets you say “yo” to other people — may be ridiculous, but it’s being put to some pretty complicated uses. According to The Times of Israel, a pair of developers are now using Yo as a way to alert people of terrorist attacks throughout the country. The simple notification will come through for any Yo user who subscribes to updates from Red Alert: Israel. Traditionally, Red Alert works as a standalone app that sends off more detailed push notifications about the same types of rocket, mortar, and missile attacks that Yo users will be notified about.

That may sound like a step backward, but it was actually a logical partnership, according to The Times of Israel. By tapping into Yo, it’ll be simple for…

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The best weather app for Android

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Is it going to rain today? Should I bring a jacket with me? Is it safe to plan a trip to the beach this weekend? Just a couple of years ago, answering any of those questions required watching your local news or tuning in to The Weather Channel to get a vague forecast that will probably change before you get where you’re going. But with smartphones, we can have insanely accurate weather reporting and predictions at our fingertips everywhere we go. Weather apps are a huge part of my daily…

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Germany investigates second possible spy as tension with the US grows

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Germany has just begun to peel back the layers of an arguably gratuitous spying campaign by its supposed ally, the United States.

Today German police raided the Berlin-area apartment and office of a man suspected of spying for the US, the second case in less than a week. The investigation is ongoing, but German authorities are taking it “very seriously,” a spokesperson told reporters.

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George R.R. Martin says ‘fuck you’ to anyone who thinks he’ll die before finishing ‘Game of Thrones’ series

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George R.R. Martin isn’t thrilled that some people are concerned he’ll die before completing work on his A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novel series. “I find that question pretty offensive, people speculating about my death and my health,” said Martin, 65, in an interview with Swiss newspaper Tagesanzeiger. “So fuck you to those people.” Merely saying it apparently wasn’t enough; Martin also flipped the bird to make his feelings resoundingly clear. Martin has been slaving away on The Winds of Winter, the sixth novel, for some time now, but has refrained from offering fans a firm release date — or even a general window as to when they can expect it. He plans to wrap the series with the seventh novel.

There’s a lot more riding on Martin’s…

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Congress will vote on a controversial new cybersecurity bill

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There’s a new cybersecurity bill making its way through Congress, sponsored and written by Diane Feinstein (D-CA), and critics are already calling it a new backdoor for surveillance by the National Security Agency. The Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing Act of 2014 (CISA) was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday, putting it on track for a Senate vote this summer. But like its controversial predecessors, the bill is coming under fire as a step backwards in the fight for surveillance reform.

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