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Posted by on in Techdirt
"... do you really want an autonomous car that can drift on any road at any time?"

Yes, actually. Mind you, I really wouldn't want it to do so while toting me around.

That said, if the car were to loose traction for whatever reason, I would expect said autonomous vehicle to recognize what was happening and handle the situation as well as possible. If drifting was beyond it's capabilities, then it should only be in control of a vehicles that go no more than 5mph, limited to private property, and only operates under strict human supervision. :P

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Posted by on in Lifehacker

The Jagged Desktop

Sharp points and angles are the theme of Mahmoud’s desktop, and while it’s certainly dramatic, we also love the way he’s customized it to fit his style and his workflow. Here’s how he set everything up.

Mahmoud mentions right out of the gate that he customized a lot of what you see here, so if you try to duplicate it you may not have quite the same effect, but if you have questions, you can hit him up at the link below. Here’s what you’ll need if you want to bring the same look to your Windows machine:

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This list is continually updated to reflect recent Netflix availability as TV shows are frequently added and removed. Last update: April 1, 2015.

Netflix has a treasure trove of awesome movies that you can stream right now, but if you’re looking for more than just a two-hour commitment, it’s also got a boatload of great TV shows you can delve into to keep yourself occupied for days, or even weeks on end. If you just finished a good series and you need a new one to fill the void, Netflix is the place to go. Nothing beats a weekend-long marathon with no commercials, so without further ado, we give you our tightly-curated list of the best Netflix Instant TV shows.

Related: Best movies streaming on Hulu, and YouTube.

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Get your Amiibo ready for... three-minute demos of classic games?

Nintendo may have taken the wind out of its latest Nintendo Direct presentation's sails when it announced a lack of new Legend of Zelda news last week, but the company made up for it by doubling down on the wild success of its Amiibo toy line.

The announcement of Amiibo Tap: Nintendo's Greatest Bits finally followed through on Nintendo's promise to unlock classic games with the toy line. The Wii U app will launch "this Spring" as a free download, and it will unlock three-minute demos of random games—meaning, your Mario Amiibo might unlock a Super Mario World demo or a Super Mario Bros. 1 demo. Whatever demo your Amiibo unlocks, it will also enable "scene switching" when tapped again in the middle of a demo—at which point the three-minute count will restart.

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Fresh benchmark statistics posted to the Web on Wednesday suggest Apple's upcoming 12-inch MacBook laptop will perform at levels commensurate of older MacBook Air models from 2011.

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According to Primate Labs' Geekbench test suite, Apple's base model 2015 12-inch MacBook, designated MacBook 8,1, achieved a single core score of 1,924 points, while multi core operations came in at 4,038 points.

Apparently submitted online by Mashable journalist Christina Warren, the performance notches just below a recently tested 2011 11-inch MacBook Air sporting an Intel Core i7 CPU clocked at 1.80 GHz.

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Harrison Ford is at home and recovering well after being injured in a plane crash in early March, according to good friend and star Hollywood producer, Frank Marshall.

Speaking with Variety, Marshall said Ford had left the UCLA hospital and was in good spirits.

“Harrison is at home and he’s up and about,” Marshall said. “I talked to him yesterday and he’s doing really well. He’s pretty banged up, but he’s recovering remarkably. He wants to play tennis.”

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SAN FRANCISCO—Dressed in matching yellow scrubs from the nearby Alameda County Jail, Jon Mills looked resigned to his fate. After taking a plea deal on two felony counts of wire fraud, the young former startup CEO appeared in federal court Tuesday afternoon for sentencing.

Mills had moved to California five years ago with a dream to hit it big in Silicon Valley. The company he founded, Motionloft, uses small sensors to perform analytics on in-store foot traffic. Everything worked. The company continues to succeed, and celebrity venture capitalist Mark Cuban remains its sole investor.

But that success wasn't enough. In early 2013, Mills told at least five people that if they gave him relatively small amounts of money, they would own stakes in the company. He claimed that a Cisco acquisition worth hundreds of millions of dollars was supposedly imminent, so Mills and all Motionloft shareholders others would stand to make a tidy profit. In reality, Mills knew the deal didn't exist.

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x201c;Out to Eat with Kidsx201d; Shows You Where and When Kids Eat Free

Web/iOS/Android: Out to Eat with Kids is a new mobile app that helps you find deals on meals for children at restaurants near you.

Once you search your area—either by zip code or city—using the app (or web site), Out to Eat with Kids finds you dining options near you that cater to your kids. You’ll be able to see the restaurant’s location, phone number, the days they offer kid-focused specials, and any restrictions or details on the specials. For more information, check out their site or apps linked below.

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MuckRock is again reporting on a mysteriously missing document -- one that was previously acknowledged to exist but come public records request time, simply can't be found.

A couple of months ago, it was the FBI claiming that a Drone Impact Assessment it had previously "released" in response to an FOIA request (read: redacted in full) suddenly couldn't be located. Now, it's the gold standard of Freedom of Information obfuscation -- the New York Police Department -- claiming the same thing.

In December 2013, the NYPD ordered its 77 precinct commanders to route reporters’ requests for crime reports through the agency’s press office, rather than release these documents directly. So where’s the order itself?

More than fifteen months after MuckRock requested it, the NYPD has a rather familiar answer: we couldn’t find it.

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A New York Police Department detective has been transferred from his position on the Joint Terrorism Task Force after a video of his xenophobic tirade against an Uber driver surfaced online.

Det. Patrick Cherry is in hot water following his rant Monday that was filmed by a backseat passenger and uploaded to social media. As of Tuesday, the 3.5-minute-long video was viewed nearly 800,000 times on YouTube alone.

The officer at one point pounds the vehicle with his hand and blurts to the driver, who is of unknown nationality, "I don't know what fucking planet you're on," according to the video.

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One in ten Americans takes an anti-depressant drug like Zoloft or Prozac. But these drugs are designed based on a theory that’s already been roundly disproven: the “chemical imbalance” theory of depression. Why haven’t our drugs kept up with the science of depression? [io9]

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One out of 10 Americans owns a smartphone but has no other Internet service at home, with the poor far more likely to find themselves in this situation than those who are well off, according to a Pew Research Center report released today.

"10 percent of Americans own a smartphone but do not have broadband at home, and 15 percent own a smartphone but say that they have a limited number of options for going online other than their cell phone," Pew Senior Researcher Aaron Smith wrote. "Those with relatively low income and educational attainment levels, younger adults, and non-whites are especially likely to be 'smartphone-dependent.'”

Further Reading

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Mondaine is a Swiss watch company with a solid pedigree. Their clever watch design is based on the Swiss railways clocks created by a designer named Hans Hilfiker in 1944. It is eminently readable and was a whimsical collector’s favorite for years. Now, however, they’ve decided to add a little bit of technology to their most designer-centric watch, the Helvetica.

The Helvetica line pays homage to the font we all know and love. The watch has a standard Mondaine face and a sub-dial that displays your activity for that day. The activity tracker uses technology from MMT to allow step and sleep tracking.

The watch has a two-year battery life and includes activity tracking and “sleep cycle alarms” that will wake you up when you’re out of deep REM sleep. It also syncs with your phone to set the date and time. It’s definitely no Apple Watch, but the goal here is to marry high design with a little bit of tech.

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A letter posted to the Human Rights Campaign blog on Wednesday, signed by CEOs and executives representing 42 tech companies across the United States, urged legislators around the country to update their states' civil rights laws in the wake of Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The letter's co-signers included the CEOs of Twitter, eBay, Lyft, Airbnb, Square, about.me, Tumblr, and Evernote, along with high-ranking executives at Cisco, YCombinator, and Zynga. It also included the signatures of Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff and Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, both of whom had already written open letters emphatically opposing the RFRA, but it did not include a signature from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who had already written a similar call to other states' legislatures over the weekend in a Washington Post op-ed.

"We believe it is critically important to speak out about proposed bills and existing laws that would put the rights of minorities at risk," Affirm CEO Max Levchin wrote in the co-signed letter. "The transparent and open economy of the future depends on it, and the values of this great nation are at stake."

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GoDaddy’s shares rose almost 31 percent in their debut on Wednesday following a $460 million initial public offering, as investors spotted a bargain in a company making a shift from Internet domains to small-business services.

Founded 18 years ago by Bob Parsons, GoDaddy is hardly a technology startup, yet investors snapped up its shares in the first day of trading, betting the company can grow further by providing tools to small businesses.

“Even though GoDaddy is almost 20 years old, it’s a growth company and it’s cash flow-positive, which is what investors are interested in,” said Jackie Kelley, global and Americas IPO leader for Ernst & Young. A dearth of technology IPOs in the first quarter may have also contributed to investor appetite, she added.

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Posted by on in RE/Code

This week in Silicon Valley, it’s trendy to speak out against discrimination.

But last week, many of the same people weren’t quite so forthcoming.

Led by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Apple CEO Tim Cook, Silicon Valley is loudly complaining about homophobic laws passed in Indiana and Arkansas in recent days that allow businesses to refuse service to customers based on religious beliefs.

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The California governor, speaking at a site that would normally be under snow at this point.

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Today, California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order that is intended to spur water savings. The order comes as the state enters another year of extreme drought caused by lack of winter rain and snowfall.

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Let's face it, most April Fool's jokes on the Internet are awful, especially in the tech world. The vast majority are for products or services that are either too ridiculous or too impractical to really exist, leading to exasperation or depression, respectively. Many others are simply blatant lies about prominent newsmakers that wouldn't even rank as clever if they were halfway believable (which they overwhelmingly aren't).

This year, though, there's a surprising number of jokes that actually take the form of free games (or at least "interactive experiences") that you can take part in right now. These April Fool's "jokes" are more like playable Easter eggs, showing off some inventive gameplay experiments that range from inspired to interesting. And most of them can be played for free right in a browser or through a download.

Here are some of the best examples we could find of jokes you can play as games, as opposed to jokes you can play on somebody today.

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Almost one year ago to the day, Amazon unveiled a magic shopping wand, which seemed pretty darn gimmicky. I thought, at the time, it would be a long while before we saw another gimmick like that from Amazon. Then yesterday happened.

The company unveiled a tiny Wi-Fi connected device, called a Dash Button, that Amazon Prime customers would stick somewhere in their house and press when they wanted to order a specific product — like Tide detergent or Gatorade — without opening up the Amazon website or app. Some saw it as brilliant. Others saw it as a sign American society has failed us.

Neither opinion really matters. What Amazon has shown over and over again is that it will launch absolutely anything that will help shrink the time between “want” and “buy.” In addition to the wand, Amazon’s Fire Phone can purchase items by essentially taking a photo, the company is testing delivery by drone and now there’s the “lazy button” along with a system that will let your coffee maker order refills for you. The publicity that comes from what some see as the ridiculousness of such initiatives only helps.

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