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Recent blog posts

Most of us keep some flashlights and candles around for when the power goes out, which works well enough. If you’d prefer something a little more automated, Make shows off how to build your own lighting system that turns out when the power goes out.

The whole system is wired into your house, so it knows when the power goes out and responds accordingly. As you’d expect, the project’s a bit complicated, so you’ll need some experience with electronics to get this working properly. Head over to Make for the full guide.

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Posted by on in Lifehacker

Re-Read Old Notes to Spark New Ideas

If you write down a lot of your ideas, it’s easy to forget about them as time moves on. College professor Bodong Chen points out that it’s worth going back to old notes to spark new ideas.

Using Charles Darwin’s notes as an example, Chen lays out the usefulness of returning to old ideas:

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Microsoft's Project Spartan, the browser designed to replace Internet Explorer, is available for testing on Windows 10.
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Microsoft released Windows 10 Build 10049 late on March 30. This iteration has only gone out to the "fast" ring of Windows Insiders, people who opt to receive updates as soon as they're available and before any bugs have been addressed.

Build 10049 is the first to contain an early version of Project Spartan, the browser that will eventually replace Internet Explorer for the majority of users when Windows 10 rolls out to the masses this summer.

Although Windows 10 will continue to feature Internet Explorer for business users who rely on the browser, Project Spartan will become the primary source for Internet access. Spartan will feature Microsoft's new Edge rendering engine over IE, an indicator that this is the browser of the future.

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x200b;How Food Marketers Make You Think You're Choosing Healthy Food

Plans to eat healthy can fly out the window when you step into a grocery store. Maybe you add junk food to your cart full of vegetables. Or maybe you believe the hype that a food is healthy, when it's really not the best choice. Here are some of the traps that food marketers use against you.

They Use Healthy Promises to Distract You From the Truth on the Back of the Label

x200b;How Food Marketers Make You Think You're Choosing Healthy Food

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Posted by on in Gizmodo

The Hot New Urban Renewal Trend Is... Swings

Step aside dancing fountains and community gardens, it’s the age of the urban swing set. I’m not talking about playgrounds. These are swings designed for adults, enticing the tushes of office workers, college students, and tourists—city dwellers young and old who all want to take a turn kicking their legs up into the sky.

In fact, two winners of the 2015 Knight Cities Challenge—a series of civic improvement projects announced today—prominently feature swings as part of their proposals to improve 26 cities across the country. Illuminated musical swing sets are coming to four American cities—Charlotte, Macon, San Jose, and Philadelphia—while Charlotte will place versions of its signature porch swings in public spaces around the city. (Yes, Charlotte gets two swing projects, making it the swingers’ capital of the world. Wait, no.)

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Posted by on in Gizmodo

Why the Plastic Recycling Market Just Crashedxa0;

Recycling is not just a nice thing that hippies do anymore. Recycling is a business—a massive one whose wheels are greased by money, money, and more money. Nowhere is this more apparent right now than in the recycled plastic market, where prices have plunged 50 percent in just six months.

“One day it’s profitable to recycle a bottle, and the next day some global economic number changes and that same bottle is trash,” says Stacey Vanek Smith in NPR’s Planet Money podcast. That global economic number is the price of oil, which you may have noticed has also plunged. That’s been great for drivers filling up the gas station, but it’s also hit the recycling industry hard. It’s all interconnected.

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Posted by on in Gizmodo

Every year, humanity turns off the lights for Earth Hour. Well, some of humanity. As we learned during this week’s Shooting Challenge, a lot of people leave the lights on.

Winner: Vincent Thomas Bridge

10 Dark Photos of The Lights Turned Out

Took this picture of the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro, CA while on the way home. It’s normally very brightly lit at night so it’s interesting to see it with only the safety lights on for Earth Hour. Taken with a Sony Nex-6.

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lego-jurassic-park-bonus

Can’t wait to get your hands on the epic Lego Jurassic World game? You might want to place your pre-order at Gamestop: they’re offering an exclusive Lego polybag to their customers.

Queue up at Gamestop, and you’ll snag yourself set number 30320, Gallimimus Trap. In case you’ve forgotten which one Gallimimus is, think back to the original Jurassic Park movie. The scene where scores of dinosaurs go streaming past an awe-struck Alan Grant and the kids? They’re the little fellas that were running away from the escaped T-Rex.

The polybag comes with just 29 pieces, but it’s still a fun little build (Lego exclusives usually are). You get a Lego Gallimimus (likely pre-assembled) and the remaining pieces are used to rig up the apparatus designed to capture him. The trap is even articulated, so when the dino goes for that delicious-looking Lego chicken leg the electrified chain can swoop down and subdue him.

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A big-screen adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s bestselling 2009 novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies — a zombie-fueled spin on Jane Austen’s classic romance novel Pride and Prejudice — has been in the works for over five years now, and the project finally appears to be nearing the finish line with the recent announcement of its official release date.

Directed by Burr Steers (Igby Goes Down), Pride and Prejudice and Zombies will arrive in theaters February 19, 2016.

Grahame-Smith’s novel, which offered an “expanded” take on Austen’s novel about the complicated relationships that develop between a group of sisters and their lovers in 19th century England, became a word-of-mouth success when it was first published in 2009. Combining much of the setting, characters, and plot points of Austen’s tale with ample doses of gory zombie mayhem (and a few ninjas with a knack for fighting the undead), the novel was one of several published around the same time that mixed public-domain literary works with modern pop-culture elements (including Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Android Karenina, among others).

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Virtual reality isn’t just for video games anymore.

Spearheaded by products like the Samsung Gear VR, Galaxy Note 4, and Oculus Rift, the VR movement has gained a lot of momentum in recent years. As the technology continues to improve, virtual immersion into sporting events, concerts, and even military simulations will become more and more commonplace.

NextVR, a technology company from Laguna Beach, California, has announced a partnership with Fox Sports to explore the potential of virtual reality streaming at NASCAR events. Using cameras mounted on the pit road and next to the track, NextVR recently tested its system for Fox executives at a recent Sprint Cup Series event.

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Significantly expanding the capabilities of the Almond+ and Almond 2015 routers, Securifi has rolled out new functionality today via a firmware update that adds smart home user control to the two Wi-Fi devices. Typically, someone interested in home automation would have to purchase a secondary smart home hub, usually between $50 and $100, and rely on a home’s Wi-Fi network to run automation commands. Conversely, all home automation commands run locally on the Almond+ and Almond 2015, thus there’s no requirement of an Internet connection.

Running home automation commands locally through the router also means response time is reduced compared to systems that require cloud-based technology. If you have invested in ZigBee and Z-Wave sensor technology, both will work immediately with the Almond+ router. The less expensive Almond 2015 only supports ZigBee at this time.

All home automation rules can be set via the desktop interface or with Securifi’s free iOS and Android mobile applications. The user interface can be used to create fairly complex automation scenarios, depending on preference. For instance, when the a sensor is triggered inside your mailbox as the mail is being delivered, it could trigger a LED in the home to turn on, switch to a pre-determined color and ring the doorbell to alert the homeowner.

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In its latest update to Gmail, Google is offering additional support for Yahoo and Microsoft accounts by giving users a unified view of their different email addresses.
Android, iOS, Windows Phone: What's Best For BYOD?

Android, iOS, Windows Phone: What's Best For BYOD?

(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Google rolled out a new application for mobile devices running its Android operating system software that gives users a unified inbox for a number of different email accounts, including Yahoo, Microsoft, and Gmail accounts.

By using the new All Inboxes option, users can now read and respond to all their email messages without having to jump between different accounts.

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Many times faster than legacy spinning disk arrays, All Flash Arrays (AFA) have been widely adopted for demanding use cases where consistent ultra-high performance storage is needed to service the most demanding workloads. However, despite all their performance advantages, concerns about the cost and enterprise capabilities of early Flash technologies has limited AFAs adoption as primary storage. While past concerns may have been valid, recent innovations in AFAs have outstripped past perceptions.

Some would say that AFAs are no more than a blip in the evolution of storage technologies, while others point to a near term tipping point where the cost of Flash will fall below that of spinning disk making it the de facto standard for both Tier 1 and Tier 2 storage. Join Gigaom Research and our sponsor Kaminario for “All-Flash Arrays for Primary Storage: The time is now” a free analyst webinar on Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 at 10 a.m. PST that will seek to clarify the role of AFAs in the data center today and into the future while debunking the myths that are standing in the way of broader adoption.

What Will Be Discussed:

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Posted by on in InformationWeek
Network Attached Storage has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a file-storage tool. Now, a new generation of NAS systems is needed in the cloud to meet enterprise demands.
7 Linux Facts That Will Surprise You

7 Linux Facts That Will Surprise You

(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

The world runs on files. Every bit of digital information eventually ends up in one or more files: From the simplest text file to files that capture the intricacies of a product or the blueprint for a high-rise. It's all files, and files are a pain to store and manage.

Beneath the calm humming of any file-intensive organization, there is a storage engineer shoveling coal into the engine in order to ensure that there is always plenty of capacity, that the files are protected, and that they are available conveniently and quickly to the people who need them. The sheer volume of files and the expectations for anytime, anywhere access have never been higher than they are today. And all of a sudden, NAS is sexy -- again.

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Posted by on in Geek.com
Daredevil_matt murdock-featured

The hero of Hell’s Kitchen is just about ready to make his presence known to the world at large in Marvel’s Daredevil, a Netflix offering hitting the streaming service on April 10.

The series focuses on Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) who was doused with chemicals as a boy. The accident robbed him of his sight, but enhanced all of his other senses to super-human levels. Dedicated to pulling himself up out of his rough neighborhood, Matt worked hard at school and eventually became a lawyer by day and a superhero by night.

He’s joined in his regular life by law partner Foggy Nelson (Vincent D’Onofrio) and potential love interest Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll). Meanwhile, Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk — otherwise known as the Kingpin of Crime — will plague the hero who was trained from a young age by blind warrior Stick (Scott Glenn). When he gets overly banged up in his mission for justice, Murdock heads to Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple, a nurse.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Engadget
Daredevil_matt murdock-featured

The hero of Hell’s Kitchen is just about ready to make his presence known to the world at large in Marvel’s Daredevil, a Netflix offering hitting the streaming service on April 10.

The series focuses on Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) who was doused with chemicals as a boy. The accident robbed him of his sight, but enhanced all of his other senses to super-human levels. Dedicated to pulling himself up out of his rough neighborhood, Matt worked hard at school and eventually became a lawyer by day and a superhero by night.

He’s joined in his regular life by law partner Foggy Nelson (Vincent D’Onofrio) and potential love interest Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll). Meanwhile, Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk — otherwise known as the Kingpin of Crime — will plague the hero who was trained from a young age by blind warrior Stick (Scott Glenn). When he gets overly banged up in his mission for justice, Murdock heads to Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple, a nurse.

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image

Tile, the lost item tracker that you can attach to purses, keys, luggage, bikes or anything else that tends to go missing at times, is today rolling out a new feature designed to make it easier for people to get help finding their items. In an update to the company’s iOS and Android applications, users will now be able to share their Tiles with others, including friends, family, roommates, or anyone else they choose in order to increase the chances that their Tile – and whatever it’s attached to – gets found.

The Tile tracker, by way of background, originally began as a crowdfunded device before raising $13 million in seed and Series A funding to fuel its growth. The company had sold over half a million of its small, white square-shaped devices as of last fall, but declined to provide any updated numbers today. Instead, CEO Mike Farley references a different metric: he says the Tile community is finding over 250,000 items every day.

tile-ios

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Another cable company merger was announced today, but it won't be completed unless the government allows Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable (TWC).

Charter Communications plans to buy Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion, but the deal is contingent on Comcast's big merger. That's because Charter itself has a stake in Comcast/TWC; Charter stands to gain 1.4 million subscribers from Time Warner Cable in exchange for $7.3 billion. Comcast would also divest itself of 2.5 million subscribers with the spinoff of a new cable company called GreatLand Connections.

Further Reading

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apple-trade-in-program-uk.jpg screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Anyone looking to unload an Android or BlackBerry smartphone can now turn to Apple.

The company expanded its trade-in program on Monday to accept certain models of rival phones, including Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone handsets. Your old phone scores you store credit, which you can then use to purchase a new iPhone 5c, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, though not an Apple Watch, according to Apple news site 9to5Mac. The program is available in the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany and Italy, an Apple spokesperson told CNET.

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