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There aren’t many smartphone users who are fans of bloatware: The manufacturer-made, own-brand apps that take up storage space and memory without necessarily offering any useful features or functions. Now Samsung has been ordered to give users the option of stripping bloatware off its phones — but only in China.

The move is a result of a lawsuit filed by a consumer rights committee in China, a suit that covered some 20 apps pre-installed on the Galaxy Note 3 (released in September 2013). Samsung lost the legal argument and so next month will release a patch for the Note 3 that lets users dismiss all these apps with a few taps — the company is also likely to tread more carefully when it comes to installing its own apps in the future.

Related: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 review

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A BMW i3 with ActiveAssist

Apple and BMW may eventually have more in common than just some features in your car's infotainment system. Sources for both Reuters and Manager Magazin understand that the two companies have had "exploratory talks," including a trip by Apple executives to Leipzig to see how BMW builds the i3. Apple reportedly likes that BMW rethought the conventional car manufacturing process for its electric vehicle, and might use what it learned to help make its own EV. While BMW claims that there aren't any active talks about jointly developing a car, a Reuters tipster hears that the firms may revive talks (not necessarily to co-produce a vehicle) later on.

Not surprisingly, BMW is cautious about any deals. Research lead Klaus Froehlich says the doesn't want to "open [its] ecosystems" to a potential rival. However, it's hard to see the two avoiding each other when they could both use each other's help. Apple knows a lot about user interfaces and integrating mobile technology into cars, but it's a newcomer in creating the cars themselves -- that's part of why it's hiring so many auto industry veterans. Meanwhile, BMW knows that it can only do so much to accommodate connected devices without collaborations. You probably won't see an Apple-designed Beemer or an Apple car with loads of BMW-sourced parts, but there's still lots of potential for the corporations to influence each other.

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Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

Can any schoolkid live without one? CNET

America needs a new neurosis like Donald Trump needs a new TV interview.

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Posted by on in TechCrunch
Gillmor Gang LIVE 08.01.15 | TechCrunch image
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Kim Dotcom’s life has taken a strange turn in recent years. After police raided his lavish New Zealand home in 2012, the MegaUpload founder has been at the center of an international legal battle. The US wants him extradited to face charges for criminal copyright infringement and racketeering charges, but Dotcom has been going about his business in New Zealand founding a new online storage service called Mega. However, Dotcom recently explained why you should stop using the service he founded. He doesn’t think it’s safe anymore.

The statements were made in a Slashdot Q&A session with the Mega founder. According to Dotcom, matters have conspired to wrest control of Mega from him. Because of his ongoing legal difficulties, he has opted to transfer all his shares in Mega to his wife. However, they’re now separated and reportedly heading for divorce.

mega-about_us

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There’s no doubt that Apple Music arrived in the world not quite ready for prime time — the UI is far more confusing than I’d have hoped for, there’s a host of weird bugs, and it’s reliant on iTunes for desktop listening. That said, it does a lot of things far better than the competition, as well, most notably the curated playlists. There’s a ton of variety to be found there, with numerous selections under a host of genres and different activities. Spotify has been doing this for a while, and Spotify’s playlists are often fine, but they’re also usually 100 songs long. I’m more a fan of the Apple Music approach — the 15-30 song range feels a lot more digestible to me and makes it easier to find songs that really stick with me.

Between the shorter lengths and Apple’s smart recommendations, I found myself following a couple dozen playlists shortly after I started using Apple Music. By and large found them a really enjoyable way to find new tracks or dig in on a particular style, era, or artist. However, perusing these playlists has led me to one of the most ridiculous and unfathomable Apple Music bugs yet: a whole bunch of these playlists include songs that aren’t playable on Apple Music.

Yup, that’s right — I’ll be in the middle of enjoying Pitchfork’s Modern Americana Gold playlist and come across a song that has somehow been added to a playlist that Apple itself created, and that song will be greyed out, teasing me. It’s incredibly bizarre and frustrating and I have no idea how such a thing slipped past the humans curating these playlists.

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Posted by on in Techdirt

If you pay any sort of ongoing attention to Congress, you're probably familiar with GovTrack, the extremely useful online resource created by Joshua Tauberer in 2004, containing robust info on the status of all the bills that hit the floors of the House and the Senate. It's a fantastic tool, and today we're looking at a crowdfunding push to make it even better by hiring a full-time researcher to add additional context and analysis to the bills and votes being tracked.

The Good

Until very recently, GovTrack was fully automated and had no staff — which is why one man's pet project has been going strong for over a decade without much if anything in the way of revenue. But Joshua knows there's lots more the site could be doing, and recently hired an intern to start testing out a big new addition to GovTrack: researchers who can closely follow the most important bills and dig into them deeper than the algorithms can, providing commentary and analysis plus readable summaries of legislation, and reporting on the underlying political context. To that end, they've also launched GovTrack Insider as a Medium page, which already features a bunch of posts on various important bills and votes from the last few months.

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Posted by on in Slashdot

The graveyard from Santa Cruz, San Jose, all the way to Sacramento is huge, but this isn't amnesia. This is hope, and hope sells, and occasionally, hope pays off in huge ways. On the way through the graveyard, you get to learn what worked and what didn't.

Eventually, a handful get to the Holy Gates of IPOs, and maybe things go well from there. Slashdot, financially, is a mirror of being a member of this very set, a long ago huge IPO that kept becoming sold off in hopes of future success, but now itself is on the block.

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Posted by on in How To's

excelsortheader

 

Today I received an email from someone who was looking to invest into one of my other businesses which is a domain name investing company. I have an extensive list of domain names but I have them sorted alphabetically and not by length of characters.

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You've seen them in store windows, not to mention in #tbt pics from the '80s.

We're talking extra long shorts, better known as culottes. Whatever the term, the trend isn't going away anytime soon.

If the thought of wide-legged, cropped pants conjures images of circus clowns and Girls Scout from Beverly Hills, stop right there.

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Posted by on in Wired
BB8 LucasfilmFor the seemingly interminable wait until Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters, we’re helping pass time by giving you daily challenges related to everyone’s favorite universe. When you complete a task, send us a tweet @WIRED or tag us on Facebook. Got a picture of yourself in action? Post it on Instagram and put @WIRED in the description. Also, make sure to hashtag everything #WIREDStarWarsChallenge. We’ll give shout-outs to the most worthy challengers out there, so prepare for Internet glory!* OK, time to get real. This week we didn’t see a ton of people out there doing their WIRED Star Wars Challenges. But it’s understandable. Any fan worth their salt was probably getting themselves down to Comic-Con International over the last few days to see the epic Star Wars panel, so that likely didn’t leave much time for completing any other tasks. That’s cool. We did, however, see this sweet bit of art: Alas, another week is upon us, and with it comes another set of Star Wars Challenges. Hop to it, y’all! July 13, 2015: Day 71/158 days left
Dress as Han Solo or Chewbacca and host a cocktail hour featuring “Han Solo in Carbonite” ice cubes. No Jabbas invited! July 14, 2015: Day 72/157 days left
Fly the flag of the Galactic Republic, Galactic Empire or Rebel Alliance—choose wisely! July 15, 2015: Day 73/156 days left
You already made your Darth cake back in June, but that was already forever ago. Sweeten up your life this time with a Stormtrooper helmet. July 16, 2015: Day 74/155 days left
Take an evening off from the activities and chill out with the documentary Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy. July 17, 2015: Day 75/154 days left
Are you a comics junkie and still not satisfied after inhaling the first 49 issues of Marvel’s Star Wars? Then you’re in luck, because Volume 3 of the Omnibus collection includes issues 50-67. July 18, 2015: Day 76/153 days left
Don’t get bogged down indoors with all your Star Wars love getting pent up. Take to the backyard and train like Darth Maul. Sure, he was a Sith Ninja super creature, but with commitment and determination—and lots of stretching—you’ll be able to recreate his epic showdown with Obi Wan and Qui Gon Ginn in no time! July 19, 2015: Day 77/152 days left
Recreate Ben & Jerry’s limited run Boba Fett’s Carbonite Crunch flavor. Start with vanilla ice cream and add caramel sauce, a pinch of sea salt, then top it off with Han Solo-in-carbonite chocolate pieces. (You can reuse your carbonite ice tray!) *ANY SUBMISSIONS, PHOTOS, VIDEOS, OR OTHER MATERIAL YOU SHARE MAY BE PUBLISHED ON WIRED.COM OR WIRED’S SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS, AND MAY BE CROPPED OR EDITED. Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.
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The lazy days of summer were in full effect this week, but there were some brief glances of plans for the Apple Watch — as well as a long-rumored Apple TV refresh.

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Apple Watch coming to Best Buy on Aug. 7On Sunday, Best Buy announced that it would begin selling the Watch on Aug. 7, both online and at select outlets — gradually expanding retail reach as the holidays approach. To date, the wearable has only been available through Apple's own online and retail outlets, as well as a handful of third-party luxury boutiques.Canadians will also be able to buy the Watch from Best Buy, but only a week later. Neither Canadian nor American shoppers will be able to get a $10,000-plus Edition model from the retailer.Apple Music subscribers up to 10 millionimage
While Apple has yet to release any hard statistics, one rumor claimed that Apple Music is already up to 10 million subscribers. That would be a fraction of the numbers reported by rivals like Spotify and Pandora, but impressive for a service only four weeks old.Apple Music users are still in the middle of a three-month free trial period though, and numbers could potentially fall off rapidly once a paywall takes effect in October. By that point, Apple may have expanded the service's reach beyond iTunes and iOS to Android and the Apple TV, as promised.No 'iPhone 6c' due this fallimage
Though rumors and even parts leaks once appeared to back the concept, Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri noted that evidence of a low-cost iPhone 6c has largely vanished. The product might have been similar in size and concept to the iPhone 5c, but with an aluminum body.Arcuri speculated that Apple may have scrapped the idea to avoid harming sales of a discounted iPhone 6.Apple TV's rebirth on track for Septemberimage
A Thursday report indicated that the fourth-generation Apple TV — originally anticipated in June — will finally make its debut in September. The device should have an A8 processor, more storage, and Siri support, as well as its very own app store.The set-top should also be thinner than its predecessor, and come with a new remote with touchpad controls. Accordingly its operating system will be redesigned. One missing element though may be Apple's rumored streaming TV service, which could still arrive by the end of the year but is now forecast for 2016.AppleInsider podcastOn this week's podcast, the AppleInsider crew talks about the Apple Watch, new iPads, and connections between BMW and the Apple Car.
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Posted by on in The Inquirer

LAST WEEK we took a visit to Switzerland to see CERN, most famous for being the home of the Large Hadron Collider and scene of the Holy Grail of particle physics: the discovery of the Higgs Boson.

Formed in post-war Europe as an international project to conduct research on neutral territory, the past 60 years have seen the world of science advance at a phenomenal pace with CERN often leading from the front. 

But what does any of that have to do with IT? On the face of it, throwing particles at each other at the speed of light seems to have little or nothing to do with how we run our homes and businesses through tech. But nothing could be further from the truth.

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Surgeons at Boston Children's Hospital started using 3D-printed copies of patients' affected body parts to prepare for procedures last year. Now, that move has helped save the lives of four children aged two months to 16 years old who suffered from life-threatening blood vessel malformation in their brains. Their condition gave ride to distinctive anatomies that one of the hospital's neurosurgeon, Edward Smith, said were really tricky to operate on. So, the doctors used a combination of 3D printing and synthetic resins to conjure up copies of the kids' deformed vessels, along with nearby normal counterparts and surrounding brain anatomy. That gave them the chance to practice extensively beforehand and reduce possible complications on the operating table.

Smith said the models allowed them to "view [the formations] from different angles, practice the operation with real instruments and get tactile feedback." It was especially beneficial for three of the four patients, as they had arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) -- their arteries and veins were all tangled up -- that required the surgeons to cut blood vessels as quickly as possible, and in a certain sequence. Thanks to their preparations, the surgeons managed to fix the kids' distorted blood vessels and cut surgery time by 30 minutes each. Smith and his colleague Darren Orbach now plan to use 3D printing to train younger doctors and for even trickier cases in the future.

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$998.00
End Date: Monday Aug-31-2015 0:23:59 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $998.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
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It’s time to replace that worn out backpack from last year! Luckily, now through August 5, online retailer eBags is offering an extra 10 percent off its already discounted stock of backpacks.

Check it out:

Receive an extra 10 percent off already discounted backpacks Choose from some of the most popular brands, including: Jansport Dakine High Sierra The North Face Use promo code: SCHOOL Free shipping on orders over $49

Available at: eBags

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Posted by on in Tech Deals
$149.99
End Date: Sunday Aug-30-2015 20:03:50 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $149.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
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A few weeks ago, we wrote about a troubling provision that the Senate Intelligence Committee had inserted into this year's intelligence authorization bill, which would require social networks to report to the government any "terrorist activity" they see on their systems. As we noted, this has all sorts of problems, and seems more designed to (1) generate headlines and (2) chill free speech than do anything useful. Thankfully, Senator Ron Wyden has put a hold on the bill specifically over this provision.
“There is no question that tracking terrorist activity and preventing online terrorist recruitment should be top priorities for law enforcement and intelligence agencies,” Wyden said, in a statement for the record today. “But I haven’t yet heard any law enforcement or intelligence agencies suggest that this provision will actually help catch terrorists, and I take the concerns that have been raised about its breadth and vagueness seriously.”

“Internet companies should not be subject to broad requirements to police the speech of their users,”Wyden continued.

But the issue goes even deeper than that. As Markham Erickson has written, there are significant free speech concerns raised by this provision, in large part because "terrorist activity" is not defined at all. Anywhere. It's just this vague term -- and given that companies may face liability for not reporting "terrorist activity" to the government, you can bet an awful lot of perfectly fine and protected speech is going to get reported. And that's worrisome.
A key problem with Section 603, however, is that the trigger for the reporting mandate is based on the vague and undefined term “terrorist activity.” This term is not a term of art in the US criminal code and arguably goes well beyond criminal activity to speech that is protected under the First Amendment.
Erickson also points out that the comparison that supporters have made of this bill to one that requires companies to report child porn, is that child porn is "per se unlawful and never protected speech" under the US Constitution. But "terrorist activity" is just vague.
The NCMEC reporting obligations, however, relate to images that are per se unlawful and are never protected speech under the US Constitution. A government mandate that an Internet company report facts and circumstances connected to the vague and overbroad term “terrorist activity” certainly would result in overbroad reporting to the government of speech that is protected under the First Amendment.
And, on top of that, this move would give other countries a blueprint for how to demand tech companies hand over information on users:
More troubling, if adopted, the provision would serve as a global template for other countries to impose reporting requirements for activities those jurisdictions deem unlawful. This would be particularly problematic with countries that regulate speech, including political speech, and with authoritarian regimes that would demand that Internet companies police their citizens’ activities.
And, finally, as noted, with such a vague term, and the threat of serious liability, companies are going to be pressured into serious over-reporting:
Section 603 also creates a practical compliance problem. Because no one knows the definition of “terrorist activity,” how does one counsel a client to establish a compliance protocol under the proposal?

Any company would be at risk that if it did not report “terrorist activity,” it could be liable if there were a subsequent event that resulted in loss of life, limb, or property. Likely, this would result in designing a protocol to over-report anything that could be considered “terrorist activity.” Given the massive scale of content shared and created on the Internet daily, this would result in reporting of items that are not likely to be of material concern to public safety and would create a “needle in the haystack” problem for law enforcement. This serves no one’s purposes and adds privacy concerns to the First Amendment concerns noted above.

This creates a perverse incentive for a company to avoid obtaining knowledge of any activity that would trigger the reporting requirement—the exact opposite of what the proponents of the legislation want. Yet, designing such an avoidance protocol is nearly impossible. If even one low-level employee received an over-the-transom email about a “terrorist activity,” knowledge of the activity can be imputed to the entire company – exacerbating the potential liability faced by an Internet company.

Of course, these days, it seems like most in the Senate go by headlines rather than actual understanding of the issues. Hopefully, at least this one time, they'll actually listen to Senator Wyden.
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Stephen Powelson recently flew his Phantom 3 drone over Tesla's battery factory in Fremont, California and recorded the flight. Almost as soon as he posted the video to a Tesla Motors Club forum, other commenters began warning Powelson of the legal trouble he might be in.

Powelson quickly assured concerned posters that Tesla employees had no problem with the video. In fact, he'd worked at the company for almost five years, until March of this year.

The video gives the viewer a sense of how big the factory is. At 5.3 million sq. feet, the Fremont facility is dwarfed by the proposed gigafactory that Tesla is building in Nevada, which is estimated to be about 10 million sq. feet when completed — one of the biggest in the world.

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