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Ericsson’s patent dispute with Apple continues to grind forward, with the Swedish company asking a Taiwanese company thought to be an Apple supplier to produce documents that could be relevant to its court case.

Simplo Technology has been asked to produce the names of any device manufacturers that used its battery pack after Jan. 1, 2012, and any information related to its specifications. The request sheds no light on how the product might figure into the dispute, which involves wireless standards.

Ericsson filed complaints with the International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court in Texas earlier this year, alleging that Apple’s iPhones and iPads violate patents used in setting the 2G and 4G LTE wireless communications standards. Ericsson has claimed Apple refused the licensing terms it offered for its patented technology.

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Pushbullet

Pushbullet is already a secret weapon for getting content from one device (or one person) to another -- you can relay your links, notifications, photos and SMS messages with a common app. Today, though, it's getting considerably more powerful. As part of a revamp, Pushbullet's desktop, mobile and web apps are turning into true messaging apps, with easy replies and a quick way to find "pushes" (chats and shared content) from your friends. On Windows, it'll even give you Facebook-style chat heads that keep conversations close at hand. Effectively, Pushbullet is blurring the lines between sharing and messaging -- you don't have to switch apps to talk to a friend after you're done sending a photo to your phone. All of the updates are available now, so you can give this all-encompassing app a shot right away.

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Online blogging platform Medium announced this week a new way to log into its website, without having to use a password. Instead, users will be able to enter in an email address, then click a link sent to them in order to sign in to the site. Previously, the company allowed its users to sign in using their Twitter or Facebook credentials, but it received feedback from many who said they wanted an option to use Medium without having to authenticate with their social networking credentials. Or, in some cases, users said they didn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account, and didn’t want to create one just to use Medium.

While many companies offer an email-based login alternative to signing in using social networking account information, Medium’s approach is different. It’s basically ditching the requirement for users to have to come up with a secure password, remember it, then enter it in each time they sign in to the blogging site.

This method, the company claims, is more secure.

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June 21st is usually seen as the longest day of the year, but in 2015, it's June 30th that technically holds that distinction. And it could be a problem. Tomorrow at just before midnight in London, the world's atomic clocks will add one extra second, reading a time of 23:59:60 before ticking back to 00:00:00. It's a measure that's required to keep the ultra-precise devices attuned to the Earth's actual rotation, but the last time this happened in 2012, the unexpected leap second crashed Reddit, Foursquare, Gawker, LinkedIn, and a host of other sites that didn't bank on time being arbitrarily changed.

Nasdaq is simply closing early to avoid the leap second

Fortunately, most companies have factored the leap second into their operations this time around. Google has adopted a "leap smear" technique to avoid issues with the added second: rather than repeating it at the end of the day, Google's engineers will dice it into millisecond chunks and sprinkle it throughout the regular day, hopefully avoiding server meltdowns in the process. Bloomberg reports that the same process will be used by Japanese, Australian, South Korean, and Singaporean stock and futures exchanges. For others, the solution is less neat. In New York, where the leap second is scheduled to be added at around 8PM, stock markets are simply closing early to avoid headaches. Nasdaq will stop trading at 7:48PM, and shut down at 7:55PM, while both Intercontinental Exchange Inc. and CME Group are delaying data transitions during the period.

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Shazam is releasing a new version of its music recognition app that lets users connect with artists they like and see what songs they’ve searched for using its service.

Shazam lets people identify songs, TV shows and movies by capturing a brief snippet onto their phone, which gets matched against Shazam’s database. The new version due out Tuesday, for iOS and Android, lets users see what songs have been identified by artists using the app. Because not even musicians know every song that’s playing.

Users will also be able to follow artists’ pages within the app, where they can “like” a musicians’ searches, listen to songs they’ve searched for and get updates on the music they release.

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A 'robot' payphone in New York

When PayPal updated its user agreement with language suggesting that it had broad powers to make automated calls (aka robocalls) and texts, customers were understandably nervous. Was the company going to spam you until you bought more stuff using its online wallet? Well, you can relax. PayPal is tweaking the agreement once again to make it clear just when it will (and more importantly, won't) send a recorded message your way. The only times the firm will robocall is when it needs to collect debt, warn you about shady activity or tackle fraud cases. You won't deal with marketing spiels unless you give explicit consent, and you can revoke that permission at any point.

It's a kind gesture, but PayPal is also trying to prevent a thorny situation from getting worse. You see, the FCC was worried that the terms of service were violating a ban on robotic telemarketing -- this should keep PayPal on the regulator's good side. Whatever the motivation, you shouldn't have to worry about getting a sales pitch while you're having dinner.

[Image credit: SarahNW, Flickr]

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Don’t be fooled — the 2016 (B9 generation) Audi A4 may look just like the current generation sedan, but beneath the sheet metal lies a multitude of changes.

Based on recent spy shots and Audi’s latest design language, an evolutionary rather than revolutionary visual update was expected. The grille has been widened a bit, the headlights mirror the TT’s new shape, the character lines are slightly more bold, and the taillights are now full LEDs, but the average car buyer wouldn’t immediately notice these subtle distinctions.

The B9 is longer and wider body than the present generation, while the drag coefficient has been reduced to improve fuel economy. Another core change that is hidden beneath the surface is a significant weight loss of 264 pounds for the sedan, which now weighs 2,910 pounds in total.

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glowing-millipede.jpgYes, this glowing millipede is real and it's coming for you. Sleep tight. Video screenshot by Danny Gallagher/CNET

If you're creeped out by bugs, you should probably just stop reading now.

As part of its ScienceTake series, The New York Times posted a video on its YouTube channel Saturday featuring a species of millipede from the genus Motyxia that can glow in the dark. I'm talking "John Malkovich standing at the foot of your bed when you wake up in the middle of the night" level of creepy -- at least for people who already find insects more terrifying than fascinating.

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According to a report on Monday, rock legends and longtime streaming music holdouts AC/DC are primed to offer their tracks through subscription services, including Apple Music, as early as Tuesday.

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Source: AC/DC

An anonymous source informed The New York Times that the band has embraced subscription-based streaming services and will make an undisclosed number of tracks available on Apple Music, Spotify and Rdio.

AC/DC first agreed to sell its classic library on iTunes in 2012, including a special edition collection featuring demo tracks, live albums and other digital exclusives. At the time, the Australian rockers were one of the last bands to join the digital music revolution.

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python porcupine-feature

We’ve all had those nights when we regret shoving a huge pile of food in our faces. Maybe it’s a steak designed for multiple people or a massive pile of disco fries. But an African rock python from South Africa is seriously regretting a recent meal, or rather, would be if it were still alive.

The 12.8-foot-long resident of the Lake Eland Game Reserve, a private home for wild animals in South Africa, passed away when it couldn’t properly digest a porcupine. Here’s the thing, though, according to the reserve’s Jennifer Fuller, snakes of this size usually have no problem scarfing down porcupines. So, what happened? It just might have gotten embarrassed eating in front of a big crowd.

python porcupine

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Posted by on in CrunchGear
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While companies like Warby Parker and Toms Shoes have made corporate responsibility more popular over the past few years, the technology industry hasn’t adapted as quickly.

Meet LSTN, a headphone company where proceeds from each sale help someone hear for the first time. The company has partnered with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, and has already helped over 20,000 people in more than six different countries.

LSTN’s headphones are also designed to be stylish. Each pair is encased in real ebony wood and superior audio components. Bridget Hilton, founder of LSTN, explained that while most headphone companies use generic mass-produced drivers (the small speaker inside a headphone), LSTN uses custom-made drivers that properly resonate with the wood material. This gives the headphones a unique sound — better than most other competitors on the market.

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Posted by on in CrunchGear
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It’s the eve of Apple Music, which launches tomorrow, and all through the house, not a creature was withholding their content, not even a Taylor Swift. Also, Force Touch is basically a lock for iPhone 6/6 Plus S this fall, according to a new report from Bloomberg that says production on devices with the tech has begun.

Apple Music arrives with iOS 8.4 at 8 AM PT tomorrow, and despite the update requirement, it’s bound to be one of the busiest streaming music services around, even with the head start accrued by competitors like Spotify. We’ve seen it briefly at the WWDC launch where it was unveiled, but we’re eager to try it out for longer listening periods.

Also, Greg and Darrell discuss their dogs’ respective terror regarding fireworks, which is what makes this a very special July 4th/Canada Day holiday episode of the TechCrunch AppleCast.

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Looks like Samsung is finally getting around to patching the SW Update software that has been disabling Windows Update. The company has issued a statement on the issue, which was initially discovered earlier this week, and vowed to correct the problem "in the coming days."

Samsung:

Samsung has a commitment to security and we continue to value our partnership with Microsoft. We will be issuing a patch through the Samsung Software Update notification process to revert back to the recommended automatic Windows Update settings within a few days. Samsung remains committed to providing a trustworthy user experience and we encourage customers with product questions or concerns to contact us directly at 1-800-SAMSUNG.

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Song recordings created before 1972 don't have federal copyright, but many states did grant such copyrights. The varying rules on older songs have been a huge headache for satellite radio provider Sirius XM, and may yet be a boondoggle for streaming services like Pandora.

After experiencing some adverse rulings, Sirius is moving to put its biggest legal conflict over royalties behind it. Documents filed this morning with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicate that the company has agreed to pay the major record labels $210 million to end their dispute over whether they should be paying royalties for pre-1972 songs.

The song doesn't end litigation by the '60s band The Turtles, who still have a class-action lawsuit proceeding against Sirius. But the major labels have the rights to about 80 percent of the pre-1972 music that Sirius plays.

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Euphoric reaction to superstar tech businesses is rampant — so much so that the tech industry is in denial about looming threats. The tech industry is in a bubble, and there are sufficient indicators for those willing to open their eyes. Rearing unicorns, however, is a distracting fascination.

The Perfect Storm

Raising funding for tech startups has never been so easy. Some of this flood of money has been because of mutual funds and hedge funds, including Fidelity, T. Rowe Price and Tiger Global Management. This is altering not only the funding landscape for tech startups, but also valuation expectations.

There are many concerns that valuations for businesses are confounding rationale. Entrepreneurs and their investors are deviating from more traditional valuation and performance metrics to more unconventional ones. Another cause cited for increasing valuations is the trend of protections for late investors that cause valuations to inflate further. The combination of a number of these factors has put the sector into a state of artificial valuations.

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Get Into a Money-Saving Mindset by Shifting Your Outlook on Experiences

It’s easy to get stuck thinking that you need to spend money to do something worthwhile. With the right perspective, however, saving money can actually open up more experiences to you.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with treating yourself every once in a while, but William Cowie at Get Rich Slowly suggests that when you associate spending with fun, you can end up turning a blind eye to things that might be even more fulfilling:

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Posted by on in CNET

tenba-mini-messenger-bag.jpg Adorama

I've always been a backpack fan, but I must admit my trusty shoulder bag isn't really working for me anymore. I'm always having to rummage around the bottom to find whatever I'm looking for: cable, charger, mouse, mobile hotspot, gum. Ladies with oversize purses, I feel your pain!

So maybe it's time for me to consider a smarter bag, one that's not so deep, one that has lots of easily accessible pouches and compartments.

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The Apple Watch is expanding beyond the launch group of countries today, shortly after the device first became available for in-store purchase at Apple Retail with a reservation. The international sales expansion includes Italy, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan as of today, and the next group includes the Netherlands, Sweden and Thailand starting July 17.

Here’s what today’s international sales debut looked like on the ground at Apple Stores around the world, via photos supplied by the company. My personal favorite is the one with the dog shopping companion:

Apple’s retail rollout of Watch has been slow, with initial sales restricted only to online orders. The device seems to have been severely supply constrained at launch, but Apple is catching up to demand, enabling both in-store sales and the addition of new countries to the list of places where it’s available.

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