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ASUS blew a hole in its newest wireless router

That design isn't just for looks, although it certainly is striking. Rather than add the antennas outside the device, the company built them into the roof of the Blue Cave. The motherboard -- which uses Intel technology -- is then sat on the bottom, with the hole providing some useful distance between the two. Capacity is no substitute for speed, but ASUS believes that the Blue Cave will also let you stream 4K video and share files without ...
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The search for a habitable second Earth

Scientists are torn on whether extraterrestrial life is abundant, rare or nonexistent. With 300 billion stars in the Milky Way, the late astronomer and futurist Carl Sagan figured there could be up to 10,000 advanced civilizations in our galaxy alone. Others , however, think not only are habitable planets rarer than thought, the odds of life forming are slight even on a promising world. In other words, we might be completely alone in our ga...
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Keybase brings seamless encrypted chats to anyone on the web

First, up a new Chrome extension adds an encrypted message button to user profiles on any of the social networks Keybase supports. (Aside from Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, the service also works with Hacker News and GitHub accounts.) If the user you're trying to message isn't already signed up for Keybase, they'll be notified via the social network they're on that they have an encrypted message waiting for them. The extension works alongsi...
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Samsung's cheaper, cuter Gear 360 cam arrives May 25th

Samsung's updated Gear 360 is almost here -- you'll only have to wait one more day to be able to get it in the US. The 360-degree camera will be available tomorrow, May 25th, in store and online from Best Buy and its website, Amazon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, US Cellular, Samsung's website and through the ShopSamsung app. In addition to being cuter than its predecessor , it can also capture real 4K videos and has the ability to l...
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Caltrain will finally go electric thanks to FTA funding

The project is not only expected to bring faster, cleaner and more reliable train service to the 51-mile Caltrain system that connects San Francisco to Silicon Valley and San Jose, but according to the San Jose Mercury News , the project is expected to create 10,000 jobs in California and around the country. Beyond Silicon Valley, the electrification project is intertwined with the plan to build a bullet train between the Bay Area and Los A...
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UK switches on the world's largest wind turbines

Dong Energy built the 32 turbines as an extension of the Burbo Bank wind farm built over a decade ago. They have over twice the capacity of the farm's original structures. The Danish energy firm is building turbines in the UK due to its friendly regulations and subsidies. However, the UK government told wind energy corporations to find more ways to cut costs if they want continued support. That's why the company decided on building fewer en...
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Federal agents used a Stingray to track an immigrant's phone

Until 2015, Federal investigators were free to deploy the devices without a search warrant. At that point the Justice Department laid out a policy requiring investigators get approval to use the devices first. Local law enforcement agencies, meanwhile, are not bound by the same policy. A bill currently working its way through the House called the Cell Location Privacy Act would require all law enforcement get a probable cause warrant before...
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Gogoro and Bosch launch electric scooter-sharing service in Paris

Coup's service uses an app to reserve and rent scooters. Users can check a bike out, ride it to their destination and leave it parked and end their rental. It's like Car2Go , but with scooters. The pilot program that launched in Berlin last summer did so well, the fleet grew from the initial 200 to 1,000. Gogoro CEO Horace Luke sees Paris as a natural fit for the Coup and the Gogoro Smartscooter. "If you've ever been to Paris, you know it's...
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Google Assistant might come to your iPhone this week

Reportedly, Photos will use Assistant to help you create coffee table books from your image library. This will seem familiar to the Mac crowd (Apple offered iPhoto books for years), but the AI would help out by automatically including relevant images. You wouldn't have to hand-pick snapshots if you didn't want to. At least one book option would cost $10. There's also talk of Assistant reaching GE's home appliances. You could ask your oven t...
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Netflix is no longer available for your rooted Android phone

There's certainly an incentive for the shift in strategy: now that you can download shows , piracy is more of a concern than ever. In theory, it's a bit easier to strip the copy protection from the downloaded copy of a Netflix series than it is to rip the stream. And when you root a device to gain more control over the operating system, you potentially have a better chance of circumventing that DRM than you would otherwise. This measure mig...
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How Microsoft’s Story Remix does what Clippy couldn't

If it works as advertised, it could be a transformational app for consumers fed up with their ever-growing libraries of digital media. It's the latest attempt by Microsoft to make your life easier by predicting what you want. But, as you'll recall, that hasn't always worked out well for the company. "Clippy was actually a very early attempt at trying to look at patterns of what you're doing, but it didn't have the benefit of all this deep l...
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Net-neutrality supporters cripple the FCC website again

Page loads for GoFCCYourself.com are lethargic, but sections of the FCC website that Oliver's custom URL point to seem to be running normally. It's just the comment page for the net neutrality case that's been struggling under the sudden influx of traffic here. The reason for the redirect in the first place? As Oliver illustrates in the video below, finding the actual page to tell former Verizon lawyer Pai and his compatriots that an open i...
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San Francisco train service plans to run solely on clean energy

This isn't exactly an overnight revolution, then. However, BART notes that it would actually outperform California's plans for a standard of 50 percent renewable energy use by 2030. Also, any improvements will likely make a tangible impact on the state. BART uses more power than the entire city of Alameda (over 400,000MW/h per year) -- even that 2025 target might help a lot. It's also important to note that BART expects to run both trains a...
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The best true wireless headphones so far

What are "true wireless" headphones, and who are they for? In case you're unfamiliar with the technology, "true wireless" headphones are in-ear Bluetooth headphones that don't have a cord connecting them either to your music device or to each other. Many look a little like hearing aids, held in place similarly to earplugs. Mics and any controls are built in, because no cable is available to support a traditional in-line remote. Due to dimin...
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Now the Android Gmail app keeps an eye out for phishing links

In a particularly timely upgrade, Google is rolling out new protection against phishing links on its Gmail app for Android. According to the notes , when a user clicks on a suspicious link, they'll get a warning like the one shown above revealing that this could lead to a forged website (similar warnings came to web Gmail last year ). Interestingly, this wouldn't have done much to mitigate the fake Google Docs invite that went around earlie...
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Microsoft's Surface Arc Mouse snaps flat for travel

You can pre-order the mouse for $80 in blue, burgundy and gray colors that complement the Surface Laptop. Early purchases should ship by June 15th, so you can expect to get it alongside Microsoft's latest PC if you're buying both at once. Is that fairly expensive for a mouse without any special tricks up its sleeve? You bet. However, Microsoft clearly wants you to see this more as a good match for its hardware than something that goes toe-t...
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Watch SpaceX try a picture-perfect rocket landing at 7AM ET

Many SpaceX rocket landings have gotchas for viewers. Drone ship landings frequently mean shaky satellite video feeds, and nighttime launches just aren't very photogenic. You're about to have a much better look, however. SpaceX is launching a US spy satellite (NROL-76) on April 30th in circumstances that are about as good as you could hope for. The 7AM Eastern launch window opening is definitely early (especially if you're on the West coast...
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YouTube searches for its next star with a cover competition

YouTube isn't lacking in amateur (often amazing ) covers of existing songs, but Ryan Seacrest himself reckons that covers, "are a terrific vehicle to help discover fresh talent." For the video site, it gets to taps into those magical early years of YouTube , when users believed they had a chance of making it by putting themselves out there with a modicum of talent, an acoustic guitar and a low-res webcam. Is it still even possible to get fa...
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Samsung's auto-reply app fights distracted driving

In-Traffic Reply will use your smartphone's sensors to detect when you're in a car (or on a bike). It will then send an automatic response to calls and texts. You can choose the message sent out, too, from three options: the default "I'm driving, so I cannot answer at the moment," a "fun, animated response," or a custom reply of your own making. If you're looking to block texts in the car now, you can check out T-Mobile's subscription-based...
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Lyft driver's lawsuit accuses Uber of privacy violations

Over time, they reportedly used it to determine which Uber drivers drove for Lyft, as well, offering them hefty bonuses and sending them more rider pings to entice them to drive exclusively for Uber. While the company denied that it tracked "dual appers" and that it sent dual-apping drivers more riders, it didn't confirm or deny the project's existence. The lawsuit accuses Uber of engaging in unfair competition and invading Lyft drivers' pr...
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Apple threatened to drop Uber's app over iPhone tracking

Reportedly, Kalanick told staff to "obfuscate" the Uber app's fingerprinting code for anyone operating from Apple's current headquarters in Cupertino. As far as the people at Infinite Loop could see, it was business as usual. However, the trick didn't work for long. Apple workers outside of the headquarters eventually spotted the shady behavior, leading to the meeting with Kalanick. The approach isn't that unusual for Uber (it recently admi...
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Pinterest fixes its broken visual search tool for Chrome

Here's how it works: it looks for the most interesting rectangle by taking a screenshot of the page and downgrading it. The extension then looks at the colors in the pixelated image to separate the background from the photos. It switches colors to simpler ones until it's basically a bunch of white blocks representing pictures against a blue background. By pinpointing the most prominent rectangle on a web page, the extension increases its ch...
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Amazon's Echo can manage your Google calendar for work

The surprising thing here is that Google Home doesn't yet work with G Suite accounts, nor does it even let you add events to your Google Calendar. That gives the Echo a distinct advantage over Google Home, at least in terms of how it manages your daily info. Home can read out your daily agenda, so it's not a complete bust, but being able to add items to your calendar feels like the kind of that that should have been in there on day one. The...
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Logitech's sub-$100 deck tempts new mechanical keyboard fans

The G413 is a solid piece of kit, with an aluminum plate underneath the keys and a thick braided cord providing USB pass-through so you can plug stuff into it and reduce cable clutter on your desk. Even the feet feel pretty solid and are hard to pull off -- and yes, I tried, as I've had a few go missing in the past. The keys are easy to remove, which makes the deck super simple to clean, as well as allowing you to swap out buttons if you ha...
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Google is fixing a Chrome flaw that makes phishing easy

Thanks to something called Punycode , phishers are able to register bogus domains that look identical to a real website. Take this proof-of-concept from software engineer Xudong Zheng, where apple.com won't take you to a store selling Macs, iPhones and iPads. The real website is actually https://www.xn--80ak6aa92e.com. The xn-- prefix tells browsers like Chrome that the domain uses ASCII compatible encoding. It allows companies and individu...
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US Navy bans e-cigarettes on every ship in the fleet

MT @USFleetForces : #USNavy suspends Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems to protect Sailors, ships, & equipment - https://t.co/weefHTR2gh pic.twitter.com/QJbAT7zBMy — U.S. Navy (@USNavy) April 14, 2017 The devices' lithium-ion batteries exploded in 15 incidents between October 2015 and June 2016 that were reported in a Navy memorandum ; In two of those, the power sources detonated while the e-cigarettes were in sailors' mouths. Some oc...
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ICYMI: The story of Microsoft's Solitaire and volleyball-blocking robots

Meanwhile in Japan, the national volleyball team is using a robot to block its spikes . Called the "blocking machine," three-torsos with arms move back a forth on a rail and "leap" up to block the ball. The system is meant to help the team test out their spike shots against different types of defender formations. Currently the team coaches are looking to add motion sensors for more lifelike and unpredictable training sessions. As always, pl...
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Here are the Nintendo Switch games on deck for 2017

First up are the big announcements for the most heavily-anticipated titles. Nintendo's bizarre new IP, the slinky-punch fighting game ARMS, is slated to come out in June. The studio shared more footage today that expanded the list of boxing glove types and revealed elemental effects would be part of players' toolkits. The studio's cutesy multiplayer shooter Splatoon 2 comes out July 21st, arriving with a new PvE mode and three themed amiibo...
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'The Mummy' in VR was shallow, but the seats were not

VR seat company Positron teamed up with Universal at SXSW this year to showcase a "Zero Gravity VR Experience" tied in with the studio's The Mummy reboot. While it fell (way) short of simulating weightlessness, it was nonetheless a nice way to watch virtual reality. If only the stuff I was watching wasn't quite so shallow. Like the movie it's based on, Universal's setup at SXSW is flashy and expensive. You walk into a nondescript ballroom a...
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Nintendo prez discusses Switch docks and left Joy-Con issues

Nintendo PR followed up with a statement which mentioned: "There are no widespread technical problems, and all issues are being handled promptly, including the reports regarding the left Joy-Con Bluetooth connection." We don't know what this means going forward, but for now, if you're having problems staying connected we'd recommend calling support instead of trying any DIY repairs . The exec also spoke to owner's desire for spare Switch do...
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