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Amazon Unveils Six-Count 'Em!-New Tablets and E-Readers

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 01:00

The Fire tablets--including a $99 model--will be the big sellers. But a new Kindle might be the company's most impressive product ever.

Amazon's consumer-electronics business has sometimes felt like a sideline--something the company did to supplement its real business of selling physical and virtual goods created by others. But it's time to rethink that. For one thing in 2014, with the Fire TV streaming-video box and Fire Phone, the company entered two new product categories.

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23andMe Responds To Controversy Over Relative-Finding Tool

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 20:23

After a customer discovered he had a half-sibling and inadvertently tore his family apart, the DNA-testing company rethinks its policy.

A story on Vox about a biologist who gifted his parents with 23andMe genetics tests, only to suffer the trauma of discovering that his father had had illegitimate son, has prompted a role reversal in company policy at Anne Wojcicki's Mountain View, California-based biotech firm.

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What's Homomorphic Encryption And Why Did It Just Win A MacArthur Genius Grant?

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 19:30

What if you could run programs without actually decrypting them?

Craig Gentry, a cryptographer working at IBM's Thomas Watson Research Center in the suburbs outside New York City, recently received a phone call that changed his life. His passion, an experimental and mainly theoretical type of encryption called homomorphic encryption, just won a MacArthur "Genius Grant."

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This One Red Button Promises To Do Anything

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 19:30

An easy button for the Internet of Things? Not a bad idea.

We've all seen the Staples Easy Button--a marketing schtick which imagines one button could solve any problem you had.

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Logitech Turns The TV Remote Into A Smart Home Controller

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 17:51

Consumers don't always want to use a smartphone app to control their smart home.

The universal remote of the past could control your TV, cable box, DVD player, VCR, and maybe a few other devices. But with the rise of smart homes, the remote is growing up to command connected lights, blinds, locks, and, of course, the entertainment system.

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Stressed At Work? New Research Suggests It Isn't Just Your Job

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 17:36

It's your home life, too.

Say you come home at 10 p.m. most nights smelling like a caffeinated zombie. You fall asleep on your couch eating leftovers, and, to your horror, you wake up at 5 a.m. In two hours it's back to the office, to do the same thing all over again.

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When Lying Is Good

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 17:20

A new study out of Wharton shows that there are times when lying is actually ethical. Welcome to the age of benevolent deception.

No lie: There are times when not telling the truth is a good thing.

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Starting Today, Your iPhone Can Ditch Google For DuckDuckGo's Private Search

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 17:00

The new integration brings the privacy-obsessed search engine to Safari on iOS.

Even if you're not springing for an enormous iPhone 6 Plus, your device is about to get a refresh in the form of iOS 8. While new features like widgets and third-party keyboard support have gotten most of the attention, iOS 8 has a big perk waiting for privacy-conscious users as well.

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Conquer Insomnia In 6 Weeks? There's An App For That--And It Could Change Your Life

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 17:00

There's plenty of science behind Sleepio, now available on iOS 8, but it's an animated professor that brings users back for weekly sessions.

When Peter Hames complained to doctors about his insomnia, they responded by pulling out a prescription pad. Then came the inevitable: more sleeping pills.

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How Reading Slowly (Real Books, Not Twitter) Cuts Stress

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 15:05

A "slow reading" movement touts the benefits of unplugged reading time, and the detriments of skimming the Internet.

Before the dawn of the Internet, it was unlikely that while trying to read, you'd be confronted all in the same second with a blinking ad for belly fat removal, a message from an ex, and a button imploring you to share whatever you're reading with friends. There have never been more distractions keeping us from sitting down with a book for hours, and it's true that American reading habits have declined in recent years. Even when we do pick up a book, we're probably trying to speed read.

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Design Details: The NYT iPad Cooking App Really Zooms

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 15:00

Here's our favorite bit of user interface in the NYT's new iPad Cooking app.

Today, NYT is releasing their new cooking app for iPad. We were impressed by the experience on the desktop, but a small design detail in the iPad version has us smitten: Whenever you tap on a recipe tile, it zooms in seamlessly, as if the recipe were always waiting there on your screen.

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Hate Flying? Airbus Filed A Patent For In-Flight VR Helmets To Help You Chill Out

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 14:13

Would you wear it?

Since most people tend to not fly first class, jetting around in a hulking metal contraption in cramped quarters tends to be its own little hell bubble, often requiring the saving graces of tiny bottles of alcohol. Or Vicodin.

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Inside Baidu's Plan To Beat Google By Taking Search Out Of The Text Era

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:30

In this exclusive interview, Andrew Ng explains why he left Google Brain to head Baidu's deep learning project.

This article contains interviews with Andrew Ng, chief scientist at Baidu; Yoshua Bengio, full professor at the Department of Computer Science and Operations Research at the University of Montreal; and Edward Grefenstette, Fulford junior research fellow at Somerville College, and an AI Researcher in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford.

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Following IBM's Lead, SAP Just Opened A Six-Year High School In New York City

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:21

Now corporations are running public high schools. But in this case, it'll prepare students for high-demand science and technology careers and maybe even funnel them into a job at the company.

What happens when a corporation helps create a high school?

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Steve Wozniak: Hacker, Legend, Boomer

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:15

Apple's cofounder talks about the company's birth in exclusive outtakes from a new PBS program.

The PBS series American Masters is doing an special on baby boomers. Directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, "The Boomer List" pays tribute to 19 notable people who happen to have been born between 1946 and 1964, including Samuel L. Jackson, Billy Joel, Kim Cattrall, Rosie O'Donnell, Maria Shriver, David LaChapelle, Amy Tan, and Erin Brockovich.

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This Norwegian House/Powerplant Produces More Than Twice The Energy It Uses

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:13

A growing number of "plus" homes not only don't require electricity from the grid--they put some back, too.

Net-zero-energy buildings, which create roughly as much as power as they use in a year, have been around for a while. But the newest sustainable homes go far beyond net zero to become mini power plants, able to charge electric cars and feed electricity back into the local grid.

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No More Working Late: At The End Of Each Day, This Office Disappears

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 11:55

Work-life balance by design: At 6 p.m., the desks retract up to the ceiling, making room for creative community uses and keeping staff from working too late.

During the day, this Amsterdam design studio looks like a typical workspace. But at 6 p.m., someone turns a key, and all of the desks suddenly lift up into the air, with computers and paperwork attached. The floor clears, and the space turns into something new.

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MIT Invents A Magic Lens That Combines All Your Screens Into A Single Experience

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 11:30

With THAW, smartphones can seamlessly interact with what's happening on laptop and tablet screens. And that's only the beginning.

When we need to send a command or a file from our smartphone to our laptop, we do it through menus. But imagine if we didn't have to send something to another device by dragging it to a file, or selecting it from a menu. What if we could use our iPhones as a magic lens instead, so that our smartphones could seamlessly interact with what's happening on the screens of our laptops and tablets?

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How A Culture Of Learning Makes Teams More Productive

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 10:06

Quora is all about helping people learn--and applying those principles has helped it work smarter, says product manager Sandra Liu Huang.

Quora's mission is clear: "To share and grow the world's knowledge." It's a far-reaching goal, but even the loftiest ideas can succeed if there's a solid base to stand on--and for Sandra Liu Huang, director of product management at Quora, that base starts with creating a culture of learning within her team.

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Why You Should Shark Tank Your Company

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 10:00

A multibillion-dollar company with thousands of projects uses competition to identify the ones worth investing in.

There are roughly 1,400 innovative projects being tracked at Parker Hannifin Corp, but most will never see the light of day. M. Craig Maxwell, Parker's vice president of innovation, says the $13 billion company--which develops tech for mobile, industrial, and aerospace industries and has offices in 50 countries--keeps thousands of irons in the fire so they're ready when their time comes.

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