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Latest Technology News (RSS feed)
Microsoft targeted in apparent Chinese antitrust probe

A employee stands in the Microsoft booth during the 2014 Computex exhibition at the TWTC Nangang exhibition hall in TaipeiMicrosoft Corp appears to be the latest U.S. company targeted by China for antitrust investigation as government officials paid sudden visits to the software firm's Chinese offices on Monday. Representatives from China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce, which is responsible for enforcing business laws, made the visits to Microsoft offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, according to local media reports that were confirmed by Microsoft. A Microsoft spokeswoman said the company was "happy to answer the government's questions," but declined to give any further information. A source close to the company said the visits were most likely the preliminary stage of an antitrust investigation.


With PlayStation network, Sony goes back to the future in search of revival

A white Sony Playstation 4 is on display at the 2014 Electronic Entertainment Expo, known as E3, in Los AngelesBy Reiji Murai TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Sony Corp is hammering out plans to rise from the ashes of nearly $10 billion lost in six years by building a future around its last consumer electronics blockbuster - the PlayStation. Sony plans to reposition the video console warhorse as a hub for a network of streamed services, according to three senior officials, offering social media, movies and music as well as games. The plans to coax more revenue from the PlayStation's network of users are being developed by a new breed of managers brought in by Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai. Analysts say if Sony gets it right, the game and network business could earn about $1 billion in the fiscal year from April 2016 - making it the most profitable part of the company bar a financial services unit.


Cynk shares fall below $1; traders see further decline
By Rodrigo Campos NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cynk Technologies, which was briefly worth billions of dollars last month, saw its shares fall below $1 on Monday, and traders say it is only a matter of time before the stock is once again worth next-to-nothing. Most traders interviewed said the stock is likely to keep falling until it is once again worth no more than a few cents. In addition, short sellers who had borrowed the stock were also buying it to close out positions, also elevating the price a bit, traders said. A trader at Canaccord, who would not identify himself, said any volume was attributable to short covering -- traders who are buying because they had borrowed stock to sell it on the expectation of a price drop.
Exclusive: Flash sale site Rue La La explores sale; Gilt interested - sources
Online flash sale site Rue La La, which counts eBay as an investor, is exploring a sale that could value the company at around $400 million, people familiar with the matter said on Monday. Boston-based Rue La La, which has attracted interest from online shopping site Gilt Groupe, has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co to advise a potential sale, the people said. Representatives for Rue La La and Gilt Groupe did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Founded in 2008, Rue La La was acquired for $350 million by e-commence and marketing services company GSI Commerce, which was bought three years later by eBay.
OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers
By Sarah McBride SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, regularly mismatches users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service revealed on Monday, weeks after Facebook Inc admitted to misleading users in a psychological study. "When we tell people they are a good match, they act as if they are," co-founder Christian Rudder wrote in a blog post. "Even when they should be wrong for each other." Conversely, couples told they were bad matches, even when OkCupid's algorithm showed the opposite, were less likely to exchange four messages. Experiments are how you sort all this out." An IAC spokeswoman said OkCupid planned to continue with the experiments, which are known in the business as A/B testing.
Amazon offers 3D printing to customize earrings, bobble head toys

A box from Amazon.com is pictured on the porch of a house in GoldenBy Deepa Seetharaman SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc will offer 3D printing services that allow customers to customize and build earrings, bobble head toys and other items from third-party sellers using a new personalization option on its website. Before it is printed by one of Amazon's sellers, users can customize a product like as a bobble head figure by changing its skin and eye color, hair style and outfit, Amazon said. "The customization is something we're keenly interested in," said Petra Schindler-Carter, director for Amazon marketplace sales, speaking in an interview. "We'll always look for new applications for that." Amazon, which has more than 240 million users, has expanded its marketplaces division to include new areas such as fine art and wine.


Ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer can buy the LA Clippers, judge rules

Ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer can buy the LA Clippers, judge rulesFormer Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is clear to move ahead with his $2 billion purchase of the LA Clippers today after a judge ruled against the current owner's objection to the sale, reports The New York Times. Ballmer brokered his deal for the team with owner Donald Sterling's wife, who was said at the time to have legal standing to sell the team, after her husband was banned for life from the NBA for making a series of racist statements. The judge also ruled that the Clippers' sale to Ballmer could go through immediately, the Times reports. Ballmer's purchase of the Clippers comes very shortly after his departure from Microsoft — it'll be a very different business to run, but there's good reason to believe that Ballmer can make good money from the team.


Facebook urges users to download Messenger before chat disappears from mobile app

Facebook urges users to download Messenger before chat disappears from mobile appIn April, Facebook announced plans to pull messaging from its core mobile apps in favor of moving all chat activity to Messenger. Facebook isn't yet forcing anyone to make the switch; Facebook is trying to make things as seamless as possible and says you won't lose your place when hopping between apps. The company also insists Messenger offers a faster experience with more ways of keeping in touch with your friends (voice messages, video, and of course stickers).


Microsoft will launch another new Surface tablet in October – but not the Surface mini

Microsoft will launch another new Surface tablet in October – but not the Surface miniMicrosoft reportedly had plans to unveil a new Surface mini tablet alongside the Surface Pro 3 earlier this year, but the company supposedly cancelled those plans when it realized the mini tablet didn’t offer much in the way of compelling differentiation. Some reports suggest the Surface mini is back in the mix and could launch later this summer, while others state that tablet has been shelved indefinitely. Whatever the case may be, it looks like Microsoft has another new Surface tablet in store for us this fall. According to a new report on Monday from Digitimes that cites unnamed Taiwan-based sources in Microsoft’s supply chain, a new Surface will enter volume production in September ahead of an October debut. Few details are


Apple wants to make it even easier for you to buy an iPhone 6 in its retail stores

Apple wants to make it even easier for you to buy an iPhone 6 in its retail storesApple will reportedly offer potential iPhone buyers a new way of acquiring iPhones in its retail stores, in addition to on-contract, prepaid and full price purchases, 9to5Mac has learned. The company will apparently test drive iPhone purchases via carriers’ early upgrade programs, including AT&T Next, T-Mobile Jump and Verizon Edge. It’s not known whether Sprint’s One Up plan will also be supported. FROM EARLIER: 5.5-inch iPhone 6 and new iPads reportedly heading to production in September Following the test phase, the new iPhone purchase option could be rolled out to all Apple retail stores in the U.S., likely in time for the iPhone 6 launch, which is expected to be the biggest iPhone launch in Apple’s history. With either AT&T’s, T-Mobile’s


Stackable cells allow you to sleep on top of your friends at music festivals

Stackable cells allow you to sleep on top of your friends at music festivalsThere may be a much more comfortable and stylish way to stay the night next time you head to a big music festival. Two Belgian design firms have created an efficient new type of campsite that stacks tiny sleeping pods together like a honeycomb.


Leaked footage shows Halo: The Master Chief Collection in action

Leaked footage shows Halo: The Master Chief Collection in actionAlthough Halo: The Master Chief Collection comprises four games we’ve already played, 343 Industries still hasn’t shown off much in the way of gameplay footage since announcing the project at E3 this year. That changed this week when the team took the stage at Comic-Con to reveal not only the gorgeous new cinematics that would be appearing in Halo 2, but also the graphical differences between Halo 2 remastered on the Xbox One and the original game, which you can swap between with a single button press. During the Comic-Con presentation, The Spawn Point Blog managed to secretly capture both the footage you see above as well as a rundown of the collection’s immense multiplayer offering, featuring over 100 maps from all four Halo


Hack-Proof Drones? This Could Make It Happen
Drones are an integral part of modern warfare, which is just one of many reasons why it would be unusually bad if malefactors were able to hack them. (See the recently finished season of 24.) seL4, an ironclad drone programming protocol, is about to go open-source, allowing both governments and enthusiasts to keep their autonomous flying machines secure.
Video: Cortana trolls Siri in new TV commercial

Video: Cortana trolls Siri in new TV commercialMicrosoft has a new TV commercial for its Windows Phone 8.1 Cortana assistant in which it’s taking new shots at one of its biggest competitors, Apple’s voice-based assistant Siri. The new ad, titled “Happy Anniversary,” shows a smartphone user issuing certain commands to an iPhone 5s (Siri) and a Lumia 635 (Cortana), with only the latter able to recognize them and deliver appropriate responses. FROM EARLIER: How Microsoft plans to give Cortana more brain power than anything Siri can muster Microsoft is basically advertising Cortana’s context-aware algorithm, which will let a Windows Phone user set up a reminder based on a certain type of command that uses various elements, including location and/or the user’s relationship with a person. Interestingly, while Google’s Google Now assistant can offer plenty


FAA wants Southwest Airlines to pay $12 million penalty for sloppy maintenance

FAA wants Southwest Airlines to pay $12 million penalty for sloppy maintenanceThe FAA is seeking a $12 million fine against Southern Airlines after finding that the Dallas-based airline did a lackluster job overseeing repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. Back in 2006, Southwest carried out "extreme makeover" alterations that were intended to "eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners," the FAA says.


Civil Rights Clash: Transhumanists Prepare to Challenge an Anti-Cryonics Law in Canada
British Columbia, the westernmost province of Canada that is home to over 4 million people, has a law on the books that prohibits the marketing or sale of services for cryonics. You can still deep-freeze people after they die in the province, but as you might guess, without advertising, it makes it nearly impossible to find willing funeral...
From Ursula to Jon Snow: our favorite cosplay of Comic-Con 2014

From Ursula to Jon Snow: our favorite cosplay of Comic-Con 2014Tens of thousands of people descend on San Diego for Comic-Con each year, making it the perfect place for cosplayers to show off some of their best outfits. It’s hard not to be almost-constantly wowed by the costume work while walking around the convention floor, but some outfits stood well above the rest in terms of accuracy, attention to detail, or just sheer awesomeness.


Is the world’s best Android phone about to become the world’s best Windows Phone too?

Is the world’s best Android phone about to become the world’s best Windows Phone too?The HTC One (M8) is definitely a top contender for the title of being 2014’s best Android phone and now it might become 2014’s best Windows Phone as well. Tom Warren’s sources claim that HTC is planning to make a Windows Phone version of the One (M8) that will supposedly release later this year.  PhoneArena chimes in to add that HTC’s flagship Windows Phone may be called the HTC One (W8) and will even include the same Duo Camera and BoomSound speakers found in the Android version. PhoneArena’s sources say that the Windows Phone version of the One (M8) will likely release on Verizon by the end of September. While it may seem strange that HTC would release the exact


Women's brains got a huge boost from better living conditions

Women's brains got a huge boost from better living conditionsFor psychologists, there’s no question that human cognition — the way we process information — has dramatically improved over the last century thanks to improvements in nutrition, health care, sanitation, and social equality. Those are the findings of a new study, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which stipulates that women’s cognitive abilities benefit far more from improvements in social conditions than men's do. "As living conditions increase, so do men and women’s cognitive abilities — but women’s more than men’s," says Agneta Herlitz, co-author of the study and a psychologist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Other studies have been able to show increases in cognition over time, Herlitz says, "but we show that this happens more for women than for men, and that gives rise to slightly different patterns in cognitive differences."


These incredible 3D holograms make Star Wars sci-fi tech a reality

These incredible 3D holograms make Star Wars sci-fi tech a realityAfter decades of incredible technological advancements, we now have a greater understanding of which former pipe dreams might be within reach and which are better left to the world of science fiction. Holographic video has been one of the sci-fi concepts slowly transitioning into the real world over the past several years, and this amazing project from Chris Helson and Sarah Jackets is about as close to the Star Wars hologram as we’ve ever seen. Profiled on The Creators Project, Helson says that the 3D video machine should not be confused with the 3D holograms we traditional think of: “We use the term holographic because there is nothing else like it,” said Helson. “The machine creates 360 [-degree] moving video objects apparently floating


Read an excerpt from Haruki Murakami's new novel

Read an excerpt from Haruki Murakami's new novelHaruki Murakami has time and again proven himself as one of today's fiction greats, effortlessly jumping between the subtle and real and the strange and surreal over the course of novels and even chapters. His latest novel comes out in English on August 12th — a quick turnaround by translator Philip Gabriel, as the novel was only released in Japanese back in April 2013. Titled Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, the new novel is said to blend in the type of dreamlike elements that Murakami fans have come to expect from his longer stories. ...


Watch the full 'Interstellar' Comic-Con panel with Christopher Nolan and Matthew McConaughey

Watch the full 'Interstellar' Comic-Con panel with Christopher Nolan and Matthew McConaugheyEven after this week's Comic-Con panel, we still don't know much about Christopher Nolan's upcoming film Interstellar. Will there be wormholes? Check. An internal emotional struggle for our main protagonist, a pilot played by Matthew McConaughey? Check, check, check. You can now watch the 15-minute panel yourself, with Nolan and his lead star reportedly making their first-ever appearance at Comic-Con. Two words of caution, however: one, the new footage that bookended the panel isn't included in the video. ...


Foxconn pulls out the big guns to ensure iPhone 6 production goes perfectly

Foxconn pulls out the big guns to ensure iPhone 6 production goes perfectlyApple is without question Foxconn’s largest and most important client. The China-based electronics manufacturing giant has seen its revenue skyrocket since it began building iPhones and iPads for Apple, and 2014 will seemingly be the biggest year yet for the iPhone, with two new models set to debut and as many as 80 million units on order. Since the iPhone 6 and “iPhone Air” phablet comprise Foxconn’s most important project ever, the company isn’t taking any chances — the biggest of Foxconn’s big guns has been called upon to ensure that everything goes as planned. FROM EARLIER: iPhone 6 release date may have just been revealed Digitimes on Monday cited multiple anonymous industry sources in reporting that Foxconn founder and chairman Terry


The first trailer for 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' shows a Middle-earth ready for war

The first trailer for 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' shows a Middle-earth ready for warAttendees of Comic-Con 2014 may have been lucky enough to get a look at the first trailer for Peter Jackson's final Hobbit film, but now those of us who didn't make the trek to San Diego are getting our first look. The first teaser trailer for the newly-titled The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is now online for all to view, and it shows a Middle-earth embroiled in massive conflict, with dwarves, elves, wizards, humans, a hobbit, and, of course, a massive, fire-breathing dragon all ready for war. To go along with the new trailer, the team behind the movie also released a dramatic new poster of Bilbo Baggins kneeling in reflection with his sword Sting. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is scheduled to premiere on December 17th.


Fears can be inherited through smell

Fears can be inherited through smellAccording to a new study, published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the mechanism might be scent — at least when the fear occurs in mice. "We found that the mother that expresses fear in the presence of their newborn pups passes her fear to her pups through scent," says Jacek Debiec, a psychiatrist at The University of Michigan and a co-author of the study. In the study, Debiec and his team exposed adult female mice to the smell of peppermint, a "neutral" scent, while giving them mild electric shocks. This produced long-term fear response in the female mice that researchers were then able to trigger using peppermint.


Amazon Opens a Store for 3D Printing Products

Amazon Opens a Store for 3D Printing ProductsAmazon has created a 3D printing store, where it will offer a platform for 3D printing businesses to sell printed products, as well as their printers and filaments. Some of the companies involved include printing giant Sculpteo, 3DLT and Mixee Labs. Amazon itself won't be involved in the manufacturing. Sculpteo CEO Clement Moreau told the Verge, "The online customer shopping experience will be redefined through 3D printing. In our interview with co-founder Steve Schell of 3D printing company New Matter, he mentioned that printing an iPhone case would cost only a few dollars in filament, and takes only about 45 minutes.


Cool new app turns your Android phone into a video game controller with gesture support

Cool new app turns your Android phone into a video game controller with gesture supportWhen it comes to video games, mobile gaming grows more impressive with each new device generation. Controlling a game with on-screen buttons never quite offers the same experience as a physical video game controller though, so it seems odd that Ideum would put so much time and effort into creating an app that transforms an Android smartphone or tablet into a video game controller for PC gaming. The result is quite impressive, however, and it actually adds some nifty functionality that standard gaming controllers simply cannot offer. Ideum recently updated its GestureWorks Gameplay app to add Android compatibility, thus letting gamers use Android smartphones and tablets to play video games on their computers. Unlike typical controllers, Gameplay can be customized for each game and it


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