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Wednesday, October 01

California passes bill limiting student social media data collection

While California Governor Jerry Brown's signing of a bill banning single-use plastic bags across the state made its way to headlines this week, another bill signed the day prior made headway on how social media, schools and information collection interact. Brown signed Assembly Bill 1442 on September 29, limiting the amount of information schools can collect on student activity on social media....

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Verizon retreats from 'network optimization' for unlimited data users

Verizon had a change of heart on its implementation of "network optimization" that would result in slower 4G LTE speeds for account holders with unlimited data. Initially the carrier announced a change in policy that was said only to impact the top five percent of unlimited plan holders, as the company would manage their data speeds in order to optimize speeds in the area for others....

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Analysts: Apple Watch likely a hit, but will take time to mature

Analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, while calling the Apple Watch "light years ahead of any other smartwatch on the market," nevertheless advised both clients and market watchers to expect "conservative" initial sales of the device in its first year. Like the iPod, which took three years to become the dominant force in music players, Munster said that "consumer application may be limited initially, until developer...

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Court tosses WiLan suit against Apple over LTE patents

Non-practicing entity and patent holdings company WiLan has again lost to Apple in the second of three proceedings against the iPhone maker. The US District Court for Southern California granted Apple's motion for a summary judgement, following a finding that the two LTE patents the Canadian patent troll was accusing Apple of infringing were invalid, and therefore not infringed. Apple previously won a jury trial brou...

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Briefly: Hearthstone expansion, PlayStation Plus October games

A new expansion for Blizzard's popular online card game Hearthstone is reportedly in the works. Production Direction Jason Chayes spoke with Polygon this week, informing the publication that more than 100 new cards are being produced as a part of the game's first expansion. Chayes said that the developer has thought a lot about the pacing of not only the game, but also in how content is released. He adds that Blizzar...

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Google increases cash rewards for Chrome bug bounties

Google is increasing the rewards in its bug bounties program, as it tries to make its software more secure. The search company is updating its reward pricing range to between $500 and $15,000 per bug, up from the previous maximum of $5,000 for a high-quality report, with an increased focus on discovering potential vulnerabilities within the Chrome browser. ...

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Hyperkin accused of using no-commercial-use emulators in console

Developers behind the RetroArch project, an open-source project for the creation of video game emulators, are accusing Hyperkin of illegal use of open-source and no-commercial-use software in its Retron 5 console. One developer says that two non-commercial emulators are being used in the console, while segments of code from the RetroArch interface are contained within the console's frontend....

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Apple drops German publication over iPhone 6 Plus bending video

Apple has dropped a German publication, Computer Bild, from receiving review units or covering company events, according to the publication's editor-in-chief, Axel Telzerow. Like some other websites, CB recently decided to produce a video testing whether the iPhone 6 Plus can be bent more easily than other phones. The clip (below) has managed to gather over 510,000 views so far on YouTube; its popularity apparently c...

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Briefly: Logitech Type+ keyboard, Corsair Voyager Vega flash drive

(Updated with corrected Type+ pricing) Logitech announced a new case and keyboard combo for the iPad Air today, the Type+. Like many other Bluetooth keyboards for tablets, the Type+ is powered by an internal battery. In this case, the battery is said to last up to three months on a single charge, according to Logitech. The case portion uses clips in the corners to hold onto the iPad, also using magnets to hold the co...

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Sprint, Verizon take on AT&T 'double data' promotion with own offers

AT&T's recent promotional offer to double the data caps on its Mobile Share Value plans seems to have struck a nerve with other carriers. Both Verizon and Sprint have announced their own data-doubling promotions just a few days after AT&T -- and while Verizon appears to match AT&T's allowances and prices, Sprint has opted to go further, by redoubling the caps. ...

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Second round of POS breaches strikes Albertson's, Supervalu chain

Supervalu and Albertson's shoppers may be in for another round of personal information theft notifications. The companies said that a second hack took place in late August or early September, with the company finding malicious software on systems that process credit and debit card sales at some of the company's 1,081 stores. Additionally, the malware was also found at Shoppers Food and Pharmacy, plus Shop 'n Save sto...

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Microsoft Windows Insider launches, Windows 10 preview available

As expected, Microsoft has started the Windows Insider program today, offering "frequently updated" pre-release software for enthusiasts and people willing to do testing for the company. Starting today, users can download the up to 4.2GB Windows 10 preview, following registration with Microsoft....

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Microsoft Sway introduced as simplified web project creation app

Microsoft has added a new app to Office, one which may help users create and share projects or documents for reading online. Sway is a simplified webpage creation tool that allows for content to be collected from a variety of sources and formatted in an attractive manner on a cloud-hosted page, without needing the user to have prior web development experience....

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FAA orders airlines to replace cockpit screens over Wi-Fi interference

A number of Boeing passenger aircraft will be receiving a cockpit upgrade, because of wireless interference. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered for more than 1,300 Boeing 737 and 777 jets to replace their cockpit display units because the Honeywell International-produced screens were susceptible to interference from Wi-Fi and cellular signals. ...

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Garmin Forerunner 920XT GPS watch revealed with wireless connectivity

Garmin has introduced another device in its Forerunner GPS watch range. The Forerunner 920XT, a follow-up to last year's Forerunner 910XT, is able to track the wearer's physical activities and provide a variety of statistics on its display, but improves on its predecessor by using a color display, being 15 percent lighter, and offers increased connectivity options. ...

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Microsoft reportedly testing Cortana for Windows 10 internally

Cortana, Microsoft's voice-controlled virtual assistant from Windows Phone 8.1, may appear in the final retail release of Windows 10, according to a report. Though it was not demonstrated during the Windows launch event yesterday, it is claimed Microsoft is actively testing the feature in internal builds of the operating system. ...

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Briefly: Spotify launches in Canada, Pokemon TCG reaches iPad

Spotify has opened up its service in Canada to all users, following a brief invitational period. The streaming music service boasts over 20 million songs served on 320kbps streams, with chief content officer Ken Parks claiming the collection has been "tailor made for Canadian music fans." Users have the same ad-supported free and paid service options as other regions, with Spotify Premium priced at $10 per month. ...

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Bloomberg: Apple to offer next iPad Air in gold color option

As previously reported, Apple will launch the second-generation iPad Air, and possibly the iPad mini with Retina display, with an option for a gold color -- to match the options available for the iPhone 5s and new iPhone 6 family. The gold color, first introduced last year, is said to be the most popular color for the iPhone 5s and caused severe shortages for the gold model during its debut. The next iPad models are ...

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Tuesday, September 30

Pebble cuts smartwatch prices by $50, adds activity tracking

Pebble, the Kickstarter-funded smartwatch, has been updated with some new functionality, and new prices. An incoming update for the smartwatch will enable activity tracking functionality for the first time, with the manufacturer dropping the price of both the standard Pebble and the Pebble Steel by $50, bringing them to $99 and $199 respectively. ...

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Briefly: Borderlands the Pre-Sequel on Mac, Roccat Tyon mouse

Mac owners and fans of the cel-shaded shooter series set on Pandora will be happy to learn that Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is launching on OS X alongside PC and game consoles on October 14. Aspyr Media is publishing the title, working with Gearbox Software and 2K Games to make the simultaneous launch possible. The game will support cross-platform multiplayer, as well as content through Gearbox Software's Shift or St...

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Hackers indicted for US Army, Xbox software theft, two plead guilty

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) released a statement today in regard to a group of hackers charged with a string of computer breaches related to the theft of software from several large game companies. More than $100 million in software was stolen as a result of their activities, including a US Army helicopter training program developed by Zombie Studios, developer of America's Army: Special Forces....

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Briefly: RocketStor 6361A PCIe chassis, Goodreader for iPhone 6

HighPoint Technologies has announced the launch of the RocketStor 6361A, the newest product within its RocketStor 6300 Thunderbolt 2 Adapter series. A single PCIe-slot Thunderbolt 2 expansion chassis, the RocketStor 6361A is designed for Thunderbolt- and Thunderbolt 2-capable Mac platforms, delivering 20GB/s bandwidth for interface cards such as media capture, 10GB/s Ethernet, Fibre Channel, or external storage/RAID ...

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Panasonic launches lightweight, 14-inch CF-LX3 Toughbook in the UK

Panasonic announced today that a new entry in its rugged line of notebooks is being released in the UK. The lightweight 14-inch Toughbook CF-LX3 is a notebook that the company says it built for "busy mobile executives." It features a weight of only 2.7 pounds and a battery that can last up to 14 hours depending on activity. Panasonic adds that the Toughbook CF-LX3 can withstand drops from a desk, about a 30-inch fall...

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Apple broke off talks with PayPal because of Galaxy S5, sources claim

Apple and PayPal were indeed in talks regarding Apple Pay, but those were cancelled after Samsung signed a deal to let people make PayPal transactions using the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S5, sources say. The people suggest that Apple was so upset that it not only backed out of talks but chose to exclude PayPal as an acceptable platform in developer documentation. Blame has been laid on eBay CEO John Donahoe, w...

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Judge finds Grooveshark infringed on copyright with employee uploads

Another blow was dealt to Grooveshark today, as a New York judge found that its parent company infringed upon copyright by uploading 5,977 songs. Identified by its parent company Escape Media Group, Grooveshark employees -- including founders Samuel Tarantino and Joshua Greenberg -- were found to have participated in illegal uploads, some under instruction by the company....

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Briefly: Nvidia Shield LTE, Acer 'Black Edition' gaming notebooks ship

The LTE-equipped version of the Nvidia Shield gaming tablet has gone on sale in the United States. The tablet, which is able to stream gameplay from a gaming PC over a network as well as being able to locally play Android titles, is available at $399 as an unlocked device, though it can also be acquired via AT&T on-contract for $299. ...

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Early buyers: Galaxy Note 4 case gap large, business card fits in void

First purchasers of the Galaxy Note 4 are claiming that the devices have a gap between the plastic body of the phone, and the metal frame that surrounds the edge of the phone. According to reports, the gap is large enough to stick in a business card. Samsung has issued a statement about the gap, denying that it is a problem, or will affect functionality of the device in any way....

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Briefly: Drobo Mini 8TB, Velvetwire Powerslayer Blu

Connected Data, the creator of the Droboline of storage solutions, today announced the immediate availability of its new Drobo Mini 8TB Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 drive array. The Drobo Mini 8TB bundle features four hot-swappable 2.5" drive bays, pre-loaded with four Samsung Spinpoint M9T 2TB drives. New drives can be added or swapped on-the-fly with zero downtime, as a result of Drobo's BeyondRAID Technology. The Drob...

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Microsoft unveils Windows 10 as next operating system version

Microsoft has formally announced the latest iteration of its computer operating system at its media event, but it isn't named Windows 9. The incoming Windows 10, set to be made available to users next year, is being billed by the company as the "most comprehensive platform ever," with the software expected to run on the broadest range of device types, including computers, mobile devices, and the "Internet of Things" ...

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FTC head speaks out against proposed FCC Title II regulation of ISPs

Allegedly concerned about protecting the American consumer, US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) head Maureen Ohlhausen has come out as strongly against Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler's net neutrality provision -- specifically, the possibility of Title II regulation of ISPs. The comment against the possibility of regulating Internet providers as a utility is the FTC's second in September....

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Alcatel bundles smaller Bluetooth phone with Pop Mega phablet

Alcatel is attempting to make the large-screen phablet useful to those wanting a smaller device, by bundling it with a secondary phone device. One of two new devices, the Pop Mega is a phablet with a six-inch display which Alcatel has paired with a small "Buddy" candybar-style accessory, capable of making and receiving calls without needing physical access to the main device. ...

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Quanta to begin Apple Watch production in January 2015, report says

Taiwan's Quanta Computer will only start mass production of the Apple Watch in January 2015, according to a supply chain rumor from Apple Daily. Apple has only officially stated that the Watch will ship in early 2015. If production does begin in January, that will likely place shipments in February....

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New York regulators seek concessions for Time Warner/Comcast merger

Several states are having regulatory discussions in governmental circles about the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger. Two New York state agencies, the Division of Consumer Protection Utility Intervention Unit (UIU) and the Department of Public Service, are taking serious issue with the merger and are demanding concessions. As a result, the UIU's vote on its discussion has been postponed from October 2 until Novemb...

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Briefly: Mozilla's new streaming dongle, TiVo adds Android streaming

Creator of the open-source Firefox OS, Mozilla has announced the launch of its own Internet and media streaming dongle device, named Matchstick. A competitor to Google's Chromecast, the dongle runs Firefox OS, and allows users to view content -- via a WiFi connection -- from their smartphone, tablet, or laptop to stream to a big screen TV. TV apps will be available for download through the Matchstick App Store, and b...

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Belkin revamps Express Dock; adds Thunderbolt 2, 4k support

Accessory manufacturer Belkin today introduced the Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD with cable, a cross-platform docking solution designed for both OS X and Windows-based computers. Equipped with two Thunderbolt 2 ports, the new dock allows users to take full advantage of the technology's high-speed 20Gbps bandwidth, and provides reliable transfers between laptops and up to eight other devices connected through the dock...

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PayPal, eBay splitting into two separate public companies in 2015

Auction site eBay and payment service PayPal are splitting apart into two separate companies. A plan has been approved by the eBay board of directors to separate the two into independent publicly traded companies by next year, subject to regulatory approval, with each company set to be presided over by two new chief executives. ...

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Decade-old Apple versus Real will see trial, possibly in November

The new judge on the Apple versus Real anti-trust case has declared that there is enough evidence to go to trial, after nine years of litigation and a judge's retirement during the process. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers has ordered a trial, after an earlier pre-trial conference finding that Real attorneys have presented enough evidence to show that Apple created a monopoly with its FairPlay DRM, which then allowed the...

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EU accuses Ireland of giving Apple illegal state aid

As expected, the European Commission has issued a preliminary finding in which it suggests that Apple is receiving illegal state aid from the Irish government. "In the light of the foregoing considerations, the Commission's preliminary view is that the tax ruling of 1990 (effectively agreed in 1991) and of 2007 in favour of the Apple group constitute state aid, according to Article 107(1) TFEU [Treaty on the Function...

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HP shows Stream line of full Windows laptops, tablets

HP yesterday expanded the HP Stream line-up of thin and light Windows products with the addition of two new notebook PCs and two new tablets. Now released are two models of the entry-level HP Stream laptop, and two sizes of the new full Windows 8.1 HP Stream tablet with quad-core Atom processor....

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Basis Peak fitness tracker launches with touchscreen controls

Basis, producers of the B1 fitness tracker, has unveiled its first wearable device since its acquisition by Intel. The Peak is a fitness and sleep tracker which builds upon its predecessor by replacing the collection of buttons and display with a larger touch-enabled screen, as well as upgrading the rear-mounted heart rate tracker to the point where Basis suggests it could replace a chest-strap monitor completely....

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Project Ara head claims modular smartphone parts 'hot swappable'

Google's modular smartphone project will allow users to replace individual modules from the mobile device while it is still running. The majority of Project Ara modules will be hot swappable, with exception to the processor and display, so users will not be required to shut down the device before making any changes to the hardware. ...

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Briefly: Cortana adds musical notifications, Chromecast Hulu Plus

Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant for Windows Phone 8.1, has been updated with two event-related changes. WMPU reports the service will now show notifications for when a user's favorite music acts are performing nearby under "Concert Watch," while WP Central notes users in the US and UK can now benefit from public transport notifications, including delays, outages, and advising of the best time to head to an app...

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Update: iPhone 6, 6 Plus approved in China, debuts October 17 [u]

[Update: Apple official announcement reveals China debut of iPhone 6, 6 Plus on October 17] The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have now finally been cleared by the country's regulatory agency for sale in China, and will formally debut on October 17, Apple says. According to Bloomberg, the holdup was apparently over some privacy concerns brought up by Chinese authorities. The company agreed to make some changes, which may...

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