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‘Buckyballs’ magnets now available after ban is overturned

‘Buckyballs’ magnets now available after ban is overturned

December 2nd at 7:30 PM

If you need a gift idea for the holiday season, you can now buy small, powerful, rare earth magnets known generally as Buckyballs.

Once regulated and banned because of the danger they pose to kids— they can cause very serious injuries requiring surgery— the magnets are now available for purchase again, following a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that overturned the ban.

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DirecTV Now Launch

The FCC thinks the best feature of AT&T’s new streaming TV plan is illegal

December 2nd at 5:04 PM

The FCC thinks the best feature of AT&T’s new streaming TV plan is illegal

Ever since AT&T announced that it was launching a $35 TV plan with unlimited mobile streaming for AT&T customers, the FCC has been all over the company’s case.

In a first letter, the FCC laid out its problems with AT&T’s “zero rating” policy and how it violates the principle of net neutrality. In a response, AT&T said (paraphrasing a little here) “nah, we thought about it, but it’s all good.” The FCC’s response? Not so fast.

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Hit List

Artificial Intelligence Companies

New AI-based digital assistant comes to… gas pumps

New AI-based digital assistant comes to… gas pumps

November 29th at 11:47 AM

Cortana, Siri, Alexa, meet… Miles.

Through February, the oil and gas giant BP is testing a new kind of pump technology at several gas stations in the Chicago and New York City metro areas. The technology includes a tablet that lets customers interact with an assistive, AI-based personality called “Miles.”

BP says it’s installed proprietary voice-activation technology inside what it’s calling its new “personality pumps,” which let customers do everything from play music through Pandora to answering music trivia to whipping up a quick, fun video e-card they can send to a friend. “Miles” is a friendly sounding helper and keeps things light since, of course, most people will only be there for the 5 minutes or less it takes to put gas in the tank.
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Amazon Fake Products

Shopping on Amazon is about to get a lot more reliable

November 28th at 7:17 PM

Shopping on Amazon is about to get a lot more reliable

As America’s largest peddler of things online, Amazon is no stranger to controversy. It has had to deal with incentivized reviews, fake reviews, paid five-star reviews, and even problems with fake products.

For the first time, it’s now taking real action to tackle that last problem. According to Bloomberg, Amazon is building out teams in the US and Europe to tackle fake product listings, all with the aim of making Amazon as reliable and consistent as any bricks-and-mortar retailer.

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Game Changers

amazon reviews

Amazon deletes over 500,000 sketchy reviews in massive cleanup effort

November 24th at 4:12 PM

Amazon deletes over 500,000 sketchy reviews in massive cleanup effort

Amazon has long had a problem with fake reviews, but an even bigger problem might be reviews of products that were received either for free or at a large discount with the promise that a review would follow. Now, Amazon is finally cutting them out.

Even if a positive review wasn’t actually a condition of a complimentary product, the numbers suggest that reviews from customers who received these special deals were often significantly higher than the product’s average. That bias, whether intended or not, is harmful to the entire review system, and following on Amazon’s pledge to do something about it, the company has culled over 500,000 of these sketchy reviews from tens of thousands of its products.  More →

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How TV Shows Are Made

Interview: CBS Digital gives us a behind-the-scenes look at how TV shows are made

Interview: CBS Digital gives us a behind-the-scenes look at how TV shows are made

November 23rd at 10:49 AM

If 2016 has provided a bumper crop of compelling TV content — in the form of everything from Westworld to all those Amazon and Netflix originals to earnest, experimental series like FX’s Atlanta — it’s also meant that studio executives like George Bloom and Craig Weiss find themselves busier than ever these days. Indeed, the pair of executives at CBS Digital have their work cut out for them. More →

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Trump Media Plans

Get ready for your internet to get a whole lot worse

November 21st at 6:25 PM

Get ready for your internet to get a whole lot worse

Earlier today, President-elect Donald Trump appointed two advisers to his transition team to oversee telecommunications policy. You could be forgiven for missing the news in between all the other Trump stories, but this one matters just as much. Trump’s new advisers are hardcore anti-net-neutrality lobbyists who have worked as lobbyists for telecoms companies in the past, and largely seem to be in favor of removing regulation from cable companies.

While that might sound good in theory, the effect on the US internet market — which is mostly controlled by a handful of companies with regional monopolies — would be to let price-gouging run wild. Think Comcast is bad now? Just you wait.

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amazon cars

Amazon is actually going to sell cars online

November 18th at 4:41 PM

Amazon is actually going to sell cars online

Amazon is the US’s largest online retailer, and there aren’t many things on this big blue sphere that you can’t buy through an Amazon checkout. Automobiles, for a long while, were one of the site’s few blind spots, but not anymore.

Reuters reports that the online shopping behemoth has struck a landmark deal with Fiat Chrysler to sell three different models via the web, and for a pretty significant discount over what a dealership charges. The cars, which will initially only be available to Amazon shoppers in Italy, are the 500, 500L, and Panda — the best selling car in Italy as a whole.  More →

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donald trump twitter

Trump claims credit for saving Ford jobs that were never going to leave

November 18th at 1:11 PM

Trump claims credit for saving Ford jobs that were never going to leave

Donald Trump loves Ford — or at least he loves to use Ford as a tool to make his point. Having already erroneously claimed that a Michigan Ford plant was on the verge of moving to Mexico, the President-elect is now claiming that he saved Ford jobs in Kentucky. The only problem is that those jobs were never at risk of leaving to begin with.  More →

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iPhone American Production

Apple might make the iPhone American again

November 17th at 3:41 PM

Apple might make the iPhone American again

Since inception, Apple’s products have born the phrase “Designed by Apple in Cupertino.” But the products themselves are generally assembled in China to Apple’s specs.

The company’s foreign manufacturing came under fire during Trump’s campaign, and since taking office, the prospect of a trade war with China has had Apple’s stock sliding. There’s a tiny chance that the end result might be entirely what Trump wanted: moving manufacturing back to the US.

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LinkedIn Russia Blocked

Russia has now officially blocked LinkedIn

November 17th at 7:35 AM

Russia has now officially blocked LinkedIn

As Microsoft works toward completing its $26 billion acquisition of popular business networking site LinkedIn, it looks like the company will inherit something of a problem overseas in the tumultuous Russian region. After recently threatening to block LinkedIn inside its country unless some major changes were made to the way LinkedIn stores personal data belonging to Russian users, the Russian government has now made good on its threat: LinkedIn is officially blocked in Russia. More →

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Doctor House Calls App

‘Uber for doctors’ wants to change the way we heal

‘Uber for doctors’ wants to change the way we heal

November 16th at 12:24 PM

The road to the husband-and-wife team of Nick Desai and Dr. Renee Dua landing a $26.9 million Series A funding round for their Santa Monica-based startup began inside an emergency room.

It was late one night in 2014, and their infant son was sick with a severe cold. He needed to see a pediatrician right away, but his parents still ended up waiting with him in the emergency room for almost 8 hours. That’s what gave the pair the idea for Heal, a startup they launched less than a year later to deliver essentially the modern version of an old school doctor’s house call – “high-quality care,” Desai tells BGR, “from licensed physicians to a person’s home or office, on demand.”

It’s doctor-scheduling, tailored to the instant gratification preference of a tap-happy Uber generation. Pull out your smartphone, fire up the Heal app, and a few taps is all it takes to bring a doctor out to see you. More →

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1479234204792

US Navy denies software piracy in $596 million lawsuit

November 15th at 7:30 PM

US Navy denies software piracy in $596 million lawsuit

In response to a $596 million lawsuit, the U.S. Navy has denied that it pirated copies of a tech company’s virtual reality software on more than 558,000 computers.

The suit against the U.S. Government, filed by Bitmanagement Software in July, alleges that the Navy copied and installed the company’s virtual reality software on hundreds of thousands of computers for which it does not have a license. The Navy was authorized to install the software on just 38 computers for testing, trial runs and integration with other Navy systems, the suit says.

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