FCC Telephone Network Upgrade

It’s time to embrace the future of phone networks – and the death of telephone numbers

By on January 31, 2014 at 6:15 PM.

It’s time to embrace the future of phone networks – and the death of telephone numbers

If you’ve been on pins and needles waiting for HD voice calls to become the norm, the wait is apparently almost over. The Washington Post reports that the FCC voted to begin rolling out a trial program for fiber-optic telephone networks later this year. According to the report, phone carriers will set up the trials in designated test areas all over the U.S. as the FCC prepares for a full-scale transition to Internet Protocol networks in the future. Interestingly, that may also eventually lead to the death of traditional phone numbers. More →

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Nokia Trapster Criticism Privacy

Meet the mapping tech that even Google Glass’s No. 1 fan calls ‘freaky’ and invasive

By on January 29, 2014 at 11:25 AM.

Meet the mapping tech that even Google Glass’s No. 1 fan calls ‘freaky’ and invasive

You can’t exactly accuse Robert Scoble of being a privacy alarmist, especially since he’s gone out of his way to assuage some of the privacy concerns surrounding Google Glass. That said, there is one mapping application that even Scoble thinks is too “freaky” and that needs significant changes to ensure user privacy. In a blog post reviewing the Nokia-owned Trapster mapping application, Scoble writes that Trapster’s software team has gone way over the line when it comes to respecting user privacy while showing how Trapster could be used to stalk users’ each and every move. More →

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Intel Voice Recognition Technology

Intel’s voice recognition tech set to leave Siri in the dust

By on January 28, 2014 at 10:45 PM.

Intel’s voice recognition tech set to leave Siri in the dust

Siri, Apple’s voice-enabled personal assistant software, was very cool when it first came out but it hasn’t exactly aged gracefully. For one thing, it’s slow compared to other voice recognition services and for another it needs an Internet connection to function at all. Quartz reports that Intel is working on voice recognition technology that’s designed to be both faster than Siri and to work without an Internet connection so you can use it wherever you need it. More →

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Google Gmail Outage

Major outage takes down multiple Google services [updated]

By on January 24, 2014 at 2:15 PM.

Major outage takes down multiple Google services [updated]

No, it’s not just you who can’t access Gmail. At approximately 2 p.m. ET on Friday, multiple Google services went down including Gmail, Google+, Hangouts and Google Play. The cause of the outage is unknown and Google has yet to publicly comment on the matter. While it’s not uncommon for Gmail alone to go down every now and then, it’s somewhat surprising to see a vast systemwide outage across multiple Google services. We’ll bring you more from Google when we hear it. One things for certain, though: Marissa Mayer is suddenly feeling much better about the massive Yahoo outage that occurred late last year. More →

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How Is Netflix Changing Prices

Here’s how Netflix is thinking of changing subscription prices

By on January 23, 2014 at 5:03 PM.

Here’s how Netflix is thinking of changing subscription prices

For the past year, Netflix has been experimenting with different pricing schemes. Back in December, Netflix began offering a $6.99 plan that was standard-definition and only allowed streaming to one screen. This was $1 less than the more common $7.99 plan, which streams in high-definition to two screens. In addition, Netflix has had a family plan since last April at $11.99, which allows for streaming up to four screens. More →

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Spotify Artist Merchandise Sale

You can now buy merchandise from your favorite artists through Spotify

By on January 20, 2014 at 6:00 PM.

You can now buy merchandise from your favorite artists through Spotify

Music streaming companies are pulling out all the stops lately, whether to pre-empt tomorrow’s launch of the much-hyped Beats Music service or to stay ahead of the intense competition. This includes Spotify, which announced today a partnership with Topspin that allows artists to list their merchandise on Spotify for free. More →

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Microsoft Research Smart Elevator

Microsoft-invented ‘smart elevator’ listens to everything you say

By on January 20, 2014 at 2:45 PM.

Microsoft-invented ‘smart elevator’ listens to everything you say

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t like using Google Now or posting on Facebook because you don’t want tech companies knowing about your life, then you might want to avoid talking about your daily plans on any elevator designed by Microsoft. The Next Web points out that Microsoft Research has been working on a “smart elevator” that tries to predict exactly what floor you want to be taken to by listening to your conversations and following your daily routines. More →

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Microsoft Cortana Release Date April 2014

Microsoft to finally unveil Siri, Google Now rival in April

By on January 16, 2014 at 10:30 PM.

Microsoft to finally unveil Siri, Google Now rival in April

Apple first unveiled Siri in the fall of 2011, Google took the wraps off Google Now in the summer of 2012 and now Microsoft is at long last about to release its own voice-enabled personal assistant this coming April. One of MSFTNerd’s sources claims that Microsoft plans to release its Cortana virtual assistant this spring, just in time for its annual Build developers conference. More →

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Samsung Smart Home Connectivity Service

Samsung wants to help you manage all your devices with just one app

By on January 6, 2014 at 4:00 PM.

Samsung wants to help you manage all your devices with just one app

“The Internet of Things,” a buzz-phrase that has popped up in the news cycle for years, is a key focus at CES 2014. The idea that one day even our toasters would have Wi-Fi connectivity is no longer a joke, and now some of the most influential electronics companies in the world are trying to connect not only our appliances, but our phones, our televisions and even our entire homes. Samsung announced this week that it would be unveiling Samsung Smart Home at this year’s CES, “a service enabling users to control and manage their home devices through a single application.” More →

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Netflix Price Cut

Netflix offers late Christmas gift to new subscribers with $1 price cut

By on December 30, 2013 at 4:10 PM.

Netflix offers late Christmas gift to new subscribers with $1 price cut

Netflix has kicked off a new promotion that offers a standard-definition streaming service for $6.99, or $1 less than the popular $7.99 basic service, AdWeek reports. There seem to be two caveats beyond the standard definition limitation: The lower price is offered only to new customers and it only supports streaming to a single device at a time. More →

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WhatsApp 400 Monthly Million Active Users

WhatsApp hits 400 million active users – and lashes out viciously at rivals

By on December 19, 2013 at 11:50 AM.

WhatsApp hits 400 million active users – and lashes out viciously at rivals

WhatsApp just hit a major milestone: 400 million monthly active users for its sleek, streamlined cross-platform messaging service. Most companies would be euphoric about this achievement. But WhatsApp has an ax to grind. The third sentence in the blog post announcing the massive achievement takes a seriously cranky tone: “We bet that if our team of engineers could make messaging fast, simple, and personal, we could charge people directly for the service without having to rely on annoying banner ads, game promotions, or all those other distracting ‘features’ that come with many messaging apps.” More →

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Yahoo Mail Access Restored

Mayer on mail issues: Yahoo ‘really let you down this week’

By on December 16, 2013 at 5:31 AM.

Mayer on mail issues: Yahoo ‘really let you down this week’

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer on Friday posted an apology on Yahoo’s official Tumblr blog for the extended Yahoo Mail issues that affected many users for several days last week starting with December 9. In a lengthy message, Mayer said that the company experienced a “major outage” last week, without providing actual details about the hardware outage that crippled the Yahoo Mail experience for users – the issue was described as a “particularly rare one,” with various users being affected differently. More →

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