Windows Phone Cortana Details Leak

Microsoft’s Cortana: A personal assistant who doesn’t stalk you

By on February 20, 2014 at 10:45 PM.

Microsoft’s Cortana: A personal assistant who doesn’t stalk you

Microsoft wants its soon-to-be-released Cortana to help you… but only as much as you want it to. The Verge’s Tom Warren has a nice scoop that details how Microsoft plans to make Cortana the privacy-friendly personal assistant that will specifically ask you what type of information that you want to share before storing it in its virtual notebook. More →

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Yahoo investment smarter Siri

The quest to build a better Siri

By on February 19, 2014 at 3:25 PM.

The quest to build a better Siri

Since Marissa Mayer became CEO, Yahoo has been on a bit of a roll and has released several well-reviewed apps (Weather, News Digest, Sports, etc.) while also bringing Flickr back from irrelevance. According to MIT Technology Review, Yahoo has even bigger plans with its recent announcement that it is investing millions of dollars to develop a smarter Siri. More →

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Valentine's Day iPhone Apps

You can ruin someone’s Valentine’s Day with just one iPhone app

By on February 13, 2014 at 2:41 PM.

You can ruin someone’s Valentine’s Day with just one iPhone app

T.S. Eliot once wrote that “April is the cruelest month” but one iOS app developer is trying its hardest to make sure that February is even harsher. Meet BreakupText, the iPhone app that helps you compose the perfect Dear John or Dear Jane letter to your soon-to-be-jilted lover. The app takes you through a three-step process: First you select your soon-to-be-ex’s sex, then you choose whether the relationship was casual or serious, then you supply a reason for the breakup (i.e., “I found someone else,” “I lost interest” or “I was eaten by a bear”). Then, presto! The app will send a text to your breakup target. The app costs just $0.99 and promises you’ll have “no more awkward conversations or phone calls” and will be able to “end your relationship in just a few taps.” Granted, it may be the absolute worst way to break up with someone we can imagine but for those of you who have black little hearts it just might be the way to go.

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Amazon Prime Price Increase

Jacking up Amazon Prime prices could be a huge mistake

By on February 12, 2014 at 3:15 PM.

Jacking up Amazon Prime prices could be a huge mistake

People may love Amazon Prime, but Amazon shouldn’t take that love for granted anytime soon. The Wall Street Journal points us to a new survey conducted by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners showing that while most Amazon Prime customers plan on renewing their subscriptions right now, that number would drop significantly if it meant paying between $99 and $119 versus the $79 annual membership they pay today. According to CIRP’s survey, 40% of Prime customers said they would “definitely” not renew their subscriptions if Amazon hiked the price all the way up to $119 while less than half said they would “probably” or “definitely” renew their subscriptions if Amazon raised prices up to $99. More →

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Apple CDN provider

How Apple could dramatically improve iCloud’s performance

By on February 4, 2014 at 8:45 PM.

How Apple could dramatically improve iCloud’s performance

Apple is working on its own content delivery network (CDN), a move which could improve iCloud’s performance. According to a report from Dan Rayburn at StreamingMediaBlog.com, Apple has made key hires in the industry and is currently working to build its own CDN. Apple has traditionally relied on third-party CDNs, such as Akamai or Level 3. More →

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Google Now Chrome Beta Released

Now everyone can use one of Android’s best features on their desktop

By on February 3, 2014 at 2:28 PM.

Now everyone can use one of Android’s best features on their desktop

A couple of weeks ago, Google quietly released a desktop-centric version of Google Now for Chrome Canary, the experimental build of Chrome primarily designed for developers and early adopters. On Monday, however, Google announced that it was taking the next step toward making Google Now more widely available to desktop users by integrating it into Chrome Beta, which is a much more stable build than Chrome Canary but that still has a lot of Google’s more experimental new features. More →

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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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