Batman V Superman Blu-ray

A friendly reminder that movie critics are generally pretty useless

A friendly reminder that movie critics are generally pretty useless

By about 4 hours ago.

Movie critics have a difficult job. Remaining objective and viewing a film through the target audience’s eyes is no easy task, because we all inherently have biases when it comes to matters of opinion. In the case of big-budget blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, critics by and large seem to have failed pretty miserably. The movie was panned by pros, earning it an abysmal 27% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While their terrible reviews may very well have impacted audience sentiment, they did precious little to actually dissuade anyone from seeing the movie — it racked up nearly $873 million globally at the box office, making it the 46th highest grossing film in history.

And speaking of history… history is now repeating itself and giving us another gentle reminder that movie critics are pretty much useless. More →

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Tesla Gigafactory Update

New video shows how big Tesla’s Gigafactory really is

By on July 27, 2016 at 6:00 PM.

New video shows how big Tesla’s Gigafactory really is

Anything called a “Gigafactory” being built in the Nevada desert was always going to be big. (There’s no other reason to build something in the Nevada desert, for one.) But a new behind-the-scenes video from Wired shows the speed and ambition that Tesla is applying to building Elon Musk’s new supervillain lair the factory where the Model 3 will be made.

The Gigafactory is under construction in Sparks, Nevada. When it’s finished, it will be the biggest building in the world by footprint, and will churn out batteries for 500,000 Model 3s per year. But first, Tesla needs four walls and a roof.

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Hit List

Apple Earnings Release

Apple reports Q3 earnings: iPhone sales continue to slide, but Apple beats estimates

Apple reports Q3 earnings: iPhone sales continue to slide, but Apple beats estimates

By on July 26, 2016 at 4:31 PM.

What goes up must come down, and Apple is in the midst of a tough lesson in gravity at the moment. The company’s second-quarter earnings report this past April marked the first time Apple had ever reported a decline in iPhone sales. Of course, the decline was expected by anyone who was paying attention — after astronomical iPhone 6 sales fueled by pent-up demand for iPhones with larger displays, there was simply no way Apple was going to be able to keep pace with an incremental “S” upgrade. What was unexpected, however, was how dramatic that sales decline would be.

With the second quarter behind us and serious questions surrounding the future of Apple’s core business swirling, all eyes were still fixed on the iPhone ahead of Tuesday’s fiscal Q3 earnings report. More →

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Pokemon Go Download

It’s official: Pokemon Go had the best opening week of any app ever

By on July 22, 2016 at 2:00 PM.

It’s official: Pokemon Go had the best opening week of any app ever

Unless you’ve been living under a rock in a cave in a fallout shelter (got extra space?), you’ve probably heard of popular gaming app/dystopian plot line Pokemon Go. It’s mind-blowingly popular, as seemingly confirmed by Apple: Pokemon Go had the most downloads in its first week of any app ever. Candy Crush, eat your heart out.

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Game Changers

T-Mobile Free Data for Brazil

T-Mobile is giving free data and calls to customers in Brazil for the Olympics

By on July 21, 2016 at 8:00 PM.

T-Mobile is giving free data and calls to customers in Brazil for the Olympics

Downside of going to Rio for the Olympics: you might get Zika. Plus side of going to Rio (at least if you’re a T-Mobile customer): free data for the duration of the games.

The carrier-that-isn’t-a-carrier announced on Thursday that any customers heading to Rio for the Olympics will get free data, free calls back to the US, and free worldwide texting. Given that you can pick up a pre-paid SIM for less than my monthly plan, might be worth buying if you’re heading to Rio this August.

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Amazon Reviews For Money

Amazon has a serious problem with paid-for reviews

By on July 21, 2016 at 5:19 PM.

Amazon has a serious problem with paid-for reviews

The reviews system is one of the things that makes Amazon good. Thousands of crowd-sourced, supposedly unbiased reviews take the guesswork out of buying sight unseen.

But a new study is shedding light on the dark underbelly of incentivized Amazon reviews. Those are reviews where the reviewer has received an item for free, which according to the results of the study, introduce bias into the system. A lot of bias.

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Pokemon Go engagement numbers

Pokemon Go has done the impossible for mobile apps

By on July 21, 2016 at 4:45 PM.

Pokemon Go has done the impossible for mobile apps

Pokemon GO has rolled out in more than 30 countries and it is now two weeks since its US launch. The data around the usage patterns is becoming ever more mindboggling. New numbers AppAnnie has shared with BGR defy belief. Most apps would be deliriously happy to top 20 minute average daily engagement. But each Pokemon GO users spends more than an hour on the app every day. What makes this number stunning is the fact that more than 10% of all American smartphone users play the game.

It has the broadest user base of any mobile game, but also gets those users playing every day. This combination is completely unprecedented.

Apps that get their average user to spend an hour a day tapping the screen tend to appeal to small core of rabid fans. Whatsapp, a universally popular app is regarded as exceptionally addictive because it has managed to get to 27 minute daily average usage time.

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Tesla Master Plan Part Two

Here’s Elon Musk’s master plan for the future of transportation

By on July 20, 2016 at 9:05 PM.

Here’s Elon Musk’s master plan for the future of transportation

Elon Musk’s master plan: part two is here, and it’s a doozy. Rather than set out a short-term vision, he’s setting out a plan for how Tesla will save the world. No, actually.

In the plan, he’s outlining how Tesla as we know it is going to change. Forget fast sports cars: the future Tesla will feature pickup trucks, semi trailers and urban buses, with those concepts to be unveiled next year.

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Netflix price hike

Netflix’s price hike has it losing way more customers than expected

By on July 18, 2016 at 4:52 PM.

Netflix’s price hike has it losing way more customers than expected

Netflix just released numbers from the second quarter of 2016, which gives us our first look at how customers are responding to a price hike for older Netflix members. Prices are up from $7.99 to $9.99 for many people, and Netflix has seen its slowest growth ever in the US, adding 340,000 fewer subscribers than expected.

As you’d expect, the news has seen Netflix’s stock price tank, but the streaming giant is sticking to its guns.

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Samsung Electric Car

Samsung buys stake in Chinese car maker because smartphones are so 2007

By on July 18, 2016 at 2:55 PM.

Samsung buys stake in Chinese car maker because smartphones are so 2007

Samsung is well known for spreading its bets in the smartphone industry. Doesn’t matter if the future is curved displays, built-in projectors or your own operating system, because Samsung has researched them all.

The biggest name in Android phones is now diversifying its holdings outside consumer electronics, by purchasing a stake in Chinese car maker BYD. There may be some benefits to be gained by both companies — Samsung can bring its experience making semi-waterproof smartphones to in-car entertainment systems, and BYD gets something better than Apple CarPlay.

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Google EU Antitrust

The EU proves it doesn’t like Google, hits it with more antitrust charges

By on July 14, 2016 at 8:00 PM.

The EU proves it doesn’t like Google, hits it with more antitrust charges

It’s no secret that Google and the EU’s anti-competitive practices department have a rocky relationship. Google has been accused of abusing its monopoly power to keep competitors out of the business in the past, and now regulators are doubling down.

The European Commission today issued a “statement of objections” against Alphabet, Google’s parent company. The main complaint is the contract Google signs with third-party websites that use its advertising service, which forces websites to put Google’s ads front and center, and prevents them from using ads from non-Google services.

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Apple Samsung Lawsuit

Apple vs Samsung has a date with the Supreme Court

By on July 14, 2016 at 2:25 PM.

Apple vs Samsung has a date with the Supreme Court

Yes, the rounded rectangles dispute will be going all the way to the land’s highest court.

Five years after the Apple vs Samsung patent dispute officially kicked off, the case is set to be resolved once and for all. The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments over Samsung’s appeal in part of its long-running legal dispute, with the date set for October 11th. A verdict is expected sometime in December or January.

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Tesla Model X 60D

Does Tesla hate its own customers?

By on July 14, 2016 at 12:44 PM.

Does Tesla hate its own customers?

Among for-profit companies born in Silicon Valley, few have a nobler cause than Tesla. Make no mistake, Tesla is a publicly traded company and its goal first and foremost is to make money. But unlike most companies in and around the Valley, it’s changing the world for the better while it makes money. It doesn’t build useless iPhone apps and it’s not trying to launch an Uber for kitty litter. Tesla makes electric cars and has singlehandedly sped up the transition in the automotive industry from gas to alternative fuel sources by a decade at the very least.

With all that in mind, it’s difficult to comprehend how a company doing so much good can hate its customers so much at the same time. More →

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