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CNET reports Apple made a minor spec upgrade to processors in its MacBook Air laptops, going from a 1.3GHZ chip to a 1.4GHz Core i5. However, Apple did something more unusual when it also dropped prices. The 11.6-inch MacBook Air dropped 100 dollars to $899 in the US and £100 to £749 in the UK. The entry-level 13.3-inch Air dropped 100 to $999 in the US and £849 in the UK.
The Next Web reports on Acer’s latest product line announcement including the Liquid Leap smart band that tracks fitness and pairs with a smartphone. It’s 17mm wide and will come as a bundle with Acer’s Liquid Jade 5-inch smartphone. Both products are expected to launch in late July or early August, although not in the US. However they might want to list on Amazon. That company just launched a new section of its site called Wearable Technology, covering smartwatches, wearable cameras such as the GoPro, healthcare devices and fitness trackers.
Reuters reports Apple and Samsung both made their closing arguments in the titanic patent case going on in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Meanwhile in the court of public opinion, TechCrunch reports Apple and Samsung are both losing. Strategy Analytics released smartphone market share figures for Q1. Samsung dropped a point to 31.2% of the market. Apple dropped two points to 15.3%. Huawei even stayed flat at 4.&%. The market as a whole grew 33%, so it’s smaller vendors like Lenovo who are making all the gains.
Chairman Risto Siilasmaa is done being Nokia’s interim CEO according to Recode. He can go back to his chairman role, as Rajeev Suri takes over as CEO of the new mobile-phoneless Nokia as of May 1st. Suri perviously served as head of the company’s network infrastructure equipment business. He has been with Nokia since 1995.
The Verge reports on the MIT Bitcoin Club’s program to give $100 worth of bitcoins to every MIT undergrad this autumn. The club raised a half million dollars from alumni and the bitcoin community in order to research what happens when an entire community has access to the currency. The club will work with the campus, local merchants and faculty for support in the project.
News From You
Our top story on the subreddit was submitted by spsheridan, pointing to a DSLReports post that the FCC has taken the unusual step of creating an email for feedback, regarding its open Internet guidelines, before the notice of proposed rulemaking has officially been approved in a meeting. You can send your thoughts about the proposed ‘net neutrality’ rules to [email protected]. The meeting to approve the notice happens May 15th, after which a period for public comment will open.
gowlkick posted the CNET story about Firefox’s major interface refresh, the first big design change since 2011. Among the new features are a Firefox account to smooth cross-browser sync, a customizable graphic menu and rounded tabs that better emphasize what tab you’re looking at. You can now get to menu items from a triple-lined icon at the upper right, similar to Chrome and IE. Overall the changes attempt to unify the look across mobile and desktop. Firefox 29 is available at getfirefox.com
KAPT_Kipper sent in the Verge story that Netflix announced it has agreed to an interconnect agreement with Verizon, similar to the agreement it struck recently with Comcast. Netflix hopes the agreement will, “improve performance for our joint customers over the coming months.” After the Comcast agreement Verizon had indicated it was close to such an agreement itself. AT&T is said to be prusuing a similar deal.
ArokTheBourbonGuy submitted the Gizmodo story that University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering found graphene oxide nanoparticles are very mobile in lakes or streams and therefore likely to cause negative environmental impacts if released. Graphene in groundwater was found to settle out or be removed by subsurface environments. The work makes it important to reduce the risk of spilling graphene into surface water.
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Pick of the Day: Xboot via Justin “Chivalrybean” Lowmaster
XBoot is a program to create a bootable USB stick from various ISO files. I use mine to load SpinRite, MemCheck, Ubuntu Live and some others. I found it while looking for one by watching this review on Hak5: Thanks for the show, Tom and Scott!