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Google announced it’s wireless telephone service today for invitees with a Nexus 6, called Project Fi. TechCrunch reports the network promises to seamlessly switch customers between T-Mobile, Sprint and WiFi baed on whichever network is faster. The rate plan is similar to Ting. Subscribers pay $20 for unlimited talk and text and then $10 per gig of data. Customers pay only for what they use. You can request an invite at fi.google.com.
TechCrunch reports BlackBerry is buying WatchDox a startup in Israel that develops secure file sharing software. The plan is to add WatchDox software to BlackBerry’s Enterprise Mobility Management portfolio. In addition to the software, BlackBerry may use the WatchDox team to build an R&D operation in Israel.
Facebook released Hello, an Android app dialer that lets you make free calls over Wi-Fi according to The Verge. Hello uses Facebook to ID callers and search for phone numbers, and you can send numbers straight to voicemail by choosing the numbers or using a list of commonly blocked numbers crowdsourced from other users. If you miss a call Hello will let you respond using Facebook Messenger. Facebook says it has no plans to make money from the app directly.
The Verge reports that Microsoft is updating its Band wearable to integrate bike-tracking apps Strava and MapMyRide. The new insights are visible on the Microsoft Health Web Dashboard and can now provide comparisons with an average of other users based on height and weight. It will also show users how well their body is restoring overnight during sleep. And it tracks fitness improvements over time and volume of oxygen used during an exercise so you know what time of day you tend to have your most effective workout. Microsoft Health app for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone will also be updated to support step-counting sensors present in many smartphones.
CNET has a preview of HP’s new back to school Laptops and Hybrids. The $499 Pavilion x360 fold-back hybrid’s 11-inch model has a fanless design with comes with Intel’s Core M, a 1,366×768 touchscreen panel. The $529 13-inch Pavilion x360 comes with Core i3 and i5 and an optional 1920 x 1080p display. The $679 15.6-inch Envy x360 comes in silver and red and uses Core i5 or Core i7 and discrete graphics from Nvidia. HP’s other Pavilion laptops come online May 13 and in stores June 21 in 14”, 15”, and 17” all with optical drives starting at $479. The Pavilion x360 is out in the US May 13. The Envy x360 on June 13 online and June 21 in stores.
An application form to receive a free developer edition of Valve’s HTC Vive virtual reality set has been posted. Go to steamcommunity.com/steamvr/signup and enter your company name, URL, team size, and a detailed description of your VR project and you might just get a headset shipped to you this spring or summer.
News From You:
Jaymz668 and starfuryzeta both pointed out the Engadget article that Tesla emailed investors to let them know that the April 30th announcement from the company will be a battery for the home and a very large utility-oriented battery. No details on how the battery would improve on existing home batteries most often used to store excess power from solar installations. That’s what April 30th is for I expect.
Starfuryzeta marked the BBC story for inclusion that reports Adblock won a judgement in a Hamburg Germany court against German news publishers Die Zeit and Handelsblatt. The publishers claimed Adblock was anticompetitive and threatened company revenues. The court ruled users have a right to use the plug-in.
The Publishers may appeal after the written decision is delivered.
Waffleophagus pointed out the BGR report noting Jay-Z and softbank backed music service Tidal is no longer in the top 700 apps on iPhone in the US. Pandora and Spotify are numbers 3 and 4 in the US. Spotify was not in the top 40 prior to March 31. Tidal has announced an upcoming service called Disovery which will allow independent artists to upload their music directly to the service.
KAPT_KIpper posted a Gizmodo story from the RSA conference about an iOS 8 vulnerability demonstrated by researchers from Skycure Monday. If a device connects to a compromised WiFi access point attackers can generate an SSL certificate that can cause apps and sometimes the whole phone to crash and endlessly reboot. Targets of the attack would have to move out of range to stop the cycle. iOS 8.3 mitigates the effects somewhat. Skycure previously reported the vulnerability to Apple.
Discussion Section Links:
Pick of the day:
For my personal website and a few others that I run, I use a service called Cloudflare for DNS, as well as caching and HTTPS. It works like any other DNS provider, and has a very easy-to-use interface for managing your DNS records. It also provides various levels of caching of pages, scripts, and images on its CDN servers in different parts of the world, which improves your site’s load times and reduces server load, and can even run various optimizations on them to further reduce file sizes and load times. And, it lets you enable HTTPS for your sites, even if you don’t have your own SSL certificate, and without any server configuration—all you need to do is press a button; same with enabling IPv6 access to your site, even if your server doesn’t have IPv6. Best of all, while they do have additional, paid features available, all of what I mentioned and use is available with a free account (as long as you don’t mind sharing an SSL certificate with other sites; you can pay for your domain to have its own certificate). I highly recommend it: https://www.cloudflare.com/
Ron Ladd wrote:
There are a number of sources for good high quality music and hdtracks.com is one of them.
Just be sure you know what you are buying and if it is worth what you pay. To quote from a site that has fantastic information on audio, “misinformation and superstition only serve charlatans. Xiph.org has a good article “24/192 music downloads …and why they make no sense” you can find it at
Just under the headline is a link to a video clip, “Digital Show and Tell” that is the best 24 minute digital audio vs analog audio explainer that is MUST WATCH for anyone interested in audio, you can find this clip at
Ross writes in:
The problem with the twitter vs phone analogy from the conversation with Jenny and Patrick is this: Over the years, laws have been passed to prevent harassment and provide recourse to the victims of telephone harassment. Twitter does not have these protections. Add in the ease of the harasser recruiting aid with a simple hash tag and it gets ugly fast.
Rich from Lovely Cleveland had a good thought:
“Twitter is interested in free speech in so much that it makes them a relevant conduit of information, against which they can serve ads, and when free speech enters into them realm of heinous abuse or bullying, they have the financial interest to curb it so as not to dissuade users. …“free speech” is a charged phrase, and Twitter’s obligation to it is purely commercial (which in this case is leading to an outcome that appears to be morally satisfying).”
I would love to see Twitter accounts require identity verification. …And with this improved level of accountability, if you are getting harassed, go to the police! I would like to see arrests. And one of the first things the police/FBI do when you report death threats or harassment is to tell you not to publicize or draw attention to the fact you have been threatened. It makes the situation 1) harder to investigate 2) invites more trolls. And yet this is never what these people do.
Cody wrote in with the positive side of Twitter DMS:
He wanted to use an artist’s music in a game he was developing and had to go through the long dance of publicly at replying the person getting them to follow him back and THEN being able to DM. “This was somewhat frustrating considering the timed nature of my project, and although you could make the case that the artist should have had other ways to contact him, not being able to do so on Twitter unless we followed each other has a bit annoying.”
Thursday’s guests: Lamarr Wilson & Justin Robert Young