Microsoft Patents ‘Inconspicuous Mode’ For Cellphones

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Microsoft has patented an “inconspicuous mode” for making sure cellphones behave themselves in movie theaters and similar settings. But the patent is vague about exactly how the setting would be triggered. After applying for the patent, titled “Inconspicuous mode for mobile devices” in 2013, Microsoft received the final thumbs up from the US Patent and […]

Obvious Passwords Are Obvious, Shock Study Shows

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Once again a list of the most used passwords has revealed some obvious choices. And once again, that tells us nothing about the state of security. As happens every year, SplashData (which by amazing coincidence is a password manager service provider) has published a list of the most common passwords, based on databases that have […]

Two Satellites Make One Telescope In New Space Plan

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The European Space Agency plans to sync two satellites to create a single, virtual telescope. If it works, it could mean hugely increased telescopic power. The ESA Proba-3 project, scheduled for launch in 2018, is designed to not only carry out a practical task (studying our Sun in greater detail) but to test a principle: […]

Elon Musk Plans 700 Mile-an-Hour Hyperloop Test Track

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Elon Musk says he will be building a test track for his 700 mile-an-hour Hyperloop system. He says it will most likely be a five-mile long loop somewhere in Texas. The basic concept of Hyperloop is that rather then trains, passengers would travel in capsules within a tube with reduced air pressure. Each capsule would […]

Cellphone Time Bug Causes Aussie Confusion

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Bleary-eyed Australian commuters confused by the dark turned out to be victims of a bug in local cellphone towers. Local radio stations reported numerous calls from drivers in Brisbane wondering why traffic was busier than usual before the traditional rush hour. Meanwhile coffee shops reported customers who seemed less amplified than normal, while one radio […]

smrtGRiPS: Bicycle Navigation GPS Tool Brings Good Vibrations

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A project looking for crowdfunding turns bicycle handlebars into a GPS navigation and security device. smrtGRiPS is designed to make it safer to use GPS and other mapping devices on a bike. The gadget comes in two parts: a pair of grips to replace the ones already on your handles, and a pair of waterproof, […]

Rare NES Game Pushing $100,000 On eBay

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A copy of one of the rarest ever video games is attracting near six-figure bids on eBay. The listing is for a sealed copy of Stadium Events on NES from 1987. At the time of writing, the highest of 81 bids on the cartridge was $99,850, with three days remaining. That means that unless the […]

Researchers Create Program that “Solves” Texas Hold’em Poker

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Researchers in Canada say¬†they’ve created a computer program that has “weakly solved” a form of poker. It may be the first such solution for a game where players don’t have all relevant information available to them. Cepheus, developed at the University of Alberta, is said to be able to play a perfect game of two-player […]

Netflix Denies VPN Crackdown

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Netflix says it has not made any changes to the way it deals with users who try to access content from the version of the service in another country. But it’s reiterated that doing so is a violation of the terms of service. Several reports had claimed Netflix was cracking down on people who use […]

Earth Gets New Closest “Twin” Planet

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The Kepler space telescope has discovered its 1000th exoplanet, including one that’s been described as the most Earth-like to date. Meanwhile astronomers have confirmed the theory that the speed at which a star spins shows its age. Nasa announced this week that Kepler has discovered another eight exoplanets (a planet from outside our solar system), […]

Pirate Party Politician Leads Official European Copyright Review

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A Pirate Party politician is writing an official review of copyright law for the European Parliament. However, reports that Julia Reda will be writing new rules aren’t quite the case. Reda was elected to the European Parliament last May under Germany’s proportional representation voting system. New rules that removed a minimum threshold meant that although […]

PlayStation Now Gets Monthly Subscription Option

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Sony is launching an “all you can play” monthly subscription deal for its streaming service Playstation Now. It hopes the move will attract players put off by the current confusing and often expensive per-game pricing. The service was announced this time last year and launched as an “open beta” in July. It lets player access […]