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Watch this incredible video of Elon Musk’s reusable rocket in action

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 15:11

One of the problems with space travel is how wasteful it is — the rockets that help propel space shuttles into the atmosphere fall off once they reach a certain height and are often completely unsalvageable after they crash back down to Earth. However, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s company SpaceX has just posted a new video showing off its Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) rocket in action and it looks like the team at SpaceX have done some mind-blowing engineering work. As you can see, the video shows the F9R taking off and then hovering 250 meters in the air before slowly descending and then gently landing right back on the launch pad it took off from. Musk and SpaceX are working

Watch SpaceX's second attempt at launching a reusable rocket (update: launched!)

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 15:05

After many "Grasshopper" tests, SpaceX's first real try at launching a reusable rocket will attempt flight again in just a few minutes -- watch the live stream here or embedded after the break. Scrubbed due to a helium leak a couple of days ago, the Falcon 9 rocket is once again facing gloomy skies, but according to launch control, everything is a go. Weather permitting, the launch is scheduled for 3:25PM ET.

Comcast and Time Warner Cable could sell millions of customers to Charter

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 14:54

Comcast and Time Warner Cable could offload between 3 million and 5 million customers to Charter Communications, according to a Financial Times report. Selling off a sizable chunk of customers could help better the odds of Comcast's TWC acquisition getting a thumbs up from federal regulators. Comcast claims those assets and subscribers would be worth a total of $17 billion, a figure that would climb if the company winds up letting go of 5 million customers. If a deal can be worked out, it would be a decent consolation prize for Charter, the fourth-largest US cable company.

HTC has a secret weapon for taking on Samsung, and it’s not what you think

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 14:45

No matter how positive the reviews are for its products, HTC can’t seem to break out from behind the shadow of Samsung. Without a veritable army of devices flooding store shelves, it’s difficult for any phone maker to make an impact in the Android smartphone market. But HTC believes that by closing the gap on dedicated cameras, it can attract an even wider audience while trumping the competition. Speaking with Vodafone, HTC’s camera expert Symon Whitehorn said that the phone camera will continue to be a vital aspect of the industry’s growth and development. “As smartphones have become people’s primary camera, we expect more of them,” says Whitehorn. “That’s why we’ve put so much investment into the camera – because smartphone

SpaceX's third supply mission takes off for the ISS

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 14:29

Update April 18th, 2014 3:30pm: The Falcon 9 has successfully launched, and the capsule is headed towards the ISS for a Sunday docking. After weeks of delays, SpaceX is preparing to launch its third supply mission to the International Space Station. The Falcon 9 rocket and accompanying Dragon capsule are expected to blast off from Cape Canaveral at 3:25 EDT, and the craft is set to rendezvous with the space station on the morning of Sunday, April 20th. The CRS-3 mission, carried out through a partnership with NASA, comes almost two years after the Dragon capsule became the first commercial craft to ever dock with the ISS.

Camera deals of the week: 4.18.14

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 14:24

Snatching up a new camera can be a considerable investment, especially if you're after a unit that combines stellar images with a host of features. Fret not friends: We're here to help. Just beyond the break, you'll find a handful of photo gadgets that are all available at attractive discounts for the time being.

Steam Gaming Site Hit With Phishing Scam

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 14:16

A new phishing scam tries to trick gamers on the Steam online video game platform into divulging their passwords — and it does so by masquerading as Steam's own security measures and tricking users into disabling the Steam app's built-in protection. That significantly increases users' security, but it also means they're used to receiving Steam account emails. Steam Guard also lets users designate certain computers as always-authorized, so when they log in on that computer, Steam Guard won't prompt them for an emailed code.

Finally, Apple Maps is good for something

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 14:03

Sure, Apple Maps might send you into a death trap in the Australian outback or onto an airport runway, but it does do things that other mapping services don’t, such as being able to find imaginary monsters. AppleInsider points out that hunters of the Loch Ness Monster claim that they found an image of the mythical beast on a satellite image provided by Apple’s iOS Maps, which was something that they didn’t find when they tried looking for it on Google Maps. Loch Ness enthusiast Andy Dixon tells The Daily Mail that that he captured an image of what he claims to be the Loch Ness Monster on his iPhone through iOS Maps, although the image in his picture actually looks

Ukrainian Jews are caught in a propaganda war

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 13:58

A group of masked men issued a chilling warning to Jews living in eastern Ukraine this week: register with the government, or face deportation. According to reports from local and Israeli media, the men were seen outside a synagogue in the city of Donetsk on Wednesday, where they were handing out leaflets to people leaving a Passover service. Written on the papers were orders for all Jews over the age of 16 to register their names and property with a governmental office, and to provide documents to "register your Jewish religion." The identities of the men remain unknown, and it's not clear whether they are affiliated with a particular movement or political party.

Facebook Paper got its first big update today, but is anyone using it?

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 13:51

Here's a shocker: Facebook's first major update to Paper, its socially augmented news-reading app, makes it more social. Specifically, the app's 1.1 update now allows users to comment on posts using photos, as well as added birthday ...

Erdogan challenges social media in top Turkish court

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 13:50

By Orhan Coskun ANKARA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan applied to Turkey's constitutional court on Friday to challenge the alleged violation of his and his family's rights by social media, a senior official in his office told Reuters. Erdogan's government blocked Twitter and YouTube in March, drawing international condemnation, after audio recordings, purportedly showing corruption in his inner circle, were leaked on their sites. The Twitter block was lifted earlier this month after the constitutional court ruled that it breached freedom of expression, a decision Erdogan has since said was wrong and should be overturned. YouTube remains blocked in Turkey.

My week with the new Google Play Edition HTC One

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 13:29

Google's special Google Play Edition smartphones have always appealed to me: I can get the best hardware in the Android world, without any of the software garbage that manufacturers typically add to the platform. But that doesn't always make for the best option: in the case of the Sony Z Ultra, Sony's version proved to be a better smartphone than the one with strictly Google's software. Like last year, Google is selling its own version of the new One, the clumsily named HTC One (M8) Google Play Edition for $699 unlocked. It's the same impressive hardware as the standard One, but it ditches HTC's software customizations for a stripped down version of Android 4.4 KitKat.

Biometrics expert slams Apple and Samsung fingerprint scanners as unsecured ‘gimmicks’

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 13:28

It’s pretty safe to say that computer science Professor Willy Susilo won’t be relying on a fingerprint scanner to keep his mobile phone secure. In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, Susilo says that the fingerprint scanners used by Apple and Samsung are mere “gimmicks” that hackers can easily fool and that don’t give users and real biometric security.  That said, Susilo doesn’t think that this means biometrics have no place mobile security. In fact he’s very bullish on two different kinds of biometrics scanners that may one day grace our smartphones: Retina scanners and vein scanners. Susilo is more optimistic about vein scanners, mostly because there are concerns among biometrics researchers that iris scanners could present cancer risks. Another advantage to

Video: Awesome accessory puts transparent physical keyboard on your iPad’s screen

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 13:05

Tactus Technology is a startup that has developed an accessory that can create transparent keyboard buttons on top of a touchscreen display. The company is working with Taiwan-based Wistron, Business Insider reports, to manufacture such a keyboard case accessory for the iPad, which should start shipping later this year. The cases, which will cost between $80 and $100, will work with help of a liquid that forms the physical buttons when such a feature is needed. The cases have two components, including a thin display layer that looks like a screen protector, but allows fluid to pass through it, and a hard-shell backing which will supposedly store the liquid in addition to protecting the device. With a push of a button,

Facebook's Paper app is looking less and less like Facebook

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 13:00

With Paper, Facebook set out to prove that it could "think small," rebuilding itself from the ground up for mobile devices. This meant removing lots of clutter, and in some cases, leaving out certain features that some Facebook users might have considered essential. Today, Facebook is launching Paper 1.1, an update meant to add back a few of Facebook's most important features, while continuing to think about how Paper can be different. Paper 1.1's most noticeable addition is the inclusion of Birthdays and Events, two of Facebook's oldest features.

The Open Source Initiative hopes public awareness is Heartbleed's 'silver lining'

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 13:00

​Looking for a positive take to cut though all the negative press that Heartbleed has been getting? Then the Open Source Initiative (OSI) has one. The news has been full of stories about the exploit in OpenSSL (itself, an open-source project) that has caused a wave of panic around the internet.

New Samsung transparent displays blur the line between virtual reality and the real world

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:40

Although Samsung often gets tagged as a copycat in the realm of smartphones, the company really does produce some remarkable innovations, particularly in the realm of displays. Patent Shot has spotted a recently filed Samsung patent for a new kind of transparent display technology that can be used to convincingly add digital images to the real world and thus blur the line between virtual reality and physical reality. What makes this technology particularly impressive is the way it’s capable of tracking where a user is and adjusting the image accordingly. So if you had a store window with a virtual display set up on one of Samsung’s transparent screens, people looking at it would be able to see it from

FCC sets up the 'incentive auction' that will lead to better wireless internet for everyone

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:36

Last week at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) show, FCC head Tom Wheeler pushed broadcasters to loosen their grip on spectrum that the agency plans to auction off to give wireless internet room to grow. Now, he's laid out a draft of the rules for the auction before it takes place next year. The upcoming incentive auction will be a three stage process that, once completed, should open up more wireless spectrum for high-speed services like WiFi.

Tablets are killing consoles in the video streaming market

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:15

There’s a major fight brewing in the rapidly growing video streaming market over which device consumers use the most to watch their favorite online content. Game consoles, PC’s and connected devices linked to television sets have all proven somewhat popular… and yet it seems that nothing can stop the tablet juggernaut.  The latest sign of rapid tablet ascendancy in streaming video consumption comes from the BBC (PDF), which tracks closely the performance of iPlayer, one of the most popular methods to view video content in the United Kingdom. The iPlayer is now generating more than 10 million video requests a day, up from 2.5 million a day in April 2009. And what is really striking is how much of the demand

Sony Xperia Z2 review: a big, powerful slab of a phone

Fri, 04/18/2014 - 12:00

It's been nearly three years since I reviewed the Xperia Neo, manufactured by what was then Sony Ericsson. The Neo represented just the second generation of Xperia phones running on Android, from a period when Sony was finding its feet in the world of mobile and still chucking out plenty of duds (I'm looking at you, Tablet P). Fast-forward to today and things have changed dramatically under Kaz Hirai's stewardship.