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A Lego version of Bill Gates reveals the best books he read this year

Bill Gates is serious about good books -- and he's sharing his top picks for the year in a video.

The Avengers assemble to sing Christmas carols

Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and the rest of the Avengers would like to wish you a merry Christmas.

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Here's What We Talked About Most On Facebook In 2014

Last year it was Pope Francis, the Royal Baby and Miley Cyrus. But this year, our conversations -- Facebook conversations, that is -- were all about Ebola, the World Cup and the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Lazy Expert Syndrome: What Brought Down Al Capone Can Keep You On Top Of Your Game

This may seem a little off topic but not only is it important in itself it relates to the topic -it’s not necessarily true that our brains work on the basic premise that we fear what we don’t understand. This is a learned or conditioned mindset. The example given of the child touching the stove exemplifies it. The child is not yet conditioned that the unknown needs to be immediately feared. Sometimes, as we are taught, if fear is injected into the learning/gaining of knowledge and wisdom equation, especially when it’s the underlying vehicle in which the knowledge is communicated, we can unknowingly promote undue fear of uncertainty.

U.S. Tech Giants Battle Europe’s Sovereign States

BRUSSELS—From Berlin to Madrid, from London to Paris, U.S. technology companies are in a pitched battle with Europe’s sovereign states.

Portland Sues Uber

If Uber continues to operate in the city, both the company and individual drivers face some pretty massive fines. Each time they’re busted, it’s a $1,500 ticket to the company and at least $2,250 in fines to the driver. Even if it’s just one dude’s job to write a ticket or two each day, that’s a million dollars in fines by this time next year.

YouTube's Apple TV Gets a New Look, More Videos ... and Ads

If you’ve used YouTube on devices like Google’s Android handsets, Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation in the last couple of years, you’ll know what’s coming to Apple TV today. Here’s a video that plays up features like the new design and search capabilities, but doesn’t dwell on the ads part:

Uber taxi app banned in Spain

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Why Social Responsibility Needs To Be More Than Just A Fad

In a world in which corporations are rich and governments are poor, the idea that business can play a positive role in society is simply too appealing to allow it to perish as a mere fad. Academics are using positive business to describe what we hope will be the unsexy landing place for this important idea when the bluster and reckless talk have subsided. Toward this end, we define positive business as practices that enhance the welfare of all a firm’s stakeholders—customers, employees, shareholders, and community members.

Enterprise odyssey: How B2B startups made it back to center stage | ZDNet

Additionally, cheap hosting lowered the cost of building a startup and the cost of scaling it. It's now easier for a B2B startup to grow to meet the needs of large customers. According to Herrod, many of these products have been adding higher level services as well, such as built-in data analytics, and startups can leverage these platforms to build at a higher point on the stack.

Can Silicon Valley disrupt journalism if journalists hate being disrupted? | Emily Bell

The media world has changed so much that the New Republic, the Washington Post and the New York Times can never be what they once were, no matter who holds the purse strings and no matter who is in charge of editorial. But we do still need institutions that take seriously the mission of informing and debating, of reporting events and exchanging ideas – and we need them to be integrated into the way that people consume and participate in news. To get there, the marriages between owners and editors – between technologists and journalists – need to learn to operate on mutual respect. Putting technology to use for journalism needs not two distinct cultures but a new and unified one.

HBO Aims for April Launch for Web-Only Service

HBO wants to launch its  Web-only version of the pay-TV channel in April, and will use Major League Baseball’s digital video arm to handle delivery and other back-end operations, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. If HBO succeeds, that means the service will be available for the new season of the company’s hit “Game of Thrones.”  Fortune first reported on HBO’s timetable and tech partner.

Bloodborne is less scary with friends

What's better than slaughtering juicy, demonic beasts? Slaughtering juicy, demonic beasts with friends . The Bloodborne trailer shown at The Game Awards on Friday features some co-op dicing and slicing action. Relive the gory glory. [Image: From Software]

Sonar finds intact 'ghost ship' off the Hawaiian coast - CNET

A research team surveying the sea floor off the coast of O'ahu has found an intact ship sitting upright under 2,000 feet of water.

Tech's Lost Chapter: An Oral History of Boston's Rise and Fall, Part Two

The engineers and scientists spilling out of Greater Boston’s world-class universities built the foundations of the modern computing era and amassed the densest cluster of life sciences companies in the world. The region lost some of its most promising startups to Silicon Valley, famously including Facebook. But business is booming — and researchers and entrepreneurs there are aiming far higher than the next social network. This Re/code special series takes a closer look at past, present and future innovation in the region.

Dashlane's Password Changer Automatically Updates Logins

Password manager Dashlane has acquired New York-based startup PassOmatic , turning its automatic password change technology into a new feature. Password Changer allows users to select the logins they want to update and Dashlane generates a new strong password that’s synced across all their devices.

IGN on Twitter

OMFG!!!!!!!!!!! “ @IGN : Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster looks set to hit PS4 next year: ”

Android Studio Hits 1.0, Makes It Easier to Build Android Apps

Until today, Google had been encouraging developers to use the Eclipse IDE for building Android apps, but it now offers a migration path for Eclipse users into the new Android studio environment.

PM Abe says Apple to build big R&D center in Japan: media

TOKYO (Reuters) - Apple Inc is building a technical development center in Japan, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo said on Tuesday, which a company spokesman later confirmed, saying that the plan calls for several dozen jobs to be created as a result.

Now you can haggle on Amazon

Now you can haggle on Amazon Shoppers in some corners of Amazon can now haggle with sellers, turning parts of the world's biggest store into the world's largest bazaar. The online marketing giant announced its new "Make An Offer" functionality Tuesday. Check out this story on

HBO's Standalone Service Coming This Spring

Per their report, HBO scuttled plans to build the web-only service internally, instead building on technology developed by MLB Advanced Media, which also provides streaming services for WWE Network. HBO executives are apparently displeased with the work of its own technology wing, citing frequent outages during highly popular shows like Game of Thrones and True Detective (at least one of which was the result of a long-ignored memory leak CTO Otto Berkes deemed a non-issue) and other user complaints.

This Far Cry 4 Concept Art Is Absolutely Breathtaking - IGN

Share. From temple interiors to lonely mountain villages, these are things of beauty.

Blackphone gets a secure app store for apps that don't spy on you - CNET

The Blackphone does have access to Amazon's rival Android app store, but setting up its own app emporium will ensure corporate users and security-minded individuals can get useful apps safe in the knowledge they'll meet the standards of privacy a user seeks when buying a device like this.

Krysten Ritter of 'Breaking Bad' to solve mysteries as Jessica Jones - CNET

Marvel says "Breaking Bad" actress Krysten Ritter will play the superhero-turned-private investigator in the TV series "Marvel's A.K.A. Jessica Jones" debuting on Netflix in 2015.

The Broadband Industry Pretends To Be Worried About Your Soaring Bill In Attempt To Undermine Net Neutrality | Techdirt

Speaking as an engineer, I've done cost estimates, and, assuming a reasonable system, additional costs of building it are not that high. I don't mean optical fiber up the wazoo, I mean recycling short enough segments enough of the copper subscriber loops-- which are already in the ground-- to get a performance standard which can be economically justified. Switches and trunk lines have enormous economies of scale, compared to subscriber loops, so when someone tells you that switches and trunk lines would cost too much to allow network neutrality, he is either misinformed or lying. If the party in question owns a sports team, and has an economic interest in compelling everyone to watch his sports team, the latter possibility is more likely. What he is really saying is that he wants, maliciously, to keep a private subscriber loop under-utilized in order to maximize profits. Now, I would agree with you that local governments have a tendency to treat telecommunications as a slush fund. However, this is a matter of perceiving the telecommunications companies' corruption, a case of two crooks finding each other.

News organizations fight to release Steve Jobs deposition video - CNET

The two-hour video deposition, filmed in April of 2011, six months before Jobs died to complications related to pancreatic cancer, was a key moment in the trial when 30 minutes of it were shown Friday. The testimony from other witnesses may have been more germane to the case, but the never-before-seen video footage of the late executive has grabbed the spotlight and, Burke argues, deserves to be shown to the public because it is "far more compelling and accurate than any transcript could ever be."

When the Computer Mouse Was New

Back then, the over-30 set will remember, you had to periodically take apart the mouse and clean out the lint from around the heavy roller ball inside. As the years passed, the design got sleeker. Mice were contoured to fit the user's hand, made of shiny plastic, lightweight, and eventually wireless. There have been other incarnations, too. A knee-controlled device and a floor mouse that you could control with your foot like a gas pedal. (Not to mention joysticks and light pens .)

New Apple Patent From PrimeSense Covers Kinect-Style 3D Space Mapping

Apple has begun to transfer intellectual property over from PrimeSense, the Israeli firm it acquired last year. The company was a key partner to Microsoft, which licensed its tech to create the Kinect 3D motion sensing camera, which allows users to interact with Xbox and PC via gesture control. This first patent being reassigned from PrimeSense to Apple (via AppleInsider ) covers some of the basics around the light projection and optical components of a 3D mapping sensor system.

10 Steps Towards A Better, More Productive You In 2015

Seeking simplicity in life is one way to create the margin of time, but daily life seems to get more complex every year, and time can slip through our hands like sand. One simple exercise is to list the things that you need to stop doing in the year ahead. List the distractions, the time-wasters, and the headache-inducers with the reasons why you need to stop them. Then list all of the things you need to do that you’re not that will help you drive towards your goals.

Crave Ep. 185: A whole new way of looking at ultrasound: You can touch it - CNET

New ultrasound tech uses "Acoustic Radiation Force" to create shapes you can see, feel, and interact with right in front of your face.

Hackers contacted top Sony executives before attack

Top executives at Sony Pictures received an email extorting money three days before the company's computer network was taken offline in a major hack.

Apple Releases iOS 8.1.2 With Fix for Disappearing Ringtone Issue

I've never even heard about this issues and I hang around Apple-related forums and websites quite a bit. However, I and many others have a ridiculously long laundry list of iOS 8 bugs that haven't even been addressed. How about all the crashing? My 6 Plus many times can't even switch from one Safari tab to the next without the last one reloading when you go back. I don't even remember my original iPhone with 128MB of RAM being that bad. Furthermore there are tons of other glitches, like white text overlaying the black status bar text sometimes, rotating video glitches on the Plus, problems with reachability not activating (sometimes it just stops for several minutes and then works fine), or reachability not even working with quick reply which means I can't reach the send button, or the Touch ID dialog screen sometimes freezes up the phone with a dark overlay that makes it impossible to touch anything, or iCloud Photo Library that has never worked, or the shoddy WiFi issues on the Air 2, or problems with slow-mo videos sometimes not recording in slow-mo, or that my share sheets sometimes still lose the order I've set the icons to, and several other things that I can't even recall at the moment.

Parse Launches Crash Reporting, Brings Local Datastore To iOS

As Parse co-founder James Yu told me yesterday, the tool is using the same technology Facebook uses for its own apps like Slingshot and the main Facebook app. “What we’ve done at Parse is that we’ve taken that technology and productized it for Parse,” he told me. It only take one line of code to enable Crash Reporting in existing apps and the analytics are then integrated into Parse analytics. As with all Parse services, developers are also free to only use this one part of the platform in their apps, even if they don’t use any other Parse tools.

Sony employees to meet with FBI over hacked personal data - CNET

Circumstantial evidence and speculation suggested the hackers were working on behalf of North Korea, which has denounced Sony's upcoming film "The Interview," starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as TV journalists who become embroiled in a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. In June, North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the movie "terrorism" and described film-makers as "gangster-like scoundrels." A spokesman for the foreign ministry said the country would retaliate if the film -- due for release next month -- is shown. Over the weekend, North Korea expressed support for the hackers but denied involvement in the attack.

Hackers warn Sony Pictures to pull The Interview as new data dump spills more beans

With this latest data dump, which also revealed that the hackers contacted the company three days prior to the November 24 attack demanding “monetary compensation,” it’s clear that Sony Pictures’ headache is fast developing into more of a painful migraine. Perhaps when it’s all blown over, this remarkable story will end up on the big screen as a Sony-backed crime thriller, though the question for many following the saga is: What happens in the final act?

The Verge on Twitter

йее! ЮБЕР! -> RT @verge : Uber banned in Spain, India, and Thailand due to 'illegal' operations 

With a line of JavaScript, Obama now the first Coder In Chief

It’s not enough to preach teaching kids how to code — today U.S. President Barack Obama took his turn at the keyboard to do a few exercises and learn how to write a line of JavaScript , too.

See The Most Beautiful Data Visualizations Of 2014

Rappers, Sorted by Size of Vocabulary by Matthew Daniels - Gold Winner Click to expand. Daniels compares Shakespeare's storied vocab to that of rappers. "My inspiration for the project was pretty simple: I had a full database from, a lyrics site, containing over 65,000 hip hop songs. I had just learned D3, a data visualization framework, and read the Natural Language Toolkit book (the first chapter describes how to calculate the unique words in a corpus). I used a research methodology called token analysis to determine each artist’s vocabulary. Each word is counted once, so pimps, pimp, pimping, and pimpin are four unique words. To avoid issues with apostrophes (e.g., pimpin’ vs. pimpin), they’re removed from the dataset."

Netflix exec: we want to be everywhere in the world in five years

Netflix stepped up its international expansion this year by entering six new markets in Europe, including France and Germany. The company also announced earlier this month that it wants to launch in Australia and New Zealand next April. That launch will bring the number of countries that Netflix is available in to over 50.

You can buy Samsung's virtual reality headset right now for $200

Consumer virtual reality is kind of, sort of , almost a reality. It's basically a reality today , actually, as Samsung's virtual reality headset -- "Gear VR" -- is available for purchase online. As previously reported, the headset will set you back $200 and it requires a Note 4 smartphone to act as its screen. The device is dubbed "Innovator Edition" by Samsung, and the Korean phone giant clearly isn't joking around with that phrase: the product order page requires you to acknowledge that you're buying a, "device targeted specifically to developers or early adopters of technology." So, how is it, and should you buy it? When we last used it at IFA 2014, we were impressed (check out our hands-on below the break). Whether you should buy it, however? We can't tell you just yet -- expect a full review of Samsung's Gear VR from Engadget just as soon as we get our hands (heads?) on one. If you just can't wait for the review, here's where you can buy Gear VR right now .

Uber hits regulatory speed bumps in Thailand, Spain and Rio de Janeiro

Uber hit a few more regulatory bumps on its road to world domination this week with bans in Thailand, Spain and a threat of car seizures in Rio de Janeiro.

Amazon Now Lets Shoppers Bid on Collectibles

While these items have a list price, users can indicate how much they’re willing to pay, and receive a response via email within 72 hours. Sellers can choose to match your offer, reject it or negotiate an alternative price with you. In the meantime, other shoppers can also make offers and even purchase the item at the listed price.

5 myths and 5 mistakes job-hunting coders must know about

Thanks to strong demand and high median annual wages, more and more people have pursued careers as computer programmers over the past few years. If you are looking to break into the industry (or to move into a new position by augmenting your skills), you need to be aware of these five myths and five mistakes that can keep you from getting that job offer. Read on as Coding Dojo founder Michael Choi puts you on the road to the job you want. Good luck!

Amazon: U.S. Is Blocking Its Testing of Drones Inc., which recently began testing delivery drones in the U.K., is warning American officials it plans to move even more of its drone research abroad if it doesn’t get permission to test-fly in the U.S. soon.

For Microsoft, new Windows revenue may mean 'subscriptions'

Although Turner did not share details of what Microsoft might do, he reminisced about the good old days. "The first 39 years of our company, we had one of the greatest business models of all time built around ... the Windows client operating system," Turner said. "The beautiful thing about the old-world business model was that, hey, as a customer bought our software, we got paid 100% of it up front and we got paid regardless of whether they used it or not."

U.K. Court Case Against Google Could Clarify Law On Private Data

The U.K. data protection watchdog, the ICO, has intervened in a court case brought against Google on privacy grounds by a group of U.K. Internet users because it is interested in how aspects of the case might help clarify questions around the jurisdiction of national data protection law vis-à-vis Internet giants, which are invariably based overseas.

Porch Goes Beyond Data Services, Launches Tools To Connect Homeowners With Pros

The other major announcement today is the launch of Porch Booking in Seattle. With this, homeowners can get basic maintenance projects done with a few clicks. Porch has certified a number of professionals who have passed its background checks and are licensed, insured and bonded. Using Porch’s tools, homeowners can book them for pre-negotiated rates. Ehrlichman tells me those rates are competitive and the company takes a small fee from the pros whenever it brokers a deal. Just like Uber drivers, the pros are rated at the end of each job and have to remain above a certain rating to remain eligible for this program.

Google mobile search is now 100-150 milliseconds faster, but only in Chrome for Android

The browser limitation comes down to Google only enabling reactive prefetch for Android users running Chrome. The company gives two reasons for the decision: Its mobile browser is the only one that supports dynamically inserted prefetch hints and reliably allows prefetch requests to persist across navigations.

BMW i8 looks like the future of driving (pictures) - CNET

Somewhere in this car is a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and an electric drive motor, but the manual notes that only BMW personnel should open it up.

These are the 8 biggest lies the CIA told us about torture

The newly released Senate report has already drawn attention for  its harrowing view of the details of US torture , but it also comes at the end of a long and frightening effort to keep those details secret. As the new report makes clear, CIA officials lied to Congress over and over in defense of the program, whether it was to make torture seem more effective, less brutal, or more legally sanctioned than it really was, making it impossible for the legislature to provide effective oversight. Here are the eight biggest lies, noted with frustration over and over again throughout the report. It's an incomplete list, but an important one to keep in mind if there's ever going to be a meaningful check on the power of US intelligence agencies.

Haptic 3D Shapes in Mid Air - 3D Printing Industry

Imagine using your favorite CAD or 3D modeling software, but instead of being separated by the keyboard and the mouse, you are able to mold it with your hands. What if you could feel the load-bearing qualities of an optimized load bearing structure, or touch the face of a sculpture before deciding what material you are going to 3D print it in? The applications can stretch as far as you’d like. I’m not talking about only motion-control and buzzing effects; I’m talking about feeling the shape of the actual object by experiencing haptic feedback technology using your bare hands. The most exciting part of this line of technological exploration is the potential to feel, hold and collaborate on a new 3D object with a team spread out across the world. Though it’s not there yet, the potential ecosystem which could arise from ultrasound 3D haptic shape technology could encompass the ability to accurately simulate the feeling virtual 3D objects in a pallet of materials. This could end up saving researchers, engineers and hobbyists the expense of wasting expensive 3D printing materials. Instead of choosing the right material for your prototype by printing an object in those materials, you could select it by feeling it before it exists as a physical object.

YouTube’s app for Apple TV gets major overhaul

The design looks similar to YouTube’s channels found on the Roku and other streaming services, with crisp video thumbnails and tools for easy discovery. New features for the Apple TV include personalized recommendations based on other videos you’ve watched, predictive search, and the ability to subscribe to specific YouTube channels. YouTube’s video announcement calls it “the full YouTube experience, right from your TV.” Sounds about right.

51 Intel links up Internet of Things agenda with new platform | ZDNet
52 Sony hackers return and target PlayStation - Telegraph
53 Should Apple have killed the iconic iPod? - Telegraph
54 More Michael Brown documents released, but key interview still missing
55 DataGravity nets $50M more to sell, support smart storage
56 Amazon Now Offering 4K Streaming For Movies And TV Shows On Prime Instant Video
57 T-Mobile launches $100 two-line family plan with unlimited data
58 Uber’s Woes Continue as Thailand Deems Some of Its Services Illegal
59 VLC for Android Leaves Beta
60 Rewind and replay: Bose products returning to Apple Stores
61 Introducing tailored audiences from mobile apps | Twitter Blogs
62 Google Executive Susan Wojcicki Joins Salesforce Board
63 Dubai is first Arab city to get Google Street View
64 Spike Feresten: ‘Car Matchmaker'
65 Amazon adds bidding option to site for fine art, collectables
66 New Evidence Ancient Mars Hosted Large Lakes, Perhaps Life
67 Get 2015 health coverage now. Health Insurance Marketplace
68 web maps for 'Find My iPhone' switch away from Google
69 Map: The world’s longest train journey now begins in China
70 Connected, but alone?
71 The art of stillness
72 I am the son of a terrorist. Here's how I chose peace.
74 12 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' facts for its 50th anniversary
75 What Would Look Like With A Material Design Revamp
76 Why Math Might Be The Secret To School Success
77 The Sweet Science Behind How Chocolate Makes You More Productive
78 Parable of the Polygons
79 The social animal
80 Talks to watch with kids
81 Science can answer moral questions
82 Why Determination Matters More Than Smarts In Getting Ahead
83 What the people of the Amazon know that you don’t
84 Peter Thiel Says Computers Haven’t Made Our Lives Significantly Better | MIT Technology Review
85 Joystiq on Twitter
86 CRISPR Patents Spark Fight to Control Genome Editing | MIT Technology Review
87 CIA lied over 'brutal' interrogations
88 The TheTechNewsBlog Daily
89 From Phones To Tablets: 26 Apple Designs That Never Came To Be
90 Watch President Obama write his first line of code
91 The 10 Most-Pirated Movies
92 This is the most hilarious local TV weather report we've ever seen
93 Reg Saddler on Twitter
94 2015 BMW i8 review - CNET
95 6 Questions You Should Ask About A Company's Culture Before You Accept The Job
96 Shop where everybody knows your name
97 The Pirate Bay is Offline After Swedish Police Raid