Let Your iPhone Tell You When to Go to Bed
Gear

If you’re seeking a more restful and refreshing night’s sleep, you could take your pick from dozens of products and apps designed to improve your slumber. There are alarm clocks that wake you with an artificial sunrise and apps that listen to you snore, not to mention an ocean of gadgets designed to be worn around the head, on the wrist, or under the covers to monitor and improve the hours you spend snoozing. And yet, the one piece of...

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Sunday, 30 July 2017
Comic-Con 2017: Ending ‘Game of Thrones’ with a Musical Episode? We’ve Got Some Ideas
Culture

Brienne of Tarth wants it. Bran wants it. Even the Onion Knight wants it. Let’s make this happen,...

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Saturday, 29 July 2017
Goodbye iPod, and Thanks for All the Tunes
Gear

The iPod died slowly, then all at once. After nearly 16 years on the market, more than 400 million units sold, and one Cupertino company launched into the stratosphere on its back, Apple quietly pulled the iPod Nano and Shuffle out of its virtual stores today. The iPod Touch still lives on: In fact, Apple now offers the Touch with 32 gigs of storage starting at $199. But that’s not a real iPod; it’s an iPhone-lite. Today officially marks the...

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Thursday, 27 July 2017
Soundcloud Isn’t Dead Yet, But Its Greatest Legacy Could Soon Be
Culture

Last year the self-professed “communist farmer” and “saxophone kisser” known as Oedipus uploaded a song to SoundCloud, the artist-first music streaming platform that launched in 2008. Titled “Please B Okay,” it was a bright, horn-driven melody that sampled vocals from Japanese soul-pop singer Taeko Ohnuki’s 1977 album Sunshower. I first came across the song because I’d been having an atypically unfavorable week and a friend messaged it with the hope of it being a momentary cure-all. “This...

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Thursday, 27 July 2017
The First Alexa Phone Gets Amazon Even Closer to Total Domination
Gear

Amazon’s Alexa has plenty going for it. Developers have trained the virtual assistant with over 10,000 “skills”—apps you talk to instead of tap—to do everything from hailing a Lyft to checking your stock portfolio. At home, Alexa can control the lights, set timers, play your local NPR station, and generally achieve that Jarvis-level assistance that feels so much like the future. Until now, though, Alexa lacked what it needs more than any of those things to secure its success: a...

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Tuesday, 18 July 2017
An Amazon Echo Can’t Call the Police—But Maybe It Should
Security

Despite what you may have heard, an Amazon Echo did not call the police earlier this week, when it heard a husband threatening his wife with a gun in New Mexico. On Monday, news reports took Bernalillo County authorities’ version of those events credulously, heralding the home assistant as a hero. The alleged act also raised an important question: Do you really want to live in a world where Alexa listens to your conversations, and calls the cops if she...

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Sunday, 16 July 2017
Day of Action: How Facebook, Google, and More Supported for Net Neutrality
Business

Maybe you’ve noticed that today is a day of online protest. Or maybe you haven’t. Whether you realize that today marks a Day of Action in support of net neutrality depends entirely on what websites you visit—and how the companies behind those websites feel about the issue. Organized by a coalition of pro-net neutrality non-profits, Wednesday’s Day of Action stand in opposition to the FCC’s plans to reverse Title II, a set of legal frameworks that prevent internet service providers...

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Wednesday, 12 July 2017
Forget the Echo. The Dot Is the Most Important Alexa Device
Gear

People like Alexa. They’ve bought millions of Alexa-powered devices. When you think about Alexa, you’re probably thinking about the Echo, the tall, cylindrical monolith that first introduced Amazon’s chatty assistant to the world. The Echo features prominently in Amazon’s Alexa ads, and its basic structure has informed the design of every other so-called smart speaker on the market. You know what, though? Everyone’s doing it wrong. The most important Alexa device isn’t the Echo. It’s the Echo Dot, the...

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Wednesday, 12 July 2017
Volta V Wooden Gaming PC Review: It Looks and Plays Like a Masterpiece
Gear

The Volta V is a gaming computer made out of wood. Many stories have been written about the Volta, and they all talk enthusiastically about its impressive woodiness. This enthusiasm may take the form of nostalgia for the days of console televisions, or commentary on the direction of modern industrial design. There’s an environmental angle here, too, as it is arguably better for the planet to use renewable materials like wood to make a PC rather than sheets of metal....

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Friday, 07 July 2017
“Element” Makes It Official: Kendrick Lamar’s Genius Isn’t Just Verbal, It’s Visual Too
Culture

A single black hand rises from a sheet of steel-blue water. Fire enshrouds a house as women and men look on in amazement, or perhaps fear, and a voice tracks the haunting spectacle: “I’m willin’ to die for this shit / I done cried for this shit, might take a life for this shit.” A hazel-skinned boy rests on his back in a green knot of flora as a june bug, tied to a string, trudges across his...

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Friday, 07 July 2017
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