Author Archives: Brittany A. Roston


Elon Musk has banned hot tub talks about simulated existence

Elon Musk has banned hot tub talks about simulated existence

There's a chance we're all living in some super advanced simulation, but don't bring the topic up if you ever get the chance to join Elon Musk in a hot tub. Speaking at Recode’s Code Conference 2016, someone asked Musk a philosophical question about whether it’s possible we’re all living in a simulation — and Musk, as you might expect, has been asked this question many, many times. So many times that he had to ban it from the hot tub.

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Nexus Player may be coming back as a (lightly) refreshed model

Nexus Player may be coming back as a (lightly) refreshed model

It appears the Nexus Player is dead, but maybe its fate isn't as definite as many thought. Some new documents from ASUS were recently filed with the FCC that show a device featuring the same ID as the past Nexus Player, but with some minor changes -- things like updated circuit system components, a lower gain antenna and other things that presumably need the FCC's approval.

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It’s time to stop thinking about smartphones as being ‘just phones’

It’s time to stop thinking about smartphones as being ‘just phones’

I've seen some articles floating around social media again in which someone proclaims that smartphones are expensive luxuries used by mindless people to entertain themselves with mindless games while truly smart and savvy people continue to use their old flip phones. These articles are nothing new; they resurface regularly, enjoy brief popularity as cynical people bat them back and forth with thinly veiled comments about their own superiority, and then they fizzle back into dormancy for a while. What none of them seem to realize is that smartphones are so much more than just 'fancy phones.'

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Tinder will be more transgender-friendly starting in July

Tinder will be more transgender-friendly starting in July

Tinder will soon be a more welcoming place for transgender individuals, the company's CEO Sean Rad said recently. Starting sometime in July, Tinder will add a feature in which users can better specify who they’re looking for and who they (the user) are as a person. Rad also suggested that some augmented reality features could one day make their way into the app.

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Facebook Notify news app is being shutdown

Facebook Notify news app is being shutdown

Facebook’s Notify news app was introduced in November 2015, and now just a little over half a year since its launch, the company says it will be dropping support for the app. According to a message being sent to Notify users, Facebook is working on “transitioning parts of Notify into” some of its other products. The Notify app will be pulled from the App Store; speculation has it that very few people have been using the app (if they knew it existed at all).

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Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet gets new 64GB aluminum version

Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet gets new 64GB aluminum version

Amazon has some cheap Fire tablets, and they're great for kids who are probably going to break them regardless of quality. Adults, though, want something more robust, and Amazon is giving them what they want. The company has rolled out an all-aluminum Fire 10 tablet, and you can get it with up to 64GB of storage space. The aluminum version joins the white and black version of the Fire 10.

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Walmart plans to check its inventories using drones within 9 months

Walmart plans to check its inventories using drones within 9 months

We've heard about Walmart's drone delivery ambitions off and on for months; back in October 2015, the company asked the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to test delivery drones. Now, according to the company, it is possibly only half a year away from using drones to check the inventories in its warehouses, the first step in what will likely be a much larger utilization of UAVs in coming years.

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Google Magenta publishes the first song created by its AI

Google Magenta publishes the first song created by its AI

Google has a new project called Magenta, and it is aiming to teach machines how to create art -- including things like music, of which we've been graced with the first sample of its musical talents. It's a short piece and appears to contain only four notes (with some human-added drums and other instruments added in after a while), but it's not bad for being the work of algorithms.

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FBI tipped to be making powerful ‘tattoo recognition technology’

FBI tipped to be making powerful ‘tattoo recognition technology’

Before getting my first tattoo, I joked that I was about to make any potential future as a fugitive from the law a lot harder. Tattoos, even trendy ones picked from the same book used by hundreds of other people, can be highly personal -- not just in what it means to a person, but in how much it helps identify that individual. Even small elements can say quite a bit about the person who got it, and the FBI is reportedly developing a technology that can exploit these unspoken cues.

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The Sims 4 update frees up gender customization options

The Sims 4 update frees up gender customization options

The Sims 4 has received a free update that is removing gender customization options, allowing for players to set up a more diverse range of Sims that express the features they want. If you want a female Sim with a manly walking style, a male Sim with a feminine voice, or any other arrangement, this update makes it possible.

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Minecraft hits the 100 million sales milestone

Minecraft hits the 100 million sales milestone

Do you play Minecraft? You’re certainly not alone if you do. According to Mojang, the company has sold an average of 53,000 copies of Minecraft everyday so far in 2016, and it has officially reached (and exceeded) the 100 million sales milestone since first launching. To help put that massive number in perspective, Mojang says that if you were to take everyone who has purchased Minecraft and put them together in the same country, it would be the 12th most populous nation in the world.

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King Tut’s dagger has a blade made from meteorite

King Tut’s dagger has a blade made from meteorite

King Tut was buried with two knives, one of which has an iron blade and another that has a gold blade. Though a gold blade isn’t terribly practical in terms of usability, it’s pretty and seemingly benefitting of a king. As it turns out, though, it’s the iron blade that is most notable and rare — it was crafted from a meteorite, scientists have confirmed. The blade's origins had long been a source of debate, but a new study has put the controversy to rest.

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