Must Read Bits & Bytes

Apple Earnings break records for Q1 2015

Apple Earnings break records for Q1 2015

Earnings for Apple's 2015 Q1 include the last three months of the calendar year 2014, ending on December 27th. Today's earnings announcement from Apple includes a record quarterly revenue of $74.6 billion USD. Apple also announced a record quarterly net profit of $18 billion USD. That's brings on a cool $3.06 USD per diluted share for investors. Apple's gross margin was 39.9 percent this quarter - this compares to a 37.9 percent gross margin this same time one year ago. Apple is doing quite well and investors are quite happy, needless to say.

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Kepler discovers our Solar System’s “ancient twin”

Kepler discovers our Solar System’s “ancient twin”

NASA's Kepler Space Telescope has been studying the system they've called Kepler-444 for about four years. This system, they say, was formed about 11.2 billion years ago, making it one of the most ancient star systems with terrestrial-sized planets discovered thus far. This star system is important not because of its age, on the other hand, but because of its resemblance to our own Solar System. Five planets surround this system's star, each of them rocky, none of them able to support life (as we know it, that is to say).

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Launch America: SpaceX, Boeing to taxi NASA astronauts to ISS

Launch America: SpaceX, Boeing to taxi NASA astronauts to ISS

This week the folks at NASA, SpaceX, and Boeing presented a new program for their combined efforts to continue sending astronauts to the International Space Station. This Commercial Crew Transportation system will be operating under the title Launch America. This system is working with both SpaceX and Boeing, both private organizations, to bring the cost of sending US-based astronauts down significantly. NASA has been using the same system since 2011 to send astronauts to the ISS, one based on Russian technology, one this Launch America system will replace.

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Google’s Wireless Service: sooner than later

Google’s Wireless Service: sooner than later

While Google hasn't said anything about a supposed WiFi and Cellular service as of yet, rumors surrounding such a move have been popping up for years. Today we've seen word of Google dealing with both Sprint and T-Mobile USA to create a wireless hot-spot system that'd handle Google's calls, data, and text messaging. This rumor pops up right alongside the real-deal official Cablevision WiFi-only smartphone system Freewheel, a system that'd be very similar to what's rumored for Google in the very near future.

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Microsoft HoloLens release soon: spark for a platform

Microsoft HoloLens release soon: spark for a platform

Detailing the inner bits of Microsoft HoloLens isn't going to be especially easy in the next few weeks. Not unless Microsoft makes a big showing during GDC 2015. But what we've found out since we first (officially) heard about Windows Holographic from Microsoft this week is that the final product may be closer than we originally suspected. While NASA's JPL Labs suggest they'll be using HoloLens by July of this year, we'd suspected there was no way they'd be bringing a consumer model to the public any time soon.

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Apple may have just patented Apple Pay for digital music sharing

Apple may have just patented Apple Pay for digital music sharing

As rumors swirl that Apple is gearing up for another musical push — likely streaming — we’re left to examine the clues to see what might be coming. Their Beats acquisition was obviously a big deal, and their recent purchase of a music analytics firm suggests Apple is getting ready to feed info to the music industry. Now there is news of a patent, recently awarded to Apple, that would allow users to share music with one another without fear of running into issues with ownership and piracy.

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Opportunity abound: walking on Mars virtually with NASA

Opportunity abound: walking on Mars virtually with NASA

NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover has been rolling around the surface of the red planet for 11 years. To celebrate, the craft has sent back a panorama image viewable by you in full definition right this minute. To get up close and personal with the surface of Mars, NASA has also been collaborating with Microsoft over the past few weeks and months, having an early peek at their new Windows Holographic system with Microsoft HoloLens - making walking on the planet's surface much more of a "real" experience than ever before.

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Here’s why rain smells, presented in slow-mo

Here’s why rain smells, presented in slow-mo

There's a word for the scent that comes with the rain after a long, warm period of dry weather - it's called Petrichor. This week, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have published a study - and a rather fascinating video - that shows how rain gives off this scent. Rain releases a smell much in the same way champagne releases its scent through bubbles - with tiny bursts of aerosols. Like miniature spray bottles aiming for your nose, raindrops are able to smell just like rain.

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Ford R&D Palo Alto puts driverless cars in pole position

Ford R&D Palo Alto puts driverless cars in pole position

Ford CEO Mark Fields may have been critical of the auto industry’s attempts to over-hype driverless cars, but that doesn’t mean the company isn’t working on its own model at its new Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California. The car firm has snagged a former Apple engineer, Dragos Maciuca, to lead its innovation efforts, heading projects like autonomous and remotely-piloted vehicles, integrating the dashboard with the smart home - including hooking up with the Google-owned Nest thermostat - and leveraging GPU acceleration for things like swifter speech recognition.

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Here come the drug drones

Here come the drug drones

This week a quadcopter drone landed - rather badly - in a Mexican supermarket parking lot carrying more than its average payload. Instead of carrying just a camera and its propellers, this particular drone was carrying meth. A whopping 6-pounds of methamphetamine, in fact, with intent to distribute. Tijuana police are investigating the drone's origin and destination, but currently have no significant (public, anyway) leads on how this situation came to be. This may, in fact, be the point at which drones begin breaking bad.

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