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Microsoft’s testing ‘NewsCast’ app that reads the news to you

Microsoft’s testing ‘NewsCast’ app that reads the news to you

Microsoft is tinkering with an app called NewsCast that will go one step above competing news apps by reading the news to you. Such functionality will be facilitated by text-to-speech technology, one that is hopefully smooth and pleasant to hear. Microsoft isn't the only company working on projects that could serve as a news hub for consumers, but it does seem to be the only one working on delivering news audibly for the daily commute.

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Vinylify lets you make your own custom vinyl record

Vinylify lets you make your own custom vinyl record

Your vinyl collection is only as robust as the options available to you. As the medium makes its comeback, we've seen different tools and services surface promising to produce a vinyl record on your behalf -- maybe something you plan to pass out at your band's upcoming gig, or something that will round out your personal collection. Vinylify is one of the newest services among them, and has managed to catch quite a bit of attention.

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Jeff Bezos comes out swinging after Amazon slam

Jeff Bezos comes out swinging after Amazon slam

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has come out swinging against criticisms that the company is a harsh task-master, calling for whistleblowers to single out any signs of ill-treatment. The response comes after a New York Times article, published this weekend, in which numerous current and former Amazon employees described an environment loaded with back-stabbing, unduly long hours, and a work ethos that forces out all but the most dedicated - or those willing to drop just about everything to put the retailer first.

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Survey reveals which tech device different generations would miss most

Survey reveals which tech device different generations would miss most

An interesting study was conducted recently in the UK, surveying people of all ages about their relationships with the common tech devices of today, including laptops, smartphones, and televisions. The results were broken down into age groups ranging from teens to over 75, and in the end it revealed not only a number of differences in the devices that different generations cling to, but also how important (or unimportant) some technologies become over time. The data was collected by the UK's Ofcom, or the equivalent of the FCC.

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Apple’s newest diversity numbers show small yearly gain

Apple’s newest diversity numbers show small yearly gain

Apple is one of several tech companies that have publicly proclaimed goals to increase workforce diversity. Today it published its updated diversity numbers, and relatively speaking, the company made small but appreciable gains. Over the last twelve months, Apple made positive changes in nearly every category, increasing the diversity of its new hires for an overall more diverse workforce. Said CEO Tim Cook in a statement, “Diversity is critical to innovation and it is essential to Apple’s future.”

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Perseid meteor shower peaked with 100 meteors an hour

Perseid meteor shower peaked with 100 meteors an hour

Last night brought a grand celestial show for those who were in regions with agreeable weather. The Perseid meteor shower was complemented by a lack of intrusive moonlight, and as a result many got a solid look at the meteors as they blazed by. The shower started in earnest earlier this week and increased over a couple days to hit its peak last night. Very early this morning was arguably the best time to have watched the shower, but it you go out tonight you'll still be able to catch the stragglers.

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China’s pollution is blowing into the western US

China’s pollution is blowing into the western US

China’s pollution is making its way across the ocean to the western United States, according to new research. The report details ozone ('smog', essentially) from China being blown by winds across the Pacific ocean to the westernmost states, bringing with it negative health and environmental consequences, including irritation of the respiratory system. One of the researchers who participated in the study quipped that China is, essentially, "Exporting its air pollution to the West Coast of America."

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Facebook breaking news project tipped to take on Twitter

Facebook breaking news project tipped to take on Twitter

Facebook is working on a breaking news project described as being similar to Twitter, according to sources. The project is said to have an app in place and to be at the "alpha" stage. With this, publishers could push out breaking news alerts to users who have downloaded the app (or a reciprocating app; it isn't clear), in effect making the new service a new way for Facebook users to get news through the social network. This follows reports showing that many individuals get their news primarily through Facebook.

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Columbia House files for bankruptcy after 20 lackluster years

Columbia House files for bankruptcy after 20 lackluster years

After about 20 years of declining sales, Columbia House has filed for bankruptcy. The chapter 11 bankruptcy will involve the business being auctioned off to whomever wants it, though there aren't likely to be many bidders battling it out -- the company's name is arguably all it has keeping it afloat, though even that hasn't been enough to keep its value from plummeting. Columbia House found its success years ago as a mail-order CD business, which it killed off half a decade ago.

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Russia threatening nation-wide Reddit ban over drug posts

Russia threatening nation-wide Reddit ban over drug posts

The Russian government has said it's considering a nation-wide block on the social website Reddit over concerns about easily accessible information on growing and acquiring drugs. One government agency has said it's tried contacting Reddit about removing such posts, but they haven't gotten a response. Oddly enough, the government says it was prompted to take action because of complaints from users. Because surely people go right to the government when they see things on the internet, as this couldn't be a case of Russia wanting to censor information.

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Google reveals Alphabet, leadership restructured

Google reveals Alphabet, leadership restructured

Google, at least Google as you've come to know it, is no more. Google co-founder Larry Page announced today the upcoming arrival of Alphabet, a company Google is creating that will see Page serving as CEO and his partner Sergey Brin serving as President. Alphabet is essentially a holding company that will encompass “a collection of companies”, including Google itself — a version of it said to be “a bit slimmed down”, as companies that have been part of Google but separate from its main Internet products will now fall under Alphabet instead.

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Researcher creates ultra-soft yarn out of animal bones

Researcher creates ultra-soft yarn out of animal bones

Your knitted sweaters are made of yarn spun from animal hairs and vegetable fibers. In the future, though, they could be made of yarn created from animal bones, ligaments, and other parts that aren't edible. Such is the result of years of work by a researcher in Zurich who had developed a way to make soft yarn from waste products produced at slaughterhouses. Upon first mention, the process sounds uncomfortable or gross, but the resulting product is indistinguishable from regular yarn.

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