Features

INTERNET

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The future of emoticons will embrace everyone

Katrina Parrott never anticipated that her daughter's incessant texting would lead to a new career in app development.

INDUSTRY VERTICALS

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Side minder: Erasing blind spots with the 2015 Honda Fit's LaneWatch

A camera mounted under the right-side mirror lets you watch for cars coming up behind from the central display.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

Elegy for the iPod, the device that transformed Apple

I hold a small metal device in my hands and twirl my finger on a circular controller, navigating the menus on my iPod classic. I haven't done this in a long time. I have a full range of iPod models, and this one, bought back in 2008, doesn't get much use any more. That click-wheel controller was never a great idea--it's clunky and inefficient--but it's emblematic of the early iPod line, before tapping on a tactile screen became the norm.

CONSUMER ELECTRONICS | MOBILE | SOFTWARE

A steady decline

Apple forged a big alliance with IBM this week, and you know what that means: total fail. Meanwhile, iPhone users are mindless slaves to an inferior platform (no surprise there) and the iPhone 6 is doomed if it doesn't have a bigger screen.

NETWORKING

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What's next for Wi-Fi? A second wave of 802.11ac devices, and then: 802.11ax

Now that blazing-fast routers based on the IEEE 802.11ac standard are finally entering the mainstream, intrepid engineers are busily cooking up all-new hardware that will make that gear's performance seem quaint by comparison.

SOFTWARE

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The top 10 Windows 8 questions everyone asks

You've finally made the leap to Windows 8 (or, more probably, Windows 8.1), and a pretty big leap it was. Everything looks different. Everything acts differently. Even a simple task like shutting down your PC suddenly becomes a challenge.

SOFTWARE | HARDWARE SYSTEMS

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Ten years after: HP's primordial Windows XP tablet versus Surface Pro 3

The HP Compaq TC1100 is only 10 years old, but in mobile computing years, it's laughably archaic.

GAMES

Inside Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard's MOBA mash-up of Diablo, StarCraft, and WarCraft

The world of multiplayer online battle arena games is becoming increasingly crowded, but Blizzard Entertainment is bringing the star power of its beloved PC game series--like WarCraft, Diablo, and StarCraft--to the fight in hopes of creating another hit and claiming victory over the likes of Riot Games' League of Legends, Turbine's Infinite Crisis, and Valve's Dota 2.

SOFTWARE | INDUSTRY VERTICALS

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This is your car on an iPhone: An app-driven road trip in the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi SE

It connects to my smartphone! It connects to the web! It connects to a wall outlet in my garage! The 2014 Ford Fusion Energi SE seems to connect to everything. Driving one for a week, I felt a connection myself--to the app that let me drive it greener and smarter, and even brag about it later.

BUSINESS ISSUES

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5 cool ways to use business cards in Evernote

Business cards get a bum rap. They create more clutter than connections, haters say, having been made obsolete by more sophisticated contact management web services and apps. But Evernote doesn't think so. Its addition of a business card camera to its iOS app and recent partnership with LinkedIn suggest it is determined to restore some of the business card's former glory and transform the way we use it. Here are 5 cool ways you can leverage Evernote's features to make business cards work for you.

Expert Opinion

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Don't worry, be snappy: Stop complaining about your digital camera

When one has done something long enough (and, for the sake of this particular argument, let's say living can be reasonably counted among them) there's a tendency to take the long view--we have some notion of where we've been as well as how things are now. Recent complaints about the state of Apple and photography have compelled me to take a journey down the historical highway in the hope of gaining some perspective on just where we stand in regard to taking and making images with our cameras.

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Why you should care about CloudKit

If you've lived through the last couple iterations of OS X and iOS, you've probably had the opportunity to develop a special love/hate relationship with iCloud. Apple's cloud service suite is made up of many different parts and systems, and while it's great when it works, it also has a history of being prone to hard-to-diagnose outages and, for developers, obscure error messages.

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With Yosemite public beta, Apple's more open than ever

Just a few years after a big leadership transition, Apple announced not only a brand new operating system but said they would be offering a public beta to interested customers. Sound familiar? The year was 2000 and the OS in question was the very first version of OS X. Now, 14 years later, Apple's once again inviting users to come and check out the Mac's latest and greatest operating system before its impending release.

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Apple's HomeKit hub may already be in your house

At Apple's recent Worldwide Developers Conference, the company announced--among a great many other things--HomeKit, a suite of tools for controlling such devices in your home as thermostats, furnaces and air conditioners, smart appliances, lights, cameras, garage-door openers, and security systems. Apple will provide a platform that these devices will be asked to conform to. Do so, and you can control them all from your iOS device.

Editors Pick

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Justin.tv goes off the air

With all signs pointing to a Google purchase of Twitch, the company behind Justin.tv has shut down the live video service.

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Verizon fires back at FCC over data throttling

The FCC called out Verizon for its plans to throttle customers with unlimited data plans who use the most data, so the carrier responded.

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Wasteland 2 preview: When deeply branching gameplay meets pistol-packing post-apocalyptic priests

After a successful Kickstarter run, Wasteland 2 is almost ready for release

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Business faces backlash after threatening $500 fines for negative Yelp reviews

Businesses who don't know how to manage their social media presence should remember that the Internet can be vicious.

Latest Product Reviews

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Network Radar: Mac app checks your network health

Apple's own Network Utility is pretty handy for basic network troubleshooting, but if you need to go above and beyond what it offers, Daniel Diener's $20 Network Radar (Mac App Store link) is a powerful step up.

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Asana: a full-featured task manager for iOS devices

The new mobile app for Asana's popular task management service lets iPhone and iPad users run their collaborative undertakings on the go.

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MacBook Pro (Mid 2014): Minor update offers slightly better CPU performance

Last week, Apple updated its Retina MacBook Pro line, and while the new models are identical on the outside to their 13- and 15-inch predecessors, released late last year, the "Mid 2014" models feature processors that are just a little bit faster. As modest as these internal improvements are, they do provide more performance bang for the buck.

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Contexts: Make your OS X windows more manageable

Contexts 1.4 supplements--and can even replace--OS X's window management tools, and it does so in a way that is legitimately useful, especially if you rely on keyboard shortcuts to navigate your Mac.

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Keep it Reel: Record, mix, and release a professional recording on your iPad

The iPad has become an incredible tool for musicians who wish to quickly and confidently record and produce live music on their tablet. Recently, I had the opportunity to produce and record a session for Ella Joy Meir, using just my iPad, software, and recording accessories. Last week, I covered when you might want to use an iPad and what you need to get started; now, let's talk about the actual recording and post-production process.