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  • Football? Nah, Costner’s best on the baseball field Apr 11, 2014 5:30 AM
    It has been almost 30 years since Kevin Costner first appeared on film fans’ radars. But today brings the theatrical release of “Draft Day,” an Ivan Reitman comedy/feature-length NFL commercial that puts Costner back in the genre in which he seems to be most comfortable: the sports movie.

     
  • See more of your favorite 'Game of Thrones' stars Apr 4, 2014 3:18 AM
    "Game of Thrones" Season 4 begins Sunday on HBO, but hardcore fans want more. Sean will tell you how can meet some "GoT" actors later this month.

     
  • HTC updates One phone, aims to raise awareness Mar 29, 2014 8:05 AM
    HTC is updating its flagship HTC One smartphone by giving it a larger screen, better software and a camera that’s easier to use. The original HTC One received good reviews and was named the best smartphone of 2013 but has failed to translate that glowing praise into sales.

     
  • Facebook launches lab to bring Internet everywhere Mar 29, 2014 8:05 AM
    Facebook is giving more details about its effort to connect remote parts of the world to the Internet — and it involves drones, lasers and satellites.

     
  • Intel buys fitness tracker maker Basis Mar 29, 2014 8:05 AM
    Chipmaker Intel has bought Basis Science, the startup behind the popular fitness tracker by the same name, for an undisclosed sum.

     
  • App review: Klutch Mar 29, 2014 7:05 AM
    Setting up plans is never an easy thing when you have to wade through screens and screens of emails or text messages to figure out who’s in and who’s out. The planning app Klutch is designed to take the back and forth out of scheduling by making it immediate, easy and fluid so you can spend more time hanging out and less time planning to hang out. Organizers can propose a variety of plans and keep a running total of votes from other friends who download the app — and there’s a chat function, as well, just in case you want to hash out the details. The app can automatically add events to your calendar, and it even gives you the option to use the mapping app of your choice — Apple Maps or Google Maps — if you have a strong preference. Free, for iOS.

     
  • Taylor Schilling on ‘Orange,’ new passion project Mar 23, 2014 5:45 AM
    When Taylor Schilling arrives on the set of “Orange is the New Black,” her make-under begins. The popular Netflix original series follows Schilling’s character, Piper Chapman, as she adjusts to life in a women’s correctional facility. Before the hit show’s second season debuts June 6, fans can catch her out of the orange jumpsuit in the new indie drama “Stay.”

     
  • App reviews: Skitch, Quick Tax Reference Mar 22, 2014 6:15 AM
    Plenty of people use the note-taking service Evernote, but the company has another great productivity app, Skitch. Skitch is best for more visual thinkers and lets you annotate pictures you take with elements such as drawings, arrows and text.

     
  • Fonda and Tomlin to reteam for a Netflix sitcom Mar 20, 2014 6:50 AM
    Netflix says it’s reuniting Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin for a new comedy series. The online TV network will launch “Grace and Frankie” starring Fonda and Tomlin as long-time foes who come together when their husbands desert them after falling in love.

     
  • Want a personal shopper? You don’t have to be rich Mar 16, 2014 6:00 AM
    A new breed of online sites is tailoring boxes of items to shoppers’ tastes. And at traditional retailers including J. Crew and Macy’s, the services of personal stylists don’t cost any extra. The online sites include Trunk Club, which caters to men, and Stitch Fix, which targets women.

     
  • App reviews: Entitle, Pendo Mar 15, 2014 6:00 AM
    It’s easier than ever for movie-lovers to get the things they want on demand. But what about readers? With Entitle, a Web service and app, the literati now have an option. Note-taking apps taking up all of your time? Pendo is looking to streamline the process by tapping into your iPhone’s microphone and calendar to make appointments and other notes easy to do.

     
  • Review: Asus Chromebox great as streaming device Mar 15, 2014 6:45 AM
    Devices that let you watch Netflix and other streaming video services on a big TV screen are popular, but there are limits to what you can watch. So I’m pleased to find a legal way around these restrictions with a new device called the Chromebox.

     
  • Obama hams it up for health care on Funny or Die Mar 11, 2014 10:20 AM
    President Barack Obama is hamming it up online to promote his health care plan. Obama joked Tuesday with comedian Zach Galifianakis, including poking fun at the poorly reviewed “Hangover Part III” during an interview on the website Funny or Die. Galifianakis typically poses awkward questions to celebrity guests appearing on “Between Two Ferns,” and Obama was no exception.

     
  • Girls go gaga for Vine video boys at Itasca meet and greet Mar 3, 2014 10:06 AM
    As the entertainment world focuses on tonight's Academy Awards, gaggles of screaming girls insist that the real screen stars are at MAGCON in Itasca, where teenage boys famous for their six-second Vine videos mingle with a select few of their 20 million adoring fans. The Itasca show sold out in 30 second for the two-day show that continues from 3-9 p.m. Sunday.

     
  • Tokyo bitcoin exchange files for bankruptcy Feb 28, 2014 6:26 AM
    The Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange in Tokyo filed for bankruptcy protection Friday and its chief executive said 850,000 bitcoins, worth several hundred million dollars, are unaccounted for. The exchange’s CEO Mark Karpeles appeared before Japanese TV news cameras, bowing deeply for several minutes.

     
  • Online retailers let you try before you buy Feb 23, 2014 6:37 AM
    The fitting room is coming home. Online retailers that sell jeans, eyeglasses and shoes are shipping their products to customers for free to try on at home before buying them. It’s a way for newer online brands to hook potential customers. A credit card is needed, but nothing is charged unless the items aren’t returned on time. The limit for how long you can keep items is usually about a week. Shipping is free both ways and there’s no obligation to buy anything.

     
  • Johnson hits the track at Daytona with his eyes on the prize Feb 23, 2014 5:45 AM
    Records, as they say, are made to be broken. And a major sports record could be tied this year, the one for Sprint Cup championships in a career: seven, currently held by Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt, and being pursued by Jimmie Johnson.

     
  • Not all escapist fare is for kids Feb 14, 2014 5:30 AM
    Thanks to Harry Potter, “Lord of the Rings” and Hollywood’s insistence that no big-budget movie be rated R, imaginative fantasy and sci-fi films have become synonymous with kiddie fare — or, at the very least, kid-friendly fare. So theatergoers this week get a PG-13 remake of “RoboCop.” It could be an entertaining romp, but its gory, vulgar, R-rated predecessor was so much more than that.

     
  • Giving daily-deal sites a second chance Feb 9, 2014 6:35 AM
    Daily-deal sites, known for blasting email offers for limited-time discounts at restaurants, spas and gyms, were one of the hottest things on the Internet in 2011. But as more and more websites entered the market, people grew immune to their clogged inboxes and stopped buying as many daily deals. But the sites have recently changed their businesses to lure back customers.

     
  • How social media changed the world Feb 8, 2014 7:33 AM
    By Vivek Wadhwa, Special to The Washington Post When Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg launched thefacebook.com in February 2004, even he could not imagine the forces it would unleash. His intent was to connect college students. Facebook, which is what this website rapidly evolved into, ended up connecting the world. To the children of this connected era, the world is one giant social network. They are not bound — as were previous generations of humans — by what they were taught. They are limited by their curiosity and ambition. During my childhood, all knowledge was local. You learned everything you knew from your parents, teachers, preachers and friends. If you were privileged and had access to a library or an encyclopedia, you could learn a little more. You surely couldn’t follow and reach out to the people that you read about; learn what people all over the world had to say; or ask the difficult, uncomfortable, questions. With the high-quality and timely information at their fingertips and encouragement from each other, today’s children are rising above the fears and biases of their parents. That is why youth in the Middle East are fermenting revolutions and the Chinese are getting restless. Adults are also participating in this revolution. India’s normally docile middle class is speaking up against social ills. Silicon Valley executives are being shamed into adding women to their boards. Political leaders, such as President Barack Obama, are marshaling the energy of millions for elections and political causes. All of this is being done with social media technologies that Facebook and its competitors unleashed. As does every advancing technology, social media has created many new problems. It is commonly addictive and provides a tool for stalking children. Social media is used by extremists in the Middle East and elsewhere to solicit and brainwash recruits. And it exposes us and our friends to unsavory spying. We may leave our lights on in the house when we are on vacation, but through social media we tell criminals who may want to rob us exactly where we are, when we plan to return home, and how to blackmail us. Governments don’t need informers any more. Social media allows government agencies to spy on their political masters, their own citizens, in a way that would make Big Brother jealous. We record our thoughts, emotions, likes and dislikes on Facebook; we share our political views, social preferences and plans. We post intimate photographs of ourselves. No spy agency or criminal organization could actively gather the type of data that we voluntarily post for them. We tell governments our friends’ names, email addresses and contact numbers, and we tag photographs of them. And as computers become more powerful, they will be able to analyze our social-media information and correlate it with what our friends and acquaintances say about us. The marketers are also seeing big opportunities. Amazon is trying to predict what we will order. Google is trying to judge our needs and wants based on our social-media profiles; it wants to be our personal assistant. We need to be aware of the risks and keep working to mitigate the dangers. Getting back to the bright side, major changes are happening in fields such as health care because of social media. Already, by analyzing Google searches, researchers can track the spread of disease across the world. Patients are able to converse with others who have had the same ailment as they now have and learn which remedies or methods worked for others and which didn’t. People all over the world are providing each other with advice and moral support. The might of social media already has the Chinese government trembling. Its people are informing each other of local government officials’ atrocities and their abuses of power. In New Delhi, we witnessed a political revolution happen as an anti-corruption party came out of nowhere to gain power in the state elections. Political scandals in the United States have become more common because people speak up immediately. There is no greater force for democracy than social media, and this will empower the masses. So far, only about 2 billion of the world’s 7 billion people have come on line. During this decade, another 3 billion will gain connectivity through cheap tablets. Devices that have capabilities similar to iPads will be available for less than $50. Already, basic tablets with 7-inch screens are available for as little as $40 in China and India. Before this Christmas, Datawind made them available in the United States for as little as $38. It is likely that the majority of the rising billion will use social media. But the winner won’t necessarily be Facebook. People will use social networks that are special purpose, geared toward local communities, and in local languages. In parts of New Delhi, for example, localcircles.com is gaining popularity. It connects neighborhoods by allowing them to exchange information about water availability and domestic help; find blood donors; and report corruption. In China, Renren, Weibo and Weixin — which have their own specialties — each have hundreds of millions of users. Regardless of what social media people use and whether we celebrate Facebook’s next 10-year anniversary, one thing is certain: we are in a period of exponential change. The next decade will be even more amazing and unpredictable than the last. Just as no one could predict what would happen with social media in the last decade, no one can accurately predict where this technology will take us. I am optimistic, however, that a connected humanity will find a way to uplift itself. Wadhwa is a fellow at Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, director of Research at Duke University, and distinguished scholar at Singularity and Emory universities. His past appointments include Harvard Law School and University of California Berkeley. This piece reflects his opinion.

     
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