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  • Facebook’s score: 1 billion World Cup interactions Jul 5, 2014 8:33 AM
    Facebook has passed the 1 billion mark in World Cup interactions. No other single event has generated this much activity on Facebook in the history of the social media site.

     
  • World Cup breaks Super Bowl record on Twitter Jul 5, 2014 8:35 AM
    Nervous Brazilian soccer fans took to Twitter to breathe a collective sigh of relief as the final, tension-filled moments of a penalty shootout against Chile broke an all-time record for online buzz during a live event.

     
  • Aereo case leaves cord cutters with costlier options Jul 5, 2014 8:23 AM
    For cord cutters who want to ditch their cable service, watching broadcast TV on a computer or tablet is still possible even if Aereo Inc. disappears. Companies like TiVo and SiliconDust USA make products that work with TV antennas to turn live programs into digital bits and bytes.

     
  • Review: Android Wear is about simplifying future Jul 5, 2014 8:11 AM
    In its first iteration, Google’s Android Wear software for computerized wristwatches isn’t so much about innovation as it is an effort at simplification. The new software should help rein in a marketplace of confusion and encourage app developers to extend smartwatch functionality, the way they have made smartphones even smarter.

     
  • Review: Evolutionary advances in new smartwatches Jul 5, 2014 8:11 AM
    New Android wristwatches from Samsung and LG make a few evolutionary advances, though I won’t be rushing out to buy either. Samsung’s Gear Live and LG’s G Watch are good products and will appeal to those who like to be among the first to own new gadgets. The watches serve as pedometers and let you catch up on email, texts and Facebook notifications while your phone is in your pocket or charging in the bedroom. Even with the phone in your hand, you can check messages on the watch and keep playing video on the phone. Both smartwatches try to keep things simple through voice commands rather than touch. They use Google’s Android Wear system, which I reviewed earlier. Android Wear has a lot of potential but still lacks the functionality of even last year’s smartwatches. Your ability to reply is limited, and there’s not much you can do yet without a companion phone nearby. The companion phone must run Android 4.3 or later, which covers about a quarter of the Android devices in use. It doesn’t have to be a Samsung or LG phone. Visit http://g.co/WearCheck from your phone to check compatibility. Don’t even bother if you have an iPhone. Even with its release of the Gear Live, Samsung will continue to sell the Gear 2 line of smartwatches, so I’ll start there. Samsung’s Gear 2 ($299, released in April): I find the Gear 2 most useful for its fitness features. The watch counts the steps you take each day. It estimates distance and calories burned and measures heart rate on your runs, hikes and bike rides. The features are rather basic, so active users might prefer a gadget dedicated to a specific task, such as measuring distance and pace using GPS. But the Gear 2 does offer a good introduction to newcomers. Shots from the watch’s 2-megapixel camera are mediocre, but that beats missing the shot entirely because your better camera is in your pocket or handbag. If you don’t need the camera, you can save $100 with the Gear 2 Neo, which has similar features otherwise. Both have speakerphones for making phone calls. The Gear 2 line doesn’t use Android Wear, but a fledging system called Tizen. Samsung says that helps extend battery life to two or three days, instead of the single day on the original, Android-based Galaxy Gear. Unlike the Android Wear watches, the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo both require a Samsung phone. Samsung’s Gear Live ($199, starts shipping next week): Out of the box, the Gear Live looks much like the Gear 2. But once you turn it on, it stays on. The watch face doesn’t go dark as the one on the Gear 2 does after inactivity. Unfortunately, the promised battery life is back down to a single day, though actual performance varied depending on use. The best I got was a day and a half on a full charge. In the worst case, about half the charge was gone in just five hours. The Gear Live doesn’t have as many fitness features. You can count steps and measure heart rate, but you can’t measure distance or calories with built-in apps. In addition, there’s no camera or speakerphone. To make calls, you need a Bluetooth headset paired to your phone. Because the Gear Live and the G Watch both use Android Wear, they have similar functionality. You control both mostly by voice. There aren’t many icons or buttons on the screen, as you’d find on previous smartwatches. You do have to get used to swiping left (for more information) or right (to dismiss a notification). But otherwise, the interface is clean and simple. One thing I wish for: a central place to view notifications, including ones I’ve dismissed. LG’s G Watch ($229, started shipping Thursday): LG is hoping to make its watch easier to use by making it without a physical button. It’s not really needed when voice control is so prominent, and I’ve used the Gear Live’s physical button only as a fallback for when I couldn’t figure out how to do something. The LG watch has about a third more battery capacity than Samsung’s, but both watches lasted about the same amount of time in my tests. The resolution and colors on LG’s always-on screen aren’t as good as they are on Samsung’s, though LG’s notifications use larger type and are easier to read. The G Watch can count steps but doesn’t have a heart rate sensor — the biggest way it differs from the Gear Live. The G Watch doesn’t have a camera or speakerphone either. The G Watch’s strap feels rubbery, but it’s replaceable with any standard 22-millimeter watch strap. The hard-plastic feel on Samsung’s watches isn’t much better, but you can replace their straps, too. Motorola plans to come out with the round-faced Moto 360 this summer, while the ones out so far have had square displays. And Apple is widely expected to have its own smartwatch this fall. I recommend waiting to see what they do. You might still gravitate toward Samsung’s or LG’s watch, but you risk regret if you buy one now.

     
  • Google Glass taking fans closer to the action Jul 5, 2014 8:32 AM
    Google Glass is slowly becoming more common in sports as teams and broadcasters try to bring fans closer to the action. The Philadelphia Eagles are going to test the Internet-connected eyewear for in-game use, and a company with a key application for the technology says it has secured a new round of financing that will help roll out its Glass program to sports, entertainment and other fields.

     
  • Google pushes for Android everywhere as mobile spreads Jul 5, 2014 8:22 AM
    Google Inc. is on a mission to make its Android mobile software ubiquitous. The Web-search giant is expanding Android as an underlying software foundation as it ramps up against Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and others to be a digital gatekeeper to consumers. The more that Google can connect devices, vehicles and other items with its software, the more likely it is that consumers will stick with the company for all their needs.

     
  • AT&T joins MasterCard battling fraud with phone location Jul 5, 2014 8:06 AM
    Banks and card networks like Visa and MasterCard are working with wireless carriers to cut down on fraudulent transactions by tying purchases to the location of a shopper’s smartphone. In the next few months, AT&T Inc. will test a service that verifies transactions by using a phone’s whereabouts — as long as it has customers’ permission.

     
  • Bitcoin to get more attention from U.S. consumer bureauc Jul 5, 2014 8:16 AM
    Bitcoin and other digital currencies will get more attention from the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after prodding from a congressional watchdog.

     
  • Eyes on you: Experts reveal police hacking methods Jul 5, 2014 8:22 AM
    Law enforcement agencies across the globe are taking a page out of the hacker’s handbook, using targets’ own phones and computers to spy on them with methods traditionally associated with cybercriminals. “This in many ways is the police surveillance of the now and the future,” said Morgan Marquis-Boire, a security researcher with Citizen Lab.

     
  • Is Facebook really turning us into lab rats? Jul 4, 2014 7:14 AM
    How shocking: Facebook had the temerity to conduct an experiment on its users without telling them. For a week in 2012, the social network reduced the number of posts containing “positive” and “negative” words, tracked their lab rat users’ own posts, and found that their mood was influenced by that of the news feed.

     
  • Google begins removing user data under ‘right to be forgotten’ Jul 4, 2014 6:56 AM
    The Internet may never truly forget, but Google is starting to. The tech giant began filtering out results for some users under Europe’s new “right to be forgotten.”

     
  • Review: Equalizer apps work better than Clari-Fi Jul 4, 2014 7:22 AM
    Bring back the equalizers! That’s my conclusion after trying out Clari-Fi, a new technology from audio equipment maker Harman Kardon. Clari-Fi aims to restore some of the audio signal that is lost because of digital compression in today’s download and streaming formats.

     
  • EU slashes mobile data roaming fees by 55 percent Jul 4, 2014 7:53 AM
    The European Union says the surcharges for surfing the Internet on mobile devices while traveling across the 28-nation bloc will be more than halved.

     
  • SiriusXM fires ‘Opie & Anthony’ host over tweets Jul 4, 2014 4:36 PM
    “Opie & Anthony” radio show host Anthony Cumia has been fired by satellite radio company SiriusXM, which cited his “racially charged” and “hate-filled” remarks on Twitter as the reason.

     
  • Censorship claims as Google cuts search results in Europe Jul 3, 2014 9:30 AM
    Google’s removal of some search results in Europe is drawing accusations of censorship. The U.S. firm has to comply with a strict privacy ruling made in May by the European Union’s top court that enables citizens to ask for the removal of embarrassing personal information that pops up on a search of their names.

     
  • Itasca’s Knowles takes microphone to new level Jul 3, 2014 12:58 PM
    Kukec's eBuzz column features a new digital microphone that will be going into new smartphones and other devices that will eliminate swiping the screen when turning on and off any calls. The device will also allow you to transfer data just by holding up the smartphone to another device.

     
  • Review: How to follow World Cup beyond live video Jun 29, 2014 7:04 AM
    Every World Cup game is being shown on television and online in the U.S., but many will require a cable or satellite TV subscription, even for Internet streaming. What if you don't have one? Good news: In 2014, there are more apps and other options than ever before. Here's a look at how to keep up on everything to do with the tournament in Brazil.

     
  • Websites can take some hassle out of car-buying Jun 29, 2014 8:00 AM
    Want to take some of the stress and mystery out of the car-buying process? Get on the Internet. Auto Web sites — once filled mostly with reviews and advice — are getting more sophisticated, connecting potential buyers with dealers and offering instant price guarantees.

     
  • NSA fears prompt Germany to end Verizon contract Jun 28, 2014 6:22 AM
    The German government is ending a contract with Verizon over fears the company could be letting U.S. intelligence agencies eavesdrop on sensitive communications, officials said.

     
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