Living in Tech

The latest gadgets, games and toys, not to mention the generally cool stuff we do outside of work.

Why Apple Made That Weird App Store Change

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Apple App Store
If you visit Apple’s App Store, you’ll notice a small but significant change: The “Free” label beside free-to-download apps has been changed to “Get.” Click here to find mobile-development jobs. Why did Apple make such a move? It could have a lot to do with the European Commission (EC), the European Union’s antitrust body, which has pressured tech companies to do more about in-app purchases; the commission views the term “free” as misleading if an iPhone or iPad owner (or… continue…

Google Maps Offers Up Tasty Thanksgiving Data

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Google Maps Thanksgiving
Whatever your plans for Thanksgiving, Google can offer some advice: Try to avoid driving anywhere the day before. Analysts from the search-engine giant’s Google Maps division crunched traffic data from 21 U.S. cities over the past two years and found that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is by far the worst traffic day that week, with some notable exceptions. (In Honolulu, Providence, and San Francisco, the worst traffic is always on Saturday; in Boston, it’s Tuesday.) Click here to find data-science… continue…

Does a Startup Need a Moral Compass?

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Twitter Travis Kalanick
Ride-sharing service Uber found itself in a lot of trouble this week after BuzzFeed quoted one of its top executives as saying the company should fund opposition research into journalists. The executive, Emil Michael, suggested spending a million dollars to hire a team of opposition researchers and journalists, who would then dig into the personal lives and families of those critical of Uber. While Michael didn’t suggest any such plan was in effect, and apologized for his remarks soon afterwards,… continue…

Amazon Hiring Drone Pilots

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Amazon Drones
If you’re an aerospace engineer with experience in drones, Amazon might have a job for you. According to a handful of recent job postings, the company’s Amazon Prime Air Team wants “flight operations and certification personnel for flight testing our UAS technologies,” including flight operations engineers and senior technical program managers. Click here to find drone-related jobs. For flight operations engineers, desired qualifications include more than five years of lead flight experience, a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering or a… continue…

Americans Fear for Their Privacy Online: Report

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Pew Word Bubble
Americans fear for their privacy online, according to a new survey of 607 Americans by the Pew Research Center. Given the amount of publicity surrounding last year’s revelations about the extent of the National Security Agency’s spying, it’s no wonder that 87 percent of Americans have heard anywhere from “a little” to “a lot” about the government’s mass collection of electronic communications and telephone calls. (A mere 5 percent had heard “nothing at all.”) For more privacy-related jobs, click here.… continue…

Google Android ‘Lollipop’ vs. iOS 8: Battle Royale

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Google Android Lollipop
With the debut of Android 5.0 (also known as Lollipop, in keeping with Google’s habit of naming each major OS upgrade after a dessert), it’s worth taking a moment to break down how the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system matches up against Apple’s iOS 8. After years of battle, the two are… remarkably similar. Aesthetics This year, Google is pushing a visual language it calls “Material Design,” which it claims “synthesizes the classic principles of good design with… continue…

Watch This Robot Kick Like the ‘Karate Kid’

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Google Boston Dynamics
Robots: They roll, crawl, walk, and even gallop. But now a Google-built machine has taken the evolution of mechanical movement to the next glorious stage. In the above video, the humanoid Atlas robot (created by Google subsidiary Boston Dynamics) not only balances one-legged on a short pillar of cinder blocks, it also imitates Ralph Macchio’s iconic “crane” pose from the 1984 hit The Karate Kid. Humanity, rejoice! Our robots can now perform selected bits from 80’s movies, for our amusement,… continue…

Obama Speaks Up for Net Neutrality

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Obama
President Obama wants the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to preserve net neutrality. Click here to find telecommunications jobs. While the FCC is an independent agency, Obama hopes he can sway the commission to reclassify Internet service providers as “telecommunications services,” which would give the government greater powers of regulation. At the moment, Internet service providers fall under the umbrella of “information services,” allowing them considerable leeway to determine how they provide the Internet to end-users. Upload Your ResumeEmployers want candidates… continue…

Can Microsoft Survive on a Freemium Model?

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Microsoft Productivity
When Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer ran Microsoft, profit was king. As far back as 1976, with Gates’ “Open Letter to Hobbyists” memo, the company focused on getting as many dollars as possible in exchange for its software and hardware. Under new-ish Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the focus is still on making money; the company’s shareholders and board wouldn’t tolerate anything different. Nonetheless, Microsoft’s recent decision to allow iPad and Android tablet users to create and edit Office content without… continue…

Amazon’s Echo Enters Digital-Assistant Fight

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Amazon Echo
Imagine a device in your home that passively listens to everything you say. In past decades, you might have called such a device a “bug,” and it was probably installed without your knowledge. But in the brave new world of 2014, this device is called Amazon Echo, and it’s apparently here to help. Click here to find mobile-development jobs. Echo is a black cylinder that can go pretty much anywhere in a house or apartment, and responds to a variety… continue…