August 19: 33 tabs

Bits and Bytes

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02  Apple: Their next USB cables will be reversible.

03  BlackBerry: The part of the company that actually has a future (QNX, Internet of Things, patents, cryptography, antenna tuning) has been turned into its own business unit. Prediction: BlackBerry exits the phone market by the end of next year.

04  Facebook: Despite everyone (on the internet) hating it, Facebook Messenger has been downloaded over 500 million times on Android devices.

05  Flappy Bird: The sequel is called "Swing Copters", it comes out this Thursday (iOS only?), and it looks like it's going to hurt your brain.

06  Gaming: Remember playing Flash games growing up? Then chances are you've played a Miniclip title. They're currently trying to find someone to buy the company for roughly $400 million.

07  Google: Their self-driving cars are programmed to break the speed limit if all the other cars around it are also driving at a faster speed. There's a hard cap, however, at going 10 miles per hour over.

08  HTC: They've announced a plastic version of their flagship phone that will never be sold outside of Asia.

09  IDC: Some new data points to digest from this trusted analyst firm: Smartphone growth in India in Q2 2014 is up 84% year over year, hitting 18.3 million units. Phablets (5.5 inches or above) made up just 5.4% of that. In the APAC region (countries not defined), 18.42 million smartphones shipped in Q2 2014, with 81% of those costing less than $200.

10  Journalism: Time Inc., the company that owns the TIME Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, and many other publications, ranks their writers by "how friendly their writing is to advertisers". Those who are at the bottom of the list get sacked. Welcome to New Media.

11  Netbooks: They're back, baby.

12  Passwords: The way you type in your password is as important as the password itself, at least that's what a Swedish company called Behaviosec says. And it's not just hot air, either, one of the largest banks in Scandinavia plans to roll out Behaviosec's technology to all their members by the end of this year.

13  Pebble: Two webOS designers (Itai Vonshak and Liron Damir) have left LG to join Pebble. No word on how long it'll take their ideas to end up in a firmware update or new product.

14  Robots: You wake up in your hotel room on Sunday morning after a night out on the town and all you want to do is brush your teeth because you smell like cheap gin. Forgot your toothbrush at home? No worries, Starwood is testing these cute little robots that will deliver "items such as towels and toothbrushes" to customers so that their human staff can do other things. Make sure to watch the 52 second video at the top of this article.

15  Roku: Televisions that have Roku's software built-in will begin shipping in the next few weeks. Who are making said TVs? TCL and Hisense. There's no pricing for the Hisense units, but as for TCL: $230 for the 32 inch, $330 for the 40 inch, $500 for the 48 inch, and $650 for the 55 inch.

16  Samsung: They bought "Quietside" for an undisclosed sum of money. What do they do? Airconditioners. Why am I even covering this? To remind you that Samsung is a giant corporate entity that makes everything.

17  Sony: They've announced a 4.8 inch Android phone called the Xperia M2 Aqua. It's waterproof. That's about the only thing that's impressive about it. No price, launches this fall.

18  Uber: Berlin Ban Booted.

19  UK: If you live on the other side of the pond, you'll want to read this study (RootMetrics; 920,000+ data points) on mobile network performance. Spoiler: EE is the best, then Three, then O2, and Vodafone is last.

20  UK: Starting in October, music videos on YouTube and Vevo will feature age ratings. Why? This is the same country where ISPs have porn filters. I'll let you figure it out.

21  USA: "A major U.S. hospital group [Community Health Systems] said it was the victim of a cyber-attack resulting in the theft of 4.5 million people's personal data." The FBI is already on the case, and so far it looks like the Chinese are to blame.

22  USA: RootMetrics (see Tab #19) also looked at the U.S. wireless market. No surprise: Verizon has the best network, and AT&T is in second place. T-Mobile, however, has finally surpassed Sprint in terms of network quality.

23  Yahoo: Tumblr is going to partner with a company called "Ditto Labs" to scan all the images you've ever Tumblr-ed in order to figure out how to better serve you ads. "Right now, we're not planning to do anything ad-related," says T.R. Newcomb, Head of Business Development at Tumblr, to which I call shenanigans.

24  YouTube: "YouTube is set to launch a service called YouTube Music Key, and Google is set to rebrand Google Play Music All Access to Google Play Music Key. Specifically, it looks like YouTube Music Key will offer ad-free music, audio-only playback (for background or screen-off listening), and offline playback." Price? $10/month. When will this service go live? No one knows.

The Real World

25  Africa: More elephants are now being killed each year than are being born. If this continues, elephants will become extinct in 100 years.

26  Ebola: The death toll has hit 1,229.

27  Ferguson: The Atlantic has published a collection of 36 photos of the chaos.

28  Ferguson: The U.S. Attorney General is going to be there tomorrow to find out just what the hell is going on.

29  Iceland: One of their volcanos is showing signs of acting up. Who cares, right? Well, if you're in Europe, remember the Eyjafjallajokull air travel clusterfuck of 2010? Yeah, that. Again.

30  Ukraine: Yesterday, a convoy carrying refugees away from the fighting in East Ukraine was attacked. It was a breaking story, so details in Monday's Tab Dump were light. Now it appears at least 15 people have died.

31  USA: "Based on the camouflage abilities of octopuses and cuttlefish, engineers in the U.S. [University of Illinois] have built a flexible material that changes colour to match its surroundings. The new design features a grid of one millimeter cells, containing a temperature-driven dye that switches color on demand." Think of this as organic electronic ink.

32  USA: Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine somehow made mice suffer the equivalent of a human stroke. They then "fired beams of light" inside the brains of said mice and discovered that it aided in recovery. All I keep thinking about is that stupid Finnish company that conned the world into believing sticking LED lightbulbs in your ears will get rid of depression.

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