August 01: 39 tabs

Bits and Bytes

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02  Amazon: Their Android App Store is now in 236 countries. The 41 countries added yesterday are in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Oceania.

03  App: Microsoft released a game called "Snap Attack" for Android devices. Yes, you read that right. Microsoft made a game for Google's mobile operating system.

04  App: There's a new Android app called "Spring". You give it a photo of yourself, it makes you taller. Is this the new "beauty face" feature that Chinese handset makers love to put on their phones?

05  Apple: Ming-Chi Kuo is at it again, this time saying there will be only three million iWatches on store shelves this year.

06  Apple: Starting on August 4th, they'll start replacing broken iPhone 5s screens in Apple Stores (in the U.S. and Canada). Previously, said phones had to be sent off-site for repair.

07  Apple: They're spending a lot of money ($100 million) to make sure they can saturate your internet connection (when downloading the latest Justin Bieber album).

08  DigiTimes: "MediaTek has raised shipment targets for its 4G smartphone solutions for 2014 to 30 million units, from 15 million set previously, according to company president Hsieh Ching-chiang."

09  DigiTimes: No one is buying the "mini" versions of flagship phones that companies keep on announcing.

10  Drugs: "The number of listings offering illegal drugs for sale on the 'dark net' appears to have more than doubled in less than a year." The exact number: 18,174 drug listings in October 2013. Today? 43,175 listings. I bet you that when Tor was invented, they didn't know it would be used like this.

11  Facebook: Fun (semi-useless) Fact: The display in the latest Oculus Rift Development Kit is the same display (5.7 inch 1080p AMOLED) Samsung uses in the Galaxy Note 3. And I don't mean the same panel, I mean Oculus quite literally took the Note 3 apart and used the top half in their product.

12  Hackers: Yesterday, I linked to a Reuters article on hackers inserting viruses into USB controller chips, making said malicious code virtually undetectable. WIRED has published a far more digestible, and more enjoyable, version of said story.

13  HP: They've "announced" a smart watch that's nothing more than a bunch of PowerPoint slides as far as I can tell. No price. No date.

14  Microsoft: Starting with Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, Internet Explorer Mobile will spoof its browser string to Safari on iOS in a bid to actually render websites properly for a change.

15  Microsoft: They've massively updated Office for iPad, and while there are too many new features to list, I'm sure the favorite will be external keyboard support for Excel.

16  Qi: This wireless charging standard has been updated. The old spec supported charging from a distance of 7 millimeters. The new spec supports 45 millimeters.

17  Russia: "A new law imposing restrictions on users of social media has come into effect in Russia. It means bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers must register with the mass media regulator, Roskomnadzor, and conform to the regulations that govern the country's larger media outlets. Internet companies will also be required to allow Russian authorities access to users' information."

18  Sharp: They're making money hand over fist because of the rise of Chinese handset makers. Rumor has it that Sharp has one factory dedicated to supplying Xiaomi with panels.

19  T-Mobile USA: Sprint is currently trying to buy them. So too is French operator Iliad, who made T-Mobile a $15 billion offer (for a 56.6% stake) yesterday. Said offer was rejected according to The New York Times.

20  Twitter: "There were 2,058 [government information] requests from January 1 to June 30, marking a 46% increase over the second half of last year. The requests affect 48% more Twitter users than in the previous report." The United States submitted 1,257 of those 2,058 requests, and Twitter handed over information 72% of the time.

21  Twitter: They bought a company called "Mitro" for an undisclosed sum of money. They make a group password management service, but TechCrunch says Twitter doesn't really care, they just wanted the talent.

The Real World

22  Dinosaurs: When you watch a video about evolution, there's typically a small cell that grows into a larger organism, then a larger fish, then a lizard, what have you. Researchers in Australia say theropods evolved in the other direction. They become smaller and smaller over time, eventually becoming light enough to turn into the first birds. Said transition took 50 million years. FYI: Humans have been around for only 200,000 years.

23  India: 40 men are being paid to run around the country's parliament building dressed up as monkeys in an effort to scare away the real monkeys that are wrecking havoc.

24  Japan: They don't really like China. Vietnam also doesn't like China. In a classic "enemy of my enemy" move, Japan has gifted Vietnam six naval ships. Said ships are estimated to cost a total of $5 million.

25  Russia: They've banned the import of fruits and vegetables from Poland. Why? "Russia's food hygiene authorities said the imports had unacceptable levels of pesticide residues and nitrates." Translation: You guys in the West want to put sanctions on us? Fine, we'll stop doing business with you, product by product, country by country.

26  South Africa: You stick two giraffes on a truck and then go for a ride, what could go wrong? Oh right, they're too damn tall for overhead bridges. One is dead, another is currently being treated.

27  Space: The next Rover that NASA plans to send to Mars in 2021 will be carrying 40 kilograms worth of scientific equipment, including a machine that will attempt to convert the carbon dioxide on Mars into oxygen. Note: This Rover will cost $1.9 billion.

28  Taiwan: The streets of Kaohsiung exploded last night, killing at least 25 people. Why did the streets explode? "The exact cause of the gas leaks is not clear, but reports say the blasts were caused by ruptured pipelines." I spent a lovely three weeks in this city last year, so this news is incredibly personal.

29  Thailand: First the military dethrones the leaders of the Thai government, now they've appointed 200 people of their choosing to an "interim" legislature.

30  Uganda: Back in February, Uganda made it illegal to be gay. That (ridiculous) law has now been overturned.

31  UK: For all you romantics out there, and I count myself as one of you, here's a four minute video showing off the last scissor factory in Britain. The amount of attention to detail is stunning.

32  USA: "A way to turn an entire body transparent has been developed by scientists [in California] studying rodents. Reporting in the journal Cell, they describe a technique that keeps tissues intact but allows key body parts and connections to be seen. They say it could help visualize how separate organs interact and pave the way for a new generation of treatments."

33  USA: "The boxing gloves worn by Muhammad Ali during his 1971 fight with Joe Frazier have been sold at auction for $388,375. An anonymous bidder bought the gloves at an auction in Cleveland." I wonder what they smell like after all these years.

34  USA: An unnamed aid worker in West Africa was infected with the ebola virus. For reasons I'm failing to understand, said person is now being flown into Atlanta, Georgia.

35  USA: In this 92 second video, you'll get to a tour of a new gym in Virginia that's specifically designed for dogs. The irony here being the dog's owners, which are clearly unfit, are waxing poetically about how important it is to make sure their pets are healthy.

36  USA: Remember that pregnant woman in Sudan who was sentenced to be executed for switching from Islam to Christianity? Not only has she given birth to that child, but she's now safe and sound in the United States, New Hampshire to be specific, with her American husband.

37  USA: Thanks to a "leaked" memo, we now have absolute confirmation that the CIA tortured as many as 100 people using "brutal" techniques. And in a shock to no one, those techniques produced information that was pretty much useless. You'll say damn near anything when your balls are in a vice.

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