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October 1, 2014

Verizon won’t be throttling unlimited LTE data plans after all

Verizon Wireless store

If you were worried that Verizon would start throttling your unlimited data plan because you use it a lot, you can relax -- Big Red just had a last-minute change of heart. The carrier tells Droid-Life that it has decided against pursuing "network optimization" (read: throttling) for uncapped LTE users. There's no direct explanation for the about-face, but Verizon says that it "valued the ongoing dialogue" on slowdowns. In other words, it's likely trying to avoid a clash with the FCC, not to mention angry customers, over a potential violation of net neutrality guidelines. Whatever triggered the provider's second thoughts, it's good news if you've felt that the unlimited service you pay for shouldn't have any strings attached. Check out the full statement below.

[Image credit: AP Photo/John Minchillo]

Verizon is committed to providing its customers with an unparalleled mobile network experience. At a time of ever-increasing mobile broadband data usage, we not only take pride in the way we manage our network resources, but also take seriously our responsibility to deliver exceptional mobile service to every customer. We've greatly valued the ongoing dialogue over the past several months concerning network optimization and we've decided not to move forward with the planned implementation of network optimization for 4G LTE customers on unlimited plans. Exceptional network service will always be our priority and we remain committed to working closely with industry stakeholders to manage broadband issues so that American consumers get the world-class mobile service they expect and value.

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Source: Droid-Life

October 1, 2014

Scared of needles? Try swallowing them

If you're one of the many who fear needles, you might be in luck. Researchers at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital are working on an oral alternative to injections, and it involves the use of a capsule. On the pill's surface, tiny needles inject drugs directly into the lining of the stomach once it's swallowed. During trials, insulin was delivered more efficiently, and the capsule didn't cause any issues as it passed through the digestive system. While insulin was used in tests, the delivery system is said to be most helpful for antibodies to treat cancer and autoimmune disorders. At any rate, those of us who prefer to avoid shots entirely may soon have one less source of anxiety during doctor's visits.

[Image credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT]

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Source: MIT

October 1, 2014

Sprint and Verizon are doubling data on shared plans too

Not to be outdone by AT&T, Sprint and Verizon have now announced they are also going to double the data for users on shared mobile plans, at no extra cost. What's more, both carriers are bringing the promotion to family and business customers alike, making the news all the better. With Sprint, for example, you can get 120GB maximum for $225 per month on a family plan, while business accounts will receive up to 200GB for $330 -- on the former, there's also the $130 option, which lets you share 60GB between lines. Similarly, Verizon is set to double the data amount on its 20GB, 30GB, 40GB and 50GB More Everything plans; the 12GB and 16GB are making the jump as well, but only to 15GB and 30GB, respectively. Verizon's promo is kicking off tomorrow, with Sprint following suit the day after. But be sure to act fast, since the networks will only be offering this through the end of October.

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Source: Sprint, Verizon

October 1, 2014

Vuzix’s smart glasses now talk to your iPhone

Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses

Vuxix's M100 Smart Glasses may be Android-powered, but that doesn't mean you have to use its hands-free features with other Android devices. The company has rolled out an OS 2.0 update that lets you use the wearable with most iOS gear. So long as you have the companion app (due very shortly), you can take full advantage of the M100's augmented reality apps, hands-free calling and other features that keep your hands free. If you've been looking for a head-mounted computer that will play nicely with your iPhone (and isn't as pricey as Google Glass), your search might be over.

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Source: Vuzix (Digital Journal)

October 1, 2014

Facebook apologizes for spurning drag queens, might do something about it

Facebook's real name policy has cause quite a stir recently, especially among the drag queen community. Several performers found themselves on the receiving end of a merciless deletion because they used their stage names, rather than their legal names for their profiles. When those accounts were reported as fake (apparently by a single individual with a vendetta against drag queens) they got swept up into Facebook's system and removed along with the bullies, impersonators and trolls. Now the company's chief product officer, Chris Cox, has issued an apology, though one that makes it clear the policy will not be changing.

Cox makes it clear that forcing Sister Roma or Lil Miss Hot Mess to change the names associated with their accounts would be a mistake, however. As he explains:

Our policy has never been to require everyone on Facebook to use their legal name. The spirit of our policy is that everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life. For Sister Roma, that's Sister Roma. For Lil Miss Hot Mess, that's Lil Miss Hot Mess.

That being said, he goes on to say the policy is "the right one" for Facebook, and gives no inclination that it's going to change anytime soon. Instead he says that the company's "reporting and enforcement mechanisms" are largely to blame for the problems. So, while the real name policy will stay in place, it looks as if Facebook is taking the issues it has caused recently at least somewhat seriously and is looking for solutions -- even if it's not sure what those solutions are yet. Suffice to say, Edwina Gadgetina was hoping for something more.

[Image Credits: Shutterstock (Facebook), Mathu Andersen/Logo (RuPaul)]

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Via: The Next Web

Source: Facebook

October 1, 2014

Netflix will pay you to take Instagram photos of famous movie locations

Taking a photo with a Galaxy S III in New York City

Ever felt that your Instagram photography is so good that you should start charging for it? Now's your chance to prove your worth. Netflix is looking for three professional Instagram shooters (aka "Grammasters") that will travel across the continental US snapping square photos of "iconic" movie and TV show locations to drum up attention for the streaming movie service. All you have to do to apply is share three of your best shots by October 7th. The gig only lasts for two weeks, so you won't want to quit your day job -- and it's safe to say that you won't have as much creative control as you'd probably like. However, you'll be paid $2,000 a week with all travel expenses covered. That's not too shabby for something you were already doing for free.

[Image credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images]

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Source: Netflix

October 1, 2014

The Big Picture: Japan’s bullet train turns 50

This recent file picture shows a bullet train 500-

The bullet train is a Japanese trademark. It is, in other words, a landmark in motion. Today, 50 years to the time it made a trip for the first time, between Tokyo and Osaka, Japan is celebrating a major milestone in the history of its beloved bullet-shaped train. The Shinkansen, as it's known in The Land of the Rising Sun, has had a great run throughout its 50-year tale, like being the fastest high-speed train at one point -- China's CRH380A now holds that title. Even so, Shinkansen is still responsible for carrying more than 300 million passengers every year in Japan, making it one of the most important forms of transportation in the world, not only in its home soil.

[Image credit: AFP/Getty Images]

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October 1, 2014

Trouble sleeping? A snooze-inducing cap might help

If you can't get to sleep at night, then you've probably been told to avoid cheese, say no to caffeine after lunchtime and drink a cup of warm milk before bed. That was good advice, or at least it was, until the advert of the Sleep Shepherd, which is a beanie that promises to gently send you to sleep and wake you up at the right time. Equipped with a variety of sensors, the headgear monitors your brain activity and sends a soothing pulse to your noggin to convince you that it's time to stop thinking about what Dave at the office said to you that morning.

According to its creator, Dr. Michael Larson, there's a part of our brain called the Medial Superior Olive, which we use to pinpoint the location of sounds. For instance, if someone speaks by our left ear, the sound reaches the left hemisphere of the MSO first, and we use the delay between that and when it reaches the right hemisphere to understand the location. The Sleep Shepherd takes advantage of this by sending a series of left-right pulses that trick your MSO into thinking that you're rocking back and forth on a hammock. This, apparently, causes your brain into lowering the frequency of your brainwaves, and will eventually send you to sleep.

Once you've nodded off, the Sleep Shepherd will deactivate, but will continue to monitor your brainwaves, so if you start to wake up, the hat will resume activity. The company's Kickstarter page doesn't go into a lot of detail about how it does this, but given the (now defunct) Zeo was able to shrink a simple EEG unit into a headband, we'd guess that this takes a similar approach. There's also no word on how you'd set the device to rouse you in the morning, but hopefully a companion app is in the offering. Perhaps, instead, the plastic section at the top of the beanie that houses the rechargeable lithium ion battery has a set of manual controls, although I think an app is more likely.

As we mentioned, this device is on Kickstarter, and the company is hoping to raise $50,000 to go into mass production. A pledge of $140 will bag you a regular version of the Sleep Shepherd, or you can buy one for you and your partner for $270. The company is planning to ship by March 2015 and have demonstration models ready in time for CES this January, and you can bet that we'll be catching up with them at the show.

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Source: Kickstarter

October 1, 2014

Trouble sleeping? A snooze-inducing cap might help

If you can't get to sleep at night, then you've probably been told to avoid cheese, say no to caffeine after lunchtime and drink a cup of warm milk before bed. That was good advice, or at least it was, until the advert of the Sleep Shepherd, which is a beanie that promises to gently send you to sleep and wake you up at the right time. Equipped with a variety of sensors, the headgear monitors your brain activity and sends a soothing pulse to your noggin to convince you that it's time to stop thinking about what Dave at the office said to you that morning.

According to its creator, Dr. Michael Larson, there's a part of our brain called the Medial Superior Olive, which we use to pinpoint the location of sounds. For instance, if someone speaks by our left ear, the sound reaches the left hemisphere of the MSO first, and we use the delay between that and when it reaches the right hemisphere to understand the location. The Sleep Shepherd takes advantage of this by sending a series of left-right pulses that trick your MSO into thinking that you're rocking back and forth on a hammock. This, apparently, causes your brain into lowering the frequency of your brainwaves, and will eventually send you to sleep.

Once you've nodded off, the Sleep Shepherd will deactivate, but will continue to monitor your brainwaves, so if you start to wake up, the hat will resume activity. The company's Kickstarter page doesn't go into a lot of detail about how it does this, but given the (now defunct) Zeo was able to shrink a simple EEG unit into a headband, we'd guess that this takes a similar approach. There's also no word on how you'd set the device to rouse you in the morning, but hopefully a companion app is in the offering. Perhaps, instead, the plastic section at the top of the beanie that houses the rechargeable lithium ion battery has a set of manual controls, although I think an app is more likely.

As we mentioned, this device is on Kickstarter, and the company is hoping to raise $50,000 to go into mass production. A pledge of $140 will bag you a regular version of the Sleep Shepherd, or you can buy one for you and your partner for $270. The company is planning to ship by March 2015 and have demonstration models ready in time for CES this January, and you can bet that we'll be catching up with them at the show.

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Source: Kickstarter

October 1, 2014

ARM attempts to speed up ‘internet of things’ adoption with new platform

It's the year 2014, and we've yet to have our flying cars and commuter jet packs. But we do have a glimpse of the future with the advent of the "internet of things." It's essentially the idea of connecting everyday objects -- be it thermostats or kitchen appliances -- to the web, in an effort to make our lives easier. As wonderful as that sounds though, development of new IoT technologies can be slow, due in part to the multiple different protocols in existence today and how tiresome it is to create an ecosystem from scratch.

That could soon come to an end, however, thanks to ARM. The chipmaker has just announced a brand new IoT-specific device platform that includes both a free operating system (tailor-made for ARM's Cortex-M processor based devices, of course) plus a server-side software product that ties it all together. Based on the mbed hardware and software ecosystem, the platform basically gives manufacturers the tools and building blocks necessary for IoT devices and services, thus making it that much faster and cheaper for them to bring their ideas to fruition.

The mbed OS, for example, already comes packaged with security, communication and device management features along with built-in support for key standards like Bluetooth Smart, LTE, Wi-Fi and Thread, while the mbed Device Server offers straightforward integration with cloud services. Plus, it's all based on open standards, which could mean different smart gadgets from different manufacturers will finally be able to communicate with one another.

And it's not just limited to the home either. ARM was keen to point out the potential this would have in a city-wide application. Zach Shelby, the director of technical marketing at ARM, says that when implemented with street lights, for example, the technology would be able to detect the number of people that are in certain areas during certain times of day. On its own, that data doesn't mean much, but if collected on a large scale, it could provide valuable data on crowd congestion, street occupancy and how flow in a city works. Another important application area would be with wearables, but not in the realm of an Android Wear device or an Apple Watch -- think more low-power stuff like heart rate sensors and connecting them to cloud so you can easily track your progress with apps.

Of course, ARM is certainly not the first to come up with an IoT platform or operating system. But ARM sees its mbed device platform in a class of its own, because it can work across all devices with a Cortex-M processor, which is pretty ubiquitous (both the Pebble and the Nest, for example, have a Cortex M3), and it provides both the OS and a server-side solution. It certainly benefits those who've already invested in ARM chips and of course it behooves ARM to make the platform open.

While ARM already has plenty of partners signed up, we're told that we likely won't see devices with mbed until some time next year. "The Internet of Things has turned into this fragmented world," says Mike Muller, ARM's CTO. "So we decided we're going to put this out there. We're going to make it free so that it's something that everyone can use."

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Source: ARM