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The latest articles about Tech from Mashable, the media and tech company

How a friendly chatbot can help customers love your site

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Nobody likes forms. Not tax forms, not medical forms, and certainly not website forms. Yet many websites are riddled with them, demanding that the customer devote time and effort to filling them out before getting in touch or making a purchase. This isn’t just bad customer service, it’s also a direct barrier to conversion and a huge marketing no-no.

Quriobot turns this online roadblock into an opportunity to surprise and delight everyone who visits your site. There's no need to spend a fortune to leverage chatbot functionality, though. A lifetime Quriobot subscription is just $59.99 when you buy it here. Read more...

More about Apps And Software, Customer Service, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Solo, and Mashable Stackcommerce

Posted on 21 July 2018 | 3:39 am

After a CEO shuffle, Nest is in a much better place within Google

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Nest CEO Marwan Fawaz announced this week that he's leaving his post at the helm of the Google-owned smart home company and moving into an advisory role. This is a move in the right direction for Nest customers and the smart-home space in general.

The decision comes only five months after Nest formally rejoined Google after spending three years as an independent subsidiary of Alphabet, Google's parent company. The reorganization has tremendous implications for Google's future, and it means the Nest team will work more closely with Google's hardware group, potentially leading to better integrations with other products from the tech giant. Read more...

More about Google, Alphabet, Nest, Google Home, and Tech

Posted on 21 July 2018 | 3:38 am

There is no more gun emoji. Is that a good thing?

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Emoji have conquered the world, no doubt, but what happens after the conquest?

The answer: Things change. Emoji are constantly evolving, not only with new symbols that arrive on our smartphone keyboards year after year, but also the symbols themselves. A couple of years ago, your standard emoji keyboard usually had a gun on it, but today that symbol has been almost universally replaced with a water pistol.

SEE ALSO: Someone please stop these copycat emoji Twitter accounts

The gun’s transformation may be the most dramatic of changes, but emoji are changing in subtler ways, too. Apple recently announced a new set of emoji coming in iOS 12, and it includes a eye-like symbol, the nazar amulet, that’s very popular in Turkey and other parts of the world, but not the U.S. With the emoji keyboard now pretty much filled out with “universal” symbols, expect more niche or regional characters to appear. Read more...

More about Emoji, Podcast, Mashtalk, Emojipedia, and Tech

Posted on 21 July 2018 | 3:21 am

Google is working on software that could eventually replace Android

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Google is already working on an operating system that may replace Android in the next five years.

The tech giant has reportedly been tinkering on the OS, codenamed "Fuchsia," for over two years and now has more than 100 engineers working on the project, according to Bloomberg.

SEE ALSO: Google's experimental operating system, Fuchsia, is now available for the Pixelbook

Unlike Android, which was designed as an operating system primarily for smartphones and devices with touchscreens, Fuchsia is said to put voice-controls and AI front and center. 

"It’s being designed to better accommodate voice interactions and frequent security updates and to look the same across a range of devices, from laptops to tiny internet-connected sensors," Bloomberg reports. Read more...

More about Google, Android, Operating System, Fuchsia, and Tech

Posted on 21 July 2018 | 3:09 am

Save up to $200 on select Dell laptops (which are great for students) before the sale ends July 20

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With students going back to school in a few weeks, now is the best time to get a new laptop. Lucky for all the students parents out there, Dell has two great promotions on two of its most powerful and compact laptops. 

Dell has a deal on the Inspiron 15 5000 laptop with a 15.6-inch display running Windows 10 Pro. You can get the laptop for only $649.99, which is a deep savings of $200. It's the newer and more versatile model with an Intel Core i7 processor with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD storage. The laptop also features Dell's TrueColor that automatically adjust color vibrancy, tone, and temperature in whatever the situation to deliver a great and realistic image and video experience every time you use it. Use the coupon code DBCW649 to get the deal. Read more...

More about Laptops, Dell, Mashable Shopping, Shopping List, and Shopping Cj

Posted on 21 July 2018 | 2:45 am

Amazon deals for July 20: Save on 4K TVs from Sony, LG, and Samsung, plus Funko Pop figures, HP and Epson printers, and more on sale

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Happy Friday! With the weekend here, Amazon has a lot of deals on products that will help you relax and enjoy your days off, like big screen TVs, Amazon connected-devices, and toys for the kids. The retailer also has deals on office supplies and printers for when you get back to work on Monday.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 products on Prime Day, according to Mashable readers

Amazon is continuing their deals on HD and 4K TVs, like a 32-inch HD TV with built-in Roku functionality from TLC, while Sony has two 4K TVs on sale; a 55-inch for $1,298.00 and a 65-inch for $1,498.00Samsung discounted one of their 4K OLED smart TVs for less than $2,400. Read more...

More about Mashable Shopping, Shopping Amazon, Daily Deals, Tech, and Work Life

Posted on 21 July 2018 | 2:26 am

Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft are joining forces to make your data super portable

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Avengers: Infinity War is the most ambitious crossover event in history…but Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook might beg to differ.

Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Microsoft have all teamed up to work on a new open-source project called the Data Transfer Project

The goal of the project is to give users an easy and convenient way to transfer data between each platform. If all goes as planned, users’ data would be seamlessly transferred service to service without having to be downloaded then uploaded it each time. Users would no longer feel bound to a service solely based on all the data they have stored on it. Read more...

More about Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, and Data

Posted on 21 July 2018 | 2:25 am

This robotic vacuum's camera could let hackers spy on you

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Be careful: Hackers might be watching through your vacuum. 

Well, they could if you own the Diqee Camera Robotic Vacuum Cleaner, which is made and sold in China. It touts features like an HD 360-degree camera, night vision, and anti-collision sound wave technology.  

While that's helpful for keeping your house clean, cybersecurity firm Positive Technologies claims the the internet-connected device has two major vulnerabilities. 

SEE ALSO: Domestic robots that will change the future of how you run your house

First, hackers can gain access to the vacuum remotely and move the device, which is creepy enough. But they can also access the camera to watch you in your home. Yeah, that helpful surveillance feature doesn't sound so alluring now.  Read more...

More about Privacy, Cybersecurity, Internet Of Things, Vacuum Cleaner, and Tech

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 1:34 pm

The latest Mophie Powerstation battery packs charge through a Lightning port

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Belkin isn't the only one in these parts with an Apple-approved battery pack

Smartphone accessory manufacturer Mophie announced on Thursday that it's about to raise the bar by introducing four MFi power packs that are exclusive to Apple. That means Mophie’s Powerstation, Powerstation XXL, Powerstation Plus, and Powerstation Plus XL are the first portable chargers available with Apple’s MFi approval. 

But potential buyer be warned: All of these products carry that signature hefty Mophie price tag for their nice design and relatively large sized battery.

SEE ALSO: The first Apple-approved battery pack that charges via Lightning port is finally here Read more...

More about Apple, Mophie, Battery Pack, Mophie Powerstation, and Tech

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 1:25 pm

Instagram now lets you see when your friends are online

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Now your friends can see exactly how much time you spend lurking on Instagram.

Instagram announced Thursday the rollout of a new feature that will let your followers see when you're using the app. The concept is similar to Facebook Messenger: when someone you follow or have previously messaged with, is "active" in the app, Instagram will show a small green bubble next to their name to let you know that they're online.

SEE ALSO: PSA: Instagram's new ask feature is not anonymous

Instagram explained that the goal of the feature is to make it easier for users to chat within the app.

"This update gives you the ability to have more of those realtime conversations while giving you the control to hide your status altogether," the company wrote in a blog post. Read more...

More about Tech, Facebook, Instagram, Apps And Software, and Tech

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 1:05 pm

Poorly attended blockchain conference offers much-needed reality check

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It's 8:30 a.m. on a Thursday morning at the Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco, and the emcee is stoked

A booming welcome worthy of a Vegas boxing match is being delivered over the PA as attendees at the Distributed blockchain conference gather to hear the gospel of "unlocking the global power of decentralized business." 

However, if the half-full auditorium is any indication, it's a message that needs a few more converts. 

SEE ALSO: WTF is former Congressman Dennis Kucinich doing at this blockchain yacht party

Distributed lacked the over-the-top hysterics and flash of Consensus, the major blockchain event held in New York City this past May. There were no Lamborghinis parked outside, no fake protests, and no blockchain-based beer vending machine. Instead, Distributed presented a sober and cautious evaluation of the cryptocurrency, ICO, blockchain, and token space as it now exists.  Read more...

More about Bitcoin, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Tech, and Other

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 12:47 pm

WhatsApp tests a new anti-spam feature that detects shady links

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WhatsApp may soon have a new weapon in the fight  against one of the most insidious forms of spam: shady links.

The messaging app is testing a new feature that can detect suspicious links within messages and warns users before they click, a company rep confirmed to Mashable.

SEE ALSO: WhatsApp will pay researchers to study its fake news epidemic

The feature is aimed at a specific type of exploit favored by spammers and phishers: links that mimic legitimate URLs by using characters from other alphabets that look similar to other letters. In the example below, for instance, the URL in the message looks like a link to whatsapp.com, but the "w" character is actually an entirely different letter (note the small dot under the w). Read more...

More about Tech, Facebook, Whatsapp, Spam, and Tech

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 10:01 am

Have summer allergies? Save $10 on this air purifier.

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Just because spring is over doesn't mean you're done with allergy season. If you've ever had a cold in the middle of a heat wave, you very well know summer allergies are a thing, and they suck. Plus, if you live in a bustlin' metropolis, your body is constantly exposed to the pollutants floating around your cityUm, no thank you. 

SEE ALSO: No, it's not just you — allergy season is worse this year and that's exactly why you need an air purifier

It's times like these — when your throat is scratchy, your eyes are itchy, and you can't stop sneezing — that you wish you had an air purifier. So do yourself a favor and pick up Cisno's True HEPA Air Purifier, which is currently on sale. Read more...

More about Mashable Shopping, Shopping Stackcommerce, Shopping Solo, Air Purifier, and Tech

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 9:38 am

Top 10 products on Prime Day, according to Mashable readers

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RIP, Prime Day 2018. You were so popular that your site quite literally broke for a good portion of the first day, but did that stop all of us from spending way more than the limit we promised ourselves? Hell no.

Despite the massive 404 error glitch that forced people in 17 countries to see the dogs of Amazon (not complaining) instead of being able to view their cart or check out (yes, complaining), Amazon sold over 100 million items during the 36 hour period. Yup, that's a record-breaking number that beat out previous Prime Days, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. 

SEE ALSO: 9 drunk shopping purchases that you'll feel good about in the morning Read more...

More about Alexa, Fire Tv, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Amazon, and Shopping Fun

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 9:30 am

'Silicon Valley' devoted an entire episode to this in-demand coding tool

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Experienced developers and product managers know that, when it comes to creating and shipping a product, the only thing you should expect is the unexpected. That’s why they use Scrum to keep their teams organized, adaptable, and collaborative.

SEE ALSO: Best website builders for start-up founders, entrepreneurs, and anyone with a side hustle

Since 1986, teams at leading companies have used this agile project management framework to maximize efficiency and streamline communicationEven Pied Piper scrums, as seen in an early episode of Silicon Valley (“This increases visibility into our team’s progress!” Jared raves.) Read more...

More about Project Management, Mashable Shopping, Shopping Solo, Scrum, and Tech

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 9:16 am

Airbus' whale-sized plane made an oversized maiden flight

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That's not a bird or a plane, it's a ... whale.

This is what it looks like when a massive oversized plane takes to the sky: Airbus' aptly named BelugaXL plane took off on a test flight Thursday morning at the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France. 

The 4-hour, 11-minute flight, which took place with three crew members aboard, was the BelugaXL's first flight before it takes off in 2019 to transport large aircraft parts to assembly lines in France and Germany. Crew members on the ground helped to make sure the test flight went smoothly after dozens of ground tests before Thursday's flight.

Five of these giant planes will be built over the next five years and will replace five of the older version, the BelugaST. The new craft has Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines and a lowered cockpit. Its cargo hold is one of the largest ever on a civilian or military craft. Read more...

More about Plane, Aircraft, Airbus, Tech, and Transportation

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 8:21 am

Is the 2018 MacBook Pro Apple's best laptop yet? We break it down for you

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Apple released their latest MacBook Pro. We conducted a few tests to see if it's actually their best performing-laptop yet.

Read the full review here. Read more...

More about Apple, Mashable Video, Laptop, Mashable Video, and Real Time Video

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 8:17 am

How Phish became the unlikely heroes of digital music streaming

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As Phish recently prepared to hit the road for their annual summer tour, I found myself digging in the dark reaches of a closet to locate a binder I'd filled with dozens of CD recordings of the jam band's live shows. 

Every show is a spectacle unto itself, an ever-changing setlist that never repeats, lasting between two and three hours, and featuring improvisational jams that can stretch upwards of 20 minutes. Each one is unique, and if you're a fan, you want to hear every possible version of your favorite song, and to collect them all. As a fan of the band for the last 23 years, I've been hell-bent on trying. Read more...

More about Tech, Watercooler, Culture, Streaming Services, and Music

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 8:14 am

You still can't block followers on Spotify, and users are not happy

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Spotify's social features are what set the streaming giant apart from its competition, but now, those same features are the root of a very real problem: harassment.

As reported by BuzzFeed this week, unlike other social media platforms, Spotify does not allow its users to block followers from viewing account activity — which has created a new avenue for abuse and intimidation. 

SEE ALSO: Apple Music has reportedly overtaken Spotify in U.S. subscribers

The piece shares a story from Meghan, a 26-year-old who has been excessively targeted by someone from a previous relationship. 

Spotify did remove the messaging feature in 2017, but the activity feed that shows followers what music you're listening to remains.  Read more...

More about Tech, Spotify, Harassment, Social Media, and Culture

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 6:01 am

Noise-Canceling AirPods May Be the Future

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Read more...More about Iphone, Airpods, Mashable Reels, Sn Reels, and Tech

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 5:33 am

Review: The new MacBook Pro packs serious power, but only for a select few

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Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2018)
$2,399 (starting)
View Product
The Good
  • Capable of incredible performance
  • Keyboard is improved
  • Always-on "Hey Siri" is nice to have
  • TrueTone display regulates screen "temperature" continuously
The Bad
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Touch Bar still a solution looking for a problem
  • Requires adapters to connect to legacy gear
  • Struggles with intense gameplay
The Bottom Line
The 2018 MacBook Pro will satisfy creative professionals looking for raw power, but the cost, ongoing design issues, and lack of gaming prowess will keep others away.
Read more...More about Apple, Reviews, Macbook, Macbook Pro, and Macbook Pro 2018

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 5:02 am

Walmart is having a killer sale on tech and home goods, with deals on GoPro cameras, Vizio TVs, Samsung tablets, and more

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When it comes to deals, Walmart does not mess around. You can find just about anything at Walmart — from furniture and appliance to pet supplies and cameras — and for some pretty good prices, too. Unlike other retailers (ahem Amazon), Walmart always offers free two-day shipping for orders over $35. So yeah. There's that too.

SEE ALSO: Get an enormous, 75-inch Vizio 4K smart TV from Walmart on sale and save a whopping $1200

If you slept through Prime Day or are just still hankering for a good deal, there are plenty of appliances and furniture on sale right now during Walmart's "Ultimate Summer Specials." (Their words, not ours.) Read more...

More about Tv, Tablets, Cameras, Walmart, and Laptops

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 4:44 am

Netflix revamps its TV interface, and it looks a lot better

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Netflix is going back to its roots with a revamped TV interface.

Yesterday, the streaming giant announced a brand-new look for those who use the service on a TV. It's officially launching today, but it will take Netflix some time to push the new user interface out to all compatible smart TVs, streaming boxes, cable boxes, gaming consoles, and everything else. 

SEE ALSO: Netflix for Android can now download your favorite shows automatically

Netflix's aim with this redesign is for content to be easier to find and to help users get watching faster. It builds off the Netflix mentality of them wanting to improve the customer experience. Stephen Garcia, a Director of Product Innovation at Netflix, wrote in a blog post that the “new interface was based on rigorous research and testing around how we can make it easier to find titles on TVs.”  Read more...

More about Tv, Netflix, Streaming Services, User Interface, and Tech

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 3:54 am

Apple's 2018 MacBook Pro has some serious CPU throttling issues

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On paper, Apple's new 15-inch MacBook Pro appears to be a monster of a laptop, configurable with a powerful Intel eighth-generation Core i9 six-core processor.

But it turns out shelling out an extra $400 to upgrade to the beefier CPU isn't worth it. Benchmarks shared by customers who've purchased the pricey processor boost have revealed the chip is significantly throttled under heavy workloads with performance on-par with the base Intel Core i7 chip.

SEE ALSO: Review: The new MacBook Pro packs serious power, but only for a select few

Tech YouTuber Dave Lee was the first to call attention to the 2018 MacBook Pro's CPU throttling problems. Read more...

More about Apple, Macbook Pro, Throttling, Macbook Pro 2018, and Tech

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 3:50 am

Volkswagen will build two of its all-electric vehicles in the United States

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Volkswagen wants to electrify the United States.

The German automaker confirmed to European car website Autocar that it will make American versions of the ID Buzz (the machine is an electric version of its iconic camper, which looks akin to the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine) and Crozz EV (which is just another crossover) in the U.S.

SEE ALSO: Volkswagen's all-electric race car shatters records on the uphill Pikes Peak

Volkswagen is one of just a number of multinational car companies that are pushing into electric fleets, likely triggered by the overwhelmingly positive response of Tesla's all-electric vehicles. And Volkswagen in particular has increased its electric vehicle strategy in Europe and China by large publicity stunts like racing its purely electric vehicles in headline competitions. Read more...

More about United States, Electric Cars, Electric Vehicles, Volkswagen, and Tech

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 3:23 am

Will the smartphone notch be replaced with a hole?

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Where do we go next, now that the notch has become nearly ubiquitous on smartphone screens?

According to a new report, the next step in maximizing the real estate on smartphone screens might be a simple hole.  

Korean outlet ETNews (via Android Authority) wrote Thursday that Chinese phone maker Huawei might launch a phone with a hole that houses the selfie camera on top of the screen. 

SEE ALSO: Vivo NEX review: This is what happens when you'd do anything to kill the notch

The details on the phone are scarce, but it would reportedly have a 6.39-inch LCD screen, a tiny, round hole near the top of the screen to house the selfie cam, and a very thin bezel on the very top to house the speaker and sensors.  Read more...

More about Smartphones, Huawei, Hole, Notch, and Tech

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 2:18 am

Amazon has laptops from HP, ASUS, and Lenovo on sale, plus deals on Dyson vacuums, Philips Hue smart lightbulbs, and much more

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Amazon has quite a few deals on making your home a better place, with great household cleaning products, smart home devices, and kitchen appliances on sale. The retail giant also has discounts on a number of laptops, Alexa-enabled devices (including a microwave!), and bedroom products like pillows and blankets. Let's break it down.

SEE ALSO: Prime Day is over but you can still get an Instant Pot on sale for $30 off

Dyson's Motorhead Cord-Free Vacuum is now on sale for just $184.00, while Black+Decker has a sale on its Flex 2 Hand Vacuum for less than $50. Even robot vacuums from Neato Robotics and ECOVACS are on sale, while smart lights from Philips Hue and Lutron Caseta are discounted as well.  Read more...

More about Hp, Lenovo, Dyson, Asus, and Dell

Posted on 20 July 2018 | 2:04 am

Xiaomi Mi Max 3 is a phone for people with enormous hands

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Do you have exceptionally large hands? Are you a giant? Do you like phones that are as big as your head?

If the answer to any of the questions above is "yes," we have a cool phone to show you. Xiaomi Mi Max 3 has an absolutely ginormous, 6.9-inch screen.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi eyes expansion into the U.S. in 2019

The Mi Max series of phones was always about mid-rangers with a big screen and a big battery, but the Mi Max 3 towers over its predecessors (the Mi Max and the Mi Max 2 both had a 6.44-inch screen). 

On the left, the Mi Max 3. On the right, a paltry 4.7-inch phone.

On the left, the Mi Max 3. On the right, a paltry 4.7-inch phone.

Image: Xiaomi

At 5,500mAh. the battery has gotten bigger as well. Xiaomi claims it'll charge from zero to 71% in just one hour.  Read more...

More about Smartphone, Xiaomi, Phablet, Xiaomi Mi Max 3, and Mi Max 3

Posted on 19 July 2018 | 8:18 pm

Glass phones are about to get really, really cool

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Are you ready for translucent phones? What about wood, or snakeskin? That's the promise of Gorilla Glass 6, Corning's newest generation of Gorilla Glass. 

The next-gen display tech, which is used by Apple and Samsung, comes with the usual upgrades in scratch and impact resistance, but perhaps more exciting is that the glass can also be engineered to look and feel nothing like actual glass.

SEE ALSO: When are we going to get honest-to-god wireless charging?

During a press event at the company's Sunnyvale, Calif. facility Wednesday, the company showed off new designs that add realistic textures to its glass. It's called "Vibrant" Gorilla Glass, and it was first introduced in 2016 with the promise that phone makers could print high resolution images directly onto it. Read more...

More about Tech, Gadgets, Smartphones, Gorilla Glass, and Tech

Posted on 19 July 2018 | 1:46 pm

Oh joy, it's your elected officials rambling on about cryptocurrency

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Look, cryptocurrency is complicated. We get it. What with all the different coins, tokens, ICOs, exchanges, scams, protocols, and DApps, it's borderline impossible for the casual observer to keep it all straight. 

And so, with that in mind, let us now turn to approximately three combined hours of our elected officials rambling on about the blockchain and our decentralized future.

SEE ALSO: Desperate Coinbase customers turn to SEC with allegations of fraud

The fun started early Wednesday, when members of the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing to discuss the future of the crypto-verse.  Read more...

More about Congress, Bitcoin, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and Tech

Posted on 19 July 2018 | 1:32 pm