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Advertising May Soon Follow You From One Device To the Next 132

moon_unit2 writes "We're all familiar with ads that seem to follow you around as you go from one website to another. A startup called Drawbridge has developed technology that could let those ads follow you even when you pick up a smartphone or tablet. The company, founded by an ex-Google scientist, employs statistical methods to try to match and identify users on different devices. The idea is that this will preserve privacy while making mobile ads more lucrative, although some experts aren't convinced that the data will be truly anonymous."

Why Would a Mouse Need To Connect To the Internet? 249

jbrodkin writes "In this hyper-connected, networked world, many more of our devices are getting linked to the cloud, whether we want them to or not. That's sometimes good, and sometimes bad, so when a basic device like a mouse requires a user to go online and set up an account to activate all of its functionality, people are understandably going to ask why? The latest entry in the saga of 'Why the hell does this thing need to connect to the Internet?' comes from Razer, which has caused an uproar by asking users to register gaming mice on the Internet. While it's mainly for syncing settings across devices, gamers are complaining that certain functionality might not be available unless you create an online account for your mouse. Razer has responded to the controversy, but its answers aren't entirely satisfactory."

Google Patents Profit-Maximizing Dynamic Pricing 294

theodp writes "A newly-granted Google patent on Dynamic Pricing of Electronic Content describes how information gleaned from your search history and social networking activity can be used against you by providing tell-tale clues for your propensity to pay jacked-up prices to 'reconsume' electronic content, such as 'watching a video recording, reading an electronic book, playing a game, or listening to an audio recording.' The patent is illustrated with drawings showing how some individuals can be convinced to pay 4x what others will be charged for the same item. From the patent: 'According to one innovative aspect of the subject matter described by this specification, a system may use this information to tailor the price that is offered to the particular user to repurchase the particular item of electronic content. By not applying discounts for users that may, in relation to a typical user, be more inclined to repurchase a particular product, profits may increase.' Hey, wasn't this kind of dynamic pricing once considered evil?"

Facebook Testing the Want Button 147

redletterdave writes "Facebook already knows what you 'Like.' Soon, it may ask you what you 'Want'. Tom Waddington, a Web developer for the craft website Cut Out + Keep, discovered that Facebook has included code for a disabled 'Want' button within the Javascript of its list of social plug-ins. The code was released to the Facebook Javascript SDK last Wednesday, but Waddington discovered the disabled button among other embedded tags, including 'degrees,' 'social context' and 'page events.' Waddington says the 'Want' button would work with Open Graph projects that use the tag 'products.'"

Xbox Second Screen Announced 125

kodiaktau writes "Microsoft has announced a feature called SmartGlass that provides a new set of features when viewing media on mobile or PC devices. Sources say that it will provide context focused advertising/product placement as well as metadata about the media you are currently viewing. Additionally the interface allows you to store viewing data and share between your desktop and mobile devices to continue viewing content between devices. From the article: 'SmartGlass also allows you to view the web on an Xbox 360 using Internet Explorer. The tablet or phone becomes the keyboard and you can easily browse web pages without having a physical keyboard in the living room.'"

Scientists Work Towards Naturally Caffeine-Free Coffee 312

First time accepted submitter eternaldoctorwho writes "Research has been underway to produce a coffee bean plant that naturally has no or little caffeine content. Now, it looks like that might become a reality in the near future: Paulo Mazzafera of the University of Campinas in Brazil has come closer than ever with a strain containing 'only 2% of normal caffeine levels.' Coffee, anyone?"

Christmas Always On Sunday? Researchers Propose New Calendar 725

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have discovered a way to make time stand still — at least when it comes to the yearly calendar. Using computer programs and mathematical formulas, an astrophysicist and an economist have created a new calendar in which each new 12-month period is identical to the one which came before, and remains that way from one year to the next in perpetuity."

Facebook Said To Be Developing Phone With HTC 78

ProbablyJoe writes "AllThingsD is running a series of stories this week about a possible new Facebook phone, codenamed 'Buffy.' The phone is said to be in development by HTC, who collaborated with Facebook earlier this year for the Salsa and ChaCha/Status phones, which both had physical Facebook buttons, and a degree of integration with the social network. While these rumors have been going around for quite a while, the article contains some new information, and neither Facebook or HTC are denying the rumors. The phone will be based on Android, but like Amazon's Kindle Fire, will be heavily modified to integrate with Facebook, potentially using Facebook's HTML5 platform. While we're unlikely to see any official announcements or releases any time soon, Facebook are eager to compete with Google and Apple, and are likely to want a phone of their own on shelves as soon as possible."

In-Vitro Muscle Cells, It's What's For Dinner 619

wanzeo writes "Within the last decade, many of us have experienced the encroachment of ethics into our mealtime. Phrases such as vegetarian, vegan, organic, bST, GMO, etc. have become part of common grocery store advertising. The most recent addition to the list of ethically charged food is in-vitro meat, or meat that was cultured in a petri dish, and was never part of a live animal. The project has been brought to fruition by Mark Post, a biologist at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. Grown using animal stem-cells on a nutrient medium, the nearly see-through strips of muscle would need to be stacked nearly 3,000 times to approach the thickness of a burger. The practice promises to be more humane, sustainable, and efficient than conventional meats, with one analysis suggesting it would, 'use 35 to 60 percent less energy, emit 80 to 95 percent less greenhouse gas and use around 98 percent less land.' In a world where nearly half of all crop production is used to feed livestock, a move towards artificial meat may be inevitable."

Mastercard, Visa To Help Target Ads 222

New submitter ThatsMyNick writes "The two largest credit-card networks, Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc., are pushing into a new business: using what they know about people's credit-card purchases for targeting them with ads online. 'A MasterCard document obtained by the Journal outlines some of the company's plans, which included linking Web users with purchases. According to document, the credit card provider said it believes "you are what you buy." ... Visa is planning a similar service, which would aggregate its customers' purchase history into segments, including location, to make ads more effective at appealing to people in a respective area.'"

Congress May Permit Robot Calls To Cell Phones 619

TCPALaw writes "While many hoaxes have circulated in the past about cell phone numbers being opened up to telemarketers, it now may actually happen. A bill, HR 3035 (PDF), has been introduced in Congress, that would create numerous exceptions to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which banned autodialed and prerecorded robot calls to cell phone numbers. If passed, HR 3035 would permit a wide range of autodialed and prerecorded calls to cell phones that are currently prohibited, and would preempt practically all state laws providing similar protections. This is being applauded by debt collectors and banks (PDF) ... as if the bailouts weren't enough, now they get to make you pay for their calls to you."

Amazon's New Silk Redefines Browser Tech 249

angry tapir writes "While the Kindle Fire tablet consumed much of the focus at Amazon's launch event Wednesday in New York, the company also showed off a bit of potentially radical software technology as well, the new browser for the Fire, called Silk. Silk is different from other browsers because it can be configured to let Amazon's cloud service do much of the work assembling complex Web pages. The result is that users may experience much faster load times for Web pages, compared to other mobile devices, according to the company."

AT&T Kills $10 Texting Plan, Pushes $20 Plan 348

Hugh Pickens writes "AT&T is scrapping its 1,000-texts-for-ten-bucks plan and replacing it with a plan that offers unlimited texts for $20. Users who don't want the unlimited plan can opt to pay 20 cents per text. Current AT&T subscribers are grandfathered in, so you can stick with whatever plan you selected when you signed your contract. 'The vast majority of our messaging customers prefer unlimited plans and with text messaging growth stronger than ever, that number continues to climb among new customers,' says AT&T. The news has not been received warmly in the tech blogosphere. 'AT&T calls this "streamlining." We call it what it is: an outrageous, gigantic scam,' writes Sam Biddle in Gizmodo. 'AT&T's taken away new customers' option to spend less, whereas carriers like Verizon still offer tiered texting plans for varying budgets.'"

Apple To Start Making TVs? 313

timothy writes "Apple might want to sell you your next TV,' says this CNN report. Which makes a lot of sense, considering that Apple's razors-and-blades, vertical-marketplace model for iTunes (and the various iDevices) doesn't make as much sense with the world of TV, where your Sony, Samsung, or (egads!) Westinghouse set is just as happy with a Google TV box, or a Roku, or one of many other media devices, as it is with an Apple TV attached."

Apple Patents Tech to Stop iPhones Filming in Venues 391

An anonymous reader writes "A patent application filed by Apple, and obtained by the Times, reveals how the software would work. If a person were to hold up their iPhone, the device would trigger the attention of infra-red sensors installed at the venue. These sensors would then instruct the iPhone to disable its camera."

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe