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+ - Apple pushing music labels to kill free Spotify streaming before Beats relaunch->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: Aggressive tactics from the music giant have garnered scrutiny from the Department of Justice.

The Department of Justice is looking closely into Apple’s business practices in relation to its upcoming music streaming service, according to multiple sources. The Verge has learned that Apple has been pushing major music labels to force streaming services like Spotify to abandon their free tiers, which will dramatically reduce the competition for Apple’s upcoming offering. DOJ officials have already interviewed high-ranking music industry executives about Apple’s business habits.

Apple has been using its considerable power in the music industry to stop the music labels from renewing Spotify’s license to stream music through its free tier. Spotify currently has 60 million listeners, but only 15 million of them are paid users. Getting the music labels to kill the freemium tiers from Spotify and others could put Apple in prime position to grab a large swath of new users when it launches its own streaming service, which is widely expected to feature a considerable amount of exclusive content. "All the way up to Tim Cook, these guys are cutthroat," one music industry source said.

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+ - Internet Customers Surpass Cable Subscribers at Comcast->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: The Internet is taking over television.

That shift is occurring at Comcast, where the number of people who subscribe to the company’s Internet service surpassed its total video subscribers for the first time during the second quarter this year.

Announced in an earnings call on Monday, the development signals a major turning point in the technological evolution sweeping across the media business, as the Internet becomes the gateway for information and entertainment.

Comcast, the country’s largest cable operator, abandoned its $45 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable last month after the deal drew regulatory scrutiny regarding concerns that the combined company would have too much control over the Internet.

Comcast is already the country’s largest broadband provider, with more than 22 million high-speed Internet customers.

Brian L. Roberts, Comcast’s chief executive, said in the call that the company was disappointed about the collapse of the deal but had moved on. He said that Comcast’s top priorities now were to advance its existing business and improve its poorly rated customer service.

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+ - Montana man arrested after 'liking' his most wanted poster on Facebook->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: A Montana man was arrested last month after he apparently "liked" his most wanted poster on a Crimestoppers Facebook page.

Levi Charles Reardon was arrested April 24 after he liked his photo on the Cascade County Crimestoppers Facebook page, according to the Great Falls Tribune. The newspaper reportedly captured a screenshot of it before Reardon revoked the like.

Reardon, 23, who is accused of felony forgery after he allegedly stole a wallet and cashed forged checks, was then apprehended by police without incident, the newspaper reported.

He made his initial court appearance last week. His arraignment is scheduled for Thursday.

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+ - Facebook opens Internet.org to developers->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: Facebook has opened its Internet.org project up to developers in an effort to help those in developing countries get connected.

Facebook has invited developers to write new sites, services apps for its Internet.org platform in an attempt to boost the numbers of people in emerging markets connecting to the internet.
The decision has drawn criticism from online activists in India who expressed concern over the social network's control over all data accessed on the service, saying it violated the principles of an open web.
Internet.org offers free access via mobile phones to pared-down web services, focused on job listings, agricultural information, healthcare and education, as well as Facebook's own social network and messaging services.
It has been launched in nine countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, including India, bringing over 8 million people online, said Chris Daniels, vice president of product for Internet.org, who was in New Delhi to speak with partners and operators.
The platform will be open to all developers who meet certain guidelines, including that they produce content that can be browsed on both basic mobile phones as well as smartphones and is accessible in limited bandwidth situations, Facebook said.

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+ - Messenger's Mercury trip ends with a bang, and silence->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: Nasa's Messenger mission to Mercury has reached its explosive conclusion, after 10 years in space and four in orbit.
Now fully out of fuel, the spacecraft smashed into a region near Mercury's north pole, out of sight from Earth, at about 20:00 GMT on Thursday.
Mission scientists confirmed the impact minutes later, when the craft's next possible communication pass was silent.
Messenger reached Mercury in 2011 and far exceeded its primary mission plan of one year in orbit.

That mission ended with an inevitable collision: Messenger slammed into our Solar System's hottest planet at 8,750mph (14,000km/h) — 12 times quicker than the speed of sound.

The impact will have completely obliterated this history-making craft. And it only happened because Mercury has no thick atmosphere to burn up incoming objects — the same reason its surface is so pock-marked by impact craters.

According to calculations, the 513kg, three-metre craft will have blasted a brand new crater the size of a tennis court. But that lasting monument is far too small to be visible from Earth.

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+ - US successfully tests self-steering bullets that can follow moving targets->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: The United States Department of Defense has carried out what it says is its most successful test yet of a bullet that can steer itself towards moving targets.

Experienced testers have used the technology to hit targets that were actively evading the shot, and even novices that were using the system for the first time were able to hit moving targets.

The project, which is known as Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance weapon, or Exacto, is being made for the American government’s military research agency, Darpa.

It is thought to use small fins that shoot out of the bullet and re-direct its path, but the US has not disclosed how it works. It only says that the programme has “developed new approaches and advanced capabilities to improve the range and accuracy of sniper systems beyond the current state of the art”.

Technology in the bullet allows it to compensate for weather and wind, as well as the movement of people it is being fired at, and curve itself in the air as it heads towards its target. That should allow snipers to become much more accurate — even those that are not experienced at using the system, as was found in the tests in February.

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+ - Scientists Create the Most Comprehensive 3D Map of the Universe to Date->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: Scientists have created the most comprehensive map of the universe to day. They've made a 3D map of the universe that spans nearly two billion light-years.

"The galaxy distribution isn't uniform and has no pattern," said Mike Hudson, one of the researchers, in a news release. "It has peaks and valleys much like a mountain range. This is what we expect if the large-scale structure originates from quantum fluctuations in the early universe."
The lighter blue and white areas of the new map represent great concentrations of galaxies. The red area, in contrast is the supercluster called the Shapley Concentration, the largest collection of galaxies in the nearby universe. Unexplored areas appear in medium blue.

Galaxies move differently since the universe's expansion is not even. These differences are called peculiar velocities. Our own Milky Way galaxy and the Andromeda galaxy are moving at about 2 million kilometers per hour. However, previous models haven't fully accounted for this observed motion.

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+ - Bill to Require Vaccination of Children Advances in California->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: A bill that would require nearly all children in California to be vaccinated by eliminating “personal belief” exemptions advanced through the State Legislature on Wednesday, though it still has several hurdles to clear. If approved, California would become one of only three states that require all parents to vaccinate their children as a condition of going to school, unless there is a medical reason not to do so.

Under the bill, introduced after a measles outbreak that began at Disneyland, parents who refuse vaccines for philosophical or religious reasons would have to educate their children at home. The legislation prompted a roiling debate in Sacramento, and last week hundreds of people protested at the Capitol, arguing that it infringed on their rights and that it would unfairly shut their children out of schools.

Last Wednesday, the legislation stalled in the Senate Education Committee as lawmakers said they were concerned that too many students would be forced into home schooling. This Wednesday, however, the bill passed that committee after its authors tweaked it, adding amendments that would expand the definition of home schooling to allow multiple families to join together to teach their children or participate in independent study programs run by public school systems.

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+ - Apple Offers Developers Expedited Apple Watch Shipping->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: While pre-orders for Apple's new smartwatch opened two weeks ago, few buyers will actually receive their device on the April 24 launch day.
Ship dates quickly slipped to June, but if you're a developer, Apple can get it in your hands much sooner. As reported by MacRumors, Apple this week emailed developers to say they could receive an Apple Watch by April 28.

Specifically, Apple is offering iOS developers the 42mm Apple Watch Sport with blue sport band. "We want to help give Apple developers the opportunity to test their Watchkit apps on Apple Watch as soon as it is available," according to the email.

But it won't be as simple as clicking "buy" on Apple.com.

"This opportunity is offered by random selection and quantities are limited," it continued. Developers must register via the link in the email by 10 a.m. Pacific (1 p.m. Eastern) on April 23.

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+ - Astronaut snaps epic 'Star Trek' selfie in space->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti pays tribute to a "Star Trek" icon with a cosplay photo in zero gravity.

Captain Kathryn Janeway led the USS Voyager through many harrowing lost-in-space adventures. She was the first female Starfleet captain to take the lead role in a "Trek" series. Janeway is fictional, but she is an inspiration to many women interested in space. European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, the first Italian woman in space, took a moment to celebrate Captain Janeway at around 250 miles above Earth.

Cristoforetti is currently aboard the International Space Station. She tweeted a selfie on April 17 while dressed in a "Star Trek: Voyager"-style red and black uniform with a purple turtleneck. The image shows her pointing a thumb at SpaceX's Dragon supply capsule.

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+ - Gyrocopter pilot appears in court; judge bans him from D.C.-> 4

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: The Florida mail carrier accused of landing a gyrocopter outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was charged in federal court Thursday and has been barred from returning to the District of Columbia or flying any aircraft, officials said.

Douglas Hughes, 61, was charged with violating aircraft registration requirements, a felony, and violating national defense airspace, a misdemeanor. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to three years in prison for the felony and one year in prison for the airspace violation.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson also barred Hughes from the District of Columbia, except for court appearances, and said he must stay away from the Capitol, White House and nearby areas while he is there. He will also have to hand over his passport.

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+ - SpaceX launch successful but historic booster rocket landing fails again->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: SpaceX on Tuesday launched a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket carrying an uncrewed cargo spacecraft called Dragon on a flight from Cape Canaveral, Florida, to the International Space Station.

That was the easy part. In a difficult bid to land a rocket stage on a floating barge for the first time, the private space exploration company was unsuccessful.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted: "Ascent successful. Dragon enroute to Space Station. Rocket landed on droneship, but too hard for survival."

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+ - Samsung allegedly hired 500 'fans' for Galaxy S6 launch in China->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: KOREAN PHONE MAKER Samsung reportedly hired 500 'fans' to attend the launch of the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in China.
That's according to Chinese website The Paper, which reports that Samsung paid around 500 people to attend the event, most of whom were iPhone users.
A person specialising in recruiting the 'fans' told The Paper that he brought over 100 people to the event, each of whom were paid ¥20 (£2.15) for hanging around at the Galaxy S6 launch for more than an hour.
One woman, hired by Samsung directly, told the Chinese news outlet that she was paid ¥50 (£5.40) for spending more than 15 minutes at the event.
Other 'fan' recruiters, including Samsung, paid another 400 people to wag their tongues in front of the Galaxy S6. The 'fans' accounted for around half of the 1,000 people at the event.
The Paper reports that attendees were told to inform any inquiring reporters that they were interested in Samsung's new phones, and to post their photo, name and phone number on popular messaging platform WeChat and to 'like' the Samsung Galaxy page on Chinese social network Baidu.

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+ - Samsung says pre-installed apps on Galaxy S6, Edge can't be uninstalled->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: Samsung's Galaxy S6 and Edge smartphones, which arrive in stores Friday, have received mostly positive reviews from critics, largely for superior styling and their metal and glass construction.

Still, there has been criticism about the bloatware pre-installed on the devices. At one point, before review units were widely distributed, reports based on XDA Developers Forum posts indicated many pre-installed apps could be removed.

The question then arose as to whether "removed" meant Samsung would allow the apps to be completely uninstalled so that they weren't taking up storage space or other phone resources.

On Monday, a Samsung spokeswoman clarified in an email to Computerworld that Samsung's pre-installed apps can be disabled on both the S6 and the Edge but cannot be uninstalled. She clarified that "disabled" did not mean the apps can be uninstalled or otherwise totally removed, but can only be "hidden from view."

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