Author Archives: Shane McGlaun

Shane has been a full time geek writing for his supper for six years. He has written for some of the coolest tech sites online and had reviews printed in the print versions of Laptop Magazine and Computer Shopper. You can follow him on Google+.

Hulu Plus app for Android Updated with more Free Content

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Android tablet and smartphone users who like to watch streaming content via Hulu will be glad to hear the Hulu Plus app has been updated. The updated app brings with it access to more free streaming content than was available in the past. The free content now includes access to Hulu Originals, Anime, Kids, Movies, and Latino libraries.

With the new content available the Android app is now on par with the web version of Hulu as far as free content selection goes. Users who want access to the full catalog of Hulu content can also update to Hulu Plus from directly within the app.

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Sony Says EA Access isn’t a Good Value for Gamers

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When EA unveiled its new subscription gaming service called EA Access costing about $30 per year this week, it was for the Xbox One only. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one wondering why the EA Access service didn’t come to the PS4 as well. Sony has now stated that it felt EA Access didn’t offer a good value to the gamer. Sony instead seems to want to push its PlayStation Plus membership, which is rather similar.

Sony says that it evaluated the service. PS4 fans shouldn’t hold their breath for support. Xbox One owners can pay $5 per month or $30 yearly to get free games from the catalog, pre-release access to game trials, and other discounts.

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Netflix Pays AT&T with new Peerage Deal to Improve Streaming Performance

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Few things are more annoying than when you sign onto Netflix to watch some movies or TV shows and the video keeps buffering randomly while you watch. Netflix is working with ISPs to improve the streaming speeds that are offered to customers. Much of the time improving the speed means paying the ISP or cable firm in a peerage deal to reduce buffering in the video.

Netflix and AT&T have announced a new peerage deal is in place. It’s unclear exactly how much the deal is costing Netflix, but video buffering should be reduced. The deal went into effect Tuesday according to AT&T. No financial terms of the deal have been announced, but it was likely not a cheap fix for Netflix. Netflix is paying several other ISPs around the country in similar deals to improve streaming performance.

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GM to Offer Wireless Smartphone Charging on select 2015 Cadillacs

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GM has announced that it will begin offering a wireless smartphone charging option in some of its 2015 Cadillac models. The wireless changing hardware itself comes from Powermat and will be integrated into the center console of some of the automakers vehicles. GM made a significant investment into Powermat and owns a portion of the firm.

The wireless charging technology will work with most smartphones that are able to charge wirelessly using electromagnetic fields. To charge devices, the driver will only need to place their phone in a bin in the back of the console that swing sup at the touch of a button. GM things that the majority of wireless charging devices will work with its system.

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Google Maps Ellis Island and Liberty Island for Virtual Tours

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If you have ever used Google Maps, you know that the search giant has been using cars, bikes and people to carry camera systems though all sorts of landmarks so you can tour them virtually. For a while, Google has been working to get permission to map Ellis and Liberty Islands so that we can all take virtual tours of both historic landmarks.

Last week Google began that mapping project with a guy named Alberto Elias wearing a Trekker backpack with an orb atop fitted with 15 camera lenses and a laser along with GPS. That laser is able to get the precise distance from the backpack to specific objects. Google has wanted to make the virtual tour of Ellis and Liberty Islands for a long time, but both locations are operated by the National Park Service.

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Comixology Clears the Way for Publishers to Offer DRM-Free Comics

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Comixology is a digital comic book firm that has in the past fought to remove tools for pulling DRM from comics it sales from the internet. Oddly, word has now surfaced that Comixology is now clearing the way for publishers to offer comic books and graphic novels via its website with no DRM added. By eliminating DRM from the comics, subscribers will be able to store their purchases on any device permanently and share the content all they want.

The company is clear that it is simply giving the publishers the option to choose to publish comics with no DRM. That will likely mean that most major comics will still come with DRM. Both Marvel and DC haven’t signed on for the DRM-free program at this time. However, smaller publishers like Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Zenescope Entertainment, MonkeyBrain Comics, Thrillbent, and Top Shelf Productions will offer DRM-free titles. Comixology was purchased by Amazon back in April.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Soft Landing Test was Successful

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SpaceX recently performed a successful launch of its Falcon 9 rocket. That launch was to put six ORBCOMM satellites into orbit, and that orbital insertion was performed with no issues. Once the satellite payload separated from the Falcon 9 rocket, the mission wasn’t over for the main rocket. SpaceX then used the left over main rocket stage to perform a soft landing test.

The goal of this soft landing test was to see if in the future SpaceX could land the expensive main rocket safely on the ground to be reused for future missions and reduce the cost of missions. SpaceX equipped the rocket with a camera, which quickly iced over in the harsh conditions of the test.

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Flir One iPhone Thermal Camera Accessory Launches This Week

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Back during CES 2014 earlier this year, Flir introduced a slick new case accessory for the iPhone 5 and 5S that turns the iPhone into a thermal camera. That accessory is called the Flir One and we knew it would launch later this year, but not exactly when it would launch. Flir has now announced that the Flir One will go on sale this week.

The Flir One thermal camera will sell for $349, making it significantly cheaper than the next cheapest thermal camera the company offers with a price of around $1000. This new product is helping Flir to target the broader consumer market. The camera case works with the iPhone 5 and 5S smartphones now, but a version of the camera for Android users will land next year.

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Facebook Save for iOS, Android and Web Launches

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Social network Facebook has announced the launch of a new Save feature for its iOS and Android apps as well as its website. The feature allows users to store links from the News Feed and Facebook Pages for Places, Event, Movies, TV shows, and music so that you can view them later. The saved links are placed into a list for viewing in one place.

Save doesn’t cache content for offline viewing, but it will give users a way to save links to content they want to keep and read later. The feature will be rolled out over the next few days to users on Android and iOS. The goal is to make it easier for you to skip things you are interested in from your News Feed without losing the content.

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Xbox One Update to Add 3D Blu-ray Support and More

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The next big update for the Microsoft Xbox One game console will land in August. Some details about what that update will bring to the tablet have now surfaced. One of the biggest things added to the console via the update will be support for 3D Blu-ray playback. As with any 3D Blu-ray player, you will need a 3D TV to enjoy those films.

If you already own a 3D TV and have an Xbox One, this is great news. Support for 3D movies isn’t all that will be gained with the August update. The console will also get some tweaks to the Activity Feed and Friends section. One of the other nice updates is the ability to automatically download new games and apps.

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Facebook Mentions app Launches for Celebs on the iPhone

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Facebook has launched a new tool that is aimed, at least for now, at celebrities and other influencers. The new app is called Facebook Mentions and it is aimed at making it easy for celebrities to find posts that mention them and to participate in the conversation. Mentions will eventually be rolled out to the public, but for now, only those with verified public figure accounts can get in on the action.

Mentions not only lets public figures find and participate in conversations about them, it also lets the users host live Q&A sessions with fans. The app also has support for posting status updates, photos, and videos. Facebook says that the celebs who have tested the app have used Facebook twice as much as before.

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Google Search Adds Bitcoin Calculator

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Most people know that if you run a search for a conversion rate for one type of currency to another on Google, it will show you the exchange rate. Google has expanded that service to now include Bitcoin. This move comes after Google and Coinbase tied up to offer a Bitcoin price tracker.

Google has confirmed the feature and notes that it will work on the Google search smartphone app as well. With the new feature live, users can ask real world questions in the search box and get answers. That means if you type “How many bitcoins are in $500 USD, you will get the answer at the top of the search form.

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