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September 11th, 2014
10:19 PM ET

Did Apple do enough?

September 9th was one of the biggest days for Apple in years. They introduced two larger iPhones, a mobile payments system, and the long-awaited Apple Watch - the first major new product created without the input of the late Steve Jobs.

But are any of them new enough?

After all, the trend for larger phones was pioneered by their arch-rival, Samsung. Mobile payment systems have been around for some time now. And while everyone expected Apple to completely redefine what a smartwatch is... the Apple Watch appears to be just a better version of what's out there; an evolution of current smartwatches instead of a revolution.

So how did Apple do? The New Yorker's Nicholas Thompson gave his take to Kristie Lu Stout.

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Filed under: Gadgets • Technology
September 11th, 2014
02:26 PM ET

The end of the iPod Classic

Thirteen years ago, Apple was a small computer maker. It's now the most valuable company in the world.

And that transformation was triggered by the iPod.

Apple has quietly discontinued the iPod Classic, the latest incarnation of the original iPod. While the line lives on in the shape of the Touch, Nano and Shuffle, they aren't as iconic as the original. When you think iPod, you think of the Classic: Shaped like a deck of cards, with a metallic back, and of course, the scrollwheel.

But the original design lives on in one tiny way: The top row of icons on the Apple Store includes the classic iPod silhouette.

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Filed under: General • Technology
September 9th, 2014
02:19 PM ET

Destiny's mingleplayer experience

Few realize that many of the first video games were multiplayer. It took time for computers to be smart enough to provide decent opponents, leading to the rise of singleplayer games.

Now Destiny is about to introduce gamers to a new type of gaming: mingleplayer. FULL POST

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Filed under: Games • General • Technology
September 8th, 2014
09:44 AM ET

Asking LEGO to "Save the scientists"

LEGO’s new Research Institute Minifigures set has caused quite a stir. It features three female scientists, and sold out within days of its limited release last month.

There is now an online petition to bring back the scientists as a permanent fixture. It says, “Strong female characters are important for both girls and boys to see represented in LEGO toys.”

The Research Institute set is one of the few to showcase working women.

The idea for it was submitted by Dutch geochemist Ellen Kooijman. She says she hopes LEGO will make more sets and add additional female scientists and engineers.

Kooijman also says, “If this product actually results in more girls pursuing careers in science that would be really great… because I think diversity is really good for science.”

Click on to hear more from Kooijman’s perspective.

September 5th, 2014
09:53 AM ET

Can Apple solve iCloud problems?

Apple is strengthening security features after the high-profile hack attack that released celebrities' private photos.

Those nude images were posted online just nine days before Apple's next launch event. The company is expected to unveil a wearable device on September 9.

CNN Contributor Nicholas Thompson points out that this is the first time Apple is launching a new product category under Tim Cook's leadership.

"Up until last week, everybody thought this would be his great moment to shine. There was huge anticipation and excitement. And now suddenly there's this hack," Thompson says.

But that's not the only reason this attack comes at a bad time for Apple.

"They haven't done as well with cloud services. So iCloud is not as good as some of their competitors. It still has flaws," Thompson says. "Having this big problem makes some people wonder in the tech industry, 'Can Apple really succeed in this next step in the evolution of the industry?'"

Watch the video above to hear why Thompson thinks Apple can get the cloud under control, and learn how to protect yourself online.


Filed under: General
September 3rd, 2014
10:03 PM ET

Game Faces: Rami Ismail

For a small developer that's just four years old, Vlambeer has a surprising influence on the gaming industry.

The Dutch studio is made up of just two people, but it's one of the most well-known indie developers. Co-founder Rami Ismail almost feels like an unofficial spokesman for the industry.

"We are not afraid to speak up against things we find problematic in the industry, and things we find interesting in the industry," said Ismail.

Indeed, he has been a staunch supporter of Anita Sarkeesian and her series examining women in video games - a series that has sparked a wave of abuse for Sarkeesian and those who stand with her.

He also suggested Vlambeer's high profile might be because the company always seems to find itself in the middle of the industry's latest trends. FULL POST

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Filed under: Game Faces • Games • General • Technology
September 3rd, 2014
06:57 AM ET

The rise of Xiaomi

Executives in wigs dancing and singing on stage. Hundreds of fans clad in the same orange shirt cheering them on. Fans racing on stage to win plush toys.

I wasn't sure what to expect from my first Xiaomi fan event. But I didn't expect this.

FULL POST

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Filed under: China • Technology • Titans of Tech
September 2nd, 2014
07:06 PM ET

Cloud computing demystified

The FBI has entered the hunt for the hacker who stole dozens of private celebrity photos. The nude images may have been stored in the "cloud."

It's safe to say that many don't really understand cloud computing. The new Cameron Diaz film "Sex Tape" is based around the idea that nobody gets how it works.

But it's actually fairly simple.

cloud2The cloud is really just another word for servers on the Internet. Using the cloud means you're outsourcing tasks to those servers that might otherwise be performed by your local device. The most common one is to use the cloud for storage; so, instead of storing data on your computer, data is stored on remote servers that you access via the Internet.

Think of it like putting your money in a bank. You're putting your property in a dedicated storage space. Using a bank means you don't have to keep all your money in a piggy bank at home, while using the cloud means you don't have to have every photo you've ever taken taking up valuable space on your iPad. And when you do want to see your photos, storing them on the cloud allows you to access it on any device - similar to how banks allow you to withdraw money from any ATM.

And it's a safe bet that you're already using cloud services. If you've ever used Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail or any web mail service, then you've been storing your email in the cloud.

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Filed under: Data • Technology
September 2nd, 2014
10:57 AM ET

China's propaganda war in Hong Kong

These are highly charged political times here in Hong Kong.

Beijing announced on Sunday there would be no open elections in Hong Kong, paving the way for China to remain the political power over the territory.

During this time of intense political discord, a gripping image from 1967 is a reminder of the fraught relationship between Hong Kong and Beijing.

It's a Chinese propaganda poster issued during the Leftist riots to stir people in Hong Kong rise up against British rule.

leftistriots

Recently on display at Hong Kong's Picture This Gallery, the poster depicts an angry, muscular crowd wielding placards and other objects as weapons.

In the bottom left-hand corner, weak cartoonish figures depicting the colonial government are being beaten and kicked out by the crowds.

"This was produced in China, probably smuggled into Hong Kong and used to try to rally support among patriotic Chinese living in Hong Kong," Bailey tells me.

The poster was part of an exhibition of Chinese propaganda that include a Norman Rockwell-esque public service announcement and a red balloon-strewn commemorative poster of Deng Xiaoping and the Hong Kong handover.

Bailey says the 1967 Hong Kong posters generated the most interest in his gallery and will find a new home in a museum.

Take a tour of these Chinese propaganda posters with the video above.

August 5th, 2014
01:58 PM ET

Shadows over U.S.-Africa summit

It is indeed an historic occasion.

U.S. President Barack Obama is hosting the first-ever U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington.

But the leaders of Sierra Leone and Liberia are not there. They have opted to stay at home to battle the worst Ebola outbreak on record.

"The timing is very unfortunate, and no one would have wished for this," author and academic Howard French tells me.

"Having high-level discussions between the U.S. and Africa on business and investment are infrequent. So to the extent that this distracts from that I think will be regretted all around."

The summit is a much-needed opportunity for the U.S. to reset relations and economically engage with Africa.

"Africa is in a very particular moment, economically speaking," says French. "The continent has been growing very fast. Demographically, there's a bulge in terms of its youth population. And Africa needs partnerships."

Africa's biggest trading partner is China. It has invested deeply into Africa as a source of customers, natural resources, and jobs.

Howard French refers to Africa as "China's Second Continent" as more than a million Chinese citizens have permanently moved there.

But will China's engagement with Africa lead to prosperity or exploitation?

Click on to hear more from our wide-ranging conversation on what's at stake for U.S.-Africa relations in light of the Ebola outbreak and China's head start in the region.

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