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Beats Music on Apple TV

Your iPad or iPhone isn't the only device getting a big iOS upgrade today. Apple is now rolling out an Apple TV update that brings not just iOS 8-savvy features like iCloud Photo and Family Sharing, but a flatter-looking interface on third-generation devices -- yes, that previous super-glossy look has gone the way of the dodo. If you're using that newer hardware in the US, you'll also see a Beats Music app that lets you stream on-demand tunes during a living room party. The refresh isn't going to get you any closer to that long-rumored TV set, especially if you're still stuck on a second-gen Apple TV box, but it's welcome all the same.

[Image credit: AppleInsider]


Yelp on Android

The FTC is eager to crack down on any perceived online privacy violations, especially when they involve children -- and we just got a good demonstration of that eagerness today. Both Yelp and mobile app developer TinyCo have settled with the FTC over allegations that they knowingly scooped up kids' personal information without permission. Yelp is paying a $450,000 penalty because it didn't have an effective age screen in its apps, letting those under 13 sign up by themselves. TinyCo, meanwhile, is shelling out $300,000 after some of its kid-oriented games asked for email addresses in return for in-game currency. These aren't the biggest settlements we've seen by any stretch, but they'll hopefully serve as warning to any app creator that wants to collect your little ones' data.


Amazon shipping box

Internet stores can sometimes be far too optimistic about the time it takes to ship your order -- just ask the scores of gift givers whose packages arrived late last year. They'll have to be much more pragmatic from now on, though. The FTC has issued new rules requiring that retailers ship within a "reasonable" selected timeframe, or within 30 days if they can't provide a date. If they don't meet their targets, they'll have to either get your permission for a delay or issue a prompt refund. You can still change your mind even if you agree to wait, and saying nothing will still get your money back. The new guidelines take effect on December 8th, so you can buy your holiday presents online with a little more confidence this time around.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma]


Judd Apatow

Now that Netflix has a solid (if imperfect) track record with original shows, it appears that the big-name talent is lining up for its chance at creating an internet-only hit. Case in point: the streaming service has reached a deal with Legendary Television to release Love, an "excruciatingly honest" romantic comedy penned by 40 Year-Old Virgin producer Judd Apatow, Inglourious Basterds' Paul Rust and Girls' Lesley Arfin. You won't see the end result until 2016, but Netflix is already confident that you'll like it. The company has already committed to two seasons (22 episodes total) sight unseen -- if you're a fan of Apatow's frequently blunt approach to on-screen relationships, you're going to get your fill.

[Image credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP]


Wondering why NASA gave Boeing the lion's share of its space taxi funding? Jeff Bezos could have something to do with it. Shortly after NASA awarded Boeing $4.2 billion in funding, the Wall Street Journal claimed the company padded its bid with a partnership with Bezos' Blue Origin. Turns out, the WSJ was right: today Blue Origin and the United Launch Alliance (a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin) entered an agreement to fund and build the Blue Origin BE-4 rocket engine. Basically, Boeing is going to build NASA's space taxi capsules and Bezos' rocket company is going to launch them out of our atmosphere.

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Balls, shoes, watches... Adidias miCoach line of smart things has been expanding to track your activity, no matter what you're into. Until recently, the fitness platform was a closed one, meaning all that precious data was siloed from non-Adidas software. Now, the company has partnered with MyFitnessPal so that your digital coach can know what you're eating in addition to how hard you have (or haven't) been working out. Users can choose to automatically sync their data with MyFitnessPal, which, according to Adidas, will let folks "gain new insights that will enable them to balance nutrition and exercise." Exactly what insights it'll provide remain unsaid, but at the very least you'll be able to compare your caloric intake and expenditures in one place -- self-imposed guilt trips have never been easier.


Google Fiber van

Worried that Google Fiber would just be a momentary fascination for the folks in Mountain View? Don't be. Google has confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that it recently hired Dennis Kish, one of Qualcomm's bigger senior vice presidents, to lead its gigabit internet efforts. While it's not clear why Kish came onboard beyond his "operational expertise," he's no stranger to managing big tech projects. Among other work, he played key roles in both Qualcomm's Mirasol display efforts and ST-Ericsson's connectivity business. That kind of know-how could be crucial given Google's expansion plans, especially if rumors of mobile phone service pan out. It's too soon to gauge Kish's influence, but a high-profile hire like this suggests that Fiber's super-fast data service is only going to get bigger -- and that your local telecom giant may well get some genuine competition.

[Image credit: Neerav Bhatt, Flickr]


Apple's iOS 8 may not look too different from the version that preceded it, but trust us: There are plenty of new bits and bobs to get familiar with once you start poking around. Now that you've had some time to dig into our full review, you can take iOS 8 for a spin yourself -- Apple has just pushed the update live, so check your iDevice's settings to see if it's your time to shine. Just keep a few things in mind before you enter the breach: The update will only install on the iPhone 4s and newer, the iPad 2 and newer and the fifth-generation iPod touch. Oh, and it looks like Apple is having some HealthKit trouble at the moment, so all HealthKit compatible apps have been temporarily removed from the App Store. According to tweets from Carrot Fit developer Brian Mueller, Apple has been saying that a fix is in the works, but there's no ETA on when it'll actually take effect. Nothing like a few hiccups to kick off a massive software launch, no?

Photos by Will Lipman.

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When it comes to the wild and woolly crowdfunding space, it's not hard to look at Kickstarter as the Goliath to Indiegogo's David -- that's why the latter keeps trying to change up how young companies get the cash to build their products. First came Flexible Funding (which let project creators keep whatever money they've raised even if they didn't hit their goal), and now the company is launching a pilot program to keep those campaigns open indefinitely. That's right: if your crowdfunding project hit its initial milestone, you won't ever have to stop taking money from the people waving their wallets at you. In a way, this new funding model could turn Indiegogo into the store that Kickstarter never wanted to be. Sounds great for all those upstart artists and hardware hackers out there, no? It can be, but it could also mean questionable products (like the much-maligned Healbe GoBe and the Ritot projection watch) maintain a stream of funding they may not actually be worthy of. Only a handful of projects have been given the so-called Forever Funding treatment so far, including runaway successes like the Tens tinted sunglasses and this tiny tracking device, but this particular privilege should go live for everyone "in the coming months."


Airbus' concept image for its in-flight helmet display

If you've ever been on a long flight, you've probably wanted to tune out your fellow passengers -- and plugging in some headphones is only going to do so much. If Airbus ever brings a recently patented helmet display to market, though, you may never have to put up with mid-air distractions again. The headrest-mounted wearable would combine headphones with visor-projected video, producing "sensorial isolation" while you're watching movies, listening to music or playing games. It could even beam a virtual keyboard on to the tray or seat back, so you wouldn't need controllers that take up your already limited space.

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