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Banners, takeovers, pop-unders, interstitials -- there's no understating how important/valuable they are financially, but ads are still basically the bane of the modern internet. That's why it's a little heartening to see Google, a company that made a whopping $15 billion in ad revenue alone last quarter, is giving content creators another way to go. It's called Contributor, and the name really says it all: users can pay certain sites between $1 and $3 per month to be able to surf around without any of Google's ads blasting them in the face.

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Sunset Approach - Boeing 747-400 Virgin Atlantic

If you're wondering why the FAA is taking its time approving drones for commercial use, here's a good example. Two separate flights reported near-misses with a drone at John F. Kennedy airport, with one of the pilots saying it came within "several feet" of the wing. Both sightings occurred within minutes of each other, though a sweep of the area by a police helicopter turned up no sign of the rogue device. A Jet Blue crew also reported a drone a few days earlier at JFK, telling ATC "it looks like one of those unmanned drones is flying right on the final (approach)." A drone strike by a passenger jet might not sound like a big deal, but FAA investigators pointed out that one can easily get sucked into an engine and bring an aircraft down.

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Remember that Wall Art service Flickr launched in October that gave you a way to buy big prints of your own snapshots (or, you know, selfies)? Well, now you can also buy wall-size versions of other people's photographs, though, that doesn't mean you can choose random images posted on the website. The only photos you can purchase from the expanded Wall Art service are those that come from Flickr's licensed artists (who also sell their work through the Marketplace) or from the company's hand-selected list of Creative Commons images.

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BEBKBY Computer stress boiling over

You've heard it happen one time or another: a senior who's not very tech-savvy clicked a dubious link online and paid a shady internet company a hefty sum to remove a virus that was never there. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book, and apparently, still one of the most effective: the Federal Trade Commission has just shut down two massive Florida-based telemarketing operations that reportedly scammed victims (mostly seniors) out of $120 million in total, duping them into buying fake anti-virus software and fake tech support. Both have been active since at least 2012, so they might sound familiar. The first one sold software called PC Cleaner, while the other did business under several names, including Boost Software Inc., OMG Tech Help and, hilariously enough, OMG Total Protection.

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If you love lattes but wish the foam could somehow be more adorable, good news! You'll soon be able to sculpt the most cloyingly cute animals you want using the Awa Taccino, a gun that fires measured dollops of foamed low-fat or soy milk. You just need to add the milk, whip it up for a minute with the supplied battery powered blender, sculpt it into shape and add chocolate features (as shown in the amazingly Japanese video below). You'll notice I said "sculpt": it does seem to require a modicum of skill, so for $60 you may end up with "formless blob" lattes instead of kitteh or panda lattes. It'll arrive at the Japan Trend Shop next month.

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Square Register on an iPad mini

Square's Register app has done a lot to drag stores' payment systems into the modern era, but only in the US -- venture elsewhere and you've usually had to pay at a conventional (and often very limited) terminal. That might not hold true for much longer, since Square has just released a version of Register that works worldwide. The Android and iOS software now handles sales in 130 currencies, and communicates in French, Japanese and Spanish; if a tapas bar in Madrid wants to give you a digital receipt or ask for feedback, it can. It'll take a while for companies around the world to start using Register, but don't be surprised if you see it in action the next time you go on vacation.

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Though many folks are meh on Microsoft's Kinect 2 for gaming, in the hands of a 3D animator it can do wondrous things. Case in point is the Momentum art project from a group called Schnellebuntebilder. Using custom software, they captured a live action actor with a Kinect 2, and convert him into a series of swirling cube particles and light rays, all in real time (see below). The team doesn't explain how it works, but it looks like they modeled the actor beforehand and then mapped his particle-effect avatar onto the live action video. On top of making us trip balls, doing all that in real time is quite the technical achievement.

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Ever since the first cloud storage services hit the web, they've been a prime destination for thousands upon thousands of uploaded photos. Unfortunately, many of those services don't have polished user interfaces that allow for easy viewing and sharing -- unless you're just a big fan of file manager-esque folders and list views. In April, Dropbox debuted Carousel, an app that seeks to solve that problem by grouping your images together by date and letting you scroll through endless years of photos and sharing your favorites with friends and family. The service was only offered on iPhones and Android smartphones until today, when Dropbox announced that it's now available for iPads and the web, with support for Android tablets coming in the coming weeks.

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Just about this time last year, the folks at YouTube took over Pier 36 in Manhattan to put on an hour-and-a-half-long awards show to celebrate the musicians that blew up the internet in 2013. It was... alright at best (unless you really like watching grown men rummaging through cakes), but despite over 50 million views on the show video itself, the live stream almost definitely didn't blow up the way the people in charge hoped it would. Ouch. YouTube was fond enough of the idea to take another stab at it, but thankfully this time the company's dropping that tired, ancient (not to mention expensive) awards show format.

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Geneco Bio-Bus

Thanks to a range of new technologies, Britain's buses are steadily swapping traditional fuel for greener alternatives. Over in Bristol, however, Wessex Water believes more can be done with the brown stuff. That's why it's today put the UK's first bus powered entirely by human and food waste into service. The Bio-Bus, as it's known, is a 40-seater shuttle capable of travelling up to 186 miles on a full tank of bio-methane gas, which is generated via a process called anaerobic digestion.

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