December 1, 2013 0

KitKat and Sense 5.5 rolling out to unlocked and dev. edition HTC One phones in the US

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KitKat HTC One

Yet another thing to be thankful for

HTC USA's Twitter account just gave word that unlocked and developer edition HTC One phones have a new update pushing out today. This OTA will bring KitKat and Sense 5.5 to the One, and sounds like a pretty good way to cap off a day of thanks.

We've seen a few of the changes with Sense 5.5 for the M7, but seeing KitKat in action on a Sense phone will be a first. Keep an eye out if you've a dev or unlocked model (or made your AT&T version into one), and be sure to share what you find when it happens.

Discuss: HTC One forums

Source: @HTCUSA


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November 21, 2013 0

Pregnant Olivia Wilde’s Healthy Saturday

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Eager to become a rockin’ mom, Olivia Wilde went to Earthbar to refuel after taking a spin at Soul Cycle in Los Angeles on Saturday (November 16).

The “Tron: Legacy” star wore a white T-shirt with Keith Richards on it, a white hooded sweatshirt, and gray pants as she smiled at awaiting photographers.

She may be stoked for her first child with fiancée Jason Sudeikis, but the 29-year-old actress is keeping her expectations realistic.

Posting an adorable photo, Olivia tweeted, “That sinking feeling when you realize that, no matter what, your baby won’t be nearly as cute as a baby panda.”

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November 18, 2013 0

Amazon rolls out Kindle store and devices in Australia

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Kindle Fire HDX

Amazon wants to deliver more smiles to the land down under

Amazon has announced the availability of both the Kindle store and Kindle devices for their Australian customers. The new store will offer more than 2,000,000 eBooks, with more than 26,000 being free English-language titles. Customers will be able to choose from more than 700,000 books priced at $3.99AU or less, and more than 1,400,000 titles at $9.99AU or less. To round out the news, independent authors can now use Kindle Direct Publishing to make their books available, and earn the standard 70-percent royalty in the Kindle store.

To read all these books, you need a capable device, and for accessing the Kindle store none are more capable than a Kindle proper. The Kindle Fire HD is available now at Dick Smith and Big W stores across Australia for $189AU. The Kindle Fire HDX in both the 7 and 8.9-inch models will be available from Dick Smith and Big W as well, with the 7-inch model coming November 26 for $329AU, and the 8.9-inch version coming December 10 for $479.

While most of what we call Android has been stripped from the Kindle family, the devices themselves are great for reading. We're happy to see Amazon expanding into Australia. For full details, see the source links.

Source: Amazon (1); (2); (3)


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November 15, 2013 0

Sandy Hook group asks parents for gun solutions

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(AP) — A grass-roots group involving several people who lost loved ones in the Newtown school shooting is launching a new campaign to address gun violence, reaching out to parents around the country after seeing its push for new federal legislation fall short in Washington.

The group, Sandy Hook Promise, formed shortly after the Dec. 14 massacre of 26 people at the Sandy Hook Elementary School with the goal of turning the tragedy into a moment of transformation for a horrified nation.

The group announced Thursday that it aims to recruit 500,000 parents to its cause in the month between now and the anniversary of the shootings. Celebrities will be involved, including Sofia Vergara, Ed O’Neill and Alyssa Milano, organizers said.

“I think the lesson that we’ve learned and the lesson that we’ve heard from all of these other parents that we’ve talked to around the country is we don’t want to wait for DC,” said Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was among 20 first-grade children killed in Newtown along with six educators. “Parents don’t want to be just told what to do by DC, we don’t want to have laws forced on us. Let’s tackle the problem ourselves within our communities and in our own schools and let that spread out to affect the nation and affect legislation that way instead of being told what to do.”

Other major changes in the country related to drunken driving, smoking and gay marriage stemmed from local conversations that led to legislation later, Hockley said.

Some states, including Connecticut, have passed tougher gun laws since the Newtown massacre. But federal legislation that would have expanded background check requirements for gun buyers fell short by five votes in the Senate in April, despite lobbying by some Sandy Hook parents.

Organizers say they’re not giving up on national gun legislation, but they acknowledge the uphill nature of the fight and their frustration and disappointment by the lack of action. Mark Barden, whose 7-year-old son Daniel was killed during the shooting, said he hopes the campaign will lead to a cultural change around gun violence.

“We just thought it was time to reset the conversation and look at this from another viewpoint,” Barden said.

While the country is polarized over gun control, parents share a common passion for ensuring their children’s safety, Hockley said.

“We want to make progress on this by re-establishing that trust by having everyone whether they’re a gun owner or a non-gun owner join together as parents to find solutions to the issues that contribute to gun violence,” she said. “We have to reset this conversation on a new platform of the love of our children and putting their needs first in order to move forward.”

The campaign will raise awareness about programs that could be implemented locally to prevent violence, such as those aimed at reducing social isolation of children, encouraging the reporting of threats and early identification of mental health issues.

For Sandy Hook Promise, the campaign fits in with its original plan to open a dialogue at the local level to pave the way for change.

“This, as we’ve always said, is a marathon, not a sprint,” Hockley said. “Get other people involved because you need a lot of people in a lot of communities to make change happen.”

Associated PressSource:
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November 13, 2013 0

Intel plays catch-up to ARM with renewed Android push

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November 12, 2013

Intel is looking to improve its fortunes in the Android space, releasing a C++ compiler today for building high-performance Android applications that run on Intel processors. The company has provided an SDK for Android on Intel for several years, but has gained little adoption.

Thus, the company’s chip family has not been the dominant processor architecture for mobile devices; ARM holds that distinction.

“Intel is definitely working to gain market segment share with Android devices. We’re working hard to get there,” said Jeff McVeigh, Intel’s general manager for performance client and visual computing.

“I get the sense Intel is going to keep pushing its chips to get to a point where it can match ARM in terms of envelope, so I view this as more a work in progress than anything,” said Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond.

Intel officials claim the new compiler will provide application performance improvements. “We found that about half the top apps [on Android] are written in a mix of Java and C++, usually because they need a little bit more performance than they’re getting out of the Dalvik runtime on Android,” said Kevin Smith, Intel’s general manager of mobile computing and compilers. Applications can have the UI part written in Java while using C++ for compute-intensive, extra-performance operations, Intel says.

The Intel C++ compiler for Android is an alternative to the GNU C++ compiler included in the Android NDK (Native Development Kit). Intel’s compiler supplements the NDK; developers can use it to build Android applications for Intel x86 platforms. It supports hosted development on Windows, OS X, and Linux.

This story, “Intel plays catch-up to ARM with renewed Android push,” was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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November 10, 2013 0

Miley Cyrus & DJ Afrojack Sip on Greenhouse Goods in Amsterdam

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Checking out some of the local goods, Miley Cyrus met up with DJ Afrojack at The Pancake House in Amsterdam on Thursday night (November 7).

The 20-year-old singer showed off her flawless skin as she kept it au natural in leather pants and a colorful coat.

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November 7, 2013 0

Thousands flee in Philippines as big typhoon nears

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Thousands of villagers in the central Philippines, including those from a province devastated by a recent earthquake, were being evacuated Thursday as one of the most powerful typhoons globally this year approaches.

Typhoon Haiyan was already packing sustained winds of 215 kilometers (134 miles) per hour and ferocious gusts of 250 kph (155 mph), and could pick up strength over the Pacific Ocean before it slams into the eastern Philippine province of Eastern Samar on Friday, according to government forecasters.

The U.S. Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii said it was the strongest tropical cyclone in the world this year, although Cyclone Phailin, which hit eastern India on Oct. 12, packed winds of up to 222 kph (138 mph) and stronger gusts.

Governors and mayors were supervising the evacuation of thousands of residents away from landslide- and flood-prone communities in several provinces where the typhoon is expected to pass, said Eduardo del Rosario, head of the government’s main disaster-response agency.

President Benigno Aquino III has ordered officials to aim for zero casualties, a goal often broken in an archipelago lashed by about 20 storms each year, most of them deadly and destructive. Haiyan is the 24th such storm to hit the Philippines this year.

Edgardo Chatto, the governor of Bohol island province in the central Philippines, where an earthquake last month killed more than 200 people, said that soldiers, police and rescue units were helping displaced residents, including thousands still in small tents, move to shelters. The typhoon was not forecast to directly hit Bohol but the province was still expected to be battered by strong wind and rain, government forecaster Jori Loiz said.

Army troops were helping transport food packs and other relief goods in hard-to-reach communities and rescue helicopters are on stand-by, the military said.

“My worst fear is that the eye of this typhoon will hit us. I hope we will be spared,” Chatto told The Associated Press by telephone.

Haiyan was forecast to barrel through the country’s central region Friday and Saturday before it blows toward the South China Sea on Sunday, heading toward Virtnam. It was not expected to hit the densely populated capital, Manila, in the north, Loiz said.

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November 5, 2013 0

For Obama, a sudden struggle with personal appeal

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FILE – In this Oct. 31, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks at the “SelectUSA Investment Summit” conference in Washington. For years, President Barack Obama’s personal favorability ratings served as a political firewall that sustained him through an economic recession, grueling fights with congressional Republicans, and the grind of a re-election campaign. But after a rough start to Obama’s second term, Americans increasingly view the president unfavorably. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

FILE – In this Oct. 31, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks at the “SelectUSA Investment Summit” conference in Washington. For years, President Barack Obama’s personal favorability ratings served as a political firewall that sustained him through an economic recession, grueling fights with congressional Republicans, and the grind of a re-election campaign. But after a rough start to Obama’s second term, Americans increasingly view the president unfavorably. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File)

(AP) — For years, President Barack Obama’s personal favorability ratings served as a political firewall that sustained him through an economic recession, grueling fights with congressional Republicans, and the grind of a re-election campaign.

But after a rough start to Obama’s second term, Americans increasingly view the president unfavorably. And perhaps most concerning for the White House: an Associated Press analysis of public polling shows it has become more difficult over time for Obama to fully rebound from dents in his favorability ratings.

“It’s a slow cumulative effect,” Republican pollster David Winston said, adding that personal favorability “is a much harder number to move if it starts to go south.”

The public’s increasingly negative view of Obama may be less of a concern for his future given that he is barred from running for re-election. But the president still needs a strong connection with the public in order to rally Americans around his policy proposals and, in turn, to show Congress he remains politically relevant at a time when lame duck status is lurking.

The president’s advisers need only look at Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, to see the impact of a crumbling relationship with the public. Positive impressions of the Republican trailed off in the beginning of 2005 amid public frustration with the Iraq war and the government’s flawed response to Hurricane Katrina. Bush’s favorability rating never recovered and he struggled to fulfill significant policy goals throughout the rest of his presidency.

A series of recent polls show Obama’s personal favorability now leaning negative, including an NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll released last week that found positive views of Obama at the lowest point of his presidency and down 6 points from earlier in October. The drop follows the 16-day government shutdown, the cascade of problems during his health care law’s rollout, and another flood of revelations about U.S. government spying.

White House officials blame the shutdown in particular for Obama’s falling favorability, given that it resulted in shuttering many federal services and furloughs for hundreds of thousands of Americans, while again highlighting the troubled ties between the president and Capitol Hill. But Obama aides note that the impact of the shutdown on congressional Republicans has been even worse, with both their personal and job performance ratings at record lows.

“Everybody gets hurt when there’s dysfunction in Washington,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Throughout Obama’s presidency, his job approval and personal favorability ratings have generally risen and fallen in tandem. But his favorability numbers, which often reflect the public’s gut-level reaction to a politician, generally remained the more positive of the two measures.

That, the president’s supporters argue, made the public more likely to give him a chance even when they disagreed with his policies or the direction the country was headed. His strong likability was seen as a particular asset during his 2012 re-election campaign when most polls showed that voters saw him in a more favorable light than his Republican rival Mitt Romney.

“For the president, it’s meant that people have cared about what he had to say because they liked him,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster.

The question for the White House now is whether that dynamic will hold if the public’s personal opinions of the president continue to sour. An Associated Press-GfK poll from early October found that 52 percent of Americans didn’t think Obama was very honest and were split on whether he was even likable.

The president’s favorability has taken hits during other points in his presidency. Most polling found the public’s impression soured in late summer 2011 around the first round of debt ceiling negotiations and again last summer in the midst of his presidential campaign.

Although Obama’s favorability improved somewhat after each hit, he never fully recovered, with each rating rebound peaking below earlier average favorability ratings.

For example, Obama began 2011 with majority favorable ratings in most polling. When the debt ceiling fight pushed his favorability below 50 percent in late 2011, he came back to an average right around 50 rather than above it. This latest battle has led to average ratings in the mid-40s, worse than he’s seen at any point previously.

Past presidents have also struggled to recover from dips in their favorability ratings.

Bush left office with majorities saying they had both a negative impression of him personally and disapproved of his job performance. And former President Bill Clinton’s favorability numbers never recovered after a fall in 1998 as the Monica Lewinsky story unfolded, though his job approval remained strong through his last days at the White House.

Republican President Ronald Reagan evoked the warmest reaction from the American public, leaving office with high job approval numbers, 63 percent according to Gallup polling in December 1988, and a majority holding a favorable impression of him personally.


Follow White House Correspondent Julie Pace at and AP Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta at

Associated PressSource:
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November 2, 2013 0

Earth’s hellish twin discovered by NASA

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Earth's hellish twin discovered by NASA

For the first time in history, NASA astronomers have "discovered the first Earth-size planet outside the solar system that has a rocky composition like that of Earth." The technical name is Kepler-78b but they should call it just Hell. Earth’s hellish twin.

Read more…


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October 31, 2013 0

Why ‘Hunger Games: Catching Fire’s’ Budget Ballooned to $130 Million-Plus

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“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

This story first appeared in the Nov. 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

It’s not just the stakes that are higher as Katniss Everdeen returns to the arena for The Hunger Games sequel Catching Fire. The budget is escalating as well. For its follow-up to last year’s hit The Hunger Games, which opens Nov. 22, Lionsgate upped the film’s budget from $78 million to north of $130 million.

PHOTOS: ’The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ Cast Heats Up Cannes 

Although Lionsgate brass wouldn’t comment on Catching Fire‘s price tag, project insiders say several factors led to the extra $52 million. The mini-studio, led by CEO Jon Feltheimer and film chiefs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger, spent more than $10 million to expand the visual effects for the sequel. Star Jennifer Lawrence, who was paid just $500,000 (plus box-office bonuses) to play archer extraordinaire Katniss in the Gary Ross-helmed Hunger Games, got a pay raise of nearly $10 million for Catching Fire. (The male stars received smaller pay bumps.) The remaining $30 million can be chalked up to the broader scope of the film, based on Suzanne Collins‘ best-seller. Catching Fire contains more scenes and more locations (the film shot in Georgia and Hawaii versus The Hunger Games‘ single shoot in North Carolina). Director Francis Lawrence increased the length of the production from 84 to 89 days.

Of course, it’s not uncommon for a hit franchise to get a budget bump for its second outing. (The Twilight sequel New Moon‘s cost jumped $13 million over the first film’s $37 million.) But Catching Fire’s $52 million boost — representing a 67 percent increase — is a bit unusual.

VIDEO: ’Hunger Games: Catching Fire’: Final Trailer Debuts

Still, Lionsgate has money to burn. Hunger Games earned $691 million worldwide in 2012, and the goal with Catching Fire is to broaden the appeal of the female-friendly franchise.

It appears to be working. After tickets went on sale Oct. 1, Fandango reported that Catching Fire was outpacing all previous wide releases 50 days before their release date.

Twitter: @TatianaSiegel27


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