All Articles by Derek Kessler

Official NBC app adds AirPlay mirroring

For some time now the NBC app for iOS has allowed you to watch the latest shows from the peacock network, but now it's been updated to support AirPlay. Now you can watch your TV on your TV as TV is meant to be watched — except by using your iPhone or iPad via an Apple TV as a source.

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Nest halts sales of Nest Protect smoke alarm over safety issue

Nest has put a halt to sales of their connected Nest Protect smoke detector over concerns that the alarm could be unintentionally deactivated. Protect smoke alarms have a "Protect Wave" feature which allows users to deactivate the alarm when it's activated under not dangerous conditions (say, smoke from cooking) by waving at the alarm. The Nest Wave feature has been found in Nest's own testing to be possible to be deactivated under "a unique combination of circumstances".

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Elgato Thunderbolt Dock plugs everything into your Mac with one wire

There's a growing selection of Thunderbolt docks on the market, and now you can add Elgato to the mix. The aptly-named Elgato Thunderbolt Dock serves to connect more of your things quickly and easily. The dock has two Thunderbolt ports (one for connecting to your computer and another for whatever other Thunderbolt device you'd like to connect and then daisy chain), three USB 3.0 ports, and one each HDMI, ethernet RJ45, 3.5mm microphone input, and 3.5mm audio output — all so you can connect displays, hard drives, input devices, and more all with one plug.

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Apple and Microsoft team up to slow patent reform

Tech giants like Apple and Microsoft have pushed for reform of the US patent system after being involved in a multitude of legal actions over patents, but now they're pushing to slow reform. Apple and Microsoft are teaming up with Ford Motor Company, DuPont, General Electric, Pfizer, and IBM for the Partnership for american Innovation, which aims to convince members of the United States Congress to dial back some of their proposals on patent reform in order to protect their own patents.

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WWDC 2014 to run June 2-6, developer tickets to be issued by random selection

WWDC 2014 is scheduled for June 2 through June 6, and developer registration is being handled on a random basis. Last year, when WWDC tickets were sold out in a few minutes, many developers were left in a lurch, leading to Apple inviting select developers to attend despite their not being able to get a ticket in time. This time around Apple is inviting developers to apply for tickets now through April 7th, and will then randomly issue tickets to those that have applied. The process is similar to that of Google I/O this year, which has seen tickets for previous developer confabs snapped up in minutes and this year switched to a random selection model.

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Amazon announces Fire TV, yet another streaming box — ships today for $99

If you haven't been able to decide yet between the myriad options for streaming boxes, Amazon has yet another new option for you: Fire TV. The new box, announced today, does TV and movies, music, and gaming. And not just from Amazon's own sources — most of the familiar third-party streaming sources that you know and love are included too. The Fire TV box is shipping today for $99.

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OWC rolls out turnkey processor and memory upgrade for the new Mac Pro

That Mac Pro that's taking up space on your desk can be faster, better, stronger with new upgrades from OWC. The new turnkey upgrade program lets you send in your shiny new Mac Pro to OWC, have their Apple Certified technicians swap out your piddly old chips for powerful new ones, and then ship it right back to you, more capable than ever.

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Apple expected to purchase stake in LCD chip manufacturer Renesas

Apple is reportedly in talks to buy a majority stake in Renesas SP Drivers imaging chips firm. The firm has been designing LCD display chips for Apple for some time, and Apple is prepared to pay ¥50 billion (US$483 million) to buy the 55% stake of the company currently held by Renesas Electronics Corp. According to Nikkei.

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Comedy Central launches a new app to consolidate all their shows into one place

There's a new Comedy Central app in town, and it's designed to bring together everything you love about the US comedy network into one single app for your iPhone and iPad. Previously, if you found yourself interested in the likes of The Daily Show or Tosh.0, you'd have to download the dedicated streaming app for that show. Many Comedy Central shows didn't even have an app. But now they do, and it's simply called Comedy Central

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LTE-enabled iPad Air and iPad Mini now available in China

The iPad Air and Retina iPad Mini have been available now in China for some time, but today the TD-LTE versions are launching in the People's Republic.

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T-Mobile removes employer discounts from Simple Choice plans

Tomorrow might be April 1st, but T-Mobile's not joking around with their latest move: they're scrapping employer rate plans discounts. Gone is the supposed complexity that came with wondering what kind of discount you might get with your Simple Choice plan based on where you work, replaced instead with a T-Mobile gift card worth $25 when your purchase a new device… based on where you work. It's simpler than trying to figure out if it's 15% or 5% or 2.8% that you'll get off of your bill.

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New Museum using iBeacons to simulate minefield for Day for Mine Awareness

Hot on the heals of the MLB's expansion of the use of iBeacons in most of their ballparks, the New Museum in New York City decided to go a little more dramatic with iBeacons: they're making them into land mines. Well, simulated land mines.

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MLB iBeacons to check fans in when they enter stadiums, push notifications throughout the game

Two weeks ago it was reported that iBeacons were being installed in the stadiums of the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, but with that trial installation out of the way, the MLB is expanding to 20 of their 30 stadiums. Engadget got the low-down on the installation job in AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants, where Giants CIO Bill Schlough revealed that the installation process for putting in 19 iBeacons at fan entrances into the stadium took just one day.

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First Apple Store in Turkey opening in Istanbul on April 5

Brace yourselves, people of Turkey, for a shiny object — likely composed of sheets of stainless steel and massive glasses edifices — is about to land in Istanbul: an Apple Store. The first such retail outlet in Turkey is set to open at 10AM on April 5th in the Zorlu Center luxury mixed-use development — so says the new listing for the new store on Apple's online store finder.

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Foxconn and Pegatron manufacturer profits bouyed by increased iPhone and iPad sales

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. — you might know them better has Foxconn, manufacturer of many things Apple — saw their net profit last year rise 13% on the back of increased sales of iPhone and iPad devices. Pegatron, another major Apple manufacturer that is the primary source of the iPhone 5c and iPad Mini, saw their earnings jump 22% in just the last quarter.

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iPad versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint now available in the App Store

As promised, the iPad versions of the Microsoft Office suiteWord, Excel, and PowerPoint — all are now available in the App Store. All three apps are free to download, but require a $120-a-year subscription to Office 365 to get the most out of them.

All three apps offer the same set of features as the desktop versions and sync through the cloud to your desktop via the aforementioned Office 365 subscription.

Download:

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Amazon sets April 2nd event, likely a media streamer for your TV

Today Amazon sent out an invitation for an event on April 2nd, and by all expectations we'd be surprised if we didn't see a TV media streamer announced. The invite — sent to TechCrunch and others — simply reads "Please join us for an update on our video business". It also displays a couch (a living room staple, if you were not aware) and popcorn (which, you know, people eat while watching things).

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Apple hires BlackBerry's top software VP, BlackBerry wins court battle over departure

Sebastien Marineau-Mes, BlackBerry's SVP of Software, is leaving the ailing smartphone manufacturer for brighter and warmer pastures: Apple. Or at least that's what he's trying to do, if it weren't for those pesky contracts. As revealed in a recent ruling from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice document, Marineau-Mes began discussing leaving BlackBerry for Apple back in September 2013, and was formally offered the position of Vice President of Core OS in December.

He accepted the position and offered his written resignation to BlackBerry on December 23rd, advising them that he'd likely be heading out to Apple in two months time. That's where the legal dispute of BlackBerry Limited v. Marineau-Mes started, as per a contract signed by Marineau-Mes that gave him a promotion to BlackBerry EVP of Platform Development he was required to provide six months notice of his resignation.

To add insult to injury, that contract was signed on September 27, 2013 — both while BlackBerry was under a promotional freeze (except for when you really want to keep somebody) and while Marineau-Mes was in discussions about moving to Apple. So BlackBerry took Marineau-Mes to court, and the court agreed that he should fulfill his six-month notice obligation at the company.

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iTunes Festival app gets an update for SXSW, doesn't require iOS 7.1 that you don't have

Earlier this week we wrote about an impending update for the iTunes Festival app that was expected to require iOS 7.1 and thus would mean that iOS 7.1 would be coming soon and that's not what happened at all.

Well, the iTunes Festival app did get an update for SXSW with a refreshed design good for the iTunes Festival at SXSW (starting March 11 and running through the 15th with the likes of Coldplay, Kendrick Lamar, Capital Cities, Keith Urban, and Willie Nelson all in attendance). But it didn't get a requirement for iOS 7.1 — in fact the minimum required version is a mere iOS 7.0.

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Verizon's new ALLSET pre-paid plans offer unlimited calls, texts, and 500MB data for $45/month

Pre-paid plans are becoming a more-and-more viable option these days, especially if carriers continue to make improvements like Verizon has just done with the introduction of their new "ALLSET PLANS" (no more all-caps from here on out, mkay). These new plans start at $35-a-month for basic phones, but if you're smart and opt for a smartphone, it starts at a mere $45-a-month.

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