All Articles by Derek Kessler

Sprint fires back at T-Mobile's prices with new $60 Unlimited Plan

Sprint's not leaving the single-line users out of the party — they're offering a new $60/month unlimited talk, text, and data plan. There's just one catch: You have to bring your own device, pay for one up front, or sign up for Sprint's Easy Pay monthly payments and upgrade plan. That said, if you're a Sprint customer (or are considering being one), that's still some substantial potential savings you're looking at.

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QBracelet wrist battery is stylish, gives you half a charge for $100

There's something to be said for convenience and fashion in one, though we might have to question just how convenient the battery-as-a-bracelet QBracelet really is. The band splits in the middle, with a hinge on one side and your choice of a microUSB plug or Apple Lightning connector on the other. Simply pop it off your wrist and plug into the charge port on your phone to juice up. But how much juice are you looking at? Not enough, especially not for the $99 asking price. It's not a smartwatch — it's just a battery, for your wrist.

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Emberlight will turn your lightbulbs into smart connected lightbulbs

While smart wireless lightbulbs like Philips Hue are all the rage, a new Kickstarter project is aiming to make any lightbulb a smart one. It's called Emberlight, and it's a simple intermediary device that you screw into the E26/27 socket and then screw your lightbulb into. From there, merely leave your switch in the on position and you'll be able to control your lights wirelessly from your phone.

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Yes, Facebook was down, you're not alone

Update: It appears that access to Facebook is back up for both the web and the iPhone and iPad apps. You are now free to carry on with your day.

It appears that Facebook's newest feature is "being offline". Attempts to visit the social network right now are being thwarted by a lack of stuff to load, from a "network error" alert with no new content in the iPhone and iPad apps to a failure to an apology of "Sorry, something went wrong" in browsers. Let us know, is Facebook down for you too?

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HP, Gilt, and Michael Bastian partner for stylish new smartwatch

HP's rushing to pre-empt the iWatch with a smartwatch partnership with designer Michael Bastian and online luxury retailer Gilt. Details of this smartwatch will do are slim, but we do know that they're aiming to have it work with iOS and Android — nope, it's not Android Wear — and that there will be companion apps for both platforms that allow users to customize the watch's interface.

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'BadUSB' malware highlights the danger of plugging random mystery drives into your computer

Another day, another apocalyptic prognostication of computer security doom, this time focusing on the omnipresent USB connection. It's called 'BadUSB', and it's a malware proof-of-concept created by security researchers Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell that exploits a flaw in and resides in the firmware that controls the basic function of USB devices. The researchers claim that it's not a problem that can be patched, saying that they're "exploiting the very way that USB is designed," but in the end all they've done is highlight that you shouldn't go around plugging USB drives, devices, or whatnot that you don't trust into your computer.

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Apple's $100M content delivery network will mean better downloads when updates hit

Long rumored, Apple's custom content delivery network (CDN) is now apparently live. The Apple CDN, which provides a more direct route from Apple's servers to customers' devices, enables Apple to provide significantly faster downloads of their products, as well as greatly increasing the available capacity for when mass downloads (OS X and iOS updates) hit.

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French telecom Iliad making a surprise $15B bid for control of T-Mobile US

Update: Iliad has confirmed with a press release that it is indeed making the bid for T-Mobile, and has submitted the offer to T-Mo's Board of Directors. Iliad's owners and Board of Directors have unanimously approved the deal, which would see Iliad paying $15 billion in cash for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile, valuing it at $36.20 per share, a 42 percent premium over its current stock price.

In a bid that's come way out of left field, French telecommunications firm Iliad SA is also offering to buy a controlling stake in T-Mobile US. T-Mobile, itself a subsidiary of T-Mobile Germany, has been engaged in long-running negotiations with US rival Sprint. The $15 billion bid from Iliad comes as a surprise, not just for their previously unexpressed interest, but that Iliad is a smaller company that T-Mobile in both terms of subscribers and value.

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Save big today on huge SSD storage upgrades for your MacBook

Transcend's SSD upgrade kits for the MacBook Air or Retina MacBook Pro are seeing substantial discounts today on Amazon. The upgrade kits swap out the modular SSD board on older versions of the laptops (alas, they're not compatible with the more recent models) and uses your original SSD as a slim external USB drive. But the deals are only good for today, so if you've been stymied by your limited storage space, you should take a look now.

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Modbook Pro X turns the Retina MacBook Pro into OS X tablet... for a price

Modbook is back, and this time they're taking their tablet converting-ways to the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. Modbook has for several years been converting MacBooks into the OS X tablet that Apple has so far not released to the world. They've converted the old white MacBooks and the last generation MacBook Pro. Their attention now has been turned to the Retina MacBook Pro, but they're taking to KickStarter and making things a bit different than before with the Modbook Pro X.

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Russia wants Apple's source code to prove it's not used for spying

The Russian government has asked for security cooperation from Apple and enterprise services firm SAP. The proposal would see Apple handing over the source code for their products so Russia could inspect them for backdoors or defects that could be exploited by spy agencies like the NSA. Apple has repeatedly denied working with the NSA or other government agency to create such backdoors, but the Russian government, well, they're not wanting to take any chances.

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Apple Stores will help you save some dough during US state tax holidays

Both the brick-and-mortar Apple Retail Stores and Apple Online Store will be participating in various state tax holidays around the United States. The holidays, designed to spur sales while giving shoppers a bit of relief, are typically scheduled are the beginning of August, and lop off the state sales tax that is added to purchases (local county and city taxes still apply, though).

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Square getting an EMV chip update for more secure mobile credit card payments

The little card reader that launched a mobile payments revolution — Square — today unveiled a new version of their card reader that is designed to work with the EMV chipped credit cards. EMV credit cards are a mainstay around the world and just starting to make headway in the United States (including a fraud liability deadline for businessses coming up in October 2015), and the new version of Square supports EMV in addition to the old-school magnetic swipe strip.

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Three UK launches Wi-Fi calling app, inTouch

UK carrier Three now has a Wi-Fi calling app for iOS. The app, called Three inTouch, lets Three subscribers place phone calls with their existing Three number over Wi-Fi, even if they don't have a cellular signal. And it's all done at no cost, regardless of whether you're on a contract or prepaid plan. There's just one problem… Wi-Fi calling will be built into iOS with the release of iOS 8 in just a few month's time.

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NPR One is the one-stop shop for public radio on your iPhone

When it comes to public radio on your phone, your search might just get to end with the new NPR One app. Released today into the iPhone App Store, NPR One pulls together public radio stations from across the United States and works to automatically curate stories you'll want to listen to. It is, as NPR notes, "public radio made personal."

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Blink aims for the security camera trifecta: wireless, affordable, and long-lasting

A new Kickstarter project, Blink, is mixing up the standard home security camera model by going truly wireless. There are plenty of home security systems out there with "wireless" cameras, but that wireless is only in the transmission of data — they still need to be wired up for power. Blink, however, is touted as having a year's worth of battery inside. And unlike other systems which hook into a central hub, Blink ties straight into your Wi-Fi network and communicates to their cloud service and an app on your phone (with plans for iOS and Android).

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iPhone 6 event once again rumored for mid-September

The latest rumor suggests that Apple is tentatively planning to unveil the iPhone 6 in mid-September. With the iPhone 4s having launched in early October, and the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s hitting in subsequent Septembers, mid-September 2014 certainly seems fairly likely for the iPhone 6.

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Apple kicking off OS X Yosemite public beta tomorrow

Apple promised a public beta for Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, and a public beta you shall get. Starting Thursday, Apple will be sending out invitations to test out the next version of OS X. The invites will be going out to the first million people that are signed up through the Appleseed public beta program.

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Kobe Bryant went to Apple and talked about product design and basketball with Jony Ive

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant went to Apple to have a chat with designer Jony Ive. They talked product design. And process. And basketball. But that was a month ago, when it was reported that the iWatch was being tested by professional athletes like Bryant.

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Facebook will now let you save those lists and quizzes for later

Facebook will soon let you save your favorite things from Facebook. Not a local save, mind you, more of a Pocket for Facebook, and only in Facebook. With the save feature a tap or two will let you save a link, place, or bit of linked media (movie, TV show, or music) for later reference. Those hilarious (or incriminating) status updates and photos? You still can't save those — you'll still have to resort to a screenshot for that.

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