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Game Replay: Silent Hills canned, Steam mods, Telltale Marvel game

04/26, 10:12pm

The Game Replay is a twice-weekly look back at the more notable stories in the world of gaming from the last few days. Today's edition covers the potential cancellation of the next Silent Hill game, the launch of paid mods on Steam and the subsequent complaints, and a future Telltale game produced in collaboration with Marvel.

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Living With: a (non-Apple) smartwatch

04/26, 7:30pm

Anyone who's been listening to The MacNN Podcast knows there's been some discussion among the staff about wearing smartwatches, and if they think it would be beneficial to do so. Some of us are dubious it would be a useful addition to our workflow, some are skeptical but hopeful an application of value will arise, and some have already ordered theirs and are waiting patiently. Recently, a friend of ours scored several refurbished MetaWatch Frames from Meh.com for what we're going to call "a really good price." So we bought one, in an effort to see if there was any point to wearing a smartwatch.

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Review: Bracketron PowerFlex external battery

04/26, 7:00pm

When we're traveling or just generally out and about, we've taken to bringing a tablet and Bluetooth keyboard with us, rather than a laptop or netbook. Power for both our tablet, phone, and any other chargeable devices is always an issue. Our personal motto is "ABC," or "Always Be Charging." When we're not in our car or near an outlet, if we're lower than 75 percent on something we plug it into an external battery. Really all anyone needs is power to nourish these digital brains, but extra features are generally useful. The Bracketron Power Flex Stand is a 10,400mAh battery with a built-in tablet stand and flashlight. It will not only support one's tablet or smartphone at a pleasant viewing angle, but will also charge two devices at the same time with dual USB ports. Is it a must-have? Check out our review to find out.

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Apple fiscal Q2 predictions abound, predict healthy quarter

04/26, 6:19pm

Last month, Apple announced that its financials for fiscal Q2 2015 would be released on April 27. Just one day before the conference call, analysts are rushing to get their predictions out regarding what is very likely to be another monster quarter for Apple. The short version is that the iPhone will continue to drive the lion's share of revenue and grow sales from the year-ago quarter, while the downward pressure on earnings from the iPad will continue -- and nobody's really sure what's going to happen with the Apple Watch.

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Review: JBL Synchros Reflect in-ear headphones

04/26, 8:30am

All headphones are not created equally, especially when it comes to use during vigorous activities or workouts. Over-the-ear headphones are cumbersome and in the way, but in-ear versions can constantly pop out making them a hassle to constantly manage. So what is left for people that need entertainment during their workout routines? JBL offers a potential solution with the Synchros Reflect in-ear headphones. But are the Synchros Reflects something worthy of considering, or are they just another hindrance to deal with? Find out in our review.

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Hands On: Carrot Hunger 1.0.1 (iOS)

04/25, 11:16pm

A sad by-product of being made of meat is that we must eat, but not too much. Enter Carrot Hunger, the talking calorie counter. Did you ever wish you could get nutrition advice from GLaDOS? Well you can't, but that's okay, because Carrot has three times the attitude, and actually cares about your health. No really you guys, she cares. She's just also a big proponent of tough love; and by "tough love" we mean massive amounts of sarcasm and dry wit.

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Collapse of Time Warner Cable, Comcast merger evolved over months

04/25, 10:10pm

This past Friday, the Comcast Time Warner Cable (TWC) merger was officially canceled. A report by Bloomberg Business indicates the resistance by both the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been in play for quite a bit longer than just the week prior to when the deal was nixed.

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European Commission selects complainants for case against Google

04/25, 10:04pm

The European Union's first antitrust case against Google -- where the advertising giant is accused of giving more prominence in search results to its own shopping comparison services than competitors -- will include 19 companies as complainants, giving them the ability to see and comment on the full list of charges leveled against Google. However, a number of the companies are not directly involved in online shopping, suggesting that the charges brought against Google could be more wide-ranging than previously suspected.

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Ive, Newson talk Apple Watch, modern craftsmanship at conference

04/25, 4:35pm

Apple SVP of Design Sir Jonathan Ive and fellow designer Marc Newson appeared at the first Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy on Wednesday and gave an interview to International Vogue editor Suzy Menkes, during which they reiterated the standard speaking points on Apple's overall design philosophy and missing, but also discussed the Apple Watch in the context of the strata of the luxury market, and the meaning of craftsmanship in the 21st century.

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Hands On: SmartDown 1.0.4 (OS X)

04/25, 8:00am

It's not as if you are stuck for applications to write in: whether you go for Microsoft Word or TextEdit, there are just about 40 different word processors for every man, woman and child on the planet. It's just that not many work in Markdown, which is a form of writing, a format, and a syntax that works well for the web. SmartDown is one of those, and it works very well.

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Hands On: Sorcery! 3 – The Seven Serpents 1.0.2 (iOS, Android)

04/24, 7:25pm

The third installment of Steve Jackson's Sorcery! game series is now available from iTunes. It isn't necessary to play the first two chapters to enjoy the third; each leg of the journey is its own self-contained quest and story. However, for those willing to put in the time, a magic word is given at the end of each game to add input into the next. Friendships, items, curses, abilities, and knowledge transfer from one to the other, giving the whole experience a richer feel.

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Apple wins three-year Chinese patent case against Siri technology

04/24, 6:31pm

After two legal defeats, Apple has won its case on appeal in a lawsuit brought by Zhizhen Network Technology that dates back to 2012. The Beijing Higher People's Court has ruled that Apple did not violate any patents held by the Shanghai-based Zhizhen, and thus no infringement has occurred. Apple first attempted to have the Zhizhen patent, which covered only "a type of instant messaging chat bot system," invalidated, but later sued the government and the company when authorities ruled in favor of Zhizhen.

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Hands On: Hazel 3.3.5 (OS X)

04/24, 4:24pm

You don't hear enough about Hazel from Noodlesoft. Its simplest description is that it automatically does things for you to do with files and folders, it moves and renames and sorts them. Unfortunately one reason you don't hear enough about it is that once you've set it up, you never have to think about it again. It just keeps right on doing its stuff. That's admirable and it's also a shame for Noodlesoft which should be lauded more. It's also a shame for you because you genuinely forget that it's there when you could be using it for more and more.

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Apple unveils three new TV ads for Apple Watch

04/24, 4:00pm

Celebrating the launch of the Apple Watch, the company has posted three new ads showcasing its newest device -- complete with Apple's signature style of illustrating everyday use of the Watch ahead of explaining features or giving the product a false image equating it with power, sex, or glamor. The three ads -- "Us," "Up," and "Rise" -- offer dramatized but realistic normal uses for the Apple Watch, with differing emphasis.

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The Feature Thief: Apple taketh away, sometimes giveth back

04/24, 2:51pm

Stop us if you've heard this one: Apple takes one of its key software applications, radically changes it, losing important features along the way. Existing users say Apple has dumbed down an app that was perfect, while new users say this is fantastic, they can finally understand the application. Flash forward a few months, and Apple has stealthily added back some or all of the features. We've seen this with iMovie and Final Cut Pro, we saw it with Pages, we are seeing it now with iPhoto turning into Photos. It is a well-worn path by Apple, and if we're not fans of the way they go about it, we are often fans of how these new applications turn out ... eventually.

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