All posts by John Skrhak

John Skrhak | Gadgets, Sports and Toys Fanatic | Read about them all here.

Mavs rookie Smith late scratch with knee issue

11:11 PM ET

DALLAS — Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. was a late scratch for Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings due to left knee effusion, a buildup of fluid in the knee.

Smith also will not play in Saturday’s road game against the Houston Rockets. Coach Rick Carlisle says the Mavs hope Smith can play Monday against the Golden State Warriors.

Smith tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in August 2015, the summer before his senior year of high school. He experienced swelling in the knee after shootaround Friday, and the decision was made to not start him less than an hour before the game.

Carlisle made no mention of Smith’s injury during his pregame news conference when he was asked about the matchup of Smith against Kings rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox.

Smith, 19, the No. 9 pick in the draft who has inspired optimism in Dallas that he can be the franchise’s next cornerstone player, had 16 points and 10 assists in the season opener to become the youngest player in NBA history to record a points-assists double-double in his debut.

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Vector plans three ‘microsatellite’ launches in Virginia

That’s entirely the point. Most microsatellites that weigh a couple to just over a hundred pounds often must ride alongside and work around the schedules of big-budget customers putting several-ton payloads into orbit. Unlike Space X’s 230-foot Falcon 9, which carries up to 50,000 pounds into orbit, Vector’s smaller rocket is likely far more affordable and flexible — like paying for a charter plane that will go to any small airfield instead of buying a seat on a jumbo jet that can only go to major airports.

When last we saw Vector, they’d launched out of Camden, Georgia for a successful delivery to sub-orbital heights. The company, made of industry vets from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing and Sea Launch, seems aimed to supply the need for much smaller payloads that those bigger companies don’t service well. As for Virginia, this is a win for its Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) facility on Wallops Island; Vector has agreed to three launches there over the next 24 months with an option for five more.

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The Kidrobot x The Simpsons Devil Flanders Medium Figure Online Now!

For today’s Throwback Thursday, we’re gonna kick it (semi) old school with Amanda Visell’s Scaredy Labbit. …

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Robert Scoble regrets being ‘really hurtful to women’


Tech blogger Robert Scoble is expressing remorse over alleged sexual harassment claims that were levied against him this week.

James Martin/CNET

Tech evangelist Robert Scoble, who is probably still best known for wearing a Google Glass headset in the shower, isn’t hiding from sexual harassment allegations levied against him this week.

“I did some things that are really, really hurtful to the women and I feel ashamed by that,” Scoble told USA Today in a story published Friday. “I have taken many steps to try to get better because I knew some of this was potentially going to come out.”

Scoble has been accused by three women — journalist Quinn Norton, ProDay founder Sarah Kunst and former colleague Michelle Greer — of actions that include groping and verbal harassment.

Greer also spoke with USA Today, telling the outlet that these actions are why women hate tech.

“There are too many talented women who get suppressed because of guys like this. We can’t just talk about it at an aggregate level. We have to call these people out,” she said.

Scoble didn’t immediately return CNET’s request for comment.

Sexual harassment issues comes up regularly in the tech industry, but the conversation was supercharged when actress Rose McGowan’s Twitter account was temporarily locked last week after she made making sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. The #MeToo campaign also spread across social media this week, drawing attention to just how many women have been affected by sexual harassment and assault. 

Since then, Amazon Studios head Roy Price resigned following similar allegations.

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Chinese phone maker Vivo entering Hong Kong, Russia and beyond


Earlier Vivo phones such as the Vivo Xplay6 looked like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

Aloysius Low/CNET

You may not have heard of Vivo, but you would have seen its phones in “Captain America: Civil War.” 

Besides making product placement cameos though, the Chinese company is actually the world’s fifth largest phone maker, as well one of the big four in China, alongside Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo.

The company’s set to become even bigger, with the announcement that it’s now selling its phones in Hong Kong, with plans to bring its devices to Taiwan, Singapore and Russia. The African market is also on its list for early next year.

“Since our first entry into the international markets in 2014, we have been dedicated to understanding the needs of consumers through in-depth research to bring innovative and stylish products that meet their lifestyle and needs,” Alex Feng, Vivo’s senior vice president, said in a press statement.

Vivo isn’t just all about making iPhone or Samsung look-alikes. The company recently launched a 24-megapixel selfie phone called the Vivo V7+. It also showed off the first phone with a fingerprint scanner embedded under the display earlier this year at MWC Shanghai.

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Mavs’ Cuban not sold on lottery reform plan

12:50 PM ET

DALLAS — Mavericks owner Mark Cuban isn’t convinced the NBA’s new draft lottery system will discourage teams from tanking, which is why he abstained from the vote during last month’s board of governors meeting.

The lottery reform passed by a 28-1-1 vote, with the Oklahoma City Thunder the lone team voting against it. The NBA needed 23 of 30 teams to pass the legislation. Cuban told ESPN that he proposed two alternative scenarios — one to the board of governors, another privately to commissioner Adam Silver — that would have more strongly discouraged tanking than the proposal that passed.

However, neither of Cuban’s proposals got any traction. Cuban pitched other members of the league’s board of governors on a system in which the draft is abolished, with teams getting a pool of money to sign rookies based on their records.

“The team with the worst record gets the most money and the team with the best record gets the least money,” Cuban said. “It’s like a free agency. It makes it a lot harder to tank because you don’t know if you get the best players if you’re horrible all the time. “Nobody liked that at all, not a single person.”

Cuban’s other idea was to lock the team with the worst record into a draft slot — either third or fourth — to force teams to compete to avoid being at the bottom. That idea never got discussed in the board of directors meeting.

“Now all of the sudden, if it’s close at the end, you’re going to see teams play as hard as they can because if they end up with the worst record, they don’t get the best pick,” Cuban said, explaining the logic of his idea.”You basically eliminate them from getting the best player. Everybody else would just be the way it is now.

“Adam didn’t like that. That never got to the board of directors, but that one was my favorite. I brought up [the other proposal], but after that one got shot down, I didn’t bring up the other one. When I got no response on the one, I just dropped the other because it was obvious that what they had proposed was going to pass.”

In the new lottery odds, the three teams with the worst records will share a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick, a change from the descending percentages of 25, 19.9, and 15.6 in the current system.

Four teams — increased from three — will become part of the lottery draw, which means the No. 1 lottery seed could drop no further than fifth, No. 2 could drop no further than sixth, No. 3 no further than seventh, and No. 4 no further than eighth.

“It’s OK, but you still have the best chance of getting the best pick if you have the worst record,” Cuban said. “The hope is if you’re one of the bottom three, you’re going to try. Now, if you’re one of the bottom three, the odds are all the same. It doesn’t get any better if you get any worse, and that’s OK, but you’re still going to try to tank to get a chance at the best pick.

“If you can’t get better than third or fourth (pick with the worst record), if you try to tank, you’re never going to get the best pick. It’s hard to say, ‘Now we’re going to start winning games because we’re at risk.’ But it is what it is. Hopefully, it’s not even a consideration for (the Mavericks) this year or next year.”

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