All posts by John Skrhak

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

Intel reportedly killed its wearables division

According to CNBC’s source, the tech giant actually laid off 80 percent of the division’s employees in November 2016, so it let fewer people go this time around. A lot of employees in Intel’s wearables division came from Basis, the wearable maker it acquired back in 2014 for $100 million. While their division is now dead, they were apparently given the chance to be reassigned to other parts of the company.

Intel purchased Basis in an effort to make a big splash in the wearables space a few years ago. Unfortunately, it had to recall the Basis Peak smartwatch due to overheating concerns, and things never really picked up after that. When we talked to Dr. Jerry Bautista, Intel’s wearables VP, at CES earlier this year, it became pretty clear that the corporation had no intention of releasing another Basis-branded smartwatch or fitness tracker.

Needless to say, the division’s shut down (if true) didn’t come out of left field. Intel hasn’t confirmed the report yet, but we might hear something about it during its Q2 earnings call scheduled to take place on July 27th.

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You don’t drive the 2018 Dodge Demon, you survive it

Find the best hybrids on the market!

Hybrid technology can be applied to any type of car, and the best show the most significant fuel economy improvements over a similar gasoline-only car.

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Amazon launches Spark, a social network for its shoppers


Amazon Spark users are encouraged to tag images of products that are available for sale on the internet giant.


Amazon is getting into the social media game, but this network is more about shopping than sharing pictures of your kids or latest meal.

Dubbed Spark, the new Instagram-like feature encourages Amazon customers to post images, stories and ideas about products they like. Other users can then react to the posts with comments and “smiles,” much as one would “Like” a Facebook post.

“Whether you’re looking for inspiration for home décor or seeking advice for the best long-distance running shoes, Spark makes it easy to discover — and shop — stories and ideas from a community that likes what you like,” Amazon said in an introduction to the service.

The move comes at a time when retailers are competing more fiercely for content and consumers’ cash.

The service also encourages users to tag products featured in their posts if they are available on Amazon, allowing others users to purchase the products by tapping on the image.

The feature, which debuted Tuesday on Amazon’s iOS app, is currently available only to Amazon’s premium-paying Prime members in the US. Non-Prime members can peruse Spark feeds but can’t post or comment.

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for further comment.

CNET en Español: Get all your tech news and reviews in Spanish.

Does the Mac still matter? Apple execs tell why the MacBook Pro was over four years in the making, and why we should care.

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You can drive the 2018 Nissan Leaf with just one pedal

Two pedals are so overrated — why not configure the gas pedal to both accelerate and decelerate the vehicle? Well, on electric vehicles, that’s a possibility, and it’ll be a feature on the redesigned 2018 Nissan Leaf.

Nissan calls its technology e-Pedal, which is activated with a single switch. Pressing the pedal normally will make the car go faster (duh), while lifting your foot off will cause it to slow down more aggressively than doing so in a gas car. Release the pedal on a hill, and the car will hold itself there until you’re ready to push off.

The e-Pedal name is just a clever marketing gimmick. It’s essentially some very aggressive regenerative braking, which converts the vehicle’s kinetic energy into current that replaces some of the battery’s charge.

The Chevrolet Bolt EV has a system similar to e-Pedal, but it requires holding paddles and changing shifter positions, whereas e-Pedal is activated with a single switch. I don’t believe the Bolt EV’s system will hold the car on a hill, but it has a separate Hill Start Assist system that will. Nissan just bundles it all together into a single system.

We’ll get to see the whole shebang — and not just the gas pedal — when Nissan pulls back the veil on the 2018 Leaf on September 5.

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Rumor Central: Lack of ‘serious offer’ from Mavericks disappoints Nerlens Noel

The Dallas Mavericks have said re-signing restricted free-agent center Nerlens Noel is a top priority, but so far a deal has yet to be finalized. Noel’s agent, Happy Walters, blames the Mavericks for the lack of progress.

Rumor Central“We’re very disappointed with where things stand,” Walters told The Dallas Morning News. “Nerlens loves Dallas and spent June there working out, but we’re still waiting on a serious offer.”

If the Mavericks and Noel can’t find common ground on a new contract, the four-year NBA veteran can accept the $4,187,599 qualifying offer, which would make him an unrestricted free-agent in 2018. With the free-agent market tough on centers in 2017 and most teams currently lacking a lot of salary-cap room, the standoff with Noel and the Mavericks may last for a while.

Noel joined Dallas on Feb. 23 as part of a multi-player trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. In 22 appearances with the Mavericks, 12 starts, Noel averaged 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

— Nick Silva

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Rub elbows with music’s C-list on Vevo’s Watch Party Live

Each Watch Party Live session will have an artist to cue up videos and talk with fans. The music stars will be able to control the size of the music video screen and their own live feed, and will have some control over volume, too. Basically, the music celebrity becomes the room’s host, while fans can chat with them in the sidebar. While it’s not brand-new to have famous people interacting with their audience, as with Reddit’s Ask Me Anything, this may be the first time both artist and fans can connect while watching the same piece of video together. It’s like Twitch, only for music videos. A Vevo spokesperson confirmed that the live stream will be available to watch on YouTube, but all interaction is exclusively on Vevo.

The first musical guest to run a Watch Party Live session (at 6:30 ET) will be hip-hop artist Kid Ink. “I’m really excited to be working with Vevo on Watch Party Live — it’s a great way for artists to connect with fans directly,” said Kid Ink in a statement. “Vevo has been holding me down since day 1, so it’s only right that I’m the first artist to be a part of this series!” Grace Vanderwaal and Becky G. are also confirmed for future events, with more on the way.

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