Category Archives: Gadget News, Reviews, And Features

The 404 1,396: Where we’re one step closer to InstaBook (podcast)


Leaked from today’s 404 episode:

News from Instagram, or, what the hell is this block of wood?

– Stress-buster: Microsoft bra battles emotional overeating.

– Sony patents “smart wig”: Toupee with sensors on the way?

Spike Away vest keeps people out of your personal space.

Episode 1,396


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UK giveaway: Win a Cube 3D printer courtesy of

You’d better put that coffee down before you exhale it through your nose. Why? Because thanks to the very kind folk at Cartridge Discount, you could win a 3D printer. A second generation Cube by 3D Systems, to be precise. Not only would this make any tech-lover’s Christmas, it solves your shopping woes too — now you can print those socks for Uncle Alan if you win. Or stock up on bargain toner from Cartridge Discount if you don’t. So, undoubtedly this is one heck of a prize for our UK readers (sorry everyone else), but you’re likely wondering what you need to do to take part? Well here’s the best part, just head past the break, read the terms and conditions (important!), and choose from the assortment of entry methods we’ve laid on for you. Don’t thanks us, thank your lucky stars.

An Engadget giveaway

  • Entries are handled through the Rafflecopter widget above. Comments are no longer accepted as valid methods of entry. You may enter without any obligation to social media accounts, though we may offer them as opportunities for extra entries. Your email address is required so we can get in touch with you if you win, but it will not be given to third parties.
  • Contest is open to all residents of the UK, 18 or older! Sorry, we don’t make this rule (we hate excluding anyone), so direct your anger at ourlawyers and contest laws if you have to be mad.
  • Winners will be chosen randomly. One (1) winner will win one (1) 3D Systems Cube 3D printer.
  • If you are chosen, you will be notified by email. Winners must respond within three days of being contacted. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen. Make sure that the account you use to enter the contest includes a contact email or Facebook login. We do not track any of this information for marketing or third-party purposes.
  • This unit is purely for promotional giveaway. Cartridge Discount, and Engadget / AOL are not held liable to honour warranties, exchanges or customer service.
  • The full list of rules, in all its legalese glory, can be found here.
  • Entries can be submitted until December 10th at 05:00 GMT. Good luck!



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Rumor Has It: Watch out Spotify, YouTube is coming for you

Samsung rumors run rampant in this week’s episode.

First, insiders are predicting that a “lite” version of the giant Note 3 could be released early next year. And, not even a year after the
Samsung Galaxy S4 dropped, Sammy could already be gearing up to release the Galaxy S5. And this time, it might have a more-premium feel.

The biggest news this week, though, is the rumor that YouTube is working on a subscription-based service called “Music Pass.” Imagine ad-free YouTubing. Sounds good to me.

Thanks for watching!

Heard a tech rumor you think we should cover? Leave a comment below; ; send us a tweet (@karynelevy or @CNETRumorShow); or call and leave us a voice mail at 1-800-750-CNET.


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NSA collecting 5 billion cellphone location records per day

Galaxy Nexus and iPhone 4S in Korea

Hey everyone, the government’s tracking you. Quelle surprise. In what has to be one of the least shocking pieces of news to come from the Edward Snowden leaks, The Washington Post is reporting that the National Security Agency has been gathering surveillance data on foreign cellphone users’ whereabouts globally, with some Americans potentially caught in the net. The database, which collects about 5 billion records per day, is so vast that not even the NSA has the proper tools to sift through it all. That’s not to say the agency hasn’t been able to make “good” use of it with analytics programs, though.

One such program, ominously labeled Co-Traveler, allows the NSA to determine “behaviorally relevant relationships” based on data from signals intelligence activity designators (or sigads for short) located around the world, including one codenamed “Stormbrew.” That’s a lot of jargon for what are essentially data hubs that collect geolocation information down to the cell tower level. Co-Traveler can locate targets of interest based on cellphone users moving in tandem, even if they’re unknown threats — frequent meetups with an existing suspect could reveal a close associate, for instance.

As we’ve come to expect by now, both the NSA and the Office of the Director for National Intelligence argue that this location-based surveillance is legal. Agency representatives tell the Post that the collection system doesn’t purposefully track Americans. However, the NSA also says it can’t determine how many US residents get swept up in these location scans; there are concerns that it’s following targets protected by Fourth Amendment search rights.

Joseph Volpe contributed to this report.



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Google, Microsoft offer different methods for tracking Santa

Jason Cipriani/CNET)

It’s that time of year, when Google helps little ones around the world track Santa. This year, instead of only tracking Kris Kringle on Christmas Eve, Google is giving you a different glimpse into what’s occurring at the North Pole every day leading up to Christmas.

The announcement from Google came courtesy of a post on its Google Maps blog early Wednesday. With a countdown timer at the top of the page, you’re able to view familiar Google Maps pins for each day leading up to Santa’s busiest day of the year, and see prep work being done by his elves and reindeer.

Later in the month (mid-December according to the post), Google plans on releasing an
Android app to help you keep tabs on preparations and track St. Nick on Christmas Eve. Also included in the app will be a couple of games and the ability to explore the North Pole and watch Santa’s progress on your TV using Chromecast. There’s also a Santa Tracker Chrome extension available.

In addition, Microsoft has teamed up with NORAD this year, aiming to highlight Internet Explorer 11 while also helping you track Santa. Starting on Christmas Eve, as NORAD begins tracking Santa, those using IE11 on a touch device will be able to view his progress across the world in a 3D globe.

NORAD is the expert when it comes to tracking Santa, having previously partnered with Google to incorporate the data of where Santa into Google Maps. We had the privilege of going behind the scenes a few years back to see how the team inside the mountain tracks Santa. You can read about it here.

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China finally grants 4G licences, but still no iPhone deal for China Mobile

Just as promised, the Chinese government has finally granted TD-LTE licences to the country’s three carriers: China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom. This means the companies can launch their 4G services whenever they want, though the reality is only China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier, has been conducting large-scale TD-LTE trials across the country. The remaining two companies have previously expressed that they plan to use the more common FDD-LTE as their main backbone, but the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is allegedly waiting for TD-LTE deployment to mature before it also grants FDD-LTE licenses.

Either way, this is obviously good news for mobile phone manufacturers who want to dig deep into the Chinese market, as the faster service will motivate users to upgrade their phones — especially with all the red pocket money they will be receiving in Chinese New Year at the end of next month. While there’s already no shortage of TD-LTE devices out in the market, China Mobile recently told CNN that contrary to rumours, it has yet to secure a deal with Apple to sell iPhones. What’s more bizarre is that a TD-LTE-flavored iPhone 5s has already been approved for use on China Mobile’s network since September. Well, for the sake of Apple fans stuck with China Mobile, here’s hoping the denial is just a cheeky decoy.



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