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Craig Federighi talks about HomeKit at Apple's WWDC 2014 event

A year after Apple first announced HomeKit, you can finally buy products based on the standard, including a new lighting and power kit from Lutron and a smart home hub from Insteon. Other manufacturers have also revealed new products coming soon: Elgato has sensors that can detect inputs like air pressure and energy consumption, Ecobee launched a smart thermostat and iHome unveiled a smart power outlet. Apple promised that HomeKit will let all those devices talk to each other, and of course, you'll control the whole works via your iPhone, iPad or Watch -- or with your voice via Siri.

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The toys came to life, and it was cool when they did. Almost four years after Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure let kids place action figures on an NFC device to make them playable in a grand adventure game, what seemed like a goofy idea turned out to be a great one. There's something undeniably wonderful about seeing your toy come alive. That idea is also an absolute gold mine. The Skylanders series broke $2 billion in 2014, just weeks after Disney Infinity became its first major competitor. Now Warner Bros. is releasing Lego Dimensions, a massive mash-up of different pop culture icons rendered as little toys to use in one of Traveller's Tales popular Lego game series.

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Right or wrong, Dell once had a reputation for some terrible customer service. But to its credit, the company seems to be showing some self-awareness. After making some recent improvements to its support for business customers, Dell is extending some of the same privileges to consumers as well. With a new support plan, appropriately named Premium Support, people can install a "SupportAssist" app that detects any problems with their PC. Then, Dell will call or email you, if you don't get to them first. All told, Dell says it should take the support team no more than two hours to get in touch. If you're feeling impatient, though, you can still call yourself, in which case you have access to a dedicated technical support line (you know, separate from what the plebes use). Either way, the service includes support not just hardware problems, but third-party software too, which not all PC warranties cover.

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Google's big developer conference is done for another year, which means that the company is ready to dish out some hot statistics regarding the state of Android's union. Thankfully, the search engine can boast that Gingerbread no longer runs on a substantial portion of its devices, since it's only running on 5.6 percent of all hardware. In fact, more than half of the ecosystem now runs Jelly Bean or KitKat, with Ice Cream Sandwich similarly dumped into the footnotes. The company also dug into the figures to reveal that almost half of all Android devices have a screen with a resolution of 240dpi, with only 20 percent of users rocking a weaker display. The TL;DR version of all that is simple: Google's finally escaping its past, and almost everyone is rocking a device that won't embarrass you in the playground/office/golf club.

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Computex is the perfect sort of tech convention for a chip giant like Qualcomm. It's all about companies showing off their wares so that other companies will actually want to buy them. And this year, Qualcomm made two major announcements that should intrigue plenty of potential customers: Advancements in MU-MIMO (multi-user multiple input/multiple output) technology, which aims to make our 802.11ac WiFi speeds more efficient and ultimately faster, as well as a partnership with AllWinner, a Chinese firm that designs low-cost mobile chips.

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Doppler Labs' Here Active Listening

Your choices for filtering the sounds around you are typically quite limited: you either have to drown it out (such as through earplugs or headphones) or let all the annoyances in. Doppler Labs might soon have a way to be more selective, though. Its crowdfunded Here Active Listening earbuds are meant solely to control what you hear in the real world. You not only decide how much gets through, but how it gets through. There's an equalizer if you want to tweak certain sound frequencies (toning down the bass at a badly-mixed concert, for example), and there are preset filters designed to tune out common noises or add effects. Want to silence the background hum of your office without completely shutting out your coworkers? You probably can.

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Microsoft WiFi

Although Microsoft already offers millions of WiFi access points around the world through Skype, it appears the company has bigger plans for its wireless internet service. If a new (barebones) website is to be believed, the Skype branding could be dropped in favor of a new platform called Microsoft WiFi. According to the site, the service will increase the number of hotspots from around 2 million to 10 million and make them available to Office 365 Enterprise subscribers and those who have bought a Surface 2 or Microsoft's Work & Play Bundle.

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2013 Google Developer Conference Continues In San Francisco

As of the start of this year, 53,600 people work for Google full-time. Too many of those workers, according to the company's detractors and its own assessment a year ago, are male, and white or Asian. In order to counter this gap, Google has looked for ways to boost female and minority hiring. Per its just updated diversity report, 21 percent of the company's technical hires last year were female. However that translates into just a 1 percent increase in the total number of women hired to technical positions. Women in general constitute just 30 percent of Google's employees. Additionally, the onboarding rates for both Black and Hispanic hires increased faster than the company's overall growth for the year but still only constitute 2 and 3 percent of the company's entire workforce, respectively.

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Fredrik Neij

For years, authorities had played a game of cat and mouse with the co-founders of Bittorrent site The Pirate Bay. The long game eventually paid off, with Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Warg and Fredrik Neij all being sent to prison within a six month period. Sunde and Warg have since walked free, leaving Neij as the final site founder still serving a custodial sentence. At least until now. TorrentFreak reports that the 37-year-old has been released after serving two-thirds of what should have been a ten-month stretch.

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Thync's device

How eager are you to calm down (or psych yourself up) at a moment's notice? If the answer is "enough to buy a fairly expensive gadget," your solution is now within reach. Thync has launched its namesake mood-changing wearable at the hefty price of $299. That's a lot to pay simply to feel different, but the company is betting that its funky, triangular neurosignalling device is just the ticket if you tend to be stressed or lethargic at inopportune moments. Use the phone-controlled device and it should either relax or revitalize you for up to an hour, with "carry-over impacts" lasting for hours longer. The hardware worked well enough in our early hands-on, so it might be worth giving Thync a shot if you're often out-of-sorts -- it may well beat drinking coffee or beer to achieve the same effects.

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