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Hilton hotel room selection

Starwood isn't the only hotel chain that wants you to use your smartphone as a hotel room key; Hilton is launching an initiative that lets you use your Android or iOS device to control virtually every aspect of your stay. Later this summer, a Hilton app will let you choose your preferred room, make special requests, check in and check out. You'll only have to speak to staff when it's time to pick up or return your keys. And in 2015, you won't even need to do that much -- your phone will also unlock your room, letting you make a beeline for your bed after a long flight.

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PantryChic's Bluetooth ingredient dispenser is for lazy, type-A bakers

Earlier this summer, we showed you a smart kitchen scale that worked with an iPad app to make sure you were adding the right amount of each ingredient to your recipe. At the time, it seemed like the Internet of Things had reached its peak. Jumped the shark, even. Well, apparently even that requires too much effort. Meet PantryChic, an airtight food canister that dispenses ingredients into a digital scale, so that you never even have to break out a measuring cup. All told, if you were serious about your baking (and seriously OCD), you could buy any number of these stackable canisters, and fill each with a different ingredient, like baking soda or brown sugar. Then, when you need one, you attach it to the digital scale, which is pre-programmed to dispense 50 ingredients (meaning, it knows how to convert volume to weight). Oh, and don't worry about pushing any buttons: You can connect over Bluetooth using the PantryChic app, at which point the machine can "see" what recipe you're using and know, for instance, that you need three cups of flour.

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Countries that have less-than-stellar records when it comes to dissenting voices must really, really hate Tor. Coincidentally, Russia's Interior Ministry has put out a bounty of around $110,000 to groups who can crack the US Navy-designed privacy network. After the country's vicious crackdown on dissenting voices back in 2012, protestors who hadn't escaped or been jailed began using anonymous internet communication as their first line of defense against the Kremlin. If you're considering taking part in the challenge (and earning yourself a tidy stack of cash to quell your conscious), be warned -- the bounty is only open to organizations that already have security clearance to work for the Russian government.

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http://krebsonsecurity.com/

"Skimming" is a blanket term used when referencing a crime where you take small amounts of money. It literally means to take cash off the top, as if money were the sweet cream floating atop a cauldron of lesser riches. Fifty years ago, skimming might have meant stealing a handful of dollars from your employer, or even millions in elaborate scams we've seen in countless Hollywood films. Today's skimming, however, employs tricks and hardware that are absurdly complex and yet sneaky enough to elude detection. Unless you know what to look for, of course. Today's world of skimming is high-tech, and it wants your credit card and banking info.

Though we can't help you catch every conceivable method that crooks are using to try to rip you off, being armed with a bit of knowledge on the topic could save you major hassle down the road. No matter what you take away form this read, at a minimum you'll never look at an ATM or POS terminal the same way again.

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It looks as if the judges who operate the gateway between the NSA and the cable companies may not be as impartial as their job description requires them to. An investigation by Vice has revealed that several judges who sit on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court are also Verizon shareholders. Big Red, of course, has previously tried to fight metadata collection, but isn't entitled to have a say, or participate in these secret hearings. Naturally, judges are bound by a conflict of interest law that requires them to step away from any case where their judgment could be materially affected, which may not apply in this situation. Still, it doesn't seem the wisest thing to do if you're trying to maintain an unimpeachable reputation for fairness, does it?

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3D printing has made low-volume manufacturing of highly personalized products both affordable and accessible, but first you need a printer. A number of businesses have sprung up to bridge that gap -- investing in printers so you don't have to -- and now Amazon has opened up a dedicated storefront on its US site to connect customers with these sellers. The themed portal is stocked with over 200 products at launch, from jewelry to homeware to toys, that companies will print to order. Many can be also be customized, whether that simply be choosing a different color or tweaking numerous features of a design. You can also preview a 3D mockup of your creation before you buy, and now if you'll excuse us, we've got bobbleheads to order.

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Sorry guys, I can't tweet this picture of a cat wearing a party hat right now, because I'm #amwriting. I'm in a coffee shop, you see, with my laptop and notebook proudly displayed so that anyone who walks past will know that I'm #amwriting a novel. Obviously, you can only make grammatical errors like saying I'm #amwriting on Twitter, that shit doesn't fly in the novel that I'm writing right now.

What? Artist Cory Arcangel has written a book that just collates people's tweets that include the phrase "working on my novel?" He's, no, that's not a real thing, is it? It's being published by PENGUIN? All of these other people are what, just trying to write the next great modern / erotic / literary / young adult novel? Man. I wish I'd come up with that idea. #amwriting

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Apple Said To Be In Talks To Purchase Beats Headphones Company

Apple is officially a step closer to owning Beats, as the $3 billion merger has just been cleared in Europe. The EU commission ruled that the merger "did not raise concerns because the combined (headphone) market share of Apple and Beats Electronics is low." That might sound like an odd thing to say about Apple, but the EU pointed out that after buying Beats, it would still have Bose, Sennheiser, Sony and other competitors in the sector. As a result, Apple/Beats would be far from a headphone monopoly, which was the EU's main concern. The purchase still has to be cleared in the US, but most pundits think regulators there will toe a similar line. Apple has a new headache, though: one of those competitors, Bose, has just sued it over its noise-cancelling patents.

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We know what you're thinking, but a new app called Selfies is actually kind of fun, considering that it's a barely-promoted one-off from Automattic (the company responsible for WordPress). It told TechCrunch that Selfies was in development for eight weeks or so as part of the Gravatar universal avatar app before it became a separate thing. Trying the app showed that its basic-ness is part of the kick, since it let us post our own pic right after logging on. (We also found it to be a little rough around the edges with a few crashes.) Right now, there's just a single public feed showing ever photo, but the company has plans to filter the best content soon. You can try it now for yourself, but only on Android -- the company narrowly picked that platform to launch it first thanks to a user poll.

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Thanks to Princess Leia's famous Star Wars plea, true holograms rank just behind flying cars as tech we want, nay deserve to have in our lifetimes -- and Tupac-style flimflam won't cut it. Now, an exhibition from artists Chris Helson and Sarah Jackets whimsically called "Help Me Obi" projects objects as large as 30cm (12-inches) in space. Visible from any angle in the room, the subjects include a newborn baby and NASA's Voyager 1 space probe. The creators are quick to point out that the machine doesn't create a true hologram, but rather a "360-degree video object." We take that to mean that it's more like a floating 3D movie that looks the same from any angle, rather than a true holographic object you can study from all sides. Since they're seeking a patent, Helson and Jackets are coy about exactly how it works, but say that there's nothing else quite like it (that they know of). If you're in the Edinburgh, Scotland area between July 31st and August 30th, you can judge for yourself at the Alt-W exhibition.

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