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Whatever Apple has in the works for its future audio offerings, it may not include keeping Beats Music in app stores. TechCrunch reports that Apple plans to shut down the music streaming service, noting that CEO Ian Rogers has already been tasked with running iTunes Radio. The move wouldn't be a huge shock as it makes sense for Tim Cook and Co. to bring new listening options under the iTunes umbrella rather than keeping Dr. Dre's young moniker. It also goes to show that in addition to nabbing the hoards of faithful headphone wearers, Apple's purchase was just as much about getting the talent behind the brand's full line of products -- including Dre and Jimmy Iovine -- under its wing. I reached out to Beats for comment, and I'll be sure to update if it offers any additional information. Of course, we're interested to see how "the first subscription service that finally got it right," according to Cook, will get molded into a new audio option.

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We've told you all about the upcoming USB cable's high-powered abilities, but now audio and video have joined the mix. Working alongside the USB 3.0 Promoter Group, the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) has leveraged a DisplayPort "Alt Mode" to sort full audio/video on monitors with resolutions of 4K and above with the Type-C tech. What's more, with the help of an adapter or converter cable, the new standard can be made to play nice with regular DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI and VGA jacks on existing displays. To wrangle video and sound, the alternate mode leverages a couple of the Type-C connector's so-called SuperSpeed lanes to deliver the goods to that external monitor -- leaving the others to data transfers alongside that 100 watts of power. Of course, DisplayPort tech has been available in Thunderbolt cables/jacks for some time, but the new USB kit looks to be "a single-cable solution" that's sure to clean up that mess of wires under your desk.

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Back when it launched the Student Advantage program, Microsoft made it possible for 35,000 educational institutions across the globe to receive free access to Office 365. As part of that, students and teachers alike could get a subscription to the productivity software at no cost to them, so long as their school had enrolled in the initiative. Problem is, since then, each student depended on the school to be the one to create an Office 365 account they could use -- until today. Microsoft's now simplified the process, opening up a self-serve service for students to get the license without the need to check with the school's IT department first. Those who qualify will need a valid .edu email address to receive the free subscription, from a school that's currently participating in the Student Advantage program, and that's about it. The only caveat is that this is limited to US students at the moment, but Microsoft says it plans to bring the sign-up feature worldwide later this year.

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Manuel Noriega in Call of Duty Black Ops II

If you think that ex-dictator Manuel Noriega's lawsuit over his appearance in Call of Duty: Black Ops II is more than a little ridiculous, you're not alone. Activision has filed a motion to dismiss the former Panamanian leader's complaint before it ever reaches a courtroom, citing a California statute that prevent lawsuits threatening free speech. As attorney Rudy Giuliani (yes, that Rudy Giuliani) explains, it's "absurd" that a ruler convicted of crimes against his own citizens would demand compensation from a company that's exercising its civil rights. If Noriega won, he could set a precedent where historical personas and their families could ban appearances in any media format.

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NASA's Mars Balance Mass Challenge

Want to play a significant role in NASA's space exploration efforts without spending years in training? You now have a better chance of making your mark. NASA has launched Solve, a site that makes it easy to find all the agency's public competitions and crowdsourced projects. You'll mostly see previously announced efforts there right now, but the inaugural offering is definitely worth a look -- the $20,000 Mars Balance Mass Challenge asks you to design an experiment or technology payload that will double as ballast on future Martian explorers. You'll have until November 21st to submit your brainstorms, and you'll find out if your work is Mars-bound sometime in mid-January.

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US-CLIMATE MARCH

If you're in any way familiar with the history of energy, then the name Rockefeller is synonymous with oil. That's why it's such a surprise to learn that the Rockefeller Brothers fund, worth $860 million, has pledged to dump its remaining investments in fossil fuel production over the next five years. The Rockefeller fund is the most notable name in a list of billionaires and funds that have pledged to shift anything up to $50 billion away from coal, oil and gas and into renewable energy as part of the divest-invest movement. It's a timely announcement, too, designed to coincide with the Tuesday's UN summit on climate change, designed to galvanize green activity in the face of the recent, damning, scientific evidence.

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Sony will be releasing its PlayStation TV here in the US and in Canada on October 14th. What's more, as it looks to get people amped up for it, the company also let it be known that the mini console is set to have nearly 700 playable games from day one, giving interested folks Stateside and in The Great White North something to look forward to come launch day. That amount of games, naturally, is made possible thanks to the PlayStation TV's flexibility -- it provides access to a variety of content in different ways, including through PS Vita titles, PlayStation Now and via Remote Play with a PlayStation 4. The PlayStation TV is going to be available for $99 (system-only), or you also have the option to get a $140 bundle which includes a DualShock 3 controller, 8GB memory card and The Lego Movie Videogame.

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Gov. Brown Signs Legislation At Google HQ That Allows Testing Of Autonomous Vehicles

The first trio of companies looking to test self-driving cars on California's public roads got newly required permits from the state's Department of Motor Vehicles last week. Google nabbed paperwork for taking a fleet of 25 Lexus SUVs to the streets, while Audi and Mercedes-Benz also secured written approval that's now a must for trials amongst regular automobiles. The Guardian reports that other automakers are working on getting the proper approval for testing as well, so long as vehicles have a way for the driver to take control if needed. Of course, California has welcomed autonomous vehicles since 2012, but the state announced new rules for testing on public roads earlier this year that went into effect this month. In addition to the Golden State, Michigan, Nevada and Florida also allow self-driving trials on public roads.

[Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

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Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Good news: if you want Samsung's slimmer, ritzier Galaxy Alpha in the US, you won't have to beg your Canadian friends to ship an unlocked unit across the border. AT&T has revealed plans to carry the Alpha starting on September 26th, the same day it launches up North. Be prepared to pay a premium for this compact yet speedy Android phone, though. The Alpha will cost $200 on a contract, or $613 contract-free. That's not much different than what you'd pay for the larger, slightly more powerful Galaxy S5 -- you'll have to really value the Alpha's metal-clad design for AT&T's pricing to make sense.

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