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Remote-controlled QF-16 from the (unoccupied) cockpit

Existing drone aircraft are useful for many things, but they make for lousy target practice when you're testing missiles; they're rarely as maneuverable as modern fighter jets. Boeing and one of its customers have just shown that there's a better way, however, by firing a surface-to-air missile at a remote-controlled QF-16. As you'll see in the video below, the unmanned aircraft is much nimbler than either a purpose-built vehicle or an aging conversion like the QF-4, and gives weapons a real workout. It even managed to dodge the projectile, although you can't really say that the shooters missed. The missile was tuned to avoid hitting its target -- sensors on both the missile and QF-16 confirmed that the weapon was on track without having to blow up expensive equipment. It'll be a while longer before the airplane is regularly serving as an aerial punching bag, but this test proves that it's up to the job.

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Network router

Typically, attacks against your WiFi router require a lengthy attempt to guess any codes and passwords. Not if you use 0xcite's new technique, however; the research firm has detailed a flaw in some router chipsets that lets hackers bypass the push-button security of WiFi Protected Setup (WPS) almost instantly. Instead of trying to guess a hotspot's PIN code, which can take hours, you simply take a single shot based on a series of offline calculations. Once you're ready to attack, it takes roughly "one second" to get in.

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This teeny-tiny device called Openmix might be the solution you need for those times when you're raring to be the DJ of the party, but another aspiring disc jockey just won't back down (ugh!). It lets you mix tunes from several devices at once (whether it's an iPhone, an Android phone or tablet, a random media player or a laptop) and blast them out loud in real time by connecting speakers through one of its ports. Its tiny size has probably cued you in on its simplicity -- it can only really fade tracks for seamless transition. But, you can connect it to a device loaded with a third-party DJ app to add extra sound effects, if you're seriously into it. Since Openmix is a Kickstarter project, there's a chance you'll never actually see one. If you want take a chance, though, you'll have to pledge at least $29 to get a unit if it does come out in January 2015.


Happy Saturday! Welcome to another edition of Feedback Loop! This week we're talking about those minor user interface quirks that just really grind our gears. Once you're done letting the hate flow, find out whether or not speed-reading apps are worth your time and let people know if you actually use your smartphone as a remote. So get comfy and grab some coffee. Then tell us what works for you and get some advice from fellow readers.

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Twitter on a Nexus 5

Twitter said early this year that it would do more to help first-timers follow people, and it's now making good on its word. The social network has just revamped its sign-up process to help you tailor those first follows to your interest. Rather than simply toss out a bunch of suggestions, Twitter now asks you to choose topics you like (such as music or technology) and offers recommendations to match. You'll also see recent tweets from those accounts, so you'll have a better sense of whether or not that celebrity or news outlet is really a good fit.

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Since it was teased in March, enthusiasts have been itching to see how Intel's 8-core Haswell Extreme Edition processor (the i7-5960X) performs. It has now launched (along with two other Haswell-E models) and the reviews are in. Yes, it's the world's fastest desktop CPU -- but the general consensus is "it could have been better." Why? Because Intel recently launched a "Devil's Canyon" CPU for $340 with a base clock speed of 4.0GHz that can easily be overclocked to 4.4GHz. The $1,000 Extreme Edition chip, on the other hand, has a base clock of 3.0GHz and max turbo speed of 3.5GHz. Since clock speeds are often more important to gamers than multiple cores, that might disappoint many a Battlefield 4 player. On the other hand, with DDR4 support and eight cores (Intel's highest count ever on the desktop), the chip should excel at pro tasks like 4K video processing and 3D rendering. Given the price tag, that might be the only market that can afford it. Here's what the experts think.

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There are times when I just want to lie in bed and surf random YouTube channels on my phone or tablet, but it's impossible to hold the device above my head for a prolonged period (we've all been there, right?).

Luckily, I stumbled upon this neat kit in Shenzhen one day: a swing-arm tablet holder by some random brand called Usiabu, and it only cost me CN¥80 or $13, as it was from a wholesale dealer (retail price is around $25 in Hong Kong, and Amazon's start from around $30). As you can tell from the price, this product doesn't involve any groundbreaking technology: you've probably already come across desk lamps that use this type of spring-loaded mechanism.

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Once you've figured out your laptop and smartphone situation, chances are you'll want to invest in a nice backpack or a few extras to make the dorm room feel like home. Our back-to-school accessories picks are a perfect mix of necessities and extravagant nice-to-haves. Check them out below, and head over to our guide homepage to see more.

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Pizza is essentially the perfect food. Well, so long as you aren't lactose intolerant or have problems with gluten. We realize that those are pretty big caveats, but stay with us for a second -- it'll be worth it: NPR spotted a study of why different cheeses diverge in looks and taste when baked. Seriously. In a paper called "Quantification of Pizza Baking Properties of Different Cheeses, and Their Correlation with Cheese Functionality," researchers found that, among other things, the reason why mozzarella is so unique of a topping has to do with the way it's prepared. The cheese bubbles and browns because of its inherent elasticity due to stretching. In contrast, cheddar isn't as ideal because it isn't very elastic, thus it doesn't bubble as well. The same apparently goes for Edam and Gruyere, too.

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Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Virtual Reality
by The Verge

Unless you've been under a rock the last couple of years, you've read some collection of words about the return of virtual reality at the hands of Oculus and others. Thanks to a multifaceted interactive piece from the folks at The Verge, you can get caught up on the technology's history, its current state of affairs, VR in pop culture and more. Heck, there's even a look at a step-by-step process for building a simple, 3D-printed headset for an iPhone.

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