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Marcus, Dom, Baird and Cole in Gears of War: Ultimate Edition

It's all well and good that Gears of War: Ultimate Edition lets you relive the original game in the series, but what about the other three titles? Don't worry -- you'll get those too. Microsoft and The Coalition have revealed that anyone who buys Ultimate Edition between its August 25th launch and the end of the year will also get access to all of the Xbox 360 Gears games through backward compatibility. They won't look nearly as polished as the remaster, of course, but you also won't have to dig out your old copies (or buy any games you don't have) just to follow humanity's fight against the Locust from start to finish. While it'd be nicer if this offer lasted so long as Ultimate Edition was available, this is still a big deal in an era when some studios are only interested in letting you replay one game from a much larger franchise.

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Key Speakers At The Microsoft Build Developer 2014 Conference

In case you haven't heard, Windows 10 is here, and the version for phones will arrive soon. To help you prepare, Microsoft posted the initial list of Lumia handsets that'll be privy to the free upgrade later this year. The collection of mobile devices includes Lumia 430, Lumia 535, Lumia 640 XL, Lumia 735, Lumia 830, Lumia 930 and others for 10 total. This means that if you own one of group, or have been thinking about picking one up, you'll be able to grab the new software when it's released. Of course, Windows 10 Mobile will deliver those universal apps, a retooled Action Center and Microsoft's new Edge browser. For the full list of phones that will be included in the initial update, jump down past the break. Bummed because your daily driver didn't make the cut? Don't fret: this is the first set and there could be more included later.

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An Amazon shipping box with Prime tape

For a long while, Amazon would let you share some of your Prime perks with four other people of any age -- handy if your roommates need to get an order in a hurry. However, it looks like the internet shopping pioneer is clamping down. A quiet rule change on July 31st has limited Prime sharing to one other adult as part of an "Amazon Household." Moreover, that other grown-up has to use the original member's credit card (update: not really true, see below). That's fine if you're sharing it with a significant other, but lousy for anyone else.

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Samsung Sign

After admitting that it didn't do enough to prevent illnesses and deaths of workers at its Korean semiconductor plants, Samsung has launched a new fund to put things right. Reuters reports that the company has set aside 100 billion won ($85.8 million) to compensate employees after it was revealed that hazardous working conditions had caused workers to contract leukemia and other incurable diseases.

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No, this isn't the next flagship camera you've been waiting on from Fujifilm -- but this doesn't mean some of you won't be interested in it. The company today announced the X-T1 IR, a new edition of its high-end shooter featuring infrared technology, which captures details that aren't normally visible to the human eye. On the outside, Fujifilm's new camera looks identical to the original X-T1, with the two main changes being internal. While the X-T1 IR also features a 16.3-megapixels APS-C X-Trans CMOS II unit, its sensor's Standard IR cut filter was removed and an anti-reflective coating has been applied to it. Other than that, the remaing specs are the same: there's an EXR Processor II, a max ISO range of 25,600 and a weather-resistant shell, to mention a few.

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Back in March, Native Instruments -- the company behind the ubiquitous Traktor DJ software -- announced Stems: a music format that lets DJs and remixers to control individual parts of a track. Today Stems launches to the buying public on a number of popular music stores including Beatport and Traxsource have them listed already, Bleep, Juno, whatpeopleplay, and Wasabeat will also be selling them. For years DJs and producers' only chance of finding a cappella versions of songs was to hope a vocal-only recording existed. The advent of the internet made finding these a little easier, but they were still rare. Expensive software can sometimes help you surgically remove parts or a track, or isolate vocals, but the results aren't always very clean. Stems makes all that a thing of the past.

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Autodesk finally has a game engine to go along with its design tools. The company just launched Stingray, which it built around the Bitsquid engine it bought last year. Autodesk kept the basic guts of that program -- which has already been used on titles like Gauntlet from Warner Bros -- and revamped it with a new interface. The company told Engadget that the goal was to build an engine for smaller studios that can be customized without the need for a lot of programming. At the same time, it wanted Stingray to have all the bells and whistles of competing products like Unreal Engine 4 -- physical shading, post-processing effects, a high-performance reflection system and more.

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Siri on an iPhone 5s

Apple is testing a service that will let Siri take your calls, record them and transcribe them to text, according to Business Insider. The company is reportedly referring to it as iCloud Voicemail, and it's similar to the existing visual voicemail service. However, instead of playing a pre-recorded message to your caller when you can't pick up, Siri will take over the chore. It can then let certain contacts know where you are and why you can't take the call, provided you give permission. The voice message will then be shunted over to Apple's servers and transcribed into text.

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Unlocking a door with your smartphone feels like the future, but you still have to fish something out of your pocket to do it. If you happen to own one of the Yves Behar designed August smart locks, however, you can open it with something on your wrist -- an Apple Watch. You can now lock and unlock the device "with just a swipe and a tap" on a Watch, according to August. In addition, you can view a log of who has come and gone, and get a notification when someone locks or unlocks your door.

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Sony Xperia C5 Ultra

These are dark days for Sony's smartphone business. The division saw sales drop 16.3 percent over the past year, and is losing money faster than PlayStation is making it. The answer to this problem, according to Sony, is to release two new mid range smartphones to this month, the Xperia C5 Ultra and the Xperia M5. Both focus heavily on imaging, with the C5 Ultra offering two 13-megapixel Exmor RS cameras (one on the front, one on the back) that will hopefully capture some impressive shots. The front-facing camera has a 22m wide-angle lens for all your #welfie needs, and even a front-facing flash. Cameras aside, the C5 Ultra (pictured above) has a 1.7GHz octa-core processor, a 6-inch 1080p display, and a 2,930mAh battery that Sony claims is good for two days use.

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People love road trips. Some like 'em more than others. And some like them perhaps a little bit too much. This interactive map from Richard Kreitner and Steven Melendez crams the locations mentioned in twelve road-tripping books including Mark Twain's Roughing It and Jack Kerouac's On the Road. That total's 1,500 entries, paired with the most appropriate coordinates the author could assign. You might take issue with some of the book choices, but we'll only accept complaints after you've tackled the entirety of this cartographic labor of love. You'll find the bibliography after the break.

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Here Maps for iOS

Nokia is selling its Here maps service to a group of German car makers for €2.8 billion (roughly $3.07 billion). The consortium is comprised of Mercedes' owner Daimler, BMW, and Audi. As the latter is a VW subsidiary, the buyers essentially represent the entire German car industry -- or at least all the big hitters. It was previously reported that Uber was interested in purchasing the service, but the car companies clearly brought the most attractive offer to Nokia's table.

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Satechi's Cortana button

Now that Microsoft's voice-guided Cortana assistant is up and running in Windows 10, you might be eager to trigger it without leaving the "hey Cortana" feature on (which might sap battery life) or staying within reach of your computer. If so, Satechi might just come to your aid. It's releasing a Bluetooth Cortana button that will trigger the Halo-inspired helper on Windows PCs and phones from a distance. You can use it to more quickly ask about the weather from across the room, for instance, or leave your phone in your car's cupholder when you start a call. At $23, it won't be the cheapest single-purpose peripheral when it ships later in August. However, that purchase might pay off if you'd rather not get that chatty with your devices.

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AT&T U-verse box

AT&T isn't waiting long to take advantage of its DirecTV acquisition. The telecom giant is introducing its first plans that incorporate the satellite TV provider, including a promo plan that could save you money if you need to get both cellphone and TV service at the same time. The offering gives you basic TV service for four receivers (through either DirecTV or U-verse) and four phone lines with 10GB of shared data for $200 per month over the first year. You'll need to agree to a 1- or 2-year TV contract and sign up between August 10th and November 14th, but you could save up to $600 in those initial 12 months -- no small amount, even though the rate is likely to change in the long run.

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A snow leopard projected on the Empire State Buliding

If you were hanging around midtown Manhattan this weekend, you may have noticed some exotic animals projected on to the side of the Empire State Building. What was that all about? As it turns out, that was one of the more ambitious examples of tech-powered advocacy in recent memory. It was Projecting Change, a collaboration between the Oceanic Preservation Society and Obscura Digital that used striking imagery to highlight the plights of endangered species, such as snow leopards and manta rays. The piece relied on 40 stacked projectors to beam 5K video on to the legendary New York City skyscraper. At 33 floors tall, the resulting image was clear within about 20 blocks' radius -- you could have had a good view at 14th Street. There's sadly no talk of repeating the event in the near future, but there are replays both on YouTube and Discovery if you want to see what happened.

[Image credit: Joel Sartore and Ron Robinson/Obscura Digital]

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Comcast X1's sports highlights feature

There are few things worse for DVR-toting sports fans than to realize that a game is going into extra time that they can't record -- just ask Red Sox and Yankees fans, who may have missed 10 innings this April. Thankfully, Comcast might save you from similar TV tragedies in the future. It's planning an upgrade to its X1 set-top box that can automatically extend recording in half-hour increments when a live event runs past its scheduled end. The extension feature is currently only useful for major sports leagues (MLB, NASCAR, NBA, NCAA basketball and football, NFL, NHL and soccer), but it should be reaching other live events in the future.

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The EnLighten traffic light app in a BMW

Traffic lights are supposed to help keep driving orderly, but they often create more tension than they resolve. How do you know that the green light won't turn yellow before it's too late to slow down? BMW thinks it can help. It's the first automaker to offer in-car support for Connected Signals' EnLighten iOS app, which predicts when lights will change based on position and speed. All you need to do is keep an eye on your car's infotainment display -- it'll tell you whether or not you should hit the brakes. The software is useful even if you're stopped, as it'll use your turn signals to show when a necessary light will return to green. This is the definition of a luxury feature when you need a BMW with ConnectedDrive Services just to give it a shot, but it could be entirely worthwhile if it spares you from an accident or a ticket.

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Groupon on a TV wall

You're about to get a fresh alternative to internet-based restaurant delivery services like GrubHub and Seamless. Groupon has just launched the simply-titled Groupon To Go, an order-in service that focuses on (what else?) discounts for your food. The company promises that you'll get at least 10 percent cash back on every order, which could add up if you're ordering pizza every week. The offering is only available in Chicago right now, but there are over 500 included restaurants ranging from big chains like Subway to local eateries like Al's Beef and Ditka's Restaurant. And don't worry about waiting long to give it a shot -- Groupon is expanding the service later this year, with Austin and Boston among the early highlights. It'll eventually be available nationwide.

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Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 (left) and Galaxy S6 Edge+ (right)

Still wondering what Samsung is going to unveil at its August 13th event? Well-known tipster Evan Blass (aka @evleaks) might have just removed what few doubts are left. He not only posted official-looking snapshots of both the Galaxy Note 5 and its curvier S6 Edge+ sibling, but revealed purported specs for the Note 5. From all indications, at least the Note 5 is going to be more of a refinement (at least, in terms of hardware) of the Note 4 than a revolution. You're still looking at a 5.7-inch quad HD display, a 16-megapixel rear camera and 32GB of built-in storage. The biggest changes are the Galaxy S6's octa-core processor, a bump to 4GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel front cam... and, unfortunately for some, the removal of the microSD card slot.

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SparkBlocks in (simulated) action

You've seen modular controllers and even modular phones, but here's a new twist: a modular speaker system. Meet SparkBlocks, a crowdfunded audio system that's just as elaborate (or simple) as you want it to be. The basic unit is little more than a portable speaker with a 4-hour battery, but you can attach components that turn it into much more, including a media hub. Hook up a SmartBlook and you get a tiny touchscreen computer that can answer phone calls, get alerts and download apps. Other add-ons will boost audio quality, charge your phone, clip on to your bike and even light up your camping trip.

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