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It seems as if we're not alone in thinking that America's spies may have trodden on a few too many civil liberties of late. That's why senior officials at the Justice Department are calling for a wide-ranging review of electronic surveillance practices and will open up a little bit about why, and when, this technology is used. A report by the Wall Street Journal reveals that there's a big push for greater transparency, but no-one's quite sure on how many beans they should spill in order to restore public trust but not give helpful hints to criminals.

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Long before it officially existed, there were rumors that the Apple Watch had disappointing battery life. It wasn't long afterward that we started to hear companies were preparing to build external power packs to compensate. Thankfully, the folks over at Reserve Strap have discovered that you don't have to sacrifice style in favor of usefulness, thanks to the six-pin "diagnostic" port found on the bottom of the watch case. It turns out that the feature doesn't just transmit data, but can receive power at far faster rates than the magnetic inductive charging panel on the underside.

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Meerkat together.

If your social media startup uses Twitter as a link to the people, then you run the risk of getting your lifeline cut off should you get too popular. After all, Twitter tried to crowd Instagram out with Twitter Video, Picture Sharing and Vine, and the social network is now trying to supplant Meerkat with Periscope. It's one of the reasons that, in its most recent update, Meerkat has broken its close association with the site, making a Twitter account entirely optional.

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Waiting for luggage at SFO

There have been more than a few efforts at smart luggage, but this is one you're likely going to notice. Samsung and Samsonite (appropriately enough) are teaming up to develop smart bags that will likely be easier to buy and more accessible. They should include include loads of location and mobile notification features, such as GPS tracking, anti-tampering alerts and warnings when you wander away. However, that's just the start. Samsonite is working with airlines on baggage that checks itself in -- drop them off and they'd tell the airport about your airline, the weight and your destination. Also, Samsung is experimenting with self-propelled luggage that follows you around the airport. That last technology is still too cumbersome to be practical (the engine takes up a third of the size), but the days of having to lug (and worry about) your belongings across the airport may soon be over.

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Internet.org

Led by Facebook but with backing from a number of other prominent tech companies, Internet.org has made slow but steady progress in a bid to connect underserved countries around the globe. However, despite its altruistic approach, the project has come under fire in India for allegedly violating net neutrality rules by favoring certain carriers, sites and services. Zuckerberg and co. certainly don't want those criticisms hanging over their head, so today the Facebook CEO confirmed that the company will open up the Internet.org platform to developers, allowing them to create their own mobile-centric tools for millions of (often) first-time internet users.

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Someday, folks with artificial hearts might have to take long, daily walks to stay alive -- not because exercise is good for their health, but because those walks literally power their synthetic organ. A team of students from Rice University called "Farmers" are developing a device that can generate energy and feed it back into the body to be used by an artificial heart. Their creation? A modified medical leg brace with a motor attached right on the joint, so it can produce energy every time the user bends his knee. An earlier prototype for the same project -- it's a multi-year endeavor, and the current model is the brainchild of the third batch of students -- could also generate power by walking. However, that wasn't a brace, but a shoe with a pedal attached to the sole.

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HTC's all about its One M9 in the West, but we know many of our readers would rather have the slightly bigger and more powerful M9+. While chances of the latter device escaping Asia are slim, a mysterious plastic variant dubbed "M9e" brings us new hope, courtesy of China's TENAA certification database. With the exception of the missing Duo Camera, this model shares the same face plus specs with the M9+: 5.2-inch Quad HD display, 2.2GHz octa-core processor (likely MediaTek's), 3GB of RAM, 20-megapixel main camera (with dual-tone flash), UltraPixel front imager, microSD card expansion and fingerprint reader. What's uncertain is whether the IR blaster is still present at the top, but regardless, it's safe to assume that HTC will be offering this plastic device with a more affordable price -- probably one that's not far off from the even bigger E9+.

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Android figurines

If you've used ad-sponsored Android apps, you've probably wondered where those ads are coming from, and whether or not there's anything to be worried about. According to French researchers, you have a reason to be cautious. They've found a way to automatically scan Android apps for connections to advertising and user tracking sites, and some of those programs are more than a little dodgy. A selection of 2,000 free Google Play apps connected to a whopping 250,000 sites spread over 2,000 domains. Most of them talk to only a handful of sites (Google's ad services dominate the top 10), but 10 percent connect to 500 or more -- one egregious offender links to over 2,000 sites. Only 30 percent of the apps talked to user tracking sites, but some of those were communicating with 800 or more addresses.

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GoSun Grill

However much you may like grilling food on a warm day, you probably don't like dealing with gas tanks or other typical grill hassles... and most solar cookers won't help much if it's overcast outside. The upcoming GoSun Grill might be a smarter way to handle those backyard shindigs, however. It can bake, boil and roast meals for eight people using a sunlight-powered thermal battery that will keep cooking no matter how gloomy it gets outside. Yes, you can have some grilled chicken at the beach even if it starts raining. The reflector-based system also doesn't require you to flip your food, and it shouldn't dry out your moister meats and veggies.

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2016 Chevy Volt

Chevy's Volt hybrid was once considered pricey even after government tax credits, but the 2016 model may well be within your reach... if you live in the right state, at least. The automaker has revealed that its latest eco-friendly sedan will cost $33,995 at full price (down $1,200 from last year), but it'll drop to to a more palpable $26,495 if you qualify for a full federal tax credit. And if you live in California, it'll sit just under the magic $25,000 mark -- not bad for a full-size car that can stay on electric power during a typical commute. You can certainly find cheaper hybrids if you look around, but this is a testament to how quickly Chevy's once-exotic technology has become accessible.

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