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Uber Tops Taxis

Uber drivers are not employees of the ride hailing company. Instead they are contractors responsible for their own gas, vehicle upkeep and if anything happens to the driver or car while they are searching for a passenger, it's on them. Three drivers are challenging the way Uber does business by saying that the current situation violates California labor laws. Today that challenge got a boost when a San Francisco federal court judge said that their suit against the company is entitled to class action status. That means drivers can sue the company as a group over their employment status. The suit only applies to California drivers that started driving for the company before June 2014. Butif the drivers are victorious, it could seriously change Uber's business model.

North American International Auto Show Held In Detroit

Tesla revealed its pricing scheme for its upcoming Model X electric SUV on Tuesday when it sent out online configurators to prospective buyers. The limited edition first-run, dubbed the Signature Series, will reportedly retail for $132,000. For the base model. Granted, the Signatures will come with most every feature Tesla offers, like Autopilot. But if you want every option -- including Ludicrous mode as well as both the towing and cold weather packages -- get ready to shell out $143,750.

[Image Credit: Getty Images]

BUNG KAN, THAILAND - AUGUST 08, 2015: new Youtube logo on smart phone, space for caption

It's no secret that many tech companies hate video formats that are closed, cost money or both -- enough so that they'll drop popular standards and develop their own codecs. There hasn't been a concerted attempt to tackle this problem, however, which is why several industry giants have just launched the Alliance for Open Media. Founding members Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla and Netflix are working on a future video format that should be royalty-free, open to anyone and playable on just about any modern device. It's still extremely early (the group hasn't even said how others can join), but you should hear more about their efforts later this year.

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  • GoPro wants you to make short videos on your action camera

    So you want to put your latest action camera footage on Instagram or Vine, but you'd rather not transfer the entire video to your computer or phone just to produce a seconds-long highlight. What to do? As of today, GoPro has an easy answer. It's rolling out a trimming feature that produces short, share-worthy...

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In Japan, Sony's PlayStation Vita console has come in a host of colors for years now, but other countries haven't been so lucky. For the most part, US buyers have been limited to only black or white options, but Sony just announced that'll be changing soon. An "aqua blue" version of the second-generation PS Vita is coming to GameStop on November 2nd, and you can pre-order it now for $199.99. Other than the color, the console is identical to the version out in the market now, but it does appear to be a striking piece of hardware. (We'll have to withhold full judgement until we see it in person, though.) The timing is a little odd, as the Vita isn't getting any younger and developer support is definitely starting to wane. But if the blue color is enough to push you over the edge, you should probably pre-order soon -- Sony says this model won't be around for too long.

Germany Electronics Fair

We're back in Berlin for IFA, one of the largest consumer electronics trade shows in Europe. As usual, we're here to witness what companies like Microsoft, Sony, Samsung and others have planned ahead of the holiday season. Samsung already hosted its major event, Unpacked, a couple of weeks ago, but it and other manufacturers are still expected to unveil plenty of new products in Germany. From smartphones to tablets, to laptops to smartwatches, prepare to be introduced to a myriad of never-before-seen gadgets over the next week. One inescapable presence, of course, will be Windows 10. So don't be surprised when you see a lot of devices running Microsoft's shiny new operating system. But before things get started, let's talk about the biggest players at IFA 2015.

Nothing relies on the power of Disney's brand quite like Disney Infinity. It's the licensed game to end all licensed games, a toys-to-life platformer with all the star power of Spider-Man, Frozen, Tron, Star Wars and a dozen other Disney franchises. It's the game's selling point, but also its greatest weakness: The last two versions of the game relied on its brand-power to make up for how mediocre they were as actual video games. That's not the case anymore. With Disney Infinity 3.0, the company finally got it right. That's not to say that the first games in the series were bad, but compared to Disney Infinity 3.0, they felt a little incomplete. All the same elements are here -- the disparate Playsets that offer franchise-exclusive story-based adventures, the open-world sandbox mode that lets you create your own adventures and the adorable, collectible figures -- but they all seem to have evolved in ways that add up to a more cohesive whole.

LinkedIn is undoubtably a valuable, even essential, service these days, but that doesn't meant the site is all that easy to use. If you've ever shaken your head in frustration at the mess that is the LinkedIn Inbox, we have some good news for you: The company has just completely redesigned its messaging experience. Gone is the stodgy old email-style inbox, a feature that was reminiscent of the worst parts of old web mail. In its place is a chat-style interface that LinkedIn expects will encourage shorter, quicker back-and-forth conversations. It's along the lines of Facebook Messenger, Hangouts and every other web-based messaging app you've been using to communicate with your friends and colleagues.

A team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego announced Tuesday that they had developed a proof-of-concept wireless transmission system that is both more efficient and more secure than Bluetooth. It works by sending data signals through your body's natural magnetic field instead of over the air and could lead to a new class of ultra-low power wearables.

Rebels defending their Hoth base in 'Star Wars Battlefront'

You won't have to wait until November to find out whether Star Wars Battlefront's large-scale online conflicts are all they're cracked up to be. EA and DICE have announced that Battlefront's multiplayer beta will launch in early October for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PCs. This test run will include an epic 40-player Hoth battle, a two-versus-many fight on Tatooine and an as-yet-unexplained Drop Zone mode. At the same time, you should get a Companion Experience mobile app that includes both a card game as well as helper tools for Battlefront itself. It sounds like exciting stuff, although here's hoping that EA has learned its lessons from past betas -- you don't want to have your childhood dreams crushed by server connection problems.

A couple of years ago, Instagram launched Instagram Direct, a built-in messaging system that lets users share photos or videos with each other -- either one-on-one or in groups of up to 15 people. Now, with over 85 million monthly users, it's time for Instagram Direct to get an update. That's finally happening today with a few new features, which include threaded messaging and a way to share Instagram content as Direct messages.

An upgraded LG webOS TV

If you're still rocking a first-generation webOS TV and regret that you didn't hold out for a webOS 2.0 set, don't worry -- you'll soon catch up in some respects. LG is promising a Value Pack Upgrade that gives your webOS 1.0 TV four core features from 2.0, including favorite channels in the launcher, improved search, instant input detection and quick settings. You should also see overall boosts to ease of use and performance. The pack isn't the same as a full-on webOS 2.0 upgrade, but it might alleviate your early adopter's remorse when it starts rolling out on September 21st.

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer's guide to the best technology. Read the full article here.

A road trip can be a memorable adventure, but all adventures require a little planning. At The Wirecutter, we spend dozens of hours on each of our reviews to find the best gear for every part of your life. This year we drove 1,500 miles through four states to bring you our essential recommendations for your next road trip. Here are eight of our favorites.

GERMANY-ANIMAL-FEATURE

The Meerkat team isn't done envisioning features that might give its live streaming app an edge over Twitter's Periscope -- not by a long shot. It's rolling out updates for Android and iOS that let you both poll your viewers and share pictures, making it easy to ask a question (we can imagine a lot of "what should I do next?" streams) or recount some of your earlier adventures. You'll also see live hashtags that help you both widen your audience and keep tabs on what's trending. These additions probably won't have you ditching Periscope if you're a committed user, but they might just tip the balance if you're not sure what to use for your broadcasts.

[Image credit: Matthias Hiekel/AFP/Getty Images]

More than two years ago, Mars One began its search to find those it will send on a one-way trip to the Red Planet. In the time since, plenty of questions have been asked about the organization and its plans to colonize a world 140 million miles away. Will we have the technology and scientific know-how to deliver four humans safely to the Martian surface by 2027? Can those people build a sustainable settlement so far from Earthly aid? What are the psychological and physical tolls of both the six-month trip and the ensuing mission? Can a reality TV show actually pay for it all?

Despite those and other questions, people from around the world pledged their time and money to Mars One for the opportunity to go on its mission. Earlier this year, the pool of applicants seeking to live and die on Mars (starting in 2027) was whittled down to a group of 100. Citizen Mars is a five-part series about a group of those would-be astronauts.

Google has a new logo. A few weeks after the company announced a huge restructuring effort that will split the search, advertising and internet giant into several different organizations, the new Google is showing off a new identity. The iconic four colors and "Google" over a white background remains unchanged, but the font is significantly different, removing the serifs that have been part of the letters for years. All in all, it's a flatter, slightly more modern design -- one that also evokes the company's new Alphabet logo -- but it'll certainly take some getting used to.

three scoops of ice cream  good ...

In the future, you might not have to rush to eat your ice cream cone on a hot summer's day. Scottish researchers have discovered a naturally occurring protein that binds the air, fat and water in ice cream, which slows melting. The move would prevent your dessert from becoming a puddle, and spare companies from deep freezing their treats for as long as they do today. You could see higher-quality ice cream, too -- the protein promises a smoother texture without as many ice crystals or saturated fats.

Sign up for the Interactive Coding Bootcamp, now 92 percent off

Sometimes a "good enough" career demands re-evaluation. Whether you're looking to seriously upgrade your abilities as a professional developer or are just getting started in the field, a portfolio of current, real-world apps is essential to make a strong impression. Make it happen with this 12-week comprehensive online Interactive Coding Bootcamp for only $39 -- a 92 percent discount from its usual price.

Ever wish you could transport those pen doodles and hand written notes to the digital world? The Neo smartpen N2 lets users write on paper with ink while the same data is sent via Bluetooth to the Neo Notes app or saved in the pen to sync later. The app lets you transcribe written text, record audio alongside the progress of a drawing and share content as .png, .jpg or .svg vectors. So far you've needed one of the company's NCode notebooks, but later this month you'll be able to print your own properly coded pages using the free N Toaster app for Mac and PC. Want to give your notes a makeover for 2015? Three lucky Engadget readers will each get a Neo smartpen N2 and a pack of eight notebooks to get you started. All you need to do is head down to the Rafflecopter widget below for up to three chances at winning.

CyanogenMod Cid

If you've been sitting on pins and needles waiting for the community-focused CyanogenMod firmware to both make the leap to Android 5.1 and fix that nasty Stagefright MMS exploit, you can relax. Hot on the heels of Cyanogen OS 12.1 (for devices like the OnePlus One), CyanogenMod 12.1 is arriving with both the perks from Android 5.1.1 as well as a Stagefright patch that theoretically keeps you safe. There are also Stagefright fixes for CyanogenMod 11 and 12.0, in case you can't run the new operating system right away. There are a lot of devices to cover with this rollout, so don't be alarmed if you don't see a download right away -- if your phone or tablet is already running CyanogenMod's decidedly non-standard code, there's probably an update waiting in the wings.

For a while, it felt like Whatsapp and Line were bitter rivals in the mobile messaging war. The former had the user base (and later Facebook's clout), but Line offered a family of apps and features like stickers, games and more recently music streaming. Line continues to follow it's own path, by releasing an Android launcher. Now you can have Cony and Brown (you know who those are, right?) present in almost every corner of your phone's interface.