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Baidu is often referred to as "China's Google," but it's not quite the same. It's true, the company is working on it's own self-driving car, but it thinks Google's no-wheel design is all wrong. According to Kai Yu, Baidu's Institute of Deep Learning's deputy director, autonomous vehicles need to be more like horses than robots. "A car should not totally replace the driver but should really give the driver freedom," Yu told TheNextWeb. "Freedom means the car is intelligent enough to operate by itself, like horse, and make decisions under different road situations."

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Some drowning incidents can be easily prevented, and a wearable device wants to keep tabs on submersion time while your kids are at the pool. The iSwimband is a Bluetooth-enabled sensor that syncs up with an iOS device to alert you when that little one has been under water for too long. The gadget clips to goggles, swim caps, or can be worn with the included headband for a highly fashionable look. There's a wristworn option too, so you can get pinged when the smallest of tikes (or a non-swimmer) accidentally enters the water. You know, if you have to step away while little Bobby is hanging out poolside, or you lose sight of Susie at the lake. For $99, the sensor, headband, bracelet and mobile app capable of tracking up to eight of the things can be yours via the source link just down below.


Microsoft unleashes 'Settlers of Catan' on the web

Microsoft has something of an extracurricular activity: When it's not releasing Office for iPad or updating Windows, it has a habit of helping other companies build websites. Its latest project is a web version of Settlers of Catan, the popular board game, which it co-developed with Bontom Games. As with previous Microsoft-backed sites, the appeal is that anyone, even Microsoft haters, can use it: The web version will run in any browser that supports HTML5 (in other words, not just IE). That's obviously a different approach from the existing Settlers of Catan apps for Android and iOS, which are of course reserved for people using those platforms.

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Out of the many trappings US carriers have in common, throttling speeds for heavy data users is certainly one of them. So, accordingly, it's not surprising for Verizon to confirm reports that it will soon start slowing things down for more customers. According to Droid Life, Verizon has admitted that, beginning in October, people with an unlimited 4G LTE data plan will see reduced speeds should they fall in the network's top five percent of internet users, among other things. More specifically, this is part of a plan Verizon is calling "Network Optimization," which means throttled speeds for anyone who consumes more than 4.7GB of data per month, is enrolled on an unlimited data plan, has fulfilled a two-year contract but is still with the carrier, and attempts to "use data on a cell site that is experiencing high demand." Chances are most of you won't be affected by this, but it's definitely not good news for others who may be.



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Well, it seems like the US cellphone unlocking bill didn't get held up legislation after all: the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act just passed through the House of Representatives with unanimous support. The measure reverses the 2012 decision that made phone unlocking a violation of copyright law and frees consumers from the mercy of their cellular provider, but it's not law yet -- the bill still needs the signature of President Obama. Still, that's almost a formality: the "bulk unlock" measure portion of the legislation that caused waves in the Senate has since been removed from the bill. Its text is clean and simple: unlocks can be "initiated by the owner" of any device or "by another person at the direction of the owner" with the express purpose of connecting to the wireless network of their choice. Sounds good here.

[Image credit: Mondo3, Flickr]


When I open my mailbox, I often find Amazon packages that I don't remember ordering. But today's surprise was a DVD of Sharknado, a movie I absolutely did not purchase. My first instinct was to contact Amazon and change my password, but then I found a note inside: "For you to test out the new Syfy Sync app with your Philips Hue lights." Wait, what? A quick web search cleared things up pretty quickly -- the latest Syfy Sync app enables full control of a Hue bridge (and connected lights) on the same network. The movie, app and lights work together, in theory, to bring you a more immersive entertainment experience.

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DENVER, COLORADO, DECEMBER 6, 2006--Variety of headphones for Play cover story. From left: Bose noise canceling headphones (from

The ink is likely dry on the Apple/Beats deal, but it has yet to be officially stamped with regulatory approval. Bose is now going after Cupertino's big purchase though, as the audio outfit is suing over alleged patent infringement. The suit takes aim at Beats' noise-cancelling tech in its $300 Studio line of wireless cans, claiming that the company swiped items from five of Bose's patents. As you may recall, Dr. Dre's outfit is also facing legal proceedings from MOG founder David Hyman who's looking to recoup over $20 million in compensation. We've reached out to both sides and we'll update this post when we hear back, but until then, the full complaint is accessible below.

[Photo credit: Glenn Asakawa/The Denver Post via Getty Images]


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