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Doppler Labs' Here Active Listening

Your choices for filtering the sounds around you are typically quite limited: you either have to drown it out (such as through earplugs or headphones) or let all the annoyances in. Doppler Labs might soon have a way to be more selective, though. Its crowdfunded Here Active Listening earbuds are meant solely to control what you hear in the real world. You not only decide how much gets through, but how it gets through. There's an equalizer if you want to tweak certain sound frequencies (toning down the bass at a badly-mixed concert, for example), and there are preset filters designed to tune out common noises or add effects. Want to silence the background hum of your office without completely shutting out your coworkers? You probably can.

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Microsoft WiFi

Although Microsoft already offers millions of WiFi access points around the world through Skype, it appears the company has bigger plans for its wireless internet service. If a new (barebones) website is to be believed, the Skype branding could be dropped in favor of a new platform called Microsoft WiFi. According to the site, the service will increase the number of hotspots from around 2 million to 10 million and make them available to Office 365 Enterprise subscribers and those who have bought a Surface 2 or Microsoft's Work & Play Bundle.

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2013 Google Developer Conference Continues In San Francisco

As of the start of this year, 53,600 people work for Google full-time. Too many of those workers, according to the company's detractors and its own assessment a year ago, are male, and white or Asian. In order to counter this gap, Google has looked for ways to boost female and minority hiring. Per its just updated diversity report, 21 percent of the company's technical hires last year were female. However that translates into just a 1 percent increase in the total number of women hired to technical positions. Women in general constitute just 30 percent of Google's employees. Additionally, the onboarding rates for both Black and Hispanic hires increased faster than the company's overall growth for the year but still only constitute 2 and 3 percent of the company's entire workforce, respectively.

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Fredrik Neij

For years, authorities had played a game of cat and mouse with the co-founders of Bittorrent site The Pirate Bay. The long game eventually paid off, with Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Warg and Fredrik Neij all being sent to prison within a six month period. Sunde and Warg have since walked free, leaving Neij as the final site founder still serving a custodial sentence. At least until now. TorrentFreak reports that the 37-year-old has been released after serving two-thirds of what should have been a ten-month stretch.

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Thync's device

How eager are you to calm down (or psych yourself up) at a moment's notice? If the answer is "enough to buy a fairly expensive gadget," your solution is now within reach. Thync has launched its namesake mood-changing wearable at the hefty price of $299. That's a lot to pay simply to feel different, but the company is betting that its funky, triangular neurosignalling device is just the ticket if you tend to be stressed or lethargic at inopportune moments. Use the phone-controlled device and it should either relax or revitalize you for up to an hour, with "carry-over impacts" lasting for hours longer. The hardware worked well enough in our early hands-on, so it might be worth giving Thync a shot if you're often out-of-sorts -- it may well beat drinking coffee or beer to achieve the same effects.

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UK terror threat raised

According to Big Brother Watch (PDF), law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom have requested the personal metadata of citizens nearly three quarters of a million times in the past two years. That is, between 2012 and 2014, UK cops asked for identifying details pertaining to a text, email, phone call or search some 733,237 times. More than 90 percent of those requests were subsequently granted. That averages out to one fulfilled request every two minutes. Alarmingly, these metadata requests have only increased since 2012 with a whopping 250,000 of them coming last year alone. Even more worrisome, that BBW data originated from a series Freedom of Information Act demands and may under-represent the total number of requests actually made.

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Intel has revealed a crop of new fifth-gen Core chips for mobile and desktop that should tide over power-users and gamers until next-gen "Skylake" CPUs arrive later this year. There are five new models for desktop and five for mobile, all packing the latest Iris Pro 6200 graphics. The most interesting model for desktop users is the Core i7-5775-C, a CPU that will replace the current i7-4790S for around $365. Thanks to the Iris chip, Intel says that model will double its predecessor's graphics performance and boost media chores by 35 percent. The top new laptop model is the $623 Core i7-5950HQ chip, which doubles the overall performance of older i7-5600U models.

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The next laptop you buy with a USB-C port could be even more useful than you thought. Intel today unveiled Thunderbolt 3, which uses an identical port design as its USB brethren. So if Apple sticks with its new MacBook design, for instance, it's possible you won't need an adapter to hook up external hardware via Thunderbolt. It's a step towards simplifying the often messy sea of ports found on laptops and PCs, and should make the standard accessible to a larger group of people than before. Thunderbolt 3 offers more than just port convenience, however. It'll also deliver a 40Gbps connection over Thunderbolt, which is double the speed of Thunderbolt 2, 10 Gbps USB 3.1 and DisplayPort 1.2.

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Coming right on time after Microsoft's leak a few hours ago, some pre-E3 Sony news just popped up. An FCC filing reveals two new versions of the PS4 are on the way, and one of them is its first to come stock with a 1TB hard drive inside, twice the size of the current one. PlayStation gamers have already been able to crack the system open and swap in a larger/faster storage unit, but if you'd prefer to skip the hassle the option of having one from the jump will be nice, and current games fill up a 500GB unit all too quickly.

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Mobile gaming doesn't mean low-power gaming according to Acer and Intel. The companies have joined forces to produced the first 14nm Atom x7 processor-powered (AKA Cherry Trail) Android tablet. The gamer-centric Predator 8 has the Acer Quad-Audio system with four front-facing speakers and the aggressive design sense (sharp angles, red, black and grey color scheme) that's been prevalent in PC gaming. The Gen8 Intel graphics should render 3D and video with less of the stuttering that pulls you out of your gaming experience. We didn't get a chance to play with the tablet, but it should be on the market in the next few months.

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