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Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.


Today's Tech: How a California Personal Injury Attorney Uses Google Glass
by Nicole Black,
Above the Law


We've seen everyone from medical school students to airline staff using Google Glass. Heck, even lawyers are jumping on board. California attorney Mitch Jackson is using Glass in his practice to record witness interviews and depositions to be viewed later. Jackson touts the potential of Google's spectacles in the jury selection process, especially when his consultant is across the country, and how useful the Evernote add-on is for easy case-file notations.

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All Xbox 360 Guitar Hero Games World Tour, 3, 2, Aerosmith

Planning to make it big in the music industry by releasing a hit album? Dream On. A long forgotten PC Mag article resurfaced this week to remind us that the music industry had changed drastically over the last decade. According to Activision chief Bobby Kotick circa 2008, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith "generated far more in revenues than any Aerosmith album ever has." The game in question has sold over four million copies to date, droves more than most album sales in the modern market. An amazing fact, but don't act too surprised: headlining bands have always depended on the power of their brand to move merchandise and T-shirts as much as their albums. Still, it's a heck of a way to highlight the dilemma of the modern celebrity: who you are may be more important than what you do.

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The jump from Sony's Xperia Z1 to the Xperia Z2 was relatively minor, so don't be surprised if this familiar-looking leak turns out to be legit. According to a Baidu Tieba user from China, we're looking at a prototype of Sony's upcoming Xperia Z3 aka L55t (China Mobile variant with TD-LTE) which is, surprise surprise, running on a more powerful Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC chipset (the Z2 uses MSM8974AB) plus Android 4.4.4. Judging by the photos, this device shares the same height as the original Galaxy Note and hence the Xperia Z2, meaning the screen size should stay at 5.2 inches. Likewise, the Z2's 20.7-megapixel camera is here to stay. What makes this prototype stand out is its new, simpler body design, which is a surprise given how the range's appearance has changed little since the Xperia Z. That is, unless, this phone turns out to be just a variant of the Z2, so only time will tell if our guess is right.


When it comes to surfing the web, our options are limited: the market is dominated by three or four mainstream web browsers, all of which share major similarities in design and function. Unless you want to build your own browsing program, you're stuck with their modern browsing paradigms. For San Francisco programmer Stanislas Polu, that wasn't good enough, so, he created Breach -- an open source modular web browser designed to allow anybody to tweak and modify it on a whim.

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Google didn't design Android Wear to emulate a smartphone's interface for a reason: the company believes it makes no sense doing so on such a tiny screen. Sadly, many early adopters find it cumbersome to launch third-party apps on the current design, prompting a developer to come up with the Wear Mini launcher to solve the problem. On vanilla Android Wear, you'd need to issue a voice command (which doesn't always conjure up the right app) or scroll through a list if you want to launch Evernote, Lyft, Duolingo, or any other app you have. If you install the Wear Mini Launcher, though, you'll get an app drawer (showing all your apps' icons like your phone does) that you can access by swiping from the top left edge of the screen. You can download it right now from Google Play, but note that its performance might vary depending on your device.

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Microsoft's new Climatology app makes it simple to check weather conditions anywhere on Earth. Funny thing is, the company just released it for Android devices, with no Windows Phone app in sight. If you do use Android, the Microsoft Research-developed app can show you a location's temperature, humidity and the average amount of rain and sunshine it'll get during a particular month. Say, you're going to Thailand on a vacation in November -- just look up the place and choose a month to know if it's sunny enough to hit the country's beaches. It could be pretty useful if you travel a lot and need a quick way to check the weather. A single look at the app's Play page shows that most people find its feature set quite limited, though, so you may want to hold off on deleting your other weather apps.

Update (07/12/14): Climatology is now available for Windows Phone devices.

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Sony's still searching high and low for the kind of folks that need a replacement for regular paper and aren't too worried about the cost ($1,100). The latest potential buyers (after lawyers and HR departments) of its 13.3-inch E Ink Digital Paper? Legal researchers. Sony's teamed up with William S. Hein & Co. (which runs the LexisNexis-like HeinOnline database that gives access to documents from legal libraries) so anyone who uses the device can pull from its more than 100 million pages and see them just as they were originally laid out, without zooming or scrolling. It's still a pretty pricey upgrade from tech that's worked effectively for around 2,000 years, but legal librarians and law students can probably do without the reams of paper they've been printing out until now.

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For awhile, Applebee's wanted its customers to be using more tech at the dinner table -- embedding tablets throughout its restaurants. Then third-parties caught on and created Applebee's specific social networks. Now the restaurant seems to be backing away from the future of devices-assisted eating, and has filed a trademark application for "No tech Tuesday." In all seriousness, Applebee's wouldn't be the first restaurant to try and keep its customers focused on each other instead of their phones, but a "No tech Tuesday" promotion could make it the first to implement such a policy on a large scale. Still, the gimmick will be a hard sell at restaurants that have already installed the aforementioned table tablets.


Wireless smartphone chargers have been around for quite sometime, but they usually forgo attractive aesthetics and any added functionality. Those who prefer a much more attractive option now have one with Swich: an accessory that lifts that handset off of your desk without a tether, keeping all of its buttons accessible while lending a better viewing angle. The units are constructed with sustainable American walnut and ceramics, adding a mirco-suction grip to keep gadgets from slipping while they recharge. The panel on which that daily driver rests also rotates to accommodate both landscape and portrait orientations. Of course, you'll need a Qi-compatible device or a case that adds the functionality, but those unable to pass up dapper design can snag a unit for $170 via Kickstarter.

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