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Been putting off sideloading AllCast's SDK to your brand new Amazon Fire TV? Well, friend, your procrastination has paid off. Now, all you have to do to install the casting and screen-mirroring app is download it straight from the Amazon App Store. So long as you also have AllCast installed on an Android device, you can beam photos, videos and music from your phone or tablet to Amazon's set-top box. Plus, you can use the app to view images and videos saved on Google+ and Dropbox. If you don't plan to pick up a Fire TV (waiting for the second one, eh?), you can still use AllCast with a number of other devices, including Chromecast, Xbox One, Roku, Apple TV and a smattering of smart TVs.

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If you've never contacted your congress person then you might not realize how difficult our politicians have made it to get a hold of them. There are 535 members of the House and Senate all whom have some arcane contact form on their websites that obscure their direct email address. It's inconvenient for a single person to write a letter to all their elected representatives. But for organizations looking drive letter writing campaigns it's a nightmare. Individuals wont want to visit three separate sites as part of a push to pass or block a piece of legislation. And while there are services out there that can automate part of the work by routing messages to the right email addresses, they charge thousands of dollars a year for access to their tools and databases.

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If games, wildlife documentaries and virtual strolls in the park aren't enough to validate virtual reality for you, try this one: educational motivation. School children in Ireland have been using a open source version of Second Life to learn coding, 3D modeling and to create virtual spaces of recent field trips. Their most recent project: recreating the monastery of Clonmacnoise and exploring it with an Oculus Rift. Technically the Rift isn't part of the classroom's normal operations -- the founder of the MissionV virtual reality platform the school is visiting brought it with him on a recent visit -- but it did give the students a new perspective on the world they had built. "Whoa," one student exclaimed, looking at the classroom's recreation of Clonmacnoise's McCarthy Tower. "That is humongous."

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Beats Music on Android, Windows Phone and iPhone

Odds are that you weren't riveted by Beats Music when it first arrived, but the streaming service has just delivered a pair of big updates that may give you a good excuse to tune in. For the iOS app, the biggest improvement is visible when you're signing up -- you can now subscribe from within the software rather than heading to the web. The move makes it that much easier to keep the music flowing after your trial is over, and may just help Beats grow its fledgling customer base.

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Just days after Nike announced the launch of its Fuel Lab location in San Francisco to enhance partnerships with other digital services for athletes, there's a report that it's fired much of the team behind its FuelBand wristwear. CNET reports that, according to a person familiar with the matter, as many as 55 people from its 70-member hardware team are being laid off, and plans for another version of the FuelBand to follow the SE have been shelved. All of this comes just as the wearables market is heating up, with products already arriving from Samsung, LG, Motorola, Pebble and more, while activity tracking integrated with phones is also becoming more popular. At the same time, not all of Nike's tech initiatives have worked out, and Nike+ has largely disappeared from its shoes in the last year.

A Nike spokesman confirmed to CNET a "small number of layoffs" as its "Digital Sports priorities evolve." Given Nike's close relationship with Apple (Tim Cook is a member of Nike's board), one could wonder if the prospect of an upcoming wearable from Cupertino had a hand in swinging the apparel company's focus towards "simpler data-powered experiences" -- or they just spent all the money on tonight's sweet 3D projector intro to the Jordan Brand High School All-Star Game.

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cannabis background

Criminals are dicks. That much we all know is true. But now these dicks are using heat-sensing drones to pull off "sophisticated" heists of weed farms (yes, that weed) in the United Kingdom, as local paper Halesowen News discovered. Consider this quote from one enterprising crop hijacker:

It is not like I'm using my drone to see if people have nice televisions. I am just after drugs to steal and sell. If you break the law, then you enter me and my drone's world.

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Les Paul Special guitar

Pandora can't catch a break, it seems. Just weeks after the streaming radio service escaped paying higher royalties to songwriters, record companies and musicians have sued it in a New York court for allegedly violating state copyright laws by refusing to pay for older song recordings. The labels argue that Pandora is subject to state rules on compensation whenever it streams tunes recorded before February 15th, 1972, when federal law took over; right now, it's only paying for those newer works. The suing parties claim that Pandora is both depriving artists of income and wielding an "unfair advantage" over on-demand competitors like Rdio and Spotify, which have no choice but to negotiate royalties for classic tracks.

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Autonomous aircraft serve their purpose, but there's no question that pilotless passenger flights are a long way off, if they ever become a reality. Still, there's obviously room for improvement when it comes to on-board systems that assist pilots in their duties. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is in the process of creating an advanced autopilot system called ALIAS (yes, another acronym). The Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (there you go) would control military aircraft in all stages of flight, from takeoff to landing -- even during a system failure. Pilots would interact with the system using a touchscreen and voice control, supervising a flight instead of commanding it. Of course, we'll see this technology make its way to military planes long before it's adopted by airlines, but ALIAS could play a key role in keeping us all safe at 30,000 feet.

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Let's be honest: Wireless speakers are a dime a dozen. The options are seemingly endless, and new ones arrive on an almost daily basis. Companies have begun to push the boundaries of design as of late, making options that are an aesthetic step above the larger outfits. Tubecore's Duo certainly does that, but it's also so much more.

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