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Chicago Sunset Looking west from John Hancock Center

Back in October of last year, we learned about AT&T's plans to launch its 1Gbps fiber network, GigaPower, in cities like Chicago. And today, more than six months after the original announcement, the company's finally flipping the switch in some areas of The Windy City -- including Elgin, Oswego, Plainfield, Skokie, Yorkville and other "surrounding communities." The U-Verse gigabit internet will be available as a standalone service and as a bundle with a cable or phone package, with prices ranging from $90 to $150 per month, depending on your selection. If you're not in any of the aforementioned zones of coverage, fret not -- AT&T says it will be expanding the service across Chicago later this summer.


Hot Wheels!

Admit it: when you were a kid, you wished that you could design the toys that the stuffy manufacturers refused to build. Well, you're about to get that chance. Mattel and Autodesk are teaming up to let you design and customize 3D-printed toys through a "dedicated online hub" in the second half of the year. It's not clear just what freedom you'll have, although it wouldn't be shocking if you could craft your own Hot Wheels cars or Barbie accessories. They're likely to carry a premium over off-the-shelf toys, but they could be worth it if they encourage kids to create toys, not just play with them -- and hopefully, prevent the disappointment you probably felt when you were growing up.

[Image credit: Timm Schamberger/Getty Images]


Chevrolet-FNR concept car

Thought that Mercedes' F 015 self-driving car was futuristic? It looks old hat next to GM's autonomous electric concept, the Chevrolet-FNR. The pod-like design appears ripped straight from a sci-fi flick, complete with crystal laser lights, "dragonfly" swinging doors and sensors (including radar) that aren't as conspicuous as they are on other robotic vehicles. And that's just the outside -- inside, it's touting magnetic hubless wheel electric motors, wireless charging, swiveling front seats and eye recognition to verify the owner. As with most out-there concepts, the chances of driving what you see here are slim to none. However, it won't be at all shocking if the technology in the FNR eventually trickles down to more practical (if far less adventurous) cars.


"This town's like a great big chicken, just waiting to get plucked." That line is one of the more unintentionally funny results of cleaning up 1983's notoriously blue Scarface for cable, and new insight from Disney Research could make awkward redubs like that a relic of the past. By using an automated system that generates alternative dialog while keeping the spoken words in sync with lip movements, Walt's mad science wing thinks it has they key to believeable audio replacement for movies and video games -- perfect for anime and foreign flicks, we'd imagine. For example, Disney says (PDF) that the phrase "clean swatches" is replaceable with "like swats" or "need no pots," thanks to the lines having similar phonemes (the smallest form of speech that differentiates two words, like "bat" and "bad").

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While the NHL and NBA playoffs roll on, this evening we welcome a new entrant to the late-night arena with Neil deGrasse Tyson's StarTalk on National Geographic Channel. Promising to "collide pop culture with science" its guest for the premiere episode is George Takei, stopping by to discuss the importance of Star Trek's ideals. In other TV news, we have season finales for Fresh Off the Boat, The Americans and Vikings, while Inside Amy Schumer is back for season two. Our favorite entries this week come from Blu-ray and no, it's not because of Taken 3. Several classics are hitting the shelf with dual packs for Breakin' / Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo and Ghoulies I / II, plus Cooley High and Escape from New York. For gamers, Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China, Shovel Knight and Infinity Runner are the high points. Look after the break to check out each day's highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).

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Google sign

Wondering what you were searching for online a few years ago? You now have a (relatively) easy way to find out. Google has quietly trotted out an option to download your entire search history. So long as you searched using your Google account, you'll have a permanent record. Of course, this is something of a mixed blessing given how pervasive Google is at this stage. While the archive may help you dig up a keyword you're struggling to remember, something tells us that it'd be all too easy to dredge up embarrassing memories -- we hope you didn't Google your classroom crush.


IKEA's smart table in Concept Kitchen 2025

For IKEA, your future kitchen shouldn't just have the occasional smart appliance -- it should be a technology hub. The furniture store's Concept Kitchen 2025 includes tech and other helpful additions meant to save both time and resources, such as a pantry with induction cooling (to preserve food longer) and a disposal system that automatically packs your recyclables. The highlight, however, is the Table For Living. It packs a camera-equipped projector that both shows recipes on its surface and recognizes ingredients, giving you an idea of what to make with what you have on hand. There's an induction cooktop hidden in the table, too, so you wouldn't have to run between counters to get that hot stew ready. This is just a vision rather than something you can actually buy, but all of IKEA's technology is realistic enough that you could find some of it in your home within the next decade.

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'High Maintenance'

If there was any doubt that conventional TV and the internet are blending together, HBO just erased it. The premium channel has picked up the third season of High Maintenance, the pot-fueled show (yes, the 4/20 announcement is convenient) that became Vimeo's first original On Demand series. You'll only see six new episodes in this production, but all of the existing 19 episodes will be available through HBO sometime later this year. Is Vimeo heartbroken? Not at all, if you ask CEO Kerry Trainor -- it'll continue to support the show, and this is an "incredible validation" that proves internet shows can hit the big time. There's no mention of when the new season will air, but it's clear that you'll have more options for chronic-loving TV in the near future than reruns of Bored to Death and Showtime's Weeds.

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Toshiba's Aiko Chihira greeter robot

If you happen to be shopping in Japan sometime soon, don't be surprised if the first offer of help comes from a machine. Toshiba has just installed Aiko Chihira, a humanoid greeter robot, at Tokyo's Mitsukoshi department store. The kimono-clad automaton will guide you around the shop while it blinks and smiles -- at once helpful and, as you can see above, a little creepy. It can't respond to questions yet (don't yell at it over a faulty product), but it's capable of handling both spoken and signed languages. No, Aiko isn't as interactive or relentlessly adorable as SoftBank's Pepper, but it'll be a big time-saver if it prevents you from getting lost in the aisles.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]


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