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Over the last day Wink Hub smart home controllers were hit with a long outage that left many users disconnected for good and needing to return their units. Now, the company has worked out a solution that owners can apply themselves. Several people who were affected by the problem -- traced to an expired security certificate -- have already tried the fix on their devices and say it works. Ultimately, what owners will need to do is temporarily reconfigure the DNS setting on their router, which directs the Hub to a specially configured server where it can download an update that fixes the problem.

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Comcast and Time Warner Cable

The merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is no longer as certain to get approval as it once was, and the two cable giants know it. Wall Street Journal sources understand that the companies will meet with Department of Justice officials this week (the first time they've met since the announcement) in hopes of negotiating concessions and saving the deal. It's not clear what more they'll propose beyond existing offers, although history suggests that they could give up more customers or promise more efforts to expand low-cost internet access.

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A year after Sony's 4K TV launch, the company is detailing the US launch of a revamped collection with HDR-compatible sets. You can now pre-order six models in Sony's new Ultra HD lineup, with deliveries arriving in May. The line starts off with a 43-inch TV that costs $1,299.99, and goes up to a 75-inch behemoth at $7,999.99. Sony isn't talking about pricing for the X900C, reportedly the thinnest LED TV in the world, but it's poised to arrive this summer. It could be worth the wait -- at 5.08mm, it's thinner than your smartphone (unless you're using Oppo's 4.8mm R5). It also has a "Vanishing Edge" technology that makes the picture fill the entire screen.

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Google Wallet and Apple Pay

The money in your bank account is typically covered by federal insurance, but your internet payment services typically aren't. If PayPal or Venmo went belly-up, you'd probably lose your existing balance. That won't be a problem if you're using Google Wallet, though. Google is now holding your Wallet funds in banks with FDIC insurance, so your digital credit is now that much safer. This isn't to say that rivals leave you completely vulnerable -- PayPal has fraud protection, for instance. However, the Wallet move means that you won't have to go to court to get your cash back if Google goes bankrupt, no matter how unlikely that is.


Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.

Inhabitat's Week in Green

For more than three years, the Western United States -- especially California -- has been gripped by the worst drought on record. With no end in sight, San Diego County announced plans to build a massive $1 billion desalination plant. The plant will produce drinking water for 300,000 people in Southern California, but opponents have raised concerns about its high energy use, and that it will likely harm marine life. Researchers also discovered what may be causing the drought -- a massive "blob" of warm water in the Pacific Ocean measuring a thousand miles wide is wreaking havoc on weather patterns and local marine life.

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Now for the downside of a house loaded up with "smart" devices to allow remote control and monitoring: turning your home into a computer means computer-like problems. Today's example comes from the Wink Hub, a $50 device sold at Home Depot that's supposed to simplify things by working across standards and link common home appliances (lights, thermostat, garage door, etc.) to your phone. That was the plan until yesterday when Wink sent out a software update that went wrong somehow, and now a number of users have a box "so secure that it is unable to connect to the Wink servers" (Wink's words, not ours). The problem knocked all Wink hubs offline from 12:40PM to 11PM ET yesterday, and while the company says a "majority" of hubs were able to recover and reconnect, those that weren't will need to be sent back.

Update: We've confirmed what several Wink users have reported -- it appears that an expired certificate is at the root of the problem. The update pushed out was an attempt to fix the issue, and judging by responses on the Facebook group it did work for some owners. Stay tuned though, we're expecting more information on the issue shortly. [Thanks, Paul!]

Update 2: There's a way to fix the problem! Quirky founder Ben Kaufman tells us that Wink is currently testing it with a small group of users but plans to email directions out soon. Click here for more details, and keep an eye out for that email.

[Thanks Larry, Steve & John]

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While Hitchbot was bumming rides across Canada and Germany, its sibling kulturBot remained at home to keep their "parents" company. Now kulturBot is going on an adventure of its own, traveling with musicians, poets and other artistic types aboard the Great Canadian PoeTrain Tour. See, it might be made out of a pasta strainer and a vacuum, but it will fit right in with the other passengers -- after all, the little machine is a wordsmith itself. Its creators, Dr. David Harris and Dr. Frauke Zeller, designed kulturBot to write poetry using words and phrases taken from the diaries of Canadian geographer and fur trader David Thompson.

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Tulips on the White House lawn

If you've been wondering how Russian cyberattackers could compromise the White House and other high-profile political targets, the security researchers at FireEye have an answer. They've determined that APT28, a politically-motivated Russian hacking group, used unpatched exploits in Flash Player and Windows in a series of assaults against a "specific foreign government organization" on April 13th. Patches for both flaws are either ready or on the way, but the vulnerabilities reinforce beliefs that APT28 is very skilled -- less experienced groups would use off-the-shelf code.

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Marlins vs. Mets

You may like Verizon's more flexible FiOS TV packages, but ESPN sure doesn't. The Disney-owned sports network claims that these offerings break contracts which prevent carriers from putting ESPN and ESPN2 into a separate sports package -- typically, they have to be included with other Disney channels. The company isn't directly accusing Verizon of going rogue, but a Recode source claims that the telecom didn't ask for permission. While Verizon tells the Wall Street Journal that it crafted the packages to avoid trouble, the insider says that the provider believed its existing deals would let it test these smaller bundles without a conflict. Clearly, ESPN would beg to differ.

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WESTMINSTER, COLORADO/U.S.A. - MARCH 20, 2013: Xfinity Comcast service van parked on the street in front of a customers home. Th

Comcast is bringing its twice-as-fast-as-Google-Fiber internet service to northern California. Potential customers will need installation of professional-grade equipment to access it and, you'll have to be near its fiber network -- Fresno, Monterey, Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area are among the places on the list -- to qualify. That's not all, either. Statewide, it's rolling out a 250 Mbps "Extreme 250" speed tier for cable internet customers. The telecom giant's also boosting speeds on its existing tiers as well, with lower priced-plans getting jumps from 25 to 45 Mbps depending on the package at no added cost. Perhaps the best news about all this is that you won't have to wait too much longer for it all to take effect. Comcast says it'll start the cable internet upgrades in May with continued rollouts taking place the rest of the year, while the 2Gbps fiber service starts rolling out in June. And just like that, there's another gigabit competitor in Google HQ's vicinity with Fiber nowhere in sight.

[Image credit: Shutterstock]


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