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Apple MacBook Air

Buried in a lot of stuff we may not believe about a 12.9-inch iPad, the Wall Street Journal believes that a new MacBook Air is on the way. According to the paper's gang of people familiar with the matter, the company's suppliers are working on a 12-inch Air with a "higher resolution display." The piece goes on to say that factories have been told to be ready to ship "large quantities in the second quarter." Now, it's hard to see Apple adding yet another laptop to its previously spartan product line, but if true, then maybe we now know that the "one more thing" at next week's event will be a Retina Display MacBook Air.


Tech-savvy users may have already come across TouchPal when trying different keyboards on Android and iOS 8 (and maybe even Windows 8), but it looks like a whole lot more people will be introduced to it soon. According to the Shanghai-based keyboard developer, HTC is replacing Nuance's Swype with TouchPal as its new default input engine on upcoming Android devices -- including the recently announced One M9 -- around the world (unless requested otherwise by operators). While HTC wouldn't officially comment on this, an internal source close to the matter verified TouchPal's announcement, though it didn't go into detail as to what prompted the move.

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Ustwo dashboard display in a Mercedes

The developer of Monument Valley, Ustwo, isn't just content with designing beautiful puzzle games and tablet software -- it wants to rethink your car's dashboard, too. The company has partnered with Car Design Research to build a prototype for an instrument cluster display that tosses out much of what you know today. Instead of fixed gauges, it uses an adaptive screen that shows what you need when you need it. When you're stopped, it tells you whether or not you have enough fuel or electricity to reach your destination. Hit the accelerator and it shifts focus to speed and gears, while reversing automatically brings up the rear-view camera. It's even aware enough to notify you about slippery roads, school zones and other situations where you may need to drive with caution.

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Hillary Clinton's exclusive use of a self-hosted email address has been at the center of controversy over the last few days, and now the former Secretary of State tweets that she wants those emails -- or at least the 55,000 pages she has shared with the State Department -- released to the public. Her tweets came after a congressional committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attack on a US compound in Benghazi, Libya, issued a subpoena "for all communications of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton related to Libya and to the State Department." A New York Times article closely accompanying the tweet (it actually went up several minutes before, but somehow quoted the tweet) fills in some of the holes of the story about how her account worked, referring to it as a "mark of status within the family's inner circle."

[Image credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images]

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Hey, Hyundai owners, it's finally here: the Blue Link companion app for smartwatches that the automaker promised back during CES this year. And yes, you can use it to remotely lock/unlock doors, start/stop the engine, flash lights or honk any Blue Link-enabled car's horn, even if it's as old as the 2012 Sonata. It can also help you find your car in humongous parking lots and call roadside assistance -- plus, you can do all those by issuing voice commands, so long as you press the mic icon. Not bad, huh? As Hyundai Motor's Frank Ferrara said: "It is like being James Bond 007 or Scotty in Star Trek." The companion app's now out for Android Wear devices, but there's also an Apple Watch version just waiting for the wearable to hit the market.

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Etsy Birthday Cake

Etsy, yes that marketplace for handcrafted and bespoke goods, plans to raise money not by selling custom crocheted rabbit hats or bohemian jewelry, but by doing an initial public offering. The Brooklyn company has just filed an S-1 form at the US Securities and Exchange Commission, where it revealed some numbers that give us a glimpse into how the company's doing. It apparently has 1.4 million active sellers, 19.8 million active buyers and 685 employees, 51 percent of whom are women. Plus it generated $195.6 million in revenue but incurred a net loss of $15.2 million in 2014. According to Bloomberg, Etsy is hoping to raise $300 million from the IPO, or $100 million at the very least, if you look at the S-1 filing.

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There was no question that AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon gave up on their Softcard mobile payment service when they agreed to pre-install Google Wallet, but it's now apparent that they're beating an especially hasty retreat. Softcard is telling users that its service will stop working after March 31st -- when April rolls around, both the app and your account go bye-bye. It's doubtful that you'll shed a tear for an offering that was mostly meant to stifle competition, but you will have to choose another tap-to-pay service fairly quickly if you happen to be one of the remaining customers. Thankfully, there won't be a shortage of alternatives any time soon.


Robot payphone

Yep, the Federal Trade Commission still hates robocalls as much as you do. The agency has launched a contest where you'll get a $25,000 top prize if you develop technology that sends illegal automated telemarketing to a honeypot system, which makes it easier to study calls and catch perpetrators. You have up until the evening of June 15th to qualify your bot trap, and the winner will be decided at a Def Con showdown on August 9th. The payout certainly isn't large, but think of this as doing the country a favor -- you may save millions from listening to Rachel from card services over and over again.

[Image credit: SarahNW, Flickr]


NC State vs. Rice

In an effort to bring the masses more sports news, the Associated Press plans to use automated tech for stories it wouldn't normally cover. The AP is working with the NCAA this spring to produce game reports across Division I baseball, Division I women's basketball and both Division II and III football. In the months to come, coverage will extend to Division II and III men's basketball -- probably just in time for next season. While the NCAA will provide the game stats, stories will leverage the tech that the AP already uses to automate thousands of earnings reports each quarter. "This will mean thousands of more stories on the AP wire, which will remain unmatched in the industry," said Barry Bedlan, the AP's deputy director of sports products. "Every college sports town will have some level of coverage." Local news outlets will certainly tap into the new feed, so hopefully small town beat reporters won't have to find a new niche.

[Image credit: Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images]


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