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IKEA Wireless Charging Furniture

After lots of perseverance from smartphone makers, wireless charging is finally starting to make an impact. Many big name phones now support the technology and companies like Starbucks are helping to bring it a wider audience. Now, it's set to receive another big boost, after IKEA, the world's largest furniture retailer, announced the introduction of a new range of furniture that features integrated charging.

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See that wooden round thing above? That's a smartphone -- a real, working smartphone with a high-res screen and a camera, and not just a concept that will never come to life. Just imagining how to take calls on it without a headset or how to access websites on it is giving us a headache, but it's sure a good way to stand out in a world dominated by rectangular devices. This circular oddity is called the Runcible, and San Francisco design firm Monohm modeled it after pocket watches and compasses: items it says we humans have been carrying with us for ages.

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Huawei Watch

Huawei apparently just can't wait to show some of the wearable tech it has in store this year. While the company isn't supposed to reveal its Mobile World Congress plans until a press event on March 1st, it has already posted both videos and airport ads revealing its first Android Wear device, the plainly-titled Huawei Watch. You won't learn a huge amount from the clips, which are loaded with stiff-sounding English ("it has to look like a watch, because a watch is a watch..." wait, what?). However, it's already clear that Huawei is aiming for the upscale crowd with a sapphire-covered circular display, custom watch faces and oodles of metal and leather. The Watch is certainly one of the better-looking smartwatches we've seen, then. The real question is whether or not it does anything special under the hood -- you'll likely get the full scoop on that very shortly.

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10 high-tech gadgets that will improve your tennis game

The sport of tennis is no stranger to incorporating new technologies -- from the electronic line judges of the early '70s to today's Hawk-Eye system with its multi-camera array. These days, players at all levels have a variety of high-tech tools to help them up their games. We've already taken a look at how modern technology can help if you're training for golf and soccer. Now it's time to check out some options you might want to consider the next time you hit the courts. Below you'll find devices to smarten up your racquet and your shoes, as well as fitness trackers and apps designed to up your game no matter what level you are. Tennis anyone?



If the return of Frank Underwood stoked a thirst for real drama from the nation's capitol, perhaps the White House's late-Friday news dump of the proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights will whet your whistle. Alongside common-sense things like Congress finding that Americans "cherish privacy as an element of their individual freedom" in the draft, are headings pertaining to transparency, individual control, security and accountability. In regards to that first one, the bill states (PDF) that companies make their policies for exactly what they do with your data readable without the need for a legalese translator. In addition to that, companies would need to disclose what they're doing with the reams of data they're collecting on all of us and comply with requests for data deletion, as well. You'd also be able to request a look at the data collected by companies. Sounds good, right? Well, as the Associated Press reports, that isn't quite the case.

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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.

How Madden Ratings are Made
by Neil Paine

If you've ever played a Madden title, at some point, you've questioned how player ratings are compiled. Heck, players are even critical of their own scores. Well, the stats experts over at FiveThirtyEight dive deep on the matter, offering a load of background information and a method for compiling and grading your own abilities... or lack thereof.

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Netflix TV

Ready for a blast from the past? Ten years ago, Walmart's plan to undercut Netflix on DVD-by-mail rental pricing failed, and the retail giant turned that part of its business over to the movie service in exchange for a cut of the revenue, referral bonuses and Netflix promoting Walmart's DVD sales to rental customers. A class action lawsuit against the two followed in 2009, with customers alleging they illegally restrained trade and kept prices high. Walmart settled the case for $27 million in 2011, which will turn into about $12 (paid out in gift cards or cash) for the 1.2 million people who filed claims. While the deadline to file has long passed, the payout has been held up due to appeals in the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco against Walmart and Netflix -- until now.

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Many RPGs have more than one ending, but even then you still have limited ways to control the story or to interact with the characters. Disney Research, however, wants to make real interactive games -- ones where your actions can affect how it progresses and ends -- so it has created a platform that can help developers do so more easily than if they use traditional tools. This platform makes it simpler for creators to spin as many story arcs as they want that can be triggered any time by your actions. It also automatically detects and fixes conflicts in the storyline that you'll inevitably cause as you interact with the characters. Take the bears in the video below the fold, for example.

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China will enforce an even tighter control over online names starting on March 1st, and it's already begun nuking any account that doesn't conform to its standards. A handful of powerful internet companies in the country have deleted over 60,000 accounts they believe are in violation of China's new real-name/username policy. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said in a statement that these accounts have either harmful usernames (such as "Come Shoot Guns") or ones that mislead people into thinking that they're dealing with media or the government (like "Buy License Plates").

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LEGO Star Wars

There isn't a way to turn back time and prevent the Star Wars prequels from ever releasing (just ask Cher), but maybe Disney XD's upcoming crack at them could make the flicks palatable. You see, the channel is prepping the launchpad for The Force Awakens' December release with a Lego retelling of the entire story so far. The Hollywood Reporter notes that Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales will recount the narrative in five, 22-minute episodes, as told from the viewpoint of chatterbox C-3PO and his stubby companion R2D2 in a "brand new story."

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