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Sony Xperia C5 Ultra

These are dark days for Sony's smartphone business. The division saw sales drop 16.3 percent over the past year, and is losing money faster than PlayStation is making it. The answer to this problem, according to Sony, is to release two new mid range smartphones to this month, the Xperia C5 Ultra and the Xperia M5. Both focus heavily on imaging, with the C5 Ultra offering two 13-megapixel Exmor RS cameras (one on the front, one on the back) that will hopefully capture some impressive shots. The front-facing camera has a 22m wide-angle lens for all your #welfie needs, and even a front-facing flash. Cameras aside, the C5 Ultra (pictured above) has a 1.7GHz octa-core processor, a 6-inch 1080p display, and a 2,930mAh battery that Sony claims is good for two days use.

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People love road trips. Some like 'em more than others. And some like them perhaps a little bit too much. This interactive map from Richard Kreitner and Steven Melendez crams the locations mentioned in twelve road-tripping books including Mark Twain's Roughing It and Jack Kerouac's On the Road. That total's 1,500 entries, paired with the most appropriate coordinates the author could assign. You might take issue with some of the book choices, but we'll only accept complaints after you've tackled the entirety of this cartographic labor of love. You'll find the bibliography after the break.

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Here Maps for iOS

Nokia is selling its Here maps service to a group of German car makers for €2.8 billion (roughly $3.07 billion). The consortium is comprised of Mercedes' owner Daimler, BMW, and Audi. As the latter is a VW subsidiary, the buyers essentially represent the entire German car industry -- or at least all the big hitters. It was previously reported that Uber was interested in purchasing the service, but the car companies clearly brought the most attractive offer to Nokia's table.

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Satechi's Cortana button

Now that Microsoft's voice-guided Cortana assistant is up and running in Windows 10, you might be eager to trigger it without leaving the "hey Cortana" feature on (which might sap battery life) or staying within reach of your computer. If so, Satechi might just come to your aid. It's releasing a Bluetooth Cortana button that will trigger the Halo-inspired helper on Windows PCs and phones from a distance. You can use it to more quickly ask about the weather from across the room, for instance, or leave your phone in your car's cupholder when you start a call. At $23, it won't be the cheapest single-purpose peripheral when it ships later in August. However, that purchase might pay off if you'd rather not get that chatty with your devices.

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AT&T U-verse box

AT&T isn't waiting long to take advantage of its DirecTV acquisition. The telecom giant is introducing its first plans that incorporate the satellite TV provider, including a promo plan that could save you money if you need to get both cellphone and TV service at the same time. The offering gives you basic TV service for four receivers (through either DirecTV or U-verse) and four phone lines with 10GB of shared data for $200 per month over the first year. You'll need to agree to a 1- or 2-year TV contract and sign up between August 10th and November 14th, but you could save up to $600 in those initial 12 months -- no small amount, even though the rate is likely to change in the long run.

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A snow leopard projected on the Empire State Buliding

If you were hanging around midtown Manhattan this weekend, you may have noticed some exotic animals projected on to the side of the Empire State Building. What was that all about? As it turns out, that was one of the more ambitious examples of tech-powered advocacy in recent memory. It was Projecting Change, a collaboration between the Oceanic Preservation Society and Obscura Digital that used striking imagery to highlight the plights of endangered species, such as snow leopards and manta rays. The piece relied on 40 stacked projectors to beam 5K video on to the legendary New York City skyscraper. At 33 floors tall, the resulting image was clear within about 20 blocks' radius -- you could have had a good view at 14th Street. There's sadly no talk of repeating the event in the near future, but there are replays both on YouTube and Discovery if you want to see what happened.

[Image credit: Joel Sartore and Ron Robinson/Obscura Digital]

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Comcast X1's sports highlights feature

There are few things worse for DVR-toting sports fans than to realize that a game is going into extra time that they can't record -- just ask Red Sox and Yankees fans, who may have missed 10 innings this April. Thankfully, Comcast might save you from similar TV tragedies in the future. It's planning an upgrade to its X1 set-top box that can automatically extend recording in half-hour increments when a live event runs past its scheduled end. The extension feature is currently only useful for major sports leagues (MLB, NASCAR, NBA, NCAA basketball and football, NFL, NHL and soccer), but it should be reaching other live events in the future.

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The EnLighten traffic light app in a BMW

Traffic lights are supposed to help keep driving orderly, but they often create more tension than they resolve. How do you know that the green light won't turn yellow before it's too late to slow down? BMW thinks it can help. It's the first automaker to offer in-car support for Connected Signals' EnLighten iOS app, which predicts when lights will change based on position and speed. All you need to do is keep an eye on your car's infotainment display -- it'll tell you whether or not you should hit the brakes. The software is useful even if you're stopped, as it'll use your turn signals to show when a necessary light will return to green. This is the definition of a luxury feature when you need a BMW with ConnectedDrive Services just to give it a shot, but it could be entirely worthwhile if it spares you from an accident or a ticket.

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Groupon on a TV wall

You're about to get a fresh alternative to internet-based restaurant delivery services like GrubHub and Seamless. Groupon has just launched the simply-titled Groupon To Go, an order-in service that focuses on (what else?) discounts for your food. The company promises that you'll get at least 10 percent cash back on every order, which could add up if you're ordering pizza every week. The offering is only available in Chicago right now, but there are over 500 included restaurants ranging from big chains like Subway to local eateries like Al's Beef and Ditka's Restaurant. And don't worry about waiting long to give it a shot -- Groupon is expanding the service later this year, with Austin and Boston among the early highlights. It'll eventually be available nationwide.

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Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 (left) and Galaxy S6 Edge+ (right)

Still wondering what Samsung is going to unveil at its August 13th event? Well-known tipster Evan Blass (aka @evleaks) might have just removed what few doubts are left. He not only posted official-looking snapshots of both the Galaxy Note 5 and its curvier S6 Edge+ sibling, but revealed purported specs for the Note 5. From all indications, at least the Note 5 is going to be more of a refinement (at least, in terms of hardware) of the Note 4 than a revolution. You're still looking at a 5.7-inch quad HD display, a 16-megapixel rear camera and 32GB of built-in storage. The biggest changes are the Galaxy S6's octa-core processor, a bump to 4GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel front cam... and, unfortunately for some, the removal of the microSD card slot.

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