2015 Philadelphia Renaissance Faire

HBO seemed certain that offering customers the option to watch without a cable subscription through its $15/month "HBO Now" app would help curb the rampant piracy afflicting its most popular shows. Nope! Variety reports that the latest episode of HBO's megahit "Game of Thrones" has been illegally downloaded 3.5 million times, in a single 24-hour period. That's a new record. Per Danish piracy tracking site Excipio, this season's episode six edged out last week's record-setting 3.22 million downloads. And given that Excipio only really covers P2P piracy, not direct download websites, those numbers are probably a little light. This, of course, comes after the first four episodes of the season were leaked online a full day before the HBO premiere in April. It's enough to make one to just up and start murdering popular lead characters.

[Image Credit: Getty]

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After updating his phone to Google Maps version 9.9, an Android Central writer made a surprising discovery: a near-fully functional Google Maps app had suddenly appeared on his Wear watch as well. The app reportedly works much like the standard mobile phone or tablet version (ie pinch to zoom, swipe to navigate) and even opens with the "Ok Google" voice command. But it's not perfect however. For example, launching the app on your watch apparently causes it to also launch on the phone. Plus the watch app could only be closed by physically pressing the LG Watch Urbane's side button. While it's nice that Android Wear now mirrors the Maps functionality that Apple Watch wearers enjoy, the watch app's overall bugginess is likely enough to make you just keep fishing out your phone for directions.

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Earns Mastercard

Let's face it: checks aren't convenient. If you're using them to pay for something, there's all the extra writing and mailing. If you're receiving them, there's a whole process for getting them into your account. Well, MasterCard says it solved the convenience issue with Send: a new system that allows businesses and individuals to securely exchange funds in minutes. This means that you'll no longer have to wait for a check to clear or for the transfer to go through. While businesses looking to send refunds, claims payments and rebates are a key focus, MasterCard is letting regular folks leverage the system to send money to friends and family, too. What's more, you don't have to be one of its customers to opt in, and you can use Send to pay for goods at participating retailers.

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Google and Twitter announced a new service today that will allow US mobile users to receive live Tweets -- now that the social network's firehose is connected once again -- in their web searches. For example if you search for Golden State Warriors, Danger 5 or Game of Thrones on your cell phone, their most recent tweets pop up at the top of your search results. Users can also search specifically for, say, "NASA Twitter" to find everything that the space agency has recently tweeted. According to the official Twitter Blog, this feature will be landing on the desktop soon as well as expanding to other countries.

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Horror of horrors, you've just downed a plate of Colonel Sander's famous fried chicken only to have that text you've been waiting for suddenly ping your phone. What do you do? Clearly the answer isn't to reach for the napkins. No, instead you do what every red-blooded poultry eater should: pair the keyboard mat on your serving tray to your phone and you answer that all-important text, greasy fingers be damned.

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If you've shoved one VR headset on your face, you've pretty much shoved them all on your face. They all immerse you in a 3D world with a device that tracks your head movement so you can look around. The Fove, on the other hand, does more than just track your noggin; it also tracks your eyes and recreates how you see the real world while reducing strain on the system running the simulation. The company's slick Kickstarter video promises an impressive experience and even in its early stage, it delivers.

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Uber car

Would you rather say "¡hola!" to your Uber driver instead of "hello?" You've got it. The ridesharing firm has formally launched UberEspañol in six US areas (Chicago, Los Angeles, Orange County, Phoenix, San Diego and Tucson), giving you the choice of a Spanish-speaking UberX driver when you need a lift. This sadly leaves out posher ride options, but it's a big deal if you're more comfortable with the language or have a passenger whose English isn't that great.

[Image credit: Getty Images]

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Wyclef Jean performs at a Spotify concert for SXSW

Labels and streaming music services have spent ages bickering over payments for streaming music, but it's never really been clear who was getting the short end of the stick... besides the artists, that is. We may have a better sense of things now that The Verge has leaked details of Sony Music Entertainment's 2011 contract with Spotify, however. The two-year licensing deal asked Spotify to pay Sony a total of $42.5 million in yearly advances, and a "Most Favored Nation" clause meant that Sony would always get advance rates as good as any competing label. None of this cash is likely to have reached the musicians themselves, though -- sources say that advances typically go straight to the record company.

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Forget buying a clunky wall mount for your TV... what if you could stick it up like a fridge magnet? LG Display is hoping you'll do just that. The company has unveiled a 55-inch OLED screen that's so thin and light (0.04 inches and 4.2 pounds) that you can put it on your wall using a magnetic mat. The design doesn't exactly leave room for much else -- you'd probably need a breakout box for TV functions -- but it raises the possibility of big-screen sets that easily blend into your living room's decor. Unfortunately, LG isn't saying if or when this panel will translate into a real product. You'll most likely have to settle for the company's more conventional OLED TVs in the short term, including a giant 99-incher due this year.

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When it was announced back in January, Apogee promised to deliver its Groove USB headphone amp and digital-to-analong converter (DAC) this spring. Well, the company kept its word as the audio accessory is now available for $295. What does a few hundred dollars buy you? Groove touts up to 24 bit/192kHz audio thanks to a Quad Sum DAC that puts four converters on each channel to keep the audio sounding top notch. There's also a feature called Constant Current Drive that adapts to the frequencies of your headphones to make them sound better. On the front of the aluminum frame, volume controls and LEDs easily handle level changes and muting. What's more, the add-on is USB powered, so you won't have to futz with another cable or batteries -- just think of it a set of super-sized (and super powerful) in-line controls. The folks at Apogee have a knack for building stellar audio gear, so we're anxious to see how this gadget stacks up.

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