ASUS Zenfone 2 Deluxe Special Edition (on the right)

Smartphones with more than 128GB of storage are still extremely rare, but they just became a little more accessible... if you live in Brazil, at least. ASUS has unveiled a Deluxe Special Edition of the ZenFone 2 that includes a cavernous 256GB of storage. You won't be hunting for a microSD card any time soon if you pick this up, folks. You'll also have the choice of carbon fiber- or crystal-like backs instead of the more pedestrian shells of the usual ZenFone 2. This special run arrives in Brazil this September. There's no mention of it reaching other countries, but here's hoping that it does -- cloud storage and streaming media will only go so far when you want lots of apps and videos at your fingertips.

Update: ASUS has clarified that this 256GB model actually uses a combination of 128GB onboard storage and 128GB microSD expansion. Still a pretty tempting package, though.

[Image credit: ASUS Fanaticos]

Know how a lot of people tend to use passwords such as "123456" or, well, "password?" Well, turns out Android lock patterns (ALPs) are just as predictable. Norwegian University of Science and Technology graduate Marte Løge analyzed 4,000 patterns for her master's thesis and found that 77 percent of the participants started from one of the four corners, and 44 percent started their patterns from the top left one. Løge presented her findings at the PasswordsCon conference in Las Vegas, where she told Ars Technica that "We're seeing the same aspects used when creating pattern locks [as are used in] pin codes and alphanumeric passwords."


Swatch has only just dipped its toes into the smartwatch waters, but it already has grand ambitions in the category. CEO Nick Hayek tells Tages-Anzeiger that next year's Touch Zero Two (due around the Rio Olympics in August) is just the start. There should be multiple smartwatches, and the company is also releasing NFC-equipped, payment-capable watches later this year. In other words, Swatch isn't treating these devices as exceptions or one-off experiments, like some other Swiss watchmakers.

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  • Watch a rocket-powered bicycle outrun a supercar

    You probably don't think of bicycles as speed demons, but Arnold Nearcher and François Gissy would beg to differ. They've respectively developed and raced a rocket-powered bike that just broke a world speed record for the vehicle class, hitting a brisk 207MPH. It's not the fastest two-wheeler...

  • NASA testing shape-shifting wings that make planes more efficient

    The first airplane ever flown, the Wright Flyer, used "wing-warping," in which pulleys twisted the trailing edge of the airfoil for roll control. Ironically, NASA is now revisiting that tech in a way by flight-testing the FlexFoil, a system that replaces a plane's mechanical flaps with a shape-shifting...

Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. tailgate event at the Sun Life Stadium

Nintendo has said little about what its future NX console will involve (besides not running Android), but one of the company's recent US patent applications might be a hint as to what it's planning. The would-be patent, filed this February, talks about a "stationary game console" that uses only hard drives and external cards for storage -- the first time a TV-based Nintendo system would go without discs since the Nintendo 64 from two decades ago. As the company explains, the rise of broadband makes optical drives obsolete. Why include a disc reader when any game you want is just a download away?

The TSA's master baggage keys (blurred for security's sake)

Security researchers have long warned of the dangers of using master-keyed locks -- if thieves get their hands on just one key, they compromise all of the compatible locks at the same time. And unfortunately, the US' Transportation Security Administration is learning this lesson the hard way. It briefly let the Washington Post show a photo (we've blurred the details) of the master baggage keys it uses for approved locks, giving crooks a crude guide to making duplicates. And you can't just switch to a non-standard lock to get around this, since TSA agents will rip it off if they catch it during an inspection.

You really shouldn't take selfies from a low angle -- it could lead to unflattering images that emphasize double chins, chubby cheeks and big nostrils. That is, unless you're the Curiosity rover, because it still looks good despite showing its belly in the photo above. This is definitely not the rover's first self-portrait, but it's the first one wherein the camera was positioned lower than its body. The image is a composite of 92 photos taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on August 5th as the rover was facing northeast, with Mt. Sharp and the Gale crater visible in the background.

Motorola's Moto 360 sequel in the wild

Motorola hasn't done the best job of keeping its Moto 360 follow-up a secret, and it doesn't look like that trend is about to reverse any time soon. Chicago-area observers on Google+ and Reddit have spotted Motorola employees wearing the next-gen Android Wear device out in the open, and their photos appear to confirm at least a few of the leaks and rumors. The wake button is no longer at three o'clock (likely to reduce accidental screen-on time), and the conspicuous lugs give it more of a traditional watch design. However, it seems as if Motorola hasn't entirely eliminated the 360's "flat tire" look -- this watch might not have a true circular display à la LG. Even it doesn't, though, it's evident that Motorola's next wristwear will be more than just a minor tweak.

[Image credits: Gerrit Gödecke, Google+ (top) / TheGuyWhoRuinedIt, Reddit (bottom)]

Samsung Pay on a Galaxy S6 Edge+

We hope you weren't planning to use your Verizon-badged Galaxy S6 or Note 5 with Samsung Pay on September 28th... you might be disappointed. Big Red notes that it's still in the "process of evaluating" Samsung Pay while AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular have already pledged support. This doesn't rule out Verizon offering Samsung Pay on launch, but we wouldn't count on it given how carrier approval processes are seldom swift -- just ask anyone who waited months for a Verizon-ready Nexus 6.

Biomimicry, the field of science that takes direct R&D cues from nature's own solutions, has provided us with breakthrough materials, inspired developments in robotic locomotion and informed new medical techniques. We've even gotten introspective and looked at our own biological functions in order to create useful technologies. We're bootstrapping our way into the future on the back of nature's hard work, and that's a good thing, so long as we tread cautiously without manufacturing our own obsolescence. Of the myriad advances, we've collected just a few that exhibit how nature's influence is helping us craft our own future.

Hackers Release Confidential Member Information From The Ashley Madison Infidelity Website

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.

The Ashley Madison Hack Should Scare You, Too
by Heather Havrilesky
New York Magazine

Reactions about cheaters getting what they deserve aside, the Ashley Madison hack and subsequent release of private info is reason for concern. The masses are flocking to the internet to sift through the details, digging for dirt on recognizable names. But what happens when another service housing sensitive, private info is hacked and the stolen goods are posted online for the world to view -- not necessarily one focused on adultery? "At the exact moment when citizens worldwide should be noticing that we're all living in glass houses, many of us are picking up stones instead," says New York Magazine's Heather Havrilesky.

Today on In Case You Missed It: An MIT group built a 3D printer that extrudes glass rather than plastic; they believe the technology could be used to make cheaper fiber optic cables. Chatroulette users were treated to a surprise live first-person shooter game that pitted them against creepy zombies. The rest of us totally missed out. A new tech-enabled bartending buddy would sync with its smartphone app and walk you through making the perfect cocktail: All for $39.

Ah, pop stars. They can be anyone they want in their music videos: spies, goddesses and, in One Direction's case, astronauts blasting off to space. The boy band's latest music video for the single Drag Me Down features a number of NASA tech, which is why the agency's been promoting it in its social media channels. In addition to donning NASA's bright orange suits and shooting at the Johnson Space Center, the boys got a taste of the ISS crew's training using the Partial Gravity Simulator and the ISS Mockup Bike.

If you've been using Tinder for long enough chances are that you've opened the app in the morning with some rather surprising matches. Brainlessly swiping right on whoever fits the bill for you in the hopes that they'll do the same and you'll potentially have a love connection is part of the experience. It's this sort of activity the web-based Millennial Swipe Sim 2015 aims to replicate. In the "game" you have to keep swiping (regardless of direction) to keep your boredom meter from filling lest you die. Seriously. Funnily enough, developer Will Herring (a Buzzfeed creative director and former GamePro (R.I.P.) editor) managed sneaking some of the app's quirks in. Like people in group photos and the same profiles that keep popping up repeatedly, for example. What's missing though are wedding shots from the altar or church steps and profiles consisting entirely of photos of one's children. Maybe in the next update?

I'm not quite keen on playing a massive game of Minesweeper when a tiny one is enough to make me go nuclear. But hey, if you've always dreamt of playing it on 24 high-definition displays, you can send in an application to participate in the Minesweeper Super Challenge by a company called Cinemassive. To celebrate Minesweeper's 30th anniversary, Cinemassive is having 10 people compete on a gargantuan screen. Because, obviously, nothing quite celebrates pushing gamers everywhere to the edge for 30 years than having to clear 38,799 mines. The project page says you'll be able to play "from the comfort of your home," so we're assuming you'd be able to control the company's setup remotely if you're chosen. Before you apply, note that you get three tries before you're out, and you only have 12 hours to beat the game. I'd definitely understand, though, if you ragequit somewhere in the middle.

Of course everyone knows what a Mellotron is (no, everyone doesn't), but allow us to briefly explain anyway. The Mellotron is a keyboard hooked up to analog tape -- press a key and the instrument plays a corresponding section of sound on the tape. It's the original sampler, popularized by the Beatles, the Moody Blues and a handful of other bands in the 1960s and '70s. And now, it's back with a modern twist. The Crudman, from Brooklyn's Crudlabs, isn't exactly a Mellotron, but it operates similarly by connecting a keyboard to a hacked Walkman. Users can even chain together a few Crudman units for polyphonic sounds. You could even call them polyphonic sprees, if you're feeling saucy.

Microsoft OneDrive on a Surface, iPad and iPhone

Microsoft officially announced it's axing the Groups feature in OneDrive in the coming weeks, meaning stalwarts still using the online storage service for collaborating will need to start migrating their data to new locations. This shouldn't come as a surprise, though: The feature has been largely shuttered for months. As it is, users haven't been able to create new groups; they can only work within existing ones.

There's a lot to like about the ZUK Z1, a Chinese flagship smartphone backed by the folks at Lenovo -- it has a USB Type-C port with support for audio output, a huge 4,100 mAh battery, a multi-function fingerprint reader and an attractive 1,799 yuan ($280) sticker price. If Cyanogen is your favorite flavor of Android, it just got a little better: today ZUK announced that the international version of the handset will come loaded with the commercial version of Cyanogen OS 12.1.

What's better than a pixelated, top-down gorefest set to frenetic synth music? A pixelated, top-down gorefest set to frenetic synth music with a gravity gun. Half-Line Miami is an unapologetic mix of Half-Life 2, Valve's massively popular 2004 first-person shooter, and Hotline Miami, the ultra-violent top-down action franchise from Dennaton Games. Both games have secured their places in video game history and they're now together at last in one free PC game, complete with a level editor.

Apple Inc. Launches iPhone 6 And iPhone 6 Plus Smartphones In Madrid

Did you buy an iPhone 6 Plus sometime between last September and this January? Do you notice that your shots taken with its back camera come out all blurry? Yeah, it's not just you. Turns out, a limited number of these phones shipped with a manufacturing defect. However, Apple is aware of the issue and has already begun issuing replacements for the iSight camera. If you think that you have one of these borked units, go to this website and type in your phone's serial number. If your unit is part of that bad batch, Apple will replace the camera (not the entire phone) at no charge. Also, if you're rocking one of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6's, don't worry; none of those units suffered from the defect.

[Image Credit: Getty Images]