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Daily Roundup: Steam Early Access, Microsoft Surface trade-in and more!


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In today's Daily Roundup, you can read all about how developers have embraced Steam's Early Access program, learn about Microsoft's new trade-in program for its old Surface tablets and find out how much money Comcast wasted trying to purchase Time Warner Cable. Find out all the details about these stories and more past the break.

Rockets, flirting and bruised egos on Steam Early Access

Steam launched its Early Access program in 2013, allowing developers to publish and sell incomplete, in-progress builds of their games on the internet's largest digital distribution hub. And publish they did - by May 2014, more games had launched on Steam that year than in all of 2013, partially thanks to Early Access. This contributed to the gaming industry's ongoing digital revolution, where publishers shifted away from shipping physical products, indies were on the rise and Kickstarter changed how everyday players interacted with game creators. The revolution continues to simmer today and developers, especially independent ones, are still figuring out what to do with all of these new tools - including Early Access.

Microsoft will give you cash to ditch your old Surface for a new one

Haven't had much luck offloading your older Surface to help pay for a Surface 3? Microsoft thinks it can help. Similar to its Surface Pro-oriented effort from a few months ago, it's launching a US trade-in program that will give you up to $150 toward a Surface 3 if you turn in a Surface RT or Surface 2. The discount likely won't compare to what you'll get if you drive a hard bargain on Craigslist or eBay, but it's guaranteed cash - if you're only concerned with upgrading to the latest tablet as painlessly as possible, it might do the trick. Just be sure to decide quickly, since you have to give up your old device by May 31st.

Comcast burned $336 million trying to buy Time Warner Cable

Comcast's failed bid for Time Warner Cable didn't just leave egg on the company's face - it was also horrendously expensive. The cable giant's latest earnings suggest that it chewed through a total of $336 million in "transaction-related costs" for the would-be merger, $99 million of which was spent in the last quarter alone. And, as Ars Technica notes, this only accounts for directly related costs like legal fees, hired contractors and immediately relevant lobbying efforts.

IBM's big bet on Watson is paying off with more apps and DNA analysis

IBM's cognitive computer Watson is on a roll. After spinning it out as a $1 billion division last year, IBM went on to give Watson a flashy new home in Manhattan, made it a more tool for doctors with Watson Health Cloud, and it even proved its culinary chops with a new cookbook. Today IBM showed off several more examples of the supercomputer's growing ecosystem, including new Watson-powered apps that can do things like find you the ideal therapist, or help hotel staff better help guests. It's also partnered with more than a dozen cancer institutes who will use Watson to analyze DNA and offer personalized treatment profiles for patients.

Which keyboards are worth buying?

When you consider how much time we spend in front of our computers, how we interact with them should be a key concern. That said, unless you're a gamer or programmer, you probably haven't done much shopping around. Last month, we took a look at some of the best gaming keyboards that have come out recently. Now, we turn our gaze to some newer models designed for uses other than playing your favorite PC games - including ones for work, controlling your home theater and portable units you can carry around in your bag for typing on the go.

NIH bans funding for genetic engineering of human embryos

Researchers from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China made headlines late last month upon announcing that they had successfully edited the genes of a human embryo. This revelation set off a firestorm of controversy as the scientific community took sides in the ethical debate of genetic manipulation. Now, the National Institute of Health has weighed in on the issue and is denying funding to research that involves meddling with the human germline.

New military goggles combine night vision and thermal imaging

Night vision and thermal imaging play similar - but very distinct - roles on the modern battlefield. Soldiers utilize night vision to illuminate their darkened surroundings while thermal imaging is employed to illuminate darkened targets. But until now, soldiers have had to carry separate imaging systems for each, which negatively impacts how quickly they can switch optics and acquire their targets. BAE Systems, however, announced Monday a new kind of optic that packs the functionality of both into a single unit.

In this article: Engadget Daily
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