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The Best Game Ever?

He shoots, he speeds, he scores. Winston Ross gets his hands on the hot new videogame Grand Theft Auto V and loves every minute of it.

I awoke Tuesday morning to urgent emails from my editors about the release of Grand Theft Auto V, the latest version of the graphic, violent, racist, misogynistic (and fun!) videogame from Rockstar. After pretending to have already known all about it for weeks and trying to make it seem like I would be the perfect person to review this game, I quickly got on the phone to my local Target. The electronics dude picked up.

Grand Theft Auto V

A screenshot from the video game Grand Theft Auto V. (Rockstar Games/AP)

“Hey, do you have —”

He cut me off.


Grand Theft Auto V Could Make $1B

Grand Theft Auto V Could Make $1B Rockstar Games/AP

New version released Tuesday.

The once-shocking, now 16-year-old videogame series Grand Theft Auto is back, with a fifth installment released Tuesday. Called “the best plotted, most playable, character-driven, fictionally coherent entry” by The New York Times, the videogame is set in a version of Southern California and follows three controllable characters. An analyst has predicted that the new game will make $1 billion in retail sales over the next month, and others say it could sell 20 million copies by March.

Read it at The New York Times

Feeling Lucky?

13 Hacks to Improve Your Google Search


Damien Meyer/AFP/Getty

Even the king of all search engines can be throttled up with a few simple tricks. From finding flights to discovering new music, here are 13 ways to hack Google.

Ever since the Internet's dozens of Web crawlers (AltaVista, anyone?) were whittled down to a single alpha engine, pinpointing your online destination has been a relative breeze. But it turns out even Google can be juiced up with a few simple tricks. We were inspired by a thread on Quora sharing tips to make searches work better. They’re simple and infinitely useful. And when it comes to muddling through the ever-expanding sprawl of the Internet, you can never have too many tricks.


Set Timers

Type in “set timer for” followed by a number of minutes, or a specific hour you’d like an alert, and Google will graciously comply with an obnoxious beeping once the moment has arrived. Just make sure the volume’s on.

Far Out

What You Hear in Space

The Voyager spacecraft has entered interstellar space, but it’s still transmitting reports, including what it sounds like when you’re 12 billion miles from home. By Josh Dzieza.

Thirty six years after it blasted off from Florida, the Voyager spacecraft has officially entered interstellar space, the cold region where particles from our sun stop and the remnants of ancient exploded stars begin.

It’s hard to fathom how far Voyager has gone. It has travelled farther than any human-made object, 12 billion miles from home. It sent its last picture 13 years ago, just before shutting down its camera to conserve power. From its position, you can hardly see the Earth. (It's the dot on the right.)



Since that final photo, Voyager has been sending back pure data--measures of cosmic particles, magnetic fields, and plasma waves designed to give us a better understanding of the far reaches of our solar system. It was vibrations in the plasma surrounding Voyager that told Don Gurnett and the plasma-wave team at the University of Iowa that Voyager had entered interstellar space. It also gave us the most evocative message from Voyager in years, an eerie whistling that NASA played at a press conference announcing the discovery, calling it the “sound of interstellar space."


iPhone 5s: The 'S' Stands for 'Same

With all the anticipation and fanfare of a royal baby, Apple announced its next line of iPhones on Tuesday, and that led to some predictably slobbery salivation from the company's many fanboys. But it also inspired some snarky and hilarious spoof videos, which are a hundred times more entertaining to watch than Johnny Ive videos on Apple's web site. Without further ado...

Thumbs Up

Stealing Your Fingerprint

Got a piece of tape? Apple’s new authentication innovation could be cracked—and create a nightmare for users. Winston Ross explains.

Ask anyone who’s ever lived with a jealous boyfriend or girlfriend: If someone wants to get into your phone, they will find a way to get into your phone.

fingerprint theft

David McGlynn/Getty

That said, it’s worth considering in the wake of Apple’s announcement this week that the next generation of (high-end) iPhones will come with a fingerprint sensor: is that two tech steps forward, or two steps back, if you’re trying to keep your Snapchats from prying eyes?

Turns out, it’s kind of standing still. While fingerprint sensors might seem like a nifty way to shorten the steps to your next brilliant tweet and keep your buddy from punking your Facebook with a fake status update, they’re more likely to create a false sense of security, thanks to statements like this, from Apple Senior Vice President Dan Riccio, in the introductory video for the new iPhone 5s:


No Prints, No iPhone?

After years of manual labor, people's distinctive thumb markings can wear away. Will they be able to use the latest gadgets and gizmos?

The first thing I thought about Apple’s announcement Tuesday that the next generation of high-end iPhones will be unlocked with a fingerprint was, of course, “cool.” Then I thought about Stephanie Upchurch.


Randy Faris/Corbis

Upchurch, a pal of mine and (great) massage therapist, moved from Oregon to Washington a couple years ago, which required her to obtain a new license to practice, which required her to submit a set of fingerprints for not just state but also federal approval, which is when she realized she doesn’t have any fingerprints. At least, not fingerprints that are sufficiently defined to show up on a computer screen.

Upchurch learned this after applying her digits to a scanner at the Eugene Police Department, at which point she was warned the image was pretty faint, likely the result of so many years of shoulder-rubbing. Her first reaction: “Maybe I can break into houses now.”

‘Because Obama’

How to Kickstart World War III

Are you a hip young Obama supporter? Interested in helping to raise $1.6 trillion for his administration’s latest miscellaneous military action? This Second City parody might be just for you, says Miranda Green.

What the world needs now is a strong dose of satire.

Faced with a near-broke nation and the moral imperative to punish Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria for using chemical weapons, an intrepid group of young Obama supporters has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help pay for World War III—or whatever the president wants.


via YouTube

The online crowdfunding petition—helpfully named “Help Kickstart World War III!”—is part of a parody YouTube video from the Second City comedy troupe asking donors to help raise $1.6 trillion to support the Obama administration’s latest miscellaneous military action.


Bring On the Gadgets!


Apple’s New iPhone Mania

The agony of tech geeks came to an end, as Apple unveiled the two latest offerings in its insanely successful line of smartphones. One is cheap and the other is fancy.

Break out the bubbly. 

What better way to celebrate the biggest announcement in tech than with champagne, which just so happens to be the newest offering in the newest line of smartphones from the makers (Apple) of the coolest sleekest phones on the market?

Yes, champagne. The rumors were true. It’s pretty and glistening and golden. But there’s so much more to the next generations of iPhones than what’s exoskeleton deep, and there needed to be. Apple’s stock has been on the decline. In the developing world, it’s losing market share to cheaper competitors. In the developed world, a sparse 8 percent of consumers polled in a recent survey by American Express Spending & Saving Tracker said they upgrade their phones right when a new model comes out. One third wait until their contract is up to switch. Apple needs these puppies selling like Cronuts. Lines around the block. So “events” like the one tech reporters piled themselves into in Cupertino, California, on Tuesday need to deliver big, new, amazing stuff. 


Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iPhone on September 10, 2013, in Cupertino, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)

Think Different

Apple Unveils New iPhones

Apple Unveils New iPhones Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Cheaper plastic version comes in five colors.

Apple unveiled not one but two new models of the iPhone, the higher-end iPhone 5S and the cheaper iPhone 5C, which has a plastic case and will cost $99. The 5C, described by Apple’s senior vice president Phil Schiller as “beautifully, unapologetically plastic,” comes in several different colors, including blue, red, and yellow. The iPhone 5S, which has an aluminum case and will come in silver, gold, and gray, will include a 64-bit chip that allows for more memory. The phone also boasts a fingerprint scanner instead of a password to unlock.

Read it at The Wall Street Journal


Apple With a Side of Koch

The right-wing billionaire brothers just bought one of Apple’s key suppliers, meaning lefty Apple lovers are about to be lining the pockets of their No. 1 political enemy.

Well, this is awkward: imagine if every time you went out and patronized your favorite store and bought your favorite product, you were putting money into the pocket of someone you loathe.

China Apple


That’s the exquisite dilemma that Apple fanboys and fangirls of a liberal bent are about to face, now that a pair of left-wing hate objects have acquired a key supplier to the computer company.

Charles and David Koch, heirs to an industrial fortune, have spent their adult lives building up Koch Industries, a huge conglomerate with interests in oil, pipelines, chemicals, paper, ethanol, fertilizer, fibers, and cattle. They’ve used the profits of the privately held company to fund philanthropic efforts and engage in relentless political combat. They have deployed their cash in campaigns against global warming, against renewable energy, against Obamacare, against President Obama and congressional Democrats, against all sorts of progress. If liberals and progressives like it, it’s a good bet the Koch brothers are against it. (With the possible exception of public television, a cause to which David Koch has made significant, controversial contributions.)

Big Reveal!

Apple's Big iPhone Event

Apple is widely expected to announce new devices at Tuesday's anticipated event, which takes place at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California, at 10 A.M. Pacific time. See what tech pundits think Apple has up its sleeve.

It seems these days as if everyone's expecting.

"What to expect from Apple's iPhone event tomorrow," offers a headline on technology website The Verge. "THE FINAL COUNTDOWN," screams The Huffington Post. Just below is a photo of Apple CEO Tim Cook and the headline: "5 Things To Expect From Apple's Big Sept. 10 Event." 


Paul Sakuma/AP

A quick spin around the news sites that cover technology reveals a web of expectations surrounding Apple's forthcoming announcement. Note the language on them all: an "event." That's what we're calling it, Tuesday's 10 a.m. P.T. press conference, which is just the latest of many in recent years when Apple is widely expected to announce, well. . . something. We never really know!

Think Different

Apple to Partner with China Mobile

Apple to Partner with China Mobile Alexander F. Yuan/AP

Massive wireless carrier.

It's official: Apple really is all lined up for world domination. Reports emerged Saturday that the company is set to ship phones to China Mobile, China's largest wireless carrier. China Mobile has about 700 million subscribers across the country, or seven times more than the largest carrier in the U.S., Verizon. Most importantly for Apple, China Mobile has reportedly been added to the list of carriers that will be receiving a new low-cost iPhone, which may significantly increase the company's reach. It is unclear whether an official agreement has yet been signed or when the phones will actually be shipped.

Read it at Wall Street Journal

wearable tech

Samsung Unveils Smartwatch

Samsung Unveils Smartwatch John MacDougall/AFP/Getty

Will sell for $299.

Samsung is firing the first shot in the battle of the smartwatches. At a trade show in Berlin today, the tech giant revealed the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, which will launch in October in the U.S. for $299. The watch has call, text, and video capabilities. Notifications from select Samsung tablets and smartphones will display on the 1.63-inch screen. A Siri-esque assistant will be included to take commands, and it can run several apps like Pocket and Snapchat. "Galaxy Gear is tomorrow's state of the art," Samsung research director Pranav Mistry told the audience.

Read it at USA Today

13 Hacks to Improve Your Google Search

13 Hacks to Improve Your Google Search

Even the king of all search engines can be throttled up with a few simple tricks.

The App Center

The Snapchat Explosion

The Snapchat Explosion

The photo app is social-media’s puberty: naughty or dorky fun without a permanent record. By Winston Ross.


Hailo Summons Taxis

Yelp for Men?

Rate This Guy

Tech Saver

Put That Phone Down


The Sex-Tracking App

What the Future Holds

Does Your Drone Deliver?

Does Your Drone Deliver?

Around the world, unmanned aircraft are the hottest thing in food delivery. But don’t try it at home just yet.


Musk Unveils Hyperloop


Google Glass Frenzy Builds