Blog Posts by Tecca

  • Apple has its eyes on flexible iPhone screens

    The new displays would also work as speakers and have buttons that rise from their surface on command

    Don't think the new iPhone 5 was enough of a leap over the previous generation of Apple's smartphone in terms of design? Well, a new patent by the Cupertino, Calif. tech powerhouse should have you very excited. The company has patented a flexible screen technology that could not only allow for curved screens on future devices, but ones that transform to feature physical buttons and actually emit sound as well.

    The new screen type can be bent into concave and convex configurations as seen in the patent drawings above, but their flexibility is about more than aesthetics. For example, specific areas of the screens can be made to vibrate differently, replicating the properties of speaker elements and producing sounds. The patent also notes that they can be used with lasers placed underneath to act as microphones, meaning that the entire display could effectively be used to pick up your voice.

    Perhaps the most interesting use of the flexible technology, however, is placing tiny actuators

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  • Previously unseen celestial object will stun stargazers next November

    Late next year, there will be a new object in the night sky nearly 10 times brighter than the full moon. This temporary attraction, called C/2012 S1, is a comet that has likely never passed through our inner solar system before, so it's larger and more reflective than those our sun has already blasted.

    C/2012 S1 won't just be bright; it'll be large enough to see without the need for binoculars or a telescope. Its brightness magnitude is expected to be -16, with the Sun by comparison being -26. Comet Hale-Bopp, seen above, was magnitude -1 when it passed through our solar system in 1997. Astronomers are predicting that C/2012 S1 will appear in the sky near the sun and horizon, so it should be fairly easy to pinpoint without a sky map. Should it contain a large amount of gas beneath its icy exterior, the comet could sprout a massive glowing tail as it nears the sun and the ice is melted away, making it even easier to see — not to mention much cooler looking.

    Scientists tracking C/2012

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  • Nanoparticle detergent can be used to coat your clothing and help save the environment

    What happens when you mix science and fashion? Aside from some bad sweaters and pocket protectors, you get clothing that is coated in nanoparticles designed to eat pollution.

    First introduced in March of this year, the concept revolves around the process of coating clothing with nano-sized particles of titanium dioxide that work to convert harmful nitrogen oxide air pollutants into harmless byproducts that can be washed away easily. This could work wonders for those with pollution-based respiratory problems or those who simply want to reverse their environmental footprint. According to the company, one person wearing clothes treated with this laundry additive would be able to remove around 5g of nitrogen oxides from the air in the course of an average day, which is roughly twice the emissions that a passenger vehicle gives off in a normal day.

    Catalytic Clothing's CatClo laundry additive is set to hit retail stores soon, although the deal is still being developed. The company says

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  • Legions of fake followers may no longer inflate a person's coolness factor

    Sometimes it can seem like Twitter is chock full of phony or silent feeds. In fact, only 1 in 4 accounts actively posts tweets, according to research by social media research firm Semiocast. The leaders of the popular social network are aware that these unused and fake accounts can be used to inflate follower numbers, making some people seem more important and relevant than they actually are. As a result, Twitter is considering ways to downplay your follower numbers and focus on how many friends actually read what you're tweeting.

    Twitter co-founder Evan Williams spoke at a BuzzFeed panel in New York about some of the changes up for consideration. "The dream metric is how many people saw your tweet," he said. It's unlikely that Twitter will end the use of follower numbers completely, but some additional information about how involved a person is on the network could be a more accurate depiction of their presence. Besides, if the team can figure out a way to glean that level of detail,

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  • Girls as young as 12 are being recruited into lives of crime via the social networks

    Facebook is a great way to connect with long-lost friends, and an even better way to connect with new ones. But not everyone who uses the world's most popular social network has good intentions: Police in Texas today are warning that girls are being lured into prostitution by gang members trolling their social media profiles.

    According to San Antonio Police Detective George Segura, gangs look for girls on Facebook who are showing off a bit too much skin, and are possibly seeking attention. Gang members then approach the girls on Facebook, befriend them, and convince them to meet up in person. No one is too young to be exploited — police say girls as young as 12 are being recruited.

    The sex trade is big business for gangs. According to a Bexar County probation officer, gang members "can easily make hundred of thousands of dollars per girl, per year."

    While this news is admittedly alarmist, it provides a strong reminder to revisit your child's Facebook privacy settings. You should also

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  • The Google Play network is now home to 675,000 apps and games for Android

    Google has announced today that it has surpassed the 25 billion download mark for Android apps and games on its Google Play platform. To celebrate, the company is offering some generous discounts for the next five days.

    Running with that "25" theme, Google is offering an assortment of apps for only 25 cents each. In addition, there will be special collections available for purchase that commemorate the occasion, such as 25 movies you must own, 25 banned books, 25 albums that changed the world, and Google's 25 top-selling magazines.

    Google Play was introduced in March of 2012 as a re-branded merging of the Android Market and the Google Music service. It's now home to 675,000 apps and games for the Android — more than double what it had only one year ago.

    This article was written by Shawn Schuster and originally appeared on Tecca

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  • The state's governor signs into law a bill explicitly allowing smart vehicles like the ones being developed by Google

    California has become the third state to welcome driverless cars with open arms. Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law today that officially legalized self-driving vehicles, following in the footsteps of Nevada and Florida. The signing event was held at the Google complex in Mountain View, Calif. where engineers have been working on driverless car concepts for years and employees routinely use them to commute to and from work.

    Such vehicles weren't technically illegal to operate before passage of the bill, but Google and others working on similar technology hope that by making their use explicitly legal it will clear up any confusion on the part of law enforcement and limit the chance they might be disallowed in the future. California's bill reportedly contains fewer restrictions on the cars' use than other states, such as Nevada where each vehicle must log a certain amount of testing hours before hitting the open road, but the door is open for potential regulations to be

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  • Here's how to protect yourself from losing all your data

    A potentially devastating security flaw has been uncovered that affects a sizeable number of Android-based smartphones, including Samsung's flagship Galaxy S III. The exploit allows web pages to make your phone believe that a special service number called a Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) code has been dialed into it, including one that can instantly wipe all data on it. These codes are normally used by cellular carriers to perform diagnostics and other functions on your phone.

    The problem has evidently been known for a while but requires software updates to phones in order to be eliminated. Samsung has updated its Galaxy S III software to address the flaw, but not everyone may be running the newest version. To check if you are, load your phone's Setting app scroll down to About Device. Tap that, then the Software Update tab at the top of the next screen that appears. Then, tap Update on the following screen. Your phone will check for updates and install the latest if

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  • News of unavoidable bacon shortage clogs the arteries of Twitter's servers

    Bacon is serious business. Aside from a successful industry so deeply seated in artificial bacon flavoring, real bacon is facing the grim possibility of experiencing a shortage in 2013. According to the National Pig Association in Britain, an unavoidable shortage of pork products will plague Europe after heavy drought conditions destroyed corn and soybean feed crops this year. Experts say that this is a trend being mirrored around the world.

    The Twitterverse quickly caught wind of the news, expressing their own brand of sarcastic shock and horror. Some clever Twitter users call it the "aporkalypse," while others blame the shortage on the internet's ironic love of everything bacon. Personally, we blame it on this monstrocity.

    [Image credit: Bacon plate via Shutterstock]
    [via Mashable]

    This article was written by Shawn Schuster and originally appeared on Tecca

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  • There's a reason Apple sold millions of iPhone 5 shortly after its launch: Reviews of the device have generally been positive. That doesn't mean Apple's smoothly cruising its way to victory, though. There's been one persistent complaint among iPhone 5 owners that should make you think twice about pocketing that phone — it gets easily scratched, much more so than the older iPhones.

    An iPhone 5 owner named Alex was so concerned about the issue that he emailed Apple's Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller to ask him if the company has any plans to fix it. Schiller's reply, which 9to5mac got a hold of, is probably not what you wanted to hear. His email reads: "Any aluminum product may scratch or chip with use, exposing its natural silver color. That is normal."

    While it might be normal for aluminum to chip with use, the problem is how easy it is to scratch the iPhone 5. In the video below, for instance, a 2-year-old girl successfully scraped a lot of black paint off the

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