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Weekly Rewind: Facebook's alleged snooping, Tesla's new doors, coolest hotel rooms

top tech stories 06 05 2016 weekly rewind 060516
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In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. So much news goes on that it’s almost impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top 10 tech stories from this week. Everything from Apple’s WWDC rumors to a guide on strange hotels around the world, it’s all here.

Apple’s WWDC 2016 is coming — here’s everything you need to know

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Are you wondering when Apple will hold its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC)? Just ask Siri. The virtual assistant used to answer coyly when you asked her about WWDC, pretending that she knew as little about Apple’s plans as your average Joe. But now she’s announcing the date and location for the conference: June 13-17 in San Francisco, California.

Read the full story here.

Facebook may be listening in on your conversations, and here’s how to stop it

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Big Brother is listening, and his name is Facebook. The social media giant has never denied that it’s eavesdropping on conversations you have in the vicinity of your phone (if the Facebook app is open, that is), but now, one expert has told NBC that Mark Zuckerberg’s empire may be keeping tabs on you at a more regular cadence. According to Professor Kelli Burns, who teaches mass communication at the University of South Florida, Facebook may be listening more often than it lets on.

Read the full story here.

Scientists prove playing ‘Super Mario Bros.’ can be as hard as complex math

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If you’ve found that solving the most challenging levels of Super Mario Maker can be as taxing as your toughest college mathematics problem sets, you’re not alone, and now there’s scientific research to back you up. According to MissOpen, a team of artificial intelligence and computer science researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently published a study showing that beating a level in Nintendo’s seminal platformer is “as hard as the hardest problem in the ‘complexity class’ PSPACE.”

Read the full story here.

It’s official: Prince died of an opioid overdose

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The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Ramsey, Minnesota, has completed the autopsy of recently deceased music icon, Prince, and the full results of the procedure reveal that the singer did indeed die of an opioid overdose, according to the Associated Press.The autopsy reportedly began at 10 a.m. ET on April 22 and lasted about four hours, with toxicology reports eventually confirming opioid overdose with the drug fentanyl. The drug is reportedly as much as 50 times as powerful as heroin.

Read the full story here.

Pope Francis reveals his favorite type of YouTube videos at meeting with web stars

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Pope Francis appears to have the same YouTube viewing habits as a millennial. The leader of the Roman Catholic Church professed his admiration for beauty vlogs during a private Vatican meeting with a host of global web stars. Among the 12 popular YouTubers in attendance was fashion and style vlogger Louise Pentland, creator of the Sprinkle of Glitter channel on Google’s video platform.

Read the full story here.

Tesla says the Model X’s falcon wing doors are almost useful

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Tesla surprised consumers and competitors alike when it announced plans to launch the Model X crossover with science fiction-esque falcon doors. Fine-tuning the system has been more difficult than the carmaker originally anticipated, but CEO Elon Musk has revealed that the kinks are almost ironed out. Tesla recently released an over-the-air software upgrade that allows Model X owners to close every door simultaneously by simply pushing a button on the key fob.

Read the full story here.

You can thank Portland for this giant silicone tongue to ‘lick’ your cat with

Some people will do almost anything to satisfying their pet, from letting dogs sleep on half of the bed to cleaning litter boxes without complaint. A new Kickstarter campaign hopes to capitalize on this devotion with Licki: a device that lets humans bond with their feline friends by ‘licking’ them — without having to worry about hairballs.

Read the full story here.

We simulated the entire NBA Finals in NBA 2K16, and the winner is …

With Steph Curry and Lebron James leading their respective teams after a competitive playoff series, it’s now time to see who will take the trophy home. The Finals tip off Thursday night, but NBA 2K16 gives players an early look at how the series could end up. Digital Trends’ Josh Smith picks up the controller and runs the numbers to simulate the season’s biggest series in the game. Which team does it predict? You’ll have to watch.

Read the full story here.

From ice rooms to inside the Eiffel Tower, 7 of the coolest hotels on Earth

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Building a posh hotel? That’s easy. What’s challenging is making ones that are unusual or original, without being schticks or too wacky (you can find plenty of those on Airbnb) – that requires a bit more creativity. Like Las Vegas hotels, the following accommodations required a bit of imagination during the conception process, but they offer something unique that’s only theirs. If you’re looking for a room that is one-of-a-kind, here are the more interesting options.

Read the full story here.

Will swarm intelligence predict America’s next president?

What is Swarm Intelligence?

Swarm intelligence has generated quite a buzz this year by predicting the outcome of events more accurately than experts have. In February, a swarm of 7 laymen predicted 11 out of 15 Oscar winners, outperforming the New York Times’ film buffs by 18 percent. In May, a group of 20 Kentucky Derby fans correctly placed the race’s top four finishers, besting even Churchill Downs’ equestrian experts. And now, it’s trying the presidential race. 

Read the full story here.

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
The Pixel Watch 2 just got a feature it should have launched with
The Google Pixel Watch 2 resting on a stone fireplace.

Google has heard everyone’s demands and has given in to a highly requested feature that should have already been a thing with the Google Pixel Watch 2: a fully charged notification. Yes, that’s right — you’ll now get a notification on your Android phone when your Pixel Watch 2 is fully charged. Hallelujah!

This new feature should be available starting today via the Pixel Watch app on version Google did not formally announce this feature, so it seems to be rolled out quietly (and was first spotted by Android Authority).

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There’s only one reason I’m still using an iPhone in 2023
A green iPhone 15 lock screen.

It's not an understatement to say I am an Android smartphone fan, as an Android phone has been my faithful companion ever since I started using the HTC Desire in 2010. I've bounced from phone to phone in the 13 years since, and I've experienced good and bad phones alike. But in all that time, I've never spent much time with an Apple iPhone. I'm obviously not unfamiliar with iPhones, having used them during my time as a tech writer grabbing screenshots, downloading apps, and testing games — but never having used one as my primary smartphone is something of a blind spot.

The Apple iPhone 15 is a good reason to end that. After all, if I'm going to use an iPhone, it might as well be Apple's latest. Two weeks after booting it up and transferring my data to it, it's been ... a journey. While I can see the iPhone 15 is an excellent smartphone, too many of iOS's idiosyncracies rub me the wrong way. However, there's one feature I've grown to really love, and I'm going to struggle to live without it.
The iPhone 15 is a mixed bag

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Google Maps got a major update, and people hate it
Google Maps running on a Pixel 8 Pro, showing the new colors as of November 2023.

Over the past few weeks, Google has been quietly rolling out a fresh coat of paint for its popular Google Maps app — and it’s been creating havoc over the holiday travel season.

While some people may understandably be frustrated at any changes made to such an established and widely used app, there seems to be more to this than just people being put off by unfamiliar colors. The many folks taking to social media to voice their displeasure with the redesign have been joined by professional user interface (UI) designers expressing similar, but more nuanced observations. Even a designer who once worked on Google Maps is pillorying the new design as a backward step for the service’s usability.

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