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Weekly Rewind: Milk replaces plastic, humidity slows phones, wicked supercars

Porsche 918 Spyder
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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 when Xiaomi will finally enter the U.S. market to the iPhone of the future, it’s all here.

Pokémon Go technology is everywhere

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Pokémon Go has caught on with the masses because of its accessibility and easy-to-understand concept — but that doesn’t mean it’s the first app to use augmented reality technology. In fact, it’s far from revolutionary — results from Deloitte’s fourth annual survey of mid-market technology trends shows just how ubiquitous the technology is. Of the 500 mid-market companies surveyed, 89 percent of them said they were already using AR in their business.

Read the full story here.

Hold on to your butts: These are the 20 fastest cars in the world

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There are many ways to measure automotive excellence, but top speed is the one everybody secretly cares about the most. Aldous Huxley was right about speed being the only truly modern sensation. He left out the part about how much fun it is. These 20 cars are more than just fun, though, they’re the fastest production cars in the world. The emphasis here is on “production;” racers and one-off custom jobs need not apply.

Read the full story here.

Facebook testing Messenger feature that could signal the end of friend requests

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Facebook is reportedly carrying out a Messenger experiment that brings the app even closer to a standalone messaging service. The social network has confirmed that it is testing an “add contact” feature on Messenger. The function will allow the messaging platform’s 1 billion users to request connections without the need to become friends with the selected person on Facebook, reports BuzzFeed.

Read the full story here.

If it seems like your apps run slower when it’s humid – you’re right

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Developers so far haven’t taken the weather into account when testing mobile apps, but that may change. A report from Apteligent says apps run slower in the summer, according to the IEEE Spectrum. “On average, your apps will run about 15 percent slower in the summer!” reads the report. “The explanation is due to the science behind the propagation of radio waves. Increases in water vapor cause attenuation of the waves, especially at higher frequency bands.”

Read the full story here.

Milk may replace plastic when it comes to wrapping our food

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The best way to protect your leftover food? By wrapping it in more food. According to new research presented at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), we’ll soon be doing away with that pesky cling wrap that seems to stick to everything but what you’re trying to cover (and apparently, doesn’t do that great of a job of keeping your food from spoiling, either). Instead, we’ll be turning to “an environmentally friendly film made of the milk protein casein.”

Read the full story here.

Smartphone speech recognition can text 3 times faster than you can type

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Computer dictation is a whole lot better than it was a decade ago, but exactly how much better? That was a challenge computer scientists from Stanford University, the University of Washington, and Chinese tech giant Baidu recently took on in an experiment pitting humans against the latest cutting-edge speech recognition software in both speed and accuracy.

Read the full story here.

YouTube to launch the social networking features you’ve always wanted

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YouTube will soon let you interact with creators like never before thanks to the rollout of a new social timeline. The feature, which is internally known as “Backstage,” allows users to share a host of multimedia content including photos, polls, links, text posts, and videos with subscribers. YouTube plans to launch Backstage by the end of the year, and as early as this fall, to a select number of influencers on mobile and desktop, according to VentureBeat.

Read the full story here.

Get ready to see Xiaomi phones offered the U.S. ‘in the near future’

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Up until now, Xiaomi has taken baby steps when it comes to the U.S. phone market, with the company launching its online store as a way to test the waters. Now, however, Xiaomi looks interested in taking a much larger step and has its eyes set on the U.S., Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra told Bloomberg. “We will lead with social media, with the channels that allow us to get in touch with the young generation that is enthusiastic about technology,” said the former Google executive. “We are definitely going there.”

Read the full story here.

Forget ‘great,’ presidential hopeful Zoltan Istvan wants to make America immortal

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A square-jawed Presidential candidate with an embedded RFID microchip in his hand which opens doors for him, riding around the United States in a coffin-shaped vehicle called the “Immortality Bus,” sounds like a scene out of a David Foster Wallace novel.In fact, it’s the real-life world of Zoltan Istvan, leader of the Transhumanist party and independent candidate for the forthcoming U.S. elections. Istvan’s platform? That he wants you (yes, you!) to live forever.

Read the full story here.

The iPhone of the future may be smart enough to figure out exactly who stole it

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One of the biggest theft problems around the world involves smartphones. They’re compact, light, and easy to swipe — and can be worth a lot of money too. So it’s no wonder they’re a common target for pickpockets and thieves the world over. Catching smartphone robbers is a major focus of law enforcement and manufacturers, and the iPhone of the future may help in that effort by identifying the person who stole it.

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…
Best Samsung tablet deals: Discounted tablets as low as $184
Recent apps view on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra.

Samsung makes a huge lineup of quality yet affordable tablets, many of them in competition to be among the best tablets, and many more often found among the best tablet deals. With a wide set of prices ranging from budget to premium, a Samsung tablet makes a great investment for almost anyone who enjoys the touchscreen form factor. There are quite a few Samsung tablet deals worth shopping right now, and we’ve done the heavy lifting of tracking down the best. Among them you’ll find discounts on the likes of the budget tablet Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite and the high-end tablet Samsung Galaxy Tab S9. So whichever end of the tablet spectrum you fall on, or if you land anywhere in between, read onward for more details on the best Samsung tablet deals available right now.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 -- $184, was $230

If you need a bigger screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 is another solid budget option. It is 10.5 inches and runs a much better 1920 x 1200 resolution, which also makes it a better option for watching content. It does have a much smaller capacity at 32GB, although you can always expand it with a MicroSD, so it's not a dealbreaker. That said, the 3GB of RAM is very much within the limits of what's going to give you a smoother experience, but it's the sort of compromise you deal with when going for a larger screen at a budget price.

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Is the Oura Ring waterproof?
The Oura Ring Horizon resting on a green succulent plant.

The Oura Ring is a highly sought-after wearable device available in different styles and price ranges. It allows users to track their sleep and recovery, stress levels, illnesses, and fitness routines -- and it even provides features specific to women's health. With so many features,  you might wonder whether the watch is waterproof. Let's find out.
Is the Oura Ring waterproof?
Technically, the Oura Ring is not waterproof. Instead, it's water-resistant up to 330 feet (100 meters). This is the case for most modern gadgets. You'll often find water resistance protection on products, which is good, but it's not exactly the same as being waterproof. But what does that really mean? We explain below.
Can you go swimming with the Oura Ring?
The Oura Ring has a certain level of protection that allows you to wear it while swimming, showering, and snorkeling. However, wearing the Oura Ring during scuba diving or when there is a risk of extended water submersion or extreme pressure is not advisable. Oura recommends avoiding wearing the ring in such scenarios to ensure its longevity and proper functioning.

Oura further explains: "The Oura Ring operating temperature ranges from [-10 to 52 degrees Celsius and 14 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit]. You can safely wear your ring in the shower, hot tubs, saunas, ice baths, and cryotherapy tanks. However, extended exposure to extreme temperatures (below 0°C/32°F or above 35°C/95°F) may lead to battery damage."
How does this compare to other smart rings?
Of Oura's chief competitors, only the Ultrahuman Ring Air provides similar water resistance. By contrast, the Amovan Smart Ring only provides water resistance up to 50 meters. The Oura Ring offers the same level of protection as the Apple Watch Ultra, making it an excellent alternative to smartwatches. However, it surpasses the Apple Watch Series 2 or later and the Google Pixel Watch 2, which can only resist water up to 50 meters.

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Every Android tablet we’re expecting in 2024
The home screen on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra.

It’s an exciting time for Android tablets. Into the vacuum left in 2023 by Apple’s first-ever dearth of new iPads stepped two new contenders offering distinct takes on what a tablet should be, while Samsung’s venerable Tab S9 lineup raised the bar by cementing the position of its largest tablet and bringing AMOLED screens to the entire family.

There’s no reason to believe that this year will be any less interesting as Samsung continues to up its game while Google and OnePlus try to refine their initial first-generation efforts into more mature products.

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