Friday tech news roundup for December 20

philips flat lightbulbNew LED light bulb looks like an incandescent, only flatter
Philips made headlines this week with their new, flat LED light bulb. It’s same shape as a traditional bulb, but looks like it’s been squashed flat (but if it’s flat, is it really a “bulb” any longer? Anyway, I digress…). Philips developed the design to eliminate the need for a the heavy heat sinks needed in other LED light bulbs on the market. It fits in a normal socket and is rated to last 22 years(!!!!). It will be sold exclusively at Home Depot and the timing of the release couldn’t be better. Starting on January 1, it’ll be illegal to produce or import traditional incandescent bulbs.

Is your wireless router killing your houseplants?
house plant researchMashable had a story this week with the brilliant headline of “Your Wireless Router Could Be Murdering Your Houseplants.” According to a study conducted by a group of high school students in Denmark, you might want to scoot your plants away from your router. The students wondered if the radiation from a smart phone next to a bed would interrupt sleep. Since they couldn’t test brain waves, they placed six trays of garden seeds next to Wi-Fi routers that emitted similar kinds of radiation as a mobile phone. After 12 days, the seeds that were in non-router environments looked amazing and the ones near the routers hadn’t grown or had mutated. I think I’ll wait until more research comes out before I panic–after all, my plants look just fine ☺.

Updated Shazam app listens in the background
If you’ve ever heard a song you like only to have it end before you have a chance to get your phone out of your pocket (let alone unlock it), you need the new Shazam app for iOS. The latest update uses audio recognition software to listen for music, TV shows and even live events in the background – even if your phone is locked. I haven’t tried it yet, but will be doing so ASAP.

A third more e-waste by 2017
A report out this week forecasts that e-waste will grow by 33 percent in the next five years. The prediction comes from the United Nations Environment Program, which looked at data from 11 developing nations. China and the United States combined currently produce 5.3 million tons of e-waste a year and are the largest generators of the potentially hazardous materials. Lead and mercury can leach out of e-waste such as computers, cell phones, televisions, and even home appliances if they’re not disposed of properly. With the amount of e-waste only expected to rise, it underscores the importance of disposing of electronics safely. Recycle, people!

Got $2,999 to spend on a new computer?
If so, you’re in luck! The new Apple Mac Pro went on sale on Wednesday and prices start at $2,999 (on up). It has what is being called a “signature ‘Darth Vader” design” which should, apparently, keep it cool. TechCrunch has the specs: The $2,999 configuration of the Mac Pro features a 3.7GHz quad-core Intel Xeon E5 processor, not one but two AMD FirePro D500 workstation GPUs with 2GB of dedicated RAM per unit, 12GB of system RAM and a 256 flash storage module. The $3,999 version boosts the processor to a 3.5GHz six-core version, provides 3GB of dedicated RAM to each of those workstation GPUs, 16GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage. Custom configurations allow for 8- or 12-core processors, AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of RAM, a maximum of 64GB of system memory and up to 1TB of flash storage.

Your favorite new TV is not your TV
Hulu announced this week that roughly 50% of its 5 million Hulu Plus subscribers are streaming exclusively on some kind of non-TV device. That list includes devices like computers, phones, tablets, and set-top boxes like Roku and Apple TV. Pretty amazing and it shows just how quickly the entertainment (and Internet) landscape is changing.

lg-105-lcdNew 105-inch curved 4K TV coming soon
LG unveiled a new TV this week that, admittedly, looks amazing. It’s a 105-inch curved TV that has an ultra-wide shape which eliminates glare and reduces reflections which, naturally, improves the picture quality. It appears to be perfect TV for a cinephile…or someone who has a lot of money. LG hasn’t announced the price yet, but given the resolution and size, I would expect it’ll retail for well over $40k.

And speaking of $40,000 TVs, there are some hilarious reviews on a 4K TV reviews at Amazon
As happens occasionally on Amazon, reviewers are being creatively hilarious talking about this 85-inch, $40,000 product (of course, I’m not sure any will ever beat the reviews for whole milk, the banana slicer, or the three wolf moon t-shirt, which are all classics). Two of my favorites?

• “I bought it just to watch the garbage man struggle pitifully as he attempted to fit the box into the back of his recycling truck. Worth it.”
• “At first I hesitated to make the purchase, but then I saw the two AA batteries were free with the remote, and I was all in! Having this really fills in that empty space we called a bathroom!”

Be warned, you might lol so don’t read at work unless you want to explain why you’re laughing so hard.

About Missy Kellor

Missy works on the Corporate Communications team and reports stories to TDS employees and customers. This is right up her alley because she’s an extrovert and also a big fan of research (really, she’ll look up just about anything that strikes her interest). Missy is a native of Madison, Wis. with an undergraduate in Anthropology and a master’s degree in Life Sciences Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest in the Internet as a mass media shaped her work towards a PhD in Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s also worked as an editorial assistant, copywriter, and production artist. In her off hours, Missy is a crafter, Pinterest addict, reader, wife, and mom of two kids. You can find Missy on G+ and on Twitter.
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