Weekly tech news roundup for Friday, December 19

MoviePass_NYTimesMoviePass and AMC Theaters teaming up for unlimited movies
A few years ago MoviePass app launched where you could pay a flat fee to see a movie every day for a month. The concept seemed cool, but they didn’t really have any theater partners…until now. AMC Theaters is now working with MoviePass and is going to offer an “all you can movie” plan for either $35 or $45 a month. Since you can watch movies at home with a subscription service, really, why not the actual theater too? Forty-five dollars will get you movies on both Imax and 3-D and the $35 option covers standard movies only. The service will roll out first in Boston and Denver.

Apple Pay growing quickly
Apple announced on Tuesday that dozens more banks are now accepting Apple Pay. In fact, Apple says it supports credit cards that represent about 90 percent of the credit card purchase volume in the U.S. Staples, Winn-Dixie, Albertson’s, Disney, Lyft, Uber, and even now Amway Center (home of the Orlando Magic basketball team) take Apple Pay. It’s great for Apple (and for lazy Apple owners everywhere such as myself who enjoy just paying with a wave of my phone), but the tricky part is how many stores can really accept it. Forbes says only about 220,000 stores are equipped with the terminals to allow Apple Pay.

bigScreenMicrosoft’s Xim photo-sharing app just got bigger
In October Microsoft released the Xim photo -sharing app for both Android and iOS. It’s been called the “easiest way to share photos to friends” because it basically sets up a small, temporary cloud where anyone you invite can view a slideshow of photos on their mobile devices. This week there was a major update to the app which allows users to share photos in a much bigger way—on TVs. Now the app lets you beam photos on streaming devices such as Chromecast, Apple TV, Xbox One, and Amazon Fire. Download it now, and when you’re together with friends and family over the holidays, you can torture them with your travel photos :-).

BionicBra-640x359_University of WollongongA smart bionic bra
This hit the tech news this week and who can resist a headline about a bionic bra? Australian researchers are developing a bra (which they are, in fact, calling the Bionic Bra) that tightens and adjusts based on how a woman moves. Many women don’t wear a bra that is the correct size which can lead to complications like nerve damage and back pain. To solve that problem they’re developing a “smart fabric” that has fibers and can expand and contract when it senses movement. This means that if a woman is chilling on the couch the bra would sense that and not offer as much support, but if the woman was running the bra would give more support. I’m a little weirded out by the idea that my bra would “think” but at the same time, I’ve got to admit it could be really nice if it works. Right now it’s in early prototype stage so time will tell when it really comes to life (get it? Like it’s alive? Okay, I’ll go now).

North Korea behind Sony hack
If you didn’t read any popular press yesterday you missed the news—North Korea is being fingered in the epic hack of Sony Pictures. USA Today said the attacks originated outside of North Korea but were sanctioned by the government, likely in an attempt accomplish just what they did—the cancellation of the movie release for The Interview. The movie featured James Franco and Seth Rogen as journalists who are recruited to assassinate Kim Jong-un.

tech of holiday pastTop tech gifts of holidays past
For a walk down memory lane take a peek at Engadget’s list of popular tech toys from years past. I am ancient enough to remember wishing for an Atari, and recall my boyfriend getting a Game Boy in high school. But even if you’re not that old, they’ve got others that might bring back some holiday nostalgia.

Science news: where does burned fat go?
My sister has always jokingly said that fat has to be a universal constant because if you or someone you know is losing weight, someone else always says they’re gaining. Of course, you can actually burn fat but where does it go exactly? A team sat down and figured it out using some chemical formulas and discovered, after cooking the books, that you breathe out burned fat in the form of carbon dioxide. Yes, we exhale it. The more carbon dioxide you exhale, the more weight you’ll lose (so does that mean I can be super thin if I pant? ;-)). The researchers believe the teeny amount of water generated in the fat-burning process is dealt with the same way the body deals with other extra fluids, if you catch my drift. Pretty cool, am I right? The authors have a cute animation explaining their calculations at the British Medical Journal if you’d like to check it out.

Long Friday read: what Darwin got wrong
As I say in the headline, it’s not the shortest read, but if you’re a science geek you might enjoy it like I did. Wired takes a closer look at Darwin’s brilliance…and the things he royally screwed up (can you say “gemmules?”). Check it out if you have a few minutes. You’ll feel better knowing that even famous smart dudes sometimes get things wrong :-).

What may be the geekiest, and best, holiday light show ever
If you’re a Star Wars fan—or a fan of well-done holiday lights—you’ve got to check out this video. A gentleman in Newark, Calif. has created a pretty amazingly well-timed light show to two Star Wars songs—Duel of the Fates and Across the Stars. It’s just…wow. A Facebook friend and neighbor said that if he did this to his house, he’d probably keep it up all year (and honestly, I can’t disagree! )

Xbox One adds 5 new apps
If you’ve got an Xbox One, keep an eye out for some new apps to show up sometime in the next week. Microsoft is introducing Pandora, Vevo, Bravo Now, Telemundo Now, and Popcornflix to their gaming system. These join other big adds for the year such as MLB.TV, HBO Go, Twitch, and Plex. The sales for the Xbox One surpassed those of the PS4 for the first time last month in both the United States and the U.K. (likely aided by their recent $50 price cut), but the PS4 is still ahead. Perhaps these new apps will help gain Microsoft some more market share moving forward.

Xbox Music Pass half price today only
And if you have an Xbox, now is the best day to sign up for the Music service—today (Friday, December 12) you can get an annual pass for $49.90 instead of $99.90. The service lets you stream 30 million songs and not only to the Xbox—it’ll work on your PCs, tablets, and phones. The sale starts at 5 a.m. Pacific time so get ready.

Panama Canal tech
While this technology is old, it’s also new—the Panama Canal is getting new lock gates and you won’t believe just how huge they are. As Gizmodo said they’re, “Egyptian pyramid-level huge.” Each gate weighs 3,285 tons, is 9 stories tall, and 33 feet wide. Check out the little, tiny people at the ground for some perspective.
 
Panama Canal gate
 
Note: I’m taking some time off for the holiday. I’ll be back with tech news highlights on January 9th!

 
 

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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