Weekly tech news roundup for July 10

Amazon Prime Day July 15th
Warm up your credit card, Amazon is throwing itself a 20th birthday party in the form of Prime Day. They’re calling it a “global shopping event” that will offer more deals than Black Friday. It all starts at midnight eastern time next Wednesday, but only for Prime members. Not a member? Never fear. You can sign up for a free 30-day Prime trial membership and still get the same deals.

iphv_st_tos_bluetooth_communicator_closedStar Trek Bluetooth Communicator
The Bluetooth is what makes this replica device so amazing—it will work as a handset for your phone and as a portable speaker—with real Star Trek sounds and everything! It’s a Trek-lover’s dream toy. It was unveiled at the San Diego Comic-Con this week and you can already pre-order the device on ThinkGeek. The expected shipping date is January 2016.

Motion sickness and self-driving cars
If you are prone to getting sick in planes, trains, or automobiles, a self-driving car could be a recipe for disaster. When people aren’t in control, they have a harder time anticipating the movement which can make them ill. As it happens, researchers are already looking for ways to handle this potential problem (and more than just including barf bags with purchase). Wired has the story.

Disney Infinity_Disney Infinity 3.0 Star Wars
Last year it was 2.0 Marvel, and this August 30 will bring a brand new addition to Disney’s juggernaut of a video game franchise—Infinity 3.0 Star Wars. The initial pack, Rise Against the Empire, will come with Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano…unless you buy the special $114.99 Saga Bundle for PS3/PS4 which also comes with Boba Fett. If you’re patient though, apparently you can get Boba a month later for Xbox and Wii players. If you don’t need the starter pack, you will be able to just purchase the game without all the stuff you already have.

FB controlsFacebook News Feed updated with more controls
This week the book of the face announced they’re giving you more options for structuring your News Feed. You can prioritize who you see first, reconnect with those you unfollowed, unfollow people, and find new pages. These new features will be available first in iOS and rolling out soon to Android and desktop “in the coming weeks.” (Here’s what I don’t understand—why a crab? Do friends make us crabby? Odd choice, if you ask me 🙂 .)

What Xbox 360 games are coming to Xbox One
With the recent announcement that Xbox One is going to be backwards compatible, everyone is starting to wonder which 360 games will be playable. If you want to put in your two cents, you can head to Microsoft’s Xbox Feedback page and tell them what you’d like to play (the current leaderboard includes Call of Duty: Black Ops 1 & 2, Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Mass Effect 3, Fallout 3, Skyrim, Halo: Reach, and Red Dead Redemption). But, if you’re wondering what the leaders are from each gaming publisher, Kotaku has a nice summary. I’m sure once backwards compatibility arrives, there will be a lot more solid info about what will work, but in the meantime, it’s fun to speculate.

Death of the Microsoft phone biz?
This week Microsoft announced they will be cutting 7,800 positions to “restructure” the company’s phone hardware business. The Verge thinks Microsoft CEO Nadella doesn’t want the company to produce phones—with the blog saying they’ve “lost out on mobile” even if they don’t want to admit it. Sales of Windows phones have been weak, there hasn’t been a lot of interest from carriers or app developers…it just doesn’t look good. The best bet is that Microsoft will focus on a small number of devices such as their Surface tablets, but some think even the Lumia phone will go the way of the Dodo.

(Darryl Bautista/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

(Darryl Bautista/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

Moore’s Law stands: most powerful computer chip ever just announced
This week IBM unveiled a chip that’s only 7 nanometer’s wide—about 3 times as wide as a strand of DNA. Fewer nanometers means there’s more space for transistors. More transistors to control the flow of electricity means the chip is more powerful. IBM did it by using something called Silicon Germanium rather than pure silicon which basically boosted performance by 50%. Based on these numbers, Moore’s Law—that computer power would double every two years—has once again been proven true.

Nerd alert: The Iron Giant “Signature Edition” coming to theaters
Any fan of Brad Bird (from Pixar) or just good family-friendly movies knows about Iron Giant. It was originally released in 1999, but a new “Signature Edition” of the film is coming back to DVD on September 30 with a short stop in theaters on October 4th. The new version has been remastered and will include two new scenes. No details yet on where you can see it, but I’ll keep you posted if I hear anything.

 
 

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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