AT&T and Verizon investigated for possibly colluding to make your smartphone life worse

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AT&T and Verizon don’t want to let you out of their grasps. 

So much so, in fact, that they may have colluded to make it harder for you to switch cellphone carriers. 

So reports The New York Times, which notes that the Justice Department is investigating the two companies for possibly working together to stifle a technology known as eSIM. If deployed, eSIM would make it easier for people to jump from provider to provider — no new physical SIM card required — potentially leaving AT&T or Verizon behind in the process.  

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Download this: Google's Grasshopper aims to make coding as easy as a game

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Ever wanted to learn to code, but didn’t know where to start? Google’s new app wants to help.

This week the company launched Grasshopper, an app that aims to help teach adults to code (javascript, specifically) with a series of bite-sized puzzle games.

Launched from Google’s Area 120 incubator, which is devoted to experimental projects, Grasshopper takes a Duolingo-like approach to coding. It breaks down the basic concepts behind javascript, like functions and variables, into lessons you can complete in just a few minutes.

Like some of the coding apps aimed at kids, Grasshopper game-ifies the process a bit, turning coding lessons into mini-puzzles you need to solve. After you learn one concept, the next lesson will build on it and slowly add new elements so each one gets progressively more complicated. Read more…

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Cambridge Analytica whistleblower to testify next week in front of Congress

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The Cambridge Analytica scandal isn’t going away. In fact, it’s heading straight to Washington, D.C. 

Christopher Wylie tweeted early Saturday morning that he would soon testify in front of Congress. Wylie made international waves when he came forward in a Guardian story to blow the whistle on the now infamous data analytics firm that misappropriated Facebook user data and worked on behalf of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. 

“I have accepted invitations to testify next week at the US House Intelligence Committee and House Judiciary Committee,” he wrote. “Democracies around the world are under threat from malicious actors who seek to use social media as an information battleground. We must take this seriously.”  Read more…

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Bring on museum companion apps — but only if they're absolutely awesome

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On a weekday afternoon in the Greek and Roman sculpture hall at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I was, to my surprise, the only visitor on my phone. 

The long gallery was fairly empty, but it was oddly devoid of the usual selfie-takers and Instagram story posters. I, on the other hand, had my phone out because I was attempting to use an app called Smartify to scan “Marble statue of a kouros (youth),” in order to learn more about the sculpture. It wasn’t going well. 

Smartify is one of a handful of apps that allow museum-goers to use computer vision to scan works of art, bringing up supporting media and information. The Google Arts & Culture app also purports to have a version of this technology (although Google couldn’t tell me which museums offer the functionality). Other apps from organizations like the Guggenheim use Bluetooth to serve museum visitors information about artwork. And recently, the global design firm R/GA unveiled the “BG Selects” app for its guest exhibition at Cooper Hewitt, the Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City. The R/GA app not only scans art, but also provides a synced audio experience for video, based on sub-audible sound wave recognition. Read more…

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Lyft offsets carbon emissions, but still relies on gas-guzzling cars

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In an announcement not-so-subtly timed to Earth Day, Lyft proclaimed its ride service is now carbon neutral.

In the fight against climate change Lyft co-founders John Zimmer and Logan Green explained this week that the San Francisco company was purchasing carbon offsets, making Lyft “one of the top voluntary purchasers of carbon offsets in the world.” 

Instead of eliminating emissions from its vehicles, Lyft is participating in a program funding projects that reduce carbon emissionsCarbon Footprint, which works with businesses to manage their environmental impact, describes carbon offsetting as “a way to reduce the emissions that you can’t.” Read more…

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Protect your iPhone and add new camera lenses at the same time

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In the bad old days, you had to make a choice with your smartphone: Do you want a protective case, or do you want cool features? The Ztylus Revolver M Series iPhone Lens Kit lets you both at the same time.

Check out the video below:

The case provides all-around protection and a raised lip, to make sure your display screen never comes into contact with surfaces, even when you set the phone down. The magnetic attachment technology lets you quickly add or remove different accessories available in the Ztylus store. 

The Oreo-sized lens attachment provides six amazing lenses that can flip up onto the existing lens and will improve the quality and zoom of your already-formidable iPhone. Read more…

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