Fresh Data from the Digital Front

This Week in Tech and Science: April 15, 2015

TWIT-gear-patrol-hbo Let the Cord-Cutting Begin
HBO Now launched this week on Apple TV and iOS devices, enabling those without a pay-TV subscription to view the network’s programming in real time with a $15 monthly fee. It’s a groundbreaking step in the inevitable march towards à la carte viewing, and choosing to start on the weekend that saw season premieres of Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley was surely no coincidence.
TWIT-gear-patrol-watchwatch It’s Apple Watch Time (Almost)
This weekend, the smartwatch that the world seems to have been watching the clock for went up for preorder. As predicted, the numbers were huge — at least compared to sales of rival smartwatches running on Android Wear. Shopping data from Slice Intelligence suggests that over one million pre-orders occurred over the weekend, with nearly two in three being from the lower-end Sport line. Katy Perry, on the other hand, was seen sporting the $17,000 Edition version on Instagram, though mum’s the word on which version Left Shark was given.
TWIT-gear-patrol-amazon 5 Stars!
Amazon has taken drastic action to curtail the spread of bogus reviews on its site by filing suit against unidentified perpetrators operating sites such as, and Per the suit, some of these sites would actually allow empty boxes to be shipped to an address that would in turn enable a “Verified” review to show up, significantly boosting a product’s chances of appearing highly rated across the site. Tsk, tsk.
TWIT-gear-patrol-fbook Facebook Still King
Despite recent rumors that today’s teens are shunning Facebook in record numbers, largely due to the influx of their parents and grandparents, fresh data out of Pew Research shows otherwise. As of now, around 71 percent of teens use the service, with a staggering 41 percent saying it’s their “most visited site”. That’s down from 77 percent in 2012, but when you consider that those same teens view Instagram as their second-most visited site, it’s safe to say that Zuckerberg still has their attention.
TWIT-gear-patrol-ef Podcast On
The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) invalidated key claims this week in the Podcasting Patent. For those unaware, an outfit in 2013 (Personal Audio, LLC) began demanding licensing fees from select podcasters based on the validity of a particular patent. After a petition from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the patent is now unlikely to be used to target those who podcast for a living. Chalk one up for the good guys.
TWIT-gear-patrol-amazon-vid HDR on your TV
If you scroll through Instagram for a hot minute, one thing becomes crystal clear: we’re suckers for HDR. High Dynamic Range, which infuses high contrast and painfully sharp — well — sharpness into photos, will soon be making its way to your television. Amazon’s Instant Video service will be serving up HDR content in the form of movies and TV shows later this year, but you’ll need a high-end 2015 set that supports it. Also, a welder’s mask.
TWIT-gear-patrol-cases Waterproof Smartphone Cases
With Spring having sprung, it’s time to start considering a protector for your phone. After all, you’ve surely got a water destination on the summer vacation calendar, right? This week, we take a look at the best cases for using your phone underwater — for many, there’s no need to buy a separate shooter for submersed photos and videos. Read this story
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