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Here's some trivia for your next trip to the pub. Did you know that, in Virginia, you don't have to tell the cops your phone's unlock code, but you're obliged to open it if you use a fingerprint based passcode? It's a quirky piece of legal precedent that's just been established in the state after a key piece of legal evidence was believed to be trapped on the defendant's smartphone. According to The Virginian-Pilot, the court ruled that the fifth amendment's provisions against self-incrimination protect against giving up your passcode, but that since a fingerprint is already taken by the police - same as DNA or handwriting samples - it's fair game. Naturally, this is just one circuit court judgment in one state, but we imagine this is the sort of thing winding up at the supreme court in a few years time.

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Operations Inside A Starbucks Corp. Coffee Shop

Love your morning coffee break, but hate having to wait in line amongst the masses? Well, Starbucks will allow you to skip the line entirely with its new app. Just place your order via that trusty smartphone, and you'll be able to walk in and pick it up. Of course, the company's mobile software sorts payments too, which certainly helps expedite the process. What's more, plans for a delivery option are in the works for folks who belong to its loyalty program -- but only in select markets. "Imagine the ability to create a standing order of Starbucks delivered hot to your desk daily," CEO Howard Schultz said. "That's our version of e-commerce on steroids." The new version of the bean-slinging mobile app is set to arrive in December, beginning with Portland, Oregon before a nation-wide rollout in 2015.

[Image credit: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

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Facebook, the site where people share their entire personal lives for everyone to gawp at, is now available on the anonymity network that's designed to do precisely the opposite. Follow this link in your Tor browser and you'll be able to tell friends you're at the Park Row Starbucks without the feds finding out where you are. Until now, Facebook saw Tor's global network of proxies as a malicious botnet, making it difficult for people to poke each other under cover of darkness. With this experiment, however, users can connect directly to Facebook's core infrastructure, providing end-to-end communication straight into one of the company's data centers. At the moment, Facebook's olive branch to the privacy mob is just an experiment, but software engineer Alex Muffett hopes that even the mobile site will be accessible in the same way.

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The Wii U is flawed. I won't pretend that it isn't and I won't apologize for it either. If the system had an animal equivalent, it'd be that of a damaged pound puppy. And yet, it's my go-to next-gen console for gaming. The reason for that is simple: It actually has fun games.

Right now, Nintendo's curious console basically exists on borrowed time, bolstered by the thin cushioning of loyalists' money and a string of exclusive first-party titles with familiar names (e.g., the Marios and Zeldas). Nintendo's been more than clear that it sees the Wii U as a transition point on the way to the sleep- and fatigue-tracking technology it's pursuing under that vague "quality of life" initiative. We all know the Wii U's end is near. Those pitiful sales numbers, recent quarterly profit notwithstanding, are like a final, damning prognosis. It's just a matter of time before the company pulls the plug. So, rather than pummel Nintendo's console softball into obscurity, I'm here to slow clap as it marches to the grave.

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Wireless charging is a little bit more convenient than plugging your device in, but was picking up a microUSB lead ever that much of a chore in the first place? White goods and TV supremos Haier believe so, which is why it's signed a development pact with wireless charging outfit Energous. The latter company's WattUp technology promises to deliver power over the same radio bands as a WiFi router and is apparently able to charge a smartphone from distances of up to 15 feet. The idea, at this early stage, is to cram these power transmitters into Haier's refrigerators, washing machines and microwaves, so that you can re-juice your phone while you wait for your dinner and do your laundry.

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netflix gif advertisement

To promote its recent launch in France, Netflix hired Ogilvy Paris to create an advertising campaign with a difference. The agency installed digital posters that change their content to match the context of their surroundings. GIFs from Netflix's content library in the country, such as Orange is the New Black, Breaking Bad and Fargo, are used to convey a range of emotions based on major current events, such as a sporting victory or the weather. The campaign will run through to Christmas, by which time locals will be more than used to the sight of 300's King Leonidas sheltering from the pouring rain under his shield.

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Amazon's Fire phone has been doing so badly on the market, that the company took a $170 million hit in the third quarter of 2014 and is currently sitting on $83 million worth of unsold devices. But even all those millions aren't enough to make the retailer throw in the towel -- Amazon SVP of Devices David Limp told Fortune that the execs are moving forward with their plans to develop and release more phones in the future. According to Limp, the company blames the Fire phone's originally steep pricing for its failure to sell. In fact, the 32GB model used to cost $200 on contract until Amazon was forced to drop its price to just 99 cents in September.

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One of the toughest parts to swallow of LED lighting technology is just how costly it can be. Well, the folks at Cree have taken umbrage with that and developed a bulb that'll retail for around $5 per 40- and 60-watt-equivalent bulb -- less than some standard CFL lamps by a few bucks. How's it doing that? In part by changing the bulbs' design and eliminating the need for heat sinks. As IEEE Spectrum reports, instead of the collar that more or less does double-duty holding the LEDs in place and dissipating heat, the new models get rid of hot air via convection. Meaning, as diodes get warmer, they naturally draw cool air in from outside the bulb as the higher temperature rises upward and outward.

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Barely a week after it was first proposed, Hungary's internet tax looks to be dead in the water. Tens of thousands of Hungarians took to the streets last weekend to protest the tax, which would have seen internet use charged per gigabyte transferred. The plan was expected to rake in around $80 million per year, mostly from companies, but following the protests Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban said it "cannot be introduced in its current form," explaining that it was intended as a "telecommunications tax," but was perceived as an "internet tax." Instead, the Hungarian government will enter a period of "national consultation" for "a long time" to rework the proposal to the public's liking. With their goals achieved, it's unlikely protesters will return to the streets this weekend. Victory parade, anyone?

[Image Credit: Laszlo Beliczay MTI / AP Photo]

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The holidays are fast approaching, and chances are you're already busy planning your schedule for the next couple of months. Knowing how important it is to stick to a schedule for seasons like this, Google has introduced a handful of changes to its calendar interface for the web. Now, you don't have to refresh it to see new items and changes (such as invitations or rescheduled events) anymore, since Google Cal shows them immediately. The Other calendars list on the left-hand menu now moves active calendar profiles to the top of the pile and buries inactive ones at the bottom, as well. Finally, your back button now works within the interface (it previously didn't), and clicking it brings you to the previous page you're viewing. While these are obviously pretty minor, they make using Google Calendar on the web faster and a lot less painful than before.

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