Cassette tape sales had their best year since 2012

Nielsen Media Research released its annual Music Year-End Report for 2017. It found that audiences are increasingly turning to on-demand streaming to get their music, while sales in physical media is declining. But some formats are experiencing a boost: sales of cassette tapes have increased, hitting their best year since 2012.

Cassette Tapes are in the midst of a revival: Nielsen reported last year that sales rose 74 percent to 129,000 units sold. That uptick was led by albums such as the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, which featured the classic cassette tape prominently in the 2014 film. This year, those numbers rose further: Nielsen says that retailers sold 174,000 units, up 35 percent from last year’s numbers.

Nostalgia seems…

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New trailers: Slender Man, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and more

For lack of better judgement, I decided to watch Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals a couple months ago. The movie just looked so tense and downright gorgeous that I was willing to ignore the fact that I turned off Ford’s first movie halfway through. I should have done the same with this one.

I don’t like to be dismissive of movies in this weird little intro space here since I never write more than a few short paragraphs, but Nocturnal Animals is a whole other beast. The film’s hero is a guy who spends over a decade writing a book just so he can get revenge on his ex-wife for… breaking up with him? The conclusion is that the book makes her feel bad. It also equates abortion to a gruesome double rape/murder.

Obviously, movies are allowed to…

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Epic Games blames Meltdown CPU performance issues for Fortnite downtime

As the technology industry continues to react to two major CPU bugs, we’re starting to see early signs of performance issues from security patches designed to fix the problems. Epic Games has released a chart of CPU usage after it patched its back-end services to address the Meltdown vulnerability. It shows a roughly 20 percent increase in CPU utilization, immediately after the patches were applied. The company released the chart to “provide a bit more context” around recent login issues and stability with its Fortnite game.

“All of our cloud services are affected by updates required to mitigate the Meltdown vulnerability,” says an Epic Games spokesperson in a forum post. “We heavily rely on cloud services to run our back-end and we may…

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Google is gearing up for an Alexa fight at CES

We’re still a ways away from the official start of CES 2018, but the news is already starting to trickle out and everybody is setting up for the big show. And if the parking lot outside of the Las Vegas convention center is any indication, one of the biggest shows this year is coming from a company that has historically stayed quiet at CES: Google.

Last night we watched as Google began setting up a seriously massive installation, complete with the classic Google slide that you normally only see at its headquarters in Mountain View. The branding is all “Hey Google,” which is a pretty good indication of what’s getting pushed this year: the Google Assistant.

Our best guess is that this isn’t so much about pushing the Google Home, Google…

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Acer’s updated Swift 7 Ultrabook is once again the ‘thinnest computer in the world’

Generally, laptops at CES tend to range toward the middle of the pack, with companies saving their more unique or impressive models for less crowded times. And while Acer has shown up at CES this year with a trio of updated versions of older models, there is at least one high note: the updated Swift 7, which is even thinner than the previous version at just 8.98 millimeters thick. Acer claims it to be the thinnest laptop in the world.

Thinness aside, the rest of the Swift 7 clocks in at “pretty good.” There’s a seventh generation Core i7 processor, but it’d be nice if Acer had upgraded to the latest eighth-generation model. There’s 8GB of RAM and 256GB of PCIe…

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LG Display has made a 65-inch rollable OLED TV

A couple of years ago, LG Display showed off an intensely futuristic 18-inch OLED display that could be bent and rolled up just like a newspaper. Today, that prototype has grown to 65 inches in size, with the company announcing that it’s managed to scale up the tech to the dimensions of a large TV. At CES 2018, LG Display will be demonstrating the new 65-inch rollable OLED prototype, which also happens to have UHD (aka 4K) resolution.

Photo: LG Display

Why would you want to roll up a TV? Well, it obviously makes for easier storage and transportation, but more than anything else, it still remains a distinctly sci-fi concept. Being flexible enough to roll, the display panel becomes more organic and natural. The format…

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Here comes faster 802.11ax Wi-Fi

Intel announced this week that it’ll have chips ready within the year for the next generation of Wi-Fi — what’s known as 802.11ax. This new generation is supposed to faster, of course, but mostly it’s meant to perform better in environments with lots and lots of connected devices; so things like public hotspots, but also your house if you just have a ton of phones and tablets and smart gadgets lying around.

But even though Intel says it’s going to start shipping 802.11ax chips for routers and “consumer retail devices” this year, it’ll be a while longer before most (or even many) of us are connecting to the internet on faster Wi-Fi.

The Wi-Fi Alliance, an industry…

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Acer launches a new Chromebook 11 with USB-C

Acer is releasing a new version of the Chromebook 11, which is a pretty standard low- to mid-range addition to its array of Chromebooks.

Acer claims the new Chromebook 11 CB311 gets up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge. It also has a fanless design aimed at making the laptop quieter so that you can finally visit peaceful locales like a “family room, library, or coffee shop.” There are two USB 3.0 ports and, for the first time, two USB 3.1 Type-C ports. There’s a touch display version of the Chromebook 11 and a non-touch display option. It can also run Android apps.

Unfortunately, the Chromebook 11 has a terrible resolution for a modern laptop — its 11.6-inch display only has a 1366 x 768 resolution, like its predecessor, the…

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Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle astronaut John Young has died

Veteran astronaut John Young archived a number of milestones over the course of his 42 year career at NASA: a Navy pilot who served during the Korean War, he flew in space six time with some of the agency’s biggest programs, was the ninth person to walk on the moon, and the first to pilot the Space Shuttle. NASA announced earlier today that Young died at the age of 87 due to complications from pneumonia.

Born on September 24th, 1930, Young attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he earned his degree in aeronautical engineering in 1952. From there, he joined the US Navy, served aboard the USS LAWS during the Korean War, and went on to attend the Navy Test Pilot School. In 1962, NASA selected him as part of Astronaut Group 2,…

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Mike Brooks’ Keiko trilogy is the perfect read for fans who miss Firefly and Dark Matter

If you’re a fan of TV shows about wayward starship crews taking on whatever job will keep them flying, you might be suffering though a dry spell right now, since shows like Firefly, Farscape, and Dark Matter are no longer running. But Mike Brooks’ Keiko novels could help fill the gap. They’re an addictive dive into a fantastic universe populated by an intriguing cast of characters, who are making their way through a future in which humanity has spread across the galaxy.

Some spoilers ahead for the entire trilogy.

The ongoing series began in 2015, and so far, it’s composed of Dark Run, Dark Sky, and Dark Deeds. The books follow the misadventures of Captain Ichabod Drift, a reformed pirate who now runs the freelance cargo ship Keiko….

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