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Updated: 2 hours 44 min ago

Mobile Call Quality Gets a Long-Overdue Upgrade

Mon, 05/25/2015 - 00:00

Wireless companies and a few ambitious startups are racing to make your cell-phone calls better.

While apps have turned smartphones into digital Swiss Army knives that can do everything from tracking your heartbeat to hailing you a cab, the phone part of the smartphone hasn’t gotten much better over the years.

Firefox Maker Battles to Save the Internet—and Itself

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 00:00

Mozilla helped an open Web flourish in the 2000s. Now it’s struggling to play a meaningful role on mobile devices.

In Silicon Valley, most pioneers pursue big ideas and giant personal fortunes with equal zeal. Then there’s Mozilla, an innovation dynamo that refuses to get rich.

Internet of Farm Things

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 00:00

Companies are competing to turn data into advice on how to farm better, and attracting investments from the likes of Google Ventures and Monsanto.

For more on how technology is changing food, please read our upcoming Business Report, High-Tech Food Chain, this coming Tuesday.

Oculus Rift Hack Transfers Your Facial Expressions onto Your Avatar

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 00:00

Facebook teams with researchers to transfer your smiles and frowns into virtual reality.

Virtual reality is set to get a vital dash of social reality.

Leaderless Bitcoin Struggles to Make Its Most Crucial Decision

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 00:00

Bitcoin’s most influential developer has proposed a controversial fix that would help it handle more transactions.

In a test of Bitcoin’s ability to adapt to its own growing popularity, the Bitcoin community is facing a dilemma: how to change Bitcoin’s core software so that the growing volume of transactions doesn’t overwhelm the network. Some fear that the network, as it’s currently designed, could become overwhelmed as early as next year.

Single Cells Analyzed at Unprecedented Scale

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 00:00

Scientists launch a microscopic quest to find out what we’re really made of.

How many types of cells are there in the human body? Textbooks say a couple of hundred. But the true number is undoubtedly far larger.

Startup Beams the Web’s Most Important Content from Space, Free

Fri, 05/15/2015 - 00:00

The world’s poor could benefit from a system that is blanketing half Earth’s surface with a signal that provides free access to Wikipedia and other useful websites.

What do you get if you cross a satellite TV receiver with the Internet? According to startup Outernet, a way to bring billions more people the benefit of online information.

Can You Improve Your E-Mails by Analyzing Recipients’ Personalities?

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 00:00

Startup Crystal claims it can help you write better e-mails by mining recipients’ online data for clues to their personality.

It can be hard to figure out just what to say in an e-mail to someone you don’t know very well. A startup wants to make this easier by correcting messages as you type, suggesting changes that may make the recipient more receptive to what you’re saying. These suggestions are gleaned from data gathered about the recipients online.

The Lake That Could Light Up Central Africa

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 00:00

In a first-of-its-kind endeavor, electricity-starved Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are trying to get power from a lake—and avert catastrophe.

This video is a companion to Lake Kivu’s Great Gas Gamble.

Dropbox Follows the Money into Crowded Market for Business Tools

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 00:00

Dropbox, the provider of online data storage, is adding productivity features as it wades into the corporate market dominated by Microsoft and Google.

The file-storage service Dropbox has grown to 300 million users on the strength of a cuddly consumer image and an easy-to-use system for storing and sharing files online. But Dropbox’s latest moves have more in common with corporation-courting software companies such as Microsoft.