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For Apple product users, the home may soon be Siri’s domain. Apple Insider reports that Cupertino has filed a patent with the USPTO for a “smart dock” that, when plugged in, continually listens for audio cues throughout the house. It’s a much more function-rich version of docks currently available now, but with easily accessible voice control options that allow users to execute commands via voice prompts. The concept seems like a practical step for Apple to get the most use from Siri, while tackling smart home technology.

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People have the right to protect the use of our name and likeness, but what do we do about technology that can sense the shape of our face? The Hill reports that the Obama administration and the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) will hold the first of a series of monthly meetings in February to discuss “a voluntary, enforceable code of conduct that specifies how the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights applies to facial recognition technology,” according to the NTIA. The proposed policy comes as more companies are building facial recognition technology into their features.

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We’re all familiar with the smart watches and smart glasses that make up the frontier of wearable tech, but what about a smart wig? Bloomberg says Sony has filed a patent for a “SmartWig,” which could do anything from play music to check the blood pressure of the wearer. The wig could also have a built-in camera, laser, or even a GPS sensor. There are even prototypes in the works, suggesting that Sony is interested in taking this kooky concept to reality.

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Like Sony before it, it seems that Microsoft is benefitting from next-gen hype: the company said that more than a million Xbox One consoles were sold in less than 24 hours after launch last Friday — a feat that apparently shatters the initial sales record of the Xbox 360. However, its important to note that the Xbox One had a worldwide release while the similar sales numbers of the PlayStation4 were limited to the U.S. and Canada. But the strong reception both consoles have already received is a sign that next-gen fever will hit holiday shoppers hard.

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The PlayStation 4 has only been in out in the U.S. and Canada for less than a week (and done gangbusters in that short time), but Sony  is already sweetening the deal for U.K. customers with a bundle pack offering both the next-gen console and a PS Vita, according to IGN. While the advertisement IGN points to does not have any price listed, there’s no doubt that it’ll be of significant value, especially when considering the Vita’s remote play capabilities with the PS4. There’s no word on whether a bundle like this will be available Stateside for the holidays, but it could be a game-changer for Sony.

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It looks like those buzzy rumors floating around earlier this month are true: The Wall Street Journal reports that the streaming music platform has raised another $250 million in new funding, led by Technology Crossover Ventures. This latest round of funding means that the Swedish company is valued above $4 billion. According to the report, the money will likely go into the expansion of new markets like Japan, adding to the 32 markets the company already serves. Spotify has yet to comment on the deal.

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Earlier this month, Acer announced a hard reset: With unexpected, staggering losses in Q3, the company would move forward without CEO JT Wang. At the time, it was understood that Acer President Jim Wong would take over Wang’s responsibilities, but a report from Reuters says that Wong has stepped down, to be replaced by founder Stan Shih. Shih has also been elected the new chairman, and will likely oversee the company’s promised “Transformation Advisory Committee” in hopes to get back on track. The role of CEO has apparently gotten the axe as well — concentrating all the power to Shih for the company’s next moves.

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The New Jersey Attorney General has fined online video gaming company E-Sports Entertainment for exposing its players, who utilize the service to play “anti-cheat” CounterStrike competitions, to code that turned their computers into rogue Bitcoin miners, according to Wired.  The Attorney General’s statement said that the malicious code came in an update package, infecting up to 14,000 computers and allowing ESEA to monitor gamers’ computers and use them to mine a total of 30 Bitcoins.  In addition to the Attorney General’s fine, the company faces a class-action suit in California.

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Well, that was fast. About a month after Twitter unveiled the ability to direct message someone who is not following youTime reports that the feature is now missing from the Settings section. My colleague Mathew Ingram told me that he noted the change a few days ago, and sent a message to Twitter about it — only to be redirected to the company’s blog post on experiments in September. So, it’s likely that the feature was an experiment that has now been put to bed , perhaps to the benefit of Twitter’s celebrity user base.

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Some argue that the Xbox 360 controller was the greatest one ever made. Perhaps concerned that it was resting on its laurels, Microsoft poured $100 million into developing a new controller for the Xbox One, according to a VentureBeat four-part exclusive. The company researched tons of wacky features: a built-in projector, speakers and even the ability to emit smells. But the end result actually has just a few tiny tweaks from what made the 360 so successful — though those tweaks apparently cost millions in their own right. I guess it’s a small price to pay in the quest for perfection.

On The Web

Last month, the FBI was able to find and arrest Ross Ulbricht, the man behind Darknet ecommerce site (and popular online drug trafficking haven) Silk Road, and Wired has published a detailed post-mortem on how it all went down. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the raid on Ulbricht (along with nearly a dozen well-known Silk Road vendors) was a plan years in the making — built on the backs of smaller, low-profile arrests. And, it seems like they aren’t done: Law enforcement told Wired that they’re not only looking to take down more Silk Road sellers, but also those who offer Bitcoin currency conversion services as “unregistered money transmitters”.

In Brief

The PlayStation 4 has arrived: Within just 24 hours of its release in the U.S. and Canada only, the console already sold more than 1 million units, according to Sony. To put that in perspective, Nintendo’s latest console, the Wii U, has only sold 3.91 million units in its year-long lifetime. It’s unclear whether the sales count the company’s exclusive Day One preorders (which sold out over the summer), but Sony considers it a major win and, according to the AP, has set its sights on 5 million units sold by the end of March. Your move, Microsoft.

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Just a day after announcing Data Science courses with Cloudera, online educator Udacity has added a completely new facet of learning to its programs: paid training courses. Beginning January 2014, users will be able to take tech-focused, on-demand online courses developed by Cloudera, Google, and other companies in the Open Education Alliance. Unlike Udacity’s free programs, users will gain access to tutor-like Udacity Coaches and advisory help to schedule classes. The courses only result in certificates, not a degree as many were speculating, but its job-focused bent may be a better fit for Udacity’s platform overall.

In Brief

Perhaps in an effort to gain a little more buzz (and holiday sales), Laptop Magazine reports that Intel will be opening a series of pop-up stores this month, starting in New York City’s Nolita neighborhood on November 23. Intel has yet to disclose exactly what will be shown off in the stores, but the company has already stressed that the locations will be temporary — they are all set to shut down on January 14 of next year. It may be just a publicity stunt, but it’ll be interesting to see how another computer company does retail.

In Brief

While the stock gods may have smiled upon Twitter, textbook rental website Chegg saw no such luck Wednesday, tumbling off more than 20 percent from its IPO price on its first day trading, according to Forbes. With an initial price of $12.50, the stock peaked in immediate trading only to fall into a steady decline and close at $9.68 at the end of the day — a total drop of 22.6 percent. It’s a big blow to the company and to the tech IPO boom overall, which has been eyed by many wary analysts for its instability.

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