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By Harry McCracken | What Harry McCracken is writing--and reading--on the web

Guesswork in Cashing In Delta’s Frequent-Flier Miles

For about a quarter-century, frequent-flier miles have represented a kind of magic for many consumers.

You’d take a bunch of trips that you would have taken anyway and earn miles along the way. After a while, you’d earn a free flight. If you earned enough miles, you could spin the globe and travel …

Flying

TSA’s Behavior Detection Program Has a Newsletter, and It’s Ridiculous

The Transportation Security Administration’s embattled behavior detection program has not identified a single terrorist, but it has produced glossy …

Walt Disney Company

YotaPhone 2 won’t be coming to the US

Yota Devices revealed today that it is canceling its plans to launch the YotaPhone 2 in the US, citing complications with its manufacturing partners. According to an email sent to backers of the phone through Indiegogo and obtained by The Verge, the company says "the reason for our cancelled launch …

North America

Yahoo Will Acquire Fashion Startup Polyvore

Yahoo just announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire style-focused community Polyvore.

In a blog post about the deal, Yahoo’s senior vice president of publisher products Simon Khalaf highlighted “Polyvore’s expertise on community-driven experiences and retailer-supported commerce” and …

Yahoo

This iPhone Accessory Replaces An Eye Doctor's Office

A $4,000 iPhone gadget replaces a 30-pound, $20,000 machine, allowing eye doctors to visit patients they couldn't reach before.

Anyone who's had an eye exam in the past few decades has stared into an autorefractor—the device, the size of microwave oven and costing up to $20,000, that bounces an …

iPhone

Boost Your Brainstorming With These Essential Free Apps

Mind-mapping, note-taking, whiteboarding, and more.

When thoughts get moving a mile a minute, even the most structured brainstorming sessions can get out of hand. These five apps will help you corral your ideas, queue up inspiration, and collaborate with your colleagues.

1. Connect the Dots

You're a …

Note-Taking

In Microsoft’s Nokia Debacle, a View of an Industry’s Feet of Clay

Let’s call it the $7.5 billion lesson.

That’s the amount Microsoft wrote off on Nokia’s phone unit, which it bought a little over a year ago for what it said was $9.5 billion. Considering that the deal included $1.5 billion in cash, the write-off means Microsoft now values a business that once …

Nokia

Bravo, Microsoft. Windows 10 Is Fast, Smart, and Surprisingly Innovative.

I’m typing this article on a Microsoft Surface tablet, using Windows 10.

That's important for two reasons. First, Microsoft released Windows 10 in …

Microsoft Windows

Big questions ahead for HubSpot after dismissal of top marketing executive

Boston’s most transparent tech company went all opaque on us yesterday.

HubSpot, the publicly-traded maker of sales and marking software, tossed out a …

Marketing

Here’s how this lion-killing dentist thing is going to play out

Look, I know it seems pretty wide open right now, but this lion-killing dentist thing is sailing along just as it’s supposed to:The killer of the …

Dentistry

The Timepiece That Will Revolutionize the Watch World Isn’t Made by Apple. It’s by Swatch.

Apple’s design mastermind Jony Ive spoke in no uncertain terms when he described what the Apple Watch would mean for Switzerland: The old watch …

Swatch

Microsoft to open its New York City flagship store this fall

Microsoft is going to open its flagship Microsoft Store in New York City on Fifth Avenue this fall.

The date makes sense with all the rumors swirling …

Microsoft

A Smarter OnePlus Unveils Its Second Smartphone, The OnePlus 2

Making a hit phone taught this startup an awful lot about everything from managing inventory to working with bamboo.

In April of 2014, a startup based in Shenzhen, China unveiled its first smartphone. The company was OnePlus, and the phone was the OnePlus One: an Android model that attracted …

Virtual Reality

Clock Is Ticking for Time Inc. CEO

In April, Time Inc. Chief Executive Joe Ripp flew to Procter & Gamble Co.’s headquarters in Cincinnati determined to reverse an ominous trend.

Like many other marketers, the consumer-products giant is shifting more of its advertising online. P&G, the world’s largest advertiser, cut its print …

Advertising

Newspapers continue backward thinking about linking

I remain an optimist that newspapers aren’t dying. But if they die, the cause of death will be suicide, not that the evil Internet killed …

News Industry

Apple Watch to Be Sold at Best Buy

One month after Apple Inc. started selling Apple Watch at its own stores, the company said it will bring the device to Best Buy stores in August.

Apple said its smartwatch will be available at more than 100 Best Buy stores in the U.S., expanding to over 300 outlets before the holiday shopping …

Best Buy

What Really Killed Homejoy? It Couldn't Hold On To Its Customers

A cleaning company charges north of $85 for a 2.5-hour house cleaning, but to rope in as many new customers as possible, it offers the service for a promotional price of $19. Guess what happens when the introductory deal is used up?

You don’t need an MBA to solve this riddle. The customer never …

Customers

Technicolor to Buy Cisco’s Set-Top Box Unit for About $600 Million

SAN FRANCISCO—Technicolor SA has agreed to buy Cisco Systems Inc.’s TV set-top business for about $600 million, one of the first signs of Cisco’s …

Cisco Systems

While Its Streaming Service Booms, Netflix Streamlines Old Business

FREMONT, Calif. — It was just past sunrise on an early-spring morning at Netflix’s DVD operations here, where metallic arms whirred in a giant glass box and rolling carts holding millions of DVDs lined the walls. The company’s iconic red envelopes buzzed through an assembly line at the other end of …

Netflix

Nintendo shutting down Wii U TVii service in August

Nintendo TVii, the service for Wii U that lets its users find, watch and interact with television content through the console's GamePad controller, is shutting down on Aug. 11, Nintendo announced in a Miiverse post today.

"After almost 3 years of finding, watching and engaging with Nintendo TVii, we …

Nintendo

State Of Georgia Sues Carl Malamud For Copyright Infringement For Publishing The State's Own Laws

Two years ago, we wrote about the state of Georgia ridiculously threatening to sue Carl Malamud and his site Public.Resource.org for copyright …

Copyright

HP bans T-shirts at work, and employees are furious

The traditional Silicon Valley coder uniform.

For a lot of programmers, especially in Silicon Valley, the trusted T-shirt-and-hoodie combo makes up the only work uniform they need. It's considered by many to be a perk of the job: Nobody cares how you dress for work, so long as you deliver.

But this …

Silicon Valley

This is Apple Music's worst nightmare

Jim (“The Beard”) Dalrymple has given up on Apple and gone back to Spotify.

The most remarkable thing about Jim Dalrymple—besides, you know, his facial hair—is his access to people in the know at Apple HQ. A simple “Yep” or “Nope” from the former news editor of Macworld is enough to make or break an …

Apple Music

P.J. O’Rourke: How I Killed 'National Lampoon' (Guest Column)

This story first appeared in the July 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

A new Vacation

National Lampoon's Vacation

Square Said to File Confidentially for Initial Offering

Square Inc., the mobile-payments company founded and led by Jack Dorsey, the interim chief executive officer of Twitter Inc., filed confidentially …

Twitter

5 Great Free Apps That Pair Well With Friends

Virtual staring contests, long-distance TV watching, newfangled link-sharing, and more.

Just because your smartphone is the most personal of your devices doesn't mean you should sit on a beanbag chair in your closet, salty tears navigating the gentle slopes of your cheekbones while you play the part …

TV

Comcast’s new streaming service is not as terrible as you might think

Sure, it’s Comcast. But Stream is also a step toward fixing what's wrong with cable TV.

Heaven help me; I’m about to defend Comcast.

Like most tech …

TV

Apple's HomeKit Is Proving To Be Too Demanding For Bluetooth Smart Home Devices

It’s been more than a year since Apple announced HomeKit, its system for connecting smart home devices through iOS. And as with all things Apple, expectations are high. Maybe too high.

So far, only five companies have launched HomeKit-certified smart home devices. What’s the hold up? Apple has …

Bluetooth

Sony Animation Will Make Emoji, The Feature Film

Sony Pictures Animation (SPA), which has struggled to make animated films that connect with audiences thinks it has finally found the answer: Emoji. …

Animation