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How Emojis Find Their Way to Phones
This New York Times story describes the way that emoji–those colorful icons we often use when sending text messages–are introduced by the standards body behind them, the Unicode Consortium. 

Are a Million Free Google Cardboard Sets Doomed to Repeat CueCat’s History?
Ars Technica notes that a deal to distribute Google Cardboard, a box that makes your phone act like a virtual reality headset, to more than a million New York Times subscribers has historical echoes. Way back in 2000, several newspapers and magazines sent cat-shaped barcode scanners called CueCats to their subscribers. The device plugged into a computer and could scan barcodes in ads or on products to call up related websites, but quickly failed (which is why you probably haven’t heard of it).

Do People in Silicon Valley Ever Turn Off Their Phones?
The Atlantic surveys tech leaders in the Bay Area to see who actually takes time to unplug. Many of them said they’re never unreachable. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Wild Prediction About 2015 Is Looking Less and Less Absurd
Quartz looks at the possibility that the move to credit cards with chips inside–which can take longer to pay with than cards without chips, and require merchants to have newer electronics–might lead more people to pay for things with their smartphones.

The New App That Serves as Eyes for the Blind
A story in The Washington Post covers an app that researchers from IBM Research and Carnegie Mellon University are building to help people with visual impairments get around. Called NavCog, it talks to you or vibrates to give directional information, taking cues from Bluetooth beacons placed in the area and sensors within the handset.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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