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Seeing an error message on your Samsung phone, tablet or Smart TV today? You’re not alone, as the Samsung.com website appears to be down and owners worldwide have reported anything from error messages to being unable to access apps on their smart TVs. Reports have spread on Twitter, mostly from a community news site called Wikitree, that a fire at a Samsung SDS building in Gwacheon, South Korea is the culprit. We’ve contacted Samsung but haven’t heard anything back yet, and while some of its social media pages have noted the outage, there isn’t an official explanation posted.

Update: Naturally now that we’ve mentioned it, the outage that lasted several hours appears to have ended around 6:15AM ET. The same users who were having problems with their smart TVs and phones seem to have full access again. A Samsung SDS blog post confirms the fire and subsequent outage, while apologizing for the inconvenience. The big question left? Why a fire at one location seemed to have such a wide ranging affect on the company’s devices and services.

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Source: Wikitree, Samsung.com, Is It Down Right Now?, ICT Story

Been putting off sideloading AllCast’s SDK to your brand new Amazon Fire TV? Well, friend, your procrastination has paid off. Now, all you have to do to install the casting and screen-mirroring app is download it straight from the Amazon App Store. So long as you also have AllCast installed on an Android device, you can beam photos, videos and music from your phone or tablet to Amazon’s set-top box. Plus, you can use the app to view images and videos saved on Google+ and Dropbox. If you don’t plan to pick up a Fire TV (waiting for the second one, eh?), you can still use AllCast with a number of other devices, including Chromecast, Xbox One, Roku, Apple TV and a smattering of smart TVs.

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Source: Koushik Dutta (Google+), Amazon

word wifi written in a...

Last week at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) show, FCC head Tom Wheeler pushed broadcasters to loosen their grip on spectrum that the agency plans to auction off to give wireless internet room to grow. Now, he’s laid out a draft of the rules for the auction before it takes place next year. The upcoming incentive auction will be a three stage process that, once completed, should open up more wireless spectrum for high-speed services like WiFi. WiFi operates on “unlicensed spectrum” that’s open for anyone to use, and similar networks or devices could take advantage of any new frequencies the FCC opens up, while reducing interference with existing networks. That’s good and bad however, since they’d fill the space in between networks, it could be harder to build up something like WiFi.

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Source: Tom Wheeler

Most people take soil for granted, assuming that if you shove a seed into some dirt and add some water, hey presto. Stick it under an electron microscope, however, and you suddenly see a whole microcosm that exists beneath our feet. Landscape gardener Chris Beardshaw takes us on a tour to see why soil is so important, what risks it faces and what happens to it when we’re not paying attention. It may not seem like the most entertaining subject for a TV documentary, but there’s plenty of useful facts about dirt that you’ll be able to wheel out the next time you go for a walk. Unless you’re a germophobe, of course.

Deep Down and Dirty, The Science of Soil is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

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Source: BBC iPlayer

Taylor Schilling in a scene from Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” Season 2. Photo credit: JoJo Whilden for Netflix.

House of Cards is probably Netflix’s most-discussed original series, but fans of Orange is the New Black would argue it matches Frank Underwood & Co. in both deviousness and quality. As usual, the entire second season will premiere at once on June 6th, and it should be an even wilder ride than the first time around, as shown in this trailer (embedded after the break). The gang is back, including Piper, her ex Alex Vause played by Laura Prepon, Crazy Eyes, Pennsatucky and all the rest. Netflix isn’t the only service or channel investing in original content to set itself apart, but over the last year or so it’s been one of the most consistently successful, and with new additions like Sense8 and Marco Polo coming soon, those trying to catch up will face a tough job in prying any of its 30 million+ customers loose.

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Source: Netflix (YouTube), Netflix

Sony and Microsoft’s console sales were neck and neck for awhile, but the gap is starting to widen: according to the latest NPD numbers, Sony is winning the race. Yesterday, the Japanese hardware manufacturer announced that it has moved more than seven million PlayStation 4s worldwide — today Microsoft countered with a total of five million, trailing Sony in both monthly and lifelong sales. A stark difference, sure, but it’s not all bad: the Xbox exclusive Titanfall is the industry’s top-selling title right now, and the second highest selling for the platform overall. The new console is also outpacing the Xbox 360’s first-year sales by more than 60 percent; it’s doing well, it’s just not top dog. The latest inFamous game (a PS4 exclusive) ranked the second highest selling game for the month of March, followed by multiplatform titles like South Park: The Stick of Truth, Call of Duty Ghosts and Dark Souls II.

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Via: Joystiq

Source: Xbox

Slingbox has pushed out a handful of updates for SlingPlayer on iOS and Android, adding new features on both platforms. On the Android side, Slingbox joined forces with sporting-app Thuuz. Now if you have to skip watching the Giants game for work, SlingPlayer will let you know Tim Lincecum is using his secret mustache powers to pitch a no-hitter. If you can sneak away from your meeting for a “bathroom break,” a link within the app will instantly tune you into the hair-raising action. The sports app won’t be integrated into the iPhone version of SlingPlayer until this summer, but iOS users can still download it on its own to try out now.

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Via: Slingbox

Source: Google Play, iTunes

Fire TV came out of the gate with an impressive initial effort, however one of its rough edges is that the voice search is actually quite limited. At launch it could only provide results from Amazon’s own movie and TV selections or music videos from Vevo, but the company is already adding new services to the mix. Hulu Plus, Showtime Anytime and Crackle are first up, which is a good list, but it’s still missing Netflix. The new services will start popping up later this summer, which gives Amazon more than enough time to make sure a query for House of Cards pulls it up on both Netflix and Amazon video on-demand. This also makes it more competitive with similar features on competitors like Roku and Xbox, once it’s filled out.

Amazon is also working on new features, including one that we hadn’t noticed before called “Prime Browse.” Joning FreeTime parental controls and MP3 music access on the “coming soon” list, it appears that Prime browse will solve one of our other initial frustrations, and filter a view for only the content that’s included with the Prime subscription service. More games and services are also on the way of course, but if you have a specific request for Amazon’s developers, feel free to leave it here.

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Source: Amazon

Go ahead and dust off your OUYAs, friends — it’s updatin’ time. The little Android game console that could wasn’t exactly the runaway hit its creators were hoping for, but some fresh features found in the new Chupacabra update help this thing stand a bit taller. As far as the team is concerned, the biggest draw is the addition of AC3, DTS and AAS audio passthrough support for the exceedingly popular XBMC media center app. The OUYA itself doesn’t have the proper licenses to play certain bits of audio (say, a movie’s surround sound audio track), but now it can pass them over to a user’s home theater receiver that does have the licenses. In short, those of you using your tiny Android consoles as media centers can finally play some of the trickier videos in your collection.

Also tucked away in the update: a cleaner view at game information, a download manager and the ability to set certain games as favorites for easy access. Alas, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows here — OUYA said it would remove its free-to-try requirement, and that change has finally taken hold. Granted, the move basically neuters one of the most gamer-friendly parts about owning an OUYA (who doesn’t love free game demos?), but we suppose the company’s gotta do what it has to in order to keep those game developers happy.

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Source: Ouya

Google’s little $35 dongle is like a fine wine: it just keeps getting better with age. Today, the Chromecast is adding support for MLB.tv, letting you push out live out-of-market games right to your TV from a smartphone or tablet. The only caveat is that you’ll need an MLB.tv Premium subscription to do so, but chances are most of you hardcore fans of America’s pastime already have one of those. If you do, the only thing left to do is grab the MLB At Bat app from Google Play or the App Store — an update that brings Chromecast support to these apps should be rolling out as we speak. And while you’re at it, perhaps you may want to download R.B.I. Baseball 14, so you can have an all-baseball day to yourself.

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Source: Google, Google Play, App Store