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NomadPlus external battery

If you're tired of lugging around both an external battery pack and a power adapter to keep your iPhone running, today's your lucky day. Nomad (the company behind the ChargeCard) has started taking pre-orders for the NomadPlus, a 1,500mAh external battery that takes advantage of the Apple's official power plug to save space. Slide the charger in and you can top up your iPhone (or other low-power USB devices) with one peripheral, whether or not you're anywhere near a wall outlet. Logically, it will also recharge its own battery when plugged in. The gadget doesn't provide much energy on its own -- it will only bring an iPhone up to 70 percent -- but it should be enough to get you through a typical day.

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Potato breeding programs at Michigan State University and Texas A&M have been churning out modified spuds for the better part of a decade, if not longer, but thanks to A&M's Creighton Miller, we now have a better idea of the 'designer' potato's target market. "What we're doing now is developing unique varieties that appeal to the younger set that is high-income that are willing to try something different," he explained in an interview with AgriLife Today, holding a variety of product, including a "gourmet" potato sporting "red flesh with splashes of yellow." Michigan State's program, meanwhile, has developed a variety called "Raspberry." According to a report in Txchnologist, that potato has vibrant red flesh and a skin that's flavored like the fruit. You might get a good feel for how it tastes by taking a bite while it's still garden-fresh, but that particular potato, along with another simply referred to as "MSQ558-2RR," are likely destined to end their lives as thin-cut chips. De-licious.

[Photo credit: Texas A&M AgriLife Communications]

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The popular log-in repository 1Password is about to get a lot more useful on iOS devices. AgileBits has revealed an extension for using the add-on in third-party iOS apps -- if the developer chooses to build in support. Thanks to the enhanced security measures taken by Apple's pending mobile OS update, the option can be included and doesn't require you to go elsewhere in order to sort your passwords in standalone apps. Of course, this is in addition to 1Password's own built-in browser that currently included and Touch ID is leveraged to access the secured vault of username credentials. 1Password for iOS is a $18 purchase, and we're not holding our breath for similar functionality to arrive on the Android version anytime soon (although on Android LastPass has a similar feature for logging into apps). While you wait for your favorite software to opt in, there's a handy demo in GIF after the break.

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There's a distinctive sound your computer makes when an online friend is trying to get your attention. Sometimes its high pitched, other times its a low, warm tone, but regardless of your chat software, the onomatopoeia probably reads something like "bleep" which -- by no coincidence, we're sure -- is what BitTorrent is calling its new messaging platform. Unlike Google Hangouts, AIM or Skype, however, Bleep is a decentralized communication platform, design specifically to protect user metadata and anonymity.

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Despite years of rumors about what Apple might, could or should do to revolutionize the TV experience, the company hasn't done much beyond releasing (and occasionally updating) its Apple TV set-top box. The Information reports that engineers working on the long-rumored project to go further, have been told not to expect a launch this year, and are targeting 2015. If true, the leaks today reflect mostly the same situation as they did about two years ago, with Apple trying to talk cable operators and studios into a sort of joint operation. That way, viewers could watch live TV or cloud-stored recordings / VOD (plus apps and gaming) all through Apple's box and UI. Of course, working out how everyone will get paid and trying to convince operators like Comcast to give up their hold on the (often troubling) relationship with customers hasn't been easy and the usual "people in the know" say those negotiations are to blame for the slow progress.

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Looking at Russia's Vkontakte social network on an iPhone 5 in Moscow

Russia has been extra-sensitive to technological threats to its government as of late, and that's clearer than ever in the wake of a new government proposal. Communication Minister Nikolai Nikiforov has suggested that Apple and SAP should hand over their source code to prove that it doesn't have "undeclared capabilities" for spying on Russian agencies. In other words, he doesn't want to give the NSA free rein just because an official brought an iPhone to work. While he isn't certain as to whether or not institutions will keep using products whose code remains a secret, there's an implication that Apple and SAP may be locked out of government contracts if Putin and crew believe there's too much of a risk. Much of that business could go to Microsoft, which has been cooperating with Russia since 2003.

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If you've been itchin' for more info on Mountain View's compact self-driving car, you're in luck. At 11AM PT/2PM ET this Friday (August 1st), Google is hosting a live Hangout as the folks from Make take a behind the scenes look at the project for its summer camp series. The so-called Field Trip is said to have a gander at how the vehicles work and provide an update on recent developments. Those who plan on tuning in can submit specific queries in advance for the Q&A session, but even if you don't plan on posing a question, taking an early (or late) lunch seems like a solid choice.

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Chrome Web Store on Windows

If you've wanted to try the 64-bit version of Chrome for Windows 7 and 8 but have been skittish about the flakiness of very early builds, your moment has come -- Google has released a beta of its beefed-up browser. As with the Canary and developer editions, this more reliable software makes full use of modern computing power to both speed up web page rendering and tighten security. The code still isn't complete, so don't be surprised if there are a few hiccups. However, a beta means that a truly stable 64-bit browser is likely just weeks away. Even if you're not willing to throw caution to the wind, it won't be long before you can give Chrome's big upgrade a spin.

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One of the most attractive benefits of subscribing to Amazon Prime is the free two-day shipping or an overnight option available for a small fee, depending on the item and destination. But in many cases, you might not need your stuff until the following week, making the e-tailer's new "no-rush shipping" option appealing. If you opt for Amazon's slowest delivery speed, you'll also be rewarded with a $1 Amazon Instant Video credit. Credits do expire, and certain content is excluded, such as HBO titles. It's a "limited time offer," according to the site's terms and conditions, but considering the cost savings for Amazon, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect the incentive to remain.

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