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Apple sells 10 million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Pluses

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Happy Sunday from Software Expand! In this week’s edition of Feedback Loop, we talk about the future of Windows Phone, whether it makes sense to build media centers discuss the preferences for metal vs. plastic on smartphones. All that and more past the break the proof of concept.

Just because you can do something, should you? Samsung thinks so. Its second experimentally screened phone taps into its hardware R&D and production clout to offer something not many other companies can make.

WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM WINDOWS PHONE?

The same high-resolution (2,560 – 1,600) screen — we’re certain a mere 1080p “Plus” curved display.

And so, following the Galaxy Round, here’s the Galaxy Edge. If you take the basic shape and concept, it’s the spitting image of the curved-screen Youm prototype spied at CES a little less than two years ago.

Now, though, it’s a for-real smartphone you can buy. I’ve been testing it out in Japan, where it launched instead of the Note 4, although both the Note 4 and the Note Edge will eventually be available in the US. Fortunately.

Galaxy Note Edge is how much it resembles the Note 4

The ability to shrink the likes of Chrome and Google Maps to a popup window and layer it on top of other apps is also useful; I’d love to see something similar on the iPhone 6 Plus.

Despite the unusual, curved screen, it still packs all of the good things that made the Note 4 such a strong choice. But bragging rights aside, is there enough of an argument for a curved screen? Should you just get the Note 4 anyway?

METAL VS. PLASTIC PHONE BODIES?

Galaxy Note 4 because the setup is identical here. Yes running on Android 4.4 KitKat.

The exploration of space stands as one of humanity’s greatest achievements. While history has hailed the men and women who reached the cosmos, and those who helped them get there, much of the infrastructure that sent them skyward lies forgotten and dilapidated.

Galaxy Note 4 running Android 4.4 KitKat.

And how does Apple’s biggest phone compare to the Note Edge? Well, both remain unwieldy to grip, and the Note Edge is wider. However, the edged screen nuzzles into my hand better and those software tweaks mentioned above give it the advantage. However, just like the stylus, there’s a while before you get the knack of all the little provisions Samsung’s made to ease users into this screen size.

Roland Miller has spent nearly half his life chronicling these landmarks before they are lost forever long been obsessed with space as a child, he dreamed of being an astronaut.

HARDWARE

Its curves are subjective and divisive; my friends and colleagues have offered up reactions ranging from outright bemusement to adoration. The screen looks great, with the punchy contrast and sharpness that’s been a Samsung flagship mainstay for years. We’ll get back to that edge, but it’s the headline part of a 5.6-inch Quad-HD+ display.

This means a little chunk of extra screen makes the phone just less than 4mm wider, and around 2mm shorter, than the Note 4.

ONE-HANDED USE

Both come with software tricks like shrinkable keyboards as well as a new, tiny floating menu that can be stuck to the outer edge of the screen. This duplicates the capacitive button row, which could be a solution of sorts for lefties.

I can even make this secondary menu transparent, allowing me to maintain all that screen space. The ability to shrink the likes of Chrome and Google Maps to a popup window and layer it on top of other apps is also useful I’d love to see something similar on the iPhone 6 Plus.

SOFTWARE

If you’re looking to learn more about the stylus’ uses, I’d advise a quick read of Brad’s Galaxy Note 4 review, because the setup is identical here. Yes, there are TouchWiz bits running on Android 4.4 KitKat, but Samsung continues to clear away unnecessary bloat and options.

It’s still a work in progress, though, and I feel the settings menus are particularly obtuse compared to other Android phones — and especially iOS. It takes some getting used to.

The Galaxy Note Edge grabs your attention. Its curves are subjective and divisive; my friends and colleagues have offered up reactions ranging from outright bemusement to adoration.

But let’s focus on what’s different here: that edge. There are two display modes you can flit between: a slender, unassuming bar that can display a customized message and a more substantial column that attempts to offer extra functionality, notifications or context-dependent menus for certain apps, like the camera.

The front-facing camera is also a top-end sensor compared to the competition, 3.7 megapixels with an f/1.9 lens.

While I’m not a huge selfie taker, you’ll have to ask our Senior Selfie Editor, but I do take a whole lot of photos with my smartphone, so I was interested to see how Samsung’s newest smartphone camera handled.

The same high-resolution 2,560 – 1,600 screen we’re certain 1080p “Plus” curved display.

When it’s expanded, the UI is a basic row of icons, which you can navigate with a little swipe. This may look a little unusual, but swishing through the various mini-screens is immensely satisfying.

And how does Apple’s biggest phone compare to the Note Edge? Well, both remain unwieldy to grip, and the Note Edge is wider. However, the edged screen nuzzles into my hand better and those software tweaks mentioned above give it the advantage.

However, just like the stylus, there’s a while before you get the knack of all the little provisions Samsung’s made to ease users into this screen size.

The screen is marginally smaller than the Note 4, despite the cranked-up pixel count. Like the Note 4, text pops a little more, and pictures you take with the 16MP camera are obviously better replicated on the Note Edge’s screen.

All told, it’s an excellent camera. The image stabilizing works well on all the neon lights that pepper Tokyo, while even people were neatly captured. There’s some noise, but it compares favorably against older Galaxy phones. Daylight meant effortless captures and some really nice shots, if I say so myself.

Focus was swift, and auto white balance seemed to gauge scenes perfectly. If you have a proclivity for HDR, rest assured the Edge does an excellent job there.

The shades are still a little overdone, but you can choose from a few custom color palettes if you’re not a fan of high-contrast menus and photos.

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Bitcoin Surges 15% Overnight Because Nobody Learned Their Lesson After the Last Crash

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Photo: Getty ImagesBitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency in the world, jumped to a four-month high overnight, briefly breaching $5,000 on the Bitstamp exchange. Bitcoin is up roughly 15% on the day and traders are excited because it really seems like nobody learned their lesson during the last cryptocurrency bubble.As CNBC notes, “The reason for the sudden price jump wasn’t immediately clear.” And it would all be pretty funny if it wasn’t so sad.Bitcoin hit a record high of $19,783.06 in December of 2017 after months of hype in the popular press. Plenty of people got in when the cryptocurrency was expensive, and smart people cashed out, leaving average folks with huge losses. By December of 2018, Bitcoin had bottomed out at about $3,400. But it looks like speculators might ride the rollercoaster again.Bitcoin’s surge in the past 24 hoursImage: CoindeskTo be clear, Bitcoin is absolutely worthless by any real measure. It’s fake money that’s about as practical to use in the real world as Monopoly bills. Bitcoin is backed by nothing and requires tremendous amounts of energy to mine using computers. As it becomes more difficult to mine, it saps more and more energy, causing millions of tons of carbon dioxide to be pumped into the atmosphere and accelerating climate change. Bitcoin is little more than a speculator’s death cult at this point.Bitcoin is so rife with scam artists that Google and Facebook banned cryptocurrency advertisements on their platforms last year. Facebook said it had taken the action because cryptocurrencies were, “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”There’s also the problem of protecting the money of people who buy into an exchange where the founder dies and $180 million just disappears into thin air. Or the problem of $224 million getting swiped because someone hacked your phone.But that hasn’t stopped people from buying heavily into the cryptocurrency scam, even as smaller cryptocurrencies have shriveled to nothing.“Bitcoin has been trading range bound for a while now and shaking off some of the negative sentiment that it accrued in 2018,” Charles Hayter of the digital currency comparison firm CryptoCompare, told CNBC today. And you can say that again. But perhaps some of that “negative sentiment” was well earned.Humans never learn, but I’m not here to tell you how to spend your money. Do whatever makes you happy. I’m sure this time will be different, right?[CNBC]
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Bitcoin surges, hitting $5,000 for the first time this year

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Bitcoin price is pumping, and no one is sure why.Image: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesBy Stan Schroeder2019-04-02 07:49:58 UTC

Bitcoin has been in a lull in recent months. The largest cryptocurrency’s price kept declining throughout 2018, finally finding a bottom at roughly $3,200 last December. Since then, it’s been a slow and shaky climb upwards. 
On Tuesday, however, the price of Bitcoin surged more than 15% in less than an hour. The price briefly surpassed $5,000 on some exchanges, but is now slowly declining and currently sits at $4680, according to CoinMarketCap. 

Bitcoin’s price is known to be volatile, but this surge is notable as Bitcoin hasn’t come close to $5,000 since November 2018. Furthermore, the sudden rise brings back memories of 2017, when such enormous price increases were nothing out of the ordinary. 

Feels like 2017 all over again.The reasons behind the price increase, as is often the case with Bitcoin, are hard to discern. The entire cryptocurrency space has steadily been making progress throughout 2018 and 2019 despite the negative price movement, but there haven’t been any major new developments around Bitcoin that would prompt such a quick price jump. Notably, even Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Binance, appeared stumped by the price surge as well. 

anyone know any news? I have been asked “a few” times, but honestly clueless.
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) April 2, 2019

In fact, recent news has been fairly negative. A recent report by crypto index fund Bitwise had found that 95 percent of Bitcoin trading volume is fake. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) delayed a decision on two possible Bitcoin ETF listings last week. And crypto exchange Bithumb was hacked to the tune of $13 million just last week. 
The prices of other major cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum, XRP, EOS and Litecoin, all jumped considerably, though not as much as Bitcoin. The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies currently stands at $158 billion. 
Disclosure: The author of this text owns, or has recently owned, a number of cryptocurrencies, including BTC and ETH.

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Jack Dorsey is recruiting his own personal bitcoin posse

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Please be my friend.Image: Hindustan Times / gettyBy Jack Morse2019-03-21 00:18:58 UTC

If reporting directly to an eccentric billionaire and getting paid in bitcoin sounds like your cup of tea, then does Jack Dorsey have an offer for you. 
On March 20, the CEO of both Twitter and Square made use of the former to announce a new and very specific job opportunity in the land of cryptocurrency. Specifically, Dorsey wants you to join his personal super crypto posse — saving the bitcoin-maximalist world one open source contribution at a time. 

“Square is hiring 3-4 crypto engineers and 1 designer to work full-time on open source contributions to the bitcoin/crypto ecosystem,” he wrote. “Work from anywhere, report directly to me, and we can even pay you in bitcoin!”

#BitcoinTwitter and #CryptoTwitter! Square is hiring 3-4 crypto engineers and 1 designer to work full-time on open source contributions to the bitcoin/crypto ecosystem. Work from anywhere, report directly to me, and we can even pay you in bitcoin! Introducing @SqCrypto. Why?
— jack (@jack) March 20, 2019

And while Dorsey only announced the new roles at Square today, he’s already giving out marching orders. Essentially, he wants his renegade crew to make cool open source stuff (and, again, report directly to him). 

This will be Square’s first open source initiative independent of our business objectives. These folks will focus entirely on what’s best for the crypto community and individual economic empowerment, not on Square’s commercial interests. All resulting work will be open and free.
— jack (@jack) March 20, 2019

“These folks will focus entirely on what’s best for the crypto community and individual economic empowerment, not on Square’s commercial interests,” Dorsey wrote. “All resulting work will be open and free.”

I love this technology and community. I’ve found it to be deeply principled, purpose-driven, edgy, and…really weird. Just like the early internet! I’m excited to get to learn more directly.
— jack (@jack) March 20, 2019

That the lasered-goat eating CEO wants cryptocurrency to succeed should not come as a surprise. The Square Cash App allows users to buy and sell bitcoin, and he has spoken in the past about the need for the internet to have its own currency — presumably one that isn’t FacebookCoin.
“The internet deserves a native currency; it will have a native currency,” he told a gathered crowd at the 2018 Consensus conference. “I don’t know if it will be bitcoin or not. I hope it will be. I am a huge fan.”
Now a lucky few have the chance to help make Dorsey’s BUIDL dream a reality, all the while working directly with the bearded wonder himself. The world of cryptocurrency truly is magical.  

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