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The ubiquitous search box widget at the top of your Android mobile device is getting some new tricks. Chris Lacy, creator of the Action Launcher app, announced the release of Action Launcher 3.5 on Tuesday. The new version builds on AL 3.0, which allowed users to match the widget's color to their background theme (as well as the app drawer) or scroll through an alphabetical app list accessible from the home screen. The app also features slick shortcuts for both folders and widgets called covers and shutters, respectively. And with the release of AL 3.5, users can fully customize the search box by incorporating apps, shortcuts and even menu groups directly into the bar itself.

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NASA's Juno probe as it should appear over Jupiter

It's been a long time in coming, but NASA's Juno probe is finally close to reaching Jupiter. NASA reports that the spacecraft is "on track" to arrive on July 4th, 2016 (how American!), and that the ground crew is tweaking the flight plan to at once give Juno more time and complete tasks ahead of schedule. The ship's initial orbit is splitting into two in order to test instruments before the science gathering starts. Also, it'll take 14 days to complete an orbit rather than the originally planned 11. That will extend the mission from 15 months to 20, but it should both get basic mapping data sooner (8 orbits instead of 15) and offer more leeway in case the Jovian world's magnetism and radiation create havoc. Hopefully, all this extra work will ensure that scientists understand not just the beginnings of Jupiter and the Solar System, but also the behavior of gas giants around alien stars.

[Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech]


Star Wars takes over Legoland

Get ready to add another big Star Wars date to your calendar. On May 25th, 2018, Disney is planning another standalone flick in the universe, this time focusing on Han Solo's early days -- before he ran into Luke, Leia and the rest. It's going to be directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, the pair responsible for the excellent The Lego Movie, with writing handled by Lawrence and Jon Kasdan. Lawrence wrote and directed Raiders of the Lost Ark, and was a co-writer for Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and the next main Stars Wars flick, The Force Awakens, while his son Jon has written for movies and TV shows including Freaks and Geeks and Dawson's Creek. The first standalone Star Wars movie, Rogue One, is due in December 2016, with Episode VIII and BB-8 following in May 2017.

[Image credit: Steve Parsons/PA Archive]


There are a host of new features coming to Plex's Xbox One app. In addition to the standard fare of navigation tweaks, added SmartGlass functionality and bug fixes, the media organizer/caster now allows users to play music through their Xbone. Plex also now offers playlist support for both songs and videos. Plus, there's no longer need to convert videos either, the service can play back video in Xbox's native MKV file format. But arguably the coolest new feature is that you'll finally get real, honest-to-goodness trailers prior to watching your films. It's as close to the theater experience you can get without having to pay for IMAX and stale popcorn.


If you're a hardcore Destiny fan, it's been a rough couple weeks. First, Bungie announced the game's next big expansion, then it revealed some of its content would be exclusive to a pricey $80 collector's edition -- even if you already owned the base game. There was anger, rebellion, Red Bull product tie-ins (no, really) and, eventually, a mea culpa that made the exclusive content available to everyone as separate DLC. Huzzah! Now Destiny players can get everything without buying content twice. Well, unless they want the limited edition Destiny PlayStation 4 -- then they're screwed again.

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The past week on Public Access has seen y'all looking both forward and back in tech history. Englishman and US resident Jess James explained how he would change the course of history (and the outcome of the US revolutionary war) with a big screen TV and some Monty Python. Meanwhile, Miné Salkin wrote of being smitten with the Macintosh PowerBook 100 as a child, and Joe Duncan explained the difficulties of selling the Tandy Video Information System in the early '90s. Lachlan Harris bridged the old and new, making the case that Microsoft's Bob software (from 1995) never actually left us and the DNA of that helping friendly program remains a part of Windows 10. And, Oded Lilos told us why speech recognition and voice assistants -- despite the sizable part they'll play in our computing future -- won't be replacing keyboards anytime soon.

P.S. The homepage is coming soon! in the meantime you can check out the latest from Public Access right here. Not a member? Apply, and keep the weird alive.

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A Western Green Lizard

If you were hoping that all of the Lizard Squad attackers who took down the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live last holiday would get their comeuppance... well, you'll be disappointed. A Finnish court has convicted Julius Kivimäki (aka "Ryan" and "Zeekill") of a whopping 50,700 charges related to various computer crimes, including data breaches, telecommunication-based harassment and swiping credit card data. It sounds good, but his penalty is limited to a suspended 2-year prison sentence and an order to help fight cybercrime -- a trivial penalty in light of his overall damage. Even if you limit Kivimäki's culpability to the gaming network outage, he was still partly responsible for days of downtime at Microsoft and Sony that frustrated millions of players. While he'll theoretically stay on the straight and narrow for at least a while, the verdict isn't exactly going to scare Lizard Squad's other members into becoming model citizens.

[Image credit: Jean-Jacques Boujot, Flickr]


Florida Attorney General Opens New CyberCrime Unit Office

Lucas Michael Chansler is a 26-year-old sexual predator sentenced to 105 years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple counts of child pornography production. Over several years, he tricked roughly 350 teenage girls from 26 states into giving him explicit pictures of themselves by posing as a teen boy and befriending them online before threatening to distribute the photos on social media. He was eventually tracked down to his Jacksonville, Florida home when one victim reported his extortion attempts to the FBI and the The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. While the Feds have been able to locate more than 100 of his underage victims, nearly 250 young women have yet to be identified. And that's where you come in.

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Capcom's 'Mega Man' helmet

Want to up the ante on your costume for the next big comic convention? Capcom will soon have you covered. The game developer has teased plans for an official, wearable Mega Man helmet that lights up. It won't grant you cybernetic powers, but it definitely looks the part -- combine it with Think Geek's Buster Gun and you'll look like you're ready to take on Dr. Wily. While Capcom hasn't even mentioned a pre-order date, let alone a release date, it could be worth holding out if you're determined to trump other would-be Blue Bombers.


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