TIME Television

5-Second Game of Thrones Teaser Leaked Online

Don't blink

A 5-second teaser clip from Game of Thrones, Season 5, was leaked on YouTube Monday, despite HBO’s spirited attempt to keep the content securely within the show’s official webpage.

HBO invited fans to visit the show’s official webpage and sign up for access to the clip by entering their personal phone numbers. A link to the clip was then sent to the fan’s mobile phone, at which point the clip could be played just once, only on that mobile device, before it vanished into the ether. That is, until one crafty Redditor, spotted by Vulture, finagled a way to record the clip and share it over YouTube.

TIME Mobile

T-Mobile Now Lets You Roll Over Your Unused Data

T-Mobile
A Deutsche Telekom T-Mobile logo hangs under pink umbrellas at the stand of the German telecommunications giant at the 2014 CeBIT computer technology trade fair on March 10, 2014 in Hanover, central Germany. John Macdougall—AFP/Getty Images

For customers who buy additional data on top of their plans

We’ve all been there: Every month, a slice of our mobile data plan goes unused, only to disappear into the ether forever at the end of the month. Now, one carrier aims to put an end to that.

T-Mobile will start rolling over customers’ unused data from month-to-month, the carrier announced Tuesday. That unused data will get added to what T-Mobile is calling a “Data Stash,” where customers can use it for up to a year to avoid going over their plan’s monthly data limits.

“With Data Stash, when you buy additional high-speed data, there’s no need to lose what you don’t use,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement.

T-Mobile is rolling out Data Stash for customers on “Simple Choice” plans who buy at least 3GB of additional smartphone data or 1GB of additional tablet data above their plan’s base rate. Qualifying T-Mobile customers will start out with 10GB of data in their Stash.

T-Mobile has a history of making bold moves to shake up the wireless carrier industry, like offering to pay competitors’ early termination fees for customers who switch to the service before their contracts are up. T-Mobile’s competitors, including Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, have often followed T-Mobile’s moves, but it remains to be seen if they’ll play ball this time: Overage fees charged to customers who exceed their monthly data limits are a lucrative source of income for wireless carriers. T-Mobile’s aim here is most likely to forego some of those fees in favor of attracting rivals’ customers fed up with overage charges.

The Data Stash announcement came during T-Mobile’s “Uncarrier 8.0″ event, during which the company also touted its recent speed improvements to wireless broadband services in several cities, including New York.

TIME legal

Why Microsoft, Apple, Fox News and NPR Are Suddenly Working Together

Microsoft
The Microsoft logo is displayed over the Microsoft booth at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Hilton January 7, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Microsoft is fighting a U.S. warrant to turn over emails stored in Ireland

It’s not every day you see Microsoft and Apple or Fox News and NPR going to bat for the same team — but that’s exactly what’s happening now, in a case that could have big consequences for American tech and media companies.

Last December, a Federal judge granted U.S. investigators a warrant to access a Microsoft user’s emails, stored in a data center in Dublin, Ireland, in relation to an investigation. Microsoft said no way, arguing the U.S. government has no right to issue a warrant for emails stored abroad.

Microsoft has good reason to reject the government’s demands here: If would-be Microsoft customers outside the U.S. start thinking their emails are subject to U.S. warrants, they might think twice about becoming Microsoft customers. Indeed, top tech firms have already lost big overseas contracts over fears that American services are subject to National Security Agency snooping.

Microsoft has yet to convince any court to overturn the original warrant. A magistrate first ruled against Microsoft’s challenge in April. The company got another defeat in August when U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska found that it wasn’t a matter of where Microsoft stored the emails, but rather where Microsoft and the user in question were themselves based.

However, Microsoft still refused to hand over the user’s emails. The company filed a new appeal last week, arguing that a ruling against Microsoft threatens the privacy of foreign users and Americans alike as more people choose to store their emails and other sensitive documents in off-site cloud servers instead of local hard drives.

“We believe that when one government wants to obtain email that is stored in another country, it needs to do so in a manner that respects existing domestic and international laws,” Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith wrote Monday. “In contrast, the U.S. Government’s unilateral use of a search warrant to reach email in another country puts both fundamental privacy rights and cordial international relations at risk.”

And that’s where Microsoft’s strange bedfellows come into play. Rival tech companies like Apple, Amazon and HP, as well as news organizations from across the political spectrum like CNN, Fox News, NPR and The Guardian, have all signed amicus briefs supporting Microsoft’s fight to keep its users’ emails away from the U.S. government. It may seem weird for these companies to work together on just about anything else, but it makes sense here: technology companies have a business interest in keeping users’ communications private, while media outlets don’t want their reporters’ messages to fall into the government’s hands.

“The government’s position . . . will significantly deter the use of remote data management technologies by businesses and individuals, particularly their use of U.S. cloud services providers, and thereby undermine a significant contributor to U.S. economic growth,” reads an amicus brief filed in the case by the Business Software Alliance, a trade group that counts Microsoft, Apple, Intel and other top tech companies as members. “There is no basis in law for the extraordinary result sought by the United States.”

Whatever happens in the Microsoft case, then, could have big privacy implications for businesses and users alike. There probably won’t be a resolution until late 2015 at the earliest, but some observers expect this one to wind up all the way at the Supreme Court.

TIME Tablets

This Is the Best Tablet You Can Buy Right Now

Apple Unveils New iPad Models
An attendee inspects new iPad Air 2 during an Apple special event on October 16, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

It's Apple's iPad Air 2. Here's why.

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a list of the best technology to buy. Read the full article below at TheWirecutter.com

the wirecutter logo

The new iPad Air 2 is the best overall tablet for most people. Apple’s new iPads are always better than last year’s, and the things that have made all the iPads strong tablets — like unbeatable app choices — are still present in this generation of the tablet. But with the latest update, the iPad Air 2 is thinner, lighter, and faster than the previous version, plus it gained fingerprint identification features, making it an even better user experience. And right now, the iPad (and iOS ecosystem) still offer the best overall customer experience when compared against Android.

Who Should Buy This?

If you bought the 2013 Air and are a heavy user and content-creator, the faster processor and expanded RAM of the iPad Air 2 will help with performance. If you bought the Air and use it for email, web browsing, and lighter tasks, you can hold off. If you have the original iPad Mini, then the Air 2 will be barely larger, but much faster with better Wi-Fi and Apple’s fingerprint authentication feature, TouchID.


Why we like this above all else

The 2014 update has hardware that makes it faster, thinner, and more versatile than last year’s model or the new iPad mini 3. The iPad Air now has fingerprint authentication, and is thin and light enough to hold one-handed as you would a paperback. It has the best selection of tablet-dedicated apps thanks to iOS. If you’re not particularly into Android or tinkering with your setup, there isn’t a better choice.

Why the iPad Air 2 over the updated iPad mini 3? The iPad Air 2 has a higher-quality camera that can do panoramas and burst mode, and it has the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard which allows for faster file transfers and improved range. The iPad mini 3 did not receive the faster processor that was added to the iPad Air 2. For $100 more, you get a lot more features, faster overall performance, and a larger, nicer screen with the Air 2.

But what about other, non-Apple tablets? For service and support, it’s difficult to beat Apple today. Their Apple Stores and Genius Bars are equipped to handle almost all tablet repairs on the same day. Our own experiences with the Genius Bar have seen my iPhone screen and a MacBook Air battery replaced within 30 minutes. Other companies might have as long a warranty, but they cannot do the instant turnaround that Apple can.

Most importantly, though, is Apple’s iOS ecosystem. Though the Android (Google Play) ecosystem is catching up, Apple continues to offer the largest selection of high-quality, dedicated tablet apps. While the selection of tablet-designed apps is constantly growing, that ecosystem and extremely clean user experience is still behind what iOS offers to its users.

Flaws (but not dealbreakers)

The iPad Air 2 is more expensive than its closest competition. The closest non-iPad competition is probably the $400 16GB Nexus 9. The iPad Air 2 starts at $500 for the Wi-Fi 16GB version, but 16GB is barely enough for most people and makes installing updates harder down the road, so you should probably get the the 64GB version at $600. Siri is still not as good as some Android voice control systems, and Google Now (which gives you an overview of your day and things you care about) is great if you use Android. But these are just nits to pick.

In Closing

The iPad Air 2 is the best tablet because choosing it means you’re not compromising on anything. The hardware is fast, thin, and light, it has a great, upgraded camera with useful video capabilities, TouchID, and the best tablet software ecosystem on the market today.

This guide may have been updated. To see the current recommendation please go to The Wirecutter.com

TIME You Asked

You Asked: How Does the Internet Work?

Internet
Miguel Chateloin (L) and Lazaro Gamio use their computers to write code that would allow people living in Cuba to use email to post to blogs during the Hackathon for Cuba event on February 1, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle—Getty Images

Spoiler alert — it’s not a series of tubes

Poor Ted Stevens. For the past eight and a half years, the world has had many a laugh at the late Alaska Senator’s expense after he described the Internet as “a series of tubes” while arguing against a Net Neutrality amendment in 2006.

Of course, anyone who’s ever sent an email or eyed a kitten photo online knows there aren’t any actual pipes involved. Still, the next time you hear someone essentially refer to the Internet as plumbing, ask them how the darned thing really works. According to Milton Mueller, a professor of information studies at Syracuse University, not only is the web not tubes (or a “web,” really), but it’s actually just a set of instructions.

“It’s more of a process than a thing,” says Mueller, who teaches, researches and writes about problems related to global Internet governance. “It’s protocol for breaking down the data that comes out of your computer into little units called packets.”

So, let’s say you’re enjoying this GIF of an elephant playing with a giant rubber band. Wherever in the world it’s stored on a server, the file itself is 16.8 megabytes. But when you navigate to its address by clicking on the above link, it gets broken down into thousands of packets, each of which is routed separately over the Internet through devices known as routers.

These routers take each packet, read the origin and the destination addresses and figure out where the packet should go next on its journey through the Internet. The packets hop from router to router until they all arrive at your computer and are reassembled into their proper sequence. Then, voilà, you’ve got a pachyderm ribbon dancing on your computer screen.

That process works for most things you’re doing on the web, from getting email to loading up Facebook. But when it comes to streaming media, like listening to Spotify or watching Netflix, that procedure is less than ideal, so they do something a little different. Streaming files still get broken down into packets, but instead of going from random router to random router over the Internet, they all follow the same path, helping to ensure the files don’t seem laggy or jittery when they arrive at your destination computer, where they’re reassembled.

“Think of a caravan of packets like elephants in the circus,” says Mueller. Each packet holding onto the next, trunk to tail, ensures that the streaming file follows the same path of routers through the Internet. “If the packets are coming from different routers, different directions, then it would really mess up the synchronicity or the flow of the voice stream or the picture stream.”

And this takes us back to Senator Stevens’ comments on Net Neutrality. The above process of routing packets (officially called the Internet Protocol) works great for non-streaming files. But broadband carriers argue that the increase in streaming media has stressed their networks, making it harder to transmit other traffic. That situation has led to bandwidth-heavy services like Netflix paying for so-called direct connections to ISPs.

If some files have prioritization over others, however, the Internet is not actually neutral. That’s a situation worrying many consumers, non-streaming Internet services, and even business ethicists. The issue is much more complex than this, as this video explains, and everyone has an opinion on it, from President Obama to Comcast to The Oatmeal. And as you think about how you use the Internet, you’ll probably come up with your own opinion, too. But whatever you do, don’t explain the Internet as a series of tubes.

TIME Web

The One Celebrity We Couldn’t Stop Googling in 2014

Thanks to a pair of blockbuster movies, a Golden Globe and a photo hack

Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence tops Google’s list of the top trending searches of people in the U.S. in 2014, the search giant announced Tuesday.

The 24-year-old star was in the news — and, inevitably, the Google search bar — for a lot of reasons this year. She starred in two blockbuster sequels, X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, and picked up a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her role in American Hustle. Lawrence was also at the center of the celebrity iCloud hack, in which dozens of famous women had their nude photos stolen and posted online.

Following Lawrence on the list was Kim Kardashian, who tried (and failed) to “#BreaktheInternet” by appearing nude on the cover of Paper in November and released a hit mobile game this year. In third place was 30 Rock star Tracy Morgan, who was involved in a serious bus wreck over the summer, while NFL running back Ray Rice, who was suspended from the league after punching his fiancée-turned-wife on camera, ranked fourth. Rounding out the top 5 was Tony Stewart, the NASCAR driver involved in the on-track death of fellow driver Kevin Ward in August.

The list is not necessarily the most-searched people of the year, but rather the people that had searches for their name spike the most compared to 2013. Here’s the entire top 10:

Top 10 Trending People in the U.S.

  1. Jennifer Lawrence
  2. Kim Kardashian
  3. Tracy Morgan
  4. Ray Rice
  5. Tony Stewart
  6. Iggy Azalea
  7. Donald Sterling
  8. Adrian Peterson
  9. Renee Zellweger
  10. Jared Leto


Read next: The Top 10 Everything of 2014

TIME Web

Robin Williams Was Google’s Top Trending Search of 2014

Robin Williams
Art Streiber—CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

Robin Williams topped a list that also included the World Cup, Ebola, ISIS and Flappy Bird

Robin Williams topped Google’s list of the top trending searches in 2014.

The comedian and actor, who died in August, led the list of the people, places and things that got the biggest boost in search traffic this year compared to 2013. The list of actual “most searched” terms is actually pretty boring, Google says, because it includes generic terms like “weather” and website names like “Google.”

Overall, the list reflects the way global crises co-mingle with pop culture phenomena on the Internet. Second to Robin Williams was the World Cup, which sparked widespread discussion across the Web. Third was Ebola, the viral epidemic that sparked scares in West Africa and elsewhere around the world as it emerged in different locales. Fourth was Malaysia Airlines, which was in the news first for a plane that mysteriously disappeared in March and later for a second plane that was shot down over Ukraine in July. Rounding out the top five was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, in which people recorded themselves being doused in cold water to raise money for charity.

Check out the full Top 10 below:

  1. Robin Williams
  2. World Cup
  3. Ebola
  4. Malaysia Airlines
  5. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
  6. Flappy Bird
  7. Conchita Wurst
  8. ISIS
  9. Frozen
  10. Sochi Olympics
TIME Media

HBO Go Is Coming to the Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV
The Amazon Fire TV - a new device that allows users to stream video, music, photos, games and more through a television - is displayed at a media event on April 2, 2014 in New York City. Andrew Burton—Getty Images

And it's coming to the Fire TV Stick soon

Amazon’s Fire TV is finally getting HBO Go.

The retailer’s set-top box will begin offering HBO’s streaming service Monday, the two companies announced. For now, this version of HBO Go still requires customers to authenticate their cable or satellite subscription in order to use it. HBO is planning to launch a standalone version of its streaming service that won’t require cable sometime in 2015, but the network hasn’t yet announced which platforms will offer the service.

To celebrate the arrival of HBO Go on Fire TV, Amazon’s offering the streaming box for just $79 until Dec. 28, whereas it’s normally $99. HBO Go will also be available on the Fire TV Stick, Amazon’s Chromecast-like streaming dongle, this spring.

One catch here: HBO Go won’t work on Amazon Fire TV if you’re a Comcast subscriber, the Wall Street Journal reports.

TIME Social Media

Why a Facebook ‘Sympathize’ Button Is a Terrible Idea

Facebook Dislike, Sympathize, Like Button
A view of Facebook's "Like" button May 10, 2012 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

It would reduce our empathy to a click

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg isn’t too keen on adding a “Dislike” button to the service, he said in a Q&A event Thursday. But Zuckerberg did float the idea of a new button for “sad moments” when pressing “Like” just doesn’t feel right. That’s why Facebook engineers recently toyed with a Sympathize button, a concept well-received by Facebook’s staff as well as the larger public.

But Facebook hasn’t implemented “Sympathize” yet. It’s still thinking about “the right way” to go about adding such a feature, Zuckerberg said, leaving users hanging. What’s taking so long?

It could be because implementing another Facebook button is a terrible idea — particularly to represent an emotion deeper than “Like.”

Ever since the Like button launched in 2009, the blue thumbs-up icon has become a symbol recognizable by nearly anyone who’s used the Internet. But the Like button’s mega-popularity also resulted in something that wasn’t so stellar: Like Anxiety, which strikes when your posts aren’t getting as many Likes as you think they deserve. While the Like button has made it easier to quickly express emotion on Facebook, Like Anxiety has turned the platform into a popularity contest and insecurity hotbed.

Now try imagining posting about something emotionally crippling — say, the passing of a loved one — and not getting enough “Sympathize” clicks. While most of us can get over when a positive post’s Likes plateau too soon, it would be far harder to move past our sadder missives getting Sympathy-snubbed. Hitting Sympathize is literally the least your friends could do for you in your time of need. If they didn’t click, that would feel pretty awful — you might even start checking which of your friends hit “Sympathize” and which didn’t bother, which wouldn’t be healthy for your friendships.

Facebook’s core mission, as Zuckerberg has put it, is promoting meaningful communications. That goal helps explain why Facebook Messenger was pushed into its own standalone mobile app and why disabling read receipts isn’t an option. Both moves are meant to encourage us to respond to our friends more quickly.

But if Facebook adds a Sympathize button, it would actually make our conversations less meaningful. How? It would override the only way to currently express sympathy on Facebook: Writing a personal comment to a friend, even if it’s only a few words.

The reality, then, is that ‘Sympathize’ is already on Facebook. So is “Dislike.” And “Love.” And “Thanks” — and any other emotion. They’re just not buttons. You have to write those emotions out yourself, and that surely means more than any button ever could.

TIME Innovation

Skype Debuts Instant Translation Feature

A woman communicates with her family abroad by using the Internet telephone system Skype on August 26, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden.
A woman communicates with her family abroad by using the Internet telephone system Skype on Aug. 26, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden. Jonathan Nackstrand—AFP/Getty Images

Que? Si.

Skype debuted a hotly anticipated translation program Monday that can translate a conversation between an English and Spanish speaker in real time.

“Skype is now removing another barrier to make it possible for people to communicate irrespective of what language they speak,” announced Skype’s corporate vice president Gurdeep Pall on the company’s official blog.

The program is immediately available to anyone who has a Windows-enabled device and has registered their interest in advance via the Skype Translator sign-in page.

In addition to translating voices and capturing them in text, the program can also instantly translate text messages in more than 40 languages. Skype released a demonstration video of students in the U.S. and Mexico donning headsets and striking up a conversation.

Still, the team noted that the feature is still in “preview mode” and operates by self-learning algorithms that will sort out its translation errors through continual use.

“Our long-term goal for speech translation is to translate as many languages as possible on as many platforms as possible,” Pall wrote.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser