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People love road trips. Some like 'em more than others. And some like them perhaps a little bit too much. This interactive map from Richard Kreitner and Steven Melendez crams the locations mentioned in twelve road-tripping books including Mark Twain's Roughing It and Jack Kerouac's On the Road. That total's 1,500 entries, paired with the most appropriate coordinates the author could assign. You might take issue with some of the book choices, but we'll only accept complaints after you've tackled the entirety of this cartographic labor of love. You'll find the bibliography after the break.

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Here Maps for iOS

Nokia is selling its Here maps service to a group of German car makers for €2.8 billion (roughly $3.07 billion). The consortium is comprised of Mercedes' owner Daimler, BMW, and Audi. As the latter is a VW subsidiary, the buyers essentially represent the entire German car industry -- or at least all the big hitters. It was previously reported that Uber was interested in purchasing the service, but the car companies clearly brought the most attractive offer to Nokia's table.

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Satechi's Cortana button

Now that Microsoft's voice-guided Cortana assistant is up and running in Windows 10, you might be eager to trigger it without leaving the "hey Cortana" feature on (which might sap battery life) or staying within reach of your computer. If so, Satechi might just come to your aid. It's releasing a Bluetooth Cortana button that will trigger the Halo-inspired helper on Windows PCs and phones from a distance. You can use it to more quickly ask about the weather from across the room, for instance, or leave your phone in your car's cupholder when you start a call. At $23, it won't be the cheapest single-purpose peripheral when it ships later in August. However, that purchase might pay off if you'd rather not get that chatty with your devices.

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AT&T U-verse box

AT&T isn't waiting long to take advantage of its DirecTV acquisition. The telecom giant is introducing its first plans that incorporate the satellite TV provider, including a promo plan that could save you money if you need to get both cellphone and TV service at the same time. The offering gives you basic TV service for four receivers (through either DirecTV or U-verse) and four phone lines with 10GB of shared data for $200 per month over the first year. You'll need to agree to a 1- or 2-year TV contract and sign up between August 10th and November 14th, but you could save up to $600 in those initial 12 months -- no small amount, even though the rate is likely to change in the long run.

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A snow leopard projected on the Empire State Buliding

If you were hanging around midtown Manhattan this weekend, you may have noticed some exotic animals projected on to the side of the Empire State Building. What was that all about? As it turns out, that was one of the more ambitious examples of tech-powered advocacy in recent memory. It was Projecting Change, a collaboration between the Oceanic Preservation Society and Obscura Digital that used striking imagery to highlight the plights of endangered species, such as snow leopards and manta rays. The piece relied on 40 stacked projectors to beam 5K video on to the legendary New York City skyscraper. At 33 floors tall, the resulting image was clear within about 20 blocks' radius -- you could have had a good view at 14th Street. There's sadly no talk of repeating the event in the near future, but there are replays both on YouTube and Discovery if you want to see what happened.

[Image credit: Joel Sartore and Ron Robinson/Obscura Digital]

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Comcast X1's sports highlights feature

There are few things worse for DVR-toting sports fans than to realize that a game is going into extra time that they can't record -- just ask Red Sox and Yankees fans, who may have missed 10 innings this April. Thankfully, Comcast might save you from similar TV tragedies in the future. It's planning an upgrade to its X1 set-top box that can automatically extend recording in half-hour increments when a live event runs past its scheduled end. The extension feature is currently only useful for major sports leagues (MLB, NASCAR, NBA, NCAA basketball and football, NFL, NHL and soccer), but it should be reaching other live events in the future.

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The EnLighten traffic light app in a BMW

Traffic lights are supposed to help keep driving orderly, but they often create more tension than they resolve. How do you know that the green light won't turn yellow before it's too late to slow down? BMW thinks it can help. It's the first automaker to offer in-car support for Connected Signals' EnLighten iOS app, which predicts when lights will change based on position and speed. All you need to do is keep an eye on your car's infotainment display -- it'll tell you whether or not you should hit the brakes. The software is useful even if you're stopped, as it'll use your turn signals to show when a necessary light will return to green. This is the definition of a luxury feature when you need a BMW with ConnectedDrive Services just to give it a shot, but it could be entirely worthwhile if it spares you from an accident or a ticket.

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Groupon on a TV wall

You're about to get a fresh alternative to internet-based restaurant delivery services like GrubHub and Seamless. Groupon has just launched the simply-titled Groupon To Go, an order-in service that focuses on (what else?) discounts for your food. The company promises that you'll get at least 10 percent cash back on every order, which could add up if you're ordering pizza every week. The offering is only available in Chicago right now, but there are over 500 included restaurants ranging from big chains like Subway to local eateries like Al's Beef and Ditka's Restaurant. And don't worry about waiting long to give it a shot -- Groupon is expanding the service later this year, with Austin and Boston among the early highlights. It'll eventually be available nationwide.

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Samsung's Galaxy Note 5 (left) and Galaxy S6 Edge+ (right)

Still wondering what Samsung is going to unveil at its August 13th event? Well-known tipster Evan Blass (aka @evleaks) might have just removed what few doubts are left. He not only posted official-looking snapshots of both the Galaxy Note 5 and its curvier S6 Edge+ sibling, but revealed purported specs for the Note 5. From all indications, at least the Note 5 is going to be more of a refinement (at least, in terms of hardware) of the Note 4 than a revolution. You're still looking at a 5.7-inch quad HD display, a 16-megapixel rear camera and 32GB of built-in storage. The biggest changes are the Galaxy S6's octa-core processor, a bump to 4GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel front cam... and, unfortunately for some, the removal of the microSD card slot.

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SparkBlocks in (simulated) action

You've seen modular controllers and even modular phones, but here's a new twist: a modular speaker system. Meet SparkBlocks, a crowdfunded audio system that's just as elaborate (or simple) as you want it to be. The basic unit is little more than a portable speaker with a 4-hour battery, but you can attach components that turn it into much more, including a media hub. Hook up a SmartBlook and you get a tiny touchscreen computer that can answer phone calls, get alerts and download apps. Other add-ons will boost audio quality, charge your phone, clip on to your bike and even light up your camping trip.

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Baymax from 'Big Hero 6'

Have you watched 3D-animated Disney flicks like Big Hero 6 and wondered how some of its scenes manage to look surprisingly realistic? Today's your lucky day: Disney has posted a top-level explanation of how its image rendering engine, Hyperion, works its movie magic. The software revolves around "path tracing," an advanced ray tracing technique that calculates light's path as it bounces off objects in a scene. It takes into account materials (like Baymax's translucent skin), and saves valuable time by bundling light rays that are headed in the same direction -- important when Hyperion is tracking millions of rays at once. The technology is efficient enough that animators don't have to 'cheat' when drawing very large scenes, like BH6's picturesque views of San Fransokyo. Although Disney's tech still isn't perfectly true to life, it's close enough that the studio might just fool you in those moments when it strives for absolute accuracy.

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Hitchbot at Niagara Falls

Hitchbot might have made it across Canada, but it appears that the US wasn't quite so kind to this mechanical traveler. The hitchhiking robot's American journey has ended after a mere two weeks thanks to a vandal attack in Philadelphia. While the team behind Hitchbot vows that its experiments with artificial intelligence and human interaction are "not over," it's clear that this nomad isn't about to resume its cross-America trek all that quickly. You'll hear more details on August 5th -- here's hoping that this includes plans for Hitchbot to bum rides once again, whether it's in the States or abroad.

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Honda has always been more than a car company. In addition to its car and motorcycle business, it also manufacturers marine vehicles, generators, a weird robot and even planes. To keep that spirit of just making as much stuff as possible alive it introduced the Uni-Cub personal mobility system in May 2012. It's been refined since then, but it's still not something you can run down the dealer and purchase. Honda is looking to developers to expand the its use cases beyond rolling you around a museum with an upcoming API for the rolling bar stool.

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An IndyCar racer with an LED position display

It's sometimes hard to keep track of positions in an IndyCar race, especially if you're in the stands and don't have the luxury of a broadcaster or data stream to point things out. Never fear, though: as of this weekend, the league's cars are carrying LED panels that display the driver's race position in real-time by working in conjunction with timing lines embedded in the tracks. They're also smart enough to switch to pit stop times, so you'll know if that tire swap is running too long.

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Already immersing yourself in Windows 10? Trying to block out the not-so-favorable memories of Windows 8? Good for you. This week involved a new smartphone from a new challenger, and several new smartphone from a once-dominant player. And we don't mean Nokia, which was busy dipping its toes into the world of VR cameras. Because of course.

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Inhabitat's Week in Green

Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.

Tesla's Model S got a lot of press when Elon Musk unveiled a "Ludicrous" upgrade that goes from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds -- but a new car built by a team of German students can go even faster than that. The electric vehicle can accelerate from 0-62MPH in a blistering 1.779 seconds, and it's currently awaiting confirmation for a Guinness World Record. In other news, Facebook just unveiled a solar-powered airplane that will beam the internet to remote locations. The Aquila has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, yet it weighs less than 1,100 pounds. This week, Inhabitat reporter Marc Carter spotted Chrysler's camouflaged new Town & Country minivan on the streets of LA -- and it looks like it's going to be a plug-in EV. Google's Street View cars show us towns and cities throughout the world -- and now they're getting equipped with pollution sensors to monitor the air we breathe. And if you're planning a road trip this summer, we've got two amazing mobile dwellings for you to check out: a stylish wood cabin on wheels and an old-school bus that's been retrofitted into a remarkable little home.

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Amazon released the Alexa Appkit last month in hopes that developers will create cool new features for the voice technology that powers the Echo. This time, the e-commerce giant is offering the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) itself as a developer preview, which both hobbyists and legit hardware manufacturers can integrate into their own connected devices. The best part is the company's allowing the use of its technology for free. "By adding Alexa to your device, your users can request and receive information in the same way they would from an Amazon Echo," the company's Getting Started Guide reads. That means devices loaded with Alexa will also be able to answer questions about the weather and look up stuff or the traffic conditions online.

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Dropbox's Roku channel

You can already access your Dropbox files on all your PCs and mobile gadgets, but what if you want to put them on your TV? If you have a Roku player, you're set. Roku has launched a Dropbox channel that lets you browse your photos and videos on its set-tops, including in slideshows. Yes, you now have an easy way to recap your vacation on a big screen without turning to other cloud services. The channel isn't flawless -- TechCrunch notes that you can't play long videos, so this won't work if you're trying to stream full-length movies. Even so, it's a big help if you'd rather not have everyone gather around your computer to see your snapshots.

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Pepper

Folks in Japan might find themselves chatting with Pepper robots in business establishments these coming years. The enterprise version of the gentle-looking humanoid machine will be available for pre-order starting on October 1st, 2015, and businesses in the country can rent one directly from SoftBank. The carrier's robotics division is offering a $444-per-month, 3-year contract to interested parties, which means they'll end up paying around $16,000 within that period. Sadly, they'll have to return the unit once the contract's over.

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Density's sensor

You probably aren't a fan of showing up at the coffee shop right when there's a large line, or at the gym when there are no free machines. Wouldn't it be nice if you could find out how busy a place is at any given moment, without resorting to estimates? The new Density sensor might help. The tiny infrared detector is effectively a smarter, more connected pedestrian traffic sensor: it tells apps how many people are entering or leaving a building at any moment, giving you a good sense of whether that restaurant is packed or blissfully empty. Shops can use that data to their advantage, too. They can offer discounts whenever it gets quiet, or notify you the moment there's a free seat.

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