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Matt’s Favorites: Online Ad Revenue Climbing, Apple Moving To Streaming Music, And More

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So what’s new and what’s next in the ever-evolving world of high tech? Pull up a chair and let’s check it out…

* We’ve signed a couple of new advertisers recently at your Technology Report (thank you S3, among others!), and we are not alone: Revenue generated by online advertising hit a new record in the U.S. last quarter. Total first-quarter sales hit $9.6 billion, up 15.6 percent from the $8.3 billion seen in the first quarter of 2012, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The latest numbers reflect an ongoing shift to Internet advertising on the part of marketers.

* Apple may be getting closer to launching an online streaming radio service, according to recent reports. The new music streaming service is said to compete directly with Pandora and Spotify radio.

* A bright pink, slimy creature is delighting onlookers with its wild color. This florescent slug is the real thing and is only found in the sub-alpine area of Mount Kaputar National Park, in New South Wales, Australia. The invertebrates have made quite a splash since appearing in a Sydney Morning Herald article last week.

* If you were around in the ’70s and ’80s you may remember all those scary movies about the invasion of the killer bees. Well… one such attack has happened.

* NASA is ready to award $1.5 million in prizes next week for robotic rovers that can skillfully navigate mock alien terrain and collect samples all by themselves. Today’s robots exploring extraterrestrial landscapes, like the Mars rover Curiosity, have some autonomous capabilities, but they are largely dependent on directions from their handlers on Earth. NASA hopes a little competition will help spark innovations in autonomous navigation that could be used on future missions.

* When Microsoft’s Xbox One goes on sale before the end of year, it should cost $399, $50 more than the Sony’s PlayStation 4, likely to debut at the same time, according to estimates by Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. The analyst made his estimates in a research note prepared in advance of next week’s E3 video game conference.

* With protests ramping up across Turkey, tens of thousands people are getting on Twitter to broadcast alleged excessive police force against demonstrators. The local news, in the pocket of the government, is ignoring the ongoing protests. So of course Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, blasts Twitter as a “menace to society” for spreading information, or what he calls “lies.”

*Windows has come a long way over the decades from the now antiquated-looking boxes of Windows 1.0 to the layers upon layers of desktops, start screens, charms, tiles, and whatever that bar on the left is in Windows 8. Now, you can spend a little over an hour watching the entire evolution of Windows unfold in this video.

* We’re going to get a good chance to check for exoplanets soon around Proxima Centauri, the closest star to Earth.

* The Blade Runner is a treasured sci-fi movie, one of my all time favorites. Here’s the latest word on the sequel. Dear Lord, please don’t let them screw this up.

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