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Matt’s Favorites: Summer Break Coming, Take An Innovation Survey, And Much More

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So what’s the latest and greatest in the ever-changing world of high tech? Well, on this holiday-shortened week, check out these beauts…

* Once again, a reminder: Your Tech Report is about to go on its summer break. We won’t be publishing Thursday, July 4 or Friday, July 5, because those are CBS Radio Inc. holidays. And yours truly will be taking the following week off for a little midsummer R&R. I’m in the process of preparing a series of Tech Report Lites that you will continue to receive while I’m gone, from Monday, July 8 through Friday, July 12. Expect a slimmed-down version of your regular report, with interesting news, but news that’s a little less time-dependent. And I’ll be back in your inbox live, tanned (well, as tanned as a ginger gets) and rested, on Monday, July 15.

* If you’re a boss at a small or midsized business, don’t forget to take a 10-minute survey at www.innovationquotientsurvey.com, The survey will ask you questions designed to measure innovation activity, the business value of innovation and drivers and constraints on innovation. In return, you’ll get a keen report full of ideas on boosting innovation in your workplace. Your Technology Report is a partner in this survey, sponsored by the fine folks at Plante Moran.

* While World Cup protests continue throughout Brazil, another international soccer event is attracting nothing but awe. More than a thousand soccer-playing robots from 40 countries took to the pitch last week in Eindhoven, Denmark, for RoboCup 2013.

* Creepy: Once thought to have a minimal digital footprint, a recent report by the Hartford Courant suggests that the Newtown gunman Adam Lanza has posted discussions in several gun-enthusiast forums and edited several Wikipedia articles about mass shootings.

* Okay, maybe it won’t be a zombie apocalypse, it’ll be a creepy creature apocalypse: A threatening herd of Tawny crazy ants continues to spread across the southeastern United States. Dubbed “crazy” because of their unpredictable behavior and tendency to swarm, experts say they are a threat to the local ecosystem as well as expensive electrical wiring and circuits. Meanwhile, in Japan, sightings are way up of the tiny blue-ringed octopus, whose deadly venom can cause respiratory failure within minutes.

* Here’s a peek at Bill Gates’s $8.7 million equestrian-friendly Florida estate, supposedly purchased for his show-jumping daughter.

* The founder of Bebo has bought back the pioneering social networking site for a mere $1 million.

* All hail the Herschel space mission. It’s out of propellant, dead now, but boy, did it ever do some cool science.

* And speaking of space telescopes, in the most successful Kickstarter campaign ever for a space project, Planetary Resources now has $1.5 million to launch its Arkyd telescope and bring asteroid, galaxy, and planet exploration to the public.

* And here’s a way in which lunar exploration might be opened up to the masses.

* Chipmaker Intel highlighted some of the research projects in the works at its Labs. Among them are sophisticated baby monitors, dynamic store shelf displays, and vehicle taillights that talk to one another.

* As for Apple, it’s filed for a trademark on ‘iwatch’ in Japan. Gee, wonder what they plan to do with it?

* Gosh, here’s a shocker — new research in England concludes that smoking weed makes you lazy. The scientists’ initial hypothesis was that pot contributed to psychosis, which they now doubt.

* If you show up at the hospital with a serious infection, tiny “tuning forks” may just save your life, by showing doctors which antibiotics will be effective against the bug that’s bugging you before it’s too late.

* Good night, TechNet. The online Technet blogs and customer support forums will live on, but Microsoft announced Monday in a letter to subscribers that it plans to retire its venerable TechNet subscriptions service.

* It’s hard not to see this as yet another way to screw the poor — paying people by payroll cards, essentially debit cards, that feature lots of fun little fees for the privilege of getting at your own money.

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