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The 404 1,224: Where we get in bed with the Sleep Doctor (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Let's talk about Modafinil, the sleep-aid "smart drug" that inspired the movie "Limitless."

- Daylight saving time may cost America $434 million from lost sleep.

- Study: Women more affected by sleep deprivation.

- Sleeping stoned, the debate rolls on.

- We didn't answer your question? Sorry, there's only so much time in an episode, but why not follow Dr. Breus on Twitter and ask him yourself?

- Check out more information on Dr. Breus's exclusive line of signature mattresses on his Web site. Don't forget to sign up for his newsletter too!… Read more

New apps unveiled at SXSW

Every year, the geekiest of geeks make their annual pilgrimage to Austin, Texas, for the increasingly hip and increasingly crowded South by Southwest festival.

The event is split into three branches for film, music, and interactive, but we at CNET tend to focus on the last of these, for obvious reasons. SXSWi, as the tech-focused portion of the festival is sometimes called, acts as a sort of gigantic picnic-slash-cocktail-party for tech entrepreneurs, investors, and even regular enthusiasts to mingle at and talk bits and bytes.

And while the sentiment has noticeably tapered off a bit this year, many app developers … Read more

Apple wins 39 new patents on Smart Cover, pinch-to-zoom

Apple has won dozens of new patents across a wide array of technologies, including how pinch-to-zoom works in software and its iPad Smart Cover's attachment features.

Perhaps the most important patent is one that relates to how a touch screen reacts to a person's thumb and index finger during a pinch-to-zoom gesture. Sensors within the touch display change in size and shape based on the gestured detected by those fingers. If a thumb and forefinger start to move together, the sensory panels change around that. When they move apart, the sensors once again adapt. Other sensors around the … Read more

Grayscale Tool for Chrome makes Web pages easier to read

Advertisements, poor text color and background color choices, or even annoying Web site themes can distract you while reading an article online. And sometimes it's not just the distractions, but the strain on your eyes, that makes you want to stop reading.

Instead of suffering through the awful color palettes or vibrant advertisements, you can install a lightweight Chrome extension that will remove the color from the Web page you're reading. Here's how:

First you'll have to grab a copy of Grayscale Tool, by Emanuel Malmquist. Just click Add to Chrome in the top-right-hand corner.

Next, … Read more

Get rid of resource-intensive Flash content

Everyone loves surfing the Web, but most people do not enjoy intrusive ads. The ClickToFlash for Mac plug-in makes your browsing experience more fluid and less distracting, but does not compromise content accessibility.

Once installed, ClickToFlash for Mac will automatically prevent Flash content from loading and try to convert it to a HTML5 equivalent. The installation part can't be easier, as it takes one click to install this plug-in. Don't get scared by the preference panel that pops up on your first use, as you don't need to understand all the seemingly confusing terms and options. If … Read more

Digital storage basics, Part 4: SSD explained

Editors' note: This post is Part 4 of an ongoing series that aims to explain digital storage, based on questions and inquiries from readers. For the other parts, check out the related stories.

Made to replace hard drives in many applications, SSDs have nothing in common with hard drives in terms of how they handle data. By popular demand, I am explaining in this post how they work in layman's terms. I'll also answer other SSD-related questions.

How SSDs work

To understand how an SSD works, let's start with two most important parts: the controller and the … Read more

How to get the most out of Google Tasks in Gmail

Google Tasks graduated from Gmail Labs almost four years ago, but have you really taken a look at what it can do? It's true that part of its appeal is in its simplicity, however, if you haven't taken a deeper look into its features, you might be missing out on some great tools for organizing your tasks. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of Google Tasks for Gmail:

1. Quickly get to Tasks. The keyboard shortcut, G followed by K, quickly opens Tasks in Gmail. If Tasks is already open, the shortcut will … Read more

Illegal music downloads dropped in 2012, says report

Fewer people are illegally downloading and sharing music, NPD Group said in a report today.

Among those surveyed for NPD's "Annual Music Study 2012," 40 percent who illegally downloaded music via peer-to-peer services in 2011 said they had stopped or decreased their illegal downloads in 2012.

Overall, the number of illegally downloaded songs from P2P services dropped by 26 percent in 2012 from 2011.

Part of that was due to an overall decline in the use of P2P services. At the 2005 peek of P2P file sharing networks, 33 million people used them. For 2012, that number … Read more

A budget-priced, audiophile USB digital converter

High Resolution Technologies makes some of the very best and most affordable digital-to-analog converters on the market. The company's newest model, the MicroStreamer, is a tiny thing, just 2.5 inches by 1.2 inches by 0.4 inch, and since it's USB-powered it doesn't have a power supply or require batteries. It works as an external sound card for computers, tablets, and some smartphones. It's also a high-quality headphone amplifier. It was designed in the U.S., and the little guy's circuitboard's components are mounted in Southern California. The aluminum case is made … Read more

Remind Me by Astrid helps schedule Gmail responses

Are you still flying solo instead of jumping on the Mailbox or Mailstrom bandwagon? That doesn't mean you can't get a little help from Astrid, your friendly squidface to-do list app, when using Gmail in Chrome.

Each time you read your Gmail, you may star or label some of the messages that you want to get back to. This is a great idea in theory, but messages can easily be forgotten. Instead, you can add a reminder to your Astrid that will keep up with your lack of focus on the Internet.

Here's how to get started:… Read more