Use Cloak to avoid social-network frenemies in real life

A new iPhone app called Cloak promises to help you keep your distance from contacts in your digital circle who you'd rather avoid in real life.

The application, which bills itself as an "antisocial network," is as simple as they come in that it has a single purpose: to alert you to the nearby whereabouts of flagged Instagram and Foursquare "friends."

The idea is to let you construct the opposite of a contact list, so that you know when your overly loquacious acquaintance Joe is inching dangerously close to your current location.… Read more

Victor the trash-talking robot hates losing at Scrabble

Scrabble can bring out a healthy sense of competition among humans, but what about robots? The robotics department at Carnegie Mellon University created a robot named Victor who can play Scrabble, just not very well. But that doesn't stop him from blaming his opponents for his double-word-score shortcomings.

Victor has a head with an animated face complete with glasses, blond hair, and even a collegiate soul patch, but his fiberglass body lacks arms. He can move, look at the board, and talk to people. He sits at a table at the lounge in CMU's Gates computer science building waiting for a human to challenge him to a match. Just don't expect any friendly banter. … Read more

The Netherlands paves the way for carrier-free SIM cards

Imagine it: a world where a SIM card is fully integrated with your device; no need to swap it out when you change carriers or travel overseas. In fact, SIM cards could be easily built into any number of devices, vastly expanding the Internet of Things. This would also end carrier-locked devices, allowing customers true freedom of choice: Any device could be used with any carrier the user chooses.

In most of the world, carrier-free SIM cards are illegal. However, the Netherlands has just become the first country to allow them. A change in the Telecommunications Act means that residents … Read more

Epic Games opens Unreal Engine 4 to public for $19 a month

SAN FRANCISCO -- In a pivotal shift in how it licenses its massively popular and widespread game engine, Epic Games has made the next-generation version of that software, the Unreal Engine 4, available to the public as a subscription-based service. It will cost $19 a month and will involve a royalty agreement asking for 5 percent in gross sales. The engine is available for download today.

"We've always made this available to AAA game developers -- costs many millions of dollars, involves negotiating for weeks or months at a time -- but for the very big teams that … Read more

The 404 1,448: Where rich or poor, it's nice to have money (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Jill's appearance on CBS News: Is WhatsApp really worth $19 billion?

- Financial spring cleaning: what to keep, what to shred.

- Enter our GameSpot PS4 giveaway!

- Follow Aunt Jill on Twitter and check out her radio show, Jill on Money.… Read more

Airbnb co-founder: Firm could expand beyond lodgings

Airbnb, the online service that matches travelers with homeowners or renters who want to share their homes for a period of time, might be expanding.

Speaking to The Next Web in an interview published Tuesday, Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk said his company doesn't believe it's "just in the business of providing accommodation," adding that Airbnb is looking at ways it can provide "more conveniences" to its customers.

Exactly how those "conveniences" will be shared, however, has yet to be determined. Blecharczyk said his company could tie in car service to get folks … Read more

CleanMyMac 2 for Mac review

CleanMyMac 2 identifies and removes files that your system no longer uses, and it asks if you want to delete large files that you haven't opened in a long time. This premium app's highly customized and animated interface is straightforward and pleasant to use. CleanMyMac 2 includes basics like a clean-up scheduler, a log-in item disabler, and an uninstall helper.

After a quick intro animation, CleanMyMac 2 presents a beautiful interface -- a sidebar with tabs and a details section. During a full scan, the app looks for log and cache files, universal binaries, language files, and other … Read more

Dancing with the 'Star Wars': Billy Dee Williams cha-chas as Lando

Shimmying stormtroopers. R2-D2 beeping to disco music. Lando Calrissian taking Princess Leia for a spin on the dance floor. While it sounds like one of the gaming levels in "Star Wars Kinect," this was the "Dancing with the Stars" debut of actor Billy Dee Williams and his dance partner Emma Slater.

Dressed in a costume reminiscent of his role as Lando Calrissian, Williams began the cha-cha number flanked by stormtroopers and announced by a beeping R2-D2. His dancing partner donned a costume inspired by Princess Leia's metal bikini in "Return of the Jedi," as well as her famous hair buns. … Read more

A standalone Samsung Gear could be a sign of things to come

Samsung may be setting its Gear free.

The Korean electronics giant is reportedly working on a version of the Gear with its own cellular connection, according to the Korea Herald. The publication reported that Samsung and SK Telecom, Korea's biggest wireless company, are in talks to release a variant of the wearable in South Korea with a universal subscriber identity module, or USIM, that allows it to connect to a wireless network. Indeed, Samsung has been working on a standalone Gear for some time, people familiar with the company's plans have told CNET.

Samsung, for its part, declined … Read more

Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal faces probe from US states

Comcast will now have to deal with US states as well as the US Justice Department if it expects to win approval to buy Time Warner Cable.

Florida is part of a multistate group investigating the proposed merger to make sure if doesn't run afoul of antitrust laws, the Florida state attorney general's office told CNET on Wednesday.

"We are part of a multistate group reviewing the proposed transaction along with the U.S. DOJ Antitrust Division," the Florida state attorney general's office said to CNET in an e-mailed statement. "The matter is also … Read more