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Return of the Start menu rumored for Windows

CNET Update is counting down the days after Christmas:

In this episode of CNET Update:

- Hold on to hope that this report is true: Microsoft may bring back the Start Menu to Windows.

- Make your own Street View tour by uploading panoramic photos (aka: photo spheres) to Views.

- Stream video and music from new apps compatible with Chromecast.

- Score 12 free downloads after Christmas with Apple's 12 Days of Gifts iOS app

- Play as Santa in Temple Run 2 (but it'll cost you if you don't have 60 gems).

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iTunes (HD) |&… Read more

Review: Email Verifier for Mac checks the validity of an e-mail address using a remote server

With its fast remote servers, Email Verifier for Mac can confirm the validity of an e-mail address within seconds. It's a small and easy-to-use Web-based app that offers free individual e-mail checks but has tiered subscriptions for bulk operations. Unlike some other similar services, this one uses its own IP address, so there is no danger that your computer IP will be blacklisted.

Email Verifier for Mac looks, behaves, and installs like an app but is, in fact, a tiny Web browser that displays the service's Web site as its homepage. It features a minimalistic, accessible interface with … Read more

Review: Torch Music offers loads of content and features, but not great video options

Torch Music includes tons of music videos and playlist capabilities, but its default player leaves a lot to be desired. In most cases, the app just grabs videos from YouTube, keeps the same player, and limits what you can do with it. While that hurts the app, its playlists and social sharing help make it useful for most music fans.

Torch Music lets you insert the name of a song, artist, or album and listen to it without ads or interruptions. The app organizes artists into their albums, so you can listen to an entire album in the order the … Read more

Review: Juice Cubes is a healthier, slightly better alternative to addictive Candy Crush

Juice Cubes is a not so thinly veiled riff on Candy Crush Saga, except this time it's fruit instead of candy and it's a Match 3+ mechanic instead of a switch and match. Beyond that, there are more similarities than differences, but when combined with a sleek, finely polished interface, a number of connectivity features, increasing challenges, and level-up mechanics, Juice Cubes just might be a better game.

After installing Juice Cubes, you will be given the option to connect with Facebook, but it is entirely optional. From there you can start playing immediately, moving your way through … Read more

Review: Formula Cartoon Touch 'N' Go is an accessible kart racer

Formula Cartoon Touch 'N' Go is a kart racer featuring popular characters from shows like Adventure Time and Regular Show, but it's not as robust or even as hard to play as bigger-name console racers from Nintendo or Sony. The result is a very accessible game that may not be something you play often, but will entertain young players for short bursts of time.

The game starts immediately after installation and gives a very short tutorial showing you how to pick a kart, power up the cart, and earn new coins. You can then choose a racetrack and start … Read more

Review: Backup Cow connects your iOS device to a P2P or PC system for photo backups

Backup Cow is a remote backup system for your photos, allowing you to move them to a device or system you've installed similar software on. It is compatible with PC and P2P systems, so it is possible to move your photos to and from other iOS devices and PC desktop computers; and with a relatively quick response time and decent set of features, it is a useful tool.

After installing Backup Cow, you'll need to ensure it is installed on other devices, as well. You can download a desktop client to your computer or you can install an … Read more

Review: Slomogram allows you to create slow-motion videos to share on Instagram

Slomogram is a sleek, finely polished app, offering only a single tool, but one that works well to create fun, slow-motion videos. From the moment you install and set up the app, you can immediately create slow-motion clips that can be sent directly to Instagram or saved for local sharing. The stripped-down interface is very easy to navigate and use, but that approach does limit your options.

After installation, your camera will open and you can record immediately with a tap of the big red button. The only option you have here is to turn on the flash or change … Read more

The 404 1,391: Where we feel the endowment effect (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Kanye West said Zappos sells "sh*t product," and this is their awesome response.

- Kano Computer kit lets anyone build a PC from scratch.

- It's official. Fewer people are watching TV and the numbers prove it.

- Why you're more likely to buy something when shopping on your iPad.… Read more

Review: LEGO Ninjago is a fair representation of the popular children's show

LEGO Ninjago is a stage-based Lego game with power-ups and wave after wave of enemies to take out. For players who know the game's source material, a popular children's show of the same name, the game takes place in numerous iconic locations; but even for others, there is a decent game here, although for older players it can get dull rather quickly due to a lack of depth beyond its core mechanics.

LEGO Ninjago has a great concept. You must defeat as many enemies as you can before you are destroyed. As you flip, jump, and slide your … Read more

Apple to unveil 12.9-inch iPad, claims report

Apple is reportedly cooking up a tablet that would outsize the current iPad by more than two inches.

Citing an official at a Korean Apple supplier, news site Korea Times said on Tuesday that an iPad with a 12.9-inch Retina Display screen will launch in early 2014. The new iPad would boast a better picture than the current model, offering a display almost equal in quality to an ultra high-definition screen, according to the report.

The screen itself is currently being produced by one of Apple's major suppliers, the source added.

Why would Apple produce such a huge … Read more