Talking tech since 2003

It’s Sunday, which means it’s time for another edition of the Weekend Wrap-up, where we take a look at the biggest tech stories from the past week. We have some pretty interesting ones this week, so let’s jump in.

Nexus 5 Smartphone is Now Selling

You know all that fanfare the iPhone gets when it launches its yearly iteration? The latest Nexus-branded smartphone got nothing similar. Hell, Google didn’t even bother to put together an event for the thing. The company basically said, “Here’s the new Nexus 5. Have at it,” listing the phone on the Google Play site at a price that is extremely reasonable ($349) for being unsubsidized. If you’re looking for a 5-inch monster of a phone that can run the latest and greatest version of Android, called Kit-Kat, the Nexus 5 is the phone you’ll want to buy.

google-boatGoogle Goes Nautical with ‘Party Barge’

A big story this past week centered around a barge reportedly owned by Google. Many speculated about why the company would own such a contraption. Is it a floating data center? An office at sea, perhaps? As it turns out, the answer is a bit more fun than that. The barge is actually intended for hosting events — think parties and the like. Unless you’re a big money customer of Google or someone else the company wants to woo, however, don’t expect to party on the barge anytime soon.

FAA Says We Can Use Electronics on Flights at Any Time… Eventually

Everyone with a beginner’s understanding of technology likely had the suspicion that our electronic devices were not interfering with sensitive flight equipment. After years of living under a rule that banned use of these gadgets during takeoffs and landings, though, the FAA has finally loosened its iron grip on our smartphones, tablets and laptops. Is there a catch? Yes, there’s always a catch. In this case, we have to wait for airlines to be cleared by the FAA before their customers can fly under the new rules.

Kindle MatchBook is Finally Live

Amazon does a lot of interesting stuff and takes a lot of chances. An example of both is its Kindle MatchBook program, which officially launched this week. MatchBook allows buyers of physical books through Amazon to purchase Kindle e-book versions of those titles at a steep discount — either $2.99, $1.99 or absolutely free. You do need to buy the books through Amazon and not through a third-party seller on the site, and not all books and publishers are supported at this time. It’s still something to keep an eye on, however.

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