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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Is iTunes Match a good deal for you?

I wound up as an iTunes Match subscriber when I rolled what I was paying for my old MobileMe subscription into it. Yes, I was a MobileMe subscriber — and before that .Mac, and before that iTools. Remember iTools? Of course you don't.

For my part, I think it's fantastic. But Macworld published a great guide yesterday to determining whether it's worth your time and money ("Is iTunes Match right for you?" Feb. 25, 2014). In essence, if your music library isn't very big, or you're fed up with syncing with your computer to get the songs you want on your iPod/iPhone/iPad/whatever, it might make sense. If your library is more than 25,000 songs, tho', or you want to use it with more than five computers or 10 iThings and Apple TVs, it probably doesn't.

One added benefit to using iTunes Match, however: You'll never hear an ad in iTunes Radio.

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Mt. Gox problems could kill Bitcoin

It's not easy to start a new currency that's not backed by any government, and it gets harder when one of the major websites used to trade it suddenly vanishes from the Internet. The Associated Press reports that the same day the exchange's website was taken down, a blogger published a document purportedly leaked from Mt. Gox showing the exchange to be insolvent after a loss estimated to be worth around $888 million at bitcoins' peak value in December — reportedly around 6 percent of all the bitcoin in circulation. The New York Times reported the missing currency was stolen in a heist that went undetected for years.

So anyway, what's that mean to you? Unless you keep much of your money in bitcoin, probably not much. It might mean it's a while longer before a digital currency replaces the green stuff in your wallet, though. And it means that if you didn't already know what bitcoin was all about, you might be able to safely avoid knowing that all together if you wait a while longer. But if you're interested, the AP published a pretty good explainer today.

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A video game that helps cure cancer

Cancer Research UK

Ever had someone annoyed with you because your head was down, fingers twitching on your phone's screen instead of listening to whatever it is they're saying? Next time that happens, you can apologize, explain that you're just helping cure cancer — but you're happy to put that on hold while they're talking about whatever it is that's so important.

Play to Cure: Genes in Space (Free) was developed by Cancer Research UK as a way to utilize mobile devices' processing power — and gamers' time and attention — to find patterns in genetic data, highlighting faults that can cause cancer and providing data that may help speed up launches of new medications.

In the game, players guide their spaceship along a hazard-strewn course, collecting something called "Element Alpha." Each time they redirect their toward a tasty batch of Element Alpha, the information is fed back to Cancer Research UK scientists. The patterns gamers follow through the game will provide the analysis researchers need.


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Follow the Olympics on all your screens

2014 Team USA Road to Sochi will follow the athletes' results and experiences in Sochi during the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

United States Olympic Committee

2014 Team USA Road to Sochi will follow the athletes' results and experiences in Sochi during the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog posted a handy list yesterday offering five apps to help you follow the 2014 Winter Olympics starting this Friday. They're pretty much the official apps from NBC and the Olympic Games, but one is a third-party app that looks like it offers a pretty handy schedule, if nothing more. With so many events going on at the same time, the Olympics (summer or winter) are a great time to try streaming multiple shows to more than one screen at a time.

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