Martyn WilliamsSenior U.S. Correspondent, IDG News Service

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Martyn Williams covers Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for the IDG News Service, and is based in San Francisco.

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US defense secretary mulls rapid grants for tech companies

The U.S. Department of Defense is considering offering rapid seed funding to private companies as a way to encourage more work on technology projects with the commercial sector, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said Wednesday.

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NASA will launch a 4K TV channel later this year

NASA plans to launch a 4K TV channel this fall and has already begun test broadcasts. The new channel, called NASA UHD, will broadcast 24 hours a day and be available free of commercials.

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If you're buying a TV, know these three letters: HDR

After bigger screens, and thinner screens, and 3D screens, and curved screens, and 4K screens, HDR is the new flavor of the season in television technology and it's one worth paying attention to.

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DJI is concerned Amazon and Google could restrict hobby drone flight

One of the world's largest consumer drone makers says it's concerned hobbyists will face tougher restrictions over where they can fly if Amazon and Google get their way in creating dedicated airspace zones for commercial flight.

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Ricoh's 360-degree Theta camera gets better images, video

Ricoh's Theta, a candy bar-sized camera that can capture all-around images, is getting an upgrade.

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DJI software update brings new tricks to its drones

Drone maker DJI is adding new features to some of its drones through a software update that should make them easier to fly.

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New drone hopes to make aerial photography a Snap

Vanatage Robotics' new Snap camera drone combines stabilized 4K video with a variety of shooting modes and a focus on safety and portability -- attributes it hopes will enable the product to stand out in an increasingly crowded market.

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Intel preps wireless charging system with enough juice to power a laptop

A wireless charging system that packs enough power to replenish a laptop battery should hit the market in 2016, helping realize the long-held dream of a cable-free desk, Intel said on Wednesday.

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Samsung to show transparent OLED display at IFA

Samsung has developed a big-screen OLED screen that's transparent, and plans to put it on show at this week's IFA consumer electronics expo in Berlin.

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Researchers envisage swarms of tiny drones for dangerous rescue missions

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are working on a new generation of disaster drones that can be deployed in swarms into buildings to give first responders a look inside, mapping out the interior as they go.

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The 9 coolest Vaios of all time

As the Vaio brand charts a return to the international market, we look back at some of the coolest, ground-breaking Vaio products of the past.

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Kim Jong Un has his own cellular network

Kim Jong Un and other high-ranking officials in North Korea have their own cellular network to help keep their conversations secure.

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Samsung to appeal Apple patent loss to Supreme Court

Samsung Electronics plans a last-ditch appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in fines for infringing Apple patents, but the chances of success don't appear high.

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Start-up eyes mining asteroids for space colonies

From a nondescript office on the edge of the Ames Research Park in Silicon Valley, Deep Space Industries is plotting a futuristic scheme to locate asteroids, check them out and then send in mining spacecraft to strip them of their minerals.

Wi-Fi provider kicked users off their own hotspots at conventions

Smart City, a provider of Internet services at convention centers and hotels, will pay the Federal Communications Commission $750,000 for kicking users off their personal hotspots to try and force them to use its Wi-Fi service.