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Bytes: What’s new in tech

Wider Wi-Fi coverage; Facebook adds gender identity; A new Apple TV on the way

Wider Wi-Fi coverage
If your Wi-Fi coverage doesn’t go far enough, there are a few measures you can take to extend its range, said Kim Komando in USA Today. One place to start is to ponder the proper placement of your router. “High places” and anything “out in the open” work best, and you should always keep your router away from walls and obstructions. Some electric devices, such as microwaves and cordless phones, are prone to causing interference, so keep your Wi-Fi device far from other wireless gadgets. “Finally, if your Wi-Fi router is old,” it may be time to consider an upgrade. Swap out older 802.11b or 802.11g routers for the newer standards, known as 802.11n or 802.11ac. It will likely turn out to be a wise investment.

Facebook adds gender identity
Facebook users’ genders are no longer limited to plain-vanilla male or female, said Jordan Crook and Josh Constine in TechCrunch.com. The social network last week rolled out a new feature for U.S. users that allows them to choose from more than 50 gender options—including the usual binary options as well as cisgender, transsexual, bigender, intersex, and androgynous. Users can also choose between three different pronouns, so that status updates can “not only show up as he/him and she/her, but some may show up with the neutral they/their.” And Facebook has added new privacy options that let users select just who can see their gender. Users can adjust their gender identity settings by clicking on the gender options on their “About” page and selecting “Custom.”

A new Apple TV on the way
An upgraded Apple TV is on the way, said Adam Satariano and Edmund Lee in Bloomberg.com. Industry sources say the iPhone-maker “is planning to introduce a new Apple TV set-top box” in April. It’s expected to feature a faster processor “and an upgraded interface to make it easier for customers to navigate between TV shows, movies, and other online content.” The company is also negotiating with content providers such as Time Warner Cable to let Apple TV customers access “a wider array of live TV channels” using their iTunes credentials. But the prospect of such access has become a roadblock for Apple’s deals with distributors like DirecTV, which “prefer keeping their customer information separate from Apple.”

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