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Spotify streaming some proper Canadian music

Canadians: you no longer have to jump through hoops (or hope for an early invitation) to check out Spotify. The streaming music service has finally launched in Canada, complete with an extensive collection of domestically-made tunes. As elsewhere, you can play songs for free if you're willing to put up with ads, and shelling out $10 CAD per month for Premium lets you stream without commercials. The service is definitely late to the party -- it's years behind Rdio, and even Google Play Music arrived a few months ago. Still, it's hard to object to having one more way to listen to Grimes or Leonard Cohen.

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Instead of announcing the next version of its iconic operating system in front of a massive crowd of thousands, Microsoft chose an intimate venue with 50 or so reporters to launch the new Windows, which it's calling Windows 10. The company looks at the new number (yes, it skipped a number) as an indication of the direction it's taking with the OS; Microsoft says it'll be "the most comprehensive platform ever," featuring a full range of products that'll be placed under the Windows 10 umbrella as part of "one tailored experience." Microsoft's Joe Belfiore showed off an early beta version of the new Windows on stage, which looks very much like the leaked screenshots we saw not too long ago; Belfiore says that they wanted to bring the familiarity of Windows 7 and combine it with the functionality of Windows 8.

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If you've been thinking about getting a smartwatch but haven't been persuaded to plunk down a lot of cash, Pebble's trying to make the decision a little easier for you. The watch maker is lowering the price of its full lineup by $50, which means you can now get the sporty original model (above, right) for $100 and the fancier Steel (above, left) for $200. Usually significant price drops like these are a reaction to slowing sales, but CEO Eric Migicovsky says that on the contrary, sales are still as strong as ever and the ecosystem is growing. The company wants to offer the "right price for the product" and properly represent Pebble watches in light of the swelling competition in this category, Migicovsky said. Indeed, with the debut (and proliferation) of Android Wear this year and Apple Watch next year, Pebble wants to add cost to its list of competitive advantages alongside battery life and cross-platform functionality -- especially as the holidays approach and smartwatch choices become even tougher.

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Washington Redskins v Houston Texans

Well, that didn't take long. We reported yesterday that the FCC was taking aim at sports blackout rules this week, and today the Commission voted to nix the "unnecessary and outdated regulations." For nearly four decades, policies kept pay-TV providers from airing games blacked out on local stations. The rules also prevented that latter group from showing NFL matchups that failed to sell out at least 72 hours ahead of time. Now that the NFL no longer relies on ticket sales to drive revenue, the rules have been repealed to further eliminate blackouts for local viewers. As the press release notes, current over-the-air network contracts run through 2022 (FOX, CBS, and NBC), so the NFL won't likely make the jump to cable and satellite any time soon. If it so chooses, the league can create a private blackout policy (like MLB, for example), but it will no longer be afforded the protection of the government to do so. "Instead, the NFL must rely on the same avenues available to other entities that wish to protect their distribution rights in the private marketplace," the PR details.

[Photo credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images]

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Google's invasion of our classrooms (and its war on paper) continues unabated. Back in August in the search giant released an online education tool for teachers who wanted to digitally manage their classes, and now it's launched an improved version of Google Drive that's free for folks toiling away in academia. The company's new Drive for Education is basically the same thing as its enterprise-based Drive for Work, which means you're looking at unlimited storage space (albeit with a 5TB file size limit) and access to Google Vault for message archiving.

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Nokia HERE Maps for Android

When Microsoft finally completed its €3.79 billion acquisition of Nokia earlier this year, the company took control of its smartphone business, but left behind a number of Nokia's other powerful and profitable properties. One such property was the company's mapping division, now called Here, which has become the de facto maps app for Windows Phone users the world over. Nokia tried to replicate the experience on iOS, but after poor reviews and the admission that things "went horribly wrong," the company pulled its iPhone app and went back to the drawing board. As for Android, it looked like Nokia would never deliver a real Google Maps alternative.

Luckily, that's all about to change. Thanks to some marketing muscle from Korea, Nokia will soon give Samsung Galaxy smartphone owners advanced access to its maps app. While Nokia readies Here Maps for Samsung's Galaxy Apps store, which is expected to drop in the coming weeks, the company gave us an early preview of its new app, and it's good.

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The Labour Party Hold Their Annual Party Conference

If you've ever pined for a feature film about the beloved 80s classic Tetris, you're in luck. The Wall Street Journal reports that an adaptation of the popular game is on its way, thanks to Threshold Entertainment. While that studio may not immediately ring a bell, it's the force behind transforming Mortal Kombat into two full-length movies in 1995 and 1997. So, what can we expect? A "very big, epic sci-fi" effort that aims to be much more than a bunch of CGI blocks with arms and legs. "What you [will] see in 'Tetris' is the teeny tip of an iceberg that has intergalactic significance," Threshold CEO Larry Kasanoff tells WSJ. What's more, "location-based entertainment based on the epicness" in addition to the film itself could be in the plans, too. One thing's for sure: these folks are going to be pretty excited about the news.

[Photo credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images]

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Mozilla Matchstick

Looking for a streaming media stick that's more accessible than Google's Chromecast? You might have found it. After a few teasers, Matchstick has revealed the first Firefox OS-based media sharing adapter. The self-titled gadget lets you "fling" video, websites and other content from Firefox (naturally), Chrome and supporting apps to your TV. While the hardware should be a bit more powerful than Chromecast, the real allure is a completely open platform -- you can tinker with the software and even build your own hardware if you're the entreprenurial sort. A low price will help, too. Matchstick hopes to sell its stick for $25 this February, and that's assuming you don't back the upcoming Kickstarter project -- get in early and it will cost $18. Even if Matchstick doesn't get as much app support as Google's device, it may be worth a look.

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One downside of Indiegogo's lax attitude to projects is that there's no requirement for a prototype or any proof that the device being pitched could even exist. In fact, the site is so laissez-faire, that a creator could probably promise a hoverboard powered by unicorn tears, and the only limit to its success would be human credulity. In unrelated news, Arubixs has taken to Indiegogo to ask for $300,000 of funding for Portal, a flexible, bendable smartphone that can be worn on your forearm like Leela's Wristlojackimator - with a watch strap holding it in place at either end.

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