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Fidel Castro Tricked Twitter (Again) Into Thinking He Died Last Night

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Still (technically) alive
Living in Miami actually makes it much easier to quickly judge whether reports of Fidel Castro's demise are true. Just open your window: Are horns honking? Are fireworks exploding? Is anyone running down your street yelling El hijo de puta está muerto?!

If not, then Fidel is probably not dead. Such was the case last night when the Twitterverse exploded with millions of false tweets that the dictator had kicked it. Turns out a "Fidel is Dead" email virus might be to blame yet again.

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Is Your Smartphone Spying on You? Miami Lawsuit Targets "Invasive" Carrier IQ Software

Categories: Silicon Beach
photo by John Karakansantis via Wikimedia Commons
What if your smartphone has secretly tracked everything you've done for the past two years: every Google search, every website, every key stroke -- not to mention everywhere you've traveled? Sounds like a paranoid fantasy from Enemy of the State, but that's exactly what a secret bit of phone software made by a company called Carrier IQ seems to have done to millions of BlackBerry, Nokia, and Android phones.

An analyst discovered the covert software last month, and a group of Miami residents is now suing the California company for breaching their privacy. "This software is literally a secret agent placed in your phone with the sole purpose of relaying your actions back to the company," says Daniel Dolan, one of the lawyers behind the suit.

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New Times 'Best Of' App Gets Year-End Love From Wired, iTunes

Categories: Silicon Beach
Do you camp out by the newsstand every year waiting for our Best of Miami issue? Ever wish while you were on the road -- whether driving through Kendall thirsting for a great bar or spending a work week in K.C., Sacramento, or D.C. -- that some of that New Times wisdom could travel with you?

That's exactly why we made our free "Best Of" app for smartphones this year -- a map-loaded, citywide guide to 32 metropolises around the country with 10,000 picks for where to eat, hang out and get loaded in each. This week the mobile guide has gotten some year-end love from both Wired and iTunes, which calls "Best Of" one of the year's finest travel apps.

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Best Of

Voxxi.com, News Site Targeting Hispanics, Launches in Miami

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Voxxi.com Chief Executive Emilio Sanchez
​Is there a market for a Hispanic focused news, opinion and aggregation website? A veteran journalist for the EFE News Agency, the leading Spanish language news service in the world, seems to think so. Emilio Sanchez, EFE's former bureau chief in Washington D.C. and Miami, is now at the helm of Voxxi.com, a Miami-based news website that will target second and third generation Hispanics.

"We're going after segments of the Hispanic community that use English as a first language," Sanchez says. "We have done research and they don't like to read in Spanish."

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IPhone 4S's "Personal Assistant" Siri Tells Us Where to Get Hookers, Weed, and Drunk

Categories: Silicon Beach

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When we asked it for cheap hookers...
Steve Job's first posthumous release -- the iPhone 4S -- is getting a lot of buzz for its new "personal assistant", Siri, who's supposed to be really good at setting up meetings and booking hotel rooms for high-powered types.

Or finding the nearest hookers for alt-weekly staffers, apparently. Yesterday, we asked Siri: "Where can we find a hooker and how much will it cost?"

Siri perkily responded that she had found 16 escorts in the area. She lamented that she couldn't "look specifically for price range." Maybe that more pimpin'-friendly feature will be on the iPhone 5.

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First Twitter-Themed Cruise to Set Sail from Miami in November

Categories: Silicon Beach
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Hopefully there won't be many Fail Whale sightings.
A Dutch airline had already booked up an entire flight to Miami using Twitter, so it was only a matter of time until a cruise ship company tries the same. This November, Norwegian Cruise Lines will set sail with what its claiming is the world's first Twitter-themed cruise. Personally, a vacation for us means a chance to temporarily cut our ties from all our gadgets, but apparently some people can't wait to Tweet about sunbathing on a cruise ship deck.

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How Did You Survive The Great Three-Hour iPhone Outage?

Categories: Silicon Beach
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A modern-day nightmare swept greater Miami-Dade yesterday afternoon. AT&T's 3G cell service completely ceased to work, leaving thousands of iPhone and other smartphone addicts without on-the-go access to their precious, precious Twitters, Foursquare and Words With Friends. The unimaginable horror was almost too much to bear. We're frankly just relieved no one died or was seriously injured during the great 3G outage.

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AT&T

Miami-Based Internet Start-Up Creates Social Platform For Artists

Categories: Silicon Beach
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Tedd Bernard
A Miami Internet entrepreneur is looking to bank on the demise of MySpace. Tedd Bernard is chief executive of Almostfamous.com, a small company developing a social media platform for musicians to interact with fans and talent agents.

"Now that MySpace is dying, Almost Famous can step in to create an environment for artists to keep promoting their music," Bernard says. "Right now we are inviting users to test out the beta site."

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Website Will Make Nightclubs Bid for Your Business

Categories: Silicon Beach
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The number of deal-of-the-day websites continues to expand in South Florida at an annoying rate, and it was only a matter of time until someone tried to tailor the deal-site trend to the nightclub world. Recently, Venugo -- more akin to hotel sites such as Expedia than Groupon -- launched in New York City and has plans to expand to Miami. The site makes nightclubs and bars bid for your business.

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Venugo

Miami Company Puts Tracking Chips in Hotel Towels and Robes

Categories: Silicon Beach
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We know some people whose entire linen closets look like they've been stocked from "accidentally packed" towels and robes from hotels. Well, Linen Technology Tracking, a Miami-based company, wants to put an end to the surprisingly common crime of snatching a hotel's good linen. They've invented small waterproof chips that can be implanted in towels and robes to detect theft.

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