Microsoft(NEW YORK) -- Microsoft's sassy virtual personal assistant Cortana will soon be staking out a spot on competing platforms.
Joe Belfiore, head of Microsoft's operating systems group, announced in a blog post on Tuesday that Cortana will be available as an option on Android and iOS devices later this year as a companion to Windows 10.
A phone companion app will be built into Windows 10, which will allow users to sync their mobile device, allowing users to seamlessly move between completing tasks on their PC or mobile device, Belfiore said.
Windows phone users will be ready to go after setting up the app, while Android and iPhone devotees will have to go through a few extra steps to get the necessary apps integrated onto their devices.
"You can have Cortana remind you to pick up milk the next time you're at the grocery store, and then your phone will wake up and buzz with the reminder," Belfiore wrote. "The Cortana companion app will help you complete tasks you begin on your PC wherever you are, on your phone."
Windows 10 is expected to be released later this summer along with a free update for select Windows users.
alexandradabija/iStock/Thinkstock(KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa.) -- Lilly Pulitzer is again stirring up controversy along with its colorful cocktail-and-dress culture, but it has nothing to do with its Black-Friday-style team-up with Target last month.
The brand's King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, headquarters was the subject of an online story and slideshow Tuesday on New York Magazine's The Cut. Among the photos of pink-and-green clad and perfectly coiffed employees there's one photo that stands out.
In what appear to be hand-drawn illustrations, an overweight woman is captioned with the saying, "Just another day of fat, white and hideous. You should probably just kill yourself." Another depicts a similarly shaped woman in a bikini with the saying, "Put it down carb face."
The image in the slideshow was originally run with no information in the caption. The site later added: "(This image shows the personal illustrations of an employee not pictured in this story.)"
“These illustrations were the work of one individual and were posted in her personal work area," Jane Schoenborn, vice president of creative communications at Lilly Pulitzer, told ABC News in an emailed statement. "While we are an employer that does encourage people to decorate their own space, we are a female-dominated company and these images do not reflect our values. We apologize for any harm this may have caused.”
New York Media would not comment except to say the photo was taken in a Lilly Pulitzer employee's office. The photographer did not respond to multiple requests for comment regarding the circumstances surrounding the photo.
The Target-Lilly Pulitzer collaboration was an overall hit with consumers, but some potential customers were upset when Target announced in January they would only sell up to size 18 in the stores. Larger sizes would be available online only.
JaysonPhotography/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Dow suffered its worst day in a month on Tuesday as all of the sectors of the S&P 500 continued to drop after the holiday weekend.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18,041.54 on Tuesday, down 190.48 from its open.
The Nasdaq was down by 56.61 to close at 5,032.75. The S&P 500 was also down by 21.86, to finish the session at a close of 2,104.20.
Energy stocks were hit the hardest on Tuesday as the price of oil fell to about $58 a barrel.
The cable business is getting smaller, as Charter Communications has reportedly agreed to buy the much larger Time Warner for almost $57 billion. The purchase will form one of the largest cable companies in the country, but still smaller than Comcast.
The IRS said on Tuesday that thieves used an online service provided by the agency to gain access to information from more than 100,000 taxpayers, including tax returns and other information on file with the agency.
Apple(NEW YORK) -- Jony Ive was already the most prominent design visionary at Apple and now the London-born designer, who has the honor of having a sir before his name, is stepping into the newly created position of chief design officer.
The move will allow Ive to focus his energy on current design projects and future initiatives, according to a profile in The Telegraph.
Ive has made his mark at Apple as a design genius, who has created and executed the clean, sleek look and feel of Apple's products since he took on his design role in 1996.
"If you think about what distinguishes Apple it is design. Without argument, Jony Ive has made a big impression on Apple," Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy told ABC News. "I think this move is to lets have Jony stay at Apple for the longer term [because] he could go on his own and create a billion dollar design company if he wanted to."
Two of Ive's deputies will step in beginning July 1 to take over some of his daily responsibilities. Richard Howarth will serve as vice president of industrial design while Alan Dye will take on the role of vice president of user interface design.
"Not only is Apple locking him in but giving people underneath him, who work for him, an opportunity to grow and take on more responsibility," Moorhead said. "That's a good thing."
iStock/Thinsktock(NEW YORK) -- Homes sales were up in April nearly 7 percent from March with 517,000 single-family homes sold, according to the latest figures released by the Commerce Department.
March sales were also revised up a few thousand units signaling a good sign in the housing market's recovery. But David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, says the numbers are still not where they need to be.
"Both of those increases have a lot to do with the previous period being unusually low," he said. "So while this is a good number, some of the increase is simply due to the recovery from unusually low levels."
The increase was fueled mainly by the Midwest, where sales surged a staggering 36.8 percent, but in the Northeast and West sales actually went down.
"A normal level of new home purchases is somewhere in the 800,000 to 900,000 range. So at 517,000, we still have a significant trip to make back to normal," Crowe said.
iStock/Thinkstock(GENEVA) -- A new report from the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency, has found that 3.2 billion people -- about 44 percent of the world's population -- will have used the Internet by the end of this year.
The number is incredibly staggering considering in 2000 there were just 400 million estimated Internet users in the entire world, according to the report, which measures progress made on the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals.
"These new figures not only show the rapid technological progress made to date, but also help us identify those being left behind in the fast-evolving digital economy, as well as the areas where ICT [information and communications technology] investment is needed most," Houlin Zhao, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, said at a press conference in Geneva Tuesday.
While Internet penetration has increased seven-fold in the past 15 years, the report states there are still four billion people in the developing world without access to the Internet.
Of the one billion people in the world's least developed countries, only 15 percent use the Internet, according to the International Telecommunication Union.
The push to get the world online has never been greater, with some of technology's biggest companies leading the charge to find innovative ways to connect people who are still without Internet access.
Google's Project Loon is edging closer to its dream of sending a fleet of Internet beaming balloons into the sky.
The Project Loon balloons can float through the sky for more than 100 days as they cross the globe and beam Internet down to the billions of people in the world who are not yet online.
A control center will help guide each balloon to an area to ensure Google's fleet is providing the best coverage where Internet is needed, while an operations team will be dispatched to collect the balloons when they land.
Google hasn't said when Project Loon could make its official debut. Facebook showed off its high profile and high flying Internet project in March.
Mark Zuckerberg revealed last month that Facebook has completed its first test of an unmanned aircraft that could be used to bring Internet connectivity to the most remote parts of the world.
Running on solar power, Zuckerberg said it's expected the Internet drone could fly at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet for months at a time.
The Facebook CEO has also been running his pet project, Internet.org, since 2013, bringing a suite of free mobile Internet services to people in select countries. Earlier this month, Zuckerberg announced he is opening up his Internet.org platform to developers to help bring new types of content.
The move comes weeks after several Indian firms decided to pull out of the project due to concerns that the app does not provide equal access to information, one of the principles of net neutrality.
Chris Hondros/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Another cable mega-merger is in the works. This time, it's Charter Communications buying its much larger rival Time Warner Cable for $55.33 billion.
Ahead of the deal, Time Warner -- the second biggest company in the country -- was valued at $78.7 billion.
Charter also wants to buy a smaller company, Bright House Networks, for $10 billion.
If regulators approve this, Charter would have a total of nearly 24 million cable and broadband customers in 41 states, making it almost as big as Comcast, which scrapped its own effort to buy Time Warner last month.
"With today's announcement, we have delivered on our commitment to maximizing shareholder value," said Robert D. Marcus, chairman and CEO of Time Warner Cable, in a statement. "This agreement recognizes the unique value of Time Warner Cable, and brings together three great companies that share a common philosophy of strong operations, great products, robust network investment and putting customers first."
The three companies expect to close the agreement by the end of 2015.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The average American spends about $1,000 a year on their cellphone bill, but some industry insiders estimate about $50 billion is wasted annually on parts of the plan they don't even need or use. So how do you know if you are getting the most bang for your buck?
Todd Dunphy used to work for Verizon but now runs Validas, a company that helps businesses cut down on wireless waste -- and his practices can be applied to consumers.
Dunphy worked with the Wilson family on ABC News' Good Morning America to figure out how they could cut down their costs, which run high with dad Ron often traveling internationally, mom Keri selling kitchen tools from home and 14-year-old Halle phoning a friend or two on her prepaid line. The Wilsons' bill racks up to $195 a month, and is only set to go higher with 13-year-old Landry joining soon.
Dunphy's first tip? Know your limits. Apps like My Data Manager track your data usage and set off an alarm when you're close to your monthly max so you don't incur additional charges.
"Streaming is definitely the most dangerous thing you can do over the carrier network," Dunphy warned on Good Morning America.
Next, let free websites like WhistleOut.com do the work for you. Tell them what you need and they'll tell you if your plan is the right fit or if there's a better one out there. Dunphy is soon launching a new app called Wireless Butler that will analyze your cellphone bills and do free side-by-side comparisons to other companies or new rates within your current carrier.
Dunphy and his team analyzed the Wilsons' bill, and found that while Ron often uses his Internet data by streaming sports games online, Keri pays to get online, too, but never does.
"That will save them around $240 every two years," Dunphy said of cutting out Keri's portion.
Before you sign up for a plan, watch out for mystery charges. The Wilsons had an "iPhone 6 impact check smoke" item that was just fancy language for an iPhone case.
"You don't pay $3 a month for something that most likely over two years is going to cost you $72," he said.
Finally, keep up with your carrier's latest promotions -- even if you're already a customer -- because you may be able to cash in.
"That [promotion] is also available to you, but they never come out and say, 'Hey, 40 million subscribers, this is better for you,'" Dunphy revealed.
Using these methods, Dunphy found the Wilsons a new offer with a big return -- $720 over two years in savings, to be exact.
Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(LAKE GEORGE, N.Y.) -- What's old is new again in the tourist town of Lake George, New York, where a newly reopened Howard Johnson's restaurant is seeing a resurgence in popularity among baby boomers.
Following the closure of a Lake Placid HoJo's outpost this spring and rumors that the Bangor, Maine, franchise's demise looms on the horizon, the orange-roofed restaurant in the Adirondacks is set to be the last remaining Howard Johnson's restaurant in the country.
“I used to work here years ago, and I loved the place and I didn’t want to see it get bulldozed, so we’re going to keep it going,” owner Jonathan LaRock told ABC News' affiliate News 10.
The Lake George location opened in 1953 and was previously operated by Joseph DeSantis, who still owns the property but closed the restaurant in 2011 after struggling to keep pace with more modern chains.
But the landlord was happy to give his blessing and a lease to former cook and current owner LaRock, who quietly reopened the space in January 2015, following a $200,000 renovation.
In addition to new carpeting and a few modern appointments, LaRock reinstated several Howard Johnson's restaurant favorites, such as the clam strips and a Friday Night Fish Fry. A "senior corner" of the new menu even features bygone dishes such as grilled liver and onions, and lemon-broiled scrod -- less common at today's chains.
"Please bring back the chicken croquettes!" proclaimed a longtime fan on the restaurant's Facebook page.
The chain's beloved 28 flavors of ice cream have also yet to resurface at the establishment, according to the page. But that hasn't stopped busloads of tourists from filling up booths en route from New York to Montreal, hungry for french toast with a side of nostalgia.
It even has the cache of a current celebrity as a former employee: Food Network host Rachael Ray is well known to have worked at the restaurant during high school.
“We’ve had people from Connecticut, Maine and New Jersey drive all the way here just to sit in a HoJo’s,” LaRock told The New York Times in an earlier article. "They had three things -- a breakfast counter, ice cream shop and restaurant -- all under one roof. I think that’s why HoJo’s through the years did so well. ... That’s what I’m hoping to do again.”
PomInOz/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(MELBOURNE, Australia) -- In the ongoing fare war between Australia's budget airlines, it would seem that travelers are the current victors.
Tigerair, a short-haul carrier owner by Virgin Australia, dropped roughly 500 fares to the rock-bottom price of $9 per flight on select routes this weekend in a bid to lure passengers away from competitors like Jetstar.
"Introducing Saturday flight fever, every Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. aest," tweeted the airline's social media feed on May 23. "Today there's 500 seats for $9* (T&Cs apply)"
A subsequent tweet posted a video of Tigerair flight crew breaking out disco dance moves to celebrate their "grooviest sale ever."
The fire sale lasted for four hours and kicks off what will be a weekly series of similar incentives, according to a spokesperson quoted on news.com.au, which first reported the story.
In the United States, low-budget carrier Spirit Airlines offers an ongoing "$9 Fare Club" membership, charging fliers $59.95 for "exclusive access to discounted fares and vacation packages."
Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Actress Nikki Reed played a vampire on the hit franchise Twilight, but off-screen, she's promoting healthy eating options for families in need.
One of them, she said, is Thrive Market, an online marketplace that sells all-natural foods at 25 to 50 percent below retail price. She is a spokeswoman for the marketplace.
For Reed -- who married 36-year-old Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder last month -- the issue hits very close to home.
At a farmers market, the actress said that the fresh items there were "a totally different world" from what she grew up eating.
"I had a single mom, a single mom who made ($15,000) to $17,000 a year, raising two kids in Los Angeles. It was hard ... we ate a lot of fast food and we ate a lot of what came off the dollar menu," she said.
For Reed's mother, buying fresh food was too expensive.
"I actually worked in the cafeteria in exchange for free lunch," Reed said.
Because of her past, Reed is working to make a difference for others who may have challenges similar to those she experienced as a child.
Although it's a common belief that it's costly to eat healthy, Reed said there are alternatives.
"They do make it easy and you know ... my family growing up, this is definitely something my mother would have loved," Reed said. "If my mom had something like Thrive Market as an option for her ... then it would have been a whole different ball game."
papa1266/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Close to 162,000 trailer hitches are being recalled over fears that weak steel can cause the hitch to break.
The recall affects the “U-Haul Power Tow” TS1 and TS2 models, which were sold exclusively at U-Haul outlets, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The company behind the hitches, Curtis Manufacturing, said that manufacturing changes in China reduced the strength of the steel in the hitches, which can break when towing near the maximum-rated load.
According to the NHTSA, there have been no injuries or property damage reported.
Curtis Manufacturing plans to notify owners and replace the parts free of charge.
Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Billionaire Warren Buffett objected to the idea of raising the minimum wage to $15 in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on Friday, saying that such a move would "reduce employment in a major way."
"The American Dream promises that a combination of education, hard work and good behavior can move any citizen from humble beginnings to at least reasonable success," Buffett wrote, noting that for many Americans, that very promise has been fulfilled. However, Buffett acknowledges, "recently...the economic rewards flowing to people with specialized talents have grown dramatically faster than those going to equally decent men and women possessing more commonplace skills."
Buffett, the Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, cites statistics from Forbes, highlighting the massive wealth of the richest Americans, compared to the "huge number of their fellow citizens...living the American Nightmare -- behaving well and working hard but barely getting by."
The mismatch between American workers and a larger-than-ever swath of available jobs, Buffett says, "is neither the fault of the market system nor the fault of the disadvantaged individuals. It is simply a consequence of an economic engine that constantly requires more high-order talents while reducing the need for commodity-like tasks."
Buffett discusses the importance of education in the op-ed, but notes that "even with the finest educational system in the world, a significant portion of the population will continue...to earn no more than a bare subsistence."
Regarding the increased minimum wage, which has inspired numerous rallies in recent months, including gatherings of fast food workers around the nation, Buffett says that while he may wish every job paid at least $15 per hour, "that minimum would almost certainly reduce employment in a major way, crushing many workers possessing only basic skills."
"Smaller increases, though obviously welcome, will still leave many hardworking Americans mired in poverty," he adds. The solution, Buffett argues, is an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which provides low-income workers with payments from the government that get smaller as their earnings increase.
"There is no perfect system," Buffett accepts, "and some people, of course, are unable to unwilling to work." Still, he urges, "let's replace the American Nightmare with an American Promise: America will deliver a decent life for anyone willing to work."
SeanPavonePhoto/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(NEW ORLEANS) -- When you need it, the always-open Waffle House is there. And now, the 24-hour chain is coming to New Orleans in a seriously upgraded way.
Waffle House is adding a feature to its restaurants that will upgrade the experience a bit: The New Orleans location will have an outdoor area -- the first of its kind for the chain -- in addition to its more than 1,700 square feet on the inside.
“We’re actually providing something we’ve never provided on another restaurant we’ve ever done, with a little side bistro courtyard area,” Waffle House real estate executive Bob Pence said at a meeting of New Orlean’s Board of Zoning Adjustments, according to the Mid-City Messenger.
The over 12,000 square feet lot used to be a used car shop, but Waffle House has much bigger plans for the space.
“I think that once we get this built, you will see that it’s probably the fanciest Waffle House restaurant you will ever see,” Pence said. “We tried to make it look a little New Orleans-ish.”
So watch out, all you other Waffle Houses -- there’s a fancy new one on the way.