Thursday's tech news roundup is feeling square:
There's no escaping the mobile-ad attack
In the search for more money, YouTube is adding video commercials to play before videos on smartphones and tablets. These ads will play for five seconds before users can skip right to the video. As we spend more time on mobile devices, it's only natural for advertising to migrate. Android users will be the first to see pre-roll ads, since the YouTube iPhone app cannot show ads. But that will change in the next YouTube app version for iOS 6.
The Google+ network has updated its sliders. The feature, found in the feed for various "circles", is a sliding bar that adjusts how many posts you want to see from that circle in your main feed. It can be set to alert you for every post, if you'd like. If someone in that circle is too chatty, you can mute that specific person. Also, when making a post, you can check a box to e-mail blast everyone in that circle. (Before you annoy an entire circle, better think twice before checking that box.)
Microsoft has a new logo for the first time since 1987. The style for "Microsoft" includes a new font with a four-panel color square. As for Windows and its other programs, wave goodbye to the wavy flags. Everything is more simple and straight-edged across the board. Take a gander at Microsoft's logos through time in this slideshow:
In other Microsoft news, there's a way to get Windows 8 for free: HP and Compaq PCs bought between Aug. 17 through Feb. 2 can get a free Windows 8 upgrade with a $15 rebate.
The price of the Xbox Kinect motion sensor just dropped $40 dollars, right in time for the holidays. It's now $110 dollars.
Tired of nasty computer keyboards? Logitech just came out with a washable keyboard for $40. Time to clean that QWERTY!
If you feel like there's just never enough time in the day, why not try living on Martian time? A day on Mars is 3 percent longer than a day on Earth, giving you an extra 40 minutes a day. A NASA engineer had his whole family switch to Martian time when the Curiosity rover landed. But you can keep Martian time yourself with Mars clock smartphone apps for Android (MarsClock by Scott Maxwell) and iPhone (Mars Clock by SunlightAndTime).