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General News News (1321)

World's Largest HD Display Now Lit Up in Times Square

Category: General News
Posted: November 22, 2014 02:15PM
Author: ClayMeow


This Tuesday saw a record-breaking event, and it happened right in the heart of Manhattan – a 24-million-pixel LED display longer than a football field and eight stories high lit up Times Square for the first time. The world's largest display debuted with an exhibition of digital art by Universal Everything Studio, but will the home of some Google advertising next week through the New Year. While the screen's advertising firm Clear Channel Outdoor wouldn't divulge details of the Google deal, the New York Times reports that "the rate for a four-week advertising blitz is $2.5 million."

The gigantic billboard hovers over the Marriott Marquis Hotel and was commissioned by the Vornado Realty Trust in 2012 "as part of a $140 million project to expand and redevelop the Marriott Marquis' retail space." The exact cost of the screen itself is unknown. The heart of Times Square where this billboard is located is passed by an average of 300,000 pedestrians every day and 115,000 drivers and passengers. According to Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins, "This is the one place on the planet where people seek out, take pictures of and then transmit advertisement."

Source: Reuters




Dish Ends Dispute with Turner Broadcasting

Category: General News
Posted: November 21, 2014 11:39AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Back in October, it was reported that Dish customers lost access seven channels due to a contract dispute with Turner Broadcasting. The channels that have been unavailable to Dish customers since the incident include Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN, CNN en Espanol, Headline News, truTV, and Turner Classic Movies. Today, Turner Broadcasting has announced that both companies have mutually decided to restore service of these channels, allowing subscribers of Dish Network to be able to watch their favorite television channels once more. Turner Broadcasting also revealed within its announcement that coverage of TBS and TNT has been extended due to the mutual agreement.

Source: Press Release



Google Contributor Provides Unique Website Funding Opportunity

Category: General News
Posted: November 21, 2014 06:16AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Google is currently experimenting with a new service called Contributor, which provides websites with funding in a new way while also eliminating annoying advertisements for viewers. Google Contributor is partly a subscription service, as users have to pay $1 to $3 per month in order to get rid of advertisements on participating websites. That money is well spent, however, as Google Contributor promises to split up a portion of the funds with websites that are integrated with the service, allowing users to see a thank you message where an advertisement would normally be while websites continue to generate income. Even with advertisement blocking software installed, users can still support their favorite websites with Google Contributor for a small monthly fee, as long as the websites they visit are signed up for the service.

Interested website owners can apply for the program on the service’s website through a waitlist application, since Google Contributor is currently invitation only.

Source: PCWorld



USPS Suffers Data Breach

Category: General News
Posted: November 20, 2014 06:39PM
Author: Brentt Moore

The United States Postal Service is the latest victim in a long line of companies to have suffered a data breach during this year. At this point in time, it is believed that approximately 100 servers and their workstations were compromised after a sophisticated adversary was able to gain access to the network used by the United States Postal Service. Data that was stolen includes names, dates of birth, social security numbers, addresses, dates of employment, and other information associated with more than 800,000 Postal Service employees. It is also believed that 2.9 million customer complaints were compromised in the attack, which include names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of those who filed the complaints. United States Postal Service cyber-security official, Randy Meskanic, stated that "At this time, we do not believe that Postal Service transactional revenue systems in Post Offices, as well as on usps.com where customers pay for services with credit and debit cards, were affected by this incident."

Employees of the Postal Service who have possibly been affected by the data breach are being provided with credit monitoring services.

Source: ABC News


Five-Year-Old Becomes Youngest Microsoft Certified Professional

Category: General News
Posted: November 18, 2014 08:08AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Ayan Qureshi, who is currently six-years-old and attending his first year as a student at Clifford Bridge Primary School in the United Kingdom, has been named the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional in the world. The young boy successfully passed the Microsoft certification exam on September 27, 2014 when he was just five-years-old, which also happens to be the age that he built his first computer. Qureshi told BBC's Asian Network that he encountered a variety of questions that included multiple choice, drag and drop, hotspot, and scenario based. According to his father, Qureshi has an amazing memory that allowed him to retain a wealth of information, which certainly assisted the boy in successfully passing the exam at his age.

Source: HotHardware



USB 3.0 To Receive a Speed Upgrade

Category: General News
Posted: November 17, 2014 04:44PM
Author: Nick Harezga

The upcoming USB 3.1 standard will increase the transfer speed of the interconnect from 4.8 Gbps to 9.6 Gbps and will be backwards compatible with the mobile high-definition link (MHL) 3 specification. The MHL 3 spec allows devices with a USB Type-C connector to transfer ultra HD content between devices such as smartphones and televisions. More than 650 million smartphones already have support for the MHL spec and HDTVs should support it within a year. MHL Consortium President Rob Tobias said, "This benefits consumers and systems designers because a single connector reduces costs and increases functionality," while USB-Implementers Forum CEO Jeff Ravencraft added, "The USB Type-C cable and connector is designed to be a long-lasting, robust solution that is ideal for all platforms and devices."

Source: PC Magazine



Department of Energy Orders Two Supercomputers

Category: General News
Posted: November 17, 2014 04:29PM
Author: Nick Harezga

The United State Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a $425 million contract to build a pair of supercomputers at the Oak Ridge and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories. $325 million will go to the Collaboration of Oak Ridge, Argonne, and Lawrence Livermore (CORAL) program to build the two computers and the remaining $100 million will be used to "further develop extreme scale supercomputing technologies as part of a research and development program titled FastForward2." The new computers are expected to deliver performance up to three times greater than the current most powerful system, Tianhe-2, located at China's National Super Computer Center. Oak Ridge will receive Summit, capable of 150 to 300 petaflops, while Lawrence Livermore will receive Sierra, capable of 100 petaflops dedicated to the national nuclear security mission. Both computers will be powered by IBM Power Architecture processors and NVIDIA Tesla GPUs and are scheduled to be installed in 2017. U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz described the move saying, "DOE and its National Labs have always been at the forefront of HPC and we expect that critical supercomputing investments like CORAL and FastForward2 will again lead to transformational advancements in basic science, national defense, environmental and energy research that rely on simulations of complex physical systems and analysis of massive amounts of data."

Source: Press Release and NVIDIA



Disney Adds Wal-Mart's Vudu Purchases to Disney Movies Anywhere

Category: General News
Posted: November 16, 2014 01:07PM
Author: ClayMeow

Earlier in the month, Disney announced that its cloud movie service Disney Movies Anywhere would support Google Play purhcases, after it launched in February with iTunes support. Now comes word that purchases from Vudu, an online store operated by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., will also be integrated into Disney Movies Anywhere. So whether you buy one of the 400+ Disney, Pixar, and Marvel movies on iTunes, Google Play, or Vudu, you'll now be able to access them on a variety of devices through Disney's app. The news comes alongside the release of digital versions of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy and a sing-along version of Disney's Frozen.

Source: Reuters



Reddit CEO Yishan Wong Resigns Following Disagreement with Board

Category: General News
Posted: November 16, 2014 01:05PM
Author: ClayMeow


It seems that Reddit's board is getting a bit of a shake-up. Following a disagreement last week with the board over a new office, Reddit CEO Yishan Wong has resigned. Business and partnerships strategist Ellen Pao will step into the role of CEO, while co-founder Alexis Ohanian will return as Executive Chairman. According to investor Sam Altman, Wong was not asked to resign, but rather came to the decision on his own after the board didn't approve the new office.

Source: Reddit Blog via Reuters



Spotify Integration Coming to Uber

Category: General News
Posted: November 15, 2014 04:48PM
Author: Brentt Moore

Although an official announcement will more than likely be made tomorrow at an Uber global conference, it looks like the ridesharing service will soon feature Spotify integration. Spotify has been attempting to branch outside of its own offering for some time, and with integration into Uber, it will continue to reach additional users. According to a leaked screenshot of a user interface apparently hidden within the current Uber application, passengers of Uber vehicles with an AUX audio input will be able to pause, skip, rewind, and shuffle songs. The user interface will also show the song title and the artist of the music being played through the car audio system.

Source: TechCrunch



Sapphire Supplier GT Advanced Technologies Accuses Apple of 'Bait and Switch'

Category: General News
Posted: November 11, 2014 07:03PM
Author: ClayMeow

GT Advanced Technologies, a maker of sapphire furnaces that supplied sapphire material to Apple for the latter's iPhone screens, has accused Apple of pulling a "bait and switch", which resulted in GT Advanced filing for bankruptcy last month. GT Advanced COO Daniel Squiller claims that Apple offered his company its largest sale ever, but then changed the terms of the agreement too late to pursue other avenues. According to Squiller, the original deal was for Apple to purchase 2,600 sapphire growing furnaces, which GT Advanced would operate on behalf of Apple. However, after months of negotiation, Apple changed the deal, instead lending GT Advanced money to build the furnaces and grow the sapphire, then sell it exclusively to Apple below market value. Since GT Advanced was unable to pursue deals with other smartphone makers during the negotiations, the company was forced to accept this new deal.

Apple is, of course, denying these allegations, claiming that GT Advanced was eager to make a deal. In its court filing, Apple stated, "These statements are intended to vilify Apple and portray Apple as a coercive bully." Furthermore, in November of last year, one month after that final deal was inked, GT Advanced CEO Tom Gutierrez told analysts that the company was "very pleased" with the deal.

Source: Reuters



Microsoft Offering Discounted Bundle For Subscription Services

Category: General News
Posted: November 11, 2014 09:29AM
Author: Nick Harezga

Microsoft is offering a discounted bundle for several of its popular services during the holiday season. Consumers will be able to get a one year subscription to Office 365, Skype Unlimited World, Skype global Wi-Fi hotspot access, Xbox Live Gold, and the Xbox Music Pass. The bundle will be available until January 4 at a price of $199, representing more than $100 off the $330 price when purchased separately. Users that already subscribe to any of the services will have their current subscriptions extended. The deal is only available in Microsoft retail stores, and appears to be a worthwhile purchase for users of any of the services or for anyone looking to try them out.

Source: Tech Crunch



Roughly 53 Million Email Addresses Compromised in Home Depot Breach

Category: General News
Posted: November 7, 2014 10:57AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Home Depot, the largest home improvement store chain in the world, has revealed that roughly 53 million email addresses have been compromised in a recent breach of its payment data systems. The company stated that the hackers used a username and password from a third-party vendor to access the perimeter of its network, where the criminals then acquired elevated rights. These rights allowed them to access various parts of the Home Depot network and to place custom-built malware on the company’s checkout systems in the United States and Canada. Despite this, Home Depot is claiming that the stolen files that contained email addresses did not contain sensitive information such as passwords or payment card data.

The announcement comes just a few months after Home Depot revealed that it suffered a separate breach in which data surrounding 56 million payment cards was stolen.

Source: Reuters


Microsoft Partners with Dropbox For Its Office Software

Category: General News
Posted: November 5, 2014 08:10PM
Author: ClayMeow

Despite owning its own file-sharing service in OneDrive, Microsoft has decided to partner with Dropbox to allow Office software users to use the latter's file-sharing service. According to Reuters, "Microsoft said the functionality would be included in the next updates to the Office mobile apps, to be rolled out in the next few weeks, and online accessibility would be available in the first half of 2015."

Source: Reuters



Google Play Purchases Now Accessible via Disney Movies Anywhere

Category: General News
Posted: November 5, 2014 07:53PM
Author: ClayMeow

Back in February, Disney launched its own cloud movie service called Disney Movies Anywhere. At launch, the service allowed users to purchase Disney, Pixar, and Marvel films through its website, app, or through iTunes. Starting yesterday, the service now also supports Google Play purchases, allowing access via computers and Android devices, including Google's Chromecast. All past and present digital purchases will be accessible.

Source: Reuters



Zalman Files For Bankruptcy in South Korea

Category: General News
Posted: November 5, 2014 04:13PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Zalman, a company known primarily for various cooling products, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the Seoul Central District Court and has had trading of its stock halted. Zalman and its parent company, Moneual, are under investigation after a whistle blower reported that several top executives at Zalman took loans of $2.98 billion from the company by using fabricated export data. If the accusations are true then this is a sad end for a company that made some great heatsinks and other products.

Source: Legit Reviews



Samsung and LG Looking Toward Quantum Dot Technology For Their Next-gen Televisions

Category: General News
Posted: November 4, 2014 07:27PM
Author: ClayMeow

While plasma televisions may be on their way out, it looks like a new type of television is ready to take their place, and it's expected to be the next big thing. Both Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have announced that they plan to use quantum dot technology for their next generation of televisions. Sony is currently the only major electronics manufacturer selling quantum dot TVs. The reason is not actually related to plasma TVs, but rather OLED TVs, which continue to cost way too much to produce, which in turn makes it tough to find mass market appeal.

The appeal of quantum dot displays is that they provide superior quality over traditional LCDs, but at a fraction of the cost of OLED displays. "One industry analyst estimated a 55-inch quantum dot TV could be priced 30 to 35 percent more than a current LCD TV, while an OLED TV could be 5 times more expensive." The problem comes down to supply. Currently, there are only a few suppliers of quantum dot material, including Quantum Materials Corp and Nanoco Group PLC. The latter is partnering with Dow Chemical Co to build a South Korean plant that will start quantum dot production in the first half of 2015.

According to research analyst DisplaySearch, 1.95 million quantum dot TV shipments are expected next year, increasing to 25.5 million by 2020. While next year's number only accounts for 0.8 percent of the market, OLED TV shipments are only estimated at 600,000 in 2015 according to IHS Technology, with that increasing to 7.8 million by 2019. That being said, LCD TVs will continue to dominate the market for the foreseeable future, providing the best bang for buck.

Source: Reuters



Plasma Televisions May Be on Their Last Legs

Category: General News
Posted: November 3, 2014 07:00PM
Author: ClayMeow

LCD TVs have long been leading the global television market over the once formidable plasma TVs, and now it seems the latter's days are numbered. LG Electronics has announced that its plasma television business will cease by the end of November, which accounted for a mere 2.4% of its 2013 annual revenue. With Panasonic ending its plasma TVs earlier this year, that just leaves Samsung Electronics as the last major player. That being said, sister company Samsung SDI Co Ltd, which supplies Samsung with its plasma panels, are pulling out of the business by the end of November as well, so who knows what's going to happen there.

According to market research firm NPD DisplaySearch, global plasma TV shipments are expected to fall to just 500,000 in 2015, down from 5.2 million in 2014.

Source: Reuters



Android Co-founder Andy Rubin Leaving Google

Category: General News
Posted: November 3, 2014 05:54PM
Author: ClayMeow

Andy Rubin, co-founder of Google's Android mobile business and head of its nascent robotics effort, is leaving the company. Sundar Pichai replaced Rubin as head of the Android division last year, while James Kuffner, a research scientist at Google and a member of the robotics group, will replace Rubin as head of that division. According to Google, "Rubin will start a company to support startups interested in building technology-hardware products."

Source: Reuters



Apple Brings Beats Music to Southwest Airlines

Category: General News
Posted: November 3, 2014 04:17PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Southwest Airlines has announced a partnership with Apple that will bring the Beats Music streaming service to passengers for free on Wi-Fi enabled flights. Travelers will have access to all aspects of the service including curated playlists and The Sentence playlist creator. The partnership was revealed today onboard a Boeing 737 featuring a Beats Music paint job. Southwest Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Krone described the partnership saying, "We continue to enhance our onboard offerings to remain current as our Customers' needs evolve, and with the addition of Beats Music on our entertainment portal, we're doing just that."

Source: Southwest Airlines



Rooftop Media Acquired by Amazon

Category: General News
Posted: October 28, 2014 04:19AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Amazon has revealed that it has officially acquired Rooftop Media, an online comedy service comprised of 10 employees that specializes in producing comedy content for the Web. The acquisition of the comedy service will help Amazon in its goal to create revenue from other streams outside of ecommerce.  Amazon wishes to compete directly with Netflix and other online digital media services, and by taking over Rooftop Media which has partners that include Apple, Pandora, Rdio, Spotify, and Yahoo, the online retail giant has a better chance of doing so. While financial details regarding the acquisition were not announced by either company, it has been revealed that content by Rooftop Media will be integrated into Audible, an audiobooks service owned by Amazon.

Source: Reuters



CVS Ceases Support for NFC Payment Functionality

Category: General News
Posted: October 27, 2014 08:34AM
Author: Brentt Moore

CVS has shut down NFC functionality of its payment terminals entirely, following a similar decision made by pharmacy chain RiteAid just a few days ago. According to Twitter and the MacRumors forums, CVS sent an email to its stores notifying them that NFC support is to be turned off, which affects systems like Apple Pay and Google Wallet. This action has likely been taken due to the company’s participation in Merchant Customer Exchange, a retailer group that is currently developing its own mobile payments system known as CurrentC.

While CVS and RiteAid no longer support Apple Pay and Google Wallet, competitor Walgreens has fully embraced Apple Pay since its launch.

Source: MacRumors


Sundar Pichai Now Oversees Additional Google Products

Category: General News
Posted: October 25, 2014 04:03AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Sundar Pichai, who has been at Google since 2004 and took on overseeing Google Apps in 2012 and Android in 2013, has been promoted by Larry Page, Google’s CEO, to oversee some of the company’s most important products and services. Pichai will now have direct oversight on a plethora of core offerings by Google, which include advertisements, Android, Chrome, Docs, Gmail, Google+, maps, search, and research. Page implemented the promotion for Pichai due to his desire to offload some of his own management duties, allowing him to focus more heavily on overall business strategies for the technology giant as it continues to expand. Despite the shift in management Pichai still falls under Page, who remains the top product guru at Google.

Source: Re/code



Revolv Acquired by Nest

Category: General News
Posted: October 25, 2014 03:38AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Revolv, a company that prides itself on its self-titled smart hub that helps actively manage smart homes through a smartphone application, has been officially acquired by Nest. Revolv noted on its website shortly after the acquisition that "Together, we’re going to create some amazing products and continue to unify the connected home as part of the Works with Nest program." Financial details regarding the acquisition were not released by either company, but sales of the Revolv smart hub have been halted by Nest due to the takeover. While new customers are not be able to purchase the smart hub from Revolv, existing customers will be provided with continued service and customer support. The device’s one-year warranty will still be honored as well, and data gathered from the smart hub will continue to follow the privacy statement by Revolv, staying separate from Google.

Source: PCWorld and Revolv



Apple Pay and Google Wallet Payments Blocked by RiteAid

Category: General News
Posted: October 24, 2014 08:17AM
Author: Brentt Moore

RiteAid, one of the largest drug store chains in the United States, is currently not accepting Apple Pay or Google Wallet payments across 4,600 stores. While Apple Pay was fully functional at RiteAid when the Apple payment system launched on Monday, it was disabled shortly afterwards for reasons that are unknown. The customer service department confirmed that payment systems that utilize tapping are currently not welcome, and a representative for the company stated that "We just can’t take it at this time." It is not known if the drug store chain has disabled all NFC payment abilities on its terminals, or if transactions from Apple Pay and Google Wallet are the only payments being blocked.

Source: TechHive



Staples May Have Suffered a Data Breach

Category: General News
Posted: October 22, 2014 05:20AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Staples, the world's largest office products company and a trusted source for office solutions, is investigating a possible data breach after the company revealed that there may be an issue with the credit card data of its customers. Banks have noticed unusual activity that suggests that Staples has in fact suffered a data breach of its own with store located in the Northeastern United States, according to Brian Krebs, a cybersecurity blogger that first reported the data breach that occurred at Home Depot. Staples has even contact law enforcement over the possible data breach. Mark Cautela, a Staples spokesman, noted that "We take the protection of customer information very seriously, and are working to resolve the situation." If the breach is confirmed, Cautela has stated that Staples customers will not be liable for any fraudulent activity.

Source: The Washington Post



Dish Loses 7 Channels Due to Turner Broadcasting Dispute

Category: General News
Posted: October 21, 2014 06:30AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Due to a contract dispute with Turner Broadcasting, which licenses various channels for distribution to subscription services, Dish Network customers have lost access to seven channels. Dish customers can no longer access Boomerang, Cartoon Network, CNN, CNN en Espanol, Headline News, truTV, and Turner Classic Movies. MSNBC content replaced CNN and Headline News programming, while Turner Class Movies programming was replaced by FXM Retro.

Dish Senior Vice President of Programming, Warren Schlichting, noted that the company has offered an enticing deal to Turner Broadcasting that would successfully renew its agreement with the content provider. Turner Broadcasting countered, however, stating that it has attempted for months to come to an agreement that it deems fair for both parties, and that Dish is continuing to operate in a disruptive manner. Time will tell if both companies will be able to reach an agreement in the near future, which will result in the renewal of the contract that controls the seven aforementioned channels.

Source: CNET



Jade Raymond Leaves Ubisoft

Category: General News
Posted: October 21, 2014 03:47AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Jade Raymond, who worked at Ubisoft the last 10 years as a producer, has officially left the video game developer and publisher. Raymond helped to produce stellar video game titles such as Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs, and Splinter Cell, and also opened the Ubisoft Toronto studio and served as its managing director since 2009. "I've spent 10 extraordinary years at Ubisoft, and I am proud to have been part of many of the best teams in the industry making truly remarkable games," Raymond said within the Ubisoft press release surrounding her departure from the company.

The announcement of Raymond leaving Ubisoft is likely due to the 30 FPS stance that the company has taken lately, in which it believes that games should be capped at 30 FPS to look more cinematic.

Source: Press Release


Microsoft Working on Wearable Fitness Device

Category: General News
Posted: October 20, 2014 04:43PM
Author: Nick Harezga

After the reveal of the Fitbit Surge earlier today, the fitness wearable market looks to get even more crowded as Microsoft is reportedly working on a device of its own. Microsoft would join a market that has grown to include offerings from several companies including Samsung, LG, Jawbone, and Fitbit. The Microsoft device will track heart rate and will work multiple mobile platforms including Windows Phones, iOS devices, and Android devices. The major challenge for Microsoft will likely be whether it is capable of standing out from the crowd to get users to choose it over other offerings. No information on pricing is available yet, but further announcements are expected in the coming weeks with a potential holiday release on the horizon.

Source: Toms Guide



Beats Music May Soon Cost $5 Per Month

Category: General News
Posted: October 20, 2014 02:28PM
Author: Brentt Moore

It was recently reported that Apple has interests in reducing the cost of Beats Music, a music subscription service that currently costs $10 per month and rivals Rhapsody, Spotify, and others. Apparently, the interests that surround a cheaper plan for subscribers is even larger now thanks to Spotify announcing its family subscription option, which reduces the cost of the service substantially for families. At the time of this writing, Apple observes roughly $60 of revenue a year from some of its best iTunes buyers, which equates to $5 per month. According to individuals that are familiar with the future plans of Beats Music, the music subscription service may be lowered to $5 per month in order to bring those who currently download music from iTunes onto the streaming model that Beats Music is founded on. This would provide the same amount of revenue for music labels and also usher in the possibility of an expanded subscriber base for Apple's music subscription service.

Source: Re/code



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