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General News News (1279)

Program to try Google Glass Before Buying Revealed

Category: General News
Posted: April 18, 2014 12:23PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Google is extending a try-on program to select potential customers for its Google Glass devices. Users that wish to test the glasses before spending $1,500 to own a pair can receive a try-on kit that includes Google Glass devices in multiple colors with the caveat that the devices are non-functional. The kit is purely to evaluate how the glasses will look and feel. Google will place a $50 hold on your credit card that will be returned when the units are returned within 10 days.

Source: 9 to 5 Google



Google Purchases Drone Maker Titan Aerospace

Category: General News
Posted: April 14, 2014 04:19PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Google has announced the acquisition of start-up drone manufacturer Titan Aerospace for an undisclosed amount. Google hopes to use the drone technology for "delivering Internet service to underserved areas, particularly in the developing world." The solar powered drones can stay airborne for up to five years and are currently used in applications such as search-and-rescue aid. Google said in a statement regarding the acquisition, "It's still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation."

Source: CNN



Corsair Announces System Building Contest

Category: General News
Posted: April 14, 2014 04:09PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Corsair has announced the PC Domination, Spring 2014 system building and tuning contest, running until May 5, 2014. There are a total of ten categories to compete in, offering something for all levels of systems. Available prizes include a wide range of Corsair products including mechanical keyboards, Dominator memory, cases, and liquid coolers. The primary competition categories are CPU, GPU, and system building. Further information about the contest can be found at the Corsair website.

Source: Press Release



Nest Ceases Sales of Protect Smoke Alarms

Category: General News
Posted: April 4, 2014 09:54AM
Author: Brentt Moore

A feature of the Nest Protect smoke alarm, known as Nest Wave, allows users of the device to disarm their smoke alarm with a simple wave of their hand. While beneficial in most circumstances, it could prove problematic in others. Thanks to internal testing conducted by Nest, an important safety issue has been found in which the smoke alarm could be deactivated unintentionally, possibly endangering lives. Due to the awareness of the issue, Nest has ceased all sales of its Nest Protect smoke alarm and is currently in the process of remedying Nest Wave. In the meantime, owners of the Nest smoke alarm will notice that the wave feature has been disabled.

After Nest fixes the safety issue, and receives proper approval from safety entities located within the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, Nest Wave will once again be available as a convenience feature. Nest is expecting this process to take at least two or three months however.

Source: Nest



Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich Steps Down

Category: General News
Posted: April 3, 2014 04:41PM
Author: bp9801

Just about two weeks removed from being named Mozilla's new CEO, Brendan Eich has stepped down from the position. Mozilla executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker announced Eich's departure in a blog post, saying Eich "made this decision for Mozilla and our community." It comes after many people were clamoring for Mozilla to act after Eich's support of a 2008 anti-gay marriage bill in California became public. Eich was the only Mozilla employee to donate money in support of the bill, while others donated against it. Baker says the company believes in equality and free speech, and that sometimes figuring out how to advocate both at the same time can be difficult. Clearly this is one of those times.

What happens next for Mozilla isn't as clear, but the company does want to be open about what is in store. More information about replacing Eich should be available next week, so be sure to check back then. As for Eich, his future at the company he co-founded isn't known just yet, but that could also be discussed next week.

Source: Mozilla Blog and CNET



NZXT Offering Touch Screen Fan Controller

Category: General News
Posted: April 3, 2014 01:25PM
Author: Nick Harezga

The Sentry 3 from NZXT is a touch screen fan controller that will give users the ability to control up to five fan channels with an "extraordinarily intuitive UI." The size of the touch screen sets the Sentry 3 apart from competitors as the 5.4" touch screen is "33% larger than any other single bay fan controller screen on the market." Each channel can handle 15W and channel linking allows users to control multiple fans simultaneously. The Sentry 3 also includes protection from short circuits, undervoltage, and overvoltage, helping to safeguard the components of your system. The Sentry 3 is now available for pre-order at an MSRP of $34.99 and should ship in "roughly two weeks."

Source: Press Release



Spotify User Interface Redesigned

Category: General News
Posted: April 2, 2014 11:37AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Spotify has redesigned the user interface of its desktop, web, and iOS applications, replacing the old grey theme with a new and sophisticated black theme. The new theme has been available to select users of the service since last Wednesday, but the redesign is now being pushed to all Spotify users. Along with the new color scheme, a new font known as Proxima Nova is being used that increases readability and brings a fresh new look to the service. Menus within Spotify have been revamped too, with the removal of “library” and “starred” categories. Overhauled icons provide clearer direction on how to perform various tasks within Spotify, such as adding albums to playlists.

It is worth noting that Spotify did not announce a redesign of its Android application.

Source: TechHive



Department of Transportation Passes Rule on Backup Cameras

Category: General News
Posted: March 31, 2014 05:20PM
Author: Brentt Moore

While many cars include backup cameras as standard or optional equipment, automakers are not mandated by the federal government to offer them in their vehicles. Today that changes however, as the United States Department of Transportation has unanimously passed a rule that mandates backup cameras must be installed on all road-legal vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that the mandate will help alleviate 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries per year due to backup related accidents. The rule calls for rearview cameras to provide visibility of 10 feet wide and at least 20 feet back, allowing drivers to have a clear view of the space directly behind their vehicle.

Although the rule has been announced today by NHTSA, automakers will have until May 1, 2018 to comply by the requirements.

Source: CNET



Thermaltake Announces New Portable Power Banks

Category: General News
Posted: March 31, 2014 04:41PM
Author: Nick Harezga


Thermaltake uses the LUXA2 brand of products to market consumer products that don't quite fall into the PC enthusiast market that other products are sold in. The latest addition to this lineup is the EnerG portable power bank series. The EnerG line will have power banks in capacities of 6600mAh, 8800mAh, and 10400mAh. Users will be able to choose the appropriate level of charge based on the number of USB enabled devices that need charging. Examples of compatible devices include smartphones, phablets, and tablets.

Source: Press Release




MIT Researchers Develop New Encryption

Category: General News
Posted: March 27, 2014 04:02PM
Author: Nick Harezga

A group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new encryption scheme, named Mylar, with the intent of combating the NSA and the PRISM surveillance program. Mylar "allows devs to build web applications which are protected from attackers, even if they have access to the server that stores the software." Mylar works in conjunction with Meteor, a web service building tool, to encrypt data using your password before it is even sent to a server. The researchers claim that Mylar requires minimal code modification of the target application and imposes minimal overhead and latency. The researchers will present their findings at the NSDI conference next week.

Source: The Register



Amazon Working on New Streaming Service

Category: General News
Posted: March 27, 2014 03:53PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Amazon is reported to be developing a new streaming service, separate from the current offering for Amazon Prime users. The service will offer original and licensed content as well as music videos. As part of the service Amazon also plans to include ad-supported videos, which could give the company revenues up to $1 billion, though this falls short of the $5.6 billion in ad revenue produced by YouTube. The company could use data collected about the shopping habits of consumers to create targeted ads. As an example, "it could sell Adidas shoes to Run-D.M.C.'s "My Adidas" music video fans." To further help the new streaming service, Amazon is holding a media event in New York City next week where the company is expected to announce a device similar to the Google Chromecast or Roku.

Source: Wall Street Journal



Worker Dies in South Korea Samsung Plant

Category: General News
Posted: March 27, 2014 04:39AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Reports indicate that a 52 year old man who worked for a partner company of Samsung died in Seoul, South Korea, due to carbon dioxide poisoning. Local police and fire authorities stated that the fire extinguishing system located within the Samsung plant malfunctioned and falsely detected a fire, releasing carbon dioxide into the building. Isolated within his work environment, the man died of suffocation due to a lack of oxygen. This death brings forth safety concerns about the Samsung plant located in South Korea after similar accidents have recently occurred.

Source: Yonhap News Agency



Dell Agrees to Pay Royalties to Microsoft

Category: General News
Posted: March 27, 2014 04:34AM
Author: Brentt Moore

In a recent patent licensing deal between Dell Incorporated and Microsoft Corporation, the former will pay the latter sales royalties on devices that are powered by Google Android or Chrome software. Additionally, intellectual property will be licensed between both companies in regards to the specific Google software, including Chromebooks. This agreement is nothing new within the Google operating system and software spectrum, as companies such as HTC, LG, and Samsung have already reached an agreement with Microsoft to pay royalties in the same fashion for Android handsets. Dell has done the same in order to satisfy Microsoft, since the Redmond based company believes that certain Android devices infringe on its patents.

Source: Reuters



Amazon Hands Out Settlements from eBook Price Fixing Case

Category: General News
Posted: March 26, 2014 12:00AM
Author: bp9801

If you happened to check your email today, you may have found something from Amazon saying you received credit for past eBook purchases. It's the direct result of the eBook price fixing scheme ran by Apple and five book publishers to try and get the price above what Amazon was charging. A lawsuit resulted, which ended up with the five publishers settling and Apple getting hit with a five-year anti-competitive ban (something it's still appealing). The good news from it all is credit is now finding its way to Amazon customers who purchased an eBook from Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin between April 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012. Credit amounts are variable, with anything from under a dollar to $20 (and maybe higher) being possible based on how many eBooks you bought. Residents in Minnesota (current or former) that purchased an eBook are entitled to a little bit more due to a separate term negotiation because the state's attorney general didn't participate in the original lawsuit.

Anyone receiving credit from Amazon can put it towards any book available on the website, regardless of it being a physical or digital copy. It could help ease the price on something you've had an eye on, or maybe completely fund a new book if you get a lot of credit. Just be sure to use the credit by March 31, 2015, otherwise it will expire. All credit should have gone out by now, so check any folders in your email inbox (or the first source below) to find out if you received any.

Source: Amazon Antitrust Settlement and Amazon FAQ



Facebook Buys Oculus VR for $2 Billion

Category: General News
Posted: March 25, 2014 10:42PM
Author: bp9801

Facebook has been on something of a buying spree this year, but those acquisitions have focused more on communication than anything else. That all changes today, as Facebook's CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced the company has purchased Oculus VR, the team behind the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. A rather lengthy post by Zuckerberg on Facebook (viewable at the source) covers the decision to buy Oculus VR for $2 billion, and it stems from the fact that Oculus is a leader in virtual reality technology. Zuckerberg intends for the Rift headset to continue on its intended course of delivering immersive gaming experiences, and how Facebook can help accelerate that plan. However, there's another part of the VR experience Zuckerberg is interested in, and it ties directtly into what Facebook is about: communication.

Zuckerberg explains that VR communication can allow people to share experiences easier, from meeting your doctor when you aren't in town to taking in your favorite team's game when you're nowhere near the stadium. It can also be used in the classroom for a multitude of applications. Hopefully we can avoid people sharing their most recent meal on an Oculus headset, but you never know. So, we have Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg saying the Oculus Rift will continue on its gaming path, but also get expanded upon to cover much more. It could be the kick in the pants needed to make VR a possibility for everyone, but it could also be something that makes plenty of people wary.

Source: Facebook and New York Times



Maker Studios to be Purchased by Disney

Category: General News
Posted: March 25, 2014 05:46AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Maker Studios, which was founded in 2009 and focuses on online videos featured on YouTube, is set to be purchased by The Walt Disney Company for a minimum of $500 million. Maker Studios is able to deliver online videos to more than 380 million subscribers located across the world, and successfully receives around 5.5 million video views every month. Disney stated that depending on the milestones hit by Maker Studios before the purchase is completed, the price for the YouTube network could be as high as $950 million. Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney, noted that because short-form online video is growing so quickly, the company is excited to enter the dynamic industry.

The purchase deal is expected to be completed during the third fiscal quarter for Disney.

Source: Reuters



Mozilla Names Brendan Eich as CEO

Category: General News
Posted: March 24, 2014 02:47PM
Author: Brentt Moore

Brendan Eich, who was the former CTO at Mozilla, has been named as the new CEO for the company. Eich replaces Gary Kovacs, who announced his resignation as the Mozilla CEO just around a year ago. Eich will be responsible for the Firefox web browser in his new position, and will also take on the mobile operating system known as Firefox OS. As the new CEO, Eich is attempting to develop and market smartphones that are powered by Firefox OS, with the mobile operating system being his main focus for the company going forward.

It is worth noting that Brendan Eich was the inventor of JavaScript and has been involved with Mozilla ever since 1998, which is when original ideas for the company started.



Mt. Gox Announces Finding of 200K Bitcoins

Category: General News
Posted: March 21, 2014 01:10AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Recently, one of the largest bitcoin exchanges known as Mt. Gox revealed that it had lost over 744K bitcoins belonging to customers as well as 100K bitcoins of its own. The loss, which was reportedly caused because of a software algorithm flaw, Mt. Gox filed for United States bankruptcy in order to protect itself from lawsuits. The bitcoin exchange has now announced that it has found some of the bitcoins that it claimed it had lost initially. 200K bitcoins were located within an old wallet on March 7, 2014 by Mt. Gox. The found bitcoins have been reported to attorneys and have been moved into an offline storage account for safe keeping.

Source: CNET



Sprint Closes Stores and Lays Off Employees

Category: General News
Posted: March 21, 2014 12:41AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Due to recent financial trouble in the last quarter of last year, and the extreme cost that it is incurring in order to upgrade its network to the Spark platform, Sprint has announced that it has decided to lay off employees and shutter stores. In total, Sprint will close down 150 service and repair centers, 55 stores, and will lay off 330 technical consultants. The company stated that it strategically chose to close specific underperforming stores in order to drive sales and repairs to retail locations that have been performing better overall. Additionally, the cut to technical consultants is expected to cause as little disturbance to Sprint customers as possible, according to the major wireless carrier that is owned by Japanese carrier SoftBank.

Source: CNET



Pandora One to Increase in Price

Category: General News
Posted: March 20, 2014 02:37AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Over the last five years, Pandora One has been able to keep its cost steady, charging subscribers of the service $3.99 per month. As content costs have gone upwards however, with Pandora claiming that the royalty rates it pays performers via SoundExchange have increased 53 percent in the last five years, Pandora has announced that its subscription model is undergoing some changes. The main focal point of these changes is that Pandora One will go up in price, costing listeners $4.99 per month, or $1 more per month. The change is not set to take effect until May of this year, and customers can even lock in the current price on a new loyalty program if they subscribe before the change is implemented. 

It is worth noting that the annual subscription option for Pandora One is ending, forcing subscribers of the service to pay monthly. The advertisement laden version of Pandora will still be available for free for listeners who chose to not subscribe to Pandora One.

Source: Pandora Blog


EA Server Compromised, Being Used for Phishing Attempt

Category: General News
Posted: March 19, 2014 01:57PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Security firm Netcraft has reported that an EA Games server has been compromised and is currently being used in a phishing attempt targeting Apple IDs. Hackers have exploited an old version of WebCalendar released in 2008 that runs on an EA server accessed by two pages on the EA domain. Users that navigate to this site are prompted for their Apple ID and password and for more sensitive information including credit card numbers and full names after that. Users are then redirected to the actual Apple ID site to help make it appear that nothing malicious has taken place.

Source: Netcraft



G.SKILL To Host OC World Cup 2014

Category: General News
Posted: March 19, 2014 01:49PM
Author: Nick Harezga

G.SKILL has announced the OC World Cup 2014 overclocking contest with the finals to be held live at Computex 2014. Online qualifiers will be held from March 24 to April 27 for highest memory frequency, SuperPI 32M, and 3DMark Fire Strike. Results will be recorded using HWBOT, with the top six qualifiers receiving an invite to the live finals. The grand prize winner will take home $10,000, second place will get 16GB of TridentX DDR3 2666MHz CL10 and 32GB of TridentX DDR3 2800MHz memory, and third place will receive 32GB of TridentX DDR3 2800MHz memory. Frank Hung from Product Marketing at G.SKILL said, "OC World Cup 2014 will be a great opportunity for extreme overclockers to showcase their skills to the world and a chance to take home the largest single cash prize in OC history, so overclockers better step up their game for a shot to win USD $10,000!"

Source: Press Release



Nexus Devices Now Available in More European Countries

Category: General News
Posted: March 19, 2014 07:02AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Google has expanded the total amount of countries that its Nexus devices are able in, providing more customers than ever the opportunity to purchase the products directly from the company. Potential customers in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden will be able to purchase the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 directly from Google. The Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 can be purchased from the Google Play Store immediately, though pricing and shipping will vary by location.

Source: Android Police



Walmart Announces Used Video Games Trade-in Service

Category: General News
Posted: March 18, 2014 08:25AM
Author: ClayMeow

Beginning March 26, Walmart will allow shoppers to trade in used video games across its 3,100 stores in exchange for credit that can be used to purchase anything at Walmart and Sam's Club, in-store and online. According to Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer for Walmart U.S., "Gaming continues to be an important business for us and we're actively taking aim at the $2 billion pre-owned videogame opportunity. When we disrupt markets and compete, our customer wins. They'll save money on video games and have the flexibility to spend it however they want."

Walmart's trade-in program is fairly straightforward: customers bring their used game, in the original packaging, to the electronics department; associates scan the UPC code and evaluate the game for any obvious damage; and then the customer is provided with a trade-in value, which if accepted, is available for immediate use. Walmart already has a trade-in program for electronics like tablets and smartphones, so video games is just another addition.

While several retailers already offer used video game buybacks, what happens after the trade-in is what really sets Walmart apart. Walmart plans to refurbish the games and make them available for purchase in "like-new condition" at a lower price point. These used games will be labeled as "Certified Pre-Owned," and will be available for purchase in stores and online. Having the guarantee that a game actually works could be just the thing to entice gamers to use Walmart instead of other retailers.

Source: Walmart



Firefox Hit Hardest at Pwn2own Contest

Category: General News
Posted: March 17, 2014 11:35AM
Author: Nick Harezga

The annual Pwn2own hacking contest sponsored by Hewlett Packard wrapped up late last week and the Firefox web browser from Mozilla was the greatest victim claimed during the contest. Other popular browsers and software including Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Adobe Flash were also exploited. The Zero Day Initiative from HP was the primary sponsor and a total of $850,000 in bounties were handed out for the various exploits. The biggest winner was security researcher Vupen, collecting a total of $300,000 in prize money.

Source: The Inquirer



Some Details of Rumored Google Smartwatch Revealed

Category: General News
Posted: March 15, 2014 08:43AM
Author: Nick Harezga

The Twitter account @evleaks is the source of some of the latest details to emerge about a rumored smartwatch from Google, and they list some of the hardware specs for the device. LG is reported to be building the watch that will have "a 1.65 inch, 280 x 280 pixel IPS LCD display, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of built-in storage." Absent from the details is what operating system will power the watch, though Android is the likely candidate due to the Google branding. Also unknown at this time is how the watch will interact with other devices, whether it is intended to interact with or replace smartphones.

Source: Liliputing



Cadillac Announces CUE Collection

Category: General News
Posted: March 14, 2014 12:48PM
Author: Brentt Moore

One of the luxury automobile brands owned by General Motors, Cadillac, has announced that a new application store for its CUE infotainment system will launch later this year. CUE Collection will likely feature many of the same applications that Chevrolet has announced to offer within its MyLink infotainment system, as both automobile manufactures share a technology base. Cadillac has also announced that its new and upcoming vehicles will feature 4G connectivity through the OnStar platform found throughout other General Motor vehicles.

The first vehicle from Cadillac that will feature the built-in 4G connection and the CUE Collection application store will be the 2015 ATS Coupe that is set to be released later this year.

Source: CNET



Target Supposedly Ignored Last Year's Data Breach Alerts for 12 Days

Category: General News
Posted: March 13, 2014 03:40PM
Author: bp9801

During the U.S. holiday season, Target stores suffered a nearly unprecedented data breach that saw more than 40 million credit card numbers (plus 70 million emails, street addresses, and other personal information) taken from its nearly 2,000 retail stores. Questions undoubtedly arise after something of this magnitude happens, with none bigger than "how?" We now know the hackers installed malware on Target's security and payments system to lift the credit card numbers (and nearly everything attached with them), which was set up before Thanksgiving 2013. On November 30, the hackers just had to figure out their escape plan before launching the attack.

Unfortunately for the hackers, Target's new malware detection software designed by FireEye detected the hackers' plan, and then notified the head office in Minneapolis. At that point, nothing happened. Another malware (the one designed to move the information out of Target's system) was installed on December 2, FireEye noticed it yet again, and when news reached Minneapolis, nothing happened.

For 12 days, Target officials supposedly knew of the data breach that was lifting credit card numbers in the millions, and yet failed to act. It was only until federal investigators notified Target on December 12 that action was taken, with the retail giant finally confirming data was stolen on December 15. The federal investigators had more than just noticed the breach, as they also had the stolen data; something the hackers carelessly left on their dump server.

While FireEye's software is designed to automatically delete malware, Target's security team decided to turn that feature off. It's not unheard of for the human element of a security team to want to be able to have the final say, but it does mean that team needs to act quickly. Target's team did not, and learned the hard way how easily that can screw things up for countless millions of people.

If you're curious about all the details of Target's apparent ineptitude concerning the hack, be sure to hit up the source below. There's a ton to it, but it's well worth the read.

Source: Businessweek



Amazon Increases Prime Membership Cost

Category: General News
Posted: March 13, 2014 12:25PM
Author: Brentt Moore

Initially, it was reported that Amazon was going to increase its Prime membership fee by $40 per year. The good news is that the increase in cost is not going to be as much as originally reported. The bad news is that Amazon Prime for United States customers will not remain $79 per year. Amazon has revealed that its Prime membership, which includes free two-day shipping on over 20 million items, unlimited access to over 40,000 movies and TV episodes, and access to over 500,000 books to borrow, will increase in price to $99 per year. According to a letter sent to current customers through email, the price increase for an annual subscription to Amazon Prime is likely due to increased fuel and transportation costs.

Amazon has noted that the initial cost of Amazon Prime has remained the same $79 for nine years, hinting that it has remained a value to customers as the program has continued to grow.

Source: Engadget



Rdio Will Stop Using The Echo Nest

Category: General News
Posted: March 12, 2014 10:08AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Anthony Bay, the CEO of Rdio, has announced that the music service will soon stop using The Echo Nest, which is a popular music recommendation service that uses data to determine music that users like and dislike. The news comes shortly after Rdio rival Spotify acquired The Echo Nest. Many of the new features that Rdio announced late last year make use of the technology offered by The Echo Nest, and at the moment, Rdio is still using the service when a user plays a radio station. Rdio has announced that after it drops technology offered by The Echo Nest, it will make use of other services that offer similar data in regards to radio stations. No information has been offered by Rdio in regards to which service it may begin using however.

Source: CNBC



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