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General News News (1335)

Google End-to-End Encryption Enters Alpha

Category: General News
Posted: December 18, 2014 04:11PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Yahoo first announced that it was working on an end-to-end encryption service based on the Google PGP Plugin at Black Hat 2014. The PGP Plugin was initially unveiled by Google in June, and since the Yahoo announcement the two companies have been working together to move the project forward. As of today the Google project has been moved from its internal code repository to GitHub, allowing for better peer review among security researchers. Also revealed is that Yahoo chief security officer Alex Stamos is officially working on the project rather than simply making contributions. The two companies are currently attempting to make the End-to-End encryption service work between Yahoo mail and Gmail. Google plans to add the service to the Chrome Web Store after it becomes more stable.

Source: ZDNet



Amazon Offers Free Two-Hour Delivery with Prime Now

Category: General News
Posted: December 18, 2014 07:53AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Amazon has just launched Prime Now, a new benefit for Prime members that offers expedited shipping of tens of thousands of daily essentials such as paper towels, shampoo, books, toys, and batteries. The service, which is accessed on Android and iOS devices through the new Prime Now application, allows Prime members to order items from 6AM to midnight, seven days a week, and have them delivered in just hours. Prime members located where Prime Now is offered can have eligible items delivered in one-hour for $7.99, or two-hours for free. To make Prime Now a reality, Amazon is utilizing a portion of its building located on 34th Street in Manhattan as a hub for orders placed through Prime Now.

Prime Now is currently only available in select areas of Manhattan, but Amazon has revealed that the service will be expanding to additional cities in 2015.

Source: Business Wire



Purch Acquires AnandTech

Category: General News
Posted: December 18, 2014 05:40AM
Author: Brentt Moore

AnandTech has remained profitable since its inception and has experienced quite a growth curve over the past couple of years, thanks to its high-quality content and migration into the mobile world. Despite this, Ryan Smith, the current Editor-In-Chief for AnandTech, has revealed in an official site update that AnandTech has been acquired by Purch, the current owner of Tom’s Hardware. The move comes after years of realization that AnandTech simply could not compete with large corporate owned sites on the advertising front. Although Purch has now taken over AnandTech, the website will remain editorially independent from Tom’s Hardware. The current AnandTech team will continue to focus on existing areas of coverage and will not take on a new analytical approach or change its editorial policies.

Source: AnandTech



Google and Verizon Agree to Patent Licensing Scheme

Category: General News
Posted: December 16, 2014 04:11PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Google and Verizon have entered into a partnership that will allow the two companies to share patents in an effort to "reduce the risk of future patent litigation." The deal that the companies have entered into takes the shape of a "long-term patent cross-license agreement covering a broad range of products and technologies." Head of Patent Transactions at Google Kirk Dailey described the arrangement saying, "This cross license allows both companies to focus on delivering great products and services to consumers around the world. We're pleased to enter into this agreement with an industry leader like Verizon, and we welcome discussions with any company interested in a similar arrangement."

Source: Market Watch



Hackers Plan to Release Christmas Gift of Sony Secrets

Category: General News
Posted: December 15, 2014 04:46PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Hacking group Guardians of Peace are responsible for the large scale hacking and information release targeted at Sony. Targets have included personal employee data, unreleased movies, and the PlayStation Network. The group has already released 200 GB of data and is planning to release an even larger and more damaging set of information as part of a "Christmas present." The group detailed the upcoming leak saying, "The gift will be larger quantities of data. And it will be more interesting. The gift will surely give you much more pleasure and put Sony Pictures into the worst state. Please send an email titled by ‘Merry Christmas’ at the addresses below to tell us what you want in our Christmas gift." The hackers have also reached out to Sony employees, giving them an opportunity to opt out of having their information released by sending an e-mail to the group.

Source: Wired



Google Integrates Voice and Now With Nest Thermostat

Category: General News
Posted: December 15, 2014 04:25PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Google has announced the first pair of services to integrate with the Nest thermostat, acquired about a year ago. Voice control has been added through the Google app, giving users the ability to set the temperature through any device that has the app. Google Now support has also been added, and will start to heat or cool your home while you are on the way so it is at your desired temperature upon your arrival. It will be interesting to see what other services Google will be able to integrate with the Nest thermostat.

Source: Google



Indiegogo Removes Fees for Personal Fundraising

Category: General News
Posted: December 15, 2014 08:32AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Indiegogo, the largest global fundraising site that helps individuals, businesses, and non-profits raise money online to make any idea a reality through crowdfunding, has announced that it has removed its fees for personal fundraising. While Indiegogo generally charges a fee of 4 percent to campaigns that reach their target, those crowdfunding for volunteer efforts and worthy causes can now keep all of the money raised. Users of Indiegogo Life can set up campaigns that are focused on animals, celebrations, education, emergencies, faith, medical needs, memorials, sports, and volunteer efforts, and keep all of the funds that are raised due to the removal of fees previously charged by Indiegogo.

Source: CNET



Microsoft is Giving Away 100 Music Albums for Free

Category: General News
Posted: December 12, 2014 06:24AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Microsoft has just launched a special offering, in which music listeners with Microsoft accounts can access and download 100 full albums for free. The lineup of music albums available to Microsoft users includes a variety of popular choices, such as Watch the Throne by Kanye West and Jay-Z, Unapologetic by Rhianna, Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi, The Fame and The Fame Monster by Lady Gaga, Exodus and Catch a Fire by Bob Marley, 2Pac’s Greatest Hits, and much more. All of the albums currently available, which are actually DRM-free, can be accessed through the Microsoft’s Music Deals app which will redirect users to the Xbox Music app for downloading. The 100 free albums are available through December 18, 2014, and Microsoft is even offering 80 percent off numerous holiday albums and many of the top albums of 2014 as a part of the special.

Source: PCWorld



Microsoft Now Accepts Bitcoins

Category: General News
Posted: December 11, 2014 01:11PM
Author: Brentt Moore

Microsoft has announced that through a partnership with BitPay, the world’s leading bitcoin payment processor that currently supports more than 50,000 businesses, its users can now trade-in bitcoin at market value in order to pay for content. According to Eric Lockard, corporate vice president of Universal Store at Microsoft, "For us, this is about giving people options and helping them do more on their devices and in the cloud." Microsoft users who successfully convert bitcoins to their country and region's currency can choose to purchase content such as applications, games, and videos from the company’s Windows, Windows Phone, and Xbox platforms. Unfortunately, bitcoin cannot be used as a direct payment method at this time, but Microsoft has noted that it could be a possibility in the future as integration continues. Additionally, Microsoft has enforced a cap on the amount of bitcoin that can be exchanged per day, which currently sits at $1,000, with a $5,000 maximum in place for each account registered by a given individual.

Source: Microsoft Blog



AMD Progressively Losing Market Share to NVIDIA

Category: General News
Posted: December 11, 2014 04:18AM
Author: Brentt Moore


Thanks to a new chart released by Jon Peddie Research, a technically oriented marketing, research, and management consulting firm in the graphics industry, it is clear that AMD is progressively losing market share to NVIDIA. While AMD has been able to gain some market share on a quarterly basis, NVIDIA has been slowly pulling away from its primary rival over the last four years. Just in the third quarter of this year, for example, NVIDIA successfully controlled 70 percent of the discrete GPU market by unit shipments. Financially, NVIDIA is now spending more on research and development every year than AMD is, and with the company forcing AMD to cut its prices due to its latest graphics cards, it seems that the market share gap will only widen further in the foreseeable future.

Source: The Motley Fool



Qualcomm Announces Layoff of Roughly 600 Employees

Category: General News
Posted: December 10, 2014 05:35AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Qualcomm, the world's largest maker of computer chips for mobile devices, has announced that it is laying off approximately 600 employees in order to focus more directly on specific projects and programs. A company spokesperson revealed that fewer than 300 employees would be cut out of California, while a similar number of employees will be laid off internationally. Qualcomm failed to identify how many full-time or part-time employees would be cut, but did note that some employees will be moved to other areas of the company while others will receive severance and transition packages.

The announcement to layoff roughly 600 Qualcomm employees comes at a time of regulatory investigations into business practices employed by the company, as well as a reduced fiscal outlook for 2015.

Source: CNET



Gigabyte Hosting Goodbye 2014 OC Challenge

Category: General News
Posted: December 9, 2014 04:09PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Gigabyte is planning to close out 2014 with one last overclocking competition, the Goodbye 2014 OC Challenge. The contest runs until January 4, 2015 at midnight and will have three stages. Each stage targets a different benchmark with prizes for the best scores in XTU, Highest CPUz, and Super Pi 32m. Users can enter with any Gigabyte Z97 series motherboard with the contest being hosted by HWBOT. Prizes for the challenge include $2,000 in cash, three X99M-Gaming 5 motherboards, and three Z97X-SOC FORCE LN2 motherboards. Full contest rules, scoring, and details can be found on the contest page.

Source: Press Release



Amazon Launches Negotiating Program for Select Items

Category: General News
Posted: December 9, 2014 06:41AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Amazon has just launched a new program on its website that allows consumers to haggle prices with third-party sellers over select products, which currently includes items such as sports jerseys, autographed posters, collectible coins, and fine art. The program, known as 'Make an Offer,' allows consumers to suggest a reduced price for items that are sold by third-party sellers who participate in the program. The haggling itself occurs through email after an Amazon user submits their offer for an item to the seller. Once a final price is agreed upon, Amazon provides notification for the consumer to add the item to their cart so that they can complete the purchase. Throughout next year, Amazon plans to expand the new negotiation program to hundreds of thousands of items, though it is not currently known if technology products will be included in the expansion.

It is worth noting that the 'Make an Offer' program is not meant to act as an auction, as users interact one-on-one with the seller and will never pay more than the listed price for a product.

Source: CNET



Sony Hacked Again, PlayStation Network The Target

Category: General News
Posted: December 8, 2014 05:02PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Sony was the victim of another hacking attack last night, targeted at the PlayStation Network, an occurrence that appears to be happening more frequently. Sony said it was "investigating the root cause for the issue," while the group known as Lizard Squad claimed responsibility posting to their Twitter account "PSN Login #offline #LizardSquad." Sony Pictures was the victim of a massive attack last week where hackers stole about 100TB of data including employee Social Security numbers, internal files, and multiple upcoming Sony movies. Hacktivist group Guardians of Peace claimed responsibility for the attack today in response to the upcoming movie The Interview and demanded that Sony stop "immediately showing the movie of terrorism which can break the regional peace and cause the War!"

Source: CNET



LG Forms Division Dedicated to OLED Technology

Category: General News
Posted: December 8, 2014 12:29PM
Author: Brentt Moore

LG Display has revealed that it has gathered all of its OLED related departments and placed them under a new division that is entirely dedicated to commercializing OLED technology. The new division, which will handle all OLED related projects for LG to include the management of OLED buying clients, will be headed by Yeo Sang-deog, the CTO for LG.  According to LG, the company plans to quadruple its OLED panel production during this month in order to help bring down the cost of OLED televisions, a task that will certainly make full use of the new division. LG is also working on technologies to minimize burn-in effects that seem to plague OLED panels used outside of commercialized products.

Source: CNET



Imagination Announces Raspberry Pi Competitor

Category: General News
Posted: December 6, 2014 12:09PM
Author: Nick Harezga

British company Imagination has announced a barebones computer to compete with the Raspberry Pi. The Creator CI20 beats the Pi in processor speed, memory, and onboard storage, and also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for connectivity while many competitors only have wired Ethernet. The CI20 is available for purchase now, with shipment expected to begin in January, at an MSRP of $65. Imagination has previous experience designing graphics chips for Apple devices and will use a graphics chip found in iPads for the CI20. Chris Green, principal technology analyst at the Davies Murphy Group, described its' potential impact saying, "There will be a modicum of pick-up, especially for people trying to develop for Android it could be a very useful low-cost device to have. But do I think it will make much wider impact? The answer is no."

Source: BBC



Google Planning on Kid-friendly Versions of Existing Products

Category: General News
Posted: December 3, 2014 07:26PM
Author: ClayMeow

According to USA Today, Google is planning on rolling out new versions of several of its popular products geared toward those twelve years of age and younger. While details and a timetable have not been divulged, this likely means kid-friendly versions of Google search, YouTube, and maybe even Chrome. Pavni Diwanji, vice president of engineering, explained the decision: "The big motivator inside the company is everyone is having kids, so there's a push to change our products to be fun and safe for children. We expect this to be controversial, but the simple truth is kids already have the technology in schools and at home. So the better approach is to simply see to it that the tech is used in a better way."

USA Today notes that this move will likely not be without controversy. Tech companies targeting children doesn't usually go over very well, and there's a little thing called the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which tries to protect against companies mining information from children without parental consent. As long as Google steers clear of that, this could be quite popular amongst parents trying desperately to shield their childrens' eyes from more mature content.

Source: USA Today



Amazon Enlists Robot Help to Fill Holiday Orders

Category: General News
Posted: December 2, 2014 03:36PM
Author: Nick Harezga

Amazon is taking advantage of the acquisition of manufacturer of Kiva in 2012 as part of the holiday shopping season, using robots built by the company to increase efficiency in filling the massive amounts of orders it is receiving. The robots drive around the warehouse guided by tape markers and transport racks of merchandise to human workers who then box and ship the items. The robots cut out several miles of walking per day for employees and also allow for better use of warehouse space as they are able to better maneuver than their human counterparts.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek



Intel Acquires PasswordBox

Category: General News
Posted: December 2, 2014 06:32AM
Author: Brentt Moore

PasswordBox, a San Francisco-based security company that has introduced innovative technologies like Legacy Locker, secure password sharing, and 1-Tap Login to apps and websites for mobile phones since its launch in June, 2013, has been acquired by Intel. According to a blog post by PasswordBox, the company in the will be fully integrated into Intel Security, a global leader in secure technology. Intel plans to integrate the technology offered by PasswordBox into their own suite of applications and services, providing secure and seamless online experiences for millions of users.

PasswordBox will continue to remain available as is, with Intel Security offering all new and existing customers a premium subscription at no cost as a thank you to for the support that PasswordBox has received. The free premium subscription will remain available to customers until the release of a new product from Intel Security.

Source: PasswordBox Blog



Acompli Acquired by Microsoft

Category: General News
Posted: December 2, 2014 06:19AM
Author: Brentt Moore

Microsoft has announced that it has officially acquired Acompli, a provider of innovative mobile email applications for Android and iOS. The main mobile application developed by Acompli, which was created by veterans of VMware and Zimbra, focuses on allowing users to fully interact with their emails on their smartphones and tablets. According to Microsoft, the acquisition of Acompli represents the company-wide effort to help people accomplish more with their mobile devices. Microsoft expects to integrate aspects of the primary Acompli mobile application with projects that are being actively developed by the Outlook team.

Although Microsoft did not reveal financial details of the acquisition of Acompli, Re/code reported that the technology giant paid more than $200 million for the provider of innovative mobile email applications.

Source: Microsoft Blog and Re/code



Razer Nabu Available Tomorrow

Category: General News
Posted: December 1, 2014 04:36PM
Author: Nick Harezga

The Razer Nabu, winner of the Best of CES award this past year, will be available for purchase from the RazerStore and participating retailers. The Nabu joins a number of "wearable" devices from manufacturers such as Samsung and LG and "delivers discreet notifications from smartphones, is a highly accurate fitness tracker, and stands as the world’s first social wearable by way of a unique band-to-band communication capability." The device has gone through extensive testing since the reveal at CES including a Beta program and a Developer Program that gave app developers an early shot at the device. The Nabu will carry an MSRP of $99.99 and was summed up by CEO Min-Liang Tan who called it "a device that has something cool in-store for everyone."

Source: Press Release



Shipments of 4K Televisions Continue to Grow

Category: Monitors, General News
Posted: November 26, 2014 08:07AM
Author: Brentt Moore

According to a recently released report by DisplaySearch, a leading provider of reliable information, highly insightful analysis, and industry events specifically focused on the display supply chain and display-related industries, shipments of 4K televisions have increased more than 500 percent last quarter. The increase brings the total shipments of 4K televisions to 6.4 million for 2014, with more than 3 million shipments occurring last quarter alone. The report by DisplaySearch notes that Samsung currently holds 36 percent of the global market for 4K televisions, while LG Electronics makes up 15 percent and Sony makes up 9 percent. As manufacturers continue to produce more 4K televisions, prices are expected to drop and drive consumer demand over the holidays, with fourth quarter shipments likely to surpass those of last quarter.

Source: DisplaySearch



Refunds Coming to Early Adopters of PlayStation Vita

Category: General News
Posted: November 26, 2014 05:18AM
Author: Brentt Moore

When Sony initially launched the PlayStation Vita in the United States during February 2012, many consumers became early adopters of the handheld gaming device. Before the launch of the PlayStation Vita, and even afterwards, Sony pushed advertisements that promoted game changing features, such as cross platform gaming, multi-player gaming through a 3G network, and remote play. These features failed to work properly for most owners of the PlayStation Vita, and the Federal Trade Commission has taken notice. After the FTC filed charges against Sony for deceiving consumers with false advertising claims surrounding the game changing features of the PlayStation Vita, Sony has officially agreed to settle the dispute. Sony will provide either a $25 cash or credit refund, or a $50 merchandise voucher for select video games, and/or services, to customers who purchased the PlayStation Vita before June 1, 2012. Additionally, the company is barred from producing similar advertisements in the future that mislead consumers.

According to the settlement, Sony will email eligible PlayStation Vita owners about their refund opportunity after the settlement is finalized by the FTC.

Source: Press Release


Parrot Unveils Bebop Drone

Category: General News
Posted: November 25, 2014 04:44PM
Author: Nick Harezga


Parrot has announced the final version of its latest remote controlled aircraft, the Bebop Drone. The Bebop is a quadricopter designed for consumers "interested in the sole pleasure of flying, capturing amazing images of landscapes or filming sport performances." An included 14 megapixel full HD camera allows for capturing high quality images in a 180° field of vision. Users can pilot the Bebop over Wi-Fi using a smartphone or tablet and the Parrot Skycontroller can be used with a Wi-Fi extender to provide greater flight range.

Source: Press Release




Redbox Announces Price Increases

Category: General News
Posted: November 25, 2014 10:35AM
Author: Brentt Moore

In order to gain additional revenue, after its streaming video service failed to appeal to customers shortly after its launch, Redbox has announced that it is raising its prices for various rental media. Starting on December 2, Redbox DVD rentals will be 25 cents more expensive per day, and starting on the same day, Blu-ray disc rentals will also raise in price, costing customers an extra 50 cents per day. Video game rentals will increase in price too, costing customers $1 more per day. Luckily for gamers who rely on Redbox to play the newest titles, the price increase for video games will not go into effect until January.

It is worth noting that the price increases that Redbox will implement in the comings months represent the first time that the company has raised costs for its customers since 2011.

Source: TechHive



BadUSB Exploit Targets Firmware of USB Devices

Category: General News
Posted: November 24, 2014 04:33PM
Author: Nick Harezga

A new exploit known as BadUSB targets the firmware of USB devices rather than simply placing malware on the device, making it extremely difficult or impossible to detect. The exploit was initially developed "to highlight the inherently flawed design of the USB specification," and the code was kept private, though it has now been made available. Flash drives aren't the only devices that can be compromised with USB hubs, webcams, and other storage mediums also potential targets. If there is a bright spot to garner from this news it is that researchers believe that only half of all USB devices are vulnerable, while the initial belief was that all devices were at risk.

Source: Tweaktown



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


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