As part of the upcoming Android L refresh, Google changed the visual design of the operating system, as well, going with the new "Material" interface.
As part of the Material update has come a makeover of the stock Google keyboard, which promises to be faster and better predictive than previous iterations.
Unfortunately for most, Android L is not available until later this year but Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 owners can flash a developer preview and so tons of screenshots and code have been released for the new OS. Fans of the new keyboard look are in luck, as well, as a developer has ported the keyboard without mod as a standalone app that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
When you install it, you will be run through a three step process to have it set as your default input device, and you can choose from a couple of colors including "Material" (navy blue) to your liking.
According to prolific leaker @Evleaks, Microsoft has almost completed a licensing pact with Nokia in which future Nokia devices will be branded "Nokia by Microsoft."
The popular devices will keep their Lumia names, and Microsoft will even go a step further and replace their current "Surface" tablet name with Lumia.
A recently leaked document showed Microsoft's plan to get rid of the Nokia name as an independent brand within 18 months of the closing of their acquisition, with Nokia X models to lose the name at the end of next year, and Nokia Asha devices to lose the name "ten years after the closing" of the merger.
Microsoft currently does not offer its own smartphone hardware but does have its line of Surface tablets. Despite being powerful and well designed, the tablets have not been popular and Windows has a tiny portion of the global tablet market.
TV streaming startup Aereo has "paused" their service indefinitely, following the Supreme Court decision in which it was ruled that the company violated copyrights of the major TV broadcasters CBS, NBC, Disney and Fox.
The service is shutdown as of 11:30AM today, but it could return at some point in the future.
"You will be able to access your cloud-based antenna and DVR only until 11:30 a.m. ET today," CEO Chet Kanojia wrote in his note to subcribers. "All of our users will be refunded their last paid month."
Here is the full letter:
A little over three years ago, our team embarked on a journey to improve the consumer television experience, using technology to create a smart, cloud-based television antenna consumers could use to access live over the air broadcast television.
On Wednesday, the United States Supreme Court reversed a lower Court decision in favor of Aereo, dealing a massive setback to consumers.
The campus challenge included "Dr. Mario," "PinBot" and "Super Mario 3" all in one, and the cartridge was used for gaming competitions on the Nintendo campus. Nearly all were said to have been destroyed, but one was found in an ex-employee's garage. The game sold originally for $14,000 in 2006 but was recently resold for over $20,000.
The U.S. Marshals Service confirmed this week that it was done auctioning off nearly 30,000 Bitcoins that were seized during a raid on the Silk Road black market.
At a value of $17.7 million, the Bitcoin auction took about 12 hours on Friday. The coins were auctioned in blocks of 3000 with a final block of 2,657 bitcoins. The Marshals Service will notify all winners on Monday.
The Silk Road online black market was shutdown by the FBI in September 2013, with agents arresting alleged mastermind Ross Ulbricht and taking control of the Silk Road's servers. The 29,657 coins were seized in forfeited in January.
There is little chance that the winning bidders will pay market price for the coins, since millions are available through existing exchanges at the ongoing market rate.
Besides the nearly 30,000, the Marshals have 144,342 Bitcoins seized from Ulbricht that are pending a civil forfeiture proceeding.
Amazon's Android Appstore is having a large sale today on paid apps, making 31 apps free compared to the normal single app they offer daily.
Most are not well known or important but there are some winners in there, as well. Among the best available are Plex, Sonic 2, The Room Two, AccuWeather and Splashtop. All are hits, even at the paid price, so free is a great offer.
The deal is valid throughout today and the apps will work on all Android and Amazon Fire devices.
Card Wars - Adventure Time
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
The Room Two
Dr. Panda's Bus Driver Wedding Dash Deluxe
Root Explorer Ravensword: Shadowlands
Sudoku 10'000 Plus
Pho.to Lab Pro
Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek
EZ Money Manager
MobiLearn Talking Phrasebook
Splashtop Remote Desktop
Pinball Deluxe Premium
2Do: Todo List
Real Shanghai Mahjong
League of Heroes Premium
Adobe has launched Photoshop Express for Windows Phone devices, the first image-editing app available for the platform from the major company.
The freemium app will be very similar to its iOS and Android counterpart, starting with basic editing features and more advanced effects will require an in-app purchase.
For free, you can crop, rotate, remove red eye and adjust brightness, contrast, exposure and clarity. Additionally, the app will come with 22 Instagram-esque filters for free, with another 20 available for $2.99.
All of your saved images can be later shared to Adobe Revel, OneNote, Dropbox and other notable third-party apps.
Photoshop Express will likely quickly become the most popular photo editing app on the platform, as Instagram remains in beta.
Earlier today, CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" anchor Simon Hobbs outed Apple CEO Tim Cook, claiming that he is openly gay.
The segment was an interview with New York Times columnist Jim Stewart speaking about his column on John Browne, the former CEO of BP oil and the author of "The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out Is Good For Business," a memoir detailing his life as a closeted high-ranking employee in a Fortune 500 company.
"I think Tim Cook is fairly open about the fact that he's gay at the head of Apple isn't he?" asked Hobbs. "No," Stewart answered. "I don't want to comment on anybody who might or might not be. I'm not going to out anybody. I called a lot of people and no one at any major company would allowed their names to be used."
Cook has never confirmed his sexual orientation but has recently made a speech at U.N. discussing the discrimination he has experienced since youth. Cook was also named Out's 2013 most powerful LGBT person.
According to new reports from Apple's supply chain insiders, the iPhone 6 will be unveiled on September 19th.
This is not the first time we have heard a similar date, as carrier Deutsche Telekom had told customers to expect the device on the third Friday of September, the same date as the launch of 2013's iPhone 5s.
The company is said to be working on two models of the new device, a 4.7-inch version and a phablet 5.5-inch version.
Mass production of the 4.7-inch model is set for next month, with the phablet likely going into production later due to display supply issues.
Over the past few months, there have been various reports that Google is looking to kill off its own "Nexus" line of Android reference devices. It appears those rumors were not true.
Google says it is still invested in Nexus, and fans should expect a new Nexus device this year alongside the launch of Android L.
The search giant is working on the Android Silver program, in which it will help OEMs build smartphones with base specs and then help them with joint marketing, but that is not expected until next year.
Dave Burke, the head of Android engineering and the Nexus program at Google, confirmed the continued development of Nexus: "People just get excited by concepts and forget why we do things. We are still invested in Nexus." Burke would not comment on Silver. "People have been commenting about Nexus because there is something else and they think that means the end of Nexus. That is the totally wrong conclusion to make," he added.
Google has announced a plethora of new features for YouTube this week at VidCon.
The video sharing site will soon have support for videos at 48 and 60 frames per second (fps), a much-requested feature from users, especially gamers. The new support will go far for video game footage uploaded directly from your next-gen consoles and also for 1080p60fps trailers that are now very popular.
To take advantage of the higher frame rates, you will have to watch the videos in 1080p.
In addition, new annotation cards are also coming to YouTube, as is the ability to give donations to uploaders so they don't have to rely on just ad revenue into the future.
YouTube will also be adding 7500 royalty-free sound effects and background music tracks to their catalog, giving uploaders more options for their videos without worrying about copyright infringement.
Finally, "foreign-language-fans can submit their own translations based on the captions or subtitles that you've made," and the YouTube Creator Studio is now also available for Android giving mobile access to analytics.
Apple has unveiled a new 16GB fifth-generation iPod Touch starting at $199, the cheapest it has ever offered the media device for.
In addition, the 32GB and 64GB models have seen a price cut to $249 to $299, respectively. The original fifth generation model was originally launched over a year ago, and the special edition 16GB model sold for $229 until recently.
The new iPod lineup include a 5MP iSight camera to go along with the 4-inch Retina Display, A5 processor, and FaceTime camera. The device will come in six new colors: yellow, pink, blue, silver, space gray and (RED).
Launching with iOS 7, the Touches will be upgradeable to iOS 8 when it launches in the fall.
Earlier this year, IBM announced the sale of its computer servers business to Chinese giant Lenovo for $2.3 billion.
The deal remains in limbo, however, as regulators in the U.S. look to find ways to resolve security concerns. The x86 servers are used in national communications networks and also in data centers that support military and Pentagon networks.
As expected, U.S. security officials and members of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (in charge of possible national security concerns) have worries that the servers could be remotely accessed by Chinese hackers, spies or officials or that the servers could be compromised through maintenance.
Lenovo purchased IBM's hardware PC business in 2005 and saw similar regulatory concerns. The deal was ultimately approved but the U.S. military later notified DoD officials of security breaches involving the PCs, leading the State Department to ban Lenovo computers on classified networks in the U.S. and overseas.
Both companies say the x86 servers are low-end tech, and that most servers are made in China of Chinese components anyway. Lenovo says its only objectives with the servers are commercial in nature.
Major retailer Costco has begun offering iPhones and iPads, each with significant discounts.
The company's Mobile Online Store is already selling the devices and the club warehouses will see the devices tomorrow.
Costco has the AT&T, Sprint and Verizon versions of the iPhone 5s for just $78 on contract, a nice discount off the $199 you will be paying if getting the phone through the carriers.
Additionally, the iPad Air for Verizon is down to $520 and the iPad Mini with Retina is down to $420, $100 discounts for each.
With the significant discounts does come sporadic inventory, however, with T-Mobile devices only available in some kiosks, and just one iPhone 5c available for any carrier. Verizon is also the only carrier for the LTE models of the devices.
Major PC and tablet maker Asus has confirmed that its Android Wear smartwatch, codename 'Robin,' will be available for sale in September.
The device will pack an AMOLED display and be priced between $99 and $149 at launch. Those prices would significantly undercut existing devices, which were just officially announced yesterday during Google's I/O developer's conference.
Currently, the Samsung Gear Live sells for $199 and the LG G Watch sells for $229. Motorola's hotly anticipated Moto 360 is expected to sell for $249.
Asus' sources say the company did not want to "rush" their efforts, and the new smartwatch is expected to be the "thinnest" yet.
Google has made its new Android L operating system available as a developer preview to owners of the reference Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 devices.
Android L (5.0) is a major update to KitKat 4.4, including the addition of "Material Design," a fully refresh of the controls, notifications, animations and gaming aspects of the firmware.
The developer preview is still in beta, meaning if you want to test it out, you will have to have familiarity with Android dev tools and you have to know that many apps will be broken or crash due to incompatibilities.
According to new reports, Apple is working on new "mainstream" Smart Home hardware, looking to connect the home with your iOS devices.
The company is said to have put together a new team to work on the hardware but as of right now they are only slightly past the exploratory phase of development.
Other companies have begun exploring the smart home, most notably Google who has purchased Nest Labs, the makers of smart thermostats and smoke detectors for over $3 billion. Nest then purchased smart home video monitoring startup Dropcam for $550 million.
Apple will not likely compete directly with Nest, say the sources, because it feels it can develop products that have more mainstream appeal than just smoke detectors and thermostats. Most likely, the company will build a connected speaker system, say the sources, building on their own $3 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics. The company could also build full smart home control panels, connecting TVs, entertainment systems, and even lights and other accessories.
The Cupertino giant released unveiled their HomeKit platform, which allows iPhone and iPad users to better control home appliances like lights, locks, and garage doors using Siri.
Today was a sad day for tech innovation as the Supreme Court ruled against broadcast startup Aereo in one of the biggest rulings for the TV industry in a very long time.
In 2012, the major broadcasters Fox, ABC, CBS and NBCU sued Aereo, citing copyright violation concerns. The startup's service, which costs $8 per month, allows users to watch free, OTA content on any mobile device along with a free remote DVR. Aereo does not pay any re-transmission fees as it uses tiny digital TV antennas for each user in its own facilities and links to the streams.
In their initial suit, the broadcasters claimed that "Aereo will infringe their copyrights by making available technology which enables consumers to access broadcast television via a remote antenna and DVR." The original court agreed but the appeals court did not.
We will have a full analysis tomorrow, but for now, here is CEO Kanojia's letter to investors and users:
Google unveiled the next iteration of Android today, codename "L," most likely for Lollipop, Licorice, or Lemon Meringue.
The operating system brings a full visual reboot, along with some much-awaited features for the user experience. The OS will also be the basis of Android TV and Android Auto.
With over 5000 new APIs in the update, the update is certainly huge and will likely be considered Android 5.0.
The Android buttons have become minimalistic, Gmail has a brand new interface, and the icons have all been rounded. The Keyboard has been updated, as has the quick settings notification menu. There are additional do-not-disturb options included, as well. All of Google's most used apps (dialer, Hangouts, etc) will have the new theme. Google says the default Android font will be updated to work across all types of devices, including Auto and TV.
Google has merged the lock screen and notification menu, making the lock screen more interactive, and more Google Now-esque. Google has created transitions and animations that move at 60fps, a nice improvement for the visual elements of the OS. Multitasking has been updated, as well, with stacked cards showing the recently used apps and recently visited web pages.
Google is actively working on integrating Android into everything it does, including its own Chrome OS operating system.
Eventually, the OS will be able to run all one million Android apps, natively. "We're in early days," Chrome and Android boss Sundar Pichai said today. There was no timetable but Pichai demoed Evernote, Flipboard, and Vine working already. The apps can be run in a phone-sized (taller) window or can be expanded as if they were smartphone apps running on a tablet.
The biggest issue of course will be controls given that Android apps are designed for touchscreens, which Chromebooks don't have (unless you own the reference Pixel). Google is going to work on that by adding a virtual software keyboard and a new app launcher interface, among other things.
Pichai also added that Chrome will be able to display notifications from a paired Android phone, and will eventually be able to have a special lock screen that can only be unlocked by your paired Android phone.
Google has made Android TV official, its newly focused platform for the living room.
Android TV will be installed directly on a number of upcoming 4K TVs and will also be available on set-top boxes and consoles.
Google has put entertainment at the forefront, with content from its own Play Store, Netflix, Hulu and all the rest of the popular content providers. Google provides recommendations based on what you have watched in the past and Google's search is also integrated using Knowledge Graph for contextual information for your most watched content.
You can control Android TV with your new Android Wear watch and you can also "cast" your content from your smartphone.
Games are also a new, welcome addition and gamers will be able to play Android-based games including multiplayer online.
Google also announced hardware partners including some pretty huge wins for the search giant. TV sets from Sony, Sharp, TPVision, and Phillips have already been announced for next year and Razer and Asus have plans for set-tops. Google is also working with Qualcomm, Nvidia, Intel and Broadcam to ensure hardware compatibility.
Google has unveiled its plans for your car, offering a rival to Apple's CarPlay.
Android Auto will take the operating system and morph it for your car, adding some key design features and making the new OS contextually aware and specializing in what you really need when in the car.
The software has been optimized for voice and you should be able to use it 100 percent of the time without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road. The company noted that many drivers still use their phones when on the road and pointed to scary accident stats before saying "there has to be a better way."
Google's Android Auto will be based off the new Android "L" OS (5.0) that will arrive in November followed by the first lineup of cars with Auto. The software will use Google Now-esque features to bring voice access to Google Maps, texts, Google Music and more. Android Auto is also compatible with your car's wheel and buttons. The dashboard will see "casts" from your smartphone so a synced Android device is quite important. Early development partners include Spotify, Pandora, MLB.TV, Stitcher, and Pocket Casts.
Google has showed off the first two Android Wear smartwatches in full, revealing availability and pricing.
Android Wear, Google's recently unveiled wearables operating system, is set to hit a number of devices in the coming months, but the first two devices are the Samsung Gear Live and the LG G Watch.
The Gear Live, which has the same design as the Tizen-packing Gear 2, was not previously revealed before today. The device has a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display, is dust and water resistant and has a heart rate sensor. The device will sync with any Android device with 4.3 or higher, a vast improvement over past Samsung devices.
Samsung's device will sell for $200, and is available now as a pre-order from the Google Play Device Store. It ships on July 7th and will be available online and Best Buy in store on the same day.
LG's new endeavor features a rectangular face, a 1.65-inch screen and 4GB internal storage. The device will have an "always-on" screen, will be dust and water proof and will be available in both black and white gold. The LG device costs $229 and is available for pre-order from Google now for shipping on July 3th.
Google wants to make sure that everybody in the world has an Android device.
The search giant has used their 2014 I/O developer conference to unveil the "Android One" program designed to help manufacturers that are selling lower-end devices.
Google has created hardware reference devices that OEMs can refer to when building their own phones, allowing for (reportedly), the highest quality phones possible at the lowest price. The devices will run stock Android and receive quick OTA operating system updates although Google will allow OEMs to build their own apps as well.
It does not appear that full UI skins will be possible, but then again, these devices will not be made by Samsung or HTC.
The program will begin in the fall in India and Google showed off a Micromax-branded device with a 4.5-inch display, dual-SIM support, an SD slot and FM radio for under $100.
One of the nearly infinite announcements Google made today during their 2014 I/O conference was the addition of numerous features to its office suite that will help Android mobile users live without needing Microsoft's market leading but expensive Office suite.
First, Google made its presentation software, "Slides," available for mobile on Android and iOS. You can download it as a standalone app just like the word processing Docs and the Excel-esque Sheets.
More importantly, all the apps can now handle Word, Excel and Powerpoint files natively without need for conversions that occasionally led to some strange font issues in the past. Google had previously offered QuickOffice if you needed native Microsoft document editing, meaning you needed a completely separate app.
Ryan Tabone, director of product management, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides & Quickoffice, also noted that there should be no more confusion on which you need. "You just think document, use Docs. You think spreadsheet, use Sheets," says Tabone, "When people use one application, they have one use case in mind."
LG has confirmed its global rollout for the G3 flagship device, starting with expansion to Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines on June 27th.
In July, LG says more markets in Europe, Asia and the Middle East will receive the device. The phone is priced at €615/£500. The G3 for Asia and Europe will be wireless charging capable, as well.
Featuring a 5.5-inch QuadHD 2560 x 1440 IPS display (538ppi), the bezels are also thinner than last year's G2 with a screen ratio of 76.4 percent.
Under the hood is 3GB RAM, a high-end quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 32GB internal storage and a microSD slot in case you need more room. On the back side there is a 13MP OIS+ (Optical Image Stabilizer Plus) camera with "revolutionary Laser Auto Focus that can shoot stunningly sharp images in a fraction of the time required by conventional phone cameras" and the device has a massive 3000mAh battery. The smartphone is quad-band, LTE-capable, has NFC and can wirelessly charged.
Google's Nest Labs has opened up the technology to third parties, allowing other companies to build apps that can communicate with the smart home products.
The company says over 5000 developers have already expressed interest in building apps for Nest and the Nest line of products.
Nest is already working with Whirlpool and Chamberlain (maker of automatic garage door openers) with the goal of connecting the home in better ways. For example, closing a garage door can alert the Nest that the family is not home and turn off the heat to save electricity and gas. LED light bulbs from startup Lifx can flash red if the Nest detects smoke. The list goes on.
Google acquired Nest for $3.2 billion this year, and Nest just acquired video monitoring home security firm Dropcam for $550 million.
According to new sources, Apple's suppliers in China will begin mass production of the rumored 4.7-inch iPhone and also the 5.5-inch 'phablet' model in the next month.
As with past reports, the slightly larger iPhone will be available for shipment to retailers in September, while the 5.5-inch version will be available slightly later but still in 2014.
Apple is finally moving to screen sizes that have been the "norm" for Android and Windows Phone devices for a couple of years, and some research has even found that nearly 40 percent of Android devices sold in China in 2014 so far have been 5 inches or larger. The current lineup of iPhones have a small 4-inch display.
The iPhone is Apple's most important device, but the company has been panned of late for lack of innovation with the device which has remained relatively the same for the last two years. The smartphone brought in $91 billion in revenue for the company last year, more than most Fortune 500 companies had.
Leaked photos show that the device will be longer than their predecessors, keeping the same ppi with a higher resolution. Additionally, the edges will be rounder and the device will keep getting thinner and potentially lighter. The devices will launch with iOS 8 and the new fitness tracking platform HealthKit.
'Destiny,' easily one of the most-anticipated video games of the year, could have PS4-only exclusives until fall 2015.
The FPS role playing game from the development team behind Halo, has promised the most inter-connected world yet, allowing gamers to create a dynamic experience that is not controlled by the developers.
Sony has put together a number of PlayStation-only exclusives for the blockbuster, including a full Destiny bundle that includes a white color console, white controller and the game. Additionally, the game will have exclusive content and maps and will be a PlayStation-only beta before full launch on September 9th.
Thanks to an Amazon listing, it appears that Xbox owners will have to wait to get the exclusives seen by Sony gamers, "until at least Fall 2015." The full post reads: "For PlayStation 4 owners, Destiny offers Early access to the Beta on July 17th, and a free 30-Day PlayStation Plus Trial. Exclusive content for PlayStation 4 owners includes the Exodus Blue Competitive Multiplayer Map, Dust Palace Strike, Weapons, Ships and Gear that will only be on PlayStation until at least Fall 2015."
Just months after Nokia launched the X smartphone running on Android with a user interface that mimics Windows Phone, new parent Microsoft has unveiled the sequel: the X2.
The device will be an upgrade from its predecessor and features a 4.3-inch display, a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 1GB RAM, dual-SIM capabilities, 16GB internal storage and 5MP/1.3MP dual cameras. Nokia will offer the phone in green, orange, black, yellow and grey.
Nokia has smartly added a home key, which had been a criticism of the original X, along with the back key.
Besides the Windows Phone-esque tile interface, Microsoft has also added their own suite of apps including "some Xbox games," the cloud storage service OneDrive and Outlook. Nokia's HERE maps is of course included, as well, and Nokia's other featured apps are included too, making the phone packed with Microsoft/Nokia services to the point where the device looks nothing like a standard Android device.
Jimmy Lin, the Taiwanese pop star and actor, recently took to Weibo to show off a prototype of the upcoming Apple iPhone 6 that he had somehow procured.
This week, multiple sources have independently confirmed that validity of the iPhone, including sources claiming to be Apple employees who had seen test samples.
The pop star actually leaked the iPhone 5 two years ago, so the photos could certainly be revealing the rumored 4.7-inch device. The sources also claim Apple will boost a 960 x 1704 resolution, with the same ppi as the iPhone 5S.
Microsoft really wants to bring consumers over from the dark side.
The software giant has begun offering up to $650 in trade-in credit if you are willing to part with your MacBook Air to buy a new Surface 3 between now and July 31st. Microsoft had previously offered up to $200 for iPhones, as well.
Of course, condition and model matter, with older Airs eligible for a less amount than a 2013 or 2014. The laptops must be brought in to a Microsoft Store in the U.S. or Canada and a tech will check to see if it's working.
When unveiling the Surface Pro 3, the company spent a good amount of slides comparing the device to the Air, especially in regards to weight (of course the Surface is lighter) and thinness (which of course, the Surface is thinner, as well). Microsoft believes their latest can be the first tablet to be a real laptop replacement, although that remains to be seen despite the impressive specs of the new Surface.
Nostalgic fans will be able to play their favorite Nintendo 64 games via the Wii U's Virtual Console in the near future.
The games had been available for the Wii's Virtual Console, but the games did not make the migration to the new console.
Nintendo did a small confirmation via the Virtual Console site, stating "Check back regularly for the latest releases, including the future addition of titles from the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo 64 systems."
There are a plethora of legendary games for the N64 including Goldeneye, Super Mario 64 and Super Smash Bros. but it is unclear what games will reach the Wii U at launch.
The final chapter of the popular Batman: Arkham trilogy is set for release in February of next year, if Microsoft's own store is to be believed.
Developer Rocksteady showed off some incredibly impressive footage at this year's E3 event, while confirming that the game would need a few extra months for development.
Microsoft's U.S. Store has the release date leaked as February 24th, 2015, although that is certainly up for change in the next half of a year.
The timeframe matches what Batman voice actor, Kevin Conroy recently said: "I have a massive game you may have heard of called Arkham Knight... It was supposed to come out in January, we've been working on it for a year and a half, it's still not done. So it's going to come out next January, but I know everyone is frustrated. The reason it's been delayed is because it's so awesome."
iFixit has completed their teardown of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, and it scored just as poorly as its predecessors in terms of repairability.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being easiest to repair or upgrade), the tablet scored a 1, meaning you better not break it or try to change any components. In fact, the only upgradeable part is the SSD, but getting to it will most likely destroy the device.
The site says that everything is held together by strong adhesives and non-traditional connectors that make it impossible to do anything.
Among the other conclusions made by iFixit, are that "the display assembly consists of a fused glass panel and LCD, and is extremely difficult to remove and replace" and "the delicate and arduous opening procedure leaves no room for mistakes: one slip-up, and you'll be out a screen."
Even though Intel's new X99 chipset with DDR4 support will not be available until later this year, it appears some retailers in Japan are already selling the new RAM sticks.
Early adopters can pay $350 for a 16GB module made by SanMax, with SKHynix supplying the underlying tech.
DDR4 will support a transfer rate of 2133–4266 MT/s compared 800-2133 MT/s for its predecessor. Additionally, DDR4 will have 288 pins compared to DDR3's 240. The modules will have a power draw of 1.2V.
According to a new report, HTC is potentially building the next Nexus tablet, an impressive device that could be the last in Google's line of reference devices.
If accurate the HTC "Volantis" (codename) could have an 8.9-inch display with 2,048 x 1,440 resolution, 2GB of RAM and run on a Tegra K1 processor, which has four Cortex A15 processors at 2.3GHz and includes a third-generation battery-saver core as the fifth chip.
The device could be the last Nexus tablet ever made, if earlier reports are accurate. Google is said to be ending the Nexus line of reference devices and instead focusing on AndroidSilver, a program for OEMs that will build their own devices running a pure Android experience, just like the current "Google Play Editions" of popular devices like the Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8.
In January, MEGA founder Kim Dotcom unveiled his music streaming platform Baboom in a very early beta.
The platform is preparing for its international public release, and Dotcom has unveiled some more details. The service will offer higher revenue share for the artists themselves, and will also offer free streaming in the high-quality FLAC lossless format.
With noble intentions, Dotcom first discussed Baboom in 2011. Differentiating itself from other services, Dotcom will allow users to install an advertising plugin to their current browser and be rewarded with ongoing free music which also helps the artists receive more money for their work. The goal is to decrease music piracy.
"Baboom is the first music streaming platform to support FLAC streaming, which delivers lossless audio. What this means, is that fans get to listen to music exactly how the artist intended. No degraded audio experience, you get an exact replica of what the artist recorded," Baboom Chief Technology Officer Marco Oliveira noted. Most streaming services offer 256kbps MP3 or AAC files, at best.
Gigaom has reported on Mozilla's latest project, a media streamingHDMI dongle based on their Firefox OS.
The device would rival Google's popular Chromecast device and Mozilla has been working on prototypes with an unknown hardware partner for the past few months.
Mostly everything remains unknown about the new device including price, availability, specs and even name.
Besides working just like Chromecast, the report states that it can actually run some Chromecast apps, as well, although it is unclear how. It looks now like Mozilla will add casting to Firefox and will also release a device that is more open to hacking and developers than Google's dongle is. Mozilla will allow developers to build casting into apps for all operating systems, not just Android and iOS, meaning BlackBerry, Amazon and Windows Phone users could get access.
Thanks to new cloud-based tech, cable set-top box users are starting to get access to YouTube around the globe, even on legacy SD boxes.
For example, local cable provider UPC Hungary (in Hungary) added a YouTube app to its boxes earlier this month, marking the first time the video service has been available on TVs via a legacy cable box.
At the heart of the new app is a tech called CloudTV, which has very basic hardware requirements, allowing all UPC Hungary customers to get access to YouTube no matter how old their box. The app itself isn't even downloaded on the actual box but is rendered in the cloud and delivered to each box. Controls (like pause and switching to next video) are sent to the cloud and changed on the fly, with a promised latency of under 500 milliseconds.
Netflix, on the other hand, has been signing deals with cable providers, but that process is much, much slower. The app is available only via TiVo DVRs, and not everyone wants to upgrade. In the UK, Netflix has a deal with Virgin but only 50 percent of users have an upgraded TiVo DVR. There are currently no big cable operators that offer the streaming movie and TV service but four smaller ones do.
Skype has said this week that it will be retiring all older versions of its desktop application, including versions for Mac and Windows that were released as recently as February 2014.
"We are going to retire older versions of Skype for Windows desktop (6.13 and below) as well as Skype for Mac (6.14 and below) over the next few months," Skype said. This makes upgrading to the latest versions mandatory if you want to keep using Skype.
While it is not out of the ordinary for companies to retire older versions and force updates, it is not normal to see versions released just four months prior being added to the list. If you are up to date, you would have 6.16 on Windows and 6.18 on Mac OS X.
What will happen once the retirement occurs? "Once a version is retired, users will no longer be able to sign into the retired version until they upgrade to the latest version of Skype," a Microsoft rep noted. Microsoft acquired Skype in 2011 for $8.5 billion.
Earlier this month, at Apple's annual WWDC, the company made a low-profile announcement that The Weather Channel would be replacing Yahoo Weather as the default weather application for iOS 8.
Yahoo had long held the spot, and the partnership led to a ton of traffic coming back to Yahoo and its portal so the loss will certainly have repercussions. In fact, a recent update of the app was highly touted by CEO Marissa Mayer and has seen strong reviews.
Quite ironically, the Yahoo Weather app has always been powered by Weather Channel data. Yahoo polished the user interface but the technical and important data came directly from Weather Channel servers. The new deal was engineered by Weather Channel CEO David Kenny, who was also a former Yahoo board of directors member and who clearly saw a large opportunity.
In their updated app, The Weather Channel has added more technology and information including better weather related to current locations, a full nine-day forecast, a weather-conditions summary and even more details. The move should prove to be a huge gain for TWC.
In 2012, Philips sued Nintendo for patent infringement in the UK, alleging that the Wii and Wii U infringed on its remote control patents.
This week, the England and Wales High Court has ruled that Nintendo did in fact infringe on three patents, all of which are related to a "user interface system based on a pointing device." One was found to be invalid, but did rule that Nintendo infringed amended versions of the other two patents.
Each of the patents describe computer systems with handheld pointing devices that have a camera and physical motion sensor. In addition, the "device is used for hand-gesture commands to a fixed unit with the gesture analysis based on motion trajectory of the device." Those systems use room localization beacons, and Philips claims that the tech can be used and has been used for gaming.
While there have of course been similar products on the market, the court ruled that nobody has used the combination of sensors and gesture analysis. Other companies, like Wacom and Sony, have used some aspects but not others. "The Nintendo Wii system set up with Wii Tennis is an example of that combination and therefore infringes the claim," Philips said in its initial claim.
According to sources, Google is actively in talks to acquire video search startup Baarzo, although it remains unclear whether a final agreement has already been reached.
Baarzo allows users to search for moments within videos, for example finding an athlete doing specific actions within a clip. The company itself describes its product as "true video search."
The company is private and does not have open signups so it is unclear how well the service works. However, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt is said to have been wholly impressed by a demo of the tech by co-founder and CTO Siva Yellamrajuat at Stanford's Graduate School of Business.
Baarzo explains the tech a little more: "Unlike Google or YouTube searches, which only evaluate the text around the video, the Baarzo search technology actually analyzes the video content, recognizing hundreds of thousands of objects and millions of faces, and locates the precise moment in the video when the search objects interact in the way you had specified."
On Monday, Computerworld will shut down its print edition, 47 years after the first issue was released.
The tech publication was the first from IDG, and the first newspaper for computer hobbyists.
"It's sad to lose anything that has endured so long. But we are merely taking part in the natural evolution of the media industry, like so many great publications before us," editor-in-chief Scot Finnie added.
The creator of Computerworld, Patrick J. McGovern, passed away in March. His publication was considered the "bible of the industry" when it launched.
Computerworld covered industry trends and new product news, and started at a time when IBM and Microsoft were just babies. The online edition will continue on.
Nest Labs (now part of Google) has announced their acquisition of Dropcam, a startup that has been building home monitoring cameras.
Reads the blog post: "We have some exciting news to share: Nest is acquiring Dropcam. Although this was a big decision for us, it wasn't a difficult one to make. Before deciding to extend an offer to Dropcam, we spent a lot of time looking at camera companies and technologies around the world. And I can say without a doubt, Dropcam has the best products, services, and customer experience in the business."
Dropcam sells cameras, but also has a subscription service in which the camera buyer signs up for a cloud recording service that allows for up to one month to be recorded, stored online and played back at any time from your mobile device or home PC. The video can also be shared via a private or public link. Dropcam is also working on small $29 Bluetooth-enabled sensors that can be placed around the home to detect movement and help protect your home.
Nest, on the other hand, has only been selling hardware, with no additional high margin software or recurring billing.
Nokia has surprised the market this week unveiling their new 'Z Launcher' for Android devices.
Z Launcher is a home screen replacement for Android devices, one that the company says will make everything you need at any time available on one page.
At the top of the display is the time, date and one singular calendar event. As you can imagine, hitting the time takes you to the clock app, and the calendar event leads you to your Calendar application. The rest of the screen displays just 6 shortcuts (what you use most), followed by your favorite apps on the bottom like any other launcher.
What makes the Z Launcher interesting is that it evolves as your usage evolves. If you always use, for example, Spotify in the mornings, the streaming music app will show up in your shortcuts in the morning. Additionally, Nokia has introduced "Scribble," which allows you to use gestures to open any app you have installed. Just write the first letter of the app you are looking for right on the screen and Z Launcher will take you to all the apps that start with that letter. If you write the second letter, as well, it will narrow it down even more.
The Lego Group has announced a new product line within their hugely popular Lego brand, "Lego Fusion," that allows you to play with the new toys you just built in the real world in virtual worlds and games.
Each Lego Fusion box has 200 Lego pieces, and when you are done building you can upload them to iOS and Android apps to play in games like "Town Master" where you have to build a town out of Lego, or "Battle Towers," where you have to defend you Lego tower.
Adding a social experience to the mix, builders can then see and interact with other uploaded Fusion sets, including other towers, cars, and towns.
There are just a couple of rules for building with Fusion sets, but otherwise the design is entirely up to the builder. You must make your creation 16 bricks wide by 16 bricks tall, and it must include a door. The creations must also be built on a "Fusion Capture Plate" using Qualcomm's augmented reality platform Vuforia. You upload the creation right from the plate using your device's camera and it is then recreated in the virtual world brick by brick.
Nintendo has confirmed VR is not part of the plan when it comes to the Wii U, as the tech is in "direct contrast" to what the company is looking to do with the console.
The quote comes via Shigeru Miyamoto, the legendary designer behind Mario, Zelda, Pikmin and more. The designer says Nintendo made the Wii U for its social experience, and VR is in contrast to that philosophy.
"What we're trying to do with the Wii U is to create games for everyone in the living room," Miyamoto says. "It's intended to be fun not only for the person who's playing, but also for the people who are watching."
With VR systems, gamers are spending "all their time alone playing in that virtual reality" and Nintendo feels that is not "the best way for people to play," especially on the Wii U, adds the designer.
Of course, the company remains interested in the technology, as a whole and that "it might be better suited to some sort of attraction style of entertainment, say something at a video game arcade or things like that."
According to a new report, Samsung will reveal their first Android Wear-based smartphone at the upcoming Google I/O event.
The move is notable as Samsung has been running their own smartwatches on the proprietary Tizen OS, which has efficient battery performance but lacks third-party support. There will reportedly be multiple models, one running on Samsung's own Exynos chips and the other running on a Qualcomm processor.
LG and Motorola have already announced Android Wear devices, and both are expected to show them off at I/O, as well.
The I/O event begins on June 25th and is expected to have over 6000 developers present.
As a way to take some attention off of Steam's new summer sale, EA's Origin service has made 'Titanfall' free to play for two days.
EA is calling the new scheme "Game Time," with players able to download the PC version for free, and the 48-hour trial will start the second you start playing.
The company says gamers will have 100 percent full access to the game and all progress will be saved (single player and multiplayer) if you want to continue and buy the game at its real price after the trial.
There will be many more Game Time promotions in the future, says EA, and the company has been making other games free in the past few months.
According to new sources, Taiwan's Quanta will begin mass production on the oft-rumored Apple iWatch starting next month, suggesting a late September or October launch for the company's first smartwatch.
Until now, it had been assumed that Hon Hai (Foxconn) would be the supplier, given the company's current close relationship with Apple for iPad and iPhone production. Quanta has produced Macbooks and iPods for Apple in the past. The company will produce about 70 percent of all iWatches, say the sources.
There are still very few details of the watch, although a few recent rumors suggest a 2.5-inch (diagonal) arched display, a full touch interface and wireless charging capabilities. The device will also be powered by iOS 8 (or a variant) and feature HealthKit for fitness tracking. Of course, the watch can only pair with iOS devices for messaging, emails and more.
There have been varying estimates of iWatch sales in the first year, ranging from 35 million to 50 million, with a price point of $299. Even at the low end of the range, the device is expected to be popular.
Search giant Google is now facing another antitrust complaint in the EU, this time from mobile app marketplace (app store) company Aptoide.
The Portuguese company claims that Google has abused its market leading position in the smartphone market to steer consumers away from any app store that isn't their own Google Play Store.
"We are struggling to grow, even to survive, in the face of Google systematically setting up obstacles for users to install third-party app stores in the Android platform and blocking competition in their Google Play store," said Paulo Trezentos, Aptoide's co-founder and CEO.
Trezentos says the app store has six million unique monthly users and that the company will team together with other independent app stores to forge a common front" against Google.
The European Commission did not confirm they had received the complaint, which Aptoide filed last week.
Google is already facing a large antitrust complaint from Nokia, Microsoft and 13 other companies which had accused the search giant of using Android to promote Google's own apps.
DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has claimed that YouTube will be the dominant platform for media consumption in the next five years, displacing the current traditional TV behemoths.
Katzenberg added that YouTube is a great way to discover new talent and that more companies should be investing, as soon as possible.
"It gives a platform or voice for all kinds of creators to be able to express themselves and tell stories," Katzenberg added. "The barrier of entry into the business is lower than ever before and that is a great thing."
The executive then discussed the future of mobile and video sharing, especially as compared to the current movie theater and TV experience. "I love movie theatres and making movies for the big screen but these little devices have sharabilty, snackabilty and connectivity. It is so completely unique; we are still at the beginning of the beginning of this evolution. Mobile content provides a much more personal experience in that you learn about people and follow them and become a fan... you become a friend.
"There is a much deeper connection in this world of blogging and short form content that is becoming a little bit of a cliché but you are leaning into that experience instead of sitting back."
According to a new report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), DSL subscribers are not getting their advertised speeds, especially not during peak hours.
Cable, fiber and satellite customers, on the other hand, are actually getting faster speeds than what their ISP has advertised, a pleasant surprise. The FCC report claims that DSL customers are getting download speeds at just 91 percent of the advertised speeds during peak hours.
Fiber customer's speeds were at 113 percent of advertised speeds, cable customers saw speeds at 102 percent and satellite customers saw a ridiculous 138 percent of advertised speed, begging the question of why the advertised speeds are so low.
On average, DSL speeds came in at 97 percent of advertised speeds, but that's not enough.
"Consumers deserve to get what they pay for," chairman Tom Wheeler said in a statement. "While it's encouraging to see that in the past these reports have encouraged providers to improve their services, I'm concerned that some providers are failing to deliver consistent speeds to consumers that are commensurate to their advertised speeds."
Any company found to not be delivering the advertised speeds will be receiving warning letters from the FCC in the near future.
Earlier today, Amazon unveiled its first smartphone, the Fire Phone.
The company has long been rumored to be building their first device, dubbed the "3D phone" and they did not disappoint today, showing off a phone with mid-range specs but a plethora of intriguing software and hardware features.
Unfortunately and stupidly, the company decided to stick all of its eggs in one basket, making the device an AT&T exclusive and locking out 180 million Americans.
On the hardware side, the Fire Phone features a 4.7" HD LCD display, with 1280 x 720 resolution at 315 ppi, and under the hood is a 2.2GHz Quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, with Adreno 330 GPU and 2GB of RAM. At 5.6 ounces, the device is relatively heavy, and the design is plain but features both metal and rubber.
The smartphone has a 2.1MP front camera, a 13 MP rear-facing camera with multi-frame HDR, auto focus, optical image stabilization, f/2.0 5-element wide aperture lens, LED flash and four other cameras on the front for 3D. The base model has 32GB internal storage, the phone runs on Amazon's own FireOS 3.5 and offers unlimited free Amazon cloud storage for extended storage.
T-Mobile US continues to go for the jugular of the U.S. wireless industry, introducing unlimited music streaming that will not go against your data cap.
'Simple Choice' plan customers will be able to stream music from Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, iTunes Radio, Slacker and others without impacting their data caps, a really big deal as streaming services can eat into a 2-3GB data plan in quick order.
In addition, the carrier introduced its own streaming service called 'unRadio' that offer ad-free streaming Internet radio powered by Rhapsody. Users can skip an unlimited amount of tracks and can even download 25 songs for offline playback.
If you have an unlimited data plan with the carrier, unRadio is free. Otherwise it's $4 per month. "It's designed to be a better Internet radio," T-Mobile CEO John Legere added. The service also comes with a Shazam clone built-in, for those times you want to search a song.
Speaking today during the carrier's "Uncarrier 5.0" event, T-Mobile US CEO John Legere has announced a new plan that will let consumers test an iPhone 5S for free for a week.
As part of their "Test Drive," new users to T-Mobile get unlimited 4G LTE data and a free phone for a week. If you do not like the network, you can cancel at no cost.
Of course, you will have to give T-Mobile your credit card number before the trial starts so if you decide to keep the phone or destroy it, the carrier will charge you $700.
Reads the press release:
To kick off Un-carrier 5.0, T-Mobile today introduced "T-Mobile Test Drive" and pioneered a new way to buy wireless in the U.S. With T-Mobile Test Drive, anyone can get an iPhone 5s and unlimited nationwide service to take T-Mobile's network for a data-intensive, seven-day spin at no cost.
Starting June 23, people can sign up for T-Mobile Test Drive at www.t-mobile.com/testdrive. A few days later, they'll receive an iPhone 5s and they can put T-Mobile's data-strong network to the test for seven full days.
Samsung has unwrapped a gift for the Korean market, the oft-rumored Galaxy S5 LTE-A (Galaxy Prime) with much improved specs from the recently released international S5 model.
The new model offers support for the ridiculously fast data speeds of LTE-Advanced (as high as 225Mbps) but also packs a redone interior that easily blasts away the international S5 model.
Under the hood is a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, 3GB RAM, a 16MP camera, 2,800mAh battery. The device is waterproof and dustrproof (IP67) and most importantly, has a QHD Super AMOLED display (2560×1440), a nice improvement from the 1080p display and Snapdragon 801 processor of the standard S5.
It is very unlikely that the Android KitKat device will ever make it to the U.S. (or anywhere outside of Korea) but we can dream.
Following E3, Microsoft was bombarded by questions about their June XDK (Xbox Development Kit) update, most notably about how it affects Kinect and the "horsepower" of the console.
In fact, Microsoft had so many questions that it decided to post a new blog entry answering the most asked questions. Kareem Choudhry, the Director of Development, Xbox Software Engineering was put on the hot seat.
Apple has reached a settlement with U.S. state governments and consumers who were seeking damages over the company's price fixing of ebooks.
The tech giant will avoid trial and has settled just like all the publishers it conspired with to raise prices. Apple had been facing over $800 million in claims if it had let the case go to trial.
Details for the agreement were not disclosed but Apple must submit a filing to seek approval within the month.
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Apple and five of the largest book publishers claiming that the companies conspired to break Amazon's dominance of the ebook market and its wholesale pricing. At the time, Amazon would buy the rights to the books at wholesale prices and then priced them at whatever they chose, often times underpricing hit books to get traffic to their site and get more people to buy the Kindle hardware. Apple, who was launching its own bookstore with the launch of the iPad, changed the game to the "agency model" in which Apple sells the books at the prices dictated by the publisher but takes a 30 percent cut. This pushed the average price of ebooks from $9.99 to $12-14 or even higher in many cases.
The European Union and South Korea have teamed up to develop future '5G' mobile wireless networks, which will be the fastest on the planet.
As part of the deal, a new joint group will be created to set standards, and get radio frequencies ready for the new networks.
The overall goal is to have a "global consensus and vision" on '5G' by the end of next year.
According to EU data, 5G speeds would be significantly higher than the current 4G standards with users able to download a one-hour HD video in just six seconds. Huawei of China has already set aside $600 million through 2018 for R&D on 5G, and universities in the U.S. are also researching the standard.
South Korea is certainly a good partner for the EU in the 5G race. The country's mobile-penetration rate is over 100 percent, meaning there is over one mobile device in use for every person in the nation. The nation also has the fastest broadband speeds for home users.
The Nest Protect, the company's smoke and carbon monoxide detector, is back in stores following a two month recall over safety concerns about a specific feature.
In addition, the Protect will return with a price cut - down to $99 from the original $130.
Nest Labs (now owned by Google) had recalled about 440,000 of its smoke detectors, due to safety concerns about the Nest Wave feature. "Nest Wave" had let users silence alerts temporarily just by waving their arms. The feature has been remotely disabled via a new mandatory OTA update.
The feature has not been fixed as of yet, and will be turned back on when all safety concerns are satisfied.
E-commerce giant Amazon is expected to unveil its long-awaited 3D smartphone tomorrow at a new product launch event.
According to a new report, the smartphone will be an AT&T exclusive, which would double the already huge marketing potential for the device and extend Amazon's relationship with the major U.S. carrier. AT&T currently offers the 3G service for Amazon's Kindle devices.
The new smartphone will be different from other devices due to its multiple front-side sensors that allow for eye movement tracking, extended gestures and 3D images and gaming.
Developers who have used prototypes of the smartphone have been unclear how to use the eye-tracking software in their apps, so it is unclear what the "killer" apps will be when Amazon unveils the device. The smartphone is also expected to use the Fire OS operating system available on Amazon's other devices, which has the curated Amazon Appstore rather than the full Android Google Play Store.
As with Amazon's past hardware, the company is likely to sell the device at cost, looking to make profits on the Amazon ecosystem of Prime, music, movies, books, and of course, shopping.
George Hotz (aka geohot) is back with a vengeance, releasing a new root tool that can be effectively used on all Android devices including the "unrootable" Samsung Galaxy S5 for Verizon and AT&T.
Geohot became famous for being the first person to unlock the original iPhone, and later for creating the limera1n jailbreak tool for future versions of the iPhone. The hacker then gained notoriety when he exploited OtherOS for the Sony PlayStation 3, opening up the ability to add homebrew (and play pirated games), causing Sony to disable the feature entirely and sue the young hacker.
Gaining root access to an Android device allows users to make system-level changes, and gain great apps like Titanium Backup. You can also flash different ROMs, like CyanogenMod, if you just hate the bloat of your Samsung, LG or HTC device.
BlackBerry has announced the launch of their first eBBM product, a suite that includes a specialized BBM instant messenger service for enterprise users.
The company says the suite includes BBM Protected, which is FIPS 140-2 cryptographic library-enabled messaging. The service can be used between users within the same enterprise, or with other companies who are also using BBM Protected.
While it may seem like a niche product, there are likely plenty of corporations who require secure communications, including defense contractors, attorney firms and even investment banks. BlackBerry still has a large government customer base, even as other industries move to iOS and Android.
Currently, the BBM Protected product works on BB OS 6.0 or newer, and on BlackBerry 10 in "Regulated Mode." Later this year, BlackBerry 10 users with BlackBerry Balance will be able to switch between business and pleasure, and iOS and Android BBM users will receive BBM Protected later this year, as well.
Google has revealed the first "Glass At Work" partners, pushing forward with the wearable device featuring apps designed for businesses.
The search giant unveiled the first Certified Partners, authorized companies that were selected to develop enterprise solutions for Glass devices. For their part, the companies can also co-brand and will be listed on the Glass at Work website.
A couple of hundred of developers applied for the program, and Google seems to have selected a broad spectrum of industries. The initial partners include APX, Augmedix, Crowdoptic, GuidiGO, and Wearable Intelligence.
APX makes Skylight, a software platform that companies use to create smart glasses applications. AugMedix has a Google Glass app for doctors. The app enters electronic health-record data while doctors treat patients. CrowdOptic has context-aware apps for the sports industry. GuidiGo offers an update to the classic museum audio tour by offering a more immersive Glass version. Wearable Intelligence builds workflow, training and communications apps.
SanDisk has significantly enhanced their enterprise and datacenter strategy, purchasing Fusion-io for $1.1 billion in cash.
Fusion-io specializes in SSD, and has major corporations as customers including Apple and Facebook. The company "develops flash-based PCIe hardware and software tools" and has seen strong growth until recently, when it was panned for not diversifying its client base.
SanDisk will quickly move the company into its vertically integrated supply chain and SanDisk CEO Mehrotra says the deal will "position us well in enterprise storage."
Since the company was spending heavily on R&D for PCIe hardware, the new move will prove an immediate synergy.
Popcorn Time and its clients became popular as it offered free streaming, in as high as 1080p quality, of any movie or show you could think of. Of course, this is not legal, but it hasn't stopped Isohunt from releasing their own version.
IsoPlex is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and will offer 1080p, 720p, SD and low quality, depending on your connection and preferences.
As of writing, Isohunt says Plex has access to over one million movies. Once you search for the film or show, you don't even to download it the full way through to start watching.
Microsoft, who has long licensed its patents to Android OEMs and takes a piece of a majority of Android devices made, has now had those mystery patents revealed by the Chinese government.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has revealed the 300 patents and applications held by Microsoft, following China's recent approval of their purchase of Nokia's handset business.
Among the list are 73 standard-essential patents, and another 127 that Microsoft claims are currently used in Android. Microsoft is said to be bringing in nearly $1 billion in licensing revenue from Android device makers.
Some of the list includes patents from Nortel, which were acquired as part of the Rockstar Consortium.
Netflix has announced this week that the company has ordered a movie and series based on the hit Mattel doll franchise "Ever After High."
Set for launch in early 2015, the movie "Ever After High Spring Unsprung" will then be followed by a 12-episode animated series.
All Netflix territories will have access to the content.
"The engaging and magical storylines of Ever After High make it a great addition to our growing slate of original kids programming. Mattel has a track record of making high-quality animated programs, and we're excited to extend our relationship, bringing our members the enchanting world of Ever After High," Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos said.
Amazon has released a quick press item today, boasting about the growth of its curated Amazon Appstore.
In the last year, the Appstore has tripled, says Amazon, and now has 240,000 games and apps. The store is also now available in almost 200 countries. For comparison, Apple and Google have about 1.2 million apps in their respective stores.
As expected, the growth has helped Amazon to entice a growing number of developers, with the amount of new signups per month doubling from 2013.
Most notably for developers, Amazon cited an IDC survey which stated that developers making games or apps for the Kindle Fire were making at least as much money as those on iOS and Google Play (and usually more than those on Android).
"Developers tell us that they experience improved reach, greater monetization, and, oftentimes, higher revenue when they have their apps and games in the Amazon Appstore," said Mike George, Vice President of Amazon Appstore and Games. "But this is just the beginning--we're building more services and capabilities for developers and more Android-based APIs based on their feedback. Most Android apps just work on Kindle Fire, and with an Appstore made for Android devices, Amazon's Appstore can help developers distribute their apps on Android devices all over the world. It's a great time for developers to bring their apps to the Amazon Appstore."
'Breaking Bad,' generally considered one of the top shows of all-time, is now available in the highest quality possible for streaming, 4K.
Available via Netflix, all five seasons of the hit show are available in 4K quality, but with significant caveats. The company says the 4K Breaking Bad is available "only on Ultra HD 4K Smart TVs that have Netflix embedded and include an HEVC H.265 decoder for now."
They are working on adding more options, including 4K monitors.
Netflix has promised to make more content available in 4K, and Breaking Bad will now join House of Cards and soon, the rest of Netflix's original content, in the high resolution quality.
Ahead of its launch on July 10th, Samsung has released a quick hands-on with the new Galaxy Tab S and its new features.
The device looks similar to older Galaxy Tabs, but is once again lighter and thinner, at 6.6mm thick and 16 ounces for the larger model. It is thinner than the iPad Air, and is just as light, with just 2 grams separating the two devices.
Most notably, the devices have Super-AMOLED displays with a resolution of 2560 x 1600, run on Android 4.4.2 KitKat, and have Samsung's own suite of applications including Knox and embedded hardware security that should interest enterprise users.
Under the hood is a ridiculous Exynos 5 Octa chipset (a 1.9GHz quad-core chip, a 1.3GHz quad-core chip and 3GB of RAM), 16GB internal storage (microSD slot accepts 128GB cards), 802.11 abcn Wi-Fi with MIMO, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0 and dual cameras, 8MP and 2.1MP. The battery promises about 11 hours of use, on par with the iPad Air. The device also has a fingerprint reader that works part of the time.
Micromax, the popular Indian OEM, has announced its first Windows Phone smartphones.
The operating system has seen a bit of a revival after Microsoft made Windows free for any device under 9 inches, including smartphones and tablets.
First, the company unveiled its Canvas Win W092 with Windows Phone 8.1 and a 4" WVGA IPS display. Under the hood is a quad-core Snapdragon 200 clocked at 1.2GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB internal storage and 5MP/1.3MP dual-cameras. The device is also dual-SIM capable.
Available next month, the device will sell for Rs 6,500 ($105), in line with cheaper NokiaLumia options.
The 5-inch IPS display Canvas Win 121 model has the same processor and RAM and internal storage but 8MP/2MP cameras and the larger display. The Win 121 will set you back Rs 9,500 ($157 USD).
Until this week, Apple had forbidden Bitcoin (and other virtual currency) trading apps from the App Store, but the tech giant has now revised its guidelines.
The company now allows virtual currency apps as long as "they comply with state and federal laws in all areas that they operate." Until now, all apps that revolved around trading the currencies were removed from the store, giving only access to wallet apps that allowed you to see how much of your currency you owned.
Coin Pocket is the first app to be back in the Store, but there will be surely many more to follow.
Bitcoin and other currencies remain mainly unregulated in the U.S., meaning Apple will likely avoid any legal headache in the future.
T-Mobile US CEO John Legere has taken the easy shot at AT&T, after it was reported that the carrier will be raising its activation fees.
Legere is well known for insulting AT&T and its executives and this time is no different.
"Is this a joke, AT&T?!" Legere wrote on Twitter. "[T-Mobile] removes fees and you do the opposite!? What happened to copying us?"
AT&T explained the new move, which is only for new contract subscribers, who are getting a subsidized smartphone. "Customers looking for a great value can get it with AT&T Next and Mobile Share Value plans," AT&T says. "With AT&T Next, customers can get a new device every year for $0 down, plus no activation, financing or upgrade fees. Customers choosing a 2-year contract plan will experience a four-dollar activation fee increase beginning June 8. Customers on 2-year plans choosing to upgrade to a new device will experience a four-dollar upgrade fee increase beginning June 8."
Earlier this week, Samsung unveiled their Galaxy Tab S lineup of tablets, offering devices as thin as the market leading iPad Air and iPad Mini.
As an extra bonus for the new tablets, consumers will get some exclusive goodies from Marvel Comics.
Each new tablet will come bundled with a free three-month subscription for Marvel Unlimited, giving access to all of Marvel's library for digital comics.
In addition, Tab S owners will also get exclusive sneak peeks at upcoming Marvel movies, potentially starting with the new Avengers: Age of Ultron. It is unclear what is part of the sneak peeks besides early access to trailers.
"Samsung is passionate about the stories around our products and the people to use them," said Younghee Lee, Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics. "Partnering with Marvel gives us the opportunity to bring our industry-leading mobile display technology to life. Through visual storytelling made possible by Marvel's outstanding entertainment universe, Samsung's Galaxy users will be able to enjoy the maximum of our product benefits."
Massive trip booking site Priceline has agreed to buy major restaurant booking service OpenTable for $2.6 billion in cash.
OpenTable charges monthly fees to use its software, which is considered by many the best in the business, and also charges individual restaurants small fees to book diners.
"The kind of work that we do day-to-day is very similar," Priceline CEO Darren Huston added. "It's just a different marketplace."
The booking service currently has over 31,000 establishments, but still says it "has plenty of room to expand," most notably outside of the U.S. OpenTable says about 15 million people book reservations every month through their services.
Recently, travel review service TripAdvisor made a similar move, purchasing reservation service Lafourchette, a French company with 12,000 restaurants in their inventory.
Startup company SteamBoy Machine Team has teased the first ever Steam OS-based handheld. The console should directly rival the PS Vita and the Nvidia Shield.
Set to launch next year, the device will have a 5-inch 16:9 screen, a quad-core processor, 4GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. The device will also have Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth.
"SteamBoy won't be as powerful as other announced Steam Machines in the same way [the] Nintendo 3DS or PS Vita performance is not comparable to Wii U or PlayStation 4," said the company. "However, it will be possible to play the majority of current games in Steam."
One of the more popular services available to gamers now on PS4 and Xbox One is 'Twitch,' the ability to record and share your entire playthroughs and other events when gaming.
Unfortunately, it appears the Wii U fans will not get the same services, at least not in the way rival console owners can. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime has said Twitch will not be headed to the Wii U, and he does not really see the appeal anyway. "What we've got to think through is, so what's fun about that? From a consumer standpoint, what's fun about it?"
Currently, the Wii U allows you to pick highlights and upload them to YouTube, leading to the now infamous "Luigi Death Stare" meme. Fils-Aime is a great fan of that ability, adding that "You can make some choices as to what parts are going to be shared. We think that makes it interesting. That's different than watching Joe Blow's 30 minute stream, which may or may not have something that's all that interesting."
Now of course there could be technical or hardware capability issues that Fils-Aime has not noted, but for the time being it looks like no Twitch for the Wii U.
Late night talk show host Conan O'Brien has added another hilarious addition to his 'Clueless Gamer' segment, this time playing an advanced copy of the upcoming 'Super Smash Bros' for Wii U.
The popular segment shows Conan and co-host Aaron Bleyaert playing video games, which Conan admits he does not like, does not understand and is certainly not good at.
Conan plays as multiple characters, trying to understand the basics of the craziness that is Super Smash, while making fun of nearly every character. The segment concludes with a four player match including his assistant and another employee.
The Wii U version will be available for Wii U sometime "this Winter."
Samsung has revealed their ninth and tenth tablets of the year so far, the Galaxy Tab S available as an 8.4-inch model and a 10.5-inch model.
The device looks similar to older Galaxy Tabs, but is once again lighter and thinner, at 6.6mm thick and 16 ounces for the larger model. It is thinner than the iPad Air, and is just as light, with just 2 grams separating the two devices.
Samsung noted that the company now has 22.6 percent of the tablet market with its wide range of Galaxy Tab devices. Apple is still the clear leader, but the margin has been shrinking.
Most notably, the devices have Super-AMOLED displays with resolution of 2560 x 1600, and the display has already received rave reviews from demo units. In addition, the devices have fingerprint readers just like the Galaxy S5, although the reader has generally been panned.
The device runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat, and has Samsung's own suite of applications including Knox and embedded hardware security that should interest enterprise users.
According to Forbes, Google will launch a new health service, dubbed "Google Fit" to collect your data from fitness trackers and smartphone/tablet apps.
The service will be revealed at the upcoming I/O developer conference on June 25th and 26th.
If accurate, the service would be a direct competitor to Apple's upcoming HealthKit framework that will be a part of iOS 8. Samsung also unveiled their biometric data platform Sami last month, meaning the market is clearly the next battleground between the giants.
The report says that "Google Fit will aggregate data through open APIs" and that Google is likely to announce partnerships with wearable device makers like Motorola and LG, as well.
It is unclear whether Google Fit will comes as part of Android updates or will be a standalone app to be downloaded in the Google Play Store.
Yesterday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a bold and strategic plan in which the company opened up all of their closely held patents for fair use, in an effort to boost the fledgling electric car market.
This means that anyone who wants to use the technology (in good faith) will not be sued and will likely actually receive assistance from the company.
Musk says that corporations that rely solely on their patents are falling behind: "It means they're not innovating. They're not innovating fast enough. You should be innovating so fast that you're invalidating your prior patents."
The brilliant executive then went on a rant about the current patent system and how it was stifling innovation in every industry. You will find very few people who are not CEOs who disagree with him.
'A Song of Ice and Fire,' the book series better known now as Game of Thrones due to its popularity on HBO, will have two new characters killed in a "grisly" manner after the fans paid $20,000 each (to be distributed to charity) to have author George RR Martin create characters for them and then kill them off in the upcoming book.
David Goldblatt, a Facebook employee, was one of the two fans to win the auction. "I'm fortunate enough to be in a position to do this cool thing, and it's going toward a good cause – I don't think I'm doing anything extraordinary." Goldblatt says he would like "to be a Valyrian if at all possible, but he figures it out himself. I wouldn't want to impinge upon his creative process." As part of the prize, the winners will get to choose their "character's station in the world (lording, knight, peasant, whore, lady, maester, septon, anything)."
While hundreds of characters including some very notable ones have been killed off in the series, Martin says he does feel sad when they die. He will not have the same regret for the new characters, however. "Despite my sinister repute, I actually find it hard to kill off characters that I've been writing about for some time. Good guys or bad guys, they're all my children. But this time the slaughter should be easy, since the victims will be laying down their lives in a good cause. I will do my best to make their ends memorable."
According to a new report, Samsung is working with bicycle designer Giovanni Pelizzoli building a new Smart Bike that can be controlled by your Samsung smartphone.
The Samsung Smart Bike was revealed at a design trade show in Milan. The rider can add their smartphone in a mount between the bike's handle bars, using it to control smart features which include turning on "laser beams" to create bike lanes or viewing directions.
Those same beams are also automatic at night since they use the ambient light sensors of your phone.
The bike also includes a camera on the back that syncs with the Smart Bike app and can be used as a rear view camera. From a design standpoint, the bike is constructed of curvy aluminum tubes that supposedly absorb the vibrations of bumpy roads.
Microsoft has announced the launch of a beta version of its Outlook Web App (OWA) for Android available now in the Google Play Store.
The beta has some stringent restrictions, however, that may be extended to the full release. You must be running Android 4.4 (or newer), your device cannot be larger than 5.2-inches (sorry no tablets or the Galaxy Note) and your mailbox must be running on Office 365 for business.
As with most betas, the new OWA release in its current form will be to help the company collect feedback, fix bugs and improve stability.
Currently, there are just a few devices that have access to the app, but you can vote to have your device added via this link here: OWA for Android Pre-Release.
Microsoft launched OWA for iOS about a year ago, and promises the Android version will have all the same features.
Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe has conservative expectations for the first-generation consumer model of the Rift headset, saying he hopes for just "north of a million units [in sales]" over the life of the first consumer version of the Oculus Rift."
"It's not going to be a console-scale market," Iribe added. "It always could be, but that's not the goal. The goal is to set expectations low, get the enthusiasts and early adopters to get into the space, get their feedback, get developers making really great content..."
There is still no set time frame for the release of the Rift, although many believe 2015 will see its launch.
After the first model is released, Iribe says he expects the second consumer version to hit two years after. That headset will be the first to see its full potential, Iribe admits, and one that should see mass-market appeal. "That's when we'll get these incredible, holy grail [games], the killer app for VR," he said. "And that's when we think the scale will really goal, and hopefully you'll get many millions of people into VR, playing great games and other stuff."
The use of streaming video services continues to grow, especially in the U.S., where 47 percent of households now have a subscription to at least one of the biggest three services: Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus.
In addition there are at least another two percent of households that have a TV connected to the Internet, but do not have one of those services. In 2011, the figure was 24 percent for households with TVs connected online.
Breaking down the figures to individual services, reads the study, 78 percent of Netflix subscribers watch their movies and TV shows on a TV.
Of those surveyed, 34 percent said they watch online video daily, and 61 percent do so at least once per week.
Finally, cord cutting is on the way up, with 80 percent of Netflix subscribers saying they also have a pay TV service, compared to 88 percent five years ago.
Major chipmaker Intel has lost their appeal of a massive 1.06 billion euro fine handed down by the European Union five years ago.
The European Union's second-highest court says previous regulators did not act "too harshly," and the fine will stand.
In 2009, the European Commission ruled that Intel gave rebates to PC OEMs HP, NEC, Dell and Lenovo for buying most of their processors from Intel rather than rival AMD, and also that the chipmaker paid a major German retail chain to only buy Intel chips.
"The Commission demonstrated to the requisite legal standard that Intel attempted to conceal the anti-competitive nature of its practices and implemented a long term comprehensive strategy to foreclose AMD from the strategically most important sales channels," the court said in a 297-page decision.
Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey is sure to have made consumers happy with his latest comments, saying that the company will sell the Rift VR headset at cost, with the company not looking to make a profit on them.
"We're going to be selling it at cost," Luckey said in an interview. "Whatever it costs us to make, that is what we're going to sell it for."
Facebook recently acquired the startup for over $2 billion, ensuring that Oculus has enough funding to survive whether or not they turn a profit or not, ever. "If we were running purely on our own and trying to make money just from hardware, we would need to make enough profit from each unit to pay for running the company for several years, until we launched the next one," said Luckey, clearly happy to have been acquired by the social media behemoth.
Of course, the company has plenty of ways to make money without profiting on the actual hardware. Oculus is likely to obtain licensing fees from game developers, especially for games that can only be played on the VR headset. This would be considered the "console model" currently enjoyed by Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft.
Apple has filed for a patent that could give us a hint about the future of iPad covers.
The patent details "accessory device for a tablet device" that can display notifications and other information.
In addition, the cover would have the ability to communicate with the iPad so that different lights would go off in different formations depending on what type of notification is being displayed (email, message, FaceTime, etc).
Other manufacturers have tried similar accessories, including HTC and Samsung, to varying degrees of success.
Norway's new Rights Alliance anti-piracy group has announced plans to get infamous torrenttracker The Pirate Bay blocked in the nation.
The group will be sending a petition to the Oslo District Court later this month, and the group is citing the newly enforced copyright law that came into effect over the summer. The new laws allow copyright owners the right to force ISPs to block sites and services "where material which clearly violates copyright is made widely available".
If the petition is accepted, the Pirate Bay will be the first site in the history of the nation to be blocked by ISPs not due to child pornography.
The Rights Alliance first sent a letter to Norway's largest ISP, Telenor, asking to block the site, but the ISP refused. The ISP says it will not block any site unless required by law.
Earlier this week, popular notetaking app Evernote, and RSS feed service Feed.ly were taken down by multi-hour DDoS attacks.
Evernote managed to stay active with major lag and issues while Feedly was rendered unavailable.
Within four hours, Evernote did manage to claim it was back "up and running," though users could experience "a hiccup or two for the next 24 hours."
Feed.ly CEO Edwin Khodabakchian confirmed the attack was an attempt at extortion. "The attacker is trying to extort us money to make it stop. We refused to give in and are working with our network providers to mitigate the attack as best we can."
Mozilla has confirmed that the company's $25 Firefox OS-powered phones will be available in at least India and Indonesia later this year.
So far, Mozilla has partnered with four OEMs and five carriers to launch Firefox phones in Latin America and some nations in Europe, but the phones have not been as cheap as $25. Most retail for between $75 and $100, still cheap by smartphone standards, but not cheap enough to attract consumers that will otherwise purchase an Android or Windows Phone device if given the choice or will stick with feature phones.
Especially in emerging markets like India, $75 is too expensive, in general, and hundreds of millions of citizens still have feature phones. Mozilla Chief Operating Officer Gong Li notes: "One U.S. dollar means a lot of things to consumers in emerging countries. It's difficult to sell smartphones that cost more than US$50 in those markets."
The new $25 handsets are built in collaboration with Chinese chip maker Speadtrum Communications. "With a $25 price tag, there is no price gap between a smartphone and a feature phone," Mr. Gong said. "This attractive price point would help motivate feature-phone users to switch to smartphones."
Amazon has shut down the ability to pre-order hit movies from Warner Home Video including "The Lego Movie" as it tries to gain added leverage with the major supplier.
Among the hit films that are unavailable in physical copies are the aforementioned Lego Movie, "300: Rise of an Empire," "Winter's Tale" and "Transcendence." Amazon still offers the digital download.
Amazon is currently in a similar row with Hachette Book Group, delaying shipments of the publisher's books and removing pre-order ability for new titles. Amazon is trying to gain better prices on e-books and as the world's largest book retailer it has some leverage to try this.
Hachette has so far refused to give in, and it is unclear who will cave first.
All we know is that consumers are the only losers in this situation.
After weeks of rumors and a leak last night, Amazon has officially unveiled its Amazon Prime Music streaming service.
The e-commerce giant says the new service has over a million tracks, hundreds of curated playlists and allows for unlimited streaming without any ads as long as you are a Prime subscriber. Prime costs $99 per year and offers free 2-day shipping on millions of products, free access to Amazon's streaming movie/TV catalog and hundreds of thousands of books for free via Kindle.
While the deal is certainly great for Prime users, there are some notable songs and artists missing. As of writing, Universal Music Group's entire catalog is not available, unless you want to purchase the tracks via Aamzon MP3. Additionally, there are no brand new tracks like you would find on Spotify, as all the tracks available are older than six months.
"When Prime launched nine years ago, the program offered Free Two-Day Shipping on one million items. Today, that selection has grown to over 20 million items. Prime Instant Video now offers unlimited streaming of more than 40,000 movies and TV episodes, up from 5,000 at launch three years ago. And the Kindle Owners' Lending Library now features more than half a million books to borrow for free," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. "Today we're introducing Prime Music--more than a million songs from some of music's best artists, plus hundreds of expert-programmed Prime Playlists, all at no additional cost. Prime Music is the latest great addition for Prime members and we think they're going to love it."
Unlimited music streaming service Deezer, one of the largest rivals to market leader Spotify, has announced a new deal with major German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 in which the company will own a stake and promote the music service online and on TV.
Besides the marketing help, PSS.1's current streaming service, Ampya, will have its subscribers migrated over to Deezer. It is unclear if Ampya will shut down.
The new alliance is Deezer's largest ever, says the company, and its first ever with a major television provider.
In addition, Deezer will get access to Vodafone and its 32 million wireless subscribers in the nation.
Spotify has 40 million active monthly users and over 10 million paying subscribers, while Deezer has just over 16 million active users. Spotify has had a partnership in Germany with Deutsche Telekom AG since 2012, letting its customers stream unlimited music without ads.
Best Buy has announced that the Pebble Steel smartwatch will go on sale at the major retailer starting this Sunday in stores and immediately online.
The retailer has priced the watch at $229 and it will be available in the stainless steel and black matte options. However, the stainless steel band will not be available, just the leather strap. If you buy directly from Pebble, you get both bands for $250.
"Pebble Steel is an elegant follow-up to its predecessor and the second-generation, high-end smart watch is now as strong as it is sleek. And this Sunday, June 15, you can get your hands on it at all Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores, in addition to finding it at BestBuy.com," reads the press release.
Best Buy also sells the original (and nerdier) version of the Pebble, which was a Kickstarter record holder for some time.
E-commerce behemoth Alibaba has announced the acquisition of mobile browser firm UCWeb in what will be the largest merger in Chinese Internet history.
The company already owned a majority of UCWeb, but increased competition by Tencent and Baidu seems to have forced the move as Alibaba looks to continue expanding into more business for mobile.
Alibaba, which could be valued at nearly $200 billion when it goes public, has spent nearly $10 billion on acquisitions since the beginning of 2013, while rival Baidu has spent $2.4 billion and Tencent has spent nearly $2 billion.
WeChat, the mobile messaging app owned by Tencent and used by a majority of smartphone users in China is the next target of Alibaba, as executives have called it a monopoly. The merged company will create the UCWeb Mobile Business Group "responsible for internet browsers, search services, location-based services, the mobile gaming platform, mobile application distribution and mobile literature services."
The OnePlus One smartphone, which was initially meant to ship in May, has been delayed again, this time citing security issues.
At $299 unlocked and with specs better than any phone on the market at that price, OnePlus built some hype by only offering the device via invite and through special promotions.
The company is now "perfecting some final issues," but there is no final timetable for its official release.
Via Reddit, Abhisek Devkota (username Ciwrl) explained the delays:
So what "major update" led to the "final issues"?
As you may be aware, a handful of new issues with openSSL were made public on June 5th. We decided to include the correction for those vulnerabilities, in the factory release of the One
A new release means the whole firmware needs to be re-certified (including QA time), but we believe the security benefits outweigh the delay. So yes, there was a new build issued at fairly last minute, but it wasn't due to missing set deadlines or expectations.
Apple may soon be able to bring back over $100 billion in cash they hold overseas as Senate Democrats and Republicans are meeting to consider offering a one-time tax break if corporations repatriate such stashed profits.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says Republicans have considered the "tax holiday" and "it enjoys a good deal of support in our conference."
The "holiday" would give American companies a significant cut in the amount of taxes they pay on profits earned abroad, giving them an incentive to bring the money home. The government anticipates a massive surge in revenue that will then be used on transportation-based construction and repair projects through the federal Highway Trust Fund. The Fund will be out of money by August if nothing is done.
Currently, U.S. law states that American companies do not have to pay the standard 35 percent corporate income tax on overseas profits until they are brought back. Most of these earnings never come back due to lower tax rates overseas in places like Ireland.
A similar repatriation holiday was enacted in 2004, at a 5.25 percent tax rate, which brought back home tens of billions of dollars.
Google has kept its acquisition trend going, purchasing the satellite imagery company Skybox Imaging for half a billion.
The search giant says Skybox's "satellites will help keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery. Over time, we also hope that Skybox's team and technology will be able to help improve Internet access and disaster relief -- areas Google has long been interested in."
Skybox added a bit more to their press release:
Five years ago, we began the Skybox journey to revolutionize access to information about the changes happening across the surface of the Earth.
We've made great strides in the pursuit of that vision.
We've built and launched the world's smallest high-resolution imaging satellite, which collects beautiful and useful images and video every day. We have built an incredible team and empowered them to push the state-of-the-art in imaging to new heights. The time is right to join a company who can challenge us to think even bigger and bolder, and who can support us in accelerating our ambitious vision.
Skybox and Google share more than just a zip code. We both believe in making information (especially accurate geospatial information) accessible and useful. And to do this, we're both willing to tackle problems head on -- whether it's building cars that drive themselves or designing our own satellites from scratch.
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has denied a report from VICE that its website suffered from a denial of service attack last week.
After comedian John Oliver had a rant about the FCC and net neutrality, he urged people to go to the FCC website and provide the regulator with feedback while opinion from the public was being sought. Not long after this, the commenting section on the FCC website became unusable.
VICE ran a report quoting an FCC source saying that it was actually hacked who brought down the commenting system with a denial of service attack.
Later though, an FCC spokesperson reached out to Engadget to deny the initial report. He said that the commission had no evidence of a malicious attack, and that a high volume of traffic caused the collapse. Engadget also noted that the FCC's commenting system is 17 years old.
VICE is sticking by its original report however, saying that a high-level FCC source had described it as a "database denial of service attack."
When you think about it though, given the age of the FCC's commenting system and combining that with thousands people trying to add comments, would that appear to be a denial of service attack if you were unaware of John Oliver's call to arms?
Google is part of a new coalition aimed at cutting advertising revenue to websites that offer copyright infringing content.
The practice of targeting ads on piracy websites is not new. The goal is straight-forward, to make the operation of these websites a non-profitable risk so that many will end up shutting down, or plans to launch new sites will be abandoned. Police in the UK are already targeting ads on piracy websites.
Search giant Google will join another effort in Italy. It will reportedly sign a Memorandum of Understanding in the country, along with music and movie groups, and others in the advertising business.
A committee comprised of signatories will handle complaints from rights holders that highlight advertisements shown on websites offering pirated content.
As of today, we have finally retired our old warhorse -- a forum engine built and maintained by our own development team. We used our old, custom-built forum engine for 13 years and it has served us very well. But as the forum technologies have evolved, it simply became impossible for us to keep up with the modern 3rd party forum engines. After months of evaluation and testing, we have finally switched our forums to run on xenForo, a forum engine built by a group of former vBulletin employees.
Here's the quick summary of what is new:
responsive layout (=page adapts nicely to mobile, tablet and desktop use)
support for Facebook, Twitter and G+ logins
improved private messages
Ketola has described the main changes in detail in his thread, so read more about changes from there.
As the switch was a pretty massive project, it is inevitable that some bugs are hiding somewhere. If you find anything weird, like 404s, etc, please, let us know!
Twitter's useful TweetDeck app is vulnerable to a cross-site-scripting (XSS) flaw that a lot of people have run in to today.
While browsing today, my TweetDeck tab in Google Chrome came to the front by itself with a message simply saying "XSS in TweetDeck". At the same time, my co-worker Jari sent me a link to a tweet that - when combined with TweetDeck - would automatically Re-tweet the message and spread.
Here is a screenshot of the tweet, before it is inevitably taken offline
It appears that to be affected by it, all you need is for it to appear in your timeline in TweetDeck at least in Google's Chrome browser. In our case, it was re-tweeted by an Adobe account, which then exploited the flaw in Jari's TweetDeck to retweet it, and then it showed up in my timeline and I retweeted it.
Of course, you can manually "un-retweet" it if you visit the actual tweet in a browser and just click the RT button again so it is no longer green. Here is the direct link, which should be safe to open in a browser.
Sony has used E3 to announce the launch of LittleBigPlanet 3, the sequel to the popular exclusives for PlayStation consoles.
Says the company: "In LittleBigPlanet 3, explore a world filled with creativity as you explore all corners of the Imagisphere, meet the inhabitants of the mysterious planet Bunkum and face the nefarious Newton.
Discover endless surprises that the LittleBigPlanet Community have created and shared for you to enjoy, with new levels and games to play every day. Then if you're feeling inspired, flex your creative muscles with the powerful and intuitive customization tools, to bring your own imagination to life in LittleBigPlanet 3."
We got our first glimpse at Mortal Kombat X (10) this week, showing off a game even more brutal than its predecessors.
The hit fighter series has been refreshed for the next generation, and even includes two new characters. There is a new unknown female character with some type of bug fetish, and the second was a massive man using a smaller guy as a partner for duo moves.
Among the finishing moves (and even in-fight moves) are spine breakers, skull crackers, and more organs outside of their bodies than you can imagine.
All of these moves are accentuated by "X-ray" mode, which shows the skeleton of the character you are beating.
Nintendo has displayed why it built NFC (near-field communications) chips into the Wii U controller by unveiling its new amiibo toys.
One of the first games compatible with amiibo will be Super Smash Bros 4. By holding the toy to the Wii U gamepad information can be transferred between the two. Customized settings, achievements and more can be carried by players in the amiibo toys.
Other games that will support amiibo toys soon will be Mario Kart 8, Yoshi's Woolly World and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.
No details were given on how much these trinkets will cost though, but here's a demonstration of how they work.
Nintendo announced that the Wii U console will claim its first Legend of Zelda title in 2015.
A brief trailer for the next Zelda game was shown at Nintendo's E3 press briefing and is embedded below. The Wii U console could certainly use strong titles as soon as possible to turn around its fortunes.
The open-world format for the Wii U Zelda marks a break with the past for the Zelda series, providing the player with total freedom of movement. Lead character Link is set to appear in other titles due to be released this year too, including Super Smash Bros 4.
A notable PlayStation 4 exclusive shown off at E3 this year is Bloodborne, being developed by FromSoftware and SCE Japan Studio.
It is being directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki (Dark Souls) and is expected to be released sometime in 2015. Screenshots of the game had leaked onto the Internet weeks before E3, but the title wasn't revealed until the press briefing.
Bloodborne is set in the ancient city of Yharnam which is plagued with a strange endemic illness spreading through its population. The player will engage in a struggle to uncover secrets of the dreary city in order to survive.
Rovio fans need no longer wait for the launch of the turn-based RPG 'Angry Birds Epic,' as the casual gaming company says the new game will reach iOS and Android on June 12th.
The freemium game was "soft-launched" two months ago, but will see a hopefully bug-free official launch in two days.
Angry Birds Epic has a similar back story to other Rovio games, where green pigs have stolen the eggs of the hero birds, making them understandably angry. Old characters like Red, Chuck, Bomb are part of the new game, with different abilities including magic spells.
One title that received a lot of attention at E3 so far is No Man's Sky, being developed by Hello Games.
No Man's Sky is set in a Sci-Fi Universe and will feature a procedurally generated open world, in which players can explore planets, deep oceans, discover life and so on. Environments in new undiscovered worlds will vary from mild to absolutely hostile.
Information gained about new planets, species and so forth can be shared with other players. Of course, there are also battles in space to keep you occupied.
It looks like a very ambitious project and it will be interesting where it goes.
Sony's PlayStation Now games rental/streaming service will available in open beta on the PlayStation 4 console from July 31.
The open beta will be available to PS4 owners in the United States and Canada, with the PS3 and PSVita following later. For those who don't own a PlayStation console, PlayStation Now is also coming to selected Sony Smart TVs. As long as you have a DualShock 3 controller, you will be able to use it with selected Smart TVs.
PlayStation Now will feature PlayStation 3 games only at first, but older platforms will be added later.
The first games confirmed to be available include Dead Space 3, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Ultra Street Fighter 4, God of War: Ascension and Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus.
It is being reported that rental costs for PlayStation Now range between $2.99 and $19.99, depending on the term of the rental and other factors.
Bethesda used E3 to release a teaser for the next DOOM game, which has been in development for some time now.
A beta had previously been announced as on the horizon for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, but was light on details. This new trailer gives us a glimpse of the hellish environment we can expect in the next DOOM, along with enormous beasts with weapons.
That's as far as they are willing to do with details for now though, and we're told to wait until QuakeCon next month for more information.
Another year has passed and our dear site is now 15 years old. Yup, we launched the site in 1999, at the time when Google was still a small search startup and "social media" meant, for most people, watching TV with your friends.
I simply want to thank all of our staff members, moderators and users for keeping this site alive and kicking for all these years. These have been great years and I expect many more great years to follow.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End has been confirmed for 2015, exclusively to PlayStation 4.
It was announced with a trailer at Sony's E3 press briefing today. It follows Nathan Drake, several years after his last adventure, back into the world of thieves.
Drake is travelling the world in pursuit of an historical conspiracy behind a fabled pirate treasure. His greatest adventure will test his physical limits, his resolve, and ultimately what he's willing to sacrifice to save the ones he loves.
The Naught Dog-developed title won't be hracing your PS4 until 2015, but here's a trailer to give you something to look forward to.
Sony's E3 press briefing contained many treats, and a new trailer for The Order: 1886 was one of the sweetest.
The trailer showed quite a dark side of Sony's upcoming action adventure title. It is being developed by Ready at Dawn and SCE Santa Monica Studio for exclusive release on the PlayStation 4 (PS4) console.
It is set in an alternative history/reality in which there are half-human, half animal "half breeds" that are being fought off by humans. The humans, however, are in a losing struggle.
No worries, because with the discovery of a mystery liquid called Black Water which boosts longevity significantly, combined with a way-ahead-of-its-time industrial revolution, the tide begins to turn.
In 1886, with humans in control things start to get bad again as the humans fight among themselves too. Take a look at the trailer and see some of the action we can expect.
Dead Island 2 has been officially announced at E3, and it comes with a very entertaining trailer for any zombie action fan.
The trailer isn't quite as wonderful as the original Dead Island trailer was, but it stand on its own merits. It follows a physique conscious jogger as he goes for a run in San Francisco while listening to music.
As music is pumping in his ears, the Zombie apocalypse is happening right behind him and he has absolutely no idea. For fans of zombie movies and games, the trailer is gruesome, bloody and awesome all in one.
Unfortunately for our poor jogger, he must have previously been infected because he transfers into a hideous zombie without breaking stride.. well until he is run over by a van and then has his trainers stolen.
The following Dead Island 2 trailer was shown at the Sony pre-E3 press briefing and confirmed for the PlayStation 4 so far.
I'm looking forward to this one. Let us hope it is better then Riptide.
Here is some more footage of Ubisoft's racing title, in which you can race across the United States.
It takes 90 minutes to drive from coast to coast of the United States in The Crew, and the game has a 20-hour single player campaign in which you can infiltrate criminal hands, carry out missions in single-player or multiplayer mode and so on.
Multiplayer also lets players create teams to compete online in races and other activities.
It is set to be released on November 11 this year, available on PC and for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles.
Like a lot of modern games, it will also have a companion iOS and Android app that allows players to customize vehicles.
Players of survival horror video game react during live gameplay, providing entertainment value and a few spine shivers at the same time.
The Evil within is a survival horror video game being developed by Tango Gameworks, a Japanese studio, and published by Bethesda Softworks. It gives a third-person perspective of Detective Sebastian Castellanos as he fights to survive in an evil environment.
Players must scavenge for supplies and use them wisely, as well as learning when to run and when to fight. For fans of horror, this looks promising.
The Evil Within launches in October of this year, for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. Today we got a glimspe of new gameplay footage, as well as the reactions of people invited to play them game, providing both entertainment and a few spine shivers.
Sony has teased the next blockbuster in the inFAMOUS series, First Light.
"Locked up in a prison for super powered humans, Fetch Walker is forced to relive tragedies from her past. Unravel her dark secret in Seattle while battling to escape snowy Curdon Cay and seek vengeance against those who wronged her," says the bio.
Sony surprised E3 watchers today by announcing a native YouTube application for the PlayStation 4, a long awaited addition to the console.
Reads Sony's press release: "Today, we're delighted to announce that YouTube is coming to PS4 this fall! Sharing your greatest gaming moments on YouTube will be a piece of cake on PS4, thanks to the dedicated sharing capabilities at the very heart of PS4. YouTube will officially be one of the social options offered when you press the SHARE button on your DualShock 4. After pressing SHARE, you'll see the YouTube icon pop up alongside Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, and Ustream, and in just a couple of quick steps, you can go from playing your favorite games to publishing videos on your own YouTube channel. You'll also be able to see your friends' shared YouTube videos using the "What's New" feed."
Besides the integrated sharing features, the PS4 YouTube app will give you access to your saved YouTube channels, videos and favorites.
Verizon has confirmed that it will not be able to stick by its promise of providing citywide fiber Internet to NYC by its stated June 30th deadline.
In 2008, as part of an announcement with city officials, Verizon promised to build " a state-of-the-art fiber-optic network throughout the entire City by mid-year 2014."
The ISP has made its FiOS network available in quite a few neighborhoods, but in many places it does not even offer broadband speeds, sometimes as low as 1.5Mbps in older buildings.
Verizon, according to sources, blamed NYC landlords for blocking construction and also cited Hurricane Sandy as a major issue, with miles upon miles of copper wiring ruined by the flooding. The ISP says it will be a few months late in its requirement to have the fiber lines to "pass all households." That term seems very vague as it does not even require every individual apartment to have access.
New NYC mayor Bill De Blasio blasted the company, saying "there's very clear terms [in the Verizon franchise agreement] that have not been met."
Kicking off their E3 keynote, Sony has announced that a beta for the upcoming blockbuster "Destiny" will arrive for the PS4 on July 17th.
If you can't wait that long, Bungie will release an alpha starting on Thursday, open for 72 hours.
Destiny will be released officially on September 9th, and Sony also confirmed a "PlayStation Destiny Bundle" that includes a white PS4, white controller, a copy of the game, and a 30-day trial membership to PlayStation Plus.
In addition, Sony gamers will get platform-specific exclusives like weapons, vehicles, maps, and even an entirely exclusive multiplayer map. "Destiny isn't just first on PlayStation," Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House boasted. "It's better."
If you want to get the alpha make sure you head over here before the 11th.
Investment bank UBS analyst Steven Milunovich says Apple will sell 21 million iWatch smartwatches in its first year (fiscal 2015), followed by a nice boost to 36 million in the following year.
The firm estimates a $299 selling price, and 25 percent margins on each iWatch sold, which is lower than its iPad and iPhone margins, but that number should increase with more volume.
"We are more confident that Apple will be introducing the iWatch before the holiday season following WWDC's introduction of HealthKit, recent healthcare hirings, the acquisition of LuxVue Technology, and positive comments from Eddy Cue at the Re/Code Conference," said the analyst.
If that figure is hit, it would surpass first year sales of the iPad, which were modest at 19.5 million, although it is important to note that the original iPad sold for an average of $550. Sales then jumped to 47.6 million in the second year.
"We expect iWatch sales to roughly track iPad unit sales -- similar penetration rates would mean higher sales," he added. "iWatch might do better because the customer base is larger than when iPad launched and the ASP might be less. On the other hand, iWatch is the first product to be worn, which might not appeal to all users."
Apple is expected to release the fitness-based wearable in October.
Scott Rohde, PlayStation's head of software product development for Sony America, tweeted in response to a recent IGN article: "[Shuhei Yoshida, SCE president of worldwide studio] Sony Worldwide president] and I laughed at this rumor over dinner. The Last Guardian has NOT been cancelled."
As recently as March, Rohde confirmed it was still in development but that he would not "announce what platform it's coming on, who's working on it, who's involved. But that is still a title that's absolutely in the mix at Worldwide Studios."
Sony's E3 event has just begun and we will have more news coming up.
EA Sports has revealed that FIFA 15 will launch in North America on September 23, followed in Europe on September 25, for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
EA is touting the games new "emotional intelligence" features, in which players have memories and will show emotion based on the context of the match. There are more than 600 new emotional reactions to events in the game, such as bad tackles, bad misses and scoring spectacular goals. They can also get on the ref's back.
Improved commentary is also promised, as well as a dynamic match day experience. Chants and behaviors will be relevant to country or even your club. New bench reactions, side line character animations, 10-man goal celebrations, and more will keep you engaged in the story of the match.
Tactics are also getting a bit of an improvement, with teammates and opponents able to recognize what's happening in the match and adjust their tactics to suit.
The pitch in FIFA 15 can also be scuffed up due to wear and tear.
Microsoft has announced that sales of its Xbox 360 consoles have passed 84 million, providing over 100,000 centuries of gameplay
It made the announcement today as it launched a $399 Xbox One without the Kinect peripheral, and unveiled a huge line-up of games at E3.
With more than 84 million consoles sold into retail worldwide, Microsoft says that its aging console has generated $37.7 billion in lifetime game sales.
Xbox 360 gamers have clicked up more than 88 billion hours of gameplay, which is the equivalent of more than 100,000 centuries.
The Redmond-giant also promised to continue supporting the console with new games and apps. Just recently, the Xbox live Gold requirement for entertainment apps was lifted. Soon Xbox 360 will get even more entertainment apps, including HBO Go.
Netflix is set to stop serving customers with error messages that blame their ISP during video streaming problems.
Last week, Netflix and Verizon went toe-to-toe over error messages Netflix was showing to subscribers when they ran into streaming problems. The error messages essentially put the blame for the streaming problems on the ISP of the subscriber.
A screenshot was posted online showing one of the messages identifying Verizon's network as the source of the problem, which resulted in an angry backlash from Verizon and then a cease and desist letter demanding that Netflix stop.
Netflix will indeed stop serving the messages - on June 16.
"As part of this transparency campaign, we started a small scale test in early May that lets consumers know, while they're watching Netflix, that their experience is degraded due to a lack of capacity into their broadband provider's network," writes Netflix' Joris Evers.
"We are testing this across the U.S. wherever there is significant and persistent network congestion This test is scheduled to end on June 16. We will evaluate rolling it out more broadly."
Netflix: Internet Service Providers ARE the problem!
Microsoft's head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, deserves credit for bringing Xbox One back to gaming and putting the focus on the customer.
Microsoft's conference today at E3 was notably different from past Xbox One media events, in that it dedicated all of its time to one very important factor: games. From start to finish, Microsoft's press briefing was filled with games, games and then more games.
When Phil Spencer took over as head of Xbox, he was facing an uphill battle. Microsoft had a $500 next-gen console on the market, while its rival Sony had a more popular console for $100 less. Fans were still annoyed with Microsoft for attempting to include severely limiting DRM functionality in the Xbox One before backing off, and for requiring a regular check-in online to keep gaming.
Requiring Kinect be connected constantly was also a sticking point, and even though Microsoft eventually caved in to consumer demands, plenty of gamers were left wondering what they were thinking in the first place.
The first truly major thing that happened under Spencer was the decision to release a $400 Xbox One without the Kinect peripheral. That decision was received positively for the most part, but even with that, Microsoft seemed to be in a battle to regain the trust of its customers.
A new trailer for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was shown at Microsoft's E3 press conference today.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, you play as Geralt of Rivia, one of a dying caste of monster hunters, and embark on an epic journey in a war-ravaged world that will inevitably lead you to confront a foe darker than anything humanity has faced so far--the Wild Hunt.
The next-generation open world role-playing game is one of the most anticipated titles of next-gen so far. It won't be launched until next year, but this trailer is definitely worth a watch if this is your kind of thing.
Watch this commented co-op demo for Assassin's Creed: Unity showing how you can play with up to three of your friends.
Ubisoft's Vincent Pontbriand showed off Assassin's Creed: Unity at Microsoft's E3 conference, showcasing the game's four-player co-op abilities.
Unity is set in France at the start of the French Revolution, and it looks absolutely beautiful.
In this demo we follow a brotherhood of assassins as they take on French soldiers, but it is easy to be distacted by the extraordinary detail we're seeing on screen. And of course.. the violence, oh the violence. Nothing beats heads on pikes!
Tom Clancy's The Division is one of the most anticipated games at the moment, and this gameplay demo is only going to make the wait more frustrating.
In The Division, gamers will work to restore order after a pandemic destroyed society. You will make your way through the streets of New York to combat opposing factions, armed with advanced gadgets and intent tactical gunplay.
It puts a lot of emphasis on team work and cover, and looks like it will be a very good co-op experience.
The Division really turned some heads last year, and it hasn't lost any of its appeal, even though we do have to wait until next year to get hands on it.
Crackdown is coming back on Xbox One, as Microsoft showed off a trailer packed with destruction at E3.
If you enjoyed the original Crackdown then you'll be delighted to see it back. Phil Spencer said that gamers had been requesting its return for some time, but they wanted to make sure it was done right. To ensure that, the creator of the original Crackdown, David Jones, was tapped to head up development.
The trailer shows a whole new city with apparently destructible environments, including destroying buildings with explosives from the air.
Of course, the trailer is way over the top, but it wouldn't be Crackdown otherwise..
Lara Croft will continue her story into the next generation of gaming in 'Rise of the Tomb Raider'.
The announce trailer shown today at Microsoft's pre-E3 press conference shows Croft in a therapy session, while showing flashbacks of her adventures.
In Rise of the Tomb Raider, Croft is being pursued by a shadow organization intent on killing her for what she knows. "She is pushed to her physical and mental limits as she seeks the truth buried deep within the tombs of an ancient world."
"To unravel the mystery of a Lost City, Lara must use her survival skills and wits, learn to trust new friends, and ultimately accept her destiny as the Tomb Raider."
Master Collection includes Halo: Combat Evolved, a re-mastered Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 4 and new digital series Halo: Nightfall.
Additionally, it also will provide access to the Halo 5: Guardians Beta later this year. It was announced today at Microsoft's pre-E3 conference.
The Master Chief Collection at E3, Xbox and developer 343 Industries recreated one of the most iconic moments in the newly re-mastered Halo 2, with a twist by revealing that what the audience is seeing is a holographic projection that is being watched by a new and pivotal character in the Halo universe: Agent Locke.
The more Locke studies Master Chief, the more the audience gets glimpses of Locke, and the dynamic between the characters is gradually revealed, a dynamic that will play out in the soon to be released Halo 5: Guardians.
Despite being a majorly fragmented operating system (at least compared to major rival iOS) Google's latest version of Android, KitKat, has seen its percentage rise relatively quickly.
For the period ended June 4th, 2014, KitKat (versions 4.4.x) controls 13.6 percent share, behind Jelly Bean (4.1x-4.3.x) with the lion's share at 58.4 percent.
Almost inexcusably, Froyo, Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 2.2-4.0.4) still have 27 percent, despite being severely outdated. Many of Google's latest features do not even work on devices with anything older than 4.0.
Google has significantly streamlined the process of updating their operating systems, with many new features coming directly through app updates in the Google Play Store rather than through broader OS updates.
China's national CCTV broadcasted a highly critical story, citing experts who claimed Windows 8 has and will be used to grab personal data about Chinese citizens.
"Microsoft would no longer open its Windows 8 source code to the Chinese government," said Professor Yang Min of Fudan University. "However the security scheme of the Windows 8 operating system is designed to provide better access for Microsoft to users' database." This poses a huge challenge to the nation's security.
Additionally, the report claims Windows 8 was being used by the NSA to collect data from citizens around the globe. "Your identity, account, contact book, phone numbers, all this data can be put together for big data analysis," added Ni Guangnan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. "The data might be a good way for the US to monitor other countries."
While the update does not offer any truly game changing features, it does improve the dialer significantly, and overhauls the interface of the dialer, as well, with new colors and usability that should make it user friendly. As a Nexus 5 owner, I can attest the update was mainly useless, but the dialer is more usable now.
Popular comedian Louis CK has been quoted that everyone in Australia pirates, which is what explains how people he has talked to in the nation have all seen his show "Louie" despite it not being available in the country legally.
Speaking on the Opie and Anthony radio show last year, the comedian said that even compared to the U.S., the piracy rate in Australia is much higher. CK said, as part of his rant, that "in the U.S., only weirdos pirate, but in Australia, the whole country pirates, even moms and pops."
Australia is well known to have less licensed content available via legal channels, despite being a developed nation. CK agrees with this, noting that it is in many cases easier to pirate.
Here is Louis CK's full (1 minute) rant about the subject:
It appears Nintendo is targeting gameplay footage of Mario Kart 8 on YouTube to have ads placed on them, generating revenue for the Japanese firm.
Nintendo has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism for using YouTube's built-in content ID systems to identify videos containing footage of its games, and then having advertisements placed on them in order to generate revenue.
At first, YouTube uploaders had any revenue generating potential completely removed for these videos, but Nintendo has responded to criticism by promising an affiliate program that will share revenue.
Still, even with shared revenue, YouTubers can expect a significant difference in any revenue generated for gameplay footage (walkthroughs, tips, tricks, reviews etc.) of Nintendo games compared to what they might expect for titles not developed by the firm.
Of course, Nintendo has a right to monetize the use of its content, as does any developer, but given how valuable a resource videomaking gamers can be these days, it seems foolish to hinder their efforts in any way.
What do you think?
Sources and Recommended Reading:
Nintendo begins Mario Kart 8 YouTube video claims: www.gamernode.com
Nintendo dominated in combined global hardware sales for video games consoles for eight years, but now Nintendo's decline and the early success of the PS4 has pushed Sony ahead.
Nintendo is continuing to feel the pain of consumers' less-then-lukewarm reaction to the Wii U console and the decline of its handhelds. The iconic Japanese gamesmaker witnessed its hardware sales slump 31 percent last year, pushing it into second place. Combining the sales of Wii, Wii U and the 3DS console, Nintendo topped 16.3 million hardware unit sales last year.
By comparison, Sony sold almost 19 million hardware units when you combine the PS4, PS3 and PS Vita tally. In its first day, Sony's PlayStation 4 sold over a million units. That figure swelled to 2.1 million within the first week of December, and before the end of the year sales had reached 4.2 million, far more than enough to dethrone Nintendo.
This is the first time in eight consecutive years - since 2006 - that Nintendo didn't top the charts. The incredible success of Nintendo's DS handhelds combined with its dominance (in terms of units) with the Wii compared to Xbox 360 and PS3 in the year days of the generation, helped the Japanese firm to keep its seat at the top of the table.
Flickr informed users this week that they will no longer be able to use Google and Facebook accounts to login from this month.
Instead Flickr is demanding that its users login using Yahoo, as Facebook and Google sign-ins will be removed soon.
"Over the next few weeks, if you have been logging in with Facebook and Google IDs, you will be prompted to create a Yahoo username and password when you access your Flickr account," wrote Markus Spiering, head of product manager, Flickr.
"If you already have a Yahoo account, you will be reminded and prompted to use those log-in details."
Spiering says that you can expect a streamlined sign-in experience across Flickr and other Yahoo properties, and dedicated service from Yahoo Customer Care.
To change over to a Yahoo account sign in, you can start here.
If a study conducted by Internet porn king Pornhub is any indication, users of Apple's iPhone and iPad view more pornography than users of Android devices.
Pornhub's stats show that on mobile browsers (smartphone browsers), Apple's Safari leads the way with a 38.2 percent share. The Android browser follows with 29.4 percent of the tally.
Google's Chrome mobile browser claims 18 percent, which could mean that Android smartphone users actually watch more porn, but Chrome is available for iOS too so it is unclear. The mobile version of Internet Explorer claimed just a 2.4 percent share, while Opera Mini was just below IE with 2.3 percent.
In the Tablet share however, there's no misrepresenting the results. The Safari browser claims 73 percent of Pornhub use, compared to 7.8 percent for the Android browser. Chrome claimed a 13.6 percent chunk of this pie, while Amazon Silk followed at 4.8 percent and BlackBerry claimed just 0.69 percent.
On the Desktop side of things, Google's Chrome claimed top spot with a 44.4 percent, ahead of Internet Explorer at 23.2 percent. Firefox was in third place with 20.1 percent, ahead of Safari at 7 percent and Opera at 2.6 percent.
Last week, word hit that Sprint was preparing a $32 billion bid for T-Mobile US, and all eyes turned to one man, current TMUS CEO John Legere.
Legere has helped turn the company around over the last five years, and is now the clear favorite to be CEO of the merged company, if the acquisition does occur. Legere has become somewhat infamous, at least among high-level telecom executives, since he wears pink colored carrier-branded T-shirts, even to important meetings, and is known to taunt competitors and individuals on Twitter and in press releases.
TMUS has been the fastest growing carrier thanks to its "Uncarrier" campaign which includes buying out early termination fees if you come from an other carrier, offering free international roaming and texting, no contracts, and all-you-can-eat truly unlimited plans for as low as $70 per person.
Sprint, which is now majority owned by SoftBank of Japan, will offer 50 percent stock and 50 percent cash for the carrier and the combination of the two smallest major U.S. carriers would give Verizon and AT&T a major competitor, at least as far as spectrum, network and subscribers go.
Both Sprint and T-Mobile are large money losers, however, but at least TMUS is gaining an impressive amount of customers each quarter. Sprint has lost 2.5 million contract customers in the past five quarters, alone.
Vodafone, the world's second largest phone company with over 420 million subscribers, has confirmed that the governments of six nations listen and record customer's phone calls.
Via its 2014 "Disclosure Report," the carrier says six countries within Europe, Africa and Asia are tapping phone calls, similar to what the NSA and GCHQ have been accused of in the U.S. and England. Most governments need warrants issued by judges to tap phone calls, but apparently these countries did not.
For legal reasons, the carrier did not reveal the nations but did say that "in Albania, Egypt, Hungary, India, Malta, Qatar, Romania, South Africa and Turkey it could not disclose any information related to wiretapping or interception."
"In a small number of countries the law dictates that specific agencies and authorities must have direct access to an operator's network, bypassing any form of operational control over lawful interception on the part of the operator," Vodafone said in its report. Vodafone adds that the government agencies of these nations by inserting their own equipment into the network, or diverting data and traffic through their own government systems.
Of all of its operating countries, Vodafone says that Italy made the most requests for communication data, and that Britain and Australia also made hundreds of thousands.
A new video has been released showing the Batmobile's transformation ability in the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight, dubbed "Battle Mode."
Batman: Arkham Knight was recently 'delayed' until 2015. The next title in the Arkham series picks up after Batman: Arkham City, released in 2011, and features nemesis Scarecrow as he attempts to organize Gotham's criminal elements against Batman.
The feature of the new game getting most attention is the Batmobile. Arkham Knight will be the first game in the series that allows you to drive the Batmobile around Gotham City and use its extensive capabilities for Urban pacification.
Some observers have likened it more to a "tank" considering its explosive power. In this short demo video alone, we're shown a 60mm cannon ('Kinetic energy penetrator'), a Vulcan gun that fires armor-piercing incendiary rounds intended for tanks and aircraft, a missile barrage that can simultaneously target up to six hostiles and a riot suppressor that fires non-lethal rounds.
Wow, that's quite a lot of fire-power for a man who doesn't kill.
According to new research from BI Intelligence, video game consoles remain far and away the most popular devices to stream content on TVs.
Consoles with streaming video playback capabilities accounted for 54 percent of the connected TV market, which includes smart TVs, dedicated set-top boxes, and consoles. The report did not include Web-enabled Blu-ray players.
Smart TVs came in second at 38 percent of the connected TV market, followed by dedicated streaming devices (Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, WD Live) at just 10 percent share.
About 50 percent of all U.S. households own at least one console, and one-third of those owners use the consoles to stream TV, movies and more. Surprisingly, not just teens and young adults are console owners and streaming content, with 32 percent of console owners between 31 and 47 also actively streaming movies or TV.
One of the spin-offs of the popular Popcorn Time application is adding a free VPN service to anonymize users to avoid copyright infringement allegations.
The original Popcorn Time was like a free Netflix powered by BitTorrent technology. While it was a hit with users right away, it didn't last all that long.
This is the Internet though, so plenty of spin-offs came along and users embraced them. It wasn't long until users started to be identified as sharing copyright infringing material, with some users in Germany being fined.
One of the spin-offs of Popcorn Time is aware of this risk and is taking steps to remedy it. Time4Popcorn is adding a feature that will anonymize users of the application behind a VPN. The VPN will be available to use for free.
This is made possible by the cooperation of VPN provider Kebrum, which claims to have more than enough resources to handle the demand.
"From our experience and the expected usage stats provided by Popcorn Time, we believe that the resources we allocated for Popcorn Time users should be enough in order to give a good and fast download experience. Our servers are prepared to handle the traffic," Kebrum's 'Martin', told TorrentFreak.
A New Hampshire town absolutely will not pay a ransom to recover files that were encrypted by raonsomware that infected systems at the police department.
Ransomware is a type of malware that attempts to force the victim into handing over a sum of money by holdings systems, or files hostage. Earlier this week, a US-led operation targeted the Cypertolocker ransomware that is estimated to have cost individuals and businesses around $30 million. The malware encrypts files in the background and demands a payment of 1 bitcoin to decrypt them, which could cost up to $600. If a fee isn't paid on time, the files can be destroyed forever.
The malware that infected the police department of Durham, New Hampshire, is not Cryptolocker, but a similar threat known as Cryptowall.
Accordin to Todd Selig, town manager, the infection started when a police officer opened an e-mail attachment that appeared legitimate. Luckily, the police department creates period backups of files and will restore as much as possible.
"Make no mistake, the Town of Durham will be paying no ransom," Selig is quoted by CBS Boston, as saying.
A 20+ minute film released by the Open Rights Group exposes the activities of GCHQ in the United Kingdom, and the government's failure to control it and protect its citizens' privacy
A year on from the first reports of massive surveillance operations around the world, the Open Right's Group has chastised the UK government for doing pretty much nothing at all to protect itself citizens' rights to privacy, or to reign in GCHW.
ORG notes that the UK has fallen five places in the Freedom House world ranking of countries' press freedom, largely related to how it reacted to media reports about GCHQ.
"There has been limited public and political debate in the UK," Ed Paton Williams writes for ORG.
"The issue continues to be conveniently ignored by the UK government and sidelined by most of our mainstream media."
The privacy rights' advocacy group has released a new film that details the spying underway in the UK, and you can watch it below. Alternatively, you can get a torrent for it here.
European Union ministers have agreed that firms located outside the European Union must abide by data protection and privacy rules within the 28-member bloc.
As it stands now, it is very unclear what rules and regulations firms need to abide by within the EU. For example, a German court recently ruled that Facebook was subject to data protection laws within Germany, even though Facebook's headquarter are located in Ireland.
The EU seeks to end this disorder by having one blanket set of data protection laws that applies to all 28 states.
"All companies operating on European soil have to apply the rules," EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding said, according to Reuters.
Disclosures of surveillance operations targeting Europeans, mainly by the NSA, has pushed the issue toward the top of the agenda at the EU level, but there are plenty of things that still need to be ironed out before such new rules can come into force.
Sony has released an E3 2014 app that can be used to watch the company's E3 press conference, trailers, view screenshots and do more things.
The app can be download by U.S. users on the PlayStation 4 (PS4) console now, but it's unclear whether it will be available for PS3 too before E3 kicks off. PS4 owners can use it to watch Sony's E3 press conference live and then check out screenshots, trailers and other information from the show floor.
The app also has gold and silver challenges you can complete in the app that will grant you up to 250 Sony Rewards points – these points will be available to unlock until June 24th.
Sony has released an E3 2014 app to view its conference live + trailers, screenshots and more.. http://t.co/ernG5e1asv
You can also get an Amazon Prime 30-day trial and a Music Unlimited 30-day trial through the app. Sony will also have 6,000 invites per day for the PlayStation Now Private Beta on PS4, starting June 10th at 12pm PDT, so you'll have to login in early for a shot at an invite.
A Romanian man who hacked into the Bush family's e-mails, as well as accounts of celebrities and officials, has been jailed.
Marcel Lazar Lehel was known as "Guccifer" and "Small Fume." He was arrested in January of this year, in Bucharest for a wide range of offenses. Lehel allegedly hacked the e-mail accounts of U.S. president George W. Bush's family, even publishing some of the former president's artwork online.
He also distributed e-mails that were sent to former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell from Corina Cretu, a Romanian member of the European Parliament, which lead to affair speculation.
Along with other targets in the entertainment industry, he also allegedly hacked the private Yahoo e-mail account of Romania's secret service chief George Maior.
It does not appear that the U.S. has filed any request to extradite the alleged hacker as of this time. He could spend up to seven years in prison in Romania.
Sources and Recommended Reading:
Romania sentences hacker 'Guccifer' to jail: www.reuters.com
A report from VICE details how cable companies are funding consumer advocacy groups to argue against net neutrality.
The net neutrality debate is as hot as ever in the United States, igniting passionate defenses of the open Internet from web users and groups, and plenty of lobbying on behalf of cable providers. A report by VICE has highlighted a few groups that are funded by providers, and seem to be taking positions against net neutrality aspects.
Those who support net neutrality have suggested that providers need to be reclassified as "common carriers," a kind of public utility. This reclassification would make it easier for the FCC to impose regulations on them, but the industry is absolutely opposed to this move, even describing it as potentially illegal.
They are joined in opposition by Broadband for America, which wrote the FCC strongly advising it to reject any proposals to reclassify Internet service providers. VICE got hold of a disclosure from the National Cable and Telecom Association (NCTA) - an industry trade group that represents ISPs in the United States - which showed a $2 million donation to Broadband for America. That amounts to 57 percent of Broadband for America's $3.5 million budget.
So this is what the intense Terminator 2 truck chase scene looks like when recreated in Grand Theft Auto V.
Do you remember the T2 truck scene from Terminator 2: Judgment Day, released all the way back in 1991? Of course you do, and if you would be interested in what it might looks like recreated using multiplayer in Grand Theft Auto V, then you're in luck.
"We remade a scene from T-2 (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) and it took quite some time. It mostly took a lot of time because I wanted to try to make it exact," John Chapman wrote on YouTube.
"Yes I may have missed some small scenes but damn we worked hard on this from the actual setting up, to the directing."
Netflix has brought its 'Post Play' functionality to Android phones and tablets after it was well received on other platforms.
On the Neflix website, the PS3 and several other devices, Netflix will automatically choose what you may want to watch news and pre-buffer it. In the case of TV shows, it lines up the next episode in the season you are currently viewing. In the case of movies, it will provide three recommendations to try next.
Post Play is now available for Android and tablets. However, with Android phones it will only work for TV shows; you need a tablet for it to work for movies.
To take advantage of Post Play with Android devices, you need an Android phone or tablet running Android 4.0 or newer.
Netflix also promised that it will bring Post Play functionality to Chromecast users soon.
Tetris has celebrated a milestone this week, reaching its 30th anniversary while it is still going strong on new consoles and mobile devices.
The iconic puzzle game was released on June 6, 1984 by creator Alexey Pajitnov, who said this week that he never imagined Tetris would be so successful, and that he still plays it several times a week to this day. Since 1984, it would be difficult to find gaming hardware and computer systems that Tetris was not available for.
It is still going incredibly strong too. In April, The Tetris Company revealed that it had reached over 425 million paid downloads on mobile devices so far. That's PAID downloads, not free-to-play varieties - people really love Tetris.
Ubisoft will be bringing the game to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 soon, in the form of Tetris Ultimate.
What was your favorite Tetris iteration over the years?
Google has released the new Chrome app for Chrome OS, letting Chromebook owners watch films and TV shows from Google Play while not connected to the Internet.
Play's video-on-demand service prompted some limitations for Chromebook owners. If you didn't have a decent Internet connection, then you were essentially out of luck.
With the new Google Play Movies & TV Chrome app for Chrome OS, you can store movies and TV shows from the Google Play service for Offline viewing, so you can use your Chromebook for something useful while travelling.
It also brings an improved Chromecast and local playback experience to anyone watching movies through the Chrome browser, and introduces info cards about actors in scenes.
The Offline viewing feature however, is only for Chrome OS devices.
Developers located in Switzerland are hoping to lead an effort that will keep popular encryption software TrueCrypt alive.
Recently, the TrueCrypt homepage was changed to recommend that users find alternatives to the popular tool. "WARNING: Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues," the sourceforge project page alerts users, before giving instructions on migrating to alternatives on Windows, Mac and Linux.
Currently, there is no evidence that TrueCrypt is actually insecure, it just appears that its development has ceased, and that the warning is for crypto-problems that could be uncovered later on. That hasn't halted rumors that there may have been a government hand in TrueCrypt's fate however.
Some people are determined to keep the popular crypto-tool alive, which can be used for full disk encryption or encryption within a file container, and even for purposes of hidden operating systems and partitions.
A couple of Swiss developers, Thomas Bruderer and Joseph Doekbrijder, launched a page aimed at continuing the development of TrueCrypt. They put together the whole TrueCrypt Source into a github repository, encouraging users to clone.
According to new reports, Google is in early talks to buy Songza, the music streaming service that builds playlists based on your mood, or the weather, or even the time of day.
The six-year old startup has 5.5 million active users, and an acquisition would certainly help Google's playlist features for Google Play Music All-Access, which have been lacking since launch last year.
"Google is offering them around $15 million -- the question is does Songza take it?" say the sources. A second source said the figure was actually much higher, and that Google was not the only bidder.
Songza is popular due to its large offering of curated playlists. Besides time of day, mood and weather, the service can also build work out mixes, mixes for being at work in an office, music for listening in the shower, and everything in between.
The industry for streaming music is quickly consolidating, with the biggest move coming via Apple and their $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics.
Apple's next product launch will be a wearable health-monitoring device, says the Nikkei Asian Review, with the company looking to take the lead in the growing healthcare sector.
At their WWDC event this week, the company announced iOS 8, which will power the coming wearable, as well as the iPhone and iPad, of course. The new wearable will manage users' biometric info via your smartphone, including calories, heart rate, blood glucose and more.
If true, the device should hit in October, when Apple is known to release new products.
Sources claim the wearable will have a curved OLED touchscreen, collect health-related data, and read messages and emails. Apple is rumored to have partnered with the Mayo Clinic and other U.S. health institutes to develop customized ways to analyze the data and apply it to health management. Additionally, the company is said to have partnered with Nike, who is shutting down their Nike Fuel division, and will be integrating their service in with Apple's.
Dropbox has announced the acquisition of startup Droptalk, a service that was working on tech to allow Chrome browser users to share links privately via an extension.
The Chrome browser extension was just released in very limited beta, with betas for Android and iOS slated for later in the year.
Droptalk's web sharing tools aside, the company also had a tool to integrate your cloud storage, which would be obviously appealing to Dropbox.
In addition, the service used a messenger-esque interface and had future plans for mobile messaging with cloud storage integration.
Droptalk was less than a year old and was founded by ex-Facebookers and LinkedIn engineers.
Reads the press release: "We are thrilled to announce that today Droptalk will be joining Dropbox. About a year ago we set out to end the unnecessary friction around communication and collaboration by killing "the work email." The world deserves a better way to do business and an integrated sharing product, which our team rapidly created is the answer."
Good Old Games (GOG) is preparing to launch its own Steam-esque online gaming platform, however, this system will be completely DRM-free and will be optional rather than mandatory like the aforementioned Steam, or EA's Origin.
Dubbed GOG Galaxy, the platform will have auto-updating software, a player communication portal and will add multiplayer gaming for GOG Galaxy buddies and across platforms.
Unlike Steam and Origin and others, the platform will be optional, so won't need to be online to launch your games (or play), and you don't even have to use the client if you prefer to download the DRM-free games right from the game site.
Of course, multiplayer and friend chatting will require the platform and a profile but still not mandatory.
Twitter has announced the acquisition of advertising firm Namo Media in an effort to shore up their own native advertising business.
The microblogging service will integrate Namo into its own MoPub platform. MoPub lets marketers buy native ads in apps that will appear in news feeds or messages.
Reads Namo's blog post: We started Namo Media with the belief that mobile banner ads don't work for users, publishers, or advertisers. We saw native advertising as an opportunity for publishers to create better user experiences, generate higher revenues, and enable more valuable advertising space. We built an advertising solution that lets app developers easily add native advertising to mobile apps.
It's because of that philosophy, and through our conversations with the MoPub team at Twitter, that we realized we'd be able to create better solutions together, so we're making it official by joining the flock! At Twitter we'll continue to work on building the best native advertising platform for app developers with the goal of continuing to improve the native ad landscape for all mobile app developers."
The CIA took to Twitter to speak to the social network for the first time today, and it's first tweet was very fitting.
The folks over at Langley probably will receive a lot of negative tweets throughout the life of its account, but that's not a reason to slack on effort. Given the nature of the CIA's work, this is probably the best first tweet the agency could have come up with.
We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.
A fake Pirate Bay website forces users to download a torrent client they don't need, while pushing other third-party software.
The site, located at PirateBay.com bares the Pirate Bay ship logo, along with a search box and some category filters. It has just a couple of fairly major problems though; the search doesn't actually work and it forces you to download a client you probably don't want or need. The faux pirate tracker was spotted by F-Secure.
Whatever you enter into the search box doesn't matter, as soon as you click search you wind up downloading an installer.
"You must install a torrent client in order to download your files!," a prompt reads.
Toward the end of the page is a disclaimer...
Clicking the search button starts the installation of the Deluge torrent client. This software is open source and enables the user to download torrent files. Additional software may be offered to you via the installation process. All offers are completely optional. Learn more here. This installer is compatible with all Windows operating systems. Deluge is an open source product developed by the Deluge Team, licensed under GNU GPL v3. Source code for Deluge can be found here.
F-Secure ran the installer and was, indeed, offered extra software such as "Zapp! App Discovery", and while the software is optional to install, can you see the Decline button???
Mexico's trademark body has backed telecoms company iFone in a row over the use of 'iPhone' services by rival providers.
You may recall that Apple had unsuccessfully challenged the "iFone" trademark in Mexico back in 2009, as iFone registered its name in 2003, long before the first generation iPhone was unveiled by Apple.
A dispute still remained however. iFone felt that the use of the term "iPhone" in marketing by rival telecommunications providers was causing confusion among consumers, and that it potentially violated its iFone trademark.
The Mexican Institute for Industrial Property (IMPI) has sided with iFone, finding that America Movil, Telefonica and Iusacell were infringing the brand when they marketed "iPhone" services. Apple has nothing to worry about in this ruling, however.
The three providers now face fines, but have the right to appeal.
CyberLink has announced the availability of its award-winning PowerDirector video editing suite on Android and Windows 8 tablets, available as a free download.
The PC version of the PowerDirector has been praised by publications covering the prosumer video editing tools market, and CyberLink had been pressed by customers to release versions for tablet PCs.
PowerDirector Mobile for Android and Windows 8 tablets offers a variety of key features, including:
Drag-and-drop functionality to quickly import videos, photos and audio, as well as add effects, transitions and text
The ability to trim, extend, order and split video and audio tracks
A wide library of video effects, transitions and text titles to choose from
The ability to easily save your projects on your device to continue editing later
The ability to export your creations to amazing Full HD
Built-in tools for immediate sharing to Facebook and YouTube
Easy access to saved projects which are available right when the app is launched
"Increasingly, our customers are using mobile devices to capture videos, and they've asked for the same feature-rich, professional quality tools that they find in their desktop applications," said Alice H. Chang, CyberLink CEO.
Google has added all 12 World Cup stadiums to Street View ahead of the tournament, as well as Brazil's iconic painted streets and other locations.
The World Cup is set to kick off next week and if you aren't going to Brazil, you can still check out the stadium facilities and tour through the streets. Google has added all 12 stadiums and the iconic painted streets (Brazilian World Cup tradition) to its Street View service.
It also is reminding those going to Brazil that Google services can help them tremendously. With Google Maps transit, the search giant is promising that Brazilians and tourists will be able to make it to the stadium and other destinations routing the best path by transit.
The creator of the addictive Flappy Bird game for smartphones is pursuing developers who have published 'clones' of the simple game.
Flappy Bird was developed by Dong Nguyen (.Gears Studio) of Vietnam, and it became a sensation due to its simplistic, and addictive gameplay on smartphones. Despite being extremely popular, Nguyen pulled the app from mobile app stores, citing its addictive nature.
By pulling the app, Nguyen created a very predictable void in which many other developers have squeezed clones and very similar games hoping to emulate its success. Nguyen is not happy about that, and had said previously that clone-peddlers would be pursued.
That appears to be happening now, with Apple contacting developers on behalf of .Gears Studio, informing them that they may be infringing on the copyright of the Vietnamese studio.
BusinessWeek details one case where a developer is defending an app from this allegation. Duck Run, developed by Todd Moore, was one of the games identified as an infringing game, but Moore has no intention of giving up his app.
The world's largest private video game collection is to be auctioned off, including more than 11,000 games.
Michael Thommason was certified by Guinness World Records as having the largest private collection of video games, confirming a collection of 10,607 titles. Since then, Thommason has added hundreds more games to swell the number to over 11,000.
Now this entire collection - as well as the privilege of having the confirmed largest collection of games - is up for auction at Game Gavel. Bids started at just $1 but have reached $50,000 so far.
In terms of quality, over 2,600 are still factory shrink-wrapped and 8,300 are complete with a box and manual.
Thommason has been involved in the industry for over 25 years, operating seven independent gaming stores in the '90s, and will continue to write for periodicals and publish books, teach classes and occasionally partake in competitive gaming.
He is not giving up the games collection because he wants to, but because family responsibilities demand it.
"I simply have an immediate family and extended family that have needs that need to be addressed," he writes.
In a semi-annual report to Congress, the National Science Foundation (NSF) detailed how a researcher abused NSF-funded supercomputing resources to mine bitcoin.
The report stated that the NSF recommended a government-wide suspending for the researcher. It had received reports describing his activity, in which he used NSF-funded supercomputing resources to mine bitcoin, a clearly unauthorized use.
"The researcher misused over $150,000 in NSF-supported computer usage at two universities to generate bitcoins valued between $8,000 and $10,000," the report states.
When confronted about the misuse, the researcher reportedly tried to pass it off as system tests, but neither University authorized him to carry out tests anyway.
Additionally, the University's involved noted that he accessed the computer systems remotely and even access through a proxy located in Europe, possibly hoping to conceal his identity.
Sources and Recommended Reading:
NSF Office of Inspector General Semiannual Report to Congress, March 2014 (page 29): www.nsf.gov (PDF)
In an interview with CNBC, Silicon Valley icon and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen claimed NSA leaker Edward Snowden is a textbook traitor.
He made the comment during an interview with CNBC, admitting that he is a distinct minority for criticizing Snowden's actions. "I think most in Silicon Valley would pick the other designation," he said.
Andreessen said that Snowden's revelations have seriously damaged the U.S. tech sector, with a major question mark now hanging over the ability of U.S. firms to sell their products in overseas markets. Other countries have been envious of the U.S. position as leader in the space, he argued, and now Snowden has provided them with an excuse to adopt protectionist policies that favor domestic products under the guise of protecting against surveillance.
"For me obviously he's a traitor," Andreessen said. "If you look up in the encyclopedia 'traitor' there's a picture of Ed Snowden."
Snowden wasn't the only one to be on the receiving end of Andreessen's criticism either, President Obama was also brought up.
"The Snowden reveals keep coming out. The [Obama] administration is letting the NSA out to dry. They're letting the American tech industry out to dry," Anderseen told CNBC in a Squawk Box interview. He had publicly endorsed Obama in the 2008 Presidential elections, but switched allegiance to Mitt Romney in 2012.
Gottfrid Svartholm, co-founder of the notorious Pirate Bay, is in custody in Denmark awaiting trial for allegedly hacking a Danish IT firm, but maintains his innocence.
Svartholm and his legal representation have maintained that he is innocent, and that somebody else carried out the attacks on IT firm CSC. New evidence presented in court might actually back up Svartholm's assertion that the breach was carried out by someone else.
An analysis of the computer Svartholm allegedly used to hack CSC found it was infected with several threats, including trojans that could have provided an attacker with administrative control over his computer without his knowledge.
"This is definite evidence that the computer has been compromised – and that the attacker has gained administrator privileges, no less," claims Svartholm's lawyer Luise Høj, told TorrentFreak.
"For me this is a clear evidence that Gottfrid has been telling the truth all along – and in my opinion it shows that the Danish legal system has big difficulty handling cases which require a certain level of technical insight as regards computers."
Aereo has updated their Android app to add support for Google's HDMI dongle Chromecast, as expected.
The startup's service, which costs $8 per month, allows users to watch free, OTA content on any mobile device along with a free remote DVR. Aereo does not pay any re-transmission fees as it uses tiny digital TV antennas for each user in its own facilities and links to the streams.
Android users will be able to now stream broadcast content to their HDTVs without a cable subscription and with cheap hardware. Compared to having a digital antenna, Aereo allows you to pause/rewind live TV, and record to a cloud DVR.
Aereo has also been available for Roku, and remains available via mobile devices and Web browsers.
The company is in a fight for its survival as a case brought by the major broadcasters is under Supreme Court review.
Leaked via Amazon, Sony appears to be preparing a number of bundles that will include the PlayStation 4 console and the PS Vita handheld.
One such bundle, the PlayStation 4/PlayStation Vita "Ultimate Player Edition" was listed at €579 with a release date of July 4. It is unclear what else will be bundled, but the listing seemed to suggest Infamous: Second Son.
Additionally, next week's leaked Best Buy ad shows a $560 PS4/PS Vita bundle for North America that also includes Borderlands 2 for PS Vita.
Sony, of course, offered no comment.
The company's E3 keynote is slated for June 9th at 9PM EST.
According to a new research report from Adobe, Google's Chrome browser has surpassed Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the most popular browser in the nation, at least by one important metric.
For the first time ever, Chrome surpassed IE in the number of visits to U.S.-based websites on both personal computers and mobile devices. Chrome (on desktop and Android, including older Android browsers built by Google) had 31.8 percent share in April, while IE had 30.9 percent. IE had 37 percent in the same quarter last year, while Google had 26 percent, showing a significant swing.
Adobe does agree with other reports, however, that Chrome is not the most popular browser in the U.S., with that crown still owned by Microsoft on desktops, and Safari for mobile. However, Safari has less than 7 percent share in desktop, and Microsoft's mobile browser presence is almost non-existent.
According to Microsoft VP of OEM partners Nick Parker, the company's mobile devices should see prices dip below $200 in 2014.
"We'll reach price points that are very industry competitive for 7, 8, 10-inch devices," Parker said during Computex. "They will really surprise you. Last year, we were in the 3s, 4s, 500 dollars. This year, we'll be 1s, 2s, 3s."
Parker says the price points noted will be mainly for tablets, but some higher-end Windows Phone smartphones will also sell for under $200 in certain key markets, as well. So far, Microsoft's/Nokia's most popular smartphones have been some of their cheapest, including the $75 Lumia 521.
Microsoft has been aggressive in trying to gain mobile share, even making Windows 8 free for OEMs as long as the device is smaller than 9 inches. The company then made the certification process for mobile devices easier, and has provided support and marketing for development of Windows tablets and phones.
Despite the moves, Microsoft has a huge uphill battle to fight, as the company only has 4 percent share of the tablet market, and and even smaller share of the smartphone market dominated by Apple and Samsung.
Barnes & Noble, the struggling book retailer, has announced the addition of Samsung as a hardware partner for upcoming Nook-powered tablets.
Samsung will co-brand its Galaxy Tab 4 with the custom Nook operating system, almost a year after B&N stopped selling their own hardware tablets following horrendous sales.
A 7-inch model will go on sale in August, on sale at B&N brick-and-mortar stores and online, as well.
"We are very excited and proud to partner with Samsung, a world-class technology and tablet leader, to create customized co-branded devices featuring our valuable NOOK reading experience and digital content catalog for Barnes & Noble customers nationwide," said Michael P. Huseby, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc. "Standing behind these great new devices will be the power of our 40,000 Barnes & Noble booksellers combined with our deep bookselling and retail expertise to provide sales support and personalized in-store customer service for our lineup of new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK products. Partnering with Samsung brings our customers great new products and evidences our commitment to our NOOK customers and growing our digital content business."
Verizon has turned to legal threats against Netflix as the relationship between the two continues to sour.
Yesterday it emerged that Netflix had identified Verizon as the culprit for video streaming problems in error messages shown to subscribers. A shot of one of these error messages was tweeted by Yuri Victor, a Vox journalist, and was immediately picked up by the media.
Verizon didn't take long to respond, accusing Netflix of engaging in a PR stunt that was deliberately misleading, and of using its subscribers as pawns in business negotiations and regulatory matters.
Today the slipping relationship between the pair has gotten even worse as Verizon sent a cease and desist letter to Netflix. The letter was sent to David Hyman, Netflix council, and it demands that Netflix immediately halts providing such notices to subscribers.
It goes on to demand that Netflix provide evidence and documentation to demonstrate that Yuri Victor's below par service from Netflix was caused by congestion on the Verizon network, and that Netflix provide a list of all customers it has displayed the message to. Verizon expects all of this information within five days.
The first ad released by Beats since its $3 billion takeover by Apple is a star-studded 5-minute montage of footballers 'before the game.'
Honestly, FIFA and other football authorities haven't done as much to help you get pumped up for the World Cup as this ad did. It is rare to see commercials that are all that interesting in the first place, but this just hits the spot perfectly.
It features several stars, including Barcelona and Brazilian ace Neymar, shown as they gear up to the kick off of the biggest sporting event on Earth, which starts next week.
There's really not much else to say about it, just watch it!
Xbox Live's Major Nelson (aka Larry Hryb) has posted downloads for Xbox One controller drivers for Windows PCs.
The drivers will roll out to Windows operating systems as part of regular updates, but if you would rather not wait you can grab them and manually install them on your PC now.
You can use the Xbox One controller with the same games and apps that you might have previously used an Xbox 360 controller for. The drivers will enable the Xbox One controller to be used with any game that featured gamepad support for the Xbox 360 controller.
Download and install the drivers from the links below, and then simply connect your Xbox One controller via a micro USB cable and its game on!
An OpenSSL Security Advisory has been issued detailing a flaw (CVE-2014-0224) that could be exploited by Man-in-the-Middle attacks between OpenSSL SSL/TLS clients and servers to decrypt or modify traffic.
It involves the use of a specially-crafted handshake to force the use of a weak keying material in OpenSSL SSL/TLS clients and servers, but can only be performed between a vulnerable client and server. In the worst case, this flaw can be exploited by a Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack, where a malicious agent can decrypt and/or modify traffic between the client and server.
All OpenSSL clients are vulnerable to this attack, whereas servers are only vulnerable in OpenSSL 1.0.1 and 1.0.2-beta1, therefore it is absolutely necessary that users of OpenSSL servers earlier than v1.0.1 upgrade.
According to the OpenSSL Security Advisory, which detailed this flaw and six other (albeit less severe) issues, the following upgrades are essential.
OpenSSL 0.9.8 SSL/TLS users (client and/or server) should upgrade to 0.9.8za.
OpenSSL 1.0.0 SSL/TLS users (client and/or server) should upgrade to 1.0.0m.
OpenSSL 1.0.1 SSL/TLS users (client and/or server) should upgrade to 1.0.1h.
OpenSSL is crediting KIKUCHI Masashi (Lepidum Co. Ltd.) for discovering and reporting the issue last month.
Microsoft has confirmed previous speculation that developers will be given access to more GPU bandwidth through an SDK update.
Previously, it was speculated that Microsoft's decisions to scale back Kinect (or at least unbundle it) could result in developers being given access to more resources for games. Specifically, it was rumored that Microsoft has ring-fenced around 10 percent of graphics resources specifically for Kinect operations, and that the 10 percent could theoretically be unlocked for developers.
Well, whether it is 10 percent or not, Xbox head Phil Spencer has confirmed that the latest software dev kit update does indeed provide more GPU resources to developers.
June #XboxOne software dev kit gives devs access to more GPU bandwidth. More performance, new tools and flexibility to make games better
Over the past couple of days, law enforcement has taken further action against the Cryptolocker ransomware.
Europol's European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3) has discovered and shutdown more command & control servers related to the Cryptolocker ransomware in the past couple of days. On Monday, it was announced that a U.S.-led international effort against Cryptolocker and the GOZeuS botnet had significantly disrupted their operations, saving potential victims millions.
Cryptolocker is a nasty piece of work that encrypts personal files on a victim's PC and will not decrypt them until a ransom is paid, typically 1 bitcoin which could cost you around $600. The malware will even destroy files if the user does not pay up on time. It is estimated to have cost consumers and businesses over $30 million since last summer.
The ransomware was often delivered to a victim's PC through the Gameover ZeuS botnet, but it also spread through malicious e-mails.
The effect of the GOZeuS and Cryptolocker take-down
According to Danish security firm Heimdal Security, which was named by the FBI as an important collaborator against Cryptolocker, the number of estimated new infections per day of Cryptolocker has fallen from around 8,000 to close to zero. Of course, it cannot be absolutely sure of the figures but the infection rate has certainly plummeted.
Microsoft's top lawyer maintains that the U.S. Government needs to commit not to hack data centers or communications between them, as well as ending the bulk collection of data.
One year on from the first news reports concerning the NSA's collection of phone and Internet records, showing the true scale of its surveillance activity, and the revelation that it hacked systems outside the U.S. to access data held by Yahoo! and Google, Microsoft is calling on the U.S. government to commit not to target data centers anymore.
Brad Smith, General Counsel & Executive Vice President of Legal & Corporate Affairs at Microsoft, said the United States government needs to tackle the technology trust deficit that it has created. Questions have been raised around the world about how safe data is when it is stored by U.S.-based firms, like Microsoft and Google.
Smith outlined five things the U.S. government needs to do to recover from the damage done in the past year. The five items can be cut down to three issues; the legal framework in which these surveillance programs are carried out, the actual physical collection of data and the level of transparency the government commits to.
After weeks of rumors, it appears that Sprint is preparing a $40 per share bid for T-Mobile US in a deal that would consolidate the third and fourth largest carriers in the nation.
The company's shares closed at $32 today, so the purchase price represents about a 17 percent premium. The deal values T-Mobile at $32 billion.
If the newly reported deal is accurate, Sprint would pay in 50 percent cash and 50 percent stock, while T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom would remain a 15 percent stake holder in the merged company. Telekom is a 67 percent owner of T-Mobile.
In 2011, AT&T bid $39 billion for T-Mobile US, but the U.S. Department of Justice rejected the deal due to monopoly concerns. There are concerns that Sprint may see a similar fate as a few agencies have subtly tipped their hands in that respect, although Sprint is said to be actively lobbying ahead of their formal bid.
"The Verizon network is crowded right now," the message informs the likely-irritated viewer. Verizon has responded to the 'PR stunt', saying that Netflix is just shifting blame.
"The source of the problem is almost certainly NOT congestion in Verizon's network. Instead, the problem is most likely congestion on the connection that Netflix has chosen to use to reach Verizon's network," wrote David Young, Vice President, Verizon Federal Regulatory Affairs.
"Of course, Netflix is solely responsible for choosing how their traffic is routed into any ISP's network."
Vevo, the massive music video streaming service, has now put itself up for sale with an estimated value of $1 billion.
The company hired Goldman Sachs and the Raine Group as advisors as it looks for a purchasing party for the entire company or for minority stakeholders.
For 2014, Vevo is expected to bring in $350 million in revenue, and the service is the most viewed channel on YouTube. Videos on Vevo have some of the best advertising rates, as well, making the service attractive.
Among the potential buyers are Yahoo, Amazon, Dreamworks Animation and Liberty Media, and possible stakeholders from outside of the media realm include the Carlyle Group and Peter Chernin.
Vevo is owned by Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, the two largest record labels on the planet, and Google and Abu Dhabi Media also own large stakes.
Google, via their Android Developer Blog, has shown off prototypes of the LG G Watch and the Motorola Moto 360, the first devices to run on Android Wear.
In the post, two Google designers were showing off a tour app for Android Wear, and each was wearing one of the watches.
Until now, there had only been company press shot renderings available, so it is interesting to see them in real life. In fact, both of the prototypes appear to be a bit bulkier than their renderings, but that is likely to be updated in the coming months.
LG and Moto have promised a summer release for their respective watches, but the specific time frame remains a mystery.
According to a new Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) report, ebook sales will finally beat out print copies by 2018, at least in the UK.
The current ebook market, which also includes professional manuals and text books, has a value of £380 million, and that will increase significantly to £1 billion by 2018. During the same time frame, printed book sales are expected to fall by over 30 percent.
By 2018, about 50 percent of the UK population will be an owner of an e-reading device, including iPads and tablets alongside dedicated readers like the Kindle. Says Phil Stokes, an entertainment and media partner at PwC: "This growth is being driven by the internet and by consumers' love of new technology, particularly mobile technology."
Amazon has the lion's share of the UK market, at 79 percent.
Mr Stokes added, "The entertainment and media industry is at the forefront of the digital revolution, because so many of its products and services can already be delivered in digital form. It may not be long before digital revenues from print, film, publishing and music overtake physical revenues in some markets."
Earlier this year, Rovio did a quick teaser about their upcoming Angry Birds spinoff game "Stella," and this week they have revealed more of the characters and a bit more of the gameplay.
Stella, the main character, is known to players of Angry Birds Go!, and she will have a few friends, namely Poppy, Willow, Dahlia, Luca and Gale.
The game will take place on the Golden Island, a new universe to the Angry Birds world.
Says Rovio: "The Stella story will engage and entertain everyone - it's about courage, fun and daring to be you, with a spirit of female heroism and friendship. Each character is unique and powerful in their own way but together they cause even more mischief, take adventures to new heights and prove that true friends are there for each other through every battle."
The game is set for release in September, and there will be TELEPODS, a cartoon and books, as well.
ESET has identified the first form of ransonware for Android that actually encrypts personal files on the device's memory card and won't decrypt them unless a ransom is paid.
Previous forms of ransomware found to affect Android devices typically used lockscreens or other methods (such as making it impossible to launch apps) to force a user into a payment. This one is more insidious because it actually encrypts files on the devices, specifically files with the extensions: jpeg, jpg, png, bmp, gif, pdf, doc, docx, txt, avi, mkv, 3gp, mp4. The image with this article shows files in Total Commander that have been encrypted by the malware.
The app is in Russian and is likely only affecting a very small number of devices in that region. It demands payment in Ukrainian hryvnias (260 UAH, roughly $21, €16) using Ukraine's MoneXy payment service. When it finds its way to an Android device, it prompts the following message in Russian:
WARNING your phone is locked!
The device is locked for viewing and distribution child pornography , zoophilia and other perversions.
Microsoft has announced a huge increase to its entertainment app line-up, including HBO Go, Showtime Anytime and a Twitter experience optimized for TV.
In total, the new additions will increase the Xbox catalog by 25 percent, totaling more than 225 apps around the world. Of course, not all of these apps are launching today, but they will role out over the coming months up until the end of the holiday season. Some apps are only available on Xbox One, while plenty will also come to the Xbox 360.
"Xbox fans are spending more time than ever on the console, spending more than five hours a day on Xbox One," said Yusuf Mehdi, Corporate Vice President, Devices and Studios at Microsoft.
The Xbox One Twitter app will bee integrated directly into Xbox One's TV experience, letting you see tweets related to programming as you watch it. Additionally, the Twitter experience on Xbox One will be integrated into the TV listings section of OneGuide where you will be able to see the shows that people are tweeting about in real-time.
Ubisoft is investigating yet another technical glitch with its Watch Dogs blockbuster, this time involving gamers reportedly stuck on the loading screen.
Watch Dogs hasn't had an uneventful release on the technical side of things at all. Some PC gamers were locked out of the game completely for a time with uPlay being blamed. It was also blamed for issues Xbox players reported on Xbox Live.
Now Ubisoft is looking into another issue plaguing its customers, which apparently is causing the game to get stuck on the loading screen.
It used its Watch Dogs twitter feed to send the following related tweets.
We're aware some of you are stuck on the loading screen. We're hard at work on isolating the problem to find a fix. (1/2)
Sky has announced that ITV channels have joined its Sky Go line-up in time for the World Cup tournament in Brazil.
Sky Go users will be able to access ITV channel contents from ITV, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and CITV. Additionally, when ITV Encore launches on June 9 it will be available on Sky Go too.
Sky customers will now be able to catch all the best moments from ITV's coverage of the eagerly-anticipated tournament, whenever and wherever they are.
"Allowing viewers to access our shows across a range of platforms and devices, both at home and on the move, is a key part of our strategy. We're delighted to offer Sky customers the chance to never miss their favourite ITV shows on Sky Go," said Martin Goswami, Director of Pay & Distribution, ITV.
Sky Go has over 3.7 million unique users as of March 2014.
Brits were told to visit the Get Safe Online website, which is partially government-funded and also supported by private firms including PayPal and Microsoft.
However, almost immediately after the news broke, the Stay Safe Online website crashed under heavy demand and was still struggling on Wednesday morning. Chief Exec Tony Neate apologized for the embarrassing downtime, and said the site has since quadrupled its capacity to deal with demand.
"It's important for people to realise that this has been a learning curve for us," Neate said.
"We're looking at what we can do to make sure this won't happen again. We're sorry. I've had no sleep for two days."
According to a new study, film streaming and downloads will overtake physical film sales on Blu-ray and DVD, and will also beat traditional cinema in the U.S. by 2017.
The research was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). It notes that the market for DVDs and Blu-ray discs is declining rather quickly, and that streaming services like Netflix are picking up the slack in terms of revenue generation.
This trend, the study notes, will continue to the point that in 2016 total revenue from "electronic home video" will beat that of physical media. The decline of physical media will continue to drop to $8.7 billion in 2018, down from $12.2 billion.
By 2017, revenue from electronic home video will beat that of traditional cinema in the United States, and will swell to $17 billion the next year.
Still, traditional cinema will certainly not die. The study predicts a 16 percent increase in ticket sales over the next five years.
Eurogamer stumbled upon yet another Easter Egg in UbiSoft's Watch Dogs, this time involving Microsoft's Kinect device which was subject to privacy concerns last year.
When Microsoft first showed off the Xbox One console and started to spill details on how it would work, there was a lot of concern over the need for the bundled Kinect camera to be constantly on. With revelations and NSA spying and GCHQ reportedly even considering the use of Kinect, questions were raised about requiring a camera be constantly switched on when unnecessary.
Of course, Microsoft changed direction eventually and made it possible to use Xbox One without Kinect constantly on, and then went even further by unbundling Kinect from its cheapest Xbox One offering.
Ubisoft's Watch Dogs has been found to have a few Easter Eggs already that you find when hacking infrastructure around the city. In this one, Eurogamer found that you can hack into a "Kinekt" to watch a male gamer undergoing a fit of rage while playing.
The video is embedded below, but do note that it has quite a bit of colorful language in it. You have been warned!
The Xbox One June update is rolling out, bringing with it support for external storage and the ability to use your real name on Xbox Live.
After the update is applied, an Xbox One can support up to two external USB 3.0, 256GB or larger HDDs. Once formatted, you can copy and move games, apps and game add-ons to the external devices. You'll also be able to use the content on an external drive with a different Xbox One, as long as you sign in to Xbox Live for downloaded content, and insert a disc to verify ownership of an installed game.
The June update also brings with it the ability to use your real name on Xbox Live.
Improvements are also made to the SmartGlass app for Xbox One, including the entire OneGuide experience and Universal Remote Control. Now in supported markets you can view all of your TV listings on your SmartGlass device and set and view your favorite channels and app channels on your smart phone, tablet or PC.
With the Universal Remote Control, you can also easily switch channels, set new recordings and select and control recorded content from your DVR.
Hulu will also begin rolling out a free 3-month trial of Hulu Plus for all Xbox Live Gold members in the United States. Members who are not already Hulu Plus subscribers can sign up directly from within the Hulu Plus app and will receive a free 3-month trial of Hulu Plus.
A garage owner in Edinburgh has apologized after a complaint was made to police about a murder prank on Google's Street View.
Mechanic Dan Thompson noticed a Google Street View car was approaching in August 2012, and quickly staged a scene where a colleague stood over him with a pick axe handle as he laid on the ground playing dead. Over a year later the police showed up after a complaint by a member of the public.
"By complete fluke I saw the Google car coming along the road but it had to loop the block so I had one minute to rush back inside the garage and set up the murder scene," he told the BBC.
"We had forgotten about it when the police arrived a year later and we apologised for wasting police time. They found it funny."
Google's Street View has been subject to plenty of pranks in the past, including being flashed by both men and women as the cars passed by.
Four major music companies have joined Hollywood studios in seeking to have Kim Dotcom's assets frozen while the case against the Megaupload founder proceeds.
Dotcom's assets had been frozen since January 2012 when his home was raided and Megaupload service was shut down. In April this year, a New Zealand court refused to extend the freeze on Dotcom's assets, which include a garage full of luxury cars, millions in cash, and other items taken from the raid of his mansion.
The court's decision has since been appealed by the Crown with a hearing due on July 30, and six major Hollywood studios also want Dotcom's assets to remain frozen while the case against him proceeds.
They are now joined by four record companies - reportedly Warner Music, UMG Recordings, Sony Music and Capitol Records - with papers served on Tuesday seeking to have Dotcom's assets frozen.
The entertainment companies allege that Dotcom facilitated and profited from widescale copyright infringement while running Megaupload, and the United States is seeking to extradite him to face copyright infringement charges.
However, hearings on extradition have been delayed repeatedly while the case remains in court in New Zealand.
Putlocker.bz has lost control of its domain name and so has registered a new domain in Iceland.
The Putlocker streaming site is unauthorized but claims millions of users each month. It is exactly the time of website you would expect the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) in the UK to target, but whether PIPCU is behind this is unknown so far.
Sports streaming site Cricfree also lost its .tv domain name and had to switch to .eu recently. Torrentz.eu also temporarily lost control of its domain due to PIPCU actions.
"We are having an issue with .BZ Registry, so we had to move from putlocker.bz to http://putlocker.is/. IS is the domain name of Iceland – a safe haven for freedom of speech," the site's operator announced, reports TF.
Iceland's domain registry ISNIC had previously stated that it would not proactively suspend a domain name, and that only an Icelandic Court would have the influence to force it to do so.
If you run into trouble with Netflix streaming in the United States, Netflix will now let you know exactly who is to blame: your provider!
An image tweeted by Yuri Victor of Vox Media shows how Netflix identified Verizon's network as the problem when it had to adjust video settings for smoother playback. A similar message is reportedly shown when AT&T subscribers run into streaming problems with Netflix.
"The Verizon network is crowded right now," the message informs the likely-irritated viewer.
Netflix wants to be clear with its assertion that Internet Service Providers are the ones responsible for providing adequate bandwidth so that paying subscribers can use services like theirs.
It is currently fighting against proposals that would allow ISPs to offer faster lanes to services like Netflix for a fee, and has already had to agree to pay ISPs to ensure that subscribers have the best experience possible.
A healthcare-focused company in Melbourne, Australia is not too happy that Apple has decided to use the name HealthKit in a new API.
Apple unveiled HealthKit for developers to create health and fitness apps for iOS devices that can share data with each other. There's just one problem; there's already a company called HealthKit and they are less than impressed with Apple's borrowing of their name.
"HealthKit is already in use, by us!," a blog post reads.
"Even the way they write it is the same as us. I'm flattered that they like our name so much and that it's a ringing endorsement for our market opportunity (which we already knew). However, as an Apple fan, I feel let down. They didn't feel that they had to do a quick domain search - it would have taken 5 seconds to type www.healthkit.com into their browser and discover us."
The firm also posed a question directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook on Twitter after Apple's WWDC keynote on Monday.
Netflix has confirmed that plug-in-less HD video streaming is available through Safari on Apple's OS X Yosemite.
The streaming giant said that it had been working closely with Apple to implement Premium Video Extensions in the Safari browser, meaning upgrading Mac users can view high-definition video from Netflix in the browser without the need to install additional plug-ins.
HTML5 premium video streaming is made possible with the implementation of Media Source Extensions (MSE) using Apple's optimized video pipeline on OS X, enabling smooth 1080p playback without killing the CPU or draining the battery too fast.
According to Netflix, you can get up to 2 hours longer battery life on a MacBook Air streaming Netflix in 1080p now.
HTML5 plug-in free playback is also already available in Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1, and Netflix hopes to extend to all major browsers on different platforms as soon as possible.
If an Internet Service Provider detects that a customer is running a PC infected with Gameover Zeus, or any comparable threat, should the default action be to quarantine that account until it is cleaned?
Internet Service Providers in several countries will be contacting customers who appear to be running an infected PC in order to assist them in cleaning up. Should this be considered part of ISP's long-term strategy against malware, botnets and all kinds of cybergarbage?
Botnets can be used to wreak havoc online. They can be used as part of distributed denial of service attacks, and of course to steal sensitive information from victims and funnel it to the gangs behind the malicious networks. They wouldn't function as well however if ISPs restricted Internet access upon detecting the threat.
Google is expanding its efforts to secure e-mail in transit from snooping by working on an end-to-end encryption extension for Chrome, and adding a section about e-mail security to its transparency report.
According to Google, around 40 to 50 percent of emails sent between Gmail and other email providers aren't encrypted. Google itself has always supported encryption in transit by using Transport Layer Security (TLS) and will encrypt incoming and outgoing e-mail if it can, but its hands are tied when other e-mail providers don't support encryption.
In Google's transparency report, it shows the percentage of email encrypted for the top domains in terms of volume of email to and from Gmail. One notable bad performer is Comcast, with less than 1 percent.
As if like magic, Comcast came out not long after Google made the transparency report available and said it will encrypt e-mails soon.
What about mail providers who will never switch though? Google is going to provide an answer for that too. It has revealed that soon it will offer an extension called End-to-End for Chrome, which will make it far simpler for users to utilize end-to-end encryption without having to use tools like PGP or GnuPG.
Comedian John Oliver has provided the FCC with a nice headache after imploring viewers to send comments to the FCC on the issue of Net Neutrality, following a rant about the regulator and the telecommunications industry in America.
On his show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the host decided to tackle the debate over Net Neutrality in the United States, and the possible creation of a two-speed system that would see Internet providers being paid fees for "faster lane" access to their paying subscribers.
In a fairly epic ~12 minute rant, Oliver uses his comedic routine to expose the monopolistic nature of cable companies and their cushy relationship with the Federal Communications Commission.
Toward the end of the segment, Oliver peaks with an appeal to "monsters", referring to Internet commenters. He ends it with a call to all viewing to go to the FCC's website and leave comments on "Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet."
His call to arms worked a bit too well, causing "technical difficulties" (FCC's words..) with the commenting system itself. Visiting the comments page shows that over 45,000 have left comments on the issue already, and while the site appears to work now it is still noticeably slow at times.
Google has announced extended support for its Chromecast HDMI dongle, including notable sports programming like Major League Soccer and WatchESPN.
Ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, soccer fans (and other sports fans, of course) will be able to stream live sports content as long as you pay for ESPN as part of your cable/satellite/pay-TV package. This is great given the proximity to the world's most popular sporting event, and ahead of the NBA Finals this week.
Adds the search giant: "And if you can't wait to get your soccer fix, starting today you can cast professional soccer matchups with the MLS Matchday app and MLS LIVE premium services. So get your friends together to watch your local favorites while practicing the new game-day anthem for the U.S. Men's National Team from the comfort of your couch."
Additionally, Google has also added the ability to cast Google+ photos and videos from your desktop, Android or iOS Google+ apps. Anime fans are in luck as well, with Crunchyroll being given the cast treatment.
Games with Gold and Deals with Gold for Xbox One are now available to Xbox Live Gold members, with the first two games available for download now.
As was previously revealed, "Max: The Curse of Brotherhood" and "Halo: Spartan Assault" can now be downloaded from the Xbox Games store for free by Xbox Live Gold members. Through Xbox One Deals with Gold, Crimson Dragon is also available at 50 percent off.
Xbox One will receive a system update in June that will add a new hub for exploring all the benefits available to those with Gold Membership.
Xbox 360 owners can also get their two free Games with Gold titles this month, including Dark Souls and Charlie Murder. Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition will also be available this month as a bonus to celebrate the one-year Games with Gold anniversary.
Crytek, makers of the popular Crysis series, have announced that the long-awaited 'Homefront' sequel, dubbed 'Homefront: The Revolution,' will be released in 2015 for PC, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The Revolution will be powered by the company's powerful CryEngine and the gameplay will be focused around an open-world FPS with guerilla warfare.
The protagonists are "freedom fighters," civilians fighting back after years of living under occupation. Making the game hard is the fact that the enemy has all the technology and weapons, while you have to scavenge what you can from your surroundings.
Homefront's IP was owned by the now bankrupt THQ, which had to divest the assets in auction, leading to Crytek stepping in.
"There was quite a massive shift in how we were approaching Homefront," Crytek UK game designer Fasahat Salil added. "We started off with THQ coming to us to work on the next Homefront. That was exciting because we saw the potential that Homefront had and could offer - we wanted to take that premise forward. But we were still working on a very linear scale where it was a level by level shooter."
Ubisoft has revealed that Watch Dogs sold-through 4 million copies in just a week, setting a new industry record for the launch of a new franchise.
The publisher had previously said that Watch Dogs provided the best day-one results it had to date, but has now put some figures to it. Watch Dogs launched last week for PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4 and Xbox One.
"With such strong sales momentum and positive feedback from gamers, Watch Dogs has positioned itself as the must-have game of the moment," said Tony Key, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Ubisoft
"We're really proud of this achievement, and are confident that the Watch Dogs brand has a promising future."
Watch Dogs follows the story of vigilante Aiden Pearce as he hacks his way around Chicago using the Central Operating System (ctOS). Pearce is seeking justice for the death of his niece following a failed robbery. He uses his smartphone to hack the city's infrastructure and progresses through missions.
The game has received generally positive reviews from critics, although it ran into some technical problems unsurprisingly linked to uPlay on PC.
In a year of delays for high-profile upcoming games, Batman: Arkham Knight is the latest that won't make it onto shelves in 2014.
Batman: Arkham Knight follows The Witcher 3, The Order: 1886, Tom Clancy's The Division, Mad Max and Quantum Break into a strong 2015 line-up for the industry, which also will include Halo 5: Guardians.
It is set to launch on PC and on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (PS4) consoles, so early adopters will feel more dismay at this latest delay.
Arkham Knight picks up a year after the conclusion of Batman: Arkham City, released in 2011. Batman will have to face up to Scarecrow as he attempts to unite Batman's long list of enemies.
Gamers will be able to utilize the formidable Batmobile in Arkham Knight, which can be summoned to Batman's location around Gotham City, and can easily subdue enemies on foot and in vehicles. It will also be upgradeable as the story progresses.
Pixar will provide its award-winning RenderMan software used in the production of 'Toy Story', 'Wall E', 'Monsters Inc' and more mega-hits free for non-commercial usage.
RenderMan is licensed to other studios for use in making 3D effects for movies. Pixar announced this week that it would cut the cost of its software for commercial use, and that it will provide it for free for non-commercial use too.
"Pixar is announcing that,in conjunction with the upcoming release, free non-commercial licenses of RenderMan will be made available without any functional limitations, watermarking, or time restrictions," the studio announced.
"Non-commercial RenderMan will be freely available for students, institutions, researchers, developers, and for personal use."
Part of Pixar's motivation in this move is increasing competition from rendering software, such as Arnold. This way, Pixar can more easily expand a community of RenderMan users.
Sources and Recommended Reading:
Pixar to give away 'Toy Story' 3D RenderMan software: www.bbc.com/news/ Pixar Animation Studios Announces Monumental Innovations In Film Rendering: renderman.pixar.com
According to ZDnet, Microsoft will not be including a true Start Menu (as rumored) with its upcoming Windows 8.1 Update 2.
The next update is expected to be released later this summer, likely in August.
Allegedly, the software giant will wait to add back a Start Menu until "Threshold," the code name for the next major Windows release (maybe called Windows 9 eventually) is released in April 2015.
It is unclear why Microsoft is delaying the feature (which was unveiled officially at BUILD), but of course it was always just a rumor to begin with that it would be part of the update. The rumored new Start Menu will be different from the familiar XP/Vista/7 menu as it will incorporate the "Metro" theme and screen concept.
After culling Bitcoin-related apps from its App Store only months ago, Apple is refreshing its policies toward the use of virtual currencies.
Apple had previously removed all apps capable of Bitcoin transfers and managing the virtual currency by February of this year, much to the dismay of those who use cryptocurrencies. By contrast, Google didn't seek to block Bitcoin apps from Google Play, giving Android a bit of a boost.
Now Apple is refreshing its policies for software developers, and will soon publish a list of virtual currencies that it considers to be approved.
This list will undoubtedly include Bitcoin, which has gained wider and wider acceptance. Recently, Dish announced that it could accept payments made in Bitcoin.
Apple's change of heart could see the return of apps like Blockchain, Gliph, CoinJar and Coinbase.
Sony is set to stop shipping PSP consoles to retailers in Japan, following a move made by the company in North America earlier this year.
The PlayStation Portable will also stop shipping to retailers in Europe very soon. Sony hopes that the success of the PSP can continue through the PS Vita era, though it has yet to live up to its predecessor on the market.
In all, Sony sold more than 80 million PSPs worldwide, showing that it can compete with domestic rival Nintendo in the portable space. The PSP will live on in some emerging markets in Latin America and Asia, and Sony isn't halting production.
Spotify, the world's largest streaming music service, is working on a new partnership with Vodafone that would bring the service to the African continent.
Vodacom, a unit of Vodafone, will offer its wireless subscribers different plans that include some free data to access Spotify and its catalog of tens of millions of tracks.
The carrier said they are certainly considering content-sharing deals but would not specify partners.
Vodacom has 31.5 million customers in South Africa and Spotify just revealed it has 30 million total users and 10 million paying subscribers who get unlimited music, no-ads, and usually mobile access.
Streaming music in Africa is right now dominated by Deezer, Spinlet and Rara, although each has just minor penetration in the market.
In general, the continent has below-average broadband speeds, and streaming and download services have had a hard time gaining traction.
Asus has used Computex to unveil their new crazy Transformer Book V (Roman numeral for five), a Windows laptop that is also a tablet and has a detachable Android phone.
The tablet itself has a 12.5-inch HD IPS display and is powered by Windows 8.1 and a latest-generation Intel processor. The included smartphone is the 5-inch ZenFone 5 with Android 4.4 and Intel's new 64-bit quad-core Atom processor with built-in LTE. Under the hood of the laptop is 4GB RAM, up to 128GB internal SSD next to a 1TB hard drive.
When you connect the phone to the dock, the Android interface is supersized to fit the display, or you can Android within Windows 8. Altogether, there are five modes: Windows laptop, Windows tablet, Android phone, Android tablet, and Android laptop.
This malicious network may have already cost consumers and businesses over $100 million, and for those victims that have not used financial services while infected, the Crptolocker ransomware may have been installed in order to extort money by encrypting personal files until a fee is paid.
While it was easily overlooked in the excessively long WWDC keynote today, Apple announced that with iOS 8 you will be able to save minutes with Wi-Fi calling, a feature long available for Android devices.
The service is great, as long as your carrier supports it and today T-Mobile was quick to be the first U.S. carrier to support Wi-Fi calling.
T-Mobile says over 5 million of their subscribers already use Wi-Fi calling with their smartphones. T-Mobile launched support for Wi-Fi calling in 2007, even before the launch of Android.
Reads the company's press release: "With the news coming out of Apple's keynote today that Wi-Fi Calling will be enabled with iOS 8 – I'm excited to welcome our iPhone customers to the convenience and ease of T-Mobile Wi-Fi Calling as well.
Since we launched Wi-Fi Calling over seven years ago, our engineers have continued to deliver quality and user experience enhancements. As a result, our service is one of the most advanced natively-integrated Wi-Fi Calling products in the U.S. We have the deep technical knowledge and the close partnerships with device manufacturers to deliver the Wi-Fi call quality wireless consumers have come to expect from the Un-carrier."
Earlier today during their WWDC keynote, Apple unveiled iCloud Drive, a cloud storage file system for storing all of your documents and accessing it no matter where you are.
The service will rival Dropbox and other similar solutions like Google's own Drive.
Each application you use with iCloud Drive will have its own folder within the interface, and those can be found easily through Finder. Your files can be synced across iOS, OS X and also Windows. If your app is not yet iCloud enabled, you can still manually drop files and folders into the Drive to keep them synced.
There is not yet an iOS app for iCloud Drive, but there is a file browser, which is a good start. To open files, you will need to open an app that uses iCloud Drive for storage.
Apple has priced 20GB of storage at $0.99 per month, while $3.99 per month gets you 200GB. If you have an iCloud account, you get 5GB for free, and that is likely enough for most. There will be tiers bigger than 200GB, but prices have yet to be determined.
In addition to those technical actions, the Department of Justice also unsealed criminal charges in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Omaha, Nebraska, against an administrator of the botnet. The administrator is identified as Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, 30, of Anapa, Russian Federation.
He has been charged with conspiracy, computer hacking, wire fraud, band fraud and money laundering in Pittsburgh. Additionally, he was also charged by criminal complaint in Omaha with conspiracy to commit bank fraud related to his alleged involvement in the operation of a prior variant of Zeus malware known as "Jabber Zeus."
A US-led effort has disrupted the operation of the notorious Gameover Zeus botnet and the Cryptolocker ransomware that has cost businesses and consumers millions.
Gameover Zeus was the latest variant of Trojan.Zbot, designed to steal banking information and other credentials from victims. Instead of using centralized command-and-control servers to control the botnet, Gameover Zues uses a more sophisticated decentralized peer-to-peer system and strong encryption to spread commands around the botnet, and to direct stolen financial information.
The principal purpose of the botnet is to capture banking credentials from infected computers. Those credentials are then used to initiate or re-direct wire transfers to accounts overseas that are controlled by cyber criminals.
Apple unveiled iOS 8 at WWDC today, the latest OS that will drive its iPhone and iPad devices.
iOS brings plenty of new features across its apps, as well as new tools for developers to create new apps for the OS. Among its notable new features are iCloud Photo Library to spread/use your photos and videos more seamlessly across your devices, and the anticipated new Health app that gathers your health and fitness data to one place.
The new Messages app is also more powerful, making it possible to very easily send/receive audio, video and picture messages. Additionally, the new QuickType Keyboard could speed up your messaging significantly. It's predictive typing ability can learn aspects of your personality which it stores encrypted on the device, and that enables you to quickly respond to questions and even construct entire sentences with a few taps.
By understanding the context of your messages, it enables you to give quick answers to queries, for example, if you are asked whether you want to go to dinner or a movie tonight, it will identify "dinner" and "movie" and make it possible to respond with a tap.
Group messaging also became easier to control, making it more simple to add and remove contacts, leave a conversation and use the option to not be disturbed.
Want to watch Apple's WWDC keynote live today and get a glimpse of the future of iOS and OS X, and possibly more? Here's how..
Apple is livestreaming the event itself, but given that this is Apple we are talking about, it has set limitations on how you can watch its live stream. Firstly, you must be using an Apple device, running Safari 4 on OS X 10.6 or later, or if you have an iPod touch, iPad or iPhone you can watch it on Safari on iOS 4.2.
If you have a second- or third-generation Apple TV STB, then you can watch as long as you have v5.0.2 or later. Whether you can watch it on Safari for Windows with QuickTime installed we honestly do not know yet.
Jolla, the Finnish smartphone start-up initiated by ex-Nokia employees, has revealed its FY-2013 figures showing a sizable loss relative to revenue.
Last year's revenue amounted to €3.5 million, while spending (including research & development) was north of €10 million. Jolla revealed an operating loss for 2013 of €8.3 million, over double its turnover for the period.
Jolla's financials also showed that the company received €9.8 million in investments in 2013, while convertible bonds increased by over €1.3 million and bank debt increased by €800,000. At the end of the year, Jolla counted around €300,000 in cash.
The Finnish start-up only started selling its first smartphones in December 2013, so the figures are not much of a surprise.
Initiated by several former Nokia employees, Jolla makes smartphones that run the Sailfish operating system. Sailfish is developed by Jolla in cooperation with the Mer project (based on Intel's MeeGo).
According to reports, the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States has grabbed millions of photos from the Internet for use in facial recognition systems.
The report in the New York Times was based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, who is nearing a year in asylum in Russia as he evades U.S. authorities. It claims that the NSA has mined millions of photos from the Internet as part of its facial recognition projects, sourced from social media, e-mail, video chats and even text messages.
Images snapped up from the Internet were then cross-referenced with other databases that included images of airline passengers and even from national identity cards of other countries. The NSA denied that it has access to photos taken for U.S. passports or U.S. driving licenses.
The leaked documents showed that the NSA's facial recognition systems have produced mixed results. Examples were included within that the "Tundra Freeze" (codename) project had turned up several obvious mismatches when trying to identify a young bearded man with dark hair in a photo, and even turned up incorrect results when querying photos of Osama bin Laden in 2011.
Some efforts were successful however, including correctly matching a picture of a bald man at a water park to another picture of the same man with hair, and different clothes in a different setting.
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Google is set to spend over $1 billion launching 180 satellites into low-Earth orbit to provide Internet access around the world.
Previously, Google had raised more than a few eyebrows a year ago when it announced Project Loon to deliver Internet access in unconnected areas and disaster zones using balloons high up in the atmosphere. Since then, it also bought Titan Aerospace, a company that is building drones that are solar-powered and can provide Internet access from above too.
Google is now preparing to jump above the atmosphere for its cause of delivering Internet access globally. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Google is preparing to launch 180 mini satellites that will orbit the Earth at relatively low altitude and will possibly launch more later.
The report cited sources familiar with the project in setting an expected cost of around $1 billion, though other sources hinted it could swell to $3 billion as the project progresses.
Greg Wyler, founder of O3b Networks, has been identified as the head of the project. O3b Networks has been invested in by Google, and it produces 1500lb satellites. Google's sats though, will reportedly weigh in at 250lb a piece.
Huawei has achieved 10Gbps Wi-Fi service in laboratory trials in Shenzhen, over ten times faster than commercially available Wi-Fi solutions today.
Specifically, the prototype system achieved a record transmission speed of 10.53Gbps on 5GHz frequency bands. Next generation Wi-Fi technology could make these improvements commercially available from 2018 onwards, pending the agreement of global standards requirements and sufficient chipset availability.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 WLAN standard plenary meeting held last month saw the election of Dr. Osama Aboul Magd from Huawei as the 802.11ax WLAN standard task group chair, which will focus on the development of the next generation 10Gbps WiFi standard.
Commercial launch of the next generation Wi-Fi standard is planned for 2018.
Faster speeds can be achieved through a combination of new innovative technologies, such as MIMO-OFDA providing improvements in multi-user data rates.
Samsung has launched the Samsung Z Tizen smartphone ahead of the Tizen Developer Conference to be held in San Francisco from Wednesday, June 3.
The Z packs a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display (1280 x 720), a fingerprint censor and will be available in Black and Gold. Under the hood, it houses a 2.3GHz Quad Core application processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB internal memory which is expandable to 64GB via microSD.
An 8MP camera can be found on the read, and a 2.1MP on the front.
Of course the most notable thing about the device is on the software side. The Samsung Z will be the first commercially available smartphone running the Tizen (v 2.2.1) operating system, which Samsung promises delivers a fast, optimal performance with improved memory management compared to Android.
Tizen boots faster than Android devices (apparently), and also delivers immediate multi-tasking capabilities.
As of writing, to be defined as high-speed Internet (broadband), your connection must have just a 4 Mbps down stream.
While a decade ago that may have been considered fast, such a low speed now hardly qualifies, especially with the rise of HDstreaming. Netflix, for example requires a 5 Mbps connection for HD-quality streaming.
The FCC appears to agree, and has begun considering changing the definition of "broadband" into the future. The agency will be soliciting comments on whether broadband should be defined as 10 Mbps or higher, and in one extreme measure, 25 Mbps. Uploads speeds are also affected, with the standard moving to 2.9 Mbps, up from 1 Mbps.
In addition, the FCC will also look to see if they should adopt a tiered set of definitions for different regions or for different parts of the day, where requirements may be harder to meet.
In 2012, 6 percent of Americans lacked broadband, but that number will likely be significantly higher if the rules change.