Twitter and IBM Agree On Deal For 900 Patents, Gives Twitter More IP Protection

Twitter has acquired over 900 patents from IBM. The deal, which includes a cross-license agreement, was made last month, but the two companies have now formally announced it. IBM has received more patents in the U.S. than any other company for 21 consecutive years.

“This acquisition of patents from IBM and licensing agreement provides us with greater intellectual property protection and gives us freedom of action to innovate on behalf of all those who use our service.” said Twitter Legal Director, Ben Lee.

Twitter revealed that IBM had issued a letter to the company alleging that it was infringing upon at least three of its patents, but “inviting” Twitter to negotiate a “business resolution”. Those particular patents were for “Efficient retrieval of uniform resource locators,” “Method for presenting advertising in an interactive service,” and “programmatic discovery of common contacts.”

“We are pleased to reach this agreement with Twitter because it illustrates the value of patented IBM inventions and demonstrates our commitment to licensing access to our broad patent portfolio. We look forward to a productive relationship with Twitter in the future.” said General Manager of Intellectual Property for IBM, Ken King.

Neither Twitter nor IBM revealed any detailed information about the deal, including the terms on which both parties agreed on.

Thank you WebProneNews for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of The News

Apple Named Alongside Companies Sworn To Support Long-Term Unemployment

President Obama is hosting a meeting of CEOs at the White House later today to promote his efforts on the subject of long-term unemployment. White House officials say that about 300 businesses have agreed to alter hiring policies, including 21 of the 50 biggest American corporations, and 47 out of the top 200.

It appears that Apple is among of a number of US corporations that have agreed to change hiring practices to avoid discriminating against the long-term unemployed. Other businesses participating in the pledge include Deloitte, Walmart, General Motors, Motorola, Walgreens, Ford, BlackRock, eBay, Boeing, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, McDonald’s, and Marriott. The specific hiring changes that might take place are unknown though, and White House officials aren’t giving an estimate as to how many people might be helped by the plan.

Studies taken by the Times show that people are less likely to be accepted for interviews by employers the longer they’ve been unemployed. While by definition the long-term unemployed can only take positions that would’ve been filled by the short-term jobless, the White House says it wants to prevent people from giving up on finding work.

Thank you Electronista for providing us with this information

“Ditch Your PS3 And Get $100 Store Credit Towards Xbox One” Campaign Backfires

Microsoft just can get a break recently and while I’m personally unbias when it comes to consoles, since I own all major formats anyway, I can’t help but have a giggle while I sit back and watch a large portion of the community battle it out. The latest shots were fired when Microsoft started their new promotion. This promo allows you to “Ditch your PS3 and get $100 store credit towards Xbox One”, unfortunately for Microsoft, they really haven’t thought this one through.

The PlayStation 3 is still a great console, and prices for most model are still around $200+ with trade in prices on the most common models being from $80-150 dependant on your model, so this deal could benefit some users. However the consoles typically sell for a lot more on eBay, or privately else where, often upwards of $150, especially with games included (which often sell for more private than they do at trade). So it really isn’t that great a deal and would only really appeal to the lazy, or those with a less valuable edition of the PlayStation 3.

I don’t blame Microsoft for making this deal, it’s not terrible, they’re having a dig at Sony, offering people money for their consoles and it’s hardly mandatory, so all in all, good PR. That is of course until the Sony community fired shots right back at them with the image below, it is worth pointing out that the image below is fan made, not official from Sony. It makes a good point too, why sell your console to save $100, when you can keep your PS3 and buy the PlayStation 4 for a $100 less than the Xbox One, that’s bit of a win-win from a consumer perspective.

It will be interesting to see how Sony and Microsoft play this one off, especially now that Christmas is long past and both companies will be looking for extra ways to keep retail sales as high as possible.

Thank you Junkiemonkeys for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Junkiemonkeys.

Codemasters Humble Bundle Weekly Sale Launched

Codemasters have launched full force into epic sale mode with the launch of the latest Humble Bundle Weekly Sale. Massive discounts are available, as well as the option to donate to charity and pick up seven PC games that would normally set you back around $100 / £70 on Steam if bought individually.

Charity proceeds would go to SpecialEffect and the bundle is running on a pay-what-you-want format, of course you can pay more than $6 to unlock all titles, or pay under to get the first four and one DLC.

SpecialEffect is the gaming charity dedicated to using technology to enhance the quality of life of people of all ages who live with disabilities. This invaluable work often involves specialised equipment and software design to ensure that anyone, whatever their disability, can enjoy videogames and leisure technology.

The work SpecialEffect undertakes doesn’t just help raise the quality of life for people with disabilities; it can also aid in rehabilitation and help raise self-esteem for those who can’t use a computer effectively any other way. Gamers can find more about this fantastic charity at their website www.specialeffect.org.uk and see how their work directly improves lives (video below).

[youtube]www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKLNrCivOzw[/youtube]

“We’ve been blown away by the support of Codemasters, and the funds raised by this awesome bundle are going to help many disabled people to experience the fun and enjoyment of video games,” said Mark Saville, Communication Officer, SpecialEffect.

“The money will buy equipment for our ‘whatever it takes’ loan library, providing adapted technology that has maximum impact to the people we work with. We don’t believe in simply loaning kit and walking away; people’s needs are all different and they change, so we go back to visit again and again, adjusting the technology to fit changing abilities. It’s an approach that ensures the best accessibility and it’s especially vital for gamers with progressive conditions.”

For $1 or more players can purchase the following games:

  • Overlord
  • Overlord Raising Hell (Expansion Pack)
  • Operation Flashpoint: Red River
  • Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
  • Rise of the Argonauts

Spend over $6 and gamers will also receive the following:

  • DiRT Showdown
  • DiRT 3
  • Overlord II

Codemasters has a long standing relationship with SpecialEffect, and most recently partnered with the charity in an internal GameJam where Codemasters development teams were given the opportunity to create games with improved controls for those with disabilities or could improve a gamer’s health and wellbeing through play. These concepts included games that used peripherals that enabled players to control the game with their eyes, and even directly from their minds. Gamers can read about the GameJam and some of the games which were developed on the Codemasters Blog.

Head on over to www.humblebundle.com for full details on the game and of course to pick up the bundle if you’re in the mood for some charity giving and some great prices on games.

Western Digital Black² Dual Drive 120GB SSD & 1TB HDD Review

Introduction


Solid state storage as we know it today is certainly the way forward and this is proven by the fact that it is the storage medium of choice for any enthusiast or performance user. Whilst the speeds are fantastic, there is still a slight cause for concern to be seen when it comes to the amount of storage that these pioneering drives have to offer. Whilst flash storage is considerably cheaper than it was a few years ago, a typical 240GB SSD will set you back around £160-180 (~$260-295 US) and if you want to go any higher than this with a 480GB or even a 960GB drive then you really are starting to look at some serious money. On the flip side, the price of traditional mechanical storage is more affordable than ever and with 4TB drives available for as little as ~£133 (~$216 US) it really is a case of prioritising what is the greater need – is it going to be performance or capacity?

In a desktop system, this dilemma is typically not a problem, as the space is available to accommodate both solid state and mechanical drives and this is what we see many users opting for in the market today. When we move over to notebooks and ultra books however, the story couldn’t be any more different. Speaking for the vast majority of laptops that are out on the market today, storage is very limited and typically we find space for just one 2.5″ drive and no more. For a number of people, this is not really a real issue, as there is of course external hard drives and flash drives that can be used to extend your storage capacity, but when we look at it, this is not necessarily a practical option – especially for those of us who are on the go all the time. One option would be to remove the optical drive and install a 2.5″ drive adaptor in its place and this is good, but not every laptop has an optical drive, so this leads us back round to square one – do you choose performance or capacity?

One option that is available to you is to get a hybrid drive that offers up hard drive capacity but with the read performance of flash storage. The catch is that this isn’t really what we would call a proper solid state and hard drive combo as the flash portion of the drive is there purely to cache the commonly used data, making it quicker to access whilst the remainder of the data is still held on the spinning platters. What we really want is to have a drive that is effectively two in one and that is just what Western Digital have to offer with the Black² Dual Drive – to separate storage mediums, but in one single 2.5″ form factor – what we once thought to be a dream is now a strong reality.

$40K Samsung TV Spawns Hundreds Of Mock Reviews On Amazon

When we first saw this 85″ Samsung TV at CES in Las Vegas, we spent about 30 minutes just standing there in awe, it really is a sight to behold and we would happily clear out half of our house to get one of these installed. Of course the big issue with the TV, aside from the fact that it is a whopping 85″, is that it will set you back $40,000! Not exactly cheap.

Clearly there are many people out there who want this TV, and despite the fact that most of the reviewers (if not all of them) haven’t bought the TV, it hasn’t stopped them from leaving some reviews. Given we are in the review business, it’s always great fun to see some people have a laugh with it, so we though we would share some of our favourites from the Amazon listing.

“I must admit that I had a few reservations initially. Pay for college or buy the only thing that I’ll ever need to buy again in my entire life… ever. After a period of much deliberation and soul-searching a realization hit me that rocked my world and blew my mind all over the room… free shipping. It took me only a few days to sell every worldly possession that my entire family and I hold dear but the worthwhileatude factor was completely worthwhile. Here I am sitting on the curb outside what used to be home, watching the last thing that I’ll ever need to watch. Buy it now! Free shipping!”

“I almost purchased this because who can resist a purchase when it’s been discounted $5,002.00!!! However, once I saw the Energy Guide rating, I quickly reconsidered. While I find this item an absolute steal, there is no possible way I can afford to spend $55/year on energy costs, which are only going to increase with time.

Buyer beware, Samsung almost got me with this one. Well played Samsung… well played!”

“Has anyone bought this yet? My wife told me that she would leave me if I purchased it and I was wondering if this TV would be worth it.”

“$40k gets you 85″ of Samsung bliss where Sony and Toshiba charge you $17k for a measly 84″.

Well, I’ll tell you that it was totally worth it. Whenever we go over to my neighbor Jim’s house, my wife and I quietly snigger over his little 84″. Yeah Jim, we know that’s a hairpiece too.”

“At first I thought it sounded expensive, but then I saw that batteries are included. That’s when we decided to go for it and we’re glad we did.”

“Great unit… the only problem is that it puts out so many lumens of HD TV power that it vaporized my cat. All I have left to remember Mister Tiggums is a Hiroshima-like flash-shadow on the far wall of my apartment. Judging by the shadow, he was licking himself when he was nuked by 85 inches of Samsung awesomeness. All I can say is that he went out a happy cat!”

“Absolutely worthless for watching midget porn. They all look normal size. And the remote control by hand gesture feature has some serious drawbacks…”

The chaos is far from over and it only serves as great PR for Samsung, although I still doubt that sales of this TV are going to be as big as their price tag, this isn’t exactly a suitable product for most peoples homes, or budgets. There are nearly 1500 reviews on the product and it should help you kill a few minutes on your next tea/coffee break this afternoon. You can read the rest of the reviews over on the product page here.

Thank you Gapyear for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Amazon.

Dutch Court Overturns Ban On The Pirate Bay

The Pirate Bay is one of the most famous names when it comes to the topic of piracy, downloading files, torrenting and all the other associated buzzwords, it’s been the centre of a lot of controversy, court cases, and the battle between the sites users and operators vs the people who want to see it shut down is far from over.

The latest battle is a big win for The Pirate Bay as a Dutch court of appeal has overturned a court-ordered block of the site, which has so far proven ineffective at stopping internet users in the Netherlands from accessing the site due to numerous workarounds being made easily available online.

Two major Dutch internet provides, Ziggo and XS4All took the case to the court of appeals, and the court lifted the ban, meaning that users no longer have to use proxy servers and other techniques to access the site. The ban sounded like a great idea to content providers, but about effective at stopping people getting in a closing the door, but leaving all the windows open.

“We are very pleased that the court ruled in favour of the freedom of information, protecting a fundamental right of all Dutch citizens.” Said Niels Huijbregts, a spokesman for XS4All.

It’s great to see that some internet providers are happy to fight for the rights of their customers, and that there was a judge in the chair who must have understood how these online systems work.

Thank you The Guardian for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of The Guardian.

Office Of Fair Trading Clamps Down On Unauthorised In-App Purchases

In their resent press release “principles for online and in-app games” the Office of Fair Trading have laid out their plans to keep unauthorised in-app purchases in check. For years now there have been countless stories of people being ripped off by extortionate in-app purchases, children racking up huge bills on games that didn’t make things clear, or developers shamefully asking people to spend insane amounts of money to unlock gems, boosts, cheats and more, I’m sure many of you have seen some great examples of these silly prices in many of the free mobile games that are on the market today.

OFT’s new ruling decrees that consumers should be told upfront about any costs associated with a game, or about the in-game advertising, so that they can decide up front if it is worth download, or letting their children play etc. They must also detail how your data will be used, if it will be shared for marketing purposes and it needs to be clear to all players.

Failure to comply means the OFT can hand out fines and other punishments to developers and publishers to are trying to scam users with unfair pricing, misleading sales, and dishonest marketing campaigns, although we suspect many apps will try find ways around the ruling, so common sense is still the best tool you can have in protecting yourself. Guidance for parents is to be put in place too, as a way to reduce the risk of unauthorised payments. This can be done by password purchases, or having a child lock mode.

This is all a great idea, while I do argue that most of the stories about children racking up huge bills can be avoided with a little common sense and education about the product your putting in your child’s hands, it certainly never hurts to have a better system in place, and the addition of keeping prices in check, being more up front about marketing and advertising is always a welcome bonus.

Thank you Expert Reviews for providing us with this information.

EA Reveal Huge Range Of Titalfall Merchandise Ahead Of Launch Date

With Titanfall just weeks away from release on the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and of course PC, it couldn’t be a better time to reveal that there will be a huge range of merchandise released alongside the game, and we wouldn’t have expected anything less given that it is a game created by people who worked on Call of Duty titles and of course Electronic Arts are in charge, two teams that are well known to cash in as much as possible on each franchise.

Titanfall is one of this years most hotly anticipated titles, with already 80 awards from around the world to its name without even having been released yet, it will be the first original shooter that hits ones of the new generation of consoles. The prospect of frantic FPS action and having heavily-armoured 24ft Titans at your disposal is a tempting proposal, and we really can’t wait to see how this game plays.

A wide range of licensed merchandise will be available including the Titanfall standard and collector’s edition strategy guides from Prima Games, premium gaming peripherals from Turtle Beach and MadCatz, apparel from Jinx! and Level Up Wear and Titan constructions sets from K’NEX. The full line of Titanfall licensed products consists of:

  • Turtle Beach Xbox One Headset
  • MadCatz PC gaming peripherals including Keyboard, Xbox 360 headset, PC/MAC/Smart Device Headset, Mouse and Mouse Pad
  • Prima Standard and Collector’s Edition Strategy Guides
  • Titan Publishing Art Book
  • JINX! Apparel & Accessories
  • Level Up Wear Apparel and Accessories
  • Posters by Trends and GB Eye
  • EP Memory USB Drives and Cases
  • K’NEX Construction Sets

Titanfall will be available for Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC on March 11, 2014 in North America, and beginning March 13, 2014 in Europe.

Thank you Titanfall for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Titanfall.

Razer And Microsoft Join Forces To Create Xbox One Accessories

This week saw legendary peripherals manufacturer Razer reveal that they would begin creating new products for the recently released Microsoft Xbox One. The new deal that was struck with Microsoft will see them continue their trend of high quality 3rd party controllers, something that has been missing from the new range of consoles since their release.

Having created some of the most popular aftermarket controllers and headsets for the last generation of consoles, Razer no doubt have something pretty special planned. Their Sabertooth / Onza controllers proved popular with gamers and eSports teams, and of course the Atrox Arcade Stick is one of the best fighting sticks on the market that has proved a great choice both in and out of tournaments. A suite of products for the Xbox One, including a controller, arcade stick and more, will be made by Razer.

“Razer is dedicated to improving the overall experience from the games themselves to the player, be it console or PC,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder, CEO and creative director. “By working with a company as prestigious as Microsoft on a system as sought-after as the Xbox One, we’ll be able to accomplish just that. This is an exciting time for the hundreds of millions of gamers all over the world, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”

Products, pricing and release dates will be unveiled in the coming weeks.

Thank you Razer for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Razer.

Yahoo! Mail Suffers Unknown Number Of Stolen Email Accounts And Passwords

Since the massive Yahoo! ad-malware problem was not enough, apparently Yahoo! Mail got hit ‘big time’ recently, leading to an unknown number of Yahoo mail user account names and passwords stolen.

Yahoo mail users seem to be the most recent victim of mass data theft. Yahoo, in a security update posted today, claims to have “identified a coordinated effort to gain unauthorized access to Yahoo Mail accounts.” This really does not come as a surprise, but a question to Yahoo!’s credibility. First malware attacks, now this? Yahoo! might be standing in the same boat as Google with all their late ‘misfortunes’.

The company took action on behalf of its users, prompting them to reset passwords on the breached accounts. So far, Yahoo’s investigation the list of usernames and passwords uses in the attack were harvested from a third-party with access to Yahoo credentials. The company believes that “the information sought in the attack seems to be names and email addresses from the affected accounts’ most recent sent emails.”

Up until now, Yahoo! has not released any comments or an estimated number of affected accounts implicated in the attack. Federal law enforcement has been notified of the attack, and Yahoo has “implemented additional measures to block attacks against Yahoo’s systems.”

Thank you Electronista for providing us with this information

More Smartwatches Are Rumored To Come This Year, This Time From ASUS

Asus looks like wants to join the wearable gadgets market. It is rumored that the Taiwanese computer maker wants to unveil a wearable device at Computex in June. After both Sony and Samsung launched smartwatches last year and Apple is widely expected to unveil its own entrant this year, Asus’ move might prove that we will see a strong competition on the smartwatch topic.

It is said that Asus chairman, Jonney Shih, told attendees of the company’s end of year party that it will be putting its “entire design thought” into the development of a wearable gadget. According to the figures from research company Canalys, 500,000 smart watches were sold last year. That figure is up from the 330,000 smart watches that were sold during 2012.

“There are actually many challenges in this area and I don’t think products that lack special features will be useful,” Shih is quoted as telling party attendees. “We’ll try and replace your watch by all means.”

It is predicted that by the end of 2014, sales of smartwatches will increase to more than five million by 2013. According to reports, the Asus is planning on making its smartwatch significantly different to what is currently on the market. One example mentioned was that the watch may have a necklace style option. The company is expected to launch its smartwatch in the second half of 2014 following an unveiling at Computex in June.

Thank you T3 for providing us with this information

GitHub Launches Bug Bounty Program, Calls All ‘Bounty Hunters’ For A Challenge and Cash!

GitHub has launched its GitHub Bug Bounty, a program aimed to help security researchers in finding bugs and flaws in system. The company is reportedly willing to pay between $100 and $5,000 for each security vulnerability discovered and responsibly disclosed by hackers.

Only the GitHub API, GitHub Gist, and GitHub.com. GitHub are available for the above mentioned program, but the company says its other Web properties and applications are not part of the program though vulnerabilities found “may receive a cash reward at our discretion.”, as they pointed out.

The amount of money given for bugs and flaws is said to be “based on actual risk and potential impact to our users.” Meaning, the bigger the potential scope and the bigger the severity of the issue, the larger the payout.

“If you find a reflected XSS that is only possible in Opera, which is 60% of our traffic, will earn a much larger reward.” GitHub gave as an example.

Even spotting a very low-level bug is worth disclosing for the extra cash. Not only are you getting paid for your hard work, but you’re making the Web safer in the long-run. Bug bounty programs are becoming more and more popular because they work. The damages caused by exploited bugs are much greater than simply paying security researchers for finding them first.

Thank you TheNextWeb for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of GitHub

Microsoft Offer To ‘Ditch’ Your Old PS3 With A New Xbox One

Tired of your PlayStation3? How about your old Xbox 360? Have you thought of upgrading to an Xbox One but haven’t been able to ‘ditch’ your old console? Well you’re in luck, because Microsoft apparently has an offer to take your worn-out console off your hands.

Microsoft has stepped up its marketing recently. In promotional emails, the software giant is offering $100 towards an Xbox One when people “ditch” Sony’s PlayStation 3. The trade-in deal is only available at Microsoft’s retail stores in the US, and it applies to the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 S, or Xbox 360 E. The promotion reduces the $100 gap, and brings the Xbox One price down to the same $399 as the PlayStation 4. Given a base model PS3 retails for around $200 right now, it’s not a bad offer if you have a slightly aging PlayStation 3.

However, if Microsoft is hoping this latest promotion will tempt PlayStation 3 owners by reducing the Xbox One cost, it might find that Sony console owners simply keep their old PS3 and pay $399 for a PlayStation 4. But don’t stop and think about it if you are interested, because Microsoft has it on a limited offer basis. The reported date on Microsoft’s official site states that the offer is valid between January 23rd and March 2nd, 2014. So hurry up and take your console if you think you are considering a next-gen.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of The Verge

US Government Pointing Fingers At Edward Snowden’s ‘Accomplices’, The Reporters

Given the news surfaced from former NSA analyst, Edward Snowden, it seems that U.S. officials are proving to be desperate, having one of their representatives stating that journalists are Edward Snowden’s ‘accomplices’.

The U.S. officials are still attempting to reason with Snowden and his continuous espionage disclosures from his former workplace. However all attempts have failed, having Snowden still in exile and in hiding, while news continues to flow. But it looks like the U.S. officials are becoming desperate now, having James Clapper, the Director of the National Intelligence, demanding his journalist “accomplices” return leaked documents.

Names and fingers have not yet been pointed, but rumors are that Clapper is looking at The Guardian with some ‘furious’ eyes. Though news will not be stopped, no matter what, since we live in an age where everyone is allowed to think what they want and say what they have to say. On the other side, Clapper demonstrated that the U.S. government is becoming more and more desperate as time passes. Are they hiding even more secrets not ‘deemed for our knowledge’? By the looks of it, it might seem so.

Spokespeople on Clapper’s side later clarified and said the U.S. official “was referring to anyone who is assisting Edward Snowden to further threaten our national security through the unauthorized disclosure of stolen documents related to lawful foreign intelligence collection programs.” Snowden may have recently been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, but government officials would still like to see him face espionage-related charges. Trying to equate journalists to accomplices clearly is a long stretch for a government administration desperate to make sure similar whistle-blower actions don’t take place in the future.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TweakTown

Upcoming Galaxy S5 Specs Rumors Leaked, To Include Fingerprint And 3D Tour View

A series of tweets from the well-known reliable source, @evleaks, has revealed several details about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S5, apparently confirming the official name of the product as well as some of its specs that have been previously included in many other reports – the fingerprint scanner and the 2K resolution display.

“They’re sticking with a winner, name-wise,” @evleaks wrote, posting a wallpaper image that has “Galaxy S5” written on it. It doesn’t come as a surprise considering the popularity of the Galaxy S5′s predecessors. Additional images show names of purported applications “from Samsung Galaxy S5” including “FingerprintService.apk” and “3DTourViewer_WQHD_K.apk.”

The Fingerprint Service app indicates that the phone will have a fingerprint scanner complete with related functionality, a feature that some Samsung execs hinted to. The second app reveals that the resolution of the phone’s display will be WQHD at 2560 x 1440 pixels, or 2K, something many reports have also pointed to.

However, KGI Research analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has recently said that the Galaxy S5 will come in two versions with different screen resolutions, including a WQHD “Premium” model and a Full HD (1920 x 1080) “Standard” version – a new leak has also revealed that some Galaxy S5 versions will have Full HD displays. According to Kuo, both versions will have a fingerprint scanner as well.

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of @evleaks

PayPal Worried About Apple’s Payment Method, Attempts To Stike Partnership

Having recent news reveal Apple’s initiative to extent into the mobile payment system, it seems that PayPal was not ignorant to the extensive plans of the iPhone maker giant. PayPal wants a part in Cupertino’s project, according to news from Re/Code.

Sources from Re/Code state that Apple is capable of releasing a mobile payment system without PayPal’s help, but they could not rule out the possibility of some type of partnership between the two companies. Apple is allegedly focusing on the iPhone for its mobile payment system, though details on how the phone will process payments is not known.

Having looking for clues, we see that recent patents point to iBeacon, having recent changes point to the use of NFC and Bluetooth. Apple recently deployed iBeacons throughout its retail chain of stores, while retailers like American Eagle and Safeway are experimenting with the technology in limited trials.

Looking at the big picture, it all adds together, having Eddie Cue meeting a while ago with industry executives “to discuss Apple’s interest in handling payments for physical goods and services on its devices.” and Tim Cook’s confession during the earning conference call that the mobile payment area was “one of the thoughts behind Touch ID” in the iPhone 5s.

Thank you Macrumors for providing us with this information

I Spy With My Little Eye…. A Drone Watching Me?

Fox News reportedly got word of a first-ever case of a U.S. citizen being convicted and sentenced to prison based in part on evidence gathered by a drone. Farmer Rodney Brossart, from Lakota N.D., got a three-year sentence for his role in an armed standoff with police that began after he was accused of stealing his neighbors’ stray cattle in 2011.

Bossart reportedly was arrested after him and his family restricting ‘at gunpoint’ authorities armed with a search warrant to investigate the reports of his neighbors. But later, he was released on bail. Warrants were then issued for his three sons, but the family refused to show up in court. In this extreme case, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke spoken to the U.S. Border Patrol to deploy a Predator drone in order to conduct live video surveillance of the farm.

The drone monitored the family’s movements on the farm following the armed standoff. It was not clear how long the drone was deployed or whether it gathered evidence of the alleged cattle theft. However, the drone gathered enough evidence to prompt Janke’s men to finally move in November 2011, arresting five family members on terrorizing charges. Brossart was found not guilty for the cattle theft accusations, but did get three years for his part in the armed police standoff based in part on video recorded by the drone.

The case could prove significant, because Brossart’s attorney tried unsuccessfully to have the terrorizing charges related to his standoff with police dropped because evidence was gathered by the drone without a search warrant specifically allowing for it.

Should we be worried that our privacy will not be so private in the future? According to Fobers magazine, they predict it won’t be the last time drones are used to put Americans in prison, and reported the use of drones for police missions is on the rise. Between 2010 and 2012, law enforcement agencies used CBP Predator drones for 700 missions, the media outlet reported.

Thank you Fox News for providing us with this information

Google Glass To Be Banned When Driving, Says ‘looking at little computers’ Endangers You

It seems that it was not enough having a woman fined while driving with her Google Glass on, or a man arrested while wearing Glass in a cinema. We now hear that a ‘lawmaker’ from Wyoming wants to ban Google’s gadget.

Recent news reads that a Wyoming state senator has become the latest legislator to introduce a bill that would effectively ban Google Glass while driving. A bill has been issued and is currently voted upon when the state’s legislature reconvenes next month. The bill can be viewed here.

“No person shall operate a motor vehicle on a public street or highway while using a wearable computer with head mounted display, or while using a handheld electronic wireless communication device to write, send or read a text-based communication.” a paragraph from the bill states.

It also appears that the “while using a wearable computer with head mounted display, or” fragment has been underlined and written in red. Is Google Glass such a threat? Or maybe law enforcement officers don’t want to be filmed when pulling over their ‘victims’. Either way, what’s next? The ban of bluetooth earpiece or other hands free gadgets?

“Common sense would tell you that you really don’t need to look at a little computer while driving, that it endangers you, your passengers and other drivers,” Sen. Floyd Esquibel (D) told Reuters on Wednesday.

Mr. Esquibel’s statement does make sense, up to the point where a ‘little computer’ and ‘looking at a screen’ becomes confusing. Does this mean we are committing a felony by using GPS navigational systems, either mounted or integrated in the car’s dash-board? That can also be considered a ‘little computer’ which we require in order to navigate to our destination. Even more, Google Glass could have helped drivers look straight ahead while having the GPS in their sight at all times. Wouldn’t that make more sense? Apparently not.

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information

IBM Builds Graphene Circuit Boards, Sends Text Messages Faster At Lower Power Cost

Recent reports point to IBM creating a graphene-based circuit that they say performs 10,000 times better than existing options. It was reliable enough that they used it to send and receive a text message.

What is graphene? Simple. It’s an atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms renowned for its strength and conductivity. It is heralded as a possible alternative to silicon, which currently dominates electronics production. One of the major potential applications for graphene is transistors, which control the flow of electricity in circuits. The more transistors you can fit onto a chip, the more powerful it can be.

It is said that researchers should be able to pack far more atom-thick graphene transistors into a chip than the bulkier silicon alternative. Graphene also transports electricity 200 times faster than silicon. The IBM team integrated graphene into a radio frequency receiver, a device that translates radio waves into understandable information that can be sent back and forth. They tested it by sending a text message that read “IBM” with no distortion.

“This is the first time that someone has shown graphene devices and circuits to perform modern wireless communication functions comparable to silicon technology,” IBM Research director of physical sciences Supratik Guha said in a release.

The circuit announced today was made by adding the graphene only after the rest of the circuit was assembled, which means it is never exposed to the manufacturing steps that could damage it, having included three graphene transistors. The team is particularly interested in how the technology could be used in wireless communications systems, though graphene could be integrated into any silicon-based technology. Mobile devices would potentially be able to transmit data more quickly at a lower cost using less power.

Thank you GIGAOM for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of GIGAOM

Sapphire Announces Its Radeon R7 250 Ultimate, First Totally Silenced Graphics Card

Sapphire has just revealed a new addition to its new R7 series. The Sapphire R7 250 Ultimate is the first silent (passive cooling) card to contain all the features of this new generation of products based on the highly successful graphics GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture from AMD.

It looks like the Sapphire R7 250 Ultimate is the first card in this generation to use a passive heatpipe and heatsink cooler with no fan to deliver totally silent cooling, and increased reliability as it has no mechanical moving parts. It shares all the features of the R7 series and the highly acclaimed GCN graphics processing architecture making it ideal for HTPCs and any general purpose PC where operational noise needs to be kept to a minimum. Casual and online gamers will find its silent operation attractive, as the GCN architecture supports gaming at 1080p with moderate settings.

People tend to use at least two monitors nowadays, therefore the Sapphire R7 series supports this with AMD Eyefinity, now in its second generation. The Sapphire R7 250 Ultimate supports three monitors in AMD Eyefinity. In addition, the SAPPHIRE R7 series cards can simultaneously output multiple, independent audio streams allowing the correct audio content to be associated with different applications on different screens.

In terms of spec, the Sapphire R7 250 Ultimate has its core clocks of 800 MHz and 1 GB of DDR5 memory clocked at 1125 MHz (4.5 GHz effective). It is believed to be the fastest passively cooled 128-bit graphics card on the market. It also comes with Displayport 1.2 and HDMI 1.4a outputs outputting a resolutions of 4096 x 2160, or Quad HD also known as latest 4K display. AMD 3D technology supports the latest Stereoscopic content over HDMI at 60 Hz per eye, 120 Hz total. The Dual-Link DVI-I output supports DVI monitors with resolutions up to 2560 x 1600 and provides analogue support for legacy VGA monitors.

Along with the fourth generation of DirectX 11 compatible solutions from the graphics division of AMD, the new Sapphire R7 series supports DirectX 11.1 and the Windows 8 operating system as well as delivering all the features of DirectX 11 such as DirectCompute11 and multi-threaded communications with the CPU. It comes with the latest high speed PCI-Express Gen3.0 interface, and multiple cards can be used to further enhance performance in CrossFireX mode on a suitably specified mainboard.

The Sapphire R7 250 Ultimate should now be available in-stores at a price tag of around £60 or £70.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TechPowerUp

White House Asked To Deport Justin Bieber After 100,000 Signatures Collected

The internet can be a wonderful place sometimes, when it comes to voting for something online we find the online community can come together to do great things, or at least do stupid things that make us all giggle from time to time. For example, we’ve seen someone offer a vote on how they should name their child, only for it to almost be Megatron Allspark. More recently, Justin Bieber is in the sights of the internet once again, 4Chan have already tried sending his world tour to the middle-east, but now they’re trying to get him out of the country entirely!

A petition was submitted to the White House and gained the required 100,000 signatures that are need, this means the White House has to give it an official response. We highly doubt anything will come of it, but it’s still a good giggle and I don’t doubt that many of the people who signed it genuinely want him gone from their country, especially after recent events that saw him being sent to prison.

The WeThePeople platform is a great way for people to voice their opinions, almost all of which have been more serious than the Justin Bieber issue, but we can only hope it sends a message to the little brat that he needs to get his act together… or else the internet is coming to get kick his butt!

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TechCrunch.

PlayStation 4 Is Beating Xbox One At A Rate Of 1.5:1 In The UK

The console war is in full swing now, with both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 still flying off the shelves at retailers around the world. The PlayStation 4 is certainly in the lead at the moment and according to PlayStation UK boss Fergal Gara, it is out selling the Xbox One here in the UK at a rate of 1.5:1.

However, while the new consoles may be selling in favour of the Sony brand, previous generation consoles, the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 show a different story, and the Xbox 360 is beating the PlayStation 3 at the rate of 1:1.51 according to the latest sales data.

Having sold an impressive 4.2 million units worldwide by the end of 2013, and obviously even more now that were a full month into the new year, the PlayStation 4 was the UK’s fastest ever selling console. Xbox One did twice as good at launch in the UK than the Xbox 360 did and has shipped over 3.9 million units worldwide. However, the Xbox One launched in less countries than the PlayStation 4, but will be launching in those territories shortly, and the PlayStation 4 is yet to launch on its home turf, so the rest of 2014 could be very exciting for both companies.

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information.

Antec EarthWatts Platinum 650W Non-Modular Power Supply Review

Introduction


Power efficiency is a significant consideration for any system that is running frequently – a home server, mining system, a workstation or any other system that gets close to 24/7 usage is a prime candidate for a high efficiency power supply. With the need to cut electricity related carbon emissions, and consume less electricity in the wake of rising electricity prices, the time to get an efficient power supply is now – particularly if you are upgrading from an old unbranded power supply that lacks any form of certifications or efficiency standards.

The 80 Plus standard has been around for a while to ensure that customers know what they are getting in terms of efficiency. At the top end of this efficiency standard is 80 Plus Platinum which promises 90/90, 92/94 and 89/91% efficiency at 20%, 50% and 100% loads on 115/230V circuits respectively. Antec’s EarthWatts Platinum series is designed specifically to meet those certifications and offer consumers affordable 80 Plus Platinum power supplies in a range of sensible wattages. We’ve already reviewed Antec’s 450W EarthWatts Platinum power supply and today we are moving on to the 650W variant. With the EarthWatts Platinum 650W power supply Antec are seeking to capture some of the higher end market – 650W is more than enough for a dual GPU system. Like other power supplies in this same series this unit is made by FSP, is non-modular and is backed by a three year warranty. Of course there is more to a power supply than just efficiency so let’s move onto having a look at this power supply and see how it performs.

ShopTo Leak UK Release Of PS Vita 2000 Slim Ahead Of Sony Announcement

We’ve known for a few weeks now that Sony were planning something big for the UK, speculation has been high as to what it would be, PlayStation Vita Slim, or the PlayStation Vita TV console? We’ll, I have to say that I am a little disappointed that is wasn’t the Vita TV console, but I’m not completely upset to see a new model of the Vita either.

The official announcement from Sony is expected later today, but ShopTo jumped the gun by publishing an online flyer which has now been taken offline, where it revealed that the PS Vita-2000 will be available in the UK this year. It’ll be 20% thinner and 15% lighter than the stock Vita, feature a micro-USB type B port, 1GB of internal storage, longer battery life (up to 6 hours). Overall it sounds pretty awesome, but it comes at a price, the OLED display is gone and has been replaced with an LCD panel.

The 2000 model is available in six different colours in Japan, white, grey, yellow, pink, brown and black, but at this time it is unclear if they’ll all make it to the UK, or if there will be more additions to the range. We can’t wait to check out the new model, but more importantly we can only hope that sooner rather than later, the PlayStation Vita TV device will be coming to Europe and the US.

Thank you Metro for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Metro.

Angry Birds Website Hacked And Defaced After NSA Leaks

Last week we reported that the NSA were spying on peoples mobile games such as Angry Birds, using security flaws in software to obtain personal data and get up to all the other nonsense we’ve heard about the NSA in recent months… I’m sure you’re more than familiar with their practices of late.

Rovio, the developers who created Angry Birds have confirmed that hackers broke into the site and defaced many of the images on the site, including its Angry Birds logo which has been renamed Spying Birds, with a nice little NSA stamp of approval right in the middle of the birds forehead, nice.

“The defacement was caught in minutes and corrected immediately,” said marketing manager Saara Bergstrom from Rovia, “The end user data was in no risk at any point. Due to how the internet name resolution works, for most areas it was not visible at all, but some areas take time for the correct information to be updated.” She added.

The company has said that they did not collaborate or collude with any government spy agency, of course we should all know by now that the NSA didn’t exactly ask for permission of the people for many of the monitoring processes it used / uses, so this should really come as no surprise.

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of BBC.

AMD Release Mantle And Delays Beta Drivers, Battlefield 4 Gets Mantle Update

The big moment has finally come as AMD finally release their much anticipated Mantle patch, and their latest drivers are on the way with Catalyst 14.1 Beta. On top of that, Battlefield 4 has officially been given its Mantle update, but you’ll need the as-yet-unreleased Beta drivers to play it, a minor delay due to some slight issues, but AMD are said to be working quickly to get everything synced up again.

The issues immediately caused subpar performance for Battlefield 4, problems with multi-GPU usage, stuttering on Crossfire setups and more. To soften the blow, AMD have shared expected performance figures and Battlefield 4 gamers with the right hardware can see anything from 2.9% to a whopping 40.9% improvement!

  • CPU-limited scenario: 40.9% (1080p) and 40.1% (1600p) performance improvement under Ultra settings and 4xAA on the AMD A10-7700K with an AMD Radeon R9 290X.
  • GPU-limited scenario: 2.7% (1080p) and 1.4% (1600p) performance improvement under Ultra settings and FXAA on the Core i7-4960X with an AMD Radeon R7 260X
  • Average uplift for 1080p: 13.28% (Average of 290X and 260X data on the i7-4960X, A10-7700K, FX 8350 and i5-4670K)
  • Average uplift for 1600p: 11.35% (Average of 290X and 260X data on the i7-4960X, A10-7700K, FX 8350 and i5-4670K)

StarSwarm from Oxide Games promises even more impressive gains:

  • CPU-limited scenario: 319% (1080p) and 281% (1600p) performance improvement in the “RTS” test on Extreme settings with the AMD A10-7700K and an AMD Radeon R9 290X.
  • GPU-limited scenario: 5.1% (1080p) and 16.7% (1600p) performance improvement in the “RTS” test on Extreme settings with the Core i7-4960X and an AMD Radeon R7 260X
  • Average uplift for 1080p: 115.65% (Average of 290X and 260X data on the i7-4960X, A10-7700K, FX 8350 and i5-4670K)
  • Average uplift for 1600p: 75.19% (Average of 290X and 260X data on the i7-4960X, A10-7700K, FX 8350 and i5-4670K)

As soon as the driver issues are resolved, expect to see plenty of details on the real world gains the new Mantle API can offer, but if the numbers above are anything to go by, then we should be in for a real treat, especially in tasks that normally rely heavily on the CPU as Mantle is supposed to cut down on the overheads associated with DirectX.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information.