Apple Finally Provides SSDs For Their iMac Systems


Apple, Inc. has finally added the option to include a solid state drive as a disk option for iMac.

Although the company didn’t specify which SSDs are being used, for $300 you will get a 256gig SSD, whereas you’ll need to shell out $600 more for the 512GB SSD and $900 for 768GB version.

Apple has also the option to equip their iMac desktop systems with their ‘Fusion Drive’ which is essentially nothing more than a 128GB SSD used as a caching SSD paired with the 1 TB hard drive installed on the system, just like how we have SSDs with Nvelo firmware like Corsair Accelerator and SanDisk ReadyCache drive. The SSD Caching provides extra caching for the programs that are used frequently, therefore allowing you to get faster access and bit better load times.

Unfortunately, for now this only applies to 21.5″ model. Those who are interested for the 27″ counterpart may have to wait, depending on when and if Apple, Inc chooses to do so. Apple, Inc. also doesn’t provide the option to mount a 3TB Hard drive or a 3TB Fusion drive, let alone a 768 GB Solid State Drive.

Source: Toms’ Hardware

Globalfoundries And Infineon Made A Deal For 40nm Embedded Flash Technology

Globalfoundries, Inc. and Infineon Technologies have recently announced that they’re having a joint collaboration for developing and production agreement for 40 nm embedded flash or eFlash process technology.

This partnership to help develop and manufacture Infineon’s eFlash cell design which will be used for manufacturing of automotive and security microcontrollers. The 40nm eFlash MCU will be made by Globalfoundries fab plants, initially in Singapore and subsequently in Dresden, Germany.

Both the company have a very old relationship where they’ve jointly collaborated in development and manufacturing, including the development and manufacturing of CMOS-based low power mobile phone chips.

Arunjai Mittal, one of the members of management board of Infeneon Technologies said,”Next generation embedded Flash microcontrollers with 40nm process structures will further enhance our competitive strength in the automotive, industrial as well as chip card and security markets.”

The agreement which involves Globalfoundries is consistent with Infineon’s plans to be involved in CMOS-Based 65nm technology, whose security microcontroller’s process and product qualification is planned for the second half of 2015, whereas the production of automotive microcontroller is set to start in first half of 2017.

Source :NASDAQ

Google Fiber’s Implementation Causing Other ISPs To Ramp Up Servcies

It’s always good to see one company’s action forcing every competitor to enhance their service and the price to stay in the business, because in any case it’s a win-win situation for end users as long as it’s implemented properly. This is a classic example as the presence of Google Fiber and its expansion throughout United States is forcing Internet Service Providers to significantly boost their offerings in their packages before it’s too late.

Time Warner and Comcast does have the infrastructure and capacity to significantly boost the internet speed for the benefit of its subscribers and always could do so as said by an analyst of Bernstein Research, Craig Moffet. He also said that the companies make 97% profit margins on internet services alone.

To those who don’t know, Google Fiber provides 1 Gigabit internet connection and started from Kansas City, then expanding to Austin, Texas and then Provo, Utah. What’s makes this very interesting is that this speed is 100 times more than what an end user gets on an average.

Akamai states when Google Fiber was implemented in Q4 2012 at Kansas City, there was a massive jump in average internet speed consumption in comparison with Q4 2011, showing a boost of 84%. The second highest boost that was observed during this time was in Wyoming with 51% boost. David Belson did publish Akamai’s ‘state of internet report’ noted:

“It could be the case that the other incumbent providers were going, ‘Oh, crap, we stand to potentially lose subscribers to this deal with Google if we don’t provide competitive service,’”

Now that the gigabit speed implementation has help the customers to have one more option to seriously consider, it will be interesting to see how the average internet speed consumption rates after a period of time, and which companies benefits and suffers in gaining and losing their subscriber base.

Source: Technology Review

McAfee Secures Patent That Can prevent Users From Accessing Illegally Downloadable Content

McAfee was able to patent a new technology which prevents an end user from accessing pirated content such as music, movies, games and softwares. This will be implemented in the existing SiteAdvisor tool which will now be used to detect and block websites where you can gain access to pirate material.

The patent is titled “Detect and prevent illegal consumption of content on the internet.” which shows a blocklist type systems which will either warns its customers, block the websites’ access or offers the legal option.

McAfee reason in doing so? It will help the consumer to stay away from unauthorized content and educating consumers on how to make the legal choices when they want to consume entertainment online, and helping from potentially facing a lawsuit from the content’s owners. But this will most likely please copyright holders since trying to convince search engine companies and internet service providers to stop from accessing such content didn’t go as they would hope. Whether this will work effectively or not, or if this would make not to use McAfee is entirely another issue.

McAfee has this solution embedded on SiteAdvisor Tool which will be for individual customers and for business clients. This works by detecting illegal content in search engines and puts up a warning label. But this also works in social networking sites such as facebook, basically the same way how browsers like Firefox respond to websites infected with malware or any malicious codes.

The company says,“One major reason for concern is a possible violation of an Intellectual Property right and the potential cost ramifications associated with such a violation. A second major concern could relate to potential threats cause by some unauthorized distributions. For example, it is not uncommon for an unauthorized distribution of material on the Internet to include malicious material.”

Source: Torrent Freak

The Next Generation Xbox To Be Revealed On May 21

Its been confirmed that Microsoft will be launching their next generation Xbox on May 21st. Even thought the rumours that were circling around about the next generation gaming console’s launch in may is now being confirmed, there is no information yet about the name of the console, or any official pictures.

But Microsoft’s spokesman ‘Major Nelson’ did say the following in his blog:

On Tuesday May 21st, we’ll mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV and entertainment. On that day, we’ll be holding a special press event on the Xbox campus and we invite you to join us via the live global stream that will be available on Xbox.com, Xbox LIVE and broadcast on Spike TV if you are in the US or Canada.

On that day, we’ll share our vision for Xbox, and give you a real taste of the future. Then, 19-days later at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, we’ll continue the conversation and showcase our full lineup of blockbuster games.

We are thrilled to pull back the curtain and reveal what we’ve been working on.

A New Generation Revealed Xbox Campus, Redmond WA Tuesday, May 21st @ 1p ET/10a PT/17:00 GMT

So far Sony ‘announced’ PlayStation 4, although no photos or presentation with the console was ever done. Microsoft’s console, codename ‘Durango’ is said to require the new version of Kinect and requires ‘online-only’ to allow gameplay.

The invitation for Microsoft’s unveiling, hopefully with an actual console during the presentation, have been given to the media. Now its only a matter of time when we’ll officially know how good or bad Microsoft’s new Xbox is.

Source: Kotaku

Apple Returns 8 Million Defective iPhones To Foxconn


Apple Inc. have reported that they have returned 5 to 8 Million iPhones back to Foxconn as they were unfit to sell. A batch of those units were returned due to ‘appearance of non-compliant or dysfunctional problems. Each iPhones carry a manufacturing price tag of $200 and to make it worse, depending on the model the repairability of the device is extremely difficult which will be one of the main reasons for a significant cost increase.

The report didn’t specify which iPhone model, but this would make Foxconn profits to go back as high as $1 Billion to $1.6 Billion by providing replacement units. But it was pointed out easier that returned iPhone 5 and 4S would slow down Apple’s supply chain, but won’t affect the brand. The massive returns however was an unforeseen circumstances, which may force Apple to delay the announcement of its newer devices. Foxconn takes a bigger hit as it was reported earlier that lesser demands of Foxconn did not earn them similar profit numbers as before as there was a sharp 19% decline in sales compared to last year.

Printed media ‘China Business’ mentioned in their paper:

Apple has returned over 800 million [Typo on the newspaper] iPhone units as faulty, and this could be a huge loss for Foxconn that can amount up to US$ 256.8 million. Foxconn would now have to re-manufacture the returned phones incurring further labour expenses that can add up the production prices. The company would be required to replace the faulty parts with working ones. This has not been the first time that such a major production problem has happened with Apple iPhones. Foxconn has been one of the top manufacturers for Apple iPhones and other top mobiles. The total estimated cost for replacing over 8 million faulty phones could be around 1.6 billion Yuan that is about US$256.8 million.

Foxconn only said,”Foxconn follows a strict policy of not commenting on specific customers or products that we produce.”

Source: Forbes

Japanese Police Target TOR Anonymous Browsing, Plans To Block The Browser


The Japanese have put together a report for the National Police Agency made by technology experts. The panel was formed to find a way to tackles crimes committed by those who have used TOR network for being anonymous as they are trying to catch a called a hacker called ‘Demon Killer’. Investigations are getting affected due to TOR (The Onion Router) network as it allows people to use the web without surrendering your identity data that websites typically get to know.

To those who don’t know, TOR works by sending the data traffic to its end user by using series of routers arranged in layers like an onion. The amount of layers makes it difficult to find out who is browsing a site and what activity one is involved in during that time.

But because of this the police are unable to track ‘Demon Killer’ who began to threaten to bomb schools and nurseries via messages posted on online forums. The police even arrested four people but later found that they were victims whose machines were being used by TOR network. Currently there’s a reward of £20,000 offered to those who can provide any information about the hacker.

The Police report made a recommendation that access to TOR network needs to be shut down as it can be used by hackers and criminals for number of crimes, including online murder threats, theft, copying and leaking security information.

Japanese ISP has no so far not welcomed this recommendation yet.

Source: BBC

IBM in talks with Lenovo over x86 server business sale

IBM is looking forward to having the Chinese based PC maker Lenovo as it plans to sell off its system x server business for $5 Billion to $6 Billion. IBM is selling away their business division which sells low cost x86 servers usually used by corporate data centers.

Lenovo and Apple are the only computer companies that have been having consistent growth even during the first quarter of 2013 where everyone has been observing dramatic decline in PC Sales. Lenovo currently has overtaken Dell’s #2 spot in PC market share and plans to overtake HP to become the world’s largest PC marker. Lenovo did have the #1 title for a brief moment in Q3 2012, as pointed out by IDC.

Since Lenovo is doing well in Consumer PC business, having a low cost x86 business server unit will help the company to get an advantage to compete with HP and Dell who are well established in that business.
IBM recently as announced disappointing earning during Q1 2013 with a 1% profit decline and because of it they’ve missed the financial forecasts by $1.3 Billion.

Lenovo did admit that there are negotions going on, but it did avoid mentioning IBM’s name Lenovo recently mentioend it in their clarification announcement to stockholders that,”[Lenovo] is in preliminary negotiations with a third party in connection with a potential acquisition”, adding that “no material terms concerning the Potential Acquisition have been agreed and the Company has not entered into any definitive agreement.”

Source: TechSpot

World’s first smartphone for the blind developed using braille characters


An Indian based startup company recently announced that they’ve created the world’s first smartphone for the blind.

Sumit Dagar of Braille phone said,”We have created the world’s first Braille smartphone. This product is based on an innovative ‘touch screen’ which is capable of elevating and depressing the contents it receives to transform them into ‘touchable’ patterns.”

He also added,”It comes out as a companion more than a phone to the user. We plan to do more advanced versions of the phone in the future.”

The phone does not use a screen. It uses “Shape Memory Alloy Technology” which basically uses metals which can remember their original shape. The phone uses floating pins in the shape of braille characters which can rise or fall according to the message.

The response during its testing phase also seems promising as Dagar pointed it out. The phone’s design stage started three years ago as he was studying for India’s National Institute of Design. With this idea, he quit his job, reached out to a few companies and started focussing on making a phone for the blind. He then started a new venture called Kriyate Design Solutions and had a team of six engineers and designers who worked very hard on the phone. The funding for the project came from Rolex’s Young Laureates Program which gave the new company the money required to complete this project.

Source: VR-Zone

Apple’s Graphic Chip Designer moves to AMD


AMD has informed that Raja Koduri, a former director of graphics architecture at Apple is now rejoining AMD after 4 years. He will be taking the role of Corporate vice president of AMD’s graphics business, visual computing and will be reporting to Mark Papermaster.

Mr. Koduri started his career as Director and Engineering manager for S3, Inc. and then moved to ATI Technology as director of Advancaced Technology Development in 2001. after which AMD acquired the company in 2006. Eventually, Mr. Koduri moved up and became the company’s Chief Technology Officer of the graphics product group. He then left the company in 2009 to work with Apple.

Papermaster said,”Maintaining AMD’s position as a leader in visual computing is the key to our long-term success. As one of the industry’s foremost experts in developing leading-edge visual computing solutions, Raja brings exceptional vision and strength to AMD’s world-class engineering leadership team. Given his past record of success, Raja will help AMD lead the way in visual and accelerated computing and ensure we continue developing the industry-leading graphics IP that forms the foundation for our future growth.”

But this isn’t the first time there have been executives moving between AMD and Apple. Jim Keller who served as a director for Apple’s architecture group was named to be AMD’s Corporate Vice President and Chief Microprocessor Architect. Mark Papermaster was Apple’s former hardware chief. The previous hardware chief was John Bruno, who left AMD to work with Apple.

But AMD wanted Koduri to work for them again and was able to do so. Now that Keller and Koduri are under AMDs roof, the joint expertise will help to push forward AMD’s SOC strategy of having multiple features in a central chip.

AMD earlier reported a 31% loss in a year-to-year comparison, but has been a minor loss when comparing Q1 2013 with the previous quarter.

Source: Toms’ Hardware

Intel shows 25% Loss In The Q1 2013 Financial Report

On Tuesday, Intel released its Q1 2013 earnings report which showed that there business has went down to 25% which earned them $ 2.045 Billion as compared to $2.738 Billion that they’ve earned during Q1 2012.
Paul Otellini, Intel’s CEO, said in a statement,”Amidst market softness, Intel performed well in the first quarter and I’m excited about what lies ahead for the company. We shipped our next-generation PC microprocessors, introduced a new family of products for micro-servers, and will ship our new tablet and smartphone microprocessors this quarter.”

The company also said that they will be reducing their 2013 annual capital spending plan from $13 Billion to $12 Billion +/- $ 500 Million.

Stacy Rasgon who is one of the analyst for Bernstein Research noted in an investor’s note,”Intel is in a battle of survival—not only do they need to penetrate massively into the computing spaces currently dominated by the ARM camp, but they also need to keep the ARM camp from burrowing their way upward into the PC space. This will only get harder (and more confusing) as the lines between PCs and tablets further blur.”

Intel also says that it predicts even more decline sales of at least 8% in Q2 2013 report. The chipmaker says that this is happening as PC marketing is shrinking worldwide as the popularity of tablets and smartphones are increasing.

As pointed out by Reuters, Chief Financial officer for Intel told analysts that the upcoming Haswell processor family for desktops and as well as new ultrathin notebook lines and an improving economy will help the chipmaker to revive growth in the company during the second half of the year.

It has also been noted that there has been 14% decrease of PC sales in Q1 2013, showing the biggest decline in 2 decades, also stating the reason that buyers have been avoiding Windows 8, as pointed out earlier by IDC. Dell also blamed Windows 8 in the past.

VIA: Ars Technica

Intel May Feature SATA Express Interface In Their Intel 9-Series Chipset


In just 2 months from now, Intel would be launching their 4th Generation Core series ‘Haswell’ processor family followed by 8-Series ‘Lynx Point’ motherboard chips.

The 8 Series Lynx Point Chipset will be providing SATA III bandwidth on all 6 SATA ports. If looking at things with Intel’s current generation of motherboard chipsets, the 7th series chips can only support a combination of 2x SATA III ports.

But according to the roadmap VR-Zone Chinese edition provide, it seems that Intel is preparing 2 new chipset in the 9th Series lineup most likely to be introduced with ‘Broadwell’: Z97 to target enthusiasts and H97 made primarily for mainstream end-users.

The 9 Series maybe the first class of motherboard to feature SATA Express. There’s no clear information yet, but it seems that SATA Express is currently being drafted by the SATA I-O and classified under ‘SATA Rev 3.2’. SATA Express is a SATA link layer over the chipset’s PCIe channels, but it does maintain backward compatibility with existing and older SATA standards, but with reduced performance speed in comparison with this standard.

If this is true and if Intel does implement this on the 9 Series motherboards, SATA Express could provide 1000 MB/s of bandwidth throughput per direction for hard drives.

Via: Techpowerup!

Samsung Admitted Comment Smear Campaign Against HTC

Samsung admitted that they hired students to put up comments about HTC’s product to bring them in the wrong light. It was earlier reported that Taiwanese authorities are investigating a complaint that Samsung and a local agent have hired student to put negative comments against HTC and bring Samsung on a positive note.

They were specifically hired by a local marketing agency to claim in 3rd part websites, and forums with complaints ranging from “his girlfriend’s HTC One X constantly crashes” and comparisons about Samsung’s Galaxy Note being superior to HTC’s Sensation XL. Some even went ahead by posting benchmarks and showing that Samsung Galaxy S3’s battery life and graphics are much better than HTC One X.

Samsung Electronics Taiwan issued a statement saying that the ‘unfortunate incident’ did occur, and they have stopped all marketing activities relevant to the smear campaign. The company now (and unsurprisingly) says that they will adhere to ‘transparent and honest communication with consumers’.

It was Taiwanese-based website TaiwanSamsungLeaks which published documents showing that Samsung did hire marketing agency which catalogued different forum posts of local tech forums that it made last year. It was at he time of reporting Taiwan’s FTC said that if Samsung found guilty, Samsung will have to pay a fine of upto $835,000 as its the violation of fair trade rules.

This is something that anyone will say that its cheap thing to do, especially from a Tier 1 brand that dominating in worldwide sales in smartphones.

But looking at how things are currently, it wouldn’t be surprising if there is an influx of such marketing agencies putting up faux reviews praising about their brand, or worse,  bashing others. Its been reported by Social Media Today that 71% agree that ‘consumer reviews make them more comfortable that they are buying the right product’ (thanks for sharing, Cam! :D). In fact, on the chart it shows that FTC fined a company called Legacy Learning Systems fined $250,000 for paying fake reviewers to generate more sales.

All we can hope is that associations and bodies like FTC identify and take appropriate actions. Consumer reviews can be seen anywhere, from the forums and even in online retail websites.

Source: PCWorld

Indian Consortiums In Talks With The government To Build Microprocessor Fab Plants

India maybe known as of one the favourable locations for outsourcing, but the government wants to have a homegrown industry for computer hardware.

The government officials hope that it could start this manufacturing business of computer goods by offering certain incentives. Currently the government has a broad definition of ‘locally made PC hardware’ since very few electronics are currently made here. As of now, Dot-matrix printers which is outdated in most parts of the world is one of the few products India manufacturers. According to Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology, 400,000 dot matrix printers were sold in India by the end of March 31st, which shows 2% increase in comparison to last year. There are many assembly lines for PC and other hardware made by Lenovo and Dell.

Keeping aside the manufacturing of the end products, the country hopes to build a fabrication plant for processors which would as high as $5 Billion to build. There’s also a requirement that Chip makers will need large amount of clean water and reliable energy supply.

Dr. Ajay Kumar, Joint Secretary of the Department and Information Technology said,”If at least 30 percent of a computer’s components are made in India, then it would qualify. The policy also allows prospective suppliers to show “value addition” in lieu of actually manufacturing the goods in India.”

According to few reports, 2 consortiums have been negotiating with the government to build microprocessor foundries, one of them being led by Jaypee Group, one of the largest construction companies which was the one who built the Formula One Track in Uttar Pradesh. The construction company has partnered with IBM. The second consortium is lead by Hindustan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation. Despite the name suggest, this is an American based company and does not manufacture chips, but it has partnered with Geneva-based chip maker STMicroelectronics.

Ron Sommers, the president of U.S.- India Business Council doubts that India would be able to provide the infrastructure and resources required for the chip fabrication plans as the country required basic infrastructure required to supply power to keep the lights on. He also pointed out that there have been many failed attempts to set up chip plans in the past.

There are other issues as well. Critics note that if India wants to encourage high-tech manufacturing of processors and good, it will have to reduce some of its barriers to do business. PVG Menon, President of Indian Electronics and Semiconductor Manufacturing Association said that import duty on finished products is cheaper than on components and also pointed out that the end product maybe more expensive due to lack of reliable power and extra time taken to move good due to poor roads in many locations. An anonymous industrial official said,”They flew in their suppliers from China and Taiwan to see if they could set up facilities. They said no. The market is too small, and logistically it is a nightmare.”

But India does have infrastructure of manufacturing and a very successful business model. In the 1980s, India has opened its doors to automotive industry to foreign companies, where Suzuki Motors have bought a stake in Maruti Udhyog in 1982. Currently, India is the 6th largest auto industry in the world because of the eco-system that the government created in the past.

Source: NY Times

Taiwan Investigating Samsung’s Malicious Comments Attack Against HTC

The authorities in Taiwan have launched an investigation after received complaints that Korean Electronics giant Samsung apparently hired students to post hateful comments about the products made by Taiwan based company HTC.

Complaints started coming in from this month from online users who alleged that Samsung Taiwan hired students through a local ad agent to write online articles against HTC and recommending Samsung phones. However, Samsung Taiwan says that they have not been contacted about the investigation by the Fair Trade Commission. Currently Samsung Taiwan has announced in their Facebook page that they’ve stopped all their internet marketing and posting contents on their website.

The authorities will also be probing into complaints that Samsung’s involvement in false advertising. If these allegations are true, Samsung and its local advertising agent will be found guilt and will have to pay a fine of $809,000.

FTC’s spokesman Sun Lih-Chyun said,”The case was set up last week after we received complaints.”

To note, Samsung was fined by the FTC for about of approximately $ 10,023 earlier this year for misleading advertising about the Samsung Galaxy Y Duos GT-S6102 camera functions. This could turn out to be a bigger trouble if Samsung is found guilty of such activities, possibility even buyers would think twice before reading Pro-Samsung user reviews/ articles.

As of now, Samsung is holding 30.3% share in global smartphone market, followed by Apple with 19.1% and HTC with 4.6%.

Source: The Inquirer

Google Releases Tech Specs Of Glass Explorer Editions

Google recently released Glass API, along with the specs for the Glass Explorer Editions. One of the key specs is that it uses 5 Megapixel camera that can take 720p Videos as well. It has 16GB storage with 12GB as usable storage.

One of the coolest feature is the bone conduction transducer which can send sound from the Google Glass, through the bones of the wearer skull for the sound to reach to the inner ear.

But the Glass will be using 802.11 B/G Wi-Fi, probably either to save energy and use a smaller chip size that support the current 802.11 ac standard. Google also says that their display is equivalent of a 25″ HD TV when you view it at a distance of about 8 feet away.

Here are the full specs:

Fit

  • Adjustable nosepads and durable frame fits any face.
  • Extra nosepads in two sizes.

Display

  • High resolution display is the equivalent of a 25 inch high definition screen from eight feet away.

Camera

  • Photos – 5 MP
  • Videos – 720p

Audio

  • Bone Conduction Transducer

Connectivity

  • Wifi – 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth

Storage

  • 12 GB of usable memory, synced with Google cloud storage. 16 GB Flash total.

Battery

  • One full day of typical use. Some features, like Hangouts and video recording, are more battery intensive.

Charger

  • Included Micro USB cable and charger.
  • While there are thousands of Micro USB chargers out there, Glass is designed and tested with the included charger in mind. Use it and preserve long and prosperous Glass use.

Compatibility

  • Any Bluetooth-capable phone.
  • The MyGlass companion app requires Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher. MyGlass enables GPS and SMS messaging.

Source: Techcrunch

Sony-backed ISP launches fastest internet connection for a home user with 2Gbps speed


So-net Entertainment, Japanese internet service provider backed by Sony, has launched their ‘Nuro’ fiber-based 2Gbps Internet surface, most likely the fastest internet connection in the world for home use. The company uses a service called Gigabit-capable Optics network (GPON) which allows 2.488 Gbps downstream.

The connection started on Monday, and it will provided to homes, apartments and even small businesses in Tokyo and six prefectures. The connection will cost U.S. $51 per month with a 2 year contract, followed by Approx. U.S. $535 as Installation fee which is currently waived off those who apply for the connection via online, which will include optical network unit which is designed to handle high speeds.
The user will be getting an upload speed of 1 Gbps.

The Japanese government has been strongly promoting fiber connections for residences, therefore making them as one of the world leaders for fiber connections. About 25% of the residences in the country use the fiber, which makes it second highest rate in the world to adopt this connection type. UAE starts at #1 spot with over 70%. Most of the population in Tokyo reside in very small apartments, therefore making it easier for the companies to install fiber services. As of now, providing 1Gbps connection is very common.

ONU are used in homes and small business to convert fiber to broadband internet as the speed exceeds the bandwidth throughput of most consumer-grade network adapters, therefore the end users are unlikely to see 2Gbps speeds.

Source: PC World

OCZ Threatened To Be Delisted From NASDAQ, Again!

OCZ Technology seems to be in lot of trouble as the SSD maker has received a letter from the NASDAQ stock exchange if they do not disclose their earnings of the quarter ended in August, 2012. The company has disclosed that it received a non-compliance letter from NASDAQ specifically to the part where they haven’t disclosed their earning yet. To qualify to be listed in NASDAQ, one of the terms is that companies need to disclose their quarterly earnings.

Back in 2012, OCZ claimed that they have been working diligently to complete the financial review, but it cannot estimate when it will finish. All they’ve said is that it will be completed ‘soon’. The company also said that they have upto 60 days to submit their financial earning report to regain compliance, but NASDAQ has a rule which allows upto 180 days.

However looking at things now, things do not look good especially when they also have to submit financial reports for the quarter which ended at November 30th, 2012. As far as report is concerned, OCZ says that they have made ‘substantial’ progress to complete their financial report for the quarters and be filing periodic reports to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

It now depends on NASDAQ’s Panel to grant the company’s stay of delisting action.

The company has been having series of issues for a very long time and because of their financial problems, the company was force to lay off majority of their staff members. It was rumoured that the company may release OCZ Vertex 5, but OCZ also pointed out not to expect Vertex 5 anytime soon.

Source: Tweaktown

Gigabyte officially opens up a dedicated OC Lab at their Taiwan HQ

Gigabyte Taiwan has officially opened their OC Lab at the 4th floor in their Headquarters, and it looks all new and shiny!

The setup has been so nicely that any extreme overclocker will appreciate the money, time and effort being put up to put a lab dedicated for overclocking by a company. The lab is divided into 3 dedicated OC stations which can accommodate upto six overclockers, a mini-bar and a seating area but a whiteboard for team discussions and brainstorming, together with a very large thank of Liquid Nitrogen tucked in a corner and closet big enough to hold a lot of motherboards and other PC components.

With a lab like this, one shouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people end up spending few days in the lab and doing their thing.

This all happened because of HiCookie who works very hard to get his opinions and his dreams heard. HiCookie joined Gigabyte as technical marketing in 2006 and since then overclocking as evolved from a time when companies were afraid to talk about certain technical aspected about a product, to brands with a dedicated staff who can and will satisfy the overclocking community with different skillsets.

Its because of this evolutionary process that lead one after the other, the community has grown where even companies work with overclockers, whether they’re officially employed or not.

For those who wish to see the video of the lab, can do so over here.

Source: HWBOT

Corsair soon to launch Obsidian 350D M-ATX Chassis

Corsair is planning to launch their new and premium version Micro-ATX form factor gaming case similar to the looks of its flagship model, 900D. The Obsidian 350D’s press shots were leaked recently.

Its been said that the case would measure 450 X 210 X 440mm. By the looks of it, the case retain similar design patterns of 900D and most likely use solid steel construction with brushed aluminum finish on the front. It would also have 2x 5.25″ bays, 2x USB 3.0 and the Audio jacks.

By looks of the case through its acrylic side panels, it features 2x 3.5″ bays on the bottom and maybe 3x modular 2.5″ bay on the top portion of the case. The gap in the middle will allow longer graphic cards to be installed. It is also being told that the case will have 2x 140mm vents on the top with a 1x 140mm fan and a 1x 120mm fan on the rear. The should allow to install 240mm radiators on the top and on the front easily. The case comes with 3 years warranty period

Its said that Obsidian will release sometime between April to May. Currently its listed in Newegg as “Out of Stock” item.

Source: Tech Powerup!

U.S. & China To Setup A Joint Cyber Security Team

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the United States and China has agreed that both the countries need to work on Cyber Security. This would be an area where both the countries, especially China, will be able to earn each other’s trust and cooperation, as told by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

It wasn’t too long ago when both countries have accused eachother of series of cyber attacks. It was recently when U.S. said that the attacks originated from China, and they have targetted U.S. government corporates using computer networks to steal data from the respected sectors. It was also been said by a security firm that China has a secret military facility unit which is most likely where the attack originated from. China on the other hand claimed that it was a series of a large-scale attack, but it was then officials and business executives who attended China- U.S. Internet industry forum in Beijing said that both parties need to find a common ground.

Under Secretary of State of Economic Affairs Robert Hormats said in the forum,”It’s important to have a dialogue on this, but it’s also important that the dialogue be a means to an end, and the end is really ending these practices.”

Kerry said that “[Cyber Security] affects the financial sector, banks, financial transactions, every aspect of nations in modern times are affected by the use of cyber networking and obviously all of us – every nation – has an interest in protecting its people, protecting its rights, protecting its infrastructure”.

Its still unclear if U.S. will be allowed Chinese made hardware to be used in government sectors, especially in NASA, Judiciary and police departments.

Source: Reuters

FCC To Give Small Carriers A Chance

The Anti-trust division justice Departments tells FCC that that they need to make sure that smaller wireless carrier companies, Sprint and T- Mobile, need to get access to low-frequency spectrum during the auction to ensure that the competition is maintained.

Currently, FCC is drafting the rules for spectrum auctions of the spectrum that TV broadcasters are giving up, making way for wireless broadband companies to take it instead. This is particular for spectrum below 1 GHz. usually at 600 MHz. This has a higher value as it the wireless carrier can travel long distances and even penetrate through buildings. Justice Department however requests that FCC should include a rule to address this issue by providing a cap. Large wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon already have a substantial amount of 700MHz frequency spectrum which allowed them to build their 4G LTE networks.

The Department said in a filling to the FCC,”The Department concludes that rules that ensure the smaller nationwide networks, which currently lack substantial low-frequency spectrum, have an opportunity to acquire such spectrum could improve the competitive dynamic among nationwide carriers and benefit consumers. The more concentrated a wireless market is, the more likely a carrier will find it profitable to acquire spectrum with the aim of raising competitors’ costs. This could take the shape, for example, of pursuing spectrum in order to prevent its use by a competitor, independent of how efficiently the carrier uses the spectrum.”

Larry Krevor, Vice President for Government Affairs, Spring said,”The Justice Department is absolutely right. Ensuring that all carriers, large and small, have access to the low-band spectrum would improve competition and benefit consumers. We are hopeful that the FCC will adopt policies which recognize the importance of low-band spectrum to wireless competition and the American economy as a whole.”
AT&T and Verizon on the other hand argued that any limitation during the auction will limit their participation.

Source: CNET

Intel Partners With China’s Largest Search Engine, Baidu


Intel has signed up with China’s Baidu to make mobile apps. The company however that having a joint lab is a part of the agreement that both the companies have signed on Thursday.

Intel is focussing on developing many software catering to the Chinese users in the country. Intel will be able to sell their products as they’re getting a backing from the Chinese developers, whereas Baidu in return will be getting access to Intel- Powered hardware and devices- PCs, Tablets, Smartphones. Together they will be testing and porting software for Baidu and Intel powered devices.

Intel didn’t reveal how much amount was spent for the new lab, but both the company intend to limit the partnership agreement only to software and hardware integration, and not smartphone development. Intel will also be making newer software tool for the Chinese developers. Baidu intends to have mobile apps around its search engine and also have mapping technology, followed by products with voice-command feature and facial recognition. In 2011, the Chinese Search Giant made their own Android based mobile OS called Baidu Cloud which comes with many pre-loaded Baidu apps and services. However, the adoption of this OS is not yet widespread in the count and so far it comes pre-installed only on six smartphones so far.

Intel’s presence in the smartphone business in China has started growing ever since they’ve started delivering chips for the nation’s market. Chinese based company, Lenovo unveiled their K900 smartphone which uses Intel’s “Clovertrail+” processors, followed by ZTE called ZTE Geek.

Intel’s general manager for developer relations said,”If you are a developer, you will now have more choices of platform and more opportunities in business.”

Source: Info World

WordPress Powered Websites Under By Brute-Force By Bot-Nets


It has been reporting by hosting companies like HostGator and even CDN service ‘CloudFlare’ that there are unknown people behind highly distributed global attacks via brute force attempts using more than 90,000 IP addressing trying to crack in websites using content management software WordPress’s default or commonly used administrative credentials.

One of the hosting companies that have put up a warning about such attacks have warned that attackers are planning to build botnets using infected computers, even said that it will be stronger and more destructive than the attacks been done till now.

Matthew Prince, CEO of CloudFlare said in the company’s blog,”These larger machines can cause much more damage in DDoS attacks because the servers have large network connections and are capable of generating significant amounts of traffic.”

CloudFlare even added that the brute force botnet forces itself through the administrative login port of the WordPress powered website using names such as ‘admin’ and commonly used passwords. Attacks originate from thousands of IP addresses. Hostgator till now found more than 900,000 IP addresses being used to such a high scale brute force attack.

As of now, WordPress has made series of advice for having a strong enough password, but companies like Hostgator suggest a better way for securing WordPress powered websites.

Even during October last year, six of the largest U.S. banks had their web servers compromised as they’ve been attacked by having their sites flooded with above average web traffic hits. It was then identified that the botnet ‘itsoknoproblembro’ and ‘Brobot’ have been using.

Source: Ars Technica

Q1 2013 Record Shows PC Sales Still Falling Due To Windows 8


Microsoft’s Windows 8 and its respected PC Manufacturers are still having a hard time as research firm IDC indicated that there is a decline of 14% and was also recorded as the largest decline ever since its two decades of tracking PC sales record.

Earlier, IDC anticipated a fall of 8%, but after the official reports Bob O’ Donnel of IDC said that the sales drops are huge and disastrous. O’ Donnel was also one of the key analysts who blamed Windows 8 to be the only reason of PC sales decline. He added,”Not only has Windows 8 not helped, but it’s actually hurt PC shipments.”

He even questioned Microsoft’s attempt in pushing forward touch panel interface for desktops He said,”The costs associated with touch PCs have made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices. Microsoft is going to have to make some very tough decisions moving forward if they want to help reinvigorate the PC market.”

But according to Jay Chou, another analyst from IDC said that Windows 8 was nothing more than a contributor for the decline of PC shipment and sales decline. David Daoud expected that the PC business will still continue to decline. However he does expect an improvement during the second half of 2013. He rejected the idea that the PC business will fall soon, saying that PC is still going to be around for a while.

Another research firm, Gartner, said that the reason for declining PC Sales is the booming business of tablet and smartphones which also built a pressure on Microsoft. They will be having its quarterly earnings meeting with Wall Street Analysts on April 18th where they’ll reveal revenue sales from Windows.

Source: Computer World

Hon Hai Electronics’ Sees 19% Profit Decline Due To Weak iPhone Demand


Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. saw a disappointing and unexpected decline for the Apple’s iPhone in the first quarter of 2013. The reports show that there’s a 19% decline of iPhone sales in comparison with Q1 2012. Hon Hai’s 60-70% revenue is depended on iPhone and iPad’s sales. There if Apple, Inc. cannot push or introduce their product to bring their demand of their products back to how it was before, Hon Hai and Apple, Inc. will be facing huge profit decline on a quarterly basis.

Its also reported by IDC that iPad shipments will be down to 46% in 2013, in comparison with 51% as on 2012.

The demand for Apple iPhone and iPad are declining in the smartphone and tablet market because of Android’s popularity and demand. It is reported that in the tablet market, Android devices are currently enjoying a share of 49% in 2013, in comparison with 42% share in 2012.

Apple, Inc. is having a hard time to maintain its consistency of sales and even that reflected on company’s shares as the prices fell down from $102.10 in September to $426.98 at the time of writing. Apple, Inc is facing a lot of competition  from Samsung alone as the Korean giant is not only pushing its android powered devices, but also Samsung is set to compete with Apple in Wearable device race.

It should be noted that Microsoft is desperately trolling Google’s Android using the “Scroogle” ad campaign, however at this point its uncertain if it will work for Microsoft or not.

Hon Hai posted their sales earning of ($1 = 30.0010 Taiwan dollars) T$808.87 Billion for Q1 2013, which is a significant drop from their Q4 2012 reports which indicated that the company earned T$988.34 Billion and a decline of T$1 Trillion in comparison with Q1 2012.

What would Apple, Inc. do to pull their consumers attention?

Source: Daily Tech

Counter-Strike Saves 3 Local Kids In Phillipines


While many politicians and ‘experts’ will make a conclusion that violent video games promote violence (Ironically, one following such ‘logic’ isn’t pointing fingers towards Hollywood Action Movies), at the very same time, whatever one may think about action/ violent games, it saved the lives of 3 children who were playing with grenades unaware of what it was if it wasn’t for another kid who had seen the game of Counter-Strike.

Three children were found playing with live grenades in Barangay Looc, Manduae City located in the Phillipines. Police immediately rushed to recover and defuse those grenades that were found in a vacant lot of a scrap yard.

Credits to a 12-year-old Jose Darwin Garciano who warned his friends not to play with it as the grenades can explode and kill them, just like how it happens in Counter-Strike. To those who don’t know, Counter-Strike is a tactical first person which started as a mod for Half Life where player either play as terrorist or counter-terrorist team with a goal of eliminating eachother.

The grenades were found by Elmer Rigodo when he heard a crack coming from a biscuit container after they were goofing off with their cartwheel. What’s even more disturbing was that one of the kids, Salili, tried to polish the bronze coloured grenade by rubbing it on the oil. That’s when Garciano saw the grenades and immediately warned his friends.

The hero of the 3 kids said in Filipino,”We got curious as it’s our first time to see what an explosive looks like!” and also said that he knew it would explode as he has seen it in a counter strike game.

Once the kids told to one of the residents, he informed the police who have sent a special weapons and tactics team who then placed a bomb blanket over the grenades. One of the bomb technicians said the children were lucky that the grenades did not explode while they were playing with it.

Source: Cebu Daily News