Google’s First Social Network to be Shut Down Later This Year

When to comes to social networking, Facebook is in arguably the most popular and the most well-known platform on the internet today, however there are a multitude of other networks that are available around the globe with a few of these coming from Google. Back in 2004, Google unveiled their first take on social networking with Orkut. Like many things though, a number of these from Google themselves, Orkut is getting the axe as it doesn’t attract the same amount of interest as their other social media platforms such as Google+.

After ten years of action, Orkut users will have the option to export their profiles and information over to Google Takeout after which the site will be shut down for good on 30th September. Although this is not the first social platform to get the axe from Google, it has stood its ground for the longest and even though it has been taken in quite well over in Brazil, on the greater scale its resources could be better spent in other areas of development.

From a business perspective the shut down is a wise move as Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO suggests as he admits that they were a little late to jump on the social media platform all those years ago.

“Over the past decade, YouTube, Blogger and Google+ have taken off, with communities springing up in every corner of the world,” the Orkut team wrote in a blog post. “Because the growth of these communities has outpaced Orkut’s growth, we’ve decided to bid Orkut farewell (or, tchau). We’ll be focusing our energy and resources on making these other social platforms as amazing as possible for everyone who uses them.”

With many users opting for Facebook and G+, Orkuts farewell may not have such a negative impact as some users may suggest, but even that said we have to admit at times that Google may have been better of admitting defeat a little earlier on.

Source: Reuters India

Kickstarter Campaign ‘Reading Rainbow’ Most Successful Campaign To Date

Back in the 80’s, Reading Rainbow was one of the best known educational programs going, teaching kids of all ages how to read and when it came off air in 2006, many thought this would be the last we would see of one of the best educational programmes of recent times. This however has been far from the case as LeVar Burton has been busy working away behind the scenes to give it a more modern comeback. A couple of years back saw part of the homecoming with the launch of a mobile app for tablets and smartphones and whilst this is a great way to spread the tool out to the masses, Burton has wanted more so he turned to crowd funding site Kickstarter, asking for $1 Million to help him to develop Reading Rainbow for all platforms.

Compared to some of the most well know campaigns of recent times however, Burton could not have expected to get the amount of backing that he has had to date. In the space of 11 hours from the point of launch, Burton’s campaign hit its target and since then it has gone on to reach close to $5 million with only a couple of days left to go. Not only this, but the campaign has seen support from over 90,000 backers – more than any other campaign to date – working out at a rough bid of around $50 person.

Hi. LeVar Burton here. You may know me as Kunta Kinte, from ROOTS, or Geordi La Forge, from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

You also may have grown up with me on Reading Rainbow.

It was my mother who taught me that, by picking up a book, I could “go anywhere” and “be anything.” Ever since Reading Rainbow began in 1983, I have dedicated myself to fostering a love of reading in children, just as my mother did for me.

Over the past year, I have watched Kickstarter bring communities together to support artists and inventors. Again and again, I have been inspired by watching like-minded people team up to accomplish impossible dreams, and to change the world.

Now, I am hoping you will join me on my mission: to bring Reading Rainbow back for every child, everywhere.

Together, we can change the lives of millions of children. But you don’t have to take my word for it: just keep reading!

With so much funding on tap, LeVar and his team are looking to push out the reading programme to as many schools and platforms as possible, with the aim to reduce the number of children that have difficulty in reading at their age levels.

If you want to find out more information on the Reading Rainbow Campaign or you want to help towards the eduction of children around the world (as that is effectively what you are doing, but on a massive scale) head over to its campaign page over on Kickstarter.

Google Glass Banned in UK Cinemas Due to Piracy Fears

It was just one week ago when Google Glass was opened up to UK residents, and it didn’t take long before there was a bit of fallout regarding the popular wearable.

Due to increased concern of film piracy, ‘Glassholes’ will not be allowed to wear Glass into cinema auditoriums, it was recently announced.  The practice of camcording, which typically results in lower-quality pirated videos, is still a major concern to global movie trade industry groups – and there is concern that wearables provide a stealthy way to record.

Here is what Phil Clapp, Cinema Exhibitors’ Association said to The Independent: “Customers will be requested not to wear these into cinema auditoriums, whether the film is playing or not.”

Someone visiting the Leicester Square theater was ordered to remove Google Glass, indicating a trend that is likely to continue in the future for UK residents.

Movie trade group FACT issued this statement regarding Google Glass and similar disruptive technologies:

“Developments in technology have led to smaller, more compact devices which have the capability to record sound and vision, including most mobile phones.  FACT works closely with cinema operators and distributors to ensure that best practice is carried out to prevent and detect illegal recordings taking place.”

An incident in a theater in the United States led the FBI to remove a man from the building, because staff thought he was trying to illegally film a movie.

Thank you to TorrentFreak for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of GeekFed

Apple Might be Facing Problems with New Tech for the iPhone 6

It appears that even giant companies such as Apple are facing problems this year, having been rumoured that the iPhone manufacturer is currently facing some problems with key components for the upcoming iPhone 6.

The good news in all of this is that the latest iPhone 6 is said to break away from its yearly refreshed mainstream design and move towards something more ‘uncommon’ for the company. This is why there are rumours circulating that the plastic inserts above the antennas will be replaced by glass pieces, giving its general outlook a more appealing look and feel.

The bad news however comes from China, where Apple is apparently facing problems with the new iPhone 6 display. The new technology required to make the displays is reportedly giving quite a few headaches production-wise. China Times has stated that Apple is attempting to use new display technology in order to make its next generation of iPhones thinner.

This is nothing new for companies attempting to move towards newer and more sophisticated tech, though it requires meticulous steps to get the new tech to work properly. Apple is reportedly ditching the two-layers found in the ‘brightness enhancement films’ (BEFs) and moving to a one-layer design in order to achieve the required thinness. This might be why Apple’s suppliers are apparently facing problems, having to work out the final touches for the display in question.

Looking back at previous releases, Apple’s manufacturers were reportedly facing similar production problems before every major release, having the company and its suppliers eventually succeeding in releasing the final product before the deadline. The same thing might be happening now, though the outcome is unknown until the final product gets released.

Apple is said to launch its latest (rumoured 4.7-inch display) iPhone 6 model this year, having the launch date previously leaked as being set for September the 19th.

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Business Insider

More Than One Thousand Power Plants Found Compromised by Unknown Cyberattack

Since the major topics nowadays are secret service cyber conspiracies and cyberattacks, the latest news points to another cyberattack aimed at more than one thousand power plants worldwide.

Symantec, a company specialising in software security, has apparently uncovered a malware campaign started by a group called Dragonfly, allowing remote access to computer systems from various power plants. Symantec stated that the group has used the malware only to spy on its victims, though serious damage could have been done as well.

A number of 1,018 organisations across 84 countries are stated to have been infected, spanning from grid operations to gas pipelines. It has later been discovered that Dragonfly’s base servers were based in Eastern Europe, leading to the conclusion that the group is of Russian origin. They reportedly used techniques spanning from garden pushing attacks, to campaigns targeting component manufacturers, allowing infections to take hold in any downstream system.

The comparison made against the infected systems led to the conclusion that the sophisticated Stuxnet virus has been used, something which the US previously used to damage nuclear power plants in Iran back in 2010. Up to this point, the real purpose of this major cyberattack is unclear.

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

Warning: Latest HTC Sense Update Reportedly Screws Up Your Smartphone

If you have a HTC and already updated to the HTC Sense Version 6, then you might have already noticed your contacts deleted from both your phone and SIM, leaving the header on your text messages filled with numbers instead of names and your WhatsApp contact list empty. However, if you still haven’t updated to the latest HTC Sense rolled out over the weekend, our advice is to skip it until a fix is available.

Another issue related to the update has been described to be linked to the theme, having it default back to the Green Theme. This might not seem a major issue as you can go into the Settings and change it right back. Not this time apparently, having users reporting that although the theme changes, some loading bars and status messages will still appear in green, having it screw up the user’s preferred theme in some cases.

There have been discussions with HTC Customer Support regarding the ‘failed’ update, where they stated it is already being discussed and investigated. The customer support has also stated that nobody can roll back the smartphone in order to avoid the faulty update, meaning that users who already updated their HTC smartphones to HTC Sense Version 6 can only remain at the mercy of the company and their technical support.

Also, when asked about who was responsible for testing the update, the customer support team has pointed to the developers. This comes as a huge surprise since all software products, especially from big corporations such as HTC, must undergo strict testing cycles performed by a highly qualified Quality Assurance department in order to prevent such issues from occurring. However, HTC might have skipped this step (and we even wonder if they have such a department apparently).

What the HTC Sense 6 should have brought is an updated color palate and multiple themes for the UI, an updated interface and more news sources for the HTC BlinkFeed, an updated and simplified interface for the Camera, Galley and Apps Tray, as well as other features noted on HTC’s page. The company has not released any official news regarding the issues present in the update, nor stated when a fix would be available.

Win a Cube Raptor Gaming PC Worth £669.99!

Want a chance to win a stunning Cube Raptor gaming PC? I bet you do! Equipped with an Intel Core i5 4590 Haswell Refresh CPU, 8GB of Kingston HyperX Fury 1866MHz RAM, an MSI R7 265 OC 2GB graphics card and a whole lot more. The Raptor is a great all-round gaming system for those who need an upgrade and with an RRP of £669.99 it will certainly feel like Christmas come early for one lucky winner.


  • Name: Cube Raptor Gaming PC
  • Case: In Win GT1 Mid Tower
  • Motherboard: MSI Z97-G43 LGA 1150 socket
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 4590 “Haswell Refresh” Quad Core (3.3GHz Base 3.7GHz Turbo) LGA 1150 socket
  • Processor Cooler: Stock Intel Heatsink
  • System Memory: 1 x 8GB DDR3 Kingston HyperX Fury 1866MHz (Blue)
  • Main Boot Drive: Seagate 1TB Hybrid Solid State Hard Drive with 8GB SSD Cache
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): Not included
  • Graphics card: MSI R7 265 OC 2GB GDDR5
  • Power Supply: Cooler Master Elite 500W
  • Optical DriveSuper WriteMaster DVD RW
  • Wireless: TP-Link TL-WN781ND PCIe 150mbps 2.4GHz WiFi card
  • Monitor: Not included
  • Peripherals: Not included
  • OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit
  • Warranty: 2 Year Warranty (14 Day Swap Out,1st Year collect and return, 2nd Year Return to Base)
  • Price: £669.99 including VAT (accurate at the time of writing)

If you would like to know more about the Cube Raptor, then you can always check out our full review right here.

All you have to do is follow the instructions below, it couldn’t be much simpler than that. Good luck!

Rules and regulations:

  • The competition is for UK residents only.
  • The competition ends at midnight GMT on the 28th July 2014 and winner(s) will be notified by Friday 1st August 2014
  • In the event of a dispute, eTeknix staff hold the final say and no discussions will be entered into
  • Delivery is not in the hands of eTeknix and can take some time to arrive
  • Full shipping address and phone number is required in your email entry to speed up dispatch of prizes to winners and to prevent multiple entries
  • If the auto-fill email link doesn’t work, email us the information and include the subject “Win a Cube Raptor Gaming PC Worth £669.99.”
  • In the event that the prize is unavailable, eTeknix reserve the right to offer an alternative of equal or greater value
  • Winner(s) will be announced on our competition winners page
  • By entering this competition, you adhere to the above rules and regulations

New CISPA Regulations Could Classify Netflix as a “Cybersecurity Threat”

It appears that a new cybersecurity bill currently going through the Senate is considered too ‘broad’ and would grant ISPs the liberty to limit streaming services’ delivery to customers, having Netflix given as an example.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Protection Act of 2014, which has been rallied against twice already, is said to deliver a backdoor for ISPs to destroy net neutrality, something that they have sought for a long time. Until now, the Federal Communications Commission has been the judge when it comes to net neutrality, having set ground rules in order to keep ISPs from limiting content on the Internet.

However, the bill in question appears to describe that “countermeasures” can be employed against “cybersecurity threats”, giving no specific definition to what type of information is included and can be considered a “cybersecurity threat”. This would give ISPs an ace up their sleeves, which would help them jumping over a lot of FCC rules.

“A ‘threat,’ according to the bill, is anything that makes information unavailable or less available. So, high-bandwidth uses of some types of information make other types of information that go along the same pipe less available,” Greg Nojeim, a lawyer with the Center for Democracy and Technology, stated. “A company could, as a cybersecurity countermeasure, slow down Netflix in order to make other data going across its pipes more available to users.”

A letter has been sent to Dianne Feinstein, the bill’s sponsor, having the CDT, EFF, American Civil Liberties Union and other civil liberties groups stating that the bill “arbitrarily harms average internet users”. The letter also points out that previous cybersecurity legislation considered by the Senate had some net neutrality protections defined, something that the current bill lacks.

The unsettlement caused by the bill has been said to postpone it for now, having it sent back to the Intelligence Committee for further discussions. There has been no word on any decisions regarding the bill so far.

Thank you Motherboard for providing us with this information

Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H-BK (LGA 1150) “Black Edition” Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications and Packaging

Gigabyte have given their Ultra Durable series a bit of a revamp for Z97 offering their boards up in Black Edition flavours. Whilst the implications of the Black Edition are fairly obviously, it is an overwhelmingly black-coloured motherboard, it also implies a new standard of durability. Gigabyte test all Black Edition series motherboards for an impressive 168 hours using server grade durability tests to ensure high reliability and stability. As if that wasn’t enough Gigabyte also go to town on offering a hefty 5 year warranty and use some of the highest quality components including their “DuraBlack” solid capacitors and their dual layer copper PCB. However, the Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H-BK isn’t just about reliability, this motherboard has bucket loads of features too. Among them this motherboard has dual Gigabit LAN, one provided by Intel and the other by Killer, it has extra SATA III ports, extra USB 3.0 ports, SATA Express and M.2, support for 3-Way CrossFire, a dual UEFI BIOS, high quality ALC1150 Realtek audio, voltage measurement points, onboard buttons and a hefty 12 phase CPU VRM. On paper the Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H-BK is a fantastic high-end board so let’s get on with our review and see how it shapes up in testing.

Packaging and Accessories

In keeping with the Black Edition naming the motherboard comes in a fully black box. Upon opening it you’re greeted with a pull-down flap with more feature marketing material.

On the back there’s a fully labelled pictured of the motherboard as well as a specifications list and some more details on all the features.

Gigabyte include a certificate of stability and reliability to let you know that your board has been through Gigabyte’s testing procedures that enable them to certify the motherboard as “Ultra Durable” and part of the “Black Edition” series.

Included with the motherboard is an in-depth user manual, multilingual installation guidebook, driver and utility CD and a case badge/sticker for your system if you wish to show off your Gigabyte motherboard.

Accessories include a nice matte black, padded and labelled rear I/O shield. There’s also four braided SATA III cables (braided SATA cables…I know right?!) and an SLI bridge.

Gran Turismo 7 In Development, Standard Cars Will Remain

EuroGamer reports that Polyphony Digital are working away at their next title Gran Turismo 7. EuroGamer spoke with Kazunori Yamauchi at the Goodwood Festival this weekend, who is CEO of Polyphony Digital and producer of the Gran Turismo series. He stated the upcoming title would be a total new game rather than an iterative development on Grand Turismo 6. He also believed that the extensive redesign of the game means it won’t make a 2014 release so we should expect to see it next year instead. One of the focuses of the new title will be improved sound, something GT6 has been heavily criticised for. GT6 will get an audio update but an audio system overhaul will not come until GT7. The last bit of fairly surprising news was that the suite of Standard Cars that have been in the game since GT4 in 2004 will all be present in the new title.

“I doubt that we’ll be throwing away the standard cars,” said Yamauchi. “Each car has its own fans. So I think we’ll hang on to the archive. In the meanwhile, some of those cars we may be able to make into Premium cars as they become available – but basically we’re more focussed on increasing the number of premium cars.”

The decision to stick with the set of standard cars has been criticised by many fans of the title, people want to see new things not recycled material: GT7 could be in danger of getting left behind by new racing titles like Driveclub, World of Speed and Project Cars if it doesn’t move with the times.

Source: EuroGamer

Image courtesy of Polyphony Digital

Rumour: Microsoft Axing Surface Brand, Will Be Replaced By Lumia

Some very interesting information about Microsoft’s Surface brand emerged recently via the infamous leakers EVLeaks. Their leaks suggest that Microsoft is finalising the licensing of the Nokia brand in preparation for ditching their own branding. On the smartphone side Microsoft will sell Windows Phone handsets with the branding “Nokia by Microsoft”, with regards to tablets is where it gets interesting. Microsoft is rumoured to be ditching the Surface branding in favour of using Nokia’s Lumia branding. This certainly seems like a very bold move by Microsoft especially if you consider the millions they have already poured into the Surface brand.

I suspect that EVLeaks are a little off the mark: there is just no way on earth Microsoft would ditch Surface now, it would be too costly to do so and the Surface brand is just starting to gain traction and recognition among consumers. I believe that Microsoft may be considering the Lumia branding for its Windows RT tablets and the Surface brand will end up being reserved exclusively for full Windows tablets. Only time will tell if these rumours materialise into anything but EVLeaks have a good track record with getting things right so stay tuned for more details.

Source: EVLeaks

Image courtesy of Microsoft

First Image of the Google Android TV Game Controller Discovered

The Android L developer preview build is out in the wild for the Nexus 5 and second-gen Nexus 7. Developers have already ripped it apart to tweak apps and other features into the firmware, but those who dug a little deeper have even found images of the yet to be revealed Google game controller that could be used with Google powered TVs and devices.

“The directory they were found in is: ‘sdk\samples\android-L\androidtv\visual-game-controller\res\drawable-xxhdpi,’” Reddit userbedofgoatturds wrote. “Reverse image search tells me that this is completely new, just thought I’d get it out there.”

It is strange that Google haven’t said more about the controller so far, given that they used a console controller on state at I/O 2014 when demoing Android TV and that details are inside the SDK for Android L.

Now it also looks like the developers who attended the conference have been given Android TV dev kits which came complete with the controller found in the SDK. One user has even published a picture of the controller on Google+, so perhaps we’ll be hearing a lot more about this new controller very soon.

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of BGR.

Microsoft Hire Staff For ‘New Project Line’ In The Halo Universe

It looks like Microsoft are going all out with the Halo series recently, not only are they pushing the developers at 343i to the limits with the development of Halo 5: Guardians and the epic Halo: The Master Chief Collection, but it looks like they’re also pushing for yet another title in the massively popular Xbox shooter.

A new career opportunity published by Microsoft and 343i says they’re seeking a Publishing Senior Producer, who will be responsible for a “new project line” within the Halo universe. New project line means it’s not Halo 5 or The Master Chief Collection, so what else could 343i be working on? All we know is that they’ll be tasked with ensuring “the game hits the quality expected of a title within the Halo Franchise.”

Current best estimate is that the company is working to revive the Halo Wars series, it was a great game and one that could work well across the devices Microsoft like to shovel into their support list. Smart glass, Windows Phone, Kinect and other features are very usable tools for an RTS style game and it would be in keeping with the groundwork done by original Halo developer Bungie.

Of course there is also the chance that this is just going to be some crappy mobile spin off full of micro transactions, but I bet we won’t have to wait too long before more information escapes in this leak friendly industry.

Thank you DualShockers for providing us with this information.

Intel Roadmap Says Unlocked Broadwell and Skylake From Q2 2015

VR-Zone have published a new Intel roadmap which reveals some interesting details about their consumer CPU plans. The roadmap reveals that we will be seeing Haswell-E “X99” in Q3, which is in the July-September time frame. The roadmap also reveals that Broadwell will launch alongside Skylake-S, with S denoting that it is the desktop variant of Skylake. As far as we can infer the Broadwell CPUs will be unlocked which means that the Skylake-S CPUs will not. Given that Skylake-S locked CPUs will be hitting the market it seems unlikely there will be locked Broadwell CPUs otherwise Intel will be saturating its product base with two different SKUs.

The simultaneous release of Skylake locked CPUs and Broadwell unlocked CPUs is an interesting tactic from Intel and one that I don’t think we’ve ever seen before. Skylake is the successor to Broadwell, or the “tock” microarchitecture redesign based on the same 14nm process. To put it into context it would be like Intel launching Ivy Bridge unlocked CPUs alongside Haswell locked CPUs, it just seems like a strange tactic but lets see how it all plays out over the coming months.

Source: VR-Zone

Image courtesy of VR-Zone

Boy Receives 3D Printed Card Playing Prosthetic from e-NABLE

The team at e-NABLE have been working hard to help many people, mostly children, who require prosthetic devices. They’ve been custom making a multitude of prosthetics on a volunteer basis to allow people to do many things we take for granted. e-NABLE have created several models of 3D printed hands that have allow children to play games, throw and catch balls, pick up objects and more. Some of these children were just in need of replacements, lower-cost solutions or very specific solutions that allowed them the joys of using both hands.

The hands and arms they’ve created are all robotic, using mostly 3D printed parts that the volunteers crate for them after they receive the patients measurements, and in most cases the 3D printed solutions are working better than traditional prosthetic devices which often cost tens of thousands of dollars to receive.

Nancy messaged the team about her son Keegan, one of the users of their printed prosthetic hands which has enabled him the use of both hands to live a more involving life. However, the team are still making adjustments to the prosthetic and have even created a special card-playing hand for him so that he can play games like Uno, Go Fish and more with his friends. Before the adjustments, he had to keep his cards in a pile on the floor, sifting through them with one hand on each go, which was obviously frustrating for him. So his mother sent a request back to the team at e-NABLE.

“I was wondering if anyone has come up with a design so that the kids could hold cards,” asked Nancy to the volunteers of e-NABLE late last week. “Keegen always has a difficult time playing Uno, Go Fish and more because he can’t see all of his cards at once. He keeps them in a pile and has to look through it every turn. It would be really cool and functional.”

Shortly after she contacted them, the team responded.

“I would be glad to design something,” responded e-NABLE member Bob Roth. “This is the type of project that I want to help with. You could get him one of those circular card holders two and a half inches in diameter. you can fasten it to his socket and he could hold his cards in his hand. I’ve seen them in stores. you could fasten it with a Velcro strap”

A bit of hot glue, some velcro and a few hours later, Keegan can now play his favourite card games with his friends and family. It might not sound like a big change, but it’s great to see how quickly 3D printed prosthetics can be adapted to their users needs thanks to the way it was designed. Need longer fingers to operate a certain device, print longer fingers, print a baseball mitt hand, a analogue stick and controller grip hand, change the overall size as the child grows older, and all at a significantly reduced cost.

With over 1000 members now part of the e-NABLE group, this is just the start of something truly awesome.

Thank you 3DPrint for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of 3DPrint and e-NABLE.

Nvidia GTX 870MX Spotted In ASUS Gaming Laptop – Could Be High-End Maxwell

A new Nvidia GTX 800 series mobile GPU has shown up in the retail channel in Thailand hinting at the potential for a high-end Maxwell part. The news is really exciting because it would be the first high-end Maxwell part we have seen, the GTX 750 Ti is all we’ve seen so far from Maxwell. The listing shows an ASUS G750JS gaming notebook sporting an Nvidia GTX 870MX, currently we only know of the GTX 870M which is a Kepler GK104 based part. The GTX 870MX nomeclature along with the GTX 880MX are both apparently reserved for Maxwell based parts, likely 28nm given 20nm production issues. The fact that this notebook might be sporting a Maxwell based high-end GPU is also reinforced by the different part number: GTX 870M variant goes by the part number G750JS-T4104H while this model uses G750JS-T4108H. 

Of course after all of that discussion there is also just the possibility that the GTX 870MX is a typo and that the change in part number could just be from a stock refresh or the change in part number could refer to a change in other components used and it could be totally unrelated to the GPU.

Source: Notebook Review, Via: WCCFTech

Image #1 courtesy of Nvidia, image #2 courtesy of Notebook Review Forums

Evidence Suggests The AMD Hawaii XTX “R9 295X” Does Not Exist

Over the past week several bits of news emerged regarding a new upcoming GPU from AMD – the R9 295X. Rumours suggested that it would be based on a fully utilised Hawaii GPU die because apparently the current R9 290X does not use all the cores available to it. This rumour gained traction when professional UK overclocker 8Pack stated that the R9 290X was not a fully utilised chip .8Pack later redacted his online comments and now new evidence suggests the R9 295X does not exist – all the speculation has been a lot of hot air. Of course the removal of the comments by 8Pack could mean that he was wrong and has withdrawn his comments to reflect that, but it could also mean there are issues with his NDA that required him to take the post down – so that swings either way: it could still exist or it may not.


A second piece of evidence suggesting it doesn’t exist is the recently release AMD FirePro W9100 graphics card. If AMD’s Hawaii GPU had 48 compute units, compared to the current 44 on the R9 290X, then surely AMD’s flagship FirePro graphics card would be the GPU that gets 48 CUs? For those of you who don’t know AMD released the FirePro W9100 with 44 compute units, so there’s another mark against the R9 295X’s existence. AMD is being very quiet about all of this which is because AMD is in its Quiet Period as mandated by the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission. This requires AMD to not make announcements that could change normal investor behaviour on AMD stocks, AMD discussing the existence of a new product, irrelevant of whether they deny or confirm it, would change investor behaviour. Therefore it seems unlikely we’ll here any confirmation in the near future from AMD, but expect the rumours and discussions to keep rolling out.

Source: BlackHoleTec, Via: WCCFTech

Images courtesy of AMD

Bizarrely Popular ‘Yo’ App Hires Hackers

If it wasn’t for the popular messaging app “Yo” being hacked, I doubt I would even know what it was, yet despite the fact that this viral app can only send the word “Yo” to your friends, to which they can also only ever reply “Yo”, the company managed to secure a million dollars in angel investments and even rose to the top of the app list (seriously, WTF).

It may have started as an April Fools just, but the company is making money regardless and after its recent hacking issues which saw a group change the words in the app and general cause chaos for its developers and users, the company is now hiring the offending hackers. They could likely have pressed charges and had them arrested, but they decided to give them a job instead, interesting.

“One of the hackers is now working with us on improving the user experience” said Or Arbel from Yo. “We are also lucky because this hack and security breach is really highlighting what Yo is, and what we are all about.” he added.

The app is completely bizarre, but if someone is making a fat profit from one word it only begs to wonder what on earth a few new staff members could really add to the team, perhaps a second word to send to your friends?

Thank you Entrepreneur for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Entrepreneur.

New Range of EK Water Cooling products Coming Next Month

Legendary cooling manufacturer EK have been working with the teams at AMD, ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI and more to create a new range of full cover water coolers. These include their EK-FC R9-290X VPX and both Matrix variants that are designed to cooler the GPU, RAM and VRM modules on the GPU, offering a complete cooling solution for all major components on the graphics card PCB, something that is vital for maintaining high overclocks.

The four new blocks from EK will also use their side-attached Terminal Port System. This allows up to four water blocks to be used on a single ATX form factor motherboard, as you can connected them up using their dual, triple or quad type EK-FC Terminal. All of these blocks are perfect for high flow water cooling and liquid cooled systems.

The Gigabyte GA-Z97X-SOC Force and ASUS Maximus VII motherboard series are also set to benefit from a new range of motherboard water cooling products. All will be nickel plated copper and feature either POM Acetal or plexi-glass tops depending on the variant. MSI Z97I Gaming FB blocks will also be available in a Monoblock format, featuring PCH, CRM and CPU cooling like that found on the EK-GB ASUS M6I.

It’s all pretty complicated, but EK will be adding products to their Cooling Configurator to help you find compatible graphics cards and other components.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of TechPowerUp.

Toyota Hydrogen Car Ready to Compete with Tesla

With all the fuss about electric cars in recent years, it has been tricky to find news on the real future of motoring, hydrogen fuel cells. Tesla haven’t had much in the way of direct competition recently, although it’s safe to say that hybrids have come a long way and have at least offered big improvements in efficiency. Yet even with a Tesla, that electricity you’re putting in your car still needs to come from somewhere, with most power stations still churning out plenty of pollution of their own, even if your car isn’t. Although Tesla are investing in solar powered charging stations to off-set this.

General Motors, Mercedes, Honda and Toyota are all focusing on Hydrogen fuel cells and Toyota have just revealed that their first hydrogen fuel cell car is ready for release in the US and Europe for Summer 2015. The car is expected to be priced at around seven million yet, or around $69,000 (although that’s no reflection on what the EU or US price would actually be).

The refuelling network for hydrogen certainly isn’t as established as electric, but it has to start somewhere and while electric may offer cheaper running cars it’s a far cry from the awesomeness of these new engines. Hydrogen may still be an electric car, but the fuel can be extracted from water cheaply and the only thing to come out of the hydrogen cars exhaust is clean water.

The new car from Toyota is capable of being refueled in around 5 minutes, with a range of around 430 miles. Compared to the over an hour it takes to deliver enough charge from 300 miles using a Tesla Supercharging station the benefits of hydrogen are immediately obvious.

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Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Engadget.

Facebook’s Emotion Manipulation Study Angers Users

study was published recently showing that in January 2012, Facebook manipulated 689,003 members feeds to display a larger amount of positive or negative status updates. Running over a one week duration, this information was used to show that the moods of your friends on social media can affect your own mood positively or negatively on a day to day basis.

This manipulation has sparked outrage by some, claiming a lack of ethical practice – especially seeing as the ‘subjects’ were not notified of this study.

As far as legality is concerned, Facebook is in the clear as users agree to give up their data for analysis, testing and research upon sign up. However, the angered users aren’t claiming issues with the data collected, they’re upset that their feeds were manipulated without consultation.

Addressing the issue, a Facebook spokesman stated:

“This research was conducted for a single week in 2012 and none of the data used was associated with a specific person’s Facebook account. We do research to improve our services and to make the content people see on Facebook as relevant and engaging as possible. A big part of this is understanding how people respond to different types of content, whether it’s positive or negative in tone, news from friends, or information from pages they follow. We carefully consider what research we do and have a strong internal review process. There is no unnecessary collection of people’s data in connection with these research initiatives and all data is stored securely.” The Atlantic

Adam D.I Kramer (being one of the studies authors and a Facebook employee) gave his thoughts through a comment on a public Facebook status:

“And at the end of the day, the actual impact on people in the experiment was the minimal amount to statistically detect it,” he writes. “Having written and designed this experiment myself, I can tell you that our goal was never to upset anyone. […] In hindsight, the research benefits of the paper may not have justified all of this anxiety.” The Atlantic

So although Facebook users do agree to share their information, technically they aren’t in agreeance with the alteration of their data (in this case, news feeds).

Susan Fiske, a Princeton University psychology professor helped edit this study also shared some thoughts on the issue:

“It’s ethically okay from the regulations perspective, but ethics are kind of social decisions. There’s not an absolute answer. And so the level of outrage that appears to be happening suggests that maybe it shouldn’t have been done…I’m still thinking about it and I’m a little creeped out, too.” The Atlantic

Facebook has been rumored to partake in data manipulation studies like this more often than you may think. Should this access of data make you worried? Honestly the general population aren’t going to batt an eyelid, as long as they can access their fair share of recycled memes and baby photos.

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BT Apologizes For Broadband Downtime, Says Problem Resolved

BT apologized to subscribers for a weekend broadband problem that prevented users from accessing Facebook, Amazon, eBay, and other popular websites on Saturday morning.

BT has 7 million customers, but it’s unknown how many customers were affected by the technical problem. The outage lasted only a few hours, but was still a major inconvenience for customers that expect dependable Internet access all the time.

Most outage reports circulated from London, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, and Leeds, but other cities throughout the UK suffered.

The company confirmed there was some type of network incident that is being investigated by BT engineers. The BT website and phone apps also suffered during the network problem – so subscribers were unable to post to the BT support forums.

Here is what BT tweeted through its customer care account:

Did you suffer from the outage?

Thank you to BBC News for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of PC Pro UK

BlackBerry CEO John Chen Takes a Jab at Samsung Android Mobile Security

BlackBerry CEO John Chen applauded Google for its efforts to increase Android mobile operating system security, but also took the time to throw a few jabs at Samsung.

Android, which is the most popular mobile phone OS, has struggled to defend against malware and other security problems.  Samsung created Knox, a hardware and software security platform for its Android-powered smartphones, designed for enterprise users.

In addition to saying less than 2 million Samsung phones are running Knox, Chen said its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) security software is widely deployed – and battle-tested for enterprise users.

Here is what Chen said:

“Tens of millions of BlackBerry devices are trusted every day by Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.  Our BES software dominates the enterprise mobility management space, with more business customers than our top three competitors combined.  And while Knox tries to build a fortress upon an insecure foundation, BlackBerry’s entire infrastructure is constructed upon a multi-decade bedrock of mobile management and security expertise.”

Despite the Apple iPhone, and then Samsung Galaxy S line of smartphones completely stealing the smartphone market from BlackBerry, the company remains popular among enterprise users.  However, both Android and iOS are developing enhanced security measures to allow their respective smartphones to be securely used in the workplace.

Thank you to Information Week for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Yahoo Financial

HondaJet Reaches Major Milestone, Takes to the Skies For the First Time

Honda successfully tested the company’s first business jet, flying near the Honda Aircraft headquarters located in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The aircraft flew for 84 minutes after taking off from Piedmont Triad International Airport – and has the ability to fly at speeds up to 483 mph (773 km/h), with a maximum range of 1,357 miles (2,183km) and maximum altitude of 43,000 feet.

The jet has a number of custom features, such as over-wing engine mounting and a composite fuselage, with the company hoping to shake up the current small business jet market.

Here is what Michimasa Fujino, Honda Aircraft CEO, said in a statement:

“With this first flight, the HondaJet program has entered the next exciting phase as we prepare for delivery.  This is an important achievement in bringing the world’s most advanced light jet to market.”

Initial research started in 1993, and the turbofan engine emerged in 1998, while the company wanted to enter commercial production in 2006.  However, numerous research setbacks caused delays, but there is still ample opportunity for the company to create success.

Looking ahead, Honda wants to qualify for aircraft certification and begin entry-level service in 2015.  The company is reportedly already in the final stage of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) testing right now.

Thank you to USA Today for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of HondaJet

NASA’s New Horizons Ready to Transmit Message to Aliens, Anyone Else Listening

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft has a message for aliens and anyone else listening, which will be transmitted when the aircraft exits the Earth’s solar system.

The digital message is only 100MB and is designed to last decades, according to the New Horizons Message Initiative (NHMI), which includes a message and the names of the first 10,000 humans that signed the NHMI petition.  The money has been generated by a Kickstarter campaign and only uses non-NASA funding, with an estimated cost of $500,000 (£293,000).

It’s not uncommon for spacecraft leaving the Earth’s solar system to have some type of message to extraterrestrials, which is what Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11 and Voyager 1 and 2 also did.

The spacecraft is currently past Jupiter and recently woke up for the summer – heading towards Pluto.  NASA hopes New Horizons will reach Pluto before the end of the year, with researchers currently tracking the spacecraft to refine its orbit and underwent instrument calibrations.

New Horizons was launched into space in 2006, with the ultimate goal of taking pictures of Pluto’s surface, and then will study the Kuiper Belt.  The spacecraft has already traveled more than 3 billion miles and reaching Pluto is getting closer day-by-day – and is only the fifth probe to reach interplanetary space so far from the sun.

Thank you to VentureBeat for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of NASA

California Gov. Brown Signs Bill Legalizing Bitcoin, Other Cryptocurrencies

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed bill AB 129 into law, which legalizes Bitcoin and other digital cryptocurrencies inside of California.

Legally, the State of California had legislation that didn’t make it legal to use “anything but the lawful money of the United States,” though this was something that supporters hoped to change.  Following Gov. Brown’s decision, it’s likely other states will follow later down the road, as Bitcoins continue to gain a larger support group.

In addition, a number of different retailers and companies welcome Bitcoin payments, saying it doesn’t make sense to turn down any form of currency customers are willing to pay with.

Here is what Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento), California Assemblyman, previously said in a press release:

“In an era of evolving payment methods, from Amazon Coins to Starbucks Stars, it is impractical to ignore the growing use of cash alternatives.  This bill is intended to fine-tune current law to address Californians’ payment habits in the mobile and digital fields.”

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies cannot be classified as currency – but that hasn’t stopped investors and supporters from promoting their use.  Despite California – and other states showing interest in cryptocurrencies – it seems unlikely the federal government will show the same enthusiasm.

Thank you to Los Angeles Times for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of NY Post

Cost of Electric Vehicles in UK Rising, Due to Subsidies Ending

The end of UK government subsidies will likely make it more expensive to drive an electric car than driving a traditional petrol-powered vehicle.

The installation and maintenance of electric chargers, which was overseen by the Department for Transport, ended in April – and now prices have gone up as local cities are working with private companies to increase support.

Current electric vehicle prices in the UK are about £8,000 more than petrol fuel or diesel, but the UK government has a £5,000 subsidy for residents – and helps install home-chargers for new vehicle owners.

There were almost 2,000 electric vehicles sold in the UK through the first five months of 2013, more than double than the time frame year-over-year.  The industry is still growing, but if select government subsidies are not restored, then adoption will take a hit.

For success of electric vehicle adoption, offering monetary compensation, tax breaks, and other perks, which has helped drive growth in the United States, Norway, and other select markets.  Without these added incentives, consumers are less likely to spend money on a vehicle with limited range – and price tags that aren’t simply appealing enough quite yet.

Thank you to BBC for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Green Auto Blog