Yahoo Mail Went Down And All They Got Was A Single Tweet

In this day and age, keeping your customers up to date is as important as getting them on board in the first place. Reports started circulating yesterday that Yahoo users weren’t able to access their email accounts, and all they got for their troubles was a single tweet.

Originally reported in the thread titled “Yahoo Mail has been down for 14 hours, affecting thousands of users in Europe”, users went from saying that having their service shut down without any response being unacceptable to the barrage of comments from users asking if the service was ever truly running these days or how many people were actually affected by the problem (including a rather large barrage joking about the use of Yahoo mail for business reasons).

After checking out Yahoo Mail’s twitter page (the quickest way to update people these days on issues it would seem), the page was filled with nothing but advertisements spread out over days with no communications regarding the reported outage. That was until we checked out their support page, Yahoo Care. Amongst a slew of advertisements for their fantasy baseball teams was a single tweet saying that some users were experiencing issues.

With people replying saying that they haven’t been able to access their account for extended periods and with no support, a single tweet hardly seems to be cut it (pun intended).

In this day and age, taking days to fix a problem with little to no support for your users seems like a quick way to lose people to other webmail solutions like Gmail and Outlook. We will try to keep you updated (as well as we can with the little information that seems to be available at this moment).

OnePlus 2 to Receive Permanent Price Cut

The original OnePlus handset caused a media storm due to its ability to compete with the likes of Apple, Samsung and LG at a much lower price point. Dubbed the flagship killer, the OnePlus proved to be quite popular and received a positive response from consumers. As you might expect, this meant the successor’s release was eagerly anticipated and people hoped it would offer a legitimate alternative to premium models like the Samsung Galaxy S6. Sadly, the device didn’t live up to expectations and people became extremely frustrated with the invite system. Furthermore, since the initial launch period, OnePlus had to contend with more competition from the Hauwei Honor 7, and Moto X. As a result, it became quite challenging to attract the value-conscience consumers aiming for a high-end phone. On another note, the OnePlus 2 suffered from some fairly major bugs, and didn’t evoke a slick feel.

Thankfully, these issues have now been resolved and the handset has a fairly good reputation. The company also recently announced a price cut via the OnePlus forums. The statement reads:

“Friends,

There’s never a dull moment in our search for new ways to improve our range of ecommerce services. Recently, we introduced free standard shipping for orders over $100. Only a few days later, we made the OnePlus X invite-free faster than any OnePlus device before it. As the cost to produce a OnePlus 2 device has never been lower, we believe this is the right time to introduce a new change. We believe great things should be shared.

We learned a lot from our first flagship phone. The invite system helped get the OnePlus 2 off the ground, and now thanks to both timing and scale, our operations have sized up to the Goldilocks principle of just right. So, why not let our fans join us in celebrating the fruits of our labor? The OnePlus 2 now has a price modification of $349, forever. If you’ve ever needed to give a friend another reason to join Team OnePlus, here you go.

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we have prepared a few more offers for your enjoyment. To kick things off, anyone purchasing one of our devices will receive a free StyleSwap Cover or OnePlus X Case. Additionally anyone who purchased the OnePlus 2 within the last fifteen (15) days, will be seeing a refund in price ($40, or the equivalent in your currency) difference coming their way. Keep an eye on your inbox for more details.

Never Settle.”

At the time of writing, you can purchase the OnePlus 2 without an invite for £249.99 in the UK. This might just be what’s required to help shift units, and encourage consumers to give the OnePlus 2 a try.

What do you think of the OnePlus 2?

AMD Hints Possible Price Drops for Current-Gen Consoles

We have already seen some price drops on the current generation gaming consoles, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but it hasn’t been anything that major up until now. Consoles have a scheduled lifetime before the next generation of 5 to 7 years, so they’ll still be around for a while. We do however see optimizations along the way as it also happened in the past, the PS2 and PS3 both got upgrades along the way.

AMD has now hinted that there at least are opportunities in the current generation’s lifetime to develop new technology that will allow for a price drop without any impact on performance. This is most likely based on optimization of the production line and process along with the initial development costs starting to get back home and not have as big an impact as when a product is freshly launched. This news came out during a round-table talk where AMD’s CEO Lisa Su attended.

“The consoles work on a five to seven year strategy, that’s the lifetime for these consoles,” said Lisa Su. “Without talking about any particular party’s console; there will be opportunities to cost-reduce.

While Lisa Su didn’t mention any timeframe on this, it is pretty safe to assume that it won’t be far in the future. We are also approaching the mid-life of the current generation consoles that were launched roughly three years ago now and that was about the time where we saw upgrades in the previous generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles.

While some might argue that PC gaming is superior to Consoles, and it probably is, consoles have their merit and there is no doubt why they keep such a high popularity. A price drop on said consoles could further boost the sales by convincing more people to get it. A cheaper price is something we all like and I’m sure that they’ll quickly make up for the lost profit in that regards with the higher sales numbers and thereby more sales of games and peripherals too.

AMD Cutting Graphics Card Prices – Including Fury X, Fury and Nano!

AMD are in a really strong position right now, with a new series of graphics cards that may not have toppled all of the Nvidia flagships, at least not in every test, but it’s certainly put them back on the map in terms of high-end gaming. Their 3xx series of cards are knocking Nvidia down the charts, with better performance and lower prices than their competitor across a wide range of performance brackets, the new Crimson drivers and now it seems the battle is about to heat up even more, as AMD cards are seeing a range of price cuts.

Everything from the 300 series of cards, as well as the new Fury series which feature HBM memory are currently sporting some exciting deals at major retailers. Of course, it won’t be long before Nvidia play a similar price-cut game, but for now, AMD are tempting peoples wallets a little more.

R9 Fury X was originally $649, but that’s down to $589 and even down to $569 after a rebate! The R9 Nano, dropping from $649, down to $569, $549 after rebate. The R9 Fury, $549 down to a very tasty $499.

What about the 300 series? The R9 390X and 390 are down from $429 and $329 to $359 and $259 after a rebate. That’s exceptional value for money giving the performance of these cards! The R9 380 2GB and the 4GB model are down to a wallet friendly $169 and $179, or even lower with rebate at $139 and $159.

Most major retailers are already honouring these new prices, although Newegg and Amazon are currently the best deals I’ve seen, but it’s certainly worth shopping around and who knows, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, maybe we’ll see even lower prices.

US concerned Over Russian Activity Near Undersea Data Cables

Tensions between nations over Cyber warfare have increased dramatically over the last 5 years, from the US accusing China and Russia of systematically hacking into highly sensitive government systems through industrial means, to groups affiliated with IS and similar terrorist organisations who have cyber attacked various departments. Now, Washington is reportedly becoming concerned that Russia and its fleet of military submarines could in theory cut vital undersea cables that carry almost all global communications.

As yet there is no evidence to suggest Russia or any other country has attempted this, but, according to US intelligence, or lack of sometimes, who are monitoring a significant and increased “Russian activity along the known routes of the cables, which carry the lifeblood of global electronic communications and commerce”.

It was reported last month (Sep 2015) that a Russian spy ship “equipped with two self-propelled deep-sea submersible craft, cruised slowly off the East Coast of the United States on its way to Cuba — where one major cable lands near the American naval station at Guantanamo Bay”. US officials state this spy ship has the ability to launch submersible vehicles that in turn could cut data cables situated miles down in the sea.

The Pentagon is also concerned that Russia is attempting to hunt for cables at much greater depths than originally thought where such data lines are harder to both monitor and repair. The significance of these data cables is vast considering it has been estimated that they carry “global business worth more than $10 trillion dollars a day, including from financial institutions that settle transactions on them every second”

Is this all smoke and mirrors? Possibly, it’s difficult to know how much of this information is genuine and if so how much is actually being planned. If Russia succeeded in cutting vital cables then this would lead to a dramatic set of circumstances. One thing to bare in mind is that Putin quite likes the idea of censorship and could be looking at cutting Russia off from outside influences. What we do know is countries, for example Russia and China, have a vested interest in disrupting countries such as the US, but having said that, the US and others also have well-documented interests in intercepting gigantic amounts of data from other countries. It’s the same practice in a different pair of shoes, from both World Wars, the Cold War to modern-day cyber spying, countries want others data and will plot while both sides remain unsure of the final outcome.

Image source

Hewlett-Packard To Cut Up To 30,000 Jobs As Part Of Restructuring

Rapid expansion can have one fatal flaw, if you do not match or beat revenue expectations then you will have to eventually downsize your company. HP have found this out, or the employees to put it more accurately, have taken the brunt of another round of expected job cuts with the figure being somewhere in the region of 25,000 – 30,000 positions to fall.

The technology stalwart has confirmed these roles will go from HP Enterprise; this is with the aim of bundling together its data analysis and software divisions which in turn separates them from the personal computer and printer operation. This brutal scythe cutting will be completed by the end of October 2015; this is on top of 55,000 jobs which have already been culled over the last 3 years. HP aim to save around $2 billion annually from its business by reducing costs which include wages.

Chief executive Meg Whitman, who will lead HP Enterprise, informed investors of the potential to profit to the tune of around $50bn in annual revenue from the business. HP insists the company will be nimbler and therefore able to meet the “evolving needs of our customers around the world”.  The New York Times Square Stock Exchange has reacted badly, as expected to news of both further layoffs and also uncertainty over the direction of HP, it has lost 33% of its value in the year to date

Unfortunately, HP lost touch of the ever-evolving trend of consumer tech over the last decade or so, gone are the bulky towers and a large staffed manufacturing base with which to churn out consumer tech. Computers are now associated with tablets and smartphones and the trend of lighter gadgets have propelled a new innovation onto the market. HP will need to adjust or face further uncertainty, it’s a shame that ordinary employees are facing the brunt and employment is very uncertain considering the intense competition for fewer jobs within the world of tech.

Thank you sky news for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of devicebox

Rovio to Cut Over a Third of the Workforce

Why is it, when I think of Rovio and cutbacks, I imagine the big bosses sitting on their perch and throwing stuffed birds at the workforce to determine who leaves? Just me? Okay!

The studio of the massive mobile gaming hit, Angry Birds, has announced their huge cut of 260 of 700 jobs from the team. This follows poor revenue for the 2014 business year, which could be pinned on anything from less interest in the game or even the toys, which was stated by the current CEO, Pekka Rantala “The year on year decline of consumer product licensing revenues impacted revenue and profit.”

This cut follows a previous cut back in October 2014 of 130 jobs, which was again linked to falling profits. Rovio has failed to disclose any profit information for 2014, but for the financial year 2013 to 2014, profits were  down to $34 million from the previous years $70.2 million.

I personally never liked the game, but with well over 2 billion downloads of Angry Birds alone, I doubt we will see the end of Rovio anytime soon.

Do you currently own any Angry Birds products (T-Shirt, plush toy, board game, etc…)? Have you made any in-app purchases or even bought the game? Let us know in the comments.

Thanks to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information.

Self-Driving Taxis Could Be the Key to Greenhouse Gas Reduction

We have heard a lot of news about self-driving cars, mostly from Google, in the past years and they have already come a long way. The main focus in this area has been on reduction of accident rates, general safety, as well as freeing up your time. We’ve also seen how they can improve the quality of life for people who can’t drive any normal car, blind people for example.

A recently published study from Berkley Lab has found more good reasons for us humans to make the switch and the main one is the reduction of greenhouse gasses. The study suggests that switching the transportation grid from conventional vehicles to autonomous electric taxis could cut greenhouse gas emission levels up to 90 percent by 2030. Those numbers are of course the best case scenario where everyone plays ball and the infrastructure follows with charging stations and green power plants.

Transportation has to be smart. A lot of the times you don’t need that big car of yours to get around in, it’s just an unnecessary load to carry around. Automatic driving could also allow for very tight packed traffic that eliminates wind resistance and thereby reduces the energy needed and it would be able to pick the smartest route on any given time.

That is very optimistic and the researchers know that we as humans just won’t do that. There are too many people who would resist parts of it or all of it and they also got some good news on a smaller scale. If we just had self-driving taxis and they made up 5 percent of 2030’s estimated car sales (about 800,000 machines), they would cut carbon dioxide emissions by up to 2.4 million tons per year.

Thank You Engadget for providing us with this information

Iraq Prevents Exam Cheating by Cutting the Entire Internet

There are many ways to prevent cheating in exams, there is the honour system, extra checks, and verifications – or you can go all out like Iraq did last week where it cut off the internet for the entire country for a couple of hours.

What first looked like something that is reminiscent of censorship in the Islamic state, that wasn’t the case according to Dyn Research. Their data showed that the data streams were interrupted between 5:00 and 8:00. The simple answer to why this happened is cheat prevention.

The nationwide school enrollment tests were going on at that time and the internet cut-off was simply to prevent sharing of the papers. The test is crucial for the continued education and thereby a position in the country which highly increases the incentive to cheat, and the simple way to prevent modern cheating is to simply disable the methods of doing so.

It certainly is an effective way of doing so but is it also the right one? What do you think? Is this maybe a method we should start applying in our parts of the world too or is that just taking it all a step too far? Let us know in the comments.

The Times of DDR4 Costing More Is Almost Behind Us

DDR4 memory has been on the market for some time now and up until recently it had one major problem – the price. The DDR4 memory prices were also the only reason that I went with a Z97 instead of an X99 rig when I last upgraded. That has however changed slightly in the background and without many people noticing it.

If you don’t care about the brand name or looks and enter a price comparison site, you’ll notice that there barely is any difference between DDR3 and DDR4 memory. A search on a 2133MHz memory kit consisting of two modules and a total capacity of 16GB brings some surprising results.

The cheapest DDR4 kit is a Crucial 16GB kit (CT2K8G4DFD8213/CT2C8G4DFD8213) that only costs €109.95, or €6.872 per GB. Looking at DDR3 memory, the cheapest kit is a G.Skill Ares kit (F3-2133C10D-16GAB) for €104.30, or €6.519 per GB. That is a very small difference and granted these are two different types of modules, but it paints a great image of the trend that is going on.

And it could very well be thanks to Samsung that we see this trend, as DigiTimes reports that sources tell them that Samsung is slashing their prices in order to gain market share. This is great news for us as consumers, but it does set its marks in the industry.

There is less profit for companies in producing DDR4 memory chips and module vendors have started to suffer as a result of this. Allegedly, OEMs have started to purchase their chips directly from manufacturers, cutting vendors out of the loop with demands of reduction in quotes. Adopting the 20nm process also brought along more costs and issues than anticipated and Intel’s delay of Skylake is also hurting the companies.

So we might soon be living in a world where DDR4 memory not only is price equivalent to DDR3, but one where it’s actually cheaper.

Thank you DigiTimes for providing us with this information

PlayStation TV Price Drops to £45 in the UK

While Sony’s PlayStation 4 console is doing very well in terms of selling figures, it looks like its little brother, the PlayStation TV, is not going on the same path as its big brother. The PlayStation TV is an interesting concept, having the console play some PlayStation Vita, PSP and classic PlayStation games.

The best feature for this little console is its Remote Play, but a £84.99 price is a good enough reason to say no, especially if you just want to stream your PlayStation 4 games around the house. The PlayStation TV has been available in the UK for over three months now and even if it did not stand up to Sony’s expectation, the company still sees a lot of potential in it. This is why Sony has adjusted the price to £44.99.

While the price cut is huge, it’s still a long-shot for it to gain a lot of popularity overnight, even if the PlayStation TV sells with a voucher for three PlayStation Vita games. It will remain to be seen if the mini-console will get the appreciation Sony expects after this price cut.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

AMD Slashes a Third of the Radeon R9 295X2 Price-Tag in New Promotion

AMD has launched a new promotional deal where it cuts about a third of the price on it’s dual GPU flagship R9 295X2, bringing it down to just $999. Unlike NVIDIA’s Titan Z price cut, this one isn’t just for OEM partners, but also you (the consumer). Any one can take advantage of the new price, but it will be limited to selected retailers. This is great news for all us consumers, cause we also get a chance this time around.

It shouldn’t take long before AMD’s partners have their new deals up and running on their end, and we should see some cheap priced systems with these within a couple of days. The new deal won’t last forever though, so those in the market for this upgrade shouldn’t wait to long. With the usual Radeon rewards package included, this is a great deal that is hard to walk past for any one who want 4K or multi-monitor gaming.

If you need a little refreshment on the cards specifications, it is based on a pair of 28 nm “Hawaii” GPUs and has a total of 5,760 Graphics CoreNext 1.1 stream processors, 352 TMUs and 128 ROPs as well as 8 GB of memory across its two 512-bit wide GDDR5 memory interfaces.

Thank you TechNationNews for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of TechNationNews.

Nintendo Cut Online Gameplay From Wii and DS Systems

Online gameplay through the Wii and DS consoles has been a big part of the entertainment world, particularly with games such as Mario Kart and Wii Sports, however Nintendo as of yesterday have cut the functionality to play games online, leaving users only the ability to play games in offline mode.

Connection to the internet is still available, so services such as iPlayer, the Internet Channel, the Weather channel and so on is not affected at this time and Nintendo have also made it clear that Wii U and 3DS games are not affected.

Why this change has been made is not yet clear, although I suspect that the closure has been made in a bid to push users towards purchasing the Wii U console and the subsequent games in order to keep the online functionality.  In addition a full list of the games affected has been made, and this can be found over on Nintendo’s website here; affected games.

Although the Wii is not at the forefront of console gaming, it is very popular with social game play in the likes of Mario Kart and Wii Sports and what effect this has on the gaming community is yet to be determined.

Source: Nintendo

Image courtesy of IGN