Apple Takes a Radical Approach with its Swift Programming Language

Apple just announced something really radical today at its Worldwide Developer Conference. We all now how strict and closed the company is with its software and hardware, but it looks like things are about to change and we might see them before the end of this year.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president, announced that the company will make their latest programming language, namely Swift, open source by the end of the year. This is quite surprising since the company enforced a strict closed box policy on their products up until now. So why the change of heart?

Nonetheless, Federighi said that the compiler code and libraries for iOS and OS X will be made available to everyone and it looks like they are planning to go even further and release the latter for Linux as well. This means that developers will be able to program in Apple’s code on all major operating systems once the code gets released.

Don’t get too excited though. A similar promise was made by Steve Jobs in the past, who said that the company would deliver the FaceTime protocol to developers so they can integrate it into other software outside Apple’s own OS’. As you can imagine, the protocol is still not available, so take the recent information with a grain of salt until you actually see Swift’s code available for download.

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

CM Storm Release Swift-RX XL Mouse Pad

Not to be confused with the popular pop star Taylor Swift, although CM Storm tell me it’s an easy mistake to make, the new CM Storm Swift-RX XL Mouse Pad is now available in the EU. I know that it’s hard to get too excited about a mouse pad, but let’s face it, virtually all of us use one type of gaming surface or another and if like me, you game a lot, they often need replacing every few months.

So what is so special about this one? It’s freaking massive, that’s what! Measuring in at a lovely 900 x 360mm the Swift-RX is the exact width of my own desk, so it’s great for providing a good gaming mouse surface, but it’ll also sit nicely under my keyboard and keep my hands off the cold glass surface of the desk. The extra width is also great for those who use low DPI settings while gaming, as it gives you all the mouse-moving room you’re likely to ever need.

The Taylor Swift-RX-XL Gaming Mouse Pad (SGS-4140-KXXL1) is already available from most major retailers for around £19.99, which is a very competitive price for a mat of this size. I’m not sure how legit the creation of the Swift-TX XL is though…

What kind of gaming surface do you use?

Lizard Squad Hacks Taylor Swift’s 51 Million Follower Twitter Account

It was just this morning that we reported on Lizard Squad claiming responsibility for the earlier Facebook and Instagram outage, now it seems that the hacking group has taken another Social Media behemoth – Taylor Swift. For 15 minutes, Swift’s account featured two Tweets that referred to the reptile-themed cyber attackers.

Even though it was only 15 minutes before they were deleted, both tweets handing shoutouts to two Lizard Squad accounts, received 1 -2 thousand retweets and more than 11 thousand combined favourites. It’s also worth mentioning that her 20 million follower Instagram was hacked too, with a similar plug for one of Lizard Squad’s members.

Lizard Squad keeps on making the headlines lately following their massive DDoS attacks on both PSN and Xbox Live last Christmas. Just this past weekend, they took down the website of Malaysia Airlines, leaving the message “404 – Plane Not Found” shortly before promising to dump some “loot” found on the site’s servers. Plus this morning, the group hinted at their involvement with last night’s Facebook and Instagram outage.

We can only wonder what they’ll try next.

Source: The Verge

Taylor Swift’s YouTube Video Views Double After Artist Snubs Spotify

Popular music artist Taylor Swift snubbed Spotify by pulling her music from the online streaming music station – and her YouTube music video views have doubled since then.

Nielsen Music Connect informed the Swift Vevo channel on YouTube dramatically increased from 12.5 million views per day during the week ending on Nov. 3 – up to 24 million the following week – and it’s curious to see how much higher the channel can go. Overall, it seems foolhardy to just decide to pull music from an online service, especially when she ended a potential multi-million-dollar payday, along with angering her fans.

However, it appears music listeners are just turning to YouTube to help fill the void – and her album “1989,” which was never allowed on Spotify, sold 1.287 million copies during its first week. That’s the highest opening-week tally since “The Eminem Show” by Eminem in 2002. Only three weeks after the album’s release, it’s already the second-highest selling album of the year, and should only grow higher.

Swift was the highest-profile artist to abandon Spotify, and it would appear other musicians want to rely on the Internet to help music listeners. Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl recently said he doesn’t care how people listen to his music, as long as they are tuning in – enjoying – and prepared to attend concerts.

(Thank you to Today Money for providing us with this information. Image courtesy of Billboard.)

Swiftpoint GT – Slide Gesture Mouse Announced

Interactive change has come to peripherals – the Swiftpoint GT has been reportedly constructed in a bid to change the way we look at mice design which has followed common trends since it’s inception in 1964. Said to ensure your fingers can ‘become the mouse’, this product is marketed as a step into the future for computing interface technology. It’s being talked up a lot – can it live up to the hype?

The Swiftpoint GT is a compact and convenient mouse which combined natural touch gestures through a blue booth connection to your computer. Designed to offer two modes, point-and-click and touch gesture, this product has been developed in order to combat against the commonly seen Repetitive Strain Injury, Occupational Excessive Syndrome and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome seen within office workers, tech enthusiasts and professional gamers of today’s age.

The new design is said to be better for your body, allowing you to grip the mouse like a pen regardless of your hand size. Also claiming to increase your Microsoft Power Point, Word and Excel efficiency, the claims of this product get more and more outlandish as we read on.

Coming in at 23 grams and measuring 5.6cm x 4.3cm x 3.3cm, the Swiftpoint GT requires a smaller amount of operable space, due to its intended usage nature. This is marketed as an extensive positive when compared to small and somewhat clumsy Bluetooth mice of today, giving living giants like myself (6ft 5inch) the all-too-common hand cramps associated with poor design.

We’ll share with you a product release video below, please let us know your thoughts. I’d certainly like to test one, but I don’t think it’s going to make it into my Dota2 or CS:GO matchmaking games just yet. Short of making you a morning coffee, this mouse can apparently do it all.

Images courtesy of Chiphell

[Update] Spotify has Paid $2B to Artists, Taylor Swift Would Have Made $6M

The music industry was in the spotlight earlier this month when Taylor Swift pulled her hot new album release from Spotify’s digital streaming service. Claims were made from Taylor and her record label that the artists weren’t getting a big enough payout from having their music available on the service, but today Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek has hit back. Mr Ek announced that the company has now paid out over $2 billion in royalties to the music industry – which includes record labels and artists and their encompassing surrounds.

Mr Ek also made mention that the services userbase isn’t slowing down either – making note that the first billion dollars of payments came spanning the years of 2008-2013, whereas the second billion was paid just over the last 12 months. Another incredible figure that Mr Ek noted was that Spotify has more paid subscribers than all of it’s music streaming competitors combined.

“[Taylor Swift] is the only artist who has sold more than a million copies in an album’s first week since 2002. In the old days, multiple artists sold multiple millions every year. That just doesn’t happen any more; people’s listening habits have changed – and they’re not going to change back.”

The CEO also went on to exclaim that because Swift had pulled her entire catalogue from the service, she is set to lose over $6M is profits in the short term from not being on Spotify’s streaming service. At the end of the day, it would seem that Swift and her management pulled her catalogue from Spotify because they’re one of the last remaining artists who wields enough power to afford to manoeuvre such a stunt. In the meantime, I’m sure many of you have other tunes and artists to listen to and enjoy.

Thanks to The Verge for providing us with this information.

Asus PG278Q ROG Swift 27″ 144Hz Gaming Monitor Is Here and Priced

It has been a long wait since January when Asus first presented us with this new monitor, and now the time has arrived. The brand new Asus ROG PG278Q ROG Swift 27″ G-Sync 144Hz widescreen gaming monitor will be available from tomorrow.

The monitor is being praised as “Quite possibly the best gaming monitor ever made” and is ideally suited to NVIDIA graphics cards with 3D Vision 2.0 and G-Sync technology. This monitor runs at a staggering 2560×1440 resolution with 144Hz technology and a 1ms response time, and that using the latest in TN technology. The refresh rate can be switched between 60, 120 and 144 Hz via on-screen buttons.

The 27″ monitor only features one display port as input, but it does have a two-port USB 3.0 hub as well. The monitor offers 16million colours and has a brightness of 350cd/m². The viewing angle is 170/160 degrees horizontal/vertical. It’s a non-glossy panel and the bezel is only 6mm. It also allows for tilt, swivel and pivot and of course has vesa mounts (100×100 mm).

Overclockers UK is ready as usual and has it listed with an ETA tomorrow and at a price of £695.99 inc VAT. A hefty pricetag for a monitor, but also a great one. Personally I would have liked more input options on a monitor of this grade.

Images courtesy Asus.

NSA “Follow The Money” Program Spies On International Bank Activity

In another shaking report from German publication Der Spiegel we now have reason to believe that the American NSA actually spies on all international transactions processed by companies like VISA. The revelation is hardly surprising but will anger many given the fact the NSA maintained that no commercial or industrial spying has been conducted. Since they made that statement denying commercial spying it has been revealed that they’ve spied on Brazilian industrial oil firm Petrobras and now, many banking firms.

The program conducted by the NSA to spy on banks all over the world is dubbed “follow the money” (FTM). The information collected from the FTM program then flows into the NSA’s mammoth financial databank called “Tracfin” which in 2011 had 180 million records of which around 84% were credit card transaction details. The documents show the NSA was targeting companies like VISA for direct surveillance. The main regions of focus were Europe, the Middle East and Africa a presentation slide suggested the goal was to “collect, parse and ingest transactional data for priority credit card associations, focusing on priority geographic regions.”

The NSA Tracfin data bank also retrieved and stored huge amounts of data from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication aka SWIFT. Apparently concern has been raised among inteliigence agency staff, in the USA and UK’s GCHQ, over what can only be described as the handling of highly sensitive information. Spying on financial data is a huge invasion of privacy that is likely to enrage a lot more people than previous allegations that were just limited to telecommunications, especially since the bulk of the financial data is not even about NSA targets but average people.

Image credit unknown