China’s Not Happy About US Sanctions On ZTE

ZTE is a well-known manufacturer of telecom equipment, and while they have seen success in the past they are more than worried about the future with the US looking to impose sanctions on the company. As you can imagine, China’s not happy about this turn of events and are looking to hopefully stop this action before it goes too far.

Hong Lei, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, stated that “China is opposed to the US citing domestic laws to place sanctions on Chinese enterprises”. The restrictions were only announced yesterday and were made on the back of allegations that the company planned have sold US-made equipment to Iran in 2012. This is in violation of the US export restrictions with Iran, but this move may have an impact on other companies just as much.

Intel, Qualcomm and Microsoft all supply parts and equipment to ZTE, something which will now require paperwork which will “generally be denied”. ZTE are obviously worried that, since they cooperated with the US since the trading with Iran first surfaced in 2012, they are going to be hit badly by the restrictions, ultimately causing “significant supply problems to ZTE”. The company has already taken a hit with the trading of company shares being halted.

NVIDIA Pascal GPUs Spotted in India’s Trade Database

NVIDIA’s upcoming architecture codenamed ‘Pascal’ is based on the TSMC 16nm manufacturing process and utilizes the latest iteration of high bandwidth memory. HBM2 will feature bandwidth exceeding 1 Terabyte per second and ship in larger forms compared to HBM1. Some of you might remember, HBM1 was a major talking point on AMD’s Fiji XT line-up but the memory has a limitation of 4GB. Thankfully, HBM2 resolves this and could potentially allow for GPUs sporting a whopping 32GB. While this isn’t confirmed, rumours suggest that NVIDIA could launch a flagship with a huge amount of video memory. However, I personally think a 32GB graphics card will target professionals requiring huge compete power.

It’s important to remember that HBM is up to 9 times faster than the current GDDR5 standard and a huge revolution in memory technology. Pascal will also be the first architecture to utilize NV-Link. This is an energy-efficient, high-bandwidth communications channel that uses up to three times less energy to move data on the node at speeds 5-12 times conventional PCIe Gen3 x16. In theory, this enables faster communication between the CPU and GPU as well as multiple graphics cards. This is only a very brief insight into the potential of Pascal and it could be the biggest step forward in graphics technology we’ve seen in a long time.

Recent information from Zauba.com shows a shipment of Pascal graphics cards which suggests the launch date isn’t too far off. However, according to the Tech Times, Pascal might not launch until June at the earliest! The general consensus is the launch will occur sometime in Q2 this year. With AMD and NVIDIA preparing new architectures, it’s a very exciting time and I cannot wait to see the kind of performance gains compared to the previous generation. Hopefully, the new range offers superb performance at reasonable prices, and AMD keeps NVIDIA in check to drive costs down.

Navigate The Complex World Economy Within Harvard’s Interactive Map

If I were to ask you to quantify the world’s economic activity and the regions which experience the biggest growth, you might say, I am not sure and what are you doing in my kitchen! But there might be an easier way thanks to Harvard University’s Owen Cornec who has devised a web-based map which allows the user to explore Earth’s economic relationships through 3D “confetti.”

Below are two screenshots of the map in action, when you first land on the Interactive Map page, it asks you to either experience a tour of the website or if you wish to skip this you can jump straight to the start to “visualize over 15 trillion dollars worth of trade”.  If you click the “Visualize”  button, you will receive the following screenshot of lots and lots of multi coloured dots being dropped onto the globe, each dot represents $100 million dollars worth of exports.   You can also view the globe by clicking on the virtual earth or you can “Select a country” to specifically view information relating to trade. 

The below screenshot is the “map view” by clicking this link you will see a flat map which might make it easier to see more data in one place, either option has the ability to utilize a “Full Screen” feature. At the bottom of the page, there is a colour coded key which illustrates trade within sectors that include Metals and also transportation along with other commodities.

This map adds a new dimension to the world’s trade while being immersive and thought-provoking, the colour scheme looks to be a giant firework party, but it’s certainly worth taking a minute to view the range of features and options available within this educational yet fun website.

Thank you harvard for providing us with this information.

Failed Bitcoin Loan Must Be Paid Ruled Judge

Bitcoin is a digital currency, this means that we can get into some problems that paper currency can’t. The other problem with digital currency is that its price is extremely volatile, being able to skyrocket one day and then plummet the next.

A man in Breathitt County, Kentucky has found this problem after being ordered by a judge to repay a loan of bitcoins that he received in December 2013 (including interest). With the initial loan of 11.95 bitcoins the cost to repay would now come in at $67,800 (£42,680 approximately), the price to repay is quite a large one. At the time of the loan, the bitcoins came in at around $10,000, with the promise of a 20% return within a year to his lender, a man from Brazil.

The initial plan was to buy Bitcoin miners unfortunately that didn’t work out. After failing to repay the loan within 90 days of the initial deadline, legal action was taken and was awarded a total of 67.74 bitcoins.

This didn’t get paid and resulted in a US lawyer based in Kentucky who then filed a lawsuit in March 2015.  While legally being ordered to repay the bitcoins, there is very little that can be done given the digital currency and laws in Kentucky that protect homeowners with deceased spouses who owe money.

While digital currency can help solve some problems paper currency has, without borders and proper legal oversight problems like this will come around more and more in the future.

Thank you Ars Technica for the information.

Image courtesy of CanBike.

Macworld/iWorld Postponed in 2015

 

IDG have just announced that their Macworld/iWorld Expo has been put into a hiatus, cancelling plans for their 2015 event which was set for San Francisco.

Originally starting in 1985, this event has been held annually to varying degrees of success but has forever stood as one of the major Mac-based trade shows hosted globally.

There has unfortunately been a steadily reported decline in popularity in recent times of this once very popular event, with Apple pulling out in 2009 and many vendors following suit. To put it bluntly, one observer ‘dwman’ commented on MacRumors: “Sadly, the writing has been on the wall since Apple pulled out. Unfortunately, 10 booths with different iphone cases wasn’t going to cut it long term. It was fun while it lasted. :(“

The official release from Macrworld/iWorld reads:

“Macworld/iWorld will not take place in 2015 and the show is going on hiatus. The show saw a remarkable 30 year run that changed the technology industry, provided an important forum for Apple developers to bring new companies and products to market, delivered world-class professional development to Apple product enthusiasts, and fostered the development of one of the most dynamic professional communities in the tech marketplace.”

With crowds no longer being drawn by the live release of new Apple products, the numbers have seen a massive dip in previous years. However, although reportedly laying off editorial staff and cancelling its print magazine, Macworld/iWorld have used the word “hiatus” which hints the possibility of a return in the future.

Were you looking forward to attending this event? If not, what exactly would draw you back to something like this?

Image courtesy of MacRumors

Free iPhone 6 and Trade-In by Verizon

Verizon is straight into the new iPhone market, offering up a potential deal to customers wishing to have the latest Apple technology.

On Tuesday, they announced a new deal offering a 16GB iPhone 6 to users – the catch being that you must trade in your old phone and renew your existing contract for another two years. Doing the math we’ve learned that overall this is going to save you around $199, taking into account all costs and comparing them to the original purchase price of the phone.

They’ve obviously got some competition however, with Sprint offering the new phone on their $50 unlimited data plan, alongside T-Mobile putting up a claim that they will match any other companies trade-in deals and provide consumers with $50 credit on-top.

Missed the Apple iPhone 6 releases? Deactivated your Facebook due to the plethora of incoming posts about peoples sudden ‘expert’ opinions, but still want to know the full information? We’ve covered it too, and you can check it out if you wish.

If you’re keen on a trade-in with Verizon, they’ve said that they will accept the iPhone 4, 4s, 5, 5C and 5S – no Nokia 3310’s this time sorry guys.

Image courtesy of TechAdvisor

Twitter Hiring Marketing Specialists, Twitter Commerce Platform Confirmed?

Recent rumors point to a new ‘Buy’ button and Twitter Commerce feature, but lack of confirmation did not have a huge impact on its credibility. We now learn that the marketplace-style project might become a reality with new positions surfacing at the social media company.

Twitter posted job ads for people with experience in commerce services, marking it as one of the rare moments that the social media giant reveals what is planning to do according to recent rumors. The roles available are for a commerce product manager, a commerce product marketing manager and a senior manager for commerce partnership, as Tech Crunch specifies in an article.

“We’re hiring an experienced marketer for a PMM, Commerce role: https://twitter.com/jobs/positions?jvi=osOcYfwa,Job … Help build Twitter as a shopping discovery platform!” Twitter marketing official, Bryan Sise, posted in a tweet.

There is no clear information regarding a payment method, though Stripe and PayPal were mentioned as ‘to be considered’. Twitter seems to also focus on a link between the advertising sold on the Twitter platform and the goods which will be sold on Twitter, according to the product marketing manager role posted.

There is also more questions unanswered as to what products will be sold on Twitter. Though, we can expect to see third-party associates as well as Twitter specific content being available as per the description of the jobs recently posted.

Thank you Tech Crunch for providing us with this information

Dogecoin Expected To Bring ‘Real Money’ To Owners In The Near Future

Dogecoin is one of the most known cryptocurrency out there, after Bitcoin. It may be pretty easy to pick up some Dogecoin, but, until now, it’s been difficult to convert it into cash. On Wednesday, Canadian electronic currency exchange Vault of Satoshi announced that it will now support Dogecoin, making it far easier to convert the currency into U.S dollars.

Anyone interested in turning their dogecoins into government-backed currency with wider acceptance up until now had to make an individual deal with someone willing to trade for Bitcoin, which could then be exchanged for dollars, Euros, and outer currency. However, this intermediate step not only made the entire process significantly more onerous, but it also inserted an element of risk.

Reports are that Reddit r/DogecoinScamWatch moderator u/goodshibe explained how the majority of the scams posted on the forum involve people having their coins taken from them while trying to convert dollars into dogecoins, or vice versa.

‟Once … [Dogecoin] gets a direct USD/CAD conversion … in place, many of these kinds of scams will fall away,” u/goodshibe predicted.

This newfound ability to easily and safely convert Dogecoin into dollars could change the nature of how the currency is used. According to BitInfoCharts.com, dogecoins with the equivalent of $212,500,000 were said to have been traded over the past 24 hours. To give a sense of how ridiculous that transaction volume is, the total value of every dogecoin in existence is reported to be only around $60,300,000.

The generosity seems to be related to the fact that a single dogecoin is worth a tiny fraction of a penny, so handing out a few dogecoins takes only slightly more commitment. However, it’s likely also a function of there not being a whole lot of things someone could easily do with a wallet full of dogecoins other than hand them out just like that. Now that converting dogecoins into dollars is no more difficult than exchanging any other cryptocurrency, there’s the chance that the community surrounding Dogecoin may come to more closely resemble that of any other cryptocurrency

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information

Green Man Gaming Launches Unique UK Trade-in Service

Green Man Gaming is one of the world’s fastest growing online games retailers and today they are launching a brand new Trade-in service in the UK for Xbox 360 and PS3 games, allowing customers to trade their games in against anything on GMG, including a PS4 or Xbox One pre-order.

Having rolled out a PC Digital trade-in service at launch in 2010 and acquired the Playfire social network of core gamers in July 2012, GMG is following up on this by giving UK gamers a new, fresher way to cash in the value of their games. Customers simply trade-in their games for GMG Credit to use against their next purchase – but unlike other services, they can choose to use this credit instantly and buy anything on the Green Man Gaming site immediately before they even send their games off – no waiting around for weeks on end. Games can be traded-in against PC Digital games, consoles games and peripherals or a Next Gen console itself.

Also launching on GMG in the UK is a range of Pre-owned games – giving gamers more ways to save by having the same games at even lower prices… Well I guess they have to do something with all the traded in titles right?

“Today we are delighted to announce the launch of our UK Trade-in and Pre-owned services,” said Paul Sulyok, Founder and CEO of Green Man Gaming. “The Xbox One and PS4 announcements at E3 showed how passionately people feel about being able to unlock the investment they’ve made in their games and we feel GMG’s unique platform allows our customers to do just that and benefit immediately.” Sulyok went on to add, “We live in an age where games and hardware have become so advanced that they are more expensive and less attainable in today’s tough economic conditions. Reducing this barrier by allowing gamers to use the value of their current games against their Next Gen purchase can only be good for the industry. Now you can buy a game from us, track your gameplay free on our Playfire service and then trade it in for your next new gaming adventure straight away. As GMG only focus on the core gaming audience, we feel we are in a great position to help them make this transition to the Next Generation.”

Martin Baxter, EVP of Trading at GMG, also added, “Our customers tell us they want choice and immediacy. Offering trade-in, immediate GMG Credit and a used games catalogue helps us deliver on this.” Baxter added, “To mark this UK launch GMG will also be adding an additional £2 trade-in bonus to every game traded-in during the first 2 weeks – and this can be used immediately against anything on the GMG website, including a pre-order of the much anticipated PS4 or Xbox One.”

These Green Man Gaming services are rolling out in the UK first and more information on the offer is available at www.greenmangaming.com/tradein-offer.

Thank you GMG for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of GMG.

Breaking News: Microshaft Finally Got Some Sense Knocked Into Them!

Breaking News! Xbox One will no longer require an internet connection, as well as that they are not going to restrict used games or game lending anymore. No more daily check-ins and it will be able to be used in all regions! At least that is what Andrew Goldfarb has told us.

Microsoft must have gotten some sense knocked into them by someone, perhaps it has been all of the BAD publicity that have been receiving recently! It has been one bad thing after another about the new Xbox One, which is not even due for release until November. Things like requiring you to connect to the internet at least once every 24 hours, requiring used games to have a paid registration, not allowing games to be shared or traded with friends and family. They will also no longer be locking Xbox One to specific regions, so you will be able to take your Xbox One where ever you please, great for if you like to travel.

Essentially Microsoft is removing all of the horrible features that they added, and they are taking a step back. They issued an official post to their website Xbox.com explaining their stance. The only time an internet connection will be required is when you initially setup your console.

Like the Xbox 360, disk based games will require the disk to be in the tray. Great news for those of us that like to share our games with our friends, or like to trade-in games when we are done with them, there will no longer be any restrictions. All of the downloadable games will work the same way, and will not require your console to be connected.

Perhaps these changes are because of the uproar of fans after Sony announced that the Playstation 4 will not require an internet connection or even authentication, as well as no fees for trading in your used games. Will Microsoft earn back some customers with this change of heart, let me know in the comments below.

Thank you IGN for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of eTeknix.

Steam To Add Trading & Gifting To Client

If you use Steam as your primary gaming client it might be interesting to know that they have planned some major updates, at least according to Gamersbook.com.

For a while there I ran the beta client of Steam, unfortunately there are so many updates, sometimes multiple updates in one day. When you’re busy doing something and steam wants to update, it doesn’t just update, and there doesn’t seem to be an option to just have it update. So once I was done with a fresh install, I decided it was probably best if I do not continue with the beta.

Valve Corporation, is an American Video Game Developer as well as Digital Distributor. Valve hosts their games on their game client called Steam, in which they also sell games from many other developers. Steam has become an integrated part of most gamers lives as many gamers look to steam for awesome deals, as well as for a way to play their games with their friends. At the same time Valve thrives to make the user experience better and better.

Steam has been placing updates in their system to make the gamers experience even better, unfortunately they have not released these new features just yet. They will be bringing two new and major features to the users.

Trade Offers: Which will give you the ability to send a trade offer to other steam users to trade from your inventory, people will then be able to accept, decline or counter your offer. Unfortunately this will only be limited to your friends at first, but hopefully they will soon let us send out offers to the entire Steam Community.

Item Gifting, currently you are able to give friends games, if you have an item in your inventory you can’t just give it away, you must open a trade. As well as give you the ability to gift an item to someone even if you are not friends with them! Item Gifting will allow you to send your in-game items and cosmetics as Gifts. The system will work the same as it currently works with the Games on Steam. So, the next time we are going to organize a giveaway, you probably won’t have to add them to your friends list and trade them but in fact, you will just send the reward as a gift!

Now as we have seen with recent news about Xbox and Playstation, it seems that Playstation is on board with letting friends trade and borrow games, while Xbox has decided to make trading games, and borrowing difficult. Steam does not offer to let you trade a game, and you certainly are not able to borrow a game from your friends. Though, Steam does offer many sales on games, which gives everyone the opportunity to purchase many newly released titles with a great discount.

Image from pensivenonsen

Thank you to Gamersbook.com for bringing us this great news about Steams upcoming features of trading and gifting.