Gearbox’s Battleborn Enters Open Beta for the Weekend

Gearbox is known for their successful series, Borderlands. Combining first-person shooters and role-playing game progression, Borderlands was also known for the comical humour and storyline that saw players, laugh cry and rage at the digital world they became engrossed in. Gearbox looks to continue this success with a new game, Battleborn.

Battleborn isn’t just another shooter combined with role-playing elements, this time, they’ve decided to add in some progression elements similar to multiplayer online battle arena games, and with player versus player action, the game doesn’t stop there.

This weekend, or rather from now till April 18th 7am PT (1400 GMT), you can not only enjoy the initial 7 heroes but as you progress and rank up you can enjoy more and more, with competitive versus and story mode letting you earn XP towards temporary helix augmentations and character and command ranks, every game increases your characters strengths.

It should be noted that experience and items obtained within the open beta won’t carry on to the retail version when it releases May 3rd. You can download the games open beta on Steam, found here.

 

With sword-wielding vampires, exploding wrestlers and a mecha wielding penguin, what isn’t to love? With the game available for £39.99 or £51.99 for the Digital Deluxe Pre-order version the open beta may attract more to the game.

“5G Playground” Opens the Door for Warp Speeds

Internet connection speeds have been somewhat of a hot topic over the last decade or so, consumers who demand ever-increasing speeds while internet service providers have been particularly lagging in certain regions of the world. Well, researchers who are developing new super-super-fast standard 5G mobile technologies have what has been described as a “playground” which they can visit in South Korea.

It has been reported that Service provider SK Telecom (South Korean wireless telecommunications operator) has unveiled its Research and Development “5G Playground” on Thursday with partners including Ericsson, Nokia, Intel and Samsung Electronics, it was also announced that a collection of regional standard bodies would host a series of events with the aim of building a global consensus on the emergence of 5G.

5G is potentially an important breakthrough after SK Telecom and Nokia demonstrated the possible capabilities of this network which ran at a super quick 19.1 Gbps (per second), SK plans to launch a 5G trial service in 2017.

As technology is becoming more advanced so is certainly the need for a turbo charged infrastructure, this new standard is expected to be completed by 2020, although it might vary as to the rollout progression speed per country. Until at least then, many people will have to make do with current speeds.

Image courtesy of thenextsiliconvalley

 

Asetek Scores Another Legal Victory Over Cooler Master

It has been a long court battle between PC component manufacturers Asetek and CMI, also known as Cooler Master, and despite a few victories in favour of Asetek, it seems the case is yet to reach an end! We first brought you the news that Asetek were taking Cooler Master to court over multiple patent infringements three years ago. Skip ahead to December last year, Cooler Master was found guilty in the Asetek patent suit, awarding them damages based on 14.5% royalty rate. However, CMI demanded a new judgment as a matter of law and a new trial.

Unfortunately for CMI, the court has denied their demands, but rather than simply throwing out the case, the judge awarded Asetek enhanced damages of 25.375% royalty rate on CMI’s revenues for sales of the infringing products, dating this back to the start of 2015, whilst also blocking CMI and its parent, Cooler Master, from selling certain infringing products in the US.

The only thing in favour of CMI at the moment is that they’re able to appeal the matter, but perhaps they won’t be as motivated to do so given the recent turn of events.

Hopefully, the matter will be resolved in the near future, allowing fans to get hold of the products they desire without too many headaches.

How Ross Ulbricht Ended up in Prison for Life

Have you heard of the Silk Road? It’s been pretty big news recently. The website was the core of “the dark web” – a side of the internet that was only accessible to the uppermost of criminals.

The main person behind the Silk Road (Ross Ulbricht)  was convicted for Life this week, after being prison since the 1st of October 2013. Ars Technica have published an article telling us what happened on that day:

On October 1, 2013, the last day that Ross Ulbricht would be free, he didn’t leave his San Francisco home until nearly 3:00pm. When he did finally step outside, he walked ten minutes to the Bello Cafe on Monterey Avenue but found it full, so he went next door to the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library. There, he sat down at a table by a well-lit window in the library’s small science fiction section and opened his laptop.

From his spot in the library, Ulbricht, a 29-year-old who lived modestly in a rented room, settled into his work. Though outwardly indistinguishable from the many other techies and coders working in San Francisco, Ulbricht actually worked the most unusual tech job in the city—he ran the Silk Road, the Internet’s largest drug-dealing website.

Shortly after connecting to the library WiFi network, Ulbricht was contacted on a secure, Silk Road staff-only chat channel.

“Are you there?” wrote Cirrus, a lieutenant who managed the site’s extensive message forums.

“Hey,” responded Ulbricht, appearing on Cirrus’ screen as the “Dread Pirate Roberts,” the pseudonym he had taken on in early 2012.

“Can you check out one of the flagged messages for me?” Cirrus wrote.

“Sure,” Ulbricht wrote back. He would first need to connect to the Silk Road’s hidden server. “Let me log in… OK, which post?”

Behind Ulbricht in the library, a man and woman started a loud argument. Ulbricht turned to look at this couple having a domestic dispute in awkward proximity to him, but when he did so, the man reached over and pushed Ulbricht’s open laptop across the table. The woman grabbed it and handed it off to FBI Special Agent Thomas Kiernan, who was standing nearby.

Ulbricht was arrested, placed in handcuffs, and taken downstairs. Kiernan took photos of the open laptop, occasionally pressing a button to keep it active. Later, he would testify that if the computer had gone to sleep, or if Ulbricht had time to close the lid, the encryption would have been unbreakable. “It would have turned into a brick, basically,” he said.

Then Cirrus himself arrived at the library to join Kiernan. Jared Der-Yeghiayan, an agent with Homeland Security Investigations, had been probing Silk Road undercover for two years, eventually taking over the Cirrus account and even drawing a salary from Ulbricht. He had come to California for the arrest, initiating the chat with Ulbricht—who had been under surveillance all day—from a nearby cafe.

Looking at Ulbricht’s computer, Der-Yeghiayan suddenly saw Silk Road through the boss’ eyes. In addition to the flagged message noted by Cirrus, the laptop’s Web browser was open to a page with an address ending in “mastermind.” It showed the volume of business moving through the Silk Road site at any given time. Silk Road vendors concealed their product in packages shipped by regular mail, and the “mastermind” page showed the commissions Silk Road stood to earn off those packages (the site took a bit more than 10 percent of a typical sale). It also showed the amount of time that had been logged recently by three top staffers: Inigo, Libertas, and Cirrus himself.

Ulbricht was soon transferred to a New York federal prison; bail was denied. In addition to charges of drug dealing and money-laundering, prosecutors claimed that Ulbricht had tried to arrange “hits” on a former Silk Road administrator and on several vendors. Though Ulbricht had in fact paid the money, the hits themselves were all faked—in one case, because a federal agent was behind the scheme, in another because Ulbricht appears to have been scammed using the same anonymity tools he championed.

Despite having been caught literally managing a drug empire at the moment of his arrest, Ulbricht pled not guilty. His family, together with a somewhat conspiracy-minded group of Bitcoin enthusiasts, raised a large pool of money for his defense. With it, Ulbricht hired Joshua Dratel, a defense lawyer who has handled high-profile terrorism trials.

Dratel did not reach any sort of plea deal with the government, as is common in such cases. Beyond a general insistence that his client was not, in fact, the Dread Pirate Roberts, Dratel offered no public explanation of what had happened in the Glen Park library—until January 2015, when the case went to trial at the federal courthouse on Pearl Street in lower Manhattan.

“Ross is a 30-year-old, with a lot at stake in this trial—as you could imagine,” Dratel said in his opening statement, addressing the jury in a low-key voice. “This case is about the Internet and the digital world, where not everything is as it seems. Behind a screen, it’s not always so easy to tell… you don’t know who’s on the other side.”

Ulbricht, he said, was only a fall guy, the stooge left holding the bag when the feds closed in; the “real” Dread Pirate Roberts was still at large. But would the jury buy this unlikely story?

The Silk road was a massive network of servers that provided a website to be able to buy almost every drug and illegal substance known to man. Upon login, users could see pictures of the substances and be able to access other tools such as hacking tools, fake ID’s and an illegal coupon scheme. All of which were held against Ulbricht in his trial. The site operated with a simple interface and had extensive user forums, providing a similar experience to Ebay and Craigslist. The website itself had no contact with drugs; it linked buyers and sellers together then taking a percentage of each transaction.

To access the website you had to use two technologies. Tor and Bitcoin. Tor was developed by the US navy originally and now managed by a nonprofit organization. It helped anonymize traffic by routing between several servers and encrypting the traffic on its way through.Bitcoin is known as a cryptocurrency; also an anonymous method for paying money to other anonymous people.

In July 2013, Der-Yeghiayan scored a bigger prize, taking over the account of a Silk Road staffer named “Cirrus.”

“Cirrus has always been dedicated to our community at large,” Dread Pirate Roberts explained in a private message introducing Cirrus to his small group of administrators shortly before Der-Yeghiayan took over the account.

Adopting Cirrus’ identity, Der-Yeghiayan earned 8 bitcoins a week—about $1,000 at the time—for moderating forum posts. After several weeks, he got a raise to 9 bitcoins a week. He was paid right up until the Silk Road site was shut down in October 2013.

For two years, Der-Yeghiayan worked the case without ever knowing DPR’s real name; he learned about “Ross Ulbricht” from another office just days before the arrest.

Homeland Security Investigations began making purchases from Silk Road, many of them under an account taken over from an existing site user called “dripsofacid.” (Various law enforcement agencies created their own accounts on Silk Road during its existence, but they also took over others after arresting their owners.)

When HSI made their controlled buys, they had the shipments sent to a name and address they used specifically for undercover purchases. Investigators compared the product received to the listing on Silk Road to confirm its origin. One purchase shown to the jury was 0.2 grams of brown heroin, bought from a seller in the Netherlands. The packaging was professional—the heroin tucked inside several plastic bags, which were themselves contained in a vacuum-sealed pouch, which was invisible behind a bluish sheet of paper.

Ultimately, HSI made 52 undercover buys from more than 40 distinct Silk Road dealers in 10 different countries. The drugs were all tested, and all but one purchase resulted in genuine goods. Silk Road, whatever one thought of it, worked as a market.

On the darknet, drugs are still available. But nowhere near the Silk Road has been seen, before or since. “Silk Road 2.0,” launched within a few months of Ulbricht’s arrest, lasted less than a year until its alleged creator, 25-year-old Blake Benthall, was arrested in San Francisco.

The most popular Silk Road successor, a darknet site called Evolution, shut down without warning in March—when its founders apparently emptied out the $12 million in its escrow system and ran. This sort of “exit scam” was the type of large-scale theft that users of such markets always knew was possible.

Any sense that the darknet could be a safe haven has now been shattered but Silk Road began years earlier, when the dream of creating a cryptographically protected libertarian utopia right in the midst of conventional society still seemed a reasonable proposition. But it was never likely to succeed for long—a fact that Ulbricht has now learned the hard way.

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of DailyDot

Prosthetics Get a Huge Leap Forward with Brain-Powered Technology

A lot of research has been made in terms of prosthetic and the technology to use them as naturally as possible. So far, we’ve seen some pretty amazing ways advanced prosthetics make use of hydraulics and computerized algorithms to simulate limbs and use them more naturally. However, they also cam with limitations in terms of how you could use them.

However, an Icelandic company by the name of Ossur might have propelled this technology far beyond everyone could hope. I’m talking about using prosthetics with the power of your mind. This apparently was the idea over at Ossur, who is now making large-scale clinical trials with its technology.

Ossur’s prosthetics plans to replace today’s prosthetics with their advanced technology, which apparently requires nothing more than a small 15-minute surgery to get the controller in place. After that, people are said to be able to use their prosthetics like they were their own limbs.

The lag between impulses is said to also be significantly small, which they say can improve the performance and health of existing muscle and biological limbs by using the prosthetics more naturally compared to other lower-tech stuff.

If you are worried about battery life or that you need to have it replaced periodically, don’t be. Ossur states that no battery power is required to operate the prosthetic and once the implant is made, it’s there for life.

Past small-scale trials are said to have passed significantly well, with a lot of hope for this next large-scale trial they are currently involved in. Now let’s just hope this is something our health insurance policy will cover in the future.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Ossur.com

Spotify-Powered PlayStation Music Launches Today in 41 Countries

The Spotify-powered music service PlayStation Music is replacing Sony’s outgoing Music Unlimited today. The service will be available on both PlayStation 3 and 4 in 41 countries, as opposed to the old service that only had 19 countries.

The new Spotify powered service means that players will have access to their Spotify music and playlists via the console and in games. The service has a free tier which should mean that anyone can sign up and have this on their consoles to listen to what they want when they want. The free tier is ad supported so if users will want interruption-free music they will have the option to step up to a $10 a month plan, and that should also have higher bitrate music as well. There will be a 30-day free trial for new users, and if you were formerly a Music Unlimited customer that is extended to a 60-day free trial.

Source: Engadget

Android Phones Could Be ‘Converted’ into Windows-Powered Handsets with Custom ROMs

Microsoft has revealed that it will provide its Windows 10 OS to a select group of Xiaomi Mi4 users in an initiative to expand the Windows-powered mobile OS beyond its Lumia handsets. Sources say that it effectively overrides Android, turning the Xiaomi phone into a Windows 10 device complete with Microsoft services.

“As part of the Windows Insider Program, Microsoft will partner with Xiaomi to offer Windows 10 free downloads to a select group of Xiaomi Mi4 users. Xiaomi Mi4 users will get the ability to flash their phones with the new Windows 10 OS and provide feedback to Xiaomi and Microsoft on their experience. This partnership will allow Xiaomi and Microsoft to get direct user feedback and continue to improve the experience for China. Microsoft is thrilled to see Xiaomi embracing Windows 10 and offering this great value to their customers. We’re excited to see the feedback we receive from this audience.

Xiaomi is a leading phone manufacturer in China undergoing significant global expansion. We are excited to partner with them in China and jointly gather feedback from Chinese users on their experience with Windows 10 to jointly collaborate on product and services development for the platform.

Availability will be announced in the months to come.”

The install is done by flashing the device’s ROM, effectively removing the possibility of a dual-boot, an approach similar to the Cyanogen OS project. Also, Xiaomi was Microsoft’s first option due to the fact that it has a strong community of users who provide feedback on the company’s weekly software updates.

It looks like Microsoft has big plans in offering the customization to a wider variety of devices, should the trial prove to be a success.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

EE 4G Speed Testing Hits 400Mbps in London Trial

EE, one of the biggest players in today’s mobile internet market has recently trialled this ‘Hyper-Local’ trial in London. They would like us to believe that this speed will be with us sometime in the future, by combining the LTE speeds of three (number not brand) carrier. Great, in theory, super speed mobile internet that is faster than most of our home fibre speed.

Even though EE would like this speed to be rolled out, they have a planned launch at Wembley next month. Real world speeds are expected to be around that of 150Mbps. That’s still better than most of our fibre speeds at home; more than enough to live tweet what you’re currently eating bite by bite or quickly check to watch a live feed of your neighbours dog giving birth while at a rugby match.

Let us know what you think of these ever-increasing speeds on our forums, over on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks to Gizmodo for this information

Ross Ulbricht Says He Did Create Silk Road, But He’s Not Dread Pirate Roberts

Ross Ulbricht, the man being tried for masterminding darknet black market Silk Road, has admitted to creating the site, but, according to his defence attorney Joshua Dratel, has denied that he is the site’s shadowy manager Dread Pirate Roberts.

Dratel made the distinction in his opening statement on the first day of precedings in a Manhattan federal court on 13th January. He claims that his client set up Silk Road as an “economic experiment”, but handed the site over to others months after. The new owners, says Dratel, then used Ulbricht as the “fall guy” once law enforcement took an interest in the site.

“After a few months, he found it too stressful for him, and he handed it over to others. At the end, he was lured back by those operators to […] take the fall for the people running the website.,” said Dratel. He then stressed, “Ross was not a drug dealer. He was not a kingpin.”

According to the prosecution, Ulbricht was “literally caught with his fingers at the keyboard, running the Silk Road.” When Ulbricht was arrested in San Francisco Public Library, law enforcement found him logged into the site with related chat logs open. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Serrin Turner and Timothy Howard seem confident they can prove that Ulbricht is the real Dread Pirate Roberts.

The trial of Ross Ulbricht – accused of drug trafficking, computer hacking, conspiracy to traffic fake IDs, money laundering, and continuing a criminal enterprise – is set to continue for the next four to six weeks.

Source: Wired

Apple Fighting to Prevent Release of Steve Jobs Deposition

The Associated Press, CNN and Bloomberg have filled a motion to have the video deposition of Steve Jobs released from the ongoing iPod lawsuit. The publications are in a battle against Apple’s lawyers who are actively seeking it stays confined to the courtroom.

Attorney Thomas Burke made the point that there would be no legal case to prevent its release, considering it was merely a “regular testimony” with a significant level of interest from the public. Apple’s lead attorney requested that the video should not be released. The video itself is 2 hours long, and features Steve Jobs discussing Apple, its competitors and iTunes, 6 months before his death in October of 2011. Subsequently, despite it having never been seen publicly, the deposition would not be the last known recorded footage of Jobs – that was his appearance before the Cupertino City Council in June 2011, concerning the new Apple campus.

The iPod lawsuit concerns the digital rights management of the devices between 2006 and 2009, when it’s alleged that the company acted unfairly by blocking users from installing content from competing music services on their iPods.

Source: CNET Via The Verge

Steve Jobs Still Delivering Sharp Opinions From the Grave

The other day we reported on the news that Steve Jobs was to appear in court over an iPod lawsuit via a video deposition recorded in 2011.

Well the trial began yesterday, and we have some of the first details of what was said in that video. According to Reuters, Jobs delivered a bit of a crushing blow to Real Networks, the company behind Real Player:

“During his 2011 deposition, Jobs displayed some of the edge he was known for, according to a transcript filed in court. Asked if he was familiar with Real Networks, Jobs replied: “Do they still exist?”

The video was shown alongside email exchanges between Jobs and other Apple executives. One of those emails from 2004, continued to add to the Real Networks bashing, with Jobs considering the release of a statement likening them to hackers:

“How’s this?” Jobs wrote. “‘We are stunned that Real is adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker and breaking into the iPod.'”

Jobs said that Apple felt compelled to implement DRM on the iPod to make it more appealing to the music industry. At the time, illegal downloads had swarmed the internet, making iTunes something very difficult to get music executives to work with.

The trial continues, with current Apple SVPs Phil Schiller and Eddy Cue expected to make appearances.

Source: Reuters

Kim Dotcom Cleared Following Bail Hearing, Questioned on Video Games

Kim Dotcom, of Megaupload fame, has walked away from his bail hearing after being cleared. He has been on bail since February 2012, and has faced allegations of breaching his conditions of bail.

The Auckland District Court ruled that despite his new business interests, most notably his ‘Mega’ file sharing service, and the subsequent earnings he could have made from them, he was not at risk of breaching his bail and leaving New Zealand.

He said that all of his earnings had been placed into a family trust, for which he is no longer a beneficiary of, technically making him ‘broke’ as we recently reported. The new beneficiary is his supposed wife, Mona.

The New Zealand Herald detailed some of the questions posed to Kim, including those about his gaming habits:

“Ruffin: “How much time a day do you spend gaming?”

Dotcom: “It’s my hobby. A couple of hours a day. I did spend quite a bit of time when Call of Duty Modern Warfare came out because I wanted to be number one. I spent 30 hours [playing] non-stop.” 

But perhaps the most humorous moment, was the judge confusing “cloud storage” for “cow storage”:

“Asked what his post-raid business was, Dotcom said he helped create Mega, a “cloud storage website”.

Judge Nevin Dawson: “A what website?”

Dotcom: “Cloud storage.”

Judge Dawson noted and said: “Cow storage.”

Dotcom, looking exasperated, corrected: “Cloud storage.”

Maybe Cow Storage could be Kim’s next big thing?

Source: The New Zealand Herald

Police Ordered to Hand over Clones of Dotcom’s Data

In what can be described as a small victory for the New Zealand entrepreneur Kim Dotcom in his ongoing legal battle over Megaupload, the New Zealand Court of Appeal ruled that clones of the seized electronic devices should be returned to Dotcom and his co-defendants “as soon as reasonably practicable”.

The New Zealand police department already handed over clones to the US departments in the case, but so far refused to hand over any to Dotcom’s side. The reason behind it is that some of the data is encrypted, and without having the keys and passwords to see what is inside, they can’t validate and investigate it’s content. The new court order circumvents that previous lock-up and orders them to hand over all non-encrypted information for now. When the police gets the keys to verify the encrypted parts, those can be returned as well.

If Kim Dotcom ever decides to give up the passwords for the encrypted files, it will be limited to two investigating officers and the court previously prohibited those officers from sharing them with their US counterparts, as it was deemed wrong that they even got the files in the first place.

Thank you Torrentfreak for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of slashgear.

LinkedIn Made to Pay $6 Million to Underpaid Employees

Big blow for LinkedIn this week as the social network is forced by the US Department of Labor to pay a total of $6 million back to its employees that have been underpaid. linkedIn have been found guilty of breaking federal wage laws in several states across the USA. California, Illinois, Nebraska and New York were the states where LinkedIn have been found guilty. Very naughty indeed, LinkedIn have received some positives from this though, the company was praised on how honest it was with the courts during the process. LinkedIn admitted that did owe employees money and agreed to pay every cent back and would ensure that something like this never happens again, at least they’re paying it back without arguing about it.

The pay back is split into two sections, $3 million back in unpaid wages and over $2.5 million back in damages to 359 people including former employees and employees who are still working at LinkedIn.

“Talent is LinkedIn’s number one priority, so of course, we were eager to work closely with the Dept. of Labor to quickly and equitably rectify this situation,” a spokesperson for LinkedIn said to CNET. “This was a function of not having the right tools in place for a small subset of our sales force to track hours properly; prior to the DoL approaching us, we had already begun to remedy this.”

Thanks to Tweaktown for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tweaktown.

 

BBC to Trial 4K Transmissions During Commonwealth Games

As 4K televisions are becoming more common on the marketplace and the cost of them starts to rapidly drop, the question now is not if 4K will ever appear, but now when will it be appearing in our homes.

At this year’s World Cup in Brazil, the BBC are conducting a set of 4K broadcast trials to see how the feeds respond to transmission over a long distance, although this is strictly on a R&D basis at this moment in time. Whilst this means that 4K TV owners still have to wait longer for 4K to appear on their end, the BBC has announced that during next years Commonwealth Games in Glasgow they will be making a public showcase of 4K broadcasting, with a display of the 4K content to be found in the Glasgow Science Centre.

Like the Brazil footage, the commonwealth tests are purely for R5D, although they will have a public viewing and although most transmissions are over the air, the 4K feed in Glasgow will be conducted solely over the internet to remove the bandwidth bottleneck that may otherwise occur.

Although all these trails indicate that 4K broadcasting is not a million miles away now, there is still a lot of work to do as a standard for transmitting these feeds is set – with the internet probably to be the most likely candidate due to the bandwidth involved. Either way though, if you want a glimpse of what 4K will look like in the flesh, and you live close to Glasgow, it may be worth taking a look at the live feeds next year.

Source: Fudzilla

Images courtesy: NextPowerUp

Virgin Atlantic To Trial Google Glass On Flights

Virgin Atlantic are planning to run a six week trial, equipping their cabin crew with Google Glass to see if they can improve the level of customer service they provide to passengers. Google’s wearable tech could allow them to make passengers journeys more personalized, offering each passenger up to date flight information, weather and event information for their destination, translation of foreign language information and more.

“While it’s fantastic that more people can now fly than ever before, the fact that air travel has become so accessible has led to some of the sheen being lost for many passengers,” Dave Bulman, Director of IT, Virgin Atlantic, said in a press release.

When combined with other technologies Glass can provide all kinds of feedback to staff, such as updating passengers about each users dietary requirements and drinks preferences. If the pilot program proves successful then Virgin Atlantic could introduce it on a larger scale.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information.