The use of military attack drones were pitched to US citizens as a way to launch organized airstrikes against specific targets, while also keeping US military personnel out of harm's way. However, the collateral damage - and accidental bombing due to poor military intelligence - has killed 1,147 people while the military targeted just 41 men, according to human rights groups.
Drone strikes against 24 targets in Pakistan, for example, have led to 874 deaths, with multiple unsuccessful strikes only lead to even more strikes. US Secretary of State John Kerry previously said the CIA and military only launch drone strikes against targets that have been vetted over a period of time, though cases of mistaken identity appear to be increasing as well.
"Drone strikes have been sold to the American public on the claim that they're 'precise,'" but they are only as precise at the intelligence that feeds them," according to Jennifer Gibson, US attorney and Reprieve staff member. "There is nothing precise about intelligence that results in the deaths of 28 unknown people, including women and children, for every 'bad guy' the US goes after."
Intel enjoys a 97.8% share of the server CPU market, and with AMD continuing to slide, it hasn't looked like anyone can break Intel's stranglehold. Popular new architectures in the datacenter have brought about customized low-power designs that can handle light-impact workloads. Right-sizing servers to the task at hand lowers cost and eases cooling requirements, and ARM processors have attractive low-power features that have always been an interesting alternative in the datacenter. Some Xeons operate within a TDP envelope of 90 Watts, but many 64-bit ARM designs operate between 10 and 45 Watts. Low cost is also another incentive to use ARM CPUs, but a lack of specialized chips and systems has hampered expansion.
This radical reduction in power consumption has led many enterprise powerhouses, such as Red Hat, to institute development projects to boost software development for 64-bit ARM platforms. Microsoft has even gotten in on the ARM-compatibility act by developing Windows RT. RT has been a failure of sorts, but many consider it to be the gateway to ARM-compatible Windows Server flavors. The expanding ecosystem development to further 64-bit ARM processors in the datacenter has placed the onus on suppliers to step up with competitive ARM offerings. One supplier with considerable heft in the ARM category has remained conspicuously silent on server CPU models, until now.
It appears Microsoft Xbox Live was not compromised after all, despite the "DerpTrolling" group saying they had stolen more than 1,000 Windows Live usernames and passwords.
"We immediately investigated reports regarding some Microsoft Accounts including Windows Live and Hotmail and can confirm that no Microsoft site or service was compromised," Microsoft told GameSpot. "Microsoft takes account security and privacy seriously. Should we identify any specific account at risk for any reason, we will take action to protect the account."
To stay better defended, Microsoft also recommended users create strong passwords, change their passwords frequently, and don't use the same passwords for multiple websites and services.
At a time when cybercrime has been pushed into mainstream media due to a large number of data breaches in 2014, victims of identity theft suffer from a financial and emotional toll that is potentially devastating. When a significant data breach occurs, consumers need to be increasingly vigilant of their bank accounts and personal information, to ensure they don't become a potential identity theft or fraud victim.
"When something is an ever-present part of your life, it can lead to feelings of depression," said Eva Velasquez, President and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). "You feel that there's no way out and no end to it. We've heard from victims who actually compare this to having a disease where they feel that their identity theft issues are in remission, but they're never fully cured."
Identity theft victims suffer from emotional and behavioral effects, according to a recent ITRC survey, with 70 percent of victims saying they are worried about personal financial security. Around 50 percent felt helplessness and betrayal, while 65 percent were angry.
Smartwatches are becoming more popular, and many analysts expect retailers to experience brisk sales during the holiday shopping season. Android Wear smartwatches are very popular and six of the top models use Android. This has naturally led to an increase in apps for the popular gear, but some aren't that excited. Swiss watchmakers are particularly incensed that their designs are being replicated and distributed for free. Smartwatch users can easily download custom watch faces that feature the same look as $20,000 watches from Rolex, Cartier, Omega, and Patek Philippe, among others.
Swiss watchmakers are up in arms, so to speak, and sending 24 hour take-down notices to several sites hosting 'pirated' watch faces. Watch face patents are valuable IP for watchmakers, and in the past they have pursued vigorous legal action to protect their property. Apple famously paid $21 million dollars in 2012 to licence the Swiss clock face design used in iOS6, and several other Swiss firms are threatening legal action against sites that host pirated watch faces.
Rental kiosk service Redbox will increase daily rental fees on December 2, and parent company Outerwall expects to see an "adverse impact" on rental volumes. Daily DVD rentals will increase from $1.50 up to $2 per night and Blu-ray movies will rise from $1.50 to $2 per night. A video game increase from $2 up to $3 per night will go into effect on Jan. 6, 2015.
"I would expect consumers that continue to use Redbox to adjust their usage patterns with reduced basket sizes and/or holding periods along with being more aggressive with promotional-offer usage," said Eric Wold, B. Riley & Co. analyst, in a research note.
I don't mind paying extra for movie rentals, but hope to see extra kiosks - and less issue with downed kiosks - if everyone is going to have to pay more. Redbox offers enough free rental codes, or rent one, get one free rentals - but this could reduce the number of rentals a person may get month-to-month.
The cloud is growing in popularity, and is having a major impact on the current state of the gaming market. A combination of cloud gaming capable devices, hardware makers jumping into market, and increasing network performance will push the market to new levels in 2015, according to the Strategy Analytics tech research group.
For example, NVIDIA Grid Game Streaming Service and PlayStation Now will end the year with almost 30 million devices, and that number is expected to increase 500 percent up to 150 million consumers by the end of 2015.
"2014 is proving to be a watershed moment with major players putting their credibility and brand names on the line to make cloud gaming work," said Michael Goodman, Strategy Analytics' Director of Digital Media Strategies. "While broadband speeds and consumer acceptance of subscription models have come a long away, access to content remains an issue for all services. The major video game publishers have so far successfully managed an incremental transition from physical to digital media, but cloud gaming offers publishers a new revenue stream."
Hardware maker ASRock introduced the X99 WS-E/10G motherboard, the latest X99 enthusiast and workstation motherboard supporting Dual Intel X540 10GBase-T LAN, quad LAN, Windows Server OS, and supporting PCIe Gen3 video cards (4-way SLI or CrossFire X).
ASRock included support for LGA 2011-3 CPUs that range from 18 core 160W Xeon E5-16000/2600 V3 CPUs to unlocked Intel Core i7 CPUs. The X99 WS-E/10G also has eight DDR4 memory slots with support for UDIMM/RDIMM memory modules up to 128GB capacity. There are 12 SATA3 ports, 1 SATA Express 10Gb/s connector, 1 PCIe Gen2 x4 M.2 slot, a SATA DOM and a USB DOM.
The motherboard supports the Intel X540 Ethernet controller, with the single chip able to support dual 10G BASE-T LAN ports, significantly faster than regular gigabit LAN. 10GBase-T can be easily integrated, but the 10GBase-T Ethernet card is pricing, along with a higher level of power consumption.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone has underwhelmed consumers, reportedly selling 40 percent lower than some predictions, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal. The Korean electronics giant has sold 12 million units during the first three months of availability - a whopping 4 million less than the S4 through the same time period.
It's worth noting that Samsung's biggest market is the United States, and S5 sales have gone up - but have dropped more than 50 percent in China - as Samsung must prepare to fend off Apple, Xiaomi, and Lenovo in 2015.
To help counter this trend, Samsung is going to shake up its management team, and co-CEO Yoon Boo-Keun, current head of Samsung's TV business, will be shifted to focus more on mobile.
The Apple iPad led the tech industry as the go-to choice for use in US schools and universities, but is now fighting to keep up with Google Chromebook-powered devices. The iPad may have all of the marketing hype, but cash-strapped school districts and universities are finding Chromebooks to be a great bargain.
"We are seeing great demand of Chromebooks in education primarily because of its low price point," said Rajani Singh, IDC senior research analyst. "The education market is very, very price sensitive."
Tech companies want to compete in school districts, community colleges and universities, which they believe will give them lucrative long-term contracts. Companies are willing to sacrifice higher profit margins in their attempt to appeal to school administrators.