Arts and crafts store Michaels is the latest to suffer a data breach, with the Secret Service now lending a hand in the follow-up investigation, the store confirmed over the weekend. Suspected cyber criminals have stolen credit and debit card numbers, immediately sharing news of the breach once it was confirmed.
At least four financial institutions have identified fraudulent activity for card holders after recently shopping at Michaels.
"We are concerned there may have been a data security attack on Michaels that may have affected our customers' payment card information and we are taking aggressive action to determine the nature and scope of the issue," said Chuck Rubin, Michaels CEO, in a statement. "While we have not confirmed a compromise to our systems, we believe it is in the best interest of our customers to alert them to this potential issue so they can take steps to protect themselves, for example, by reviewing their payment card account statements for unauthorized charges."
There are a growing number of companies working their way through significant data breaches, which open up customers to possible credit fraud. High-end boutique retailer Neiman Marcus confirmed a data breach impacting 1.1 million customers, while Target is still dealing with fallout from a data breach affecting more than 70 million shoppers. The FBI noted that these type of attacks targeting brick and mortar retail stores will likely only increase in the future, so shoppers need to be vigilant in monitoring bank account statements.
The battle for cloud computing supremacy recently accelerated to a new level, with Amazon and Microsoft both slashing prices to stay competitive. Amazon should stay the leader in public cloud offerings, but Microsoft's immediate response indicated it's a fight that will continue for the foreseeable future.
From the Microsoft website: Here are the details... We are matching AWS' lowest prices (US East Region) for S3 and EBS by reducing prices by up to 20% and making the lower prices available in all regions worldwide. For Locally Redundant Disks/Page Blobs Storage we are reducing prices by up to 28%. We are also reducing the price of Azure Storage transactions by 50%.
Amazon cut prices for the S3 storage prices by 22 percent, while the EBS Standard volume storage and I/O operations saw a price cut up to 50 percent.
In the future, both companies will continue to roll out enhanced features with more competitive pricing, so consumers and business users have more flexibility in choosing a service. Google, IBM, Rackspace, and other established cloud vendors also have cut prices to undercut competitors and force additional sales and marketing efforts from rivals.
Digital media experts who met in Hollywood late last week talked about the future of the porn industry, where movies and clips could be shot on wearable devices, such as Google Glass.
Thousands of people from multiple industries met at the W Hollywood Hotel for the XBIZ 360 conference, an event focused on the behind the scenes of the adult film industry. Owners from production companies were able to meet from people all across the world, where many of them agreed that the adult film industry has evolved into a corporate culture.
Miles Long, a director and cinematographer, was at XBIZ 360 on a panel to talk about the adult film industry, and whether it should embrace Ultra HD technology. He said: "It was great to have an intellectual conversation about this. I like this more than the tradition-style conventions".
One of the more important discussions held was a demonstration on how adult films could be viewed, and produced on a device like Google Glass. Porn superstar James Deen was on deck, showing how Google Glass can be used to shoot porn from a performer's point of view. I think we're going to see porn push ahead with Glass, and other wearables, as will other markets as they embrace the new point of view shooting style.
Paul Schiller, Apple's Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing, talked with MacWorld when the Mac turned 30 just a few days ago, where he had some interesting things to say about the OS X and iOS worlds merging.
He said: "We don't waste time thinking, 'But it should be one [interface!]' How do you make these [operating systems] merge together?' What a waste of energy that would be". Apple's head of software, Craig Federighi, chimed in with: "The reason OS X has a different interface than iOS isn't because one came after the other or because this one's old and this one's new. Instead, it's because using a mouse and keyboard just isn't the same as tapping with your finger".
Federghi continued: "You don't want to say the Mac became less good at being a Mac because someone tried to turn it into iOS. At the same time, you don't want to feel like iOS was designed by [one] company and Mac was designed by [a different] company, and they're different for reasons of lack of common vision".
A smartphone "hangover" plaguing people that check their smartphones after 9:00 p.m. revealed users tend to be more exhausted the next day, according to a new study from Michigan State University. The drop in energy and productivity level is similar to a drinking hangover suffered the morning after partaking too much at the local pub.
"It can be a double-edged sword," said Russell Johnson, MSU assistant professor of management, in a statement. "The night-time use of smartphones appears to have both psychological and physiological effects on people's ability to sleep and on sleep's essential recovery functions."
How everyone feels each day is strongly correlated to healthy sleeping habits, with sleep quality - and quantity - impacting personal health. As more people begin to look for ways to improve sleep, a custom sensor-based inference algorithm is being tested to help educate sleepers and help develop better habits. There also are a growing collection of wearables and accessories that help study - and improve - sleep habits.
Smartphones - and other technologies - tend to force users to engage in activities instead of leaving time for the brain to mentally unwind.
Now that Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is out on next-gen (or current-gen consoles now that they're here), we can get a feel for the performance of the re-done Tomb Raider.
Definitive Edition runs at 1080p at 60FPS on the PlayStation 4, but what about the Xbox One? VideoGamer.com spoke with a Square Enix rep who said: "Delivering the core Tomb Raider gameplay at native 1080p and running at 30fps was always our primary goal given the type of experience Tomb Raider is and the exploration we want players to do. Anything beyond 30fps for this version is gravy".
Then there's the fact that two different studios worked on each version of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition for each console, with Nixxes taking care of the PS4 version, and United Front Games working on the Xbox One version.
Respawn Entertainment's upcoming first-person robot shooter, Titanfall, will not feature any form of microtransactions. The developer confirmed the news through Twitter.
Most people expected micro transactions to be featured, but they will not be baked into the game. Respawn were asked if Titanfall would have microtransactions, or a season pass, to which Respawn replied with "no microtransactions, I don't have any news on a season pass". There you have it folks, no microtransactions for Titanfall.
Qualcomm is reportedly hard at work on a new processor, something that should blow most other chips away when it comes out. The chipmaker is rumored to be working on a new SoC that would feature 8 processing cores, and would be 64-bit compatible.
The new SoC would feature eight Krait64 general-purpose cores designed in-house at Qualcomm, and would be compatible with ARMv8 architecture with up to 4MB of cache and a 2.5GHz clock speed. We should also expect Adreno 430 graphics on-board (up from the 330 series) with a 500MHz frequency, LPDDR3/LPDDR4 memory controller, and various special purpose hardware/accelerators.
Qualcomm's new SoC would be made on the 20nm process over at TSMC. We should expect it to arrive as the Snapdragon 810 series, with two versions: MSM8994 with integrated baseband and APQ8094 that will require an external telecommunications chip.
Sales of Microsoft's Surface line of slates are beginning to increase, where back in Microsoft's first quarter of FY2014, it sold $400 million worth. Compared to second quarter FY2014, where it sold $893 million worth - a nice increase in sales.
Microsoft didn't unveil how many units it sold, but even with the increased sales, the company is still at a $39 million loss on the Surface line. Amy Hood, Microsoft's Chief Financial Officer, said: "With Surface, demand continued to grow, benefiting from improved execution at retail and favorable reviews of the new Surface devices. Sequentially, both units and revenue more than doubled this quarter, with customers recognizing Surface's differentiated value proposition as one device for everything in their life. We feel good about the progress we have made over the past couple of quarters, and are enthusiastic about the overall opportunity ahead with Surface".
The fashion industry is embracing 3D technology at an accelerated pace, offering an early glimpse into what consumers can expect to see on store shelves in the years to come.
San Francisco clothing maker Continuum already offers wearable 3D printed clothing products, while running shoe maker New Balance is dabbling with printed shoes. The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show has also demonstrated the latest generation of 3D clothing, which will help influence 3D printing in the fashion industry.
The cost of 3D printing is still extremely expensive, so average consumers likely won't print their own clothing, socks and shoes in the immediate future - but it's a fascinating market that continues to evolve at an accelerated rate.
Around 10 percent of all consumer products by 2025 will be 3D-related, according to recent industry estimates, though seems to be of interest to technology enthusiasts at this point. It will take additional time for 3D printing technology to develop - and clothing manufacturers to test 3D internally - before all retail stores offer 3D-printed clothing.