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Computer-based animation being pushed to its limits with 4K

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Online Video | Posted: 4 days, 13 hours ago

The expansion of 4K content and high frame rate movies present graphically appealing content, but digital animation studios are struggling, a recent industry expert noted. Production schedules could be impacted due to high-resolution images, forcing studios to reconsider how they create films.

 

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"They are both going to present a huge challenge," said Bruno Mahe, Illumination Mac Guff technical head recently told the BBC. Traditional animated films are viewed at 2K resolution with 24 frames per resolution, but 4K boosts the videos up to 4K resolution and 48fps - and it isn't an easy transition.

 

In addition to slowing down production, studios also need increasingly powerful render farms to produce images and send them to other animation facilities.

Continue reading 'Computer-based animation being pushed to its limits with 4K' (full post)

US State Department email service back online after cyberattack

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: 4 days, 13 hours ago

A couple of days after temporarily shutting down its external email service, the US State Department has restored access after a suspected organized cyberattack from Russian hackers. State Department IT security staff detected "activity of concern" several weeks ago, and a response plan was developed to ensure no classified data was impacted. Full access to the service still hasn't gone live yet, while security experts verify new security protocols are complete.

 

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"I can report that our external email services from our main unclassified system are now operating normally," said Jeff Rathke, State Department spokesman. "And for those who feel they are, you know, tethered to their BlackBerrys, they are once again - because the BlackBerry service is working."

 

US federal agencies have been under attack, as there have been breaches against the US Postal Service, White House and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in recent weeks. It would appear all of the attacks can be tied back to Russian state-sponsored hackers, which would not surprise security experts.

17 people arrested in identity theft ring trying to defraud IRS of $2M

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: 4 days, 14 hours ago

Seventeen people have been arrested as part of an identity theft ring aimed at defrauding the Internal Revenue System (IRS), trying to cash in on $2 million in fraudulent tax refunds. Federal prosecutors said identity thieves were able to use university student financial records to obtain the tax refunds, and the ringleader is accused of directing at least 92 tax refunds to a single account.

 

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"The disturbing fact is that (many) of these individuals are current or former students who allowed their accounts to be compromised," said United States Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer.

 

While identity theft - and tax fraud - remain significant problems nationwide, it is especially problematic in Florida. Cybercriminals are targeting everything from medical records and tax refunds to debit and credit card accounts, and have been found stealing physical mail from residents' homes. There were 190 complaints filed for every 100,000 individuals, according to the Department of Justice, and 804.9 people per 100,000 filed fraud complaints in 2013.

Singapore Airlines passenger shocked with $1171 in-flight Wi-Fi bill

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Connectivity & Communications | Posted: 4 days, 15 hours ago

Jeremy Gutsche signed up for a 30MB in-flight Internet plan when he boarded his Singapore Airlines flight, priced at $28.99. Once a user goes over the 30MB, they're charged for the data used beyond it, where Gutsche's bill ended up landing on $1171 in additional charges.

 

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Gutsche took to his website, where he wrote: "I had an otherwise enjoyable flight but the sticker shock of being gouged $1,200 made me feel like I was deplaning from Total Bastard Airlines, that old skit from SNL where they kick you off the plane with a 'Buy BYE! If you were a family traveler or someone like my mother, that bill would certainly ruin your vacation".

 

Gutsche said that he visited around 155 webpages, checked his e-mail, and uploaded some PowerPoint presentations. He then estimated that his PowerPoint presentation cost around $100 to upload, adding that "I hope my team liked it". OnAir, the firm responsible for the in-flight Wi-Fi told The Wall Street Journal that the purchase process is "entirely transparent", and that "To consume several hundred megabytes during one flight takes much more than basic email viewing, for example downloading heavy attachments, cloud access and using Skype".

Continue reading 'Singapore Airlines passenger shocked with $1171 in-flight Wi-Fi bill' (full post)

Senate shuts down Freedom Act to limit NSA surveillance activity

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: 4 days, 16 hours ago

The US Senate didn't receive the required 60 votes to move a bill forward that would have forced changes to the National Security Agency's (NSA) phone surveillance program. The USA Freedom Act was brought before the Senate following former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's revelations of mass surveillance of US citizens, including a sophisticated phone snooping program.

 

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The Senate voted 58-42 to prevent the Freedom Act from moving forward, but there will be similar legal efforts to try to limit the NSA's snooping ability. The same amount of information would have been collected, but phone companies would have retained the records instead of passed them along to the government - unless a court order was produced.

 

"In the past five or six months, we have witnessed heights U.S. national security concerns with terrorist threats, geopolitical problems, and cybersecurity challenges from Russia and China," said David Fidler, Indiana University's Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research professor of law. "Addressing these concerns requires strong American intelligence and surveillance capabilities - creating the potential for stronger opposition to the Snowden-inspired reforms today than existed only a few months ago."

Intel will soon merge its mobile divisions with its CPU division

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: 4 days, 16 hours ago

Intel may be struggling in the mobile market, but things could change with the news that the chipmaker will soon combine its mobile divisions with its CPU-making division.

 

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Bloomberg is reporting the news, after speaking with Intel's spokesman, Chuck Malloy, who said: "The lines are blurring between PCs, tablets, phablets and phones. The idea is to accelerate the implementation and create some efficiency so that we can move even faster". With Intel close to its goal of shipping 40 million tablet processors in 2014, the company still isn't hitting its stride when it comes to profitability in the mobile market, mainly because of its big subsidies to have them on-board in the first place.

NVIDIA release GeForce 344.75 drivers, ready for Far Cry 4 and more

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Software | Posted: 4 days, 17 hours ago

NVIDIA has released their new GeForce 344.75 WHQL drivers, which include support for the just-released Far Cry 4 and Dragon Age: Inquisition. The new 344.75 drivers also have support for NVIDIA's MFAA mode.

 

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The new GeForce 344.75 drivers include improvements for Ubisoft's driving title, The Crew, as well as World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. The MFAA side of the drivers is interesting, with the Multi-Frame Anti-Aliasing providing a better image that is more comparable to 4x MSAA, with the performance hit to your GPU that 2x MSAA would usually have.

 

You can get the new GeForce 344.75 WHQL drivers right here, or alternatively, GeForce Experience would have downloaded them for you already, or will do so any minute now.

NYC to be pumped full of free Wi-Fi at 'up to gigabit speeds'

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Connectivity & Communications | Posted: 4 days, 17 hours ago

LinkNYC, a new "communications network" has announced its plans to turn all of New York City's existing payphones into public Wi-Fi stations, with Superman being the most disappointed with this news.

 

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The new Wi-Fi kiosks will be taller, and narrower than the average phone booth, but will still have ads plastered all over them. These Wi-Fi stations will boast "up to gigabit speeds", doubling as charging stations for devices, which is a nice touch. The new Wi-Fi network is part of a "public-private" collaboration between LinkNYC, the Mayor's Office of Technology and Innovation, DoITT, and CityBridge. A collective of New York-based companies, such as Qualcomm, Antenna, Comark, and Transit Wireless are also involved.

 

Not only will the phone booths be turned into Wi-Fi hotspots, but the LinkNYC kiosks will have touch screens that will provide information about the city itself, as well as allowing for free domestic phone calls. LinkNYC has said that the network will be "the fastest and largest free municipal Wi-Fi deployment in the world" and that it will be "more than 20 times fast than the average home Internet service in NYC" including a "seamless roaming experience from Link to Link". The best bit? LinkNYC said that the free gigabit Wi-Fi across NYC will be done "at no cost to taxpayers" with all of its revenue being secured through advertising, with around $500 million being made over the next 12 or so years. The roll out begins early 2015, with up to 10,000 Links to be installed across five boroughs of the city at first.

WhatsApp for Android introduces end-to-end encryption

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Apps | Posted: 4 days, 17 hours ago

WhatsApp for Android is currently being updated, with the latest version providing end-to-end encryption. Previously, WhatsApp couldn't decrypt user messages, even if they wanted to for legal reasons. Most have said that it is the strongest encryption on any major text service.

 

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The company has teamed up with Open Whisper Systems in order to usher in the secure feature, with Open Whisper responsible for multiple apps, but mostly TextSecure that had WhatsApp noticing them. This forces forward security to keep messages encrypted, even if the key is compromised in the future.

 

Open Whisper Systems spent around six months preparing TextSecure for WhatsApp, but at the moment it's locked to Android only. There's no word on when the iOS version will be updated, but it should roll out in the future at some point.

Promised patch for Halo: The Master Chief Collection has been delayed

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: 4 days, 18 hours ago

343 Industries had a promised patch for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, something that was meant to fix the massive multiplayer matchmaking problems that the first-person shooter is experiencing, but the patch has now been delayed.

 

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The developer was meant to release it sometime today, but has delayed it until "later this week". The patch was meant to provide a "a variety of fixes across the title, including Matchmaking performance issues, general UI and game stability improvements" that have plagued the game since it launched.

 

Microsoft has said: "This week's content update, which was originally scheduled for release this Wednesday, Nov. 19, will now be releasing later this week to allow for additional fixes, as well as the completion of the testing and certification process".

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