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Microsoft tightening Windows 8 activation policy to curb piracy

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Aug 6, 2012 11:06 pm

There's no denying that piracy is a huge problem for Microsoft. Just two days after Windows 8 was released to OEMs, the operating system showed up on file sharing sites for download. Microsoft has declined to comment on the leak, but there's little reason to think it was someone other than an employee at an OEM.

 

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This isn't the first example of piracy for Microsoft. Almost every previous product they have released has been pirated to some extent. While they won't be able to get the problem completely stamped out with the changes they are making, it should at least close some loopholes and make it harder for pirates to do what they do best.

 

The changes relate to how OEMs active Windows on pre-built machines. Windows is activated at the factory so that consumers don't have to take any additional steps when they purchase a computer. Prior activation schemes saw OEMs using a single activation key on all machines so that they could use the same image across them all.

 

Now, however, OEMs will be required to write a unique code into the BIOS of the machines based upon the hardware configuration. Furthermore, this key isn't generated by the OEM. Instead, it will be delivered by Microsoft via electronic delivery and factories will have to file production reports detailing licensing compliance so they can no longer avoid paying licensing fees.

HP Slate 8 pictures 'leaked' by HP

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 6, 2012 10:36 pm

It would appear some pictures of HP's upcoming Slate 8 have been leaked by...HP itself. On HP's website, there is a promotion which has the tablet in it. This should mean that the release date is not to far in the future. Previously, the upcoming tablet had popped up in an advert and now the back has popped up in this latest promotion.

 

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This tablet that is featured in the promotion is likely to the Slate 8, as long as it isn't some fake tablet built for the promotion. The Slate 8 is set to be an x86-powered tablet with a 10.1-inch screen according to earlier leaks. The picture shows a silver device with an HP logo on the back and what appears to be a headphone jack along the top.

 

The tablet is in the hands of a doctor, well, at least an actress dressed like a doctor, so it's likely going to be marketed at businesses and professionals rather than your average consumer. This is backed up by another leak that says it will run Windows 8 Professional instead of RT. The tablet should launch sometime this year, likely shortly after Windows 8 launches.

Apple to update entire line-up with new mini dock connector

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 6, 2012 9:31 pm

As previously reported, Apple is going to replace the iconic, and sometimes frustrating, 30-pin dock connector with a new miniaturized version. Originally it was thought that the new connector would be added to devices as they were updated according to the usual update schedule. However, Apple is said to be updating the entire line-up with the new connector this fall.

 

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This update will include a 9.7-inch iPad, as well as the next iPhone, the iPod Nano and touch, and a possible iPad mini. This means that the current iPad 3 will be updated with the smaller connector mid-season. Of course, updating all of the devices at once makes sense. Otherwise half of the devices would be using the old cord, and half the new cord.

 

Unfortunately, this new connector could make older accessories incompatible. They are making an adapter, however, it may not work with every device. A major example comes to mind: Car integration. The iPhone is said to be announced on September 12 and launched on September 21 and the rest of the updated line-up is likely to come at the same time.

AT&T Mobile Share plans coming August 23, set to compete with Verizon shared data

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 6, 2012 7:33 pm

The launch date for AT&T's new Mobile Share plans has been confirmed to be August 23. This launch date is just in time for the back-to-school rush which should help bolster sales. The Mobile Share plans are perfect to combine with family plans, which already share unlimited talk and unlimited texts.

 

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The plans are AT&T's answer to Verizon's Share Everything plans. They are an obvious attempt at competing with Verizon who has plans already available. AT&T will continue to keep it's old plan line-up for new and existing customers so that customers who don't want to share don't have to.

 

AT&T has provided a tool to help you decide which plan is best based upon your usage. In general, the more you share, the more you save, as long as you are okay with sharing a smaller amount of data over a larger number of devices. Data allocations are available from 1GB-20GB. Initially, sign-ups will be accepted over the phone or in retail stores. Shortly after, orders will be accepted online.

Demonoid shut down as gift to United States government

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Aug 6, 2012 6:34 pm

It's been a roller coaster of emotion for users of the popular torrent and tracker site Demonoid. The site has been down for around a week now, and it would appear that the downtime is set to continue. The site was originally taken offline by a DDoS and users rejoiced when they heard that this was the case.

 

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However, more bad news has hit users of the site. Out of Ukraine, word has come that the site has been shutdown by authorities as a gift for the United States government. The takedown was timed to coincide with the very first trip of Deputy Prime Minister Valery Khoroshkovsky to the United States where the topic was copyright infringement.

 

"Investigators have copied all the information from the servers Demonoid and sealed them," an anonymous ColoCall source confirmed. "Some equipment was not seized, but now it does not work, and we were forced to terminate the agreement with the site." It seems that this week has been a bad week for the site.

 

"Shortly after [the DDoS] a hacker break-in occurred, and a few days later came the investigators," the source added. The management has back-ups of the site and appear to not be in custody. In fact, the admin is supposedly located in Mexico, about half-way around the world from the servers. Only time will tell if the site will be brought back online.

More fire for iPad mini rumors: Mr. Jobs 'very receptive' to 7" screen

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 6, 2012 5:31 pm

Rumors have been heating up regarding a possible iPad mini that sports a 7-inch screen. As of late, the rumors have been identifying a launch next to the upcoming iPhone 5. Publicly, Steve Jobs was completely against an iPad mini: "The reason we [won't] make a 7-inch tablet isn't because we don't want to hit that price point, it's because we think the screen is too small to express the software."

 

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It turns out that it could all have been clever misdirection. As part of the on-going litigation between Samsung and Apple, new e-mails have been released which show that Mr. Jobs was actually receptive to the idea. The e-mail, sent January 24, 2011 by Eddy Cue, was received by Steve Jobs, Scott Forstall, and Tim Cook.

 

It reads:

Having used a Samsung Galaxy, I tend to agree with many of the comments below (except actually moving off the iPad). I believe there will be a 7" market and we should do one. I expressed this to Steve several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time. I found email, books, facebook and video very compelling on a 7". Web browsing is definitely the weakest point, but still usable.

Wikipedia suffers outage after networking issues

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Aug 6, 2012 4:29 pm

The outage you may have seen on Wikipedia earlier this morning was not another SOPA-style blackout, nor was it any sort of foul play by upset teachers. The cause was a simple networking glitch with servers in Tampa. As of now, the site should be back up to its fully functioning and fully informative state.

 

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The outage started around 6:30 a.m. PT with a simple error message that the "servers are currently experiencing a technical problem." The site was somewhat navigable, with pages only partly loading and much of the content style and layout being stripped out. Just about an hour later, the site was back to normal.

 

The Wikipedia status page was aglow with orange and red which notated warnings and service disruptions. As of now, almost every single one is back to green or orange, showing that the site has recovered. The outage is said to be "due to networking issues with servers in Tampa, Florida," but no further information is available.

 

"We certainly haven't been hit by a denial of service attack." Further contributing to the story of networking issues rather than a bunch of angry teachers teaming up.

Google Chrome is still on top of the browser heap, has over 1/3 of market

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet Browsers | Posted: Aug 6, 2012 3:32 pm

It all started with a day. A while back, we reported how Chrome became the top browser in the world for a day. A little later, it managed to stay the top browser for a week. And then it managed a month. And now, it's still on top and is continually increasing its lead over the others. It currently has captured one-third of the market.

 

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StatCounter has the market share of Chrome pegged at 33.8% for July 2012. This figure is up from June's 32.8% and up significantly from July 2011's figure of 22.1%. IE is still putting up quite the fight and still manages to have 32% of the market. Firefox, on the other hand, is losing ground and is down to 23.7%.

 

Safari has managed to hold steady at around 7.1%. Last month, Chrome managed to become the top browser in Europe and surpassed Firefox for the first time. Chrome has a massive lead in South Africa and Asia, where it is the top browser and has a massive lead. IE still leads the US, UK, and Australia, which is interesting.

Intel plans to standardize SSD specifications for Ultrabooks

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Storage | Posted: Aug 6, 2012 8:32 am

Intel have plans to standardize SSD specifications for their popular, and heavily marketed Ultrabook platform. The chipmaker wants to steer it toward slimmer, faster Ultrabooks. Intel plan to invite a large number of industry players such as NAND flash memory makers SanDisk, Micron and Samsung.

 

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This would result in a bunch of the big players in the market discussing what is known as Next Generation Form Factor (NGFF), a new SSD form-factor derived from mSATA. Intel wants to accelerate their NGFF SSD plans, as current mSATA has limitations, including limited PCB area, where a number of ONFI channels can be wired out.

 

NGFF will probably end up as mSATA with much more PCB area, which will allow the same number of ONFI channels as 2.5-inch SSDs, with the latest generation of controllers and toggle-NAND flash memory. NGFF doesn't increase the thickness of the SSD itself compared to mSATA, but just elongates it. Intel and their Ultrabook partners are discussing five length standards at the moment.

eBay enters same-day shipping service with eBay Now

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Aug 6, 2012 7:21 am

eBay have entered the same-day shipping service business with eBay Now. eBay Now has arrived, for now, as an iOS app that will allow San Francisco-based residents to get $5 same-day shipping on products from local stores.

 

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The company is signing up users for an "exclusive beta", which lets anyone register and those who do, should get a download link shortly after. It looks like eBay Now currently only works for purchases that exceed $25, but beta testers get $15 off their first eBay Now order as well as free shipping on their first three orders before a $5 delivery fee kicks in.

 

What do you think of eBay's move for same-day shipping? It's a good idea, but I think they're going to need to rapidly expand it to as much of the US as they can, as quick as they can, if they want to keep up with competitors.

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