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Microsoft to open New York research lab, hires 14 Yahoo Researchers to do so

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 3, 2012 11:00 am

Microsoft scooped up well-known social network researcher Duncan Watts over the weekend, but he wasn't the only one Microsoft had their sights on. Microsoft have scooped up 13 other Yahoo researchers to kick-start a new New York research lab.

 

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From these 13 people Microsoft have acquired brings David Pennock who is an algorithmic economist and will over see day-to-day lab operations. Microsoft also scored machine learning expert John Langford. Microsoft aren't new to research organizations, where they have budgets in the billions, and 850 PhDs. NYC will be Microsoft's 13th global office according to Jennifer Chayes, who manages Microsoft Research New England, as well as the New York Group.

 

Microsoft were fortunate enough to grab these people as Yahoo made cuts to their research organization last month. Chayes adds that the Yahoo researchers didn't necessarily come as a package, where she elaborates:

 

I don't feel like we hired a group; I feel like we hired 15 amazing individuals, some of which became available because there were some problems at Yahoo.

Continue reading 'Microsoft to open New York research lab, hires 14 Yahoo Researchers to do so' (full post)

Samsung UK unveils 15-inch Series 9 Ultrabook, sports Ivy Bridge

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Laptops | Posted: May 3, 2012 10:11 am

Samsung have done the world some good, pre-announcing their Series 9 Ultrabook. The model in question is the Samsung NP900X4C, which will be the company's first 15-inch model in the Series 9 family of notebooks.

 

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Ivy Bridge processors destined for Ultrabooks aren't supposed to be available for another month, but this hasn't stopped Samsung's UK-based branch from teasing us with their Series 9 line of notebooks sporting the 22nm-based processor. The NP900X4C sports a mid-range Core i5-3317U running at 1.7GHz with a top turbo speed of 2.6GHz.

 

Filling the Ultrabook out is the HM75 chipset, 8GB (!) of 1600MHz DDR3 memory, a 128GB SSD drive, the 15-inch aforementioned screen with a resolution of 1600x900 and a panel with 400nits brightness. Graphics power will be driven with Intel's HD 4000 IGP, which isn't gaming-worthy, but its better than previous offerings. The NP900X4C also comes with 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi with WiDi support, Bluetooth 4.0, a microHDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, combo headphone/mic jack, an SD/MMC slot and a 1.3-megapixel webcam.

Continue reading 'Samsung UK unveils 15-inch Series 9 Ultrabook, sports Ivy Bridge' (full post)

Google Docs adds 450 new fonts, 60 creative templates

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: May 3, 2012 9:23 am

Google have announced through their Google Docs Blog that the Google Docs Team have unveiled 450 new fonts and 60 creative templates. The new fonts and templates are part of an array of new features an updates announced today, which expand the range of documents users can create.

 

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This drags Google's offering up to compete with the capabilities of its main productivity suite competitor, Microsoft Office. Template options are divided into different sections, Work, School, Home and Fun. The update to Google Docs also supports the importing of images from Google Drive and increased support for screenreaders.

 

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Google Docs supports importing images from webcams and the LIFE Photo archive. The new update also bumps the size limit for files from 2MB to 50MB.

ASUS Padfone hits a snag, delayed due to Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 shortage

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: May 3, 2012 8:21 am

ASUS' Padfone came smashing onto the scene during February's Mobile World Congress, and was meant to be launching in Taiwan in late-April, with an Italian launch rumored for the month after. But, it seems that a tweet from ASUS Indonesia is showing that it seems that Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 shortages are delaying the Padfone's launch in some markets.

 

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Translation is always messy, but the tweet says that Qualcomm is still experiencing Snapdragon S4 shortages and that "unfortunately" that's the processor baked into the Padfone. The Verge sent ASUS an e-mail to get a clearer answer, with a company spokesperson reiterating the shortage saying "I believe [the shortage is] affecting all of Qualcomm's customers".

 

While ASUS aren't directly confirming the delayed Padfone launch, they're putting themselves into the basket of Qualcomm customers who are affected by the shortage. We should have more information as it happens.

Microsoft to intro $99 Xbox 360 bundle

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: May 3, 2012 7:21 am

Microsoft are reportedly set to release a $99 Xbox bundle which will include the 4GB-sporting Xbox 360, as well as their Kinect motion sensor device. The Xbox 360 won't be sold flat-out for $99, but will have a two-year $15 per month subscription attached to it.

 

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At the end of the two-year period, customers would have paid slightly more for the bundle, compared to if they had dumped $299 down up-front. But, most people would rather pay a smaller monthly fee, then dump all of that money down at once. It's how smartphones are sold, in droves.

 

Included with the two-year subscription is a two-year warranty, membership to Microsoft's Xbox Live Gold service, and possible extra streaming material. If customers want to break the contract, they can do so by paying an early termination fee. This fee is currently unknown.

 

It's funny, because I've talked of this before. Microsoft, Sony, Valve and others moving toward a monthly fee type system, which means next-gen consoles could be over-powered, and retail for $999, but offer a two-year contract at less than $50 per month. It seems Microsoft are dipping their toes into the water with this, and if it works well, I fully expect this system roll through to next-gen consoles. Hopefully.

Latest Steam beta offers remote library management

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Software | Posted: May 3, 2012 6:18 am

Valve have released a Steam beta client which has a new feature tucked into it called Remote Downloads. Remote Downloads is a feature that lets users manage their game libraries remotely. This means that users can login to the official Steam site and have access to their game list.

 

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From here, they can start downloads and monitor their progress. The only requirement is that Steam has to be left running on their PC, which is obvious. Because Remote Downloads is done through a standard web browser, this means that smart devices like smartphones and tablets should be able to get in on the fun.

 

At the moment, the Steam apps for iOs and Android allow game purchases, but don't play well with a home installation of Steam. This function should be baked into the app once Remote Downloads makes its way out of beta, and into Steam as a proper feature. Nice work, Valve!

Spotted: Lenovo's Ivy Bridge-powered ThinkPad X230 Ultrabook

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Laptops | Posted: May 3, 2012 5:16 am

Images have leaked out onto the Internet of Lenovo's Ivy Bridge-powered Ultrabook thanks to Swiss retailer ThinkpadCenter.ch. They've posted a photo and some information on specs for Lenovo's upcoming Ultrabook, and tablet.

 

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The new Lenovo products should arrive within the next eight weeks or so. The leaked image teases the Lenovo ThinkPad X230, which is an Ultrabook which keeps Lenovo's ThinkPad aesthetic, sporting a chiclet-style AccuTyre keyboard.

 

The site also shows off some information on the ThinkPad X230t, which is the tablet version of the product, but there's no pictures available for that model. The laptop and tablets will sport 12.5-inch screens with a 1366x768 resolution display. Storage options include 320GB and 500GB traditional HDDs, as well as a 180GB SSD option.

Valve: "We are not announcing anything at E3"

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: May 3, 2012 4:39 am

ValveTime are reporting that forum member "tabernumse" has posted the e-mail response he received from Gabe Newell in reference to their plans for E3, shown below:

 

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Newell says:

 

We are not announcing anything at E3. Really. We are not announcing Half-Life 3 or Portal 3 or Left 4 Dead 3. We are going to be showing stuff everyone already knows about (CS:Go, Dota 2, 10' UI, ...)

 

On one hand, I'm upset. I really wanted a Half-Life 3 announcement, but in typical Valve style, they'll wait. I'll let them do this, I'll let it slide. But come E3 2013, they'd better not only announce Half-Life 3, but release it close to E3. Release it on their Steam Box, release it on PC, give it to us. Dump out Left 4 Dead 3 and Team Fortress 3 at the same time, wouldn't that be nice.

Facebook are preparing their IPO roadshow

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 3, 2012 4:23 am

Social networking site, Facebook, are said to be preparing to launch an IPO (initial public offering) roadshow. The roadshow is expected to start on May 7, with a projected start of share trading two weeks later on May 18.

 

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Zuckerberg is expected to play a role within the IPO roadshow, but what role exactly is unknown. Zuckerberg has reportedly skipped all the pre-roadshow meetings in April, and will not attend the roadshow in any capacity.

 

Typically, IPO roadshows are scheduled for company management to present business strategies to prospective investors, and usually span across two weeks over multiple venues. We should hear more about the IPO roadshow over the coming fortnight or so.

Instagram explains their secret herbs and spices, app sends first, matches data later

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Apps | Posted: May 3, 2012 3:09 am

We all know how immensely popular Instagram has been, considering Facebook purchased them for $1 billion, but how have they gotten this popular? Speed. When sharing photos, you don't want to snap the shot, wait a few seconds for the app to finalise the shot, wait a few seconds, begin to upload and wait more seconds for it to upload, right?

 

Well, how do they do it? The image below explains it, really:

 

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As you can see, as soon as you have taken the image, selected the filter and tapped the green tick, Instagram begins its upload regardless of whether you upload the picture or not. Instagram makes "two requests, two round-trips", where the data is sent as soon as part of it is ready to go, after which, it matches the rest of the data up. So what you think is a static screen with your picture, is actually magic behind-the-scenes, where it uploads your picture and appears to be super fast when it's finished.

 

This is most likely one of the key reasons Facebook acquired them for so much money, because they are great at what they do. As well as being a kick-ass photo-sharing app.

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