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TweakTown News Posts - Page 2128

Apple sidesteps paying taxes legally, defends practice

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Apr 30, 2012 9:33 pm

Big companies have lots of money to spend on accountants. These accountants, in turn, go through the tax law and find the corporation ways to avoid taxes legally through loopholes present in tax codes around the world. The latest company that has been accused of doing this is none other than Apple, a company with more cash than the government.

 

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Thanks to a new report by the New York Times, a spotlight has been shined upon Apple Inc. and shows how Apple avoids a potentially massive tax bill by using subsidiary companies located around the world. These companies are often located in locations where taxes are low or don't exist. This practice is both legal and employed by many other large corporations around the world.

 

Take, for instance, Apple's subsidiary based in Reno, NV. This office is just 200 miles away from Apple's headquarters. A small staff located there takes and invests Apple's profits. By placing the company/office in Nevada, they avoid paying California's 8.84% income tax, since Reno has a tax rate of zero.

 

"Setting up an office in Reno is just one of many legal methods Apple uses to reduce its worldwide tax bill by billions of dollars each year," the report revealed. "As it has in Nevada, Apple has created subsidiaries in low-taxes places like Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the British Virgin Islands - some little more than a letterbox or an anonymous office - that help cut the taxes it pays around the world."

Continue reading 'Apple sidesteps paying taxes legally, defends practice' (full post)

MegaUpload's Kim Dotcom gets money and Mercedes back, also involved in political scandal

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Apr 30, 2012 8:32 pm

MegaUpload's Kim Dotcom seems to have struck a bit of luck. A High Court lawyer has ruled that a court-ordered seizure issued in January was not valid, even though an interim order has been in effect for two months. Due to this fact, he is receiving many of his seized assets, including money and a car, back from the government.

 

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Dotcom is said to be receiving NZ$750,000 ($614,000) in cash that had been confiscated. He will also continue to receive his NZ$20,000 ($16,000) monthly living allowance off of the interest of government bonds. His wife Mona will also get her living expenses and medical bills paid as she recently gave birth.

 

Additionally, Dotcom will get his Mercedes-Benz G55AMG worth NZ$250,000 ($204,000) with the license plate "POLICE" returned to him. His wife will also have use of her seized 2010 Toyota Vellfire, worth NZ$60,000 ($49,000). He has also had use of his mansion since early April with its swimming pool for exercise. He has also been able to use the internet.

 

Dotcom has also found himself at the center of a political scandal. He claims, according to reports, that he donated NZ$50,000 ($41,000) to John Banks,the head of the ACT New Zealand political party and the current minister for Small Business and Regulatory Reform, for his 2010 Mayoral campaign.

Continue reading 'MegaUpload's Kim Dotcom gets money and Mercedes back, also involved in political scandal' (full post)

TweakTown System Builders Guides updated with Ivy Bridge and new video cards

By: Cameron Wilmot | More News: Computer Systems | Posted: Apr 30, 2012 7:57 pm

So, Intel just got done releasing its latest round of new PC products recently and of course we're talking about the Intel Ivy Bridge platform which consists of new processors and Z77 Express based motherboards. Not only that though, but shortly before that AMD launched its range of new Radeon HD 7000 series video cards.

 

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That means it was time to update our SBG systems to reflect the latest in required hardware changes. Starting off with the TweakTown Sub-lieutenant PC ($1000 USD), it got its video card upgraded to the new AMD Radeon HD 7770 and in this case we selected the Sapphire GHz Edition 1GB version, as we had some good success overclocking it during our testing.

 

The top-dog TweakTown Admiral PC (Unlimited Cost) didn't require any changes, but we did spend time updating the TweakTown Commander PC ($2000 USD). It gets the new Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 Quad-Core processor based on Ivy Bridge and a new motherboard was required because of that change. We selected the ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe as it is one of the best Z77 mobos we have tested so far...

Continue reading 'TweakTown System Builders Guides updated with Ivy Bridge and new video cards' (full post)

NVIDIA GTX 690 shows up in wooden crate, confirms what reviewers were thinking when crowbar showed up

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Video Cards | Posted: Apr 30, 2012 7:33 pm

Last week, NVIDIA sent out boxes that contained crowbars to reviewers around the web. The crowbar had the words "for use in case of zombies or..." and the NVIDIA logo. Nothing more and nothing less. LegitReviews hypothesized that it could be used to open a wooden crate and they were right: a wooden crate was delivered to their office this morning.

 

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As you can see in the picture, the crate warns of "weapons grade gaming power" and has more writing on the side. "0b1010110010", which is is binary for "690" is one of the lines on the side, but I can't decipher what the other two lines mean. Of course you can already guess that the GEFORCE GTX 690 was inside.

 

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With the pry bar that was sent out last week employed, the top of the crate was no match. Inside sat the GTX 690 in all of its $999 glory. Drivers, as of yet, are unavailable and the GTX 690 is set to be available in limited supply May 3. It looks like reviewers will have fewer than 3 days to do their magic before the new card goes on sale.

 

"The GTX 690 is truly a work of art-gorgeous on the outside with amazing performance on the inside," said Brian Kelleher, senior vice president of GPU engineering at NVIDIA. "Gamers will love playing on multiple screens at high resolutions with all the eye candy turned on. And they'll relish showing their friends how beautiful the cards look inside their systems."

Intel demos 4-inch Next Unit of Computing form factor dubbed NUC

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Motherboards | Posted: Apr 30, 2012 6:41 pm

Ultra-small-form-factor PCs are all the rage right now. Look around and you'll see Ultrabooks, Zotac Zboxes, and all kinds of other small-form-factor systems. Intel, apparently, was unhappy with the size of the systems and wants to push the envelope just a wee bit further with its new form-factor dubbed the Next Unit of Computing (NUC).

 

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The new 4"x4" (100mm x 100mm) board was shown off by Intel at an event in London last week. It has quite a bit more power than one would think a board of that size would contain. The board currently features Sandy Bridge-based mobile Core i3 and i5 processors. Along with the mobile theme, the board sports a pair of SO-DIMM memory slots.

 

A pair of Mini PCI Express slots, HDMI, USB 3.0, and Thunderbolt ports are also included. Intel expects these NUC PCs to be available in the second half of the year. Most likely they will be sporting Ivy Bridge CPUs by that time. The more capable GPU will be a nice addition as it appears that there is no room for a discrete GPU.

SanDisk releases TRIM fix firmware update for Extreme SSDs

By: Chris Ramseyer | More News: Storage | Posted: Apr 30, 2012 6:23 pm

A couple of days ago SanDisk released a new firmware for the Extreme SSD. As you may remember this drive gave us quite a bit of trouble during our testing, so much so that we haven't stopped testing the drive even after two months.

 

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On SanDisk's website it is easy to find references to the new SSD Toolkit, but finding the actual update tool download is a different story. After combing the site for about an hour this morning we managed to locate the Toolkit's hidden location buried deep within the SanDisk vault. Hey guys, maybe a post in your SSD forum, a press releases or even a friendly email the next time you fix a major issue with a product?

 

Anyhow, for those who would like to update the only SandForce based SSD using 24nm Toggle Mode flash on the market today, here is your link.

 

After your drive is updated, this should once again be the fastest 240GB consumer SSD on the planet. If SanDisk was able to fix their TRIM issue, your drive will retain that high level of performance.

UK ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay a court rules

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Apr 30, 2012 5:31 pm

The Pirate Bay is pretty much synonymous with copyright infringement. As such, a UK court has ruled that because the site is infringing on copyright on a massive scale, six of the country's ISPs must block access to the Swedish website. In what can only be described as a major censorship of the internet, this court ruling could set dangerous precedent.

 

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If you are a British user of Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 or Virgin Media and a user of The Pirate Bay, soon you will be unable to access the site. "Sites like The Pirate Bay destroy jobs in the UK and undermine investment in new British artists," the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) said.

 

The British ISP BT has requested a few more weeks to decide if they will block access to the site. "Unfortunately, the move to order blocking on The Pirate Bay comes as no surprise," Pirate Party UK leader Loz Kaye told the BBC. "The truth is that we are on a slippery slope towards internet censorship here in the United Kingdom."

 

Additionally, most of our readers know just how pointless blocking a site in a single country can be. We've seen similar attempts in Iran and China fail. This is because users can use proxies to circumvent the blocks instituted by ISPs. Not only does it not work, but as stated before, it sets a dangerous precedent.

Continue reading 'UK ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay a court rules' (full post)

avast! Free Antivirus for Mac is now available

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Software | Posted: Apr 30, 2012 4:34 pm

As demonstrated with the Flashback Trojan, most of the Macs around the world are generally unprotected from viruses and malware. I've been saying it for a while now: Macs need anti-virus software. An official in the actual field of anti-virus and security has come out and said that Macs are 10 years behind Windows in terms of security.

 

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Someone must have been listening to me as avast! Free Antivirus for Mac is now available to protect your OSX based computer from viruses and malware. The makers of the capable Windows anti-virus software have ported it over to Mac so as to protect them from cyber criminals, just as cyber criminals are finding that they can beat Mac security.

 

"avast! users have been fully protected from malware like the Flashback Trojan - even when our app was just in the beta stage," said Vince Steckler, CEO of AVAST Software. "The popularity of Apple computers have made Macs an interesting - and wide open - target for the bad guys. With avast! Free Antivirus for Mac, we are ready to help close this window of vulnerability."

 

"Just as we have done with Windows and Android, we want people to know that while the risks are real, a free security app can be very good," said Mr. Steckler. avast! Free Antivirus for Mac is available from avast.com or many of the major download sites around the web. It's free and will help protect your Mac from becoming a botnet contributor.

Angry Birds Space rockets past 50 million downloads in 35 days

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Apps | Posted: Apr 30, 2012 3:33 pm

Angry Birds Space, a follow-up to the Angry Birds series of games, has been immensely popular since its release back on March 22. We reported how it rocketed past 10 million downloads in 3 days, and later 20 million downloads in 7 days. Now the company has tweeted that they have flown past 50 million downloads in just 35 days.

 

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If my math is correct, and it usually is, the pace of downloads is slowing down, but 50 million in 35 days isn't something to scoff about. The company behind Angry Birds believes that the speed of downloads makes this game the fastest growing mobile game available today. Told you it isn't something to scoff about.

 

"50 Million downloads in 35 days! Proud to have #angrybirdsspace as one of the fastest growing games ever! rov.io/50MILL" the company's tweet said. Along with this announcement comes the teasing of something bigger. The company said the following in a blog post, "There's only one conclusion to draw: something even bigger is on its way."

 

No mention of what that bigger thing is, but it will be curious to see if they can beat 50 million downloads in 35 days. Or, it could be an announcement of a weekly cartoon or feature film, things that have been rumored for a while now. You can be sure that whatever happens, we will be here to report it.

USB drive that uses voice recognition to unlock, costs only $50

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Peripherals | Posted: Apr 30, 2012 2:04 pm

USB flash drives can be hard to hang onto sometimes. They always seem to disappear at the worst time possible. And I'd venture to guess that most people don't run any sort of encryption on a flash drive. This new device claims to be the "only USB storage drive that protects its contents with a password spoken by its owner."

 

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But, what if you have a cold or are in a room with other people? Don't worry! The flash drive features a back-up text version where you can type your password instead. This is for those times where you have laryngitis or just forgot the spoken password. At 8GB, it's not the largest drive on the market, or the best looking, but it certainly is cool.

 

If you make security easier, such as this, then people are more likely to use it. And since it analysis the voice along with the password, just knowing what to say won't allow access. Unfortunately it still has a text-based password which could get out and compromise security, but it's still a novel device to show your friends.

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