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TweakTown News Posts - Page 2131

Kwikset unveils Kevo, a bluetooth-enabled deadbolt now on preorder

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Connectivity & Communications | Posted: Aug 1, 2013 12:05 am

Today, Kwickset, the largest home entry lock maker in the US, unveiled a new deadbolt set that can be unlocked with your smartphone via Bluetooth 4.0. Dubbed the Kevo, the wireless deadbolt utilizes Bluetooth 4.0 LE technology to unlock your door when your phone comes within range of its sensor. A wireless Bluetooth key dongle is also included for those without smartphones, and the device still functions with a normal key for instances when the batteries may be dead.




The deadbolt is available in three finishes including Satin Nickel, Venetian Bronze, and Polished Brass. Powered by 4 AA batteries, the set includes two traditional keys, a wireless keyfob, and two "eKeys" for smartphones. For now, the company's smartphone app is only available for third-generation or higher iOS devices, but an Android app and BlackBerry 10 app are in the works. The new deadbolt lock is available for pre-order now at a hefty $219 price tag, which is about ten times the cost of a normal deadbolt.

Apple feels pressure from Google Chromecast, refurb Apple TV now $75

By: Charles Gantt | More News: HT & Movies | Posted: Jul 31, 2013 11:03 pm

As I predicted, set-top box manufacturers are scared of Google's new Chromecast HDMI media streaming dongle, and rightfully so. The little device costs just one-third of what comparable devices cost from other major brands. With companies like Netflix, Vimeo, Spotify, HBO, and PLEX either supporting Chromecast or planning support, the $35 dongle looks more appealing than anything else.




Today, Apple has dropped the price on its refurbished Apple TV box from about $85 to just $75. Is this because of Google's success with the $35 Chromecast? That could be it, but Apple does have a history of reevaluating their refurbished prices and dropping them if the market is slow, so it really could be either of the reasons. A brand new Apple TV unit retails for about $99 new, so there is little value in choosing the refurb over the new, but my bet is to go with the $35 Chromecast.

USB 3.1 10Gbps standard finalized, moves into development

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Connectivity & Communications | Posted: Jul 31, 2013 10:03 pm

Today, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced that the USB 3.1 Specification standard has been finalized. This will allow SuperSpeed USB to transfer at up to 10Gbps. The new transfer speeds are made possible by more efficient data encoding algorithms that allow the protocol to deliver more than twice the throughput of the current USB 3.0 standard.




"The USB 3.1 specification primarily extends existing USB 3.0 protocol and hub operation for speed scaling along with defining the next higher physical layer speed as 10 Gbps," said Brad Saunders, USB 3.0 Promoter Group Chairman. "The specification team worked hard to make sure that the changes made to support higher speeds were limited and remained consistent with existing USB 3.0 architecture to ease product development."


The Group says that the new standard is fully backwards compatible with existing USB 3.0 cables and connectors. All existing software stacks, protocols, and 5Gbps hubs will continue to function with the new standard as well. If you are interested, you can download the latest release of the specification from Source #2 below.

AMD and Intel in bed with NSA? Are backdoors built into processors?

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Jul 31, 2013 9:04 pm

The Australian Finance Review has just published a new story that suggests that the NSA may have hardware level backdoors built into current generation AMD and Intel processors. Leading security expert Steve Blank says that he first caught on to the practice when he noticed that the NSA had access to Microsoft emails before they were encrypted. He says that he would be extremely surprised if the NSA did not have access to a processor microcode level backdoor on every PC in America.




His reasoning behind the theory is quite simple. The sheer power needed to brute force crack AES 256-bit encryption on a single file would be equivalent to "the power of 10 million suns" and that a hardware backdoor would require almost no effort to enter and would allow agents access inside your PC in a matter of minutes. Jonathan Brossard, another expert in the security field, demonstrated this as a proof of concept at last year's Black Hat conference. These backdoors are made possible because they are placed inside the microcode which is stored on the chip itself and gets updated every time Microsoft, Apple, or any other OS pushes out an update.

Xbox 360 gets new stand-up comedy app from Comedy Central

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Jul 31, 2013 8:03 pm

Yesterday, Comedy Central launched its new CC: Stand-Up app on the Xbox 360. The new stand-up comedy app brings over 6,000 videos from more than 700 comedians straight to your living room for the first time ever. Comedy Central says that the app is different from the iOS and Android versions as the Xbox app focuses more on long term viewing rather than on discovery of new comedians and new material.




"We're looking opportunistically at all these different platforms, moving down the chain from biggest to smallest," said Ben Hurst, Viacom Entertainment Group's vice president of mobile and emerging platforms. "We want to get digitally distributed content everywhere." When asked if the company is worried about the new digital content leaching off viewers from its cable channel, Hurst said "We've now introduced fans to a new comedian or have gotten them excited to watch the new special. We view this as additive, not cannibalistic."


Comedy Central also launched a companion site to the Stand-Up app earlier this month named CC: Stand-Up Direct in which users can access the full stand-up library over the net and pay $5 per stream or download. The new Xbox CC: Stand-up app is available free of charge to Xbox Live Gold subscribers, which costs just $5 per month with a one-year agreement.

Samsung responds to benchmark cooking allegations, denies everything

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 31, 2013 7:05 pm

Late last night, reports started to surface that accused Samsung of rigging the code in its Exynos 5 variant of the Galaxy S4 to boost clock speeds when the device ran specific benchmarks. Our own Anthony Garreffa covered the story shortly after the news broke. This morning, not 12 hours later, Samsung has responded and as one would expect, the company denied everything.




Samsung says that the "BenchmarkBooster" used on the Exynos 5 is not intended to boost frequencies when running certain benchmarks. Normally, I would tend to give the company the benefit of the doubt, but with the code being named "BenchmarkBooster," I am finding it hard to drink this glass of Koolaid. However, regardless of benchmark performance, the Galaxy S4 is still one hell of a phone and with the code in question only boosting performance by 7 percent, does it really matter? Everyday average users could care less about a benchmark result that says this phone performs 1.3564 percent better than another phone.

Continue reading 'Samsung responds to benchmark cooking allegations, denies everything' (full post)

Amazon listing cases for the low-cost iPhone 5C

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 31, 2013 6:06 pm

We've been hearing quite a bit about Apple's upcoming low-cost smartphone, the iPhone 5C, but it became a little more real today as are listing "iPhone 5C" cases from case manufacturer 'elago'.




elago are calling their case the 'S5C Slim Fit 2 Case for iPhone 5C', so it's right there in the description. There are three colors available: black, navy and white. We should expect the low-cost iPhone to be announced in the coming months, and maybe sooner now that these cases have begun selling on Amazon.


The low-cost iPhone 5C should arrive with a rounded polycarbonate shell that will arrive in various colors.

ASUS will not be releasing any new Windows RT devices any time soon

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 31, 2013 5:04 pm

Microsoft are struggling on their own with Surface sales, with a huge $900 million write-down on unsold Surface tablets, and since October last year they've only made $853 million from the Surface tablets.




But, now we have huge partner, ASUS, abandoning Windows RT. The news comes from ASUS chairman Jonney Shih, who says that his company has no current plans to research any more tablets based on Microsoft's Windows RT platform because results from previous Windows RT-based slates have been "not very promising."


This means that for now at least, ASUS will continue making Windows 8 devices, but Shih didn't rule out making more Windows RT devices in the future. I don't think we'll ASUS return to the platform until it changes, completely. ASUS are doing well at the moment with their Windows 8 and Android devices, why spoil the fun and money with Windows RT?

Breaking News: Microsoft forced to rename SkyDrive after court ruling

By: Charles Gantt | More News: BREAKING STORY | Posted: Jul 31, 2013 4:02 pm

A UK court has ruled that Microsoft's SkyDrive name has in fact infringed on a trademark owned by British media conglomerate British Sky Broadcasting Group. As a result, Microsoft has agreed to change the name of SkyDrive worldwide. Microsoft has said that it will not appeal the ruling and BSkyB has agreed to allow the Redmond-based company to continue using the name until it can come up with a suitable replacement.




SkyDrive is Microsoft's cloud based service similar to Google Drive. It allows professionals, students, and everyday people to upload their Office 365 documents as well as any other files into the cloud for easy access anywhere, anytime. No word has been released yet on what the possible replacement name will be, or when it will be replaced. What do you think a good replacement name would be? Let me know in the comments!

Microsoft have made $853 million from Surface since it launched

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 31, 2013 3:32 pm

When Microsoft announced they were coming out with an iPad competitor, there weren't many that had faith. I don't even think half the Surface team at Redmond would have faith in their own product, and it looks like Microsoft have made yet another mistake.




Since launching in October 2012, Microsoft have made just $853 million from the Surface tablet, according to the company's annual Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Considering that amount is less than the huge $900 million write-down Microsoft took in unsold Surface RT tablets, it's a hard place for the Redmond-based company to be in right now.


In the filing itself, Microsoft didn't detail how many Surface tablets they sold, but rumors are circling at around the 1.5 million and 1.7 million mark. Your move, Apple, Samsung, Google, ASUS, Amazon and every other brand under the sun.

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