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Verizon raising prices on FiOS, shared data plans imminent

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 17, 2012 11:37 pm

Verizon CFO Fran Shammo spoke at an investor conference recently and stated that Verizon will be increasing prices for its FiOS service along with various other services and products. The increase is to offset some of the cost associated with a recent network build-out which includes increased LTE coverage and FiOS access.

 

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"You'll see us do some price increases here over the next two quarters" Shammo told investors. Along with increases in prices, Verizon is moving towards shared data plans for its wireless service. Currently, every device requires a data plan. In the future, all of your Verizon devices will share one allotment of data.

 

While this could be beneficial for some customers, the CFO believes that data subscribers will spend more: "As they add more devices, they are going to have to buy up into tiers. So again, you will see the revenue increase there" the CFO claimed. With this change, users who want to get 4G access will have to move off of their unlimited 3G plans for a tiered 4G one. However, if a subscriber is content with unlimited 3G, there appears to be no intention of forcing them off of it.

Iran may sue Google over Persian Gulf losing its name tag on Google Maps

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 17, 2012 10:33 pm

The name tag that used to be shown over the body of water between Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar has seemingly disappeared. It's not clear if this was done on purpose by Google or if it is a bug as other highly-populated cities have lost their name tags before due to bugs.

 

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A Google spokesperson has declined to comment on the lack of the tag. Even more interesting is that the name remains in Google Earth. Tehran is upset about the lack of the name because the name of the body of water has been in dispute since the 1960s. It is a culturally sensitive point and some Arab states even call the water the Arabian Gulf.

 

The UK and US governments, along with the UN, refer to the water as the Persian Gulf. The Associated Press reports that Iran's foreign ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast told Google that they could face "serious damages" if the water's name did not return. It's not clear what these damages would be as it's just a missing name.

Facebook will go public at $38 tomorrow morning, will yield largest Internet IPO ever

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: May 17, 2012 9:32 pm

In what will be a huge initial public offering (IPO), Facebook is confirmed to be selling shares at $38 when it starts trading tomorrow morning. This price will value Facebook at an incredible $104 billion and raise $18.4 billion in capital. This release price is higher than what Facebook had originally aimed for in the first filing.

 

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MSNBC believes that the total amount raised will be flexible:

 

The offering will raise more than $16 billion for Facebook and selling shareholders, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and ultimately could raise up to $18.4 billion, assuming underwriters exercise their option for "overallotments" to meet strong demand.

 

Due to the strong demand that has already been seen, it is likely that Facebook will make the full $18.4 billion. This demand has caused Facebook to offer more stock at the offset than it previously was going to. The IPO is set to release about 18% of the company to the pubic. This will make Facebook have the second largest IPO, just behind Visa's $19.65 billion.

Continue reading 'Facebook will go public at $38 tomorrow morning, will yield largest Internet IPO ever' (full post)

Twitter adds Do Not Track privacy feature

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: May 17, 2012 8:31 pm

Twitter, just like Facebook, tracks its users. Twitter does track users less, but it is still there. The microblog has now joined Mozilla in giving its users a way to opt-out of being tracked in any way. Twitter is implementing this feature by enabling Firefox's Do Not Track feature. The Firefox feature only works if a website acknowledges it.

 

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The new feature was announced by Ed Felten, chief technology officer for the Federal Trade Commission, at the New York Internet Week privacy panel. Twitter has since confirmed the announcement on its website. Carolyn Penner, a spokeswoman for Twitter, said, "As the Federal Trade Commission's CTO, Ed Felten, mentioned this morning, Twitter now supports Do Not Track. We applaud the FTC's leadership on Do Not Track, and are excited to provide the benefits of Do Not Track."

 

This move is just another in recent times that attempts to put power in the hands of its users. Not to long ago, Twitter filed a court motion to protect the information of one of its users who used Twitter during an Occupy protest. Mozilla shared some statistics on Do Not Track in a post. "We're excited that Twitter now supports Do Not Track and global user adoption rates continue to increase, which signifies a big step forward for Do Not Track and the Web," Mozilla said in the post.

Comcast ends 250GB cap, looks to switch to tiered plans with overages

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: May 17, 2012 7:33 pm

The largest cable TV provider in the US, Comcast, has announced changes to its data cap to encourage users to use their internet without fear of hitting the cap. These changes are actually simple as they are just removing the cap. Unfortunately for users in the new test markets, this means that they will be getting switched to a tiered plan similar to wireless carriers.

 

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The users of these test markets are going to get to try the new model which includes overage fees. There are actually two different models that are going to be tested. The first sees a 300GB allotment for all internet speeds with overage fees for exceeding that. The overage fees would be something like $10 for 50GB more.

 

The second model will increase the 300GB allotment with each increase in speed. The same "overage" fee would apply to these. Either way, users are getting an extra 50GB, but are now running the risk of getting hit with massive bills if they happen to use the internet a lot one month. Additionally, while these trials are underway, the 250GB cap will be suspended around the country.

BitFenix launches the Recon and Hydra Pro

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: May 17, 2012 6:32 pm

BitFenix has come out with two new fan coolers that you are sure to want. One, the Recon, allows remote management and monitoring through the internet. Whether you are on a tablet, laptop, or smartphone, you can be sure that your computer is always running cool. The Hydra Pro provides 30W per channel power and simple LED control when combined with Spectre and Spectre Pro LED fans.

 

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The Recon is a pretty advanced piece of hardware and sports two microprocessors that constantly interacts with your motherboard to provide up-to-date information. It also is internet connected and controllable through any internet connected device with a web browser. Since it is managed through a web browser, nearly any device can manage it.

 

The Hydra Pro is designed to be a powerful fan and LED controller. It features 5 different thermal channels that each provide 30W. The fans are controlled by low profile sliders to make it compatible with nearly every case. The Hydra Pro really shows its worth when you combine it with Spectre and Spectre Pro LED fans as the LEDs are controllable with the touch of a button.

 

The Recon will be coming with an MSRP of $39 in North America and will be available next week at Performance PCs and Canada Computers. The Hydra Pro will be released in June and come with an MSRP of $34.90 in North America. These should look at home in nearly any case.

Continue reading 'BitFenix launches the Recon and Hydra Pro' (full post)

Samsung said to have been forced to launch new mobile memory chips sooner than planned

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 17, 2012 5:29 pm

A report coming from The Korea Times is claiming that Samsung was forced to move ahead with releasing its new mobile memory chips ahead of schedule. They had to release them to calm shareholder fears that Samsung had lost a major contract to supply DRAM chips to Apple for use in Apple's products.

 

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The Korea Times is claiming that several Samsung executives are saying that the new 4GB DRAM chips are ultra-thin and are going to be used in Apple's devices. This is contrary to the claims that Apple had moved part of its supply chain over to Japanese company Elpida. Even though Apple and Samsung are involved in lawsuits around the world, Apple needs the reliability and scale that Samsung can provide.

 

Claims from Digitimes that Apple had placed orders for 50% of Elpida's output from the Hiroshima factory pushed Samsung stock down 2%, or by about $10 billion market cap. These rumors are what supposedly forced Samsung's hand and made them release the announcement today, instead of Monday as originally planned.

Continue reading 'Samsung said to have been forced to launch new mobile memory chips sooner than planned' (full post)

RumorTT: Apple to start selling iPad Mini during second half of 2012

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: May 17, 2012 4:06 pm

A new report is out which cites the usual "sources" that Apple has already found LCD suppliers for as iPad Mini and will launch it in the second half of 2012. The new report is in the Taiwan news outlet Liberty Times, which also cites Japanese securities firm Macquarie. The securities firm expects Apple sales goals of about 6 million.

 

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LG and Au Optronics are the LCD suppliers in question, and have apparently already passed Apple certification. Both are rumored to be hard at work shipping LCD panels to allow the production of the smaller iPad. This rumor goes along the same lines as previous rumors about Apple possibly releasing an iPad mini.

 

It's likely that this smaller tablet would feature 8GB of storage and retail for somewhere between $200-300 when made available. Apple got hit hard during the last holiday rush and lost out to several Android-powered tablets, mainly the Kindle Fire. However, Apple has rebounded and it will most likely have a market share of around 61 percent.

Ex-Anon member claims he hates Anonymous, also claims responsibility for taking down The Pirate Bay

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: May 17, 2012 3:01 pm

Yesterday we reported about how The Pirate Bay was under attack from a DDoS. Of course, since it was a DDoS, it is pretty hard to figure out who is behind it...unless they post on Pastebin that they are the cause of it. That's just what this former Anonymous member turned hater did. This lone user has claimed responsibility for the entire DDoS.

 

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The lone assailant goes by the pseudonym "Nyre" and left a message on Pastebin explaining the reasoning behind his actions. According to the post, "The Pirate Bay was a press-release website for Anonymous." Since he no longer likes or agrees with Anonymous, he decided he should block them from releasing press releases by taking down the entire site.

 

Of course, take all of this with a grain of salt. Anybody can post on Pastebin as an anonymous guest and say whatever they would like. Looking through his Tweets, he seems to be an interesting fellow. I would still lean towards the current common theory that The Pirate Bay angered Anonymous with its admonishment of Anonymous' DDoS of Virgin Media. More as it comes.

A third of Netflix "new" customers are former customers who are rejoining

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Online Video | Posted: May 17, 2012 2:05 pm

Netflix took a pretty big hit last year when it announced pricing changes to its plans. However, today a Netflix executive has come out and said that he believes they have taken the brand hit from those changes. Netflix has rebounded in the first quarter, but scared off investors slightly with talk of its competitors.

 

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Netflix CFO David Wells spoke at the J.P. Morgan Technology Media and Telecom conference and talked about customer satisfaction, churn, and overall feeling towards Netflix. As Netflix nears the one year mark of the changes that consumers hated, CFO paints a bright future through the fact that one third of new customers are actually returning customers:

 

I think we're feeling really good about the brand, the progression that we had from last year. We think there's room to grow, but the improvements in retention and our growth in Q1 and Q2 since Q3 and Q4 of last year make us feel pretty good. Rejoined or folks rejoining the service still remain about a third of our new subscribers that are coming in. So that is an encouraging stat. We think, we've said before that the brand hit will take years to recover from and I think that's still true, with the bulk of the recovery coming in the full year and I think we still feel that way.

 

A customer falls into the category of a returning new customer if they rejoin within a year. As new customers sign up, Netflix compares the address and credit card data to previous customers.

Continue reading 'A third of Netflix "new" customers are former customers who are rejoining' (full post)

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