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US Government is Facebook's largest requester of user information

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Aug 28, 2013 6:05 pm

Today, Facebook revealed that the US government accounts for the vast majority of the requests for information it receives about its subscribers. The social network said that it was legally required to comply with 79 percent of the 12,000 requests it received from the US government about 21,000 individuals who have profiles on the website.

 

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The US government is not the only guilty party though, as the UK government submitted about 2000 requests on over 2300 Facebook users, which it was obligated to turn over 68 percent of the requests. On the lower-end of the spectrum, Australia requested info on 601 users, of which 64 percent were granted. Facebook chose to release this information in an effort to be transparent after accusations of being close partners with the NSA in the infamous PRISM scandal.

 

In a blog post, Facebook's general counsel, Colin Stretch, wrote: "As we have made clear in recent weeks, we have stringent processes in place to handle all government data requests... We believe this process protects the data of the people who use our service, and requires governments to meet a very high legal bar with each individual request in order to receive any information about any of our users."

Score one for innovation: New Zealand bans software patents

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Software | Posted: Aug 28, 2013 4:50 pm

In what can only be described as a win for humanity, the New Zealand government today passed a new Patents Bill that effectively makes patenting software illegal. In what many are calling a major victory for innovation, the bill was passed earlier this week after more than five years of debate and intensive lobbying for multinational software vendors.

 

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New Zealand's Minister of commerce Craig Foss openly welcomed the updated Patents Bill and said that it marked a "significant step towards driving innovation in New Zealand." He went on to say: "By clarifying the definition of what can be patented, we are giving New Zealand businesses more flexibility to adapt and improve existing inventions, while continuing to protect genuine innovations,"

 

The bill passed by a unanimous vote and was praised by the Institute of IT Professionals. Its chief executive, Paul Matthews, had the following to say: "The patents system doesn't work for software because it is almost impossible for genuine technology companies to create new software without breaching some of the hundreds of thousands of software patents that exist, often for very obvious work... Today's historic legislation will support our innovative technology industry, and sends a clear message to the rest of the world that New Zealand won't tolerate the vexatious practice of 'patent trolls'"

Gold iPhone 5S shell submitted to extreme scratch test in new video

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 28, 2013 3:04 pm

Last week, we posted a video that showed off the upcoming iPhone 5C being tortured tested in a Ziploc bag with a bunch of coins, followed up by a thorough mauling by a car key. It appears that the guys over at Jailbreak Nation wanted to get in on the fun as well, and took their recently acquired champagne colored iPhone 5S to the chopping block for a portrait test of its own.

 

 

In the video above, both the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S are pitted against each other in a torture test designed to mimic normal wear and tear by a scratching and tapping both cases with a quarter. As expected, the iPhone 5S scratches just as much as its predecessor. To really give things a thorough testing, the video's author then utilized a pocket knife to scratch the surface, and again as expected, the anodized finish quickly wore away leaving permanent scarring.

 

Of course, all of this is expected, as the the anodizing process creates a protective oxidization layer on the surface of the aluminum. While this layer is technically harder than the bare aluminum below it, when compared to other harder metals such as nickel and steel, it stands no chance at not being removed. It turns back to silver when scratched because the metal has not actually changed color during the anodizing process, but it has been dyed after the process was finished to take on the desired hue.

Continue reading 'Gold iPhone 5S shell submitted to extreme scratch test in new video' (full post)

Gmail for iOS updated, improved Drive and Google+ integration

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Apps | Posted: Aug 28, 2013 11:33 am

Google has pushed out an update on Gmail for iOS, which now includes a few new improvements. First off, Gmail for iOS has reached version 2.4, with the latest version including improved integration for Drive and Google+.

 

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This means you can open links to the respective apps by tapping on them, which is nice. Google has boosted up the attachment system, which now sees larger image thumbnails that can be opened in full-screen mode. If you want to grab the latest Gmail for iOS app, head on over to the iTunes Store, or manually update from your iOS-based device.

EA to rotate between three shooter franchises going into the future

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Aug 28, 2013 10:33 am

EA has some hot property, there's no denying it, but going into the future they're going to be rotating its three main shooters, according to President of EA Labels, Frank Gibeau, during an interview with CVG.

 

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These three shooters are Battlefield, Titanfall and Battlefront, but EA will be doing things a little differently from now. EA were alternating between its Battlefield and Medal of Honor franchises, but now that Medal of Honor is all but dead, the way EA are doing things will change. Back in January, EA were forced to state that it was "taking Medal of Honor out of rotation" for the forseeable future.

 

Gibeau told CVG: "The shooter rotation we think about now is Battlefield, Titanfall and Battlefront, and so we like those three brands going forward. We're working out how we're going to line that up because that's what you'll see from us."

Continue reading 'EA to rotate between three shooter franchises going into the future' (full post)

Motorola's Moto X smartphone costs just $221 to build

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 28, 2013 9:29 am

Google acquiring Motorola is only being felt in the market now, with the release of the Moto X smartphone. The Moto X is assembled by Motorola at a planet in Texas, which is a nice change to most phones being made in Taiwan or China.

 

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Most companies complain about the increased costs of manufacturing on US soil, but according to IHS, the Moto X isn't that expensive to build. This is thanks to the smartphone featuring a year-old Qualcomm applications processor, and two chips from Texas Instruments, and even with the increased manufacturing costs of building it in the US, the total build costs come in at just $221.

 

IHS analyst Wayne Lam says: "What Google and Motorola are trying to do is not play the game of 'bigger is better' that everyone else is playing. They are looking for ways to differentiate themselves from the pack and push the user experience in a new direction." IHS estimates that the components used in the Moto X run up at $209, while manufacturing adds $12 per unit.

 

Let that sink in for a minute: manufacturing costs per unit, to build it on United States soil, costs an additional $12. This is just $4-$5 more expensive than the costs associated with manufacturing in Asia.

Pre-order GTA V on the Microsoft Store for $20 XBL credit

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Aug 28, 2013 8:32 am

If you want some free real-world loot, then you might want to pre-order Grand Theft Auto V on the Xbox 360 through the Microsoft Store, which will see you with $20 of Xbox Live Marketplace credit.

 

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You'll receive 1,600 points, or $20 in real-world money for doing so. Microsoft announced just two days ago that it was converting MS Points to real-world currency on the Xbox 360. GTA V launches on Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 on September 17.

Metro: Last Light to arrive on both the Mac and Linux later this year

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Aug 28, 2013 7:36 am

Metro: Last Light has seen great success on the PC so far, but 4A Games has just announced that the first-person shooter will reach the Apple OS X platform on September 10, and Linux later this year.

 

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Both versions of the game will be identical to what we have on the PC and consoles, with Mac owners capable of accessing the Metro: Last Light Season Pass, Faction Pack and Tower Pack DLC when the game drops on September 10. Mac releases of both the Developer and Chronicles downloadable content packs should launch next to the PC and console counterparts later this year.

 

Metro: Last Light will jump onto the App Store and Steam for Mac, with the latter supporting Steam Play.

ARM's acquires Sensinode, who develops the 'Internet of things'

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Aug 28, 2013 6:29 am

ARM has made an announcement that its acquired Finnish startup Sensinode, who develops "Internet of things" software. Sensinode has created 6LoWPAN and CoAP standards for low cost low power devices and has been a large part of the IETF, ZigBee IP, ETSI and OMA standardization efforts

 

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ARM believes its acquisition of Sensinode and its 'Internet of things' is the next big thing in terms of the evolution of technology, where devices and appliances used in our day-to-day lives get embedded with sensors that collect data and connectivity to trigger actions. The British semiconductor says it will continue to sell Sensinode's NanoStack and NanoService products to both new, and existing customers.

 

The acquisition will help ARM to push open standards through its mbed project, which is an industry-wide effort to simplify development for connected devices by offering open source hardware and software. This will see ARM's Cortex range of chips being baked into everything from wearable tech devices, to the fridge in your kitchen.

The Walking Dead will stumble onto the OUYA this winter

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Aug 28, 2013 5:39 am

Telltale Games' uber-popular and well-received The Walking Dead game will hit the Android-powered OUYA console later this year. Telltale Games announced the news, but didn't say anything about its release other than it will be "coming this winter."

 

 

The OUYA bound release will see The Walking Dead: Season One as well as the 400 Days DLC. The Walking Dead: Season Two will reach the OUYA console in the future, but nothing more has been said about that. The first episode will be on offer for free, after which you'll need to whip out your credit card for the rest.

Continue reading 'The Walking Dead will stumble onto the OUYA this winter' (full post)

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