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A new study shows BitTorrent piracy leads to higher album sales

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 18, 2012 7:33 pm

BitTorrent may not be all bad for the music industry which is contrary to how they would like to portray it. It seems that piracy could aid album sales, if a new study is to be believed. North Carolina State University assistant professor Robert Hammond examined prerelease albums being BitTorrented and the album sales of said albums.




The investigation netted some interesting results. What he found was that there was a correlation between the two, although it was pretty small. Keep in mind that correlation does not equate to causation. Since this is an observational study rather than an experiment, it's impossible to say with certainty that BitTorrent aids album sales.


It is, however, possible to indicate that they seem to. After watching 1095 albums, Hammond noted "The findings suggest that file sharing of an album benefits its sales. I don't find any evidence of a negative effect in any specification using any instrument." The average increase in sales was around 59.6 albums, so its not a landslide increase.


This study also does not account for BitTorrent use after the release, nor does it account for singles downloads and sales, which are more likely to occur with a casual pirate. In other news, a similar study has shown similar results in that movie rips don't seem to affect box office revenues.

Sony PlayStation to get game pre-loading feature, downloads pre-ordered games before release

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Gaming | Posted: May 18, 2012 6:32 pm

It's always frustrating to pre-order a game and then have to wait for it to download after release. That's why Sony is introducing a pre-loading feature into PLayStation Network. What the feature will do is allow users to download a pre-purchased game before it officially releases so that it is playable once the release date passes.




The debut of the pre-loading feature will be with the upcoming game Sorcery which will release next week. Valve's Steam already has a similar feature built-in and it is loved by users of the digital download and management software. A pre-loading feature makes sense on so many different levels, it's a bit surprising that it has taken Sony this long to implement it.


Pre-loading will also take care of some of the server hammering that usually occurs on a major game launch day. It also allows users who don't have the fastest connection, such as yours truly, to be able to play it right when it launches. It should also help increase pre-sales as the game has to be pre-ordered by a user to take advantage of the feature.

Facebook sued for $15 billion over alleged privacy violations

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 18, 2012 5:32 pm

It looks as though Facebook may have to sell just a bit more stock to pay for a lawsuit that has been filed in San Jose, California Federal Court. While things may be looking great Wall Street, the courtroom picture is a bit more bleak. Stewarts Law US has combined 21 individual lawsuits into one amended class action suit seeking $15 billion.




The previous lawsuits date back to 2011 and allege that Facebook violated user privacy by tracking web usage. The new class action lawsuit alleges that Facebook violated the US Wiretap Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Stored Communications Act, along with others. The US Wiretap Act grants up to $100 a day per violation up to $10,000.


Specifically, the lawsuit makes claims that Facebook tracks users even once they are no longer logged in. "This is not just a damages action, but a groundbreaking digital-privacy rights case that could have wide and significant legal and business implications," David Straite, a Stewarts Law partner told Bloomberg via e-mail.


This isn't the first time someone has sued the social media giant over alleged web tracking. Back in 2011, a Mississippi resident filed a lawsuit after 42-year-old Kansas lawyer John Graham did. These aren't the only instances, just the ones that come to mind. At the time of writing, Facebook has not commented on the lawsuit. I imagine they are all sleeping after the all-night hackathon.

Microsoft renews 'buy a PC, get a free Xbox' promotion for students in US, Canada

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 18, 2012 4:34 pm

If you missed out on Microsoft's deal last year, don't fret as they have brought it back again this year. Requirements are similar, though it seems as though Canadian's are getting a slightly better deal than Americans. The promotion? Buy a new PC worth at least some amount at a participating retailer and get a free Xbox360!




Here are the requirements as Microsoft says, so that I won't be held to anything:


Starting May 20th in the U.S., students who buy a qualifying Windows PC worth $699 or more at participating retailers can get a 4GB Xbox 360 console for free, just like last year! Starting May 18th in Canada, students who buy a Windows PC worth $599 or more can also get a 4GB Xbox 360 console for free!


Participating retailers in the US include Best Buy,, Fry's Electronics,, Microsoft Stores, and In Canada, they include Best Buy,, Future Shop, Staples and The Source.


Canadians only have to purchase a computer worth $599 whereas Americans have to spend $699. Computers at those price points are pretty nice all-in-all and will net you a free Xbox360 if you can prove you are a student. Sure, most people like either gaming on Xbox OR PC and not really both, but it is still a good deal.


If you're a PC gamer, you can just sell the Xbox 360 to a college friend. If you're an Xbox gamer, you probably already have an Xbox.

Continue reading 'Microsoft renews 'buy a PC, get a free Xbox' promotion for students in US, Canada' (full post)

Computing researchers show super efficient 'Inexact' microprocessor

By: Trace Hagan | More News: CPU, APU & Chipsets | Posted: May 18, 2012 3:31 pm

Researchers from Rice University in Houston, Singapore's Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Switzerland's Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) and the University of California, Berkeley have unveiled an "inexact" chip at the ACM International Conference on Computing Frontiers in Cagliari, Italy.




The chip is allowed to make mistakes in order to gain speed and energy usage advances. This new "inexact" processor is up to 15 times more efficient than current processors. It can be used in certain applications where 100% accuracy isn't mission critical. Examples of this would be video or picture processing.


"It is exciting to see this technology in a working chip that we can measure and validate for the first time," said project leader Krishna Palem, who also serves as director of the Rice-NTU Institute for Sustainable and Applied Infodynamics (ISAID). "Our work since 2003 showed that significant gains were possible, and I am delighted that these working chips have met and even exceeded our expectations."

Continue reading 'Computing researchers show super efficient 'Inexact' microprocessor' (full post)

Samsung Galaxy S3 gets 9 million pre-orders in 3 weeks

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: May 18, 2012 2:04 pm

If you needed any evidence that the Samsung Galaxy S III was a major competitor to the Apple iPhone, why don't you take a look at the pre-sale numbers. Already the Samsung Galaxy S III has passed 9 million pre-orders, according to an unidentified Samsung official. Towards the end of last month, Samsung had said that the Galaxy S III would "substantially contribute" to Q2 earnings.




Also, it has been leaked that the factory is operating at full capacity, producing as many phones as possible. The number seems to be 5 million a month, so I'm not sure if that will be able to keep up with global demand once the phone becomes available in more places. Currently, Germany is set to be the first to get it on May 29. Afterwards, it will expand to 100 different global carriers.


Samsung has of course declined to comment on these numbers. This year has the makings to be a great year for Samsung. It has recently passed Nokia as top phone manufacturer and looks set to grab even more market share than the 18.4% it did from Q1 2011 to Q1 2012. I know I'm looking forward to getting the new Galaxy.

Deal of the Day: 7" Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet, 8GB, Wi-Fi for $149 with FREE Shipping!

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: May 18, 2012 1:49 pm

Our Deal of the Day is 7" Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet, 8GB, Wi-Fi for $149 with FREE Shipping!




Right now, Barnes & Noble is selling their NOOK Tablet through eBay for $149 (new, not refurb) with FREE Shipping, though it's not expected to last more than a few hours. That's a $50 discount (25%). It features a 7" 1024 x 600 IPS multitouch display, 1Ghz processor, 8GB storage, microSDHC storage, 802.11b/g/n wireless, and more. Get one while you can.




Check our TweakTown Daily Deals page for more tech bargains!

Mobile App of the Day: Feed Me Oil for Windows Phone

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Apps | Posted: May 18, 2012 1:11 pm

Our Mobile App of the Day is Feed Me Oil for Windows Phone.




When hunger strikes, strike oil! Welcome to a weird and wonderful place where the land is literally alive - and it's starving! Your job is to get the oil from the broken pipe to the mouths of the strange creatures. It won't be easy though, as you'll need to use all sorts of fun tools, as well as your brains, to solve the puzzles.



A huge variety of mind-bending levels will test your mental skills. Different ways to solve each puzzle for endless replayability.



Intuitive controls that make the game a breeze to pick up. Incredibly slick and realistic physics create oil like you've never seen. Use fans, magnets, wind, and more to beat each level.



Unique, surreal art design that looks amazing. Stunning musical soundtrack that features jazz, emotive piano tracks, and more.


You can download Feed Me Oil directly from the Windows Marketplace on your Windows Phone device, or here.

Download of the Day: Google Chrome 20.0.1132.8 Dev

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Internet Browsers | Posted: May 18, 2012 12:00 pm

Our Download of the Day is Google Chrome 20.0.1132.8 Dev.




Continue on the bleeding edge of Google Chrome releases, with version 20.0.1132.8 Dev now available. There's not much changed with this version, with the changelog stating:


  • This build contains updates to V8 ( and several other fixes.


You can download Google Chrome 20.0.1132.8 Dev, here.

LinkedIn profiles point to new Mirror's Edge, Bad Company games

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: May 18, 2012 11:22 am

Nearly a year ago, EA Games President, Frank Gibeau, teased that EA were "actively looking at how to bring [Mirror's Edge] back in the right way", this was in a discussion with GameTrailers. But, now there's some more concrete, well, kinda, information available on this news.




GamerZines reports that judging from two former EA employee's LinkedIn profiles tease they've worked on a Mirror's Edge sequel. According to GamerZines, the profile of an ex-EA Software Engineer has said that he's worked on Mirror's Edge 2 between July and August of 2009, where he was implementing "the wandering of crowd system within Unreal3 engine".


Another ex-employee had a different task, where was implementing "new gadgets and interactive features" into Mirror's Edge 2, including "leaderboards" and a mini-game embedded into Mirror's Edge game story". If development started on Unreal Engine 3, EA must've switches engines mid-development to Frostbite 2, the engine that powers the beautiful first-person shooter that is Battlefield 3.

Continue reading 'LinkedIn profiles point to new Mirror's Edge, Bad Company games' (full post)

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