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Russia bans bitcoin currency, other countries might follow suit

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 8, 2014 6:16 pm

The bitcoin currency has been banned in Russia due to increased threat of cyber criminals using the digital currency to launder funds. Money remains a state-controlled currency, so the rise of independent crypto currencies, such as bitcoin, makes it difficult to determine the right method to address these problems.

 

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"The monitoring of the use of virtual currencies shows an increasing interest in them, including for the purpose of money laundering, profit obtained through illegal means," prosecutors told Russian media.

 

Bitcoin adoption has been a rather confusing effort, with an increasing amount of retailers accepting the digital currency - while government officials in the United States and overseas try to figure out what to do. The U.S. Department of Justice accusing a major bitcoin supporter of money laundering related to the online Silk Road marketplace. The national governments in China and India have expressed concerns related to bitcoin, while the United States is following closely but doesn't appear ready to ban the currency.

Digital store fronts are shiny, but consumers aren't engaging much

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Displays & Projectors | Posted: Feb 8, 2014 5:52 am

Digital stores saw great success in 2013, and the digital storefront also reached bigger high-definition screens with increased resolutions. Stores are able to broadcast dynamic digital content, including mall maps, in-store coupons and promotions, and customer potentials.

 

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This so-called "hybrid shopping concept" is popping up in higher-end retailers and shopping malls, and is becoming more affordable, but a recent blog posted on Forrester revealed a few additional details. Digital storefronts were not disruptive, guests were able to interact with the digital storefront but didn't seem interested to engage product brands.

 

The Westfield San Francisco Centre shopping mall, located in downtown San Francisco on Market Street, teamed up with eBay to unveil a large digital storefront (image in story). Visitors tend to be interested in anything tech-related in San Francisco, so it's possible digital storefronts can be successful in select markets.

GoPro is going public, with the required paperwork now filed

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 8, 2014 3:32 am

Action camera maker GoPro has just filed the required paperwork to see the company push toward an initial public offering, or IPO. In GoPro's statement, it said that the IPO is expected to commence after the SEC completes the review process of their confidential submission.

 

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Because of the confidentiality, there's no details on GoPro's financial state, as the company has less than $1 billion in annual sales, the IPO can be confidential. During an interview with Forbes last year, GoPro founder and CEO Nick Woodman said that the company sold 2.3 million cameras in 2012, pulling in more than $520 million.

 

GoPro's financial information will remain confidential until it gets closer to its shares being traded.

MasterCard and Visa to push PIN-based cards in the US late next year

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 8, 2014 2:28 am

Something that has been normal for quite sometime in most parts of the world, a PIN-based credit card, is being pushed in the United States by MasterCard and Visa late next year.

 

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The credit card giants will phase out the face-to-face signature-based cards that most people have, with new cards that feature a microchip inside that replaces the magnetic strip on today's cards. Over 25% of all credit card transactions are done so within the US, but MasterCard's Caryoln Balfany talked with the Wall Street Journal recently, saying that there is a good reason why the US market hasn't moved toward this sooner.

 

Most markets moved to the new PIN-based system in order to fight against high levels of fraud, while others struggled with robust telephone networks, liked the appeal of still doing transactions offline. As other markets became zipped up and more secure, criminals moved most of their operations to the US, where the signature is still used. This low level of security is a major driving force as to why nearly half the world's credit card fraud is done within the US.

Over 15 million copies of Diablo 3 have been sold

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Feb 8, 2014 1:30 am

Activision Blizzard has announced that over 15 million copies of Diablo 3 have been sold. The news comes thanks to the company's latest financial report.

 

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The report also stated that World of Warcraft ended 2013 with 7.8 million subscribers, where it continues to be one of the world's most popular subscription-based MMORPG's. Shifting back to Diablo, Activision Blizzard Bobby Kotick says that the high Diablo 3 sale numbers is great as we head closer to Diablo 3's first expansion, Reaper of Souls, which gets released next month.

Nikon's new Coolpix AW120 is rugged enough for world travelers

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Cameras | Posted: Feb 8, 2014 12:36 am

Nikon has just shown off two new rugged compact digital cameras that are designed for those who like to travel and adventure outdoors. The new Coolpix AW120m features a 16-megapixel CMOS sensor along with a 5X optical zoom lens. The camera is able to survive falls from as high as six feet and can withstand water submersion up to 54 feet deep.

 

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The AW120m boast a 24mm, f/2.8 lens and is capable of continuous shooting at 6.9 frames per second. Integrated Wi-Fi and GPS round out the feature set, and you can expect to see it on store shelves around February 27th. Nikon also released the Coolpix S32, a stripped down version that features a 13-megapixel censor, and waterproof rating. There is no built-in Wi-Fi or GPS however, and it is only shock rated to about four feet. It will arrive on shelves on the 27th as well.

Addonics unveils new Sapphire SSD Raid Array that utilizes CF cards

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Storage | Posted: Feb 7, 2014 11:42 pm

Addonics is back with yet another portable SSD product launch. Today the company announced the all new Sapphire SSD RAID Array Storage line including the Sapphire 5-slot CFast and the Sapphire CF drives. These devices are designed to utilize ultra-fast Compact Flash drives to create an SSD RAID array for extreme performance on the go.

 

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Both models feature USB 3.0 and eSATA connectivity to ensure the fastest performance possible, and allows you to configure five CFast or CF cards to appear as separate, independent drives. Alternatively users can use the device to set up a high-performance, fault tolerant RAID array in RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and JBOD Modes. Internal hardware connects up to five CF cards to a single high-speed 6G eSATA port for unmatched performance. Addonics says that the Sapphire 5-slot CFast and the Sapphire CF drives are available now at major electronics retailers.

HP unveils new Chromebox as it enters compact PC market

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Computer Systems | Posted: Feb 7, 2014 10:29 pm

Quickly following in the footsteps of Dell and ASUS, HP has just announced its first Chromebox. The device is not slated for release until the spring, and is designed for use almost anywhere a compact computer might be needed. One of its biggest features is compatibility with Google's Chromebox for meetings video conferencing system, as well as media streaming to your home theater.

 

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The HP Chromebox is not the slouch you might expect from a Chrome device either, and runs an Intel i7 Haswell CPU, as well as 4GB of RAM. The Device is capable of streaming 1080p video thanks to an HDMI port as well. Other features include a VESA Mount, four USB 3.0 ports, and Bluetooth 4.0. The HP Chromebox comes in three different colors and measures in at just 5-inches square. No pricing information has been released yet, but we do expect it to retail for over $299 thanks to the i7 addition.

Activision says Destiny will be its next billion dollar franchise

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming | Posted: Feb 7, 2014 9:34 pm

Destiny was one of the most talked about next-gen games of 2013 and as the games launch draws closer, Activision's CEO, Bobby Kotick, is speaking out about how successful he feels the franchise will be. Bungie, the company actually developing Destiny is working hard behind the scenes fine tuning Destiny to be this years best MMORPG/FPS on the next-gen consoles, and if the company can mold it into anything like it did with Halo, then Destiny's destiny may very well be a billion dollar franchise.

 

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"We expect Bungie's Destiny, an innovative shared-world, first-person action game to be Activision Publishing's next billion dollar franchise," said Kotick. "As we look to 2014 and beyond, we have the strongest and most diverse pipeline of games in our history." From the trailers, screen shots, and information I have seen on Destiny, I have to agree with Kotick. With Halo stalling out there is a huge gap to fill for the sci-fi shooter genera and I think Destiny can do it.

Continue reading 'Activision says Destiny will be its next billion dollar franchise' (full post)

Google's Chromecast will make its journey to the UK within weeks

By: Charles Gantt | More News: HT & Movies | Posted: Feb 7, 2014 8:47 pm

Google's Chromecast is one of those little devices that comes along every few years and takes the tech community by storm. Almost all of my techie friends in the US have at least one Chromecast with some having several, and I fall into the latter category with 3 of the $35 HDMI dongles. Today Google announced that it is finally ready to expand the Chromecast outside of the US market.

 

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On March 1st, Google will be launching the Chromecast into the UK market via Curry's, an electrical retailer similar to Frys here in the states. This launch follows the release of the Chromecast SDK earlier this week by Google, and comes along side several big-name companies announcing development of apps for the tiny streaming dongle. No word has been released yet on pricing but I expect it to stick around that $35 US price tag, but could see it increase slightly due to that silly VAT tax they have across the pond.

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