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TweakTown News Posts - Page 22

Google releases an improved Hangouts app for the desktop

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Software | Posted: 1 week, 5 days ago

As an avid Hangouts user, the news of a new desktop version excites me. Google has announced a new Hangouts Chrome app for Chrome OS, as well as Windows, which brings a slew of improvements and changes.

 

 

First and foremost, is now Hangouts looks much like Facebook Messenger with its Chat Heads, meaning you won't need to open up Chrome or Hangouts to see your chat. With the updated Hangouts app, your contacts and chats are now combined into a separate toggle window, which is super easy to get to. Google explained on its blog post: "You'll get all your messages as long as you have the app running, and your chats will sync across Hangouts on all your devices".

 

Better yet, the new Hangouts app includes voice and video calling, which makes it a one-stop-shop for all things communication with Google. Google added: "We recently announced you can make phone calls to any number in the world (via Hangouts dialer) and now you can do this right from your desktop. If you use Google Voice, the app includes complete Google Voice support, so you can make and receive calls, and get your voicemails and SMS messages directly in Hangouts".

Continue reading 'Google releases an improved Hangouts app for the desktop' (full post)

AMD Radeon R9 290 and 290X price cuts are promo offers by GPU makers

By: Roshan Ashraf Shaikh | More News: Video Cards | Posted: 1 week, 5 days ago

It was reported earlier that AMD Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X GPUs are now available with a reduced price of $299 and #369 respectively. But as its turned out, the price cuts are made by AMD's AIB partners who manufacture these cards.

 

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It was also pointed out that these price cuts are not permanent. The GPU manufacturers have introduced these price cuts to promote the sales of these cards, while the stocks last.

 

Though the timing of providing price cuts is considered to be a response to NVIDIA's Maxwell-based GTX 980 and GTX 970 GPUs that was launched not too long ago. Its unclear if AMD would be tempted to make these price cuts from their side irrespective of cards. AMD may even throw in a new Never Settle bundle along with it to sweeten the deal as they did before. As of now, GTX 970 can be purchased with a price tag as low as $329 to as high as $409 (for the Zotac GTX 970 AMP! Edition 4GB). R9 290X could be found for $369 to $399, and some AIB partners have bundled Star Citizen and Alien: Isolation as a limited offer.

Mercedes to show off self-driving cars, new concept at CES 2015

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Technology in Vehicles | Posted: 1 week, 5 days ago

It looks like Mercedes Benz will be shining the spotlight on self-driving cars at CES 2015 next year, with company CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche to deliver a keynote about autonomous vehicle technology, and its greater impact.

 

 

The CEO will also be unveiling a new concept vehicle, which I'm sure will have everyone talking. The company has recently shown off a semi-truck that has an auto-pilot system, so we should expect the tease of its upcoming vehicle with some impressive autonomous abilities. Come 8pm Pacific, January 5, 2015, we will see what Mercedes has on offer.

Continue reading 'Mercedes to show off self-driving cars, new concept at CES 2015' (full post)

1,000 workers walked off their jobs at Foxconn, are now on strike

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: 1 week, 5 days ago

Foxconn is in the headlines again, where it's being reported that around 1,000 workers at Foxconn's factory in southwest China walked off their jobs, to go on strike. The workers are demanding higher pay, after a recent increase in production, and reduction in overtime.

 

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The company is working with labor unions and its workers, in order to find a resolution for their issue. Foxconn has said that these strikes haven't halted production at the Chongqing production site. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that these issues started when management "continuously increased production volumes, and even required individual workers to take on tasks that used to require two workers to handle. The increase in workload wasn't compensated. Some workers are not happy because the company (Foxconn) has reduced overtime hours, a key component of their salaries".

 

These claims are coming from the WSJ's source, who is a Foxconn employee who wishes to remain anonymous. With around 30,000 workers at its Chongqing factory, the 1,000 or so workers on strike only represents a small number of workers, but is still a large amount of people to be on strike at once.

Lenovo unveils the Intel Core M-powered Yoga 3 Pro laptop

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Laptops | Posted: 1 week, 5 days ago

Lenovo has the best Windows notebook on the market, where I totally fell in love with, and still gloss over, the Yoga 2 Pro. The company has just unveiled its successor, the Yoga 3 Pro, which improves on the small amount of things the Y2P had problems with.

 

 

The Yoga 3 Pro is 17% thinner, and 15% lighter than the Y2P, with Lenovo claiming that the change in results has it "weighing less than a bottle of water". We still have the 13.3-inch 3200x1800 QHD+ display, which was super crisp on the Y2P. Lenovo has spent time improving the already great hinge design, with the Y3P featuring a "watchband" hinge that Lenovo claims is "hand-assembled from more than 800 individual pieces of steel and aluminum".

 

Inside, we have Intel's Broadwell-based Core M-70 processor running the show, backed up with up to 8GB of RAM (still no 16GB, Lenovo?), and up to 512GB of SSD. The company has fixed the Wi-Fi issue on the Y3P, baking in a new 5GHz 802.11ac chip into the Yoga 3 Pro. Lenovo has also improved the software inside of the Y3P, with something it calls "Harmony" that automatically adjusts settings to optimize whatever software you're using. If you were to be reading an e-book for example, Lenovo's Harmony software will "change the brightness and color temperature according to the environment lighting". If you are watching a movie, Harmony will automatically adjust the audio settings to give you a better sense of immersion.

Continue reading 'Lenovo unveils the Intel Core M-powered Yoga 3 Pro laptop' (full post)

Western world wants to combat Islamic State on battlefield, Internet

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: 1 week, 6 days ago

As the battle against the Islamic State (IS) rages on in Iraq and Syria, government officials hope to begin battling the extremist group where they have excelled: the Internet. Unlike the Taliban and Al Qaida before it, IS has successfully used social media outlets to spread its message, while also reaching curious observers. Twitter and other social media networks are working to remove official IS accounts, but many other accounts have popped up.

 

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"This is the most socially-mediated conflict in history," said Shiraz Maher, from the Kings College London. "You literally have thousands of foreign fighters from all over the world using social media in order to convey the message about the jihad that they are fighting."

 

In addition to spreading messages of jihad, the Islamic State has successfully recruited new members - and spread propaganda - largely catching intelligence officers unaware of the Internet strategy.

China angry at United States, saying cyberattack figures are inflated

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: 1 week, 6 days ago

Chinese officials are angry at the United States for allegedly inflating the real-world cost of defending against cyberattacks blamed on China. The U.S. government and private sector companies are routinely targeted by foreign hackers, with the cost of data breaches sometimes in the billions of dollars, though Beijing not surprisingly rejects those claims.

 

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"We express strong dissatisfaction with the United States' unjustified fabrication of facts in an attempt to smear China's name and demand that the U.S.-side cease this type of action," said Hong Lei, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson. "We also demand that the U.S. side cease its large-scale systematic Internet attacks on other countries. The United States tries to divert attention by crying wolf. This won't succeed."

 

FBI director James Comey recently said China is the top cyber threat to U.S. infrastructure, as state-sponsored hacking remains common place. Meanwhile, the Chinese military wants a larger emphasis put on domestic software development - and increased defenses to prevent cyberattacks - as computer-based computer espionage is a major threat to both countries.

Report: Apple has reportedly delayed production of larger iPads

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: 1 week, 6 days ago

Apple suppliers will push back production of larger screen iPad tablets until early 2015, as they struggle to meet current demand for the larger screen iPhone 6 Plus smartphone. Mass production of the iPad was scheduled to start in December, but screen suppliers would be unable to ensure supply for both the iPhone and iPad until next year.

 

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"The top priority for the supply chain is to meet the overwhelming demand for the larger screen iPhones," according to sources. "The output of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus remains unsatisfactory. It would be challenging for display makers to split resources and spend a few months to ramp up production for a new larger screen iPad now."

 

The new iPads are expected to launch during an Apple event on October 16, but that doesn't mean consumers should expect to see the devices anytime soon. Furthermore, tablet sales were predicted to slow down in 2014 - as many consumers hang on to older tablet devices - with companies instead focusing on smartphones.

Edward Snowden will speak during UK festival this weekend

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: 1 week, 6 days ago

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden will speak via video chat during the Observer Ideas festival this weekend in the UK. An Observer technology columnist will ask questions to Snowden regarding technology, privacy, and other issues - and will be the first time Snowden has answered questions or been invited to an event in England since revealing mass surveillance activities by the NSA.

 

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"We need to figure out how (and whether) societies can reassert effective democratic control over our security agencies, whether the technology that has enabled comprehensive surveillance can be re-engineered to protect privacy; how our law-making in these areas could be improved, and whether citizens can be persuaded to take an interest in these matters before it's too late," said John Naughton, Open University professor of the public understanding of technology.

 

As Snowden remains safely tucked away in Russia, the American whistleblower has become more vocal during media interviews and video-linked public appearances.

Toshiba demos humanoid robot able to communicate with sign language

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: 1 week, 6 days ago

Toshiba recently showed off Aiko Chihira, the humanoid communication robot that is able to communicate via sign language. Dressed in a pink blouse and white skirt, the robot can lip sync to a recorded message while translating the message into Japanese sign language.

 

 

"We wanted to develop a sign-language robot because it's challenging technologically, requiring speed and precision movements," said Hitoshi Tokuda, from the Toshiba New Business Development Division. "It needs a humanlike appearance and expression because a C-3PO appearance wouldn't work."

 

Toshiba received help from the Shonan Institute of Technology and Shibaura Institute of Technology, as both universities provided robot driving solutions and sensor-based motion-teaching technology. Japan remains a leader in humanoid robotics research, with universities and companies developing life-like technologies able to provide assistance in day-to-day activities.

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