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Google launches new refreshed tabs page for its Chrome browser

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Internet Browsers | Posted: Sep 25, 2013 1:27 am

Earlier this afternoon, Google announced that it has began rolling out a newly refreshed "new tabs page" that greatly speeds up searching from within the Chrome browser. The new tab page still features little windows to your most visited sites, but now features the Google search bar front and center.




Google says that at the moment only those who use the "stable channel of Chrome" will have access to the new tab page, and those users must additionally have Google set as the default search engine. Google is not limiting this new tab page to just Google search, and has opened the API to allow any search engine to be integrated into the new tab page.


A statement on Google's Chrome blog said:


When you're searching for information, speed matters. We're always thinking about how to shave milliseconds from every search you do, throughout our products. Last year, we started testing a feature in Chrome to make searching from a new tab faster and simpler. If you use Chrome's Developer or Beta installs, you may have already seen this in action. Many thanks for your feedback, which has helped us continue to hone the look and feel, and improve average time from query to answer - meaning you can find what you're looking for even more quickly than before.

DRAM prices rise to a two year high after fire at Hynix plant

By: Charles Gantt | More News: RAM | Posted: Sep 25, 2013 1:03 am

Since we first broke the story about a fire last month at an SK Hynix DRAM fabrication facility, TweakTown's editors have been saying that DRAM prices will go up as a result of the damage to the plant. Just how high they would rise was a mystery until today.




A new report from TechSpot shows that on the day of the fire a 2GB capacity DRAM chip cost about $1.60. Now two months after the fire, the same Hynix chip cost a whopping $2.27. This represents a 42 percent rise in DRAM pricing.


Hynix leads the world to believe that the damage was contained to a chemical storage dock and to a ventilation system separate from the clean room fabrication environments. Unfortunately, that appears not to be the case as a bit more damage was done than it was first thought. Hynix says that they have increased production in their South Korean facility to help offset production loss, but the impact of losing one plant is evident.


Production is set to resume to normal levels next month and we should see prices trickle down once again after supply levels even off. The report says that while the fire has negatively impacted Hynix, its competitor Micron has seen their stock rise more than 23 percent since word of the fire first broke.

Google addresses YouTube comment problems by using Google+

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Sep 25, 2013 12:46 am

Over the past few years, comments on YouTube have degraded into something akin to a cesspool. Derogatory statements, racism, and trolls have grown to dominate the comments of even the best quality videos. YouTube has teamed up with parent company Google to rollout a completely new commenting system that is said to take care of these issues.




The new system is deeply integrated with Google+ and will allow comments to be sorted based on relevance instead of the order in which they were posted. Positively rated comments will quickly move to the top of the comment list, and individual comments can be threaded themselves. Additionally, if you share your video on Google+, comments from the YouTube page will appear in the Google+ comments.


For even more commenting control, content creators can choose to share their comments with the public or specific circles from their Google+ account. This allows for private conversations within video comments as well. The new system will also allow content creators to build user whitelists while at the same blacklisting words and phrases they do not wish to appear in the comments. For the full rundown of features, check out the source below.

Verizon CEO says the company will never again offer unlimited data

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 25, 2013 12:33 am

The sheer audacity that telcos and ISPs have over bandwidth never ceases to amaze me. In today's instance, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has said that his company will never again offer an unlimited data plan. The announcement came during speech at an investor conference this week.




McAdam said that his company's competitors (Sprint and T-Mobile) would not be able to offer their unlimited data packages forever because "if you allow unlimited usage you eventually run out of gas." He blamed the disappearance of the company's unlimited data packages on what he called "bandwidth hungry mobile users" and said that they clog up Verizon's spectrum by watching high-bandwidth videos.


This is exactly the reason that I choose to spend my money with Sprint. Verizon has no problem selling you the latest and greatest smartphones by hyping up their ability to stream HD content, but then blames its customers for doing exactly what they told them they can do. In my opinion, this business model is not one that can sustain itself in the long term as you can only offer so many falsehoods before your customer base moves on to cheaper and more open sources to fulfill their needs.

New Apple iMac unveiled with new processors and new storage drives

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Computer Systems | Posted: Sep 25, 2013 12:16 am

Earlier today, Apple unveiled its new range of iMacs that are said to be as much as 50 percent faster than previous models. The company is able to achieve this performance boost because it has switched over to PCIe-based SSD storage in the form of 1TB or 3TB Fusion Drives.




The first model will feature a 21.5-inch screen and will feature a quad-core 2.7GHz Intel Core i5 Haswell processor and Intel's new Iris Pro graphics. A 27-inch model will also be available, and both machines can be upgraded to a Core i5 processor clocked in at 3.4GHz alongside an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 700 series discrete GPU.


Both machines come standard with 8GB of DDR3 RAM, which can be upgraded to as much as 32GB if you have the money to spend. A 1TB Fusion Drive come standard on both models and can also be upgraded to a 3TB model. Pricing begins at $1299 for the base 21.5-inch model, while the 27-inch machine starts out at $1999.

Twitter IPO will happen and could be as big as $1.5 billion on NYSE

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Sep 24, 2013 11:56 pm

The possibility of a Twitter IPO has been talked about ever since Facebook filed their own last year. Some you might remember that earlier this month Twitter did indeed file to go public, but under the veil of secrecy thanks to the Jobs Act.




Today, thanks to a report from VentureBeat, we're learning just how much and where the company will file its IPO. In what analysts are describing as an attempt to stay as far away from Facebook as possible, Twitter will most likely go public on the New York Stock Exchange in an IPO valued at $1.5 billion.


That number is quite a bit lower than the $15 billion that some analysts expected, but nevertheless the company will reportedly offer 55 million shares that will sell for around $30 each. What is still uncertain is whether the Twitter IPO will flop like Facebook's did, or if the early investors will become wealthy overnight like those who invested in Google on day one.

Google issues apology for 11 hour Gmail outage yesterday

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Sep 24, 2013 11:03 pm

Yesterday was not a good day for Google's usually reliable Gmail service. Google says that due to a dual network failure, some users experienced partial service interruptions, slow performance, or total outages for up to 11 hours.




The company says that almost one-third of all emails routed through it servers were affected and that about 1.5 percent of all emails sent or received through the service were delayed by as much as two hours. Google has apologized via an official statement, and says that it will be implementing steps over the next few weeks to make sure these issues do not happen again.


Google plans to beef up its network and its backup capacity for Gmail, and says that it will make email delivery more resilient even in the event of a dual network failure. For many of us who use Gmail as our exclusive email provider, yesterday's issues were a little more serious. However, I am sure that the service will not see a loss of users over the recent issues. Google's complete statement can be found after the jump.

Continue reading 'Google issues apology for 11 hour Gmail outage yesterday' (full post)

Dropbox asks for permission to publish gov surveillance requests

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Sep 24, 2013 9:32 pm

Dropbox has jumped onto the transparency bandwagon with fellow tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook. Today, Dropbox announced that it has filed an amicus brief with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.




The brief requests that the court give permission to all Internet companies to disclose all requests for information regarding their users when it comes to matters of national security. This would allow Dropbox to publish a list of every information request it has received regarding its users from governments both foreign and domestic.


Dropbox says that "the Court should not permit the government to invoke the mere label of 'national security' to justify the speech restraints it seeks." Currently tech companies can publish how many requests they received, but only on non-gag law enforcement requests, and can only disclose a vague number range when dealing with national security requests.

Continue reading 'Dropbox asks for permission to publish gov surveillance requests' (full post)

Nokia admits to misleading press about Elop's compensation package

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Sep 24, 2013 8:41 pm

When Microsoft first announced it was acquiring smartphone manufacturer Nokia, I knew there was something fishy about the deal. When ex-Microsoft exec and current Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was announced as the new head of Microsoft's Devices and Services division, things began to make sense.




Fast-forward to the announcement that Elop would receive over $25 million as part of a payout in which Microsoft would cover more than half of the cost to see the wheels really start turning in my head. Today, a new report from Forbes says that Nokia has admitted to providing misleading information regarding Elop's compensation.


The original statement issued by Nokia said that Elop's contract and compensation package was "essentially the same" as the company's previous CEO, but after some digging through SEC filings, it was made clear that the board had made fundamental changes in Elop's contract.


In what can only be part of Microsoft's master plan, Elop was entitled to immediate share price performance bonuses in the event of a "change of control" situation. This means that Elop would stand to earn a great deal of money if the company was acquired by someone such as Microsoft.

Continue reading 'Nokia admits to misleading press about Elop's compensation package' (full post)

Samsung's Galaxy S5 to get a metal unibody as the iPhone goes plastic

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Sep 24, 2013 6:50 pm

Today, more rumors have surfaced regarding Samsung moving to a metal unibody design for its upcoming flagship, the Galaxy S5. The phone is set to debut during the second quarter of 2014 and if reports are true, it will ditch the flimsy plastic exterior in favor for a more elegant and sturdy metal chassis.




While arguably one of the best smartphones ever made, Samsung has received a lot of criticism regarding the plastic body construction of its Galaxy S4. HTC, on the other hand, has received nothing but praise for its aluminum unibodied HTC One, even though it features a slower processor and an older revision of Android.


Additionally, Samsung has undoubtedly taken note to the following Apple has with its metal unibody iPhone 5 and 5S. According to a new report from the Taipei Times, a Taiwan-based parts supplier will be receiving orders very soon for a metal casing that is set to house the new Galaxy S5. These supply chain rumors are often true, and with similar rumors been released earlier in the year, we agree that Samsung will most likely release a unibody Galaxy S5 next year.