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Google gets domain to use as URL shortener

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Apr 13, 2013 2:33 am

Google has obtained a new domain to use for URL shortening. is now in Google's possession and we imagine that it will be used to shorten links to YouTube videos. Currently Google uses for shortened links that point to YouTube videos, but characters are becoming increasingly important.


google_gets_yt_be_domain_to_use_as_url_shortener_1 is currently redirecting to Google's URL shortening webpage. Google acquired the new URL from a Belgian Internet entrepreneur who originally purchased the domain in May 2003. Purchase price has not been disclosed.


It's unlikely that Google would opt to use for anything other than YouTube issues for many reasons. The most obvious reason would be branding issues, which is the same reason Google only uses for Google websites.


Google will likely start using to shorten YouTube URLs soon.

Facebook Messenger update gives Chat Heads feature to most Android smartphones, even without Facebook Home

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Apps | Posted: Apr 12, 2013 6:30 pm

Those of us with older Android smartphones were pretty bummed out to hear that our devices will not be able to run Facebook Home. Things are not as bleak as they appear, though. Facebook has just released an update to Messenger that will bring Chat Heads to most Android phones.




The new update will install Chat Heads to Facebook Messenger on Android devices running Android 2.2 or later, which means that unless you own a bottom of the barrel 3+ year old phone, the update should work on your phone.


I checked out the available updates for my phone and tablet, and both had a Facebook and Facebook Messenger update available, but after installing the update and testing, I have yet to see any Chat Head functionality. I only update about once a month, so chances are that both updates were old and the new one has not yet been pushed to my devices.

Nintendo to cancel some built-in Wii apps on June 28th

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming | Posted: Apr 12, 2013 5:34 pm

This morning Nintendo officially announced that it will be canceling several services built into the Wii effective June 28th. The apps on the chopping block are ones not featured on the Wii U, and were expected to be canceled at some point.




Wii users will no longer have access to News, Weather, Everybody Votes, Mii Contest, Digital Camera Print and Nintendo channels, as well as WiiConnect24 apps like messaging and exchanging system data.


Nintendo has yet to announce if the apps will be removed elsewhere too.

Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox suffered large DDOS attack yesterday

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Apr 12, 2013 5:01 pm

In the past 48 hours, life has been pretty stressful for those invested in the virtual currency Bitcoin. On Wednesday the Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox experienced a massive crash that led to the Bitcoin losing half of it's value. Then yesterday Mt. Gox announced a 12 hour suspension in trading to upgrade servers, and let investors calm down over the crash.




This morning we got word that before yesterday's shutdown, Mt. Gox was also attacked by hackers when it experienced a massive DDOS attack. This is the second large cyber-attack on the exchange in less than a week, which should fuel speculation about the security of investing in a yet-to-be vetted virtual currency.


Skeptics of Bitcoin will be quick to point out the fact that it will be hard to validate the new currency until the market is secure from such attacks, and measures are implemented to prevent such massive sell-offs.

Continue reading 'Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox suffered large DDOS attack yesterday' (full post)

LG unveils Value Pack upgrade for Optimus G Pro, looks remarkably similar to Galaxy S4 features

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Apr 12, 2013 4:08 pm

LG is looking to combat rival Samsung's Galaxy S4 head on with its flagship Optimus G Pro, which features similar hardware included in the Galaxy S4. With some planned software tweaks and a "Value Pack" upgrade, the Optimus G Pro will even more closely resemble the Galaxy S4 in function.



The Value Pack will introduce a "Smart Video" feature which like Samsung's Smart Pause, will pause video when a user's eyes are not focused on the screen. Also included in the upgrade pack is the ability to pause live recording and start it again in the same video file. Users will also be able to use both the front and rear cameras to capture both a photo of the subject and the user at the same time.


Existing Optimus Pro smartphones in the Korean market will begin getting the Value Pack upgrade beginning today, with further roll-out taking place in the coming weeks.

Motorola's upcoming X Phone delayed until August

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Apr 12, 2013 3:35 pm

We have been talking about Google's Motorola's Googlerola's upcoming X Phone since December, and there is news this morning that could mean we will be speculating about the new flagship all the way into August.




The X Phone has long been rumored to be the most advanced Android phone ever, and will be the first device running Google's next-gen Android 5.0 platform, dubbed Key Lime Pie. Rumors today are pointing to the X Phone being delayed until August, instead of the May, June or July time frame, as previously reported.


There is no reason given for the speculated delay, but it could have something to do with Google not being impressed with early designs, or that Android 5.0 is just not going to be ready in time. I think it could have something to do with the recent releases from Samsung and HTC, and Google / Motorola realizing that they really have to step their game up if they wish remain a big time player.

GIGABYTE HQ officially open new OC Lab, dedicated to all things overclocking

By: Cameron Wilmot | More News: Tweaking & Overclocking | Posted: Apr 12, 2013 3:01 pm

Earlier today we were invited to the GIGABYTE headquarters here in Taipei, Taiwan to get a look at the motherboard maker's brand new pride and joy. No, for once we're not talking about a new motherboard... we're talking about a new lab.




Staff at GIGABYTE had been pushing senior staff at the Taiwanese company to sign off on a new "OC Lab" for its employees to spend their days overclocking and tweaking new GIGABYTE motherboards and video cards. HiCookie, a famous Taiwanese overclocker, joined GIGABYTE some years ago now and I can indeed confirm each time I visited him, he was slowly taking over cubical by cubical, with all of his overclocking hardware and gear. He and others at the company needed such a new place to be free and overclock, till they can overclock no more.




Eventually the bosses at GIGABYTE signed off on the overclocking lab, known simply as the "OC Lab". GIGABYTE invited some local press and overclockers there earlier today, where we christened it with a couple of drinks. It will be the new home for HiCookie when he moves into the OC Lab next week - he would have been in there by now if it were not for IDF Beijing, which he just returned from.

Continue reading 'GIGABYTE HQ officially open new OC Lab, dedicated to all things overclocking' (full post)

ASUS Qube Google TV box to launch on April 23rd

By: Charles Gantt | More News: HT & Movies | Posted: Apr 12, 2013 2:40 pm

GTVSource is reporting that ASUS will launch its first entry into the Google TV market later this month. Named the Qube, we first got a glimpse of it at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, and now four months later it is coming to market.




The Qube is essentially an Android box that features Marvell's ARMADA 1500 media SoC, which is paired up with 1GB of RAM. Only 4GB of onboard storage is included for additional app installs, but ASUS says that the Qube will come with 50GB of free cloud storage.


The device comes with a full featured remote, which includes a built-in QWERTY keyboard. Users will be able to stream their content as well as content from services like HBOGo, Crackle, Pandora, Amazon, Google Play and Netflix.


The Qube will launch in the US on the 29th of April and retail at $129. Additional markets will follow shortly after according to the report.

EA lays off many Montreal studio staff, said to be refocusing efforts on mobile and new platforms

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming | Posted: Apr 12, 2013 2:19 pm

This morning the air is thick with sadness at EA's Montreal studio where the company has reportedly laid off most of its staff. The reports have been confirmed by EA, but no official word on how many employees were let go.




Our early findings appear to show that as many as 170 employees got the notice this morning, with once source saying that most of those affected were quality assurance and contract workers. In a statement to gaming site Joystiq, EA said that the layoffs were part of an effort to sharpen their focus on providing games for new platforms and mobile.


"These are difficult decisions to let go of good people who have made important contributions to EA, and whenever possible we retrain or relocate employees to new roles. Streamlining our operations will help ensure EA is bringing the best next-generation games to players around the world."

Nokia releases updated firmware for Lumia 920, 820, 620

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Apr 12, 2013 9:31 am

Nokia seems to be one of the few brands taking the time to update older mobile hardware. Microsoft's updates are sporadic at best and non-existent at worst. However, Nokia is taking care of the issue by releasing updated firmware for its popular Lumia 920, 820, and 620 devices.




The updates, said to be rolling out over the coming weeks, is already available on some users' devices. It brings various improvements, which are listed on the Lumia 920 support page:


  • Improved automatic display brightness adjustment
  • Fix for intermittent screen blanking during a call
  • Improvements for connectivity issues in certain network conditions
  • Performance and stability improvements


The 820 and 620 are also getting the improvements listed above. The 620 is also gaining the following improvements:


  • Improved touch screen functions, including corrections in multi-touch actions
  • Better voice quality with Bluetooth headsets that support echo/noise suppression
  • Enhanced camera performance with corrected exposure when flash is used in bright light conditions
  • Various improvements to system stability, performance, and usability