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Ebay cutting fees to be more competitive with Amazon

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Mar 20, 2013 11:31 pm

Ebay has announced that they are changing its fees in order to become more competitive with Amazon. Some of the fee changes will take place April 16, while others will remain the same until May 1. In the end, most sellers will end up paying lower fees, though this won't be the case for everyone.

 

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Part of the reason Amazon has been so successful is that they don't charge listing fees. "For most of our sellers the complexity of our fees were keeping them from being on eBay and preventing them from having full transparency into their profitability from selling on eBay," Michael Jones, vice president of merchant development, said.

 

If you only list a few items each year, Ebay is going to offer 50 free listings per month. Ebay will then take 10 percent of the sale price, if the item sells. If you happen to be a higher-volume seller, final value fees will range between 4 percent and 9 percent, depending on the product category.

 

"There will be some sellers who will pay a little bit more on eBay, but most sellers will be impacted positively by this."

Google 'inadvertently' removed Digg from from its indexes

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Mar 20, 2013 10:31 pm

Google suffered a temporary case of dementia earlier today which resulted in Digg being erased from Google's indexes. The deletion of Digg from the index resulted from Google accidentally applying a Webspam filter to the whole site rather than the one link they were trying to disallow.

 

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We're sorry about the inconvenience this morning to people trying to search for Digg. In the process of removing a spammy link on Digg.com, we inadvertently applied the Webspam action to the whole site. We're correcting this, and the fix should be deployed shortly.

 

It comes at an ironic time. Just a few days ago, Digg's Kevin Rose announced that they would build a replacement for Google's ill-fated Reader. Digg's General Manager Jake Levine added that the accidental removal wasn't too terrible for business:

 

The good news is that it doesn't really impact us all that much. The vast majority of our traffic is direct (like 90 percent) so it's not a huge deal for us from a business or user perspective.

Samsung working on fixing security flaw present on some Android devices

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Mar 20, 2013 9:32 pm

Samsung has confirmed that they are working on a fix for a flaw that allows bypassing of the lock screen. The bug was posted to the internet today and shows a method for bypassing the lock screen, permanently, if you have enough time to download an app from the Play Store.

 

 

The steps to reproduce the bug are below:

 

  1. From the lock screen, hit the emergency call button.
  2. Dial a non-existent emergency services number - e.g. 0.
  3. Press the green dial icon.
  4. Dismiss the error message.
  5. Press the phone's back button.
  6. The app's screen will be briefly displayed.
  7. This is just about long enough to interact with the app.
  8. Using this, you can run and interact with any app / widget / settings menu.
  9. You can also use this to launch the dialler.
  10. From there, you can dial any phone number (one digit at a time) and place a phone call.
  11. With Google Play, you can search for apps using the voice interface.
  12. You can download apps from the app store which will disable the screen lock.

 

The bug is only present on Samsung's implementation of Android. It doesn't seem to affect the stock build. In a statement, Samsung said, "We are aware of this issue and will release a fix at the earliest possibility. Samsung considers user privacy and the security of user data its top priority."

 

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RumorTT: Guy Kawasaki hints that Motorola X Phone will be customizable

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Mar 20, 2013 9:04 pm

A fairly large rumor is making the rounds today. Guy Kawasaki, a former Apple evangelist who now advises Google and Motorola, dropped a pretty large hint that Motorola's rumored X Phone will feature customizable hardware. He posted up a Porsche promo video that talks about the customizable features of the vehicle:

 

 

Kawasaki posted the video with the following comment: "Wouldn't it be great if you could personalize your phone like this?"

 

This is obviously hinting towards a future phone that can be modified, at least partly. Other rumors have suggested that the X-Phone will come with customizable hardware, so coupled with this new hint it's looking like the X-Phone might just come with customizable features. We still expect to hear more at Google I/O in May.

Continue reading 'RumorTT: Guy Kawasaki hints that Motorola X Phone will be customizable' (full post)

High-profile Xbox Live accounts hacked, former and current Microsoft employee accounts compromised

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Mar 20, 2013 8:33 pm

Microsoft is currently dealing with some high-profile hackings that have compromised the Xbox Live accounts of former and current Microsoft employees. The attack apparently used a series of stringed social engineering tactics that collected social security numbers and other information necessary to gain access to the accounts.

 

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A group of attackers are using several stringed social engineering techniques to compromise the accounts of a handful of high-profile Xbox Live accounts held by current and former Microsoft employees. We are actively working with law enforcement and other affected companies to disable this current method of attack and prevent its further use.

 

It's not clear what Microsoft will be able to do to prevent this from happening in the future. Microsoft needs a way to properly identify an account's owner, but they can't prevent third-parties from giving out that private information.

Headphones that can read your mind and pick what music you want to hear

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Audio, Sound & Speakers | Posted: Mar 20, 2013 7:45 pm

Neurowear's new Mico headphones are capable of reading your mind and playing music that your subconscious "wants" to hear. The headphones read your brainwaves to figure out what mood you are in and then select the corresponding song (out of a library of about 100) from the company's app.

 

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The headphones connect up to your smartphone via Bluetooth. While they may not be the most stylish headphones ever deceived, they do show a cool step forward in reading brainwaves. If your mood (or brainwaves) change, you can switch the song to your new mood by shaking your phone. Hit up the source for a cool video demonstration.

Samsung releases pricing for its massive 85-inch S9 Ultra HDTV, do you have a spare $39,999?

By: Charles Gantt | More News: HT & Movies | Posted: Mar 20, 2013 6:30 pm

During this year's CES trade show in Las Vegas we saw a massive 4K Ultra HD TV from Samsung. The beast was perched in a welded metal frame and boasted a massive 85-inch 4K compatible LCD.

 

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The 85-inch monster will hit store shelves (or floors, more likely) at the end of this month and will retail for a reported $39,999, making it one of the most expensive televisions on the market. Also expected to release soon is Samsung's Smart Evolution Kit which will retail for $300 and will connect to Samsung Smart TVs via Bluetooth to keep them updated with the latest software and firmware.

 

Also set to release around the same time is the HW-F750 Sound Bar, which features old school vacuum tube technology for a true HiFi sound experience. I do not know about you, but paying $300 for a device that updates my TV just seems a bit excessive. For $39,999, I would expect my TV to at least be capable of updating itself through it's built in Wi-Fi or Gigabit Ethernet connection.

Adblock Plus circumvents Google Play Store ban by making app update through the web

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Apps | Posted: Mar 20, 2013 5:33 pm

A few days ago Anthony reported on Adblock Plus being removed from the Google Play Store. The ban was implemented on the grounds that ad blocking software interferes with other apps functionality and therefore breaks Google's TOS.

 

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Today we got word from the developers behind Adblock Plus that they have retooled the app and users may now download it directly from their website. In addition to this, the Adblock Plus team has also circumvented the need to update through the Google Play store.

 

The new app features a new UI, fixed some issues with Chrome, implemented automatic updating and fixed issues with URLs that contain apostrophes. While I do not advocate the use of ad blockers, I fully believe that everyone has the right to use them. Some websites survive solely on advertising and those Google AdSense ads and others that you are blocking are the reason that website is able to bring you content.

Samsung's Galaxy S4 costs a mere $244 to build in parts and labor

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Mar 20, 2013 4:36 pm

In a recent report from IHS, senior analyst for cost benchmarking, Vincent Leungh, broke down Samsung's new Galaxy S4 part by part and came to the conclusion that the S4 cost a mere $244 to manufacture.

 

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According to the virtual tear down the Galaxy S4 cost about 15 percent more than its predecessor, the Galaxy S III. Most of that extra cost is in the S4's larger Super AMOLED LCD, which cost a full $10 more than the model used in the S III.

 

The HSPA+ Galaxy S4 come to $236, with $8.50 of manufacturing costs then added on top. The LTE version cost just a little less to manufacture costing $241 overall. Does this mean that the Galaxy S4 will retail 15 percent higher? That is left to be seen.

RumorTT: Amazon developing a $99 7-inch class Kindle Fire HD

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Mar 20, 2013 3:45 pm

Amazon hit a home-run when they launched the original Kindle Fire HD, and now if rumors are true, they are looking to knock another one out of the ball park. A $99 Kindle Fire of the 7-inch class is said to already be in production and could ship later this year.

 

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The new 7-inch Kindle Fire would be a direct competitor to Apple's iPad mini, as well as other small tablets such as Google's Nexus 7, as well as offerings from ASUS, Samsung and Sony. It would also offer competition to the flood of off brand Chinese Android tablets that have been popping up in the sub $100 range.

 

We are not finding any reports on hardware specifications yet, but we know that the device is said to feature a 1280x800 LCD and it could contain similar hardware to Amazon's current $99 7-inch Kindle Fire HD.

Continue reading 'RumorTT: Amazon developing a $99 7-inch class Kindle Fire HD' (full post)

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