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HP working to prevent student workers in its Chinese factories

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 8, 2013 10:02 am

The world's largest PC manufacturer is working to make sure its Chinese suppliers aren't using student and temporary workers in their factories. Similar to Apple's current supply chain problems, HP has discovered student workers among those employed by the Chinese factories that supply them with their products.




HP isn't having one bit of it. According to HP's new regulations, a student's work "must complement the primary area of study." Also among the regulations is a cap that limits the ratio of student and temporary workers to 20 percent, though they plan to decrease that to 10 percent in the long run.


The labor issues in the supply chain affect all of the major electronics manufacturers. Apple has trouble with Foxconn and Samsung found unacceptable working conditions in its own factories in China. However, it remains to be seen if these companies will follow the example set by HP.

ReportTT: Obama planning to issue executive order dealing with cybersecurity

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 8, 2013 9:45 am

Bloomberg news is reporting that President Obama is near to issuing an executive order that would deal with the nation's cybersecurity. They cite two former White House officials who have been briefed on the Obama administration's plans. An increase in US cybersecurity is desperately needed as was demonstrated by the recent hack of the Federal Reserve.




This executive order has apparently been in the drafting stages since last fall. It's widely expected to be released after Obama holds his State of the Union address on February 12. It reportedly will set up a voluntary program of standards for companies involved with vital US infrastructure such as, say, a power plant.


We'll definitely have more details after this executive order is released.

Dell's shareholders reportedly resisting privatization buy-out

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 8, 2013 9:20 am

Reuters is reporting that several major shareholders and investment firms of Dell are having issues with Dell's buyback terms. Southeastern Asset Management is holding out saying that the offered $13.65 a share is too low and thinks the number needs to be around the $20 mark.




The pending deal has to pass a couple hurdles before the privatization can become official. Shareholders need to approve the deal by a majority vote, and regulatory agencies must sign off on it as well.


Voting against the deal is Alpine Capital Research president Nick Tompras. He manages about two million shares of Dell stock, and said "Let the fools sell low -- don't make us all fools." Schneider Capital Management President Arnie Schneider holds 350,000 shares and will also vote against the deal.

Adobe issues "emergency" Flash update to block malware

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Software | Posted: Feb 8, 2013 8:56 am

Adobe has just issued an emergency update to its Flash software for both Mac and Windows platform. The update fixes two new vulnerabilities that are already being exploited to spread malware.




The exploits are affecting Windows PC's as well as Apple Mac devices. Mac users are tricked into downloading an MS Word files that contains the malware. Similar trickery is used to lure in Windows users.


The patch comes on the same day that Adobe announced that future versions of Flash will be able to block this type of exploit all together. Worried users can disable flash in their browser until the program can be updated. You can check to see if you are already patched by checking the flash version. If it is 11.5.502.149, then you are safe.

TiVo launches Mini DVR Extender for rentals to Suddenlink customers

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Feb 8, 2013 8:54 am

While the whole world waits on the TiVo Mini to make its retail debut, Suddenlink has managed to work out a deal allowing its customers to rent the small DVR extension units.




A report from Zatz Not Funny mentions that the outfit is pricing rental units at $6-$12 depending on customer location and current service package. The rental fee grants the user the privilege of streaming live TV from a TiVo Premier DVR to their network or another TV set.


Users are also able to search for and watch recorded shows. Dynamic tuning is built into the device, but it appears to be turned off at the moment. We can expect to see the TiVo Mini hit retail shelves sometime this spring.

Jelly Bean beginning to roll out to Xperia devices

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Feb 8, 2013 7:40 am

Owners of Sony's Xperia line of devices will soon be getting an update to Android 4.1. Known as Jelly Bean, the updated version of Android has started rolling out the Xperia T and Xperia V devices. The update includes redesigned media apps, camera features, and other enhancements.




In total, the updated operating system will be making its way onto 10 devices within the Xperia line of devices. The Xperia TX will have to wait until next month to get its update. For the remaining seven devices, no official plans have been confirmed, though it shouldn't be too much longer of a wait.


Some of the changes owners can expect are listed below:


  • "More intuitive" versions of its Sony Media apps, Walkman, Album and Movies
  • More options for personalization, including a redesigned home screen
  • Better on-device search
  • Improvements to the camer, such as a revised viewfinder and new auto-scene setting
  • Google Now service


Device owners don't have to do anything as their devices will notify them when the update is available.

Kent Smith of LSI explains SSD over-provisioning

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Storage | Posted: Feb 8, 2013 5:03 am

Solid-state drives contain more NAND than is required to meet the listed capacity on the box. The reasoning for this is that the controller requires some of it for garbage collection and to replace cells when they go bad. The concept of over-provisioning an SSD is one that isn't always understood by the consumer, so Kent Smith of LSI has written an article to help you understand.




Essentially, over-provisioning allocates a portion of the total flash memory available to the flash storage processor, which it needs to perform various memory management functions. This leaves less usable capacity, of course, but results in superior performance and endurance. More sophisticated applications require more over-provisioning, but the benefits inevitably outweigh the reduction in usable capacity.


You can read the entire article over at EDN.

ReportTT: NVIDIA GeForce Titan outperforms GTX 690

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Video Cards | Posted: Feb 8, 2013 3:58 am

There's a benchmark score floating around the internet that was reportedly earned by NVIDIA's upcoming GeForce Titan. The number shows the new GK110-based GPU besting the dual-GPU GTX 690 by a hefty margin. In 3DMark11, the card reportedly earned a score of X7107. For comparison, a GTX only achieves a score of around X6000.




The details can't be confirmed because the site reporting this won't release their source. The Titan is said to be coming with 6GB of RAM on a 384-bit memory bus. The naming scheme is said to retain the GeForce Titan nomenclature, possibly as a reference to the Cray Titan supercomputer that houses just shy of 19,000 NVIDIA Tesla K20X cards.


Pricing is said to be $899 with availability starting at the end of February.

Internet sensation Sweet Brown stars in a local TV commercial, spoofs original viral YouTube hit

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Feb 8, 2013 2:03 am

I'm sure most of you have seen the "Ain't nobody got time for that" YouTube video that got turned into a meme.



Now that you're back, take a look at this local TV commercial for Shortline Dental in Tulsa, Oklahoma.



You're not mistaking. The stars in both of those videos are the same person. The TV commercial produced by Shortline Dental plays off of the original video's catch phrase and uses the star's notoriety much like other ads feature celebrities. What do you think of the ad?


What I find really interesting about this is the fact that more and more memes are seeping into the non-digital world. It goes to show just how pervasive the internet culture has become.

Continue reading 'Internet sensation Sweet Brown stars in a local TV commercial, spoofs original viral YouTube hit' (full post)

Vine videos are actually 6.5 seconds long, who actually cares?

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Apps | Posted: Feb 8, 2013 1:32 am

Twitter launched the video sharing service Vine to share short six-second videos that were akin in many ways to a tweet. Well, the truth has come out and those six-second Vine videos are actually six and a half seconds long. Not that that extra half a second makes much of a difference. In fact, it really just raises a bunch of questions.




For instance, who cares about this minor detail? I'm sure there are some among you that will care to know this tiny detail. However, the more important detail is did Twitter really think the videos were six seconds long? During development, the Vine team tested lengths ranging from four to ten seconds and eventually settled on "six."


As you now know, the number is actually six and a half. The question is whether or not they meant for the videos to be that length. If so, why did they settle on that number? If not, what technical bug causes the length to be increased by half a second? We'd love to hear your (not too) crazy conspiracy theories in the comments.