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Iran reportedly sends Monkey into space, returns safely back to Earth

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jan 28, 2013 5:01 pm

Iranian media outlets are reporting that Iran has successfully sent a monkey into space. Reports from the AFP state that the monkey made it to an altitude of 75 miles before returning back home safely inside a space capsule.




"Iran successfully launched a capsule, codenamed Pishgam (Pioneer), containing a monkey and recovered the shipment on the ground intact," the defense ministry's aerospace department said in a statement. This is a major leap forward for Iran's space program and paves the way for its plans to send a manned mission to the moon.


This is not the first time Iran has sent living creatures into space; the country has previously launched a ten-foot research rocket carrying a mouse, two turtles and some worms. Today's news adds credence to its ongoing mission to send a human to space by 2020, and to have an astronaut on the moon by 2025.

Newegg beats patent trolls in shopping cart case, "screw them" they say

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jan 28, 2013 4:16 pm

The notorious patent troll Soverain has been defeated by Newegg over its "shopping cart" infringement case. Soverain had previously won millions in similar suits against giants like Ann Summers and Avon. This decision means that Soverain cannot use the patents in its other current suits against Kohl's, Bloomingdales, Walgreens and Home Depot.




Newegg actually lost the first trial against Soverain back in 2007, but the company stuck to its policy of "Do not negotiate with patent trolls", and appealed the ruling on grounds that the online shopping cart was used well before Soverain's patents were issued.


Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng said that Newegg has "been hit by companies that claim to own the drop-down menu, or a search box, or Web navigation. In fact, I think there's at least four that claim to 'own' some part of a search box." He says that his company has "never lost a patent case" (discounting the now-overturned verdict), and will continue to fight against trolls. "Seriously, screw them - you can quote me on that."

Intel intros new SSD 525 Series, is destined for Ultrabooks and low-power SFF systems

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Storage | Posted: Jan 28, 2013 4:00 pm

With Intel shifting gears and reversing out of the motherboard business, moving into their Next Unit of Computing (NUC) and reducing power consumption on their processors, a new SSD has been unveiled by the Santa Clara-based chipmaker.




Welcome the new Intel SSD 525 Series, which comes in an mSATA form factor attached to the 6Gb/s SATA standard. Intel will be providing the SSD 525 Series to OEM customers, channel and tech enthusiasts as an ultra-portable, low-power storage solution in "one-eighth the space of a traditional 2.5-inch hard disk drive". In other words, Ultrabooks, tablets and embedded applications.


Thanks to its PCIe mini-connector, the SSD 525 Series drive will sport the same performance of the Intel SSD 520 Series, making the SSD 525 the perfect choice for all-in-one desktops, notebooks, Ultrabooks and more - such as cars, digital signage, embedded video and retail solutions, too.

Continue reading 'Intel intros new SSD 525 Series, is destined for Ultrabooks and low-power SFF systems' (full post)

New Skyrim "Dragonborn" DLC set to launch on February 5th

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 28, 2013 3:28 pm

Skyrim is one of those games that you can never seem to get enough of. Well at least that is the case for me anyway so whenever I hear of a new DLC for the third installment in The Elder Scrolls series, my ears perk up and my eyes get wide.




The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn is the latest DLC and officially launches on February 5th, but impatient users can pre-purchase it now on Steam for about $20. You will still have to wait until next month to install and play it, though.



The Dragonborn story line takes us beyond Skyrim to the island of Solstheim, just off the coast of Morrowind. The place is home to Dark Elves and some native Nords called the Skaal. It is packed full of new dungeons, creatures, weapons, and more. Bethesda says there will also be new shouts that will let you "bend the will of your enemies and even tame dragons." If the screen shots and video are any indication Dark Lord Cthulhu himself will make an appearance as well.

Google+ takes second place on the social networking website tier

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Social Networking | Posted: Jan 28, 2013 2:53 pm

Roughly 1.5 billion people worldwide use social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Google+ has claimed the second place spot in the race to become the largest social network in the world, beating out YouTube and Twitter by a few percent.


In a new report from GlobalWebIndex, Facebook is visited by more than half of all internet users, while Google+ sees about half that many users, with YouTube and Twitter getting about 20% each. Facebook is still the dominate monster, but Google+ is slowly chipping away at the top spot.




Since its launch, Google+ has managed over 300 million account creations and most of them are still considered active. That may seem a small when compared to Facebook's 1 billion+ user base, but not all of those accounts are active. In the end, ratings like these are hard to generate as all the major social networks are timid about sharing traffic data regularly.

Chinese government could soon lift ban on consoles after a 12-year ban has been in place

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jan 28, 2013 10:34 am

It looks like Chinese officials are in discussions to remove their ban on gaming consoles that has been in place for twelve years now. If this ban is lifted, it would open a gigantic market for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo - without even considering Valve's Steam Box, the OUYA console, and more.




The news is coming from China Daily, where they have a source within the Ministry of Culture telling the paper:


We are reviewing the policy and have conducted some surveys and held discussions with other ministries on the possibility of opening up the game console market.


Lifting the ban won't be easy, as it requires all seven ministries that issued the ban to approve the decision to lift the ban itself. The ban was implemented originally in order to protect impressionable youth from video games. A grey market for consoles exists in the country, but lifting the ban should see all sorts of new markets popping up - developers, retailers, and more.

Continue reading 'Chinese government could soon lift ban on consoles after a 12-year ban has been in place' (full post)

iPhone begins to lose its appeal in Asia's trend-setting cities

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jan 28, 2013 9:35 am

There was a time when the Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone was the undisputed champion, overlooking the grassy knolls quietly whispering 'this changes everything, again' to itself, but those days are behind it thanks to huge competition coming in from what seems like all sides.




Well, Asia's more well-off consumers in Singapore and Hong Kong are slowly switching from iPhone's to the competition - something Reuters is reporting as 'iPhone fatigue'. The problem also comes from consumers wanting to try out other brands, such as South Korea-based Samsung's Galaxy range of devices, seriously chewing into Apple's market share.


Since 2010, Apple has been completely controlling Singapore in terms of market share, with more devices in Singapore running iOS per capita than anywhere else in the world. This is where StatCounter -, who measure traffic collected from a network of 3 million websites, calculate Apple's share of mobile devices in Singapore.

Continue reading 'iPhone begins to lose its appeal in Asia's trend-setting cities' (full post)

RumorTT: Pictures surface of components for iPhone 5S and iPhone 6

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jan 28, 2013 8:33 am

French tech blog, have published images in what they claim are components for the loud speaker modules for the iPhone 5S and iPhone 6. The images comes from what they claim to be a source connected to an Apple component supplier.




The site believes that Apple will shift from their usual one iPhone per year schedule, and release as many as three new iPhone's in 2013. The iPhone 5S will be the usual, slightly-better-than-the-last iPhone, while the iPhone 6 will be a substantial redesign, but no details have been reported on the differences between the two.




The third iPhone that we could see would be the rumored iPhone Math, or iPhone+ and would sport a bigger screen to compete with the 'phablet' section of the market, competing with the likes of Samsung's extremely successful Galaxy Note range of smartphones.


If the rumored reports are true, we could expect Apple to release one of the models somewhere in Q2 of this year, with the second released toward the end of the year.

RumorTT: Apple to release 128GB fourth-gen iPad

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jan 28, 2013 7:33 am

The iPad maxing out at 64GB for internal storage really peeves some people, and having no options for expandable storage really stops the iPad from selling even more tablets.




But according to 9to5Mac, Apple is preparing to add another SKU to their fourth-generation iPad lineup, which will join the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models. 9to5Mac's news comes from a source at a well-known US retailer, who shares the devices' SKU information with the site, marked up with internal Apple terminology that described both Wi-Fi-only and cellular-capable devices in both black, and white colors.




The devices' description give it away, naming it with a tease of 'ultimate'. 9to5Mac can't confirm the description means a 128GB model is coming, but developers are also finding references to a 128GB iOS device in the iOS 6.1 beta code, as well as icons being found in iTunes 11, too.

NASA becomes a suspicious observer, discovers how our Sun stores and releases energy

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jan 28, 2013 6:32 am

NASA scientists are reporting that they've discovered the first clear evidence of energy transfer from our Sun's magnetic field to the solar atmosphere, or corona, a scientific theory that now has substantial backing.




The new findings come courtesy of NASA's suborbital telescope, the High Resolution Coronal Imager, which has captured the highest ever resolution images of the solar corona to date, sporting five times the amount of detail than previous tools used to study our closest star. The telecope launched from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico back in July of last year, and has already put smiles on scientists' faces.


The telescope's 10-minute flight had it take 165 images of a large, active region of the Sun's corona. These images showed the evolution of the magnetic field, as well as the releases of energy at temperatures of between a mind-boggling two million and four million degrees. Hi-C principal investigator, Jonathan Cirtain, a heliophysicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, says:


Scientists have tried for decades to understand how the sun's dynamic atmosphere is heated to millions of degrees. Because of the level of solar activity, we were able to clearly focus on an active sunspot, and obtain some remarkable images. Seeing this for the first time is a major advance in understanding how our sun continuously generates the vast amount of energy needed to heat its atmosphere.

Continue reading 'NASA becomes a suspicious observer, discovers how our Sun stores and releases energy' (full post)

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