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Apple will explain how it will use its $100 billion in cash tomorrow

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Mar 19, 2012 1:24 am

Apple have a very delicious kitty of nearly $100 billion in cash reserves right now, with $97.6 billion to be precise. Come 9AM Eastern on Monday, March 19, CEO Tim Cook as well as CFO Peter Oppenheimer will discuss the "outcome of the Company's discussions".

 

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Apple will offer this discussion as a phone call and as a live stream with replays available for two weeks afterwards. Apple have actively been discussing what they should do with their cash reserves, where other companies would spend it, or acquire other smaller companies, or start-ups, Apple have just been saving, saving, saving.

 

Investment analysts have complained more than once that Apple should offer a dividend payout to shareholders despite the stock being the largest in the world, as well as one of the fastest growing, too. Apple have always been careful of its spending, which is at least attributed to the late Steve Jobs. Most believed that Jobs had recognized what happened to Apple previously in his absence from the company, and used it as a sign to build a cash reserve in the event of an unforeseen circumstance such as a sharp market drop, economic crisis, or something along those lines.

Continue reading 'Apple will explain how it will use its $100 billion in cash tomorrow' (full post)

RumorTT: Galaxy S III to be unveiled on May 22nd at Samsung Unpacked event being held in London

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Mar 19, 2012 12:33 am

Reddit is the place where magic happens, and todays magic is in the form of a supposed press image of Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S III smartphone, which is said to be unveiled at Samsung's Unpacked event being held in London, on May 22nd.

 

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Samsung have previously stated that the successor to their super-popular Galaxy S II would be unveiled at a "separate Samsung-hosted event in the first half of the year, closer to commercial availability of the product". On the leaked image above, first up is the bottom right hand corner where we can see the name of a PR firm: Weber Shandwick.

 

Weber Shandwick have previously done work for Samsung in the past, even their press conference at CES 2010. Other details shown in the leaked picture is a dedicated camera button, a single home button, a front speaker grill, and an edge-to-edge screen. Every feature, I love. Dedicated camera button? Yes please! Edge-to-edge screen, bring it on!

Microsoft may have leaked code capable of attacking critical Windows bug

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Mar 16, 2012 11:29 pm

No, I'm not trying to use scare tactics. No, I don't want you to rip out your link to the internet. I just want you to beware: Microsoft may have had a hand in leaking executable code that was used in a proof-of-concept (PoC). The data packet that was used was the same that Luigi Auriemma, an Italian security researcher, discovered and reported way back in May of 2011. Last Tuesday, Microsoft updated all flavors of Windows to patch the critical RDP vulnerability. Both Microsoft, and I, strongly recommend that you update and patch all of your machines running Windows.

 

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Auriemma has stated:

 

In short it seems written by Microsoft for [its] internal tests and was leaked probably during its distribution to their 'partners' for the creation of antivirus signatures and so on. The other possible scenario is [that] a Microsoft employee was [the] direct or indirect source of the leak. [A] hacker intrusion looks the less probable scenario at the moment.

Continue reading 'Microsoft may have leaked code capable of attacking critical Windows bug' (full post)

Google sued over app return policy and bogus apps

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Mar 16, 2012 10:30 pm

Here comes another blow to the search giant. Not only are they being investigated by both US and EU regulators, but they are now being sued. A lawsuit has been filed in California Superior Court that is seeking class-action status, damages, and attorneys' fees and costs. The lawsuit names California residents Dodd J. Harris and Stephen Sabatino. Harris is upset because he purchased the app "Learn Chinese Mandarin Pro" for $4.83 in December. He claims that the app did not work as advertised, but he was too late. It was already 20 minutes past his purchase. Google's return policy only allows 15 minutes.

 

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Sabatino, on the other hand, bought "aBTC", a BitTorrent client for Android, for $4.99 in January. The product didn't work, however, he tried tinkering with it for an hour before attempting to unsuccessfully return it. In December 2010, Google lowered the return policy on apps from 24 hours to 15 minutes. They stated this was because "most users who request a refund do so within minutes of purchase."

 

In addition to the refund policy, the suit is challenging Google's app approval process, or lack there of. Google, unlike Apple, has previously allowed any app to be posted to the market. This has led to many apps on the market which contain malware. In response to this, Google last month added a new layer of security, dubbed Bouncer, which will attempt to scan apps for evidence of malware and bounce them.

Continue reading 'Google sued over app return policy and bogus apps' (full post)

Arduino-powered Artbot writes the time, erases it, writes again

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Mar 16, 2012 9:37 pm

Check out this cool use of an Arduino. It's a robotic arm that writes the time, erases it, and then writes up the new time over and over again. This device gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "time stops for no man." Apparently, "time stops for no man or machine." The robotic arm was created by a hacker going by the name of Ekaggrat. Of course, I'm sure you'd like to see this in action, so take a look at the video below.

 

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I'm not sure just how practical something like this is to replace current clocks, but it sure is cool! What a display to have in a maker-shop or robotics office. Now, if only he provided instructions and the code required so that we could all make them in our own homes!

Continue reading 'Arduino-powered Artbot writes the time, erases it, writes again' (full post)

Google accused of bypassing Safari privacy settings, places cookies anyway

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Mar 16, 2012 8:40 pm

US and EU regulators have launched an investigation into Google and the allegations that they bypassed the privacy settings of Safari users on both desktop and mobile iOS users. Google spokeswoman contends that these actions were unintended. She said, "It's important to remember that we didn't anticipate this would happen, and we have been removing these advertising cookies from Safari browsers." Let's try to understand what happened in a little more detail.

 

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Google has discovered that when they created a temporary link between the user's Safari browser and Google's servers, it allowed other ad cookies to be placed on the browser. Google has since been removing these files, but the damage for Google has already been done. These investigations could have Google on the hook financially for quite a lot. If they are found to have broken a settlement agreement FTC, they could be fined $16,000 per violation, per day. In addition, state attorneys general can levy fines of up to $5,000 per violation. And all of this is only state side.

Continue reading 'Google accused of bypassing Safari privacy settings, places cookies anyway' (full post)

J.D. Power's smartphone customer satisfaction survey ranks iPhone top

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Mar 16, 2012 7:32 pm

The Apple iPhone alone at the top of the customer satisfaction survey. It was the only smartphone to receive a five Power Circle rating from J.D. Power in its two recent reports. Both reports measured satisfaction with devices used for less than a year. In the smartphone category, Apple received a rating of 840 out of 1,000 points, whereas HTC, received four circles and a rating of 793. Samsung and Motorola took third and fourth places, each with three circles and ratings of 789 and 758, respectively.

 

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Quite obviously, the biggest factor impacting customer satisfaction was, according to J.D. Power's reports, battery life. Customers found battery life to be the least satisfying aspect of smartphones. Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power wrote a March 15 statement:

 

Both carriers and manufacturers recognize the fact that battery life needs to be improved. However, the study uncovers the need for a greater sense of urgency - short battery life can result in perceived phone problems, higher rates of merchandise returns and customer defections.

Continue reading 'J.D. Power's smartphone customer satisfaction survey ranks iPhone top' (full post)

Xbox 720 will not be making an appearance at E3 2012

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Gaming | Posted: Mar 16, 2012 6:28 pm

Rumors flying wild around the internet have been saying that Microsoft would possibly be releasing the Xbox 720/Next at E3 2012. However, Microsoft spokesperson David Dennis has publicly stated that Microsoft won't discuss new Xbox hardware at this year's show. This led 2 people with knowledge of the subject to speculate an E3 2013 launch. Besides, why would Microsoft want to launch their next-gen console this year when they can continue to sell the 360?

 

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As everyone knows, a console isn't profitable for the first few years. As it stands now, a best-guess estimate puts Microsoft banking around $115 from each and every $300 Xbox sold. Giving up profit such as that would not be in the software giant's best interest. The only pressure Microsoft is feeling for a release is from gamers. No other manufacturer is ready to release a new console. Additionally, the new Kinect motion sensor is breading a whole new line of games, and profit, for them.

 

Microsoft's entertainment division, which includes the Xbox, posted a 45 percent sales gain to $8.91 billion in the fiscal year that ended in June. The Xbox 360 outsold Nintendo Co.'s Wii and Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3 in 2011, and also sold better than any other TV-connected devices, including DVD players and home-theater systems, Dennis said.

More GTX 680 benchmark graphs surface, card looks great

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Video Cards | Posted: Mar 16, 2012 5:36 pm

As we near the release date of the nVidia GTX 680, more and more charts are surfacing with purported performance, specifications, and the like. Today is no exception. There appears to be 6 new benchmarks run on the card, using an extreme-cooled Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition processor (running at stock frequency), ASUS Rampage IV Extreme motherboard, 8 GB (4x 2 GB) GeIL EVO 2 DDR3-2200 MHz quad-channel memory, Corsair AX1200W PSU, and Windows 7 x64.

 

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Benchmarks included 3DMark 11 (performance preset), Battlefield 3, Batman: Arkham City, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Lost Planet 2, and Unigine Heaven (version not mentioned, could be 1). All tests were run at a constant resolution of 1920x1080, with 8x MSAA on some tests (mentioned in the graphs).

Continue reading 'More GTX 680 benchmark graphs surface, card looks great' (full post)

According to RIAA, ISPs to start policing copyrights by July 12

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Mar 16, 2012 3:25 pm

Last July, a wide selection of ISPs, including Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, and Time Warner Cable, announced that they were adopting policies designed to discourage customers from illegally downloading music, movies and software. Since then, it has been quiet...too quiet. It was the calm before the storm. According to a panel discussion before a gathering of U.S. publishers, most participating ISPs are on track to start implementing the program by July 12. I don't quite understand why ISPs would want to take this on, but apparently they do.

 

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The general plan goes something like this. ISPs send out one or two educational notices to those customers who are accused of piracy. If the behavior continues, the ISP is then asked to send out "confirmation notices" asking that they confirm they have received notice. Along with the "confirmation notices," the accused will also be informed of the possible risks and penalties of continuing to pirate material. Again, if the customer continues, the ISP can then ratchet up the pressure. ISPs can then choose to apply what the RIAA calls "mitigation measures." These include throttling connection speed, or stopping the connection altogether until the customer agrees to stop pirating. Luckily, not one of the service providers has agreed to permanently terminate service.

Continue reading 'According to RIAA, ISPs to start policing copyrights by July 12' (full post)

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