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Yahoo sells half the shares it owns in Alibaba, rakes in $7.1 billion

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 22, 2012 2:50 am

Yahoo have been having a hard time lately, with increased competition from Google and others, and have just announced today that they have reached a deal to sell part of their stake in China's biggest internet company, Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd.




The deal will have Alibaba buying back half of Yahoo's 40-percent stake in the group for a nice $7.1 billion. Alibaba will wave $6.3 billion in cash in front of Yahoo, as well as $800 million in Alibaba preferred stock. Alibaba are also required to buy back a quarter of the remaining shares at the price of a future IPO, or alternatively, allow Yahoo to sell them in the expected public offering in the near future.


This deal now pits Alibaba Group's worth at around $35 billion. Alibaba CEO Jack Ma said in a statement to Bloomberg:


The transaction will establish a balanced ownership structure that enables Alibaba to take our business to the next level as a public company in the future.


Alibaba is doing extremely well, with rumors that Alibaba's CEO owns a 7.4-percent share in the group, and is readying an initial public offering. Industry insiders are predicting that the Chinese online shopping industry will grow by 42-percent this year alone.

Upcoming games based on Frostbite 2 engine from DICE will require 64-bit OS

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: May 22, 2012 2:03 am

DICE's Frostbite 2 is still to this day one of the best game engines on the market, but it looks like the developer is ready to amp things up a bit. DICE posted a tweet earlier today where they've teased that they will have Frostbite-powered games in 2013 that will only work on a 64-bit operating system.




DICE rendering architect Johan Andersson is the man behind the tweet, and has recommended that Windows 8 would be a great upgrade when it arrives if they're still running a 32-bit version of Windows. This is only for those who have a 64-bit CPU, some people rock a 32-bit OS with a 64-bit CPU, which of course you'd need both a 64-bit OS and CPU to run the 64-bit-only Frostbite games.


At the moment, it's hard to know which upcoming game could use the 64-bit-only Frostbite engine. Could it be Battlefield 4? Mirror's Edge 2? Battlefield: Bad Company 3? It could be any of those games. Right now, the only 2013 Frostbite title confirmed is Command & Conquer: Generals 2.

Continue reading 'Upcoming games based on Frostbite 2 engine from DICE will require 64-bit OS' (full post)

Spotify launches in Australia and New Zealand

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 22, 2012 1:52 am

Spotify says "G'day" to Australia. In other words, Spotify is now available for use in Australia. This should make a good number of Australians happy, including our very own Anthony Garreffa. Spotify is launching three versions including Spotify Free, Spotify Unlimited, and Spotify Premium.




"Spotify is a game changer," says Kate Vale, Spotify's Managing Director Australia and New Zealand. "This is a revolutionary new music service that's free, simple, and provides lightning-fast access to one of the world's biggest music libraries. We hope Australian music fans will love Spotify as much as they do across Europe and the US."


Spotify Free is, as the name suggests free, and is ad supported. Spotify Unlimited costs $6.99 a month and gives users ad free access to Spotify a user's PC. Spotify Premium is $11.99 a month and provides the same features as the two prior and also allows users to listen to Spotify on the go on a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device.

Continue reading 'Spotify launches in Australia and New Zealand ' (full post)

RumorTT: NVIDIA Kepler cards suffering from fatal flaw, could see recall

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Video Cards | Posted: May 21, 2012 10:09 pm

It appears that TSMC and NVIDIA disagree whether or not NVIDIA's new Kepler architecture has a fatal flaw or not. On one had, we are hearing reports from TSMC that the new Kepler video card "chips may be suffering from serious performance degradation over long periods of heavy load" and could be the cause of a future recall by NVIDIA.




On the other hand, NVIDIA is saying all is fine. Bryan Del Rizzo, spokesman for NVIDIA stated, "There is no truth to this." NVIDIA denies that there will be any sort of recall over this report from TSMC. NVIDIA has, however, not provided any further details other than the previous statement denying that there is an issue.


EVGA has already had to recall all of their GTX 670 SC cards due to a hardware issue, so the idea of a recall could be correct. Is this the hardware fault that has caused the recall? Additionally, this could be the reason that the 670/680/690 are not in stock anywhere, even after TSMC promised NVIDIA a majority of its manufacturing resources.


A company can't keep a major hardware flaw secret for long as a mass amount of users would take to the internet with stories of the problems they are having. I imagine there is at least some truth to this report and it will come out soon enough. Let's not forget the bumpgate scandal where NVIDIA held off for as long as possible from admitting a design flaw to avoid compensating affected customers.

Updated WiiU controller picture leaked, new buttons and moved buttons shown

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Gaming | Posted: May 21, 2012 9:31 pm

The upcoming Nintendo WiiU will feature an innovative tablet controller as the primary input for the gaming console. A picture has surfaced of a new revision of the controller and shows some tweaks from previous versions. The picture is courtesy of a QA tester at gaming firm Traveller's Tales who Tweeted the picture.




The picture and Twitter account have since been removed, and I imagine the Tweeter has received quite the reprimand from his boss(es). What the picture shows is that the overall device form remains the same as previously seen. However, now the device features full analog sticks similar to a PS3 or Xbox controller as opposed to the flattened circle present on the 3DS. The new picture is above with the older released picture below.


Additionally, the start and select buttons have been relocated to the right-hand side and a new button appears to have shown up next to the power button. Another button appears to be present under the D-pad. They are unlabeled and there use is not apparent at this time. The picture also shows that the tablet has the WiiU logo on it, which should confirm Nintento's name along with the logo. The device is expected to be featured at E3 where we will get the full scoop.

Continue reading 'Updated WiiU controller picture leaked, new buttons and moved buttons shown' (full post)

Microsoft Research roughly triples amount of data sorted in 60 seconds while using less hardware

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Super Computing | Posted: May 21, 2012 8:31 pm

Microsoft has announced a victory in the MinuteSort test. They claim to have tripled the amount of data sorted by the previous record holder, a Yahoo team. MinuteSort is a test to see how much data can be sorted in just a mere 60 seconds. As more data moves into the cloud, this ability to sort data quickly becomes a bigger and bigger issue.




According to Microsoft's post on TechNet, "In raw numbers, the team's system sorted 1401 gigabytes in just 60 seconds - using 1033 disks across 250 machines." This hardware compared to what Yahoo ran is roughly "one-sixth of the hardware resources" and managed to sort around 3 times as much data. You can see that the Microsoft solution is much more efficient.


Additionally, it's interesting to note that Microsoft Research didn't use Hadoop as one might expect. Instead, the researchers at Microsoft created a new system called "Flat Datacenter Storage." The "flat" portion is the important part of the system. Microsoft explains:


[Microsoft Research's Jeremy] Elson compares FDS to an organizational chart. In a hierarchical company, employees report to a superior, then to another superior, and so on. In a "flat" organization, they basically report to everyone, and vice versa.

Continue reading 'Microsoft Research roughly triples amount of data sorted in 60 seconds while using less hardware' (full post)

Gmail now customizes autocomplete suggestions using the contents of your inbox

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: May 21, 2012 7:33 pm

Ever felt that some of those autocomplete suggestions Google provides just aren't quite something you would ever search for? Well, apparently Google did too as they now have announced they will be improving Gmail search's autocomplete function. The updated function will have tailored predictions based upon the e-mail in your inbox.




These autocomplete suggestions should be a bit more useful to users than the current system. The system will function similarly to how Gmail's advertising system works. The advertising system reads the subject and contents of e-mails in your inbox and then custom tailors ads based upon what it found. Google stresses that no humans read the data.


It's likely that the autocomplete will use a similar system, if not the same, as the advertising system. I'm sure that some will not like the additional use of what is considered private data, but at the same time, it is already being used for advertising and other purposes. This use of private data should at least improve the user's experience.


English language users will see the update first over the next few days and then it will gradually roll out to others over the next few months.

Dish Network gets a warning from Discovery CEO about skipping ads

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 21, 2012 6:36 pm

Discovery's CEO is not one bit happy with Dish Network's new ad skipping technology in the Hopper DVR. Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav has let Dish Network know that skipping ads could damage the industry as content creators lose one of their revenue streams. As a result, subscription fees would likely skyrocket.




"Charlie Ergen and Dish are a distributor of content," he said. "They need us to reach homes with our content. And if there is not going to be advertising fees, then there needs to be a lot higher subscriber fees." With increasingly expensive shows and production costs, quality content needs to money offered by advertisers to keep subscription costs low.


As of right now, the Hopper DVR's technology only works on broadcast TV, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be used on premium channels such as Discovery. Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt agrees that the technology could easily destroy TV. "The dual stream of advertising and subscription revenue has been great for content creators," he said. "We have more TV than we could have ever imagined. I don't think we want to destroy one of those revenue streams."


AOL CEO Tim Armstrong opinion differs: "The video and cable industry needs to think of advertising differently," he said. "The reality is that consumers today are super-engaged. So how what would you put around that program or in program that doesn't look like traditional advertising? How do you make more engaging advertising?"

Chrome beats IE, is now world's top browser

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet Browsers | Posted: May 21, 2012 5:33 pm

We reported a while ago about how when the weekend came Chrome became the most popular browser in the world for a day. Chrome has once again taken the top browser spot, but this time it held onto it for more than a week. At the time of writing, Chrome is still on top albeit a bit less ahead than it was last week.




Last week, Chrome led with 32.76% market share according to StatCounter. During this same week of May 14 to May 20, Internet Explorer managed to grab only 31.94% of the market. This week isn't looking quite as promising as Chrome has dropped to just 31.88% while Internet Explorer has dropped to 31.47% market share.


Back in March, when Chrome overtook IE on the weekend, StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen said, "whether Chrome can take the lead in the browser wars in the long term remains to be seen, however the trend towards Chrome usage at weekends is undeniable. At weekends, when people are free to choose what browser to use, many of them are selecting Chrome in preference to Internet Explorer."


Chrome still has some ways to go to catch up to Internet Explorer in certain countries. It's also not clear if Chrome will be able to maintain its lead when Windows 8 comes out with an updated Internet Explorer and the restrictions put on WoA. Only time will tell if Google can keep Chrome in the top spot.

Parents to get an incredible amount of control over child's phone

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: May 21, 2012 4:31 pm

A new service offered by Vodafone is set to allow parents almost full control of a child's phone. From reading text messages to preventing contact additions, this new parental control system will give parents a new tool to snoop into the lives of their children. Is this something that parents really should be able to do?




The new parental control system is developed by Bemilo and will allow parents access to read every text message, set timers for the phone to turn on and off at, and review new contact additions before storing them. Unlike an app, this service will work with any cell phone as it is linked to the SIM card. The service is controlled by a website and will cost £2.95 per month.


Bemilo founder Simon Gaff told The Telegraph: "Unlike an app, Bemilo's SIM will work on any mobile device or tablet, and most importantly cannot be bypassed by the child." But, should parents really be doing this? As someone who had a cell phone from grade 8 on and the ability to remember this fact, I can say that it's probably a bad idea. It seems as though the kids with parents who were overly restrictive were the kids who managed to get themselves into the biggest trouble.

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