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Intel begins shipping Minnowboard, an x86 open source dev board

By: Charles Gantt | More News: | Posted: Aug 2, 2013 1:59 am

Today Intel and CircuitCo electronics began shipping their open-source Minnowboard enthusiast grade development board / microcomputer. Measuring in at just 4.2 inches square, the Minnowboard packs quite the punch. The mini PC runs an Atom E640 SoC with integrated GMA 600 graphics. 1GB of DDR2 RAM is present with 4MB of onboard flash memory there to store your microcode.




Storage is expandable via a microSD card slot as well as a SATA 2 port, with connectivity being handled by two full-sized USB ports, a single microUSB port, as well as a serial port, Gigabit Ethernet, and HDMI out. The Minnowboard features eight buffered GPIO pins, two LEDs that are controlled via an additional 2 GPIO pins, and 4 GPIO switches.



A system header is present for flashing new firmware to the device and the OS of choice appears to be Angstrom Linux. Intel and CurcuitCo have released the boards schematics, code and design files under the Creative Commons license. Those interested can pick up a Minnowboard from Digi-Key, Mouser, Newark and Farnell for $199.

Motorola launches long awaited Moto X, features 24 hour battery life

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 2, 2013 12:27 am

Today, the world finally got an official look at the long awaited Motorola Moto X. The new Android 4.2.2 smartphone features a 4.7-inch 1280 x 720 OLED display and is powered by a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Pro running at 1.7GHz. 2GB of RAM is present to keep things running nice and smooth, while 16GB or 32GB of internal storage is present for keeping all of your apps, photos, and files safe.




The Moto X will be available in unlocked developer editions as well as a Google Play edition that falls in line with the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One. As rumored, the Moto X features Active Display Technology that delivers notifications to the screen even if the device is sleeping. Also present is the no-wake voice control that allows you to activate the phone without having to unlock the screen or push the wake button.


Photographic duties are handled by a 10-megapixel RGBC camera that features Quick Capture mode which helps you avoid missing important shots. Those who purchase the device will get 500GB of free storage added to their Google Drive. The new Moto X will retail for $200 on-contract at Sprint, AT&T, US Cellular, and Verizon.

Netflix adds Profiles feature to help families organize content

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Health Technology | Posted: Aug 1, 2013 11:40 pm

Today, Netflix launched a new feature that allows family members to set up user profiles so that everyone sees their own recommendations and favorites. This allows you to see your horror flicks without seeing the Disney shows your kids want to watch. Netflix used to have a similar feature but removed it in 2008.




The newly revised profiles are designed to sharpen the way Netflix makes recommendations by better excluding content you may not want to see. "The more people watch, the more they retain" the service, Chief Executive Reed Hastings said. Netflix says that the new profiles are much more simple and easy to maintain than the previous iteration.


"With a feature like profiles where consumers invest a lot, you can't take it away," Said Neil Hunt, Netflix's chief product officer. "We didn't want to introduce something that we might have to change or take away. Our intent is to make the family experience great, we've not been too worried with the phenomenon of account sharing,"

AMD responds to hardware backdoor allegations

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Aug 1, 2013 9:51 pm

Yesterday, I covered a story about the big chip manufacturers allegedly installing hardware level backdoors into the processors used in all of our PCs. The allegations came from two security industry experts who both claim to have proof of concept demonstrations already. Earlier today, AMD's Michael Silverman contacted me with an official statement on the matter in which he called the allegations "unfounded."




Providing security to users of our processors is a key priority for AMD. We've been incorporating security features into our silicon for many years. There's no reason for the unfounded speculation that has been occurring.


With the Black Hat conference wrapping up today, we will be keeping our eyes open for any whitepapers or proof of concept demos that prove the backdoors exist. I have reached out to both of the security experts for statements as well, but have yet to receive a response. If and when that response comes in, I will be sure to post an update.

Phanteks launches new Enthoo Primo PC chassis

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Cases, Cooling & PSU | Posted: Aug 1, 2013 9:05 pm

Today, Phanteks launched a new legacy with the announcement of a new addition to their line of custom PC hardware. The Enthoo Primo is Phanteks' first foray into the PC chassis market, and boy did they make one heck of a first impression. Phanteks says that the Enthoo Primo combines innovative design and rich styling that appeals to enthusiast of any caliber.




The case features a uniquely located PSU mounting point that is thermally isolated from the rest of the case. Additionally, a multifunctional cable/ reservoir cover and other features give the case massive cooling potential. The PSU is now isolated in the back of the case away from all of the other thermally sensitive components. The case is designed with exclusive mounting brackets that hide cables as well as provide perfect mounting locations for liquid cooling reservoirs.


The Enthoo Primo features mounting locations for up to 16 fans, a built in PWM hub that allows PWM control of all fans in the system, including 3-pin units. The case has provisions for five 5.25-inch ODDs, six 3.5-inch HDDs, or twelve 2.5-inch HDDs / SSDs. The top of the case is also able to accommodate a 480mm radiator up top, a single 140mm out back, a 240mm in the front, and another 480mm on the bottom. Graphic cards up to 515mm in length are also able to squeeze in to the Enthoo Primo.

Continue reading 'Phanteks launches new Enthoo Primo PC chassis' (full post)

BlackBerry pushes out BBM beta invites to Android and iOS users

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 1, 2013 7:00 pm

BlackBerry's launch of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) for Android and iOS is quickly approaching and today, the company's CEO confirmed that they have began pushing out beta invitations to both Android and iOS users in an attempt to thwart off any major bugs on launch day. While we have no definitive date on when the messaging platform will debut on either of the mobile operating systems, we do know that it will happen sometime this summer. With the beta launching today, the official public launch can not be very far away.




An image of the BBM app running on a Samsung Galaxy SIII has popped up on BGR recently that gives us a glimpse of how the app will look on the Android platform. The report also says that users of Android 4.0 or higher will be getting the invitations before iOS users but as to why, we are still unsure. It is also unclear as to why BlackBerry is pushing out its proprietary messaging service to the rival OS' in the first place as BBM has widely been thought of a BlackBerry's final ace-in-the-hole. Our only guess is that the company is looking for other sources of revenue as its hardware business continues to sink out of popularity.

Team behind Forza 5 say Xbox One cloud boosts AI by 600 percent

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Aug 1, 2013 6:00 pm

During its launch event, Microsoft spent a good amount of time talking up the benefits of the new cloud computing aspect the Xbox One will feature. While we expected the company to boast about high performance gains, we reserved judgement until we saw some numbers come from the developer side of things. Today, we got just what we were waiting for and honestly, the news was a lot better than we expected.




In a recent interview with OXM, Dan Greenawalt, the creative director for Forza 5, said that the new cloud computing aspect of the Xbox one created a "tremendous opportunity" for the game's AI to become better than ever. The game uses the cloud-based processing power to handle the game's "Drivatar" AI, something that saves 10 to 20 percent of the processing load that the actual Xbox One hardware sees.


Greenawalt says that by letting the cloud handle the AI side, the performance of Drivatar can be boosted by as much as 600 percent, letting the Xbox One hardware use that freed 20 percent of processing power on something else. 600 percent sounds like an almost too good to be true gain, but when you really think about it, it is actually very feasible. If the Xbox One's hardware has to handle the Drivatar AI, it must juggle it within the 10 billion other lines of code that it must process every second. When offloaded to the cloud, the Drivatar AI can be focused on exclusively and performance numbers could in theory rise exponentially.

Continue reading 'Team behind Forza 5 say Xbox One cloud boosts AI by 600 percent' (full post)

V-MODA unveils two new headphone accessories for the gamer market

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Audio, Sound & Speakers | Posted: Aug 1, 2013 5:03 pm

Today, V-MODA announced two new high-end accessories for use with its award winning Crossfade M-100 headphones. The BoomPro and CoilPro are aimed at enhancing the audio experience for even the most hardcore gamers as well as the Podcaster and Skype user. The BoomPro is a universal, hi-fi boom mic that instantly enhances voice clarity while greatly reducing background noise. It plugs directly into the audio jack of the CrossFade M-100 and a built-in on-cable Control Clip allows for quick adjustment of volume controls.




The CoilPro is a professional grade coiled extension cable that allows users to move up to 12 feet away from their battle station. The company says that this extension cable is perfect for the DJ booth, production studio, or for use while on a Skype call or other times when you may need to stay connected but move freely around your room or office. The cable is reinforced with an inner reinforcement strand of kevlar, which should prevent any stress breakage from occurring. Both of these new accessories are available from V-MODA and Amazon for $30.

Continue reading 'V-MODA unveils two new headphone accessories for the gamer market' (full post)

Samsung is planning a new Galaxy flip phone dubbed the Galaxy Folder

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Aug 1, 2013 3:38 pm

Today, a new user manual has surfaced for what appears to be a new flip style phone from Samsung. Engadget is reporting that the device will be part of the company's Galaxy line of smartphones. Dubbed the Galaxy Folder, this new phone will feature what appear to be 3.7-inch AMOLED displays on each side of the top half.




A dual-core QUALCOMM Snapdragon 400 processor, 2GB of RAM, and full LTE support will also be onboard. The phone resembles the now old-school Motorola Razr, which was in its day was the king of the flip phone form-factor. We can see a rear-facing camera with what appears to be an LED-based flash along with a front shooter of unknown spec. The design is similar to a phone the company released last year in China, and for all intents and purposes, it is safe to assume that this is where the Galaxy Folder will end up as well.


There is no mention (that I can find) of what operating system the device will run, but it could theoretically feature Tizen or Android, but my bet is on Tizen. The company has been working long and hard on developing the new OS and this would be the perfect platform to show it off. If you are interested in checking out the user manual, head over to Source #2 below.

UPDATE: Snowden has been granted asylum and has left Moscow airport

By: Charles Gantt | More News: BREAKING STORY | Posted: Aug 1, 2013 2:19 pm

New sources are stating that Edward Snowden has been granted temporary Asylum in Russia for the period of one year. Just a few minutes ago, Snowden's lawyer and the Russian Federal Migration service confirmed that the NSA Whistleblower's request has been approved and that he has left the airport.




Having this request granted means that Snowden can not be handed over to the US by force, but he could be transported there only if he agrees to go voluntarily and by his own free will. Reports say that he departed the airport around 11:30 GMT, which was actually about 30 minutes before his refugee status was official.


"He is the most wanted person on earth and his security will be a priority," the attorney explained. "He will deal with personal security issues and lodging himself. I will just consult him as his lawyer, I have just handed over to him papers from the Russian Immigration Service. They are what he needs to leave the transit zone," he added.