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Microsoft 'unlocking' Netflix app for this weekend only, will allow non-Gold users to use Netflix

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Gaming | Posted: Feb 1, 2013 12:01 am

Microsoft is doing a rare deed by unlocking Xbox's Netflix app for all members of Xbox Live. Normally to use the Netflix app, you'd have to be an Xbox Live Gold member. However, Netflix is debuting their new original series House of Cards and they obviously want all the eyes on it they possibly can, so it appears Microsoft worked with them to allow anyone to use the Netflix app for this weekend only.

 

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All the episodes of season one will be uploaded at the same time, so you should have just enough time this weekend to watch them all. Thankfully, you can do so on your Xbox, even if you aren't a Live Gold member.

Continue reading 'Microsoft 'unlocking' Netflix app for this weekend only, will allow non-Gold users to use Netflix' (full post)

Facebook is trying out emoticons in the status bar

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jan 31, 2013 11:28 pm

Facebook is testing a new feature that will allow users to attach an emoticon to a status update. So if you're feeling happy, you can have a smiley face next to your status. If you're reading, you can have a book. The options are in addition to your actual status update, and you can get pretty specific with what you are doing.

 

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Facebook is calling the new feature a "really small test" and isn't saying much about the new feature. It's only available to a small group of users and there is no promise of it ever being rolled out across the network, nor a time frame for which it would be.

 

The box "What are you doing?" allows users to select a category, such as "feeling." You can then select another option, such as "happy" or "sad." We'll be sure to report more on this topic when Facebook lets the cat out of the bag.

Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL to see a few big releases in the coming months

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 31, 2013 11:14 pm

Nintendo may have released their next-gen Wii U console, but that doesn't mean we won't be seeing some quality releases on their portable gaming systems in the Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL. Coming later this month is Scribblenauts Unlimited, which should please puzzle fans and if you're after a new fishing game - Super Black Bass will... wet your appetite. If that wasn't enough, Viking Invasion 2 will also be released.

 

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February will also see the releases of Crash City Mayhem, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Unlocked (wow, that's a mouthful). In March, we're also treated to multiple releases from Majesco Entertainment with paranormal investigation title The Hidden, undead fun will be had in Pet Zombies, Face Racers will give you some fast and frenetic racing and if you want some outer space weirdness, Nano Assault might tickle your fancy.

Continue reading 'Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL to see a few big releases in the coming months' (full post)

Samsung buys 5 percent stake in Wacom, costs $58.2 million

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jan 31, 2013 11:01 pm

Samsung has invested $58.2 million in Wacom, which equates to a 5 percent stake in the company. Wacom is the maker of pressure-sensitive styluses and is the company that provided the stylus tech used in Samsung's Galaxy Note devices. Samsung is bringing the stylus back to the smartphone, and it appears to be working.

 

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Wacom has said the investment will be used for product development, manufacturing, and enhancements to the supply chain, to be used for Samsung-supplied products. This goes to show that Samsung is planning on bringing the stylus to more devices than just its line of Notes. Are you ready for the stylus to make a come back?

Facebook's new gift card is reusable and works at multiple locations

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jan 31, 2013 10:32 pm

Facebook, as a way to remain relevant and continue collecting data, has launched the Facebook Card, which is essentially a reusable gift card that can hold balances at multiple different retailers. Facebook benefits from this by being able to collect real-world purchase information about users.

 

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Instead of just featuring a single balance that can be deducted from at the different retailers, the card will store separate amounts for each location. For instance, you can have $10 at Target, $5 at Jamba Juice, and $25 at Olive Garden on the card at one time.

 

"We're starting this early rollout as another way for people to instantly send their friends gifts through Facebook," a company spokesperson told CNET. "Each gift is a set value at a particular retailer, chosen by the sender."

 

Currently, only Jamba Juice, Olive Garden, Sephora, and Target are supported by the card, though that will likely change fairly quickly. The Facebook Card is a natural extension to Facebook's whole Gifts product, which allows users to send friends and family real-world gifts on birthdays and other occasions, rather than just writing on their wall.

Motorola job posting looking for X-Phone product manager

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jan 31, 2013 10:02 pm

A job posting by Motorola directly attacks the X-Phone rumor. The posting is looking for a Senior Director of Product Management to work on the X-Phone project. The LinkedIn job posting has since been pulled, but people managed to screen grab it before that could happen. Take a look for yourself.

 

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There's a few issues with this job posting. First, if they are hiring someone to work on the X-Phone now, it would indicate that development is still early. This means that rumors of a device being ready to launch as early as Google's I/O conference are likely incorrect. Of course, going off of a job posting is quite difficult to do, so this could be wrong.

Temple Run 2 a smashing success, sets new mobile game download record

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Apps | Posted: Jan 31, 2013 9:33 pm

Temple Run 2, the sequel to the smash hit Temple Run, has set a new mobile game download record. Popularity for the game has allowed it to easy smash the last record, which was held by Rovio's Angry Birds Space. The record in question is how long it took to reach 50 million downloads. Angry Birds Space did it in 35 days.

 

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So, how long do you think it took Temple Run 2 to cross that same threshold? If you guessed 13 days, you'd be spot on. That's right, Temple Run 2 was downloaded 50 million times in just 13 days, beating the previous record in just about one-third of the time it took.

 

It should be noted that Angry Birds Space is a paid game, costing $0.99, while Temple Run 2 is free. This could have helped Temple Run 2's adoption numbers, though by how much is up for speculation.

 

"Temple Run has evolved into something so much bigger than us," says Keith Shepherd, co-founder of Imangi. "The game has performed beyond our wildest dreams, and we are thrilled that gamers and fans have embraced Temple Run 2 in such a short period of time."

Apple discontinuing Mac Pro sales in Europe after March 1 due to regulatory standards

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jan 31, 2013 9:02 pm

The Mac Pro will no longer be sold in Europe after March 1. The issue apparently stems from new regulatory standards that Apple's Mac Pro fails to meet. It's not clear which standard isn't met by the machine, but Apple apparently doesn't want to update it to meet the standards.

 

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Resellers will be able to continue selling the Mac Pro beyond March 1, though stock will not be replenished. Final orders for Mac Pro units must be placed with Apple before February 18 so that they can be delivered before March 1. The following letter was sent to retailers:

 

As of March 1, 2013, Apple will no longer sell Mac Pro in EU, EU candidate and EFTA countries because these systems are not compliant with Amendment 1 of regulation IEC 60950-1, Second Edition which becomes effective on this date. Apple resellers can continue to sell any remaining inventory of Mac Pro after March 1. Apple will take final orders for Mac Pro from resellers up until February 18th for shipment before March 1 2013. Countries outside of the EU are not impacted and Mac Pro will continue to be available in those areas.

 

Apple will likely make sure the promised refresh of the Mac Pro, coming later this year, will meet the European Union's new standards. It's likely not cost effective to redesign the current machine to meet the specifications, as the Mac Pro doesn't sell in high quantities.

Amazon.com down for some, 'Service Unavailable' message displayed [UPDATED]

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jan 31, 2013 8:22 pm

Today has not been a good day for websites. First Twitter has issues, and now it appears that Amazon has gone down, at least for some users. When visiting Amazon.com, some users are presented with the screen below. The error returned by Amazon is a 503, meaning the server behind Amazon is down for maintenance or is overloaded.

 

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It is possible that a DDoS is being orchestrated against Amazon, though there is no confirmation of this. The outage appears to have started around 11:40a.m. PT and is currently still unavailable. We'll let you know when we hear more about this. Meanwhile, let us know if you can access Amazon.com.

 

Update: It appears that all is back to normal with Amazon. Let us know if you are still having trouble accessing the site.

Twitter experiences global outage

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jan 31, 2013 8:07 pm

Micro-blogging site, Twitter, experienced a global outage today. The site first went down just after 10 a.m. Eastern Time for most users. Twitter confirmed that the site was back up and running normally at 12:50 p.m., meaning that the outage lasted nearly three hours.

 

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"We apologize to users who were affected by this, and we're working to ensure that similar issues do not occur," the post reads.

 

For almost the entire first hour of the outage, Twitter was inaccessible to nearly every user worldwide. Most users who attempted to access Twitter during the outage received the typical fail whale message that "Tiwtter is over capacity." Some users, however, saw the newer "Something is technically wrong" screen, which includes an icon of a robot missing a claw.

 

North American users reportedly regained access to Twitter shortly before 11 a.m., so the downtime was not as long for US users. It's not clear what the cause of the issue was, though Twitter is said to be working on fixing it so that similar issues don't occur.

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