This shouldn't come as a surprise to you, especially if you read TweakTown, as we try to cover the Edward Snowden leaks as they break. Well, the latest news is being reported by The Washington Post, and its a doozy.
The NSA is reportedly taking in users' cellphone data, on a global level, not just within the United States. This equates to around 5 billion records everyday, but don't worry, the NSA says it doesn't have the proper tools to check every single record. Because, you know - we should believe them, right? Well, one of the programs is named Co-Traveler, which allows the US spy agency to determine "behaviorally relevant relationships" based on data from signals intelligence activity designators located around the world. One of which, is named "Stormbrew".
Co-Traveler can locate targets purely from cellphone users moving in a group, even if they're unknown threats. Multiple meetups, with the geolocational data, is enough for the NSA's "Co-Traveler" system to notice a pattern.
The first season of House of Cards was great, and a massive success for Netflix, but now we have a confirmation of when to expect the second season of the hit show: February 14, 2014.
Netflix knows when to release shows, and holidays are a huge hit because people are at home, and what better way to celebrate Valentine's Day, than sitting down with your loved one, watching House of Cards, right? There's even a teaser, which I'm two minds about watching... I might just bite the bullet and tease myself.
I've had issues with Battlefield 4, don't get me wrong, but when it works, it's an amazing game. Well, there are issues plaguing most platforms - next-gen consoles included - and EA wants to get it all fixed before it continues working on its DLC for BF4.
EA has put its foot down, with future expansions not being worked on until the problems with Battlefield 4 are a thing of the past. It's good to see EA kicking ass this early into the game, but these problems wouldn't be here if they didn't rush the game to release. EA said in its statement:
First, we want to thank the fans out there that are playing and supporting us with Battlefield 4. We know we still have a ways to go with fixing the game - it is absolutely our #1 priority. The team at DICE is working non-stop to update the game. Since Battlefield 4 China Rising expansion pack was already in the final stages of development by the time issues began with Battlefield 4, we decided to fulfill our promise to deliver it this week, but we're not moving onto future projects or expansions until we sort out all the issues with Battlefield 4. We know many of our players are frustrated, and we feel your pain. We will not stop until this is right.
It looks like Google is preparing to update its Nexus range of devices with an even newer version of its deliciously-named KitKat OS. The new update would crank it up to version 4.4.1.
We don't know what to expect from this small update, but I would put bets on just small bug fixes. The news is coming from 9to5Google's analytics, which show a few devices running Android 4.4.1 originating from Google's Santa Clara, California HQ.
Another step to ending the endless stream of patent lawsuits filled by patent trolls is almost complete. Today AllThingsD is reporting that supporters are confident that a bill designed to stifle abusive patent lawsuits will pass in the House of Representatives later this week.
"The Innovation Act from House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) is aimed at discouraging patent holders from filing frivolous lawsuits in hopes of extracting a settlement. The bill would give judges more discretion to limit discovery or award legal fees when a lawsuit fails to prove infringement," the report read.
With major corporations such as Newegg.com losing frivolous patent lawsuits to known patent trolls such as TQP Development something must be done, or innovation could be suppressed for decades while inventors, developers, and designers wait for existing patents to expire. Personally, I feel that the entire US and UK patent systems need a complete overhaul. They worked well during the industrial revolution and even somewhat well since them, but in today's world of 0's and 1's, we need to pay very close attention to what we allow to be patented, or we may miss out on the next big breakthrough in science.
It's no secret that Valve has been very Linux friendly as of late, and today the company publicly declared its commitment to the open source operating system by officially joining the Linux Foundation. This adds Valve to a prestigious list of heavy hitters such as HP, Intel, IBM, Oracle, and Samsung who are also part of the foundation.
"Joining the Linux Foundation is one of many ways Valve is investing in the advancement of Linux gaming," Mike Sartain, a key member of the Linux team at Valve said. "Through these efforts we hope to contribute tools for developers building new experiences on Linux, compel hardware manufacturers to prioritize support for Linux, and ultimately deliver an elegant and open platform for Linux users."
With SteamOS just around the corner, and more game developers supporting Linux and Steam every day, 2014 is going to be a big year for Linux gaming. I have a friend who has been predicting this for several years now, and today I had to concede all of my arguments to him on why this would never happen. At the rate things are progressing, I am willing to bet that in 5 years Linux and SteamOS will be as big of, if not a larger gaming platform than Windows is now.
Apple has finally inked the deal it has been waiting for, with the world's largest carrier: China Mobile. The Wall Street Journal was the first to break the news, stating that iPhones will be available through China Mobile by the end of the month.
China Mobile is expected to announce its new 4G service on, or around December 18, so we should expect the iPhone to go on sale at that time. This is a big deal for Apple, as it continues to bleed customers to Samsung around the world, it now has tens of millions of new customers it can begin to scoop up into the world of iOS.
Google's Wallet app for iOS has just received its first update since its release back in September. The new Google Wallet 2.0 brings forth a few new features that will make using the money service much easier for iPhone users. The update adds a new feature that lets users add credit cards to their wallet by simply snapping a photo of the card and more.
Single Sign-on is also now supported, and users who use other Single Sign-On compatible apps from Google can switch to the wallet app and sign in automatically. Additionally, the physical Google Wallet Card can now be used to withdraw funds from user's iOS Wallet account at ATMS, or any location that accepts MasterCard.
Billionaire activist is at it again, and this time he is pushing Apple to buy back $50 billion worth of its shares from investors. Today Time Magazine reported that Icahn has filed a proposal that he hopes will pressure Apple into increasing its share buyback program to a whopping $50 billion.
Apple has confirmed that the proposal has been filed, but no comment on the actual proposal was made. Apple could more than afford the buyback, but it would cut its cash reserves significantly. On the other hand, with Apple's stock falling over the course of the last 12 months, the buyback increase could see some investors make back some of their lost investments.
Android tablet owners in the UK will be happy to hear that today, Sky TV launched its Sky Go app for Android. While the service has been available on Android-based smartphones for a while now, but today marks the firs time it has been available to the public on Android Tablets.
Unfortunately, not all Android tablets are supported by Sky Go at the moment. For the app to work on your device, the tablet must be at least in the 7-inch class or higher, and Android 4.0 or higher is required. This means that the vast majority of tablets released in the last two years are compatible and all the modern t-inch or larger tablets will work. A 3G/4G or Wi-Fi connection is also required, but that is almost a given at this point.