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Western world wants to combat Islamic State on battlefield, Internet

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Oct 9, 2014 11:15 pm

As the battle against the Islamic State (IS) rages on in Iraq and Syria, government officials hope to begin battling the extremist group where they have excelled: the Internet. Unlike the Taliban and Al Qaida before it, IS has successfully used social media outlets to spread its message, while also reaching curious observers. Twitter and other social media networks are working to remove official IS accounts, but many other accounts have popped up.

 

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"This is the most socially-mediated conflict in history," said Shiraz Maher, from the Kings College London. "You literally have thousands of foreign fighters from all over the world using social media in order to convey the message about the jihad that they are fighting."

 

In addition to spreading messages of jihad, the Islamic State has successfully recruited new members - and spread propaganda - largely catching intelligence officers unaware of the Internet strategy.

China angry at United States, saying cyberattack figures are inflated

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Oct 9, 2014 10:15 pm

Chinese officials are angry at the United States for allegedly inflating the real-world cost of defending against cyberattacks blamed on China. The U.S. government and private sector companies are routinely targeted by foreign hackers, with the cost of data breaches sometimes in the billions of dollars, though Beijing not surprisingly rejects those claims.

 

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"We express strong dissatisfaction with the United States' unjustified fabrication of facts in an attempt to smear China's name and demand that the U.S.-side cease this type of action," said Hong Lei, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson. "We also demand that the U.S. side cease its large-scale systematic Internet attacks on other countries. The United States tries to divert attention by crying wolf. This won't succeed."

 

FBI director James Comey recently said China is the top cyber threat to U.S. infrastructure, as state-sponsored hacking remains common place. Meanwhile, the Chinese military wants a larger emphasis put on domestic software development - and increased defenses to prevent cyberattacks - as computer-based computer espionage is a major threat to both countries.

Report: Apple has reportedly delayed production of larger iPads

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Oct 9, 2014 9:16 pm

Apple suppliers will push back production of larger screen iPad tablets until early 2015, as they struggle to meet current demand for the larger screen iPhone 6 Plus smartphone. Mass production of the iPad was scheduled to start in December, but screen suppliers would be unable to ensure supply for both the iPhone and iPad until next year.

 

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"The top priority for the supply chain is to meet the overwhelming demand for the larger screen iPhones," according to sources. "The output of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus remains unsatisfactory. It would be challenging for display makers to split resources and spend a few months to ramp up production for a new larger screen iPad now."

 

The new iPads are expected to launch during an Apple event on October 16, but that doesn't mean consumers should expect to see the devices anytime soon. Furthermore, tablet sales were predicted to slow down in 2014 - as many consumers hang on to older tablet devices - with companies instead focusing on smartphones.

Edward Snowden will speak during UK festival this weekend

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Oct 9, 2014 8:15 pm

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden will speak via video chat during the Observer Ideas festival this weekend in the UK. An Observer technology columnist will ask questions to Snowden regarding technology, privacy, and other issues - and will be the first time Snowden has answered questions or been invited to an event in England since revealing mass surveillance activities by the NSA.

 

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"We need to figure out how (and whether) societies can reassert effective democratic control over our security agencies, whether the technology that has enabled comprehensive surveillance can be re-engineered to protect privacy; how our law-making in these areas could be improved, and whether citizens can be persuaded to take an interest in these matters before it's too late," said John Naughton, Open University professor of the public understanding of technology.

 

As Snowden remains safely tucked away in Russia, the American whistleblower has become more vocal during media interviews and video-linked public appearances.

Toshiba demos humanoid robot able to communicate with sign language

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Oct 9, 2014 7:15 pm

Toshiba recently showed off Aiko Chihira, the humanoid communication robot that is able to communicate via sign language. Dressed in a pink blouse and white skirt, the robot can lip sync to a recorded message while translating the message into Japanese sign language.

 

 

"We wanted to develop a sign-language robot because it's challenging technologically, requiring speed and precision movements," said Hitoshi Tokuda, from the Toshiba New Business Development Division. "It needs a humanlike appearance and expression because a C-3PO appearance wouldn't work."

 

Toshiba received help from the Shonan Institute of Technology and Shibaura Institute of Technology, as both universities provided robot driving solutions and sensor-based motion-teaching technology. Japan remains a leader in humanoid robotics research, with universities and companies developing life-like technologies able to provide assistance in day-to-day activities.

Continue reading 'Toshiba demos humanoid robot able to communicate with sign language' (full post)

Microsoft knows gamers are upset about lack of backwards compatibility

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Oct 9, 2014 6:15 pm

The lack of backwards compatibility between the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Xbox One isn't lost among Microsoft designers, and will be something that could lead to a solution later down the road.

 

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"Back compat is always a hot topic at the turn of a generation, and I get why, especially on [Xbox 360] so many people bought so much digital content and it means that a lot of us, we're holding on to our 360s," said Phil Spencer, head of the Microsoft Xbox division, in a recent interview. "I get the question. I totally respect the question. There's nothing I can say about it right now, but I'll just say 'I hear you.' I definitely hear you and I'll continue to try to work to build something that can help people out."

 

The problem is probably less significant for Sony with its PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 owners - as the Japanese console dominates sales charts - and allows gamers to play older titles using PlayStation Now. The Wii U supports backwards compatibility but hasn't been as popular among hardcore gamers.

Sexting is commonplace for teenagers, further frightening parents

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Oct 9, 2014 5:15 pm

When it comes to teenagers and sexting, it doesn't matter if the teenagers are engaging in risky behavior, according to a new study from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Studying several years of data collected at local Texas high school students, sexting was seen as a general indicator of sexual activity - and not necessarily associated with risky behavior - as high schools and parents try to find ways to reduce the problem.

 

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Despite sexting not being a new problem, with the adoption of smartphones, there is a higher risk of images and videos being stolen or accidentally shared with other people, researchers noted.

 

More than one in five teenage girls have sent nude or semi-nude photos, with 17 percent of sexters admitting they share images with other people. It's an issue that is getting students in trouble, while others are left embarrassed, as high school administrators and parents seem to be unable to slow the problem down further.

Operation Predator mobile app helping crack down on child predators

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Oct 9, 2014 4:02 pm

The Operation Predator app is helping keep some child predators in check, and has led to several arrests, with more versions of the safety app now available. The app helps protect citizens by sending alerts of wanted predators, and people can submit tips via online form or phone tip line.

 

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"They've exploited children using technology for years, and now it's time for us to use technology to exploit them," said Bruce Foucart, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations special agent in Boston recently noted. "I hope this sends a message to them."

 

Sex offenders cunningly use technology to lure potential victims, and it's good to see technology help keep them in check. Since being introduced, the Operation Predator app has been downloaded more than 93,000 times. In addition to an Apple iOS and Google Android version of the app, designers hope a Spanish language version helps create additional interest.

AMD Radeon R9 300 series teased with AMD's new Linux drivers

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Video Cards | Posted: Oct 9, 2014 1:13 pm

It feels like we're very close to the Radeon R9 300 series of GPUs, with AMD dropping the price of its Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X GPUs in the last week, but now news is floating around of the Pirate Islands-based architecture, AMD's next-generation GPU.

 

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The news is coming courtesy of AMD's just-released "AMDGPU" Kernel Driver, which is something that will form the base of Closed Source (Catalyst) and Open Source (Gallium3D) drivers for Linux. Within all the deep-dive on the technical side of things, AMD mentions that the AMDGPU kernel driver is being tested on Sea Islands, as well as unreleased hardware.

 

The current DRM driver for Linux is known as 'Radeon' which won't be supported by the upcoming AMD GPUs, with the driver not supporting current, or older generation cards. This means that AMD must be in the testing phase of its Pirate Islands GPUs, which will arrive to us as the Radeon R9 300 series, with the flagship card being the R9 390X. We could hear AMD announce these new cards before the end of the year, with a roll out in early 2015, we hope.

Ubisoft says 60FPS gaming 'looks weird', 'feels better' at 30FPS

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Oct 9, 2014 12:55 pm

Straight up: Ubisoft, whatever you are smoking, please share it with me. Maybe it'll help me with the stress of what I'm about to report to the world. Ubisoft has confirmed that Assassin's Creed Unity, the first game in the series to be built from the ground up for the new consoles, will be running at 900p and 30FPS on both the Xbox One and PS4.

 

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Worse than that, is what Nicolas Guérin, World Level Design Director on Unity, told TechRadar. Guérin said that decision of 30FPS was to give the game world of AC: Unity a more cinematic feel. He said: "At Ubisoft for a long time we wanted to push 60 fps. I don't think it was a good idea because you don't gain that much from 60 fps and it doesn't look like the real thing. It's a bit like The Hobbit movie, it looked really weird". He continued: "And in other games it's the same - like the Rachet and Clank series [where it was dropped]. So I think collectively in the video game industry we're dropping that standard because it's hard to achieve, it's twice as hard as 30fps, and its not really that great in terms of rendering quality of the picture and the image".

 

Guérin had backup from the 30FPS camp, with Assassin's Creed Unity's Creative Director, Alex Amancio chiming in, saying: "30 was our goal, it feels more cinematic. 60 is really good for a shooter, action adventure not so much. It actually feels better for people when it's at that 30fps. It also lets us push the limits of everything to the maximum. It's like when people start asking about resolution. Is it the number of the quality of the pixels that you want? If the game looks gorgeous, who cares about the number?".

Continue reading 'Ubisoft says 60FPS gaming 'looks weird', 'feels better' at 30FPS' (full post)

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