The four major wireless carriers in the United States are engaged in a war for new subscribers, with an increased level of poaching taking place. The increased competition has presented a great opportunity for subscribers looking to upgrade their plans, get new phones, or switch carriers.
Verizon Wireless and AT&T currently enjoy their respective positions as the No. 1 and No. 2 wireless carriers in the United States, but Sprint and T-Mobile are locked in a fierce battle for the No. 3 position. Sprint is giving current T-Mobile subscribers an incentive to jump ship, offering up to $350 to cover switching costs along with a minimum of a $200 trade-in for T-Mobile phones. The Sprint promotion runs until April 9.
Both companies also have an eye on the remaining one-quarter of US mobile phone owners using feature phones, with both fighting to attract them to smartphones.
Active Baby Boomers are aging, but are increasingly embracing the Internet on PCs, smartphones, tablets, and other electronics - with 60 percent of adults 65 years of age or older now regularly using the Internet. Furthermore, 44 percent of smartphone owners 50 years or older access the Internet or check email every day from a PC or mobile device, according to Pew.
Mobile makers are finding a lucrative opportunity to market devices to a wide age group, ranging from children to Baby Boomers - especially as many older adults use devices such as tablets and e-readers for casual Internet use and reading.
"As Baby Boomers age into their 60s and 70s, they are showing a determination to stay current with digital technology's advances," said George Otte, CEO of Geeks on Site, in a press statement. "We see an increased reliance on using the Internet, but with more comfortable access models like desktop computers, rather than smartphones and tablets. It's within this segment that we see an opportunity to guide and help these Boomers."
Exploring Mars has proven to be a beneficial yet extremely tricky operation for NASA, with the Mars rovers helping yield a lot of insightful knowledge - and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory hopes to use the Mars Helicopter to add to exploration.
The Mars Helicopter would be able to travel up to three times the distance that either rover can travel in a single Martian day, along with pinpointing new locations for the rovers to explore.
The light craft could weigh just 2.2 pounds and measure 3.6 feet from the tip of one blade to the other - and the prototype body looks similar to a medium-sized tissue box. The JPL is currently testing the proof-of-concept in California, with no possible launch dates discussed.
Business leaders are paying attention to cybersecurity more than they were in recent years, but struggle to find methods to keep networks secure. Trying to determine what steps to take remains a complicated issue, especially with some companies discovering data breaches months after the initial incident occurs.
There are a number of potential problems for companies trying to keep their networks secure, as potential attacks originate from a variety of sources. Much focus is dedicated to preventing a breach, but business leaders also need to focus on the likelihood that a cyberattack was successful:
"The role of organized crime and government-sanctioned hacking will continue to thwart cybersecurity efforts [in 2015]," said JF Roy, CTO of TIBCO LogLogic, in a statement to TweakTown. "Breaches will continue to be discovered after the fact, which means that businesses must update their security and risk management plans to include incident response policies with contingencies for involvement of federal law enforcement."
Gamers have a lot to look forward to in 2015, and Microsoft hopes to blend its upcoming Windows 10 operating system with the Xbox One, so gamers don't have to be tied to a specific platform. Xbox chief Phil Spencer understands there may be some bumps in the road along the way, but feels gamers will benefit from the expected "symbiotic" relationship between the Xbox One and Windows 10.
" So I look at the opportunity to make Windows gaming and Xbox gaming kind of symbiotic with one another," Spencer said during a recent press conference. "And try to grow the number of people that are connected and the amount of content that's available on both platforms - [I feel is] a huge opportunity. I don't feel that there's some kind of financial motivation for me to keep things off of PC."
Microsoft wants to generate Xbox One sales, and hopes integrating Windows 10 into the overall gaming experience could help.
It appears the serial ports of automated tank gauges (ATGs) of almost 5,300 gas stations and fuel depots in the United States are vulnerable because they aren't password protected. ATGs are used to more accurately track fuel tank inventory levels, raise alarms, track fuel deliveries, and conduct leak tests - but people with access to the interfaces could cause problems, according to the Rapid7 Security Street blog.
It doesn't look like there have been any incidents of actual breaches, but shows the importance of password protecting connected technologies. ATGs can be accessed via serial port, plug-in serial port, TCP/IP circuit board, and fax/modem.
Rapid7 was made aware of the issue by Jack Chadowitz, founder of the Kachoolie security firm, and started investing ATG vulnerabilities since Jan. 9.
Despite previous reports claiming the Lizard Squad was hacked, which would be a public relations nightmare for the hacker group, it appears the list could have just been distributed. Members of the group were sharing the list with trusted contacts, plotting attacks against specific accounts that piqued their interest. Seems a trusted source received the list and decided to publicly release it, according to an unnamed Lizard Squad member.
"We've got a fairly good idea who handed it over to Krebs & co. though," a supposed Lizard Squad spokesman told Forbes. "I didn't look into it much but from what I heard there were some pretty well known Twitter users in there for example and gamers. There were some interesting people who signed up... and considering most users were stupid enough to reuse their passwords..."
The Lizard Squad still seems mainly interested in attacking gaming-related services and servers, and while several members have been arrested, continue to pose a threat.
After news reports revealed a 32-year-old Taiwanese man died after an epic three-day gaming session, many people said he was foolish and should have known better. However, experts are speaking out to discuss the topic, due to increased headlines and more people suffering from these types of incidents. Prolonged gaming sessions can lead to health and psychological problems, including repetitive strain injuries all the way to visual hallucinations.
"For me, addiction boils down to constant reinforcement, or put more simply, being constantly rewarded while playing the game," said Mark Griffiths, chartered psychologist and director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University, in an editorial posted on CNN.
He also explained the rewards that gamers can receive from continuous gaming.
The European Space Agency (ESA) and Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have announced a partnership to launch a robotic space mission that will lift off by 2021. Both programs will share proposals and development duties equally, as each proposal must be signed by a lead investigator from Europe and in China.
Proposals are due in March, peer review begins in April, and mission selection is scheduled to occur before the end of the year.
"The goal of the present Call is to define a scientific space mission to be implemented by ESA and CAS as a cooperative endeavor between the European and Chinese scientific communities," the ESA recently said in a statement. "The mission selected as an outcome of the present Joint Call will follow a collaborative approach through all the phases: study, definition, implementation, operations and scientific exploitation."
Google Android and Apple iOS users are likely familiar with having just about any app available to them, but Microsoft Phone and BlackBerry users have a significantly smaller number of apps to choose from. However, that's something BlackBerry CEO John Chen wants to hopefully change in the future, as the effort to boost BlackBerry sales continues.
Chen believes these "app neutrality" laws could help even the playing field, despite Android and iOS clearly leading the mobile market.
"Unlike BlackBerry, which allows iPhone users to download and use our BBM service, Apple does not allow BlackBerry or Android users to download Apple's iMessage messaging service," Chen recently stated in an open letter. "Netflix, which has forcefully advocated for carrier neutrality, has discriminated against BlackBerry customers by refusing to make its streaming movie service available to them."