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TweakTown News Posts - Page 42

Lucasfilm announce new animated fantasy film, written by George Lucas

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Nov 11, 2014 10:44 pm

For years, George Lucas has been saying he has a bunch of independent features he has wanted to make, as soon as he was free of the 'Star Wars' shackles, but who would have thought one of the first would be a fantasy animated musical?


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According to industry bible Variety, Lucasfilm owner Disney, through it's Touchstone label will release 'Strange Magic' in January 2015, a animated fantasy musical directed by sound designer turned director Gary Rydstrom and featuring the voices of Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Kristin Chenoweth, Maya Rudolph, Sam Palladio and Alfred Molina, with a story penned by George Lucas.


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'Strange Magic' was already in production when Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012. Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and Industrial Light & Magic, have produced the CG animation.

Best Buy will offer cheaper iPads, iPhones and Macs for Black Friday

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Nov 11, 2014 9:30 pm

Retailers are preparing for Black Friday and what should be a busy 2014 Christmas holiday shopping season, enticing shoppers with good deals. Best Buy has announced that there will be a $100 discount on Apple iPad Air 2 models with the following prices: 16GB for $399.99, 64GB for $499.99, and 128GB for $599.99.


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Pricing for the LTE models are as follows: 16GB will be $529.99, 64GB for $729.99, and $729.99 for 128GB. The iPad Mini 3 with Touch ID will be available with $75 discounts: 16GB for $324.99, 64GB for $424.99, and 128GB for $524.99.


iMac models will have a $200 discount, with the all-in-one 21.5-inch iMac with the Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, and 500GB HDD will be priced at $899.99 - and the deal will extend from Nov. 27 to Nov. 29. The 27-inch non-retina iMac with 8GB RAM and 1TB HDD will be available for $1,649.99, a $150 discount over current pricing.

Pentagon wants aircraft-based drones for future recon, attack missions

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Nov 11, 2014 8:30 pm

The Pentagon has tasked the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) with finding new methods for drones to be able to launch from aircraft, including the B-1, B-52, C-130, and other large aircraft. Drones would be able to launch from aircraft, conduct their missions, and return to the aircraft so the host plane can fly away from potentially dangerous airspace.


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Here is what the DARPA request says: "The agency envisions a large aircraft that, with minimal modification, could launch and recover multiple small unmanned systems from a standoff distance."


"We want to find ways to make smaller aircraft more effective, and one promising idea is enabling existing large aircraft, with minimal modification, to become 'aircraft carriers in the sky,'" said Dan Patt, DARPA program manager. "We envision innovative launch and recovery concepts for new [unmanned aerial system] designs that would couple with recent advances in small payload design and collaborative technologies."

OWC offers 1TB SSD upgrade kit for MacBook Air models

By: Paul Alcorn | More News: Storage | Posted: Nov 11, 2014 7:46 pm

OWC has built a reputation around offering a wide assortment of Apple-related products, perhaps most notably SSD upgrade kits. The latest upgrade bundle from OWC features a 1TB Aura or Aura Pro SSD (960GB user-addressable) for MacBook Air users with 2010, 2011, and 2012 models. The large capacity provides double the maximum storage offered by Apple.


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OWC includes several items in the kit. All of the tools necessary for dissembling and reassembling the laptop are included, along with an Envoy USB 3.0 external enclosure. After installing the new SSD the external enclosure allows users to clone over their previous install, or copy files back and forth. The external enclosure also affords users the ability to continue to use the old SSD from their MacBook.


The Aura Pro SSD features the tried-and-true SF-2200 controller, which still manages to deliver solid performance for most consumer workloads. The SandForce controllers also offer low power consumption, which extends battery life, and AES-256 encryption for the security conscious. The entire package is covered by a five-year warranty. The bundle price for a 1TB SSD is $579.00, for 480GB it is $329.00, 240GB for $189.00, and a 120GB kit weighs in at $119.00.

Companies struggle against attacks, while criminals enjoy themselves

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Nov 11, 2014 7:30 pm

Cybercriminals are compromising users with sophisticated code and clever social engineering attacks, with private companies, enterprises, and government agencies under attack. Cybersecurity is now the No. 1 threat to the United States, ahead of terrorism, and at least $10 billion is being invested each year in security efforts - that don't seem effective.


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It's an unfortunate time for customers and private citizens, as their personal information is valuable to hackers - and companies seem to be unable to keep information secure.


Marc Maiffret, a former hacker turned cybersecurity specialist and co-founder of Beyond Trust cybersecurity firm, explained why today is more frightening than previous years: "There's also a much bigger allure to use these skills to make money, in a criminal sense." It's true that rogue hacker groups and state-sponsored hackers are finding lucrative opportunities and easy access to sensitive data.

Microsoft releases a Lumia smartphone without Nokia branding

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Nov 11, 2014 6:30 pm

Microsoft took a major step forward after releasing the Lumia 535 smartphone, its first handset without Nokia branding. The device is powered by Windows Phone 8.1 and will cost around $137, featuring a 5-inch qHD display screen, and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.


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Microsoft purchased Nokia in April for $7.2 billion and wanted to move ahead without the Nokia branding - recently confirming that devices would be known as Microsoft Lumia.


Even if the company is able to release affordable, appealing smartphones, trying to compete against the Apple iPhone and Google Android smartphones will remain an uphill battle. Windows-powered smartphones only have 2.7 percent of the global smartphone market, according to Strategy Analytics, as its market share continues to drop.

Survey finds 77 percent feel 'confident' in their security controls

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Nov 11, 2014 5:10 pm

Even with a drastic increase in significant data breaches, 77 percent of IT professional and executives in the retail, energy and financial services in the United States and UK feel "confident" of their basic security controls, according to a recent survey. Meanwhile, 10 percent of respondents said they feel "very confident" in their patch management efforts, while 47 percent feel "confident" in their current configurations of routers, firewalls and modems.


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In the past 12 months alone, more than 100 million records have been stolen from retailers via malware infecting point of sale (POS) devices - and JPMorgan Chase's networks were breached - indicating there is still a significant amount of work that must be done.


"It's not surprising that IT and security professionals have confidence in foundational security controls," said Jane Holl Lute, Council on CyberSecurity president and CEO. "The Controls are instrumental in defending against common cyberattacks and lay the foundation for effective defense against more sophisticated intrusions. But to be effective they must be implemented consistently across the entire enterprise."

Intel boosts DC S3500 capacity to 1.6TB and adds M.2 option

By: Paul Alcorn | More News: IT/Datacenter | Posted: Nov 11, 2014 5:02 pm

The Intel DC S3500 series competes in the price-sensitive segment and is geared for read-intensive and mixed workloads. The DC S3500 (evaluated here) doesn't sport quite the performance of its older brother, the DC S3700 (evaluated here), but provides plenty of performance and endurance for many workloads. Today Intel is announcing the release of 1.2 and 1.6TB variants, along with a new M.2 design. Expanded capacity is coupled with low power consumption that delivers reduced TCO. The DC S3500 has an active read power below 1.3 Watts. A sprinkling of other datacenter-specific technologies provide resiliency and a 0.3DWPD (Drive Writes Per Day) endurance limitation. End-to-end data protection, data redundancy technology, AES encryption, and power loss protection, ensure data safety.


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Intel 20nm MLC NAND and a new 8-channel controller drive the DC S3500 models. Details are scant on the new Intel-proprietary controllers, but we will update readers as more information becomes available. We can expect to see the same consistent performance from the new drives, with a .5ms latency maximum for 99.9% of 4k random read IOPS. There are 10 capacity points available for the 2.5 drives, allowing users to tailor capacity for their specific needs. The high-capacity 2.5" variants feature up to 500/460 MB/s of sequential read/write speed and up to 65,000/18,500 random read/write IOPS. The larger pool of flash provides a bit more performance for the high-capacity variants, but the entire DC S3500 range features varying speeds based upon capacity.


The M.2 design relies upon the SATA interface and comes in 80, 120, and 340GB capacities. The performance of the M.2 variant seems tuned for slightly more random write speed than the similar capacity 2.5" variants, but slightly lower read speed. Intel is expecting the compact M.2 design to make a big splash in embedded applications, such as digital signage and slot machines. The M.2 design will also work well for server boot volumes. The ultra-dense design is particularly well-suited for blade and microserver designs, and some OEMs are in the process of developing systems with multiple M.2 connectors.

Continue reading 'Intel boosts DC S3500 capacity to 1.6TB and adds M.2 option' (full post)

SMART Modular Technologies announces M.2 SATA SSD

By: Paul Alcorn | More News: IT/Datacenter | Posted: Nov 11, 2014 4:53 pm

SMART Modular Technologies has announced the new M.2 SATA XR+ with SafeDATA power loss protection technology. SMART Modular Technologies, part of the larger SMART consortium of companies, is a privately-held company that has been in the electronics industry for over 25 years. Their products are usually confined to the OEM market, where they create custom designs for varying applications. The double-sided M.2 design is available in capacities from 32 to 512GB. These SSDs are designed to meet the needs of Tier 1 OEM customers and sport sequential read/write speeds of 540/320 MB/s.


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SafeDATA consists of power loss detection and hold-up circuitry, in addition to advanced controller firmware, to flush all data to the underlying NAND in the event of a host power loss event. Power loss protection is a critical requirement in enterprise and embedded applications, and fusing that functionality onto a slim M.2 design opens up new applications for the dense design. The product is sampling now, and volume production begins in Q1 of 2015.

Continue reading 'SMART Modular Technologies announces M.2 SATA SSD' (full post)

Upcoming patch for COD: Advanced Warfare fixes various issues

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Nov 11, 2014 9:30 am

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has been around for not even a week, but Sledgehammer Games is already patching it up following player feedback since it launched. The first patch will fix various issues, as well as a few changes to gameplay.


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The patch will fix those Prestige resetting issues, change the placement of the in-game chat, fix speed reloading, and it should also add in some connection optimizations - which should fix the game-breaking lag that many gamers have been complaining about. The developer will also be baking in some changes to the challenges required to unlock camos for weapons, and allow users to unlock eSports options in private matches.


Activision is also finally talking about dedicated servers for the game, with the company saying: "Advanced Warfare employs game servers hosted at data centers globally on all platforms and listen servers as part of our proprietary matchmaking system. Our goal is to ensure the best possible connection and greatest gameplay experience regardless of location and time of day".

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