Retailer Walmart wants to win over consumers looking to open up their wallets this holiday shopping season, and is now considering matching online prices for in-store purchases. Walmart has started a trial run to match online prices in the following markets: Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Phoenix and northwest Arkansas.
Walmart, the world's largest retailer, has matched rival in-store prices in the past - but with consumer spending to be the best it has been in the past few years - wants to better compete against Amazon and other e-tailers. Although this effort could end up hurting revenue, with many consumers shopping in its stores purchasing multiple items, Walmart hopes to provide consumers with incentives so they head to the store and spend even more.
Consumers that have been hesitant to spend large amounts of money during the holiday shopping season should find great deals - both online and in-store - as the economy continues to recover from years of consistent struggles.
A Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo test flight suffered a 'serious anomaly' that led to one pilot being killed, and Virgin Galactic was reportedly warned on numerous occasions that this type of problem was possible. The company's "unconventional" fuel propulsion system to help the aircraft reach space broke apart while flying about 45,000-ft. above the Earth's surface - and a full investigation is currently under way.
The use of the hybrid propulsion system doesn't rely on carbon-based fuels and instead uses a mix of nitrous oxide and plastic fuel, with rocket engineers and safety experts weary of potential explosions. In fact, the Virgin Galactic website reportedly noted nitrous oxide was "benign" and "stable," despite the gas playing a major role in a spaceport explosion that killed three people in 2007.
"It's still very poorly understood in large quantities... the temperature of the fuel is critical," said Geoff Daly, a British rocket scientist, who warned the FAA last year. The delivery system is solid, the motor is bolted to the fuel tanks. There is no flexibility in the tank and motor, any vibration can result in the fracture and failure of the engine system."
Apple and other mobile payment providers are preparing for a long-term battle in the mobile payments sector, but it will ultimately be up to consumers to determine a winner. As additional retailers begin to embrace NFC-enabled mobile payments, their competitors will watch closely - and likely follow suit - offering the same type of payment services.
Mobile payments aren't new, but it appears Apple Pay and the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) CurrentC appear to be the two most serious competitors at the moment. As Apple Pay is available to a large number of US consumers, CurrentC - supported by Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid, and a collective group of more than 50 major retailers - will have to take a more creative marketing approach to win over consumers.
"This skirmish will go on for a while, but ultimately it seems shortsighted to tell customers that you can't use their competitor's alternative," said Creditcards.com analyst Matt Schulz. "The baseline really is the credit card. The process of using one is still very easy, so everything compares to that."
A major cyberattack that will cause "widespread harm to a nation's security and capacity to defend itself and its people" is likely by 2025, according to cybersecurity experts surveyed by the Pew Research Center.
Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly organized - and state-sponsored by foreign governments - interested in attacking "inviting targets," such as national defense, banking, finance and energy. Sophisticated threats could be leading towards a cyberwar, with many major data breaches linked to the Chinese and Russian governments - while other targets blame the U.S. government for attacks.
"The Internet was not built for security, yet we have made it the backbone of virtually all private-sector and government operations, as well as communications, said Joel Brenner, former National Security Agency counsel. "Pervasive connectivity has brought dramatic gains in productivity and pleasure but has created equally dramatic vulnerabilities. Huge heists of personal information are common, and cybertheft of intellectual property and infrastructure penetrations continue at a frightening pace."
The first official movie trailer for Fast & Furious 7 was released, marking the first film since Paul Walker's tragic death. The last two installments in the series, Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6, have generated $1.4 billion at the box office, and with Walker's death in a car wreck, the seventh movie should prove to be financially lucrative.
"I think the beautiful thing is that they get to see Paul again... and in a way celebrate him," said actress Jordana Brewster, when asked about Walker's presence in the film. "I've heard he's really, really good in it, so I look forward to seeing him too. Obviously it will be bittersweet, but I think it's a way for fans to revisit him."
Microsoft Windows 8.1 is finally beginning to pick up market share, increasing from 6.7 percent in September up to 10.9 percent market, according to Net Applications. The company has continued to try to convince users to leave behind older versions of Windows and upgrade to 8/8.1, but has struggled to entice users.
Due to the failure of Windows 8/8.1, Microsoft is fast tracking Windows 10 to be released in 2015 - listening to user feedback - as consumers were unhappy with 8/8.1. Windows 7 currently has 53.05 percent market share, as Vista continued its slide, down to 2.82 percent - and the unsupported Windows XP has dropped 6.69 percent down to 17.18 percent.
It seems many consumers are interested in waiting to see how Windows 10 operates before upgrading - and could be waiting to purchase new PCs and laptops.
PAX AU 2014 - Last night, Roberts Space Industries took the stage of the Forum Theatre in Melbourne to show off the FPS mode of Star Citizen. We found out that developer Illfonic has been tirelessly working on the first-person module of the game for quite a while now. We were at the event itself, watching the entire thing in awe. Check out the footage below.
What the video doesn't show you, is the little details that RSI and Illfonic have put into the game. Because you're in space, and on various spaceships, in the game you're wearing a suit. When you breathe, your breathe is hitting the visor and creating a fog. As you run, you will breathe faster, and more often, which results in the visor getting foggier and foggier - immersing you into the world of Star Citizen. From there, Chris Roberts explained that they've created "correctly simulated eyes, head & body", which allows a much more realistic portrayal of the game world to be achieved.
From there, it allows the first- and third-person animations to be unified. The team explained this by showing off switching between first- and third-person modes, which was seamless, as the eyes were being rendered in the same place. So instead of the eyes being a camera or window into the game world, and then the third-person view being a wider, but more far away look into the world, it's completely unified. It provides a much more realistic sense of being there, as your eyes and where they're fixated, becoming your focal point.
Sony confirmed there are worsening problems with the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Network, following the "Masamune 2.0" system update, according to reports. Formerly known as Standby Mode, the new "Rest Mode" is plagued by a bug that doesn't allow the console to power back on - and the PlayStation community forums have been flooded by angry gamers.
In addition to the Rest Mode problem, others have complained that YouTube functionality has struggled, with video uploads no longer working properly. Sony is reportedly working to address these problems, but didn't offer a time table for the fix.
"We are aware of issues reported by some PS4 users following the release of PS4's latest system software update, v2.00," Sony recently told GameSpot. "We are investigating these issues and will provide an update as soon as we have more information."
Grocery chain Meijer plans to accept both Apple Pay and CurrentC mobile payments, serving as the only major CurrentC partner refusing to shun Apple Pay. The store has 200 locations across five states in the Midwest, and while it isn't the most influential Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) member, it's a clear sign that retailers want to give customers the chance to have more options while paying.
"We have had the technology in our stores to accept mobile wallets for several years now," said Frank Guglielmi, Meijer spokesman, in a recent statement to the media. "If a customer has Apple Pay capability, our hardware works with it. We don't plan to remove or disable these systems."
It's unknown if MCX will try to punish a member if they refuse to shun Apple Pay - but could be a sign of future efforts by retailers looking to appeal to as many customers as possible - though new partners that sign up for CurrentC could be fined because they are legally forbidden from accepting other rival systems.
Nine Inch Nails singer Trent Reznor is working on a special project for Apple, as he was reportedly the chief creative officer with Beats Music. It's unknown if Reznor is currently working on hardware or software technology, but said he's "designing some products" for Apple - and with Apple's reputation of being secretive - it's unknown if consumers will know what exactly he is currently up to.
Here is what Reznor recently said: "It's related to that. Beats was bought by Apple, and they expressed direct interest in me designing some products with them. I can't go into details, but I feel like I'm in a unique position where I could be of benefit to them. That does mean some compromises in terms of how much brain power goes toward music and creating. This is very creative work that's not directly making music, but it's around music."
It seems most likely that Reznor is contributing to a project related to music delivery technology, but his work will probably debut with iTunes sometime in 2015.