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Amazon resists FTC proposals on kids' in-app purchases

By: Tamlin Magee | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 3, 2014 4:08 pm

Electronic retail powerhouse Amazon is resisting proposals from the FTC concerning in-app purchases made by minors.

 

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According to the American regulator, thousands of customers have filed complaints about unauthorized in app charges. In some instances, these were in excess of hundreds of dollars. The FTC has claimed Amazon neglected to properly acquire informed consent from parents over the charges. The FTC argued notices about in-app purchases should be clearer, and that ideally a password would be required for each and every purchase. "The commission is focused on ensuring that companies comply with the fundamental principle that consumers should not be made to pay for something they did not authorize," an FTC spokesperson said, according to ZDNet. "Consumers using mobile devices have the same long-established and fundamental consumer protections as they would anywhere else." It was made mandatory for Amazon to obtain informed consent in June this year.

 

Amazon, however, is resisting the complaints. "When customers told us their kids had made purchases they didn't want, we refunded those purchases," said Amazon associate general counsel Andrew DeVore, adding that the app store "includes prominent notice of in-app purchasing, effective parental controls and real-time notice of every in-app purchase."

Expect more commercials - Facebook just bought video ad firm Liverail

By: Tamlin Magee | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 3, 2014 3:39 pm

Facebook has announced its plans to buy one of the biggest video advert sellers in the world, LiveRail, shortly after introducing its video-only ads on the network.

 

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The price is hush hush at the moment, but LiveRail is responsible for automating video ad sales for massive clients like Major League Baseball and Dailymotion, AdAge reports. Because they're automated, publishers are able to simply upload whatever they've got into the LiveRail system, which then finds buyers in live auctions.

 

"When we started talking to the team at Facebook about how we could work together, it quickly became clear that we shared a vision for the future of digital advertising," Liverail's Mark Trefgarne said in an official blog post. "They believed, as we do, that publishers deserve a new generation of audience-aware advertising technology." What does this mean for the end-user? It's not 100 percent, but we'd wager Facebook users can expect to see a lot more video ad estate on their pages.

Wasted smart device energy could power UK and Norway for a year

By: Tamlin Magee | More News: Connectivity & Communications | Posted: Jul 3, 2014 3:02 pm

Enough energy to power the entirety of the United Kingdom and Norway is wasted every single year as smart devices are left on standby mode, according to a report.

 

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The International Energy Agency claims that wasted electricity from these devices makes up over 400 terawatt hours (TWh) every year - or about as much power produced yearly by over 100 coal plants. Crunching the numbers, the IEA points out that just last year over 14 billion devices were network enabled and it's set to shoot up to 50 billion by 2025 - and the required energy could make up a stonking 6 percent of global consumption.

 

"The proliferation of connected devices brings many benefits to the world, but right now the cost is far higher than it should be," the IEA's executive director, Maria van der Hoeven, said. "Consumers are losing money in the form of wasted energy, which is leading to more costly power stations and more distribution infrastructure being built than we would otherwise need, not to mention the extra greenhouse gases."

Continue reading 'Wasted smart device energy could power UK and Norway for a year' (full post)

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880 teased, 8GB of RAM and 375W TDP

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Video Cards | Posted: Jul 3, 2014 2:12 pm

Chinese website GamerSky has posted up photos that they are calling a GeForce GTX 880 engineering sample, and boy do they paint quite the picture. The prototype that is in the photos below has some incredible specs behind it, with 8GB of RAM to start things off.

 

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We should expect two variants to launch, with a GeForce GTX 880 with 4GB of RAM, and another with 8GB of RAM. From here, we have 3 PCIe power connectors, two 6-pin connectors and a single 8-pin connector for a total power draw of 375W. This is an insane number, but we are looking at a 28nm-based Maxwell GPU, and not the 20nm GPU that will pave the way for lower power draw and temperatures.

 

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We should hopefully see the GeForce GTX 880 materialize before the end of the year, with a refreshed GTX 990 on the 20nm process expected for 2015 - this is me guessing here, but I think we'll see it happen.

Google's EU right to be forgotten starts censoring UK news

By: Tamlin Magee | More News: Current Affairs | Posted: Jul 3, 2014 2:04 pm

When Europe ruled Google had to enforce the "right to be forgotten" it wasn't entirely clear what that meant, but the first indicators have started. The search giant has been bogged down with search removal requests, and now articles from respected international newspapers are being removed.

 

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The Daily Mail, the BBC, and the Guardian have all received notice of removal emails from Google, which asserted that some articles would no longer be listed through search. In these cases, according to the Age, the rulings seem to be siding with a disgraced football referee, Dougie McDonald, and an investment banker, Stan O'Neal, who was involved in the global financial crisis. Guardian media columnist Roy Greenslade has also had some of his articles removed from the listings.

 

Britain's Daily Mail has published a scathing critique of Google's actions, comparing the moves as being similar to "burning books in a library". "These examples show what a nonsense the right to be forgotten is, it is the equivalent of going into libraries and burning books you don't like," MailOnline's publisher Martin Clarke said. "MailOnline intends to regularly publish lists of articles deleted from Google's European search results so people can keep track of what has been deleted. There is no suggestion any of these articles are inaccurate."

Henry Cavill looks super as the Man of Steel for Batman v. Superman

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Jul 3, 2014 1:55 pm

I was one of many who really enjoyed Zack Snyder's reboot of Superman, Man of Steel. Sure, it had plot holes (like nearly all of Christopher Nolan's movies), but it propelled Superman into today, a Superman of our generation. Well, instead of a direct sequel, we're going to see Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice released first, with the first photo of Henry Cavill as Superman shown off earlier today.

 

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You can see in the above photo, what seems like Gotham City in the background, with Superman posing with a serious look on his face. There are some slight tweaks to his suit, compared to the one he wore in Man of Steel. Zack Snyder is back in the director's chair, with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice leading into the Justice League movie, and then hopefully Man of Steel 2.

 

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice will star Henry Cavill as the Superman, Ben Affleck as Batman, and will be released in May 2016.

Ubisoft is already teasing the next Assassin's Creed game

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jul 3, 2014 9:31 am

Before Ubisoft has even released Assassin's Creed: Unity, the company is teasing that its Quebec-based office is the lead studio on "a future Assassin's Creed" game. This breaks the norm of Ubisoft Montreal being the lead developer on the game.

 

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Ubisoft Quebec Managing Director Nicolas Rioux talked about the history of Assassin's Creed with his studio, where he said: "We were involved in Brotherhood. We were involved in Revelations. We were involved in Assassin's Creed 3. With AC 3 we were working on the biggest DLC for the franchise - The Tyranny of King Washington. After that we were also involved with Freedom Cry. We have the confidence of the brand team and also from Ubisoft to take leadership of an upcoming Assassin's Creed title. The team is ready for the next big step".

 

One of the driving reasons behind the "future Assassin's Creed" game being developed at Ubisoft Quebec could be that the company is using $4 million of a $28 million investment to create a new workspace. From this new workspace, three entire floors will be dedicated to AAA game development. The city of Quebec is chipping in $500,000 to the studio, too. Ubisoft Quebec hires 350 people right now, with a goal of hiring a total of 425 before the end of 2017.

Android L release battery test shows 36% improvement over KitKat

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Jul 3, 2014 8:34 am

If you're an Android user, you should begin to get excited for the next iteration of Android, simply known right now as the 'L' release. Rewinding back to when Jelly Bean was released, which featured Project Butter - an initiative that improved the overall speed and performance of the entire OS.

 

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When Google unleashed KitKat, we saw Project Svelte tightening things up, optimizing the installation of Android to run on just 512MB. This allowed entry-level smartphones and tablets to rock the latest mobile OS from Google, without requiring the latest and greatest hardware. Moving onto the new L release, which should arrive as Android 5.0, and its new Project Volta.

 

Project Volta has the aim of battery life in its sights, with Ars Technica getting its hands-on Android L's Project Volta, and chucking into a battery life test. In their Wi-Fi browsing test, the Android L Developer Preview was able to beat out Android 4.4 KitKat by 36%, which is a huge difference. This provides an additional two-or-so hours of battery life, which is some what of a small, but gigantic victory for Google. The testing itself was performance on what Ars Technica explains as a "beat-up, daily driver phone" so we should expect even better numbers with Google's official release.

Look at yourself in the third-person with an Oculus Rift and GoPro

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: Jul 3, 2014 7:34 am

What happens when you blend the world's of a camera strapped to your back and a VR headset on your face? Well, you can view yourself in the third-person perspective, something that a development team based in Poland has done.

 

 

The team used the Oculus Rift as the VR headset, of course, and a couple of GoPro cameras mounted above the user's head. The GoPro cameras were attached onto a 3D-printed arm, which then provided the user with a view of themselves in the third-person. mepi, the development team behind the project, used a small joystick which simulated the ability to move the camera in third person, just like it works in games.

 

The system is running from a basic laptop, with the joystick using an Arduino to communicate between the GoPro and mount. The system is a rough prototype according to the team, something that was assembled in just two days. The team calls this the "Real World Third Person Perspective", which seems like a pretty nifty demonstration.

Continue reading 'Look at yourself in the third-person with an Oculus Rift and GoPro' (full post)

Star Wars The Clone Wars animated TV show to be re-rendered in 4K

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Jul 3, 2014 6:45 am

Back in March, Lucasfilm and TV's Cartoon Network entered a deal to not only broadcast the full series of 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' to Netflix customers, but allow the streaming giant to bankroll the last leg of production on 'The Lost Missions'; aka the sixth season of 'The Clone Wars' following it's earlier cancellation.

 

With 4K streaming content growing in uptake, Netflix has been keen to provide further content in UHD, with a report suggesting that Lucasfilm is well down the track of re-rendering the entire series in 4K. resolution.

 

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The stylistic CG produced by Lucasfilm Animation, which was created with Autodesk software with predominantly vector based Maya 3D assets would seem to lend itself quite efficiently to 4K up-rezzing, but to date, neither LucasFilm or Netflix have announced their future plans for the property.

 

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Following its cancellation, 'The Clone Wars' supervising director Dave Filoni joined the ranks of the forthcoming 'Star Wars: Rebels" animated TV show, which will debut later this year.

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