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TweakTown News Posts - Page 54

Many US consumers now receiving credit cards with microchips

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Oct 23, 2014 8:30 pm

After an avalanche of retailer data breaches, leaving millions of consumers affected, many US shoppers are now receiving new credit cards with microchips. Half of merchants are expected to support new cards with microchips by the end of 2014 - in place of magnetic stripes on most cards - as chip-and-pin helps increase cybersecurity.

 

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Chip-and-pin cards are entered into a card reader, with data encrypted using a unique security code for each transaction - cardholders required to enter a PIN number.

 

Walgreens has rolled out the new terminals already, while Walmart is expected to begin replacing most of them by next month. The chip-and-pin technology has been successfully implemented in Europe, despite the cost of sending new cards, along with purchasing new ATMs and payment terminals at retailers. The cards cost up to $2.50 each, with terminals typically ranging from $300 to $400, and the new generation of ATMs

AOC shows off 17" USB monitor, ideal to serve as a second screen

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Displays & Projectors | Posted: Oct 23, 2014 7:30 pm

Monitor company AOC today unveiled its 17" USB monitor (E1759FWU) DisplayLink Technology-powered display designed to be a second monitor for desktop PCs and laptops. The display is compatible with both PCs and Macs, and receives power and signal using a single USB 3.0 cable, with no power cord or VGA cable needed.

 

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With a 17.3" diagonally viewable area, the E1759FWU provides a 1600 x 900 resolution (60Hz) and a 10ms response time. Portrait and landscape modes are supported, and settings do not need to be changed when a user switches between to other modes.

 

The screen is available now and has a $199 price tag.

Guild Wars 2 complaints leads to exchange system changes in 24 hours

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming | Posted: Oct 23, 2014 6:12 pm

Within 24 hours of a game update that changed currency exchanges in Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet is converting the system back to normal. Before the change, players were able to exchange gold for gems used to purchase items while in the Black Lion Trading Company store. Unfortunately, the change made the lowest price of a gem bundle to 400, and gamers looking to purchase smaller amounts immediately became extremely vocal about it.

 

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Despite the public outcry, it's impressive that ArenaNet was so quick to respond to vocal criticism. The team ultimately decided to listen to its gamers - and explained that the change was made to help gem store shopping experiences.

 

In light of your feedback, we will update the Currency Exchange so that you can decide how much you want to use it," said Galie Gray, ArenaNet communications lead, in a post on the game's official forums. "We will keep the new streamlined system and also offer a new 'Custom' button on the panel that you can use to exchange any increment of gems or gold. We anticipate rolling this out soon. Stay tuned!"

Sony bows out of low-end smartphone market, as restructuring continues

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Oct 23, 2014 3:30 pm

Sony continues to struggle in the smartphone market, and plans to drop its low-end smartphone offerings in China, Central America, South America, and additional select emerging markets. Looking ahead, Sony wants to focus on high-end devices sold in the United States, Japan and Europe, according to the unnamed sources.

 

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The Japanese company might cut its smartphone sales target again in 2014, with a Q2 earnings call scheduled for October 31. The company previously said it hoped to sell 50 million smartphones throughout the year, but that figure was cut to 43 million in July.

 

The technology world has evolved at a rapid pace, and Sony has largely been unable to keep pace with rivals. Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi all surpassed Sony device sales, as the cheaper Chinese rivals provide cheaper phones that have risen in popularity.

Microsoft pulling the plug on free Xbox Music streaming service Dec 1

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Oct 23, 2014 2:30 pm

Microsoft is pulling the plug on its free ad-supported Xbox Music streaming service on December 1, as the company plans to transition to a paid subscription plan. Users will be able to purchase songs and can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Music Pass.

 

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"Effective December 1, 2014, the free Xbox Music streaming feature currently available on Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and over the Internet will be discontinued in all countries where it is offered," Microsoft confirmed.

 

Xbox Music Pass will still be available on Windows PCs, tablets, smartphones, the Internet, and through the Xbox - with the cloud-based service also providing free streaming radio.

Nintendo on international hunt for next-generation hardware architect

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Oct 23, 2014 1:30 pm

Nintendo is reportedly prepared to begin development of a 3DS and Wii U successor, hoping to recruit a new senior software architect position that is located in Redmond, Washington. This is a unique change since the posting is for a US-based job instead of a position in Japan - but Nintendo was careful to use rather generic terminology for a future-facing project.

 

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The company has previously said there were no immediate plans for a new console platform, but the rumor mill has been in overdrive. If you're interested in applying for the position, you'll need the following requirements: "The ideal candidate will have had experience working directly in a GPU architecture and design team with significant responsibilities. Low power and SoC design experience would be a plus." And a bachelor's degree is required, though a graduate degree in computer science/engineering or electrical engineering is preferred. Also, at least five years of lead or architectural role experience wouldn't hurt, according to the job posting.

Xiaomi plans to take some data out of Beijing due to privacy issues

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Oct 23, 2014 12:30 pm

Chinese electronics company Xiaomi plans to begin migrating some data of overseas customers out of Beijing-based servers, as there are concerns related to privacy concerns. The effort will see data shifted to servers located in the United States and Singapore, Xiaomi confirmed.

 

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Here is what Xiaomi said on its official Facebook page: "Our primary goal in moving to a multi-site server architecture was to improve the performance of our services for Mi fans around the world, cut down latency and reduce failure rates. At the same time, it also better equips us to maintain high privacy standards and comply with local data protection regulations. This is a very high priority for Xiaomi as we expand into new markets over the next few years."

 

While Xiaomi plans to move customer data outside of China, Apple iCloud data of Chinese users is being moved to China Telecom servers located inside of the country.

Christian Bale will be playing Steve Jobs in upcoming biopic on Jobs

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Oct 23, 2014 11:32 am

Danny Boyle is preparing to sit in the directors chair for a new biopic on Steve Jobs, on which we've just heard that Christian Bale from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy, and American Hustle, will star as Steve Jobs.

 

 

The news comes from Aaron Sorkin, who is writing the script for the movie, in his recent interview with Bloomberg Television. He said: "We needed the best actor on the board in a certain age range and that's Chris Bale. He didn't have to audition. Well, there was a meeting". Bale wasn't the only one on a list of 'who should play Jobs' with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck (also Batman), Bradley Cooper (also from American Hustle) and Leonardo DiCaprio in the run for the role of Jobs.

 

The film still doesn't have a title, but will be based on Walter Isaacson's 2011 biography on the late Jobs, with shooting on the movie to start in the coming months. Sorkin isn't worried about Bale's acting chops, adding: "He has more words to say in this movie than most people have in three movies combined. There isn't a scene or a frame that he's not in. So it's an extremely difficult part and he is gonna crush it".

Continue reading 'Christian Bale will be playing Steve Jobs in upcoming biopic on Jobs' (full post)

Tesla not likely to bow down and start working with dealerships

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Technology in Vehicles | Posted: Oct 23, 2014 11:30 am

After Tesla was banned from selling vehicles in Michigan, there has been growing amazement why the company continues to focus on direct sales instead of working with car dealerships. It doesn't appear the automaker is interested in working with existing franchise owners, or bother working with new dealership owners, and wants to sell its luxury vehicles directly to customers - entirely cutting out the middleman.

 

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"I think Elon wants to have full control of having the cars retailed through a system has total say over," said Karl Brauer, Kelley Blue Book analyst. "And, two, I think he enjoys the concept of upsetting the apple cart; he enjoys knowing that he's breaking existing conventions on every level."

 

Musk wants his company to have complete control of sales, rather than handing over control to dealerships, allowing the company to handle customer service problems quickly and efficiently. This ensures potential customers don't have a sour experience trying to work with a dealership looking to potentially strong-arm car buyers.

US government shifting focus to prosecute high-level cybercrimes

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Oct 23, 2014 10:30 am

The large volume of cyberattacks aimed at U.S. infrastructure, including banks and private sector companies, has finally led the U.S. Justice Department to begin showing interest in prosecuting cyberattack crimes. Assistant Attorney General John Carlin is spearheading the project, with a more realistic emphasis on cyber security efforts.

 

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"We need to develop the capability and bandwidth to deal with what we can see as an evolving threat," Carlin recently noted. He is building a team around him able to understand the seriousness of state-sponsored cyberattacks, especially by the Chinese and Russian governments.

 

Instead of worrying about rogue hackers, the government wants to work to dismantle organized hacker groups that victimize US companies - and consumers, with millions of victims racked up. This is an important step by the federal government, which tried to bury its head in the sand, though that not surprisingly hasn't worked.

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