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TweakTown News Posts - Page 59

T-Mobile and Sprint battling for subscribers with low-price plans

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Oct 22, 2014 3:27 pm

The US wireless carrier industry has evolved into a competitive market, giving wireless subscribers more options to choose from. Both T-Mobile and Sprint are currently engaged in a price battle that has seen prices drop like a rock, but that hasn't stopped either company from offering the latest Google Android and Apple iPhones - paired with unlimited voice, text and large data limits - to woo users.

 

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T-Mobile currently has three individual smartphone plans available for $50 per month or less, and offers subscribers on a budget wider variety. Meanwhile, Sprint currently has two plans that cost $50 per month, and unlimited talk, text and data plans for the Apple iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus start at just $50 per month.

 

If you're two-year contract is up, and you want to turn the screws on your carrier, then now might be the time to see if they are offering customers any incentives.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signs controversial anti-Tesla bill

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Technology in Vehicles | Posted: Oct 22, 2014 1:30 pm

As expected, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has signed a controversial bill that will ban the sale of Tesla vehicles in the state. Michigan isn't a major target for Tesla at the moment, but the company has ambitious nationwide growth plans through 2020, providing less potential future customers.

 

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"This bill does not, as some have claimed, prevent auto manufacturers from selling automobiles directly to consumers at retail in Michigan - because this is already prohibited under Michigan law," Snyder said to lawmakers.

 

Not surprisingly, GM was in favor of the anti-Tesla bill, as Michigan joins Texas and North Carolina, shutting Tesla out in the cold. Due to the state's current laws, along with major influence from Michigan automakers, it seems unlikely that the bill would be overturned anytime soon.

Continue reading 'Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signs controversial anti-Tesla bill' (full post)

Researchers create solar battery able to run powered by light and air

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Oct 22, 2014 10:30 am

Researchers from Ohio State University are working on a solar battery that is able to store its own power inside of an internal solar cell. The unique hybrid device uses a mesh solar panel that provides an opening for air to enter the battery, and electrons can be transferred between the solar panel and the battery electrode.

 

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"The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy," said Yiying Wu, Ohio State chemistry and biochemistry professor, said in a press statement. "We've integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you reduce cost."

 

When licensed to companies, this could help companies drop costs up to 25 percent, according to Wu and his students. Light is converted inside of the battery, ensuring almost 100 percent of electrons are saved, as opposed to the 80 percent standard when electrons travel between a solar cell and an external battery.

Staples hit by data breach, with customers in Northeast hit

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Oct 22, 2014 7:30 am

Office retailer Staples was the latest high-profile company hit by a data breach, with customers in the Northeastern United States affected. The US Secret Service is now investigating the incident, which involved debit and credit card data of an unknown number of customers. It appears retail locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York were hit, but it's possible stores in other states were also targeted.

 

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"We take the protection of customers information very seriously, and are working to resolve the situation," Staples said in a statement. "If Staples discovers an issue, it is important to note that customers are not responsible for any fraudulent activity on their credit cards that is reported on a timely basis."

 

Retailers are struggling to keep data secure, as similar attacks have victimized Target, Home Depot, Kmart, Sears, with millions of customers across the country affected by these breaches.

Sunset Overdrive on Xbox One at 900p allowed more mayhem, still 30FPS

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Oct 22, 2014 7:26 am

Sunset Overdrive hits the Xbox One as an exclusive to Microsoft's console on October 28, but days before its release, the developer behind the game has started talking about why they changed from running the game at 1080p, to 900p.

 

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The downshift in resolution allowed the developer to have more on-screen action, as 1080p would've seen a reduction in on-screen mayhem as the frame rate would obviously drop. Creative Director with Insomniac Games, Marcus Smith, said: "Why would you want less action on screen? That's insanity. 900p works perfect for us. We spent a lot of time comparing and contrasting. We had it running at 1080p, we'd play it; we had it running at 900p, we'd play it and they didn't look considerably different. But the things that you could draw on screen were a lot more, and we wanted to draw a lot more on screen. More action, more better. Michael Bay would be very proud".

 

Another game where the 'next-gen' consoles, this time an Xbox One exclusive, is running the previous generation specs: 900p (or so) at 30FPS. I would've preferred to have heard they dropped to 720p and enabled AA, but bumping the frame rate up to a solid 60FPS.

Google now provides two-factor authentication with physical USB key

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Oct 22, 2014 6:23 am

aGoogle is making its two-factor authentication even safer, with the announcement of support being added for Security Key. With this, Google allows its users to purchase a physical USB stick from a third-party company that can be used as your personal identification when logging into Gmail, Chrome, or any other Google account.

 

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Once you've acquired your security key, you can plug it into your computer, press the built-in button on the dongle when asked, and voila - you're secure, and you now have a security key. This key only works after verifying the site you're logging in to, verifying that it is indeed a Google site and not some phishing attack. The device uses the FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) protocol, which means it can be used to log into other websites that support the U2F protocol, as long as you're within Chrome.

 

The service itself is free, but you'll need to secure yourself a not-so-free USB security key. Amazon currently sells FIDO U2F keys starting at around $5.99, all the way up to around $50.

Continue reading 'Google now provides two-factor authentication with physical USB key' (full post)

Windows 10 now features Action Center from Windows Phone

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Oct 22, 2014 4:28 am

Microsoft has pushed out the latest build of its Windows 10 Technical Preview, with build 9860 being made available to members of the company's Windows Insider Program. As long as their PC is on, or sleeping, the update will be pushed over to down, and installed automatically.

 

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If you want to manually force this, go to PC Settings, Update and Recovery, then Preview builds and then tap on the 'Check now' button. The new update is between 2GB and 2.7GB "depending on CPU architecture and language", with the rebooting process taking a little longer than normal. Once the newest build of Windows 10 is on your machine, you'll notice it has a Windows Phone feature: Action Center.

 

Microsoft explains this as "This build is focused ONLY on enabling basic notifications - quick actions and cleaner UI will come later. You'll see notifications from the system and apps - from new emails and invites to IMs, Facebook posts and more - all-in-one place, so you don't miss a thing. Click on the new Action Center icon in the notification area of your taskbar to check it out". The company has also made it easier to move apps between monitors, and has also added an animation for switching desktops.

Samsung Knox-powered devices get approved for classified use by NSA

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Oct 22, 2014 3:29 am

Samsung has been itching to get into that enterprise and government market, and thanks to the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP), a joint activity of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Samsung is now approved and has a handful of its Galaxy devices on the Commercial Solutions for Classified program listing.

 

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These devices include the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition), Galaxy Note Edge, Galaxy Alpha, Galaxy Tab S 8.4, Galaxy Tab S 10.5, and the Galaxy IPSEC Virtual Private Network (VPN) Client. All of these devices feature Samsung's Knox technology, which is a security platform that allows users to use their smartphones and tablets for both work, and personal purposes. Samsung's CEO and President of IT and Mobile Business, JK Shin, said "The inclusion of Samsung mobile devices on the CSfC list proves the unmatched security of Samsung Galaxy devices supported by the Knox platform".

 

This move isn't a massive one, but it's a step towards something that could spell change for Samsung. A company that sells hundreds of million of handsets, Apple's biggest competitor by far, is now dealing with the government on NSA-approved smartphones and tablets with true government-ready security.

GIGABYTE teases super tiny, factory-overclocked GeForce GTX 970

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Video Cards | Posted: Oct 22, 2014 2:06 am

Mini-ITX PCs are about to get much faster thanks to GIGABYTE's new card based on the GeForce GTX 970 GPU, but arrives in a dual-slot, single-fan design that is much shorter than the standard GTX 970, perfect for tiny, but very powerful gaming PCs.

 

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The new mini-ITX based video card has an overclocked GTX 970 GPU, 4GB of RAM, a custom PCB from GIGABYTE, and a WindForce-like cooler. The custom design allows for a single 8-pin PCIe connector, versus the two 6-pin PCIe required on the normal GTX 970. GIGABYTE's custom designed cooler is quite compact, with a single, shrouded fan. We have a slight overclock on the Core and Boost speeds, from 1051MHz on the Core to 1076MHz on the GIGABYTE card, while we have Boost of 1178 on the reference GTX 970, but 1215MHz on the GIGABYTE slab.

 

Some other GTX 900 series cards actually ditch the multiple DisplayPort connectors, but not this card: we have three DisplayPorts, one HDMI, one DVI-D and a DVI-D port to finish it off. GIGABYTE says the custom cooler provides lower temperatures than the reference, with temperatures dropping from 76C to just 62C on the GIGABYTE card. Small form factor PCs have just received notice of their next GPU purchase.

Satechi launches Edge Wireless Gaming Mouse for just $19.99

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming | Posted: Oct 22, 2014 1:17 am

Peripheral maker Satechi launched its Edge Wireless Gaming Mouse, designed for high-speed gaming along with traditional PC activities. The mouse supports 800, 1600, 2400 and 4000 DPI, with a 250Hz or 500Hz speed of transmission rate, and has four assigned LED colors depending on the DPI in use. The mouse is powered by two AA batteries and will automatically switch to sleep mode after five minutes of inactivity, with an estimated 36 months before batteries need to be changed.

 

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Satechi also included a "Gaming Mode," powered by clicking the "Turbo Button," so users only have to click once instead of needing to double-click while gaming. The Satechi Edge Wireless Gaming Mouse has a $19.99 MSRP.

 

The gaming peripheral market has yielded countless products for PC gamers, though many of the wireless products are relatively expensive.

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