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Sony to more than double down on its investment into PlayStation

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 20, 2015 12:41 am

It's kind of an end of an era for Sony, with the Japanese giant falling on its sword in multiple of its failing divisions. We've seen the company sell of its VAIO laptop business, which is now making a comeback, but there's some more news that many will be sad over.

 

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Sony wants to make a 25-fold increase in its profits, by concentrating on products that actually make the company money. Considering the company has just recorded its sixth net loss in seven years, many can see why. Sony's stock on the other hand has actually grown by 80% in the last 12 months, as its CEO, Kaz Hirai, has been restructuring the core of Sony's business.

 

Hirai has been able to do this by focusing on making less products, to ensure they're making the right products, that sell well. This effort of restructuring will continue, but now the company has announced it will be pulling out of more markets. In the end, Sony will be making the PlayStation its near sole purpose, as well as making Sony camera sensors for companies like Apple. The company has thought of pulling out of the TV market with its Bravia brand, as LG and Samsung have been making serious inroads in the TV business over the years.

Continue reading 'Sony to more than double down on its investment into PlayStation' (full post)

NSA hacked into largest SIM card maker, accessing billions of phones

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Feb 19, 2015 11:58 pm

Just days after we reported that the NSA had backdoor access to the firmware level of major HDD manufacturers in Seagate and Western Digital, Edward Snowden is back with new information that the National Security Agency (NSA) and its British partner GCHQ hacked into Gemalto. Gemalto, is a Netherlands SIM card manufacturer, the largest in the world.

 

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Gemalto makes two billion SIM cards each year, with the NSA hacking into the company and stealing its encryption keys, giving them access to secretly monitor both voice calls and data. The Intercept reported on the news, which has reportedly provided spy agencies with the ability of secretly monitoring gigantic portions of the world's cellular communications, which experts have said is a major violation of international laws. Considering Gemalto makes SIM cards for companies like AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, you can begin to see the scope of this hack by the US government agency. Gemalto itself operates in some 85 countries around the world, providing SIM cards to over 450 wireless network providers.

 

With the NSA having these encryption keys in its hands, it has the power to monitor mobile communications "without the approval of telecom companies and foreign governments", reports The Guardian. This is something I talked about in my last OpEd, where the Obama administration needs to address it, and as I said "The NSA needs to be ripped apart, and its powers neutered". Most people think that 3G and 4G mobile networks have their calls encrypted, and while they might be, but with the keys that the NSA and GCHQ have, it's like they are living "in the phone".

Continue reading 'NSA hacked into largest SIM card maker, accessing billions of phones' (full post)

David Thodey steps down as CEO of Telstra, Andrew Penn as replacement

By: Chris Smith | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 19, 2015 10:54 pm

Today it was announced that David Thodey will be stepping down as the Telstra CEO, with chief financial officer and group executive international, Andrew Penn, taking up the role as of May 1, 2015.

 

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As revealed this morning by Telstra chairman Catherine Livingston, Thodey was praised as an "outstanding chief executive," with further mention that the company has seen a double in their value since his appointment in 2009. Thodey, 60, will be helping Penn transition into the position over the next few months - stating that "our journey to being a world class customer service organization is generational progress. We have achieved much change but there is a lot more to do."

 

Working in Melbourne, Australia - Penn will be receiving a fixed remuneration package of $2.325m, including superannuation and the eligibility of short-term incentives. It might sound like quite a lot, however Telstra has reported another record half-yearly profit, with its $2.085 billion figure meaning a 22.4 percent increase when compared to the previous period.

'Pirates 5' begins filming as powerful cyclone threatens Gold Coast

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Celebrities & Entertainment | Posted: Feb 19, 2015 10:37 pm

Following the agreement struck between the Government of Australia and Walt Disney Company last year to film the fifth entry in the 'Pirates of the Carribbean' franchise at the Warner Bros. Movie World Gold Coast studio, but a tropical cyclone now threatens to disrupt proceedings.

 

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Cameras begun rolling earlier this week after Johnny Depp, who reprises his role as Captain Jack Sparrow flew into the location and Producer Jerry Bruckheimer took to Twitter to share the first day's shoot.

Continue reading ''Pirates 5' begins filming as powerful cyclone threatens Gold Coast' (full post)

ESL announce $250,000 CS:GO competition in Cologne

By: Chris Smith | More News: Gaming | Posted: Feb 19, 2015 10:03 pm

Set inside the 15,000-seat stadium called Lanxess Arena, the second largest multifunction arena in Europe, ESL has announced they will be running the "world's largest CS:GO event" on August 22 and 23, 2015.

 

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This tournament marks the fourth time ESL has offered $250,000 on the table in only two years, however this event has been reported by HLTV to be financed and conducted directly by ESL - with no skin or sticker monetary support from the community.

 

The team qualification details have not yet been released, however we are told that there will be 16 teams in total fighting it out for the top spot. We also know that live spectator tickets will be available for purchase on February 23 through Eventim and various other ticketing agencies.

 

Ulrich Schulze, Managing Director of Pro Gaming at ESL, is excited by this news, stating "we had the honor of hosting two US$250,000 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournaments last year as part of the ESL One esports tour, and this year we plan on stepping it up," adding "ESL One Cologne is going to be the largest Counter-Strike: Global Offensive event in the world. Taking place in the biggest indoor arena in Germany, we're sure it'll be a massive hit for fans from all over."

Gartner: Market for refurbished smartphones to reach 120M by 2017

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Feb 19, 2015 9:09 pm

The worldwide market for refurbished mobile phones sold to end users will increase from 56 million units in 2014 up to 120 million units by 2017, according to the Gartner analyst group.

 

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Consumers in mature markets upgrade their smartphones on average of every 18 to 20 months, opening the door to a lucrative used market. Seven percent of those devices are recycled, 23 percent are handed down, and 41 percent are traded or sold privately.

 

"This rise in smartphone reuse will impact not only the sales of new units, but also the revenue streams of all those involved in the smartphone supply chain," said Meike Escherich, principal research analyst at Gartner. "Stakeholders that are already participating in take-back or trade-in programs need to have a strategy for turning used devices into a positive asset."

Continue reading 'Gartner: Market for refurbished smartphones to reach 120M by 2017' (full post)

Movies nominated for an Oscar see surge in Internet piracy

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Feb 19, 2015 8:55 pm

Following news of which films are up for Oscars, online piracy of nominated movies increased 385 percent since January 15, according to the Irdeto piracy monitoring firm.

 

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Irdeto uses a crawler to monitor torrent downloads, and saw increased interest following the Oscar nominations - largely due to increased media coverage - with screener films sometimes leaked online.

 

"Hollywood screeners specifically accounted for a substantial 31 percent of the total illegal downloads tracked between January 15 and February 14," according to Irdeto, as published by TorrentFreak. "Six nominated movies currently unavailable for retail purchase on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD or legal streaming/download sites saw the majority of piracy coming directly from these screeners: American Sniper, The Imitation Game, Wild, Selma, Whiplash and Still Alice."

Continue reading 'Movies nominated for an Oscar see surge in Internet piracy' (full post)

Lenovo will no longer pre-install controversial Superfish PC adware

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Feb 19, 2015 7:51 pm

Computer manufacturer Lenovo will no longer pre-install the controversial Superfish adware on PCs and laptops, due to growing public backlash from customers. Cybersecurity experts warned Superfish potentially left them vulnerable, after injecting advertisements to browsers.

 

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"The way the Superfish functionality appears to work means that they must be intercepting traffic in order to insert ads," said Eric Rand, researcher for Brown Hat Security, in a statement to Reuters. "This amounts to a wiretap."

 

Lenovo must now answer questions regarding its use of Superfish, including how long it was pre-installed, and how much data was collected by the software. Superfish was installed on consumer PCs and notebooks only.

Continue reading 'Lenovo will no longer pre-install controversial Superfish PC adware' (full post)

Consumers still on the fence about fitness tracker wearables

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: Feb 19, 2015 7:22 pm

Fitness tracker wearables and mobile apps are becoming popular among consumers trying to improve their lifestyles while become healthier - but manufacturers want to drive interest in wearables.

 

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Most fitness trackers tend to vary in price from $49 for the Misfit Flash up to $250 for something like the Fitbit Surge - with additional hardware and software features being packed into the wearables.

 

Some of the mobile apps are just as accurate as their wearable counterparts, and using a smartphone is something more users are already familiar with. However, here is a bit of advice for consumers unsure if they are ready to make the plunge:

Continue reading 'Consumers still on the fence about fitness tracker wearables' (full post)

Samsung acquires LoopPay, preparing to throw down with Apple Pay

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Feb 19, 2015 5:15 pm

Samsung has purchased U.S. mobile payments firm LoopPay, giving the South Korean electronics company a strategy to compete with Apple Pay. It looks like a new mobile payments solution will be introduced on March 1, during Samsung's Galaxy S6 smartphone event.

 

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Unlike Apple Pay, LoopPay's solution can convert traditional point-of-sale (POS) systems so they are able to accept contactless payments. Customers tap their smartphone next to a LoopPay card reader connected to the POS, with Samsung saying 90 percent of current systems support the mobile payment technology.

 

"Our goal has always been to build the smartest, most secure, user-friendly mobile wallet experience, and we are delighted to welcome LoopPay to take us closer to this goal," said JK Shin, co-CEO and head of Samsung's mobile business, said in a public statement.

Continue reading 'Samsung acquires LoopPay, preparing to throw down with Apple Pay' (full post)

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