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TweakTown News Posts - Page 65

Homeland Security busts child abuse ring that relied on Tor

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Mar 21, 2014 6:36 pm

An online predator group targeting children as young as three years old utilizing Tor was recently busted by the US Department of Homeland Security. So far, 14 members accused of leading the child pornography website were arrested and face charges related to conspiracy to operate an organized child exploitation enterprise.


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Operating from June 2012 to June 2013, the group had more than 27,000 members across the world, with access to at least 2,000 videos.


"These indictments represent a strong coordinated strike - by Homeland Security, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and several U.S. Attorney's Office around the country - against child pornography and those who allegedly seek to harm our most vulnerable citizens, our young children," said Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr., U.S. Attorney, in a press statement.


Jonathan Johnson, 27, a Louisiana-based resident is accused of operating the organized Tor child porn ring, creating fake female personas to target and exploit children - while also teaching others in his group to conduct the same activities. He now faces 20 years to life in prison.

NASA confirms another cooling issue aboard the ISS

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Mar 21, 2014 5:40 pm

Back in December, the ISS had a significant problem with its cooling system. The issue required a couple spacewalks to repair. It appears that whatever the problem with the ISS coolant loop is, the issue has returned.


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NASA has confirmed that a coolant loop problem has again reared its head aboard the orbiting space station. NASA says that on Wednesday one of the two coolant loops on the space station shut down. A NASA spokesperson said that at no time was the crew aboard the ISS in any danger.


As a result of the coolant issue, some non-essential equipment aboard ISS modules was shut down. Some of the equipment was also changed over to use the other coolant loop. NASA believes that the coolant issue is linked to a valve problem, which was the same sort of issue that caused the coolant problems late last year. Presumably, a space walk will be needed to fix the coolant system, but no announcement has been made at this time.

Continue reading 'NASA confirms another cooling issue aboard the ISS' (full post)

Starbucks iPhone app gets tipping options

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Apps | Posted: Mar 21, 2014 5:08 pm

If you frequent Starbucks, the purveyor of high price coffee and snacks, you might be a user of the company's mobile app. Starbucks has issued an update to that app for iPhone users that adds in digital tipping options. That means that users can now give a tip to their server without having to dig in a wallet.


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The only catch is that the user has to be based in the US. Along with the update adding in digital tipping also comes a makeover with a new look. The app also now has a shake feature that lets the user shake their phone to get the barcode to scan for mobile payment.


Other new features include access to a history of purchases, earned Starbucks Stars, and rewards that you have used. That will come in handy if you thought you had a reward and can't remember using it. The app is a big deal for Starbucks, 14% of all purchases made in the store are completed using the mobile app. the last time the coffee firm offered stats was in July of last year, digital sales via the app accounted for 10% of its sales at the time.

Guys take ride in real Seat Leon Cupra 280, think it's a simulator

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Humor & WTF | Posted: Mar 21, 2014 4:26 pm

A couple guys were invited to experience what they thought was a motion simulator to show them what the Seat Leon Cupra 280 will be like to drive for real. When the prank starts out, the two men are put in helmets and then into the back of a car inside a motion simulator.


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What they don't know since they are in the back of the car and can't see out is that they are actually riding in a real car driven just as they see on the screens they have to look at. The trick appears to have been pulled off perfectly.


The white car the two men are in chases along behind a red version. The ride takes place in the real-world, all the while the two in the back seat are watching on screens. When they get out of the car, they had no idea they were really riding in the car the whole time. Check out the video and see the stunt for yourself. That car looks really cool. I always get a bit jealous over interesting cars like this we can't get in the US.

Continue reading 'Guys take ride in real Seat Leon Cupra 280, think it's a simulator' (full post)

Pebble racked up 400,000 units sold in 2013

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: Mar 21, 2014 3:46 pm

I've been using a Pebble smartwatch for months now and I really like it. It's a great way to see who is calling me when I am driving or check texts without having to dig my smartphone out of my pocket. It's also a great way to silence the annoying calls I don't want to take while behind the wheel.


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It doesn't have many fancy features like some other devices on the market, but it was inexpensive and works very well for what it is. Pebble reportedly sold 400,000 units last year making it one of the most popular smartwatches out there. The company is also on track to double revenue in 2014.


Pebble is estimated to have made about $60 million during that time frame. Pebble also counts over 1000 apps for the smartwatch available and 12000 registered developers with more on the way. The Pebble smartwatch first turned up on Kickstarter and raised a huge chunk of money there, much more than it was looking for. The company raised $10.3 million on Kickstarter, about 100 times more than it needed. The company got another $26 million form angel investors.

Tablet shipments to hit 200M in 2014 says ABI Research

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Mar 21, 2014 3:04 pm

ABI Research is a research firm that keeps a close eye on various markets in the technology world. The company has released a new report looking at the tablet market around the world for 2014. ABI is estimating that 200 million tablets will ship this year.


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If that proves to be true, it will represent a 20% gain compared to 2013. In 2013, there were 166 million tablets shipped. The research firm is also predicting that North America will account for less than 50% of all global tablet shipments in 2014 for the first time.


That change is because tablet makers have spent significant money expanding their shipments and marketing into other countries. Intel has a chance to become a big factor in the tablet realm in 2014 according to ABI. If Intel can pull off its goal of shipping 40 million tablets using its processor tech it will become a major force in the tablet market.

Continue reading 'Tablet shipments to hit 200M in 2014 says ABI Research' (full post)

Samsung and 20th Century Fox team for 4k content service

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: HT & Movies | Posted: Mar 21, 2014 2:35 pm

If you have been following technology and home theater gear long enough to remember the transition from SD to HD programming, you know that it took a while and no one wanted to spend the money on a new HDTV until there was a lot of content. The same thing is going on now with the migration to 4K content.


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4K TVs are expensive, but the big issue is that people don't want to spend the money until there is content out there to watch. Samsung and 20th Century Fox have announced that they have teamed up on a new 4K UHD content ecosystem. The partnership will bring 4k content for Samsung fans to watch via the Samsung Smart Hub platform.


That Smart Hub platform will be available across the entire UHD TV line from Samsung. I would assume that the company would give access to the content system via some of its set top boxes, computers, and Blu-ray players as well.

Continue reading 'Samsung and 20th Century Fox team for 4k content service' (full post)

Winter temps decimate EV driving range says AAA

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Business, Politics & Money | Posted: Mar 21, 2014 2:03 pm

There are many people out there this winter who can attest that living in a climate that gets really cold and has lots of snow can be bad for your mood and productivity. Lot of folks have dealt with record setting winter storms and cold temperatures for months now. If you live in these cold areas and have an electric vehicle, the weather is doubly bad for you.


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AAA has released the results of a study that looks at the driving range of an EV in winter temperatures compared to more moderate temperatures. According to the study, an EV that can drive 105 miles per charge in 75-degree weather will only be able to go 43 miles when it's below freezing.


AAA says that its study shows driving range with temperatures of around 20-degrees are 57% shorter than when its 75-degrees out. The study also found that hot weather affects driving range, but not as much as cold weather. With most EVs in the country sold in temperate Southern California, I guess many don't have to worry about this.

Continue reading 'Winter temps decimate EV driving range says AAA' (full post)

Microsoft read bloggers Hotmail messages to plug leak

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Mar 21, 2014 1:35 pm

Yesterday I mentioned that an ex-Microsoft employee had been arrested for leaking secrets to a French blogger having to do with windows 8. I thought it was stupid that the man who was arrested used Microsoft platforms like SkyDrive to leak the details. A smart criminal would have taken his illegal activities to another platform.


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Microsoft has now admitted that to catch the source of the leak, it had read messages in the bloggers hotmail account. Microsoft still hasn't said who the blogger is, but it has said it read his emails to catch the leaker.


Microsoft says that its search is technically legal, but that in the future it will consult outside consul before reading private emails. As you might know, Hotmail is owned by Microsoft and is now called

Continue reading 'Microsoft read bloggers Hotmail messages to plug leak' (full post)

Malware, data breaches to cost $491 billion in 2014 alone

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Mar 21, 2014 10:37 am

The growing threat of data theft and sophisticated malware could top $491 billion in 2014 alone, according to a joint study from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and IDC Research Group.


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The research is focused specifically on piracy and the potential ramifications both consumers and businesses face when running pirated and illegal software.


Consumers face a large amount of different cyberthreats, with an estimated 1.2 billion hours of lost time and $25 billion spent to try and deal with malware from pirated software. However, four out of 10 consumers admit to rarely installing security updates on PCs and other devices.


Meanwhile, enterprises will spend $491 billion "because of malware associated with pirated software," with $127 billion related to security issues and $364 stemming from associated data breaches.

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