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Microsoft says rumored Halo 5: Guardians Nov. 10 release date is wrong

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming | Posted: Oct 25, 2014 12:30 am

Despite a public tweet from a new 343 Industries employee with a countdown clock in the background, gamers will have to wait a bit longer than November 10 for the release of Halo 5: Guardians. "The recent rumors regarding the release date of Halo 5: Guardians are false," a Microsoft spokesperson recently said.

 

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It shouldn't be too surprising to hear the Nov. 10 date is wrong, as the official beta - running at 1080p/60fps - won't even be available until December.

 

Now that Microsoft cleared up the issue, it's still unknown what the countdown clock in the background is being used for.

Hackers exploiting Ebola fear to compromise Internet users

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Oct 24, 2014 11:30 pm

A phishing email mimicking an official notice from the World Health Organization might be compromising users, with email recipients willingly tricked into opening a compromised email attachment. Several hundred organizations have reportedly received the phishing email, though it remains how many were successfully infected.

 

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"It follows the standard, successful formula for most phishing campaigns," said Karl Sigler, Trustwave threat intelligence manager. Cybercriminals often exploit major international news stories - especially regarding natural disasters, national elections, or tragedies - and criminals know when to strike. The malware logs keystrokes, records sounds via webcam, and captures images.

 

Even if this initial phishing campaign was unsuccessful, with the amount of media Ebola has received, cybersecurity experts warn of future attacks. Meanwhile, WHO confirmed it does not send any type of correspondence directly to the public, only sending news releases to public health experts and journalists.

Apple and Nike teaming up for a 'stylish' wearable product

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: Oct 24, 2014 10:30 pm

Apple and Nike are reportedly developing a new 'stylish' wearable product that will be able to integrate with electronics but still be fashionable. Additional details about the new device weren't disclosed just yet.

 

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"I think it's going to be a big part of the future, absolutely," said Mark Parker, Nike CEO, in a recent interview with Bloomberg TV. "I think the form it takes is critical. You can go from the very geeky kind of wearables today - we've all seen some of those - to what I think you'll see in the future, things that are more stealth, more integrated, more stylish and more functional, yes,"

 

If true, this makes sense for both companies - along with Nike and Apple supporting large customer groups - Nike will be able to further benefit by teaming up with the technology giant again, ensuring it doesn't need to directly worry about hardware and software development.

Apple iTunes music sales slid 13% in 2014, as paid downloads slow

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Oct 24, 2014 9:30 pm

Apple saw iTunes music sales plunge 13 to 14 percent in 2013, as the music industry continues to be extremely fragile, according to recent reports. Music sales have been flat for a several years, and have dropped a whopping 50 percent since 2000, as listeners have embraced digital music files.

 

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Music companies are struggling to convince listeners to drop free, ad-supported programs and sign up for monthly subscriptions - typically around $10 per month.

 

To compare, revenue of iTunes downloads slowed only 2.1 percent in 2013, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said. However, ad-supported and subscription streaming services helped make up for the slight 2013 drop, while there was very little respite in 2014.

Point of sale malware attacks ramping up ahead of Christmas season

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Oct 24, 2014 8:10 pm

After one year of multiple high-profile data breaches targeting point of sale (POS) software used by retailers, millions of customers were at risk of potential credit card fraud. However, the retailers and banks also have endured a heavy financial burden, and this Christmas shopping season could bring a new round of cyber breaches, security experts warned.

 

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"The threat actors are going to be burning the midnight oil trying to get credit card data going into the holiday season," said Brian Foster, chief technology of the Damballa security firm. "Retailers need to be prepared and diligent in the fourth quarter."

 

Target suffered a breach that led to 40 million customers having their debit and credit card data stolen, only two days before Black Friday in 2013. The BackOff malware has successfully breached more than 1,000 businesses and retailers, the Department of Homeland Security noted.

Google teams up with Oxford University for AI robotics research

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Oct 24, 2014 7:30 pm

Google has added some kick to its artificial intelligence research, hiring at least a half dozen researchers, while also partnering with Oxford University. The Silicon Valley company hopes to make Internet search intuitive by creating sub-atomic quantum chips that were modelled using the human brain. Standard computers today still rely on binary data, but quantum computing-based technologies would be able to encode data using the sub-atomic particles.

 

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"We are thrilled to welcome these extremely talented machine learning researchers to the Google DeepMind team and are excited about the potential impact of the advances their research will bring," said Demis Hassabis, DeepMind co-founder and VP of Google engineering.

 

Google purchased DeepMind, which started as an AI company in Europe, with a focus on neuroscience-based machine learning systems and general-purpose learning algorithms. These partnerships will help create a strong foundation for future AI-based development, using skilled researchers to lend a hand.

Microsoft says 2.4M Xbox 360, Xbox One console sold last quarter

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Oct 24, 2014 6:06 pm

Microsoft said its first quarter Xbox sales increased 102 percent, totaling 2.4 million units, but didn't offer specific details on Xbox 360 and Xbox One sales. Despite the strong percentage boost, the Sony PlayStation 4 game console has dominated the Xbox One for nine straight months, according to NPD.

 

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However, it appears Microsoft's incentive to include a free game title with new Xbox One purchases is working, as consumers look to save money anyway possible.

 

Meanwhile, the Xbox One was released to 28 new markets last quarter, and the company hopes to carry whatever momentum it has into the 2014 Christmas shopping season. Sony plans to release its sales earnings next week.

AMD drops the prices on their APUs, is also offering free games

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Oct 24, 2014 9:34 am

Just weeks after cutting the prices on their Radeon GPUs, AMD is back to the price-cutting game with prices dropped on their APUs. Not only that, but the company is offering free games, too. Buy any APU between now and the end of the month, and AMD will offer you one of three games: Murdered: Soul Suspect, Thief, or Sniper Elite 3.

 

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Just how hard are the price cuts? Well, AMD are slashing the prices of its top-end parts by 15-25%. The A10-7850K was $189 on NewEgg, but it is now $143, where the A10-7800 was $165, is now $133. These cuts have AMD competing at a better price point against Intel now, especially when it comes to Intel's Core i3 and Core i5 processors.

Airbnb valued at $13 billion, up from $10 billion earlier this year

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Oct 24, 2014 8:33 am

According to people familiar with the matter, Airbnb's valuation is set to expand up to $13 billion, up from $10 billion earlier this year, reports CNBC.

 

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The community-driven hospitality company, if valued at $13 billion, would come second only to Uber "in the rankings of Silicon Valley's most valuable private companies". Airbnb doesn't have a CEO, after Andrew Swain left last month, which should push out the IPO, if there was one any time soon, to sometime in 2015.

 

In order for Airbnb employees to cash in on some of their stock between now and the IPO, the company is in discussions with existing investors about allowing them to buy back tens of millions of dollars worth of shares, according to CNBC's sources. This cash injection won't be going into new capital for the company, but instead it would reportedly go to staff.

Microsoft posts record revenue, Surface sales are helping, a lot

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Oct 24, 2014 7:29 am

Microsoft has posted a somewhat surprising quarterly financial report, which even exceeded analysts' expectations. The Redmond-based giant posted $5.48 billion in operating income, with $4.5 billion in net income from $23.2 billion in revenue.

 

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When compared against the results from the same quarter of last year, Microsoft's revenue has increased by 255, but net income is down 14%. The company explains this slump of $1.14 billion because of "integration and restructuring expenses" after acquiring Nokia's Devices and Services business.

 

One of the bigger surprises, is that Microsoft's Surface division has performed extremely well. The Surface division posted an increase in revenue of a huge 127%, compared to the same three-month period from last year. The Surface Pro 3 has been successful for the company, with $908 million in revenue with positive gross margin, and will soon be Microsoft's next billion-dollar business. When it comes to the Lumia division at Microsoft, it sold 9.3 million handsets for the quarter, an increase of 6% on the same period of last year.

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