Just days ago, August Germar showed off his Anonabox privacy router on Kickstarter, quickly flying past his pledge goal of $7500. Germar was promising a router that would give users near ultimate privacy, routing your Internet access through the Tor network. Germar raised $585,549 before Kickstarter suspended his Kickstarter, citing Germar "broke Kickstarter rules".
The Anonabox ball of thread began to unravel when some of its backers began to ask questions about Anonabox's custom hardware, as well as the promised security of its software. It snowballed to the point of many asking for the project to be cancelled, and asked others to report the misleading information to Kickstarter staff. Kickstarter emailed the project investors, telling backers that "a review of the project uncovered evidence that it broke Kickstarter's rules". These rules include the company to prohibit "offering purchased items and claiming to have made them yourself, presenting someone else's work as your own" and "misrepresenting or failing to disclose relevant facts about the project or its creator".
It all started on Tuesday night, with users seeing issues with the router's hardware, with its designer claiming was custom-designed. The backers found that all of the parts could be acquired from Chinese suppliers on sites such as Alibaba. Germar even confirmed with WIRED that the Anonabox prototype he had was built from "off-the-shelf case and a nearly stock board tweaked to add more flash memory storage, both sourced from the Chinese manufacturer Gainstrong", according to Wired.
HBO recently announced it plans to launch a standalone online streaming service in early 2015, but pricing details were not disclosed. CBS announced its online streaming offering will cost just $5.99 per month, but the HBO channel could end up costing upwards of $18 per month, according to analysts from Barclays.
Content providers creating their own online channels are turning the screws on cable and satellite TV service providers, and partners could pressure HBO to not cannibalize their subscriber base. HBO will have to try to appeal to consumers while not undercutting their partners - and if Barclays is accurate with an $18 per month service - it seems unlikely that most consumers will go for it.
There could be potential battle lines drawn between premium channels and their broadcast partners, but industry analysts believe they will have to wait and see how HBO GO proceeds in the future.
Back when we reported that AMD was dropping the price of its Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X GPUs in reaction to NVIDIA's new Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 GPUs, we thought it was AMD which was dropping the prices of its high-end Radeons, but it's actually their partners who are doing the price reductions.
In the meantime, AMD has a new CEO in Lisa Su, with the company laying off some 710 employees after a tough quarter, some big changes and news for the company. During AMD's recent earnings call, the fresh CEO said that NVIDIA has released some very competitive products with their second generation Maxwell GPUs, and that the company needed to adjust to "some competitive dynamics", or repositioning other products. Su said: "We have certainly adjusted to some of the competitive dynamics, and we have made some positioning changes as well as some new marketing activities that you will see from us in the fourth quarter".
During an interview between AMD's Chief Gaming Scientist Richard Huddy and KitGuru, Huddy had the following to say about the Radeon price cuts: "We have not issued any price cuts, nor price protection and we have not announced any for the future. We are conducting some promotions with our AIB partners that enables them to reach such competitive pricing on the Radeon R9 290 and 290X". How long will the cheaper Radeons last? According to Huddy: "The best news is that we have very healthy stock levels for both the Radeon R9 290 and 290X in the channel and the time to buy is now, with channel promotions bringing such great deals. We've got phenomenal products in the market and there's plenty of it around".
Weeks after NVIDIA's launch of its second-gen Maxwell GPUs, its competitor AMD has experienced "challenging market conditions" for its last quarter, just as its new CEO, Lisa Su gets used to her new position of power.
For AMD's third quarter, the company saw revenues of $1.43 billion, with an operating income of $63 million, and net income of $17 million. When things get split into individual units, we see things getting messy. AMD's Computer and Graphics division, the side of AMD that takes care of its successful Radeon business, and is considered as the "bread and butter" of Team Red, posted revenues of $781 million. This is a 16% year-on-year drop, with the division posting an operating loss of $17 million, compared to its $6 million loss in the same quarter of 2013.
AMD's Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom Division, posted higher revenues of $648 million, which is up 21% from the same quarter of 2013. This division posting earnings of $108 million, up from the $92 million of Q3 2013. The problem is, AMD says that there are harsher times to come, warning that it expects revenues to drop another 10% to 16% in its next quarter, sequentially. The company also had to slash jobs as part of its restructuring plan, culling some 710 employees from its global workforce, a number that makes up 7% of its total staff.
The freshly minted CEO, Lisa Su, said: "While decisions that impact the size of our global team are never entered into lightly, this is the right step to ensure we prioritize our resources and engineering investments in our highest-priority opportunities that can drive improved profitability and long-term growth".
Apple has decided to pull Bose headphones and audio products from its online store, with the QuietComfort headphones series and SoundLink Mini and SoundLink III speakers being removed. It seems likely Apple will begin pulling Bose from retail stores - if they haven't quietly disappeared from shelves already - after the Beats headphones acquisition.
The decision was first rumored earlier this month, so it's not a surprise to see Apple reportedly following through with the decision.
Despite the snub from Apple, Bose still has a large marketing and sales presence anyway, including professional sports partnerships. However, the Beats brand still has gained some free publicity along the way, especially with NFL players wearing Beats headphones even though it is against NFL policy.
The Boeing High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) successfully shot UAV drones and 60mm mortars from the sky, with tests done in less than ideal weather conditions. Using a 10-kilowatt laser, HEL MD was able to shoot down or disable 150 targets in foggy and windy weather, and a more powerful laser will be used in the future.
Researchers hope to push the laser cannon power up to 50 or 60 kilowatts, which will be used to defend against UAV attacks, mortars, rockets and enemy artillery. Boeing and the U.S. military don't expect to roll out official HEL MD units for a few more years, if testing continues to go well.
"With capabilities like HEL MD, Boeing is demonstrating that directed energy technologies can augment existing kinetic strike weapons and offer a significant reduction in cost per engagement," said Dave DeYoung, Boeing Directed Energy Systems director. "With only the cost of diesel fuel, the laser system can fire repeatedly without expending valuable munitions or additional manpower."
Scientists have created lab-grown penises and expect a clinical trial to be conducted within the "next four to five years," with the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine providing additional funding for the project. Wake Forest researchers were able to first grow penile erectile tissues in 2009 for rabbits, and exploring possible human tests were considered.
Researchers rely on a donated penis organ that is broken down to its structural cells, with medical patient cells used to help grown prior to a surgery. The surgery requires a patient's own penile cells, so it will not work for transgender men trying to undergo confirmation surgery - but could help men with erectile dysfunction, penile cancer, or congenital abnormalities.
"Think of it like a building," said Dr. James Yoo, a collaborator on the project, in a statement to The Guardian. "If you remove all the furniture and the people, you're still left with the main structure of the building. Then you replace the tenants with new ones. That's the whole idea. It's just that the building is a penis and the tenants are cells."
The mysterious U.S. Air Force X-37B space plane returned back to Earth, landing at the Vandenberg Air Force Base after a 674-day mission in space. The aircraft is 9.5-foot tall and is over 29-feet long, and its wingspan is slightly less than 15-feet.
This was the third flight of the X-37B spacecraft, marking the longest stretch in space for the Air Force aircraft. Its X-37B has solar panels that allow it to recharge its wings after it already is in orbit. It remains unknown what the Air Force was doing with X-37B in space, as exact mission details remain classified.
"The 30th Space Wing and our mission partners, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, Boeing, and our base support contractors, have put countless hours of hard work into preparing for this landing and today we were able to see the culmination of that dedication," said Colonel Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander, in a press statement.
Russian hackers have generated an estimated $2.5 billion over the past year, as state-sponsored groups are able to breach companies in the United States and Western Europe. The Target breach, impacting millions of customers, helped them generate a tremendous amount of revenue, according to the Group-IB report.
Stealing and selling credit card information - among other personal information - helped the groups generate $680 million, with financial fraud also raking in $426 million. In addition to the Target breach, The Home Depot was recently compromised, with Russian-based hackers likely involved.
Both Russia and China have been named major threats to the United States, launching organized cyberattacks with a focus on corporate espionage and compromising users. Unfortunately, hackers are better organized and able to compromise point-of-sale (POS) terminals in retail stores, hack ATM machines, and steal consumer personal information at a rapid pace.
It's no surprise that the Internet is a major facilitator of intellectual property piracy and theft, but revelations that the United States hosts a majority of piracy websites might be a shock, according to the IP Crime Report released by the UK IP Crime Group. It's extremely difficult to shut down piracy groups that operate in other countries, which is what UK copyright enforcement groups have found over the past 12 months.
"Analysis has shown that the three key countries in which content is hosted are the UK, the USA and Canada," according to the report. "However, investigating servers located offshore can cause specific problems for FACT's law enforcement partners."
Trying to clamp down on piracy has evolved from individual lawsuits to increased effort to shut down those responsible for operating piracy rings and servers. However, Internet piracy will remain a problem for music labels, movie studios, and game makers, despite increased surveillance of distribution groups.