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Samsung investigating child labor claims in Chinese production factory

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 11, 2014 6:15 pm

Korean electronics company Samsung is under fire due to suspicions one of its suppliers uses child labor to help keep costs down. The latest round of accusations are courtesy of China Labor Watch, a U.S. activist group that tracts illegal workplace behavior in China.

 

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Some employees in the Dongguan plant are reportedly under the age of 16, and work 11 hours a day, 7 days per week, while not receiving overtime pay. If the allegations are true, it's a tragic situation that unfortunately we seem to hear more information about.

 

"We are urgently looking into the latest allegations and will take appropriate measures in accordance with our policies to prevent any cases of child labor in our suppliers," Samsung noted in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Continue reading 'Samsung investigating child labor claims in Chinese production factory' (full post)

Amazon asks FAA for permission to ramp up drone development

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 11, 2014 5:02 pm

When Amazon rolled out a glimpse at its Prime Air drones a while back, most of us though it was a hoax. Amazon appears to believe there may be a future for using drones to deliver products and is asking the FAA to let it develop drones.

 

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Amazon wants to be able to test drones outside of its testing sites designated by the FAA. By expanding its testing sites, Amazon says that it will be able to innovate more quickly. Currently to test a new design, Amazon has to travel to one of the six FAA approved sites around the country.

 

Ultimately, Amazon wants to be able to deliver packages weighing five pounds or less by drones. The retail giant says that 86% of the packages sold on its site weigh less than five pounds. Amazon also says that it has a drone capable of flying over 50 mph while carrying a five-pound package.

Apple iWatch rumor expects mass production in November

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: Jul 11, 2014 4:00 pm

Rumors have been flying that Apple was set to get into the smartwatch business for a long time. According to the rumors, the iWatch will have lots of sensors and other tech built-in. The latest rumor that has surfaced about Apple's smartwatch comes by way of analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

 

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According to Kuo, the iWatch will enter mass production in November. Kuo had previously estimated that mass production on the iWatch would kick off in September. While changing up the time estimate for mass production, Kuo is also changing shipment estimates for the iWatch this year.

 

Kuo now expects that Apple will ship 3 million iWatch units in 2014. Kuo notes that the iWatch is expected to feature a flexible OLED screen, sapphire coated display cover, high water resistance and system on chip components.

Samsung app store now called Galaxy Apps

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Apps | Posted: Jul 11, 2014 3:09 pm

Samsung is making some changes to its app store, most notably the Samsung app store has a new name, and Samsung is now calling its app store Galaxy Apps and has added some new features to the mix as well. Galaxy Apps has a new interface, branding, and hundreds of new apps to go along with the name change.

 

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The apps in Galaxy Apps store are divided into categories with four sections including Galaxy Gifts, Galaxy Essentials, Apps for Professionals, and Galaxy Specials. Apps in the Specials category are created using Samsung SDKs.

 

Samsung wants Galaxy Apps to give more customization options to users of its mobile phones. It also wants the Galaxy Apps store to act as a platform for publicizing promotions and deals.

Campaign challenges Facebook users to quit for 99 days

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Social Networking | Posted: Jul 11, 2014 2:04 pm

About a week ago we mentioned that Facebook had ran an experiment to see if it was able to change the emotional state of its users by showing them only positive or negative posts on their newsfeed. The experiment resulted in an ITC investigation in the UK. Many users of the site were understandably upset that Facebook had tried to manipulate their emotions.

 

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Another result of that experiment is a new campaign that has launched in response that is challenging Facebook users to quit the site for 99 days. After the 99 days is up, the campaign wants you to come back and report on how it affected your mood.

 

Three months is a long time to go without access to Facebook for some people. For some extended families, Facebook is one of the few ways to keep in touch. The campaign asks participants to post a time-off image as their profile page and post a personal countdown so friends know what's up.

Halo 3 Easter egg discovered seven years after game launch

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Gaming Consoles | Posted: Jul 11, 2014 1:02 pm

Gamers know that developers often put little Easter eggs into the games that are a challenge to find. These Easter eggs are often things like odd levels that you can play, like the infamous cow level in Diablo II. Halo 3 had its share of Easter eggs hidden away and one of them only works on a single day each year.

 

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That single day of operation is the reason why it remained undiscovered for seven years. This particular Easter egg is only accessible on December 25 via the loading screen by hitting both thumb sticks. The result is that the screen zooms out giving a wider view of the Halo ring and a birthday greeting for Lauren.

 

The greeting reads, "Happy Birthday Lauren!" It's hard to believe that no one mentioned this Easter egg for all those years. I guess it's cool to have your own greeting in a game that no one knows about.

Continue reading 'Halo 3 Easter egg discovered seven years after game launch' (full post)

ISEE-3 suffers thruster failure dashing hopes for new mission

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jul 11, 2014 12:00 pm

The group of amateur volunteer operators that have been trying to get the ISEE-3 satellite back on its original mission after the satellite was sent to study comets decades ago have given a valiant effort. In the end, the satellite has now reportedly lost thruster capability. We mentioned a few days ago that the satellite had responded to commands and fired its thrusters.

 

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However, a subsequent attempt to get the satellite to fire its thrusters again failed. On Wednesday, the team trying to regain control of the satellite announced that a failure in the propulsion system of the satellite has made it impossible for the thrusters to fire again.

 

The team says that with the failure of the propulsion system, they have turned the satellite back to science mode and will gather data for as long as possible. They believe that the satellite can gather data for a few months. ISEE-3 launched in 1978 to study space weather and was retired 17 years ago. Operators say that with one thruster firing performed there is a small chance the satellite will hit the moon.

LG unveils flexible 18-inch OLED display that can be rolled up

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Displays & Projectors | Posted: Jul 11, 2014 11:06 am

Flexible electronics is a goal that many companies have been working towards for years. Not only will flexible electronics allow new form factors to be developed, they should also survive drops and bumps better since they can flex. LG has unveiled a new flexible display that measures 18-inches and uses OLED tech.

 

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The display is flexible enough that it can be rolled up and placed inside a cardboard tube to take with you on the go. The 18-inch flexible screen has a resolution of 1200 x 810 and almost 1 million pixels. It can be rolled into a radius of 3cm without doing any damage to the screen.

 

One important factor about this rollable OLED TV that is still unknown is exactly how much it will cost. Considering the production challenges normal OLED panels have and the high costs, a rollable TV won't be cheap. LG is also aiming at building even larger flexible screens and wants to have a 60-inch flexible TV on the market by 2017.

Since SwiftKey went free, the company has seen 54% more monthly users

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Apps | Posted: Jul 11, 2014 10:35 am

Since SwiftKey decided to offer its unbelievably awesome keyboard for free on the Google Play store, the company has noticed a massive 54% increase in the amount of monthly users.

 

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This is what happens when you drop a great product that people were willing to pay $3.99 for, to $0. Once SwiftKey had moved into the free territory, the company has seen both paid, and free themes downloaded over 12 million times. Customized keyboards seem to be popular, something that the company has discovered since it made SwiftKey free.

FTC says Amazon let kids make unauthorized in-app purchases

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 11, 2014 10:15 am

The FTC says that Amazon has made it too easy for kids to make in-app purchase using parents phones and accounts. According to the FTC, Amazon's in-app purchase system allowed children to make millions of dollars of in-app purchases that the parent didn't authorize. The FTC leveled this allegation against Amazon in a complaint filed Thursday in a US court.

 

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The suit was filed against Amazon in the Western District of Washington and is seeking a court order to force Amazon to refund money to parents for all unauthorized purchases made by kids. The FTC is also seeking a ban on Amazon's ability to bill parents and other account holders for in-app charges without consent.

 

The FTC wants to highlight a central tenant in this case and that tenant is that companies should get parents permission before charging for in-app purchases. Director of the FTC Consumer Protection Bureau Jessica Rich says that Amazon employees raised concerns about purchases by children years before Amazon changed any procedures. The FTC complaint also notes that the refund process is "unclear and rife with deterrents."

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