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Microsoft to announce major job cuts this week says source

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 15, 2014 4:07 pm

Microsoft is one of the largest technology firms in the world and according to sources familiar with the software giant's plans, the company will be announcing major job cuts this week. Microsoft is said to be planning the largest round of job cuts in the last five years as the company looks to slim down.

 

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The job cuts could be announced as soon as this week according to sources who claim to be familiar with plans at Microsoft. Exactly how many jobs are on the line is unknown, but the sources say that these cuts could be larger than the 5800 workers Microsoft shed in 2009.

 

In 2009 when the 5800 workers were shed, that was about 5% of Microsoft's global workforce. The software giant currently has over 127,000 employees, counting those gained in the Nokia merger. Some of the cuts are expected to be in marketing departments for businesses like the global Xbox team.

Orbital Sciences Cygnus spacecraft heads to ISS with supplies

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jul 15, 2014 3:06 pm

Typically, when we talk about missions to the ISS to resupply the crew aboard the space station, we are talking about SpaceX. The other company that has a contract in the US to resupply the ISS is Orbital Sciences, and it has just launched its third mission to the ISS.

 

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Orbital put its Cygnus unmanned spacecraft into orbit yesterday with a cargo hold packed with supplies for the space station. Among the supplies aboard the spacecraft was food, science gear, and mini satellites. Cygnus launched and was successfully put into the required orbit to link up with the ISS after a "perfect" launch. Orbital has one more resupply mission set for this year with three to take place in 2015.

 

"Today's mission was the fourth successful launch of Antares in the past 15 months and the third deployment of Cygnus in less than year," said David W. Thompson, Orbital's president and CEO. "So far, our second operational CRS mission is off to a great start with Cygnus operating exactly as anticipated at this early stage of the mission. We are very pleased to be a reliable partner with NASA to meet their need for reliable, regularly scheduled cargo resupply for the ISS."

NASA predicts 100m planets in our galaxy could host life

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Jul 15, 2014 2:00 pm

One of the things that NASA spends lots of money searching for is life on other planets. That life doesn't necessarily have to be another intelligent species; it could be nothing more than some bacteria or other simple life forms. NASA has recently predicted that 100 million world's in the Milky Way galaxy might host alien life.

 

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The space agency recently outlined a roadmap that it will follow in an effort to discover exoplanets that might host alien life. That roadmap includes the launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Surveying Satellite in 2017 and the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018.

 

The most interesting prediction by NASA is that we will find alien life in the next 20 years with a high chance that it is outside our solar system. "Do we believe there is life beyond Earth?" said former astronaut and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "I would venture to say that most of my colleagues here today say it is improbable that in the limitless vastness of the universe we humans stand alone."

Lionsgate Entertainment and Alibaba Group team for streaming content

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 15, 2014 1:00 pm

Lionsgate Entertainment and Alibaba Group have announced a new streaming content agreement has been put in place. The agreement will see hit films and TV programming from Lionsgate come to leading Alibaba properties. The agreement covers blockbuster films like Divergent and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse among other content.

 

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The content will be offered by the Alibaba group as a premium subscription offering and will be offered exclusively through the latest generation Alibaba set top boxes. TV series that will be coming to the streaming service include The Royals, a show that will debut on E! early next year, Nashville, Mad Men, and Weeds among others.

 

"We're pleased to collaborate with Alibaba, a world-class brand that is well known and respected among consumers throughout China," said Lionsgate Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer. "Alibaba is the kind of entrepreneurial company with whom we like to be in business, and the launch of our streaming service in China underscores our commitment to innovation and leadership in delivering premium content to digital platforms around the world."

Dish Network wins court decision for Hopper DVRs

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 15, 2014 12:06 pm

Dish Network has one of the coolest whole home DVR systems in the satellite TV realm in the US and it is called the Hopper. The Hopper DVR will allow you to watch the same recorded shows in any room of your home and includes place-shifting tech built-in to allow you to stream your shows remotely to other devices and transfer content to your mobile device to view on the go.

 

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That means if you are going on vacation and want to shoot the latest episode of your favorite show from your DVR to your iPad for the trip, you can do that. Fox has been fighting Dish Network in court to get that export feature ruled illegal, but so far, Dish has prevailed at every turn.

 

Fox recently asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to stop Dish from streaming its content over the internet to its subscribers. The appeals court ruled against the injunction for Fox this week, but the case is continuing. NBC, Fox, ABC, and CBS all sued Dish two years ago to block the ad skipping feature of the Hopper DVR system, and failed in that attempt.

Chromebooks outpace OS X and Windows in commercial sales

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Computer Systems | Posted: Jul 15, 2014 11:01 am

The Chromebook may not be putting a massive dent in the consumer market when it comes to outselling OS X and Windows machines to the public, but in the business and education market Chromebooks are growing massively. In the three weeks that ended on June 7, Chromebooks were a solid 40% of all computers sold in the commercial realm.

 

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Commercial sales include sales to businesses, schools, governments, and other organizations. Beating out Mac and Windows machines in the education environment is a big deal as that is a very coveted market for all manufacturers. The reason so much weight is placed on educational sales is that when you get users when they are young, they are more likely to stick with a platform forever.

 

"Chrome's unit strength ahead of this year's education buying season shows how it has become a legitimate third platform alongside Windows and Mac OS X and iOS," Stephen Baker, NPD vice president of industry analysis, says. "The next test for Chrome will clearly be the most difficult, as both Apple and Microsoft get more aggressive in pricing and deal making over the next few months", Baker says. "By the end of the third quarter we will have a much clearer picture of the long-term impact Chromebooks will have in the commercial channel".

Ferrari designer creates luxury train for Japan Rail East

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Business, Politics & Money | Posted: Jul 15, 2014 10:24 am

Many people get around by train all around the world, but Japan has some of the coolest trains in the world. The Japanese bullet trains can streak down the rails at very high speeds cutting transit times significantly. A Japanese rail service called Japan Rail East has had a Ferrari designer create a very cool luxury train.

 

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The designer creating the sleek train is Ken Okuyama and the design is called the Cruise Titan and is set to go into service in the spring of 2017. The train will hold 34 passengers and is to feature ten carriages with five suites inside. One of the suites will be a deluxe unit and the train will feature two glass walled observation cars, a dining car, and a lounge.

 

The train will have an observation car in the front to allow the passengers to see down the tracks in front of the train. All of the suites will have a shower and toilet with space for four people to sleep. Cruise Titan will be able to operate on electric and non-electric rails.

PC hardware market valued at over $21.5 billion, what consoles?

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 15, 2014 9:30 am

Jon Peddie Research, or JPR, has a new report out that sees the PC hardware market valued at a huge $21.5 billion. This figure is over twice the amount of the console gaming market, which should see people finally seeing that the PC market is just as, if not more important than the console market.

 

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JPR Senior Analyst Ted Pollak said: "We continue to see a shift in casual console customers moving to mobile. While this is also occurring in the lower-end PC gaming world, more money is being directed to mid- and high-range builds and upgrades by gamers". Pollak continued, saying that PC gamers simply aren't interested in gaming consoles, something he calls "pure content consumption platforms".

 

He added that PC gamers have no problems paying thousands of dollars for "the ability to play games at very high settings" while also having the ability to do other desktop tasks, such as content creation and video editing "with maximum horsepower at their disposal in a desktop ergonomic environment".

Continue reading 'PC hardware market valued at over $21.5 billion, what consoles?' (full post)

Maximum problems continue: Homefront director resigns from Crytek

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 15, 2014 8:30 am

Crytek is continuing to ride this downward spiral, with the game director of Homefront: The Revolution, Hasit Zala resigning from his position at Crytek UK. Earlier this month, Crytek UK development manager Ben Harris also left the company, along with a slew of other people.

 

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A person "connected to Crytek UK" according to Kotaku has said: "It creates a weird scenario as there are now no upper management. Everything is just continuing on a downwards spiral". Another person "connected to the studio" said "People haven't been paid for a long time".

 

Crytek has been maximum silence over the issues, but the cat has to get out of the bag soon enough. We're either going to see a brick wall get hit, or we're going to hear about delays on titles soon enough.

US government wants to build an experimental city for Wi-Fi testing

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Connectivity & Communications | Posted: Jul 15, 2014 7:27 am

Two US government agencies have requested for comment on something it looks to build an experimental "model city" with the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) behind the request.

 

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The FCC and NTIA want "one or more" cities built across the United States, where it would built a test area within these borders that would support "rapid experimentation and development of policies, underlying technologies, and system capabilities". The US government isn't exactly sure on how the experimental city would be run, where it would be in the hands of the FCC and NTIA, the city itself, or by private companies who are in communication with the local government.

 

This is why the government is opening the doors to public comments, to gauge reaction from US citizens on this new experimental city talk.

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