This is something truly amazing, Xian Min Zhang sent in a video to Gizmodo of his company's latest project, a 30-story tall, 183,000-square-foot hotel built in just 360 hours. 360 hours is just an amazing 15 days. What is more impressive is that it's not just a simple hotel built, there are some great features built-in.
The hotel was built near the Dongting lake, in the Hunan Province, China, by Broad Group, a Chinese construction company who specializes in sustainable architecture. The building uses prefabricated modules (with a +/- 0.2mm precision in the fabrication process) mounted on a steel structure, with diagonal steel bracing.
What impressed me the most, are the following features of the building: it can resist a 9-magnitude earthquake (and was tested by the China Academy of Building Research), which is claimed to be five times more earthquake-resistant than conventional buildings. It is also five times more more energy efficient, with 6-inch thick glass curtain wall insulation and four-paned windows with built-in shades, a heat recovery system and 3-stage filtration air conditioning process that actually purifies indoor air to be 20 times (!) purer than the air outside.
AMD may have had a successful Radeon HD 7000-series launch, but 2012 is not starting off well for their laptop division. Quanta Computer, a Taiwanese company that manufactures laptops for companies such as HP, Dell, Acer, and others, is suing AMD for an alleged breach of contract.
Quanta Computer are claiming that AMD chips used in laptops made for NEC were defective. No specific models have been mentioned, but both AMD and ATI are mentioned in the report, meaning that the complaints could cover GPUs, CPUs or, both. The problem that Quanta have with the chips is heat tolerance issues in a particular laptop line, but again, no models are mentioned.
Quanta claims that it "has suffered significant injury to prospective revenue and profits" and they are suing for breach of warranty, negligent misrepresentation, civil fraud, and interference with a contract.
Verizon Wireless Chief Financial Officer, Fran Shammo, today participated in Citi's Global Entertainment, Media & Communications Conference, and as part of his presentation, revealed some iPhone sales numbers for Verizon.
Shammo announced that Verizon had pumped through 4.2 million iPhones during Q4 2011, which is the same quarter that Apple launched their iPhone 4S. Q4's sales dwarfed Q3's sale numbers of the iPhone by more than double, from 2.0 million to 4.2 million. Apple sold just over 17 million iPhones during Q3, so if Verizon sold 4.2 million iPhones during Q4, Apple could've sold nearly 35 million iPhones during Q4 across the world.
Apple today announced they will report their holiday quarter sales and earnings numbers on January 24, where we should know more about their sales numbers, but in detail. As a result of the strong iPhone 4S sales performance, Verizon is expecting a reduction in its profit margin as they absorb the upfront subsidies paid to Apple for the iPhone 4S.
As time goes on, Verizon claw back their money from customers service contracts.
Update: I've been informed by Intel, that the engineers did not in fact work for Intel, as the story originally suggested.
Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) have arrested four Intel engineers where they allegedly sold sample processors on eBay. The suspects were confirmed as Intel engineers at an OEM plant in Taiwan were taken into custody in the city of Taoyuan.
Detectives had been tracking the engineers since September and conducted a raid on the individual's homes last month, according to reports. Authorities seized just 178 sample CPUs with an estimated street value of $82,500. The suspects admitted to selling more than 500 ES-branded chips since 2009.
Engineering sample CPUs are typically designated by Intel Confidential and ES markings are considered beta versions that get used for in-house testing, compatibility qualification, used as demonstrations or sent to media outlets for evaluation purposes. The chips are usually sent out to various outlets before commercial release and those who receive them usually sign non-disclosure agreements and after they're finished with the chip, return it or keep it and agree not to sell it.
There were a lot of smartphone and tablet activations over Christmas, but Flurry Analytics have some interesting numbers when it comes to App downloads over the Christmas week. Over 1.2 billion (with a B) were downloaded onto mobile devices, worldwide.
This number beats the previous record set for most apps downloads in a single week by an astounding 70-percent. Records for app downloads are usually cemented into history during the Christmas week, as most people are gifted a device in mass numbers during this time.
With nearly 7 million iOS and Android-powered devices activated on just December 24 and 25, Flurry Analytics estimate that over 20 million devices were activated. Out of the 1.2 billion apps downloaded between December 25 and 31, Christmas Day itself was quite popular with an amazing 242 million app downloads.
Three countries made up nearly 50-percent of the 1.2 billion downloads, with the U.S. raking in 509 million by itself, China in second place with 99 million and the U.K. snagged 81 million.
Imagine you wake up tomorrow, pull your smartphone or tablet from your bedside table, click the Facebook icon and wait for it to load. It loads, and shows you a simple page of "We have taken Facebook down in support of SOPA, if you're against the act, please call X" and with X is your local representative, or whoever Facebook decide to redirect you to.
You think, no wait, there's no way this is happening. You Google the issue. Google's page doesn't load and a similar site is up. Your heart sinks and you think Skynet have finally taken over. A T-101 will step through your door and ask if Sarah Connor lives there, before shooting your home up.
Well, that was a great introduction into what could be the biggest arsenal that the Internet has against the crap that is SOPA. According to Markham Erickson, head of the NetCoalition trade association, there has been talk of a so-called "nuclear option", where Google, Amazon, eBay, and Yahoo! would all simultaneously go dark to protest SOPA and to highlight the fundamental danger the legislation poses to the function of the Internet itself.
Samsung and Apple have been punching each other for what seems like forever now, and Samsung is now taking the battle somewhere new: your living room. The latest from the Korean-based company is they've hired the same girl from the iPhone 4S commercial for their latest South Korean commercial for the Galaxy Tab 8.9.
Apple has since the beginning claimed that Samsung copied the style and design of their famous iPad/iPhone and iOS in general. Samsung seem to have done exactly what a troll company would do, use a legal method to piss Apple off.
So they hired the same girl to star in their commercial, which is perfectly legal. It not only benefits the girl and her family monetary wise, but it lets Samsung wink at us, the public, against Apple. Samsung have since pulled their commercial off their website, but thanks to the wonderful YouTube, and thanks to fellow competitor, Google for owning them, we can still see it.
Montreal resident Martin Reisch was travelling to the U.S. to drop off some Christmas presents when he realised he forgot his passport. Being two hours from home already, he wasn't about to turn back.
As he approached U.S. customs, he thought he'd attempt to use a digital copy of his passport that he had on his iPad to get through customs. The border official was a bit annoyed, but let him through. A Canadian official also let him through on his way back home.
Reisch wasn't travelling by plane, but was making a land crossing which could be the difference between using the iPad copy at an airport and not being allowed to travel. This may not work again, or for anyone else, but it goes to show a digital copy of your identification can definitely help, at the worst of times.
At first, I thought this news was a joke, but nope. It's real. An Illinois man sued Pepsi back in 2009 after he claimed he "spat out the soda to reveal a dead mouse", the Madison County Record reported.
The man sent the mouse to Pepsi Co. where they "destroyed" the remains after he allowed them to test it, according to his complaint. Pepsi's lawyers, however, found experts to testify on the matter based on the state of remains sent to them, where they said:
The mouse would have dissolved in the soda had it been in the can from the time of its bottling until the day the plaintiff drank it.
Pepsi added that it would've been a "jelly-like" substance. Imagine this going to trial, imagine being in the jury of this court case. I don't think I'll ever be drinking a can of Mountain Dew again.
HP's TouchPad has gone through a million and one things, and another piece of the puzzle has leaked out that they tried to palm off its Palm/WebOS properties to potential buyers for a very nice $1.2 billion.
That is the same price HP paid for the company back in 2010, and even then, were criticized by analysts for the expensive buyout claiming the deal sorely overvalued Palm and that was over a year ago now. HP tapped the wallets of Amazon, Intel, Facebook and even Samsung to offload Palm. No one was willing to make such a large investment though.
Not only did HP put a $1.2 billion price tag on the property of Palm/WebOS, they insisted they maintained rights to use WebOS in their printers. Most companies would look away once they realised HP were flogging off the property for the same price, with preconditions and stipulations stuck to it. After being unable to rid themselves of Palm/WebOS, HP sent the project to the open-source bin so it can evolve, free of obligations from the company.
The world may be going through some changes, and I really think we're just beginning to scrape the surface of a real GFC, but Taiwanese foundries are talking about slicing prices by 10- to 15-percent for wafters built on mature node processes.
These wafters have lower production costs, so the foundries are passing on the savings to you and me, the customer. The move is said to build consumer confidence in building their inventory after a shaky 2011 in the U.S. and European markets. DigiTimes reports that although there is slow demand for mature process manufacturing, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) continues to see orders build up for the advanced 28nm technology (such as the great Radeon HD 7970 from AMD), according to sources at non Taiwan-based chip suppliers.
This is only a good thing, savings on technology. It also allows vendors to buy cheaper, and pass those savings onto the customer, too. All we need now is a drop in the mid to high-end range of GPUs and I'll be happy. Give me some HD 7970's for under $500 AUD and I'll be a happy chappy.
I must've somehow missed this in the hoopla that is New Years, but I'll make it quick. Nintendo, Electronic Arts and Sony Electronics have all followed by example of Microsoft and the Business Software Alliance by kicking the ass of support for SOPA.
This is a good move, as they all know that the land of Internet people will be at their doors with pitch forks if they continued support for the Stop Online Piracy Act. All three of the companies did not make a comment on why they reversed their decision to support SOPA, but the pitch fork image I have in my head does it for me.
Keep in mind that not all of Sony land took their support away, with Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Music Nashville all still appear on the SOPA list. Let's wait to see how this bill goes, let's all collectively hope that it does not pass.
Samsung's Galaxy Note, the uber-large, but curvaceously sexy Galaxy Note, which sports a 5.3-inch screen is a kind of tabletphone hybrid. This hasn't stopped the device from shipping more than 1 million in Europe and Asia, before it even hits the shores of the U.S.
The rapid sales of the device show Samsung that creating a new market for something between a smartphone and tablet PC. Samsung says that the speed of sales should accelerate even further going into the new year when it becomes available in the U.S.
Samsung also note that the Financial Times reviewed the Galaxy Note highly, commenting it as:
A happy medium for consumers who want to carry just one device, rather than both a smartphone and a tablet and whatever other portable gadget they pick up on their way out.
Amazon have had a very Merry Christmas when it comes to Amazon Kindle sales over the holiday season. Amazon customers purchased millions of Kindle Fires and millions of Kindle e-readers. 2011 was the best holiday ever for the Kindle family, with one million Kindle devices sold each week.
Amazon CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos, says "We are grateful to our customers worldwide for making this the best holiday ever for Kindle." He continues pointing out the fact that the #1 and #4 best-selling Kindle books released in 2011 were both published independently by their authors using Kindle Direct Publishing.
Three Kindle-based products took the top three spots on Amazon's best seller list, with the Kindle Fire, Kindle Touch and Kindle taking out the top three spots, respectively. Amazon's latest, Kindle Fire, was the most gifted and wished for product on Amazon this season, and was also the top selling product in the UK, France, Spain and Italy. Kindle Fire also took out the best selling product on Amazon's mobile site.
With Newegg in one corner as the second-largest online retailer in the U.S. and the number one destination for tech-savvy shoppers, with Amazon the top U.S. e-tailer in the other corner, both releasing their holiday best-selling item reports.
Neweggs list contains:
Laptops/Notebooks: 15.6" Asus A53E-EH91
Televisions: Sceptre 32" 720p LCD HDTV
Video Games: Microsoft Xbox 360 250GB Holiday Bundle with Halo Reach and Fable 3
Digital Cameras: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47K 12.1 MP
Software: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
Monitors: Acer G235HAbd 23" LCD
CPUs/Processors: Intel Core i5-2500K
Motherboards: Asus P8Z68-V Pro
Hard Drives: Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 3.5"
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Series F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL 8GB (2 x 4GB)
Video Cards: EVGA GeForce GTX 550 Ti
Sony's NGP, PlayStation Vita, enjoyed a first week of record sales, selling 321,400 Vita units in the first 48 hours on sale in Japan. Second unit numbers, however, are much, much lower.
According to research outfit Media Create, who track the Japanese console gaming industry, Sony sold just 72,479 Vita's during the most crucial shopping week before Christmas. A huge decline of over 75-percent versus the first week.
The numbers were so low that the PS3 actually outsold the Vita, with the PS3 pushing 75,943 units versus the Vita's 72,479. The decline reportedly stems from inventory issues, as well as early reports of issues with the Vita. Sony was quick to refuge the allegations, which ranged from laggy gameplay to crashes.
As of January 1, 2012, and part of a new Xbox Live policy, Microsoft will ban the purchase of any and all gun-related Avatar accessories within Xbox Live. In what seems like a troll from Microsoft, it's actually a 'family-friendly' move by them.
The news came from an Epic Games forum post, where community manager raczilla noted that the Lander and Hammerburst Avatar accessories related to the Gears of War series will no longer be available for purchase on the Xbox Live Marketplace in the New Year.
Microsoft debuted Avatars in November of 2008, to copy Nintendo's Mii's on the Wii console, to visually represent a gamer using a cartoon-style character. What I don't understand is, how the hell do Microsoft think they can justify this when Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo, Gears of War, with the list virtually never-ending, are all on sale and huge money makers for the company?
It's almost as ridiculous as watching someone get banned on a Battlefield 3 server 'for swearing' when the core game itself, in single-player swears all the time and so do the people within the multi-player itself. It's trolltastic.
There have been plenty of people who have worked for ATI, that have moved onto bigger and better things by packing up their brown box, throwing their personal items inside like a plant or a family portrait (ok, ok, that sounds like a Hollywood cliche, but it's how I imagine it as an Australian) and moving to a better job.
Now former AMD employee, Richard Huddy, has moved onto Intel. His goal with the red team was to form stronger relations with the game developers themselves. Big news, eh? Huddy has pushed through plenty of things for not only the technological industry, but the gaming industry. He worked with one of my favorite games, Max Payne, and ended up with a starring role as the mad professor in the lab. From there, he has helped a tonne of huge games hit the market.
6.8 million Android and iOS devices were activated on Christmas Day, also 242 million apps were downloaded
Christmas Day 2011 must have had stockings filled with electronics, because an estimate from mobile app research from Flurry give details on just how many Android and iOS-powered devices were activated on Christmas Day, as well as the amount of downloaded apps.
Combined, we saw 6.8 million devices activated, an insane 353-percent increase from the 1.5 million average activations per day for the first 20 days of December. This is also 4 million devices higher than the 2010 Christmas record of 2.8 million. Flurry doesn't break down the split of iOS and Android, but if we go with the information of Android chief Andy Rubin saying just before Christmas that Android activations are sitting pretty with 700,000 per day, we know that Apple must be pulling the same numbers.
Foxconn, a major Apple manufacturing partner, are planning a huge expansion of their operations in 2012. The expansion is set to dramatically increase production of iPhones and iPads to meet the never-ending demand.
Foxconn is reportedly working with the Chinese city of Zhengzhou to double the size of its workforce at the facility there, where another 10,000 employees will be hired. This is the same number of employees hired in 2011 alone.
The expansion is valued at $1.1 billion and would make the Foxconn factory the largest smartphone production facility in the world. Foxconn's Zhengzhou plant currently pumps out close to 200,000 iPhones each and everyday. Doubling their workforce and having a larger factory is only going to increase that, by, well, a lot.
I've covered SOPA-related news for the past few days, as it is getting quite serious with GoDaddy being hit hard. It has just been announced that Jimmy Wales decision to find a new home for Wikipedia, away from the SOPA loving hands of GoDaddy.
Wales is quite unhappy with GoDaddy's position on the Stop Online Privacy Act, by announcing the shift in the following tweet:
I am proud to announce that the Wikipedia domain names will move away from GoDaddy. Their position on #sopa is unacceptable to us.
He then updated, and posted another tweet the next day:
Wikia is also moving several hundred domains from godaddy. Which registrar has quality and price right?
SOPA is starting to snowball into a serious issue, it needs as much airtime as possible.