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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.