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HTC's biggest problem? Its CEO, according to insiders

We all know HTC is going through troubled times, but at the same time they've seen some decent success with some of its latest smartphones. The Taiwanese company has even enlisted the help of Robert Downey Jr, or Iron Man, in its latest advertising campaign.

 

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But, the company still has issues. Reuters has an interesting interview lineup, where they've interviewed over a dozen of former, and current HTC executives, who talked about HTC's CEO, Peter Chou. They said they Chou was a quick decision maker with an attention to detail, which stop HTC from climbing higher up the smartphone success ladder.

 

Chou's traits have, however, helped the company over the last few years, as Chou could quickly make a decision on a product, or quickly snap together a concept for a new device. Reuters did talk of an offsite meeting two years ago where the HTC CEO sketched his plans for the design, price and launch date of the Sensation XL a mere three months before its launch.

 

In the beginning, this was a strength for HTC, but the competition is heating up, and fast. One unnamed HTC source said: "It used to be a strength, and now is becoming a weak point as they don't have a clear direction going forward."

Copyright Troll gets caught seeding torrents on The Pirate Bay

It's no secret that copyright and patent trolls are not the most ethical of creatures. In fact, many regard them as little more than the scum of the earth. Today, website Torrentfreak has released a report that shows just how immoral and unethical copyright trolls can be.

 

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The report says that Comcast has confirmed that a Pirate Bay user going by the name "Sharkmp4" has been directly linked to the notorious copyright troll Prenda Law. In a weird turn of events, The Pirate Bay actually helped Comcast expose the copyright troll who is running a honeypot on the popular torrent listing service.

 

The exposure came after a June report released by Delvan Neville, who works for a company that monitors BitTorrent users, that accused Prenda of running the so-called honeypot. The report says that the law firm was the major seeder of the very files they claim to be protecting. The Pirate Bay jumped in and exposed the IP address that Sharkmp4 was using, which matched up with Prenda's IP address.

Coinbase begins allowing users to send, buy, or sell Bitcoins via SMS

Earlier this week, the one-year-old Bitcoin startup Coinbase announced that it has made buying, selling, or trading Bitcoins easier than ever. The company now allows its users to interact with the virtual currency using SMS-based actions. This new feature allows anyone with a mobile device the ability to use Bitcoins for all sorts of things.

 

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To get started, users must simply verify their phone number and then set up a PIN that will be used to verify the transaction during a voice call that is received after the SMS messages are received. Using the virtual currency via SMS is quite easy as users can send a text message using one of the predetermined short codes the company has set up.

Apple is looking for engineers for a new iPhone R&D center in Taiwan

It is being reported that Apple is looking for a bunch of engineers to fill a new iPhone R&D center that will be based in Taiwan. The Cupertino-based company has posted up job listings for engineers who will work at a facility based in Taipei.

 

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Taiwan-based DigiTimes are behind the report, who claim they have heard from sources that Apple might also set up a maintenance center in Taiwan that would provide after-sales services. The engineers that Apple is looking for are being recruited for the Taiwan-based facility will reportedly work on next-gen iPhones.

 

Apple are also reportedly looking for a senior packaging engineers, senior software instrumentation engineer and senior AC-DC design engineer. This will be an interesting step for both Apple, and the entire of Taiwan.

Microsoft scoops up ex-Valve employee to help its PC division

Microsoft might be trying to improve its PC division with the hiring of an ex-Valve employee. Jason Holtman is now an employee of the Redmond-based giant, leaving his post at Valve in February.

 

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Holtman spoke with GamesIndustry about his move to Microsoft, where he said: "Yes, I have joined Microsoft where I will be focusing on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment. I think there is a lot of opportunity for Microsoft to deliver the games and entertainment customers want and to work with developers to make that happen, so I'm excited to be here."

 

Holtman is working within the PC Gaming and Entertainment Strategy division of Microsoft, which should hopefully see Microsoft starting to take the PC gaming industry seriously once again.

Brazilian government sues Samsung over poor working conditions

The Brazilian government isn't happy with Samsung, with Brazil's Ministry of Labor filing a lawsuit against Samsung over its poor working conditions in a smartphone assembly plant in Zona Franca de Manaus.

 

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The South Korean giant is being accused of excessive work hours without rest, few chairs to sit on and a bunch of health problems ranging from bad backs to tenonitis. 2,018 requests for withdrawal have been filed, which is quite a lot considering the factory hires 5,600 people.

 

The Brazilian government is seeking around $110 million in compensation for its workers. Samsung has said in a statement to Reporter Brasil, a Brazilian publication, that they will cooperate fully with authorities, and have pledged to ensure "the highest industry standards regarding safety, health and well-being." Too little, too late, I don't understand why they wouldn't just do this from the beginning. Oh, wait, profits.

iPhone 5 explodes, damages Chinese woman's eye and hands

A chinese woman has had her eye and hand damaged when her iPhone 5 exploded, where beforehand, she stated that her iPhone 5 was hotter than usual during phone calls.

 

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Unfortunately, this isn't the first time an iPhone 5 has hurt someone, where a flight attendant died and a man was electrocuted, which was found to be caused by a fake charger. Apple has since sent out an advisory to warn all Chinese customers to buy original, official Apple chargers. The Cupertino-based company is even offering discounted chargers when you trade in your old charger.

 

The woman who was hurt, who only goes by the last name of 'Li', has said she dropped her iPhone 5. The drop caused a crack in the top right hand corner of the display, after which she noticed the iPhone 5 was getting quite hot during a 40-minute phone call. She tried to disconnect the phone call, noticing that the display was no longer working.

 

Shortly after this, the iPhone 5 exploded in her hands, with shrapnel propelled toward her face, scratching the cornea of her eye.

Get ready for League of Legends themed American Express cards

League of Legends is getting bigger by the day, and now American Express are jumping on the bandwagon with a new line of League of Legends themed credit cards. The financial services company will launch the new credit cards on Wednesday, which is all part of a partnership between American Express and Riot Games. In the new lineup of cards, we'll see pre-paid debit cards that will reward cardholders with Riot Points, which is the in-game currency of League of Legends.

 

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Just for signing up for the card, the future League of Legends AMEX owner will receive 1000 Riot Pionds, and will earn an additional 1000 Riot Points for adding $20 to it. After the first 10 purchases on the new AMEX card, the cardholder will receive 1000 more Points. After linking the new AMEX card to a checking account, 10,000 Riot Points will be given to the cardholder.

 

American Express' general manager for online and mobile in the United States, Stefan Happ, told the New York Times that the new partnership was established to "expand our traditional reach beyond the mass affluent." One of the primary reasons American Express teamed up with Riot Games was because League of Legends features a very strong 32 million player base, and a "staggering one billion hours of game play a month."

WikiLeaks' legal donations for Edward Snowden now allow Bitcoins

WikiLeaks recently launched a defence fund for NSA whistlblower Edward Snowden, which now accepts the virtual currency Bitcoin. The Journalistic Source Protection Defense Fund (JSPD) was set up on August 9 with its goal of providing legal and campaign aid to journalistic sources such as Snowden.

 

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Edward Snowden is the one man responsible for the largest intelligence leak in the history of the NSA, and is the first source of this new fund. Snowden was granted asylum in Russia on August 1, after spending over five weeks in a transit zone at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow. In the cover of darkness, Snowden left the terminal for an undisclosed 'secure' location.

 

Since August 9, there have been--at the time of writing--185 contributors, who have donated $10,715. You can use PayPal, MasterCard, VISA, and other forms of payment for the Journalistic Source Protection Defense Fund.

LG's new US HQ is a go after judge rules it's not an eyesore

LG's plans to build a new US headquarters on the banks of New Jersey's Hudson River met some harsh resistance after two lawsuits threatened to derail the plans on grounds of environmental impact. The lawsuits claim that it would obstruct views of the Palisades above the western shore of the Hudson River, but today word has come in that a New Jersey Superior Court judge has dismissed the lawsuits.

 

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The judge's ruling was based on the fact that the economic impact that the new headquarters would bring in far outweighed the negatives. He explains his decision by saying: "LG had met the positive criteria requirements because the project promoted the general welfare by maintaining jobs, promoting green building design, providing adequate light, air and open space, providing energy efficiency, and utilizing renewable energy sources."

 

While the new headquarters may not be as stunning as Apple's Cupertino spaceship or Amazon's biome in the city, LG's concept art shows off an ultra-modern structure that is not unappealing to the eye. When this is combined with the fact that it will bring thousands of jobs to a struggling economy, one can only see this as a good thing.

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