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Business, Financial & Legal Posts - Page 11

Mass Effect creator Casey Hudson leave BioWare

BioWare has just lost a key player to its ranks, with Casey Hudson leaving the company. Hudson was an Executive Producer on the Mass Effect series, but it looks like he's not leaving BioWare to join another company, he has explained that he just needs to "hit the reset button".

 

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Hudson wrote: "While I feel that the time has come, this is without a doubt the most difficult decision of my career. BioWare is as magical a place today as it was when I started. The projects we are working on are some of the most exciting and prestigious in the world. The talent in our teams is second to none. And the people here are some of my closest friends. I've spent more time with many of you than my own family, and I have enjoyed every day of it".

LinkedIn made to pay 6 million USD to underpaid employees

The social network for people who have to wear ties on a day to day basis, LinkedIn, has been forced by the US Department of Labor to pay out 6 million USD after being found guilty of breaking wage laws.

 

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LinkedIn was found to have broken federal wage laws in California, Illinois, Nebraska and New York, and subsequently had to pay over 3 million in back wages, plus over 2.5 million in damages to 359 people, including former employees and those still at the firm. Although the company was caught out by the Department of Labor, it did praise LinkedIn for how it responded - agreeing to pay every cent and taking steps to ensure it didn't happen again.

 

"Talent is LinkedIn's number one priority, so of course, we were eager to work closely with the Dept. of Labor to quickly and equitably rectify this situation," a spokesperson for LinkedIn said to CNET. "This was a function of not having the right tools in place for a small subset of our sales force to track hours properly; prior to the DoL approaching us, we had already begun to remedy this."

Gmail moves unsubscribe links to the top of emails

Unsubscribe links for mailing lists are movin' on up in Gmail. It used to be that you would have to dig around at the bottom of a message from a mailing list to find the unsubscribe link. Google has now changed that with the addition of unsubscribe links at the top of the email.

 

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The point of this is to make it easier for folks to get of lists that they don't want to be on to begin with. Google was testing the feature with a limited number of users and is now rolling it out live for all users.

 

Gmail says that the new feature is better for email senders as well and makes mail less likely to be marked as spam. If the email includes an unsubscribe link, it automatically gets moved to the top next to the senders email address.

Pinterest adds messaging to allow conversations about pins

Pinterest has added a new way for users of its website to talk about the things they pin. Starting this week Pinterest has added a new chat feature that allows users to talk about their favorite things without having to leave the Pinterest site or app.

 

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Pinterest is hoping that the new messaging feature will make it easier for people to chat about their favorite things without leaving the website. Pinterest says that it has over 2 million pins set each day and last year it allowed the users of its app and site to share pins with others via email and notifications on the site.

 

A group of Pinterest users dubbed Power Pinners has been working with the site to refine the product and make it ready for roll out. The messaging service lacks a persistent contact list. That is because it doesn't want to be a messaging service like others out there. Messaging will be available when you Send a Pin and choose a contact; the conversation appears in the lower left corner when the pin is sent.

Google and Barnes & Noble team to fight Amazon via same day delivery

Amazon has been offering same day delivery of certain items from its website for a while now in some parts of the US. That same day delivery service is something that Google and Barnes & Noble want to compete against Amazon with so they have teamed up to make it happen.

 

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Google and Barnes & Noble will been offering book buyers in some parts of the US same day deliveries from local Barnes & Noble stores. The same day delivery service will be offered in Manhattan, West LA, and the San Francisco Bay area via Google Shopping Express.

 

Google Shopping kicked off about year ago and lets buyers in serviced areas get times from stores like Costco, Walgreens, Staples, and Target stores that can be delivered within hours of the purchase. Barnes & Noble CEO Michael Huseby views the service as a test and an attempt to link digital and physical products.

Microsoft eyes retail store near Apple's flagship Fifth Ave location

Microsoft has wanted to compete directly with Apple's retail presence for a long time, but hasn't been able to pull that off. A rumor is circulating that Microsoft is set to open a large new retail store on Fifth Ave in New York City not far from where Apple has its iconic Fifth Ave location.

 

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Microsoft is eyeing a two-story building at 677 Fifth Ave that is vacant and is only a few blocks from the Apple store. Apple certainly has popular and iconic products with the iPad and iPhone among other things, while Microsoft lacks any really popular products.

 

Surface tablets continue to lose money for Microsoft. Perhaps a new retail location could help sales, but a new store near an Apple location doesn't seem to be something that would change the market.

uBeam wireless charging tech uses ultrasound to charge

A woman named Meredith Perry was studying astrobiology at the University of Pennsylvania when she made an interesting discovery that allows portable electronic devices like laptops and cell phones to be charged wirelessly using ultrasound. The tech she created takes electricity and converts it into ultrasound that can be sent through the air to a receiver.

 

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The receiver on the other end captures the ultrasound and turns it back into electricity. Recently the company that Perry founded, called uBeam, created a fully functional prototype of the tech, and plans to turn it into a product for consumers.

 

With this tech, a user could be on their phone and moving around a room freely while the device is charging. The uBeam transmitter would be no more than 5mm thick and receivers for converting the sound into electricity would also be thin. The tech being used can also be used to send secure data as well. One drawback of the tech is that power can't be transmitted through walls; a transmitter is needed for each room.

YouTube buys Directr mobile video app, absorbs employees

YouTube has announced that it has purchased a new video startup called Directr. Directr is a company that makes a mobile video app that allows small businesses to create marketing videos to help push their wares to customers. It's unclear how much the deal cost YouTube.

 

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Directr has an app for the iOS platform that is aimed at making it easy to shoot, edit, and upload short videos to the internet. Google is currently planning to add all the employees of Directr to its staff on the video-ads team.

 

Currently the Directr app has a cost associated with it, but Google plans to offer free versions of the app once the company joins YouTube. Google made another purchase this week buying a startup called Emu offering a mobile messaging service.

Chinese government removes Apple devices from its procurement list

Bloomberg is reporting that Apple devices have been removed from the Chinese governments purchasing list, for security reasons. The devices that are banned total an amount of ten items, including the iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

 

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Back in June, these devices were on the list, among devices from competitors like Dell and HP. The list is set to be reviewed next by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which is China's premier planning body, and the Ministry of Finance, in January of 2015. The Chinese government has been on a spree of limiting the use of US-owned technology after the Snowden leaks, as well as the constant escalating claims of hacking and cyber spying.

 

It was only last week that the Chinese government removed Symantec and Kaspersky from their procurement list, too. A few weeks ago, China's state-run broadcaster China Central Television said that the location tracking abilities in Apple's iOS are a national security concern. Apple refuted this claim, saying that all location data is secured solely within the iPhone, and not on Apple services, reiterating that the company doesn't work with government agencies to spy on its users.

Sony is being sued for falsely advertising Killzone running at 1080p

Douglas Ladore has submitted a complaint with the California Northern District federal court, where he is claiming that Sony promised 1080p single and multiplayer graphics in its advertisements and interviews for Killzone: Shadow Fall before the game was released in November 2013.

 

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On Killzone: Shadow Fall's packaging, it clearly shows a "1080p HD video output" logo on the back. Killzone's multiplayer renders the game at 960x1080, which is half of the 1920x1080 that "1080p" or "Full HD" is. In order to output the full 1920x1080 resolution, this source image has something called "temporal upscale" applied to it, something that fills the gaps with a horizontal interlace containing pixels from the previous frame. The result is graphical performance that the lawsuit, and reviewers across the world claim call "blurry to the point of distraction".

 

Guerrilla Games, the developer behind Killzone, along with Sony, took to a blog post to address the concerns of this "temporal projection" method. The companies said that it provides "subjectively similar results" to rendering at the full 1080p resolution. Ladore's lawsuit wasn't happy with this, where he argues: "While this reconstruction technique might be novel, it is decidedly not the 'native 1080p' Sony promised". But was anyone hurt from the result of this resolution downgrade in Killzone? Not directly.

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