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Bitcoin payment processor ExpressCoin has rolled out two new bitcoin-to-cash ATM machines in Los Angeles, manufactured by Robocoin. To verify the transaction, customers need to enter an email address and submit a palm scan - and it's possible to purchase or sell bitcoins using U.S. currency or other popular forms of currency, according to reports. The machines are located in Hollywood and Venice.
This is another major step forward for Robocoin, which has seen its ATM machines rolled out in Los Angeles, Vancouver, Las Vegas, and other select metropolitan areas. There are more than 30 Robocoin ATMs spread throughout the world, and that number will continue to grow moving forward.
"I regard the financial system in general and the players in that as our competitor," said John Russell, Robocoin founder, in a statement. "Western Union is on our cross hairs big-time... the process of wire transfers, international wire transfers - we're going to smash them, we're going to crush them. We're going to totally disrupt that environment, and that's what I'm most excited about."
The carrier-pushed, Google Wallet alternative Isis Mobile Wallet is having to change its name due to the recent violent establishment of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS.
ISIS - the militant group - has recently exerted force to seize control of vital oil fields in Iraq and seems to be gaining territories. So it's not exactly a surprise that a mobile payment option may want to distance itself from the extremely violent group. "Recently, we have observed with growing concern a militant group whose name, when translated into English, is Islamic State of Iraq and Syria - often referenced by the acronym ISIS," CEO Michael Abbott said. "Changing a brand is never easy, but we know this is the right decision."
For now, details of the rebrand are being kept under wraps, but the blog post from Abbott promises to reveal more details soon. For now the company will continue to operate as normal while it makes the tricky, unfortunate transition.
Netflix doesn't offer the same programs to everyone; availability varies depending on the country where you live due to streaming agreements. One ISP in New Zealand is offering subscribers a way to get around that limitation with a new global mode. The ISP is Slingshot and global mode lets users access the US version of Netflix.
Global mode is said to be at its core a VPN that reroutes traffic through servers in other countries so people in NZ look like they are in New York, for instance. VPN use for accessing country-restricted content is frowned on.
Slingshot suggests that this service is only aimed at New Zealand homes housing international visitors. Global mode likely violates the terms of service for most streaming video providers.
Things were looking bleak for Samsung not long ago when it announced a profit for Q2 that fell short of what analysts were expecting. The reason for that shortfall was competition from Chinese smartphone makers and gains for the Korean won. Despite the weak profit that Samsung reported, the company is now forecasting an improvement in smartphone sales.
Samsung has said that new products and demand for 4G devices will boost its sales in Q3. Samsung is counting on new products from competitors like Apple to increase the demand for devices overall. The company is also hoping that demand for 4G phones in China will increase in Q3.
In Q2, Samsung saw sales of its smartphones slide to 78 million units compared to 87.5 million units in Q1 marking the third straight quarter with sales decline. Several analysts agree with Samsung's expectation for improved sales.
Cruise ships are massive machines that ply the seas like floating hotels packed with people. Some of the cruise ships have more to do on them than others and it can be hard to figure out exactly what the ship looks like before booking a trip. Google is fixing that issue with Street View mapping its very first cruise ship.
Google Street View has mapped the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas cruise ship. The mapping of the cruise ship was done as part of Google Maps Business View, a service where business pays to have its location imaged by a Google certified photographer and then features on Street View.
The imagery of the cruise ship was shot using a DSLR camera over eight days and then pieced together from 20,000 separate images. Passengers thinking of booking a trip on the ship can see the ships neighborhoods with a replica of Central Park, the Royal Promenade, and the outside sun deck. The ship's swimming pools and ice rink are also visible.
Home Depot has been offering a few smart home products that run on the Wink platform and can be controlled using a Wink app on Android or iOS devices for a while. Home Depot has now expanded the number of Wink devices in its stores to almost 60 including things like smart light bulbs, sprinklers for the yard, and even water heaters.
The new Wink devices will be available in almost all of its 2000 stores in the US as well as its website. Wink devices can be controlled by a Wink hub that sells for around $50 normally, but can be purchased for half that amount when bought with another Wink enabled device like a light bulb.
When the hub is bought with two Wink devices, it can be purchased for 99 cents. Wink apps also allow control of certain other smart home items from Chamberlain, Honeywell, and LED bulbs by Philips and GE.
Some of the major tech firms in the US and abroad have banded together to start a new consortium that is focused on promoting standards for the Internet of Things. The new consortium is called the Open Interconnect Consortium and it boasts among its participants Intel, Samsung, Dell, Broadcom, and Amtel.
The group wants to define a common communication framework that is based on industry standards that will allow wireless connectivity and intelligent management of data between devices. Connectivity under the plan will be possible regardless of form factor, OS, or service provider according to the group.
For now, the group is offering no details on how it plans to pull that goal off. The bad news for these firms is that there is another group called the Allseen Alliance trying to do the same thing and that group boasts 50 members including Microsoft, Cisco, LG, Panasonic, Sharp, and others.
Armed robbers have attacked one of Samsung's factories in Brazil, holding workers hostage while they took truckloads of smartphones, tablets and notebooks from a factory near Sao Paulo, Brazil. These goods were valued at $36 million.
The thieves carjacked a shuttle used by factory employees, after which they took the place overnight during the four-hour heist in Campinas. Campinas is an industrial hub in the southeastern state of Sao Paulo. The thieves reportedly made off with an incredible seven trucks of goods, stealing over 40,000 products.
A Samsung spokesperson has said: "We have cooperated fully with the police investigation that is underway and will do our best to avoid any sort of repeat incident".
Ever since Apple's iPad started causing a splash along with the simultaneous smartphone boom, various soothsayers have been screaming about the death of the PC. Regardless, it's not quite dead yet, and now analyst powerhouse Gartner has said traditional computing will still be clinging on for dear life this year.
It's not a hugely optimistic forecast. Gartner expects shipments from the market to decline worldwide by 2.9 percent through 2014 - but this isn't quite as bad as it could have been. According to the company, this marks a "relative revival of the global PC market" - compared to a 9.5 percent decline in 2013. "Business upgrades from Windows XP and the general business replacement cycle will lessen the downward trend, especially in Western Europe," said Ranjit Atwal, research director. "This year, we anticipate nearly 60 million professional PC replacements in mature markets." Gartner includes desktops, notebooks, and ultramobile personal computers in its figures.
Mobile phone sales are set for a 3.1 percent increase over 2013, to reach 1.9 billion units this year. Gartner expects smartphone sales will make up 88 percent of global cell sales by 2018, a jump from 66 percent in 2014.
Google has been trialing its Shopping Express service in a few select locations for a while now. Shopping Express is a service that works in some areas with local retail stores allowing users to buy things at a retail store and have them delivered on the same day or the next day to their home or office.
A new report has surfaced that claims that Google has set aside $500 million that is earmarked to expand the Shopping Express service nationwide. Google has offered no official comments on the amount of money set aside for the project.
Some of the money will reportedly be used to market the service in each new city that it launched in, as well as to purchase delivery vehicles. Money will also be spent to hire new workers to pack the goods and deliver them.