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The Last of Us art director leaves for Tomb Raider studio

Nate Wells, the Art Director behind Naughty Dog's The Last of Us, has left the developer for the arms of Crystal Dynamics, the developer behind Tomb Raider.


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The news is coming from Wells himself, where he took to Twitter to announce the news. He was previously working Giant Sparrow, and before that he had 13 years under his belt over at Irrational Games, before leaving for Naughty Dog in August 2012.

Nintendo, Philips end patent disputes, and sign patent agreement

The legal war between Philips and Nintendo is now over, with both companies creating a new patent license agreement to cross-license select portions of their intellectual property portfolios. Philips originally dragged Nintendo into a legal battle over the Japanese company's use of motion and gesture-tracking systems.


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Philips originally filed a complaint against Nintendo in May, saying the game company infringed on two patents it owns in the United States. Later in the year, a UK judge ruled the Wii, Wii U, Wii remote, Nunchuk, Wii Motion Plus controllers, Balance Board, and GamePad violated Philips-owned patents in the UK.


"We are very pleased to have reached this agreement with Nintendo," said Brian Himnan, Philips Chief Intellectual Property Officer. "It demonstrates that both companies recognize the importance of intellectual property rights. It also shows the value of our extensive IP portfolio and our commitment to protect our significant investments in research & development."

Australian law enforcement investigating bitcoin crime link

The Australian government is again showing concern that organized crime groups have turned to the bitcoin cryptocurrency to help commit money laundering and collect payments. Australian law enforcement want to crack down on all links related to bitcoins being used as part of organized crime, but it's a slippery slope that is difficult to track.


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"We know that virtual currencies including bitcoin are used as payment methods to facilitate illegal trade on the darknet," said Judy Lind, Australian Crime Commission Executive, in a statement to Reuters. "Organized crime groups continue to make use of darknets to harbor trading in illicit commodities, including child exploitation material, illicit drugs and firearms, stolen credit card and identity data, and hacking techniques."


National governments are still largely baffled into potential bitcoin regulations, but if there are signs of criminal groups using the cryptocurrency, the fight could end up getting ugly. In October, a bitcoin ATM was seized during a $2.6 million drug raid in Queensland, the state's first bitcoin ATM machine, and officials believe it was used for criminal activity.

Microsoft acquires Acompli, a mobile e-mail startup

Microsoft has confirmed that it has acquired Acompli, a mobile e-mail startup, with neither party confirming the acquisition cost. Some have heard that the deal might have set Microsoft's bank accounts back by some $200 million.


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The Redmond-based everything giant was most likely interested in scooping up the mobile e-mail startup as they offered early adopters support for Exchange, one-tap calendar integration and simple access to e-mailed files and contacts. Rajesh Jha, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President of Outlook and Office 365, said that the acquisition of Acompli was part of the company's effort to help people get more out of their mobile devices.


Jha added that the decision to acquire Acompli is to provide people with a great cross-platform application that supports the variety of e-mail services that people use daily.

Barnes & Noble Cyber Monday deals are in full swing

Cyber Monday deals are here - many companies are putting up stellar pricing across many different models, technologies, fields and brands. If you're in the market to purchase a new smaller-size tablet, we've got a possible solution for you.


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Barnes & Noble are putting up Samsung's 7-inch Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK for $129.99, featuring an Android interface and $200 worth of free content from the NOOK store, you'll also grab $5 starter credit towards any NOOK purchases. NOOK provides you with the ability to purchase bestselling books, popular TV shows, magazines and applications. This sale is limited only to the first 10,000 devices and a total of 5 per customer.

Continue reading 'Barnes & Noble Cyber Monday deals are in full swing' (full post)

Sony won't renew contract with FIFA, will spend the money internally

The latest reports from Nikkei is that Sony will not be renewing its large contract with FIFA for sponsorship, with the Japanese electronics giant to spend the money on structural reforms.


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Sony started sponsoring FIFA back in 2005, with the company signing an eight-year contract worth $277 million. Nikkei is reporting that Sony was involved with sales and marketing in over 40 soccer tournaments during that time, something that included the bigger 2010 and 2014 World Cup matches.


Sony has been experiencing some massive hurdles lately, with an operating loss of $766 million in October, riding on the back of the 13.5 million PlayStation 4 consoles being shipped from its Games and Network division. Not only that, but the company has increased its loss forecast to $2.15 billion in September, after it downgraded its mobile and smartphone business by a large $1.68 billion. The company has also restructured its TV division, and sold off its VAIO PC brand back in February, too, which saw 5000 jobs cut from the company.

Finland schools to ditch cursive handwriting, teach keyboard skills

Finland is becoming one of the first countries in the world to push kids into keyboard skills, where starting in autumn 2016, the country will no longer have cursive as a compulsory part of the school curriculum. Instead, they will have kids learning keyboard skills and "texting". While keyboard skills are definitely required, texting skills?


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Learning keyboard skills is definitely a vital part of education these days, with computers and technology in all of our lives, but many countries still consider learning to type a low-level skill that kids can just "pick up". It's great to see Finland moving toward this model, let's hope it's picked up by the rest of the world soon.

Samsung enters volume production using its 14nm FinFET process

We still live in a world controlled by mostly 28nm technology, but 20nm is popping its head over the horizon, and 16nm is floating in over that same mountain. Samsung has reportedly moved into volume production of its 14nm FinFET technology, which is a big deal.


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Samsung will be building its next-gen Exynos processor on its own 14nm process, but both Apple and AMD will be benefiting from Samsung's super-small process. Intel is moving toward the mass production of 14nm 3D transistor technology, with its Broadwell-based Core M processors already shipping, but Samsung is right behind them ready to go for AMD, Apple and of course, itself.


Comparing 14nm against 20nm, we can expect the core area to be reduced by 15%, reduced power consumption by up to 35%, or an increase in processor frequency of 20%. Samsung will be the first to use its 14nm process, but I'm sure Apple will be right behind it with its upcoming A9 processor, which Samsung will build for its arch rival. So we can expect Apple's next-gen iPhone to have Samsung's technology at the heart of it, again.

States are unsure how to handle possible bitcoin oversight

Since being introduced in 2009, it has taken years of existence before the bitcoin cryptocurrency started causing concern for most lawmakers. Now, many US states are seeing different oversight and possible regulation of bitcoins - and the matter isn't going to get any easier.


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State and federal agencies want to try to regulate bitcoins, even while saying the cryptocurrency isn't a traditional currency, while many supporters want a hands-off approach. However, state regulators are watching one another to see what is happening, and how interactions with bitcoin backers can be done in a respectful, knowledge sharing manner. States such as New York and Texas want to have some type of bitcoin licensing system, and others will wait-and-see on possible oversight.


"In order to prevent money laundering, we need to have some points within the ecosystem where the financial intermediaries have some sense of who they're dealing with," said Benjamin Lawsky, New York financial services superintendent. However, the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau doesn't necessarily disregard bitcoin, but warns supporters they are effectively "stepping into the Wild West."

Continue reading 'States are unsure how to handle possible bitcoin oversight' (full post)

Internet of Things market is growing, with industry deals accelerating

The Internet of Things market is growing rapidly, and is attracting more attention from US technology and telecoms buyers, according to the Hampleton Partners' report. More than $9.4 billion has been spent since 2011 to help acquire IoT suppliers, with a whopping $5 billion of that spent during 2014 so far.


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Expect to see Intel, Texas Instruments, Juniper Networks, Johnson Controls and AT&T become more active in acquiring - and creating partnerships - that will help bolster their IoT product lines. There will be an estimated 28 billion Internet-connected devices by 2020, and a global market valued at more than $7.1 trillion - and that figure will only grow as reliable Internet continues to be expanded worldwide.


Meanwhile, IoT will be one of the fastest growing market segments, and spending to support the blossoming market is expected to be $59 billion by 2020. Such wide market growth presents excellent opportunities for manufacturers, especially by releasing consumer technology solutions.

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