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Following up on yesterday's massive fire at a Hynix Semiconductor facility in China, we've learned this morning that the damage might not be as bad as originally reported. Late last night, I received an official statement from the company that was sent to our friend Jim Handy over at Objective Analysis.
The official report from the company states that the fire started around 16:50 Korean time and was completely extinguished by 18:20. The company says that there were no human casualties, with only one minor injury of an employee. The Hynix official said that while several pictures surfaced on the Internet that showed the fab facility being engulfed in large dark clouds of smoke, the fab itself was not damaged.
The report says that the fire was concentrated in the air purification facilities that are linked to the rooftop of the fab and that this is why the photo showed the building engulfed in smoke. Hynix says that there is no material damage to the fab equipment, the clean room, or any production related equipment. They said they expect to resume operations in a short period of time and that overall production and supply volume would not be materially affected.
The report went on to state that Hynix fully expects that the majority of the damage will be covered through their insurance and that the cause of the fire is not yet known. At the moment, this is all the we know here TweakTown, but we're in contact with Hynix and will update the story as soon as any updates are sent our way.
Earlier today, I reported on a fire that took place at a Hynix DRAM facility in China. As the day has progressed, more information has come in about the fire, but not much else is known about where in the facility the fire actually took place. Some sources are reporting that the fire took place in a chemical storage warehouse, while others are reporting that the actual manufacturing facility where the silicon is fabricated was consumed in the fire.
When news of the fire broke, I reached out to Jim Handy of Objective Analysis and asked for his thoughts on the impact the fire may have on the tech industry as a whole. Handy then issued a statement that says that until the full details of the fire are released, and we know for a fact what role the plant had in the manufacturing process, no speculation can be given on what the full impact may be.
Today, the infamous Kim Dotcom announced that he will be resigning from Mega, the encrypted cloud storage service he created after having his home raided and his brainchild Megaupload seized. The resignation took place on August 29 and Bonnie Lam took the managing director seat on the same day.
Dotcom says that he resigned so that he could concentrate all of his efforts on his pending copyright case as well as the new political party he plans on forming next year. In a Twitter post, Dotcom said, "#Mega is in excellent hands. I resigned as Managing Director to focus on my copyright case & a new political party."
It's been a while since I wrote a piece about Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and I'd started to wonder if everyone had forgotten about him. It appears that Dotcom has been hard at work planning out a new political party that he plans on launching next year in New Zealand.
Dotcom says that the new party will focus on improving the country's IT infrastructure, Internet access, and download allowances. The party is set to launch on January 20, 2014, which is the two-year anniversary of the US government's raid on Dotcom's New Zealand mansion.
Dotcom mentioned in an interview that he is aware that he is unable to run for the office of Prime Minister as he is not a citizen of New Zealand, but he did say that he was in the early stages of meeting with potential candidates for prime minister and other political positions.
Today, Samsung opened up registration for its first major conference, which will be held October 27-29 in San Francisco, California. Samsung DevCon 2013 is aimed at enticing North American developers to focus on creating software for devices made by the Korean electronics powerhouse.
I first covered Samsung's announcement about its Developers Conference 2013 back in July and Samsung has kept pretty quiet about the event until now. Unfortunately, Samsung is still remaining silent on who will speak, what new products it might announce, and what incentives it might offer to developers who attend the event. You can sign up to attend the event at the source listed below, but be prepared to pay $299 for the ticket that will include access to keynotes, sessions, and developer events on the first night of the conference.
Samsung hopes to convince developers that by creating applications for their smart TVs, tablets, smartphones, and other smart devices, they will see a major return on investment. Additionally, Samsung hopes that developers will be convinced to code programs that will run exclusively on its devices over creating apps that will run on all Android devices. I think that's a very hard pill to swallow because even though Samsung has a major portion of the Android market, there are just far too many other Android users out there for developers to overlook.
Moving forward. That's the title of an internal memo that went out to Microsoft employees this morning. While internal memos are nothing special at Microsoft, today's memo was probably the most important one of the decade. Today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced his plans to retire within the next 12 months.
In the memo, he says that there's never a perfect time for this type of transition but right now he feels it is the right time. He goes on to refer to his recent restructuring initiative and says that the time is now right for the company to face the new opportunities and challenges ahead. He mentions that in his time at Microsoft, they have grown from a $7.5 million company to a corporation worth more than $78 billion. He said that when he first started, they employed just over 30 people and now they write paychecks to almost 100,000 individuals.
Ballmer concluded that by saying this is a very emotional event for him and that he knows Microsoft has its best days ahead and that he takes pride in being one of the largest owners of the company. I speak for all of us here at TweakTown when I wish Mr. Ballmer nothing but the best in whatever endeavors the future holds for him. It's kind of sad to see him go, but we look forward to seeing what new leadership may bring to the Redmond, Washington-based computing giant known as Microsoft.
This week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the formation of a new initiative whose goal is to make the Internet available to every person on the planet. The announcement was kicked off with the launching of a new website, Internet.org, which also happens to be the name of the initiative.
Internet.org's aim is to conquer three specific challenges: affordability, data efficiency, and developing business models that will provide incentives for companies to help bring cheaper, more plentiful Internet access to emerging markets around the globe.
The press release, which was published on Facebook, says that only 2.7 billion people, which makes up one-third of the world population, have access to the Internet. With Internet adoption rates growing by less than 9 percent each year, this makes for a very slow--and very tedious--worldwide rollout. This is why Zuckerberg teamed up with Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm, Samsung, and other partners to explore new ways to collaborate and solve this problem of lack of worldwide Internet. You can check out the full press release at Source #1 below.
Earlier this week, Facebook publicly denied a bounty that was claimed by a Palestinian researcher over a security flaw found in Facebook's code. Basically the flaw allowed Khalil Shreateh to post on any Facebook user's wall regardless of their security settings, whether he was their friend or not.
After reporting the bug to Facebook several times, the white hat hacker took matters into his own hands and managed to post on Mark Zuckerberg's wall. This obviously got the attention of Facebook's support staff, but they denied Shreateh's penalty claim saying that by hacking posts onto users walls, he actually violated Facebook's terms of service.
This is where Marc Maiffret, CTO of BeyondTrust comes into the picture. He feels that Shreateh's efforts to inform the social network of a serious security flaw should not go unnoticed and should be compensated accordingly. He has turned to crowdfunding site GoFundMe to raise $10,000 to compensate the hacker for his efforts. Maiffret put his money where his mouth is and started the campaign with $3000 out of his own pocket.
The owners of the popular "Open Source" legal advice website Groklaw announced today that they will follow in the footsteps of Lavabit and close their doors forever. The official announcement says that Groklaw planned to shut down after Lavabit's owner announced that he had stopped using email and that if we "knew what he knew then we would stop too."
That announcement must have shook the Groklaw owners to the core as they say that without secure email there is no way their website can continue to exist. The official announcement goes on to hit on topics such as Scripture, 9/11, and even into the personal break-in and burglary of the owner's home. I feel like Groklaw is taking the situation as an easy way out and using recent events as a scapegoat to justify the closure of their website.
Over 100 miles of Britain's historic canals and waterways will soon make their way onto Google's Street View project as the UK Canals and River Trust has managed to borrow one of the company's Trekker backpacks for the project.
The 4-foot, 40-pound photographic backpack will capture the 200-year-old canals in their full 360-degree glory at a rate of one photo every 2.5 seconds. The trek will begin with the Regents Canal in London this week. On this journey, the group will capture the 3.25-mile-long Standedge Tunnel in Yorkshire as well as the Grand Union Canal in Stoke Bruerne.
The Trust's Wendy Hawk said: "We're delighted to be the first people in the UK to get the Trekker on our backs - it's fantastic that our 200-year old network is being given a different lease of life thanks to cutting edge, 21st-century technology. The footage we get will allow millions of people from all over the world to see our canals, rivers and towpaths, and will hopefully encourage some people to make a trip to see them."