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Today marks a milestone on Aviation history with the FAA announcing that it will soon allow airline passengers to use their electronic devices throughout the entire flight. The announcement comes after months of deliberation within a study group of aviation experts that was put together by the FFA.
Unfortunately, as to how fast we will see the new guidelines put into place is anyones guess. Before individual airlines can begin allowing passengers to use their mobile gadgets during takeoff and landing, the airline must first prove that their planes are safe to operate under such conditions. Additionally, passengers must still put their cellular devices into "airplane" mode to prevent excessive RF interference from affecting air to ground communications.
Over the years, Lenovo has given celebrity advisors honorary positions in the company and it appears that Ashton Kutcher is the company's latest honoree. A press release from the company this morning states that Kutcher will work with engineering teams around the world to develop and market the all new Yoga line of tablets.
"This partnership with Lenovo brings together my love of technology and design that makes your life better. I can't wait to dig in and help Lenovo develop future mobile computing products, starting with the Yoga Tablet," said Ashton Kutcher. "Lenovo is all about innovation and strong leadership. Entrepreneurship is part of their DNA, and I couldn't ask for a better fit."
"Ashton Kutcher's authentic, creative appetite for technology and keen consumer insight combined with our innovation engine make this a very natural and powerful partnership," said David Roman, chief marketing officer, Lenovo. "This partnership goes beyond traditional bounds by deeply integrating him into our organization as a product engineer as we look at developing the next wave of products. As we continue to push into new PC Plus product areas and lead in multimode computing, Ashton will help us break new ground by challenging assumptions, bringing new perspective and contributing his technical expertise to Yoga Tablet and other devices."
After over 2 years since Steve Jobs first pitched the new radically designed campus to the Cupertino City Council, Apple has finally been given the greenlight on its new home. Reports are coming out today that state that the City Council voted unanimously to approve the project.
"Steve transformed Apple into one of the most innovative companies in the world and we understand the responsibilities that come from carrying his legacy forward with this project," said Dan Whisenhunt, Apple's head of real estate and facilities. "We've designed it with the same care and attention to detail as we do with all Apple products."
The new campus has often been referred to as a "spaceship" in the media, and once completed it will house more than 12,000 Apple employees. The campus is said to cost upwards of $5 billion and will be one of the "greenest" corporate headquarters on the planet. No mention was made on when construction would begin, or when it will be finished.
We haven't seen much of Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, but WikiLeaks has posted up a video of Snowden as he accepted his award in Moscow for the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence.
The award is given out each year by a group of former US intelligence officials to colleagues that they deem worthy of the award. There are six videos in total, with WikiLeaks stating the videos were taken last Wednesday in Moscow. The ex-US intelligence officials said that Snowden expressed no regrets leaking out the NSA PRISM details, and that he is adjusting to life in Russia.
You can watch the six videos of Snowden by WikiLeaks here.
In what can only be described as a happy accident, Google has acquired not one, but two monorail cars for use as meeting rooms. The acquisition came after Paul Cowan, a site reliability engineer for Google submitted a request for a monorail as a joke. The joke stemmed off the fact that Google operated two facilities a distance apart in Pyrmont, Australia.
After hearing that a third office may be opened up, Cowan jokingly submitted a ticket requesting a monorail system connecting all three facilities. At first the company denied the request, but fast forward a few weeks and Cowan got called into a meeting with a member of the facilities team. Cowan was informed that Google wanted to purchase some of the monorail carriages from the defunct Sydney Monorail system and they wanted him to pick out the cars.
Fast forward to today and as you can see in the photo above, Google has taken delivery of two of the monorail cars. Google's plans for the monorail cars is to use them as unorthodox meeting rooms. The cars were lifted into the company offices with the aid of a crane and the removal of a second story window.
Two Los Angeles area schools are telling students to return the iPads they were issued earlier this year due to what the school system is calling "unrestricted use." The recall is due to a "hack" that allows students to visit websites the school deems restricted, and is apparently a violation of the agreement between the students and schools.
The exploit caused school officials to ban the devices from leaving school grounds as they feared that the kids would use the tablets for purposes other than school work while at home. After careful deliberation, school officials at both Westchester and Roosevelt high schools issued a recall on all 2,100 devices.
Personally I see no reason why the students should not be allowed to use the devices for recreational use when off school grounds. If the iPads were truly given to each student as previously reported, then why not let them have a little fun on the devices in their free time? Personally I feel that this is just another instance of schools taking things a little too far.
In case you haven't heard, last night the US Government was forced to shut down all non-essential workers and services due to Congress not coming to an agreement on a new budget that would fund us into the next year. Unfortunately, it appears that many of the .gov websites were deemed non-essential and have been taken offline themselves.
Among the sites shutdown is NASA, which also saw most of its staff put in furlough until a budget has been settled on. Fortunately for the astronauts serving on the International Space Station, Mission Control for the ISS has been deemed a necessity and operations will continue in space and on the ground as normal.
Other agencies like the FTC, USDA, Library of Congress, and even Whitehouse.gov have all be affected by the shutdown. Sites like IRS.Gov, FHA.Gov, and The Department of Veterans Affairs, VA.Gov, appear to remain online at full capacity. While I will not voice my opinion on the matter here, lets all hope that those in Washington can come to some sort of resolution soon so the thousands of workers who are sitting at home without pay can return to their jobs soon.
Some of you may remember the flooding in Thailand back in 2011 that caused the prices of hard drives to skyrocket. A similar situation could arise again, if rainfall continues. A recent report says that flooding is already "encircling" the Thai industrial park, but the Government promises a repeat of 2011 will not happen.
During the flooding in 2011, more than 800 people lost their lives across Thailand, and enough damage was done to the tech industry to cause hard drive prices to skyrocket to levels not seen in years. It took more than a year for tech prices to level off, but more importantly, Thailand has yet to recover fully from the damage. We will be keeping a close eye on flooding reports and our storage gurus Paul Alcorn and Chris Ramseyer will alert us of any breaking news.
Earlier today, vice president of Epic Games, Mark Rein, tweeted something that instantly caught the tech world's attention. In his tweet, he said that earlier this week while at NVIDIA, he saw the most amazing thing and it was not a GPU. This is led to much speculation as Rein is a longtime supporter of Oculus VR's Rift technology.
Could this mean that NVIDIA is working on their own VR technology? This could be the case, but I won't jump the gun too soon as NVIDIA has been working hard at enabling mobile GPUs to play more graphically intensive games. With Project Logan, we're already seeing super high frame rates thanks to tessellation technology that is running on Tegra-based processors. I feel that this is the safer bet, but only time will tell what Rein was talking about.
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.