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Sprint shutters One Up early upgrade after just four months

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jan 14, 2014 12:48 am

2013 was the year cellular carriers attempted to change their business model and move away from two year contracts, and it appears that at least one of them will not follow suit into 2014. Today Sprint announced that it has canceled its One UP program that let users upgrade early by paying a monthly fee for their phone.

 

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One Up offered customers a new smartphone every 12 months without a two year commitment, and only required customers pay about $20 per month for the phone of their choice on top of their normal service fee. Apparently the service was either not popular, or was costing the company too much money as it was canceled on January 9th with out any prior announcement or notification.

iBUYPOWER announces new GPU coin mining systems

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Computer Systems | Posted: Jan 14, 2014 12:35 am

During the Consumer Electronics Show 2014 in Las Vegas, iBUYPOWER showed off some GPU coin mining systems that were powered by AMD's Radeon R9 290X GPUs. These systems are used purely to mine digital coins, such as Bitcoin and Litecoin.

 

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iBUYPOWER's Vice President and co-founder, Darren Su, talks about the new GPU coin mining PCs from his company: "iBUYPOWER prides itself for being on the edge of technology, and as the world changes, we want to be at the forefront. Coin mining and high-compute systems are one of the few new areas that we have interest in. We're thrilled to be part of revolutions, and crypto-currencies are definitely on the hot-list."

 

The new GPU coin mining systems from iBUYPOWER start from $999, and can be configured in many different ways, depending on what you want to spend. The new coin mining PCs can be configured with up to three AMD Radeon R9 290X for some serious compute power.

Google takes ownership of Nest in $3.2 billion acquisition

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jan 13, 2014 11:23 pm

Nest was one of the hottest companies in 2013, and wowed tech insiders world wide with the release of its smart smoke alarms and thermostats. Based in Palo Alto, California, Nest was in the center of silicon valley and had attracted the attention of some of the biggest investors and companies in the business, one of which has just acquired the company.

 

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Google has just announced that it has acquired Nest for a whopping $3.2 billion in cash, which now adds Google's name to yet another market space that directly affects our daily lives. Nest will further Google's push into the so-called "Internet of Things," and will further allow it to continue its growth into the home automation realm.

 

"We're thrilled to join Google," Fadell, 44, said in a statement. "With their support, Nest will be even better placed to build simple, thoughtful devices that make life easier at home, and that have a positive impact on the world." Google CEO Larry Page said "Fadell and his Nest co-founder Matt Rogers had built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family."

EA adding offline mode to SimCity one year after launch

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jan 13, 2014 10:43 pm

EA announced today that it would be adding a long awaited offline mode to SimCity nearly a year after the games launch. EA originally required the game to have an always online connection to contact EA's authentication servers. This requirement caused many issues with the game launching and rendered it unplayable for many.

 

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The issues with the always online requirement caused many users to call for its removal, but EA refused to budge on the matter, but less than a year later, the company is saying that it will be issuing an update to bring an offline mode to the game. Unfortunately offline mode may have came a little to late as many of us have forgotten about the game entirely.

Continue reading 'EA adding offline mode to SimCity one year after launch' (full post)

Snapchat apologizes for extra spam, denies link to recent data breach

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Hacking & Security | Posted: Jan 13, 2014 9:01 pm

Online chat service Snapchat has apologized for increased spam hitting users, but denies there is a connection to a recent username data breach.

 

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"We've heard some complaints over the weekend about an increase in Snap Spam on our service," the company said in a recent blog post. "We want to apologize for any unwanted Snaps and let you know our team is working on resolving the issue. As far as we know, this is unrelated to the Find Friends issue we experienced over the holidays."

 

Snapchat engineers are likely working to crack down on spam accounts - and prevent future data breaches - though some users have been rattled and abandoned the service. Snapchat said increasing spam is a sign of a "quickly growing service," and recommended users switch to "Only My Friends" in the account settings panel.

 

The Snapchat user database was recently compromised and affected 4.6 million users, with contact information published online.

PayPal unveils new "In-Context" checkout that speeds up transactions

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jan 13, 2014 8:38 pm

One of the biggest time consuming aspects of online purchases through PayPal is the need to be redirected to the official PayPal site to complete the authorization process, and is something loathed by many. Today PayPal announced that it has rolled out a new "in-context" checkout system that negates the need to be redirected to the PayPal website.

 

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The new system is being rolled out to both online platforms such as desktops and laptops as well as mobile devices, and is expected to make checking out using your PayPal account much simpler as all of the redirects are now gone. This new system should allow users who were once frightened off by the redirects to now use the service with confidence and ease.

Point-of-sale malware isn't new, and will only get worse

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Privacy & Rights | Posted: Jan 13, 2014 8:03 pm

The Target data breach that affected more than 70 million customers was caused by malware unknowingly installed on point-of-sale (POS) machines at the company's retail stores. It's unknown how the malware infected the cash registers, and was safely removed within hours of being discovered - but the damage was clearly done.

 

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"Clearly we are accountable and we are responsible - but we are going to come out at the end of this a better company and we are going to make significant changes," said Gregg Steinhafel, Target CEO, during a recent interview with journalists.

 

Target, Neiman Marcus, and other companies need to become more proactive in their efforts to prevent attacks targeting in-store POS systems. Cyber criminal groups are constantly on the prowl for security vulnerabilities they can target while stealing information and POS malware is a tactic that yields a large amount of information before being detected.

LeakedTT: Nokia's Android-based smartphone surfaces on Twitter

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jan 13, 2014 7:16 pm

Since November, the tech world has been buzzing about Nokia releasing an Android-powered smartphone alongside its Lumia line of Windows Phones. @evleaks even posted an image of the top-secret project code named "Normandy," but until today all we have seen is an image of a Lumia-like device with a black screen.

 

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Today, Twitter user, Picturepan2, posted what he says is an engineering prototype of the Nokia Normandy Android-based smartphone. The user interface definitely looks like some form of Android, but the phone appears to only feature a back button and not the typical back and home button combo. Further more, the device is pictured with what appears to be dual SIM cards based on the dual signal meters in the notification bar.

 

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Other reports out today suggest that project Normandy is just part of a refreshed Asha line and will be running a heavily modified version of Android. The Android implementation will be modified to incorporate features from both Windows Phone 8.1 as well as Android, in what could become the Asha line's official OS. Sources say that we can expect to see this mysterious phone debuted just before or during the 2014 Mobile World Congress.

Movie watchers still prefer DVDs, Blu-ray over streaming, theaters

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Internet & Websites | Posted: Jan 13, 2014 6:54 pm

The entertainment business in the United States and across the world is a multi-billion dollar industry that is evolving to keep up with demand.

 

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Two-thirds of U.S. adults have gone out to see a movie at least once in 2013, but 66 percent said they are seeing less movies at the theater. In addition to rising cost of movies, especially IMAX and 3D, rising competition from Redbox and online video services has also increased.

 

Consumers still tend to prefer watching DVDs and Blu-ray over streaming content, with Blu-ray movies collecting $416 million in sales leading up to Christmas. Home entertainment OEMs are developing 4K and 8K ultra-HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and Blu-ray discs - and interest in UHD will continue over the next 12 to 24 months, according to analysts.

 

Online piracy also remains a continued problem that movie studios and copyright holders fight vigorously to fight against. The fight over Internet 'piracy' even hit popular online adult website RedTube, with 30,000 visitors receiving threatening letters after viewing a specific video. Internet service providers (ISPs) are finding newer and more innovative manners to prevent piracy, with varying results.

Analysts expect Windows-powered tablets to see strong boost in 2014

By: Michael Hatamoto | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jan 13, 2014 6:04 pm

Microsoft wasn't able to keep up with Google Android and Apple in the mobile tablet race throughout 2013, but the company will see significant gains in 2014, according to research firm Gartner. The tablet market is expected to see Windows 8 lead the drive, as enterprise users begin to adopt the Windows-powered devices for use in the workplace. Microsoft is promoting its own Surface tablet, while OEM partners continue to explore 8 and 8.1 devices that make it easier for users to have access to content across all platforms.

 

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Windows has a tremendous advantage as programs such as Outlook and Microsoft Office natively work in the mobile environment, which is why Windows 8 will see an estimated 47 percent growth in the tablet market.

 

Microsoft clearly understands the importance of building success in the smartphone and tablet markets - but trying to keep up with Android and Apple has proven to be difficult. As users migrate from Windows XP - and Windows 7 pre-installed on devices is phased out - there is great potential for Microsoft to steal users away from the iPad and Android tablets.

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