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.
Today, ASUS announced that it will support Intel's new Thunderbolt 2 technology and unveiled the first motherboard to feature the 20Gb/s interconnect. The Z87-Deluxe/Quad is a Z87-based motherboard that is compatible with Intel's fourth-generation Haswell processors. It boasts impressive features, including 10 SATA 3 6GB/s ports, eight USB 3.0 ports, and three PCIe-x16 slots.
"The Z87-Deluxe/Quad has been subjected to a tremendous amount of compatibility, BIOS, as well as video/audio and other tests to verify its quality and design," claimed Joe Hsieh, general manager for ASUS' motherboard division. "Being the world's first certified motherboard for Thunderbolt 2 technology also means setting the standard for all of the upcoming products, which is something that ASUS has always done."
Although the other specifications are cool, Thunderbolt 2 is what really sets this motherboard apart from the rest. The new interconnect standard works by combining two upstream and downstream channels of the original Thunderbolt standard into a pair of bidirectional channels that are both capable of running at 20Gb/s. The motherboard is able to support up to a total of up to 12 Thunderbolt devices, and the motherboard will be capable of supporting 3 4K ultrahigh definition displays from a single system by using the HDMI port with each of the two Thunderbolt 2 ports.
Today, Origin announced that it has started offering full refunds on EA-published Windows or Mac games if you decide you no longer want it within 24 hours of the first run. "If something doesn't work out - you aren't riveted by the storyline, or sucked in by the action, or even just if the game doesn't play well with your video card - we've got your back," EA said in a statement.
To obtain a refund, you must simply apply within 24 hours from the first launch of the game or within seven days from when it was purchased. Pre-ordered games can be returned for a full refund within seven days of the game's release as long as it was purchased from Origin's digital storefront. This gives Origin a clear advantage over other digital game dealers as it is the only service with a solid 100 percent money back return policy.
Let's face it: everyone loves CPUs that are clocked to astronomical speeds. It is the reason many of us run enthusiast grade unlocked processors that we push to the limits. When AMD first announced its 5GHz monster--the FX-9590--I'll have to admit I was a little speechless, as was most of the tech world, but not for the fact that it was able to Turbo to 5GHz, but for the fact that AMD priced it at $900.
Generally known for their low-cost, high-performance CPUs, that $900 price tag shocked many AMD enthusiasts. In the professional world, many reviewers and industry analysts cried foul saying that a $900 price tag would never work. AMD has apparently heard those statements and cries loud and clear and today slashed the price of the FX-9590 by $500, making it cost just a mere $400.
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. Below is an excerpt from the official announcement which can be found at Source #2 below.
There is no way to do Groklaw without email. Therein lies the conundrum... What to do? I've spent the last couple of weeks trying to figure it out. And the conclusion I've reached is that there is no way to continue doing Groklaw, not long term, which is incredibly sad. But it's good to be realistic. And the simple truth is, no matter how good the motives might be for collecting and screening everything we say to one another, and no matter how "clean" we all are ourselves from the standpoint of the screeners, I don't know how to function in such an atmosphere. I don't know how to do Groklaw like this...
A catchy name is everything in the mobile app world. After all, there were hundreds of photo filter apps like Instagram; they did the same thing but never caught on. As a result of its popularity, Instagram has seen parts of its name used in dozens of third-party applications that in some form or another tie into the Instagram Service, and this unauthorized use of its name has the Facebook-owned company in an uproar.
According to a report released today by TechCrunch, Instagram has began sending cease-and-desist emails to companies that feature the "Insta" or "gram" wording in their applications. The first to receive the hit is the app Luxogram, an application that allows you to use Instagram via a web browser. In an email sent to the Luxogram team, Instagram had the following to say:
We appreciate your interest in developing products that help people share with Instagram. While we encourage developers to build great apps with Instagram, we cannot allow other applications to look like they might be official Instagram applications or endorsed or sponsored by us.
Earlier today at the Gamescom event taking place in Germany, Microsoft announced that it will launch Project Spark in beta form for Windows 8 in October. For those of you who have never heard of Project Spark, it amounts to an inception-like video game development tool within a game that allows players to build custom worlds, developed characters, and render custom animations all from an Xbox One or Windows 8-based PC.
The development suite will let player-developers utilize a Kinect sensor to include voice and motion capture as well as allow players to capture facial animations and body motion to bring the characters they design to life. Users can also record their own face and superimpose it on an in-game character or record custom body motions, which they can then assign as a player's attack moves within a game.
Gamers also have the ability to fully customize the in-game world to build out that entire fantasy round they have always dreamed. The video above highlights some of the high level worlds and animations that are possible using Project Spark. Microsoft says that the closed beta will begin for Windows 8 devices in early October, and the Xbox One will receive Spark access sometime in January 2014.
Plants vs Zombies 2 released worldwide just five days ago and has already surpassed more than 16 million downloads, landing it at the top spot of EA's most successful mobile game launch in history. The sequel to the popular zombie killing game also found itself amongst some of the top grossing games on opening day the Apple App Store has ever seen.
"We are grateful and delighted with the incredible reception Plants vs. Zombies 2 has received from consumers around the globe," said Tony Leamer, Franchise Business Director for Plants vs. Zombies. "We certainly had high hopes for the game, but to see fans playing the game so quickly and in such huge numbers is truly amazing."
EA says that in the five days since launch, Plants vs Zombies 2 rocketed into the number one position in the App Store in over 137 countries worldwide on either the iPad or iPhone charts. It currently has an average rating of 4.5 to 5 stars throughout those countries and has received rave reviews from critics and consumers worldwide. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, it pits garden-variety plants against a horde of period correct zombies throughout different historical time periods. EA has released the game under its free-to-play model and we found it in the Apple App Store in seven different languages.
Today, HTC confirmed that the company will release an update that upgrades its flagship device, the HTC One, from Android 4.1 to Android 4.3 just as soon as the software has been certified. The company expects this to happen sometime in September with the update beginning to roll out later that month.
The confirmation comes via a leak, albeit barely legible, from the company's president, Jason Mackenzie, who said: "Lots of questions re 4.3 release for One. We r wrking hard (needs cert) to release 4.3 across all US, Canada skus by end Sept. DNA as well." I'm not joking, that really was his tweet, you can check it out for yourself at Source #2 below.
As an HTC One owner, this is some very exciting news. During my quest for a new smartphone, many tried to turn me away from the One as it ran Android 4.1 and everyone claimed it would be over a year before an update was available. I knew that HTC had to release an update soon to put it on par with the new Android 4.3 devices that will be arriving this fall. With the addition of Android 4.3, I officially think that the HTC One is the best smartphone ever made, and that nothing released or releasing soon by Apple or Samsung is able to compete.
In a little over two weeks from now, Samsung will unveil its Galaxy Gear smartwatch at its Unpacked event being held at the IFA 2013 conference in Berlin, Germany. Today, thanks to website GigaOm, we now have an idea of what hardware the Galaxy Gear will feature.
The report states that Samsung has managed to cram a 2.5-inch flexible OLED screen, a dual-core processor, and an unknown amount of RAM into the small wrist package. The report says that "decent" battery life can be expected from a lithium-based battery and that a camera alongside speakers will be embedded into the device's wrist strap. Other sensors rumored to be on board include an accelerometer, a gyroscope, Bluetooth 4.0, and some form of gesture support.
The report went on to say that Samsung will offer incentives to developers to offer apps for the smartwatch through its proprietary app store rather than posting them on Google Play. Over the last few weeks, I've done a lot of thinking about smart watches, and while I feel that there definitely cool, I honestly see them as a passing fad. By this time next year or the year after, I suspect we will look back and wonder why we all spent so much money on smart watches.