LinkedIn made to pay 6 million USD to underpaid employees

Tamlin Magee | Business, Financial & Legal | Aug 7, 2014 4:25 PM CDT

The social network for people who have to wear ties on a day to day basis, LinkedIn, has been forced by the US Department of Labor to pay out 6 million USD after being found guilty of breaking wage laws.

LinkedIn was found to have broken federal wage laws in California, Illinois, Nebraska and New York, and subsequently had to pay over 3 million in back wages, plus over 2.5 million in damages to 359 people, including former employees and those still at the firm. Although the company was caught out by the Department of Labor, it did praise LinkedIn for how it responded - agreeing to pay every cent and taking steps to ensure it didn't happen again.

"Talent is LinkedIn's number one priority, so of course, we were eager to work closely with the Dept. of Labor to quickly and equitably rectify this situation," a spokesperson for LinkedIn said to CNET. "This was a function of not having the right tools in place for a small subset of our sales force to track hours properly; prior to the DoL approaching us, we had already begun to remedy this."

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It looks like Valve might have just silently launched Source 2.0

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Aug 7, 2014 7:56 AM CDT

Once Valve gets things into gear, it's going to be non-stop for them. We have Steam OS, Steam Controller, Steam Box, Steam Machines, Half-Life 3, and various other sequels to expect from the company. But, one of those main cogs is Source 2, the company's next generation graphics engine.

Well, according to some user reports, the company has just silently launched it. Reports are coming out that Source 2 has been spotted in DotA after the alpha launch of DotA 2's Workshop Tools last night, with the entire game reportedly being shifted over to Valve's next-gen Source 2 engine. A post within a thread of Reddit reads: "So, The Workshop tools isn't just a modding platform. It's Source 2. And it's running Dota 2".

The post continues: "Everything in this package is a new game. It's all the Dota assets and code ported over to Source 2. That's why Hammer is different. That's why the console is different. Guys. Valve just soft launched the entire Source 2 engine". This isn't a 100% confirmation that Source 2 has launched, but Gabe Newell did tease in a Reddit AMA back in March: "The biggest improvements [in Source 2] will be in increasing productivity of content creation. That focus is driven by the importance we see UGC having going forward. A professional developer at Valve will put up with a lot of pain that won't work if users themselves have to create content".

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Sony is being sued for falsely advertising Killzone running at 1080p

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Aug 7, 2014 3:46 AM CDT

Douglas Ladore has submitted a complaint with the California Northern District federal court, where he is claiming that Sony promised 1080p single and multiplayer graphics in its advertisements and interviews for Killzone: Shadow Fall before the game was released in November 2013.

On Killzone: Shadow Fall's packaging, it clearly shows a "1080p HD video output" logo on the back. Killzone's multiplayer renders the game at 960x1080, which is half of the 1920x1080 that "1080p" or "Full HD" is. In order to output the full 1920x1080 resolution, this source image has something called "temporal upscale" applied to it, something that fills the gaps with a horizontal interlace containing pixels from the previous frame. The result is graphical performance that the lawsuit, and reviewers across the world claim call "blurry to the point of distraction".

Guerrilla Games, the developer behind Killzone, along with Sony, took to a blog post to address the concerns of this "temporal projection" method. The companies said that it provides "subjectively similar results" to rendering at the full 1080p resolution. Ladore's lawsuit wasn't happy with this, where he argues: "While this reconstruction technique might be novel, it is decidedly not the 'native 1080p' Sony promised". But was anyone hurt from the result of this resolution downgrade in Killzone? Not directly.

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Arnold announces official title of Terminator 5: Terminator Genisys

Anthony Garreffa | TV, Movies & Home Theatre | Aug 7, 2014 3:03 AM CDT

Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken to Twitter to thank the cast and crew of the new Terminator movie, getting fans to begin their excitement for its release on July 1, 2015.

Schwarzenegger posted a picture of himself sitting on his chair, with the official title of the movie on the back: Terminator Genisys. He posted the picture to his Instagram account, with the following caption: "Hasta la vista, baby. I want to thank the cast and crew of @TerminatorGenisys for a fantastic shoot. It was challenging, it was fun, and it was rewarding. From our director to the producers, from the camera team to catering, from visual effects to hair and makeup - we couldn't have done it without you. I can't wait to see our finished project and I know we'll remind the fans why they fell in love with the Terminator. On July 1, 2015, I'll be back".

This is where it gets interesting: instead of it being called Terminator 5, or Terminator Genesis, we have Terminator Genisys. Schwarzenegger is sitting in front of a screen with the word "Genisys" on it, so we might expect the operating system for the T-800 to possibly be called Genisys? I think that's what we should expect from this, and while I'm trying not to get too excited about the new Terminator movie, I still can't wait to check it out next year.

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Activision is seeing industry-wide drops in pre-order numbers

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Aug 6, 2014 11:31 PM CDT

During its investor relations conference call yesterday, Activision Publishing boss Eric Hirshberg was asked about game pre-orders, and how they are going with the slew of games Activision has coming out this year. This includes some of the biggest titles coming, including Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Destiny.

Hirshberg said that pre-order numbers were down, but not just with his company, but across the entire industry. Hirshberg attributed this drop to increased digital consumption, especially on the Xbox One and PS4. Another reason is that games are made available widely when they are released, so there's not much of an incentive to pre-order. These two factors, along with the fact that a decline overall for the last generation of consoles means that pre-orders are down.

Activision is now looking at other ways it can determine how popular its upcoming games will be, as it used to judge this by pre-order numbers. new methods could include "purchase intent" and "awareness" of a title, with Hirshberg saying: "It's important to note that pre-orders are just one data point that we look at when determining the momentum of a franchise". When it comes to Destiny, Hirshberg says Destiny's awareness is "at an all-time high and climbing when compared to any other new game intellectual property this distance from launch. Purchase intent is also at an all-time high and rising compared to any other intellectual property. The hugely successful open beta, which saw 4.6m players, probably had something to do with that. So all of those add to our sense of momentum for the launch".

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Fox ditches plans to purchase Time Warner

Shane McGlaun | Business, Politics & Money | Aug 6, 2014 12:00 PM CDT

20th Century Fox has been working on a deal that would have seen it purchase time Warner. That purchase deal has now fallen through as Fox has withdrawn its plans to purchase Time Warner. The announcement was made Tuesday and has sent shares of Time Warner stock tumbling 11% in trading.

Word of the potential purchase surfaced in June and the expectation was that Fox would make a higher bid than the $85 per share that had been offered. News of the offer sent shares of Time Warner stock trading above that $85 per share offer at the time.

A source had said previously that Fox would not offer more than the $90 to $95 range. Fox did announce a $6 billion share buyback program to help sooth disappointed shareholders. The move has sent shares in Fox up by 7% in trading.

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LSI SandForce 3700 controller teased at 1.3GB/sec in mixed workloads

Anthony Garreffa | Storage | Aug 6, 2014 8:31 AM CDT

FMS 2014 - Flash Memory Summit 2014 is underway, with LSI teasing its SandForce 3700 controller and its new mixed 80/20 (read/write) workload performance, at up to a huge 1.3GB/sec on a native PCIe interface.

This achievement was made possible using the integrated SHIELD error correction with hard and soft LDPC and DSP technology, which works together to provide the associated endurance requirements. The SF3700 controller is built for, and optimized for bi-directional PCIe traffic, which drives the performance up much higher than competing flash controllers. This makes the SF3700 a great choice for enterprise storage.

LSI's Vice President of Marketing, Flash Components Division, Thad Omura, explains: "Flash storage solutions used for client computing, big data, and hyperscale enterprises are continuing to grow at unprecedented levels, driving the need for more advanced flash controllers to manage these data-intensive environments. The SF3700 is the ideal-building block for next-generation storage solutions with its full-duplex architecture. Both enterprise and client applications will benefit from our proprietary LDPC engine which enables customers to significantly extend NAND flash life by dynamically balancing performance and reliability with minimal latency".

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Wing Commander III is free on Origin right now

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Aug 5, 2014 11:26 PM CDT

With all of the hoopla going around right now with Star Citizen, people forget that it all started with Wing Commander for Chris Roberts. Well, EA and Origin are giving away Wing Commander III on Origin right now, one of the big games form the 90s.

Wing Commander III being free is part of Origin's "On The House" deals, where it randomly gives away PC games. Today, that game is Wing Commander III. For those who never played it, it stars Mark Hamill of Star Wars fame, Biff from Back to the Future and even Malcolm McDowell. You can grab Wing Commander III for free on Origin from here.

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Resident Evil remake to be released next year on consoles, PC

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Aug 5, 2014 9:34 PM CDT

Capcom has officially announced that it will be re-releasing the original Resident Evil game next year, with Producers Tatsuya Kitabayashi and Yoshiaki Hirabyashi saying that they were trying their best to not mess anything up when rebuilding one of the survival horror games that started it all.

Hirabyashi said: "We have been very careful to preserve the original atmosphere of the game, and are ensuring that no unnecessary changes will be made. The tempo and flow of the original game are an inherent part of its scary atmosphere so we have made the decision not to disrupt this tempo". Most of the changes to Resident Evil will be in the graphics department, and not in gameplay. Kitabayashi chimed in with: "When it comes to graphics, we didn't just want them to look better, we have taken the game apart, polished up all the different elements and carefully reassembled them in such a way that its original atmosphere shines through".

Resident Evil will be launched once again next year for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and PC.

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Sony gives up on e-book market as it axes Reader devices in Europe

Sony has abandoned its e-reader business in Europe after being thoroughly trounced by products like Amazon's Kindle, it has emerged.

The Japanese company launched its e-book Reader devices to a largely tepid response from consumers in Europe. Its last model, the PRS-T3, will stay on sale in the continent but only until supplies run out, with the company confirming to the BBC that it has "no plans" to develop a successor. Existing customers have been pointed towards the Kobo e-reader device since February in North America and since May in Europe and Australia, according to a spokesperson. Sony's Readers will continue to be available in the company's native Japanese market, where the Sony Reader Store remains functional.

The overall e-reader market is totally dominated by Amazon and its kindle, although the sector is predicted to be on the wane in general as it is cannibalized by tablets and smartphones.

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