US officials identify North Korea as the source behind Sony hacks

Anthony Garreffa | BREAKING STORY | Dec 17, 2014 6:36 PM CST

The Sony hacking scandal continues, with most US theaters pulling the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy from screening when it launches next week. Now, US officials are reportedly set to blame North Korea for the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack, after identifying the rogue country as the point of origin.

The US government has said that North Korea was "centrally involved" even though the attack may have been launched from another origin. There's no exact word on what we should expect the US government to add here, but it's going to get very interesting. One thought: if North Korea is a backwards as the world thinks it is, this is a damn huge job for them to pull off on their own. Hacking one of the biggest companies in the world, leaving various three-letter authorities completely baffled on who did it for a while there.

All of this just makes me want to see the movie more, what about you?

Continue reading: US officials identify North Korea as the source behind Sony hacks (full post)

NVIDIA's GeForce 347.09 driver supports Elite: Dangerous and new MGS

Anthony Garreffa | Software & Apps | Dec 17, 2014 6:32 PM CST

NVIDIA has released a new beta driver in the form of the GeForce 347.09, with the company releasing it as a "Game Ready" driver for two big releases this week: Elite: Dangerous and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.

The former, Elite: Dangerous, is worth noting as it's the first time the company has released a new driver the concentrates on a crowdfunded game like this. Elite: Dangerous isn't some massive AAA title like Call of Duty or Battlefield, but to the fans, it is. It's great to see NVIDIA releasing a driver ready for Elite: Dangerous. MGS V: Ground Zeroes on the other hand, we have full support for it with NVIDIA explaining "ensures you'll have the best possible gaming experience for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Elite: Dangerous."

NVIDIA has also provided an application profile for Project CARS, as well as some new 3D Vision and 3D Compatibility Modes for various games, including Alien: Isolation, Far Cry 4 and Elite: Dangerous. If you want to download the new NVIDIA GeForce 347.09 Beta drivers, grab them right here.

Continue reading: NVIDIA's GeForce 347.09 driver supports Elite: Dangerous and new MGS (full post)

'The Interview' shelved by Sony Pictures

Ben Gourlay | Celebrities & Entertainment | Dec 17, 2014 4:32 PM CST

Sony Pictures has blinked in the battle waged against the release of 'The Interview' and the company itself, announcing that the planned Christmas release of the film has been cancelled. In an official statement released just moments ago, Sony Pictures said:

In light of the decision by the majority of our exhibitors not to show the film The Interview, we have decided not to move forward with the planned December 25 theatrical release. We respect and understand our partners' decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.

Sony Pictures has been the victim of an unprecedented criminal assault against our employees, our customers, and our business. Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale - all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like. We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public. We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.

Continue reading: 'The Interview' shelved by Sony Pictures (full post)

Time is the first major publisher to begin accepting bitcoin payments

Michael Hatamoto | Business, Financial & Legal | Dec 17, 2014 10:25 AM CST

Time has partnered with Coinbase to begin accepting bitcoin payments for digital and print subscriptions of Fortune, Health, Travel + Leisure and This Old House. This is a major victory for Coinbase and the bitcoin community, as Time's online and print media reaches 130 million consumers every month - and surely some of them own bitcoins.

"We are always looking for ways to make it easier for consumers to engage with our brands and this pilot program will give bitcoin users a seamless and simple way to purchase subscriptions," said Lynne Biggar, executive vice president of consumer marketing and revenue at Time, in a press statement. "We hope to expand our partnership with Coinbase in the coming months to create more opportunities to provide greater value to our customers."

Bitcoins continue to be extremely volatile, with value fluctuating as many investors question its long-term financial stability. However, that doesn't mean retailers and other businesses have shied away, as they want to accept whatever payment methods its shoppers use.

Continue reading: Time is the first major publisher to begin accepting bitcoin payments (full post)

Angelbird SSD wrk upgraded to 1TB, continued TRIM support for Apple

Paul Alcorn | Storage | Dec 17, 2014 10:13 AM CST

Apple's draconian move to disable TRIM software support in the latest versions of OS X has left only one third-party SSD manufacturer that supports TRIM. Angelbird natively supports TRIM in OS X, a feat others haven't been able to accomplish without TRIM Enabler software. Apple removing TRIM Enabler compatibility has forced users to expose their system to malware by disabling key security features, or to simply not use TRIM with their third-party SSDs. Other third-party SSD manufacturers rely upon garbage collection in lieu of TRIM, but as any enthusiast with rudimentary knowledge can explain, garbage collection doesn't keep performance as snappy as a TRIM-enabled system.

Angelbird's wrk SSD now comes in capacities up to 1TB. The wrk utilizes an SMI 2246EN controller, and the case is made of a matte-black anodized aluminum. Sequential read/write speeds weigh in at 564/456 MB/s, respectively. The SSD also tops out at 72,000 random read IOPS. The 1TB wrk retails for $599.99, which is comparable to other Apple-specific SSDs, especially considering it is the only line of SSDs that natively supports an integral feature required for sustained performance.

Our resident SSD guru Chris Ramseyer recently took a look at the wrk in his Angelbird SSD wrk 512GB SSD Review.

Continue reading: Angelbird SSD wrk upgraded to 1TB, continued TRIM support for Apple (full post)

Sony allowing movie theaters to pull 'The Interview' before release

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Dec 17, 2014 5:08 AM CST

The hacker group reportedly behind a major cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment is getting what they want - as Sony tells theaters they don't need to show "The Interview" due to terror threats. The movie is scheduled for release on Christmas, Dec. 25, and it would appear some theaters have already said they won't show the controversial film.

Movie theaters that decide to still show the film plan to use additional security - even if there has been no credible evidence a plot is in place - with AMC, Cinemark, Regal and Carmike all suffering a drop in stock values because of the threat.

"Somebody is playing mind games with [Sony]," said Richard Clarke, cybersecurity expert and former White House counter-terrorism lead, in a statement published by Good Morning America. "I think North Korea has little or no capability to do any physical attacks, commando activity, or terrorism in the U.S. By saying it's coming, however, they hope to keep people from the theaters and, thereby, hurt Sony's revenue."

Continue reading: Sony allowing movie theaters to pull 'The Interview' before release (full post)

Xiaomi will be allowed to sell Qualcomm-based smartphones until Jan. 8

The Delhi High Court has given Xiaomi a bit of a reprieve, allowing the Chinese mobile manufacturer the chance to sell its Qualcomm-based devices until Jan. 8. Xiaomi will have to turn over $1.60 for all devices sold, but will be able to allow consumers to purchase products until the deadline in three weeks. Qualcomm received patent licenses from Ericsson to use its patented technologies, an argument Xiaomi plans for 2015.

Earlier, a single judge passed an order that stopped Xiaomi from importing and selling its smartphones to India - its biggest target market outside of China - and a legal fight seemed imminent.

Ericsson wants Xiaomi to hold a license to have their smartphones imported to India, and the issues will be put on the table during the next legal hearing on Feb. 5. However, Xiaomi says it has a licensing agreement with Qualcomm to utilize its chipsets for the Xiaomi Mi3, Xiaomi Redmi1S and Redmi Note 4G for sale in India.

Continue reading: Xiaomi will be allowed to sell Qualcomm-based smartphones until Jan. 8 (full post)

The Australian government pushes for mandatory coding in schools

Chris Smith | Business, Financial & Legal | Dec 17, 2014 3:07 AM CST

The Australian government have proposed curriculum changes to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority - making computer coding and computational thinking a mandatory part of the countries Year 10 curriculum.

This news is well received by the Australian Computer Society as this positive information comes to light after the ACS and StartupAus joined forces with either other industry bodies fighting against a the proposed recommendation to only allow a dedicated technology subject in Year 9 Australian Schools - now it looks like the children may be learning more and over a longer period of time.

As we've recently reported on President Obama writing his own little bit of code, it helps signify the global 'new-age' of technology that we're currently experiencing. This is where basic and intermediate computer skills are becoming a necessity in this day and age with many professional and unskilled 'real-world' jobs and workplaces requiring you to have some form of computer knowledge - this bill helps solidify the improvement in education working toward preparing the children for the workforce.

Continue reading: The Australian government pushes for mandatory coding in schools (full post)

Capcom re-releasing DmC for the PS4 and Xbox One, aims for 1080p 60FPS

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Dec 17, 2014 2:37 AM CST

Capcom has announced that there will be a re-release of the reboot of Devil May Cry, with DmC hitting the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with 1080p and 60FPS goodness.

DmC: Definitive Edition will feature better visuals and graphical detail than the original release, with all of the DLC that has been released since the original game hit the previous generation consoles. The game will run at 1080p at 60FPS, even with the increased graphical bells and whistles. The re-release includes:

60 fps and 1080p resolution - It looks and feels super smooth to play.

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Analogix has shipped over one billion DisplayPort-powered devices

Analogix Semiconductor has announced that it has shipped over one billion DisplayPort devices, a number that includes various tablets, smartphones, and notebooks that allow them to connect with the latest in TV, projector and monitor technologies.

If you don't know about Analogix, they're a semiconductor firm most famous for SlimPort, an impressive technology found in various few smartphones and tablets on the market. Analogix's Chairman and CEO, Kewei Yang, said that the industry's growing acceptance of DisplayPort technology has helped the company grow considerably. He continued "The adoption of DisplayPort for both internal and external screen connectivity has been exceeding our expectations. Demand for SlimPort-enabled smartphones, tablets and notebooks is also fueling the company's sustained sales."

The company isn't stopping there either, with new SlimPort Transmittors coming soon, with the release of DP Alternate Mode over USB Type-C specification being published by VESA. Andre Bouwer, the Vice President of Marketing for Analogix said "Customers are using SlimPort transmitters to support the DP Alternate Mode over Type-C. In fact, DP1.3 over a USB Type-C connector is the only generally available consumer standard capable of transferring 8K content." So there you have it, the company is already teasing 8K content being made possible over DP1.3 over USB Type-C, impressive.

Continue reading: Analogix has shipped over one billion DisplayPort-powered devices (full post)