Analyst: Lenovo and ASUS finding success in the tablet market

Lenovo and ASUS continue to find success in the tablet market, as both companies are finding ways to carve out market share against Apple and Samsung, according to the Strategy Analytics research firm. ASUS now controls 6.8 percent of the tablet market, while Lenovo has 4.4 percent - small percentages compared to Apple and Samsung - but haven given a breath of life in the stagnant tablet market.

Meanwhile, Google Android has 72 percent tablet operating system market share, while Apple currently has 22.3 percent - and Windows continues to drag along, capturing six percent of the market. However, Lenovo's Yoga 3 Pro ultrabook and Yoga Tablet 2 run Windows, and are proving to be ideal in the workplace.

"White Box manufacturers continue to contribute a large percentage of the Android market share by offering a wide range of tablets in a wide range of screen sizes, connectivity and price points, simultaneously improving quality and specifications," according to Peter King, Tablet Service Director of the Strategy Analytics research group.

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FBI confirms arresting cybercriminals difficult, but fight isn't over

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Nov 14, 2014 3:11 PM CST

The FBI is aware of state-sponsored cyberattacks, with a large volume of attacks blamed on the Chinese and Russian governments, but finding ways to arrest and prosecute hackers overseas is difficult. Companies are struggling to keep their networks secure, as more employees and customers are at risk of data breaches with these groups evolving into better organized, well-funded cybercriminals.

"Since cybercrime is not found in only one country and is globally dispersed, law enforcement agencies must work together on identifying and arresting the actors perpetrating the crimes," a Special Agent from the FBI recently said during a webinar. "The biggest challenge is when these actors live in countries where the cybercrime laws are not distinct, or in some cases non-existent. There have been cases where these actors have traveled through cooperative regions of the world and arrests have been made."

Realistically, many of the state-sponsored cybercriminals will remain out of the reach of the FBI - and other Western European governments - but China, Russia, and select other countries are the largest perpetrators of attacks.

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BlackBerry CEO John Chen doesn't want to rush into Chinese market

BlackBerry CEO John Chen believes the Asian market is important in his effort to give the struggling smartphone maker new life, but doesn't want to rush any faster than needed. Of note, the Chinese market is appealing to companies, and one that is "too big a market to ignore," but BlackBerry wants to take its time trying to head into China.

"It takes too long to ramp up to a size that is even reasonable (in China)," Chen recently said. "Even if I have that time and money I'll probably have better returns going into a different set of markets that we are already in, like India, South Asia, and Southeast Asia."

The Chinese market is appealing for smartphone manufacturers, with Samsung and Apple both growing their market share in the country. BlackBerry should focus more on redeveloping itself in North America, as trying to compete with Samsung and Apple - among Chinese companies Lenovo and Xiaomi - could prove even more disastrous.

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Knightscope hopes to build generation of robotic security guards

Silicon Valley startup Knightscope has developed the five-foot-tall, 300-pound K5 robot designed to serve as security robots for businesses wanting a new twist on traditional security patrols. The robots are currently being tested by Knightscope and will launch at a Silicon Valley company that can detect movement and behavior - and report back to a security center.

The K5 uses cameras, sensors and navigation equipment, giving the autonomous robot the ability to patrol while also avoiding obstacles. In addition to four high-definition cameras, the K5 has a license-plate recognition scanner, weather sensor, GPS, internal laser ranging instruments, four microphones, and Wi-Fi to communicate with operators.

"This takes away the monotonous and sometimes dangerous work, and leaves the strategic work to law enforcement or private security, depending on the application," said Stacy Stephens, Knightscope co-founder and VP of sales and marketing.

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LiOn deployed in Facebook datacenters for power backup

Paul Alcorn | IT/Datacenter & Super Computing | Nov 14, 2014 11:08 AM CST

Power consumption is the highest ongoing expense in the datacenter, and for giants like Facebook it can easily add up to billions of dollars per year. One of the most obvious sources of power consumption spawns from cooling costs. Power consumption generates heat, and Facebook has grabbed the low-hanging fruit by moving to open-air datacenter designs that radically reduce cooling requirements. Now Facebook has turned their attention to UPS systems for the next layer of power savings. Reducing overall power consumption is key because it also incurs the expense of power backup. During a power loss event the systems automatically fall back to massive UPS systems that provide enough power, typically 90 seconds worth, to cover the gap until backup generators come online. Facebook has already altered UPS design by migrating from large central UPS systems to seven-foot tall server cabinets interspersed throughout the datacenter.

Today these massive power backup systems rely upon lead-acid batteries, but now Facebook is experimenting with the same type of lithium-ion batteries found in today's latest electric vehicles. The long term cost of maintenance is lower for lithium-ion batteries, and they also deliver more power in a smaller footprint. Facebook is experimenting with designs that embed lithium-on batteries at the rack level. Two batteries will slide into each rack and provide UPS protection. This design also reduces the chance of UPS failure. If a standard centralized UPS fails the entire datacenter can go down. With rack-level battery backups, only small groups of servers would be effected by individual failures.

Recent advances in lithium-ion battery technology have been fueled by electric car development. Vehicles like the Volt, Tesla, and Leaf, have ushered in advanced battery technology and also lowered the overall cost. Now that cost of Li-on batteries has fallen they have become a sensible alternative for UPS applications in massive datacenters. Facebook is integrating their new designs into their Open Compute initiative, which might serve to expand the widespread use of Lithium-ion in the datacenter. There is no word on how increased demand would affect the overall pricing.

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Apple urges consumers to download apps only from authorized sources

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Nov 14, 2014 8:30 AM CST

Apple hasn't heard reports of any users that have been compromised by the "Masque Attack," but cybersecurity experts are still asking Apple engineers to develop new protections to ensure enterprise users are more secure.

"We designed OS X and iOS with built-in security safeguards to help protect customers and warn them before installing potentially malicious software," an Apple spokesman recently said. "We're not aware of any customers that have actually been affected by this attack."

Cybercriminals want to hijack OS X and iOS users - and have largely struggled to find security loopholes - but are increasing their efforts into malware development.

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Sony PlayStation 4 outsold Nintendo, Microsoft Xbox One in October

Michael Hatamoto | Gaming | Nov 14, 2014 7:30 AM CST

The Sony PlayStation 4 outsold the Microsoft Xbox One in October, with sales growing 59 percent year-over-year, racking up $273.6 million, according to the NPD Group. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have all declined to release sales figures of their respective consoles in October, indicating it was a rather lackluster 31 days of sales.

"Overall sales across hardware, new physical software, and accessories were essentially flat in 2014 compared to October 2013," according to the NPD Group's Liam Callahan.

However, the Xbox One price cut has helped the console's sales triple, as it approaches 10 million units sold since launch, and looks poised to better compete against the PS4.

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Report says DoJ uses airplane flights to help better snoop on citizens

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Nov 14, 2014 5:30 AM CST

Airplane flights have given the US Department of Justice (DoJ) the perfect opportunity to snoop on American citizens with a custom surveillance program operated by the US Marshals Service. The covert program originally started in 2007 and uses "dirtboxes," portable cell towers, that can secretly collect identity and phone locations on subscribers.

The flights leave from five different airports across the United States, and can snoop on thousands of citizens during any given flight. Specific details regarding the program remain unclear, but the US Marshals conduct these missions "on a regular basis" - and not surprisingly, the DoJ is refusing to comment. The phones are in continuous communication with local cell towers, providing a great opportunity to snoop while being discreet.

Following former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's mass surveillance disclosures, American citizens have become more concerned of government spying.

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TAC executive sits inside of vehicle as it is shot with AK-47

The Texas Armoring Corporation (TAC) believes in its product so much that company CEO R. Trent Kimball sat in the driver's seat of a Mercedes-Benz while sales manager Lawrence Kosub shot the windshield with an AK-47. The 240fps slow-motion video shows Kimball getting into the vehicle as Kosub shoots one dozen rounds directly into the windshield.

"When it comes to assuring our clients' safety, we take product testing very seriously," Kimball says in the YouTube video.

The company says it produces the world's lightest weight armored vehicle passenger vehicles, and sets the standard for luxury, and our vehicles provide the absolute finest finishing available on the market."

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COD: Advanced Warfare the most-streamed console game of 2014 on Twitch

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Nov 14, 2014 2:27 AM CST

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has barely been out a week and it's already breaking records on Twitch, with it becoming the most-streamed console game of the year on the Amazon-owned streaming site.

Starting on November 4, there have been over 75,000 unique broadcasters sharing their gameplay footage from the new Call of Duty, with total content views over 26 million. Ernest Le, Director, Publisher & Developer Partnerships with Twitch, said: "Since the Call of Duty community on Twitch is extremely passionate, we are not surprised that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare set a milestone for most streamed console game of the year based on launch week comparisons. Our community spent over an hour a day watching and engaging with people playing the game, illustrating the incredibly strong appeal of live interactive video".

When it comes to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's gameplay, we have 6 million unique viewers last week alone, with over 327 million minutes in total watched. Co-Founder and Studio Head of Sledgehammer Games, Michael Condrey, chimed in: "The response from the global community to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has been incredible, with millions of fans playing the new era of Call of Duty and even more watching the action unfold live on Twitch in its first week in the wild. The team at the studio is thrilled to see that players think the game we've poured our heart and soul into making these last three years is not only be fun to play, but very exciting to watch".

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