Aaron Swartz took his life a couple of weeks ago and we have now seen hacktivist collective Anonymous making a strategic move by hacking a US government website related to the justice system.
They posted on the site informing everyone they would begin leaking a cache of government documents if the justice system is not reformed. Anonymous hacked the website for the United States Sentencing Commission late Friday, where they posted a message about what they're calling "Operation Last Resort", which included a bunch of downloadable, but encrypted files that they say contain sensitive information.
Anonymous' statement reads:
Apple's recently released Supplier Responsibility Report covers the progress they're making for everything from empowering workers to labor and human right issues within their supply chain. The report highlighted results for 393 audits performed over the last twelve months, a 72% increase over the number of audits performed in 2011.
Apple have said that its worker empowerment program providing education on local laws and the company's supplier code of conduct was extended to 1.3 million employees last year. This is a 100% increase in the amount of workers trained in the program since 2008.
The report also had some information regarding a Chinese labor agency that had forged documents for underage employees to work within Apple-connected suppliers. After the company had discovered 74 cases of workers under the age of 16 during an audit of a circuit board supplier in January 2011, Apple cut all ties to their contract with the company and is now going after the agency who did the hiring. The report states:
Scientists have created a real-life 'tractor beam' which uses light to attract objects according to research published by Nature Photonics and led by the University of St Andrews. The researchers' hopes are it could eventually lead to medical applications where it would target and attract individual cells.
To us mere mortals, a tractor beam is usually thought of along side Star Trek, where the beam was used to move much bigger objects. Back in 2011, researchers out of China and Hong Kong showed how it could've been done with laser beams of a specific shape, and we've also had NASA funding a study which looked into how the technique might be used to manipulate samples in space.
The new study lead researcher, Dr Tomas Cizmar, research fellow in the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews, said while the technique is new, it has huge potential. He continues:
I have multiple systems here in my home office, and every single one of them features an SSD or three. I can't stand to use mechanically-driven storage drives as my OS drives anymore, and with the price dropping almost on a weekly basis, most users are doing the same.
According to IHS analyst, Ryan Chien, the "fate of the SSD business is closely tied to the market for Ultrabooks and other ultra-thin PCs that use cache drives." The SSD market is set to really expand this year thanks to the push of Ultrabooks and other new form factors, such as SFF and Intel's NUC-type systems.
According to IHS' Storage Space Market Brief, worldwide shipments of SSDs will go from 39 million units in 2011 to 83 million units this year. By 2016, we should be in a world where 239 million SSDs are shipped, which will represent around 40% of the entire HDD market in that year. This is all thanks to the constantly declining price of SSDs, which is helping them get pushed into more and more systems and new form factors thanks to its low-power consumption, noise and heat.
Back in August we reported that MPEG had released a new draft for a video codec, H.265 - now, the video format has been approved by the ITU. This approval could eventually see Ultra HD 4K video to future networks, as well as making streaming HD video on low bandwidth mobile networks.
H.265 is known as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) and is designed for high-quality streaming, even if it's on a low-bandwidth network. With all of the online streaming users do these days from their smart devices, this has been a long time coming. The new approved standard will give publishers the ability to stream 1080p video with around half of the required bits that is required today thanks to its improved compression abilities.
This should make HD streaming a reality for households, like mine, where you don't have an ultra-fast Internet connection. Better yet, on mobile connections it'll be a godsend. Being able to stream HD or Full HD video over your mobile network in better quality, while using less bandwidth (and hence, data) will be great.
Hoping to catch a peek inside the Google Glass Developer Conference? Not possible as all attendees had to sign NDAs
Google's Project Glass is the next thing in tech, at least according to most analysts and tech enthusiasts. Google is hosting two Glass Developer Conferences, one in SF and one in NYC. For the rest of us who didn't put down $1,500 for an early pair of glasses, we're stuck scrounging around the web for coverage of the events.
Unfortunately for us, there won't be any as all the attendees of the events had to sign NDAs preventing them from talking about the event. ReadWrite managed to get a look at the NDA that was required to be signed and has paraphrased and reordered them in order to prevent Google from identifying who gave them the peek.
Only one part of the NDA actually gives us hope of actually starting to see more of Glass, and possibly not controlled by Google:
One woman isn't too happy with the date Match.com set her up with. It's an understandable position to take, as the man she met on the dating site stabbed her ten times in an ambush attack that took place in her garage. Because of this, she is suing Match.com for $10 million in compensation.
Mary Kay Beckman argues that Match.com misled her and failed to alert her of the potential dangers of online matchmaking. She met Wade Ridley in September 2010 via the service. Several online conversations took place and after 10 days of dating, she broke it off. The next day, Beckman alleges Ridley sent threatening text messages.
January 2011, he reportedly hid in her garage and stabbed her ten times. Beckman is looking for the $10 million as compensation for the multiple surgeries she underwent.
Just how much does Microsoft charge for a Windows Phone license? If you're Nokia, it's around $1 billion. In Nokia's earnings report, it announced that Microsoft will be getting a $1 billion payment in royalties for using Windows Phone. Previously, Microsoft had paid Nokia "platform support payments," amounting to $250 million each quarter, and this amount always exceeded how much Nokia had to pay Microsoft.
"To date the amount of platform support payments received by Nokia has exceeded the amount of minimum royalty commitment payments to Microsoft," Nokia wrote in its earnings report. "Thus for the remainder of the life of the agreement the total amount of the minimum software royalty commitment payments are expected to exceed the total amount of the platform support payments."
This should indicate that Nokia will be shipping more Windows Phone devices, likely through its popular and flagship line of Lumias. Nokia sold just 4.4 million Lumia devices in the last quarter of 2012, which is 4 times higher than it managed in 2011. Windows Phone continues to increase in popularity, which partially explains why Nokia can ship more devices.
Plenty of rumors have popped up regarding a cheaper Apple iPhone, with the rumors getting more frequent and in greater quantities as of late. The latest rumor out of the mill is that Apple may ditch the A6 processor and go with a cheaper alternative, such as a low-end Snapdragon, in order to maintain profit margins.
Analysts at the Detwiler Fenton firm predict the following:
AAPL would not want a value priced iPhone to offer the same kind of graphics and video support, processing power etc. that its premium priced device would, therefore a less powerful lower-end Snapdragon integrated solution would help segment the product.
The US government allows its citizens to petition the White House via an easy online form. Since responding to the Death Star petition, the government has increased the number of signatures required before a response must be issued to 100,000, which is still a pretty easy number to reach on anything worthwhile these days due to the power of the internet.
A while back, the Library of Congress decided that jailbreaking smartphones was legal, but jailbreaking tablets and unlocking wireless devices without the carrier's consent was illegal. A new petition has popped up on the White House petition site looking to force the Librarian of Congress to change his decision about the unlocking of smartphones.
"As of January 26, consumers will no longer be able unlock their phones for use on a different network without carrier permission, even after their contract has expired," reads the petition. "Consumers will be forced to pay exorbitant roaming fees to make calls while traveling abroad. It reduces consumer choice, and decreases the resale value of devices that consumers have paid for in full."