Edward Snowden reveals that Microsoft have built a backdoor in Outlook.com for the NSA

Anthony Garreffa | Internet & Websites | Jul 16, 2013 5:01 AM CDT

Edward Snowden is probably the most wanted man in the world right now to the United States, with every single slither of information he releases has huge repercussions for every citizen. Today's revelation? Outlook.com has a backdoor, and Microsoft built it for the NSA.

When Microsoft starting testing Outlook.com, the NSA asked for access. Microsoft were forced to work, asking the FBI for some assistance, which took five month of collaboration to build a workaround that gives the NSA full access to encrypted chats on Outlook.com. The backdoor access began two months before Outlook.com went live.

There is a workaround, supposedly, where enabling encryption on Outlook will stop the NSA and probably half the governments of the world from looking at your private data. An NSA newsletter states: "For Prism collection against Hotmail, Live, and Outlook.com emails will be unaffected because Prism collects this data prior to encryption."

Continue reading: Edward Snowden reveals that Microsoft have built a backdoor in Outlook.com for the NSA (full post)

Apple iPhone sales aren't expected to grow, but we aren't surprised

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Jul 16, 2013 3:00 AM CDT

I've made my thoughts on the iPhone (and Apple as a company) many times before here on TweakTown, predicting that sales would drop late last year when the iPhone 5 was launching. Apple aren't releasing anything special, or different - the iPhone 5 being the peak of the 'sameish' iPhone game they've been playing for half a decade, except it was slightly taller.

Well, Fortune have now taken a look at consensus projections for how many iPhones Apple sold over the past three months, with analysts not expecting much for the quarter coming. Apple haven't been able to report any year-over-year sales growth for the iPhone, which is a big problem.

Their consensus analyst estimates that we should expect somewhere between 26.7 million and 27.9 million iPhones sold over the three-month period, which is only a slither more than the 26 million iPhones Apple sold in the same quarter of 2012. Most people think a cheaper iPhone will help them and while it would help their sales numbers, it won't help their bottom line, or for the company over the long term.

Continue reading: Apple iPhone sales aren't expected to grow, but we aren't surprised (full post)

Yahoo launches username wish list as it begins resetting inactive usernames

Charles Gantt | Internet & Websites | Jul 16, 2013 1:19 AM CDT

Last month, I reported that Yahoo would begin resetting inactive user accounts today, July 15. As expected, the company has started following through with this plan. This morning, Yahoo announced that it has launched its username wish list notification page (Source #2) where users can go and list up to five usernames they have always wanted associated with their Yahoo account. If and when these names become available, and after the reset process is complete, Yahoo will notify you of which names you were granted.

Some of you may be wondering how Yahoo plans on determining which accounts get deleted and which accounts stay. The answer is quite simple: if your Yahoo account has been inactive for at least twelve months, your name, account, and all emails will be deleted. More than likely this has already taken place, but reports say that the process could take a few weeks.

Yahoo says that those first in line for a username will be emailed a link which allows them to claim them sometime in mid-August 2013. After that, Yahoo will allow you to add usernames to a watchlist so you the first to know when they become available. This leads us to believe that the inactive account deletion process will be an ongoing thing, and accounts will be deleted as they pass the 12 months of inactivity milestone.

Continue reading: Yahoo launches username wish list as it begins resetting inactive usernames (full post)

RetroTT: Nintendo's Famicom turns the big three-zero today

Charles Gantt | Gaming | Jul 15, 2013 7:07 PM CDT

Say what you want about some of the early gaming consoles but tread carefully when talking about Nintendo's Famicom. The Family Computer by Nintendo was the predecessor to Nintendo's NES system. While the company ceased to manufacturer the NES system in 1995, Nintendo continued to manufacture the Famicom well into the new millennium until production ceased in 2003.

The Famicom, which turned 30 years old today, was truly ahead of its time with its sleek red and tan exterior as well as its conveniently placed controller pockets. This 8-bit system was a monster at its time and still has an active following of developers who continue to create new games for the aging system. So today, we salute you Famicom. As someone who will soon enter their third decade of existence as well, I raise my glass to you and wish you another 30 years of sprite-based pixilated fun.

Continue reading: RetroTT: Nintendo's Famicom turns the big three-zero today (full post)

Sprint adds a trifecta of new tri-band LTE devices from Netgear and Novatel

Charles Gantt | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Jul 15, 2013 6:32 PM CDT

This morning, Sprint launched three new LTE devices that will function on both Sprint's LTE spectrum as well as the 800 MHz frequency band that Sprint once reserved for its Nextel devices. The spectrum will supplement the company's LTE coverage at the higher frequencies, but this will not take place until Sprint has had the chance to refarm the spectrum. The 800 MHz spectrum will provide better coverage inside homes and businesses because its radio waves penetrate walls better than the higher 1900 MHz and 2.5 GHz bands.

Two of the new devices come from Netgear. The first is being called the Netgear Zing and is a mobile hotspot that retails for $49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate. Up next from Netgear is the U341 USB Dongle which will retail for $19.99 after the same $50 mail-in rebate. The Zing features a 2.4-inch LCD touchscreen and will last for up to 10 hours of of use on a single charge and can share a connection with up to 10 devices over Wi-Fi.

Finally, customers can also choose the new MiFi 500 from Novatel Wireless, which is priced at $49.99 after the same $50 mail-in rebate from Sprint. You'll be required by Sprint to agree to a two-year contract and a service plan, which starts at $34.99 a month for 3 GB of data per month. Customers are also offered a 3G/4G data plan which includes 6 GB of bandwidth for $49.99 or 12 GB of bandwidth for $79.99 per month. Each of the three new devices will launch in stores and online later this week on July 19.

Continue reading: Sprint adds a trifecta of new tri-band LTE devices from Netgear and Novatel (full post)

HBO files DMCA takedown for VLC Media Player with Google

Charles Gantt | Business, Financial & Legal | Jul 15, 2013 5:34 PM CDT

Earlier today, the website TorrentFreak noticed that Google had been served with a DMCA takedown notice from HBO that ordered them to remove a torrent link for the popular media player VLC. The link was neatly tucked inside a list with hundreds of links to torrent urls for HBO's popular Game of Thrones series.

It is likely that HBO never even reviewed the list which was generated by an automatic search bot that scans the web for torrents that may infringe on copyright holders' rights. There are literally more of these notices filed every month than there are of downloads of the actual torrents. During the last month alone, Google received 14,855,269 URLs which it was forced to remove from its search results under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

The URL in question points to the torrent site Torrent Portal, but as you can see in the screen captured image above, it does not point to any copyrighted material as VLC media player is actually an open source project. While this is most likely a mistake, it raises a massive red flag and makes us wonder what other links were removed from Google search results because of an automated process that generates the so-called "bad URLs".

Continue reading: HBO files DMCA takedown for VLC Media Player with Google (full post)

Elon Musk to publish Hyperloop Transport designs by August 12

Charles Gantt | Electric Vehicles & Cars | Jul 15, 2013 4:05 PM CDT

Over the last year so, Space X founder Elon Musk has been carefully dropping hints about a transportation project that could change the future of the world. Of course I'm talking about the Hyperloop Transport System that would take passengers on an underground rail ride that would transfer them from Los Angeles to New York City in just 45 minutes.

Today, Musk posted a tweet to his Twitter account that said he intends to publish the alpha designs for the Hyperloop Transport System by August 12. His tweet went on to ask that, once published, everyone supply him with critical feedback. For those who are out of the loop, the Hyperloop System will be comprised of vacuum-sealed tubes underground which will allow a magnetically levitated train to be hurled at high speeds without any wind resistance.

Initial reports suggest that the vehicle would be able to travel at 4,000 mph and since it's underground, it would be crash proof. Theoretically, there can be tunnels that break away from a main trunk tunnel and visit every major city in America. This could effectively mean that someone who resides in the low-cost areas such as Augusta, GA could work in an area with higher wages such as New York City. This would drastically change the economic landscape for America. Until August 12, we're left to speculate as to what really can happen.

Continue reading: Elon Musk to publish Hyperloop Transport designs by August 12 (full post)

RumorTT: Apple enters "aggressive" hiring phase for iWatch project, 2014 launch looks likely

Charles Gantt | Wearable Computing & Fashion | Jul 15, 2013 1:31 PM CDT

It appears that the rumors of an Apple iWatch arriving this year are holding less credence than we originally assumed. Recent reports suggest that Apple is still in the hiring phase for design engineers as well as electrical engineers to take on the project. Apparently the delays and additional hires are because there are some pretty tough engineering problems that need to be solved before the project can move forward.

In a recent report from the Financial Times, we have learned that Apple has been in an "aggressive hiring phase" for the last few weeks and that this is an indication that Apple has stepped up the development on the iWatch platform. Sources close to the matter also state that Apple has been experiencing some "hard engineering problems that they've not been able to solve" leading the bosses to believe that its in-house engineers are just not up to the task of designing wearable technology.

All of this leads up to the fact that we most likely will not see a smartwatch from the Cupertino-based company anytime this year. While 2014 is still an option, these recent developments lead me to believe that it will be 2015 or 2016 before Apple creates a design that they deem acceptable to launch to the public. With so many companies readying launches for this year such as Samsung and Sony, and with the Pebble already on the market, I think that Apple may be a little late to the party this time.

Continue reading: RumorTT: Apple enters "aggressive" hiring phase for iWatch project, 2014 launch looks likely (full post)

Koolance unleashes EXC-800, a portable recirculating liquid chiller for PC liquid cooling enthusiasts

Charles Gantt | Cases, Cooling & PSU | Jul 15, 2013 12:28 PM CDT

Koolance is at it again with another product launch this morning. The new EXC-800 Portable Recirculating Liquid Chiller is a water cooling enthusiast's dream featuring a rated 800W, or 2730 BTUs, an hour of cooling capacity. The chiller features Koolance's popular PMP-500 pump providing 42.9 gallons-per-minute of reliable flow of chilled liquid.

The chiller is able to adhere to one of four configurable temperature methods which includes an option to set the temperature to ambient to avoid condensation, or through the use of an external K-type thermocouple to chill the water to a desired temperature. The EXC-800 is capable of reporting the internal coolant flow rate, pump RPM, and condenser fan RPM which is displayed on a two-line organic LED display. The $1400 chiller is available at Koolance's website. (Source #1)

Available Features and Specs:

Continue reading: Koolance unleashes EXC-800, a portable recirculating liquid chiller for PC liquid cooling enthusiasts (full post)

20nm NAND SSD shortage affects OCZ, misses first quarter predictions

Paul Alcorn | IT/Datacenter & Super Computing | Jul 15, 2013 11:57 AM CDT

The current NAND shortage, first reported by Chris Ramseyer, continues to punish SSD manufacturers who are reliant upon other companies for their supply of NAND flash. OCZ announced their preliminary first quarter revenue at $50-$55 million compared to the markets estimation of $81 million. This is significantly off-target, and resulted in OCZ shares falling 8.4% in the premarket.

The NAND shortage is just another in a long list of OCZ's woes, but the timing could not be worse for OCZ. OCZ has not released financial results for a full three quarters due to accounting inaccuracies from the previous CEO's team and is in the midst of a restructuring to save the company. The tight NAND market has left OCZ with an estimated $23 million in shippable backlog in Q1. Unfortunately, the NAND flash shortage is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

The loss of revenue from the NAND shortage has also hurt OCZ's cash reserves, which fell to $6-$7 million dollars. This has left OCZ strapped for cash and searching for a new source of capital. The previous loans taken by OCZ during the restructuring carried high interest rates, and with the NAND shortage continuing we expect more of the same from whomever loans OCZ the cash to keep in operation.

Continue reading: 20nm NAND SSD shortage affects OCZ, misses first quarter predictions (full post)