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China releases GPS alternative, Beidou, global coverage by 2020

By: Anthony Garreffa | GPS & Location | Posted: Dec 28, 2011 @ 4:50 CST

China have been hard at work developing its own world-wide positioning system, where it hops to distance itself from foreign dependence and providing an alternative to the popular GPS. China have just announced that this month's satellite marks the first time their positioning network has started offering navigational data.

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China have named their GPS-alternative "Beidou", which is a Chinese word which represents the constellation to English-speakers Westerners as the "Big Dipper" or the "Plough". Beidou currently sports 10 satellites but covers "only" most of continental Asia. Right now, the network is obviously less accurate than GPS, but they plan to close that gap with additional satellites.

There are plans from China to extend Beidou's orbital network to a total of 35 satellites by 2020. This will give Beidou the power of global coverage with GPS-like precision. Six of those satellites will be launched next year alone.

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Deal of the Day: Energy RC Micro 5 Pack 5-channel Home Theater Speaker System for $159.99 with FREE Shipping

By: Steve Dougherty | Audio, Sound & Speakers | Posted: Dec 28, 2011 @ 4:37 CST

Our Deal of the Day today is the Newegg - Energy RC Micro 5 Pack 5-channel Home Theater Speaker System for $159.99 with FREE Shipping!.

Offer: Use coupon code: EMCJHHC73 for $240 off the Energy RC Micro 5 Pack home theater speaker system, taking the price from $399.99 down to just $159.99 with FREE shipping. Expires 1/2/12.

ENERGY RC MICRO 5 PACK HOME THEATER SPEAKER SYSTEM COUPON

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Check our TweakTown Daily Deals page for more tech bargains!

Gigabyte release BIOS update for faulty LGA2011 motherboards, stops them from catching fire

By: Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards | Posted: Dec 28, 2011 @ 4:11 CST

[update] I've been informed by Gigabyte that it was not an actual build issue, but a BIOS-related problem. Gigabyte recommend that users who own the below boards update their BIOS immediately, or contact Gigabyte directly (details on this link). Gigabyte have stated it was an isolated case and can be fixed with the use of the F7 BIOS.

I do apologise greatly for the mistake, to both our readers and Gigabyte.

Last week, YouTube user "japan0827" uploaded a video of his overclocked testbed releasing a plume of smoke. Of course, being upset, posted on various Asian message boards with detailed pictures of the board that failed: a Gigabyte X79-UD3, and more specifically, a MOSFET in its CPU VRM.

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But, he isn't the only one. Gigabyte had released a press release this week acknowledging the fault, and that they had received other complains from other overclockers who own other X79-based boards: GA-X79-UD3, GA-X79-UD5 and G1.Assassin 2 - the company's main LGA2011 products. Gigabyte has said the issue stem

Continue reading 'Gigabyte release BIOS update for faulty LGA2011 motherboards, stops them from catching fire' (full post)

Google+ hits 62 million total users, the number of active users is still unknown

By: Anthony Garreffa | Social Networking | Posted: Dec 28, 2011 @ 3:22 CST

Google has just passed the 62 million user mark in their social networking site Google+. They're also seeing a very tidy 625,000 new users each day and Paul Allen has a prediction for 2012: Google+ will have 400 million users by the end of next year.

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Paul Allen says that the huge growth in support for Google+ could be:

The holidays, the TV commercials, the Android 4 signups, celebrity and brand appeal, or positive word of mouth, or a combination of all these factors, but there is no question that the number of new users signing up for Google+ each day has accelerated markedly in the past several weeks.

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Windows Phone Marketplace now has more than 50,000 apps

By: Anthony Garreffa | Software | Posted: Dec 28, 2011 @ 2:26 CST

The Windows Phone Marketplace has just hit another milestone: 50,000 apps. It actually hit that mark over a month ago on November 17. At the moment, Microsoft gives an official count of "more than 35,000" apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

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Microsoft have previously siad that they don't count extremely simple apps such as wallpapers or multiple versions (as in a paid version of the game, as well as the lite/demo version) as individual apps, which explains the big discrepancy between the official number and the estimate.

50,000 may sound like a lot, but compared to Microsoft's competition, Apple and Google, it's really nothing. Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market house 600,000 and 500,000 apps, respectively. Microsoft reached 50,000 apps quicker than any other market bar Apple's App Store, in just 14 months. For comparison sake, Android took 19 months to reach 50,000 apps.

The number of apps growing at a rate of 265 items per day.

Android device gets Pentagon approval, Department of Defense will rock an Android phone

By: Anthony Garreffa | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Dec 28, 2011 @ 1:29 CST

In a surprising move, The Pentagon have just officially certified an Android-powered device, alongside Android 2.2 for use on the Defense Department networks, which marks the first move away from RIM's BlackBerry. This is the first smartphone since the BlackBerry to receive approval.

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The approval went to Dell's Venue, with Dell's now discontinued Streak tablet being the previously approved device. Other Android-based manufacturers such as Samsung, Motorola, HTC and others were not covered in the recently published document. DoD employees only have limited access to the device's feature set, of course.

The Android Market will be banned, and all web browsing must be done through a DoD proxy server. On top of these restrictions, classified information cannot be sent, received or accessed using the Android handsets. On the fruity side of things, Apple's iPhones and iPads are currently being tested for use on DoD networks, but the DoD are not making any comments on when the iOS-powered devices might get approval.

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Want to jailbreak your iOS 5-based iPhone, iPad or iPod?

By: Anthony Garreffa | Software | Posted: Dec 28, 2011 @ 0:28 CST

Christmas is here again, folks! The iOS 5 untethered jailbreak is now available for the A4-based iPhone, iPad and iPod using Redsn0w. There are a few steps, as usual, to get it working, but this untethered method is much easier than previous attempts, it's literally as easy as 1, 2, 3:

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1. Download Redsn0w for Mac and Windows.

2. Run Redsn0w, click on "Jailbreak" and check "Install Cydia". Follow the instructions on the screen.

3. Wait and be done.

How easy is that! If you have an unlocked iPhone, you should choose the custom IPSW option to preserve it. As usual, these things can go wrong, so take your own responsibility for it. If it doesn't work, flashing back to the original Apple firmware isn't too hard. At the moment, this does not work with A5-powered devices such as the iPhone 4S and iPad 2.

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Coming soon, Raspberry Pi computer, just $25 and handles 1080p video

By: Anthony Garreffa | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Dec 27, 2011 @ 23:17 CST

Technology is an amazing thing, just look below at the pocket-sized Raspberry Pi computer, which is on its way to production. It is not much bigger than the usual USB flash drive and comes in two configurations.

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First, Model A will be $25 and includes 128MB of RAM and no network connectivity, while the Model B comes in at $35 and sports 256MB of RAM as well as an Ethernet connection. Both devices run Debian or Fedora and will have a 700MHz ARM11 SoC with support for OpenGL ES 2.0 and 1080p30 H.264 video playback.

The production units are set to include a single USB port, a flash card slot, HDMI and audio outputs, as well as various I/O headers for a serial port and more. It measures in at just 85.60mm x 53.98mm x 20mm, weighs just 40g and only requires a 5V power supply. The device had originally been conceived for academic purposes with the Raspberry Pi Foundation building their first prototype device back in 2006.

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6.8 million Android and iOS devices were activated on Christmas Day, also 242 million apps were downloaded

By: Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Dec 27, 2011 @ 22:27 CST

Christmas Day 2011 must have had stockings filled with electronics, because an estimate from mobile app research from Flurry give details on just how many Android and iOS-powered devices were activated on Christmas Day, as well as the amount of downloaded apps.

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Combined, we saw 6.8 million devices activated, an insane 353-percent increase from the 1.5 million average activations per day for the first 20 days of December. This is also 4 million devices higher than the 2010 Christmas record of 2.8 million. Flurry doesn't break down the split of iOS and Android, but if we go with the information of Android chief Andy Rubin saying just before Christmas that Android activations are sitting pretty with 700,000 per day, we know that Apple must be pulling the same numbers.

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Infinity Blade 2 update includes 'Clash Mobs' set to make the game go social

By: Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Posted: Dec 27, 2011 @ 21:24 CST

An update to the popular Infinity Blade 2 is coming soon, with lead designer Donald Mustard teasing that the update includes "Clash Mobs" which will let players all over the world play Infinity Blade 2 and fight enemies together in real-time.

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Mustard says:

Clash Mobs will appear in an update of the game and incorporate players from all over the world. Right now, you play the game by yourself, but Clash Mobs will let you partner with thousands of other players in real-time to help you reach a goal in the game. If you're fighting a giant monster, there's only so much one player can do alone," Mustard said. "We want to make big challenges a group effort, so after you're done shooting the monster, another player can step in and work to finish him off. This could even take 24 hours, with lots of players stepping in to help.

Continue reading 'Infinity Blade 2 update includes 'Clash Mobs' set to make the game go social' (full post)