Dota 2 officially exits beta and moves into production

Charles Gantt | Gaming | Jul 9, 2013 6:54 PM CDT

Earlier today, Steam updated the page for Dota 2 to reflect that its beta program has finally come to a close. The page directed players to check out various links which did not work and featured a graphic stating "The Beta Is Over." Also listed is a launch date of July 9 for the production version of the game.

Unfortunately, Steam has since removed the page but according to Valve, the disappearing act is the result of some technical difficulties. Below is a quote that can be found on the new Steam page:

Notice: Dota 2 is officially launching. In order to ensure the best possible experience for new and existing players, there may be a short wait for you to download the game. Visit the Dota 2 Launch page for more information about how the release process works.

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San Andreas comes alive in official Grand Theft Auto V gameplay video

Charles Gantt | Gaming | Jul 9, 2013 9:45 AM CDT

Over the last month or so, we have seen a wealth of new games announced. While they are all quite spectacular in their own right, none of them come as highly anticipated as Grand Theft Auto V. GTA V has to be the most talked about game of the year and RockStar is doing a good job at keeping the anticipation levels high.

This morning, RockStar Games released a new trailer video of actual in-game footage that takes us on a more in-depth look at the reimagined San Andreas. We learn more about the game's three leading characters, which are all playable on-the-fly during gameplay. This means that you can switch to each of the three during missions to provide new vantage points to shoot from, or even to handle different parts of the mission such as flying the escape helicopter while the other two characters hang onto a rope.

The video also shows off old and new features such as the ability to deeply customize vehicles in customization shops, a playable stock market system, investing in and selling real estate, and even playing a round of golf. Traditional features such as getting a tattoo, buying clothing, and flying planes also make a comeback for what is almost guaranteed to be the most thrilling GTA ever.

Continue reading: San Andreas comes alive in official Grand Theft Auto V gameplay video (full post)

RumorTT: Apple has began cutting iPhone 5 production

This morning, reports are coming in that Apple has began to cut production on its iPhone 5 model. The report comes from Brian Blair of Wedge Partners, an analyst who closely follows Apple's production numbers. Apple's core suppliers are said to be expecting a cut as large as 20 percent for orders of components that make up the iPhone 5.

"So, when they make a dramatic change in their forecast, they need to let their suppliers know," Blair said. "And this is coming from some of our supply-chain work out of China and Taiwan that has let us know, not exactly, but that there's been roughly this kind of a change in their forecast for the period from June to December, about a 20 percent cut in what they've been telling their suppliers to be ready for."

Industry insiders say that Apple has cut iPhone sales forecast down from 115 million units to about 90 million units. Cutting back production is usually seen as an indication that Apple is getting ready to release its next generation in the iPhone series, so maybe we will begin hearing a solid release date for the iPhone 5S as well as that low-cost, budget level iPhone as well.

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Facebook finally rolls out Graph Search for all US users

Charles Gantt | Internet & Websites | Jul 8, 2013 11:55 PM CDT

Early this morning, Facebook finally switched on Graph Search for all of its English-speaking users in the US. By expanding its test program that was rolled out in January from a few thousand users to a few million users, Facebook can now see how its new search performs on a massive scale.

Graph search is a tool that allows people to search Facebook's fast database using natural language searches to find almost anything the social network has ever indexed. An example of one search would be: "Photographs of my friends taken before 2005" or "restaurants in New York City my friends have visited and liked." Facebook would then return results based on your query.

I feel the graph search, while cool, is not really useful past searching for restaurants, photos, or places. I have been a member of the beta program since the week it was released and to be quite honest, the novelty wore off very fast. In the past few months, Facebook has modified the search so much that now most results are quite broad and not a specific as they used to be.

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DirecTV and Time Warner Cable both place last minute bids for Hulu on July 5 deadline

Charles Gantt | Business, Financial & Legal | Jul 8, 2013 11:11 PM CDT

July 5 was the deadline for all bidding proposals to buy the content streaming service Hulu. The date was set by the Board of Directors after bids were received from everyone including Yahoo, AT&T and the Chernin Group in recent weeks. Today, we found out that both DirecTV and Time Warner Cable also submitted their bids before the deadline was up.

DirecTV apparently placed a bid to acquire the company as a whole, while Time Warner Cable reportedly offered up a proposal to become an investor alongside the service's current owners: Walt Disney Co., 21st Century Fox Inc., and Comcast.

No word on how much each bid was for, but with Yahoo's bid around $1.1 billion, we can assume that similar offers were in the same ballpark. It looks like Hulu will get purchased by someone, and let's all hope that the service actually improves over the current state it is in.

Continue reading: DirecTV and Time Warner Cable both place last minute bids for Hulu on July 5 deadline (full post)

LeakedTT: More Nokia Lumia 1020 information, photos, and specifications leaked

This morning, I posted a report that seemed to confirm the existence of the Nokia Lumia 1020, a 41-megapixel PureView Windows Phone 8 device. The report showed off images taken by a Microsoft exec who posted them on his Twitter account. This afternoon, we are seeing even more leaks come in about the future king of the camera phone.

It appears that Nokia will be releasing the Lumia 1020 PureView in a trio of colors including a vibrant yellow, white, and black. My original guess of a Xenon flash seem to be confirmed as well as speculation about built-in optical image stabilization. Website WPCenteral is confirming specifications including 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and no SD card slot. Also present is an FM radio, Near Field Communication, Wireless Charging and Windows Phone 8 version 8.0.10322.71.

WPCenetral is also reporting that the phone will take images at 32MP and 5MP at the same time at 16:9. The 5MP image is oversampled and drops 7 pixels into each pixel of the 5MP image, thus creating a "Super Pixel." The phone is said to capture a 38MP image in 4:3 mode as well. As we learned earlier, it will feature an f/2.2 aperture and Zeiss glass. If these newly released specs are true, this just may be the most bad ass camera phone ever released.

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Barnes & Noble CEO calls it quits, unexpectedly resigns this afternoon

Charles Gantt | Current Affairs | Jul 8, 2013 8:02 PM CDT

Barnes & Noble has been facing a tough market for the past several years now. With dwindling physical book sales as well as a failed attempt at the digital market, the once heavyweight book retailer is facing yet another major setback today. William Lynch, the company's CEO, has just resigned effective immediately.

The resignation came quite unexpected and the company has not yet disclosed any reason for Lynch leaving, but industry analyst are speculating that the deal between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft to buy its Nook properties has fallen through. This would be a major blow to the company as it would lose a possible $1 billion bolster to its coffers and would ditch a division of its company that has never seen a profit.

Barnes & Noble said in a statement:

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Android 4.3 version of HTC One Google Edition pops up at Bluetooth SIG

It appears that the Google Edition of HTC's One will be replaced by yet another HTC One. This morning, records have popped up on the Bluetooth SIG website that indicate a version of the HTC One running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean is in existence with the model number PN071, which is the same model number listed on the existing Google Play Store listing.

This second version of the HTC One will feature Bluetooth 4.0 LE support which is why it is making an appearance at the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. With more leaks and images of Android 4.3 popping up everywhere these days, it can only indicate that the official Android 4.3 launch is imminent. While 4.3 is mostly a backend update, there are a few features that will be sure to wow hardcore Androidians.

Most importantly, Android 4.3 will bring us yet another step closer to Android 5.0 which is supposed to bring forth a new era of smartphone and tablet innovation. The jury is still out on whether this will happen, but with every generation of Android being better than the last, we can safely say that whatever 5.0 brings, it will be amazing!

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Sony trademarks "Playstation TV" brand, looks to take on Apple and Microsoft

Charles Gantt | Business, Financial & Legal | Jul 8, 2013 1:03 PM CDT

It's no secret that Apple and Microsoft both want to become king of the content delivery world. With Apple pushing Apple TV and Microsoft building its next-gen console, the Xbox One, around the home theatre experience, it is very clear that the next few years will be all about who can capitalize on this new and emerging market.

This morning, it appears that Sony has plans to toss its own hat into the content delivery market with its upcoming Playstation 4. We are learning that Sony has officially re-trademarked a new brand named "Playstation TV." This could mean that the PS4 will have similar functionality to the Xbox One or it could mean that Sony is just scooping up anything related to its IP in the event that it wants to head down that road in the future.

Additionally, this trademark is nothing new as Sony has actually held it since 2006, but let it expire earlier this year. Whether or not the lapse in ownership was intentional is still up in the air, but we are sure that Sony is planning something along the lines of content delivery.

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Yahoo's new Google-like menu bar crash lands at Flickr, users not impressed

Charles Gantt | Internet & Websites | Jul 8, 2013 12:02 PM CDT

A few months back, Yahoo announced the creation of a new menu bar that would be shared across all of its desktop website services such as mail, search, and photo sharing. Many scoffed at the idea, but others pointed out that Google has been doing the same thing for some time. This morning, Yahoo rolled out the new menu bar to its recently reinvigorated photo sharing service Flickr.

While the new menu bar is technically a useful feature, many Flickr users are not so convinced and as a result, they have taken to the Flickr help forums to vent their disdain. One user wrote "Gosh, what a design disaster...if that annoying bar would at least fit the site design wise at little. Yahoo has learned nothing in the last decade as it seems. Dropping pro account now. Sorry guys, this is just too much."

Historically, I have not been a major fan of Flickr, but have recently flipped a 180 when the service began offering 1TB of free storage to its users. As an ex-professional photographer who still does small shoots on the side, this new amount of storage was very appealing to me. The new integration of this menu bar in its current form is definitely not appealing to the eyes, nor is it in any form inline with the refined, dark theme that Flickr has been sporting since the update.

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