Seagate Technology set to acquire Xyratex LTD

Charles Gantt | Storage | Dec 23, 2013 2:00 PM CST

Today Seagate Technology announced that it has agreed to buy Xyratex, a HDD testing equipment manufacturer. The deal will see Seagate acquiring all outstanding shares of Xyratex in an all-cash transaction that is valued at $13.25 per share, for a total of about $347 million.

Xyratex is one of the leading manufacturers of hard disk drive testing equipment, and this acquisition strengthens Seagate's vertically integrated supply and manufacturing chain. The buyout also strengthens Seagate's portfolio by adding Xyratex's enterprise storage systems and high-performance computing business to Seagate's already impressive holdings.

"This is a strategically important acquisition for Seagate as we continue to focus on delivering best-in-class storage solutions for our customers," said Dave Mosley, President of Operations and Technology at Seagate. "As the average capacity per drive increases to multi-terabytes, the time to test these drives increases dramatically. Therefore, access to world-class test equipment becomes an increasingly strategic capability. As a premier provider of HDD testing equipment, Xyratex is an important partner and we are excited to integrate these important capabilities which will considerably streamline our supply and manufacturing chain for our core HDD business. We are also pleased to acquire Xyratex's storage systems and high-performance computing business, which provides us additional opportunities to serve our customers with a broader array of storage solutions."

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First major US retailer to accept Bitcoin in the second half of 2014

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Dec 21, 2013 11:34 PM CST

Overstock.com CEO, Patrick Byrne, has said that his company would be one of the first to accept Bitcoin, where it will accept the digital currency in the second half of next year.

Byrne spilled the news during an interview with the Financial Times, where he said there is going to be a market in Bitcoin, and he wanted his company to embrace it. Byrne believes Bitcoin will hold its value better than the fiat-based dollar, thanks to the fact that it is mathematically constrained, versus the limitless printing of the dollar through the Federal Reserve and government authorities.

The Overstock.com CEO stated that his company would bank the digital currency in the event that similar digital funds increase in popularity. If, however, the digital currency begins to deflate, the company would transfer Bitcoins to dollars on a daily basis.

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Ubuntu finally embraces SSD's by adding TRIM support

Charles Gantt | Software & Apps | Dec 20, 2013 8:31 PM CST

Canonical had finally seen the light, and has added TRIM support for SSD's to its core. This is a basic feature that has been present on most modern operating systems for years now. TRIM's only function is to extend the life of your SSD, and allows the operating system to tell which blocks of data are no longer needed and can be erased or overwritten.

This allows the SSD to perform more efficiently which results in performance increases, longer life and much less performance degradation over time. Windows first featured TRIM support back in 2009, and OSX adopted it in 2011. Android now even supports TRIM which was added back in July of this year. This means that Ubuntu becomes the first mainstream Linux consumer operating system to fully support SSD's without killing the drives prematurely.

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Pyle rolls out the Bluetooth fitness scale

Pyle Audio recently introduced the Bluetooth Fitness Scale (PHLSCBT4), a custom designed scale including a smartphone app so owners can better track their health and fitness.

Scale owners are able to track data with the free Pyle Health Fitness Tracker app, and everything can be sent wirelessly via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet. Designed for Apple and Google Android products, and all data can be shared on Twitter or Facebook - or in an online password-protected workout log. Collected data includes: weight, body fat, hydration levels, muscle level and bone level percentages - and provides a great baseline of overall health.

The scale is available immediately with a $59.99 USD retail price. Pyle is best known as an audio company often specializing in consumer electronics, sports products, and professional audio - so this is a rather interesting product offering.

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The Division will stand out on the PC, "won't be a port"

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Dec 20, 2013 4:35 AM CST

The Division is an MMO coming from Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment, which runs the jaw-dropping Snowdrop Engine, something we took a look at a few weeks ago now. Well, during a Reddit Q&A, the developer talked about the PC version of the game.

Massive said: "As you know, Massive has its roots in PC development. We are working hard and we want to make sure that we have a very high quality experience on PC. You can be sure that our PC version won't be a port, but a full-fledged, optimized version! We want to create the best game possible regardless of what platform you play on."

This is some incredibly exciting news, as the PC version should look the best out of every platform The Division is released on. I'm looking forward to getting my hands, and eyes, on the game even more now.

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Cyanogen secures $23 million in funding, this is just the beginning

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Dec 20, 2013 3:36 AM CST

Cyanogen Inc. secured $7 million in Series A funding a few months ago, but Series B funding has come and gone, with $23 million being secured. The Series B funding was led by Andreessen Horowitz, the same company that is working closely with Oculus VR and its latest Series B funding round.

One of the interesting points to take away from this is that Cyanogen Inc. is planning to launch a mass consumer brand or service late next year, or early 2015. We should hear more about the hardware side of things in the coming weeks and months, with the first CyanogenMod-powered smartphone, the CyanogenMod Edition of the Oppo N1 available.

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EA slapped with class action lawsuit over Battlefield 4

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Dec 19, 2013 11:44 PM CST

We all know that Battlefield 4 is a jumbled mess right now across pretty much every platform its on, so it comes as no surprise that Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP has filed a class action lawsuit against EA.

The law firm claims that EA issued "materially false and misleading statements" regarding the quality, and playability of Battlefield 4. The lawsuit highlights the PS4 version of the first-person shooter, claiming that "players of Electronic Arts' games were being subjected to multiple glitches and significant crashes when attempting to play Electronic Arts' titles on PS4."

The bigger problem is that this is the second lawsuit the firm has slapped EA with, with the first an investigation to find out if EA misled investors regarding Battlefield 4's projected impact on company revenue. This is still an on-going case, something we'll be keeping an eye on.

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Two teaser trailers for Transcendence released

Anthony Garreffa | TV, Movies & Home Theatre | Dec 19, 2013 8:05 PM CST

Something that has just popped up into my radar in the last few minutes, is Transcendence. Transcendence is Wally Pfister's directorial debut, which stars Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman.

There are two trailers, the one above which is narrated by Morgan Freeman, and the one below, which is narrated by Depp. Transcendence is based around the idea of artificial intelligence (AI), where work is done to create a sentient machine that 'combines intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotion.'

The full synopsis makes it seem very, very intriguing:

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Thecus becomes first OEM to offer RAID 50 and RAID 60

Charles Gantt | Storage | Dec 19, 2013 2:55 PM CST

Thecus has unveiled new NAS devices that are the industries first to support the new RAID 50 and RAD 60 storage formats. Thecus says that the new devices offer significant advances in performance and fault tolerance for small and medium businesses and enterprise customers.

RAID 50 support has been built into the following Thecus NAS devices: N6850, N7510, N8850, N8900, N10850, N12000 N12000PRO, N16000, and N16000PRO. In addition, all devices with 8 bays or more, also support RAID 60. Each device also features optional 10GB Ethernet cards, and with a maximum capacity of 24TB in the largest device, there is more than enough room for your business to expand.

"SMB and Enterprise firms have long been looking for a NAS solution that leverages the latest innovations to combine reliability, performance and cost effectiveness in a single device. By being the first to bring RAID 50 and RAID 60 to the NAS device market, we believe we have finally met this growing demand," said Florence Shih, General Manager at Thecus. "We're already seeing great interest from our SMB and Enterprise partners."

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Researchers indicate MacBook webcams can be compromised

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Dec 19, 2013 12:30 PM CST

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University confirmed it's possible to turn on a laptop's web camera without turning on a light that informs users the camera is on. Just a few years ago, it didn't seem possible to hack a webcam like this, but it's something consumers need to be somewhat vigilant about.

The team focused on Apple MacBook and iMac models available before 2008, but said the exploit can be used on a variety of different models. Although Apple initially opened up communication with Johns Hopkins University to discuss the problem, there reportedly haven't been any further updates.

Using a Remote Administration Tool (RAT), for example, works around the computer's security and remotely controls the computer webcam.

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