Brace yourselves, Microsoft says the Start menu will return soon

Charles Gantt | Software & Apps | Apr 2, 2014 6:35 PM CDT

When Microsoft first unveiled Windows 8, the entire tech world began complaining about the lack of a Start menu in the next-gen operating system. Microsoft's vision was that everyone would switch over to touch-screen based devices and Windows 8 would be the new standard that all other operating systems strive to reach. Unfortunately, as with Windows Vista, Windows 8 was for the most part a flop with anything other than casual PC users.

The enterprise and business world failed to adopt Windows 8 or its later 8.1 update, and many attribute that to the lack of a true desktop interface that featured the Start menu that everyone was familiar with. During this weeks Build Conference, Microsoft said that it will be bringing back the Start menu, but it will still feature a live tile interface off to the right. There is a major update to Windows 8.1 scheduled to drop this month, but the Start menu will not come with it. Microsoft says that it will issue an update later this year that will include the reborn Start menu.

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Malware that mines cryptocurrency recently found on DVRs

A new clever cryptocurrency mining malware has been located on digital video recorders (DVRs), in a continuing evolution of connected devices being targeted by security threats.

The malware actively searches for vulnerable devices, and then the exploit comes later. Researchers are still unsure how the camera DVRs are being infected with the malware, though with many home users installing custom surveillance systems at home, this could be a growing concern.

"After accessing a couple of the DVRs, we noticed that the malware was running on the

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Micron announces DDR4 modules designed for Intel Xeon E5-2600 V3 line

Charles Gantt | RAM | Apr 2, 2014 4:07 PM CDT

Today Micron Storage announced that it is beginning to ramp up production of DDR4 memory modules in preparation of Intel's pending launch of the new Xeon E5-2600 V3 line of processors. Micron says that these DDR4 modules will offer a performance increase of up to 35-percent over previously utilized DDR3 RAM.

"Our JEDEC-compliant portfolio showcases the performance and power benefits that DDR4 products can provide for our customers," said Robert Feurle, Micron's vice president of marketing and program management. "As a result of Micron's close engagement with our key enabling partners, we are well positioned to bring this exciting new technology to market."

"We have been working with Micron since the early days of DDR4 memory definition and through DDR4 product launch," said Geof Findley, Intel DCG Memory Ecosystem Director. "We are very excited that our mutual customers will be able to reap the benefits of this new memory technology to improve performance and reduce power as part of future Intel(R) Xeon(TM) processor E5-2600 v3 product family based systems with production availability of these new processors in 2H'14."

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Trion Supercars wants to build a $1 million Nemesis to European cars

Shane McGlaun | Business, Politics & Money | Apr 2, 2014 2:16 PM CDT

There are plenty of insanely expensive supercars on the market today. Porsche, Ferrari, and McLaren all have cars only the richest of the 1% can afford. These cars have names like the McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari, and the Porsche 918. An American company wants to build a car that it thinks can compete with these European exotics.

The company is called Trion Supercars and it wants to build its $1 million supercar in California. The company isn't giving up all the details on the car just yet, but we know a lot. It will be built using carbon fiber to save weight.

Power will come from a twin turbo V8 engine. Exactly what the source for that engine is, we don't know. If the company is to meet the 2000hp goal it has for the supercar, called the Nemesis, it had better be a stout V8. I'd wager we are talking a heavily modified Chevrolet V8.

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Pentagon expands its effort to recruit workers for cyber defense roles

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Apr 2, 2014 1:42 PM CDT

The United States military is boosting its cyber capabilities as the Defense Department has almost 1,800 employees as part of its Cyber Mission Force. By the end of 2016, that staffing figure is expected to increase up to 6,000 before the end of 2016, while the US government continues to support in cyberattacks.

To try and increase the staffing level in such a short amount of time, military officials hope to recruit current military personnel - Silicon Valley cybersecurity specialists are unlikely to leave behind high-paying jobs to join the government's new programs.

"We spent a lot of time in the last two years in particular figuring out what the [recruiting] model would be,"a senior defense official recently told reporters. "Initially sometimes people will think about recruiting highly skilled people from the outside, and that is one option... but quite honestly, the way we're going to be most successful is using people within the force [including those with no cyber background] and giving them the training."

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Amazon's set-top box it here and its called Fire TV, cost just $99

Charles Gantt | TV, Movies & Home Theatre | Apr 2, 2014 1:24 PM CDT

Rumors of an Amazon-built set-top have been floating around for the better part of the last year, and today those rumors proved to be true. This morning Amazon.com announced the release of its all new Fire TV set-top box, a media streaming device that fully incorporates the Amazon ecosystem. Amazon is pulling out all the stops as well, and has enlisted Gary Busey to even record a promotional video for the new device.

Measuring in at less than an inch thick, the new Fire TV set-top box is capable of streaming full HD content to your TV over a common HDMI connection, and includes a remote that allows you to voice your commands, search for movies, and a wealth of other things. Amazon is also offering a separate video game controller that retails for just $40. Fire TV is not just closed to Amazon content, but features apps that integrate Netflix, Hulu Plus and many more services right on the box.

Fire TV is powered by a dedicated quad-core CPU and features 2GB of RAM that allows the device to continue smooth operation even when under a load from watching a House of Cards marathon. 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi is on-board and 8GB of internal storage is present. Amazon is retailing Fire TV for just $99 and is available now on Amazon.com. Do you think that a $99 set-top box is a justifiable purchase since Google's $35 Chromecast and Roku's $50 Streaming Stick do almost all of the same task for much less money?

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Sony 9.1ch digital surround wireless headphones debut

Shane McGlaun | Audio, Sound & Speakers | Apr 2, 2014 1:07 PM CDT

Sony has announced a new set of headphones called the MDR-HW700DS digital surround wireless headphones. The headphones use Virtualphones technology to reproduce the soundstage of a multichannel speaker system. A 9.1 channel system adds a pair of surround back speakers and a pair of front high speakers to the normal 5.1 set up.

The headphones don't actually have nine speakers inside. The wireless connectivity doesn't come at the detriment of sound quality. Sony uses HDMI connectivity for the headphones offering uncompressed audio transmission. Dual wireless bands are supported with 2.4GHz and 5 GHz.

Three different modes allow the user to choose the best mode for what they are doing. Those modes include Cinema, Game, and voice settings. Sony uses pressure-relieving luxury ear cushions for the headphones to make them more comfortable during extended use.

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Amazon Lockers now accept returns making it easier to send stuff back

Shane McGlaun | Business, Financial & Legal | Apr 2, 2014 12:33 PM CDT

If you frequently order things from Amazon, you know that it can be a worrisome process if a package has to be left by the door of your house with no one there to get it. There are some products that you might not want to go to your house even if someone is there to receive them, gifts are a good example. Amazon started rolling out its Lockers delivery service a few years ago.

Early on, the lockers could be found in Staples and other locations. Staples has since cancelled the deal and no longer has Lockers in its locations. Originally, all you could do was pick up the items you ordered at the Lockers location, but Amazon is now taking returns at the same Lockers.

The lockers return service works much like the delivery service. Amazon will send the person making a return a code to unlock the locker. Boxes up to one square foot in size can be placed inside. By taking returns at the Lockers location, Amazon can presumably save money on shipping since the delivery driver will be there dropping off packages for delivery.

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Verizon VMS1100 DVR system has up to 12 tuners and 2TB of storage

If you have a lot of people in your home that like to watch TV and record lots of shows to the DVR, you have undoubtedly run into issues before with not having enough tuners. Your options then are to watch something recorded or interrupt one of the other tuners. If you live in an area served by the Verizon Fios QuantumTV service you can get a new whole home DVR that has the most tuners out there.

The device is the new VMS1100 media server and it has six tuners on its own. It can be paired with another box allowing it to add up to six additional tuners for a total of 12. The VMS1100 on its own has 1TB of storage space when combined with other set top boxes with its own tuners it can have up to 2TB of storage.

As you might guess, the cost of a whole home DVR system this powerful isn't cheap. The main box is said to rent for $22 monthly for a single box, $32 monthly for the dual set up with 12 tuners, and each additional box for TVs is $10 monthly. You also have to pay the monthly cable bill.

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RumorTT: Apple moving iPhone 6 into mass production in May

With spring fresh in the air in the northern hemisphere, its that time for things to begin blooming once again. However, I am not talking about flowers and trees, I am talking about rumors of Apple's next-generation iPhone. A new report from RedmomdPie is suggesting that Apple will be pushing the 4.7-inch version of the iPhone 6 into mass production beginning sometime in May, but the 5.5-inch iPhone 6S will not be headed to production until later in the summer due to delays.

RedmondPie cites Reuters as the source of the info, which says that its contacts within the Asian manufacturing industry have said that Apple has began pushing out orders to its supply chain for the components that make up the iPhone 6. While I am inclined to take this news as mostly speculation, it is about time for the Cuppertino-based company to begin building up stock if it plans on launching a new phone this year, but with the iPhone 5C being such a major flop, will apple actually bring a second device to market for its sixth iteration of the iPhone? What do you think? Will we see 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone's hit the market later this year?

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