Sprint chairman says he wants to buy T-Mobile to compete with Verizon

Charles Gantt | Business, Financial & Legal | Mar 11, 2014 2:56 PM CDT

During a recent interview with Charlie Rose, Sprint's chairman, Massayoshi Son said that he would like to see his company purchase T-Mobile in a effort to truly compete with AT&T and Verizon in the mobile phone marketplace. Sprint is currently running at the number 3 position with T-Mobile following closely behind and gaining more traction every month.

Reports suggest that Sprint has been planning the acquisition of T-Mobile for months now and has been working with OEMs in the industry, and has even secured banks to help provide the financing needed to make such a large acquisition. One major hurdle is those at the Securities and Exchange Commission who might see the acquisition as bordering on Antitrust laws, but executives from both T-Mobile and Sprint have told regulators that a merger would be beneficial to consumers as it would allow more fair competition with AT&T and Verizon.

"We would like to have the real fight, OK? Not the pseudo fight, the real fight," Son said about competing with AT&T and Verizon. Son is in Washington DC this week lobbying for the acquisition as well as testifying before the Chamber of Commerce on broadband's important role in invention, innovation, and education, and how a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile could benefit those fundamentals as well.

Continue reading: Sprint chairman says he wants to buy T-Mobile to compete with Verizon (full post)

Google is expanding Fiber to 158 more neighborhoods in Kansas City

Charles Gantt | Networking | Mar 11, 2014 1:37 PM CDT

Google says that it has already laid about 6,000 miles of fiber optic broadband cable throughout Kansas City, and now the company is ready to expand even further. The company plans on extending its Google Fiber coverage to residents in South Kansas City, Kansas City, Grandview, Raytown and Gladstone areas.

Google says that if there is enough demand in these areas and residents sign up with a $10 registration fee, then they will expand their fiber network to these areas just weeks after the signups are complete. There is a deadline to signup for Google Fiber and its ranges based on the area you live in so check the list below and sign up as fast as possible!

One important note: your fiberhood has a deadline by which you need to reach your signup goal. The deadlines are coming up over the next few weeks, so it's important to sign up as soon as you can.

Continue reading: Google is expanding Fiber to 158 more neighborhoods in Kansas City (full post)

Q-Warrior headset is like Google Glass for the battlefield

Shane McGlaun | Wearable Computing & Fashion | Mar 11, 2014 12:37 PM CDT

In the normal civilian world people worry about things like being a glasshole while wearing their Google Glass headset. On the battlefield all most soldiers care about is getting their job done and keeping themselves and their friends safe. BAE Systems has a headset that is sort of like Google Glass that could help soldiers stay safe on the battlefield.

The system is called Q-Warrior and it fits on a helmet that helps protect the soldier. The eyepiece can give the wearer a 3D view of things that are going on outside their field of view. The idea is that the soldier could get video from a drone feed or other types of data showing what the baddies are doing as an operation unfolds.

The coolest part about the Q-Warrior headset is that the system is capable of being used as promised right now. It's not something that is a decade away from feasibility. One of the things holding deployment now is work to secure the wireless video feeds that make the headset useful. It wouldn't do to field something like this if the drone feeds could be hacked or blocked.

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Element 14 launches Raspberry Pi sound card

Shane McGlaun | Modding | Mar 11, 2014 12:04 PM CDT

If you are the DIY sort that is always tinkering with One project or another, you may be familiar with the Raspberry Pi. This cheap little developer board has found its way into many a cool project since it launched. One thing that the device has been missing is its own sound card.

Element 14 has announced the launch of a sound card for the Pi to fill that gap in features. A Wolfson audio processor is integrated into the sound card and supports audio at 24-bit/192KHz. It can be directly connected to an amp using a 3.5mm output or a digital S/PDIF output.

The sound card also handles audio recording using a pair of onboard MEMS microphones. One of the nicer features of this card is the price. The Wolfson Audio card for Raspberry Pi sells for $33. Affordability is one of the hallmarks of the Pi and its accessories.

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Titanfall now available for download on PC and Xbox One

Charles Gantt | Gaming | Mar 11, 2014 11:42 AM CDT

This morning, Microsoft released one of the most anticipated games of 2014 to the world. Titanfall has been described as Halo for the next generation of gamers, as well as Call of Duty evolved, and Microsoft is billing it as the best FPS to hit the Xbox One since launch. Everything did not go smoothly though, and the Electronic Arts distributed game experienced connection issues which prompted EA to issue a patch just hours after the the game launched.

Just minutes after the game went live, both PC players and Xbox One owners who had pre-loaded the game began to experience connection issues which saw them stuck on the "initializing screen." This issue is quite similar to what Diablo 3, Sim City and Battlefield 4 users experienced on launch day as well. Fortunately, EA issued a 380MB patch around 2AM that has seemed to fix the issue.

The issue is not related to EA's servers though as the game is the first to be hosted on Microsoft's Azure cloud servers, which is able to scale up based on the amount of load the system is experiencing. EA says that some of the issues stemmed from a network issue with those using Belkin routers, which is fixed by players opening some ports in the routers admin panel. Titanfall is available on Origin and Xbox Live for $59.99.

Continue reading: Titanfall now available for download on PC and Xbox One (full post)

Audi traffic light recognition system looks to save fuel

Shane McGlaun | Electric Vehicles & Cars | Mar 11, 2014 10:22 AM CDT

Audi unveiled a system during CES 2014 that is able to connect with compatible traffic lights and give the driver a countdown on the dash showing when the light will turn green. Audi has offered some more information about the system, and the carmaker says that the system will save fuel as well.

The way the traffic light recognition tool will help save fuel is by connecting with the start stop technology inside the car. The start stop system will leave the engine off until five seconds before the light turns green. Audi figures that the system could save about 240 million gallons of fuel if it was in wide use.

The system could also cut emissions by 15%. If you are wondering why the engine starts five seconds before the light turns green when most start-stop systems can start an engine in less than a second, the 5 seconds is meant as a reminder to the driver to get ready to drive.

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Samsung starts manufacturing industry's most advanced 20nm 4Gb DDR3

Roshan Ashraf Shaikh | RAM | Mar 11, 2014 7:38 AM CDT

Samsung Electronics made an announcement today that it has started the mass production of 20 nanometer based DDR3 memory modules. The company is using the immersion ArF lithography to roll out 20nm based 4Gb for its most advance DDR3 memory.

Young-Hyun Jun, the executive VP of memory sales and marketing for Samsung Electronics said,"Samsung's new energy-efficient 20-nanometer DDR3 DRAM will rapidly expand its market base throughout the IT industry including the PC and mobile markets, quickly moving to mainstream status. Samsung will continue to deliver next-generation DRAM and green memory solutions ahead of the competition, while contributing to the growth of the global IT market in close cooperation with our major customers."

Samsung said that it refined its design and manufacturing by using modified double patterning and atomic layer deposition. Because of this, Samsung was able to improve the scaling of its NAND flash memory. According to the manufacturing giant, this technology marks a new milestone as it allows 20nm DRR3 memory production using these equipments. It also helped them to establish a core technology required for next generation 10nm DRAM production.

Continue reading: Samsung starts manufacturing industry's most advanced 20nm 4Gb DDR3 (full post)

MSI's Nightblade gaming barebone PC is even sexier in person

Anthony Garreffa | Computer Systems | Mar 11, 2014 6:49 AM CDT

CeBIT 2014 - We have had some hands-on time with MSI's unique Nightblade gaming barebones PC at CeBIT 2014 in Germany. Take a look at our hands-on video below.

Inside of the Nightblade we have a unique OC Genie button, which is capable of overclocking the Nightblade with just a press of a button. Better yet, the overclock is represented by a red light emitting from the Nightblade. Inside of the MSI Nightblade is a case fan that was custom-made for the chassis. The fan speed is dynamically adjusted depending on what you're doing at the time, with the fan capable of driving up to 3600RPM.

As for GPU support, the Nightblade is capable of housing a full-size GPU, with a maximum length of 290mm and 35mm thick. Even something as powerful as AMD's Radeon R9 290X can be installed into the Nightblade. MSI has installed its own MSI GAMING motherboard inside of the Nightblade, as well as a 600W PSU that should be capable of driving any combination of hardware you desire.

Continue reading: MSI's Nightblade gaming barebone PC is even sexier in person (full post)

The Witcher 3 developer slams other studios for talking performance

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Mar 11, 2014 6:24 AM CDT

Michał Krzemiński, the Senior Art Producer at CD Projekt RED, the studio behind The Witcher 3, has some interesting things to say when it comes to next-gen consoles and games.

He was asked about next-gen tech and RPG titles, where he talked about the on-going 'resolution war' that we are seeing roll out in front of our eyes thanks to the Xbox One and PS4. Krzemiński said: "If you're asking me to throw a rock in the PS4 vs. Xbox One resolution war, I won't. The game is not finished and talking about resolutions, framerates and min. specs (for PC) is, I think, pointless. Everything can change during the optimization process at the end of development. Rest assured, we're working our butts off make The Witcher 3 run and feel equally awesome on every platform."

Krzemiński was asked if there's anything that the next-gen hardware has allowed CD Projekt RED to do that might not have been possible on the previous generation consoles, to which he said: "There's no one specific thing that next-gens allowed us to do. There's a whole ton of them. Essentially, the game can look mind-blowing, we've got seamless gameplay with no loading screens (almost everything is streamed during gameplay, cutscenes etc.), we can add visual effects unavailable to us before because of performance issues and so on, the list is huge. All this constitutes a giant, lush open world with a myriad of things to do, quests, adventures, monster hunts, events and so on."

Continue reading: The Witcher 3 developer slams other studios for talking performance (full post)

Intel's new cable design can move data at a whopping speed of 800Gbps

Intel's latest cable with green coloured housing has the ability to carry data at 800Gbps. This cable is based on the company's Photonics technology.

The cable uses 64 fibers, out of which 32 is dedicated for transmitting and 32 for receiving. Each fiber has a capability to move 25Gbps of data. The cable uses MXC (NOTE: Not an acronym) connectors. These connectors are significantly smaller than the Ethernet cable connector.

To develop Silicon Photonics transmission, Intel partnered with Corning to developed new fibers to support the new technology. The chipmaker also worked with US Conec. This helps to convert electric signals into optical signals- and vice versa.

Continue reading: Intel's new cable design can move data at a whopping speed of 800Gbps (full post)