Be wary: One in 10 social-media reviews will be paid for by 2014

Trace Hagan | Business, Financial & Legal | Sep 17, 2012 1:31 PM CDT

Everyone has seen those social reviews posted online. A friend recommends a product or writes a review on Amazon that makes its way onto Facebook. You trust it because it's one of your friends, right? Well, it looks like you'll start having to be a little more careful about which you trust. A new study shows that 10-15% of social media reviews will be paid for by companies by the year 2014.

Companies are already paying customers or giving them discounts to write a positive review of a product or service, but this practice is starting to grow more into the mainstream. Research firm Gartner provides a bit of insight into the practice with their new study which makes this powerful prediction.

"With over half of the Internet's population on social networks, organizations are scrambling for new ways to build bigger follower bases, generate more hits on videos, garner more positive reviews than their competitors, and solicit 'likes' on their Facebook pages," Jenny Sussin, senior research analyst at Gartner, said today in a statement. "Many marketers have turned to paying for positive reviews with cash, coupons, and promotions including additional hits on YouTube videos in order to pique site visitors' interests in the hope of increasing sales, customer loyalty, and customer advocacy through social-media 'word of mouth' campaigns."

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Evidence shows blocking torrent sites has no effect

Trace Hagan | Internet & Websites | Sep 17, 2012 12:46 PM CDT

New evidence is showing that blocking torrent sites such as Pirate Bay and others has little- to no- effect on torrenting. Go figure. It seems that even after blocking torrent sites, the number of people torrenting continued unabated in the UK. MusicMetric released the "largest ever public data set showing trends in music on BitTorrent."

Currently, that data is for the UK, though they are planning on releasing US and Canadian data soon. The main point in the data is that blocking pirate sites really had zero affect on the number of torrents being downloaded. People must have either avoided the blocks, which isn't hard to do, or found alternate sources.

Of course, Pirate Party UK didn't want to let this go unnoticed. Leader Loz Kaye commented on the findings: "These figures don't prove anything very much, other than the fact that people like music, and that the people of Manchester are leaders in using technology. They are certainly not evidence of the BPI's shrill claims that 'a lot of people are getting very rich' from so-called piracy. And as MusicMetric point out, torrents download numbers also include lots of legal files: the actual most downloaded album in those statistics was a legal one."

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EB Games Expo, Sydney 2012 - an introduction of what's coming

Matthew Wu | Gaming | Sep 17, 2012 11:49 AM CDT

Last year we went to EB Games Expo that was held on the Gold Coast (Queensland, Australia) and enjoyed ourselves immensely. We checked out the newest games, spoke to the big developers and listened to gamers talking about games! We've also been invited this year's event and it's going to be a lot closer for me because it's in Sydney!

This year, EB Games Expo will be held across three days (5th October - 7th October) at Sydney Showground and EB Games tells us over fifteen thousand tickets have already been sold - but there's still a few more tickets unsold - so get them before they're gone! Over twenty-five thousand square metres will be filled with the latest hardware, consoles, software, games, devices and anything that relates to gaming.

EB Games showed us what the Sony stand is going look like, and it looks amazing!

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AMD Radeon HD 8800 series SKUs are here, hello "Oland"

Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards & GPUs | Sep 17, 2012 7:20 AM CDT

Here I was thinking we wouldn't see much toward this time of the year on the GPU landscape, but AMD are already close enough to the launch of their Radeon HD 8800 series with sources now leaking out some information on silicon that is codenamed "Oland".

Oland is built on the same 28nm process, throwing in 3.4 billion transistors onto a die-area of around 270 mm². If the news is solid, we're looking at the Radeon HD 8870 "Oland XT" outperforming its predecessor, the HD 7870 in both performance per watt, and cost-performance ratios.

If the chart is right, the HD 8870 could begin offering performance close to that of today's high-end offerings, which would really shake up the market. The HD 8870 clocks in at 1050MHz, with 1100MHz PowerTune Boost frequency, with its little brother the HD 8850 clocked at 925MHz with 975MHz boost frequency. Both SKUs have memory clocking in at 6GHz, providing an insane 192GB/s of memory bandwidth - even at a proposed $199 price for the HD 8850.

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Nintendo's Wii U is selling out online in the US, better get in while U can

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Sep 16, 2012 11:31 PM CDT

It's not even near the holidays yet and Nintendo's Wii U is already thrashing through the sales, with pre-orders of the Deluxe and Basic bundles sold out at most online retailers.

The Deluxe bundle features a black, 32GB Wii U for $350, whilst the Basic bundle gives you a white, 8GB Wii U for $300. Best Buy, Toys R Us and Target are all sold out of both version of the Wii U, with Sears and Kmart only offering the Deluxe version which is sold out.

GameStop is all out of 32GB versions, but the 8GB bundle is still available for pre-order. Wal Mart still has stock, in both editions, available standalone, or as part of the Wal Mart Solution Bundle. This bundle throws in a Wii Remote Plus, as well as a choice of a Wii U game. The Solution Bundle is $400 for the Basic set, or $450 for the Deluxe.

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Intel's 22nm manufacturing process is 'exceeding expectations', talks of 5nm tech for 2015

Anthony Garreffa | CPU, APU & Chipsets | Sep 16, 2012 10:11 PM CDT

Intel's 22nm manufacturing process is shaping up much better than what the chipmaker said, according to talks at last week's IDF. Director of Process Technology, Mark Bohr, has said that the company's 22nm manufacturing process has exceeded their expectations.

Intel's Ivy Bridge line of processors bought forth the company's tri-gate transistor technology, which has been praised by technology enthusiasts alike. Bohr talked about the transistors' leakage and sub-threshold slope were more efficient than Intel had expected, and the technology will now see an extension of life into a few more generations.

We should hopefully see 14nm sometime next year, but 2015 looks like its the year for big amounts of change. Not only should we expect hoverboards (BTTF reference here) but we should see 10nm, 7nm and 5nm technologies researched. These technologies will see some amazing techniques used, as you can see in the picture above.

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HGST announce Helium-filled hard drives, would see 6TB energy-efficient HDDs

Anthony Garreffa | Storage | Sep 15, 2012 8:12 PM CDT

The disk unit of Hitachi, HGST, have announced the development of something quite special, helium-filled hard drives. Helium-filled HDDs are set to me more energy-efficient, paving the way for higher storage capacity than normal HDDs of today.

At the moment, HDDs are not sealed air-tight, they are affixed with dedicated channels so that the drive can balance its internal pressure with changes in external pressure. Because of this, the drives have a typical mixture of air inside them, which causes turbulence to the platters, which are usually spinning at over 7,200RPM.

HGST has a way around this, by sealing the drive off and filling the insides with helium. HGST have said that this achievement caused a 23% increase in power efficiency, as well as the ability to add two extra platters to a 3.5-inch hard drive. When helium is used, we could see HDDs pumped up to around 6TB in size.

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Top 5 things the iPhone 5 could've done to make it more magical, much more revolutionary

I'm a huge technology fan, and I really love my smart devices. Personally, I was disappointed with the iPhone 5 release. I expected something so much greater than what we got, which at the end of the day is just a thinner, lighter, slightly better iPhone 4S.

The new iPhone 5 is nearly upon us, and while it has impressed most people, it could've still been better. The original iPhone debuted in 2007 to much acclaim, virtually blowing away every single phone on the market, bar none. Sure, there were things it couldn't do, but Apple slowly added these features to the phone and turned it into the powerhouse it is today.

The new iPhone 5 is the first iPhone since the original launched five years that was built from the ground up. After the iPhone came out we saw some thick and fast competition swirl up, and now we have Samsung coming from virtually nowhere, a land of mediocrity, to the strongest competition the once unbeatable iPhone now has.

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Apple "completely blown away" by iPhone 5 demand

Trace Hagan | Business, Financial & Legal | Sep 14, 2012 6:31 PM CDT

If you haven't heard the news, the iPhone 5 is pre-selling like crazy. The initial pre-order stock was exhausted from Apple's store in just one hour, leaving those who didn't stay up out in the cold. Customers are now being quoted up to two weeks for the device to ship, instead of arriving on the 21st of September.

Apple has issued a statement regarding the incredible demand seen: "Pre-orders for iPhone 5 have been incredible. We've been completely blown away by the customer response." Of course, this wasn't too unexpected. Analysts estimates put the number of iPhones sold in the first week somewhere near the 10 million mark.

It's now expected that 5-10 million will be sold in the first weekend. If you still want to get an iPhone 5 on launch day, Sprint is still quoting September 21 as the date. Otherwise, you can queue up outside an Apple store at 8am, or outside an AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint store. At least they had the courtesy to launch it before winter!

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iPhone 5 is NOT coming with Lightning to 30-pin adapter

Trace Hagan | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Sep 14, 2012 4:35 PM CDT

Let's set the record straight as there are many sites reporting that the new iPhone 5 comes with an adapter so that legacy accessories can be used. This rumor has been spurred on by Apple inadvertently saying their would be during the checkout process on their site. You can see the error in the picture below.

Apple has updated their site to correct the mistake, though we want to make sure our readers who purchased the iPhone 5 before the change realize that they, in fact, will not be receiving an adapter. The adapter will set customers back $29, or $39 if they want it with a cable. The adapter is due out in October.

Apple has released a statement to this effect:

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