RumorTT: ASUS preparing swivel-screen Ultrabook to coincide with Windows 8 launch

Anthony Garreffa | Laptops | Dec 13, 2011 1:19 AM CST

ASUS are reportedly working on a new ultrabook style laptop where they are said to be baking in a swivel design display that transforms the device into a tablet. Since Windows 8 is much more tablet-friendly, this move would actually be quite the bold move by ASUS. DigiTimes says the device will be unveiled at 2012 Computex in Taipei, Taiwan, and might hit retail shelves in time for the launch of Windows 8 next September.

ASUS have been here before, with their Eee PC T91 netbook (as pictured above) in 2009. The device did not sell that well, but with tablets being more popular than ever, and Windows 8 having the OS build a tablet UI directly into the OS itself, it could really work.

There has, to this day, not been a device that could do both. Apple have the iPad and their MacBook range, but nothing that can do both. I personally own a 2011 17-inch MacBook Pro and I've wished for a long time now that I could disconnect my 17-inch display and use it like a big iPad. If ASUS can pull this off, I can tell you now, I'll be all over that in a heartbeat. I can see it now, it'll be called Asus Ultrabot or similar, in line with their "Transformer" line of products. You heard it here first, folks! I call Ultrabot from here on out.

Continue reading: RumorTT: ASUS preparing swivel-screen Ultrabook to coincide with Windows 8 launch (full post)

Man thought he won $57 million jackpot at casino, until he was told it was a "software glitch"

Anthony Garreffa | Current Affairs | Dec 12, 2011 11:24 PM CST

Behar Merlaku was sitting on a slot machine at a casino in Bregenz, Austria when he thought he hit the big time. Not just a few thousand dollars, but he hit the jackpot winning an astounding, life-changing $57 million. At just 26 years old, this would be one of those life-defining moments, where you realise everything will be OK from here on out.

Until he went up to the cashier to cash his prize to have the casino owners say it was "all a mistake", and just a "software glitch'. They argued that the jackpot alarm went off erroneously and that Merlaku's game had not actually hit the required five matches. He had only gotten four, they said. Instead of the $57 million Merlaku thought he'd won, the casino spat in his face an offered him $100 and a free meal. Yep.

This is the point when I would most likely form myself into a ball of pure hatred and darkness, and either implode without a trace of my existence, or explode in a fire of pure rage.

Continue reading: Man thought he won $57 million jackpot at casino, until he was told it was a "software glitch" (full post)

Just a handful Chinese hacking groups responsible for most US attacks

Anthony Garreffa | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Dec 12, 2011 11:00 PM CST

U.S. cyber security analysts and experts are reporting that fewer than 12 different Chinese groups are responsible for most of the China-based cyber attacks that have resulted in critical data being stolen from U.S. companies and government agencies. The analysts spoke to The Associated press where they've said the intrusions have resulted in the loss of billions of dollars of intellectual property and other critical data.

The attacks may have been stealthy, agressive and somewhat ninja, but the distinct signatures the hackers leave behind make it possible for U.S. cyber security investigators to more or less accurately identify which teams were responsible for the attacks. According to the report, the U.S. gives unique names or numbers to the attackers, and at times can tell where the hackers are and even who they may be.

It's virtually impossible, however, to prosecute hackers based in China due to the lack of any form of agreement between the two countries. Even if it were 100-percent possible to provide definitive proof of where and who the attacks came from, China would most likely not even bat an eyelid. Given that at least a handful of the groups are believed to have financial backing from the Chinese government or military.

Continue reading: Just a handful Chinese hacking groups responsible for most US attacks (full post)

Naughty Dog splits into two teams

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Dec 12, 2011 10:34 PM CST

The development team responsible for the amazing Uncharted series of games on the PlayStation 3, have some good news for the world. Shortly after Uncharted 2: Among Thieves came out, Naughty Dog split its focus into two separate projects.

One team handled the sequel to Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception, while the other tem handled a new IP, "The Last of Us" and have been working on this new title for the last two years. The Two uf Us is a PS3-exclusive game, about an apocalyptic Earth, in which you'll find abandoned cities reclaimed by nature. The population has been decimated by a modern plague, There are survivors killing each other for food, weapons, or whatever they can get their hands on.

Joel, a brutal survivor, and Ellie, a brave young teenage girl who is wise beyond her years, must work together if they hope to survive their journey across the US.

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15nm circuits have wires that are just 150 atoms apart

Anthony Garreffa | CPU, APU & Chipsets | Dec 12, 2011 5:16 AM CST

Every time I read the word "atom," I say to myself "up and Atom" from the character "Radioactive Man" from the Simpsons. Anyway, researchers from McGill University and Sandia National Laboratories have built a circuit that has two wires that are separated by just 150 atoms, built on a 15nm process.

Circuits of this size include the usual benefits of lower power consumption and heat, as well as bringing extra functionality due to the larger transistor density. The challenges at this level, as you can imagine, are great. Dan Olds, an analyst at The Gabriel Consulting Group said of this research:

This kind of research also uncovers other potential problems arising from ever smaller shrinks. Getting to 15nm or 16nm will mean smaller and more powerful devices that are more energy efficient. But when we're talking about such a small scale, designing chips that can be mass-produced with decent yields is quite a challenge. There will also be challenges for the design of devices that will use these processors. Devices based on 15nm processes will pack more performance and functionality into much smaller form factors. Functions that used to take two or more chips will be accomplished by one transistor-jammed processor.

Continue reading: 15nm circuits have wires that are just 150 atoms apart (full post)

GSC Game World, studio responsible for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. closes down, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 cancelled

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Dec 12, 2011 3:31 AM CST

The studio responsible for S.T.A.L.K.E.R have reportedly closed down, with Ukrainian developer GSC Game World closing their doors. The company was founded back in 1995, and have had quite the run of success with S.T.A.L.K.E.R., their first-person shooter game.

There were multiple games in the series, Shadow of Chernobyl, Clear Sky, and Call of Pripyat. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 was being developed and was looking to have a release next year.1C Ukraine's Sergey Galenkin blogged about the closure, with 1C being one of the publishers of the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R. The blog states the shut down has been confirmed, with Galenkin attributing this to a combination of things including a failed publishing deal for a console version of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 and the difficulties in self-publishing a PC game in Eastern Europe.

It's a sad, sad day and I'm truly disappointed that GSC Game World have gone. What next?

Continue reading: GSC Game World, studio responsible for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. closes down, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 cancelled (full post)

Hitachi unveil two new 4TB storage solutions

Anthony Garreffa | Storage | Dec 12, 2011 2:40 AM CST

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi GST) have just announced the industry's highest capacity 4TB storage solutions in the form of the Deskstar 5K4000 Internal Hard Drive Kit and the Touro Desk External Hard Drive. The Hitachi 4TB Deskstar 5K4000 hard drive is a 3.5-inch drive with a 32MB cache and also sports Hitachi's CoolSpin technology. CoolSpin, along with other Hitachi power management techniques, give the Deskstar 5K4000 up to 28-percent idle power savings over the Deskstar 7K3000 7,200 RPM drives.

The suggest retail price on the drive is $399.99. The kit comes inclusive of mounting screws, step-by-step instructions and a software download that allows both 32- and 64-bit Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X and Linux-based systems to access the full capacity and power of the 4TB drive.

The second drive announced by Hitachi is their 4TB Touro Desk External Drive which has the ability to be placed vertically, or horizontally, depending on you of course. It sports a smooth black, textured body and is the perfect solution for all of your high-def video, pictures, music or just to add another whopping 4TB of storage to your ever-growing collection of HDDs. It includes the fast USB 3.0 interface and comes in 3TB, 2TB and also 1TB capacities.

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Motorola wins against Apple in court over wireless patent

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Dec 11, 2011 11:31 PM CST

Motorola would be running around saying HELLO MOTO to each other today in excitement, as a German court ruled against Apple in an ongoing battle over patents. Motorola's complaing was that Apple failed to license on of their wireless intellectual properties. Apple use this technology in their 3G-packing iPads and iPhones.

Motorola could now force Apple to remove the feature from their products, or even have the ability to slap a sales ban in Germany. Apple have said that they intend to appeal the ruling, while Motorola claim the ruling validated its "efforts to enforce its patents against Apple's infringement."

Apple have replied, by saying:

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U.S. online holiday spending passes $25 billion, sets new record

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Dec 11, 2011 8:27 PM CST

comScore have just released their U.S. online holiday spending numbers for the season to-date, where it has been revealed that consumers continued to spend online in record amounts. In just 39 days of the November to December 2011 holiday season, $24.6 billion was spent online, which is a 15-percent increase compared to the same time last year.

The week ending December 9 reached $5.9 billion in spending, up 15-percent with 3 days surpassing $1 billion in spending. For this holiday season, six individual days have surpassed $1 billion in spending, which for an economy in tatters, is quite the achievement. Cyber Monday leads this with $1.25 billion in sales, as well as Monday, December 5, which now ranks as the second heaviest spending day in history at $1.18 billion.

One of the driving forces behind this new found love for online retail shopping is the use of coupons and deals as well as the increased amount of free shipping offers from retailers. Smartphones and tablets have also helped, with more and more people using price comparison apps, both making purchases from the comfort of their own homes, or inside retail stores. E-commerce companies have noticed this trend and are now offering strong incentives to use and buy through mobile apps.

Continue reading: U.S. online holiday spending passes $25 billion, sets new record (full post)

Bioware is making... wait for it... Command & Conquer Generals 2, Frostbite 2-powered

Anthony Garreffa | Gaming | Dec 11, 2011 5:07 PM CST

OK, let me collect myself here. Bioware, check. Frostbite 2-powered, check. Command & Conquer, check. PC-only, check. That's all I need to say, enjoy and goodbye. But really, At the VGA 2011 awards, it was announced that Bioware are making an RTS, they have an RTS studio under their label.

Announced, was Command & Conquer Generals 2, which will be powered by the same engine that drives Battlefield 3, Frostbite 2. It will be PC-only, but excites me more than I can express through my keyboard with Dr Ray saying:

We're bringing BioWare's vision for emotionally engaging gameplay and great attention to quality to the strategy genre and the Command & Conquer franchise. I am excited to welcome BioWare Victory to our label. They are a great addition and the team is working hard to make sure Generals 2 truly immerses and engages players into this intense, gritty, modern war experience.

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