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Thursday May 05, 2016

Cupertino's Mayor: Apple 'Abuses Us' By Not Paying Taxes

You kinda have to feel bad for this guy. He's the mayor of Cupertino and, in the short time he has held office, Apple's security blocked him from entering its headquarters, he couldn't get a single "yes" vote from city council members against Apple and no one would attend his protest. The flip side of the coin is that the tax Apple currently pays is 18% of the city’s general fund budget.

Apple pays a 2.3% effective tax rate on its $181bn in cash held offshore, according to Citizens for Tax Justice, a not-for-profit research group focusing on tax policy. Through a series of well-documented offshore manipulations with saucy-sounding names such as the Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich, the industry giants shield themselves off from the theoretically 35% federal corporate tax rate. Citizens for Tax Justice estimates that Apple would owe $59.2bn in US taxes if the money weren’t funneled into offshore shell accounts.


NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 3DMark Benchmarks?

The folks at VideoCardz have posted what they say are NVIDIA GTX 1080 benchmarks that show the card having roughly the same performance as a overclocked GTX 980 Ti. As always, "leaked" benchmarks should be taken with a huge grain of salt but it does make for some lively discussion. Thanks to Ieldra for the link.

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Government Officials Can No Longer Be Ignorant About Cybersecurity

It's easy to say government officials can no longer be ignorant about cybersecurity but the truth of the matter is, we need to quit electing people that are ignorant about cybersecurity. That would be a good start.

It's sort of cute when someone you know, usually an older family member, announces that he doesn't understand Facebook or smartphones. It's far less endearing when elected officials and law enforcement flaunt their ignorance of technology and cybersecurity.


Windows 10 Now On 300 Million Active Devices

It looks as though Microsoft has successfully nagged 300 million people into upgrading to Windows 10. That's a jump of 100 million from just four months ago. It looks like Microsoft might actually hit its goal of having Windows 10 running on one billion devices by 2018.

As we near the one year anniversary of the availability of Windows 10, we’re excited to share that Windows 10 is now running on 300 million active devices around the world. We’re pleased to see Windows 10 become one of the largest online services in less than a year. Core to delivering our more personal computing vision, Windows 10 offers experiences that are familiar, safer and more secure, and more personal and productive – enabling innovative new experiences.


Strange Things Facebook Mistakenly Thinks You’re Interested In

After reading this article I did what most people would do, I immediately checked my Facebook account. Turns out I'm pretty damn generic. frown What are some of the things Facebook thinks you are interested in?

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If you’re logged into Facebook, go to facebook.com/ads/preferences and click the various categories listed on that page to see what the social media site really has deduced based on your behavior. A cursory check around Consumerist HQ resulted in such out-of-nowhere interests as the "vibraphone," "mohair," "harvest," and everyone’s favorite pastime "month."


Two Engineers Make An Iron Man Laser And Captain America's Shield

It must be cool to have a job where you just sit around making stuff like this all day. Sure, the laser is only used to pop balloons and the shield is actually a red, white and blue drone, but both are still really cool.


Police Used Stingray To Catch Chicken Wing Thief

There is a rather lengthy article posted over at the Capital News Service today on the subject of the secrecy concerns surrounding the use of cell phone trackers. If you have time, you should give it a read, it's a very interesting article.

Howard police also used the device in suicides, kidnappings and in at least three cases where threats were made to public officials. Annapolis’ log shows police located their target in seven of the 17 cases in which the equipment was used since late 2011. But Annapolis Police couldn’t find their target in the case of a Pizza Boli’s employee who reported being robbed of 15 chicken wings and three subs while out on delivery in March. In that case, police got a court order, according to the police log. The value of the wings and subs totaled $56.77.


Three Unmanned Systems Companies to Watch at Xponential 2016

With the exploding popularity of robots, drones and other unmanned systems, there are few better places to see the latest in autonomous technology than at Xponential, the world’s premier gathering of the people who design and build it. NVIDIA is at this week’s conference in force, showcasing our Jetson TX1 embedded platform in booth 1231 and hosting several times a day a session covering deep learning and onboard artificial intelligence with the TX1.

Among the more than 8,000 attendees from 55 countries worldwide at the New Orleans show is a long list of exhibitors and attendees who use our Jetson tech in their autonomous vehicles and systems. Heading up the list are three amazing companies that just made a splash last month at our GPU Technology Conference in Silicon Valley.


Intel CEO and Drone Enthusiast to Lead New FAA Drone Advisory Council

This morning, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced that Intel CEO Brian Krzanich will lead the Drone Advisory Council, a new stakeholder initiative modeled after their successful Next Generation Advisory Council to provide recommendations to the Administrator on key UAS-related issues. In addition, today, Intel released the video of a historic event for the UAS community. Intel became the only company to receive a Section 333 Exemption for multiple UAS per pilot from the FAA and launched the first Drone 100 event over U.S. soil. The drones were built by Ascending Technologies, now part of Intel. The FAA has demonstrated time and again their desire to work with industry to support UAS advances necessary for everyone from hobbyists to companies working to offer truly valuable commercial applications.


Wednesday May 04, 2016

Someone Just Invented Parachutes For Drones

This is one of those inventions that is so obvious that it is astounding that no one came up with this idea before. At least now when your drone malfunctions, gets out of range or is shot down, it won't hurt anyone on the ground. Hat tip to Railhaus for the heads up on this one.


[H]ardware Round-Up II

ETC.: ASUS Zenbook UX305CA @ Vortez

HAVIT HV-KB366L RGB Mechanical Keyboard @ NikKTech

Ultra High End Gaming Notebook Roundup @ HwC

Gaming: Dark Souls 3 Video Review @ HT4U

Motherboards: ASRock Z170 Extreme4 @ TechARP

Video: AMD Radeon Pro Duo @ HotHardware

This Is What Happens On The Internet In 60 Seconds

Were you aware that 150 million emails are sent every minute on the internet? Do you know what else happens in the same amount of time? 2.4 million searches are performed on Google. Do you know how much porn is consumed...wait...where the hell is porn on this stupid infographic?

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Corsair RMi Series 650W Power Supply

The Corsair RMi Series 650W power supply scored high marks in this review at techPowerUP today. While there were a few things the reviewer wasn't too thrilled with, the positives far outweighed the negatives, resulting in the PSU getting a "highly recommended" award.

Corsair hit the competition really hard with the new RMi and RMx units. The RM650i, which I evaluated today, performed amazingly in almost all the tests I conducted. Its overall performance is among the highest in its category, well over its main competitor, EVGA's SuperNOVA 650 G2. So far, EVGA was the only company brave enough to provide a ten-year warranty with its high-end offerings, a clear advantage to anyone looking for some peace of mind, but Corsair decided to match EVGA's offer, and from now on, all all AXi, HXi, RMi, and RMx units will also feature a ten-year warranty.


Windows 10 Updates Ruin Everything

Windows 10 updates ruin everything, including pro-gaming streams. The look on this guy's face when the update started in the middle of his match was hilarious. Thanks to Jeff Tank for sending this one in.

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Google's Self-Driving Car In GTA V

This is greatness! You guys better hurry up and watch this video before the powers that be at Google see it and use a copyright notice to get the video taken down (not that they would ever do something like that). wink


Broadcasting Concerts In Virtual Reality?

Depending on the pricing and how this is done, I think a virtual reality concert could be the next best thing to actually being there. It would definitely be better than just watching it on television.

There are no details yet on which musical acts you'll be able to see via NextVR, but the company promises a "regular supply of world-class live music shows." As with NextVR's previous broadcasts, these will be available via Samsung's Gear VR via the Oculus Home app, with other platforms coming soon. The company says the first of its musical VR events will take place this summer, with a full schedule for the following year to come. NextVR has previously partnered with Coldplay to produce a small demo clip for its app, but this is major step up for the company.


Hackers Selling 272M Gmail, Yahoo, And Outlook Accounts

I'm not sure which is worse, the fact that hackers are selling user names and passwords for 272 million email accounts or the fact that it's being sold for less than a dollar. We're not talking less than a dollar for each account, it's less than a buck for all 272 million user names and passwords. eek!

Hundreds of millions of hacked user names and passwords for email accounts and other websites are being traded in Russia's criminal underworld, a security expert told Reuters. The discovery of 272.3 million stolen accounts included a majority of users of Mail.ru (MAILRq.L), Russia's most popular email service, and smaller fractions of Google (GOOGL.O), Yahoo (YHOO.O) and Microsoft (MSFT.O) email users, said Alex Holden, founder and chief information security officer of Hold Security.


Half of American Teenagers Feel Addicted To Their Phones

Only half of the teens in the U.S. feel addicted to the phones? That number seems low. The other half were probably too busy using their phones to respond to the poll. wink

Half of teenagers in the United States feel addicted to their mobile phones, with most checking the devices at least every hour and feeling pressured to respond immediately to messages, a survey released on Tuesday found. Its survey is the latest indication of American families struggling to balance mobile devices in an age of ever-evolving technology. It also underscores the ongoing debate over Internet addiction and its consequences.


Gaming [H]eadlines

Battlefield 4 and Battlefield Hardline Free DLC @ Blue's News

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer @ GameSpot

Overwatch: Open Beta Beginner’s Guide @ VG24/7

Respawn Working On A Star Wars Game @ Shacknews

Fallout 4 - Far Harbor Official Trailer

Bethesda just released a new trailer for the upcoming Fallout 4 - Far Harbor DLC and it looks pretty interesting. According to the trailer notes, Far Harbor will be available for current generation consoles and the PC on Thursday, May 19th. Thanks to acegoober for the heads up!


Tim Cook's Failed Apple Pitch

Tim Cook is being taken to task in this Bloomberg article on the current state of Apple. The author of the article feels that Apple has been misjudging its own business, which has led to a $250 billion decline in Apple's market value over the last thirteen months.

Apple CEO Tim Cook insisted last week that everything was great with his company despite its first quarterly revenue decline since 2003. He and Apple's chief financial officer used the word "optimistic" 10 times during a conference call with analysts. Then the company's share price pessimistically fell for eight consecutive market days -- something that hasn't happened to Apple in nearly 18 years.


[H]ardware Round-Up

ETC.: CM Storm Quick Fire XTi @ techPowerUP!

Intel NUC Skylake Mini PC @ Legit Reviews

SteelSeries Rival 300 Gaming Mouse @ Technic3D

PSU: Enermax Revolution X't II 750W @ HiTech Legion

Storage: Synology DiskStation DS216+ 2-Bay NAS @ Techgage

Video: Zotac GTX 980 Ti AMP! @ HardwareSlave

Teens React To The Original DOOM

It's hilarious watching teenagers playing the original DOOM. There is some mild NSFW language in this video but, if you are a fan of the original game, you have to see how these kids react to a game that is a half decade older than they are. cool


IBM Offering Access To Its Quantum Computer

Interested in quantum computing? IBM is offering access to a five-qubit quantum processor to anyone that is interested. Simply sign up here, and then use the web service called "Composer" to create an algorithm by dragging and dropping different quantum logic gates. What are you waiting for? Sign up and give it a try.

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Corsair Carbide Spec-Alpha Case Review

The crew at TechSpot has published a review of Corsair's Carbide Spec-Alpha ATX case. Overall, this is a very positive review with the chassis getting high marks for build quality, price and looks.

The ATX Mid-Tower has always been a favorite of PC builders. It can be transported with relative ease, while still managing to hold a respectable amount of very high-end hardware. The Spec-Alpha is Corsair's latest entry to the market and has gamers squarely in its sights. Priced at $80, this is a case that we very much expect to be a dominant force for a few reasons.


What Facebook Really Thinks Of Journalists

This is a bizarre (but believable) story. Sure, these could all be disgruntled employees that were all fired from this Facebook project but, even if partially true, think about a Facebook controlled algorithm that determines the "primary news experience" for 600 million people every week. Pretty soon, they won't even need journalists any more. eek!

According to five former members of Facebook’s trending news team—"news curators" as they’re known internally—Zuckerberg & Co. take a downright dim view of the industry and its talent. In interviews with Gizmodo, these former curators described grueling work conditions, humiliating treatment, and a secretive, imperious culture in which they were treated as disposable outsiders. After doing a tour in Facebook’s news trenches, almost all of them came to believe that they were there not to work, but to serve as training modules for Facebook’s algorithm.


Happy Star Wars Day

Happy Star Wars Day! In case you didn't know it, May the 4th is Star Wars Day. Be prepared for a bunch of nerdy "May the Fourth be with you" jokes and friends and family wanting you to do a movie marathon today.

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Star Wars Day, May 4, celebrates Star Wars created by George Lucas. It is observed by fans of the films. Observance of the holiday spread quickly due to Internet, social media, and grassroots celebrations. The date was chosen for the easy pun on the catchphrase "May the Force be with you"— "May the Fourth be with you". Even though the holiday was not actually created or declared by Lucasfilm, many Star Wars fans across the world choose to celebrate the holiday.


Google Lets You Paint In 3D Space Using VR

While this Tilt Brush commercial showing people painting in 3D space with virtual reality is kinda neat, you know this isn't how people would really use Tilt Brush. It's like when the Wii came out, all the commercials showed people jumping around and so on, when in reality everyone eventually just sat on their asses flicking their wrist to "bowl." wink


Steam Customer Review System Updated

Steam has announced changes to its customer review system to show recent reviews, a new summary tab, an "all languages" option as well as a handful of other options. The idea behind the update is to show the current reviews of a game that might have changed dramatically since it was released *cough*TheDivision*cough*.

While there are plenty of new reviews posted every day, we saw that it was often difficult for newer reviews to be seen and voted on enough to become listed as most helpful. As a result, the most helpful reviews presented on a store page would often describe an outdated view of a game that might have changed dramatically over the course of Early Access or post-release development. By listing recently posted reviews more prominently and by defaulting to recent helpful reviews, Steam can now show a more current idea of what it's like to play the game now.


Western Digital Board Declares Dividend for Fourth Fiscal Quarter 2016

Western Digital® Corp. today announced that the board of directors declared a cash dividend for the quarter ending July 1, 2016, of $0.50 per share of common stock (the "cash dividend"). The cash dividend will be paid on July 15, 2016, to the company's stockholders of record as of July 1, 2016. The amount of future dividends under the company's dividend policy, and the declaration and payment thereof, will be based upon all relevant factors, including the company's financial position, results of operations, cash flows, capital requirements and restrictions under the company's existing financing documents, and shall be in compliance with applicable law. The board retains the power to modify, suspend or cancel the company's dividend policy in any manner and at any time as it may deem necessary or appropriate in the future.


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