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Sunday February 01, 2015

Hey Parents, What Is Minecraft Doing to Your Kids?

If there are any impressionable kids watching this, time to send them out of the room. The big secret coming from Modern Parent is that Minecraft is actually good for your children and helps them with classroom work as well as real life. Keep this a secret because if they ever caught on to this fact, play would cease immediately. big grin

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The British Army Is Allegedly Training a Group of 'Facebook Warriors'

Another country goes to the dark side of the Internet in the quest to keep its citizens safe as reported by the Financial Times. The British Army is in the process of recruiting and organizing The 77th Battalion which will be comprised of 1500 tech savvy cyber warriors that will fight the enemies of the homeland on the battlefields of Twitter and Facebook in the land of social media. roll eyes (sarcastic)

The 77th Battalion will roughly number 1500 warriors, including journalists and people with skill and experience regarding social media interaction. These 'warriors' will use Facebook and Twitter as their primary weapons to gather intelligence, spread falsified news and propaganda.

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The Pirate Bay Is Back After Nearly Two Months of Downtime

Just as promised, The Pirate Bay website is back up and running and even made it back a day early. This incarnation of Pirate Bay is different and is showing signs of fragmatism within the ranks, signaling a split in idealism between two factions is on the horizon. In the near future, you may have two versions of Pirate Bay to access. cool

As TorrentFreak reports, this version of The Pirate Bay is functionally very similar but lacks a moderation panel for TPB staff, which has resulted in some staff claiming that it isn’t the "real" deal.

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Marriott Abandons FCC Petition for Hotel Wi-Fi Blocking

The Marriott Hotel Chain has officially thrown in the towel in its efforts to block guests from using anything but Marriott’s proprietary and expensive Wi-Fi systems. Marriott executives explained that their sole intent was to protect the privacy of its customers. That must explain why the wireless network charge was so overpriced. big grin

As we have said, we will not block Wi-Fi signals at any hotel we manage for any reason. And, as of January 15, we provide free Wi-Fi to all members of our Marriott Rewards program who book directly with us.

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New Chrome Extension Spots Unencrypted Tracking

As the privacy battle rages on, browsers fight to keep one step ahead of third party tracking tools.

Chrome has a new extension called TrackerSSL that will alert the user to a website’s lack of security in its tracking cookies and provide a list of embedded trackers.

As demand for secure technology grows, most websites will not be able to protect their readers unless they stop using insecure ad trackers.

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Microsoft’s Super Bowl Ads Feature Rapper Common

Microsoft is taking the more cerebral approach to their Super Bowl commercials this year, using rapper Common to deliver the company’s message in the form of reciting snips of CEO Satya Nadella speeches. The inspirational theme of the Microsoft commercials could go either way with the Super Bowl crowd, and we’ll have to wait for the Monday morning quarterbacks to see if they hit home or not.

"The real question that needs to be asked, as well as answered, is what is it that we can do, that is unique, that is impactful. We are going to empower every individual and every organization to do more and achieve more."

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Step Inside Your Isolation Pod, Worker Drone, and Be Free

Here’s an idea you could sell to your HR department to increase employee morale and efficiency, two buzz words that really get their attention. The Orrb is the ultimate in providing the frazzled employee an escape into a quiet sanctuary for a few minutes, which in turn, will foster a more proficient employee. Or not, it can also be used to grab a quick nap. big grin

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Apple's R&D Spending Shoots Up 42% Year-Over-Year

Apple is riding higher than ever with record sales in Q1, but along with record profits, comes higher costs in Research and Development. While not revealing any actual accounting figures on the rise in R&D, the company did reveal that research costs had risen 42% over the same time last year.

The Company continues to believe that focused investments in R&D are critical to its future growth and competitive position in the marketplace and are directly related to timely development of new and enhanced products that are central to the Company's core business strategy.

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Dell Is Back

If you are an Internet oldster, you will remember the glory days of Dell and their state-of-the-art, cutting edge computers and for their Dell Dude commercials. Well, Dell has been down, but never counted out over the years and now Dell is coming back strong with the same innovation and computer design that grabbed our attention so very long ago. cool

Dell never really stopped building bang-for-the-buck products like my Inspiron 8200. But fandom faded as Dell became just one of many PC companies racing to the bottom with price on traditional PCs.

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Super Bowl 2015: This Year’s Best Tech-Related Commercials

Guests all invited, a big pile of chicken wings with sauce, chips and dip, veggie platters and a truck-load of ice cold beverages all at hand; you are now ready for the biggest football game of the year. It’s not only the biggest day for football, but for commercials as well. The commercials these days for the Super Bowl are so extravagantly expensive that only major corporations can afford anything other than a ten second spot, giving large tech companies plenty of ad time to show off their latest and greatest.

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Windows 10 Updates

We have been telling you that Microsoft will be releasing more and more information on the new operating system in small increments over the months prior to its official release in 3Q15. The official preview release now stands at Build 9926 and has been updated to fix a few problems reported by beta testers.

Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3 owners complained about problems with stability when watching videos, and this has been addressed with a driver update.

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Senators Propose a Tax Holiday Tech Companies Would Love

Let’s say that you owe back taxes to the IRS for the past 15-20 years and the government offers you a repayment plan at a huge reduction and no penalty. You would jump on the deal like a duck on a Junebug. big grin That is basically what a proposed bill would do for major corporations that presently have all of their cash stockpiled outside of the US.

The Boxer-Paul plan stems from Congress' opposition to raising the gas tax, which has traditionally gone towards the Highway Trust Fund.

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2020: One Quarter Billion Connected Vehicles on the Road

Gartner, a technology research company, predicts that a quarter Billion motor vehicles will be on the road equipped with in-vehicle services and automatic driving capabilities within five years. The connect vehicle is already a reality, but found generally only in the higher end automobiles and models.

The increased consumption and creation of digital content within the vehicle will drive the need for more sophisticated infotainment systems, creating opportunities for application processors, graphics accelerators, displays and human-machine interface technologies.

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Raising the Price of Amazon Prime Was a Great Decision

It was definitely a high stakes gamble, but Jeff Bezos was able to raise the price of Prime by $20 bucks and actually increase Prime subscriptions by 50%. In any business circle anywhere, that would be considered a big win in anyone’s book.

On a base of tens of millions, worldwide paid membership grew 53 percent last year — 50 percent in the U.S. and even a bit faster outside the U.S.

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Saturday January 31, 2015

A New Multi-Billion Dollar Market for Microsoft Windows

On the heels of the demise of Windows XP, the next big change over at Microsoft will be the end of life cycle for Windows Server 2003 on July 14th. The operating system is over 12 years old with many of the servers and systems were installed together, making it a suitable time to replace both, saving time and money for the businesses upgrading to Windows Server 10. This will also generate an estimated One Billion in revenue for Microsoft and its partners. cool

The server makers believe that this won't just cause companies to buy new computer servers, and upgrade their Windows to the current version, but that they'll need help installing those servers. They also may need help in upgrading the ancient business software that has forced them to keep that ancient version of Windows for so long.

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No, US Net Neutrality Will NOT Allow UN Control of the Internet

Daniel Sepulveda has a very long title that basically says he’s a US Ambassador over all things technical at the UN. His message to the American public this week is simple and to the point: if enforcement of net neutrality becomes the law of the land, it will not be an open door for the UN to slide in and seize control of America’s Internet access.

As we see it, the only strong arguments remaining against FCC Title II rules are: ongoing legal uncertainty due to the almost certain legal challenge that the rules will face from the cable companies; and concerns that the FCC will be tempted to give itself too much power by not removing (forebearing) enough clauses from America's outdated communications legislation.

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DARPA's New Tech Lets Robots Learn from YouTube Videos

DARPA and the University of Maryland are putting us one step closer to Skynet and the inevitable Man vs. Machine wars sometime in the next 50 years. The joint effort of the two research teams will be attempting to educate and update test robots by simply having them watch YouTube videos without human supervision. Personally, I think they will become robot couch potatoes, ordering beer and pizza straight from the Internet, kicking back and watching YouTube. This could set back robots about 20 years. big grin

DARPA believes the robots could eventually learn a lot faster at a fraction of what it currently costs due to this research, especially since it could also allow them to share their knowledge with other machines.

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Physicists Have Built a Time Machine Simulator

No, it’s not Doc Brown and his DeLorean, but a team of physicists at the University of Queensland, Australia that have built not a time machine, but instead built a time machine simulator that will mimic a quantum particle passing through a closed time-like curve (CTC) creating identical particles that are able to interact with each other. November 5, 1955 here we come. big grin

Time travel isn't possible yet, but this simulation means it could be. The experiment also fit both the laws of general relativity and quantum mechanics, demonstrating that the two bodies of law could actually be compatible.

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Super Bowl Ads Only: Dish Reverse AutoHop to the Rescue

If you are like many who watch the Super Bowl on TV, you watch just for the amazing commercials that the Super Bowl has generated over the years. The trouble with that is that pesky football game gets in the way of the commercials. big grin Dish has come up with a solution to this problem by reversing AutoHop, where it records only the commercials and not the game.

Reverse AutoHop will be able to be utilized the day after the Super Bowl only. Users will need to have PrimeTime Anytime enabled for NBC prior to the game beginning.

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Google Earth Pro Is Now Free

Something for free with no strings attached: who in the world would do such a thing? Well the answer to that one is simple: Google is now giving away keys for Google Earth Pro. Free, gratis, comp, freebie, nil, nada……well, you get the idea. All you have to do is register and the key comes to you in the email. Sign up today! cool

Starting today, even more people will be able to access Google Earth Pro: we're making it available for free. To see what Earth Pro can do for you -- or to just have fun flying around the world -- grab a free key and download Earth Pro today.

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Beware: Porn-Based Malware Is Sweeping Across Facebook

Malware seems to be the hot ticket this week judging by the amount of warnings being issued. Latest infection is Facebook, no not Facebook itself, even though there are many out there that would claim Facebook is malware, but malware riding in on links to porn on Facebook. Easiest way to avoid this malware: it’s just as simple as not clicking on porn links ever. Just find your own and cut out the Facebook middleman. big grin

We are blocking links to these scams, offering cleanup options, and pursuing additional measures to ensure that people continue to have a safe experience on Facebook.

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Hand of God Nebula Captured by Very Large Telescope

Definitely a very cool image of what astronomers call The Hand of God nebula. The nebula is 1300 light years away, but the ‘Very Large Telescope’ at the European Southern Observatory makes it look like it’s in our own backyard. cool

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The Free Windows 10 Upgrade Offer Doesn’t Extend to Enterprise

There’s always a small catch to good news from Microsoft. This is definitely a good news/bad news topic, unfortunately bad news for Enterprise customers. End users are still going to get the new Windows 10 upgrade free of charge, that’s the good news. The bad news is that free offer doesn't extend to Enterprise business customers.

Bummer. But if you’re using Windows 10 for Enterprise, you probably shouldn’t be too surprised. Microsoft is in the business of making money off businesses.

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AOL Insider: 'The Sales Team is Getting Annihilated Today'

It was truly a Black Friday over at AOL corporate headquarters on Friday. AOL announced the layoff of at least 150 workers in the sales area, including the closing of Joystiq and TUAW, two valuable news sites that will be folded into TechCrunch, minus most of their experienced staff.

Our first source tells us this is mostly correct: AOL is moving toward more programmatic and platform-based products, while focusing its content efforts on the sites with the highest traffic, like the Huffington Post.

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Renewable Energy Costs Expected to Drop 40% in Next Few Years

Renewable energy costs are finally nearing the tipping point in competing or besting fossil fuels in cost across the globe.

The game has changed; the plummeting price of renewables is creating a historic opportunity to build a clean, sustainable energy system and avert catastrophic climate change in an affordable way.

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FAA Puts 30-Mile ‘No Drone Zone’ into Effect for Super Bowl

What could possibly go wrong if 80K fans all decided to bring along their drones to possibly catch a bird’s eye view of the game from the stands? eek! The FCC likes to go for the safe play and ban all drones within 30 miles of the stadium. The Super Bowl is a No Drone Zone and even made a video to emphasize their point.

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Microsoft Adds 500k Windows Insiders in 8 Days

Microsoft looks to have a winner with its Windows 10 beta program. According to Microsoft’s Facebook page, the beta program picked up an additional half-Million beta testers in the past eight days.

Windows 10 is shaping up to be a blend of Windows 7 functionality sprinkled with Windows 8's modern elements. The result is an OS that bridges the gap between traditional desktop computing and modern touch environments without sacrificing the familiarity of Windows.

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Wireless Auction Ends with Nearly $45 Billion in Bids

I guess you can call the FCC’s wireless auction a smashing success. When the air had cleared, the FCC had an additional $45 Billion in bids to add to the plus column.

The FCC’s reserve price of $10.6 billion was quickly surpassed; the final sum is more than double the previous record of $19.1 billion set in 2008.

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Battlefield Hardline Beta 2015 Starts February 3rd

Delayed for release since last fall, Visceral Games announced on Thursday the upcoming release of Battlefield Hardline beta beginning on February 3rd. If you want to test out the beta, better hurry, it only lasts five days in preparation for the March 17th final release.

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xHamster Puts Visitors at Risk of Infection by Bedep Malware

Just a heads up for those of you that visit the adult site xHamster, either by intent or just casual surfing, the site is dangerous to the health of your computer. The malware threat is named Bedep and has registered a 1500% increase from the xHamster website according to Malwarebytes.

The infection originates from ad agency Traffichaus and is launched though an iFrame that was not detected by 57 anti-virus products. Only two of the 57 anti-virus solutions were able to detect the Bedep malware being downloaded.

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