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Sunday December 28, 2014

'The Interview' Rakes in $15M in Downloads

Never underestimate the power of the Internet. Since the proposed pulling of The Interview from movie theaters and the consequent Internet streaming of the film, plus the eventual release in selected theaters, Sony has taken this lemon of a movie and made some very tasty lemonade from it. Maybe Sony should pay Comrade Kim Jong Un a commission for his part in making this mediocre film into a box office smash (actually an Internet juggernaut) as the studio’s biggest online film release ever. big grin

The movie has been rented or purchased over 2 million times, already making it the studio's biggest online film of all time.


Chaos Hackers: We Can Reproduce Fingerprints from Photos

Well, so much for biometrics identification, touch readers and crime scene investigations. The Chaos Computer Club announced at their 31st annual convention that the group could now take an ordinary camera photo showing the person’s fingertips and reproduce the fingerprint for their own uses. Chalk another one up for the further erosion of personal information privacy. frown

As VentureBeat points out, this doesn't completely denounce biometrics as a reliable form of security, but it does show a pretty big hole that can be exploited and really only stresses that fingerprint security, Touch ID or otherwise, should only be one layer to your secure digital life.


LG G3 Catches Fire, Burns a Massive Hole in Its Owner’s Bed

In all of the hubbub of the Christmas festivities, we almost missed this little goodie. We always hear about Apple products catching fire in pocketbooks and pants pockets, so to be fair we have to pass this on to you. If you own an LG G3 model smartphone, think twice before you take it to bed with you. eek!

We did have the fire extinguisher handy, but when the battery continued to burn through the mattress, we were forced to toss the mattress out the window.


8 New Netflix Original Series Set to Premier in 2015

Netflix is beginning to look more and more like HBO and less and less like the mail order movie rental company of old. This year Netflix has eight new original series for its subscribers to stream, building on the success of its other original programming, Netflix is becoming a power to be reckoned with in the area of original programming.

With such a diverse and packed schedule of new show releases, it’ll be interesting to see how each is received, and how Netflix handles pickups for new seasons. Remember, being so new to the original series game, and only having major successes under its belt thus far, Netflix hasn’t yet had to "cancel" a show due to poor ratings or ad support.


Multiferroic Memory Could Slash RAM Power Consumption

Cornell University researchers are working on a new form of memory that would no longer require the constant application of power to store and keep data. The chemical compound the researchers are working with is bismuth ferrite, a multiferroic substance that carries its own magnetic field. Research is in the very early stages and if it ever makes it to market, it would be five to ten years away.

The potential of this invention is significant, but it’s still at a very early stage of development. It’s important to note the researchers have put together just one device, which can hold one bit; a stick of DRAM has millions of capacitors and transistors.


The Good, Bad and Geeky: 55 Quotes That Defined the Tech Industry

As the time winds down for 2014, GeekWire delved back through all of the quotable quotes it had on file for the year and picked out 55 of the most notable quotes that define the tech industry in the past year.

—"I just wanted to hear Macklemore."—T-Mobile boss John Legere after getting kicked out of a concert by the Seattle rapper hosted at CES by rival AT&T.;


Grandma Relieved That Her New iPhone is Made of Chocolate

Just about everyone in the world would be tickled pink if they received a brand new iPhone as a Christmas present….well, almost everyone. Older adults sometimes don’t do well with complicated smartphones as this Utah Grandmother proved to be the point. cool


Rockstar Extends GTA 5 Festive Surprise Due to PSN and XBL Outage

Rockstar Games still has the Christmas spirit and is showing some good old fashioned Xmas cheer to the gamers that suffered through the Christmas without Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. Rockstar will be extending its Festive Surprise for Grand Theft Auto 5 for an unspecified period to makeup the time lost to the recent DDoS attacks on Sony and Microsoft. cool

Rockstar did not specify how much longer it would extend the Festive Surprise. You should download the Festive Surprise as soon as you can because I am guessing that it will be for only a few days after the original January 5th cut off time.


Apple Suddenly Cancels Its ‘12 Days of Gifts’ Promotion

The word from Apple this year: Bah Humbug! Without so much as a fare-thee-well, Apple cancelled its annual Twelve Days of Christmas/Gifts the company has promoted for the past six years. Ebenezer Scrooge would give a hearty approval.

Last year, (Apple) offered free giveaways on the iOS App Store for 12 straight days: apps, books, songs, movies, TV shows, and more.


Back by Popular Demand: Vinyl Records

Fueled by the nostalgia craze and the purists love for the real thing, record companies are failing to keep up with the demand since CDs replaced vinyl and most of the vinyl press shops went out of business. One company, Fat Possum Records solved the problem by opening its very own pressing plant. cool


Kodak is Coming Out with an Android Smartphone at CES

The Consumer Electronics Show is right around the corner, it’s the show that gives us a preview of what wonderments we can expect in the near future in electronics. From now until the show begins January 6th, we will be getting bits of information about different products. Today, the surprise entrant into the handheld business will be Kodak who is supposed to unveil its new Android smartphone at CES and later, a rollout of its new tablet entry and something we can all identify with Kodak, a new camera.

The phones will have "easy access to printing and sharing services," so it’s clear Kodak wants to recapture the feel of holding a physical copy in your hand.


Aereo to Be Pieced Out and Auctioned Off to the Highest Bidder

The saga of Aereo is just about complete, all that is left to do is dismantle the assets and sell them off; it’s not going to be a pretty sight. The courts have Ok’d the sell off of all of Aereo’s equipment and more importantly, its proprietary software to the highest bidder.

Now a bankruptcy court in New York has granted Aereo permission to sell off its assets, with one big caveat: those angry broadcasters who shut them down in the first place? They get to approve any sales that go down. Blyeck.


Sony Restores Access to PSN After DDoS Attack

If you don’t own a PlayStation console, this whole business of the Sony DDoS attacks probably means little to you, but for those who game fanatically, the PlayStation Network being down is much more than an inconvenience, it’s a large chunk of their lives. Even though the group claiming responsibility announced it had ceased the attacks on Friday night, Sony took until early this morning to get the PSN back up and running.

This may have prevented your access to the network and its services over the last few days. Thanks again for your support and patience. We'll provide any further updates here.


Saturday December 27, 2014

‘Lizard Squad’ Member Reveals His Face in a TV Interview

I would be a good bet that most crooks are nabbed not because of clever police work, personal carelessness or some other influence, but from good old self-inflicted hubris. One of the so-called Lizard Squad agreed to be interviewed and was also on camera during the entire interview. Now It’s only a matter of time before face-recognition software has a positive lock on his identity and is apprehended by the police. Pride goes before the fall, but stupidity rules them all. big grin


Experts Claim SSD's to Out-Price HDD's in 2016 and Beyond

According to an article by David Floyer over at Wikibon, all of you SSD holdouts sticking with your soon-to-be old hat mechanical drives, can start saving up your nickels and dimes because the day of the low cost SSD is almost upon us. The article has the SSD poised to pass the HHD in lower cost sometime in 2016.

The short of this story is that by 2016, technology will have advanced far enough that you might start looking into flash-storage architecture for all of your data needs and leaving the old Western Digital Green drives on the shelf.


Hobbit Sword Glows Blue When Near Unsecured WiFi

If you are a big fan of the Middle Earth trilogies and have some spare time to do a quick DIY project, you just have to gather together the components for the WarSting Hobbit Sword kit. Once completed, the WarSting will glow blue in the presence of unsecured wi-fi and even leave a message for the owner of the unsecured network. cool


Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot Coming to a Garbage Truck Near You

A startup company based in Mountain View, California specializes in providing mobile Wi-Fi stations riding along in city vehicles like busses, cabs, and even garbage trucks. These mobile units will be taking a large load off of cellular traffic and giving the city better and wider Wi-Fi coverage. The first city to go live will be the company’s hometown of Porto, Portugal, the second largest city in Portugal. The first American cities to try out this new spin on mobile hotspots will be San Francisco, NYC and Austin, Tx.

This meshing of hardware, software and cloud solutions gives Veniam "the networking fabric for the Internet of Moving Things."


‘Game of Thrones’ Most Pirated TV-Show of 2014

The most dubious and least coveted title in all of TV land goes to HBO’s Game of Thrones for being the most pirated of all shows on TV for the third consecutive year, leaving the other ranking shows in the dust. It will be interesting to follow the rankings next year after HBO's stand-alone subscription App goes live in 2015.

Online streaming and downloads for file-hosting services are not included since there are no public sources to draw data from. Total piracy numbers will therefore be significantly higher.


French Postal Service Developing Drone for Rural Deliveries

Look out Amazon, it looks like the French Postal Service is stealing your drone delivery paradigm and running with it. Testing is in the final phase and the tests already have been declared a success, but still considered an exploratory option with no set date to implement drone delivery in hard to reach French rural areas.

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Walmart Will Take Your Unwanted Holiday Gift Cards

According to an article in the Boston Globe, Walmart is going to test out a new program to make it easy for to take your Christmas gift cards from about 200 companies and exchange them for Walmart credit. If the program proves successful, Walmart will make it a permanent fixture in its stores.

According to the consultancy CEB TowerGroup, about $1 billion worth of gift cards will go unused this year.


NORK Resorts to Name Calling and Blaming US for Internet Outage

It looks like the only war we will get into with North Korea will be a war of words, involving mudslinging and name calling. In the latest round coming out of the NORKs National Defense Commission was to call President Obama a monkey and repeated the charge that the President was behind the Internet going dark in North Korea.

"Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest."


The Bitcoin Bowl Is a Real Thing

For all of the football bowl fans out there, there’s was a new bowl game last night between the ACC’s NC State and the AAC’s Central Florida: Welcome to the Bitcoin Bowl. It’s not a joke, but merely the first of many Bitcoin Bowls that will play as long as the value for Bitcoin remains high. The game was carried on ESPN, streamed on WatchESPN and broadcast over the team’s individual sports networks.

The aim, presumably, is to introduce a mainstream audience to Bitcoin, but I like the idea that the reverse could be true, with at least handful of Bitcoin fans checking out college football for the first time.


Samsung Smart TVs Will Play PS Games Next Year

A new partnership between Sony and Samsung will be bringing you a Samsung TV that will be able to play PlayStation Games without the need of a console. Sound like a pipe dream? It’s for real and will be available sometime in the first half of 2015 according to a press release this week. It will be undoubtedly a work in progress for the foreseeable future, but at least Sony is willing to try new platforms for its gaming.

Now before you get carried away and start thinking you can buy a TV instead of a PS4, this is far from a full PlayStation experience: It’s PlayStation Now, which is still in open beta, and to put it lightly, it’s not a service many are recommending.


The 30 Most Anticipated Games of 2015 has compiled a list of what their editors consider to be the 30 most anticipated games of next year across all platforms. Considering 2014 left many in the gaming community with a bad taste, a lot will ride on having a banner year with the upcoming games.


DirecTV Deal Brings Disney Content to Your Tablet

Dish Network and Direct TV are very similar in the services that they offer subscribers, but the way they handle their business arrangements vary greatly. If you remember last week, Dish was busy blacking out channels because of a contract dispute. While Dish battled it out in the trenches, Direct TV was busy negotiating with the Disney Corporation on adding new content.

The Disney-DirecTV agreement "allows both companies to evolve together into the future and gives DirecTV customers a wide range of in-home and out-of-home viewing options to enjoy the broad collection of ESPN, Disney and ABC content."


Lizard Squad Hacking Gang Moves from PlayStation, Xbox Live to Tor

All good things must eventually come to an end I guess and whether the GOP grew tired of harassing Xbox Live and PlayStation Networks, or caved in to Kim Dotcom’s bribery will probably never be known. What is known is the hacker group has now turned the Eye of Sauron’s gaze upon the Tor Network.

On Friday, the squad turned its attention to Tor: it insinuated on Twitter that it had added at least 3,000 relays, which bounce connections around the world to hide users' public IP addresses, to the network.


Amazon Signs 10K New Prime Members over Holidays

Amazon picked up some good pocket change over the holidays by signing up over 10K new Prime members for almost a cool million bucks. It's becoming apparent that raising the subscription rate to Prime had little affect on its membership signups. cool

Prime's two-day shipping was likely the big draw for customers -- particularly last-minute shoppers -- but Amazon is also touting other Kindle perks such as e-book and video rentals, and even its one-hour delivery service, Amazon Now, which debuted last week in Manhattan.


U.S. Tech Firms Face Showdown with Russian Censors

The cold war is long gone and for a time, it looked like Russia was going the way of its democratic neighbors, but something changed all of that. Russia is now preparing to trade blows with three of the US’s largest social media companies, all at the same time, over censorship and the right to freedom of speech.

Until now, companies have often complied with Russia’s legal orders to remove content, rather than risk a government blackout. But the firms have become more wary as the government has given itself new powers to regulate the Internet. And the very public nature of this episode leaves the U.S. tech companies facing a dilemma.


Friday December 26, 2014

[H]ard|OCP [H]oliday Week in Reviews

Today is Friday and you know what that means! It is time once again for the [H]ard|OCP Week in Reviews! For anyone that might have missed them, we like to take a quick look back on the hardware evaluations and articles we posted earlier in the week. Our evaluation of the ASUS Maximus VII Impact is a must read, as is our Assassin's Creed Unity Performance Video Card Review. Finally, we wrapped up the short holiday week with a look at the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv.

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[H]ardware Round-Up

Cases: Lian Li PC-O5SX @ techPowerUP!

Cooling: Swiftech Komodo NV @ XtremeHardware

Thermalright Macho 90 CPU Cooler @ NikKTech

ETC.: ARCTIC P614 BT Bluetooth Headset @ APH Networks

Storage: WD Red Pro 4TB @ TechARP

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