Blogger templates

Hulu promises free and full TV episodes for mobile devices

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Hulu is expanding its free video viewing options for mobile users.


Starting this summer, the site will unveil a selection of ad-supported full TV episodes for all mobile users, most notably those who don't have a Hulu Plus subscription, Hulu revealed in a blog posted Wednesday. Currently, full episodes are available free to non-subscribers only on the desktop, while non-paying mobile users can watch only clips of TV shows.


'With our re-imagining of mobile viewing, we want you, our viewers, to have more access to the content you love, right at your fingertips,' Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said in the blog.


Hopkins also teased a new version of the Hulu Plus iPhone app slated for release this summer. And the CEO touted the reach of Hulu Plus, which now numbers more than 6 million subscribers.


'Hulu Plus is now accessible on more than 400 million internet-connected devices in the United States, including Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Chromecast, and most recently, Amazon's new set-top box, Amazon Fire TV,' Hopkins said. 'After redesigning our living room devices such as Roku and Wii-U, we saw average-minutes-viewed increase by over 30 percent. And out of our tens of millions of viewers, there are 3,000 unique ways Hulu viewers access content on Hulu and Hulu Plus (for example, I watch on my iPad and Apple TV).'


Hopkins' tooting of the Hulu horn comes amid the Hulu Upfront event held Wednesday in New York City. Geared toward the site's advertising partners, the 2014 Hulu Upfront gave the company a chance to trot out the stars and creative talent behind its Hulu Originals programming.


Among Hulu's original shows, 'Deadbeat' has been granted a second season, while 'The Awesomes,' 'Quick Draw,' and 'East Los High' have been given firm dates for their second-season debuts. Hulu's teen dance drama 'The Next Step' lands in the U.S. on May 28 and reality TV satire 'Hotwives of Orlando' will hit Hulu viewers in July.


And one innovation on the advertising side could appeal to pizza lovers. Hopkins said that Hulu will roll out an 'In-Stream Purchase Unit' later this year with Pizza Hut as its partner. This 'unit' will allow hungry Hulu viewers to order pizza via a commercial without having to leave Hulu.


LG confirms G3 smartphone

Article By: Staff ReporterWed, 30 Apr 2014 10:29 AM The LG G2 smartphone.

LG has confirmed the existence of the LG G3 smartphone in an earnings report.


The report, spotted by AndroidCentral, names the LG G3, as well as a Q2 2014 launch date.


'Higher revenues are expected in the second quarter with the release of the flagship LG G3 smartphone and wider roll-out of the mass-tier L Series III,' read the report.


The tech community is awash with new G3 rumours, with a 2560x1440 5.5-inch screen being the most radical claim.


It's not the only LG-related news today, with the company reportedly confirming a European launch and price for its G Watch.


According to PhoneArena, the European launch is set to take place in June, with a suggested price of €199.


Red Hat Acquires Open

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted 2014-04-30 Email Print



The lead commercial vendor behind the popular open-source Ceph filesystem gets picked up by Red Hat.


Linux vendor Red Hat today announced the acquisition of privately held open-source storage firm Inktank for approximately $175 million in cash. The deal is Red Hat's first major acquisition of 2014 and is the second major storage vendor acquisition for Red Hat in the last three years. Inktank is the lead commercial vendor behind the open-source Ceph distributed storage filesystem created by Sage Weil, who is also the company's CEO. The open-source Ceph project officially got under way in 2006 and became part of the mainline Linux 2.6.34 kernel in May of 2010. Weil founded Inktank in May of 2012 as a way to help support companies that want to run Ceph in production environments. Weil is also a co-founder of hosting provider Dreamhost, where the Ceph project got its start. Inktank as a privately held company enjoyed the financial backing of Dreamhost as well as Mark Shuttleworth, who leads Red Hat's Linux rival, Ubuntu Linux. Ceph in some respects is seen as a competitor to the open-source Gluster filesystem project. Red Hat acquired Gluster in 2011 for $136 million and has since leveraged Gluster to become the core of the Red Hat Storage product line.


In an FAQ published by Red Hat about the Inktank deal, Red Hat acknowledges that Ceph and Gluster are very similar software-based storage technologies.


'Inktank has a more mature block interface and OpenStack integration, while Gluster has a more mature file system interface and traditional web storage integration,' Red Hat stated. 'Therefore, the two complement each other very well and we believe the combination is a very attractive alternative to traditional proprietary storage.' Red Hat is a pure-play open-source vendor and so will need to adjust Inktank's product strategy somewhat. Inktank has an open core model for software, where there is an open-source code base and then proprietary code developed on top to provide additional functionality for a price. In the pure-play open-source model, everything is open-source. When Red Hat acquired Gluster, it also needed to adjust the Gluster road map from an open core to a full open-source model. 'One important change that will take place involves Inktank's product strategy, in which some add-on software we have developed is proprietary,' Weil wrote in a blog post. 'In contrast, Red Hat favors a pure open source model.'


Inktank has a Ceph Enterprise product that includes the Calamari monitoring and diagnostics tool. Calamari will now transition from being a proprietary technology to being an open-source project. 'Red Hat is one of only a handful of companies that I trust to steward the Ceph project,' Weil said. 'When we started Inktank two years ago, our goal was to build the business by making Ceph successful as a broad-based, collaborative open source project with a vibrant user, developer, and commercial community. Red Hat shares this vision.' Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.


MIT conducts world's largest Bitcoin experiment

digital currency Bitcoin


A pot of $500,000 will be used to hand out free Bitcoins to every undergraduate at MIT later this year, in the hope of spurring research, innovation and entrepreneurialism around digital currencies among students

Two students at the USA's prestigious engineering and technology university MIT have raised $500,000 to conduct an experiment that will see every undergraduate handed $100 of the digital currency Bitcoin later this year.


Jeremy Rubin, who is studying electrical engineering and computer science, and Dan Elitzer, founder and President of the MIT Bitcoin Club and a first-year in the MBA program at MIT Sloan, raised the money so that it could be used in a test of how students use the Bitcoin they receive, as well as to spur academic and entrepreneurial activity around the crypto-currency.


The bulk of funding for the MIT Bitcoin Project is being provided by MIT alumni with additional support from the Bitcoin community. The total of over $500,000 already pledged will cover the distribution of Bitcoin to all 4,528 undergraduates, as well as infrastructure and informational activities related to the initiative. Once the project is underway MIT will be the first place where widespread access to Bitcoin can be assumed, hopefully leading to a great deal of research, innovation and entrepreneurialism around the future of digital currencies.


Rubin said: 'Giving students access to cryptocurrencies is analogous to providing them with internet access at the dawn of the internet era.'


The organisers admit they do not know how students will decide to use their Bitcoin. However, they plan to use the time between now and when the Bitcoin is distributed to build up the Bitcoin ecosystem at MIT. This will include working with members of the MIT Bitcoin Club to educate merchants around campus and help them get set up to accept Bitcoin payments.


Elitzer said: 'We decided to announce this project now to give students lead time. We want to issue a challenge to some of the brightest technical minds of a generation: 'When you step onto campus this fall, all of your classmates are going to have access to Bitcoin; what are you going to build to give them interesting ways to use it?''



Download our iPad app now


Public Wi


The Heartbleed Internet bug is still haunting websites worldwide, but it looks like public Wi-Fi is pretty safe.

That doesn't mean you should start banking on an open network -- that's still dangerous. However, you can connect your laptop or smartphone at most coffee shops, hotels and airports without worrying about hackers exploiting the Heartbleed bug on a Wi-Fi router to spy on you.


Most of the Wi-Fi devices used in public spaces are made by Cisco or Ruckus Wireles, and both companies say that hardware wasn't susceptible to the bug in security software.


The same thing goes for all Starbucks locations, as well as major airports like Denver International and Phoenix's Sky Harbor. None of them would specify what kind of equipment they use, citing security concerns. Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport said its wireless gear was vulnerable to the bug, but it updated its systems as soon as a fix was available.


Also safe: small businesses that use the same D-Link, Linksys and Netgear routers we use from home. None of those companies' Wi-Fi devices were affected either.


Related story: The Heartbleed bug, explained


Because Ruckus provides the wireless routers for several hotel chains and shops, many of the following locations are safe too:


Consumers can breathe a sigh of relief. But that doesn't mean they should dismiss Heartbleed entirely. Servers at work could still be affected. And many computer systems rely on older hardware that might never be patched. A weakness somewhere is essentially a weakness anywhere. That's why security experts say you'll have to stay on your guard for weeks and months to come.


Change passwords often. Don't visit strange websites. And whenever possible, use a Heartbleed checker to see if a website still vulnerable to the bug.


Here's a handy list of major websites that have patched their systems, or never used the vulnerable security software.


Still, it's a smart bet to assume your online communication isn't secure unless a website specifically states it patched its systems for Heartbleed. Just about everything you do online -- email, social media, banking -- is still at risk. The Heartbleed bug affects gadgets everywhere. Companies are still updating firmware for their devices. Two weeks ago, there were still 150 million vulnerable apps running on Android smartphones, according to cybersecurity provider FireEye.


The danger is real. A hacker broke into Canada's tax records with Hearbleed and managed to steal personal information on 900 people.


First Published: April 30, 2014: 8:23 AM ET


When BASIC Was Young: Great Memories

As BASIC, the programming language that launched many a technical career, turns 50, we revisit our BASIC projects. Tell us about yours.



(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)


The programming language BASIC will be 50 years old in May. Though much has changed it's still alive and well in the form of Microsoft Visual Basic, presently the sixth most popular programming language, according to the TIOBE index for April 2014.


Although there are many modern programming languages better suited to today's technology -- Python and Lua are personal favorites -- BASIC still matters to many who write code. And it matters as an example of openness.


[For more perspective from Dr. Dobb's editor Andrew Binstock, see BASIC Turns 50: A Love/Hate Story.]

BASIC was developed by John G. Kemeney (1926-1993) and Thomas E. Kurtz (1928-), who described it as an effort 'to give students a simple programming language that was easy-to-learn.'


That goal of accessibility becomes ever more important as our devices and networks become more complicated. Without accessibility, we risk denying people the opportunity to create the technological systems that shape social, political, and economic interaction. BASIC invited everyone to tinker with machines that were previously tended by a mainframe priesthood. Its birth hastened the personal computing reformation.


BASIC debuted at 4 a.m. on May 1, 1964, when two BASIC programs ran at the same time on the General Electric 225 mainframe housed at Dartmouth College. Since then, it has given rise to many different versions and has played a vital role in computer education.



BASIC gave rise to Microsoft. The company's first product, Altair BASIC, written by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, was an interpreter for BASIC that ran on the MITS Altair 8800.


Kemeny and Kurtz's creation of BASIC not only made programming fun, it made the case for computer literacy as part of every educated person's life, said Michael T. Jones, chief technology advocate at Google, in an email. 'They made that true at Dartmouth 50 years ago and it is true today the world over.' We have much to thank them for, said Jones. You could even say they started the open-source software movement. 'By making the BASIC environment so friendly, they created a safe place for people to play and explore. The computer game movement came from BASIC. People shared games, long before there were networks, by printing the BASIC programs in Creative Computing and BYTE magazines for others to enter in and enjoy. Today we call it open source software but the origins date back fifty years.' 'Many Google engineers have told me that their first introduction to computing was in BASIC, that BASIC is how they first saw the beauty and magic of programming,' Jones continued. 'No doubt this is true at other leading technology companies all around the world. This is the ultimate legacy of professors John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz -- a world where the computer is a pleasant and helpful part of everyday life for billions of people.'


A simpler timeFor me, BASIC recalls a simpler time, when Apple was more open than it is now. I began learning BASIC in 1982 on an Apple II+, back when I was in high school. The following year, my friend Alec and I were deputized to teach BASIC under the supervision of our physics instructor, George Lang, to a handful of interested peers in a short-lived elective class.


Alec was the superior programmer (he knew Assembly Language) but BASIC was never intended for experts. The name stands for Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. The language is so simple that anyone can pick it up with a bit of effort.


I never accomplished anything noteworthy with BASIC. Probably the biggest project I undertook was to write an application to assist the playing of Avalon Hill's Squad Leader, a favorite board game of mine at the time. But playing around with BASIC gave me an understanding of programming and technology that has informed my career over the years since.


Alec and I, faced with the desire to apply to college in a way that distinguished us from other applicants, turned our knowledge of BASIC into a school computer magazine that we called Interpreter. With the help of other friends who recognized the transcript-padding potential of involvement in our publishing venture, we turned out our first issue in June 1983. That was more or less the point I decided to focus on writing for people rather than machines.


We made our magazine before the era of desktop publishing. Imagine using X-Acto knives for layout. We ran a full-page ad from Beagle Bros., a maker of Apple II software that we admired, as a courtesy and to fill a blank page. The


Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio


Google halts scanning of Google Apps for Education accounts

The search giant says it will no longer collect student data to use for advertising purposes.


Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Google says it is no longer mining the accounts of Google Apps for Education users for advertising data.


Revealing the new policy in a blog posted on Tuesday, Bram Bout, director of Google for Education, also said that Google has removed a toggle to enable and disable ads in the Apps for Education Administrator console. Removing the toggle means that ads in the Apps for Education suite are now automatically turned off, and administrators can not turn them back on.


Google Apps for Education provides the usual lineup of apps for email, calendar, and document creation but is geared toward students and teachers.


The new non-scanning policy comes in the wake of a lawsuit against Google filed last year by Gmail users in California, according to The Wall Street Journal. The suit alleged that scanning email for advertising purposes violated California's wiretap laws. A Google spokeswoman confirmed to Education Week recently that the company did scan and index emails in the Apps for Education suite to use for different purposes, including advertising.


Similar policy changes are due to roll out to other flavors of Google Apps, including the Business and Government editions as well as the free version, Bout added. Bout said that he and other Google staffers will host a Hangout on Air on the Google for Education G+ page on May 1 at 9:00 am PT to discuss the latest changes.


LG G3 set to be launched globally on May 27


LG has started sending out invites for an event that will take place on May 27 in three cities - London, New York, San Francisco - followed by a May 28 launch in Singapore, Istanbul, and Seoul.


The invite (seen above), which quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson, reads 'To be simple is to be Great.' The capitalised 'G', in the same font as the LG G2 branding, is a direct hint that the company's latest flagship, the LG G3 will be launched at the event.


Notably, while announcing the Q4 earnings, LG in a statement had announced that it will reveal the successor to the LG G2 flagship in the second quarter of this year, alongside a roll-out of the L-Series III smartphones to more regions. The Q2 launch confirmation and the May 27 event date tie together nicely.


Earlier the successor to the LG G2 flagship, the LG G3, had been spotted in various leaks. Recently GSMArena claimed to have obtained a live image of the alleged LG G3, which shows back-mounted buttons for power and volume controls, first seen in LG G2. The leaked image indicated that the rumoured G3 will feature a new design, different from the current LG G-series smartphones.


Another leak showed the purported LG G3 screenshots flaunting a new 'flat' UI on the QHD display of the handset. The notification panel was also seen with a new design, in-line with the rest of the interface, which looked a little cluttered due to its QSlide app tray. It was also reported to be running over Android KitKat OS.


While there are various rumoured specifications doing rounds of the Internet, one thing which LG has already confirmed is the inclusion of a Quad-HD (1440x2560 resolution) pixels display in the LG G2's successor.


Other rumoured specifications suggests the handset to run on Android 4.4.2 KitKat along with a 13-megapixel rear camera, a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB built-in storage that can be expanded up to 64GB. The AnTuTu benchmark test also pointed out some more specifications such as Adreno 330 GPU, OpenGL ES 3.0, a rather inaccurate 640 dpi, and multi-touch support.


LG G3 media invites go out for 27 May launch event


LG has begun sending out invites for an event that should officially reveal the G3 flagship smartphone.


The event will take place on 27 May around the world, in six cities to be exact. The launch will happen across London, New York, San Francisco, Singapore, Istanbul, and Seoul.


The LG G3 is rumoured to come with newly designed rear buttons and a sensor that could be to support the camera.


Other leaked specs suggest a 5.5-inch Quad HD display meaning a 2560 x 1440 resolution for 534ppi, OIS+ camera, 3GB of RAM, 16GB and 32GB storage options, a polycarbonate build and microSD slot.


It was only yesterday that LG leaked the G3 would be out before June. The words came in a quarterly report. The exact wording was: 'Higher revenues are expected in the second quarter with the release of the flagship LG G3 smartphone.'


READ: LG G3 release date, rumours and everything you need to know


Every MIT Undergrad Will Get $100 in Bitcoin This Fall


MIT's Bitcoin club is launching a new project that will give each undergrad $100 in Bitcoin, beginning in the Fall semester.


The club has already raised $500,000 in Bitcoin to fund the project and hopes it will help encourage students and local businesses to not only adopt the currency but use it in new and innovative ways.


The two students who have spearheaded the project, Jeremy Rubin and Dan Elitzer, liken it to giving students Internet access 20 years ago.


'It's easy for people who haven't actually looked at the technology and started to understand it - they can grasp he scary things like Mt. Gox disappearing but really understanding the powers to do good is a lot harder,' Dan Elitzer, the club's founder and president told Mashable.


'This is not a completely risk-free endeavor but there's so much potential.'


'This is not a completely risk-free endeavor but there's so much potential, it enables them to experience a new technology for themselves and tinker and create and we're really excited to see what they come up with.'


Outside of MIT, others involved in the Bitcoin community are also excited about the project's potential- it took about six weeks for the two students to raise $500,000 in Bitcoin from about 2,000 donors, including MIT alumni and members of the larger Bitcoin community.


Elitzer said they believe MIT's students, many of whom have deep technical backgrounds, are in a unique position to come up with new and innovative ways to use Bitcoin and that academic studies are already being considered.


The club is also hosting a Bitcoin Expo that will include panels to help educate students on the basics of Bitcoin and technical workshops that will provide a deeper dive into how to build tools for leveraging the currency.


'We want to educate students about Bitcoin as a concept but also about the tools to begin to work with it and create with it.'


Elitzer said that currently there are few places near MIT's campus that accept Bitcoin but is quick to point out that thousands of undergrads with about a half million dollars in Bitcoin will likely grab the attention of local merchants.


The club's members will also be reaching out to local businesses to educate them about Bitcoin and how they can take advantage of it.


BONUS: Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin in 2 Minutes Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Atari graveyard found: Millions of ET cartridges, legendary 'worst video game ever'

Posted: 04/26/2014 02:25:58 PM PDT


Updated: 04/29/2014 08:13:27 AM PDT


ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) -- A documentary film production company has found buried in a New Mexico landfill hundreds of the Atari 'E.T.' game cartridges that some call the worst video game ever made.


Film director Zak Penn showed one 'E.T.' cartridge retrieved from the site and said that hundreds more were found in the mounds of trash and dirt scooped by a backhoe.


About 200 residents and game enthusiasts gathered early Saturday in southeastern New Mexico to watch backhoes and bulldozers dig through the concrete-covered landfill in search of up to a million discarded copies of 'E.T. The Extraterrestrial' that the game's maker wanted to hide forever.



'I feel pretty relieved and psyched that they actually got to see something,' said Penn as members of the production team sifted through the mounds of trash, pulling out boxes, games and other Atari products.


Most of the crowd left the landfill before the discovery, turned away by strong winds that kicked up massive clouds of dust mingled with garbage. By the time the games were found, only a few dozen people remained. Some were playing the infamous game in a make-shift gaming den with a T.V. and an 1980's game console in the back of a van, while others took selfies beside a life-size E.T. doll inside a DeLorean car like the one that was turned into a time machine in the 'Back To The Future' movies.


Among the watchers was Armando Ortega, a city official who back in 1983 got a tip from a landfill employee about the massive dump of games.


'It was pitch dark here that night, but we came with our flashlights and found dozens of games,' he said. They braved the darkness, coyotes and snakes of the desert landfill and had to sneak past the security guard. But it paid off.


He says they found dozens of crushed cartridges that they took home and were still playable in their game consoles.


The game and its contribution to the demise of Atari have been the source of fascination for video game enthusiasts for 30 years. The search for the cartridges will be featured in an upcoming documentary about the biggest video game company of the early '80s.


Xbox Entertainment Studios is one of the companies developing the film, which is expected to be released later this year on Microsoft's Xbox game consoles.


Whether -- and most importantly, why -- Atari decided to bury thousands or millions of copies of the failed game is part of the urban legend and much speculation on Internet blog posts and forums.


Kristen Keller, a spokeswoman at Atari, said 'nobody here has any idea what that's about.' The company has no 'corporate knowledge' about the Alamogordo burial. Atari has changed hands many times over the years, and Keller said, 'We're just watching like everybody else.'


Atari currently manages about 200 classic titles such as Centipede and Asteroids. It was sold to a French company by Hasbro in 2001.


A New York Times article from Sept. 28, 1983, says 14 truckloads of discarded game cartridges and computer equipment were dumped on the site. An Atari spokesman quoted in the story said the games came from its plant in El Paso, Texas, some 80 miles south of Alamogordo.


Local news reports from the time said that the landfill employees were throwing cartridges there and running a bulldozer over them before covering them with dirt and trash.


The city of Alamogordo agreed to give the documentarians 250 cartridges or 10 percent of the cartridges found, whichever is greater,.


Alamogordo Mayor Susie Galea said finding something in the landfill might bring more tourists to this city in southeastern New Mexico that is home to an Air Force base and White Sands National Monument. 'Lots of people just pass through, unfortunately,' she said.


The 'E.T.' game is among the factors blamed for the decline of Atari and the collapse in the U.S. of a multi-million dollar video game industry that didn't bounce back for several years.


Tina Amini, deputy editor at gaming website Kotaku, said the game tanked because 'it was practically broken.' A recurring flaw, she said, was that the character of the game, the beloved extraterrestrial, would fall into traps that were almost impossible to escape and would appear constantly and unpredictably.


The company produced millions of cartridges, and although sales were not initially bad, the frustrating gameplay prompted an immense amount of returns. 'They had produced so many cartridges that were unsold that even if the game was insanely successful I doubt they'd be able to keep up,' Amini says.


Joe Lewandowski, who became manager of the 300-acre landfill a few months after the cartridge dump and has been a consultant for the documentarians, told FIVERRDIRECTORY.BLOGSPOT.COM that they used old photographs and dug exploratory wells to find the actual burial site.


The incidents following the burial remained a part of Alamogordo's local folklore, he said. For him, the only memories of 'E.T.' the game were of an awful game he once bought for his kid.


'I was busy merging two garbage companies together,' he said. 'I didn't have time for that.'


Atari graveyard found: Millions of ET cartridges, legendary 'worst video game ever'

Posted: 04/26/2014 02:25:58 PM PDT


Updated: 04/29/2014 08:13:27 AM PDT


ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (AP) -- A documentary film production company has found buried in a New Mexico landfill hundreds of the Atari 'E.T.' game cartridges that some call the worst video game ever made.


Film director Zak Penn showed one 'E.T.' cartridge retrieved from the site and said that hundreds more were found in the mounds of trash and dirt scooped by a backhoe.


About 200 residents and game enthusiasts gathered early Saturday in southeastern New Mexico to watch backhoes and bulldozers dig through the concrete-covered landfill in search of up to a million discarded copies of 'E.T. The Extraterrestrial' that the game's maker wanted to hide forever.



'I feel pretty relieved and psyched that they actually got to see something,' said Penn as members of the production team sifted through the mounds of trash, pulling out boxes, games and other Atari products.


Most of the crowd left the landfill before the discovery, turned away by strong winds that kicked up massive clouds of dust mingled with garbage. By the time the games were found, only a few dozen people remained. Some were playing the infamous game in a make-shift gaming den with a T.V. and an 1980's game console in the back of a van, while others took selfies beside a life-size E.T. doll inside a DeLorean car like the one that was turned into a time machine in the 'Back To The Future' movies.


Among the watchers was Armando Ortega, a city official who back in 1983 got a tip from a landfill employee about the massive dump of games.


'It was pitch dark here that night, but we came with our flashlights and found dozens of games,' he said. They braved the darkness, coyotes and snakes of the desert landfill and had to sneak past the security guard. But it paid off.


He says they found dozens of crushed cartridges that they took home and were still playable in their game consoles.


The game and its contribution to the demise of Atari have been the source of fascination for video game enthusiasts for 30 years. The search for the cartridges will be featured in an upcoming documentary about the biggest video game company of the early '80s.


Xbox Entertainment Studios is one of the companies developing the film, which is expected to be released later this year on Microsoft's Xbox game consoles.


Whether -- and most importantly, why -- Atari decided to bury thousands or millions of copies of the failed game is part of the urban legend and much speculation on Internet blog posts and forums.


Kristen Keller, a spokeswoman at Atari, said 'nobody here has any idea what that's about.' The company has no 'corporate knowledge' about the Alamogordo burial. Atari has changed hands many times over the years, and Keller said, 'We're just watching like everybody else.'


Atari currently manages about 200 classic titles such as Centipede and Asteroids. It was sold to a French company by Hasbro in 2001.


A New York Times article from Sept. 28, 1983, says 14 truckloads of discarded game cartridges and computer equipment were dumped on the site. An Atari spokesman quoted in the story said the games came from its plant in El Paso, Texas, some 80 miles south of Alamogordo.


Local news reports from the time said that the landfill employees were throwing cartridges there and running a bulldozer over them before covering them with dirt and trash.


The city of Alamogordo agreed to give the documentarians 250 cartridges or 10 percent of the cartridges found, whichever is greater,.


Alamogordo Mayor Susie Galea said finding something in the landfill might bring more tourists to this city in southeastern New Mexico that is home to an Air Force base and White Sands National Monument. 'Lots of people just pass through, unfortunately,' she said.


The 'E.T.' game is among the factors blamed for the decline of Atari and the collapse in the U.S. of a multi-million dollar video game industry that didn't bounce back for several years.


Tina Amini, deputy editor at gaming website Kotaku, said the game tanked because 'it was practically broken.' A recurring flaw, she said, was that the character of the game, the beloved extraterrestrial, would fall into traps that were almost impossible to escape and would appear constantly and unpredictably.


The company produced millions of cartridges, and although sales were not initially bad, the frustrating gameplay prompted an immense amount of returns. 'They had produced so many cartridges that were unsold that even if the game was insanely successful I doubt they'd be able to keep up,' Amini says.


Joe Lewandowski, who became manager of the 300-acre landfill a few months after the cartridge dump and has been a consultant for the documentarians, told FIVERRDIRECTORY.BLOGSPOT.COM that they used old photographs and dug exploratory wells to find the actual burial site.


The incidents following the burial remained a part of Alamogordo's local folklore, he said. For him, the only memories of 'E.T.' the game were of an awful game he once bought for his kid.


'I was busy merging two garbage companies together,' he said. 'I didn't have time for that.'


Lunecase harvests excess iPhone energy to light up LED notifications


iPhone cases are a dime a dozen, but the creators of Lunecase claim their masterpiece can do something special. While it looks just like any other case on the surface, Lunecase can apparently harness the electromagnetic energy the iPhone emits and use it to light up its LED call or message indicators. It's not even connected to the phone via wires or any other means -- if what its Kickstarter page says is true, it'll work as soon as you snap it on. Sound familiar? That's because Lunecase's creators, Ukrainian company Concepter, showed it off at CES 2014, albeit in a different form. The prototype presented during the event looked a lot different from the current offering, but at least it worked just as advertised. If this sounds more useful than a case that can track your blood pressure, you can get one for the iPhone 5, 5s and 5c from its Kickstarter page for a minimum pledge of $35. Just note that you'll have to make do without its icon-like indicators until it ships, which the company aims to do sometime in August.


Office for iPad update brings welcome new feature


There are certain applications that are provided by companies that will be used on rival platforms, and that can certainly be said about Microsoft Office, and the iPad app has received a recent update that brings a welcome new feature.


Back in March Microsoft launched the Office app for iPad users that allowed them to view already created documents for free, but would need an Office 365 subscription to create and edit new Word documents.


Now the company has provided an update bringing the app up to version 1.0.1 that brings users the ability to print documents to an AirPrint compatible printer. Users can also print content with or without markup, and there has also been some minor bug fixes provided.


This new printing feature will work with Excel and PowerPoint besides Word, and for more information and to download head over to the App Store.


Are you pleased with this update?


Xbox One to be available in China in September

Besides China, the Xbox One will also launch in 42 other countries in the same month.


Microsoft

Following the lift on a 13-year ban on consoles last September, Microsoft will soon be launching its Xbox One in China through its joint venture E-Home Entertainment.


E-Home Entertainment comprises of Microsoft and BesTV, and takes advantage of the slightly more relaxed rules of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.


The current rules allow for the sale of consoles only in the zone, and we've contacted Microsoft to find out if the Xbox One will be restricted to the same guidelines.


Also announced was a new developer program to develop and sell games 'fused with Chinese culture' for local as well as international distribution.


Microsoft reckons China will be a big market -- the company says there are half a billion gamers in China and the gaming industry has generated $13 billion in revenue as of 2013. However, this is from PC, mobile and online gaming.


Besides China, Microsoft's Xbox One will also debut in 42 other countries in September, such as India, Japan, Korea and Singapore. Previously, only 26 markets had been confirmed.


Microsoft's prototype keyboard understands gestures

Microsoft's research division has developed a keyboard that can interpret basic hand gestures, potentially bridging a gap between touch devices and more traditional input methods.



Microsoft Research has developed a prototype keyboard that understands basic gestures. It appears to bridge the gap between an all touch interface and a traditional keyboard.


Presented at the Computer Human Interaction (CHI) conference in Toronto, the prototype keyboard has 64 sensors that detect the movement of hands as they brush over the top of the keyboard. Swiping a hand over the left or right side, for instance, can bring up left and right side menus in Windows 8.


The main goal is for users to be able to keep their hands on or very close to the keyboard while typing and using input gestures, said Stuart Taylor, a Microsoft senior research engineer.


Some of the gestures can replace existing keyboard shortcuts, like the Alt and Tab combination for switching between applications.



This is what Microsoft Research's gesture-sensing keyboard 'sees' when a user hovers his hand over the device.


'What we've found is that for some of the more complicated keyboard shortcut combinations, performing gestures seems to be a lot less overhead for the user,' he said.


Gesture control in touchscreens is commonplace for tasks like flicking through photos or pulling up menus. Even some mice can interpret gestures, but keyboards have largely stuck to their traditional input method.


Taylor said Microsoft's keyboard can interpret a number of gestures, though only a few were working at the conference in Toronto. He also said it's not designed to replace a mouse.


'It's less about fine-grain navigation, which would still be performed with a mouse or touchpad,' he said.


The team has been working on the project for about a year-and-a-half and will continue to refine the gesture interpretation. The sensors on the keyboard are in pairs, with one sensor emitting infrared light and the other reading the light reflected back. It's not unlike the technology in Microsoft's Kinect gaming system.


Since it is still a research project there are no immediate plans for commercialization, but technology like this could give Microsoft a much-needed leg up in the computing race.


Harman/Kardon HTC One M8 Official May 2nd, Coupled With Spotify Premium ...


Earlier on in the month we reported that Sprint was potentially going to be offering up some sort of deal with Spotify to offer either discounted rates to the service for subscribers or some other way to entice users into using the streaming radio alternative to Google Play Music All Access and others. We also let you in on some information prior to that, indicating that Sprint would soon be offering a Harman/Kardon edition of the HTC One M8 device that would presumably have the Harman/Kardon audio tech inside and we would guess the branding on the back. Since HTC and Beats are no more, that left the window open for another audio company to become a potential partner with HTC on this years flagship should they have wanted to go that route again. We now know that the Harman/Kardon edition HTC M8 is coming to Sprint exclusively, but not alone. As part of the launch and the promotion, Srint customers will also be able to get a deal on Spotify. It seems like the Spotify deal may have always been planned to launch alongside this exclusive version of the M8 from the beginning.


The Harman/Kardon M8 will be available via the Sprint online store starting on May 2nd, and you should be able to grab one in your local retail store starting May 9th, that is considering there are any in stock to pick up at your location. This exclusive M8 has an equally exclusive champagne color accent, as well as the Harman/Kardon branding on the back, and in a similar fashion to the first couple HTC Beats audio enabled phones that were offered at least in Verizon stores and were paired with a $150 pair of Beats earbuds, the Harman/Kardon HTC One M8 will come packaged with a special pair of Harman/Kardon earbuds that also retail for the price of $150. As for the Spotify subscription, you'll be able to get access to the service at lower cost than what other subscribers of the streaming music service pay, enabling all sorts of awesome music at your finger tips to be heard inside a fantastic set of earbuds, on a device with presumably just as fantastic audio technology. If you're already on a Sprint Framily plan come May 9th, you'll get Spotify Premium for free for six months, at which point the cost of the service will set you back $7.99 if you have 5 or less people on the plan, and $4.99 for 6 people or more. If you're not on a Framily Plan, you can still get Spotify Premium for free for three months, after that the cost jumps to the regular $9.99 per month.


In addition to the already high quality earbuds coming with the device, Harman/Kardon will be using an app called Clari-Fi to bring back the rich high quality fidelity to music for listeners. Audio fidelity has been getting better with the advancements of products available compared to a couple years ago, but we still end up losing some of the best parts of sound during the process of compressing the music digitally. Harman aims to correct this, and we're certainly eager to check out the audio quality for ourselves.


Category: Android Phone News



Gadgets, games, design, great food and craft beer are some of my passions. I hail from the northwest and try to utilize the beautiful weather by biking anywhere I can. I have a deep passion for android and have been in the android game since the G1. When I'm not writing for the site, you can find me playing League Of Legends, or playing one of my many Steam games. You may even spot my girlfriend and I destroying a few Toad portals. No one likes slime. I currently use a Nexus 4, and both versions of the Nexus 7


Revenue Up at Twitter, but Growth Is a Worry


SAN FRANCISCO - Twitter is struggling to convince Wall Street that it is still a company with plenty of potential to grow.


In its second earnings announcement as a public company, Twitter said on Tuesday that it had more than doubled revenues, beating its own forecasts and the expectations of investment analysts. But the social network's stock fell more than 11 percent in after-hours trading because the number of people who joined it did not increase as fast as many had hoped.


Wall Street, it appears, is more worried about Twitter's ability to add users and keep them engaged than about its ability to increase revenues.


In the last two quarters, that has been a problem. Twitter said it had 255 million monthly users globally in March, up 5 percent from 241 million at the end of December, which ended a quarter in which monthly active users rose less than 4 percent.


'They need to prove that they can be a very large-sized platform,' said Arvind Bhatia, an analyst with Sterne Agee, an investment firm. 'Can they get to 500, 600 million users worldwide? That's what they have yet to prove.'



And engagement, a measure of user activity on the site, looked lackluster. On average, users refreshed their Twitter feeds 614 times a month during the recent quarter, up only slightly from 613 times a month in the fourth quarter. Twitter users, especially those overseas, were refreshing their feeds less frequently than they were in the year-ago quarter.


But most disconcerting for shareholders is that Twitter made $1.44 in advertising revenue for every 1,000 timeline views, down from $1.49 in its previous quarter. That may be the best marker of Twitter's ability to make money from its platform, and in the first quarter it was trending down. In a call with analysts, Twitter's executives attributed some of that to seasonality because the fourth quarter tends to be the most profitable.


Twitter's revenue in the first quarter, which ended March 31, was up 119 percent to $250 million from $114 million in the first quarter of 2013. Wall Street had expected Twitter to report revenue of $241 million, according to consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters, while Twitter had forecast slightly lower first-quarter revenues in the range of $230 million to $240 million.


Twitter posted a net loss of $132 million, compared with a loss of $27 million a year ago. Adjusted earnings, however - which exclude stock-based compensation and other expenses - were $183,000, or about break-even per share, compared with a $10.5 million loss a year ago.


In an interview, Dick Costolo, Twitter's chief executive, tried to reassure skeptics.


'We're focused on driving up the value of each timeline,' Mr. Costolo said, using a term to refer to users' Twitter feeds. He noted that 'favorites' and 'retweets' - two actions users take on Twitter's site which require an extra click - were up 26 percent in the first quarter and said new users were as engaged as older ones, an indication that the site is not as confusing to newbies as critics contend.



But analysts think Twitter can do better. 'User metrics are improving, but not fast enough,' Mr. Bhatia said. 'Yes, they're getting better, but the market's looking for more.'


According to Forrester, the market research firm, only 22 percent of American online adults visit Twitter at least once a month, compared with Facebook's 72 percent. But in recent months, Twitter has tried to make its platform easier for new users to understand, by redesigning its profile pages to resemble Facebook, and making it easier to integrate more photos and videos. Twitter is also experimenting with a new way to sign up.


Twitter recently made it possible for users to import mobile-phone contacts so they can follow people they know as they get started. Mr. Costolo said Twitter users could expect other changes in the second quarter intended to make Twitter easier to use.


'We will continue to bring the scaffolding of Twitter into the background and bring the content forward,' Mr. Costolo said. 'And we'll continue to organize content for new users that don't yet have a full set of accounts they're following.'


Twitter has also been courting the television industry as it looks for ways to make money from its users. The company has said that people engaged on Twitter while watching television shows are more likely to stay tuned during commercials, remember the ads and make purchases, compared with those not on Twitter.


But Twitter announced its earnings shortly after an NBC executive questioned Twitter's influence. Alan Wurtzel, president of research at NBCUniversal, told The Financial Times that NBC's own data from the Winter Olympics showed that Twitter had little effect on its ratings.


'I am saying the emperor wears no clothes,' Mr. Wurtzel told The Financial Times.


Mr. Costolo denied that Twitter's NBC relationship had been strained. 'We have a great and growing relationship with NBC.'


Microsoft Office for iPad finally adds printing feature

Microsoft said Tuesday that its had added the ability to print to its Office for iPad suite, covering up an ugly bruise on an otherwise well-regarded office suite.


Microsoft announced the update in a blog post, noting, unsurprisingly, that printing had been the most popular feature request by users. Microsoft's Office for iPad suite is published as three separate apps-Word, PowerPoint, and Excel-and users will have to update each app separately via the Apple App Store.


Microsoft also said the new update includes SmartGuides for PowerPoint and AutoFit for Excel, two features that will improve the appearance of content in both apps, respectively.


Microsoft

Before Tuesday's release, this was what users saw if they wondered why they couldn't print on the Office for iPad suite.


Although Microsoft's Office suite for the Apple tablet received positive if not rave reviews, one of its omissions was the ability to print. Microsoft's Office team then took to Reddit to promise it was coming, but they didn't say when. Thirty-three days after its release, it came. The new software apps use Apple's AirPrint to wirelessly connect to a range of supported printers.


The new PowerPoint app also includes SmartGuides, which provides some intelligence when moving images and other components of a presentation around on the page. AutoFit in Excel lets you adjust the width of multiple rows or the height of multiple columns at the same time, Microsoft said. The new apps also include other undisclosed stability improvements.


By adding the printing feature, Microsoft has now made its 'free' app markedly better. But it still requires an Office 365 license, a tie that Microsoft appears in no hurry to sever. 'We believe that you get the best up to date Office experience [in] the Office 365 subscription,' Kaberi Chowdhury, a technical product manager for the Office for the iPad team, wrote during the Reddit Q&A session.


Microsoft Should Make Windows XP Open


As Microsoft rushes to fix a major security defect in its popular Web browser, Internet Explorer, one enormous group of computer users will remain vulnerable to the bug: the 488 million people worldwide who still rely on Windows XP to power their computers.


Samsung to jury: You can't copy iPhone features that aren't in the iPhone

James Martin/CNET

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Samsung didn't copy Apple's patents because Google created the technology first and Apple doesn't even use the specific accused features its the iPhone, attorneys for the Korean electronics maker told a jury here.


'It's true that if you don't practice a patent, that doesn't mean you can't collect damages for it,' Samsung attorney Bill Price argued Tuesday during Samsung's closing arguments in its patent-infringement trial versus Apple. 'But you can't copy something from the iPhone if it's not in the iPhone.'


He added that Apple's patents are narrow and cover specific ways of performing tasks, not the entire tasks -- such as universal search or word suggestion -- themselves. And while Apple tried to downplay the role of Google in the trial, Google is relevant, Price said.


He noted that four attorneys will present Samsung's closing arguments.


Closing arguments are the final chance for Apple and Samsung to make their pitches to the jury. The month-long trial, with about 52 hours of testimony, has covered a lot of ground -- from the invention of technology to what damages should total -- and the jury will need a refresher to steer them toward a verdict. Apple has argued throughout the trial that its case is about Samsung, not Google, and that Samsung copied Apple out of desperation. Samsung, meanwhile, has argued that Apple's suit is about hurting competition and Android.


Apple attorney Harold McElhinny earlier Tuesday said the jury should find that Samsung Electronics intentionally infringed on Apple's patents because it didn't have anything that could compete with the Cupertino, Calif., company. He noted that the mobile market has become a 'two-horse race' between Apple and Samsung because of the latter company's infringement and that Samsung has sold 37 million infringing devices.


McElhinny also said that Samsung didn't bother to bring any witnesses from Samsung's headquarters in Korea to talk about the development of its phones. Price, however, disputed that statement, saying Samsung did bring the inventors of the technology -- Google engineers and a Samsung designer from Korea.


'We're not pointing the finger at Google,' Price said. 'We're saying they independently developed these features, and they don't infringe. We brought you the inventors.'


Almost two years after Apple and Samsung faced off in a messy patent dispute, the smartphone and tablet rivals have returned to the same courtroom here to argue once again over patents before Judge Lucy Koh. Apple is arguing that Samsung infringed on five of its patents for the iPhone, its biggest moneymaker, and that Apple is due $2.2 billion for that infringement. Samsung wants about $6.2 million from Apple for infringing two of its software patents, and it argues that if it did infringe all of Apple's patents, it should only have to pay $38.4 million.


While the companies are asking for damages, the case is about more than money. What's really at stake is the market for mobile devices. Apple now gets two-thirds of its sales from the iPhone and iPad; South Korea-based Samsung is the world's largest maker of smartphones; and both want to keep dominating the market. So far, Apple is ahead when it comes to litigation in the US. Samsung has been ordered to pay the company about $930 million in damages.


Most Samsung features that Apple says infringe are items that are a part of Android, Google's mobile operating system that powers Samsung's devices. All patents except one, called 'slide to unlock,' are built into Android. Apple has argued the patent infringement trial has nothing to do with Android. However, Samsung argues that Apple's suit is an 'attack on Android' and that Google had invented certain features before Apple patented them. It came out during the trial that Google has been helping Samsung fund its defense against a couple of Apple's patent claims because of a 'Mobile Application Distribution Agreement' for Samsung to use Google's apps.


Suing Google wouldn't get Apple far since Google doesn't make its own phones or tablets. Instead, Apple has sued companies that sell physical devices using Android, a rival to Apple's iOS mobile operating system. In particular, Apple believes Samsung has followed a strategy to copy its products and then undercut Apple's pricing. While Apple isn't suing Google, it expects that Google will make changes to its software if Samsung is found to infringe on patents through Samsung's Android devices.


Meanwhile, an appeals court ruling April 25 in Apple's related patent-infringement suit against Motorola threw a wrench in the Apple v. Samsung case, extending the duration of the trial by one day to give the parties one additional hour each -- on top of the 25 apiece they already had -- to present more evidence. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Friday upheld a ruling by Judge A. Posner of the Northern District of Illinois that determined a specific interpretation of Apple's '647 'quick links' patent. Koh had allowed the patent, particularly the use of an analyzer server, to be interpreted in a way in the current trial that differed from Posner's accepted meaning, so she allowed Samsung and Apple to address the patent Monday.


Apple recalled Todd Mowry, a professor computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, to argue that even with a different interpretation of analyzer server, Samsung infringed Apple's patents. Samsung attorneys tried to show inconsistencies in Mowry's testimony, and they recalled their own witness, Kevin Jeffay, professor of computer science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, to testify about the technology.


Jeffay, in his first moments of testimony, said he'd held a certain view of analyzer server the entire course of the case, but the court wouldn't allow him to talk about it. Koh and Apple's attorneys took issue with the statement, with Koh determining that Jeffay never adopted the definition from Posner. She struck his testimony after the lawyers argued over the issue for nearly half an hour.


In the current case, Apple and Samsung have accused each other of copying features used in their popular smartphones and tablets, and the jury will have to decide who actually infringed and how much money is due. This trial involves different patents and newer devices than the ones disputed at trial in August 2012 and in a damages retrial in November 2013. For instance, the new trial involves the iPhone 5, released in September 2012, and Samsung's Galaxy S3, which also debuted in 2012.


There are seven patents at issue in the latest case -- five held by Apple and two by Samsung. Apple has accused Samsung of infringing US patents Nos. 5,946,647; 6,847,959; 7,761,414; 8,046,721; and 8,074,172. All relate to software features, such as 'quick links' for '647, universal search for '959, background syncing for '414, slide-to-unlock for '721, and automatic word correction for '172. Overall, Apple argues that the patents enable ease of use and make a user interface more engaging.


Samsung, meanwhile, has accused Apple of infringing US patents Nos. 6,226,449 and 5,579,239. The '449 patent, which Samsung purchased from Hitachi, involves camera and folder organization functionality. The '239 patent, which Samsung also acquired, covers video transmission functionality and could have implications for Apple's use of FaceTime.


The Samsung gadgets that Apple says infringe are the Admire, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S II, Galaxy SII Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy SII Skyrocket, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, and the Stratosphere. Samsung, meanwhile, says the iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod Touch (fifth generation) and iPod Touch (fourth generation) all infringe. It initially accused the iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, and iPad Mini of infringing its '239 patent, but it later dropped those claims. That also reduced the amount Samsung wanted in damages to $6.2 million from its originally requested $6.8 million.


Shara Tibken/CNET

The latest trial kicked off March 31 with jury selection. The following day featured opening arguments and testimony by Phil Schiller, Apple's head of marketing. Other witnesses who have testified include Greg Christie, an Apple engineer who invented the slide-to-unlock iPhone feature; Thomas Deniau, a France-based Apple engineer who helped develop the company's quick link technology; and Justin Denison, chief strategy officer of Samsung Telecommunications America. Denison's testimony came via a deposition video.


Apple experts who took the stand over the course of the trial included Andrew Cockburn, a professor of computer science and software engineering at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand; and Alex Snoeren, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of California at San Diego.


The crux of Apple's case came with two expert witnesses, John Hauser, the Kirin professor of marketing at the MIT Sloan School of Management; and Christopher Vellturo, an economist and principal at consultancy Quantitative Economic Solutions. Hauser conducted a conjoint study that determined Apple's patented features made Samsung's devices more appealing, while Vellturo determined the amount of damages Apple should be due for Samsung's infringement -- $2.191 billion.


Samsung, which launched its defense April 11 after Apple rested its case, called several Google engineers to the stand to testify about the early days of Android and technology they created before Apple received its patents. Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google vice president of engineering for Android, said his company never copied iPhone features for Android. Other Google Android engineers, Bjorn Bringert and Dianne Hackborn, also testified about features of the operating system.


High-ranking Samsung executives, including former Samsung Telecommunications America CEO Dale Sohn and STA Chief Marketing Officer Todd Pendleton, also took the stand during the month-long trial. The two executives testified about Samsung's marketing push for the Galaxy S2 and other devices, saying a shift in the Korean company's sales and marketing efforts -- not copying Apple -- boosted its position in the smartphone market.


The latter half of the trial largely was experts hired by Samsung to dispute the validity of Apple's patents and to argue that Samsung didn't infringe. The experts include Martin Rinard, an MIT professor of computer science; Saul Greenberg, a professor of human computer interaction at the University of Calgary in Canada; and Daniel Wigdor, a computer science professor at the University of Toronto.


David Reibstein, chaired professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, refuted Apple expert Hauser's testimony from earlier this month. NYU Stern School of Business professor Tulin Erdem, meanwhile, also testified that she conducted her own studies, using eye tracking, to determine what devices consumers would buy. She concluded that Apple's patented features didn't boost desire for Samsung's products.


Judith Chevalier, a professor of economics and finance at the Yale University School of Management who was hired by Samsung, said her analysis determined that a reasonable royalty for Samsung's assumed infringement would be $1.75 per device, or $38.4 million overall. Apple had argued it deserved $40 per device for infringement as well as lost profits for a total of $2.191 billion.


After presenting its defense, Samsung on April 21 launched its own infringement suit against Apple. Dan Schonfeld, a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, then testified that Apple infringed the '239 patent in its iPhone through the use of FaceTime and a feature for attaching video to messages and mail. And Ken Parulski, another expert who was part of the Kodak team that developed the world's first color digital camera, testified that Apple infringed another Samsung patent for organizing video and photos in folders.


James Storer, a professor of computer science at Brandeis University hired by Apple as an expert witness, then testified April 22 that Apple didn't infringe Samsung's patents. The company then called witnesses such as Apple engineers Tim Millet and Roberto Garcia to testify about the creation of technology used in iPhones and iPads. Millet serves as senior director of platform architecture at Apple, helping create the processors that power iOS devices. Garcia, meanwhile talked about the creation of the FaceTime technology that has been accused of infringing a Samsung patent.


Following the conclusion of closing arguments, the case will be handed to the jury of four men and four women. The jury -- made of tech novices such as a police officer and a retired teacher who likes salsa dancing -- will deliberate every business day until it has a verdict.


Developing ...

Europe's Antitrust Chief Censures Google's Motorola Mobility, but Stops Short of ...


BRUSSELS - Motorola Mobility broke European Union law by competing unfairly in technology markets, Europe's antitrust chief said on Tuesday. But he did not fine the company, which is owned by Google.


The decision by JoaquĆ­n Almunia, the European Union competition commissioner, was the latest turn in the so-called patent wars involving technology titans like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung.


The move requires Motorola to strike out clauses in an existing agreement with Apple that prohibits Apple from challenging the validity of patents held by Motorola. Those patents are used by Apple and other technology companies to make compatible products and help devices like iPhones and iPads communicate.


The battle is driven by ferocious competition on the market for consumer mobile technologies, like smartphones and tablets, which share many so-called essential technologies.


The case against Motorola was focused on the way the company sought and then enforced a court injunction against Apple in Germany that Mr. Almunia's office concluded was aimed at blocking Apple's access to the market. Those legal tactics constituted an abuse of a dominant position, according to the European Commission.


'The so-called smartphone patent wars should not occur at the expense of consumers,' Mr. Almunia said in a statement. 'This is why all industry players must comply with the competition rules.'


The commission signaled in February that Motorola might face such an order. The previous month, Google had said it would sell Motorola to Lenovo less than two years after paying $12.5 billion to buy it, but would still keep a valuable portfolio of patents.


Despite the lack of a fine, the ruling by Mr. Almunia should give valuable guidance to the technology industry, according to Michael A. Carrier, a professor at Rutgers School of Law, in New Jersey.


The 'decision confirms that patent holders cannot obtain injunctions against willing licensees,' Mr. Carrier said. 'But the complexity of the issue likely convinced the E.C. not to issue a fine against Motorola,' he said, referring to the European Commission, which is the administrative arm of the European Union.


The commission has leeway to charge as much as 10 percent of a company's most recent global annual sales for antitrust abuses. Google, as the parent company of Motorola, could have faced a large fine.


But the commission said on Tuesday there was not yet established case law enabling it to impose a fine.


Mr. Almunia began a formal investigation of Motorola in April 2012 after complaints by Apple, which was concerned about access to Motorola's patents on vital communications technology integrated into the iPhone and iPad, and by Microsoft, which wanted to ensure access to video and wireless patents for products like the Xbox.


Representatives from Google and Motorola contacted by email on Tuesday morning had no immediate comment.


The patents case is one of a number of antitrust actions that Google has been juggling in Europe.


Google has already agreed to settle a separate antitrust investigation into the way the company runs its online search and advertising business, although that deal still needs to be formally completed.


In yet another case, Mr. Almunia is still looking at Google's Android smartphone software, which the company has used to move into a leading position among mobile phone operating systems.


Google made its acquisition of Motorola Mobility mostly to take advantage of patents, including many related to wireless devices, to bolster its Android operating system. When Mr. Almunia gave European regulatory approval for the deal in early 2012, he warned that he would not exonerate any past wrongdoing by Motorola.


Senior regulators across the world have grown increasingly concerned that it has become too easy for companies to win injunctions in national courts that could force manufacturers to withdraw popular products from the market.


Mr. Almunia said he regarded some attempts by companies like Motorola to assert their claims to patents as valid. But he warned that holders of certain so-called standard-essential patents who had already consented to license them had to meet certain standards before resorting to court action.


'While patent holders should be fairly remunerated for the use of their intellectual property, implementers of such standards should also get access to standardized technology on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms,' Mr. Almunia said. 'It is by preserving this balance that consumers will continue to have access to a wide choice of interoperable products,' he said.


In a separate decision, Mr. Almunia approved a settlement with Samsung in a similar case after the South Korean company agreed not to take rivals to court over patent disputes concerning patents and tablets.


In that case, Apple had complained about Samsung's use of designs and packaging from the iPhone and iPad, while Samsung had accused Apple of infringing upon its wireless telecommunications patents.


'I welcome Samsung's commitment to resolve disputes on standard essential patents without having recourse to injunctions in a way that could harm competition,' Mr. Almunia said.


Office for iPad now lets you print documents


Microsoft vowed that Office for iPad users wouldn't always have to track down a PC just to print their files, and it's making good on that promise with a slew of app updates. The tablet-sized versions of Excel, PowerPoint and Word now let you make hard copies of documents so long as you have an AirPrint-friendly printer on hand. The move tackles one of the biggest gripes we had with Office when it launched last month; it's at last possible to skip the computer entirely when producing that class report or family budget.


Printing isn't the only upgrade in store. Excel now has auto-resizing for columns and rows, while PowerPoint gets Keynote-style guides that help align all the graphics just so for your big presentation. All told, these refinements are huge if the iPad is your productivity center -- head over to the App Store source link to start updating.


Sprint and HTC announce exclusive Harman Kardon Edition HTC One (M8)

Summary: The HTC One (M8) is an audio powerhouse and this new Sprint exclusive version provides some software enhancements along with $140 H/K earbuds in each package.


(Image: CNET)


The new HTC One (M8), see my review, is a fantastic new Android phone with outstanding audio functionality. Today, Sprint and HTC announced an exclusive Harman-Kardon HTC One (M8) with a focus on music.


HTC sold back their Beats Audio shares late last year and removed the Beats integration from this year's version of the One. The integrated amplified headphone jack and front facing stereo speakers both sound better this year even without the Beats integration.


According to CNET's Roger Cheng's live blog transcript of the event, Sprint and HTC will include Harman-Kardon earbuds in each package. These earbuds have a value of $140 so that seems like a pretty good deal for earbuds right out of the box.


This Sprint exclusive HTC One will still has the FM radio, but includes more exclusive content. If you are on a Framily plan then you will also enjoy six months of Spotify for free with a reduced price of $8/month after that. If you are not on a Framily plan, I just can't get used to that word, you will get three months free Spotify service. This new HTC One (M8) will be available on 9 May.


Related coverage:

Firefox Rolls Out Biggest Design Overhaul in 3 Years

Mozilla got personal with the biggest update to its Firefox browser since 2011 to users on Tuesday, ushering in a much-welcomed modernized look with a collection of new customization features.


The company is introducing these tools as a part of a greater effort to compete with other browsers, and the launch comes at a time when Mozilla needs it most. The company is still rebounding from the controversy surrounding its cofounder Brendan Eich, who recently stepped down as CEO following a public outcry over his support toward the ban on gay marriage.


The modern design update, which is available now, is noticeable right from the start, but also incorporates changes baked into the browser itself. The focus of the design is customization and the ability to access your preferences from a browser quickly - such as tabs and bookmarks - and to edit and delete features you don't want, too.



The design borrows a few elements from the Google Chrome browser, not only in a clean aesthetic but also with rounded tabs and a three-bar menu. The new Firefox menu located on the top-right hand side of the browser combines the major controls, features and add-ons in one place, so it's easier to access them when you want.


It's also possible to bookmark pages and manage them in the same place; a button next to the star at the top of the browser holds all the functions for managing this section.



In addition to rounded tabs, the design makes it easier to see the pages you're currently visiting and de-emphasizes other tabs in the background. It's also possible to 'pin' tabs to call them out.



The update also makes it easier to access these tools across all platforms with its Enhanced Firefox Sync. By creating an account and adding multiple devices (only Android smartphones and tablets for now), it gives you access to your search bar history, saved passwords, bookmarks and more.


Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Amazon's Wearable Technology store opens online

Summary: The online retail giant dedicated a new online storefront entirely to wearable technology equipped with a 'Learning Center' for device newcomers.



Amazon announced Tuesday the launch of its Wearable Technology store, an online storefront designed to ba hub for the buzzword-worthy world of wearable devices.


Customers can shop selection of items from recognizable brands including Samsung, Jawbone and GoPro, as well as from emerging brands like Basis, Misfit, Narrative and Bionym.


The store features a 'Learning Center' full of product videos and detailed buying guides, which Amazon hopes will woo on-the-fence shoppers into making a purchase. There's also an 'Editor's Corner' said to contain wearable technology industry news, device reviews and more.


John Nemeth, director of Wireless and Mobile Electronics at Amazon, said in the announcement:


Wearable technology is an exciting category with rapid innovation and our customers are increasingly coming to Amazon to shop and learn about these devices. We're thrilled to bring our customers a store with the largest selection and great prices that helps eliminate the guesswork when deciding which wearable devices best fit their needs - whether that is tracking activity, staying connected through smart watches or capturing their next adventure with wearable cameras.


Wearable devices have remained a niche technology, with stigma surrounding Google Glass helping to bring attention to the area, but doing little good to boost its acceptance. Tune into ZDNet later today for a live debate on whether wearable technology can be saved or if its fatally flawed.


Massive Firefox update hits refresh on browsing

Mozilla released the first major interface refresh for Firefox on Tuesday since relaunching the browser in 2011, with new menus and new features in a bid to keep the browser competitive.


The massive overhaul comes at a challenging time for the company's leaders. Mozilla has been beset with internal strife as company co-founder and longtime CTO Brendan Eich was elevated to chief executive and then resigned 11 days later, following a public outcry over his financial support for an anti-gay marriage law in California.


Among the more than 1,300 changes, the sweeping improvements in Firefox 29 for desktops introduce a new Firefox Account to simplify its cross-browser Sync feature, a customizable graphical menu, and rounded tabs that emphasize the tab you're in over the others.


'People are using the Web differently than they used to,' said Johnathan Nightingale, Mozilla's vice president of Firefox, 'And we need to give them a richer set of tools for customizing the way that they experience the Web.'


The new interface

The visual changes take some cues from adjustments that Google has made to Chrome and Microsoft has made to Internet Explorer, such as the triple-line menu icon that now lives on the righthand side of the browser. Gone from Windows and Linux is the orange Firefox menu button.


Mozilla


Two smaller changes arrived early. People who use Firefox have already been exposed to the Download Manager button on the add-on bar, and the browser navigation Forward button disappears unless there's a page to move forward to.


But other improvements are more drastic. The menu button has jumped completely from the left to the right side of the browser, and introduces a touch-friendly, icon-based, customizable menu to Firefox fans.


'Most desktops are not touch enabled, but they're moving that way. You could say it's picking up design ideas from mobile, or you could just say that it's well designed,' Nightingale said.


Nightingale doesn't expect everybody to like the new look. His solution? To call up one of the browser's best-loved features: customization.


'We've always been proud of our add-on experience, but the built-in customization tools were in need of love,' he said. You can now drag-and-drop to customize the menu, just as you can with other browser interface elements such as the location bar or search box.


Another important interface change has been to ensure that tabs are readable. Tabs, Nightingale said, are a 'critical detail.'


'Talking about tabs is talking about how people do more than one thing at the same time on the Internet,' he said.


Firefox has developed a reputation as a browser than can smoothly handle dozens of tabs, and so Nightingale said it was important for Mozilla to make sure that tabs remained legible even as more of them got crammed onto the tab bar.


'We decided not to shrink and shrink the tabs, which would theoretically allow you to have more of them on the screen. It makes more sense to have nice smooth animation and keep some content there to give your eye something to look for,' he said.


The browser relies on your mouse scroll wheel or navigation arrows at either end of the tab bar for you to access overflow tabs.


Rethinking Sync

The new Firefox Sync steps back from the previous way users were asked to set up the feature, which allows you to synchronize tabs, bookmarks, add-ons, preferences, passwords, and browsing history across devices and operating systems. The old Sync required people to input a complicated, randomly-generated password, and it was buried in the settings menus.


The new model is based on the more familiar user-chosen username and password, and receives its own icon and account identifier in the new menu. Mozilla began making Firefox Accounts available to the public several months ago through its developer's build, Firefox Aurora. It's expected to support multifactor authentication, but doesn't at the time of launch.


'Five to 10 percent of the new [Firefox] Accounts on [Firefox] Beta are originating on Android,' Nightingale said. Mozilla believes that the new Sync sign-up is helping the Android version of the browser finally take off, an complementary but important goal of the redesign.


'There are hopeful signals there that people are responding to the new sync,' he said.


Mobile and the future

While people flocked to desktop Firefox a decade ago, driven by a desire for a faster, more secure, and more personable alternative to Internet Explorer, the Android Firefox hasn't met with the same response.


According to NetMarketShare, desktop Firefox's market usage percentage has slowly drifted south over the past year, from more than 20 percent in May 2013 to 17.26 percent in March 2014. That's not necessarily terrible news, as the number of the people using the Internet continues to increase.


But on Android, Firefox can't even pick up 0.01 percent of the users, says NetMarketShare.


Still, Nightingale insists that Firefox is trending towards greater adoption on Android.


'We've been seeing a lot of response to [Firefox for] Android,' he said, noting that the browser has past 50 million downloads, with 20 million active users and a 4.5 star rating in Google Play.


'The thing we need to do is make stronger ties between desktop and mobile,' he said, but also pointed to Mozilla's successes in other browser areas.


3D games, he noted, are running at close to native code speed in the browser thanks to Mozilla technology such as Emscripten and ASM.js, and the long-awaited Unreal Engine for game-building running directly in Firefox.


It's the kind of real-world benchmark that users can go out and test for themselves, something that the microbenchmarks calculating the milliseconds of JavaScript rendering times can't easily .


Firefox 29 positions Mozilla's pieces on the board for a strong future. But the question remains: Will erstwhile fans will return to play the game?


AMD launches Beema, boasts huge efficiency improvements

Puma+ CPU cores, 128 GCN shaders

AMD's new low-power Beema APUs are official and just as we expected the new parts are significantly more efficient than Kabini products. It's not all about efficiency, the new chips also have some fresh features, but the basic concept is the same - up to four low-power CPU cores, 128 GCN cores.


The company claims a 2X advantage in compute performance-per-watt compared to competing processors. The new chips offer a 50% improvement in clock speeds at nearly half of the TDP of the previous generation (Kabini). GPU performance-per-watt has been practically doubled compared to Temash parts.


AMD's biggest selling point is efficiency, so let's start there, right after we take a look at the branding of the new parts.


AMD's new branding for Beema and Mullins

AMD has three new low-power Mullins parts and it also has new branding for the tweaked cores. Mullins parts can be distinguished from Beema products quite easily, as they sport a Micro prefix in their designation.


The E1 Micro-6200T is a dual-core clocked up to 1.4GHz with a 3.95W TDP (2.8W SDP). It features Radeon R2 graphics, i.e. 128 GCN cores clocked at 300MHz and it can handle DDR3L-1066 memory. The A4 Micro-6400T is a quad-core clocked at 1.6GHz. It has a TDP of 4.5W (2.8W SDP) and Radeon R3 graphics clocked at 350MHz. The quad A10 Micro-6700T is the fastest Mullins chip, with a CPU clock of 2.2GHz and Radeon R6 graphics clocked 500MHz. Both A-series parts feature the same TDP/SDP, 2MB of L2 cache and support for DDR3L-1333 memory.



Beema starts off with four different SKUs, two A-series and two E-series products. The E1-6010 is the slowest of the bunch, with two CPU cores clocked at 1.35GHz, Radeon R2 graphics clocked at 350MHz and a 10W TDP. The E2-6110 is a 15W quad-core clocked at 1.5GHz, with Radeon R2 graphics clocked at up to 500MHz.


The A4-6210 and the A6-6310 are quad-core 15W parts. The A4-6210 is clocked at 1.8GHz and it sports R3 graphics clocked at 600MHz. The flagship A6-6310 is clocked at 2.4GHz, with R4 graphics clocked at up to 800MHz. It also supports DDR3L-1866 memory.



Compared with previous generation Kabini and Temash parts, the new APUs feature substantially lower TDPs across the range. Both CPU and GPU clocks have been bumped up. AMD did not add more CUs, so we're still looking at 128 GCN cores, but the GPU clocks are quite a bit higher.


Optimised power, reduced leakage

The basic approach is the same, so what did AMD do to boost efficiency and clocks? The company claims a 19% leakage reduction in the CPU department and a 38% reduction in the GPU. In addition, AMD tweaked thermal monitoring by taking more temperature readings on both the core and the package. This allowed designers to unlock higher frequencies, especially in boost mode, i.e. when opening websites, starting applications and so on.


Low-voltage parts aren't meant for demanding applications, so the standard usage scenario does not involve more than a few minutes under full load. As a result AMD can afford to bump up clocks without negatively effecting the overall TDP, as the chips usually don't run at the top clock long enough to make much of a difference. AMD calls its new trick Skin Temperature Aware Power Management (STAMP). The company claims STAMP can also extend battery life by completing tasks in less time, thus compensating for the extra energy expended at higher clocks.



AMD also tweaked its boost algorithms and power management. Thanks to reduced leakage, STAMP and other optimizations, Beema is about 20 percent more efficient than Kabini, so it allows AMD to squeeze more performance into the same thermal envelope.


Bold performance claims

AMD says the new parts offer a 10% GPU boost compared to the previous generation, with a twofold improvement in GPU performance-per-watt. AMD picked a few APU-loving benchmarks to compare Beema to Haswell and Bay Trail-M parts. The new APUs can beat the Pentium 3556U (Haswell) and the Pentium N3510 (Bay Trail) in PCMark 8, Basemark CL, 3DMark11. In the same test Mullins parts beat Bay Trail-T.


Naturally these benchmarks were chosen by AMD to prove a point, as they tend to like chips with snappier graphics and better OpenCL capabilities. In CPU-bound tests, the results should be quite different. While they don't paint the full picture, the benchmarks are impressive, especially when you consider the prices of Haswell Y and Haswell U parts. Furthermore, Intel needs two architectures to cover this market segment (Haswell and Bay Trail), while AMD relies on just one, with superior pricing.


Beema/Mullins is AMD's first APU with a Platform Security Processor (PSP). This is basically an on-die Cortex A5 processor with dedicated ROM and SRAM. It also features a cryptographic co-processor capable of handling RSA, SHA, ECC, AES and a few other crypto standards. While PSP may not be a big deal for home users, it should come in handy for embedded applications. We will take a closer look at AMD's PSP and a few other Beema features later.


Overall AMD appears to have done a rather good job. Beema was never meant to be a huge update, it's evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but the efficiency gains are very impressive indeed. Kabini and Temash were good performers, but Bay Trail parts offered a lot more efficiency making them a better fit for many form factors (namely tablets and hybrids). Their biggest competitive disadvantage had nothing to do with performance, it was all about efficiency. With Beema and Mullins AMD has closed the gap, almost.


Microsoft raises cloud pitch, targets Dropbox, Box


Microsoft Corp said it will increase its cloud storage offering for business users by 40-fold as the world's largest software company makes a case for businesses buying an all-in-one product from itself rather than buying technology 'piecemeal' from multiple sellers.


'The era of making isolated, single-solution decisions is rapidly coming to a close,' wrote John Case, corporate vice president of Microsoft Office Division. Microsoft on Monday raised its OneDrive for Business storage to 1TB per user from 25GB.


Microsoft's pitch to be the one-stop destination for companies looking to buy technology runs against efforts by smaller rivals such as Box and Dropbox that offer one or two specialized services.


Microsoft did not name its rivals but made a reference to them in the headline of its blog post titled 'Thinking outside the box.'


Dropbox spokeswoman declined to comment on the Microsoft move. Box Chief Executive Aaron Levie fired back in a blog post, criticizing Microsoft for keeping its storage software 'closed' and making it difficult for users to move their data between different services.


'By keeping Office 365 users on the closed OneDrive 'island,' Microsoft is stranding hundreds of millions of users and customers that have chosen Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and others,' Levie wrote in response to Microsoft's move.


Online document-sharing company Dropbox is a Silicon Valley startup that has proved a hit with consumers and boasts more than 200 million users six years after it was started. It has undergone tremendous growth amid the meteoric rise of cloud, which is expected to continue booming alongside mobile computing.


While Dropbox won plaudits for its ease-of-use and gained traction among individual users, Levie focused Box in recent years toward catering to corporate customers who demanded greater levels of administrative control and security.


Both companies are expected to go public in the coming months.


Cloud services have become increasingly popular among both cash-strapped tech startups and larger companies, which rely on computers owned and operated by the likes of Amazon.com Inc and Google Inc instead of buying the equipment themselves.


Investors are excited about Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella's focus on mobile and cloud computing, designed to take Microsoft beyond its traditional PC-based Windows business.


Microsoft, which reported results Thursday, saw Nadella's emphasis on cloud computing help its server software business in the third quarter, while a softer-than-expected decline in PC sales limited damage to the bottom line.


Copyright: Thomson Reuters 2014


Netflix Inks Streaming Traffic Deal With Verizon

Netflix announced Monday that it has signed a deal with Verizon to provide improved connectivity with customers served by the ISP. A similar deal was cut with Comcast in February. (Comcast is the parent company of NBC.)


Few details were provided in the short statement issued to NBC News via email:


'We have reached an interconnect arrangement with Verizon that we hope will improve performance for our joint customers over the coming months.'



Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has publicly stated support for strong 'Net neutrality' rules, which would make most such arrangements unnecessary.


'While in the short term Netflix will in cases reluctantly pay large ISPs to ensure a high quality member experience, we will continue to fight for the Internet the world needs and deserves,' Hastings wrote in a blog post last month.


Netflix declined to provide any further details on the particulars of the deal.


First published April 28 2014, 4:22 PM


Devin Coldewey

Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer at NBC News; he started his role in April of 2013. Coldewey is responsible for original reporting on a number of tech topics, such as photography, biotechnology, and Internet policy.Coldewey joined NBCNews.com from TechCrunch, where he was an editor covering a similarly wide variety of content and industries. His personal website is coldewey.cc.


Blogger news