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Tuesday September 27, 2016

WhatsApp Ordered to Stop Collecting Data On Users in Germany

It would seem that the Germans aren't too happy with WhatsApp's decision to share user data with its parent company for the sole purpose of selling ads. Making matters worse is the fact that both companies swore that no data would be shared between them when Facebook acquired the company in 2014.

The city of Hamburg’s data protection commissioner ordered Facebook on Tuesday to stop collecting and storing data on WhatsApp users in Germany, the first time a privacy watchdog has waded into the debate. The regulator, which has authority over Facebook’s activities across Germany, also called on the social network to delete all information already forwarded from WhatsApp on roughly 35 million German users.

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Is Verizon's Data Usage Alert System Broken?

There are several things you should take away from this article but, probably the most important is that Verizon considers its data usage alerts a "courtesy" not a "guarantee." So what other way is there to find out if you phone is going haywire sucking down gigs of data?

As it stands, users have the option of receiving text message alerts when they reach 50%, 75%, and 100% of their data consumption. But the Plain Dealer says in researching the issue there's "thousands" of people that say they either no longer get the alerts or get inaccurate warnings, and in some cases were hit with hundreds of dollars in fees because of it. According to the paper, Verizon informed the paper that such alerts are a "courtesy" not a "guarantee."

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Female Composers in Games Industry See Gender-Based Pay Penalty, New Study Finds

As GameSoundCon, the annual conference for game music composers, is set to begin on Tuesday, Sept. 27, in Los Angeles, the profession finds itself in the dichotomous position of being in a Renaissance Age for sound technology, but in the Dark Ages when it comes to income equality, a recent industry survey shows. The penalty for being a woman in game audio is roughly equal to two years' of experience, according to an independent analysis of the survey. In other words, a woman with eight years of experience composing music for video games was compensated on the same level as a man with six years of experience.

The analysis was based on data gathered online via the Game Audio Industry Survey, which tracks compensation, working conditions, contact terms and production information for the video game music and sound industry. The survey included responses from 526 men and 51 women. The 10:1 ratio of respondents mirrors the gender composition of the industry as a whole, said Brian Schmidt, a veteran interactive music composer and sound designer and executive director of GameSoundCon, which commissions the annual industry survey. This is the first year survey organizers have commissioned an independent analysis of the gender data -- largely because there were so few women in prior surveys for there to be a valid sample, Schmidt said.

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NVIDIA: The Business Case for Competitive Gaming

Tens of thousands of fans are filling arenas around the world — and millions are crowding into live video feeds run by streaming services like Twitch, Hitbox and YouTube — to watch pros play for stakes that are among the richest in the world of sports. Here’s what’s going on: momentum for PC gaming is growing, fast. Gamers spend more than double on their PCs that other consumers do, according to Gartner, and worldwide sales of gaming PCs will grow to 8.7 million units in 2020 from 6 million units last year. Those gamers — like any sports enthusiasts — want to see the very best compete to win the games they love. And virtually every one of these PC gaming events is powered by our gear.

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Microsoft And BoA Merrill Lynch Collaborate To Transform Trade Finance Transacting

Today at Sibos, an annual conference organized by SWIFT for the financial industry, Microsoft Corp. and Bank of America Merrill Lynch announced a collaboration on blockchain technology to fuel transformation of trade finance transacting. As part of this collaboration, the two companies will build and test technology, create frameworks, and establish best practices for blockchain-powered exchanges between businesses and their customers and banks. Microsoft Treasury experts will serve as advisors and initial test clients, establishing the first Microsoft Azure-powered blockchain transaction between a major corporate treasury and a financial institution.

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Monday September 26, 2016

Disney Reportedly Eyes Twitter For Potential Buyout

Could you imagine how Twitter would be if this rumor ends up being true? To be honest, Twitter doesn't seem like a good fit for Disney to me. Then again, what do I know? I didn't think Marvel or Star Wars were a good fit either. frown

If there's smoke, there must be fire. In this case, the heat centers on a Twitter purchase as Walt Disney becomes the latest company rumored to eye the stagnating microblogging service, according Bloomberg News. The report Monday follows CNBC's story last week that several tech companies, including Google and Salesforce, would soon make formal bids for Twitter.

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$200 For Wi-Fi At Presidential Debates

If you are a journalist at the presidential debates tonight, be prepared to shell out $200 for Wi-Fi access. It's only $325 for ethernet access and $75 for no internet access at all. Meanwhile the entire world will be watching it live on the two billion different outlets that will be streaming the debates for free.

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[H]ardware Round-Up II

Cases: Zalman Z9 & Z11 NEO @ Overclockers Club

ETC.: ROCCAT Skeltr Keyboard @ pcGameware

Gaming: Fallout 4 Nuka World DLC @ RHR

Storage: Crucial MX300 525GB SSD @ MadShrimps

Kingston SSDnow UV400 480GB @ NikKTech

QNAP TS-251A 2-Bay SOHO NAS @ eTeknix

4K Google Chromecast Ultra Image Leaked?

According to this site, this is a leaked image of the upcoming 4K Google Chromecast Ultra. The 4K-capable digital media player will supposedly retail for $69. Other than the picture and rumored price, there aren't many details at this point.

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FBI iPhone Hacker Says It Can Crack Any Phone

Cellebrite, the Israeli company that recently hacked the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone for the FBI, has told the BBC that it can crack any smartphone and gain access to all the data on the phone. Something tells me that government agencies around the world are going to keep these guys busy for a while. eek!

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Cellebrite was in the headlines earlier this year when it was rumoured to have helped the FBI to crack an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter. Now the company has told the BBC that it can get through the defences of just about any modern smartphone. But the firm refuses to say whether it supplies its technology to the police forces of repressive regimes.

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New Intel Technologies to Deliver Amazing Experiences

Intel’s passion and commitment to broadening the opportunities for people of all walks of life to both participate in and be exposed to the creation of new technologies will be in full effect at this year’s World Maker Faire. Visitors to the booth will be among the first to work hands-on with Intel® Joule™, a sophisticated new high-performance compute platform targeted at Internet of Things (IoT) developers and entrepreneurs. Enthusiasts will be encouraged to explore more than a dozen interactive demo stations that showcase Intel’s growing and diverse portfolio of maker and developer platforms. These include popular inventor module Intel® Edison right through to hobbyist and entry-level boards Intel® Galileo and  Arduino 101* (powered by the Intel® Curie™ module). Exhibits will include a reimagined DJ experience from Thud Rumble*, featuring live performances by the world famous Invisibl Skratch Piklz*, a selection of Intel Joule-powered robots from VStone* and BLT Robotics* featuring human-like senses and a state-of-the-art musical and motion demo, among other displays.

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Jet Black iPhone 7 Case Failure Rates 40%

Look, I don't care if you need to work those twelve year old Chinese kids double shifts, seven days a week, I ain't waiting for my damned jet black iPhone 7. Who cares if you can get a plain black phone without waiting? Do I look like a peasant? big grin

According to a note sent out to clients by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the failure rate for the jet black finish cases is high, with yields down the in the 60 to 70 percent region. This means that a lot of cases are being rejected because they don't meet Apple's exacting standards.

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Game Maker Thanks Reddit Pirates for Attention, Offers Discounts

What do you guys think of this game developers' response to its game being pirated? Do you think the "thanks" and discount offers will sway other not to pirate the game?

PM Studios, the developers behind the popular PlayStation Vita game SUPERBEAT XONiC, made quite a few new friends over the weekend. After finding out that links to cracked versions of their game were widely shared on Reddit they 'thanked' the pirates for their interest, offering a discount on top.

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Verizon Employee Illegally Sold Customer Information

Not only did this Verizon employee sell customer information to a private investigator, he earned as little as $50 a month to do so in the beginning. By the time dude was busted, he was earning $750 a month selling customer information. frown

Traeger allegedly accessed Verizon’s computer network to obtain call records and location data for the investigator, while being fully aware that he was not allowed to do so. In return, the P.I. paid him a monthly fee of $50. By 2013, prosecutors say that rate had been bumped up to $750/month. In total, the defendant earned more than $10,000 from selling this information.

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Why The iPhone 7 Headphone Jack Was Removed

While I think most of what this guy is saying is pretty obvious to tech savvy folks, the average person is still buying into the whole "courage" reason for removal of the headphone jack.

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Gaming [H]eadlines

Battlefield 1 Campaign Trailer Coming Tomorrow @ GameSpot

Overwatch Symmetra Changes Next Month @ Blue's News

Philadelphia 76ers Buy Two eSports Teams @ Shacknews

The Division PTS Goes Live Today @ VG24/7

MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G Video Card Review

If you are looking for a highly overclockable GPU with a custom hardware design, high-end components and a killer cooling solution, I would suggest that you read our evaluation of the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G. This card has all the features we just mentioned and more. Hit the link for the complete rundown.

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MSI’s GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G video card usher’s in a new line of GAMING video cards from MSI with customized PCB, Twin Froz VI cooling, and enthusiast overclocking potential. We’ll see how it performs out-of-box compared to a Founders Edition and then find out how well this video card overclocks.

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Using The Internet Is Like Eating Oreos

Mediacom Senior VP and General Counsel Joseph Young, in a letter to the FCC, compared the internet to Oreo cookies in an attempt to justify why customers should not be given unlimited data. He went on to explain how Netflix, YouTube, Xbox Live and others all charge more for premium services. Here's the quote about Oreo cookies:

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Imagine you are out for a walk and experience a sudden, irresistible craving for Oreo® cookies. You only want to spend two dollars, which means that you will be able to buy a two-pack or maybe even a four-pack but for sure you cannot get the family size of over 40 cookies. For that many, you have to spend more. Of course, it would be nice if your two dollars bought you the right to eat an unlimited number of cookies, but you know that is not the way our economy works.

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Counterstrike: Global Offensive's Signature eSports Tournament Is Game Ready

The folks at NVIDIA send word that not only is Counterstrike: Global Offensive's Signature eSports Tournament Game Ready, the company is also the official hardware partner for ESL One New York with a $250,000 prize pool. There are also a number of ways for attendees to win NVIDIA hardware as well, including a scavenger hunt, a chance to win by playing against a world champion player or by simply voting for your favorite AWP player.

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The result of all this work is that our GeForce hardware is the platform of choice for eSports tournaments and participants. Every major eSports tournament uses the NVIDIA GeForce GTX platform for their competition PCs. And behind the scenes, tournament organizers rely on our GPUs to create live feeds of the action watched by millions. Our GPU performance is universally recognized as the best in the industry. Our Game Ready drivers are supported by thousands of engineers — and recognized as the benchmark — they’re timely, reliable and just work.

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[H]ardware Round-Up

Cases: AeroCool XPredator II @ NikKTech

Cooling: Arctic Liquid Freezer 240 @ OCInside

ETC.: Speed Error Hold Explained @ TechARP

Power Supply: InWin Classic Series 750W @ eTeknix

Video: Dual GTX Titan X SLI 4K Tests @ TechSpot

EVGA GTX 1080 Classified @ Hardware Asylum

Landmark Map Reveals the Genetic Wiring of Cellular Life

Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Donnelly Centre claim to have created the first map showing the global genetic interaction network of a cell. The research team says that this study took 15 years to complete.

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"We’ve created a reference guide for how to chart genetic interactions in a cell," said Michael Costanzo, a research associate in the Boone lab and one of the researchers who spearheaded the study. "We can now tell what kind of properties to look for in searching for highly connected genes in human genetic networks with the potential to impact genetic diseases."

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Excellent Short Film of the Day

If you have ten minutes to spare on this wonderful Monday morning, you really should check out this short film by Supamonks Studio. The animation is excellent and it reminds me a bit of Wall-E.

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SpaceX Test Fired Raptor Engine

Elon Musk tweeted these images showing off a successful test firing of the Raptor engine. These are the engines that SpaceX plans to use to take humans to Mars. Check out the cool "Mach diamond" pattern in the second shot.

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League of Legends Getting Crowdfunding Support For Prize Pools

Are we already at a point with League of Legends that they need crowdfunding to supplement prize pools? I thought eSports was the latest and greatest thing that was bringing sponsors and money hand over fist?

Starting with Worlds 2016, which starts in just a few days, League of Legends players will be able to add to the prize pool by buying in game items. 25% of revenue from each year’s Championship skin and Championship Ward will be added to the Worlds prize pool, so this year buying Championship Zed will boost the prize pool a small amount. Starting next year 25% of revenue from sales of the Challenger skin will be added to the prize pool for the Mid Season Invitational.

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Warner Bros. Settles FTC Charges Over Deceptive YouTube Influencer Campaign

You know what the saddest part was about this whole debacle? Shadow of Mordor was actually a good game that didn't need Warner Bros. showering cash on the likes of PewDiePie. Let's hope they've learned their lesson from this whole thing (probably not).

Under the terms of the FTC’s settlement, Warner Bros. will have to clearly identify its sponsorship of marketing videos published on YouTube in the future. The FTC order mandates that Warner Bros. will disclose material connections between itself and influencers and will not misrepresent such influencers as independent users in the future. Warner Bros. will be responsible for informing influencers that they must disclose material connections in their video reviews and establishing a system to monitor video content and social media posts for such disclosures. The order will remain in place for 20 years or longer if the FTC files a new complaint alleging violation of its order.

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Start Folding With The [H] Today!

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Folding is a wonderful way to help your fellow man using your spare CPU cycles and now, thanks to the Quick Setup V7 Guide for Windows, it is easier than ever to get started. Remember to put the number 33 in the "team" field and you’ll be folding with the [H]orde in no time! Thanks to all our team members for the wonderful job they are doing.

AMD Announces Early Results of Cash Tender Offers and Consent

AMD today announced the early results of its previously announced cash tender offers for certain of its outstanding 6.75% Senior Notes due 2019, 7.75% Senior Notes due 2020 (the "7.75% Notes"), 7.50% Senior Notes due 2022 (the "7.50% Notes") and 7.00% Senior Notes due 2024 (the "7.00% Notes" and, collectively, the "Notes"), subject to any applicable Tender Cap (as defined below). According to information received from D.F. King & Co., Inc., the Tender Agent and Information Agent in connection with the tender offers, as of 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on Sept. 22, 2016 (that date and time, the "Early Tender Date"), AMD had received valid tenders from holders of the Notes as outlined in the table below.

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Sunday September 25, 2016

"Microsoft Should Pay Compensation For User Upgrade Woes"

A consumer rights group based out of the UK thinks that people deserve money from Microsoft due to all of the problems that the Windows 10 upgrade has caused. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only guy who ran into absolutely no issues.

The group said some respondents had paid technicians to repair problems that appeared after the Windows 10 upgrade, which in some cases took place despite users declining Microsoft's upgrade notifications. Which? members complained of being "nagged" by Microsoft alerts to install the update. "Which? is shining a light on the problem and calling on Microsoft to improve its customer service and repair and compensate its customers where appropriate," it said.

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AT&T Sues Nashville In Bid To Stall Google Fiber

Nashville has a neat rule, One Touch Make Ready, which goes as far as allowing new ISP companies to move pre-existing utility pole wiring set by companies such as Comcast with their own crews. AT&T is suing because they think Google is incompetent and will mess up their property or, worse, inadvertently create service interruptions.

AT&T has complained that Google Fiber crews don’t always follow safety codes and outlined potential consequences in its lawsuit. "If a copper feeder cable were damaged, 1,000 or more residential customers could lose service, and business customers without redundant service would also lose service," AT&T wrote in its court complaint. "Some of AT&T’s aerial fiber facilities are used to provide high-capacity switched Ethernet services to various customers including police and fire stations, and to wireless carriers that use the fiber to carry wireless traffic to and from their cell towers. Damage to these facilities could knock out service to emergency responders, and take a cell tower out of service."

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Reconfigurable Chaos-Based Microchips Offer Possible Solution To Moore’s Law

Researchers are attempting to get "more out of less" by applying chaos theory to transistor circuits, which allows them to be programmed to perform different tasks. 100 million transistors could perform work equivalent to three billion transistors.

"In current processors you don't utilize all the circuitry on the processor all the time, which is wasteful," Kia says. "Our design allows the circuit to be rapidly morphed and reconfigured to perform a desired digital function in each clock cycle. The heart of the design is an analog nonlinear circuit, but the interface is fully digital, enabling the circuit to operate as a fully morphable digital circuit that can be easily connected to the other digital systems." The researchers have produced an alternative approach for computing that is compatible with existing technology and utilizes the same fabrication process and CAD tools as existing computer chips, which could aid commercial adoption.

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