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Mt. Gox owner Mark Karpeles.

Aurich Lawson

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Get your Amiibo ready for... three-minute demos of classic games?

Nintendo may have taken the wind out of its latest Nintendo Direct presentation's sails when it announced a lack of new Legend of Zelda news last week, but the company made up for it by doubling down on the wild success of its Amiibo toy line.

The announcement of Amiibo Tap: Nintendo's Greatest Bits finally followed through on Nintendo's promise to unlock classic games with the toy line. The Wii U app will launch "this Spring" as a free download, and it will unlock three-minute demos of random games—meaning, your Mario Amiibo might unlock a Super Mario World demo or a Super Mario Bros. 1 demo. Whatever demo your Amiibo unlocks, it will also enable "scene switching" when tapped again in the middle of a demo—at which point the three-minute count will restart.

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Fresh benchmark statistics posted to the Web on Wednesday suggest Apple's upcoming 12-inch MacBook laptop will perform at levels commensurate of older MacBook Air models from 2011.

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According to Primate Labs' Geekbench test suite, Apple's base model 2015 12-inch MacBook, designated MacBook 8,1, achieved a single core score of 1,924 points, while multi core operations came in at 4,038 points.

Apparently submitted online by Mashable journalist Christina Warren, the performance notches just below a recently tested 2011 11-inch MacBook Air sporting an Intel Core i7 CPU clocked at 1.80 GHz.

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SAN FRANCISCO—Dressed in matching yellow scrubs from the nearby Alameda County Jail, Jon Mills looked resigned to his fate. After taking a plea deal on two felony counts of wire fraud, the young former startup CEO appeared in federal court Tuesday afternoon for sentencing.

Mills had moved to California five years ago with a dream to hit it big in Silicon Valley. The company he founded, Motionloft, uses small sensors to perform analytics on in-store foot traffic. Everything worked. The company continues to succeed, and celebrity venture capitalist Mark Cuban remains its sole investor.

But that success wasn't enough. In early 2013, Mills told at least five people that if they gave him relatively small amounts of money, they would own stakes in the company. He claimed that a Cisco acquisition worth hundreds of millions of dollars was supposedly imminent, so Mills and all Motionloft shareholders others would stand to make a tidy profit. In reality, Mills knew the deal didn't exist.

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A New York Police Department detective has been transferred from his position on the Joint Terrorism Task Force after a video of his xenophobic tirade against an Uber driver surfaced online.

Det. Patrick Cherry is in hot water following his rant Monday that was filmed by a backseat passenger and uploaded to social media. As of Tuesday, the 3.5-minute-long video was viewed nearly 800,000 times on YouTube alone.

The officer at one point pounds the vehicle with his hand and blurts to the driver, who is of unknown nationality, "I don't know what fucking planet you're on," according to the video.

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One out of 10 Americans owns a smartphone but has no other Internet service at home, with the poor far more likely to find themselves in this situation than those who are well off, according to a Pew Research Center report released today.

"10 percent of Americans own a smartphone but do not have broadband at home, and 15 percent own a smartphone but say that they have a limited number of options for going online other than their cell phone," Pew Senior Researcher Aaron Smith wrote. "Those with relatively low income and educational attainment levels, younger adults, and non-whites are especially likely to be 'smartphone-dependent.'”

Further Reading

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A letter posted to the Human Rights Campaign blog on Wednesday, signed by CEOs and executives representing 42 tech companies across the United States, urged legislators around the country to update their states' civil rights laws in the wake of Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The letter's co-signers included the CEOs of Twitter, eBay, Lyft, Airbnb, Square, about.me, Tumblr, and Evernote, along with high-ranking executives at Cisco, YCombinator, and Zynga. It also included the signatures of Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff and Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, both of whom had already written open letters emphatically opposing the RFRA, but it did not include a signature from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who had already written a similar call to other states' legislatures over the weekend in a Washington Post op-ed.

"We believe it is critically important to speak out about proposed bills and existing laws that would put the rights of minorities at risk," Affirm CEO Max Levchin wrote in the co-signed letter. "The transparent and open economy of the future depends on it, and the values of this great nation are at stake."

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The California governor, speaking at a site that would normally be under snow at this point.

California

Today, California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order that is intended to spur water savings. The order comes as the state enters another year of extreme drought caused by lack of winter rain and snowfall.

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Let's face it, most April Fool's jokes on the Internet are awful, especially in the tech world. The vast majority are for products or services that are either too ridiculous or too impractical to really exist, leading to exasperation or depression, respectively. Many others are simply blatant lies about prominent newsmakers that wouldn't even rank as clever if they were halfway believable (which they overwhelmingly aren't).

This year, though, there's a surprising number of jokes that actually take the form of free games (or at least "interactive experiences") that you can take part in right now. These April Fool's "jokes" are more like playable Easter eggs, showing off some inventive gameplay experiments that range from inspired to interesting. And most of them can be played for free right in a browser or through a download.

Here are some of the best examples we could find of jokes you can play as games, as opposed to jokes you can play on somebody today.

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The universe is filled with galaxies that clump together like cosmic metropolises in the vast emptiness of space. Now astronomers have taken a bunch of baby pictures of these galaxy clusters, capturing them when they’re just a couple billion years old (that’s young, considering the universe is 13.8 billion years old). With more than 200 likely baby clusters, it’s the biggest such haul ever, providing clues to dark matter and how galaxies form and evolve over time.

Galaxy clusters form the structural backbone of the universe—it’s where all the stuff is. Astronomers have seen plenty of these clusters throughout the universe, but what’s been elusive are the young clusters. The farther you look in space, the longer it takes the light to reach your eyes, and the farther back in time you’re looking. So the youngest clusters have to be really distant, which makes them really dim. And because they’re young, they haven’t had much time to build a lot of bright stars, making them even harder to detect.

Clusters are also difficult to find because they occupy just a sliver of the enormous expanse of space. “These are what I would call the one-percent regions—these are the most concentrated regions in our entire universe,” says David Koo, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “They’re like the ultra wealthy parts of space.”

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Cadillac was for generations the premier luxury brand in the United States. It was a car people aspired to, and getting one telegraphed that you had arrived. They had a mystique about them, and I always loved riding in my grandmother’s purple Coupe DeVille as a kid.

The brand took a beating with the oil embargo of the ’70s and the recession and the trend toward smaller cars that followed. Some bone-headed moves by GM didn’t help (The Cimarron, anyone? How about the Catera?) and Germans and Japanese automakers seized the opportunity to win over American drivers. But Cadillac has taken the fight directly to BMW and Mercedes with the CTS (and it’s utterly bonkers cousin, the CTS-V) and the ATS.

And now comes the 2016 CT6, a range-topping full-size ultra-luxe sedan unveiled this week at the New York Auto Show. It’s aimed squarely at the BMW 5-series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, both of which GM name-drops in its press info.

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The allegation that the Silk Road’s Dread Pirate Roberts attempted to pay for six murders has loomed over the story of that massive online drug market. How could the pseudonymous figure preaching non-violent, libertarian ideals stoop to commissioning the paid killings of half a dozen people?

Now a newly revealed chat log from the case sheds light on how the first of those paid murder attempts appears to have arisen. The logs show it was not the creator of the Silk Road who first suggested enlisting the services of a hit man, but rather his top advisor and mentor.

Earlier this week, a trove of new records from the Silk Road pre-trial hearings was unsealed, including logs of January 2013 instant-message conversations that prosecutors say were pulled from the laptop of Ross Ulbricht at the time of his arrest. In February, Ulbricht was convicted of being the Dread Pirate Roberts, Silk Road’s creator and owner. But the recorded conversations, along with the other sealed documents, had been kept secret throughout Ulbricht’s trial earlier this year to avoid compromising an investigation that led to the arrest Monday of two federal agents on corruption charges.

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Apple is laying the the cost and responsibility of streaming infrastructure on TV networks participating in its upcoming subscription Internet TV service, according to industry executives quoted in a Wednesday report.

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Speaking with people familiar with the matter, Re/code reports that while streaming video is normally a relatively low-cost proposition, Apple is concerned that those costs could escalate dramatically for a heavily-promoted service.

Apple's head of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, is reportedly in charge of negotiations for the new platform and telling TV executives that Apple wants to concentrate on its strengths, namely hardware and software, leaving streaming infrastructure to more experienced parties.

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Posted by on in How To's

Firefox is the browser of choice. It's fast, stable and developer friendly. But at times Firefox has been know to have small memory leakage problems on occasion and cause havoc for other applications that may be running at the same time.

If you sense your PC/computer is running into high memory issues (as I did the other day) then you should use the following fast solution tip to fix that issue.

Solution:

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A lot of offensive imagery has begun popping up on Memories Pizza's Yelp page, in spite of administrators taking images down almost as quickly as they're posted. This is the mildest screencap we could take while filing the report.

After an Indiana pizza shop told a TV station that it would "say no" to certain gay customers once the state's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act went into effect in July, Yelp users responded by posting over 1,900 reviews condemning the shop's statement.

The backlash, largely full of one-star reviews, began on Tuesday night after Memories Pizza made a statement to an Indiana ABC affiliate about the bill that Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law last week. “If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” shop co-owner Crystal O'Connor said.

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As Techdirt has reported, in the US, software patents are getting harder to obtain as the US Patent Office applies the important Alice v. CLS Bank ruling from the Supreme Court. In Europe, "programs for computers" are explicitly excluded from patentability according to Article 52 of the European Patent Convention -- but "only to the extent to which a European patent application or European patent relates to such subject-matter or activities as such." That cunningly opaque distinction between "programs for computers" and "programs for computers as such" has allowed thousands of patents for the former to be granted, even though they differ very little from the latter.

That trick worked so well, it seems that the European Patent Office (EPO) has decided to apply it to another area: plants. Once more, the European Patent Convention states quite clearly: European patents shall not be granted in respect of:

...

plant or animal varieties or essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals; this provision does not apply to microbiological processes or the products thereof. Despite that, we have the following news reported by Intellectual Property Watch: The highest court of the European Patent Office has declared that plants or seeds obtained through conventional breeding methods are patentable.

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Further Reading

President Barack Obama has signed a new executive order that imposes new economic sanctions on anyone who perpetrates cyber attacks against American interests, putting into practice an idea that has been floated for at least two years.

That would mean that if the United States can effectively identify a person or group of people conducting such breaches, and who have assets Stateside, then those assets could be frozen or have related financial transactions severely hindered.

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Posted by on in Slashdot
First time accepted submitter Sigmon writes An unauthorized wave recently broadcast on the Cortex has revealed not only the existence of a previously unknown settlement on a far away border world called Miranda but also that the entire population of settlers was inadvertently wiped out by a top-secret Alliance program. Miranda was purportedly used as a testing ground for G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate, or simply "Pax" — a chemical agent designed to calm the population and weed out aggression. It seems the test did not go as planned. Also, reporters have been dispatched to the location of a battle not far from Miranda's location where the Alliance fleet has apparently suffered significant losses. It is unknown if the two events are related at this time. When contacted for comment on these events, government officials were very tight-lipped, however one official responded with a confusing statement about "Damming a river."
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