Facebook is again putting its very deep pockets to work, adding a new clutch of patents from Microsoft to an earlier trove it acquired from IBM. The message to Yahoo and beyond is clear: Do you want to get into a spending war with a company whose deep pockets are about to get a lot deeper? In other words, there's a lot more where that came from. All this marks a rapid turnaround for Facebook. The announcement earlier today that Facebook would spend $550 million to buy patents held by Microsoft was the second big patent purchase by the social networking company in as many months.
The US DOE had a contest that was won by the only entrant which was Dutch based Phillips. The contest was to create a light bulb that could replace the standard incandescent bulb without using as much electricity. Phillips came up with a bulb that lasts for 20 years and costs $60. Compared to a 75 watt light bulb in brightness, it only uses 10 watts. Here's the catch: LED bulbs are measured in lumens, and this bulb claims 940 lumens. Most LED bulbs that cost only $20 have about 450 lumens which is equivalent to about a 40 watt light bulb. You will have to pay over $50 to get a light bulb you could actually read by, so don't make that mistake.
About 570,000 Windows users will lose access to the internet in July if they don't fix their malware installed on their computers. The DOJ and FBI arrested the hackers, but it now leaves the victims vulnerable. In order to make the virus work, the infected computers have to check in with the mothership computer run by the hackers. The hackers would then steal the person's identity but the victims wouldn't realize it at first because they would still be able to access the internet. After the FBI made the arrests the infected computers could only get online if the FBI continued to run the hacker's mothership servers, which they did. Although the FBI isn't stealing anyone's identity, they will be shutting down these servers permanently in July leaving the infected user's computers unable to access the internet. To see if your computer is infected visit http://www.dns-ok.us/
After releasing two generations of iPhones with exactly the same form factor, Apple is expected to show off a new chassis design - and possibly new materials - in its sixth-generation smartphone. And a little-known alloy that Apple has quietly been using for the past two years could be just the ticket to make consumers swoon. Korea IT News reported Wednesday that the iPhone 5 is likely to be housed in Liquidmetal, the commercial name for an alloy of titanium, zirconium, nickel, copper and other metals. It would make the outer surface of the phone "smooth like liquid," according to the report. "The next iPhone needs to truly stand out from the crowd," Canalys analyst Chris Jones told Wired via email. "A change in materials is a likely way to differentiate its form factor." Liquidmetal was discovered at the California Institute of Technology in 1992. It's a class of patented amorphous metal alloys (basically metallic glass) with unique properties including high strength, high wear resistance against scratching and denting, and a good strength-to-weight ratio. Apple was granted rights to use it in August of 2010. "Liquidmetal allows precision parts to be fabricated similar to plastic injection molding, but with similar properties to metal," IHS senior principal analyst Kevin Keller said.
Microsoft has released version 1.0 of Skype for Windows Phone, thus fulfilling a promise the company made at Mobile World Congress to move the app out of beta by April. The new version includes a new feature that lets you search your contacts and add them on Skype. Other improvements include the ability to call landline phone numbers, a quicker boot time, and other bug fixes. It also includes all the Skype basics such as audio and video calls over 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi, and group messaging. I downloaded it yesterday and am enjoying making Skype calls from my phone instead of my computer.
Blending cloud and desktop software offerings, Adobe makes the latest upgrade to its Creative Suite products available as an all-you-can-eat buffet, for a monthly fee. The Adobe Creative Suite 6 upgrade would have been big news for designers and Web developers by itself. But by moving these desktop software products to a cloud business model, Adobe is now offering the most comprehensive master edition of that suite--valued at $2,599 for a full license--for $49.95 per month, with a one-year commitment. Adobe Creative Cloud was announced in October, although at the time few pricing and packaging details were available. Existing Creative Suite users with a license to CS3 or later can take advantage of a limited time offer of $29.95 per month for the first year. All this compares favorably with buying a perpetual license and paying for upgrades as they are released--although subscription pricing also means software installed on your computer will stop working if you stop paying the monthly fee. Creative Cloud might not make as much sense to developers and designers who tend to sit out some upgrades. Creative Suite 5.5 was released less than a year ago. But particularly in terms of Web development, the logic of Adobe's strategy is to provide more frequent upgrades to keep pace with the latest HTML, Cascading Style Sheets, and mobile application development technologies. Creative Cloud customers will get immediate access to the latest HTML5 development and design tools such as Adobe Muse, a visual design tool, and Adobe Edge, an animation tool.
Somewhat on the heels of TV start-up Aereo's announcement and rapid subsequent legal troubles comes NimbleTV, another web start-up that is attempting to figure out how to bridge the gap between TV and the Internet. Only, unlike Aereo, NimbleTV is trying to do things a bit more by the books. NimbleTV allows customers to stream television content to any device running its cloud-based software. The service, which will launch in earnest later this year, will work alongside cable suscriptions, allowing for much greater viewing flexibility for cable customers. And it seems to be the real deal, seeing as how the scrolling marquee on its website says that channels ranging from CNN, Comedy Central, Nick, and Fox are all on board. That alone places the service in a very different, perhaps sanctioned, realm from Aereo, which has utilized some dubious legality to defend its own efforts. NimbleTV, it seems, is going in a very different direction. "Our model is predicated on the belief that providers and content producers should be paid. NimbleTV is a solution that's both consumer friendly and industry friendly," NimbleTV CEO Anand Subramanian said in a press release. As Subramanian makes clear, NimbleTV has no real intention of upending the current cable subscription model.
It's official: Acer is the latest company to have a green thumb. Today it announced its plans to unveil notebook and ultrabook PCs sporting 3rd Generation Intel Core Processors, also known as "Ivy Bridge," over the coming weeks and months. The Intel Core i7-3770k is the new flagship CPU of Intel's Ivy Bridge microprocessor line, announced Monday, and the first of several different iterations to come.
Microsoft is shaking things up with SkyDrive. The new features and capabilities move it out of the Microsoft-centric shadows and pit it more directly against Dropbox, and possibly the imminently rumored Google Drive. However, Microsoft also announced a change to SkyDrive that many won't appreciate. The big news is that Microsoft has done away with the convoluted Live Mesh system, and adopted a more streamlined syncing system very similar to Dropbox. Microsoft has an app for Windows and for Mac OS X that integrates SkyDrive with the local OS. Files can be stored in the SkyDrive folder, and they will be automatically uploaded to the cloud, and synced to other computers or devices. For Mac users, Office 2011 for Mac has already offered SkyDrive integration, but the new app makes SkyDrive available to other software, and integrates with the Finder tool in Mac OS X. Microsoft also introduced a new version of the iOS app that provides a native experience on both the iPhone and the iPad. SkyDrive is suddenly much more capable as a cross-platform, cloud-based data storage option.
The nation's largest wireless providers oppose a proposed California location privacy law that would require police to obtain search warrants to track a wireless customer's whereabouts, CNET has learned. They're criticizing a new state bill, S.B. 1434, that would require a judge to approve requests for location tracking except in certain emergency situations. S.B. 1434 would also require wireless providers to divulge "the number of times location information has been disclosed," and how many times they rejected police requests.
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