Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Repairing 2013 Apple Mac Pro won't be too difficult

It has been found that the late 2013 Apple Mac Pro is actually quite easy to repair.

Apple makes some of the most popular products, its notebooks, tablets and smartphones are recognized around the world. The company is also known for making these devices extremely hard to repair, a task that an average joe who knows his way around a screwdriver probably won’t be able to do. Its an entirely different case with the new Mac Pro, as the folks at iFixit demonstrate, in fact they give it an 8 out of 10 on the repairability scale, with 10 being the easiest to repair.

They believe that the design of this computer resembles an aluminium soda can more than it does a trash can, as many have pointed out on the internet. Removing the outer casing is actually very easy, just one slide of the lock switch and its free, exposing the first layer of components. The RAM modules can be easily accessed so users will be able to upgrade them to 64GB, which is the highest you can go, quite easily. Its almost as easy to take out the SDD, requires just a turn of the screwdriver, exposing the flash controller and flash storage underneath. Going beyond the graphics card, which is secured by four screws and a clamp, one can find that the I/O port, logic board and the dual graphics cards are all connected to one single “daughter board” shaped like a disc. The power supply is wedged between the logic board and the I/O board and is said to be a little hard to remove. Digging through these components will take users to the CPU, which is already known to be removable.

iFixit performed its teardown on a $3,000 stock configuration Mac Pro, and while it says that the computer is easy to disassemble, it mentions that there are some proprietary new connectors and fairly tight cable routing that might confuse people going into the depths of their Mac Pro, which is why they should invest in a repair manual before taking the Mac Pro apart.

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China Mobile iPhone pre-order figure reportedly stands at 100,000

It appears that only a fraction of China Mobile’s massive subscriber base has signed up for the new iPhones at this point in time.

Back in December Apple finally announced that it had reached a deal with China Mobile which would bring its new iPhones to over 750 million subscribers of the world’s largest mobile carrier. This is certainly a big deal for the company, because not only will it be able to increase its market share in China, it could potentially add billions in yearly revenue. The carrier won’t launch iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C for its customers until January 17 but it has already started taking pre-orders.

Analysts at Wedge Partners believe that the China Mobile iPhone pre-order figure is around 100,000 for the first two days of availability. While the number is impressive, its not more than what the carrier’s rivals were able to pull in. China Unicom and China Telecom, who already sell the new iPhones, took over 120,000 and 150,000 pre-orders of the new iPhones respectively. Furthermore, 100,000 customers are only a small fraction of the over 750 million strong subscriber base of China Mobile. Analyst expect that Apple will be able to sell as many as 20 million iPhones on China Mobile alone in 2014.

Though it should be kept in mind that the new iPhones aren’t exactly that “new” now, China Mobile’s rivals launched both of them a couple of months back. It is also said that China Mobile isn’t offering any savings to set its iPhones apart from its rivals, in fact its rates are said to be slightly than that of China Unicom.

Source: AllThingsD

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The Humble Store extends its Winter Sale to Jan. 3

The Humble Store extends its celebrated Winter Sale for a limited time, allowing gamers more time to nab PC favorites like Gone Home, Papers Please, Rogue Legacy and more.

The Humble Store’s Winter Sale was a rousing success, but like all sales, it had to come to an end. Instead of shutting down the winter savings, though, the humble folks behind the digital marketplace decided to extend the Winter Sale until January 3rd,*giving gamers across the globe the chance to pick up some of 2013′s best games at a discounted price.

The extended sale marks savings up to -75% off and will contain all of the best-selling titles featured in the original sale, including such gaming favorites as the Communistic indie Papers Please ($4.99), the inventive and visually unique Don’t Starve ($4.99), the intensely gory and satisfying Shadow Warrior remake ($9.99) and the humorous, super-addictive Rogue Legacy ($4.99).

Monaco is also on the list for a super-saver price of $2.99, and you can experience what it’s like to be a game developer with Game Dev Tycoon for just $4.99 as well.

This is the perfect time to nab your favorites for a great low price and help charity in the process; so far the Winter Sale has raised*$331,477 in proceeds for charity. So be sure to hop on over to the Humble Store to take advantage of this extension while it lasts!

Via Destructoid

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'Warframe' gets PEGI rating for Xbox One

PEGI, the European video game ratings board, has apparently rated an Xbox One version of the popular techno-ninja MMOFPS Warframe–hinting at a possible release on the next-gen console.

Warframe is an interesting MMOFPS that has since bridged the free-to-play gap between PC and consoles. Digital Extremes high-tech ninja shooter was first released on Sony’s PlayStation 4 console, and recent evidence may indicate a release onto Microsoft’s Xbox One.

A listing for the game has recently been spotted on PEGI’s online website, which–oddly enough–presents a release date of 12/31/2013 (today).

The game itself will no-doubt be a welcomed title to the Xbox One’s free-to-play scheme, allowing gamers to join their friends for some intense futuristic shoot-em-up action. Warfarme makes use of many different mechanics, blending action with randomized loot and surprisingly dynamic RPG elements, as gamers apply upgrades and mods to make their “warframe” even more deadly.

The visual style of the game is quite alluring as well, but like any free-to-play game, Warframe is riddled with micro-transactions. While it’s not essential that you purchase the in-game currency (known as Platinum), having a supply of shiny Platinum does give you direct access to new frames, weapons, and a host of other upgrades.

Warframe takes players across the entire Solar System, with a variety of missions that emphasize teamwork. Up to four players play together in eradicating the enemy, making it a pure co-operative type of game (which is a nice change of pace among today’s competitive-based shooters).

The storyline is quite engaging as well, painting a galaxy riven with multiple factions all vying for their own causes. The Tenno–the do-good clan of warframes–stands as a means of justice, and converges with enemy factions to thwart their plans for domination and the like. Every new update adds in more stories and missions, carrying forth the game’s legacy to new paths.

As far as any solid evidence from the developers of the game, Digital Extremes have yet to make any official announcements on the matter. It’ll nonetheless be interesting to see if Warframe crosses over to the Xbox One sometime in the future.

As of now, though, the game remains one of the more solid free-to-play games available on the PS4 lineup, and is decently populated with gamers and frequently updated. Also there’s the added benefit of not needing a PlayStation Plus membership in order to play.

Warframe is now available as a free-to-play game on Sony’s PlayStation 4 and PC. For more information be sure to visit the game’s official website.

Via Hardcore Gamer , Joystiq , Gamekyo*& PEGI

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Shapify.me uses Kinect to turn you into a 3D printed figure

Using Microsoft’s advanced Kinect sensor, the Shapify service allows gamers to purchase realistic 3D printed figurines of themselves and their friends.

If you’re anything like Raj and Howard on The Big Bang Theory, you’ve always wanted to have a figure of yourself. Fortunately there’s an option that avoids having to pick up an expensive 3D printer; the Shapify.me service from Artec Group has you covered.

How does it work?

The service is heavily reliant upon Microsoft’s Kinect sensor, making use of the device’s pinpoint pose-capturing to accurately render any given image, especially of people. The service currently supports Xbox 360 and Windows versions of Kinect.

To get the ball rolling, users scan a picture of themselves in any given pose, and use the free Shapify app software to put the finishing touches on their digital doppleganger. It’s also worth mentioning you’ll need to keep whatever pose you want captured for around a minute or so, as the Kinect captures you from multiple angles.

The finished product is a miniature figurine–not a full-scale action figure–but a small realistic rendition of you (or a loved one) to add to your collection. Oddly enough, Shapify doesn’t list the Xbox One’s Kinect 2.0 sensor as a supported product–but it’ll be interesting to see how this takes off in the future, especially on a broader scale.

Be sure to visit Shapify.me to check out the methods behind fabricating a mini-you, especially if you’ve always wanted to have a teeny version of yourself in a favorite Halloween get-up.

This is a unique and memorable way to immortalize someone (or even an occasion, say in your self-made Comic-Con cosplay outfit?) without having to take a snapshot–but the somewhat hefty price-tag might ensure you only have two or three of these miniatures laying about.

Via Gamespot

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Used couch harbored large snake for two months without owner knowing

A Michigan woman finds her second-hand couch to be harboring a snake two months after she initially moved the furniture in.

Holly Wright recently found out that her used couch, which she picked up off the curb two months earlier, was actually housing a snake.* The snake remained dormant under the couch for months before it finally decided to crawl out.* Wright told the local WZZM-TV station that she had no idea the snake was snuggling up in between the cushion and bottom area of the couch.

“I picked this couch up off the street and it’s been in my bedroom for a couple months, and today we found a python inside the couch,” said Wright after she probed the reptile with a plastic coat hanger.

Wright reported that the snake died before it made it out of the couch, leading to the couch owner to believe the snake remained in the couch for so long because it was stuck—a truly unfortunate circumstance.

“It’s pretty big.* We don’t know what kind of snake it is for sure.” Wright added.* “Funny, my room almost feels a little empty now.* It’s been really sad actually to realize all this time I was in proximity to that animal (that) was probably suffering.”

Source: ABC news

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Sony's first Japanese PS4 commercial revealed

Moving on with just one final step after East Asia, Sony now reveals their first advertisement for the much awaited Japanese release of the PS4 console.

When Sony first revealed release dates for the PS4, it was quite strange that it did not include any release dates for Japan. One would probably question why they did not decide to release it first in the country where they are sure it would succeed.

But maybe that’s exactly the reason why they decided to temporarily forego with the PS4′s Japanese release and move towards its international release first. Seizing the larger world gaming market may have given them a more strategic advantage. So what’s the better way to promote it to Japan as it arrives then?*Well, how about showing how successful the console is now after its international release? The first Japanese PS4 commercial may be very brief, but it tries to capture the emotion and excitement when the PS4 was launched worldwide.

Watch and enjoy.

Source: Doope (JP), Sony (JP)

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Hackers mod Wii U GamePad to stream games from PC

At this year’s 30th Chaos Communication Congress (30c3), a small team of hackers showcased a reverse-engineered Wii U GamePad that can play streamed video games from a localized PC.

The Chaos Communication Congress is an annual event in the international hacking scene hosted by the Chaos Computer Club wherein teams and hackers across the globe come to meet. The conventions hold numerous workshops and on-stage affairs wherein talented tecchies share their knowledge and showcase their creations.

At this year’s 30c3 event, one small group of hackers revealed their newest accomplishment: a reverse-engineered Wii U GamePad that could play games streamed by a PC, avoiding the primary console altogether.

While on stage, the group discussed how they managed to achieve this feat through an extremely technical lecture filled with highlights on integral subjects like firmware and code streams. The announcement was intriguing, but the magic didn’t happen until the theoretical applications became real; when the crowd got to see the streaming in action.

When the team started up an emulated GameCube version of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, the room burst out in fanfare. Here was one of the most celebrated Zelda games being streamed from a nearby laptop to the GamePad itself, without the need of the bulky console.

The footage below contains the full on-stage presentation, and the gameplay demo starts around the 47 minute mark.

The gameplay session was a bit buggy here and there, and the demo itself was accompanied by a few crashes, but all-in-all was a solid display of the hacked GamePad. The key here is that it worked, and while the tech is in its early stages, there is a staggering amount of potential for it to carry over to future projects.

While Nintendo may not be happy about this application, it was merely a demonstration of their breakthrough, and the team affirms that the released*source code is aimed at developers. Furthermore the group of tech-savvy hackers have future plans to make the tools available on Windows and OSX, and they’re even working on fashioning an Android version which will allow gamers to substitute their Wii U GamePad for an Android tablet.

We won’t see this replace other handheld game-streaming devices like the Nvidia Shield, but this is an interesting breakthrough that has a multitude of possibilities within the hacking/modding realm.

It would be interesting to see more on the specific logistics of the streaming capabilities; whether or not the video is dependent upon the host computer’s specs or those of the Wii U GamePad–but the accomplishment of turning the tablet-like controller into its own stand-alone gaming peripheral is an impressive feat to say the least.

Via Engadget

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Netflix tests $6.99 subscription fee to compete with Amazon Prime

Netflix tries out a lower tier subscription price to better compete with Amazon in 2014.

There are more than one video-on-demand services out there, but so far it seems like Netflix is the pack leader.* Even so, big internet names like Amazon are threatening to slow down the growth of the popular video streaming service.

To keep up with its competitor, Netflix is testing out a new $6.99 per month service that is meant to keep the Netflix brand in the consciousness of consumers throughout 2014.

“The new plan likely has at least two goals: 1. Attract the more value conscious consumer.* 2. To more effectively compete with Amazon Prime,” said Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia.

Amazon currently offers its Prime service for $79 a year, which includes access to Prime Instant Video streaming.* Divide that fee by 12 the subscription price per month comes to $6.67 a month, which is slightly cheaper than Netflix’s new $6.99 (one viewer at a time) service.* The Amazon Prime service also comes with free 2-day shipping for goods purchased through Amazon.

Netflix is continuing to search for growth avenues, and garnering more subscribers via a cheaper subscription fee may lead to just that.* Bhatia, however, noted that the new model may also cannibalize the old service as subscribers can easily cancel their current subscription and re-subscribe to the lower-priced deal.

Source: USAToday

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Noctua NH-U14S 140mm Heatsink CPU Cooler Review

Noctua NH-U14S 140mm Heatsink CPU Cooler Review

It’s entirely possible the next product needs no introduction – the Noctua NH-U14S is the newest version in Noctua’s NH-U series of CPU coolers that were first introduced in 2005. For years, Noctua has been synonymous with premium performance cooling and the new NH-U14S model looks to continue the tradition. Designed to be the premier option for the NH-U series the 140mm NH-U14S and its 52mm wide heatsink promise quiet performance while still clearing RAM modules, even on sockets like LGA2011. Combined with the NF-A15 140mm fan and an entire host of cutting-edge trademark technologies from Noctua, will this cooler be worthy of the Noctua name? Benchmark Reviews has a chance to see where the NH-U14S ranks among the competition.

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Evasi0n iOS 7 untethered jailbreak updated to fix iPad 2 boot loop

The latest update fixes Wi-Fi iPad 2 boot loop caused after using the evasi0n iOS 7 untethered jailbreak .

December was a great month for the jailbreak community. A couple of weeks back the first ever iOS 7 untethered jailbreak was released. It was developed by the infamous evad3rs developers team, which is well known in the community for its work on developing jailbreaks. The team is said to have rushed the release as it was rumored that their exploit had been stolen and sold off, which is why the initial version of the jailbreak was found to have a few bugs, one caused boot loop on Wi-Fi iPad 2 running the latest and greatest in Apple iOS.

Naturally there were a lot of complaints from users who tried jailbreaking their iPad 2 on iOS 7 using evasi0n. With Christmas holidays getting in the way, the team wasn’t able to release an update quickly. Though today they finally came through. Evasi0n 1.0.2 beta has now been released to fix iPad 2 boot loop after performing untethered jailbreak on iOS 7. The updated jailbreak tool can now be downloaded from the team’s official website.

While a lot of controversy has surrounded this particular jailbreak, it goes without saying that the community is very happy with its release. It had been quite long since a new jailbreak was released, and the new evasi0n covers all of Apple’s new mobile devices that are capable of running iOS 7.

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LG Lifeband Touch leaked, to be showcased at CES?

Prolific*leaker Evleaks has leaked a photo of a*new wearable device from LG called*Lifeband Touch.

Back at CES 2013, LG showed off the*Smart Activity Tracker, a wristband that was capable of displaying a phone’s notifications, control music on a compatible Android or iOS device, and track a user’s movements and heart rate. A launch was expected to take place sometime in the summer of 2013, but that didn’t happen, and now it looks like the Smart Activity Tracker might have evolved into the Lifeband Touch that can be seen in the leaked picture.

The Lifeband Touch looks like something of a cross between the Nike FuelBand and the*Fitbit Force, though details on its features and functionality remain unknown – a touch display should adorn its face, and health monitoring will likely be one of its main functions. An official announcement could be made at CES in the second week of January, though it remains to be seen whether the Lifeband Touch kicks off LG’s entry into the wearables market or if it ends up being vaporware like the Smart Activity Tracker.

Source: Evleaks

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Verizon Moto G to launch on January 9, will cost only $100 off-contract

Leaked images of the Verizon Moto G’s retail packaging indicate that North America’s largest carrier could offer the device for as low as $99.99 off-contract.

At $179 for the base model, the Moto G is already one of the best smartphones one can buy, offering mid-range specs at budget pricing, which would make Verizon’s $100 price tag for a contract-free Moto G even more impressive, considering other similarly priced prepaid smartphones on Verizon don’t come anywhere close to what Motorola’s affordable 4.5-inch handset offers.*According to an internal document, the handset will go on sale at Verizon and Best Buy stores on January 9th, and in addition to the low price, users will also get unlimited text and call minutes, and a choice of one of Verizon’s data plans.

As a refresher, the Moto G comes with a 4.5-inch 720p LCD display, 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel rear camera, 8/16GB of storage, and a 2,070 mAh battery. It runs on a near stock version of Android 4.3, though the Verizon model will arrive with Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box – add that to the respectable specs and $100 price tag, and it could become nigh on impossible for other manufacturers to compete with the Moto G anytime soon.

Via: 9to5Mac, Droid-Life

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Sparkline: Cutting through vanity metrics and finding the real data

Big data. These two words have been constantly on everyone’s lips. What is it? And just whom does it benefit? Sparkline provides some answers If we have to liken Big Data to a water body, it will have to be an ocean. According to tech corporation IBM, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every Read the full article...

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Venturetec Accelerator targets enterprise startups in Asia Pacific

12-month-long Venturetec accelerator programme aims to connect enterprise technology startups in Australia and Hong Kong with global corporations Earlier this month during the StartmeupHK Venture Forum, Venturetec announced the launch of its new enterprise tech startup accelerator programme, which will be based in Hong Kong and Sydney, Australia. Up to eight teams will receive seed Read the full article...

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DBS Bank launches fully automated online account service for companies

Open a corporate account with DBS from the comfort of your home in just 15 minutes Companies can now open a bank account in 15 minutes or less, instead of the usual industry standard of one to two hours. Previously known as the*Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), DBS Bank*yesterday announced that it has launched a Read the full article...

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