Archive for June 26th, 2012

The Anonymous threaten bTV

The hacking group Anonymous demanded an apology from bTV for “all perversions of journalism demonstrated by the television over the past year”, Trud daily informs. That is part of the message of the video which has been uploaded in vbox7 and youtube. The Anonymous warn that if the television does not apologise, they will consider bTV and their sponsors their enemies. The Anonymous insist that bTV apologise for “a series of manipulations and insinuations during the protests against the Forestry Act and the Freedom of Expression and Access to Infromation Act”. “At present bTV show only one point of view – that of the television’s owner and executive director, who is a shareholder in the First Investment Bank,” the hacking group states.

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PSA: PS3 firmware update 4.20 drops tomorrow

The last firmware update for the PS3, version 4.10, added an audio option allowing players to hear their own voice echoed through the new Wireless Stereo Headset peripheral. Since implementing the feature, Sony has heard some complaints; this new firmware update, version 4.20, will add new audio options. If you’re using a Wireless Stereo Headset, you will be able to either turn the functionality completely off, or you can select from one of five different levels of intensity, the PlayStation Blog says. Sony will also add an option for virtual surround sound when using the Wireless Stereo Headset to watch Blu-ray or DVD movies when the update drops tomorrow. Other non-audio additions include more flexibility when setting how long before the system will shut itself down, and an the option to manage save files in bulk.

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Resident Evil 6 Collector’s Edition spreads to Europe and Australia

The Resident Evil 6 Collector’s Edition is making its way to Europe and Australia, dragging the following juicy leftovers with it,: a zombie steel book; an exclusive hardback art book; an Ivy University, Tall Oaks hoodie; zinc alloy emblems of the three main protagonists’ squad signs, framed, mounted and signed by senior producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi, producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi and director Eiichiro Sasaki; an avatar download code for Xbox 360 players or a dynamic theme for PS3. All of this is thrown in the “Needle Bomb” collectors box, along with the game itself, of course. A standalone, zombie-proof steelbook version of Resident Evil 6 is available today for pre-order as well, for “around the same price as the standard version,” Capcom announced .

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Rumor: Total War: Rome 2 announcement incoming


Rome: Total War (pictured) may be getting a sequel, according to the latest issue of Australia’s PC PowerPlay. The page highlighting next month’s issue of the magazine, as captured by NeoGAF, shows a screenshot of numerous Roman soldiers battling it out, all overlaid by the large Roman numeral 2.

Another forum goer notes that Total War developer Creative Assembly will be at this year’s Rezzed exposition in Brighton on July 6 and 7. The next PC PowerPlay, meanwhile, goes on sale July 18.

The studio is supposed to be discussing “the future of Total War,” so it seems likely that a sequel is in the cards. A lot has changed since Rome: Total War was first released back in 2004. Notably, the naming convention has been flipped, meaning a sequel will probably be called Total War: Rome 2.

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Sheryl Sandberg Named To Facebook Board. Finally.

Sheryl Sandberg, the fifth most powerful woman in the world, Silicon Valley’s most-watched female and Facebook’s COO, has been named the first woman to the company’s board of directors after four years with the company.

She joins CEO Mark Zuckerberg and six other board members that include Adreessen Horowitz’s Marc Andreessen, James W. Breyer of Accel Partners Reed Hastings, the chairman and CEO, Netflix and Founder’s Fund Peter A. Thiel, among others. Marketwatch reported and Facebook confirmed this news with FORBES this afternoon.

Given the pressure that’s been on Facebook to increase diversity on its board, Sandberg’s appointment does not come as a total surprise to the tech community. Women are a significant minority among those employed in technology jobs. Although women comprise 48% of the U.S. workforce, they hold only 24% of science, engineering, technology, and math positions, according to government statistics. As my colleague Larissa Faw noted recently, this imbalance means the few high achievers, such as Sandberg, are viewed as both an inspiration and as outliers, making today’s news even more compelling.

In the lead-up to the company’s spring IPO, pressure on Facebook to increase diversity on its board began to mount and my colleague Connie Guglielmo took note of a rash of protests. Ultraviolet, a community of women’s rights activists, protested outside Facebook’s New York headquarters in March and submitted a petition signed by 53,000 people collected in under 48 hours asking Zuckerberg to add a women to the board.

But while Sandberg’s appointment is certainly positive news, it does cast a light on the continued gender imbalance on the boards of some of Silicon Valley’s most popular and influential firms. By Guglielmo’s count Adobe Systems, Pandora, Zillow, Zynga and Splunk’s boards are no-girls-allowed, while Apple, Groupon and LinkedIn have only one woman board member.

“Sheryl has been my partner in running Facebook and has been central to our growth and success over the years,” said Zuckerberg in a statement. “Her understanding of our mission and long-term opportunity, and her experience both at Facebook and on public company boards makes her a natural fit for our board.”

Before joining Facebook, Sandberg served as vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, and held a position in the Clinton administration, serving as Chief of Staff for the United States Treasury Department. In addition to Facebook, she serves on the boards of The Walt Disney Company, Women for Women International, the Center for Global Development and V-Day.

As reported by TechCrunch, Sandberg will have her own vote in all company matters, meaning she won’t be voting to represent anyone else—whether chief executive Mark Zuckerberg or other shareholders.

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Samsung Galaxy S III sales to hit 10 mn in July

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: Samsung Electronics Co, the world’s top mobile phone maker, said on Monday that it expects global sales of the latest Galaxy smartphone to surpass 10 million in July even as it struggles to keep up with demand because of component shortages.

Shin Jong-kyun, president of Samsung’s mobile communications business, said the Galaxy S III will hit the 10-million milestone within two months of its launch.

“It has been tough to keep up with demand,” Shin told reporters.

Samsung’s failure to procure sufficient mobile components for its latest smartphone has stoked concerns that its second-quarter smartphone sales could be much lower than expected. Shin said the company expects to resolve the supply issues with mobile components sometime in the next week.

“Despite the tough economic situation in Europe and problems with supplying components for the Galaxy S III, the second-quarter earnings will be better than the first quarter,” he said.

Shares of Samsung tumbled 4.2 per centon the Seoul bourse on Monday, closing at a four-month low. The benchmark Kospi index fell 1.2 percent.

Samsung began sales of the Galaxy S III in Europe on May 29 and released it in the U.S. last week. In its home market, the company started sales of the latest iteration of Galaxy earlier Monday.

Samsung’s sales estimate for the S III reflects robust demand from mobile operators. Unlike Apple Inc., Samsung does not disclose sales figures to consumers.

The South Korean company said the S III will be released by around 300 mobile carriers in 147 countries by the end of July, aiming for an early start before rival Apple announces a new version of the iPhone in the third quarter.

The third version of the Galaxy S features a bigger screen _ measured 4.8-inch diagonally _ but is thinner and lighter than its predecessors and the iPhone 4S.

Samsung packed the high-end smartphone with a legion of new features including eye-recognition technology that keeps the screen from dimming. It also has voice command functions that let users schedule an alarm or adjust volume by speaking to their device.

Its near-field communication technology enables sharing of data heavy multimedia content among Galaxy S III users quickly. But activating the function _ called S Beam _ takes multiple steps.

Because Samsung customizes its flagship smartphone based on Google’s Android operating system, some of Samsung’s features overlap with those made by Google.

Separately, Samsung’s mobile president said it is still investigating the explosion of a Galaxy S III in Ireland. He said the battery wasn’t the cause.

Samsung overtook Nokia as the world’s biggest mobile-phone maker in 2011 and competes with Apple for the top smartphone maker position. It aims to double its smartphone sales this year to nearly 200 million phones.

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Microsoft to buy Yammer for $1.2 billion

Microsoft Corp agreed to buy online social network firm Yammer Inc for $1.2 billion in cash, which will allow the software company to offer a service like Facebook Inc’s to corporate customers.

Talk of a deal had circulated earlier this month, but the two companies only confirmed the deal on Monday.

Four-year-old Yammer, which has 5 million users of its private, in-company social networks, helps companies’ internal communications and strategizing by allowing employees to interact with each other freely. Companies such as Ford Motor Co , Supervalu and Deloitte are customers.

The firm will become part of Microsoft’s Office unit under Kurt DelBene but will still be led by current Chief Executive David Sacks.

Microsoft, which owns a small fraction of Facebook shares, has been looking for ways to make its desktop-bound products more attractive to its core corporate users and home consumers.

Last year it paid $8.5 billion to buy online chat company Skype, which it is integrating into its offerings, including Office.

Microsoft’s Office suite of applications – including Outlook email, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentation program – is the bedrock of most companies’ day-to-day working software.

The Office unit is Microsoft’s most profitable, contributing 60 percent of its profit last year, and amassing more sales than its flagship Windows operating system.

Microsoft shares were down 3.5 percent at $29.63 on Nasdaq in Monday afternoon trading.

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Google, Boingo offer New York free summer Wi-Fi

NEW YORK: Google and wireless Internet group Boingo said on Monday that they would offer free Wi-Fi access over the summer months in many parts of New York City, including some busy subway stations.

“Big Apple visitors and New York straphangers on the go can stay productive, update their status and surf online while avoiding data overage charges and network congestion via Boingo’s Wi-Fi networks from June 25 through September 7, 2012,” a statement from the two firms said.

Starting Monday, access will be free hotspots at six subway stations and other locations across Manhattan, under the “Google Offers” promotion.

Cliff Hopkins, director of marketing at Google Offers, said, “We’re excited to bring free Wi-Fi to subway stations and Boingo hotzones in Manhattan. People can surf the Internet, or discover great local deals from Google Offers, while they’re waiting at the subway platform or enjoying summer in the Big Apple.”

Boingo Wi-Fi is expected to be available in 36 New York subway stations by the end of the year and in more than 270 over the next five years.

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