"Prepare to have your patience tested if you prefer to rent DVDs rather than buy them. In a precedent other major movie studios are likely to follow, Warner Bros. is poised to announce that its latest DVD releases won’t be made available to rental outlets until nearly two months after the discs can be bought in stores and websites. A person familiar with the matter explained the new rules to The Associated Press on Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the changes won’t be announced until Jan. 10 during a major electronics show in Las Vegas. The expanded delay was first reported by the All Things D website. Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. declined to comment Friday. …"
"Symantec, the anti-virus maker, has confirmed that a hacking group has stolen a “segment” of its flagship product. The group said it would make the source code available.Symantec has confirmed that a “segment” of its flagship Norton anti-virus product’s source code was leaked onto the web this week.The firm said that the code relates to two older enterprise products, one of which is no longer in production. But it said the breach was on a third-party network rather than its own, and will “not affect any current Norton product”.The source code has yet to be published, but a post making the claim on to hacker’s favourite Pastebin has since been removed. A Google cache of the page still exists.“So far we have discovered within the Indian Spy Programme source codes of a dozen software companies which have signed agreements with Indian TANCS programme and CBI”, the note added.Symantec has started an investigation, but claims that the document does not reflect the current work of the security firm. …"
"At the DEMO Enterprise Disruption event yesterday, Fusion-io had a big announcement — it’s broken the one billion IOPS mark, having reached one million less than two years ago. IOPS are Input / Output Operations per second, a measure of computer storage access speeds based on the number of read / write operations that can be completed per second.This massive performance boost comes courtesy of a new way of using NAND flash as a non-volatile memory solution, known as Auto Commit Memory. ACM is a software layer which allows developers to send and receive data stored on Fusion-io’s ioDrive cards directly to and from the CPU, rather than relying upon the operating system. Because of this, massive applications and databases can run with much lower latency — crucial for the cloud-based world we’re heading towards. …"
"Grooveshark, a popular digital music service that is being sued for copyright infringement by three of the four major record companies, now has problems with the one big label that it has a licensing deal with.On Wednesday, EMI Music Publishing filed suit against Grooveshark’s parent company, the Escape Media Group, for breach of contract, saying that since striking the deal in 2009, Escape has “made not a single royalty payment to EMI, nor provided a single accounting statement.”In the suit, filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, EMI seeks unspecified damages. But in a series of recent e-mails and legal correspondence included with the filing as evidence, EMI asks Grooveshark for at least $150,000 in royalties.In a statement, Grooveshark said: “This is a contract dispute that we expect to resolve.”Grooveshark lets users upload songs to the company’s servers, which other users can then stream free. Founded in 2006, it has signed up 35 million users and attracted major advertisers like Mercedes-Benz. …"
"G-Form, a company well known for delivering the most extreme electronics cases and athletic pads, launched an iPad clad solely in the company’s 6oz Extreme Edge case into space and then let it free-fall back to Earth.The company released a stunning hi-def video Thursday where the nearly naked iPad is shown hanging above the Earth in the blackness of space. In the video, the iPad is lifted to over 100,000 feet by a weather balloon which bursts at altitude, then releasing the iPad to free-fall to Earth where it crash lands on a rocky hillside in the Nevada countryside. Perhaps even more remarkable than the dramatic hi-def footage itself is the fact that the iPad survives the adventure, remaining fully functional.Website: www.g-form.com”
"The largest trade show in the Americas must be a great place to show off new products, right? Wrong. The International Consumer Electronics Show is quickly becoming a launch pad for products that fall flat.When the annual conclave kicks off next week, organizers expect more than 140,000 people to descend on Las Vegas. They will mill around 1.8 million square feet (0.17 million square meters) of booths and exhibits, equivalent to 31 U.S. football fields.The 2,800 or so exhibitors are hoping to set the tone for the year by showing off tons of tablet computers, throngs of 3-D TVs and untold numbers of slim, light laptops called ultrabooks.But a look back at the products heavily promoted at CES in recent years reveals few successes. …"
"3D television was heralded as the breakthrough technology of the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show. Hot on the heels of James Cameron’s eye-opening Avatar, 3D HDTVs were everywhere on the show floor. One year later, at CES 2011, 3D was back again — this time iterating. We saw bigger 3D HDTVs, 3D displays that didn’t require special glasses, and camcorders that captured 3D content.But where is 3D now? It’s certainly not showing up big on our CES 2012 radar, and now looks like over-hyped technology in hindsight — especially to those of us who always thought 3D’s natural home was in the movie theater, not the living room.Indeed, a variety of obstacles — high prices, a lack of 3D content, and uncomfortable viewing experiences — have kept 3D TV adoption in the single digits nationwide. Manufacturers and content providers are working to address these issues, but one has to wonder if 3D was nothing but a flash in the CES pan — a technology story rather than anything consumers actually wanted.In 2010, consumers purchased a paltry 1.1 million 3D TV units, and although sales have grown in the two years since, the widespread 3D fervor that TV manufacturers were anticipating never took root.According to a January Display Search report, just more than 23 million 3D TVs were shipped in 2011 worldwide, with only 3.6 million shipped in the U.S.Display Search analyst Paul Gagnon says that U.S. household penetration for 3D TVs is at about 3 percent. “To be fair, 3D TVs have only been available for sale in a significant way for about 18 months, so that’s why the penetration is so low,” Gagnon says. “That said, it’s still lower than what many in the industry had hoped for.”Markets like China and western Europe are seeing far more enthusiasm for 3D TV than in North America, but worldwide adoption is still likely less than 2 percent.So what’s to blame?The content, for one. …"
"Much has been written about the Ramnit worm and its transformation into a financial malware. And now, Seculert’s research lab has discovered that Ramnit recently started targeting Facebook accounts with considerable success, stealing over 45,000 Facebook login credentials worldwide, mostly from people in the UK and France.Discovered in April 2010, the Microsoft Malware Protection Center (MMPC) described Ramnit as “a multi-component malware family which infects Windows executable as well as HTML files”, “stealing sensitive information such as stored FTP credentials and browser cookies”. In July 2011 a Symantec report [PDF] estimated that Ramnit worm variants accounted for 17.3 percent of all new malicious software infections.In August 2011, Trusteer reported that Ramnit went ‘financial’. Following the leakage of the ZeuS source-code in May, it has been suggested that the hackers behind Ramnit merged several financial-fraud spreading capabilities to create a "Hybrid creature" which was empowered by both the scale of the Ramnit infection and the ZeuS financial data-sniffing capabilities. This synergy has enabled Ramnit to bypass two-factor authentication and transaction signing systems, gain remote access to financial institutions, compromise online banking sessions and penetrate several corporate networks. With the use of a Sinkhole, we discovered that approximately 800,000 machines were infected with Ramnit from September to end of December 2011. …"
"One or the other isn’t telling the truth - they’re flat-out lying — this much we know for certain.Perhaps by now you’ve seen the story about the Canadian freelance photographer, who having left his passport at home, was allowed to cross the border into the U.S. anyway offering nothing but his driver’s license (normally not enough) and a photograph of said passport (absolutely not allowed) that he displayed to the border guard on his iPad.The story has garnered worldwide headlines, coverage which in my opinion has been a bit overblown, no doubt at least in part because the passport photo was proffered on a "magical" iPad instead of, say, an ordinary laptop or smartphone (trust me on this; I know the mind of the journalist).But now I find myself more hooked into the tempest because I’m always fascinated by stories in which it’s obvious that one party is stone-cold lying, but you can’t be absolutely certain as to which one. Here I’d bet lots of good money that it’s the border guard (or his butt-covering higher-ups) wearing the burning pants. But the lie - presuming it is a lie - is so easily refuted (if not disproven) and potentially job-threatening that I’m left wondering how anyone could possibly be so stupid as to tell it.And if it’s the border crosser, Martin Reisch of Montreal, who is lying, well, this entire story has been nothing but a hoax because there would be nothing remarkable about the crossing, unless perhaps Reisch had slid across the border sitting on his iPad.Here’s what a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol spokesperson told Wired.com: "The assertion that a traveler was admitted into the U.S. using solely a scanned image of his passport on an iPad is categorically false. In this case, the individual had both a driver’s license and birth certificate (emphasis mine), which the CBP officer used to determine identity and citizenship in order to admit the traveler into the country." …"
"Netflix will still be able to rent ‘True Blood’ and other HBO shows, but it won’t get them directly from HBO.HBO has stopped providing DVDs of its shows to Netflix as competition between the two companies heats up. The move, however is unlikely to disrupt rentals of HBO discs because Netflix can still acquire the DVDs from other sources. HBO, the powerhouse entertainment channel known for such shows as "The Sopranos," "Six Feet Under," and "True Blood" stopped providing the discs, which it made available at a discount, as of January 1, according to sources who spoke to CNET. Spokesmen for both companies confirmed the move. HBO’s decision is unlikely to affect Netflix’s business. One source told CNET that while Netflix won’t be able to acquire the discs at a discount, Netflix has a score of different venues where it can acquire HBO’s DVDs. …"
"We’re kicking off 2012 with our Smart TV strategy, but before I talk about that let’s take a quick look back at last year. 2011 was an awesome year for us at Roku. We sold about a million and a half Roku players last year—three times more than we sold in 2010. We started the year selling only online, but by year end Roku players were in almost every major retailer, in about 12,000 stores across the country. We launched 250 new channels, including HBO GO, Disney, XFactor, FoxNews.com, and NBC News, bringing the Roku Channel Store to just over 400 channels. That’s a lot of entertainment. We introduced the Roku 2 family with support for casual games like Angry Birds, PAC-MAN and Jeopardy… then, we launched the $50 Roku LT. Phew we were busy!Now that 2012 is upon us, we are turning our attention to the Smart (Connected) TV market, which will no doubt be a hot topic at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week. We think there are some fundamental issues that are preventing the current breed of Smart TVs from gaining mass adoption. Even though a lot of Smart TVs are sold in the U.S. many are never connected to the Internet and less are actually used for streaming. Some of this is probably just lack of awareness (I’m sure lots of people just buy a TV and don’t even realize it’s “Smart”). Yet another reason is the quality of the streaming experience can be poor. We’ve found that it just takes a lot of work to keep the experience current and performing at its best. We issue software updates almost every month, and add about one new channel per day. It used to be sufficient enough to have a few key channels (remember we launched with just Netflix) but those days are rapidly fading. With more and more content available for streaming the software stack and associated updates are a challenge for TV vendors. …"
"The power of personalization is something we all love about PCs, but sometimes there is good reason to want to roll back to an earlier state. Most consumer electronics devices today can be reset to some factory state, and so we built this capability into Windows 8 too. Desmond Lee is a program manager on the Fundamentals team and authored this post about “push-button reset.” —StevenMany consumer electronic devices these days provide a way for customers to get back to some predefined “good” state. This ranges from the hardware reset button on the back of a wireless network router, to the software reset option on a smartphone. We’ve built two new features in Windows 8 that can help you get your PCs back to a “good state” when they’re not working their best, or back to the “factory state” when you’re about to give them to someone else or decommission them.Today, there are many different approaches and tools to get a PC back to factory condition. If you buy a PC with Windows preinstalled, it often comes with a manufacturer-provided tool and a hidden partition that can be used for that specific model of PC. You might also use a third-party imaging product, Windows system image backup, or the tried and true method of a clean reinstall from the Windows DVD. While these tools all provide similar functionalities, they don’t provide a consistent experience from one PC or technique to another. If you are the “go to” person for your friends, relatives, or neighbors when they need help with their PCs, you may find that it’s sometimes necessary to just start over and reinstall everything. Without a consistent experience to do this, you might end up spending more time finding the recovery tool for a specific PC than actually fixing the problems, and this gets even worse if you’re helping someone over the phone. …"
"Netflix has released some statistics that indicate the video subscription service must be doing something right, even though investors and customers have been ridiculing it for much of the past six months. The company says more than 20 million subscribers worldwide watched more than 2 billion hours of old TV shows and movies on devices with high-speed Internet connections during the final three months of last year. The numbers released Wednesday contributed to an 11 percent surge in Netflix Inc.’s stock price. The shares gained $8.21 to finish at $80.45. It marked Netflix’s highest closing price in seven weeks. The stock still remains far below of its all-time high of nearly $305 reached in mid-July. The steep decline followed a customer backlash triggered by Netflix’s decision to raise its U.S. prices for Internet video and DVD-by-mail rentals by 60 percent. With its market value down about $12 billion from its peak, Netflix could also be a takeover target. Takeover speculation may have also helped fuel Wednesday’s rally. The latest chatter centers around the possibility of that Netflix might receive an offer from Yahoo Inc.’s newly appointed CEO, Scott Thompson, whose hiring was announced Wednesday. …"
"Internet giants are considering a ‘nuclear option’ against the SOPA bill. Should they press the button internationally?The online war against SOPA is reaching new levels. In the aftermath of the Reddit ‘Boycott Go Daddy’ campaign, now a number of Internet giants are considering their own moves in the SOPA game.Wikipedia was the first to consider a blackout of their services, in order to demonstrate what SOPA could potentially do to any website that allowed user-generated content. Now, a number of sites including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon are considering coordinated downtime on their platforms. …"