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miércoles, 9 de junio de 2010

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Samsung: iPhone 4's retina display is nice, but it's no AMOLED

Samsung seems to have taken exception to a little sidenote made by Steve Jobs during his iPhone 4 announcement at WWDC10 this Monday. While waxing poetic on the virtues of IPS, Jobs let us know that he considers it an entirely superior display technology to OLED, and now the world's biggest display maker has a few words to say about it. According to a Samsung spokesperson, the high-res retina display on the iPhone 4 offers only a 3 to 5 percent advantage in sharpness over its own Galaxy S Super AMOLED screen, but sucks down a wasteful 30 percent more power. Moreover, Samsung believes its screens offer better viewing angles and contrast, and concludes by saying that "structurally, IPS LCD technology cannot catch up with AM-OLED display technology." And here we thought Samsung and Apple were getting along so well.

AT&T breach reveals 114,000 iPad owners' email addresses, including some elite customers

Uh oh. According to Valleywag, an AT&T security breach led to the exposure of 114,000 email addresses (and associated SIM / ICC identifiers) belonging to Apple iPad owners. A group of hackers calling themselves Goatse Security (be careful looking that one up) figured out a number of ICC-IDs and ran a script on AT&T's site through a faked iPad UserAgent, which would then return the associated addresses. Some of those affected were actually quite big names, including the CEOs of The New York Times and Time Inc., some higher-ups and Google and Microsoft, and even a number of employees from NASA, FAA, FCC, and the US military.

For its part, AT&T tells AllThingsD that it was informed of the issue on Monday, that only the addresses and associated ICC-IDs were revealed, and that by Tuesday the "feature" that allowed addresses to be seen had been turned off. And as Security Watch's Larry Seltzer cautions in a statement to PC Mag, the impact of this breach -- just email addresses -- is probably somewhat exaggerated. Still, regardless of the magnitude, this can't be making AT&T's day at all bright, and you best believe a number of folks in Cupertino have fire in their eyes over this bad press.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

Google, Verizon, Comcast, and more band together to form tech (and policy) advisory group

BITAG doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, as far as spoken acronyms go, but the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (also goes by TAG, for short) is looking to make (radio) waves. Facilitated by former FCC Chief Technologist (and University of Colorado at Boulder Adjunct Professor) Dale Hatfield, the group aims to "develop consensus on broadband network management practices and other related technical issues that can affect users' experience," which largely leads to addressing technical issues and making suggestions to policymakers. The group runs the gamut of major players in the broadband industry, including AT&T, Cisco, Comcast, DISH, EchoStar, Google, Intel, Level 3, Microsoft, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon.

Naturally, the aforementioned companies already on board are lauding the move, and for its part the NCTA is happy to see a forum for tech and engineering experts to openly discuss issues and policies. Providing the counterargument would be the folks at DSL Reports, who show reserve that this may end up being nothing more than "policy dog and pony show" to avoid stricter government regulations on network neutrality. At this point that remains to be seen, as this organization doesn't seem to have even hit infancy yet. Expect more in the coming weeks as it continues to form and attempts to organize. We submit for your perusal the press release, just after the break.
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Gibson's Rock Band lawsuit ends in settlement, one way or another

Back in 2008, Gibson Guitar hoped to cash in on the Rock Band craze with a slate of patent infringement lawsuits of dubious quality, and though the firm lost to Activision a year later, its suits against Harmonix, Electronic Arts, Viacom, and six major retailers stirred something in Nashville's rock gods. Though exact terms weren't disclosed, the parties reached a settlement in a Tennessee federal court this week, and plan to bring the lawsuit to an end by June 14th. Meanwhile, we hear Harmonix v. Konami is meeting a similar end; retailers should be able to sell cheap plastic guitars with a infinitesimally cleaner conscience in a little over three months.

O2 offers early iPhone 4 upgrade amnesty in bid to retain customers

Would you look at that. Following in the footsteps of AT&T, O2 has today announced it'll allow current customers to pay off the remainder of their contracts at a discounted rate when they re-up with the network for the iPhone 4. Irrespective of how much you're paying now, the UK carrier will charge you a flat rate of £20 ($29) for each leftover month. Considering most iPhone users rock out at £30 and above, that's a solid 30 percent discount (or contract amnesty, however you wanna view it) for the impatient types. Of course, you'll be trading away your usual 14-day cooling off period if you take them up on this deal, so you'd better make doubly sure you want the iPhone 4 on O2 before taking the plunge.

Palm Pixi Plus now free on AT&T

Wow, that didn't take long! A couple days ago, you were paying $50 to take this thing home, but AT&T has moved perhaps quicker than any carrier in memory to adjust pricing on the Pixi Plus down to a more reasonable $0 -- on contract after rebates, of course. The only catch appears to be that you'll have to sign up for a data plan of at least $15, which corresponds to the carrier's recently-introduced DataPlus package that includes 200MB per month with overage of $15 per additional 200MB. That might seem low for your average power user on your average smartphone -- but this is a Pixi Plus we're talking about here.

[Thanks, Allen]

T-Mobile Garminfone now on sale, price still boggles the mind

As promised, T-Mobile has brought the Garminfone to retail today for $199 after $50 rebate on a new two-year contract, calling into question the viability of selling a nav-centric Android device with an HVGA display, 3 megapixel camera, and no 3.5mm headphone jack for $250 out of pocket in the store. We suppose the awesome car dock will attract some, but the myTouch 3G Slide certainly seems like the better option for less money -- maybe this would work at $99 or $149, we suppose. Not that we're impatient or anything, but where's our Froyo update, Garmin?

AdMob CEO responds to Apple's new advertising rules: 'not in the best interests of users or developers' (update: Greystripe responds)

We had a pretty good idea what Google and its AdMob division would think of Apple's new rules on outside advertising companies collecting analytics, but AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui has now spelled it out himself. In a post on the company's blog today, Hamoui says flat out that if the changes are enforced as written, they would "prohibit app developers from using AdMob and Google's advertising solutions on the iPhone." That, he says, would "not in the best interests of users or developers," noting that "in the history of technology and innovation, it's clear that competition delivers the best outcome," and that "artificial barriers to competition hurt users and developers and, in the long run, stall technological progress." As for what Google and AdMob are going to do about it, Hamoui would only say that they're going to be "speaking to Apple to express our concerns about the impact of these terms." We've also reached out to Greystripe for comment -- which would also seem to be affected by the new rules -- but have yet to hear back.

Update: We just got a statement from Adobe's partner Greystripe, which says Apple's new rules won't prevent it from operating on the iPhone and iPad.
"We are pleased that Apple's new terms and conditions explicitly allow Greystripe, an independent ad network, to operate on the iPhone and iPad platforms. It confirms the value of 3rd party ad networks in enabling developers to earn great revenue with their applications."

– Dane Holewinski, Director of Marketing for Greystripe

Adobe promises fix for Flash vulnerability by tomorrow, Reader and Acrobat fix on June 29th

Well, it looks like Adobe isn't wasting much time in fixing that "critical" Flash vulnerability that could allow remote hijacking of a user's computer, but it's a slightly different story when it comes to patching Adobe Acrobat and Reader. According to Adobe, the Flash fix will be rolled out by tomorrow at the latest, but it says the fix for Reader and Acrobat won't be available until June 29th. Somewhat curiously, Adobe says it had considered rushing out a "one-off 0-day" fix for Reader and Acrobat as soon as possible, but says that would have caused too much "churn and patch management overhead on our users" considering there's already a regular quarterly update scheduled for July 13th. So, instead, Adobe has decided to push that update up to June 29th and simply include the fix for the vulnerability with it. In the meantime? Stay frosty, we guess.

GestureTek intros 42-inch multitouch GestTable, your HDTV suddenly turns jealous

Still looking to snap up your own Surface? Ain't got the cheddar to buy that one that comes free with a yacht? In all honesty, we're in no position to make promises about the affordability of this one, but GestureTek is gearing up to offer the world yet another option with the curiously titled GestTable. This 42-inch beast of a table contains a multitouch LCD with a lovely 1080p resolution, which means that you could theoretically watch the next installation of the Batman series on the same surface that's holding your cup of joe. Not that we'd recommend that, but hey.... In related news, the company is introducing the new 70-inch GestDisplay, a massive freestanding multitouch panel aimed primarily at businesses looking to give prospective customers a way to interact with the wares they're about to inevitably buy. As we alluded to earlier, there's nary a mention of price, but feel free to dip into the nitty-gritty just past the break.
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US PlayStation 3 gets four 3D titles starting tomorrow

Perhaps the PlayStation Network needed to be down in order to add extra dimensions -- whatever the case, Sony just announced that tomorrow will usher in the first quartet of PS3 titles to support stereoscopic 3D. Not too shocking, as it happens to be the same day Japanese gamers get the same deal. Entrees include WipEout HD, Super Stardust HD, Pain, and a demo of MotorStorm: Pacific Rift. Looking to the future, PlayStation Move title The Fight: Lights Out will support 3D at launch. Of course you'll need a 3DTV to join the fun, but hey, looks like Sony's got you covered there, too.

Panasonic's 14-inch Toughbook F9 plays both rugged and lightweight cards

Ah, at long last. Panasonic's Toughbook line has long since offered argonauts a critical level of protection on their mobile machines, but the word "mobile" was subject to interpretation. Pretty much across the board, the Toughbook line has always been fat and chunky, but we've been willing to see the beauty on the inside in exchange for being able to toss our machines on the concrete whenever frustrations become too much to stand. But the F9 is a different monster entirely -- in fact, it's being hailed as the planet's lightest 14.1-inch class laptop. The 3.6 pound machine offers a 2.4GHz Core i5-520M vPro processor, a 320GB hard drive, 1,440 x 900 resolution display, optional Qualcomm Gobi2000 mobile broadband module and a built-in carry handle. Users can also grab one with inbuilt Bluetooth 2.1, WiMAX and 2GB of DDR3 memory, not to mention a dual-layer DVD drive, fingerprint reader and a battery good for around seven hours of usage. The real kicker is that this nimble bugger (and its magnesium alloy case) can withstand a 30-inch drop, and the spill-resistant keyboard keeps your keys a-typin' even if your Seagram spirit tips in the wrong direction. Check it this July in the US starting at $2,899.
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Hawaiian volcano in sped up, thermal video: pretty intense

The United States Geological Survey's thermal camera recently captured some wild stuff over at the Kilauea volcanic caldera in Hawaii. The video (which is below) has been sped up four ...

Sony 3DTVs go on pre-sale at Sony Style stores immediately, 'Cloudy' hits Blu-ray 3D June 22

After getting price and release date information in the UK, Japan and even Canada, Sony has finally seen fit to announce US details for the latest and greatest additions to the BRAVIA LCD lineup. Additionally, the software update to turn on Blu-ray 3D playback and DLNA streaming in its latest players (the out of the box 3D ready BDP-S770 ships next month) is going out today, provided you can find a disc to slip in them -- which you can't until Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs arrives at retail June 22. Just like the other launches, buyers of the new TVs can expect a copy of that movie, Deep Sea, and vouchers for 3D games on the PlayStation Network (once it comes back up.) Oh, and how much will you be spending on the new televisions? Check after the break for all the details, but MSRPs (expect much lower prices in reality, as revealed by JR.com) range from $2,100 for the KDL-40HX800 to $5,000 for a 60-inch BR-60LX900. No word yet on when you'll be able to pick up these displays at any other retailers, but if Sony is your preferred brand for 3D, you'll need to run by a Sony Style store to have a chance of sticking one on the wall in time for the 2010 World Cup.
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iBook modder finds a novel home for iPad

Remember the original iBook? And we're not talking about Steve Jobs's favorite, Winnie The Pooh. (Or was it Gramsci's Prison Notebooks? We always get those two confused.) We're talking about the classic, colorful clamshell laptop. Well, one loyal customer still has his -- and for this delightful mod he's retrofitted it as an iPad case. We were impressed with how much of a 'near fit' Apple's beloved slate was (along with the keyboard connection kit), although the modder admits that a little work will have to be done before the thing can be closed properly (and without damage to the hardware inside). All in all, we think it's a pretty sweet idea, but then again we have always been suckers for old school hardware. Get a closer look after the break.
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Nokero debuts rugged, rainproof N100 solar light bulb for developing worlds

Oh, sure -- the world has plenty of those ritzy LED light bulbs to choose from, but how's about using the ultimate light source to create... even more light! That's exactly what Nokero is setting out to accomplish with its N100, which is being christened the "world's first" solar light bulb. Designed specifically for use in developing nations where continual electricity is a mere pipe dream, this bulb is housed in an ultra-rugged, rainproof enclosure that can provide around four hours of light when fully charged; if you leave it in the sun all day, it'll harness enough juice to provide illumination for around two hours. The unit itself is constructed from impact resistant plastic and includes a foursome of solar panels, five LEDs and a replaceable, nickel metal hydride battery that's said to last two years. The company informed us that these will run you around $15 if purchased one at a time, though the goal is to sell 'em in bulk for around $6 apiece and have them delivered to rural parts of India, Africa and possibly District 9. Go on and get schooled by heading past the break and clicking play.
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Sprint voice service down in New York City (updated with official statement)

We certainly don't want to point the finger at a wildly-successful EVO 4G launch just yet, but it seems that Sprint's voice service is down in New York City (data is still working, for what it's worth). This is happening consistently for three of us here in the city with EVOs on hand, so it certainly seems like a real problem. We're reaching out to Sprint for comment and we'll let you know what we hear.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

Update: And we just got this from Sprint --
"One of our VoIP switches in New York did experience an equipment failure earlier today causing some traffic to be rerouted to another switching location during the repair process and resulting in call congestion for some Sprint customers. Our network operators are working aggressively to resolve this issue and hope to have service back to normal soon."
Let's hope those glorious EVOs resume normal operation shortly.

Update 2: Looks like we're back online, at least intermittently.

Update 3: Sprint tells us that service was 100 percent back to normal as of 4:15PM ET. Carry on, folks!

MSI replacing BIOS with UEFI firmware interface sometime this year?

The United EFI Forum is a trade group that includes Microsoft, Apple, Intel, and ARM. The goal? To develop and implement UEFI (United Extensible Firmware Interface). The specification replaces BIOS as the software interface between your computer's hardware and OS, doing away with several limitations of the BIOS firmware interface in the process. Unlike the old, dependable BIOS, however, UEFI comes with a flashy-mouse driven interface; and instead of being written in assembly, it's written in C -- which means that it needs more resources, although it's also a lot more flexible. According to an article on THINQ.co.uk, MSI will introduce the spec on Sandy Bridge motherboards "towards the end of this year." Also according to THINQ, Seagate has stated that UEFI is "an essential requirement" for PCs with boot drives larger than 2TB. That said, it doesn't look like the classic text-based firmware is disappearing any time soon: most existing motherboards simply don't have the overhead to support its flashy successor. Besides, manufacturers have spent too much time developing their own custom BIOS and hardware features to throw 'em away just yet.

Update: Of course, this is but a brief introduction to the topic. Special thanks to Brian Richardson for pointing out this post at Intel that goes into much greater detail.
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PlayStation Network down for 'regularly scheduled maintenance' -- RDR posses take the day off

Wondering why your murderous, alcohol-fueled rampage across the old Southwest has been interrupted? The PlayStation Network is taking a personal day for maintenance (it happens sometimes, even on services we pay for, so insert PSN+ rumors here) from 8 a.m. (PST) to 8:30 p.m. Turning on your PS3 for some Red Dead Redemption or other gaming in the interim displays the above message so for now, all of your Home friends will have to wait. In the meantime, Netflix streaming is still a go so queue up 3:10 to Yuma (the original version, of course) and give that tired horse a break.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

AT&T U-verse will have ESPN 3D at launch, for a fee

We're just two days away from the launch of the first 3D channel in the US, and U-verse will be ready. The third broadcaster to announce it will carry ESPN 3D after DirecTV and Comcast, it is the first to charge an additional fee for the privilege. $10 per month adds the "3D Technology Package" to your U-verse viewing options -- similar to Comcast and different from DirecTV's approach, it works with all the boxes but will require users to manually switch to 3D mode on their TVs -- which at the moment will consist only of ESPN 3D, although the company promises its goal is to offer a "wide range" of 3D content just like its current HD lineup (which it also charges an extra $10 to access.) Have U-verse but haven't shelled out for a 3DTV, glasses, and this new channel? There's still the Multiview app to look forward to, with four ESPN channels on screen at once and coverage in up to six different languages you won't miss a single flop or injured star player during the entire tournament, we promise.

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