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Broken underwater cables sever global communications International Internet and phone communications have been severely affected between Europe, the Middle East and Asia due to a break in three underwater optical fibre cables, according to a Friday BBC News report. The three cables normally carry 90 percent of phone and Internet traffic to the Middle East and 65 percent of traffic to India, with services to Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Taiwan and Pakistan also taking a big hit. Experts warn the disruption will have serious consequences on regional economies.
CyberPower announced on Friday it is launching a new Power Video series of PCs that includes the XE, XT and XI models. Meant to appeal to students, editors and professionals who work with HD video, the PCs offer NVIDIA or AMD graphics cards and onboard RAM capacities of 4GB, 8GB or 16GB. Each PC in the series can then be further customized with a range of SATA II hard drives or hard drive arrays as well as Blu-ray disc burners. All include a FireWire port, USB ports, a multi-card reader and dual-layer DVD burners in order to read or distribute media files. CyberPower saw it fit to equip each workstation with a liquid CPU cooling system from Asetek as well.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is due for significant budget cuts as the major labels backing it will reduce costs and cut down on initiating file-sharing lawsuits, say industry insiders according to a Friday CNET report. Earlier today, it was announced RIAA will stop its years-old practice of suing individuals for sharing pirated music and other copyrighted materials. With this move, the RIAA's role will be largely reduced, and insiders believe the budget cuts will be announced at the Association's upcoming annual budget review.
A Carleton University Engineering student has found a way to increase the battery life in smartphones by as much as 12 times. Electronics PhD student Atif Shamim built a wireless connector module that replaces the tiny network of wires used to connect all the electronic circuits with a phone's antenna, thereby increasing efficiency. Apart from using up less energy than conventional, wired methods, the design is also simpler and therefore lowers the cost of hand-held devices, Shamim maintains.
Voodoo PC founder and HP Global Gaming Business CTO Rahul Sood announced on his blog this past Tuesday that the press can expect the launch of a "really crazy" new product at the CES exhibition in less than a month's time from the company. Sood's excitement about whatever this new product will turn out to be is evident, as he goes on to describe it as "truly awesome" and with the "potential of re-landscaping the high-performance computing space."
Software maker Foxit has recently announced the upcoming release of its first hardware product, the eSlick e-book reader. The device supports PDF and TXT documents, and includes Foxit Reader Pro Pack and Foxit PDF Creator software that will convert any printable document to a PDF. Its 128MB of embedded memory will also hold MP3 files, and is expandable to 4GB via an SD card slot. A 2GB SD card is included. Text is diplayed on the eSlick's 6-inch E Ink screen from Vizplex, which offers 600x800 resolution at 166dpi and four grayscale levels.
A new organization hopes to make wireless power a widespread option for electronics in the near future. The Wireless Power Consortium hopes to develop a universal standard that would use contact plates to power portable devices by magnetically inducing an electrical charge in an attached device. The move would let users charge devices simply by placing them on a particular surface, including hidden ones, and could avoid the risk of over- or underpowering a device by using conflicting hardware.
Slacker today kicked off the start of its Radio Plus service. The feature aims to solve some of the problems of traditional Internet radio by letting users make an unlimited number of "requests" for the radio station and thus pick the songs they want rather than depend on Slacker's own team. It also lets users skip as many songs as they like and comes ad free versus the sponsored segments from some competitors.
Antec has introduced its new Sonata Elite to its lineup of quiet PC cases aimed at those who like to put together PCs themselves. The Sonata Elite sports seven drive bays and seven expansion slots in a two-layer steel design with plastic side and top panels meant to eliminate unwanted noise. The use of silicone grommets is likewise employed to quell vibration and any associated noise, while two large, 120mm fans spin at slower speeds to develop the same amount of airflow as smaller blades would deliver at higher, louder speeds. Removable and washable filters make cleaning an easier task.
The CTIA finished its week by publishing the final use conditions for a service that should enable more than two-way simple communication by phone. Called Mobile Enhanced Messaging, the format would allow three or more users to maintain an ongoing conversation; like SMS and MMS, this would work through either text alone or with extra media, including audio, photos, videos and other future content. Similar to instant messaging, users could keep buddy lists and would also have the option of a cosmetic display name rather than a strict user ID.
Kenwood on Friday introduced its I-K50 in-car head unit with support for Apple's iPod players and the iPhone 3G via its front-mounted USB port. The I-K50's CD drive will play back MP3, WMA and AAC-encoded files, while the USB port will allow users to plug in USB flash memory keys loaded with the same supported types of audio formats. Plugging in iPods, including the classic, nano or touch, will allow users to control them via the head unit's controls instead of the music player's own controls, making it easier for drivers to focus on the road. Users can search the music collections stored on their iPods, iPhones or USB keys alphabetically via the head unit.
Display maker AOC has unveiled a new LCD monitor, the V22 Verfino. The screen measures 22 inches, and is a part of the company's Gamer Certified line. Accordingly the monitor is equipped with high-end features, such as HDMI input, LED backlighting, a 100,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and a response time of only 2ms. Conventional contrast and response figures range closer to 2,000-3,000:1 and 4-6ms.
Microsoft is actively pursuing its hinted plans to directly integrate its Zune players with its Xbox systems, a recently unearthed job post for a User Experience Designer shows. A recruit hired for the position would be tasked with conceptualizing and developing the interface for not only the Zune players and PC client but also "Zune Xbox," alluding to a likely playback and possible music purchasing system for the Xbox 360 or later.
TRENDnet has released its 7-inch Wireless Internet Camera and Photo Monitor, model TV-M7. Offering a maximum resolution of up to 16384 x 16384 pixels, the screen is designed to detect and work with any wired or wireless TRENDnet internet security cameras to provide real-time internet-camera video and monitoring for up to four different cameras at once (or switch between them). With the photo frame functionality, users can play photo slideshows with JPEG and BMP pictures, audio files including MP3, WMA, AAC or OOG formats, and stored videos in MJPEG, MPEGI, or MPEG-4 formats.
HP has recently teased an upcoming PC release with what amounts to be a gadget, a USB-powered fridge with enough room for one can of soda. While there is little supporting information available on the purpose of the curiosity, the interior of the tiny fridge reveals a photo of a liquid-cooling setup, a real version of which is believed by many to find its way into an upcoming HP desktop. Thus far, HP only offers variations of its pricey Blackbird 002 gaming desktop PCs with liquid cooling as an integrated option.
Apple's upcoming iMac and Mac mini refreshes will both use NVIDIA's GeForce 9400M or a variant of it when they launch, according to leaks referenced and investigated by AppleInsider. Mac OS X extension files for SMC and ACPI power management included with the 10.5.6 update make references to unreleased "iMac9,1" and "Macmini3,1" models that are specifically tied to using MCP79, NVIDIA's codename for the GeForce 9400M graphics and controller combo chipset.
Japanese disc producer Infinity on Friday rolled out the world's first production video title to include both Blu-ray and DVD on a single layer. A box for the TV series Code Blue will include playable versions of both formats by using a permeable layer that takes advantage of the different wavelengths to store data at different levels; Blu-ray's namesake laser will recognize one layer, while a DVD player's red laser will see another. The technique lets owners of older movie players and PC drives buy a single title and automatically upgrade to playing HD when they pick up a Blu-ray player.
At the beginning of December, users of Canon's new 5D Mark II DSLR have reported an issue with the camera, which produces very fine black dots on the right side of bright spots in images shot at night and at high ISO levels. The dots only become visible if the images are enlarged by at least 100 percent on a monitor or large-format prints are created. The problem was acknowledged by a Canon rep back on December 8th, and as of Wednesday, the company has posted a statement on its Australian support site acknowledging the problem, promising it is looking into the phenomenon to discover ways to "improve and/or mitigate" the issue, according to a Friday CNET report.
Samsung will launch its first phones based on Google's Android platform this coming spring within the US, according to statements reportedly made by the Korean company. An official has told local press that Samsung is "accelerating" development of phones based on Android and should have a finished product released within the US during the second calendar quarter of the year, which runs April through June. The goal is to "meet the specific need of local carriers," the electronics maker adds.
Further details have surfaced today of a major initiative by Dell to tackle the designer 13-inch notebook market, including more information regarding the Adamo notebook. A leak through Engadget now claims to have confirmed that the Adamo is an ultraportable and will be marketed as the "world's thinnest laptop" in a deliberate bid to chase after the MacBook Air's similar claim; the system will reportedly come in black and silver trim made to present an upscale look.
The RIAA today delivered a partial change in stance on Friday by revealing that it will drop its longstanding campaign of suing individual users it alleges have pirate music. The representative group for major music labels says the decision comes after recognizing that its previous approach made people aware of file sharing as a problem but that it was ultimately not very effective in halting the problem outright. Although the number of users has remained constant, the amount of files traded has gone up, the RIAA claims.
LaCie has announced the latest upgrade to its Ethernet Disk, a network-attached 19-inch rack-mounted storage device, offering data backup with storage and file sharing primarily aimed at small or medium business. The new model is explicitly compatible with Apple Time Machine and brings an increase in capacity bringing it to 6TB. The Ethernet Disk can support up to 100 users with customizable access to different shares and up to 25 consistent users.
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