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Weekly Game Replay: Double Fine layoffs, $10B Call of Duty franchise

4 hours ago | Posted in: gaming

Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN offer up a one-stop article for some of the happenings in the video game industry over the past week. In this week's edition of Weekly Game Replay, we look at Double Fine layoffs, Call of Duty reaching $10 billion in sales for the franchise, World of Warcraft recapturing 10 million active subscriptions, Sweden considering a sexism label for video games, Activision settling its shareholder lawsuit, and more.

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Yahoo acquires photo-aggregation application developer Cooliris

7 hours ago | Posted in: industry

Another acquisition by Yahoo was announced late last week, building on a long string of pick-ups under the leadership of CEO Marissa Mayer. The newest company coming into the Yahoo fold is Cooliris, a developer known for its mobile photo-aggregator application Cooliris for Mobile and the recently launched BeamIt Messenger.

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Xiaomi looking to overtake Apple, Samsung in the next 10 years

8 hours ago | Posted in: mobile phones, Apple

Last week, Xiaomi CEO Jun Lei said that he expects the smartphone manufacturer to take the number one sales spot in the next decade. Lei had a chance to emphasize his belief at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen China, taking to a panel to accentuate the company's growth in smart devices. To do so, the Chinese company will need to overtake the number one and two companies Samsung and Apple, something that Apple Senior Vice President of Legal and Government Affairs Bruce Sewell believes won't be so "easy."

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Samsung launches tactical ITC complaint against Nvidia's GPU line

Sat November 22, 2014 | Posted in: industry

Samsung has racheted up its legal battles with Nvidia, bringing US regulators into the battle. Yesterday, the Korean manufacturer filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) attempting to block GPUs manufactured by Nvidia from being imported and sold in the US market. The complaint mirrors one that Nvidia filed against Samsung earlier this year, with Nvidia calling it "a predictable tactic."

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Target claims no responsibility for 'Black Friday' data theft in court

Sat November 22, 2014 | Posted in: Investor, industry, security

Five banks are suing retailer Target over the infamous "Black Friday" data breach in a federal lawsuit. In a hearing yesterday before US District Judge Paul Magnuson, Target claimed that the bank's losses weren't the retailer's fault, as it happened at the point of sale in many stores that it claims it was not responsible for, as opposed to a central failure in corporate data services, so the Minnesota and US Plastic Card Security Act provisions don't apply.

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Google's Android 5.0 Full Disk Encryption hindering NAND speed

Sat November 22, 2014 | Posted in: troubleshooting, mobile phones

While initial reviews of the anticipated Google Nexus 6 device were decent, a few reviewers pointed out some confusing performance metrics. Initial examiners of the device are reporting that implementation of Android 5.0 Lollipop's Full Disk Encryption (FDE) cuts NAND random read speeds dramatically, from over 16.6MB/s with encryption off to 6.18MB/s with the feature active.

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FCC Chairman sees Net Neutrality lawsuits by 'big dog' ISPs coming

Sat November 22, 2014 | Posted in: industry, networking

US Federal Communications Commission head Tom Wheeler said that there is a specific reason why the regulatory group is taking its time with the net neutrality discussion. Speaking at a meeting on Friday, the chairman said that caution was prudent, and that the agency needs to "make sure that we understand what is going on here." Referring to Verizon, AT&T, and the other major Internet providers, he added that "the big dogs are going to sue regardless of what comes out."

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Briefly: Spotcam launches, Satechi's 10-port USB 3.0 hub

Fri November 21, 2014 | Posted in: security, peripherals, Apple

Cloud-based video system Spotcam, has announced the debut of its home surveillance system with remote access. Featuring a Wi-Fi-enabled camera with two-way audio, users can view live or recorded footage of their home or office to ensure that all is secure while away. The Spotcam system is accompanied by a free 24-hour loop of stored footage, aiming to provide an affordable alternative to more elaborate security systems. Spotcam's camera features 720p resolution and a 110-degree wide angle lens, with proficiency in low-light conditions as well as night vision capacity. Spotcam can be set up on both Android and iOS devices, with purchase of the camera system priced at $150 through Amazon. For larger footage storage, pricing begins at $4 per month for access to a three-day duration.

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European parliament wants to break Google search from rest of company

Fri November 21, 2014 | Posted in: Graphics/Web Design

The European Parliament is looking to break Google apart into multiple sections, according to a draft motion discovered by the Financial Times. The proposal seeks to separate Google's "search engines from other commercial services," in an attempt to curb the power gained from being the most dominant search engine on the continent.

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Judge approves $450M e-book settlement between Apple, states [u]

Fri November 21, 2014 | Posted in: industry, Apple

[Updated with additional background information, details on "escape clause"] Federal court Judge Denise Cote has approved Apple's $450 million e-book suit settlement offer with US states. The agreement, proposed in June, will settle allegations made in 33 states and territories, with $400 million potentially reaching customers affected by the "price fixing conspiracy." The agreements only settles the states' complaints, with the publishers' settlements remaining discrete. However, Apple may have an ace up its sleeve on the deal -- in the form of a "vindication" clause.

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Briefly: Google Drive Chromebook offer, AT&T Nexus 6 issue

Fri November 21, 2014 | Posted in: computers, mobile phones

Google is giving potential Chromebook users an incentive to pick up the notebook before the end of the year. The search company is providing new Chromebook purchases worth $199 or more with 1TB of Google Drive storage for two years as a free bonus. The offer applies to purchases at retail and online stores, as well as Google Play, but must be redeemed before January 1st, 2015.

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British regulator urges Russian authorities to shut down webcam site

Fri November 21, 2014 | Posted in: security

A Russian website showing live video feeds from unsecured webcams has come under fire from a British government regulator. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) of the United Kingdom has called for Russian authorities to take action against the site, "Insecam," which breaches the privacy of thousands of people who do not realize someone else may be watching, as well as calling for device owners to secure their cameras.

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Amazon reportedly preparing advertising-supported Prime Instant Video

Fri November 21, 2014 | Posted in: industry

Amazon customers wanting to experience Prime Instant Video may soon be able to view some content without subscribing to the Prime delivery service. The retailer will reportedly be launching an advertising-supported video streaming to its online services roster early next year, allowing viewers to watch a selection of movies and TV shows for free.

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(Black) Friday Deals: And so it begins!

Fri November 21, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, computers, software, iPad

Black Friday is just one week away, and veteran shoppers are probably dreading the prospect of facing off against a deal-seeking mob shouting at each other over discounted electronics in the near future. Today's Friday Deals post, just as with previous Fridays and now every Monday until the end of the year, aims to provide you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader, early deals from retailers from the comfort of your home, without going near the intimidating (and likely plague-ridden) mass of shoppers. As usual, all prices are correct at the time of publication, but may not be valid at a later time. We're going to update this post many, many times over the next three days. Check back often!

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Streaming TV service Aereo files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Fri November 21, 2014 | Posted in: industry

Aereo has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, following the high-profile shutdown of the service via a ruling from a New York court. The cloud-based TV rebroadcasting and DVR service made the filing just under two weeks after it was forced to lay off a large number of employees at its Boston New York offices, with little chance of resurrection.

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Amazon reportedly preparing to launch hotel booking service

Fri November 21, 2014 | Posted in: industry

Amazon is said to be close to expanding its retail ambitions, into the travel market. A report claims the online retailer is preparing to open a travel department, and has apparently been working with independent hotels and resorts close to major cities in order to launch the service in the near future, possibly as soon as New Year's Day.

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Briefly: YouTube videos in Google Play Music, Washington Post app

Fri November 21, 2014 | Posted in: software, audio

Google has rolled out its YouTube Music Key service to existing Google Play Music All Access subscribers. While the YouTube Music Key launch revealed its users automatically enrolled into the Google Play Music subscription, Google revealed yesterday that Music All Access users were also able to use Music Key as part of their existing subscription. The Google Play Music app has also been updated on Android, providing options to watch the music video with certain tracks.

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AMD unveils new Carrizo system-on-chips for first half of 2015

Fri November 21, 2014 | Posted in: computers, industry

Confirming previous leaks, AMD announced that the next generation of of chips in its APU lineup are coming in the first half of 2015. During the Future of Compute event in Singapore, the graphics card and processor manufacturer detailed the new Carrizo system-on-chips (SOC), adding that the two models share a single, scalable infrastructure in a FP4 BGA packaging.

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AMD working with Samsung, Capcom on 4K gaming monitors

Thu November 20, 2014 | Posted in: computers, digital imaging

During the Future of Compute event in Singapore, AMD announced that it's working with Samsung to put the first monitors on the market that support its FreeSync technology in ultra high-definition (UHD) 4K monitors. To go along with the gaming-focused monitor technology, it was also announced that AMD is working with well-known game developer Capcom to implement Mantle support in the future.

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Ship times for iPhone 6 models now dropping in time for holidays

Thu November 20, 2014 | Posted in: iPhone, Apple

The US online Apple Store has recently revised the wait time for an online-ordered iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, just in time for the holiday buying season. The units are still very constrained, but are slowly catching up with demand, based on changes to ship times on Apple's website. The two higher-end iPhone 6 models now have a US ship time of seven to 10 days, while the 16GB model now has a five-to-seven day wait time. The larger iPhone 6 Plus has dropped to a seven-to-10 day shipping window for the 16GB model, but still has longer times on larger-capacity units.

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Billboard, Nielsen tipped to track streaming music, video services

Thu November 20, 2014 | Posted in: audio

The way the popularity of content is measured may be seeing some changes in the coming weeks, both for audio and video. Billboard will start to include streaming and digital track sales as part of the Billboard 200 albums chart, while Nielsen is said to be preparing to track content watched through streaming services starting from next month.

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Amnesty International launches surveillance detection tool, Detekt

Thu November 20, 2014 | Posted in: industry, security

For those concerned that their computer activities are under the watch of the government, a new free scanning tool is now available to search Windows-based PCs for surveillance spyware. Amnesty International, in a partnership with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Digitale Gesellschaft and Privacy International, launched Detekt today, a free open-source scanning tool used to detect some of the known spyware that government agencies use to monitor activists and journalists.

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Google, Rockstar Consortium submit filing to end legal battle

Thu November 20, 2014 | Posted in: industry

Google's legal battle with the Rockstar Consortium over claims that the search company infringes upon seven patents with the Android operating system appears to be coming to an end. According to a filing submitted to the US District Court of the Eastern District of Texas on November 17, both parties have agreed to settle their dispute.

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Uber hires former IBM Chief Privacy Officer to review privacy policies

Thu November 20, 2014 | Posted in: industry

Uber is forming a privacy team by bringing onboard a number of experts, as it attempts to secure its customer's data. The hiring of a team, including former IBM Chief Privacy Officer Harriet Pearson, comes shortly after reports claimed one of the app-based cab company's executives had tracked a ride of a journalist without their permission.

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Moleskine takes hand-drawn sketches digital with new notebook, app

Thu November 20, 2014 | Posted in: digital imaging

Where other companies are shifting drawing focuses to tablets or digital-capture methods, Moleskine is trying to keep the drawing experience analog. However, instead of foregoing digital workflows entirely, the company is offering a new notebook and app that works with Adobe Creative Cloud to convert hand-drawn sketches into digital files.

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Google Contributor lets public pay to remove ads from select websites

Thu November 20, 2014 | Posted in: industry, Graphics/Web Design

Google has launched a new service called Contributor, allowing people to pay to remove ads from participating websites. At the service's portal, visitors can pick which sites they want to contribute to, and whether to donate $1, $2, or $3 per month. Once a subscription is active, visiting those sites will display thank-you messages and/or pixel patterns in place of the ads.

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