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Hackers Derail Sony's PlayStation Network
December 09, 2014
Still reeling from a cyberintrusion that exposed massive amounts of personnel data from its entertainment division on the Internet, Sony was attacked again over the weekend. This time, hackers disrupted the company's PlayStation Network. However, unlike the foray against Sony Pictures Entertainment, which is still under investigation, the company quickly recovered.
Grooveshark Tries a Different Tack
December 09, 2014
Grooveshark on Monday confirmed that it will launch a new mobile app that allows subscribers to chat while listening to user-created music stations. Dubbed "Broadcasts," the new app will debut next month, offering an ad-free social radio listening experience on both Android and iOS. Stations will be "created by people rather than by algorithms," said spokesperson James Pearson.
Video Gamers Recall 'Father' Ralph Baer's Extraordinary Legacy
December 08, 2014
Ralph H. Baer, the father of the home video game, died Saturday at 92. Baer invented the Odyssey video game system and co-invented the electronic game Simon. While working as a military contractor for Sanders Associates in the '60s, Baer began to explore the possibility of creating a video game system that could be played on the television. The result of his work was the "Brown Box."
Apple Doesn't Need No Stinking Streaming Media Stick!
December 05, 2014
In the first three quarters of 2014, the Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV made stunning gains in sales activity versus the market-leading Roku and the No. 2 device from 2012 and 2013, the Apple TV. Roku snapped up 29 percent of sales, while Google Chromecast rose to claim 20 percent, edging past the Apple TV's 17 percent. The Amazon Fire TV, which launched in April, is already in fourth place.
PS4 May Deliver Street Fighter V's First Punch
December 05, 2014
A trailer leaked on Friday indicates that Capcom's biggest upcoming title, Street Fighter V, will be an exclusive for Sony's PlayStation 4 and Windows PC. Many video games arrive as "timed exclusives," though, and eventually make their way to other systems. Given the importance of the brand to Capcom, it is unlikely that the company would forever limit it to just the PS4 and PC.
Sony's Cyber-Whodunit Is a Page-Turner
December 05, 2014
Who breached Sony Pictures' network and why continues to be a puzzle a week after news of the hack first emerged. Some speculate it was an inside job. A few have pointed fingers at North Korea, which returned its own one-finger salute in response. Others discount that possibility. In the meantime, the FBI has issued a warning stating destructive malware is on the loose.
Apple Accused of Secretly Snuffing Non-iTunes Music Purchases
December 04, 2014
Apple for two years surreptitiously removed from iPods any music not purchased at its iTunes store, prosecutors charged Wednesday in federal court. The accusations surfaced during the trial of a 10-year-old class-action lawsuit claiming Apple violated federal and state laws when it issued iPod software updates that prevented the devices from playing songs not purchased on iTunes.
Apple Fights Yesteryear's iTunes DRM War
December 03, 2014
Apple this week clomped into court to continue fighting a nearly 10-year-old class-action suit stemming from its use of digital rights management technology in iPods. The suit originally was brought in 2005. Both sides' lawyers have filed dozens of trial documents in several hearings. The courts have dismissed some of the items in the original complaint, but have refused to dismiss the case.
Did North Korea Get the Last Laugh Against Sony?
December 02, 2014
Upwards of 1.2 million people reportedly have used pirate sites to download Brad Pitt's unreleased World War II drama Fury. That was one of five films hackers leaked onto the Web following an attack on Sony Pictures' network last week. Sony has called in the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. It's rumored that the hack was launched by North Korea.
Cyber Monday Brings Sweet Deals for Video Gamers
December 01, 2014
A batch of great online deals on Cyber Monday, on the heels of strong Black Friday sales at traditional brick-and-mortar stores, could make Microsoft's Xbox One video game system the big winner in the run-up to the holidays. The video game console headed into its second holiday season in second place to Sony's PlayStation 4, but Microsoft has introduced a number of bundles to draw in gamers.
Amazon Free Video Could Hook Non-Prime Audience
November 24, 2014
Amazon reportedly plans to introduce a new ad-supported streaming video service early next year. The new service will be separate from Amazon's Prime membership offering, which already includes a video-streaming component. That Amazon already has a presence in the streaming video market is almost beside the point. The growth projections for this type of service are very high.
Nintendo Launches Super Smash Bros Charm Offensive
November 21, 2014
Nintendo on Friday released what is expected to be its biggest title for the upcoming holiday season, and it also made a play in the collectible toy market with a line of interactive figurines. Since the release of its Wii U console, the company has found itself in much the same position as its signature characters -- an underdog fighting for survival against much bigger rivals.
Gadget Ogling: A Creepy Echo, Clever Home Connections, Bizarre Smartphones and Flexible 3D Printing
November 15, 2014
Echo, Amazon's newest attempt at a smart personal assistant, is set to take pride of place in your home. The black tower is voice-activated and can play music, as well as provide information and news updates. It's from Amazon, so it also can update your shopping list. It's always on, so it's continually listening to you, wherever you are in a room. That's just more than a little unsettling.
Ubisoft Under Siege for Glitch-Filled Assassin's Creed
November 14, 2014
Ubisoft on Friday released a second patch for Assassin's Creed: Unity, in an effort to quell the uproar that has arisen over problems with the game. The first patch was released earlier this week. Ubisoft has been the target of harsh criticism from gamers and game reviewers alike for releasing Assassin's Creed: Unity with numerous bugs and glitches.
Amazon, Hachette End E-Book Squabble
November 13, 2014
Amazon and publisher Hachette on Thursday made peace after months of slugging it out toe to toe over e-book pricing, which split the authors' community and saw Amazon pulling some Hachette authors' books off its promo list and slowing delivery of others. Neither company disclosed the specific terms of the deal. However, Hachette will have the right to set the price of its e-books.
Nvidia Flips Grid's Game-Streaming Switch
November 13, 2014
Nvidia on Thursday officially launched its Grid on-demand game-streaming service. Due to become available on Nov. 18 in North America, Grid will be free through June 30, 2015, for users of Nvidia Shield tablets and portable devices. "We intend to build Grid into a premium cloud gaming service, and the best global service," said Nvidia spokesperson Brian Burke.
Microsoft Spiffs Up Xbox One
November 10, 2014
Microsoft on Monday announced that it had begun rolling out its Xbox One November Systems Update, which will be its final major update for the console for 2014. The improvements will deliver new ways for owners to watch TV, personalize the game system, and interact with the Xbox Live gaming community, as well as provide new integration with Xbox One Store and Microsoft's SmartGlass platform.
Amazon's Echo Plays Hard to Get
November 07, 2014
Amazon on Thursday announced Echo, a speaker with a built-in voice-activated personal digital assistant. Think of a cylindrical Bose SoundLink Mini married to Siri, Cortana or Google Voice -- or heck, living in sin with all three. Echo can conduct Web searches, add items to your to-do list, let you play streaming music, and give you news and weather reports, among other things.
HP's Omen Laptop - a Portent of Gaming's Future?
November 04, 2014
HP on Tuesday announced the HP Omen notebook PC, a laptop designed with hardcore gamers in mind. Available for order in the U.S. starting at $1,500, the Omen combines performance, portability and style, the company said. The Omen features an industrial design that was engineered to manage heat. It has dual fans that pull cool air through the bottom of the system.
Call of Duty Advanced Warfare - You Won't Need a Season Pass to Fight Zombies
November 03, 2014
Activision Blizzard has released a new entry in the popular Call of Duty series. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, which was developed by Sledgehammer Games as part of a new three-year development cycle for the franchise, brings the action to the near future with emphasis on the multiplayer experience. However, its worldwide debut was not without controversy.
YouTube Warms to Subscription Model
October 30, 2014
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki this week said that her team was in the early stages of exploring a new subscription business model. Wojcicki didn't offer any specific details, but she did suggest that one option might include an ad-free service. That would be a big change from YouTube's current advertising-only approach. At some point, people won't want to see ads, Wojcicki said.
Battered Aereo Takes a Couple More Blows
October 28, 2014
U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan last week granted broadcasters' request for a temporary restraining order against Aereo. This is the latest setback for the would-be cable-killer service, which was suspended following a Supreme Court ruling this summer. Aereo had utilized small dime-sized antennas to capture over-the-air TV signals and stream the content to subscribers over the Internet.
Amazon Sticks It to Google Chromecast
October 27, 2014
Amazon on Monday introduced the Fire TV Stick, a new streaming-media device that can connect to an HDTV's HDMI port and deliver video content from Amazon Prime Instant Video, as well as Netflix, Hulu Plus, ESPN, YouTube, Spotify, Vevo, Pandora and A&E. It also can be used to play games. New and existing Amazon Prime customers can pre-order the Fire TV Stick for $19 through Tuesday.
Android Wear Gets Its First Big Update
October 24, 2014
Google's Android Wear on Thursday got its first major update, bringing GPS support and offline music capabilities to the wearables platform. "Android Wear is great for tracking things like route, distance and speed," wrote Kenny Stoltz, Android Wear product manager. "Before today, you had to keep your phone close at hand. Starting today, Wear supports watches with GPS sensors."

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