Patrick Roanhouse

New Zealand judge gives Megaupload a huge win

Justice Winkelmann of the New Zealand High Court just gave Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom a huge win. In today's session, Judge Winkelmann ruled that the police search warrants used to seize property -including hard drives and computer equipment- from Kim Dotcom's New Zealand mansion were illegal. According to the ruling, the warrants did not properly describe the offenses to which they were related.

Since day one, Kim Dotcom's legal defense has called into question the very nature of the case. Because copies of Dotcom's drives were turned over to the American FBI before New Zealand digital forensics teams could check them, Winkelmann ruled the data to be unlawfully obtained.

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Apple's Mountain Lion will allow automatic security updates

In the most recently released developer preview of Mac OS X, Mountain Lion, Apple has included an automated system that lets the user check and install new Security Updates. Part of a new set of OS X 10.8 protection tools against the once non-existent Mac OS malware threat, the new feature is called "OS X Security Update Test 1.0," and it will be rolled into the release version of Mountain Lion when it comes out next month.

The new security automator can run at a daily scheduled interval, or upon system restart, and it offers the user the ability to download and install updates in the background. In the Mac App Store, Apple states that after restarting your Mac, it will provide a much more secure connection to Apple's update servers, providing an encrypted connection to help protect from possible man-in-the-middle attacks for each update.

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T-Mobile USA CEO Gives himself the axe

T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm announced in a statement today that he will be resigning from the top executive postion of Deutsche Telekom's US-based subsidiary.

Humm joined Deutsche Telekom in 2005, and was responsible for the company’s mobile business in Germany. In 2008, he took on the responsibility of managing the sales and service activities within the larger Deutsche Telekom Group. In May 2010, he moved to T-Mobile USA, taking over as CEO in November of that same year.

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Cisco launches its first 802.11ac gigabit wireless router

Cisco has taken the plate and swung hard for the fences with their new draft 802.11ac gigabit wireless router product, the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router EA6500.

Scheduled for release in August, the EA6500 is available as a $219.99 pre-order in Cisco's Web store. Besides the feature set of the latest draft 802.11ac for speeds of up to 1300 Mbps, it also includes a fancy new NFC (near field communication) capability for smart device admin access, and the new "Cisco Connect Cloud" which will allow remote monitoring and administration from a native mobile device app. The Cisco Connect Cloud will be free and also have support to control other home automation devices such as smart appliances, smart security systems, and smart TVs.

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Vizio drops $99 Google TV

Vizio just dropped what I must say is the first killer Google TV set-top box today. The 4-inch by 1.6-inch high Vizio Co-Star with Google TV will be available for pre-orders in July on for $99.99.

The new small form factor Google TV powered device is partners with streaming game service Onlive to promote. The device comes with support for 1080p Full HD and 3D programs. It also has built-in 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth support. There are also integrated USB 2.0 ports to connect external hard drives, keyboards and other peripherals including the recently released Universal OnLive Wireless Controller.

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I'm not someone to light a torch and raise a pitchfork over the FCC, but...

Over the weekend, I got to thinking more about the role of the Federal Communications Commission.

You see, last week, the Supreme Court, in an eight-to-zero ruling, struck down fines that the FCC had issued to Fox Television and ABC Broadcasting. The judges found violations of “fleeting” indecency standards by Fox and ABC to be void. However, the Court sidestepped the broadcasters' protest of First Amendment rights, ruling on the matter as an issue of basic fairness and due process of the FCC fines as 5th and 14th amendment breaches instead.

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New Sony Google TV launches ... in the UK, oh goody

The Google TV platform kind of flopped when first launched in the United States two years ago. Anemic hardware and wonky UI made the experience a total cluster bomb of grief and end-user cursing for anyone that purchased it. Logitech took a $30 million write-off and ditched their failed Google TV product, Logitech Revue. 

The set-top box that "augmented" your television viewing experience also launched with the Sony NSZ-GT1 and Sony Internet TV with Google TV. The old consumer electronics behemoth that is no stranger to showing gumption for beating a dead horse will try again. Starting July 25, Sony will release the NSZ-GS7 set-top box in the UK for £200/$199. International launch will follow.

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Google stands against government spying and censorship

security hand

Google's fifth "Transparency Report" shows that the emperors of the world wear no clothes. The search and information giant started releasing the data two years ago, offering a small peek into the bombardment of user information requests that world governments make -- everything from non-copyrighted YouTube video take-downs, to search result link removals, to, most alarmingly, private citizen emails and information.

But what is most alarming about these requests? Many are not even for serious matters of national security. Most are down right requests to silence, censor, track, and or monitor dissident internal political groups and political opponents. In some, it is the outright censorship of non-violent organizations, ideas, or even the requested silence of whistle-blowers pointing out corruption. Google's own policy analyst, Dorothy Chou, sees a disturbing trending rise, particularly from "Western democracies not typically associated with censorship".

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Using Internet Explorer is more taxing than you think

Australian-based online electronics store Kogan has fired off an ingenius web site press stunt. The retailer adds 6.8 percent extra -- the "Internet Explorer 7 Tax" -- to online purchases made using the browser. Note this is only for customers who use IE 7 browser, not version 8 or later.

In a day and age when web standards compliance is king, Kogan comes out swinging. The company states that taking the extra time to develop for IE7 hurts the bottom line -- not just for its operations but for customers. Kogan wants customers to use modern browsers that support web standards. Many older browsers don't support new standards and technology.

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Ethiopian government outlaws VOIP, 15-year prison sentences possible

Troubling news is coming out of East Africa this week. International media site Al Jazeera has just picked up that on May 24th 2012, Ethiopia ratified new legislation called the 'Ethiopian Telecom Service Infringement Law'. The Legislation criminalizes any third-party Internet services not run by the state controlled telecom monopoly, Ethio Telecom, with Skype being a focus. However, the ban affects other services, such as Google Talk.

The new telecom law is meant to impede Internet telephony, with reported punishments of heavy fines and 8 to 15 years in prison if caught. The legislation prohibits all network telephony traffic, along with audio and video data traffic via social media, reports the The Africa Review.

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Nokia stock collapses after announcing massive layoffs

It is a dark day for the employees of the world's most-recognized phone maker in Espoo, Finland. Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO, announced today that 10,000 positions will be made redundant by the end of 2013. In what is being called part of a strategy to rescale Nokia's operations after terrible losses over the past four quarters, offices in Finland, Germany and Canada will close. Also executives Niklas Savander, Mary McDowell, and Jerri DeVard will step down.

The market reacted swiftly and painfully, driving down Nokia's share price about 18 percent to $2.30. In early trading, Nokia shares dropped their greatest percentage in 11 years.

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Verizon Share Everything plan shares very little savings

I find it humorous to read a press release from a large telecom in regards to cellular service plans. They use powers of the telecom heavens to make their calling and data plans "easier" for simple, dumb mortals. Carriers play it up like they have come down from Olympus to give us fire. All so we can build temples to them faster.

Of the top-three of the pantheon of cellphone carriers, Verizon is the biggest of them all -- the Zeus of wireless, who can screw anyone in any form. It's pretty simple for them. They have the biggest lightning bolts if you didn't know. It's clearly in their commercials for the "lightening" fast 4G LTE data speeds. So when they have something they think is "game changing" they send their fastest messenger.

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Learn from the past to know the future: Video Game History Museum is now a legitimate idea [video]

Non-profit organization the Video Game History Museum is trying to preserve and share the record of video game development, culture and history. The museum is a concept that sprouted out of the 30-plus years of old video game consoles from collectors at the Classic Gaming Expo, which has grown in size for the last 13 years since 1999.

The attendees have come together to start the museum to show the passion, work, effort and failures of the video game industry, which has profoundly changed our culture since the first games of Asteroid (in computer labs of universities) or Pong (stand up arcade in bars) in the 1970s. One of its directors, Joe Santulli gives, us the run down of the hopes for a physical location inside the pop-up museum at E3 2012.

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If you go to see 'Prometheus' expecting an 'Alien' prequel you are gonna have a bad time [review]

The audience at the Thursday June 7 12:10 am screening of "Prometheus" at the Arclight Theater Hollywood on sunset Blvd in Los Angeles just sits in their seats. No one moves, no one talks. The lights come up and it is so quiet you can hear a pin drop. People just stare forward and after a minute turn to their friends with the look of what did I just watch?

Slowly people stand and shuffle out when the credits start to roll. I mean you can taste the confusion and the hurt of the crowd. The reaction is the same as the dejected looks I saw at age 15 when "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" ended. Did the unimaginable just occur? Could Prometheus do to "Alien" what the prequels did to "Star Wars"?

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Nike+ fitness tracking integrated into Xbox Kinect? Not so fast, Marathon Man

At the Microsoft E3 2012 Press Conference Microsoft executive Yusuf Mehdi talked about a rather amazing brand partnership, introducing Stefan Olander, Nike vice president. The Nike+ service, already made famous for its partnerships with Apple, and the ability to help track your workouts and keep you motivated to stay fit, is coming to the Xbox 360. Olander came on to show us the history of Nike+ and the goals of Nike to help empower the athlete in everyone to reach their peak of performance. A demo of footage of a title called Nike+ Kinect Training hit the jumbo screen with flashes of CGI models inter-spliced with live action human models demonstrating moves -- even flash of a screenshot showing the Nike+ app on a Windows Phone tracking a workout.

But not much else was talked about. Would Nike+ track you as you played all kinect titles? Would you know just how many calories you might have lost while shaking your money maker to the dance moves of Dance Central 3? Would you be able to know you not only saved the world with the Mutant, Magic, and Technology infused powers in Avengers: Battle For Earth? What about the workout you get from a magical onslaught you wrought upon the hoards of baddies in Fable: the Journey?

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