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Apple Loses Suit, Gets Sued Again

posted Sunday Nov 11, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Apple Loses Suit, Gets Sued Again

This week, Apple lost a lawsuit filed by VirnetX regarding its FaceTime software and service, resulting in an order to pay $368 million. The suit alleged patent infringement regarding domain name security and VPN (virtual private network) implementation on its older handsets and devices. The suit, and subsequent win, however, was not enough for the company, as it has filed a new version of the lawsuit, shortly after winning the first award.

In fact, on the same day as the win, VirnetX filed an amended suit, including devices manufactured since the initial suit was filed, including the iPhone 5, 5th gen iPod Touch and iPad Mini, as well as all Mountain Lion-powered Macs. That is a lot of new devices all using unlicensed technology and, if the initial suit is any indication, this one will not cost them any less.

VirnetX is actually fairly well known in the tech space for the technology, having existing licensing deals with Aastra, Mitel Networks, NEC and Microsoft, following their own lost $200 million suit in 2010, as well as active and past suits against Avaya, Cisco and Siemens, with a trial set for the latter next year. Hopefully Siemens will be smart enough to work out a proper licensing deal before being subject to the same fate as Apple and Microsoft.

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Navy SEALs Reprimanded Over EA Participation

posted Friday Nov 9, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Navy SEALs Reprimanded Over EA Participation

Ever since seeing Medal of Honor: Warfighter at this year's Electronics Entertainment Expo, EA has been making a big deal about the participation of real elite soldiers. The game culminates in 12 elite squadrons from ten nations being completely playable in the game, all inspired by the real elites behind the scenes.

As it turns out, the game's research and realism might have gone a little too far. Currently seven Navy SEALs have been reprimanded by the US Navy for revealing classified secrets to Electronic Arts. In addition to the unwanted attention, the SEALs have received official letters of reprimand, killing any chance of promotion. They have also been docked two months pay for the breach.

As of today, it is not known how many of the secrets shared with EA made it into the game, but whether or not the contents of the discussion made it to the game, clearly some high-level secure information was passed on without permission. According to reports, among the information shared was details about weaponry that is exclusive to their unit. Based on the Navy's reaction and the timing of the issue, my guess is those weapons, or at least a portion of them, appear in the game either as playable or intractable in some way.

It would appear that EA's dedication accuracy might just have gone a little too far. The questioning of the SEALs by EA should never have gone so far as to even get close to breaching national security, and the SEALs should have thought more about what they were saying and showing and, therefore, not given any classified information to a videogame company.

Considering this is a national security breach, do you think the punishment of the SEALs is just, or was it just a slap on the wrist? Also, should EA be held accountable at all for getting into this territory? Let us know in the comments.

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Microsoft to Retire Windows Live Messenger, Favors Skype

posted Friday Nov 9, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Microsoft to Retire Windows Live Messenger, Favors Skype

Microsoft announced this week, via its Sky Blog, that 2013 will see the end of Windows Live Messenger. The service, which went into operation in the middle of 1999, will be merged into Microsoft's acquired Sky brand, including contact migration and, into the first quarter of 2013, cross-platform chat. The move is the next logical evolution in the Messenger brand, which has seen a wide variety of brandings, including MSN Messenger, Windows Messenger and currently Windows Live Messenger.

It is not a major surprise to see Microsoft make this transition. They spent a lot of money to bring Skype into the family but, until now, have not really set about to using it to its potential. While Messenger has seen rapid usage decline, Skype has seen steady growth over the past few years. Availability on all major platforms, including iOS, Android and even webOS, has made the platform the natural one for most users on mobile. Its integration into Facebook also adds appeal to many users.

With the recent release of Windows 8, and its full-featured Skype application, plus Skype's heavy integration into Windows Phone 8, Microsoft has put a lot of faith in the brand to maintain its momentum and make mobile communications easier, cross-platform.

In addition to momentum, Skype also has a revenue model, which makes it a more attractive service to the company. Messenger has been ad-supported for the entire life of the service, whereas Skype offers paid phone services, such as incoming phone numbers and outgoing minutes. Being able to turn the messaging service into a business is an attractive prospect on a front Microsoft has yet to succeed with.

One major player in expending the revenue channel is its integration into the living room. Over the past few years we have seen Skype show off interactive living room setups, with televisions made for Skype communicating with people wandering around the convention floor on phones - all with high-quality video. If Microsoft can take this concept and integrate it into their Xbox console in a proper fashion, it will be more likely to gain traction over the limited success Messenger had in the same space.

While it is a sad day when a product that has been around since before most people knew the Internet existed goes away, it is an exciting day when a company makes a successful pivot on a long-time business. I look forward to seeing where the ideas from both teams can take Skype in the future.

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New PlayStation Store Finally Goes Live After Short Delay

posted Sunday Nov 4, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

New PlayStation Store Finally Goes Live After Short Delay

On October 23rd, many of you may have wondered why you didn't see the launch of the new PlayStation Store. Well, Sony's revamping of its store to look more like live tiles was put on hold for a bit, as the company cited "unexpected setbacks" as the reason it wasn't active on the 23rd. Luckily, the delay hasn't been very long and we now have the new PlayStation Store, as it makes its way to PS3 users everywhere.

From the PlayStation Blog,

As you may have noticed, the new PlayStation Store for PlayStation 3 is now available in the United States, Canada, Brazil and Mexico. Great new features like streaming trailers, improved search, new filter and sort options, as well as improved graphics, more game and video information, and easier access to add-ons are just some of the highlights.

With so much content available, it's a great time to jump in and check it out. We value your feedback and will continue to make enhancements, so please let us know what you think in the comment section below.

So, with the new Store being live for just over a day, have you gotten a chance to try it out? Do you like it? Give us your feedback in the comments section. And yes, before you say it, we know the Download List now takes twice as long to load and navigate as it did before the update, which we didn't think was possible.

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SplashData's Worst Passwords of 2012 Released This Week

posted Sunday Nov 4, 2012 by Nicholas DiMeo

SplashData's Worst Passwords of 2012 Released This Week

Every year, SplashData releases their list of the worst passwords of the year. These usually are the most commonly used and most ignorant words, phrases or numbers that one could think of. This year was no different, as we saw the list hit right before Halloween and it's definitely interesting to see some of the passwords - if you can call them that - move up and down the list from last year.

For 2012, may we all please give a warm welcome to the terms "welcome," "jesus," "ninja," "mustang," and "password1," as those are new passwords that have been coined as the worst this year.

Morgan Slain, SplashData's CEO says,

At this time of year, people enjoy focusing on scary costumes, movies and decorations, but those who have been through it can tell you how terrifying it is to have your identity stolen because of a hacked password. We're hoping that with more publicity about how risky it is to use weak passwords, more people will start taking simple steps to protect themselves by using stronger passwords and using different passwords for different websites.

With major breaches in big companies like Yahoo, LinkedIn and Blizzard, it is certainly a year to reflect and see if you're using any of these passwords. I would hope, as an informed reader of this publication, that none of you are using any of these, but perhaps your friends and family are. If that is the case, take away their computer until they change their passwords under your supervision.

Below is the list of the top 10 and you can check out the source link below to see the full list of twenty-five. Are you surprised by any of them? Do you think your grandparents could be guilty of using these? Share your stories in the comments below.

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Optimus Prime Coming to Universal Studios Orlando

posted Sunday Nov 4, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Optimus Prime Coming to Universal Studios Orlando

Until this week, Universal Studios Orlando was the oddball of the family, being the only park to not have a Transformers ride with the ride already installed in Hollywood and Singapore. There was a lot of speculation when the park closed Jaws that it was in preparation to install the ride in its place. As it turns out, that was close, but not exactly correct. In fact, Orlando will soon be getting a Transformers: The Ride 3D installed, opening for Summer 2013, but it will not live in the former home of Jaws. Instead, it will live at the other end of the lagoon, very close to where Terminator 2 currently resides. President of Universal Creative, Mark Woodbury, said about the positioning,

You put a lot of thought into those things. This is a big, iconographic attraction, so we wanted to give it a big, iconographic position, so that's why you see it right, smack in the middle of the park, facing out onto the lagoon - so it really has a prominent spot. And then we have Optimus guarding the entrance of the attraction, so that'll be a really stunning image when you see it.

That sounds like a pretty formidable entrance to a ride - certainly more than that of a Christopher Walken cutout standing at the entrance of Disaster!. One of the things that has shocked a lot of people is the sheer speed at which they plan to implement the new ride. In fact, it will be Universal's quickest installation of a new ride in the company's history. When asked, Woodbury, said,

It has already become a global phenomenon. People are just wild about the ride - the reaction has been over the top. So it was rush, rush and let's get it to Orlando in a hurry and that's what you're seeing happen out there today...

It is really fast. This is the fastest we've ever built a project as complex as this. This is a really, really complicated piece of work. From building the building, to the ride technology, to the film technology, it's very, very complicated to put together. And our motivation is it's wildly popular! So we wanted to bring it to market as fast as we possibly could. It's great for our business, great for our guests. And that's what motivates us...

I would say days after opening in Hollywood, we saw the response and we said, 'Let's go to Orlando!

That could either be read as, "People love it so we don't want to disappoint," or, "We want to cash-in in Florida before the ride's hype dispels." Either way, it is nice to see the ride, which has gotten a lot of positive reviews worldwide, will finally be coming to the Orlando campus as well.

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