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August 31, 2014

Weekly Byte : 24/8/14 ~ 31/8/14

First of all , I would like to take some time out and sincerely wish Malaysia and Malaysians a Selamat Hari Merdeka. Thank you . Now bringing you back to your regularly scheduled Weekly Byte.

In today's tech news, Lizard Squad assemble , Coolest the coolest cooler , Hyperlapse race winner , and many more!

Hello , ladies and gentlemen! This is Jack from Tech-Critter and welcome to another Weekly Byte , your weekly byte sized summary for everything tech related. Another eventful week within the tech industry , so without further ado lets jump right in!


Apps are spies now ?!?!:
Despite the common assumption that apps cannot interfere with each other easily , the trio of researchers Qian , Qi Alfred Chen and Morley Mao of the University of Michigan have proved otherwise. They have confirmed that they were able to steal a multitude of private information through using one app to interfere with another. While their studies was based on the Android OS , the trio believes that other operating systems including desktop ones like Mac and Windows are vulnerable too. They have published a well written and very detailed report which can be found here. The trio have also presented their findings at the USENIX Security Symposium in San Diego on Friday (22nd of August) to alert the public so major props to them, nice work guys!

Employees of NSA and GCHQ working against their respective agencies?:
NSA and GCHQ's many efforts to crack the Tor  (short for The Onion Router) network ( a popular way of anonymously acessing the internet without being spied on , and it also acts as a gateway to hidden websites known as the "deep web" where some activities of questionable legality happens.) is not unheard off . Well , according to Tor Network's executive director Andrew Lewman , the agencies' employees seem to be working against said agencies' best efforts to crack it by anonymously tipping him off about known flaws and vulnerabilities. More information on this can be found on the original interview by BBC here.

Microsoft's "DeLorean":
Cloud gaming , the revolutionary concept that allows people without a high end PC to play games with breathtaking graphics by streaming it from a dedicated server that runs and processes the game for you. Multiple companies have taken a stab at it but it hasn't been working out due to the latency and lag of it , no matter how fast your internet connection is. Microsoft has reportedly came up with an idea that might just solve this , and push the concept to the next level. How do they do this you might ask , Microsoft has released a paper detailing their testing of DeLorean , their predictive system that guesses a players input based on their previous plays and behaviours in game and then pre-loads it to reduce the lag. It also has a compensation technique to change the pre-loaded frames if the system's prediction was wrong. Do you guys actually see this working , read up more and decide on your own here.

Google's Project Wing:
Similar to plans that Amazon initially had , Google is trying it's hands on flying delivery drones. Although the said drones remain banned in the US by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) due to safety and privacy reasons , Google seems to have made progress elsewhere around the globe. Most noticeably in Bhutan , where drones are delivering medical supplies to remote clinics in Namibia. Have a look of your own here.

Lizard Squad , who are they?:
A mysterious hacker group has started making waves within the tech industry's little brother , the gaming industry out of the blue this week. They have allegedly attacked Sony's Playstation Network by overwhelming it with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack , and have simultaneously issued a plane bomb threat which diverted the flight of Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedly via the group's Twitter account. Other than that , the group has also publicly targeted popular video game streaming site Twitch. What on earth is this mysterious group aiming to achieve? where have they originated from? These questions remains unanswered to this day , read up more here and here.

This watch is literally shocking:
Pavlok has came up with a watch that gives you a tiny electric shock to motivate you on whatever it is that you're trying to achieve , which is based on the Pavlovian behavioural conditioning that uses positive and negative reinforcements hence the naming scheme. This watch has an expected release date somewhere in 2015 , at the meantime check it out via their site here.

Coolest is the coolest cooler:
Coolest , the cool and trendy all in one cooler took the crowdfunding approach via Kickstarter , and it has worked out really well for the creator Ryan Grepper , luring a large amount of backers , it has raised over $13,285,226 , surpassing Pebble smartwatch's milestone of $10,266,845 and claiming the title of Kickstarter's most succesful project. Read up more about the Coolest on their kickstarter page here.

Intel releases Haswell-E:
High-end PC gamers and enthusiast rejoice! Intel has released a new line of processors which is most likely their last before moving on to next generation chips codenamed Broadwell. The flagships of this new line are the eight core Core i7-5960X , the six cores Core i7-5930K and i7-5820K , which Intel boast to have a 20 percent performance increase compared to their Haswell predecessor. Intel has also released a new chipset the X99 which is also targeted towards high-end pc gamers and enthusiast too. Read up more here and here.

Rovio Chief Executive stepping down:
Makers of the popular mobile game Angry Birds , Rovio's chief executive , Mikael Hed will be stepping down at the end of this year , reasons being that the company is not doing so well after its successful Angry Birds game. The story behind is rather interesting albeit a bit lengthy , readers that are interested can read up more about it in this well written article done by The New York Times here.

MSN Messenger's 15 years reign coming to an end:
MSN messenger , which I'm sure most of us remember using fondly in the past , has finally coming to an end. After Microsoft bought MSN Messenger's (also known as Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger) rival , Skype , MSN messenger has lost a significant chunk of their user base in 2013. Now , their final stronghold , which is in China will  also be shut down , signalizing the end of the service's 15 years run. Users of MSN messenger in China will now be transferred to Skype. Rest well , MSN messenger , for you have charmed us all with your services that started since 1999 , you will be remembered. Read up more about this here.

Apple's iWatch won't be released possibly until 2015:
Apple's wearable , the iWatch which will most likely be shown at the latest iPhone Event dated September 9th , reportedly won't be shipping until 2015 with a hefty price tag of $400 ( most of the current smartwatches range from $150 ~ $300). All of this is sourced from recode.net which has successfully predicted the iPhone Event's date , links to all of this can be found here , here and here. Is any of this true , who knows? Only time will tell.

Alienware's new Area-51 PC design is revolutionary:
Alienware's flagship line of pc aptly named Area-51's newest refresh , will have a brand new form factor , favouring a trapezoid shape rather than the conventional rectangular shape. This approach in design seems to offer alot of benefits at a glance without compromising it's elegant look. Have a look at it on their official site here.

Hyperlapse race has a winner?:
Instagram's Facebook division has released Hyperlapse , their new app for recording time-lapses with a smooth and cinematic experience compared to the conventional time-lapses. Instagram has seem to won the race despite Microsoft having a video showcasing their own version of Hyperlapse first because Instagram was first to released their app publicly. Both have chosen the same name for their respective version of this technology although who adapted it first remains unclear. Read up more about this here and here.

Well , that's about it for this week folks ! I hope you guys have a nice weekend, once again this has been Jack bringing you the Weekly Byte. Stay tuned next week for more tech news, thanks for reading!

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