Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Nevada Legalizes Online Gambling

The fight to legalize online gambling has scored a major victory when earlier this month Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed landmark legislation into law authorizing his office to enter into agreements with other states that will in effect allow Nevada-based companies to host interactive online gambling for residents of other states. The bill paves the way for national Internet wagering even though efforts at federal regulation have stalled.

Sandoval and Nevada legislative leaders said it was important for Nevada to remain at the forefront of gambling regulation.

"This is an historic day for the great state of Nevada," Sandoval said, flanked by dozens of state lawmakers. "Today I sign into law the framework that will usher in the next frontier of gaming in Nevada."

Several states have taken up the fight to legalize online gaming since a 2011 declaration by the U.S. Justice Department ruled that only online betting on sporting contests broke federal law. That ruling opened the door for states to legalize some forms of online gambling, even though many have yet to follow through.

Nevada's legislation comes as New Jersey - considers a similar move to legalize online gambling. Republican Governor Chris Christie rejected a measure earlier this month that would have allowed Internet gambling, further opening the door for Nevada to become the first state to enact interstate legislation.

Exactly how the federal government will react to the legislation following its major crackdowns on online gambling sites in the past is yet to be seen. The federal government has actively pursued owners of gaming sites in the past. In April 2011, the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office shut down three of the biggest internet poker sites and charged the owners with fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling. The poker companies - including big sites such as PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker - were all based overseas and argued they operate outside the reach of U.S. law, but 11 defendants were accused of the charges.

On July 31, 2012, the US government dismissed "with prejudice" all civil complaints against all PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker companies after coming to a settlement with PokerStars which includes PokerStars purchasing Full Tilt. PokerStars and Full Tilt admitted no wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which ends all litigation between the government and the poker companies. The criminal indictments remain in place for the named individuals and they have faced on-going lawsuits from former players looking to collect on winnings and deposits.

Global online gambling consists of approximately 17 percent Americans and the total revenue generated from online gambling by residents of the United States equates to $6 billion per year including, online casinos, online sports betting and online poker rooms.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Internet Explorer 10 Now Available On Windows 7

Microsoft has officially released Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7. The browser which offers a few new features over the current latest release, IE9, has been available since late October for users of Windows 8, but now becomes available for the 700 million or so users of Windows 7.

Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 packs some new usability features, including integrated spell checking and auto-correct features. There is also better support for the latest Web standards such as HTML 5, and "Do Not Track" which asks websites not to track the users’ browsing history in order to serve targeted ads—is enabled by default. For those looking for more speed and better efficiency Microsoft claims that IE 10 offers improved JavaScript performance that helps IE 10 run at up to 20 percent faster speeds than IE 9.

Microsoft said they will begin auto updating Windows 7 customers to IE10 in the weeks ahead, starting today with customers running the IE10 Release Preview. For those of you that don't want to wait for the update to hit Windows Update you can download the new browser directly from Microsoft and for more details on the changes and improvements Internet Explore 10 offers check out Microsoft's official blog posting of the release.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Samsung Confirms March 14th Announcement

Rumors and speculation over a possible Samsung release coming in the few weeks have finally been laid to rest with the company confirming details of an event slated for March 14th in New York City.

Samsung has officially invited you to "Meet The Next Galaxy" at a press event to be held at Radio City Music Hall in NYC. The teaser for the event was posted on the Samsung Twitter page with a tagline that reads, "Ready 4 the show?" along with a URL for a livestream ( The same poster, pictured below, was later posted on the Samsung Mobile Press Page with a simple title "Unpacked 2013, Ready 4 the Show."

Samsung's chief of mobile operations, J,K. Shin, confirmed at Mobile World Conference that Samsung is indeed gearing up to announce the Galaxy S IV next month, according to Edaily, a South Korean news site. That's as much as Samsung was willing to confirm at this time.

Friday, February 22, 2013

ZenDesk Hacked, Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter Users Warned Of Possible Phishing Attempts

Zendesk, the email and contact support client that Tumblr, Pinterest, Twitter and a handful of other social applications use, has confirmed a security breach which resulted in the theft of contact information including email addresses of an unknown number of customers.

Tumblr has already sent out emails to its users notifying them of a security breach, no word on whether Twitter and Pinterest will follow suite. However users off all three sites should be on the look out for potential phishing scams. Spearheaded email attacks that look like legit emails from any of the sites.

Tumblr has been using Zendesk for several years to provide support for its users. Tumblr says that there’s a good chance that if you have emailed them for support in the past 2.5 years that you’ve been affected by this breah. These are the warning words Tumblr had for users.

“This (security breach) has potentially exposed records of subject lines and, in some cases, email addresses of messages sent to Tumblr Support. While much of this information is innocuous, please take some time today to consider the following:
The subject lines of your emails to Tumblr Support may have included the address of your blog which could potentially allow your blog to be unwillingly associated with your email address.
Any other information included in the subject lines of emails you’ve sent to Tumblr Support may be exposed. We recommend you review any correspondence you’ve addressed to,,,,, or
Tumblr will never ask you for your password by email. Emails are easy to fake, and you should be suspicious of unexpected emails you receive.”

No passwords or other information has been stolen at this time. However since Tumblr also warned users that the contents of some emails may be a part of the breach users might still want to double check any correspondences and act accordingly.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sony Officially Announces PlayStation 4

No more rumors or speculations need as the wait for the PS4 announcement is over, now gamers will just have to wait for the PlayStation 4 to actually hit stores later this year.

Sony officially took the wraps off the PlayStation 4 last night in New York in front of a crowd of more than 2,000 developers, partners, and reporters. The two-hour event included details on the platform's hardware architecture, upgrades to the PlayStation network, and a sneak peek at upcoming games. During the unveiling Sony slipped in a few of the more important details while omitting some of the exactness.

Here is what we know:
The PS4 Will Be Available by Christmas, there was no word on the exact release date. No doubt Sony is trying to position itself against Microsoft and its upcoming Xbox launch. We shouldn't expect a firm launch date until E3, at the earliest.

The system will run an x86-64 AMD Jaguar CPU with eight cores. It will also come with a 1.84 teraflop Radeon graphics processor and 8GB of RAM. Despite the increased focus on downloadable content, the 6xCAV Blu-ray drive stays. The system will also come with USB 3.0, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, as well as the predictable HDMI, Analog AV out, and Digital Output.

The PlayStation 4 is receiving and updated DualShock 4 controller! Perhaps one of the most anticipated and highly speculated parts of the new console was the controller. Sony confirmed the PS4 will feature s new DualShock controller, with a touchpad, share button, and a headphone jack directly on the controller. A light bar on the back of the controller identifies players, and a 3D camera on the console will track the controllers connected to the console. One unique PlayStation 4 feature: a share button directly on the controller that lets you share gameplay with friends and even allows friends to help you get through tough spots in games.

With this new sharing feature you can ask a friend on the web to virtually take over your controller and get you through those sticking points. Friends can also watch you playing a game, virtually "over your shoulder," and comment on your screen — if you allow them — while you play using the share button and the console's "broadcast live" functionality.

We also know the PS4 is NOT BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE with the PS3, at least not yet. Sony says PlayStation 3 titles will not natively be supported, however, Sony says that it is exploring "advanced technologies" to bring backwards compatibility to the console in the future. All existing PlayStation titles will be playable via the PlayStation cloud service.

What we don't know:
Last night's event included lots of details, but it left many of the big questions unanswered. When exactly is the PS4 going to hit shelves? Sources suggest it should be out in time for the holidays, which makes sense. But we could also see it arriving late this summer and before back to school season. What is it going to cost? There have been reports that it will costs $400, but there will undoubtedly be multiple configurations and what those might be and what sort of pricing they have we don't know. And, what exactly will it look like? Sony only hinted at the devices features and specs. While Sony has release details and images of the DualShock 4 there were no official pictures of the console.

Source: Sony Computer Entertainment International (PDF) | PlayStation Blog.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Microsoft Officially Launches Kills Off Hotmail

Six short months ago Microsoft took the wraps off the companies follow-up to Hotmail dubbed Thew newly re-tooled site offered users and early preview of Microsoft’s free webmail service that is meant to replace the aging Hotmail brand and design. Today, Microsoft is officially taking out of preview and will start prompting its 360 million Hotmail users to switch to the new service (while keeping their old email addresses). Microsoft expects to switch all Hotmail users to the new interface and platform by the summer.

According to Microsoft already has more than 60 million users, making it what MS is claiming "the world’s fastest-growing email service". In order to keep those gains going Microsoft is also launching a massive new marketing campaign for the service. This campaign, which will include TV ads and a number of digital-only videos, will have a very upbeat tone and will not be based upon the recent Scroogled campaign. Instead, the new ads focus on’s features and how it plays well with the rest of Microsoft’s suite of online tools, including, for example, SkyDrive.

Having used the new service for the past several months, I'd have to say I'm more impressed with it than I was with Hotmail. That may or may not mean much given the buggieness of the older service. I find the UI a bit lacking and some of the overall look and feel aren't my style, so it hasn't drawn me away from GMail yet. But it is nice to see Microsoft attempting some changes.

For more details read the official press release, then check out the new experience.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Google Maps Adds Ski Resort Run And Lift Data

Over the years Google has taken Google Maps to new places, first adding in street views of local amusement parks and tourist attractions. Then by adding in views of some of the worlds best ski resorts. Now they are looking to take things one step further giving ski and snowboard bums full terrain and life data incorporated into the mapping service.

 As of last week Google has added 38 new run and lift maps for some of the most popular mountains across the US and Canada. So whether you’re shredding Squaw Valley, Big Sky, or Okemo, Google Maps will offer you a comprehensive, accurate and easy way to find the best route down the hill. 

The full list of mountain maps now available in Google Maps is here with more maps reportedly coming soon!:

For those that want to checkout the terrain first you can get a Street View preview of a few select slopes before you head up the mountain.

Source: Google Maps Blog

Local Television Shows Warn Of Pending Zombie Apocalypse

Unsuspecting viewers in Montana and upper Michigan where likely shocked to see warnings scrolling across their screen of an impending "Zombie Apocalypse" as a distorted voice declared that the corpses were coming to life and that viewers should not approach them, "because they are extremely dangerous".

The zombie apocalypse hoax, reported by Great Falls Tribune in Montana and the Upper Michigan Source, seems to have been staged by persons unknown activating the emergency alert systems at Public TV 13 and CBS affiliate KRTV.

The video above was captured by a quick thinking viewer and shows the scrolling message as well as the voice recording which according to the Great Falls police prompted calls "checking to see if it was true". Lt. Shane Sorenson with the Great Falls Police Department reported that, "there have been no sightings of dead bodies rising from the ground". Sorenson was unsure what sort of penalties a person would face for hacking the emergency alert system, if any. Concerns were also expressed on the KRTV3 Facebook page.

KRTV released a statement saying the "message did not originate for KRTV, and there is no emergency". In Michigan, the station manager of Public TV 13 said the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, NMU public safety and Michigan State Police were all aware of the hoax and investigating how it happened.

Kudos to the hackers that lightened the moods around Michigan and Montana, but I have to wonder what the viewers that called in where thinking. Seriously folks zombies aren't real!!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Instagram Moves One Step Closer To A Full Blown Website

The widely popular smartphone photo sharing site Instagram is moving a tad closer to a full blown web experience as today the company unveiled a Web-based version of the site's newsfeed, which is available to all users now at This new photo-feed option, allows the service's 90 million monthly active users browser based access to view photos from the people they follow just as they do inside the mobile applications.

We believe that you should be able to access Instagram on a variety of different devices, any of which may be convenient to you at a given moment – including your desktop computer or tablet. We do not offer the ability to upload from the web as Instagram is about producing photos on the go, in the real world, in realtime. On the other hand, Instagram for the web is focused on making the browsing experience a fast, simple and enjoyable one.

Instagram has been working on project to build on the sites mobile foundation since November when the site started rolling out Web-based profiles, allowing people to view their own pics at[username], but this feature was limited to a user's own photo's and none of those of their friends. Today's announcement incorporates more access to the features found in the mobile application, but not all. For instance you still can't upload pictures or explore the site to browse up and coming items.

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom said in a blog post that the companies primary focus was originally built on the mobile since its Oct. 2010 launch. The point of Instagram, after all, "is about seeing and taking photos on-the-go." However, in the months since being acquired by Facebook, Instagram has seen huge growth; it now ranks in the tops among social media and photo sharing sites. "To make Instagram even more accessible to our growing community ... you can now browse your Instagram feed on the web – just like you do on your mobile device," Systrom wrote.

iOS 6 Evasi0n Jailbreak Now Available

For iPhone owners looking to open up their device to "un-approved" Apple apps good news, a new Jailbreaking tool has been released that will crack open all version of iOS 6.0 and 6.1.

Monday, the Evad3rs (the new dev team behind the untethered iOS 6 jailbreak) released their Evasi0n Jailbreak utility. The new Evasion Jailbreaking tool functions on Apple’s latest version of iOS: 6.1, while also supporting the older 6.1, 6.0.1 and 6.0.2 firmwares. That means it can be used by owners of iPhone 3GS through 5, all iPads except the first one, iPad mini, iPod touch 4 and 5, and second generation Apple TV.

The utility, which can be downloaded here, is available for the Mac's OS X, for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, and Linux. Evasi0n creates what's called an untethered jailbreak, which means that each time you turn your device on, you don't need to cable it to your computer and go through the jailbreak process again. Untethered, the device with the jailbreak utility can patch the OS kernel on its own after each reboot.

Microsoft Expanding Retail Operations With 5 More Stores

Microsoft has been busy expanding its retail operations with several new stores already slated to open this year. This week the company announced plans to add even more stores to their list. Currently Microsoft is opening (or has opened) stores in six locations. Those first new store locations for 2013 include:
  • The Shops at La Cantera, San Antonio, Texas
  • Dadeland Mall, Miami, Fla.
  • Beachwood Place, Beachwood, Ohio
  • Westfield San Francisco Centre, San Francisco
  • City Creek Center, Salt Lake City
  • St. Louis Galleria, St. Louis

To that they plan to add five new retail stores will soon be found in:
  • Natick Mall, Natick, Massachusetts
  • Ala Moana Center, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Pioneer Place, Portland, Oregon
  • The Somerset Collection, Troy, Michigan
  • Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, Illinois 
The Microsoft stores will feature everything from the newest touchscreen laptops, desktops, and tablets running Windows 8, to Windows Phones, to Xbox and Kinect consoles and accessories, to a wide array of first and third-party software titles. The goal is to introduce you to the best choice, value and services Microsoft has to offer.