Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Microsoft Surface Pro goes on sale first at Best Buy

Microsoft has been discussing the price and release date of its newest edition to its "Surface" series, the Surface Pro, since late November, and now that date is now quickly approaching: February 9th. The location? Best Buy at Union Square in New York City.

Surface Microsoft 8 Pro tablet-laptop hybrid
The price for a 64GB Windows 8 Surface Pro will be $899, and the 128GB will be priced at $999 -- but, unfortunately, neither will come with the mechanical keyword attachment. The Surface Pro will weigh half a pound more than the regular Surface, and 2GB more of RAM.

If you're interested in getting one, you may have to wait even longer than February 9th, since the Best Buy at Union Square in NYC is the only store announced to release the Pro on that date. We may need to wait a bit longer to get them elsewhere, unless you can pick one up on the web. We'll see!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Microbes from Below the Antarctic Ice

For the first time, life has been discovered in a subglacial lake, deep under the ice in Antarctica. A research team from the United States made a clean drill to the subglacial lake by the name of Lake Whillans, around 800 meters below the ice surface, and there they found cells containing DNA.

Antarctica's known subglacial lake system
Antarctica's known subglacial lake system
It appears that the microbes discovered have been hiding under the ice for over 100,000 years. The U.S. team retrieved three 10-liter samples of water from the lakes -- containing microbes in a density of 10,000 per milliliter -- and tested the samples in a lab. The tests performed showed that the microbes actively used oxygen.

This discovery has ended the hunt for life in the lakes below Antarctica, started in 1996. The U.S. team’s drilling endeavor marks “the first clean access to a subglacial lake system.”[1] The fact that the drilling was a "clean access" severely limits the chances that the microbes might have arrived by contamination.

Another subglacial lake, Lake Vostok, was the subject of a Russian team's research last year, but the water has yielded no signs of life thusfar.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Congrats to Baltimore Ravens, Super Bowl XLVII winners

Ray Lewis and Baltimore Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII
Great stuff, Ray Lewis
After a hard-fought victory against the San Francisco 49ers in the 47th Super Bowl game at New Orlean's Super Dome, the Ravens will take the trophy back to Baltimore. In a spectacular movie-moment, Ray Lewis will receive a championship ring in his final NFL game -- and well deserved, too!

And even though I was rootin' for the 49ers, I still must say: congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens, and good luck next year!

Apple's debuts "vanity links" during Super Bowl commercial

The Super Bowl XLVII commercials have featured a wide range of ads, from old Bowl favorites like Doritos and E-Trade to upcoming cinema hits. One movie's advert in particular caught the eyes of tech geeks nation-wide -- Star Trek: Into Darkness -- which was interesting not for the movie itself, but rather for Apple's revelation.

Star Trek Super Bowl commercial AppStoreAt the bottom of the commercial's ending scene was the link, which is a customized "vanity" link. This hints at a possible grab for link names, though Apple claims that methods are in place to keep congestion to a minimum. Some widely-sought names will automatically redirect to a search page for the term instead to encourage unique choices. was actually a personal gift from the Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff to Steve Jobs in 2008 -- though Apple is seeing much resistance in court from companies like Amazon and others on usage of the name.
Let's see if it actually works!

Google stocks soar to record high amidst talks of antitrust settlements

Google's (GOOG) stock rose 2.6% to close at $775.60, topping the all-time high of $774.38 it reached in October 2012. The stock went as high as $776.60.

When the market closed on Friday, Google stock had come to rest at $775.60, which broke the $774.38 record Google hit in October of last year. GOOG even managed to peak at $776.60 that day, which is $2.22 higher than the record close.
Google (GOOG) stock rises to record high amidst antitrust settlements in EU
GOOG stock this past six months

The cause of the sudden confidence in Google stock may be a result of an antitrust settlement proposal that the company sent to the European Commission, where it was facing an EU probe into its search business that has lasted three years. Experts claimed that Google might find itself in a very hard position, unlike how they fared in an investigation by the U.S earlier.

The Commission has not confirmed anything yet, but they did say that they would be taking the proposal into review. This news has been enough incentive to encourage investment in Google stock apparently -- enough to keep rising stocks Facebook (FB) and Microsoft (MSFT) eating their dust.

But will it last? That's the real question. An unfavorable decision by Europe may bring dire consequences upon Google's prices, and who really knows what the future holds?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Twitter hacked -- change your password now!

Today the people at Twitter officially announced that over 250,000 accounts were hacked, following a short but odd outage on the site yesterday (coincidentally alongside another outage at Amazon). They say this was their first "real" hack, as opposed to previous attacks that were somewhat simpler. Of the recent hack, the staff remarked it was actually a considerably "sophisticated" attack.

Twitter blue bird logoUnfortunately, this means that many of Twitter's userbase are now in the hands of the hackers, who may use or sell the information to their own ends. So what can you do? Well, the answer is simple, and Twitter staff was quick to suggest it: change your password, whether or not you received the e-mail notification sent out to potential targets. It's just good practice.

Here's a copy of the e-mail sent out from Twitter about the hacking:

Friday, February 1, 2013

Newegg brings on the smackdown with the "Shopping Cart" lawsuit

Online store shopping cart graphic
If you have ever shopped online, then you have almost certainly come across the shopping cart widget. Items can be added to the virtual cart to save for purchase at a later time, perhaps to give you more time to shop. Once you have your entire purchase ready, a quick click to the "check out" button will complete the order.

While the shopping cart is pretty much ubiquitous on the Internet, one "company" claims that it owns the rights to the virtual cart's use. Soverain Software is a sham business existing to suck money out of other, more successful businesses through patent lawsuits. Soverain had produced the two patents 5,715,314 and 5,909,492 (and, on occasion, a third: 7,272,639) to prove their case against such defendants as Amazon and The Gap, and more recently: Newegg.