Behold: The worst anti-cord cutting campaign of all time
Cable companies take a wrong turn on the road to winning back subscribers
As we noted last week, Windows 8 is a very polarizing operating system. While many Windows users find it much faster and more stable than earlier versions of Windows, other users simply hate the Metro UI and wish it would go away forever. Paul Thurrott reports some good news for desktop users who feel spurned by Windows 8 and aren’t satisfied with the changes made with Windows 8.1: Microsoft is working hard to appease them. More →
While some tech companies are publicly denouncing the privacy-encroaching practices of the NSA, others are happy to continue playing ball with the government agency. The Associated Press reports that AT&T sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday proclaiming that the service provider “isn’t required to disclose to shareholders what it does with customers’ data.” The letter also said that customer data is well protected and that AT&T only complies with government requests to the extent that is necessary under the law. More →
It’s no secret that most Americans really don’t like their Internet service providers and now Ars Technica has reached out to its reader base to get a better understanding of exactly why Americans hold their ISPs in such low esteem. What emerges, Ars finds, is consumers who are fed up with “high prices, data caps, absurd policies, and incompetence.” More →
It’s easy to take for granted all of the testing that happens behind closed doors before a smartphone or any other consumers electronics gadget makes its way into our hands. We gave readers an inside look back in 2011 at some of the labs and equipment that Sprint uses when testing devices for its network, and now CNET has posted a similar feature on some of the facilities and equipment Samsung uses to test everything from phones and tablets to refrigerators and washing machines. CNET’s Shara Tibken watched along as Samsung engineers zapped cell phones with stun guns, dropped tablets off of shelves, drenched phones with water, shook washing machines around to simulate a bumpy ride on a delivery truck and even used a room full of ovens to… bake cookies. The site also provided a bunch of photos of various test equipment from its tour in the post, which is linked below in our source section.
By all accounts Microsoft’s Xbox One has sold very well so far but there have been some indications that it’s already fallen behind sales of Sony’s PlayStation 4. Forbes contributor Paul Tassi notes that after Sony announced that PS4 sales were up to 2.1 million last week, Microsoft responded by… talking about how many hours gamers have spent playing Xbox One games. Microsoft’s silence on the latest sales figures follows reports that the PlayStation 4 is outselling the Xbox One in the United Kingdom and polls showing that more gamers plan to buy a PlayStation 4 over the Xbox One during the holiday shopping season. More →
An instruction sheet purportedly revealing an Xbox One backwards compatibility unlock method has been posted online, although the instructions will actually brick the console instead of letting users play Xbox 360 games on it. What actually happens when performing the steps in the order specified? The Xbox One enters into a continuous reboot state, thus rendering the console completely unusable. More →
Sometimes, consumer electronics combust. We have seen it happen to various phone and tablet models from Samsung, Apple and other vendors. Hundreds of millions of these devices are churned out each year so there are bound to be a few hiccups here and there. When the inevitable does happen, the right thing to do is investigate the matter and rectify the situation professionally. The wrong thing to do, as Samsung is in the process of learning, is to tell the owner of the defective device that you’ll only replace it if he shuts up about it. More →
Are you a cable TV subscriber who might be considering cutting the cord? Did you already take the leap and dump your TV service? Cable TV doesn’t want to see you go, and it wants you back if you’ve already left. And what better way to convey that message than with a nice little campaign put together by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the main trade association for cable operators in the U.S.
Behold: The Hole Saga. More →
iOS 7 has been adopted by Apple customers at a staggering rate, with global iOS device penetration that recently surpassed 74% according to Apple. As we all know by now, however, not everyone is a fan. BGR reviewed iOS 7 back in September and called it a near perfect balance of design renovation and familiar functionality. Other reviews, like this iOS 7 user experience review from Nielsen Norman Group or this iOS 7 design review from a design expert, have not been so favorable. A recent parody even suggested that iOS 7 is the perfect platform for murderers. Now, a new blog has emerged that is dedicated solely to pointing out all of the design flaws in the latest version of Apple’s mobile software. More →
The Guardian has been dropping a steady stream of bombs about the NSA’s activities in recent months. They keep getting more and more bizarre. The weirdest story yet involves NSA infiltration of popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft. According to leaked documents provided by Edward Snowden, the NSA has deployed agents to virtual realms of WoW and Second Life, and has also targeted Xbox Live. Apparently, the NSA had written a white paper called “Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments” already in 2008, demonstrating that government agencies can be impressively nimble and with-it… when it comes to snooping every facet of people’s lives. More →
Eight tech giants have joined forces demanding NSA reform in a “Global Government Surveillance Reform” campaign, including AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo, The Hill reports. The companies have expressed their requests in an open letter to Obama and members of Congress, and listed five governing principles that should be used for surveillance reform on the campaign’s website. More →
China Mobile will start taking iPhone preorders on December 12th in the country, according to an ad found by The Wall Street Journal on the carrier’s website. While a spokesperson for China Mobile did not confirm the date, a China Mobile representative said that iPhone preorders will indeed begin on Thursday. “Customers can begin to preorder for our new 4G services from December 12 through the company’s website and some dedicated branches in Shanghai,” the operator said. “But we will only start providing commercial 4G services after December 18.” An attempt to preorder the iPhone 5s on Monday was not successful. More →
In addition to meeting whatever requirements the Federal Aviation Administration may have in place for such projects, Amazon Prime Air drones may also have to face actual physical threats. Assuming the company will be allowed to use unmanned autonomous flying devices to deliver goods in 30 minutes or less, Amazon will need to figure out a way to help its drones avoid bird attacks and even sniper threats. Slate mentions a variety of examples from the wild, in which various species of birds attack other birds or flying devices perceived as potential dangers to their habitat. More →