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Mashable sells for $50 million

Yet another internet publication has been swallowed up by a bigger publication with the announcement that Mashable has been bought by Ziff Davis for a cool $50 million. While $50 million sounds like a nice price, it was a far cry from the $250 million they were expected to sell for, however, after they reported losses of $10 million last year that valuation dropped like a rock. Variety has more on this story.

Digital-media firm Mashable has clinched a sale for the company — and it’s not for a price that founder Pete Cashmore or investors including Turner were looking for.

Ziff Davis, a tech, gaming and healthcare publisher, is buying the New York-based company for about $50 million, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing anonymous sources. That’s 20% of Mashable’s valuation of $250 million following a $15 million round of funding last year led by Time Warner’s Turner.

OnePlus troubles

OnePlus has been slowly gaining some pretty good momentum over the past few years and has been one of the few startup smartphone companies that has been able to last past one or two versions. Unfortunately for the OnePlus crew, they've received some negative publicity thanks to some backdoor access that comes with the phone and now it's being reported that they've found another backdoor application that can collect data without the owners knowledge. While backdoor access isn't anything new, people were fleeing from the big names to companies like OnePlus in an effort to keep their data safe but apparently the grass isn't greener on the other side. HackRead has more details.

A couple of days ago it was reported that an IT security researcher Robert Baptiste who goes by the handle of Elliot Alderson on Twitter had discovered a pre-installed backdoor application called “EngineerMode” on OnePlus smartphones including its 5, 3, 3T models and OxygenOS for OnePlus 1.

Now, the same researcher has found another preinstalled app in OnePlus devices sold to customers around the world. Dubbed OnePlusLogKit by researchers, the app runs with system privileges and has access to user’s GPS logs, WiFI data, Bluetooth, NFC, photos, videos, and list of the running processes – All that without the user’s permission or knowledge.

Amazon changing plans on live TV

Amazon had been working on plans to introduce live TV to their streaming service but have now had a little bit of a change of plans. Every streaming service has been working on offering streaming live TV as an alternative to cable or satellite TV but no one has been able to figure out how to make it work and turn a profit. Unfortunately if Amazon doesn't see a way to make a profit it probably doesn't mean good news for some of the others who were hoping to make this finally work. Engadget has the full story.

Amazon was working on plans to launch a streaming bundled TV service that would feature both broadcast and cable networks, though that's been on hold since the spring, according to Bloomberg. However, now we know why this endeavor was scrapped: money. People close to the issue told Reuters that Amazon believes it will be unable to make money on this kind of bundled cable service.

Weekly Tech Update #413 - The iPhone X Has a Cold (Issue)

We have just posted up Episode #413 of Weekly Tech Update! In this episode we are discussing Nintendo ramps up Switch production, the iPhone X doesn't like the cold and you'll never believe this, but Yahoo still doesn't know how 3 billion accounts got hacked. We have those stories and more at the links below...

WTU

Download Episode #413
Show Notes
Subscribe to the feed.
Subscribe in iTunes!
Get it on Google Play! --New--

Hisense buys Toshiba's TV division

It's been rumored for a while that Toshiba has been looking to sell off parts of their business and it appears that Toshiba's TV division is the first casualty as Hisense has dished out $113 million for a 95% stake. Hisense was producing Sharp TV's and that didn't go so well so it's not too surprising that they are looking for new partners. The Verge has the story.

Toshiba signed a deal today selling its television subsidiary to China’s Hisense, according to the Nikkei Asian Review. The Japanese company will sell a 95 percent stake in Toshiba Visual Solutions to Hisense Electric for $113.6 million. Toshiba will keep a 5 percent stake.

Toshiba is struggling hard after its US nuclear department filed for bankruptcy in March. It has sold other parts of its business to stay afloat, including its dishwasher and washing machine appliance branch to China’s Midea Group. The Visual Solutions subsidiary, in particular, had reported a net operating loss of $54.1 million in the last fiscal year.

Walmart raises prices online

In an attempt to drive more people into their stores, Walmart has raised prices online than what you pay if you go to the store. This seems to be an opposite strategy from the competition, and will either work out and make them look really smart or it might just encourage people to shop online elsewhere. The Verge takes a closer look at this new strategy.

Walmart is taking a bit of an nontraditional approach to boost sales ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping events by raising prices for products sold online and discounting those same items in physical retail stores. According to The Wall Street Journal, the big-box store has quietly raised prices for household and food items such as toothbrushes, macaroni and cheese, and dog food on its website while the prices in stores remained the same. If there are price discrepancies between online and in-store purchases, Walmart will now highlight this on the product’s web listing to encourage customers to buy them from their local stores.

The next Firefox: Firefox Quantum

The folks at Firefox have just unveiled the next version of Firefox which they've dubbed Firefox Quantum. So they've got the cool new name covered, and have made some pretty big claims (like it being twice as fast as their last version) and does all this while using less memory than the competition. 

Will this be enough to gain back some market share? Only time will tell.

You can read more about Firefox Quantum here.

The first thing you’ll notice is the speed. Go on, open some tabs and have some fun. The second thing you’ll notice is the new User Interface (UI). We call this initiative Photon, and its goal is to modernize and unify anything that we call Firefox while taking advantage of the speedy new engine. You guessed it: the Photon UI itself is incredibly fast and smooth. To create Photon, our user research team studied how people browsed the web. We looked at real world hardware to make Firefox look great on any display, and we made sure that Firefox looks and works like Firefox regardless of the device you’re using. Our designers created a system that scales to more than just current hardware but lets us expand in the future. Plus, our Pocket integration goes one step further, which includes Pocket recommendations alongside your most visited pages.

Qualcomm Outs Centriq 2400 Specs

Last week Qualcomm gave us some numbers regarding their new Centriq 2400 line of CPUs. They are better than expected. Quite a bit better in fact. The fact is that the new chips are better than some of the Intel competition when it comes to server CPUs. Qualcomm makes processors for most every smartphone and they have manufacturing plants that help them make things super cheap. The pressure is on right now from both AMD and Qualcomm. Intel is going to have their work cut out for them.

Now we start getting to the good stuff, performance. We will note that this is against the Xeon 8160 not the top line 8180, in order to make the thread count the same, 48 vs 48. In this case Qualcomm wins by a bit, 7%. To save you the math, 56/48 = 1.1667 or ~17% higher performance. Since the 8180 has a 2.5GHz base clock vs the 2.7GHz of the 8160, the bigger 8180 should come in at 662 or roughly 1% better than the Centriq 2400.

Source: SemiAccurate

StarCraft II is Now Free-to-Play

Blizzard announced earlier this month that it will be making it's popular strategy title, StarCraft II, free to play. It now is. It's available and ready to go. The free-to-play players will only be able to access the ranked ladder in multiplayer if they achieve the "First Wins of the Day". The co-op mode is also free for all players. So, you don't get everything and a bag of chips - some of it you have to earn. Still, if you want to save a few bucks and play casually, it's a nice option.

Beyond that, the game's co-op mode is also free for all players, with Raynor, Kerrigan, and Artanis playable to their max levels, while other co-op commanders will need purchasing after level 5. The official StarCraft Twitter account celebrated the free-to-play transition with some digs at EA regarding the current Star Wars: Battlefront II debacle, seen below.

Source: Neowin

GameStop Shuts Down Unlimited Used Game Rental Program

A few weeks back, GameStop announced their unlimited game rental program called "PowerPass". This service cost $60 for 6-months and allowed you to use GameStop as a library for gaming. You can check out one game at a time - an unlimited number of times. It was a great solution for those that live close to a GameStop. They soft-launched the service recently and have just told their employees to pull the signs, kill the program and put everything in a back room for now. They may fire it up again in the future, but for now they have paused the service. This is not a good sign.

“For those guests who have already purchased the service, we will allow them to bring the pass, and video game they have checked-out, back to receive a full refund,” said the spokesperson. “In addition, we will allow them to pick out any Pre-Owned game for free.”

Source: Kotaku

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