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Volvo Promises "Deathproof" Cars by 2020

Volvo has been working hard on making their cars safer and figure that by 2020 it will be near impossible to be killed or seriously injured in one of their cars or SUVs. While this sounds pretty amazing, the truth is that Volvo isn't the first and obviously if you are trying to kill yourself, you probably still can. This is pretty cool though and I'm not sure if  this was inspired by Stalone and Secure Foam or not.

Volvo, still based in Sweden but now owned by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (GELYY), wants to make this the case for its entire vehicle line up throughout the world. The automaker already tracks how many people die in its vehicles in order to monitor safety. That way, engineers can tell how much safer their vehicles become each time they roll out a new crash-prevention technology.

Source: CNN

Snowboarding in NYC

In New York, snowboarding in the city makes headlines and viral videos. In Canada, we call that Wednesday. Still, it'd be pretty fun to board around some icon sights and places.


Nintendo Finally to Get on the Smartphone Bandwagon

It's been almost 6 months since we've seen a new technology that allows you to play games on your smartphone. Actually it's been closer to 10 years and finally - FINALLY, Nintendo sees some benefit of putting their games on this platform. The install base of smartphones is huge, so why not sell the software and make a killing off of it instead of trying (in vain, often) to sell people hardware they don't want. I like this idea and am looking forward to some great titles on my Android.

In order to hit this target, Nintendo is going to begin releasing smartphone games featuring its most popular characters this year. The only app that has been confirmed so far is a social app by the name of Miitomo, but presumably Kimishima wants to launch at least one app featuring Mario, Link or another classic Nintendo character before the end of 2016.

Source: BGR

Intel Sets up to Release 10nm CPUs

Intel has been running away with the CPU market for the last few years and while smaller manufacturing processes can help, they aren't the total answer. With that in mind though, it's pretty amazing that Intel has mapped up three different series of CPUs based off a not-yet-released 10nm process. The first chips aren't supposed to land until 2017, but that means they are probably current making wafers already. It will be interesting to see how they hold up as this small of a process really has one major downside - heat. They will be more efficient, but with such a small die - it will be harder to keep things cool.

The third generation would be called Tigerlake and thus is indicative of a second tock in the tick-tick model. This year we will see Kaby lake based on 14nm, this is also an extra tock in the sequence. The tock basically means that Intel is not using a new production node with a smaller fabbed architecture yet sticks to the fabrication process.

Source: Guru3D

Microsoft Sold 99 Xbox One's in Japan Last Week

The Xbox One is a solid console, and while Sony's PS4 is still winning overall sales globally, the Xbox One is doing okay overall. It's not doing well in Japan though. In Japan, the 3DS is still the top-selling console, followed by the PS4, PSVita and the Wii U. It seems that Japan is very loyal to their own product lines. Even the PS3 outsold the Xbox One almost 20:1.

According to those figures, during the week of January 11 to 17, Microsoft sold just 99 Xbox Ones in Japan, while Sony sold a staggering 25,592 of its PlayStation 4 consoles in its home market. During the previous week, ending January 10, the Xbox One managed 293 sales, while over 36,000 PS4s were sold.

Console Sales in Japan

Source: Neowin

Ads on SmartTVs

I don't think many people really enjoy ads and now those annoying ads are popping up on SmartTV's from Samsung once again. Now that TVs are all internet connected all of the time, advertisers are willing to pay to get their products advertised in your living room. Hopefully the backlash is big enough that other TV makers get the hint that people don't want more ads on a product they purchased. Vice has the story.

Now, pop-up ads on Samsung and other smart TVs have been discovered before. But the weird thing here is that the TV can seemingly recognize any input you play through it, and add ads on top. What’s more, the ads may be targeted based on content recognition, a sort of built-in Shazam for ads.

McMillan was watching the movie through an Amazon Fire set top box, and as an experiment, tried playing it from his computer connected to the TV through an HDMI cable. In both cases the Army ad appeared at the one-minute mark, leading McMillan to deduce that the ad was being served by Samsung, and that the internet-connected TV was using content recognition to show ads on top of any video coming in through the TV’s input.

The most popular bad passwords

You probably know a person or two that has been 'hacked' due to a terrible password. Every year a list is published of the worst passwords which should be a sign that maybe using a better password might be a good idea, yet every year a bunch of the same passwords make the list. Dice has the list.

For years, security experts have told people they need better passwords protecting their online accounts: no more “123456” or “qwerty” or “password.”

Based on SplashData’s fifth annual list of the 25 most common passwords, however, it’s clear that relatively few people are listening to that advice. The firm based its list on more than 2 million leaked passwords during the year.

If you see your password on this list, it might be time to consider changing it

Google blocked 780 Million bad ads in 2015

Google has released their report for 2015 on the state of their advertising business. Part of that report included some statistics about how many bad ads they had to block, and that number was 780 million which is up from 524 million in 2014. Examples of bad ads are ads are pharmaceutical products that make claims or aren't approved for use which made up 12.5 million blocked ads. Other ads that were blocked were from counterfitters, weight loss scams, 'trick to click ads' and phishing attempts. It's nice to see Google trying to stay on top of this but it obviously a cat and mouse game that isn't going to stop any time soon. TechCrunch has more details over here.

Google said it blocked over 780 million ads for policy violations last year, which is an increase from the 524 million-plus it blocked the year prior. In addition, the company said it suspended over 10,000 sites and 18,000 accounts belonging to counterfeiters; it blocked over 12.5 million pharmaceutical ads – up from 9.6 million in 2014 – including those making misleading claims or that weren’t approved for use; and it suspended more than 30,000 sites associated with misleading weight loss scams, including those that promised results without diet or exercise.

These types of bad ads are a constant threat. For example, in 2014, Google banned 7,000 counterfeiters. That number had been decreasing for some time (down from 82,000 in 2012 to 14,000 in 2013), but seemed to bump up again this past year.

WhatsApp is finally free

WhatsApp has started rolling out free lifetime subscriptions to users after years of trying charging $0.99 after a free one year subscription. The price wasn't necessarily the factor but it was a bottleneck that needed to be eliminated in order for WhatsApp to continue to grow.

Speaking of growth, WhatsApp has hit 990 Million users, looks like they'll be celebrating the big 1 billion mark very soon.

Reviewsoft has more details.

The announcement implies that Facebook-owned WhatsApp will be potentially forfeiting hundreds of millions of profits from ads and subscription fees which is a very critical step towards increasing its user base, particularly in the developing countries. This messaging service allows an inexpensive, quick and easy way to share pictures, videos and text among friends serving as the first major instant messaging platform. It leverages the ease of usage and user experience as its pillars of success, which has already paid off well with over 990 million users till date. The application is available for all major operating systems, including Java and Symbian based OSes and is particularly popular in Europe, parts of Asia, South America, having witnessed an incredible growth in the past years in pace with smart phone growth and penetration in these regions.

ESPN vs. Cable Cutters

We post quite a few stories about how more and more people are making the decision to cut the cord on traditional cable services and go with other alternatives. ESPN is one of the names that comes up time and time again in this discussion and thanks to a new report their name has surfaced once again. In this new report people were asked if they would be cut ESPN from their cable package in exchange for a $8 drop in price and 56% said yes. The follow up question was would you pay $20 a month for a streaming service (similar to HBO, etc.) and the response was 85% said no. The results probably aren't too surprising, it's just amazing that the cable companies and their content providers aren't making a better effort to combat the loss of subscribers. TechDirt has the full story.

Over the last year, ESPN's decision to laugh off cord cutting has truly come home to roost. The company has had to engage in numerous "belt tightening measures" after losing around 7 million subscribers in just two years. Where are these subscribers going? Many are cutting the TV cord entirely. Others are opting for so-called "skinny bundles" that pull pricier channels like ESPN out of the core cable lineup, moving them to additional, premium channel packs. Companies like Verizon that have experimented with skinny bundles have been rewarded for their efforts with with lawsuits from ESPN. 

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