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Xbox Live outage temporarily disconnecting cloud storage for some users (update: restored, free month of XBL)

Microsoft added a cloud storage feature to the Xbox 360 in its fall 2011 dashboard update, but today an outage has taken it offline for the last several hours and counting. As noted by Joystiq, trying to access your cloud saves is resulting in a 0x807b0198 error for many, although other parts of XBL like streaming video services and multiplayer gaming profiles are unaffected. For the moment, we were able to copy/move some of our saves from the cloud cache on our hard drive (Settings -- storage -- cloud storage) to the normal hard drive section, and access them from there. Your mileage may vary, but otherwise you'll just need to keep an eye out the XBL dashboard status page to see when things are back to normal. There's no word yet on when it will be fully restored, but a message there says engineers are working on a fix. We're not missing the old "gamertag recovery" feature the cloud system replaced and upgraded, but any significant outage is certainly enough to make us think about keeping our saves backed up on a memory card in a safe place -- just in case.

Update: We noticed our cloud saves were back online early Sunday although the status page indicated work was continuing, and now (3AM ET~ Monday) Major Nelson and Xbox Support have tweeted that the issues are resolved. Additionally, General Manager of Xbox Live Alex Garden said in a post on MN's blog that the reason it took so long to restore was to ensure the integrity of all game saves. The small silver lining for those affected? A free month of Xbox Live Gold will be automatically added to their subscriptions.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/28/xbox-live-outage-temporarily-disconnecting-cloud-storage-for-som/

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How would you change the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display?

Many will bristle at the implication, but as the MacBook Air inspired the Ultrabook, mainstream laptops will likely seek to ape the Retina Display MacBook Pro, sorry, MacBook Pro with Retina Display. The clunky name aside, it seems that the next generation of devices will ditch disc drives and Ethernet ports in favor of pixel-dense displays and reduced weight. But did Jonathan Ive's trash can get too full? If you've been using one, do you still ache for those phantom limbs, or is it peaceful on that side of the river? Folks, for the last time this year, we're inviting you to share your thoughts and feelings on how you'd change the MacBook Pro with Retina Display, and from all of us, have a Happy New Year.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/30/hwyc-retina-mbp/

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Intel rumored to launch set-top box, ‘virtual cable TV service’ at CES

With CES 2013 just days away, TechCrunch has posted a juicy rumor that chipmaker Intel will announce a major plunge into TV, choosing to go it alone after several failed partnerships in an effort to "do it right" this time. Claiming an unnamed source in the video distribution industry, the rumor suggests a plan to deliver a set-top box with DVR, rolled out on a city-by-city basis as it negotiates channel agreements. Despite a number of demos through the years, the Intel-powered TV boxes that have landed in our living rooms so far have been the first gen Google TV and Boxee Box units. Both struggled to make a significant impact and switched to ARM CPUs for the second generation of their products.

Based on some of the tech demos we've seen and earlier rumors, Intel's plans could include using facial recognition to personalize the experience for (and target advertising towards) different viewers, and offering smaller, cheaper bundles of channels than traditional providers. Another element from the TechCrunch post indicates a plan to provide a Catch Up TV-style service that lets users view anything that has aired in the last month on the channels they're subscribed to, although there's no word on what will power this technology.

Intel's participation in Comcast's Reference Design Kit program is also referenced, although given Big Cable's traditional reluctance regarding alternative delivery models, any sort of tie-in here seems like a long shot to us. A combo package of pay-TV channels and internet VOD has been tried before, although Sezmi's antenna-connected solution failed to catch on and fizzled late last year. Like recently rekindled Apple HDTV rumors, the potential of Intel's service may rely just as much on its success negotiating with content providers as any technology it's cooked up. Check out the rest of the rumor at the source link and a video from Intel's 2009 IDF demo after the break, we'll have any official announcements as they happen from the press conference January 7th.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/31/intel-set-top-box-virtual-cable-tv-rumor/

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LG details LCD, plasma HDTV lineup for 2013: 4K, Miracast, NFC, WiDi and more


LG Provides Simple, Intuitive Smart TV User Experience with
Enhanced Magic Remote and Expanded Search and Share Capabilities

SEOUL, Dec. 31, 2012 –- LG Electronics (LG) will unveil its new CINEMA 3D Smart TV lineup at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The 2013 lineup offers easier content access and sharing along with an updated Magic Remote for a simplified, intuitive user experience (UX). A variety of models and sizes will be on display at CES, including LG's awe-inspiring 84-inch Ultra HD and 55-inch OLED TVs.

Smart Control: Simple and Intuitive
LG offers the very definition of Smart Control with its enhanced Smart Home and Magic Remote. The new Smart Home onscreen interface featuring My Interest Cards – a special folders for apps and other content –provides easy, quick access to what's trending on news sites as well as up-to-the-minute weather information. My Interest Cards can be customized according to the needs and preferences of the user.

TheMagic Remote has been redesigned to fine-tune content and menu navigation, making interaction as simple and intuitive as possible. The device still incorporates the fundamental control capabilities of earlier Magic Remotes – point, wheel, gesture and voice recognition. At CES, LG will demonstrate Voice Mate, an enhanced version of the company's voice control technology capable of recognizing the natural flow of language.The Voice Mate feature offers a new voice search option that simultaneously filters search results from all corners of the LG Smart TV platform – VoD services, search engines, external devices and more. LG's Smart Control with Magic Remote is like no other system, enabling users to experiment and discover the most comfortable way to enjoy their LG Smart TV.

Smart Sharing
The enhanced SmartShareTM feature offers users the ability to mirror or transfer content from smart devices to LG Smart TVs via a multitude of connectivity options, including WiDi and Miracast. The 2013 lineup will enhance inter-device sharing further by implementing Tag On. This feature immediately connects two devices for speedy media sharing. To use Tag On, the user simply holds a smartphone or other NFC-enabled device against the NFC sticker on a CINEMA 3D Smart TV. The 2013 lineup also supports LG Cloud, which allows the user to remotely stream high-quality content from practically any location.

Smarter Discovery in Sea of Content
Smart TV users have a steadily growing selection of content from which to choose. But how can Smart TV users easily find what they want in a vast sea of Video-on-Demand (VoD) and live broadcasts from multiple sources? The LG Smart TV offers a solution to the problem via an advanced recommendation function called On Now. The convenient service suggests trending VoD and broadcast content. Results pop-up with handy thumbnail images, making it faster and easier for the viewer to make a content selection.

With a vast array of movie, lifestyle, gaming and 3D choices, consumers looking for international or local content can quickly find what they want on their LG CINEMA 3D Smart TVs. Partnerships with a growing list of providers from around the world, including local broadcasters and subscription programming services, allow LG to keep its content offerings relevant and fresh.

LG CINEMA 3D Smart TVs deliver a smooth user experience and superior picture quality thanks to an upgraded central processing unit (CPU) and graphic processing unit (GPU). CPU speeds are now 120 percent faster in several premium CINEMA 3D Smart TV models. Even more impressively, GPU speeds are now 300 percent faster, which translates to clearer images that enhance gaming, viewing and multitasking.

Magic Stand and CINEMA SCREEN Design
The new 2013 models embody LG's minimalist CINEMA SCREEN Design. The TV's bezels have been significantly reduced to provide a greater sense of immersion. The Magic Stand further enhances the effect, enabling the screen to appear as if floating. Both elegant and functional, the stand complements the screen without creating any visual distraction. This sleek formation effortlessly blends into any modern interior design scheme. The stand also features a convenient swivel and roller function, allowing the TV to be repositioned with ease.

Comfortable CINEMA 3D
LG's CINEMA 3D Smart TVs employ Film Patterned Retarder (FPR) technologyfor superior 3D viewing comfort. This technology uses lightweight glasses tocreate a comfortable 3D viewing experience without the distracting flicker or crosstalk of active shutter-style glasses.

Eco-Friendly and Safe
LG's CINEMA 3D Smart TV has won CES Innovations Awards for its superiority in hardware and software a number of times, including at the 2013 CES Innovations Awards. Another accolade was bestowed on the CINEMA 3D Smart TV lineup in December when the 55LA6900 model earned an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) from Underwriters Laboratories Inc. The 55LA6900 was singled out for its remarkable energy efficiency and eco-friendly qualities.

"LG always strives to provide the most engaging, most convenient user experience to consumers all over the globe," said Havis Kwon, President and CEO of the LG Home Entertainment Company. "We have been singularly uncompromising, both in developing and improving the LG Smart TV platform. As a result, we are confident the UX our 2013 models will shatter all expectations and demonstrate that LG has moved the medium of Smart TV forward."

# # #

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/31/lg-2013-hdtv-lcd-plasma-4k-oled-nfc-miracast-widi-ces2013/

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Samsung reportedly launching Tizen-based phones on NTT DoCoMo in 2013

According to Japan's Daily Yomiuri, NTT DoCoMo is parterning with Samsung to develop phones running the open-source Tizen operating system, with the first handsets reaching the market next year. According to the Yomiuri, other mobile carriers are also getting behind the development of Tizen because they "fear the hegemony" of Apple and Google. We've heard about Tizen as far back as September of 2011 -- this Linux-based (and Intel-backed) software came about when Nokia's MeeGo OS bit the dust, and we've already seen evidence of a Tizen-based Galaxy S III.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/31/ntt-docomo-samsung-tizen-phones/

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iPhone 5S, rumors: avrà schermo flessibile? [FOTO]

iPhone 5S avrà uno schermo flessibile? Secondo le ultime informazioni giunte dal web (e da prendere con le molle, anzi, di più, potrebbe essere proprio così. Inoltre, vibrando, con le onde acustiche farebbe a meno del classico microfono a foro in favore di uno a laser. Ancora: con una serie di strati a membrane potrebbe riprodurre “fisicamente” tasti oltre che suoni facendo vibrare le superfici a diverse frequenze. Fantascienza? Lo sapremo man mano, ma già ora il nuovo iPhone è salito agli onori delle cronache: la settima generazione dello smartphone di Apple potrebbe chiamarsi così oppure al contrario proseguire con una nomenclatura differente, il punto è che l’uscita è sicura nel 2013 e dunque il fermento sta già montando. Le prime immagini rubate, ad altissimo se non sicuro profumo di fake, arrivano dalla Cina. Più specificamente dal rivenditore Etrade Supply, specializzato nella vendita di parti di ricambio per cellulari: qui sopra e dopo il salto due presunte foto della cover posteriore del nuovo iPhone per il 2013. Quanto c’è da credere a queste immagini?

Poco, molto poco: il pericolo o meglio dire il sospetto è che siano fake piuttosto ben realizzati se non mockup oppure prototipi e varianti dell’attuale iPhone 5 poi rimasti in stato larvale e dunque mai portati a compimento. Secondo quanto affermato dal sito cinese, sarebbero cover in alluminio con pochissime differenze rispetto a quelle di iPhone 5. Nello specifico si noterebbe un posizionamento diverso dei fori di fissaggio della scheda logica e altri piccoli componenti non nello stesso posto. Non cambierebbe di una virgola la parte posteriore con tanto di logo e codice IMEI (nel caso della presunta cover iPhone 5 completamente composto da X). Questi rumors, anche se falsi, non fanno altro che seguire la corrente di pensiero più gettonata ossia che il settimo iPhone sarà molto simile al sesto. Dunque iPhone 5S – o come si chiamerà – sarà un aggiornamento di iPhone 5.

D’altra parte era stato lo stesso con iPhone 4 e iPhone 4S e a loro volta con iPhone 3G e iPhone 3GS dunque la logica vorrebbe che le generazioni “dispari” fungano da piccolo aggiornamento rispetto a quelle pari che le hanno precedute e l’aggiunta della S sarebbe altrettanto preventivabile visti i precedenti. Ma si sa che Apple non solo è imprevedibile, ma ama anche giocare con la stampa e la rete mescolando ogni volta le carte in tavola. Dunque aspettiamoci di tutto. La scheda tecnica di iPhone 5S e le sue caratteristiche potrebbero essere comunque in linea con il cinque e stesso dicasi per il prezzo di iPhone 5S che potrebbe seguire quello del predecessore. Il 2013 non è ancora arrivato ma c’è già un gran chiacchiericcio intorno al nuovo iPhone (tra parentesi potrebbe chiamarsi anche così, semplicemente), aspettiamoci tonnellate di rumors.

Article source: http://www.tecnocino.it/2012/12/articolo/iphone-5s-rumors-avra-schermo-flessibile-foto/41941/

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Foursquare to display full user names, share more data with local businesses

Hello Foursquare community!

2012 has been a pretty huge year. We've released over fifty new features, welcomed nearly 15,000,000 new people to Foursquare, and had our 3,000,000,000th check-in. It's a bit clichéd to say this, but your support really is what keeps us going day after day.

As our product evolves, one of the things we do is update our policies to match it. And a big aspect of that is privacy (something we think about a lot). This email lays out a couple changes that we'll be making to our privacy policy in the coming month, and explains how they affect you and what you can do about it.

We know that privacy policies can be dense, so we put together a high-level document that we think of as our "Privacy 101." It describes, in an easy-to-read way, how we build privacy into our product. While it doesn't replace the legal need for the complete description of our privacy practices (which you can read here), we hope it helps you better understand how we think about privacy. We've also added new explanations of how privacy works throughout the app in our FAQs, including our default privacy settings and how they can be adjusted.

In addition to creating and refining those documents, we want to point out two specific changes to our policy, both of which will go into effect on January 28, 2013.

1. We will now display your full name. Currently, Foursquare sometimes shows your full name and sometimes shows your first name and last initial ("John Smith" vs. "John S."). For instance, if you search for a friend in Foursquare, we show their full name in the results, but when you click through to their profile page you don't see their last name. In the original versions of Foursquare, these distinctions made sense. But we get emails every day saying that it's now confusing. So, with this change, full names are going to be public. As always, you can alter your 'full name' on Foursquare at https://foursquare.com/settings.

2. A business on Foursquare will be able to see more of their recent customers. Currently, a business using Foursquare (like your corner coffee shop) can see the customers who have checked in in the last three hours (in addition to the most recent and their most loyal visitors). This is great for helping store owners identify their customers and give them more personal service or offers. But a lot of businesses only have time to log in at the end of the day to look at it. So, with this change, we're going to be showing them more of those recent check-ins, instead of just three hours worth. As always, if you'd prefer not to permit businesses to see when you check into their locations going forward, you can uncheck the box under 'Location Information' at https://foursquare.com/settings/privacy.

The Foursquare of today is so different than the first version that launched in 2009, and we appreciate that you let us continue to evolve and build our vision. This occasionally means altering our privacy policy. When we do, we make it a priority to come up with clear ways to help you understand your privacy choices, and to communicate them clearly. If you have any questions or want more details, head over to our updated privacy policy or support.foursquare.com.

Have a lovely holiday, and thanks for being part of the nearly 30,000,000-strong Foursquare community. We have a lot planned for 2013!

- Team Foursquare

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/30/foursquare-to-display-full-user-names-share-more-data/

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Mystery BlackBerry 10 device hits the FCC with AT&T-capable LTE

RIM's January unveiling isn't going anywhere without federal approval, and it seems the FCC is happy to oblige. Regulators put an unnamed BlackBerry device with a RFF91LW model number through the standard tests, giving it the green light for ATT's LTE and GSM bands, as well as a few international frequencies. The handset's label sample is conveniently censored, of course, but FCC reports indicate that at least three of the devices RIM provided were running OS 10.0.9. Could we be seeing the "L-series" BlackBerry Z10? Or is this simply one of the Dev Alpha devices RIM has been handing out to developers? Either way, we'll get verification next month.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/30/blackberry10-fcc/

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IRL: Wacom Bamboo Splash, Triggertrap Mobile and the iPad 3

Wacom Bamboo Splash pen tablet

While it may not have all of the bells and whistles that the Intuos 5 touch does, the Bamboo Splash does come in handy for me from time to time. I use the aforementioned larger pen tablet when I'm working from home for all of the added custom commands, finger swiping and extra real estate. When I'm traveling, though, a larger peripheral just isn't that practical for carrying around in the ol' backpack. That's where the Splash fits in quite nicely.

Sure, the smaller stature isn't ideal for my intense regular work sessions, but it does make for a handy accessory that doesn't take up much space in my rucksack. I just connect via USB, which adds an extra cable to the fray but is at least straightforward. While I do find myself trying to use those touch gestures from my regular kit, that's really the only issue that might slow me down while I'm working on the go. The Splash is quite adept when it comes to pen input, and the size actually complements smaller (read: 13-inch) laptop screens quite well.

For the price, you can't beat this as an add-on to your road pack or for your first leap into the pen-powered peripheral realm. Sure, the pricier options with additional features and buttons (and surface area) are better for your permanent work flow, but when you're working from Starbucks -- as I often am -- the Splash offers just enough without weighing me down.

-- Billy Steele

Triggertrap Mobile

When you spend a lot of time peering at gadgets through a viewfinder, you soon get tired of your own reflection. That's why anything that helps alleviate the issue is greatly appreciated. The Triggertrap mobile dongle in one such thing. Sure, there's a bigger version that will let you fire off shots from your DSLR in number of exotic ways (with sounds, lights and whatnot), but the dongle is more appealing if you're just looking for a small, tidy way of setting off your camera without you standing right behind it. Not only that, but it rolls in some extra functionality for your trusty shooter too.

The dongle comes in a variety of editions that cover most big-brand DSLRs. Mine is a Canon, but the back of the box tells me that there's support for over 300 cameras in total. The device itself is great because it's small and about as simple to set up as you could hope for. One end plugs into your Android or iPhone's headphone jack; the other into the camera's cable-release port.

The companion app, however, is where the fun is really at. From here you can take shots using the phone as a trigger (which is how I'm mainly using it) to avoid those self-portrait reflections, but there's a stack of other options that many will find useful. Timelapse, is one of the more obvious, but distance lapse is interesting too -- letting your phone's GPS trigger the camera at certain distance intervals. For me, it's more of a glorified shutter release tool, but one that's really easy to integrate into my workflow (after all, I always have my phone). And at $25, it doesn't cost all that much, either. Most importantly, thanks to this little thing you'll be seeing a lot less of me peering back at you in product reviews. No complaints about that, I'm sure.

-- James Trew

The iPad 3

When I first spotted the iPad 3, I wondered: is this the new iPad? It look me a minute to figure out why. When I upgraded from a 1440 x 900 resolution MacBook Pro to one with a 1680 x 1050 panel, I immediately noticed more screen space for more icons. It enabled me to multitask with more efficiency. It enabled me to add more icons to my Dock without it falling off of either side of the screen. The increased amount of pixels were instantly put the use.

The iPad is different. Despite having a killer display with 2048 x 1536 pixels, you can still only have six icons in your Dock. There is no extra room for more apps on your home pane. Why? This makes no sense whatsoever. Sure, 12 icons in the Dock would mean that each one was small, but who cares -- I have awesome eyesight for the moment, and I want to use all of those pixels that Apple gushed about during its press event.

Instead of using the bonus pixels to usher in legitimate multitasking on the iPad, I'm forced to notice just how "sharp" text looks. To be honest, text looks fine on the old iPad. I'm all about making things "look better" -- and the iPad's display looks marvelous -- but I'd rather Apple put all of those new pixels to work in more places than Newsstand and iPhoto. Enable the pixels to change the way we think about and use iOS. Allow that real estate to enhance productivity. Give me just a little bit of OS X in iOS. Is that really too much to ask for?

-- Darren Murph

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/30/irl-wacom-bamboo-splash-triggertrap-mobile-ipad-3/

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Switched On: The 2012 Switchies, Part 2

Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.

The last Switched On covered some of the major Switchie awards for the year, but there are many other products to recognize:

The "Category's Meow" Award for Best New Category Creation goes to Supermechanical's TWINE, a small blue box that can relay information about its environment via WiFi to a website. Its fellow Kickstarter project Ninja Blocks followed suit with a more proactive two-way link to pick up an Honorable Mention.

The "Mulligans Do" Award for Best Product Revamp goes to the Apple iPod family. After a bit of staidness in the venerable iPod nano, Apple came back with larger screens and slender profiles on both the iPod nano and iPod touch. Honorable mentions go to the Kindle family of e- readers, particularly the Kindle Paperwhite, and the Samsung Galaxy S line of smartphones from Samsung, which took a huge leap forward with the Galaxy S III.

The "Voluminous Praise" Award for Best Compact Audio Product goes to the Beats Pill, which packs surprisingly clear and loud sound throughout its volume range. Honorable Mentions go to the Audyssey wireless AirPlay speakers and Kickstarter project Hidden Radio.

The "To Your Health" Award for Best New Health and Fitness Product goes to the re-released Jawbone Up. Plagued by water leaks in its initial incarnation, the Jawbone Up was redesigned to continue on the company's quest to provide a steady stream of passive contextual background information. This was a year when a number of competitors redesigned their monitors and an Honorable Mention goes to the Fitbit One.

The "Connecting Flight" award for Best New Non-Traditional Connected Device goes to the Livescribe Sky. Livescribe's strategy has taken many twists and turns since the dot-paper writing implement first appeared. The smartpen has shifted from a scrapped app strategy to a low price point and now to the cloud with the Sky, which integrates with Evernote in favor of Livescribe's Desktop app. The signature microphone and OLED display remain as the company has added WiFi. Honorable mention for this award goes to the Philips Hue app-controllable light bulb.

The "Hooray, Display" Award for Best New Monitor goes to the ViewSonic VSD220 Smart Display with Android 4.0. While HP beat ViewSonic to the punch with an announcement about a monitor that integrated the operating system, ViewSonic's was aimed more at the consumer market and offered an optical touch display for functionality even when an attached computer may be turned off.

The "We Value Your Input" Award for Best New User Experience goes to the Nexus 7 for its introduction of Google Now. Google Now recognizes that the best search is the one you don't have to make, proactively providing cards based on your context. Honorable Mention goes to Microsoft for Xbox SmartGlass, which sees the console provider branch out to offer secondary screen support to Android and iOS devices in the name of better navigation and gameplay.

The "Guess We Just Click" Award for Best New Input Peripheral goes to Microsoft for the third year in a row -- this time for the Surface with Windows RT's Type keyboard. While the Touch keyboard got most of the attention (and the bundle), the admittedly pricey Type keyboard delivered an even better input experience with a minimal thickness penalty. Honorable Mentions go to the Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard for iPad, the Brydge+ laptop-style adapter for iPad and the ZAGG Mini 7 keyboard for iPad mini.

The "Set-Top Box That Rocks" Award for Best New TV Add-On goes to the Slingbox 500, the oddly shaped placeshifting device that, along with its smaller sibling, the 350, has returned the pioneering streaming box to retail to face off against the Monsoon Vulkano and Belkin @TV. Honorable Mention goes to Boxee TV, the $99 set-top from Boxee. It's a cloud-based DVR that uploads all over-the-air recordings to the cloud for consumption on a range of platforms.

Finally, the best crowdfunded device project goes to... well... it's not quite finished yet, but its creators urge you to check its updates page for how they have learned many things about the vagaries of manufacturing and how they now have someone permanently in China. Oh, and do update your shipping address.

Ross Rubin is principal analyst at Reticle Research, a research and advisory firm focusing on consumer technology adoption. He shares commentary at Techspressive and on Twitter at @rossrubin.

Article source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/30/the-2012-switchies-part-2/

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