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Sean Kalinich

It seems that Microsoft and Google have caved to government demands for “Kill Switches” in their phones. For those of you that might wonder what a Kill Switch is, it is an embedded mechanism that can render a phone inoperable from a remote location. Through the use of simple commands you can shut down the ability to make calls, receive data etc. and in some cases these switches would automatically turn on location features to allow the phones to be tracked.

Growing up Lego was one of the “toys” that I played with most (that and girder and panel). I would build everything from cars, to towers to spaceships with the multi-colored blocks that I had collected. Lego’s popularity has not waned any since those days, in fact it has seemed to continue to grow as they come up with new and more unique kits for you to construct. Lego just seems to have a knack for understanding how to engage kids and adults alike.

Microsoft is joining the ranks of Symantec and McAfee in a very special group. This is a group of companies whose anti-malware products can be/have been attacked directly. According to a security update Microsoft says that a specifically crafted file can stop the service from working until manually removed.

After taking something of a beating in the news the other day with the revelation of locked features in Watchdogs, Ubisoft is back in the news today. However, today’s news is both good and bad for them. This time the title in question is Far Cry 4. Apparently Ubisoft is very fond of the current next gen consoles (Xbox One and PS4) and found them to be a great benefit when developing Far Cry 4.

Yesterday at the HP Discover event a new concept device was shown off called the Machine. The Machine is an interesting concept that uses a number of existing technologies to deal with the massive influx of data from all of the connected devices we have now and will have in the future. To accomplish this HP envisions a devices that is unlike any of the traditional server offerings on the market today.

Remember when we told you about the first ransomware for Android? No? Oh ok so let’s give you a quick background. Not that long ago some enterprising person came up with a way to use the locking portion of Find my iPhone to lock a number of iPhones in Australia. This started a number of rumors about the spread of this new threat to the iPhone including one that claimed iCloud had been hacked. In the end the number of locked phones was much smaller than reported and the users were able to get their phones back without paying out the relatively small ransom.

There is another rumor of a buy out on the net. This time the company up in the display window is Nuance. If you do not know who these guys are you at least know some of the products their technology is in. Nuance develops speech recognition and voice technology. They are in Apple’s Siri and Samsung’s S-Voice products (they are in many others as well).

Newly minted Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had some interesting things to say about data privacy and how it effects Microsoft in the global market place. The comments, although made during an HP event in Las Vegas are another part of the PR campaign that Microsoft has embarked on after the departure of Steve Ballmer. Some of the first moves were to small items intended to shore up some potentially dangers areas in the market.

As Intel moves more and more core components to their CPU we are seeing an interesting shift in motherboard design. The manufacturers are all realizing that the performance difference between them are narrowing. The days of seeing a massive difference in benchmark scores are almost gone. However, instead of just pushing out a bunch of cookie cutter boards some motherboard makers are looking for new ways to differentiate their boards. Asus is one of these makers and we will be taking a look at a board that has more than a few departures from the normal motherboard design philosophy. This is the Asus Z97-A. So without too much more delay, let’s dive in and see what Asus has given us.

We have all heard rumors about how this or that game developer “intentionally” crippled a game on one platform or another, but in the end those usually are little more than manufacturer guerilla marketing efforts. Today though, we are hearing that a game company may have left out visual features from a new AAA title that seriously reduce the visual quality of the game played on the PC.