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IT Support and Hardware for Clinics
News, Information and Updates on Hardware and IT Tools to help improve your Medical practice
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Microsoft Is Back To Bashing Apple In Latest Advertisment | TechCrunch

Microsoft Is Back To Bashing Apple In Latest Advertisment | TechCrunch | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

In Microsoft’s latest TV spot, the company stacks its voice assistant against Apple’s. Spoiler: Microsoft’s wins.

The commercial features Siri on an iPhone 5S and Cortana on a low-end Lumia 635, where Microsoft’s voice assistant handles requests involving people and locations. These are tasks Siri cannot yet process.

Microsoft’s impressive voice assistant rolled out to Windows Phone 8 devices with the 8.1 update. Cortana is a smart mix of Siri and Google Now in that it sports the best of both. It can handle natural text input like Siri but also produces predictive alerts as shown in the advert below.

Microsoft and Apple have long taken shots at each other’s products and this practice will not stop anytime soon. Yet Microsoft should probably get in all the jabs it can now. Siri will likely leapfrog Cortana in iOS 8.



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Amazon launches 3D printing store with customizable items

Amazon launches 3D printing store with customizable items | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Amazon wants to bring 3D printing to everyone—even if you don't have the skills to create trinkets and doodads on a 3D printer at home. The online retail giant announced the Amazon 3D Printed Products Store on Monday, which offers more than 200 3D-printed products for purchase.

The new 3D printing retail effort brings together creators of 3D printed goods such as Mixee Labs, Sculpteo, and 3DLT with customers willing to pay for the stuff. Buyers who want to add the personal touch can also request customizations to some of the 3D-printed items, such as adding text or images.

3D-printed bobbleheads from Mixee Labs offer some of the most serious customizations. The $30 figurines can be modified to change everything from skin color to clothing and eye shape.

Amazon's new printed products store allows for customizations.

When you customize a product, Amazon opens a smaller window within the web page where you can make changes to the design. You can also preview your tweaks and view a 360-degree image of your future purchase.

A 3D printed Raspberry Pi case available on Amazon.

Amazon's new store is live now and features all kinds of 3D printed items, including jewelry, toys, and games, and tech-related items such as smartphone cases, GoPro camera mounts, iPhone table docks, and Raspberry Pi cases.

Prices range widely depending on the complexity of the item. You can spend $110 for the Raspberry Pi case, a smartphone case will set you back around $30 and keychains and magnets sell for around $11.

Amazon's 3D Printed Products Store follows a similar move from eBay. Earlier in July, the online auction house debuted eBay Exact, an iPhone app that allowed you to customize and purchase 3D printed items on your phone. But it appears eBay wanted to get out of this business almost as soon as it got into it. As of this writing, eBay Exact is no longer available in Apple's App Store.




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Microsoft readies Windows Phone 8.1 update with smart covers and big-screen support

Microsoft readies Windows Phone 8.1 update with smart covers and big-screen support | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Microsoft is taking a few more cues from Android in the next update for Windows Phone.

With Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1, phone makers will be able to sell smart screen covers that reveal certain information when closed. The new feature was revealed in developer documents, discovered by WPCentral and Nokia Power User.

Samsung, LG, and HTC all offer these types of covers for their Android handsets, letting users peak at e-mails and other notifications while leaving most of the screen protected from dirt and dust.

Smart cover support could make it easier for phone makers to offer Windows Phone variants of their Android handsets. Now that Windows Phone supports on-screen buttons, phone makers can swap the operating system with no modification to the hardware, and The Verge reports that HTC may be doing just that for its HTC One (M8).

According to the developer documents, Windows Phone may also support screen sizes up to seven inches, at resolutions of 1280-by-768 (or 1280-by-800 with on-screen buttons). Again, Android has been charting this "phablet" territory with devices like Asus FonePad 7 and the Huawei MediaPad X1. It's unclear why Microsoft isn't supporting 1080p or other higher resolutions, but the company may be trying to maintain some separation from Windows tablets proper, at least until the platforms merge.

Other potential features for Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 include Voice over LTE support, custom lock screens for phone makers, and folders on the Start screen. The update is expected to arrive later this year, but exact timing is unknown. Don't expect Update 1 to arrive too soon, however—while Windows Phone 8.1 itself is finally being rolled out to Nokia owners, most Windows Phone users have still yet to receive the feature-filled OS upgrade. 




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Motorola may be making a gigantic Nexus 6

Motorola may be making a gigantic Nexus 6 | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The next Nexus phone could be a whale of a device. According to leaked information provided to Android Police, Motorola is reportedly building a 5.9-inch Nexus phone. This would place it squarely in phablet territory, though that screen size would be appropriate for what may become the Nexus 6.

The Nexus Shamu report is firmly in the rumor stages: Even Android Police gives it a 6.5 out of 10 on the site’s confidence level. There are no leaked device shots to go on—the evidence is based on source material provided to Android Police and some cryptic information in Android forums.

This rumor follows a recent report that HTC is building the next Nexus tablet. That device, also with the fishy codename Flounder, is said to be anywhere from eight to nine inches in screen size.

The last two Nexus smartphones, the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 (pictured at top) were built by LG. If this rumor proves true, Motorola is certainly an interesting choice to build the Nexus 6, as Google is currently in the process of selling the company to Lenovo. It certainly has the background to make a stock Nexus device, as the Moto X and Moto G have only minimal customizations running atop Android.

While the site did not reveal the source information, it did point to Google’s issue tracker for Android Developer Preview releases. A bug report references a build number with the name Shamu.

In the past Google has used creatures of the deep as code names for its forthcoming Nexus devices, such as hammerhead, mahimahi, herring, and stingray.



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China's Lenovo steps into ring against Samsung with Motorola deal

China's Lenovo steps into ring against Samsung with Motorola deal | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Lenovo Group, the Chinese technology company that earns about 80 percent of its revenue from personal computers, is betting it can also be a challenger to Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc in the smartphone market.

On Wednesday, Lenovo said it would buy Google Inc's Motorola Mobility handset unit for $2.91 billion in the fourth-largest U.S. acquisition by a Chinese or Hong Kong company ever.

"We are not only the number one PC company in the world but with this agreement we will become a much stronger number three smartphone company," said Wong Waiming, Lenovo's chief financial officer, on a conference call on Thursday.

 
 

Investors, however, took a dim view of the deal, which came less than a week after the company announced it was buying IBM Corp's low-end server unit for $2.3 billion. The stock fell 8.2 percent on concerns Lenovo might have overpaid for a loss-making business and would dilute the value of shares by issuing new ones to help pay for the purchases.

Together with the IBM agreement, Lenovo has agreed in the last week to fork over as many as 800 million shares, representing about 7.7 percent of its outstanding stock.

With its acquisition of Motorola, Lenovo is emerging as the most viable contender to global smartphone leaders Apple and Samsung - albeit still a distant third-place player.

The deal will allow Lenovo to step outside its China comfort zone and firmly into other regions, including the United States, where Chinese smartphone makers have struggled, and Latin America, where Motorola remains a strong brand.

Google has the opposite problem. China is one place its presence is barely felt since it left the market in 2010 because of network security concerns.

Its search engine, which dominates in most of the world, recorded China market share by usage of just 1.6 percent in December, according to Beijing-based data firm CNZZ. Before 2010, its share reached 29 percent, according to Analysys Mason.

Even Google's Android operating system, which Samsung also uses, has struggled in China. Only 3.5 percent of Android devices in China have its Google Play app store installed, limiting its profit potential.

Whether the Lenovo partnership might reopen the door to China remains to be seen. Programs such as Google Maps and Google Plus, which is blocked by censors, would still be unavailable to most mobile users.

NEW CHALLENGER

Lenovo's global smartphone market share following the acquisition will be more than 6 percent, compared with Samsung's 28.8 percent and Apple's 17.9 percent as of December 31, according to Lenovo and IDC.

For Motorola, Lenovo will pay $660 million in cash, $750 million in Lenovo ordinary shares, and another $1.5 billion in the form of a three-year promissory note, Lenovo and Google said in a joint statement.

Lenovo will receive more than 2,000 "patent assets" as part of the transaction, the companies said, but it remains unknown which will change hands and whether they might be subject to extra scrutiny from regulators.

"This has a huge impact not only to the smartphone market but also the Android ecosystem," said CK Lu, a Taipei-based tech analyst with Gartner. "Samsung dominates in the Android ecosystem but now they have a new challenger which is Lenovo."

China would like to see a home-grown competitor to both Android and Apple's iOS. Earlier this month, it launched its own "China Operating System".

SHARES DIVE

Wong said Lenovo has no "urgent need" to raise additional funds to pay for the IBM or Motorola acquisitions. The deals together require capital outlays of $2.8 billion, while Lenovo has on-hand cash of more than $3 billion, Wong said. Lenovo also raised $1.2 billion in loans in December.

Motorola Mobility lost more than $1.5 billion, after taxes and extraordinary items, since Google acquired the unit in May, 2012, according to a Lenovo filing on Thursday. Google will report its fourth quarter and annual earnings later on Thursday.

"It looks like Lenovo is acquiring the Motorola unit at a premium," said Linus Yip, a Hong Kong-based strategist at First Shanghai Securities.

But Wong said he was "very confident" Lenovo can return the business to profitability. He declined to give a time frame.

Lenovo's smartphone business generates about $4 billion in annual sales, said Wong, and with the addition of Motorola the company should approach $10 billion in revenues "within a reasonable time".

"That actually gives us a much bigger scale platform for us to grow further," Wong said.

The deal may not be about market share so much as markets.

"It's not about entering the U.S. but about stepping outside of China," said Gartner's Lu. "They have the chance to compete with Samsung and Apple."


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BlackBerry forges ahead in healthcare | Healthcare IT News

BlackBerry forges ahead in healthcare | Healthcare IT News | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

BlackBerry continues to expand further its scope in the healthcare arena after one of its subsidiaries unveiled a new clinical operating system for medical devices.    QNX Software Systems, which was acquired by BlackBerry in 2010, today released its new operating system that is IEC 62304 compliant. With its sights set on alleviating the regulatory and financial burden for device manufacturers, the operating system supports both single core and multicore devices based on ARMv7 and Intel x86 processors. The OS also features application programming interface so that it's compatible with other QNX operating systems, officials note.    [See also: BlackBerry enters healthcare IT arena.]   "When it comes to medical device software, the OS sets the tone: Unless it provides the architecture to enable reliable operation and a clear audit trail to substantiate claims about its dependability, the entire process of device approval can be put in jeopardy," said Grant Courville, director of product management at QNX Software Systems, in a July 15 press statement. "By providing an OS that has been independently verified to comply with the IEC 62304 standard, we are helping manufacturers reduce the cost and effort of developing devices that require regulatory approval from agencies such as the FDA, MDD and MHRA."   This is far from BlackBerry's first big move into the healthcare space. Just this April, the telecommunication behemoth announced it was financially backing cloud-based health IT company NantHealth, a startup spearheaded by billionaire healthcare mogul Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD. 

 

  "The systems that are currently structured really don't talk to each other, the proprietary systems, the systems that are based on really old software that's not interoperable," said Soon-Shiong in an interview with Healthcare IT News earlier this year. And the financial backing from BlackBerry will further support NantHealth's clinical operation system that has captured some 3 billion vital signs in the cloud.    "We've built supercomputers that can do the genomic analysis in real-time; we've built super computers that can actually take feeds of CT scans from EMRs and feed it directly to mobile devices. All of that, regardless of where it comes from, regardless of the EMR, regardless of the device, whether it be via ventilator, or IV tube, we're agnostic to, and it speaks to this operating system," said Soon-Shiong. 



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Apple might be launching its mobile wallet with the iPhone 6

Apple might be launching its mobile wallet with the iPhone 6 | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Apple might be launching a mobile wallet alongside the iPhone 6, according to The Information. The company is reportedly in discussion with various banking institutions and credit card associations, including Visa who has allegedly agreed to work with the unannounced payments product.

The Information writes that the purported system will store a user's financial credentials on their smartphone's secure element, a tamper-resistant piece of hardware meant to house sensitive data. Details about how Apple intends to handle information transfer remain unclear. It is believed that the company has informed partners that it intends to utilize near-field communication chips. One of The Information's sources has also stated that Apple may opt to focus on Bluetooth or Wi-Fi instead. If reports prove true, it looks like Apple aims to proceed without surrendering control to wireless carriers, which in turn may allow it to circumvent some of the difficulties faced by the competition.



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Non-IBM Power8 servers to appear early next year

Non-IBM Power8 servers to appear early next year | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

The first third-party servers licensed to use IBM’s Power architecture will be on the market early next year.

IBM last year started licensing the architecture so other companies could build Power servers, chips and components. The first third-party Power servers will be for cloud and high-end applications, said Ken King, general manager, OpenPower alliances at IBM’s Systems and Technology Group.

Ultimately, low-end servers could use Power chips, but that's for server makers to decide, King said. Derivative Power8 chips being designed outside IBM could be used in third-party servers, King said. However, a timeline for third-party Power8 chips hitting the market has not been confirmed, IBM said.

IBM’s Power hardware has been used in the Linux-based Watson supercomputer, which beat humans in the TV quiz show “Jeopardy.” But IBM’s Power server shipments have declined in recent years as buyers move to commodity hardware running on x86 chips. IBM agreed to sell its x86 server business to Lenovo for US$2.3 billion and is now focusing exclusively on the Power architecture.

The non-IBM Power servers will compete with IBM’s high-end System Z and customized PureSystem offerings. But King didn’t seem concerned about that, saying the reason for licensing Power to other vendors is so that the architecture will proliferate in more servers.

“It’s about making Power more relevant in the marketplace,” King said.

Mainframes and IBM’s Power are fading away, so the company had to start licensing the chip architecture, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64.

“More important for the company is to get Power out into the larger IT industry, [to] show that its got a place outside its homegrown systems,” Brookwood said.

IBM last year formed the OpenPower Alliance to cooperate with other companies on hardware and software development for the Power architecture. OpenPower members include Google and Tyan, which have already shown developer boards based on the Power8 architecture. Other notable members include Samsung and Micron, which are developing memory, and Nvidia, which is developing graphics chips.

IBM recognized Power’s struggles and made a smart move by opening it up to other companies, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

IBM may lose Power server shipments to competition, but there could be revenue from licensing, services and system deployments. Power could find some acceptance in high-performance and cloud computing. Pund-IT’s King said.

“One thing Power is effective at as compared to x86 is the ability to support a larger number of virtual machines in a concurrent system. Power CPUs support classic reliability, availability and serviceability features that IBM servers are well known for,” King said.

Google was perhaps intrigued by the higher level of virtual machines supported by Power compared to x86 systems, King said.

“That could translate to better VM performance and responsiveness to cloud requests,” King said.

But IBM still faces an uphill battle in getting server makers to move to Power, Brookwood said.

Server infrastructure is too invested in x86 and companies will be hesitant to move to a new architecture. That requires developing software, which takes time, money and resources, Brookwood said.

“The problem with computing systems on a shrinking user and application base is they go away. It happened to DEC Alpha, Tandem NonStop, it’s happened to dozens of systems,” Brookwood said.

Sun Microsystems, now owned by Oracle, opened up its Sparc microarchitecture through OpenSparc, but it didn’t work out. Hewlett-Packard is also moving away from the Itanium chip and providing a path to migrate to x86 chips.

But if IBM plays its cards right, there’s a chance Power can live on.

“To ensure the longevity of Power8 is to get other people to use it and develop on it,” Brookwood said.



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Google is collecting medical data to paint a picture of perfect human health

Google is collecting medical data to paint a picture of perfect human health | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Google has started to collect medical data from volunteers as part of an ambitious project designed to build a database of records that show what a healthy human being should be. The project, developed by Google's experimental Google X wing and called Baseline Study, sees the company first harvesting anonymous genetic and molecular information from 175 people. According to The Wall Street Journal, Baseline Study will soon draw information from thousands more in a bid to create a picture of a person in perfect health.

Project Baseline will collect genetic and molecular data

The project is designed to pull together a huge amount of data that will not only allow medical professionals to detect and treat major health issues such as heart disease and cancer earlier, but will also enable them to detect trends and patterns in human health, making medicine more about the prevention of illness than the cure. It's helmed by Dr. Andrew Conrad, who joined Google X in March 2013 after helping develop cheap, high-volume HIV tests for blood plasma donations. The Wall Street Journal reports Conrad has built of a team of between 70 and 100 experts for the projects, from medical fields including physiology, biochemistry, optics, imaging, and molecular biology.

Project Baseline will use Google's computational power to identify "biomarkers" in the data that could help people stave off or avoid health issues. Medical science has traditionally discovered biomarkers for late stage diseases, but it's Google's hope that Project Baseline will also be able to crunch through data to detect tendencies in our bodies that can be addressed before they become life-threatening.

Dr. Conrad posits an example where the data allows researchers to pick out a biomarker that shows some people can break down fatty foods efficiently. Others, he suggests, may lack the marker, putting them at risk from heart disease. By identifying such trends before the disease has become too severe and treatment is necessary, Project Baseline's information could suggest people change their behavior before their first heart attack, or enable scientists to develop something to help at-risk people break down fatty foods.

The exam includes the collection of bodily fluids including urine and tears

Dr. Conrad warns against expecting the data to spit out an immediate cure for cancer, saying that advances will be made in "little increments." The project began this summer when a clinical testing firm that Conrad declined to name enrolled 175 people in an exam that demands the collection of bodily fluids including urine and tears. The unnamed clinic, plus other facilities at Duke and Stanford Universities, will run further exams in the future, collecting samples and removing information such as names and social security numbers from participants.

The rapidly decreasing cost of collecting genetic and molecular information has only recently made Project Baseline possible. Participants' genomes will now be sequenced — a process that once cost $100 million, now reduced to around $1,000 — along with their parents' genetic history. The Wall Street Journal says data on how they metabolize food, nutrients and drugs, how fast their hearts beat under stress and how chemical reactions change the behavior of their genes will also be recorded.

Participants' genomes will be sequenced

The project promises much, but by collecting so much information about participants, it also raises privacy concerns. What happens if a person's molecular makeup get into the hands of others? Already Google has clarified the medical data it receives will be anonymous by the time it gets its hands on it, and specified that such information would not be shared with insurance firms. Dr. Sam Gambhir, a Stanford doctor who has been working with Google for more than year, says that the issue of privacy has been discussed. "Google will not be allowed free rein to do whatever it wants with this data," he told The Wall Street Journal.

It's unclear how Project Baseline will tie in to Calico, the Google company tasked with extending human life, but it's obvious the company is serious about making humans live longer. But although Google X is actively entering the health care market, creating glucose-measuring contact lenses, the company's leaders have expressed their frustration at the industry's regulation and restrictions. Speaking earlier this month, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said health care in the US was "so heavily regulated that it's just a painful business to be in;" at May's Code conference, he expressed his exasperation over how jealously medical companies guard their data, suggesting that by applying machine learning to existing sets of data to pick out patterns, hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved every year.

Google and Apple have both announced health-tracking platforms this year, but Project Baseline looks to be more ambitious than both Apple's Healthkit and Google Fit. If Google's attempt to apply its number-crunching capabilities to our medical records pays off, the hundreds of thousands of lives Sergey Brin mentions could be spared. We might also get the dubious pleasure of meeting the world's healthiest person in the process.



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Control All Your Laptop's Hardware from the Windows Mobility Center

Control All Your Laptop's Hardware from the Windows Mobility Center | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Windows: Your laptop has a ton of hardware with various settings to fiddle with. Some you can access from the task bar, others are buried in the Control Panel. However, most can also be found in the lesser-known Windows Mobility Center.

From the Mobility Center, you can adjust your system volume, display brightness, battery profile, external display connections, and more. You can even add custom tiles, though the process is a bit complicated. In Windows 8, you can access the Mobility Center by pressing Win-X and selecting it from the menu, or finding it in the Control Panel. The latter method is a bit roundabout, but you can use this to create a shortcut to find it easier later.


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Part of the reason this feature isn't well-known is because it's disabled by default in some Windows installations. As tips blog MakeUseOf explains, the Mobility Center is designed to be used on laptops, so it's automatically off on desktops, and may still be disabled if your laptop wasn't configured correctly. If you don't have it enabled on Windows 7 or 8, you can enable it with a registry hack found here.




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Bose sues Beats over headphone patents

Bose sues Beats over headphone patents | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Headphone maker Bose has launched a patent-infringement lawsuit against rival Beats Electronics, which Apple recently agreed to acquire in a US$3 billion deal.

In its complaint, Bose alleges that the “active noise cancellation” system in Beats Studio and Studio Wireless headphones infringes on five of its patents that relate to digital audio processing, compression and noise cancellation technology.

They are U.S. patents 6,717,537; 8,073,150; 8,073,151; 8,054,992; and 8,345,888.

In addition to the suit, which was filed in Delaware, the company also lodged a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission asking the trade court to ban Beats from importing the headphones into the U.S.

Companies are increasingly filing lawsuits with the ITC in addition to the domestic court system in the hopes an import injunction will provide extra leverage when it comes to negotiations over alleged infringement.

The lawsuit comes just under two months after the Apple deal was announced. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of September, and it’s unknown if the lawsuit could change that schedule or the acquisition price.

Apple and Beats did not immediately respond to requests for comment.




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Future phones could house a terabyte of memory

Future phones could house a terabyte of memory | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

You may think that the 3GB of memory in your new smartphone is hot stuff, but that pales in comparison with what Rice University has in store. Its scientists have detailed a form of resistive RAM (RRAM) that can be made using regular equipment at room temperatures, making it practical for everyday gadgets. The trick is the use of porous silicon oxide where metals (such as gold or platinum) fill the gaps. Using the silicon material doesn't just give manufacturers something familiar to work with; it requires much less power than previous techniques, can last through 100 times as many uses and isn't fazed by heat. It's also far denser than earlier RRAM, storing nine bits per cell where even conventional flash storage stops at three. The result should be an easy-to-make RAM chip with the kind of capacity that you'd normally expect from much larger permanent storage, like an SSD -- as the company Crossbar hinted when it first discussed this approach, you could stuff 1TB into a component the size of a postage stamp.

That's just about ideal for mobile devices, and could mean that future phones and tablets won't have to worry about low memory errors for a long, long time. Crossbar's technology is due in later this year in chips destined for embedded uses like appliances and cars, so the breakthrough won't be noticeable at first. Research lead James Tour tells MIT that he expects a deal with an unnamed manufacturer in the next couple of weeks, though, so it's entirely possible that this super-capacious memory will become commonplace.


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These smart shoes vibrate to point you in the right direction

These smart shoes vibrate to point you in the right direction | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

One of the best uses for wearable technology is to help you get around without being hunched over your smartphone. Google Glass and smartwatches do this, but you're still staring at a screen instead of enjoying the scenery. That's all set to change thanks to an Indian company that wants to put navigation equipment in your shoes. The Lechal interactive haptic footwear hooks up to your smartphone and when you reach a junction, vibrates the left (or right) foot depending on which turn you need to make. The gear is expected to launch in September, and you'll be able to choose between full shoes or just insoles that'll fit inside your regular pair of kicks. You can register your interest on Ducere's website right now, and can expect to pay $150 for a pair -- hopefully a portion of which will go to the creators of Red Dwarf, who came up with a similar idea 26 years ago.



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AMD Gaming Evolved Client 4.0 Released

AMD Gaming Evolved Client 4.0 Released | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Just over a month ago, AMD and their partner Raptr pushed out the first version of their video recording Game DVR utility, which ships as a part of AMD’s second-party sourced Gaming Evolved Client. Last month’s release saw the initial take on this feature in beta form, which was a generally positive experience that proved the core technology worked, though not without some rough edges that remained to be cleaned up. Since then the Raptr team has been further working the Game DVR function as part of a broader client update, culminating in today’s release of version 4.0 of the Gaming Evolved Client.

Ahead of today’s client release Raptr gave us some time to spend with the forthcoming update, and while the Game DVR function is still officially in beta as version 4.0, we can briefly report that AMD and the Ratpr team have made good progress in just the last month. In the earlier beta of the Game DVR function – now dubbed Game Video Recorder, or GVR – we encountered both compatibility and image quality issues, and in the case of the latter the problem has been fully resolved in our test suite. The one game we were having a problem with on the previous client, Thief, now records with the correct gamma. All other games that we’ve had a chance to test (our complete benchmark suite and then some) are similarly correct.

Game compatibility however is still hit & miss. GEC will only enable recording for games it can detect – this essentially serving as a whitelist of sorts – and it needs to be able to both detect the installation of a game and its launch. Of the dozen games we’ve tried, all of these games are on the compatibility list and their installations are detected, but GEC stubbornly can’t detect the launch of Bioshock Infinite and hence can’t record it. The actual recording process itself is rather generic and Bioshock is supposed to be supported, so this would seem to expose some weaknesses in GEC’s launch detection process rather than a lack of (intended) support.

Otherwise our other 11 games were detected just fine. And indeed the Raptr team is claiming that they now support 5000 games. At 5000 games we have no way to fully validate this claim – and meanwhile we’d note that GeForce Experience worked with all 12 of our test games out of the box – but it’s worth pointing out that for technical reasons it’s important for GEC to support so many games. Since GEC lacks a fallback measure equivalent to GeForce Experience’s desktop capture mode and doesn’t officially support adding unsupported games, a large supported games list is necessary in this case to enable recording of as many games as possible.

Along with the under the hood updates to the GVR function, Raptr has also given the feature a UI tweak from the beta. Of particular note, the always-on (Replay) and on-demand (Record) functions have been separated from each other, allowing them to be easily enabled and disabled separately from each other. GVR’s settings pane has also been tweaked for 4.0, with image quality settings being excised to their own tab for space. Finally the in-game overlay HUD icons for the GVR functionality has also been overhauled to make it clearer when the Record and Replay functions are in use and how to use them, with the HUD being hideable when not in use.

Finally, with the release of the 4.0 client the Raptr team is looking to parlay the GVR functionality into their larger social networking ambitions, with the final feature addition of the new client being a dedicated community replay showcase. The replay share feature allows for replays to be uploaded to YouTube and simultaneously listed in the Raptr community showcase, complete with comments and hashtags. The built-in video uploading is fairly clever – many, if not most of these recordings will be destined for YouTube – though I’m not sure how frequently gameplay videos are uploaded directly to YouTube without editing (something that notably Sony included as part of their replay sharing package on the PS4).

The Gaming Evolved Client 4.0 update will be released later today, and should be available both as an automatic client update and as a download from AMD's Gaming Evolved Client website.

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NASA is testing a laser-powered drill to explore Jupiter's ice moon

NASA is testing a laser-powered drill to explore Jupiter's ice moon | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

While Mars gets all the press, a group of NASA scientists are laying the groundwork for a more exotic destination: the ice-covered moon of Europa, locked in orbit above Jupiter. The oceans beneath the ice are thought to be fertile grounds for alien life, so scientists are eager to explore it if they can figure out how. And since the first step is drilling through the ice, the group is testing out its laser-powered drill on the Matanuska glacier in Alaska to see how it holds up in the field.

The mission itself might be closer than you think. President Obama set aside $15 million of NASA's 2015 budget specifically for Europa exploration, and some researchers think the project could launch an explorer probe as early as 2022. Even if NASA doesn't make it, the research might be useful to others: a privately funded European group is also laying the groundwork for a trip



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Your smartphone will replace room keys at Hilton hotels by end of 2016

Your smartphone will replace room keys at Hilton hotels by end of 2016 | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Within a couple years, most people will never need to visit the front desk at a Hilton hotel ever again. The company plans to let customers use their smartphones to unlock room doors at most Hilton-owned hotels by the end of 2016. That's over 4,100 properties in all, so it's not entirely surprising that the plan to make plastic key cards obsolete will take some time. But other improvements will arrive sooner, according to The Wall Street Journal. You'll no longer be at the mercy of the front desk when it comes to room placement; customers will be able to choose their own room and even preview its location by the time summer wraps up. So if you've got the inside track on a standout room — maybe it's quieter or offers a better view than others — it should be easier to lock down.

By upgrading its technology and offering smartphone-savvy customers a new level of convenience, Hilton hopes to pull ahead of competitors like Marriott and Starwood. The company has invested $550 million in that effort since 2007 and luxuries like smartphone check-in (already available at many locations) have required "tens of millions of dollars" according to the Journal. Unlocking a door with your phone doesn't have to be a vacation thing, though; smart locks for the home are due to arrive by year's end.



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3 Supply Chain Contingency Planning Tips for Medical Device Companies

The recent months have brought some intense weather to all corners of our country.  From the “Polar Vortex” last winter to violent tornadoes across the Midwest to Hurricane Arthur, each new day and week holds something new and potentially challenging.  The only thing constant about weather is change.  Theses volatile climate patterns unfortunately bring more than wind, snow, rain and lightning.  Unfortunately these events cause a spike in emergency room and hospital visits.  There have already been 41 tornado fatalities in 2014, according to NOAA.  In fact during the Polar Vortex, Modernhealthcare.com reported that hospitals in Detroit brought in additional staff on multiple occasions to treat ER patients.

To make things more challenging, these additional visits and demands on hospital staffs and medical groups are often coupled with constraints on resources and accessibility.  Over the 4th of July weekend, Hurricane Arthur left over 40,000 people with power and even caused a part of North Carolina Hwy. 12 to buckle on Hatteras Island.  Last winter’s frigid temperatures and precipitation forced numerous surgeries and procedures to be rescheduled or cancelled.  While organizations have contingency plans and redundancies in place to account for these scenarios, what back up strategy is there to account for supply chain complications? 

The timely and precise demands that define medical device logistics needs to be maintained, especially in times of great need.  Investing the time, energy and resources into contingency planning is like buying insurance.  Hopefully you’ll never need it, but having the plans and process in place when these challenges arise can be the difference between life and death. These 3 elements can be implemented into your medical device supply chain, allowing your organization to persevere in the most difficult times.

1.)    Be pre-emptive:  While weather plays a major role in the disruption of services and the addition of constraints on resources, there are many other factors that could disrupt your supply chain.  Manmade disasters, business decisions and governmental factors, just to name a few.  However by having a finger on the pulse of what is happening around your organization can allow you to forecast possible problems.  Notifying the key logistical partners that make up your supply chain is key.  Ensure everyone is on the same page and ready to find answer to potential questions.

 

2.)    Increase your essential supplies: To combat any lags or disruptions to your supply chain, having an abundance of the most necessary and important supplies stocked and accessible is crucial.  Any device that you’ve been without in a similar situation should be maintained at a higher level to prevent a recurrence.  While your bottom line is still a major consideration, you don’t have to throw your inventory management plan out of whack, but you do need to account for any delays. 

 

3.)    Supplier audits:  This is a key element in maintaining visibility.  Understanding and seeing the process your logistic partners leverage, and more importantly the results, can show the imperative steps to protect it in an emergency, as well as where other resources can be pulled to create a lean, agile fulfillment plan when necessary.

 

Supply chain contingency is a key element within your overall strategy.  Identifying and responding to potential risks can mitigate a substantial threat to not only your operations, but your community.  In an Inbound Logistics survey, 73% of participating companies claimed to have experienced a supply chain disruption.  32% of those said it took over 1 month to recover.  Working closely with your supply chain personnel and partners is a critical step in preparing for the worst.  With a focus on visibility and a track record of results, Barrett Distribution Centers has the technology, man-power and resources to play a key role in your contingency planning.



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Logitech Announces Affordable UC Headset Designed for Comfort

Logitech Announces Affordable UC Headset Designed for Comfort | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

(Business Wire Today Logitech (SIX: LOGN) (NASDAQ: LOGI) introduced the new Logitech USB Headset H570e, designed for all-day comfort, ease of use, and reliability, at an affordable price. Compatible with most unified communication (UC) platforms, the enterprise-quality H570e headset is stylish with unmatched features in its category, enhancing the UC and collaboration experience in the workplace.

The H570e headset is available in stereo for employees who need to block out surrounding noise during desktop calls, and in mono for employees who prefer to have an open ear to their surroundings. It has a durable and adjustable padded headband for all-day comfort, while the metal reinforcement provides strength and flexibility for the best fit. The leatherette headset ear pads are also designed to be comfortable for hours of use and can be easily cleaned or replaced as needed. Inline controls include volume up/down, microphone mute and call answer/end and are designed to be intuitively navigated by touch.

“With over 15 years of experience in audio technology, we understand the quality requirements and know that IT decision makers need a comfortable, reliable and affordable headset to deploy in the workplace,” said Marcel Stolk, senior vice president, Logitech. “The H570e is a lightweight, business-grade UC headset built for quality and outstanding audio performance, and it is affordably priced for high-volume soft phone deployment.”

Ensuring an integrated UC experience, the USB Headset H570e and all headsets in the Logitech UC audio portfolio are optimized for Microsoft® Lync™, Cisco Jabber™ compatible, Skype™ certified, and compatible with most leading UC platforms.

The Logitech USB Headset H570e headset combines a human-centric design and wide array of user-friendly features Logitech products are known for. Additional features include an LED indicator that flashes with incoming calls (in compatible UC applications) providing a convenient visual cue to answer the call. The digital signal processing enables precise tuning for both the microphone and speaker so conversations are more life-like, and acoustic echo cancelation blocks unwanted noise coming from the speaker from entering the microphone path for a clearer communication experience.

Pricing and Availability

The Logitech USB Headset H570e is available through select resellers worldwide for a suggested price of $44.99 USD (mono) and $49.99 USD (stereo). Replaceable leatherette ear pads are available for a suggested price of $9.99 USD. For more information, please visit www.logitech.com/news/H570e or our blog.

About Logitech

Logitech is a world leader in products that connect people to the digital experiences they care about. Spanning multiple computing, communication and entertainment platforms, Logitech’s combined hardware and software enable or enhance digital navigation, music and video entertainment, gaming, social networking, audio and video communication over the Internet, video security and home-entertainment control. Founded in 1981, Logitech International is a Swiss public company listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (LOGN) and on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (LOGI).

Logitech, the Logitech logo, and other Logitech marks are registered in Switzerland and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. For more information about Logitech and its products, visit the company’s website at www.logitech.com.


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The new $350 Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is now shipping

The new $350 Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is now shipping | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

We were expecting to see the new iteration of the Oculus Rift arrive on developer's doorsteps earlier this month, but unfortunately it hit a couple of delays. Road to VR points out a Reddit thread where pre-orderers confirmed their credit cards have been charged ahead of shipping. Community manager cyberreality confirmed in the thread that it's happening, and the "DK2" hardware we (and Mark Zuckerberg) were so impressed by is ready to roll. The initial production run is only supposed to cover some 10,000 of the 45,000 units ordered, so for some your wait is just beginning (until next month). In the meantime, you can check out our hands-on video of the latest and greatest in virtual reality after the break (or the new X-Men related Comic-Con demo) -- hopefully Sony's Project Morpheus team responds to this as quickly as they did on Blu-ray 3D.


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Your Smartphone Will Soon Know If You Have Bipolar Disorder | TechCrunch

Your Smartphone Will Soon Know If You Have Bipolar Disorder | TechCrunch | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

In the United States, 1 in 50 people over the age of 25 have some form of bipolar disorder. In fact, the United States has more cases of bipolar I and II per-capita than any other nation in the world. Researchers at the University of Michigan are now testing a new smartphone app for Android, code-named PRIORI, that can help detect if someone is having a bipolar episode.

While the app still requires more testing before launch, a group of 60 volunteer American patients are already starting to show promising results, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and facilitated by the Prechter Bipolar Research Fund at the University of Michigan Depression Center.

PRIORI is designed to learn over time to monitor a person’s voice and detect subtle changes in mood. A change is a signal that the user might be having either a manic or depressive episode.

Privacy in conversations may be of concern to patients wanting to use this app, but, according to the research team, only the patient’s side of the conversation is recorded. The app will simply alert the person’s health care team of the possible early signs of a mood swing.

Here’s how the app works to illustrate:

“These pilot study results give us preliminary proof of the concept that we can detect mood states in regular phone calls by analyzing broad features and properties of speech, without violating the privacy of those conversations,” said Zahi Karam, a member of the Michigan team, at the International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing in Italy.

According to the team, which is led by computer scientists Karam and Emily Mower Provost, and psychiatrist Melvin McInnis, this technology could also help people with other conditions, such as schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Seed funding for the app and research study came from the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research.



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Sense sleep sensor monitors your zzz's and wakes you up at the best time

Sense sleep sensor monitors your zzz's and wakes you up at the best time | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

You're lucky if you can sleep easily and wake up feeling refreshed all the time -- some people need a bit help to get a good night's rest from apps and gizmos, like this new device called Sense. The gadget, which looks like a crystal ball with rubber bands, acts as some sort of a bedside sleep guardian that monitors not only your sleeping habits, but also environmental conditions. It comes with a "Sleep Pill" that clips to your pillow, which tracks your tosses and turns, automatically transmitting data to Sense via Bluetooth Low Energy and ANT. The gadget then relays all the info you need, including a sleep number to let you know how well (or how bad) you've slept, through the system's iPhone or Android app.

Sense has other things to offer other than this core feature, such as the ability to record sudden loud sounds that might disrupt your sleep through its built-in microphone. (If you're wondering, creator James Proud told The Verge that it's not always recording, and it only ever saves sudden sound spikes.) The device can also detect pollen or dust in the air that might trigger allergies or determine whether you need heavier drapes to block out the light. Even better, the device can wake you up at the end of an REM cycle, so you don't feel sluggish when you get out of bed.

Sense's developers, Hello Inc., launched a KickStarter campaign recently to raise $100,000, which the project has now surpassed, as it's already received $420,000 in pledges, thus far. A SEC filing spotted by StrictlyVC, however, proves that the company already has serious VC backing to the tune of $10.5 million, indicating that its KickStarter campaign is but a PR move. You can use the campaign to your advantage, though, since you can get the device and a Sleep Pill by pledging $99, whereas pre-ordering the system later on will cost you $129. By the way, in case Sense still ends up falling short of your expectations, you can always pair it up with a smart bed when one does hit the market.



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ADATA Launches XPG V3 DDR3 Range

ADATA Launches XPG V3 DDR3 Range | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Despite the talk surrounding the introduction of DDR4 to the market, the volume product for the foreseeable future is still DDR3. We have done a number of memory scaling articles in the past [1,2,3], but due to the resurgence of growth in the gaming segments over the last several quarters, there is still a demand for high speed DRAM, especially those that match the style of the build if the user or gamer wants to show it off at an event. This has caused some of the enthusiast DRAM manufacturers to re-launch their high end modules under new names and new skins, with the option of customization. This lies at the heart of ADATA’s new XPG V3 DDR3 range.

The finned array for the heatsinks can be removed, similar to other high end ranges, and replaced with a custom color. ADATA is saying that the first batches of these modules for retail will include a second set of fins, so users can select between gold and red. There are plans to launch other colors in the future.

Launched SKUs will first be available in gold/red, in either 2x4 GB or 2x8 GB kits, with the following speeds:

DDR3-1600 9-9-9-24 1.50V
DDR3-1866 10-11-11-30 1.50V
DDR3-2133 10-11-11-30 1.65V
DDR3-2400 11-13-13-35 1.65V
DDR3-2600 11-13-13-35 1.65V
DDR3-2800 12-14-14-36 1.65V
DDR3-2933 12-14-14-36 1.65V
DDR3-3100 12-14-14-36 1.65V

All kits will support XMP 1.3, use 8-layer PCBs with 2oz copper to improve signalling, and Thermal Conductive Technology (TCT), which is a fancy way of saying that the DRAM chips themselves are in contact with the heatsink, so the heatsink may be hard to remove depending on the bonding.

With the high frequency modules, it is always worth noting that these are designed for use with Ivy Bridge and Haswell CPUs, and the quality of the memory controller will determine the maximum speed possible. All the Ivy Bridge and Haswell CPUs I have tested, at stock, will easily do DDR3-2933, and should find DDR3-3100 OK as well with a small base frequency overclock. Overclocking the CPU may reduce the peak memory frequency possible, and thus if running an overclocked system, a balance may be needed as well as the expertise/guide to manage that balance. This is true with any high speed memory, not just the ones here, such as our reviews of the TridentX style or ADATA's own XPG V2 DDR3-2800.

ADATA has offered us a review sample which should arrive shortly. Stay tuned for the review. I am currently awaiting a full list of MSRPs and will update the news when it arrives.

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iPhone 6 Rumored to Arrive in September, in Two Sizes

iPhone 6 Rumored to Arrive in September, in Two Sizes | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

A mockup of the iPhone 6, next to an iPhone 5s and iPhone 4s, by Sonny Dickson (SonnyDickson.com)

It’s been a little over 10 months since Apple released the iPhone 5s. This means that more than enough time has passed to start demanding: When’s the next one coming out already?!

Well, calm yourself down, eager iShopper. If the latest prominent rumors prove reliable, we could be seeing the iPhone 6 in less than two months. 

Mark Gurman of Apple specialty site 9to5Mac reported that Apple is tentatively planning an iPhone 6 unveiling event for the second or third week in September. This isn’t something Apple officially told him, of course; the secretive company would never divulge its future plans. Gurman’s report comes from his anonymous sources.

That might ring a little sketchy to you, but there are plenty of reasons to put faith in the rumor. First: Gurman is generally trustworthy when it comes to Apple rumors. He’s not batting 1.000, but he gets way more right than he gets wrong. He has earned a reputation as one of the most reliable Apple reporters going. On stature alone, you could put stock in the mid-September rumor. 

But there is supporting evidence beyond reputation to buttress that rumor, too. As I’ve written many times before, Apple tends to release its iPhone in predictable one-year cycles. The new iPhone comes out one year after the last. A year passes; the next iPhone arrives. For the past three years, the updated iPhone has debuted in the fall. It stands to reason that this one will, too. 

And Gurman isn’t singing the September rumor alone: Other reputable sources have pegged it as the month we’ll see the iPhone 6, too. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has been impressive with his Apple predictions in the past several years, has written that the “consensus" indicates a September-October release for the next iPhone. The Wall Street Journal also expects a mid-September debut.

Mark it down: We’ll probably see the new iPhone by the end of September.

The other major rumor surrounding the next iPhone concerns its screen size –– or screen sizes. Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal both recently reported that Apple plans to unveil two new iPhones. One of the iPhones will have a 4.6-inch screen, they say; one will have a huge 5.5-inch screen. Both would be substantially larger than the iPhone 5s, which features a 4.0-inch display. The thinking is that a larger iPhone would better appeal to smartphone shoppers in China, who have been more drawn to large-display phones from Samsung and LG than they have been to the relatively svelte iPhone 5s.

For your reference, here’s the iPhone 5s next to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, which boasts a 5.7-inch display. That’s the kind of screen size upgrade we could be looking at should these rumors prove true. 

This one, however, doesn’t seem quite as concrete. Analysts and reporters disagree on the timing of the two iPhones. Some say they will be released together; others believe the larger will lag behind by a couple of months; a few predict the larger could be delayed until next year. (This talk of delays arises from the apparent difficulty of bulk manufacturing the display for the 5.5-inch iPhone.)

All of this disagreement seems to be a sign that not even Apple knows its plan with 100 percent certainty at this point. Tech companies’ plans can change quickly, especially if there are manufacturing difficulties from suppliers. If you can’t make tens of thousands of new iPhones, and have a good stock ready for a September release date, then you delay the thing until you do. 

Longtime Apple watchers might remember a similar situation in 2011. Almost everyone expected Apple to release two iPhones that year, too: The iPhone 4s, which would be the same size as the iPhone 4, and the iPhone 5, which would be larger and thinner. When only the iPhone 4s came out, disappointment followed. Where was the larger iPhone? 

2014 could be a repeat, with only one new iPhone arriving on time. Granted, that iPhone could boast a substantially larger screen, from 4.0 to 4.6 inches, so the grousing about “It looks the same!” wouldn’t be as pronounced. 

To sum up: The iPhone 6 will likely have a larger screen than the iPhone 5s. Whether it comes with an option for a much bigger screen, we don’t quite know yet.

Check back in a month –– when we’re a month away from the release of the next iPhone.



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YouTube star sued for copyright to the tune of $150,000 per song

YouTube star sued for copyright to the tune of $150,000 per song | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

Most YouTubers just get a takedown notice if someone reports them using copyrighted tunes with their videos. But when that user is a huge star on the video portal like make-up guru Michelle Phan, who has almost 7 million subscribers and was even featured on YouTube's TV ad campaign, then things get a bit more intense. Electronic dance record label Ultra Music (home to Deadmau5 and other popular artists of the genre) just slapped Phan with a copyright infringement lawsuit, which accuses her of using 50 tracks released under the company without permission. Ultra wants Phan to pay $150,000 for each instance, claiming she profited from its artists' music, most likely because 1.) she's a YouTube partner, and 2.) the fame she gained on the website eventually led to lucrative deals with cosmetics companies Lancôme and L'Oreal.

Phan's adamant that she didn't do anything wrong, though, and her spokesperson told the BBC that Ultra gave her permission to use the company's tracks as background music for her make-up tutorials. While we've yet to find out which side is telling the truth, one of the label's own artists, American DJ Kaskade, defended her and lambasted existing copyright laws on Twitter at the same time:



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EBay faces class action suit over data breach

EBay faces class action suit over data breach | IT Support and Hardware for Clinics | Scoop.it

EBay faces a class action suit in a U.S. federal court over a security breach earlier this year.

The consumer privacy class action lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Collin Green, a citizen of the state of Louisiana, alleged that the security breach was the result of eBay’s inadequate security in regard to protecting identity information of its millions of customers.

The e-commerce site’s failure to properly secure the information “has caused, and is continuing to cause, damage to its customers, the putative class members herein,” according to the complaint by Green which asks for class action status.

EBay informed users in May that it was aware of unauthorized access to eBay systems that may have exposed some customer information. The company said there was no evidence that financial data was compromised. The company subsequently advised users to change their eBay passwords as the attack compromised a database containing eBay user passwords.

“The thieves had access to, and reportedly copied, customer names, encrypted passwords, email addresses, physical addresses, phone numbers, and dates of birth, at a minimum,” according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The company did not immediately notify its customers when it first became aware of the February 2014 security breach and instead waited to inform customers until after the news had leaked out of the company, according to the complaint. “eBay’s profit-driven decision to withhold the fact of its security lapse further damaged the class members who were prevented from immediately mitigating the damages from the theft,” it said, while blaming eBay for not adequately securing the data.

EBay could not be immediately reached for comment.

Green, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, has asked for a jury trial. The combined claims of the proposed class members exceed $5 million exclusive of interest and costs.




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